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Kelvin Mace

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Gender: Male
Home country: USA
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 11,669

Journal Archives

5 Terrifying Ways Police Can Legally Screw You Over

Once again, a humor site proves much more informative than 99% of our "news" outlets.

This article also proves my oft repeated point: We live in a de facto police state.


Andrea Dworkin NEVER said "all sex is rape"

Neither did Catharine MacKinnon.


Do We Really Know That Cats Kill By The Billions? Not So Fast


On NBC Nightly News on Thursday evening, Brian Williams there's a backlash underway to all the of this past week.

Cats are hunters and other creatures do fall prey to them in significant numbers.

And yet there are serious reasons to suspect the reliability of the new, extreme cat-killer statistics.

The study at issue is a meta-analysis, an overarching review that aggregates data from previously published sources. The accuracy of meta-studies in health and medicine raises some , and it's easy to see why: for a meta-analysis to be solid, wise choices must be made among the available sources of information, and results that may vary wildly must be weighed fairly.

In the Nature Communications study, authors Scott R. Loss, Tom Will, and Peter P. Marra needed to incorporate into their model the number of "un-owned cats" (such as stray, feral, and barn cats) in the U.S. As they note in to the article, "no empirically driven estimate of un-owned cat abundance exists for the contiguous U.S." Estimates that are available range from 20-120 million, with 60-100 million being the most commonly cited. In response to this huge uncertainty in the numbers, they performed mathematical calculations using what they feel to be a conservative figure (specifically, they "defined a uniform distribution with minimum and maximum of 30 and 80 million, respectively.")

At this juncture, the authors note that local analyses of cat numbers are "often conducted in areas with above average density." That is an obvious problem, yet when they estimated the proportion of owned cats with access to the outdoors (and thus to hunting), of eight sources of information, "three based on nationwide pet-owner surveys and five based on research in individual study areas." Are the local studies representative of the national situation? For that matter, are the different owner surveys administered in a consistent enough manner to allow them to be aggregated?

Of course, the authors make statistical perturbations designed to increase the reliability of their conclusions, but it seems to me there's an unsettling degree of uncertainty in the study's key numbers.

Demonizing cats with shaky statistics, however, won't help us build the pillar of understanding required to strike a satisfying balance between the needs of cats and their supporters with the needs of wildlife facing a feline threat.

See also:


Call me when the cat killer study is peer-reviewed. A meta-analysis can be easily skewed based on what studies you decide to include.

Yes, I own a cat, and dogs, and have rescued other injured creatures such as rabbits, possums, and geese for rehabilitation and release. My cats have always been kept indoors which is why I have had a number of cats who lived 20+ years.

Why isn't the NSA after these assclowns?


Report: IRS phone scam sweeping nation

Halah Touryalai, a Forbes staff writer, got a call and a threat from what she thought was an Internal Revenue Service agent: You owe $5,000. Pay up now, or we’ll arrest you.

She froze.

“For the next five or so minutes, I listened in absolute panic,” Touryalai wrote in an op-ed describing the incident.

The largest-ever IRS tax scam is pulsing through the nation in the middle of tax season, an IRS watchdog investigating the matter said on Thursday. IRS impersonators are calling taxpayers, demanding hundreds and thousands of dollars in alleged unpaid taxes.

“This is the largest scam of its kind that we have ever seen,” said J. Russell George, the Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration. “Do not become a victim.”

Touryalai’s caller knew the last four digits of her Social Security number and where she worked. Accusing her of tax dodging, he warned that the government was about to seize her property, freeze her bank accounts, and suspend her driver’s license and passport until she paid up.

He even threatened jail time and to “blacklist” her name.

Eventually she caught on — the man was a phony, one of many who have cheated thousands of Americans in just about every state in recent weeks.

I get these calls occasionally and I string them along to waste their time. I try to work them up into a lather by giving them fake CC numbers.

The sad part is that this is the kind of shit the NSA SHOULD be spying on. They could run these bastards down in sixty seconds and actually DO something useful.

Most rational hypothesis on missing Malaysian 777 so far


There has been a lot of speculation about Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Terrorism, hijacking, meteors. I cannot believe the analysis on CNN; it’s almost disturbing. I tend to look for a simpler explanation, and I find it with the 13,000-foot runway at Pulau Langkawi.

The left turn is the key here. Zaharie Ahmad Shah1 was a very experienced senior captain with 18,000 hours of flight time. We old pilots were drilled to know what is the closest airport of safe harbor while in cruise. Airports behind us, airports abeam us, and airports ahead of us. They’re always in our head. Always. If something happens, you don’t want to be thinking about what are you going to do–you already know what you are going to do. When I saw that left turn with a direct heading, I instinctively knew he was heading for an airport. He was taking a direct route to Palau Langkawi, a 13,000-foot airstrip with an approach over water and no obstacles. The captain did not turn back to Kuala Lampur because he knew he had 8,000-foot ridges to cross. He knew the terrain was friendlier toward Langkawi, which also was closer.

For me, the loss of transponders and communications makes perfect sense in a fire. And there most likely was an electrical fire. In the case of a fire, the first response is to pull the main busses and restore circuits one by one until you have isolated the bad one. If they pulled the busses, the plane would go silent. It probably was a serious event and the flight crew was occupied with controlling the plane and trying to fight the fire. Aviate, navigate, and lastly, communicate is the mantra in such situations.

There are two types of fires. An electrical fire might not be as fast and furious, and there may or may not be incapacitating smoke. However there is the possibility, given the timeline, that there was an overheat on one of the front landing gear tires, it blew on takeoff and started slowly burning. Yes, this happens with underinflated tires. Remember: Heavy plane, hot night, sea level, long-run takeoff. There was a well known accident in Nigeria of a DC8 that had a landing gear fire on takeoff. Once going, a tire fire would produce horrific, incapacitating smoke. Yes, pilots have access to oxygen masks, but this is a no-no with fire. Most have access to a smoke hood with a filter, but this will last only a few minutes depending on the smoke level. (I used to carry one in my flight bag, and I still carry one in my briefcase when I fly.)

World War One Explained as a Bar Fight

Of course, many people under 30 are exclaiming "Oooooh, that's why they call it World War TWO!"


More evidence an innocent man was executed

For those of you not up on the details of Cameron Todd Willingham, please go here:


Short and sweet: A man was executed for committing arson that killed his children. He refused to plead guilty and was convicted based upon the testimony of "expert" arson investigators who turned out to have expertise based more on folklore than science.

As is usually the case, there was also a jailhouse snitch, who the prosecution INSISTED did not get a deal for his testimony. The evidence that this was a lie has now been revealed:


In the 10 years since Texas executed Cameron Todd Willingham after convicting him on charges of setting his house on fire and murdering his three young daughters, family members and death penalty opponents have argued that he was innocent. Now newly discovered evidence suggests that the prosecutor in the case may have concealed a deal with a jailhouse informant whose testimony was a key part of the execution decision.

... the biggest open question has been whether Judge Jackson and Mr. Webb had made a deal. Judge Jackson, who has retired from the bench, continued to insist there was no deal, even in an interview last year.

As he worked through the stack of papers, he saw a note scrawled on the inside of the district attorney’s file folder stating that Mr. Webb’s charges were to be listed as robbery in the second degree, not the heavier first-degree robbery charge he had originally been convicted on, “based on coop in Willingham.”

Judge Jackson did not respond to several requests for comment.

How sure are we that the science being used in Texas was "flawed"?

Over the past five years, the Willingham case has been reviewed by nine of the nation's top fire scientists -- first for the Tribune, then for the Innocence Project, and now for the commission. All concluded that the original investigators relied on outdated theories and folklore to justify the determination of arson.


This once again brings homes the point that despite claims to the contrary INNOCENT PEOPLE HAVE BEEN EXECUTED IN THIS COUNTRY!

If people are going to insist that the need for vengeance outweighs the need for justice, then they must answer the question: How many innocent people is it OK to murder in order to satisfy the state's demand for vengeance?

Also, if we are going to have a death penalty, them we need to expand its use to include:

1) Police, prosecutors and judges whose misconduct causes the death of an innocent person.

2) Public corruption, since the abuse of power for self-enrichment should be viewed as treason.

3) Massive theft, fraud or environmental damage caused by the management of corporations since it damages the health and well being of society.

A special "fast track" due process shall be invoked if any person so charged with any of these crimes has expressed support at any time for the curtailment of the appeals process, or other safeguards against wrongful execution.

Yeah, yeah, I know, not going to happen (and shouldn't), but I am sick of these people's cavalier attitude toward other people's lives. But it would be interesting to have an "adaptive" legal system in which you are judged according to the standards you judge other people.

What opened the layoff floodgates?

Headlines in just the last few days:

Cox Communications and Sony Electronics cutting 900 local jobs
Best Buy to lay off 2,000 U.S. managers
IBM Union Expects Mass Layoff to Hit Workers (15,000 possible jobs gone)
Layoff Bells Toll at JPMorgan Again (8,000 jobs)
Teachers, students protest potential layoff of 1,000 educators at meeting
Indiana Limestone Co. to close, lay off 166 workers
Boise call center to lay off 1,600 workers in April
What will KentuckyOne layoffs mean for patient care?
Poland's Alior Bank to lay off 4% of staff (Poland, but still)
Westside manufacturer to lay off 133 workers
Sikorsky announces 600 layoffs over next several weeks
PHH Mortgage to lay off 135 workers in Amherst
Cenveo to lay off 133 in Jacksonville
U.S. Steel announces layoffs at Lorain Tubular Operations
GenCorp to lay off 61 in Rancho Cordova
City layoffs loom in Poughkeepsie (25 jobs)
Budapest Transport Company To Lay Off Over 900 Bus Drivers
City of Lebanon to layoff employees (10 jobs)
Endomines to lay off 18 employees
PepsiCo in Abilene to Lay Off Workers

Layoffs from earlier this month:

UNO to lay off as many as 30 employee
Deere to lay off 120 in East Moline
Mass layoff at Kaiser Permanente Hawaii (100 jobs)
Windstream to lay off 67 in Arkansas, 400 nationwide
Falling enrollment for online classes leads Everest to lay off 105 in Colorado Springs
Novartis to lay off 92 from East Hanover office, among hundreds nationwide
Eastern Michigan University layoffs: Majority of full-time education lecturers get notices
Disney Interactive expected to begin layoffs
Layoffs could happen at Detroit Metro as Delta switches work contractors
Challenger Report: Layoff Announcements Soared 47 Percent in January
Rumor Has It Dell Is Planning To Lay Off 15,000 Employees (Some layoffs, but probably not that high but Dell won't say)
OfficeMax, Specialty Foods (Nathan's Hot Dogs), and many more announce layoffs (1,000+ jobs)
Sony to sell PC business, reform TV arm, layoff 5,000 employees
Sprint to lay off 91 in Bellevue, Kirkland
500 layoffs expected today at Time Inc.
East Cleveland, on notice to cut spending, sends police layoff notices
Kodak to lay off 35 employees (Yes, I was amazed that Kodak was still in business too)
Barclays Stock Hammered, Bank Will Lay Off 820 Managers

Maybe it is just me, but this does not sound like a healthy economy. In fact, the fact that no one in government is commenting on this torrent of layoffs is VERY scary

Third prominent banker found dead in six days

Third prominent banker found dead in six days

Bloomberg is reporting this morning that former Federal Reserve economist Mike Dueker was found dead in an apparent suicide near Tacoma, Washington.

Dueker, 50, a chief economist at Russell Investments, had been missing since Jan. 29 and was reportedly having troubles at work.

Normally HousingWire wouldn’t cover deaths in the industry, but what’s strange is that Dueker is the third prominent banker found dead since Sunday.

On Sunday, William Broeksmit, 58, former senior manager for Deutsche Bank, was found hanging in his home, also an apparent suicide.

On Tuesday, Gabriel Magee, 39, vice president at JPMorgan Chase & Co’s (JPM) London headquarters, apparently jumped to his death from a building in the Canary Wharf area.

Very odd. Makes one wonder if they knew something we are about to find out.

An apology to the group

This past weekend I responded to a post from this group that upset a few people and caused unnecessary discord. My carelessness in posting meant I failed to note that I was NOT posting in GD which is my normal haunt, but in this group where folk expect to be able to discuss President Obama without the acrimony that is arises from people less than happy with his policies or actions.

In mitigation, I did not directly insult the president, I indirectly insulted him by impugning his coming successor claiming that person would be as bad as the current president. When called to task on this, I got snarky with Irishayes, not realizing that I was in the wrong venue for my remarks (when I said forum, I was referring to DU, not this group) and came across as a troll. No matter my intent, my actions were unacceptable.

To say I am mortified and ashamed is a bit of an understatement. While I am no shrinking violet when it comes to "spirited" discussion on DU, I never would have posted in this group in the tone which I did if I had paid attention to where I was. I do not offer this as an excuse, but an explanation. The failure to know where the hell I am is mine, and mine alone.

My actions got me booted from the group, something that has never happened to me in the 10+ years I have been on DU, so I am doubly ashamed. I sent a PM to the group admin (SheShe2) and asked to be re-instated so I could apologize from my disruptive actions.

The danger of spending a lot of time on political forums like DU is that unless you are on your guard, you can become cynical and bitter. Unfortunately, I have allowed that to happen of late and allowed it to cloud my judgement and certainly my powers of observation.

So, I apologize for my childish actions and ask your pardon for disrupting your group. I apologize here to Irishayes and SheShe2 and promise spent more time pondering my words before hitting the "post" button.

My thanks to to SheShe2 for allowing me back on to try and mitigate my foolishness.

With respect and chagrin,

David Allen (no relation to Skinner)
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