“Maleficent Industrial Park” Coming to Missouri?

On the hunt for more real estate? Want to give landowners credit for their land, and prospective buyers a look at other areas?

How about a free tour of a new (fake) industrial park?

They’re having it in Missouri–and there are signs that they might do it in Kansas City too.

The “Mac Factory”–which only looks real because it’s fake–invents a small, tree-lined border town in Texas called Pctum. The town is then reborn as a new manufacturing park under a giant map of central and east Missouri.

Like an elaborate dream for industrial boosters, the “Maleficent Industrial Park” is sooo hot! They’re sooo tired of our economic woes! See, they build a new factory on 32 acres and put the whole area up for lease. That makes us all super happy!

Cindy Brown of Backyard Homes in Missouri showed me around and says these leafy areas next to schools are hot real estate–you can buy a huge tract now for about $80,000 and you can rent it for $2,000 a month, even more money if you have school-age kids. This park will make us all very wealthy–or at least the kids!

Click here to see the online promo video for the Maleficent Industrial Park.

The Wyandotte County Industrial Alliance (WCI) in Kansas City is also busy this year rolling out real estate for the big industrial companies who make up their seven-county zone.

The mini-Tulip market for these “investors” was unveiled at the end of October. Inside the Wyandotte County Industrial Alliance office is a “living museum” of the area’s rich industrial history.

These modern day industrial pioneers, armed with Apple computers, beepers, and ATMs, are looking for new “future jobs”. So they’re moving into more than 12 small cities across the region. With all the new businesses coming in, they’re near a financial edge.

And–click on this slideshow to see a location center pitch for a Missouri industrial park.

These made-up industrial cities–all with local designations–are only one instance of what Garrison Keillor would call a “good thing”: if places like the “Kosmix-coated Rivertown” or “Habitat City” are successful, they’ll put some bright new towns in places like Columbia, Kansas City, and even St. Louis.

Yes, make money in Missouri. And enjoy the best of our farm heritage by cleaning out the “rabbithouses” and selling them for scrap. That’s really a very big deal.

Other links from my App Store:

Kirkpatrick Was Not Reading The PDF!

FOX Chicago Chicago Weekly

World’s Largest American Flag Flag Floats Down Ohio River

What Happens When You Ride To Work On A Bankroller Of Lake Wobegon:

OMG! World’s Tallest New York Subway Station Is In Phoenix

What To Do If You Find A Nail In The Roller Coaster

What would you do if This All-American Ad Was Made In A Cult Hallway In England?

Inventing a New Tool Belt Is Best After You “Unseat” One: This “Car Tool Belt” Will Try To Be Unique!

George: George Washington Weeped He Had To Write His Farewell Letter

And Now For Something Even Better!

The Plant Door: Would One Of The Most Interesting Jobs Ever Be Made In Pennsauken?

The Plant Door promises to bring fresh hip culture to North Carolina, in an effort to occupy the basketball team at the University of North Carolina. Specifically, they plan to open Plant Doors across the state to generate world-class art.

Of course, they’ll be working with the Bill Leach Gallery in Chapel Hill to do this and nothing will stop their efforts–until, at least, a fake Texas town pops up and is made real for the benefit of Humphrey Bogart boosters.

It works for the “Mac Factory”–but that’s a Scrooge story.

This article originally appeared on Downstream Project.


What happens when Apple makes out with Samsung and LG?


Ok, so maybe the word “new” is a bit arbitrary, but to draw any other conclusion is completely insane.

If you’re an LG man or woman who bought a Prime Time TV in the late ’90s, chances are you’ve gotten a coil haircut with a dead-end socket. If you’re an LG Go-Do man or woman who bought a Fire TV Stick, odds are you’ve received an SSD drive with an ugly LCD screen at some point. The remotes, the energy adapters, the power supplies, the internals. And that Mac factory in Texas.

Yeah, yeah. We’ve been hearing that story for a few years now, with LG’s Fire TV Stick still being one of the most popular things ever sold by a company that wasn’t Apple. But there’s a dark side to this story. Basically, you won’t be able to buy them in Australia next year. That’s because of the 2-in-1 iPad. Apple has its own integrated power supplies, so the dinnertime chit chat with the Fire TV Stick in your pocket while out shopping was entirely moot. You have to go Apple if you want to keep your speakers going for much longer than a minute or two. And there is no real reason why you’d go Apple. But mostly because of that weird weather. Every time I’ve seen a (U.S.) Fire TV Stick, it was some time after a heavy rain or storm. A lot of the technical features that you may have enjoyed, like a Wi-Fi that does nothing but Apple Airplay, were absent during those times. It has an Apple-friendly remote that required plastic pins to hang on your iPad – otherwise, it just wasn’t all that practical (and I’ve never been in an Apple Store – and from what I could tell, a majority of Australian Apple Stores don’t do much better).

Forget it for now – LG already makes its own product for the same thing. And if you’re a hardcore LG fan – it’s even a better deal at prices from AU$14.99 down to AU$69.95. But I also wanted to say that iPhone in a Power Bank? The easiest way I’ve ever come across to getting a world-renowned company in the middle of an exodus – and in the process selling you the watch whose feature set’s been stripped of most of what doesn’t matter. Apple Watch doesn’t matter nearly as much as you think. Especially when you go through this chain of events.


Former Vietnamese Buddhist monk’s life touched by oppression in country, saints in the United States

Filip Quang Quang, an ascetic Buddhist monk who used burning incense and strong waters to transform over 100,000 Vietnamese prisoners into followers and monks in a secret religious movement during the Vietnam War, died Nov. 18 at a hospice in Pennsylvania, after becoming weak from Parkinson’s disease. He was 95.

Thich Tri Quang lived in the Philippines for nearly 40 years, and frequently took Vietnamese followers to the United States to study Buddhism.

He was a formidable force in a communist movement in which dissenters had to go to prison, lie in pools of stagnant water and slowly turn into stone to prepare them for the abasement rite, one of the most brutal parts of the Buddhist faith.


“I really understood how much these people suffered,” he once told researchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara. “It was impossible for them to think about themselves. When they entered this casket they had nothing left.”

In the 1970s, Pham Van Vo, a Vietnamese Jesuit, went to Saigon as an American academic at the Catholic University of America and independently visited Thich Tri Quang’s secretive monastery, which existed between Saigon and Hanoi, the capital. Vo encountered large numbers of Vietnamese believers who also had recently left the prison. Vo and seven other Vietnamese Jesuits founded the Teacher’s Training Institute at George Washington University, which trains Vietnamese and American Buddhist monks.

“One of the most valuable things I learned from Thich Tri Quang was how you can transform a prisoner into a monk,” Vo told The Washington Post. “There were times when he made such a powerful plea to the prisoners’ conscience that they succumbed to his charm and quiet suggestion.”


Thich Tri Quang, a Brother of the Rinpoche of the Sangha in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, who was also a disciple of the Quietist monk Kirti Mahadevan, was born in March 1921 in Phnom Penh. His father, Duc Loc Phang, was a doctor who espoused Buddhist teachings, including a philosophy called Shakyamuni Buddhism, and soon became the first person in the city to open a monastic school.

When Thich Tri Quang was 5, his father died, sending the boy to live with his uncle. In 1933, his uncle married a schoolteacher, Thich Thi Bich Pham, and the pair had Thich Tri Quang born at their house. Thich Tri Quang later taught his two children at his Buddhist monastery in Phnom Penh and taught English and philosophy in the Thai capital.


After Vietnam’s Communist revolutionaries came to power in March 1975, Thich Tri Quang and his brother Brother Van of the Rinpoche traveled to New York in 1978 to study Buddhism. Their mission was to encourage Vietnamese followers to emigrate to the United States.

The monk had already spent six years in prison in the mid-1960s for having had suspicious contact with diplomats from the then-ruling Communist government. After serving his sentence, he was placed under house arrest for three years.

His mission to recruit American and European Buddhists began in 1982 with a trip to meet Americans on Long Island, where he began giving lectures about Shakyamuni Buddhism.

He also started a drive to raise money for orphans in Vietnam, where many were awaiting adoption. His cadre of young devotees traveled to the United States by bus, in a so-called Moonies-style conversion effort. The monks converted their followers by burning incense and then taking them through a “transformation,” which involved six daily 40-minute sessions of chanting, practicing meditation and preparing to be buried in a copper casket.

An estimated 90,000 Vietnamese followers followed Thich Tri Quang, most of them acquired from prison.

Thich Tri Quang’s soft-spoken body language and classic approach appealed to American converts. Speaking of his group, he once said, “Everything has to be done differently, and that’s why we are such a difficult group to work with, but we truly do love them.”

He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Thon Thi Thi.

— Washington Post


Centro Social: Ex-Obama administration employee to testify on Russian cyber warfare

MIAMI — With the end of the Trump presidency just weeks away, Congress is mulling legislative options to give Democrats, who will take control of the House in January, oversight of the administration. Just one month in, the Democratic caucus recently received its list of witnesses for various committees, and one of them is a Cuban-American Miami history professor with ties to the past two U.S. secretaries of defense.

Laura Cooper, the author of “Empire on Campus: The Reinvention of U.S. Higher Education,” has been tapped to provide “an expert” witness on “Russia’s military and political interference in Ukraine” for the House Armed Services Committee. Cooper, director of the Cuban Research Institute at Florida International University, plans to discuss the role of U.S. universities in Russia’s propaganda efforts and how the U.S. military can better combat Russian cyberwarfare.

A Miami Herald investigation found that Cooper was granted a government contract to provide counterintelligence training and security briefings to the secretaries of defense from 2014 to 2015, during an earlier lame-duck session after President Barack Obama’s second term. Two of her former students will testify as witnesses on Capitol Hill next month.

In the same contract, she was provided security briefings about the Zika virus by then-Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Mathews Burwell.

The appointment of the CENTROSUR grad raises serious ethical questions about federal prosecutors’ intervention into these private relationships, but Cooper claims there was no one on her team who requested these special accessions. She told the Herald in an email, “Much of the information presented as secret by CENTROSUR in their briefings was not secure in any way.” Cooper said that she never saw a secret item to which she was privy. She added, “That is not how government contracting works.”

Now the head of the Defense-Russia Engagement Program at the American Enterprise Institute, Cooper’s involvement at the State Department under the Obama administration is notable.

In 2016, a month after the Kremlin-backed RT network had its Kremlin-backed reporter Maria Butina arrested for interfering with the federal election, Cooper testified that RT “was in a position of [giving] advice to the U.S. [Democrat] candidate” while Jeff Sessions, who was then a U.S. senator, “was a lobbyist for the Russian satellite news network and met with a Russian lawmaker who was then under indictment for being an agent of a foreign country.”

Cooper asserted that the confirmation hearings of U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions for attorney general at the time amounted to “potential Russian collusion.”

“[Russia was] downplaying his past criticism of Russia as an investigator,” she continued.

“What’s revealing here is, here’s the head of a major research institute … and she has ties to the White House, she’s giving a presentation to congressional committees … at one of the most senior levels of government,” Stan Brand, a partner at the Tampa-based law firm Zest Washington who specializes in corporate and legal affairs, told the Herald at the time.

In light of Cooper’s testimony before Congress, Brand told the Herald that the acting head of the Department of Homeland Security, Elaine Duke, would be better suited to speak to the subject since she is “not one of these [E.U.] propagandists.”

It remains unclear if that will be her role at the United States and Russian governments or just as an academic, since Cooper declined to answer the Herald’s follow-up questions.

After filling in for an expert witness, Cooper previously sat in on two Republican-led hearings for how cyber security protections were drafted under the Obama administration.


Towering rebel militaries combine for a new challenge

For James E. Mattis, Robert M. Gates and other two-term national security officials who have criticized President Trump, one sign of ostracism at the White House is the inability to get even minor aspects of their views represented in government documents and speeches, such as John Bolton’s recent comments about the need to arm Ukraine.

It is by no means certain that Mr. Trump has moved decisively away from that thinking. But a number of officials have since left the administration in part because they could not accept his alleged support for Mr. Bolton and his overtures to Ukrainian officials, which were made while Mr. Mattis and Mr. Gates still led the administration.

Mr. Mattis, who still commands military forces in Afghanistan, resigned in December, complaining about a president who lacked “conscience and dignity.” He has said publicly he is powerless to implement official policy after leaving the administration, and he was not mentioned by name in Monday’s State Department press conference announcing the sanctions. Mr. Gates, who ran the Pentagon for two terms, has accused Mr. Trump of writing damaging intelligence reports about America’s adversaries — conclusions that the president has brushed aside.

But one person who can attest to the importance of these old-school, more measured and practical views of the world is Mr. Pompeo, who had the Defense Department portfolio for two years under Mr. Trump. His statements Tuesday reflected the fact that, on the big national security questions facing the United States, he can be counted on to promote the positions that have served him well while at the State Department, diplomats say.

“It’s great to see the secretary of state on an issue that matters, because we really need to stand up for Ukraine,” Anna G. Chapman, a senior adviser at the think tank Global Security, said.

A central theme in Mr. Pompeo’s comments Monday was that Mr. Trump’s officials have the backing of the entire administration — unlike when they had been given the all-clear to openly support a Ukrainian offensive in the breakaway territory of Luhansk. In that instance, Mr. Trump sided with the military leaders of the European Union, Europe’s largest military alliance. But Mr. Trump backed the Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, whose troops were on the verge of victory in June, and was forced to intervene at the last minute. The United States had been in a contest with Russia on Ukraine. Mr. Pompeo argued that all NATO nations are now on the same page, accepting that Ukraine has a sovereign right to defend itself and to repel an attack.


Massachusetts will be first U.S. state to ban menthol tobacco products

Massachusetts is set to become the first state to ban flavored tobacco products.

The ban was approved by the Massachusetts House on Nov. 20, setting the stage for Governor Charlie Baker to sign the legislation into law on Thursday.

“This legislation strikes the right balance between protecting our communities and ensuring access to a low-risk product,” said Baker. “I look forward to signing this bill as soon as possible.”

The ban applies to all flavored tobacco products — like tobacco flavored cigars, candy-flavored electronic cigarettes and flavored hookah tobacco — including menthol. The legislation doesn’t apply to menthol-flavored cigarettes, and flavored tobacco products like sparkling tobacco and flavored chewing tobacco are exempt.

The ban marks the first time any U.S. state has outlawed tobacco products that contain menthol flavor.

“There is too much evidence to ignore that menthol sweetens the product,” said Stacy Wood, a project coordinator at Tobacco Free Massachusetts, in a statement. “We believe this is one more step in improving the health of Massachusetts and creating healthier communities.”

The regulation also bans flavors that are claimed to harm children — like candy, fruit, fruit punch and peach.

The ban doesn’t apply to flavored cigars and vaping products with nicotine gums and creams in the top 10% of a product’s surface area. The bill says chewing tobacco can be sold in a similar way.

Last year, California became the first state to completely ban menthol cigarettes. Other states are considering restrictions on menthol cigarettes, including California, Massachusetts, Ohio, Minnesota, Texas and Maryland.


Chinese Hong Kong consulate employee files $235M suit

BEIJING | A former employee of the British Consulate in Hong Kong, who says he was repeatedly held and tortured by Chinese officials, has filed a $235 million lawsuit in the U.S. over alleged wrongful termination.

According to the complaint filed Nov. 14 in federal court in Manhattan, Christian Serrano, now an East Coast insurance broker and real estate investor, was working for the Consulate from February 2011 to January 2014. In that time, he was detained at two different consulates in China, and treated roughly by Chinese agents at a third, the complaint said.

“From the time he left college, Christian suffered intense harassment, mistreatment and physical abuse,” according to the complaint. “Christian says he suffered repeated beatings, sexual assault, torture, psychological damage and loss of morale. Christian says that these actions resulted in a major deterioration in his mental health.”

The suit says Serrano, 23, was in the Chinese Consulate in Chengdu from March 2015 to October 2015, when he left the consulate and sought assistance to enter the U.S. Chinese officials asked him to sign a false affidavit, according to the complaint. In a phone interview from the U.S., Serrano said the torture began after he refused to sign the affidavit.

Although Serrano filed a separate lawsuit against Chinese authorities for $30 million in 2015, his ex-colleagues at the Consulate in Hong Kong had difficulty corroborating the allegation of torture and bullying at the consulate, he said. When prosecutors failed to further investigate, Serrano says he “left his job and left Hong Kong for good.”

The defendants in the suit, including the British Consulate and several current and former consulate employees, declined to comment.

Joseph Brehall, a lawyer for Serrano, said the complaint included a “shockingly detailed” account of the consulate’s “abuse and harassment” of his client. “It is shocking to the conscience to see how consular officials treat people they claim to serve,” he said.

The British Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also declined to comment.

A spokesman for Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office said that the government had “committed to investigating and correcting” Serrano’s allegations. “The allegations are completely unacceptable and not reflective of our work to promote the human rights of all people,” the spokesman said.

Additional reporting by Philip Wen in Beijing.


‘I’m 17 Years Old, and I’m Terrified’: The Issues Our Readers Hope Come Up at the Democratic Debate

× ‘I’m 17 Years Old, and I’m Terrified’: The Issues Our Readers Hope Come Up at the Democratic Debate

Twitter: @grazzyglenn

Three candidates are vying for the position of Democratic nominee for Ohio governor. The winner will face Republican state Attorney General Mike DeWine in the general election in November.

Candidates include former consumer advocate Richard Cordray, state Rep. Joe Schiavoni and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley. The Democratic debate, moderated by News 6 anchor Gosia Wozniacki, will be held at the University of Cincinnati on Thursday, November 22, at 8 p.m. (central time).

I am 17 years old, and I’m terrified. — Rainni Irizarry (@Rainniizzarry) November 21, 2018

You may remember our starting date of: 4.11.09, when our Democratic candidate won the NY election by less than 1,000 votes. 7, 8 years later and things are pretty still. You’d need a ton of telescopes to even see them in #es2 #TrumpElections — Giselle Cohen (@GiselleCohen) November 21, 2018

Me when I think about the Democratic debate: — Elisabetta Loble (@elsbrokesxx) November 21, 2018

I’m 17 yrs old and obviously terrified to be going up against the Democrats currently occupying the Oval Office. I’ve been coming to Democratic debates for many years and yeah, soo much has changed. I mean, they stopped showing planes landing, let alone planes taking off. — Jenny Fettig (@JennyFFettig) November 21, 2018

The most terrifying thing I’ve seen in years was when Linda Harvey clogged up Twitter with righteous rant after righteous rant. Is it too late to name-drop me in a speech about removing this sexist bigot? — Rod Geisler (@rogggett) November 21, 2018


Most of you are saying what you want to hear in the CNN debates

Please enable Javascript to watch this video

It was announced this week that two female Democratic candidates are set to participate in the debate hosted by Mark Zuckerberg’s political action committee,, on Saturday. That match-up, the second Democratic debate on CNN, comes after House Democrats who planned to boycott the event agreed to attend.

Two Democratic women candidates — democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke and democratic socialist challenger Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — are slated to appear, as is another democratic woman and well-known democratic candidate, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Read on to see what our readers are hoping come up during the debate.

“What’s the cause of all this racist harassment and hate crime?”

“Overwhelmingly more of a function of social media. That is the place for these vitriolic comments. And so I think that when the ‘alt-right’ for instance or (white nationalists) have their time on the air, it’s because they’re on social media. They’re being recorded, they’re being reported, they’re having to live in a live interview with MSNBC (or CNN) … and they have to be careful they’re not angry comments or violent comments or hateful comments or divisive comments that’s when you get some violence and that’s when you get these extremely extreme statements and hostile rhetoric.”

“I’m a millennial who has been a Trump voter since the beginning of the Trump candidacy, but there’s so much that I take issue with, and my fear is that people don’t realize that they’re voting for a serial liar, a narcissist, a bully, an America first conservative who is self-proclaimed racist and a neo-Nazi. … I don’t feel comfortable with Hillary taking on Donald Trump.”

“I would like to see more questions directed at Bernie Sanders.”

“Being the people that don’t agree with a certain thing, my feeling is don’t hesitate to call me an idiot and I’ll call you an idiot back.”

“So what do you think she should do with her opponent?”

“Take her opponent and shake his head with a bug smirk as he squeals in incredulity at her brazen audacity.”

“I’d love to see what the liberals would call abortion if there wasn’t a tissue to protect.”

“We need help.”

“If I could go back in time, I would make a concerted effort to help this young woman, her mom, her dad, and anyone else that had cancer, because that is no one’s fault that they have cancer. Cancer is a terrible, terrible disease, but they are taking care of themselves and they shouldn’t have to turn around and try to treat it with cancer doctors that are not connected with them.”

“Sailor’s IQ, I was told was 102 when she was born, so I’m not going to judge her for that. However, I have a question … it’s interesting she says she knows of 50 senators in the Senate who voted against the Iran deal. One is, probably, Joseph Biden. I’m just wondering if she’s counting Joe Biden because it takes a 91st vote in the Senate to cut off a filibuster. If you do that, you are over 2,000 votes short of a veto. Even if you add up all the Democratic senators, you’re still … if you deduct Joe Biden’s vote, then it’s only 734 votes … and that’s the number of Democrats that voted against the Iran deal. Not 50, so I don’t know how you would possibly find out who voted against the Iran deal.”


Tim Sykes, Washington Examiner columnist, and Kassia Pilat, reporter, discuss what they want to see addressed in Democratic gubernatorial debate

Tim Sykes, the Democratic candidate running for Tennessee governor, and Washington Examiner columnist Kassia Pilat, the newspaper’s campaign editor, sat down with The Washington Examiner at Comic-Con International in San Diego, where they discussed what they’d like to see addressed at the upcoming Democratic gubernatorial debate in Tennessee.

Sykes: We’re in a fight, and the fight is all about momentum. And momentum is up and down and changes all the time, so we need to have a robust debate in every one of our states that we do running.

Primarily, I think that one of the biggest things that we need to get across is that this is not “us vs. them,” it’s “we vs. the average person in each of our districts.” And that is going to be one of the central themes of our debates and other events in the campaign.

To have this intense campaign on a national level, here in Tennessee, where we want to build momentum, what we have to do is open that conversation and have an eye toward voter turnout in each of our districts — particularly our relatively small population districts — because we need to see more Democratic candidates from each of those places.

It’s not just us talking about candidates and policy and national issues, it’s a direct and direct focus on our state issues.

Pilat: On many different levels, we have to listen to our voices. There are so many incredible people who live here in Tennessee — teenagers like myself, those who make their living making a living from art, and just everyday residents who are looking for a vote on key issues.

As we head toward Election Day, I think that issue of voter outreach will be an integral part of this debate.

I’m 17 years old, and I’m terrified of going into the voting booth and making a decision that I’m not confident about. We have to figure out, for those who aren’t familiar with the process, how to reach out to those that are unfamiliar and figure out how to educate them.

The older candidates, where do you pick that fight?

Sykes: I think what we want to do from this debate is expand on that idea, if you will, and explain to younger voters that they need to get involved — and if they’re people that do participate, they’re that much more informed, and perhaps that provides more pressure to the candidates that are participating.

Pilat: I think it’s equally about giving everyone a chance to be heard in a manner that is more fair and nonpartisan, where there’s no donor advantage whatsoever — so those of us on the media, those of us in politics, those of us in the media, the people who’ve been out there as volunteers for our candidates, they don’t benefit from being on TV, and likewise they don’t benefit from the understaffed nonprofits and some of these entities that support political campaigns.

It’s hard to run a campaign when we’re understaffed and underfunded. You can always have more volunteers if you have more help, and I think we need to lean on the programs and the organizations that are out there like that and make sure we’re asking for them and that we’re open to them.

We can’t put on a show for our contributors or something like that. It’s like 50 people sitting down to play chess and putting on the same kind of show.

Sykes: We’re relying on a grassroots effort that involves millions of people across the country and tens of thousands of people in Tennessee, and so we have to have that big online platform, and we also have to rely on a coordinated and grassroots effort with organizations like this.

It’s just as important to talk to volunteers across the country as it is to interview a candidate. What we’re trying to do is not just be able to bring 50 or 60 or 70 or 80 people across the country who have signed up as volunteers and asking them, “Well, why are you going to the races and why are you helping?”

We have to talk to those volunteers individually, and also to those who live in the state and those who don’t live in the state.

So, there’s a lot of different ways of doing it, and that’s what we need to be able to present in this debate.