Once more for those in the back

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Since some people are either unknowingly or willfully ignorant, let’s get a few things straight about the Muller investigation.

To begin with, let’s look at Robert Muller’s exact duties as outlined by his appointment by Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein.  The appointment letter itself is very brief, just 20 sentences.  The most telling part is the one labeled (b) i and defines the major part of what Muller is to investigate:

any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump

Notice that there is no mention of “collusion” as one of the things that Muller is investigating.  Rather, his instructions were to investigate any links or coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.  But what does that mean, exactly?

It means that Muller is looking for any time that anyone involved in the Trump campaign met or communicated with anyone who was tied to the Russian government.  This is a much wider thing than merely looking for collusion, which is “cooperation or conspiracy” between two or more parties in order to sell a certain story, usually a lie.

Second, the fact is that there were probably no votes were changed after they were cast.  That wasn’t the problem with what Russia did.  The problem is that they changed and influenced minds and thoughts.

That’s the core of an effective propaganda campaign:  To win hearts and minds.  We have seen evidence that the Russians played both sides of the table by making putting out posts that fed extreme views on both the conservative and liberal sides of the American political spectrum.  They even established political action groups and recruited and funded unsuspecting Americans to hold political rallies at least on the conservative side.  

The Russian propaganda and disinformation machine is one that would have made Joseph Goebbels proud.  They didn’t change actual votes, but they did something much more powerful and ghastly.  The Russians changed the way that American citizens thought.  

They worked to increase the gulf between people. They increased the intolerance of difference between Americans, and they worked to support and encourage hate.  The Russians undermined some of the things that make (made) America a great country.  

Back in the 1940s, the US War Department published a short film titled “Don’t Be A Sucker” that is really chilling considering the current American political environment.  The whole thing runs a little under 20 minutes, but it’s an important reminder.  I feel that every American needs to watch it these days, as a reminder of what we fought against in World War 2.   

Please take the time to watch the video, and then let me know where your thoughts lie.


U.S. attorney general pledges ‘going to take action’ after Florida shooting

U.S. attorney general pledges ‘going to take action’ after Florida shooting:

I’ll believe it when I see it.  Since 1999, America has had more than 400 fatalities related to school shootings.  That’s JUST school shootings, not any other gun related crime.  Let me state that again, more plainly:  More than 400 children and adults have been murdered in their schools

Many of these shooters used some version of the AR-15 rifle.  That’s the semi-automatic version of the combat rifle used by the American military for most of the last 60 years.

After the first military model was produced, Colt (the manufacturer) produced a virtually identical weapon for the civilian market and called it a “sporting” rifle.  The only functional difference is that the civilian version can only fire one bullet per trigger pul, while the military version has a selector switch that allows 3-round bursts to be fired with one trigger pull or to fire continually as long as the trigger is being held.

The standard AR-15 fires the same round that the M16 uses: Remington .223 also known as the 5.56×45 NATO round.  The muzzle velocity of the round is about 3300 FPS and is traveling at speeds around 3x the speed of sound.  The round causes an entry wound about the size of your pinky finger and makes an exit wound about the size of your fist.  As the round travels through the body, it causes a shock wave that turns bone to small shrapnel and causes soft tissue to essentially turn into hamburger.

There is no need for a civilian to have that kind of firepower.  Anyone who says that’s for target shooting is lying to either you or to themselves.  This model of rifle is designed to cause massive bodily injury with every round, and to be very accurate up to 500 yards, even in the military machine gun configuration.


The Republican Debate: Bad Lip Reading

Um, I’m pretty sure that there is nothing that I can say that would improve this.


Review: Men Essentials Shaving Gear

Man, I can’t wait until I have a job again, so I can shop for gear and kit again.  I was asked to review some things from MenEssentials a few of weeks back.  I’m a shave geek, so I jumped at the opportunity.  They sent me some stuff to try out in exchange for a review of their products, and I am happy to report my results.

A little about Men Essentials first, though.  They are a supplier of high-quality products for skin, face, and body-care products, fragrances, and accessories geared toward the discerning gentleman.  They carry  wide selection of some of the best-known brands in the market, as well as some interesting-looking up-and-comers.

MenEssentials sent me three shaving products to review.  Pictures and reviews after the jump.

Continue reading


I get by with a little help from my friends

KarmaGo device 2 white
This is Karma Go. Many months ago, I spent my hard-earned money to pre-order a one at a discount. You can get a Karma Go of your own for $10 off, and I get some store credit. That’s not really what makes Karma Go cool though. It is a mobile WiFi Internet hot-spot that has an unusual feature: If someone uses your hot-spot (not your data) you both get some free data. Continue reading


Weirdos of the world, unite!

Just today, there was an interesting post over at Your Rainforest Mind that really reminded me of my childhood and, really, most of my life.  I was pretty much a loner for most of my youth, barring a few kids that I played with.  Most of my peers just thought I was weird and didn’t want much to do with me.  I was unusually good at answering questions in class, even though my grades didn’t reflect it (I was bored!).  I was (and am) more of a deep thinker than many of my peers, and  my sense of humor is, frankly, often too subtle for most of the people around me.

I am one of the lucky ones, though!  I have been able to attract or otherwise surround myself with people who appreciate my off-beat humor, and my lovely partner in crime actually likes the way I think and see the world.  Sure, we often go opposite directions to get to a solution, but we usually come to the same ideological place, just via different routes.  We’re kind of funny that way.

I don’t have much to add to the original post, but I appreciate that I’m not unique in my experience.  Us weirdos gotta stick together.


Happy birthday to me, 2015

I had originally thought that they got me a new tattoo in the form of a Dharma Wheel or an Enso, both of which would have been great symbols for me, to go along with my labyrinth.

Turns out, though, that I didn’t have the decisiveness to get a new tattoo yet. But they got me good stuff to feed my spiritual journey! Continue reading


This is why we can’t have nice things

Ok, first, here’s the FFRF ad:

Video © Freedom from Religion Foundation

As far as I am concerned, this ad is somewhat less upsetting than pretty much any TV ad for the ASPCA that shows abused animals. It is also little different than ads that I’ve seen for the Mormon Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or the United Methodist Church

According to Patheos.com the ad was submitted to pretty much all of the TV networks, but was rejected by everybody but CNN (and Comedy Central, last year), which I have no significant issue with, though I think it’s pandering to the Christian Right Wing, but whatever. They’re perfectly within their right to air (or not) pretty much anything they want.

Anyway, I tagged a friend with this on Facebook, and got a comment back, which I started to reply to, then thought better of it. My extended response to the comment is behind the jump. Continue reading


Tamagoyaki

I got this recipe from JustHungry.com All of the images that I’ve used here are from JustHungry.com, as she takes much better pix than I do. I have not requested permission to use them, but I hope it’s OK. Anyway, I tried this recipe tonight and I discovered that our non-stick pans… Stick. Oh well, it’s an adventure, right? I have recently bought equipment to make bento boxes for lunch, when I get another job.

I’m thinking that I’ll turn this batch into nigiri filling and sent Tori to work with a couple without nori, since she’s not a fan of the wrappers that I picked up.

Tamagoyaki Image © Just Hungry.com

Ingredients:

  • 4 Large egg
  • 1 Tbs Sugar
  • 1 tsp. mirin
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. soy sauce
  • Oil

Directions:

1. Mise en place: Heat up the pan on medium-low heat. Make ready a small bowl of oil, and the brush or wad of cotton wool or kitchen paper.
2. Beat all the ingredients together with a fork or chopsticks. Don’t use a whisk since you don’t want it to get foamy.
3. Optionally, strain the egg mixture through a sieve to even it out. (I usually don’t bother with this step but it does make for a finer and more even egg mix.)
Tamagoyakistep14. Brush the heated pan with a little oil. Put in about 2 to 3 tablespoons worth of egg mixture in the pan. Cook gently (lower the heat if necessary) until it’s not quite set on top, but not runny. Roll it up with a fork or chopsticks to one side of the pan.
Brush the exposed part of the pan with oil  Image © JustHungry.com5. Brush the exposed part of the pan with a little oil.
Put some more egg in the pan  Image © JustHungry.com6. Put another couple of tablespoons of egg mixture in the pan. Spread it around, lifting the cooked egg so that the uncooked egg flows below it.
Cook until almost set Image © JustHungry.com7. Cook until this layer is almost set, then roll the whole egg to the opposite side of where it is.
Oil pan again, add more egg Image © JustHungry.com8. Brush the pan again with oil. Add another couple of tablespoons of egg mixture in the pan, and spread around the pan and under the cooked egg.
Repeat until egg is all gone Image © JustHungry.com9. Keep repeating this procedure until the egg mixture is used up.
Take out of pan to cool Image © JustHungry.com10. Put the tamagoyaki on a moistened sushi rolling mat, seam side down.
Roll it up Image © JustHungry.com11. Roll it up tightly. If you are eating this right away you can take it out and serve immediately, but if you’re making this for an (o)bento, leave the whole roll in the mat over a raised rim plate or bowl until it’s cooled to room temperature. This allows air to pass under and over it, cooling it faster.
The finished product Image © Justhungry.com12. And here is the finished tamagoyaki. Slice with a sharp knife and enjoy. (If you just want even pieces, just leave off the ends. These usually end up in my mouth right there.)

(Serves Not sure. 4-6 slices of tamagoyaki)

Cooking 32If you really want a purely yellow tamagoyaki, cook it over low heat and use light soy sauce. Using light soy sauce makes your omelette slightly lighter in color, if you want to avoid any browning. But I usually just use regular soy sauce since browning doesn’t bother me. Keep in mind that light soy sauce is not lower in salt content, just lighter in color. (It’s different from low-salt soy sauce.)

Vary the flavor and look by adding finely chopped green onion or garlic chives, or small bits of nori seaweed. To achieve a black-and-yellow spiral effect, put torn pieces of nori over each almost-set egg layer before rolling.

If your tamagoyaki seems a bit too runny, you can firm it up by nuking it in the microwave for about a minute. Don’t over-nuke or you’ll end up with a firm rubbery thing.

The ideal accompiment when serving piping hot tamagoyaki is some grated daikon radish, with a tiny bit of soy sauce.

A variant of tamagoyaki is dashimaki tamago, where some dashi stock is added to the egg mixture. This makes for very thin layers, and thus requires some patience.

Download recipe.


Forlorn. That’s how I’m feeling

Robin Williams
P.G. Holyfield

Much of the world knew of the former, while a significantly smaller portion knew the latter. I have cried over both of these men recently, much to my own dismay, as I haven’t been particularly emotional for many years. But, in their own ways, both of these fine fellows have touched my life. Continue reading


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