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

Monday, April 30, 2012

Calling All Icebergs!

An Australian billionaire said Monday he'll build a high-tech replica of the Titanic at a Chinese shipyard and its maiden voyage in late 2016 will be from England to New York, just like its namesake planned. 

Weeks after the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the original Titanic, Clive Palmer announced Monday he has signed a memorandum of understanding with state-owned Chinese company CSC Jinling Shipyard to build the Titanic II.

"It will be every bit as luxurious as the original Titanic, but ... will have state-of-the-art 21st-century technology and the latest navigation and safety systems," Palmer said in a statement. He called the project "a tribute to the spirit of the men and women who worked on the original Titanic."
Here's the thing: The Titanic was luxurious by the standards of its day.  By the standards of today's cruise industry, a first-class cabin on the old Titanic might as well be below the waterline of today's cruise ships.



Only the relative handful of private suites had their own bathrooms.  For the rest, the first class passengers had to make an appointment to take a bath.  Most first-class cabins were less luxurious than a room at  Motel 6.

Besides the changes in technology, the difference was the mission of cruise ships then and now. Before the Jet Age, cruises were taken for transportation.  Which, for the most part, is not why people take cruises today.

Sure, a lot of people will initially book a trip on Titanic II.  That'll last until word gets around that a Edwardian-age superliner was, by today's lights, cramped and boring.  My guess is that T-II will end up being parked somewhere as a low-rent attraction.  More likely is that it will be cut up for scrap before it is ten years old.

Still, the guy behind it will lose less money that was blown on LightSquared...

Shrink, I Wanna Kill; Cross-Country Moving Edition

It will be eight days after I told the movers that I wanted my shit delivered to the day when they tell me my shit will be delivered.  Seems that the moving company took "I want my shit delivered on XYZ" to mean "I want you to ship my shit from the warehouse which is thirteen hundred miles away on XYZ".

Now why any customer could give a rat's ass what day the stuff left the warehouse is beyond me.  It's when the crap gets delivered that matters.




I presume that there is indescribable fuckery to come before this evolution is concluded.

But since I don't have Internet access at home, I've not been  paying much attention to what goes on past the visible horizon.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Real Surprise Is That the TSA Didn't Taze the Baby

Because there is no reaction like an over-reaction.
The spirit of Osama bin Ladin has to be laughing itself silly.  This nation has spend untold hundreds of billions of dollars, at all levels of government, in this massive production of Security Theater. There is no rationality to it, anymore (if there ever was).  The politicians aren't going to dismantle it, for if any politico were to seriously go after our Ever Burgeoning National Security Apparatus, they would be labelled "soft on terrorism" by their political opponents.  And come the next successful terrorist attack, guess who'd get the blame?

There will be another attack of some kind.  So far, we've been lucky, in a way, that most of the wannabee terrorists are stupid enough to go for elaborate plots where they need lots of logistical support.  They've been oblivious to the point that the two of the asswipes who succeeded, the Norwegian Asswipe and the Fort Hood Asswipe, did their killing the same way:  They identified areas where there were a lot of people who could be counted on to be unarmed and they commenced to shooting them.  But we cannot continue to count on future attackers being as dumb as the Time Square Asswipe.

In the meantime, under the guise of "keeping us safe", more and more Americans are coming to regard their government as some out-of-control hydra-headed monster, with the Port Authority cops at Newark going into spasms over an unsearched diaper and with the TSA sponsoring police state style checkpoints.

Sooner or later, the massive national security apparatus is going to figure out that they have enough troops and guns and that they don't need to answer to the drooling boobs up on Capitol hill, let alone the President.

And then we all will be truly screwed.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same; Collegiate Edition

You have probably by now heard about how the University of Florida was planning to axe its Computer Sciences department and simultaneously increase spending on football.  Well, UF didn't care for the negative reaction that move generated, so they are walking it back.

Eighty years ago, the collegiate obsession with football was satirized by the Marx Brothers.



Cell Phone Follies

So there I am, in the Ma Bell Cell Phone store.  They're telling me about tablets and smart phones.  They show me that the plans for data, voice and text messaging is something like $110 a month.

Sheesh.

So then I see, in a corner, something called "Go Phones".  No contract, you buy the phone, and unlimited usage (text, data and texting) is $50 per month.  I asked this:  "Hey, this is so much cheaper, why the hell would I want to buy those plans on a two year contract for twice as much a month when I can get one a these for a lot less per month?"

Man, you should have seen the Scrambling of the Sales Assistants to come up with an answer to that question.  Finally, the Most Senior Salesman finds a coverage map and shows me that in the Rockies and Far West, the coverage isn't so good.  But I've been out that way just once in the last 25 years, so why should I care?  And if I don't like the Go Phone, hell, it's not like I have a contract with those guys.

No cable or intertubes at home.  Makes for really quiet evenings.  It's kind of nice, actually.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

"Progress", My Ass!

I must have spent over an hour in an on-line chat window with the dude from the local cable company.  Seems that they really want people to do this shit online and they heavily discourage (as in "it costs you more") signing up by finding the local office.

The local cable bastards offer phone service.  But the phone has to have a USB port.  And if your phones don't, because Western Electric wasn't building them in in the 1950s and 1970s, yer shit outta luck.

Some times I miss Ma Bell.


Monday, April 23, 2012

What is ICE and the DBP Doing?

Does anybody have an idea why the Customs goons plan on using 90 million rounds of .40 ammo per year?  That's what they seem to be buying:  450 million rounds on a five year contract.

ICE has 20,500 employees.  Not all of them are gun-toters, figure that maybe half of them are sworn cops, so ten thousand guys are going to each shoot  45,000 rounds a year?  That's just under a thousand a week, which might be understandable if they were all professional competitors in pistol shooting.  And why are they then not using somewhat cheaper range ammo for target practice, rather than higher-cost hollowpoints?

Anyway, look at what DBP's Office of Homeland Security Investigations does:  They supposedly investigate matters that threaten national security, including art theft, copyright violations, illegal parking, and child pornography.* If you know of a rational explanation of how any of those things have a bearing on the national security of the United States, I'd very much like to know.

Note that one of the areas that HSI claims as being in their wheelhouse is "human rights violations".  Oh, I really trust them to do that, since they are obviously doing a pretty good Helen Keller imitation in that they have closed their eyes and ears to the human rights violations done in our name.   When HSI drags George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, George Tenet, Jay Bybee, David Addington and John Yoo away in handcuffs, drop me a line.  I'm not holding my breath waiting for that to happen.

This comment is spot on, by the way.
________________________________
* I added one.  See if you can find it.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Light Blogging Ahead

Even if I were totally in love with the new Blogger interface (which I am not), I will have very spotty Internet access for the next several days.  Expect few, if any posts from me.  Please surf the blogrolls. 

If you want a series that'll make you think, go to the Bayou Renaissance Man and read his series on xenophobia as it relates to the War on Terror.

I'll be back when I can.

Memo to Wal-Mart: Tell Your Top Executives to Get Ready for Prison

The Sunday NY Times ran a seriously long story about how Wal-Mart got to be the largest retailer in Mexico by the old-fashioned way:  Bribing the shit out of everyone.  Of note is the point when some people at Wal-Mart's HQ became uncomfortable with things, the brass asked a Wal-Mart lawyer to investigate the allegations.

The lawyer was the same asshole who authorized paying the bribes.  Which is kind of like asking Capt. Renault to investigate gambling in Casablanca.



Don't worry, though. Wal-Mart will find some lower-level flunkies to take the Federal heat under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Those fall guys will go to jail and Wal-Mart will, out of the goodness of their hearts, ensure that their families will not suffer.  And when they get out of stir, Wal-Mart will find good jobs for them.

Which is the same way that the Mafia used to do it.

Dear Google: Why You Guys Now Suck.

I am writing this not out of a desire to take up my rhetorical bludgeon and beat the crap out of Google, but because I mostly like Google.

I really do.  I well remember the days when the leading search engines were Ala Vista and Yahoo.  A search would yield two pages of paid advertising, which you had to scroll down through before you could see your desired search results.  That was a real pain in the ass.  The results pages also had a lot of advertising graphics.  Because most people back then had had dial-up service through Assholes America on Line[1] and other dialup services, it took forever for the search results to load. 

Then came Google.  Its clean interface and relative lack of advertising were astonishing and users (including your humble scribe) began using Google.   Google grew and began offering (and buying up) other services.

The grownups at Google[2] have not messed with the search engine interface.  The search engine is Google's money tree.  Those early engineers, the guys who now have their own G650s or BBJs, would probably immediately fire[3] any one of the Google kiddies who mucked around with the search engine interface.

But the kids have to have their fun.  So Google lets them play around with the other, lesser, Goggle products.  That is why Google has, in this year, changed the interface for both Gmail[4] and Blogger.  Not because the changed interfaces are any better.  Not because the users were unhappy with what they had.  Google changed it because they can.

It is no different than the model changes that Detroit used to introduce every year.  Bigger tail fins!  More chrome!  New shades of color![5] It was change for the sake of change. And it was both wasteful and stupid.

A very long time ago, when I was but a butter-bar[6] in the Navy, a very senior officer came for lunch and talked to the young officers.  His comment about work was this:  "If it's not fun, you're doing it wrong."  It's not like I make any real money doing this.  Blogging is sort of a hobby.  Google's changes to the blogger interface have made this less fun.

So I'm going to mull over where else I can take this blog.  But in the meantime, expect to see fewer of the "wow, I ought to put up a short post about that" sort of blog entries.  
______________________________
[1] There was a time when everybody in the freaking country would get junkmail from AOL with a disk containing the latest version of AOL, first 3.5" floppies, then CDs.  The CDs made good coasters.

[2] The few that apparently exist.

[3] Or simply have them killed. 

[4] I'm switching, slowly, away from Gmail as well.  Nice going, guys.

[5] And pretty much the same crappy frame, engine and drive train.

[6] Ensign.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Heart Check

I-84 westbound, heading down the grade to the Delaware River. I was passing a six-wheeled pickup truck which was fifth-wheel towing a large Raptor RV trailer, one of those puppies with three wheels per side. Just as I passing that beast, it blew one of trailer tires.

I stomped the gas briefly to get well out in front of the rig, in case it started to blow other tires. A long while ago, I saw a landscaper's truck which was hauling a small Bobcat on a six-wheel trailer with similarly sized wheels. One tire blew out and then the other tires on that side blew in rapid succession, which made a hell of a mess when that ting ground to a halt and blocked two lanes of the highway.

Anyway, in my mirror, I saw that the driver went right past the last NY exit on I-84 and proceeded over the Delaware River bridge. He must have known that he blew a tire, for he was slowing down. He turned off at the first PA exit, but if he hadn't, I was planning to call the troopers.

By the way, what is it with Blogger changing the blogging interface? I don't see what the hell they gained from it. They changed it so that in HTML drafting mode, the freaking interface does not recognize carriage returns. You have to either insert the line break code manually or switch to "compose mode" and use the carriage return to break up the lines.

Improvement: NOT!  The senior managers at Google should be breaking out the barbed-wire whips.

Caturday; Survivor Edition

A good friend had two cats at the beginning of the year. Rocky died in February, Bella is her sole cat, now.
I had three, Jake is the survivor.
They were sort of hiding out. I may branch out Caturday into other critters, since for the near term, I only have one cat to reliably photograph and it'll get boring.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Is There Any Evil That Goldman Sachs Did Not Profit From?

It doesn't seem like it, since Goldman Sachs was sitting on the board of a company that makes money from running a website that is the leading website for human trafficking in the U.S.A.

Goldman Sachs owed about 15% of Village Voice Media, which owned the website. Even though they knew about the human trafficking for at least two years, Goldman did nothing until they were scorched by Nicholas Kristof's initial column. That's when Goldman sold off its interest in VVM as fast as it could.

Goldman Sachs made their money and then cut and ran when the heat was turned on. Rather than try to do something positive, such as pushing VVM to shut down the fucking website (remember, Goldman had a seat on the board of figureheads directors), they just cashed out and ran away.

By this point in time, would anybody be surprised if it were alleged that Goldman Sachs had an investment in the Sinaloa Cartel?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Cirus Jet-- Wuffo?

Really. Other than the fact that it's a jet. why bother? The TBM-850 turboprop can fly higher, faster and probably further. Cirrus is not marketing it as a "very light jet", but a "personal jet"-- translation: "Smaller than a VLJ, basically a jet-powered SR-22.'



Rumor is that the initial sales price of the thing is $2 million. That's probably in the "we lose money on each one, but make it up in volume" range. I'd expect the price to go up. Maybe they won't screw the pooch as badly as Eclipse, which set the initial price so low that the original company was run out of business (new ones now cost three times as much as the initial price).

One other thing: It's a jet. That means that no matter how Cirrus spins it, you're going to need a type rating to fly it. (Which you don't need in order to fly a TBM-850 or a PC-12.)

Type ratings are flown to ATP proficiency standards. Which basically means that if you're not up to taking an ATP checkride, then forget about the Cirrus Jet.

Patriots' Day

On April 18, 1775, the British Army in Boston prepared to march troops into Middlesex County,Massachusetts to seize the muskets and gunpowder of the local militias. Because of the danger posed by large amounts of gunpowder, militiamen only had filled powderhorns at home. The rest was kept in local magazines.

Rebel spies noted the movement of the Lobsterbacks and hung lights in the steeple of the Old North Church to signal riders in Cambridge.


The riders fanned out across the countryside, alerting the militiamen.


In the predawn hours of April 19th, about eighty militamen, known to history as the Minutemen, assembled on the green in Lexington to meet the marching soldiers.


The orders given to the Minutemen were concise and clear.


Somebody did fire a shot; the Minutemen skirmished with the advanced guard of the British expedition. The soldiers marched onto Concord, searching homes and farms for weapons. The Minutemn fired across the North Bridge, wounding most of the British officers with their first volleys. The British were turned back.


When the British Army left Concord, the fighting turned brutal and nasty. Rumors flew through the British ranks that one of their dead in Concord had been scalped. In searching some of the houses, British soldiers found liquor and drank it, with some of the Redcoats becoming intoxicated. Many of the searches of homes were done with a heavy hand, outraging the inhabitants, most of whom still considered themselves to be Englishmen.

While it's likely that the legend of long-range rifle fire was a myth, Minutemen fought in both organized formations and as skirmishing dragoons-- riding up on horseback to cover, firing from cover and then fleeing. Minutemen shot at the Redcoats from longer ranges, even though smoothbore muskets of the era were capable of shooting a 72" group at 100 yards (M-1 rifles had a design accuracy of 4" groups).

Homeowners began to resist the British, including men as old as eighty years old. British officers struggled to control their soldiers, who were often liquored up, from killing civilians. The British commanders in Boston sent reinforcements to rescue the expedition and they made it back to Boston.

Boston in the 18th Century was a peninsula in name only. Tactically, Boston was an island connected to the mainland by a thin bridge of land.


Over ten thousand militiamen from eastern and southern New England soon arrived to lay siege to the town of Boston.

The Revolutionary War was underway, though it would be more than a year before that fact was fully acknowledged by the rest of the American colonies.

Update: I wrote this post a few days in advance. By coincidence, a friend and I spent an hour today (Patriots' Day) at a pistol range.

Hey, Seriozha, You Want to Give It Another Go?

The Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, has criticised Nato's plan to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan by 2014, saying coalition troops should remain in the country until government forces are capable of ensuring security.
The Russians seem to be feeling their oats recently, maybe they feel up to the task of sending some troops to Afghanistan. (Yeah, that'd go over well amongst the locals.)

Or Lavrov has rather conveniently forgotten that they didn't exactly leave a stable nation behind when they left Afghanistan in 1989.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

In Police States, the Common Phrase You'll Hear: "Show Me Your ID"
"Ваши Документы, Пожалуйста."
"Ihre Papiere, Bitte."

Doesn't matter that you are quietly going about your business in what you may have thought was a free country. Get used to this: It's not, not anymore:
A new program in Houston will place undercover TSA agents and police officers on buses whose job it will be to perform bag searches, watch for “suspicious activity” and interrogate passengers in order to ‘curb crime and terrorism’.
The Houston badged-up goons claim to be detecting "latent crime". How that differs from "pre-crime" is not clear.

I see no appetite by our lawmakers to do anything to stop or even slow down this tide of creeping fascism.

Does Nancy Grace Get Her Horns Ground Off on a Monthly Basis?

Crimus, seeing her this morning on GMA, there might as well have been fire coming out of her eyes and lava pouring out of her mouth.

It wouldn't surprise me to see her leading a campaign to replace lethal injection with public stoning.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Buy-a-Gun Day

Since income taxes are due tomorrow, tomorrow would be BAG Day. I'm not where I can buy one and I'm not sure what I would get.

So I'll settle for going to the pistol range and buying the range time.

When it comes to buy a new gun, though, I'm leaning towards a .44 Special snubbie. Outside of the range of "Crimus, that thing costs as much as one of them HKs made of miracle Kraut polyester", that pretty much leaves the Taurus 445 (discontinued), Rossi 720 (ditto) and the Charter Arms Bulldog for reasonable priced weapons.

Used S&W 696s and 296s sell for the price of a new J-frame Smith. So ditch that.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Is the GOP Holding an Internal "Who's the Looniest" Contest?

I have to wonder about that. Republicans in the Tennessee legislature are on a crusade to stop kids from holding hands. Meanwhile, in Arizona, the state has defined life as beginning up to two weeks before conception.

Odd how all these people get so worked up over the purported rights of fetuses. But once those fetuses are born, those same people don't give a shit what happens after that. I'll bet that if one correlated anti-abortion bills with state support for education, one would find that the less a state spends per pupil, the greater the so-called "pro-life" restrictions.

Republicans seem to be pro-life, but they have great antipathy, if not outright hostility, for people who are living their lives.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Titanic Sank. Get Over It.

Today is the 100th anniversary of the goddamn ship's sinking. Gilded Age, steerage passengers mostly drowned, women & children first, Edwardian-age hubris, unsinkable ship, inadequate rudder, insufficient lifeboats, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Tomorrow, can we all give it a rest until the 150th anniversary?

Dystopia Is Fun!

I saw the Hunger Games this afternoon. If you're interested, you should read the book first. I'm one who doesn't like to have the movie in my head when I read a book; I'd rather let the author's words create the vision.

Ever notice, though, how almost all SF is dystopic or, at least dysfunctional? Babylon V had the Earth governed by a dictatorship that chose the wrong side of the Second Shadow War. Farscape had a military dictatorship attempting to impose its view of order on other planets. Even Star Trek, which in its inception wanted to show a rosy future, had war after war and one species after another trying to obliterate humanity.

The reason is pretty easy to see: Peace and prosperity are boring. There is, however, drama in conflict. Whether the conflict is a teenager trying to outwit a repressive government or an astronaut trying to stay alive or warring spaceships on the edge of the galaxy, it doesn't seem to matter.

SF portays the future as being pretty gritty. I have a bad feeling that, in fifty or a hundred years, the times will be far meaner than we may imagine.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Romneybot

Pat Oliphant's take on it.

One of the features of the Romneybot is that the "pander" button has been jammed in the "on" position for the last six years. Which is why the Romneybot has no memory of signing the Massachusetts health care reform bill into law, AKA "Romneycare".


Note the white-haired gentleman standing behind Romney's left shoulder. That's Ted Kennedy, the man that every conservative despises. He was there because Romney couldn't have gotten his health care law passed without Kennedy's help in persuading Democrats in the Massachusetts legislature to support the bill.

Oh, the Doctoring You'll Doctor, the Medicine You'll Medicine
At the Dr. Seuss Medical School!

Dartmouth College has named its medical school after a famous alum: Theodor 'Ted' Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss.

The Audrey and Theodor Geisel School of Medicine has been named after the couple who has become the school's most significant philanthropist family in its history, according to a release Wednesday.
How much does it take to get a 200 year old medical school to rename itself after you? A shitload:
Geissel was one of the institution's largest financial supporters during his life and his estate has become the single largest private donor since his death in 1991.
Word on the street was that the amount the Geisels have donated was in the low nine figures.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

SETI: Are We Too Early?

The March issue of Scientific American contained an astronomy article that suggested that, as heavier elements become more common, the conditions for life in the universe may be more favorable in the distant future. Planets orbiting red dwarf stars may be the optimum location for life to evolve, as red dwarf stars have very long lives, on the order of hundreds of billions of years, in comparison to our sun, which has an estimated lifespan of ten billion years,

So maybe one reason why SETI hasn't found anything is that our species evolved too early to find anything.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Dead Candidate Walking, or "Let the Flip-Flopping Begin!"

Newtie says that he is staying in the GOP nomination race. While Gingrich might indeed want to debate Romney, Mittens will probably regard a debate with Gingrich as akin to getting into a conversation with a crazy street preacher.

Gingrich bounced his check for the filing fee for the Utah primary. His campaign has to be running out of gas to bounce a $500 check.

Mittens is going to spend the next several months disavowing every position that he staked out during the primary campaign, including that he is not really a "severe conservative", but a oh-slightly-to-the-right-of-center moderate. You can bet your ass that the Obama campaign is not going to miss an opportunity to remind the voters of every batshit thing that Romney has said in his campaign to convince conservatives that he wasn't really a moderate.

The question is whether or not moderates will buy Mitten's upcoming flip-flopping routine and whether conservatives will trust Romney to be anything other than a paler version of Barack Obama. Some of them apparently see Mittens as just an echo.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Breen!

It's what was for dinner last night.

Big Surprise: Secacus Fats Is a Lying Sack of Offal

Independent congressional investigators are raising questions about why New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie scrapped the Hudson River rail tunnel project in 2010. ... But a Government Accountability Office report, obtained by The New York Times, finds cost estimates for the tunnel had remained unchanged and state transportation officials had said the project would cost less than Christie had estimated.
Of course Christie lied. He wanted to cut taxes and if that means that our national transportation infrastructure doesn't get improved, that's just fine with those short-sighted morons.

We have a choice to make in this country. We can have excellent educational systems and we can have first-class transportation systems or we can let those all deteriorate and give massive tax breaks to the rich. We cannot do both.

It should be clear, by now, that the choice of the GOP is to scrap anything that might help people and just give more and more tax cuts to the rich and to those groups that promote ignorance.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The GOP's War on Working Women

The GOP is energetically waging war against working women in Wisconsin. This is what Republican state senator Glenn Grothman had to say, in part about equal pay for women:
"You could argue that money is more important for men. I think a guy in their first job, maybe because they expect to be a breadwinner someday, may be a little more money-conscious."
That particular GOP thug was one of the moves behind the repeal of Wisconsin's Equal Pay Act, a repeal bill that Gov. Walker signed into law last week.

Grothman is the clown who has proposed a bill that would classify being a single parent as a form of child abuse. Which will be good news indeed for those women in Wisconsin whose husbands have been killed in the Many Wars of the Chimperor.

Funny thing how people in this country will condemn extremists in other countries who devalue women. I'll bet that you can find statements by Republicans decrying discrimination against women in Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan,* but they close their eyes and ears to the extremists in their own party who are calling for discriminating against women.
________________________________________
* On second thought, I won't place that bet.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Fry These Guys

Crap like this deserves the death penalty:
Authorities in Oklahoma arrested two people early Sunday in connection with a deadly spate of apparently random shootings in Tulsa that have had residents on edge.

About 30 representatives from four law enforcement agencies -- the Tulsa police, Tulsa County Sheriff's Office, the U.S. Marshals Service and the FBI -- had been working around the clock looking for the person that authorities say killed three people and wounded two others in shooting attacks early Friday. ... Both [asswipes] are white. All the victims were African-American.
This one is going to resonate a bit, for Tulsa had a particularly bloody racial pogrom in 1921 that included aerial bombardment of residential areas. Over 300 Black folk were murdered; nobody ever went to prison for the massacre.

Romney on Israel: "Bibi, What Would You Like Me to Do?"

It is hard to read this as anything other than Mittens would give Israel a veto over American foreign policy in the Middle East:
In a telling exchange during a Republican debate in December, Romney criticized Gingrich for making a disparaging remark about Palestinians, declaring: "Before I made a statement of that nature, I'd get on the phone to my friend, Bibi Netanyahu, and say: 'Would it help if I say this? What would you like me to do?'"
This is about as odious as George Bush's (both father and son) coziness with the House of Saud.

I believe that American presidents should do what is in the best interest of this country. To put the interests of any other country before ours smacks of treason.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Middle of the Night Inspiration

I keep a little pad of paper and a pen on my nightstand. Sometimes I wake up during the night with an idea, so I jot it down and see if it makes sense the next day.

You can be the judge as to whether last night's idea has any merit:


Somehow, I don't see "clams a la mode" showing up on menus nationwide. It was probably inspired by eating a mess of scallops, along with fish and chips at a lenten fish fry yesterday. The Portuguese Holy Ghost Society in Stonington Borough, CT, throws a fish fry every Friday during Lent. If you're in the area next year and if you like seafood, it's not to be missed.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Switch Off

I've gotten rid of those stinking comment verification thingies. I'll run the risk of this being a low enough profile blog that the spammers will go elsewhere.

But if they show up, I'll throw the crypto lock back on.

Next to Market: The "Tactical Club"

A "tactical tomahawk"? Really?


I'm thinking of finding some smooth orange-sized rocks, painting them with a black enamel paint, and selling them as "tactical hand clubs".

Thursday, April 5, 2012

SSTs and LightSquared

LightSquared is likely to file bankruptcy. The CEO says it will be voluntary. I have little doubt that the creditors will press for a liquidation. Frankly, I feel that LightSquared can't go away fast enough. And they're not the first company to jump on a part of the EM spectrum, only to discover that they couldn't use it.

NASA thinks that it will soon be possible to make a small business jet that can operate supersonically over land.
NASA is claiming a breakthrough in the design of supersonic aircraft, with wind-tunnel tests proving it is possible to design configurations that combine low sonic boom with low cruise drag, characteristics once thought to be mutually exclusive.
As noted in the article, one of the issues is the size of the aircraft-- bigger airplanes have a louder sonic boom. So they may be able to do this with a bizjet. And they'll sell, just like the Citation X has sold.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Wheels of Justice Grind Slowly; NOLA Edition

But they do, on occasion, grind out some justice:
A federal judge Wednesday sentenced five former New Orleans police officers to prison terms ranging from six to 65 years for the shootings of unarmed civilians in the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, prosecutors said.
One cop got 65 years, two got 40 years, one got 38 years and one, who tried to cover up the shootings, got six years.

Federal inmates have to do a minimum of 85% of their sentence in order to be eligible for parole, so the shooters are mostly going to be in prison until close to the middle of the century.

NYPD: Will Stop and Frisk Women to Prevent Sex Crimes

That sounds outrageous, no doubt, but that is exactly the NYPD's rationale for stopping and searching Black and Hispanic men:
At a recent City Council hearing on “stop, question and frisk,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly testified that 96% of shooting victims in New York are people of color and therefore, stopping and questioning suspicious individuals in minority communities is justified.
This can go even further: If the cops determine that white males in luxury cars are subject to being carjacked, then the cops should start pulling over Acuras and Beemers to search the cars and frisk the drivers.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Caturday; Memorial Edition

George. August 17, 1996- April 3, 2012


He had early kidney failure and then he developed a kidney infection. Even with a course of antibiotics, it was clear to me that George was going downhill. Over the last two weeks, he lost a quarter of a pound, which was a significant weight loss for a skinny cat. He also was losing control of his bladder. Unless there was table scraps in the prospect, George had gotten more and more lethargic and he was sleeping more and more.

I can't ignore the possibility that Gracie's death and absence hit George hard. George and Gracie grew up together and they were playmates all of their lives. His condition seemed to deteriorate more in the last several weeks.

It was his time.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Bend Over and Spread Them Ass Cheecks, Bucko!

The Supremes say that the cops can strip-search everybody they arrest for no goddamned reason whatsoever.

The justices so holding were the usual five who support damn near anything that the cops want to do.

Update: Daily Show, which points out that the conservatives, in particular, are flip-flopping mightily on the principle of judicial review.

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