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, June 30, 2011

Goons With Badges

The crime: Alledgedly disrespecting a police officer.
DAYTON, Ohio (CN) - Dayton police "mistook" a mentally handicapped teenager's speech impediment for "disrespect," so they Tasered, pepper-sprayed and beat him and called for backup from "upward of 20 police officers" after the boy rode his bicycle home to ask his mother for help.
It took twenty cops to Taser, pepper-spray and beat the snot out of one retarded teenager?

Brave cops they have in Dayton. True justice would end in a multi-million dollar settlement and a number of cops in prison for this. The first will probably happen anyway. The second, not so much.

Rob Allen's reaction is interesting:
I’m getting sick and tired of all these stories like this. I’ve gone from wanting to be a cop to developing an involuntary distrust of officers in only a few short years. From what I can see, police are losing sight of who they are and where they get their authority from (hint, Officer Friendly, it’s not the shiny badge). I still believe the majority of cops are good people, but the good ones can’t just sit back and continue to let this happen.
He'd have developed that "involuntary distrust" a lot sooner if he were a minority, be it racial, ethnic or sexual. But be that as it may, Rob is exactly right in his point that the police, and yes, that means the guys on the street, not just the rat bastards in Internal Affairs, need to start cleaning up their own shithouse. At the very least, they need to stop covering up for their asshole brothers in blue.

Beating the shit out of mentally handicapped boy for no goddamn reason other than he has a speech impediment? That's acceptable to you boys in blue?

Rob is right about another thing: If over 20 cops show up to "get some" at the expense of a retarded kid, then layoffs are in order, for clearly Dayton has too many cops.

Libertarian Fantasy versus Reality

In the Libertarian mind, there is no need for regulation of companies-- Companies can be trusted to do the right thing because they want to protect their good reputation. Or so that's what they seem to believe.

In the real world, things are quite different. If a safe working environment costs money, companies will not provide one. If they are required to provide one, they will circumvent the rules. Which sort of works, until enough people die.

Exhibit A: Massey Coal.
Federal investigators said Wednesday that Massey Energy, the owner of the West Virginia mine where 29 men were killed in an explosion last year, misled government inspectors by keeping accounts of hazardous conditions out of official record books where inspectors would see them.

Kevin Stricklin, administrator for coal at the Mine Safety and Health Administration, described a dual accounting system practiced by Massey before the deadly explosion, in which safety problems and efforts to fix them were recorded in an internal set of books, out of sight of state inspectors, and off the official books that the law required them to keep.

That was among the conclusions of a large team of federal investigators, who spent a year sifting through more than 84,000 pages of documents, interviewing 266 people and examining evidence at the Upper Big Branch mine, where the explosion occurred.
Twenty nine men died because Massey Coal had a deliberate policy of refusing to fix dangerous conditions and covering up the existence of those conditions. Massey Coal didn't give a damn about its reputation or its workers. I would have to suspend disbelief in order to accept the concept that the executives of Massey Coal had no idea that this was going on. Their executives pled the Fifth for a reason, I sincerely hope that their reason for doing so lands them down the cellblock from the Two Bernies (Kerik and Madoff).

Republican ideology is more brutal. Republican orthodoxy now is "all regulations bad." In the Republican mind, there would not have been a problem with Massey Coal fibbing on its records because there wouldn't have been any regulation of mine safety to begin with.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Today's Earworm

I could go into an explanation, but screw it. This fits for today.



After a few calls, I'm in agreement with Samuel Clemens:
It is my heart-warm and world-embracing Christmas hope and aspiration that all of us, the high, the low, the rich, the poor, the admired, the despised, the loved, the hated, the civilized, the savage (every man and brother of us all throughout the whole earth), may eventually be gathered together in a heaven of everlasting rest and peace and bliss, except the inventor of the telephone.

Cementing the Locks in the Canal, Perhaps?

Most days, I go for a walk. Sometimes I vary my route. Yesterday, as I was walking down a a side street, I passed a house that had a cement mixer parked outside. The concrete pouring chute from the mixer went through a casement window into the basement of the house. They apparently were installing (or replacing) a cement floor.

It occurred to me that maybe they were cementing over the locks in the Panama Canal.

(If you don't get the reference, read or watch.)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Unusual Method of Self-Defense

A man sexually assaulted a woman and tried to jam his tongue into her mouth.

She bit off his tongue. He fled and she spit the chunk of tongue out into the alley.

The cops have both the perp and the evidence.

Gay Rights

On this day in 1969, gay people, particularly drag queens, got tired of being pushed around by the NYPD. So they pushed back.

The police have had a long and sordid history of hassling gays and drag queens. It still goes on.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Buh-bye, Blago

Off to the Crossbar Hilton:
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was convicted Monday on 17 of the 20 public corruption charges against him related to his attempt to sell the U.S. Senate seat held by Barack Obama before he resigned to become president.
All of those counts carry a maximum of 20 years, and he was convicted the first time around of lying to a Feebie, which is a 5 year charge.

Probably get them all concurrent, but even so, Blago's going away for a long time (once his appeals are exhausted).

Seems to me that a lot of Illinois governors do the "two terms in the statehouse and one in the penitentiary" bit. George Ryan, Blago's predecessor, is still in prison. Otto Kerner and Dan Walker also went to prison.

The Conservative View of the First Amendment is This: "Money Talks."

Because only in the Right-wing bizzaro world of the Roberts Court, is helping somebody counter lies considered to be a violation of the liar's constitutional rights.

Arizona's law did nothing to hinder "robust debate". What it did do was help publicly-financed candidates counter the bullshit commercials of rich candidates (and those backed by the Chamber of Commerce and the Koch brothers).

Apologies

I haven't checked the spam filter for this blog in awhile. Some legit comments were there, including one from BobG that was over a month old.

Sorry about that, guys. I'll try to do better.

One Step Closer to the "Pilot and Dog" Flight Deck

One of the avionics makers is offering a panic button for business jets and airliners. The idea is that if the faulty humans completely lose the bubble, then they can push the button and the majick boxen will take control and fly the airplane until they can get their wits about them.
Included is a "one-touch" safe mode button or switch that a pilot of an auto-throttle-equipped [Rockwell-Collins] Fusion system can push after losing situational awareness. [Duty Spokesweasel] says one-touch will roll the wings level and fly that way for 15 to 30 seconds before climbing autonomously to an altitude safety above terrain and entering a holding pattern. "This gives pilots time to regain awareness and regain control of the situation," he said. A trade study is under way to determine what automated messages or transponder codes should automatically be sent to the ground if the mode activates.
There is an old joke that the avionics in commercial airliners will eventually be so sophisticated that the flight crew will consist of a pilot and a dog. The dog's job is to bite the pilot if he touches anything.

I share this blogger's qualms about it. What is the point of having trained pilots if their job in an emergency is going to be to "push the button, Max"? You could hire a smart capucin monkey to do that job.

There is another "feature" that Rockwell has already built into its boxes:
One new feature already incorporated in the integrated cockpit, for which the company recently received supplemental type certification approval by the US Federal Aviation Administration, is an emergency descent mode that will turn and dive the aircraft down to 15,000ft (4,572m) if its systems sense pressurisation problems and the pilots are not responding.
Nice, except that the onset of hypoxia is a little bit below 15,000 feet. So the pilots might not wake back up. Of course, if the airplane dove itself lower, there are lots of places in the world where it might fly into some cumulogranite. It could still happen at 15,000 feet, but it's sort of less likely.

TSA-- Winning Heats and Minds One Pissed-Off Passenger At a Time

From a private e-mail received as a result to this post:
I had another "discussion" with the TSA clowns in [deleted] a few days ago. After clearing the metal-detector, the lady pointed at a nearby Plexiglas booth and told me to stand there. No explanation of what's going on. Shortly a TSA guy showed up and told me to come with him. I refused. He seemed surprised and made the demand again, and I refused a second time.

He finally asked why I wasn't following orders and I told him that I would not leave my belongings unattended on the x-ray belt. He told me I had no choice and I told him I wanted a supervisor. He didn't like that. But he grudgingly got the stuff I pointed at and carried it to the rear of the screening area. That was his second mistake.

I read him the riot act for putting my shoes, soles down, on top of my computer case. He didn't seem to understand why I was so furious. I renewed my demand for a supervisor, and when he didn't comply, I raised my voice (it can be a fearsome thing) and demanded a supervisor. When one appeared I explained that it was unsanitary to put shoe soles on belongings, why I was upset at being singled out for some enhanced security procedure without so much as a word of explanation; why I refused to leave my belongings unattended and that I still wanted to know what was going on.

He apologized (sort of) and told me that it was a random security check. The first clown rubbed a cloth on the palms of my hands, put it in a machine and sent me on my way. TSA seems to look for new ways to piss off passengers every week ...
It is what they seem to be best at doing.

The Vampire In Your Home

It is the DVR or the DVR/cable box. It is almost always fully on and it consumes more power than a modern refrigerator. Most of the time, the boxes are sucking down electricity and nobody is watching.

This happens because a hell of a lot of those things are provided by Comcast or other cable companies and, to be blunt about it, they don't give a frak how much electricity the boxes consume. After all, they're not paying for the power used by the gizmos.

So we go around replacing our old incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs (soon to be LED bulbs) and in the meantime, we've invited the cable companies' power suckers into our homes.

(Full story here)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Pharmacy Robberies-- It's Called, "Cause and Effect", You DEA Douchebags

Here is how it used to work: If an addict needed to score some Oxycontin, either he'd get a prescription for the stuff from a doctor who was willing to write it or, if he couldn't hook up with a local doctor willing to play "candyman", he'd find someone who had. Or he'd smurf around to several doctors and try to accumulate prescriptions. The addict got his fix and few people got hurt in the process.

But that didn't sit well with the DEA, which has this insane view that making drugs harder to get will convince addicts to give up drugs. So the DEA has been pressuring states to crack down on the candymen.

And now, surprise, surprise, surprise, the addicts have taken to getting their drugs from pharmacies by using guns instead of prescriptions.

Since this was likely foreseeable by anyone with a functioning cortex, one has to wonder whether the DEA is satisfied with the outcome. They probably view the dead pharmacists and customers as "acceptable collateral damage."

Do We Make Any Useful Shit In This Country Anymore?

The state of California bought its new bridge for the Oakland Bay Bridge from China. It was cheaper to send 250 inspectors to live at the Chinese plant and ship the fucking bridge spans across an ocean than to buy it in this country.

Nice to know that Federal and California taxpayers are paying to employ Chinese bridge makers. The dollars that would have gone to American companies for bridge parts would have been used to buy supplies from other American companies. Those companies would have employed American workers, who then would have banked and spent their pay in their local communities. A dollar paid for the bridge probably would have generated five times that much in economic activity in this country.

But the dollar paid to a Chinese company will generate economic activity in China, which will be of little benefit to us.

So here is a mighty "fuck you" to the former governator and to CalTrans. May you all die in a fire.

TSA-- A Classless (and Clueless) Agency

No class whatsoever:
A woman has filed a complaint with federal authorities over how her elderly mother was treated at Northwest Florida Regional Airport last weekend.

Jean Weber of Destin filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security after her 95-year-old mother was detained and extensively searched last Saturday while trying to board a plane to fly to Michigan to be with family members during the final stages of her battle with leukemia.

Her mother, who was in a wheelchair, was asked to remove an adult diaper in order to complete a pat-down search.
At some point, one has to wonder if the goal of the TSA is to so outrage the American people that the checkpoints end up being stormed and the screeners get coated with tar and feathers.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

I Love New York

I generally regard the New York State Legislature as pretty much a pack of drooling circus of clowns who had to use political juice to get elected because they are largely incapable of earning an honest wage.

But not this week.
Lawmakers voted late Friday to legalize same-sex marriage, making New York the largest state where gay and lesbian couples will be able to wed and giving the national gay-rights movement new momentum from the state where it was born.

The marriage bill, whose fate was uncertain until moments before the vote, was approved 33 to 29 in a packed but hushed Senate chamber. Four members of the Republican majority joined all but one Democrat in the Senate in supporting the measure after an intense and emotional campaign aimed at the handful of lawmakers wrestling with a decision that divided their friends, their constituents and sometimes their own homes.
Four Republican state senators bucked their party in order to pass the bill. The conservatives are already vowing retribution.

Make no mistake about this: The Right has lost on this issue. Gay marriage bans will fall in state after state. Eventually, a gay couple will marry in a northern state, move to a southern state, be discriminated against and then the courts will invalidate gay marriage bans nationwide.

Within a couple of decades, Republicans will be back-pedaling and trying to explain that no, they were not really bigots and homophobes when they opposed gay marriage.

Good luck with that.

Friday, June 24, 2011

No More "Just One More Thing"

Peter Falk has died. He was 83.

His signature role was that of LAPD detective Lt. Columbo.

Rebranding "The Fuzzy Chicken of Jihad"

Bin Ladin apparently concluded that al Qaeda had an image problem, what with a long track record of committing atrocities upon other Muslims.

So, taking a page from the book of Blackwater, which changed their name to Hello Kitty Protective Services Xe, bin Ladin was exploring new names for al Qaeda.

Maybe we can come up with suggestions?

How about "Murderous Goons for Allah"? Heck, Blackwater Xe could just change the last word to "Christ" and use it as well. They could design a common logo, as well.

A Chicken Named Beyoncé

I'd have come home with a buttload of towels, but this works (keyboard warning).

Party Before Country

Congressional Republicans on Thursday abandoned budget talks aimed at clearing the way for a federal debt limit increase, leaving the outcome in doubt as they vowed not to give in to a Democratic push for new tax revenues as part of any compromise.
Let's be clear about this: The Republicans Confederates in Congress have zero interest in doing anything to help push the economy along. They would rather sink this country than take the smallest risk that any Democrat could take any credit for it.

There is no "bipartisan deal" for the budget talks. There is only what the Confederates want, what the Confederates will permit. That is why there has been no plan whatsoever to lower the unemployment rate, because the Confederates will not let it happen.

Sooner or later, people are going to start waking up to the reality that the Republicans are sabotaging our country for their own partisan interests.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Welcome to the Party, Pal; Fourth Amendment Edition

The NY Times published an Op-Ed on how the Obama Administration, the Congress and the Supreme Court has continued on with gutting the 4th Amendment.
This spring was a rough season for the Fourth Amendment. The Obama administration petitioned the Supreme Court to allow GPS tracking of vehicles without judicial permission. The Supreme Court ruled that the police could break into a house without a search warrant if, after knocking and announcing themselves, they heard what sounded like evidence being destroyed. Then it refused to see a Fourth Amendment violation where a citizen was jailed for 16 days on the false pretext that he was being held as a material witness to a crime.

In addition, Congress renewed Patriot Act provisions on enhanced surveillance powers until 2015, and the F.B.I. expanded agents’ authority to comb databases, follow people and rummage through their trash even if they are not suspected of a crime.
No fucking shit. Bloggers on both sides of the political spectrum have been warning about this for years.*

We have lost so much in this country. It was not so long ago that one never saw a policeman strutting about, wearing a German helmet and cradling a submachine gun or an assault rifle, but those are now almost common sights in some cities.




It just keeps creeping along. The Patriot Act gave powers to law enforcement to stop terrorists, but the cops were not shy about using those powers to expand garden-variety criminal investigations.

This shit has to stop. We have to stop it. We have to start electing politicians who are willing to stand up to the forces of fascism who say that they can keep us safe only if they can disregard our civil rights. We, as citizens, have to understand that when the cops abuse the rights of minorities, they are abusing everyone's rights.

But I don't see that happening. I suspect that a significant fraction of the population would cheer on the scrapping of the Bill of Rights on the tenuous promise that the forces of order will keep them safe if only the police and FBI are allowed to search when they want, arrest anyone they please and torture whenever they desire.

I do believe that the vast majority of the Founding Fathers would be appalled to see what passes for liberty and freedom in this land. But damn few people give a shit.
_______________________________________
* Though to be fair, a lot of bloggers on the other side of the aisle have only concerned themselves about it since January, 2009. Better late then never, I suppose.

Ouch, That'll Leave a Mark

funny pictures - *CLOSE ENOUGH*
see more Lolcats and funny pictures.

Long-Time FBI Snitch Arrested

James (Whitey) Bulger, a legendary Boston crime boss indicted in 19 murders and who is on the F.B.I.’s 10 Most Wanted list, was arrested by federal authorities Wednesday night in Santa Monica, ending an international manhunt that had gone on since Mr. Bulger disappeared nearly 16 years ago, the F.B.I. announced.
Whitey Bulger was the boss of the Irish Winter Hill Gang for nearly 20 years. He either killed or ordered the killing of at least 19 people, probably a lot more. While he was running the gang, he fed information about his rivals, both inside and outside the gang, to the FBI. It is arguable that Bulger used the FBI as just another way to get at his enemies. Bulger likely had some involvement with the FBI's connivance at the wrongful conviction of four men, who then spent three decades in prison (two died there) before the survivors were freed (which cost the government over $100 million in damages).

I suspect that the FBI in the 1990s wasn't too interested in arresting Whitey Bulger and was more than happy that he was in the wind. By now, they probably think that with almost everyone from the FBI back in Whitey's day retired or dead, the stain on the FBI from what it did in Boston will be overlooked.

It must not be overlooked. The FBI has a very long record both framing people into prison and closing its eyes when it has cause to know that innocent people have been sent to prison.* The four guys from Boston spent their adult lives in prison because the FBI regarded their wrongful convictions as acceptable collateral damage.

The FBI has always regarded itself as being above the law. When the FBI announces something or says something, you should be reasonably skeptical.
_____________________________
* Not to mention killing people.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Obama Adopts the Aiken Plan for Afghanistan

During the Vietnam War, Senator George Aiken of Vermont reportedly said something along the lines of "We should declare victory and then leave."

Which is pretty much a thumbnail version of President Obama's plan:
President Obama declared Wednesday that the United States had largely achieved its goals in Afghanistan, setting in motion a timetable for the rapid withdrawal of American troops in an acknowledgement of the shifting threat in the region and fast-changing political and economic landscape in a war-weary America.
Mark Twain was right: The past does not repeat itself, but it rhymes.

One thing is clear: George W. Bush and Torturer Dick fell right into Osama bin Ladin's trap of bleeding this nation economically.

Stupid Traffic Light Designers

There is this one, which looks like an hourglass.

The nice thing about the old design is that someone who is color-blind can figure out what the lights mean. No so much with this stupid colored hourglass.

Sometimes the designers get it right early on. Traffic lights are one of those things.

Rules Are For Thee, But Not For Me; TSA Edition

Which can be seen by this photo of two TSA screeners sitting on their kiesters and smoking right next to a "no smoking" sign.

(H/T)

The Constitution is a Goddamn Piece of Paper; NYPD Edition

The NYPD has been pulling over livery cabs and detail-searching the passengers. By "detail-searching", I mean a search that is almost as intrusive as a strip-search.

The NYPD has a long and sordid history of pushing the bounds of what is permissible, from mass arrests of people within a quarter-mile of a protest and racially profiling to shooting people under very questionable circumstances. It's no surprise that the NYPD would take a program to check on the safety of cabbies and use it to rummage through the pockets of passengers with darkish skins.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Unquestioning Swallowing of Bullshit By "Reporters"; Firearms Edition

From a story on Project Gunwalker:
In the meantime, three Democratic senators have released a report finding that an overwhelming majority of the firearms used in crimes in Mexico originated in the US.

According to the report, released last week by Sens. Dianne Feinstein of California, Charles Schumer of New York, and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, an ATF study of 2009 and 2010 crimes in Mexico involving firearms found that 70 percent of the traced weapons have a US source.
Think that one through for a second and you'll see the bullshit. The only weapons that are going to be submitted for a trace are those that they might think came from the US. They won't trace weapons that were "stolen" from the Mexican army or police. They won't trace fully-automatic weapons. So of a selection of confiscated weapons, among those that the Mexicans thought came from the US, 70% did.

That is a far, far cry from the implications proffered by Schumer, Feinstein and Whitehouse, which is 70% of all guns confiscated by the Mexicans came from the US.

How many of the guns confiscated are submitted for tracing? Your guess is as good as mine, but I've seen no numbers above 30%. So, 70% of 30% is 21% overall, at best. It could be as low as 12%.

But "70% of all guns seized in Mexico are from the US" is what the gun-control freakazoids will scream, the press will parrot it, but it is a bald-faced lie. Anyone who says that is either a liar or a fool.

What the Frak Is the TSA Doing?

Why is the agency, whose main job is copping feels of airline passengers and stealing shit from their luggage, doing a sweep of 5,000 square miles of the Ohio River Valley?

TSA has something called the "Visual Intermodal Prevention and Response" teams, or VIPR teams, an appropriate acronym for an agency of snakes. The name itself tells you that the TSA is putting on armed security theatrics, all in the name of supposedly keeping us safe and assuredly reducing the Bill of Rights to something that has the strength of a sheet of one-ply toilet paper. Don't think you can just shut up and drive your car, for the TSA wants to check cars, too.

The other day I was a function and talking to a gent I know. He and I disagree on almost everything-- he thinks Bush was a great president and that Obama is a foreigner, I think Cheney should be executed for war crimes and that Palin is a drooling imbecile. But one thing that we agreed upon is that the post 9-11 security theatrics are becoming less about preventing terrorism and more about promoting a national security/police state.

It is high time that the TSA and the DHS be completely defunded, lest we end this decade with zero personal rights and liberties.

(H/T)

Airbus A380 New Option: Curb Feelers

An Airbus A380 smacked the tip of its wing into a building at the Paris air Show.


Airbus's A400 military transport at the show was grounded for gearbox troubles.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Not Even News

Is anyone surprised that there is yet another story about the most ethically-challenged justice on the Supremes?

Roberts Court to Working Women: "Drop Dead"

No surprise here.
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday threw out the largest employment discrimination case in the nation’s history. The suit, against Wal-Mart Stores, had sought to consolidate the claims of as many as 1.5 million women on the theory that the company had discriminated against them in pay and promotion decisions.
The Roberts Supreme Court is hostile to anyone who is trying to obtain justice against a corporation. They are not the only court like that. I once did a search of appellate court decisions and found that there was more than one Federal circuit where workers suing for discrimination on less than ten percent of the time. I've read decisions which made me question whether the judges had ever punched a time clock in their lives, and I'm pretty damn sure that the answer was "no".

Justice by and for the elites. Other than a few decades here and there, that's pretty much the way it has always been.

When Satire and Fact Become Too Intertwined

From the Borowitz Report:
AUSTIN – Texas Governor Rick Perry announced his bid for the Republican presidential nomination today, unveiling his official campaign slogan, “What Harm Could a Governor from Texas Do?”
One of the morning news-and-meaningless-blather shows had a clip of Perry speaking. If I hadn't been looking at the screen, I would have sworn that it was ol' Dubya himself.

After LBJ and Dubya, the last thing we need is another goddamned Texican who can't distinguish between his shrunken manhood and the national interest. When you consider that last year, Perry was blathering about secession, his run for the Presidency would be as stupifying as if Jeff Davis had run for President in 1860. Electing Perry as president would be like electing an arsonist as the town fire marshal.

"We'll Create Jobs This Time, Trust Us."

Large corporations want a tax break to bring foreign profits back into the U.S., telling the politicians that they will use the money to create lots and lots of jobs.

The problem for them is that they got that tax break six years ago and they did nothing of the sort. In point of fact, they did just the opposite:
60 percent of the [tax break] benefits went to just 15 of the largest United States multinational companies — many of which laid off domestic workers, closed plants and shifted even more of their profits and resources abroad in hopes of cashing in on the next repatriation holiday.
They also used the money to buy back stock and pay their executives even more lavishly. The end result for job creation and R&D was this: Not a frelling thing:
“For every dollar that was brought back, there were zero cents used for additional capital expenditures, research and development, or hiring and employees wages,” said Kristin J. Forbes, a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management who was a member of President Bush’s council of economic advisers.
Congress and the Administration should not fall for this bullshit now. But Congress will, as the Republicans will do whatever the corporations want and there are enough Democrats in the Senate who will do the same.

As it has been for the last thirty years, the rich get richer and the middle class and the working poor continue to bump along.


Lots more graphs here.

There is even an argument that technology is draining money from the wage-earning people. In 1980, there was one telephone line per household and maybe cable TV. Now, there is cable, internet (rapidly becoming mandatory for a decent education) and cell phones. A $75 phone bill in 1980 would be a cause for concern and parental screaming at whoever was making those calls, but families easily will spend over $200 a month now for all of that crap and possibly a lot more.

Dear George Stephanopoulos and "Good Morning America":
Go Take a Flying Frak At the Moon

Each morning on that stupid show, they spend a lot of time on on some goddamned murder trial in Florida.

All the crap going on in this country and they are spending time in their first half hour of the show, each and every frelling day, on this freak show.

Anybody at GMA who regards their show as a serious news show should seek professional help.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

History is a Bitch

One of the things that I've seen over time is that one of the mistakes made by Germany in the Second World War is that they did not pressure Japan to attack the Soviet Union.

Unfortunately, the Japanese did fight the Russians, two years before the Germans invaded the USSR. The Red Army defeated the Japanese at the Battle of Khalkhin Gol. The Japanese had pretty much over-extended their supply lines. The Red Army forces, commanded by Gen. Zhukov engaged them enough frontally to keep the Japanese in place, then struck from both flanks and surrounded them. (Three years later, Zhukov would use the same concept to cut off the German Sixth Army at Stalingrad.)

The Japanese signed a cease-fire pact with the USSR, then turned to fry other fish to the southeast.

Digital Photography

I attended a wedding yesterday. Between the professional photographers and the guests, there were a shitload of people taking photos. A few guests had digital SLRs, there wee a number of "prosumer" pocket cameras and a lot of people using cell phones.

At a wedding back in the day, there probaby would have been half that many people with cameras. And all of those photos would have been printed, possibly in duplicate. Now, while people take a lot more pictures, probably one percent of those, maybe fewer, are ever printed. So one might argue that digital photography has had a positive effect on reducing the use of chemicals and paper.

However, unless people back them up repeatedly, they're far less permanent. Nobody's going to discover a shoebox of photo CDs in a great-grandparents' house in 2095. Even if they do, the CDs will be unreadable, both from degradation and from a lack of hardware with which to view them.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Friday, June 17, 2011

Do You Still Remember How to Read a Road Map?

You might want to refresh your map-reading skills, for a company called "LightSquared" wants to implement a nationwide wireless network. But their frequencies (which the chowderheads at the FCC let them have) are right next to the GPS frequencies.

So what you have are pretty weak signals coming down from satellites 12,500 miles up, which your GPS receiver will need to pick up through the noise broadcast by a transmitter that is virtually next door.

This is what your GPS receiver is looking for:
The GPS signal strength measured at the surface of the Earth is about –160dBw (1 x 10–16 watts), which is roughly equivalent to viewing a 25-watt light bulb from a distance of 10,000 miles.
That weak signal is because the satellites' transmitters have a signal strength of 50 watts. LightSquared's towers will have transmitters with a signal strength of 1,500 watts. GPS receivers would have to pick out those extremely weak GPS signals through that strong noise. The tests seem to be revealing that they cannot do it.

You may not know this: Modern agricultural equipment is very dependent on GPS. The folks at John Deere did some testing and found this:Deere receivers registered impact of and interference by the LightSquared signal as far away as 22 miles from a transmitter. Further, the company has found no practicable technical solution to the problem.

The FAA wants to replace its ground-based navigation aid system with GPS. Smaller airports had instrument approaches that used non-directional beacons (NDBs) for navigation. The FAA has been decommissioning NDBs and replacing the NDB approach procedures with GPS approaches. The LightSquared network would likely completely fuck those things up.

LightSquared's network would most likely screw with vehicle navigation systems. No doubt that they have bought off their share of congressmen. But between the airlines, agriculture, trucking, public safety, the car companies and the motoring public, my bet is that LightSquared is going to lose this fight.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Romney: "I'm Just Like You, I'm Unemployed (But I'm Also Worth $200 Million)."

Which is why he's not exactly collecting soda cans for the deposits.
Mitt Romney sat at the head of the table at a coffee shop here on Thursday, listening to a group of unemployed Floridians explain the challenges of looking for work. When they finished, he weighed in with a predicament of his own.

“I should tell my story,” Mr. Romney said. “I’m also unemployed.”
Having $200 million sort of takes the sting out of not having a job.

What an asshole.

Moderate Gun Lust

Along with the Python, I have always wanted a Colt Peacemaker. Now I know that the Uberti revolvers are lots cheaper, the Ruger Vaqueros are stronger and the USFA revolvers are pretty damn close to the Colts (and made in the old Colt plant), but that makes no nevermind.

A Colt Peacemaker is made by Colt and everything else is a knock-off. So I'm brainwashed...

Rioting Canadians?

Mob rule took over the downtown streets of Vancouver Wednesday night, shortly after the hometown Canucks were crushed 4-0 in the deciding game of the Stanley Cup finals.

There were stabbings, numerous cars set on fire, and marquee stores looted throughout the downtown area, as police used tear gas and pepper spray to try – mostly unsuccessfully – to quell the ugly outbreak of violence.
In Boston, they were celebrating peacefully.
The region exploded in collective joy last night as the Bruins won their first championship in almost four decades with a dominating Game Seven victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Thousands of electrified fans rushed into city streets, leaping through the night and embracing strangers in a euphoric celebration.
It's only a fucking game, people. If your life is affected because a sports team lost a game, you may need to get professional help. Or you need to get laid.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Whose Side is Pakistan On?

Arguably, al Qaeda's.
Pakistan’s top military spy agency has arrested some of the Pakistani informants who fed information to the Central Intelligence Agency in the months leading up to the raid that led to the death of Osama bin Laden, according to American officials.

Pakistan’s detention of five C.I.A. informants, including a Pakistani Army major who officials said copied the license plates of cars visiting Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in the weeks before the raid, is the latest evidence of the fractured relationship between the United States and Pakistan. It comes at a time when the Obama administration is seeking Pakistan’s support in brokering an endgame in the war in neighboring Afghanistan.
It is clear what Pakistan desires for an endgame in Afghanistan: The return of the Taliban. Before 9-11, the Taliban pissed off almost everyone else in the world, so they were wholly dependent on the patronage of Pakistan, which was just what Pakistan wanted.

The Longest-Running Scandal in the Republic

Military contractors selling crappy stuff. They do it because it is cheaper for them to hire legions of lobbyists than fix good stuff.

Avondale used to turn out OK ships. If my memory is correct, they built the last 20 of the Knox class frigates in the 1970s. The biggest construction issue that I know of was that the entire joint between the aluminum deckhouse and the steel hull had to be replaced during an overhaul for each ship.

But their LPD-17s are rife with problems. They may be the biggest pieces of floating shit since the Mitscher destroyer class.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The GOP Candidates' Debate

In a phone conversation with my mother a little while ago, she asked me if I was watching the debate. I told her that I'd rather wrap myself in barbed wire and ro roll down a hill.
Sitting on a sofa on a Sunday afternoon.
Going to the candidate's debate.
Laugh about it, shout about it
When you've got to choose
Every way you look at this you lose.

Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio,
Our nation turns it's lonely eyes to you.
What's that you say, Mrs. Robinson.
Jolting Joe has left and gone away,
Hey hey hey, hey hey hey.
.

Debt Collectors Want to Be Loved, Too.

You have have lost your job in the Goldman Sachs Depression, you may be hanging on by the skin of your teeth to your home, but the scum-sucking bottom feeders that are calling you fifty times a day to try and get blood out of your financial turnip want not only what you can't pay them, they want to be loved, as well.
Debt collectors lare well aware that they are not a sympathetic lot. But now they are saying enough is enough. The trade association that represents them is engaged in an unlikely charm offensive to change their lowly image, while also trying to shape the rules that govern them as they face the prospect of a tough new regulator.
Screw ACA. I love their crap that they are "trying to help debtors", for that is about as far from the truth as it is possible to get.

FBI's New Rules on Investigations

The shorter version: "We can investigate anyone we damn well please for any reason that suits us and there is not a frakking thing that you can do about it."
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is giving significant new powers to its roughly 14,000 agents, allowing them more leeway to search databases, go through household trash or use surveillance teams to scrutinize the lives of people who have attracted their attention.
Civil liberties: They were fun while we had them.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

GOP = Party of Treason and Sabotage

They are, simply put, traitors.
Modern Republicans have a simple approach to politics when they are not in the White House: Make America as ungovernable as possible by using almost any means available, from challenging the legitimacy of opponents to spreading lies and disinformation to sabotaging the economy.
...
The hard reality in the United States today is that the Republicans and the Right are now fully organized, armed with a potent propaganda machine and possessing an extraordinary political will. They are well-positioned to roll the U.S. economy off the cliff and blame the catastrophe on Obama.

Indeed, that may be their best hope for winning Election 2012.
They really are the modern-day Confederates-- they are seeking to destroy America.

Either that, or they are the biggest pack of undisciplined children that this world has ever seen, for if we don't want to let them be in charge, they will take their ball and go home, so there, nyahh!

They are all traitors. I don't have to name names, you know who they are. If there is a reason why a significant number of them should not be stood up against a wall and shot for treason, I'd like to know what it is.

(H/T)

One Goddamn Expensive Mutt

A quarter-million for a guard dog, or $50,000 for a non-championship grade one.

For average deterrence, still seems like a lot. The guy who bought the quarter-mil mutt did so because he would seem to be a professional-grade scumbag.

Smart move, though, getting the fact that you've got such a dog published in a newspaper. Anyone who goes to take you out will now know to bring a tranq-gun, strong netting or just an off-the-shelf repeating shotgun. Seigfreid der Vunder-Hund isn't going to be much good after a couple of face-fulls of #4 buckshot.

Our Vanishing Liberties

“The Rights of the People”, by David K. Shipler. From the book review in the NYT's book section:
You don’t have to drink your fair-trade coffee out of a “Morning Edition” mug to buy into Shipler’s central claim: Since 9/11, our government has treated the Bill of Rights with about as much reverence as a “Keep Off the Grass” sign.
The book is the first of two volumes on the subject.

I don't know whether to read it or not. I agree with the central premise, that all levels of government have treated the Bill of Rights with the degree of respect better accorded to sayings in fortune cookies. Only I'd date that back at least 40 years, to the Nixonian declaration of a "War on Drugs", and even further, to most of the tenure of J.Edgar Hoover in the FBI. There was a brief expansion of civil rights in the 1960s, but those have been steadily rolled back by the last few Supreme Courts.

The sad thing is that most Americans are fine with that. But that's only to be expected, really. It's been the same pretty much since the third generation of colonists were born here. It's probably worth noting that the driving factor behind this year's "Arab Spring" wasn't initially a yearning for freedom as much as it was disgust at official corruption, of a kleptocratic state.

Rehab for Creeps?

Did you know that they had rehab for creeps?
Rep Anthony Weiner (D-NY) will leave Congress temporarily to tend to his personal life, a spokeswoman for the Congressman, Risa Heller told TPM on Saturday. The move falls short of a resignation, which Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and a group of top Democratic officials publicly demanded earlier the same day.

"Congressman Weiner departed this morning to seek professional treatment to focus on becoming a better husband and healthier person," the statement reads.
"The Betty Ford Clinic for Jerks"? There is such a thing?

Weiner is not "sick". He's an asshole. He's the stereotypical egomanical power-mad douchebag that seems to get into politics, probably because he, like legions of male politicians before him, got into politics so they could wet their wands more often.

Having said that, being a disgusting asshole isn't a crime. Until one is proven, or they can find an ethical violation to hang him on, whether Weiner should stay or go is best left to the voters of his district. After all, the voters in Louisiana have reelected Diaper Dave Vitter.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sometimes, Humor Is So Close to the Truth That It Is No Longer Funny

This isn't terribly funny anymore, as it is getting pretty close to what we might expect to see one day:


Live: Senator Addresses Rumors Of Horse Affair

Dear Dipshit With the Electric Guitar

Did you know that amplifiers have a headset jack so that only you will hear your playing?

You should seriously consider using that feature. Because you don't exactly play like Les Paul.

More like RuPaul.

Buy some headphones, Bucko.

The Wørd on Mitt Romney

As Stephen Colbert sees it:

Anyone Who Believes That Republicans Support Small Business

Need only read this. If you'd rather not, then this is the summary: Wisconsin governor Scott Walker is trying to shut down the small beer brewers by barring them from selling their beer on-site and by barring them from selling directly to bars and restaurants.

Why does he care, you might ask? Probably because Miller-Coors Beer donated $22,000 to his campaign and they want that provision enacted.

Walker must be a really cheap politician to buy if you can get him to gut an entire sector of small business for that piddly amount. The Koch brothers have more than that under their sofa cushions.

(H/T)

Caturday

Gracie and Jake are in the condos:


Here is a close-up of Jake:


I keep the curtains drawn in the summer when the sun is beating down on the windows. The cats sometimes disagree with that, so they slip behind the curtains. This was George, getting some sun and checking out the view.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Another Slap on the Tentacles for the Global Vampire Squid

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) agreed to pay a $10 million fine and stop holding private meetings of stock analysts and traders known as “huddles” to settle an investigation by Massachusetts’s chief securities regulator.
The settlement ends a two-year probe by William Galvin, the secretary of the commonwealth, into New York-based Goldman Sachs’s “Asymmetric Service Initiative,” in which information on analysts’ trading ideas was disseminated earlier to favored clients. The company will “permanently discontinue” the practice, Galvin’s office said in a statement today.
A ten million dollar fine for Goldman is payable out of their petty cash fund. Goldman had a net income last year of $8.4 billion.

If you made $50,000 last year, the fine that Goldman paid would be equivalent to your paying a fine of sixty bucks. You'd probably chalk whatever you got the ticket for to shitty luck and keep on doing whatever it was you did. And I will bet that is exactly what Goldman will do.

Wither NATO

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates sharply criticized NATO nations on Friday for what he said were shortages in military spending and political will, warning of “a dim if not dismal future” and “irrelevance” for the alliance unless more member nations contribute weapons, money and manpower. ... The United States accounts for about three-quarters of total military spending by all NATO countries, and has in the past taken the lead in military operations and provided the bulk of the weapons and matériel. But in a post-Soviet world, there is growing resentment in Washington about NATO effectively paying for the defense of wealthy European nations.
If anything, that is understated, for there will be growing resentment across this country for NATO.

NATO is an artifact of the Cold War. We got NATO going because of a realization that we could not afford to let the Europeans deal with the defense of Western Europe without us-- we got sucked into two wars there in less than a quarter century and we were not anxious for a third.

But the reason for NATO is done. The USSR is long gone. Russian troops are no longer on the Elbe, let alone the Oder. The Russian Army is several hundred miles to the east and I don't know of anyone, other than a paranoid neocon, who seriously thinks that the Russians are capable of an armed stroll to the Rhine anymore.

As time goes on, Russia will be even less capable of a war. The life expectancy in Russia is 66 years, which is the lowest of any industrial nation and is worse than that of Bangladesh. Russia's population is well into decline.

Unless Russia enters into another military alliance with Germany to divide up Eastern Europe, the days of the Russian threat are almost certainly done for all countries which were not once part of the Russian empire, and maybe even for those nations as well.

This is probably the take-away: The Americans are getting tired, as we here see it, of shouldering the military security burden. Other nations had best think about stepping up their game. Or they may suffer the consequences.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Wanted: Sense of Humor
Apply in Person at the Office of Queens Councilman James Sanders

McDonald's was running this ad on the NYC subway system:


Queens Councilman Sanders didn't think it funny and demanded an apology from McDondald's for making fun of Far Rockaway. So McDonald's pulled the ads.

So we have a matched pair of a humorless douchebag and gutless weasels.

Yes, I've known people who have fallen asleep on trains on the way home and have ended in New Haven (CT), Wassaic (NY), and Attleboro (MA). Sometimes a conductor has woken them up in time to get off at their stop, sometimes not. The ad wasn't a slam at Far Rockaway, but one thing we have no shortage of in this country is humorless asshats who are local politicians and who are ready to take offense at anything at the drop of a hat.

McDonald's should have left the ads up and told Councilman Sanders to take a long walk off a short pier.

Pay No Attention to the Sound of Edward R. Murrow Spinning in His Grave

This is why: Daily Show's Moment of Zen.


To rip off a quote from Serenity: "There is no news. There is only the truth of the signal. And, there's the puppet theater the corporate jesters foist on the somnambulant public."

FSM forbid that the news shows ever pay attention to the point that the energy extraction companies have been funding the bullshit climate change deniers in the same way that the tobacco industry obfuscated the health risks of tobacco for decades. Or how they have silently managed to squash every attempt to develop energy sources that don't involve mining or drilling. Or how the corporations and the wealthy have enriched themselves for the last thirty years while the middle class and the working poor have been treading water.

No, can't pay attention to that. Those are harder stories and not as much fun to cover. They also hit home at the corporate masters of the news organizations.

So what we get is puppet theater.

You can fight back, a little. Turn off those jesters. Look for news elsewhere, even overseas.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sometimes, There are Bloggers That Richly Deserve a Flogging

Here's the thing: While it's one thing to use photos of celebrities and politicians in snarky ways, it's not a cool thing to do it with just folk. It's especially not cool to do it in a snarky way that is sexually smarmy. And if/when the person whose photo you appropriated objects to your use of the photo, the minimal adult thing to do is to at least take it down. The gracious adult thing to do is to take it down and apologize.

This happened to a gun blogger, who found her photo used with a title of (her first name) and the word "porn". She objected and the scumbucket involved has refused to take it down.

Other bloggers are coming down on her side.

This gets into another issue, as Weerd discusses: Blog piracy. It's one thing to read something that someone else wrote and use that as inspiration for your own thoughts. Nice to give a pointer to who inspired you, but if it's your own thoughts, meh.

Link posts, where someone says "go read this" are fine, too. Hell, they're more than fine, they're how readership builds. I'd go so far to say that if you have a decent readership, you have a moral duty to link to new bloggers who you've noticed.

What is not cool is using a private person's image in a sexually smarmy and infantile way. (Also not cool, as Weerd noted, is to take the entirety of a post and pretty much pass it off as your own.)

The junior-high schoolish antics of the jackwagon in question gets to another issue for me, at least: The sexist crap of "male hobbies".

It's not just guns. It happens a lot in aviation. The fueling/parts/training places in airports are known as "Fixed-Base Operations" or FBOs. You get into an FBO's office by one of two ways, walking in from the flight line (the "air side") or from the street (the "ground side"). A woman who walks into a FBO from the ground side might as well paint herself with invisibility paint. A guy will be asked if he can be helped. Dealing with a new maintenance shop has sometimes required an extensive verbal smackdown to demonstrate to the mechanics that yes, I do know my own airplane.

I've walked into gunshops and I might as well have been covered with invisibility paint. When that doesn't happen, I've gotten the "kin we hep yoo, little lady" condescension. This has been going on since I first bought a firearm and it grates at me. One place I lived, I had a choice between buying stuff at a gunshop 30 miles away and five miles away; I'd go to the further one because it was run by a woman who made sure that women were welcomed and treated with respect.

I go pretty much exclusively to one gunshop where I live now over another for the same reason. Three years ago, I wanted to buy a Russian WW2 sniper rifle and I needed a gunshop to take delivery and do the transfer paperwork. I went in to ask one shop and, once I was able to blast the clerk away from his bullshit session, he gave me a hard time. The other shop said "no problem". I didn't know either of those places. I've not spent a dime in the first place and I've since bought three firearms from the second one, along with other shit.

This is a tough economy and it is not going to get better anytime soon. We may even be in another long depression. If you run a business that traditionally has mostly members of one gender patronizing your business and someone from the other gender walks in, it is in the interest of the survival of your business to make all potential customers welcome. There are women who shoot and fly. There are men who cook, sew and do needlepoint.

If you want these hobbies to survive and thrive, the base of enthusiasts must grow. If you don't like the idea of women shooting guns or flying airplanes, I respectfully suggest that you get over it.

Yesterday in Soviet America

A squad of SWAT cops in California broke down a man's door at 6 in the morning to serve a search warrant.

The search warrant was because his ex-wife defaulted on her student loans.


Whose SWAT team did the raid was not clear, whether it was the Stockton cops or goons from the Federal Department of Education. (That's right: The Department of Education has armed goons to collect on those student loans.)

Busting down a door at 6AM to serve a search warrant because of a defaulted loan? If that is not per se unreasonable, then I don't know what the frak is. The "protect and serve" motto is bullshit, unless the cops are protecting and serving the elites. They sure as hell aren't serving the people with fascist bullshit like this.

And, as BadTux has noted before, a hell of a lot of Americans, including 99.44% of the Teabaggers, are just fine with that.

UPDATE: It apparently was an operation by the DoEd's armed thugs, not the Stockton police, who sent one cop to watch. The fact that the target of the raid was no longer living there calls into question the competence of the DoEd's investigators.
as
(H/T to a comment here)

CSI Baja Oklahoma

Texas may hopefully be the only place in this country where the cops can get a search warrant based solely on the word of a self-proclaimed psychic.
The police in East Texas were led on a fruitless search on Tuesday evening when a woman, claiming to be a psychic, called in a sensational tip, saying she knew of a mass grave where dozens of dismembered bodies were buried. Equipped with a search warrant and cadaver-sniffing dogs, deputies from the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office converged on a home on a narrow country road near Hardin — about an hour outside Houston — in search of a macabre crime scene. ... But in the end, there was no grave, there were no bodies and there was no sign that any crime had been committed.
I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the cops in Texas used haruspicy as an investigative tool.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Most Over-Used Phrase in Republican Circles This Year Is:

"What the Former Half-Term Governor of Alaska meant to say was...."

(Surely you know what this is in reference to.)


(And yes, we always have been at war with Oceania)

How to Make a Terrific Hamburger in Three Easy Steps

1. Seal the patty in a plastic bag and soak it in hot water (130degF) for 30 minutes.

2. Remove the patty from the bag and dip in liquid nitrogen for 30 seconds.

3. Deep-fry the patty (oil at 450degF) for sixty seconds.

Easy-peasy, if you happen to have a container of LN2 in your pantry.

(No, I am not kidding.)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Deficits Are Not Bad; Party of Hoover Edition

The Republicans will run this country off the cliff before they will agree to raise taxes on anybody. So their answers to reducing the Federal budget deficit are to tighten the screws on the poor, the middle class and seniors. They'll let our national infrastructure fall to pieces (think Tim Pawlenty and I-35), they'll let public education descend to a system of test-prep courses (kids won't be able to do a damned thing, but by the Jeez, they can pass a test), but hands off of the rich and big business.

Republican practices led to the Gulf Oil Spill and the housing bubble/mortgage meltdown crisis. It has been Republicans who have run this country off the rails, as any casual look at Federal deficits for the last thirty years will show. Republicans brought us the specter of massive bank defaults a few years ago and the S&L debacle in the 1980s. Between the ideology of the GOP and the short-term greed embodied on ghouls like the Koch Brothers

Why anyone with three functioning neurons would trust those lunatics to operate an open-air Dairy Queen in Anchorage, Alaska in February, much less try to do anything about the economy, is beyond me. Republicans are ideologues who are as able to deal with economic facts and realities as would be a faith-healer who had to deal with a case of appendicitis.

But there are enough people who are following the GOP tin-flute sirens. Hell, there are millions of people who would vote for candidates who have no idea in which colony the Battle of Concord took place,[2] who Paul Revere was trying to warn,[3] (both of those candidates apparently slept through fourth grade history) or who is totally engrossed with the idea of trying to prevent man-on-dog sex.[4]

There are days when I think that sooner or later, the crazies will gain power and they will bring to fruition the GOP's century-long quest to smash the American economy, impoverish 99% of the American population and bring this country back to the social and living standards of the 1890s.[5] Of course, they've forgotten that the taxation of the 19th Century was insufficient to support a large standing national defense establishment, but that makes no difference to them.

Maybe we just ought to get it over with and get to doing what the Republicans want: Reducing this great country to Third or Fourth World nation with nuclear weapons.[6]
______________________________
[1] And the oil industry, the coal industry, the automotive industry, the Midwestern power generator, well, you get the idea. The Koch brothers are just the most effective ones at generating astroturf groups.
[2] Michele Bachmann
[3] Sarah Palin
[4] Rick Santorum
[5] Only because I think it unlikely that they will be able to institute legal slavery. Otherwise, it'll be the 1830s with electricity, but only for the rich.
[6] Like Russia.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Quote of the Day; Penis Edition

"Why the hell am I going to waste my time and give a press release about whether or not I have a penis? My fans don't care and neither do I."
--Lady Gaga, who was addressing the hermaphrodite rumors in an interview with Anderson Cooper. That footage didn't make the 60 Minutes piece, but it is here at 2:50 and there is more here.

Thought Experiment

As you may already know, there are many Mexicans who hold to the view that we essentially stole California, Arizona, Texas, Nevada, New Mexico, and parts of Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado and Wyoming from them through the annexation of Texas, the Mexican-American War and the Gadsten Purchase.

Now let's suppose that there is a movement to recover those territories. Suppose that a large number of unarmed Mexicans massed on the border, proclaimed that they were going to take back what was their land and began moving to cross over into American territory.

Would that not be an invasion and would the United States not be justified in responding to it as such?

You're the president. All you have is the military with their standard weapons. Your options are essentially limited to (a) let them come, or (b) shoot them.

What do you do and why?

Guest

I had a visitor over the weekend. The cats had varying reactions.

Gracie hid, either behind my bed or under the couch.

Jake apparently figured that a visitor meant two more hands to pet him, so he made the most of it.

George has the sniffles or a cold or allergies. In the past, he has not cottoned to this particular person. One time, when I had an apartment with two bathrooms, he would drop a turd each morning in guest bathroom. This time, he was mostly fine and wanted to be petted.

Except the first night: George jumped up onto the guest bed at 0300. He put his face right next to hers and then sneezed.

What we did: Shooting, flying and baking. It was a good time.

The Dastardly and Despicable Desperados of Danville

They have not escaped the keen eye of Johnny Law, nosiree! Those evil criminals have been stopped!

The public can sleep at night, knowing that there will be no more mouse racing in Danville, Iowa.
Sheriffs are fighting their way through the seedy underbelly of Danville, Iowa, taking aim at unregulated gambling in its most adorable form -- mouse racing. Officers raided the Bucktail Lodge last week in search of code violations and shut down the popular races. ... For now, the races are on hold, but the mice racers said they will be in court to fight for the right to their rodent-race night. They said the incident makes it clear that the local police have little to do.
I'd put money down on a bet that the doughnut shops were closed for the night when the raid took place.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

22 Years Ago

The Chinese government crushed the Tiananmen Square protests with brutal force, killing anywhere from hundreds of people to thousands. The Chinese army had to bring in troops from areas far from Beijing (and subject them to intensive propaganda sessions) in order to have soldiers who would fire on their own people.

Caturday

Gracie is hanging out in one of the cat condos.


Jake has a new place to hang out-- under my bed.


George is lying on my sheets. He's supposed to lie on either the white bedspread or the pillow covered with a towel. But he's not feeling well, so I let him get away with it

Friday, June 3, 2011

Adios, Marshal Dillon

James Arness has died at age 88.

Inappropriate Television Promos?

A friend of mine was watching the tube the other day when an announcement came on for an upcoming movie:
"Watch Ashton Kutcher tame the Wild West in 'TEXAS RANGERS'[1]"
She wondered if she could make it any more ridiculous, and she came up with this:
"Watch The Artist Formerly Known As Prince tame the Wild West in 'TEXAS RANGERS'"
I don't know if I can top that for that movie (maybe with Paris Hilton), but there are other ones that could be equally crazy. How about:
"Next on Bravo: 'Say Yes to the Dress' with special guest host, Chuck Norris"
Or:
"Stay Tuned for the 'Rachel Ray Show' with her guest chef, Alferd Packer"
Any suggestions?
____________________
[1]"Texas Rangers" cost $38,000,000 to make. It was so bad that it was pulled from the theaters after less than three weeks in release (its widest showing was on at most 404 screens) and it made under a million. By percentages, that has to have been one of the biggest flops in movie history. Even Ishtar made back at least 20% of its cost.

The Biggest Non-News Story of the Day; Flip-Flop Mitt Edition

Willard Mitt Romney announced that he is running for president.


This announcement is about as newsworthy as a sunrise. Mitt the Flip-Flopper has been running for president since the day it became apparent that the McCain presidential campaign had cratered.

Romney has no political soul. He is like a stalk of wheat, he bends with the wind. He was a supporter of strong gun control laws when he was running for governor of Massachusetts, he signed a gun control law in 2004 making the Brady AR ban permanent in Massachusetts. Of course now, you can bet the horse you rode in on that Romney is saying that he is a 2nd Amendment supporter. He was pro-choice, though being a self-described 2nd Amendment supporter and supporting the Brady Ban is like being in favor of censorship and the 1st Amendment. He was for gay rights; when he was running against Ted Kennedy for the Senate, he pledged to be "more effective" than Teddy on the issue.

But ol' Flip-Flop Mitt began moving away from those positions when he realized that he could not both run for re-election as governor of Massachusetts in `06 and be a viable candidate for president in `08. So he threw away all of those long-held stances as though they were used tissues.

Romney doesn't believe in a damned thing, other than his personal ambition. He'd shoot his dog and then convert to Satanism if he saw a net gain in votes from doing so.

Anyone who votes for Flip-Flop Mitt because they like his stance on any issue is a fool.

Buh-Bye, Johnny Boy

A hell of a fall.
Criminal charges are likely to be filed Friday against John Edwards, the culmination of a two-year federal investigation into money used to cover up his extramarital affair during the 2008 presidential election.
He has got this coming. I don't believe that the law dispassionately holds using campaign money to cover up an affair to be any different than using campaign contributions for personal expenses, but I sure as hell do. There would seem to be a bit of a moral distinction between the two offenses.

The only good thing, if you can even call it that, is that Elizabeth Edwards isn't around to watch this sordid matter play itself out.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Zombie-Killer?



If he could figure out a way to dispense with the center dowel, that thing would be a natural for the next zombie movie.

(H/T)

The Fuckery of Wingnut Governors

First up: Rick Scott, governor of Florida. His plan is to do quarterly drug tests on state employees. Guess who will do the drug tests? Some company named "Solatic", which is apparently owned largely by Rick Scott and/or his wife. Now supposedly Scott is unloading his shares of Solantic, which means that he is giving a nice little gift to the people who paid extremely good money for his stock.

(H/T)

Next up: Chopper Chris Christie of New Jersey. Since it costs so bloody much to buy jet fuel for Secaucus Fat's helicopter fleet (not to mention his tax cut for his rich buddies), Chopper Chris came up with the idea of sharply limiting eligibility for Medicaid. For a family of four, eligibility would end if they made over $103 a week, or $5,317 a year.

That's going to piss off Wal-Mart big time, since a good chunk of Wal-Mart's business plan is to push the costs of employing people for minimum wage onto the states.

(H/T)

ICE and TSA: Nice Company We Keep

I've been through 30 land, sea and air border crossings .... The only one that comes close to the American border crossing is Russia. Iran was worse than the US for obvious reasons. But seriously, just think about that for a moment. China is easier to get into than the US. I've not been harassed at a single border crossing other than Iran or Russia as much as I have coming back into the United States. Land of the free? Or land of Fear?
So the nice people at ICE are as friendly as the customs goons at Sheremetyevo Airport, which, from all accounts that I've read, isn't terribly much different from the way things were in the 1980s. Good job, ICE! Way to help promote tourism!

Over to the TSA: As I understand the Rapey-scanner protocol, they are supposed to do it once and, if you fail, they do a pat-down.

I've seen otherwise. The last flight I took, they had some guy in the Pervo-viewer who was seriously overweight. He didn't pass, because he forgot to take this or that out of his pockets. I gather that none of the members of the TSA grope detail wanted to touch that guy, because they kept scanning and re-scanning him until he either passed or they had cooked him like a pot roast. That backed the line up, of course, so the TSA folks just routed a whole stream of people, including me, through the old metal detector.

Trump Doesn't Know Shit About Pizza

He doesn't know shit about where to eat pizza or how to eat it. Jon Stewart administers the smackdown:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Me Lover's Pizza With Crazy Broad
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

Vintage Sniper Match

This sounds like fun:
The Vintage Sniper Rifle Match will feature a two-man team format, with each alternating as shooter and spotter, and firing 10 rounds at both 300 and 600 yards. Match rifles will be original or replica sniper rifles issued through the Korean War. Allowable optics will be original scopes or replicas, along with a few commercial scopes giving essentially the same optical performance.
I'm a long way from being able to compete at that level, but it still would be fun to shoot at those ranges. That Hornady is making match ammunition for all of those calibers is pretty cool, as well.