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Vintage Movie Poster: ‘Taxi Driver’ 1976

Taxi-Driver-poster

From IMDB:

A mentally unstable Vietnam war veteran works as a night-time taxi driver in New York City where the perceived decadence and sleaze feeds his urge for violent action, attempting to save a preadolescent prostitute in the process.

Director: Martin Scorsese  Writer: Paul Schrader  Stars: Robert De NiroJodie FosterCybill Shepherd |See full cast and crew »

Trivia:

Before Jodie Foster was eventually cast as Iris, there were more than 250 applicants for the role, including newcomers Carrie FisherMariel HemingwayBo DerekKim Cattrall,Rosanna ArquetteKristy McNichol and Michelle Pfeiffer.

Producer Julia Phillips tells in her auto-biography that Cybill Shepherd had a hard time remembering her lines during the coffee-and-pie scene with Robert De Niro. She writes that De Niro in particular was getting fed up with her and that Phillips and editor Marcia Lucas laughed over all the unusable footage they had to work with in the editing room. Read the rest of this entry »

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America Chooses a Navy: Competition with China for the Global Future

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George Will writes: Russia’s ongoing dismemberment of Ukraine and the Islamic State’s erasing of Middle Eastern borders have distracted attention from the harassment of U.S. Navy aircraft by Chinese fighter jets over the South China Sea. Beijing calls this sea, and the Yellow and East China seas, the “near seas,” meaning China’s seas. The episodes involving aircraft are relevant to one of Admiral Jonathan Greenert’s multiplying preoccupations — CUES, meaning Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea.

“Cascading dangers are compelling Americans to think afresh about something they prefer not to think about at all — foreign policy.”

This is designed to prevent incendiary accidents, a topic of special interest during this month’s centennial commemorations of the beginning of a war that, ignited by miscalculations, ruined the 20th century. Greenert, chief of naval operations, has carrier-based aircraft flying from the Persian Gulf to targets in Iraq. He is, however, always thinking about the far side of the largest ocean.

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One hundred years ago, the principal challenge of world diplomacy, which failed spectacularly, was to peacefully integrate a rising, restless power — Germany — into the international system. Today’s comparable challenge is China. Greenert, who knows well his Chinese counterpart, Admiral Wu Shengli, radiates a serene patience about China. Read the rest of this entry »


International Bank of Terror: Islamic State Economy Runs on Extortion, 
Oil Piracy

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The Islamic State runs a self-sustaining economy across territory it controls in Syria and Iraq, pirating oil while exacting tribute from a population of at least eight million, Arab and Western officials said, making it one of the world’s richest terror groups and an unprecedented threat.

“Can you prevent ISIS from taking assets? Not really, because they’re sitting on a lot of assets already.”

That illicit economy presents a new picture of Islamic State’s financial underpinnings. The group was once thought to depend on funding from Arab Gulf donors and donations from the broader Muslim world. Now, Islamic State—the former branch of al Qaeda that has swallowed parts of Iraq and Syria—is a largely self-financed organization.

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Money from outside donors “pales in comparison to their self-funding through criminal and terrorist activities,” a U.S. State Department official said, adding that those activities generate millions of dollars a month.

“So you must disrupt the network of trade. But if you disrupt trade in commodities like food, for example, then you risk starving thousands of civilians.”

For Western and Arab nations that are striving to stop Islamic State, the group’s local funding sources pose a conundrum: A clampdown on economic activity that helps fund the group, counterterrorism officials and experts said, could cause a humanitarian crisis in the already stressed areas it controls. Read the rest of this entry »


Grits with that Scone? If Britain were a U.S. State, it Would be the Second-Poorest, Behind Alabama and before Mississippi

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For the The Washington Post, Hunter Schwarz: If Britain were to join the United States, it would be the second-poorest state, behind Alabama and ahead of Mississippi.

The ranking, determined by Fraser Nelson, an editor of The Spectator magazine, was made by dividing the gross domestic product of each state by its population, and it  took into account purchasing power parity for cost of living. Several other European countries were also included in the ranking.

“No one beats up America better than Americans.”

Ranking by GDP per capita instead of just GDP means that states with mega-economies such as California, which has the top GDP in the United States (its GDP is also larger than most countries’), was knocked down to 14th place among the states when divided by its more than 38 million residents. Alaska comes in first, with a GDP of more than $59 billion divided by a population of 735,000. Read the rest of this entry »


MILLIONS of TOMATOES Senselessly MURDERED in Streets of Spain at Tomatina Festival: Can Anyone Stop the Madness?

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MailOnline‘s Emily Payne reports: The streets of an eastern Spanish town were awash with red pulp today, as thousands of people pelted each other with tomatoes during Tomatina, world’s most famous food fight.

“The horror…the horror…”

At the annual fiesta in Bunol, trucks dumped 125 tons of ripe tomatoes for some 22,000 participants – many from abroad – to hurl at the hour-long morning festivities.

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Every year, the fiesta begins at around 10am with what’s known as the palo jabon, in which brave revellers attempt to climb a greased pole to reach a ham, which has been placed at the top.

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Then a loud signal begins the onslaught of tomato madness. Tons and tons of especially grown tomatoes are thrown into the town’s main plaza, where they’re crushed, so as not to cause injury.

The fight lasts an hour and covers the whole town square with red pulp. A large scale cleaning operation involving fire truck hoses ensues. Read the rest of this entry »


Fashion Catastrophe: Zara Reconsiders, Pulls Kiddie Concentration Camp Uniform

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The Chicago Tribune reports: Global fashion chain Zara pulled from sale on Wednesday a striped children’s top decorated with a large six-pointed star after it was likened to uniforms worn by Jewish concentration camp inmates during the reign of Nazi Germany.

The shirt, bearing horizontal blue and white stripes, was on sale online in three European countries but not in Israel, a spokeswoman
said. The resemblance was unintentional and the design had been inspired by sheriff’s stars from classic Western films, she said.

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Within hours of the t-shirt being put up for sale, some newspapers had picked up on its resemblance to concentration camp uniforms and messages were posted on Twitter criticizing the design.

“The shirt bears a large six-pointed star on the upper-left section, in the exact place where Nazis forced Jews to wear the Star of David,” wrote Israeli newspaper Haaretz, calling the garment “hauntingly reminiscent of a darker era”.

On its website, Haaretz displayed a photograph of part of a uniform worn by prisoners at Auschwitz, showing a jacket with vertical green and white stripes and a yellow star below the left shoulder bearing the word “Jude”, the German word for Jew. Read the rest of this entry »


Dark Media: The Islamic State’s Online Branding Efforts Show that they’re Waging a War Beyond the Grounds of Iraq and Syria


Bloated Rotting Whale Corpse Huge: Report Shows U.S. Deficit for Just This Year Is HUGE

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For Daily Signal, Romina “Rom Raincloud” Boccia reports: While many reports will focus on the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) 2014 deficit and economic forecast released today, a less-told story is what’s driving the growth in government spending over the next decade. Beyond current reporting on the federal government’s balance sheet, CBO reports also serve the important purpose of informing Congressional decision-making.romina-raincloud

Today’s report unequivocally communicates: reform entitlement programs or watch government grow.

The Congressional Budget Office’s “Update to the Budget and Economic Outlook: 2014 to 2024” reports a federal deficit of $506 billion for fiscal year 2014 (which ends on September 30), slightly above its April projection of $492 billion. Spending in 2014 will be about $3.5 trillion, growing by about 2 percent compared to the previous year. The debt will rise slightly as a percentage of GDP to 74 percent, staying at a level not seen since World War II. Read the rest of this entry »


The Welfare State’s 110 Million

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How long can a shrinking number of taxpayers support a growing number of beneficiaries? 

For NROMichael Tanner writes: One hundred ten million! That’s how many Americans now live in households that receive some form of means-tested welfare benefit from the federal government. According to a report from the Census Bureau released last week, that’s the highest absolute number inzombiehand American history, and it represents 35.4 percent of the American population.

[Check out Michael Tanner's book "Leviathan on the Right: How Big-Government Conservativism Brought Down the Republican Revolution"]

Think about it — more than one out of every three Americans live in households that are now on welfare. Looked at another way, America’s welfare state now has nearly three times the population of the largest actual state.

“According to calculations by Harvard’s Greg Mankiw, based on data from the Office of Management and Budget, roughly 60 percent of Americans receive more in government benefits than they pay in federal taxes.”

Because many of these households include more than one person, the number of individual households is smaller, but still a record – roughly 33.5 million, more than a quarter of the country’s households. Worse, 10.5 million households receive benefits from three or more separate programs.

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1943, Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Washington, D.C

 “A Tax Foundation study suggests that as many as 70 percent of Americans are net recipients of government largesse. Those numbers will only grow worse…”

While liberals would undoubtedly like to blame this on the bad economy, the welfare rolls have actually grown by nearly 4 million households since the end of the recession. Welfare is rising even as unemployment declines. Read the rest of this entry »


SLS SWING: Olaf Diegel Reveals First Prototype of 3D-Printed Alto Saxophone

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“It really surprised me as to how mechanically complex a sax was and it did make me wonder as to whether the mechanisms could be simplified.”

– Olaf Diegel

While attending Euromold 2013 in Frankfurt, Germany, last December with a band playing 3D-printed instruments, Olaf Diegel was set a challenge by the head of 3D Systems, Avi Reichental. The Professor of product development at Lund University, Sweden was given the task of creating a 3D-printed working saxophone. The first ODD prototype was revealed last week in a short demonstration video, which you can see here.

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For the latest addition to the 3D-printed band, Diegel used a traditional alto sax as a design template to match the various key spacings and mechanisms. He worked in SolidWorks CAD software to produce the STL files needed for printing the nylon blower on a selective laser sintering (SLS) printer. The process took around 6 months due to a move from New Zealand to Sweden and other projects that demanded his attention, and the working prototype is made up of 41 components, not including springs and screws. Read the rest of this entry »


Japan AIDS Prevention Squeeze-A-Thon Charity Event: ‘I Never Thought My Boobs Could Contribute to Society’

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 Japanese porn stars to have boobs squeezed for AIDS research

A Group of Japanese porn actresses are preparing to have their breasts squeezed by fans for 24 hours this weekend for a charity event loosely translated as “Boob Aid”

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“But I would be very happy if you would please be delicate.”

The nine adult movie stars told local media on Monday they could barely contain their excitement about the “Stop! AIDS” campaign event — which will be televised live — but asked, perhaps somewhat optimistically: please be gentle.

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“I’m really looking forward to lots of people fondling my boobs,” Rina Serina told Tokyo Sports.

The event, the 12th since its launch in 2003, will be broadcast on adult cable television, with punters donating to the anti-AIDS campaign in exchange for a feel.

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It comes after sexist heckling of a Tokyo assemblywoman hit the headlines, highlighting old-fashioned views towards women that still permeate Japanese societyDonate-AIDS.

Fellow porn actress Iku Sakuragi had no qualms about being groped by hundreds of pairs of hands.

“It’s for charity.”

“I never thought my boobs could contribute to society,” added the ponytailed Serina, apparently unaware of any contradiction.

“Squeeze them, donate money — let’s be happy.”

Lawmakers from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling party sparked a public outcry in June when they subjected Tokyo assemblywoman Ayaka Shiomura to sexist taunts, shouting “Why don’t you get married?” at her during a debate on motherhood. Read the rest of this entry »


Documents: Tacoma Police Using ‘Stingray’ Surveillance Device to Sweep up Cellphone Data

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Kate Martin reports: The Tacoma Police Department apparently has bought — and quietly used for six years — controversial surveillance equipment that can sweep up records of every cellphone call, text message and data transfer up to a half a mile away.

You don’t have to be a criminal to be caught in this snare. You just have to be near one and use a cellphone.

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To serve and protect: Earlier this month, city officials blacked out portions of relevant purchase documents requested by The News Tribune.

“They are essentially searching the homes of innocent Americans to find one phone used by one person.”

Known as Stingray, the device — small enough to be carried in a car — tricks cellphones into thinking it’s a cell tower and draws in their information.

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“It’s like they’re kicking down the doors of 50 homes and searching 50 homes because they don’t know where the bad guy is.”

– Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist with the American Civil Liberties Union

[SOURCE DOCS: FOI Request: Cell site simulator acquisition and use]

News that the city was using the surveillance equipment surprised City Council members, who approved an update for a device last year, and prosecutors, defense attorneys and even judges, who in court deal with evidence gathered using the surveillance equipment. Read the rest of this entry »


NY Post August 27: ‘He Shall Not Return’

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New York Post front page for Wednesday, August 27,….


Victorians: Why So Serious? 19th Century Photography’s 3-Second Exposure Revealed


Pulp Fiction Cover: ‘The Whisperer’

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George Will: The IRS is Cuckoo Bananas Off the Rails Criminally Insane and It Is Now Thoroughly Corrupted

Okay, George didn’t say Cuckoo Bananas Off the Rails Criminally Insane, he just said off the rails and it is thoroughly corrupted. But, you get the idea…O-SMDGE-CONDENSED

“The IRS is the most intrusive and potentially punitive institution of the federal government and it is a law-enforcement institution and it is off the rails and it is now thoroughly corrupted.”

– George Will

From The Corner:

On Tuesday’s Special Report, George Will reacted to the revelation that the IRS destroyed Lois Lerner’s BlackBerry without searching it, after a congressional investigation into her conduct had begun.

[SMIDGEN REPORT: Federal Attorney Says Backup of Lois Lerner Emails Exist]

[SMIDGEN BOMB: There Are No Missing Lois Lerner E-mails, Justice Department Concedes ]

Will said he could hardly wait for IRS lawyers to show up in court and tell the judge it would be too onerous to stop obstructing justice in this case. Read the rest of this entry »


A windowless plane would be lighter and cheaper to fly, but would you want to travel in one?

 

YES


Dropping Oil Prices Threaten Moscow’s Budget

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Andy Tully writes: Oil and gas are at the heart of the Russian economy and are largely responsible for keeping Moscow’s government budget in balance. But the recent decline in the price of oil from the North Sea and Texas has now spread to Urals crude, giving President Vladimir Putin one more economic headache.

The price of Urals crude fell just below $100 per barrel on Aug. 18, an 18-month low. On Aug. 19, it dropped to less than $97 per barrel. These declines coincided with similar drops in the price of Brent crude from the North Sea and U.S. oil.

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The reasons are fairly easy to recognize. First, the United States has been on a drilling tear, extracting oil at record levels to increase its supply at a time when demand is waning. Second, though more tentative, is that conflicts in North Africa and the Middle East are so far not interfering with oil production in these regions.

This oil production boom raises problems for Moscow. Two-thirds of Russia’s exports are oil and gas, accounting for fully half of the central government’s revenues. That means that so far this year, every dollar drop in the price of Russian oil means a cut of about $1.4 billion in revenues. Read the rest of this entry »


Mona Charen: The Inconvenient Truth

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The unsinkable Representative Charles B. Rangel appeared on C-SPAN over the weekend. Why unsinkable? Well, in 2010 the House of Representatives censured the New York Democrat by a vote of 333 to 79 (when the body was still majority-Democratic) for violating 11 ethics rules and “bringing discredit to the House.” The New York Times called it a “staggering fall” for the senior Democrat. But fall/shmall, he’s since been reelected and will retire at his leisure.myth-sq

While chatting with Brian Lamb, Rangel dropped a few falsehoods as casually as cigar ash. This isn’t to pick on Rangel; he’s just illustrative. His assertion — that the Republican and Democratic parties “changed sides” in the 1960s on civil rights, with white racists leaving the Democratic party to join the Republicans — has become conventional wisdom. It’s utterly false and should be rebutted at every opportunity.

It’s true that a Democratic president, Lyndon Johnson, shepherded the 1964 Civil Rights Act to passage. But who voted for it? Eighty percent of Republicans in the House voted aye, as against 61 percent of Democrats. In the Senate, 82 percent of Republicans favored the law, but only 69 percent of Democrats. Among the Democrats voting nay were Albert Gore Sr., Robert Byrd, and J. William Fulbright. Read the rest of this entry »


China’s Supersonic Submarine? Not Gonna Happen

Originally posted on TIME:

There are a whole lot of things that won’t be happening anytime soon. Pigs flying, for instance; that won’t happen. All of the raindrops becoming lemon drops and gumdrops; that won’t happen either. And despite what you have been reading practically everywhere today, no, China won’t be deploying a submarine capable of moving at 6,100 mph (9,800 k/h) and covering the distance from Shanghai to San Francisco in 100 minutes—at least not in anything remotely like the near future.

Let’s begin with the source of the story: engineer Li Fengchen, of the Harbin Institute of Technology, the project’s lead researcher. Mr. Li is surely an impeccably honest man and a very good engineer, but the Chinese government has not always covered itself in glory when it comes to candor and there’s no reason to believe they’d start with a program as sensitive as this.

“The idea that any Chinese research…

View original 431 more words


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