Just because it isn’t happening here …

This is how fast everything can go to hell. And this is what children throughout the world go through every day.

That was an ad, with actors. This was real:

As the correspondent said, this is how arbitrary war can be. But even in an arbitrary war, the weapons have to come from somewhere.

Syria’s weapons come from Russia. But Russia isn’t the world’s largest arms exporter (via The Economist):

20140322_gdc001

FIVE countries—America, Russia, Germany, China and France—accounted for three-quarters of international arms exports over the past five years. China tripled its share in that time, overtaking France. It is on track to surpass Germany to become the third-largest arms dealer. Business is brisk. Overall, sales between 2009 and 2013 were 14% higher than the previous five-year period, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which tracks the arms trade. China sells to 35 mainly low- and middle-income countries, but is also a big importer (two-thirds of its weapons come from Russia). America exports to over 90 nations, with aircraft making up most of its sales. Russia exports more ships than any other country. Its weapons exports have significantly increased, thanks in part to being India’s biggest supplier, accounting for three-quarters of its arms purchases. As for Ukraine, it exports more weapons than Italy or Israel. But with regional tensions flaring, it may choose to keep some of those arms for itself.

That’s right. Business is brisk. People are making a lot of money off of death. But as far as they’re concerned, it doesn’t pay to see who’s dying.

So, what do they watch on Mexican television?

That’s from “María la del Barrio” and it appears to have run for one year in Mexico the 1990s. I can see why, because no one can be that intense for more than one year. And what’s with everyone NOT jumping on her and grabbing the scissors.

Of course, if you have more than an hour to kill, the series finale was really intense.

Makes you wonder if the actress who played the crazy lady later took quieter roles in her career?

This is why we go through airport security

From the government TSA blog’s week in review:

Concealed Firearms– Normally when our officers discover firearms, they’re inside carry-on bags. This week, three loaded firearms were discovered on the passenger.

  • A 380. caliber firearm loaded with five rounds and one chambered was discovered strapped to a passenger’s ankle after walking through a metal detector at Cincinnati (CVG).
  • A loaded 380. caliber firearm with a round chambered was discovered in the rear pocket of a San Antonio (SAT) passenger during Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) screening.
  • A 380. caliber firearm loaded with five rounds was discovered after a passenger walked through a metal detector at Dallas – Ft. Worth (DFW).

 

51 Firearms Discovered This Week – Of the 51 firearms, 45 were loaded and 20 had rounds chambered.

“This week” was last week. People know when they go to catch a flight that they’re going to be scanned and their bags are going to be scanned. But we have in one week a bunch of idiots trying to carry 51 guns on planes. And a hell of a lot of them were loaded (the guns, not the idiots).

Here are just a few:

Guns+1Here’s a full list of the types of guns found as people were checking in for their flights:

Guns

Want to know what else miscreants tried to carry on planes last week?

•Two inert artillery shells were discovered in a checked bag at Chicago O’Hare (ORD). Two minors were returning from Europe and had found the shells at a French WWI era artillery range.
•Four inert/replica/novelty grenades were discovered in carry-on bags this week. Two were discovered in Atlanta (ATL), and the others were found at Baltimore (BWI), and Oklahoma City (OKC).
•Two razor blades were detected inside the shoe and wallet of a Cincinnati (CVG) passenger.
•A 6-inch saw blade was detected, concealed inside a bible at Orlando (MCO).
•Three box cutter blades were detected concealed in a shoe inside the carry-on bag of a Baton Rouge passenger.
•A cell phone stun gun was discovered at Omaha (OMA).
•A comb knife was discovered at John Wayne (SNA).
•A lipstick stun gun was discovered at Detroit (DTW).
•A shocking device was detected inside a cane at Billings (BIL).

I could almost understand the razor blades. Until I saw they were hidden in shoes. You know, you might have a razor blade in your carry on because you packed your razor there by mistake. Putting a razor blade in a shoe isn’t a mistake. And what’s with the saw in the Bible? Someone going to visit a friend in prison and planned to “spread the word” for an early release?

And fake grenades? What bothers me here is I often fly through BWI.

I do get annoyed with the check in process, mainly because I’m always behind people who apparently have never been on a plane before and have no concept of keeping the line moving. Last time I flew, I ended up behind a woman who kept going to the scanner and who kept being told … you have to take your coat off … you have to take your shoes off … you have to take the change out of your pocket … you have to remove your jewelry …

And then it turned out her boarding pass said “TSA Pre,” which means she had been already approved to go to the pre-check line, where she just could have walked through. But instead she got in the line with the rest of us and delayed the process.

But again, after seeing what people were trying to carry on planes last week, I’ll put up with the hassle and just get to the airport an hour earlier.

It stays in Las Vegas, hopefully

I’ve been in Las Vegas the past few days. (Where else should you be during the early rounds of March Madness?)

Looks like I got out in time:

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush will get top billing when he and other potential 2016 presidential candidates join billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson for an exclusive Republican gathering next week in Las Vegas.

Bush, who is quietly exploring a run for the White House, will be the featured speaker at an exclusive VIP dinner on Thursday hosted by Adelson and his wife, Miriam, at his company’s private airplane hangar at Las Vegas Macarran International Airport, according to a draft itinerary obtained by The Washington Post.  The Adelsons’ dinner for Bush will kick off the Republican Jewish Coalition’s four-day spring leadership meeting, during which politicians and major GOP donors will mingle at golf and poker tournaments, as well as in political strategy sessions.

Because, where else would the family-values crowd strategize other than Sin City? I suspect they’ll talk about lady parts and lazy inner-city men.

Another reason to not visit North Korea

This is the most dangerously insane place in the world (via Talking Points Memo):

Kim Jong Un’s uncle was reportedly given one of the most brutal death sentences imaginable last month.

According to NBC News, which cited a report in a Chinese newspaper, Jang Song Thaek and five of his closest aides were stripped of their clothes, tossed in a cage and eaten alive by a pack of 120 hungry dogs. The dogs had reportedly been starved for five days.

Jang was considered to be the young North Korean leader’s second-in-command.

The details of the execution were published in a newspaper that serves as an organ of China’s Communist Party, but NBC could not independently confirm the report.

North Korea is run by crazy people. And it has nuclear weapons. The nukes probably aren’t a threat to North America, but if I were in China, Japan or South Korea, I would be wvarily looking in that direction.

You’ve got to see this music video

Go here:

http://video.bobdylan.com/desktop.html

Unfortunately, I can’t figure out how to embed this on a WordPress page, but here’s what you have to know.

It’s the official music video from Bob Dylan for “Like a Rolling Stone.” Yeah, I know, the song’s almost 50 years old. But this video is new and is an amazing interactive experience.

You’re sent to a television screen, complete with multiple channels. Flip the channels, and everyone is lip syncing the song. On ESPN, on the History Channel, on “The Price is Right,” in movies. On a Food Channel. There’s even a channel with a young Bob Dylan.

Or you can watch the whole thing on one channel.

It is definitely one of the most amazing things you’re every going to see on the Internet.

 

The horrors of childhood in Syria

We can’t conceive of the real-life nightmares children face in other parts of the world. These Syrian children were almost blown up. I would have been catatonic. They just see it as another day of surviving.

 

The Oswald assassination: Nov. 24, 1963

Fifty years ago today, I saw this live on television:

I think about it today and realize this was the first time I saw what today would be immediately identified as a terrorist being led to jail by police. And it was the first time I witnessed a murder.
Years pass, and you read things that say that when the Dallas police charged Lee Harvey Oswald with the murder of the president, they said it was because of a communist plot to overthrow the government. That was noted on a PBS “Frontline” report on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy:

NARRATOR: Less than one hour after the President was pronounced dead, police had arrested a suspect. Lee Harvey Oswald was a 24-year-old former Marine who had once defected to the Soviet Union. Only weeks earlier he had visited the Soviet and Cuban embassies.

JAMES P. HOSTY, FBI: The original complaint that the police department filed on Lee Oswald, around midnight on the 22nd of November, said that Lee Oswald did, “in furtherance of an international communist conspiracy, assassinate President John F. Kennedy.”

NARRATOR: That night, as Air Force One brought John Kennedy’s body home to Washington, the new president was afraid that Oswald’s apparent communist connections could spark an international crisis. President Johnson ordered the district attorney to drop any reference to a communist conspiracy.

Pres. LYNDON BAINES JOHNSON: This is a sad time for all people.

Mr. HOSTY: Johnson was fearful that if this had gotten out, it would inflame public opinion and could possibly lead to World War III. This is exactly how World War I began, with an assassination.

This fear of World War III does make sense. The Cuban Missile Crisis was just a year earlier. In October 1962, people were convinced there was going to be a nuclear war. America’s right wing, led by members of the the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, wanted to invade Cuba.

The other thing that strikes me about the day is how totally incompetent the Dallas police were. Here’s a longer TV feed of the Oswald shooting.

No one checks ID. No one keeps people away from the transfer of the most hated man in America. And when he’s shot, the police just let reporters walk into the crime scene. It looks like anyone could walk in. Strike that. Jack Ruby, a strip club owner with mob connections and a gun did walk in and killed Oswald.

There was a “Prairie Home Companion” on recently broadcast from Dallas. One of the jokes was something along the lines of: “Here in Dallas, gun control is when you hold a gun real steady before you fire.”

In Dallas in 2013, that got a huge laugh. But all I could think when I heard the line was that in Dallas in 1963, a president was murdered. And in Dallas in 1963, the murderer of a president was murdered on national television.

Dallas was out of control.