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, August 31, 2011

Torture Airlines

The real name was Richmor Aviation. They provided aircraft and crew for flying people around the world to be tortured.

A lot of details are emerging as a result of litigation between companies involved. Of course, the U.S. press isn't covering it. But the Guardian (UK) is.

zOMG!!!1!!! Teh Socialism!!!!!!1111!!!

In Groton, CT, the town Senior Center has set up showers for people who do not have hot water (as a result of Hurricane Irene).

Socialism!!!! Why isn't Halliburton setting up some of their electrical showers and charging people to use them?

"Can I Buy a New Heater, Judge? Huh? Pretty Please?"

That's how it works in New York. You pick out the gun you want, pay for it, then you take yourself and the receipt over to the county clerk's office. There, you fill out a form to apply to amend your pistol permit to add the piece to your permit. The designated judge in the county has to sign off on a little coupon. When the judge does, you get to haul your ass back over to the county clerk's office. They type the new data about the gun (make, model, serial and caliber) onto your permit and they give you the signed coupon. You then take the coupon back to the gun shop and then, only then, do you get to fill out the Federal form to get permission from the Feds to pick up your new heater. Assuming that you pass the instant check, then you can take your gun home.

This takes anywhere from a few days upstate to maybe two months in places like Westchester County, where the judge signs the coupons maybe each month and he almost never signs all of them.

Unless you happen to work near to the county seat, buying a new handgun will also cost you two days off from work in order to make the trips to the clerk's office.

New York sucks.

But at least they're saner for rifles and shotguns. (NYC is an exception, of course.)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Police Stealing Guns in Ohio

The uniformed goons in Lakewood, Ohio* heard a woman owned a selection of firearms. She legally owned them. There is no dispute about that.

The local uniformed thieves went to her condo, got a condo maintenance guy to open the door and the cops helped themselves to her weapons. There is also no dispute that they had no cause to do so.

But they won't give them back. So she has to sue them.

I presume that there will soon be a federal civil rights lawsuit filed against those goons, besides the action in local court to make the cops give her heaters back.

If you want to print out a copy of the U.S. Constitution and mail it to the chief of police (with the 4th Amendment highlighted for readability), you can send it here:

Chief of Police Timothy J. Malley
Lakewood City Hall
12650 Detroit Avenue
Lakewood, Ohio 44107

Or if you want to e-mail him:
* If there is a reason to ever go to Lakewood, I've not found it. Since it is now apparent to the casual observer that the police are nothing more than thieves with badges, you might want to avoid the place. Dennis Kucinich was born there and even he left for Cleveland.

Lakewood historically was known for corruption. Long before Kelo v. New London, if a developer wanted to put up a shopping mall or an office complex, the city would obligingly designate the neighborhood as "blighted" and kick out the residents. (Lakewood's definition of blight included such things as "peeling paint on garage doors".)

Songs You Probably Won't See on the History Channel

Frig the Flying Fortress:

And If Irene Wasn't Enough

Tropical Storm Katia is forming.

I mention that because whoever picked the name "Katia" out of a baby book of names apparently didn't know about Russian diminutives. Russian diminutives are analagous to nicknames that are formed from people's formal names. For instance, a girl named Josephine may be called Joey or JoJo, a boy named Frederick may be called Freddie or Fred.

Russian diminutives are a lot more extensive.* For some of the more popular names, there are a pantload of diminutives.

I am mentioning this because Katia (or Katya) is a diminutive of Ekaterina and a variant/diminutive of that name is: Katrina.**

I'm not saying that means anything, but if Tropical Storm Katia ends up becoming another Category 5 killer storm, well, you read it here first.

Elsewhere, Typhoon Talas is expected to make landfall in Japan by Friday.
* Sasha is the diminutive for Alexander and Alexandra.
** So is Katyusha, better known for other reasons.

Flooding in Vermont

Downtown Wilmington is trashed.

There is a brick building at the corner of Rt. 9 and Rt. 100, the center of Wilmington. The Deerfield River flows right by there. On the side of the building, there was a marker that indicated the height of the flooding following the Hurricane of 1938. Hurricane Irene may have matched that.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Your Tax Dollars at Work

From NASA's GOES-13 satellite:

People have largely forgotten that before the late 1940s, there were such things as surprise hurricanes. Hurricane detection required advanced experience in reading the ocean; very experienced mariners could tell there was a storm out there by the direction and period of the sea swells. Actual reports depended on ships being unlucky enough to be near a hurricane and radioing in weather reports.

The 1938 hurricane surprised millions of people in New York and New England, who had no inkling that the story was coming. It was, by far, not the only such storm.

The Army Air Force began flying tropical storm weather reconnaissance flights before the end of World War II. First in converted bombers, then in C-121 transports and C-130s. NOAA also flies hurricane reconnaissance missions.

Between the satellites and the hurricane hunters, everyone who pays attention to the news now has several days' warning of an approaching tropical storm or hurricane. This allows people to prepare and to evacuate in a timely manner.

Your tax dollars at work.

The Lewis Gun

(Video source)

The video shows the gun being fired with 47 round magazines. They had 97 round magazines, as well, and those were used on early fighters and observation aircraft during the Great War. Imagine the fun that a fighter pilot had when he had to change out the drum during the middle of a dogfight.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Live-Blogging Hurricane Tropical Storm Irene

6PM. Winds are still gusting over 50mph. Hasn't stopped people from venturing out to begin to clean up their yards and driveways.

12:30PM. Wind's still strong, but the sky is brightening. Some limbs are down, the road crews have been out clearing them away. The other side of the storm is getting far more rain than here.

9:30AM. Wind is stronger, but nothing remarkable. There have been worse nor'easters. Some tree limbs are down and there are a lot of leaves on the ground. Power has fluctuated a number of times. We shut off the a/c because as the power fluctuated, it would draw too much current and I got tired of going down and resetting the breaker. Looking at the forecasted winds for the airports just east of NYC, the storm's impact is not going to be as bad as they were saying yesterday. Irene has been downgraded to a tropical storm and she is speeding up to 26mph, so the storm should be out of here by this evening.

7AM. Power flickered on and off several times overnight, but it is still on here (obviously). The storm seems to be tracking to go right over Stamford, CT. JFK International may take a direct hit. Winds are gusting near 50MPH. Rain is coming in on heavy bands, then it stops. The CT governor has banned the use of tractor-trailers within the state. High tide is in a few hours, so this should be interesting.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Thoughts For the Day

Everybody who ever cast Katherine Heigl in a movie in a role, other than as "dead body", should be tied to stakes on top of floats during the next Rose Bowl Parade and flogged down the entire route of the parade.

Whoever came up with the idea for the TV show "Karaoke Battle USA" should be dropped into a vat of concentrated caustic soda.

Caturday; Pre-Hurricane Irene Edition

Gracie is watching the news of the storm on GMA:

George is relaxing on a desk chair.

Jake is also taking it easy. What the hell, that's what cats do.


We're doing laundry today for the final preps.

Friday, August 26, 2011

C'mon Irene

If we're going to fucking do this thing, let's fucking do it.

(Depending on the availability of electricity and my ISP, don't be surprised if you don't hear from me for awhile after the storm finally hits.)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Forecast: Light Blogging

Keep yourselves occupied, OK. I'm short of time and opportunity fo blogging for a few days Nothing to worry about.

Try not to wreck the Internet in the meantime, kids.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Battle for Tripoli?

There are conflicting reports about what is happening in and around Tripoli.

I'm not going to write about that. Assuming that the rebels remain united, then there are only a few ways that this will end.

First is a negotiated deal, where Gaddafi, his family and his inner circle are allowed to flee to a third nation, which will, in turn, promise not to extradite them. This would be the "golden prison" option, for likely Gadafi would be confined to a compound of some sort.*

The second is a semi-frozen conflict, where the rebels are not strong enough to advance into and take the city, yet the loyalists are not able to reverse the rebels' gains. The rebels would infiltrate areas of Tripoli and stir up trouble for the loyalists, but without the ability to enter into heavy urban warfare. In essence, this would be 21st Century siege warfare. As in traditional siege warfare, the suffering would fall most on the civil population. The goal in this is to either force Gaddafi to flee or to spark an uprising among the lower ranks of the remnants of the Libyan military, who may not see a reason to die for Gaddafi.

The third is all-out urban warfare. This is probably the least likely to happen. Urban warfare is a brutal and bloody business; you don't need to be any sort of military scholar to know that. Whether the Battle of Monterrey, the Battle of Stalingrad, the Battle of Berlin or the Battle of Hue,** taking a city by force requires a large, well-trained force and the ability to take a lot of casualties. Since a necessary tool for urban warfare is the hand grenade (and other explosives), civilian casualties will be very high.

I've not made any sort of serious study of the Libyan rebels. "Well-trained" and "heavily armed" do not seem to be appropriate adjectives, though. They've gained experience the hard way, they have been getting some on-the-fly training from various special forces and I do not mean to make light of their dedication. But they don't have heavy weapons (to any great degree) and they have no air support. I don't see NATO flying armed missions in support of urban warfare, as civilian casualties would be unavoidable and NATO is rather adverse to that.

Gaddafi also has a problem with arranging to flee: When word gets out to his troops that he is bailing out, they might decide that their best option is to present his head to the rebels as a surrender gift. Otherwise, they are left to face whatever retribution will be handed out to the loyalists by the victors. Historically, being on the losing side of a civil war is a bad place to be.***

UPDATE: It would seem that Gaddafi's army is less than interested in dying for a lost cause. So this may be over sooner rather than later.
* He'd probably not want to leave anyway for fear of assassination or rendition ("rendition" is when a national government engages in kidnapping).
** To cite a few examples. There have been plenty of others, particularly between the Soviets and the Germans in the Great Patriotic War.
*** The South got off very lightly in this regard, though you wouldn't know it to hear the kvetching that continues to this day.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Are You Smarter Than a Seventh Grader?

Probably not this one, who may have come up with a way to improve the efficiency of solar cells.


A Song to Help You Off Yourself

I live in a condo complex. On a warm summer's evening, when it's not too hot, most people have their windows and front doors open (it's a "garden complex", which means that everyone's front door opens to the outdoors).

So I could hear a neighbor's music. They had a CD on and were having dinner or socializing or something. The CD was by Gilbert O'Sullivan. The song which caught my attention was "Alone Again (Naturally)", which was a top-of-the-chart hit nearly forty years ago.[1]

It has to be one of the most depressing songs around. In comparison, "Paint it Black" is an uplifting tune.[2] And yet, the family in the apartment was enthusiastically singing along with it. Besides being a totally depressing song, it's almost an ear worm that can get stuck in your brain. You almost have to go listen to this song to get it out.

I don't know if the suicide rate increased when that song was out. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if it had. Supposedly O'Sullivan is still very popular in Japan, where killing yourself is almost a national sport.

[1] I'm not going to embed this one, but if you want to hear it, click on this link.
[2] "Paint it Black" was used as the theme song for "Tour of Duty", a show that started out great, but that CBS managed to fuck up.

NYPD Off-Duty: The Good and the Bad.

One off-duty cop got into a shoot-out with a robber and shot the gun out of his hand.

Another off-duty cop got drunk and raped a woman.


Gracie, looking as photogenic as she always does.

Jake is too cool to be concerned about a camera.

George is giving me a look of "You're taking my picture now?"

"I can haz sandwich?"

Friday, August 19, 2011

"Blade Runner"-- Really?

They're going to make either a prequel or sequel to "Blade Runner".

Personally, I don't get it. I saw it when it came out. A while back, when I was in Wally-Woild to buy some cartridges, I found the "director's cut" DVD in the $5 bin, so I bought it. I'd read all of the hype about how the director's cut was so superior to the released movie, you see.

Frankly, both in 1982 and 29 years later, my reaction to the movie was then and remains a solid "meh". So it's a mystery set in a dystopian future-- big effing deal. In case anybody hasn't noticed, 95% of the science fiction movies these days are dystopian in nature.* "Blade Runner" was a noir-style detective movie and, compared to "the Maltese Falcon" or "the Big Sleep", not an exceptionally good one.

So color me "unimpressed" by this news.
* Even so so-called "cheery future" of the Star Trek franchise is replete with wars, murders and inhabited planets being blown to bits.

Forecasting Sun Spots?

It may be possible to have up to two days' warning of a sunspot outbreak. Astronomers have figured out how to monitor what is going on beneath the surface of the Sun.

"Beneath" as in nearly 40,000 miles deep.

(Yes, very much "your tax dollars at work", Teabaggers.)

Bachmann Fears the Threat From the Kingdom of Prussia!

No, Michele Bachmann didn't go that far. But she is concerned about the "threat from the Soviet Union."

I understand the point that blatant ignorance has a part to play in our political system. But isn't it just a bit much to proclaim that there is a threat from a country that ceased to exist twenty years ago?

Bachmann is making Palin look like a PhD candidate in geopolitical studies.

Dear S&P: You Should Have Learned This Lesson From Bin Ladin:

Fuck with the USA and the USA will fuck you right back.
Ratings agency Standard & Poor's is being investigated by the U.S. Justice Department for allegedly overrating mortgage-backed securities, whose meltdown led to the 2008 financial crisis, according to two sources with knowledge of the investigation.
Yeah, sure, these investigations have supposedly been going on for months. But the timing of the public announcement is anything but coincidental.

Given the wholesale looting of the economy by the banksters, there should have been enough criminal prosecutions going on that the Bureau of Prisons should have hand to begun a crash building program. That there has been damned few such prosecutions to date speaks more of the both the pussies in the Obama Administration and the tentacles that the banksters have into the government.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

In Corporate America, Banks Rob You!

Wells Fargo plans to test market a $3 monthly fee for debit cards in some areas. JP Morgan Chase is already charging a $3 fee in some places, such as Wisconsin. Regions Bank, too, has already begun charging a $4 monthly debit card fee, as well as Sun Trust Bank. which now charges a $5 monthly debit card fee.
Fuck the banksters with a dildo wrapped with barbed wire.

Here's what you do, folks: Use a credit card and pay that sucker off, in full, every month. Or write a check. Or go to the ATM at the bnak from time to time (most banks don't charge a fee for using their ATMs), draw out some cash and use it.

If your bank is hitting you with a fee for a debit card, take the debit card back to them and tell one of the "customer service" people to cancel it.

Or better yet, take your money out of those fucking banks and go to a bank that doesn't charge a fee for a debit card.

The fees are insane. It's not as though any humans are involved in processing the debit transactions. It's just these thieving banksters, who were bailed out with taxpayer money, thanking the American people by screwing them a little bit more.

So next time you assholes need a bailout:

From Politics in the Zeros:

ATF and the "Peter Principle"

The ATF has promoted three key supervisors of a controversial sting operation that allowed firearms to be illegally trafficked across the U.S. border into Mexico.
Snark would be superfluous.

2044 = Nineteen Eighty Four?

For your freedom to be left alone will be dead by then:
Within 30 years, biometric fingerprinting will give way to passports laced with computer chips. Your official travel document “will not only have information as to who you are and where you have traveled, but it will also ... allow government officials to track your travel not only in the air, but your daily travels to work, grocery stores and social events.”
If this comes to fruition, *my* "official documents" will be inside a RFID-proof case and good luck with tracking them.

I won't be surprised if people stand for this, though. Too many people are willing to give up their freedoms for an illusionary degree of personal safety.

Universal Design

There are some interesting concepts and ideas in this building.

Look at where they mounted a set of elevator call buttons to make them wheelchair-friendly.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Don't Fall Behind On Your Citibank Credit Cards

They might have you killed if you do.

Quote of the Day

From an e-mail:
Class warfare isn't what's been happening for the last thirty years. For it to be war, both sides would have to be involved. When only one side is laying waste, it's called a massacre. And that's what the rich are doing to the rest of us.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Military Retirement

No more "do your 20 and retire". The Feds will pay into a 401(K) and then when a service member leaves, they have to wait until they are 62 to collect.

Which means that after getting shot at for X number of years and then leaving, good luck to you. Maybe your 401(K) won't be wiped out in the markets.

I suspect that this will end up decimating the ranks of senior people, for why stay for 20 years and then have to find a job with nothing to fall back on? You can do a hitch or two and get out in your late 20s or early 30s with far better prospects of finding a job. There will be little incentive to make a career of it.

(I heard rumint about this a few months ago, but I didn't fully trust my source.)

The Evil Thing

(More here)


Thou Shall Not Challenge the American Police State

The amateur videographer with the colorful vocabulary who memorialized the alleged 2009 police beating of Melvin Jones III during a traffic stop may be charged with illegal wiretapping.

One of four police officers disciplined for the incident on Nov. 27, 2009, Michael Sedergren, has filed an application for a criminal complaint against videographer Tyrisha Greene. Sedergren, who was suspended for 45 days, claims it was illegal for Greene to videotape him without his consent.
Last time I checked, Massachusetts had some claim about being one of the first states to resist the tyranny of the British Crown.

There is something ironic that the Commonwealth now is in the position of enforcing the tyranny of the modern American police state.*

But that is true in more than one of the Thirteen Colonies: It is illegal to videotape the cops beating people. Those states should be ashamed of themselves.
* But it's about what one can expect in a state where the cops will confiscate your guns for exercising your First Amendment rights.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Hey, That Wasn't There When I Went to Bed Last Night!

A blimp.

Dumb-ass line of the day: "The blimp had to cancel its next stop." Ya think, moron? No wonder nobody watches the "Early Show."

(The Global Vampire Squid is running an ad before the story.)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

I Think That the Political Term For This Is "Bad Optics".

Really, Michele Bachmann? You let people take your picture taken doing this? In public? What the hell were you thinking?

Oh, and then there is your huz-bin, Mister "Pray Away Teh Gag", who seems to be a little conflicted about playing the ol' skin flute:

C'mon, this is too easy.  This even tops Mitten's bit of fudge-packing:

Some Pretty Bad Shit in Syria

It's getting pretty bad when they use the Navy to shell protestors.

Here's my guess: When you see a news story from Syria that "X number of soldiers were killed in fighting", that means that the Syrians executed that many soldiers who refused to turn their weapons on the Syrian people. Then the regime simply blames those executions on the protestors.

Bangity, Bangity

I went to the range this morning. The target, below, was shot with a Ruger old-model Vaquero in .45 at 21 feet. One-handed, of course, it feels funny to fire such a gun with two hands.

I also tried out a couple of rounds of Buffalo Bore .45 loads. They do recoil a bit more, nothing objectionable.

Anyway, a coupe of months ago at a library, I was perusing through a book of short stories by Lous L'amour. The librarian told me that if I liked his work, that I really should read a couple of the westerns written by Robert B. Parker. So I did, being "Appalosaa" and "Gunman's Rhapsody"

"Suck" doesn't begin to describe them. Parker did no research on anything other than maybe the life of Wyatt Earp for "Gunman's Rhapsody." In Parker's version fo the Old West, everybody carried Colt pistols and Winchester rifles. He has Wyatt Earp carrying a "four-pound Colt"-- a Colt .45 weights maybe 43 oz., and it is pretty certain that Earp carried a Smith & Wesson (.44 or .45) for the same reason many lawmen of the time did: They were considerably faster to reload than a Colt SAA.

Parker also has people carrying .45 Winchester rifles, which didn't exist.* Winchester had problems making one that would reliably feed and extract a .45 Colt cartridge, so the weapon was never so offered.

Parker also has a train stop at a station for water; the engine pulls up under the tank and the crew removes "the boiler cap" to add water. Lawd have mercy, what the fuck did he think was in that boxy-looking car that locomotives pulled right behind them? Water was kept in the tender and that was what was refilled. No sane person would attempt to "take a cap off" a steaming boiler at 100-150psi;** Parker must have thought that adding water to a locomotive boiler was like refilling his tea kettle.

So if you want to read a western and you don't give a frak about anything approaching historical accuracy, then go for it.
*He specifically said that the rounds were interchangeable with Colt revolvers (Yes, I know about the Winchester 1876 and 1886. I'm pretty certain Parker didn't.)
** No such "boiler cap" existed. People were not that stupid.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Caturday; Headshot Edition

Gracie. She was the easiest to photograph.


George. He was a pain in the ass when it came to getting this shot, he kept moving around.

I must have been boring Jake.

Wir Fahren auf Keine Freiheit BART!*

Shutting off cell phone coverage is not just for fascists and tyrants anymore.

The Bay Area Rapid Transit did the same thing.
BART officials acknowledged Friday afternoon that they had switched off the transit system's underground cell phone network, which runs from Balboa Park Station through the Transbay Tube, from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday to prevent protesters from coordinating plans to stop trains.

Probably no truth to the rumor that Chief Kenton W. Rainey is teaching his officers how to march in a goose-step. But that may not be so far-fetched, since BART cops already have a record of murdering people.

The rumor that the BART employees greet each otehr b rasign their right arm and saying "heil Direktor Murray" is probably equally untrue.
* I don't speak German, so if that doesn't mean "we travel on freedom-free BART", take it up with Google.

Friday, August 12, 2011

What Do Hosni Mubarack, Bashar al-Assad, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and David Cameron All Have in Common?

They all thought it is a good idea to limit the use of the Internet during any unrest.

Next would be to shut off the cellular phone system. Shutting down communications is a tactic of despots. No doubt that King George III would have been pleased if his soldiers could have shut down the ability of the American Rebels to print and distribute pamphlets and books.

Rioting is a self-destructive action.* Riots generally only cause the authorities to become even more brutal and oppressive. Riots also are a sign that people feel helpless and believe that they have no power to change the system. The difference between a riot and an insurrection is that in an insurrection, people do have a sense that they can effect change.

But the UK is not the only place in the world where people are beginning to realize that the economic game is rigged.
* Rioting is also stupid. If you're going to burn down the town, why not burn down the neighborhoods where the rich folk live? For one thing, there's probably a better class of goods to loot. And why make an arson-desert of your own neighborhood?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

They Left a Zero Off the Sentence

28 years for sending kids to prison in a kickback scheme isn't long enough. It should have been 280 years.
Former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella Jr. was sentenced Thursday to 28 years in federal prison for taking $1 million in bribes from the builder of a pair of juvenile detention centers in a case that became known as "kids-for-cash."
There is something that is morally repugnant about all of this, of inserting the profit motive into the criminal justice system. I remain unchanged in my suspicion that this is going on elsewhere. In some places, the bribes are legal, as private prison operators lobby for stiffer sentencing laws.

It's evil. These judges are evil, and so are the operators of privately-run prisons.

(I originally thought that these assholes would be jailed for seven years.)

After All, the Last Time We Elected a Governor From Texas Who Was a Christian Evangelical, It Worked Out So Well

Other than two wars paid wholly by increased debt (nearly tripling the national debt), the virtual withdrawal of the Federal government from regulating banking, financial services, resulting in the Great Recession and the failure to oversee offshore oil drilling, resulting in the largest oil spill in American history, that is.
Much of secular and liberal America watches anxiously at the prospect of another Texas president tied to the Christian evangelical movement. That unease is shared by progressive Christians who fear [Rick] Perry is identifying with the most conservative church leaders.
George W. Bush started the Iraq War because he thought that G-d told him to. Rick Perry, a/k/a George W. Bush, Jr. (or "Little Dubya"), seems cut from the same bolt of cloth.

Once, decades ago, I was talking to my late father about what some clown was pulling. This frakker was doing some pretty awful stuff and, while he wasn't an evangelical, he was one of those who routinely told everyone what a good G-d-fearing churchgoer he was. I told my dad that I didn't understand how someone who claimed to be so religious could be such an asswipe.

Dad told me this: "When you believe that G-d is talking to you, you can justify anything you want."

Which is how we got where conservatives ran up the national debt and imposed a massive security apparatus which spies on everyone (not to mention engaging in various and sundry war crimes).

The thought that the GOP would even consider going back to nominating an undereducated Texas governor with a storied track record of claiming personal conversations with Jesus, not to mention arguably letting innocent men be executed, should fill every thinking American with horror. But since Americans who can critically think seem to be in short supply in today's Republican party, Perry might be a strong contender for the nomination.

The point that two years ago, Perry seemed to be more interested in running for the presidency of the Confederacy, will be considered at another time.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hooray for the Good Old F-15 and F-16!

The F-22 fleet has been grounded for three months. The problem is that the aircraft make their own oxygen (they don't have the old-style oxygen bottles) and the oxygen generators are fucked up.

Kind of a big problem.

The F-35s aren't flying, either.

Meanwhile, the Air Force is starting to think about the next fighter. Probably a good idea, since it took them over 20 years to get the F-22 off the ground. Each one should, by then, cost roughly a tenth of the annual defense budget to purchase.

Where Is the Wingnut Freakout Over This?

They must be asleep at the switch.
The Obama administration on Tuesday unveiled the nation's first fuel-efficiency standards for heavy-duty trucks, a move embraced by truck manufacturers and trucking companies trying to slash fuel costs – as well as by environmentalists seeking to slow global warming.
You would think that just on contrarian impulses, they'd be screaming blue bloody murder about this.

They're probably waiting for the Radio Oxycotin Junkie to weigh in on it.

While You Were Riveted On the Stock Market News...

China began sea trials of former Soviet Carrier that was originally purchased under the guise of converting it to a floating casino.

One carrier is a training platform. Three are a potential threat. Carriers are not defensive tools; they are offensive tools for taking the fight to an adversary. It takes a hell of a lot of resources to support a carrier, for not only does a carrier navy need the carrier and airplanes, it needs escorts to protect the carrier and a plethora of supply ships to keep the carrier fed with fuel and munitions. In local waters, a carrier and escorts may be trouble for several hundred miles from Chinese ports. But if the ships are to operate much further than that, a lot more support ships are necessary.

What is often forgotten in the hysteria over the Chinese carrier is how long it takes to build up the human and technical infrastructure to support carrier-based operations. Navalizing warplanes is not an easy thing; it's not just a matter of interservice rivalry behind the point that Air Force fighters don't seem to work out when adapted for carrier use. The Brits navalized the Spitfire into the Seafire, but it was an open secret that the Royal Navy accepted the Seafire for political reasons.*

China is playing a long game and its navy is expanding. But going from a brown-water to a blue-water navy takes a lot of time and training. While "panic" is not called for, the nations around the western Pacific Rim need to figure out how they are going to adapt to a more muscular and capable Chinese navy.**

North and South Korea conducted a friendly exchange of artillery fire. Meanwhile, the North Koreans have asked South Korea for a shipment of "humanitarian cement". The South Koreans don't seem to be that gullible.***

* The Royal Navy was more than content with using American-built Wildcats, Hellcats and Corsairs, all of which were designed for carrier use.
** Taiwan has one idea.
** (Is it just me who wonders if it is possible that the Tea Party has learned its negotiating tactics from the North Koreans?)

Politics is Not Nuclear Warfare

"Close" doesn't count in elections.
Republicans retained four of the six state Senate seats that were in jeopardy in Tuesday's recall elections in Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported.

Democrats won two seats but needed three to take control, the newspaper reported.
So Wisconsin can continue down the road to becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary of Koch Industries. That's what the voters seem to want. Everyone else there who doesn't like it had better put U-Haul on speed-dial.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

zOMG!!1! A Science Project!!!

The TSA shut down Omaha Airport because a carry-on bag held a student's science project.

It had all of them new-fangled electronical parts and wires and stuff!!

Come to Merry Olde England,
See Our Lovely Riots

The British tourism authority has pulled its "Visit the UK" ad campaign.

(Sort of in the same way that the Oil Slut commercials vanished for several months following British Petroleum's ginormous oil spill.)

Apparently the northern Irish are not a little bit pissed off at how the cops in Belfast (and other places in Norther Ireland) shoot rubber/plastic bullets with great abandon and yet the London cops seem to be really squeamish about opening fire.

Fixing the Economy

One of the problems with our economy is that the financial sector has broken its trust with the people. The banksters, of whom Goldman Sachs is just one example, ignored any sense of fiduciary duty towards their customers. They knowingly steered their customers into buying fraudulent securities because they (banskters) could reap huge fees from doing so.

The Central Falls bankruptcy is, in part, traceable to the shenanigans of the banksters.* They are by no means the only local government that may end up broken by spiraling debt costs. The banksters, though, cashed out their fees and have fled.

The people running the financial sector would seem to be either wholly dishonest or unconscionably stupid. My bet is that they are thieves.

So the game is rigged.

The way to restore the financial sector is not only with bailouts and interest rate games. Trust has to be restored. And the only way to restore trust is to do what this administration and the previous one have completely failed to do: Hold the banksters accountable.

This is what drives me absolutely batshit about the Tea Party: They are ranting and raving about bailouts of the banks and "government motors", but they have nothing to say about going after the financial tricksters who pumped up the housing marked and then deflated it, making boatloads of money both ways. When there is any move in Congress to redo the laws to stop those sorts of financial shenanigans in the future, the Tea Party is in the forefront of trying to spike them.

Which is kind of like being outraged about bank robberies and then making it illegal to install better bank vaults.

It's not just the Tea Party (and the Koch Brothers), of course. Plenty of Democrats have lined up to help the banksters evade responsibility for their outrageous looking of the global economy.**

If we are going to fix this economy, we have to restore a sense that the people profiting the most from it are ethical and honest. Exhortations from the West Wing won't do it. Only holding the banksters accountable will do it and by that, I mean in criminal court.

This will also help:

And we should have gotten started over three years ago.
* The other part is virtually every state and local government has deliberately underfunded their pension systems.
** Chuck Schumer and Carolyn McCarthy being two of them. They are to the banksters what Max Baucus is to the health insurance companies.

When Government Lies

People will lose trust and faith in their government when the truth does come out. and it will come out. This time, i is the Japanese government with lied to its people.
The day after a giant tsunami set off the continuing disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, thousands of residents at the nearby town of Namie gathered to evacuate.

Given no guidance from Tokyo, town officials led the residents north, believing that winter winds would be blowing south and carrying away any radioactive emissions. For three nights, while hydrogen explosions at four of the reactors spewed radiation into the air, they stayed in a district called Tsushima where the children played outside and some parents used water from a mountain stream to prepare rice.

The winds, in fact, had been blowing directly toward Tsushima — and town officials would learn two months later that a government computer system designed to predict the spread of radioactive releases had been showing just that.

But the forecasts were left unpublicized by bureaucrats in Tokyo, operating in a culture that sought to avoid responsibility and, above all, criticism. Japan’s political leaders at first did not know about the system and later played down the data, apparently fearful of having to significantly enlarge the evacuation zone — and acknowledge the accident’s severity.
There is a lot more at the link.

The Foreclosers

One of the best stories they've ever done.

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Monday, August 8, 2011

Did You Lose a Shitload of Money in the Stock Market Over the Last Few Days?

Don't forget to thank a Republican. Republicans are the ones who have driven deficit spending in this country for the last 30 years.

And don't forget to thank a member of the Tea Party, for they are behind the "our guys must be simon-pure" ideological crap that passes for congressional give-and-take these days.

Oh, and don't forget to thank Grover Norquist. Why he is not being kicked in the balls on a thrice-daily basis is beyond my ken.

It's a Business Decision to Not Make the Drugs People Need

The current drug shortage is, to my mind, wholly artificial. The pharmaceutical companies are not making the drugs that work so they can force doctors to use the new drugs that make much more profit for the drug companies.

It'd be like going to the supermarket and finding that they only sold Kobi beef and beluga caviar.

Answer to S&P?

From the Borowitz Report:
Just days after downgrading the credit rating of the United States, Standard & Poor’s was on high alert this morning after an unmanned Predator drone was seen hovering over its headquarters in lower Manhattan. ... At the White House, President Obama offered no comment on the Predator’s mission, saying only, “The Predator is an effective weapon against the enemies of the United States of America.”
I know that I'm by far not the only person who has commented that S&P had no problems with rating those toxic mortgage securities "AAA" while S&P was paid huge ratings fees by the banksters for doing so.

Bet that if they were being paid to rate U.S. debt, it'd be AAA forever.

Cheap Flights?

The EU has begun an investigation into the practice of offering cheap airline tickets, when the stated price of the ticket bears no resemblance to the final cost of the flight.

It's about time that those bastards got reined in.

I pretty much hate the airline industry these days. But of all of the scumbags out there, I try to stick with the cattle-car airline* because they don't do that shit anywhere near as much as the legacy airlines.**

* Southwest.
** Delta. The only difference as far as I can see between flying on Delta and being made to travel as a slave on a Roman galley was that the air was fresher on a galley and the attendants were friendlier.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Fecking Cable Companies

One guess as to which cable company is the subject of this cartoon:

Back to the Future? Forward to the Past?

Boeing is using Atlas rockets for its new space capsule.

Interesting, considering that it has been nearly fifty years since an Atlas rocket was first used to loft a space capsule.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Thank You, Tea Party, For Costing This Nation Billions More

Dear Tea Party: This is all on you:
Standard & Poor’s removed the United States government from its list of risk-free borrowers for the first time on Friday night, a downgrade that is freighted with symbolic significance but carries few clear financial implications.
It was unthinkable that this nation would default on its debt until you folks dragged the Republican party into Crazy Land. It was unthinkable until you fools began babbling about defaulting and how that might even be a good thing. It was inconceivable until you clowns turned the Congress into a toxic waste pit of ideological imbeciles.

This is all on you, conservatives. You brought this about through you fiscal irresponsibility, your belief that "deficits don't matter", which you acted on for the twenty years of the last 32 years that Republicans held the White House. You brought it about because you now are playing games with the economy in the hopes of wrecking it, just enough, that you win the next election.

There is no "country first" with you people.

This is all on you.

Two Anniversaries

Today would have been Lucille Ball's 100th birthday (she was 77 when she died).

Today is also the 66th anniversary of the first use of a nuclear weapon in warfare.

"I Love Lucy" has had a huge impact for a black-and-white television show that ended its first run 53 years ago. It had a technical impact for the television industry, as the show wrote the book as to how situation comedies are recorded (using three cameras and in front of a live audience). It is a formula that works and nobody has seriously tried to mess with.

The atomic bomb had an effect that, paradoxically, has made the world a more peaceful place. the scientists of the Manhattan Project achieved the dreams of Richard Gatling, Alfred Nobel, Hiram Maxim, Nikola Tesla and others: It made a direct war between major powers unthinkable. Even before the theory of nuclear winter was developed, leaders on both sides of the Cold War recoiled at the idea of incurring retaliatory attacks which would kill tens of millions of their own citizens, though the world has come pretty damn close at times.


George was singularly uncooperative when it came time to take his photo.

Jake is using a laptop DC power supply as a pillow.

No calls for Gracie. But she's ready.

Friday, August 5, 2011

A Woman's View of Viagra

Low Cost Airline Flights

If you don't know London geography, substitute "Islip" or "Manchester, NH" for "Stansted."

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Wall Street Was Sure Impressed By the Teabaggers' Debt Deal

The Dow fell 512 points today.

Yeah, No Corruption Here. Right, Mitt?

Nope, nothing to see here, according to Sammy Alito and the Roberts Court:
A mystery company that pumped $1 million into a political committee backing Mitt Romney has been dissolved just months after it was formed, leaving few clues as to who was behind one of the biggest contributions yet of the 2012 presidential campaign.
The lawyer behind the mystery donation apparently is not unknown to Mitt, as he was associated with Bain Capital, Mitt's firm that specialized in raiding companies, dismantling them, and putting thousands of people out of work.

Update: The donor was one of Mitt's asshole buddies who was trying to get around the limits on individual donations.

Because Good Roads Are a Sign of Socialism

Fresh from blocking any new tax increases during the debt ceiling debacle, some lawmakers in Congress may now oppose renewing the federal tax on gasoline and diesel fuel, which is used to maintain our nation's highways.
Morons, all of them.

It has been understood by damned near everyone that good roads are a necessity for economic growth. The entire manufacturing sector in this country depends on the timely delivery of parts and materials (thanks to "just-in-time" processes). It was a Republican president who understood both the economic and military imperatives behind having good roads.

But hey, 18.4 cents a gallon is too much for the fucking Teabaggers to pay towards decent roads. Guess it doesn't matter to them if the highways become damn near impassible and the bridges collapse from lack of maintenance. No big deal if the trucks have difficulty getting to where they need to go, right?

18,000 Tons and Whaddya Get?

A hell of a lot of contaminated ground turkey.

18,000 tons. That's roughly the displacement of a WW2 heavy cruiser.

That's a buttload of ground turkey, all right.

(Of course, in the Envisioned World of Teabagging Libertarians, Cargill would have just sold it all and not worried about who got sick and died. Which was exactly what happened before the Pure Food and Drug Act was signed into law by that dedicated socialist, Theodore Roosevelt.)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Moons of Earth?

Yes, plural, as in the Earth once had two moons. They crashed into each other over four billion years ago.

No word if the scientists think that this may be at least a partial answer to the puzzle of the existence of lunar mascons.

Caturday Extra: Gravity Wanted!

Cowboys and Aliens

Decent flick, though I have a feeling that it could have been a barn-burner. Came close, though.

There were some neat things. One was that there was a wide variety of firearms, especially handguns. There were top-break revolvers and cartridge conversion revolvers, besides the usual Colt SAAs. There were Winchesters, Henry yellow-boys and Sharps carbines.

The story sort of hung together. There was an element of enemies coming together to fight a deadlier foe. While it may be a stretch to see ranchers and Apaches working together, figure that we aligned ourselves with Stalin's Russia in order to defeat the Germans seventy years ago. There were a few overdone cliches (such as "the cowardly bully son of a powerful man" bit), but nothing fatal to the movie. I was impressed that nobody used the word "aliens"; they referred to the aliens as "demons".

Worth seeing, especially if you can get in for a cheaper matinee.

Get Back to Work, You Fuckers on Capitol Hill

Congress is taking four weeks off.

The FAA isn't funded and airline taxes are not being collected, with a loss to the Treasury of over a billion dollars.

Unemployment is high and long-term unemployment is now a structural problem.

So what does the Congress and the Obama Administration do? They spent over a month on the wholly artificial debt crisis, a politically self-inflicted wound if there ever was one. Having slayed that mythical dragon, a feat the stock market greeted by by sliding over 200 points, Congress has gone on a four-week vacation.

Get back to work, you parasitic assholes.

Nearly a Quarter of a Billion Dollars For One Radio-Controlled Airplane

That is about what the Air Force is paying for each new "Global Hawk" surveillance drone.

The usual cost-overruns and Air Force gold-plated procurement is to blame. The boys in the redyed-army uniforms, like the rest of their compatriots at Fort Fumble, have yet to figure out how to make shit without breaking the bank. The defense contractors know how to play the game; they bring in their bids at a low-ball estimate and figure that they can make their money with the inevitable change orders. And they do.

This fucking drone will end up costing more than a F-22.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

CSI- Cat Shit

(Inspiration for this tale comes from here.)

Several years ago, I was sitting on the throne, doing the morning BM, when George walked into the bathroom. He had a thin white string dangling from his mouth. I recognized it as dental floss and lunged at him. He evaded my attempt to grab him and, when I finally nabbed his skinny ass, he had swallowed it all.

I remembered tales I had been told of cats who had eaten dental floss, only to have it loop around internal bits of their intestines and, in essence, disembowel them from the inside. In a near state of panic, I called the vet and asked the "now, what" question.

The advice was to check for the floss in the droppings. I had a box of disposable gloves, so every time I found cat poop in the litter box (or elsewhere), I donned a pair of gloves and squished the turds, searching for dental floss.

Roughly 36 hours later, George shat out a turd that had the floss all wadded up in a nice coating of cat poop. I was relieved that George wouldn't need surgery (I wouldn't have to pay for it) and that I could stop playing the role of Abigail Sciuto of Cat Shit.

AD, the Musical


There is some commentary going on that Blackhawk Serpa holsters are ideal for creating "accidental discharges" and shooting a hole in one's bod.

Don't Pin This Turd On Us, Barry!

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Monday, August 1, 2011


An Alabama Air National Guard F-16 ran off the runway at the Oshkosh Fly-In (excuse me, "AirVenture").

Update: Video here.

(H/T to Sarah in the comments for the video.)

Neville Chamberlain for President in 2012

Why the hell not?* If we're going to have a president whose negotiating style is a mixture of capitulation and appeasement, let's go all in.
* Yes, I know that Chamberlain is (a) British, and (b) dead. You'd rather that I support Vidkun Quisling?