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

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Cat is Back!



(H/T to William the Coroner)

What. The. Fuck.

Nearly 7,000 tons of "contaminated sand" have been imported from Kuwait.

The only mention I have seen of this was in a comment on Balloon Juice.

If the concentration of uranium in that shit was so low as to be safe, according to the duty fibber from the disposal company, then why the fuck are they hauling shiploads of sand here for disposal? Or is this just a way to pay off some donor to the Bush campaign... "I know, let's pay him to import 'contaminated' sand!"

"Torture is Peachy, Constitution-wise," Scalia

Go read the transcript of Justice Scalia's interview on "60 Minutes" last Sunday. Scalia doesn't approve of torture, but he thinks as far as the Constitution is OK, it's just peachy.

So let me get this straight. It is unconstitutional to use torture to extract confessions, which has been the law according to the Supreme Court for 70 years. Even Scalia concedes that it is unconstitutional to torture convicts.

But, according to Scalia, if the cops torture you just for shits and grins, that is not unconstitutional.

Think about that. If a cop pulls you out of your car, Tasers you to the ground and then beats you into a coma with his flashlight, that's going to be just peachy with Scalia and at least Thomas.

Diesel Engines in Airplanes

For the last several years, Thielert Aircraft Engines has made diesel engines for piston-powered airplanes. The DA42 twin was designed around them. Cessna is advertising a diesel-powered Skyhawk.

Thielert seemed to be the coming thing in aircraft engines. Until, that is, the founder engaged in a bunch of alleged financial improprieties, the German cops are investigating them and the company filed for bankruptcy.

Looks like we're going to be flying gasoline airplane engines for the foreseeable future.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Find This War Criminal

SS doctor Aribert Heim. He is one brutal fucker and he apparently has not yet suffered the painful death he so richly deserves.

This is the description of how he treated a man who had a foot infection: Heim anesthetized him, cut him open, castrated him, took apart one kidney and removed the second. The victim's head was removed and the flesh boiled off so that Heim could keep it on display.

Apparently he did some unmentioned work for the U.S. Army after the war. For that, he was rewarded by having his file sanitized and being set free.

If you know where he is, the reward is $485,000 for his arrest.

News For the Clueless

The White House admits that until just the other day, they always looked at the situation in Iraq through rose-colored glasses.

And this is news, how, exactly?

Watch the clip in the link. It's enough to make you want to laugh and vomit at the same time.

Senatorial Asswipes

These are the senators who voted to deny equal pay for women:

Alexander (R-TN)
Allard (R-CO)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Bennett (R-UT)
Bond (R-MO)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burr (R-NC)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Craig (R-ID)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Dole (R-NC)
Domenici (R-NM)
Ensign (R-NV)
Enzi (R-WY)
Graham (R-SC)
Grassley (R-IA)
Gregg (R-NH)
Hatch (R-UT)
Hutchison (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Kyl (R-AZ)
Lugar (R-IN)
Martinez (R-FL)
McConnell (R-KY)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Reid (D-NV)
Roberts (R-KS)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Stevens (R-AK)
Thune (R-SD)
Vitter (R-LA)
Voinovich (R-OH)
Warner (R-VA)
Wicker (R-MS)


If you are a woman or if you are married to one or you have one as a sibling or an an offspring, I respectfully suggest that these people are your enemies.

Not all who voted for the bill were friendly, by the way. For example, Susan Collins of Maine voted for it; she is a reliable supporter of all things Republican, except around election time, when she tries to con Mainers into believing otherwise.

John McCain didn't vote. He says he is "all in favor" of equal pay for women, he is just not in favor of any mechanism to ensure it ever happens. That's sort of like being against murder but not willing to arrest anybody for it. McCain's remedy is "more training."

Women get paid less for the same work. That is a fact of life, a fact that the Republicans are happy to have remain the status quo.

Let's be plain about it: If you are a woman and you vote for a Republican, you are voting against your own economic self interest.

DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, LET YOUR DAUGHTERS JOIN THE ARMY!

For there is a pretty good chance, like one in three, that she will be raped. The odds that she will be murdered are not inconsequential.

Think about that for a second. The odds against a female soldier being raped are 2 to 1. Even favorites in the Kentucky Derby rarely have odds that high.

One of George Bush's favorite claims is that by invading Iraq, the "rape rooms" of Saddam's evil sons were closed. You would think that he would show a similar level of concern about the rape rooms being informally operated by the United States Army.

You would be so wrong.

If your daughter or your sister or your wife joins the Army and is sent to Iraq, she has good odds of being raped by her fellow soldiers. She has fair odds of coming home in a gray box after having been murdered by one or more of her fellow soldiers. And the rapists and killers will never see the inside of a jail cell, let alone a courtroom.

Take heed. Please. Women in the Army are not co-equals, like the women of Battlestar Galactica or Starship Troopers. Women in the Army, especially enlisted women, stand a good chance of being turned into sexual toys by their fellow soldiers.

The Army likes to say that they never will leave a fellow soldier behind. They never said they wouldn't rape the shit out of her.

(H/T to Democratic Underground)

More Dumb Ideas From the Baboon King

Suspending fuel taxes, an idiotic idea also supported by McCain and Clinton.

So, need those folks be reminded that it wasn't too long ago that a highway bridge collapsed in Minneapolis, killing a bunch of people? Do they need to be reminded about reports that have detailed that this country's roads and bridges need a shitload of repair work? Do they need to be reminded where the money comes to fund the Highway Trust Fund?

Apparently so.

In a nutshell: If we are going to fix the roads and bridges, the money to pay for that work comes from fuel taxes. If we surrender to the combined stupidity of Bush, McCain and Clinton, there will be less money to fix them.

Suspending the fuel taxes is an idea that should be labeled as "pandering," for that is all that it is.

The Soviet Republic of America

A nation where there are rigged show trials, trials where the outcome is never in doubt.

[Air Force Col. Morris Davis] said that Defense Department general counsel William J. Haynes II, who announced his retirement in February, once bristled at the suggestion that some defendants could be acquitted, an outcome that Davis said would give the process added legitimacy.

"He said, 'We can't have acquittals,' " Davis said under questioning from Navy Lt. Cmdr. Brian Mizer, the military counsel who represents Hamdan. " 'We've been holding these guys for years. How can we explain acquittals? We have to have convictions.' "


The process, from Bush's first executive order to the present day, has been nothing but a travesty. It has been a farce of justice. It has been a mockery of due process. It has been as illegitimate and as much a falsehood as George Bush's entire career.

Every lawyer who was involved in setting up this system should be disbarred. Every elected official, every political appointee and every military officer involved in designing this affront to the rule of law should be prosecuted for violations of international law.

No, I'm Not Blogging About This

"If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal. "-- Emma Goldman, 1869-1940

The Supremes uphold Indiana's voter ID law, the law that was passed to fix a non-existent problem.

Susie in the Suburban Guerrilla is right, it is an absolute shame. Let's call these "voter ID laws" just what they are: They are the "Keep Those Dumb Democrat Nigras Out of the Polls" laws. That is all they are, there has been no showing of voter fraud. All these laws are nothing more than a move by the Republican Party to disenfranchise poor people.

But to be frank about it, the result is what I expected from the Roberts Court. This Court has aligned itself with the rich and the powerful. Any chance the Supremes have to press down the poor or the middle class, they do not let the opportunity pass by.

I respectfully suggest that anyone who expected otherwise has mush for brains.

And as much as I personally dislike Hillary Clinton, as much as I think she is little more than Karl Rove in a pantsuit and heels, this is why I will suppress my gag reflex and vote for her if she manages to steal the nomination from Obama.

An Overview of Aerial Navigation, Part 3

Part 1 and Part 2

Two more gyro-driven instruments were developed in the late 1920s, the gyrocompass and the artificial horizon (which has since been renamed as the attitude indicator). This is a gyrocompass, which most pilots just refer to as the "gyro:"


One of the problems with a magnetic compass is what is known as "turning error." If you turn one way, the compass initially turns faster than the airplane is turning. If you turn the other way, the compass can initially turn opposite to the turn. This example is of a "horizontal card" gyro that was commonly installed in small airplanes through the 1960s. The vertical card gyro was a lot easier to use and was developed after World War 2.

The reason it took nearly 20 years before vertical card compasses were installed in small airplanes was simple economics. There were tens of thousands of horizontal card gyros left over after the war and they were considerably cheaper than vertical card compasses.

They were also far more durable. A horizontal card gyro made by the Jack & Heinz Co. during the war was installed in my airplane in the 1950s and it lasted until 2003. The replacement vertical card gyro lasted four years.

The second instrument was the artificial horizon:


The artificial horizon combined the bank information from the turn coordinator (see part 2) and the attitude information that the pilot could glean from both the airspeed indicator and the altimeter.

The artificial horizon did it better on several counts. First, the turn coordinator would "peg" itself if the airplane was banked more than a standard rate turn (maybe a 20 degree bank) while the artificial horizon would show bank angles of 90 degrees or more. Second, it directly showed pitch information. The little symbol in the center is the airplane, the line going across the back is the horizon, which moves as the airplane moves. The effect is to give representation of what a pilot would see if the pilot could see the real horizon.

The last instrument we need is a vertical speed indicator. It gives the rate of change for climbs and descents.

Put these three instruments together with the airspeed indicator, altimeter and the turn coordinator and you have a cluster of instruments known as the "sixpack:"


These were the instruments that were in use for instrument flight in the1930s in airliners. But they were not mandatory for instrument flight for a very long time; a pilot could legally fly in instrument conditions by "needle, ball and airspeed" for decades. The sixpack began to be commonly installed in small airplanes as an option after the war and was installed in almost all airplanes starting in the 1950s (other than specialty airplanes, such as bush airplanes, cropdusters, aerobatic aircraft and some others).

(Up until this decade, the sixpack was the way instrument flying was done. Within the last few years, almost all new airplanes capable of instrument flight have been delivered with a glass panel displays.)

But these instruments only told you the attitude, altitude and direction of flight. To know where you are going when you cannot see the ground, you need navigation information.

So stay tuned.

Monday, April 28, 2008

America- Poisoned By George Bush Since 2001

That is the basic finding of a review of the EPA by the GAO. There are a whole host of chemicals that nobody will say whether they are poisonous, because the Bush Administration is actively obstructing the review of the data by the EPA.

Heaven forbid that any business be inconvenienced to reduce the poisoning of the American people and our environment.

Pentagon Suspends Propaganda Program

The folks at Fort Fumble are "suspending" the program that fed propaganda to quote independent unquote military analysts (otherwise known as "paid shills").

Note the emphasis on "suspending." That means that they are more than likely going to restart the program once the fuss dies down.

(H/T to HuffPo)

If it isn't clear to you that when a uniformed spokesman starts talking about the Iraq War, that you should treat the words of the spokesman with the same skepticism as a press release from the White House, then congratulations: You have managed to lobotomize yourself, for you are just one of the useful idiots of the neocons. The briefings given to the press in Baghdad and elsewhere are about as trustworthy as those given by someone who is trying to talk you into believing in their cult (or to join Amway). There is no truth emanating from the Pentagon, Baghdad or Central Command. There are only different shades of lies.

Here is one reason why you should not trust them: For all of the claims of the Bush Administration of "Iranian meddling in Iraq," you will hear no discussion about the armed insurgent groups that the U.S. has sponsored to try, through a group known as PEJAK, to overthrow the Iranian government. You will not hear one word about that from the Pentagon, from the Bush Administration, or, for that matter, on any of the network news shows. But it only takes a few functioning neurons to figure out that the Iranians might not be too happy about the U.S. sponsoring armed groups in its country and might want to to indulge themselves in a little bit of payback.

Only a real moron would assume that they could sponsor guerrilla attacks against another nation without any repercussions. Which is to say, anyone working in the Bush Administration.

Gas Prices

Fun with the Internets.


Since the price of crude oil keeps hitting new highs. I think we are now where the price of crude has quadrupled since Bush started his little Clusterfuck War in Iraq.

It's not coming down again. The oil producers are very happy to be getting $120 a barrel for what they were getting $30 for five years ago and $10 for ten years ago. A lot of nations that don't really like us very much, such as Russia, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Iran, are flush with money from the price of crude. They have zero incentive to lower the price, for oil that we do not buy because of the Second Bush Recession can be sold to India and China.

Where, for example, do you think the Russians got the money to refurbish their fleet of Tu-95s to begin long-range surveillance missions? Or where do you think they got the money to resume sending their warships to sea? It wasn't because of all of those nice Kalashnikovs they've sold. The money came from the sale of Russian gas and oil. The same oil money that props up Hugo Chavez. The same oil money that allows members of the Saudi royal family to fund the spreading of the Wahhabist sect, the same sect that provides religious cover to al-Qaeda.

Cheney's solution is to drill for oil in ANWAR. But opening ANWAR will only enrichen the oil companies (Cheney's real objective), for unless the field is as large as Saudi Arabia's, ANWAR will not make a bit of difference. Oil is a world-wide commodity, the incremental increase in supply will just be absorbed by global demand. (Besides that, the idea that there is any spot on Earth that hasn't been fucked up to the max by humans makes Cheney froth at the mouth.)

None of this should be a surprise to any sentient being. We've had 35 years to get ready for this day. And we have pissed it away, thanks to people like George Bush and Dick Cheney and John Dingell and many, many others, who were more concerned with protecting their own interests than they were in what was best for the nation as a whole.

The chickens are coming home to roost. Anyone who is shocked by this should look up the definition of "blindness; willful".

The Third Bush Term

Twenty to Life.

Sounds good to me. The rest of the article is about how McCain will try to distance himself, but no too far, from the Future First Convict.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

God Forbid That Soldiers Should Have Any Options In Life

Other than continuing to serve in the Army, that is. When you boil it down, that is the position of George Bush and John McCain; soldiers should continue to serve until they become too badly wounded or are killed. For that is the subtext of their opposition to the new GI Bill proposed by Jim Webb and Chuck Hagel.

That is how hollow the "support the troops" mantra is for over forty senators of the Republican Party. Bringing the GI Bill up to date to address the current costs of obtaining an education should be a no-brainer. But as we have seen over the last seven years, the Republicans have consistently managed to not even meet the standards that one would expect from someone without any brains.

(Photo credit: Rising Hegemon)

Why Not Make Them Display a Bumpersticker Proclaiming That They Have a Small Penis?

It seems that in some circles, it is all the rage to have a set of ornamental metal bull testicles dangling from the ass end of one's truck. There are people in the Florida Legislature (Motto: "Nothing is Too Unimportant") who want to ban them.

It would seem logical that displaying a fake set of bovine balls on one's truck might well be a coded indication that the truck's driver is a little light in the sexual adequacy department. If you catch my drift.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Who is the Real Elistist?

From Zaius Nation:

Net Worth:

John McCain: $40,400,000

Hillary Clinton: $34,900,000

Barack Obama: $ 1,300,000

Care to explain why Hillary and McSame think Obama is an elitist? It's not like either one of them are living in trailer parks and driving rusted out Ford F-150s.

The Mood of the Nation, Jan 20, 2009

funny pictures

There Is No Left, Left

Dashiell (and I am so blogrolling this one) makes the point that there is no "Left" in American politics today. What is left of the Left is just a boogeyman that asswipes like Darth Cheney and Hindenburgs[1] like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter rail about. If you took every left-wing commentator on television and sat them down, you wouldn't have enough people for a decent poker game.

This is the killer paragraph (but please click on the link above and read the entire post):

There is no left. It was killed when the labor unions bought into the war machine and became fat and complacent. It died when working people indulged racism and hatred and voted for smooth-talking liars who turned around and screwed them for everything they had. It was murdered when so-called liberals sent thousands of kids down the pipeline to Vietnam. Now we just sit and wait for scraps, hoping that some candidate will bring us “change.” But I don’t believe in left and right any more. I believe that there are greedy corporate pigs who own the country and are running the government. And then there are the rest of us, mostly trying to just get by.

As he points out, there are more of us than them. In that is the only seed of change left that might eventually save this nation from imploding. But it isn't going to happen while idiot politicians who are more liberal than Batshit John McCain and Darth Cheney get caught up in bullshit issues like gun control.

(I have not forgotten that a bunch of Republicans, including John McInsane, carried the water for the corporate fat cats to deny women redress for equal pay grievances, but I will get to that later.)

[1] Hindenburg- an adjective derived from the doomed airship of the same name. It denotes the subject as a "flaming Nazi gasbag."

(H/T to the Alternate Brain)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Banging the Drums of War

The henchmen of the Bush Administration are banging the war drum for a war with Iran.

Let's be frank about this: If Bush manages to start his third war, we will look back on today's prices for gasoline with wistfulness.

Let's also be clear about something else: Bush is switching enemies in Iraq almost as fast as Hillary Clinton comes up with new math to justify the super delegates giving her the nomination.

First it was the Fedayeen Saddam.

Then it was the Sunni dead-enders.

Then it was al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Now it is Iranian meddling.

All have served as rationales for the Bush Administration to use to try to paper over its incompetence and its bull-headed moronic stubbornness to admit what is clear to most every person on the planet with an IQ above room temperature: This war has been well and truly fucked up. Bombing Iran will not do anything to solve it. In point of fact,bombing Iran is makes about as much sense as trying to stop a house fire by pouring nitromethane on it.

Right now, we are all hostages to a group of people in our government, largely based in the Vice President's office, who are either certifiably insane or incredibly evil. They have worked diligently to remove every sane person who stands in their way of a war that runs from the border of Jordan to the border of China. Bush and Cheney will have their third war.

And when that fails to stem the violence in Iraq and in Afghanistan, since every other war Bush has gotten involved in has trended towards failure, who will they next want to attack?

Or are they just going to be like Doug Feith, blaming everyone under the Sun for their own failures?

Caturday

George is in a surly mood.


But then, he is the George.

I Could Never Be So Lucky Again

I have previously written about ordering a reproduction of a Mosin sniper rifle.

I've had it for about two weeks. The first part of that time corresponded with a nasty cold, so I left it alone. For the last week, I have slowly worked on boresighting it.

What I thought I had purchased was a standard WW2 Soviet infantry rifle which just had a scope mounted. But it turns out that it is marked with a "СН", which is the way that the Soviets marked rifles that were produced to become sniper rifles ("CH" in the Roman alphabet is "SN"). After the war, the Soviets had a lot of sniper rifles on hand; they converted a lot of them back to standard infantry rifles. More recently, people are restoring them back into sniper configuration.

So what I wound up buying (at no additional price, mind you) was not a reproduction, but a restored sniper rifle.

I can't believe my luck on this. It made my day to learn that.

On another note, every two years, the FAA requires that all pilots undergo a "Biennial Flight Review." You sit down with an instructor for at least an hour and discuss things, then you go fly for at least an hour. I did mine this morning and I had to do it early because of the Chimpy protective TFR. We both wanted to be long on the ground before the Air Farce has F-16s looking to shoot down errant Cessnas.

So I got to fly an older Cessna 172, one that doesn't have all of the glass panel shit in it and one that has the ability to drop a full 40deg of flaps. What a sweet flying airplane that was! If I wasn't a taildragger freak, I'd want one.

A good day all around.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Now I'm Older

and it's happening again.



(Thanks to Outta the Cornfield)

This is Where We Are Today, Thanks to Bush

The Bush Administration claims that North Korea was helping the Syrians build a nuclear reactor.

This is where the Bush Administration has brought us today: Unless there is corroborating evidence from an independent entity, I start from the premise that the Administration is lying. I start with the presumption that somebody in the Bush Administration (presumably Darth Cheney) is seeking to start a war with somebody over something. I do not believe that any Bush Administration official can be trusted to tell the truth about anything at any time to anybody.

I am not willing to take them at their word about anything.

I assume that I am by no means alone on this.

The Brave One Visits Connecticut

The Baboon King is visiting Connecticut tomorrow in order to raise money for his minions and butt-monkeys.

This is the area subject to the Temporary Flight Restrictions:


These are the things you cannot do within 30 nautical miles of His Vileness during Temporary Flight Restrictions:

FLIGHT TRAINING, PRACTICE INSTRUMENT APPROACHES, AEROBATIC FLIGHT, GLIDER OPERATIONS,PARACHUTE OPERATIONS, ULTRALIGHT, HANG GLIDING,BALLOON OPERATIONS, AGRICULTURE/CROP DUSTING, ANIMAL POPULATION CONTROL FLIGHT OPERATIONS,BANNER TOWING OPERATIONS, MODEL AIRCRAFT OPERATIONS, MODEL ROCKETRY.

So if you live in an area from just west to the Hudson River to just west of Rhode Island and from North of Springfield, MA to the CT shoreline, tell your kids they cannot play with model rockets or model airplanes while Disgustus Maximus is visiting. And no hang gliding off the hill out back, either!

Pentagon: Dishonoring Our Troops Since 2001

When the family of a fallen Marine wanted to celebrate his life and career by permitting the press to attend his burial, the propagandists in the the Bush Department of Defense refused to cooperate.

"Support the troops," my ass. "Honor the fallen," what a fucking crock. If Our Esteemed Baboon King and his minions had their way, all military funerals would take place in the dead of night on the night of a new moon. The Bushies want to pretend to the country that nobody is getting killed in Der Fuhrer's Clusterfuck of a War.

They are evil bastards, every last one of them.

The Dollar is Worth Eighty Cents

A dollar store in East Lyme, Connecticut has raised the price of almost all items to $1.25. That means that the dollar is now worth 80 cents when it comes to buying really cheap crap. (If you think it should be 75 cents, do the math.)

The story was in the New London Day, which is a subscription-only paper after one day.

Good work, Chimpy!

(Of course, this doesn't matter one bit to the media pundits who are more concerned about whether Clinton lied about being under sniper fire or whether someone Obama knows was a radical 40 years ago. Which just goes to show that one way to improve the political discourse in this country would be to force all of the media pundits to take new jobs picking lettuce or mucking out cow barns.)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Officer Fife, Cow Rapist

Sheriff Taylor had a good idea when he wouldn't let Barney Fife put any cartridges in his revolver. But at least Barney wasn't fucking cows.

That can't be said for one cop in New Jersey. Not only has this clown been accused of raping three girls, he then (allegedly) porked four cows.

Good thing for Barney the Cow Fucker that these cows weren't in the neighborhood:



(H/T to War on Guns)

Best Things Since Sliced Bread

If you are of a certain age, you may remember a time when much of the country would stop what they were doing to watch a certain television show. Roots was a classic example of that, though there were other miniseries around the same time that had wide audiences and there were series, such as I Love Lucy, though when it had its largest percentage audience, there were not as many homes with TV sets.

That stopped pretty much in the late `80s when people bought VCRs. VCRs (and now DVRs) freed everyone from the tyranny of the TV schedule. If there is a show that's on at an inconvenient time, so what, record it.

But what I really have come to love is Caller ID. It makes it even easier to screen calls than the old answering machines did. My friends and family don't feel as though I am screening my calls. I used to think that Caller ID wasn't worth the cost, but I was wrong.

Let's Hear It For Those "Green" Europeans

You know, the people who are so into averting climate change?

They care so much about stopping climate change that they are now building coal-fired power plants at a rate only a little slower than that of the Chinese. Saying you want to avert global warming and then building coal-fired power plants is like saying you're against teen-age drinking and then lowering the drinking age to 11.

"Clean coal" is inherently contradictory. Saying that "coal can be a green source of power" is like arguing that you can be a virgin because you only had oral sex. There is no technology now for capturing the carbon dioxide that is emitted from a coal-fired power plant. It isn't the soot or ash from a coal-fired plant that contributes to warming the planet, it is the carbon dioxide emissions, and no type of power plant emits more CO2 than a coal-fired one.

The Europeans can stop lecturing Americans on global warming, for we now see your true color and it is not "eco-friendly green", it is "polluting coal black."

We're No.1! We're No.1!

At least when it comes to locking up our own citizens.

5% of the world's population, 25% of the world's prisoners. Lock up a few more people and we'll have a higher percentage of prisoners than the percentage of energy consumption.

Then again, if you've read any of the reports from Moscow about how gangs of skinheads are beating up anyone who appears to be a foreigner (and killing some of them), how business disputes and bad press reports are handled with assassinations, then you could argue that the Russians aren't locking up enough people. You can make the same point about the drug gangs in Mexico. The argument can be made that by locking up our criminals, we at least try to hold them accountable for their actions.

At least we generally don't lock people up for defending themselves. Unlike in (formerly) Great Britain, which regards criminals as a protected class.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Circular Firing Squad Shoots On

Clinton apparently has won Pennsylvania by 6%.

Which is not the big double-digit win she needed to make the case that she is the more electable candidate, but is enough so that she can continue to puff away at her opium pipe and pretend that she still has a chance of winning the nomination.

Which, unless the Sun goes nova, she doesn't. It is becoming clear as time goes on that her Plan B is to destroy the Democrats' chances of winning in `08 and to position herself for another run in `12. I do not think it is an accident that I am starting to hear people, who have thought for years that Bush is a moron, say that McCain is starting to look pretty good to them.

Fat chance of her getting a shot in `12. For that to happen, the rest of us are going to have to have massive strokes in order to forget her perfidy. And that just isn't going to happen.

UPDATE: 9.2%, which is a far cry from her 20+% lead a month ago. Obama leads in the delegate count and in the overall popular vote.

The circular firing squad has to reload.

Drool...

So this weekend I hauled my reproduction Mosin sniper rifle into a gunshop so that I could find a hard case for it. In doing that, I browsed the racks and found two Mosin M38s, the shorter-barreled carbine version of the 91/30.




I was good. I bought the case and left the M38s on the rack. But me want. Me want. :)

Thieves Stealing Anything

Transportation Security Agency, stealing all of your shit from your luggage since 2002.

Basically, if you can't buy replacement items at Target or Wal-Mart, then don't put it into your checked bags.

Better yet, either drive or stay home.

The Back-Door Draft

Meanwhile, back in the Army, they are expanding the use to stop-loss to involuntarily keep soldiers in the Army.

Funny. If you leave early, they call it "desertion" (unless you're in the Alabama Air National Guard and your father is a rich congressman named George H.W. Bush). So why isn't it called a "draft" or "involuntary servitude" when they force you to stay in past the point you signed up for?

Where are all the young members of the college Republicans and the Federalist Society? Why are they not doing their sacred duty, or would they just rather paste a flag sticker on their vehicles and flap tier keyboards? (Secretary Rice, we've got some cowards over here for you to yell at.)

Bush Sets a New Record!

On a percentage basis, more Americans disapprove of his job performance than any other president since the Gallup people started polling 70 years ago. Even a third of Republicans have put down their Kool-Aid cups and don't like his work.

More Americans disapprove of Bush than who disapproved of Richard "I am Not a Crook" Nixon.

A new record. I'll bet that Chimpy's aides tell him that he has "set new approval records" and don't tell him that the record is for a new low.

(H/T to JH)

And the Wheels Grind On

Meanwhile, back in the long-forgotten Abramoff scandal, another (ex) member of the Bush Administration is being charged with influence-peddling. This particular person was a high-ranking official in the Gonzales Justice Department.

And the beat goes on...

Yeah, Riiigghhhht

John McCain says that he will be the president of the "forgotten Americans."

Right. Which rich people have been forgotten by the Republicans? Which group of people on the far Right, other than maybe the neo-Nazis, have the Republicans failed to pander to?

For almost thirty years, the game plan of the Republican party has been to cater to its base and to fuck over the workers and the poor. The Republicans have been the party that has actively worked to enable economic inequality and to encourage religious-based bigotry.

I don't see McCain changing that, since it has worked for the Republicans so far.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Who is the Coward, Condi?

Secretary Rice called Moqtada al-Sadr a "coward" for remaining in Iran.

Let's examine that a little. Rice made an "unannounced" trip to Iraq. When Bush visits Iraq, the flights are top secret until after he has left. When Bush goes anywhere within this country, no air traffic is permitted at the places he visits.

"No person may operate an aircraft over or in the vicinity of any area to be visited or traveled by the President, the Vice President, or other public figures contrary to the restrictions established by the Administrator and published in a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM)."- Federal Air Regulation 91.141

Generally, when he does visit somewhere, the FAA bans all air traffic below 18,000 feet within 10 miles of his location.

This is the Chimpy Protective Zone over his father's place in Maine:

And this is the one over the Chimpy Cattle-Free Ranch in Texas:

Each place is surrounded by a 24/7 no-fly zone that is three miles in diameter and 5,000' high. When Der Monkey Fuhrer is in residence, the no-fly zone expands to 10 miles and 18,000' and the restricted flying zone is from 10-30 miles.

And then there are the Bush Bubbles with the "No Free Speech Wherever He Can See You" zones and his "town hall" meetings, stuffed chock-a-block with pre-screened sycophants, all to make it certain that His Despicableness is never confronted with any evidence of dissent.

Indeed, a few years ago when an Irish television reporter had the unmitigated gall to actually ask some hard questions of Disgustus Maximus, he was so outraged that he had an official protest lodged with the Irish embassy.

So, Condi, before you call anybody else on the planet a "coward," you had better take a really hard look at the one you have been working for all of these years.

Army Recruiting

People convicted of sex crimes and manslaughter are now being permitted to enlist in the Army.

The Whores of the Pentagon

Ken Silverstein has a piece up on Harper's website about the incestuous relationship between the military analysts, the right-wing bloggers who have been parroting the Pentagon's talking points, and the Pentagon itself. Although some of the piece is along the lines of "I had this story last year," it is worth revisiting, for as Silverstein notes, the whores were not limited to just those who were regurgitating the Pentagon's line on the news networks.

They're not "journalists" or "analysts" or even "independent bloggers." They are propagandists. If Josef Goebbels were still alive, he'd be chuckling with approval, for even as many of the self-styled analysts were privately noting that things were not going well in Iraq, they continued to spout the party line of the Pentagon and the Bush Administration. In that regard, they followed the tradition of Baghdad Bob.

You can trust what is being said in the news conferences and briefings held by the Department of Defense and Central Command and the Bush Administration about as much as you could have trusted the garbage that was shoveled out in the "Five O'Clock Follies" during the Vietnam War.

Which is to say: You cannot trust them at all. They are interested only in promoting and justifying what they do, they are "catapulting the propaganda," as Chimpy once put it. It is a sales job, that is all. They are as trustworthy as a used-car salesman wearing a "full Cleveland".

(I take that back, sort of. What I just wrote was insulting to used-car salesmen. They certainly are more ethical than Pentagon spokesweasels, as used-car salesmen can be sued for consumer fraud.)

Ban Tasers, At least for the Police

It is time for a partial ban on Tasers. The ban would only apply to law enforcement.

Tasers were originally promoted as an alternative to the use of deadly force, to give the cops an alternative to shooting people. That was an admirable idea. The problem is that Tasers are not being used in that way, they are being used for things from "shits and grins" to torturing small animals.

Would the cops have shot this guy?



Or how about the doctor who was having a seizure and the response of the cops in Nevada was to shoot him with a Taser, killing him.

Or the cop who shot a guy with a Taser for mouthing off to him.



Or a cop who Tasered a shopper in Best Buy.



It is becoming clear to the casual observer that the police are using Tasers, not as a substitute for deadly force, but as a substitute for skill. The cops are using Tasers as a torture device: "You won't do what I want you to do, so I'll torture you a little with this gizmo."

Tasers are too dangerous and too tempting to be in the hands of the police. Only civilians should be permitted to own and use Tasers, because a civilian who uses one wrongly is going to be sued into homelessness. The cops, at worst,just get a lecture from a superior along the lines of "don't do that again if anyone is watching."

Tasers need to be removed from those who are abusing them. Outlaw the use of Tasers by police.

(H/T to Badtux)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Popemobile

What the hell are the jobs of those two guys who are sitting facing backwards in the popemobile?

And if the purpose of the vehicle is to keep the Pope from being shot, why did they roll the window down?

Truth From a Cat

humorous pictures

The dead mouse might be worth the most right about now.

Bought and Paid For

If you've watched the news on any network, cable or broadcast, you have probably seen a "retired military analyst" who is on the network's payroll.

The New York Times has uncovered the fact that a whole lot of those folks were also being paid, however indirectly, by the Pentagon to be propagandists for the Bush Administration's party line on the Iraq War.
It is a long story that goes into a lot of detail as to how all of those so-called analysts were co-opted to not provide any analysis at all, but to serve as shadow mouthpieces for Donald Rumsfeld.

Those networks have a lot of explaining to do, that is other than Fox, since anybody who expects anything on Fox News to be anything other than propaganda for the Bush Administration has shit for brains.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Patriots' Day

April 19th is more than the first day of Passover and the 65th anniversary of the start of the Warsaw Ghettto Uprising. It is also Patriots' Day, the 233rd anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord. 50 Americans died, as did 73 Lobsterbacks. These were the first battles of the Revolutionary War. [1]

"Stand your ground. Do not fire unless fired upon. But if they mean to have a war, let it begin here." Maybe those words were said, maybe not. But when I was a child in the part of the Commonwealth where the fighting took place, you learned those words at an early age.

And you learned that freedom and liberty are things to fight and kill and die for, not things to be thrown away in haste out of fear. The sons and daughters of liberty in Massachusetts, who took up arms against the superpower of that day, were not fearful folk.

Pity how far we have fallen, when one of the two political parties outright pursues a policy of giving up liberty and surrendering freedom for tyranny, in the vain hope of purchasing a small degree of safety, while the other political party was unwilling to confront them on it until it became politically expedient to do so.

[1]Bush, the man for whom there is no such thing as an original thought, tried to hijack the name to designate September 11th. I say: Fuck him.

Question of the Day

From Cogitamus via WTF is it Now,

So this is the entire question (but be a good reader and click on their blogs so they get the hits):

Do you think if Barack Obama had left his seriously ill wife after having had multiple affairs, had been a member of the "Keating Five," had had a relationship with a much younger lobbyist that his staff felt the need to try and block, had intervened on behalf of the client of said young lobbyist with a federal agency, had denounced then embraced Jerry Falwell, had denounced then embraced the Bush tax cuts, had confused Shiite with Sunni, had confused Al Qaeda in Iraq with the Mahdi Army, had actively sought the endorsement and appeared on stage with a man who denounced the Catholic Church as a whore, and stated that he knew next to nothing about economics -- do you think it's possible that Obama would have been treated differently by the media than John McCain has been? Possible?

And -- this is fun to contemplate -- if Michelle Obama had been an adulteress, drug addict thief with a penchant for plagiarism -- do you think that she would be subject to slightly different treatment from the media than Cindypills McCain has been? Anyone?

Me! Me! (waving hands) Betcher ass, Teach!!

Funny how those "family values" Republicans are the ones who are divorcing their wives. Seems to me there was another Republican of national note who divorced his wife when she was seriously ill. Oh, yeah, Newt Gingrich (thanks to the Google), who was excoriating Bill Clinton for the Lewinsky affair while Newt was stepping out on Wife #2. And then there was Mr. Seven of Nine, the Republican from Illinois who was going to sex clubs.

Of course, once the Democrats get done with the circular firing squad that is their nomination process, there will be plenty of time to start peeling the bark off Sen. Hothead.

Sighting in Old Rifles

This is a Russian Mosin-Nagant 91/30 sniper rifle. It was the standard Russian service rifle and in this example, it has a 3.5x PU telescopic sight installed. This particular type of rifle was probably made in more numbers than any other sniper rifle in history.


Like any rifle with new sights installed, they need to be aligned. The first step is to boresight the scope. This is done by setting the rifle into a steady fixture, then moving the fixture until a target is visible down the bore of the rifle. This is easy to do with a bolt-action rifle; you just remove the bolt and look through the bore from behind. You then align the scope with the same target that you can see through the bore. (You can also buy a laser gizmo that will project a beam that shows up on a blank surface and then align the scope with that, if you feel like paying the money to buy such a contraption.)

Nowadays, boresighting is mainly done to save ammunition in the final sighting-in process, for a boresighted rifle will shoot very close to the point of aim, and then the shooter can make the final adjustments on the scope. When you adjust the windage (left/right) and elevation (up/down) turrets on a modern scope (the two knobs seen on most sights), the crosshairs do not move, they remain centered. Rather, when you make an adjustment, the entire field-of-view of the scope moves.

Older scopes were not like that: When you make an adjustment on a scope sight of an old design, the crosshairs move. So what you do in order to boresight is you center the crosshairs (also known as the reticle) and then you make adjustments on the mount to move the entire scope.

This is the scope mount on a Mosin sniper rifle. If you look on the right side of the mount, just in front of the big knurled knob, you will see a small set screw. There is one like it on the bottom side. Those setscrews are used to sight the rifle in for elevation. Those screws are on the mounting plate that is fixed to the rifle. The scope and its mount are locked into place by the knurled knob.


Adjusting the scope in windage is trickier. If you detach the mount itself from the base, on the inside of the mount, behind the wedge where the knurled knob locks it in place, you will find two small "feet". In the photo below, they are the shiny horizontal lines. They are at the back of the mount; the mount has a socket machined into the front of it and it pivots on a matching ball protrusion that is on the baseplate.

All Mosin scope mounts come from the factory with oversized feet that will aim the scope well to the right of the line-of-sight of the rifle's bore. In order to boresight the scope in windage, you have to very carefully grind down the two feet. I say "carefully", because if you remove too much metal, you then have to shim the feet to bring the scope back in line.

Once you get it set correctly, you can go off to the range and make any final adjustments. Once the elevation is set, you should either stake or loctite the bottom elevation screw (not the top, in case you want to remove the scope and mount) and re-blue the feet to prevent rust from forming.

(For more detail, read this.)

Or you can buy a modern scope where you don't have to do any of this, but where is the fun in that?

Choose Your Beverage

You can either read a story about corrupt contracting practices in the Air Force.

Or you can read how the people of Denmark, with the timely assistance of a German diplomat, saved 95% of the Danish Jews from being exterminated by the Nazis.

I suggest the second story.

Early Caturday

I could blog about what an excreable job ABC News did this week in running the most trivialized debate this election cycle and why Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos ought to be dragged out into the street and flogged. I could opine that giving national airtime to voters who are seriously considering basing their vote for a candidate based on whether or not he wears a flag pin on the lapel of his suit shows that this country is truly becoming a confederacy of morons. Or I could write about how Michael Bloomberg thinks the next president will at least be "an adult," which is nothing other than a backhanded slap at both the current president and those who voted for him.

But fuck all of that. I'm calling an early Caturday.

First up, my ass cat, Gracie. I refer to her that way because she can't or won't clean her ass, so about once a week, I have to take her into the shower and wash her ass. Which is a process she really hates, so you'd think she'd get a clue. For all of that, she's a loving cat.


Jake is taking in a bit of early morning sun. He seems to be wondering what sort of stupid human activity I happen to be up to. Click on the photo to embiggin and see his expression.


For a story about how a kitten can be of assistance while suffering from the stomach flu, go read this. WARNING: That tale is not keyboard-safe.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Elitism

As you know, Sen. Clinton, Sen. McCain and the Wingnuts over at Fixed Noise and on the blogs have been blasting Sen. Obama for being "elitist."

Well, think about this: We have spent the last eight years with a president who people said "I'd like to have a beer with him," a president who cannot get three sentences out without mangling one of them. Nobody, other than an over-the-cliff Kool-Aid addict, has ever thought that this president is exactly brilliant.

So, how has that worked out? President McDumbass has increased the national debt by over 50%, his "economic expansion" barely touched the middle class, the dollar is worth less than currencies that used to be worth 2/3rds of a buck, he got us into a protracted quagmire, over 80% of the American people think that the country is on the wrong track and his approval ratings are about where Nixon's were just before he resigned.

That's what eight years of "Preznit C-Minus" got us.

I'm ready to vote for the elitist smart guy.

Hypocrite-in-Chief

"In a world where some treat life as something to be debased and discarded, we need your message that all human life is sacred, and that 'each of us is willed, each of us is loved' and your message that 'each of us is willed, each of us is loved, and each of us is necessary.' -- George W. Bush's welcome to the Pope, April 16, 2008

All life is sacred to George W. Bush.

Unless, of course, you were on Death Row in Texas in the 1990s, when 155 people were executed during Bush's tenure as governor.

Unless you were one of the 4,037 American soldiers or one of the 309 soldiers in the Coalition of the Bribed who have been killed in the Iraq War.

Unless you were one of the approximately 90,000 Iraqi civilians to have been killed so far in Bush's War.

Then, of course, your life wasn't so fucking sacred to George Bush.

The Democratic Debate

As interpreted by Tom Lehrer roughly 48 years ago:

Wake Me When It's Over

I'm officially tired of paying attention to the continuing train wreck that is the process of the Democratic Party trying to choose who is going to lose the general election to John McCain. It's like watching two frat boys have a chugging contest using cheap bourbon; you know whoever "wins" is going to pay a hell of a price for it and, at some point, as the two drunken morons struggle to keep swilling the booze, it's just painful to watch.

Let me know when it's over.

humorous pictures

The Enemy Du Jour

As Harold Meyerson pointed out, the enemy that the Bush Administration says we are fighting in Iraq keeps changing.

Only a super-saturated Kool-Aid drinker would pretend that anything resembling "victory" can be achieved in Iraq. Hell, they can't even define what "victory" is. Bush, at one time, thought that victory might be an acceptable level of car bombings.

I'm sure some Wingnut defender will point out that there have been car bombs in this country before. That's true, but they were used to kill the occupants, not to sow terror, as in here, here, and here. The closest thing to an Iraqi-style car bomb was a horse-drawn wagon bomb, which was set off on Wall Street 88 years ago.

We are sitting on top of a militia gang war in Iraq and calling one of the gangs "the Iraqi Army" is just a fiction.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

What the Fuck is Up With Texas?

You might have heard of the fuss over the batshit-crazy polygamists in Texas and how the cops raided their compound on allegations of child abuse. I haven't been paying much attention to it and, as I haven't watched the TV news in many days, I've seen no footage or photographs of the raid.

Tamara has. And she picked up on something: The cops in Texas showed up with armored vehicles. Including the Midland Sheriff's Department, which brought their M-113 APC a couple hundred miles so they could play sojer. Midland County has about 100,000 people spread out over about 900 square miles. What the hell are they doing with tracked and armored vehicles? As far as I can tell, there were no credible allegations that those folks were stockpiling guns; the press reports mentioned nothing more than some hunting rifles and for damn sure, there have been no photos of grinning cops standing behind tables laden with confiscated firearms.

Look at the third photo in the sequence in the CNN story. It shows a cop in woodland camo getup perched between two sand-colored rocks. Great concealment, he might as well have a sign over his head saying "Shoot Me."

Are you getting the feeling that the cops now regard the citizenry as enemies?

Maybe Bush Was Right

If the not-so-longshot comes in and civilization is destroyed in 28 years, then nobody is going to much care that George W. Bush was the worst person ever to take a seat behind the desk in the Oval Office.

Seems, by the way, that NASA was wrong: The odds of the asteroid Apophis hitting the Earth in 2036 is 1 in 450, not 1 in 45,000 as NASA thought. The error was caught by a 13 year old kid in Germany.

UPDATE: As Justin noted in the comments section, NASA maintains the kid is wrong. So the chances are indeed slim that Apophis will whack into the Earth and there will indeed likely be plenty of time for historians to conclude that George W. Bush has been the worst president in American history.

I feel much better.

The Three Trillion Dollar Spending Spree

What would you do? Check the site out and fill your shopping cart!





(H/T to Balloon Juice)

Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

April 19th will mark the 65th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. While there were others, the fight at Warsaw was both the largest and the one most remembered.

Distributorcap NY has written an extensive post about the Uprising. Please take the time to read it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Meanwhile, Over in the Batshit Party

A Republican congressman named Jeff Davis (OK, he spells it "Geoff") has had to apologize for referring to Sen. Obama as "that boy."

That sheet-wearing throwback is just three years older than Obama. Anybody who has grown up in this country and who has more than three functioning neurons in their cerebral cortex knows that it is an insult to refer to an adult African-American as "boy."

(You need to go about 6:00 into this clip)



An Obama campaign in the Fall may be the death knell of the current version of the GOP. While Sen. McCain will probably try to run a righteous campaign, I have no doubt that all of the slimy 527 groups on the right will try to run a not-so-subtle racist-tinged effort to attack Obama. It will offend a lot of people, not just African-Americans, and will cement the image of the GOP for a generation as a party of narrow-minded religious bigots who hate African-Americans, Hispanics, immigrants in general, gays, Muslims, and just about everyone else.

The GOP will become the party of the sympathizers of the Klan; a bunch of people who say they love America but who hate 93% of the people who live here.

Give Me a Fraking Break, Hillary

"As I told you, my dad taught me how to shoot behind our cottage. I have gone hunting. I am not a hunter. But I have gone hunting."

Yep, and next you're going to tell us that you are a member of the NRA, I suppose. Just like RoboWillard tried to do.

Anyone who thinks Clinton cares a whit about the Second Amendment has their head planted firmly up their ass. For the record demonstrates otherwise.

"The Biggest Threat This Country Faces"

According to Der Monkey Fuhrer, is Iran and al Qaeda.

Yep, and Iran has managed to morph itself into a combination of Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan and the USSR and they have done it with a military budget that is 1/90th that of ours. Al Qaeda has managed to do it with a couple of thousand guys living in caves along the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

It's not a resurgent China or Russia that is a threat. The threat isn't global energy shortages from rising oil prices, or food shortages or climate change. The most significant threat is from a country that cannot project power very far beyond its borders and from a bunch of guys whose highest-tech weapon is a suicide bomber's vest.

This Administration needs to have something like Zoloft or Paxil dumped into the water coolers. For they are seriously on the edge of losing their collective minds

John Cole on Clinton

John Cole is a conservative blogger who became so disgusted with the GOP that he switched his registration to the Democratic party. He said in the past that he would support Clinton.

He's changed his mind. The reasons are worth paying some attention to.

About Fraking Time

The Congress is considering clamping down on the use of national security letters in the face of continuing abuse of NSLs by the FBI, the Department of Defense, the National Security Agency and every other government agency, quite possibly including Amtrak.

It is very much past time that the Congress started clamping down on the travesty that is the use of NSLs. They are an affront to the Constitution and the very idea of freedom and liberty. The use of secret NSLs to search records is an abomination. If Thomas Jefferson were to rise from his grave and you told him about NSLs, he'd wonder why the revolution hadn't already begun.

There may be a place for such things, but given the rampant abuse of NSLs, letting the security agencies have the power to issue NSLs is about a good idea as giving a four-year-old boy a hammer and letting him loose in the fine glassware department; you just know that bad things are going to happen.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Chimpy's on the Ball!

Bush is getting a briefing today about airline safety.

Glad to see somebody woke up the Baboon King and told him there is an issue.

There is an issue, all right, and the smell of this corpse is wafting from the White House. The problems with the airline industry's maintenance procedures has the same root causes that also brought about spikes in mining accidents and the meltdown in the mortgage industry: The deliberate choice of this Administration to fail to exercise any adult supervision.

Market forces are good at allocating resources and responding to new developments (which is why you see the cable and telecomm industries constantly opposed to open access).

Market forces are not good at all when it comes to product safety or the impact on the rest of the world. Virtually every manufacturer or supplier will, given the opportunity, seek to cut corners or adulterate its product or put a shiny paint job on a turd. They will dump their toxic waste into the ground or the rivers or the air. Safety, whether worker safety or the customers' safety, is the last thing they care about.

The mortgage meltdown was caused by greed. Partly of homeowners, yes, but also of mortgage brokers, who took kickbacks from banks for steering their clients into risky loans, and largely of financial institutions, who secured debt with other debt. It was a huge house of cards and anybody who looked at the whole picture objectively would have seen that all it was going to take was a puff of air to blow it all down. That was the job of the Federal regulators, who were hamstrung by the greedy fucks in the Bush Administration.

The "Bush economic expansion" of the last few years has only benefited the top corporate executives and the super-rich. The only part of it that reached down to the middle class was the housing boom, and that was nothing but a mirage.

But what could we really expect from an Administration that had the economic concerns for the poor and the middle class of the Hoover Administration and the ethical compass of the Harding Administration?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Blinkity, Blinkity

Buried in this story on MSNBC about how Bush is pulling out all the stops to welcome Pope Benedict to the U.S., was this line:

"The evening festivities will mark the first time the Bushes have put on a high-profile meal in honor of someone who isn't even a guest."

So... Bush is throwing a dinner in honor of the Pope and the Pope is stiff-arming him? And this is after the Chimperor is going to drive out to the airport to give the Pope a lift into town? Does the Pope not know the sort of man that Bush is? It's not beyond the realm of possibility that there will be Predator drones buzzing over the Vatican, seeking to fire missiles into the Pope's apartment.

I can hear it now: "I may have been a Hitler Youth and I was drafted into the Wehrmacht, but I draw the line at sitting down to a meal with that schmuck!"

Closed Today

Expect no blogging today. I'm taking the day off.

If you're bored, surf the blogrolls.

If you need your daily dose of shafenfreude, read how poor ol' Gonzo can't find a paying job. Seems there is no real market for Constitution-shredding ex-attorney generals who may wind up being indicted. Or, if you're more cynical, it could be that faced with a rising tide of Democrats, nobody wants that putz on their letterhead.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Spies Overhead

The Bush Administration is moving forward with its plan to turn the CIA and NSA spy satellites on Americans.

The last line in the article almost got me to barf on my computer:

"DHS spokeswoman Laura Keehner... said its operations will be subject to "robust," structured legal scrutiny by multiple agencies."

Wow. Is that ever not comforting. Given that this is coming from the same Administration that has proudly proclaimed in the past that it has the right to designate anyone it wants as an "enemy combatant" and hold that person or persons forever, without any legal review, anyone who accepts the word of any spokesweasel of the Bush Administration about this has the IQ of a turnip. This is the same administration that claimed it has the right to send the Army into your home to conduct a search without a warrant. They are the same people which are collecting every email you send and every document you attach to those emails. They at least are collecting all caller identification on every telephone call you make, if not outright monitoring them.

"Structured legal scrutiny," no doubt by the same sort of soulless hyenas who thought that it was just peachy to torture people.

Can you imagine the outcry from the GOP if Bill Clinton had proposed any of this stuff?

Caturday

Today is the first day that it has been warm enough to open the windows. Jake is enjoying the breeze.

Iraq and the Garbage Barge

Just read it.

Iran Endorses McCain


From BadTux, who encourages wide distribution of the image. Steal it and go for it.

But while the Iraqi government ties itself with Iran, the Chimpsters say that Iran is the problem now. Pay no attention to the fact that the Badr Organization has been funded by Iran and that the Badr Organization's fighters have been joining the Iraqi Army by the thousands. Pay no attention to the fact that President Ahmadinejad of Iran made a publicized state visit to Iraq last month, complete with red-carpet welcome at the airport and motorcade into Baghdad. This is in complete contrast to the visits by Bush and Cheney, which are made in the middle of the night and in complete secrecy.

It is pretty clear that what the Bush Administration is doing is trying to gin up a reason for attacking Iran.

If you think that the price of gasoline and heating oil is high now, if you think that times are tough now, just wait until these warmongering morons start dropping ordnance on Iran.

The Fish Rots From the Head

Even though Vice President Voldemort did his best to insulate Chimpy from officially knowing about the approval of the use of torture, it should probably come as no surprise that Chimpy is too stupid to understand that. In an interview with ABC News, Bush admitted that he knew what was going on.

Bush "connected the dots," all right. He just connected himself right into being subject to prosecution for war crimes and crimes against humanity. What has come out in the last week or so has made it clear that the "just a few rotten apples" rationale that the Administration offered as a defense against culpability for the Abu Graib Prison scandal was just bullshit. It wasn't just a bunch of junior enlisted men on the third shift going wild, they were carrying out official policy. Those policies came down right from the White House.

Which leads me to ask this question: If someone were to attempt to serve an arrest warrant against Bush after he leaves office, what would the Secret Service do?

Working Both Sides of the Street

An NYPD officer had a second job: Bank robber.

"Chutzpah" barely fits.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Why Are These Goons Involved?

An office being rented by the Clinton campaign caught fire last night in Indiana. What caught my eye, though, was this line:

Homeland security spokeswoman Pam Bright said an investigator from the state fire marshal's office is heading to the scene.

Why the hell are those thugs involved? Why do they even have anything to say in this?

It seems, judging from posts like this, that while we were not paying attention, the Department of Homeland Security has morphed into a national police organization. We already have the FBI, ATFE, Secret Service and probably a gazillion other cops. Why do we need another force of jackbooted thugs tromping about?

Well, Maybe the Constitution Still Applies, Dammit

That seems to be the current opinion of the Justice Department, which is disavowing its earlier opinion from 2001 that the military could conduct search and seizure operations on U.S. soil without a warrant.

The 2001 opinion was written by Professor John "the Constitution Don't Mean Shit" Yoo, of the University of California at Berkeley School of Law. He apparently doesn't want to testify. Attorney General Alberto Michael Mukasey thinks that DoJ lawyers should be able to offer opinions without having to worry about justifying those opinions to Congress.

I respectfully disagree with Ashcroft Gonzales Mukasey on this. Anyone who went through the first year of law school and who was awake for some of the Constitutional Law classes knew better. What happened here is that Vice President "Darth" Cheney wanted to turn the Constitution into a dead document, he wanted to turn this nation into a de facto dictatorship and he found lawyers who were more than happy to go along with his program.

The only thing that saved this country from sliding completely into tyranny is that the Bush Administration has proven itself to be even more incompetent than it has been thuggish.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

KBR = Kome and Be Raped; Part 2

There were hearings yesterday in the Senate about the problem of women being raped by contractors in Iraq. Basically, the DoD and DoJ whined about "this is too hard."

Here's a modest suggestion: The next woman who is raped by one of these goons should go find a small sandbag, a knife and a short tourniquet. Hit the asswipe with the sandbag, de-pants him and then Bobbitize the fucker.

Mammography

This is an article about one of the side-effects of the switch to digital mammography: More calls to the patients to come in for a second look.

My local radiology center converted to digital, I had my first digital one last year. I got called back, but luckily for me, the call came from the gynecologist's office, who explained that the vast majority of do-overs found nothing. That was good, for all I got from the radiologist was a letter that said: "we see an anomaly, come back in for a second test" (or words to that effect).

It would have been even better if someone had told me that it was a by-product of the switch to digital mammography. Then I might not have spent a week or so with the nagging worry of whether this was going to be a nasty battle with cancer. As it was, it turned out to be nothing and I had emotions ranging from relief to wanting to throttle the radiologist. (I went with "relief.")

Warm Up the War Crimes Trials

We now know who the defendants are going to be: Richard Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, George Tenet and John Ashcroft. They were at the "principals' meeting" when specific torture techniques were discussed.

It seemed that the CIA, which took the blame for various atrocities during the Vietnam War and for Iran-Contra, wasn't willing to take the risk this time. So they kicked the discussions up the chain-of-command to the White House. John Ashcroft, at least, was not comfortable with that: "Why are we talking about this in the White House? History will not judge this kindly." While Cheney gets a lot of blame for this (probably well deserved), Rice was one of the drivers behind the use of torture.

None of those folks had better plan on leaving the country after Bush leaves office, for they will be arrested and prosecuted.

(H/T to the Dependable Renegade)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Great Quotes from the Daily Show

From last night:

"The devastation this Administration has wrought has to be deliberate. Morons could never be this consistent." -- Jason Jones

"With this administration, if a passenger blows up a plane, it's a failure in the war on terror. But if the plane just blows up on its own - eh, it's the market self-regulating." -- John Stewart


Why They Want to be President

One thing I've heard several people say over the last few months goes about like this: "Why would anybody even want to be president? Bush has so thoroughly screwed the pooch, everything is fucked, why take the job?"

Other than "because they have gigantic egos," there is a reason why someone would take the job. It is because in the next presidency lies the raw materials for greatness.

There are three presidents who are almost always considered to be the "great" ones: Washington, Lincoln, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Let's look at Lincoln and FDR. Both presidents confronted serious challenges to the nation during their presidencies, challenges that were largely left to them by their predecessors. Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan backed the nation into a Civil War, which was already underway when Lincoln took office. FDR was handed the Great Depression by Hoover, a president who was as hamstrung by political ideology as the current one. To be fair to Hoover, the underpinnings for the Depression were set in place by the Harding and Coolidge, but it was Hoover who turned what could have been a nasty recession into bad times worthy of song, story and legend.

Washington does not fit the mold precisely on first blush, but it can be argued that he does. One of the reasons for the Constitutional Convention of 1787 was that the Confederation of the United States had proven itself to be ineffective. The currency was worthless and the national government was broke. As both the president of the Convention and as the first president of the Republic, it fell to Washington to address those problems and he largely did.

So it would seem that in order to become a great president, your predecessor has to really fuck things up. George W. Bush has been nothing if not a national fuckup and if the next president can get a handle on reversing the Bush Disasters, he or she may truly be one of the great presidents.

That may be why they want the job.

Sherlock Holmes's Services Not Required in Georgia

It didn't exactly take a master detective to crack these cases:

In Athens, a man robbed a convenience store. In order to kill some time so that there would be no customers, the man filled out a job application form. He used his real name and he left the form there.

Meanwhile, over in East Point, another man took a taxi to a bank, robbed it, and then had the cabbie drive him home.

I guess I shouldn't be too hard on the dumb-ass crooks in the State of Georgia; it was a crook in Chicago who, when told that the safe could only be opened by the boss, gave employees his cell phone number so they could call him when the boss came back.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Off Duty


In short, I feel like shit. I'll spare you the "organ recital" of symptoms and stuff like that there.

My crappy physical state was only matched my turning on NPR and hearing the intro to the story about how Douglas "Dumbest Fucking Guy on the Planet" Feith is peddling his "it's not my fault" book. I heard maybe three or four words after his name before I managed to shut the radio off. Feith is one of the bastards intimately involved in the decision to shitcan the Geneva Conventions and align the United States of America with interrogation techniques practiced by the Spanish Inquisition, the KGB and the Gestapo. Really, the only words I want to hear from Feith are his last ones.

I know Bush's loyal general is testifying on Capitol Hill today. I'm sure other folks will have tons to say about that.

For me, I'm going back to bed.