This account will be deleted soon as I've found a more reliable provider. NB really dropped the ball fixing the Android app, and I've moved to Feedly.
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Farewell to NewsBlur

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Well, here we are. Tomorrow, unless I cancel before midnight tonight, I'll get charged for Feedly Pro. NewsBlur has not had a fully functional Android app for over two months, and there is still no ETA for a resolution (see the back story here and here).

Frankly, I'm surprised. I signed up for a trial of Feedly Pro in desperation a month ago in order to have a way to read RSS feeds on my phone that didn't make my head hurt. I thought that the NewsBlur team would certainly have a fix by now.

And yet, they don't.

It's disappointing.

The good news, I suppose, is that I found an alternative, one with an API that allows for third-party apps. Even if the Feedly app breaks, there will be alternatives. I just wish it wasn't twice the price.

But frankly, I've been waiting far too long for a resolution considering that this is a service I pay for, and at some point, you need to wish them well and cut your losses.

I guess that time is now.

Goodbye, NewsBlur. It was great while it lasted. I hope you fix your problems someday.

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1877 days ago
The end of a beautiful relationship. Time to move on.
The glorious California coast
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Review of the Orient Ray (II) Dive Watch

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Last week I took a trip to the East Coast for a visit with family and friends. Instead of taking one of my roller bags, which I’d typically use for a week away, I decided to carry everything on my back1. That meant careful packing, and judicious choice of electronics—especially those which require additional chargers and cables.

The first leg of the trip was to my in-law’s cottage on the James River, in Southern Virginia. That meant lots of time in the water, and sand. I didn’t take my Apple Watch, and instead bought a fun summer watch—a beater—built for sun, sand, and waves. I had pulled the trigger on my first dive watch.

The watch I purchased was the Orient Ray (second edition), and I really like it.

At $395 MSRP, the Ray is considered a budget model—quite inexpensive for a mechanical watch. I paid even less—$150 (at the time) on Amazon with free shipping. This is a watch I expected to fare well in the water, but wouldn’t panic if it got scratched or sank to the bottom of the James.

Some reading might think $150 is a lot of money for a beater watch, especially when a waterproof Timex or Casio could be purchased for $30 from any local store. It’s a fair point, but also why I think the Ray is such a fantastic value. It is an excellent budget model for a collector who wants a beach watch, but well built enough to perform as a nice watch for someone who isn’t a watch enthusiast.

As a Budget Diver

For an avid watch collector who has purchased bands that cost more, the Ray is a watch that arrives with little expectation. I’m hardly an avid collector myself, with all but one of my watches sitting in the $500-$1000 range. I have no stomach for testing the waterproof capabilities of my beloved Hamilton Aviator, and it’s the only water resistant mechanical I own which is meant to be submerged in water.

Dive watches are the most common type of dress watch, epitomized by the Rolex Submariner. A classic style that pairs well with a dress suit. But they are made for divers, designed to withstand the pressure of the ocean depths. They are completely waterproof. I’ve long wanted a dive watch for my collection, but $6,000 for a Submariner was out of reach—especially as a watch I would take swimming.

For $150, I could get a solid introduction to the dive watch style, since the Ray shares much in common with the Submariner shape, dial, and coloring. And critically, it’s rated for 200m—easily the most waterproof of my collection. It pales to the 600m rating of the Submariner, nor is it ISO certified like the Rolex. The higher rating didn’t practically matter to me, since I’d only be swimming in—at most—20 ft of river water.

Even in the murky water of the James River, the dials on the Ray were very legible, as I look upon them through the water. The bezel was convenient for timing jet ski rides, so I didn’t worry others by staying out too long.

It’s hard to tell how much you will enjoy a watch style, until you spend a few weeks with it on your wrist. The Ray is a practical entry to the style. I tend to prefer a larger watch—between 42 and 44mm—since my wrists are larger than average. The typical dive watch sits at 40mm, which I find too small. At 41.5mm, the Ray was right on the edge.

As a Dress Watch

On paper, the Ray presented good value as a tool watch when compared to its more expensive contemporaries. And it lived up to its rating in practice. Where the Ray surprises most is in its looks and feel.

In the under $500 category, there were two other watches I considered for my first diver: the Seiko SXK007, and the Steinhart Ocean Vintage Military (OVM). Both are inexpensive mechanicals, with incredibly good movements for the price, and sharp looks. However, both have painted markings on their face, instead of applied markings, common on more expensive watches.

It might seem small, and barely noticeable in pictures, but in person it’s immediately obvious to anyone with a critical eye. Applied markings have a raised, three dimensional quality that adds detail and intricacy to the watch face. The Ray, despite retailing for less, has its numeral markings applied on top of steel, and then painted with lume.

The face is spare, and gorgeous. There are many understated details, like the subtle pop of red color on the end of the second hand. The hour and minute hands use a vintage “sword style”, similar to the OVM—which are themselves an homage to the Milspec Rolex made for the British Navy in the 1950s.

On a nylon Zulu strap2 or a NATO strap, the Ray looks like a vintage military diver. Add a metal bracelet or leather strap, and the Ray works equally well as a dress watch. Given a proper strap, the fine details of the face, along with the smooth sweep of the movement, and the classic style of the case will fool many eyes into thinking the Ray is a much more expensive watch.

I wanted a watch I could wear swimming, but came away with another option to wear on date nights.

Not Perfect

Mechanical watches are not mass produced, which is why their prices remain high even though they are less accurate than a $30 Quartz digital watch. A watch, such as the Ray, can not retail for as low as it does without some compromises. In my opinion, Orient made great decisions but others—more particular than I—will take umbrage with the shortcomings.

First, the Ray has an inferior mineral crystal protective glass, not sapphire crystal like most premium mechanicals. This should mean the watch will be less durable over time, since the mineral crystal will chip, and crack more easily. The watch showed little signs of wear during the week I swam with it, despite frequent contact with sand and water. Only time will tell, regarding the endurance of the crystal.

While the movement is smooth and performs well (gains 8-10 seconds a day, on average), the knob and rotor is frustrating to operate. The first version of the Ray had a second push button for adjusting the date. The version I bought uses a two position pull-out, which is difficult to set in the middle position.

Since this is the position used to set the date and day of the week, it should only see use every other month. However, it’s one of the first things you do after pulling the watch out of the box. Higher quality watches will have a larger knob, with hand-carved knurled edges. The knob on the Ray is too small, and difficult to screw back onto the case. It mars an otherwise positive first impression.

Finally, I wish Orient made a slightly larger edition. A 43mm variant would be the perfect size for my (> 8”) wrist. I recognize that many watch lovers feel contemporary watches are too large as it is, but they all seem to have comically small wrists. Rolex makes the Deep Sea, which is 44mm version of the Submariner rated for even more insane depths.

The Orient Mako XL appears to be a 44mm version of the Ray, but it uses an older movement, same as the first version of the Mako and Ray. This movement requires the second dial to set the date, and does not have a hacking second hand. Poop.

Who is it for?

The Ray offers something for the collector, and non-enthusiast. Perhaps you’re curious about mechanical watches, and why so many are enthralled with them in 2017.

The Ray is a good beach watch for a collector who owns several nice watches, but doesn’t want to sully them in the water. Perhaps you appreciate finer details in a watch, and would prefer a solid movement on your wrist while you swim. The Ray fits the bill, for little money.

The Ray is also a versatile dress watch for someone who normally wears an Apple Watch, and for whom the Apple Watch was the most expensive watch they’d ever purchased. The Ray will look better tucked under the cuff of a nice shirt and suit, but it won’t break the bank. As an added bonus, it won’t pepper you with taps, sounds, and bullshit notifications when you’d rather stare longingly into your lover’s eyes.

For the watch curious, the Ray is perfect as your first mechanical. It’s simple, versatile, and beautiful. An excellent introduction to the beauty, and intricacy of mechanical watches. Pair it with a nylon strap, and you’re ready for a casual outing, a hike, or the beach. After a quick rinse in the sink—to wash off the grit—add a nice leather strap or steel bracelet for a nice evening of dress-up.

Because they’re so versatile, a dive watch can be your only watch, and thus perfect watches to travel light. On my recent trip I packed only the Ray, with two nylon straps, and a suede leather strap. I was ready for every situation.

I recommend you buy the Ray on Amazon, with free Prime Shipping.

  1. I purchased an Arcido Faroe—the very same pack Ben reviewed a month ago—and I love it. 
  2. I bought the Zulu straps from County Comm for $9/piece, plus shipping. 
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2538 days ago
As someone whose regular daily watch is a $79 Soviet-designed Russian mechanical dive watch, originally developed for the Soviet Navy, that's waterproof to 200m, is damn near indestructible, and keeps time within seconds per month, I find most of this article unintentionally hilarious. And just a bit pretentious.

And after you read it, Google "Vostok Amphibia."

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Trump, the GOP, and the Fall

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Original photo by Gage Skidmore, used under Creative Commons license. Click on photo to see original.

At this point there is no doubt that Donald Trump is the single worst major party presidential candidate in living memory, almost certainly the worst since the Civil War, and arguably the worst in the history of this nation. He is boastful and ignorant and petty, disdainful of the Constitution, a racist and a sexist, the enabler of the worst elements of society, either the willing tool of, or the useful idiot for, Vladimir Putin, an admirer of despots, an insecure braggart, a sexual assaulter, a man who refuses to honor contracts, and a bore.

He is, in sum, just about the biggest asshole in all of the United States of America. He’s lucky that Syrian dictator Bashar Hafez al-Assad is out there keeping him from taking the global title, not that he wouldn’t try for that, too, should he be become president. It’s appalling that he is the standard bearer for one of the two major political parties in the United States. It’s appalling that he is a candidate for the presidency at all.

But note well:Donald Trump is not a black swan, an unforeseen event erupting upon an unsuspecting Republican Party. He is the end result of conscious and deliberate choices by the GOP, going back decades, to demonize its opponents, to polarize and obstruct, to pursue policies that enfeeble the political weal and to yoke the bigot and the ignorant to their wagon and to drive them by dangling carrots that they only ever intended to feed to the rich. Trump’s road to the candidacy was laid down and paved by the Southern Strategy, by Lee Atwater and Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove, by Fox News and the Tea Party, and by the smirking cynicism of three generations of GOP operatives, who have been fracking the a white middle and working classes for years, crushing their fortunes with class whose fortunes their social and economic policies, policies have been crushing for years, never imagining it would wouldn’t cause an earthquake.

Well, surprise! Here’s Donald Trump. He is the actual and physical embodiment of every single thing the GOP has trained its base to want and to be over the last forty years — ignorant, bigoted and money-grubbing, disdainful of facts and frightened of everything because of it, an angry drunk buzzed off of wood-grain patriotism, threatening brown people and leering at women. He was planned. He was intended. He was expected. He was wanted.

But not, I think, in the exact form of Donald Trump. The GOP were busily genetically engineering the perfect host for their message, someone smooth and telegenic and possibly just ethnic enough to make people hesitant to point out the latent but real racism inherent in its social policies, while making the GOP’s white base feel like they were making a progressive choice, and with that person installed, further pursuing its agenda of slouching toward oligarchy, with just enough anti-abortion and pro-gun glitter tossed into the sky to distract the religious and the paranoid. Someone the GOP made. Someone they could control.

But they don’t control Trump, which they are currently learning to their great misery. And the reason the GOP doesn’t control Trump is that they no longer control their base. The GOP trained their base election cycle after election cycle to be disdainful of government and to mistrust authority, which ultimately is an odd thing for a political party whose very rationale for existence is rooted in the concept of governmental authority to do. The GOP created a monster, but the monster isn’t Trump. The monster is the GOP’s base. Trump is the guy who whole stole their monster from them, for his own purposes.

And this is why the GOP deserves the chaos that’s happening to it now, with its appalling and parasitic standard bearer, who will never be president, driving his GOP host body toward the cliff. If it accepts the parasite, it will be driven off the cliff. If it resists, the parasite Trump will rip himself from it, leaving bloody marks as it does so, and then shove the dazed and wounded GOP from the precipice. That there is a fall in the GOP’s future is inevitable; all that is left is which plunge to take.

I feel sorry for many of my individual friends who are Republicans and/or conservatives, who have to deal with the damage Trump is doing to their party and to their movement, even if I belong to neither. But I don’t feel sorry for the GOP at all. It deserves Trump. It fostered an environment of ignorance and fear and bigotry, assumed it could control the mob those elements created, and was utterly stunned when a huckster from outside claimed the mob as his own and forced the party along for the ride. It was hubris, plain and simple, and Trump is the GOP’s vulgar, orange nemesis.

Trump will do the GOP long and lasting damage, and moreover, Trump doesn’t care that he will do the GOP long and lasting damage. Trump was never about being a Republican; he was just looking to expand his brand. As it turns out, like apparently so many things Trump does, he’s done an awful job of it — the name Trump, formerly merely associated with garish ostentation and bankruptcy, is now synonymous with white nationalism, sexual battery and failure — but the point is on November 9th Trump is going to move on and leave the wreckage of the GOP in his wake, off to his next thing (everyone assumes “Trump TV,” in which Trump combines with Breitbart to make white pride propaganda for the kind of millennial racist who thinks a Pepe the Frog Twitter icon is the height of wit — and I hope he does, because the Trump touch will drive that enterprise into the ground, and little would warm my heart more than a bankrupt Breitbart).

Trump is the party guest who sets fire to your house, gropes your spouse and drives over your neighbor’s cat when he leaves; the GOP is left to deal with the police and the angry neighbors. It’s almost piteous, except when you scrub back to five hours earlier to hear the GOP say “What, Trump wants to come to the party? Well, he’s an asshole who drove Fred Jones’ car into the pool the other weekend, but he’s always good for a laugh, isn’t he? Surely it will be fine,” and then tells him to bring his bad boy self right on over.

There is no good way for the GOP or its members to extricate itself from this mess. Trump has doomed them for this election cycle. But there is a moral way, and they should take it. When a grifter and a con man has suckered you into a shitshow, you have two options: bail out early and admit you got shit all over yourself, or stick with the con and affirmatively choose to drown in the shit. No GOP politician should ever have endorsed him; the moral hazard he presented was obvious and clear and became clearer the further he went along. But if they were foolish enough to have endorsed him, it’s not too late to bail out. He’s going to lose either way and drag the GOP down with him; these politicians might as well come out of it with their souls, besmirched but still their own.

And obviously to me, no one with sense should cast a vote for Trump. He’s not just a candidate, he is an active repudiation of what we should expect from the United States and those who lead it. A candidate who can’t open his mouth without a lie falling out — a lie that everyone including him knows is a lie — doesn’t deserve to be president. A candidate who threatens millions because of their religion does not deserve to be president. A candidate who promises to extralegally throw his political opponent into jail does not deserve to be president. A candidate who fosters white nationalism, racism and anti-semitism does not deserve to be president. A candidate who brags about sexual assault and then tries to dismiss it as mere talk does not deserve to be president.

These are not merely Democratic or Republican issues. These are American issues, human issues and moral issues. You can’t vote for Donald Trump and say you don’t know what you’re voting for. You’re voting for hate, and chaos, and the deluge. Anything else that you think you get from voting for him will be washed away in the flood.

Trump is the single worst major party presidential candidate in living memory, but he’s there because the GOP spent decades making him possible, and its base, trained for decades to look for someone like him, made him its standard bearer. He needs to lose and the GOP needs to be punished for him. Conservatism and classical Republican ideas won’t go away, nor should they. But if the GOP can’t break itself from its addiction to the bigoted and the ignorant, then it certainly deserves to die. It’s brought the country to the edge. Shame is only the beginning of what it should feel for it.

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2831 days ago
Best summation of the relationship between Trump and the GOP I've yet seen.
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5 public comments
2829 days ago
My biggest fear is that national GOP will pay no price for what they have done and will almost have done to the country.
San Jose, CA
2831 days ago
Read all of this. Scalzi breaks it down simple.

(I need to send this to some people.)

2832 days ago
I agree with Scalzi here. This is exactly the outcome the GOP has been working toward for years. Trump is the embodiment of a set of conscious decisions made by party leadership, only they had hoped to have their own puppet at the top. Well, fuck all of them.
Portland, Oregon, USA, Earth
2832 days ago
harsh but true.
Heidelberg, Germany
2832 days ago
On point as always
Waterloo, Canada

Clinton and Sanders and the End of the Road

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So let’s talk about last night.

1. First and most obviously, Clinton had the night she needed last night: Decisive victories in the two largest states, New Jersey and California, wins in New Mexico and South Dakota, and a close loss in Montana that netted Sanders a single delegate. Sanders only blew out Clinton in North Dakota (a caucus, his favorite). Clinton ended the night netting two more states, 89 more pledged delegates and roughly 650,000 more votes than Sanders. She didn’t just run out the clock on Sanders, fending him off as he ate into her margin in a surge of populist enthusiasm, she legged on him, expanding her already sizable leads in every category. She won walking away, and is the nominee. Yes, there is one more primary (District of Columbia) next week, but it doesn’t really matter (and Clinton’s gonna win it anyway). Clinton won.

2. Conversely, Sanders lost, and he lost both convincingly and in a way that kicks the legs out of any cogent argument that he has for moving forward. The Sanders folks had pushed their chips on California, hoping a victory there would justify him taking his campaign to the convention. But in the end he was 13 points and over 400,000 voters behind. California didn’t deliver, and because it didn’t, he’s done. Sanders took to a stage last night and vowed he wasn’t done yet, but at this point it’s not really up to him. The Clinton train has left the station and he’s still on the platform, holding his hat.

3. Which I understand is hard for Sanders and many of his supporters to deal with, but I have to confess at this point I’m finding it difficult to be overtly sympathetic. My own politics lie ever so slightly more with Sanders than with Clinton, and had he prevailed over Clinton, I would have happily voted for him in the general over any of the candidates the GOP had in their field this year. For all that, it’s been clear to me since New York at least that Sanders wasn’t going to take the nomination from Clinton. The existential threat of President Trump is enough that I’ve been impatient to get to last night so everyone could stop politely pretending Sanders had some sort of shot at this and focus on stuffing Trump into a dark hole, electionwise.

I mean, yes, Sanders supporters, I get many of you are upset and even grieving about Sanders missing his chance. Sorry about that. Take a few days! It’s okay. But after those few days are over if you’re still trying to find some way for Sanders to win — or less charitably, trying to find some way to punish Hillary Clinton for the heinous crime of having won more states, more pledged delegates and more actual votes than Bernie Sanders — then you should really be asking yourself if you’re letting your own definition of perfect become the enemy of the entire world not becoming a rampaging goddamn trash fire, because that’s really the other option at this point.

This is not to say I don’t expect a certain percentage of Sanders fans to spin off and possibly join the Greens (who are openly trying to reel them in) or, somewhat less congruously, the Libertarians, or whomever, or just sit out in a huff. It’s a nice exercise of one’s privilege to do each of those things. But from my point of view, here’s the thing: Donald Trump is manifestly the worst and least-prepared major presidential candidate in modern history, and unlike some previous GOP presidents who come to mind, he’s not nearly tractable enough to be managed by a cadre of presumably more-engaged minders. He’s the walking manifestation of Dunning-Kruger, a racist and an increasingly-dangerous blowhard, and the fact the GOP is under the delusion they’re going to somehow keep him in line should fill every thinking human with terror (the GOP doesn’t really think they’ll be able to keep him in line, incidentally. They just need to convince you they can do it). As a practical matter, if you don’t want a President Trump — and I don’t — then Clinton’s your gal.

And, yes! It sucks that because the GOP has let a genuinely appalling human become its nominee, you might be called upon to be responsible for the welfare of the entire planet, and vote more practically and responsibly than the GOP did this year. But it really has come to that. I know many of you Sanders supporters will have rationalizations how this isn’t the case, but: Nope! It really is. Get your shit together, folks. It’s actually important.

4. Likewise, this week Sanders gets to show us whether he’s interested in implementing his actual ideals, or is just in it for his own bit of glory. Bluntly: Sanders is never going to be president, ever, so he can either help Clinton (and help save the world from Trump), or he can stay in her way. If he helps her, he’s got a good chance of pushing his ideas further into the working DNA of the Democratic party. Which I suspect will be good for the party in the long term, given Sanders’ popularity with younger voters. He can be a the progressive Moses — maybe not getting to the promised land himself, but getting his people there.

If he doesn’t help Clinton, and she wins anyway, then both he and his agenda are done, because you don’t reward the people who fuck with you. If he doesn’t help Clinton and she loses, well. I’m not pegging Trump and the GOP as being on board with Sanders’ progressive agenda, you know? And while I know there are some people who believe things like “Four years of Trump is just what we need to bring on the revolution!” those people are wrong, and assholes besides.

If Sanders is smart, then sometime soon — I expect not too long after his meeting with President Obama on Thursday — he’s going to pack it in, endorse Clinton and get to work helping to get her elected. This would be, incidentally, pretty much what Clinton did in 2008, and her getting with the program has obviously paid its dividends. Sanders won’t get the exact same dividends — he won’t be the nominee in 2024, for example. But there will be a lot he will be able to do, if he wants. Or, you know, he can decide not to. And we’ll see where that gets him, and us.

5. Yes, yes, Scalzi, but what do you think of Clinton? Leaving aside the obvious historical aspects of her candidacy, which are really cool and probably deserving of their own entry at some point, I’m very okay with her. I understand a lot of people feel negatively toward her, with the range going from “mild dislike” to “fervent loathing,” but I’ve never been one, and the idea that she’s somehow corrupt doesn’t really seem to have panned out to any great extent, now, has it? We’ve had Clinton under the microscope for a quarter of a century, and either she’s innocent of all the crimes to which she’s been accused, or she’s such a genius at exploiting the legal and governmental levers of this nation that, honestly, it’s a miracle she wasn’t made dictator for life decades ago. Her only real “crime,” if you want to call it that, was marrying Bill Clinton, who couldn’t keep his dick in his pants and made everyone’s life miserable because of it, and then staying married to him despite it all. But, hey! Maybe she loves him.

Otherwise, we have a presidential candidate who has been a senator, a Secretary of State, a first lady and a first-hand observer of the politics in America for four decades. She’s had amazing successes and crushing failures. She’s smart and flawed and savvy and a politician and she’s neither as inspiring as her most fervent supporters want her to be nor as terrible as her most hateful opponents want us to believe she is. I don’t support everything she’s ever said or done but most of what she supports I can get behind. She’s not perfect! But neither am I. She is good enough on her own terms to get my vote for president.

And this year, also: Jesus fucking Christ, the GOP is nominating Donald Trump. I would vote a lukewarm bowl of soup into the White House before Donald Trump. Every day of the week and twice on Sunday (were it allowed by the Constitution, which it is not). So while I would be perfectly happy to vote for Clinton in most scenarios anyway, given her major opponent this year, voting for Clinton is in my opinion not only a perfectly good choice but also a moral necessity. Welcome to 2016! And since I live in Ohio — one of the vaunted “swing states” — my vote may actually help push the state toward electoral sanity. I’m perfectly all right with this.

So, yeah. As they say: I’m with her.

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2956 days ago
This is pretty much where I'm at right now. You can't always get what you want.

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2953 days ago
San Luis Obispo, CA
2957 days ago
Interesting essay from John Scalzi. Lots to think about.

"But from my point of view, here’s the thing: Donald Trump is manifestly the worst and least-prepared major presidential candidate in modern history, and unlike some previous GOP presidents who come to mind, he’s not nearly tractable enough to be managed by a cadre of presumably more-engaged minders. He’s the walking manifestation of Dunning-Kruger, a racist and an increasingly-dangerous blowhard, and the fact the GOP is under the delusion they’re going to somehow keep him in line should fill every thinking human with terror (the GOP doesn’t really think they’ll be able to keep him in line, incidentally. They just need to convince you they can do it). "
West Coast

Nice Driver: 1987 Citroen CX 25 GTI

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This 1987 Citroen CX 25 GTi has been with the seller since 2011 and sounds to be a very nice driver with only a few, relatively minor issues like non-op cruise control and rear window defrost. Said to run and drive very well, the car has been used on a weekly basis and runs freshly sorted oleopneumatics, a rebuilt automatic transmission, new brake pads, a fresh alternator and cold-blowing A/C. Find it here on Craigslist in Sarasota, Florida for $7k. Special thanks to BaT reader Peter R. for this submission.

1987 CITROEN CX 25 GTi

The seller says they learned to drive in a CX and are only selling this (relatively) SWB example after finding an extra-long and up-range Prestige model. Factory-correct Bleu Romantique paint was resprayed in 2003, and then again two years ago on the hood, front fenders and roof following what the seller calls a “fender bender.” Repairs look to have been done well, and the only other noted cosmetic flaws are lug nuts which could stand to be refinished.

1987 CITROEN CX 25 GTi

Though rather tame by older Citroen standards, the cabin is still pretty wild and looks to be in very good shape. The seller says the dash is free of cracks, and that seats have been removed, cleaned, and re-stuffed in addition to having their internal springs tightened. An aftermarket CD player/USB drive compatible head unit has been fitted, but otherwise everything looks to be stock.

1987 CITROEN CX 25 GTi

Said to run very well, the seller adds that the engine has been “completely sorted out” including professionally cleaned fuel injectors, a new fuel pump and filter, new spark plugs, camshaft bearing and oil seal, a valve adjustment, new thermostat, top motor mount and more. In addition, all hoses and wires have been checked and replaced as needed, and the bay was degreased and detailed while the motor was out in order to facilitate a professional transmission rebuild. Other work includes a new trans mount, alternator and exhaust flex hose.

1987 CITROEN CX 25 GTi

Oleopneumatics are said to work very well in all positions, including the auto load-leveling function. Photos show the car resting on three different ride height positions as well. Sale includes a Haynes manual and more repair documentation on a USB drive. Provided the mentioned accident was minor and repairs were done properly, this could be a very nice and reasonably practical entry into the weird world of traditional Citroens.

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3155 days ago
God help me, but I want this car. I love old Citroens.
The glorious California coast
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What if Muslims blamed moderate Christians for terrorist attacks?


Most of the high-profile terrorist attacks of the past 15 years have been carried out (or attempted) by Muslim extremists, usually aligned with one of a handful of terrorist organizations: Al Qaeda and its regional offshoots, Boko Haram, separatists in Russia's Caucuses region, Jemaah Islamiyah, the Taliban, Islamic State.

After the terrible attacks in Paris by at least three Muslim gunmen — two pledging fealty to Al Qaeda, one to ISIS — there's been a lot of discussion about how much Islam as a whole is responsible for Islamist extremists. Conservative media baron Rupert Murdoch got a lot of flak for this tweet:

But he was speaking for a lot of people, including self-professed liberals like Bill Maher and, incidentally, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. It's a provocative question — is there something fundamental about Islam that encourages mass killings?

The most common rebuttal is that there are some 1.6 billion Muslims, and the vast majority don't kill people or even want to. Islam, at its core, is a religion of peace. This is the line most mainstream politicians take, dating back to at least then–President George W. Bush after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the U.S. — carried out by, yes, Muslim extremists.

"France is at war with terrorism, jihadism, and radical Islamism," French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said to the National Assembly on Jan. 13. "France is not at war with a religion. France is not at war with Islam and Muslims."

"We will not allow ourselves to be divided by those who, in the face of Islamist terror, place Muslims in Germany under general suspicion," German Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed two days later. "There must be no ostracism of Muslims, no sweeping suspicions.... As chancellor, I will come to the defense of Muslims in this country against that."

So, how do you square that circle? One way is to point out, as Dean Obeidallah does at The Daily Beast, that the vast majority of terrorist attacks in the U.S. and Europe are not, in fact, carried out by Muslims. He points to Interpol's 2014 EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report, which found that more that half of all European terrorism in the past five years has been carried out by separatists — versus 2 percent that were motivated by religion, as ThinkProgress maps out:


In the U.S., Islamist extremists committed only 6 percent of terrorist attacks — lower than Latino groups (42 percent), extreme left-wing groups (24 percent), and Jewish extremists (7 percent) — according to a tally by the admittedly anti-Muslim-fearmongering site Loonwatch. They draw their numbers from FBI data, however, which you can read for yourself. (The deadliest attack by far, of course, was 9/11.)

But another way to drive home the disproportionate weight we give to Muslim extremism is to imagine if the mainstream Muslim press and intellectual class judged all violence through the lens of Christian extremism.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the basketball legend, goes there a bit. After "horrendous" terrorist acts like the ones in Paris, he says in Time, "celebrity Muslims" like him are always "thrust in the spotlight to angrily condemn, disavow, and explain — again — how these barbaric acts are in no way related to Islam." But:

When the Ku Klux Klan burn a cross in a black family's yard, prominent Christians aren't required to explain how these aren't really Christian acts. Most people already realize that the KKK doesn't represent Christian teachings [Abdul-Jabbar]

At The Daily Beast, Obeidallah (also a Muslim) brings up extremist violence aimed at abortion clinics — including at least seven murders and lots of arsons, bombings, and acid attacks, according to National Abortion Federation data. "Honestly, when is the last time we heard the media refer to those who attack abortion clinics as 'Christian terrorists'?" he asks. And then he turns to Europe:

Even after one of the worst terror attacks ever in Europe in 2011, when Anders Breivik slaughtered 77 people in Norway to further his anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, and pro–"Christian Europe" agenda as he stated in his manifesto, how much press did we see in the United States?... We didn't see terrorism experts fill the cable news sphere asking how we can stop future Christian terrorists. In fact, even the suggestion that Breivik was a "Christian terrorist" was met with outrage by many, including Fox News' Bill O'Reilly. [Obeidallah]

If Muslim commentators did want to view terrorism through a Christian lens, they would have ample material to work with.

Forget the terrorizing violence perpetrated by street gangs in the U.S. and Latin America, as well as other acts of violence committed by presumptive Christians in the West. Let's just look at Christian terrorists.

There are the ones whose names you probably already know: Eric Robert Rudolph, who attacked several gay clubs and abortion clinics after bombing the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta; Breivik, whom Boston University religion scholar Stephen Prothero called a "Christan terrorist" who "rooted his hate and his terrorism in Christian thought and Christian history, particularly the history of the medieval Crusades against Muslims"; abortion-doctor-killers Scott Roeder and James Charles Kopp; Joseph Kony, founder of the brutal Lord's Resistance Army; and arguably Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber who was influenced to some degree by the Christian Identity movement.

But there are plenty of others you've never heard of. Buford Furrow, for example: An adherent of the Phineas Priesthood and former Aryan Nations security guard who shot up a Jewish community center in Los Angeles in 1999, wounding five people and then killing a Filipino postal carrier. Or Larry McQuilliams, a self-identified Phineas "high priest" who fired more than 100 shots at the police headquarters and other government buildings in Austin last fall.

The Southern Poverty Law Center's catalog of violent extremist groups includes several Christian Identity–linked factions, including the Phineas Priesthood — not really a group, but individuals inspired by Christian Identity adherent Richard Kelly Hoskins and his interpretation of the Old Testament Book of Phineas who attack mostly mixed-race couples — as well as "Radical Traditionalist" Catholics.

Outside of the U.S., Northern Ireland spent decades in a bloody grudge match between Catholic republican paramilitaries like the Provisional IRA and the Protestant Ulster unionist factions. Maronite militias massacred scores of Palestinians at Lebanon's Sabra and Shatila refugee camp in 1982.

There are Christian terrorists because there are about 2.2 billion Christians in the world, and people are people.

Muslim pundits could demand that moderate Christians denounce extremist Christianity every time a Russian gang tortures and kills a gay person, in a crackdown on homosexuality tacitly encouraged by the Russian Orthodox Church. Or they could complain if "celebrity Christians" weren't vocally outraged every time a horde of anti-balaka Christian vigilantes slaughters Muslim civilians in the Central African Republic.

Should Christians have to explain that Christianity is a religion of peace every time so-called Christian Patrols affiliated with the UK's nationalist Britain First party drive through Muslim areas of London passing out alcohol and anti-Muslim pamphlets to "defend British soil against Muslim extremists"? Or every time the loons from Westboro Baptist Church crash another funeral with their despicable protests?

The idea seems absurd. And that's kind of the point. When you engage in collective blame, the finger will eventually point back to you — there's no tribe without blood on its hands, at least metaphorically.

Terrorism isn't just about body counts, of course. It's a tactic to instill fear in people, and obviously Islamist terrorists have done a better job of capturing the West's attention than, say, the Phineas Priesthood. But each terrorist act by a small group of murderers should be judged on its own demerits, not lumped into ethno-religious buckets to be weighed and measured.

"That's what I and other Muslims long for," says Abdul-Jabbar at Time:

The day when these terrorists praising Mohammed or Allah's name as they debase their actual teachings are instantly recognized as thugs disguising themselves as Muslims. It's like bank robbers wearing masks of presidents; we don't really think Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush hit the Bank of America during their down time.... I look forward to the day when an act of terrorism by self-proclaimed Muslims will be universally dismissed as nothing more than a criminal attack of a thuggish political organization wearing an ill-fitting Muslim mask. [Abdul-Jabbar]

Dare I say amen?

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