Words of Advice:

"Never Feel Sorry For Anyone Who Owns an Airplane."-- Tina Marie

"
If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"
Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It.
" -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot,
by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse.
" -- Me

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Terrorist Attack in Europe?

Stratfor is skeptical:



The best reason to be skeptical is that this purported threat is based on a single source, though you'd probably have to go a long way to see that mentioned in the regular press. It sure wasn't here or here or here, but it was mentioned here.

(H/T)

CAPT Robert Truax, USN-ret., RIP

He was one of the original rocket engineers. He was an early proponent of civilian space travel. His team developed the JATO bottles that were used for enabling heavy aircraft to take off from short fields.

A Republican With a Yacht Problem

If you recall how the conservatives were oh, so outraged at the fact that John Kerry was docking his yacht in Newport, RI, then you would think that you would find conservatives railing at Tom Foley, the Republican candidate for CT governor. It seems that Foley has a large yacht, 116' in length, that he not only doesn't dock in Connecticut, he has it registered in another country under what one might call "a flag of convenience".

But I bet that you will have to travel go far and wide before you will find a conservative who is outraged by this.

A Very Good Reason to Vote for Democrats

I think that this is a good argument, but I would be a lot happier if I thought that the Democrats were a bit stiffer in the spine. They have been played time and time again by the Republicans. It should be clear by now that Republicans define "bipartisanship" as "two parties doing it our way."

The Republicans had zero intent of doing anything positive on health care reform, but the Democrats let them string them along.

Hell, the Republicans have no intention of doing anything to help anyone who is not filthy rich already. Susan Collins of Maine was happy to continue to let the execrable "don't ask, don't tell" policy continue because she was oh, so offended at the process for enacting the repeal. In fact, they are openly talking about shutting down the Federal government, which will make all of those elderly Teabaggers really happy when their Social Security checks are not mailed out and when Medicare fails to pay their doctors. That'll really make the troops happy when they are not paid. It'll do wonders for the national economy when the air traffic control system shuts down.

The Democrats ought to be talking about how the stimulus, weak though it was (due to Republican and DINO intransigence), stopped the Bush Recession from becoming a depression. They ought to talk about how the bailout of GM and Chrysler saved the entire American auto industry, including Ford as well as the German and Japanese plants in this country, from shutting down.

They ought to confront the bank bailout head-on and ask people if a global collapse of the financial system would have been in their best interest. Yes, it sucks that the banksters, the most egregious of which has been Goldman Sachs, were able to escape the consequences of their actions. But anyone who thinks that the alternative of letting the largest banks in this country fail was a better one either has mush from brains or has been fully programed by too much Ayn Rand fiction.

But the Democratic party is unwilling, unable or too spineless to try and make the argument that they have been working in the national interest. Instead, they have been alternating between hectoring the base to get out and vote and saying that the Republicans will be worse. The latter is true enough. The former is idiotic, as bitching people out is about the worst motivational tactic one can use.

The Democrats arguably deserve to lose. This nation, however, will pay the price of letting the party of the Confederacy back into power.

Songs for Medical Specialties

I only know of one:

Near Airshow Disaster

The pilot lost control and hit a row of structures.

Apparently, nobody was seriously injured.

I'd sure like to see the ASRS report.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Great War's Last Payment

Germany will make its last reparation payment on Sunday. The reparations were a provision of the Versailles Treaty of 1919. The payments, required by the obstinate of the French, have been widely credited with destabilizing the economy of the Weimar Republic, which gave the Nazis their route to power.

The irony is that the French, in creating an opportunity for German fascism, sowed the seeds for Germany's conquest of France 21 years later.[1]

100 years ago, color photography was in its infancy. There was color photography during the war; some German photos are at the UK Telegraph's web site. Of course, a little bit of Googling and I found a site of French color war photos

[1] The French government received substantial loans from the U.S. Treasury in World War 1 and lend-lease aid in World War 2. Fat chance that they ever paid those debts.

So, Does Anyone Want to Punch Mayor Bloomberg in the Nuts?

If you do, Lisa will be most appreciative.

For the only thing that is more than annoying than a guy with his own armed security detail complaining that the plebs own guns, it is a guy who is a billionaire blaming the unemployed for not having jobs.

And it's even more annoying when the two putzim are rolled into one sack of self-important protoplasm.

Tax Breaks for Cable and Oil Companies (and the Rich)

Because that's how the party of the Confederacy rolls.

By the way, British Petroleum: You can stop running those stupid television ads and buying full-page ads in the New York Times and other papers, touting how you're going to "make this right" and how you've set up a $20 billion dollar fund to help mitigate damages due to your reckless conduct in drilling the Macondo oil well. First off, we all know that the Obama Administration damn near wrenched your arms out of their sockets to get you to agree to the restitution fund. Second, that $20B isn't fully funded.

BP, if you had your way about it (and you would have if George Bush were president), you wouldn't have done fuck-all to help anyone. Everyone who has suffered along the Gulf Coast would have had to sue you in some court where everyone in the courthouse, from the judges to the guy who swamps out the bathrooms, is in your pocket.

Your ads are a waste of money. You're not convincing anyone.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

No Real Surprise


Justin Bieber Found To Be Cleverly Disguised 51-Year-Old Pedophile

Shot-Spotter?

ShotSpotter, a private company whose system is being used by more than two dozen police departments around the country, employs GPS and an acoustic locating system to triangulate and find where shots have been fired from.
I wonder what would happen if someone took a thick-walled copper tube, crimped it shut at one end, dropped down a lit firecracker and quickly plugged the open end with some clay.

Bet they'd drive the cops crazy.

GOP- No Friend of the Working Man

"Outsourcing American jobs"-- that's a good thing according to every senator from the party of the Confederacy, including the usual collection of DINOs, Tester, Bauchus, Nelson, Warner and good old Traitor Joe Lieberman.

Jon Stewart and the Temple of Doom

That is his term for the studios at Fox News. Bill O'Reilly didn't seem to disagree.

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Stewart's report on Stephen Colbert's trip to Congress is worth watching, as well. For one thing, he confessed that he really does despise Tucker Carlson.

Nepotism Works!

No doubt that W is gnashing his teeth over this.
Kim Jong-un, the youngest of [North Korean dictator] Kim [Jong Il's] three sons, and Kim Kyong-hui, the leader’s sister, were made four-star generals in the People’s Army just hours before a landmark meeting of the Workers’ Party started in the capital, Pyongyang.
The younger Kim is 28. Promotion comes fast in the North Korean Army if daddy's the dictator.

I don't know why they just don't admit that the country is a monarchy.

Rob a Restaurant, Get Yourself Shot

Even in the Northeast:
BRIDGEPORT -- The owner of a West Side Chinese restaurant shot and killed one of a pair of robbers Sunday night, police said.
As Zendo Deb says, self-defense is a human right.

Part Wolf, Part Dog, All Coyote

They aren't going anywhere. In those places that are overrun with Canadian geese, more coyotes are a good thing, as they love goose eggs.

This bit was fascinating:
Not only do coyotes hunt singly and in packs, they have even been observed hunting cooperatively with other species. In Wyoming, scientists have seen coyotes hunting with badgers, large burrowing creatures that enjoy a nice bit of ground squirrel. As badgers dig toward squirrels in their tunnels, coyotes wait above for the squirrels to pop up for a quick escape, or perhaps to be chased back down to be eaten by a badger. Teams may work together often for an hour or more, the coyote mock-chasing or otherwise playfully inviting the lethargic badger to activity when it pauses, and to good purpose. Coyotes hunting with badgers had to work less and ate more than solitary coyotes in the same area. These teams were so effective that researchers reported often seeing the same pairs working together again and again.
Coyotes are expanding their range from the west, probably because humans long ago killed off their main competition in the east: The gray wolf. We humans muck around with Nature at times and we often have little clue what the impacts are of our thrashing around. Yellowstone National park is proving to be in interesting case study in what happens when a top-level predator, the wolf, is removed and then re-introduced.

The FBI Is Watching You. Do You Feel Safer?

Let's suppose that you've been thinking of buying a new pistol. Maybe you've always wanted a Sig or a H&K and now that you have a few shekels burning a hole in your pocket (since the recession is technically over), you buy one. Of course, if you're even a semi-serious shooter, the one or two magazines that come with the pistol are nowhere near enough. So you buy some more.

Well, that may be enough for the FBI's so-called "fusion centers" to tag you as a possible terrorist. So will being at the waterfront and taking a photo of a ferry. Are you a railroad buff? Possible terrorist. Like to take pictures of airplanes? Possible terrorist. Walking around with a camera might be enough to get yourself tagged as a suspicious person, especially if you aren't obviously of Scandinavian or Celtic origin. You might have dreams of becoming the next Ansel Adams, but the FBI might think you're a terrorist spy.

Do you feel safer?

Monday, September 27, 2010

P.G. County Cops- The Fuckery Continues

So if you get robbed in Prince George's County (Maryland) and call the cops, don't be surprised if they show up, arrest you and shoot your dog, just for fun.

By the way, notice that the P.G. County cops have such delicate sensibilities that it is apparently against the law to insult them. Poor widdle baybees musten't get their widdle feelings hurt!

Oh, in case you've forgotten, here are a few past links on those guys.

(H/T)

Segway: Ask the Man Who Owns One

In this case, Jimi Heselden, who bought the company from Dean Kamen in 2009.

He was killed when he rode his Segway off a cliff.

Like Hell They Aren't Doing This Already

I call bullshit on this one:
Federal law enforcement and national security officials are preparing to seek sweeping new regulations for the Internet, arguing that their ability to wiretap criminal and terrorism suspects is “going dark” as people increasingly communicate online instead of by telephone.

Essentially, officials want Congress to require all services that enable communications — including encrypted e-mail transmitters like BlackBerry, social networking Web sites like Facebook and software that allows direct “peer to peer” messaging like Skype — to be technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap order. The mandate would include being able to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages.
Does anyone seriously believe that the NSA isn't already ahead of this issue?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Were You "Stop-Lossed" in the Military? If So, You Can Get Some More Money.

If so, you can get an additional $500 for each month that you were forced to serve past your EAOS.

The deadline to apply is October 21st, so get busy. You need to submit a Fom DD-2944 in order to get paid.

And please, my fellow bloggers, help get the word out.)

(H/T)

Someone Look Around On the Floor and See If You Can find My Jaw

It fell out when I saw this:



Must. Buy. More. Russian. Brain. Bleach.

(The original.)

(H/T for a different clip)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Shorter Version of the GOP's Pledge To America

"We promise to what we said we would do in 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2006, but we never got around to doing in the years that we controlled the Senate, the House of Representatives and the Presidency. But this time you really can trust us. Would we lie to you?"

If every Democratic and progressive blog isn't flogging this one clip, then folks are falling down on the job.

Caturday; Furniture Edition

I do have cat beds for them to lie on. I have a cat condo for them to use.

But they seem to love human furniture. All three cats, at basically the same moment, were lying on three different chairs.

Gracie:

George:

Jake:

At least I didn't pay anything for the cat condos (I made them out of old boxes).

Friday, September 24, 2010

Here is Something You Don't See Every Day

Five P-38s in formation. In 2010!

Fifty-Eight Rounds

That is how many rounds of rifle ammunition that the Army expects each soldier to shoot in order to qualify with their rifle prior to going to war, in combat that is increasingly a war of riflemen. (PDF)

Note that the live-combat ranges in Afghanistan are 500 meters and up while the Army trains its shooters for a maximum of 300 meters.

I'll defer to the experts on this, but it sure seems to me that popping off 48 rounds every year for qualification is a pretty insignificant amount of training-- 1 day of rifle training a year and 364 days of green horseshit?

Democrats, Once Again, Bring Nerf Guns to a Firefight

Really. You fuckers cannot sell the idea of taxing the rich a tad bit more?
Liberal lawmakers in both chambers had pressed their leaders to schedule a vote on legislation that would make permanent the tax cuts for families earning below $250,000 but allow the rates for families above that threshold to rise. Families in the top brackets would see their income tax rates rise from 33 and 35 percent to 36 and 39.6 percent, respectively.

Centrists and Democrats facing tough reelections, however, balked at voting for any tax increases.
You douchebags in the Democratic establishment cannot channel a tad bit of populist rage about how the Confederates have raped the middle and working classes and it is time to reverse things, just a bit? You chowderheads in the DNC can't think of a way to sell that?

What the fuck, I should be used to this. Most of the Democratic party couldn't figure out how to sell water to a thirsty man. So many of them seem to be afraid of everything and unable to stand up for anything.

If you clowns in the DCCC and DSCC haven't figured out how to run a populist-style campaign against the party of Hoover, then you had better find other jobs. You can't find a way to run against a party which always stands up for the rich and always puts its boots on the necks of the workers?

Jesus on Rollerblades, the Democratic party is so fucked up that I have to wonder if they are riddled with GOP moles (or idiots).

That is a Little Too Close

A USAir A320 and a Beech 99 almost collided in the clouds over Minneapolis-St. Paul. They came close enough that the captain of the A320 heard the Beech 99's engines.

They were using parallel runways; the Beech was on the left-hand runway (30L) and the Airbus on the right-hand runway (30R). I don't know the departure procedures at KMSP and I'm not instrument rated, but it would seem to me that instructing the airplane on the right-side runway to turn left immediately after departure is not a sound idea.

The FBI Once Equated Protesting with Treason

Now they equate it with terrorism.

So, Dear Sheeple, don't go out and protest something if you don't want the goons from the FBI kicking down your door.

Same old shit, different administration. I take it that President "I Taught Constitutional Law" Obama didn't get into the 4th Amendment in his class.

(H/T)

Middle East Peace Talks

Jordan's King Abdullah II appeared on the Daily Show last night. The entire interview is worth your time.

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There are times when the Daily Show is the most serious and intelligent news program on American television.

"We Pledge to You That We Will Be the Same Kind of Scumbags That You Despise"

That's basically the Confederate party's pledge to America, that they will continue to push for the destruction of the middle and working classes.

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If you make less than a million or so a year, then voting for those toads is a vote against your economic self-interest.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Self-Defense

One story.

Sebastian has been carrying on a dialogue with a member of the Brady Campaign's board. I applaud him for doing that, but I have to admit that I am of the opinion that trying to convince the Brady folk to change their minds, even slightly, is as productive as spitting into the wind.

I believe that the Brady Campaign, the Violence Policy Center and the rest of them want to outlaw all firearms. I have never seen a proposed gun control bill that any of those folks thought was too onerous. They approve of the near-total ban on private firearms ownership in places like England and Australia. Semi-automatic rifles are, to them "assault rifles". A rifle with a scope sight has been labeled a "sniper rifle" or a "terrorist weapon". They have pushed for bans of large-caliber rifles because "a terrorist could use them", with zero empirical evidence to back up their claim. To them, full-metal jacketed bullets are "cop killers" and hollowpoints are "dum-dums". Every state that has liberalized their concealed carry laws has been inundated with predictions from the gun control folks that "people carrying concealed weapons will engage in gunfights on Main Street", "they will shoot it out over fender-benders" and "the streets will run red with blood", none of which has happened, but that doesn't stop them from making the claims.

This is probably the only kind of rifled firearm that they grudgingly approve of: An open-sight, single-shot .22.

And they'll probably ban them if they could.

There was a time when I believed that there could be a middle ground, a place where reasonable controls on firearms could be agreed to. I no longer hold to that view. I believe that the gun control folks will keep coming back for more and more restrictions. I believe they operate from the principle of "what is mine is mine, what is yous is negotiable."

So this is my stand: Firearms ownership is a civil right. I will concede that "destructive devices" may be proscribed, but those should limited to things like land mines and hand grenades (if you want to buy a 20mm rifle, have at it). I believe that the NFA Act of 1934 should be repealed.

However, those who use firearms in the commission of a crime should be sent to a remote Federal prison for a very long time. Rob a person with a gun and, if you are apprehended, it should be well into the second half of this century before you are freed.

So, as far as I'm concerned, the Brady/VPC folks are on the other side of the debate, a debate that they are losing almost completely across the board. Which is probably why they now want to talk to the gun community.

UPDATE: From my co-blogger elsewhere, her views.

Rummy's Memoirs

Blue Gal wants to know what your suggested cover is for Don Rumsfeld's memoirs.

I really suck at this, so I can't make it look very pretty, but here is mine:

Christine O'Donnell Robbed a Bank with a Merman

And you'll never believe the show she did it on.

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Something for Calvin's Mom

She'll appreciate this one:

funny graphs - Know Your Movie Zombie Danger Levels
see more Funny Graphs

The Answer Is: Yes, We Are.

The question is: Are we run by assholes?

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By the way: Susan Collins of Maine is one major asshole.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Fun of Google Ads

As you might have noticed, I've started to run ads. The ads are from Google's AdSense program. (At this rate, I can use the revenue to buy a cup of coffee next February.)

The ad system seem to use some algorithm to place ads based on words in the
most recent posts. My previous post, about my opinion that the Obama Administration has been nowhere near tough enough on the banksters, resulted in adds for financial management stuff and hedge funds.*

I wonder what sort of ads would show up if I wrote a post about the possibility that beings from the Moron Nebula were controlling the tea party.

_______________
*My idea of a "hedge fund" would be raising money to put shrubbery over the landfill that would be the final resting place of those greedheads.

The Banksters Are A Bunch of Oh, So Sensitive Pussies- Who Knew?

The denizens of Wall Street are frothing at the mouth because President Obama has referred to them as "fat cats." They think that this Administration is being too hard on them. As one of them put it:
"I went to jury duty about a year ago, and when I said I'm in investment banking, the people in the jury room were making ugh sounds, and I'm like, fuck you. I'm proud of what I do. And I think this firm did a lot to get the recovery going. Somewhere ranked below a pimp and well operator is not right."
See, this is why I could never be in politics. Oh, I'd have bailed out the banks, but the resultant pyramid of heads in Battery Park would have given qualms to Madame Defarge. Those fuckers not only let their greed run away with what little sense they had, but many of them actively worked to wreck the global economy so that they could profit from it.

Calling them "fat cats" is mild. Many of those bastards have worked tirelessly to gut the American industrial base and ship it overseas. Any number of them would qualify as committing the economic version of treason. Goddamned right that Obama has been too easy on them.


(H/T)

So What Else is New;
New York Republicans Nominated an Anti-Semitic, Racist Kook

The Republican party in Westchester County, NY nominated a guy by the name of Jim Russell to challenge incumbent Rep. Nita Lowey for the NY 18th congressional district.

But then it turns out that Russell is some whacko nutjob who is anti-Semitic, is against interracial marriage and has written approvingly of eugenics in some hate-group's quarterly magazine. He has called segregation "a law of nature."

The Republican party has dropped Russell as though he was made of polonium. The New York Conservative party is, however, standing by their man, even if he probably does own a pointy white dunce cap with eye-holes and the robes to match.

A Bad Month

Roberta X has this month lost both of her cats, Tommy and Slinky.

They were both elderly cats; Roberta and Tam gave them good lives. Not that that is any small comfort when one's beloved pet(s) die.

Cats on the Loose or Banksters Going to Jail; You Choose

100 cats inside an IKEA store in the UK:



Meanwhile, the Feds are grinding down a few of the banksters who were using TARP money to line their own pockets.

Couple of Economic Views

Paul Krugman points out that the conservatives have been wrong about the economy all along for the last several years. So why are folks listening to them now?

Robert Reich posits that no amount of stimulus will help the economy because, thanks in no small measure to the inequalities promoted by the Republicans, the middle class is tapped out. Worker productivity has topped off, the hours that workers work can't go much higher, nobody has a second spouse to sent into the labor market and so on. Even when people are working, they don't take vacations. But point this out to the rich and they feel all put upon, they really do.

A Message From the Offices of Senator Saxby Chambliss:
"All Faggots Must Die!"

There is no doubt in my mind that even if Sen. Chambliss fires the asshole who wrote that, the asshole will avail himself of Wingnut Welfare and find an appropriate no-load job at some Confederate think tank.

More likely is that Chambliss will make noises about "finding who is responsible" and take no steps to actually find out. But there will be a strongly-worded interoffice memo to use only personal (home) computers to call for slaying gay folk.

(H/T)

Texas Keeps Bringing the Christian Brand of Crazy

The wackos on the Texas School Board must have been feeling ignored, for they have come up with a new version of crazy: They are going to fight the imaginary pro-Muslim bias of textbooks.

They seem to be referring to the pro-Muslim bias of textbooks that refer to the Crusaders as "invaders", when, in the eyes of the Texas School Board, the Crusaders were nothing more than large armed tour groups which were horribly misunderstood by the locals (in the same way that similarly large groups of enthusiastic German tourists were mistaken for invaders in 1914-1918 and 1939-1945).

Hell, they're even laughing at Texas in Georgia, a state which has previously been eternally grateful to Mississippi and Alabama for keeping Georgia from the bottom of almost all indicies.

If your local school uses Texas-approved textbooks, you might want to ask your own school board why they are using dumbed-down books to educate your children.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Over 50 and Unemployed? One Word: Alpo.

Between the depth of the Bush Recession and the intransigence of the Confederacy party towards doing anything to push the economy along, it is starting to appear that if you are over 50 and out of work, you may be forever screwed.

Must be part of their plan to save Social Security, I guess: Get older people to die sooner.

Do Not Buy a Gun from Anschutz!

Anschutz is equipping its guns with a gizmo that must be worn by the shooter in order for the gun to fire. They are also equipping their target rifles with a gizmo that will only allow the rifle to fire if the rifle is pointed at a round target.[1]

Colt tried this idea 15 years ago and was almost run out of the civilian arms business as a result. The same should only happen to Anschutz. You can buy a decent .22 target rifle from Izhmash, Savage or other companies.

This, Gentle Reader, is how freedom dies in small increments. It dies because some company sees a way to make a quick buck out of killing it. This is like the proposal to put serial numbers on bullets, an idea being pushed by the greedy fucks at the company which developed it. The "iColt smart gun" would have been loved by the cops for two reasons: First, you can bet that they would have the gear to make sure all guns around them were disabled and you can also bet that their guns would not be disabled. It would be like disarming the American people without having to confiscate a single weapon.

Freedom dies because a soulless and consciousless corporation sees a way to profit from its death.

[1] Presumably that means you can only shoot at Rush Limbaugh.

Tactical Parking?

Yes, there is such a thing.

That has to be balanced out against a few other considerations. It the parking lot is set for angled parking, then it is pretty damn rude to back into a space, for when you leave, you are going against the traffic flow. Second, if you have to load stuff in the back of your vehicle, "tactical parking" means that you might not be able to get to the trunk or loading gate with your shopping cart. Third, if you think that someone may try to block you in, then you want to back out into them. You can slam another vehicle pretty hard with the back of your car; doing it with the front of your car can fuck up the radiator and bend the hood up so you can't see.

Another Thought About O'Donnell and Witchcraft (or Satanism)

If you go back and play the clip, here, she mentions that she had a "date with a witch".

Maybe I'm wrong, but I thought that males who practiced witchcraft were called "warlocks."

So did O'Donnell also dabble at being a lesbian? That would be kind of funny, given that O'Donnell has made several comments that gays and lesbians are "suffering from an identity disorder"; which must go over very well with her sister.

If They Really Gave a Shit About Budget Deficits

The Bush tax cuts would be allowed to expire. But you would go far and wide to find a politician who is willing to consider allowing the tax cuts expire.

You might recall that the reason why the tax cuts were set to expire in the first place was because they would have completely shattered the long-term federal budget if they were made permanent. The party of the Confederacy figured that they could make them permanent later. But even though they controlled the Congress completely up to 2006 and the White House to 2008, they couldn't ram it through into law.

You also will not find a politician who is willing to tell the truth, and that is this:

The Federal budget will never be slashed enough to balance the budget with the Bush tax cuts in force. The Republicans will never stand for the defense budget cuts necessary to get there and the Democrats will never stand for cutting Medicare (and neither will the older Teabaggers).

So if we are going to ever balance the Federal budget, the tax receipts have to equal the spending. And if that means taxes have to go up, well, so be it.

It is time that people, especially the Right, grew up and realized that shit has to be paid for.

The Original Tea-Partier?

Jimmy Carter?

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But he didn't practice witchcraft.

Jon Stewart mentioned that a lot of the folks who think that dissent is patriotic now were the same people who previously maintained that dissent was tantamount to treason. Of course, back then, a member of the Confederate party was president.

Monday, September 20, 2010

DHS Fuckery: Border Patrol Edition

The Border Patrol deported an illegal immigrant and his one-year old daughter. Doesn't sound too evil, right? Well, just hold on. The mother of the child is a fifth generation American citizen. The Border Patrol gave her only a few hours to get a court order stopping them from deporting the child, who was also an American citizen.

It took the mother three years to get her daughter back. The Border Patrol's rationale for not holding the child overnight was "it would cost a tremendous amount of money." That "tremendous amount" was all of $200.

The mother sued the Border Patrol. The courts so far have just tut-tutted that "jeez, we wish the Border Patrol had done things differently," but they are not about to hold DHS or the Border Patrol accountable for what was, in essence, the kidnapping and exile of an American citizen.

This is all of a piece with the Obama Administrations craven cowardice in not confronting the legacy of torture of the Bush Administration. This is part and parcel with the Bush and Obama Administrations' fight to prevent any justice for those who were tortured.

When the government is permitted by the courts and by successor governments to blatantly violate the law, then we are in an environment where the law is only for the peons to obey and only the little people (you and me) are the ones who are made to be answerable for our actions. We cannot claim to be a nation of laws when the agents of the government are freely permitted to commit crimes in the name of the government.

That is not the recipe for a stable society.

I Am Shocked, Shocked, to Learn That the FBI Lied to Justify Its Domestic Spying

The FBI gave inaccurate information to Congress and the public when it claimed a possible terrorism link to justify surveilling an anti-war rally in Pittsburgh, the Justice Department's inspector general said Monday in a report on the bureau's scrutiny of domestic activist groups.
The FBI also put nonviolent activists on the terrorism watch list in order to justify the FBI's spying on people.

I don't know why the IG just didn't come out and state the obvious: The FBI lied.
Of course, Roger Clemens will probably go to prison for lying to Congress. The FBI-- not so much.

The FBI is going back to the bad old days when it investigated people whose only beef was disagreeing with the government. It is baffling as to why the Obama Administration is so interested in giving the FBI even more latitude, when the FBI clearly cannot be trusted to color within the lines as it is.

Same Shit, Different War: The U.S. Army is Broken

After the Vietnam War, it was not unusual for the Right to blame the "dirty protesting hippies" for the fact that the Army was a broken and hollow force.

It's broken again, so there goes that excuse.

1911

Animation of a .45 firing.

If you want to get a good look at the internals, first rotate the image so the barrel is pointing to the right. Play the image, then select cutaway and use the up arrow (or a mousewheel) to make the side transparent.

Not bad for a 100 year old design.

(H/T)

If You are Politically Active, You May Be Tracked as a Possible Terrorist

That is what has been going on, apparently, in Pennsylvania. Candlelight vigil protesting BP? Gal and lesbian festival? Zoning hearings? Showing the documentary "Gasland"? Terrorism. Yom Kippur and Ramadan were also flagged for risks of terrorism.

The bulletins that Pennsylvania paid $125,000 are here, because the State was so embarrassed that they released them. They are in chronological order, so you'll need to start at the end to see the most recent ones.

This would seem to be an example of the hard-hitting analysis that PA paid cash money for:
Current-31 August 2010: In the general escalation in Irish republican terrorism, Marching Season in Northern Ireland is a period of several serious potential flashpoints for violence. Pennsylvania-based students and faculty participating in overseas educational programs in Northern Ireland (e.g., Millersville University and the Pennsylvania College of Technology) should maintain a higher state of situational awareness.
In scanning through some of the "bulletins", a theme emerges that the biggest threat, as seen by the chowderheads writing them, were people opposed to the practice of "fracking" to extract natural gas. So if you think that a company is poisoning the air or the water and you get involved politically to stop them, congratulations! You're a possible terrorist. Hell, if you attend a demonstration, no matter what the cause du jour, those clowns are going to view you as a possible terrorist.

Now you might think that is over-the-top hyperbole. If you do, I would remind you that is already the practice in the Nation Formerly Known as "Great" Britain, a nation that has gone, in two generations, from maintaining a stiff upper lip during onslaughts of Luftwaffe bombers and rockets to a nation that is so comprised of pants-wetters that they could be easily conquered.

Kudos to the people in Pennsylvania who made this stupid shit public. The mindset that "everyone who is not a good little German is a possible terrorist" must be vigorously resisted if we are to remain what tattered remnants of a free society that we still possess.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The View From Abroad- 3rd World America

It is not flattering.
In February, the board of commissioners of Ohio’s Ashtabula County faced a scene familiar to local governments across America: a budget shortfall. They began to cut spending and reduced the sheriff’s budget by 20 per cent. A law enforcement agency staff that only a few years ago numbered 112, and had subsequently been pared down to 70, was cut again to 49 people and just one squad car for a county of 1,900 sq. km along the shore of Lake Erie. The sheriff’s department adapted. “We have no patrol units. There is no one on the streets. We respond to only crimes in progress. We don’t respond to property crimes,” deputy sheriff Ron Fenton told Maclean’s.
I doubt if Ashtabula County is the only one where people are being told "you're on your own." Increasingly, you had better own a good gun, a few good fire extinguishers, a good first-aid kit and know how to use all three.

A quarter of all bridges being "structurally deficient". Where once the U.S. had the world's highest percentage of adults with post high school degrees, now we are 12th. Once public education, through state-supported schools and the "land grant" universities, were seen as a public good, a way to ensure a bright future. But now we are slipping back to an era when only the elites sent their children to college.

Between education and infrastructure, and, in large thanks to the greedy "no-tax on me" clowns in the Confederate party, this nation has, for thirty years now, cut back spending on government services and infrastructure, because it is more important to give tax cuts to the rich than to repair and upgrade the common spaces of our nation. The fastest train in this country, the Acela, is a milk-train slowpoke compared to trains in Europe and Asia. Some of the current "high-speed rail" proposals would mean that a passenger train would be able to go 79MPH, which was an impressive speed in the 19th Century.

We really are screwed and I don't see how it is ever going to change.

(H/T)

Witchcraft- O'Donnell Claims That She Didn't Inhale

Oh, this just keeps getting better and better:



It takes very little imagination to realize what would now be happening if tape existed of a Democrat claiming to have been a witch. The Confederates and their allies in the Christian Taliban would be screaming their lungs out and waiving the bloody shirt of their religion about as they called for that Democrat to be horsewhipped and chased out of town.

But because this particular former witch is a Teabagger and a favorite of the Former Half-Term Governor of Alaska, you won't hear a peep from them.

(H/T)

Raymond Chandler: The Case of the Separated Remains.

Nearly 52 years after his death and 57 years after his wife Cissy's death, their remains are to be finally united. Mrs. Chandler's ashes have been sitting on a shelf in a warehouse since 1954, since nobody told the mortuary what to do with them.

Tea Party Express: Fine-Grade Astroturf

One of the Tea Party's main fundraisers is a long-time Republican "operative" named Sal Russo. Between Russo, Dick Armey and the Koch brothers, they have transformed what was last year a somewhat-spontaneous outburst of frustration into a GOP shadow organization.

The folks who show up at the rallies, expecting that they are somehow going to "restore American values" should realize that to the money-men of the Right, that means putting the same twisted cranks in charge that have been driving this nation into an economic ditch for the last three decades.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

If You Think That "Government Can't Do Anything, Only Business Can"

Then how are you going to get to work? How are you going to travel?

In one of his posts, Don Brown mentioned that the airline industry wouldn't exist without government intervention.

It's more than the airlines, of course. The interstate highway system was built and paid for by government money as a quasi-military project (the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act of 1956). The first great transportation project in this nation, the Erie Canal, was funded by the state of New York. The railroads that linked the West Coast to the eastern U.S. would not have been built without government money (and land). Virtually every airport in the nation that operates commercial traffic was built with government money. Outside of subdivisions, if you drive down a paved road, you're driving on a road built and maintained with government money.

So if you want nothing from government, you can start by not using the transportation network that has been paid for by government money, thank you very much.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have cats to round up.

Please Remove All Liquids From the Vicinity of Your Keyboard

You should do that before you click on the link to Gen. Christian's ad for the O'Donnell campaign.

Caturday- the House Guests

Bella is raiding George's treat dish.


Rocky and Bella on one of my chairs.


They are going back home today. Other than an increased consumption of dry food and heavier use of the litterbox, they have been no trouble.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Las Vegas Cops Are Trying to Get Away With Murder

After shooting a man in very dubious circumstances, they continued to shoot him in the back as he lay face-down on the ground.

The cops immediately confiscated all of the security camera footage and then pronounced the footage from several cameras as being unusable.

The man they murdered was a West Point graduate, who had a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Erik Scott, the man who was slaughtered by the Las Vegas police, was a pharmaceutical company sales rep. Because the Las Vegas cops are feeling heat over murdering a professional-class white dude, they have resulted to trying to smear his character to justify their heinous act of carnage.

One can only hope that after the Las Vegas cops get done whitewashing their crimes, that they will feel some Federal heat in the same way that the New Orleans cops are now experiencing.

And a seven or eight figure civil verdict would be nice, as well.

(H/T)

A Clarion Call for Rationality,
(Bet He Draws More Than the Weepy Fascist)

Mark your calendar! Save the date!
Jon Stewart announced his much-awaited “big announcement” on Thursday’s edition of his late-night program, “The Daily Show.” He plans to stage a rally in Washington to counter what he identified as extremists on either side of the political spectrum.

Mr. Stewart told his audience the show had secured the National Mall on Oct. 30 for what he called “The Rally to Restore Sanity.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Rally to Restore Sanity
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

UPDATE: Stephen Colbert, on the other hand, is announcing a rally to "keep fear alive".

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
March to Keep Fear Alive
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionFox News

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pope Blames Atheists for the Holocaust

Benedict XVI used the first papal state visit to Britain today to launch a blistering attack on "atheist extremism" and "aggressive secularism", and to rue the damage that "the exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life" had done in the last century.

The leader of the Roman Catholic church concluded a speech, made before the Queen and assembled dignitaries at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, with the argument that the Nazi desire to eradicate God had led to the Holocaust and a plea for 21st-century Britain to respect its Christian foundations.

Oh, really? Let's go to the other side and see what evidence they have. Or another source.

Or, if you believe that a picture is equivalent to 1K words:


Blaming atheism for the atrocities of Germany before and during the Second World War is a wholesale re-writing of the historical record. It is a rewriting of history worthy of the "we have always been at war with Oceania" revisions contained in 1984. It is the sort of crap that one might expect to be spewed by the likes of Mel Gibson in a drunken rage, not by a man who is the so-called "Vicar of Christ".

The Queen is, no doubt a very courteous hostess. But after that screed by Pope Heinrich Benedict, I think that she could be forgiven for thanking the Pope for the urban renewal preparations done by his countrymen in 1940-41 and 1944-45.

(H/T)

zOMG!!! Terrorists Might Use the Intertubes!!!1!!

That's the latest freak-out by the DBP: Terrorists might get their hands on a computer!
Detailed video obtained through live Web-based camera feeds combined with street-level and direct overhead imagery views from Internet imagery sites allow terrorists to conduct remote surveillance of multiple potential targets without exposing themselves to detection.
Right. Google Earth has been around for several years, now. Traffic and other webcams have been accessible for a decade, if not longer.

And only now do the alert putzim at DBP think that this might be an issue?

Good work, guys. Here's a tip for you: Don't look up when you are waling int he rain. You might drown.

$56+ billion we give those clowns each year, not to mention whatever they get through black programs. I'm not seeing what we get from the DBP that is worth a tenth of that. Or a hundredth.

(H/T)

Reason No. 10,392 Not to Fly the Airlines

The "Skyrider seat".


If the photo does not give you a clue as to how close those seats are, take a look at this drawing:


The distance between the seat rows would be 23". That is measured from the same point on each seat, so you'd get something like, oh, 16" or less of leg room. There is not enough room there to have your arm on the arm rest and straighten your wrist.

Compare that, if you will, to the cabin of a Boeing Stratocruiser:


Or of a DC-7:


Flying commercial is getting closer and closer to truly being like riding in a cattle car. There will probably be a dedicated place in Hell for every airline executive who orders the Skyrider seats for their airline.

Under the Radar News- Bombing Attempt in Denmark

Danish police have charged a young man over a hotel blast in Copenhagen on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks, accusing him of having tried to launch a deadly attack using an improvised explosive device.
Apparently he is a Chechen who has been living in Belgium.

How Will the Democrats Fuck This Up?

Now that the Republicans have a number of candidates which are batshit-crazy, the question is: How will the Democrats fuck this up?

The Daily Show has some ideas.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Tea Party Primaries - Beyond the Palin
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Let's Change the Term From "Extortion" to "Revenue Enhancement"

That would seem to be the concept behind changing the name of "high fructose corn syrup" to "corn sugar".

Nicer name, still no good for you.

Not My Idea of a Fun Commute

Just under 1,800 feet straight up:



If you have a bad fear of heights, you might not want to watch this.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tell Me Again, Please, How the Republicans are Still Proud to Have Been the Anti-Slavery Party

When they pull shit like this:
The National Federation of Republican Women (NFRW) held its annual fall Board of Directors meeting in Charleston, S.C. last weekend .... One of the pictures shows S.C. Senate President Glenn McConnell posing in his Rebel garb with a pair of African-Americans dressed in, um, “antebellum” attire.
Tell me again, please, how the Republicans have been the party to push civil rights.

No doubt that the next time the NFRW have a meeting in the Deep South, they'll mark the occasion with some traditional Southern night-time festivities.


(H/T)

Which Contractor Are You Going to Hire in November?

An analogy.

Poofredding



(H/T)

Standing Up for the Rich

That's what the party of Hoover does. It's what they've been doing for the last ninety years.
The Senate Republican leader proposed legislation on Monday to continue all of the Bush-era tax cuts indefinitely, testing the willingness of Democrats to allow a tax increase on the wealthiest Americans...
The last Republican politician who gave a shit about working Americans was Theodore Roosevelt, who, by coincidence, has been dead for ninety years.

It doesn't help matters that there are turncoat Democrats like Ben Nelson and Traitor Joe who are also eager to serve as lackeys to the rich.

Putting more money in the pockets of those at the bottom of the economic ladder helps stimulate the economy. People who are having trouble making ends meet are going to use that money to buy what they need, which means more money moves through the economy. But if the government pus more cash in the pockets of the rich, they don't spend it. They won't be running out to buy a new F-150 truck.

If the Democrats have any sense and guts, they will hang this issue around the necks of the Republicans like a dead and stinking albatross.

But the Democrats have neither.

(H/T for the "rich don't spend" link)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Alaskan Beauty Queen Sentenced to Prison for Fraud

No, not the one you were probably thinking of, a different one.

"It Was the Poles Who Made Germany Invade Poland"

That is essentially the outlandish claim by a now-former member of Chancellor Merkel's government in Germany.

This clown represents the so-called "expellees", the ethnic Germans who had resided in other countries in Eastern Europe. Given that Germany had used the fabricated plight of ethnic Germans in Czechoslovakia as an excuse to invade that country prior to the official start of the war, I find it far less than shocking that, after the war, Germany's neighbors decided that they would not run that risk again.

But since that group is aging out (like much of the base of our own confederate party), their leaders feel the need to be more and more outlandish, at elast until it gets them fired.

What Do the NYPD and the KGB Have in Common?

it was a common tactic for the KGB to lock dissidents up in mental hospitals. It is a tool that the NYPD has adopted. In this case, a cop who complained about official misconduct was confined to a mental hospital.

The Village Voice has run a series about the fuckery of the NYPD including forcing cops to lie on arrest reports, arresting people for walking down the sidewalk, and downgrading crime reports in order to make the Compstat statistics look good. In one precinct, a serial rapist was allowed to operate without any real hindrance because the cops kept downgrading the sexual assaults to "criminal trespassing."

The police supervisors who downgraded the reports, including those who knew that they had a serial rapist operating out there, but squashed the reports anyway, were never disciplined.

It is time, once again, to clean up the NYPD.

Are the Democrats Cowardly or Retarded?

Or is there something here that I do not understand?

Why, in the name of Your Dear and Fluffy Lord, would the Democrats not want to push for a vote for extending the Bush tax cuts for the middle class and below? Why would they not want to put the party of the Confederacy on the spot of having to either say "OK" or obstruct everything because the rich aren't getting their tax cuts extended.

But the Democrats are, apparently, not willing to push that vote.

Microsoft Feels the Heat and Sees the Light

It took less than one business day for Microsoft to tell its lawyers in Moscow to stop being the tools of the Russian state security organs.

I'm astonished that Microsoft still has the ability to be ashamed of itself.

787 Crosswind Operations



The aircraft is painted in ANA colors as ANA is the lead customer for the 787. Presumably, once the flight test program is done, ANA will receive that airplane.

Next Up- The Flat-Earthers

There is going to be a Running of the Morons on November 6th in South Bend, Indiana, when a group of religious nutbags will assemble to proclaim that the Earth is in the center of the Universe.

I'm surprised they're not holding this conference in Midland, Texas, for the Texas Board of Edjumacation would probably be sympathetic to their droolings. It seems kind of unfair to besmirch the state of Indiana with this collection of know-nothing Thumpers.

(H/T)

Rating the Parties

Ignore the hype, look at the data.

UPDATE per a comment: Need more?


All the culture wars crap that the Confederate party throws up, ie, "gawd, guns and gays" is nothing more than an elaborate smoke screen. The real goal of the Confederate party is gutting and then largely eliminating he middle class. They have manged to persuade tens of millions of people to vote against their economic self-interest. Between gutting banking regulations, one of the prime causes of the Greenspan-Gramm-Bush Recession, and then doing everything possible to both first turn the recession into a massive economic crash (they failed at that) and they throwing obstacle after obstacle up to prevent a recovery from gathering steam (they largely succeeded at that), the Confederate party has been doing everything it can to grow the ranks of the poor and the working poor.

The Confederates have been aided by the DINOs of the Blue Dog Democrats, who have also been doing their best to look out for the interests of large corporations and the rich. They have also been helped by the astroturf groups, such as the teabaggers, who seem to think that scrapping the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy (and electing a Black president) is a commie plot.

Let me put it this way: If you aren't pulling down at least $300,000 a year and you vote for the Republicans, then what you are doing is the the economic equivalent of slashing your wrists. And those of everyone you work with. And probably those of everyone in your family.

If you are OK with that, then there is probably nothing I can say that will change your mind.

(H/T)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Medical Risk Foisted on Travelers By the TSA

Either submit to a whole-body X-ray or don't fly.

The manufacturers of the scanners are saying: "They're safe. Trust Us. Would we lie to you?" Nobody has really checked the machines. And given the fact that there has been no shortage of x-ray accidents with medical machines, you might be forgiven for not being willing to trust the manufacturers or the TSA on this.

I'd like to see the TSA and FDA officials who approved the scanners have to be scanned by the machines at least four times a day.

As for the choice presented in the first paragraph, I'll go for "don't fly". My idea of fun does not include being irradiated by a machine operated by an agency that is so notoriously inept as the TSA.