Words of Advice:

"Never Feel Sorry For Anyone Who Owns an Airplane."-- Tina Marie

"
If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"
Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It.
" -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot, by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Friday, February 29, 2008

You Cannot Read This Blog If You Are in the Air Force

For the Air Force thinks that blogs are bad. All blogs.

After all, the Air Force has to keep all of its young Zoomies in the dark and being fed only the official brand of shit, don't you know. The airmen are just too young and impressionable to be confronted with any facts or opinions that don't square with the party line put forth by the Bush Administration.

If it is the goal of the Association of Future Airline Pilots to look stupid, they are doing a bang-up job of it.

(H/T to the Alternate Brain)

Sick Cows Are Just Good Eating!

That would seem to be the position of the FDA, which has refused to ban downer cows from going into the food supply. From the FDA's point of view, the recent recall of 72,000 tons of beef was just a glitch in the system.

You might have a hard time picturing 72,000 tons of beef. If that much beef were a cruise ship, it would be this:


I love to have a nice steak now and then. But given the FDA's rather cavalier attitude towards food safety, I'm thinking of giving up red meat.

Odds of Bad Things Happening

Your odds of going to prison: 1 in 100.

Your odds of getting audited by the IRS: 1 in 130.

Close to $50 billion are spent each year in running prisons. We spend maybe $12 billion a year on schools. Does anyone not think that the priorities evident in those figures are whacked?

UPDATE: As Ghost pointed out, these are the odds of being in prison at this time and the odds of the IRS audit are for a year.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

You Cannot Make This Shit Up

Gates tells Turkey to get out of Iraq soon. “The United States believes the current offensive should be as short and precisely targeted as possible,” Gates said. ... Gates said he told the defense minister that military action alone will not end the threat from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, rebels that the Turks view as terrorists.

I swear, sometimes I have to wonder why the Daily Show even needs writers.

The End of Divided Government

I am a big fan of divided government, when one party has the Congress and the other party has the White House. Generally that means that what gets enacted into law (or did until we were blessed with the combination of an obnoxiously stupid and stubborn president and a supine and spineless congress) is the product of compromise.

But that day may be going away for a very long time. First, if Obama is the nominee, he may win in enough of a blowout to get to the magic 60 in the Senate. 60 Democratic votes in the Senate means that the majority can invoke cloture and shut off debate whenever they feel like it.

My second point has longer-term consequences. Despite John McCain's professed desire to run a clean and issues-driven campaign, I have not a doubt in my body that the Wingnuts are going to try and back up McCain with an extremely nasty and dirty campaign effort. There are going to be racial whispers of "you really want one of them in the White House?" There are already no shortage of Wingnuts trying to use Obama's middle name to imply that he is a stealth Muslim terrorist. They are going to talk about "he used drugs when he was younger" while conveniently forgetting about their unswerving support for the present occupant of the White House, a notorious dry drunk and former coke head. They are going to repeat lie after lie, such as "he's a Muslim" or "he went to a madrassa." But make no mistake about it, dear reader, the Wingnuts will beat on the race issue.

And therein lies the seeds of the destruction of the Republican party. For every thinking minority in this country will look upon that and say to themselves: "If that is what they say about him, what would they say about me?"

Well, you know the answer to that. If you are Asian or Hispanic or South Asian or Arab, you know what they would say about you. If you are Jewish or Buddhist or Hindu or Muslim, you know what they would say about you. If you are gay or lesbian, you already know what they say about you, for they are not at all shy about it.

This campaign will make it very clear to a lot of Americans for a very long time to come that unless you are a white Christian, you are not welcome in the Republican Party, for the Republicans, by the virtue of this upcoming campaign, are going to align themselves morally with the bed-sheet-wearing cross-burning night-riding terrorists. Any casual look at the demographics for this nation will show that if you are running a political party that has an unstated policy of excluding everyone but white Christians, you will be relegated to a handful of states because even a lot of white Christians won't vote for you.

Even if Obama loses to McCain, the seeds of destruction of the modern GOP will be sown. That is bad, for a viable democracy needs at least two parties of relatively equal strength in order to function. Any way you slice it, even with free elections, a one-party state is not a good thing.

Just like the GOP rose from the ashes of the Whigs, another party will arise from the rotting corpse of the GOP.

It cannot happen soon enough.

Operation Yellow Elephant

OYE is not in effect in England. Prince Harry has been serving in Afghanistan.

Compare and contrast Prince Harry's service, if you will, with the military service of George W. Bush's daughters, nieces and nephews. You will find one child of Jeb Bush who is serving as a reserve naval officer with a P-3 squadron in Florida in a non-deployable job.

Prince Harry has been toting a rifle in Afghanistan. One of the Bush spawn went into a part-time job which can be competently performed while wearing a black mini-dress and 4" heels.

George Bush: Spending the lives of the children of other people.

You may have noticed that among Bush's fuckups, from Harkin Oil in the 1980s to the lengthy list of acts of incompetence, inattention, ineptitude and malfeasance as president, nothing he ever touches has an adverse impact on anyone in his family.

Looking Back to 2001

Several years ago, a friend of mine and I visited the SS William G. Mather, a retired ore carrier that is a museum ship in Cleveland. We got into an email discussion about marine boilers, which I have modified and posted up on my other blog. Because of different computer crashes, I had lost much of that discussion and I asked her if she could find it. She did last night and sent it to me.

This discussion took place in December, 2001. As you might expect, in the emails, there were a lot of other things mentioned. One was this short musing by her on what the terrorists may have in mind:

"The bombs the Taliban are dropping cause enough terror to get us to spend like drunken sailors. Fear and economic suicide are the real weapons, bullets or their ilk are just to keep the process going. Between economic loads and assaults on the Constitution it could set up a crash. Maybe. It looks like more of a plan of the patient, watching us pecked to death by ducks.

"And then again, maybe not."

I'm voting for "maybe."

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Election Year

Seems appropriate:


Bush White House: A Nest of Criminals, Vipers and One Buffoon

They refused to comply with the Presidential Records Act, they used unofficial e-mail accounts for official business and even when they used official e-mail accounts, the e-mails are "unrecoverable." The criminals in the West Wing are unrepentant in their cupidity and it seems that nobody is willing to hold them to account for their blatant disregard of the law.

Over 20,000 pages of emails lost and the White house refuses to cooperate in any attempts to find them.

I gather that Bush has to sodomize a small child in the Rose Garden and on national television before he will be held to account for any of his crimes.

But, damn, let's go after a baseball player for lying to Congress while giving Bush and his henchmen a free pass. Going after an easy target while bypassing a hard one isn't legislative discretion, it is legislative cowardice of the rankest sort.

We Are So Screwed; Economics Edition

I drove by a gas station yesterday. The price of diesel at their pumps was $4.159/gallon. That is up thirty cents in less than a month.

Just about everything, other than cars and small trucks, runs on diesel fuel. Everything gets delivered by trucks or trains which burn diesel fuel. Jet-A fuel is not much different from diesel. No. 2 heating oil is basically diesel fuel without road taxes. Farm machinery runs on diesel. As it becomes more and more expensive to transport things, the costs of transporting everything goes up.

That's one point.

Then add to that the push to make ethanol fuel and biodiesel. Right now, most of that is coming from corn, some from soybeans. That pushes the price of those crops up. Cattle consume a lot of corn, so the price of beef and dairy products have to go up. Farmers also convert their production to grow corn for ethanol, which means they stop growing crops such as wheat, which means the price of flour goes up.

The rise in the cost of oil also means that the cost of plastic goes up and, as the plastics industry just loves to tell you, plastics are in almost every thing you use. The rise in the cost of energy means the cost of aluminum goes up; what isn't made of plastic is made of aluminum. Steel is mostly imported these days, which means that steel comes from overseas on ships that burn (can you say it all together, class) oil.

So there you are. The price of everything you wear, use or eat is climbing. At the same time, the value of homes are falling and, as banks foreclose on them, nobody is buying at foreclosure sales. The banks then have to dump them at fire-sale prices, which pushes down the local markets for the rest of the sellers. The cost of living in some of those homes, especially those out in "exurbia", shoots up at the same time the value of those homes are plummeting.

I'm not saying the sky is necessarily falling. But a whole lot of economic chickens are coming home to roost at the same time and the only response out of the White House is "here's a tax rebate and we can fix this by making tax cuts for the rich permanent, oh, and boo! The terrorists are coming to kill you because Congress won't let the telecom companies off the hook for breaking the law."

We are so screwed.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

On the Count of Three, Everybody Yell: "Bullshit!"

An Alabama television station, WHNT, blames "technical difficulties" for its "inability" to air the Siegelman piece when it aired on 60 Minutes.

Yeah. They "just happened" to lose the signal at the beginning of the piece and they "just happened" to get it back at the end of the piece. Susie Madrak's blog noted that WHNT was hostile to Siegelman to begin with, so the "technical difficulties" argument just doesn't fly.

They block signals that are beaming inconvenient stories in places such as Burma and Pakistan and other jerkwater dictatorships. That's not supposed to happen in the "land of the free and the home of the brave."[1]

UPDATE: WHNT is so heavy into damage control mode right now that one of their employees visited the Suburban Guerrilla to argue that it was really truly technical difficulties that only wiped out just the one piece on 60 Minutes that contradicted the GOP party line.

(Good luck with that argument.)

[1] "Land of the free" not applicable in Alabama. "Home of the brave" not applicable in any state that votes Republican. Read the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution for details.

Worshiping at the Church of the YouTube

After a morning of reviewing all sorts of legal crap, nothing clears the mind like a little excursion over to YouTube for some cartoons.



It just brightens up the entire gray, dreary, rainy day.

Meme of Excellence

Blue Girl gave me one of these, which is an honor to me:


Those who get this award (which looks suspiciously like the first letter in Enron)



are supposed to name ten more bloggers. So, trying hard to ignore that little similarity, here are my nominations. I have tried to avoid naming blogs which I know have been named by others in this meme, which is why you don't see BadTux on this list, for one.

Marko the Munchkin Wrangler
. Marko is a conservative, but not of the Kool-Aid drinking persuasion. He is one of the best writers out there. Besides, he is the first one I know of to have nicknamed John McCain "Colonel Tigh" and what's not to love about that?

Captain's Log and Get the Flick are two sides of a coin. One is about flying airliners, the other is about the FAA and life as a air traffic controller

Calm Before the Sand
is an infrequent blogger and one of the most eloquent writers about life on the ground in Iraq.

One Pissed Off Veteran
hammers the neocons relentlessly over their failure to enlist any of thier offspring in the Chimper's Wars.

Ornery Bastard
is just that.

Weapons, Warfare and Industrial Idiocy is a blogger who is a custom knife-maker. He writes frequently about World War I.

Main & Central
is more of a posthumous award for Lurch, one of the class acts in delving deep into the Iraq War. His co-bloggers seem to be making the effort to carry on and I hope they continue. The signs are good.

Cranky Epistles. Good writing, often both poignant and snarkily funny. It is not a good idea to consume liquids while reading her blog.

TFS Magnum is mostly on the use of weapons for self-defense. I like the work she does.

This was hard to do, as 95% of my blogroll should have been listed. But ten is the number of the count and the number of blogs to be named is ten. Nine blogs can be named, but only while proceeding to ten. Eleven blogs shall not be named. Twelve is right out!

So carry on!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Goose-Stepping to Defeat

In an era where the Democrats are on the verge of nominating an African-American man as their presidential candidate, the Republicans in Florida want to adopt this license plate:


Shit, why don't you dumb asses just try to repeal the 13th Amendment to the Constitution and bring back slavery while you are at it? And don't give me that "state's rights" bullshit, the Civil War was, from beginning to end, all about slavery. You fuckers wanted to keep it, the rest of the civilized world thought it was evil and civilization prevailed.

Which is why you might as well just adopt this flag:



Update: Princess Sparkle Pony has some ideas that Florida may want to consider.

(H/T to Incertus through Balloon Juice)

The Surge Worked?

So, if the surge was successful, why do we wind up with 8,000 more troops in Iraq after the surge than were there before the surge?

Anybody?

Or is just that the maximum number of soldiers that can be kept in Iraq for any more time without completely shattering the Army?

Enlisting criminals, idiots and old men (anyone in their 40s is old for ground combat), taking sailors and airmen and turning them into soldiers, all of those are signs of an army that is critically short of manpower. McCain wants to increase the size of the Army, as does Obama. Do either of them have any clue as to where the additional soldiers are going to be found?

Nader the Fegotard

Fegotard: A fucking egotistical retard.

Yes, I made that word up. It applies.

This is Nader's fifth run (at least) for president, not his third, as the MSM claims. In 1992, he ran a write-in campaign for some of the primaries. He ran in 1996 and received 1% of the popular vote. In 2000, he received about 2.7% and tipped the election to Chimpy the Torturer. In 2004, most people were fed up with Nader's ego-trips and he received 0.3% of the vote.

It should be clear to the most casual observer that Ralph Nader's candidacy has more to do with a combination of stroking his massive sense of self-importance and his descent into batshit insanity. Unless he runs for president, nobody pays any attention to him anymore, and that has to be extremely galling to him.

Nader's campaign is about one step above someone standing alongside the highway with a sign that says "will run for president for food." Those who are considering voting for Nader as a form of protest should consider self-immolation, for all of the change either form of protest will bring about.

The Newest Outside Consultant at Walter Reed Hospital

They have hired the Disney Institute. The idea is to try and improve service at Walter Reed.

One would have thought that the Army would have had a lock on running a "Mickey Mouse" operation, but this turns out to be a serious attempt to change the atmosphere at Walter Reed.

Persecution in Soviet America

When it gets to the point that the television stations are going dark in order to avoid broadcasting a story that makes the Republicans look bad, then you know things are not pretty. Like a Russian government TV station, they are blaming non-existent "technical difficulties" to explain why the 60 minutes segment, and only that segment, was not broadcast on a number of broadcast outlets in Alabama.

I'm not going to expand on this very much. You can read Don Siegelman's blog entries at the link in the previous paragraph. You can watch the 60 Minutes story.

It will be no shock to anyone with more than a functioning brain stem that Karl Rove's dirty fingerprints are all over this affair. The entire thing reeks of something that one might have expected to see happen in Putin's Russia or in Pakistan. There is a word to describe what happens when the government prosecutes someone for political reasons and corporations aid and abet that process.

The word is "fascism."

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Visual Snark

From Maru:



As I sort of said here.

An Administration of Lying Fucks

On Friday, the Bush Administration, by and through its two of its most senior weasels, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey and Director of National Intelligence J. Michael McConnell, claimed that it was "losing intelligence" because Congress has failed to roll over and play dead on granting immunity to the telecommunications companies for breaking the law.

(Of course, there are those of us who are of the opinion that the Bush Administration lost any intelligence it ever had a very long time ago, but that is besides the point. Maybe.)

But now, they are backtracking
because the telecommunications companies have indeed been giving the Bush Administration everything they have asked for.

"Backtracking", in this case, is a euphemism for "we caught you dumb-ass motherfuckers lying to us once again."

I say again, and in the immortal words of Mary McCarthy:

Every word that comes out of the mouths of the officials of the Bush Administration is a lie, including the words "and" and "the".

They cannot be trusted to tell the truth about anything at any time. If George Bush or any of his lackeys were to tell you that "the Sun will rise in the East tomorrow morning", you would be well advised to stock up on candles and flashlight batteries, for they're probably lying about that, as well.

They are also a bunch of soulless fear-mongers, but that charge applies to the entirety of the Republican party, whose campaigning is based on little more than " 9-11, 9-11, the towel-heads are going to kill you and even if they don't, the beaners are going to take your jobs." They are nothing more than an evolution of the racist bastards of the 1960s and before whose speeches involved high-minded concepts such as "the Negroes are going to fuck your daughters".

But that's off topic, for the point I wanted to make here was that the Bush Administration is composed of lying, retarded, incompetent fuckwits.

(H/T to Balloon Juice)

Caturday

Today I am featuring two guest cats. This is Bella, she is about two years old.


This is Rocky. He is part/mostly Maine Coon. He's 9. He weight about twice as much as Bella. He and Bella have not yet become friends. Bella loves to receive attention from people. Rocky sometimes wants attention from his owner, but maybe twice a day.



This is a short video of Bella getting up close and personal with my camera. If you crank up your sound, you can hear her purring away.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Seen Around the Internets

From a few news sites amidst the series of tubes:

Nobody knows what gas prices will climb to this Spring. $3.40 to $4 per gallon or higher. Nobody has a fraking clue, beyond "up".

A woman whose insurance company dropped her coverage while she was being treated for breast cancer, won a $9 million award. This was an arbitration award. I gather if the case had been tried, you might add a zero to that number.

If you want to see Lenin (what's left of him) resting in his mausoleum, you have about two years to get to Moscow. The Russians plan to finally bury him in 2010. Of course, this story crops up from time to time and they never get around to burying him, so take your chances.

The costs of hurricane damage doubles every ten years or so because more and more idiots move to Florida.

A visit to the Torture Museum in Prague, as contrasted to torture as practiced by the Bush Administration.

How the coal companies are destroying West Virginia to supply coal for Canadian power plants, among others.

Muammar Gadaffi's father
may have been a French air force officer. Which would be like Ralph Nader's dad having been a GM executive. Anyway, Nader is even older than John McCain.

If this guy had operated on me, I'd be looking for him with a corkscrew and a .44.

The Department of Public Affairs at the Pentagon is nothing more than a cesspit of lying propagandists.

Now For Something Very Serious

Dave Barry's column on getting a colonoscopy.

If you are of the age where you should get one or if you have been advised to get one done, in the words of Larry the Cable Guy: Git `er done!

The bowel prep is annoying, granted. But that's the only annoying part. The procedure is done under anesthesia. And you won't even feel as though somebody has rammed a periscope up your ass.

Not getting one is like not paying attention to reality in the hopes of what you don't know won't come back to hurt you. That's living in a bubble and you can see how well that policy has worked for George Bush. Even Bush got a colonoscopy, and so can you.

Get `er done.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Get the Wooden Stake and the Mallet, Martha

We need to drive the stake into Ralph Nader, once and for all.

The stupid fuck is going to indeed run for President. Again.

Is there no limit to his ego, his overblown sense of self-importance?

Republicans will give Nader tons of cash in hopes of taking some of the oxygen out of the Obama campaign, if he wins the nomination.

Anybody who votes for Nader because they want change in Washington is a complete and utter imbecile, who should be watered twice a week.

Hillary's Snark

One of the things about writing a blog such as mine is the freedom to use snark. Whether used like a scalpel, a rapier or a baseball bat, snark is a potent tool in the blogiverse.

Snark has its uses. But there is a place for it. And there are places that it should not be wielded.

Hillary Clinton unleased a snarky line on Barak Obama last night, in referring to his use of stuff written by Deval Patrick: "You know, lifting whole passages from someone else's speeches is not change you can believe in; it's change you can Xerox." If you listen to the audio from that part of the debate last night, you can hear a round of booing from the audience.

It was out of place and it hurt her.

Obama also called her to task for her "get real" comments of late.

Eugene Robinson noted, in his column in today's Washington Post, that if Obama had lost ten contests in a row, it would be all over for him.

Clinton, though, has managed to get into even a bigger mess than did Rudy Giuliani. Both she and Rudy were the front runners a year ago. Both Hillary and Rudy tried to run their campaigns on the Borg Theory of Campaigning: Resistance is futile. At least Rudy just got beaten like a gong and quit.

Hillary, on the other hand, has managed to pull off a feat that will be the stuff of political legend: Backed by the most powerful people in the Democratic party establishment, having the name recognition of a former president who was (up until the South Carolina primary) hugely popular within the rank-and-file of the party, her campaign has gone from being the clear front-runner into the political equivalent of the Kobayashi Maru. Which is why she has tried to rewrite the party rules for seating the delegations from Michigan and Florida.

There is an aura emanating from the Clinton campaign:


Clinton had a double-digit lead in both Ohio and Texas. From the polling I've seen, that has evaporated in Texas and is narrowing fast in Ohio. Turnout in both states may be far higher than average and that has tended to be good news for Obama. It may be "fork time" for Clinton unless she can pull off a miracle on March 4th.

But only fools will count out a Clinton until the coffin is screwed shut and buried deep.

Trans-Atlantic Nuttery

As Tamara so aptly calls it, from "The Nation Formerly as Great Britain", you may have to have a special government issued permit in order to buy a pack of smokes. Not just a photo ID, mind you, a permit to purchase and carry tobacco.

I suppose the next thing the Brits have in mind is the performance of a background check before being permitted to purchase a set of kitchen knives.

From "license to kill" to "license to smoke." I'll bet the sound being heard from the town of Bladon is the sound of Winston Churchill spinning in his grave.

And from Ahab, the point that if you defend yourself in Former Great Britain, you will likely be charged for murder.

Another Day, Another Republican Indicted

This time, it is Congressman Rick Renzi, of Arizona, who has been charged with 26 or 35 counts of fraud, corruption, extortion, money laundering, and various and sundry other offenses, depending as to which story you read. The charges go all the way back to his initial campaign for Congress seven years ago, which allegedly was funded by embezzled funds.

No surprise that the first words out of the mouths of the Rethug leadership was for Renzi to consider resigning now.

The story in the Baltimore Sun contained this corker from Rep. John Boehner: “I have made it clear that I will hold our Members to the highest standards of ethical conduct.” Riight. When Tom DeLay was running his thuggish operation, just where the fuck were you? Aren't you the guy who used to hand out checks from the tobacco lobby to your fellow congressmen, and you did that on the floor of the House? Aren't you the guy who knew that Mark Foley was having fun with the House pages, but did nothing?

"Highest ethical standards," oh, my ass.

It's Snowing

Yes, it's snowing. Like it does every winter around here.

And like every snowstorm, there will be any number of SUVs that have slid/run/spun off the road. Why, you might ask, especially if you are reading this from places where if the temperature drops below 60degF, you drag out a down-filled coat.

The reason is this: Those vehicles have four wheel drive. Note the emphasis on the word "drive."

Most SUVs (not all) are built on the same frames used to make pickup trucks. They have the same brakes, the same steering. They will not brake or steer any better than a truck. When a car spins out, it may just twist around. An SUV might overturn, as they have a higher center of gravity. Four-wheel drive doesn't improve the steering or the stopping.

Besides that, a lot of SUVs are driven by morons. They'd be safer driving an old VW Beetle or a Honda Civic. Really. Both of those cars have the engine mounted over the drive wheels and they are pretty good in snow. And the drivers usually understand the limitations of those cars better than most SUV drivers do.

And with that, it's off to work. Watch me crash my car, since I have probably invoked the gods of retributive karma.

UPDATE: Made it into work just fine. The roads were OK. For all the traffic on the main drag, I could have set up a target and practiced with my Mosin.

Where's Cheney on This?

Protesters in Serbia, enraged at the declaration of independence by Kosova, set fire to the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade.

You'd think that Bush and Cheney would be sending in the Air Force to bomb Belgrade into rubble over this. But maybe not, for they only seem to be interested in starting wars with countries whose names have four letters and begin with "I".

There is no oil, so far as I know, under Serbia, so of course Cheney wouldn't give a fuck. There's no way Halliburton, KBR and Blackwater can make any money there.

Turkey Invades Iraq

The Turkish Army has crossed the border into Iraq's Kurdish area. The reports are probably going to be a bit sketchy for awhile.

One of the stated aims of Der Monkey Fuhrer for his invasion and conquering of Iraq was to deny Iraq's use as a haven for terrorists. But now, Iraq is a haven for terrorists and the U.S. has more or less tolerated that for several years.

Let's run fact that through the Irony Meter:

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Oh, For Crying Out Loud; John McCain Edition

Let me get this up front: Unless there is credible allegations of something else, I Officially Do Not Give a Shit Who John McCain Was Sleeping With.

I. Do. Not. Care.

Unless it came be shown that he was doing a Duke Cunningham, except he was getting paid off in blowjobs instead of with cash and goodies, I don't care. That's between him and his wife and his alleged girlfriend. Unlike Bill Bennett, the national moral scold who made over $200 million in bets in slot machines, I don't know as McCain has ever held himself out to be some sort of hypermoral person.

So far, the story about McCain and his alleged girlfriend do not pass the "so, what" test.

Now if Preznit "19% approval" had been caught in the sack with his girlfriend, that might be a different matter, since Chimpy claims to have high moral standards, at least when he is not raping the Constitution, directing the commission of war crimes or handing over the keys to the Treasury to his golfing buddies.

But that's not the case. At least, not so far.

Target: Babies in Open (Blogging Administrative Stuff)

I think what I am going to do is use that blog for musings on mainly military matters and keep this one for guns, airplanes, cats and the repeated bashing of all things political. I'll try to put something up on Babies in Open every few days.

I Know. I'm One Sick Puppy.

I thought up a name for a new blog, so I formed it.

Click the link to see the name and the photo I used.

Get Real, Hillary

Her argument du jour is that Democratic voters need to "get real" and choose someone who is ready to be president.

"Get real" Indeed, you should, Senator Clinton. And what, pray tell, is your much-vaunted experience? Would you allow someone to land an airplane or run a coffee shop just on the strength of their marriage to a person who did those things? We have bitter experience seeing how well the son of a president does in the job, what makes anyone think that the "spouse of" is qualified to be president?

You want to "get real?" Then let's talk about the 800-lb gorilla in the room: The fact that most Republicans hate you and your husband. Let's talk about how they are going to turn out en masse, regardless of whom the Republicans nominate, if you are the Democrats' nominee. You as a nominee mean that the Republicans are guaranteed 45% or more of the general electorate, which means that you and the Republicans are going to fight over 5% of the independents, while you also have to try and retain the disaffected Democrats who are probably starting to get pissed off at your sleazeball tactics and your (and your husband's) derision directed toward those Democrats who are supporting your opponent.

On the other hand, your opponent seems to be well positioned to both mute Republican opposition and to attract independent voters. But I digress, this blog entry is not about him, this is about you.

All of us who have voted for the other Democrats running for president are people that you are going to need on and before November 4th. You would be well advised not to run a scorched-earth campaign for the nomination.

In other words: Stop insulting our intelligence because we are not cowering in awe of your awesomeness.

Don't piss us off.

ASAT: Test Was Sat

The test of the missile was successful. The Navy hit the satellite target.

Shame, though, on the New York Times for printing both this line as fact: "The goal of the mission wais (sic) to prevent the fuel tank from reaching Earth and spilling its hazardous contents in a populous area." The article also printed this denial without challenge: "Pentagon spokesman, Bryan Whitman, dismissed suggestions that the operation had been designed to test the nation’s missile defense systems or antisatellite capabilities or that the effort had been to destroy secret intelligence equipment."

Satellites and rocket stages have been falling from orbit for half a century. I know of no one on the ground who has been injured or killed by falling space garbage. Space Shuttle Columbia, which was designed to re-enter the atmosphere, shredded on re-entry a few years ago and nobody on the ground was injured.

McClatchey got much closer to the truth with this line: "The mission was considered a major, if unplanned, test of America 's anti-ballistic missile program." The Washington Post also was somewhat skeptical of the rationale, as was the Times of London.

If I wanted to get the White House propaganda line, I'd either read their press releases or watch Faux News. The New York Times story was an example of being asleep at the switch.

UPDATE: MSNBC has pointed out that the risk of being hit by space debris is one in a trillion, which makes buying a ticket in tomorrow's $270 million Mega Millions drawing look like a sure thing in comparison.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Oh, For Crying Out Loud

Is Clinton channeling George Bush?

Trying to get rich motherfuckers to form 527 groups to Swift-boat Obama? Getting your campaign minions to throw out every bit of sleaze one can to see if anything sticks? Trying to play the fear card of "I can keep you safe?" The Rude Pundit had a post in which he names Clinton's version of Karl Rove. Is this what she has in mind, copying George Bush's playbook?

This is bringing change, adopting the Republican way of getting things done? How well has that worked for the last eight years?

Here's one measure: George Bush has an approval rating of 19%. 77% of Americans think he is doing a shitty job. When you run a series of divisive campaigns and then run your administration on the same principle of division and hate-mongering, it eventually will come back to bite you in the ass. Der Monkey Fuhrer is learning this lesson, or he would, if he were capable of learning anything.

Is that the model that Hillary Clinton is looking to emulate?

NASA to Chimpy: You Have a "Go."

Shuttle Atlantis is safely on the ground at the Kennedy Space Center.

The King of the Baboons now has a green light to go play with his "Star Wars" toys.

Message by Turd

I have NASA TV up in another window as I type this, so I can watch Shuttle Atlantis land.

I picked up another load of canned cat food on my way home yesterday. My practice has been to buy a can or two of a different kind with the usual brand, to see if they like it. When I got home, I gave them that can.

They ate it.

Then George decided to show me that he was not amused. He dropped a turd in the living room. Then he dropped a turd in the bedroom. I found one on the dining room. The kicker was, when I went to take a shower, there was one in the bathtub.

I guess I'm not going to be buying any more of that brand!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Unmentioned Bad News From Wisconsin (For Republicans)

No, I'm not talking about the 13% margin of victory for Obama (with 52% of the vote counted).

What I am talking about is the vote totals. Wisconsin allows crossover voting. Keep that in mind when I say this:

Look at the vote totals with just over half the votes counted:

First, the Democrats:

Obama: 283,389
Clinton: 214,855

Now, the Republicans:

McCain: 107,648
Huckabee: 74,938

Which means that even though Clinton was thrashed by Obama, she still got more votes than McCain and Huckabee combined.

If the election were held tonight in Wisconsin between Obama and McCain, McCain would be beaten as badly as a bass drum in a grammar-school band.

It's Called "History." Learn Some of It.

One of my aviation buddies sent me this link, to a story about a speech by John McCain (R-Goon) in Wisconsin. In his speech, McCain drops this stunner of a line:

"The war in Iraq was part of the fight against Islamic extremism, the greatest evil, probably, that this nation has ever faced."

Oh. Really. Permit me, if I may, to introduce you to a few butchers whose toll of slaughter makes Osama bin Ladin look like a toddler in a day-care center.

One was an obscure veteran of the German Army in World War I. He rose to become the leader of that nation and started a war that resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of people. He industrialized the practice of mass murder. If you haven't guessed that I am referring to Adolph Hitler, go punch yourself in the face.

The second gent is a little more obscure. During the time that Hitler was the leader of Germany (and for some time before and after), he ruled the Russian Empire. He send tens of millions of people into a huge network of prisons where most died. He engineered a famine in the Ukraine in the 1930s that killed millions more. In World War 2, his uncaring about casualties resulted in his army suffering somewhere between 8 and 10 million KIAs. He drove his nation from being an economic backwater into becoming the second nuclear power and the first nation to have an operationally-capable fusion bomb. His name: Joseph Stalin.

Then there was the nation that carried out a successful military attack on a major U.S. naval base and actually occupied American territory: Imperial Japan.

I can go on and on. Osama bin Ladin sent 19 guys armed with boxcutters in 2001 and because of that, he poses a greater threat to the nation than that posed by the Confederacy, which invaded all the way into Pennsylvania. The British Army sacked and burned our capitol during the War of 1812.

If anything, the greater threat posed to this country comes from those who would destroy our freedoms and liberties and dismantle our constitutional system of checks and balances, all in the name of providing a glimmer of protection.

We were, at times, a great nation, too great to be stampeded into a mass of quivering jelly by a bunch of fear-mongers. We need to reclaim that greatness once again.

If I Had Half a Brain in My Head

I'd stay away from writing about religion. I got a little torqued up over the "unchurched" term and I let my offense at the slight inherent in the term turn into a counterattack on religion in general. Which understandably gave some offense to others, including some whom I respect greatly.

I'm sorry, that was not my intent. Either I should have just written about the offense I took from it, without the snarky counterattack, or I should have thought better about it and just shut the frak up.

My apologies.

So, without further ado, we now resume our regularly scheduled discussion about political stupidities.

Grits Gresham

has died. He was 85. If you are a hunter or a fisherman, you knew of his work. He was calling attention to the disappearing wetlands decades ago.

Toljaso, Julius Baer; Part II

On Friday, as previously reported, Julius Baer Bank tried to shut down Wikileaks.org by obtaining an ex parte injunction.

Now the story is in the New York Times. Which, of course, means that the International Herald Tribune has it.

The New York Times helpfully points out that ordering Dynadot to disable the domain name does nothing to disable the IP address of Wikileaks.org, which the Times helpfully furnishes.

So, in an effort to squelch Wikileaks, Julis Baer Bank's lawyers have splashed the name of their client in front of tens of millions of people by now, 99.999% of whom probably had never heard of the bank before. But now they have and the lasting impression will be that the bank is run by and for sleazeballs.

Like I said before, smooth move, guys.

Call For Mister Moron! Call for Mister Gullible T. Moron!

Is there anybody out there, anybody, who has the ability to operate a PC and who has ever purchased any of those penis-enlarging products that the spammers keep advertising?

Is there anybody who has ever purchased any of those "pump and dump" stocks that the stock spammers love to tout?

Anybody?

Inquiring minds, etc.

Toljaso, Julius Baer

Sure enough, a check of Google News this morning shows at least 64 news stories about the attempted gagging of Wikileaks by Julius Baer Bank. Including this one, on USA Today's web site.

Good work, guys. You really did a fine job keeping your client's name out of the news. Besides that, you're going after a group which has evaded the attempts of dictatorial regimes to shut them down, they'll probably be able to deal with this.

So, what is your client into? I'm presuming it starts with helping the uber-rich evade taxes.

The "Un" words

When you add the prefix "un" to a word, you are saying more than you would by preceding the word with "not." "Un" implies a value judgment, that the resultant word is less desirable than the root word. The only exception to that is a long-ago advertising campaign by 7-Up, which proclaimed it to be the "uncola."

Unclean. Unhealthy. Unemployed. Uneducated. Unmarried. Unfed.

What brought this on was hearing the word "unchurched." That refers to people (like me) who get along just fine by not spending one morning a week in a large hall, offering up prayers to to the locally-preferred variant of the FSM. They seem to be offended that people like me are more than happy to sleep in on the day of rest, and then get up and read the papers while enjoying a hot cup of joe (while they get up early, get dressed in good clothes, and go offer prayers to the Unseen One).

And we're the ones who are to be pitied? We're not the ones who are praying before a statute of some pitiful guy being tortured to death. We're not the ones who have unleashed violence upon neighbors because they believe differently. It was not the "unchurched" who coined the phrase "kill them all, God will know His own."

Unchurched. And proud of it.

Barfing on My Computer

I was about to start writing on another subject. My radio is on, turned to a local NPR station. The story on the hour's news update was about Castro's resignation as President of Cuba. On comes Chimpy McMoron, saying that Cuba should have "free and fair elections, and I mean free and fair, not stage-managed."

Oh, that is just rich. Bush's cronies stole two elections for him. He is probably the first president to serve two full terms without being elected to either one. And he thinks he has the moral foundation to lecture anybody about holding fair elections?

Give me a fucking break.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Stupid Lawyers, Stupider Clients

The clients would be "BANK JULIUS BAER & CO. LTD, a Swiss entity; and JULIUS BAER BANK AND TRUST CO. LTD, a Cayman Island entity". They have attempted to shut down a site called Wikileaks.org with an ex-parte injunction.

I don't know who their attorneys are, but here's the thing, guys: If you don't want people to be paying attention to whatever nefarious things your clients are alleged to have done, the last thing you should be doing is trying to make third parties shut up about it. Yelling loudly "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" is a sure-fire way of getting people to pay a lot of attention.

So now, word of this is going to spread all around the Internet and more and more people are going to become really curious as to what scummy transactions your clients may have been involved in. Word of this injunction will eventually reach the reporters for the dead-tree press and the cable news networks. They'll start asking questions, too.

I have no idea who or what "Julius Baer Bank" is, for I had never heard of them before today. But you can bet your pinstriped $750/hr asses that I, and a lot of other people, are going to be listening, now.

Smooth move, guys.

(H/T to the Alternate Brain, which has more links)

Every Day Is Caturday

The gray and white cat is Gracie, the other one is Jake.


These two cats don't get along very well. They compete for affection, they compete for food. Normally when one gets too close to the other, a short interval of bapping occurs, before one runs off. So this is a rather unusual sight.

Please, Sir, May I Have a Little More?

Says the Air Force, only their idea of "a little more" is $20+ billion more a year.

It's hard to feel a twinge of sympathy for the Zoomies on this. Their quarter-billion-a-copy F-22 can carry two bombs, which makes it seem as though ground-attack was an afterthought. The F-35 is a little cheaper, a billion dollars will buy five of them.

F-16s, which are not cheap, were last purchased for $20 million. Will a F-22 be able to shoot down 14 F-16s? And can you see them using a $200 million+ airplane to drop bombs on a bunch of guys who are carrying AK-47s and wearing nightshirts?

The Air Force is in a bind of its own making. The last non-gold-plated combat airplane that the Air Force purchased was the A-10 and the stories are rife as to how the Air Force hated that airplane, because it wasn't supersonic and all it did was kill tanks and drop bombs to support the ground-pounders. The Air Force has tried to kill off the A-10s time and time again, though stunts such as maintaining them as poorly as a fourth-world nation would. The Air Force always has gone for the most expensive airframe they could; cost has never been an objection for the Air Force.

A long time ago, a defense procurement guy told me about the trends in the growth of the Pentagon's budget and the cost of military aircraft. Seeing my eyes starting to glaze over, he cut to the chase and said that by 2050, the entire military budget of the US would buy one jet fighter for the Air Force.

Seems the Air Force is still on that path.

UPDATE: You might also want to read this from Jeff Huber's blog Pen & Sword.

MicroJets,Welcome to the 1940s

Among aircraft buffs, the postwar boom in light aircraft is almost the stuff of legend. A lot of companies began making private aircraft to sell to the returning GIs.

Globe Swift
. North American Navion. ERCO's Ercoupe. Republic Seabee. Stinson Voyager. All went into production just after the war and production halted, more or less, within a few years. In most cases, it was not resumed. And those are airplanes that made it into production and hundreds, if not thousands, of them were made. This, for instance, is a listing of type certificates granted up to 1958, a fair number of those aircraft were not make in quantity.

Those in aviation who remembered that history were very skeptical when the big rush came to design and fly microjets. The makers of those jets are thinning out. Adam Aircraft has laid off all of its workers. ATG, who was working on a two-seat jet for sales for both civilians and for a military trainer, apparently shut down in December. Eclipse secured a large cash infusion, though the price for that may mean that their airplane will be built in Russia, not in New Mexico, and this was after getting many of those holding orders to greatly increase their deposits.

The VLJs are showing signs of the same blood-letting that occurred among the single-engined aircraft makers sixty years ago. This time, as was true 60 years ago, Cessna will be one of the survivors.

Beauty Contestant Follies (Not Safe for Coffee)

This comes from List of the Day, so blame them. Try to stick with this long enough to see her "interpretative" dancing moves.



Based on my childhood experience with learning to play a trumpet, I'd estimate that she had first touched that poor horn maybe a month before the competition, for that's about how long it takes to get to the point of being able to play several notes while still sounding like a horn from a 1960s Chevy.

Post Office is Going to Fuck You Up

The Post Office is going to make commercial mailers put a 31-digit bar code on everything, so the Post Office and the mailers can track whatever they want. That code will, no doubt, be on the reply/response envelopes all of the companies send out.

So here is my suggestion: Go to the drugstore or the office supply store and get a box of the cheapest white envelopes they sell. Use those instead of the ones the companies send you. What they hell, you have to pay 41 cents (soon to be 42) postage anyway, it's not as though you get a break from those codes.

Make those bastards work for their 41 cents. And stop them from tracking your mail.

Shooting Down a Satellite

Is there anybody at all, outside of the Bush Administration and their gullible Kool-Aid quaffing sycophants, who think that shooting down this satellite is anything other than an excuse to test an ASAT weapon? At the end of January, the Bush Administration was saying that the risk of damage or injury from the satellite was "minimal."

I don't buy that they all of a sudden concluded that the hydrazine tank posed a severe threat.

What I do buy is that someone told Bush that this would be a great opportunity to shoot off a missile to test an ABM interceptor. And he seized on it.

So what this is, again, is yet another Bush lie encased in a veneer of plausibility.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Sky is Still Up There

Well, the "We Can Wiretap Whoever The Fuck We Want To Act," also known as the "Protect America Act of 2007" expired.

So far, there do not seem to be hordes of AK-toting terrorists roaming the streets.

I'm just sayin'.

Another Republican Politician Caught With Kiddie Porn (YAWN)

It's getting to the point that this is hardly newsworthy anymore: Robert A. McKee, a Republican delegate to the Maryland legislature, had kiddie porn on his personal computer. He was also a muckety-muck in the local Big Brother/Big Sister program.

No word if he has invoked Jesus in his defense.

Fostering the Rise of Militant Islam

This article, from today's New York Times (as reprinted in the International Herald Tribune), discusses how young people in Egypt are turning more and more to being devout Islamics. They are doing so, in large part, because there are are no suitable jobs for them.

Therein, I submit, lies the seeds of future catastrophe. It will not be a large stretch to radicalize them and convince them that the reason that they have no future is due to the corruption of the Mubarak regime. Since Egypt is a one-party state and Mubarak has ruthlessly suppressed all opposition, the only path of opposition left open will be that of the radical militants.

The same will probably happen in Pakistan, provided that the election tomorrow is, as is widely anticipated, "massively rigged" to give Musharraf a victory.

And yes, this will be laid at our feet. We support the dictators, but dictators do not last forever. When they fall, those who supported the dictators are blamed. You need only look to Iran to see how that has worked for us. Or, for that matter, pre-Castro Cuba.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Is the Press Finally Getting It?

I have to wonder if some of them are finally starting to understand the issue with concealed carry. This article, in Newsweek's web edition, discusses the issue of maybe the answer for school shootings is to have people carrying concealed on campus. While there is an obligatory mention of the "rubber knife" brigade of the Brady Campaign, the bulk of the article is an interview with Scott Lewis, the spokesman for Students for Concealed Carry.

Even better, the reporter seems to have done her homework and knew about the circumstances of the infamous Luby's Cafeteria shooting in 1991.

There are three points I want to make about the most recent shooting in Illinois (and no, I'm not going to name the perp). First, the Unspeakable One stood in the front of the lecture hall and reloaded his shotgun. Second, of the five people he killed, four were women.

And third, more people were killed this morning in a crash in Maryland that involved a tractor-trailer and a few other vehicles. But those deaths will merit only a brief mention because that level of carnage on the roads is not unusual.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Good Old Loyal Republicans

If you were curious as to why the Republicans on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform rose to the defense of Roger Clemens as he lied his ass off, it's really very simple: He's a Republican.

It wouldn't matter if he had roasted and consumed a puppy on national television; he's a Republican, so the other Republicans would stand up to proclaim and defend his right to eat puppies.

And that, in a nutshell, is a major reason why this country is so fucked: Republicans put party loyalty above everything else: Law, ethics, national security, you name it. Party loyalty trumps all.

Enemy of the State

That happens to be you. Or me. For the Federal government feels the need to turn the spy satellites on its own citizens.

If I owned the land to do it, I'd plant contrasting plants so that "Fuck George Bush" would show up in fifty-foot high letters.

Where are the Republicans who once believed in civil liberties and limited government? Why are the Republicans so bound and determined to move forward the transformation of this country into a brutal police state?

Why are the Republicans so comfortable with the idea of a super-powerful president who has the power to disobey any law that he or she sees fit? They might as well play "the Horst Wessel Song" at their convention this summer, it fits their dedication to freedom and liberty. "Freedom" and 'liberty" are words the Republicans invoke, but they are as meaningless to them as "ethics" and "honor."

Why are the limited government Republicans so eager to turn the Bill of Rights into a dead document?

When will they change the name of their party to the American Fascist Party and start wearing jackboots?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

House Democrats Finally Find Their Balls

They voted to hold Josh Bolton and Harriet Miers in contempt for refusing to testify to Congress about the firings of US Attorneys.

And despite the fear-mongering of George Bush, the House refused to be rushed into passing the FISA Amendment Act with the telecomm immunity intact.

It's about fucking time that they found their balls, but better late than never. Enough with enabling this fascist of a president.

It's about time that they took a stand for the rule of law against a "the king can do no wrong" presidency.

Keep it up, people.

A Song For Today

Lots of songs may apply to today. But in thinking of Lurch, let's go for this one. He put a lot of effort into questioning the prevailing wisdom with regard to Iraq. He didn't back down, he went with the truth as he called it.



Main & Central was his blog. I don't know if the other contributors can keep it going or not. But in the event that it does go dark, you might want to peruse the archives. There is a lot of good stuff.

The Modern Nation of Saudi Arabia

They are getting ready to execute a woman for the crime of witchcraft. Which is something that we stopped doing, oh, three hundred years ago.

Shit likes this makes arguing against the Christianofascist rant of "Islam is a religion of terror" just that much harder. No wonder the House of Saud is so friendly with the House of Bush, they both have the same atrocious public relations skills.

Da Svedanya, Lurch

Lurch, one of the bloggers over at Main and Central, has died.

I don't know much about Lurch, other than what clues he dropped here and there. He probably was in his early 60s, for he was a veteran of the Vietnam War. He had been in the Army and was a LRRP. He had a fine grasp of counterinsurgency warfare and he posted a lot of articles on Main & Central that put together a diverse collection of reports from Iraq in order to get past the spin being handled out by the Pentagon and the Bush Administration (and being swallowed whole by the MSM). He was the only one I know of who was paying attention to what he called the "war of the bridges."

He last posted two weeks ago. Then he just dropped out of sight and it seems the cops were sent to his home to investigate his silence. Apparently they found him dead.

As I said, I didn't really know him. But I am going to miss him very much.

Da Svedanya, Lurch.

Happy Valentine's Day

A long time ago, I was working the second shift on a job with a guy from Vermont. I glanced up at the clock and said something about it was about time to break for supper. He didn't look up; he said something along the lines of "it's a poor excuse for a person who has to look at a clock to know when they're hungry."

That's about my feelings regarding Valentine's Day. If you have to be reminded by a calendar in order to pay attention to your beloved, then you're about as romantic as a Cat D-9.

Valentine's Day isn't as bad a foisted-upon faux Hallmark holiday as Sweetest Day, which fortunately hasn't caught on outside of cities close to Lake Erie, most of which are nicknamed "the mistake on the lake" for good reasons well known to anyone who has lived there. Probably a quarter of the jewelry stores would have to close without Valentine's Day, since they'd lose their customer base of clueless men who pay three times what the piece of crap is worth. Florists would go broke if they had to rely on men to have a romantic impulse and buy flowers for their true love (or their "love right now").

So, with my ambivalence towards Valentine's Day, let's have some music:


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Party of Quislings

I had intended to blog tonight about this excellent commentary in Rolling Stone, which heavily lambastes the Democrats, especially Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, for eagerly surrendering to the neo-tyrant of a president we have now.

But fuck it. I've written about that enough for now. Anybody who is not outraged at the way the Democratic Party has ignored the reasons why they were elected is either a Republican, isn't paying attention, or has had their outrage burner fried out from overuse.

The Democrats are, in fact, even more insidiously evil than the Republicans. I personally would much rather have an enemy that I can face than a fair-weather friend who either caves at the first sign of difficulty or, even worse, shoots me in the back. (Which is how gays and lesbians largely felt about Bill Clinton, one of the more egregious backstabbers in the 1990s.)

I'd rather stand alone than be "helped" by the spaghetti-spined. The 110th Congress is populated by weak-kneed, rubber-spined, two-faced Democrats who will do nothing to back up the few Democrats, such as Chris Dodd and Russ Feingold, who actually do stand up for the cause of freedom and liberty.

Screw them.

The Firebombing of Dresden, 1945

What the Munchkin Wrangler said. Go read it.

Then, if you want, go read The Fall of Berlin, 1945. Find the account where a German soldier is sitting on a tram in Berlin and he tells everyone that based on the horrors that the Germans inflicted on the Russians, that what was going to happen to Berlin would be both unspeakably horrible and wholly deserved.

The Fighting 110th "Gutless Wonders" Division

The House is holding hearings today, grilling Roger Clemens on his alleged use of steroids.

I have no sympathy for Clemens, understand that. But I find it to be thoroughly despicable and beneath contempt that the Congress is so worked up over the use of steroids in baseball, but they cannot find the time or gumption to look into the exhaustive list of crimes perpetrated by the Bush Administration.

Illegal searches, illegal wiretaps, detention without trial and the use of torture: Gooood.

Use of steroids and human growth hormone by a ballplayer: Baaaaaaaad. Igor must punish ballplayer.

Give me a fucking break. Who gives a shit whether Roger Clemens injected steroids, HGH or donkey piss into his ass? Who, for that matter, gives a shit if Bill Belechik stole the signals of another football team? Obviously Congress cares about that. Too bad they don't care about Chimpy's use of the Constitution as a snot rag.

How do you clowns up there manage to look into a mirror without throwing up?

Rifle Comparisons

This page compares an AR-15, an AK-47 and a Mosin-Nagant. Much humor is intended.

Torture Nation

The White House is peddling its rationale of its self-proclaimed right to torture whoever they damn well please.

The article is wrong, though, in its suggestion that the reason the White House is flogging this argument is to prepare for the trials of those who have been tortured. Oh, that may be what they are telling the reporters on background. And there may even be some truth to that. But it is not the real reason.

The real reason why the White House is trying so desperately to establish that torture is legal is that they are hoping to avoid a future spectacle when they are the ones on trial for war crimes. But it doesn't much matter, for that may be unavoidable. Waterboarding is torture. It has been torture since it was first used in the Spanish Inquisition 500 years ago. It is more sophisticated a torture than thumbscrews or hot irons, but it is torture.

The White House's rationale boils down to "it's not torture when we do it." Which is akin to their other arguments that "it's not a violation of your civil rights if we listen to your phone calls or search your home without a warrant." It is a full-scale adoption of "situational ethics", something Republicans once derided.

The White House and the GOP are populated by moral pygmies. (That distinguishes them from the Democratic party, which is populated by moral cowards.)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

KBR stands for "Kome and Be Raped"

Words be damned, the actions and inactions of KBR have made that company's operation in Iraq a safe haven for abusers and rapists.

Chimpy: Overreaching Again!

The Bush Administration is trying to portray its upcoming show trials as being the equivalent of the Nuremberg trials.

Let's see how that works:

The 9/11 plotters took down two skyscrapers, damaged the Pentagon, destroyed four airliners and killed 3,000 people.

The Nazis started one of the most horrific wars in human history and between the carnage on the battlefields and the industrialized slaughter of the concentration and extermination camps, resulted in the deaths of somewhere inbetween 25 million and 50 million people.

Yep, the two situations are comparable, all right, if your brain is addled by crack!

That's about what I'd expect from a mental midget who thinks he is the reincarnation of Winston Churchill.

We have got to have elected the stupidest motherfucker ever to have lived in the White House, and that includes the various pets previous presidents have owned. Bonzo the Chimp was a rocket scientist compared to this putz.

Lost Item Alert

If you see these, please call Gov. Dean at 202-863-8000:


(H/T to WTF Is It Now?!?)

Some Things Never Change

"Soldier's Joy," about being wounded in the Civil War. That was a dreadful war; the first war with accurate rifles in the hands of most soldiers, the first war with repeaters, automatic weapons, indirect fire with spotters and the last war with largely medieval medical techniques (although with the first stirrings of modernity).

The only saving grace was that we learned about the folly of marching into massed rifle fire a half-century before the Europeans did. They could have saved hundreds of thousands of lives if they had learned the lessons from what to them was some colonial war of no note.



(H/T to the Alternate Brain)

Not One Thin Dime, Howard Dean

I have donated money in the past to the national Democratic Party and the DNCC. I am not a big donor, by any means.

Understanding that, I make this promise to the Democratic Party:

If the FISA bill passes with retroactive immunity for the telecomunications companies, you will see no money from me again. Ever. Hell will freeze over before I give you fuckers a penny. I will stuff newspaper or whatever I can into the franked return address envelopes you send me, if I don't feel like writing back and telling you why you can pound it up your collective rectums.

If you pass the bill granting immunity to the telecommunications companies, you will have endorsed fascism. For you will have made it legal for the President, any president, to tell a company "don't worry about the law, I'm telling you it is OK to violate it."

Not one thin dime to you fuckers if you do that. Not now. Not next week. Not this year, the next year, the next decade, for as long as I draw breath. You can write me all you want and whine about how you really are protecting our liberties and you care about our rights and the Constitution and all of that blather. But when the hammer is cocked and resting on the sear, you don't do a fucking thing.

You read me, Dr. Dean? If you pass the FISA Bill, I will not give a cent to the DNCC or the national senate committee or the national fund of any kind. You worthless sacks of fucked-out protoplasm can go collect tin cans at the side of the roads to meet your bills. Don't bother to tell me how much worse the Rethugs are, because I am not seeing it. They indeed may be evil, but you guys just wilt in the face of evil.

So straighten up and listen up: If you pass the FISA bill with telcomm immunity, this is what you can expect to receive from me:

Not One Fucking Penny!

UPDATE: Senate signs on to telcomm immunity.

Go fuck yourselves, Senate Democrats. You guys and gals are traitors to the Constitution, you worthless sacks of meat.

UPDATE II: This is the voting list. A "Nay" vote is a vote to grant immunity to the telecom companies. A "Nay" vote is also a vote against the rule of law and for fascism.

If your Senator voted "Nay", he or she is either a loyal Republican, a coward or is corrupt. Republicans put loyalty to their party above all else (including the rule of law and the Constitution), so the sad fact that the Republicans all lined up behind Chimpy McStagger is not unexpected.

The Clean Team

So, apparently after the CIA got done torturing people, they sent in new interrogators to talk to the prisoners. Those interrogators gave them food, coffee, and tried to make nice to get them to repeat their stories. The idea is that the information then received would be "untainted by torture."

Sorry, folks, it doesn't work that way. That's just a little more sophisticated than a game of "good cop, bad cop." It's going to be pretty easy to argue that any information received from the prisoners was obtained either by torture directly or because the interrogators had an idea what questions to ask because of the torture or because the prisoners knew that they were in the custody of the same government which tortured them.

You cannot "untorture" someone any more than you can "unshoot" them. No matter how nice you are to someone, now, they know that you tortured them before and there is no honest way to wipe that clean. You cannot send in "clean interrogators" and hope to restore honor to a process that never had any.

The only way to restore any shred of honor is to prosecute the torturers and those who ordered the torture, and that means going clear up through Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Cheney and George Bush. They are all war criminals and need to be tried as such.

So what we have now is a pack of war criminals trying other people for war crimes. That is about as honorable as putting a pedophile in charge of the sex crimes unit.

Tracking Everybody All the Time

It's becoming apparent that when you cross any major international border these days, you are going to be fingerprinted and maybe iris scanned or have a dental exam.

My first thought was to sarcastically suggest that everybody be fitted with radio tracking collars, like they do to animals in the wild, but that is probably in the works.

"He Went to Jared"

I am getting to the point that the next time I see one of those sappy "he went to Jared" Valentine's Day jewelry commercials, I am going to hurl something heavy at the TV set. Or blow my lunch.

"He went to Jared." That's because he's a goddamned moron who couldn't take the time to shop for a good value.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Fucked Up Priorities

Not enough money to buy decent body armor for the troops. Hardly enough money for MRAPs or armored Humvees. Not enough money for decent educational or job-placement benefits for the troops. Certainly not enough money to make sure the wounded vets have decent health care. Not enough money for a decent pay raise for the soldiers. Not enough to help the reservists and guardsmen who have seen their civilian careers crater due to repeated deployments. Not even enough to consider buying better rifles. Not enough money to have funded a meaningful reconstruction effort in Afghanistan.

But oh, there is certainly enough money for high-tech highly expensive whiz-bangs that are not worth a fuck in a counter-insurgency war
. $21 billion for Star Wars shit. 20 F-22 fighters, which are less than useless in the wars. $700 million plus for more tanks, but not a dime for MRAPs. The Air Force has to have C-130s coming out its ears.

The insanity marches on.

99% of Everything is Bullshit

It just doesn't matter in the long run.

Life is finite. Death is infinite.

Sometimes we lose sight of that. We can get so caught up in the day-to-day bullshit of who-said-what-to-whom or who did this or who didn't do that. And when they lay you down for the Long Dirt Nap, nobody will give a royal frak anymore.

About 15 years ago, I looked around a smallish cemetery that had been in active use from about the 1750s to just before WW2. There was a tombstone that had the line: "His loving memory will be with us always." The guy died in 1908, so it's probably safe to assume that nobody is alive who remembers him first-hand. He may have been a saint worthy of canonization or a Nobel Prize, he may have been the evillest fuck that anyone every knew. But nobody remembers him, now, I betcha.

So try to hold on to what is important in your life and don't sweat the small stuff.

Like This is a Surprise; Surge Edition

Troop levels will not be reduced below pre-Surge levels once the additional forces go home.

All those who are surprised by this news, please clap.

[sound of crickets.]

That this was going to happen has been clear for months and months, now. The "if we send a lot more troops now, we can reduce them after the Surge ends" rationalization has always been just that: a rationalization. There has been no meaningful reconciliation between the parties in Iraq, the "Anbar Awakening" has been based on our Army paying the insurgents not to kill our soldiers.

The whole "rah, rah, go team, go war" platform has been set upon a house of cards and the foundation is set in quicksand. It may all work out in the end, but if you had to bet the farm on it, you'd be a damned fool to do so.

Like This is a Surprise; Iraq War Edition

The Army has the Rand Corporation study the conduct of the planning for the Iraq War. The Rand Corporation does that and submits a report that has several volumes and can be summed up as: "You idiots didn't do any significant planning for the occupation, so there should be no surprise that an insurgency was able to grow. Thanks for paying us to tell you that."

So the Army buried the report.

Yeah, as if that's a real shock. What is surprising is that anybody in the Army thought that a serious report of a study of the conduct of the war and the initial years of the occupation would not start out with the scholarly equivalent of: "You bunch of dumb shits really screwed the pooch, this time."

Like This Is a Surprise; GITMO Edition

Not only are they going to have their terrorist show trials, but they are going to seek the death penalty. The prosecutors seem to think their work is a "historic challenge." Indeed it is, but no for the reasons they seem to believe. Their challenge will be to hold trials that will meet even a minimal standard for fairness, and from everything I've read to date, good luck with that, bucko. Their challenge may wind up explaining why they should not be tarred by history for participating in proceedings that are rigged.

The whole of the "process" at Guantanamo Bay has been a stain on this country's diminishing reputation and the stain continues to grow. From the egregious lack of independence of the judges to the use of secret evidence and the use of evidence obtained by torture, there is little at GITMO that has any relationship to an honest and fair system. The process at GITMO has more in common with the Star Chamber and the Soviet show trials of the 1930s.

As I said before, let's be honest with ourselves about what is happening and just shoot those accused.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

John Asscroft Is Still Drinking the Kool-Aid

He has to be, when he unleashes this corker:

"The president of the United States has been among the most respectful of all leaders ever engaged in the responsibility of fighting for freedom,'' Ashcroft said, and has been "most respectful in terms of respecting the civil liberties and rights of individuals while engaged in the important task of fighting for freedom."

Which president is that? You mean the same one who claimed the right to designate anyone he wants as an "enemy combatant" and hold them forever, without judicial review? The same one who claims the right to disregard any law that he dam well feels like disregarding? That president?

Former Reichfuhrer Ashcroft goes on to defend the Chimperor by claiming that Woodrow Wilson monitored "all calls into and outside the United States" in World War I.

Riight. How many overseas telephone lines were there in 1917, anyway?

The answer: There weren't any. The first transatlantic telephone line didn't go in to service until 1927 and the calls cost $75 ($870 in today's money) for the first three minutes, and those calls were made by radio link; anybody with a radio receiver could listen in (it didn't exactly take the NSA to monitor calls). Only one call could be made at a time. The first telephone cable across the Atlantic went into service in 1956.

Fact are stubborn things, Reichfuhrer.

(H/T to HuffPo)

Scoping a Nagant

Assuming that the rifle I purchased shoots all right, I thought about purchasing a scope and mount for it. But I'm somewhat reticent to do that, as what I don't like is butchering a military rifle. I can buy a decent civilian bolt rifle for not a ton of money, so what is the point of destroying a military rifle to do that?

So if I were to add a scope sight, it'd have to be a PU scope, to keep it reasonably authentic in appearance. It is possible to buy a new PU scope, complete with the mount.


They are available from Red Soldier and Optics Best Buy for about $200. Carefully cut away the edge of the stock with a Dremel tool, then drill and tap the mounting screws and it's good to go, right.

Not so fast.

The PU scope is an old design and like a lot of old designs, when you move the windage or elevation adjustment on the scope, the field of view stays constant and the crosshairs move. so you could wind up with the aiming point being at the edge of the field of view of the scope.

The Russians thought of that.

Take a careful look at the base of the mount and you will see that it is a two-piece affair, with a base that is mounted to the rifle and then the scope mount locks into that. What you don't see are wedges inside. Those wedges are ground down as part of the sighting-in process so that the crosshairs are centered within the field of view for that particular rifle. The rear of the scope mount has an elevation adjustment, which is also locked in as part of the sighting-in process.

You can read about that here.

Basically, a sniper-model Nagant is sighted in with its scope as part of the manufacturing process. The Soviet gunsmiths probably dropped them into benchrests, fired them with the scope on and then, based on where it hit on the target, had charts telling them how much metal to remove for windage and how many turns to apply on the elevation screws. The rifles came to the front already sighted in, requiring (hopefuly) only minor adjustments by the snipers.

What I am getting to is this: Mounting a PU scope requires some serious gunsmithing. It might be replicatable with a laser boresight, but getting it done the right way won't be cheap.

So, I think I'll pass.

Not So Much the Borg Candidate

Clinton fired her campaign manager and replaced her.

I guess the positive aspect from this is that Clinton, unlike the Chimperor, seems to be less inclined to reward bad results. No "you're doing a heckuvajob" from her.

This is the photo that MSNBC ran to illustrate the story, the former manager is standing behind Hillary:


It makes them both look as though they were doing a little bit of speed.

Clinton's campaign for many months was premised on the idea that she was unstoppable and had everything locked up, so you might as well fall in line and support her.

Titanic, meet iceberg.

The Hypocrisy of Chimpy McFlightsuit

He's against earmarks. Except when they're his earmarks. Including $6.5 million for research on the “fundamental properties of asphalt.”

So Chimperor Disgustus's ranting about earmarks is as hypocritical as W.C. Fields talking about the evils of booze.

The rants almost write themselves, these days. You'd think by now that the hypocrisy that is the Bush Administration would cause their heads to explode, but no.

In An Alternate Universe, It is Still Caturday

Jake was left out of yesterday's Caturday posting, so here he is:


George is performing "mom duty" on Gracie. He's not so good about letting her reciprocate.