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

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Auschwitz

Christopher Buckley's write-up on a visit he made to Auschwitz with his father.

In another article of his, was this quote:
I sometimes wonder what it would feel like, as a Jew, to hear these profanations [Holocaust denials] to the memory of the six million. Being of Irish ancestry, I suppose the analogy would be hearing a member of the British parliament say that there wasn’t a potato famine in Ireland in the 1840s—just a few localized crop failures. The Irish are certainly making a lot of fuss and bother about all this. It’s time someone told the truth.
That is one analogy, certainly. Another would be the ones mouthed by the racists who defend slavery, who maintain that, notwithstanding the four million Africans who died during the enduring horror euphemistically known as the "Middle Passage" or the millions who were sold into slavery or the tens of millions who were born, lived and died as slaves, that slavery was a good thing in the long run.

The term "profanations" well applies.

Blogroll Amnesty Day

The idea is that bloggers are supposed to link to five blogs that have fewer readers than their own blogs. Sounds like a fine idea.

But how the frak is anyone supposed to tell, unless the blogger has a public traffic count widget? Beats the hell out of me. I do try to pay attention to where people came from and reciprocate if they've linked to me. That's not foolproof, of course, given who is whacking away at the keys of this laptop.

So if you've meandered by here and you'd like this blog to link to yours, drop me a line in the comments section of this post.

Camera Batteries

I have a 4-year old Canon A95 PowerShot. It uses four AA batteries. I chose that model because if I were taking pictures outdoors somewhere, I didn't want to stop because I was out of power.

A while ago, I read a consumer information magazine that had an article about batteries. They said that when it comes to the smaller batteries, such as the AA and AAA, that the generic batteries that one can buy in bulk from the wholesale clubs are as good as the higher-end makes such as Duracell, but as for the D cell and 9v batteries, the higher-end ones are better.

On the first part, I call "bullshit." I bought a pack of Berkeley & Jensen AA batteries, the house brand of BJ's Wholesale Club, and I can say, without reservation, that they do not last anywhere near as long in my camera as the copper-top Duracells. Based on that, there is no way in hell that I'll use the cheap-ass batteries in my flashlights and my aviation GPS.

Caturday

Jake is chilling on the Royal Cat Bed.



Bella. The sunbeam made the tip of her tail impossible to see in this photo.

Friday, January 30, 2009

While Chimpy Fiddled and the Coal Industry Obstructed

The oceans are becoming more acidic.

Does anybody not understand that if we kill the oceans that it is pretty much "game over" for us as a civilization, if not as a species?

The Neo-Cons' Dream Came True

Iraqis did indeed erect a sculpture in the memory of George W. Bush:


It probably was not what the neo-cons had in mind, though.

Two Photographs

Take a look at two photographs that deal with women's rights. Both are of presidents signing legislation.

(H/T to LG&M)

Well, Just Fuck Them

In an email discussion list to which I belong, I argued that since the House leadership put in a bunch of tax cuts to benefit the constituency of the party of Hoover and since the Hooverites completely voted against them, that when the bill finally gets to the conference committee, the Democrats should just say "ok, fuck you" and take out all of the tax cuts that the Hooverites wanted.

Seems that there are no shortage of Democrats in the Congress who are thinking along the same lines and the party of Hoover may start to realize that they are not making a good choice. (H/T to LG&M)

Stephen Colbert had an even better idea: Since the rejectionists in the House were so against any spending on infrastructure, they should disclaim any stimulus payments to their districts. That's a fine idea, but it should go further and strip Federal funding to those districts.

But it goes deeper than the stimulus. Michael Lind, in the Daily Beast, puts forth that the proposition that what is going on is more than the Democratic party vs. the party of Hoover, the fight over the stimulus package is nothing more than the Confederate states are once more trying to destroy the United States of America as a single entity. (H/T to Jill)

Which leads to this conclusion: The GOP is no longer the party of Lincoln or Eisenhower. They aren't even the party of Herbert Hoover. They are the party of batshit foaming racists such as Jesee Helms. The GOP is about to reach its ultimate destination on the journey that Richard Nixon began in 1968: The party of the Old South, the party of segregation, of racial hatred.

Any look at the distribution of Federal funds shows that, in spite of the fact that Southern politicians routinely rail at government spending, they are no slouches at "bringing home the bacon."

Let's change that. If they are so opposed to Federal spending, let's begin by not spending a nickel in their districts that specifically benefits their constituency of ignoramuses. If the Federal government builds an interstate highway through their districts, the interchanges with state roads should be few and far between and the speed limits should be up as high as possible to encourage travelers not to tardy in those states.

Fuck them all until they are ready to rejoin the Union.

Army Suicides, Pt 2

Two West Point cadets have killed themselves in the last two months and two more recently attempted to. The Army's reaction is to put up posters and give training.

That's nice, but it probably is futile. Having a notation in your service record that you sought counseling for mental issues is a career-killer. There are no shortage of jobs, especially for officers, where if you go and talk to a military head-shrinker, you will be transferred out of that job before you can get back to your duty station from the counseling center. That will, of course, be in your service record forever as any selection board will see that you were abruptly removed from a job and it will count as a huge black mark.

Until the Army addresses that point, all of the posters and training will be useless.

In the past, I have known officers who had any number of personal psychological issues. Not a single one sought help through the Navy's support network. Most just self-medicated. Those who sought professional help did it on their own dime and often under an alias.

I don't imagine things have changed that much.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

While the Networks Were Blathering Out Stupid Shit

Such the dress code in the Oval Office or the removal of Gov. Blagojevich, it may be understandable that they overlooked the story that the suicide rate in the Army is the highest since the Army began keeping statistics 28 years ago.

CBS apparently came the closest, with stories on domestic violence in the military. With all due respect to the producers of NBC and ABC, that's a little more important than a crazy-ass governor in Illinois or President Obama not wearing a suit coat on the job.

Life on Mars

I don't know where this show is going. It is weird enough to be on a cable network.

But I do like the music
.

Mortgage Crisis: Brought to You By George W. Bush

You might recall that a month or so prior to the 9/11 attacks, George Bush received a briefing titled "Bin Ladin Determined to Strike Within U.S." and he blew it off.

Now it turns out that the Bush Administration was aware, as far back as 2002, that there was rampant fraud going on in the mortgage industry and that there was a risk that the mortgage industry, if not the entire banking system, would melt down.

The reaction of the Bush Administration to that warning was the exact same as it was to the warning about al Qaeda: They did not do a fucking thing until the crisis had developed.

Thanks for nothing, Little Hoover.

(H/T to C&L)

Changes

I've added 538.com back to the blogroll. The site was the most accurate in its analysis and projections for the last election than any other source I know.

This graphic is fascinating. It shows the predominance of party registrations in the states in 2008:



Note that there are only two states that have a majority of Republicans outside of the "Mormon belt:" Alaska and Nebraska. 35 states have majority Democratic registrations and ten are toss-ups. Even Texas, supplier of douchebag politicians to the nation, is a toss-up.

The party of Hoover may, for the foreseeable future, be relegated to just being an annoyance on cable news, which, according to Think Progress, have given far more airtime to the Hooverites:

So much for MSNBC being the "liberal network."

Oh, This Is Just Too Ironic For Words

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 17-2 to confirm Eric Holder as Attorney General.

John Cornyn, a die hard Bush lackey from Texas, voted "no" because he has questions about Holder's independence. Coming from one of the most ardent supporters of Alberto Gonzales, that really breaks the needle on both the Irony and Bullshit meters. Anybody who pays any attention to what that gasbag Cornyn has to say on anything has mush for brains.

Morning News Roundup with Free Snark!

Corporations are dumping their private jets. They might as well, since the TSA is going to make it difficult to fly them.

Imagine, if you will, that you were running an airline. Let's suppose on every other flight that there was an outbreak of food poisoning; that on every third flight, all of the luggage was lost forever and that three or four times a year, one of your airplanes caught fire and crashed, killing all aboard. It would stand to reason that not only would you not be receiving a bonus at the end of the year, you'd be lucky if you still had your head. Those are the rules that sort of apply almost everywhere: Shitty performance is not rewarded. Except if you work for a financial institution, that is, where people were paid hefty bonuses even as the entire financial sector was collapsing around them. So the money that the banks got from the Treasury Department was used not to shore up the economy, but to give them a pot of ready cash to skim off for their own self-enrichment. (Memo to President Obama: Tell the General Services Administration to order tumbrels and a guillotine.)

U.S. Government to Blackwater: Your services are no longer required. Leave. About fraking time. Go find some other corner of the planet in which to randomly kill passers-by. See if they like it any better.

This falls into the category of Who Gives a Flying Fuck: President Obama does not require that a coat and tie be worn in the Oval Office. Really, who gives a fuck? Preznit McPoopypants required that a coat and tie be worn in the Oval Office and look how well he ran the country for eight years. We're on the verge of the Great Depression- the Sequel, if we're not already sliding into it, and it is largely due to the atrocious mismanagement and incompetence of the Bush Administration and his party.

I don't give a rat's ass if the uniform of the day in the Obama White House is tutus and ballet slippers if only they can bring a modicum of competence to the job.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Free Road Safety Tip

If you are going to drive like an aggressive moron who is suffering from road rage, then here is a free tip: If you are not considerate enough to get a grip on yourself, you should at least consider ditching the vanity license plate that has your fucking last name on it.

It was snowing here. On my way into work, I had a huge black SUV riding my bumper because I wasn't going fast enough to suit His Royal Assholiness. Screw him, I didn't think it was safe to drive faster and I didn't. There was a patch in the road, a couple miles up, where it briefly goes to two travel lanes and sure enough, Prince Douchebaggery roared by.

Which gave me a really good look at his license plate.

Good thing for the Blower of SUV that I'm not the kind of person to Google up his ass, do a couple searches on some other sites and smack him around with a pipe wrench.

The Impending Death of Private Aviation

General aviation ("flying small planes") has been more or less on a downward spiral for a few decades. Three major blows in the 1970s and 1980s were (i) the tightening of depreciation rules by the IRS; (ii) the two fuel crises of the `70s; and (iii) the rise of suing everybody for everything. Add to that the fact that the stagnation in aircraft development and the end of the adventure era took aviation out of the glamor spotlight. Video games hurt, too. The upshot is that airports that used to be crowded with rows of small airplanes now have a lot fewer. Small airports also closed at a rate of one a week, sometimes because the old owners died and development pressures, sometimes because and obstinate bureaucrats forced them (Chicago's Mayor Daley II being the worst offender [may his insides be eaten out by bugs]).

But the final bullet in the ear of general aviation may be administered by the Transportation Security Administration (motto: "Stealing Your Shit Since 2001"). The TSA, having made airline travel into a nightmare where you have to partially disrobe while the TSA employees steal things from your bags, now has embarked on its quest to make it impossible to fly private airplanes.

Their next step is to require all operator of airplanes that have a maximum takeoff weight of over 12,500 pounds to screen their pilots and passengers at a whole passel of airports. This is the list of airports. I have flown out of a few of them and I can assure you that, based on that experience, many, if not most of those airports do not have the capability to screen a damn thing.

I submit four points for your consideration:

First: Nobody has offered up a bit of evidence to support any need to do this. If you go through the rule, the justifications buried within the rule sound more like a bad pitch for a Fox TV show than anything grounded in reality. The justifications for this rule are of the "if your aunt had wheels, she'd be a wagon, so we had better prevent her getting wheels" variety. The plan envisioned by the TSA is "security theater:" A program, paid for by the operators of airplanes and airports, whose sole function is to make it appear that the TSA is doing something.

Second: Anybody who thinks that this program will stop at airplanes with MTOWs over 12,500# is fooling themselves. This program will be extended, first to all multi-engined airplanes and then to the rest of the civil fleet. The TSA's goal is to shut down all private aviation in this nation. This rule is nothing more than a giant power-grab by the TSA.

Third: Does anyone really think that it will accomplish a damned thing to screen the corporate executives before they step aboard their Citation? What benefit to our national security will be provided by rooting through Oprah Winfrey's luggage before she boards her Gulfstream?

Fourth: All the TSA is doing with its proposed rule is checking off the boxes on the form. The TSA will ram this rule down the throats of the aviation community unless we can convince the Congress and the Obama Administration that this is a really bad idea.

So write your congressman, write your senators and, if you have any contacts or pull, use them.

Kill this rule.

I'll Give Odds That This Guy Gets Whacked

Prosecutors claim Nicolas Cosmo, 37, owner of Agape World Inc. and Agape Merchant Advance LLC, swindled at least 1,500 investors and used some of the money to pay for limousines, fund a baseball league and pay off a restitution order from an earlier fraud conviction.
Here's the thing: Unlike Bernie Madoff, Cosmo didn't steal from a bunch of trust-fund types and other rich folks. Cosmo stole from middle-class and working-class people. He stole from people who may well be inclined to settle this matter with a bullet to the back of his head.

So if Cosmo knows what is good for him, he might conclude that pre-trial confinement isn't such a bad thing.

Reach Your Hand Out to the Republicans...

...and you'll likely pull back a bloody stump. Which President Obama is finding out, slowly, as he attempts to negotiate with the party of Hoover on a stimulus package.

Doesn't stop him from trying, though. I wish him luck. But I believe that at the end of the day, the stimulus package is going to be enacted over the "no" votes of most of the members from the party of Hoover.

Baby Lawyer

This really did happen:

A mother and her child were at home. Mom was sitting at the dining room table, reading the morning newspaper, when she heard noises from up the stairs.

"Sweetheart, don't play on the stairs."

"OK, Mommy."

Ten minutes later: Thumpity-thump-thump--"Waaaaaaa!"

Mom rushed out of the dining room to the stairs, found the child crying at the foot of the stairs and said, in a loud tone of voice: "I told you not to play on the stairs!"

In between sobs, the child replied: "I was playing on the landing!" (The staircase turned 90 degrees about six steps up from the bottom and had a landing at the turn.)

Yeah, that kid's going to grow up to be a lawyer. Or a politician.

(H/T to my sister)

The Gift that Keeps On Giving

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Sarah Palin has launched a new political action committee called SarahPac, signaling that the Alaska Governor intends to remain a player in national politics even after her failed bid to become the country’s first female vice president.
Call it a late holiday gift to bloggers. It's like setting up a row of huge watermelons and shooting at them with a rifle from 25 feet; missing is almost impossible and there will be a lot of fun in the process.

Palin is a toxic blend of ambition and ignorance. One would think that after the last eight years of Preznit Gump that the party of Hoover might have opted to try and encourage candidates who could at least construct a simple English sentence and handle a few softball questions without three weeks' worth of preparation, but sadly, no.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Yahoo!! We Only Lost 303 Million Dollars in Three Months!!!

That is the attitude, believe it or not, of Yahoo.

What kind of world is it when a company that, at its core, makes nothing tangible can celebrate losing only $100 million a month?

Citigroup: Too Stupid to Even Breathe?

After all of the grief that the auto companies took for flying their CEOs to D.C. to beg for cash, you would think that the brass at Citigroup would have figured out that taking delivery of a $42 million jet would not be viewed very favorably.

You would be so wrong
. Citi had to be smacked hard in the nuts by the Treasury Department because blowing $42 million on a jet looks kind of shabby when the Federal government had to give Citi $45 billion to keep them from failing.

Fuck. Let's just nationalize those jerks and get it over with.

You Would Think I Was Amputating His Feet With a Rusty Saw

for all the fuss George puts up when I clip his claws.

I have never ever clipped them to the quick. I have never drawn blood or otherwise injured him when I have clipped his claws.

But oh, the sheer drama when I have to clip his claws.

Reason 8,543,237 Why Bankers Caused The Meltdown

BadTux has the analysis.

Thumbnail: In 2005, the Bush Administration, at the behest of the banks, made it harder to go bankrupt and wipe out consumer debt. As a result, people who would have been able to get out from under and then rebuild their lives and start consuming stuff have to, instead, spend years paying off much of the debt and they never truly get out from under.

They don't spend. So stores make fewer sales. Fewer sales means fewer stores are needed, so some go out of business or fire staff. Those fired employees don't spend. Less stuff is needed, so distributors order less and manufacturers make less and transportation companies haul less. The manufacturers need less equipment, or they don't have to replace it as often, so the machine-tool companies sell less. The transportation companies need fewer ships and containers and truck and airplanes. Fewer people working and less demand for freight shipments means less dead dino juice is needed.

And it all snowballs.

Bush's Letter to Obama

A few more claimants to the title of "Bush's Note to Obama" have surface.

The long version, from Jason Reich:



The short-and-sweet version, from Betsy:

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

For the Vatican to state that they intend to maintain good relations with other faiths while, at the same time, rehabilitating a bishop who denies the Holocaust took place puts the statement in a very dim light.

And that is all that I intend to say about this topic.

What the Hell? What Kind of Hat Was That?

This link will take you to a panoramic photo of President Obama giving his Inauguration speech. Zoom in and look just behind the President and you can see Justice Scalia, wearing a hat that appears to have been stolen from the set of the "Little Rascals."

Then look to the left. It appears that the President had just said something worthy of some applause, as Dubya and Condi are applauding. On the other hand, Dick Cheney looks so unhappy that it would appear that his permit to torture and eat kittens must have been revoked.

The Signal

Carol Burnett and Tim Conway:


64 Years

Since the Red Army liberated Auschwitz. DCap's post on this anniversary is well worth the read.

Bigger Airliners = Fewer Passengers

It turns out that when the airlines fly larger airplanes, the capacity of that airport, both in number of flights and number of passengers, actually goes down.

Don Brown explains why
.

Obama's First TV Interview

The Wingnuts will go crazy over this: It was with al-Arabiya.

Transcript here.

Part 1:



Part 2:

Republican Pantywaists

Jon Stewart administers the smackdown:

Monday, January 26, 2009

Around the Internets

I probably should split these up, but I'm a little tired and since I don't feel like taking the effort, oh well. I capped off the day by having to give an ass shampoo to Gracie, which somehow seems fitting.

71,000 job cuts were announced today
. 209,000 have been announced so far for the year.

Last night, on 60 Minutes, was a look at what happens to a town when the largest employer goes Tango Uniform. In this case, the employer was DHL. You can bet that the upper management is still living well.


Watch CBS Videos Online

Rep. John Conyers is going after Karl Rove to force him to testify under oath about the firings of US attorneys for refusing to initiate investigations of Bush's perceived political enemies
.

Gonzo thinks he won't be prosecuted for signing off on torturing people
. I suspect he is smoking crack. If an investigation trends his way, he would be a fool to hope that the Obama Administration would step in to quash it. My advice to him is the same advice that Rudyard Kipling gave to wounded Redcoats in Afghanistan.

Sticking with TPM, what the frak is up with this? Why is this Congress shafting spending money on improving mass transit? Given where gas prices were last summer and where they will go again when the world's economy recovers, what sort of shit-for-brains does it take to not invest in mass transit now?

Finally, Fixer on the closing of GITMO, the neocon's campaign of promoting tyranny based on fear, and how it shows how little the neocons think of the American people:
It's insane we're even having the conversation. We are the most powerful nation on Earth and it makes us look like a buncha cowards we are so terrified of a couple hundred people. For all the tough talk, we act like a nation of pantywaists.
Well, yeah. Crimus, we kill people from aircraft controlled by operators sitting half-way around the world at some hole-in-the-wall Air Farce Base in Nevada. We think that is righteous, but let some jihadist strap a bunch of C-4 to his body and sally forth to kill people and fucktards in this country think that is cowardly? The suicide bomber is dying for what he believes, while the Predator operator's biggest risk on the job is either getting a paper cut from the manuals at the Nintendo station where they fly the thing from or getting into a traffic accident during his commute.

I don't have a view of war as an honorable thing by any stretch of the imagination, but there is something that is downright cowardly about squeezing a trigger on a joystick at a remote-control station in Nevada and killing a bunch of people on the other side of the planet. And I'll bet that the fucking Air Force even gives them medals for that.

Euro-Idiots

Headline: Guantánamo's closing catches EU off-guard.

Idiots. President Obama was more than clear about his determination to shut that extra-legal hellhole down.

Failure Socialism

Robert Reich calls it "lemon socialism," the government takes over the industries that are in trouble.

I think the term is too generous. It is "failure socialism," these very highly paid and coddled clowns ran their industries into the ground by their own bad judgments and we, the taxpayers, have to rescue them.

On one hand, I have no problem with the idea that the government should do something to stave off the New and Improved Great Depression.

On the other hand, I really want to see the clowns who did this suffer, such as the management of banks like WaMu and Countrywide, who really pushed the junk mortgages. (I'd advocate shooting all of the crooked mortgage brokers involved, except that I doubt if there would be enough honest mortgage brokers left to fill a poker table.) I'm not talking about out-and-out crooks like Madoff, he'll go to prison, but the jerks who invented securitized mortgages and credit default swaps and all of the other fraudulent financial shenanigans that have brought the entire planet to the edge of a precipice.

I'm also bringing into this the idiot analysts who rated the stocks of companies so that the only thing that counted were quarterly profits and the large "institutional" investors who bought huge blocks of stocks and pressured the companies to focus on short-term profits, with no concern for the future. It is an open secret that the Japanese carmakers have very long-term plans, but it seems from their actions that our own carmakers aren't thinkinbg past next year's models and that is a result of the pressures from Wall Street to think short-term.

If we do get into the business of really taking heads over this, though, the first two up the stairs to the guillotine should be Alan Greenspan and Phil Gramm.

There should be some real pain meted out to those whose fecklessness brought us to this point.

In Case You Have Wondered Why Our Diplomacy Sucks

This post was planned to be a screed along the lines of:
When will the party of Hoover stop lying to us? They are not the party of "fiscal responsibility," as any brief inspection of the history of Federal deficits since 1980 will reveal. They are not the party of "small government;" the most expensive Federal department (HEW, now HHS and Education) and the most intrusive Federal Department (DBP) were created by Republicans.
I changed my mind. When I was researching the creation of cabinet departments, I came to this page, which also gives the budget amounts for FY 2007.

First off, the `07 DoD budget includes not a fraking dime for the Wars of the Chimperor. Those have all been fought off-budget and entirely on credit.

Second, look at the amounts for each department. The Department of State was budgeted for just under ten billion dollars for everything they have to do around the world. That is less than the cost of one month's worth of operations in Iraq. State received less money than any other Federal department, except Commerce.

[Other than acting as the government-paid arm of the business lobbying interests and running the Weather Service, I don't know what the hell they do over at Commerce. The Patent & Trademark Office, sure, but that is fully funded (and more) by the exorbitant fees charged by the USPTO for everything.]

If we are going to make a dent in addressing the foreign relations and diplomatic problems that were buried in the huge pile of shit left behind by the Tsar of the Baboons, it would seem to me to be a good idea to divert some resources from figuring out how to kill people to figuring out how to not have to kill people.

(Update: Frigging typos, I need to puffredd batter)

REVEALED: Bush's Secret Note to Obama

As you may know, it is a long tradition that the outgoing President leave a private note on (or in) his desk for his successor. What the content of those notes are is a secret that has been jealously guarded; the presidents have treated them as being wholly confidential.

But things being what they are in this age, the note that George Bush left Barack Obama has made it out into the tubes of the Internets.

So, without further ado, here it is:



(Totally stolen from the CrankyProf)

Clawback!

Fallen Lehman Brothers Chief Executive Richard Fuld sold his $13.3 million mansion to his wife for just $100 last November, according to Florida real estate records.
Just your average arm's length transaction, no doubt. The real estate market in Florida is so depressed that it is reasonable to sell a mansion that cost over $13 million in 2004 to someone in 2008 for $100.

Yeah. Riiight.

(Sometimes I just crack myself up)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Why I Am Not Running the Country

The party of Hoover does not like President Obama's stimulus plan. They want more tax cuts for the rich included.

This is what I would say to the party of Hoover: "We tried it your way. It didn't work. Your plan of `tax cuts for the rich and huge defense spending' grew the Federal deficit from one trillion dollars in 1980 to over ten trillion dollars today.

"More than that, if your ideas were so good, then why did you lose 14 Senate seats over two elections? You went from 232 seats in the House for the 109th Congress to 198 seats for the 110th Congress and now you have 178 seats.

"Your old ideas are failures. Either come back with new ones or just STFU and get out of the way."

Which is why I'd never be president.

Mosin Receiver Holes

These photos are of the receivers of a Mosin 91/30. You are looking at the left-hand raceways for the bolt.

First up, a standard infantry-issue rifle. As you can see, the metal of the raceway is smooth metal.


This is a re-snipered rifle, it was originally equipped with a PU scope sight. It was recently re-fitted with a postwar PU scope. There are four holes through the left side of the receiver; two pins and two screws. You can see three of them in this photo.



This is the rifle I bought yesterday and I apologize that the focus is off. Note that unlike the PU-scoped rifle, this one has only two holes. It apparently was fitted with a PEM scope.


The PU scope was simpler to make and arguably more rugged than the PE/PEM scope. Supposedly, the PU scope replaced the PEM in 1942. The Soviets were not terribly big on niceties; if they had a number of scopes left over from decommissioning sniper-varients of the SVT rifle, they would fit them to Mosins. Which is what apparently was done to this rifle.

Coffee Is Good For You!

Yes, coffee. It may cut the risk of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Type II diabetes.

(H/T to Jill)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Crap. I Did It Again.

I was out on the road this morning and stopped by a gun shop that is out of my area, but I've been to several times. They have a dog there that likes to play hide-and-seek with me, so I make it a point to stop by several times a year.

I was looking at the old military surplus bolt-action rifles on the display rack in the middle of the store. They had about half-a-dozen Mosins. So, sort of half-heartedly, I picked them up and checked them out. One of them was made in 1942 by the Izhevsk Arsenal. No big deal, Izhevsk made the majority of them during the war.

Then I opened the bolt and looked inside the left bolt raceway and there they were: The plugged holes which indicate that the rifle had once been a sniper rifle and then, after the war, had been made into standard configuration. The bore was bright, not rough in any way. That decison took about a nanosecond.

The rifle is now in the trunk of my car.

Fair Pay Act, Pt. 2

Cujo made this comment to my earlier post.
If there's good news in that, it's that a few Republicans did break ranks with the troglodytes and voted for the bill.
Cujo is right about that, but when you look at which Republicans voted for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, it is less encouraging. This is the results of the roll call vote. Scroll down and look at the "ayes" with an R after their name. They are: Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, Kaye Hutchinson, Arlen Spector, and Lisa Murkowski.

Other than Arlen Spector, all of the men of the party of Hoover think it is a fine idea to make it virtually impossible for women to sue for unequal pay. The women of the GOP, who probably have some first-hand experience with this issue, did not think it unreasonable to allow women to sue for unequal pay for the same job.

The track record of the party of Hoover; favoring the powerful over the powerless, stepping on the workers every chance they get, remains unblemished.

Caturday

That is not a large box that George is trying to get into. In truth, he doesn't fit into it.



But that doesn't stop him from trying.



Gracie is trying to clean herself up after a mini-bath to her ass. She doesn't appreciate my taking photos of her.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Suck It, Little Hoover

The equal pay act that was a response to the Supreme's `07 ruling will soon be on President Obama's desk.

The Bush Administration and the Roberts Court have been advocates of the powerful in this country. Whenever it was possible to strike at workers or the disadvantaged, both the Bush Administration and the Roberts Court never let an opportunity pass by.

Things are changing!

In Case You Give a Frak

The list of the Oscar nominees.

I stopped paying attention to this crap when The English Patient won best picture. That movie was flacked about as "Casablanca for the 1990s."

Yeah, it was just like Casablanca, or it would have been if they had made everyone in Casablanca into despicable characters and added another hour to the movie. If Casablanca had been anything at all like the English Patient, audiences would have been rooting for Major Strasser to kill them all.

And Now, a Final Word to George W. Bush From the Scientific Community:

"Adios, motherfucker!"

The scientists in the Federal government are celebrating the end of an era that put ideology over facts and politics over science. As well they should.

Call the Waaaabulance for Karl Rove

The dead-enders in the former Bush Administration are upset that President Obama repudiated almost everything that Chimpy did.

I hope they got a ride home from the airport in a waaabulance.



Here's some free advice to the Bushie dead-enders: Toughen up, creampuffs. Your bubble is popped, so take a look around. A large majority of the American people have judged your time in the Administration as an utter failure. The cheering you heard for the last four years was largely orchestrated by the toadies of Fox News.

So here is a cheer for you from the American people:

NA NA NA NA,
NA NA NA NA,
SAY HEY HEY,
GOOD-BYE!

Oh, the Humanity

TheYo-Yo Ma Quartet "finger-synched" their playing to a recording.

The party of Hoover is probably planning to submit a motion for impeachment.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Don't Pretend To Me That You Are Shocked By This

Is there anybody out there who really believed that the National Security Agency, under the Reign of the Tsar of the Baboons, wasn't listening in to everyone's phone calls and collecting everyone's e-mails?

Is there anyone out there who had some trust that there was no level of violation of civil rights and liberties and freedoms to which the Bush Administration would not sink?

Yeah, so it was confirmed that the NSA was scooping up everything. So it was confirmed that the NSA was specifically targeting reporters.

Don't even try to pretend to me that anything in this news surprises you.

Texas: Helping to Make This Nation a Laughingstock of the World Since 1846

This clown is the chairman of the Texas State Board of Education:
The chairman of the board, Dr. Don McLeroy, a dentist, pushed in 2003 for a more skeptical version of evolution to be presented in the state’s textbooks, but could not get a majority to vote with him. Dr. McLeroy has said he does not believe in Darwin’s theory and thinks that Earth’s appearance is a recent geologic event, thousands of years old, not 4.5 billion as scientists contend.
This know-nothing religious zealot is poised to force the textbook publishers to rewrite biology textbooks to make them conform with his ignorant beliefs, and of course, he has the support of a bunch of his intellectual equals in Texas.

This elevation of ideology over science and fact is a prime example of how this country got so fucked over for the past eight years. It also is further proof that the party of Hoover remains in thrall to these ignoramuses.

They are entitled to their beliefs. They are not entitled to their own set of facts. A boob who believes in the theology of the "young Earth" should not be having any input whatsoever on how science is taught to anyone other than those unfortunate children he may have sired. I presume that after these douchebags get done trying to obfuscate the Theory of Evolution, they are going to go after Copernicus and try to insert language to argue that the Universe is Earth-centric.

Shame on Texas for doing what it can to raise future generations of scientific illiterates. The textbook publishers should bite the bullet and make a "dumbass" edition of science textbooks for them (using really small words).

What A Chinese Immigrant Would Say to Bernie Madoff and Vikram Pandit

"They shoot people like you where I come from."

Madoff, you should know about already. Pandit is the CEO of CitiGroup.

(Photo from LOLFed)

Ditching

Captain Dave, who flies Airbuses ("Airbi?") has a few words on USAir #1549.

Grammatical Change

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

(H/T to Lockwood)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Watch Out For Falling Bankers!

The market capitalization of a number of major banks in the world, 2nd quarter of 2007 compared with now.

(You may not want to look if you own shares of the Royal Bank of Scotland or CitiGroup.)

It may be the entire banking system of the damn world is now insolvent.

(Heckuva job, Greenspan)

"Bullshit" is Called on This

I was, by far, not the only person who was incredulous at the idea that the Former Vice President for Torture, Richard Cheney, threw his back out by helping to move boxes. The man, after all, has had a pasta-bazillion heart attacks and he is closing in on 70.

I did not think of the idea that the whole incident was staged so that he would not have to stand and give honor to President Obama.

But I suspect that it is indeed plausible. And it would be just the sort of dickish move that one might expect from that old fuck.

Jon Stewart was right: All Cheney needed to complete the picture was a snow-white Persian cat on his lap.

And I don't know how I missed this from Monday's show:

Anonymous Quote of the Day

"I watched the Inauguration coverage last night, switching back and forth between MSNBC and Fox News. On MSNBC, it was like they were all taking a break from having sex with supermodels. On Fox, it was like they had all come from the funerals for their families."

Yeah, Let's Just Let the Market Fix Itself

You have to wonder what the free-market-theologians in the party of Hoover are thinking:

Jan. 20 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. financial losses from the credit crisis may reach $3.6 trillion, suggesting the banking system is “effectively insolvent,” said New York University Professor Nouriel Roubini, who predicted last year’s economic crisis.

“I’ve found that credit losses could peak at a level of $3.6 trillion for U.S. institutions, half of them by banks and broker dealers,” Roubini said at a conference in Dubai today. “If that’s true, it means the U.S. banking system is effectively insolvent because it starts with a capital of $1.4 trillion. This is a systemic banking crisis.”

Things could get a hell of a lot worse. I suspect that if the Hooverites manage to obstruct things so that the economic stimulus package winds up playing "small ball," it will.

Defending Oklahoma

Old Stuff


Original Video- More videos at TinyPic

These are the airplanes he flew:

First, an AT-9 Jeep.



The AT-9 was a trainer built to teach new Army Air Corps pilots to fly multi-engined aircraft. It was probably built with a tailwheel because the B-17, among other airplanes, had tailwheels. From its appearance, it would have been a handful during landing, takeoff and while taxiing.

A B-26 Marauder:



The B-26, a medium bomber, was a hot airplane to fly. It had a high wing-loading, which meant, among other things, that it took off and landed at jet speeds. It had propellers that had electrically-powered governors; a crew that forgot to switch on the generators after starting the engines would have the props go to flat-pitch and then overspeed very soon after takeoff when the batteries died, which would usualy have somewhat fatal consequences for the crews. The B-26 was nicknamed "the Widowmaker," given the slogan "One a Day in Tampa Bay" (a B-26 training base was there) and pilots were afraid to fly it. The Army Air Force fought that perception by having B-26s flown by all-woman crews flown to all of the training bases using B-26s, where the WASP crews put on mini-airshows.

The B-26 had the lowest loss rate of any combat aircraft used by the Army Air Force. The AAF got rid of them when Germany surrendered, as a final insult, the A-26 Invader was re-designated to B-26.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Loyalist Gig Has Its Costs

One day last week, Michael Castine, also of Korn/Ferry, said he had received calls from half a dozen senior White House aides "who don't have anything in the hopper yet " He said, "They are loyalists who stayed the course and are not sure what they're going to do."
Good luck with that job hunt.

Here is the thing: If you are coming from an employer who had a widely-known reputation for prizing loyalty above competence, then even if you had a high-power job, nobody is going to assume that you have a skill other than in "advanced ass-kissing."

(H/T to Dan Brown)

Talk About a Prescient Gift

Since 1989, Lenox, Inc. has created a hard-made engraved crystal bowl for the incoming President and Vice President as an official gift, given by Congress, on behalf of the American people.

Except in 2005. For that Inauguration, President Skidmark and Vice President Vader were given hurricane lamps.

(No snark needed.)

That Loud Whirring Sound Heard at Noon in North Carolina

was the sound of Jesse Helms spinning in his grave.

While I was not displeased to learn that he died last summer, that racist old douchebag probably hoped that McCain would win the election. It would have served that decrepit bastard right to have seen this day.

History

When I was a child, a few families, including mine, gathered at a neighbor's house on the morning of July 16th, 40 years ago this year, to watch Apollo 11 begin its journey to the Moon. (The neighbor was one of the few families with a color TV set.) As Apollo 11 cleared the tower of the launch platform, one of the parents said that we children should never forget this moment, for we were watching history. We did not know whether the astronauts of Apollo 11 would land on the Moon safely, let alone return. We, as a nation, were making the attempt and we were all optimistic.

And we knew that we were watching history being made.

I feel the same way today. I never thought that, in my lifetime, I would see a president who was anything other than a white man. Yet today I watched the son of an African man be sworn in as our president: President Barack Hussein Obama.

I don't know if the presidency of Barack Obama will be successful. I do know that he faces enormous challenges in the days, months and years ahead.

But, as on the morning of July 16th, 1969, I feel optimistic.

Two Sets of Words That I Have Waited a Very Long Time to Write

1) Former President George Walker Bush.

2) President Barack Hussein Obama.

Do These Guys Also Pick Stocks and Horses?

From the Onion, eight years ago:
Mere days from assuming the presidency and closing the door on eight years of Bill Clinton, president-elect George W. Bush assured the nation in a televised address Tuesday that "our long national nightmare of peace and prosperity is finally over."

....

"Finally, the horrific misrule of the Democrats has been brought to a close," House Majority Leader Dennis Hastert (R-IL) told reporters. "Under Bush, we can all look forward to military aggression, deregulation of dangerous, greedy industries, and the defunding of vital domestic social-service programs upon which millions depend. Mercifully, we can now say goodbye to the awful nightmare that was Clinton's America."
Fuck. Just "fuck." Go read the piece. It was supposed to be satire, but it turned out to be the truth. It might as well have been printed today as a summary of what the Chimperor's misrule brought about.

There are a lot of people who should be cursed out for the last eight years. But I will reserve my most potent curses for both the people of Palm Beach County, who were unable to decipher a fucking ballot, and Kenneth Blackwell, the man who stole the 2004 election.

(H/T to Jill)

A Final Message From the Bush White House



Don't they fucking wish!

I Suppose I Should Keep It Classy Today

But fuck that noise.



Bush goes back to Texas. Cheney goes back to living under a bridge and eating random travelers.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Another Amerikanski Falls For a Mosin

Ambulance Driver.

(Muwahahaha!)

Dibs on the Tar and Feathers

Bush will perform his final presidential acts Tuesday morning when he meets Obama and wife Michelle at the White House North Portico and has coffee with them and Vice President-Elect Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, before witnessing their swearing-in outside the U.S. Capitol.

Afterward, former President Bush will speak at a departure ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base, then board the military 747 200B that serves as Air Force One — designated Special Air Mission 28000 on Tuesday because the plane becomes Air Force One only when the sitting president is aboard — to fly to Midland, Texas, for a homecoming event.

"Former President Bush." That has a nice ring to it, at least until it is replaced by the titles of "Accused War Criminal" and then "Convicted War Criminal."

You Know Dick Cheney Has to be Consumed by Jealousy Over This

An Australian novelist was jailed for three years by a Bangkok court today, the latest in a growing number of Thais and foreigners prosecuted for the crime of “insulting” the family of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
Georgie Skidmark, Dick Cheney and the rest of the Loyalists (at least those who didn't leave with the Redcoats in 1783) would really love to see such a law enacted in this country.

Quote of the Day

What this person said, whoever he or she is:
Preznit Skidmark’s claim to have kept us safe from terrorists after 9/11 is like a babysitter letting a toddler wander onto the freeway, then herding the remaining children into the basement and finally telling the parents how good a job she’s done because, since the baby’s death, she’s kept the children safe and that she deserves a raise in pay.

Blog Note

I will take down the Bush Countdown Clock tomorrow morning before the swearing in. If you have nothing else to do at Noon eastern time tomorrow, you should be watching our new president being sworn in. You should not be here, watching numbers tick away.

Defiance

Defiance most definitely does not suck.

It is not a movie for children or those who have ADD. The story moves slowly at times, but it is a rich story. There are a few brutal scenes, but this is by no means a slasher flick.

I'd recommend it.

Nach Paris, Mein Fuhr--- er, Chancellor

Germany plans to send 500 Wehrmacht Bundeswehr soldiers to France.

They're going to need more soldiers than that just to guard and feed all of the prisoners.

Update: Correction of the title. I used "zu," which I thought meant "to."

(H/T to Fixer)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Queen Cat Wants Change

(Start with the litter box.)

(Make your own here. H/T to Lisa.)

Fraking Nutjob

Tom Cruise, who fails to assassinate Adolf Hitler in his new movie "Valkyrie," said he grew up really wanting to kill the Nazi leader.
He might as well go back to jumping on Oprah's couch; the man has more than a few screws that need to be torqued to specs.

His photo is going into the dictionaries under "nutbag."

(H/T to Maru)

So, Was That Earth?

Patrick (the Science of BSG) doesn't think so.

His idea is interesting, but I think he is well off-base. Not because of the science, but because of the overall direction that the show has taken since the mini-series in 2003.

This version of Battlestar Galactica does not do cheery. I'd look for something more along the lines of Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, with Galactica going into battle against an overwhelming number of Basestars with much the same result.

UPDATE: From a blog on the Chicago Tribune, which has an interview with Ron Moore, the executive producer of the show:

That planet is Earth? We’re not going to find out, “Oh, there’s this other Earth over here...” This is the only Earth we’ll see?

They have found Earth. This is the Earth that the 13th Colony discovered, they christened it Earth. They found Earth.

Think that settles that.

Ass Burgers

Another one from CP. It is not keyboard-safe.

Bush's New Gated Community

Russ observed that Bush wants to have a gate put on the road to his new house in Dallas; he commented that the lock should go on the outside.

I think that is a fine idea and in the spirit of cooperation, I submit that the design of the new gate house should look like this:

(Folsom Prison, in case you're curious)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Nuked-Over Earth

When Battlestar Galactica ended season 4.0, we saw that they had arrived at Earth, only to find it was an uninhabited planet.

So what we learned was this: (continued in the comments)

8 Horrible Years in 8 Dreadful Minutes

Keith Olbermann sums it up:



Watch it, if you can. I didn't get past 2:19 without having to go throw up.

(H/T to Maru)

Multiple Topics. Deal With It.

I found this over at Alternate Brain:



Like Gordon, I'm distrustful of the "born again" stuff.

But there are still about 20-30% of the population that thinks Bush did an adequate job and there were over 40% who thought that having an ignorant self-absorbed imbecile in the White House had worked out so well that they wanted to put another such fool one weak heartbeat away from the Oval Office. Beyond that, the party of Hoover is still doing its level best to destroy the economy of this nation so that the rich people will have plenty of servants, so I am not terribly optimistic.

If you want to see what the Hooverites really want, I give you Zimbabwe as an example, where a brutal self-absorbed dictator has destroyed a nation. Note that Mugabe thinks that Zimbabwe is his property, in the same way that Bush thinks that the government is his property. (Only with Bush, his lease is up and he has to get the fuck out of town to await his arrest warrant.)

It is becoming clear in Zimbabwe that nothing will be fixed until Mugabe is put in the ground.

Caturday

Bella. The Sun is giving her an intense case of "golden eyes."


Jake contemplates the parking lot. It is color, but almost entirely black and white.



And of course, Gracie the Queen Cat. Her 12th birthday is in about three months.

Friday, January 16, 2009

It Is About Fraking Time!

Battlestar Galactica returns tonight at 10PM ET on the SciFi Channel.

BSG is back, Chimpy is going away. Life is good!

(I sure hope these final 10 episodes are not a disappointment, but given how well the series has been written so far, I'd say hopes can be high.)

I won't see it until Sunday at the earliest, so please, STFU about what happens. And to "make it so," I am shutting off comments for this post. So there.

Goombye, Boosh

Dan Froomkin's take on Bush's sad-sack speech:
President Bush bid the nation goodbye last night with a simpering speech that may have appealed to those who still believe in him, but offered nothing to change the minds of the vast majority of Americans who don't.
"Simpering." Heh. I'd have tried to throw the word "simian" in, but that's just me.

If You Get Sick From Eating This Cheese, Please Excuse Me For Laughing At You As You Writhe in Agony

Cranky Prof has the details. Basically, the cheese is fermented buy allowing maggots to semi-digest it and then the discriminating diner eats it, maggots and all. The maggots, being less than amused by that chain of events, may then try to burrow out of the diners' intestines.

If you eat this stuff and you do get ill, make sure they put that fact on your tombstone so that people can laugh at you for the next few centuries.

Pre-Inauguration Stuff

Non-Sequitur:


On another note, the rural white folk in the Old South are not happy about the fact that Obama won
.

Point 1, which applies to 4/12/1865 as well as 11/4/2008: We won. You lost. Get over it.

Point 2: George Bush never governed as anything other than the president of those who voted for him. He had no interest in doing anything that did not, first and foremost, benefit his base. You have no right to complain.

Point 3:
In an Administration that is headed by an African-American, tacking up a Confederate battle flag to your garage is going to be viewed as being as offensive as it would if the new President was Jewish and you had a Nazi flag displayed. The Confederate flag is associated with the cause of slavery, whether you like it or not. The Confederate flag was embraced in the 1950s and 1960s by the segregationist racists, which is when the confederate flag was added to a number of Southern state flags.

Spare me the rationalizations why that is not so, for they are all bullshit. Grow up and take the fucking flags down.

100 Hours

One hundred hours. That is all that is left in the misbegotten reign of Still-President Bush.

100 hours until we can begin trying to recover our national sense of pride.

100 hours until we can revert to being a nation of laws, not of men.

100 hours until we can go back to being a nation governed not by expediency, but by a written Constitution.

100 hours until we have a president who has the ability to speak English fluently.

100 hours until we have a president who understands that the language spoken in the nation adjoining Texas is not "Mexican."

After eight years of incompetence and arrogance interwoven with stupidity, we have only one hundred hours left until this fool can be packed onto SAM 28000 and flown back to Texas. (It'd be more fitting of he had to ride in the back of a clapped-out C-130, but traditions must be observed.)

100 hours.

Can You Fuckers In the Press At Least Get This Right?

USAir Flight 1549 did not "crash" into the Hudson River. It "ditched," which is the proper term for the controlled landing of a landplane on the water.

And please stop referring to the pilot as the "miracle pilot." It was not a motherfucking miracle. It was the result of a trained flight crew doing what it trains to do.

There is enough in the story without the fucking asinine hyperbole. You people are making yourselves look like idiots to anyone who has even a smidgen of knowledge of aviation.

If you cannot get this right, how the hell can I have any trust in your reporting of complex matter, such as the economy, foreign policy,or the Baboon King's Wars?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Yes, We're Gonna Be All Right.

Yeah, the worst is over, now.



(Another oldie of some relevance this week.)

Don't Let the Screen Door Hit You On Your Way Out



What, you thought I was going to blog about the "farewell, suckers" speech of the Tsar of the Baboons?

Hell, no. 111 hours and 30 minutes until he is consigned to the septic pit of history. I'll watch him say something if the day ever comes when he enters a plea at his war crimes trial. Until then, I don't want to hear another word out of that porozhnyak.

DBP: Stating the Obvious Since 2002


As you may know, a USAir flight apparently had both engines shelled by a flock of geese. The pilots ditched the airplane in the Hudson River; no serious injuries, nobody killed.

However, from the Department of Really Stupid Press Statements:
The crash of a U.S. Airways passenger jet into the Hudson River off New York City on Thursday was not terrorism related, U.S. security officials said.

"There is no information at this time to indicate that this is a security-related incident," said Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman Laura Keehner. "We continue to closely monitor the situation, which at present is focused on search and rescue."
That statement from the DBP merits a real "no shit, Sherlock" response. Unless al Qaeda has developed the capability to recruit geese and train them to fly into the engines of airliners, what sort of moron would even think to make that sort of statement? If it was in response to a question, what sort of brain-damaged imbecile would think to ask that question?

(I forgot. Sammie the plumber Wizzlebeak is now a war reporter).

Landing a jetliner on the water is a really rare event. The two pilots on that flight earned their pay for the year.

No Snark Needed

"I didn't grow up in the ocean—as a matter of fact—near the ocean—I grew up in the desert. Therefore, it was a pleasant contrast to see the ocean. And I particularly like it when I'm fishing."- George W. Bush, 9/26/08

Lots more here.

(H/T to Maru)

Oh, And Speaking of Chavez...

By way of Jill comes word of this crisis, going on in Alaska as Palin makes the talk-show rounds to whine tell everybody how mean Katie Couric and us nasty bloggers were to her:

A combination of extreme cold and high fuel prices has created a humanitarian crisis for the village of Emmonak, according to resident Nicholas Tucker.

In a letter sent out as a cry for help, Tucker describes economic conditions in which families are rationing food and warmth for themselves and their children in the Southwest Alaska village of 800.

The situation could easily worsen — extreme cold that arrived early this winter and stuck around means heating fuel must soon be flown in, which residents fear will push the price from $7.83 per gallon to $9 a gallon or more.

In the letter, Tucker, who calls himself a longtime advocate for the region, describes the desperate circumstances faced by several families. He learned about their situation after putting out a VHF radio announcement in the village asking families to describe how they were weathering the fuel crisis in rural Alaska.

Tucker requests a “massive airlift” of food and said money from churches, state agencies and other groups is needed to offset the high fuel prices. The 100 gallons of free heating fuel for every home in Alaska Native communities that has been promised by oil company Citgo will help. But it won’t be enough because it will last only one month, he said.

The connection to Chavez: Citgo is owned by the government of Venezuela. That's right, sports fans, it is Hugo Chavez who is trying to help people freezing in Alaska while Governor Blamey Whinehouse is yelling on the talk shows how evil the press was for pointing out that she was a barely-educated ignoramus (or shouldn't that be "ignorama"?).

One of the Benefits of Low Oil Prices

As I was scooping cat food out this morning to the complaints of a demanding chorus of kitties, it occurred to me that one of the benefits of low oil prices is that Hugo Chavez has pretty much shut the frak up.

So I was a little surprised to see this when I started reading around the Internets:
It is a telling sign of how deeply the global economic crisis has cut: President Hugo Chávez, who initially reveled in describing the crash as proof of capitalism's flaws, is now quietly courting Western oil companies once again.
However, he might not have a lot of luck:
"An agreement on a piece of paper means nothing in Venezuela because of the way Chávez abruptly changes the rules of the game," said a Venezuelan oil executive who has had dealings with oil companies from China, Russia and other countries.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The World Cries Out in Horror. And Does, As Usual, Nothing.

The group Physicians for Human Rights have a damning report (PDF format) of how the government of Robert Mugabe has deliberate starved a good part of the population of Zimbabwe. The denial of food, the withholding of medical care, the use of access to clean water as a political weapon, and the cover-up of a cholera epidemic all, in the view of the PHR, constitute crimes against humanity.

The death toll is in the tens of thousands, if not higher.

So where is the outrage of the world?

Where is the public anger, so on display throughout the blogosphere over Israel's attack on Gaza?

Mugabe has been carrying out an internal campaign of slaughtering his own people for many years now and nobody has done anything. Zimbabwe's neighbors have shut their eyes as Mugabe turned his nation from a comparatively well-off nation that not only fed its own population and exported food, into a national charnel house of disease and famine.

While the rest of the world, to the extent they even have noticed what has been going on, all they do is flap their gums and wring their hands and say "something must be done."

But that mythical "something is never done.

Which is pretty much all that ever happens, isn't it?

Only in this case, hardly anyone is even bothering to insist that something be done. It's as though it just doesn't matter. No oil under the ground. No good visuals of military action. Nothing to make a stirring YouTube clip. Just another brutal dictator slaughtering his own people.

Nobody cares, it seems.

The world yawns.

(H/T to C&L)