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

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Dave Barry's Holiday Gift Guide

Can be found here.

I'd get this one, if I had a lawn. This one would be good for work, if I was trying to get myself fired, that is.

Care to Bet What the Wingnut Reaction will Be to This Story?

Earlier today in Baghdad, correspondent for National Public Radio and his interpreters narrowly escaped being killed by a "sticky bomb."

Reading the Paper With Jake

Jake was lying next to me on the couch as I read the Sunday paper. His M.O. is to lie out of read for the time it takes to read a page or two, then to come up, nose the paper aside, put his front paws on my stomach and put his face right in mine until I give him some attention and scratch him. Then he lies down out of reach and the cycle repeats.

It can take hours to get through the paper.

I'm not complaining.

Roll Them Back, Roll Them Back, All the Way Back

The Dorquemada Administration is putting in place a large batch of Federal rules designed to weaken protections for workers and to further degrade the environment.

They should all be rolled back. Every freaking one of them, unless there is a compelling reason to have any of those rules. The operating guidance should be that every Federal rule put in place by Chimpy in the last year is to be undone unless there is a valid reason for it.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Words I Do Not Understand

"Assrocket," as in "he is an assrocket." Other than those idiots who try to shoot bottle rockets out of their ass cheeks, what does this mean.

Same question for "asshat."

And why is someone who carries a gun as part of his or her job called an "operator?" Guns are not telephone switchboards or forklifts.

And On the Third Day, They Settled In

It takes almost three days for my cats to settle in when visiting a friend's house. Most of that is because she has a Maine Coon who has a past record of being nasty. He was fine this time around, but Gracie in particular does not trust him.

Bad thing was three days was all we had. I'm back home with them. (I have a lot of Caturday fodder. )

Traffic on Wednesday was the lightest Thanksgiving Eve traffic I can remember. Either people spaced out their traveling a lot more this year or people stayed home.

Caturday Preloaded

With the Thanksgiving holiday looming, I expect that my blogging will be light. So I am taking advantage of the "scheduling feature" to load this edition of Caturday.

George and Jake rest on the cat's chair:


Mmmmmm. Cat fooood......


What part of "leave me alone" is unclear to you?


This is a very unusual sight. Usually when these two cats are that close to each other, they are exchanging paw slaps to the head.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Federalist Founder Supports Pardoning Former Nazis.

"There can be no doubt that they were and are ardent patriots who were trying to the very best of their abilities to serve their country," Steven G. Calabresi wrote. "They served their country loyally, and they should be allowed to leave the public scene in peace."
OK, I edited it slightly to make his remarks generic. He is arguing for the a blanket pardon of the Bush Administration officials who formulated the Bush Torture Policy. But the same principle applies; Calabresi is arguing that anyone who was a "patriot" should not be charged with any crimes committed as a result of "patriotic acts."

That is a whitewash, pure and simple. That is basically the same argument that the rightists in Japan have been using for 60 years to evade any responsibility for the crimes committed by the Japanese during World War II. The Calabrisi Excuse would have eviscerated the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal. It would have given Milosevic all the cover he needed to evade his trial. It gives Radovan Karadzic an excuse for the slaughter of tens of thousands of Muslims during the Bosnian War.

Patriotism would indeed be the last refuge of the scoundrel and war criminal if Calabresi has his way.

Afghanistan (and Firefox)

What with opening and closing oodles of tabs in Firefox, I've forgotten where I saw the link to this article about Afghanistan:
"We" are not winning in Afghanistan. Talk of crushing the Taliban seems as bleakly unrealistic as it has ever been. Indeed, when the President of Afghanistan tries to talk to Mullah Omar – one of America's principal targets in this wretched war – you know the writing is on the wall. And even Mullah Omar didn't want to talk to Mr Karzai.
The failure of this war is all Chimpy's. The Taliban had been chased out, but rather than build on a battlefield success, Bush turned his back on Afghanistan to go fight another war. It is as though the cops, having chased the burglars away from a jewelry store, leave the area without making sure the store is secured.

Rudolph With Your Nose So Bright, Won't You Light My Menorah Tonight?

The White House sent out Hanukkah invitations with a photo of a Christmas tree.

That falls somewhere in between "tone deaf" and "we're out of here in seven weeks, so we don't give a fuck anymore."

DCap has more.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Next Up: Cuisinart Endorsed by Jeffrey Dahmer?

H-S Precision, a maker of sniper rifles for the FBI, published an endorsement by Lon Horiuchi on the back of their catalog.

As Roberta has noted, the gun blogs are all a-twitter over this. Given that Horiuchi, at best, took a bad shot or, at worst, deliberately shot a woman in the face while she was holding her baby, that's not exactly primo marketing. Especially when your market consists of people with long memories for that sort of shit.

We Must Not Whitewash the Past

The Russian government is engaged in whitewashing the crimes committed during Stalin's regime.

There is, of course, a monumental difference in scale between the crimes of Stalin and those of George W. Bush. If what Stalin did could be compared to premeditated murder, what was done by Bush was jaywalking against the light.

But that is no reason to follow Russia's path and close our eyes to what has been done in our name by the Bush Administration. The Soviet Constitution was a meaningless document, our Constitution is supposed to be our governing law. We should not, we can not, we must not let the crimes of the Bush Administration go by without a reckoning.

Our honor as a nation of laws is at stake.

Cat Games

I'm at a friend's house, with my cats. Last night, Gracie was up on my bed growling at all other cats. George was hissing like a gas leak.

Hooray for E*A*R brand earplugs. Otherwise I'd have had very little sleep.

Jake, on the other hand, doesn't seem to care very much. As long as he gets food and attention, he is good.

My "Golden Rule of Gun Gear"

Never ever buy anything with the word "tactical" as part of the name or description.

I figure that it will be 50-100% higher in price.

I saw "tactical" M1911 magazines on sale for $30; I've bought very similar ones (same # of rounds) for about half that price.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

to everyone who passes by here.

Wow!

Google Images has the Life magazine photo archive online.

This is from Apollo 11:

(Click on the photo to enlarge it)

In this shot, Buzz Aldrin is unfurling a solar wind particle collector.

We Were Trying Not To

From LOLFed. Page 10 to be exact.

Agreed.

Jay Leno on the bailouts:
"It looks like the government is going to bail out CitiGroup, yet they don't want to bail out the auto companies. See, I don't think this is fair. I mean, blue collar guys who make our cars, they don't get the bailout. But the white collar guys on Wall Street, they get the bailout. You know what I think we should do? I think they should work together. I think the guys in Detroit should keep making the cars, and the guys on Wall Street should be making the license plates. "
And this:
"U.N. officials said today they desperately need $7 billion to help people cope with disasters, but they're having a hard time getting people to send rescue money. Here's what the UN should do: Invest in bad mortgages, run a bank into the ground, give yourself a bonus, get some spa treatments and, in no time, the government will send you $750 billion."

Popping the Bubble

Barack Obama is trying to figure out a way to punch holes in the presidential bubble (the one that allowed Bush to stay oblivious):
"I'm negotiating to figure out how can I get information from outside of the ten or 12 people who surround my office in the White House," he said. "Because one of the worst things I think that could happen to a president is losing touch with what people are going through day to day."
Here's an idea, try saying this: "I'm going to be the head of the Executive Branch, all you fuckers will work for me. This is what I want to do, you figure out how."

The infamous presidential bubble has largely been a disaster for every president entombed in it. It makes the president aloof and out of touch. Maybe if Chimpy had been able to keep in touch with what was going on in the country, rather than rely on his sycophants, he might have had a chance of doing a marginally adequate job (OK, that's a bit of a stretch).

Obama is right to try to pop holes in the bubble, as long as the holes don't increase the risk to his safety.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

It Is Hard to Be a Cat in This Household Tonight

First, I drag out the cat carriers.

Oh, no! We're going to the vet! Run! Hide!

Then I drag out the vacuum cleaner to do some spot-cleaning.

OMG! The Machine of Death! Run! Hide!

Culminating in the infamous ass-shampoo.

Oh, the humanity!

Yeah, it's tough to be a cat tonight.

Cat Blogging

I'm going away tomorrow for a few days and the cats are coming with me. So I took out their carriers when I got home tonight.

George and Gracie are hiding. Jake doesn't seem to give a shit; he's taking advantage of the lack of competition for lap time and being petted.

Activate the Racist Magnet!

It seems that the GOP has their "racist magnet" up and running.

A precinct delegate for the Michigan GOP protested the election of Barack Obama by dressing in his Ku Klux Klan robes.

The GOP is welcome to those guys. Considering that there were not enough minority delegates to the GOP Convention last summer for a decent bingo game, the Klan guys fit right into the Grand Old Party.

(H/T to the field negro)

Lieberman Switches Sides Faster Than Italy Did

You have to hand it to him, ol' Traitor Joe sure knows which side his bread is buttered on. He owes his continued power in the Senate to Barack Obama and right now, if Obama were to stop suddenly, Joe'd get a snootful of shit:
"Everything that President-elect Obama has done since election night has been just about perfect, both in terms of a tone and also in terms of the strength of the names that have either been announced or are being discussed to fill his administration," Lieberman said during a visit to Hartford.
Q. What do Joe Lieberman and Dyson vacuum cleaners have in common?

A. They never lose suction.

Fucking Over the Troops; Pentagon Edition.

LA Times has the story. If you are injured because you were blown up by an IED or you were hurt dodging mortar fire, you didn't suffer a "combat related" injury. Basically, you have to be shot in order for it to be "combat related" and those fuckers at Fort Fumble probably have a way to weasel out of that.

My blood boils at shit like this. The next Right-wing troglodyte who gets in my face about "supporting the troops" is going to need a few sessions with an oral surgeon.

(H/T to John Cole)

So, How Much Will They Pay You If You Name Your Son After Adolph Hitler?

A far-right party is offering euro1,500 ($1,900) to parents in southern Italian villages who name their children Benito or Rachele after the Mussolinis.

Farting in School in Florida

can get you arrested.

Moral Hazard, Pt. 2

Here is an idea: The shareholders of Citibank should consider suing the asses off of the top level of management and of the Board of Directors for failing in their fiduciary duty to the shareholders.

Since we can't imprison those guys and we can't take them in the tumbrels to the guillotine, then maybe Death by a Thousand Lawsuits would be a fitting punishment. Each shareholder should sue them individually, so the managers have to spend the rest of their lives undergoing depositions, court appearances and trials.

Why Was This Even a Question?

Does anyone not understand that detaining people based on their ethnicity is wrong?

The Federal government under the Tsar of the Baboons sure doesn't understand that. Which is why they had to litigate the issue. And lose.

The judge wrote: “Fear cannot be a factor to allow for the evisceration of the bedrock principle of our Constitution that no one can be arrested without probable cause that a crime has been committed.”

No fucking shit and the fact that a Federal judge found it necessary to write those words is an indication of how far we have sunk under the administration of Dorquemada the Torturer.

Moral Hazard

The "conservatives" like to bleat about "moral hazard" as a reason to let GM and other companies fail. The thinking is that companies will not learn their lessons unless some of them fail as a result of their mismanagement.

There may be something to that. But we are not getting there with the bank bailouts. If anything, the message the banks are receiving is that if they are large enough, it doesn't matter what they do, Uncle Sam will be there to prevent them from failing. Yet we can't let the economy collapse and shatter just to teach the banks a lesson.

So what can be done? I don't know, as passing new laws doesn't reach the bad actors who brought about this mess.

Maybe we really do need to bring back the guillotine.

Let's Give This Guy a Present

A century or so, it was not unusual to give someone a revolver as a gift. The revolver would rest in a nice, velvet lined wooden box with a partition for the gun itself. There would also be a little wooden cartridge tray with drilled holes to hold twenty or so cartridges, which, of course, would be all filled with cartridges.

When the suggestion was that the recipient of the gift should use the gun to off himself, the tradition was to only put one cartridge into the cartridge tray.

I agree with Fixer; we should chip in to give this guy a gun and one cartridge.

Holy. Fucking. Shit.

I have no real idea how all of the credit default obligations and credit default swaps and other stuff worked. I still don't.

But when I read this article, by the author of Liar's Poker, I came away with the understanding that the games that Wall Street was playing with mortgage-backed securities were not a house built on sand. Sand is far too stable a terrain; Wall Street was building castles on semi-liquefied dog shit.

The more I read about what was going on with mortgage-backed securities, the more it seems to me that spending by our $700 billion to bail out the banks is the fiscal equivalent of using a garden hose to put out a forest fire. I have a gut feeling that things are going to get worse, a lot worse, before they get better.

Monday, November 24, 2008

After Chimpy Pardons Scooter

and Duke Cunningham and Mark Milliken and Conrad Black and Ted Stevens and all of Chimpy's torturers, we should all resolve that anyone who ever utters the words "Marc Rich" and "pardon" in the same paragraph with the purpose of denigrating Bill Clinton should be tarred and feathered and no fair using that "cold patch" shit.

The Gleaners

A farmer north of Denver, CO invited the public to glean his fields (take away the unharvested produce) on Saturday.

40,000 people showed up.

Heckuva job running the economy, Chimpy.

(H/T to One Fly)

Change of Pace

With all of the economic news crashing around the news sites, I felt the need for something to lift my spirit up.



But, as I said six months ago, go watch it full screen here.

October was a gorgeous month for flying. November, not so much. Two weeks ago, the weather was shitty. A week ago, there were strong winds blowing directly across the runway. This last weekend, the temps were in the 20s with a brisk wind on Saturday and a crosswind yesterday. Having to pre-heat an airplane's engine in a cold wind is almost as much fun as dental work.

I did make up for it, a little, by going to the pistol range on Saturday. At 25', my first two shots from an Old Vaquero .45 went right into the center of the target. If I had any sense, I'd have quit then. I didn't do so well with the succeeding shots, but I was doing better shooting that big thumb-buster with one hand than the guy next to me was doing with his .45 Sig in a two-handed grip.

But given my druthers, I'd rather fly than shoot. At least I can still manage to afford to fly once or twice a month. If you fly and if you are crazy enough to own your own airplane, you have to make a lot of choices. It's one of the reasons why I live in a small apartment than a house, but it is *my* choice. I refer you to the first "word of advice" at the top of this blog.

Maybe I'll fly next weekend. That's what happens when your avocation is so dependent on the cooperation of Mother Nature.

Fucking Bankers, Pt. CCLVI

The government is pumping $20 billion into Citigroup and is guaranteeing $300 billion in junk loans. That plan and the decision to implement it were apparently made within 48 hours.

Up to $326 billion for Citibank. AIG has received about $150 billion so far.

But fuck Detroit. Fuck the workers, save the rich. It's about what I expect from a government run by Republicans.

January 20th can not come soon enough.

Bankers Should Only Rot in Hell

The bankers and their allies in the Republican party rammed through changes to the bankruptcy laws three years ago. The changes, in a nutshell, made a lot of people ineligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy (in which you keep your house and all debts would be settled) and forced them into Chapter 13 (you lose your house and enter into a payment plan for your other debts).

The banks made it harder for people who fell on hard times to get back on their feet.

I am keeping that in mind while all of these banks tramp down to Washington for their bailouts. Between salaries and bonuses, those guys are taking home 8-9 figure pay packages each year. It makes it hard for me to feel for those guys as they plead why their banks and companies need tens of billions of dollars to stay afloat.

I am not so spiteful to advocate being economic kamikazes, to completely shatter the economy in order to bring down the bankers. But I see no reason why we cannot attach conditions to the bailouts and one of those should be a hard cap on the top of compensation for the upper management of the banks receiving government money. If those folks were worth more, they'd have done a better job.

If we cap their pay, even if they are permitted to receive $500,000 a year, and they wind up losing their huge Manhattan apartments because they can't pay the mortgage on their eight-figure pad, well, don't expect me to shed any tears for them.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Can We Fast-Forward to January 20th? Like Right Fucking Now?

We can skip right over Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hannukha, Kwanzaa, Festivus, New Years Day and Martin Luther King Day.

Let's just declare that tomorrow, November 24th, is deemed to be January 20th for purposes of the Constitution and let President Obama get to work.



It's not as though Dubya the Dumbassed wouldn't be happy to leave and if he isn't, who gives a fuck.

Talk About Your "Freudian Slip"!

On Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me.

If that doesn't work, go to this page and click on "Carl Kasell's Countdown." It comes about 3:05 into the clip.

Bullshit Gender Site

I found a link to this site at Blue Gal's blog. It's supposed to analyze a blog and determine the gender of the blog author.

It does not work. It seems to assume that anyone who writes about firearms or politics or national security issues is a man.

Cases in point: The Spy Who Billed Me, View From the Porch, Adventures of Roberta X, the Breda Fallacy, TFS Magnum, ShortWoman, Echinde of the Snakes, and, of course, this humble blog. Pulp Friction and Cranky Epistles were still thought to be male, but close. Politits barely made it to the female side of the scale (the blog is written by a blogger whose handle is "DCup"-- hello? how much more do you need?).

Stupid computer widget.

Wrecking Our Economy, Treasury Edition

One thing about the TARP bailout being run by the Treasury Department is really bothersome: The Treasury Department is handing out hundreds of billions of dollars with no conditions whatsoever.

For instance, the Treasury Department gave $25 billion to Citibank, part of over $125 billion that was supposed to free up the credit markets. But the banks did nothing with the cash other than sock it away. That's because Secretary Paulson and his minions (all of which undoubtedly have ties to the banking industry) gave them the money without strings.

But when Detroit came up and asked for $25 billion, my oh my, "we need to see a plan," "what are you going to do with the money," "how can we be sure you're not going to continue business as usual" and so on and so forth.

Hundreds of billions of dollars, going into a rathole.

Dammit, George, Stop "Helping!"

My apartment has sliding windows. When it gets cold, I mash a clay-type weather-stripping between the windows and the window frames. It does make a big difference.

I did that yesterday. Today, George is trying to "help" by peeling off the weatherstripping.

The List of the Economy Wreckers Keeps Growing

Add Robert Rubin to the list. As Bill Clinton's Treasury Secretary, he loosened the regulations on banks and then, after he joined Citigroup (an bank that would not have gown so large without the loosening of regulations), pushed them to take more risks.

The Day That the 1960s Went Off the Rails; Pt. 2

If you read this post of mine about the JFK assassination, you might also want to read this post by DCap about the same topic.

Goddamn It to Hell, Let Those Two Kids Be Kids

Memo to the news media: Stop doing stories about Malia and Sasha Obama. Let those two girls grow up outside of the media microscope.

Every reporter from here on out who has a byline over a story about Obama's children should be pelted with stale pastry.

The editors should be pelted with raw potatoes.

The publishers should be pelted with large SUVs.

Wrecking Our Economy, One Deregulator At a Time

The villain of the day is the Office of Thrift Supervision. These are the comatose regulators whose job is to "oversee" the savings and loan industry.

It was a job that they, with malicious intent, failed to do. After Superior Bank, a S&L, failed in 2001, there were a lot of lessons that the OTS could have learned. But the OTS was led by James Gilleran, an ardent foe of regulation and oversight. In an era of expanding activity by S&Ls (they were making over twice as many loans), Gillerand cut the regulation force by a quarter. The S&Ls were qualifying people for mortgages based on their ability to pay the "teaser rates" of adjustable-rate mortgages, with no regard for their ability to pay once the ARMs reset.

Gilleran was succeeded by John Reich in 2005, who continued the policy of ignoring what the S&Ls were doing. The S&Ls were pushers of "liar loans" and engaged in predatory lending in poor and minority neighborhoods, all with the active connivance of OTS and the Bush Administration.

It was all a huge financial house of cards. The "deregulate everything, the market will control bad behavior" attitude pushed by Phil Gramm, Alan Greenspan, George Bush and their tools in the OTS and the Federal Reserve largely is responsible for the current financial mess.

Recessions happen, nobody has yet repealed the business cycle. But the Republicans, with their ideology derived from reading the fiction of people like Ayn Rand, put in place the factors that led to a dizzying climb in real estate values and then to a fully-foreseeable crash.

The names of those gentlemen will go down in history right alongside that of Herbert Hoover.

Now, This is a Little Frightening

Data-mining for all.

(H/T to Pogo Was Right)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Day That the 1960s Went Off the Rails

45 years ago today, the 1960s went off the rails and, arguably, much of the rest of American history since then.

I was in grammar school when President Kennedy was killed. For only the second time (the first time was Alan Shepard's first space flight), the school interrupted the school day and played the radio news over the PA system. They did not close the school, probably because of the need for the school buses, but classes were canceled and we all just listened to the news coverage. I don't remember much of the funeral, but I did watch it.

Up until then, there was a sense that change was coming and that it was manageable. Civil rights legislation was brewing and maybe there was a chance it would be relatively peaceful. A great adventure was in the offing as both the USA and the USSR were competing, peacefully, to see who could first go to the Moon.

Three shots from a Carcano rifle in less than seven seconds and everything changed. A decade that had begun with hope and aspirations that things were changing for the better began to veer into the ditch. Within three years, President Lyndon B. Johnson, JFK's successor, had drastically ramped up the Vietnam War. There is some evidence that JFK was starting to wind down American involvement in the months before he was killed.

The causus belli for the transforming of the Vietnam War from a large contingent of American advisers to sending millions of Americans to fight was all grounded in a series of lies, as a president from Texas conflated his manhood and his ego with the national interest. Those who were in favor of trying to quash a guerrilla war with massive ground forces then wound up lying to themselves and generations to come with the gross fabrication that "everything was really going peachy and if the reporters and the hippies hadn't made a stink about the war and all the lies that were told, we would have won." That particular lie has reverberated for nearly forty years and was shouted loudly by the McCain campaign. That particular lie has also poisoned the debate about the Iraq War.

Within five years of the killing of JFK, both Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy had been assassinated. Most American cities of any size had seen riots, arson and looting by then. Then came Richard Nixon, who rode race-based fear and racial prejudice into the White House. From Nixon came Watergate, which showed an entire generation of Americans that the political establishment could not be trusted. Nixon attempted to destroy the rule of law and transform the presidency into an all-powerful tyranny. Nixon started his own war, in essence, by dragging Cambodia into the Vietnam War, a move which culminated with the rise to power of Pol Pot and the subsequent death of a third of the population of Cambodia. Nixon also began the process of militarizing the police by declaring a "war on drugs."

And what should have been one of the shining moments of the 1960s, the landing of Apollo 11 on the Moon, the first of a short series of voyages to another celestial body, was rapidly forgotten by all but aviation and space buffs.

What has happened in the "Bush the Second" Administration had its roots in the Nixon Administration. The two architects of Bush's imperial presidency, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, served in Nixon's Administration. The evidence suggests that both men agreed with Nixon that "if the president does it, that means it is legal." Obviously, neither man batted an eye at lying to the American people for the need to go to war. Neither man paid any attention to the constitutional limits on the powers of the presidency. Neither man had any qualms about breaking any law of any kind which was inconvenient and they had, as their willing tool, probably the most intellectually vapid and incurious president in American history.

Without the assassination of JFK, Johnson would never have become president. Without Johnson as president, the Vietnam War would not have played out the way it did. Without Johnson's failure in Vietnam, Richard Nixon would not have become president. Without Nixon, there would have been no Watergate. Without Nixon, there would have been no young Rumsfeld and Cheney to learn about the alluring powers of an unchecked presidency. Without Rumsfeld and Cheney, there would have been no Iraq War, no Guantanamo Bay, no besmirching of America's commitment to freedom and justice for all by the use of torture and disappearing people into a network of shadow prisons.

The assassination of JFK shifted this country down a dark path. Millions of people died as a result.

The echoes of three shots fired 45 years ago from a war-surplus rifle have continued to this day.

Obama Press Secretary

Robert Gibbs.

Presumably he is not one of these guys:

Whoop-de-Fucking-Do!

The Vatican has forgiven John Lennon for his "the Beatles are more popular than Jesis Christ" comment.

Big fucking deal. John Lennon was murdered 28 years ago.

Six Men Who Would Kill Puppies For Fun

I'm not saying that they do, just that they are the same sort of people who would.

This is what I mean: As Bob Geiger pointed out, the bill to extend unemployment benefits passed by consent in the Senate. The real vote on any bill in the Senate is the cloture vote, the vote to "let's cut off debate and pass this fucker." The cloture vote succeeded, 89-6.

That means that there were six senators who wanted to send a cheery "go fuck yourselves" to the unemployed during this recession. "Who would have such hearts of stone," you might ask.

Good question. They are all "good Republicans." Their names and states are: John Barrasso (WY), Tom Coburn (OK), Jim DeMint (SC), Mike Enzi (WY), Orrin Hatch (UT), and James Inhofe (OK).

First comment, to the states of Wyoming and Oklahoma: Go fuck yourselves. The Congress ought to make every effort to ensure that not one thin dime of Federal tax money goes to your states for any reason whatsoever.

Second comment, to the voters of Wyoming, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Utah: If you are rightfully ashamed of the level of charity and concern to the people who have lost their jobs shown by the Six Scrooges of the Senate, consider firing them the next time they run for re-election.

Those six men should take jobs more suitable to their temperament, such as killing pigs in a slaughterhouse.

Caturday

Late today, but I'm feeling a little off.

These are some old photos, taken with film cameras and then scanned from the prints.

Gracie resting in a bag.

George and Gracie helping me plan for a flight.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Fuck. I Am Old.

JFK was shot 45 years ago tomorrow.

I feel so fucking old.

How Do You Have a "Historical Thriller?"

If you have read anything about the upcoming movie "Valkyrie," then you may have seen references to it as a "historical thriller."

How do you have a "historical thriller" of any kind? Did anybody watch "Tora, Tora, Tora" and not realize that the Japanese were going to bomb Pearl Harbor? Was anyone surprised at the outcome of "the Day of the Jackal" or "Midway?"

Spoiler alert for idiots: The bomb planted to kill Hitler didn't kill him. Colonel Count von Stauffenberg was executed by firing squad. He was lucky; most people accused of being a part of the conspiracy were hung with piano wire.

Cue the World's Smallest String Quartet

From McClatchy:
WASHINGTON — Private security contractors operating in Iraq could face Iraqi prosecution for acts committed when they supposedly had immunity from Iraqi law, U.S. officials said Thursday.

A new U.S.-Iraq security agreement doesn't specifically prevent Iraqi officials from bringing criminal charges retroactively in cases such as the September 2007 shooting deaths of 17 Iraqi civilians by contractors protecting a State Department convoy, officials told security company officials during meetings in Washington Thursday.

The news caught company officials by surprise.
Awwww. Tooo bad. It must really suck to be a trigger-happy goon who thought that he was above the law and that the Bush Administration would protect him forever.

The Iraqis held the upper hand in the negotiations on the Status of Forces Agreement and it was a very long time until the Bush Administration realized that. The Iraqis forced Bush to agree to everything that the Administration (and its legion of parrots) had regarded as surrender.

American forces subject to Iraqi law? Check.

Contractors subject to prosecution in Iraqi courts? Check.

Firm withdrawal date from Iraq? Check.

Run up the white flag of surrender, Chimpy, for Palin said that agreeing to such things would be to do just that.

Our Crack-Smoking Intel Community

They are forecasting a resurgent Russia by 2025.

Yeah, right. Russia is in population collapse mode. Russia has one of the highest rates of alcoholism and the shortest lifespan of any European nation. Like most European nations (and more than most), Russia is hostile to immigrants. Their population is shrinking and will continue to shrink.

That's not a recipe for a resurgent nation.

We Are So Screwed; Economics Edition, Part III

Paul Krugman is making the argument that the national economy is basically rudderless and will be so until January 20th.

Because of that stunning lack of leadership from the Executive Branch, things are sliding out of control. The problem is that there is no real solution to this lack of competence at the White House. We cannot expect George Bush to step up and work on solving a complex problem that requires actions other than the two things he loves: Cutting taxes and killing people.

We are so screwed.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind; Transition Edition

When we see Mr. Bush at the increasingly-few public events on his daily schedule, he appears upbeat and even good humored, as was the case Tuesday when he spoke to officials at the Department of Transportation.
Well, no shit. Bush's mind has all of the folds and convolutions of a billiard ball. Of course he is upbeat, good-humored and optimistic. He really has no clue how badly he has screwed up the American economy or America's standing in the world. It is inconceivable to him how much he has damaged the rule of law or American liberties and freedom.

Heckuva job, Bushie.

Our Police State

Cops taser a man while he is a pallbearer at his father's funeral.

Positive News for Fuel Economy and the Environment

Henry Waxman has defeated John Dingell in a bid to be the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

This is huge, as Dingell has stood in the way of every attempt to raise mileage standards or to clean up vehicle exhaust. Even when he gave way, it was after a bruising fight. Detroit might not be in the same awful position that it is today if Dingell had not protected "business as usual" for them.

One of the Joys of Blogging

There are no deadlines. Because I'm not getting paid for this.

Otherwise, I'd have felt bound to comment on this piece by Kathleen Parker in the WaPo. She writes some truths that are very uncomfortable for the GOP:
As Republicans sort out the reasons for their defeat, they likely will overlook or dismiss the gorilla in the pulpit. ....

To be more specific, the evangelical, right-wing, oogedy-boogedy branch of the GOP is what ails the erstwhile conservative party and will continue to afflict and marginalize its constituents if reckoning doesn't soon cometh.

Simply put: Armband religion is killing the Republican Party.
Indeed. But the GOP shows no signs at coming to grips with the larger truth of their shellacking last Election Day. On the contrary, the reaction of the GOP so far seems to be to embrace the "oogedy-boogedy branch" even harder and to move even more to the right.

Irrelevance lies that way. The harder the GOP goes to the right, the less power they will have. They may indeed drop below 40 or even 35 Senate seats and, at that point, they become almost irrelevant on a Federal level.

That is actually bad news for the Democrats, for in the long term, it puts the Democrats on the same road to future destruction that the Republicans have followed. Without the counterbalance of a strong center-right party, the Democrats will drift to the left and, when the Republicans do come to their senses and stop paying such close attention to the Wingnut Right, they will be positioned to cut the Democrats off at the knees.

This country needs two strong national parties in order to maintain a balance. The lack of a strong opposition during most of the Bush Administration allowed those fascists to effectively rip up the Bill of Rights and engage in the wholesale perpetration of war crimes. Different foul offenses will be in the offing now if there is not a strong and loyal opposition from the GOP.

Nothing Says "Peace on Earth"...

... like your very own "burning cross" Christmas decoration.

John Cole has the details and a photo
.

How to Fuck Your Company Over, But Good

This works: Take the company jet to Washington and plead that your company is running out of money. Did they think that nobody would notice?

Also note that other than the CEO of Chrysler (who has past experience of running a large company (Home Depot) into the ground), they were not willing to take a pay cut. Alan Mulally of Ford said that he was "fine where he was."

Well, no shit there. I'd be fine if I were making $21 million a year to run a company into the scrapyard.

If the automakers don't get their bailout, the CEOs are in large part to blame for not making the case.

Bush to Everything: Drop Dead

Endangered species? Drop dead.

National parks? Drop dead. Really.

Western range? Drop dead.

Bush does not give a fuck about anything other than enriching his friends. He doesn't care if endangered species are exterminated or if our national parks are fouled or if our public lands are rendered useless.

Bush is an environmental criminal, which goes nicely with his status as a war criminal.

Getting Fired From the Senate

Jon Stewart examines just what one has to do in order to be disciplined by the U.S. Senate:



The answer is: We don't know what you have to do in order to be disciplined by the Senate. Ordinary felonies and political treason are not enough to get you in trouble. I guess you have to be found in bed with the proverbial dead girl or live boy.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Regenerating the Woolly Mammoth

That could be done for ten million dollars or so.

That's considerably cheaper than the cost of one attempt to resurrect a single film star's fading career.

Tank

Apparently, the movie "Valkyrie" may be tanking before the first ticket is sold. The audience reaction in the previews has been rather bad.
“The film just isn’t a thriller at all” said one “Valkyrie” viewer. “It’s a bunch of white guys in Nazi uniforms. It’s too bad. And Tom [Cruise] doesn’t speak with a German accent — though they did add a voiceover of him speaking German to the beginning of the film. Still, it’s as if he could say ‘I complete you’ at any time. This is not his Oscar moment.”
I don't know if "too bad" means "it is regrettable that Cruise made such a clunker" or if it means "this movie is worse than bad." What I do know is I'm not going to buy a ticket to find out for myself.

Other Ways to Deal With Pirates

One would be convoys-- assembling groups of merchant ships and conveying them past the Horn of Africa with an escort of warships. This tactic starves the blighters.

Another way would be to have Q-ships, heavily armed and suitably armored ships that look like merchant ships ripe for the taking. You lure the pirates in and kill them all.

The Best Way to Deal With Pirates

Kill them.
NEW DELHI: Days after pirates seized a Saudi-owned supertanker carrying more than $100 million worth of crude oil, the Indian Navy said on Wednesday that one of its warships fought a four-to-five-hour battle at sea with would-be hijackers in the Gulf of Aden, sinking one suspect vessel in flames and forcing the pirates to abandon a second as they fled at high speed.
International law used to hold that when battling pirates, the captains of naval vessels were permitted to sink their ships and summarily hang the survivors.

Sounds like a plan to me. It avoids the whole question of where do you try pirates that you captured on the high seas.

Christmas on Another Planet

I don't know what planet the car companies are living on, but on this one, there are not a lot of people who are in a position to be give a Hyundai Santa Fe or a Mercedes Benz E-class car to anyone.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Heh.

Ted Stevens has apparently lost his re-election contest.

Not that the addition of another Democrat to that collection of jellyfish in the Senate means a damn thing.

I Love the Smell of Half-Digested Steak in the Evening

I cooked a steak tonight on a grille that is a knock-off of a Foreman grille. Of course, I shared it with Jake and George (Gracie does not care for steak).

George begged and begged for more, so I gave it to him.

About an hour later, he barfed up both his dinner and the steak. Smelled wonderful, it did.

(Eat my steak and then barf on the furniture; I should have named him "Joe Lieberman.")

I don't know why cats seem to do pukes in three series and move a foot or so between each one. It'd be a lot easier to clean up if they could just barf in just one spot.

Caturday Extra

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

A clarification from a couple of weeks ago:

That is not a chair upholstered to look like a zebra. The chair itself is blue; it is covered with a throw blanket to keep cat hair (and hairballs) off the chair itself.

The Spineless Body of Government

That would be the United States Senate.

The Democrats are letting Traitor Joe keep his committee chairmanship while the Republicans are not going to expel convicted felon Stevens.

The Democrats have no spine, the Republicans have no integrity.

UPDATE: Blue Girl to Senate Democrats-- Go fuck yourselves. And your horses.

The Senate Democrats managed to set the land speed record for fucking over the people who donated cash and campaigned to elect them to the Senate: It took them all of seven days to yell a hearty "go blow yourselves" to the people who worked to turn the Senate from 49-49-2 to 55-40-2 (three seats are still up for grabs).

Once Again, the Senate Democrats Prove to be Pussies

They are apparently going to let Lieberman stay as chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, but they promise to say some really mean words to him.

The Senate Democrats are nothing but a pack of fucking gutless pussies. Lieberman not only campaigned vigorously for McCain, he campaigned for other Republicans. If Lieberman had been a Republican, he would already have crows pecking away at his eyeballs and his liver.

Of course, a new Senate takes office in about seven weeks and they may feel differently about it. But don't get your hopes up that the FNGs will contribute any needed steel to the spaghetti spine of the Senate Democrats. The GOP could have three senators and they'd still be able to roll those worthless fools into a ball.

Fire Them. Or Shoot Them.

It is all the same to me.
Just weeks before leaving office, the Interior Department's top lawyer has shifted half a dozen key deputies -- including two former political appointees who have been involved in controversial environmental decisions -- into senior civil service posts.

The transfer of political appointees into permanent federal positions, called "burrowing" by career officials, creates security for those employees, and at least initially will deprive the incoming Obama administration of the chance to install its preferred appointees in some key jobs.

Similar efforts are taking place at other agencies. Two political hires at the Labor Department have already secured career posts there, and one at the Department of Housing and Urban Development is trying to make the switch.
This is how it works: You put in a political appointee over these idiots and then you order them to do something that is part of their job and which they won't do. You then fire the fuckers for cause or, if you can't do that, you transfer them to the branch office in Adak.

They can be gotten rid of, short of them suffering a copper-jacked lead-induced cerebral hemorrhage. It probably is easier to just have them shot.

Chinese Naval Aviation?

The Chinese are sort of admitting that they have been planning to build or acquire an aircraft carrier.

They already own the uncompleted Soviet Navy carrier Varyag and the retired Minsk.

Even after China commissions its first flat-decked carrier sometime in the future, it will take many years until they are fully able to operate it. Flying and maintaining aircraft from a carrier isn't exactly a time for amateur hour.

Ramp Up the Looting!

BAGHDAD: The government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki is systematically dismissing the oversight officials installed to fight corruption in Iraqi ministries by order of the American occupation administration, which had hoped to bring Western standards of accountability to the opaque and graft-ridden bureaucracy here.
Dick Cheney and the Boys of Bechtel and KBR are probably going to make a killing out of this.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Have You Ever Noticed?

Have you ever noticed that when the Republicans declare "it's a matter of principle," you can bet heavily that a lot of people in the poor and middle classes are going to suffer as a result?

Have you ever noticed that when the Republicans declare "it's a matter of principle," a bunch of rich guys have already figured out how to make themselves even richer as a result?

The economic turmoil, just like the Iraq War, will boil down to one slogan from the Civil War:

"Rich man's war, poor man's fight."

Bush and the GOP to Detroit: Drop Dead

Bush and his minions in Congress are opposed to bailing out the automotive industry "on principle."

GM, Ford and Chrysler directly employ something above 400,000 people. I'm having a little bit of trouble getting a decent number of domestic car dealerships, but it may be on the order of 15,000. From mechanics to salesmen and office staff, figure 50 or so employees per dealership. That's another 750,000 people. Parts suppliers may add an additional 700,000 or so.

Some of the numbers I've seen may factor in Canadian workers, but that doesn't appreciably change things.

We may be talking about two million jobs that will directly be lost. Some of the parts companies may survive, depending on what they do, but the larger the part, the more directly they are tied to new car and truck production.

Then factor in the indirect losses. Think of all of the businesses patronized by those two million people which may cut back or close, putting more workers on the street. Imagine being the owner of a local company that supplies work clothes to an auto plant, for example. Imagine being the mayor of a town where a significant percentage of the housing stock goes into foreclosure. Imagine being the school superintendent who sees the school tax revenues fall dramatically or being the teacher whose job is cut.

This is "trickle down economics," George W. Hoover style. That's what "principled conservatives" do: screw over the people and let millions lose their jobs.

Forcing the automobile companies into Chapter 11, in this economy, is akin to firing up the cutting torch. If GM declared Chapter 11, the customers would go away. Nobody is going to plunk down $35,000 or so for a Chevy Silverado truck if there is no assurance that the warranty would be honored, not when you can buy a large truck with a good warranty from Toyota or Nissan.

If the Republicans succeed in forcing the American domestic automobile companies into their graves, they will be lucky if they manage to get the White House back by the middle of this century.

"Only Surrender Monkeys Would Agree to a Timetable for Withdrawal From Iraq"

That has been the mantra of the Bush Administration for over four years now.

But now, they have agreed to a fixed timetable with a full withdrawal by the end of 2011:
The proposed agreement, which took nearly a year to negotiate with the United States, not only sets a date for American troop withdrawal, but puts new restrictions on American combat operations in Iraq starting Jan. 1 and requires an American military pullback from urban areas by June 30. Those hard dates reflect a significant concession by the departing Bush administration, which had been publicly averse to timetables.
The menu for the GOP Diner today is "Crow." Crow Salad, Roast Crow and Crow Ice Cream.

Beyond that, it is no secret that the fascists neo-cons such as Dick Cheney, Bloody Bill Kristol, the Kagans and their think-tanks all wanted permanent bases in Iraq in order to control the Middle East. The Iraqis never would agree to that; either we were leaving by mutual agreement or by gunpoint, but we were going to have to leave.

At least this way, we may have staved off another "helicopters fleeing the embassy" moment, at least until "Iraqization" fails.

Bailout; Motor City Edition, Pt. 2

I wrote this.

This article suggests
that there is no Chapter 11 for the auto industry. If GM fails, its suppliers will go under and, as many of those suppliers also sell to Chrysler and Ford, that will push them over the edge. Suppliers that sell more to Chrysler and Ford will go under and many of those suppliers also sell parts to the foreign car plants in North America.

If GM is allowed to fail, something like three million jobs will be lost. This recession is just gathering momentum; toss three million more people out of work and the recession will be wider, deeper and longer.

It seems to me that the opponents of doing something to help the auto industry are operation solely on ideology. So that the opponents can feel virtuous seems to me to be a poor reason to fuck over a few million people.

(H/T to Krugman)

Ничего

I don't have anything of note this morning. Gracie woke me up by barfing; I wiped it up and went back to bed for awhile.

So go poke around the blogroll. Or, if you want to explore some, look at the "followers" list, click on one of the icons and see what other blogs they read. There is some good stuff.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The TSA Are Not the Only Security Morons At Work

New Zealand has their counterparts.

The security goons at the Auckland airport took nail clippers away from a woman but let a man with a gassed-up chainsaw board the airplane. Chainsaws, it seemed, were not on the prohibited items list.

The bind moggles....

(H/T to Stupid Security)

11 Things the Republicans Should Do

Karl Rove has 10 ideas.

#11: Stop listening to Karl Rove. He brought us George W. Bush and some of the most disgusting and dishonorable campaigning since the 19th Century. After the "Black Baby" smear in 2000, John McCain should have put a bullet in the little fuck.

The GOP should consider doing just that.

Why the Klan Wears Hoods

It is elementary, really. Because if they didn't wear hoods, then who they were would be revealed to the world.

As you know, the California proposition to ban gay marriage succeeded. But now it seems that the people who financially supported the ban are not happy that their identities are being splashed all over the Intertubes.

Tough shit for them.

If you live in California or nearby, you might want to see if you are dealing with people who were for the ban. If you are gay or if you have gay folk in your family, you really might want to consider not doing business with them.

So look here, here and here. If you can avoid doing business with these folks, please do so. Bigotry should have its consequences.

(H/T to John Cole and BadTux)

CSI: Vacuum

I was vacuuming this afternoon and heard a metallic "clunk" as I ran it near my dresser. My first thought was that one of the cats (probably George) had managed to fish out an earring or something and knocked it on the floor.

So I cut the bag open. (To give you a sense of scale, that bag is about 15" long.)

There was enough cat hair in there to knit up a few kittens, all coated with dust from the litter box. It was a freaking mess.

Oh, the metallic clunk? It came from a small jinglebell, which is one of George's favorite toys. He has others and I can always get more from a crafts shop.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bailout; Motor City Edition

(Apologies for the length of this post)

I have read a number of articles about the proposed bailout of the American auto industry (which, like 99% of everyone else, I'll refer to as "Detroit").

First off, let's get the obvious on the floor:
  • Detroit made a lot of crap. They still make a lot of crap. Detroit has been behind the major Japanese car makers in quality for nearly two generations. If you buy a Honda, you can easily go 100,000 miles or more on just routine maintenance. If you buy a Chevy, you need to buy a Triple-A membership, as you will need them. It was not for nothing that there was a time not long ago that "Ford" stood for "Fix or repair daily."
  • Detroit buried its head in the sand on fuel economy. Whenever suggestions were made to raise the CAFE standards, Detroit fought them tooth and nail.
  • Detroit has historically cared more about styling than engineering. If you wanted a car with leading edge technology, you bought a Japanese or German car.
  • The Chairman of GM referred to climate change as "a total crock of shit."
  • Detroit has fought every safety improvement that ever came into existence, other than the self-starter. When they were mandated anyway, the very first thing Detroit did, each time, was run advertising touting how safe their cars were.
  • The pay structure for both the workers and the brass is out of whack.
  • When the opportunity existed 15 years ago to enact a national healthcare system (and to get rid of having to provide it to their workers and retirees), Detroit fought it.
  • Neither Detroit's management nor its unions have fully grasped that the rules have changed in the auto industry. They blather on about "buy American," which is a code phrase for "please buy our shitty cars anyway, because we know the Japs and the Krauts make better cars."
  • Whatever is wrong with Detroit is not the fault of American workers. Americans have been building small Honda cars in Ohio for 20 years and those cars are as good as their Japanese-made equivalents.
Second, there seems to be a complete unwillingness to confront reality. Despite the fact that gas prices have dropped by nearly 50% since last summer, is there anyone who does not understand that the main reason for that has been the ongoing global collapse of the economy? When the economy turns around, however long it takes, the same factors that drove the price of diesel over $5 a gallon and gasoline to well over $4 a gallon are still in place, other than one (we won't have Bush and Cheney starting more wars in the Middle East).

Third, there is a powerful fairness argument to be made. I am certain that there are readers of this blog who have been involved in small businesses which failed, none of which went to their state capitols or to D.C. to demand a bailout.

All of the above would argue for letting them go under. Maybe in a bankruptcy scenario, the failing companies could be restructured.

Now let's look at some reasons why Detroit should not be allowed to fail:

First, the companies might not survive a bankruptcy process. It is one thing to run United Airlines through Chapter 11, as most customers of an airline do not have a long-term relationship with them. You get on an airplane to fly somewhere and, as long as the airline is still flying a week or so later when you come back, you're happy. If you buy a car or a truck, you are entering into a long-term relationship with the manufacturer, for you'll need spare parts and warranty service. If Chrysler is in bankruptcy, would you buy a car from them, knowing that they may discontinue the model of the car you want or they might close completely? That is not an unrealistic scenario; Linens `N Things entered Chapter 11 hoping to restructure and survive, but now they are closing completely.

Second, the ripple effects would be felt far outside of Detroit. Many of the towns where auto and truck plants are located would partially empty out as the residents left for greener pastures. The towns would be stuck with large abandoned factories. The downtowns of those towns would collapse as the merchants went out of business. Dealerships around the nation would close. The suppliers of parts to Detroit would also cut back their workforces or fail outright and the effects of that would be felt in their towns and in the companies that supply parts to them.

Third, prices of other new cars would likely go up, as there would be fewer choices.

Fourth, the foundation of any strong economy has been the production of things. As far as I know, a "service economy" has never existed. A service economy is a glorified check-kiting scheme. As we make less and less of what we need, we open ourselves to being squeezed.

Fifth, there is a national security component to being able to make all of the stuff you need for the military. It is not just for the local creation of jobs that FN and Beretta had to build plants in the US in order to sell to the armed forces. The manufacturing base of this nation provides the reserve ability to supply the military with what it needs in the event that a there is another major conventional war.

Ideology is a poor guide in times like these. You cannot eat ideology. It will not put food on your table or keep a roof over your head. You know full well that stealing is wrong, but if the choice is to either steal or go hungry and/or freeze, you'll steal.

The choice is not whether to let Detroit fail. The choice is whether we can live with the consequences of such a failure. I do not think we can, but if we are to bail out Detroit, there must be very strong conditions. Otherwise, a bailout would just be pounding money down a large rathole.

My suggestions:

1) No bailout without detailed business plans that includes items such as plans for new designs for cars and trucks. We cannot give Detroit money to continue doing what it has failed to do. Detroit changes or it dies. General Motors bled market share because it could not figure out how to profitably build good small and medium sized cars. Honda and Toyota took nothing from GM that GM did not give away.

2) No bailout without the government taking a significant stock position.

3) No pay bonuses for the top brass until profitability returns. Running a failing company is not grounds for a bonus. Bonuses should be structured based on long-term performance, not on quarterly earnings. The focus on the short term has been one of the most destructive trends in our economy.

4) Pay and benefit packages must be renegotiated from top to bottom. Everybody takes a pay cut with bonuses based, to some degree, on the performance of the business unit. The choice is either reduced pay or no pay. That is going to be harsh for a lot of people who may not be able to easily absorb the reduction in income and it may require restructuring of mortgages for a lot of the employees.

Some folks will leave. That's fine, especially the top executives. They are free to go find another job based on their experience at running a large company into the ground.

5) Some of the changes are to be national, including emission and mileage standards, so that one company cannot opt-out and be the premier producer of dinosaurs.

Everything in the way that Detroit does business has to be on the table, nothing is sacrosanct. The current economic downturn has merely cut a few more supports; Detroit has been headed down the path to the scrapheap for a long time. Some divisions in the companies may have to go (Ford's Mercury division, for example).

Detroit has to change or it dies. We can help Detroit change or deal with the fallout because it could not or refused to change.

Apply For an Obama Job?

You have probably heard of the seven page job application. Thanks to the gang at 23/6, who have uncovered the missing eighth page:

Saturday Speechifying

President Reagan started making weekly radio addresses; President-elect Obama is taking them to YouTube.

Caturday

Gracie cleans up after the indignity of having her ass shampooed:


George is just hanging out on the lower bookshelf


Friday, November 14, 2008

Fraking A!

I agree with what Rachel Maddow has to say here:



But I don't think that the Democrats in the Senate have the balls to do it.

STS-126

It might not go tonight or be delayed, there is some issue about a door in the White Room not being secured. But they are still progressing on the launch checks.

UPDATE: 1950ET- go for launch! Should be spectacular.

STS-126

Launches in 30 minutes, if all continues to go well.

Another Lousy Photoshop Job

C'mon guys, you can do better than this:


1) That is a double-action automatic. But the trigger is almost all the way back and the hammer is down, so.... either it is a really lousy Photoshop job or they took the photo at the instant the hammer fell and before the cartridge went off.

Second, look at the angle of the gun and the hand. That would be really awkward (try miming it); it would be far more comfortable to either have the gun pointed slightly up or, if he really wanted to hold the barrel level, hold the gun "gangbanger-style."

(I endorse the sentiment, though.)

(H/T to 23/6)

The Gathering Wave

There may be a wave gathering for holding war crimes trials of the senior officials of the Bush Administration.

The documentary that convinced that guy is apparently available on the Internet for your viewing discomfort.

Cities Sarah Palin Won't Be Visiting

Boston, Massachusetts, a town for lovers of science.

I haven't been to Boston since they finished up the Big Dig. Probably one of the better bits of timing in my life was moving out of the area around the time they started the project. I loved Boston, though it was a really good idea to stay out of Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan, unless being mugged, raped, stabbed and/or shot was your idea of a fun evening. There is no system to the streets and it never made sense that West Roxbury is nowhere near Roxbury.

The downtown is very walkable and is of a human scale, unlike, say, Manhattan. The T is a great way to get around.

Government Center
, though, is an architectural atrocity. The building couldn't be any uglier if they had built Berlin Wall style machinegun towers at its corners.

Aviation ICU

Eclipse Aviation is not paying its workers.

That's usually not a good sign.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sanctuary, the TV Show

"Sanctuary" is a show on the SciFi channel, starring Amanda Tapping, who previously played Samantha Carter on "Stargate: SG1."

Tapping plays Dr. Helen Magnus, a British physician of extreme longevity (157 years). The Sanctuary is a place where she and her minions give refuge to "abnormals."

The show is very heavy on CGI scenery, which probably is used to cut down on set and location costs. CGI is also used to make the city of the Sanctuary be slightly different from an identifiable city.

I don't understand the point of the series yet. I may give it a few more episodes to see if is worth the 45 minutes a week.

On the other hand, I'm getting a kick out of "the Mentalist" on CBS.

The State of Things in Iraq

This is the opinion of one soldier on his second tour. It is worth the time to read it.

My Collateral Duty

would be "Shampooer of the Cat's Ass."

Gracie got enough poop on her butt to warrant an ass shampoo. It's sort of a toss-up which one of us like it least, but she probably wins. Right now she is sitting on the floor, trying to get her fur properly arranged.

When Your Sole Function in Life is to Serve as a Bad Example to Others

Russian Prime Minister Putin was determined to conquer Georgia and hang its president, Mikhail Saakashvili:
“I am going to hang Saakashvili by the balls,” Mr Putin declared.

Mr Sarkozy thought he had misheard. “Hang him?” — he asked. “Why not?” Mr Putin replied. “The Americans hanged Saddam Hussein.”

Mr Sarkozy, using the familiar tu, tried to reason with him: “Yes but do you want to end up like [President] Bush?” Mr Putin was briefly lost for words, then said: “Ah — you have scored a point there.”
George W. Bush was, therefore, instrumental in keeping Georgia from being conquered by the Russian Army. But probably in not the way that he had in mind.

Incompetence and Corruption to the End

I am shocked, shocked:
In the six weeks since lawmakers approved the Treasury's massive bailout of financial firms, the government has poured money into the country's largest banks, recruited smaller banks into the program and repeatedly widened its scope to cover yet other types of businesses, from insurers to consumer lenders.

Along the way, the Bush administration has committed $290 billion of the $700 billion rescue package.

Yet for all this activity, no formal action has been taken to fill the independent oversight posts established by Congress when it approved the bailout to prevent corruption and government waste. Nor has the first monitoring report required by lawmakers been completed, though the initial deadline has passed.
Spending hundreds of billions of dollars with no oversight seems to be the hallmark of the Bush Administration. They are bringing the same competence to the financial bailout that they showed in handing out lucrative no-bid contracts to Halliburton, KBR, Bechtel, Blackwater and the rest during the Iraq War.

We are so screwed. The devastation the Bush Administration has wrought to the Federal budget will last for most of this century.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

If Only, If Only

From the New York Times for Saturday, July 4, 2009:
George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States, was indicted Monday on charges of high treason.
Don't be surprised if it loads slowly, it's going viral. Most of the stories are not loading, they were loading properly a few hours ago.

UPDATE: They are loading this morning (11/13/08)

Public Notice to the World

I don't know who wrote this, but it is both funny and achingly accurate:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 5, 2008

Dear World:

The United States of America, your quality supplier of ideals of liberty and democracy, would like to apologize for its 2001-2008 service outage.

The technical fault that led to this eight-year service interruption has been located, and the parts responsible for it were replaced Tuesday night, November 4. Early tests of the newly-installed equipment indicate that it is functioning correctly, and we expect it to be fully functional by mid-January.

We apologize for any inconvenience caused by the outage, and we look forward to resuming full service -- and hopefully even to improving it in years to come.

Thank you for your patience and understanding,

The USA

Retro Bond?

James Bond seems be going back to the Walther PPK:


I guess Sig-Sauer, H&K or Glock couldn't cough up enough cash for the product placement deal, the way that Smirnoff Vodka and other brands did.

Prop 8

"It's like `Gay Survivor,` we are going to outlive, outlast and outsmart the bigots." -- Dan Savage on the Colbert Report, Nov. 11, 2008

The Swarm of the Lobbyists

Lobbyists are "swarming" the Treasury Department to grab a chunk of the $700 billion bailout. They've been doing such a good job of glomming onto the money that of the initial $250 billion, only $60 billion is left.

The Treasury Department obviously needs a bouncer to keep the lobbyists out.

Shoot a few of them and the problem of swarming lobbyists will be lessened to a large degree.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Mars to ABC News! Mars to ABC News!

Contrary to what ABC News thinks, the Phoenix Mars probe was a "lander," not a "rover."

(If you guys keep acting this dumb, Sarah Palin will take your jobs away from you.)

FBI Fire

There was a fire in the FBI's building today.

Anyone want to bet against the idea that when anyone files a Freedom of Information Act request for FBI records for the next dozen years, the response will be: "Sorry, those records were destroyed in a fire."

Anyone?

Comment on Proposition 8

Probably the best comment he has ever made.



What we have here is that some people are so full of hate and disgust that the only way they can feel superior to someone else is to shit on them. I personally know gay couples that have been together for thirty and forty years. Even without a piece of paper, they have demonstrated their love for each other, yet to the haters, their love is not real. But the marriages of a a certain singer who was married twice in one year are real to them.

Olbermann is right: To those opposed to gay marriage, if a gay couple gets married, what is it to you?

How would you like it if I got to vote on whether or not you could be married?

Holocaust Deniers: Go Fuck Yourselves

You know who you are.
Anthony Acevedo thumbs through the worn, yellowed pages of his diary emblazoned with the words "A Wartime Log" on its cover. It's a catalog of deaths and atrocities he says were carried out on U.S. soldiers held by Nazis at a slave labor camp during World War II -- a largely forgotten legacy of the war.
And this:
The original construction plans believed used for a major expansion of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz in 1941 have been found in a Berlin flat, Germany's Bild newspaper reported.
Yet some people think it never happened. Despite stories such as this one, they think it is all fabricated. More than likely, those folks have posters of Hitler in their bedroom closets.

And yes, before you ask, you can guess whose movies I haven't seen in years.

Airborne!

This Airborne probably doesn't do a goddamned thing:

They had to pay tens of millions of dollars in fines for faking scientific studies and they had to offer refunds to those people who were willing to admit that they had been conned.

Now, for the real "accept no fookin' imitations" Airborne:



It's a New Day!

Where Were You, Congressman?

Here, I alluded to the point that I think Georgia Congressman Paul Broun is a few bricks shy of a full hod:
A Republican congressman from Georgia said Monday he fears that President-elect Obama will establish a Gestapo-like security force to impose a Marxist dictatorship.
Now for a serious question: Where were you for the past eight years, Congressman Broun?

When the Bush Administration claimed the right to wiretap anyone it wanted without a warrant, where were you?

When the Bush Administration claimed the right to arrest anyone in the world, including American citizens, without a warrant or probable cause, where were you?

When the Bush Administration claimed the right to imprison anyone forever, without charges and without the right of habeus corpus, where were you?

When the Bush Administration claimed the ability to begin investigating anyone it chose for any reason or no reason whatsoever, where were you?

Where were you when the Bush Administration began secretly poring through the bank records of Americans?

Where were you when the Bush Administration began encouraging people to spy and inform on their neighbors?

What did you say when the Bush Administration proposed creating a huge database to collect the transactional records and emails of everyone?

When the Bush Administration began torturing people and then sought to use evidence collected by the use of torture at trial, where were you?

Don't bother to tell me, I'll tell you: You were probably one of the congressmen who decried the opponents of the Bush administration as being "terrorist sympathizers," "freedom-haters," "traitors" and worse. You probably condemned the legal actions to restore the use of habeus corpus as "an unwarranted limitation of the president's wartime powers." You likely supported every attempt by Dick Cheney and George Bush to exercise dictatorial powers.

But now, and only now, you voice a fear that our freedoms and liberties may be in jeopardy from an Obama Administration?

Give me a fucking break!

I, for one, find the new-found dedication of the Right to the Constitution and the rule of law to be, well, rather convenient.

AIG Executives, Your Limo is Waiting

The top brass of AIG, after securing an $80 billion bailout and in the midst of asking for another $40 billion, rewarded themselves with a lavish getaway.

Hey, you guys need a ride from the airport?

This is way far over the line. They are taking over a hundred billion dollars of our money to prop up their company as a direct result of their unfettered greed and lack of attention to detail, so they go off on some junket that costs a third of a million dollars?

They ought to be dragged from the airport and taken directly to the gallows. Some of these guys need to pay, hard, so that the rest of those greedy bastards finally get the message that we are past the days of them engorging themselves at the expense of others.

The Blathering of the Wingnuts

This guy needs to be fitted for the uniform that the Navy used to refer to as "Gitmo Summer Whites."

But that was back when Gitmo was a base used for super-intensive training of ships of the Atlantic Fleet, not as a place where people are tortured and disappeared into a black hole.

Armistice Day

That was the original name for today, a day of remembrance to mark the day that the guns of the First World War fell silent: 11 AM, November 11, 1918. The name was changed after the Second World War to Veterans Day.

Armistice Day was not meant to be a day of retail sales.

This song seems appropriate. You can guess as to why.

Monday, November 10, 2008

When Times Get Tough

One of the first things to go is the fancy-ass cup of coffee. Which is probably why Starbucks Coffee's profits are off 97%.

You can buy a bag of 8 O'Clock coffee for five bucks, a thing of filters for another buck or two and some sugar and/or cream for less than the cost of two of those pretentious coffees from Starbucks, and you'll have enough coffee for about two weeks worth of drinking (per person). And you don't have to put up with some pretentious college drop-out when you tell him what you want is a large cup of coffee.

Veteran's Day

See if you can watch this without shedding some tears:



The "web extra:"

New Footage From World War II



This is the story of where it came from: