Words of Advice:

"Never Feel Sorry For Anyone Who Owns an Airplane."-- Tina Marie

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

"
Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It.
" -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot, by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Friday, July 31, 2009

Remember

The Vampires of the Economy

While the firms which contribute nothing to the economy (other than figureing out ways to drain money from everyone else) were raking in huge bailouts from the Federal government under the "give us money or the economy's toast" plan, they were turning right around and handing out million-dollar bonuses within their firms.
At some banks last year, revenue fell to levels not seen in more than five years, but pay did not.
Let's be clear about this: Without our money to prop them up, they could not have afforded to pay those bonuses. And it should come as no surprise that the leading vampire is Goldman Sachs.

These "firms" (and they are "firms" in the same way that the Five Families are "firms") set up variations of Ponzi schemes to loot the economy. Compared to Goldman Sachs and the rest of those goniffs, Bernie Madoff was a piker who was running a game of three card monte in a back alley behind some dive bar.

Those firms need to be dismantled before they complete their destruction of our economy.

Some Evidence of a Spine

The Progressives in the House of Representatives have given notice that they are not going to let the pseudo-Republicans Blue Dogs drive the process of writing a health care bill:
In a letter to be delivered to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House health care leaders, Congressional progressives will reject a compromise Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) forged with Blue Dog Democrats to advance legislation. "We regard the agreement reached by Chairman Waxman and several Blue Dog members of the [Energy and Commerce] Committee as fundamentally unacceptable," it reads.
It's about frakking time. What the Blue Dogs want (an appropriate color for them, since they serve the interests of Blue Cross and the rest of the health insurance industry) is a bill that has as its central purpose, the enrichment of the health insurance companies. I'm cheered to see that the Progressives may (emphasis on may) be stopping their doormat routine.

Two Years, or
We Are So Screwed

That's how long I've been at this. I sure didn't think that I would have lasted this long, but there are enough morons in our government, at all levels, to give me fresh hell to rag them about.

Which has been mostly a good thing. This wacky summer weather has put a real dent in my flying. The "ZOMG, Obama's Gonna Take Away Our Gunz!!!!1!!1!" ammunition shortage has limited my pistol shooting. So there are two less things to write about. I recently found some GI .45 rounds at a now-reasonable price, so I did get to the range last weekend and I put a box of cartridges through my 1911. Surprisingly, I shot better than I had any right to expect after not shooting for four months.

However, I feel as though I'm running out of steam. My outrage towards the utter criminality of the Bush Administration has been largely supplanted by my thorough contempt for the ineptitude and blatant pandering to the special interests of the 111th Congress. If the Congressional Democrats were to open a diner, the special of the day would be a soup sandwich. If you were to compare the Senate Democratic Caucus to the CIA, Harry Reid would be CIA Directory Barny Fife and the Blue Dogs would be double-agents openly working for the KGB, but ol' Barney can't ever seem to catch them.

Other than around the margins and for things such as judicial appointments, I don't see much of a difference between the thugs in the Republican Party and the clowns in the Democratic Party, other than the fact that the GOP has the party discipline of the old CPSU, occasionally dispatching errant party members with the efficiency of the KGB, while any organization in the Democratic Party resembles Brownian motion. Both parties exist only to serve their special interest donors. Any legislation which either party passes that benefits any significant segment of the American people is purely accidental.

I don't see that changing anytime soon. I do prefer garden-variety venality and political back-scratching/corruption over the Constitution-trashing war criminality of the last administration. So in that sense, we're back to business as usual. Which I guess one could call an improvement, but only to the extent that being slapped in the face from time to time is an improvement over being punched in the throat.

I had hoped for better, but it appears now that I was foolish in that regard. And I'm getting tired of writing about it. This month has seen the fewest number of posts for any full month since I began this blog and that is a symptom of my growing disenchantment with the inept clowns and the corrupt goons in our government.

And yes, the next time that I swing by the county seat, I am going to change my party affiliation to "independent". Fuck all of them.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Handy Tip For Dumb Shits With Computers

If you have no clue as to the significance of an "I.P. address", then you have no business sending out racist hate-filled screeds and thinking that not giving your name means that you can remain anonymous.

A soon-to-be-former Boston police officer/ National Guard captain has found this out the hard way. (And no, you do not get unemployment if you are fired for just cause.)

Here is a second tip for the bozos: You are not going to be able to successfully proclaim to the world that you really are a good person and that you are not a racist after you send out a mass-email which refers to an African-American man as a "banana-eating jungle monkey" whom you would have sprayed with pepper spray in his own home because you didn't care for his attitude.

Some Idiot Sellers Don't Understand That in a Down Market, They Have to Cut the Sales Price to Sell Their Houses

This particular "idiot seller" happens to be the Secretary of the Treasury:

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It Helps to Have More Money Than God

If your idea of fun is owning, restoring and then flying a pair of Russian Su-27s:



(If the player doesn't work, this is the link.)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Well, That Was Ugly

A-380 arrives at the EAA Oshkosh fly-in. Nothing like planting it hard when about 10% of the pilots in the nation are watching.



Narrated video here.

Wow, Like This is Astonishing

I am shocked, shocked, to learn that the guy who George Bush appointed to run the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, Charles Millard, became mired in allegations of influence peddling with various Wall Street banks.

And the real "no, shit, Sherlock" moment: One of the Wall Street firms that was sucking up to Millard was Goldman Sachs. Goldman was one of the three firms to win a contract to manage money for the PBGC.

But wait, there's more!
On July 20, the agency permanently revoked the contracts with BlackRock, Goldman and JPMorgan Chase, the third winner, nullifying the process. The decision was based on questions surrounding Mr. Millard’s actions during the formal bidding process. His actions have also drawn the scrutiny of Congressional investigators and the agency’s inspector general.
And more!
Mr. Millard’s e-mail messages show that, while the bidding was under way last fall, he also spoke with Rick Lazio, a former House Republican who is now a senior executive at JPMorgan Chase, to discuss career options.[1]
We are seriously into the "ZOMG, a Bush Administration official ran his agency with an eye towards feathering his own nest, so what's so shocking about that" territory. Between the incompetence and the corruption of the Bush Administration, you'd be excused for thinking that they did their recruiting, in part, from among those who scored 400 on their SATs and those who were from New Jersey.

Nothing newsworthy there.

[1]Lazio ran for the Senate in 2000 against Hillary Clinton, who, at the time, was so new to New York State that she probably thought that Erie County was home to a collection of haunted houses. Clinton nonetheless beat Lazio as though he were a trailer-park wife in "Cops".

Speaking of "Cops", here is a handy guide to dealing with the cops.

Funky Sex Farm

Spinal Tap on the Daily Show

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The interview with the band was pretty good.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

To Be Deaf in Alabama

If you are deaf in Alabama, that means that the cops are going to spray you with pepper spray and taser your ass because you can't hear them.

Note that the cops tried to press the "catch-all" charges that they file whenever they've abused someone: "Disorderly conduct." I'm about at the point when I hear that someone was charged with disorderly conduct, that's code for police brutality.

Truer Words Have Rarely Been Blogged

What he said:
Our government doesn’t exist to protect voters from interests, it exists to protect interests from voters. The situation we have here is an angry and desperate population that at long last has voted in a majority that it believes should be able to pass a health care bill. It expects something to be done. The task of the lawmakers on the Hill, at least as they see things, is to create the appearance of having done something. And that’s what they’re doing.
No matter which party is in power, it seems that if any legislation passes that benefits the majority of Americans, that is purely a happy by-product of Congress and the President appeasing the special interests.

Americans turned out in near-record numbers last November to vote in the current crop of turdlets. One of the issues that a large majority of Americans care about is fixing our health care system. We have the most expensive system in the world and, for what we pay for it, we should be able to do far better than a sixth of our population having no coverage.

The current system works to the advantage of the health insurance companies, the sub-sub specialists and the for-profit hospitals. That is it. The family doctors get royally rogered, which is why there is a shortage of new physicians going into general practice. What we get is a real lack of meaningful competition for health insurance, as those fuckers have managed to set things up so in most areas, there are only two health insurance companies offering plans, and fat chance that the Antitrust Division of the DoJ is ever going to look into that.

If the Democrats cannot deliver on health insurance, then they are a bunch of incompetent, worthless, and/or corrupt fucks. As it stands now, my intentions for the November `10 elections are to vote for the challengers, regardless of party or what they stand for. They can't be any worse than these microcephalic douchebags.

Sarah Palin- Free Verse Poet

It seems that she did not give a speech, she was giving a performance of free verse poetry.

Here, to give a reading of her work, is William Shatner:



The writers of the Tonight Show are geniuses.

(H/T to Sully)

Monday, July 27, 2009

If You Ride the Maryland Transit Administration's Trains and Buses

Just mutter, at least once during each trip, the following words:
"The Director of the MTA is a fascist pig who has sex with goats."
The MTA was moving forward with plans to listen in on the conversations of riders of its trains and buses.

At least it was, until word of the plan leaked out. Now they've apparently decided that it was not such a good idea.

I'd like to know the names of the idiots who thought it was a good idea in the first place.

Apparently, the assholes running mass transit systems in Cleveland, Denver and Chicago already monitor the conversations of passengers. I understand Chicago; the mayor is a second-generation imperious goon. Denver showed their lack of understanding of the concepts of "civil liberty" and "freedom" during the `08 Democratic Convention. But Cleveland?

This episode shows why we need a free press. You can't trust anybody to respect individual liberties anymore. The default position of those who work for the government is to move towards a police surveillance state.

We have to watch them constantly to keep our own freedoms.

Old Racist Bastard Says "No" to Sotomayor

Yeah, there's a real shocker:
[Senator Jeff Sessions] said Monday he'll vote against Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, siding with his party's leaders against the judge who's on a fast track to becoming the first Hispanic justice.
Sessions is a real piece of work:
Sessions was heard by several colleagues commenting that he 'used to think they [the KKK] were OK' until he found out some of them were 'pot smokers.'
For a judicial candidate, having Sessions oppose your nomination is a badge of honor. If Sessions thinks any particular candidate would be a good and fair judge, there is probably something really wrong with that candidate.

100 Years Ago

The first airplane to fly across the English Channel.



Bleriot took off early in the morning, in slightly foggy conditions, without so much as a compass. As a result of his flight, the Bleriot XI was probably the first airplane to be made in any volume in Europe.

He won a price of 1,000 British Pounds. Trying to figure out what that was worth in today's money is iffy, at bet, but it might be somewhat north of a half-a-million dollars, possibly twice that.

Oh, Now I Feel So Reassured

Michael Hayden, former chief of the NSA and the CIA, in an op-ed piece in today's New York Times, says that the warrantless wiretapping program was lawful:
There has been much controversy about the lawfulness of the program. Here I must point out that agency lawyers — career attorneys with deep expertise in the law, privacy and intelligence — assisted their professional Justice Department counterparts in their review of the program but remained comfortable throughout with the lawfulness of all aspects of the surveillance effort.
Yeah, the same career lawyers who opined that torture was legal? Those guys?

The intelligence community during the Bush Administration apparently offered no objections as the Cheney Bush Administration used the Constitution for toilet paper. The president and vice president take an oath that has two parts: First they promise to do the best they can, and second, they promise to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.

On both points, George W. Bush was a miserable failure. About the only thrashing of civil rights and liberties he drew the line at was that he resisted the demands of Torturer Dick and refused to send in the Army to make arrests within the United States.

The usual players, Dick Cheney and David Addington, were the ones pushing to use the Army for a law-enforcement function. One might wonder if either one of those gentlemen had ever bothered to read the Constitution, or if they had ever heard the words "possie comitatus":
Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.
And:
The Secretary of Defense shall prescribe such regulations as may be necessary to ensure that any activity (including the provision of any equipment or facility or the assignment or detail of any personnel) under this chapter does not include or permit direct participation by a member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps in a search, seizure, arrest, or other similar activity unless participation in such activity by such member is otherwise authorized by law.
(You may have noted that one of the lawyers who said it was legal to send in the Army to arrest people within the US was John Yoo, who is a tenured professor in the Department of Fascism at Boalt Hall Law School.)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

FAA-- "Feds Against Aviation"

I stopped by the FBO at my home airport earlier this summer. The woman at the desk was typing something up on the computer, which I've rarely seen her do before. So I asked, out of idle curiosity, what she was doing. She said she was typing up a "business case" for selling charts. I noted that they already sold charts.

Well, it seems that the jolly bastards at the FAA are going to stop distributing charts to every chart seller that does not do at least $5,000 in volume each year. Which most small airports do not.

The standard VFR chart is a "sectional chart". They cost about eight or nine bucks a pop and they come out twice a year. Most pilots who don't do a lot of cross-country flying need only the local sectional. They might also buy the local regional Airport and Facility Directory for about six bucks; the A/FD is published every two months or so. If you fly near a big city, you may need a chart of the local Class B area, what was formerly known as a TCA Chart, for about another six bucks or so.

That's not a lot of stuff, $56- $70 or so. You'd need a hundred active local pilots who keep everything current in order to make the FAA's minimum and, to be frank about it, a lot of guys don't bother. It's not like the airports move around the map and if you do a computerized briefing before each flight, you'll catch the changes. A lot of the chart purchases come from pilots at the airports who see the rack of charts and realize that they need one or two.

The FAA, obviously, wants to push people to using the online chart retailers. I don't think that is good, as it just means that more people will be flying around with outdated charts. That's almost too much of a common-sense conclusion for the FAA, I guess.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Other Bloggers

Life has gotten pretty hard recently for Susie Madrak. So if you have any cash you can spare, please seriously think about helping her out.[1]

I added a newly-established blog, the Retrotechnologist to one of the blogrolls. Prewar tech seems to be the focus, but, as I said, it is new.

[1]People who comment that "she should get a job" will be consumed by carrion-eaters.

Caturday

Bella. She has a gorgeous tail. She loves to be brushed, so she is almost always looking show-ready.


She is perched atop a tall scratching post, watching the world go by her window.


Jake and Gracie are not sharing, this time.


This bird was trotting around the ramp at the airport.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Air Farce's Special Ops Guys Will Be Lucky If They Can Afford to Buy Chewing Gum in the Next Budget Cycle

When the Congress finds out (or, more precisely, when the reporters find out and start asking Congress about it) that the Air Force is using our taxpayer money to buy Russian airplanes, even if they are built in Poland, they are not going to be very happy. And neither will Boeing, Lockheed-Martin or Northrop-Grumman be very happy, all of whom have oodles of lobbyists, as well as fully-purchased Senators and Congressmen.

Nope, they are not going to be happy. Not at all.

Say Hey Hey, Good Bye

A jury in Arkansas convicted evangelist Tony Alamo on Friday of 10 federal counts of taking minors across state lines for sex, according to the court in the Western District in Arkansas.

And then there is the Tennessee GOP state senator, a man who promotes "abstinence only" and is married and has two kids... oh, hell, you just know where this is going, don't you?

That's right, another stroll up the ol' Appalachian Trail...
Abstinence-Supporting GOP State Lawmaker Admits To Sex With 22-Year-Old Intern
You'd think that a politician who promotes abstinence would know to keep his schlong safely zipped up inside his trousers, but sadly, no.

Hey, remember when Republicans tried to hound some guy out of office for having sex with an intern in his office? Seems almost quaint, now, doesn't it?

Cops: "Whaaaa, Obama Hurt Our Feelings!!1!"

A bunch of whiny-ass cops have demanded that President Obama apologize to them for saying that the Cambridge PD acted stupidly.

Short three point response: "Go. Fuck. Yourselves."

Longer response: I heavily doubt that if the Cambridge cops had found an elderly white man in the house, that they would have even asked him for his ID. They would have asked if if there was a problem and, if he said there wasn't, they would have said "very good, sir, have a nice evening" and left.

What happened in Cambridge is a reality for every minority in this country, especially those with darker skins. I had a classmate in law school who drove down to Alabama frequently to visit family. She had done very well before she decided to change careers and she owned a Benz. She always factored in two hours to her travel time each way to allow for the three or so times on nearly every trip that she was stopped by the cops for being Black and driving a nice car.

Probably the most notorious example of "Driving While Black" was the murder of Johnny Gammage by the Pittsburgh cops in the 1990s. You can look at the recent history of the New York Police Department and find lots of questionable shootings of Black men by the cops, including cases where unarmed men were shot into doll rags by the cops, but you'll have to look really hard to find similar situations where unarmed white men were gunned down. Even Black police officers get shot to bits by their fellow officers, but you won't find too many instances of the same thing happening to white cops.

President Obama was speaking about a reality experienced by minorities and if that makes the cops, among others, uncomfortable, too frakking bad for them. The people who are outraged by the President's remarks on this issue are largely demonstrating the effects of white privilege.

40 Years Ago This Day

Apollo 11 splashed down in the Pacific Ocean



As Mission Control broke out the cheap flags and good cigars.



And as Richard Nixon took a meatax to the last three manned Moon missions.

Health Care Reform

Jon Stewart notes the lying fucks of the GOP and Fox News, as well as the morons in television news.

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I haven't written much about health care insurance. A lot of bloggers have been covering this, including Susie, DCap, Jill, BadTux and others. Most of the progressive bloggers on my blogroll (hint, hint) have written extensively about it.

I have not, because I do not believe that health care reform will happen any time soon. Republicans are against it, because it would neither make rich people richer nor result in people getting killed. Republicans don't give a fuck about health care, anyway, they are opposing it because they think that they can cripple the Obama Presidency by defeating it. Let's be honest about this: If President Obama proposed an energy plan that would result in gasoline costing 75 cents a gallon, Republicans would oppose it as being government intrusion on the right of Big Oil to rip you off.

A number of Democrats, such as Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, are taking huge amounts of bribes campaign contributions from the health insurance industry (though, to be fair about it, in Montana, it is acceptable to shoot sick people to "put them out of their misery"). The health insurance industry skims far too much money from the existing system and they will do whatever they can to make sure that the status quo continues. And let's not forget that the Democratic majority leader in the Senate, the one who should be working to make health care reform pass, happens to be a pasta-spined useless piece of work.

What really disgusts me, though, are the lying motherfuckering conservatives who keep bleating about "you'll have health care rationing if the government supplies health insurance" and "you'll have a bureaucrat between you and your doctor." Anyone who has ever had any sort of health condition knows for a fact that health insurance companies ration health care. If you need a procedure, you have to get approval. If the person at the health insurance company doesn't think you need it, you don't get it paid for, and oh, by the way, that person is not a doctor or a nurse and gets paid more for denying people coverage. Or say you wake up in the middle of the night with screaming abdominal pain, your ER visit won't be paid for unless you first call the health insurance company and get approval to go.

Add to that my suspicion that there are some Democrats who think that if they let the GOP kill health care reform, now, they can use that as a club with which to beat the GOP in the elections next year. If so, those fuckers are even lower than Republicans, for they are playing politics with our lives.

I hope health care reform passes, I really do. But I fear that there are too many special interests aligned against it. If we have learned one thing about the Congress, under either political party, is that they serve the special interests and their own petty concerns. If legislation comes out of Congress that actually benefits most Americans, you can be certain that benefit was an accidental by-product of someone raping the Treasury.

So no, I am not holding my breath on this one.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Typewriter

On the credenza behind my desk at work rests the typewriter that I took to college. It is an Olympia DeLuxe portable manual typewriter, with a platen long enough to take a sheet of letter paper inserted sideways. I use it every chance I get.

When I went to law school, I kept getting dinged by my writing professor because my papers were "too short". They complied with the page limits, but were nowhere near the word limits. It turned out that my problem was that I was using WordPerfect 5 and, just like I had with my typewriter, I was writing in Courier, which is a monospaced font. I never thought to try any other font. Once I shifted to Times New Roman, all was right with the world.

Proportional fonts still look wrong to my eye. That's pretty funny, when one considers that I am the office IT geek (which just means that I now more about computers than anyone else in-house). I use a lot of technology in my job and, other than that inestimable pile of crap known as Windows Vista, I'm pretty much at home with tech.

But I do like some of the older things. And I still have carbon paper.

That Apple Didn't Fall Far From the Tree

Liz Cheney, who is apparently working on her Junior War Criminal Merit Badge.

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Stephen Colbert weighs in on her alleged father: "The only huge surprise about Dick Cheney having his own secret assassination squad is that it didn't include cannibalism."

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Birthers

Jon Stewart takes on the crazies, including Lou Dobbs:

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And this, from an e-mail:
I love the Birthers. They are nothing but walking bags of Trail Mix (nuts and flakes) and, as such, they are taking the GOP further and further into the Wilderness of Irrelevancy. Every time they yammer on about "show me the birth certificate", they drive home the point with wavering Democrats, all Independents and even a lot of Republicans that these people cannot be trusted with political power.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

NHTSA- Plumbing the Depths of Stupid

As long as seven years ago, the federal National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration recommended that drivers not use cell phones, even with hands-free equipment, while on the road except in emergencies.
An unenforceable law, in my opinion, is worse than having no law at all.

First off, define "emergency." You can sit in a reasonably busy ER for a day and see that squish definition in action.

Second, a law that is not enforceable only serves to lower the respect of the people for the rule of law.

NHTSA may be right that drivers who use cell phones are running a higher risk of an accident. But their "cure" makes less sense than trying to limit the spread of the flu by outlawing sneezing around other people.

Restraining Orders Are Made of Paper

They will not protect you against someone who is determined to do you harm. That is just a recent example in South Windsor, Connecticut. You can find oodles of other cases nationwide.

If someone is so determined to do you harm that you had to obtain a restraining order (and I am not talking about the ones issued as a divorce tactic), then you need to consider what your Plan B is for when that person shows up.

Cable News- Not Exactly an Improvement

Slate imagines how the 24 hour news jackoffs would have covered the Moon landing:



Walter Cronkite and Jules Bergman (ABC) did it far, far better.

(H/T)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

So, If You Were to Refuse to Pay, Would They Evict You From Prison?

For anyone who believes crime doesn't pay, tell that to the New York state legislator who introduced a "Madoff" bill on Monday. Rich New Yorkers convicted of crimes would be forced -- if his bill becomes law -- to pay the state and federal governments for how much it costs to keep them in jail.
The Chinese make condemned prisoners pay for the ammunition used to kill them. This isn't any different, except in degree.

Personally, I'd tell them to go fuck themselves.

(H/T)

Beyond Creepy

Some asswipe videotaped a CSPN sportscaster through the peephole of her hotel room door.

I would hope that, in a civilized world, if someone were to be walking down a hotel's corridor and saw a pervert pressing a video camera to the peephole of a room, that the pervert would suddenly become ill from a bad case of bullet wounds.

But I guess we aren't in that sort of world.

Don't decent hotels have video surveillance of their hallways nowadays?

40 Years Ago This Day

Eagle, the Lunar Module, lifted off from the Moon and docked with Columbia, the Command/Service Module.

Where "Abstinence-Only" Sex Education Works

It really does work, if your idea of "success" is an increase in the rates of teen-aged pregnancy, syphilis and gonorrhea.

In virtually every area one can look at, the simple-mindedness of the Bush Administration has resulted in abject failures.

"I'm Tired of You Fuckers Lying to Me."

That is basically the tack that is being taken by a Federal judge, who has had his fill of people from the CIA lying to him. The CIA lied in court? Next thing we'll find out is that there really was an Easter Bunny, until Dick Cheney shot him.

I probably shouldn't make light of this, the litigation involved is undoubtedly serious. But I submit that anyone who really truly believes that representatives from the CIA would tell the truth just because they were under oath has mush for brains.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Apollo-Speak

Glossary of acronyms and terms used during the Apollo missions.

Why Isn't This Guy Cooling His Heels in Guantanamo?

Randall Terry, oberfuhrer of Operation Rescue. He has stated that his followers will commit acts of terrorism if the health care insurance bill provides coverage for abortion services.

I cannot think of one person who claimed to be concerned with national politics, since the civil rights era, who threatened that violence would ensue if he did not get his way.

So why isn't this guy now inhabiting a cell at either Guantanamo or GITMO North (the naval brig in Charleston, SC)?

And you will wait a very long time for the chorus of Republican bloviatiors, the same ones who were so concerned about Bill Ayers, to denounce Randall Terry. You probably will not hear a peep about this on Fixed News.

Hypocritical bastards, all of them

(H/T to Think Progress)

Footprint



Odds are that the footprint is as clear and sharp, now, as it was 40 years ago.

The Eagle Has Landed, + 40 Years

Truth

Heard on NPR this morning:
"From the Wright Brothers in Kittyhawk to Tranquillity Base was 66 years. From Tranquillity Base, 66 years in the future takes us to 2035. I believe we deserve to do a little bit more than footprints on the moon." -- Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, Apollo 11 Lunar Module Pilot, second man on the Moon.
We can do better than that.

Nearly 100 years ago, my grandmother's uncle told her that she would live to see men fly. Almost everyone else thought her uncle was crazy and said so. She not only lived to take several flights on a jet airliner, she saw men walk on the Moon.

I have a niece who is close to the same age, now, that my grandmother was when her uncle said she'd see men fly. It would be nice if my niece lived to see people on Mars. But I am not as confident as my great-great uncle was in his day.

I hear a lot of this: "We have too many problems at hone, we cannot afford to go to Mars, we can go when we fix our problems here."

That is a false argument. We are always going to have problems here. If gaining near-perfection at home before we go exploring is the metric, we will never ever go anywhere. We never would have gone anywhere.

So what are we waiting for?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Doesn't Crap Like This Always Happen When You Have House Guests?

The main toilet on the Space Station has broken down.

Isn't that part of that fancy new recycling system they have, which needs to work if 6 astronaut sare going to live up there?

Fort Fumble, We Told You So.

There is a basic rule on complaining about violations of international law. And that is this:

If your nation does not abide by international law in how they treat people, you forfeit the right to complain how other nations treat people.

The flagrant disregard of the United States government of the tenets of international law during the conduct of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and in the manner how prisoners in American custody were treated hardly needs to be expounded upon at this point. They are a matter of record, for anyone who cares to examine it.

So the complaints of some soulless weasel of a navy Lieutenant Commander (yes, that is almost a full triple redundancy) that the Taliban is "violating international law" by showing a prisoner in a propaganda video does not meet the "so, what" test.

My sympathies are with the soldier and his family. They are not, however, with the Department of Defense or the U.S. Army, which long ago sacrificed any credibility they might have had on the treatment of prisoners.

Toljaso, Ft. Fumble. You were told, repeatedly, that by violating international law in how we treated prisoners, that we gave up any rights to complain how our soldiers were treated if they were captured.

And now that time has come.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Bad Mothering and Other Stuff

From today's Saturday Diary in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
I came to motherhood in woeful denial. My image of the job dated from my own childhood, which (and here I date myself) looked much like an episode of "Madmen": mothers complaining about housework over coffee, cake and the odd cigarette while their children played unattended in the yard.

As far as I knew, my duties for the first stage of motherhood -- giving birth -- consisted of:

1) showing up

2) wearing a little makeup afterward when my husband came to visit.
The rest of it is pretty good.

Hard IFR this morning. I may not get to fly a weekend trip this summer at this rate.

57 banks have failed so far this year. 25 failed in 2007 and three in 2006.

NSA and the Mormon Church

The National Security Agency is siting a huge new facility outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. Putting the facility allows the NSA to do two things: Toady up to a politically powerful Senator (Orrin Hatch) and tap into the linguistic skills of Mormons who have completed their overseas missionary tours.
NSA officials, who have a long-standing relationship with Utah based on the state Guard's unique linguist units, approached state officials about finding land in the state on which to build an additional data center.
As I have said before, put nothing into an e-mail (or, for that matter, say on the telephone or put into a fax) that you would not mind seeing printed on a billboard alongside a highway in your home town. Those bastards are trolling through the telecom and internet traffic of everyone.

(H/T)

Caturday

George snoozing. There are lots of comfortable places for him to nap on, but because there was a sunbeam there, he was sleeping on that hard surface.


Hey, that's a single-room-occupancy unit, there!


Gracie and Jake are not usually that close to each other and I had never before seen them in the same condo box. They're not friends, more like observing an armistice.

Friday, July 17, 2009

RIP, Uncle Walter

Walter Cronkite, newsman and CBS anchorman, has died at age 92. He was the model of what an anchorman should be. The ones who followed him, on all of the networks, all strove to be as good as Walter Cronkite and never quite made it. Hell, they never came close.

When Apollo 11 began its flight to the Moon, maybe 40 seconds after it took off, the director at CBS cut to the camera that was on Cronkite. He wasn't sitting at his desk looking at a monitor; he was at the window, bending over so he could look up and see the rocket flying, with the camera catching a view of his ass. It was a very telling moment that captured his excitement at what he was seeing.





Fair winds and following seas, Uncle Walter.

Full-Bore, Batshit Republican Racism

No, I'm not talking about Pat Buchanan's meltdown last night. I am referring to the speech on the floor of the House of Representatives by a noted Thuglican, Congressman Todd Tiahrt of Kansas, whose argument against abortion was to ask what would have happened if two notable Americans' mothers had aborted them.

The two Americans this jackass chose to highlight as candidates for abortion, if it had been legal when their mothers were pregnant, were President Barack Obama and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

If you think it was a coincidence, just sheer-assed luck, that Tiahrt selected two prominent African-Americans as his hypotheticals for "what if they were aborted", then maybe you'll also believe that Dick Cheney is a true patriot, that George W. Bush was the smartest president since Thomas Jefferson, that there is prime Florida swampland waterfront property for sale and such a deal I have for you!

Socialism for Losers, Capitalism for Winners

That is basically the story of a group of financial pirates operating as "Goldman Sachs". When they are in trouble, they run to their friend in the Treasury Department for a bailout, but when they do better, they get to keep the cash.

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Paul Krugman points out that Goldman Sachs really are a bunch of pirates whose main objective is to loot the US economy and play the rest of us for suckers. You may recall that when Goldman Sachs got into trouble, the Secretary of the Treasury was a Goldman Sachs alumnus and while he was perfectly willing to Lehman Brothers fail, he did his utmost to keep Goldman Sachs going, even if it cost us (the taxpayers) many, many billions of dollars to do so.

Matt Tabbibi has a story that alleges that Goldman Sachs's entire business model is centered on creating investment bubbles, profiting from the sale of the bubble investments and then profiting from cleaning up the wreckage.

When it comes to damaging the American (and the planetary) economy, al Qaeda are rank amateurs compared to the pirates of Goldman Sachs.

Fat chance they'll be stopped anytime soon, though.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Apollo 11 Audio

Time-indexed to the current time and day from the mission 40 years ago. 11 minutes into the flight, as I type this.

Update: Audio and animation.

Yesterday

Shuttle Endeavour, Mission STS-127, launched en route to the ISS.



Good luck, guys.

Bruce Willis Owns a Skyscraper?

Sears Tower is history. As of Thursday, the iconic Chicago, Illinois, skyscraper is now named Willis Tower.
Oh, sorry, it's named for some Brit insurance company.

Good luck getting that name to stick. There are people in New York City who still refer to the Avenue of the Americas by its old name: Sixth Avenue.

40 Years Ago This Day

Neil Armstrong, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, Jr. and Michael Collins began the first of six voyages to the Moon.



The last Apollo Moon mission returned over 36 years ago. If you were watching the Apollo flights back then, the st. Valentine's Day Massacre and the early Depression-era bankrobbers were as far back in time, then, as the Apollo voyages are today.

Of all the things that for which Richard Nixon and his party should be damned to Hell, the cancellation of the Apollo program and the axing of the production of Saturn rockets in favor of the more "cost-effective" Space Shuttle should be very high on the list.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Mu-Wha-Ha-HA!

Oh, I cannot begin to tell you how this news from John Cole's blog has just made my frakking day:
The nation’s largest public pension fund has filed suit in California state court in connection with $1 billion in losses that it says were caused by “wildly inaccurate” credit ratings from the three leading ratings agencies.

The suit from the California Public Employees Retirement System, or Calpers, a public fund known for its shareholder activism, is the latest sign of renewed scrutiny over the role that credit ratings agencies played in providing positive reports about risky securities issued during the subprime boom that have lost nearly all of their value.

The lawsuit, filed late last week in California Superior Court in San Francisco, is focused on a form of debt called structured investment vehicles, highly complex packages of securities made up of a variety of assets, including subprime mortgages. Calpers bought $1.3 billion of them in 2006; they collapsed in 2007 and 2008.

Calpers maintains that in giving these packages of securities the agencies’ highest credit rating, the three top ratings agencies — Moody’s Investors Service, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch — “made negligent misrepresentation” to the pension fund, which provides retirement benefits to 1.6 million public employees in California.
And it just gets better and better:
Now, here comes the fun part: Calpers doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the money. Sure, the financial instruments at hand (Cheyne Finance, Stanfield Victoria Funding and Sigma Finance) have defaulted on their payment obligations. The losses to Calpers are ~!$1 billion.

But that’s not what’s going on here: These Left Coasters want their pound of flesh. They don’t care for the Ratings Agency folks, and consider them a blight on the investment landscape.

The goal of the litigation (as I see it) isn’t to make the rating agencies pay a financial penalty; rather, it is to publicly try them just as the regulatory rules are being rewritten. I also predict that CALPERS is going to attempt to not just win, but humiliate these agencies, call them out in the most embarrassing way possible, trash the senior executives, and make things very uncomfortable in general for these firms.

They don’t want them to merely suffer — they want to destroy their unique position as an Oligopoly, to remove them from having a special status under the SEC rules.
Oh, motherfuckin' yeah! I am going to have to lay in a large supply of popcorn in order to watch this one.

While tumbrels and a guillotine would be satisfying, no doubt, Death by Litigation can be very entertaining. Depositions, discovery, interrogatories and CALPERS is going to take their asses to trial.

It should be oodles of fun over the next several years.

Legalize RPGs Now!

Last night I was on my way home. At one point, the road changes from two lanes going in that direction to one. A SUV roared up beside me on the left and damn near took my front end off when the putz driving it swerved into my lane. I blew my horn in protest/warning and the asswipe gave me the "Welcome to Boston Half-Peace Sign".

What made my day was that the jerkoff driving the SUV had this pasted to the rear end of the SUV:That was when I found myself wishing for a RPG-7.

Could the Senators on the Judiciary Committee Be Any More Self-Absorbed or Arrogantly Stupid?

I am so glad that I have not been following the confirmation hearings for Judge Sotomayor. Jon Stewart shows why:

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I can't imagine watching this crap on C-Span or even on the evening news. Many thanks to the Daily Show for their work on this.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Absolutely Safest City in the U.S. of A. is Akron, Ohio

Because the Akron cops have the time to raid the card games of a bunch of senior citizens. No domestic violence, no killings, no robberies,no burglaries, nobody selling crack, they have cleaned up all of the serious violent crime, so they have the time to go raid the seniors at a Slovakian club.

One would hope that the jury would have the sense to come back in five minutes with a verdict of "you gotta be kidding, you took us away from our daily routine for this shit?" and acquit.

(H/T)

These Things Are the Best!

Almonds with Wasabi and Soy Sauce.

If I didn't exercise a lot of willpower, I could blow through a can a day.

You Just Know That These Guys Are Part of George Bush's Sarah Palin's Base

The 6% of Americans who believe that the Moon landings were faked.

I Don't Mind If You Steal Reprint My Posts

But at least give me the courtesy of crediting me for the material.

(And if you are going to swipe my stuff without crediting me, you'd think that you'd at least change the frakking title of the blog post.)

You know who you are.

Welfare for Wingnuts

Texas Tech has rescued Alberto Gonzales from the ranks of the unemployed to teach one course. According to Think Progress, TT is paying Gonzo $100,000 for the hard work of teaching one seminar course.

Elsewhere, the full-bore racism of the younger Wingnuts has been on full display and the older Wingnuts are advocating murdering a child, but there is nothing remarkable in that. So move along.

Happy Bastille Day!

220 years ago.



The Relentless Optimism of Paul Krugman

It is a good idea not to watch this clip if you are borderline suicidal, for Krugman's pessimism was on full display on last night's Colbert Report: "Things are getting bad less quickly." He believes that the Obama Administration and the Congress have done enough to stave off a second Great Depression but not enough to turn the economy around (and we all know whose fault that is: the GOP's, specifically the three GOP senators who made gutting the stimulus bill their price for supporting it).

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Apollo Plus 40 Years

A look back by a reporter who covered the Gemini and Apollo flights.

As the centuries go by, most of the horrors of the 20th Century will fade from the memories of all but historians. Arthur Schlesinger is right in saying that the 20th Century will be remembered for the flights to the Moon.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Arrogant Stupidity of Dick Cheney

Congressional demands for an investigation grew on Monday over new disclosures that a secret CIA program to capture or kill al-Qaida leaders was concealed from Congress for eight years, perhaps at the behest of former Vice President Dick Cheney.
I'll bet this: There is no "perhaps" about it. If the program was concealed from Congress, that was done on Cheney's orders. That is illegal. There is an old axiom in politics that time and time again is proven to be true: They don't hang you for what you did. They hang you for attempting to cover it up.

I see little difference between killing a person with a bullet fired from a sniper's rifle or a silenced pistol and killing that person with a Hellfire missile. If anything, shooting is far more preferable. For one thing, if you kill a bad guy with a slug from a 7.62mm rifle, you are also not blowing up his house and killing a bunch of women and children. You can also gain some level of deniability, for if you use a Russian sniper rifle or a Makarov, the shooter could be from anywhere, but only one nation in South Asia uses Hellfire missiles fired from Predator drones.

There are laws about how secret operations are to be conducted and who has oversight. If those laws were broken, the guilty should swing. And for this, he might.

If You Think You Can Do Without Having a Soul

Then the CIA is hiring.

So if your concept of an ideal employer includes working for a family-friendly company that offers flexible working schedules while it subverts democracies around the world, flagrantly ignores our own laws, considers the Constitution to be "just another goddamn piece of paper" and then whines like a little child when it gets caught, then the CIA may have a job for you!

You have to apply at CIA dot gov (and no, I am not providing a link).

Устала. Очень Устала.

Don't expect much from me today.

There's no real point about blogging about the Sotomayor confirmation hearings. The Democrats are going to praise her to the skies, in part, to try and strip away the Latino vote from the GOP by portraying the GOP opposition as based in racism (which, to some degree, it is). The Rethugs are going act as though they know nothing about the rule of law (which they don't, so that's not much of a stretch) and try to throw out some bloody meat to the batshit racists in their base. At the end of the process, unless she has a public meltdown, Sonia Sotomayor will be a justice on the Supreme Court. Everyone on both sides of the aisle in the Senate knows this.

It is just political theater and I feel no need to watch it play out.

I could also lay on the snark about how it seems that Democrats "quit" or "cut and run" while Republicans "advance in a different direction" or "have other priorities", to wit:
  • Bill Clinton was a draft dodger during the Vietnam War.
  • Dick Cheney had "other priorities" and used a series of deferments to avoid military service.
  • So did John Ashcroft.
  • George W. Bush used family connections to get safe slots in the National Guard.
  • So did Dan Quayle.
  • Bill Clinton "cut and ran" from Somalia.
  • Richard Nixon sent over 25,000 men to their deaths so that he could orchestrate an ultimately futile diplomatic shower curtain to cover withdrawing from the Vietnam War.
  • Elliot Spitzer resigned from being the governor of New York in disgrace.
  • Sarah Palin resigned from being the governor of Alaska "because she has other priorities" than doing the job to which she was elected.
But I don't feel up to it.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Wiretap/War Crime Nation

This is what we know so far, based on stories over the last two days:
So it becomes clear, now. A Republican president commits all manner of war crimes and violations of the Constitution and the Democrats are complicit, now, in covering it all up. A Democratic president gets a blowjob from a female intern, lies about it, and the Republicans try to drive him out of office.

Republicans have a thirst for power that is so strong that they will stop at nothing, nothing, in order to slake it.

Attorney General Eric Holder is making rumblings that he may appoint a prosecutor to investigate the use of torture by the Bush Administration.

I will believe it when I see it. Democrats are scared of their own shadows.

Caturday Preloaded

I hope this works; I'm going to have scarce computer time from tomorrow afternoon until Saturday evening, so I am preloading this one on Wednesday.


I took Gracie into the vet's today to have her rear end shaved shaved. She is not happy with me right now, she is sulking in one of the cat condos.


Here is Rocky, Gracie's younger brother, or so we think. He is so different from any other cat in that line that it is possible that the mother stole him.



That's Bella, sleeping on a day bed. She loves people, she loves attention. One of her favorite things is to be combed, which is good, since she is a long-haired cat.


The only thing she doesn't like is having her claws clipped. She is polydactyl on her front paws, so it is more involved for her. It almost looks as though she has thumbs.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Paucity

I'll be away from the Intertubes for a few days.

So please, surf the blogroll. And their blogrolls.

Republicans Are Willful Idiots

Republicans announced Thursday that they plan to call a white firefighter to testify against Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor during her Senate confirmation hearings that open Monday.
I have seen nothing to indicate that the 2nd Circuits decision in the Ricci case was not correct in accordance with the then-existing Supreme Court precedent. Lower courts are bound to decide cases based on the guidance of the Supreme Court. If the Supremes later reverse themselves, they are entitled to do that, but no lower court is entitled to decide a case if their decision would contradict what the Supreme Court has previously held.

For Republicans to claim otherwise is nothing more than cynical political grandstanding.

That Sub Is So Fraked

Last march, the USS Hartford, a Los Angeles class submarine, collided with the USS New Orleans in the Straits of Hormuz.

According to a report in today's the New London Day, the Electric Boat Shipyard in Groton, CT now has repair contracts for that boat amounting to $37.4 million. The work will not be completed until after the first of next year. I don't know for certain, but it sure sounds to me as though they have to replace the entire sail of the boat.

This is not a good year to be on another ship and need repair work. Between the Hartford's collision and the USS Port Royal's grounding in February, the navy's repair budget has probably taken a beating. Unless it is a mission-critical repair, I'll bet that other ships are being told to eiher fix it themselves or suck it up.

(The Day's public access expires within 24 hours, so there is no point in linking to them.)

Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss.

Buried deep in an article about the CIA's lying and deceiving Congress for the last eight years was this little tidbit:
In a related development, President Obama threatened to veto the pending Intelligence Authorization Bill if it included a provision that would allow information about covert actions to be given to the entire House and Senate Intelligence Committees, rather than the so-called Gang of Eight — the Democratic and Republican leaders of both houses of Congress and the two Intelligence Committees.
The Gang of Eight has not been effective at doing anything, so far as I can see. When they are "read into" a program that is highly questionable if not outright illegal, they don't do anything to stop it. They might as well expand it to the "Gang of Nine" with the ninth member being the statute of Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial.

Beyond that, as for all those Republicans and their allied Hindenbergs who were demanding that Nancy Pelosi should step down for accusing the CIA of lying to Congress, Hell will probably freeze over before they apologize to her.