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,
"FOFF" = Felonious Old Fat Fuck,
"COFF" = Convicted Old Felonious Fool,
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, A/K/A Dementia Donnie, A/K/A Felon^34,
A/K/A Dolt-45, A/K/A Don Snoreleone

Monday, January 31, 2011

"Impartial Judiciary", My Ass

You can go read the story, but this is my take on it:

When four judges rule on something and the two judges who are Republicans rule one way and the two who are Democrats rule the other way, then arguably there is nothing impartial about the judiciary. The judges are viewing the case through their own partisanship.

Which is nothing new, since the Supremes did just that in Bush vs. Gore.

"Discipline For Me, But Not For Thee?"

That is the essence of the argument put forth by Captain Owen Honors, who was fired as captain of the USS Enterprise over his "XO Movie Night" videos when he was the Executive Officer of that ship. Honors claims that numerous senior officers had full knowledge of XO Movie Night, beyond the admirals named in the story.

Some of what Honors claims does not pass the "so, what" test. Particularly this:
The concept was born, Honors wrote, when the ship’s public affairs officer told him he was “required” to choose the film to be featured on “XO Movie Night.” Honors said he wanted to explain his choice to the crew, and the explanations evolved into the skits, which relied on “both bluntness and humor” to inform the crew about important shipboard topics, as well as to boost morale.
First off, note that all that he was "required" was to choose a movie. The rest was his damn idea.

Second, I am very skeptical of the claim that Honors was "required" to do that. If he didn't want to, all he had to do was tell the PAO: "Oh yeah? Show me where it says that I have to do that."[1] I really doubt that there was such a requirement and even if there was, it would have taken an XO all of forty seconds to change the requirement.

Third, a captain has virtually unlimited power to get rid of an officer as a subordinate. The reason can be as simple as "I have lost confidence in this officer" and BLAMMO- the officer is on the beach with his seabag. Of course, if a captain is cavalier about it, he in turn can get fired. Firings are investigated and if there is arguably lack of good cause, the fired officer will get another chance as the Navy usually is not about to scotch the career of a promising officer because her captain was a douchebag.[2]

Having written all that, Honors has a point: He has been punished, not for what he did, but for becoming an embarrassment to the Navy. Too many flag officers knew what was going on beyond the two admirals who were captains of the Enterprise when Honors was XO and the two who were embarked group commanders. By not ordering a stop to XO Movie Night, they tacitly approved of it.

But I would not look for much to happen. The Flag Officer Protection and Benevolent Society (which can include those on the fast track for selection) will be in full operation, as it has before.[3]

[1] It would be in a ship's instruction or the Ship's Organization and Regulations Manual (the SORM).
[2] Though this is less likely when the person getting shitcanned is a captain of a major command.
[3] Which is why I regard the show NCIS as a comedy.

FOIA Issa!

Rep. Darrell Issa, the moralistic Republican (who allegedly skated on a couple of charges of auto theft, among other violent felonies), wants to know who has been submitting Freedom of Information Act requests.

Montag has an idea: Send in a FOIA request for Issa's FBI file.

No, This Isn't Hoth..

It is a shopping center in Framingham, MA, which has had to build a snow mountain to have a place to put it.

More snow is on the way...

When Are We Going to Take It to the Banksters?

Not only are the banksters upset because we keep reminding them that they wrecked our economy, now they want the government to hike interest rates in the middle of this jobless recovery so that they can make more money.

Paul Krugman has the details.

Maybe the banksters will loan us the money for a guillotine factory....

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Attention, U.S. Figure Skating Idiots

You have the 1903 Wright Brothers Flyer flying backwards on your logo:

The elevators on the Flyer were on the front of the aircraft, the rudders are to the rear.

Here is the 1905 Flyer:

And some movie footage of the 1908 demonstration flights, one of which set a world aircraft altitude record of 360 feet.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

At Least One Democrat is Pro-Rape

That would be Rep. Daniel Lipinski of Illinois. He represents the 3rd District, which is made up of parts of Chicago and the western suburbs. So if you live there, give this putz an earful.

Egypt: Nice Try So Far

When you are a dictator and your people are revolting, trying to appease them by firing your henchmen won't cut it.

Calling out the army isn't helpful if the soldiers start siding with the protesters.


All three are either settling in for a nap or already there.

The view from my lap.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Going Dark in Egypt

The government is attempting to shut Egypt off from the Internet, as well as disabling text/SMS services.

You might recall that that is the capability that Traitor Joe wants our government to have.

GOP is Now the Pro-Rape Party

Republicans are seeking to redefine rape to mean "non-consensual sex where brute force was used." Statutory rape will not not make the cut. Neither will date rape, rape using drugs or alcohol or any other form of non-consensual sex that does not result in the shedding of copious amounts of blood, the leaving of bruises, or a dead victim.

No, I am not exaggerating this.

Let me reiterate this: If you were raped and your rapist didn't cut you, shoot you, or otherwise leave marks on your body, then according to Republicans, you were not raped, you only had maybe less-than-enjoyable sex.

The True Liberal Democrat

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Eisenhower wanted to balance the budget by keeping taxes high enough to cover spending.

One thing is clear to me: If this country was as far to the right in 1860 as it is now, slavery would be legal nationwide.

Joe Biden, Sit Down and STFU

Asked if he would characterize [Egyptian President Hosni] Mubarak as a dictator [Vice President Joseph] Biden responded: “Mubarak has been an ally of ours in a number of things. And he’s been very responsible on, relative to geopolitical interest in the region, the Middle East peace efforts; the actions Egypt has taken relative to normalizing relationship with – with Israel. … I would not refer to him as a dictator.”

Let's look at a few facts. Mubarak assumed the presidency of Egypt following the assassination of Anwar Sadat by Egyptian soldiers in 1981. The subsequent "elections" were nothing more than rubber-stamp referenda. When Mubarak allowed opponents to run, they were hassled and jailed on trumped-up charges. Opposing Mubarak on the street has, before now, been a one-way ticket to one of the Mukhabarat's torture cells.

Egypt has a constitution; it has been suspended for the last 50+ years. Which means, in essence, that Egypt doesn't have a constitution. It is a one-party state which has become adept at using the police and the army to crush any opposition. Political dissidents are routinely arrested, tortured and imprisoned.

Mubarak is a dictator, in every sense of the word, even if he doesn't dress in flashy uniforms and holds massively-staged rallies.

So just shut up, Joe. Please. You are embarrassing us.

Enjoy Your Meal of Taco Bell Beach Sand

Stephen Colbert explains why the beef in Taco Bell's "beef tacos" is more "beefish". Hell, even Taco Bell admits that their beef is 88% beef (and 12% other stuff, presumably including the Taco Bell Chihuahua and the occasional worker who fell into the processing machinery).

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"Go For Throttle-Up" + 25 Years

The crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger, mission STS-51, were killed 25 years ago today.

Front row, left to right: Michael J. Smith (pilot), Francis "Dick" Scobee (commander), Ronald McNair.
Back row, left to right: Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis, Judith Resnik.

The segment seals on one of the solid rocket boosters began leaking by almost as soon as the boosters were ignited. Of course, it wasn't as simple as all that, but still, 73 seconds after launch, the launch vehicle broke apart, which tore apart the spacecraft.

The Challenger disaster tore up part of NASA, which got crucified for laxity. It was pretty well established in the post-flight investigation that the engineers for both NASA and Morton-Thiokol, (the manufacturer of the SRBs) knew that the seals on the SRBs were a problem and rather than address the problem, the managers re-wrote the safety considerations so that the problem would go away.

On paper, that is. As Richard Feynman pointed out in his section of the report, nature cannot be fooled.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

"We Can Always Ask the Yanks to Patrol the Seas For Us."

That would seem to be the mindset of the Brits, who are busily scrapping their fleet of Nimrod maritime patrol aircraft. The British, who once viewed the seas as virtually their sovereign territory, have now ceded that fully to the Americans.

They might as well scrap the rest of their Navy in the process. They probably will, sooner or later. The Brits are retiring their Harriers, which means that they will not have any naval jet fighters, which is just as well, as they won't have any carriers. The F-35B won't be available to them until 2020, if at all.

Argentina's mistake was that they moved a few decades too early By 2015, the Argentinians will be able to re-invade and this time, there will be fuck-all that the Brits will be able to do about it. The Limeys long ago got rid of their long-range bomber fleet. They'll have no air support, no maritime patrol capability; any ships they would send would be operating nearly blind. They'll have no good way of resupplying the Falklands, even if the garrison was able to hold out.

The Falklanders had better plan on learning Spanish or they had best salt away enough money to live on for awhile after they are forcibly repatriated to Old Blighty. Because next time, the Royal Navy isn't coming.

Banksters Want Another Bailout

This time, they want to be bailed out of the consequences of their willful failure to properly maintain the chain of title for their mortgages. The banksters have knowingly skirted the law, deliberately filed tens of thousands of false documents in foreclosure actions and now they want the Congress and/or the courts to let them evade the consequences of their fuckery.

Because they are too big to fail.

Fuck them.

Going Galt?

Ayn Rand applied for both Social Security and Medicare benefits.

So the Goddess of the Tea Party was as much a hypocrite as the rest of the so-called conservatives.

Remember That Fine Day in 1969 When Cosmonaut Nikolai Armstrokov First Walked on the Moon?

Me neither, for of course, the Soviet Union never landed a man on the moon.

But that's not the way that Bible Spice remembers it. (She presumably is an expert on the space program because she can see the Moon from her house.)

The editorial cartoonist Herbert Block had a cartoon after the launch of Sputnik. In the background, the cartoon showed a caveman shooting an arrow into the air. In the foreground, a caveman holding club assured another that archery "is a nice trick, but it has no significance."

That was the mindset of the Eisenhower Administration.

Republicans have not changed in sixty years. They want the fruits of technology, but they are not willing to be a part of planting the seeds or growing the trees. The GOP is as short-signed as the CEOs of most American corporations.

Public Hanging is Probably Out of the Question

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said he wants harsher penalties, including mandatory prison time, for people convicted of major securities fraud in New York.

Vance said in a speech at New York City Bar Association in midtown Manhattan yesterday that he will call on the legislature to change the Martin Act, New York’s securities fraud statute. He said he will seek prison sentences of as long as 8 1/3 years to 25 years for frauds involving more than $1 million. The crime now carries no minimum prison sentence, regardless of the money involved.
My feeling is that such crimes should carry the exact same penalty as bank robbery.

"We Will Have Nothing to do With Those Purveyors of Hatred"

That would seem to be an odd sentiment when it comes from the Ku Klux Klan.

You know, these guys:


66 Years Ago

The Red Army's 322nd Rifle Division reached Auschwitz.

DCap has a lot more to say about it. Personally, I don't feel a need to mark the day. As a Jew, it's part of me.

But he is right about reminding people of the dark side of human history. There is a tendency of humans to forget the nastier elements of our history. The Japanese are adept at trying to whitewash their history in China. I have blogged over and over about the modern Confederates trying to run away from the fact that the Civil War was about slavery.

44 Years Ago

Three astronauts were killed in the Apollo 204 fire.

The same day, Chicago expected 4 inches of snow and got two feet.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"Does This Dress Make Me Look Fat?"

In a word: Ayup.

The Guardian thinks this dress is "flattering." I guess they meant "to the designer's ego," for who the hell would ever wear that out in public. And it was by far not the kookiest look, which you can see for yourself.

The House of Representatives is Full of Idiots

I understand, Gentle Reader, that you probably already agree with the title of this post, but permit me to give two examples of ideological imbecility, one from each side of the aisle.

First, the Democrats. As John Richardson has pointed out, over sixty Democrats have signed up as co-sponsors of Carolyn McCarthy's bill to outlaw magazines that hold over ten rounds.

Second, the Republicans. As LabRat pointed out, a bunch of conservatives in the House are trying to outlaw gay marriage in Washington, D.C.

Neither bill stands any chance of becoming law. So in that regard, both parties are taking up time and energy chasing windmills.

The Republicans are just amazing here. The ideological trends on gay marriage in this country are pretty obvious: The upcoming generations don't give a shit about gay marriage, in the same way that the voters who gave a crap about interracial marriage are dying out. The politicians who screamed about this issue are gone, the late unlamented Jesse Helms was probably the last one in the Congress who gave a damn. The state miscegenation statutes are now viewed as an embarrassment, where they still exist.

I have little doubt that, in two or three decades (or less), Republicans will be twisting themselves into pretzels as they run away from the homophobia that currently defines their party. But for now, they keep at it.

The Democrats are almost as brain-dead. They lost the Congress in 1994 over the Brady bill. President Clinton acknowledged that point the following January. Barney Frank advised his fellow Democrats over 20 years ago that gun control bills were almost certain to guarantee the party electoral defeat (he is not a co-sponsor of H.R. 308). But the morons keep trying and when they manage to pass a bill, they get punished by the voters. If the old saying is true that insanity is "doing the same thing over and over again, hoping for a different result", then there are at least sixty Democrats in the House of Representatives who are certifiable as having screws loose.

There are fights worth having in this Congress. There are going to be bitter bare-knuckle fights about health care and spending. There will be fights over defense procurement and earmarks. Those fights are worth having.

Fighting over gay marriage and gun control is futile. The parties ought to pick their battles; these two bills are not worth it.

I Stipulate That Clarence Thomas is an Arrogant Goon. Move Along.

Presumably you know that the Honorable Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas sort of forgot to mention on his financial disclosure forms that his wife pulled in about 700 large by "working" for some of the wingnut welfare think tanks.

Nothing is going to happen about that, ever.

First off, the Supremes answer to no one other than themselves. There is no judicial board of ethics that they are governed by. They set their own rules. And if you think that Clarence's buddies are going to vote him off the island, then do try to catch a shuttle back to this particular spacetime continuum.

The only other remedy is impeachment. In case you've been off in an alternate reality for the last few months, the party of the Confederacy controls the House of Representatives. And the Teabagging Lovers of All Things Dixie are currently holding the GOP by the gonads. Add to that the point that Clarence Thomas is the house nigger beloved by the Teabaggers. Top that off with the fact that the last thing that the Confederates want to do is have President Obama appoint another Supreme Court judge and you have a complete recipe for why Thomas will skate on this issue.

So feel free to be outraged and to point out this bit of financial hypocrisy every chance you get. No opportunity should be lost to pour hot shame and scorn over the public image of Clarence Thomas.

But don't expect anything to happen. He doesn't give a shit what you think and neither do his buddies. If anything, by the time the furor dies down, ol' Clarence will just add another notch to his "I'm the real victim, here" card.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What to Build...

So I'm starting to think about what is going to be the next firearm.

Frankly, I don't need another pistol.

I'm not much into shotguns. I have a Mossberg 500 12-gauge and a Ithaca (imported from Japan) 20-ga over/under that my father bought close to 30 years ago and which came to me when he passed away. I haven't shot either in a very long time.

So it would be a rifle. Probably a .30-06, since I have a couple others in that caliber.  A long time ago, I built up this rifle from a long Mauser action; it has a mil-surp barrel and an old Weaver K-4 scope, back from the days when Weaver made them in this country.

So what I'm thinking of doing is either replicating that, except this time I'd install receiver sights or try to find a good price on a Savage 111 and have the sights installed or haunt the gun shops for a used rifle.

No pings yet on the job hunt, other than from scam artists. "You can work from home for three hours a day and make $3K a month!" Then there are the ones "become a certified financial planner!"-- think of Amway, except with money, not soap. Or "you can sell insurance"-- wherein I would try to persuade some sap to buy something where, if I were in the sap's shoes, I'd be slamming the door and going for one of the aforementioned shotguns.

Thing is, as much as I have bitched before about it, I do like being a lawyer. Sometime the pay was kind of sucky, probably because if I even had the chance to work at a big white-shoe firm, I'd end up throwing a cup of coffee in a partner's face inside of a month. What I like about it is that from time to time, I got a chance to help someone who really needed it.

Anyway, if and when I do get back to work, I am going to miss my bread. It take close to 3.5 hours from start to finish to make a loaf (or two) and a loaf lasts me almost five days.

I have a chair right by the window. I got up to take the loaf of bread dough from the second rising and put it into the oven. George hopped up into my seat and promptly fell asleep. I don't feel the need to disturb him. Jake is sleeping on the ottoman that matches the chair and he is snoring up a storm. Gracie is in the kitchen eating some kibble. Yesterday morning, when the Sun was shining, Jake and George were playing a mean game of "King of the Hill" to determine who would get to lie on the back of the chair (and in the sunbeam), with lots of hissing and bapping. Both ended up having some time there.

I suppose I ought to go to one of the newspapers' web sites and see what fresh hell is out there and blog about that. But the snow is falling, I have books to read, stuff taped from the idjit box, a daily Russian lesson to do and the bread just came out of the oven.


It's OK If You Are a Republican

It's OK if you are a Republican to scream about the comments of a Democrat who compared GOP rhetoric to Nazi propaganda. After all, you've been watching a news network that has been doing that for years.

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Monday, January 24, 2011

A Bloody Few Days in Florida

Four local police officers have been killed while working with the U.S. Marshals to serve arrest warrants: Two a few days ago in Miami, now two today in St. Petersburgh.

Odd that when you see a show on the tube about the Marshals doing stuff like this, you never see the local cops on those raids. But it seems that it is the local cops who are the ones breaking down the doors and getting shot.

zOMG!!1!!! They Might Get Teh Gay Cooties!!!!!1!!!!1!

I tend to think that snarking about the homophobia of the modern conservative movement is sort of like shooting a dead moose with a howitzer: It might be fun to do, but it doesn't accomplish much of anything.

Maybe Homeschooling Is Looking Attractive

It may look pretty good when the option is going to a grammar school that will suspend a first-grader because he points a finger and says "Pew! Pew! Pew!"

I am presuming that at some point in the career of a school administrator, they open up their skulls and scoop out their prefrontal cortexes with melon ballers.


Technology Marches On

Such as being able to shoot HD movies with a $2,500 digital SLR. This isn't just home cinema quality HD, this is full-blown "coming to a theater near you" grade.

Of course, in the idea of "rip them off for the accessories," Canon wants $90 for a 1GB CF card. And that $2,500 camera comes without lenses, so by the time you get everything you need to shoot movies, you're probably into the 4-grand range. Still, compared to film, that's dirt cheap.

SciAm Knows Its Readership

You can see that on full display in the "Anti Gravity" humor column this month. The columnist is writing about how modern medicine and technology would have changed the story line of the opera La Bohème; he mentions that one of the characters coughs in the show and explains the significance of that by saying it is equivalent to "wearing a red shirt in a Star Trek landing party."

(OK, maybe it's not that funny.)

If You Think That the World Will End in 2012...

... what are you doing reading this blog. Or any blog.

Seriously. If you believe that "Mayan calendar says the Universe will end on December 21, 2012" claptrap, why are you still going to work? Why don't you quit your job, sell your house and all of your shit to those of us who don't believe that guff and go work on your bucket list?

If you really think that there are 697 days left until the world ends, why are you putting up with this guy every day at work?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

How About Using a Different Type of Grass Seed to Spell Out a Message to the Cops in Your Lawn?

Because drones monitoring everything that you are doing on your property are on the way to an airspace over you.

I imagine that there will be considerable interest in building jammers.

"Accidental Discharge," My Ass

I call "bullshit" on this one:
A New York police officer whose father was killed in the line of duty nearly 30 years ago fired an errant shot on Saturday during a drug raid in the Bronx and wounded a suspect’s 76-year-old father, the authorities said. ... “We believe he’s accidentally struck,” the [anonymous] official said. “At this point, it appears to be an accidental discharge.”
Once inside the apartment, Detective Andrew McCormack, 37, a decorated, 11-year veteran, fired an errant shot while adjusting a small flashlight attached to his 9-mm. Glock semiautomatic handgun, police sources said.
I know this: The NYPD specifies a very heavy trigger pull. Their issue Glock 19s have 14lb triggers and, either before or during the written exam to apply, one has to demonstrate the finger strength to squeeze the trigger.

I also know this: The chances of having an accidental discharge are almost non-existent if one follow the four rules. The chances really go down if one does not put one's finger inside the trigger guard until one has made the decision to shoot. Why anyone would be "adjusting the flashlight" on a handgun with one's finger on the trigger is baffling, to say the least. That is a Snowflake Snookie level gun safety fuckup.

Guns are terribly unforgiving pieces of machinery. This one is going to cost the City of New York a whopping amount in damages, and it should.

Justice Delayed

It took decades for one of the Chicago P.D.'s torturers to be made to answer for his crimes.

First off, I respectfully submit that anyone who believes that this clown was an outlier has shit for brains. Torture is the refuge of the lazy or the incompetent who cannot be bothered to procure proof of a charge. That this went on for a very long time without a peep being raised by anyone other than those who were tortured is a hell of an indictment against the Chicago Police Department, the officers who serve in it, the prosecutors, the judges and, last but not least, those birdcage-liners that one might laughingly call the Chicago press.

Second, if it wasn't for the field negro, I'd have missed this one. It seems to have gone out on the AP wire and then been ignored by everyone. Obtaining confessions by the use of torture was outlawed in 1936 in the case Brown v. Mississippi, which you should read. It's not a long opinion and it will give you a rather wrenching description of police torture back in the "good old days".

Does anyone not get that the charge by minorities that the cops sometimes act like they are part of an occupying army is grounded in fact?

The Same Holds True For the Banksters

From a NY Times op-ed on the latest series of mob arrests:
There have always been, and always will be, ambitious, greedy wise guys who are willing to risk long prison sentences for the power and riches glittering before them.
We must, as a society, always keep a gimlet eye on the banksters, for the same reason, except that the banksters who engendered the financial meltdown (and lined their pockets doing so) aren't going to prison.

The acolytes of Ayn Rand, who believe that there is no need to watch the banks and corporations, because they can be trusted to do the right thing, are fools suffering from a mass delusion. Their beliefs fly in the face of thousands of years of human history. One of those acolytes, Alan Greenspan, as chairman of the Federal Reserve, was the one man who single-handedly had the ability to stop the housing bubble from forming.

But I've blogged on this before.

So let me close with this quote (yes, I've used it before):
There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

In Estonia, Snow Shovels You!



So, Keith Olbermann quit or was fired last night, with two years left to go on his gig with MSNBC.

So... Comcast inks a deal to buy NBC and then, a few days later, Olbermann is apparently shoved out the door.

Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not. Brian Roberts is the CEO of Comcast, he lives in Philadelphia, PA. In the `10 election cycle, he gave ten grand to the PA Democratic party, $2,400 each to Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid, Blanche Lincoln and to some guy running for Congress (but nothing to Joe Sestak). He was an early donor to Hillary Clinton ($4,600 in 2007) and he tends to give money to Democratic heavyweights. He also coughs up donations for Comcast's PAC. His wife seems to give matching donations, but early in `07, she gave $2,300 to McCain.

Ralph Robers, Brian's daddy, founded Comcast and Ralph also gives to Democrats. On the other hand, Stephen Burke, who is the COO of Comcast (the guy who probably does the work of running the place) and he tends to give to Republicans; he was a donor to both McCain and Willard Romney.

Maybe Comcast greased the skids for Olbermann's departure. But if "money talks" and the surest indication is where the big boys donate their own cash, then the case isn't clear at all.

UPDATE: Comcast denies any culpability, which cuts no ice with me. I would have expected them to deny it in any event.

UPDATE II: Jill pointed out in the comments that Comcast's chairman, Ed Snider, is a prominent Wingnut who has thrown lots of money behind the formation of some half-baked pseudo-intellectual nutbarn for the study of the glory of selfishness Ayn Rand. He's given money to the RNCC, to that noted New York fascist Rudolph Giuliani, and to Arlen Specter before he switched parties in search of electoral defeat. So maybe Comcast's grubby fingerprints are all over this.

(I know I'm late on this story. I was reading a book last night and besides, nobody's paying me to do this.)

So, You Think It's Cold in Atlanta?

It was -46F in International Falls, Minnesota yesterday.

That's why Sears went there for a commercial in the 1970s:

Right now it is a balmy -26F at the International Falls Airport (KINL).


George was fighting to stay awake.

Gracie was somewhat annoyed that I interrupted her grooming session.

Jake was curled up and sound asleep. He might have woken up if I opened a can of food, but possibly not.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

1911-2011: A Century of Service

A century has passed since the United States Army adopted the M1911:

The Navy and the Marines adopted it in 1913.

The cartridge dates back to 1904, but there were several slight modifications to both the dimensions of the cartridge case and the bullet weight before the Army adopted it. The M1911 was designed by John Moses Browning. The pistol was an evolutionary development of his 1902 model.

Legend has it that the Army was less than happy with the performance of .38 caliber revolvers used in suppressing the Philippine Insurrection and that the Army wanted a sidearm with the stopping power of the old Single-Action Army revolver, but which was much faster to reload. True or not, both the weapon and the cartridge set the standard for self-defense handguns then and now. "Is it better than a 1911" is the question that is asked. Frequently, the answer is "not really."

The Army adopted the 9mm Beretta M9 25 years ago.[1] It took a direct legislative order from Congress to force the Marine Corps to give up their 1911s. The Army's "special operators"[2] continue to use the 1911, for the same reasons that the Army ditched its .38s a century ago. The FBI's Hostage Rescue Team uses the 1911.

Probably more companies make 1911s now than at any time since Browning designed it. You can spend anywhere from just over a few hundred bucks for a Firestorm or Rock Island Armory 1911 with metal-injection-molded parts through twice that for a Colt or a Springfield Armory model up to several thousand dollars for a Wilson Supergrade. Some are better than others. Virtually all will get the job done.[3]

The criticism is made that the .45 is "hard to shoot." Don't believe that, it's just hype. I once saw a 4'11" 95lb woman shoot the center out of a slow-fire target with a GI .45.[4]

This one is mine. It is a Colt Series 80 Government Model. I bought it used many years ago.

Unless plasma guns are developed in this century, I expect that a person in the year 2111 will consider herself to be well armed if she has a 1911.
[1] The official reason for adopting the 9mm (a cartridge which was deemed to be inadequate during the pistol cartridge tests in 1904) was to standardize pistol cartridges across NATO.
[2] As opposed to the Army operators who route telephone calls. I cannot begin to tell you how much the term "operator" as a replacement for "gunfighter" bugs the ever-loving shit out of me.
[3] I have been told that some of the 1911s out there do not have parts interchangeability with other makes whether because of internal changes or because some were made to metric specs. I was also advised to never hold, let alone shoot, a Wilson Supergrade unless I planned on saving up for one.
[4] True story, and she had never fired one before then.

Putin's Private Palace

Allegedly, that is:

But I guess when one is allegedly the richest man in Europe, one can afford such a primitive little dacha.

It Takes a Major Brand of Asshole to Shine a Laser at an Airplane

And the number of incidents are rising.

Given the lack of forensic evidence, either the asswipes have to be caught in the act or someone has to be ratted out. A sufficiently high reward might take care of the latter case.

As I see it, here is what is going to happen: The number of incidents will rise. Since they seem to be green lasers of significant power, legislation will be introduced to outlaw possession of any laser more powerful than a laser pointer in civilian hands. Green lasers will be outlawed, period. There will be licenses for industrial use, for educational use and for security use (law enforcement, military).

Amphibious DC-3

Part I:

Part II:

More on the Spokane Bomb

It was, if you trust what the FBI is saying, a sophisticated device with a remote command-detonation control. The FBI's usual suspects are the local white supremacists and Nazi groups that inhabit eastern Washington and Idaho.

Some Foreign Nations Love U.S. Tax Cheaters

So they want our government to lighten up on going after tax evaders who are wealthy enough to move their money offshore.

I'm guessing that 99% of the complaints are coming from the Swiss.

Fuck those quislings.

But Can You Buy a Trenta in Trenton?

Starbucks introduced a 31oz iced coffee named the "Trenta".

I don't like Starbucks. I don't care for their fancy-ass pseudo-Italian names and the obvious fact that they amp up the prices of coffee because of that. In my unhumble opinion, their swill is no better than that from a doughnut shop. Starbucks makes coffee for people who, at least some of them, wouldn't be caught dead walking into a doughnut shop.

Why Palin Could Win

Morbid Curiosity Leading Many Voters To Support Palin

On a more serious note, TPM is defending itself from the charge of some of its readers that they give too much oxygen to Palin. While I do agree with TPM's point that Palin will not go away if we stop paying attention to her, I do think that both TPM and HuffPo can stop with the 500 pixel wide photos of Bible Spice.

Honor Your Local Traitor Day

In the South, they celebrated Robert E. Lee Day on the same day this year that the rest of the country is honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

So while the rest of us honor a man who, in the 20th Century, was murdered in the struggle for civil rights and equality, the Southerners honor a man who fought a war to preserve slavery. It is probably a safe bet that the men who dreamed up Robert E. Lee Day opposed everything that Dr. King stood for. It's probably a safe bet that not a few of them have white pointy conehead hats in the back of their closets.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Enough Time Must Have Passed Since the Gulf Oil Spill

For the Oil Slut is back. There were at least two short spots on the Comcast NBC Nightly News (which is channeling Fox News since Brian Williams referred to the 2009 Health care Law as "Obamacare").

The Police Have Met the Enemy: The American People

That seems to be the way it is, now, when heavily-armed cops are raiding the homes of drug users (not "dealers") and shooting the inhabitants. Or if not that, they use SWAT teams to gun down someone whose crime was placing illegal bets. Let me emphasize that: He was not a bookie, all he was doing was placing bets on sporting events.

In the second shooting, the cop said his gun "accidentally went off", which begs the question why he was pointing a weapon at a barefooted unarmed man in the first place. (Agreeing to pay $2 million in a settlement is a pretty good admission of fault by the county.)

As far as the cops are concerned, they might as well be on patrol in Helmand Province: We are all suspected of being the enemy and they will gun us all down with little or no provocation.

Oh, Was That Terrorism?

Apparently the WaPo isn't so sure, given that the word "terrorism" wasn't mentioned until ten paragraphs into the story, and only in a quote from a Feebie.

In a weird twist, only Fox News seems to call it terrorism and they not only do it without ever mentioning the word "Muslim," they point the fingers at white supremacists.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Torture Will Not Go Away

As much as the Obama Administration, along with the Confederate party, might wish that the issue of torture would fade away, it is not.

In Australia, a new probe has been opened into the torture of an Australian citizen by Egyptian torturers, torture that was allegedly witnessed by Australian and American spooks, where Australian and American spooks asked the questions and the Egyptians did the dirty work.

Given that the last American president admitted authorizing the use of torture in his self-styled memoirs, this issue is not going to go away.

And it should not.

Alfa Mike Foxtrot

Senator Joseph I. Lieberman will announce on Wednesday that he will not seek a fifth term, according to a person he told of his decision.
Mr. Lieberman, whose term is up in 2012, chose to retire rather than risk being defeated, said the person, who spoke to the senator on Tuesday.
Don't let the screen door smack you in the ass, Joe.

The New Comcast Cable Lineup

This will probably be the new cable lineup:

Basic cable:
2- Your local NBC affiliate.
3- The next local NBC affiliate.
6- CNBC World
7- ShopNBC
8- USA
9- SyFy
10- Telemundo
11- Weather Channel
12- Bravo
13- Chiller
14- A&E
15- Sleuth
16- History Channel
17- History Channel International,
18- Biography Channel
19- National Geographic International
20- Lifetime
21- E!
22- Golf Channel

Extra channels:
23-150- Lots of bullshit channels, including CNN

Premium channels:
151-157- HBO
158- Starz
159- Showtime
160-200 Sports and porn

Channels that you have to ask for and make repeated calls in order to get:
201- Your local ABC affiliate
202- Your local CBS affiliate
203- Your local Fox affiliate
204- PBS
205- F/X
206- Fox News
207- Fox Movie Channel
208- TNT
209- Turner Classic Movie Channel

Why, you might wonder?

Because Comcast is buying NBC and the first 21 channels are owned by either Comcast or NBC.

Bet That You Won't Hear Too Many People Calling This a "Terroristic Attempt"

Because the usual suspects for something like this are not Muslim:
An explosive device found inside a backpack along a downtown Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade route was a credible threat capable of causing multiple deaths, the FBI said Tuesday.
Indeed, you have to go six paragraphs into the story before the word "terrorism" is mentioned. It certainly isn't in the headline.

On the other hand, you can't even find the story on the WaPo's web site this afternoon. So at least the Times had something about it. It was on MSComcast MSNBC's web site. But it wasn't mentioned on Comcast NBC Nightly News.

Sure, They Can Cancel a Big Defense Project

But the litigation will continue for decades. The government and the big defense contractors are still fighting over the A-12 project.

The Navy's A-12 was canceled 20 years ago, which is not to be confused with the CIA's A-12 that was the precursor to the SR-71. The A-12 was supposed to be a flying wing, like a miniature B-2. Except that it went way over budget, the program got into trouble and it was canceled by the Secretary of Defense, who was some bureaucrat by the name of Cheney. The government wanted a bunch of the money back from the contractors, who sued.

The case has been dragging on ever since.

Another Way to Tell That a Politician is Lying [1]

It is when a politician says something like this:
There are serious challenges facing our State and nation, like a $14 trillion debt and America's dependence on foreign oil. It is more important I spend my time and energy trying to solve these problems than to be distracted by a campaign for reelection.
That ranks right up there with the line that "I am quitting my job in order to spend more time with my family."

For a career politician to say "I have more important things to do in this job than run for reelection" is bullshit. There is nothing more important in a political career than running for reelection (or election).

Either Conrad's polling is telling him that he is going to get his ass waxed next year or he is just tired of all of the bullshit of being a senator.
[1] Besides the standard one of "his lips are moving," that is.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Just When You Might Have Thought That Things Could Not Possibly Get Any Worse in Haiti...

... "Baby Doc" Duvalier has returned.

The Duvaliers were a family of father-and-son dictators. They were notoriously corrupt (their in-laws were as corrupt if not more) and ran the country with an iron fist. Their personal goon squads, the Tonton Macoutes, tortured and murdered political opponents, dissidents, and anyone else they felt like killing.

Baby Doc was deposed a quarter-century ago, but now he's back in the country. I don't see anything good coming of this.

"The Capitalists Will Sell Us the Rope With Which We Will Hang Them."

Because they never learn. The object lesson today is General Electric, which has signed a deal for the transfer of jet engine technology to China.

GE is run by complete lunatics if they are betting that the Chinese will not be able to master jet engine technology. The Chinese are well-experienced at buying technological goods from other nations and then stealing the trade secrets necessary to reproduce them. The Chinese reverse-engineered the Russian Su-27 jet fighter to build the Chinese J-11. The Russians were so hacked off about that bit of theft (capping many others) that the Russians refused to sell any Su-33 navalized jet fighters to China.

In a relatively short span of time, probably less than 20 years, China will be making their own engines that are every bit as powerful as Western ones, because greedy Western engine makers taught them how to do it. This is the dumbest idea since the British taught the Soviets how to built the Nene jet engine, which powered the MiG-15.

But hey, you pay a businessman enough money, he'll sell you his kids. Which in essence is just what GE is doing.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Couple of Interesting Pieces

First, an op-ed by Carl Hiassen about the terrorists operating in a neighboring country. The single most effective thing that we, as a nation, could do to gut the Mexican cartels is to legalize marijuana. But that won't happen, because the War on Drugs is a massive crack pipe for law enforcement. Without the War on Drugs, they'd have to do more real policing instead of Gestapo-like night raids. More significantly, without the War on Drugs, the confiscated money that the cops have become addicted to would dry up.

Then there is this article in today's Times on the Stuxnet virus, though, to be frank, there is not a lot in the article that is new if you have been following this story from when the news first broke in the tech blogs.

(H/T for the first one.)

Reince Priebus

In the interests of civil discourse, I will pass over the obvious crack about his name sounding like one of the steps of washing a hybrid car.

Some of what has been written about his law firm working to help its clients obtain stimulus funds or point out how the health care law can benefit its clients. Well, no frakking shit, that's what law firms are supposed to do.

What bothers me more, though, is that the Wisconsin GOP, of which Mr. Priebus was the chairman, engaged in "voter caging". Vote caging is a polite way of saying "voter suppression", a strategy to prevent people from voting, to deny them their constitutionally-granted right to vote.

Voter caging differs, only in degree, from the days when Southern nightriders, the White Citizens' Councils and sheet-wearing Klansmen used intimidation and violence to keep Black people from going to the polls. Voter caging is age-old racism in a three-piece suit.

For that reason, Mr. Priebus bears watching as the head of a political party that has, as a working strategy, the denial of the right to vote to American citizens.

Who Are They Whistling To?

Between the "blood libel" charge levied by the Wall Street Journal, which was famously plagiarized taken up by Palin, and the "pogrom" charge bruited about by the Washington Times, I am beginning to wonder this:

Is the pseudo-intellectual theft of the terms of Jewish persecution a new dogwhistle by the Christian Talibanistas?

If so, what is the message that they are tooting to each other?

(As to the offensiveness of the Christian Taliban co-opting the terms which, up to now, described acts of persecution and murder against Jews by Christians, that is so self-evident that I do not feel the need to expound on it here.)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Two Things I Should Work Up Outrage About

1) The conservatives claiming that there is a "pogrom" going on against conservative thinkers.

2) The Department of Defense claiming that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would have approved of Bush's two wars.

#2 is easy to dispose of. All you need to do is read Dr King's 1967 speech at the Riverside Church. In a time when social programs have been gutted and there is one political party whose naked agenda is to eliminate the social safety net (and to bring back child labor), it is hard for anyone with any sense whatsoever to imagine that Dr. King would have approved of spending trillions of dollars on those wars.

#1 is personal to me. A "pogrom," in my family history, was when the local Christian peasants and/or the Cossacks got liquored up and went on a rampage through the shtetls in the Pale, raping Jewish women and girls, beating and killing Jewish men and boys, and sometimes burning down the villages. Those pogroms, large and small, were winked at or even sanctioned by the local priests and the governments. It was by no means limited to the Pale of the Russia Empire, pogroms occurred across much of Europe in the 19th Century. The pogroms were a major cause of the waves of Jewish emigration to America from the 1880s up to the beginning of the Great War.

The pogroms were why one of my "off the boat" great-aunts told me when I was very young: "When it is time for you to marry, better you should bring home a Shvartzer than a Catholic."

Conservative thinkers are not going through a pogrom. Not unless horsebacked riders from the Nation have been throwing firebombs into David Brooks's house. Not unless Palin and her daughters have been raped by drunken staffers from the Center for American Progress. Not unless Charles Krauthammer has been sabered in his wheelchair by bloggers from the Huffington Post.

Then you might call it a pogrom. Not before.

Toxic Nuclear Sludge Recalled For Being a Health Hazard

OK, so it's a candy.

Some Might Call it "Overcompensation"

Republicans seem to love them their oversized gavels.

Here is Reince Priebus, the replacement for Michael Steele as chairman of the RNC:

And, of course, John Boehner:

I presume that Steele will now avail himself of some of that good old Wingnut Welfare and get a no-show job at Fox News, the Hoover Institute or the Heritage Foundation.


The usual suspects.

Jake has been grooming Gracie of late. He had just finished washing her head when I took that shot. He also cleans her butt for her, a task that I am very happy to see him perform, as she does not enjoy it when I put her in the shower and give her an ass shampoo (not that it's any fun for me, either).

It has warmed up this morning, it is now 7degF. It was -7 when I got up. I think that qualifies as "cold" almost everywhere except for Fairbanks, International Falls and Moscow.

You've Got to Have People on Warships

The Navy's experiment to reduce manpower on surface ships has been terminated for failure.

It was a bad idea to begin with. It takes people to keep a ship maintained and clean. Which is why I have been skeptical of the real-world ability of a 40-man crew to sail and maintain a LCS. Oh, it's one thing to maintain a brand-new ship, when the gear mostly works. It's quite another thing to maintain a ship that is over ten years old, when the gear needs more maintenance.

Just Because

Statler & Waldorf heckle Milton Berle:

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1929-1968

Dr. King was born on this day in 1929.

What Dr. King accomplished in his relatively short time in this world need not be related here.

You will still find, however, many Americans who regard Dr. King as a "communist agitator" because he stood up and spoke for those denied opportunities for education, employment and advancement because of the color of their skin. You will still find those who excoriate Dr. King because he spoke out against the Vietnam War.* More commonly, you will hear and read the statements this weekend of politicians who will praise the memory of Dr King, praise what he accomplished and then those same politicians will go back to work to do everything they can to increase the power of corporations, to increase income disparity and to crush the lives of the middle class and the poor. You will find politicians who claim that the GOP is the party King would side with, while deliberately ignoring that it was Richard Nixon who allied the GOP with the racists who bolted the Democratic Party after President Johnson pushed through and signed the civil rights acts of 1964 and 1968.

You should not pay those folk any heed.

* The same people, curiously, have nothing but praise for the well-connected young men who used draft deferments to avoid service or who used family connections to get safe spots in the National Guard, men such as George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, John Ashcroft and Dan Quayle.

Friday, January 14, 2011

It is Illegal To Listen to This Song in Canada

"Money for Nothing" by Dire Straits

Seems that the Canadian censors say the use of the word "faggot" is offensive to one hypersensitive Newfie, so they've banned the song.

Nice to see that the Canadians have their analogues to the wackos in this country who have made much of broadcast television into meaningless pablum.


And the V-22 Program Office Breaks Out the Vodka

Because Sikorsky has tested a demonstrator that is faster and a lot simpler in concept.

260kts is pretty impressive in a helo.


Lucky Nobody Was Killed By Those Storm Troopers

The cops banged on the door of a house in Spring Valley, NY in the early morning darkness, barged in with guns drawn, forced the father outside in the freezing cold, dragged his asthmatic daughter out of bed and threatened to shoot the family dogs.

They were at the wrong house.

Of course, the cops say that they politely knocked on the door, tipped their hats, asked a few questions and left without coming inside.

Anybody believe that for a picosecond?

I didn't think so.

The First WikiLeaks Revolution?

Foreign Policy magazine is proposing that the unrest in Tunisia is, which is in part grounded in public outrage over massive political corruption by the ruling family, is the first WikiLeaks-based unrest.

As described in the released cable, the presidential in-laws seem to be the worst of the bunch.

For what it's worth, WL has, to date, released about 1% of the cable archive.

UPDATE: The president (and, presumably, his corrupt family) has fled the country.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

"Badges? We Doan Need No Steenkin' Badges!"

What the hell, they could easily be fake (PDF).

What I didn't know was that besides their agency ID card, Federal cops also have a Personal Identity Verification (PIV) card, DoD calls it a Common Access Card. So if some clown claiming to be a fed throws up a badge, ask for the PIV or CAC card and see what he does.


Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Taken during one of my walks.

A couple of days later, another foot of snow fell.

The Doolittle Raid
(News You May Have Missed)

The last surviving pilot from the Doolittle Raid has died.

Col. William Marsh "Bill" Bower was 93.

If You Believe in That Astrological Claptrap, Then You May Want to Know This:

Astrologers for hundreds of years have been screwing up the astrological signs, because they have not accounted for precession of Earth's axis.

Even worse, there were originally 13 signs. Scorpio's period is only six days long.  Leo, on the other hand, is about a six-week period.

This isn't exactly new, this story is from 2008 and it quoted form one in 2007. But some reporter recently glommed onto it, so here we go.


So, Is the Daily Show Poaching From Me?

They probably didn't poach from this post, but it's fun to think about.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Chinese Diplomatic Insult

I don't know of another way to take it:
China’s military conducted [the first] test flight of a new stealth fighter jet on Tuesday, overshadowing an important visit to Beijing by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates aimed at improving defense ties — and apparently catching China’s civilian leadership off guard.
I don't buy the line that China's political leadership didn't know of the test.

It's a pretty calculated slap in the face. I sure hope the war planners have a god handle on how to conduct a war with China out over the western Pacific, or I am not at all optimistic that one can be avoided. I suspect that the Chinese military is spoiling for a fight within the next two decades.

Which is why this article on Avleak was pretty interesting. In a fight where the U.S. inflicts a 6-1 loss ration on the Chinese, the Chinese still win. The Chinese have the capability to launch enough fighters, including old Mig-21s, to soak up every missile that would be fired by the projected force of F-22s and F-35s.

Don't expect much help from the Navy's missile ships in that regard. One of the unspoken drawbacks of the vertical-launch system over the old "one-arm" or "two-arm" bandit launchers is that the VLS ships have to be pierside in order to reload their missiles and, if I remember correctly, the pier had better have a good-sized crane. The older missile ships could, if necessary, be at least partially reloaded at sea, though it probably wouldn't have been very pretty to watch.

It's an oft-repeated maxim that "quantity has a quality of its own." It works something like this:

It doesn't matter how good you are or how sophisticated your weapons are; if you run out of rounds and the enemy is still coming at you, you're screwed.

I do think that China will manufacture a cause for war sometime down the road. Whether over its claims to oil deposits far off its coast or an invasion of Taiwan, China wants this fight to push the Americans out of the western Pacific. I do not think that we can pretend otherwise. So the question becomes are we willing to see it through or are we going to slowly backwater and leave eastern Asia to become under the de facto control of China.

This isn't about just us. Besides claiming Taiwan, China also claims territory now controlled by India, Russia, Vietnam, Japan and the Philippines. If China thinks that they can push the Americans away, there will be nothing really to stop them from asserting their ancient claims. They haven't forgotten that the Vietnamese pretty much kicked their asses in `79.

The Chinese forget no sleight, no mater how trivial it may seem to us. That may be one of the reasons why they seem to be so interesting in eventually picking a fight.

One would hope that rationality would prevail. China has not fought a major war at sea in hundreds of years and by the timeframe that I have in mind, it will have been eighty years since our last naval war. Nothing is certain in war and, in a war between two nuclear-armed nations, things can spiral out of control pretty quickly (that fear kept a war with the Soviet Union from ever breaking out).

But rationality rarely seems to prevail. History is replete with wars that began when one side thought they could gain an advantage by resorting to force of arms. History also shows that much of the time, the gain is not worth the cost. History also shows that while it takes two parties to maintain a peace, only one side need decide to start a war.

For our part, we had better keep in mind that we have potential adversaries on the horizon who fighters are not functionally illiterate sandal-wearing guerrillas. We might have to take on an adversary who has far more sophisticated weaponry than Kalashnikovs. That is not a fight that we can afford to learn on the fly.


It Will Be Illegal to Plow Snow Within a Thousand Feet of a Federal Official

Because snowplows can be used as deadly weapons.

(Why I said that.)


I'm Not the One Who First Said This

"Those on the Right who say that they should not be tarred with the violent acts of another person should tell it to the Muslims."
I don't know who first said it, but it is true.

Snowflake Snookie said that acts like the shootings in Arizona “begin and end with the criminals who commit them, not collectively with all the citizens of a state.”

So, are Limbaugh, Gingrich, Beck and Palin now going to say it's OK to replace an old Burlington Coat Factory building with a mosque?

Nah, I didn't think so.

UK School Administrators Set New Records for Being Stupid

A teacher was fired for allowing students to go sledding after class.

Palin, Seriously, Go Fuck Yourself

She is accusing critics of "manufacturing a blood libel" over the Tucson shootings.

Does she even know that that means? I very much doubt it.

A "blood libel" is when someone accuses members of a minority group, whether ethnic or religious, of using the blood of children in ceremonies or rituals. The classic blood libel has been spread by antisemites for centuries, who have spread the rumor that Jews use the blood of Christians for making matzoh for Passover. There is no telling how many Jews have been raped, driven into exile, or killed over this lie, but it would be well into the thousands, if not millions. For Palin to cloak herself in the outrageous claim to be a victim of a blood libel is offensive, to say the least, to every member of any group that has been smeared with a real blood libel.{1}

Of course, Palin is not content with merely alleging that, she also is seeking to rewrite a little bit of recent history:
"Recall how the events of 9-11 challenged our values and we had to fight the tendency to trade our freedoms for perceived security. And so it is today."
Really. Can you name five prominent Republicans who spoke out against the trashing of the Constitution by the Bush Administration? Can you name Republicans who spoke out against the widespread abuse of the "material witness" statute as a tool to detain people without cause or judicial review? Can you name Republicans who spoke out when the Bush Administration first proposed instituting a Star Chamber system of trials at Guantanamo? Can you name any prominent Republicans who objected to the NSA's interception of all telecommunications in this country? Can you name any prominent Republicans who fought the use of "national security letters" as a form of judge-free secret subpoenas? Can you name any Republican politicians who were outraged when the Bush Administration claimed the right to arrest anyone in the world and hold them incommunicado forever if a flunky from the Department of Justice muttered the magic words "supporter of terrorism"? Can you name any senior Republican politician who spoke out against the use of torture?

Can you? C'mon, give me the names of five active Republicans who spoke out on any of those issues. Or better yet, provide the clips of any of the on-air conservative personalities on Fox News who spoke out against the Bush Administration on any one of those issues.{2}

I think you can't. The Republicans have been more than willing to throw away eight of the ten amendments in the Bill of Rights, at least when a Republican is in the White House.{3} They have proven that by their conduct. Palin doesn't get to rewrite history on this one.

Worse than that: Palin is not the victim here, even though she seems more than eager to climb up on her personal cross.

The real victims are either lying in caskets or are in hospital beds in Tuscon.
{1} I write this as one who is both old enough to remember when it was an Eastertime ritual for Catholic kids to beat up Jewish kids "because you killed our Lord." I write this as one whose ancestors fled their old countries to escape the recurring pogroms.
{2} Except for their token liberal(s), of course. That would be the exception that proves the rule.
{3} The Second Amendment is obvious. The other one is probably the Third Amendment.