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

Thursday, July 31, 2008

How Do You Keep Up with McCain's Bullshit?

There's just too much crap.

John McCain's top foreign policy adviser, Randy Scheunemann, is one of the best buddies of Ahmad Chalabi, the alleged Iranian double agent who furnished the lies and phony evidence to justify the Iraq War.

Then there is John McCain, who is trying to paint Obama as being elitist, while McCain waltzes around in $500 Italian loafers. This is the clown who thinks he has much in common with the common people, at least those who can afford to run up a credit card bill of a quarter-million (and pay that all off each month) while flying around to his eight houses in his wife's jet. This is the same jackass who is in favor of coddling the rich while voting against every increase in the minimum wage.

This is the same "maverick" who decries nasty campaign tactics, but then goes negative right out of the gate. The best they can do is accuse Obama of being "popular?" I guess if you come from a party where your leader is roundly hated by a large majority of the of the American people, you can convince yourself that being popular is a bad thing.

McCain is no maverick. He's just another Rethuglican who has no problem going divisive and appealing to the worst instincts of people in order to frighten them.

If you think the last eight years were the way this country should be run, then by all means, vote for McCain. Of course, if you thought that, you're probably not reading this blog.

The Lies of George W. Bush; Pt. MMMDLXVII

"We have now brought home all five of the combat brigades and the three Marine units that were sent to Iraq as part of the surge. The last of these surge brigades returned home this month."

Except for the little fact that there are 147,000 troops on the ground in Iraq, which is about a division or so more troops than were there before the surge began, so this is just another one of Bush's fibs, lies and/or misleading statements. There were about 130,000 troops on the ground pre-surge. Go look it up.

Betcha that the reduction in combat tours from 15 months to 12 months won't apply to anyone on the ground.

You Think These Two Stories are Connected?

The growth of the Gross Domestic Product is lower than expected.

ExxonMobil and other oil companies are booking record profits. Exxon's profits were over $11 billion for one fraking quarter.

"Engine Charlie" Wilson once famously stated: "What is good for the country is good for General Motors, and what is good for General Motors is good for the country".

Clearly, the same cannot be said of ExxonMobil, for what has been good for them has not been good for the rest of us.

Religious Intolerance Trumps All

The Bush Administration is pushing ahead with rules so that if the twisted beliefs of a "medical professional" are at odds with the medical needs of a patient, the patient is the one who takes the hit. This is not just abortion, this is all forms of contraception.

This is enshrining a tolerance for religious bigotry. What is next, if a doctor or nurse thinks that transplants are immoral, the patient dies? Maybe that cleft palate was punishment for previous sins. That hole in a baby's heart is just God's will. And if you were supposed to see anything more than three feet away, you wouldn't have been nearsighted.

The Bush Administration has done its best, at all turns, to promote the interests of religious based intolerance and ignorance over everything else. This is of the same stripe as Chimpy's "no stem cell research" order and his view that "the Design of the Majickal Sky-Fucker" should be taught alongside natural selection in biology class.

Because of shit like this, America is being perceived around the world as a nation of heavily-armed ignoramuses.

Bush is Doing It Wrong

Bush has fucked up everything, it seems. Even his signature "War on Terror" is based on faulty premises and a completely erroneous strategy. That was the finding of the Rand Corporation, which is not exactly a cabal of liberal navel-gazers.

That should not be a shock. Much of what has gone wrong in Afghanistan has gone wrong because of the use of 1,000lb bombs and Hellfire missiles as counterinsurgency tools. The Air Force is whining that they are not being allowed to drop huge bombs into crowded villages because the wimps running the war have belatedly come to realize that blowing up families as "collateral damage" does not win a lot of friends for the effort. Even when the Air Force drops bombs, they have a tendency to bomb our minions.

Bush is doing it wrong, which is hardly a surprise. He has not shown any talent at anything since he gave up booze and blow.

What a Surprise; Petroleum Edition

Shell Oil has reported an increase in profits of 33%. This is over last year; you may recall that last year, the oil companies were making big profits then, too.

But they come to their buddies in the Administration and the Congress and ask for more tax breaks and places to drill, when they already have roughly 70 million acres of oil leases that they haven't begun to drill on.

Congress ought to pass "use it or lose it" legislation so that if the oil lease holders don't drill on the areas they have leased, the lease ends and a new company can go in there.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

No Shit, Really? -- Highway Edition

Tens of thousands of bridges in this country need major work. That's one out of every four bridges.

No money. Gee, with war spending running $10 billion a month or better, that's a big shock. And given that Dorquemada has financed his clusterfuck of a war entirely on credit, like the dissolute spendthrift that he is, there will be no money for such projects for a very long time.

So, when the bridges in your state start falling down or are closed because they are unsafe, do take the time to thank the Republicans. They will be grateful that you thought of them.

Or maybe not.

What's the Difference Between Rappers and Republicans?

"Rappers, Republicans, what's the difference? They both love money, they love guns, gay people scare the shit out of them, every other word out out of their mouth is `nigger.`" -- Wyatt Cenac, the Daily Show's Senior Political Image Consultant.

Play the game along with Jon Stewart:

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Terrorists are Using UFOs!

At least, that's what this guy seems to think.

The little green (or gray) men are aligned with al Qaeda, that's his argument? Is this guy off his meds?

EPA to Everyone: Go Fuck Yourselves

The Environmental Plundering Agency has told its staff not to answer any oversight inquiries from anyone, not even its own in-house inspector general.

Serious wrongdoing has to have gone on for that to have happened. While it would be nice for a blizzard of subpoenas to descend onto the EPA, fat chance that's going to happen with these supine fucks in Congress.

The "Series of Tubes" May Become Prison Bars

Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) has been indicted on seven counts apparently having to do with lying on his tax returns.

I think snark would be superfluous, at this point.

Disabled Vets to Cheney: Take a Hike, Asswipe

The Disabled Vets of America withdrew their invitation to speak to Cheney after they reviewed the Evil One's security requirements.

A bunch of old and disabled war heroes were going to be made to sit in place for two hours before the Soulless One spoke and they couldn't leave the auditorium until Vice President Voldemort had left the building.

If Cheney's staff is that frightened of a bunch of crippled vets, imagine how they fear the rest of the American people.

Up In the Air, Junior Birdmen

The new "jetpack."

Except that it weighs a few hundred pounds (that is why it has its own landing gear), it's not really a "jet," and it's not really a "pack." If you put a seat on it, it'd be sort of a helicopter.

That may be snarkier than I mean it to be. Anyone who has paid any attention to jetpacks since James Bond flew one in "Goldfinger" knows that they have an endurance of only a couple of minutes. This thing is large, ungainly looking and it might just work.

Just don't fly it close to the ground, for if you lose power below the altitude that the parachute will function, you are going to have a really bad day.

Monday, July 28, 2008

"To Protect and Serve," the NYPD Way



You have to wonder when these chuckleheads are going to get the idea through their skulls that just about everyone with a cell phone can shoot video with it.

UPDATE: The cop has been suspended. Given that he is a rookie, the NYPD will probably just fire him. The cyclist is going to sue the City of New York and there is a chance that the cop involved committed perjury in his arrest affidavit.

The Non-News Story of the Year; DoJ Edition

WASHINGTON - A new Justice Department report concludes that politics illegally influenced the hiring of career prosecutors and immigration judges, and largely lays the blame on top aides to former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Monday's report singles out the department's former White House liaison, Monica Goodling, for violating federal law and Justice Department policy by discriminating against job applicants who weren't Republican or conservative loyalists.

And the surprise about that is what, exactly? Under Bush and Gonzales, the Department of Justice has become the Department of Politically Oriented Witch-Hunts. Under Bush and Mucasey, the DoJ's main job has been, just like the Department of Defense, an organization whose main focus is to pin the blame on the lowest possible underling while enabling the higher-ups to escape scot-free.

There is absolutely no honor at all in this Administration. They are a pack of scoundrels, through and through.

The Non-News Story of the Year

Bush approves the execution of an Army private.

I've never heard of George Bush not approving of the killing of anybody outside of his family or peer group. He is a remote-control killer; I suspect that he gets his rocks off when people die as a result of his command, for it gives that miserable little microcephalic a rush of power.

Best Excuse For Running Over a Pedestrian Award

Goes to Robert "Prince of Darkness" Novak, who has brain cancer.

I'll limit the snark to just that, as I've known people who had brain cancer.

(H/T to Badtux)

Fair Warning to All Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines

Not to mention every contract worker for Halliburton, KBR, Blackwater and all the rest:

Under the theories being advanced in the current war crimes trial of Salim Hamdan, if it is ever contested that George W. Bush or members of his administration committed war crimes, you may be properly charged and tried with those crimes.

''Without people willing to do logistics and more menial tasks,'' [FBI agent George Crouch Jr. ] replied, "al Qaida as we know it couldn't exist. Without people like Mr. Hamdan, Bin Laden would enjoy no support. He would not enjoy protection, and he would probably not have been able to elude capture to this point.''

It's even broader than that. Under that argument, every member of the Bush and Cheney Secret Service details is culpable, as is every police officer who has ever provided security to those ambulatory lumps of steaming offal. "No support" could conceivably apply to every member of the White Hose staff, right down to the junior cooks and maids.

Hell, you could even argue that everyone who voted for Bush in 2004 was complicit in his crimes.

When Muslims Do This, It is "Terrorism"

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The man accused of shooting dead two people and wounding seven others at a church apparently selected the congregation because of its liberal social stance, the city's police chief said Monday.

How is that not an act of terrorism? For damn sure, if a Muslim had done this, you'd see no shortage of outrage from conservatives about "godless Muslim terrorists."

Torture Nation

It seems that the Bush Administration based its interrogation policy, not on the law, not on any international standards, not on any notion of civilization, but solely on a fucking television show.

This is what happens when you put the intellectually incurious in charge. Even Forrest Gump could have done a better job than these fuckballs.

All of the lawyers involved need to be interrogated using the techniques that they found legal and then disbarred, using the evidence obtained from those interrogations.

Driveway Moment

NPR occasionally broadcasts a story that is a "driveway moment," where even though you have arrived at your destination, you sit in your car or truck and wait until the story finishes.

This blog post, about a motorcycle crash, is the blog equivalent. It probably would have taken something approaching gunfire to distract me while I was reading it. I respectfully suggest that it will be worth your time to read it.

They Were Lying Then. Are They Lying Now?

The American military admitted Sunday night that a platoon of soldiers raked a car of innocent Iraqi civilians with hundreds of rounds of gunfire and that the military then issued a news release larded with misstatements, asserting that the victims were criminals who had fired on the troops.

The civilians were workers at the airport. One might reasonably presume that they were intimately familiar with the security protocols. One might also reasonably assume that there is not an Iraqi alive who does not understand the dangers of approaching American military vehicles.

This may all be a tragic mistake. It is probably not difficult to understand that one of the top priorities of the soldiers is to not die in this war. But anyone who thinks that the Iraqis are not going to draw a link between this shooting and the Nasoor Square Massacre is seriously delusional.

Ask yourself how would you react if the cops in your town machine-gunned a car full of people by accident.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

"The Poor Should Only Freeze to Death." -- GOP

Yep, that's their idea of how to help poor people in a time of home heating oil costing nearly $5/gallon- tell them to fuck off and freeze.

Does anybody by this time have any shred of doubt that the GOP cares only about the wealthy?

(H/T to BadTux)

When Is It a Good time to Run Like Hell?

When some F-16 pilot shoots up your damn SUV.


That is what the military calls "a real career-limiting move." Care to bet who is going to be in charge of inventorying basketballs at Diego Garcia for the next four years?

(H/T to the Alternate Brain)

More Random Stuff From the Internets

The Stephen Colbert "On Notice Sign" generator.

(Hooray for Brilliant at Breakfast!)

Fucktard Award; State Government Edition

The award for being a bunch of fucking retards goes to the Connecticut State Department of Transportation.

For 25 years, during the Labor Day weekend,the Boy Scouts in southeastern Connecticut have operated a "free coffee break" stop at both of the state weigh stations along I-95 in Waterford, CT. They give out free coffee and doughnuts and they take donations as a fund-raiser for local charities. Last year, they were given an award by the governor of Connecticut for their public service.

Now, citing unnamed "safety concerns," the Connecticut DOT has told the Boy Scouts to fuck off and go away.

"Safety concerns," the favorite excuse of bureaucrats who are against anything. They never justify it, it's sort of like "security concerns," which has become another staple excuse of the idiots in government who are against something. 25 years of accident-free operation ought to speak for something, but not to the DOT.

Connecticut DOT; they can't rebuild a highway without massive corruption and shoddy work that required the "improvements" to be dug up and rebuilt, but they sure can shut down a free coffee operation run by the Boy Scouts.

Fucking assholes, all of them.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Surface the Boat!

The Navy raised the ex-Soviet Navy submarine K-77 from the bottom of the harbor in Providence, RI.

Without knowing anything more, my gut feeling is that this sub is ultimately headed for the breaker's yard. Warships have lots of nooks and crannies where, in a situation like this, corrosion can hide and take hold.

Caturday

Shots from my recent vacation.

The first day, George was staying out of everyone's way. I put a plate of dry food near his hide and he came out to eat.

I love the "you lookin' at me, pilgrim" expression on his face.


Gracie (l) and Jake are sharing a 19th Century "fainting couch."


The couch is covered with a towel, which greatly eases the clean-up.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Torture Nation

President George W. Bush on Thursday urged his successor to carry on what he called his "freedom agenda" of promoting human rights, democracy, and free trade around the world.

I'm sorry, Mr. President, but no. When it comes to human rights, those doing the criticizing must have clean hands. You do not get to claim a respect for human rights, let alone "promoting" them, when you have led an administration that has become infamous for the use of secret prisons, detentions without trial, wiretapping people, monitoring the e-mails of all Americans and, most of all, for torturing and murdering people who have been detained by the Army and the CIA.

George Bush, with the help of Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet, David Addington, John Ashcroft, Ricardo Gonzales, Jay Bybee, John Yoo, Doug Feith, Condolezza Rice, among others, transformed the reputation of the United States of America from "the shining city on a hill" which Ronald Reagan spoke of, to that of a filthy slaughterhouse at the edge of a festering swamp. George Bush has trashed the honor and reputation of this country.

Thanks to George Bush, brutal dictators around the world feel morally free to murder and torture people.

Thanks to George Bush, the hands of Lady Liberty are stained with gallons of human blood. It will be decades before the stain fades.

R.I.P. Dr. Pausch

If you have not watched his "last lecture," you should take an hour out of your life and do so.



He died early this morning.

Comcast--- Going Once, Going Twice

First off, I ought to say that I don't like Comcast very much. I despise their practice of "we are adding three more channels to your package for your viewing pleasure" and then, two months later, they raise their rates accordingly. Second, the old cable provider's programming (ComBastards bought them out some years ago) allowed me to delete channels from the cable box; oh, I still had to pay for them, but as I channel-surfed, I didn't have to see HSN or QVC or Fox News or any of the pseudo-religious channels. ComBastards doesn't permit that.

But the worst is this: I get my twisted-pair telephone service from ComTards as part of a package. That has been nice, but those douchebags are now going to drop POTS at the end of the year in favor of "digital phones." That comes over the cable line, which means that every time the power goes out, so would the phones.

That is simply not acceptable to me. So I would wind up with less reliable service at a higher price. ComLiars says digital phone service is "clearer and better," but I know they are lying through every orifice on their rotting corpses. I have phones right now that range from fairly new cordless phones to a 1950s WE500; they all sound clear enough to me.

Remember that lady who broke up her local Comcast office with a hammer? I'd give her a new one if she'd do it again.

So I'm going to call the local phone company and arrange for POTS and I really don't give a crap if I have the same phone number or not. And if they now offer Intertubes and TV, I'm going to buy it from them, too.

(Did I mention who much I don't care for Comcast?)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Navy Cancels a Shipbuilding Program

The Navy has canceled the construction of the Zumwalt Class, the successor to the DDG-51 class. This was a $20 billion program, now gone.

It probably didn't help matters that the DDG-1000s were going to be pretty much a butt-ugly ship.

(By the way, Boston Globe, land forces have "cannons." Ships have "guns.")

The Fuckery of the Bush Administration

First off, he wants to use spy satellites to spy on Americans. Reichfuhrer Secretary Chertoff says that they'll protect our civil liberties, which is a statement that should result in alternating spells of hysterical laughter and vomiting, as the Department of Homeland Stupidity's sole real job is to pave the way for a police state.

Second, former Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee, who is now a federal appellate judge, once wrote a memo approving the use of torture as long as the torturer thought that there would be no long-term harm, the same day he wrote a memo that defined torture as techniques that would cause organ failure or death. So if you wanted to tie Judge Bybee down and tap his nuts with a hammer or clip the electrodes from a hand-cranked generator to his ears and then turn the crank a bit, be assured that you are not torturing him. You are only "vigorously interrogating"him.

Whack Those Characters

Can we just kill off the smiling Enzyte guy and the talking baby in the E-Trade ads?

(Which gives me an idea for a new blog.)

An Overview of Aerial Navigation, Part 5

Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4)

The four course low-frequency range was an effective tool for its time. In an era when electronic equipment was expensive, it allowed one to navigate with a whiskey compass, a clock and an AM radio that could receive the signals (below the AM broadcast band). It had its disadvantages, though. All one received was the audio signal, which told a pilot that he was left of course, right of course or on course. It did not tell you where you were in relation to the station. Orienting one's self if one were truly lost in the clouds was a daunting task. And if the weather was such that it interfered with clear reception on the AM band, then one could be well and truly screwed.

The answer to that was the Very High Frequency Omnidirectional Radio Range, "Omni" or "VOR". This is a VOR station:

A VOR broadcasts a nearly infinite radial bearing by some magic of some kind. The VOR broadcast band is just above the FM radio broadcast band. A VOR station is indicated on sectional charts by a blue circle that is 20NM in diameter. You can see one in the upper left corner of this chart:


VOR radials are always described as the bearing from the VOR station, so if you are on the 300 radial of any given VOR, you are northwest of the station. The radials are aligned to the magnetic north pole as of the time the station was commissioned.

To use one, the first thing you should do is turn the Omni-navigational Bearing Selector, or "OBS" to a bearing that is near the one you are on.


The reason to do that is because if the bearing is way off from where you are, when you tune the VOR receiver in, the needle will slam to one side or the other and that is not a good thing. You then tune in the VOR receiver (they're all digital nowadays) to the correct frequency. If you are in range, the needle should twitch a little and, in the illustration above, the red/white crosshatch should change to a reading of either "to" or "from" (more on that later). Then you should turn up the volume knob on the VOR receiver and listen for the identifier for the station to ensure you are tuned into the correct one. The identifier is typically a three digit Morse code identifier and since most pilots do not know Morse code, the actual isgnal is printed in the information block for the station. (The VOR station on the chart is Topeka, or "TOP," - --- .---)

As I said, radials are bearings from the VOR station. If you are on a 300 bearing from the station and you set the OBS to 30, the needle will center and the little box where the red and white crosshatch is will show a "from" flag. But you probably want to fly towards the station, so you turn the OBS until 12 is at the top and the OBS flag will read "to." If you are flying towards the station, you want to see a "to" and if you are flying away from the station, you want to see a "from." The reason for this is the bearing needle will point towards the centerline of the radial bearing if you are not on it; if you are flying to the station with a "from" indication, the needle will "reverse sense" and point away from the radial.

By either tuning back and forth between two stations or by using a second VOR receiver, you can receive bearings from two stations and determine your position.

But that is not all VOR stations can do. This is the information box for the Topeka VOR:

117.8 MHz is the frequency of the VOR itself. The channel number is the TACAN channel, which is of interest to the military. Above the box is a voice frequency of 122.45 MHz and below the box is the word "Wichita." You can tune your voice radio to 122.45 to call the Wichita Flight Service Station ("Wichita Radio" is the call sign) for weather updates, to file change or cancel flight plans or to submit a weather report. If the frequency above the box says "122.1R, then you transmit to FSS on 122.1 and listen on the VOR frequency itself. Any given FSS is monitoring a lot of VOR outlets; good form is to call the FSS, give your call sign and say which VOR you are calling through.

Now go back up to the chart itself, you will see blue lines running between some of the VOR stations. Those are the airways themselves. Airways at or below 18,000 feet are designated by the letter "V" and a number; they collectively are known as the Victor airways. If airways combine, both numbers are used. Victor 502 and Victor 10-12 can be seen on the chart. High altitude charts, used above 18,000 feet, are J-airways ("J" for "jet"). There is no real requirement for VFR flights to use the airways. IFR flights fly the airways and have for decades, though there is a move to get away from those routings.

VORs are stil in wide use, though the Feds would love to get away from the cost of maintaining all of the VOR stations. Concerns about what will happen to the GPS satellites in a severe solar storm are some of the factors that may keep VORs around for awhile yet.

Some of the Dumber Motherfuckers on the Planet

That would be Congressman Roy Blunt and Senator Lamar Alexander, among other functional morons Republicans, whose idea on energy policy is "find more, use less."

Do they not understand anything about supply and demand? Have they not bothered to pay any attention to what has happened in this country for the last 35 years? It's not hard; even a GOP politician ought to be able to figure it out, since they proclaim they are in favor of "market solutions."

In 1973, the price of a gallon of gas was about thirty cents or so. After two oil crises (`73 and `79), the price of a gallon of gas had gone to over a dollar. 30 years ago, that was rather expensive, and Americans reacted to that by dumping the `60s and `70s muscle cars and similar boats for small, fuel-efficient cars. Energy conservation ruled the day and laws were enacted mandating levels of fuel economy. (Of course Detroit hated that, they were no more capable of building decent small cars 30 years ago than they are today.)

Oil prices collapsed in the mid `80s and, other than during the Persian Gulf War, they stayed low until just before Dorquemada took office. Gas was usually below a dollar a gallon and stayed there; it was by no means unusual to find a place to fill up for less than seventy cents a gallon (depending on the market area). Since gas was cheap, people became less concerned about fuel economy, which gave rise to the SUV boom, many of which had fuel economy ratings in the low teens.

Gas prices have quadrupled since 2000. Most dealerships cannot give away SUVs. GM is mulling over ceasing production of the Hummer H2, probably one of the most egregious gasoline-suckers around. Hybrid cars are virtually unavailable and when you can find one, expect to pay a premium over the sticker price.

So this is the moral of the story: If you want people to use less of something, you have to price it higher. If there is more oil, the price of gasoline will reflect that fact. Because gas will then be cheaper, people will use more of it. If you want people to use less gas, the price has to rise, whether because gas itself costs more or because, as they do in Europe, the government taxes the living shit out of it.

This isn't rocket science or Ph.D. level economic theory. But it is sure amazing that there are politicians who are too stupid to understand it, or are too venal and just ignore it.

H.L. Mencken would not be surprised that there are people who are stupid enough to be gulled by the "find more, use less" argument.

All Them Purty Lawn Darts

The Bush administration plans to shift nearly $230 million in aid to Pakistan from counterterrorism programs to upgrading that country's aging F-16s. That is out of the $300 million in military aid to Pakistan for buying military equipment and training.

That is not "aid." That is a "bribe," a "payoff." Pakistan isn't bombing its own territory and they are not about to start. F-16s are about as useless in a counter-insurgency or counter-terrorism campaign as George Bush is in, well, everything. F-16s are for a war with India.

Without some clear explanation as to why this is not as wrong-headed an idea as the counter-terror "comfort capsules," Congress needs to stomp this idea into the dirt.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Charge: Driving While Pickled

The Rhode Island state cops arrested a guy for driving while intoxicated. That may not be all that unusual, and certainly not worthy of note.

Except for the fact that the guy blew .491 on the Breathalyser. Cops say that's the highest reading they've ever recorded on a live person (and I'm kind of curious how many dead guys have blown into a Breathalyser).

A blood alcohol content of .4 is supposedly "comatose" and this guy was driving. I'll bet his BAC probably hasn't been 0.0 in years.

The Army is Still Shafting the Wounded

The Army miscalculated the growth in the number of soldiers needing care (it's now at 12,000 and is expected to reach 20,000 next year), causing it to fall below "the required level of staffing" at most facilities -- despite the Army surgeon general's assertion in February that "we are entirely staffed at the point we need to be staffed."

When the Army is sucking up to Congress, as Dana Milbank noted, then they know that they are in trouble.

If you want to know why, think of it this way: The job of the Army is to fight wars. As far as the mind-set of the Army goes, wounded soldiers are like broken equipment, you either fix them fast or throw them away. To the Army, a soldier that can't fight is useless. "Warrior care" is a high priority to the Army only because Congress and the American people require that from the Army. If the Army could get away with dumping them all to the VA, they'd be perfectly happy to do so.

The Real Reason Why Phil Gramm Bailed on McCain?

Because UBS AG, the bank for which Gramm is a senior executive, is being nailed for facilitating tax evasion.

That might be a good reason for having Gramm disappear from public view. I guess it was not enough that Gramm was one of the people who did his level best to break the power of regulators and who knowingly set the stage for the current financial mess.

Bush is wrong: It's not just "Wall Street" that got drunk at making easy money, it was the banking industry. Phil Gramm, along with Alan Greenspan, had his fingerprints all over the removal of meaningful regulation of the banking industry. It was Gramm who made sure that the federal regulators were demoted to approving the location of bank branches (a job they did with an "approved" stamp, which is why bank branches are more common than Starbucks stores).

The current financial mess is a direct result of the ideological polices of the so-called conservatives. But they are conservatives whose principles only go half-way; they have privatized the profits, but socialized the losses. The fat cats reap the benefits of the good times and the taxpayers get stuck with the bill when closing time is called.

(H/T to Blue Girl)

A Few Funnies

Games you can play with your kids or cats. Liability for any injuries or damages incurred is expressly disclaimed.

Secret agent man
and the daughter.

How to develop bigger boobs (without giving cash to the GOP).

Some Things Never Change; Cat Edition

Last night, after I got into bed, Jake jumped up onto the bed and laid down so I could scratch him. Gracie got on the bed and apparently concluded that of all of the area of half of a queen-sized bed, that Jake was on the best spot. So she flopped down right on top of him. Jake was outraged and jumped down.

I adopted Gracie 11 years ago, I had adopted George eight months before that. George was just a year old and he was used to getting on my bed at night. He weighed ten pounds. Gracie was maybe sixteen weeks old and she weighed three pounds. The first night, Gracie jumped on the bed and ran George off. It was a long time before Gracie would share my bed with George.

She's not as pushy as she used to be, but she still regards herself as the queen cat.

Even The Bushies Can't Keep a Straight Face About Chimpy

Secretary of Education Margaret Spelling was the guest on last night's Colbert Report. When Stephen Colbert referred to "all of the other accomplishments of the Bush Administration" (besides No Child Left Behind), even she laughed.

Watch it and see, it's about 4:30 into the interview:

Lou Dobbs's Head Just Exploded

New York City will provide full translation services for six languages and access to translation for a total of 170 languages.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Heh. Heh. Heh.

From Vanity Fair:


(H/T to the Political Cat)

Fly Air Blackwater; Pt. 2

Except they call it "Presidential Airways," probably because the Blackwater brand name is the Love Canal or Chernobyl of brand names.

You know a company has an image problem when they wold prefer that the name of a subsidiary invoke the image of Dorquemada

Awww, Pity the Poor Weedle Republicans

Young Republicans are feeling "left out" by the geezer-oriented McCain Campaign.

Question to all you "young Republicans:" What are you doing at some moronic political gathering? You guys were all in favor of the Iraq War, why aren't you in the Army? The Army needs you. Join up today! Or if you really have guts, go join the Marine Corps. It's your war, why aren't you fighting it?

I can understand why you don't though, for just like Yer Hero, Prezit Bush, you guys are "all hat, no cattle." You are all more than willing to let some other poor dumb bastard go off and die for your ideals.

There is a word for that sort of attitude, and the word is "cowardice."

Warning to Employees of KBR and Blackwater

Under the theories that the Administration is using in the current kangaroo court military tribunal, you may be charged with a war crime if you have worked in Iraq:

"Prosecutors assert that [Salim Ahmed Hamdan] was not only bin Laden's driver, but also part of an elite bodyguard force and an arms courier for Al Qaeda. They said he was captured in Afghanistan in 2001 with shoulder-fired missiles that could only have been meant for American aircraft."

"An elite bodyguard force" certainly applies to Blackwater and there have been untold numbers of civilians driving trucks loaded with arms from Kuwait into Iraq. Using the logic of the Bush Administration, all of those folks are war criminals, as none of them were in a recognized military force and none of them were in uniform.

Take heed, if you have worked for those companies. What our nation is doing today may come back to haunt you.

Has McCain Lost His Cabbage?

"We have a lot of work to do and I'm afraid it's a very hard struggle, particularly given the situation on the Iraq/Pakistan border."-- John McCain



(I am presuming that if you're reading this blog, you know that was about as dumb a thing to say as talking about the border between Jamaica and Mexico.)

You have to wonder if McCain has anything left:

"The fact is, if we had done what Senator Obama wanted to do, we would have lost," McCain told reporters in Kennebunkport, Maine (where he was visiting the first failure of a Bush presidency).


Does he not realize the opening that gives Obama, who was against the Iraq War from day one? If we did what Obama wanted, we would have had the resources to make a difference in Afghanistan. And maybe, jsut maybe, we wouldn not benow dealing with a resurgent Taliban, seven years after they were supposedly defeated.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Why Handload for Rifles?

Because you can get fantastic accuracy. 3/4" groups at 50 yards from an old military surplus rifle is nothing to sneeze at.

News From 2022

July, 2022, George W. Bush, a fugitive since he was indicted for war crimes in 2009, was arrested.

After all, it took 13 years to catch the former president of Serbia, Radovan Karadzic
.

(I know, but I can dream.)

Fly Air Blackwater

Because being known as a company composed of trigger-happy goons is not very good for business.

Less Than Six Months Left

That's all the time remaining for the Chimperor and His Evil Regent Darth to finish their work of making the USA into a third-world country by destroying our democracy and our economy. They have already done their best to ensure that our government is carrying the debt load of a failing 3rd world nation.

Western Union Cat; Pt. 2

I clipped George's claws last night. Of my three, he is the only one who vociferously objects to my clipping his claws. I have never cut them to the quick, nor has anyone else I know of, but he acts as though I am trying to perform surgery on him with the lid of a tin can.

So sure enough, after I was done torturing him by clipping his nails, he expressed his displeasure by dumping a load right next to my bed.

I'm going to start referring to his anus as the "Eye of Shit-On."

Let's Electrocute the Head of KBR; Pt. 2

American troops are still being electrocuted in Iraq due to the shoddy work performed by KBR. This isn't exactly a new story, it's been public for months.

This happens because KBR is bulletproof; those contract administration officers who challenge KBR wind up getting fired. KBR is immune from meaningful oversight because, as everyone knows, Dick Cheney has deep ties to both KBR and Halliburton. Cheney received bribes deferred compensation from Halliburton/KBR for at least four years in his current job. He was at Halliburton for only five years, but Cheney has sure done a bang-up job protecting their interests.

BUFF Down off Guam

A B-52 has crashed off Guam. Two people were recovered, which means that at least three are missing.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Hazy, Hot and Humid

Visibility was maybe five miles or so, but I went flying anyway. Judging by the chatter on Unicom (122.8), there were not a lot of airplanes up. The FAA was working; I could hear Flight Check call out out that it was shooting approaches at some airport. The FAA operates a variety of airplanes to test and verify instrument approaches. Flight Check has to check every new approach before it can be used and they then fly them again from time to time.

It was pretty nasty day as far as visibility went. There was a crosswind, I shot a few landings.

How To Make Ammo

Carteach has written a series of posts that is a good tutorial on how to make ammunition. The link is to the first post, I presume you can find the rest from there.

If you have ever thought about loading your own cartridges or if you're just curious as to how it is done, go read them.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Bangity, Bangity, Bangity

It is hot in this area, but this morning, I went to a different rifle range to finish sighting in my Mosin-Nagant 91/30 sniper rifle. I had a mixture of Privi Partizan soft-nose, Russian 7N1 and Czech light ball; the rifle shot well with all of them. The rifle clearly shoots far better than I can.

The range I went to last weekend allows single shots only. This range had no such rule, and as a result, there were guys with AR-15 clones, Mini-14s and AUGs who were trying to see how fast they could empty their magazines. So while I'm firing at a 100 yard target (the farthest the range allows), those shmucks were blasting away at targets that were 10 yards away.

As I was leaving, another shooter was setting up with a PSL. He seemed to have all current production ammo; he wasn't shooting surplus stuff as I was. That's more expensive, but the Eastern European milsurp rounds have corrosive primers and I imagine that cleaning the guts of a gas-operated rifle well enough for that situation is not a lot of fun. I should have maybe stuck around to watch, but it was hot and I was both thirsty and hungry.

Either range is an hour's drive away; one is by highways and the other, which is closer in distance, is all by fairly twisty back roads. But either way, between the drive, the shooting and then the cleaning of the rifle, it's not something I see myself doing more than every several weeks.

100 Years in Iraq, John McSame?

Not according to the Prime Minister of Iraq, who wants U.S. troops out in the same 16 month time frame that Barack Obama has mentioned.

It probably doesn't help McCain's campaign any that the Bush Administration has "accidentally" helped to publicize this story. If the unofficial slogan of the Bush Administration is "the Stupid, It Burns, It Burns," one wonders if there is anyone left in the West Wing who hasn't been roasted into "extra crispy."

So, if our ally, the Iraqis, want us our of their country, where does that leave the Bush Administration and John McCain's campaign? If they say anything at all other than "OK, we're leaving, roger, out," then they call into question whether Iraq is truly sovereign. If they quibble, then they are implicitly stating: "Fuck you, we occupy your country, we call the shots" and the real winner is going to be the insurgency, which will probably wind up getting a lot more support from the Iraqis themselves.

In other news, in a statement that can only be described as "whining," Phil Graham, the co-chairman of the McCain Campaign (and one of the originators of the current mortgage meltdown) is stepping down as campaign co-chair. "You're paying attention to what I said." Graham whined: "That is just so unfair and mean!"

He Must Have Just Finished Visiting Rush Limbaugh

New England Patriots offensive lineman Nicholas Kaczur had 202 Oxycontin pills imprinted with letters indicating they were Canadian-made stuffed in his pocket when he was arrested by New York State Police in April.

All Mouth, No Spine

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi riffing on President Bush: "God bless him, bless his heart, president of the United States -- a total failure, losing all credibility with the American people on the economy, on the war, on energy, you name the subject."

I would be more impressed if, when the crunch time comes, the House Democrats, under the leadership of Speaker Pelosi, stood up to the Bush Administration on more than just a few pocketbook issues. It is nice that they stood up to him on educational benefits for veterans and Medicare payments to doctors. But it sure would be grand if they could find the gumption to have stood up to him on the matter of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, among others.

Caturday

This is the bed I used when I was away on vacation. Since it was a single bed, only two of my cats occupied it at any one time.


This is Gracie in her favorite position, which is to say, lying next to me with her butt up against my thigh. It's a very pleasant event when she has shit all over her ass, as you might imagine.

Friday, July 18, 2008

When is a Timetable Not a Timetable?

When they call it a "time horizon."

Maybe that is what Amtrak ought to call their printed schedules: "Time horizons."

It's really more doublespeak from the Bush Administration, in the same way that sending a senior diplomat to a negotiation session with the Iranians and planning to open a US interests section in Tehran is not negotiating with Iran.

News for the Clueless; Antiterrorism Edition

The Air Force has used counter-terrorism funds to buy "comfort capsules" for VIPs traveling on Air Force transports.

The Maryland state cops repeatedly spied on peace activists and anti-death penalty groups in recent years. They also entered the names of some in a law-enforcement database of people thought to be terrorists or drug traffickers.

And the surprise about either one of these is what, exactly? The Air Farce has a long and storied record of playing fast and loose with our money. And as for the cops, that is what they do. That is what they have always done. Police forces of any stripe, whether in a democracy or an authoritarian state like Russia, regard dissent and protest as treasonable activities. To that mindset, you're either a loyal Bushie or you're a terrorist symp.

Of those million-plus names on the Department of Homeland Stupidity's watch list, care to bet that tens of thousands of those names belong to people whose only "crime" is to have spoken out against the policies of Dorquemada?

"Smelling the Coffee" or "the Rats Are Leaving"?

Larry Hunter, a self-described lifelong conservative and a Republican party activist, is voting for Obama because (get this) Obama is truer to conservative principles than Bush/McSame. His argument is that cutting taxes is in now way balanced out by fiscal insanity and large-scale disregard for the Constitution.

I'm not sure if this is an example of being true to one's ideals or if this is a case of one of the rats leaving the sinking hulk that is today's GOP.

Your call.

(H/T to Alternate Brain)

The Nightly Routine

This is what awaited me when I went to go to bed last night.

(George is at the bottom left, Gracie is at the top right and Jake is at the bottom right.)

This would be fine if I was maybe 5'3," but I'm not. The challenge is to persuade George to move without pissing him off, because he is fully capable of then taking a dump right next to my bed.

If I had time this morning, I'd watch the recording of last night's airing of Burn Notice on my VCR. But I don't, so it will have to wait until tonight.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Our Moron-in-Chief is keeping himself busy by watching a bunch of kids play T-ball while inflation rears its ugly head and the financial markets are once again on the brink of collapse.

I hope Preznit Gump had a good time at the game. (By the way, does anybody know if they play T-ball at the Scheveningen Prison?)

News and Snark

Airlines are cutting flights to increase load factors in order to stem their losses (like nobody saw that coming).

Once Anheuser-Busch sells itself to the Belgians, at least we can then say it is Belgian beer that tastes like diluted piss (you have to wonder who got stuck doing that taste test).

Man finds a knife baked into his Subway sandwich, no allegation of injury, but he sues for $1 million. His lawyer thinks it "might be malicious." I don't know about where he got his sandwich, but in the Subway joints I've bought them, I've never had to hang around while they bake the fucking bread. Let's run this bit of litigation past the Bullshit Meter:


I thought as much.

Interesting Juxtapositioning

The Daily Show nailed it:

Ban Guns and Flowers Will Erupt Everywhere

If you believe the anti-gunners, then you might conclude that if guns were banned, peace and love would break out and harmony would reign forever. It worked in Britain, where they do not have a problem with people randomly killing each other ..... oh, never mind.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Ya, But Them Fokkers Were Flying Messerschmidts

Go for a ride in a Me-108.

Conflicted or "You Can't Fix `Stupid`"

I often got for about a two-mile walk after I get home, change clothes and feed the critters. This evening, across the street, I saw a sight which conflicted me.

There is a commercial building that is unoccupied after business hours. The land it is on is about four feet above the grade of the street; the grass slopes down at about a 30deg angle to the street. On the top of the grade, some kids had laid a couple sheets of plywood so that they could get up a little bit of speed and jump their skateboards into the air and try to land on the skateboards on the sidewalk or the street.

The street has some traffic in the evening, so the kids had to stop a lot. None of those kids had any kind of safety gear whatsoever; no helmets, pads, wrist guards, nothing.

I thought briefly about calling the cops, but decided not to. Yes, one of those kids could land the wrong way and bust his fool skull open on the curb. They might cut it close one time and go into traffic. The kids knew that that were misbehaving; I heard one remark: "If my mom knew I was doing this, she'd be pissed."

But I couldn't see what calling the cops would do that would be any good. More than likely the kids would just be pissed off at the Officer Krupke who was unfortunate enough to get the call. Nothing would change except the cops and the kids would have another reason to be angry with each other.

So I let it go.

From the "No Shit, Sherlock" Files

"The U.S.-Mexico border fence will make life harder on some South Texas farmers, damage valuable wildlife habitat, impair views and generally become an obstacle to border life, the Department of Homeland Security acknowledged in an environmental study of the fence's impact."

No fucking shit, geniuses. How much of our money did it take for you rocket scientists at DHS to figure out that putting up a solid fence through farmland and wildlife refuges would do all that?

There is a damn good reason why that Federal department has become known as the "Department of Homeland Stupidity." That report illustrates one small example of why that is so.

Yeah, And the South Will Rise Again, Suh!

The Hillbot dead-enders are still trying to keep Hillary Clinton's campaign in play.

It's really kind of sad, in a pathetic and borderline mentally-disturbed sort of way.

(H/T to Balloon Juice)

Western Union Cat

When I leave my apartment for any great length of time, I shut the windows nearly all the way. I shut them far enough that the cats can look out through the screens and sniff, but so they are not open far enough so that they can jump up on the screens (and fall outside).

This morning, as I was preparing to head off to Ye Olde Salte Mine, George was in the bedroom window. He jumped down as I went to partially close the window and left the bedroom, whining on the way out, for he was not happy in the least.

As I left for work and walked through the living room, I smelled the odor of a fresh dump. I looked around and on the floor of the living room, in front of the couch, right in front of the place where I normally sit, was a steaming pile of cat shit. George, being no idiot, was hiding somewhere.

Message received loud and clear, you little shitcake.

Another Reason to Worry

Bush is upbeat on the economy: "Our economy's continued growing, consumers are spending, businesses are investing, exports continue increasing and American productivity remains strong."

Yeah. Like he was about the pasta bazillion times "we have reached a turning point in Iraq." Or like he was when FEMA was doing "a heckuva job" letting people die in New Orleans.

When Bush thinks things are going well, that's the time to bring in the animals and nail shut the storm shutters.

Time For Some Campaignin'

The latest from JibJab:

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hey, I Know How to Fly a Space Shuttle

There is a similarity between that boast of mine and John McCain's boast that he "knows how to win a war," and that is this:

Neither of us has ever done that.

Hell, I bet that John McCain also thinks that he can reliably hit a baseball pitched by Roy Halliday of the Toronto Blue Jays.

McSame is showing more and more that he is a mental case.

Two Can Play That Game

So some Republican goon in Florida has a billboard up with the image of the burning World Trade Center and the logo "Don't Vote for a Democrat"

Well, that game can work the other way:

Please Don't Vote For A Republican




















You don't want to play nice, we won't play nice.

The Obama and McCain Covers.

Want to bet that you don't see this one run?

(Oh, heck, here it is, but be nice and click on that link so they get the hits)

(Click on the image to enlarge)

Another Great Place to Waste Time on the Internets

GraphJam


song chart memes
more graph humor and song chart memes

I'd curse the blog I found this site on, if I could remember it, but since I can't, I'll pass it on to you. [bwahahaha!]

I'm Not the Only One Feeling "Bush Fatigue"

Vincent Bugliosi is feeling it as he tries to hawk his new book.

I suspect that 95% of the American people are just hanging on, waiting for Dorquemada to finish out his term. 189 days to go.

Can't we pretend that it is already 2009 and just skip ahead to the war crimes trials?

Very Interesting

There is this report of the concerns of many that the Mideast oil producing nations are blowing the wealth that they are accumulating from $140/bbl oil. So the old line that in 100 years, they will be back to being nomads may have a grain of truth to it.

Stuck at the airport? All of the day's flights canceled, so that you have to crash on the floor of the airport? No problemo, you can just buy an airport tent. (Great, something else you need to pack.) $49.95 with shipping. I'm not 100% that this isn't a joke, but at least I wasn't Rick-rolled when I went to the site.

I could riff on how the Bush Administration combines the cluelessness of the Hoover Administration, the "asleep at the switch" mentality of the Coolidge Administration, combined with the corruption of the Harding Administration to push us to the precipice of another collapse of the national banking system. But I've blogged about that a few times before, based on other evidence of the sheer incompetence of the Tsar of the Baboons.

Ah, fuck it.

Colbert on why the Bush Administration is cutting the value of human life:

Pity the Poor Comics

They're having a hard time getting a comedic handle on Barack Obama.

This comment by one of Conan O'Brien's writers was almost a prayer: "We're hoping he picks an idiot as vice president."

Monday, July 14, 2008

Another Gay-Bashing Closet Case

That would be the Alabama Attorney General, Troy King. Yes indeed, another virulently anti-gay Republican politician is busted while having sex with another person of the same sex. This particular asswipe was outed by his own wife, who found him in the marital bed with one of his assistants.

The fact that he was also the Alabama Chairman of the McCain Campaign is just a bit of a bonus.

Happy Bastille Day!

Whatsamatta, WaPo, You Bored or Something?

The Washington Post is launching an investigation into the murder of Chandra Levy.

Jill is right
: Just fucking shoot me.

We have an administration that is corrupt beyond comprehension, that has repeatedly thumbed its nose at the rule of law and the Constitution. They have tortured the innocent and extracted false confessions, using techniques that were widely known to be unreliable. Estimates by the CIA and the Pentagon were that 30-50% of the prisoners at Guantanamo were only guilty of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but the Bush Administration dug in its heels and refused to even entertain the notion that even one of those guys might have been wrongfully detained, calling them all "the worst of the worst."

No bid contracts. Continuing scandals on how our soldiers are treated and equipped. Political interference everywhere. Tens of billions of dollars of our cash went missing in Iraq. Abuses by every law enforcement agency under the sun, all in the name of "homeland security."

And the Washington Post is sending its crack(pot) investigative reporters to dig into one old murder? (I know, it's the old fascination with the killing of a pretty young white chick, you sure don't see any of this concern when a Latino or Black woman goes missing- see JonBenet Ramsey.)

Give me a fucking break, guys.

An Industry of Whiners

That would be the airline industry. Flight delays are blamed on corporate jets. Increased costs are blamed on oil speculators. Nothing new here, it wasn't long ago that they were blaming their unions.

I realize that airlines have lots of MBAs running things, which is one of the reason why they are perennially in trouble. So let me make it simple for those folks, as I am assuming that my regular readers know this.

Airlines, like all businesses, have their costs. Their income comes from carrying passengers and cargo. You can make a basic T diagram by listing costs in one column and income in the other.

Costs --- Income

You then add them up and, if income is higher, you're making money. If costs are higher, you're in trouble.

So, if you have cut costs on your flights as much as you can, then your choices are to start cutting flights themselves so you fill more seats on each flight. If you then have over 95% of your seats full on each flight and you are still not making a profit on your flights, then your choice is glaringly simple: Raise your fucking fares, guys.

It's either that or you can go out of business. Like lots of small and medium size businesses do, every day. Cheap airline travel is not a right guaranteed by the Flying Spaghetti Monster or the Constitution. If anything, the current policy of the airlines, which is to keep fares low and then charge for every fucking little thing, is just pissing off your customers. The airline industry is becoming a joke; any business with which the airlines are compared favorably knows it is in trouble.

Airlines, you're a service business, not a livestock hauler, nor are you transporting convicts to Australia. Break the code or go out of business. You have no more right to stay in business than the local tavern and, to be frank about it, you get better service and a more enjoyable time at a tavern.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Those Cat Towels Really Paid Off Tonight!

As you may know, I put towels on my furniture to protect them from cat messes. Well, tonight, Gracie was lying next to me on the couch as I finished off the previous post. She started with the "urp, ack, ack" bit and made as though she was about to jump down. I grabbed her and held her in place as she went through the main yocking-up of a mixture of a hairball and food, followed by the two aftershock barfings of lesser amounts of stomach fluid.

(I don't know why they all seem to do it that way-- one main barf and two secondary puke-ups. But they do.)

Once she was finished, I let her down, grabbed the towel, took it to the bathroom, brushed the large clumps of hairball and puke into the toilet and then tossed the towel into the washing machine. I'll do a load of cat towels tomorrow, anyway.

Gracie yocks up a hairball and tomorrow, vacation over, I go back to work.

Coincidence?

Bangity, Bangity, Bangity, Vroom, Vroooom

I had a nice day away from the computer today. I started out by going flying for a little bit, even though it was breezier than I liked. Then, after getting lost for a little bit (on the way to the range, not in the air), I went to a public rifle range to try out my Mosin sniper rifle (7.62x54R). I started out at 100 yards and got mightily confused on which way I was supposed to adjust the knobs on the sight, so I moved to the 25 yard position and dialed it in. That rifle shot 3-hole touching groups with Russian 7N1 ammunition; the Privi Partizan commercial hunting load was almost as good. I moved back to the 100 yard postion to have a little fun and then, after a few nice shots, the shot placement went all ferblibigetty. Sure enough, the screws clamping the scope had loosened up. I gave up and went home (and locktited those screws with the blue stuff [never the red]). All the work I did in boresighting paid off; the elevation was pretty much dead-on and the windage might have to be moved by a .01" shim, which I'll just cut from a soda can.

So I get to do it all over again. Woe is me. :)

Oh, yeah, I know I said it was breezy and you might think I was nuts for trying to sight in a rifle when the wind is blowing a little. The wind was aligned with the range, a direct tailwind for the bullets, and I didn't think that 15fps or so would have much of an effect.

Let me now sing the praises of Shooterpads. I fired over thirty rounds from a bench rest with that rifle. 7.62x54R rounds have the repuation of having the same level of kick as a hot-loaded .30-06; recoil was not a problem for me and I was not wearing a shooting jacket or any of that, just a t-shirt and shorts. Shooterpads are cheap, effective and they come with a number of inserts so you can adjust the length of pull. 30 rounds from a Mosin rifle with a steel buttplate would have turned my shoulder into hamburger, but not with those Shooterpads.

7N1 ammo is great stuff. For a little under $7 for a package of 20, you get match-grade ammunition. That is about a quarter to a fifth of the price of equivalent .30-06 fodder. Sure, it's corrosively primed, but all you have to do is clean the rifle the right way to flush out the residue. Flushing with boiling hot water works, Windex is supposed to work, too. You can pick up a transmission funnel from an auto-parts store for under $5. (I took a canteen of water with me to the range and did the first flush right there).

It was inded a nice day.

Tony Snow

To modify a little what Montag said, Tony Snow was a first-rate shill for a bunch of second-rate fascists who are trying to turn this nation into a third-world country.

Tony Snow was symbolic of the core rot of the Bush Administration: They never ever grasped the idea that they are supposed to be the leaders of the entire country, including the 57,000,000 people who voted for the other guy and not just the overlord of those who voted for Bush. Snow seemed like a nice guy, but as the White House Press Secretary, he operated from the viewpoint of a Fox News gabfest host. He never seemed to understand that his boss was more than the leader of a some Right-wing lunatic fringe cult.

The Bush Administration has operated consistently in the same way that Jesse Helms did: Pandering to the base and giving the finger to everyone else. That only works so long as you can competently run the country. As has become glaringly apparent to anyone paying attention to any of the issues confronting this nation, "competence" is a charge that George Bush will always be able to answer: "Not guilty." That is why the recent LA Times/Bloomberg poll found that three times as many people disapprove of Bush as approve of him. Even Fox couldn't rig their poll to get the margin of disgust below 2 to 1.

And, as it was when Jesse Helms shuffled off to his well-deserved eternal resting place in one of the innermost circles of Hell, those people still alive who knew George Bush when he finally departs will be hard-pressed to say anything nice about him, other than "he loved his daughters and his dog."

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Who Needs a Hummer

(The vehicle, dumbass.)

Men with tiny dicks, apparently.

"I Can't Drive Fifty Five!"



But you soon may have to, Sammy.

Unexpected Medical News

Darth Cheney's heartbeat is "normal."

Hell, I didn't think that the fascist motherfucker even had a heart. There certainly is no evidence that he has a soul or even a conscience. I think he has far more in common with the Kroenen character from Hellboy than with most of humanity.

McCain's World! McCain's World! McCain's World!

DCup's daughter did this wonderful bit of Photoshopping (if that's a verb)

Caturday

Gracie is taking a snooze. She was hiding earlier, because she knew that having the carrier out meant a trip. She hates trips.


Rocky is not my cat, but I love this picture of him airing out his belly.


Here, Jake had just finished cleaning out the traces of yogurt from my breakfast. The schwartz is strong with him.



George is chilling at the edge of my bed. I had the sheets off when this photo was taken.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Dear John McCain: Timing is Everything

This is not rocket science, Senator. Even an esteemed graduated of the Chesapeake University of Nautical Technology should know this:

When you are sparking up another woman and you propose marriage to her while you are still married to your first wife, first you get the final divorce degree and then and only then do you marry wife number two.

For if you marry wife number two before you are divorced from wife number one, there is a term for that: Bigamy. Besides being immoral as all hell, it's also a felony in most places.

It gets juicier, for Mister Straight Talk moved in with his second wife months before he bothered to become legally separated from his first wife.

So, where are all of those cocksucking "family values" Republicans now? Where is their outrage, which surely would be in play if a Democrat had done these things? Why are they not pelting the Straight Talk Express with tomatoes, rotten fruit and eggs?

(Cue the sounds of crickets)

(H/T to WTF is in Now)

The Highest Level of Distain and Contempt

I reserve that for those people and corporations who are in bed with the restrictions on liberties and freedoms, not because they have an ideological bent to them or because they think that enabling a police state is the right thing to do or because they think that trading freedom for safety is a wise choice, but because they can see their way clear to make a buck out of it.

Those folks who would enable a fascist or police state because they can make a profit are the purest of evil, the lowest of the low. They are truly despicable.

I include in that the telecom companies, who collaborated in illegal wiretaps so long as they got paid and the makers of torture equipment who knew what their gear was being used for. The companies that participated in the outsourcing of torture by operating Torture Air, the outsourcing of torture to nations such as Egypt.

I include in that the companies that are developing devices to code bullets, when any casual investigation of the way that ammunition plants operate will show that the real goal is to close them down. I include in that the companies that make it possible to track every piece of mail sent. I include in that any company who has developed any method or device to make it technologically easier to track what Americans are doing or saying or where they are going.

If you are doing that to make a buck, you are a pure-dee evil motherfucker. May your gonads shrivel up and rot off. May you suffer a thousand ailments, all of which will combine to make your days on Earth truly hellish.

And when you go to your dirt nap, may your tombstone bear these words: Here Lies an Enemy of Freedom.

Taser All of the Passengers

More on the "Taser bracelets" story.

I have an idea: Let's strap these suckers around the wrists of the executives and investors of Lamperd Less Lethal, Inc. And let's wire them into a cell phone and then post the number on the Internets, so anybody can call anytime, day or night, and shock those fascist motherfuckers.

We Americans are fully capable of becoming a police state by ourselves without the help of the stinking Canadians, thank you very much.

Summer Movies; Pt. 3

Hellboy II most definitely does not suck. Though I'd bet that 80% of the audience had never heard the Barry Manilow song that was in a certain scene.


Early Caturday

I'm vacationing at a friend's place. This is her favorite photo of Rocky (l) and Teddy (r). Teddy died last year. Teddy, though a neutered male, pretty much raised Rocky.


Rocky at his meanest:

Thursday, July 10, 2008

What's Your Life Worth?

$900,000 less than it was a few years ago, at least to Der Monkey Fuhrer.

The reason for that is simple: It makes the cost-benefit analysis of pollution-control evaluations more favorable to the polluter. And we all know how proud Bush is to be the president of the world's No. 1 polluting nation.

The Party of Pussies

That's how I feel about the Congressional Democrats. Other than a handful of Democrats with the spine to challenge the Bush Administration, the rest are a spineless pack of ghouls. Combined with the fascists in the GOP, they give the Tsar of the Baboons everything he wants, other than a handful of appointments to cushy jobs.

As an opposition party to the Reign of the Chimperor, they have been fucking worthless. Oh, they issue statements and make symbolic votes, but at the end of the day, not a goddamn thing has changed. Dorquemjada wants a feew hundred billion for his wars, he gets it. He wants immunity for the lawbreakers in the telecom industry,he gets it.

Which is why the DNC isn't getting a cent from me. Not one.

Fuck them, they're as useless as a latex screwdriver.

Summer Movies; Pt. 2

Hancock does not suck.

How it qualified for a PG-13 rating is beyond me. I saw folks taking little kids into it and that is most definitely not a kiddie flick.

Bush to World: "Go Fuck Yourself."

Bush is actually smug about the US being the world's biggest polluter.

By the way, when the Brits refer to a "two-fingered salute," that is their equivalent of an American one-fingered salute, the infamous "Welcome to Boston 1/2 Peace Sign."

Bush is an asshole. He is an ignorant, unrepentant, dictatorial moron. Anyone who voted for that egomanical lunatic and who is not ashamed of that fact, even if just privately, has given up a chunk of their humanity. Most people I have met who were ignorant of something were not boastful of being ignorant, unlike Bush.

He is truly a stain on our national soul and there is no amount of bleach that can remove it.

(H/T to Brilliant at Breakfast)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

"Mostly Done" in Iraq by 2009?

So says the Army.

That, of course, has nothing to do with the pronouncements by the Iraqi government that they want to set a timetable for foreign troops to leave Iraq. Nothing at all.

Right. Tell me another. Just like the last drawn-out conflict, you can almost always never go wrong by disbelieving everything an Army spokesweasel says.

Third Time's a Charm, Apparently

The Defense Department is re-opening the bidding on the Air Farce's replacement aerial tanker.

It's a giant signal of "you're a bunch of fucking idiots idiots" from SecDef to the Air Force.

Freedom Grows Dimmer in the U.S.A.

The Senate voted to give Dorquemada his telecom immunity bill. The Senate, in so doing, voted to surrender a little more of your freedom and liberty today.

No Republican voted against the FISA bill, but that's to be expected, as there are damn few Republicans left anymore who value liberty and freedom over loyalty to the Tsar of the Baboons.

The United States of America is officially now operating under the "elected tyrant" system of government. The President can ask anyone to do something that is clearly and blatantly illegal and the person and/or corporation doing the illegal act is shielded from all liability for doing so.

These are the brave souls who voted to keep freedom alive, and who were defeated:

Akaka (D-HI)
Biden (D-DE)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
Byrd (D-WV)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Cardin (D-MD)
Clinton (D-NY)
Dodd (D-CT)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feingold (D-WI)
Harkin (D-IA)
Kerry (D-MA)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Murray (D-WA)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schumer (D-NY)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Tester (D-MT)
Wyden (D-OR)

(Kennedy is still off being treated for cancer).

If your senator is not on the above list, you might want to ask your elected douchebag why they hate freedom and liberty so.

UPDATE: What Jill said.