Seen on the street in Kyiv.

Words of Advice:

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

“The Mob takes the Fifth. If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?” -- The TOFF *

"Foreign Relations Boil Down to Two Things: Talking With People or Killing Them." -- Unknown

“Speed is a poor substitute for accuracy.” -- Real, no-shit, fortune from a fortune cookie

"If you believe that you are talking to G-d, you can justify anything.” — my Dad

"Colt .45s; putting bad guys in the ground since 1873." -- Unknown

"Stay Strapped or Get Clapped." -- probably not Mr. Rogers

"The Dildo of Karma rarely comes lubed." -- Unknown

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

* "TOFF" = Treasonous Orange Fat Fuck, A/K/A Dolt-45,
A/K/A Commandante (or Cadet) Bone Spurs,
A/K/A El Caudillo de Mar-a-Lago, A/K/A the Asset., A/K/A P01135809

Thursday, January 31, 2008

My Acid Test for the Democrats

Is the FISA law, now being argued and debated endlessly.

Let me be clear about this: If the Democrats cave into the fascists in the Bush Administration and grant the lawbreakers in the telecommunications companies immunity, then I am done with them. I officially will refuse to care which party has control of what branch of government.

Right now we have an elected fascist government, for the Bush Administration places itself above the law and seeks to enforce the law only against the people, but not against corporations. The Bush Administration arrogates to itself the power to exempt corporations from the law if it asks them to knowingly violate the law. I say "knowingly" here, for well before the attacks on Rudy Giuliani Day, the Bush Administration began illegally spying on everyone and all but one of the major telecom companies fell into line.

The Democrats have a choice: They can ratify the illegalities of the Bush Administration and they can close their eyes and quake in fear that the thugs in the Bush Administration would call them nasty names, or they can take a stand for the rule of law, for the principle that no man (or corporation) stands above the law.

Get a clue, people. Even the Kool-Aid drinkers are sobering up, for one reason: Think of all of the excesses in power the Republicans have connived to grant to this president-- those same powers will be available to the next president. Karl Rove's "permanent Republican majority" has lasted about half as long as the "thousand-year Reich" did.

If the Democrats cannot stand up, now, against a president who is arguably less popular than the Bubonic Plague, then there is no reason to trust them with the levers of power. If the Democrats cannot manage to forge an effective opposition to the dictatorial power grab of George Bush, then history may mark that this congressional session truly marked the beginning of the death throes of the American democratic system.

They can stand up for the principles of democracy and freedom and the rule of law. Or they can fold in the face of the fear-mongering fascists.

The choice is theirs.

How You Know the Conservatives Are Uphappy

When you can find graphics like this on their blogs:

But more to the point, I saw this a couple of days ago on Tam's blog:

"..The only GOP candidates I could have held my nose and pulled the lever for have either already dropped out or are trailing so far back that they can't even see the pack from where they're standing. So it looks like I'll either be going fishing on election day or making a protest vote of some sort.

"And before you even think about puffing up and sputtering something about "Are you just going to give Hillary the White House?" just put a sock in it, because it wasn't me, brother. It was all you idiots who put candidates out there that got tied up in pointless jackassery like rearranging the 'gay marriage' and 'flag burning' and 'stem cell' deck chairs after the USS Conservative had already hit the iceberg. Your typical Republican these days is worried more about what's printed on the money than where it comes from or what it gets spent on.

"That's it. I'm done. No more "change from within". A pox on you and your Grand Old Party. We've grown so far apart that I'd be as well off lecturing the Democrats on gun rights and laissez faire economics as I would be convincing the GOP to keep its hands to itself.

Actually, I suspect Tam would be better off lecturing the Democrats on gun rights, as there are not a few Democrats, including Bill Clinton, who recognized that the Brady Bill cost them the Congress in 1994. If a Democrat wins the White House, I figure it will be only a few years before they try a gun control measure that costs them at least the House, if not the Senate.

The Republicans seem to be prone, though, to jackassery. Terri Schiavo was a prime case. So was the manufactured outrage over's "General Betray-us" advertisement. It didn't bother them a whit that Chimpy made the Constitution into an assrag and asserted near dictatorial powers, but let two lesbians get married in Massachusetts and the Earth's crust quivers from the force of their outrage.

No wonder the real small-government traditional conservatives are fed up.

Maybe they would be better off running Cthulhu.

Brattleboro Leads the Way!

As in "Impeach Bush."

Read some of the comments and you will see that the Wingnuts seem to be confusing Bush with the USA. The Wingnut, at least those who have commented, apparently believe that to be a loyal American, one must back Bush.

There was a country that once made its army swear loyalty to the national leader by name. Is that the model that the Right desires to follow?

The Overarching Theme of the Bush Administration

is "Fucking the Poor Since 2001." Fuck the poor, fuck the aged, fuck the infirm, fuck the unemployed, fuck the underemployed, fuck the troops, and in general, fuck everybody who doesn't have the wherewithal to give at least $100,000 to the GOP.

Moody's opined that if you really want to get money into the hands of people and stimulate the economy, the fastest ways to do that are to increasing the food stamp program and unemployment insurance.

Of course, those are precisely the people that the GOP and George W. Bush refuse to help. The God of the GOP absolutely forbids helping people who are poor or unemployed. The God of the GOP mandates helping the rich, not the poor.

That is the overall theme of the GOP and of the presidency of George W. Bush.

Chimpy the Creepy Fuck

Patting a bald-headed guy on the head is just creepy.

President of the United States and he has all of the social skills of a four-year-old. I'll bet he also laughs and points at people in wheelchairs and those of different ethnicities. I can just imagine Chimpy telling someone "we shoot people like you where I come from."

(H/T to Mock, Paper, Scissors)

The Republican Plan for Fiscal Health

Rob the needy. Tell them to "die faster."

Because we all know that "taxing the rich" is off the table with Chimpy.

Dynastic Politics

I've seen stuff recently from commentators along the lines of how concerned they are that Hillary Clinton is a continuation of dynastic politics, in that if she wins, the presidency will have been held by a member of two families for between 24 to 28 years.

Funny thing, I didn't recall anybody, other than liberals, worrying about this issue in 2000. I don't recall anybody on the Right talking about the fact that George W. Bush was nothing more than the eldest son of a failed president, a man who had done little in his life other than hold no-show jobs that were arranged for him by his father's friends and who, when he made a mess of things, got bailed out by them. His whole presidency has been defined by his efforts to prove that he is different from his father and the result has been that he has been the most monumental fuckup of a president in American history.

But now folks are worried about this?

I don't know about Nicholas Kristof. But anyone on the Right who is worrying about this issue, now, had better take large gulp of this beverage:

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Stupid Shit; Legislative Edition

Congressman George Miller, D-CA, has introduced H.R. 3663, which prohibit going flying on the same day that one has gone hunting.

This is stupid beyond belief. If you ride a bush plane into a remote area to go hunting, you have to sit around and cool your heels on a day on either end of your trip. This isn't about preventing shooting critters from airplanes, though that Californian asswipe is trying to spin it that way.

Not to mention that the way he has written the bill, any asshole can sue anyone else and allege a violation of this stupid shit.

Beyond that, regulating hunting has been the prerogative of the states. The Feds have no business to tell you when you can or cannot go hunting on state or private land.

But Miller (D is for "Dumbass") thinks the Feds should weigh in on this.

Those of you who are from areas where your congresscritters are not gun control nazis need to call/fax/write and get this bill quashed.

Mukasey the Torturer


"Given that waterboarding is not part of the current program, and may never be added to the program, I do not think it would be appropriate for me to pass definitive judgment on the technique's legality," Mukasey said.

That is bullshit. It is bullshit of an astonishing caliber.

Waterboarding is torture. So, by Mukasey's line of reasoning, he is not willing to opine on the legality of putting a person on a rack, or applying thumbscrews, or throwing them into an Iron Maiden or burning them with hot irons, or branding them or whipping them, because those methods of interrogation are not used.

Mukasey can't say whether anally raping a man with a broomstick is torture.

Mukasey can't say that spraying poison gas over a populated area is a war crime because we don't do that, I guess.

Utter horseshit. He might as well submit a petition to change his name to Alberto Gonzales.

Let's run this little thought experiment: Assume, for the sake of discussion, that Mukasey is strapped to a chair in a room. Another man walks in with a loaded .45. The man presses the loaded .45 against Mukasey's head and asks, in a conversational tone of voice: "So, Mikey, me boy, would it be considered to be murder if I were to blow your brains out?"

By Mukasey's logic, he would reply: "I won't know for certain until after you've done it."

Oh, really?

You can bet your ass that he'd be mustering every persuasive fiber at his disposal to plead for his life. As would anybody else in that situation.

When it comes time to to hold the war crimes trials, Mukasey is going to be in the dock as an accessory after the fact. For that is just what he is doing, aiding and abetting the war criminals after they have done their dirty deeds. He is shaping up to be no different than the folks who helped other war criminals evade justice afte the fall of Germany in 1945.

The tragedy here is that, in a few words, Mukasey has managed to trash his reputation completely. The fall from "respected federal judge" to "bootlicking lackey scum" sure didn't take him very long at all.

So, How Vicious Are You?

Pretty vicious, it seems.


But if I go in and edit the HTML code....


Yet Another Viral Video

No inoculations required.

File Under "Hypocrites"; Boston Edition

The Catholic League, the Archdiocese of Boston and the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts have got their collective skivvies bunched up because a fitness club advertisement showed some nuns in an art class sketching a nude man.

Let's recap, shall we?

Priests raping small boys: Silence and coverup, until much litigation drags it out in the open; a process that was resisted by the Boston Archdiocese until the bitter end.

Nuns drawing a nude figure: Much outrage, accompanied with teeth gnashing.

So I guess if the gym had run an ad showing priests in an art class, sketching nude small boys, then they would have been fine with that?

You Know They're Lying, Their Lips Are Moving; Iraq War Edition

Think back to the beginning of last year. Faced with increasing calls to get out of Iraq, Preznit McJackhole decides to send more troops. The idea (as in "loose crap rolling around in what passes for his cranium") was that tamping down the violence would give the Iraqis a chance to grab hold of both the political situation and the security situation, so that at the end of the Surge, Iraq's government would be in better shape and the Iraqi army and police could control things, so we could pull out more troops.

Regarding the political situation, no change there.

Regarding the security situation, well, that also has not worked, for post-Surge, there will be as many troops in Iraq, if not more, than there was pre-Surge.

Only in the Bush universe does maintaining a bad situation count as "success."

Truly, Chimperor C-Minus Augustus has been on the job.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sleazeball Politicians: Democratic Edition

Last time I paid attention to the Florida primary on the Democratic side, the national party had stripped Florida of all of its delegates for jumping the primary queue. None of the candidates were supposed to campaign there.

Except now it seems Clinton did. And now that she won the primary, she is saying she will work to seat the Florida delegation. Sleazebucket.

The only good news from Florida seems to be that Giuliani's campaign implosion has played out.

McCain, the "more war, all the time" candidate vs. Clinton, the "four more years of sleaze" candidate.

Blecch. After four years of McCain, we won't have a functioning economy. With Clinton, we won't have a functioning government, for the Republicans will retake the Congress in 2010. Clinton seems to have her own bubble, so she is qualified to step right into the shoes of Stupie McJackoff.

Why does it seem we always come down to a contest of the chowderheads, the evil of the two lessers? You fuckers in Iowa or New Hampster couldn't take a serious look at Biden or Dodd or Richardson? Richardson was arguably the most qualified person to run for president in a generation and you went for two pretty boys and a woman, none of whom have ever been responsible for much of anything?

We couldn't do much worse if we threw a huge lawn dart from the Space Station and whomsoever's house it landed closest to, that person became the next president.

Harvard MBA

So, if Bush could get an MBA for Harvard University, does that mean that their business school is nothing more than a diploma mill for rich ne'er-do-well children?

I can imagine that this exchange is going to go on for decades:

A: "I have a MBA from Harvard."

B: "So fucking what, so does George Bush."

Like This is a Surprise; Iraq War Edition; Part II

I was on my way home from Ye Olde Salte Mine today, listening to a thoroughly depressing story on NPR about the plight of the women in Iraq. The reporter would relate some dreadful fact or statistic and say: "It wasn't supposed to be this way."

No fucking shit, Kinsey Millhone. What was your first clue? How about this for starters: This war was run by George W. Bush. The situation for women in Iraq is no different from the situation for Iraqis in general or the Afghanistan War or the response to the Gulf Coast hurricanes or the economy or climate change or or (insert any issue that doesn't involve making the rich richer).

George Bush couldn't run an open-air Diary Queen in Anchorage during February. If you threw him in a sauna, he'd screw up sweating. He couldn't organize a three-car parade. He couldn't pour piss out of a boot if the instructions were printed on the heel.

But we let him try to run a war and the result is a hundred thousand or so dead civilians (remember when the neo-cons said that one of the reasons for the war was to stop Saddam from killing people) and several million people made into refugees.

So, therefore:

Damn George W. Bush to Hell.

Damn Richard B. Cheney.

Damn Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, David Addington, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleeza Rice, George Tenet and the rest of the neo-con cabal that worked or is working in this Administration.

Damn Joe Lieberman, Chimpy's pet Democrat.

Damn all of the neo-cons who agitated for this war.

Damn the Heritage Foundation and the other Right-wing "think tanks."

Damn everyone who worked for Fox News, the propaganda arm of the neo-cons.

Damn all of the generals and admirals who knew that the planning for the war was woefully inadequate, but who shut up and put their own careers ahead of the men and women who were sent into the Sandbox to execute Operation Clusterfuck.

Damn all of the "journalists" who swallowed the Bush tripe and failed to do their job of uncovering the truth, at least until after the public started to turn against the war.

Damn L. Paul Bremer and all of the rest of those ideologues who tried to turn Iraq into a case study of how neo-cons can run a country. Damn all of those who chose to hire people based on fealty to the Bush ideology rather than those who were qualified to do the job.

Damn Halliburton, Parsons Construction, Blackwater and all of the other war profiteers who saw the Iraq War as a golden opportunity to line their own pockets.

Damn all of those who say they support the war, but who cannot be bothered with serving in it.

Damn all of those politicians who support the war, but whose sons and daughters are nor serving. And yes, I am specifically referring to you, Willard M. Romney.

But most of all, damn George Bush. Damn everyone who won't damn George Bush. Damn everyone who doesn't take a minute out of their day, each day, to damn George Bush.

You Have to be Shitting Me; Wall Street Edition

So the financial markets are roiling because of the subprime mortgage frauds, oil is at near-record highs, the average price of gas may go over $3.50 this year, the economy is sliding towards the second Bush recession, and what is the reaction of Wall Street?

Huge bonuses for all!

Is it time to place large orders for stocks of pitchforks and hot tar?

Guess Who Heckovajob Brownie Works For?

I'm not saying that he's working for Parsons Construction, but based on their performance in Iraq....could be, could be.

What gets me, though, is that they are being investigated by the President’s Council on Integrity and Efficiency, which has to be the most oxymoronic entity since the Richard Cheney Committee for Governmental Transparency.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Pity the Poor Cabin Cleaners

An airline in Germany is going to offer nude flights.

I don't you about you, but unless they steam-clean the upholstery after every flight, I wouldn't want to go anywhere near that aircraft.

Failing the "So, What" Test; FISA Edition

As you probably know, Stupie McTorturePants has been agitating for a new FISA law in order to get his buddies in the telephone companies immunity from lawsuits. The drumbeat from the Bushies is that "if we let this law lapse, our security will be in danger."

As a friend of mine observed: "So, what? They'll just wiretap anyway, it's not as though they have shown any inclination to follow the law to date."

I think he's right.

Just Calm Down, People

The Washington Post noted today that Stupie McMoronSuit's State of the Union address is "probably" the last of his presidency. So of course, you can find no shortage of folks who think that the Post is leaving open the door in the event that Chimpy seizes power.

Calm down, people. Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution proved that the President is supposed to give information to the Congress regarding the state of the Union "from time to time." Only buy custom has "from time to time" become read as "annually."

Bush could send a SOTU letter to Congress every other day, if he wanted to. He could give a speech every week, if he felt like it. And he could give one in early January of next year, in an attempt to spin the massive pile of rotting offal that is his presidency.

"Probably" does not mean, in this instance, that the Post thinks that Der Monkey Fuhrer might try to stage a coup. (Though I will concede he is fully capable of trying.)

Like This is a Surprise; Mine Safety Edition

The Mine Safety and Health Administration routinely fails to punish mine owners for safety violations, preferring instead to issue a toothless citation.

To be fair, this problem goes back from Chimpy to Clinton and maybe further back in time. The MSHA seems to have suffered the bureaucratic equivalent of the Stockholm Syndrome.


It took less then five hours from the time I posted the above until someone from visited. So they are definitely watching, folks. Probably the only reason they don't pay attention to the posts about Chimperor Disgustus is that there are just too many in the blogiverse to track down all of them.

NPR Affilliates, Get Your Shit Together!

I live in an area that is on the fridge of the broadcasting radii of several NPR stations. I can drive 15 mines in any direction and, in order to keep listening to "Morning Edition" or "All Things Considered," I have to change stations at least twice and more likely, three times.

Is it too much to ask that the NPR affiliates keep to the same freaking time signal for those shows? Some of the stations are as much as ten seconds off their neighboring ones and it is annoying in the extreme, especially when the station I am switching to is faster than the one I'm leaving.

Is this all that difficult?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Other Victims of Bush's Mortgage Meltdown

The pets of the homeowners being evicted.

Is there anybody or any creature, other than the rich, who have not been fucked over by George W. Bush?

The US Army is Not Unique

The British Army is also overstretched. Their soldiers are also opting not to reenlist at increasingly greater rates.

Way to go, Chimpy. At this rate, the only combat-ready English-speaking military that is combat-ready may be the Canadians.

George Carlin on Religion

No surprise, he thinks it's bullshit.

He is right about this: Why does an all-powerful, all-knowing being need your money?

I'd Watch Chimpy's "State of the Union" Address Tomorrow, But

I'd rather gargle with ground glass, douche with nitric acid and/or slit my wrists with a rusty bayonet.

funny pictures

I'd almost rather blow Karl Rove, but There Are Limits.

Let's Get This One Out in the Daylight

I found this in Over the Cliff, Onto the Rocks, which in turn copied it from Dark Wraith:

There is no doubt a fear in some quarters that if Obama gets too close to the presidency, that some nutjob of a cracker with a rifle will try to take him out. I don't think that fear is irrational; if you remember the Civil Rights Era, there was not exactly a shortage of Black leaders (and white supporters) who were killed by racist loons with guns.

Yes, there were riots. But don't forget that the riots were reactions to triggering events, including the assassination of Dr. King.

Now if you are really going to go whole-hog into conspiracy theories, you might start arguing that this is just what the neocons around Bush have in mind: Pull a Musharraf and arrange to have your likely successor killed. Then declare martial law, using National Security Presidential Directive NSPD-51/ Homeland Security Presidential Directive HSPD-20.

That may be tinfoil-hat thinking. On the other hand, ask yourself this: If Bush and his cabal of murderous cronies were willing to blatantly lie to the American people in order to drag this country into a war, is there any crime that they would not perpetrate in order to hang onto power?

Time to Grow a Spine, Democrats

Bush is threatening to veto any FISA bill unless it includes immunity for the telecom companies that broke the law because he asked them to. You know, those loyal companies that will break the law on wiretapping, but only so long as they get paid.

We used to live in a country of laws, where everybody, including the men sitting in the Oval Office, had to follow the law. One president lost his job because he was unclear on that concept.

But now we have a president who not only doesn't think that he has to follow the law, he thinks that as long as he tells other people they can break the law, they can do so with impunity. That is so wrong that it is not even wrong. We elected a president, not a dictator, not a king.

We need to schedule the Democratic leadership in the Congress for emergency surgery to implant spines in those currently worthless fucks.

The president is not above the law and the Democrats had better get a clue on this. So had the Republicans, for the powers that they have so willingly ceded to this president will be wielded by the next president. Who may be a Democrat. And who may have no compunction about using wiretaps against his or her enemies.

And then, when the Republicans complain, their complaints will ring as hollow as a tin bell.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

"Small Arms of the World" and the Mosin-Nagant

I've owned a copy of Small Arms of the World for a very long time. It is a reference book that is sometimes referred to as the bible of early to mid-20th Century military small arms. The 12th and apparently last edition was published 25 years ago. In the writeup about the Mosin-Nagant M91/30, the book discusses a feature of the Mosin-Nagant called a "cartridge- valve- interrupter" or something like that. SAOTW said that no other rifle had or needed such a device.

I think SAOTW had it badly wrong.

First, consider the cartridge used by the Mosin-Nagant rifle. The 7.62x54R cartridge is a rimmed cartridge, like the .303 or the .30-30:

If you have ever loaded a box magazine for a .22 rimfire rifle or pistol, you know that one of the critical things to do is to make sure that when you load the cartridges, the rim for each cartridge inserted is in front of the rim of the cartridge beneath it. Otherwise, when you try to chamber a round, the rim will hang up on the rim of the cartridge underneath and jam the weapon.

The interrupter on a Mosin-Nagant separates the top cartridge in the rifle's magazine from the ones underneath it, so that there is no contact between the top cartridge and the one below it. It does not matter in Mosin-Nagant, therefore, if the round to be fed into the chamber has its rim behind the one underneath it, for the interrupter will make sure that the rims are not in contact and the cartridge will feed.

This is important for two reasons. Whether the rifleman is feeding in ammunition into the rifle in haste or in the dark, he doesn't have to make sure the rounds are placed just so, load them in and keep shooting. Second, combat ammunition is usually loaded in stripper clips.

That's not a Mosin-Nagant, but the concept is the same. You insert the stripper clip in the top of the rifle and you press the rounds down into the rifle's magazine.

Then you throw the clip away, close the bolt and keep firing. If you don't remove the clip, the bolt of most rifles will just push it aside anyway.

Stripper clips have no "up" or "down". The interrupter permits you to load rapidly, ignore which way the rims line up, and keep shooting. It was a good design.

Jerkoffs, All of Them

That's been my general reaction to the Bush-Pelosi "stimulus package", otherwise known as the "go out and buy something really shiny" plan. For many, many, many years, the big gripe of economists is that Americans save too little and spend too much. But now, supposedly to kick-start the economy, Bush and his lackeys on Capitol Hill (and Harry Reid is one of them) think all they have to do is get a few Benjamins into everyone else's hands and That Solves That Problem.

Except it won't, and anyone who really thinks that giving people a few hundred smackers will save the economy is smoking crystal meth.

This "giveaway," which is merely an accelerated tax refund, won't bring down the price of energy or food. It won't do a damn thing to stop the fiscal bleeding caused by Chimpy's War. It sure as shit won't do a damn thing about Stupie McPoopyPant's 40% increase in the national debt.

Bush has the Reverse Midas Touch: Every problem he tries to address gets worse and turns into shit. The economy is no different.

Why Horror Movies Should Be Really Short

From BadTux:

Right on!

I don't understand the offer of a "free rock with every purchase."

Alberto Lite is on the Job!

That would be Attorney General Mukasey, whose name is rapidly becoming synonymous with "bootlicker" and "weasel".

He won't say that waterboarding is torture
, because that was done in the past. That is a real change, for usually law enforcement is pretty concerned with what happened in the past.

He denies that the Justice Department was in turmoil under the reign of Alberto the Lackey.

He wants to retain Steven Bradbury, a Justice Department lawyer who wrote a memo authorizing the use of torture techniques for interrogation purposes.

It now seems that the only difference between Mukasey and Gonzales was that they were not born out of the same mother. Those of us who stood against Mukasey against the arguments of Charles Schumer, and others, who said that it was better to have Mukasey than nobody at all, have been proven to be correct.

Friday, January 25, 2008

What Hath Bush Wrought?

More Americans in poverty, more Americans without health insurance, $3.5 trillion dollars (that's eleven zeros after the five) added to the deficit, a drop in median household income, an Army that is almost wholly broken, a doubling of the trade deficit and much, much more.

Go look.

Fox Guarding the Hen House

Installing Paul Wolfowitz as chairman of an arm-control panel is about a bright a move as installing John Wayne Gacy as chairman of a panel on missing and abused children.

Engines Turn Or Passengers Swim

Extended Twin-engined Operational Performance Standards, or ETOPS, are a series of standards that permit the operation of twin-engined airliners over much of the world's oceans.

Back in the day of piston-engined airliners, all of the major over-water airliners had four engines: Boeing 307, 314, 377; Douglas DC-4, -6, -7; Lockheed L-749/1049/1649; Sikorsky, Martin, etc., etc. If you flew over water, you had four engines. If you had fewer, then you were limited to as far as you could fly in 60 minutes with one engine out.

That was no guarantee of making land even with an engine out. For while it was fine if the engine failed and the crew feathered the propeller, if the prop could not be feathered, you were a long way from land pushing a very large flat plate through the air, as a windmilling prop creates a huge amount of drag. If that happened at the wrong place, the airplane was going to ditch in the ocean.

The Coast Guard maintained cutters at what were known as "ditching stations" between the mainland U.S. and Honolulu, Hawaii. And they were used. PanAm Flight 943 ditched in 1956, as did Pan Am Flight 6, both with no fatalities or serious injuries.

Jets changed that. First, jet engines quickly proved to be far more reliable than piston engines. Second, if a jet engine shuts down, there is not the chance of huge drag effects. Still, the early over-ocean jets had four engines: Comet, Boeing 707 and 747, Douglas DC-8, Vickers VC-10. The proven reliability of jets led the aviation authorities to waive the 60 minute rule for tri-engined jets, which is why the DC-10 and L-1011 operated on transoceanic flights.

By the end of the 1970s, there was a lot of interest by the airlines in operating twin-engined aircraft on oceanic routes. One of the reasons was fuel cost; jet fuel that cost pennies a gallon in the early 1960s was now a dollar a gallon or more. The second was crew costs; early transoceanic airliners required a flight deck crew of four or five (pilot, co-pilot, flight engineer [who was a real engineer, not a junior pilot], navigator and radio operator). Better radios and navigation gear made the radio operator and navigator positions superfluous. Twin-engined jets were simpler to operate, no flight engineer was needed. (Later advances in computer-controlled systems led to the abolishment of the flight engineer's position on the later models of the 747 and similar aircraft.)

The engines got more and more reliable and it came to pass that a typical airline pilot might never have to shut an engine off in flight other than in a training simulator. As the engines got better and the other systems improved and their reliability became proven, then Extended Range Operations (EROPS) came to pass, then morphed into ETOPS. The 60 minute rule became 90 minutes, then 120 minutes and now 180 minutes or 207 minutes.

Airports also had to be certified for the ability of airliners to land at them with one engine out and I've been told (privately) that some interesting computer modeling games were done in order to "prove" that some airports were capable of supporting ETOPS emergencies. (Keflavik is such an airport, or so I've been informed.)

So there you are, fat, dumb and happy in the middle of the ocean and an engine quits. You now have one engine and one airport within ETOPS range. As was recently shown by British Airways, the fact that one engine isn't working right does not mean that everything is hunky-dory with the other one. And let's not forget that the airlines have been outsourcing their maintenance to save a few bucks here and there (and if that fills you with confidence, I've got some swampland for sale).

Hence the unofficial full name of ETOPS: Engines Turn Or Passengers Swim.

It may be too late in the airline game to re-think ETOPS and consider going back to three or four engines for long-range flights over water.

But maybe it ought to be considered.

Like This is a Surprise; Iraq War Edition

Alternate Brain has picked up a story from the Asia Times, part one is here, part two is here.

Note that one of the themes going through the articles is the subtext of the military saying: "This mess isn't our fault, we knew better, but we were only carrying out our orders. And don't believe the words of the neo-cons that the Surge has worked, either."

All this shows the truth of the old saying that "victory has a thousand fathers, defeat is an orphan." One of the oldest rules of bureaucracy is Thou Shalt Deflect the Blame.

If they knew that the Bush Administration was screwing the pooch early on, they had other options besides just saluting and doing their job. The courageous choice would have been to have taken off their stars, but courage is something that is required of those with the rifles in their hands, not those with the PowerPoint presentations.

You Know They're Lying, Their Lips Are Moving; Homeland Security Edition

DHS Ghoul-in-Chief Chertoff, in supporting his push for tighter border controls by imposing stringent identification requirements, misstated the number of incidents on the US-Canadian border.

I am shocked, shocked, to learn that Chertoff would twist the facts to support his argument.

Like This is a Surprise; Mississippi Edition

Mississippi is going to take hundreds of of millions of dollars from a program to help build housing for people displaced by Hurricane Katrina and use the money instead to build a port and more casinos.

Mississippi is the poorest state in the country, but that doesn't stop the Republicans from ripping off programs designed to aid the poor and giving the money to programs to aid the rich and the politically connected. They have no shame, no shame at all.

A guy in Ohio stole $250 from a Salvation Army kettle and he was sentenced to spend a night living on the street. Haley Barbour is stealing $600 million from the poor and the corrupt goons in Der Monkey Fuhrer's Administration think that is just peachy.

Dear Iraq, We Beseech Thee

"Oh please, be so good as to agree to let us continue to occupy your country, drop bombs wherever we want, and agree that you can't prosecute the Blackwater goons who will continue to shoot up your citizens with impunity."

We have 160,000 or so troops, plus thousands of armed goons from Blackwater and their ilk running around their country, going wherever they want and shooting up and bombing wherever they want to. And Bush is pretending that he is going to ask the Iraqis for their permission to be there?

What if the Iraqis say "thank you, but get the fuck out of here?" Does anyone seriously think that Bush and Cheney and the rest of that cabal of war criminals will say "yessir, right away, sir"?

Fat chance of that happening. If that were to even look possible, Prime Minister Maliki would take sudden retirement to an unmarked grave in the desert and someone more pliable would magically take over and sign whatever Chimpy wanted.

Mangling the Language: Postal Edition

You know those places where the Post Office sorts mail? They used to be called "sorting centers", now they are called "sortation centers."

"Sortation?" Do "sortators" work there?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Full Employment for War Criminals

You'd think that after the fiasco of the Iraq War, that the best that the architects of that war could do would be to get jobs mopping up the floors of slaughterhouses or working in septic tank cleaning crews while they wait for charges to be brought. You'd think that the very last thing that the Bush Administration would want to do is hire some of them, so that the news stories would remind everyone how truly fucked up decision-making was with regard to going to war and how the war would be fought.

You'd think that.

But you'd be wrong.

I imagine that they are also looking for a good job for both Viceroy Bremer and "Heckovajob" Brownie.

How Low Will Republicans Go?

Down through the bottom of the deepest septic tank, apparently.

The Republicans behind this are low life, scum-sucking, pig-raping douchebags. The only way the men behind this can ever have sex is to purchase it from a $10 whore down by the docks, for no hooker who charges more than $20 would get within a mile of these soulless pieces of shit. They are probably all bitter virgins, but only because they didn't grow up on a sheep farm.

Any asswipe who wears a t-shirt with this logo has only himself to blame if he gets what passes for his brains beaten out of his head by his mother or his sister, let alone a passing stranger.

(H/T to Feministing)

What Happens When They Run Out of Mexicans to Deport

The overly zealous folks at Immigration and Customs Enforcement start deporting Americans. Even though they have been born in this country, it doesn't matter to the overzealous goons in ICE. If you have a brown skin or a funny name, you are subject to being deported and, at the very least, you may spend a few months in jail. Note that the reporters were able to verify that one guy was born in the US, but it took the folks at ICE weeks to do that.

This works on the French system: You are presumed guilty unless you can prove otherwise. Since the Brownshirts at ICE don't follow the Constitution, you have no right to an attorney and you
will be lucky if your hearing isn't before a burned-out immigration judge with a huge rubber stamp.

Note also that the guy the story is about is, according to one set of records, now in the Soviet Union. That is probably correct, for as Badtux is fond of observing, this country is morphing into an English-speaking version of the USSR.

Winnowing the Herd

Kucinich is dropping out.

If the polls are to be believed, Giuliani is in free-fall in his "must-win" contest in Florida, tying for third place with Huckabee, who has barely campaigned there.

I am sorry about Dennis Kucinich. Other than his extreme "ookiness" quotient, I thought he was one of the few candidates who wasn't a pander-bear. He had no chance, but he spoke to a lot of issues that the others are dancing around.

As for Giuliani, well, to know Rudy is to loathe him.

"Suck It Up, You Made Bad Loans"

Seems that is advice that applies to the financial markets in smaller nations, not to us. The article points out the rampant hypocrisy of the US; when the financial markets in Latin American nations melted down, we told them to "suck it up." But when ours threaten to melt down, for the same reasons, Chimpy and the rest are tripping over themselves trying to salvage things.

I'm not saying they shouldn't try. But the hypocrisy is stunning and we will reap no amount of emnity from those nations for this.

We, as Americans, are very good at dishing out pain. We are not very good at taking it. And yes, this ties into the fact that one day's worth of terrorist attacks have caused us to very nearly scrap our democratic institutions and cede power to an elected fascist.

(H/T to the Suburban Guerrilla)

Drunken Astronauts? "Nope, Not Us!"

NASA said that they surveyed their astronauts and nobody was drunk on launch day.

Maybe so. But for the love of truth, MSNBC blew it in their headline that the study "refutes" the drunken astronaut claim. NASA went to the astronauts and asked "was you drunk" and the astronauts said "not me, boss."

Maybe. Then again, one could wonder what would happen if a similar survey was taken at, say, the Brooklyn House of Detention. Would New York city then say "OK, you guys are go to go" and release everyone?

I don't think so.

Ayn Rand Applies Only to the Little People

It's a corollary to the "only little people pay taxes" philosophy of the late unlamented Leona Helmsley and George Bush.

When the resetting of of subprime mortgages was going to affect only the homeowners involved, there were no shortage of people who espoused Rand who commented that helping the homeowners would "reward bad behavior." But now that the mess has spread, there seems to be no qualms about coming to the rescue of the big banks and financial institutions that profited hugely from the making, bundling, repackaging and the "securitization" of those mortgages. Or those that insured the value of those quote securities unquote.

Bet you won't hear a peep from the disciples of Rand about bailing out the big guys. After all, they have to protect the phony-baloney jobs of people who profited hugely from the packaging of those subprime mortgages. Those guys made salaries and bonuses of seven to nine figures a year; the government is tripping over its feet in a rush to help those guys out. But when it comes to those being foreclosed upon, not so much.

The "conservatives" are rushing to save the banks, but when it comes to putting a few bucks in the hands of poor people, you hear comments along the lines of "they're just going to buy cheap Chinese shit from Wal-Mart."

So it seems that "suck it up, that's capitalism" only applies to working stiffs. If you draw a paycheck, it sucks to be you. But if you have enough scratch and you are big enough so that your bad behavior will hurt others, the government will sprain its rhetorical muscles in its haste to save you.

Maybe we can borrow the Aurora from the Russians

And we can ask the French to send over Marianne to lead the charge

" A little revolution, now and then, is a healthy thing." - Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Toljaso! I Toljaso!

Sure enough, one of the provisions of Bush's stimulus package is to help bail out the very same fuckers who brought about the sub-prime mess.

You didn't read this link in an earlier post of mine? Or maybe this post?

I'm not an economic genius. But it didn't take a genius to foresee that Bush and his corrupt group of gangsters would try to hijack the stimulus package to both benefit the rich and to bail out those who caused it. Funny how those greedy asswipes all like to espouse the principles of Ayn Rand while they are making money, but they all scream for a government bailout when the crunch times comes.

I'll rant more on this later.

The Problem With Capitalism? Capitalists!

About five days ago, I opined that one of the problems with American capitalism was the capitalists. (OK, I didn't use those terms exactly, but that's the thrust of it.)

Well, today on Newsweek's website, Robert J. Samuelson has said much the same thing.

These guys had better get a clue, and fast. Their untrammeled greed and blatant attitude of "hooray for me and fuck all y'all" cries out for regulation. Or the day may come when a politician puts together a serious populist movement and takes those guys down.

Tourism Is Down. Wonder Why?

Tourisn is down to the USA Even though with the slide of the dollar against almost every other currency, so that a European can stay at a top American hotel for the Euro equivalent of chump change, they're staying away.

The reason: The Department of Homeland Security. As the Times of London put it:

"“Travelling to the US offers experiences like nowhere else on earth.” That’s what it says at, the official travel and tourism website of the United States, and it’s absolutely right. Nowhere else can a visitor expect such a spirit-crushingly frosty reception.

"A preflight e-interrogation, epic queues at immigration, thin-lipped questioning from aggressive border guards, and an outside chance of a rubber-gloved rectal rummage are all part of the fun. So, if Chertoff and co want to tighten Fortress America further, it’s time we considered other more welcoming holiday options. Such as Iran or North Korea."

Nice to see that is now what we are being compared to, with Customs and Immigration officers who have all of the warmth and friendliness of East German border guards. We are being closed off to foreigners. At this rate, it won't be long until foreigners have to be shepherded around by guides from InTourist and there will be vast swathes of the USA closed to foreigners. Just like the USSR.

At this rate, the day will come to pass that we will have very few friends in the world. And the fault will be ours.

Well, I Am Some Disappointed

This site is certified 32% EVIL by the Gematriculator

I am some disappointed. I thought it would be higher.

Bush Lied. Thousands Died.

That's not just a slogan. It is the truth.

More here.

Anyone left to argue why the scheming little fuck should not be on trial for crimes against humanity?

How to Know If You're Rich (or Retarded)

Let's say you have a big chunk of change and you need a new coffee maker to make your morning cup of joe. You can buy a one-cup Clover coffee maker for $11,000:

Or a Black & Decker "Brew & Go" for $31:

Maybe the Brew & Go doesn't make as good a cup of coffee as the Clover, but you have $10,970 left over to console yourself, plus, it comes with a mug. And that's list price, it doesn't include the 10% discount offered by the web store selling the Brew & Go.

New Lighting at Heathrow

You might have to click on it to get it to animate.

Life After People

I taped the History Channel's "Life After People" and watched it last night. It was interesting stuff, with some decent simulations, but jeez, they sure know how to stretch out a show. Sometimes the History Channel reminds me of the old joke "an emergency method of making copper wire was to toss a penny in between two airline pilots." It was maybe an hour or a 90 minute show stretched to two hours.

I can understand some of it; if you have to pay to create an animation of the Space Needle, you want to get as much mileage out of it as you can. But yawn....

By the way, do they say "kilometerage" in Canada?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Stop Touching Me!

Ma! He's touching meeee! Tell him to stooooopppppp!

The kid looks as though he's proposing to do dental work on her.

Thompson Drops Out of the Stroll for the Presidency

It's kind of hard to argue that Fred Thompson was ever "racing" for anything. His campaign exuded the aura of "well, I'll be in the contest, if I must." But there was no groundswell of support for Thompson (R- Barcalounger), arguably the laziest candidate for President since Warren G. Harding.

So he quit.

Don't Piss Off the Storm Troopers

A grandmother was arrested by a cop because she would not make way for him at the drive-through lane at McDonald's. More here.

If this is what happens when you get between a cop and his Quarter-Pounder mit Cheese, you don't ever want to get in the way of a cop in the drive-through lane at Dunkin' Donuts. He'll probably shoot your ass.

(H/T to BadTux)

Because You Suck. And We Hate You; Comcast Edition, Part IV

So today, at Ye Olde Salte Mine, nobody can use their email programs to retrieve their email from Comcast. I called both of their customer service numbers; after a few minutes on hold, the voice says "nobody can take your call, please visit us on the web" and the line is disconnected.

So I went to their business web site and found this whopper of a fib:

"From time to time, you may have a support question or issue – Comcast is here to help. ...Comcast Workplace offers 24/7 business-class support. "

Well, no you don't, unless your clock has 30 hours in a day or your calendar has eight day weeks.

Those fuckers.

Vindictive Bastard Running for President

That would be Rudy "9/11" Giuliani.

Note that he is not above using the police as a tool in his quest for vengeance. Rudy is little more than a petty thug, a political legbreaker. If you disagreed with His Jackbootedness, he made sure you got arrested, lost your job and never worked again. It's not that big of a stretch to go from there to having political opponents disappeared.

Do we really need a goon in the Oval Office? I don't think so. We have been down this road before with Richard Nixon. Giuliani has all of the vindictive qualities of Nixon, J. Edgar Hoover and Vlad Cheney, all rolled into one.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Quotes from Dr. King

I cannot begin to describe just how disturbingly wrong it is to hear Der Monkey Fuhrer laud Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Of any president since Dr. King was killed, Bush has done more that is directly opposed to the tenets of Dr. King than any other and probably any other person who ran for president, other than maybe George Wallace in `72 and David Duke.

Aggressive war. Torture. Imprisonment without trial. Promoting the interests of the rich over all. None of those where things that Dr. King favored, yet all of them are things that Stupie McNumnutz has promoted. If Bush wanted to truly honor Dr. King, both he and Darth Cheney would have submitted their resignations today and then ceremoniously committed seppuku on the South Lawn of the White House. At the very least, he could have shut the frak up.

The Rude Pundit had a discourse on this today. He as a lengthy quote from Dr. King to buttress his premise that Dr. King would fuck Bush's shit up. This is an excerpt:

"It is disgraceful that a Congress that can vote upwards of $35 billion a year for a senseless immoral war in Vietnam cannot vote a weak $2 billion dollars to carry on our all too feeble efforts to bind up the wound of our nation's 35 million poor. This is nothing short of a Congress engaging in political guerrilla warfare against the defenseless poor of our nation."

We're at several times that amount for Chimpy's Moronic War. Chimpy's concern for the poor is evinced by his "stimulus package", which leaves the poor out of the game. As he has always done, McHitler cares nothing about those who are not rich.

I wasn't intending to write the above words, but I have the radio on and a news story had Chimpy speaking about Dr. King.

This is the quote that I wanted to highlight, as found by TFS Magnum:

"Cowardice asks the question, 'Is it safe?' Expediency asks the question, 'Is it politic?' Vanity asks the question, 'Is it popular?' But, conscience asks the question, 'Is it right?' And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because one's conscience tells one that it is right."

That is applicable to most of the presidential candidates. Giuliani is big into promoting national cowardice, as has been Bush, by promoting the sacrifice of civil rights and liberties for the vague and illusionary promise of safety. Romney scores a double in both expedience and vanity, for he has never cared for what is right, only what will resonate with the electorate.

But let's face it: Telling the truth, saying what is right is never popular. Romney won in Michigan by, in part, babbling on about how he would bring back high-paying jobs to the state. Everybody who has seriously looked at this issue knows that Romney is full of shit. McCain told the truth to the voters of Michigan, who were largely stupid and gullible enough to prefer a shining lie over the hard truth.

Climate Change; Cap & Trade?

In the midst of an article on the McClatchy website about cap and trade proposals, I saw this little nugget:

"The U.S. Chamber of Commerce recognizes that something needs to be done, but it opposes the Lieberman-Warner bill and generally dislikes regulating emissions, said William L. Kovacs, its vice president for environment, technology and regulatory affairs."

In other words "something needs to be done about climate change, but by the other guy, not by us."

The bastards.

Actually, "bastards" substitutes in this case for "American capitalists." I qualify it that way because it is almost the unique nature of American business, where the stock market demands short-term profits, to not give a fuck about the long term. Make your profit now, even if it means running the business into the ground in the future, take your profit and bonuses, and get out, leaving the stockholders and the workers holding the bag.

Doing something about climate change will cost money now, letting it happen will cost a lot more a lot later. So the money managers and corporate executives opt to do nothing, for if the ice sheets melt and sea levels rise several feet, if not tens of feet, they'll all be dead by the time that happens. And if the worst possible scenario takes place, the belching of massive quantities of hydrogen sulfide from the oceans, they'll all be long dead and forgotten by then.

So what if humanity dies off? They've made their pile.

Salting the Bureaucracy

This article discusses how the Department of Homeland Security is placing careerists in high positions to ensure a smooth transition to the next administration.

That sounds good on the surface, but I suspect that there is a darker motive behind it. I suspect that within the so-called "career civil servants" being placed into these positions, that there are a significant number of Bush loyalists and right-wing ideologues. These moles are likely not limited to DHS, but are probably salted through the entire Federal bureaucracy.

The next administration will have to spend a considerable amount of effort in finding and removing the hidden Wingnuts.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Liberals, Start Buying Rifles

It's probably no shock to anyone that I differ from some of my liberal friends when it comes to private ownership of firearms. I do think it's a personal choice and if someone feels so trusting of the world that they think they can be perfectly safe in it without a weapon, that's their call.

But if this article is anywhere near close to the truth, if Hucakbee is our next president and if you are of the "I don't need a gun" crowd, you might want to reconsider. For they fully intend to come after you.

Huckabee is a supporter of the "Council of Conservative Citizens", which is the successor group to the the sheet-wearing "White Citizens' Councils." When a politician starts talking about it being OK to fly the Confederate Flag, as Huckabee did, that is nothing more than a modern-day equivalent of saying "I stand with you against the niggers." He couldn't be any plainer about it if he attended a Klan rally.

Huckabee is also a supporter of Christian Dominionism. This is a concept that, at its no-holds-barred-nuttiest, calls for the "denaturalization" of every American who doesn't follow its tenets and the reinstatement of slavery. If you do not proclaim allegiance to their definition of God, then you would be stoned to death. If you are a Wiccan, be warned: They plan to start with you folks. Then they'll go after the gays and yes, they will eventually get around to the Jews.

This may be what Huckabee has in mind when he said: "I believe it's a lot easier to change the constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God, and that's what we need to do is to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards."

Buy rifles and learn how to use them, folks. They may come in handy sooner rather than later.

Because You Suck. And We Hate You; Comcast Edition, Part III

Well, it seems I was right. Comcast is jacking up its rates again. But not by $4, by $6. They had the good taste to put the announcement in this month's bill, citing the "improvements we have made in the past year to bring even more choice, control and reliability to your existing home entertainment, Internet and home telephone services." (No mention of having to cover the costs of paying salaries to dead people. )

Yes, it is so much worth having to pay more money in order to have two more home shopping channels and another religious channel jammed down my throat.

"Control"? What the fuck are they thinking? Do they seriously mean that before they raised their rates, it was harder to switch the channels or turn the damn thing off?

I'm thinking that once Battlestar Galactica goes black next year, I may take the cable box back and tell them they can go fuck themselves. If I had a view towards the satellite orbits, I'd tell them that now. I sure wish more towns would do like Groton, CT did, where they let the local utility set up a cable operation to compete with Comcast.

The Last Year!

The next president will be sworn in on January 20, 2009 at noon.

So we are now officially in the last year of the Chimeror's misbegotten reign.

Dumbest Argument in Aviation

One of the more meaningless debates in aviation concerns how to land tailwheel airplanes. I’ll get to why in a little bit.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, airplanes that have nosewheels are supposed to be landed at (or near) a full stall. As the airplane slows just over the airport boundary, you come back on the control wheel and keep coming back, “flaring” over the runway. Ideally, you end up being a few inches over the runway at the time the airplane is slow enough to quit flying, so you land at the slowest possible speed. That then means you use the least amount of runway to stop and, if you can, you may not even need to use the brakes to slow by the time you reach the taxiway turnoff.

Tailwheel airplanes can land like that, in what is often called a “three-point” landing, because you touch down on the mail wheels and the tailwheel at the same time. The other technique is known as a “wheel landing.” In a wheel landing, as you come in to the flare, you bring the airplane level to the ground and touch the mainwheels only. You then move the control wheel (or stick) forward so that you raise the tail just a little. As you slow down, you then bring the stick back and bring the tailwheel onto the runway.

Some say that wheel landings are just wrong. Others point out that in a properly-executed wheel landing, you can maintain control in a crosswind a bit better than you may be able to maintain in a “stall it out” 3-point landing.

I think the argument is bogus. First off, there are airplanes that can (or should) be landing only one way. A lot has to do with the geometry of the landing gear. Some models of the Pilatus Porter have the main wheels so far forward that it probably isn’t a good idea to try a wheel landing on them. A Grumman Bearcat has such a large propeller that if you try wheel-landing one, you may smack the prop.

On the other hand, old hands at flying the DC-3 say that while you can try to land a DC-3 in a 3-point landing, the airplane eventually will bite you, hard. Some models of Cessnas and Citabrias can be devilishly hard to wheel land. The main gear legs are one piece of spring aluminum; if you plunk it down hard on the main gear, it will bounce impressively.

Second, it’s often a matter of pilot preference and technique. Some airplanes don’t care. Some pilots don’t.

The bad thing about wheel landings, though, is that they can be executed at much higher speeds. Landing on a runway faster than you need to is usually not a good idea; the faster you are moving when you touch down means the faster things can go sour and, because you have more energy to dissipate, if they do go sour, the more likely you are going to seriously bend the airplane and possibly yourself. I have seen pilots land way too fast in wheel landings, to the point that they have to raise the tail a lot to stay on the runway.

That’s a recipe for disaster. You really don’t need to be going much faster to execute a wheel landing and in some airplanes, you don’t need to be going any faster at all. The primary thing, though, is to know your airplane and know how to land it. One size does not fit all, one technique is not necessarily better. A good tailwheel pilot knows both methods.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Fascist-in-Waiting

That would be Rudy Giuliani. From One Pissed off Veteran, comes this reminder of something that Mayor McJackboot said in 1994:

"What we don't see is that freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be. Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do."

So if you agree to surrender your freedom, you are still free? Was Germany a free country in the late `30s because the NSDAP won an election?

Then there is the question that, given that this country's founding principles are "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," those inalienable rights that Jefferson wrote about in the Declaration of Independence, why would any American citizen ever consider casting a vote for Giuliani?

Why isn't Giuliani running for President of the Russian Federation? Russia under Putin seems to be far closer to what Giuliani thinks is a model government than a Jeffersonian democracy. It could be argued that, given Giuliani's warped views on what is "freedom", anybody who votes for him should renounce their citizenship and move to a nation that has a government that is closer to the ideal state as envisioned by Giuliani.

Such as North Korea.

On another note, the Suburban Guerrilla had a link to a story about Rottenfuhrer Giuliani, where he ate at a diner in Florida and proclaimed to the assembled reporters that "the US economy is in great shape." Four days later, the diner went out of business.

Economic Fascism

The link to this article was left in a comment to an earlier post of mine regarding the Fed's desire for a stimulus package. I think it's worthy of mention itself.

The thrust of the article is that fascism is, at its core, a brutal economic system wherein the rich keep the profits and the losses get passed along to the people through subsidies and bail-outs.

That is the model of the Bush Administration. So between their economic polices favoring the rich and their sustained assault on civil rights, liberty, the right to vote and the Constitution, they have firmly entrenched their legacy as American fascists.

Speaking of Dick Cavett

Dick Cavett and Eddie Murphy:

Dick Cavett's Observations on the Candidates

is in today's NY Times.

He uses one word to end his description of Willard Romney: "Bogus." Cavett seems to like both McCain and Kucinich. Cavett doesn't mention either John Edwards or the Most Reverend Huckabee.

At the end of the piece, he offers this bit of consolation to all of the candidates:

"Meanwhile, let’s all remember that there is one blessing that all of the candidates can revel in and enjoy: They needn’t have any fears about being inferior to the incumbent."

Friday, January 18, 2008

The 300

If they were cats, that is:

(H/T to the Ornery Bahstid)

Ol' Chimpy McOneNote

In discussing the need to stimulate the economy to avoid the recession that Bush says that there is no risk of occurring, Chimpy McFumbleass tried to make the case that Congress needs to make his tax cuts permanent.

Yep, tax cuts that aren't due to expire for three years. That's really going to help the economy now. That makes a lot of sense, but only in the mind of Herr McFuckwit. For the rest of the world, it's another sign of an obsession that is not grounded in reality.

First off, if he couldn't get his stooges in two GOP-run congresses to do that, what makes Mr. Alternate Reality think that he can get them made permanent now? He stands almost as good a chance of that happening as he does of having his legacy described in terms that don't include the words "war criminal."

Second, I think we ought to have a law enacted that whenever Der Monkey Fuhrer mentions the words "tax cuts", that the nearest Secret Service agent has to Taser his worthless ass.

Chimpy's Great Adventure

Jon Stewart at work:

And this:

Financial Institutions: Why Maybe We Should Join the Communist Party

This is what drives me absolutely batshit:

First you have the banks and other financial institutions that keep yelling that they don't need regulation, that it is in their economic interest to do the right thing, that the economy will grow faster and we will all be better off with less government oversight.

And that is their tune until things go wrong. When they do, they they go running to the Federal government, to Congress and the White House, for aid, assistance and a bail-out. They sit up there in congressional hearing rooms in their $5,000 suits and plead that it is our duty to help them make their yacht payments.

My response: Fuck you guys. Eat your losses. Go get some of the money back from those CEOs and managers who were paid hundreds of millions of dollars to watch the store.

If we, as the American taxpayers, are going to be the ones who have to bail you out, then we should have a say in how things are run. Which means that since you guys have gotten into trouble, from here on out, we get to have a say in what you do and cannot do. If we are going to have to clean your room, then we get to regulate your greedy asses.

The subprime messes are showing that the Libertarian ideal is just a lot of horseshit and that unfettered capitalism is about as workable an economic concept as the communist ideal.

These guys cannot be trusted and it is time for some meaningful government regulation and oversight to take place.

Morons At Work; Homeland Security Edition

Those cheerful fuckups at DHS spent 90 million dollars to create an anti-terror data network. They even told Congress that they were making significant progress in upgrading the network.

Now they are going to scrap it and spend goddess knows how much to replace it.

Maybe they hired the same people the FBI used to develop their computer network, which had cost overruns in the hundreds of millions of dollars and which was years behind schedule.

About all it seems DHS can do is to make getting on an airplane an intolerable ordeal.

Why the Fed Wants a Stimulus Package

As I noted last night, Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke wants to see an economic stimulus package put into place, even though he thinks there is not a recession in the offing.

So I've been wondering: Why? I think I have a possible answer: The Fed wants to see the sub-prime mortgage crisis dealt with. The reason why is that the sooner the sub-prime crisis passes, the less likely it is that somebody in either the press, the Congress or a state attorney general starts to really dig into the causes of the sub-prime crisis. For if anyone does that, they may discover that the fingerprints of the Federal Reserve are all over the unholy mess.

It could be argued that the financial institutions of this nation were intimately involved in perpetrating a fraud upon the financial markets. The compilation of subprime mortgages into "collaterized debt obligations" was as ethically sound as it would have been to have dipped dogshit into chocolate and then sold them as chocolate bars. While the financial institutions were doing this, the Federal Reserve and the Federal government were asleep at the switch.

The whole subprime mortgage meltdown is reminiscent of the meltdown of Enron. In both cases, the managers played fast and loose in order to make a quick buck at a huge cost to others.

In both cases, the oversight exercised by the Bush Administration was nonexistent. When it comes to watching for and policing financial and corporate misconduct, the Bush Administration has shown all of the diligence of Homer Simpson and the crimefighting skills of Barney Fife. The Bush Administration has deliberately set about to destroy the ability of the Federal Government to do much of anything other than dropping bombs on people. This played out in New Orleans, where the inability of FEMA to do anything at all was a direct reflection of the policies and competence of the Bush Administration.

The subprime crisis was brought about by greed, greed that was ratified by the Bush Administration.


From Balloon Juice, comes a link to this story that the subprime crisis isn't just limited to housing. The banks were playing the same fuck-fuck credit-worthiness games with automobile loans, which means that as things get worse, the repo men are going to be very, very busy. Either that, or the banks are going to write off most of those, adding to their losses.

And yes indeed, they were also repackaging the auto loans as "collateralized securities", which means that there are another few billions of dollars with of losses to come.

Way to run an economy, Chimpy McDroolbot.

Where in the World is Vice-Lord Voldemort?

It is just me, or does it seem as though Vice President Cheney (Chief of the Warmongering and Torture Departments) has dropped off the radar recently? There has been almost nothing in the news about him since that rather suspicious fire in his office in the Executive Office Building.

Is he trying to duck a subpoena?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Asswipe of the Day

Michael Chertoff, Commissar of Rodina Security.

Last week, Commissar Chertoff accused critics of the "Real ID" plan of either being terrorists, con men or illegal immigrants. Today, Commissar Chertoff said that the critics are children who need to "grow up."

Actually, Chertoff snuck this honor away from Michele Bachmann, a Republican congresswoman from Minnesota. Bachmann was chortling because people in her state have to work two jobs in order to make ends meet. No surprise that her idea of a stimulus package is to cut the corporate tax rate (not that most corporations are bothering to pay taxes in the first place).

Commissar Chertoff, Asswipe of the Day: Go blow yourself.

You Know They're Lying, Their Lips Are Moving; Federal Reserve Edition

Fed Chief Backs Quick Action to Aid Economy. But he says there is no recession looming.

No recession looming, but he is backing a stimulus package, why, exactly? For the last 35 years, the Fed has been absolutely paranoid on the issue of avoiding inflation. The Fed would rather see 15% unemployment and breadlines if the other option was a late `70s round of inflation. But with supposedly no recession, the Fed is just fine with dumping more deficit spending out there?

And you know for damn sure without reading a word that Bush's idea of an economic stimulus package is "More Tax Cuts For the Rich."

I Know, I haven't Gotten Around to It Yet

I've mentioned before that I've been thinking of writing a post on the militarization of the police forces in the U.S. of A. I haven't gotten around to it, probably because it was a piece that I could see would take a considerable amount of time to write.

Marko the Munchkin Wrangler has beaten me to the punch.

I still intend to write my take on it, but for the meantime, read his.

Torture Nation

That is what the U.S. is, according to the Canadian Foreign Ministry.

Way to go, Chimpy. Even our friends can't close their eyes to your crimes. And, by extension, our crimes. Or at least the crimes of everyone who voted for him in `04. And the crimes of those who would do the same, or worse, such as RoboWillard and Rudy "Nosferatu" Guiliani.

Hooray! Hooray!

For this morning was the last morning for giving George a dose of liquid antibiotics.

It was another drama-filled event. He has learned that if he hides in one of the cat condo boxes,and turns his head away, I might not find him quickly. Once I found him, he went into buzz-saw mode as I tried to wrap him up in the towel. Squirming, snarling, claws everywhere, it was quite the performance.

Eventually (like two minutes later), I managed to both get his mouth open and squirt the medicine inside. I let him go; he jumped away, working his tongue because he didn't care for the taste of it.

Then there is Gracie, who has a mild eye infection. She just lies on my lap and lets me put the ointment on her eye. No fuss, no bother. George would have been trying to remove my hand. If George ever gets to the point where he needs a lot of meds, he's going to get a trip to Dr. Kebarkian.

If You Hate Your Kid...

... have a clown do the entertainment at the kid's birthday party. It seems that Capt. Obvious has moved into the field of sociological research, for a study has found that kids hate clowns.

That probably explains why "Patch Adams" was one of the biggest wastes of celluloid since "Ishtar."

(H/T to i can't believe it's not a democracy)

You Just Might Be a Hypocrite

The ACLU is coming to defend Larry Craig's right to cruise for gay sex in airport bathrooms.

When you are a Republican and you call in the ACLU to defend yourself, you just might be a hypocrite. The Republicans just love to bash the ACLU, but it sure seems whenever one of them gets their dick caught in a wringer, they love to scream for the ACLU to come to their aid.

Could they be any more hypocritical? Could they be any more desperate?

(H/T to Mock, Paper, Scissors)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Republicans and Terror

Seems that there is a pro-terror branch of the GOP, after all.

Because, after all, paying for hookers with campaign funds and cruising airport bathrooms for gay sex is so 2007.

Moron-in-Chief; Calendar Edition

Remember that little bi you learned in elementary school about the months of the year: "30 days hath September?"

Well, it seems when they taught that one in Midland Elementary, Chimpy was busy masturbating in the bathroom:

I know it's not the newest clip around, but it's the first time I've seen it.

Bush also has a bit of a problem with the subtle intricacies of English grammar that are taught in school by, oh, third grade:

"There is no doubt in my mind when history was written, the final page will say: Victory was achieved by the United States of America for the good of the world."

What a fucking moron. Even the White House refused to rewrite that particular turd.

Paging Captain Obvious! Paging Captain Obvious!

The New York Times ran a story today about global domination of science and technology. The premise was that the U.S., while dominant, is losing its lead. Besides the usual comments that Americans are basically ignoramuses when it comes to biology (evolution) and physics( the Big Bang), the story contained this nugget:

"Many Americans remain ignorant about much of science, the board said. Many are unable to answer correctly when asked whether Earth moves around the Sun (it does)."

Given the one idiot on "The View" who was not sure whether the Earth is round or flat, that's not a real surprise. But what was the real unstated shocker is that the New York Times thinks so little of its readers that it has to supply the answer to that question.

Folks, if you don't know that the Earth revolves around the Sun, you're not only too stupid to be reading the New York Times, I have to question how you were able to find your way to this web page.

After all, they usually don't allow inmates on the locked wards to use computers.

(H/T to Jim H.)

Learning English the Japanese Way

I have no clue as to whether or not this is real:

Like This is a Surprise; Blackwater Edition

Justice Department officials have told Congress that they face serious legal difficulties in pursuing criminal prosecutions of Blackwater security guards involved in a September shooting that left at least 17 Iraqis dead.

And the surprise to nobody is that the CYA immunity granted by the State Department has worked to absolutely hinder any attempt to prosecute any of the murderous goons involved in the Baghdad Massacre. That there was zero interest in holding any of those thugs accountable was clear from the moment the last cartridge case bounced off the pavement of Nisour Square.

This whole sordid affair has been the subject of a State Department cover-up, for they have a vested interest in not pissing off the armed gorillas in their midst. The fact that the Chief Executive Goon of Blackwater has donated about a quarter-mil to Republicans surely has nothing to do with it, ya, sure, you betcha.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

TSA, Our Motto: You Can't Spell TSA without "Stupid!"

A mother and her five year old son went to get on a flight at Sea-Tac Airport. But because the kid's name was on the No-Fly List, he got the full-blown "You Might Be a Terrorist" treatment from the goons at the TSA.

There seems to be a real lack at the TSA of several things: "Discretion," "brains," and "common sense" would have to be very high on the list. This is the sort of event that just convinces people that the TSA is staffed full of badge-toting jack-booted morons.

The TSA and their inept overlords at DHS had better get a clue. This is still a democracy and if they piss enough people off, they will lose their phony-baloney jobs.

(H/T to BadTux)

Run Free or Die!

Cows with guns.

AmEx: Such a Deal We Have For You!

I received my quarterly offer in the mail today from American Express: They will give me an AmEx Gold Card with no annual fee for the first year and two free airline tickets if I charge $500 on the card in the first two months. (The annual fee is $150.)

First off, I have a couple of credit cards already. They have no annual fee, so I don't have to pay anybody $12.50/month for the dubious privilege of having their credit card. Besides that, just about every place with a credit card machine takes the two competitors to AmEx, not every merchant is willing to pay the higher fee to have the quote honor unquote to take AmEx.

And then there is the point that giving away free airline tickets is almost as enticing as getting a free week's lodging in the Black Hole of Calcutta.

I have to laugh at American Express's ads for their "small business" card. For instance, I've known a number of people who own small businesses and none of them need to order 450 tons of plaster or buy six tickets to Tokyo. That's just the sort of thing that someone running a bookstore or a diner needs to do, you bet!

More Bullshit From Willard Romney

So ol' RoboWillard stages a photo op with an unemployed single mother in Michigan to show that Mr. Helmut Hair really cares about people who are worth under $100 million.

Seems, though, that the unemployed single mom happens to be the mother of a Romney staff puke. A paid staff puke, at that.

So Willard had to drag in one of his minion's mothers in order to look as though he cares.


Gulf of Tonkin II

The attempt to gin up a reason to go to war against Iran was enough to get Admiral Mullen named the "Worst Person in the World"last night.

I don't visit too many of the Wingnut blogs. But even a few of those have dropped their Kool-Aid sippy cups and are making comments about "Gulf of Tonkin II" in terms that are not supportive of their Dear Monkey King.