Sunday, November 29, 2009

Civil War relationship to Poker?

James McManus thinks that is the underlying theme in the massive, highly praised three volume :The Civil War: A Narrative by Shelby Foote.

from the Daily Beast

The Civil War, published in three magnificent volumes between 1958 and 1974, is the first work of history to explore how the game’s lore and logic fits into the overall scheme of America’s most definitive conflict. While Wills uses Nixon’s poker-playing as a colonoscope into the bowels of a politician he felt little sympathy for, Foote has great reserves of empathy for the game and its players. His paternal grandfather had lost the family’s considerable fortune playing stud, often while drunk. Perhaps the only upside of the squandered inheritance was that his grandson learned how profoundly the game could affect both the person who played it and the people who depended on him.

Foote’s 2,836-page narrative makes vividly clear how integral poker was to the Northern and Southern war efforts, from the penny-ante games of enlisted men through the do-or-die showdowns of generals—that the feints, bluffs, and aggressive poker mind-set of Grant, Lee, Forrest, and others often determined how critical battles played out. He quotes a friend of “Fighting Joe” Hooker on the gumption of that charismatic Union commander. “He could play the best game of poker I ever saw, until it came to the point where he should go a thousand better, and then he would flunk.” This shortage of intestinal fortitude had enormous military consequences. Having been placed by Lincoln at the head of the Army of the Potomac in 1863, the hard-drinking Hooker gave up alcohol to remain clear-headed as he faced off with Lee—though a belt of good moonshine might have bolstered him when the chips were down at Fredericksburg. On the verge of crushing the rebellion with a single decisive blow, Hooker held 2-to-1 advantages in men and artillery, a commanding position on high ground from which to annihilate Lee’s infantry, with an open path to Richmond after that. But when Lee’s pinned-down veterans suddenly took the initiative, Hooker lost his nerve—“flunked,” as his friend might have put it. When Hooker ordered a retreat instead of a counterattack, his generals refused to believe it. And yet it was true. Even more bizarrely, Hooker then ordered his main force to take a vulnerable position in the Battle of the Wilderness, where he soon suffered a devastating defeat by Lee and Stonewall Jackson.

The consensus among historians now is that Lee, in the words of John Steele Gordon, “played Joseph Hooker like a fiddle, bluffing him into a defensive posture when he had overwhelming superiority.” Not only Hooker, of course. Early in the war, as Lee desperately searched for reinforcements, he bluffed George Meade into thinking the Army of Northern Virginia was at full strength; Meade’s failure to attack him bought Lee invaluable time. When the battles were finally joined, Lee’s knack for misleading, intimidating, and outmaneuvering much larger armies was often enough to carry the day.

James McManus has covered poker for The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Harper’s Magazine, Card Player,, and The New Yorker. Positively Fifth Street, his memoir of finishing fifth in the World Series of Poker championship, was a New York Times bestseller.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

George/Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado 19 violently killed for being gay

On November 14 the body of a gay 19 year old George/Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado was found a few miles away from the town in which he was residing in called Caguas in Puerto Rico.

He was found on the site of an isolated road in the city of Cayey, he was partially burned, decapitated, and dismembered, both arms, both legs, and the torso.

Confessed Killer

The Criminal Investigations dept of Guayama is keeping under police custody the 26 year old confessed killer of Jorge Steven Lopez.

Officials indicated how Jose Bermudez the accused explained that he went into the center of town in Caguas and then after making a few attempts to pick up a prostitute allegedly Jorge went to him dressed as a woman, and Jose invited him into his vehicle thinking he picked up a female prostitute.

He said that he did not know that it was really a man and they went to his apartment in Cidra, where Steven allegedly told him to have anal sex with him, which provoked anger in him and caused him to murder him. He also said that Steven tried to stab him, and that he armed himself with a kitchen knife and under a fit of rage he injured him, dismembered him, decapitated him and then later took his remains to Guavate where he was left.

Other allegations of the killer is that in 2003 he was arrested for domestic abuse and that in his youth he was molested and that is why he hates homosexuals. The authorities said that this case has been advanced and successful due to the cooperation of the local GLBT community.

The agent Angel Rodriguez said that he is being interrogated and will be charged with first degree murder. He also indicated that he will submit another request to the federal judge to have this treated as a hate crime.

At the suspects home the police found 2 knives to commit the murder, and that they were then thrown in a septic tank.

in reference to:

"National Gay and Lesbian Task Force condemns dismemberment slaying of gay teen in Puerto Rico News release from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force: WASHINGTON, Nov. 17 — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force condemns the brutal murder of Jorge Steven López, a 19-year-old gay man in Puerto Rico, in a possible hate crime. A suspect has reportedly been arrested. Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director National Gay and Lesbian Task Force “The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force stands in solidarity with the LGBT community in Puerto Rico and sends its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Jorge Steven López. We urge local law enforcement authorities to continue their expedient work on this case. Fortunately, Puerto Rico has a local hate crimes statute, but it is imperative that federal authorities continue to monitor this ongoing investigation and step in if necessary or assist if asked, as allowed by the new federal hate crimes law.” Statement by Pedro Julio Serrano, Task Force Communications Manager Founder, Puerto Rico Para Tod@s “This is a terrible, terrible crime. While we are pleased that law enforcement has acted promptly in making an arrest, it is vital that the hate crimes angle be investigated. This horrendous killing of a young gay man shows no compassion or respect for the dignity of a human life. As someone who grew up in Puerto Rico and has been very active in its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, this is a heart-wrenching moment. Our hearts and sympathies go out to all of Jorge Steven López’s loved ones at this difficult time. Justice must prevail.”"
- Steve Rothaus' Gay South Florida (view on Google Sidewiki)

Thought about the health care debate

With increased knowledge alone- people have become healthier and need less health care. The research on the cancer causing effects of cigarette smoking- caused many to quit to their healths advantage. Untold millions of lives saved and billions of medical dollars saved by research.

Yet many continue to smoke, and if they end up with an expensive cancer, our society will at least help (in most cases) with cost of their treatment.

There needs to be an emphasis in education on the benefits of being healthy- of doing all one can do for themselves. Healthcare can not become a safety net for careless living. There is, I think, a psychological component that the high cost of getting sick currently - that causes many to take better care of themselves.

There also has been a lot of unnecessary cost associated with a medical system that lags behind especially at the patient level that is now being addressed. Patient records should all be digitized, This alone would be a profound amount of data that could be analyzed for predictive trends- and early less expensive and more effective treatments.

Genome Screening

Eventually, everyone should/will have genome screening; As an article in scientific America reports on what one of the wealthiest men in world learned when he had his screening done:

"Google founder Sergey Brin's investment in his wife's genome-screening company has gotten even more personal: the product has revealed he carries a genetic mutation linked to Parkinson's disease.

He adds: "The exact implications of this are not entirely clear. Nonetheless it is clear that I have a markedly higher chance of developing Parkinson's in my lifetime than the average person. In fact, it is somewhere between 20 percent to 80 percent depending on the study and how you measure."

"I feel fortunate to be in this position," he writes, noting that exercise could help protect him from the disease."

There are privacy implications to all of this. Yet the future of healthcare should be towards a concept of wellness rather than towards entitlement.

Inventor Dean Kamen in an interview said:

"Okay, where else do we want to put money in our economy? You know where I'd put a lot of money? Great high-paying jobs for Ph.D.s and professors solving problems, curing diseases, making advanced technologies to give people products to make their life better. [Medical technology is] one of the few industries where the U.S. still exports to the world and we still have leadership."
- Dean Kamen Quotes About Health Care Debate - Interview With Inventor Dean Kamen - Popular Mechanics (view on Google Sidewiki)

Monday, September 28, 2009

need top of the line rechargeable batteries

Charger Kit: PowerEx MH-C9000 WizardOne Charger-Analyzer w/ Four 2700mAh AA Batteries

Product Description
MH-C9000 WizardOne Battery Charger & Analyzer is suitable for the casual consumer users, enthusiast and professionals, WizardOne is capable of charging, conditioning, analyzing, cycling, forming and discharging one to four AA or AAA batteries, all while digitally displaying the battery capacity and voltage. All four slots can be operated independently in different modes and settings. Those seeing the unit for the first time will be struck by its large LCD screen, backlit by ultra-bright white LEDs. Measuring over 3.5 by 1.5, the display is more than three times larger than its closest competition and shows a wealth of information that is easy to read. In addition to the standard charging, conditioning and discharging, the WizardOne charger-analyzer also offers two unusual operations modes. The Break-In mode allows the user to input the capacity of the battery and performs a forming charge designed to properly break-in new batteries. The Cycle mode allows user to charge and discharge batteries consecutively while storing the capacity for up to 15 cycles. There are ten selectable charging and discharging current from 0.2A to 2.0A and 0.1A to 1.0A respectively. The charger also features four independent temperature sensors using Mahas latest temperature rise detection algorithm in addition to the usual peak temperature detection. It also armed with additional patented termination algorithms found in other Maha chargers. The unit can be operated in a basic and advanced mode. In the basic mode, user merely needs to insert the batteries with no further key press. The charger will select the appropriate settings automatically, making it suitable for the casual users. Charger kit includes the MH-C9000 battery charger plus four high-power true 2700mAh PowerEx rechargeable AA batteries & battery case.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Jokes and Accusations against Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich

  • According to U.S. Attorney David Fitzgerald, Blagojevich is attempting to sell the U.S. senate seat he would be in charge of appointing when Barack Obama becomes president. “It’s a f—ing valuable thing,” he reportedly said. “You just don’t give it away for nothing….I’ve got this thing, and it’s f—ing golden.”
Governor Rod Blagojevich didn't show up for work in Chicago on Wednesday. Just his luck, it was national call-in-sick if you're gay day. He may have to resign as governor of Illinois but he's leading all polls to be the next governor of California.
  • Blagojevich, presumably having contacted Obama’s staff, seeked “appointment as secretary of health and human services or an ambassadorship, an appointment to a private foundation, a higher paying job for his wife or campaign contributions,” according to Fitzgerald. Local media has suggested that Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s Chief of Staff, may have tipped off authorities about Blagojevich’s proposals.
St. Mark's Episcopal in Chicago placed global positioning devices in their Nativity Scene figurines to halt theft. They're easy to track. Last year's Messiah is on his way to Washington and the donkey's been arrested for trying to sell a Senate seat.
  • At one point, Blagojevich proposed taking a high-paying union job in exchange for Obama getting his choice of Senate replacement, with the union getting benefits from Obama. When the deal fell through, the governor told his wife Patti and their aides, “They’re not willing to give me anything but appreciation. F— them.”
Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich didn't show up in the legislature Tuesday for the impeachment hearing against him for selling a Senate seat. It was easy to find him. He had to fly to Mogadishu to accept an honorary doctorate from Somali Pirate University.
  • Blagojevich considered taking the Senate position in order to avoid impeachment as Governor, as well as set himself up for a 2016 presidential run. ” “If they’re not going to offer anything of any value,” he said, “then I might just take it.”
"Time magazine reports that Governor Blagojevich has an approval rating 4%. That's with a margin of error of 5%. That means he could actually disapprove of himself." --Jay Leno

  • Blagojevich compared his position in regards to the Senate seat to a sports agent shopping a player around to “the highest bidder.”
ABC News says Rod Blagojevich was a bookie with links to the mob before he was governor. Jesse Jackson Jr. just realized he was snitching on the Chicago mob. In lieu of flowers, his family is requesting that donations be made to his father's slush fund.
  • The governor discussed starting a “non-profit organization” to hit up rich friends of Obama’s like Warren Buffett for up to $15 million. He would then run the organization when he retired as governor.
"It was a very stupid thing to do. Especially since the last governor of Illinois is currently in prison for exactly the same kind of thing. And not only that, think of it, you're in Chicago, you have Barack Obama's seat for sale, don't you go directly to Oprah? Who would pay more for Barack Obama's seat than her?" --Jimmy Kimmel

  • He described his “non-profit” fantasy to a union leader representing a Senatorial candidate, who said he’d “run it up the pole.”
Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was defended by his Chicago lawyer Thursday. He noted that tapes are inadmissible in an impeachment, and impeachment would taint a criminal trial. Dick Cheney just told his wife that snow or no snow, they're moving to Chicago.
  • Blagojevich also discussed getting “some money up front, maybe” from a potential Senatorial candidate.

Federal prosecutors have released an affadavit showing recordings of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich allegedly talking about selling Obama's Senate seat.

Blagojevich who said, “I’ve got this thing, and it’s [expletive] golden. And I’m just not giving it up for [expletive] nothing..." was ACTUALLY referring to his personal hairstylist who he stole from Emilio Estevez in "The Breakfast Club."
  • Blagojevich ran a pay-to-play scheme to receive money from contractors who benefit from his actions as governor.

Barack Obama's chief of staff Rahm Emanuel refused to answer questions Friday about the attempted sale of Obama's Senate seat. He's desperate to get the press on to another subject. He just asked one of his daughters if she'd like to go missing.
  • Upon learning he was under investigation for fraud and bribery, Blagojevich and his associates worked “feverishly to get as much money from contractors, shaking then down, pay-to-play, before the end of the year,” according to Fitzgerald.
Governor Rod Blagojevich refused to step down from office Monday when Illinois lawmakers began impeachment proceedings. It may take awhile. The legislature is trying to come up with the six hundred thousand dollars he's demanding to resign in disgrace.
  • When a $1.8 billion tollway project was announced, Blagojevich tried to get beneficiaries of the contract to give $100,000 in contributions.
Governor Blagojevich was at a Christmas play in a Chicago School, and when the three wise men showed up bearing gifts for the newborn Jesus, Governor Blagojevich demanded half the loot. (Leno)
  • Blagojevich noted about the tollway project, “I could have made a larger announcement but wanted to see how they would perform by the end of the year. If they don’t perform, f— ‘em.”
"Prosecutors said Tuesday there is no evidence that Barack Obama was involved in the Blagojevich scandal. Or, as Fox News reported it, 'Is Barack Obama involved in the Blagojevich scandal?'" --Amy Poehler
  • The governor allotted $8 million in funds to Children’s Memorial Hospital, believing he would get $50,000 back from the hospital’s CEO. When the money never came, he checked with staff to see if he could pull back the funding.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan asked the state Supreme Court on Friday to declare Governor Rod Blagojevich disabled and unfit for office. That's silly. If crookedness was a disability, Chicago would be known worldwide as the City of Ramps.
  • A bill involving the diverting of casino funds for horseracing has been held up because Blagojevich has yet to receive $100,000 contributions from those who would benefit.
The Weather Channel reported a huge mass of cold air sweeping into the Midwest on Sunday. The front was setting new records for low wind-chill temperatures. It was so cold in Chicago that Governor Rod Blagojevich was selling heated Senate seats.
  • After the Chicago Tribune called for his impeachment in editorials, the governor and John Harris, his chief of staff, warned the Tribune Company that they would have to fire certain editors if they wanted to get the sale of Wrigley Field, which they owned, passed. “Fire all those f—ing people. Get them the f— out of there. And get us some editorial support,” he reportedly said.
Inaugural officials predicted four million people will attend the Inauguration ceremony. Every power broker will be there. The Illinois governor will be kept out of town so in the event of a catastrophe, someone will be alive to sell the government.
  • All together, Blagojevich was looking to acquire about $2.5 million in “contributions” through these illegal shakedowns.
Blagojevich is accused of trying to sell a seat in the Senet to the highest bidder. If Blagojevich is sent to jail - his seat will be sold to the highest bidder. (Connan)
  • Blagojevich told Harris that he was “financially hurting,” and that he needed this money for “security” and to stay “politically viable.”
Barack Obama cut all ties to Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich Thursday. He's also disowned Jeremiah Wright and Tony Rezko. Having Chicago as a hometown for an incoming president is like having a brother-in-law with a gambling problem and no car.
  • Many of his pay-to-play schemes were done with the participation of convicted felons like the infamous Tony Rezko.
Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested Tuesday for trying to sell a U.S. Senate seat. His family is so proud. Rod Blagojevich could go down in history as the only Serbian leader whose trial didn't end up at the International Criminal Court.
  • Fearing that the money in his Friends Of Blagojevich campaign fund would be frozen if arrested, he considered prepaying his criminal attorney, believing the attorney would re-donate the money if his services weren’t required.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Barack Obama victory speech in Chicago - Jazz version

After campaigning for Obama on Monday and Tuesday in Indiana, which we were told was a crucial state. My friend and I raced back to Chicago's Grant Park to hear Obama's victory speech. Later I would condense it and write a soundtrack, then record it, then create a video:

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A 15 year old depressed guy hacks into VP candidate Palins Emails

The supposed Hacker who got into Vice Presidential hopeful Sarah Palin's Email, and posted it on line:

All signs point to state rep’s son as Palin ‘hacker’

The guy who hacked into would-be VP Sarah Palin’s Yahoo email account is none other than the son of a Democratic state representative from Tennessee, posits GatwayPundit. A convincing amount of evidence suggests the “hacker” (perhaps a status he doens’t deserve) is David Kernell, son of Tennessee representative Mike Kernell.

The investigation is centered in Memphis, the Commercial Appeal reported:

An FBI and Secret Service investigation into the hacking, launched Wednesday, now involves agents in Memphis, said C.M. Sturgis, a spokesman for the Memphis FBI branch.

“All I can say is that a matter was referred to us from the Anchorage, Alaska, office. An investigation at this time is being coordinated out of FBI headquarters in the Department of Justice,” Sturgis said.

  • was the account of an unnamed college student, according to this Wired story. Wired identified the student as the son of a Democratic state representative in Tennessee. The father offered a non-denial denial.

    A person who identified himself as the student’s father, when reached at home, said he could not talk about the matter and would have no comment. The father, in a second call with Threat Level late Thursday afternoon, said that neither he nor his son has been contacted by any law enforcement authorities. A local Tennessee paper had erroneously reported that his son had been contacted by authorities, he told Threat Level.

  • Rep. Kernell offered an even-less convincing denial late yesterday afternoon in a story in the Knoxville News Sentinel:

    Asked whether he or his son, a student at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, had been contacted by authorities investigating the break-in of Palin’s account, he responded:
    “Me, no.”
    As far as his 20-year-old son, David, he said: “I can’t say. That doesn’t mean he has or hasn’t (been contacted by investigators).”
    Kernell, D-Memphis, cited the father-son relationship.

    This article in the Tennessean adds little, with Kernell conceding that the Internet is talking about his son.

  • Free Republic notes that rubicon changed Palin’s password to “popcorn.” Popcorn. Kernell.
  • “The Alaksa division of the FBI has contacted the Memphis division and an investigation is under way,” WREG-TV reports. Kernell also acknowledged that people are talking about his son but denied he had been contacted by the FBI.
  • But if people are talking about David Kernell as the same person as and rubicon admitted that he he did it on 4chan, then the circumstantial evidence that David Kernell hacked Palin’s account is pretty straight-forward, isn’t it?
  • Skirts, Not Pantsuits, a pro-Palin blog, asserts that this blog is linked to I’m not sure how they established that. Indeed the entire site could be a prank. However, it does include this information, the dates line up and the depression wouldn’t be unheard of:

    My name is David Kernell I am 15 a white cacasian male i live in memphis, TN. My favorite and only hobby is chess, more like an obsession. I am not afraid to say that i have acute depression and have been institutionalized twice, one at th age of 9 in Texas and one this past year. I have been strugleing with this for my entire life and have finally come to the conclusion that being stoic in most of life’s issues is of the untmost importance.

    Still, the Memphis Commercial Appeal established the chess connection, which lends credence to the blog’s legitimacy:

    David Kernell excelled at chess while at Germantown High School and won the 2004 Tennessee Open Scholastic Chess Championship. Internet searches show someone uses the handle rubico on chess Web sites.