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30 April 2011

Trump's Slum of Gold in Vegas

Click image to enlarge.

The Los Angeles Times
California USA daily broadsheet
Saturday 30 April 2011


Trump's tower 
a sore spot 
on Vegas Strip

The much-ballyhooed project opened in 2008 during the economic meltdown, and today sits amid a collection of vacant lots and silent cranes. Some might call it a metaphor.

by Michael J. Mishak, Los Angeles Times

Reporting from Las Vegas -- Speaking to Republican activists here, Donald Trump touted something other than his potential presidential bid and hit reality television show: Trump International Hotel and Tower, a gleaming luxury high-rise and his sole Las Vegas venture.

"It's one of the greatest signs of all time," Trump said Thursday of the building's marquee, rising 64 stories above Las Vegas Boulevard. "You drive down that Strip, what do you see?"

"Trump!" the crowd shouted in unison.

"We got it built, it's doing great and we're very proud of it," the real estate mogul said, in remarks that were otherwise laced with profanity and attacks on President Obama.

But the reality of Las Vegas' tallest residential building — which Trump described as "very, very successful" — is different from the hype.

Conceived as a high-end hotel-condominium development in Las Vegas' go-go years, the project opened in 2008 amid the economic meltdown. Most investors pulled out and demanded their deposits, leaving Trump and his partners holding the bag.

The casino-free building, wrapped in 24-karat-gold-infused glass, now rests in the boneyard of the Las Vegas Strip, a collection of vacant lots, barren scaffolding and silent cranes left over from abandoned resort projects.

These days, the 645 foot (197 meters) Trump tower might be a metaphor for his nascent campaign: lots of splash, little in the way of substance.

As Trump touts his own business acumen, his Las Vegas hotel makes it clear that he fell prey to the speculative fever that gripped the nation — and particularly wounded Nevada, a state that will play a key role in determining the Republican presidential nomination next year.

Trump's partners here can only grin through the pain of their investment in the U$500,000,000 project. To date, the group has sold about a quarter of the building's 1,282 units. 

They're also fighting a lawsuit brought by investors who allege they were defrauded by Trump's sales team. Sales representatives, the suit says, promised high-yield returns on units that they argued could fetch as much as $600 per night as part of the property's rental pool.

This week, listed midweek nightly rates at $111.75.

Phil Ruffin, Trump's key partner, said the project was operating as a hotel, at a profit, as partners waited for the real estate market to rebound.

The condo failure, said Ruffin, who is also the owner of the Treasure Island resort, "was never Donald's fault ... It was the fault of the economy itself."

Jack Wishna, a minority partner in the Trump tower, still feels the sting. His office boasts both a painting of the project and a view of the building itself. There's a picture of him with Trump at the opening; both men are wearing gold ties. His best spin was that the building, at the very least, had changed the city's skyline.

"If things had went along and we did everything a year earlier, we would have made U$1,100,000,000 ," he said. "Now, it's an annuity for me, Donald and Phil. We'll see profits in the next decade."

Housing and economic analysts aren't so sure.

During the boom years, developers saturated the Las Vegas landscape with luxury condos. According to SalesTraq, a local real estate research firm, more than 4,100 units in 10 high-rise projects are empty, waiting for buyers. That doesn't include thousands of more traditional condos.

"We have practically an infinite supply," said Larry Murphy, the firm's president.

Bruce Hiatt, a broker with Luxury Realty Group, said prices in the luxury condo market were 60% to 70% down from their peak. Trump's units were initially priced to start at $600,000 — and ascend to $6,000,000 . This week, a studio could be had for about $250,000, Hiatt said.

In 2005, it was a much different story. Trump promised his tower would be "the crown jewel of the Las Vegas Strip." He promoted the project on "The Apprentice," prompting would-be investors to crash the sales center's phone lines the next morning. Wishna said 863 apartments were reserved in one day.

While breaking ground, Trump promised a second tower to meet demand — at a 35% price increase. Later, Trump devoted an entire episode of his TV show to the building. His biggest obstacle seemed to be getting approval from aviation regulators concerned that the building's gold reflective glass could distract pilots.

Trump celebrated the opening of the first, and ultimately only, tower in April 2008, just weeks after the collapse of investment bank Bear Stearns, a prelude to the Wall Street meltdown.

This week, Ruffin surveyed the damage, saying the abandoned projects surrounding the Trump tower resembled a war zone. "It looks like Baghdad," he said. "It looks horrible."

Still, he praised Trump and said he'd support him for president. "He's not just a showman," Ruffin said. "He's very, very brilliant."

Copyright © 2011, Los Angeles Times

- 30 -

27 April 2011

Assad's Syria slaughters its citizens while enlightened, civilized democracies do nothing to stop it

Reuters (UK newswire)
pickup from The Toronto Globe & Mail
(daily broadsheet, Canada)
Wednesday 27 April 2011

Syria's Assad facing 
dissent over 
Deraa crackdown

by Khaled Yacoub Oweis

[NOTE: During the anti-government protests and the Assad regime's suppression, the Assad government has banned foreign journalists from reporting on events in Syria.]

AMMAN, JORDAN (Reuters) -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad faced dissent within government ranks with more than 200 members of his Baath Party resigning and signs of discontent within the army over the violent repression of pro-democracy protests.

Two hundred party members from Deraa province and surrounding regions resigned on Wednesday after the government sent in tanks to crush resistance in the city of Deraa. At least 35 civilians were killed in the attack, rights groups said.

Diplomats said signs were also emerging of discontent within the army where the majority of troops are Sunni Muslims, but most officers belong to the same minority Alawite sect as Mr. Assad.

Mr. Assad sent the ultra-loyal Fourth Mechanized Division, commanded by his brother Maher, into Deraa on Monday. Reports from opposition figures and Deraa residents, which could not be confirmed, said that several soldiers from another unit had refused to fire on civilians.

“The largest funerals in Syria so far have been for soldiers who have refused to obey orders to shoot protesters and were summarily executed on the spot,” a senior diplomat said.

Another diplomat said there was at least one instance this month of soldiers confronting secret police to stop them shooting at protesters.

“No one is saying that Assad is about to lose control of the army, but once you start using the army to slaughter your own people, it is a sign of weakness,” he said.

The sound of gunfire was heard in Deraa on Wednesday night. Water, electricity and communications remained cut and essential supplies were running low, residents said.

“The martyrs are being kept in refrigerator trucks used normally to transport produce, but they cannot move with the army firing randomly. We pour alcohol on the bodies to lessen the stench,” one of the residents said.

The death toll in almost six weeks of protests rose to 450, a rights group said.

Protests erupted in Deraa after security police arrested two prominent women in the city, a doctor and an engineer, for expressing political views, and detained 15 children who wrote slogans on the walls demanding freedom, modelled on the cries of the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions.

Once a recruiting ground for the Baath and secret police, Deraa has become the cradle of Syria’s uprising.

Syria has been dominated by the Assad family since Bashar’s father, the late President Hafez al-Assad, took power in a 1970 coup. The younger Assad kept intact the autocratic political system he inherited in 2000 while the family expanded its control over the country’s struggling economy.

Mr. Assad’s decision to storm Deraa echoed his father’s 1982 attack on the city of Hama to crush an uprising led by the Muslim Brotherhood. Up to 30,000 people were killed with little objection from the international community.

Bashar al-Assad’s attack on Deraa has drawn threats of sanctions from Western powers but the West remains wary of contemplating action that could contribute to toppling him.
- 30 -



[that's me btw]

11:14 PM on April 27, 2011

It is 2011, and still international treaties and laws do not forbid and cannot prevent nations from murdering their own citizens. We have evolved no further than the state of international law during the rise of Nazi Germany.

In what seems this hopeless state genocide in Syria, where the "civilized" nations of North America and Europe refuse to act to stop the slaughter and lawless detention and torture, we can -- and we must -- look for hope in the humanity of the ordinary Syrian soldiers ordered to commit these mass murders.

In Berlin's Checkpoint Charlie Museum, which preserves the history of the misery and atrocities of the Cold War, there is a strange gallery dedicated to the lousy marksmen of the East German army.

Ordinary conscripted East Germans were ordered to shoot to kill their neighbors desperately trying to flee to West Germany.

They took aim, they fired -- but somehow most of the time missed their fleeing targets.

They knew they faced severe punishment, but still could not put their relatives and neighbors in the crosshairs.

Beneath the uniforms of Syrian soldiers are the same human hearts. During this ghastly festival of hopelessness, many Syrians targeted for murder will live and survive not because civilized, enlightened and powerful democracies came to their aid, but because of the lousy marksmanship of ordinary Syrian soldiers.

9:42 PM on April 27, 2011

Firstly, Assad should be declared an international pariah, just like Gadhafi. He should be subject to arrest if he sets foot outside of Syria.

Secondly, his deeds must be investigated and documented.

Thirdly, he should have to face indictment and trial by the World Court for his atrocities against Syrian citizens, just like Gadhafi and just like the guys from Serbia that were put on trial and convicted.

Time for consistant, inevitable and certain punishment for these savages.

Donald Trump: America Needs This Clown

 Click image to enlarge.

Faithful Vleeptroids may have noticed that although politics -- USA politics, Planet Earth politics -- are very important to Vleeptron, Vleeptron has not yet ever once mentioned Donald Trump.

We can restrain ourselves no longer.

This is the guy we want the Republican Party to nominate for president of the United States.

And this is the guy we want all patriotic Americans to vote for on Tuesday 6 November 2012.

Too long have we suffered under the leadership of people pretending to be intelligent, serious, knowledgable and dedicated, pretending to try to tackle the most serious issues and challenges of America and the world.

Now America needs a clown. And just when we need a clown the most, a great big clown has come along.

Of course he'll need a running mate, someone to be his vice-president. Leave A Comment.

26 April 2011

Catastrophe in Libya = Your chance for a $$$$$ windfall!

----- Original Message -----
From: "Miss Elizabeth Kipkalya" {}
Sent: Sunday, March 27, 2011 6:22 PM
Subject: Urgent Reply for investment

Good day,

sir This message may come to you as a surprise I am contacting you because of the problem we are having in my country Libya which the problem is getting more tough everyday. I am Aisha Gaddafi the daughter of Muammar Gaddafi the president of Libya I am right now in west Africa I have some hug amount of money which I need a foreign partner to invest if you are interested to assist me on this transaction which I will compensate you get back to me for more detail and also keep it confidential reply me on this email: my cordinator mr paul  e-mail  Send me your full name, address, telephone number including your occupation Yours sincerely

Aisha Gaddafi

my philosophy professor, Leo Rauch / the letter I never wrote, the thanks I was never able to give him / why I belong to [Coq-Club] and try dimly to grok 2.7% of it (when it's in English)


I was preparing to beg you to help me with these incomprehensible e-mails en français from the incomprehensible [Coq-Club].

When I posted them on Vleeptron, I NEVER expected ANYONE to reply. En Anglais ou français -- look, did ANY of this make any sense to you???

I hope aymen did not think I was insulting him or giving him a hard time by posting his e-mail. (He has no profile; he's anonymous.)

My only reason for posting was that 999 out of 1000 [Coq-Club] e-mails are in English (which is a bit odd, because Coq is a French invention), and this one's français rarity caught my eye and had the aroma of Planet Vleeptron to it.

Okay d'accord ... here is the rest of the Comment I was preparing when you rescued me with your WONDERFUL translation!


Salut mon ami nouveau aymen, ça va?

Suis très désolé k mon français sux vraiment.

Okay, who's fluent in French? Don't make me have to use a dumb Translator Bot to make sense out of aymen's letter. 

PatfromCH could probably do it très bien, but he's Schweizerdeutsch ... well, anyway, can some HUMAN BEING help me SVP?

ALMOST every e-mail I get from [Coq-Club] is in English. These two are among the very rare [Coq-Club] e-mails en français.

And this is somewhat odd, because Coq is largely an invention of French logicians. (For some unknown reason, the French name their software after barnyard animals.)

But Coq, and the larger logical/mathematical field it belongs to -- Proof Assistants or Mechanical Proof Verification or Interactive Theorem Provers -- has swept the world like wildfire in the last 15 years, and English is the modern world's Lingua Franca. The scientific community may speak a Babel of lingos at home, but they all rap in their best Anglais or Ingles or Engels when they meet at their seminars.

Also, the syntax and vocabulary of Coq are English. That also was pretty inevitable. I don't know of any high-level computer language which is not in English.

There are 2 Levels of Incomprehensibility to my [Coq-Club] e-mails.

LEVEL 1: [Coq-Club] e-mails in English: 97.3 percent Incomprehensible

LEVEL 2: [Coq-Club] e-mails en français: 100 percent Incomprehensible

The 2.7 percent of the English e-mails I can grok is due to my 1967 course in Symbolic Logic (textbook: Irving M. Copi) at the Bronx campus of New York University -- and there is a fuzzy rumor that I actually Aced this course in Introductory Martian. (If the rumor is true, God Bless grading on The Curve!)

I was taking nothing but humanities/liberal arts courses, and had very little mathematical preparation for this whack shit. And even less logical preparation for this whack shit.

I'd signed up for Intro to Philosophy -- also known as Beauty and Truth 101 -- and was shocked at how much I REALLY enjoyed it!

This was due entirely to my wonderful young professor, Leo Rauch. He was brilliant, he was funny, and he was clearly and hopelessly intoxicated with Philosophy.

I aced Leo's course, too, but for an even more pathetic reason. I never read the material, I never studied -- but all the tests were essays, and I was always a very good writer. Most undergrad people are crappy writers, so with each test and each assignment, the poor professor has to wade through 30 things like

Huckleberry Finn is a very good book. It is by the writer named Mark Twain. It is about a boy named Huckleberry Finn ...

and when suddenly MY essay appears -- perfect spelling, perfect grammar, perfect punctuation, and even some STYLE and FLAVOR, it is such a relief to the poor professor that he gives me an A even though it is perfectly clear that I never read the assigned chapter on the Categorical Imperative, or got beyond Page 11 of "The Scarlet Letter."

When Leo Rauch's course ended, I was excited with Philosophy and wanted more, so I asked him what course I should take next.

For the first time, this happy, joyous, joke-telling young man frowned; bad weather drove the sunshine from his face.

"Well," he said, "if you think you're serious about philosophy, you really have to take Symbolic Logic."

He said it the way a doctor would say, "If you're really serious about living much longer, we're going to have to amputate your left arm."

Because, for a student with no background in modern logic, Symbolic Logic can be as pleasant an experience as having your left arm amputated. And JESUS! It was a nine-alarm horror!

But it was a FASCINATING nine-alarm horror. It was my first window into a body of human knowledge I'd never known existed. It was Bertrand Russell and Alfred North Whitehead's "Principia Mathematica." It was Peano. It was Quine. It was Boole and DeMorgan. It was Godel. It was Turing.

It was the stuff of human knowledge even deeper than mathematics. Is mathematics true? Can you trust it? Should you drive your car over a bridge designed entirely on mathematical principles?

If you want the answers to those questions, you have to sign up for Symbolic Logic.

After I got out of my rather unpleasant two drafted/conscripted years in the Army, I'd had more than enough essay-writing Truth and Beauty, and went back to college to study mathematics, electronics, and computers. I never took another course in Logic. I just sort of figured I knew all I'd ever need to know about Logic, and Logic wasn't ever going to grow or change or get more important. One semester of Introduction to Conversational Martian was all I'd ever need.

Boy, was I a dummy.

It was them computers (les ordinateurs), and that-there computer software.

They kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger.

So big, in fact, that finally they began spewing out sacks of 0's and 1's that were so huge that mere human beings could not possibly examine them all, and pronounce them Correct or True or Proven -- or (as in the case of software that controls your Airbus or Boeing flight to the other side of the world) -- Safe.

Symbolic Logic to the rescue!

During the decades that I had been sleeping, Symbolic Logic -- specifically a part of it called the Lambda Calculus -- had grown and evolved into tools called Mechanical Proof Verification or Proof Assistants or Theorem Provers.

So a newly-developed HUGE operating system -- like Windows V.23 -- could be tested and verified and PROVEN that the damned thing would work PERFECTLY before Microsoft released it to the public!

And all mechanically -- by another Big Computer, without the use of a single (fallible, sleepy, drug-addled, stoned, drunk) human brain.

~ ~ ~

That I understand even 2.7 percent of this Amazing New Thing is due entirely to the fire Professor Leo Rauch ignited in my mind and imagination. That fire has never gone out.

That I am the drooling slave of Benedict/Baruch Spinoza (I even named Benny, my cat, after the Great Philosopher), is due entirely to Professor Leo Rauch. He first introduced me to Spinoza. And to Locke and Hume, and to Immanuel Kant.

As the decades went by, I wanted to write Professor Rauch and thank him for the treasures he had introduced me to. 

But what could I say to him? I had neither his genius nor his knowledge nor his deep understanding of any of these matters.

So I kept putting off the letter I knew someday I had to write.

But in August 2010 I finally worked up the courage to track down Leo Rauch. I figured I'd type "Leo Rauch" into Google, and a gazillion url's, all pointing straight to him, would spew back.

But there were almost none. No Leo Rauch web page, no Professor Leo Rauch page on the website of one of the world's great universities.

Finally I found a translation of Kant co-translated by Leo Rauch. I wrote the other translator asking if he could help me get in touch with the philosophy professor who had given me a life of treasures.

I cannot begin to express how filled with regret I am that I waited so long. He had a right to know how much he meant to me.

This news broke my heart so badly I could not bring myself, until this moment, to mention it on Vleeptron. I'm not even sure I told my wife.
~ ~ ~

Professor Albert A. Anderson
Agora Publications Inc.

Dear Professor Anderson,

During the last Millennium, Leo Rauch was my philosophy professor at New York University (University Heights, Bronx).
His class -- explosive with unexpected richness, and humor and pleasure -- has stayed with me ever since, and I've wanted to let him know how important that experience has been to me.
My previous attempts to track him down haven't been successful. I'm hoping your collaboration
Kant’s Lasting Peace . Translated by Lieselote Anderson and Leo Rauch. Edited by Albert A. Anderson. Millis, Massachusetts: Agora Publications, Inc., 2006.
might point me toward him or his e-mail address. If you prefer, I'd be grateful if you forwarded this to him.
Thanks for any help you can give me.
Bob Merkin
Chesterfield, Massachusetts

Dear Mr. Merkin,
I am sorry to report that Leo died approximately a decade ago (I cannot remember the actual year). His wife, Gila, died in 2005.
He was, as you describe, a remarkable teacher and a delightful person. He was not only a close colleague while we were both at Babson College, but our relationship deepened when I asked him to translate Kant's Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals for publication by Agora Publications, Inc. He collaborated on that project and some others with my wife, Lelo Anderson. We both cherish his memory as a friend, a colleague, and as a scholar.
Albert A. Anderson


Dear Professor Anderson,
This had been my worst fear, so I wrote like Pollyanna, pretending such a thing could not be possible.
I'm no longer a spring chicken myself.
But Professor Rauch will always be such a young fellow to me -- well, in 1967 he wouldn't have been much older than the clueless freshman who was randomly pushed into his class, expecting confusion, incomprehensibility, and a bad grade.
Instead I got delight, wonderful new ideas, a lot of laughs -- and, to my astonishment, a pretty good grade.
Throughout the semester, he would say, "Oh yeah, I wrote about that in my Best-Seller," "That's in my Best-Seller." Finally I raised my hand and asked him about his Best-Seller, and he grinned from ear to ear and said, "I wrote the Monarch Notes for Kant!"

He delighted in passing on tidbits from Medieval philosophy -- explaining that the palm of each hand has a big M, because our hands are the instruments of sin, and as we contemplate each sin, we get one last reminder: Momento Mori.
And the notch in our upper lip: "When you were a soul in heaven, you knew everything. But when God was about to send you into a baby's body, He touched His finger to your lips and said: Sha!" The notch is the impress of God's finger, assuring our silence.
I began missing him the day after the course ended. I never had a college experience half as thrilling.

I said I wanted more, and he made a sour face and said if I thought I was serious, my next course must be Symbolic Logic -- a cold shower I was wholly unprepared for, but there's evidence in a file cabinet that I aced it.

Neither philosophy nor logic became my career, but Professor Rauch's torch lit sparks in a young nincompoop's head that have never gone out.
I stalk Spinoza all over the Netherlands, and Professor Rauch is always with me. When I grapple with the new developments in Church's Lambda Calculus and Machine Verification, I remember the professor who pushed me into that alien realm, to force me beyond being a prose dilettante.
I would cry, but I only saw him laugh and smile; he might not think it appropriate.
Thank you for being his friend and colleague, and keeping his work and thoughts alive.
Bob Merkin

25 April 2011

[Coq-Club] formalisation de la logique propositionnelle / introduction to conversational Martian


J'espère que vous êtes conscient que l'enseignant qui vous a donné ce projet a toutes les chances de lire cette mailing liste, et qu'il n'est pas évident qu'il considère que faire corriger/compléter votre
réponse soit exactement le travail qu'il attendait de vous.

J'espère aussi que vous penserez, avant de rendre votre projet, à supprimer le nom de votre camarade Samuel Besset, et à le remplacer
par le votre. Cela risquerait de d'éveiller des soupçons de triche. Ce serait malheureux.


Alexandre Pilkiewicz

Le 21 avril 2011 11:46, aymen bouslama a écrit:

est ce que vous pouvez me dire si c'est juste ce que j'ai fais pour résoudre le problème suivant?
Construire un type inductif a deux constructeurs permettant de mod eliser le  fragment implicatif de la logique propositionnelle. Les termes seront soit des  variables, not ees a, b, c, etc. (prises dans un ensemble V ), soit une implication entre deux termes.

On pourra utiliser la biblioth eque String de Coq pour g erer les noms des propositions.

Interpretation On propose de repr esenter une valuation par une liste de paires (variable,bool een).

Definition valuation := list (string * bool).

Ecrire une fonction list assoc qui, etant donn ee une variable  propositionnelle et une valuation V donne la valeur de la variable dans la valuation.

Ex : si
 V=[("x",true);("y", false)] list_assoc V y=false.

 Ecrire une fonction d'interpr etation qui, etant donn e une formule F et  une valuation I, calcule si I satisfait F , i.e. I(F ) = true.

Tables de v erit e Programmer une fonction qui prend en argument un terme du calcul propositionnel et calcule s'il s'agit d'une tautologie ou non en utilisant une table de v erit e.

Indication : on pourra enum erer toutes les valuations possibles. Il su ra ensuite de tester que la formule est satisfaite pour toutes ces valuations. On pourra pour cela utiliser les fonctions d'ordre sup erieurs sur les listes (par exemple forallb). Pour l'implication (2 variables), le nombre de cas a etudier pour d eterminer si on a a faire a une tautologie est 4.

 Utiliser votre fonction pour v eri er que les termes suivants sont bien des tautologies.

 { Pierce : ((A - B) -A) -A
 { S : F -(G - F )
 { K : (F - (G - H)) - ((F - G) - (F - H))

 (*------------------------------ PROJET COQ M1 ILC
 (*------------------------------ BESSET SAMUEL
 Require Export List.
 Require Export String.
 Require Export Bool.
 Open Local Scope char_scope.
 (* Formaliser la syntaxe et sémantique et modéliser un système de déduction


 (* Définition inductive du type : form *)
 Inductive form : Set :=
 | p : string - form (* proposition *)
 | i : form - form - form (* implication *)
 | e : form - form - form (* ET logique *)
 | o : form - form - form (* OU logique *)

 (* Définition de la valuation *)
 Definition valuation := list (string * bool).

 (* Définition de la fonction : list_assoc *)
 Fixpoint list_assoc a (v:valuation) : bool :=
 match v with
 | nil = false
 | (x,b) :: l =
 if string_dec x a then b
 else list_assoc a l

 (* Définition de la fonction : interpretation *)
 Fixpoint interpretation form (v:valuation) : bool :=
 match form with
 | p s1 = list_assoc s1 v
 | i form1 form2 = (orb (negb (interpretation form1 v)) (interpretation
 form2 v))
 | e form1 form2 = (andb (interpretation form1 v) (interpretation form2
 | o form1 form2 = (orb (interpretation form1 v) (interpretation form2 v))

 (* TEST -

 (* Tests des définitions précédentes : *)
 Definition a := (String "A" EmptyString).
 Definition b := (String "B" EmptyString).
 Definition val := (a,true)::(b,false)::nil.

 Eval compute in (interpretation (p a) val). (* doit rendre : true *)
 Eval compute in (interpretation (p b) val). (* doit rendre : false *)
 après avez vous une idée pour la suite?
 Syst eme formel
 On rappelle les r egles de la d eduction naturelle : comme elim et intro
 On d eclare un contexte (comme ) comme une liste de formules.
 Definition context := list formule.
 1. Mod eliser le syst eme formel pr ec edent a travers un type inductif de la forme :
 Inductive prouvable : context - formule - Prop := ...
 2. Prouver ensuite le th eor eme A - A dans ce syst eme.
3. Faire de m^eme avec les th eor emes S et K de la section pr ec edente.
4. On va maintenant s'int eresser a la preuve de la correction de ce systeme formel.
(a) D e nir un pr edicat consequence_l qui prend en argument un contexte et une  formule F et indique si F est cons equence s emantique de .
(b) Prouver le th eor eme suivant :
Lemma correctness : forall P G,
provable G P - consequence_l G P.


It's our fiddlehead moment!

Click on image for larger.

A gazillion of these delicious edible wild ferns will pop up in my yard any moment now. The buzz is that fiddleheads are the richest food source for antioxidants (the biochemicals that let you live forever, or at least slow down the rate at which you're rusting). We'll be able to pick our fiddleheads for only a few days, maybe a week, gently steam them and eat them -- and then they're all gone until next year.

23 April 2011

Leave your own Comment / Vleeptron has nothing to say

Click image to enlarge.

always know the shortest route to the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel & always have U$4 in your sock

Click image to enlarge.

The night before I showed up to be drafted into the Army during the Vietnam War, by chance I drove past the Detroit entrance to the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, a big, cheap hole that promised me a short trip to Canada, and (thanks to Pierre Elliott Trudeau) sanctuary. 
I parked and gazed into the tunnel and smoked cigarettes and thought for about an hour. 
Then I got back in the car and drove home to be drafted. Whatever dangers lay in store for me, I refused to be chased out of the Land of my Birth by scoundrels and psychopaths. I was lucky. I lived, and was honorably discharged two years later with all my parts.

~ ~ ~
Hiya R**,
Well, your original question asked what to believe and what wasn't true about the Jane Fonda visit to North Vietnam. I don't know if you've been following this thread on VleeptronZ -- as usual, I redacted your name and K's name (but did mention that you live in the USA state shaped like the palm of a right-hand mitten etc.), but one Commenter sent along this well-regarded Urban Legend Debunking Site about Hanoi Jane:
and there's a lot of interesting stuff on it. She certainly brought her Big Mouth to North Vietnam, but the forwarded e-mail's most damning treason indictments seem to be made up, fictitious -- well, self-perpetuating lies.
And Obama has nothing to do with it. Ten years ago ABC TV had a special honoring the century's 100 Greatest Women, and named Jane as one of them. Obama had nothing to do with it then, and now as president has nothing to do with it now. Apparently as this very old e-mail evolves through time, someone recently retrofitted a slur against Obama to it.
Specifically, the most damning attack is that POWs at the Hanoi Hilton secretly slipped Jane their Social Security Numbers, and when the parade was over, Jane gave the slips of paper to the North Vietnamese guards, and the POWs were brutally punished for it. The Colonel POW whom the forward claims is the source of this story is still alive and kicking, and vehemently denies it; he never even met Jane.
Of the rest of the Hanoi Jane saga -- and this is me talking, not any website -- when our responsible political leaders screw the pooch with a shitty, ghastly war like Vietnam, they're inevitably begging for outrageously misbehaving goofballs like Hanoi Jane, Jerry Rubin, Abbie Hoffman, Daniel Ellsberg, Timothy Leary -- and in his final years, the stridently anti-war Martin Luther King Jr.
Whatever the fuck Treason really is -- in my lifetime, it begins with the presidents, senators and congressmen who launch these psycho wars and don't have the guts to stop them. After that, it degenerates into the Battle of the Pro-War Traitors versus the Anti-War Traitors. Treason, as the Constitution describes it, ceases to have any real meaning when it's not war, but violent. pointless, endless madness.
Yes, I take a side. All my high school friends deserved to live a long, natural life with family (or a variety of hot young babes hither and yon around town). Anyone -- old vet or scoundrel politician -- who thinks our national interest was served by killing 52,000 young men and women isn't just Wrong. The scoundrel politicians are Evil, and the old vets have been driven insane, and need help, which they'll never seek, and which will never be available.
It's the Life Cult versus the Death Cult -- the naked Woodstock Free Love LSD crowd versus America, Military Terror of the World (Stephen Douglas's proud phrase in the Lincoln debates). I was young and had a right to be dumb, but I began to see clearly in the barracks that it really boiled down to Life Against Death, and I voted for Life. Escape to Canada, dodge the draft, or, if luckless enough to have to serve, keep your head down, never volunteer, and when ordered to kill strangers, have shitty aim.
(In Berlin, the wonderful Checkpoint Charlie Museum has a gallery honoring the East German soldiers who were shitty marksmen -- when they were ordered to shoot their neighbors who were fleeing to the West, they always seemed to miss.)
Oh Jesus, look what you've started. Where's my Valium?
Happy Easter, Happy Passover, a Long and Happy Life, Happy Wife, Happy Kids! Make sure they all know the shortest way to the Windsor Tunnel, and always have the fare in cash on them.

22 April 2011

The 40-Year Scream / no help from Buddha for this never-ending American fuckup / Check one: [ ] Jane Fonda, Woman of the Century [ ] Burn the traitor Hanoi Jane at the stake

Click image to enlarge.

Hiya R** --

And now for something entirely different.
Most of us despise war for the obvious reasons. And those are good enough reasons to despise war.
But then, for those who get through a war safely and in one piece, there's the saddest thing -- the rest of your life violently shaken up like a milkshake about the political and cultural trauma of your war.
Ain't no use telling K******* -- and the 7,000,000 other Vietnam-era folks who still want to have Jane Fonda publicly executed -- to Get Over It already. I run into this all the time, I see it all the time on Fox News Channel, half my V-vet acquaintances fall into this camp.
And There Is No Cure.
Jane just chose to make herself a central lifelong icon in America's Culture Wars. To half the people of the 60s, she's Woodstock and Love and Peace. To the other half, she's an unforgivable traitor whose punishment -- public burning -- is 40 years overdue.
And no one in either camp is ever going to hear or read anything persuasive enough to switch sides.
I met her once, btw, when she spoke at my community college, I guess in 1973. I was in student government and my job that night was to take tickets at the entrance to the auditorium. When she and her entourage got to the door, I impersonated a robotic moron and put my hand out and asked for her ticket. She got a big chuckle out of that. I was happy I could make her laugh.
Sigh ... poor K*******. I am so happy he came home in one piece. But medical health can be such a small part of your life after the war. I didn't even get to Vietnam, and that fucked-up interminable war has been making me sick, jumpy, depressed and neurotic ever since. Ditto K******* and about 7,000,000 other Americans of roughly our vintage.
And there is no cure. There is no healing. On both sides of the Vietnam Culture War, we're all like that painting "The Scream," and none of us seems to be able to stop screaming.
Buddhism has been very tempting to me -- they promise a method to Let It Go.
I think they're lying. Maybe it works for every other kind of woe, but I don't think Buddha ever ran into something as big, toxic and intractable as the American reaction to the Vietnam War.
You know I'm from Washington DC and still have friends and family there. But I've never gone near the Vietnam Memorial. Can't work up the nerve.
Where it hurt me the worst was when I went back to college, very naturally joined the veterans' club, and found myself in the middle of the most violent, hate-filled feud between the lefty vets (pot) and the righty vets (beer). I'd naively assumed all us vets would make common cause and work together to make our re-integration into civilian life as smooth and successful as possible. In very short order I had to flee the company of the student vets, the lingering Vietnam War was just too painful.
Poor K*******. I'd give him a hug, but that's the last thing he wants; he'd pull a knife and stab me.
And it's happening all over again with the Iraq-Afghanistan generation. (And Libya -- Watch This Space for Further Developments.) Now we're institutionalizing wars without end and wars without political consensus.
We're institutionalizing lifelong lingering wars among the veteran survivors. Jane Fonda has been replaced by PFC Bradley Manning and the Wikileaks guy.
Well, okay, here's the best Buddhism I can come up with. We need to hug our loved ones, define them as The Only Important Thing In Life, and free the rest of the world to blow itself up and go to hell in a handbasket -- with no help from us. We choose far more important things to do.
If we're feeling superhuman, of course we can keep advocating for peace, for wiser political leadership, for sanity -- and for the safety of our children and the world's children.
But America's capacity for perpetual warfare and perpetual unforgiveness -- I am ashamed to confess what a weenie I am, but maybe it's bigger than we are. It sure seems to have sent K******* 'round the bend.
I liked him back then. I knew he had a Short Fuse, I knew he was wrapped in an unusual degree of Anger, and I strongly suspected his politics were quite different from mine. But I liked him. He was generous, he was honest, he was everything you need from another soldier you're stuck in the barracks with.
If Buddhism falls short, hell, I'll pray for a miracle to heal him. To heal all of us who lived through those ghastly times.
Big Sad Sigh.


Here's the e-mail from my old Army buddy R** (from the USA state shaped like the palm of a right-hand mitten, so you can point to the palm of your right hand to show where you live), and the forwarded e-mail from our old Army buddy K*******.

Jane Fonda visited North Vietnam in June 1972. I was honorably discharged from the US Army (never got anywhere near Vietnam, but lots of my buddies did) in March 1971. The names of several of my high school friends are carved on the Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC -- among about 52,000 other names of USA servicemen and servicewomen killed in the war.



K******* just sent this Never Forgive a Traitor thing to me. What do you think of this?

I often feel like I can’t believe either side's arguments completely. It was just a giant mess we were in.

Seems like we keep doing it.



------ Forwarded Message
From: V******
Date: Fri, 22 Apr 2011 08:47:17 -0400
Subject: Never Forgive A Traitor

If you had family in Vietnam this will interest and remind you of a time long forgotten by many.

Never Forgive A Traitor 

For those of you too young to remember, Hanoi Jane is a bad person and did some terrible things during the Vietnam war. Things that can not be forgiven!
and now President OBAMA wants to honor her ...
In Memory of LT. C. [LTC = Lieutenant Colonel] Thomsen Wieland who spent 100 days at the Hanoi Hilton
She really is a traitor.

This is for all the kids born in the 70's and after who do not remember, and didn't have to bear the burden that our fathers, mothers and older brothers and sisters had to bear.
Jane Fonda is being honored as one of the '100 Women of the Century.'

"Unfortunately, many have forgotten and still countless others have never known how Ms. Fonda betrayed not only the idea of our country, but specific men who served and sacrificed during Vietnam ..."

The first part of this is from an F-4E pilot. The pilot's name is Jerry Driscoll, "a River Rat".
In 1968, the former Commandant of the USAF [United States Air Force] Survival School was a POW [Prisoner of War] in Ho Lo Prison, the 'Hanoi Hilton.'
Dragged from a stinking cesspit of a cell, cleaned, fed, and dressed in clean PJ's, he was ordered to describe for a visiting American 'Peace Activist' the 'lenient and humane treatment' he'd received.
He spat at Ms. Fonda, was clubbed, and was dragged away. During the subsequent beating, he fell forward on to the camp Commandant 's feet, which sent that officer berserk.

In 1978, the Air Force Colonel still suffered from double vision (which permanently ended his flying career) from the Commandant's frenzied application of a wooden baton.
From 1963-65, Col. Larry Carrigan was in the 47FW/DO (F-4E's) ... He spent 6 years in the 'Hanoi Hilton' ,,, the first three of which his family only knew he was 'missing in action'. His wife lived on faith that he was still alive. His group, too, got the cleaned-up, fed and clothed routine in preparation for a 'peace delegation' visit.
They, however, had time and devised a plan to get word to the world that they were alive and still survived. Each man secreted a tiny piece of paper, with his Social Security Number on it, in the palm of his hand.
When paraded before Ms. Fonda and a cameraman, she walked the line, shaking each man's hand and asking little encouraging snippets like: 'Aren't you sorry you bombed babies?' and 'Are you grateful for the humane treatment from your benevolent captors?' Believing this HAD to be an act, they each palmed her their sliver of paper.
She took them all without missing a beat ... At the end of the line and once the camera stopped rolling, to the shocked disbelief of the POWs, she turned to the officer in charge and handed him all the little pieces of paper ...
Three men died from the subsequent beatings. Colonel Carrigan was almost number four but he survived, which is the only reason we know of her actions that day.
I was a civilian economic development advisor in Vietnam, and was captured by the North Vietnamese communists in South Vietnam in 1968, and held prisoner for over 5 years.
I spent 27 months in solitary confinement; one year in a cage in Cambodia; and one year in a 'black box' in Hanoi. My North Vietnamese captors deliberately poisoned and murdered a female missionary, a nurse in a leprosarium in Ban me Thuot, South Vietnam , whom I buried in the jungle near the Cambodian border. At one time, I weighed only about 90 lbs. (My normal weight is 170 lbs)
We were Jane Fonda's 'war criminals ...'
When Jane Fonda was in Hanoi, I was asked by the camp communist political officer if I would be willing to meet with her ...
I said yes, for I wanted to tell her about the real treatment we POWs received ... and how different it was from the treatment purported by the North Vietnamese, and parroted by her as 'humane and lenient.'
Because of this, I spent three days on a rocky floor on my knees, with my arms outstretched with a large steel weights placed on my hands, and beaten with a bamboo cane.
I had the opportunity to meet with Jane Fonda soon after I was released. I asked her if she would be willing to debate me on TV. She never did answer me.
These first-hand experiences do not exemplify someone who should be honored as part of '100 Years of Great Women.' Lest we forget ...' 100 Years of Great Women' should never include a traitor whose hands are covered with the blood of so many patriots.
There are few things I have strong visceral reactions to, but Hanoi Jane's participation in blatant treason, is one of them. Please take the time to forward to as many people as you possibly can. It will eventually end up on her computer and she needs to know that we will never forget.  


CMSgt [Chief Master Sergeant]
USAF 716 Maintenance Squadron

Chief of Maintenance
DSN: 875-6431 COMM: 883-6343

20 April 2011

Happy Passover / Pesach 15 Nissan 5771 !

Click once or twice to enlarge.

Happy Passover 15 Nissan 5771 !
Okay, it's Passover / Pesach, the celebration of the Exodus of the Jews from the land of their enslavement, Egypt.

The end of the story -- escape from slavery -- makes Passover the happiest of Jewish holy days, and one with meaning and hope not just for Jews, but for all human beings enduring enslavement, oppression, or any form of inequality or second-class citizenship.

But what leads up to the happy ending is pretty grim. Pharaoh refused to grant the Jews' petition to let them leave Egypt, and for his stubborn recalcitrance, God visited ten ghastly plagues, each one more hideous than the plague before, on Egypt. Above, some renditions of the plagues by Tissot and Doré.

Some believe Passover is the oldest continuously celebrated religious holiday on Earth. It's celebrated not in the synagogue, but with a festive and often raucous family supper -- with quite a bit of wine -- in the home. The presence of children is essential, because Passover teaches each new generation the story of the liberation from slavery.

There are several degrees of Jewish observance, from the strict ultra-Orthodox, to the Conservative, to Reform, and most recently to the Reconstructionist movement. The Reconstructionist and Reform have ordained women rabbis for a few decades. Not so the Conservative movement, and absolutely not the Orthodox.

In the center of the Passover table is a traditional seder (meaning "order," referring to the order of the supper and religious service) plate with various foods, each symbolising an aspect of the Passover story. 

A few years ago I attended a Passover seder, and noticed something odd about its seder plate -- an orange, and I was pretty darned sure I'd never seen an orange on the seder plate before.

A young woman guest explained. A prestigious American Conservative rabbi was asked when the Conservatives would ordain a woman rabbi, and he replied, "A woman rabbi would be like an orange on the seder plate."

And from that year on, oranges began appearing on the symbolic seder plates.

Even the most ancient celebrations move forward, evolve, progress into the future. Every year, Passover liberates and brings equality to more human beings.

19 April 2011

Meanwhile, in the even older (1948) State of Emergency next door ...

In what follows, "Knesset" is Israel's parliament.

Haaretz הארץ‎ 
("The Land," national daily, Israel, founded 1918)
Wednesday 20 April 2011 / Nisan 16, 5771

When will Israel, 

like Syria, lift 
its emergency laws?

A state of emergency allows a government to bypass regular legislative processes. It bestows upon the government broad powers that infringe on civil liberties.

by Aluf Benn

At the heart of the uprisings in Arab states is the demand to rescind emergency laws that confer governments sweeping security powers, and seriously infringe upon civil rights.

Yesterday Syria's President Bashar Assad surrendered to protesters' demands, and annulled emergency laws that had been in effect in the country since the Baath [Party] coup in 1963.

Emergency law in Israel long predates its institutionalization in Syria. Four days after the state's establishment in 1948, the acting government declared a state of emergency, which remains in effect.

Israel effectively adopted the state of emergency that had been declared by the British Mandatory government [more commonly known as "the Mandate"] nine years earlier.

A state of emergency allows a government to bypass regular legislative processes. It bestows upon the government broad powers that infringe on civil liberties. These include the power of administrative detention, seizure of land, arrest of infiltrators, and limitations on the rights of terror suspects. In Israel's improvisational style, numerous writs have been issued under emergency law guidelines for the monitoring of goods and services. In such case, the emergency law was used not because of any real concerns about state security, but rather for bureaucratic convenience.

In addition to laws that are meant to be implemented in times of declared emergency, such as various anti-terror measures and the law for the prevention of infiltration, Israel's security forces have broad powers under the 1945 "defense regulations," which were carried over from the British Mandate. These regulations can be implemented even when a state of emergency is not formally declared. They confer to security forces "draconian deterrence and punitive authority, including powers of seizure and confiscation, right of search and entry, the right to impound vehicles, censorship powers, the right to demolish homes, declare curfews, and more" (from "The Constitutional Law of the State of Israel," Amnon Rubinstein, Barak Medina).

By the 1990s, criticism leveled by jurists about the extension of the state of emergency led to a revision in the law, whereby the Knesset can authorize a state of emergency for a year. However, any extension beyond a year requires discussion and approval of the Knesset. Since this revision was adopted, the Knesset has mechanically approved the extension of Israel's state of emergency every year. The last time such renewal was authorized was June 14, 2010.

In Israel, unlike Syria, citizens are accustomed to living under a state of emergency, and there is no public or political pressure to rescind emergency law. It is hard to imagine an Israeli prime minister standing up in the Knesset and declaring the annulment of the country's emergency laws, on grounds similar to the ones cited by Bashar Assad last weekend: "The annulment of the state of emergency will strengthen the security of Syria, and promote security while preserving the dignity of the Syrian citizen."

The Association of Civil Rights in Israel petitioned the High Court of Justice 12 years ago, demanding that the declaration of a state of emergency be overturned on the grounds that it infringes free speech, the right to strike, the right of assembly and other liberties. Whether or not we face an emergency, the Court's judges are acting as though they have time on their hands; they are still considering the petition.

The government has promised the High Court that it will act to "normalize" legislation in areas such as monitoring of goods and services. It has also drafted a new anti-terror law. Judges have reprimanded the government for the slow pace of emergency law revision, yet there is no sign that the High Court will decide on this petition in the near future, or that the state of emergency will be annulled.

And so Syria, by cancelling its state of emergency, has surpassed Israel. Perhaps that provides cause to revisit and review Israel's emergency laws, before the present declaration is automatically renewed by the Knesset on June 13th?

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