Tuesday, March 31, 2009
According to FDL, in the special election in NY-20 to fill the seat of Kirsten Gillibrand, the GOP candidate filed a motion to overturn the election results several hours before the polls closed.
Most politicians wait to see whether they have lost before they start whining about the result. But not Jim Tedisco.
For example, this is probably not the Community Church of the Level Three Sex Offender, but it does sound like an act that used to be performed in the peep shows before they disneyfied Tiems Square:
I don't know what medical procedure this is meant to invoke, but it sounds as though it could be very bloody and highly fatal.
It is worth noting that every abuse that the civil-rights folks have warned about, and which the Wingnuts protested "they'd never do such things," from massive wiretaps, intercepting Internet traffic to torture and murder, have all been shown to have, in fact, taken place.
Monday, March 30, 2009
It is called a Carrington Event, the cause is a massive solar storm. One occurred in 1859 and it disrupted the only operational electrical system of the day, the telegraph.
The problem is that if it takes years to bring the electrical grid back on-line, many of us won't live long enough to see it. Even the people with six months' worth of food in their pantries will run out before the trains and trucks start running. Gas stations use electrical pumps and the railroads are so based on electronic traffic control and centralized switching systems nowadays that they may be completely disabled for a very long time.
(TEOCAWKI= The End Of Civilization As We Know It)
Sunday, March 29, 2009
I was browsing through my stats-a-majigger and noticed that Salmon Alley, a new blog, had linked to me. Cool, I believe in reciprocity, so I went to the blogger control gizzie to open up the layout and add it. The initial buttons are "new post," "edit posts" (which I have to do a lot because I am a lousy poofredder), "layout" and "view blog."
Well, they've added a new one, called "monetize."
What the fuck? "Monetize?" If I click on it, will my printer start pumping out Benjamins? I don't do Federal criminal law, but I'm pretty sure that's illegal.
Joseph Cassano, the head of AIG's Financial Products Group. Not only did that greedy skell push AIG into insuring credit default swaps, he managed to keep AIG's risk managers from investigating what the FPG was doing.
Why this guy is not being indicted and put into a cell with Bernie Madoff is beyond my understanding.
Anyone who does not recognize that a lot of places use traffic tickets as a revenue generator has to either believe in the Easter Bunny or is seriously addled. There is one town in Ohio, Linndale, that has a few hundred feet of I-71 going through the town; they put a cruiser out there almost around the clock to hand out tickets. If you are going 0.0025mph over the speed limit, you get a ticket and the fines make up 80% of the income for the town's government.
That is just morally wrong and it breeds contempt for the law. That is right up there with the towns that have parking meters that are set to run fast in order to generate parking tickets (or money from people who overfeed the meters). Money from traffic fines should be prohibited from going to local governments.
You might remember the Summer of 2004, when the DBP was changing the color of the Stoplight of Death from yellow to orange and back again on a weekly basis. There were security sweeps and increased police patrols. Millions of dollars were spent on those clusterfucks. And it was all based on information given by a torture victim who was making shit up.
Sooner or later, the Administration of War Criminals will be called to account for their crimes. Maybe not all of them, but some of them will most certainly live to hear a cell door slam shut behind them.
I had to get up around 7:30 or so to feed the cats. Between Jake's plaintive cries and George's routine of lying next to my head and purr-bombing me, sleep was impossible. So I got up, fed them, got dressed, and drove to the mini-mart to buy the dead-tree edition of the NY Times.
I came home, made a cup of coffee, and sat on the couch to read the paper. Other than the compressor of the refridgerator occaisionally kicking in, the loudest sound was from Gracie, who was lying next to me and purring. The other sounds were from the rain, which was lightly falling, the ticking of a clock and the birds in the trees, which are about a hundred feet away.
It's a little noiser, now, as the dryer is running and I can hear faint strains of music coming from an adjacent apartment, but not by much. Occaisionally a car door slams and a car starts up, but on a day such as today, not a lot of people are finding a need to go places.
Just a quiet Sunday morning.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Spain’s national newspapers, El País and Público reported that the Spanish national security court has opened a criminal probe focusing on Bush Administration lawyers who pioneered the descent into torture at the prison in Guantánamo.
I wonder if we can start a fund-raiser to buy plane tickets to Madrid for the Bush torture lawyers. The story has a link to the 98-page criminal complaint, which may be fascinating reading if you're a lawyer who reads Spanish.
Aanyone who thinks that Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld and those folks are not also at risk would have to be smoking crack.
But the no-holds barred top morons of this story are New Jersey State Attorney General Anne Milgram, Passaic County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Susan Greco and the jackbooted goons in the Passaic County Sheriff's Department, who arrested and are seeking to charge the girl for child pornography, thereby branding her for life as a sex offender.
Nice way to teach a young girl a lesson, people: Threaten to completely destroy her life for the next sixty or seventy years. That'll learn her, but good.
I have a better idea: Drop the charges. Then make everyone involved; the girl, Greco, Milgram, the officious jerks at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (who called the cops) and the cops walk back and forth for four afternoons in front of the New Jersey Statehouse while wearing sandwich boards that say: "I am a Stupid Person." Passers-by will be encouraged to throw eggs at the adults.
I have written a number of posts on the subject of naval damage control over at one of my other blogs. With that in mind, when I read about the size of the crew on the Navy's new "littoral combat ship", I was a bit dismayed.
Let me explain why.
Fires at sea are fought from General Quarters, which is "all hands man your battle stations." The teams assigned to damage control are in the Repair Lockers, of which there are three on ships the size of frigates and more on large ships. The Repair Locker team has a minimum of six hose men on two hose teams who actually go in and fight the fire. Investigators check the surrounding spaces. There are one or two sailors with advanced first aid training. There are sailors to relieve the hose teams when their air tanks (SCBAs) or oxygen canisters (OBA) run out, for fire-fighting in a shipboard compartment is very hard and hot work. (Even in a fire simulator, walking with a hose into a steel compartment with a fire burning is like charging into Hell. A major fire in a ship is orders of magnitude worse.)
I've forgotten how many sailors it took to properly man a repair locker, but 25-30 may be a good estimate for one fully-manned repair locker. A warship the size of a LCS would have three repair lockers. The repair lockers' actions are coordinated by the Damage Control Assistant's team in Damage Control Central, which is another five or six people. if you have been doing the math, that is close to a hundred sailors.
Fires are among the worst threats a warship commonly faces. There will be a fire, maybe minor, maybe not, on every warship during her lifetime. It is a rare sailor who will go through his or her career without hearing the words "Fire! Fire! Fire in Compartment ..." broadcast over the 1MC (ship's PA system) at least once. Forty people on a LCS means that if there is a major fire on board, the word may be passed to "abandon ship", for there will not be enough people on board to fight a large fire.
The article said: "there are still questions about whether the smaller crew, and all the "smartship" tech can really handle the kind of damage control emergencies that crop up on military ships." I don't think there is any question about it. Hoping that a fire won't break out or, that when one does, that it is small enough to be contained by miniscule damage control party, is not a plan. It is wishful thinking that, in my opinion, may well result in the loss of a ship.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Friday that liberal groups targeting moderate Democrats with ads should back off, saying pressure from the left wing of his party won't be helpful to enacting legislation.I don't give a shit what Harry Reid thinks is helpful or not. Reid's primary duties in the Senate as majority leader seem to be (i) caving to every bit of opposition by the party of Hoover and (ii) justifying why he keeps folding like a cardboard house.
"I think it's very unwise and not helpful," Reid said Friday morning. "These groups should leave them alone. It’s not helpful to me. It’s not helpful to the Democratic Caucus.”
From I Can Haz Cheezeburgers.
Rocky seems to be part Maine Coon. He is very much a one-person cat, and even then, he seems to barely tolerate his owner.
Gracie. She is skittish around new people, but her curiosity wins out and in a little bit, she is gathering all the attention she can.
Friday, March 27, 2009
This just bullshit. One of the guiding principles of the American legal system, in both civil and criminal systems, is that everybody gets to hire the best lawyers they can. If you prosecute someone, they get to defend themselves vigorously; the party bringing the action has to prove their case, regardless of how venal the defendant is alleged to be.
The New York Times is propagating the same old bullshit of "those people are evil and some must be their lawyers." This is an attack, not only on Senator Gillibrand, but on the entire legal system. The New York Times is basically advocating mob justice; there is no real difference between that article and a lynch mob's attitude of "we don't need no trial, we know he done it."
So here is my hope: If the two reporters who wrote that putrid piece, Raymond Hernandez and David Kocieniewski or if their editors are ever arrested or sued, I hope that no lawyer takes their call.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
I, for one, would be willing to see an amendment to the Geneva Conventions that would make the employment of such robots a war crime, punishable by death. The idea that "oh, we can program these things to obey the laws of war" is laughable.
If we are so stupid as a species that we are going to start making terminator robots, then we will richly deserve the consequences.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Sean Penn as Larry? Penn looks as much like Larry Fine as Leo, the MGM lion, looks like Elizabeth Hasslebeck.
Here are photos of the two men. See if you can tell them apart:
If you're having trouble telling them apart, ask your Seeing-Eye dog for help.
As the operations manager of a homeless outreach center [in Freso, CA], Paul Stack is used to seeing people down on their luck. What he had never seen before was people living in tents and lean-tos on the railroad lot across from the center.Let us all hope that things aren't going to get much worse than they already are. But that may be a forlorn hope, as employment almost always lags any recovery in economic indicators.
"They just popped up about 18 months ago," Mr. Stack said. "One day it was empty. The next day, there were people living there."
Prague's Franz Kafka International Named World's Most Alienating Airport
Cry me a river.
AIG, among with many other companies, engaged in betting humongous sums of money that the worthless mortgage-backed securities would never fail. AIG insured not just junk securities, but rotting, putrid securities on a belief that the housing market would continue to grow. AIG, by insuring those valueless heaps of decomposing offal, was at the core of the meltdown of the financial credit markets.
All that is beyond dispute. So there were hard-working and honorable people at AIG, and that most folks at AIG were the salt of the Earth? OK. But there were enough skells there to bring down the economy of the planet. Of course everyone at AIG is going to be tarred with that. That is a fact of life.
DeSantis should have his Tough-Shit Card stamped and he should be loaned the key to the Weep Locker. If he is so incensed, if he is so certain that he is entitled to all of his bonus payments, then he ought to at least be man enough to say "frell all y'all, I earned it, I'm keeping it."
But no, he's not that gutsy.
Cry me a river.
There are more photos in the WaPo's story.
A federal judge has ordered the FDA to lift the age restrictions on the Plan B birth control pill.
The Bush Administration gave a green light for employers to screw over workers at the bottom of the economic ladder. It was a naked plan to exploit the working poor to enrich the employers. There was no ineptness involved here, it was a willful policy not to enforce the laws on the books.
Which ties into this post.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Not now. The ending left a bad taste in my mouth, for reasons I described here. It was almost as sour as the ending of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, where Capt. Sisco flies into the wormhole and tells the entities who live there "you hold yourselves out as gods to the Bajorans, well, step up to the plate and act like gods"; they do and they wipe out the 2,500 ships invading through the wormhole.
Are the writers that lazy? Do they have to keep writing themselves into a hole where they have to resort to having an omnipotent Sky-Fucker step in and save the day?
A friend of mine noted that Star Trek: The Next Generation kept going to plots that hinged on the actions of a godlike creature, Q, and that the end of the Shadow War in Babylon 5 depended in no small measure on The First Sentient Being What Ever Lived stepping in to rally the ancient civilizations. Why is it that science-fiction shows keep feeling a need to have a supernatural entity ride to the rescue?
I contrast that with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a fantasy show that was steeped in the mystic and supernatural. The conclusion for the show did not depend on a god stepping in (in fact, Buffy defeated a god at the end of the fifth season). Neither, for that matter, did its spin-off series, Angel, depend on a deity rescuing them at the end- the show ended with hordes of demons attacking the good guys and the sense of it was that the good guys were all going to be killed.
So why is it that two of the most memorable fantasy shows of the last decade didn't have to go to the Flying Spaghetti Monster Saves the Day, yet most of the so-called hard science fiction shows had to resort to that crutch?
I think I'll pass when Caprica starts to air on the Sci-Fi channel. I'm tired of being disappointed.
The Obama administration plans to ask Congress for the authority to take over financial institutions in distress, expanding its existing powers to include insurance companies and other less-regulated market players, officials said on Tuesday.All that shit is fine, but it won't matter worth a damn if the regulators are asleep at the switch. The regulators under the Bush Administration turned a blind eye to everything. The SEC refused to investigate reports of securities fraud. The FDA didn't inspect food plants. (You think it's a coincidence that the last the the FDA inspected that peanut processing plant was in 2001?) The FAA was "partnering" with airlines instead of "inspecting" them. The Comptroller of the Currency did everything it could to reduce oversight of banks. The Federal Reserve was doing nothing at all. The Department of Defense fired auditors who were making life uncomfortable for contractors.
And the list goes on and on.
Congress can pass all of the laws and provide for all the regulation it chooses, but if we get another administration of thugs and scofflaws like the last Bush Administration, we will be right back where we find ourselves today.
One of the time-honored tactics for coping with an insurgency is to take the opponents into the government, to give them a piece of the action. It is just like a farm subsidy program, except you're paying people not to plant land mines instead of crops.
I saw this work when I was in grammar school. The school announced that they would form a "safety patrol" of sixth-graders; they took the top three students from each class and gave them white cotton Sam Browne belts. The teachers took those kids to the office, leaving the classrooms unattended. Near revolts erupted. The other kids in the classrooms began yelling back and forth and some of them were loudly talking about ambushing the members of the safety patrol and beating them up.
What none of us realized, at the time, was that those PA speakers in the classrooms worked both ways, they could listen in on the classrooms. Which they apparently were doing. The teachers were listening to the uproar and identifying who the kids were who were most active in plotting to beat up the safety patrol.
The administration had a plan, of course. The teachers reappeared in the classrooms and took the plotters to the office, where all of the plotters were also given the white belts of the safety patrol. None of the kids, of course, were sophisticated enough to realize what had just happened and they all were thrilled to now be cops. They kept order.
That lesson works for insurgencies as well. The Iraqi government would do well to keep those Sunni former insurgents on the payroll.
Monday, March 23, 2009
Maybe they ought to also try digging up the backyards in his various homes.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Jake has a new place to lie. I was using that comforter to stay warm when I had the chills as my recent illness manifested itself last weekend. Jake has now made it into his nest. He finished up his course of antibiotics yesterday. He's happier now that I'm not giving him pills twice a day.
Gracie the chiaroscuro cat:
Friday, March 20, 2009
There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.Har!
I have limited energy and I need to reserve it for activities that put food in the cats' bowls.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
He is such a pleasure to give meds to; just open his mouth a tad, pop the pill in and it's done. Gracie's the same. George, on the other hand, well, that's like getting into a bar brawl with a pint-sized wolverine.
Cry me a river.
There was a time when there were over fifty tax brackets, there are six now. Apparently the top tax bracket during World War II kicked in at $200,000, which is equivalent to over $2 million now. Why don't we bring back more brackets and ramp them up into the "slam the frakking hedge fund vultures" range?
Heck, if we set the top tax bracket to 95% for those making over $30 million, maybe el Rushbo will go back to his old job of swinging a sledgehammer in a slaughterhouse.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
I am starting to feel better. My fever is way down, less than a degree above my normal. Today is the first day in awhile where I actually have an appetite. I'm going to have "white people comfort food," steak and potatoes.
Yesterday was not a good time.
Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki confirmed Tuesday that the Obama administration is considering a controversial plan to make veterans pay for treatment of service-related injuries with private insurance.
This is such an incredibly bad idea. Those men and women got injured serving our country. We owe them, plain and simple. As a nation, we have to do what we can to give as much of a hale-and-hearty life back to them.
Besides that, I can think of no better detriment to recruiting than to say "and if you get hurt on duty, you're on your own."
Whoever dreamed up this idea needs to either find a job with the RNC or take up clubbing baby seals.
(H/T to CrankyProf)
As the Department of Defense comes about.
Good luck with that. Think of the most difficult creature to kill in fiction, and I'm not referring to run-of-the-mill critters like vampires or zombies. Something that is implacable and utterly unstoppable. Now try to kill that several times over.
That is what killing a major defense procurement program is like. The armed services are, at times, both complicit and victims of this. When they can, the contractors site the final assembly plants in the districts of powerful congressmen. The armed services, when it suits them, are all too happy to show how many states and congressional districts benefit from any given program. If one of the seinor senators had a plant in their state that made muskets, the Army would still be buying them.
I don't think Gates will succeed, but I wish him luck.(H/T to Abu Muqawama)
Monday, March 16, 2009
Sunday, March 15, 2009
I watched it on NASA TV (online), it sounded as though they went up with one APU offline. The flack doing the PR voiceover said that they had three good APUs and 3 good fuel cells.
What the hell do I know.
Question is, now: What are we going to do about it?
Joe Galloway wrote:
Or what passes for thoughts.
I was out of yogurt, chicken broth and some other essentials, so I went to the grocery store. I did my shopping, slowly, and when it was my turn, some other checker came by, and gave the one on the checkout lane her keys. The check-out clerk started into this long dissertation of where she thought she had left her keys and where she had looked.
I felt like shit.
I was about thirty seconds away from yelling: "I've got a cold or the flu, lady. I am leaning heavily on this buggy, not because I am lazy, but because I have very little energy. So unless you want to see me pass out, barf all over your fraking work station or both, I suggest that you shut the frak up about your goddamn keys and check out my fraking groceries, you stupid cow!"
But I didn't. I kept my cool.
Anyway, if you want to stoke your outrage, go read this story about how AIG, despite taking nearly $200 billion in our money to stay afloat (with no assurance that they won't need another hundred billion or three), is handing out big bonuses to its people.
I've worked for companies that did well and ones that did not, and ones that did both. If they were doing well, they handed out bonuses. If they didn't, they didn't hand anything out. There was an old Army armor commercial along this line that said: "If the tank wins, you win."
This tank lost. The bonuses for their top executives should be limited to a choice of whether, on their last day, they want a freshly-boiled rope or five rounds of .308 hollowpoints.
But if you want a story about overcomng adversity, then read this one.
Or go watch this slideshow on the Concorde.
I'm done for now. So please, visit the other blogs on the blogrolls and don't forget to tip the waitresses and bartenders.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
My response is on several levels, but basically boils down to this: "Shut the fuck up, you stupid morons."
Unless the Mayan gods were real, there is no way that the Mayans could know anything about the galaxy beyond what could be seen with the naked eye. They probably were excellent astronomers and observers, but they had no telescopes or any other known method of enhancing what can be seen with a Mk1 eyeball. So do not give me any crap about they knew that the center of our galaxy has a black hole and the 2012 Winter Solstice is some magical date.
You might recall all of the "end of times" predictions that were set for 2000 and the closest we came to that was the hijacked presidential election later that year.
Second, suppose, for the sake of argument, that there is something to all of this "end of the long calendar" shit and there is a planetary shaking that results in either the fall of civilization or another mass extinction event. What, practically, can you do about that, especially the "mass extinction" part?
My belief is that, unless someone has some firm proof to the contrary, and that does not include a bunch of mystical horseshit, then the resetting of the Mayan calendar has no more significance than the resetting of our annual calendar.
And I think it is time that I remove the History Channel from my TV's channel list, for they have clearly gone right over the fraking edge of rationality.
I am featuring Jake today, since he is lying on a comfy chair in my bedroom while he recovers from having his remaining teeth pulled. He is eating, drinking and using the litter box.
This morning, after the cats had breakfast (and I had gone back to bed), he jumped on my bed, crawled under the covers and began kneading my stomach. I petted him and he was purring away, the first time he has purred since I brought him back from the vet's. So it would appear that he is getting better.
He's very good at taking pills; I just shoot them into the back of his mouth with a pill-popper and he gulps them down. He is on antibiotics for a week and he gets liquid pain meds. I remember the days when they didn't give pain meds to animals (hell, they didn't give them to preemies).
I took the next two photos the morning that I took him in for his dental work. I just had a very bad feeling about it that fortunately, turned out to be unfounded.
Here is one for the foamers. It is probably an example of one of the ugliest locomotives in use these days. There is no style to it, it looks like a wedge.
As I said back when I started this blog, diesels are boring.
(H/T to the Dependable Renegade)
I'm running late on Caturday. It'll be up sometime today. (I'm neither on a time clock nor am I getting paid for this gig.)
Friday, March 13, 2009
This is just as evil as the states who set up arrangements with telephone companies to charge unconscionable fees for collect calls from prisons. In both cases, it is profiting from those who are down on their luck.
Those black-hearted thieves who dreamed up both ways to fuck over the unfortunates in our society should have their souls blasted.
The Feds went after Stewart hammer and tong. I am not arguing that they shouldn't have.
What I am angry about, however, is that the Feds locked up Stewart, but I have not seen the legions of bankers and stock manipulators going off to prison over the financial melt-down that has cost the American people trillions of dollars. If you have an IRA or a 401K that is in anything other than cash, you have lost money, and it is not too hard for you to have lost far more than the amount that Stewart avoided losing.
So I want to know this: Where are the investigations of the people who dreamed up this shady shit of mortgage-based securities and credit default swaps? Where are the trials of the bankers who willfully originated the "liar loans?" Where are the imprisoned mortgage brokers who rigged the loan paperwork, the appraisers who inflated property values, the lawyers who knowingly failed to advise their clients of the risks involved? There should be so many people in prison over this that the Bureau of Prisons should have to take over old Army bases to hold them all.
And as for the corrupt legislators who changed the laws so all this could happen and the Federal regulators who were willfully asleep at the switch while this was going on? We should rent Devil's Island from the French and send them there.
None of this was rocket science at the time. Some of it was foreseeable, especially the risks of the adjustable rate mortgages. A lot of people participated in this massive fraud, from brokers to the bankers to the hedge-fund guys; they turned their heads, grabbed all the cash they could with both hands, and left us, the American people, hell, the working people of the entire planet, holding the bag.
Stewart went to prison for four months over $42,000, the financial equivalent of spitting on the sidewalk. The fuckers behind the mortgage meltdown should be thrown into cells until Hell freezes over.
Which leads to the inevitable question of what will happen to the ship. I cannot imagine them stripping the Galactica down to an ignominious hulk and abandoning her.
I have two ideas how this is going to end. Either way, the Colonials are going to get intel on where the new Cylon main base is. Then the Galactica will either go all "wild bunch" on them or the Galactica will come in as a diversion, allowing the Colonials and their rebel Cylon allies to break the back of Cavil's Cylons.
Two episodes left to wrap this story up.
So if the FCC ran the courts, you could commit any crime you felt like and, when you pled "not guilty" at the arraignment, the judge would dismiss the charges and let you go scot free.
Such a deal. I hope the Administration adds this outrage to its list of "things to fix that Bush fucked up."
In the middle of the night, he crawled under the covers and curled up next to me. Now he's lying on the back of the couch (next to my head). He's not happy, though. He's getting pain meds each evening and antibiotics twice a day.
The dental work was necessary, though. He was showing signs of discomfort when I touched his jaw. The gumline of his teeth looked nasty. He's had three sets of extractions before yesterday. It was necessary, but I can't begin to tell you how lousy I felt on Wednesday night when I dropped him off at the vet's.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Every time that he says something that offends one of the Hindenbergs of the Wingnut branch of the party of Hoover, Tinfoil folds and restates his positions to appease that particular gasbag. His very public grovelling and kissing of the ass of Ye Olde Fatte Druggie Rushbo is well known.
Now it's abortion where Tinfoil went from pro-choice to anti-choice in a femtosecond.
You are not winning any friends by spamming blogs to promote your pet cause. None at all. In fact, you are making enemies. If you come by again and ask me what I'm going to do to support "Planet Millisecond" (my paraphrase of your cause), I will tell you that I will pledge to collect a large truckload of old car tires, dump them on your front lawn, pour dioxin and gasoline over them and set them on fire.
In order to deal with your spam, I have re-enabled word verification. I will go to full moderation if I have to.
So fuck you, your supporters, and the horses you rode in on.
It may be true, I wouldn't put anything past those bastards. On the other hand, I have lost track of the number of times that Hersh reported on the "imminent bombing of Iran."
Hersh is making an extraordinary claim. As the old axiom goes, he now needs to furnish the level of proof required. For without proof, proof which is confirmed by other reporters, Hersh's claims are nothing but crazy talk.
But you'd be wrong to think that.
A. Play nice. This is my place, you do not get to shit on my floor. You are free to disagree with me and with each other, but please do it nicely. Do not use words that you would not use face-to-face. Please give each other the courtesy and respect due to a person who is armed. If you need to respond snarkily or nastily, then say "my response is here", throw in a link to your blog and post it there (but be a stand-up person and let readers comment).
B. I took off comment moderation because I want people to be able to comment freely. I put moderation back on for older posts, again because of the spammers. It will go on for all posts if I have to do so.
C. Included in "playing nice" is not dropping comments that are off-topic and only serve to promote your pet cause or, worse, a commercial product. This is my soapbox, not yours. You do not make any friends or persuade people when you spam a blog or use another person's blog to promote your hot-button cause. Trust me on this one. If you have a cause to promote or a product to sell, set up your own blog. If you do not know how to do that, send me nine grand (in non-consecutively numbered bills) and I'll set one up for you.
D. Hijacking a comment thread by posting long screeds about anything will be handled without mercy. If you have a very long comment, then write about it in your own blog and then post a link to that post in the relevant comment thread.
E. If you have something good to say about somebody, don't keep it to yourself. (This isn't just a blog rule, it should be a general rule of life.)
F. I have a "delete" key. I am not averse to using it.
G. If it seems to me that a comment thread is becoming circular (the same arguments keep being made), I reserve the right to shut off further comments.
H. Holocaust denial is off-limits. (I see no need to explain this one to you.)
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
See for yourself:
I gather that Cramer is going on the Daily Show tonight, so it looks as though this will continue. One would think that there would be no shortage of Republicans to make fun of, but I guess the producers and writers want to see if they can do to the financial networks what Stewart did to "Crossfire."
The inventors who dreamed them up, the investors who funded their development and the engineers who made them work should all be tossed into a prison two levels below the Black Hole of Calcutta. Their bodies should be turned into liquid fertilizer and spread over distant fields. The records of their existence on this Earth should be expunged so that nobody will ever know who they were.
Damn their evil souls.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
"A little over a year ago." As in "55 weeks ago."
The piece of shit brickified itself tonight. I can press the resent button and the power reset (hold the power switch in for ten seconds). It comes back to a normal power-off configuration by displaying the time. When I try to turn it on, it shows a "HELLO" display and never moves from that.
I am mindful of a friend who sent me an e-mail several hours ago that said: "There is no technological problem that cannot be solved with a suitable application of explosives."
I still have my old monaural VCR somewhere, it's just that I have a smallish cabinet for the TV and VCR; swapping units out means taking the dozen or so screws out of the back of the cabinet so I can access the wiring. Pain in the ass. I can pull the unit out the front and unplug the power line from the unit (and maybe a night without juice will improve its mood), but I can't get the old unit plugged in without yanking the back off, not unless I want to have extension cords running around and looking like shit.
Plus George thought it would be fun tonight if he barfed up his dinner.
(I picked one sweet time to run out of liquor.)
There aren't too many times that Bobo gets to look back and say "I toljaso," but this could be one of them. The lemmings in the party of Hoover are following Ye Olde Fattie One right off the edge of the cliff; the cries and warnings of conservative pundits like Bobo and Whatzerface in the Washington Post are just wasted column-inches.
America's five largest banks, which already have received $145 billion in taxpayer bailout dollars, still face potentially catastrophic losses from exotic investments if economic conditions substantially worsen, their latest financial reports show.I ought to stop reading shit like this, for there is really not a damned thing I can do about it. It's just depressing as all hell.
Citibank, Bank of America, HSBC Bank USA, Wells Fargo Bank and J.P. Morgan Chase reported that their "current" net loss risks from derivatives — insurance-like bets tied to a loan or other underlying asset — surged to $587 billion as of Dec. 31.
Which gets me back to this point: If these banks are "too big to fail," are they also too big to be allowed to exist?
But then, of course, he smacks CNBC some more.
With an additional smack for the Moment of Zen:
Monday, March 9, 2009
I think that is just bullshit. I have no current expertise in costing out ship repairs, if I ever did, but my sense of it is that $40 million is very low. My gut feeling is that if they are quoting $40 million in "damage," that figure only is the projected cost of all of things that will need to be replaced. It probably does not include the cost of drydocking the ship for months on end or the costs of labor.
The true cost of repairing the Port Royal will be spread out over a shitload of budgetary line items and categories and years and nobody, outside of a small handful of officers and engineers in NavSea, will really ever know how much the repairs will cost.
But if there are not three digits before the word "million," I'll be very much surprised.
I have been beating this particular drum for many months and I will continue to do so: The GOP only cares about itself. They are Republicans before they are Americans. The whole "Country First" slogan from the McCain campaign last year was one motherfucking huge-ass lie. If Democrats had acted this way, the Hindenbergs on the Right would have been calling for shipping the Democratic congressional leadership to Guantanamo Bay.
The GOP wants to economically wreck this country. Either that, or they are terminally batshit insane. In the middle of the worst economic downturn since the dawn of World War II, Rep. John Boehner (R-Nutbarn) called for a freeze on government spending. Who the fuck does he think is going to get the economy rolling, the über-rich? Ask yourself this: Why are the people in the GOP so enamored of following the economic policies of Herbert Hoover? Have they not realized that those policies did not work so well? Or are they so blinded by reality that they really think that naming the shantytowns of the Depression "Hoovervilles" was a term of affection?
There is zero sign that private enterprise is able to do anything of the scale needed to get our economy moving upward; the only player out there who can is the Federal government.
Ignoring that fact is a clear sign that the person so advocating a government abrogation of any role in saving our economy is either a crazy-ass coot or is an active saboteur of this nation. The party of Hoover, therefore, is comprised of either lunatics or traitors.
I see no third choice. At least, not one that doesn't involve shooting up heroin (or snorting Oxycotin).
What I have to laugh at, though, is the idiots who are saying "well, if the taxes go from 35% to 39%, I'll just make less than 250,000 and fuck them."
Fortunately, most people who make over $250,000 are either smart enough (or have accountants who are smart enough) to realize that is all bullshit.
Let's say, for the sake of discussion, that all income over $250,00, regardless of filing status, is now taxed at 35% and will be taxed at 39%. That is income over that amount; income less than that amount is not taxed as highly. If you make $500,000 a year, that entire $500,000 is not now taxed at 35%.
Here is how it works, and again, for the sake of discussion, I'm simplifying greatly (and I am ignoring all deductions and differences in filing status. Suffer.)
From the first dollar you take to the first $10,000, you pay 10%.
From $10,000 to $30,000, you pay 15%. Note that if you make $30,000 that year, you pay 15% on only $20,000 of that income.
And so it proceeds up the scale.
So if you make $500,000 a year, your taxes on the income over $250,000 are 35% of that, or $87,500. If that goes up to 39%, that would rise to $97,500.
Now let's assume that you follow the bilge of "hey, I'll cut my income to avoid paying 39% in taxes" and that you are making $500,00 a year. You give up $250,000 of income in order to not to pay $10,000 more in taxes; that means that you give up $152,500 in after tax income. You are throwing away $152,500 in cash from your pocket just so you can have the satisfaction of not paying income taxes on the $250,000.
This is where your family and your accountant smack you upside the head and let you know, in no uncertain terms, just how goddamned stupid you are.
And then, if you're stubborn enough to say "I don't give a fuck," then please be so kind as to send us a weather report from Planet Utopia, and please enjoy your stay on whatever locked ward you reside in.
Then we can get into the various people who make far less than $250,000 a year, the ones most at risk for losing their homes, savings and jobs if this recession drags on for many years, and who are so outraged by the proposal to raise taxes on the richest Americans. You may wonder why they are shedding such tears, but that's a topic for another day.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Never mind the inferior body armor or lack of Army EW capability or the persistent allegations that the M-4 is a piece of shit, our Congress is busy porking up the DoD budget with F-22s and DDG-1000s and C-17s, because at the end of the day, it is never about buying what the military actually needs.
It never has been.
ABC has canceled Life on Mars.
I thought the show was a little too quirky for network TV. It probably would have done OK on basic cable. ABC will probably replace it with another one of those fucktard "reality" shows.
At least they are going to wrap up the storyline.
In an effort to find an alternative to higher gas taxes, Congress is considering taxing motorists by how far they drive.Not only no, but hell, no!
I have no intention, ever, of letting anyone put a GPS tracking device on my car. I can think of nobody in any government anywhere who has any legitimate reason to know where I am driving at at what time. They have no need to know what shopping center I may go to at what time. They don't need to know when I go to a rifle range, to an airport, or to Ye Olde Salte Mine.
If we have learned anything from the abortive military dictatorship which was undertaken by the Tsar of the Baboons, it should be that (a) any information that can possibly be collected by the Federal government will be collected and (b) any restrictions that Congress or the courts on what can be done with that information will be circumvented or just flagrantly disregarded. The Federal government (or any state or local government, for that matter) simply cannot be trusted to follow privacy rules.
So hell, no. Scrap this idea and tell them to come up with something else.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
A former top NASA official has been indicted on charges of steering $9.6 million in agency funds to a consulting client.Bush's legacy is going to live in the indictments handed down by grand juries, the convictions (or plea deals) and the legions of Bush appointees doing prison time. There will be no shortage of former Bush officials begging the next GOP president for pardons.
The U.S. attorney's office announced a three-count indictment on Friday against Courtney Stadd of Bethesda, Md., who had served as NASA's chief of staff and White House liaison.
If they can live long enough.
Friday, March 6, 2009
George, shown here,
didn't care for one of my guests. Each morning, he laid a fresh turd on the bathroom rug in the guest's bathroom.
That guest is visiting this weekend, so we shall see.
It could have been because George liked to drink from that toilet and he objected to someone crapping in what he took to be his private water dish.
In the write-in vote, "Colbert" is leading because Stephen Colbert is trying to get it named after him.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
For they will fuck you right on the air.
The rogering continued during the interview with Joe Nocera of the NY Times.
In the middle segment, he went after the morons at Fox News who have forgotten that the economy started cratering in 2007.
It was one of the best shows in recent memory.