Words of Advice:

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

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

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

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

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Republican Plan to Create More Jobs Is to Throw a Million Or So More People Out of Work

Yes, indeedy, that is the doublespeak method for job creation according to the party of Hoover: Throw even more people out of work.

Even the Font of Financial Evil in the World* estimates that the Republican plan would halve economic growth and raise the unemployment rate to 10%.

Just what this country needs, right? Even more people out of work so they can also go into foreclosure and lose their homes. They can go live in tents and live on Boehnervilles.

(I know, I should also be outraged at the Texas plan to give scholarships to that poor discriminated minority group- white males. But truly, it's what I would expect of them anyway.)
_______________________
* Goldman Sachs

What is the Mandarin For "Cirrus Aircraft"?

Cirrus Aircraft has been sold to a Chinese government aircraft company.
In a news release, Cirrus CEO Brent Wouters says the deal will be a shot in the arm for the company and for its employees in Grand Forks and Duluth.
Wouter's point of aim is off, it's more like "a shot in the head."

I respectfully submit that anyone who believes that the Chinese intend to keep on manufacturing those airplanes in Duluth needs to have their head examined.

The Last Doughboy From the Great War Has Died

Frank Buckles was 110 years old.

He lied about his age to join the Army in 1917.

TSA to Collect DNA Samples?

Apparently, some putz has come up with an idea for a DNA scanner to collect DNA samples from travelers. The idea is that if the plane crashes, they can use the samples to identify the passengers.

It didn't take long for that to transmogrify into a "TSA wants your DNA" meme.

TSA denies it. But they do admit that "the DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) expects to receive a prototype DNA analyzer device this summer to conduct a preliminary evaluation of whether this kind of technology could be considered for future use."

So what the TSA is saying is that they have no plans now to collect DNA samples from everyone, but they leave the door wide open to do that whenever they damn well please.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Yeah, I'll Believe It When It Happens

This: "Roger Ailes will soon be indicted." (H/T)

Until it happens, I am putting this rumor in the same category as the innumerable "George Bush has ordered the Navy to bomb Iran" rumors that were ladled out for a few years.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

OK, OK, It's On Order!

Gracie has pretty bad arthritis. And she is on thyroid pills, so the vet said that kitty ibuprofin is no longer a good idea as it is easy to overtax a cat's liver.

As an experiment, I took my heating pad, put a towel over it, put it on my couch and set it to "high".

Care to guess what is now her favorite place to relax? I won't leave it on when I'm asleep or not home, though.

So a heated cat bed is on order for her.

Did You Pay Five Bucks in Income Taxes in 2010?

The congratulations, Mr. or Ms. High Roller! You paid more in Federal taxes than did CitiBank, JPMorganChase, ExxonMobil, General Electric, Boeing, Wells Fargo, Bank of America and probably a shitload of other big corporations--combined!

That's correct. You paid more to the Treasury than all of those fuckers. And all of those bastards either received large bailouts or are large contractors. Boeing is going to make billions and billions on the KC-X contract, but they won't pay any Federal taxes while they are doing it.

Something is seriously wrong here. But nothing will change, between the spineless Democrats who quake in their shoes whenever somebody says something mean about them to the Republicans who scream "Gays! Guns! God! Abortion! Illegal Aliens! Sharia Law!" whenever it is pointed out that they do nothing that does not serve the interests of the wealthy and the corporations.

We are really pretty much screwed.

Bulldozing Christchurch

At least a third of the buildings in the central business district of Christchurch, NZ will have to be torn down. The death toll will likely exceed 300.

Earthquakes that hit cities are almost like being bombed in an air raid, only without the air raid sirens giving warning (and without incendiaries).

Does Kate Shugak Have Brain Damage?

I have been reading the Kate Shugak series of mystery novels, which are written by Dana Stabenow. Probably what helps me in reading them is that I know very little about Alaska, so my tendency to quibble on the underlying facts is quelled when I read the books.

The protagonist, Kate Shugak, is a tiny (5') Aleut woman who was an investigator for the Anchorage district attorney's office. She burned out on the job and moved back to the homestead that she inherited from her parents. She investigates crimes and works at whatever she can to make a few bucks, sort of living a semi-subsistence lifestyle.

She can be vengeance incarnate, such as the time she left an injured bad guy out in the open to be eaten by a pack of wolves. She has had two sort of steady men in her life, both of whom were law enforcement. Her nearly constant companion is a large dog, named Mutt (half Husky, half wolf). Mutt probably outweighs Kate by 30 pounds.

But one thing has come to bother me, and that is in every book, Shugak takes some serious damage. Most of the time, it is in the form of a bad concussion that lays her out from a period of a few hours to sometimes several days. She never gets through a case without somebody seriously fucking her up.

Sooner or later, the long-term effects of the concussions would begin to take a toll on her. I kind of wonder if Stabenow will ever work that into her story line.

Caturday

Solar-powered cats. I trust that you know who they are.



Friday, February 25, 2011

If Only Those Arrogant Fuckers in the Bush Administration Had Listened to the Words of Douglas MacArthur

WEST POINT, N.Y. — Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates bluntly told an audience of West Point cadets on Friday that it would be unwise for the United States to ever fight another war like Iraq or Afghanistan, and that the chances of carrying out a change of government in that fashion again were slim.

“In my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should ‘have his head examined,’ as General MacArthur so delicately put it,” Mr. Gates told an assembly of Army cadets here.
It's not like that was a hidden bit of advice. MacArthur directly advised President Kennedy not to send troops to Vietnam and we all know how that little endeavor turned out. One senator in the early 1960s called Vietnam the second worst place to get into a land war in Asia-- the worst place being Afghanistan.

This wasn't esoteric or secret. Hell, even the writers of the movie "the Princess Bride knew it:
"Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders - The most famous of which is `never get involved in a land war in Asia'." -- Vizzini the Sicilian
But here we are, now in our third land war in Asia in the last sixty years. The current one is inexcusable and, as I said a while back, the time when this war could have been won passed because the Bush Administration failed to secure the initial successes on the battlefield.

So while I would recommend examining the heads of all of those Bush Administration fools and then putting them on pikes out in front of the EOB, Foggy Bottom and Fort Fumble, that would probably be against some sort of zoning ordinance.

I only hope that those people who are in their teens and twenties now are smart enough not to repeat the mistakes of the previous three generations and not put soldiers on the ground in Asia to prosecute a land war.

But I kind of doubt they'll be that smart.

Corporations-- Poisoning Our Food Supply

Probably not deliberately (though I'd not put anything like that past them), but there is a report that Roundup-Ready plants are hosting a rather nasty new form of pathogen.

I'd like to see some confirmation of this one, and pretty damned soon.

As for me, I am not a big fan of genetic engineering of anything. I think we know too little about what could go wrong, especially when the work is being done for a profit motive. There is too much history of corporations blithely ignoring safety risks to presume that the ag companies would be any different.

(H/T)

Southerners-- Still a Bunch of Hateful Cocksuckers

An audience member at a town hall hosted by Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) on Tuesday asked the Tea Party congressman who was going to shoot President Barack Obama.

The unidentified town hall attendee's question got a big laugh from the audience, reports Blake Aued of the Athens Banner-Herald.
What would have been courageous is if Broun had contemned the remark and explained to that moronic pack of mouth-breathers that this is a democracy and such things are not done. But he didn't have the spine to do that, he thought it was funny and he just launched into some crap about how "he knows people are not happy with this preznit."

Despicable, simply despicable. What a batch of seditious, treasonous imbeciles.

UPDATE: Now he says that the question was "abhorrent". Still doesn't explain why he thought it was funny at the time and why he didn't denounce the questionw hen it was asked.

The Union Army should have sown Georgia's soil with salt.



(A longer version which was recorded in 1888.)

Destroying Freedom for Corporate Gain

(The story)

Glenn Greenwald was on the Colbert Report last night.

Here is the lead-in:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Corporate Hacker Tries to Take Down WikiLeaks
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive

And the interview:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Corporate Hacker Tries to Take Down WikiLeaks - Glenn Greenwald
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive

Greenwald makes a good point that it is groups like Anonymous which are doing the investigative work that reporters should be doing. But to be fair, there are a lot less reporters nowadays and their corporate overlords are not going to be too thrilled by those minions who are kicking at the wheels of the applecart. For example, just try to find the WaPo's trenchant exposé on for-profit diploma mills, since Kaplan U. is the WaPo's profit engine.

Because There is No Labor Like Slave Labor

A number of states are trying to save money by using inmate labor to do jobs that state workers or private industry have been doing. And they learn skills, such as how to do farm labor, so they can take jobs from the illegal immigrants.

What the hell, why not use the guys convicted of white collar crimes to teach grade school. We have an entire political party which thinks that teachers are parasites and that learning anything beyond the "three Rs" is a waste of time and resources.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

AF Tanker: Third Time's a Charm?

The first time, the AF awarded the tanker contract to Boeing. The second time, to Airbus. Now they're going to award it to Boeing.

Presuming that this award stands. The contest rules were that if the two bids were within 1% of each other, then a shitload of other factors had to be considered. But surprise, surprise, surprise! Boeing's bid was something like 1.000007% below the Airbus bid.

Apparently there was some Air Force fuckery involved in rejecting a bid by Antonov to build An-112s for the new tankers, but there was no way in Christendom that the God-fearing evangelical pilots of the Air Force were going to fly some goddamned Communist transport.

ATF Has Been Arming the Mexican Cartels

The gunnie blogs have been all over the story of "Project Gunwalker" for months, now. In short, ATF let dubious sales of weapons proceed in the hope that they could see where the guns went. This wasn't just a few weapons, but thousands of them. Gun shop owners were encouraged by ATF to sell large quantities of firearms to the smugglers. Street-level ATF agents protested the program and asked what would happen if a gun the AT let be smuggled into Mexico was used to kill a cop.

And then Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was shot to death by a rifle that had been smuggled south with the tacit permission of ATF.

The news media is starting to pay attention to the story.

And His Great-Grandfather Always Politely Assisted Widows and Orphans Into the Gas Chambers


(Found here.)

Will Everyone Just Shut the Fuck Up and Throw That Stupid Bint Into Jail?

Does anyone not doubt that if a certain bad-girl actress was not both rich and famous, that she would have been thrown into jail a long time ago?

With Libya in flames, the price of oil rising, gas prices approaching (or over) $3.50/gal, why should any "reputable" television news organization be spending even a picosecond of its precious air time on the doings of some Hollywood trainwreck?

Brainwashing the Senate

Apparently, that's what the Army has been attempting to do in order to generate support for the Afghan War.

In the cases of McCain and Traitor Joe, the Army didn't need to use very much detergent.

(H/T)

Walker the Sleazeball or
How the Republicans Have Screwed You, Your Children and Your Grandchildren

If there is any unrest in Wisconsin, you would probably be safe to assume that the conservatives are behind it.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Crisis in Dairyland - Scott Walker Prank Call
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

The call by the fake David Koch to Walker was amusing, but it also opened a window into the twisted sort of thinking that Walker, and presumably the conservative movement, is employing. Walker seems to think that one of the direct causes of the fall of the Soviet Union was because Ronald Reagan fired the air traffic controllers in 1981.

That's just insane.

But what Reagan did, though, was kick the destruction of the working and middle classes into high gear. What Reagan did was jumpstart the process of transferring most of the nation's wealth into the hands of the überrich.

Mother Jones has a series of graphs about this
. As you can see in the following graph, the rich have made out like bandits since Reagan was elected. For the rest of Americans, the best that has happened since Reagan was elected is to tread water:

(click to enlarge)

The problem is that this has not sunk in for most Americans. They do not realize how much of the nation's wealth has been transferred into the hands of the rich by the Republicans.


You may not be able to fool all of the people all of the time, as Abe Lincoln famous said, but the Republicans have shown that you can fool enough of the people most of the time.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The TSA Porno Scanners Don't Work Very Well,
Unless Someone Is Paying Attention To the Screens

Which is probably why a TSA agent was able to waltz through the nudie-scopes with a concealed firearm.

Five freaking times!

Which means that this scene from "Airplane II the Sequel" was uncomfortably close to the truth.



(H/T to a reader via e-mail)

I "Club" UPS

You may have seen the UPS logo that "they love logistics."


Well, I don't love UPS. I have something coming that was designated by the shipper as "adult signature required." All UPS will say is to expect delivery "by the end of the day", which is to say, anytime between 8:30AM and 5PM. And FSM help me if I happen to be in the bathroom when the Brown Pervert-Wagon* comes by.

In this day of computer tracking of everything that UPS does, one would think that they could give a better delivery estimate than "sometime during daylight." Even ComBastards Comcast and Verizon do better than that, nowadays.
_______________________________________
* Really. Is there any more fitting job for a burglary scout or a sex offender than a delivery driver?

We Doan Need to Give You No Steenkin' "Due Process"

That is the motto of the DBP, which took down 84,000 web sites without any form of due process because the cyber-idiots there thought that the web sites had kiddie porn.

But they were wrong.
The DHS's Immigration and Customs Enforcement department has lately claimed for itself the right to seize and shutter domain names without substantial due process. Unsurprisingly, it is now making enormous, crushing errors as it exercises its self-appointed role as domain cop. The latest bungle? Erroneously shutting down 84,000 domains and replacing their content with a warning accusing them and their visitors of trafficking in child porn.
No warnings, no warrants, ICE just seized the cyber-property of 84,000 entities. Because it can.

Due process questions aside, would someone please explain just what the fuck gives ICE the power to do that?

ICE's job is to hassle the shit out of brown people at the border, to vacuum the digital devices of everyone who crosses the border, and to go around the country bothering anyone who looks like a brown-skinned foreigner. As far as I know they are not the kiddie pron cops.

What the fuck? Are they going to start running speed traps and handing out parking tickets?

Republicans Love Khadafi

At least one Republican politician is channeling Muammar Khadafi, for he thinks that it would be a peachy idea to order the police in Wisconsin to open fire on the protesters with live ammunition.

No, this man is not a deputy attorney general in Indiana:

But he might as well be one, for he has the same inclination-- to order the deaths of people who would disagree with him.

UPDATE: And the Hoosier Khadafi has been fired. No doubt one of the Wingnut welfare groups conservative think tanks will find a job for him.

But note that Tracy Fuller, the executive board president of the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Association, has pretty much confirmed that if the Governor of Wisconsin orders the cops to fire on the protesters, that the cops will do so. Because Governor Hosni Walker bribed the cops by not going after their unions in the same way that he is trying to smash all of the other unions.

For anyone who has even a glib understanding of American labor history, this should come as no surprise. There is a long record of using local and state cops as strikebreakers. We all know that when it comes to the question "whose side are you on," the cops are not on ours.

Four Dead

Four Americans were killed by pirates who had hijacked their yacht.

Four pirates are also dead, two killed by their compatriots, two killed by SEALs. The rest have been captured. A few hundred years ago, they'd have just been hung from the yardarm of the nearest warship. Now they'll probably be guests in the Graybar Hotel for the next 30 years.

I'm not big into blaming victims. The yachters clearly have the right to sail where they want. But passing on the choices of either shipping their boat and bypassing the pirate-infested waters or sailing in a convoy through such waters was as dumb as passing on the opportunity to sail in a convoy during the days that the U-Boats were operating. Convoys were also successfully used for protection during the old days of piracy.

Pirates are like jackals, they will attack those vessels which are alone and vulnerable.

Thanks, Mike

Mike Finnigan is leaving Crooks & Liars. Mike's post was "Mike's Blog Roundup".

Mike has mentioned this blog from time to time. The first time he did it, the readership for that day went up by a factor of ten. It's hard to guess how many regular readers came from that. but my sense is that between Mike and Don Brown's blog, my readership doubled.

Thanks, guys.

Conscientious Objection--Ripping Off the Rest of Us?

Shortly after Michael Izbicki, now 25, graduated from the Naval Academy in 2008, he decided that his Christian beliefs would not permit him to take part in war.
And yet, even though he had qualms about continuing to serve, he went to John Hopkins University on our nickel and earned a master's degree in computer engineering.

Maybe he's sincere in his beliefs. But what I see is that he received a fully-paid education, was awarded undergraduate and graduate diplomas, he walked away from that and may not have to pay anything back. Military educations are not free; instead of student loans, graduates pay the government back by full-time service. Izbicki should be made to pay for his education, either by cash or by labor.

Rand Paul is Just Another Mealy-Mouthed Slug

I just watched Rand Paul on "Good Morning America".. what a double-talking douchebag! He absolutely tap-danced around the issue of Governor Khadafi Walker's union busting.



Hosni Walker's union-busting isn't playing well with the American people. On the other hand, this naked abrogation of collective bargaining agreements is not playing well with the American people.

Madoff's Tentacles

Madoff's fraud benefited the top lawyer at the SEC.
The head lawyer of the Securities and Exchange Commission earned more than $1.5million via his mother’s estate after she invested in Bernard Madoff's famous Ponzi scheme.

David Becker, appointed SEC general counsel and senior policy director less than two months after Madoff's arrest, has been requested to return the funds from ill-gotten gains.
Having to cough up $1.5 million, that's got to hurt. My heart bleeds for him. Truly it does.

"I'm Now the Mayor, So Go Fuck Yourself!"

And the Chicago Political Machine continues to hum.
Rahm Emanuel, the former chief of staff to President Barack Obama, won the Chicago mayoral election over five other challengers Tuesday, topping the 50% threshold to avoid a runoff vote, CNN projects.

With almost 75% of the vote counted, Emanuel had almost 55% of the vote, far outdistancing his rivals.
One can only hope that he will be a little it less autocratic than Richard "I iz Da Law" Daley, who bulldozed Meigs Field in defiance of federal law. So in that regard, Daley was in synch with the Confederates and the Teabaggers.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Arguably the Single Most Important Rifle in American History

It was, believe it or not, an air rifle.



(H/T)

Corruption and Croynism in Wisconsin

Apparently the governor is seeking the authority to sell off the state-owned utilities without the requirement for a public bidding process or any need to seek competitive bids. Single bid, private sale, no notice to anyone.

You might wonder who is the intended buyer. It apparently is the Koch brothers.

If there is not a better example of the fact that the Koch brothers have been funding the Tea party for their own enrichment, I am not aware of it.

(H/T)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Because Everyone Knows That Only Terrorists Have Mastectomies.

An Alaskan legislator was pissed off because the TSA wanted to give her a pat-down search because the body scan showed that she had had a mastectomy.

So rather than fly back to Alaska from Washington State, she is taking the ferry.

Of course, if Reichminister for Security Napolitano has her way, they'll be running the screenings at the ferries, as well. So that option will eventually be out.

Because, Like, 150 Characters Is Too Much to Read!

Blogs were once the outlet of choice for people who wanted to express themselves online. But with the rise of sites like Facebook and Twitter, they are losing their allure for many people — particularly the younger generation.

Stability in the Middle East

If you have ever wondered why our government has always preferred stability in the Middle East, which translates into support for authoritarian regimes, this is why:
PARIS — The turmoil in North Africa and the Middle East has helped drive oil prices up to more than $102 a barrel for an important benchmark crude, Brent, although so far there have been no significant disruptions in production or supply, according to experts at the International Energy Agency here.
Every administration, regardless of political party, knows that while there may be several million people in this country who will be upset by support of authoritarian regimes, there are over a hundred million people who will be upset if instability and revolution translates into a significant rise in the cost of food, gasoline and heating oil.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Bitter Dead-Enders on Parade

It was put on by the Descendants of the Defenders of Slavery:
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Wearing gray wool uniforms, hoop skirts, leather jackets and business suits, several hundred men and women marched to the Alabama Statehouse on Saturday afternoon, where they delivered defiant speeches, fired heavy artillery, and swore in an amateur actor playing Jefferson Davis as president of the Confederacy, 150 years and one day after the event took place.

6,475 Posts-- Which is the Most Popular?

This one, by far.

Go figure.

Yes, Indeedy, the GOP Hates You

The Consumer Products Safety Commission was preparing to make public its database of consumer complaints. The idea was that you, Josephine Consumer, could use the database to see if there were, say, ten thousand complaints about something. And maybe you could make a better-informed decision.

It will come as no surprise that the Teabaggers in Congress hated that idea. "What, The proles would have information that a corporation may have sold defective products? Horrors, we cannot have that!" And so their first budget attempt will defund the database.

Because if it is in the interests of corporations, the Teabagging drones will line up behind it.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Officer Down

A police officer was shot and killed yesterday in Poughkeepsie, NY. In short, some guy shot and killed his wife by the train station and tried to run off with their child. Police responded to the "shots fired" call; the perp killed one of the officers. It's still unclear as to whether the perp offed himself or he was shot by another officer.

One would only hope that there will be an annual ceremony where someone pours piss on the grave of the perp.

And because some whackaloon took the "if I can't have you, nobody will" route, a three year old child is now an orphan.

No details about the deceased officer have been released, but presumably a woman has been widowed and some children or young adults found out last night that their father had been slain.

UPDATE: Officer John Falcone, was an 18 year veteran of the Poughkeepsie Police Department. Asswipe the shooter did off himself.

Binary Star System

Some astronomers think that we are living in such a system. Others do not.

The outer reaches of the orbital distance are staggering. For an object with an orbit period of 27 million years, it would be 90,000 Astronomical Units away, which is 1.4 light-years, assuming a circular orbit.

For those who don't understand classical science, this is what it does: You study a phenomenon, you come up with an idea of what may cause the phenomenon and then you look for evidence that substantiates or disproves your idea. You publish your idea and let others try to verify or poke holes in it.

Caturday Reloaded

I wrote a Caturday post last night. It seems to have evaporated, but the photos are still there in the blog album.

Jake is lying on my bedroom chair. It was claimed by the cats as soon as it was delivered.


Gracie.


George. The bed cover he is lying on was freshly laundered, as was the throw over Jake's chair.


Gracie, again. The "automatic white balance" setting didn't cut it here. I have CF bulbs in most of my lamps. I have to set the camera to "tungsten" in order to obtain the proper color balance.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Evidence, Schmevidence

The county crime lab in Nassau County, NY has been closed because of systematic errors that may re-open thousands of cases for review.

Allegations are that the police brass knew that the lab was producing junk results and did nothing.

Medevac in the Sandbox

This is a documentary on medevac operations in the Afghan War. Take 25 minutes out of your day and watch it.



Damn shame that it took Al-Jazeera to air it. It should have been shown on any of the three networks, but they are all too chickenshit. After all, it might upset some asswipe from the Christian Taliban.

Truth in Book Titles

A blog that changes the titles of well-known books.

I loved this one:


Of course, it could have been "Mike Huckabee's America" or "The America Envisioned By Every Republican Presidential Candidate in 2012."

(Original title: The Handmaid's Tale".)

How Big Companies Screw Smaller Companies

The big companies pay small business on a "net 60" or even "net 120" terms, while small businesses have to pay their suppliers on "net 30" or "net 20". So the big companies are riding on the backs of small businesses.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Jeffrey Leonard
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive

The CEOs of the large companies that do this should be flayed with barbed-wire whips.

Why is the Times Ignoring the Chamber of Commerce's Dirty Tricks Campaign?

It's pretty hard to find much in the way of dead-tree coverage about this. The LA Times has a story about it, so does the WaPo. UPI ran a bit of the LA Times's story.

But that, apparently, is it. If you wanted to pay attention to this story, you had better have a computer with Internet access. I guess a corporate lobby group engaging in dirty tricks against liberal opponents is not a big deal for the self-proclaimed "newspaper of record."

Do You Suffer From Frequent Headaches?

Maybe you were stabbed in the head and forgot about it.

Wisconsin- A Phony Budget Crisis

Now it turns out that the state of Wisconsin was not in a budget crisis. They projected a surplus.

Until the incoming Teabagging governor added spending for special interest groups and reduced taxes for some of them.

Bottom line of it is that he manufactured this so-called crisis for the purpose of breaking the unions.

Republicans hate people who work for a living. And if you work for any sort of government entity and you voted for a Republican: You, Gentle Reader, are a fool.

(H/T)

When Will the FBI Adopt Black Leather Trenchcoats and Start Carrying Lugers?

For they seem to have the view that the Constitution, especially the 4th Amendment, is just another goddamn piece of paper. Over a seven year period, the FBI has apparently broken the law on searches 40,000 times. Which pretty much means that at any given time, somewhere there is an FBI agent who doesn't give a damn what the rules are.

About the only Constitutional violation the FBI has a hard time stomaching is torture. Which at least is something, I suppose.

(H/T1, H/T2)

Virginia is for Haters

A Tunisian living in Virginia, with the legal right to live and work in this country, had a small limo business. His business is now collapsing because the state of Virginia refused to renew his driver's license because the DMV clerks didn't like his documents.

Words such as "arbitrary" and "capricious" come to mind.

So all of the hate spewed forth by the forces of the Right against "illegal immigrants" is now washing up on those who are here legally. All of the proud rhetoric of America being "a nation of immigrants" is no longer operative.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The World Has Turned Upside Down

Never would I have imagined that Fox News would go after the Republicans for the Patriot Act. Never would I have expected Fox News to go after Bush for illegally detaining an American citizen.

But Shepard Smith did.



(H/T)

The Teabaggers Love Those Corporations

Nothing shows the "we love corporations and hate people" viewpoint of the Tea party and the rest of the GOP as much as their vote on Internet neutrality. Because nothing should stand in the way of the cable companies controlling where you go and what you do on the Internet.

Republicans hate freedom of information. Hell, they hate critical thinking. If Republicans had working cerebellums, there would be no way that a certain individual who resigned under fire from the last political job that person held would ever be regarded as a candidate for the presidency.

Bud sadly, that is not the case.

Aerials

It has been a long time since I posted any aerial photography. So here goes:

This is an island in some lake in western Massachusetts. I imagine that the houses are pretty pricey. They have good security in the summer, only one way by road in and out, but in the winter, any putz with a snowmobile can be on and off the isalnd in minutes.


The northern states in Vermont aren't the only ones with ski areas. Every state does, even Rhode Island, though this one is not in RI.


Your tax dollars at work; a Coast Guard icebreaker works the Hudson river.


This is a look north up the Hudson.


And a few seconds of video:

The inside of that airplane is very loud. I'm surprised that the audio circuitry wasn't fried.

Stupid Crook Tricks

Two idiot brothers stole a few antique rifles from a home. The rifles used cartridges that are not exactly sold at Wal-Mart. The cops alerted the local gun shops to let them know if some characters came in looking for those rounds.

Sure enough, the thieves did just that. No doubt they are about to embark of a few years of living in the Graybar B&B.

Nigel

Watson Won on Jeopardy-- So What?

I suppose there can be come back-slapping among the IBMers that they built a computer that can access a lot of data, but I, for one, was not terribly impressed.

First off, if you watched the answers that the Watson machine came up with (the top three were displayed on the screen for every question), some of them were almost laughable.

Second, what the match really proved is that computers have faster reaction times than do humans. Did anyone seriously doubt that beforehand? As I understand the game, a contestant has to evaluate the question and then, after Trebek finishes, push the button first. If the contestant pushes too early, they are locked out for about a quarter of a second or so. A computer is obviously going to be faster there.

It was still an achievement for IBM, but let's not run around screaming that SkyNet is coming.

Helpful Hints for Morons

How not to get your ass kicked by the cops.



(H/T)

Either "Propaganda Works" or "Republicans are Weak-Minded Fools." You Choose.

The "Big Lie" really does work:
The theory that President Obama is not a natural born U.S. citizen (and thus ineligible to be President) has hardly been squelched. According to a new PPP poll, it's actually a predominant belief within the Republican party.

In the poll, 51% of all likely Republican primary voters erroneously believed that President Obama was born outside of the U.S. Only 28% of those Republican voters said they thought Obama was born in America, while 21% said they were unsure.
It's a pretty damning indictment of Republicans that 72% of them have fallen for a series of bald-faced racist lies.* It doesn't say very much for their ability to think for themselves. But hell, that's just what the oligarchs who control the GOP and the Tea party are trying to accomplish nationwide.

We are more and more losing our democracy to the rich and the corporations when an entire political party will believe whatever Murdoch and the Koch brothers want them to believe. The foundation of a viable democracy is an electorate that can think for themselves. Democracy is imperiled when a mass of the voters will willingly believe whatever bilgewash is put before them and labeled as the truth.

As of right now, there is a large mass of such gullible morons in the Republican party.
__________________________
* Do you really think that the same crap would have gotten off the ground if the President's father was named "Smythe-Wittington" from Buggery-on-the-Thames in Britain?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What is "Santorum"

Santorum is a frothy mix of sexual lubricant and fecal matter, a by-product of anal sex.

Of course, there is a former senator from Pennsylvania, one of the Christian Taliban, who isn't too happy about that.

Given all of the crap that said former senator has said about gay people over the years, comparing gay men to pedophiles and dog-fuckers, he's one of the ass-clowns that is the least entitled to complain about civility.

TSA- Thieves Stealing Anything

Two TSA workers at NYC airports have been stealing tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars from passengers.

Feel safer yet?

Borders is Bankrupt

Borders filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

I'm betting, based on no evidence, that they'll end up in Chapter 7 and go completely out of business.

I'm sad that another bookstore operation is going under. But to some degree, Borders has only themselves to blame. I've gone in there to look at a book and have been told "we don't have it, but you can order it from our web site." As I have written before, that's an open invitation to lose a sale. Hell, Borders for years did its online sales through Amazon, which is kind of like a cow going into business with a steakhouse.

Moreover, if you get a Borders' "membership plus" card to get their discounts in the stores, you have to pay an annual fee. For $7 paperbacks, plan on buying at least thirty books a year in order to break even. That doesn't strike me as any great deal.

Borders says that they'll continue to honor their gift cards. If you still have one burning a hole in your wallet, I'd not count on that.

I have mixed feelings about the bankruptcy. The book superstores (along with Amazon) did a number on the small independents. The only independent bookstores that I know of now are some second-hand operations. Every town I ever lived in, up through the 1980s, had a bookstore. Now those stores are gone and I live in a populated county that does not have an independent bookstore and soon will not have one at all.

E-books may be the coming thing. But think of this: I own a copy of Creasy's book "Fifteen Decisive Battles" which was part of the "Aldine Illustrated Library of 100 Best Books" and which was one of my grandfather's books. The date of publication is not in the edition, my grandfather signed his name inside the flyleaf in 1901.

Will anyone pass down an e-book from one generation to the next? I doubt it.

UPDATE: The list of stores to be closed is in this PDF, beginning at PDF page 16.

The Feeders of Broadcast Insanity

The sponsors of the Mormon lunatic.

All Pork is Local; Miscellaneous Edition

Why are we not taking an axe to Radio Marti? That's $28 million a year down a rathole.

Not only did I not know that the Troubled Assets Relief Program (you know, the huge-ass bailout to save the skins of the fuckers that caused the current recession) had their own cops, they have badges, guns, official TARP windbreakers and body armor.

TARP cops? What the fuck for? I can understand auditors, but why the hell do they need badges and guns? are they afraid that a teller is going to assault them with a stapler?

All Pork is Local; Defense Edition

The House is gearing up to decide whether to eliminate the program for a second engine for the F-35. John Boehner, who supposedly is all in favor of cutting federal spending, is defending the second engine program because much of the work is done in... wait for it...Ohio.

See, Teabaggers, that's a fine example of the problem. While Republicans like to bleat that "federal spending doesn't create jobs," the truth of the matter is that cutting federal spending ends up throwing a lot of people who work for private industries out of work, because those industries have federal contracts. So when the pork-slaughterers go to cut programs, even those congressmen who are all in favor of cutting federal spending don't want the programs that benefit their constituents cut.

"Don't cut me, don't cut thee, cut that man behind the tree."

We're all in this together and if the government is going to cut heating oil assistance and help for kids in college, they can damn well cut some of the military procurement programs.

All Pork is Local; Air Services Edition

Both Alaskan Senators are defending the Essential Air Services Program:
"I agree with Senator McCain that we need to do something to address our nation's budget deficit," [Senator] Begich said. "But I don't believe you should balance the federal budget on the backs of communities and people facing some of the highest costs of living and toughest conditions in the country. And that is exactly what this McCain amendment would do," he said.

"I can say without any reservation that this amendment would create an economic and a transportation disaster for Alaska, including the loss of jobs, livelihoods and would potentially impact health and medical situations," [Senator] Murkowski said.

"The complete elimination of the EAS program could destabilize many of our rural communities, could negatively impact the integrity of Alaska's interconnected aviation system and severely reduce air services to essential parts of the state.

"Given what we face with the limited road system, weather and terrain issues, we in the state treat an airplane or helicopters like most Americans would treat their minivans. "Aircraft in Alaska are not just a nice thing to have.

"They are a lifeline for survival, for subsistence, for travel, for recreation. They're truly an essential part of our everyday life."
I will take what they say about the importance of air transportation for remote Alaskan communities to be the truth.

But so what? If EASP funds "vital air transportation" for Alaskans, then other projects fund vital road and bridge repairs/improvements for the rest of us. And many of those projects are also being looked at for slashing. Heating assistance for poor folk is being cut. Why should Alaskans be subsidized by the rest of us?

In 2010, Hell, Alaska gave every Alaskan citizen $1,281.00. No other state, to my knowledge, gives people money just because they live there. Alaska has about 720,000 people, which means that last year, Alaska handed out $922 million to its citizens.

Last year, Alaska received $12 million for its share of EASP. If Alaskans think it is important to subsidize air travel within the state, fine, they can bloody well pay for it themselves. If they shaved seventeen bucks from everyone's permanent fund check, that'd cover the costs of subsidizing air travel in the state.

But Alaskans are no different from anyone else. They are all in favor of cutting federal spending as long as those cuts don't impact them.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Republicans and the Federal Deficit

I just want to note for the recod that the federal deficit is not a priority for Republicans when they are in the White House.

The federal deficit was not a priority for Republicans when Ronald Reagan, George H.W Bush or George W. Bush were in the White House.

The federal deficit was a priority for Republicans when Bill Clinton was in the White House and, of course, it is now their priority (when they are not trying to criminalize abortion or reduce women to sexual slavery).

The reason is simple: The Republicans use the bloody shirt of the deficit to hobble Democratic priorities and the Democrats are either stupid enough or spineless enough to fall for it every time. But when the Republicans are in charge and they want to spend trillions on corporate welfare programs, well, deficits don't matter.

Guess What, We Were Right All Along About the Iraq War

The Iraq War was based on a lie.
Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, codenamed Curveball by German and American intelligence officials who dealt with his claims, has told the Guardian that he fabricated tales of mobile bioweapons trucks and clandestine factories in an attempt to bring down the Saddam Hussein regime, from which he had fled in 1995.
How many thousands of Americans died because of this man's lies? How many tens of thousands of Americans will live the rest of their lives with broken bodies and fractured minds because of this man's lies?

He is even proud of it. He is proud of telling the lies that paved the way for Bush's little war.

Despicable.

Damn his soul! He should only rot in Hell.

And damn George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleeza Rice and the rest of that inept team of bunglers for rushing to war based on lies and upon their hubris.

AlphaSmart Dana

I picked one up from eBay for less than $30; a school system was selling their stock of them. My first pass at writing with one is here.

The one real drawback is that it only displays nine lines of text. The positives are that it runs for a long time on three AA batteries and it is not internet-compatible. So it greatly reduces the temptation to open a browser or e-mail program while writing. In that regard, it is almost like using a typewriter, but without having to scan the output and then correct all of the scanning errors.

I never plan out what I intend to write. I just start on it and the story goes wherever it goes.

The Faulty Memory of Justice Thomas

Either the poor dear has a faulty memory that borders on dementia or he is corrupt. For he first said that he made a brief "drop-by" and gave a speech at one of the Kochtopus's events.

Now it seems that he went out there for four days on an all-expenses paid junket.

Stand by for the phone call to the New York Times by his wife who will want a full apology.

Destroying Freedom for Corporate Gain

This, so far, seems to be the roster of those that the Chamber of Commerce "employed"* to go after journalists and bloggers who were criticizing the fact that container-loads of corporate cash are subverting our democracy:

Primary mercenary: "HBGary Federal" and a firm called Hunton & Williams which contracted the cyber-hit squad.

The goons: Palantir Technologies and Berico Technologies. Palantir is trying to distance itself from this mess by selecting one kid engineer to be the designated scapegoat and then firing him.

Also note that Bank of America is engaging in the same sort of fuckery as the Chamber of Commerce, because Wikileaks says that they have a crap-ton of documents from BofA showing that BofA was one of the banks that knowingly wrecked our economy. What is particularly odious is that the Department of Justice is involved in all of this, at least to the point of recommending the mercs to the CofC and/or BofA.

You can start with Glenn Greenwald's story here and here. He was one of the primary targets of the goon squad.

It wasn't just Glenn Greenwald who was a target. HBGary proposed going after anyone who ever donated to Wikileaks. Which might include one or more of you, Gentle Readers.

What the Chamber of Commerce and Bank of America was doing was just despicable. Moreover, it should suggest to the casual observer that, by attacking those writing about their conduct, the CofC and BofA are tacitly admitting the truth of the allegations that both entities are fonts of evildoing. Facts speak for themselves and if the allegations were not credible, the story would not have survived, other than among conspiracy whackaloons.**

Fixer thinks they should be sued. That may be a good start.

If anything criminally actionable comes out, then it could be interesting, but don't count on the DoJ to do anything about it. They seem to have zero interest in pursuing cases against corporations who can pay for vigorous defenses. Which arguably shows that the DoJ into just another bunch of bullies, able to give out punches but not able to take one.

UPDATE: The WaPo is now covering the story, but they seem to have no original reporting on it. (So much for the claim by the press that "bloggers only feast on our work.")
_____________________
* I put the word "employed" in quotation marks because there is some question as to whether or not money changed hands or whether the work that was done was done on-spec in hopes of winning a lucrative contract.
** Conspiracy nuts are generally immune to truth. Exhibit A: Glenn Beck. Prosecution rests.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Too Bad That Old Sparky Has Been Retired

An Arizona jury on Monday convicted anti-illegal immigration activist Shawna Forde of murder in the killing of a Latino man and his 9-year-old daughter during a 2009 vigilante raid she led on their home.
This case and the trial pretty much flew below the radar of the national press. I submit that was because the killers were Anglos (of the teabagging variety) and the victims Hispanics who were U.S. citizens.

Had the killers been illegal residents and the victims Anglos, I submit that the coverage would have been virtually wall-to-wall.

Planet Tyche?

A couple of astronomers think that they have evidence for a new planet, which they have named Tyche. If Tyche exists (as the Bad Astronomer points out, evidence is not proof)

If Tyche exists, it is so far away, 2,500 AU (1 AU = distance from the Sun to the Earth), that it has no measurable effect on the orbits of the planets we now know (the traditional mechanism for discovering new planets). At that distance, it would take 124,242 years to orbit the Sun (assuming a circular obit). This article says that Tyche would be 15,000 AU out, which would result in a Tychean year being roughly half-a-million of our years. Voyager 1 is a skosh over 116 AU from the Sun, Voyager 2 is 95 AU away; so unless some new technology is developed for really fast space travel (along with a way to deflect stuff from collisions), we're not going to get a probe near this planet anytime soon, even if it does prove out.

One of the definitions of a planet by the International Astronomical Union is that a planet "clears its own orbit" of other stuff. I don't know how they could begin to tell that for an object so far away.

Look at it this way: In space, light travels about 186,000 miles a second. The Moon is just under two light-seconds away, which was far enough to occasionally mess up a conversation between the Apollo spacecrafts and Mission Control. Tyche would be just over two light-weeks away at the nearer estimated distance or just under three light-months at the further distance.

If Tyche is really there, it would be as unreachable to us as the Moon was to humans in the 15th Century. It'll be interesting to see if the planet appears in Roberta X's story.

Modern-Day Pinkertons

The Pinkerton Agency had an old and well-deserved reputation for providing goon squads to companies for union busting.

Things are more sophisticated, now. Now there are law firms that thug organizations like the Chamber of Commerce will hire and they, in turn will do the dirty work of going after those who stand in their plan to destroy the lives of wage-earners.

A Possible Prototype for the Republican Plan for Providing Health Care to the Poor?

Go to the emergency room and die without treatment.

Like Turley, I love the hospital's response, which boils down to: "We don't regret not treating the dead guy but we will do what we can to protect his privacy."

The Spokane Bomb, a Followup

The FBI seems to have no leads.

I understand, in a way, the statement by the young Klan goon that "it wouldn't have hurt his feelings" if the bomb had gone off. For when I read about a white supremacist being sentenced to a long prison term or being shot to death by the cops, it certainly doesn't hurt my feelings.

By the way I don't know why anyone in a rational frame of line would hire that Klansman's lawn company, and if I knew the name of it, I'd post it here.

Panicky, Clueless Guys

We were on our way to Borders yesterday to use up a gift card. On the way there, we passed a Jared's jewelry store. At least five cars in front of us were pulling in there.

I love the smell of desperation in the morning.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Fox News on All Channels

The Sunday bobblehead shows had only one Democrat on ABC, CBS or NBC, and that guy was the mayor of Atlanta.

All of the news shows on broadcast media are basically becoming variants of Fox News. The reason why this is so is rather obvious to the casual observer.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Old-School Union Busting

Using the National Guard to do the dirty work: That is the plan of the governor of Wisconsin.

Anyone who doubts that the goal is to ultimately break the unions should note this:
Mr. Walker made several proposals that will weaken not just unions’ ability to bargain contracts, but also their finances and political clout.

His proposal would make it harder for unions to collect dues because the state would stop collecting the money from employee paychecks.

He would further weaken union treasuries by giving members of public-sector unions the right not to pay dues. In an unusual move, he would require secret-ballot votes each year at every public-sector union to determine whether a majority of workers still want to be unionized.
That is nothing but union-busting. It has nothing to do with the budget woes of the state of Wisconsin.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, Gentle Reader. The Republicans are going to push to revise the bankruptcy code to allow states to file for bankruptcy. Oh, they'll make sure that the bondholders will be paid 100%; what they want to do is allow the states to walk away from pension obligations.

But here is the thing: People who paid into state government pension funds (and federal civil workers) did not pay into social security. What the Republicans aim to do is throw all of those workers, including the retirees, out into the cold with no retirement plan whatsoever.* Republicans hate the idea that workers may have power, that workers may have a seat at the table. The GOP pushback against both this president and the last one over saving GM and Chrysler had very little to do with the money involved and had everything to do with breaking the unions.

Republicans hate people who work for a living. Does anyone not understand that by now?

_____________________________________
* If you work for a government entity, any government entity, and you voted for the GOP: Congratulations! You might as well have just laid down in the bathtub and drawn a straight razor across your neck.

Ignoramus With a Microphone


There are more here.

I've been sort of waiting for this, ever since the Irish Loudmouth spewed his "the tide goes in, the tide goes out" as a proof that his version of God exists.

I'll let the scientists go after BillO on the point that he is trying to prove the existence of God using facts that are known to any kid who had a fifth-grade module in science.

This is my point: O'Reilly is demonstrating that he has no faith. Faith is something that people believe without any evidence to show for it. If you have faith in Your Dear and Fluffy Lord's existence, then you do not need a shred of evidence or proof that He/She/It/They exist.

Faith is.

If you have a need to offer proof that your particular deity exists, then you are tacitly conceding that you are open to the point that said deity may not exist.

Do You Have a Borders Gift Card?

If you do, you had better use it this weekend.

Borders apparently is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy next week.

Filing a Chapter 11 bankruptcy would mean that the chain intends to carry on, albeit in a smaller size. But Chapter 11 bankruptcies sometimes get converted into Chapter 7 and the whole shooting match is liquidated (Circuit City, Linens `N Things). If you have an unredeemed gift card at that point, you're just another unsecured creditor and you'll get bupkis.

If you have a Borders gift card, drag your ass to the store today or tomorrow.

(H/T)

Happy Birthday to the Savior of Our Nation


May blessings and peace be upon him forever.

Caturday

I walked into my bedroom, saw Gracie relaxing on my bed, and went to get my camera. As I made ready to take the shot, Jake jumped up and horned in on the shot.


I use this chair during the day to read and do some desultory writing. I went to the bathroom and George had plopped his butt down in my seat. I made him move, much to his vocal displeasure.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Obama to Poor People: "Freeze to Death, See if I Care."

This is the sort of shit that I would have expected from the party of Hoover:
President Obama’s proposed 2012 budget will cut several billion dollars from the government’s energy assistance fund for poor people, officials briefed on the subject told National Journal.
Smooth move, Barry. Let's have people freeze in the harshest winter in many years so you can curry favor with John Boehner and the Teabaggers. Fine that you are planning to add a few nickels to childhood education, but it's kind of hard to do homework if your house has an inside temperature of 35 degrees Fahrenheit.

For fuck's sake, Mr. President! Don't you get it by now? They are getting you to stab your base in the back far, far worse than Bill Clinton ever did. And you are gleefully doing it. What the hell are you thinking?

Jesus Christ on Rubber Rollerskates, it is time we dig up and reanimate the corpse of Richard Nixon. Even that hateful anti-Semitic racist did more to help the poor than you have, Mr. President. Yes, you got the Ledbetter Pay Act passed. You did some good early on. But since then, you have been slowly morphing into Palin Lite.

And to be honest about it, I'd rather have enemies in front of me than backstabbers besides me. Which is why I have never been a fan of President Clinton, who made backstabbing his base into a high art.

If the choice is between you, Mr. President, who will slowly wreck the country or a Republican who will do it faster, then let's just get it the fuck over with. The Republicans are turning this nation into a mean-spirited banana republic and I have yet to have seen one serious senior Democrat who is willing to stand in their way. Both you and that oily douchenozzle Harry Reid seem to have no spine, balls or intestines.

Stand up for those Americans who are less fortunate, Mr. President! Stand up to the rich and the corporations! And if you are going to go down, for the love of (insert name of your dear and fluffy lord here), go down standing on your feet and swinging, not running back into a corner and whimpering.

We know that you are a smart guy. Now show us that you have some balls.

(H/T)

Ar, Ar, Ar, More Power!

An 8-liter Bentley with a 42-liter engine.



Powered by a Packard V-12 from an old PT boat.

Mubarak is Gone, the Regime Survives

Even though Hosni Mubarak has stepped down (and I predict that he will soon go into permanent exile), the Egyptian regime of control by the military has not ended. The Egyptian military has had control of the country for the last 58 years, since Nasser and his fellow army officers deposed the British-imposed monarchy in 1952. What democracy that has existed in Egypt since Anwar Sadat allowed political parties to form has been a fig leaf for military control.

Despite the euphoria of the demonstrators today, only the man at the top has changed. What happened today was a bloodless coup. The Egyptian military regime survives.

Another thought: For all of those who ask "what the American role should be in Egypt," the answer is "damned little." Sure we should offer support for an orderly transition. But as far as throwing in our two cents as to who should be the next president, much less trying to make it happen, our track record isn't so hot. Even where we have been able to put "our guy" in power, it has eventually backfired. So hands off, mostly.

The "Honor the Klan" License Plate

It may be sold in Mississippi. The license plate honors Gen. Forrest, who besides being a dealer in slaves and the perpetrator of a massacre, founded the Ku Klux Klan. Note that he wasn't just a member, as the people who asking for the plate say, he was a founder the goddamned hate group.

I'd make a crack that the Germans would then be expected to eventually commemorate SS-Standartenführer Joachim Peiper, but that would be defaming the Germans, who have been much more forthright about addressing what happened under the Third Reich than the Southerners have ever been about slavery and the Confederacy.

(H/T1, H/T2)

Contrails

An Airbus A-380 passes below a 747:

When Irony Becomes Satire

At the Conservative Political Action Conference, Dick Cheney gave Donald Rumsfeld a "Defender of the Constitution" award. Fully aware that those two men were the least likely members of the Bush II cabal to have ever read the Constitution, much less abide by it, the crowd was not amused and heckled them.

Government Malfeasance Is a "State Secret."

If there was ever a "poster child" for why the State Secrets Privilege is evil, this one is it:
In late 2001, a government employee and his family sued the agency he worked for, saying it had placed them in a mold-contaminated home that made them sick and required nearly all their possessions to be destroyed.

But this was no ordinary case. The employee, Kevin M. Shipp, was a veteran Central Intelligence Agency officer. His home was at Camp Stanley, an Army weapons depot just north of San Antonio, in an area where the drinking water was polluted with toxic chemicals. The post includes a secret C.I.A. facility.

Declaring that its need to protect state secrets outweighed the Shipps’ right to a day in court, the government persuaded a judge to seal the case and order the family and their lawyers not to discuss it, and to later dismiss the lawsuit without any hearing on the merits, Mr. Shipp said.
There was some pretty nasty shit in the ground there, including buried mustard gas shells.

The assertion by the CIA spokestroll that “The CIA takes great care to help protect the health and welfare of its employees” is laughable, for it addresses none of the allegations and is the sort of mealy-mouth bureaucratic gobbledygook that means absolutely nothing. Every word in it is most likely a lie, including "the" and "of".

UPDATE: Probably no surprise that some functionary in the CIA just searched on Bing for any web page that mentioned Mr. Shipp. Don't you guys have democracies to overthrow somewhere or somebody to torture? You really give a fuck what some pissant bloggers have to say about you? Talk about having a thin skin.....

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What is Arabic for “Après Moi, le Déluge”

That would seem to be the position of Hosni Mubarak, who is refusing to leave.

I don't see a good ending to this. The protesters will surely be out in force tomorrow morning. I suspect that a military coup to depose Mubarak is as likely as the other possible outcomes-- a revolution or a brutal crackdown. The military officers have been a favored class in Egypt and they may view their own ricebowl as being more important that Mubarak, who could go off to exile in France and live on his accumulated billions (if he doesn't accidentally shoot himself in the back with 30 rounds from a Kalashnikov).

zOMG!!!1!! Teh Gay Pirates Are Invading Tampa!!!!!1!!!1!

At least that is what one of the politicians from the Confederate party is claiming.
Eugene Delgaudio, a Republican official in Virginia’s Loudon County, best known for claiming that gay TSA agents were getting their jollies patting down male passengers’ junk, is sending out a letter to his constituents claiming that radical homosexual pirates have invaded Tampa Bay, Florida, and are roaming the streets.
I gather the shindig started out as some family-friendly celebration of the days of plundering ships, raping, pillaging and burning villages and hanging people by the hundreds, until, that is, gay folk got involved in the party.

So how did they do it?
Organizers started by purposefully making the parade route zig-zag so no one could call it a “straight parade.”
At times, it is just too easy to mock these clowns in the Republican party.

So here's the H/T and I'll leave you with this:



The Greedy Fucks of the Chamber of Commerce

Those douchebags are paying a bunch of bespoke-suited thugs to run a disinformation campaign to discredit everyone who disagrees with them.

Really, how much more despicable can they be?

Of course, you won't see shit about this in the press. Certainly not the Washington Post, which has been transformed into little more than a house organ for the for-profit diploma mills. This won't be on the Comcast Nightly News, either.

We had better get a clue here. The corporations have pretty much stolen our government. There is less and less a sense of public service on the part of elected officials and upper levels of the executive branch, more a sense of grabbiness and loyalty to their own. That's why you will never see any serious investigation of the mortgage meltdown, other than a few sacrificial goats who were dishonest mortgage brokers and bankers at jerkwater rural banks.

The corporate media, especially the Wingnut bloviators, have been pounding and pounding into the heads of the sheeple that "government is evil." That thirty year line of propaganda ignores these facts:

- It wasn't government that sells adulterated and contaminated food.
- It wasn't government that pumped raw sewage from industrial plants into the rivers and lakes, contaminating water supplies.
- It wasn't government that poured billions of tons of sulfur dioxide into the air, devastating the forests of the Northeast.
- It wasn't government that put children to work in factories.
- It wasn't government that created the "killer smogs" that used to kill thousands of people each year.
- It wasn't government that has slowly been turning the Appalachian mountains into a lunar landscape.
- It wasn't government which put men into factories and mines without any safety equipment.
- It wasn't government that put lead into paint and gasoline.
- It wasn't government who denied women and minorities decent employment.
- It wasn't government that covered up toxic side effects of medications.

No, it wasn't. It was corporations that did all that and, to some degree, continue to do that. It was government, our government that made corporations stop doing most of that. It was government that required companies to issue safety equipment. It was government which made companies and utilities clean up their emissions. It was government that made employers stop the preferential hiring of white men.

Hell, it was government that mandated safer cars. If you have been in a bad car crash in the last couple of decades and walked away, you can be reasonably certain that if you had been in such a crash in the 1950s or 1960s, you would have gone right to the morgue. Every safety improvement since tempered glass was bitterly fought by the auto lobby. The most egregious example was Ford, of course, which could have done something about the exploding Pintos.

(Of course, government has had its own levels of fuckery, from above-ground nuclear testing to the Tuskegee Experiments.)

The corporations have never forgotten that they were once free to discriminate, to put workers in dangerous jobs and then throw them away when they were hurt. They haven't forgotten that they were once free to make dangerous products without fear of regulation. It didn't bother General Electric that they were once able to use the Hudson River as a PCB dumping ground. It didn't bother the auto companies that people could once tell what color they were painting the cars and trucks from the color of the river downstream of the auto plants. The companies have never forgotten that there was a day when they could treat their workers like shit. They want to maximize their short-term profits and they care not a whit who they hurt in the process.

And so, for the last thirty years, with the help of the hateful fucks in the GOP (and, to an increasing degree, Democrats), the companies have been on a campaign to roll back everything in their quest to destroy the middle class, to destroy the unions and to go back to the days of wage slavery. Republicans want to kill the Environmental Protection Agency because clean air and water are over-rated. They want to gut the Food & Drug Administration. Republicans want to take insurance regulation away from the states in the same way that they took banking regulation away from the banks (and we saw how well that has worked).

Thanks to Johnny Roberts and the Supremes, the corporations are now free to pour unlimited amounts of cash into elections to overwhelm any opposition to their agenda. Those justices were either ideologically bankrupt, they ere corrupt or they were idiots who could not foresee the fallout of their rulings (or a combination thereof).

The Republican party hates you, unless you happen to either have inherited wealth or you make your money from passive investments. If you work for a paycheck, they hate you and they want to make certain that your paycheck continues to shrink, as middle class pay has for the last few decades. The unsung reason why women entered the workforce in large numbers was that it took two paychecks to provide a reasonable standard of living, the kind of standard of living that one person could once provide.

Once a president said "ask not what your country can do you for, ask what you can do for your country." But that was in an era where government service was respected, when having a job that helped people was not regarded as a hateful occupation. Thanks to unrelenting propaganda from the Right, we got to the point where, when people asked what they could do for their country after a terrorist attack, a president actually said "go shopping." We got to the point that Republican lawmakers have begun to look upon disabled veterans as parasites, not as honorable men and women who have had their bodies and minds broken in service to their nation.

Republicans want to make certain that you will not be able to retire, ever, that you will have no choice to work at some soul-grinding job until you die. That is why they want to kill off Social Security and have "privatized" retirement accounts, which is code for letting the same greedy fucks who ripped off homeowners (and crashed our economy) rip off workers' retirement savings. The push to balance the federal budget plays into this, which is why all of the pain and suffering will be borne by the poor, the working class and what is left of the middle class. Perish the thought that the rich might also be made to bleed a little, no, it will be ground solely out of those at the bottom of the economic pyramid.

I have no hope that things will change anytime soon. Too many people have been brainwashed by corporate shills from Ronald Reagan in the 1970s to most of the current crop of thugs and tools running for the GOP `12 nomination.

The Republican party, the corporations and the uber-rich are turning this nation into a banana republic with a very large stratum of people who are either poor or just above the poverty level and a relatively tiny handful of really rich people who own most that there is to own. Because it's not enough for them to have ten or twenty million when they can have ten or a hundred times more.

There is a class war going on, all right. The rich are winning. And too many people on the losing side don't even realize that they are being beaten down.