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

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Two Words to Strike Terror Into the Hearts of Aircraft Owners

I had to go to the airport to put the maintenance logbooks into the airplane, as the annual inspection starts in a week or so. It was windy, a little cold and I'm fighting off a bug, so I didn't fly. It didn't stop me from toting a camera, though.

This is a DHC-2 Beaver. Beavers have been used as bush aircraft for sixty years. It looks too pretty to be a working airplane.


This is a Lancair homebuilt. I think this is a IV-P, which is pressurized and can be flown in street clothes at 24,000 feet. They have a 350HP turbonormalized engine and almost all have glass panels. "Homebuilt" may not be quite right, as an all-up IV-P can cost as much as a half-million to build and are often professionally built.



This is a Bellanca Viking. Faster than almost all other airplanes of its class, capable of instrument flight and they are built using airframe technology that was common 80 years ago. The fuselage is made of tubular steel welded to form a cage; wooden stringers are used to maintain a shape and fabric is stretched over it. The wing is made of wood. If Vikings are not kept hangared, the wing is almost guaranteed to rot.

Vikings were one of the first turbocharged light aircraft in production. Back then, the turbochargers did not have automatic wastegates to control the pressures put out by the turbochargers, the wastegates had their own control. An inattentive pilot could severely overboost an engine and destroy it within a very short span of time.


That Ship is Fraked!, Part IV

This is a Navy Times article concerning the grounding of the USS Port Royal. (H/T to Galran)

Toljaso.

That they may need to replace the reduction gears is a real bit of bad news. Reduction gears are very complex and, in the manufacturing process, are extremely long lead time items.

The Spruance class destroyers probably had similar reduction gearing, as they used the same basic hull and the same types of engines. But they aren't available, as the Navy sank the vast majority of them in "training exercises." Time was that when ships were retired, the Navy kept them in vast reserve fleets for any future emergencies. If parts were needed for active ships that were not avaiable, they could be stripped from the reserve ships.

But since the end of the Cold War, the Navy has not been that farsighted.

On another note, if you want to know what the condition of the Navy's fleet is, rots of ruck to you. For the first time since the Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) was formed after the Civil War, the Navy is classifying INSURV reports. One has to wonder why this is so and what the Navy is trying to hide.

My guess is that the Navy has cut back on ship maintenance and that the material readiness of the surface fleet is a lot poorer than they want us to know. Your mileage may vary.

"Signal Flags: Whiskey! Alpha! Hotel!"

Taxes on those making between $250K and $500K will go up by $4,000 a year and, of course, the publications that cater to those making that kind of cash are, predictably, whining about it.





(Whiskey, Alpha, Hotel- WAH)

The Sour Sixteen

16 banks have failed in the first two months of this year.

The FDIC's bank deathwatch list numbered 252
at the end of 2008. It was at 117 six months before that.

There is No Crime in Carter County, Tennessee

They must be pretty bored there in the county cop shop if they are trying to serve an 80 year old arrest warrant. They have to be similarly bored in Glyn County, Georgia, if they are trying to track down that guy.

The sheriffs of those counties ought to look up the definitions of "discretion" and "common sense," for they are seriously lacking them.

Fear and Loathing

Several years ago, I purchased an M-1 rifle from the Army's Civilian Marksmanship Program. (It is a very nice rifle, but that's not the topic for this post.)

I've been on their e-mail newsletter list for some time, now. Overnight, I received an e-mail sales update from them. This was the first paragraph:
ORDER BACKLOG. Normally, we average receiving 2,000 - 3,000 sales orders per month and ship an order in 2-3 weeks. However, these are not normal times. Since October, 2008 we have been receiving 5,000 - 10,000 orders per month, which is several times normal. As a result, we are very backlogged and running several weeks behind on processing orders. Our staff is working up to 12 hours per day 7 days a week, and only today finished the 4,000 orders we received on 1 December alone (except for those 1 Dec orders with credit card or other problems). Customers with outstanding orders should expect orders to ship approximately 100 days from the date the order was received by CMP. We expect to recover from this surge in another 3-4 months (assuming the number of orders being received drops somewhat).
What with some morons in the Democratic party blathering about gun control and the resultant fear-mongering by the pro-gun organizations (who are only too happy to use use blatherings as a fund-raising tool), I would not count on CMP cutting through their backlog anytime soon.

Caturday

George is on the top of a bookcase.


Jake is relaxing on the couch.


Gracie is in the upper unit of the cat condo.


Two different cameras were used, one with 5MP, one with 10MP. Can you tell which photo was taken with which camera?

Economic Ramifications

Cactus noticed this item, about how Toyota is now renting ship to just sit in a Swedish port to store cars they can't sell.

That was interesting, but I think the really interesting point came later in the article:
Wallenius Wilhelmsen operates a fleet of 166 vessels shipping cars around the world. The company warned last month that it would be forced to scrap dozens of vessels. The sales slump would have a “strong negative impact” on profits this year, the company said.
Think about that for a second. If they scrap a significant percentage of their fleet, then when the world's economy turns around, there are going to be that many fewer ships to move vehicles for export markets. Car carriers are specialized ships and you just don't shit them off an assembly line like a bunch of Krispy Kreme donuts.

Which means exported vehicles will cost more, because the shipping companies will be able to charge more to ship them (due to lack of shipping capacity).

Friday, February 27, 2009

Well, Maybe Some Democrats Have a Clue

I ranted this morning that the congressional Democrats seemed to be hell-bent on fucking up the same way they did in 1994.

Seems that Nancy Pelosi is saying "not so fast." And at least two Democratic senators have said they oppose reinstating the Brady Bill "assault rifle" ban. Which means they'd need more than a few Republican senators would have to cross over to vote for a new ban.

Which isn't going to happen in the rational-based universe.

(H/T to Marko)

Firefox- WTF,O?

Has anyone else noticed that Firefox 3.06 seems to be crashing like a very early version of Windows? I am seeing it on both an XP and a `00 machine, both with the latest service packs and all of the critical Windows updates.

Something does not seem to be quite right with this child.

Battle Star Galactica- Meh.

After watching the two episodes since the end of Tom Zarek and Felix Gatea's attempted coup (two episodes probably better titled "a Brief History of Biological Cylons, Parts I and II"), I have found myself wondering if the show would have been better if it had been Adama and Roslin sitting at the business end of a firing squad, rather than Zarek and Gaeta.

Four episodes left to air and I have a disquieting feeling that they squandered quite a bit of time with the last two.

We shall see, I guess. I won't, not tonight, I'll be asleep by then.

Jindal the Liar

Bobby Jindal has admitted that his story about his being in the office of a sheriff during Hurricane Katrina was a lie.

You'd think he would be smart enough to leave "truthiness" to Stephen Colbert, what with Jindal having been a Rhodes Scholar and all of that, but sadly, no.

Apologies

I'm fighting off some kind of bug, so my blogging may be terser and less frequent.

Go surf Ye Olde Blogge Rolle, if you're bored.

On another note:
Former GOP presidential nominee John McCain warned Wednesday that the United States is losing the war in Afghanistan.
Hey, Grampa! Who was the president who first sent troops there and then diverted the resources needed to secure the initial tactical victory?

I know that was a long time ago, for you guys in the party of Hoover seemed to be afflicted with an inability to recall anything that happened more than 37 days ago, but let me refresh your memory: His name was George W. Bush and he was the guy that you thought was doing such a great job.

Keep This Shit Up, Democrats, and Your Time in Congress Will Be Short, Indeed

When stories such as this are planted in the newspapers, you know what is coming next.

I had thought that the Democrats were too smart to fall for this shit, but I am ready to be surprised. After all, the party of Hoover cannot give up their addiction to tax cuts for the rich and massively increasing federal deficits while complaining about it, why should I be surprised that Democrats are also not similarly self-destructive.

Get a clue, you fucking morons. The Brady Bill cost you the Congress in the 1994 elections. Very long serving Democratic congressmen, such as Tom Foley, who was the Speaker of the House, were defeated because they voted for the Brady Bill.

We face some serious problems in this country, a need to reinstate the Brady Bill is not one of them. If we were really serious and gave a shit about the issue of how drug smuggling is creating a culture of violence in Mexico, there is one thing that we could do that would put the drug smugglers out of business once and for all and it could be done without curtailing the freedoms of Americans:

Make the use of drugs legal.

The hatchet-wielding humorless Prohibitionists at the beginning of the last century campaigned to outlaw alcohol and they succeeded in both outlawing alcohol and in fueling a massive growth in organized crime, which had, as its side-effects, a lot of violence, for reasons that do not require belaboring. Much of that faded away (not all) when the 18th Amendment was repealed in 1933.

President Nixon declared a "war on drugs" 38 years ago. You can buy drugs in every city and most towns as easily now as you could have in 1971, if not more so. The War on Drugs has resulted in massive growth in the prison industry, turned much of our police from "Officer Friendly" into paramilitary goon squads and the drugs are still there.

What is clear is that the "Greatest Generation" and their offspring are not as smart as the parents and grandparents of the GG's: It only took them fourteen years to figure out that Prohibition was a failure. We haven't had the political will to realize that the War on Drugs is a lost cause and move on to (a) legalizing drug use; and (b) taxing the shit out of it in the same way we tax alcohol and tobacco.

But no, that requires real political courage, something that is lacking. That requires the spine to tell the truth to the American people and stand up to the Bible-waving totalitarian moralists in our midst. Which isn't going to happen, so we'll carry on with the same sort of freedom-destroying measures that both parties seem to love.

Gun control is the preferred poison of the Democrats. If they sip from it, it will make their time in Congress short in a way that the Hindenbergs of right-wing radio could only dream of doing.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Clean Coal

Jindal Comparison

Bobby Jindal Question

Is it fair to ask whether or not anyone has seen his birth certificate?

That Damned Follower Widget

Will anyone be perturbed if I kill the "follower" thing? It has been expanded by TPTB to advertise some damnable thing called "Google Friends"; I don't do advertising on this blog.

So will anyone miss it if I scrag it?

Sony's New Video Game Box

Not safe for work. Especially if your speakers are turned up.


Sony Releases New Stupid Piece Of Shit That Doesn't Fucking Work

(H/T munchkin wrangler)

Bobby Jindal and the Volcanoes

I had it in my mind to write a little screed about that ignorant twit's contempt for volcano monitoring and mention, among other things, how a volcano destroyed an entire Air Force base about 20 or so years back and that tens of thousands of lives were saved and hundreds of millions of dollars worth of military hardware was saved because of volcano monitoring.

Nate Silver beat me to it.

I had it in my mind to also write about how many American cities are close to known volcanoes and how many thousands of people will be killed if even one of those big fuckers erupts without warning.

The Ornery Bastard beat me to it.

I just don't get it about the party of Hoover. Who do they think will fund research into volcano monitoring, other than government? Is it so hard for them to understand the benefits of being able to monitor a volcano and to generate a forecast of when it is going to erupt? Mount Pinatubo had been inactive for 500 years before it erupted. The Chaiten volcano in Chile erupted last year for the first time in 9,000 years.

What is it about the Hooverites and science? Why are they so opposed to the Federal government engaging in any sort of scientific research (unless it produces a better way to kill people)?

What also bothers me about the party of Hoover is that they have a proven track record of staffing government agencies with incompetent party loyalists and then, when the agencies predictably wind up being completely inept, they blame government for that fact.

Let's look at the record.

Under the party of Hoover during the Reagan and Bush I administrations, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, who we all know as FEMA, was viewed as a political dumping ground, a place to stick party loyalists who were too stupid to hold a real job. As a result, FEMA botched the responses to Hurricanes Hugo and Andrew. Bill Clinton appointed a man with some experience at running an emergency management agency, James Witt. Witt fired all of the party hacks and brought in professionals who knew how to do disaster relief. Witt turned FEMA around.

Then came Our Beloved Chimperor, who reverted to using FEMA as a place to stash Republicans who could not hold a real job in the private sector (you know, people just like Dubya). His first pick was the guy who ran his campaigns, but he didn't last too long, so he put in a guy whose previous experience was at bankrupting a horse association.

And we all know how well that worked out. (Which is why President Obama, like President Clinton, is going to appoint someone who has experience in emergency management.)

Deliberately destroying the functionality of the government and then pointing to the resultant lack of functionality as a reason to not have government is like the Menendez brothers pleading for lienency because they are orphans. It counts on the American people being exceedingly stupid.

I don't think Americans are that stupid.

Bobby Jindal evidently disagrees.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

SofTest

It is some sort of evil software used for (a) taking tests and (b) completely fucking up the computers it is installed in.

Cranky Prof has the details
.

It seems that you'd be better off writing your exams on mud plates in Cuneiform with a stylus.

George W. Bush Was Only a Hologram

But then again, that may be true for all of us.

I have a feeling that a number of Ph.D. theses are going to explore this. But so what, really?

Oy.

Your morality is 0% in line with that of the bible.

Damn you heathen! Your book learnin' has done warped your mind. You shall not be invited next time I sacrifice a goat.

Do You Have Biblical Morals?

President Obama's Speech

Text and video.

It's too early for me and I'm crunched for time to write about it. And I just had a 20lb cat land on me in his rush to go gawk at the first birds of the season outside the window.

Party of Hoover Hates the "Fairness Doctrine"

They say they do.

So why give the party that is out of power "equal time" after a presidential speech? Who the frak watches them, anyway? I don't watch them, I never have, and I don't remember anyone, other than a political junkie or a reporter, ever saying they watched the rebuttal speech.

Here's a Simple Tip, Spinmeisters

It does not pass the Giggle Test to say "my client has been exonerated" when, as part of the settlement, your client has to cough up $7,000 and pay a shitload more in taxes for "reimbursements" that were really income with a different name.

Eclipse Aviation- Down the Tubes

The creditors for Eclipse Aviation are seeing to liquidate the company. According to AvWeb, management is not going to fight taking the company from Chapter 11 (reorganization) to Chapter 7 (liquidation). They sent most of the workers home last week on a furlough and now they're all fired, er "laid off."

Eclipse was in trouble before the economy tanked. Of course, they were not alone. When the dust settles from this recession, if you want to buy a new small jet, chances are that you will be buying a Cessna.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Isn't That the Truth!!

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

As someone who has cat beds that the cats refuse to sleep on, I can relate.

In One Respect, China Has a Better Criminal Justice System

For in China, they shoot people for doing shit like this. No 4.5 years behind bars, just a bullet to the back of the neck (and a 30-yuan charge to the family for the cost of the round).

(H/T to Blue Girl)

QOTD

Having the party of Bush lecture you about out of control spending is like having a heroin addict chide you for putting too much sugar in your coffee.
Ayup.

Bush is Back on the Internets

And he's joined Facebook.

Nothing for Now

Getting out of bed this morning felt only a little less trying than digging my way out of a grave. I feel kind of zombified, without the need to feast on brains.

Ugh. I have no idea what this day will bring, but I am seriously dreading it.

Monday, February 23, 2009

I am a Lousy Typist

and I really suck at proof-reading my own stuff.

Tear Off the Band-Aid. Now.

The administration of President Barack Obama put the biggest U.S. banks on notice Monday that the government could become their major shareholder if regulators decided they were not strong enough to survive a deeper than expected downturn in the economy.
And
US insurance giant AIG indicated Monday it was in talks with the authorities to cope with its "financial challenges" despite a massive bailout last year that prevented its collapse. ... American International Group's statement came after cable network CNBC reported that the company would report a 60 billion dollar loss next Monday and was seeking more government support.
That's on top of the $150 billion that has already been poured into AIG.

Let's tell the truth about this: AIG, CitiGroup, Bank of America and others are now not just underwater, they are rapidly sinking into the financial equivalent of the Marianas Trench. The amount of money that the Treasury has poured into AIG alone dwarfs the money for the Big 3 in Detroit. AIG has lost close to a quarter of a trillion dollars. For comparison, that's almost twice what it cost to put a dozen astronauts on the Moon. That kind of money makes national health insurance look like chump change.

Let's just get it over with: Take them over and be done with it. Stop worrying about shareholder value, that's gone. Bank of America has lost close to 95% of the value of its shares ($54 in 2006 to less than $4 today, at one point it was below $3). The loss in value of CitiGroup is not much different. AIG's stock is worth about fifty cents a share or so, down from a high of $100 at one point and in the last year, AIG has lost 99% of its value.

14 banks have failed
so far this year, 8 this month alone (and February is not even over yet). 25 failed in 2008.

It very rarely profits a person to put off doing distasteful things, for the evil chores have to be done sooner or later and it is most often harder to do the longer one waits. If nationalizing the banks is the way out, then I fail to see what we gain by farting around.

E-Mail Quote of the Day

From a group of e-mails about a woman who is expecting triplets:
"If you have three boys and [your husband] wants to name them Moe, Larry and Curly, I suggest that you consider shooting him."

Sliding Into Irrelevance

Go ahead, Richard Shelby. Keep on parroting the Wingnut smear that "Obama is not a natural-born U.S. citizen." Keep taking your talking cues from certified morons such as Alan Keyes and Clarence Thomas.

You Winguts were so upset every time we questioned the legitimacy of the (fraudulent) elections of the Chimperor. "Get over it," you said. "Let it go, he's the president now," you cried.

No, I'd rather you keep it up. For that gives us a tool to club you with; we can point to that every time you oppose President Obama on anything and say: "See how insanely crazy they are? Their opposition is driven by irrational hatred, not by anything substantial."

So keep it up. GOP-brand conservatism will slide into the septic tank of history and will, hopefully, be replaced by conservatism based on rationality and not unthinking knee-jerk ideology.

Which will be to the betterment of the nation.

An Impediment to Morning Blogging

Gracie had other priorities.



I really do like my new camera, as it is small enough to ride in my purse. (Cellphone cameras,to my mind, are like derringers: OK in an emergency, but not really good for anything.) This shot, though, shows the value of slightly larger cameras, such as the Canon A95. The A95's LED screen can be swung out and tilted. So I was able to hold the camera up over my head, so I could get the distance needed to take in all of Gracie, and also to properly frame the shot. With my new A1000, I'd have been guessing.

I know digital is different. But having been a teenager who used expensive (to me) Kodachrome 64 in a Canon FT SLR, I find it hard to shake my training to carefully compose the photo in the viewfinder and then take one good exposure.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Question for the Windbags on Cable TV

Given that an arrest is imminent in the murder of Chandra Levy, do any of you loud-mouthed douchebags have the stones to apologize, on the air, to Gary Condit?

(No, I'm not holding my breath.)

And the Oscar Goes To:

Who fraking gives a shit?

Photographing the Critters

A friend (yes, I have friends, try not to faint) asked me how I am able to take decent photos of my cats. I thought that might make a good blog post.

Two things that apply to photography as to shooting rifles: If you can get closer, get closer. If you can get steadier, get steadier. Obviously there are limits to all of that. Back in the days of film SLR cameras, with the vibration from both the shutter flying and the mirror slamming up and down, if you had to shoot at anything slower than 1/60th of a second, you had to rest the camera on something. You can go slower with a digital camera, but still, nothing beats shooting from a steady rest.

Getting closer means that your subject is in more of the frame, which gives you more latitude for editing later on.

There is no excuse for not pushing the shutter often. Pixels are cheap.

Do not use flash if you can avoid it. If your critter is looking at you, you will get the "laser-eye" effect. Using flash with human subjects can result in "red-eye," so avoid using flash. Get steadier, bump up the ISO if you can, turn on extra lights, just stay away from the flash.

Always max out on the pixel and resolution settings. Always, always, always. If you don't have enough room on your camera's memory card to do that, break loose your wallet and buy a larger-capacity memory card. (If you are using the card that came with your camera, it probably has a tiny memory capacity. Junk it.) On Canon PowerShots, the settings are "large" and "superfine," other makes may vary. You can always later reduce the size of an image, it is much harder to add in information that is not there. Which leads me to....

Never ever edit the original image file. Copy it elsewhere and then muck around to your heart's content. You might want to start over. You will forget to do this on an image you really want some day, trust me, so make a habit of it now.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Let's See if Canon Can Step Up To the Plate

My sweetie gave me a new digital camera, a Canon Powershot A1000IS. It seems like a really nice camera.

But the software is not compatible with Windows 2000; only with XP ( and that putrid OS known as "Vista").

So I've e-mailed Canon to see if they have a solution. I'd hate to have to send it back, but I'm not buying a new computer just because I have a new camera.

Supply Lines, Pt II

Let the pundits and the rest bloviate about the Obama Administration sending additional troops to Afghanistan. That's the stuff of amateur strategists. Professionals worry about how those troops will be supplied before they worry about what to do with the troops.

Kyrgyzstan served an eviction notice regarding the Manus Air Base on the US Ambassador.

SecDef Gates thinks that this is not a closed issue. I am not as optimistic, I don't see how the Kyrgyzstanis can easily back down without showing a really hefty bonus to justify their reversal.

The reasons behind all of this may be murky, but I don't know of anyone who is not convinced that the reasons for the base closure lie in the Kremlin. The Russians have said they are willing to provide logistical transport routes to Afghanistan, but the price will, no doubt, be high.

Let us not forget that all of this is because the Bush Admininstration neglected to finish what they began. They turned thier backs on Afghanistan, much in the same way that President George H.W. Bush did, and with much the same result. Bush also stuck with backing a military dictator who was not willing to confront the true danger facing his country and was not willing or able to take on the Taliban sympathizers within his own government.

If Afghanistan cannot be salvaged, the blame will rest with the Doofus from Dallas.

A Bit of Federal Humor

This applies to just so many agencies.
A DEA officer stops at a ranch in Montana , and talks with an old rancher.
He tells the rancher, "I need to inspect your ranch for illegally grown
drugs."

The old rancher says, "Okay, but do not go in that field over there" as he
points out the location.

The DEA officer verbally explodes saying, "Mister, I have the authority of
the Federal Government with me." Reaching into his rear pants pocket, he
removes his badge and proudly displays it to the farmer. "See this badge?
This badge means I am allowed to go wherever I wish ...on any land. No
questions asked or answers given. Have I made myself clear? Do you
understand?"

The old rancher nods politely, apologizes, and goes about his chores.

A short time later, the old rancher hears loud screams and sees the DEA
officer running for his life chased close behind by the rancher's prize
bull. With every step the bull is gaining ground on the officer, and it
seems likely that he'll get "horned" before he reaches safety. The officer
is clearly terrified. The old rancher throws down his tools, runs to the
fence and yells at the top of his lungs.....

"Your badge! Show him your badge!"

Caturday

Bella the Pirate: "Arrr."


Jake: "Can't you see that we would appreciate some privacy?!?"


George is having breakfast in bed:



Queen Gracie the First:

Friday, February 20, 2009

Start Rolling 1A Paranoia Generator

The Iowa National Guard is going to practice search and arrest drills in a few towns in Iowa. So these guys are going to be roaming the streets, playing at being the Wehrmacht in Belorussia during the war.

I think it is fair to start asking the Wuffo Question, here.

(H/T to OneFly)

This Shit has to Stop

"Obama is a radical communist and I think it is becoming clear. That is what I told people in Illinois and now everybody realizes it is coming true. He is going to destroy this country and we are either going to stop him or the United States of America is going to cease to exist," said [Alan] Keyes.
This is nothing less than a call for a political assassination. Recent history has shown that there is no shortage of unstable individuals who listen to that sort of bilgewash, believe it and act on it.

There was the one asswipe in Tennessee who walked into a church and started killing people because he believed liberals should be killed. A similar reason may have been behind the murder last year of Bill Gwatney, chairman of the Arkansas Democratic party.

Alan Keyes knows exactly what he his trying to do: He is trying to incite a murder because the American people, in general, may have finally seen through the lies of the Right. His side cannot win with ballots, so he is seeking to achieve his deranged objectives by encouraging some lunatic to commit an assassination.

Alan Keyes belongs in a jail cell.

(H/T to Raw Story)

That Ship is So Fraked!, Part III

The USNI blog has photos and links to photos. Some serious damage there.

Orwellian Bullshit From the Obama Administration

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says he wants to consider taxing motorists based on how many miles they drive rather than how much gasoline they burn.

Not only "no," but "no fucking way in hell!" This is why:
The system would require all cars and trucks be equipped with global satellite positioning technology, a transponder, a clock and other equipment to record how many miles a vehicle was driven, whether it was driven on highways or secondary roads, and even whether it was driven during peak traffic periods or off-peak hours.
Which means that the government, federal, state, whatever, would have access to where you have driven and at what time.

I respectfully submit that anybody who does not think that government and law-enforcement would not be slavering to have their hands on that data has mush for brains. Anyone who believes that such information would not be used for political smear campaigns must spend all of their days watching the Disney Channel. If one of these goes into my car, it will be amazing how the GPS antenna accidentally winds up being wrapped in layers of duct-tape and tinfoil.

This idea needs to be squashed, now.

It Might Seem Too Harsh to Hope For an Execution in This Case

But a guy who is such a lowlife as to steal the cookie money from two Girl Scouts probably has it coming.

It did happen in Texas, after all. So they'll probably fry him for it.

How Will This Recession End?

Paul Krugman is not sure. He reports that there are folks in the Federal Reserve who do not see the economy becoming robust for five or six years.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Reading is Fun

Truly

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

Flying 100 Years Ago

Wilbur Wright flies a demonstration in Europe.

Remember, Remember When

Remember when the Wingnuts used to get their panties all bunched up when we'd compare the Bush Administration's crimes to those of the Germans? "Unfair," they cried. "We'd never ever do anything like that to a Democratic president," they screeched.

Well, it didn't take long for that promise to be non-operative.

And yes, that is Michelle Malkin looking on approvingly and leaning into a guy who is holding a sign proclaiming that Obama is a Nazi while dangling a noose from his fingers.

Never mind, by the way, that if there were any black people in Germany during the Third Reich, they'd have been marched into the concentration camps right alongside, if not in front of, the Jews.

(H/T to Tengrain)

Torture Nation

Sully has a very good piece today. Please, go read it.

"Why I Voted Republican"

Feel free to add to the list.
Because I believe we *really* are a monarchy, not a democracy and that the President should have the powers of a King.

Because the idea of bombing Iran makes me salivate like a bitch in heat.

Because I believe the Constitution is just a goddamn piece of paper.

Because the rule of force trumps the rule of law.

Because we need more poor people.

Because an obese drug addict with a radio show told me to.

Because I *love* catchy phrases like "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" and "BRING 'EM ON."

Because clean air is so darn overrated.

Because the thought of torturing people brings me close to orgasm.

Because "habeus corpus" was dreamed up by a bunch of men wearing tights.

Because unadulterated prescription drugs are not important to me.

Because I think my chances of getting salmonella are very low.

Because visiting those national monuments *should* include seeing the wonders of mechanization that those oil well rigs represent and the patches of dirty crude broken and discarded pipe enhance the experience, too.

A Gasoline-Powered Metronome

Or "Why We Love the Internets."

"Country First" Is No Longer Operative For the GOP

For if it were otherwise, Gov. Charlie Crist (R-FL) would not be taking a shitload of flak from his party for saying this yesterday: "This is my president now and I am an American first. I think it is important we support our president."

"Country first." Riight. And all of the other crap of how it is disloyal, nay, treasonous to disagree with the President about anything while a war is going on, all of that is also no longer operative for the party of Hoover and the Hindenbergs.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Step Into the Wayback Machine

Only five or so months ago, Chimpy and his heir-designate, Loose-Cannon McCain, were proclaiming that "the fundamentals of our economy are strong."

Remember that? I bet they wish they could call those words back, pronouncements that were as badly timed as "mission accomplished" and "bring it on."

So now, five months later, the Federal Reserve is forecasting that unemployment will reach 8.5 to 8.8 percent (meaning that it really will be double that figure), that the economy will contract, that there will be be "excessively low inflation" (which is like saying that a patient who has stopped breathing has "excessively low respiration") and that the economy might recover in 2011.

Heck of an economy you left behind, O party of Hoover.

No wonder people are worried.

Blogrolling

I've noticed that in renovating my blogrolls, I've managed to drop at least one blog (Mock, Paper, Scissors). That was unintended and I've fixed it.

If I deleted your blog, please let me know in the comments.

The Official Ride of the GOP



California's government is melting down because the party of Hoover is engaged in intramural bloodletting
.

The Hooverites, who are showing tendencies that combine libertarianism with anarchism, seem to have concluded that it is better to completely wreck things than to actually govern. Maybe it's just me, but I don't see how becoming known as the party of intransigence is going to work for them at the next election.

That Ship is So Fraked!, Part II

I've done a much longer post over in the appendix.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

That Ship is Fraked!

The USS Port Royal, a Ticonderoga class guided missile cruiser, ran aground about 12 days ago.

I'll have more later, as it is late. My information is that the Port Royal is well and truly fucked up. This is what they are saying publicly:
The incident damaged the bow-mounted sonar housing and struts, shafts and propellers. Tips of the blades from the props were sheared off, officials said.
It is apparently a lot worse than that. Both the newspaper article and Wikipedia are saying that the ship's captain was "temporarily relieved" of his command. Don't believe a word of the "temporarily" part. If the surface navy works the same way now as it did in the past, the only way he is ever going to sea again is if he buys a ticket for a cruise ship.

Time to Wash the Cat's Ass

I'll spare you the photographic proof of why this is so.

I've got in mind to write a post about muzzle flash, but that'll have to keep.

Not a Good Way to Win Friends for Muslims

Founding a TV station may be a good way to get your message out that "Islam is cool," but not if you then turn around and whack your wife by cutting off her head, the same gory method employed by the murderers of Daniel Pearl, the Mexican drug cartels and other groups seeking to strike terror into the hearts of their opponents.

Can You Really Blame This Guy?

Japanese Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa resigned amid accusations he was drunk at a Group of Seven press conference.

Can you blame him, though? Japan's economy is shrinking by over 12% a year. If you were in charge of trying to turn that around, wouldn't you want to get hammered every day and as early as possible?

Quote for the Day

From Fixer:
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Republican Party has become an opposition party purely to oppose. They don't want what's best for the American people, they don't want to fix the economy, they don't want us to have affordable health care, and they don't want anything the President does to succeed. They will happily watch the American Republic go down in flames (we're smoldering and losing altitude now) as long as they get their way.

The Big Boner John Boehner was correct the other day (not that he meant to be, I'm sure) when he said "we don't want to be the 'Party of No'" and that's exactly right. They want to be the 'Party of Self'. They are like children who take their ball and go home. They are like the abusive guy who kills his wife when she finally gets up the strength to leave him because "if I can't have her, nobody can." You can understand the reaction of a child when he feels unwanted by his friends but the murdering husband is a criminal.

The Republicans aren't 10 years old and their actions are criminal. They have abused this nation in one form or another since '93 and, now that the American people won't take it anymore, they will destroy it.

Get a Grip

The National Safety Council wants all states to prohibit motorists from using cell phones.

Good luck with that. I live in a state where it is illegal to use a hand-held cell phone while driving and, other than the speed limits, it is the most widely flouted law on the road. Even the cops go cruising down the road while yammering away on their cell phones.

"OMG, we have to make that illegal" seems to be the knee-jerk reaction from everybody; Democrats, Republicans, you name it. Everyone seems to have something they don't like and they want to make it illegal.

Which brings me to the War on Drugs, but I'll get to that.

Republicans With Skin in the Game

Republicans who have real responsibilities, the ones who are governors of states, largely back the stimulus package. That is different from the ones who have no responsibilities other than running their mouths, such as the House Republicans, Roosh Limpberg and the other bloviators.

I've mentioned before that from time to time, I check what keywords have brought people to this blog. A set of keywords that show up almost every time I look is "steve doocy idiot."

You have to wonder about the 37 or so lunatics from the Party of Hoover and the 180 or so in the House. They seem to have no independent thoughts; they are all apparently taking their marching orders from a severely obese drug addict whose only talent is jacking his jaws. How that bodes well for them is beyond my understanding.

So, on that note:

Monday, February 16, 2009

Congressional Outrage at Air Travel

ABC World News Tonight just had a piece which demonstrates the utter hypocrisy of those congressmen who were lambasting auto and bank executives for using corporate jets, when those same congressman routinely travel on military executive jets or, if they fly on the airlines, fly first class. Including the douchebag of a congressman who made such a big stink about the auto execs flying their own jets, who had the balls to try and deny he made such a trip.

I'll post the video when ABC News makes it available.

UPDATE: The DEA chartered a jet to fly its administrator, Michele Leonhart, to Columbia rather than borrowing a jet from another Federal agency. Even though the DEA itself has over 100 airplanes.

UPDATE II: You have to go to ABC's website to view the story. Unlike more forward-thinking news outlets, like NBC, ABC doesn't seem to allow embedding video.

The Formerly Free Nation of Great Britain

In essence, it is now forbidden to take photographs in public places.

Not that we don't have similar insanity, maybe just not as intense.

No Surprise Here

Two nuclear submarines, one French and the other British, collided in mid-Atlantic earlier this month, reports in the British and French news media said on Monday, quoting sources in the two defense ministries. ... The two submarines [Le Triomphant and H.M.S. Vanguard] are at the core of their countries' nuclear forces, each carrying a battery of intercontinental ballistic missiles equipped with multiple warheads.
I don't understand the surprise some people are expressing.

Two points:

First, the planned tracks of boomers are among the most closely guarded secrets a nation has. You do not want anybody who does not absolutely need to know where they are. The whole point of having boomers is that everyone else does not know their location.

Second, boomers on patrol are the quietest of any nation's submarines. They try to stay hidden, they try to avoid detection and that means they do their utmost not to make any detectable noise. "Slow and quiet" is the mantra here. If anything, a really good boomer will look more like a hole in the water. A quiet boomer can get very close to a passive sonar array without being detected.

That two such submarines might run into each other is only a surprise because it is, after all, a pretty damn big ocean.

The American Taliban

According to Sully, the GOP.

That could pose a real quandary for people who regard themselves as secular conservatives, as there is not a party that is both rationalistic and conservative. One party is left-of-center and is largely secular, the other party is made up of far-right batshit-religious fanatics.

It would seem to me that there is a real hole in the political spectrum that could be filled by a group who had both the people and the cash to organize. Ross Perot may have just been 18 or so years ahead of his time.

Now, That's Disturbing




You Are Animal



A complete lunatic, you're operating on 100% animal instincts.

You thrive on uncontrolled energy, and you're downright scary.

But you sure can beat a good drum.

"Kill! Kill!"



(H/T to Earl)

Marksmanship Returns in Afghanistan

One shot, long range. Only not in our favor.

"Spray and pray" may have its uses for up-close and personal. But where sight lines can exceed a couple hundred meters, I suspect that there is a certain amount of psychological effectiveness to hearing one shot and seeing one of your mates keel over.

There is a reason why sharpshooters have been feared on the battlefield for over 200 years.

Brick-and-Mortar Stupidity

I do prefer to buy stuff in real stores, rather than on-line. I like to be able to examine the merchandise and check its features. Some stuff I can't, such as some types of ammunition (I've not seen any 7.62x54R in a store closer than an hour's drive).

My sweetie offered to buy me a new digital camera for V-Day. So on Saturday, we went around to the various stores. The Canon A1000 seemed nice. It is a lot smaller than my four-year-old Canon A95, it has twice the resolution and it shoots up to ISA 1,600 (the A95 maxes out at 400). Plus, it takes two AA batteries, so it is thinner.

We hit BJ's and Wally World first. Both had the camera, but neither one would power up. We then went to Best Buy. They showed the camera in all four colors and the display model would power up. List price was $179.99, it was on sale for $159.99. It seemed to operate basically in the same way as the A95, so we tracked down a sales geek and asked if we could get the purple one.

First annoying fact: Two women in an electronics store might as well coat themselves with invisible paint. We were able to finally pry away one of the three sales geeks who were talking to one customer. I asked for the purple one and was told: "Sorry, you can only buy that one online."

That is about as dumb-assed a thing as I have heard recently.

Look, Best Buy, if you are going to tell people to leave your stores and then go online to buy it, then you had better be able to match or beat everyone else at price. For once you tell them to leave your store and shop from home, there is nothing to stop anyone from just Googling or MySimoning the model and seeing who has a better price.

Which other places do. With discounts on memory cards and cases. With free shipping. And more (which you know all about if you buy online).

If Best Buy is going to be in the business of throwing away sales like that, look for them to do a Circuit City real soon now.

Trayf. Definately Trayf.

The Bacon Explosion.

(H/T Mule Breath)

Another Bush Privatization Initiative Fails

Only this time, it was Chimpy's slightly-more-intelligent brother who was behind the failed program to privatize the food service operations in the Florida prison system.
Florida is coping with the effects of a failed and expensive food-privatization venture of former Gov. Jeb Bush. In 2001, the state turned over most prison food operations to Aramark Corp., even after Ohio had scrapped a similar experiment, citing bad results.

After seven years marked by numerous irregularities, fines for sloppy service and a state report that flagged the vendor's ''windfall'' profits, Aramark pulled out of Florida prisons last month.

Nope. Not Going to Defend This Guy.

Sorry, folks. I'm not a party loyalist. I'm not going to defend bad or questionable behavior on the part of Democrats. I'm instead going to point it out when I see it. I will, however, relish more bashing the Hooverites, as they are from the party that loves to proclaim how moral they are, so when they fall, they fall a lot farther and harder.

So if Sen. Burris seems to have a little problem with the truth about how he managed to score an appointment to the U.S. Senate from disgraced-impeached-and-convicted former Governor Blagojevich, if he lied under oath, well, that's what the prosecutors are for. In any event, good luck with trying to weasel around that issue during the primary and the general election in 2010.

News for the Deniers

France's top judicial body on Monday recognized the French government's responsibility for the deportation of Jews during World War II, the clearest such recognition of the state's role in the Holocaust.
No shit. Too bad it has taken the French 64 years to figure that out.

I almost had to chuckle at this line in the article:
Thousands of Jews were deported from France to Nazi death camps during the occupation.
Try about a hundred thousand or so; records were kept on about 76,000, but that only includes those Jews who were rounded up by the French police. Far more died.

Changes

I've revamped many of the blogrolls, as you can see. They're now listed in order of their latest posts, so you can skip over the ones that haven't been updated recently. For some oddball reason, a number of the political blogs don't have feeds, so I haven't deleted that blogroll.

I'll probably merge some of the existing ones, too.

Tough Musicians in Mexico

So there is this wedding reception going on. Fights break out, some guy pulls a pistol and rips off several shots and the band just keeps on playing.

(H/T to Sebastian)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Tailplane Stall

The NASA video. 23 minutes, much good information, but presented with the MEGO-inducing style of most government-produced videos.

(If they really wanted to encourage abstinence, all they'd have to do is give the government the job of producing all of the porn.)

Battlestar Galactica- "No Exit"

There was very little contemporaneous about this episode, most of it was filling in back story and explaining the significance of the Final Five, why there are no "Number 7s" and the sheer sadism of the Number 1 (John Cavil) model.

Necessary data, but...meh.

Other than the revelation of who is the best brain surgeon of the Colonial Fleet.

Brown and White

Those are the primary colors visible at this time of year. Which color is dominant depends on how much snow there has been and if it has been cold enough so the snow hasn't melted. The days have been warm enough, of late, with plenty of sun, so brown is the main color one sees from the air.

It looks as though this was a quarry area, long ago, but they probably were not rock quarries. They were clay and sand quarries, used for brick-making. The Hudson River, from just north of New York City all the way up to Albany, was dotted with brick-works in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The silo is from a cement factory that closed in the 1970s.



I have no idea how long this factory has been abandoned, probably for decades. I've no idea what was done there. At one time, probably well over a hundred men worked there. It could have been part of a brick-works as having river access made sense for shipping bricks to the cities north and south of this location.


Avigate. Navigate. Communicate.

The news coverage of the crash of a Colgan Airways DHC-8 on approach to KBUF has made much of the fact that there was nothing said over the raido by the airplane's crew prior to impact.

There is a reason for that. One of the earliest lessons drilled into pilots from their first lesson are these three words: Avigate, Navigate. Communicate.

First of all, fly the airplane. No matter what else is going on, fly the airplane. If you are going to crash, fly it as far into the crash as you can. Never give up, keep flying it until you can't (or the flight ends routinely).

Second, navigate the airplane. Know where you are, where you're going, what the weather will be and how much gas you'll have in reserve.

Third, and a distant third, communicate. Airplanes fly by Bernoulli, not Marconi. If you are in a bad situation, odds are there is nobody on the ground who can help you. If you are in the process of crashing off-airport, nobody in Air Traffic Control can do a damned thing for you; you need to use all of your brain to either avoid crashing or minimize the crash. If you want an example, you might have noticed that after USAir 1549 told ATC they were going into the river, they said nothing more.

The pilots of Colgan 3407 obviously knew that the shit hit the fan and they concentrated on trying to regain control of the airplane, not on jabbering to ATC. That's why they didn't say anything.

Experimentation

Lisa said that when her posts included these words: Nancy Pelosi's breasts that traffic to her blog would spike.

I want to see if it's true.

And if that's what brought you here, might I suggest that you consider growing the frak up

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Try not to celebrate it in the Chicago manner, though.

As much as I tend to regard today as just another damned Hallmark Holiday, in these times, anything that gets people breaking loose with a few bucks isn't a bad thing. It sure beats the hell out of Emergency Christmas.

Heh. Heh. Heh.

(H/T)

Caturday

"Ma, what the hell is this thing?!?"


"Bear, you have the first watch."



George, as expected, is wholly unimpressed.




Friday, February 13, 2009

Explain This One to Me

How can Republican congressmen issue press releases taking credit for provisions in the stimulus bill (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) when they all voted against it?

How does that work, exactly? "Brother, this was a really good idea, even if I voted against it, because I am a member of the Party of Crazy People".... is that how it works for them?

Wake Up and Smell the History

Paul Krugman is complaining that the economic stimulus package was not large enough.

Dr. Krugman is a talented economist, no doubt, and I suspect he is right about all he says. I do enjoy his comments that the party of Hoover is engaging in "deep voodoo." But I think he is wrong in some of his critique.

One thing he misses is that politics is the art of the possible or, as John Varley has put it, you cannot invent the railroad until it is time to invent the railroad. Politicians cannot get too far ahead of their times or they will not get anything accomplished. You can find examples throughout history. President Roosevelt (Teddy) thought the Panama Canal was a fine idea, but it had been thought of well over a century before. The French tried to build a canal and failed. Improvements in construction equipment, better methods of removing the dug spoil and, most importantly, control of mosquitos made it possible to build the Panama Canal a century ago.

His cousin, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, probably thought that the U.S. needed to enter World War II far earlier than it did, but the isolationism of the Hooverites made that impossible. Even with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. would not have gone to war with Germany without the German declaration of war on December 11, 1941. (That was a rather curious move as Japan did not declare war on the Soviet Union afer Germany had attacked in June, 1941, nor did Japan declare war against the USSR after Germany declared war on the USA.)

Some politicians get out in front and escape by the skin of their teeth. President Truman's order to desegregate the amed forces in1948 almost cost him the election. Some politicians make a bold move and it costs their party dearly; President Johnson's push for civil rights legislation cost his party the South for the next two generations, paving the way for presidents who virtually destroyed the ability of the Federal government to do little more than drop bombs on people. Please do not misunderstand me, the civil rights acts may have kept this nation from flying apart in the 1960s, but the backlash exacted its own cost.

President Obama can only get so far out in front of the people and I suspect that he knows that far better than either I or Dr. Krugman.

Late Awakeners

I would be much more impressed at the party of Hoover's new-found concern about the Federal deficit if they were not the same pack of clowns who cheerfully went along with every deficit-busting measure that George W. Bush wanted. It's not that they are from the same party, it's that they are the exact same people. Virtually every one of the Hooverite senators and congressman who have been all over the news recently complaining about the deficit had zero qualms about voting for Bush's massive tax cuts while at the same time ramping up two wars and also adding additional defense spending, not including the costs of the wars, which was added in outside of the budget process.

Jon Stewart smacked John Sununu around about the same thing last night. As you will see, Stewart also got in a few licks at the party of Hoover's thirst to deregulate everything.

Scum-Sucking Fascists Change Their Names to Dodge Their Bloodthirsty Rep

Blackwater Worldwide, the company best known for supplying arrogant trigger-happy bodyguards to the State Department, is changing the names of their companies.

Blackwater Worldwide is now Xe, Inc.

Blackwater Lodge & Training Center is now U.S. Training Center Inc.

New name, new logo, same old group of fascist goons.

Crash in Buffalo

50 people were killed last night in the crash of a Colgan Airways flight that was on approach to the Buffalo Airport. Weather apparently was mixed precipitation with rain and freezing rain.

Hopefully you know this: When one is talking about aircraft, a "stall" has nothing to do with the engines. A stall is when airflow over the wings is disrupted so that lift is lost. Almost all heavier-than-air aircraft can stall if the conditions are right, though some airplanes don't so much as stall as mush in a downward direction.

Icing does a few bad things to airplanes. The weight of the ice adds to the weight of the airplane, which increases the amount of lift needed to keep it flying. All other things being equal, a lightly-loaded airplane stalls at a slower speed than a heavily-loaded airplane. By increasing the aerodynamic drag on the airplane, ice accumulation adds to the amount of thrust needed to keep the airplane moving at a given speed. If not enough power is added to compensate for the additional drag, the airplane will stall. Ice accumulation also alters the airflow over the lifting surfaces, making them less efficient, which also raises the stall speed. When an airplane is approaching an airport in icing conditions, the airplane has landing gear hanging out and flaps (and maybe slats) that are not protected by anti-icing equipment, which gives ice even more places to adhere to the airplane.

It is not just the wing that can stall. The horizontal surfaces on the tail (tailplane) can also stall. On many airplanes, the center of lift is behind the center of gravity, so the tailplane exerts force in the downward direction in order to stabilize the airplane in flight.

If the tailplane stalls, the lever arm between the center of lift (pressure) and the center of gravity will work to pull the nose down and pull it down hard.

(Elevators control pitch, ailerons control roll and the rudder controls yaw.)

If the wing itself stalls, the nose also drops. The difference is that in normal conditions, the wing stalls before the tail, so the pitch angle can be controlled somewhat. In a tailplane stall, pitch control is effectively lost. The pilot needs to gain airspeed, which means the pilot will push the throttles in, as that is the only tool left.

(All this ruminating is speculative, of course. I probably have no business offering any conjecture on this, but what the hell, this is my blog. And like any good blogger, my job is to shoot my mouth off about things of which I have limited knowledge.)

Without knowing a damned thing more than what has been in the news, and having never gotten close to a DeHavilland Dash-8, please take this all with a grain of salt, but I would be rather surprised to learn that Colgan Flight 3407 went down for any cause other than icing and, quite possibly, ice that caused a tailplane stall.

You Can't Join the Army Today

All of the recruiting offices are closed for training on reasons why being a recruiter is not grounds for suicide.

I've known people who were recruiters and for years after their tours, they were all rather bitter about the tyranny of the quota system and that it didn't matter if they were shipping disillusioned PhD candidates or sweepings from the local criminal court as long as they sent warm bodies to the Recruit Training Centers and/or OCS. That more recruiters don't kill themselves is a minor miracle.

Second, and I've said this before, nothing is going to change until the military lifts the stigma of seeking counseling for mental health issues. Until they do that, all of the safety stand-downs and suicide prevention training sessions will not be worth a crap.

(H/T to One Fly)

Nationalize the Banks or Let Them All Fail?

Is there a third choice?

With the largest banks teetering on the edge of failing and the banking system itself now arguably insolvent, what options remain?

Were Our Preznit Reading?

If you are trying to polish up the turd that is the legacy of the Administration of the Chimperor, if you have to start off your defense by stating that "President Bush does know how to read," then it would seem to me that you're both setting the passing grade down around "J-" and you're pretty much conceding defeat.

(H/T to reader JGug)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

In the Event That You Need Another Reason to Damn George Bush, Alan Greenspan and Phil Gramm

The spook community is now coming to the view that the collapse of the world's economy (a collapse that has at its root cause the twisted ideology of the Republicans and the acolytes of Ayn Rand) is a far greater threat to world stability than any terrorist threat.

Sounding more like an economist than the warfighting Navy commander he once was, National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair told a Senate panel Thursday that if the crisis lasts more than two years, it could cause some nations’ governments to collapse.</p>

And a number of allies the United States depends on might no longer be able to afford to meet their own defense and humanitarian obligations, he said.

Blair said already the financial meltdown, which started in the United States and quickly infected other countries, has eroded confidence in American economic leadership and belief in free markets.

“Time is probably our greatest threat. The longer it takes for the recovery to begin, the greater the likelihood of serious damage to U.S. strategic interests,” he told the Senate Intelligence Committee, as Congress prepares to vote Friday on a $789 billion stimulus package.

Think about that for a bit. Contemplate the possibility that unfettered, unregulated free-market capitalism in the financial sector may wind up wreaking more misery and misfortune around the world than the acolytes of Karl Marx ever did. It wasn't communism that has the world's economy crumbling around the foundations, it was the greed-driven louts, the ideologues who thought that there was no such thing as a good regulation or good controls, that given total freedom, the market would self-regulate.

Really. Let's also not forget that those who worshiped at the temple of Libertarianism also believed that no company would ever knowingly sell adulterated or contaminated products because that would damage their reputation and they'd be out of business. (Hey, you guys want some peanut butter crackers while you mull over the wreckage you've brought about?)

But none of this will stop the party of Hoover from maintaining that the best thing to do is just let the collapse of the world's economy proceed unhindered.

Fortunately, there are now some grownups in charge.

(H/T to Yankee Sailor)

2001-- Bush Administration Officials Discuss Plans for Banking Regulations

Married To The Sea
marriedtothesea.com

Don't Fly Frontier Airlines and Spank Your Kids

If you do, the flight attendants will have you arrested for terrorism, you'll spend months in jail and you'll lose custody of them forever.

Better yet, just don't fly Frontier Airlines if you can avoid doing so.

The airlines have been running amok with charging unruly passengers with terrorism. It is well past time to change the law and end this sort of stupid shit.

(H/T to Stupid Security)

Happy 200th Birthday to Two Men Who Changed the World

Abraham Lincoln, arguably the man who saved the Union and the man who put this nation on the path to the realization of the concept that "all men are created equal and are born with certain inalienable rights" meant more than just "rich white dudes." Beyond that, Lincoln also brought about the first transcontinental railroad with the Pacific Railway Act. Until the transcontinental railroads were built (almost all with massive government backing), it was easier to go from New York to London than from New York to San Francisco.


But the really great man who was born 200 years ago today was Charles Darwin, the father of modern biology.


Over years of exploration and then decades of thoughtful refinement, Charles Darwin refined his observations into one of the most important scientific works of the last 1,000 years: On the Origin of Species. Published in 1859, his book was as important to science as Issac Newton's Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica. Darwin and Alfred Wallace brought biology fully from the umbrella of religion into the world of science, where things operate under principles and laws that can be discovered by observation, thinking and experimentation.

On the Origin of the Species was, and remains, so provocative that 150 years after its publication, the forces of supernatural determinism are still fighting rear-guard actions (though mainly in places where "book-larnin'" is not valued, such as Kansas, Texas and the governor's office in Alaska).

Happy birthday!