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

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


On the other hand, the flick brought in $30 million in midnight showings alone.

Why Now?

In reading some of the coverage about the arrest this week of 11 Russian spies operating under deep cover, one question seems to be unanswered:

Why now? The FBI was on to them for a decade or so. They were carrying out covert searches of safe deposit boxes in 2001. There is no allegation that the spies were any threat or passing any classified information.

So why roll up the network now?

Republicans and Future Problems

Republicans keep working themselves into a lather over the possibility that Medicare and Social Security may be in financial trouble. Social Security is projected to be out of money in 27 years and the GOP is chomping at the bit to try and kill it off now.

But here is the thing: There are a whole gamut of long-term problems facing both this country, if not humanity in general, and for the vast majority of them, the Republicans/conservatives don't give a shit. Let's run down a short list:

Climate change.
Rising sea levels.
Ocean acidification.
Environmental degradation from oil and gas drilling.
Growing scarcity of fresh water.
Deforestation and desertification.
Disappearance of amphibian populations.
Mass extinction of species.
Persistent chemical pollution of the food chain.
Overfishing and the collapse of fish stocks.

For all of them, conservatives either issue a mighty yawn or they, the Chamber of Commerce and the affected industries scream that "the science is not proven", relying on the obstructionism trailblazed by the tobacco industry.

But only when they spy a chance to dismantle the social safety net which keeps old people from starving to death or dying quickly of preventable illnesses, do Republicans rouse themselves to bleat about the future.

Because, when you drill down to the core of conservative beliefs, they want to make this country into a modern feudal state where there are vast amounts of serfs, a tiny professional class (since serfs don't need the services of doctors, lawyers and accountants) and a class of rich oligarchs who run everything.

The real mystery is why so many people who are in the economic classes that are being targeted by the conservatives for extinction reliably vote for them.

"It's Wrong to Blame Bush, Because It's All Bill Clinton's Fault!"

Or it's Jimmy Carter's fault-- those are the official mantras of Fox News and the GOP. Jon Stewart, of course, has the details:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

George Was Mad About Something Last Night

He dropped little turds around my apartment last night like the Easter Bunny throwing out eggs. He has some amazing control of his bowels, he is able to drop a little turd here, a little turd there. Think of him as a disgusting Pez dispenser, only that the product comes out the other end.

Nothing since then, though. I gave him some chicken, so maybe that will mollify His Assholiness.

Is John Boehner (a) Racist; (b) Sexist; (c) Homphobic; or (d) All of the Above?

"They’re snuffing out the America that I grew up in," Boehner said.
Indeed we are.

The America that John Boehner grew up in was an America where African-American males were only farm hands or factory laborers, not as politicians, judges or American presidents. Women were housewives, secretaries and elementary school teachers, not Speakers of the House of Representatives. Gay men and lesbians were either deep in the closer or they were routinely being beaten by the cops, they weren't getting married or raising families. Hispanics were maids and lettuce-pickers, not entrepreneurs and TV stars.

I suspect that Boeher was engaging in the old GOP trick of dog-whistling to the racists.

But Boehner is right about one thing: The America he grew up in is gone and, if the GOP doesn't smarten up, so will his party. Maybe not in this election or the next, but his batshit racist base is aging out and when they do, the Grand Old Party will go the way of the Whigs.

One Thing About Red-Light and Speed Cameras

They catch everybody. Even the cops.

It is kind of hard for them to flash their tin and get "professional courtesy" from a robot. Poor babies. My heart bleeds for them, truly, it does.

John Boehner- Seditious Bastard

John Boehner is engaging in sedition, like many in his caucus:
"They’re snuffing out the America that I grew up in," [Rep. John] Boehner said. "Right now, we’ve got more Americans engaged in their government than at any time in our history. There’s a political rebellion brewing, and I don’t think we’ve seen anything like it since 1776."
Or he is an ignorant fool who should be watered twice a day.

What Boehner is conveniently ignoring is that the American Revolution was not a "political revolution", but an armed insurrection which started, not in 1776, but in 1775. This "1776" crap is either evidence of potted-plant-level ignorance or sedition.

What is is evidence of, as well, is that the Republican party has zero commitment to the concept of democracy. Their reaction to losing the White House in 2008 has run the gamut from being the Party of Aggrieved Toddlers to encouraging armed action against the government.

And as for all of those flag-waving conservatives, well, we've seen that their patriotism is as shallow and as durable as a summer puddle. For as soon as things don't go their way, they start strutting around and bleating about rebellion and shooting people.

Jumping Right Off the Fiscal Cliff

The Irish government followed the Pied Piper of Fiscal Austerity. And they are paying the price for it. Ireland is mired in a severe recession with no prospects of digging themselves out anytime soon because they listened to the deficit hawks and cut their spending.

They refuse to do anything to stimulate their economy, their people are suffering and their government is not only turning a deaf ear, their government is planning to ratchet up the pain. Because people see that coming, they are not willing to spend, they are saving more, and the economy spins further down the drain. And those who can are emigrating in search of employment.

Sort of like a fiscal equivalent of the potato famine, if you will.

But that is what conservatives love to do, they get their rocks off by making the people on the bottom 4/5th of the economic ladder suffer.

Monday, June 28, 2010


Chicago's handgun ban falls.

Practically, I don't know what the effect will be. Mayor Daley is an arrogant little fascist demigod sonovabitch who who does not believe that anything he wants to do is constrained by the law-- witness his midnight illegal destruction of Meigs Field if you want to see proof of that.

So anticipate that Hizzoner Da Mare will put "reasonable restriction" on handgun ownership that will make it virtually impossible to buy one (legally) and they will be right back in court all over again.


Pearls Before Swine, of course:

I'd be happy to see Rat take a flamethrower to "the Family Circus".

The Smell of Hypocrisy in the Morning

The governors of Gulf Coast states, most of whom have been relentless promoters of offshore drilling, issued proclamations urging people to pray for the Almighty to step in and stop BP's underwater gusher.

Meanwhile, Bobby Jindal has been kvetching about the offshore drilling moratorium and Haley Barbour has been complaining that the moratorium is "worse than the oil spill". That is when he hasn't been telling people that they should be coming to visit Mississippi because there's no oil there.

I've visited Mississippi. As far as I can see, the only reason to go to Mississippi is because an Interstate highway goes through it. Mississippi's main function in life is to give Georgians the ability to point and say "their schools are worse".[1] But I digress.

There is something deeply hypocritical about encouraging deep-water drilling and then, when it goes wrong, crying "who could have foreseen this ever happening" and then praying to G-d to "save us" from our own folly. Unlike a hurricane,[2] this is not a natural disaster or, as the insurance weasels put it, an "act of G-d". This disaster is 100% man-made and was caused by BP, a corporation whose culture encouraged disregarding safety protocols at every possible opportunity.

So, Barbour, Jindal and Perry, grab your log, surf's up!

[1]The unofficial state motto of Georgia is "Thank the Lord for Mississippi and Alabama".
[2] Even with hurricanes, man-made fuckery makes things worse. The destruction of the coastal marshes in Louisiana has made that state far more vulnerable to hurricanes and much of that destruction was caused by cutting channels to make things easier for the oil drillers.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Some People Need to Get a Frakkin' Life

Michael Jackson is dead. He's been dead for a year.

Get the fuck over it.

Move on.  Find another goddamned pop star or princess to obsess over.

"There is No Justice in Justice"-- Shakedowns With a Badge

Several days ago, Mule Breath wrote a blog post that municipalities are using increased fees and fines as back-door tax increases. Many jurisdictions are putting up "red light cameras" or "speed cameras" as a way to collect more fines.

In New York, where I live, the state fee for renewing a car registration jumped from $50 for two years to $110. If you get a traffic ticket, the state slaps a "mandatory surcharge" of $85 on the violation.

None of this is new. When I was a kid, the village of Justice, Illinois had a well-deserved reputation for using traffic violations as a major budget tool. In Ohio, if you have to fly into Cleveland and you rent a car at the airport, you might have become acquainted with the pissant village of Linndale. Linndale has maybe 200 yards of I-71 running through it and the biggest revenue source in the village was from traffic tickets given out on I-71. Cleveland Heights was almost as bad, except there was no interstate running through the town, so they had to make do with things such as dropping the speed limit on a 4-lane road to 25mph.[1]

In one sense, the argument that "they're breaking the law, what is wrong with fining them" is true. But this is, of course, a false argument, for almost none of it is about enforcing the law. It is all about money. It is all about raising revenue. The cameras come down when they don't make any money, which proves the point.

The more corrosive point is that the use of law enforcement to generate more revenue for town and state coffers results in a lessening regard for law enforcement. Everyone knows what is going on-- the cops are being used as tax collectors. Everyone knows that the reason for the cameras and the crackdowns have far more to do with the fact that governments are too frightened to come right out and say "we either have to cut services or we have to raise taxes". So they add in fees and fines and hope to make it up,in part, that way.

It is not all evil intent, of course. In hard times, people do make more use of local government services, especially parks and libraries. They have to be maintained and those costs aren't going down, either.

But it is high time that the citizenry in this country grow the fuck up and face the fact that if they want local services, those services have to be paid for in some manner. Let's be up-front about it and let's stop using the cops as tax collectors.

[1]Cleveland Heights also had parking meters that unaccountably would run a little fast. The fuckers set the fines low, though, to make sure that most people would pay. What happened, of course, is a lot of locals shopped elsewhere, where they didn't have to worry about the meters running out.

Why You Should Not Finance Your Car Through the Dealership

Because, in the new financial reform bill, the automobile dealers retained their ability to fuck you over eight ways from Sunday.

What gets me, though, is that banks get to continue doing what they have been doing since the Senator for UBS Bank and his wife managed to gut all regulation of derivatives. They only have to set up "separate operations" for the derivative trading.

You can bet your last kopeck that the banksters will figure out how to continue on doing what they want to do. And the next time the shit hits the fan, this whole shell game will be repeated: The government will bail them out and millions will lose their jobs in a recession or the government won't bail them out and tens of millions will lose their jobs in a depression and we'll be lucky if the Republic survives.

The latter scenario, of course, is exactly what the party of Hoover has been working to achieve for the last 110 years.

Friday, June 25, 2010

What, No In-Flight Beverage Service?

A reporter went for a ride with Sean Tucker.

The work that the newspaper put into producing this video report is impressive, it's better than a lot of network news reports.

You Do Not Own Land, You Only License It

Oh, you may think you own your home or your farm, but if the government decides that it wants to kick you out, it will. And that reason still can be "because we like this other entity more than we like you."

In this case, it is Columbia University, which has gotten the State of New York to throw people out of their businesses.

Private ownership of real estate is a legal fiction. You "own" real estate because the governments (local, state and federal) permit you to use the land that they regard as theirs, and they will take it back from you if it damn well suits them.

"I Went to the Fights and a Kindergarten Graduation Broke Out!"

Two women have been arrested following a parents' brawl that interrupted a Southern California kindergarten graduation ceremony, authorities said.

We Should Have Let the Germans Have the Goddamned Country in 1917

Seriously. When Wilson was informed in 1917 that the British Empire would have to capitulate to the Kaiser in six weeks if the US didn't enter the war, he should have said "It sucks to be you."

This is why:
A grandmother has been jailed for five years for possessing a "family heirloom" World War II pistol.

Gail Cochrane, 53, had kept the gun for 29 years following the death of her father, who had been in the Royal Navy.

Police found the weapon, a Browning self-loading pistol, during a search of her home in Dundee while looking for her son.


Judge Lady Smith said: "I am not satisfied that a reasonable explanation has been put forward for not handing this gun into the authorities throughout the 29-year period she says she has had it in her possession."

The judge said she was unable to find herself satisfied that this was one of the rare cases in which exceptional circumstances existed.

She said: "The result is I have no alternative but to sentence Mrs Cochrane to a period of five years."
I have little doubt that Mayor Bloomberg wanted to send a case of champagne to that judge.


ICE to Passengers: Drop Dead

That is the subtext of ICE's refusal to let the passengers get off an airplane that had to divert to Bradley Airport.
The pilot on a Virgin Atlantic flight that spent several hours on the tarmac after being diverted to Connecticut had asked for permission to unload the stranded passengers, but a customs official threatened to have them arrested if they did, the airline said Thursday.
Customs is denying the story. Of course they are and I believe their denials like I believe that Dick Cheney has a soul.

The Lesser-Commented Part of the McChrystal Meltdown Piece: "We're Fucking Losing This Thing"

In the brouhaha over the insubordination of General McChrystal and his staff that was published in the Rolling Stone article, most commentators seemed to pass over the subject that the soldiers on the ground are also angry about the war is being handled and, for that, they blame McChrystal.
But however strategic they may be, McChrystal's new marching orders have caused an intense backlash among his own troops. Being told to hold their fire, soldiers complain, puts them in greater danger. "Bottom line?" says a former Special Forces operator who has spent years in Iraq and Afghanistan. "I would love to kick McChrystal in the nuts. His rules of engagement put soldiers' lives in even greater danger. Every real soldier will tell you the same thing."
"Fuck, when I came over here and heard that McChrystal was in charge, I thought we would get our fucking gun on," says [SSgt Kenneth] Hicks, who has served three tours of combat. "I get COIN. I get all that. McChrystal comes here, explains it, it makes sense. But then he goes away on his bird, and by the time his directives get passed down to us through Big Army, they're all fucked up – either because somebody is trying to cover their ass, or because they just don't understand it themselves. But we're fucking losing this thing."
If the brass cannot sell the strategy to the troops whose job it is to do the dirty work on the ground, then all we are doing is dragging it out.

We had 25,000 KIA in Vietnam between the time that it was recognized that we had lost the war and the time that Nixon arranged his "surrender with honor." Are we going to be as stupid and get a lot more people killed as we fumble for the exits?

Another Goodie from QOTD

George Orwell:
The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.
Some things never change.


The Medical Mining of the Elderly

That is what goes on in too many cases: Doctors doing procedures to make money, not for any sense of best interest in their patients.

I've seen this happen within my own extended family, where doctors recommend procedures or invasive tests that will ultimately accomplish nothing. My favorite was the doctor who wanted to do a colonoscopy to check for colon cancer on a relative who had metastatic, inoperable and untreatable lung cancer.

I have been to far too many dry-eye funerals, where the deceased had passed from a lingering illness or condition and where everyone was relieved that the suffering of both the departed and their families was over.

Modern medicine is largely to blame for that.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Our Police State

There may not be much to argue about anymore. When a corporation, such as BP, uses the police as their private goon squad, it's hard to argue against the proposition of this writer that the U.S. is already a police state.

I think BadTux is correct when he argues that the reason why this has come about is because the American people largely are just peachy with the concept of living in a police state. Since, arguably, the average person inadvertently commits three felonies a day (and the prosecutors don't give a shit if there was any criminal intent), the only reason that there are not 200+million people in prison is because there aren't enough prisons.

Indeed, I would not be surprised to learn that one of the more well-funded opponents of any attempt to reform drug laws or reduce the prison population will be the private prison corporations, whose own rice bowels are threatened by such reform.

If there is one man who, above all others, is responsible for this sad state of affairs, it is Richard Nixon.

One Thing You Can Count On With Electronics These Days

They always seem to get both better and cheaper. For example, Amazon cut the price of a basic Kindle by 70 bucks.

My first printer was a HP DeskJet. It printed only in black, printed at about two pages a minute, and cost $700 in 1988 dollars. That's about $1,250 or so in today's money and for that price, you can probably get a color laser printer that will print out a page a second and that will also scan, copy, fax, brew a mean cup of coffee and perform decent oral sex.

Larry in the 4th Grade

For the teachers who read this blog, from Pearls Before Swine, this is the story so far:

You're on your own after this.

As far as I'm concerned, PBS is one of the best comic strips today, rivaled only by Non Sequitur.

Quote of the Day

Ambrose Bierce:
What is a democrat? One who believes that the republicans have ruined the country. What is a republican? One who believes that the democrats would ruin the country.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What's Wrong With the Sun?

Nobody is really sure.

Might As Well Refer to Them As the GOBPP

The folks in the Grand Old British Petroleum Party are going to keep Joe Barton in his post a minority head of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Which means that if the GOBPP (or "BPP", for short) take control of the House, that noted BP apologist will be in charge of that committee.

Barton un-apologized for apologizing for apologizing to BP. But then he un-un-apologized.

(Man, if the Democrats can't make hay out of all this, they might as well go off themselves.)

The Posters That Need to Be Over Every Senior Officer's Desk

Or, to be less coarse, this one:

Or this one

As well as torpedoing careers.

If You Hear Later Today About "Woman Struck By Lightening In Upstate NY"...

... it was probably me. My lunch includes a sandwich made of matzo and shaved ham.

That's probably asking for it.


Pearls Before Swine:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Gen. McChrystal

If he has any integrity left, he should walk into the Oval Office, salute the President, take off his stars, place them on the table, salute and leave.

Article 88 of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice:
Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Transportation, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.
Some of his staff needs to follow suit.

What McChrystal did when he and his staff got boozed up and ran their mouths off to a reporter was not small beer. McChrystal and his staff made the case they could for the way they wanted to conduct the war. If it's not going they way that they want, they have two choices: Resign their commissions or do their jobs. Bitching about the president, any president, and his team is nothing short of gross insubordination.

It's a hell of a thing to end a long career by this sort of fuckup. But the responsibility for that rests on McChrystal's shoulders. Shit-canning his press aide before his own rug-dance was pretty classless.

The Last Time I Checked, It's Not the Job of the Boss to "Get Along" With His Staff

So why does that notorious Republican idiot, Eric Cantor, think that it is President Obama's job to make nice with his generals?

But we know that the party of Hoover is very much against civilian control of the military, but only when a Democrat is president. When a Republican is president, they will use every trapping possible to reinforce the idea that their guy is the commander-in-chief. Even it if means changing everyone else's job title.

Circle-Jerkular Logic

Jon Stewart looks at the Republicans who are trying to furiously distance themselves from their belief that making a corporation pay for its misdeeds is just wrong:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Day 62 - The Strife Aquatic
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Stephen Colbert looked at it as well:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Joe Barton's Misconstrued Misconstruction
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorFox News

The de facto leader of the GOP isn't backing down from the "shakedown" point of view, which is also widely held by Republicans.

The Republican party's view of "hooray for corporations and fuck you" is on full-throated display and shame on the Democrats if they can't make political hay of the point that if the Republicans were in charge, the taxpayers would be largely footing the costs of BP's oil spill.

How Much Did The Lawyers Bill For That Letter?

ThinkGeek had an April's Fools advertisement for canned unicorn meat. They called it "the new white meat".

The National Pork Board had their crackerjack lawyers send a lengthy "cease and desist" letter, claiming trademark infringement.


LockMart is Fucking Over the Taxpayers (So What Else is New)

The news that LockMart's the FAA's "next generation airspace" program is turning into a $40 billion boondoggle doesn't surprise Don Brown in the slightest.

Or me. LockMart's been treating the FAA as one of their personal ATMs for years, now.

All as a certain president once foresaw.

Hey, It Worked for NCIS!

ICE is rolling out a spiffy PR campaign to gloss over the fact that they run black-site Constitution-free prisons within the United States. Their new motto is along the lines of "ICE: We Do More Than Abuse Immigrants."

It might work. It took only one hit TV show for NCIS to build its reputation though, to be fair, it was pretty much only in the Navy that people had known of NCIS or its reputation of being the Navy's master workshop of cover-up artists (which they are still very good at).

On the other hand, even having a huge `60s TV hit series didn't help the FBI when it later came to light that, under their long-time closet-case of a director, the FBI was little more than a fascist goon squad that worked to entrench him in power. The TV show was kind of forgotten once it came out that the FBI had little regard for the Constitution and the FBI paid the price for it.

Hell, the FBI still, from time to time, engages in trying to frame innocent people for high-profile crimes and some of their ancient fuckery, such as the decades' long imprisonment of innocent men in Boston in order to protect Whitey Bulger (and covering up for him when he killed people), is still coming to light. Where the FBI looks good is only because their agents refused to get involved with torturing people.

TV can't always help; the Department of Homeland Stupidity was involved in a show, "Homeland Security", that sank faster than a bar of lead tossed into a pond.

PR campaigns are a sign of inability to fix structural problems, which is why BP spent over $50 million in PR after its well began spewing crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. ICE's attempted makeover is putting lipstick on a very large and very ugly pig.

Foot in Mouth Disease

Not a pretty thing when a four-star general is involved.

I don't think it was "poor judgment". I think McChrystal knew exactly what he said. He's been called back for a rug-dance. Even if he survives this gaffe in his current post, if McChrystal has ambitions of going further in the Army, he's done. Generals get fired for this shit. We can suffer the consequences of losing this piss-ant war. We cannot suffer the consequences of undermining the principle of civilian control of the armed forces, regardless of how much the Republicans will bleat and moan about this (as they did nearly sixty years ago).

Or they're supposed to get fired for this shit. Time was that McChrystal would be given an engraved revolver in a felt-lined wooden box and there would be only one round in the cartridge block.

He should do the right thing and fall on his sword. If not, he should be relieved and send off to be the Army liaison officer to the military detachment at the former NAS Adak.

Conservatives Around the World

It seems that they all hate freedom of speech, at least when what is being talked about is something that they disagree with. In Japan, the conservatives have used threats of violence to scare theaters from not showing "The Cove."

Different country's wingnuts, same old shit.

Monday, June 21, 2010

If You Want to Smoke, Step Outside

The smoking lamp in submarines will be out as of 1/1/11.

Who Really Gives a Shit?

As much as I've bashed BP's CEO Tony Hayward for being an out-of-touch Pom, I think it is going a little too far because he went to a yacht race. So he took a day off from shoving his foot into his mouth. Big whoop.

A Good Man

As regular readers of this blog know, I don't have much truck with organized religion. For reasons of family history and the overall history of my people, I really am not terribly fond of the Catholic Church.

There are some good people who work that beat, though. This is an article about one of them.

Rube Goldberg Squirrel

What the fuck?

Did the FAA Drop The Ball, Too?

To Hell with the alphabet groups, I wonder if the FAA knew about this.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Oh, Imaginary Friend In the Sky, Save Us From Our Fuckups

That's, in essence, the idea of the Louisiana State Senate: Pray to G-d for a miracle to save the Gulf Coast from human folly.

If the Almighty even answered the plea, I would expect an answer from Him (or Her) along the lines of "All y'all got yourselves into this mess, you get yourselves out of it." The state government in Louisiana has been very, very accommodating to the oil and gas industry and their legislative delegation in Washington has bent over backwards to do the bidding of those folks and to make sure that any bothersome regulations are minimized or removed entirely.

Humans have free will for a reason. We were entrusted with it and, when we make a hash of our choices, it's not the job of the King of the Universe to save us from our own stupidity.

Yet Another Lying Bit of Fear-Mongering From the GOP

The Republican Party has specialized in baseless fear-mongering for decades. Their latest bit is "zOMG!!1!, Teh Illegal Aliens Will Kill Us In Our Bedz!!1"[1]

Turns out when the FBI looked at the crime statistics, for the border region of Arizona, it's just not true. Not that the truth will matter a shit to the Teabaggers and the party of Hoover. Nope, not in the slighest.

[1]Any apparent similarity between the Republicans' screaming about "immigrants causing crimes" and the anti-Catholic hysteria of the 19th Century and the dog-whistling of the Republicans' racist "Southern Strategy" is purely coincidental, and you should be deeply ashamed of yourself for believing that the GOP is a party based largely on racism and bigotry. {snork}

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Give Him Hell, Joe

Joe Biden unloads on Joe Barton:

Other Apologies in the Joe Barton Tradition

Randolph Scott would like to apologize to South Dakota Rep. Bill Janklow for having the nerve to be riding a motorcycle on the road when Janklow blew through a stop sign at 70MPH and killed Scott.

Konerak Sinthasomphone would like to apologize to Jeffry Dahmer for having the nerve to try to escape when Dahmer had plans to kill and eat him.

The nations of Poland, Holland, Denmark, Czechoslovakia, France, Belgium, Norway, Greece, Finland and the former Yugoslavia and Soviet Union would like to apologize to Germany for not being hospitable to large German tour groups from 1939 through 1945.

The people of Bhopal, India would like to apologize to Union Carbide for having the temerity to live near UC's poisonous factory.

The residents of Buffalo Creek Hollow would like to apologize to the Pittston Coal Company for having the impudence to live downstream of one of Pittston Coal's dumping site.

Did the Aviation Alphabet Groups Drop the Ball?

I have seen nothing from AOPA or EAA which said that the FCC was going to outlaw 121.5MHz ELTs.[1] But the FAA has done just that(look at page 10 of this PDF), prohibiting the manufacture, import, sale or use of 121.5MHz ELTs. FAR 91.207 requires most airplanes to have ELTs installed. The FCC is doing this to force all airplanes to install 406MHz ELTs and because, after all, they're not the ones who have to pay for it.

There are something like 200,000+ airplanes and helicopters in the U.S. that have ELTs and I'll bet that 95% of them do not have the newer 406MHz ELTs installed. Those things are costly, a thousand dollars for the simplest ones (most are closer to two grand), and that does not include installation, which can run hundreds more.

Note also that there is one 121.5MHz emergency beacon still legal for use, and that is the Breitling watch. The reason for that has to be some degree of government fuckery.

[1]ELTs are emergency radio beacons that are supposed to go off after a crash, assuming that there wasn't a post-crash fire or that the impact wasn't bad enough to smash the ELT to bits. In most cases that I am aware of, the ELTs served to guide rescuers to the crash sites before the bodies had been fully consumed by carrion eaters.


I hadn't intended to do a caturday this week. But then I glanced over and saw Jake cuddled up to his stuffed bear.  His head is resting on the bear's belly, his eyes are closed and he is purring away.

Gracie is bored.  She also fell asleep a few minutes later.

George is off somewhere.  He'll show up when I get into bed.

Friday, June 18, 2010

DBP- Still Engaging in Fuckery

Yes, folks, even though they haven't been in the press much as of late, the Department of Homeland Stupidity, err Security, is engaging its trademarked brand of fuckery.

DHS is using helicopters to make certain that people canoeing down the St. Croix River camp on the proper side of the river. No word as to whether or not they are patrolling in gunships and will strafe errant campers, but I wouldn't put it past them, since they seem to take their cues from the East German Grenztruppen. (H/T)

Meanwhile, Ancient Pistol has been nominated to be the head of the TSA.

Joe Lieberman Hates Your Freedom

Which is why that sawed-off fascist, Traitor Joe, wants to give the Executive Branch the legal right to shut down the entire Internet any damn time they feel like it.

Because it is too dangerous for those in power when the sheeple have the ability to fact-check them.

It makes sense, though, the politicians would hate the Internet. Without the Internet, George Allen would be one of the senators from Virginia. There's the one Democrat from NC who is in hot water for man-handling a kid who tried to interview him. There was a Republican in NY a few years ago who lost after she was videoed running away from reporters who were asking her what she knew about the Mark Foley page scandal and when she knew it. Harry Reid would have a different challenger. Joe Barton's apology to BP will live forever on YouTube.

Let's face the truth: Every politician out there hates the Internet, because there are so many voices and they can't spin them all. They would rather have a few traditional media outlets that they can manage to spin. So it is no surprise that one of the more vigorous enemies of freedom and liberty, Joe Lieberman, would be pushing this idea of giving the American president the ability to shut down the Internet.


Summer Movies

Killers seems to be the Gigli of the summer.

What is up this summer with pumping out variations of True Lies? Next to come out is Knight and Day. They're advertising the shit out of it, which I never take as a good sign.

Quote of the Day

"I had an insurmountable object to overcome in [my] presidential bid and that was the inherent wisdom and good judgment of the American people." -- Fred Thompson, former senator and presidential candidate in 2008 on the Daily Show last night.

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Why A Lot of People Think That the Title of "School Administrator" is Analogous to "Fucking Retard"

First, in Rhode Island, a kid made a hat that was decorated with an American flag and little green army men. The hat was banned because the toy soldiers were carrying tiny guns.

Second, crossing the continent to Vancouver, a school principal had a kid's photo cut out (as in they took scissors and cut out the photo) from the copies of the yearbook because the principal took issue with the write-up that the kid had run with his photo. As Calvin's Mom put it, the principal "reacted with all the class and savoir-faire of a pre-teen Mean Girl riding her very first rag, adhesive-side up."

When they hire someone as a school administrator, do they either lobotomize them or do they scramble their brains like a pithed frog?

Talk About A "Shakedown"

Congressman Joe Barton apologized this morning to British Petroleum's CEO Tony Hayward because BP agreed to kick in $20 billion for a damages fund this morning. Barton said that BP had been "shaken down" by President Obama.

Well, that caused a firestorm of outrage and now Barton is apologizing for apologizing and he is trying to walk his first apology back.

Barton was shaken down by the leadership of the GOP which threatened to strip him of his plum committee job
, the one that he uses to get hundreds of thousands of dollars in "campaign contributions" from the oil and gas industry.

Barton apologized so fast that one might have thought that either he was a Democrat or that he had said something less than nice about Oxycontin Radio Boy.


This was an IBM magnetic drum drive; the drum had about two dozen magnetic discs. It weighed over a ton.

Its capacity was, for the time, an astonishing 5Mb. It was part of a computer that IBM would lease for $3,200 a month (nearly $25,000/month in today's money).

Cat Blogging

George received a temporary membership in Triple-A in yesterday's mail.

I imagine that they don't know that he is both underage and that he would have problems passing the written test, because he is illiterate. He couldn't reach the pedals, either.

And oh yes, he's a frakking cat!

There is probably some statutory provision about non-humans being ineligible to drive in New York State. They seem to have statutory provisions for everything else.

I Would Concur With This...

...but I've not seen any of the "Twilight" movies. I don't intend to.

I'd probably have about the same reaction that I did when I saw "Das Boot"; I cheered every time the sub was depth-charged.

The Fat of the Land

It is becoming a national security issue. 27% of all young adults are too fat to qualify for military service. In 39 states, the military-aged adults are either overweight or obese. It is over 50% in Kentucky, Mississippi and Alabama.

When I was a kid, physical fitness was a high priority in schools, a priority that was established by the Kennedy Administration and, I believe, funded by Federal money. PT class was mandatory all the way through high school.

Of course, we need to have some sense about it; we don't need people who look as though they just walked out of a concentration camp.

(Insert old USN saying: "I wouldn't fuck her with your dick" here.) 

But for reasons of both health care costs and national security, we need to get this trend of being a nation of lard-asses reversed.

We Elected the Wrong Democrat

Rachel Maddow for President!

There is one gaffe that will please the Birthers no end, look for it.

Blathering About Energy Independence.

For almost 40 years and across eight presidential administrations.

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We are so screwed.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Questions for You New Jersey Drivers

Is there some sort of weird law in your state that mandates that you drive five miles an hour under the speed limit in the left-hand lane of a highway and twenty-five miles an hour over the speed limit in the right-hand lane of a highway?

Or are all you just a pack of drooling, uncaring, mannerless idiots who drive cars because balancing on bicycles is beyond your meager abilities?

Are All of the Executives of BP Tone-Deaf Imbeciles?

I have to wonder about that. I'll bet this quote goes over well:
[The chairman of BP, Carl-Henric] Svanberg said that it was clear from the meeting Wednesday at the White House that the president was “frustrated because he cares about the small people,” he said. “And we care about the small people. I hear comments sometimes that large oil companies are greedy companies or don’t care. But that is not the case indeed. We care about the small people.”
On a substantive note, BP has agreed to set up a $20 billion dollar fund to pay for damages and costs from their little disaster and to help fund that, they are not paying dividends.

Let's see how many Republicans that I can find who are decrying the fact that BP, rather than the government or the "small people" are bearing the burden of BP's fuckup. Staring the clock.. now.

Michele Bachmann, for one. That figures. It's everyone else's fault that they were trying to make a living by fishing in or having tourism businesses along the same body of water that she apparently thinks that the oil companies have a G-d-given right to pollute.

Haley Barbour also has BP's back; it's a damn shame in his eyes that BP will have to set aside money to cover the costs of its spill.

Six minutes to find two predictable nutjobs on this. I must be slipping.

UPDATE: Add Congressman Joe Barton to the list of Loyal Defenders of British Petroleum. Barton doesn't want to live in a country that forces corporations to cough up cash to compensate the victims of their acts. He can follow the other Loyalists and leave, then.

Arresting the Banksters

It's a start:
The former boss of the now bankrupt US lender Taylor, Bean & Whitaker (TBW) has been charged with 16 counts of fraud, worth more than $1.9bn (£1.3bn).

Lee Farkas, who was chief executive and then chairman of TBW, was accused of trying to misappropriate money from banks and federal institutions.
I deidn't see this in any American media sources.

Tea Party Candidates are Such Fragile Flowers

They cannot handle questions from reporters. All questions have to be submitted in writing and be pre-screened by their staffs to make sure that the delicate sensibilities of the Teabagging candidates are not offended.

Because they might get the vapours and faint. Or say something stupid.

Why do they hate freedom?

Fleeing Rats

Just like ol' Robert Vesco and Marc Rich, the corrupt rats from the Chimpy Years are fleeing the country.
Sources close to Blackwater and its secretive owner Erik Prince claim that the embattled head of the world's most infamous mercenary firm is planning to move to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Middle Eastern nation, a major hub for the US war industry, has no extradition treaty with the United States. In April, five of Prince's top deputies were hit with a fifteen-count indictment by a federal grand jury on conspiracy, weapons and obstruction of justice charges. Among those indicted were Prince's longtime number-two man, former Blackwater president Gary Jackson, former vice presidents William Matthews and Ana Bundy and Prince's former legal counsel Andrew Howell.


While Prince has not personally been charged with any crimes, federal investigators and several Congressional committees clearly have his company and inner circle in their sights. The Nation learned of Prince's alleged plans to move to the UAE from three separate sources.
I assume that his lawyers have looked into whether the UAE is a signatory nation to the International Criminal Court, which is why he is reportedly planning to move there. Presumably he can continue to make big donations to the party of Hoover from the UAE. Whether he has thought about if it is a good idea for the president of a company which earned its reputation from slaughtering women and children in a Muslim nation to flee to a nominally Islamic nation is another question.

Don't let the screen door hit you on the way out, Erik.

A Seven Year Cruise

To an asteroid and back.

Hats off to JAXA!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Yeah, Well, We've Suspected As Much For Some Time

Soccer Officially Announces It Is Gay

Probably All Too True

funny graphs and charts
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Do zombies have working taste buds?

Traitor Joe and the Republicans Have the Oil Companys' Backs,
Or They Don't Give a Frak About the Deficit.

Or both. For when it came time to vote on a measure to repeal a smallish tax break for the oil industry, Traitor Joe, the senators from the party of Hoover and a few other Democrats voted to kill the bill.

Look at the vote (a "nay" vote is a vote to kill it) and you'll see some surprising senators who stood up for the oil industry. John Kerry. Chris Dodd. Why the hell are they standing up for BP, Exxon and Shell?

It wasn't that big of a tax break, either, maybe $3.5 billion a year.

It just goes to show, though, that when it come to doing anything to tackle the deficit, the Congress is going to put the burden on the backs of the middle class and the working poor.

Which is why you've probably seen a lot of chatter on the blogs over the last few days about how the Republicans are trying to build momentum to having the Federal government default on the national debt. For the Republicans know that the ensuing economic chaos will destroy the middle class and greatly expand the ranks of the working poor. Oh, the rich will take their lumps, but at the end of the day, they'll be, by comparison, far richer.

Which, after all, is what the party of Hoover has been pushing for ever since the end of the 1890s.

If Being Hit By Lightning is an "Act of G-d"

Then how do you suppose that the Christian Taliban explains this one:
A six-story-tall statue of Jesus Christ with his arms raised along a highway was struck by lightning in a thunderstorm Monday night and burned to the ground, police said.

The "King of Kings" statue, one of southwest Ohio's most familiar landmarks, had stood since 2004 at the evangelical Solid Rock Church along Interstate 75 in Monroe, just north of Cincinnati.

The lightning strike set the statue ablaze around 11:15 p.m., Monroe police dispatchers said.

UPDATE: The porn shop across the street and its billboard were not touched. Some folks had nicknamed the statue "Touchdown Jesus" because its arms were upraised. But since the statute was only of the upper torso of Jesus, thus making it appear that he was digging his way out of the ground, should it not have been called "Zombie Jesus"?

Nut Jobs With Weapons

Some clown from California, armed with a sword, a handgun and carrying a book of Christian teachings, was arrested in Pakistan. He was on a solo quest to find and kill bin Ladin.

Two clowns with guns in their car and no base pass tried to drive onto McGill AFB. What made them think that they could just drive onto a military base as though it was a state park?

PS General Slocum Fire- 106 Years Ago Today

The paddle-steamer General Slocum caught fire and burned in the East River 106 years ago today. The ship was a wooden sidewheel-paddle excursion steamer. She had been chartered by a German immigrant church group. 1,021 people were known to have perished in the greatest disaster in New York City during the 20th Century.

The lifeboats had apparently never been moved from their davits in the 13 years since the ship was built; they were painted in place and some say wired. The life-jackets were filled with inferior cork and were also original to the ship. Most of the life-jackets were rotted, the outside of the life-jackets was canvas, and they fell apart. Others, allegedly, were filled with cork fragments and were too light to pass the initial inspection, so they were weighed down with iron bars.

In popular culture, the burning of the PS General Slocum was soon overshadowed by the sinking of the RMS Titanic, which had a far more glamorous passenger list,and, to be frank about it, as time wore on and after two world wars, not too many people could get worked up by the deaths of a bunch of Germans. So don't expect to see Leonardo DiCaprio trying to shelter his sweetie from the advancing flames as the ship burns.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Question For You Defict Hawk Conservatives

What are you willing to give up? What programs of importance to the Right are you willing to sacrifice or scale back drastically?

This question came to me when I watched Tim Pawlenty on the Daily Show last week.

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Pawlenty talked about how an eighth grader could see that the Federal government was out of whack. Passing over the point that we don't let junior high school kids vote for a damned good reason, all Pawlenty could talk about was cutting social programs. Jon Stewart asked Pawlenty was willing to see crop subsidies cut. Pawlenty tried to dodge the question and run out the clock, but Stewart didn't let him and Pawlenty finally said, no, he didn't want to cut crop subsidies.

(Stewart also got Pawlenty to concede that one of the reason that the budget deficits are larger now is that the wars have been moved onto the books.)

I've not yet run across a conservative who is unwilling to cut social programs that help people. I've not yet run into one who advocates cuts in the defense budget. Conservatives are all in favor of cutting agencies that monitor the fuckery of corporations but are unwilling to cut law enforcement or prisons.

If you are not willing to cut deeply into programs that are near and dear to your own constituency's interests, then your concern about the budget deficit is just eyewash.

One CEO and One Company That is Very Grateful for BP

Don Blankenship and Massey Coal, for starters. Nobody's mentioning them anymore.

Massey Coal is every bit the environmental outlaw that BP is. But Massey Coal only kills miners and is only turning West Virginia and Kentucky into a fair imitation of a Martian landscape, so most people don't give a shit.

How to Tell a Rich Neighborhood From a Poor One

In some Massachusetts towns, just drive down the streets after dark. Rich ones have streetlights.

Other parts of the country have the same thing. In Chicago, if you live in a Republican neighborhood, a snowplow is a rare sight. In a lot of places in the Lands of the Teabaggers, the color of the roads is inversely proportional to the color of the residents.

A Modest Proposal On Drone Operations in American Airspace

Lots of people, it seems, want to operate pilotless drones in American airspace.

I will agree, on one proviso: If there is a collision between a manned aircraft and a drone and there are fatalities involved, then the drone operator would be killed, right then and there. No trial, no appeal, no finding of fault, just "somebody dies, you also die." The drone operator would assume the same risk faced by any other pilot.

If that's not acceptable, then don't fly the frakking drones.

Quote of the Day - Prime Cut of Snark

From Balloon Juice:
This is rich: an op-ed in today’s Times advises the Obama administration to be less partisan and more ethical in its political dealings. It’s written by Richard Painter, chief White House ethics lawyer for the Bush administration from 2005 to 2007.

I’m guessing that was a part time job.
Or a no-show job.


I suspect that the mining in Afghanistan will end up being heavy on machinery and won't be deep-rock labor-intensive, unless the Afghans import Chinese miners to do it for them.

Whatever, we're probably talking a decade or more before minerals start coming out of Afghanistan in any significant amount. There are no railroads worth a crap in the country. 99% of the roads are dirt tracks that would not have rated a second glace in the days of the Mongols.

No Blood for Lithium?

If you thought that we were leaving Afghanistan anytime soon, think again:
The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself, according to senior American government officials.

The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium — are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe.

An internal Pentagon memo, for example, states that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and BlackBerrys.
Russia not far to the north, China to the east, no, we're not leaving Afghanistan.

I have to wonder, though, if the New York Times has rehired Judith Miller, since they seem to be once again carrying water for the Pentagon.

Hubris and BP

On the day he got news that the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig caught fire in the Gulf of Mexico, BP chief executive Tony Hayward received a series of crisis updates in his London offices. The rig belonged to Transocean, but BP had leased it to drill an exploration well and BP bore legal responsibility for any consequences.

The grim updates were interspersed with long silences. One person there said that on several occasions, Hayward asked, "What did we do to deserve this?"
Gee, that's hard to say. Maybe it is the corporate culture that put safety as the least important concern. Maybe it was the flagrant disregard for drilling protocols. Maybe it was the mindset that they could just disregard good practices because the blowout preventer would stop anything bad from happening. Maybe it's been the constant attempts since then to lie about the scale of what has been going on, the attempts to cheap-out on cleanup and gaining control of the blowout, and the still-continuing-on actions by BP to hinder news collection. BP has, in the space of two months, become the modern corporate poster child for arrogance and a mindset that rules are for the other guys to follow.

In some ways, though, for all of the blame and faint regard as "the British Polluters" that BP is richly earning, their mindset is far from unique. I see it in the Northeast every Winter and I have since SUVs began appearing in numbers nearly 20 years ago. It seems that after each significant snowstorm, that you can drive down the highway and see the wreckers hauling SUVs from the median, from the ditches along the highway and even from off guardrails. The drivers of those things think that they are like tanks and they have a mindset of invulnerability that will be proven wrong, to their cost.

The same thing began to happen on wet roads when ABS brakes first came out; some drivers stopped being cautious and thought that the new magic brakes would prevent them from crashing. Which they didn't; the brakes only made it more likely that they would crash head-on into whatever they hit, rather than while spinning around.

There have been more than one case of pilots selecting a direct course on their GPSs and then slaving that to the autopilot without due consideration of the terrain between the point of departure and their destination. The same mindset was probably one of the causes of the Chernobyl disaster, for all I know.

Relying on safety devices to save the day is a bit of human folly. Those devices are not there to be the primary guardians, they are there as back-ups. BP's attitude in its daily practices was like wearing steel-toed shoes and routinely dropping heavy weights on one's foot.

It doesn't take any significant degree of smarts to know this. BP's actions were like letting a child play with matches because the house has smoke detectors installed. BP is reaping what it sowed, but they are far from alone.

From Quotes of the Day

QOTD is an e-mail service which sends out a daily e-mail of quotations from notable people. Today's was from Harriet Beecher Stowe and this one was among them:
When you get in a tight place and everything goes against you till it seems as though you could not hold on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the time and the place the tide will turn.
Or, on the other hand, that's the point where you're going to get overrun and everyone in your unit will wind up being slaughtered, so you'd better have your extraction route planned out. Air support wouldn't hurt any, either.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Difference Between "Punditocracy" and "Idiocracy"

It would seem to be pretty thin.

Exhibit A: A piece by John Blake of CNN about why President Obama is not showing visible anger with regard to BP's oil catastrophe.

First off, the "white people are afraid of angry Black males" has to be about the stupidest, if not racist columns written by anyone other than Pat Buchanan.

Second, I've worked for bosses who were screamers and bosses who were not. One lesson I learned is that face-red, vein-popping screaming accomplishes nothing. Things that are broken don't respond to being yelled at.

Third, bosses who scream will end up being given the mushroom treatment[1] by everyone who works for them. Why give bad news to a boss who is going to react by screaming? Better to try and fix the problem or, if it can't be fixed, sweep it under the rug. If the boss ever finds out, you'll still be screamed at.

Those who are criticizing Obama for not going "enough is enough, I have had it with this motherfucking oil in the motherfucking Gulf" are idiots. No surprise that you can find them on cable news.

[1]The mushroom treatment- "Keep them in the dark and feed them shit."

The Shortest Book in the World

I was in BJ's and saw a book on Vampireology on sale, some crap about "a true history of the fallen" or some shit like that.

It's probably all blank pages, other than the first page, which should say: "Vampires are fictional. Get over it."

You Have to Go, You Don't Have to Come Back

Medevacs in Afghanistan.

In the Vietnam War, they were called "Dustoffs". The pilots and crews flying them are some of the bravest there are.

Two Afghan Stories, Probably Connected

First, this story about how the U.S, is using intel tools to uncover corruption in the Afghan government. Then this story, about how the president of Afghanistan is trying to cut his own deal with the Taliban, presumably to avoid either the last ignominious helicopter ride out of Kabul or a grislier fate.

It's been common knowledge for many years that the corruption in the government of Afghanistan reaches right into President Karzai's own family. Ahmad Karzai, is reputed to be one of the leading drug lords in the country and, as the president's brother, he has been untouchable. Corruption in the country cannot be addressed without cleaning up Karzai's inner circle and his family. Karzai may be hoping that the Taliban will allow his family to leave with both their heads and their ill-gotten fortunes intact.

The problem, of course, is that drug trafficking is a global crime. Once Ahmad Karzai leaves Afghanistan (and his power base), it will not be long before he has received either a lengthy prison sentence or a bullet.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Surpassing the Chimperor

The Obama Administration is going after leakers with a vengeance and a zeal that exceeded the paranoia of Darth and the Tsar of the Baboons.
In 17 months in office, President Obama has already outdone every previous president in pursuing leak prosecutions. His administration has taken actions that might have provoked sharp political criticism for his predecessor, George W. Bush, who was often in public fights with the press.
It is only through leaks that we tend to learn of the incompetence and fuckery of the government. When stories surface that show how various government agencies are screwing the pooch, the only correct course of action is to fix the fuckups, not punish those who made the fuckups public.

Prosecuting, nay, persecuting whistleblowers is an anti-freedom, anti-transparency move. It is what I expected of Chimpy. I expect better from Barry.


Gracie is trying to take a nap in one of the condos.

Jake and the bear. I need to clean that bar one of these days, it has a fair amount of cat hair on it.

George is just chilling out after a catnip session. He doesn't just eat it; he scratches on it and rubs his face in it and then maybe he gets around to eating it.