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toucana last won the day on March 30

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  1. One recent YouTube video about Trump’s ‘God Bless The USA’ bible that has gone viral in the last week or so is a factual review of the product by a man called Tim Wildsmith, a devout christian who actually reviews bibles for a living on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_6TVa7scKM Tim Wildsmith makes the following points: - This bible is advertised at $59.99, but actually costs $75 with tax and shipping. - In his opinion a Walmart style bible like this should probably cost around $20. - The website implies this bible is bound in real leather - but it’s actually bound in fake synthetic leather. - The text used is the copyright free King James Version, but without any notes or cross-references. - There is no copyright page or printer info - which usually means the bible was printed in China. - The page stock is too thin, so you get substantial bleed-through of text from the other side. - The gilt edge pages tend to stick together and tear easily. Another well known political satirist called Tea Pain USA cites Tim Wildsmith’s review, and calls attention to a remarkable omission in the MAGA material found at the back of this Trump bible. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lB32CR7Zc9s Although the Trump bible contains a copy of The Constitution, The Bill of Rights, and The Pledge of Allegiance, it *doesn’t* include any of the amendments from the 11th through to the 27th. Tea Pain suggests that these conspicuously missing amendments provide a damning vade-mecum as to which parts of the US Constitution Trump and his fellow Christo-Nationalist Fascists would dearly like to expunge - or at least pretend never to have existed - most especially: 12th Amendment - “Electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for the President…” 13th Amendment - “Neither Slavery nor involuntary servitude .. shall exist within the United States..” 14th Amendment - “ No person shall… hold any office .... have engaged in insurrection or rebellion..” 15th Amendment - “The right of citizens to vote shall not be denied … on account of race, color…” 19th Amendment - The right of citizens to vote shall not be denied… on account of sex…” 22nd Amendment - “ No person shall be elected to the office of President more than twice..”
  2. Media coverage of Monday’s total solar eclipse took an unexpected and distinctly X-rated turn when a Spanish language Mexican TV station RCG incautiously began broadcasting video clips of the event that had been sent in by their viewers during the live coverage of the totality. https://metro.co.uk/2024/04/10/news-channel-accidentally-airs-testicles-instead-eclipse-live-tv-20619945/ The RCG production team apparently didn’t examine the videos too closely, and succeeded in broadcasting one clip sent in by a prankster which shows the sun being eclipsed by a descending pair of testicles.
  3. The omnipresent QR (Quick Response) codes found everywhere these days from restaurant menus, to adverts on bus stops, festival passes, or museum exhibits were first invented back in 1994 at a Japanese company called Denso Wave (デンソーウェーブ), a manufacturer of automobile parts based near Nagoya in Japan. Masahiro Hara, the man who invented QR codes was an engineer at Denso Wave who also happened to be a Go player. One day he was playing a game of Go during his lunchbreak when he stumbled on the idea of using the 19 x 19 matrix of a Go board as a new way of encoding the information of the Kanban (カンバン ) system for tracking components and spare parts which is extensively used in the Japanese car industry. It occured to him that a 2-dimensional matrix system of encoding with inbuilt error correction could store and process information far more efficiently than the linear bar code systems currently in use. A new YT video gives a concise explanation of quite how all those hieroglyphic symbols in a QR coding system work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qb4wq2auXXk It’s basically a formatted bit-stream of text. Version 1 is a 21 x 21 matrix that can store up to 17 UTF-8 characters when using low error correction. Version 40 is a 177 x 177 matrix that can store almost 3K of text. The error correction system is based on Reed-Solomon Codes which is a method widely used in CD, DVD and Blu-ray disks - it also allows you to place a trademark logo or image in the middle of a QR glyph without compromising the readability of the information. The coloured image below gives a handy guide to what the different bits of of a QR code do - The mauve #6 area is where the data is actually written. and the yellow #7 area is the Error Correction data.
  4. toucana

    Political Humor

    He's also facing the wrong way, towards the back of the pew !
  5. Clear skies and excellent viewing in Dallas atm - (I'm watching live coverage on Sky/NBC) Welp - Carbondale Illinois has been and gone, and we're still here. Guess they must have meant the next one ?- in 129 years !
  6. Not to be outdone by Nineveh and Carbondale Illinois, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the embattled MAGA Governor of Arizona has declared a 14 day state of emergency in Arizona on account of the total solar eclipse today 8 April 2024, and has released $100,000 from the state’s emergency Response & Recovery funds to ensure that the 2m of darkness during the totality doesn’t cause a collapse of Arizona’s transportation system. https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2024/apr/05/sanders-declares-state-of-emergency-in-arkansas/ $100,000 would also be enough to cover the costs of another 5 ‘Lecterns’ should the former WH press secretary find herself running short during the eclipse. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/10/10/us/sarah-huckabee-sanders-arkansas-lectern.html
  7. According to your friendly neighbourhood conspiracy theorists, the solar eclipse on Monday 8 April will also mark the end of the world, and it will all start in Carbondale illinois. https://news.sky.com/story/armageddon-in-illinois-nefarious-scientists-warning-signs-from-god-marjorie-taylor-greene-alex-jones-and-influencers-peddle-conspiracy-theories-about-solar-eclipse-13110035 Why there you may ask ? Well it’s quite simple. The predicted path of the solar eclipse will pass over at least six places called Nineveh (modern day Mosul in Iraq), which is an ancient city mentioned in the bible where the prophet Jonah once preached against the wickedness of its inhabitants, and called for its total destruction. When combined with the path of the US eclipse in 2017, the path of totality on Monday will form a cross with its centre located on Carbondale Illinois - so If you live in Carbondale, that means you will be lucky enough to see the full eclipse twice in seven years. According to influencers on TikTok, it also means doomsday starts in your city - quite obvious really.
  8. Part of the soundtrack to the film 'Perfect Days' (2023) by Wim Wenders.
  9. You could probably start with some of these: Reader discretion is advised, especially for Judges 19-21 (it's rather graphic).
  10. Judge Lewis A. Kaplan did so in August 2023 while dimissing a counterclaim by Donald Trump for defamation in the E.J Carroll case. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/aug/07/donald-trump-rape-language-e-jean-carroll Kaplan had already outlined why it was not defamation for Carroll to say Trump raped her. “As the court explained in its recent decision denying Mr Trump’s motion for a new trial on damages and other relief [in the New York case] … based on all of the evidence at trial and the jury’s verdict as a whole, the jury’s finding that Mr Trump ‘sexually abused’ Ms Carroll implicitly determined that he forcibly penetrated her digitally – in other words, that Mr Trump in fact did ‘rape’ Ms Carroll as that term commonly is used and understood in contexts outside of the New York penal law.” The title of my post was satirical - (one reason it was in quotes), and took aim squarely at the rampant hypocrisy of a grifter and moral imbecile like Trump attempting to wrap himself in the American flag while hawking overpriced GBA themed bibles in the middle of holy week.
  11. Many unusual and curious versions of the English bible have been printed since the reformation. The ‘Wicked Bible’ of 1631 found its way into history by omitting the word ‘not’ from the 7th commandment (Exodus 20:14) and enjoining its readers, on the highest authority, to commit adultery. Others include ‘The Treacle Bible’ of 1568 (Jermiah 7:24 - “Is there no treacle in Gilead”), The Printers Bible of 1702 (Psalm 119:161 - “Printers have persecuted me without a cause” - [instead of of ‘Princes’], and ‘Rebekah’s Camels Bible’ of 1823 which gives Genesis 24:61 as “Rebekah arose, and her camels” instead of “her damsels”. But few of them are quite as odd as the ‘God Bless The USA Bible’ currently being touted by former president Donald J. Trump for $59.99. This edition of the King James translation (conveniently out of copyright) also includes a copy of the US Constitution, The Bill of Rights, The Declaration of Independence, and the Pledge of Allegiance - along with a handwritten chorus to ‘God Bless America’ by Lee Greenwood. One thing that all of these have in common of course, is that Donald Trump has never read or paid the slightest attention to any of them. The Lee Greenwood referred to is the person who first initiated this project back in 2021. At that time it was being marketed as a new bible “Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks”. This edition was meant to contain the NIV version of the English bible, but the NIV copyright holders Zondervan abruptly withdrew their consent, so the royalty-free King James text was used instead. That version incidentally cost only $49.99 back in 2021. A Meidas Touch YT investigation reveals that this bible has a long history of negative reviews from purchasers who faced such problems as long delays, or complete non-delivery of the product, to struggling with gilt-edged pages that had glued themselves together, rendering the text unreadable. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZp0zjobSK8
  12. Oppenheimer has just been released in Japan. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-asia-68691883 The BBC’s Japan correspondent Shaimaa Khalil spoke to residents in Hiroshima who had watched the film in a cinema located in the ground-zero area of the 1945 blast, and asked them what they thought of it. One young person responds to the question of ‘Saved lives’ raised by TheVat.
  13. When Japan attacked Pearl Harbour on 7 December 1941, the plan was to cripple the US Pacific fleet for just long enough to allow Japan to seize control of other southeast Asian countries such as British Malaya, Singapore, the Philippines, and the Dutch East Indies, and consolidate them into their ‘Greater East Co-Prosperity Sphere’. The Japanese hoped they could force the USA to negotiate a political settlement from a position of weakness that would validate Japan’s seizure of these territories, and leave them in control on much more favourable terms than existed in the 1930s. Perceptive Japanese strategists like Admiral Yamamoto who planned the Pearl Harbour attack knew full well that Japan could never defeat the USA in a prolonged war of attrition - so a negotiated diplomatic ending to hostilities with the allies was always a key part of the original Japanese war plan. It went wrong from the outset because the Japanese failed to destroy the 3 main US aircraft carriers at Pearl Harbour (they were all at sea). The US carriers subsequently inflicted terrible damage on the Japanese fleet at the Battle of the Coral Sea, and the Battle of Midway in June 1942. Meanwhile the USA’s war aims became the total destruction of the Japanese military machine, and the unconditional surrender of their nation. In the summer of 1943, Japanese Navy chiefs asked Admiral Sokichi Takagi who was one of their best strategists to carry out an independent survey of the course of the war. His report concluded that Japan must sue for peace if the USA captured the Solomon islands. The Japanese subsequently lost control of the Solomon Islands at the end of 1943, but the Japanese Army leadership defied all warnings from the Navy and carried on fighting - refusing to countenance any possibility of diplomatic negotiation or surrender.
  14. There is an entire chapter devoted to this subject in The Fall of Japan (1968) by William Craig [Ch.3 ‘The Diplomacy of Defeat’ ]. There were some covert attempts made by high ranking Japanese officials to initiate diplomatic contacts in great secrecy with the Soviet foreign minister Molotov by passing messages between Jacob Malik the Soviet ambassador in Tokyo, and Naosoke Sato - the Japanese ambassador in Moscow. The idea was first raised by Emperor Hirohito in person on 22 June 1945 within hours of the death of General Ushijima on Okinawa. This initiative stalled when Malik the Soviet ambassador failed to respond. The Emperor Hirohito offered to send Prince Fumimaro Konoye to Russia as his personal envoy to meet with Molotov in July 1945, but the Soviet leadership who were preparing for the Potsdam Conference failed to provide any opportunity of a meeting with Molotov. Stalin had already privately decided to declare war on Japan at a moment of his choosing very soon after the conference ended, and he regarded the Japanese initiative as moot. On Monday 6th August 1945, the very day that Hiroshima was bombed, Shigenori Togo the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs sent an urgent telegram to ambassador Sato noting that Stalin and Molotov had just returned to Moscow that very day. Togo instructed Sato to demand an immediate meeting with Molotov and seek a definitive reply from him as to whether the Soviet Union would help broker a peace deal with the allies. Before Sato could reply, Togo sent another even more frantic telegram - he had just received an eye-witness report that said “The whole city of Hiroshima was destroyed instantly by a single bomb”. Ambassador Sato sent a telegram back to Togo on the 7th August to say that Molotov had finally agreed to meet the Japanese diplomats the following day at 17.00. This meeting duly took place on the 8th August 1945, and Molotov used it to declare war on Japan. [see The Fall of Japan ch.5 for the timeline and full texts of the diplomatic cables].
  15. There is a detailed discussion of most of the points you raise in an article by the military historian and Pacific War expert Richard B. Frank called ‘No Recipe For Victory” available on the website for the National WWII Museum New Orleans https://www.nationalww2museum.org/war/articles/victory-in-japan-army-navy-1945 There had been a long standing division of opinion since January 1943 between the chiefs of the US Navy and the US Army over how best to achieve the unconditional surrender of Japan. The US Navy favoured a blockade that would have involved starving the Japanese population into surrender. The US Army favoured an invasion plan called operation Downfall subdivided into two parts: - i. Operation Olympic to seize control of the southern island of Kyushu which was scheduled to begin in November 1945 ii. Operation Coronet to invade the Tokyo region on Honshu about 1 March 1946. The argument over whether to go with a naval blockade or an amphibious invasion of the archipelago was settled in favour of the Army’s invasion plan at the Honolulu Conference in July 1944. Doubts then arose because of the massive casualties sustained during the invasion of Okinawa in May 1945 (49,000+ with 12,000 killed including the 4-star general in command of the operation). Admiral Nimitz privately said he could no longer support the invasion plan in the light of this, and even more concerns were raised by fresh military intelligence that Japan had moved such large numbers of troops and aircraft into Kyusuhu, that the US landing forces would be in a 1-1 combat situation with no numerical advantage there - a scenario described as “a recipe for a bloodbath”. The main problem with a naval blockade was that it would have taken a very long time to complete. The US Navy’s own estimates suggested that the Japanese would not collapse until 1947 at the earliest. Critics pointed out that the high level of social control traditionally found in Japanese society along with the ruthless suppression of dissent by the Japanese military government would have led to the prioritization of feeding those involved in sustaining the war effort, while leaving millions of civilians to starve to death - a prospect that even the most hawkish supporters of a blockade were reluctant to discuss in detail. There was also considerable concern in the USA about a possible loss of will to carry on fighting an endlessly protracted war in the Pacific against an enemy with no history of military compromise or surrender. Finally there is the question of the intense firebombings that began on 10 March with the 279 plane Meetinghouse raid on Tokyo which levelled 2 square miles of eastern Tokyo, and probably killed over 100,000 civilians. The Meetinghouse raid was quickly followed by similar raids against Nagoya on 12 March, Osaka on 14 March , Kobe on 18 March, and Nagoya again on the 19 March. - These raids were deemed a military success by Major Curtis Lemay who was in command of the USAAF strategic bombing campaign - and yet these raids had had largely ceased by May 1945 - why ? i. The USAAF had run out of incendiary ordnance. These raids had depleted their entire stock. ii. From May 1945 onwards the USAAF had to urgently redeploy southwards to support the US invasion of Okinawa which had run into unexpectedly intense opposition including sustained kamikaze attacks. iii. These fire-bombing raids had no discernible effect in weakening or deflecting the resolve of the Japanese leadership to carry on fighting to the bitter end - regardless of the civilian casualties sustained. As a matter of fact the Japanese government did not begin to consider any diplomatic solutions to end the war until the morning of 6 August just after the first atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, and when they did, the first Japanese diplomatic overtures were made towards the Soviet Union in the hope of enlisting their help in brokering a cease-fire - hopes that were promptly dashed when the Soviet Union belatedly declared war on Japan and invaded Manchuria.
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