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

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Caturday

Since George has been getting the pixels recently, here is Gracie in one of her favorite places.


"Maaa! There is a spider on the ceiling! Can you catch it for me?"

Friday, May 30, 2008

R.I.P.,Hedley Lamarr

Harvey Korman, dead at the age of 81.



One of the funniest things in the Carol Burnett shows in the late `60s and into the `70s was watching to see if Korman would lose his composure in some of the sketches. You could see him quivering with repressed laughter at times.

No Shit, Really? -- Military Edition

Some Army soldiers say that the repeated combat tours and the length of the tours in Iraq are stressful.

This is news to whom, exactly? Those people who have had several lobotomies, perhaps?

Oh, the Humanity; Seafood Edition

60,000 pounds of fresh lobsters were burned up in a warehouse fire in Boston. The cannery for Saranac Beer also burned down.

The Kangaroo Courts Continue

If you were so unfortunate enough to be assigned to be a judge in the moral travesty that is the military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay, there is one sure way to get reassigned to anther job:

Rule against the government.

Fair warning to the judges and prosecutors down there and those those who are exercising any supervisory functions over them: You are incurring personal legal jeopardy by participating in that system. You may some day be held accountable for your actions.

And, should that day ever come, do not expect the "I vaz chust follovink orders" defense to hold any water.

Asleep at the Switch; Fourth Estate Edition

We,, it now seems that those of us on the Left, those of us who were excoriated for daring to suggest that the nation's journalists had fallen down on the job in their boot-licking coverage during the run-up to the Iraq, were correct in our assessment.

They failed. They failed because their corporate masters were, to put it bluntly, a bunch of craven cowards who were afraid that the Bush Administration would retaliate against them.

They failed. They didn't just fail at their jobs, they failed their duty to the American people under the Constitution. Their job is to investigate and tell the truth, even if it is truth that people would rather not hear.

After all, if we want to watch is "Pravda on the Potomac" repeating the GOP party line, we can always tune in Fox News.

Fear and Politics

"Fear is the reason this country is where it is today. Fear is a useless emotion. Don't ever make decisions based on fear. Make decisions based on hope and possibility. Make decisions based on what should happen, not what shouldn't. Don't ever make decisions based on fear." -- Michelle Obama

Note that she said that in direct response to a question about assassination from a woman who was clearly worried about the prospect (not from someone who is hoping for it).

She is right, though. George Bush and his cabal of incompetent fascists have driven this country not just off the path, but off the frigging cliff. They have run not a government, but a permanent campaign based on ratcheting up fear and xenophobia. You might recall that during the 2004 campaign, the Department of Homeland Security was playing the Stoplight of Death like it was a fiddle.


This has been echoed by opportunistic thugs who are parroting lines from "the A-rabs are coming to kill you in your sleep" to "them dirty beaners are taking all of your jobs." They have done their level best to destroy everything about Americans that once made us good and decent people and to turn us into a nation of bloodthirsty racists.

But at least the Bush Administration has been as incompetent about instituting fascism as they have been at everything else they tried. We do have a chance to take this country back.

It is up to all of us, now.

(H/T to Jack & Jill)

Oh, the Humanity; Feline Edition, Pt. 2

He's still got the haircut, but at least Gracie has stopped yowling at him.

McCain's Medical Records

As you probably heard, John McCain released his medical records. But what didn't get a lot of play was this point:

"a small group of reporters reviewed 1,173 pages of medical documents that span 2000 to 2008"

I didn't pick up on this until Jon Steward mentioned it. 1,173 pages for eight years? And he's supposed to be in "good health?" That's nearly three pages of medical records filled out every week for eight freaking years.

Anyway, I'm watching some guy named Tad Devine on the Colbert Report (you need to watch both clips for it to make sense):





Devine thinks that Hillary Clinton is going to fall into line behind Barack Obama after he becomes the nominee. I think he's smoking crack and that SNL nailed it.

So here, for your viewing pleasure, is that clip again:

Scotty the Rat

I watched him on Olbermann last night. This is one segment, there were three others with McClellan



Beyond the snarky observation of how all of the White House minions are all saying the same thing about being "puzzled" and "that's not the Scott we knew," I got the sense that McClellan feels betrayed by how the Bush Administration functioned. He mentioned more than once that Bush in Texas had been a bipartisan governor, not a partisan hack.

Jon Stewart observed that the White House had the exact same reaction when Richard Clarke's first book came out.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Need to Class Up Your Garden?

Try hiring a stripper.

What The HELL Is Going On Here?

Does anybody have any idea what Chimpy is doing?


His best impression of a duck? Taking a dump in his pants?

Anybody know?

(H/T to MPS)

Bush Administration: A Collection of Ignorant, Warmongering Torturers

The WaPo reports today that the US is falling behind in science because the Bush Administration is comprised of a cabal of ignorant know-nothings who are proud of being ignorant. The Bush Administration puts its stock in ideology and faith, not squishy concepts such as "knowledge" and "science." To the rest of the world, the Bush Administration is a throwback to medieval days.

King Canute commanded the tide to go back not because he thought he could, but because he knew he could not and attempting to do so was the only way to knock it into his sycophants that a monarchy is not possessed of god-like powers. Would that George Bush and his tribe of blithering idiots had a quarter of the wisdom of King Canute.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is abstaining from a treaty to ban cluster munitions, after earlier obtaining significant modifications to the treaty. It seems to be generally conceded that in George Bush's Clusterfuck On Terror, cluster bombs are useless, as are land mines, but that doesn't matter to the Chimperor.

Elsewhere, when the CIA kidnapped a man in Italy and sent him to Egypt to be tortured, the CIA agents left tracks all over the place. The only conclusion that is fair to be drawn is that the CIA was not hiding its tracks because they were confident that nobody would ever go looking for them.

Great job all around by the Chimperor and his minions.

Oh, the Humanity; Feline Edition

George, before:


After:

He tends to get mats and knots in his fur in the summer, especially on his stomach and inner thighs. Each year it has been a struggle to get them out; I have to get him in the tub and then use clippers to take a few out at a time.

Last year I got tired of it and had him clipped down. This year, he was not at all cooperative with receiving a haircut, so he had to be tranked.

The only problem now is Gracie, who is treating him as though he is a stranger, not the cat that she has lived with ever since she was 12 weeks old.

Business Card Snark

Yes, this is a real business card.

The mental image of Bill Clinton fitting people for glasses may require copious amounts of Brain Bleach.

Bush Losing on Telecom Immunity

It would seem that if Bush has lost McCain on this issue, then the prospect of retroactive immunity for the supine cowards in the telecom industry (I'm looking at you, AT&T and Verizon) is doomed.

Obviously, if McCain is flipping on this issue, his campaign must be learning that the voters are not buying the Bush propaganda that not giving immunity to the lawbreakers in the telecom industries only aids the terrorists.

Shocking News! Company Screws Its Employees!

The company is U.S. Sugar, which is screwing its workers by buying back the stock of retiring workers (under an Employee Stock Ownership Plan) at an undervalued price so the company's managers can then resell the shares for a lot more money. U.S. Sugar was buying out its workers for $194 a share; at the same time the company had rejected a buyout offer of $293 a share as being too cheap. The company had determined that the breakup value of the company was well over $1,000 a share.

I am just shocked, shocked, to learn that a company is fucking over its employees so that top management can line their own pockets.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

George Bush and Hillary Clinton

Both of them seem to have the ability to convince themselves of either what happened didn't really happen, or what didn't really happen did happen.

With Clinton, it was the "Bosnian sniper fire" flap.

With Bush, it is his use of cocaine.

Both of them believe their own propaganda. The difference is that Clinton was forced to come to face the truth while nobody has ever been able to penetrate the shield that Bush has erected to wall off reality.

So, anyway, if George Bush is especially susceptible to believing his own propaganda, as Scotty says, then what we should do is make up outrageous stories about him. If he reads them, he might believe he did what the story says.

Oh. My. Fraking. God!

This was on MPS.

(Click to enlarge)

This chart says that the banks of this nation have no cash reserves. None. Zero. They have loaned out everything they have and tens of billions more than that.

Tengrain asks a good question: Does this mean that the banks are all insolvent?

The Wingnuts are Bug-Fuck Insane

The Wingnuts now think that Rachel Ray is a terrorist sympathizer. Her alleged crime: Wearing a freaking scarf in a Dunkin Donuts ad.


The Wingnuts need to be sedated for their own good, for they are losing their fraking minds.

Moron-in-Chief

Bush, once again, compares the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to World War II.

They are the same in that "American soldiers are fighting in a foreign nation."

There are some differences:
  1. World War II was based on a massive mobilization of American industry.
  2. There was a draft that sucked up every eligible man.
  3. The US had over 10% of its population in uniform.
  4. Conservation of resources was the rule; there was mandatory rationing of some commodities and consumer products.
  5. Many other consumer products were simply unavailable for the duration.
  6. War bond drives were held to raise money.
  7. Very high taxes were imposed on high earners (over 90%).
  8. All of the president's children were in the war.
Yep, other than those picayune differences, the wars are the same, if you happen to have the same addled perspective as Der Monkey Fuhrer. As Scott McClellan pointed out, Bush is so dumb that he believes his own lies. so I can see where he might think the wars are the same.

Government. Head. Sand.

Nobody is talking about this: What is next winter going to be like in those areas of the country where oil is used to heat homes? Heating oil in this area is running close to or over $4 a gallon. Heating oil for June delivery to wholesalers is about $3.80. The NYMEX wholesale price rose 45 cents in a month.

The amount of oil it takes to heat a house obviously depends on several factors, but it's not unusual for it to take over 100 gallons a month or more. This may be the next hammer that starts to force some struggling homeowners out of their homes. Other families are going to be coping with interior air temperatures in the fifties ("if you're cold, go put on another sweater"). Those who have the ability to burn another fuel may think about switching, but no doubt the cost for cordwood and wood pellets will shoot up, too, partially because of demand and partially because of the cost of trucking.

If the next winter is a cold one, it is going to be a brutal financial hit to most families. As everyone pretty much knows by now, the economic expansion during the Reign of the Chimperor did nothing for those who were not already rich.

Which is why George Bush is so happy, for his administration's goal was to crush the hopes and dreams of the average American. Mission partially accomplished.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

"The Media Was Not Liberal Enough"

This is what Scott McClellan is saying:

“If anything, the national press corps was probably too deferential to the White House and to the administration in regard to the most important decision facing the nation during my years in Washington, the choice over whether to go to war in Iraq.

“The collapse of the administration’s rationales for war, which became apparent months after our invasion, should never have come as such a surprise. … In this case, the ‘liberal media’ didn’t live up to its reputation. If it had, the country would have been better served.”


If McClellan is right about all of this, and I have no doubt about that, then most of those guys belong in prison.

Keith Olbermann says that McClellan is going to be on his show next Monday. That should be interesting.

Battlestar Galactica and Technology

The question was raised at the Science of Battlestar Galactica as to whether a human population of 39,000 people is genetically viable. The answer would seem to be "yes," since at one point, the human population on this planet was down to 2,000 or so.

I think, however, the more significant question is whether a human population of 39,000 is technically viable at the level of technology shown in BSG. I think the answer is "no."

One of the hard facts of technology seems to be that the higher you go up the scale, the more work and the more people it takes to bring about the end result. A primitive hunter probably could knap out a flint point and strap it to a stick in very little time. A simple knife or sword may be as far up the technological scale that a single individual can proceed from ore to a finished product. The 16th Century gunsmiths who developed wheel locks and flintlocks were not mining their own ore nor smelting the iron.

By the time you get to revolvers, you're dealing with the need to have some sort of powered machining capability; it was no accident that the factories of the early gun makers were located next to rivers. You need carpenters to build the building, wheelsmiths to make the water wheels and/or turbines and then the rotation of those wheels has to be fed into the plant. You need farmers to raise the cattle and butchers and leather workers in order to make the belts to drive the machinery, which has to be made by other people. Meanwhile, other factories are making the gunpowder and the shot. Woodworkers have to make the stocks. And all the raw material for every factory along the way has to be transported, so you needed wagons and teams and railroads and ships, all of which in turn has to be supported. All of those people have to be housed, fed and clothed.

When you get up to 100 years ago, you now need precision machinery to make the fine parts and, since it costs so much to set up a machine to make a part, you make a lot of them at any one time. Move up to the modern era and now you need oil and petrochemical plants to make the plastics for many of the parts. Few people remember that, until the development of electrically-powered furnaces, it was so difficult to smelt aluminum ore into the metal that aluminum, pound for pound, was far more expensive than gold.

The same progression appears with electrical and electronic components. Wiring insulation used to be problematical, which is why knob & tube wiring was used from the earliest days of electricity. Electrical generation requires power plants, which have to be maintained. The distribution network has to be maintained. You need plants to make components and, as those plants become more and more sophisticated, you need more and more investment to build new ones. A modern semiconductor chip fabrication plant costs well over a billion dollars to build and equip, maybe several billion dollars. The costs of building plants are so high for some products that unless you can sell tens of millions of copies, it makes no sense to even try, which is probably why there are so few makers of LCD displays. If you were to blow up two or three strategic plants, you could probably shut down the electronic device manufacturing industries for months.

Hell, just look sometime at what effort it takes to mass-produce paper. Movable type was vital, but it was cheap paper that brought literacy to the masses in Europe.

39,000 people are not going to cut it in order to keep their technology running forever. I will bet that if you examined what it takes to make everything the Colonial Fleet has and uses, some critical skills are already nonexistent (or extinct). Which means that the Colonials will, sooner or later, have to start cannibalizing their ships to keep others running. If they settle on another world like New Caprica, they will have to cannibalize almost all of their ships in order to build a town and get the level of technology they are used to. Sooner or later, the last Mk.3574 Doomiflatcher will break down and everything that needs one of those to function will be useless. Worse, everything that needs what was made by the machine which used a Mk.3574 Doomiflatcher will be useless.

Assuming the Colonials settle on an uninhabited planet, which is likely, for they are in their 4th season and have met no sentient life other than the Cylons (a rarity in TV SF, by the way, only Firefly was like that), within two or three generations of landing, the Colonials will be at an Iron Age (or Stone Age) existence. They seem to have no farm or draft animals, they have encountered no life above plants on the livable worlds they have visited, so everything will have to be done by human power (which may result in the use of slaves) and the struggle for protein will be enormous. Their civilization will surely collapse.

Unless the Colonials can strike a deal with the Cylons, the Colonials as a society are doomed.

Hillary Learned From Rove

The Clinton campaign is trying to arrange for loud and angry protests outside of the meeting of the Democratic Party Rules Committee. In other words, Clinton is going to try and use the same sleazy tactics that the douchebags in the GOP used to shut down the Florida recount eight years ago.

No matter how low the Clinton campaign can go, there is still plenty of earth below them in which to dig lower.

(H/T to Balloon Juice)

Domestic Spies Wanted! Sign Up Today! Call the FBI at 1-800-GESTAPO

If you look like a hippy and you have the morals of a snake, then the FBI wants to hire you!

Turns out it is straight piecework, you have to give them somebody to arrest. Presumably, if you agitate for bad things to happen and then turn people in for following your lead, the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force will give you oodles of cash.

You'd think that after the cops and the FBI got caught doing this stupid shit in the 1960s that they would have learned their lessons. Apparently not. The police have a long track record of using agent provocateurs to start trouble as an excuse for arresting lots of people.

Note that the cops and the FBI, this time around, are defining "terrorist" as "anybody seeking to exercise their rights to peaceably assemble under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States." The JTTF is not targeting terrorism, they are suppressing political dissent.

Once again, one of the threats to American freedoms and liberties comes from those sworn to protect it. Those fuckers all took an oath to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

You might think that they might have taken the time to at least read the Constitution.

You'd be wrong.

(H/T to C&L)

Why is Comcast Sucking Up to Bill O'Reilly?

You have to wonder why Comcast is so deathly afraid of Bill O'Reilly that they would fire a guy for daring to criticize His Royal Offalness.

On one level, it doesn't surprise me, as anybody who has ever had to deal with Comcast as a residential cable supplier knows that they are the Essence of Pure Evil. Comcast's biggest dream is to be a telecom giant and get to fulfill all of those warrantless wiretap requests from the Bush Administration. Comcast cares so little about its customers that they have jacked up their cable rates at about twice the rate of inflation.

(Speaking of which, it's about time for them to add two more bullshit cable channels to their package deals so they can raise their rates by another $4 per month.)

Why are they so afraid of O'Reilly?

(H/T to HuffPo)

I Really Need to Go Dark on the News

It just gets my dander up when I see stuff like this from Bill Clinton:

The former president added that his wife had not been given the respect she deserved as a legitimate presidential candidate.

"She is winning the general election today and he is not, according to all the evidence," Clinton said. "And I have never seen anything like it. I have never seen a candidate treated so disrespectfully just for running."

What a humongous crock of shit. There is no "general election" going on. There is a primary contest and, furthermore, what counts is the number of delegates. (You know, just like in the general election, where what counts is the number of electoral votes [Bill, go ask Al Gore about this, he'll fill you in].) This is just the sort of sad sack shit that I have come to expect from the Clinton campaign: If one metric is in favor of her, seize on that metric and ignore all others, including the only one that counts.

This is beyond pathetic. This is like saying "well the Giants scored more points, but the Rams had more plays, so the Rams win." Talk about changing the rules in the game two minutes before the end of the 4th quarter....

And when Bill says that Hillary Clinton has not "received the respect" due to a viable candidate, he is so full of shit that flies should be going in and out of his ears. What she hasn't managed to do is to get the press to fawn over her. The press is paying attention to what she says and if he doesn't like that, then she is in the wrong career path.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

Yes, this is a American military cemetery in France, the Oise-Aisne American Cemetery.

No, it is not from the Second World War.

I have mixed feelings about Memorial Day as we now do it. When I was a child, Memorial Day was May 30th and that was that. Saturday, Monday, Wednesday, whatever day it fell upon, that was the day that this nation remembered its war dead.

It has been cheapened since then. Since 1971, Memorial Day has been debased from not a day to remember those who fell in battle, but as the unofficial start of the summer vacation season. It's become three days to get the garden started, to rest up from work, to go shopping, and oh, let's not be bothered to remember the men and women who died to win our freedoms and to keep them.

Memorial Day should be observed on May 30th, and for those who would wail about losing a three day weekend, I say: Suck it up.

Plans. Scratched.

I thought today would have been a nice day to go wash the airplane. Problem is that as there is no spot on the airport to do it, I have to fly to another field. Doesn't sound like a problem, except that the winds now are gusting well over 20kts and the winds could not be more of a direct crosswind if they tried.

And did I mention that the runway at my home airport is about fifty feet wide? So forget that plan.

I heard a story yesterday that some guy was buying a Luscombe that supposedly had "no damage history." Luscombes are good airplanes, but finding one that has never been ground-looped is like finding one that has never been flown.

Winning In Iraq; Training Edition

The Army is so hurting for troops that Advanced Infantry Training ("AIT") is being dumbed-down to the point of near uselessness. The goal now is not to produce trained infantrymen, but to get the maximum number of soldiers into combat. And if that means that the new soldiers are not learning what they should, then that is the way it is going to be.

I know that a lot of the people on the Right think "this is all Bill Clinton's fault." Bill Clinton has been out of office for over seven years. Bush has had ample time to fix whatever needed fixing, other than maybe very long lead-time items, like ships. If the Army's training and culture needs to be reworked, Bush has had the time to do it.

He owns this problem.

Meanwhile, On Our Neighboring Planet

The Phoenix Mars Lander has indeed successfully landed on Mars.



It just boggles my mind how people seem to regard this as routine nowadays.

If We Are Prevailing in Iraq, Then Why?

If the US is "winning" in Iraq, as the toadies of the Bush Administration and their sycophants like to claim, then why is Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, who is arguably the most influential Shiite cleric in Iraq, giving this response to a question:

Q: "I sell foodstuffs. Sometimes the Occupying Powers or their associates come to my establishment. May I sell them foodstuffs?"

A: "Selling foodstuffs to the Occupying Powers is not permitted."


Tell me how this is a sign of winning, guys.

If you read that story and this one, both on Juan Cole's blog, it is hard to avoid the impression that all of the Shiite clerics are in the process of lining up against the continued occupation by the Coalition of the Bribed in Iraq. If you are of the "that fails to pass the `so, what' test" persuasion, consider that Sistani's sect controls the Badr Organization, the most powerful militia in Iraq and, during the recent fighting in Basra, thousands of Badrists joined the Iraqi Army.

If Cole is right that Sistani is drifting towards issuing a fatwa for direct action against the occupying forces, then things are going to get very bad very fast. If we were to then continue stay in Iraq, our only option then would be to both brutally suppress the Shiites and put a Sunni strongman in charge.

Which would bring us right back to status quo ante.

The "No Shame" News Network

And still, there are people who really think that Fox News is "fair and balanced."



Of course, they are the same people who think that George Bush is doing a great job, that he is one of the nation's greatest presidents, and if they run really fast, they can get to the end of rainbow in time to grab the pot of gold.

Bush Loves Our Troops, the Secret Service Does Not

From the Heartless Libertarian, via Tam, comes this list of the security measures that the Secret Service imposed upon the troops of the 82nd Airborne prior to being reviewed by Der Monkey Fuhrer:

4. REVIEW---
1. No bolts in the weapons. They can not come to the review,
must stay at unit area.
2. Take out the Springs to all Magazines. These will be
checked. To include 9MM
3. Operating Rods taken out of the 240 and 249's
4. Staging area has changed. I will send out New diagram and
also talk with the BDE CSM's this morning.
5. Ensure Your personnel don't have any Knives, Dog Tags,
Watches, Cell Phones Leatherman of any type, nothing in their pockets,
No keys, Lazer type pointers And No Liquids except for the Canteen.
Anything found on the soldiers will be taken away and not returned. If
a weapon of any type is found on the person then they will be set to the
side and Secret Service will deal with.
6. ALL First Sergeants, SGM's And CSM's will help with the
inspection of all soldiers as they move thru the Metal Detector area.
Will explain at the rehearsal.
7. Once a Trooper is in the Sterile Area he or she can not leave
that area.
8. Do not attach the Bayonet to the FLC until after the
inspection. Will explain at Rehearsal
.

[FLC is the system of attaching gear.] I don't quite understand why the SS was so insistent on "no dog tags."

I have mixed feelings about this. In some ways, it is insulting; take out the bolts *and* the springs of the magazines. Presumably the bayonets were special rubber ones, to prevent the 82nd Airborne from executing a bayonet charge upon Owwr Leedurr. On the other side of the coin, the SS has to remember that Anwar Sadat was assassinated while reviewing his own troops when a number of soldiers charged at him and shot him to death with their rifles.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

When Comments Backfire

You might recall that Hillary Clinton has said, on more than once occasion, that the "pledged delegates" are really free to vote for whomever they choose. This has been another in the 1,375 rationalizations of "Why I Won't Quit," the subtext being that Obama's delegates might be persuaded to switch sides and vote for Clinton.

Sadly for Clinton, her message has been received, all right. Only it is her pledged delegates that are starting to jump ship.

Clinton may not be able to hear it, but it seems that everyone else is hearing the singing.



(H/T to Bitch Ph.D)

No Pride and No Shame

Alternate Brain has the right of it: Clinton has been hanging around, waiting for something to go wrong so she could swoop in and claim what she views as rightfully hers. But it wasn't Obama that stomped on a Bouncing Betty, it was Clinton.

This blogger also has the right of it.

There is almost something of a Greek tragedy, of a Shakespearian play, in the way that the Clinton campaign has gone from an irresistible force to road kill. A year ago, Clinton was raising tens of millions of dollars and, presumably, thinking of how they would campaign against Rudy Giuliani. Clinton was the clear front runner, her campaign obviously figured they would blow everyone away in the first two primaries and then cruise to the convention.

It didn't work out that way. Now, with the smell of desperation enveloping her campaign, Clinton is jettisoning everything she can in order to stay in the game. Clinton has to know that she has burned through more than just millions of her own cash and probably well over a hundred million total. She has burned through her honor, her integrity, and her reputation in more and more futile attempts to stave off defeat. The desperation can be seen in the fact that her campaign is claiming that the Puerto Rican primary, held in a territory whose citizens cannot vote in the general election, is critical.

And so, Clinton is hoping for the worst to happen to her opponent. But the old sayings and myths turn out to have an element of truth: If you pray or scheme for bad things to happen to your opponents, even worse things will befall you.

Guest Caturday

Rocky, partially Maine Coon, all attitude. There is room for only one human in his universe and I am not it.


I had to work to distract Bella for this shot; there was a breeze coming through that window and she was intent on cataloging all of the scents.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Olbermann's Newest Special Comment

Keith Olbermann is going to let fly with another special comment tonight. I presume that he is going to lambaste Clinton over the "I'm staying in in case Barack gets assassinated" line. It should be a real corker.

If you missed it, check back here later tonight. I'll embed it as soon as MSNBC makes it available.

UPDATE: Oh, yeah. It was a real corker!



I'm changing the timestamp of this to move it up to the top.

What Bush Has Been Good At During His Presidency

From a private aviation e-mail list:

This is a listing of the accomplishments of George Bush's Administration:

They've been very good at trashing America's reputation around the world.
They have cut back civil liberties to an unprecedented degree.
They've subsumed unprecedented powers into the presidency.
They've made Halliburton, Exxon and Blackwater shareholders wealthy.
They've reduced taxes on the super-wealthy.
They have tanked the economy, created sub-prime loan crisis, set new record
crude oil, gasoline, diesel and jet fuel prices.
They're doing very good job of helping the airlines destroy themselves.
They've done a very good job of destroying morale amongst controllers and encouraging retirement in record numbers, without hiring replacements.
Excellent job of raising the FAA to new levels of ineptitude.
Excellent job of creating the most hated federal agency, the TSA.
Excellent job of destroying New Orleans through inept response.
Super job of destroying the value of the dollar.

George Bush: Nuclear Proliferator

George Bush agreed to hand over nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia.

This doesn't even pass the "giggle test". First off, Saudi Arabia is sitting on a large chunk of the world's oil reserves. Second, Saudi Arabia is hostile to Israel. Third, Saudi Arabia has sponsored the spreading of the same brand of militant Islamic thought that gave rise to al Qaeda. Most of the finding for al Qaeda historically has come from Saudi Arabia. A shit-ton of the mujahadeen that have gone into Iraq to fight our soldiers came from Saudi Arabia. Their government is an absolute monarchy, it is the antithesis of a free and democratic state. Saudi Arabia is one quick revolution away from being a Taliban-type nation.

Every argument raised by the Bush Administration as to why Iran should not be allowed to develop a civilian nuclear industry works tenfold against the Saudis. This smells as though Bush is trying to smuggle atomic weapons technology to the Saudis.

Hell, doesn't it dawn on anybody in the Chimperor's staff that Saudi Arabia is in a freaking desert? They must have, on average, 350 sunny days a year. The Saudis could easily buy into solar energy and, with their cash backing a solar program, they could become the owners of world-class technology.

But they won't, of course. Saudi Arabia wants an atomic weapon and George Bush is going to give it to them.

For George Bush's family loyalties lie with the House of Saud, not with the United States of America.

The Good Boy

funny pictures

George is really quite thin, but he looks kind of chunky here.

I'm very appreciative of him for his fly-removal services.

UPDATE: I changed out the litterbox; I cleaned it out and put in fresh litter. He thanked me by taking a dump on the floor next to my bed. When I reprimanded him, he hissed at me, so I hissed back. He then growled at me and I growled back.

Fucking little unappreciative shitcake...

"I'm Staying in the Race in Case Barack Gets Whacked"

That is basically what Hillary Clinton said. It wouldn't matter to her if she had 400 delegates and Obama had it sewn up, she's going to keep on campaigning in case some deranged cracker shoots him.



Spin it any which way you want, but her allusion to the assassination of Bobby Kennedy was nothing short of pathetic. There is certainly no evidence of Clinton being "a class act" in that comment.

Hillary Clinton is toast, now. She is going to leave this race with a well-earned reputation as a bitter, hateful, racist-enabling crank who prays that her opponents get killed.

Presidential Leadership

"I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth." ...

" I believe we should go to the Moon. But I think every citizen of this country as well as the Members of the Congress should consider the matter carefully in making their judgment, to which we have given attention over many weeks and months, because it is a heavy burden, and there is no sense in agreeing or desiring that the United States take an affirmative position in outer space, unless we are prepared to do the work and bear the burdens to make it successful. If we are not, we should decide today and this year.

"This decision demands a major national commitment of scientific and technical manpower, material and facilities, and the possibility of their diversion from other important activities where they are already thinly spread. It means a degree of dedication, organization and discipline which have not always characterized our research and development efforts. It means we cannot afford undue work stoppages, inflated costs of material or talent, wasteful interagency rivalries, or a high turnover of key personnel.

"New objectives and new money cannot solve these problems. The could in fact, aggravate them further--unless every scientist, every engineer, every serviceman, every technician, contractor, and civil servant gives his personal pledge that this nation will move forward, with the full speed of freedom, in the exciting adventure of space."

That was then, 46 years ago. President Kennedy gave that speech after the flight of Alan Shepard, which meant that he said "let's do this" with *one* successful manned suborbital space shot. With fifteen minutes of manned rocket flight, the U.S. committed to go to the Moon. Success was, by no means, a sure thing.

We have zero leadership now, unless it involves bombing people or cutting taxes for the rich.

And yes, DCNY is right: In large part, if you want to know who is to blame, look in the mirror. We, the American people, were more than happy to build McMansions resulting in fifty-mile commutes. We were more than happy to buy big-ass SUVs and pickup trucks.

Presidential and/or Congressional leadership would have made a difference. But we opted to live this way. Nobody forced us.

Ever Seen a Congressional Subpoena?

Now you can see one.

Energy Policy: A Short History of Presidential Failure

Distributorcap NY has taken a look at the rise in oil prices, both to date and into the future. The picture is not pretty.

For those unaware of how we got to this place, this goes back to 1973. That was the year that Egypt and Syria attacked Israel on Yom Kippur (the holiest day in the Jewish calendar) in an attempt to win back the territories lost in the Six Day War. Despite initial successes on the battlefield, at the end of the war, the Israelis held even more territory, though at an enormous cost to both sides. In reaction or sympathy to the Arab side, the Middle East oil producers largely suspended exports.

The results were dramatic, to say the least. Gas prices in the US doubled. There were shortages of gasoline and diesel fuel; long lines at the gas stations were very common. Many gas stations rationed fuel sales to avoid running out of gas to sell. Some areas imposed "odd/even" sales days.

This was when the politicians first started decrying American reliance on imported oil.

The second gas crisis came six years later. During the Iranian Revolution, Iran's export operation went offline. Again, gas prices doubled overnight, there were gas shortages and lines at the pump.

There was some response from the consumers. Fuel-efficient vehicles became popular and people started paying attention to how much energy they used overall. The increased use of fuel-efficient vehicles slowed the overall increase in the use of oil. The price of crude cratered in the mid 1980s and, other than the spike during the Persian Gulf War in 1991, stayed relatively low until our current president began Operation Enrich My Buddies.

That supply disruptions could raise the price of crude oil has been known since 1973. That spikes in demand, when coupled with supply shortages, could do a real number on the price of oil has also been obvious. Since 1973, it has been clear to everyone who looked at it that this day was coming.

Well, that day is here.

One thing that is clear is that the politicians in Washington, the ones who like to style themselves as "leaders," are nothing of the sort. The only thing that they have been willing to run on the issue of energy independence is their mouths. In fact, the congressional delegation from places like Michigan have been active in doing everything they can to scuttle every initiative to reduce dependence on oil, because the Big Three automakers have been either too stupid or too unwilling to figure out how to make fuel-efficient vehicles at a profit. Those Michigan lawmakers have been aided and abetted by the oil and coal industries, who have been consistently against the idea of research into alternative energy technologies.

Let's also get past the "we can drill our way out of this" fiction. Oil is a world commodity and is sold on the world market. We cannot produce more oil here without effecting the price of oil in India and China. All producing more oil will do is delay the inevitable.

This day has been advertised as coming for 35 years. In those 35 years, the Republicans have held the Presidency for 23 years, the Democrats 12. This is a bipartisan failure, a bipartisan betrayal of the American people.

We cannot drill our way out. What we need to do, instead, is to begin to go in another direction. But because the Federal government has not used its abilities to either fund programs or give tax credits for energy research in a large way (yes, they did sort of mess around with it), we are now at the point where, instead of a series of long-term plan and well-thought out research projects, crash programs may be the order of the day.

Crash programs are expensive, wasteful and, given the slashing of contract administrations by the corruption-enablers of the Bush Administration, are prone to corruption. Crash programs also can head off in fruitless directions at enormous costs, both monetary and societal, as we are seeing with the corn-based ethanol programs.

But because of the failure of leadership by every president from Nixon to the Chimperor, and due to the obstructions by the oil, coal and automobile industries, we are at the point where we have no choice.

Thanks, guys.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Fiascoes

Ah, the day is full of fiascoes.

Texas officials have been forced to admit that half of the so-called "underage mothers" from the FDLS raid are not minors, one is 27. Another "mother" is neither a mother nor pregnant. A Texas appeals court has ruled that the whole raid was illegal. And now it seems that the phone call that was purportedly made by a child in the FLDS compound was a hoax perpetrated by a 33 year old woman with a history of such things. This whole affair is starting to look as bungled as the Waco raid against the Branch Davidians, only without the dead ATF agents and the torching of scores of people.

Petraeus wants another half of a Friedman Unit
before he can think about any troop reductions. Yeah, yeah, same old horseshit. "We can reduce troops soon." But "soon" never comes.

Congress can't even send the right copy of a bill to Bush's desk for his veto. That part of the job isn't rocket science, guys. That's a "Heckuvajob Brownie" level fuckup.

And finally, in a sartorially stunning move, Vice President Darth Cheney wore a cowboy hat when he spoke to the graduates of the Coast Guard Academy.

In case you are not aware of this, the Coast Guard Academy is in New London, Connecticut. Wearing a cowboy hat in New London is about as out of place as is having a conscience at a meeting of Bush's National Security Council.

"We Are Powerless, We Cannot Do Anything"

That would seem to be the line of the executives of the oil industry.

(Whine, whine, whine) "It's not our fault that we are making so much money." (Whine, snivel) "It's not our fault that we, personally, are being paid millions of dollars." (Whine, whimper) "The money is just falling into our laps. We're the victims here."

Meanwhile, crude oil has hit $135 a barrel. No doubt that those oil executives are going to be seeking some counseling for all of the angst they are enduring as victims of the market.

Worse was the foul canard that the oil executives like to hand out, that "this wouldn't happen if we could drill fifty feet off the beaches in Miami" and so on. (Yes, the Republicans like to focus on ANWAR, but the Republican governor in Florida, some guy named Bush, was instrumental in extending the ban on drilling anywhere near the Florida coast.) It's all bullshit.

Oil is a world commodity. There is no way to extract oil off the beaches of California and keep that oil only for the US.

Stupidity to the Left

In Philadelphia, the Mayor and the City Council do not give a flying fuck that the law in Pennsylvania is that laws on guns are the sole province of the state legislature. They're going to do it anyway.

This is a tactic that shows the leaders of Philadelphia are about as sharp as a bowling ball. Worse, this is an action that shows that local leaders are no less likely to throw aside the rule of law as is the Bush Administration. It is the same mindset, the mindset of "we're the boss of you and we don't give a fuck what the law says, we're going to do what we want."

It is un-American. It is a slap in the face of everything that this country was founded upon.

Worse, it shows that the mentality of "laws are for little people to follow" is rampant throughout government. Without knowing a damn thing about anybody involved, I will bet that at least some of them have publicly excoriated the Bush Administration for their flagrant disregard of the law. Yet when it is their turn, it's "fuck the laws, fuck the courts" at its worst.

Governments do not engage in "civil disobedience," as those morons in Philadelphia put it. Governments have police powers, they can arrest people and throw them in jail.

When a government does not obey the law, it is not "civil disobedience."

It is tyranny.

(H/T to Snowflakes in Hell)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Polly Wants to Exercise His Right to Remain Silent

A lost parrot told a veterinarian his address, but the bird refused to talk to the cops.

Arizona McCain & the Fountain of Youth

HK. Because You Suck. And We Hate You.

Tam has the scoop.

(Earlier post)

Bush: Negotiating With Hostile Regimes is Appeasement

That is what Bush and his mouth-breathing lackeys on the Right have been saying.

Too bad the Israelis do not agree with him. Which is why they have been negotiating with Syria, one of the nations that Bush so famously refuses to talk to.

Torture Nation; Part 3

The FBI, which has not been known in the past for caring very much about the niceties of the law, was disturbed enough about the way that the CIA and the military were interrogating their detainees that their objections went all the way up to the National Security Council, which, of course, thought it was just peachy to torture people.

Note that it took years for the objections of the FBI agents to make it up that far and it was only after the shit from Abu Ghraib hit the fan that the upper levels of the FBI passed along the observations and the concerns of the agents. The FBI management waited until the tide of public opinion was starting to shift. It is probably fair to conclude that if the Abu Ghraib photos had not been leaked, the FBI management would have never said anything.

That is not standing up for the rule of law, as the FBI surely would like to portray this story. That is nothing more than institutionalized cowardice.

UPDATE: The FBI agents at Guantanamo opened a "war crimes" file on the interrogation practices. That's not my term for the file, that is what the FBI called it.

The dominoes are falling into place. I feel that it is becoming more and more probable that high-ranking members of the Bush Administration will be prosecuted for their crimes.

Death March, Pt. 3

Obama wins Oregon and Clinton wins Kentucky. Obama now has a majority of the pledged delegates, Clinton sees a gazillion reasons to stay in the race.

Yeah, yeah. What I said here, here and here.

This was, albeit unintentionally, the funniest thing a Clinton supporter has said in a very long time:

"`I think in the end, when South Dakota and Montana go last and have their final result, she will sit back and see whether a win can be achieved or not — and if not, she is a class act and will do the class thing and get on board with the Democratic ticket,' said Jay Jacobs, a Democratic leader on Long Island and a superdelegate and top fund-raiser for Mrs. Clinton."

Ah, not. I wholly disagree. If she were a "class act," she would have done what RoboWillard did and just stop campaigning. Now she can win if she manages to get the Democratic party to re-write the rules and admit the delegates from Michigan and Florida, which broke the fucking rules and where Obama didn't campaign, but where Clinton ran a shadow and illegal campaign effort. Her other chances of winning depend on the political equivalent of winning the Powerball lottery.

Which leads to the conclusion that Clinton's real goal at this point is to position herself for 2012, having done all that she could to hamstring Obama with her Rovian-style campaign.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Do You Now ,Or Have You Ever Disagreed With the Bush Administration on Anything?

Maybe you've made a phone call disparaging George Bush. Maybe you own firearms. Maybe you have protested anything. Maybe you're a civil rights lawyer. Maybe you're a reporter. Maybe you're a blogger or you wrote something disparaging about Bush in an online forum. Maybe you just shot your mouth off in a bar.

They probably know who you are. And they may be planning to arrest you.

Read the article. Then ask yourself why there is no national outrage over this. Why are there no public hearings.

Why is George Bush still president? Why is Dick Cheney still vice president? Why haven't those two Constitution-destroying fucks been locked up for treason?

(H/T to the Alternate Brain)

Dave Barry and Stuff

So as I am getting ready to write this post, I notice that there is one of those annoying "popunder" windows on my computer. I clicked on the box and it was some ad promising to "make my monitor come alive."

Great. Just fucking great. I have enough trouble with live people and critters, now I'm going to have to deal with animate computer peripherals? No thanks.

Where was I? Oh, yes...

Dave Barry doesn't do too many columns these days. But he did do one last month on income taxes. I'm not going to paste in his recommendations on the proper way to deduct the cost of whaling harpoons (go read it). But I will copy his Q&A about the Chimpy Stimulus Payment:

Q. What is an Economic Stimulus Payment?

A. It is money that the federal government will send to taxpayers.

Q. Where will the government get this money?

A. From taxpayers.

Q. So the government is giving me back my own money?

A. Only a smidgen.

Q. What is the purpose of this payment?

A. The plan is that you will use the money to purchase a high-definition TV set, thus stimulating the economy.

Q. But isn't that stimulating the economy of China?

A. Shut up.

Clearing It Up for the Idiots

Keith Olbermann feels sorry for the Wingnuts who automatically assume that "cold-blooded killers" applies to the soldiers.



He asks a good question: Why do they hate our troops?

Bring It On. Really.

President Bush is planning to have an active role in this year's campaign.

"`The president believes very strongly that, if we get out and take our message to voters, that we can be successful,' said White House spokesman Scott Stanzel."



Seventeen out of twenty Americans believe this country is on the wrong track.

(Click to enlarge)

Bush has the highest disapproval ratings (71%) since polling operations began asking that question. Which means that even a lot of Republicans, who may personally like the King of the Baboons, really think he is a fucking idiot. You could spread the Bird Flu around a major city and you would still be more popular than George Bush.

And this guy seriously thinks he can convince people to vote for Republicans? Bush isn't just in a bubble, he is living in either a hermetically-sealed armor-plated room or he is on a constant drip of LSD.

Or he is just retarded.

Bush will help the Republican candidates with the same efficiency and effect that he has helped New Orleans and Iraq. The idea that Bush is going to be flitting about the nation campaigning for Republicans has to strike fear into the hearts of virtually every GOP candidate running for office. The Republican candidates know this, they've lost three special elections for House seats that they should have won, and it's because of George Bush.

The Republicans probably wish that the Mars Landing program were closer to reality and that they could send Bush there, starting last week.

Bush campaigning for Republicans? Oh yeah, bring it on!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Thus Shall It Come To Pass

The dying leader shall know the truth of the opera house.

Battlestar Galactica is the best damn show on television. But since I'm not interested in shows about the psychosexual drama of life in a teaching hospital or mystics/serial killers helping the cops or retards trying for recording contracts or any of that shit, my selection pool is pretty limited.

With the addition of hundreds of cable channels, the wasteland has only gotten vaster.

Gun Stuff

The Marines have nothing on this Red Army sniper.


Next up is a video where you can watch a CNC lathe make solid bullets for the new Barrett rifle. Embedding was disabled on it, so you have to click on this link. The operator shut off the oil spray lube gizmo to be able to film it.

The Royal Carribean Death Penalty

If you complain about them in an on-line forum or a blog, you may be banned for life from ever going on a Royal Carribean cruise.

"Royal," indeed. "Off with their heads!"

I don't get cruising, I truly don't. I don't see the fun in going to a vacation spa that can both catch on fire and sink. I sure don't see the attraction in a spa where, if things suck, you can't whistle up a cab, go to the airport and go home.

"Woo-hoo, we're on a big boat." Big fucking deal, these folks will pay you to do that. Though the accommodations may not be as nice, the ports-of-call can be a bit sketchy, you can't drink booze on the ships and the cruise lengths are longer, they'll still pay you.

Great One-Word Description


Need I say more?

(Found at Mock, Paper, Scissors)

The "Father of Reaganomics" Says....

... that the greatest threat to the United States at the current time comes from the Right, for they are people who profess to love the United States, while they are trying to destroy the Constitution.

"Conservatives have confused loyalty to country, which is loyalty to the Constitution, with loyalty to the Bush Regime."

No fucking shit, Sherlock. People like me have been saying this since the first of Bush's "security" initiatives were made public in 2001. It was brutally clear when Bush put out a "military order" which authorized the first go-around of the military commission system. Some conservatives, such as William Safire, saw this for what it was and spoke out against it. But most just stood behind Bush and applauded as Der Monkey Fuhrer began to dismantle the rule of law and turn this nation into a nation of torturers.

So now some conservatives are starting to wake up.

Welcome to the party, pal.

Practice, Practice

It was threatening rain yesterday when I went flying. I went up for about fifteen minutes around the local area to get the oil warm, then I returned for a series of landings. When you're flying an airplane with a tailwheel, what is important is not just touching down on the runway, but controlling the airplane throughout the rollout on the runway.

So what you do are full-stop landings. If you are at an airport that has long enough runways, you can do "stop and goes," otherwise you pull off the runway and taxi back to the end. The airport I fly from doesn't have a long runway, so that is what I do. And that is what I did yesterday for about eight circuits of the traffic pattern.

It's not the easiest thing to do to the engine; it's "full rich" operation the whole way. You're going from full power to altitude, slow cruise in the downwind and then partial/idle power on the way down, and that repeats every six minutes or less. Aircraft engines last the longest with you're at a decent cruise power with the engine properly leaned.

Still, it's good practice from time to time.

Maaa! Keith's being mean to meeee! Make him stooooppp!

That's the basic theme of Bill O'Reilly's use of Fox and its bosses to try and get back at GE. The Bald Bombast is attacking GE because GE owns NBC, NBC owns MSNBC and MSNBC's cable channel runs "Countdown with Keith Olbermann."

Whining to one's corporate mother is indeed the sign of a coward and a bully.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sheep Shonnie Nonnie

(This is a bit of a delayed commentary on the little brouhaha between Matthews and Kevin James, some Wingnut turdlet)



I once knew an Albanian woman. When she got mad at someone, she would let loose with a torrent of Albanian invective. One of the phrases she would yell sounded like "sheep shonnie nonnie." I have no idea what that means, but I gathered it was the sort of phrase that, if uttered to another Albanian, might well have led to someone suddenly coming down with a bad case of bullet wounds.

If I were to yell "sheep shonnie nonnie" at someone, I would be in the same situation as that turdlet was in when he was throwing around the word "appeaser." James had no idea what the term "appeaser" meant, he had no idea what happened during the Munich negotiations in 1938 or what Prime Minister Chamberlain did that was termed "appeasement." All James knew was that calling someone an "appeaser" was a bad thing.

That is partially what is wrong in this country today: We have people throwing around terms as pejoratives with no absolutely fucking clue what they are talking about. As a result, we now have people like Kevin James and George Bush who seem to think that "discussions" and "diplomacy" are synonymous with "appeasement." If diplomacy is appeasement, then Nixon appeased the Chinese when he went to China in 1972. Nixon appeased the Soviets when he negotiated the SALT I treaty in 1972. Reagan was an appeaser when he met with Gorbachev at the Reykjavik Summit in 1986.

Words have power. But they also have meaning. When people bandy about words and phrases with faint or no regard for what those words and phrases mean, then they debase both the discussion and themselves. They show themselves to be bereft of ideas and understanding, they can only throw around words like a gorilla throws feces at other gorillas.

George W. Bush uses words such as "appeasement" and "freedom" and "liberty" and "sacrifice" with no concept as to what those words mean. He really and truly is the Chimperor, for all he does is fling rhetorical shit at those who oppose him.

How Fucking Stupid Do You Have to Be?

To do something like this:

An American soldier used a copy of the Quran for shooting practice.

Imagine, if you will, that a Muslim soldier had gone into a church, taken down the image of Christ on the Cross, and then used that for target practice. You would hear no end of the outrage from people such as that Republican toady who is the head of the Catholic League, who, I will bet if he were asked about this incident, would call it "no big deal."

"Disciplined," yes indeedy. Sending someone home from Iraq, now that's punishment.

Stupid shit like that makes it clear that the U.S. Army is an army of occupation. That's the sort of act one expects from an occupier whose task is to place a boot on the neck of the locals and press them to the ground. That's not the act of a friend or an ally.

Stupid shit like that gets people killed.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Late on Caturday

For the last post of the day:


I have enough old towels, both from my use and from a friend, that I can put towels on most of my furniture and have spares to put on the furniture while the ones that were in use are being washed. Usually I'll fold up the washed towels until they are put back on the furniture, but if I'm running late, I'll just dump them next to my desk. When I do that, one of the cats often will find it an irresistible place to lie down.

This time, it was Jake's turn.

Wow!

Big Brown just won the Preakness Stakes.

I'm not a horse-racing fan, but Big Brown made that race look easy. It was a thing of beauty to watch.

The Stampede of the Converts

Don't be surprised if this photo results in a large number of people converting to every other religion in existence (or becoming atheists).

The slogans almost write themselves.

The Aerial Terror Threat

The idea is that the terrorists are going to come into this country, buy crop-dusting helicopters and load up the spray tanks with chemical or biological agents. Then the terrorists will fly those crop-dusters up to big buildings, hover near the intakes for the air conditioning systems and spray the CBW agents into the intakes. The terrorists would fly from one building to another, like some huge poison-dispensing bumblebee.

That probably sounds like a bad cable movie plot that is too cheesy even for Fox to produce. Even the Scifi Channel wouldn't touch it for one of their Saturday "most dangerous night on television" movies. But that is what the Department of Rodina Homeland Security and the FBI came up with a few years ago.

This is no shit. Your tax dollars at work.

(H/T to Schneier on Security)

Caturday

George takes no chances.


I'm really surprised that this shot came out. In order not to get the "light saber eyes" effect, I did not use the flash. The exposure time was one second. I have found it far more difficult to get a good picture of George than of my other cats, so I am pretty pleased with this one.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Tears

This is the opening sequence to the documentary One Six Right:



It never fails to put a lump in my throat.

But do yourself a favor: Go to the YouTube page here and watch it in full-screen mode.

Those are some beautiful airplanes. I'll probably never get to fly a P-51. I've flown a J-3, though, and it was just marvelous.

I make no claim to be any kind of super-duper pilot. I am an amateur, a weekend pilot. Yet my eyes are always drawn to the sky, whether it is clear blue or slate gray. When I see an airplane fly over, it is almost automatic to identify its type estimate its course, speed and altitude. I'll watch the Cessnas and Pipers flying 2,000' overhead the same way I'll note an airliner leaving a contrail against a blue sky, the sunlight glinting from its skin as twilight settles across the ground. and if the sight is accompanied by the sound of old radial engines, the thrill goes right to my bones.

One day, many years ago, I was in a large public park at an open-air festival, when a Grumman Tigercat flew by overhead.


The Tigercat was probably going from one distant airshow to another and I was thrilled to see it fly by. But I noticed that almost everyone around me didn't take note of that airplane, they didn't appreciate the fine lines of the airplane or the music of its two engines. I didn't feel superior to them, I didn't feel better for them. I felt sad for them, that their souls could not appreciate what had been offered.

Airplanes are music to my soul.

Lots and Lots of Airplanes!




The designer's website.
I couldn't get the animation page to load, but YMMV.

100 years ago, this was high-tech in aviation:


Now, air transportation is basically not a hell of a lot more glamorous than an old intercity rail trip. All first-class mail goes by air for any great distances.

At the beginning of the 19th Century, you could not cross this continent by land; California was further away from New York than was Moscow. At the beginning of the 20th Century, you could get from New York to California in five days or so by rail. Now you can do it in five hours and I will bet that the inflation-adjusted price is far less than a coach-class rail ticket was a hundred years ago.

Sometimes it helps to stop and take a look back at how much things have changed in a very short span of time.

King Abdullah to Bush: "Go Fuck Yourself."

Saudi Arabia rejected Bush's plea to increase oil production.

$127/bbl oil suits the Saudis just fine, it seems.

Of, for the days when those two lovers held hands and walked through the Texas bluebonnets...



I guess King Abdullah did indeed know how to quit him.

How Our Media Is Failing You

They are not reporting the story that the Administration and Petraeus's drum-beating of "Iran, Iran, Iran" has fallen apart because they have not been able to show the evidence. The Iraqi government has not been convinced by the allegations (after all, they have good relations with Iran) and the purported cache of Iranian supplies consisted of nothing of the sort.

You won't see much of this in the New York Times, which despite years of experience with the lies of the Bush Administration, seemed to be swallowing the "Iran is to blame" line with a wide open throat. Their reporter, Michael Gordon, seems to be particularly willing to dish out to the Times's readers whatever load of tripe the Pentagon serves up.

Bet you haven't seen much of this story, either. As it is confirmed by two men with opposite political agendas, Doug Feith and Wesley Clark, it is probably true.

(H/T to Main & Central)

Oh, the Humanity

John Cole is right. I could watch this for hours.



Normally I don't care for Chris Matthews's show. It tends to be just too much blathering for my taste. But here, he did a masterful takedown of a Right-wing windbag who is all mouth and no intelligence.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Brava, Hillary

"President Bush’s comparison of any Democrat to Nazi appeasers is both offensive and outrageous on the face of it, especially in light of his failures in foreign policy. This is the kind of statement that has no place in any presidential address and certainly to use an important moment like the 60th anniversary celebration of Israel to make a political point seems terribly misplaced. Unfortunately, this is what we’ve come to expect from President Bush."

(More from WaPo)

That is spot on and Hillary should be commended for that by every thinking person in this nation, not just Democrats. Our Dipshit-in-Chief's inane comments are even more outrageous when you consider that ol' Prescott Bush, the Chimperor's grandfather, had rather cozy business ties to Germany right up to the time that Hitler declared war on the U.S. on December 11, 1941.

Secretary of Defense is an Appeaser of Fascism!

I swear, you just can't make this shit up:

George Bush states that negotiating with Iran is akin to appeasement of Hitler
.

Meanwhile, the Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, wants to have greater contacts and talks with Iran.

Those guys can't even get on the same page. Most situation comedies have at least one character who is a complete idiot. The Bush Administration would be a riotous sitcom if only their bumbling hadn't cost the lives of 4,000 American soldiers, over 100,000 Iraqi civilians, and resulted in over a half-million American soldiers with open wounds, closed brain injuries and PTSD.

I Did Not Write These Words

Honest. This wasn't me.

"Good God. What is wrong with her? The Clintons and their campaign staff don't give a damn that they are now hurting our electoral chances in the fall against McCain and against the Republicans in Congress."

More here.

But I agree with it. The Clinton campaign is Eight Bells after she broke her ankles. The Clinton campaign is fighting on like the Black Knight in "Monty Python & the Holy Grail."



Clinton is in "I'll bite your legs off" mode. Which is probably why Obama is focusing his rhetoric on McBush.

McCain: Every Child Will Receive a Free Pony!

Which is about the only thing that McBush didn't promise.

Among McCain's list of things he promises during his proposed presidency: War over. Low inflation. Energy independence. No terrorist attacks. Flat tax. Affordable health care.

But note that he made no promise to reduce deficit spending or to try and reduce the Federal debt.

McBush. McSame. Same old "run up the credit cards and stick our kids with the bill" economics.

Where Is Bill Frist ?

A 9-year-old girl who went to hospital in central Greece suffering from stomach pains was found to be carrying her embryonic twin, doctors said Thursday.

So where is Bill Frist to proclaim that he looked at a videotape and that the embryo is viable? You can bet your ass that if this story happened in the U.S., that the GOP would be tripping over itself to pass special legislation for the poor (white) embryo.

Standing Up For the Rule of Law

A number of military officers have put the rule of law and the Constitution ahead of their own careers. That is why the military commission system in Guantanamo has not been able to function effectively.

More here.

Note, however, that you will see a conspicuous absence of star-wearing officers in this story. But I've beaten that horse before.

Get Serious, Specter

Sen. Specter is continuing with his concerns about alleged spying by the New England Patriots.

For the love of (insert name of your deity here)! The Bush Administration has been engaged in all manners of illegal spying on Americans. Specter has has done nothing to curb that. Oh, he has put on a good show, but when it comes time to actually do anything, Arlen Specter has shown all the strength of a soggy cardboard box.

Gee. After Specter gets done with the Patriots, I presume that he will hold hearing into allegations that Girl Scout troops have been stealing cookie-selling strategies from each other.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Yow!

Keith Olbermann was in fine form lambasting Bush for his lies and spin. He ended with showing that Bush even lied about quitting golf.

He is right, though he didn't put it this way: Bush is just insane. (Maybe that is why the GOP has adopted the same marketing slogan used by an antidepressant.)

(I'll embed the video once it's available. If you can't wait, go see it at Crooks & Liars.)

Ah, here we go (don't be shocked if it plays some damn commercial first):

News for the Clueless; Iraq Edition

The U.S. has cut ties to Ahmad Chalabi because of his Iranian contacts.

No fucking shit, geniuses. Chalabi has been playing his own game for a very long time. The neocons who were gulled by his lies and false assurances were nothing more than a pack of useful idiots to Chalabi's ambitions. He is a con artist and a fraud. Allegations that Chalabi has been either playing a game with Iran or is a full-blown Iranian agent have been around for years.

Chalabi was like one of those quislings that conquering powers have set up in captive nations for thousands of years, but because the Bush Administration lost its nerve and tried to impose a democracy, even the Iraqis were not going to trust that greasy little fuck.

With any luck, Chalabi will soon be wearing a blindfold and die with the Arabic word for "fire" ringing in his ears.

More International Crimes of the Bush Administration.

The involuntary sedation of people being deported, not for medical reasons, not because they pose a risk, but solely because the brownshirts at ICE (formerly INS) feel like it.

As violations of international law go, this pales in comparison to aggression and torture. But this is the sort of shit that the KGB used to routinely do.

The Bush Administration has turned this nation into the world's most powerful pariah state. If Barack Obama is the next president, he will have an Augean task in cleaning up the messes made by the troupe of grinning thugs in this administration. If, on the other hand, John McBush is the next president, it will be fascism as usual.

Freedom. It's Gone. Get Used To That.

UPDATE: Badtux has commented that the source of this story is suspect. I'm not taking it down, though, for that is futile, given that there are places that cache web pages. Anyway, I wrote it, it stays up.

UPDATE II: I have found no corroboration. But what I wrote does express my opinion of the security apparatus in this nation, so I'm leaving it up, albeit marked-out in spots. Rule #2 applies.

-------------------------------

So a college student gives a a talk about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to a bunch of Boy Scouts. And for saying that those are important documents and that our freedoms are at risk from the Federal government, he gets a visit from the Gestapo, in which they threaten to destroy his career.

No, I am not lining that out. The Department of Homeland Security is the Gestapo nowadays. Talking about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights is now, to the Gestapo, the same as committing acts of espionage and terror.

Let me state that, again:

If you talk about freedom and liberty in terms that are not flattering to Der Monkey Fuhrer, the Department of Homeland Security will accuse you of being a terrorist and a spy.

Other than degree, how are they different from the Gestapo and the KGB?


The Bush Administration has thoroughly betrayed the legacy bequeathed to us by the Founding Fathers. The Bush Administration has betrayed all of those who fought and suffered and endured and died to win our freedoms and liberties and all of those who have fought and died to keep it.

The Bush Administration and their goons in the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and almost every other department within the Federal government have committed treason against the Constitution.

They swore an oath to "preserve and protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." They did not swear an oath to defend "the Homeland" or "George W. Bush."

Their loyalty should properly be to the Constitution, for that is what they swore. They are, therefore, betraying the Constitution.

They are the traitors, not some college kid in East Texas, who had the gall to speak out against the abuses committed by the Bush Administration.

(H/T to One Pissed-Off Veteran)