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

Monday, November 30, 2009

zOMG!!! Socialism!!!1!

Socialist fire departments!



These two guys have also taken on the police and the military

(Posted by request.)

You Gotta Be Shitting Me!

Of all of the issues facing the country (and the planet), guess which burning issue the House Homeland Stupidity Committee is going to hold hearings on? If you guessed "the White House party crashers", award yourself the Gold Star for Cynicism:
The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee has called the Secret Service director and the couple who crashed a White House state dinner to testify at a hearing this Thursday.
Yeah, that's a burning issue, all right, one that will take all of six minutes for the Director of the SS to fix: "All you fuckers had better remember next time to double-check the guest list or you'll find yourself permanently assigned to the sub-sub-sub field office in Freeze Yer Nuts Off, Alaska, like Smithers, here. Dress warm, Smithers."

But no. Some moronic publicity hound of a congressman from some pissant state, the one with the lowest educational levels in the nation, is going to glom onto this issue as a way of getting his ugly mug on the cable news shows.

The Hard Bigotry of Old Europe

Another country where "freedom" means "you are free to think only the way we do":
Switzerland today became the first country in Europe to vote to curb the religious practices of Muslims when a referendum banning the construction of minarets on mosques was backed by a solid majority.

The surprise result, banning minarets in a country that has only four mosques with minarets and no major problems with Islamist militancy, stunned the Swiss establishment, which was bracing itself for a backlash in the Middle East.
So, what is next for Switzerland? ID cards that identify the holder as Muslim, perhaps? Maybe making them wear identifying symbols on their clothing?

Care to bet that there will be no shortage of Wingnuts in this country who will applaud the Swiss for their religious intolerance?

Laptop Help

I need to buy a new one. It's going to be a Winders machine (AppleBots and LinuxHeads, don't even start with me).

Question: XP or Windows 7? My only concern is that XP is going off extended support in less than five years (my current laptop is six years old). I'd rather not be in a position where I have to buy one because the OS is timing out.

There are some decent sales today, I need advice.

Looking for a Post on Tiger Woods?

Then go elsewhere. I really don't give a shit about any of the "sports stars", as long as they aren't out committing major felonies.

Oh, the Fiscal Hypocrisy!

WASHINGTON - A day before he is scheduled to announce a new strategy in Afghanistan, President Obama is under increasing pressure to explain how his administration intends to pay the rising costs of military operations in Afghanistan, which average about $3.6 billion per month.

Both Republicans and Democrats pressed the issue yesterday, previewing the political minefield that Obama will face when he addresses the nation from West Point tomorrow. Key Republicans said they intend to support him on his expected plan to send more troops, but called on him to curb domestic spending on items they oppose.
You didn't see any of those "key Republicans" uttering a peep between 2000 and 2009 about the cost of the wars or fretting about how to pay for either the wars or the costs of caring for wounded veterans for the next 90 years. Nope, they were silent as church mice as George W. Bush became the first president to wholly fund two wars on the national credit cards. No special war taxes or excise taxes or even war bond drives. No calls to conserve resources, none of that "share the cost" shit from ol' Chimpy, it was "go shopping and have a good time, America, for the end of Days is coming anyway, so who cares about that long-term deficit shit."

But now, oh, see the GOP wail about the cost and how "it must be paid for" by cutting social services in the middle of a severe recession. The health care debate is not going to get put aside, as Sen. Lugar wants. Putting aside the health care debate means killing it, and that is what the Senators from the Health Insurance Industry party of Hoover want to do.

GOP Presidential Candidate Commuted Sentence of Suspected Cop-Killer

Mike Huckabee was the guy who let the perp who is suspected of capping four cops yesterday out of prison, where the perp was doing a 95-year stretch:
Clemmons, who had a lengthy prison sentence commuted by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee nearly a decade ago, became the prime target Sunday in the search for the killer of Lakewood Police Sgt. Mark Renninger, 39; and Officers Ronald Owens, 37; Tina Griswold, 40; and Greg Richards 42.
Huckabee is going to find out what it feels like to be "Willie Hortoned" by his competitors for the nomination next time around.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I Told You Not To Trust Those Fuckers.

I did, indeed. I told you not to trust those fuckers behind Battlestar Galactica. I said so here and here and here.

But no, people had to go and get the DVD for "The Plan" anyway. And there are regrets being expressed.

Fools, all of them. The series finale was the biggest ass-fucking ever given to a loyal viewing audience since the "it was only a dream" fuck-over of "Dallas".

I reserve the right to (a) dump heavy amounts of snark and scorn on anyone who is gullible enough to watch either "The Plan" or "Caprica"; or (b) sell them a timeshare on Kobol.

A Libertarian Vacation Paradise



(H/T to a friend)

Get Real on Unicom

There is probably some stupid shit in the Airman's Information Manual or other aviation books about using call signs on Unicom at uncontrolled airports. Pay no heed to them.

First off, nobody, other than maybe the person at the desk, cares what your call sign is. It's not as though anyone is going to get close enough to read it in the pattern.

What is important is what kind of airplane you are flying and where you are. Hearing "1234 Tango is downwind" tells everyone else on the frequency nothing. If you see another airplane on downwind, you have no idea if it is 34 Tango. But if you hear "Cessna on downwind", at least you'll know if you see a Cherokee that there is another airplane out there. If your airplane is painted a color other than predominantly white, it wouldn't hurt to mention that as well.

Ditch the call signs, though.

And, for the love of God, if you have one of those airplanes with a long-bladed controllable-pitch prop, don't push the blue knob in until you are on final with your power well back. Nobody living around the airport wants to hear that ear-splitting screech and it just shows everyone that you are a brain-dead putz.

It also wouldn't hurt, on departure, to pull the prop back just 100rmp or so after you've raised the gear and you are 1,000' AGL or so.

Don't Fuck With Santa

For you do so at your peril.

One In Four Children

One in four children are receiving food stamps. One in eight adults are, as well.

This map of unemployment by county may suggest why
. If you push "play", you can see many counties go from nearly full employment to 10% unemployment and worse.

At Least This Guy Wasn't Reportedly Yelling "Allahu Akbar"

Four cops were gunned down this morning at a coffee shop in a suburb of Tacoma, Washington.

All four were wearing body armor, which says to me that the shooter was either using a weapon that was powerful enough to blow through a kevlar vest or he was calm enough to engage four armed cops and head-shoot all of them. I wouldn't want to bet any serious money on this guy living long enough for a trial.

What Do They Call It When They Yank a M.D.'s License

They "disbar" lawyers and "defrock" priests. Do they "de(white)coat" them? Deboard them?

Any suggestions? (It's warmed up and I am off to the airport.)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

At Least He Wasn't Yelling "Allahu Akbar"

For if he was, you'd have heard a lot more about this creep who was building pipe bombs in Ohio.
A former neighbor said Campano had a stream of creepy visitors to his apartment and often railed against the government.
So, let's recap what we've learned: Anti-government Wingnut builds pipe bombs and the national reaction is "meh." But oh, if he had been a Muslim, care to bet how many hours of coverage Fox News would be dedicating to it?

Wanted! Dead or Alive!

The cops are on the lookout for ol' Bullwinkle J. Moose.

A MAN arrested for allegedly murdering his wife has been cleared - after cops pinned the blame on a MOOSE.
That ignoramus act of his was pretty convincing. It fooled a lot of people.

It Was True 13 Years Ago

Lawrence Krauss wrote an opinion piece 13 years ago that contained this quote:
[T]he increasingly blatant nature of the nonsense uttered with impunity in public discourse is chilling. Our democratic society is imperiled as much by this as any other single threat, regardless of whether the origins of the nonsense are religious fanaticism, simple ignorance or personal gain.
It is even more true today. We have recently finished eight years of a presidency in which the chief executive was a religious fanatic who was a scientific know-nothing and whom took great pride in his ignorance. His political party may very well choose, as its candidate in 2012, a woman who, in comparison to George W. Bush, makes him look like a Carnegie-Mellon physicist.

When it comes to religion, people are entitled to believe whatever the hell they want, no argument. What they are not entitled to is their own facts. They are not entitled to cloak their religious beliefs with the the law. They are not entitled to ram their religious ideology down the throats of others.

When they use their ideology as the basis for policy decisions, then they endanger us all. I have very little doubt that George Bush's famed indifference to the fate of the planet had much to do with his apparent religious belief that the end of days is very near. We wasted almost a decade of effort to mitigate climate change because that ignorant bag of spooge was putrefying in the Oval Office. Thanks to the delays foisted upon us by Bush's ignorance (and Cheney's greed), the effort will be harder and more costly.

Palin seems to be cut of the same cloth, a despoiler of the world because she thinks it will end soon.

The Bushification of Canada, Part 2

They say they are going to change the ordinance, but I'm betting that they are just trying to run the clock out. Or, in plain-speech, they are lying.
The [Vancouver] ordinance prohibits the posting of signs that aren’t approved by the city, except for those celebrating the 2010 Winter Olympics. The law applies in a 40-block area downtown.

The city also won provincial approval giving enforcement officials the right to enter private homes and businesses on 24- hours’ notice and remove any offending signs at the owner’s expense. An earlier law required two weeks’ notice.
If I lived there, I'd be really tempted to paint the side of my house with the Pepsi logo on one side and "Coke Sucks, Support Freedom of Speech" on the other side. It's really amusing how almost every government that trumpets "freedom of speech" interprets that to mean "speech we agree with, otherwise, shut the frell up."

I once thought Canada was a bastion of freedom and liberty. But it seems that they will sell their ideas out for Olympic gelt as fast as possible.

The Bushification of Canada

Canadian customs goons are now asking foreign reporters what they are going to cover. They seem to be really paranoid that somebody is going to write something nasty about the 2010 Winter Olympics.

They must have been taking lessons from either our Department of Homeland Stupidity or from the Soviet Union's customs inspectors.

News Flash: Egotistical, Self-Absorbed Elderly Blowhard Mulls Over Running for the U.S. Senate

Admittedly, the title of this blog post doesn't limit the field very much. But in this case, it is about the Green Party of CT is "trying" to persuade a certain bag of pus named Ralph Nader to run for the U.S. Senate next year. Nader's main political impact is to work to ensure that Republicans get elected by siphoning off just enough votes from Democrats to ensure a GOP victory.

So you can be sure that if he does run, the Republicans will pump just enough money his way to make certain he has some impact on the contest.

Friday, November 27, 2009

No Surprise to This Study's Results


Domino's Scientists Test Limits Of What Humans Will Eat

Also:

9 Drawn & Quartered at a Renaissance Fair.
Unfortunately, those clowns in the "Free Credit Report dot Com" commercials were not among the victims.

Support Your Local Child Rapist

At least if he is some famous director:
Nothing will repair the days he has spent in prison. Nothing will erase the immense, unbelievable injustice he has been subjected to. Nothing will take away the hysteria of those ones who have never stopped pouring contempt upon him, hounding him through hatred and asking for his punishment as if we were living the darkest and most ferocious hours of the McCarthysm era all over again.
Roman Polanski drugged, raped and sodomized a 13-year old girl. John Cole has the right of it. This willingness of the self-styled intellectuals and auteurs to overlook just what Polanski did because he is one of them is simply disgusting. I have no doubt that many of the same people who are tripping over themselves to embrace Polanski would recoil in horror if they had to shake the hand of a pedophile such as the late John J. Geoghan.

Hypocrites, the lot of them.

The Annual Running of the Morons

So, did any of you Gentle Readers participate in the human stampedes "doorbusters" of Black Friday? I saw that J.C. Penney was opening at 4AM; the first people through the doors at that ungodly hour should have been trucked right to the local Dim Bulb Warehouse. The executives who decided to open at that time (all of whom were probably home asleep at 0400) should have been shot.

They'd have to be selling $100 bills for $5 apiece (limit, one thousand per customer) in order to get me out to stand in that line.

On the other hand, maybe we need a gazillion people to go out and spend heedlessly, since Dubai is kind of defaulting on $59 billion in debt. Though, when you have that level of debt, they'll call it anything other than a "default" and they'll be more than happy to do what it takes, even if it is "extend and pretend" that it will be repaid. Good luck doing that with your mortgage or credit cards, though.

Update: Some of the news reports said that brainwashed imbeciles people began lining up at some Best Buy stores at noon on Thursday in order to save a few clams on laptops. If a potential guest told me that he couldn't come to Thanksgiving dinner because he was going to stand on line overnight at some big-box store, well, I don't think I'd be associating with them on a regular basis.

Plunderers of the Poor

Remind me, please, why it was so necessary to bail out AIG at 100 cents on the dollar and to allow them to hand out huge-ass bonuses to the crews of those financial pirates. I am not really seeing a reason as to why we shouldn't have instituted a financial version of the Terror:
Middlesboro and Clinton are two tiny, impoverished towns in southern Kentucky with a combined population of 12,000. In 2008, Middlesboro's per capita income was $13,189 a year, only a few hundred dollars more than the average worker earned in third-world Mexico. That is if they were lucky to even get a job. Real unemployment hovers somewhere around 30%, and the state is so broke that half the people eligible for unemployment benefits can't receive them. Life may be tough and most people live in poverty, but that doesn't mean they can't be made a little poorer. That's the lesson locals learned after bailed-out insurance villain AIG took over their water utility and instantly raised rates to squeeze an extra $1 million in profits out of its new customers, forcing some to consider choosing between running water and food.
I know, "capitalism" and "free market" and so on. But there is no such thing as a free market in the supply of water and sewage services. Those utilities around the nation (and, for that matter, our roads) were built by public companies with public money. To now allow a bunch of vampiric pirates, such as AIG, to fatten themselves on the bones of those least able to pay is beyond immoral.

More From the People Who Think They Are The Moral Authority

Damning, indeed.
LONDON — The Roman Catholic Church and the police in Ireland systematically colluded in covering up decades of child sex abuse by priests in Dublin, according to a scathing report released Thursday.

The cover-ups spanned the tenures of four Dublin archbishops and continued through to the mid-1990s and beyond, even after the church was beginning to admit to its failings and had professed that it was confronting abuse by its priests.

But rather than helping the victims, the church was concerned only with “the maintenance of secrecy, the avoidance of scandal, the protection of the reputation of the church, and the preservation of its assets,” said the 700-page report, prepared by a group appointed by the Irish government and called the Commission of Investigation Into the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin.

In a statement, the current archbishop, Diarmuid Martin, acknowledged the “revolting story” of abuses that the report detailed, saying, “No words of apology will ever be sufficient.” He added, “The report highlights devastating failings of the past.”
"Of the past," my ass. It went on for decades and the reach back may only be ended because the victims of the far past are all dead. It only became "of the past" because the scandal finally broke in this country and it slowly became unfashionable around most of the Western world to continue to cover up for those saintly kiddie rapers.

And yet, these same frock-wearing child-rapers and their high-ranking protectors think that they have the moral authority to pass judgment on me and people like me, to deny the validity of our existences and to devalue our relationships?

Bullshit.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Alternate Universe Thanksgiving



(H/T)

The Partisan

Enjoy Your Roasted Huexolotlin Today

That is their original Aztec name, where they had been domesticated for centuries before the Spanish invasion. They were brought to Europe from Mexico by the Spaniards in the 16th Century. The birds eventually made it to the Ottoman Empire, where they were known ans "indis" and were raised on farms. Once grown, they were exported to western Europe where, at least in Britain, they became known as "turkeys".

Those live turkeys were then brought back to New England to provide the settlers with a taste of home. Then they were bred with the local varieties and, of course, selective breeding over the centuries have resulted in a bird that is far removed from either the native North America turkeys or their Aztec cousins.

But they are good eating, nonetheless.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Scientific Snark

Reasonably good snark:
The past decade recorded nine of the warmest years in recent history as well as the rapid dwindling of Arctic sea ice, surely the result of imminent global cooling if climate change contrarians are to be believed.
There may be dispute about what to do about climate change, but denying that the climate is changing is a pretty good indicator of Wingnut Know-Nothingism or that one has bought into "the science is not proven" obfuscatory tactics of the oil, gas and coal industries, which is a tactic remarkably similar to those employed by Big Tobacco for decades.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Anyway...

All I have to do now is grab the critters, put them into their carriers, and I am leaving for the holiday.

There will probably not be a Caturday post this Saturday.

To my American readers: Happy Thanksgiving!

The Pervert May Make Bail

GENEVA, Switzerland - A Swiss court granted Roman Polanski bail on Wednesday, accepting $4.5 million to allow him to remain under house arrest at his chalet. The director will stay in prison for up to 10 days while the Swiss government decides whether to appeal.
The one amusing note in all of this is that Polanski has spent almost as much time in a Swiss jail as he would have spent in a California one if he had shown up for his sentencing. Earlier stories mentioned that Polanski feared being deported from the U.S., but he effectively deported himself by fleeing.

None of this touches the point that interstate flight is a Federal beef and he could spend a few years on that charge, if the Feds want to push the matter.

The old advice is still true: Don't do the crime if you can't do the time.

So Pretty, And Yet, So Stupid

Dana Perino: "We did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush's term."



Does somebody want to give her a ticket to the observation deck of the World Trade Center, so that she can refresh her memory? Or does she think that someone other than George W. Bush received the Presidential Daily Brief in August of 2001 that said "Bin Ladin Determined to Attack U.S.", perhaps? Maybe it was Al Gore who was reading an upside-down copy of "My Pet Goat" with a class of small children when the World Trade Center was hit?

I am giving her the benefit of the doubt by assuming that she has suffered some sort of drain-bamage. A worse assumption would be that she is taking part in some Wingnut plan to white-wash the Bush presidency.

(H/T)

A National Paper No More

The Washington Post has given up on trying to cover any parts of the country outside of the D.C. Beltway. One might suspect that the Post is going to become even a larger right-wing echo chamber than it has already become.

Other papers are not reciprocating, they have reporters on the ground in Washington.

This Doesn't Happen in France

Nor in most every other industrialized nation. Only in America, it seems, will coming down with an illness result in losing everything. According to those stalwart Republicans in congress, all of whom have the best medical care that the Federal government can provide, this is not a problem.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Do Not Go To a Catholic Hospital

For if you do, and if things go wrong and you wind up in a persistent vegetative state or if you are suffering and want to refuse treatment, they will force treatment upon you.

Because the Catholic bishops think that suffering is good for your soul.

The next step will probably be to ban the use of anesthesia. After all, why limit the benefit of suffering and agony to those in comas?

The Wolf Is Not At My Door

But I can hear him howling off in the distance. So, once I take the time to figure out how to do it, ads will appear on this blog and on Babies in Open. The won't appear on Kill This Character, as that is a group blog and it would not be fair to the others who contribute to it.

I'll spare you the details. They are not worth blogging about. But it's not going to be through Google's AdSense; they forbid linking to sites that sell weapons and ammo. And they forbid "excessive profanity," whatever the fuck that means. Screw that.

And Dick Cheney Will Betray Your Ass, to Boot!



(H/T)

From the "No Shit, Sherlock" Files

As if this is a real surprise to anyone:
British officials heard the "drum beats" of war with Iraq emanating from the US government more than two years before the 2003 invasion and several months before the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Sir John Chilcot's Iraq inquiry has heard.
Next: After an exhaustive and costly investigation, British officials have concluded that the Sun does not truly rise, but the Earth rotates about its axis.

Do You Need to Choose a Religion?

If so, there is a flowchart for that.

(H/T)

Right-Wing Loyalty Tests

"Conservatives", which nowadays are not indistinguishable from Wingnuts who hate democracy, are proposing to have a ten-point loyalty test for Republicans. If you fail to get a passing grade on their loyalty test, they will excommunicate you from the party.

Meanwhile, in Rhode Island
:
Providence Bishop Thomas J. Tobin has forbidden Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy to receive the Roman Catholic sacrament of Holy Communion because of his advocacy of abortion rights, the Rhode Island Democrat said Friday.
I don't care too much if the Republican party wants to continue its forced march into the dumpster of history. The politicians that are purged by the party of Hoover will find a home elsewhere. Eventually, a center-right party will form and the decline of the GOP will become a subject of PhD theses which, like most other theses, will be read by nobody.

The Catholic Church is, on the other hand, playing with fire. One of the oldest and most durable anti-Catholic biases has been the point that the Pope is the head of a foreign state. If the Church is going to start trying to force American Catholic politicians to follow Church doctrine, the question will be once more asked whether Catholic politicians will be loyal to the Church or to the United States of America. It will raise the question as to whether Catholic judges, particularly the six who sit on the Supreme Court, are basing their rulings on American jurisprudence and principles or are they basing their rulings on Church doctrine.

The same questions as to "can one be both a good Muslim and an American citizen" may start being directed towards adherents of the Church of Rome. Islam only has a holy book while Catholicism has a human chain-of-command that leads directly to a foreign potentate. They are playing with fire.

It will also re-open the old question of why the Church was so quiet in the 1930s and 1940s when fascism was washing over Europe.

Google Maps and Driving Directions

I made a trip last weekend. Google Maps gave me directions that saved about four miles over Mapquest, which in turn saved about a mile over the directions I was given by the person who lived there.

Google Maps sucked. Their directions would have taken me to a road with a locked "emergency-only" access gate. Mapquest was slightly better, though their directions involved a bunch of turns over the human-generated directions.

"How do I get there" is still a useful question to ask.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Number of Batshit-Crazy Candidates Only Continues to Grow

Lou Dobbs is mulling over running for either the Senate or the Presidency.

As far as I know, other than a couple of jobs in his early 20s, Dobbs has only had jobs which required that he talk into a microphone about things he knew very little about. Watch how quickly all of the Teabaggers who, up until today, claimed that Barack Obama was "too inexperienced to be President", can shift gears and fall in line behind Dobbs.

Taibbi Reads The Word to the Teabaggers

This is just a part of it:
What the people who are flipping out about the treatment of Palin should be asking themselves is what it means when it’s not just jerks like us but everybody piling on against Palin. For those of you who can’t connect the dots, I’ll tell you what it means. It means she’s been cut loose. It means that all five of the families have given the okay to this hit job, including even the mainstream Republican leaders. You teabaggers are in the process of being marginalized by your own ostensible party leaders in exactly the same way the anti-war crowd was abandoned by the Democratic party elders in the earlier part of this decade. Like the antiwar left, you have been deemed a threat to your own party’s “winnability.”

And do you know what that means? That means that just as the antiwar crowd spent years being painted by the national press as weepy, unpatriotic pussies whose enthusiastic support is toxic to any serious presidential aspirant, so too will all of you afternoon-radio ignoramuses who seem bent on spending the next three years kicking and screaming your way up the eternal asshole of white resentment now find yourself and your political champions painted as knee-jerk loonies whose rabid irrationality is undeserving of the political center. And yes, that’s me saying that, but I’ve always been saying that, not just about Palin but about George Bush and all your other moron-heroes.

What’s different now is who else is saying it. You had these people eating out of the palms of your hands (remember what it was like in the Dixie Chicks days?). Now they’re all drawing horns and Groucho mustaches on your heroes, and rapidly transitioning you from your previous political kingmaking role in the real world to a new role as a giant captive entertainment demographic that exists solely to be manipulated for ratings and ad revenue. What you should be asking yourself is why this is happening to you. Even I don’t know the answer to that question, but honestly, I don’t really care. All I know is that I find it extremely funny.
In the rest, he basically refers to reporters as a bunch of half-dead herd animals who hold the opinions that their masters tell them to hold.

Braaaaains and Jesus

(File under "Blasphemy Я Us")

Update: You have to see this, too.

(I'd give a H/T, but the person involved does not want to be publicly named. )

The Upcoming Lost Decade

As the White House frets about the national debt, Paul Krugman warns that by not stimulating the economy further now, the risk is that the economy will stall out and we will experience a lost decade, as did the Japanese ten to twenty years ago.

I don't know who is right. But I think that I would be far more inclined to trust Paul Krugman over the collection of greedheads on Wall Street who were largely responsible for this current mess.

Inflation may be a future concern, but right now we have a public unemployment rate of 10.2% and a real-world unemployment/underemployment rate that is probably double that, if not higher. People who are nearing retirement age are not planning to retire, not because they like working, but because those fuckers on Wall Street wrecked all of the pension plans. Kids coming out of school are facing the bleakest job market in seventy years and many of them are coming out of school with significant debt burdens that are not going to be paid off by working in the food service industries.

Worrying about future deficits during a severe recession (or a depression) is foolish. That is akin to not putting enough water onto a house fire because you're worried about how difficult it will be to pump out the cellar.

Selling to the Russians

The French will likely sell an amphibious landing ship to Russia, along with a license to build more copies in Russian shipyards.

The Georgians are not happy about this. My prediction: Nobody, outside of the nutter neocons and their propaganda organs (Weekly Standard, Wall Street Journal, Fox News) will give a shit.

My Deck is Melting!

That may be the cry of a CVN, LHA or LPD captain in the next decade, as the V-22 and the F-35B go to sea. Both aircraft blast their jet exhausts downward and can warp the decks of the ships.

Springbored has been blogging about the V-22 for a long time. In his most recent post, he reminded his readers that the Navy is mulling over re-engining the V-22.

I shouldn't be overly shocked by this, but still: Did not not occur to anyone to think about what would happen when a jet engine's exhaust was pointed at at a steel deck?

Update: It's going to take the Navy five years to fix this problem.

(Speaking of bureaucratic chowderheads, the Department of Homeland Security Stupidity can't get enough radiation detectors because those detectors use helium-3, which was a by-product of nuclear weapons manufacturing. We stopped making them 18 years ago, so the stocks of helium-3 have been running out. But nobody at the DHS thought about that.)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Rapers of Children

Up to 10,000 British children were forcibly migrated to Australia from the 1940s to 1967. They were a small part of the over one hundred thousand British kids who were forcibly sent to British colonies over the last two centuries. Many were put into orphanages and work farms and sexually abused.

If you read that story and this one about abuse that went on in Irish orphanages for decades on end, you may notice one common thread: The abusers were, in part, members of a religious order known as the "Congregation of Christian Brothers".

Funny thing: Those who condemn Islam as being a "religion of hate", based on the actions of a small minority of its adherents, are probably never heard to proclaim Christianity to be a "religion of pedophiles".

Swine Flu: The Advantage of Being Older

Between exposure to H1N1 prior to 1957, coupled with immunity based on being immunized against swine flu in 1976, people who were at least toddlers in 1957 are rarely getting the current round of H1N1.

I had heard of the immunities from the `57 and earlier flus, but I had not read anything before that the `76 vaccine was now helping those who had received it.

One More Step

Invoking the memory of Edward M. Kennedy, Democrats united Saturday night to push historic health care legislation past a key Senate hurdle over the opposition of Republicans eager to inflict a punishing defeat on President Barack Obama.
Which is, when you get right down it it, the key reason why the party of Hoover is against this bill.

So did Traitor Joe just stab his friends in the GOP in the back over this?

The legislative equivalent of bribery seems to be the reason some votes were cast, which is why some folks are referring to Sen. Landrieu's vote as "the Lousiana Purchase."
The Senate really has 100 Blanche DuBoises, a full house of characters inclined toward the narcissistic. The health-care debate was worse than most. With all 40 Republicans in lockstep opposition, all 60 members of the Democratic caucus had to vote yes -- and that gave each one an opportunity to extract concessions from Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) won a promise from Reid to support his plan to expand eligibility for health insurance. Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) got Reid to jettison a provision stripping health insurers of their antitrust exemption. Landrieu got the concessions for her money. And [Sen. Blanche] Lincoln (D-Ark.) won an extended, 72-hour period to study legislation.
Nelson's provision has got to go, whether in this bill or any other. The insurers' antitrust exemption is one of the reasons why things are as bad as they are. Those fuckers bleat about "competition" and "the free market", but almost everywhere you go, you'll find that they are not truly competing. You may have two choices for insurance, or even one. There is truly no competition for health insurance. It is an oligarchy and an extremely inefficient and corrupt one at that.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Blowing the Whistle on the Marines Will Get You Fired

That's the take-away for contractors:
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — Marines treated at Camp Lejeune for post-traumatic stress had to undergo therapy for months in temporary trailers where they could hear bomb blasts, machine-gun fire and war cries through the thin walls, according to service members and their former psychiatrist.

The eight trailers were used for nearly two years, until a permanent clinic was completed in September in another location on the base, said a Camp Lejeune medical spokesman, Navy Lt. j.g. Mark Jean-Pierre.

The noise from training exercises “shook me up real bad. I couldn’t take it. I almost ran out of there a couple of times,” said a Marine, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to the media. “My mind couldn’t focus on the treatment. I couldn’t tell the difference between the combat zone and the non-combat zone.”

The allegations became public after the dismissal of Dr. Kernan Manion, a civilian psychiatrist who says he was fired for writing memos to his military superiors complaining of shoddy care of Marines returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with PTSD, a condition that can make patients jumpy, fearful of loud noises and prone to flashbacks.
The other point is an old one: To any military, the soldiers are just widgets, like cannons, rifles or trucks. If one breaks down and they can't repair it on the cheap, they'll just throw it away and get another one. The term used to be "cannon fodder."

The military, at its core, does not want to deal with PTSD or battle fatigue or shell shock. Deep down, they believe that PTSD is a personal weakness, just like failing to do a required number of pushups, and if the soldiers would only toughen up, they'd be fine. If an injury does not manifest itself by either blood or something visible on an X-ray, it doesn't exist to them.

"Support the troops" to the military means supporting the healthy troops. The ones who are injured and will not recover to a duty status become the VA's problem, not theirs.

Caturday

Jake uses this large bed from time to time. It was made to be a dog's bed, but he likes it.


Gracie looks out from the couch, as Jake tried to ignore her.


A cat's eye view of Rocky.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Muwha-ha-HA!

Oh, yeah!
The attorney general of Ohio sued the country’s largest credit rating agencies on Friday, alleging that they had cost state retirement and funds some $457 million by approving high-risk Wall Street securities that went bust in the financial collapse. The case could test whether the agencies’ ratings are constitutionally protected as a form of free speech.

The lawsuit asserts that Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch were in league with the banks and other issuers, helping to design an assortment of exotic financial instruments that led to a disastrous bubble in the housing market.
This could be fun to watch.

Pass the popcorn.

(H/T)

The Stark Choices on Health Care

Either we pass a piece-of-shit bill now and then spend years tinkering with it, or we reject it to "start over", which of course, means "never."

The main villains in this drama are the GOP and the health care insurance industry.

No Shit, Really? -- Economic Edition

The economy and the stock market may be recovering from their swoon, but more homeowners than ever are having trouble making their monthly mortgage payments, according to figures released Thursday.
No fucking shit. Unemployment is high and if you don't have a job, it's pretty fucking hard to make a mortgage payment.

So we have gone from the foreclosures that were part of the Great Mortgage Swindle, as perpetrated by Countrywide and Goldman Sachs (among others) and now we're into the foreclosures that are happening because millions of people have lost their jobs because of the financial collapse that those fraudsters on Wall Street perpetrated.

Make no mistake about it, it was fraud. They knew what they were doing. They knew that the "securities" they were selling had no core value, their sole worth was that some sucker tomorrow would pay more for them than they sold for today. They had every reason to know that the mortgage companies were creating a huge bubble by deliberately giving mortgages to people who couldn't pay them, which was all done on the sheer speculation that the housing market would go up forever. I say "deliberately", because when the banks were making loans without requiring any proof of ability to pay or any asset verification, then the whole thing was set up to be gamed. It was fraud, a real estate backed Ponzi scheme.

The people who put those deals together made a shitload of cash. Everyone else, even people who had no part in any of it, got screwed. That is why the "official" unemployment rate is 10.2% and the real unemployment rate may even be twice as high.

No fucking shit.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Charles Schumer is a Bombastic Imbecile

Other than the backstabbing part, he's just as much a media hog as Traitor Joe:
Sen. Charles Schumer said Thursday that the Pan Am Flight 103 bomber should be transferred back to a Scottish prison.

Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the terminally ill Libyan bomber released last summer has lived longer than the three months upon which his release was contingent.
Yeah, that'll happen. Ghaddafi will put that guy on an airplane to Scotland about the day after el Rushbo gives a blow job to Al Sharpton. Statements like Schumer's go to show why people equate the term "politician" with "overly self-important media-hogging asshole."

The Children of the Stars

That would be you and me. We are the children of the stars, for virtually every atom in our bodies, in our homes, our vehicles, even the air that we breathe, was created in the first stars to form in the Universe and the ones formed afterwards, for billions of years. The cores of those stars formed all but the very lightest elements, which then blew apart in massive explosions, spreading those elements across the Universe.

Then, nearly five billion years ago, a molecular cloud coalesced into the Sun, the planets, and the rest of the stuff that makes up our solar system. From the stuff that coalesced into our planet, and from the stuff that collided with it, came everything on our planet including mineral deposits, the seas, the atmosphere and, eventually us.

Pretty amazing.

And, from all of that time and evolutionary processes, we developed into a species that is at least partially obsessed with the doings of some semi-intelligent aging bimbo from a state that freezes over for eight months each year. Which is pretty fucking pathetic, when you think about it.

Why the Executives of Cigna Health Should Be Flogged With Tire Chains

The really rusty kind, with lots of old road salt encrusted on them.

This is why.

A Clear Majority of Republicans are Batshit-Level Insane

52% of Republicans believe that ACORN stole the popular vote for Obama. The nutters in the GOP are glossing over one small problem:
In order to believe that Obama wasn't the true winner of the 2008 election, one would have to think that ACORN (and perhaps other groups) stuffed ballots to the tune of over 9.5 million votes, Obama's national margin.
"Batshit crazy" doesn't even begin to touch it. How does one govern a nation when a significant percentage of the electorate are either certifiably insane or are retarded?

Graphical History

The Minard Chart of Napoleon's invasion of Russia. It is too large to embed.

Note that Napoleon set off with 422,000 men. By the time Moscow burned, he had lost 3/4ths of them. The retreat was in freezing temperatures, down to below -20degF. One half of what was left of his army was lost in the retreat across the Berezina River.

You can see why the spectre of Napoleon was haunting the German Army during the winter of 1942-43.

Stewart and Dobbs

Lou Dobbs appeared on the Daily Show last night. The interview went very long, all three parts are on the Internet.

You should at least watch the opening minute of part 1.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Lou Dobbs Extended Interview Pt. 1
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You can find the rest of the interview here. One of the funnier lines in the first part was, when Lou Dobbs said that CNN wanted to go in a new direction, Jon Stewart said that CNN's new direction seemed to be "down".

Fiscal Crybabies

The GOP, as columnist Froma Harrop explains.
There hasn’t been a balanced budget since the last Democratic administration. During the Bush years of mindless tax-cutting, the national debt doubled, and GOP claims to fiscal rectitude became a bizarre joke. The last fig leaf fell off this summer when Republicans demagoged efforts to save over $100 billion by ending subsidies for the private Medicare Advantage health plans.

Here was the lowest-hanging fruit in the fastest-growing federal program. It was something most Medicare beneficiaries would barely notice was gone, yet Republicans hollered that Democrats were pulling the plug on Grandma.

That dashed any residual Republican pretenses that George W. Bush had led them astray on spending, and a lesson was learned. Clearly, they’re not changing a thing.

Yep.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"We're Sorry We've Raped the Economy!" {sniff}

That seems to be the subtext of Goldman Sach's brand-new plan to spend $500 million to "help" small businesses.

I put the word "help" in quotation marks for two reasons. First, Goldman Sachs has to be smoking crack if they think that anyone will believe for a millisecond that this plan was in the works before their PR image started taking huge hits.

Second, note that 60% of that money will be in the form of "grants and loans" to small businesses. Which probably means that they will give about fifty bucks in grants and the rest will be loans. That, of course, will make the Giant Evil Vampire Squid That is Goldman Sachs even still more money to hand out as bonuses.

Unemployment is up, people are being kicked out of their houses, investors lost a shitload of money and the party of Hoover is doing everything it can to obstruct and delay help for people down on their luck, but Wall Street is raking it in. Again. The real stick in the eye to the American people is that Wall Street used money they borrowed from the Treasury at virtually no interest in order to do it.

Idiots

A speaker at an anti-immigration rally in St. Paul, Minnesota, this past weekend got the crowd to support more than just the deportation of all illegal immigrants -- he got them cheering for the eviction of all European-descended immigrants to America who "stole this land through genocide and ethnic cleansing."
There is a video embedded in the story. My favorite part was, after he whipped up the crowd, he got them to chant "Columbus go home!"

(H/T)

Remember When

Remember when the Right was sooo upset that the DBP might be evaluating and monitoring far-Wingnuts as security threats? They were completely spazed out at the idea that the DBP would consider as potential threats the same folks as those who have bombed abortion clinics, shot at minorities and blew up the Murrah Building.

But when it comes to other people, well, they want to "profile away."

Don't you just love the smell of blatant hypocrisy in the morning?

Airbus, Boeing and the Tanker Contract

Airbus's win at the Federal Court of Claims to overturn the award of a new Air Force aerial tanker contract to Boeing has been overturned on appeal. (Alabama Aircraft Industries is the Airbus puppet company final assembly company for Airbus.)

I Got Plenty of Nothing

At least when it comes to blogging this morning.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Did Anyone Else Not Receive the "Hell Has Frozen Over" Memo?

WASHINGTON, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- U.S. Senate Democrats have broken a Republican filibuster on a federal appellate court nomination President Barack Obama made in March.
Yep. Hell must have frozen over for this to have happened. I guess Joe Lieberman couldn't figure out a way to stab somebody in the back over it.

Remember all of that GOP outrage about giving judicial nominees an "up or down vote"? They were so adamant about that for all of the time that the Tsar of the Baboons was in office. Funny how that "up or down vote" crap is no longer operative.

Shithook

Trash-hauling in Afghanistan.

Gee, weren't those CV-22s supposed to be doing this work by now? According to Springbored, the V-22 is such a good platform that the Israelis have changed their minds and told the DoD they don't want them.

Clean Your Plate, Little Hans

Because people are going hungry in America.
James Weill, the director of the food center that pioneered the report, called it a careful look at an underappreciated condition.

“Many people are outright hungry, skipping meals,” he said. “Others say they have enough to eat but only because they’re going to food pantries or using food stamps. We describe it as ‘households struggling with hunger.’ ”
Gentle Reader, you just know that any further attempts to help alleviate hunger in this country will be attacked by the party of Hoover and their sycophants in Fox News as "socialism".

The only government spending that Republicans are in favor of is that which buys things that can be used to slay foreigners. Taking care of the people who did the slaying, well, that's evil government spending as well.

Rudy Debates Rudy (and Loses)

As Don Brown has said, Jon Stewart is the smarted man on TV. The bit on Rudy starts three minutes into the clip. The analysis of the real danger of a trial in NYC starts at 5:20.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Law & Order: KSM
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Monday, November 16, 2009

I am Shocked, Shocked, to Learn That

The F-35 program is behind schedule and over budget. No fucking shit. You could pick a DoD procurement program at random and insert the name of the program in the place of "F-35 program" and you'd have a near certainty of being accurate.

Every fucking defense contractor overpromises on the timeline and underestimates the cost. Everyone involved in the procurement process keeps a straight face about it when they review the bids, knowing full well that when it comes to capability, costs and production estimates, they are reading fiction. In the case of the Army's LandWarrior program, it was science fiction. It's been this way since the Continental Congress first bought muskets for General Washington's army.

Then there are the gullible reporters who are simply amazed that a DoD program is behind schedule and over budget, because they have a worse short-term memory than that dude in "Memento". There are the bombastic congressmen who also profess shock and that Something Will Be Done This Time To Fix It(tm), at the same time they take large campaign contributions from LockMart and Boeing.

Nothing ever changes. The military procurement system is inherently dishonest, if not outright corrupt.

For some fresh outrage: How the Old Cuban Farts keep purchasing enough congressman to keep the embargo in place.

"The Penultimate Journey to Shore Up the International Space Station"

Really. Some public relations weenie at NASA wrote that, some pointy-haired manager approved that, and some jerkwater announcer read it. It comes about 1:45 into this video of the launch. Then, a minute later, the clown at the mike says something about the crew "kicking off their work week with a Monday commute to orbit."



Can you imagine the NASA folks in the 1960s saying some crap like that about an Apollo moonshot? I can't.

NASA, just STFU. Really. Shut up.


The Shuttle is carrying about 13 tons of stuff and six astronauts to the ISS. That's pretty spectacular enough without having to dress it up with "let's reach for the thesaurus and find adjectives we haven't used" type of writing.

Oh, and one last slam: Rockets do not "go uphill", you fucking morons.

What She Said

Go read what Roberta X has to say on the subject of those idiots who maintain that only people who agree with them should have civil rights, freedom and liberty.

Send Coathangers to Coathanger Bart

On my way into work, the thought occurred to me that an interesting way to protest the Stupak Amendment would be to send wire coathangers to Coathanger Bart.

So if you want to send a box of wire coathangers to Congressman Stupak, these are his office addresses in his district:

111 E. Chisholm
Alpena, MI 49707

Iron County Courthouse
2 South 6th St., Suite #3
Crystal Falls, MI 49920-1413

902 Ludington St
Escanaba, MI 49829

616 Sheldon Ave. Room 213
Houghton, MI 49931

1229 W. Washington St.
Marquette, MI 49855

Emmet County Building
200 Division St., Suite #178
Petoskey, MI 49770

575 Court Street
West Branch, MI 48661

It's not a good idea to send stuff to the Washington address, as they are still in "zOMG!!1! Anthrax" mode.

IOIYAR

As it, "it's OK if you're a Republican."

SNL Hits the Nail On the Head

Their opening bit was a bit overlong, but it hit a lot of truths.



"We're going to cave in like crazy. That's right, the President wants to pass a health care bill so bad that he will literally sign anything. You can water it down however you like; as long as it's a stack of paper with the words `health care` on it, he'll sign it."
That's not comedy, that's the truth. Let a bunch of male, overpaid, overfed white-bread living examples of the Peter Principle decide when or if women should have access to abortion? Fine with this Administration, which is forgetting how it looked when Chimpy tried to restrict abortion:


I'm a Democrat, which means that just because some Democratic politician says something or does something, I am under zero obligation to fall into line. I formerly thought that as long as health care reform was passed, the details didn't matter as much, but I no longer hold to that view.[1] Not when "health insurance reform" has been turned into a huge profit protection bill for the health insurance industry, one of the main culprits in the fucked-up system we have today. Not when the party of Hoover is so fixated on preventing patients from holding doctors accountable for mistakes. Not when, in the middle of the Great Recession, when the cost of living has actually fallen, the greedy motherfucking drug-pushers pharmaceutical companies are jacking up their prices for medications.

Right now, I'd love to see the Obama Administration try to pass a gun control bill, for we'd probably be able to sneak in a total repeal of the `34 and `68 gun control laws.[2] You can bet that if they tried to pass a climate change bill, the bill would include subsidies to encourage people to shift to heating their homes with coal once more.

If the strategy of the party of Hoover,[3] aided and abetted by Traitor Joe and His Blue Dogs, is to so load up the health care bill with toxic amendments, it is working, at least for me.

[1]I don't know who is planning to run against Congressman "Coathanger Bart" Stupak in the next election, but I'm going to seriously consider sending a few bucks that person's way.

[2]I'd settle for legalizing silencers.

[3]Over the weekend, I read that during the Great Depression, the Connecticut Legislature tried to pass a bill to help out people who could not afford to buy food. Republicans opposed it as "socialism", showing their true colors as the Party for Starving the Poor. You can bet that if Republicans were in England during the Potato Famine of the 1840s, they'd have been smugly pleased at what was transpiring in Ireland.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Why Are the Wingers So Upset;
And Stuff Like That There

.. at the idea of trying Khalid Sheik Mohammed in Federal court in New York City?

Does anybody not know what the outcome is going to be? He has admitted several times to his crimes, nay, he has bragged about them. KSM is going to be found guilty and sentenced to die. By 2014 at the latest, he will be lying on and dying on the same gurney that Timothy McVeigh died on several years ago.

Do they have a problem that surpasses the fact that the Wingers have as much respect for the rule of law as does Dick Cheney or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?

I had to love this weekend's edition of "Wait,Wait, Don't Tell Me." Peter Sagall had this line about the prospects of the health care bill in the Senate: "It seems that the only way that Joe Lieberman will ever support health care is to create a way in which he can betray somebody by doing it." As Tom Bodett put it, Joe Lieberman is a pimple on the ass of progress.

The New York Times has a great article on how the lobbyists for the health care weasels have been feeding canned arguments to dozens of Congressmen, who regurgitated those talking points in debates on the floor of the House. I wish I could say that I'm shocked, but I'm not. I just wish the names of all of those pieces of elected shit became public, so we could all point at them on the street and laugh at them.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Bad Sign For a Politician

..when it is not just bloggers anymore who are paying attention to the lies.
Sarah Palin's new book reprises familiar claims from the 2008 presidential campaign that haven't become any truer over time.

Ignoring substantial parts of her record if not the facts, she depicts herself as a frugal traveler on the taxpayer's dime, a reformer without ties to powerful interests and a politician roguishly indifferent to high ambition.

Palin goes adrift, at times, on more contemporary issues, too.
Quitter Spice may be in for a rough time, which she has so richly earned.

Bet this will be replayed forever:

I Don't Understand This

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio's death chamber is set to resume executions next month using a single drug that has been used in the U.S. to euthanize pets but never to put condemned prisoners to death.

Barring legal challenges, condemned inmate Kenneth Biros is scheduled Dec. 8 to be the first prisoner in the nation to be executed using a single dose of the drug thiopental sodium instead of the combination of three drugs that the state had been using.

A federal judge had temporarily halted Biros' execution because of the botched execution of Romell Broom in September, which prompted the new execution method announced Friday. Executioners couldn't find a suitable vein on Broom to administer the lethal drugs, and he walked away from the execution chamber after the governor issued a temporary stay
They still have to inject that stuff into a vein, so that doesn't get them around why they couldn't execute Biros.

Why don't they just have the executioner press a shotgun to the executionee's head and kill him? Executing someone is pretty close to barbarism, so why are we trying to dress it up? And, to be honest, I don't much care for the idea that condemned murderers get the same consideration (and death drug) that we give to our beloved pets who are suffering.

The death penalty is the state-sanctioned killing of *people*. We should stop trying to prettify it up. And we should make it mandatory that the governor of any state with the death penalty has to witness the first execution carried out in his or her first term, not remotely, not in the witness booth behind glass, but in the same room.

Caturday!

Bella, contemplating her next nap.

She loves to perch on top of that scratching post and watch the world go by.


An uneasy truce on the couch between Gracie and Jake. It's a safe bet that a short bapping contest will ensue before Jake gets down.


Your guess is as good as mine as to what George and Jake were looking at. They were both awake.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Can He Have a Freezer In His Cell?

For the next 13 years, that is. Former Congressman William Jefferson (D-LA) was sentenced earlier today to serve that much time in Federal prison.

Typo, or a Lack of Research

The NY Times, in a story about the A400M, said:
Although it will be one of the largest turboprop-powered aircraft ever built, the A400M is still dwarfed by the Soviet Antonov An-24 Antei first flown in the 1960s. Several dozen remain in Russian air force service.
Ah, no. The An-24 is a twin-engined turboprop with a maximum takeoff weight that is less than a sixth of that of the A400M. Now, on the other hand, the An-22 Antaeus is bigger than the A400M.

There is really no excuse for this sort of shit anymore. It's not as though one has to hunt down a copy of "Jane's All the World's Aircraft" anymore to check.

The British Boy Scouts Are Merging

..apparently with the Hitler Youth:
A scout troop is being investigated by the police after its members shouted death threats and racist abuse at Jewish war veterans during a remembrance parade.

Dressed in full uniform, the explorer scouts, who were taking part in Remembrance Sunday service in Romford, Essex were heard to repeatedly shout "Let's kill the Jews" at Jewish second world war veterans.
First off, if I remember correctly, there was considerable friction between the German Scouts and the Hitler Youth. When the youth organizations in Germany were merged by the Nazi government, many scouts dropped out. No doubt a number of them became Edelweiss Pirates.

Second, I'm not certain just what the cops are investigating. Is it illegal to be a repugnant racist asshole in the UK?

Not. Going. To. Happen.

A new "assault rifle" ban. It won't go any further in Congress than HR 45 has.

Oh, you'll read plenty about this in the next few months in the various gunnie group magazines, accompanies, of course, by please to "please give more money to our lobbyists."

There isn't going to be a new AR ban.

(H/T)

You Just Can't Make This Shit Up

If you worked for the Republican National Committee, you (or your dependents) could have elective abortions paid for by the employer-supplied (RNC) health plan. That coverage lasted from 1991 until yesterday, when the press found out about it and started asking questions about how the "party of pro-life" could provide that benefit.

Snark would seem to be superfluous.

The Monster Attacks Its Creator

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Militants stepped up their fight against the Pakistani government on Friday, ramming a truck bomb into a regional office of the country’s main intelligence agency.

The early-morning blast in the northwestern city of Peshawar killed at least nine people and wounded more than 50...
Pakistan's ISI (their spy agency) has been caring for and feeding the Islamic militants for decades. They have sponsored the militants who have carried out terrorist attacks in India. They have been nurturing the Taliban since the group's inception.

So now their creation is biting them. Everyone to has paid attention to this knew that it would be impossible to keep the Islamic militants boxed up, but that's just what the ISI thought they could do, forever.

Now they can't.

The Real Reason Lou Dobbs Quit CNN

He was deported.
WANTAGE, NJ—Acting on anonymous tips from within the Hispanic-American community, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials on Wednesday deported Luis Miguel Salvador Aguila Dominguez, who for the last 48 years had been living illegally in the United States under the name Lou Dobbs.
I'll bet that the Onion has had that story ready for quite some time.

Update: Jon Stewart on Dobbs:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Lou Dobbs Goes Rogue
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Stephen Colbert made a comment that Lou Dobbs was going to spend more time "misinforming his family."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I'm Not Sure How to Take This.. Oh, Wait. I Do!

The Mormon Church has been a target of vituperation by some gay rights groups because of its active opposition to same-sex marriage. But on Wednesday, the church was being praised by gay rights activists in Salt Lake City, citadel of the Mormon world, for its open support of a local ordinance banning discrimination against gay men and lesbians in housing and employment.
It's OK if we get to live somewhere and work, but oh, boy, we'd best not have a legal relationship with our honeys, do I have that right?

I don't know if this is a step forward or if this is a bit of smoke being thrown by the Mormons so they can claim that they are not completely homophobic. This little bit, though, is telling:
At least one of the [previoulsy proposed] measures [in the Utah legislature] is poised for a 2010 comeback: an anti-discrimination statute that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the state's fair employment law. The bill includes the same exemption for religious organizations and their affiliates that Otterson praised in Salt Lake City's ordinances.

That means the capital's new rules, prohibiting discrimination against gay and transgender workers, homebuyers and renters, do not apply to churches or small businesses. The LDS Church and its wholly owned subsidiaries, such as the towering City Creek Center condos taking shape in downtown Salt Lake City, are exempt.
Translation from Mormon-speak: "Thou shalt not discriminate against gays and trannies (but it's OK if we do)."

There is a word for that: "Hypocritical", as in "what a bunch of hypocritical bastards."

Thanks for nothing.

Wonder Who Cartman is Riffing On

Faith, Charity and Extortion

The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington said Wednesday that it will be unable to continue the social service programs it runs for the District if the city doesn't change a proposed same-sex marriage law, a threat that could affect tens of thousands of people the church helps with adoption, homelessness and health care.
And yeah, Jesus descended from the Temple and he sayeth: "Youse guys don't do what I want, I not only don't breaka da fishes and loaves, I breaka you kneecaps, you getta my drift, capische?"

Smooth move, using the downtrodden as pawns in a political game of chicken.

(H/T)

Barkeep, Gimme a Double Shot of Brain Bleach!

I'm going to need it to get this image out of my head:
Tom Cruise will reportedly team up with pal John Travolta in a remake of the 1960s western Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
The only word that describes this concept is: "Ick."

(H/T)

A Dream

That Congress actually cared about working people. But I don't see it happening.

The Republicans don't give a shit, that has been plain to see. If it doesn't involve cutting taxes for rich people, the GOP is against it. The Democrats have proven within the last year that they are just as much in thrall to those fuckers in Wall Street and in the banks who brought this economy to its knees as are Republicans; the only difference being that the Republicans, other than George Bush, were willing to run the economy right off the cliff.

Both parties are betraying those who work for a living. I don't buy the concept that the GOP, as a party, can tap into that sentiment, as it was the Republicans (and Alan Greenspan) who stood aside and cheered as the banks and the investment houses poisoned the economy (and took hefty paychecks for doing so). The premier so-called "populist" Republican is a semi-literate who resigned from elective office because it was too hard. The leading candidate, as of this time, is a guy who made a fortune by shipping American jobs overseas and arranging offshore arrangements for tax evaders.

Democrats have been no better. Rep. Barney Frank has been working diligently to water down any reform of the banks. And if you have read this blog for any length of time, you know that I regard Treasury Secretary Geithner as someone who, just like his Republican predecessor Henry Paulson, is loyal to Goldman Sachs and the rest of those greedy fucks, not to the American people.

It goes deeper. A clear majority of Americans want to see serious health care reform and to have a public option plan. The Senate, however, is more interested in protecting the interests of the health insurance industry than it is in reforming a health system that spends more than any other industrialized nation and covers a far smaller percentage of the population. Any tax reform bill always incorporates more and better tax breaks for the rich and the powerful.

So we have two political parties who don't give a fuck about those who work for a living. I don't know what the alternative is right now. The Libertarians are, to put it succinctly, batshit crazy. There is nobody else right now. But history is clear on one thing: If a governmental system does not provide for the common good and only looks out for the already privileged, eventually an alternative arises. Most of the time, that alternative comes with a large butcher's bill and the end result is not very satisfactory.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fat, Stupid and Having a Criminal Record Is No Way to Go Through Life, Son

I know that sounds like a line from the movie "Animal House", but it is not. 75% of Americans age 17 to 24 are ineligible for military service because they are undereducated obese, have a criminal record or a combination thereof. Even if military service is not in their plans, having 75% of youth who have medical problems, are dumber than rocks or who have rap sheets is not good for the economic future of this country.

(You don't have to ask anyone from the GOP to know what their answer is: "Cut taxes for the rich and let the free market fix it.")

After the Soviets surprised us with Sputnik, there were educational reforms to concentrate more on math and science education for children. There was a move to beef up phys-ed for children, in many school districts, phys-ed was required from kindergarten through high school.

Maybe it's time we start again.

No Doubt He Watched Glenn Beck and el Rushbo

Another stupid mindless and hate-filled drone:
Marine reservist Jasen Bruce was getting clothes out of the trunk of his car Monday evening when a bearded man in a robe approached him.

That man, a Greek Orthodox priest named Father Alexios Marakis, speaks little English and was lost, police said. He wanted directions.

What the priest got instead, police say, was a tire iron to the head.
The Few. The Proud. The Terminally Stupid. Brave 6'3" clown with a tire iron beats up on a priest.

I'll bet that this story plays really well in Greece, too. From reading the various articles on this crime, it would appear that the next guy who should be beaten with a tire iron is Bruce's lawyer.

(H/T)

Armistice Day

Eleven AM on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year nineteen eighteen, when the guns fell silent along the Western Front. The Great War, the World War, the War to End All Wars. 24 million American men were registered for the draft during the four registration dates of June 15, 1917 (men 21-31), June 5, 1918, (men who turned 21 after 6/15/17), August 24, 1918 (those who turned 21 6/5/18)and September 12, 1918 (age 18 through 45). 24 million men out of an overall population of 103 million.

In April of 1917, when the US declared war on Germany, the Army had 127,000 soldiers, the National Guard had another 80,000. In November of 1918, two million soldiers were part of the American Expeditionary Force. By the end of the war, 2.8 million men had been drafted, which was then half of the Army. If the war had gone on, close to five million men would have been sent to France by the summer of 1919.

Armistice Day was proclaimed by President Wilson in 1919. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 to ask that all presidents proclaim November 11th as Armistice Day, a day to thank those who served and to work for peaceful relations between nations. Armistice Day became a legal Federal holiday in 1938. The name was changed to Veterans Day in 1954. In 1971, Veterans Day was moved to the fourth Monday in October along with three other holidays that were moved to Mondays (Washington's Birthday [now Presidents Day], Memorial Day and Columbus Day). Veterans Day was moved back to November 11th in 1978.

Veterans Day is not a day for economic activity. Those merchants who boldly proclaim "Veterans Day Sales" are profaning this Day. Whether you are off work today or are working, take a moment of time, not to thank those who serve, but to reflect on the sacrifice this country has asked and, at times, demanded of its young men and women.

Think of the human costs incurred when we send people to war. Think of what it costs this country. We should not so lightly and glibly send our young men and women into war, as we have done at least twice in the last fifty years.

It is indeed proper that we honor our veterans. We should try to make certain that we only make new war veterans when it is absolutely necessary.