Behold the last RVS post for 2017.  Unless, I suppose, I decide to drunk-blog tonight. It could happen.  In that event, this will be the last coherent post of 2017.

In case you’re wondering, I’m too old to go out for New Year’s Eve and I don’t feel like dealing with the madness.  Instead, I’ll take the family out for an early dinner at a nice restaurant.  Then we’ll come home and Mrs Thrill will make some snacks while we watch fun movies.  Usually I start drinking at around 5:00 PM and I try to pass out before midnight so I can wake up at around 3:00 AM and try to find the bed.  I have about a 50/50 chance of making it.  If I don’t, I can only hope that somebody throws a blanket over me. Hey, I didn’t say all of my traditions are good ones, but I must uphold them.

Tonight’s cocktail of choice will be the Kentucky Mule.  Yes, it’s like a Moscow Mule but with bourbon instead of vodka.  All one needs is 4 oz of ginger beer, 2 oz of bourbon, 0.5 oz of lime juice, and one of the drunken cherries my sister-in-law gave us in a big jar for Christmas.

On New Year’s Day, Mrs Thrill will make a beef brisket with black eyed peas (she assures me that this brings good luck).  On the 2nd, I’ll step onto the scale and curse my reckless stupidity.  Weight management was a big problem for me in 2017.  I did alright maintaining my weight loss from its all time high a couple of years ago after reversing a massive gain, but at no point this year did I make it back to my 2016 low.  I played it smart in December by dieting all the way up until December 21st, so I’ll mostly just have to work off about 5 pounds of bloat in the first week of 2018.  Maybe, just maybe, I can make it back to a new low by May.

Is losing weight among your own New Year’s Resolutions?  I had a conversation with JDPS about this topic a couple of months ago.  He shared a video featuring a lecture by an Owen Wilson impersonator who basically argues that calorie counting isn’t an effective way to lose fat.  Instead, people need to follow more of a low-carb diet like Atkins.

To a point, I agree with Taubes.  I do think he’s wrong to say that you won’t lose body fat simply by reducing calories.  The “Twinkie Diet” and other experiments provide ample proof of this, though I wouldn’t recommend trying them on yourself.  If you reduce calories below maintenance level, you will lose weight.  The only issue is whether or not you can go for several months carefully tracking your caloric intake.  It’s hard, as anyone who has tried it knows.

Where Taubes is right is that carbs from sugar really are making us fat.  I just don’t think that sugar itself is bad for us and should be avoided at all costs.  I think you should limit carbs as much as you can because they’re essentially “empty” and it’s really easy to eat too much of them.   My argument is that if you drastically reduce the sugar from your diet and instead focus on protein, fiber, and good fats you will reduce your intake of calories each day and lose weight while feeling more full. The problem with carbs is that we eat too many of them.  Fundamentally, I’m with Taubes on that.

I guarantee you that you can take a daily meal plan from Atkins, South Beach Diet, or any other fad diet and punch it into a calorie tracker like Lose It and find that you’d be running a caloric deficit.  Me personally, I do count calories, but I also follow Taubes’s advice on the types of foods to avoid because I find that it helps reduce my caloric intake without feeling hungry all day.

For those of you who are trying to lose weight this year, go for it!  I can’t tell you which diet is best.  It must be the one that is most comfortable for you.  Remember that it needs to be something you can follow for the rest of your life.  Unless you want to do the Twinkie thing.

Besides the yo-yo dieting, this was a fine year for me and my family.  Yeah, there were a couple of setbacks here and there, but I kept a good attitude and overcame.

2018 will be all about staying the course until WW3 finally starts.  Hard to say if I’ll be writing another post a year from now or trying to start a fire by banging rocks together in the radioactive glow of a former metropolitan area.

Surely that’s an exaggeration, isn’t it?  Not really.  North Korea is still threatening to attack us with nuclear-tipped ICBM’s while Russia and China quietly continue secret trade with the Kim regime.  Or, at least, individuals and companies from those countries are violating the sanctions.  History suggests that these great power bickerings over shithole territories in which one or more great powers has vested emotional and economic investments generally turn into large scale conflicts between each other.  I’m not optimistic that it can be avoided.

What’s less clear is whether Iran’s government can avoid being Shah’d in the very near future.  I fully agree with the president’s decision to voice support for the protesters.  It bothered me when Obama took a wait-and-see approach followed by a tepid too-late response to the Iranian protests on his watch, especially contrasted with his eagerness to support the removal of a pro-American government in Egpyt in 2011.  Knowing that there is strong international sympathy for their cause can motivate the protesters further.  It’s gives them moral resolve, similar to what Reagan did for Soviet-bloc dissidents.

The only question from there is whether the CIA can just stay the hell out of it and let it work.  Based on what I’ve been able to determine from following this story, I do think it’s an organic protest instead of an American or Israeli operation.  The more it’s left alone the better, lest we want blame for another Syrian Civil War/ISIS type of crisis pinned on the US by its enemies.

The only other news story I’ve been following is less-significant in the grand scheme of things but sensational enough to watch.  Let’s talk about the SWAuTistic Tyler Barriss.

Twenty-eight-year-old Andrew Finch was shot and killed by police in Wichita late Thursday, after a fraudulent emergency call drew police to his family’s residence with their weapons drawn. The hoax call — an instance of what’s known as “swatting” — was placed after an argument in the online game Call of Duty.

It ties together a couple of worthy discussions to have.   First, it’s another example of how fucked American law enforcement tactics are.  Again and again we see that police place too high of a priority on “officer safety” and too little on public safety–the very reason for their existence.

The other discussion is whether or not our laws can (or maybe even should) be applied to address Internet-assisted crimes such as swatting.  The FBI estimates that about 400 swatting incidents happen each year, according to something I read somewhere.  The suspect, Barriss, already has criminal convictions for making hoax bomb threats but didn’t do very serious time.  Swatting is generally a misdemeanor offense and the perpetrators are rarely caught and punished despite the number of famous people who have been targeted by the tactic.

In that regard, it’s amazing that innocent homeowners don’t get killed more often, I guess, but this is an excellent case to discuss what needs to be done about swatting and police use of deadly force both.

With regard to this specific case, I say Barriss will likely be charged in Kansas for falsely reporting a violent crime using electronic methods to disguise the origin of the call.  That’s a felony offense in Kansas.  If this is actually him speaking in the interview below, it’s a slam dunk case for 2nd degree murder in Kansas as well, if not 1st degree felony murder.

He pretty much satisfied all of the elements of Murder Two right there as I see it, if death of another resulting from actions taken by one who was demonstrating a total indifference to human life is what you need.

I’m less sure about the other CoD player who put Barriss up to it, but given that the authorities completely fucked up by killing Finch, you can bet that they’re going to make sure that all responsibility is laid somewhere else.  Barriss isn’t a sympathetic figure and is going to have to face the full brunt of the law for Finch’s death, even if Finch’s family is (fairly) blaming the cops.

Sooooo.  What would you like to end the year off bitching about?

10 comments

  1. I just don’t think that sugar itself is bad for us and should be avoided at all costs.

    Read his book, The Case Against Sugar. Some of the statistics around diabetes absolutely blew my mind.

    Of course…I still eat a lot of sugar. Despite having a father who died way too early from complications of Diabetes.

    I have tried to “lose weight” numerous times. And it works, at least temporarily. I’m trying to define a way that I can live the rest of my life, not dieting, not “losing weight”, just…living healthy. I figure if I live healthy, the weight will come off as a natural byproduct. Of course then the question is “what is living healthy?” That varies drastically depending on who you listen to.

    Here’s to a new year.

  2. First off, im surprised that the Trump administration has lasted out a the first 6 7 8 months or so it looked like a train wreck. Now not so much. Trump is still a ass, but it seems that allthe attention is on his public activities, while the media tends to miss the deal making and success in the background.

    The SWATing, oh it finally happened, trigger happy cops, shoot the guy at his door. No attempt to size up the situation no tempt to establish contact first, just go in blasting. The instigator of this killing should be transferred to Kansas, and face the consequences of his actions. Everything you said Thrill sounds reasonable, and probably wil be the charges, but i assumse that a good prosecutor, could some how make a charge of manslaughter stick, since that was the result that the Swater was hoping to provoke from the police.

    Diet, ugh , i think i gained 10 pounds since thanksgiving. My plan is to get back on the treadmill, sweat a lil more eat less,and better. less carbs for one.

    On Iran.
    I find it amusing that a number of the anti trump right are already out in force saying we should not get involved, , not make any statements in support of the protesters, ect ect. Pretty much what Obama did the last time around on Iran, but not when the Religiously inspired Arab Spring swept over the Secular lead nations in the mid east…
    It really does seem that China and Russia are using the Norks as a test, and as a cutout to either study the Trump admin, or simply to act as a foil to keep others distracted. Allowing a war to start on the Korean peninsula benefits no one, Trade would be disrupted, economies will suffer, lots of destruction, and no guaranteed results…

    as for 2018, who the fuck knows…Maybe Sessions will grow a pair and really decided to investigate the collusion between the Clintions/CIA/FBI/Russia? ?

  3. I’m trying to define a way that I can live the rest of my life, not dieting, not “losing weight”, just…living healthy. I figure if I live healthy, the weight will come off as a natural byproduct.

    That’s the right way to look at it. Probably the best advice I’ve ever gotten is “learn to listen to your body.” Start paying attention to how what you consume makes you feel. I have almost totally stopped drinking beer because of how gassy it makes me. If I eat a Big Mac, it sits in my stomach like a rock. But when I’m rocking the diet properly, I feel like a million bucks.

  4. First off, im surprised that the Trump administration has lasted out a the first 6 7 8 months or so it looked like a train wreck.

    It was pretty much guaranteed to look messy. The media and opposition party gave Trump no “honeymoon” period. He had the previous Administration’s holdovers actively subverting him. And finally he wasn’t fully cognizant of the scope of the job, by his own admission. I didn’t doubt that he’d last, but I am surprised that anything got done this year at all.

    Everything you said Thrill sounds reasonable, and probably wil be the charges, but i assumse that a good prosecutor, could some how make a charge of manslaughter stick, since that was the result that the Swater was hoping to provoke from the police.

    If that YouTube interview makes it into the trial and the jury hears it, Burriss is hopelessly screwed.

    I find it amusing that a number of the anti trump right are already out in force saying we should not get involved, , not make any statements in support of the protesters, ect ect. Pretty much what Obama did the last time around on Iran, but not when the Religiously inspired Arab Spring swept over the Secular lead nations in the mid east

    Obama wanted to make a deal with the Iranian government, not overthrow it. Anyone who is criticizing Trump for backing the protesters is living under the delusion that the Iran deal was a foreign policy success for Obama and that we should pursue peaceful coexistence with the regime.

    as for 2018, who the fuck knows…Maybe Sessions will grow a pair and really decided to investigate the collusion between the Clintions/CIA/FBI/Russia? ?

    I’m starting to think that Sessions is doing exactly that, just very quietly. Either that, or he’s completely inept and Trump hasn’t fired him only because he knows he won’t be able to replace him with Mueller’s investigation going on. I figure that in 2018, Mueller’s investigation will end and Trump will be free to either appoint his own special counsel to go after Team Clinton (I hope he does, honestly) or fire Sessions and get an AG who will do it.

    It’s looking more and more like the Russia Collusion story is being used to cover up the misdeeds of the Obama DOJ and Clinton campaign. On that basis, it’s no wonder they’re so desperately hoping that Mueller turns something up. They’ve almost given up on collusion and are now clinging to “obstruction” or something in Trump’s tax returns (as if Obama’s IRS wouldn’t have found it years ago).

  5. Have they released any info on the Houston suspect? I’m curious to know if this has an ISIS connection. It would bolster my belief that Las Vegas was an ISIS op.

  6. If you read into taubes a little more thrill, you’ll find that he and his acolytes don’t say to swear off sugar, they just believe for it to be healthy it should be consumed in a 2:1 ratio with dietary fiber. That would mean eating an orange instead of drinking orange juice, for example.

    Zurvan hit the nail on the head and even cited the same book I would have (here’s to 2018). Things like the Twinkie diet are reckless, and while a caloric deficit may have made the subjects lose weight they probably would all be at least hypoglycemic and malnourished as a result of those diets. The same goes for the McDonald’s diet of fame and others. At some point you need the macro nutrients, and while caloric deficit is the key to weight loss, macronutrient blending is the key to a HEALTHY diet.

    I think you’d find hitting macros would be almost impossible without utilizing the key points taubes talks about.

    As for the swatting case it’s a clusterfuck. They could commute burriss to Kansas since the crime occurred there, but he is under the jurisdiction of California and would need to be commuted. I don’t see California holding him, but the crime involves multiple parties, interstate douchebaggery, and multiple states so I’m thinking it trudges into federal territory.

    If that happens he might get a friendly court like the ninth district, if some of the other culprits live in the West too. I think one could try to score a murder conviction on the “know or should have known” line of reasoning about his intent to have someone killed. However, if you’ll recall another very famous federal case just argued in the ninth district, a Mexican national walked because it was reasoned “while he was in possession of a gun, intent couldn’t be proven; there was not enough evidence about the discharge of the weapon, etc.”.

    That case had the weapon in hand and he was within reasonable distance of a victim to establish prima facie. In addition, the masherlie case on the bart years ago, if you’ll recall it was almost impossible to score a murder charge on him either.

    I think the elements that will be hard to prove here are intent, malice, and presence. In my opinion this would be monumental if he was convicted but I just see even a mediocre defense attorney arguing he didn’t pull the trigger, and in essence all he did was prank call the police and shift the blame squarely on how the police botched the response.

    I think intent is almost impossible because the address was the wrong one. He could not have reasonably intended to kill, or have finch killed based on who the mark was.

    Jurisdiction in this case is a clusterfuck. About the only thing prosecutors have in hand is the tacit admission that he placed the call to ems on the interview which he will deny later.

    The thing that makes me believe America has lost our fucking minds about police is that among this community it is so widely accepted that police will fuck everything up and kill someone in these swatting situations that they believe it is a viable way to really injure someone. This trend is verified by countless instances of close calls and bad contact situations by police responses, so much so that the younger generation truly believes that the police can be used as hitmen.

    The other sad thing is there was a ballot initiative here in California to make swatting a felony and it was voted down, I think. Maybe it won’t be again:

  7. At some point you need the macro nutrients, and while caloric deficit is the key to weight loss, macronutrient blending is the key to a HEALTHY diet.

    That’s something I definitely don’t dispute. I don’t have any criticism for Taubes or what he suggests in that regard. I’ll just say that as someone who has followed a low-carb diet in the past (South Beach), I can vouch for both how effective and difficult such diets are to follow. Calorie counting gives you more flexibility, but you still have to eliminate sugar as much as you can to be successful at it.

    WRT Burriss…

    I think the elements that will be hard to prove here are intent, malice, and presence. In my opinion this would be monumental if he was convicted but I just see even a mediocre defense attorney arguing he didn’t pull the trigger, and in essence all he did was prank call the police and shift the blame squarely on how the police botched the response.

    The prosecution doesn’t need to show intent or malice, just a reckless disregard for life by way of his actions. The YouTube interview provides that. Burriss says outright that he used hoax bomb calls in the past to cause fear. It’s no stretch to say that he was deliberately trying to cause a situation in which fear would prompt someone to be harmed and he simply didn’t care what would happen.

    I would liken it to shouting “fire”in a crowded movie theater and when someone gets trampled to death in the panic, saying, “Well, I’M not the one who ran and trampled the guy!” It wouldn’t fly there and it won’t fly here either.

    I stand by what I said in the post. If the person in the YouTube interview is Burriss and if the jury hears that as evidence, it’s a slam dunk for 2nd degree murder. However much he doesn’t want to admit it, his deliberate actions sent police into a situation in which the resident of the house and the police would be in a state of fear. He knew it and he did not care. That chain of events lead directly to a man’s death.

    Had Burriss not placed the call claiming that there was a hostage situation and aggravated arson in progress, police would not have had any reason to go to the residence. Finch would not be dead. Burriss can try to rationalize it as much as he likes by trying to deny responsibility simply because he didn’t pull the trigger, but nobody on the jury is going to believe that he didn’t know that his phone call was going to create a potentially lethal situation.

    I predict conviction for homicide.

  8. The prosecution doesn’t need to show intent or malice, just a reckless disregard for life by way of his actions.

    So he’s got the Clinton defense then – “Careless” instead of “reckless disregard”.

    The California judge gave Kansas until Feb. 2nd to pick him up for extradition – which he didn’t fight interestingly enough. So they’ve got 30 days to strengthen the case before officially charging him with anything beyond the “making a false alarm” that he’s been charged with.

    On another note – you would think our 911 systems would have the ability to tell when someone is calling from 1,400 miles away, and might flag that as at the least a questionable call – especially for something as serious as a hostage situation.

    Looks like the family of the victim is pressing to have the officer who shot him brought up on charges…doubt that will happen, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he loses his job.

    If anything, I think Barriss will plea/be convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

  9. On another topic…

    My 401k closed the year with a 21.75% growth rate. Whether that’s due to Trump, or aliens, or whatever, that’s a damn good year.

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