Cole Parker

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  1. Wonderful story, which is not surprising as that's what Nigel writes. This one will keep you entertained and engaged all the way from the first sentence to the last. Highly recommended. C
  2. This is ridiculous. You want to gather these adults together and have a "Let's Save our Asses" party, in reverse. C
  3. Yet people continue to defend him. Although, I'm hearing more and more, "Well, I didn't say I liked him. I said I liked him more than the alternative." We humans are unsurpassed at justifying our stupid decisions. C
  4. Wait a minute. If Nevada has banned gay-conversion therapy, how can you transport someone there to do that procedure? But, assuming it was legal there, it makes for an interesting legal question. If something is illegal in a kid's state of residence, would it be legal to transport that kid against his will to a state where the act in question is legal? It seems some good arguments could be made against this practice. C
  5. Making sure people return for the next installment.
  6. Jason, you've been missed! Anyone who can wax wise on maple syrup, cut dingers and antelope chasing all at the same time and do so with humor and wit will always be missed when absent for so long. I do hope you remain with us awhile!
  7. Unless he's in Scotland.
  8. Great start! You've got me glued to the screen. C
  9. So I guess what you're saying, James, is that if you see anyone drinking a craft beer, you know he's got a lopped-off wanger. C
  10. Removal of a foreskin presents as a yearning for maple syrup. You heard it here first! AD, your source of unexpected news. C
  11. That's certainly a worry. He's done that before. C
  12. Doyle McManus is a highly respected journalist and the LA Times correspondent covering Washington, D.C. Here is today's column in the LA Times. Seems to sum things up pretty succinctly, to me. Trump's downward spiral Doyle McManus When Donald Trump was elected president six months ago, his supporters thought he’d soon grow into the job. He’d surround himself with smart people, listen carefully to their advice, and run his administration with the efficiency of a successful businessman. That seems a long time ago. Trump hasn’t grown, and now we’re seeing the consequences. In domestic affairs, the president assembled a staff of family members, ideologues and hangers-on, some competent, others not, that quickly divided into warring factions jostling for a snippet of his short attention span. In foreign policy, he appointed some of the nation’s best and brightest, such as national security advisor H.R. McMaster, but it’s not clear how much of their advice he actually absorbs. The result is an administration that has lurched from one crisis to another. Take the controversy over the intelligence Trump divulged to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov when they met in the Oval Office last week. Trump’s unintended intelligence leak fits into a broader pattern of general incompetence, compounded by hubris. According to the Washington Post, the president recounted intelligence reports that the Islamic State has devised a “thin bomb” hidden inside a laptop computer. (That wasn’t a secret.) “I get great intel,” Trump bragged to Lavrov, according to the Post. In the newspaper’s account, he went on to tell the visiting Russians just enough — including the city where the information originated — to enable a smart spy service to deduce the source. That’s a problem — compounded by the fact that the intelligence came from a friendly foreign intelligence government (later identified by the New York Times as Israel), and wasn’t Trump’s to give away. The White House even had to warn the CIA that Trump might have blown a foreign government’s secret. There’s far more at stake here than the etiquette of information-sharing among friends. The United States depends heavily on foreign governments for on-the-ground espionage against terrorists in the Middle East. “The cost for us, just on the intelligence level, is the likelihood that we won’t get similar information again — at least for a little while,” former CIA officer Paul Pillar told Vox. “Foreign partners will say, my goodness, even if we’re given assurances of how carefully our information will be used, as long we’ve got this guy at the top who does this sort of thing, those U.S. assurances don’t mean very much.” The larger issue is that Trump’s unintended intelligence leak fits into a broader pattern of general incompetence, compounded by hubris. "He is very inexperienced; this is an absolutely new world to him," former CIA Director Michael Hayden said on CNN. "If I fault him for anything, it's not that he's inexperienced. He doesn't have humility in the face of his inexperience. “Here is a president who does not seem to prepare in detail, is a bit disdainful, even contemptuous of the normal processes of government,” Hayden said. “[He] seems to go into these encounters with, frankly, an unjustified self-confidence in the ability of his person to make these things come out right.” Thus does each of Trump’s missteps — his bungled ban on immigration from Muslim countries, his confused proposals on healthcare and tax policy, plus the controversies surrounding the firings of Michael Flynn and James B. Comey—create a growing crisis. The latest wrinkle, on Tuesday, was the news that Trump asked Comey to end the FBI investigation of Flynn, according to notes Comey made in February. (By the time you read this, a new revelation may have succeeded that one.) In private, Republicans in Congress have grumbled for weeks about a White House that doesn’t know what it’s doing. Now they’re beginning to do the grumbling in public. Incompetence erodes support for a president in his own party, even among people who generally agree with his policy views. (See: George W. Bush after Hurricane Katrina.) "They are in a downward spiral right now,” said Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, who was one of the people Trump considered as a potential vice president and who, until now, had been the gentlest of critics. "The chaos that is being created by the lack of discipline is creating … a worrisome environment," Corker said. Republican chieftains who would normally be duty-bound to defend their president were mostly silent this time — or, in the case of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, acerbic. “I think we could do with a little less drama from the White House,” McConnell said. Trump has created his own troubles, and they are far from over. Republicans are joining Democrats in asking for tape recordings of White House meetings (whose existence the president hinted at in a tweet) and, now, a transcript of what he told the Russians. He’s renewed his war with U.S. intelligence agencies, accusing them of leaking secrets to undermine him — a gambit that rarely ends well. The president’s supporters, echoing Hayden, say he doesn’t mean any harm. Some of his actions have appeared careless, they acknowledge. He’s still learning the job, they say. And he is, in truth, surrounded by adversaries. But as examples of carelessness multiply, the ranks of Trump’s critics will swell. And they’ll begin, soon, to point out that carelessness isn’t much of an excuse. Not for a man whose job description, right there in the Constitution, says his first duty is to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”
  13. Thanks, Nigel. C
  14. So, Peter, I'd guess by redemption, you mean growth? C
  15. I wasn't bothered by the attack. I did get this email this morning from Malwarebytes, the anti-virus protection I use: SPECIAL BULLETIN Dear , A massive ransomware attack spread across the globe today, locking up thousands of hospital, telecommunications, and utilities systems in nearly 100 countries. The attack used data stolen from the NSA to exploit vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows and deliver the WanaCrypt0r ransomware. The demand was for $300 per PC. While the ransomware was first detected wreaking havoc in emergency rooms and doctors' offices in the UK, the infection quickly spread worldwide, including to the US. We're alerting you to reassure you that if you're currently using the premium version (or the premium trial) of Malwarebytes with real-time protection turned on, you are protected from this threat. Our premium technology blocks the WanaCrypt0r ransomware before it can encrypt your files. (The free version of Malwarebytes, however, does not protect you against WanaCrypt0r. To see which version you have, open up your Malwarebytes software and look for the version name at the top of the window.) Learn more about Malwarebytes If you're not currently using the premium version of Malwarebytes, we recommend that you update your Microsoft Windows software immediately. Microsoft released a patch for this vulnerability in March, but many users haven't updated, leaving their computers open to this attack. Here at Malwarebytes, we pledge to keep you protected and informed about the latest issues. Your peace of mind is our number one priority. Sincerely, The Malwarebytes team P.S. Learn more about this threat here. I have the premium package. Yeah, I'm paying for it, but it isn't all that expensive. I'd used the free version previously and liked it, so a few months ago I bought the premium package. Now I'm very thankful I did. I would guess these bastards will be hunted down and squashed with prejudice. They shut down hospitals and could well have caused tragedies. C