Saturday, April 4, 2009

"...the toaster won't stop screaming at him"

Since my weekends around here are mostly for fun and a much needed break from the news of the week, join me in having some fun with El Rude-o's skewering of The Boss Hobo On The Crazy Train:

At this point, we all know that Fox "news" host Glenn Beck is like a hundred pounds of crazy shit shoved in a fifty-pound bag. You get that by watching two minutes of his show, where he throws around words like "socialist" and "fascist" without having the least understanding of what they mean. Really, it's like listening to a 911 call from a brain damaged shut-in who can't figure out the can opener. And that the toaster won't stop screaming at him.

A visit to his website yields a whole new level of bugfuckery. Watch the recent video he posted titled "Sarah Palin Bikini Video," where he chastises people for searching for cheesecake photos and videos of the conservative dream date. Beck snorts and stomps that such things don't exist (except, dear right-wing masturbators, a shot of Palin in shorts conveniently sucking a straw), twitching like the weasels in his mind just took another bite of his medulla oblongata. Seriously, if the Rude Pundit was approached by someone acting like that in a bar, he'd break a beer bottle over the fucker's head and declare that he had saved everyone's life.

I will gladly buy the Rude Pundit a replacement for that beer! He'd get poured outta the joint 'cuz so would everybody else.


A friend of mine says that they key to survival is "cold steel, hard cash, dry socks, and stay away from redheaded women!". Sometimes I slip up a little on that last one...

Bonnie Raitt ~ Nick Of Time

Thanks to WellExcuuuseMeee, West Haven CT. This guy has put up over 2400 music vids since February. Get some sleep, dude!

Saturday give-Emmylou-an-assist Music Blogging

This is from The Transatlantic Sessions, which I loved, and which I miss because that goddam SuddenLink megacable company took my Ovation away. Waaaah....

Mary Black ~ By The Time It Gets Dark

Thanks to dashdlux, Spain.

Adieu Mein Kleiner Gardeoffizier

Some of you will no doubt say I am некультурный and you'd be right, but I just discovered Nana Mouskouri, whom I find to have been one of the most popular singers in the western world for maybe forty years. Live and learn. The song is 'Adieu Mein Kleiner Gardeoffizier' which I think translates something like 'Time's up sailor, hit the bricks'. I don't understand much of it, but this gal is so good she could be farting the Hamburg Yellow Pages for all I care! This is one of her lighter pieces.

Thanks to nad001.

The George W. Bush Presidential Librarium

Go see. Roll your mouse over it.

Friday, April 3, 2009

If Cheney had had his way...

...this would be coming to a neighborhood near you:

Die Wehrmacht - Russland

This video's OK, but no thanks or link to a neo-Nazi.

Obama wows Europeans as Bush era is consigned to the toxic dumpster of history

The hazmat crews have barely begun on what he left behind, but at least we've started on the massive cleanup.


The excitement generated by U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to both sides of the French-German border was a sharp contrast to the angry protests that often greeted his predecessor George W. Bush on trips to the continent.

"I wanted to tell you that your name in Hungarian means 'peach'," a girl from Heidelberg, Germany, gushed to Obama, at a townhall meeting.

Oh effin' swell. Now we got a President nicknamed 'Peachy'. Heh.

In scenes repeating his European visit last year as a presidential candidate, Obama was cheered when he arrived in Strasbourg and received a kiss from a woman in the crowd as he headed for talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Easy there, Carla...

It is sooooo much nicer to blog about stuff like this than it was to post about the Chimp's brain-deadity and total lack of courtesy and couth when he was abroad.

No more suckin' paint, kids. Or ridin' minibikes.

I guess I kinda got a theme today. Following up on the post below, here's an example of bureaucratic stupidity that has the motorcycle industry positively ablaze right now. The government does a lot of stupid things, but this one takes the cake.

By David Edwards in Cycle World, but there are thousands of articles about it. Links and video.

Your kid licked a battery terminal lately? Sucked on a Schrader valve?

Neither has Jason Horne's son Logan, but when Mr. Horne took the family's Polaris ATV into his local dealer for servicing, he was turned away, told it was now illegal for the shop to sell or work on minibikes and small all-terrain vehicles.

For that you can thank the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, enacted last fall and put into effect February 10. The law had noble intentions—to protect children from lead content in toys following the recall of millions of Chinese-made items—and was overwhelmingly passed by Congress. It imposes a tough new lead-content limit of 600 parts per million for any product intended for children under 12.

Problem is the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the federal agency charged with "protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from thousands of types of consumer products," to quote its own website, has chosen to apply the law to youth ATVs and motorcycles, effectively banning them.

"Some ATV and motorcycle parts unavoidably contain small quantities of lead," explained Paul Vitrano, VP and general counsel of the Motorcycle Industry Council. "Lead in these components is necessary, either for safety, as in the case of facilitating the machining of tire valves, critical to assuring air retention, or for functionality, such as the lead in battery terminals, which is needed to conduct electricity."

Trace amounts of lead are also found in electrical connectors, brake and clutch levers, engine cases, carburetors and frames, none of which are likely to be ingested by children. The lead strengthens the metals and resists corrosion, said Vitrano.

Financial repercussions of the ban are staggering, especially for an industry hit hard by last autumn's economic free fall — the Christmas sales period, prime time for kids' dirtbikes and quads, was the slowest in years. Now add the new lead-content rules, which as interpreted by the CPSC block the sale of up to 100,000 units. Dealernews estimates that the value of inventory now sitting in warehouses that can no longer be sold exceeds $100 million. Factor in sales, service, parts, accessories and payroll (if employees have to be laid off) and the downside could be $1 billion in lost economic value annually for the powersports industry, predicts the MIC.

There was a chance in early March that some well-placed gumption could have put all this right. The CPSC has the power to grant exclusions. The MIC petitioned for such an exclusion in this case based on existing European Union studies and analogous exemptions for lead in components of full-sized motorized vehicles.

"Our expert toxicologist says the lead-intake risk associated with riding is significantly less than the default lead levels for food and water," said Vitrano. (my em)

Those negligible amounts—in essence, not detectable, said the expert—failed to persuade the CPSC to grant exclusion. Neither did the thousands of e-mails and letters sent in by concerned enthusiasts. Instead, the commission claimed to be conscripted by guideline language disallowing exemptions if there is "any"* possibility of absorption of lead into the body of a child.

"The CPSC's narrow and literal interpretation was not helpful to our request," said Vitrano in a diplomatic understatement.

The commission's non-action throws the matter back into the legislative arena, which could be a time-intensive process given the government's many issues these days. To get the latest on the situation and to find out how best to make your voice heard on this matter, check in with the MIC's website,, and its "Stop the Ban" section.

Luckily, we have friends in high places. Missouri State Representative Tom Self (, for instance, whose family rides and races off-road.

"The Consumer Product Safety Commission needs to take a common-sense approach to implementation of the CPSIA's lead provisions in order to avoid major disruptions to youth ATV and motorcycle enthusiasts, owners, manufacturers and the dealer network of thousands of small, independent businesses which employ tens of thousands of Americans," wrote Self in a house resolution. "While protecting children from those products that truly present a lead risk is important, there should be a waiver or exclusion for products that do not present risk to children."

That kind of pragmatic, straight thinking will take you far, Mr. Self. Maybe even all the way to national office. I'm thinking Chairman of the CPSC for starters...

*One word. One poorly chosen word out of God knows how many pages in a law, probably not even read by those who signed it into law, and the CPSC is so bureaucratically chickenshit that they feel they are required to take it literally and fly in the face of common sense, thus wrecking a fine family sport and a good percentage of a whole industry. Especially in these harsh economic times. It is not only stupid, but downright unconscionable. Besides, there's liable to be a whole generation of kids deprived of the thrill of roosting the neighbor's rose bushes. And replanting them with a sore ass. Heh.

Yes, of course we want to keep kids safe from lead poisoning, but in forty years in the motorcycle biz I've never even once seen a kid break open his bike's battery and snort the contents. Or lick the paint. I will admit to seeing them eat various parts of the bikes on their way to the ER, but that's more metaphorical than literal.

Lead is a poisonous heavy metal. It is everywhere on this earth, along with other heavy metals like uranium, and can be found in trace amounts in our bodies like every other goddam element. Anyone who has ever watched me prepare to do any kind of work would say I have an overload of lead over work ethic in my ass, but that's another story.

This law is good intentions gone awry and run amuck. Just another brick in the road to Hell.


From Jean Turner of Cycle News, April 1:

Michigan Congressman John Dingell wrote a letter to the CPSC, basically asking Acting Chairman Nancy Nord to explain what the problems are with the new law. Dingell asked a list of questions, one of which was “...Does CPSC believe that [youth motorcycles] present a risk to children for the absorption of lead?”

Nord was surprisingly supportive of the OHV industry in her response. Her letter read: “The possibility that children will suffer significant lead exposures from these classes of vehicles appears to be remote at best.” She went on to say (in an underlined sentence), “A child using an adult ATV as a substitute would face a far graver and more immediate risk than that of the possible lead exposure from the youth ATVs.”

Following are the CPSC’s list of potential solutions:
• postponing the deadline for sales (not manufacture) of products above the limits;
• lowering the age limit for children’s products;
• exempting some or all children’s products that are not kept in the house, such as bicycles and ATVs;
• giving the CPSC greater discretion to exclude products that pose a negligible risk;

So rest assured: the CPSC is listening. They understand what our industry is going through and wants to resolve this problem.

This one saddens me:

Representative Henry Waxman and Senator Barbara Boxer are the two who wrote the lead regulation of the CPSIA. Boxer can't even be troubled to respond to those who suffer in the disastrous wake of her poorly thought-out law. In fact, Malcolm Smith himself received a letter back from the California Senator thanking him for voicing his concerns about the budget crisis.

I guess Babs, who represents the state with the most motorcycles, mine, has bigger fish to fry than worrying about a little $billion$ industry. Sigh.

To his everlasting credit, Malcolm also defied the ban and continued selling kids' bikes out of his dealership. Malcolm was the star of On Any Sunday and a motorcycling legend.

There is currently a rally going on in Washington D.C. today (not an April Fool’s joke) including more than just powersports industry supporters, but members of many other industries that have been affected by the CPSIA, including makers of toys, clothing, books and bicycles.

“My favorite ones are children’s medical devices,” Hilbert said with a laugh. “There are [leg] braces for kids with Polio that have to be pulled off the market because they can’t meet the letter of the law. It’s highly ridiculous at some levels.”

Holy shit! Forget not bein' able to go dirt riding! This law is gonna have kids crawling instead of walking if something isn't done!

In fairness, it appears that the CPSC is aware that this legislation is awful as written and are aware also that something needs to be done. They are under-funded and under-staffed, which I think can be summed up with the following:

Bush administration x corporate profit x deregulation + castrating & downsizing consumer protection = plenty of Chinese lead for every child.

The well-meaning CSPIA is a hurriedly and poorly written overreaction and needs to be corrected. The snail pace of legislative action is not a help.

Forgive me for giving so much space to this, but this is a subject near and dear to my heart. I think motorcycles and all the other motor sports are the absolute finest family activities there are and a terrific way to give kids something fun and exciting to do and keep them out of trouble.

Industrial Hemp Called 'No-Brainer' Reform

One would think that Congress is the perfect place to take a 'no-brainer' but it doesn't work that way...

On The Hill

For the third time since the federal government outlawed hemp farming in the United States more than 50 years ago, a federal bill will be introduced that will remove restrictions on the cultivation of non-intoxicating industrial hemp.

The chief sponsors, Reps. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Ron Paul (R-Texas) have circulated a dear colleague letter seeking support for the Industrial Hemp Farming Act. The bill will be identical to HR 1009 which was introduced in the 110th Congress, according to a hemp advocacy group.

"Under the current national drug control policy, industrial hemp can be imported, but it can't be grown by American farmers," says Vote Hemp's Steenstra. "The DEA has taken the Controlled Substances Act's antiquated definition of marijuana out of context and used it as an excuse to ban industrial hemp farming. The Industrial Hemp Farming Act will bring us back to more rational times when the government regulated marijuana, but told farmers they could go ahead and continue raising hemp just as they always had."

I hope this bill will go somewhere this time. It probably won't. Common Sense Be Damned should be Congress' motto.

From Vote Hemp:

Canadian Govt. Can Tell Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana, Why Can't the US?

Because the Canuckistanian government isn't near as stupid, nor is it in thrall to a puritanical mindset or the pharmaceutical and liquor lobbies. On the off chance that someone, somewhere, will be stupid enough to try and smoke enough ditchweed to get high, the sentiment seems to be, "Ya wanta get yer head, ya use our profit-generatin' dope or go to jail." Our government damn well knows the difference between rope or canvas and smokin' dope, but the tighter the rules and the more intensive the enforcement, the bigger the DEA can get and the bigger its budget and power.

Also see:

Hemp Hoe Down. Gee, that sounds like Saturday night at Fixer's house! Actually, in all seriousness, the F-Man's weapons-grade mota is best not wasted on practical applications! Heh.

Native Americans & Hemp: A call for reverse colonization. Basically, everything about growing hemp in states where it is legal on supposedly sovereign Indian land, to which the DEA's attitude is 'fuck your sovereignty, blanket ass, and the state you live in'.

Hemp as bio-fuel. Tried it. The roaches kept clogging the fuel filter...

Busy, busy ...

As you've probably noticed, I haven't been so prolific here lately. Busy at the shop, busy at home. Back in the swing of things soon.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Happy Birthday, Emmylou!

Today is Emmylou's birthday. Since ladies' ages are never discussed by gentlemen, let's just say the campfire permit for the candles on her cake is slightly easier to obtain than mine and ain't she gorgeous?

Emmylou Harris ~ High-Powered Love & I Don't Want To Talk About It Now

Thanks to elp1978.

Willful ignorance ...

As I've said before, I don't want to hear any crying from the people who invested with Bernie Madoff. Most of his investors had a pretty good inkling (except for the SEC, it seems) he was up to no good but their greed trumped their common sense. Sorry, but I ain't bailing your asses out.

Associates of convicted Wall Street swindler Bernard Madoff knew he was scamming his clients but joined in anyway because of the big money they could make, a securities investigator testified in a sworn affidavit for a Connecticut court.


"It is my opinion ... that [the funds and their principals] were all aware that Bernard L. Madoff was engaging in illegal conduct in connection with his purported money management operations and intentionally chose to participate and support Madoff's illegal conduct in order to reap enormous illicit financial benefits," he [investigator Edward H. Seidle] stated.


STFU and take your lumps. I'm going to work.

Thanks to Chris for the link.

Professional whining ...

Or, We're being persecuted by the Liberals!!! Greenwald:


Exemplifying the deeply self-pitying theme of the entire discussion, Jonah ["The Pantload" Goldberg] continuously insisted that conservative magazines are so very, very important to the political landscape -- indispensably so -- because conservative voices are frozen out of mainstream media venues by The Liberal Media, so that poor, lonely, stigmatized conservatives can only get right-wing opinion in places like Weekly Standard and National Review. In between Jonah's petulant laments about how conservative opinion cannot be heard in The Mainstream Media, Bill Kristol talked about his New York Times column and his Washington Post column, John Podhoretz told stories about his tenure editing The New York Post Editorial Page and Charles Krauthammer's years of writing a column for Time and The New Republic, and Jonah referenced his Los Angeles Times column. None of them ever recognized the gaping disparity between those facts and their woe-is-us whining about conservative voices like theirs being shut out of The Liberal Media. So important in conservative mythology is self-victimization that they maintain it even as they themselves unwittingly provide the facts which disprove it. [my em]


It's amazing how quickly conservatives' memories can fade. Why, just a few short years ago, anything they said was taken as gospel by "the liberal media" but, now that 'ideological cleansing' has taken place, they can't get their views heard anywhere ... like CNN for example. Because, you know, "the best political team on television" is really nothing more than a Socialist front.

I can't believe we let these assholes run the country for 8 years.

I Love Noo Yawk!

Light blogging today. Places to go, things to see, people to do, you know how it goes, so I'll just leave ya with this. It'll make ya smile. If ya got anything in yer jibs, get rid of it.

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Unmaking of A Marine

If you are interested in Veterans Affairs as we are, go read this book review.

If Boudreau's brutally honest, devastatingly accurate, hard-hitting memoir, Packing Inferno: The Unmaking of a Marine were read by the powers that be in Washington, D.C. and by the journalists assigned to cover both military conflicts, there is absolutely no way in hell the plight of our nation's veterans would take a backseat to the issues currently dominating the evening news coverage or the topics of conversations at dinner tables throughout the country.

And therein lies one of the central themes of Boudreau's 222-page book: the images of the war he has heroically fought have been implanted inside of his mind and are on a permanent loop.

"To say I was duped is not sufficient to lighten the load," he writes. (my em)

The post-traumatic stress of the war in Iraq will forever be a part of Boudreau's identity and it will be a lifelong battle to keep it in check. For some soldiers, post-traumatic stress is the precursor to suicide, for others it leads to a life of drug abuse, alcoholism, or crime.

Boudreau said "the smallest action or phrase from a commander can influence Marines and other soldiers not to seek help."

"The pressure to prepare ourselves quickly was intense. When the first Marine came to my office and asked to see the psychiatrist about some troubling issues from our time in Iraq, I was sympathetic. I said, "No problem." When another half dozen or so Marines approached me with the same request, I was only somewhat concerned."

"But when all of them and several more returned from their appointments with recommendations for discharge, I'll admit I was alarmed. Suddenly I was not as concerned about their mental health as I was about my company's troop strength."

Boudreau said the treatment of post-traumatic stress is antithetical to the mantra of "Mission Accomplished."

"The mission will always supersede treatment," Boudreau said. "And because of that the treatment will always be dubious."

"And all the talk from bureaucrats about putting an end to multiple deployments, which has been blamed on the skyrocketing cases of post-traumatic stress and suicides, is inconceivable," Boudreau said.

"I've heard the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff say 'we have to change this ethic,'" Boudreau said. "But it's not going to happen. Why? Because the military cannot afford a 20 percent reduction in its force."

There are hundreds of thousands of known PTSD and an untold much larger number that are as yet undiagnosed or have not surfaced yet. This is a problem that will be with us until the last Veteran of Bush's Dual Clusterfuck dies eighty years from now. Or depending on how long the Iraq and Afghanistan wars continue, 150 years from now. We had better do some serious thinking as a nation about how to deal with it in a compassionate and effective manner or we are going to pay a tremendous human and societal price for Bush's criminal imperial misadventures. The cost of his entire administration in actual money so far, both current and the debt passed to two or three generations yet to come, will be as nothing compared to the cost of not doing the right thing for these Veterans.

Crossposted at The American Patriot Institute.

How Close the Bush Bullet

I was reading a piece at The Public Record about Yoo and Bybee's torture and other legal memos, which basically left me with the impression that Bush and Cheney are going to hang these fuckers out to dry - "But my lawyer said it was OK! It's all his fault!"

Bush officials insist that they were acting under the guidance of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, which advises Presidents on the scope of their constitutional powers. For the OPR report to conclude that Yoo, Bybee and Bradbury violated their professional duties as lawyers and, in effect, gave Bush pre-cooked legal opinions to do what he already wanted to do would shatter that line of defense.

Shatter away. Those whores belong in the juzgado with their pimps. The term 'jailhouse lawyer' may take on a whole new meaning when the jailhouse is fulla Bush & Cheney lawyers.

In the juzgado vein, there's a coupla short paragraphs at the end about Judge Baltasar Garzon, my new hero.

That article was basically about high-power lawyers slingin' bullshit boilerplate on request and perhaps beginning to regret it, but it led me to an article that I had missed earlier in the month, a 'recommended read' by Robert Parry.

Earlier this decade when some of us warned that George W. Bush was behaving more like an incipient dictator than the leader of a constitutional republic, we were dismissed as alarmists, left-wingers, traitors and a host of less printable epithets.

I have been called many things, but I am positively proud to claim the title of anti-Bush regime 'less printable epithet'!

The only real problem with being called names by the Repugs is that they're basically cowards and won't do it to your face where you can, er, counsel them on the error of their ways, perhaps with a 'moment of prayer', where they do all the prayin' that you'll stop counsellin' 'em. Heh. But I digress...

According to his administration's secret legal memos released Monday, Bush could waive all meaningful constitutional rights of citizens, including the First Amendment’s protections on free speech and a free press.

What was particularly stunning about Yoo’s reference to waiving the First Amendment – a pillar of American democracy – was his cavalier attitude. He tossed the paragraph into a memo focused on stripping Americans of their Fourth Amendment “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.”

I think the legal term for that sort of inclusion is 'the fine print', like in a used-car 'guarantee'. You'll never see it until the damn thing breaks and you want it fixed and they call your attention to the part that says 'fuck you'.

The significance of Yoo’s throwaway paragraph about throwing away the First Amendment is that it suggests that the Bush administration intended as early as October 2001 to act against journalists and citizens who were viewed as undermining Bush’s “war on terror” through public comments or disclosures.

So, a seemingly incongruous reference to overriding the First Amendment – in a memo centered on overriding the Fourth Amendment – could be explained by the desire of White House officials to have some legal cover for actions aimed at journalists who were exposing secrets or whose reporting might weaken the national resolve behind Bush’s actions.

A free press is not in the best interests of the vast right-wing conspiracy against this country. They've actually pretty much eliminated it anyway by buying it up. Freedom of the press is for those who own a press. Freedom of speech is damn hard to kill, though, thank you Founding Fathers, but they keep trying.

Here's the last line and the money shot:

In other words, Bush’s assault on America’s constitutional Republic may have been more aggressive than many of us imagined. It was a bullet that came close to the heart of a dream dating back to 1776.

We may never know exactly how close we came. Bush doesn't have the brain power to come up with any of this himself, but Cheney sure as shit does. That the dictatorship did not get as far as it might have may be because widespread dissent, sadly missing for most of The Bush Years, did not get dangerous enough for them to implement it, but given the distancing of Bush from Cheney during the last coupla years of his fake presidency, it may have dawned on Bush in that dim bulb of a brain of his that The Dick had led him down the garden path to being The Worst President We've Ever Had, destroyed his chances at any kind of good historical legacy, realized that he, George W. Favored Son, was in fact the titular president who would be the one who was going to, is going to, catch all the heat, and may in fact have been installed as a patsy simply to take the rap for the (now, luckily) failed neocon agenda in the first place, further realized that the greatness he had been promised for going along was a scam on him from the gate, and simply put his foot down.

Even after the truth about Cheney and the neocons really, really comes out, and it will, and by that I mean that the general public accepts and understands what they tried to do, Bush's name was on the door and he is most certainly to blame for the disaster of his eight years, but it pains me to think that the puppet Bush may be due partial credit for not letting Cheney and the neocons complete their coup d'etat.

Two things happened in that post:

1) My stream-of-unconsciousness 'style' may have spewed out the longest, most convoluted sentence of my career, and

2) I eased my metaphorical foot off Bush's metaphorical neck for a second. I must be going soft in my old age. Or maybe after 4½ years of blogging against him it was just time to change my socks.

Change ...

I can believe in. It's nice to have a majority but will the Rethugs try to filibuster when it gets to the Senate?

Speaker Pelosi and Congressman Ed Markey (D-MA) held a conference call this morning to discuss comprehensive energy legislation. This debate is starting because Markey, who chairs the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Climate Change, joined with House Energy, and Commerce Chair Henry Waxman released a draft of their legislation titled, "The American Clean Energy and Security Act"

Pelosi stated that this legislation would put us on "a new path." She offered praise for President Obama, who put an emphasis in his budget on energy. She also said passing the budget this week is the first step in this process. Pelosi maintains the new energy bill addresses a national security issue, economic issue, environmental health issue and a "moral issue to preserve god’s creation." The Speaker's statement and links to the draft documents can be found on her blog, The Gavel.


After 8 years of an energy policy that was considered a National Secret except to those in the room (Cheney and oil company execs) when it was crafted, it's nice to see our elected reps look to the future instead of to short-term profit for their cronies. You can bet Big Oil is gonna put a full court press on the pols in their pocket to keep this from seeing the light of day.

Late for work ...

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Lemon aid

Jon Stewart follows up on Fixer's post. I'm surprised he didn't do any 'FIAT' jokes like 'Fix It Again Tony' or 'Failed Italian Attempt at Transportation'. Maybe he will, this is going to be with us for a while. Or maybe they're just too lame for the young folks who might not even get the reference to the Guinea crapcans of yore.

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Does anybody but me see the awful, awesome, cynical irony in the FIAT deal? How is a company that couldn't make it in partnership with Mercedes-Benz going to do any better with FIAT? I'd really like to know. I'd buy a Plymouth- or DeSoto-badged Vespa if that would help!

By the way, I happen to like Chrysler products and have owned several of them over the years and was happy with them all. My first car, in '61, was a '50 Chrysler that my Dad bought new, and I've had a Plymouth and a few Dodge trucks including the '92 Dakota I'm driving now, which I like even though an awful lot of little things like the transmission* and cooling system are a lot newer than the rest of it.

*I blame my sister-in-law, from whom I bought the truck, who would never understand that the gear ratios and shift points were selected for CAFE purposes and 'D' is for light loads and flat roads. Either that, or she screwed it up on purpose, planning to sell it to a librul. I use the 'OD lockout' button every time until I'm up to cruising speed. I do the same thing with my Tacoma and use '4' around town and '5' on the highway.

While I was doing a little research, I came up with a lot of answers to questions I didn't even know I had, like the Vespa reference above. Another subsidiary of FIAT made the electrics for the Sherco I bought a few months back which might help explain why I haven't coaxed a spark outta that thing yet! Maybe also why the bike was such a good deal. I found about 5 things wrong with its ignition system, only one of which cost any money to fix, but she no-a run yet. I put it away when it got too cold in my work area, aka my driveway, but I'll take another run at it when the ice and snow quit dripping. I'm running out of possible problems to correct, I think. The whole wiring system is only about three feet long, components and all. Victory over Wop electrics will be mine I tell you!

Spanish Inquisition and then some...

There's been an awful lot of material out there the last coupla days on the Spanish judge going after the torturers, Abu Zabayda, Dawn Johnsen, etc., etc., and blogging about them one at a time might have missed the larger point. I couldn't have figured out how to tie them all together in my wildest dreams, but Rachel Maddow, obviously a regular reader of my mind, does it beautifully in this 12-minute clip, presented here for all our readers whose rabbit ears have gone on the blink and might have missed it. Cable rabbit ears? Oh, well...

And even as old as I am, I never watched Walter Cronkite with my pants around my ankles. Rachel is a big improvement.

Scared Cheney puts his head in the noose

As appealing as that title is, not literally. Not yet.

Andrew Sullivan in the Timesonline (UK).

Barack Obama’s most underrated talent is his ability to get his enemies to self-destruct. [...]

Obama is about as far from apolitical as you can get; and while he is a decent fellow, he is also a lethal Chicago pol. His greatest achievement in this respect was the total implosion of Bill Clinton around this time last year: Hillary was next. Then came John McCain, merrily strapping on the suicide bomb of Sarah Palin.

Normally I wouldn't break a paragraph in the middle, but I can't let that pass without comment. Mr. Sullivan is a professional and chose his words carefully so that normal folks would get the visual of Palin-as-suicide-vest while the rest of us would see Palin-as-McCain's-strap-on, beautiful imagery that suggests an erect Palin where his manhood oughta be, and by implication, what he intended to do to the rest of us with her. Nice touch, Andy. Luckily for the rest of us, McLame's 'suicide dildo bomb' went off while it was up his own ass.

With the fate of all these formidable figures impossible to miss, one has to wonder what possessed Dick Cheney, the former vice-president, to come lumbering out twice in the first 50 days of the Obama administration to blast the new guy on national television.

It is fine for a former vice-president to criticise his successor in due course. But there is a decorum that allows for a new president not to be immediately undermined by his predecessor. To be accused of what amounts to treason – a willingness to endanger the lives of Americans – is simply unheard of.

Cheney’s critique of Obama’s policies was also inaccurate. [...]

So what was Cheney thinking? My guess is that he fears he is in trouble. This fear has been created by Obama, but indirectly. Obama has declined to launch a prosecution of Cheney for war crimes, as many in his party (and outside it) would like. He has set up a review of detention, rendition and interrogation policies. And he has simply declassified many of the infamous torture memos kept under wraps by Bush.

He has the power to do this, and much of the time it is in response to outside requests. But as the memos have emerged, the awful truth of what Cheney actually authorised becomes harder and harder to deny. And Cheney is desperately trying to maintain a grip on the narrative before it grips him by the throat.

Time is not on Cheney's side. Given the slowness of what oughta be a cut-and-dried investigation and indictment, The Dick might just die before the world gets a little justice on him. I want him alive to see it. History will judge him the same either way, but I want him to watch the proceedings and shuffle off this mortal coil at the end of a long drop on a short rope.

According to the movie, William Wallace cried "Freedom!" as he was being drawn and quartered. I'll bet the heart-, soul-, and conscience-less Cheney can manage a "Go fuck yourselves" as the trapdoor drops.

Maybe it's a little cold of me, but I want Bush, Feith, Kristol, Yoo, Addington, and so on and so on 'til there's no neocons and torturers left, to watch Cheney drop to his reward while they're waiting in line for their turns. I want to see them whimper and cry and shake uncontrollably with their coward's fear that has hurt so many. I want to see their final acts to be to soil themselves and die on national TV with a pantload, absolutely broken and humiliated, and I want the world to remember them that way for all time. I'm not nice about this and see no need to be. It ain't gonna happen, but the thought of revenge for what they've done helps keep the fire in my belly lit.

Please read the rest of the article.

Jennifer Granholm is full of shit ...

Being I make my living in the car industry, the Governor of Michigan was nothing but a shill for automakers yesterday. I know she knows better.


It’s fine and dandy for the governor to cheer for the home team, but she shouldn’t do so at the expense of reality. The American auto industry has spent the last few decades fat, dumb, and happy. They allowed the Japanese to get ahead of them in the game, not due to some nefarious plot from the UAW but due to their own idiotic inertia.


They allowed everybody to get ahead of them. When you build crap while the competition is putting out quality, there's no one else to blame. Look, I work on 20 and 25 year old Hondas, Toyotas, and Nissans all day long. I can't remember the last time I worked on a 25 year old Chevy or an old Chrylser 'K-car' (remember them?). Know why? Because they're all in the junk yard. I feel very bad for the folks who work for GM, but the leadership there has dropped the ball too many times and General Motors has been left behind. It's bad enough I have to support the banks, I ain't supporting a car company.

Off to work ...

And an addendum: Does Barry think (being he guaranteed GM's warranties, even if they go under) the independent shops are gonna do work at a government labor rate and book time allowances? And then how long are they gonna wait to get paid? If GM goes out, Mr. President, you'd better keep a couple dealerships open or ain't shit getting done warranty-wise. None of the shop owners I know of want to be bothered.

Afghanistan ...

Is gonna need a lot more help than we can provide:

Afghanistan's President, Hamid Karzai, has signed a law which "legalises" rape, women's groups and the United Nations warn. Critics claim the president helped rush the bill through parliament in a bid to appease Islamic fundamentalists ahead of elections in August.

In a massive blow for women's rights, the new Shia Family Law negates the need for sexual consent between married couples, tacitly approves child marriage and restricts a woman's right to leave the home, according to UN papers seen by The Independent.


I still don't see how we're gonna do anything there besides getting good Americans killed. I don't like giving up on anyone but it seems these people are regressing. What Obama and the rest of them don't get is that you can't bring people forward a thousand years developmentally in the matter of a few years. Look at what happened in Iraq and they were one of the most "westernized" of the Islamic nations. Afghanistan is centuries behind them. I don't see how we're fighting anything but a losing battle there.

Great thanks to Chris for the link.

Monday, March 30, 2009

How you get from Albert Einstein to Ray Bradbury

If you like science and science fiction, as I do, this makes perfect sense. Has to do with Google searches. Still makes sense, although I wonder about the conspicuous (to me) absence of Heinlein.

The Wonder Wheel

As you can see, Carl Sagan is quite a connector. People searching for Carl Sagan also searched for real scientists like Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking and Richard Dawkins -- some even were hoping to find Carl Sagan's books. It seems Carl Sagan has a fairly literary following: They also searched for science fiction author Isaac Asimov, who sparked searches for other authors -- Arthur C. Clarke and Ray Bradbury.

So that's the path: Albert Einstein to Carl Sagan to Isaac Asimov to Ray Bradbury.

If only the Wonder Wheel were rolled out for general use. Who comes after Ray Bradbury? What overlap do they have with those who come after Arthur C. Clarke? When do next-generation science fiction authors begin to surface? This is the kind of toy -- I mean tool! -- we could use for hours.

'Get a good lawyer,' lawyer tells former Bush official

Raw Story

Douglas Feith, former undersecretary of defense under President George W. Bush, is accused by Spanish human rights lawyers of providing legal cover to Bush policies under which detainees were tortured. The lawyers want to try a number of Bush officials -- among them former Bush Attorney General Alberto Gonzales -- in Spanish court.

Feith fired back in an interview Sunday, saying, "the charges as related to me make no sense."

"They criticize me for promoting a controversial position that I never advocated," Feith added.

In response, Gonzalo Boye, one of the lawyers filing the complaint, advised Feith to get a "very good lawyer."

Shit, Dougie, if you're so fuckin' innocent, just go with the Public Defender. We got one here I'd recommend - he's got a better conviction rate than the District Attorney. Heh.

The five others accused -- David Addington, former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney; Jay Bybee, one of the authors of a now-infamous Bush "torture memo;" William Haynes; John Yoo, one of the architects of Bush's 'enhanced interrogation' policy; and Alberto Gonzales, Bush's ex-Attorney General -- have all declined comment on the charges.

Better brush up on your Spanish, boys. Just the basics - you'll have plenty of time to refine it in a Spanish prison.


Think Progress

Feith often expresses amnesia about his central role in approving torture. “I strongly championed a policy of respect” for the Geneva Conventions, he told Congress last year. In reality, British international lawyer Philippe Sands reported that Feith “took the steps to ensure that none of these detainees could rely on Geneva.”

Feith, who was once described by Gen. Franks, no rocket scientist himself, as 'the dumbest fucking guy on the planet' and his ilk expressed great respect for Geneva. Except, of course, for those persons to whom they did not wish it to apply.

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

Spanish Court Begins Inquiry Into Former U.S. Officials' War Crimes
Rumsfeld, Cheney, Gonzales cancel golf trip to Madrid.

TARP Funds Already Being Paid Back to Government
In the sense that they’re going to reelection campaigns of leading members of Congress.

Texas Court: Schools Must Acknowledge Both Sides Of Evolution Debate
The Darwinian side and the Hanna-Barbera side.

Verified: 93-Year-Old Japanese Man Survived Both Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Tsutomu Yamaguchi named “World's Unluckiest Man” and “World's Luckiest Man” in dual ceremonies.

Hollywood: New Three Stooges Movie Announced
Latest version will be “dumbed down” for modern audiences.

Convictions ...

Seems there's a big hubbub on the Right about Barry speaking at Notre Dame. The god folks have a problem with his allowing federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, don'tcha know. As ususal, something that comes out of a church or the Republican Party (hard to tell 'em apart nowadays) is noise bordering on hypocrisy. Attaturk:


Once again, I say, when Notre Dame decides it will not recruit that baptist/muslim/buddhist kid from Georgia that runs a 4.35 forty and whose girlfriend just had the abortion, I'll start to worry about their convictions.


Yes, we have to stand by our convictions, one of which is embryos that might be used to help people are a blasphemy, yet God is happy if they become medical waste (except if it's detrimental to the football program because, we all know, God loves him some Irish). I don't get it but that's why I gave up listening to anything coming from god's mouthpieces a long time ago.

Off to work ...

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Dirty laundry ...

It'd be nice if we cleaned up our own mess instead of waiting for others to do it.

Sand Dance

Rare footage of me 'n Fixer entertaining the troops in Kuwait on a rare break from mexineering repairs on crapcan sand-worn Humvees. Maybe gettin' in a little practice for the operation described in the post below too.

W & K were a popular British music hall act who capitalised on the trend for Egyptian imagery following the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun. Their stage act, called the "sanddance". was a ludicrous parody of "egyptian" postures, combined with references to Arabic costume. The lithe Wilson and Kepple would demonstrate their impressive suppleness in adopting wild angular gestures, while Betty watched their antics.

The people of South Shields are popularly referred to as "Sand-dancers" with reference to this act.

Thanks to josefsterkens, Belgium.

Heidi Revisited, or How Fixer Can Get Us Out Of The Recession

First, go read HEIDI, A Modern rendition of the classic Tale.... to get a metaphorical view of how we got into this mess.

Heidi made me "work off" my tab. Heh ... - Fixer

Oh, the stunning visual! The muscular, well-oiled Hun thrusting his mighty ger (spear, lance, root of German, get it?) into the supple, zaftig young milkmaid in a joyous romp in the edelweiss high in the Alps, the thundering oompah-oompah of their sweaty, fleshy congress (this word may pop up again later), the yodelling reverberating off the canyon walls, etc., etc., you get the idea, and Bingo!, his debt is paid! At considerable expense to his manly juices, to be sure, but a matter of little import to a young warrior with a superbly functioning charging system if memory serves.

Just as an aside, me 'n Mrs. G used to play a game remarkably similar to the above which we called 'Heidi meets Attila' or 'the milkmaid and the Hun'. Sadly, we had to quit when we got to quarrelling over who got to wear which outfit. But I digress...

The solution came to me after I dreamt of the scenario previously described. Three times I had to dream it, and then I fell asleep, but it finally dawned on me: Fixer can fix the recession in the very same way!

Well, maybe not exactly the same way. More of a 'back door' approach. And skip the yodelling.

First, we have to convince him to take one for the team, actually to give a bunch of 'em, and realize that, as distasteful as it may first appear, that it's our only way out and he must do his duty. He's a sucker for that 'duty' shit.

Next, we drop him off at the southern end of the Beltway, suitably armed with various appliances, such as condoms (wouldn't want him gettin' sick. He's about to go in some horrible! places. A big rig load oughta do it fer starters), some playful toys (XXXXL strap-on, Jolly Green Giant model personal massage unit w/extra batteries, telephone poles w & w/o climbing spikes, bridge pilings, etc,), and since this is a BIG job, some chemical augmentation (see your e-mail).

Then tell him to head for home, one cause of the recession at a time (two, if we can find him a big enough double-ended strap-on or a Y-shaped bridge piling). Some names to start with would be Greenspan, Gramm, Leach, Bliley, Paulson, as many members of Congress (I knew I could finagle that in again!) as had a hand in it, and as many CEOs of corrupt financial institutions who haven't skipped the country as he can find.

I have purposely left Reagan and Dubya off this list, even though they were major players. Moldering geriatric necrophilia might be tremendously symbolic, but it's just wrong. Bush would enjoy it too much as he's not gettin' it reg'lar from Cheney any more.

I've also left off the people who were lent money that shouldn't have been. Whatever their intentions for good or evil or greed or desperation, they've already had the above treatment from the same people that Fixer will be giving it to. Once is cool, twice is queer.

Fixer arrives at home tired but happy and collapses on the couch. Job well done, old chap. The recession is almost over.

Fixer may also singlehandedly restore honor to the Medal Of Freedom that he will surely be awarded by President Obama for his selfless devotion to his country.

But wait, you say and rightly so, sure, yer dirty old man fantasy is remarkable, if disturbing, for a man your age, and it's been fun watchin' Fixer butt-slam his way from D.C. to Wall Street, satisfying to see those bastards get what's comin' to 'em, but how does this get folks to start spending and reduce the deficit and debt and get our country on the road to financial stability and renewed prosperity?

Why, worldwide DVD, iTunes, cable TV, and coffee-table book sales of his odyssey, of course!


Bill Clinton just called and said he had a hand in the whole deal mostly by omission and wanted to know why he had been left off the recipient list. I told him that I knew he would want his turn at bat, so to speak, and there are some things even an American hero must not be asked to do. He accepted the rejection gracefully, but did ask for a set of pictures.