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

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Classical Music Appreciation Post

Yeah, I'll Bet That the Banksters are Quaking in Their Guccis.

Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs received Wells notices over mortgage-backed securities disclosures, according to regulatory filings.

Goldman Sachs disclosed the Wells notice in its 10-K, while Wells reported the notice in its 2011 annual report to shareholders.

The notice from the Securities and Exchange Commission concerns "the disclosures contained in the offering documents used in connection with a late 2006 offering of approximately $1.3 billion of subprime residential mortgage-backed securities underwritten by GS&Co.," Goldman said in its regulatory filing.
No doubt the SEC has drafted up the harsh letter of admonition that they will send out, following their investigation.

Unless, of course, R-money is elected president. Then the SEC will send over a few cases of champagne. (H/T)

Five years after the economy began sliding down, over three years since the banking system damn near fell apart because of those asswipes and not a single solitary bankster is in jail. The only thing that they've been able to nail any of those goniffs over is insider-trading, which is sort of like sending Ted Bundy to jail for illegal weapons possession.

BFG-9000; USN Edition

The Navy tests its brand-new railgun:




Congress is bitching
, to some extent, at the costs of the development program. What they're not considering is that a railgun would be the first non-incremental change in naval artillery in five hundred years. The muzzleloaders of the 16th Century lasted until the 19th Century, when the development of mass-production of steel led to the practicality of breechloaders. Breechloading permitted the use of rifling and the use of steel permitted the guns to withstand the higher pressures of both firing rifled projectiles and smokeless powder. For smaller guns came fixed and semi-fixed ammunition. The advances since then have been in gun mount automation and improved fire control. But the basics of shooting a naval rifle at a target today would be familiar to a naval officer from the Spanish-American War.

The railgun changes all that. Some of the issues, such as how one provides massive amounts of burst power to a device, are not unfamiliar. There have been sonars that required their own energy storage devices to power them. The idea of getting rid of powder magazines is a pretty attractive one; I don't doubt that is a major, and less-publicized, reason for the Navy's interest in railguns. Damage control isn't very sexy.

Developing electronic guidance package that can survive a gigantic acceleration rate isn't a new problem. Developing one that can also survive a humongous electromagnetic field as well as crushing acceleration is another story. So the concept that a railgun can shoot guided munitions over a few hundred miles is something of which I am rather skeptical. But without guidance, then it's just a modern version of the Paris Gun at those ranges.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

When the Going Gets Weird, the Weird Turn Pro.

I believe that, as a nation, we are now surfing the curl of weird. For even this entry on the Borowitz Report is not so outlandish that it could not conceivably be true.
Telling a crowd of supporters that the separation of church and state “makes me want to throw up,” GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum today proposed replacing church and state with a new entity he called “sturch.”

“Merging church and state into sturch will benefit all Americans,” he said. “Except maybe Jews.”

Mr. Santorum said that the combined entity would offer greater convenience to the American people than the separation of church and state currently does, since Americans would be able to get salvation and motor vehicle renewals at the same place every Sunday.
I can totally see Frothy proposing that. It wouldn't be the weirdest verbiage to come spewing out of his mouth.

R-money Angles for the Lumberjack Vote?

C'mon, really, what rational human being would ever say shit like this:
"I come back to Michigan; the trees are the right height."
Pandering to the trees?

I can see the protest signs in other states: "What's wrong with our trees, Mittens?" Of course, is someone were to ask him about it, he'd explain how the palm trees in New Orleans are the right height and so are the sequoyas in California. For if there is anything that ol' Willard can do, it is flip-flop, pander and lie at the drop of a byte.

Still, a presidential candidate pandering over the height of trees? This shit is kind of embarrassing. Can one of Cylon Mitt's programmers see if they can do a little percussive adjustment to Mitt's CPU?*
____________________________
* I recommend using a framing hammer.

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Theme Song for Ayatolla Rick?

Frothy, the wingnut homophobe,
Always wore a sweater vest,
About his religion,
He said it was the very best.

The adherents of other beliefs,
He proclaimed their faiths phony,
To his narrow way of thinking,
They were guilty of blasphemy!
You can take it from here. But I can't think of a happy ending that doesn't involve Jesus showing up and kicking Frothy's ass around the block a few times.

Comedy as Truth

With just one day until the key Republican contests in Michigan and Arizona, a new survey of likely voters indicates that in a match-up between former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, a majority would choose suicide over either candidate.

The poll, conducted by the University of Minnesota’s Opinion Research Institute, shows Mr. Romney drawing 21%, Mr. Santorum 18%, and various forms of suicide 61%.
Comedy, in order to be really good, has to have truth at its core.

Rmoney: "I Don't Drink Beer, But Some of My Friends Own Breweries!"

Mitt Romney has to be winning the title of "King of Unforced Errors." Between that one and his "my wife has two Cadillacs" comment, ol' Rmoney is demonstrating that the nameless programmers in Mumbai who wrote Cylon Mitt's operating system forgot to include a self-censorship subroutine.

None of his recent gaffes, to my mind, come close to the "I've been unemployed since 2006 (although I'm worth $250 million and I get paid $20 million a year in investment income[and pay less than 15% in taxes])" whopper. But between the gaffes and the outright lies, almost to the point that his epitaph will read "here lies Mitt Romney, as usual", there has to be hundreds of hours of anti-Romney attack video that he himself has provided.

Meanwhile, the GOP party elites are close to shitting their pants at the idea of Santorum winning the nomination. I fear it, as well. Not because I give a shit what happens to the GOP, for on the contrary, the sooner that collection of cranks is consigned to the trash and a genuine center-right party arises cannot happen too soon for my taste.

No, I fear it because there is always a possibility that Frothy might win. And then we'd have a president who will make every effort to drag this country back to the 15th Century. Santorum has made it clear as glass that his presidency would be guided by the tenets of his religion, not by the Constitution or the laws of the land.

And that, I submit, is ultimately very bad for anyone who does not adhere to Ayatollah Rick's exact views. We went down that road in some of the American colonies in the 17th Century; the Founding Fathers were well aware of the dangers inherent in a faith-based government. The "no established religion" clause of the First Amendment wasn't put in there for giggles.

Finally, could someone enlighten me as to why the Southern Evangelicals like Santorum? I didn't grow up in the South, but I have friends who did, and they told me that the Southern Evangelicals regarded Catholics as idolators and not true Christians. Catholics there were regarded by the Evangelicals as almost being as outside of Christianity as Jews and Mormons. Catholic and Jewish kids stuck together for mutual protection (and there was a lot of intermarriage as a result).

So why are they wrapping their arms around Frothy?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Johnny Cash Day



Johnny Cash would have been eighty years old today.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

In Iceland, the Government Serves the People.
In America, the Government Serves the Banksters.

In reading this piece from Bloomberg News, it is hard to reach any other conclusion.

The government in Iceland forced the banks to write down loans to a maximum of 110 percent of existing property value. The banksters and the politicians who facilitated the Icelandic real estate bubble are being prosecuted.

In this country, however, it is the banksters whose interests remain paramount. It is pretty much a bipartisan endeavor to make sure that the bankers themselves feel no pain, from bailouts to sweetheart deals to ensure that they never face any accountability for their massive ponzi schemes. The banksters in this country took their ginormous payouts from all sorts of schemes and then have been laughing all the way to the Hamptons while the taxpayers foot the bill. Not a single one of the big mortgage fraudsters has been prosecuted. Oh, the S.E.C. has had stern words for some of them, but that's as far as it has gone.

Iceland had the right of it. But then again, their government, unlike ours, does not exist to serve corporate interests.

(H/T)

Funny What Happens When the Fiscal Screws Tighten

The governor of New York, a Democrat, has proposed scrapping the CoBIS cartridge registry. The state has spent $44 million on CoBIS since 2001, they've collected a third of a million shell casings and not a single crime has been solved by CoBIS.

Coincidentally, the Canadians are scrapping their long-gun registry for many of the same reasons, though there seems to be more of a political tint involved there.

This bare fact remains: Criminals do not register their weapons.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Why Are Those Fuckers Not Rotting in Prison?

Banksters, hedge-funds and other speculators. They should all be in prison (or sucking on the wrong side of dandelions).

According to CBS News tonight, those assholes have driven the price of oil up $20 per barrel, which, they report, translates into fifty cents a gallon for gasoline.

So every time you gas up your car, an eighth (or more) of what comes out of your pocket is going into the pockets of speculators.

Iranian Nukes-- Why is Nobody Talking About This?

You can find lots of chatter across the Internets about the Iranians trying to build nuclear weapons and how this year is The Year of War and all of that.

So why is it that nobody seems to care that our own spooks don't believe that the Iranians are trying to build one?
The most recent report, which represents the consensus of 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, indicates that Iran is pursuing research that could put it in a position to build a weapon, but that it has not sought to do so.

Although Iran continues to enrich uranium at low levels, U.S. officials say they have not seen evidence that has caused them to significantly revise that judgment. Senior U.S. officials say Israel does not dispute the basic intelligence or analysis.
So why the big neocon drumbeat for yet another war? Have we not shed enough blood and treasure to slake the bloodthirstiness of the blasted souls of the Kagans?

Maybe the neocons are trying to destroy this country from the inside, by getting us to be embroiled in so many wars that our economy collapses and they can finally institute a religious-themed plutocracy?

The Black Rifle Shortage is Beginning Early This Time

I swing by my local gun shoppe to pick up some cleaning supplies. I overheard the salesman telling a customer that 5.56mm black guns have suddenly become unavailable and so has ammunition for them.

So either the quadrennial "zOMG, the Democrats are gonna take our gunz" panic is beginning early this time around, or there is panic buying over something else.

Update" The "something else" seems to be a critter called the "web bot", which has apparently predicted 25 of the last four catastrophes. The Tin-Foil Hat Brigade is convinced that World War 3 will begin on March 2nd. (Google it if you wish, I'm not linking to those folks.)

Hypocritical Asswipes; the Plutocracy Party Edition

Put together this:
A group of United States senators, mostly Republicans, has called for President Barack Obama to take a more firm public stance over the nuclear dispute with Iran.
and this:
Republicans are blaming Obama for the uptick [in gasoline prices]— which could reach $5 per gallon by summer's driving season...
and you have some galaxy-class hypocrites.

Instability in the Middle East always causes oil prices to rise.* The prospect of a war with Iran this summer is not helping the moods of the pirates speculators.

If you want to find an example of this hypocrisy in one bag of meat, you need only look at Newt Gingrich, who is both whining about gas prices and Iran. You cannot have both low gas prices and a massive war in the Persian Gulf, and any politician who is telling you otherwise is either so full of shit that he's about explode due to over-pressurization or he thinks that you are dumber than a rotting stump.
_________________
* That, and those ghouls known as "speculators", who are driving up the price of oil.

Losing with Santorum

This post is not about whether or not Santorum would be beaten like a gong in the general election. I think that he would, for the reasons that John Oliver discussed last night on the Daily Show.

No, I think that the GOP will lose with Santorum for the same reason that they lost a century ago: The party elite will shudder at the candidate whom the party's grass roots have chosen and they will rig the game to choose someone else. That will not sit well with Santorum's supporters, who will not go along with the anointing by the bosses.

Whether or not Santorum will accept the nomination of a third party will be another question that he'll have to consider.

On the other hand, if the party bosses pull the same trick against Romney, I don't imagine that most people will give a shit. The one consistent thing about ol' Rmoney is that nobody seems to really like him.  Romney's strongest argument for being the nominee is "it's my turn", because the GOP's tradition is that the nominee is the clown who came in second the last time around.*

________________________________
* Think about it. It's been that way since Ford.  McCain came in second in 2000 and was the nominee in `08. Dole came in second in `88 and was the nominee in `96. Bush I came in second in `80 and was the nominee in `88. Reagan came in second in `76 and was the nominee in `80. The one outlier was Buchanan, who came in second in `92 and `96, and who arguably was denied his turn for having the temerity to primary a sitting president (and who was privately blamed by the GOP for weakening Bush enough for Clinton to win).  The same stench of challenging a sitting president didn't seem to attach to Reagan, but he did come in second in `68, so it could be argued that Watergate had displaced Reagan in the Unofficial Line of Succession.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Another Day

And no cats that need to be put to sleep.

I probably didn't make it clear, but I was visiting a friend for awhile when all this came about. Yesterday I drove home, with Jake and George riding in their carriers in the back seat. Gracie used to ride in her carrier in the front passenger seat; I would sometime spoke a finger through the door and scratch her head. The first part of the drive, with the empty seat next to me, made it all fresh, but it passed. At home I had a small set of steps so she could get onto the couch (Gracie had arthritis) as well as the cat condo that was one of her favorite places, those immediately went into the dumpster out back.

Other stuff blew up yesterday in a friend's sibling's life, so that, sad as it may be to say, has been a bit of a distraction. Last night, being the first night home since Gracie died, I took a sleeping pill to make sure that the yakkity part of my brain shut the hell up for the night. So I got a decent night's sleep.

Each day is a little better. Maybe not by much, but better.

I gather that Frothy screwed the pooch in the latest showup of the passengers who have been riding in the GOP Presidential Clown Car. Someone else is surely blogging effectively about that.

I suppose I also should comment about the inherent stupidity of Republicans who have been screaming for months that Forceful Measures Must Be Taken against Iran and now, that tensions are ratcheting up, those very same Republicans are whining about the rise in gas prices, as in just what the frak did they think would happen to the price of oil when there is a prospect of yet another war in the Persian Gulf. Somebody's probably written a good piece on that, as well.

Anyway, what I wanted to let you know is that the Saturday Caturday will be suspended for awhile. Maybe a week, maybe longer. Gracie, with her big green eyes, was a dream to photograph and so, to a lesser degree, was Rocky. They were half-siblings, of litters roughly 16 months apart. Their mother was a feral cat who was a very pretty cat in her own right. (You might remember Gracie's feral sister, Sweetie.)

The survivors in our households are not as photogenic.

These are the last decent photos I have of each of them. This photo of Gracie was taken the day before she passed.


The cancer was on the other side of her jaw. But in looking at this photo, it seems to me that her mouth was open, just a tad. It had to have been at least discomforting, if not painful for her. But she was her usual loving self, right up to the time that I put her in her carrier for the last time.

I took this photo of Rocky the morning of his passing. He was lying under my bed. I had to use a high ASA and the exposure time was over a second.


It doesn't hurt today to look at the photos and write these words, not like it would have even yesterday. Things are getting better. But the usual political crap does not seem as important to me, not now. I don't have the reserves of emotion to be outraged at those assholes in Federal and state government and the putzim who are running so hard to be the leader of a government they all pretend to loathe.

Finally, I want to express my gratitude to you, Gentle Reader. I received a lot of supportive and gracious comments about the passing of Gracie and Rocky. They were of comfort. Thank you so very much.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Heh.

Dilbert.

Better Make Sure They're Alive!

Let's say that you're driving down a road and you see an accident. One of the cars involves is showing signs of catching fire. There's a person in the car, who isn't responsive.

If you are in Illinois, before you try to putt the victim from the burning car, you'd better be sure that the victim is still alive. For if they're dead, you're about to commit a felony.
Spurred by cases in which bodies of overdose victims were moved to thwart investigations, Illinois state Rep. Dan Beiser, D-Alton, is sponsoring a bill to make unauthorized movement of a corpse a felony.
No mention of an exemption for good Samaritans, so unless you want to run the risk of spending seven years down the cellblock from a former governor of the state, let them burn.

Also in the bill is a provision that criminalizes necrophilia, which probably will spark some outrage from traditionalists like Frothy.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tuesday Follies

There is political shit going on.

Crap going on right now in Afghanistan would indicate that the soldiers have not learned a damned thing in a decade.

But I don't care too much about that, not today.  I went with a friend to put her cat, Rocky, down. She went with me yesterday for Gracie. It's a little easier to go with someone else to put their animal down than it is to put your own to sleep, but not by much.

Rocky was losing control of his back legs. What started out as a slight limp was getting worse. It got to the point that he could barely get around. So it was time.

Rocky; September, 1998- February 21, 2012

Rocky was a Maine Coon. Like a lot of his breed, he was a one-person cat. I wasn't that person, but my friend, who bottle-fed him from when he was a tiny kitten, was that person.

It's been a rough couple of days. It'll get better.

For fun.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Caturday; Memorial Edition

Gracie; April, 1997- February 20, 2012




She had a lump on her jaw, so I took her in to the vet's office less than two hours ago. The vet diagnosed the lump as as cancer. The vet noted that a couple teeth were starting to loosen. That's probably why Gracie had lost interest in eating dry food, which she loved. Between that and her arthritis, her prognosis was not good at all.

It was time. I stayed with her as they put her to sleep. I owed her that much.

I will miss her terribly.


I already do.

zOMG, the Dreaded Panel Power Failure!!

Between the reporter and the sheriff, I have to wonder who dresses them in the morning.
HAMBURG, Minn.- A 42-year-old Minneapolis woman was uninjured when she was forced to land a plane in a plowed field near Hamburg.

Carver County Sheriff Jim Olson says the incident happened Saturday afternoon. The woman was the only person on the plane when her instrument panel lost power and she had to land.

Godspeed, John Glenn +50

It has been fifty years since John Glenn's first spaceflight. He is the first American to have orbited the Earth.



Col. Glenn is still with us, though he recently sold his Beechcraft Baron as it was getting too hard on his and his wife Anne's knees to get in and out of it.

Hard to believe that it's been fifty years.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

This Should Be Legal Everywhere

A remote-controlled aircraft owned by an animal rights group was reportedly shot down near Broxton Bridge Plantation Sunday near Ehrhardt, S.C.
I am not passing judgment on the circumstance of the use here, just the fact that Group A was going to fly a spy drone over Property B. I believe that it should be completely legal to shoot down or to blind spy drones and the the operators of the drones should be sued for invasion of privacy.  Following a jury trial, the drone operators ought to be put in the stocks and the populace should be encouraged to pelt them with rotten vegetables.

This shit has gone far enough.

(H/T)

Bangity

I've been going shooting recently with a friend who has just gotten into handgunning. She is in the senior cohort of the baby-boomers and she never was terribly interested in guns. But she went shooting and got her permit. She has found that it is very relaxing to go to the range and shoot off a box of cartridges.

So it came time for her to decide on a first gun. Like a number of women I know, she doesn't care for automatics. The main issue is drawing back the slide, which can be a problem. Hand size is also an issue, as is weight. She didn't want a revolver that was too heavy, for they become tiring to hold. I recommended that she not get one that was too light, for recoil is fatiguing over a range session. She wanted a revolver that she could use for target shooting as well as personal protection. Which kind of meant a good old .38 or .357. Another issue was how hard it was to cock the hammer for single-action shooting and pull through the trigger for double-action shooting. The salesman at Hoffman's was very patient with her, never condescending and he showed her just about every .38 and .357 they had in the smaller sizes.

What she chose was a 3" Smith & Wesson Model 60.


We went to the range this week and sighted it in, which was easy as, right out of the box, it shot to point of aim at 21' with Winchester white box .38s. She thought it was easy to shoot and that the gun wasn't as snappy as my 2" revolver.

She's pretty pleased. I'd like to see her get some more training, as I think she could become an excellent shot.

The other things is that in going shooting with her every couple of weeks, I've seen my own accuracy noticeably improve. There's a lesson there for me, somewhere.

Caturday; Guest Cats Edition

Bella, who is the baby of the clan (she's six)


Rocky. He was sleeping on top of a TV cabinet and fell off. He injured his back and now we're waiting to see if he improves, as he is limping badly. He's on pain meds and steroids.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Nag, Nag, Nag

A Washington, D.C.-based anti-meat advocacy group is asking the owner of a Las Vegas restaurant that prides itself on unhealthy meals to shut down after a customer suffered a medical episode and was hospitalized.

Officials for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine said Thursday they sent a letter to Heart Attack Grill owner Jon Basso, asking him to "declare moral bankruptcy" and close the restaurant.
Here's my suggestion: The "Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine" should go fuck themselves. I'm not a doctor, nor do I play one on the Internet, but I find it hard to believe that eating a hamburger would immediately trigger a heart attack.

More to the point of this post, there are certain things called "personal responsibility" and "acting like a grown-up". Adults are responsible for their own actions. If people want to go to a restaurant and eat a quadruple-bacon-cheeseburger and french fries which have been deep-fried in lard, that is their choice. The goddamn nanny doctors should just shut their yaps.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Republican Experts on Birth Control for Women

Are, predictably, all men:


But we've seen that before, haven't we. Remember when Bush signed a bill restricting abortions? This was the crowd that watched His Effluentness sign the bill:


Nothing much changes in the GOP: Old white guys who think they know what is best for women (and minorities).

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Gun Wish

A 3" five-shot revolver in either .41 Special, .44 Special or .45 Colt.

The .41 won't happen, as manufacturers would be afraid that some nimrod would put them into his great-grandpa's .41 Colt and blow up the gun. A .41 would be wicked pisser, as it would be a moderately powerful concealed carry round and the diameter of the cylinder would be less than a .44 or .45. It probably could be built on a revolver the size of a K-frame.

Charter Arms supposedly is coming out with the "Classic Bulldog" with a 3" barrel. I guess I'll just have to see about that one.

LightSquared is Dead (For Now)

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission said it won't let Philip Falcone's LightSquared Inc. begin service after an Obama administration adviser found that the wireless venture disrupts navigation gear.

Federal agencies have determined that LightSquared's signals interferes with global-positioning system devices, Tammy Sun, an FCC spokeswoman, said today in an e-mailed statement. The FCC is preparing to withdraw the preliminary approval it granted last year for LightSquared to build a high-speed network serving as many as 260 million people, Sun said.
That's good news for everyone from farmers and motorists to pilots, but you've got to imagine that the greedy fuckers behind LightSquared have at least a six pack of high-priced lawyers who are geared up to fight this in court. This is why:
The rejection is a blow to [billionaire Philip] Falcone’s Harbinger Capital Partners hedge fund, which has invested about $3 billion in LightSquared. Harbinger lost 47 percent for investors in its main hedge fund last year as Falcone, 49, was forced to cut the value of Reston, Virginia-based LightSquared by more than half.
Oh, they'll fight it. But since hedge funds are the financial equivalent of betting on horses, those clowns should indeed lose big once in awhile.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Too Little, Too Late?

WASHINGTON—Saying the now critically endangered species of politician is at high risk for complete extinction within the next 10 years, Beltway-area conservationists announced plans Monday for a new captive breeding program designed to save moderate Republicans.
Other than that, Я ничего не имею. I had stuff to do for most of the day, and other than flipping on the Whitney Houston is Still Dead Channel*, I haven't paid any attention to the news or the blogs. On the WHISD Channel, there was a news crawl that the bond ratings of several European countries have been downgraded. In a rational universe, one might think that of more significance than the transportation arrangements for the corpse of a formerly popular singer, but that's not the world which we inhabit.
_______________________
AKA "Good Morning America".

Monday, February 13, 2012

Abortion: Only the Beginning

Republicans are showing their hand pretty clearly: They are not just against abortion, they are against all forms of contraception. But even a Fox News poll found that this issue is a loser for the GOP.

The right-wing of the GOP, which now seems to be the center of the party, would probably repeal the 19th Amendment if they could get away with it. I have no doubt that there are some elements in the GOP which would happily restore the old rule that married women were chattel.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

It is Probably Indistinguishable From Vegemite



(H/T)

Hooray for the 2.4%!

That's basically how many homeowners will be helped by the banksters taking a haircut on the mortgages they hold. Under the terms of the settlement, the banks will reduce the balance owned on underwater mortgages* by $17 billion. The total amount of "underwater" balance nationwide is $700 billion. $17 billion is, in comparison, not even a drop in the bucket.

For closing their eyes to mortgage fraud and then engaging in their own acts of fraud in the foreclosure mills, the banks effectively will pay a fine of $2,000 per mortgage. They will pay nothing for loading up mortgages with excessive fees or overcharging for insurance.

And most homeowners who are underwater won't be helped. Remember that the banksters either unloaded those mortgages on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, or they "securitized" them into "collateralized debt obligations". Those mortgages are not covered by this deal with the banksters.

No wonder that the banksters love this deal.
_________________
* Those mortgages where the amount owed is more than the value of the property.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Thou Shalt Not Have a Grandchild of a Different Race In Texas

Because if you do, you're going to get jumped by nine goons with badges.

Yet another kid learns, at an early age, that the cops are not to be trusted.

Nice going, guys.

Waste

Los Angeles (CNN) -- Legendary pop singer Whitney Houston was found dead at a Beverly Hills, California, hotel at age 48, officials said Saturday night.

The entertainer, whose incredible talent was discovered at an early age, was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m. (6:55 p.m. ET) at the Beverly Hilton despite resuscitation efforts, a police spokesman said.
She had one hell of a set of pipes and for whatever reasons or personal demons, she threw that talent away for drugs.

Update, 2/13/12: If Frothy and the Cylon had gotten into a gunfight on Sunday, I doubt if anyone would have heard a word of it on the Monday morning news shows. GMA, at least for the first 30 minutes, transformed itself into the Whitney Houston Memorial Channel. I say "30 minutes", because that was all that we could stand. "Tragic case of entertainer who loses his/her career over drugs and dies early"-- haven't we seen this goddamned movie before? Yeah, so she got into drugs, married an alleged scumbag, et cetera, et cetra.

That doesn't pass the So What Test. You can go into every neighborhood in this country and find at least one kid who had a shitload of potential, if not actually starting to do something with it, and then that kid got into drugs or drinking or gambling or some other addiction and then proceeded to toss his or her life away. I'll bet that in everyone's extended family, you can find someone like that.

It's a tragedy for her mother, her daughter and her friends. And I can understand the celebrity news channels going batshit over this. But as for any serious news network, if they have devoted more than two minutes to this story, their editors and on-air reporters should be flogged with heated barbed-wire whips.

Elections

A Very Effective Natural Fly Repellant

Zebra stripes.

It works this way: Horseflies see horizontally-polarized light. Vertical stripes mess up the flies' vision. The most efficient stripe width for screwing up the ability of the flies to see happens to be the width of the stripes on zebras.


(H/T)

Caturday; Bed Wars Edition

By weight, there is roughly an equal amount of cat on each bed.

George and Gracie on one (George always seems to wind up with the smaller portion).


Jake on the other.

Friday, February 10, 2012

USMC: Wir Gegen Auf Provinz Helmand


The Marine Corps is going with the "our guys are really stupid" defense:
The Marines weren’t charged with any crime or disciplined because they didn’t understand the Nazi connotation and thought “SS” was short for “scout sniper”-- the elite Marine unit in which they serve, said Master Gunnery Sergeant Mark Oliva, a spokesman for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.

“They didn’t know what the ‘SS’ stood for,” Oliva said. “They had no idea it actually connected them to a Nazi-related organization.”
Bullshit.

This is an SS flag:


At least one of those clowns knew exactly what he was doing.

Caving on Contraception

Make no mistake about it: The current flap about "religious freedom" has nothing to do with religious freedom. It is an attack on the right of women to use contraception.

And as for the lamentations and protestations of the upper-level hierarchy of the Catholic Church: They can stow it. No organization which, for decades, engaged in the widespread molestation of children and covering it up can ever claim the moral high ground. They really believe that they did nothing wrong.

If the Catholic church was not a major religious body, they would have been the subject of RICO prosecutions and a hell of a lot of those clowns now rattling their mouths about contraception would, instead, be residing inside of Federal crossbar hotels.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Chump Change

The landmark $25 billion settlement reached by the federal government, 49 states and the nation's five biggest banks will provide long-overdue relief for hundreds of thousands of homeowners who have been struggling to navigate the mortgage mess created by lenders.
$25 billion to let them of the hook for the most massive fraudulent scheme in history. $1,500 to be paid to people who were screwed out of their houses, probably most of them by the use of forged documents.

It should have been more, much, much more.

The banksters win again.

Why We Hold Congress In Deep Contempt

As you probably have heard elsewhere, our brave Congress is pushing for greater use of drones in U.S. airspace.

Whenever there is a conflict between liberty and the ability of some company to make a buck, liberty will always lose. Liberty doesn't create jobs. Liberty doesn't put bribes campaign contributions into the hands of politicians. Freedom doesn't enrich vulture capitalists.

So we have American companies continually coming up with innovative ways to spy on American citizens. They do so because there is money in creating new and improved CopsEyes. The moral and ethical issues are not of their concern for corporations, like money*, are completely amoral constructs. They have no morals and no souls.

If you care about individual freedom and personal privacy, some days if feels as though you're looking out over a sea of approaching zombies, you're down to your last three magazines and you do not have a River Tam to call upon.
_______________________________________
* Or Rmoney.

Occupied America: To Abuse and Mistreat

Six cops in Las Vegas pulled over a motorist who they though was drunk. Those manly protectors of the public order then beat the shit out of him, only to discover that the motorist was not drunk. He was diabetic and in insulin shock.



I will bet that every one of those goons is still on the job today. The worst thing they probably got was a mildly admonishing memo which was in their personnel files.

If you want to know why more and more Americans, not just faggots and brown-skinned people, are regarding the police as an occupying force, this is why.

The cops had best get over their "blue wall of silence" shit and start dealing with the bad apples. Those six thugs have tarnished the badges of every police officer in their area.

Sooner or later, it ought to be apparent to local governments that brutal cops cost them money and maybe they ought to get rid of them.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

And Then There Were None; Great War Edition

The last living veteran of the Great War has died.
A woman thought to be the world's last known surviving service member of World War I has died aged 110.

Florence Green, from King's Lynn, Norfolk, served as a mess steward at RAF bases in Marham and Narborough.

She died in her sleep on Saturday night at Briar House care home, King's Lynn. Mrs Green had been due to celebrate her 111th birthday on 19 February.
And so that war becomes the sole province of the historians, it no longer belongs to the participants.

The destruction wreaked by the Great War took over seventy years to settle out and arguably has not finished reverberating. A war that began when one empire (Austro-Hungarian) sought to punish a smaller nation (Serbia) with a brief war led to the destruction of four empires (German, Ottoman, Imperial Russian and Austro-Hungarian). It led to the eventual creation of the state of Israel. The carnage and cost of the war effectively ended France as a global military power and led to the creation of the Soviet Union. It led to the end in Europe of nations that were effective monarchies, the ones that remain are essentially ceremonial figureheads and tourist attractions. And, due not in any small part to the vindictiveness of the French, it led to the most industrialized genocide yet known.

Now there is nobody left to say "I was there."

Whether due to the number of still-living veterans or the existence of far superior and far more voluminous motion-picture footage, the Second World War is the one that people talk more about. But it can be argued that the two wars were really one extended conflict with a 21 year cease-fire inbetween the two periods of conflict. I disagree with that, only to the extent that it treats both wars as being inevitable. I hold that war is only inevitable to the extent that hubris and folly supplant wisdom.

The creation of the European Union and of the Euro currency were all aftereffects of the First and Second World Wars. The idea was to bind the states of Europe close enough economically so that it was in no one nation's interest to settle their differences with their neighbors by the rifle.

So far, the jury is still out on that.

They Don't Like Him. They Really Don't Like Him,

Willard M. Romney, that is:
Rick Santorum had a breakthrough night Tuesday, winning GOP presidential contests in Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado, all of which is expected to breathe life into his struggling campaign and slow Mitt Romney’s march to the Republican presidential nomination.
Romney has a shitloat of money, both his own and the cash that his predatory capitalist buddies have been dumping into Mitt's super-pac. Team Mittens is going around the nation, telling Republicans that he alone has the money to bury the others in advertising buys and that since he's going to win anyway, everyone should shut up, be a bunch of good little Germans, and fall into line behind Mitt the Inevitable.

Except that the GOP's conservative base apparently despises Romney and they made their displeasure known last night.
Mr. Romney has had deep problems so far with the Republican base, going 1-for-4 in caucus states where turnout is dominated by highly conservative voters. Mr. Romney is 0-for-3 so far in the Midwest, a region that is often decisive in the general election. He had tepid support among major blocks of Republican voters like evangelicals and Tea Party supporters, those voters making under $50,000 per year, and those in rural areas.
As others have pointed out, Romney won Minnesota in 2008 and last night, even with T-Paw's endorsement, he came in a distant third.

A long nominating contest isn't, of itself, bad. It can energize the members of a party. The protracted battle between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama didn't hurt him. Of course, things were different four years ago. McCain committed a serious unforced error when he listened to his groin and chose the Wasilla Whackaloon as his running mate. The near-collapse of the banking sector hurt McCain, as he flailed around in response. And the level of animosity between the center-right and left-wing Democrats in 2008 was far lower than the animosity that I see inside the GOP. There is really a war going on between what I would call the party of Hoover and the party of the Confederacy.

Santorum would be beaten like a gong in the general election. I don't think that point is arguable.

The problem for Romney is a modern one. Historically, candidates have sought to pander to the party faithful and then, once the nomination has been secured, move to the center of the spectrum to work on the independents and the moderates in the opposing party. A candidate could say some truly obnoxious things in Dubuque in January and all that they'd face is maybe some ad quoting him in September, where some deep-voiced announcer read the quote.

But those days are gone, thanks to digital hard drives. Every word that a presidential candidate speaks before a camera ends up on a hard drive for the other party. Everything that Romney says in order to over the right-wing voters who, for good reasons, don't trust him will be thrown back in Romney's face this fall. Every hard word he has for immigrants, minorities, the poor, workers, and women will be used against him. Stephen Colbert's attack ad will, by comparison, look like a love tap.

The Obama campaign and its allies might not even have to work that hard. The polls seem to be indicating that the more people across the country learn of Romney, the less they like him. As somebody once put it, Romney looks the the robotic guy who fired your father without feeling a qualm. Romney comes across as the kind of decent-looking guy who, if you had a drink with him, would roofie your drink, steal your wallet, rape you, slit your throat, ransack your home, torch the place and then leave with a spring in his step and a song in his heart.

Mitt-- Separated at birth? --Ted

And you can bet that you'll see ads alluding to that this fall, that is, if Gingrich doesn't run them before then.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

One Congressman Who Could Drown Walking in the Rain

John Fleming (R, LA):
Rep. John Fleming has deleted his Facebook post linking to an article in The Onion about a fictional Planned Parenthood “Abortionplex.”

In a Facebook status on Friday, the Louisiana Republican alerted his followers to The Onion’s May 18, 2011 article, “Planned Parenthood Opens $8 Billion Abortionplex” and wrote “More on Planned Parenthood, abortion by the wholesale.” Fleming’s spokesman Doug Sachtleben confirmed to POLITICO the post has since been removed from the congressman’s Facebook page and said the office had no further comment.
The
"Literally Unbelievable" blog broke the story. This was the Onion article that Fleming fell for. According to the Wikipedia article on Fleming, he is a physician and a businessman.

Rumor has it, though, that in medical circles, Fleming isn't exactly known for being the sharpest scalpel on the tray. Which only makes sense.

Same Shit, Different War

From Armed Forces Journal:
I spent last year in Afghanistan, visiting and talking with U.S. troops and their Afghan partners. My duties with the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force took me into every significant area where our soldiers engage the enemy. Over the course of 12 months, I covered more than 9,000 miles and talked, traveled and patrolled with troops in Kandahar, Kunar, Ghazni, Khost, Paktika, Kunduz, Balkh, Nangarhar and other provinces.

What I saw bore no resemblance to rosy official statements by U.S. military leaders about conditions on the ground.

Entering this deployment, I was sincerely hoping to learn that the claims were true: that conditions in Afghanistan were improving, that the local government and military were progressing toward self-sufficiency. I did not need to witness dramatic improvements to be reassured, but merely hoped to see evidence of positive trends, to see companies or battalions produce even minimal but sustainable progress.

Instead, I witnessed the absence of success on virtually every level.
You should read the entire article. It's not long.

How do we protect ourselves from the careerists, the "professionals" who know that they will advance by going along with whatever insanity that the leadership demands? How do we reward the men and women who would dare tell the generals that their vaunted strategy is a failure? One of the big lessons after Vietnam was how much it was apparent that the senior officer corps had been drinking the Kool-aid of the "light at the end of the tunnel". There were books by other officers excoriating the officer corps for not telling truth to power. Dereliction of Duty is on the recommended reading list for senior army officers.

And yet, here we are, once again, being lied to by the senior military officers. Even more reprehensible, they may be lying to themselves, as well. For they know that standing up and saying "fucking a, this war is going to hell" won't get them an additional star or a better assignment. While Luftwaffe General Wolfram von Richthofen once observed that Hitler treated the German General Staff as "highly-paid NCOs", it seems to me that there is something in the Army's culture (if not all of the services) whereby the senior officers transform themselves into such.

How can this ever be changed?

(H/T)

Remember When Mitt Romney Was Pro-Choice?

It was only ten years ago, when Mitt Romney was running for governor of Massachusetts. He supported the use of the "morning-after pill", he supported government subsidized abortions, he supported comprehensive sex education in schools and the agreed with the Rowe v. Wade decision.

Don't believe me? See for yourself.


But two years later, things changed. Mittens set his sights on a better job. He immediately tacked to the right, discarding everything that he said he believed in[1] He pretty much began phoning it in as governor to plot his run for the presidency and he began flip-flopping faster than a loose screen door in a windstorm.

Rick Santorum may be both misogynistic and a homophobic and Ron Paul may be a racist old conspiracy whackaloon, but this is incontestable: Both of those guys believe in something. They have a core to their political identities. Romney, on the other hand, has no core, no center. Politically, Romney is like a dense fog, in that it looks like there is something there, but all that is really there is mist and vapor.

The only thing that Romney believes in is that he should be in charge. What he would do, other than figure out some why to enable his predatory capitalist buddies to further loot the country, is anyone's guess. His best argument is the unspoken one of "I came in second last time around, so now, by GOP tradition, it's my turn."

I am not voting for whoever wins the GOP nomination. So maybe that colors my view of ol' Willard. But I fail to see how any Republican could ever think of voting for Flip-Flop Mitt. He has a proven track record of being a man who will say anything whatsoever and do anything it takes in order to win the next election. When Romney gives a political speech, you can bet the farm that every word coming out of his mouth is pandering bullshit. And you can also be assured that when it becomes convenient for him, Romney will disavow everything that he just told you he believed.

Going into a political fight with Mitt Romney at your side is like marching into battle allied with the Italian army. The rank and file of the GOP are utter fools if they put their trust in Romney.

(H/T)
________________
[1] Other than praying to God and Bain Capital, that is.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Those Republicans Can Complain About Anything, Can't They?

Chrysler ran an ad about coming back during the halftime of the Super Bowl, saying that it was "halftime in America" as well.



Of course, Karl Rove and the rest of the Right Wing Outrage Machine took that to be political. Probably because they were pushing back in 2008 and 2009 to take Chrysler (and GM) into Chapter 7 and dismember both companies,[1] throwing millions of more people out of work.[2]

That didn't happen because two American presidents[3] stood up to the Randistas and called "bullshit" on a cabal of fools who were willing to destroy a major chunk of this country's industrial base, just because their ideology[4] told them to.

What Clint Eastwood had to say was this:
"There is no spin in that ad. On this I am certain. l am certainly not politically affiliated with Mr. Obama. It was meant to be a message about just about job growth and the spirit of America. I think all politicians will agree with it. I thought the spirit was OK."
Except the professional Republicans don't want to see job growth. They want to see the country continue to slide down into a depression. At a time when thousands upon thousands of jobs were still being lost, the Republican (and minority) leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell, pronounced that his party's number one objective was to make this president a one-term president.

Not "put Americans back to work". Not "Turn the economy around". Not "improve the educational system for America's youth". McConnell's sole objective for the last four years has been to destroy this president, to make it impossible to do anything that would help this country pull out of the Great Recession.

Once you realize that, then the Wingnut outrage over the Chrysler ad makes complete sense.
____________________________
[1] No doubt that Bain and Mitt the Cylon would have figured out how to make an obscene profit on that catastrophe.
[2] When you factor in all of the suppliers and sub-contractors that would have had to shut down, as a result.
[3] One of them being Rove's boss.
[4] As well as their pathological hatred of the idea that anyone doing a blue-collar job could be a member of the middle class.

Do You Need to Recall an Elected Politician Who Is in Jail?

I ask because Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R-Koch Bros.), along with his team of criminal defense lawyers, has "volunteered" to meet with the county prosecutor.

Going in with two lawyers can be taken as kind of a tacit admission that Walker knows that he has a large target pinned to his chest.

Feline Speed-Bag



(My only quibble is that music from "Rocky" might have been more appropriate.)

The Russo-Chinese Message to Despotic Regimes World-Wide

Is this: "Slaughter your people all that you wish. We'll make sure that the United Nations will do nothing to stop you."

Anyone who did not think that the Syrian regime would not use area weapons on its people had to be delusional. They're doing it now. They have done it before.

It is not surprising that Russia and China would back the Syrians by vetoing the UN resolution. Beyond the geopolitical reasons, such as the Russian naval base at Tartus in Syria, there are what one might call "restive populations" in both countries. Both Russia and China have shown little hesitation to use a heavy hand against their own citizens. The best way that they can preserve their own right to slaughter their own people is to ensure that other despotic nations are free to massacre their own citizens whenever it suits them to do so.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The One and True God Worshipped By Mitt Romney


Any questions?

Women for Santorum

We all know that Santorum's campaign is as dead as the last presidential campaign by George Wallace. So this is kind of like kicking a comatose man in the nuts. But it is still funny.



(H/T)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Bangity

We went to the range again this week.

She likes the snub-nosed revolver the best. However, with a Ruger Blackhawk (.357, .38s loaded, 6" barrel), she hit the center of the target 6 times out of six shots. She found the Blackhawk to be heavy, which is no surprise. The cylinder of a .357 Blackhawk is roughly the same diameter as the one in a .45 Cimmaron, so there is a lot more steel there. She shot a PPK/s and hit the center with that. After about 45 minutes of the two of us shooting, her accuracy degraded all to hell, for she was tired.

Federal 225-grain semi-wadcutter hollowpoints definitely had a sharper bark and more recoil out of a 4.75" Cimmaron than the Cowboy loads. .38+P SWCs were supposedly what the FBI used before they switched to automatics in the `80s and they sure look a lot bigger in .45.


You'd not think that nine-hundredths of an inch would be that significant.  The Federal SWCs are no doubt a good defense and hunting load, but I imagine that getting shot with a lead flat-nosed 250-grain .45 bullet that's moving a little bit slower than the SWCs is not something that one lightly shrugs off.

To change the subject, a phone-banker from the NRA called me a few mornings ago to plead with me to send money to help defeat President Obama. I told her no and asked her to not call back. Personally, I think that the NRA is smoking crack if they truly believe that Flip-Flop Mitt will be any kind of a defender of the 2nd Amendment. Like Rudy Giuliani, ol' Willard M. Romney only became a so-called friend of gun rights when he wanted to step out on the national political stage.

Romney is not to be trusted. Which is why his dog ran away from him.

Birthers Lose Yet Again

You probably read some of the crap about President Obama being subpoenaed by Oily Taitz for a court hearing in Georgia and the President's lawyer's refusal to play Taitz's game.

Well guess what: The birthers lost again.

Now the Komen Fiasco All Makes Sense

Former Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer's filthy fingers were all over the hiring of failed Republican gubernatorial candidate Karen Handel.

Note that a main point of the discussion with Fleischer about hiring a new VP of Fail for the Komenies was how to defund Planned Parenthood.

Nothing like hiring an apologist for torture as an adviser on women's health issues.

(H/T)

The Best Part of the Stupor Bowl

The advertising.

Some of the car companies have released theirs. (Tip: Watch them to the end of the clips.)

VW:



Audi:



And the one that has the most people talking about it: Honda's Ferris Bueller ad:



Matthew Broderick hasn't aged too badly (unless he's layered in Shatner-level makeup).

Caturday; Warm Napping Edition

The cats found warm places to take their morning post-breakfast naps. Jake and Gracie were on the heated cat beds.



George was more old-school in his selection of were to take a warm nap.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Susan G. Komen Foundation: "All Engines Back Full! Now, Mr. Scott!"

Like this wasn't predictable:
In what appears to be a reversal of Susan G. Komen For the Cure's funding cuts to Planned Parenthood, the founder and CEO of the nation's largest breast-cancer advocacy agency said Friday that the group would amend the criteria that sparked a firestorm.

"We will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants," Nancy G. Brinker, the agency's ambassador, said in a statement.
Color me: "Unimpressed." I doubt if there is a person out there who will be convinced that this was nothing other than a massive cave by the Komenies. They first kowtowed to the Christian Taliban on stem-cell research and on Planned Parenthood. Now they have again folded before a more powerful backlash.

The Komenies knew exactly what they were doing when they did it. So now they have the worst of both worlds. They have now pissed all over the shoes of the Christian Taliban, which will regard this reversal as a betrayal. And those who reacted with fury and who have supported Planned Parenthood will not be so forgetful as the news cycle will be.

In the culture wars, the Komenies have turned out to be as reliable an ally as the Italians were during the Second World War.

Or, if you like, they are channeling Capt. Renault:



But I think it is more than that. This is just a tactical retreat. The Komenies will try again. Next time around, they'll just cut a grant here, a grant there. So in a few years, the Komenies will not be giving a dime to Planned Parenthood. And I will bet that the Komenies are privately relaying that exact strategy to the Christian Taliban. Remember, what the Komenies told Planned Parenthood was this: "Don't bother applying for any more grants, because we're going to reject them". All they did was now tell Planned Parenthood that they could continue to apply. Big fucking whoop.

The more I think on this, the more I believe that this so-called reversal is designed to appease the Komenies' corporate sponsors. Corporations do not want to receive bad publicity or blowback from donating to charities. All of the companies carrying Komenie-pink merchandise probably got an earful over the last two days.

Worse for the Komanies: They are no longer above the fray. They are no longer critically untouchable. They've muddied their own reputation and that kind of mud isn't washable. People will be taking shots at Brinker's half-million dollar salary. They will be paying attention to how (in)efficiently the Komen Foundation is, how much they spend on administrative expenses and where that money goes (other than Brinker's ginormous salary).

In essence, they have exchanged a bulletproof vest for a large target.

The Komenies are weasels. They cannot be trusted. I hope PP blows the whistle on them whenever the Komenies decline to renew a grant.

Defund Komen!

Komen: The Race for the Right-Wing Breast Cancer Cure

Overnight I received four emails as well as BadTux's comment to an earlier post: The Komenies have also cut all support for breast cancer research which uses embryonic stem cells. In 2010, the Komen Foundation gave a skosh under ten million dollars to support stem-cell breast cancer research.

The Komen/Christian Taliban Foundation for Doing Nothing But Raising Money terminated all of those grants as of last November. They tried to keep it quiet and largely succeeded, that is, until the defunding of Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood did not go quietly and now people are starting to kick over all of the Komenies' rocks.

As far as Planned Parenthood goes, Mayor Mike has stepped up and pledged to donate $250,000 in matching funds to PP. He will match ever grant of "new money", which I take to mean that if a person who has not previously donated to PP does so, he'll match your donation. I've blasted Bloomberg numerous times in this blog for his megalomania, his nanny-state inclinations and his revocation of two voter-approved term limits propositions so that he could buy a third term of mayor. But he can do good once in awhile and he has this time.

So if you've never donated to Planned Parenthood before, do so and let Bloomberg double your donation.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Choosing a New Cat

A blog entry by Ursula K. Le Guin.

I have to go, I think I got something in my eyes.

Say That You're Traveling......

And say that you didn't feel like bringing your laptop along. So you go into an Internet cafe, where you check your e-mail on AOL or Comcast. And you bring a cheap headset with you so you can use voice-over-IP to talk to your family and friends. And maybe you don't really like people watching you write semi-porn e-mails to your lover.

Well, guess what, sports fans: The FBI is going to want to know about you.

Because, as every police agency from the FBI to the Gestapo have always said: "If you are not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to fear from us spying on you."

LightSquared-- Sleaze Personified

The CEO of LightSquared, a billionaire named Philip Falcone, hired a lobbyist to help him rip off the American taxpayers. The lobbyist is the husband of an FCC staffer.

Digging into what lightSquared is trying to do is like mining in a cesspond: The one thing you're sure to find is shit, shit and more shit.

The FCC needs to do its job, which has nothing to do with making it easier for a fiscally amoral billionaire to make a few billion more.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Susan G. Komen Race to Find A Spine; a Followup

This is my original post, in case you need to be brought up to speed. Those spineless guano-faucets came up with their new policy after they hired a failed acolyte of Caribou Barbie as a vice president.

TBogg has a great suggestion to make a donation to Planned Parenthood. What you should do is click the tab that says "honorary giving". That allows you to specify who should receive notification of a honorary gift being given in their name.

And this is who you should name:
Karen Handel
Senior VP of Fail
c/o Susan G. Komen Foundation
P.O. Box 650309
Dallas, TX 75265-0309
The Komen Foundation could have chosen not to jump into this fight. But they have and they may have found that they have now drawn a big target on themselves. Planned Parenthood has probably scored over a half-million in donations since the news broke.

And a shitload of people won't give a dime to Komen for the foreseeable future. Tough shit, assholes. You chose to play politics. We will see what that gets you.

Update: The Komenites have partnered with an American war criminal who cannot travel outside of the county for fear of being arrested.

They have also been whining about how unfair it is for people to complain and not give them money because they chose to jump in on one side of a hot-button fight. Again, tough shit. If you pick a side in a war, you have no cause to complain when the folks on the other side commence shooting at you.

Shorter LightSquared: "Signals Don't Need to Be Received", or
Alphabet Groups, Get to Work!

LightSquared wants the FCC to officially not care if LightSquared's proposed wireless network screws up tens of millions of GPS receivers. Because those receivers are "unlicensed". So once the satellites transmit the GPS signals, it doesn't matter if they are unusable, according to LightSquared.

This is pure insanity. By their logic, they would be permitted to interfere with the reception of broadcast radio because the receivers aren't licensed. It's bullshit. We, the American taxpayers, paid to orbit the GPS constellation. We pay to maintain and operate it. Part of the reason that nobody questions the cost of doing so is that GPS is a public good. A hell of a lot of cars come with GPS, so do most cell phones. Call 9-1-1- on a modern cell phone and GPS tells the operator where you are. When you drive by a farm and you see a modern tractor out there, sowing or applying fertilizer or whatnot, that tractor is using GPS. GPS allows farmers to precisely control where they plant, fertilize and so on. Freight companies have been able to greatly improve both efficiency and their ability to respond to urgent changes because they know where their trucks are at all times, by GPS.

But the greedheads at LightSquared want to fuck with that.

Two things are going on here. First, Carl Icahn, a noted financial bottom-feeder and corporate pirate has descended on LightSquared. Icahn's bloody fingerprints have been found on the carcass of more than one now-defunct airline, so the fact that Icahn is involved does not bode well. Second, Sprint has notified LightSpeed that if LightSpeed can't fix its problems with the FCC by mid-March, then Sprint is breaking the deal.

This is where AOPA, EAA, ATA (Air Transport Assoc., American Trucking Assoc.), AFB, AAA and all of the other industry associations whose members are heavy users of GPS had better get off the dime and get to work blocking this.

(H/T)