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

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

News Flash: Chimpy Broke the Law!

Bush's warrantless wiretapping program has been ruled to be illegal.

Unfortunately, the judge limited liability to the Feds alone, not to any of the suits who thought that the Constitution could be waived because Bush and/or Cheney found the rule of law to be inconvenient.

How to Get a Face-Full of .45

Sarah Palin apparently wants to see if she can get some of the Teabaggers shot:
"That bumper sticker that maybe you'll see on the next Subaru driving by -- an Obama bumper sticker -- you should stop the driver and say, 'So how is that hopey, changey thing working out for ya?'" Palin said
Try to run someone off the road to stop then, yeah, that'll end well. The Teabaggers will be lucky if all they get is a night in jail. They might get shot.

Unclear on the Concept; Passover Edition

Carly Fiorina, ex-HP weasel and current candidate running for nomination as the party of Hoover candidate for US Senate from California, sent out a "happy Passover" e-mail with this bit of treyf:
This week, as we break bread and spend time with our families and friends,
She might as well talked about sharing a nice mean of ham and shellfish. I take it that Fiorina is rather short of any Jewish friends who could have clued her in about matzoh and stuff like that there.

Small wonder that she found a home in the party of Hoover.

Light Time

I'm taking some time off to help friends with flooding issues.

Anyone in midtown Manhattan is more than welcome to pick up a logging chain and beat the shit out of the putzim at ABC News for hyping the shit out of this non-story on Good Morning America.

Why is it that every time I see or read a story about Sandra Bullock's hubby, that I wonder when the little shit is going to be shot in the back of the head by Robert Ford?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Over the Rainbow Bridge

Sweetie. April, 1997- March, 2010


Sweetie was an outdoor cat. She was Gracie's littermate.


As an outdoor/feral cat, she was one of the two survivors of a larger colony that had been wiped out by coyotes in 1998. She was trapped later that year and spayed. But she never adjusted to being an indoor cat and, several months later, she rocketed out a cracked door into the yard and freedom. But she loved Teddy, an indoor cat, and she would wait for him to come to the door and shmooze with him.


She would let my friend pet her and, a few years ago, Sweetie began to let me pet her. Other than being adamant about being outdoors, she had a very nice disposition and lived up to her name. Unless there was a bad storm, she would show up for breakfast and supper. She would sun herself by lying in the flowerbed next to a basement window. Besides the stack of chairs that she loved to lie on, there was a small doghouse which was outfitted with a cat bed for her.


She was ancient for an outdoor cat. She was finding it harder and harder to get around. The last few weeks, she was looking pretty shaky. The winter probably took all she had from her. The last time we saw her was ten days ago; I fed her supper and scratched her head. We haven't seen her since and, after five days, it was pretty clear to us that Sweetie was gone forever.

This last weekend, we took her chairs and the dog house to Goodwill (after washing them) as it was painful to see them and maybe someone else can use them.


Farewell, Sweetie. I hope you're someplace where you can run and play with your friends. See you at the Rainbow Bridge.

Hell, No, You Can't!



Torture. It's Just Not For Giitmo Anymore

The Ninth Circuit has effectively legalized the use of torture by the police.

The Taser was marketed to the cops as an alternative to lethal force. That is what it should be regarded as; if the law does not support shooting someone, it should not be legal to use a Taser. That may be a strict view, but in light of the fact that the cops are using Tasers for situations where, in the past, they could not have even justified using a nightstick, the use of Tasers ought to be virtually banned.

When "Work" Is a Synonym For "Not Giving a Fuck"

That's what ICE does, for their idea of "working to provide sound, timely and appropriate medical care" to immigration detainees is to blatantly ignore any needs that those detainees may have for medical care.

This is a story that keeps cropping up over and over and over again. ICE does not give a shit for, in their eyes, immigration detainees are merely two-legged vermin. And by "immigration detainees", I mean anyone who is arrested and handed over to ICE, for they have been known to deport American citizens to whatever nation ICE thinks that their grandparents may have came from. Even when ICE releases people, what they do is just dump them alongside the side of the road in either the boonies or in dangerous neighborhoods. "Inhuman" is too tame a term for the way ICE operates.

ICE is going to be able to continue on with their abusive methods for no politician can be seen to give a shit, lest he or she incur the wrath of the modern know-nothings such as Lou Dobbs or Glenn Beck.

How Republicans Can Win In November

Stephen Colbert has an idea:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word - Napoleon Blown Apart
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorHealth Care Reform

Worth a try!

You Would Think That George W. Bush Would Have Retired to China

After all, China is the most avid practitioner of the death penalty and, as everyone knows, Dubya simply got off on the idea of ordering people to die.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Michael Steele and the Strippers

No, that's not the name of a rock band. Michael Steele, the chairman of the Party of Hoover, spent $1,946.25 at Voyeur West Hollywood, a Los Angeles bondage-themed nightclub featuring topless women dancers imitating lesbian sex.

You just have to love those Republicans when they put their blather about "family values" into practice.

Steele apparently has no qualms about spending Party of Hoover funds on financing a really luxurious lifestyle for himself. But absent something worthy of a Federal indictment, the GOP isn't going to fire him. He knows it and they know it.

UPDATE: The RNC issued a statement that basically said "Steele wasn't there, see, you can't prove he was there, see, so there, nyah!" They'll probably find some sacrificial staffie to fire.

FBI Raids Christianist Militia(s)

It'll be interesting to see how this plays out.

UPDATE: TPM has the indictment. We'll see if the press will throw around the terms "domestic terrorism" and "terrorist" in the same way that they would have done if the folks indicted were of a different faith. I'm not betting that they will. They don't here. Or here. Or here. Or here. Even the Canadian press won't use the T-word.

I guess one has to be a Muslim in order to be a terrorist (or to be confined incommunicado for three years in the Charleston Naval Weapons Station Brig and/or waterboarded).

Moscow Bombing

Two female suicide bombers hit the Moscow metro this morning. One of the women attacked the commuters at the Lubyanka station. There was probably a message in that one, as the Soviet/Russian security services have their headquarters at Lubyanka.

There was near panic throughout the rest of the Moscow metro system.

Immediate suspicion is that the bombers were from Chechnya or Ingushetia.

More here and here.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

"Gentlemen, You Can't Think In Here, This Is a Think Tank!"

That's probably about all I should say with regard to David Frum's being fired from a wingnut think tank.

I loved the AEI line: "We value a diversity of opinion."

Except when it differs from the party orthodoxy, it would seem.

Closing the Barn Door

Murdoch is going to charge for Internet access to the London Times.

Until every newspaper with a web site starts to do the same, I don't see how that will do much more than ensure that the Times of London is less influential aroun the globe. The choice to put news for free on the Internet was made back in the FTP days; the GUI of the web only made it easier.

Thug; Ventilated

50 rounds of .45 ACP ball at about seven yards:

I used the magnets to tack it to the refrigerator door to try and get some contrast with the target itself. Most of the shots were from practicing a Mozambique drill: Two shots as quickly as possible into the torso, followed by an aimed shot to the face. My second shots seem to hit lower and one would have given him a 230gr liposuction. A couple of the first shots would have smashed his gun hand and likely ended things that way.

One of the headshots was a clean miss (might have grazed him), the others would have put him down.

Thug is taking an old-style stance of looking over the sights, not really using them, and using his off-hand to protect his heart.

The cartridges were some Sellier & Bellot stuff that was in my ammo box. It had to be close to ten years old; I'm trying to make an effort to shoot out the older stuff that I have on hand, now that the Great Ammo Shortage seems to be easing.

Do They Make a Car Called the "Sloth"?

If you're going to park your car right in front of the supermarket...


.....driving a Honda Fit would seem to peg the irony meter.

Protecting the Interests of the Banksters

Yes, there is an entire Federal agency whose job is to protect the banksters. Whether it is by stopping states from enforcing usury laws or predatory lending laws or laws that stop the banksters from inserting onerous provisions in mortgages, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has the bankster's back.

I do not understand why we need to spend taxpayer's dollars to protect the interests of the banksters.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Knocking Them Together

President Obama is making some recess appointments.

In a tiredly predicable reaction, the Republicans are professing to be just outraged. They seem to be hoping that people will forget that the Hooverites were not so outraged when Chimpy made nearly 200 recess appointments during his soon-to-be-forgotten-by-history presidency.

Classic Maher



"The Democrats need to push the rest of their agenda while their boot is on the neck of the greedy poisonous old reptile. .... We need to put terrorists and other human rights violators on trial in civilian courts, starting with Dick Cheney."

Caturday Repaired

"Hey, moron, put down the camera and fix the food bowl!"


George is playing with a Q-Tip:


Gracie asks: "George, you're playing with a Q-Tip? Are you retarded or something?"


(I posted an earlier version of this on a time-delay. It seems to have vanished from the queue.)

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Banksters

From Bloomberg News:
JPMorgan Chase & Co., Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and UBS AG were among more than a dozen Wall Street firms involved in a conspiracy to pay below-market interest rates to U.S. state and local governments on investments, according to documents filed in a U.S. Justice Department criminal antitrust case.
Banksters conspiring to commit fraud against their clients.

Gee, who'd a thunk?

II believe that UBS is the criminal enterprise that Phil "America is a Nation of Whiners" Gramm was representing during his last years in the Senate and which he went to work for after he quit being a senator. He might have been arrogant enough to have left his fingerprints over this mess.

(H/T)

Is Brain Bleach Kosher for Passover?

The Message: "Fuck With Me and I Will Fuck You Back"

That is the message that President Obama has given Prime Minister Netanyahu during his just-concluded visit to Washington. No state dinner, no joint news conference, even leaving a meeting so that Netanyahu could get his shit together.

The same message has, in essence, been sent by the Right's favorite general.

One of the problems for Netanyahu is that his erstwhile allies back home seem to be intent on embarrassing him at every turn. They seem to like to announce projects that can be viewed as provocative when Netanyahu is trying to make nice with foreign officials. I'm surprised that Joe Biden just didn't say "fuck this noise" and jump back on AF2 during his recent visit.

Fan; Hitting; Shit

A South Korean navy warship is sinking. It may have been torpedoed.

Things might get a little bit more interesting.

Deceptive Fucking ISPs

Their marketing is pretty deceptive.

I get advertising flyers from the two high-speed ISPs in this area: Comcast and Verizon. Comcast advertises that their service has "a maximum speed of 6Mbps". Verizon, which is still only offering DSL in these parts, advertises 1Mbps.

This is what is deceptive: Nobody gives a shit about bits per second. File sizes are not measured in bits, but bytes. There are eight bits in a byte. So if you want to download a large file on Verizon, you might as well go get yourself a cup of coffee, as that 10MB video is really 80Mb and, since the maximum speed is rarely ever achieved, it'll take awhile.

And if you have dial-up at 56Kbps, which is usually more like 48Kbps, you can go cook a meal and do a load of laundry.

The Clerical Child Molesters

The child abuse scandals in the Catholic Church just keep piling up. They are all pretty much depressingly the same: Priests and monks molest children and, if there are complaints, the molesters are moved to another parish, to a different diocese or even a different country and they continue to abuse children. The Church hierarchy does what it can to sweep it under the rug, even to the point of the victims that if they complain to the civil authorities, the victims will be excommunicated. When the scandal does come out, eventually, there are expressions of repentance and calls for prayer and contemplation, but never any hint that there is something rotten in the structure of the Church.

I have to wonder this: How much of this is due to the requirement for celibacy? The sexual drive is a powerful one, as probably every adult knows. The drive to couple sexually causes people to make a lot of stupid choices in their lives. Sometimes those choices are far over the line into criminal acts.

The drive for sex is maybe a little less than the need to eat.

So I have to wonder if the Catholic Church will ever face up to this reality and admit that the command that its priests, monks and nuns be celibate forever is a bad idea.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A $1,400 Bottle of Wine is Just Cheap Plonk to Oxycotin Boy

There are a couple of guys who are raising money to buy Rush "I Send My Maid Out to Score Me Some Drugs" Limpbag to Costa Rica.

Well, el "All Druggies Should Be Executed, Except For Me" Rushbo is saying that "1,400 bucks won't even buy a bottle of wine on my plane."

Must be some pretty primo swill that His Assholiness guzzles down on his G550.

(The registered owner of that gold-plated barge is "CFS Air, LLC" in Connecticut. There may be no truth to the supposition that "CFS" stands for "Certified Fascist Shmuck".)

I would have thought that this would have been a more appropriate aircraft for him:


Cap & Trade--- zOMG, Socialism!!!1!!11!

You might have read all sorts of shit on the conservative blogs decrying the idea of "cap & trade" as a way to control CO2 emissions.

I guess they've forgotten that cap & trade was a Republican idea. Cap & trade originated from the GOP-allied think tanks over 20 years ago as a way to use market forces to control the emission of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides to reduce "acid rain." Cap & trade was a centerpiece of the 1990 Clean Air Act, which was signed into lay by a Republican president.

But now cap & trade is a dangerous liberrrrullll/commie/socialist idea, along with other formerly Republican ideas such as civil rights for minorities, limiting the power of monopolies and oligarchies ("trust busting"), ensuring that food and medicines are safe and protecting the rights of workers.

Go figure.

I gather that somebody had better enroll George H.W. Bush and the Republicans in the congress in 1990 into the CPUSA and get their party cards out to them..

Fascist Thugs

Threatening violence and carrying out acts of vandalism because your side lost a political fight?

Real classy moves. And they are sowing the seeds of future defeats for their case, as nobody cares for the opinions of bullies and thugs:
The dark and personal tone of the final stages of the health fight could complicate Republican efforts to maintain their attacks on the legislation if they are seen as inciting an undue level of outrage and, conversely, could bolster Democrats if opponents of the measure are seen as breaching the boundaries of civility.
No "could" about it. It will make it harder for Republicans. It will also push moderates towards the Democrats' positions, as there are legions of reasonable people who will not want to be associated with foaming goons and neo-nazis.

By the way, remember the "individual mandate" that has the Teabaggers and their boot-licking allies in the GOP so upset? Guess what: It was a Republican idea. Mitt Romney was for it (though if he hasn't flip-flopped away from it, he will). John McCain was a very early advocate of an individual mandate. Democrats were more in favor of a public option or even single payor, but went with the Republicans' idea.

But now, because it was a Democratic congress that pushed health care reform through and because it was Democratic president that signed it, the Republicans are against an individual mandate.

The GOP has no ideas, all they have is a deep-rooted need to play the politics of a schoolyard. They are the proverbial "dogs in a manger". So much for "Country First", a campaign slogan that has always been a absolute and total lie.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Polite Bank Robbers

They called the bank and made a reservation to rob it.

The Flake Equation

From xkcd:

(As always, click on the image to embiggen)

In a conversation a few months ago, an acquaintance was describing something that had happened to her. At the end of her tale, she said: "I can't explain it, it must have been a miracle."

I said: "What do you mean by `I can't explain it', you just did."

She looked at me as though I had just switched over to speaking in Swedish. I left it at that rather than go on and point out that not having a rational explanation for the occurrence, she was offering an irrational explanation.

There are times that I'd like to have a retail store, just for the fun of pricing something as "$√-36, one per customer", just to see how long it would take for someone to try to pay for it with imaginary money.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Do We Have the Teabaggers to Thank for Health Care Reform?

Seriously. The Teabaggers may have made the difference.

I called my congressman's office on Monday to express my thanks for his vote on the health care bill. I also thanked the staffer who answered the call for working the phones and for putting up with the abusive calls. He told me that they got a lot of them.

Now I don't know about you, but as for me, I've never found it to be very persuasive when people threaten me and and insult me and yell at me in order to motivate me to do something. It often works the other way; I'll not do what they want at all, I'll figure out a way to fuck up the works of what they want done or, at the very least, I'll take my own sweet time about it and make sure that whatever I do for them is the barest of bare minimums.

I expect that I'm not the only person like that.

So when the Teabaggers called up the staffers of the congressmen who had not made up their minds and yelled at them, and when they screamed at the staffers of the congressmen who were leaning towards the bill, I'll bet that was reported to the congressmen. I wouldn't be a tad bit surprised if there were not a few congressmen who concluded "fuck these assholes" and voted for the bill.

Serious Drool-Inducing WANT, Pt. II

So take this airplane, which I blogged about before, and marry in this engine.

I'm not sure what the difference in weight will be. The Falconer weight is "firewall forward", the weights given in the Supermarine web pages are not. The Falconer's full power couldn't be used at takeoff, but you don't ram the throttle of a Spitfire or a Mustang all the way forward on takeoff, not unless you want to kill yourself with a torque roll. You don't want to go past Vne without some serious flutter testing.

But it would sound cooler and you'd have power up a lot higher.

Wastelands

Tew-Mac Airport as it once was:

Now a bunch of generic condos, because the world needs more faceless condominium projects.

But at least they made some use of Tew-Mac after they killed the airport. This is the Stormville Airport (N69). The legend is that the operator of the airport died; the offspring who inherited the airport were not interested in running it, so they drove the aircraft that were based there away and closed the FBO. They hold flea-markets there a few times a year, which is probably as many as they can get away with under the local zoning codes.

The airport is still officially open, possibly because the operator took Federal grant money for improvements. But there are no services to be had, no airplanes are based there. You can see the taxiways that ran by the tiedowns on the far side of the airport. Occasionally, someone will shoot landings into the airport.

South of Stormville is the old Mahopac Airport. It was a grass airport and the only airport in Putnam County, New York. It closed about seven or eight years ago. Nothing has been done with it since.

The county government bought the land for "watershed protection" reasons, as Putnam County is within the reservoir watershed for New York City. To be honest about it, if the environmental officials in New York City had their way, nobody would be living in Westchester County north of I-287, in Putnam and Dutchess Counties, and in and around the Catskill Mountains.

Kill the Bill?

From Driftglass:

Of course, the Teabaggers stayed classy right to the end, demonstrating their absolute lack of faith in the democratic process:

Really. You clowns lost an election, so the party and the president that you didn't vote for is enacting the legislation that they promised to enact, and your response is to threaten violence and assassination? Your reaction is to commit acts of vandalism and to shout racial and homophobic epithets?

Class act.

Why do the Teabaggers hate democracy? Why do they hate freedom? If they are so against the idea that there are two political parties and that the party in power will enact the legislation that they favor, why don't they just leave this country and move to a one-party state that is more in tune with their ideals? Heck, they can move to a no-government state if they want.

But if they have so little faith in the political process, here is a free word of advice for the Teabaggers: Emigrate.

Fuck Comcast

I've blogged before about the fact that those jerkholes at ComBastards now require that everyone have cable boxes for expanded basic cable. That means, of course, that you can no longer watch one show while taping another. Worse, you cannot set up a VCR/DVR to record shows that are on at different times at different channels. You have to manually switch the box to the second channel.

What I once did was that if I wanted to tape a show at 10pm and then catch the Daily Show and the Colbert Report at 11, I'd set the VCR to catch a rebroadcast from Comedy Central at 1AM. I'd do that because the shows these days have an annoying tendency to go a little long. But, like I said, the asswipes at ComBestialitists have made that impossible (unless I want to festoon my living room with cable boxes).

I mention all of that, again, because on Wednesday, I taped Justified and I missed this:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Sean Carroll
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorHealth Care reform


Fucking Comcast.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Waaah!

The Army does not like WikiLeaks. (PDF, 34 pages)

Poor babies.

The Armchair Generalist's post has it right: You cannot stop the signal.

Low-Tech Self Defense

Well, it was state-of-the-art five million or so years ago:
Police say a 66-year-old Massachusetts woman fought off a man trying to abduct her by bashing him in the face repeatedly with a rock and forcing him to flee with blood pouring from his wounds.
Whatever works. I'll bet, though, that in the UK, she'd be up on charges for assaulting one of the poor, hard-working members of Thuggus Britannicus.

All of which is a good excuse to post this PSA, which I found on BobG's blog:

Photoage

Somebody had a sense of humor when it came to naming this road:


Here we see a female member of the species Asshatus Americanus. This particular self-important bint scored a two-fer in that she both parked right in front of the entrance to the supermarket (presumably while her precious snowflake did her shopping) and she also managed to block the marked crosswalk.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

There Is a Reason Why "To Protect & To Serve" Is Not the Motto of the NYPD

Because "To Harass and Annoy" would be far closer to the truth.

Say you are on a subway train. You're coming home from working overtime on a second shift job. There are two other people in the subway car. You're tired as hell nd you spread out over a couple of seats. No harm, right?

Wrong. A NYPD goon will drag your ass off the train for "seat-hogging" and give you a $50 ticket.

The cops are doing it because, to put it bluntly, they are lazy-ass fucks. They can just stand in the station and look in the windows of the subway trains that pull into the station. They don't have to chase anybody or do anything other than go in a train and order people off.

The only thing that this accomplishes, though, is to create more animosity between the people of the city and the cops that are, supposedly, there to protect them.

Justified

I finally got around to watching my recording of the first episode of Justified. It was pretty decent. It helps, though, to ignore the idea that everybody in Kentucky has a full set of brilliant-white teeth, including the neo-nazi hangers-on. No browning from coffee or tobacco or missing teeth from fights or poor dental care.

Anyway, the sun is high, the clouds are non-existent, it's passably warm out, so I'm off to the airport.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

What Do Casinos and Big-Box Stores have in Common?

They're watching your every move, from the moment you drive into their parking lots until the moment you drive out.

The stores say that they are watching you "for research", like you're some kind of goddammed critter in a rainforest somewhere.

Sure they are.

Here's what is coming down the road: You walk into a one of the large-chain retailers. You buy something with a credit card. A camera at the register records that transaction and now they have your name, address and what you look like. If they get your e-mail address, then the next time you go to the store and look at something, but don't buy it, you might get a targeted e-mail offer.

But it'll all go into some huge-ass database somewhere and if there is anything that we have learned during the Chimpy Administration, it is that if the retailers assemble databases, the feds will get access to them.

It's Caturday!

Bella is peering from atop a chair. The photo was taken through the railings of a banister from the floor below.


Rocky seems to be a bit annoyed. He is a one-person cat and tha person is most assuredly not me.


Bella is curled up on a bed and watching me. What she wants is for me to put down the bloody camera and get to petting and scratching her.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Serious Drool-Inducing WANT!

Spitfire Mk26B:


I'm not a big fan of having fuel tanks behind the engine, as in a crash, that is a recipe for crispy-critters. But for this, I'd get nomex.

Not sure why the cruise speed with a V-8 engine is higher than Vne, but the bugger does move along. A Mk V Spitfire was 90 knots faster, but it did have a much larger engine, even if those eight .303s added some weight.

Yet Another For the Cranky Prof

Who has been feeling a bit sub-par of late:

demotivational posters
It would have been nice, though, if the creator had a spell-checker for "apocalypse".

Somebody also might want to tell the shooter that overlapping the thumb of her support hand across the back of her shooting hand is not a very good idea when one is firing an automatic. With a decent two-handed grip (not holding one's wrist, as she is apparently doing), overlapping the thumb is a great way of getting it smashed as the slide comes back.

Bartender, Gimme a Brain Bleach, and Make It a Double!

Penis pants:Tase-on-Sight orders have been issued.

The "Pervert Files"

No, it's not the latest show from Fox. It is an extensive collections of secret files, maintained by the Boy Scouts of America, and they go back for decades.

Whether they are evidence of a cover-up of pedophiles or proof that the BSA was trying to track and exclude them will be shown at an upcoming trial.

Headlines

From the Ironic Times:
Supreme Court Upholds “Under God” in Pledge of Allegiance
Drops “with liberty and justice for all.”

GERMAN CHURCH ABUSE CASE CLOSING IN ON POPE

Tells crowd in St. Peter's Square, “Ego mos nunquam capimini dum ego sum victus” (“They'll never take me alive!”)

Conservatives on Texas School Board Approve New History Curriculum
Lone Star State third graders will soon learn about American heroes Father Coughlin, Joe McCarthy and present-day heroine Ann Coulter.

Limbaugh: If Health Reform Passes "I'll Move to Costa Rica"
Where he can be treated for an occasional OxyContin overdose by their highly regarded government-run health system.

Global Warming!!

If, as the tighty-Riighties all claimed, that a blizzard hitting the East Coast was proof that global warming was false, does the fact that the Northeast is over 20 degrees above normal temperatures for the last couple days prove that global warming is real?

Oh, now the Wingnuts will say that "a single weather event is not indicative of a global pattern".

I thought as much.

If the FBI Upgraded Cars and Firearms the Way That They Upgrade Computers

They would still be driving to crime scenes in Model A Fords


and carrying Cold Official Police revolvers.


That is because the FBI has been spending over ten years (and two contractors) trying to upgrade their computers with little success.

No surprise that LockMart is involved. They've done such a bang-up job at "fixing" the Flight Service Stations (they do the telephone weather briefings) that more and more pilots that I know have been using computerized weather briefings to avoid having to wait on hold in order to talk to the LockMart dudes.

What is it with these guys? Why is it so hard to install a computer network with decent security? Or is it that the FBI has so fucked up the specs to make it impossible?

Banning Lead Paint Leads to Fascism

Jon Stewart does a full-blown satire of the Weepy Fascist:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Intro - Progressivism Is Cancer
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Reform


"It's so ingenious that it doesn't make any sense whatsoever."

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Conservative Libertarian
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Reform


"Am I the only one saying that having a beard makes you a bloody theocrat?"

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Call Those Assholes

And urge them to pass the frakking health care bill.

Here is the list. Call your congresscritter, even in the bastard's a Rethug. And especially if your congressclown is a Democrat who is listed as "no" or "undecided". If he or she is a "yes", still call to support that decision.

Google your congressvermin and get the direct number to his Washington office. Pressure these guys.

From the "No Shit, Sherlock" Files

A few stories from Think Progress that are no surprise whatsoever:

Wellpoint, a health insurance company set up a "charitable foundation" to help people that have no insurance. But those lying fucks at Wellpoint has not spent anywhere near the amount of money to help people that they promised.

John Boehner is looking out for the interests of the banksters. The last thing Boehner wants to do is reform the financial system to make it harder for the banksters like Citigroup and Goldman Sachs to engineer collapses so hey can make money off them (and get the Treasury to bail them out each time).

Tactics that Republicans have used in the past to pass legislation are now "unconstitutional" when Democrats use them. It is just another iteration of the rule that "It's OK If You Are a Republican".

In This Country, They Would Have Tased His Ass

Feel free to write your own snark on this one:
:A man who assaulted a female police officer with his penis has been fined.

Marium Varinauskas, 28, tried to strike the officer on the head with his penis when she was called out to his flat, but she got out of the way.
(H/T)

How Texas Fucks With Your Kids

I like the part about "brushing your teeth with chocolate".

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

It's Good to Be a Corporation

Go about 7 minutes into this to see Jon Stewart explain how corporations can turn a $900 asset into a $10 million asset.

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Die, You Emo Blood-Sucking Bastard, Die!

Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets that emo-douchebag from Twilight.


This thing is subtitled, so you can switch off your speakers to make it work-safe.

(H/T)

Happy St. Patrick's Day

His followers were probably some of the great PR geniuses of all time, since snakes were not indigenous to Ireland to start with.

There will be a lot of amateur drinkers in the bars today. It's a good day to stay off the roads after the end of the work day. Expect the cops to be out in force on DUI patrols.

Bring Back the Draft

And then we can have armed forces that only contain heterosexual males, since they seem to be completely incapable of keeping their filthy paws off anything they want to fuck.

Problem is, of course, the military has been unable to completely fill its ranks with het males for the last thirty years, so if "unit cohesion" and "good order and discipline" are what's needed, bring back the draft.

(After all, what's a few fraggings between friends?)

Heh. Heh. Heh.

Via McClatchy:
California attorney and “birther” proponent Orly Taitz must pay $20,000 in sanctions, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday.

In the two-page decision, the appeals court states that after considering Taitz’ arguments, “we find them unpersuasive and therefore affirm the district court’s sanctions judgment.

OK, Make that "Six Inventions That Changed the World"

A couple of years ago, I wrote about five inventions that changed the world. I had forgotten about that post until I saw it as a result on a search on my stats thingamabob.[1] I was astonished/abashed to realize one invention that I had left off the list:

6. The Paper Machine.


The concept of a machine that made paper in a continuous process was dreamed up and patented by a Frenchman named Louis-Nicholas Robert in 1799. France wasn't very stable then, so Robert's boss, Saint-Léger Didot, sent the design to his brother-in-law, an Englishman, named John Gamble. The Fourdrinier brothers (Henry and Sealy) in London owned a stationary firm, they improved the design enough to warrant a new British patent and built the first few paper machines. Virtually every paper machine running in the world today is a direct descendant of the Fourdrinier Machine.

Building the first few paper machines cost the Fourdriniers' over 60,000 pounds, an enormous sum at the time, when workers were paid about 12 to 25 pounds a year. Henry Fourdrinier went bankrupt and the design was widely pirated.

The Fourdrinier Machine, by mass-producing cheap wood-pulp-based paper, made possible the wide dissemination of information. The availability of cheap paper led to inventions of faster ways to print. The Gutenberg/Franklin-style manual printing press gave way to the rotary printing press which, when powered by a steam engine, could churn out millions of pages of print per press each day. News and information became available to anyone who could read and, coupled with the proliferation of public libraries[2], information no longer was the province of the elite.

All because of cheap paper.

[1] I'm closing in on 5,000 posts in the span of 32 months. Cut me some slack.
[2] Public libraries?!! zOMG!!!1!! Socialism!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Disrespect

This shit just drives me nuts. To my mind, flying a tattered and torn National Ensign is as disrespectful as publicly burning one:


It's not as though that flag is flying from the mast of a ship in a Force 9 gale. That flag is not flying from a fort that is being shelled by the Royal Navy. That this flag is flown in such a condition shows that the people who are flying it are casually and carelessly disrespectful of the flag.

Hell, I think it is even more disrespectful than burning it in protest. At least the protesters know what the flag stands for and, in a twisted way, they are acknowledging as much. Here, the flag is being treated more like a piece of decor, an ornament, and not as a symbol of our nation.

This is so wrong that it is not merely wrong.

If your flag is in such a condition, then shame on you. Better a bare pole than a tattered flag.

Geronimo!

Felix Baumgartner plans to jump from 120,000 feet up and to become the first skydiver to go transonic.

Idiots

Michael Lewis on the Daily Show, promoting his new book "The Big Short":
"The people in the Wall Street firms, they actually forgot they rigged the market."

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The "Moment of Zen" should be shown to everyone who works for WABC:

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Somebody, Somewhere, Knows Who This Guy Is

The East-Coast Rapist.

If you have any idea any suspicion who this guy is, dime him out, please!

The "Thug"

In a recent visit to a gun shop, they had the classic "thug" targets for sale:


What the hell, I was going to the range anyway. I bought a couple and fired off just over 50 rounds of .45 ball.

A number of ranges don't permit the use of human image targets, for they don't want to deal with any negative press about letting customers "train to shoot people". Some, I've heard, even ban silhouette targets, permitting only bullseye targets. I've shot at ranges that ban head-shots, others that ban shooting at any rate faster than once per second.

Their ranges, their rules. They may have reasons other than squeamishness. And there is nothing wrong with slow-fire target shooting. But if one of the reasons for having a weapon is for self-defense, then bullseye shooting is helpful if you think that you may ever get attacked by a large black circle.

So it may be worth the effort to find a range that will at least let you practice on targets that have some passing resemblance to what you might have to shoot at for real. Then, when you do go to the range, try practicing using the firing techniques that best suit you and your weapon of choice.

Hiding in Plain Sight

The March issue of Scientific American had an interesting bit of information (which I hope I am relaying correctly as I don't have the issue with me):
  • The equivalent of 10 billion bits of information per second hit the retina.
  • Six billion bits per second leave the retina
  • Six million bits per second go up the optic nerve
  • 100,000 bits per second arrive at the visual cortex
  • The brain interprets 110 bits of visual information per second
So what is going on is, in order to save processing time, the brain is pretty much filling out the rest of the picture based on what it predicts should be there.

Now say that early each morning, as you drive to work, you pull up to an intersection, look both ways, no cars are coming, and you proceed. You do that for years and it has become an automatic routine. On the day that a car is coming, you could glace that way and your brain would not "see" the presence of a car, because your brain does not expect a car to be there.

Test this out sometime: As you go down a road, look off to the side and consciously look to see what is there. You will likely see some detail that has been there, has always been there, but which you never noticed. It was literally hiding in plain sight.

When you are doing a safety check, you have to take your mind out of auto-process mode. For if you don't, that way lies disaster. Our brains are not set up to handle the rapid change of information in a modern world, but the slow pace of information of a hunter-gatherer on an African savanna.

You have to make the effort to consciously look at what is there, not just do it on autopilot. For on autopilot, the brain will probably see what it expects to see, not what is really there, and our machines will then kill you.

Proposition: Sen. Chris Dodd is an Idiot

Really. Why cater to the concerns of Republicans if none of them are going to vote for your bill?

On any bill whatsoever.

If the GOP is so dead-set against reforming the financial industry, let them pick that hill to die on.

IRS: Vacuuming the Sofa for Spare Change

The IRS saw fit to sent two gun-toting (presumably) agents to a car wash to demand that the owner pay his back taxes.

The amount due: Four cents. With the IRS's claims on penalties and interest, the amount they said the guy owed was $202.35, which means that those goons tacked on $202.31 on top of four cents in taxes.

For that, the IRS sent out two of their thugs to visit the taxpayer?

Somebody had to have been below their quota for "numbers of taxpayers harassed."

(H/T)

19th Century Infrastructure

It would seem insane to try to make telephone calls on lines installed in the 19th Century or to drive on major roads that were built then and never improved afterwards.

But that is what a lot of cities and towns are doing when it comes to their water and sewer systems. The pipes were laid in the 19th Century and they are finally breaking down.

Problem is, though, that those 19th Century pipes were better built than their newer replacements. So if we can't build the new pipes as well as they could back in the day of President Grant, we are pretty much screwed.

Peter Graves

Has died. He was 83. Those from the first 2/3rds of the baby boom will remember him as "Mr. Phelps" on the original "Mission: Impossible" series.

I first heard about his death this morning; Al Roker mentioned it during the "Wake Up With Al" show on the Weather Channel. He suggested that, considering the weather in the northeast, that it was a good day to "stay inside and watch gladiator movies." Stephanie Abrams, who apparently had no idea what Roker was talking about, said that she would go rent a gladiator movie.

So, for those who also had no idea what Al Roker was referring to:

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Daylight Savings Time

The way the change to and from Daylight Savings Time makes no sense to me.

We changed from DST to Standard Time last November 1st and changed back to DST early today) March 14th.

The Winter Solstice, the day of the shortest daylight in the northern temperate areas, was December 21st.

Which means that we changed from DST 50 days before the Winter Solstice and back to DST 83 days after the Winter Solstice.

Does this make a degree of sense to anyone? Should we not have changed to DST about February 9th (or to Standard Time near September 29th? As I understand it, the whole idea behind keeping Standard Time at all is so the little curtain climbers aren't waiting for their buses in the dark (since it seems that damn few kids walk to school anymore). So why isn't it evened out on either side of the Winter Solstice?

Another Reason to Love New York City and the NYPD

They now arrest school children for doodling on their desks.

There was a time, back in the `80s and `90s, when New York City had close to 2,000 homicides a year. In the `70s, when the city had severe money problems, it was often a nasty, filthy and dangerous place to be. There were portions of the Bronx and Brooklyn that looked as though the Luftwaffe had just finished bombing raids. The city put glass in the windows of abandoned buildings that faced the Penn Central (now Metro North) tracks in the South Bronx and put decals that looked like curtains and shades on the insides of the windows, so they would look less decrepit. There were police precincts that were nicknamed "Fort Apache" and "the Planet of the Apes". If you were driving in Manhattan and stopped at a stoplight, some bum would come out with a filthy squeegee and "clean" your windshield for a quarter (and throw a rock through it if you stiffed him). Times Square was one of the great porno centers and you could probably buy any illicit item you could carry away.

But then Giuliani cleaned up and Disneyfied Times Square. The squeegee men were run off. Crime went down (for reasons more to do with demographics and the collapse of the crack bubble) and the violent crime rate dropped to near historic lows.

So that is why the NYPD has time to go around arresting school kids for drawing on their desks.

(H/T)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

This Is Going Up on My Front Door

Thanks, Cranky!

Lehman Brothers, Enron and the Accountants

You might remember that following the collapse of Enron, it was discovered that Enron was loaning money to itself and treating the loans as sales, a little bit of accounting legerdemain that also resulted in the implosion of the accounting firm of Arthur Andersen.

Now it has come to light that Lehman Brothers was doing the exact same trick, only with the help of the accounting firm of Ernst & Young, only this time. Lehman couldn't find an American law firm to approve this bit of bookkeeping fraud. They had to go to England.

So, when will we be smart enough to realize that what we need are good regulations with regulators who are alert and awake, not asleep at the switch like the SEC was? Though, in the only defense possible of the SEC, it was clear to everyone that the SEC was doing exactly what the Bush Administration wanted them to do: They saw nothing, they heard nothing, and they knew nothing.

At what point do we stop only looking for things like this with financial coroners and start trying to catch these thieves in the act?

And at what point does the government stop colluding in funny bookkeeping, as the New York branch of the Federal Reserve was doing? (The head of the NY Fed was some clown named Geithner, too bad the reporters can't seem to find him to ask what he knew.)

Cash Cab

No, not the TV show. In this version, the cabbies take cash from the riders by setting the meters to charge a much higher fare. Which most of them were doing and some of them were doing a lot.

Caturday

George is looking rather piratical. He's probably not thrilled by the disappearance of his sunbeam.


His eyes were closed here, so I was able to use a flash.

He's a very hard cat to photograph, both because of his color and his attitude. But as he is turning 14 this year, he's earned his attitude.

Friday, March 12, 2010

zOMG!!!1!!!! Thar's Lez-beans in Mississippi!!!1!1!!!

Some things never change in Ole Miss. Once upon a time, they would cancel student prom because a Black couple planned to attend.

Now, they're canceling a student prom because a lesbian couple was planning to go to it.

Those folks in Mississippi must be one fearful bunch, that the prospect of a 17 year old girl wearing a tuxedo has them running for the hills and screaming like banshees.

At What Point Do We Stop Ascribing Any "Moral Authority" to These Ghouls?

Why does anyone continue to attribute any degree of moral authority to what is turning out to be the world's largest ring of pedophiles?
Pope Benedict XVI has for the first time been drawn into the Catholic sex abuse scandal in his home country of Germany.

His former archdiocese of Munich has acknowledged that, while he was in charge, it dealt with a suspected paedophile priest by transferring him to a different parish where he went on to commit sex offences against children. The revelation has drawn attention to Benedict's handling of abuse claims, both when archbishop and later as a prefect of the Vatican office dealing with such crimes, a position he held until becoming pope in 2005.

Yesterday, the head of the German Catholic bishop's conference, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, revealed he was investigating more than 170 allegations of abuse in the church's institutions. The scandal broke in January when it was alleged that, over a period of 30 years, priests found to be abusing children had been redeployed to other parishes rather than dismissed.
Time and time again, it seems, that the institution of the Catholic Church is more interested in protecting the reputations of its priests and avoiding embarrassment than it is in protecting children in its charge. Everywhere this sort of story breaks in the world, it is the same sordid tale of the victims being hushed up and the predators being quietly transferred to fresh hunting grounds.

At what point do we start regarding the hierarchy of the Catholic Church as a criminal enterprise and begin treating them in that way?

More Than One in Five Iraq War & Aghan War Vets...

...are out of work. The percentage is 21.%.

Recall all those commercials about how military service was an advantage in the civilian job market? Look at the last line of text on this site, for example:
No matter where life takes you, the U.S. Armed Forces is a great place to start.
Double the unemployment rate when you get out? Great selling point.

Another for Cranky

Who loves All Things Zombie..

demotivational posters

This would also be primo for fending off zombies:

The Torturer's Favoite Justice

Clarence Thomas, who thinks that it is perfectly OK for prison guards to beat prisoners. Up to a certain point, that is, which would seem to not exist in his mind.

0400

Double-teamed purr-bombing.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

When Salt is Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Salt!

Of all of the troubles facing the state of New York, including a highly dysfunctional legislature, a politically-neutered governor and a whopping budget deficit, some asswipe of an assemblyman from Brooklyn is seeking to make it a crime for a chef to prepare food if one of the ingredients is salt. Send four meals out with a pinch of salt added, that's four violations.

So this would become a criminal instrument in a restaurant kitchen in New York, if that jerkoff's bill were to become law:Don't those fuckers have anything better to do in Albany? Has winter completely addled their brains? I wish this was a joke, but it is not.

The true joke, of course, is the NY State Legislature, the Official State Circus.

(H/T)

Flying Cattle Cars

Fixer on flying the airlines:
I've been flying since I was 4 years old, when my parents would put me on a plane (Lufthansa or IcelandAir 707) in the summer and send me to Germany to stay with the family until September. It used to be an event. Men would dress (I gotta dig up a pic of me in my little suit with a bow tie) for the occasion and customer service was Job One.

The flying experience was something to be enjoyed; gate agents and crew doing their best to make you feel at ease and rested by the time you got where you were going. In 30 years, it's turned into a nightmare; something to be avoided at all costs in my book.
As Don Brown has pointed out, the airline business was created by the government and, for most of their history, depended on government subsidies to develop airplanes and for operating subsidies. The original subsidies were paid though the Post Office for carrying airmail.[1] If you look at a photograph of a pre-war airliner, you may see a notation of "AM-#", which referred to the airmail route flown by the airplane.

The Federal government controlled what airlines flew what routes, how often, and approved their rates. That left customer service as the one area where the airlines could compete with each other. And they did. You could check the bags you wanted, up to a maximum weight that almost nobody ever reached. Flights had meals. The only charges assessed, and only in coach, were for alcoholic beverages and movie headsets.

But then came deregulation.[2] Airlines began competing on price, and they did.

This was the life of a pre-deregulation stewardess. This was the life of a post-deregulation, pre 9-11 flight attendant. (And post-9-11.)

Airlines quickly learned that most travelers cared only about two things: Whether they could get a flight to where they wanted to go and how much it cost. Airlines have tried, from time to time, to increase the distance between seat row ("seat pitch") and advertised that as "giving you more leg room." But time and time again, they have found out that passengers will fly the other carriers' sardine cans if the price is right.

Then, of course, came 9-11 and the focus on security. Airline crews realized that they could have a complaining traveler arrested if they so chose, and many chose to wield that power like a NYPD cop. Flight attendants have been known to threaten even mildly complaining passengers with arrest.

And then the airlines figured out that they can extort fees from passengers for everything. Paper ticket: Pay a fee. You want to check a bag: Pay a fee. You want a can of soda: Oh, that'll cost you. Blankets and those scummy pillows are either gone altogether or you can pay a fee. People ponied up.

So now what? After 30+ years, we aren't going to go back to the days when the CAB controlled the airlines. The only tool we have, now, and it is one everyone has, is to choose not to fly when you can.

And when the airlines scream to the government how they need subsidies for something, call your congressman and push back at the bastards.

[1] Did you know that from the 1920s through at least WW2, airline pilots were required to carry firearms for the protection of the U.S. Mail?
[2] The next time you find yourself in an aerial livestock carrier with flight attendants who have all the personality of CIA torturers, remember to thank Jimmy Carter.