Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Question of Resurrection

How do you know they are dead? They may only be sleeping (actually, when you take a closer look at those sacred texts..... sigh).

"Entrepreneur plots comeback for KB Toys chain" by Jon Chesto Globe Staff  March 21, 2018

Ellia Kassoff wants to be the person who saves the toy industry — by bringing KB Toys back from the dead.

The Newport Beach, Calif.-based entrepreneur last year acquired the KB brand, working through the US Patent and Trademark Office, in part for an online “virtual mall” that he’s assembling out of bygone retail brands.

With the news last week that Toys R Us would close or sell all its US stores, Kassoff has put his plans into overdrive, aiming to open hundreds of temporary KB stores for the fall holiday shopping season. He hopes the pop-ups will help determine where to put permanent stores, possibly as early as 2019.

Why they closing?

“I think we could build the concept out pretty quick, with help from the toy industry and manufacturers,” Kassoff said. “We don’t have that much time.”

Kassoff is looking for operating partners, and after announcing KB’s return last weekend, he has been constantly hearing from toy makers, large and small, offering help. Kassoff said: “I have some of the biggest executives in the toy industry, saying, ‘We hope you can save the toy industry.’”

After enduring two bankruptcies, KB was liquidated in early 2009 — Kassoff blames the formerly Pittsfield-based chain’s demise on a debt burden left from private equity investors. The brand was acquired by Toys R Us but went unused in recent years, and Kassoff became the rights owner after applying for the trademark.

It will be a Renaissance for domain name copyrights.

A Boston University graduate, Kassoff worked in high-tech in the Boston area before launching a recruiting business. His career change came after he bought the rights to the then-defunct Astro Pops candies about eight years ago.

Tasting success, he decided to pursue the resurrection business, full time. His company’s focus has been on sweets so far, though his Strategic Marks LLC tangled with Macy’s over the rights to some deceased department store brands. A 2016 settlement with Macy’s left him with a number of retail names, including Jordan Marsh.

“I look for brands that I enjoyed when I was younger,” Kassoff says. “KB happened to be one of them.”

He says he’s not interested in the Toys R Us locations, which are much larger than the roughly 2,000-square-foot mall shops he thinks would be ideal for KB. That said, he would like to eventually open a few larger showcase stores, one per region, that could feature a bigger lineup of toys and host demonstrations, presentations, and other events.....


Related‘Bozo the Clown,’ dies

Did you check for a pulse?


"Russia, praised for scrapping chemical weapons, now under watchdog’s gaze" by Ellen Barry New York Times   March 21, 2018

LONDON — Last fall, President Vladimir Putin summoned a Kremlin television crew to his residence for a ceremony marking the destruction of Russia’s last declared stocks of chemical weapons.

The occasion called for a touch of theater: Shells were dismantled on camera, decorated with flowery Cyrillic script reading, “Farewell, chemical weapons!” Putin spoke proudly of Russia’s status as a peacemaker and derided the United States for lagging behind. An official from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the global body that monitors agreements to whittle down stockpiles, stood by, beaming.

Six months later, Russia has been accused of secretly producing a strain of lethal nerve agents for years, in what would be a grave violation of its international commitments.

Then why would they do it?

A team of inspectors from the global watchdog organization his week joined the investigation into the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy, and his daughter Yulia, who were found unresponsive in the English city of Salisbury on March 4.

Britain has accused Russia of exposing Skripal to Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent developed in the last years of the Soviet Union. Russia has denied the charge.

If proven true, it will cast doubt on the work of the monitoring body, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013 for making chemical weapons “taboo under international law.”

What do you mean IF?!!! 

Of course, this is also in the context of the charges against Syria seeing as the same organization certified their removal and destruction.

Related: "Monther Fares, a spokesman for the powerful Ahrar al-Sham group, said rebels have agreed to leave because of ‘‘civilian pressure’’ resulting from intensive airstrikes and ‘‘warplanes that do not leave the sky,’’ adding that residents of Harasta have spent the last three months inside shelters....." 

Oh, is that where they are keeping them?

“This is a real shock to the system,” as members question Russia’s reporting of its own stocks, said Paul F. Walker, director of environmental sustainability at Green Cross International, a disarmament advocacy group. He said that he was surprised by Britain’s claim that it had proof Russia had been producing the nerve agent, and that he had not yet seen evidence to back it up.

“They must have something we haven’t seen,” he said.

And if you think we are going to trust the same governments that lied us into Iraq, you guys writing this pre$$ propaganda are even dumber than I thought.

Russia has pushed back hard against the accusation, that saying the nerve agent used on the Skripals could have been produced in Britain, Sweden, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, or the United States.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova and Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov have each said that no Novichok program existed in either Russia or the Soviet Union, but scientists have come forward to describe it. Leonid Rink, who worked at a Soviet chemical weapons laboratory, told the Ria Novosti news service that “a big group of specialists” had worked on the strains, and that it would be no problem for labs outside Russia to produce the nerve agent.

Vladimir Uglev, who worked with Rink, told The Bell news website that he helped produce four agents under the code name Foliant from 1972 until 1988. He said he believed that, by analyzing the remains of chemical agents in the blood, it would be possible to determine “where the specific dose was produced and by whom.”

He added that “I can say with nearly 100 percent certainty that if Skripal and his daughter are taken off life support, they will die. They are now only technically alive.”

Then let's see some evidence. Or are they simply being held somewhere while this current propaganda campaign is underway?


I'll try to watch my language:

"Russia-UK war of words over ex-spy’s poisoning gets uglier" by Vladimir Isachenkov and Jill Lawless Associated Press  March 21, 2018

MOSCOW — The war of words between Russia and Britain over a former spy’s poisoning got uglier Wednesday when UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson called it vomit-inducing that Russian President Vladimir Putin is rejoicing over hosting the World Cup.

Let's hope that is all it is.

The heated exchange came in the deepening diplomatic crisis over the March 4 poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury. Britain asserts that Russia used a military-grade nerve agent known as Novichok in the attack, which left Skripal and his daughter in critical condition. Moscow has denied any involvement.

Johnson on Wednesday repeated Britain’s position that responsibility for the poisoning leads ‘‘back to the Russian state and those at the top.’’

So he does in fact speak for the government now, huh?

Johnson agreed with a Labour lawmaker who likened the World Cup hosted by Russia this summer to Adolf Hitler’s use of the 1936 Olympics for political purposes. 

It wasn't Corbyn, was it?

‘‘I think the comparison with 1936 is certainly right,’’ he said. ‘‘I think it’s an emetic prospect, frankly, to think of Putin glorying in this sporting event.’’

The Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said Johnson’s comments reflected London’s efforts to cast Russia as an enemy using the most absurd reasons in order to boycott the World Cup.

‘‘But at what price?’’ she said. ‘‘At the price of provocations, setting nations and people against one another, and undermining international peace and stability. Isn’t the price too high?’’

Zakharova noted that Johnson’s comments about the 1936 Olympics and the World Cup were an ‘‘unacceptable and unworthy’’ parallel toward Russia, a ‘‘nation that lost millions of lives in fighting Nazism.’’


There is an old saying that those who say Hitler first in an argument have lost it.

"France: Ex-president Sarkozy charged over campaign money" Associated Press  March 22, 2018

PARIS — Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy was handed preliminary charges Wednesday over allegations he accepted millions of euros in illegal campaign funding from the late Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

A judicial official said that investigative judges overseeing the probe gave the ex-president charges of illegally funding his 2007 winning campaign, passive corruption, and receiving money from Libyan embezzlement.

The charges came after Sarkozy was questioned for two days by anticorruption police at a station in Nanterre, northwest of the French capital. The investigation involves funding for his 2007 president campaign.

Investigators are examining allegations that Gadhafi’s regime secretly gave the politician 50 million euros overall for his campaign.

The sum would be more than double the legal campaign funding limit at the time — 21 million euros. In addition, the alleged payments would violate French rules against foreign financing and requiring that the source of campaign funds be declared.

Sarkozy, 63, who was France’s president from 2007-12, has repeatedly and vehemently denied any wrongdoing. According to the same source, he again proclaimed his innocence during his questioning.....


As they say in France, Sarkozy is now dog meat.


African leaders sign off on free trade agreement

Isn't that what got Gadhafi in trouble?

Guinea worm disease transmission stopped in South Sudan

So that is how the rhino died.

Also seeBoko Haram returns Nigeria girls, warns not to put in school

They kept the Christians in the latest Chibok-like abduction fake.

Maybe they have a point about the schools:

"Broward sheriff’s office deputies arrested Zachary Cruz on Monday afternoon, saying he rode his skateboard onto the campus where his 19-year-old brother, Nikolas, is accused of carrying out the shooting Feb. 14. Also Wednesday, Florida Governor Rick Scott ordered the state’s highway patrol to station eight troopers at the high school to bolster security there. Scott’s office said the troopers will arrive Thursday morning. Broward County Judge Kim Theresa Mollica ordered 18-year-old Jordan Salter held on $12,500 bond after she brought a knife with a 2-inch blade to the school....."

RelatedRacial slurs, assault alleged at New Mexico girl soccer game

After I have been endlessly told how sports bring us together.

"Student found dead in Mexico City ‘enriched our lives,’ his family says" by Travis Andersen and Steve Annear Globe Staff  March 21, 2018

Authorities have released few details about Andrew Michael Dorogi’s death. He died just days before his 22nd birthday. Dorogi was expected to graduate in May.

The State Department on Tuesday confirmed that he died Friday in Mexico City but released no details. A spokeswoman said Wednesday that the State Department stands “ready to provide appropriate consular services. Out of respect for the family during this difficult time, we have no further comment.”

Attempts to reach Dorogi’s family weren’t successful.

The US Consulate in Mexico City could not be reached for comment.

Local law enforcement officials had no immediate comment.

Aides to Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey said their offices are monitoring the case and have contacted Amherst officials to offer support and condolences to Dorogi’s family.

According to Dorogi’s obituary, he had a job lined up after graduation as an investment banking analyst at Wells Fargo and also volunteered for Hope for Honduran Children Foundation.

His funeral is scheduled for Saturday.....

Where hundreds will pay tribute.


"A UMass senior from Revere was seriously injured while vacationing in Cancun, Mexico, during spring break, the university said. Lauren Hayes suffered a skull fracture during a boating mishap last week in Cancun. On Monday, she was flown from Mexico to Boston, where she will receive further medical treatment, UMass said in a statement. The Dean of Students Office is working with faculty in the Isenberg School of Management to keep Hayes on track to graduate in May, the statement said. A Go Fund Me page set up to help the Hayes family with medical expenses said Lauren was “showing signs of improvement since arriving in Boston.”

At least Austin is over, and mention the lack of something (Australia appears again, too) and it magically appears.


Speaking of mothers who have lost their sons:

"‘May God kill your own son’: Bomb rips families apart in Kabul" by Fatima Faizi New York Times  March 21, 2018

KABUL — A suicide bomber detonated explosives in a crowd celebrating the Persian New Year in Kabul, on Wednesday, killing 31 and leaving desperate family members searching among bodies and body parts for their loved ones’ remains.

The victims were strewn around the courtyard in front of the Ali Abad Hospital in Kabul, where relatives preparing for burials tried grimly to match trunks with limbs or heads with trunks, and doctors searched for anyone with a pulse.

In one corner, lying face down on a staircase, was a boy of about 12 named Mustafa, who at first glance looked alive. Then it was obvious that one of his legs was blown nearly off; a new black-and-white sneaker remained on the foot. His other leg was nowhere to be seen. For more than an hour no relatives appeared, until finally his mother and father arrived.

The father restrained his wife, trying to prevent her from seeing their son’s gruesome remains; she lashed out in anger. “Why are you alive?” she shouted at him. “Mustafa is dead, why are you alive?”

The bomber struck about noon Wednesday. The explosion happened right outside the hospital: The bomber was apparently stopped before reaching a Shi’ite shrine in the Kart-e Sakhi area of western Kabul, where much larger crowds had gathered. 

This has the hallmarks of the CIA all over it!

Never mind the stepped-up pace of aerial bombardments under President Trump’s new strategy for the war, for civilian casualties from airstrikes rose only 7 percent

I mean, it's not like they ever hit hospitals or anything.

It was the latest in a fast-growing list of insurgent attacks that have targeted the capital’s Shi’ite, largely ethnic Hazara community, in the past two years.

Both Islamic State and Taliban extremists have claimed more than a dozen attacks on mosques, shrines, schools and rallies in the capital since 2016 — often during religious holidays — in an apparent attempt to sow divisions between Afghan’s majority Sunni Muslims and minority Shi’ite Hazaras.

Or just plain chaos to justify the American presence in perpetuity.

Nationwide, insurgent attacks on Shi’ite and Hazara targets have claimed at least 275 lives and left more than 700 people wounded in the past two years.

Wednesday’s attack, which wounded more than 60 people, was the second assault on the Sakhi shrine claimed by the Islamic State. In October 2016, gunmen wearing Afghan security uniforms stormed the site, which was filled with worshippers for the Shi’ite day of mourning known as Ashura. They killed 17 people and battled police for several hours.

That would be the U.S.- and allied-created, funded, and directed ISIS.

Wahid Majrooh, spokesman for the Ministry of Public Health, put Wednesday’s death toll at 31.

The mother of Mustafa ripped off her headscarf in her grief, and rebuffed attempts by her husband and friends to put it back on. Beside herself, she engaged her dead son in desperate conversation. “Mustafa, why have you left me alone? You were so happy to celebrate Nowruz, you so wanted to go. You said to me, ‘Look Mother, you don’t know about style. I have dressed up, and my shirt matches my shoes.’” The shirt was also black and white.

In her soliloquy to her dead son, Mustafa’s mother reminded him of his sister, killed in the attack on the Sakhi shrine last year. “When we lost Musqa, you came to me and you said, ‘Look Mother, I am here, don’t worry, I am with you.’ But now, you are not, and what should I do without you?”

Yeah, those crazy Muslims. They blame their children when they get murdered and hate Jews more than they love their own kids. That's what this whole JYT narrative is meant to convey, and its disgusting. That's taking for granted that the account is truthful and not made up (it's happened before).

Many of those in the courtyard were furious, yelling at journalists to leave.

I don't blame them. Who do you think brought them all this misery with their lies?

Mustafa’s mother spent her ire on President Ashraf Ghani, with a maternal curse: “May God kill your own son so you will understand what it means to lose one.”

Were they expecting that kind of backlash?


I don't know how you grapple with something like that. I suppose the first thing you want to do is check their identity.

RelatedLess OPEC than ever coming into the US

Then WHY the WARS?!! 

(It's no mystery, folks)

"Lawmakers in Kosovo approved a contentious and long-pending border demarcation deal with Montenegro Wednesday despite the opposition’s use of tear gas to prevent a vote. The European Union has set the border agreement as a precondition for Kosovo’s citizens to travel without visas in Europe’s Schengen travel zone Kosovo Assembly Speaker Kadri Veseli said he was hopeful the European Union would follow through and let Kosovars go visa-free, as citizens of other Balkan region countries already do....."


Speaking of borders:

"President Trump made big news in New Hampshire this week with his call for applying the death penalty to big drug dealers — and that only goes to show that bad policy makes for easy headlines....." 

Globe took the easy way out, huh?


"The New Hampshire Lottery Commission has replaced its ‘‘Luck Yeah!’’ ad campaign with ‘‘Win Time’’ over concerns that the original phrase sounded like a profanity. WMUR-TV reported that at least one state official, Republican Executive Councilor Russell Prescott, criticized the phrase last month after it started showing up online and in television commercials. But Lottery Executive Director Charlie McIntyre defended the ads. He had said that the word ‘‘luck’’ is an inherent part of the business. He apologized if it was insensitive. But he added, ‘‘certainly it is effective.’’ McIntyre had said Prescott’s complaint was the first he had heard, but noted that the ad was designed to make viewers pay attention."

Maybe you should just have a smoke and chill out.

"President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s announcement Wednesday is an effort to ease overcrowded prisons. He has said he is against the death penalty because he once survived hanging when the southern African nation was still colonial Rhodesia. Nearly 100 people are on death row in the country of 13 million. Those on it for at least a decade are having their sentences commuted to life in prison. Zimbabwe’s last execution was in 2005, partly because no one was willing to be the hangman. All women except those serving life sentences are being freed....."

He's no Duterte, that's for sure.

"Public health officials say studies have shown that unplanned births can lead to more money being spent on social programs such as Medicaid....."

It's okay if your an illegal immigrant, but the alleged bigotry really makes them see red (they will blame Trump and his trade policy for 
it after the crash) unless it happens to be a certain chosen supremacism.


"Sex, money, and the Nashville blues" b 

In these Stormy Daniels times, it’s worth noting that a sex scandal has already ended the career of one American politician: a woman and a Democrat, who was technically brought down not by adultery, but by money.

In February, Mayor Megan Barry of Nashville admitted to an affair with the head of her security department, and begged her city for forgiveness. Five weeks later, she exited the office she held for two and half years by pleading guilty to a felony charge of theft of property. As part of her plea, she agreed to reimburse the city $11,000 in unlawful expenses connected to the tryst.

What happened in Nashville shows the consequences — at least for a female — when sex and politics collide in office and misuse of public money is part of the story. Barry acknowledged the truth, accepted responsibility, and departed a job she loved.

She was a one-day wonder to the Globe.

That certainly sets her apart from Republican Governor Eric Greitens of Missouri, who is resisting calls to resign after being charged with felony invasion of privacy in connection with an affair that occurred before he won election. Greitens admitted to the relationship. But he’s also charged with taking a compromising photo of the woman with whom he was involved, without her permission, and  threatening to use it to blackmail her. He denies that and awaits trial, still in office.

Of course, it’s impossible to write about sex and politics without mentioning Bill Clinton.

Then there’s President Trump. In these stormy Trump times, the lesson from Clinton is deny, delay, and resist.....


Wait until you hear about the menage-a-trois.

RelatedWhite House job requirement: signing a nondisclosure agreement

Did you see who was just added (or subtracted, as the case may be) to the Trump legal team

I wouldn't worry about any obstruction of justice charges now. 

So how is Salman's visit going anyway?

"Wednesday’s session was the secretive committee’s first public hearing designed to scrutinize findings from its year-old investigation into Russia’s interference campaign. It followed the committee’s release on Tuesday of a set of recommendations for state and federal officials to shore up the ballot box. That effort appeared likely to get substantial resources on Wednesday, as congressional leaders completed a more than $1 trillion government funding bill that included hundreds of millions of dollars for election security. Top federal officials have concluded that Russian hackers targeted election systems in 21 states and breached that of at least one, Illinois, during the last election cycle. No votes were changed, but the effort — alongside a concerted Russian disinformation and hacking campaign — exposed dangerous vulnerabilities in the voting systems and the government’s ability to respond....."

Yeah, because if any votes were changed it would call into question all of their own elections!

"Democratic Rep. Daniel Lipinski, a seven-term congressman often at odds with his party on social issues, narrowly defeated liberal activist challenger  Marie Newman, a first-time candidate who described the incumbent as a “Trump Democrat,” in the Illinois primary Tuesday night in a test of the establishment’s strength against insurgents. First-term Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner also faced a tough challenge but ultimately beat Jeanne Ives, a conservative state legislator who accused him of betraying his political base on abortion, gay rights, and spending. Rauner will face billionaire J.B. Pritzker, who secured the Democratic nomination....." 

I'm told the rigging, 'er, election gave a "temporary boost to the establishment."

"Sixteen actresses including Jane Fonda, Sarah Jessica Parker, Reese Witherspoon, and Natalie Portman are urging New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to raise the wage made by tipped workers. The women signed onto a letter to the Democratic governor as his administration examines whether to eliminate the subminimum wage paid to restaurant servers and other workers who make tips. The actresses invoked the #TimesUp hashtag and wrote that relying on tips forces many workers to endure widespread sexual harassment. Others signing on to the letter include Lily Tomlin, Rashida Jones, Amy Poehler, America Ferrera, Jessica Chastain, Amber Tamblyn, Brie Larson, Debra Messing, Michelle Williams, Erika Alexander, Ashley Judd, and Sarah Silverman. Cuomo has called for hearings on the tipped wage to be held around the state."

Don't forget to pay for the meal, ladies.

Time to nurse this blog to a close. 


Look at what was left for dead:

"Unconscious man robbed and left to die on MBTA platform" by Jeremy C. Fox Globe Correspondent  March 21, 2018

A man with a long record of drug crimes and violent offenses allegedly spent a half-hour rummaging through an unconscious man’s belongings, stole a prescription drug and “multiple” other items, and left the man to die alone on a subway platform in Boston early Wednesday, according to the Suffolk district attorney’s office.

Anthony Stimson, 30, of Boston faces charges of larceny and possession of a Class E drug after he allegedly took the nerve pain drug gabapentin and other possessions from 52-year-old Willie Williams as Williams lay on the southbound Red Line platform at Downtown Crossing, according to court filings.

Superintendent Richard Sullivan, a spokesman for the MBTA Transit Police, expressed revulsion at the callous nature of the crime.

“In my 20-plus years, I can only recall this happening one other time,” he said, going on to cite the 2014 case when Josue Gonzalez of Brockton allegedly stole the cellphone of a woman struck and killed by a Red Line train at the same MBTA station.

“I view this as along the same line of depravity,” Sullivan said, adding that Stimson is “known to the T police. We’ve had dealings and encounters with him in the past, including this year.”


I'd say they should have taken the ferry, but.... 

"UBS AG agreed to pay $230 million to resolve a New York state probe into its marketing of residential mortgage-backed securities before the financial crisis, boosting the state’s recoveries in the investigation to almost $4 billion. The settlement includes $189 million in consumer relief and $41 million in cash for the state, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Wednesday in a statement. He said the bank ignored the advice of its own diligence vendors in packaging and selling loans that didn’t conform to its underwriting guidelines. Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc agreed earlier this month to pay $500 million to settle a parallel investigation by Schneiderman, moving the government-owned lender a step closer to resolving a series of costly US investigations. JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp. previously paid $1 billion and $800 million, respectively, to settle New York’s probes into sales of residential mortgage-backed securities. Citigroup Inc., Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. have also settled. "New Yorkers are still recovering from the housing crash, as communities grapple with the effects of plummeting home values, vacant properties and an affordable housing crisis,” Schneiderman said."

I love the housecleaning regarding the MBS scandal. They didn't ignore the advice, they bundled and sold the things anyway then bet on the products to fail, thus cleaning up on both ends. Furthermore, the entire affair initiated a bunch of fraudulent foreclosures that in effect resulted in land seizures.

No jail, not even a trail.

"The upcoming trial of two City Hall officials accused of illegally pressuring organizers of the Boston Calling music festival into hiring union members was canceled Wednesday after federal prosecutors conceded their evidence was unlikely to meet the judge’s standard for conviction. US District Judge Leo T. Sorokin told prosecutors and defense attorneys he was canceling the public corruption trial, which had been scheduled to begin next week, amid a flurry of motions indicating that neither side wanted the high-profile case to move forward. The last-minute legal maneuvering marked the latest twist in a case that has stretched over nearly two years and dogged the administration of Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh....."

The message being that left-wing thuggery is to be allowed.

Whatever you do, don't call the State Police (at least the hearings will take attention of the non-disclosure scandal as the game of musical chairs comes to an end).

Speaking of breaches of trust that need to be fixed (funny how when Obama harvested Facebook data on millions in 2012 everyone cheered)..... turns out Peru’s president also hired Cambridge Analytica "after the shock revelation Tuesday of secretly shot videos in which several of the president’s allies were caught allegedly trying to buy the support of an opposition lawmaker to block the conservative leader’s impeachment."

I'm surprise he wasn't able to block it and get it dispatched down the old memory hole.

You wanna know what else died?