Carly Fiorina rejects suspending VP campaign

When Sen. Ted Cruz selected Carly Fiorina as his running mate, there were hopes that the choice of a failed female corporate executive, with no experience in public office, would fire up the Cruz crusade and gain enough fringe-belief delegates to stop Donald Trump.

Fiorina photo

Fiorina explains a fine point of her reality system.

Now, after a trouncing in the May 3rd Indiana primary, Cruz has thrown in the towel and suspended his campaign. But not so fast, says Fiorina. She plans to stay in the race, hoping to score a massive victory in California, site of her Hewlett-Packard financial success.

During a brief interview after Cruz’s last rally, Fiorina was questioned about the validity of running when her name was not actually on the ballot in California. Her response echoed several themes from her 2016 presidential campaign. She replied, “That’s your reality.”

She added:
“I know Ted Cruz will be on the ballot and I’m not a quitter. We’re going to get it done and stop the Trump Train, so that Sen. Cruz can un-suspend his campaign and save America.”

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Larry David to stay in campaign until convention

After months of exposure in the Democratic Presidential primary race, comedian Larry David re-iterated his intention to continue his impersonation of Democrat (sort of..) Bernie Sanders. Despite Sanders’ win in the May 3rd Indiana primary election, there doesn’t appear to be any chance that Sanders will stop Hillary Clinton’s nomination for president.

Larry David & Bernie photo

Twice the fun–for the same price!
Can you tell who is who?

Some Sanders insiders have hinted that he is nearing a point where he will resign from the race, well before the Democratic National Convention. However, Larry David’s publicist, Gus Tinkley, issued a press release that indicated David was “in for the long haul,” and “will take his act all the way to the convention floor, since this is the easiest gig he has had in 20 years.” Beyond that, Tinkley said, “To hone his acting acumen, Larry is also working on impersonations of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton (!), to be rolled out as needed.

Stay tuned, America!

 

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Trump VP Pick is a Familiar Face

After weeks of discussion within the Trump Camp, sources close to Mr. Trump have leaked details of the search for a vice-presidential running mate. Sarah Palin, though an early backer of Mr. Trump, requested she not be considered so she can care for her husband, Todd, who was seriously injured in a snowmobile accident.

Omarosa Manigault & Trump

Omarosa Manigault & Trump

Another possible VP candidate was Omarosa Manigualt, familiar to viewers of Trump’s TV reality show, The Apprentice. As an African-American female, strategists hoped she would help counter some of Trump’s low approval ratings with women and minorities. In a yet to be released statement, Omarosa said,

“I’m flattered that Donald would consider me for his backup in his ‘Make America Great Again’ luxury country makeover. Unfortunately, I have some prior commitments to the introduction and marketing of my new line of mood-altering food supplements. I wish him the best of luck, and hope he can avoid bankruptcy on this project.”

An old hand to return

One of Trump’s key beliefs is that the U.S. should get back in the torture (and worse!)

cheney photo

Cheney makes a gesture.

business. His views have been forcefully denounced by several high ranking security and military officials, with former CIA chief Michael Hayden saying the CIA would defy orders to conduct torture. Trump’s strategy is apparently set to challenge any attempts to defy orders by announcing Dick Cheney as his VP running mate.

Trump’s spokesperson elaborated:
“Dick Cheney has proven his value in persuading military and security agencies that they need to ‘get with the program’ or be classified as anti-American. It will be interesting to see how these military types change their tune when ole’ Dick starts messing with their minds.”

New Cabinet position

In addition to appointing Cheney as Vice-President, Trump spokes-bot described a new position President Trump will create on his first day in office. The Deputy of Extreme Rendition Techniques (DERT) will be headed by Cheney as its first “Dungeon Master.”

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Trump Declares War on ISIS

Two weeks ago, a source close to the Trump campaign revealed, off-the-record, that Trump was considering taking unilateral military action in Syria and Iraq.

Trump B-52

B-52 takes off on a routine test flight in October.

On Friday, Trump took the plan public, and spoke with a small group of veterans in South Carolina and described his plan this way:

“I don’t have time to fool around waiting for our idiot president and his stupid military advisors to wipe out ISIS.  Within the next few weeks, I will be taking a two-pronged approach to stop this scourge on civilization.”

Prong Number One
“The first step will be to offer ISIS leaders an opportunity to invest in my newest resort, “Ali-Don,” near the Syria/Iraq border.  I have some fantastic people working on this deal. We have built a incredibly flat airstrip as the base of our operation, so guests can fly directly to Ali-Don.  These ISIS people are so stupid, that if it goes as planned, they will be broke in 2-3 months, and the war will be done. ”

Backup Plans

Trump continued.
“As you know, I am a brilliant businessman, so I’m gonna have a backup plan in case the resort doesn’t work out. Here it is: BOMB THE BEEJESUS OUT OF THEM!!  In a short time, I will be flying bombing missions to eliminate these scumbags.  We are purchasing several B-52s and retrofitting them for extended missions.”

“I am also negotiating with Lockheed Martin to purchase an F-35 fighter (more on F-35) that will be used for shooting down the occasional Russian plane, just to get Putin’s attention, if you know what I mean.”

Trump loading bombs

Trump’s crew loading ordnance to facilitate ISIS’s return to the stone-age.

“This will not cost taxpayers a dime–I am SOO0oo000 RICH, and thanks to free coverage I’ve gotten from the lamebrain mainstream media, I haven’t spent a dime of the $750,000,000 petty cash that I have set aside for the campaign!”

Private Enterprise at War–a new American Tradition
Pre-empting what he described as “pesky legal arguments against his plans,” Trump said, “There is nothing in the constitution to stop a citizen from declaring war, and that’s exactly what I’m doing, because I’m a Man of Action. If you were paying attention when Dubya (Jeb’s idiot brother) ran the Iraq war, private companies burned up a huge chunk of taxpayers’ cash. How is this any different–except this time I’ll pick up the tab? Remember Blackwater? My guys could kick their butts ten times over before lunch! This ISIS extermination will be wrapped up by the end of February.”

Peace for a Richer America
Trump elaborated on effects this would have on his political campaign.
“With this fantastic victory over ISIS, when I take office in 2017, we can get on with making Americans richer and greater and happier than they could ever imagine!  Oh yeah, and whiter than ever—stay tuned for my plan to cleanse our country of all the weirdos that no one likes.”

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Private Prisons May Profit

Despite recent state and federal legislation to reduce criminal penalties and free many non-violent prisoners, it appears that the private prison industry, including industry leaders  GEO Group and the Corrections Corporation of America, the nation’s largest private jailers, will continue to expand.

prison chart

Private prisons have been a growth business for years.

This may seem counter-intuitive, and many predict a downturn in the privatization trend, but there is serious money to be made if you take advantage of the market for small, specialty prisons.

With innovation in privatization, especially mini-prisons, costs are down.  Elimination of pesky prison guard union restrictions (i.e. high wages) are a major way to cut costs. So you don’t have to be a huge, multi-million dollar enterprise to get in the incarceration business.

Youth and Women

model prisoners

Model prisoners: With the popularity of the hit TV show, “Orange is the New Black”, prison is more fashionable with today’s young ladies!

Another niche market for the private prison operator is to specialize in women and children. Typically, such lockups are less expensive to build, and the whole family will fight over who gets guard duty! Think about making your facilities “kid friendly” and more flexible to respond to a wide variety of sentencing guidelines.

kids in prison

These kids are learning valuable lessons that will help them be successful when they are released.

Equipment Market Expands
One company that is making a move to expand opportunities in this sector is the Handcuff Warehouse. They are developing complete packages of equipment that can be used to create a  medium-security “mini-prison” that can be deployed in a home environment, such as an unused room, in the basement, or in a garage.

But wait…there’s more!
By selling the (required) uniforms to prisoners, and crafting a few regulations, you can boost your revenue with little or no effort. For example: Make clean uniforms a requirement for meals, then charge $10 per uniform for laundering (a great job for a family member who might not want to be in direct contact with your inmate population).

Other money-makers include phone call fees, drug tests, first aid supplies, “counseling”, shackle rentals (for field trips), and mileage fees for transport to court hearings.

visitation

These few moments with outsiders are precious to many inmates, and they will pay “bigtime” for the privilege.

Though typically offered for free in government run prisons, private entrepenuers are also expanding the “visitation racket,” where admission to see a prisoner is based on a per-minute rate.

Different Strokes
Another market that is just beginning to take off is renting facilities to S & M aficionados! These people are often from the upper income population, and will pay top dollar for a night in an unused cell.

Insurance Companies On-board
Running a prison, even a small one in your home, requires liability insurance. You must use careful screening to select prospective “clients.” Occasionally, even though you picked the most docile, well mannered inmates, things can go wrong. Better to plan ahead, and most states will require some sort of insurance before they will drop off any prisoners. Currently, several companies, including State Farm and AAA, offer discounts if you also use them for car and home insurance.

angry women prisoners

Insurance will give you and your neighbors peace of mind if you encounter an organized resistance by unruly (and ungrateful!) prisoners.

With a well planned mini-prison, escapes are rare, but they do happen and they can be very costly. A good insurance policy can be a godsend when this happens. Just as you select inmates carefully, you should also give high priority to avoid bogus insurance deals.

If you’re really interested in knowing more about this opportunity, please contact halfalert for an informative load of spam, malware, and general B.S. !

 

 

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Skymall crashes to earth…

Flying on commercial airlines has gotten just a little more boring. No, I don’t mean “on-time” or “here are your bags” boring. I’m talking about what’s in the seat pocket. It looks like we’ll have to add the Skymall catalogue to our list of things from the “good old days” of flying! They have gone bankrupt (Link to Wall St. Journal article). Some of the blame is put on customers having more access to similar cool(?) stuff via their smart phones.

But could it be another problem? Insiders cited multiple lawsuits and (confidential) payouts in the millions for injuries (and 3 fatalities) when people used this “super chair” in traffic. Judges repeatedly sided with the plaintiffs (or their heirs) in judgements in civil courts across the U.S. Specifically, they held Skymall liable for the advertisements that led customers to believe the $7999 (powered) lounge chair was safe to drive in traffic.

For $7999, it's understandable that some people took this ad literally, and were injured or killed as a result.

For $7999, it’s understandable that some people took this ad literally, and were injured or killed as a result.

Of course, it wasn’t safe, and had never been certified as road-worthy by the U.S. DOT.

One judge said, “People are getting dumber everyday, but that is no excuse to present this souped-up chair as safe for the road, despite it’s $8000 price tag.”

 

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The Ultimate Scanner is (still?) FREE!

Whether you live in the big city or out yonder, you know that police, sheriff’s deputies, fire departments, and emergency medical personnel are on the job. The link below allows you to listen to the radio traffic among these agencies. It’s like having thousands of scanners at your fingertips!

Search by your zip code or city. (This link opens in a new window.)

Police, Fire, EMS, Aircraft, and Rail Scanners on RadioReference.com

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U.S. Dept. of Defense hit by ISIS hackers

After the hacking debacle at Sony, how bad can it get? Well, here’s the latest hacking news. This time it’s the U.S. military Central Command websites hacked by ISIS. A Centcom spokesman confirmed their computer accounts were compromised by ISIS.
“CENTCOM’s operation military networks were not compromised and there was no operational impact to U.S. Central Command,” a military statement said. “CENTCOM will be re-evaluating our social media programs. We have launched a 4 5 6 7 many pronged attack on this cybervandalism.

1. Within 30 days, all personnel will be required to update their Microsoft Security Essentials and change their passwords.
2. The IT staff will  “unfriend” all ISIS related Facebook friends, and then stand-down on any further Facebook activity. In addition, the Dept. of Justice will arrest Mark Zuckerberg for questioning on Facebook security policy and failures (as soon as he wraps up several secret projects for the CIA and Homeland Security).
3. CENTCOM recognizes the importance of maintaining a strong social media presence, and is aware of the “gap” that step 1 creates. This gap will be filled by opening accounts on MySpace and Friendster.
4. CENTCOM will henceforth use DailyMotion and Vimeo for media presentation.
5. In place of Twitter, CENTCOM will deploy AOL Chat accounts.
6. CENTCOM has enabled “TURBO MODE” on all web security hardware and software.”
7. The FBI will join the fight against this cyber-terror, as soon as they can get their servers up and running. (The FBI computer network was infected with a “worm” while investigating the Sony hack).
8. Oracle, Cisco, and IBM have voluntarily agreed to end advanced computer hardware system shipments to ISIS data centers.
9. All known terrorists in computer science programs will be expelled from U.S. universities.

soldiers and computers

The military has expanded training programs to counter social media terrorists.

 

 

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Laugh it off!

cartoon of laughing personWhen I created HalfAlert, I had two goals. They are:
1. To help people cope with the intensity of 21st Century Life with laughter.
2. Provide tools for getting to the truth of a matter using math, science, and history.

For LAUGHS, I could only hope to be as clever as these satirical websites. Check them out. You may have seen The Onion, but there are plenty more–here are 3 of the best! Click the link–they should open in a new window.

The Bennington Vale Evening Transcript
The Borowitz Report
The Daily Currant

BONUS Friendly Fun Idea!

Some of the satire is so “spot-on” that I have to check the real news to see how much they are making up! So why not pick one that will “steam up” someone who sends YOU those annoying emails. Send ‘em some links and standby back for fun!

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Toolkit for Quantitative De-bunkers

Here are some valuable tools (via the Web) for critical thinking.

Money

Suppose you want to compare the value of something today (2014) with the same item 50 years ago (1964).
Example: A basic 21 in. color TV was $400-500 in 1964. How does that compare with today’s small flat screens (in price only–the quality of image, features, etc. is 1000x better)? You can compare prices, wages, investments, etc., over time with this site: Measuring Worth.

Plug in the data, and the results, based on purchasing power (Consumer Price Index) and similar measures indicate that $400 TV would cost $2960 in 2014. Try it out!

Polling Results

Most news programs and “talk radio” frequently report on poll results. Slick talkers can spin the results to support a position.  When they leave out details such as the actual wording of the question, it can confound the truth. Network news rarely goes beyond a simple reporting of “x percent were in favor” and “y percent opposed”. If you want to dig deeper (and you should), this Website has what you need to really understand poll questions and results:   Polling Report.com

Population Data

Who? How many? Where? The U.S. Census Bureau has a ton of data and many ways to view the data, including interactive maps, charts, etc.

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