02.17.14

Americans don’t know science: Don’t blame me

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 5:03 pm by George Smith

Americans don’t know science and as I enter the last quarter of my life I don’t care. I tried to fight the battle for years, starting long ago, and lost.

It’s not entirely the fault of the citizenry or education. It’s because, quite frequently, the American economy and system didn’t actually want a lot of scientists, despite all the propaganda to the opposite you’ve heard through the decades.

I graduated from Albright College in Reading in ’74 with a B.S. in biochemistry, a very new profession. I easily sent out a hundred resumes. I got three interviews, none of them serious. The rest of it came back with the famous line, “our current needs are not commensurate with your [fill in the blank].”

Commensurate was the big word then.

So, a bachelor’s isn’t worth much in science and the country was in a recession.

I went on to grad school at Lehigh and finished a Ph.D. program in good standing. I even published original research that mattered, on a pathogen, a species of flesh-eating bacteria, that’s notoriously well known today. The work was well ahead of its time, what pure science is supposed to be.

Upon graduation I sent out another bushel basket of resumes, now retitled, curriculum vitae.

I had one interview, just as lousy as the three when I was at Albright.

It was at Merck, if my memory holds, and before I gave the customary seminar the person who was my point of contact, a man in his sixties, now probably dead, someone who had a good laugh over the idea of a microbial chemist from Lehigh in Bethlehem doing research on an organism from the ocean. If I’d been a few years older I would’ve walked and skipped the rest of the day at the place entirely.

I was eventually able to get a part-time job teaching substitute chemistry at Pine Grove High School. The full-time instructor was out on leave. He was a wood shop teacher, actually. And that did not last because it was concluded I would damage his credibility with students, as someone with a Ph.D. in the subject, if I was allowed to continue teaching it until he returned. Giving students the best wasn’t really on the menu. It never is.

I was moved to the middle school where I was permitted to substitute as an algebra teacher for a couple weeks.

I eventually took a post-doctoral position at the Penn State School of Medicine at Hershey in the Dept. of Biological Chemistry. I published a little and it lasted for about three years, furnishing a poverty level stipend, until grant money ran out. The man I worked for suggested I continue doing the lab research pro bono until I published more.

I actually took his advice for a month until one day I just had had enough and left. By that time, everyone, a lab assistant, a student intern, and a grad student working on his doctorate (I wrote recommendations for the latter two), had also abandoned the lab. When I departed it was just another empty room.

Going back to live in the Lehigh Valley I was able to teach one semester of introductory microbiology lab to students in the mortuary/funeral home track at Northampton Community College. When that ended, (you should have seen the student reviews that went into my record, one young lady gave me bad marks for having boring clothes) the only thing I was able to get was tutoring a high school student who was doing poorly in chemistry.

I remember his father saying, “Times must be pretty hard when someone like you can only find work doing this.”

Next I looked into going back to school to add an education credential.

I related the experience here:

I had been teaching a lab course in microbiology at Northampton Community College in period of around ‘89-91, not long after leaving Lehigh University. It was suggested to me, by an old Lehigh advisor, that I might pick up an educational certification at Moravian College in Bethlehem. So I inquired and was given a list of courses I would have to take. I had a Ph.D. in chemistry from across town, and was told I would have to take introductory microbiology, a course I had been teaching, as well as other basic chemistry courses, which I also had taught as part of paying the freight for the doctorate.

I already had three degrees in chemistry and you can only imagine how shocking and infuriating it was to hear, as a young person who had recently graduated with the highest qualification one could get in chemistry, that one would have to take beginner’s courses again.

I asked the benighted woman who was talking with me, surely this could not be true, that the school would not honor any degreed credit from other very well known places. She just froze up and said I’d have to take the things again.

Maybe she was incompetent or crazy or something was really wrong that day. It brought everything to a bad halt. There was no point in having a conversation or to make plans on continuing education.

After that I just didn’t give a shit. You can only take so much nonsensical crap and rejection letters explaining in a sentence how your skills are or were not commensurate with the needs of the employer.

This was my conclusion:

Schools and businesses stopped honoring any type of credentials and experience when and wherever it was convenient, which was usually when you walked in their door …

American business and schooling has made it their business to just deny people what they have learned as part of a racket to force many out of the workforce. It is a convenience, one to push desperate people into spending more and more money on “retraining.” Anything that will discredit labor and ability is thrown at you.

Another feature of the American scientific establishment that took over while I was in my development years was the settling in of the system in which newly graduated doctorates were side-tracked into teaching undergraduate science courses as second-class citizens. Tenured professors were, in this burgeoning system, freed to perform glorious research while a poorly paid but highly trained workforce with no benefits and no job security was retained to teach undergraduate students.

As higher education priced itself more and more out of reach of average Americans (unless they were willing to incur heavy debt burdens upon graduation), it worked to guarantee there really wasn’t much of a demand for scientists. Unless they wanted to spend a lot of time, perhaps all their careers, working as second and third class citizens in the academic community.

So Americans are fools — how astonishing — when it comes to science:

Americans are enthusiastic about the promise of science but lack basic knowledge of it, with one in four unaware that the Earth revolves around the Sun, said a poll out Friday.

The survey included more than 2,200 people in the United States and was conducted by the National Science Foundation.

Nine questions about physical and biological science were on the quiz, and the average score — 6.5 correct — was barely a passing grade.

Just 74 percent of respondents knew that the Earth revolved around the Sun, according to the results released at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Chicago.

Fewer than half (48 percent) knew that human beings evolved from earlier species of animals.

The result of the survey, which is conducted every two years, will be included in a National Science Foundation report to President Barack Obama and US lawmakers.

The Culture of Lickspittle gets what it deserves.

Americans are “enthusiastic” about science? I call bullshit.

That’s one of those things you can expect people to say when asked because they feel it’s what they ought to sound like as a proper person in public. Indifferent to science would have been a more believable result.

And such results will be included in a “a report” to “US lawmakers,” half or maybe more who believe global warming is a hoax and don’t believe in the theory of evolution?

Wow.

I had nothing to do with this sorry mess. Don’t blame me. I cared once. Now I don’t.

If you’d gone through it you wouldn’t either.

Note: I am sure my experience was not that unique. Nationally, I’m betting the system simply rejected a lot of people in similar ways.


So maybe ya think blowtorch-strength cynicism isn’t warranted?

This is one answer. Really.

Bitcoin palpitation

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Fiat money fear and loathers at 2:26 pm by George Smith

This morning, Bitcoin could be purchased in Los Angeles, as USC, for $317, the average price on Mt. Gox.

The same seller is now advertising 268 with the caveat, “Price is Mt. Gox market price at time of transaction.”

Mt. Gox, as of right at post publication, is offering an average $320, a low of $248, and a high of $411.

Linking is pointless as the exchange rate is so changeable.

Bitcoincharts dot com offers a spread of pricing, from $629 at BitStamp in the US to a low of 207 from Mt. Gox (in Euros), 278 in dollars.

But why would you buy any BitCoin that offered at an online exchange for higher values? Isn’t the purpose of the network to grease the best, most frictionless, most advantageous deal? It is, by design, an every-man-for-himself currency.

There is no advantage in buying a Bitcoin at any of the elevated rates, either from local traders or on-line exchanges. If there is a wide spread in valuation, this money is only as valuable at the lowest price, presumably sold where the most volume is conducted.

One of the ways to restore the value, then, is by price fixing. The Bitcoin sellers all look at the charts and unilaterally agree to not sell at anything below the highest number. Ha-ha.

Thought exercise: How much have the Winklevoss twins lost on their Bitcoin holdings over the weekend?


Yes, I’ll try anything once. This blog now accepts BitCoin charity.

Donate Bitcoins

They had a Bitcoin sad

Posted in Fiat money fear and loathers at 10:48 am by George Smith

Two sad Bitcoin enthusiasts outside Mt. Gox.

Two sad Bitcoin enthusiasts outside Mt. Gox.

From the Financial Times:

On Monday a two-man protest outside [Mt. Gox’s] Shibuya headquarters entered a second day.

“So many things do not make sense. It’s hard to find an innocent explanation,” said Kolin Burges, a Glasgow-born programmer … in the hope of putting pressure on Mt Gox to return “hundreds” of coins …

Mr Burges’s co-protester Aaron, a Tokyo-based systems architect who declined to give his surname, said he has about 460 Bitcoins in storage at Mt Gox – worth $300,000, according to the CoinDesk index …

“I’ll start to feel a little less sick to my stomach if I can get the cash.”

That might require a lot of malt liquor.


The cheapest Bitcoin near Pasadena, today — $317

Bitcoin price on Coinbase: $638

Bitcoin average on Mt. Gox: $317

Iran test run for electromagnetic pulse doom

Posted in Crazy Weapons, WhiteManistan at 9:55 am by George Smith

From the Cult of Electromagnetic Pulse Crazy:

Iran’s surprising decision to move warships off the Atlantic coast poses a potential catastrophic threat to America from a nuclear or electromagnetic pulse attack, according to an expert who foresaw Iran’s move …

Peter Pry said the ships are probably conducting a test for a future visit from an Iranian freighter that would launch the attack.

“I think the Iranian Navy patrols off our coasts may be intended to lull us into complacency, to get the U.S. Navy accustomed to an Iranian naval presence in our hemisphere, so eventually they could contribute to ‘Zero Hour’ and the great day when the Mullahs decide to drop the nuclear hammer on America,” said Pry, who staffed a former congressional EMP commission.

From last week, here:

Or perhaps they will be sending this [cargo ship] and it will have a Scud in it with an atomic warhead and next week I won’t be able to post to the blog because electromagnetic pulse will have wiped out US civilization.

Preppers, rejoice, more material for another couple hundred book’s worth of white survivalist romance genre fiction on the end of America.

Hurry, there may still be time to join Peter Pry and the Noah Project by securing your own bug-out retreat in the high mountains of WhiteManistan Appalachia, just like Roscoe Bartlett, before the pulse and the shit hits the fan, bringing an end to American civilization as we know it.


Ready for anything, even the Iranian Navy.


Dead in Congress, prepper psychosis is taken to the Tea Party legislatures in Red States

From Arizona:

Legislation approved Wednesday by the Senate Public Safety Committee would require the state Division of Emergency Management to come up with recommendations about what kinds of things Arizonans should buy now and store in the garage, basement or storage room just in case some enemy detonates a nuclear or other bomb that wipes out power and communications in the state …

SB 1476 is being pushed by Sen. David Farnsworth, R-Mesa, amid concerns about an electromagnetic pulse that can be caused by certain types of explosion …

`Hopefully this will start the discussion and the awareness that we as a government cannot feed all these people,’ Farnsworth said. “As responsible citizens, we need to do our part to make our own private preparations.’

Every man for himself when under nuclear attack. The government can’t and won’t help. Hoard. Build your bunker. Purchase more ammo. Because you know the liberals will come out of the cities looking for your stuff.

02.16.14

You cannot buy Colt 45 malt liquor with Bitcoin

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Fiat money fear and loathers at 12:40 pm by George Smith

Bitcoin won't buy Colt 45 to ease the pain of being spit on the sidewalk of America like used chewing gum.

Bitcoin won't buy Colt 45 to ease the pain of being spit on the sidewalk of America like used chewing gum.


I maintain Bitcoin is the perfect currency for our time. Or, at least, the most fitting. Take the example of the experts called to testify to its goodness by the state of New York: the Winklevoss twins.

Why are the Winklevoss twins so wealthy? What have they materially contributed to society that is so valuable that makes them so?

They were born into the upper class.

By dint of association/connection with Mark Zuckerberg at Harvard they were eventually able to chisel a settlement fortune from him and Facebook to go away. Are they programmers? No.

Would such a legal option have been open to average Americans without the resources of an upper class? No.

Why did they get a pistachio commercial offer? Because they were famous for being semi-famous in the Social Network movie and chiseling Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook.

Why were the Winkelvoss twins able to become Bitcoin experts?

Because they had the money from the upper class and sucking cash from Zuckerberg, enough to at least buy up 1.5 million and somethings worth of Bitcoins.

And why are they successful at getting others to invest in their consulting services, hedge funding and so on? Because they are famous to semi-famous for being famous or semi-famous and people see the money sloshing in news articles in which the Winklevoss twins appear.

So the Winklevosses are wealthy because they were born to it and became adept at siphoning big money from large pools of it as the opportunities are presented when it splashes around.

Bitcoin, which is for hoarding, gaming the system, deception, chiseling and speculation, is a perfect match with them.

The majority of people cannot do anything with Bitcoins except pay too many dollars for one. Therefore they either do not know what Bitcoins are or just shrug their shoulders at the idea. Bitcoin is not for the hoi polloi. The Winklessvoss twins are the class who appreciate Bitcoin.

When I entered my name to create an account at Coinbase, the Bitcoin exchange, a week or so ago, I was offered, like everyone is, a button and mechanism to sell goods or accept donations in the currency.

To sell, the service conveniently auto-filled a good I might want to sell for Bitcoins: alpaca socks.

I asked Google whether I could buy Colt 45 or King Cobra malt liquors with Bitcoin. The internet did not provide an answer.

I take that as a ‘No’.


From the Wall Street Journal:

Bitcoin is proving to be the joke of a currency that many experts and pundits had predicted. This is too bad, because the world could use something akin to Bitcoin …

It was recently reported that a Silk Road 2.0 site had been hacked, and that all 4,474 Bitcoins had been stolen. The heist was valued at close to $2.7 million at the time …

The cheapest price for a Bitcoin in Pasadena, today — $344.

The current price on Coinbase: $618

The current price on Mt.Gox (in Euros): 187


The nerds who traveled about an hour to buy a Subway sandwich with Bitcoin in Allentown, WhiteManistan, very close to where I lived many many years ago! (Note: Story posted at one of the internet equivalents of giant hogweed, Medium, the blogging platform started by the Twitter man who realized 140 characters weren’t quite enough and “wanted to give rationality a fighting chance.”)


Make me a believer. I’ll try anything once. This blog now accepts BitCoin.

Donate Bitcoins

Tip o’ the hat to Frank at Pine View Farm for scratch-padding.

02.14.14

Fire the nobodies

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Cyberterrorism at 4:28 pm by George Smith

Someone had to pay for Edward Snowden and it damn well isn’t going to be Keith or Mike McConnell of Booz Allen:

The director of the N.S.A., Gen. Keith B. Alexander, is retiring next month after serving far longer than his predecessors. The director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr., who has also been a focus of criticism for failing to police the speed at which security upgrades have been conducted throughout the intelligence community, remains in office.

Both men, and their wives, were guests at the state dinner on Tuesday night for France’s president, François Hollande, which was widely interpreted as an indication they remained in good stead at the White House.

“The National Security Agency has told Congress that it has forced out a civilian employee after a lengthy investigation to ‘assign accountability’ for the disclosure of intelligence secrets by Edward J. Snowden, one of its former contractors,” reads the Times.

“Two others — identified only as an active-duty military member and another contractor — were ‘removed from access to N.S.A. information’ and facilities last August.”

Another contractor most probably means Mike McConnell’s cybersecurity unit at Booz Allen Hamilton, Edward Snowden’s former proxy employer at the NSA.

Business as usual at Versailles-on-Potomac.

Cynically, there is no reason to hold them in poor standing from the perspective of national leadership. They’ve done what they thought they were supposed to, which was to expand the reach and power of national cyberwar and cyber-spying.

That Edward Snowden would be perceived globally as the good guy must be vexing to them. “How can this be so?” they must wonder. “We are the good guys, not the bad guy.”

Has it not occurred to them that they’re extraordinarily lucky? There has been only one Edward Snowden. The bad guys have a pretty loyal club.

I’ll keep you informed when General Keith cashes in his chips. I would forecast a multi-million dollar signing bonus for going to head the cybersdefense operation of a major arms manufacturer plus, possibly, a million dollar book advance to tell his side of the Snowden story.


Keith Alexander — from the archives.

Like I said, it’s personal

Posted in WhiteManistan at 4:12 pm by George Smith

Consider that other entitlement, Medicaid.

Thanks to Obamacare, the number of beneficiaries of Medicaid is soaring. And even should the GOP capture the Senate in 2016, a Democratic minority would filibuster to death any bill to cut Medicaid.

— one time GOP presidential wanted-to-be, Pat Buchanan, today

Google results for Medicaid expansion and socialism.

I don’t want to pay for someone else’s health care! — Google search.

Medicaid Moochers.

Medicaid and Hitler.

I’m a Medicaid moocher. Fuck you, WhiteManistan.

My experience, here:

After years of having no health insurance, no health care of any kind, this week I was informed I would qualify for the Medicaid expansion, funded under Obamacare, in California. And I received my benefit identification card in the mail. Prior to the years of zero health insurance I had a junk insurance policy, sold by one of the big providers nationally and in the state. It paid only for some part of a catastrophic illness that would probably kill you within a year. It was the perfect example of a large predatory fee to the insurance industry for years, in return for absolutely nothing, a tremendous business model in American capitalism.

And here:

Yesterday I went off to get a flu shot. It gave me the opportunity to see of my Medi-Cal health insurance was active, part of the Obamacare Medicaid expansion in California.

It was.

However, it did not cover the flu shot. Why? I went to the Ralphs supermarket to get the cheapest price at their pharmacy and was informed by their pharmacist that Medi-Cal requires recipients to be referred to a doctor’s office for the immunization.

I paid for it in cash. It was easier and relatively inexpensive. But I was still happy to be informed that I had the health insurance benefit.

This is a very big deal …

Because Obamacare and Covered California, the state run on-line exchange made it relatively easy.

It was not without glitch. From the start, Covered California was swamped by volume. This made it impossible to get someone on the phone if you had a question. And if you tried to get someone in on-line chat, also recommended by the site, that also proved problematical. Sheer numbers of people applying did it.

But I was able to enter all my information on the website and after analysis, Covered California determined I was eligible for Medi-Cal.

And behind the scenes wheels began to turn.

My materials were handed off to a state social services division in southern California, as well as one in Sacramento. At the beginning of January, I received my benefit card.

On Monday, I received notification that my policy had been active since January 1. It also informed that the card would follow.

Pity the Billionaire, the song that never gets old

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Psychopath & Sociopath, Ted Nugent, WhiteManistan at 10:04 am by George Smith


If you don’t like my song you’re a moron and should not be reading this blog.

From CNN Money, Tom Perkins, who is now doing it just because it gets him video attention:

“The fear is wealth tax, higher taxes, higher death taxes — just more taxes until there is no more 1%. And that that will creep down to the 5% and then the 10%.”


“The Tom Perkins system is: You don’t get to vote unless you pay a dollar of taxes.”

“But what I really think is, it should be like a corporation. You pay a million dollars in taxes, you get a million votes. How’s that?”

I thought that last bit was already true. Many think the same, no?

This puts Perkins in company with others, notably Ted Nugent, who has lobbied twice for the reciprocal: denying the vote to those who allegedly pay no tax.

Nugent means the poor, the 47 percent, anyone on the left and everyone not-white. And they actually do pay taxes, lots of them. Payroll, sales, regular state-administered car fees, phone service taxes, etc.

From 2012:

“Let’s also stop the insanity by suspending the right to vote of any American who is on welfare. Once they get off welfare and are self-sustaining, they get their right to vote restored. No American on welfare should have the right to vote for tax increases on those Americans who are working and paying taxes to support them.”

And again, last year:

He’ll use his NRA clout to make it law that everyone who buys a gun at a gun show go through a background check if the rest of us will campaign for and help enact law that takes the right to vote for presidential and congressional candidates in elections away from people who pay no income tax.


In his blog, and today in his column at the New York Times, Paul Krugman has been working over the same issue:

In fact, the people who seem least inclined to respect the efforts of ordinary workers are the winners of the wealth lottery. Over the past few months, we’ve been harangued by a procession of angry billionaires, furious that they’re not receiving the deference, the acknowledgment of their superiority, that they believe is their due. For example, last week the investor Sam Zell went on CNN Money to defend the 1 percent against “envy,” and he asserted that “the 1 percent work harder. The 1 percent are much bigger factors in all forms of our society.” Dignity for all!

And there’s another group that doesn’t respect workers: Republican politicians.

“[When] it comes to Americans down on their luck, conservatives become insultingly paternalistic, as comfortable congressmen (in this case, he specifically aims at Paul Ryan) lecture struggling families on the dignity of work,” Krugman adds.

And then there’s the whole thing of denying health care for the poor through the Medicaid expansion because of hatred of the president and … freedom.

The malevolence is personal.


Also by way of Krugman, an academic paper on factors causing rises in inequality, in this case, “capital account liberalisation,” aka rewarding money holders and the ease of sloshing it around the globe, and “fiscal consolidations,” aka policies of economic belt-tightening or “austerity:”

Last month’s World Economic Forum at Davos will be remembered as the one where the rich realised that incomes were unequal. One suspects the rich had always been dimly aware of this fact, but even they seem to have been astounded by the degree of inequality.


There is clear evidence that the decline in budget deficits was followed by increases in inequality.


Fiscal consolidations are followed by an increase in long-term unemployment.


The past three decades have been associated with a steady decline in the number of restrictions that countries impose on cross-border financial transactions …

What happens to inequality in the aftermath of these episodes? The evidence is that, on average, capital account liberalisation is followed by a significant and persistent increase in inequality.

It is a short and easy to grok read.


Sam Zell — from the archives.

Tom Perkins.

02.12.14

Empire of Bezos: GI Joe s— as lit

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 4:04 pm by George Smith

Since Jeff Bezos’ attempts to become a physical book publisher have been fought well at the retail level, Amazon has expanded its imprints to publishing only for the digital world.

You can see much of it at apub dot com. 47North, for example, is a digital Kindle imprint devoted to horror and science-fiction. A look at the titles was a complete turn-off. Your mileage may vary.

If this strikes you as publishing by people who don’t even care to read manuscripts, you’re probably close to reality.

I knew Ed Park, Amazon’s literary editor for physical titles, and can vouch he was a nice guy who was definitely into books.

The same cannot be implied from looking over publishing as sifted by book reviews of vanity-published digital works on Amazon’s site, or use by Amazon of its Kindle platform to do big data examinations of what is being read and with what manner of enthusiasm.

How do you judge enthusiasm in reading a digital book, anyway? I don’t have a Kindle. But, if one judges by swiftness of completion or page turns per minute, you can be dealing with a complete turkey, something fascinating, or anywhere in-between, I would think.

At Amazon this has led to the licensing of artistic or creative ouvres, more accurately consumer product niches, so that wanna-be authors can write digital fan fiction novels devoted to it.

The best example, pre-Amazon, was Star Trek fiction. You could walk into any big book store, go to the science-fiction section, and see a hundred or more novels written in the Star Trek world. My impression was they were simply lowest common denominator crap even though some sold well and sometimes name sci-fi authors were tabbed to write ’em.

Similar things were done with the worlds of Sherlock Holmes (Holmes expansion has been far more successful in movies and tv, is decades old, and is/was done by mechanisms which are the very antithesis of world-of-Bezos content creation) and the horror author, H. P. Lovecraft. (True confession: I have Lovecraft’s work and bought a couple titles of fiction derivatives. None were very good.)

Amazon is expanding this world:

And Kindle Worlds on Wednesday announced a deal with Hasbro to let fans write stories in “the next few months” about G.I. Joe. The companies didn’t disclose the terms of the deal.

Hasbro sees Kindle Worlds as a way to let fans connect to G.I. Joe, something Michael Kelly, the company’s director of global publishing, describes as “open-source storytelling.”

Hasbro is putting few restrictions on authors. Writers can’t produce pieces that are sexually explicit, racist or sexist. Given that G.I. Joe is a military figure, violence is expected.

“Gritty is OK, but gratuitous is not,” Kelly said.

And Hasbro, based in Pawtucket, R.I., deep in Boston Red Sox country, threw in one other restriction: G.I. Joe’s comrade, Snake Eyes, cannot be a portrayed [as a Ted Sox fan].

So while Amazon caught the New York publishing world’s attention when it hired Kirshbaum and targeted A-list authors, it’s more quietly been making hay in niche markets. Its 47North imprint focuses on science fiction, fantasy and horror. Thomas & Mercer publishes mysteries, thrillers and suspense books. It has Montlake Romance and Jet City Comics.

Merciful God in Heaven. Have you ever seen one of the GI Joe movies? Comment invited.

This follows on the heels of the licensing of Amazon Kindle fan fiction for minor characters from the novels of, prepare to be stupefied, Kurt Vonnegut:

The book-publishing unit at the online retail giant created an imprint devoted to fan fiction, Kindle Worlds, last May. Fan fiction is often dismissed as mediocre writing …

[Hugh Howey] saw an opportunity to write his own work in a world conceived by Kurt Vonnegut, which Amazon licensed from the author’s estate.

Howey created a short work, “Peace in Amber,” that wove his 9/11 story with the life of Montana Wildhack, an adult-film star from Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse-Five.”

Let’s look again at Amazon Kindle publishing for the fascinating genre of electromagnetic pulse doom in America white survivalist romance fiction.

From Into the Darkness, published just last month, already with 39 customer reviews, 13 of which are five star, and 17 of which are four star:

4 stars … much like Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, but a touch more desperation and with guns. I got almost as weary of the river as they did.


4 stars — I read a lot of survival fiction and most of it is inexpensive or free. This one was very enjoyable and just a good story. My only reason for giving it four stars is the lack of good editing. That is pretty much usual for an inexpensive debut novel and with professional editing it would get five stars from me. The trip-after-the-ShitHitsTheFan scenario is nothing new but returning home by inflatable raft on a river is pretty original.

And inexpensive it is: 99 cents.

Or how about 77 Days in September, republished by Amazon Digital Services last month, seemingly originally published as early as 2011, with 1,967 author reviews, 1,216 of which are five star:

On a Friday afternoon before Labor Day, Americans are getting ready for the holiday weekend, completely unaware of a long-planned terrorist plot about to be launched against the country. Kyle Tait is settling in for his flight home to Montana when a single nuclear bomb is detonated 300 miles above the heart of America. The blast, an Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP), destroys every electrical device in the country, and results in the crippling of the power grid, the shutting down of modern communications, and bringing to a halt most forms of transportation.

Kyle narrowly escapes when his airplane crashes on take-off, only to find himself stranded 2,000 miles from home …


5 stars — This book was recommended to me. I was somewhat skeptical as I began reading, but was quickly drawn in. It has all the elements of an excellent novel. The characters are well defined, believable and easy to relate to. The plot, however fictitious, is grounded in reality and calls attention to a truly catastrophic, yet largely ignored threat to international security.


5 stars — I think we have talent here. From the Forward I was hooked. The idea of an EMP never crossed my mind and it made the story line believable. What better way to hold your interest than to have two people deeply attached to each other trying desperately to get back together after a major event changes all the circumstances of their separation.


5 stars — Just finished this book, after not being able to put it down for days. It’s only equal is “One second after.” Great story line, character development, plots, just a great job overall. I was crying at the end, and that’s a first for this genre and a testament to how well the author creates a personal bond with the reader and the characters. If you like adventure stories, prepper fiction, or so called “survivalist” books, this one is a must read. I hope Mr. Gotham (sic, it’s Ray Gorham) find (sic) time and motivation to write more, as I will happily spend a few bucks on them.

As for the characters, they are truly human. No “Rambo” super prepper no bug out bags, no underground caches or retreats. This book is a look at the real, honest, actual human condition should the EMP scenario actually occur. This is reality, not some prepper fantasy, and for that, I’d give it 6 stars. Read it, it just might make the crucial difference for you if Shit does HitTheFan.

The future of publishing, here today. Thank you, Mr. Bezos.

Les Paul Hector Heathcote guitar — by Gibson

Posted in Ted Nugent, WhiteManistan at 12:29 pm by George Smith

From Gibson:

Great Gibson electric guitars have long been a means of fighting the establishment, so when the powers that be confiscated stocks of tonewoods from the Gibson factory in Nashville—only to return them once there was a resolution and the investigation ended—it was an event worth celebrating. Introducing the Hector Heathcote Government Series II Les Paul, a striking new guitar from Gibson USA for 2014 that suitably marks this infamous time in Gibson’s history.

Fighting the establishment.

From The Grist, a couple years ago:

If you’ve tuned into any of the major jobs speeches recently or the conservative media’s political coverage surrounding them, you’ve heard about newly minted Tea Party hero, Gibson Guitar CEO Henry Juszkiewicz. He was sitting in House Speaker John Boehner’s box during President Obama’s jobs speech …

According to a count by the nonprofit Media Matters, Fox News has featured his company 24 times in the last couple of weeks.

From the Dept. of Justice, in 2012:

Gibson Guitar Corp. entered into a criminal enforcement agreement with the United States today resolving a criminal investigation into allegations that the company violated the Lacey Act by illegally purchasing and importing ebony wood from Madagascar and rosewood and ebony from India …

The criminal enforcement agreement defers prosecution for criminal violations of the Lacey Act and requires Gibson to pay a penalty amount of $300,000. The agreement further provides for a community service payment of $50,000 to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to be used to promote the conservation, identification and propagation of protected tree species used in the musical instrument industry and the forests where those species are found. Gibson will also implement a compliance program designed to strengthen its compliance controls and procedures. In related civil forfeiture actions, Gibson will withdraw its claims to the wood seized in the course of the criminal investigation, including Madagascar ebony from shipments with a total invoice value of $261,844.


The harvest of ebony in and export of unfinished ebony from, Madagascar has been banned since 2006.

Gibson purchased “fingerboard blanks,” consisting of sawn boards of Madagascar ebony, for use in manufacturing guitars. The Madagascar ebony fingerboard blanks were ordered from a supplier who obtained them from an exporter in Madagascar. Gibson’s supplier continued to receive Madagascar ebony fingerboard blanks from its Madagascar exporter after the 2006 ban. The Madagascar exporter did not have authority to export ebony fingerboard blanks after the law issued in Madagascar in 2006.

Note difference in the Hector Heathcote Les Paul. It does not feature an ebony fingerboard:

The glued-in mahogany neck features a comfortably rounded late-’50s profile, while the unbound fingerboard—with a Corian™ nut, 22 frets and traditional trapezoid inlays just like the very first Gibson Les Pauls—is made from solid rosewood returned to Gibson by the US government.

The government raid, unsurprisingly, probably took many things from Gibson facilities. Apparently, unbanned materials were returned. Which appears to be a bit of a favor to Gibson.

Ted Nugent, in 2012, on the Gibson case (Nugent plays Gibson guitars):

Gibson guitars reportedly ran afoul of Uncle Sham’s Lacey Act, which is one of the most overreaching, bizzaro, contemptuous laws in the history of the United States.

Armed federal agents raided two Gibson guitar plants looking for allegedly illegally obtained wood from Madagascar and India …

This mindless abuse of Gibson by the heavy hand of the out-of-control federal government is a perfect reason why millions of Americans believe the corrupt, abusive power of Fedzilla needs to be reined in.

Paradoxically, Ted Nugent, also ran afoul of the Lacey Act. From the DoJ, also in 2012:

U.S. Attorney Karen Loeffler announced that Theodore A. Nugent pled guilty to and was sentenced in federal court today in Ketchikan for violating the Lacey Act by possessing and transporting a black bear, taken in violation of state law.

Nugent, 62, of China Springs, Texas, pled guilty to a single misdemeanor count of the Lacey Act before United States Magistrate Judge Michael A. Thompson.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack S. Schmidt, Nugent, who stars in and produces the outdoor hunting show, “Ted Nugent Spirit of the Wild”, was filming a black bear (Ursus Americanus) bow hunt on Sukkwan Island, on U.S. Forest Service Land. Nugent utilized a number of bear baiting sites between the dates of May 21, 2009, to May 26, 2009. On May 22, 2009, Nugent shot and wounded a black bear at one of the registered bait sites. Nugent failed to harvest the wounded black bear, and continued hunting in violation of Alaska state law, which counts a wounded black bear towards the hunter’s bag limit, one black bear per regulatory year. Nugent continued to hunt another black bear in violation of Alaska law and subsequently harvested another black bear at a bear baiting site on May 26, 2009, which put Nugent over the regulatory bag limit for that year …

Nugent cooperated with law enforcement and indicated that he was unaware of the state law requiring a hunter to count a wounded black bear towards his bag limit.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, Nugent will be placed on probation for two years and is required to pay a $10,000 dollar fine and restitution in the amount of $600 dollar to the State of Alaska for the illegally taken bear. Special conditions of probation also prohibit Nugent from hunting or fishing in Alaska and on any U.S. Forest Service land for a term of one year.

My suggestion would have been to make one of the Hector Heathcote series of Gibson guitars, a Tea Party Ted Les Paul special.

Here is Nugent’s Lacey Act case, discussed in depth at an Alaska newspaper.

And from this blog, on the Gibson case, back in 2011:

Readers know I like Gibson guitars. They may have read when I tried to do the company a favor by successfully pressing the Washington Post and others to drop website ads selling Chinese counterfeits of the iconic brand.

But it’s been increasingly hard to not be turned off by Gibson. And this is all due to its CEO, Henry Juszkiewicz.

With his company raided twice by government agents — the first time for buying blackmarket protected wood from Madagascar, the second time for impropriety with Indian imports — Juszkiewicz decided to go extreme right wing and cry about the alleged tyranny of the US government.

Gibson Hector Heathcote Government II series — MSRP — $1,099.

So buy me a Hector Heathcote, or write Gibson to send one to me. For establishment fighting, since I’m on Medicaid and can’t afford it. I would make it my number one instrument.


“Gibson sticks thumb in Obama administration’s eye with ‘Government Series’ guitars,” reads the Breitbart place. The US investigation of Gibson was started during the administration of George W. Bush.

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