Saturday, February 26, 2011

Plan B

On Thursday, the last nice day before the next snowstorm, I went out to shovel the five feet of snow off my deck. When Motha(bleep)in' Nature blew the very first shovelful into my face I went to Plan B which was to make the video below for (hopefully) your amusement.

On Wednesday, we went to Carson City to go shopping and I turned on my Active-i to get some windshield vid for music videos or in case there was something interesting along the way or whatever. For whatever reason, the thing shut off after ten minutes. I'm disappointed in that at one point on the descent from Spooner Summit to Carson there's a nice view of the Carson Valley. It's pretty impressive on the 360 days a year that it's shitmuckle brown, but this day it and the mountain range beyond were covered in snow and it was spectacular! Maybe next time.

By accident, I got the little jewel in the video. I think it's funny and hope you do too. It just came over the radio from KVMR all by itself. Notice also, please, the credits which I bungled my way through fairly well for the first try, I think. Also, the temples on my Active-i came slightly skewed so the picture sorta tilts. I'm scared to reef on 'em like I do with reg'lar glasses, so I gotta get aholt of the purveyors and find out how they recommend to straighten them.


Oh, the snow on my deck is well over my head now.

Announcer at KVMR community radio in Nevada City CA describing a fantastical voyage on Route 66.

Video is SB on CA SR 267 in Martis Valley.

Thanks, Fixer.

Just as an afterthought, when Mrs. G saw the credits she said, in her usual sweet way but with a menacing undertone I don't hear very often (gets my attention when I do), "You want maniacal? I'LL SHOW YOU MANIACAL!!!"

Kinda hard to type here under the bed...

I can relate...

From a good article in Newsweek, mostly about his work in Sudan, George Clooney on why he won't get into elective politics:

“I f--ked too many chicks and did too many drugs, and that’s the truth.”

And were he to take leave of his senses and run for office:

"...’That’s gonna be my campaign slogan: ‘I drank the bong water.’?”

He rides a Triumph too. I like this guy.

Does anybody remember ...

George Bush's "signing statements"? Well, guess who's whining now?

Lawrence O'Donnell took a shot at these great "defenders" of marriage, Glenn Beck and Newt Gingrich for going after the Obama administration for their decision not to defend DOMA. Apparently the two of them have a little trouble telling the difference between enforcing a law and defending that law in court.

Here's Beck via Media Matters -- Beck Falsely Claims Obama Won't Enforce Law On DOMA; Adds, "He Has Made Congress Irrelevent".


The Chimp didn't enforce anything he didn't want to. If I've ever seen a Congress that was "irrelevant", it was the ones during the Bush years.


I'm starting to think like Marcy Wheeler, and that's a good thing (a far more positive thing than her beginning to think like me):


Which makes what Obama did far far less abusive (in all senses of the word) than what George W Bush did with his long catalog of signing statements. Perhaps Bush’s most famous was his signing statement to the Detainee Treatment Act.


Truth hurts ...

But unless the Dem Party finds some leaders, we're all screwed in the end anyway:

We all know what this means. It means Harry Reid, scared as usual, is rationalizing his abandonment of social programs because he can't seem to avoid a checkmate in our current game of "Who will orchestrate the blame for a government shutdown?" And the problem is this is not over an actual budget, but he's willing to give make these cuts for a TWO WEEK EXTENSION.


Did anybody think this wouldn't happen? The GOP went deep, the Dems rejected, and the GOP came back "half-way". Like tourists 'haggling' with a street vendor in the Caribbean. The tourists always pay big, even when they're walking away thinking they just pulled one over on 'the stupid local'.


This is the watershed moment. Our party HAS TO STAND FOR SOMETHING. And standing up doesn't mean standing down. There are those out there who believe it's all fixed. That our party has happily accepted second rate status so they can receive their lobby money and pork. I reject that. Our side can't seem to agree on anything, least of all a behind-closed-doors ruse on the public.


With the amounts of money involved, I think it would be the only time the Dems did stand up for something; getting their donation checks. I put nothing past them.

It ain't over ...

The WI Assembly ain't giving up, even though the Rethugs pushed through the vote on the "budget repair bill" in the wee hours of the morning:

MADISON (WKOW) -- Assembly Democratic leaders said they are researching whether a hasty vote to pass Governor Walker's controversial budget repair bill was sufficiently flawed to be invalidated.

"We're looking at whether or not anything is legally or constitutionally problematic," said Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha).

The vote shortly after one a.m. Friday was taken abruptly, with the measure passing 51-17, with more than two dozen Democrats unable to get to voting mechanisms in the chamber in time to record their votes.


Good on them. It's nice to see they're not rolling over in the face of procedural shenanigans from the Corporatists.

Link via DU.

Governor Walker Union Buster

This Spadecaller video subtitled "The Plantation Empire" focuses on the plight of the worker in corporate American with some background history on unions and collective bargaining legislation.

Early American plantations were associated with disparities of wealth and income, political influence, and exploitative social systems such as indentured labor and slavery, which resembles the course of a corporate dictatorship that has infiltrated today's American political system and subjugated the fair and equal representation of the working class wage earner. Governor Walker and most Tea Party devotees believe that the wages earned by teachers, public employees, and health care givers must be held back by eliminating their right to use collective bargaining. They call it "fiscal responsibility".

The most powerful middle class in the world is now on its knees. After the banks and speculators exploited the nation, the economy crashed. Unprincipled politicians and corporate greed took the U.S. and other nations into a depression. Trickle down economics has left only a small oasis for a wealthy few in a vast wasteland of have-nots.

The party is over and the finger-pointing tirades between the democrats and republicans have become mundane and meaningless. Major companies and banks woke up with a terrible hangover. However, Congress slapped them on the wrists and then rewarded them with bailout money, while American workers lose good jobs, their life savings, pensions and their homes. Presidents Bush and Obama gave away billions to bailout those who were directly responsible for our current financial crisis. Taxpayers money was given to the guilty- those who profited from exploiting our nation's most vulnerable. The Tea Party of today is a front organization primarily backed by insurance companies, bankers, and corporate thugs intent on destroying health care reform, social security, and the universal rights that union workers fought and died for during the 1920's.

Once again the worker's right to organize is under attack. If Americans fail to fight back soon, the middle class will become nothing more than a slave class run by plantation owners; the banks, insurance companies, oil companies, and defense contractors are our masters. How ironic it is to have a black President in the White House while wage earners become the new slave class of America.

The time is long overdo for standing up against the lobbyists and the corporate taskmasters who now own Washington and the White House. Americans must find a voice and unite or the freedoms won through great sacrifices will soon be lost again.

Saturday Emmylou Blogging

From 1992 - Sam Bush on mandolin and Roy huskey Jnr on bass

Emmylou Harris & Vince Gill ~ The Other Side Of Life Now
Thanks to 1000Magicians, UK.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The other shoe ...


Gunrunning scandal uncovered at the ATF

This one will piss you off. I'm seeing red over it. CBS News:

(CBSNews) WASHINGTON - Keeping American weapons from getting into the hands of Mexican gangs is the goal of a program called "Project Gunrunner." But critics say it's doing exactly the opposite. CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports on what she found.

In late 2009, ATF was alerted to suspicious buys at seven gun shops in the Phoenix area. Suspicious because the buyers paid cash, sometimes brought in paper bags. And they purchased classic "weapons of choice" used by Mexican drug traffickers - semi-automatic versions of military type rifles and pistols.

Sources tell CBS News several gun shops wanted to stop the questionable sales, but ATF encouraged them to continue.

ATF managers allegedly made a controversial decision: allow most of the weapons on the streets. The idea, they said, was to gather intelligence and see where the guns ended up. Insiders say it's a dangerous tactic called letting the guns, "walk."

One agent called the strategy "insane." Another said: "We were fully aware the guns would probably be moved across the border to drug cartels where they could be used to kill."

On the phone, one Project Gunrunner source (who didn't want to be identified) told us just how many guns flooded the black market under ATF's watchful eye. "The numbers are over 2,500 on that case by the way. That's how many guns were sold - including some 50-calibers they let walk."

It came back to bite ATF on the ass when one of these guns was used to murder one of their agents. God only knows how many other people have been killed with them.

The idea to let 2500 firearms into the hands of criminals, including AKs and Barretts for Christ's sake, is an idea so fucking wrong and stupid that I couldn't begin to string together adjectives to adequately describe how I feel about the motherfucker(s) who thought this up like it came out of a human brain. 'Insane' does not begin to describe a criminal act like this. If I wasn't pretty used to our government fucking up by the numbers, I'd say it was beyond belief.

This has nothing to do with guns per se. This has to do with a government agency allowing, nay, aiding and abetting violation of every goddam firearms law we have and putting 2500 powerful weapons into the hands of violent sociopaths on both sides of the Mexican border.

Somebody had better fucking swing over this. Right fucking now.

DEA to give monopoly on weed

Raw Story

A Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) proposal to reclassify the main psychoactive chemical in marijuana as a Schedule III substance would allow pharmaceutical companies to market the drug while still penalizing common recreational use, according to marijuana law reform advocates.

With its proposal, the DEA is responding to the demands of large pharmaceutical companies, he claimed.

Figures. Big Pharma is using its bought-and-paid-for government to change things so they can make money before we can make using FREE* or independently (aka 'outlaw'**) grown and marketed weed legal.

*It's free if you grow it yourself.
**No Wall St. involvement.

This Never Ending Abortion War

The Rude Pundit

We proud members of the nutzoid conservative Family Research Council's Super-Duper Prayer Team are often called upon to squat and squeeze out a prayer loaf in the most extreme circumstances. [...]

An apt description of what radical phony christianists do, I think.

See, a budget amendment denying federal funding to Planned Parenthood has gotten through the House of Representatives thanks to the combination of zealots, hooligans, and assholes who rule there. It's not that Planned Parenthood uses any federal funds for abortionizing fetuses. No, that's banned. But, you know, if a single red federal cent is used to clean the windows of the clinic, it's pretty much the same thing as stabbing the baby Jesus in his little heart. [...]

So pray we must. Luckily, since we're too stupid to come up with prayers on our own, the SDPT is given the words: "Raise up an army of praying believers through whom You can pull down the spiritual strongholds and end taxpayer subsidies for this death-dealing industry." Do your prayers have the phrase "taxpayer subsidy" in it? No? Then fuck your religion, you goddamn heretic. You probably want women to have "reproductive freedom" and other satanic things. God is weeping, weeping, you fuckers, because women can still "choose" in this country, even if they're raped teenagers.

Yeah, the religious right is doubling down on the abortion bullshit, man. All across the nation, there's some kind of fucktarded competition over which state can come up with the craziest new law, from legalizing the murder of abortion providers to making women have to prove that their miscarriages were not induced (for which Jill Filipovic has the awesomest response).

There are two points to be made here. For the first, this bears repeating:

Yeah, the religious right is doubling down on the abortion bullshit, man. All across the nation, there's some kind of fucktarded competition over which state can come up with the craziest new law...

Not just abortion. Everything. The fuckers get the weakest part (luckily for us) of the Congress and think they're going to ram through batshit crazy ideologically pure (think Aryan) stuff like they did in the halcyon days of pure evil under the Chimp. They have 'til 2012 and then they're gonna get thrown out on their asses again when this nation realizes it fucked up bad putting those clowns even part way in charge.

The second point is about the 'response' link above: NO SHIT - That's the awesomest thing I've ever read about this anti-women issue. The mind boggles at the possibilities. Let's just say 'flooding Congress with responses' takes on a whole new meaning! Heh.

Shock Doctrine, U.S.A.

Paul Krugman makes a smokin' comparison to Madison. Read it.

Here’s a thought: maybe Madison, Wis., isn’t Cairo after all. Maybe it’s Baghdad — specifically, Baghdad in 2003, when the Bush administration put Iraq under the rule of officials chosen for loyalty and political reliability rather than experience and competence.

As many readers may recall, the results were spectacular — in a bad way. Instead of focusing on the urgent problems of a shattered economy and society, which would soon descend into a murderous civil war, those Bush appointees were obsessed with imposing a conservative ideological vision. Indeed, with looters still prowling the streets of Baghdad, L. Paul Bremer, the American viceroy, told a Washington Post reporter that one of his top priorities was to “corporatize and privatize state-owned enterprises” — Mr. Bremer’s words, not the reporter’s — and to “wean people from the idea the state supports everything.”

Which brings us to Wisconsin 2011, where the shock doctrine is on full display.

What’s happening in Wisconsin is, instead, a power grab — an attempt to exploit the fiscal crisis to destroy the last major counterweight to the political power of corporations and the wealthy. And the power grab goes beyond union-busting. The bill in question is 144 pages long, and there are some extraordinary things hidden deep inside.

Nothing good.

If this sounds to you like a perfect setup for cronyism and profiteering — remember those missing billions in Iraq? — you’re not alone. Indeed, there are enough suspicious minds out there that Koch Industries, owned by the billionaire brothers who are playing such a large role in Mr. Walker’s anti-union push, felt compelled to issue a denial that it’s interested in purchasing any of those power plants. Are you reassured?

Oh, sure. I'm reassured that the capitalists and their lackey pols want to own us outright or else. They're bound and determined to get every dollar we have left, come hell or high water.

You could interview my dogs ...

They'd have more to say, but I doubt your camera or microphone would be returned in one piece. Heh ...

Passing us by ...

I hope Arianna is paying this guy at the least:


Imagine this: for the first time in history, a movement of Arabs is inspiring Americans in Wisconsin and possibly elsewhere. Right now, in other words, there is something new under the sun and we didn’t invent it. It’s not ours. We’re not -- catch your breath here -- even the good guys. They were the ones calling for freedom and democracy in the streets of Middle Eastern cities, while the U.S. performed another of those indelicate imbalances in favor of the thugs we’ve long supported in the Middle East.

History is now being reshaped in such a way that the previously major events of the latter years of the foreshortened American century -- the Vietnam War, the end of the Cold War, even 9/11 -- may all be dwarfed by this new moment. And yet, inside the Washington echo chamber, new thoughts about such developments dawn slowly. Meanwhile, our beleaguered, confused, disturbed country, with its aging, disintegrating infrastructure, is ever less the model for anyone anywhere (though again you wouldn’t know that here).

Oblivious to events, Washington clearly intends to fight its perpetual wars and garrison its perpetual bases, creating yet more blowback and destabilizing yet more places, until it eats itself alive. This is the definition of all-American decline in an unexpectedly new world. Yes, teeth may be in jugulars, but whose teeth in whose jugulars remains open to speculation, whatever General Petraeus thinks.


The "American Century" is over and the world is passing us by. It's a sad epitaph for such an extraordinary place. By the end of this year, we won't even be able to put a man in space anymore.

One day, we'll be nothing more than the punchline of a bad joke.

Must see ...

If you can get BBC, check to see when they air this Our World piece, an interview of this poor innocent bastid* who spent 5 years in Gitmo:

Orla Guerin talks to Saad Iqbal Madni, a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay for over five years who remains haunted by his time there.

I'm not naive and I don't take his word verbatim, but what he describes of his treatment at the hands of our people is unconscionable. Bush, Cheney, and the rest of them should be freezing their asses off in some Soviet gulag.

*His background here.


I'm willing to buy you any pair of shoes you want if you'd show some fucking leadership*.

*I know, I know, it ain't coming anytime soon.

Sometimes I wonder ...

Why we bother. They're gonna end up killing us all anyway:

A team of senior plant and animal scientists have recently brought to my attention the discovery of an electron microscopic pathogen that appears to significantly impact the health of plants, animals, and probably human beings. Based on a review of the data, it is widespread, very serious, and is in much higher concentrations in Roundup Ready (RR) soybeans and corn—suggesting a link with the RR gene or more likely the presence of Roundup. This organism appears NEW to science!

This is highly sensitive information that could result in a collapse of US soy and corn export markets and significant disruption of domestic food and feed supplies. On the other hand, this new organism may already be responsible for significant harm (see below). My colleagues and I are therefore moving our investigation forward with speed and discretion, and seek assistance from the USDA and other entities to identify the pathogen’s source, prevalence, implications, and remedies.


Regulation? We don't need no steenking regulation!

Do me a favor, just let me live long enough to see 60. I can deal with that.

The Department of Dirty Tricks

You know, if the Republicans actually believed what they are doing is good for their states and the nation in general, they wouldn't have to resort to shit like this:


Then Kramer called the vote. Within seconds, the digital vote system on the wall announced 51 ayes and 17 nays, and voting was suddenly closed. With a total of 96 members, that got to a majority for the bill but left 28 members who hadn't had a chance yet to vote.

At that point, the Democrats got up, chanting "Shame! Shame! Shame!" and similar exclamations, as the Republicans filed out of the room.

There were many Democrats I spoke to and overheard in the chamber, who said they didn't get a chance to vote, or that they were pushing the "No" button at their desks as hard as they could -- keep in mind that a majority of their 38-member caucus was recorded as casting no votes at all. (Interesting to note there were also four Republicans who voted no -- after having joined every party-line vote against Democratic amendments. Some Dems speculated that the GOP leadership had allowed some Assembly Republicans in marginal districts to skip the vote or vote 'no' on the final tally.)


Like thieves in the night.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Pass the popcorn...

America's Finest News Source

Revolutionary New Homophobia Immersion Therapy Involves Lowering Patient Into Tank Of Gays

[...] When asked if there was a risk of subjects getting stuck in the tank of writhing men, Kleineman said the gays would be so oiled up that patients would have no trouble slipping in and out.

They need those tanks in Repug-controlled state houses.

Wrong is Right

By new U.S. citizen Dafna Linzer:

How I Passed My U.S. Citizenship Test: By Keeping the Right Answers to Myself

She details a buncha wrong answers that are required to become a U.S. citizen.

Our CA DMV did that a few years back on the written motorcycle test. One in particular involved which part of the lane should you ride in for maximum safety. The correct answer is either side (but preferably the left) of the oil strip left in the center by cars. Their required answer was right smack in the middle of it, apparently, er, thinking (they shouldn't try) that staying as far away from cars as you can is more important than traction on the freeway or wherever. It isn't. I had read the pamphlet and gritted my teeth and answered it their way.

Operating under the ostensibly 'correct' answer could get you killed. Leave it to bureaucracy to flip stuff like that. In my experience, it's usually been the wrong answer (example: "yo momma knows...") that got my ass kicked. Heh.

At the end of the night, one of the catering staff gathered up the flash cards and as she held them out to me, she revealed that next month she too will take her citizenship test. I was thrilled. I closed my first day as an American citizen by handing them over to her. "Which ones did you say were wrong again?" she asked. "Just give the official answer," I said, "and you'll do fine."

Go along to get along. 'Twas ever thus. Sigh.

Death Panels

Amanda Terkel

Scott Walker's Plan To Take Control Of Medicaid Decisions In Wisconsin

Lemme see if I'm getting this right: the right-wing doesn't want government control of health care decisions. Unless they get to do it.

Why the Obama Era only lasted two years

From the middle of a four-page article by Kevin Drum at MoJo on the ebb and fall of the union movement. A 'recommended read'.

Plutocracy Now: What Wisconsin Is Really About

[...] Still, one striking fact remains: Liberal reform is not a continuous movement powered by mere enthusiasm. Reform eras last only a short time and require extraordinarily intense levels of cultural and political energy to get started. And they require two other things to get started: a Democratic president and a Democratic Congress.

In 2008, fully four decades after our last burst of liberal change, we got that again. But instead of five or six tumultuous years, the surge of liberalism that started in 2008 lasted scarcely 18 months and produced only two legislative changes really worthy of note: health care reform and the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. By the summer of 2010 liberals were dispirited, political energy had been co-opted almost entirely by the tea party movement, and in November, Republicans won a crushing victory.

Why? The answer, I think, is that there simply wasn't an institutional base big enough to insist on the kinds of political choices that would have kept the momentum of 2008 alive. [...]

This is, of course, pie in the sky. Organized labor has become a shell of its former self, and the working class doesn't have any institutional muscle in Washington. As a result, the Democratic Party no longer has much real connection to moderate-income voters. And that's hurt nearly everyone.

Disheartening to be sure.

Quote of the day .два

Via BuzzFlash:

"One of the most elemental human rights [is] the right to belong to a free trade union." -- Ronald Reagan

Fucking communist...

"This is not going to be a joy ride..."

From a column by Tom Friedman:

For the last 50 years, America (and Europe and Asia) have treated the Middle East as if it were just a collection of big gas stations: Saudi station, Iran station, Kuwait station, Bahrain station, Egypt station, Libya station, Iraq station, United Arab Emirates station, etc. Our message to the region has been very consistent: “Guys (it was only guys we spoke with), here’s the deal. Keep your pumps open, your oil prices low, don’t bother the Israelis too much and, as far as we’re concerned, you can do whatever you want out back. You can deprive your people of whatever civil rights you like. You can engage in however much corruption you like. You can preach whatever intolerance from your mosques that you like. You can print whatever conspiracy theories about us in your newspapers that you like. You can keep your women as illiterate as you like. You can create whatever vast welfare-state economies, without any innovative capacity, that you like. You can undereducate your youth as much as you like. Just keep your pumps open, your oil prices low, don’t hassle the Jews too much — and you can do whatever you want out back.”

It was that attitude that enabled the Arab world to be insulated from history for the last 50 years — to be ruled for decades by the same kings and dictators. [...]

This is the vaunted “stability” all these dictators provided — the stability of societies frozen in time.

18th century? 13th? 7th? Mox nix as long as we can fill up our SUVs with cheap gas. That's just about over. The only 'despotic ruler' the oil companies and their politicians don't like is Obama, and I predict the price of gas will increase due to 'unrest in the Middle East' until at least the 2012 election. It need not go down after that if the OCs think we're used to it.

Madison police chief asks Walker to explain 'troubling' statements

Wisconsin State Journal

Madison Police Chief Noble Wray Thursday asked Gov. Scott Walker to explain his "troubling" and "unsettling" statements captured in a secretly recorded phone conversation that he "thought about" planting troublemakers among the thousands of peaceful demonstrators at the Capitol.

Walker added that it was his "biggest fear" that opposing protesters would clash last Saturday. But in the phone call with what Walker thought was a campaign supporter, the governor did not mention public safety but said such a tactic could backfire on his effort to pass his budget-repair bill.

There you have it. The right-wing agenda trumps public safety every time.

Scott Walker Is America's Asshole

The Rude Pundit has two posts on Wisconsin.

First one:

A Few Lessons Learned Regarding Wisconsin:

1. Remember: elections have consequences, as long as it's a conservative who is elected. Senate Republicans in Washington did not give a flea's fart about the consequences of the 2008 elections in blocking Barack Obama's agenda that he campaigned on and won with. [...]

2. Remember: "compromise" means that you ask nicely if Republicans can use a condom when they fuck you in the ass and then Republicans call you "whore," fuck you without one, and demand that you say you love their cocks.

You got that? Scott Walker would rather kick people out of their jobs than allow unions to be able to negotiate. As Rachel Maddow and other have pointed out, this is not about fiscal responsibility. It's about a naked power grab to gut one of the only means by which citizens have a voice.

3. Remember: if the majority Democratic Congress and the Democratic president are protested by the Tea Party, that's just patriots expressing the will of the people against a tyrannical government. However, if the majority Republican assembly in Wisconsin is protested by tens of thousands of workers, that's the slippery slope to anarchy.

To refer to Fixer's/CAFKIA's post: American workers (that's us, folks) are the fucking communists now.

The other one:

Scott Walker Is America's Asshole:

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's eyes have the glazed over look of a man who just jacked off to a Facebook album of your niece's fifth birthday party. Actually, that's not accurate because that assumes that Walker would try to hide his proclivities. Indeed, Walker seems more like the kind of guy who'd walk into that party with a Koch Industries dildo in his ass and tell everyone to watch while he yanked it to the musical chairs songs. God help the little girl who is in the last chair. For what else do you say about a governor whose official website has a press release titled "Walker Calls Democrat Legislators Back Into State." You got that? Not "Democratic," but the politicized, insulting "Democrat" as adjective. It's like getting a note from your boss on company stationery that calls you a "cocksucker."

But, seriously, dude? If you're gonna start blaming outside agitators, are you gonna hire African mercenaries to fire on the crowds?

Nah. Closer to home. There's a former Indiana deputy AG who's looking for work who'll do that.

Quote of the Day

Wisconsin State Senator Tim Carpenter in a letter to Gov. Scott Walker:


Governor Walker, this tape would make Richard Nixon blush. If the recording and the items discussed by you are indeed your plans, you have no business being in public office in our State, and should resign.



Just thinking, I'd love to be able to listen in on the phone call when the real Koch called after this shit hit the fan. Heh ...

Christ ...

While I was at SW for the post below, I noticed this little nugget that almost slipped by.

One in three Afghan soldiers still leave the army each year, but NATO remains on track to raise the number of security forces to 305,000 by October, an alliance general said Wednesday.


The attrition rate among Afghan troops is "not a trend across the army," Caldwell told reporters during a visit to NATO and European Union headquarters in Brussels.

But it is particularly high among battalions facing a fierce Taliban insurgency in southern Afghanistan, the US general said, blaming the attrition in part on weak Afghan leadership. [my em]


Ya think? So, by next year you're gonna have to raise another 100K troops to replace the ones who split? And the year after that? And the year after that? Ya see where I'm going here?

We get all these rosy forecasts but still have to throw more troops and money at this war. We have rogue generals running I/Ops against our elected representatives instead of "winning hearts and minds". And, to top it all off, a third of the military recruits for the Afghan Army don't want to fight.

So tell me; how are we ever gonna "win" there, let alone leave?

This is good ...

Any of our vets here who've ever choppered (or fixed-winged) into a hot LZ on SAR, in/exfilt, or resupply ops know the "pleasure" of having rounds penetrating the fuselage of the aircraft or the danger of some idiot with an RPG getting a lucky shot during landing or takeoff and making your day go to shit in a hurry. Well, for all of us who've been there, the Army's got the goods:

Kaman Aerospace Corporation and the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) recently made aviation history with the Unmanned K-MAX helicopter by successfully completing multiple guided airdrops via sling load at 10,000 ft above sea level.


"These airdrops prove K-MAX's ability to provide a safe, low-cost supply delivery method to the troops," said Terry Fogarty, general manager of Kaman's Unmanned Aircraft Systems product group. "The aircraft's ability to successfully perform high altitude missions contributes to the flexibility and security we can offer the Marines with K-MAX."

Kaman and industry partner Lockheed Martin Corporation [NYSE: LMT] are developing Unmanned K-MAX to meet an urgent U.S. Marine Corps requirement for cargo unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). Lockheed Martin has designed the helicopter's mission management and control systems to provide the K-MAX with exceptional flight autonomy in remote environments and over long distances.


The big difference would be in resupply (not putting lives on the line to bring cargo to a FOB, whether by air or road) but I can see them using it for SAR behind enemy lines to extract downed airmen or wounded. I'd rather see a drone do this type of work than hunting goat fuckers with Hellfire missiles.

A little history ...

Of labor unions:

On May 2nd, 1933, the day after Labor day, Nazi groups occupied union halls and labor leaders were arrested. Trade Unions were outlawed by Adolf Hitler, while collective bargaining and the right to strike was abolished. This was the beginning of a consolidation of power by the fascist regime which systematically wiped out all opposition groups, starting with unions, liberals, socialists, and communists using Himmler’s state police.

Fast forward to America today, particularly Wisconsin. Governor Walker and the Republican/Tea Party members of the state legislature are attempting to pass a bill that would not only severely punish public unions (with exception for the police, fire, and state trooper unions that supported his campaign), but it would effectively end 50 years to the right of these workers to collectively bargain.


The crux of the biscuit is this:


When Hitler abolished unions in 1933, it was followed by a 25% drop in real wages ...

Can you afford to have your income cut by a quarter?

Link via DU.


And if you remember one thing about unions, remember this:

... The states with the highest percentage of union workers are the richest states: California, Washington and New York. The states with the fewest – Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas – are the poorest.

Republicans can't do this ...

Our dear friend CAFKIA has a great post up where he does some self-examination (git yer minds out the gutter), something I know all of my Republican friends and aquaintences are loath to do:


Yes, "republican" has replaced "communist" when I envision the source of evil. Republican is what causes computer malfunctions. The flu virus or most anything that sends you to the crapper ten times in a day is republican. Having a day where everything you attempt goes horribly awry? Oh, you're having a republican kind of day.

Like communists, I have friends who are republican (although I try to think of them as conservatives because that doesn't quite carry the negative connotations in my mind). Some of them truly seem to be salt-of-the-earth kind of people. And sure, there are democrats that it pains me to be in the same room with. Intellectually, I know that every republican can't possibly be the physical expression of the Satan of Judeo/Christian lore. Some of them I even know their parents so they aren't really demon spawn. Intellectually, I know that. Empirically, I have seen and experienced acts of kindness that they have performed. But if all I know of someone, if what I first know of them, is that they are republican, then they are the swear word republican. They are the source of evil and pain. They are uncaring, hedonistic, amoral entities who will do anything for personal or political gain. They have neither nation nor religion nor creed except as it suits the purposes of the acquisition of wealth and/or power. Viscerally, that is how I feel. Until I can move them into the conservative column, that is who they are.


And yes, I get the point of his post, but I think it highlights the differences between us. We (progressives) generally take the time to look at ourselves regularly and weigh our beliefs, amending them to take new facts into account. I don't think (it seems to me) that Republicans have the gene for self-assessment. Maybe that's the reason the Dems can't get "on message" like the Republicans, falling in lockstep with the leadership on every issue. I like it our way.

How hard could it be?

Most of them were politicians:

The U.S. Army illegally ordered a team of soldiers specializing in "psychological operations" to manipulate visiting American senators into providing more troops and funding for the war, Rolling Stone has learned – and when an officer tried to stop the operation, he was railroaded by military investigators.

The orders came from the command of Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, a three-star general in charge of training Afghan troops – the linchpin of U.S. strategy in the war. Over a four-month period last year, a military cell devoted to what is known as "information operations" at Camp Eggers in Kabul was repeatedly pressured to target visiting senators and other VIPs who met with Caldwell. When the unit resisted the order, arguing that it violated U.S. laws prohibiting the use of propaganda against American citizens, it was subjected to a campaign of retaliation.

"My job in psy-ops is to play with people’s heads, to get the enemy to behave the way we want them to behave," says Lt. Colonel Michael Holmes, the leader of the IO unit, who received an official reprimand after bucking orders. "I’m prohibited from doing that to our own people. When you ask me to try to use these skills on senators and congressman, you’re crossing a line."


Lotta lines been crossed in the last 10 years.

That frothy mixture ...

Of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex* opens its trap once again:

If you were worried there wouldn't be a 2012 candidate touting the pro-Crusades platform, then today is your lucky day!

"The idea that the Crusades and the fight of Christendom against Islam is somehow an aggression on our part is absolutely anti-historical," former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) told a South Carolina audience yesterday. "And that is what the perception is by the American left who hates Christendom."


Anybody got a tissue and a butt plug?


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Punked ...


This is priceless. Ian Murphy of Buffalo Beast (the site appears to be down at the moment, but twolf1 has posted both videos on MyFDL) called up Gov. Scott Walker, posing as wealthy industrialist and campaign donor David Koch. They had a 20-minute chat. Here’s an excerpt:


Amazing how he won't take calls from the Dem reps of the people but if he thinks it's a Koch brother he drops everything. (By the way, Walker's office confirms this is real.)


Shopping Day

Today is SS payday, so if ya see a buncha us old farts livin' it up you'll know why.

Shopping in The Big City this morning, Meskin food tonight. Early Bird Special, of course. Life is good.

See yas.


...a buncha us old farts...

No shit! Man, we wuz all there! Some'a them senior gals is hotties too. Yes, I scoped 'em out. I'm taking advantage of Mrs. G's cataracts while she still has 'em.

Also, the folks at Costco know damn well when we get our gummint money - they moved golf cart batteries to where even we couldn't miss 'em, right as ya walk in the door. Heh.

They're jokers too. They reset almost everything so we gotta wander around looking for the things we get every time.

Note to Costco: please, dudes, we ain't got that kinda time and ya don't hafta do that much work to confuse us.

He's all yours, Chicagoland!

Emanuel Triumphs in Chicago Mayoral Race

Thank you for taking him off our hands. Your fair city is about to get a lot windier, and the wind will be bluer too. Heh.

Thanks, Mike!

Don't know how many times I've said that over the past 6 1/2 years here but I did every time Mike Finnigan would to link to us from Crooks and Liars. Mike has directed readers here by the thousands when he finds a nugget to share with a wider audience and we here are eternally grateful. It pains me to say Mike will be leaving C & L due to work demands playing the Hammond Organism*. So, one last time I'll say "Thanks, Mike", for everything.

*Thanks to Frank Zappa.

They might be evil sonsabitchez ...

But they ain't stupid. Headlines from TPM:

Mitch Daniels To State GOP:
Drop Right-To-Work Bill

FL Gov. Gives Thumbs Up
To Public Worker Organizing

Cairo, motherfuckers!

Not far off:

On Saturday night, when Mother Jones staffers tweeted a report that riot police might soon sweep demonstrators out of the Wisconsin capitol building—something that didn't end up happening—one Twitter user sent out a chilling public response: "Use live ammunition."

From my own Twitter account, I confronted the user, JCCentCom. He tweeted back that the demonstrators were "political enemies" and "thugs" who were "physically threatening legally elected officials." In response to such behavior, he said, "You're damned right I advocate deadly force." He later called me a "typical leftist," adding, "liberals hate police."

Only later did we realize that JCCentCom was a deputy attorney general for the state of Indiana.


Gotta love these conservative assholes. Piss 'em off and you see their true colors come out.

I probably ...

Shouldn't even touch this but it pisses me off:


It is not clear why the pirates killed their hostages, either accidentally during a firefight or possibly out of revenge for the Somali pirates killed by American sharpshooters in a hostage-taking in 2009.

United States naval forces had been shadowing the hijacked yacht, called the Quest, and as soon as they saw a burst of gunfire on board, American Special Operations forces rushed to the yacht in assault craft, shot one of the pirates and knifed another. But all four hostages were already dead or fatally wounded.


I don't see where US (any) assets should even have been used to try and save these idiots who decided to do everything wrong while fully aware of the dangers.


Still, in a decision that troubled friends and family members, the Quest had departed from a convoy of yachts that was assembled to ward off attacks by pirates in those waters — such maritime convoys are known as rallies — to go off on their own into some of the most dangerous waters in the world.

Mr. Adam took a security course last year from Blue Water Rallies, the organizer of the rally he had been on, and friends said he often turned off his G.P.S. instrument because pirates had learned to use them as homing devices.


Personally, like I say to everybody who depends on god to run their lives (and decide they know better than everybody else) and then look to somebody else to get them out of their stupid shit, "let God save 'em".


Indeed, for the Adams, this was as much a voyage of faith as it was one of adventure. They would load the Quest up with tons of Bibles and distribute them as they traveled the world.

“They would stop in these small islands and connect with the church there, which were in isolated places and really welcomed them,” said Richard Peace, a professor of ministry at Fuller Theological Seminary. “Scott would preach at times for them and being a doctoral student, he would teach in Bible colleges. This was really a major part of their travels.”


Maybe god was trying to tell you something? And, par for the course, the news media is wringing it for all it's worth.

Know what? The pirate task force watches their bases, know when they have a bowel movement. How about expending some ordnance to deal with the problem once and for all instead of putting boarding parties in danger to save a bunch of misguided Jesus freaks who basically asked for their own end?

We're paying, indirectly, for all these shipping companies paying millions of dollars in ransom and keeping the Navy on escort duty (the bright side is it's a joint task force so other countries are paying for their own shit). Let's end the problem; you know, let the Jarheads do the job they were created for instead of killing goat fuckers in Afghanistan.

Thanks to Montag for the link.

Dear Mr. Obama,

Where are you?


You have so much more. You have the power to overwhelm the voices calling for their defeat. You have the power to drown out the petty and the small and the divisive and the nasty among their critics, and raise that glorious oratory of yours in a cause in which you say you believe. For you, this is no effort. For you, this has no cost. Yet if you were to walk into the Capitol tomorrow you would be greeted as a hero by the heroes all around you, and they would be lifted up, and you can do that and it will cost you nothing. Nothing.

I have no confidence you'll listen, because I do get it, you know. The political calculation. The upside and downside and the electoral math.


Like I've said for a couple years now. Obama has no clue about leadership.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Too much fun...

...right here at the Brain today for me to do very much else! Alas, the snow is calling me to move it...

I did run across toonish looks at a couple of our biggest problems at my favorite local news site, YubaNet (Go see "Accidental Samurai Sword Stabbing". It could only happen in my county! Yeesh.)

Looks like ...

Indiana Dems are taking off too:


House Democrats in Indiana are leaving the state rather than vote a bill that would modify collective bargaining for some workers there, according to the Indianapolis Star.

A source told the paper that Democrats from that state's lower chamber are headed to Illinois, though the paper notes that some might go to Kentucky.

Only two of the 40 Democrats were on the Indiana House floor when the chamber convened Tuesday.


Cairo, motherfuckers!

Link via DU.

What you won't hear ...

That I have (this is through friends in dark places) is that this guy found an al-Qaeda installation of some sort (or proof the Inter-Services Intelligence group [Pak] was helping al-Qaeda) and the Paks wanted to shut him up (the Paks on the m/c he killed were ISI, not muggers). What I also heard is the "cleaners" who rushed from the embassy to pick him up (subsequently running over and killing an innocent [maybe] Pak) left the country on John Kerry's plane when he did, even though the Paks wanted to interview them as well.*

With that in mind, Greenwald talks about how the New York Times decided to report the story:

Earlier today, I wrote in detail about new developments in the case of Raymond Davis, the former Special Forces soldier who shot and killed two Pakistanis on January 27, sparking a diplomatic conflict between the U.S. (which is demanding that he be released on the ground of "diplomatic immunity") and Pakistan (whose population is demanding justice and insisting that he was no "diplomat"). But I want to flag this new story separately because it's really quite amazing and revealing.


In other words, the NYT knew about Davis' work for the CIA (and Blackwater) but concealed it because the U.S. Government told it to. Now that The Guardian and other foreign papers reported it, the U.S. Government gave permission to the NYT to report this, so now that they have government license, they do so -- only after it's already been reported by other newspapers which don't take orders from the U.S. Government.


And the press is supposed to be the "watchdog for the people"?

*Don't take this as condoning the op, or not, just relaying what I've heard.

Secaucus Fats* ...

Is another Fascist piece-of-shit like Snot Walker in Wisconsin:


The question is what this state will look like by the time he gets done with it, and people realize that the reason for a good chunk of his spending cuts is that he has continued the noble tradition started by that OTHER Christie, Christine Todd Whitman, of stiffing the state pension fund for other purposes. In Whitman's case it was for income tax cuts, from which the pension fund has never recovered, and in Christie's case it's for cooking the books.


*Our pal Montag coined that phrase. He claims he didn't but since he doesn't know who did, he gets credit anyway.

How it goes ...

As I sit at my desk, having my morning coffee and a smoke. The girls were doing their usual thing (the puppy has recovered nicely since her operation last week) and I turned the webcam on (whittled it down from 3 minutes to less than one).

Can't wait until she gets the staples out (next week) so I can turn 'em loose outside and let 'em get some ya-yas out.

Wisconsin: What it's really all about ...

Not unions but power plants:


There are two big whoppers in this section, which is passing through the zeitgeist like ships in the night.

It will allow the Koch Brothers to buy or contract to operate state−owned heating, cooling, and power plants in Wisconsin without a solicitation of bids.

This is what it is about at the end of the day, and their puppet, Governor Walker, is ready to sell the Koch Brothers the state-owned utility system of Wisconsin for pennies on the dollar for his paymasters.

Governor Walker has intentionally muddied the waters concerning unions to muddy waters hoping no one will see the wholescale give-a-way of the state-owned public infrastructure to private interests.


The bill contains a lot more than a union busting initiative; that's just the gravy.

Wendell Scott

I haven't done anything for Black History Month, but I just watched a show on ESPN2 that inspired me to do this. It was Wendell Scott: A Race Story. I've known about Wendell Scott for years and he's one of my heroes, but this 2011 production moved me to tears. Check your listings and try to see it.

Before I tell you a little about him, I'm gonna go out on a limb and saw it off between me and the tree trunk. Ready?

If it weren't for Wendell Scott, Barack Obama wouldn't be President.

Wendell Scott is the only black man to ever win a NASCAR Grand National, today's Sprint Cup, stock car race. The win was given to a white driver after three extra laps and he was only told he had won after the mostly white fans had left the track. He got cheated out of the trophy which the white driver, Buck Baker (I think), took home.

Once he won a steak dinner as a prize and the restaurant didn't serve blacks. A white driver went in and got it for him and gave it to him outside.

[...] According to a 2008 biography of Scott, he broke the color barrier in Southern stock car racing on May 23, 1952, at the Danville Fairgrounds Speedway. [...]

That took balls, folks.

He ran as many as five events a week, mostly at Virginia tracks. Some spectators would shout racial slurs, but many others began rooting for him. Some prejudiced drivers would wreck him deliberately. They "just hammered on Wendell," former chief NASCAR photographer T. Taylor Warren said. "They figured he wasn't going to retaliate." And they were right—Scott felt that because of the racial atmosphere, he could not risk becoming involved in the fist-fights and dirty-driving paybacks that frequently took place among the white drivers.

Many other drivers, however, came to respect Scott. They saw his skills as a mechanic and driver, and they liked his quiet, uncomplaining manner. They saw him as someone similar to themselves, another hard-working blue-collar guy swept up in the adrenalin rush of racing, not somebody trying to make a racial point. "He was a racer -- you could look at somebody and tell whether they were a racer or not," said driver Rodney Ligon, who was also a moonshine runner. "Didn't nobody send him [to the track] to represent his race -- he come down because he wanted to drive a damn racecar." Some white drivers became his close friends and also occasionally acted as his bodygards.

You can go read about him, but to sum it up, he raced against segregation and Jim Crow as well as other drivers on a poor man's budget because he loved racing and he beat 'em driving junk.

He was forced to retire due to injuries from a racing accident at Talladega, Alabama in 1973. He achieved one win and 147 top ten finishes in 495 career Grand National starts.

The film Greased Lightning starring Richard Pryor was loosely based on Scott's biography.

Mr. Scott was just one of many who paved the way for Barack Obama, of course, but he did it in a brave and unusual manner in a whites-only-except-for-him venue that never made the papers outside the South.

He was a brave and quiet man in a sport that didn't want him. He is now one of the Legends Of NASCAR and recognized as a pioneer.

Thanks for the inspiration and role model, Wendell, and wherever you are, put the hammer down and don't forget to turn left.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Greedy Teachers

Following up on Fixer's post:

Click to embiggen

Thanks to YubaNet.

This bodes ill...

Raw Story

Missing WI Dem: Republicans may strip union rights without us

But one of the missing Democrats, Sen. Jon Erpenbach, told The Associated Press on Monday he's worried that Republicans may attach the provision curtailing unions' bargaining rights to an unrelated, non-budgetary bill on Tuesday.

If they can, they will. Down with citizens' rights by hook or by crook.

Rumor has it, and I know because I'm starting it, that Muammar Gaddafi may be on his way to Wisconsin to join the pro-Walker anti-freedom forces, using an airline ticket purchased by the Koch Bros.

Limerick Ode To John “So Be It” Boehner

By Madeleine Begun Kane

Boehner’s known for his grief-stricken sobs,
For emoting through loose tear duct knobs.
Yet his eyes remain dry,
He refuses to cry
For Americans losing their jobs.

I could kiss that woman! If it weren't for this restraining order...

Headline of the Day

Epic Tea Party FAIL: Anti-union "protesters" out-numbered 35-to-1 in Madison!

Crux-of-the-biscuit quotes:

The so-called pro-Walker contingent was brought there by Koch brothers-funded astroturf project.

I think it is worth pointing out here that this wasn't astroturfed by just ONE conservative group but, rather, THREE.

So three different far right groups got in on the act and they still got pwned! And that, as they say, is a Good Thing.

Yes it is, but it's just one ongoing firefight in a long war.

Across the US, GOP Lawmakers Build States of Denial

Good read by Michael Winship at Truthout. Some quotes from Ann Richards and Molly Ivins as well.

As noted by Tim Storey, senior fellow of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), since the midterm elections, "There are now more Republican state legislators (3,941) than at any point since they held 4,001 seats after the 1928 election.... Twenty-two state legislative chambers changed majority control in the 2010 election cycle - all in the direction of the GOP." Many of the newly elected members were endorsed by Tea Party organizations or have rushed to embrace the Tea Party's inchoate, right-wing agenda as a means to safeguard re-election.

According to the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), legislators in at least 11 states, including Minnesota, Ohio, New Hampshire and Missouri, are proposing antiunion laws that would cut pay and lower standards of living for workers. The labor organization claims, "Instead of creating jobs and solving the problems of middle-class working families, some state politicians are ... saying 'Thank you' to the corporate CEOs who financed their 2010 election victories by pushing legislation to cut good jobs, lower wages, threaten job safety and weaken unions." (Full disclosure: I am the president of a union affiliated with the AFL-CIO, albeit a small one that neither endorses candidates nor has a political action committee.)

This push has come to a head most dramatically in Wisconsin, where, in the name of austerity, newly elected Republican Governor Scott Walker is attempting to stamp out public workers' collective bargaining rights. His attack on the unions - including a threat to call out the National Guard - has been met by outrage and a mass exodus of Democratic legislators out of the state, thus denying Republicans a quorum at the Wisconsin Senate in Madison. (You may recall that Democrats in Texas pulled a similar ploy in 1979 and 2003 by hiding or going on the lam to nearby states, including Oklahoma and New Mexico. This prompted New Mexico's then-attorney general Patricia Madrid, a Democrat, to announce: "I have put out an all-points bulletin for law enforcement to be on the lookout for politicians in favor of health care for the needy and against tax cuts for the wealthy.")

All these Repug state legislatures have slammed any progress made over the last 100 years into reverse and are now backing at high speed against the flow of traffic by looking in the rear view mirror. There's no 'if' that there will be a crash.

The Money Party on the Road to Ruin

The Agonist. Charts, graphs, links, and a movie trailer.

The Money Party is destroying the United States. For ten years, there have been no new jobs with flat income. Unemployment and poverty are making a big comeback. The party consists of those who own and control concentrations of great wealth and the select few who serve them (their Mandarins). Based on the efficiency of the demolition job, you have to wonder, is this is by design? If greed, ignorance, and paranoia constitute a plan, then they are master planners. (Image)

Look at the glaring problems below. Then ask yourself, has there been one single program implemented to address any of these problems, just one? Our elected representatives enable the relentless process of driving down the United States. They bicker and fume at the edge of issues. However, when it comes to neglecting the real needs of citizens and the country, they are as one. All rewards and resources flow to their patrons and owners, the made men and women of The Money Party. We are nothing to them.

One would think they would want higher taxes on all of us (not them of course) so there'd be more government money (aka 'easy pickins') for the MIC.

Wisconsin Power Play

Paul Krugman tamps this deal into a nice neat brick:

Last week, in the face of protest demonstrations against Wisconsin’s new union-busting governor, Scott Walker — demonstrations that continued through the weekend, with huge crowds on Saturday — Representative Paul Ryan made an unintentionally apt comparison: “It’s like Cairo has moved to Madison.”

It wasn’t the smartest thing for Mr. Ryan to say, since he probably didn’t mean to compare Mr. Walker, a fellow Republican, to Hosni Mubarak. Or maybe he did — after all, quite a few prominent conservatives, including Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Rick Santorum, denounced the uprising in Egypt and insist that President Obama should have helped the Mubarak regime suppress it.

In any case, however, Mr. Ryan was more right than he knew. For what’s happening in Wisconsin isn’t about the state budget, despite Mr. Walker’s pretense that he’s just trying to be fiscally responsible. It is, instead, about power. What Mr. Walker and his backers are trying to do is to make Wisconsin — and eventually, America — less of a functioning democracy and more of a third-world-style oligarchy. And that’s why anyone who believes that we need some counterweight to the political power of big money should be on the demonstrators’ side.

There’s a bitter irony here. The fiscal crisis in Wisconsin, as in other states, was largely caused by the increasing power of America’s oligarchy. After all, it was superwealthy players, not the general public, who pushed for financial deregulation and thereby set the stage for the economic crisis of 2008-9, a crisis whose aftermath is the main reason for the current budget crunch. And now the political right is trying to exploit that very crisis, using it to remove one of the few remaining checks on oligarchic influence.

So will the attack on unions succeed? I don’t know. But anyone who cares about retaining government of the people by the people should hope that it doesn’t.

In between those quotes is a lot. Go.

It dawned on me that Mr. Krugman must have a little trouble walking - he can't have more than a 20-inch inseam due to the extra material he needs in the crotch.

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

Missouri GOP Introduces Bill to Repeal Child Labor Laws
Claims they're job killers.

Obama Meets With Mark Zuckerberg
Asks him to stop removing key military allies from power.

Speaking Two Languages Delays Onset of Alzheimer’s
Utbay ouryay econdsay anguagelay oesntday ountcay.

Someone needs to point out the 'irony' to me in this next one. Seems like straight news reporting to me:

Majority of GOP Primary Voters Are Birthers
Merely whacko right wing nut jobs lose control of party to batshit insane right wing nut jobs.

Ladies and gents ...

Union teachers are a good thing.

Quote of the Day

Robert Reich:


If the earnings of those thirteen [top earning] hedge-fund managers were taxed as ordinary income, the revenues generated would pay the salaries and benefits of 300,000 teachers. Who is more valuable to our society – thirteen hedge-fund managers or 300,000 teachers? Let’s make the question even simpler. Who is more valuable: One hedge fund manager or one teacher?


Thanks to Texas Betsy for the link.

The real cost ...

Of what America has become. The Land of No Hope:


I have no family, I have no friends. For the past two years, I've had nobody to talk with as people who knew me react to the "unemployed" label as if it were leprosy and contagious. I am not a bad person, in fact people really like me. But everyone seems to be on a tight budget these days and living in incredible fear. It is hopeless since we all are hearing more and more that we unemployed are to blame for unemployment, that we are just lazy, that we are no good, that we are sinners, that we are druggies, yet we are the victims who suffer and are punished while the robber baron banksters and tycoons become senators, congress, presidents and petty kings. So the only option left for me is merciful self euthanasia.

It is with a heavy heart that I have set my death in motion, but what I am facing is not living. So off I go, I have made peace with God and placed my burden on Jesus and He forgives me. This nation has become evil to the core, with cold-hearted politicians and tycoons squeezing what little Main Street Americans have left. It is not the America into which I was born -- the land of the free and the home of the brave with kind folks who help neighbors -- it is now land of the Tycoon-haves and the rest of us have-nots who march into hopelessness and despair.


Link via Cookie Jill.

The plot thickens ...

Better than a novel:

According to Anonymous, Westboro Baptist Church was behind the Open Letter allegedly from Anonymous, and then added fuel to the flames with WBC's "Bring it" reply. Anonymous warns don't DDoS, it's a trap to collect IPs for suing.


Free speech arguments abound in the Anon community and rightly so. I have yet to determine if the original document is a plant (by Westboro) or a fuck-up (an Anon sent it on his/her own) but an ample percentage seem to feel that attacking Westboro plays right into Phelps' hands. That, and Anon are defenders of free speech and the hypocrisy of using denial of service attacks to muzzle Westboro's right of free speech is morally wrong. We'll see how it plays out.


Before I could break out the popcorn and settle in to watch the fight, Anonymous News Network posted on Facebook, "V: I was just gonna ignore this for a good long while because it was a stupid call, but looks like Westboro Baptist Church (of "" fame) wants to pick a fight with Anonymous. They're attention-whoring idiots. Meanwhile, on the IRC, a channel #OpWestboro has been started to discuss what to do. It's come down to either overwhelming force or ignoring them entirely: no middle ground."


There is another release from Anon telling members to ignore the original ("It's a trap!" or "The writer is a stupid Anon who got a little gung-ho.") but something about it doesn't sit right with me either. More when I can figure out what's really happening. That said, Anon will continue its ops overseas, namely targeting Middle East dictators who try to deny the internet to their people.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Holy Shit, Cinderella!

Trevor Bayne, who turned 20 yesterday, just won the Daytona 500 in his first ever, I say again first ever, Cup race! Amazing. Not that he won it, just that there was a Ford fast enough...


According to my resident NASCAR expert (Mrs. G), young Master Bayne competed in a Cup race in November in Texas and finished 17th.

Details, details...

The shortest live blogging ...

Of the Daytona 500 you'll ever see.

For me, not thee ...

Fascist scumbag in Wisconsin:

Scott Walker, the Governor of Wisconsin who is spearheading the GOP effort to crush collective bargaining, lavished relatively large salary increases on his staff when he was chief executive of the Milwaukee County Board. Walker surreptitiously did this in 2008 - without the approval of the county board itself and at a time that the county was facing a fiscal deficit, and Walker was about to lay off a large number of union workers. In addition, 700 county positions had already been left vacant due to budgetary pressures.

According to a 2008 Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (MJS) article,which exposed Walker's illicit personal staff raises, one aide was to achieve a 26% increase - solely initiated and approved by Walker - even though the staffer, Tom Nardelli, was to receive tax-payer funded pensions that would exceed $35,700 a year. A member of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors called Nardelli's salary increase "obscene," according the MJS. [my em]


Yeah, sucking up taxpayer dollars to pay off his friends and then demonizing the working man. Loser.

Sunshine and Shit's Creek

Yesterday was bright and beautiful, the first such day since Tuesday. We needed - I mean desperately needed - to get outta the house and into the sunshine. The only time we've been out in days was late Friday afternoon when we fought our way through bumper-to-bumper ski weekend traffic in a 2"-per-hour snowstorm to do errands. That was more an exercise in sitting on pins and needles than it was enjoyable, so it didn't really qualify as "going out".

Mrs. G came up with a plan - "Let's go take pictures!" so, after a relatively minor hour or so of clearing the previous night's spit 'n sputter of 6 inches of snow, we did. She took the photo below. Scene is looking eastward from just west of our airport. On the left is Martis Peak (8714'), in the Carson Range spur of the Sierra Nevada. In the center is the Truckee-Tahoe Airport, known to locals as Cocaine International for its main incoming cargo. This is a big resort/party area. See its runway cam. The green building in the lower left is a beer distributor's warehouse, some kinda American goat piss.

Click photos to embiggen

Part of the joy was getting away from the madding crowd, so we drove out to shit's creek to do all this, which luckily for us is right in town, at the end the tourists don't go to. Think I'm kidding? This is a mile from our house:

Getting to where that sign is was more exciting than you might imagine. We came to the intersection of the side road it's on and Mrs. G gleefully announced, "Let's go down that way! Hang a left!". Now, there was some dry pavement about but we weren't on it, and I was smokin' along waaaay too fast, maybe 20 MPH. In retrospect, where a lot of common sense resides, I shoulda slowed to a stop, backed up, and made the turn. But noooooo...

I hit the brakes and turned left. The truck skidded on the snow, followed by a lotta sawing-at-the-wheel and crossing-of-the-wrists that woulda made a dirt track racer proud, a short corrective 4-wheel-drive power slide (front wheels pull, rear wheels slide, different than a 2WD rear wheel power slide, which woulda put me in the ditch) and I was pointed where we wanted to go just like I had planned it. Whole deal took about two seconds. I didn't do it on purpose, just had a brain fart, but truthfully, shit like that is fun. There wasn't any danger at all, no cars within a half mile, nothing to hit.

Just as an aside, front-wheel-drive cars work pretty good in the snow, but a skid in one of those is the weirdest feeling in the world. The front wheels try to pull in the direction you have them pointed, but there's no control of the rear end at all. It goes where it wants to and sometimes the front end is pulling and the rear end is free-pivoting even faster and they pass each other up. Studded snow tires are a big help on those.

The dogs liked the ride too. Tami looks very princess-like, as usual. Maggie ducked when she saw my camera. She either doesn't like papparazzi or, more likely, she's got a warrant out on her somewhere. Maybe she was just bobbing for a used kleenex. Heh.

Then again, maybe they were thinking, "He left the keys! Please, O Merciful Dog in heaven, opposable thumbs! NOW!".

I made an executive decision on the way home and decided we should get a take-out pizza and Mrs. G, who has a drinking problem in that she only gets a cocktail about every two weeks, could have her Cactus Smoothie, rocks (the only way this joint makes 'em), no salt, while we waited. I mention the Young Gentlemen's Drinking & Fighting Establishment known as the Blue Coyote a lot in the Brain, so I thought I'd give you a glimpse of it via my new pocket camera. The screen is very small and I have a little trouble seeing what's on it so I just pointed it at a light source and fired. I have no idea who that lady is, but she and her companion were diggin' inta some good-lookin' plates of food. Lady, if ya see this, please come sign a release.

There's a Blue Coyote in Squaw (Olympic) Valley too, but that's a more genteel and upscale place and the joint's kinda uppity. Carpets. Ours is a 'bar & grill', theirs is a 'sports grill'. Maybe it's just that they don't haveta hose it out every morning like they do ours. Just kidding, they appeal to a young crowd on weekend nights and I'm sure they have their moments, but they're nice places. The last joint that was in ours had its own Sheriff's Deputy outside on weekend nights. They would rotate in and out as 'passengers' needed transport.

We had a very pleasant afternoon and we needed one. Mission accomplished.

The upshot of the week:

The pups and I spent the week outside. We all plumb wore one another out. This is me'n Tami watching Press The Meat in the guest bedroom (I can smoke there and Mrs. G is watching wrestling the Daytona 500 in the living room. Don't worry, F-Man, there'll be no 'surprises' from the doggies when you get here. Heh.) a little while ago. Maggie was here a few seconds earlier but she skedaddled when the camera came out. I don't know what's up with that girl.

I think I've hit on the plan of the day.

I hope y'all didn't mind this slice of the lighter side of our life. The best side.

Honest, I'll just do it 'til I need glasses update:

I decided the the only snow relocation I had to do today was cut access to that trash can so Mrs. G doesn't have to put the 'gift bags' from walking the pups in it via the 'Magic Johnson method' any more. Done. Took two minutes. She's pretty proud o' them three-pointers though...

Why is the garage door propped open? It's hard to open when it's all they way down. I'll get around to fixing it any day now for about 25 years.

Headlines of the Day

FLASHBACK: Abraham Lincoln Wrote Playbook For Wisconsin Dems Who Fled State

Local Business Community May Be Starting To Turn Against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker

Notable quote:

“Thank you Scott Walker! If we were given a million dollars, there is no way we could have taught so many kids about solidarity, labor organizing, and the power of the people when they unite”.

Heh. Ass, meet backfire.

The G.O.P.’s Post-Tucson Traumatic Stress Disorder

Gee, maybe they'll meet an actual Veteran when they share a short dog with one under a bridge. One can only hope.

Daddy Frank with an uplifting message! Cool 'toon, links. You will like this one!

[...] Even more unexpectedly, Murdoch’s flagship newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, ran an op-ed essay last week by the reliably conservative Michael Medved trashing over-the-top Obama critiques from Palin, Rush Limbaugh and Dinesh D’Souza as “paranoid” and “destructive to the conservative cause” — the cause defined as winning national elections.

If the next step in this declension is less face time for Palin on Fox News, then we’ll have proof that pigs can fly. But a larger question remains. If the right puts its rabid Obama hatred on the down-low, what will — or can — conservatism stand for instead? [...]

Heh. Nothing good. I hope it takes their massively funded hate think tanks months to figure that out.

THE G.O.P. has already reached its praying-for-a-miracle phase — hoping some neo-Reagan will emerge to usurp the tired field. Trump! Thune! T-Paw! Christie! Jeb Bush! Soon it’ll be time for another Fred Thompson or Rudy groundswell. [...]

Lemme 'splain about miracles and the con job part of Christianity: Miracles yesterday, miracles tomorrow, sorry, no miracles today. 'Karma' is probably closer to the truth. If their miracle comes up with another Thompson or Julieannie as their savior, they get what they deserve.

Pops sticks a needle in the balloon a little at this point, but I'm not going to. Go.

Dear Egypt,

Just so you know:


This pisses me off all the more because — after seeing Yves Smith rave about it for weeks — I’ve been reading Nicholas Shaxson’s Treasure Islands (I’m hoping we’ll be able to arrange a book salon when the book comes out in the U.S. in April). Normally, discussions of developing nation elites looting their countries focus on the corruption of the countries themselves. But Shaxson shows how the ability to loot a country like Mubarak has depends on a whole network of secrecy jurisdictions, of which Switzerland is now just the stodgiest. Indeed, Shaxon shows that the UK and U.S. have competed since World War II to set up the most extensive secrecy jurisdictions to ensure the looted funds from the rest of the world end up driving our financialized economies.

Mubarak’s looted billions — indeed, his ability to loot billions as representatives of our government scoff at activists who call such looting illegal — plays a fundamental role in our house of cards economy. And, given that we reward obedient client dictators with permission to loot their country, it plays a fundamental role in American hegemony in this world.


You'd better get your tourist industry going again because you ain't getting shit from Hose Me Hosni Mubarak. The United States will see to that.



You don't ...

Piss into the wind. Westboro Baptist Church's response to Anonymous:

Westboro Baptist Church
(WBC Chronicles -- Since 1955)
3701 S.W. 12th St. Topeka, Ks. 66604 785-273-0325
Religious Opinion & Bible Commentary on Current Events
Saturday, February 19, 2011 NEWS RELEASE
(Background, photos, sermons, parodies & video – available free at,,,,, &

Open Letter from Westboro Baptist Servants of God to Anonymous Coward Crybaby “Hackers”


God opens the doors of utterance & no man can shut them (Col. 4:3; Rev. 3:7). His Word will run & have free course (2 Th. 3:1). Translated: The only reason the Internet exists is for Westboro Baptist Church to tell this nation & this world that your destruction draws nigh. You all will shut your mouth, confess He is God, mourn for your sins, repent, & obey -- or you have no hope! No weapon formed against us will prosper (Isa. 54:17).

Nothing will shut up these words – ever.

A puddle of pimple-faced nerds organized under the cowardly banner of “Anonymous” claim they plan to hack Westboro’s Websites, including &, because they hate Westboro’s Bible preachments. They mistakenly suppose because of pseudo-success with ruined-and-doomed-USA’s government or financial Websites that they can take on the servants of the Living God.

Bad miscalculation, girls!

Let us tell you how this will go: rebels will build a full head of steam based on false hope; the media will predictably do much breathless anticipating while giving another tsunami of coverage to Westboro’s message; God will defeat your council; your efforts will fail.

Anonymous is warring with God; very stupid for little boys claiming to be so smart.

All your draconian blather changes nothing. God will use you for His praise, & the rest of your wrath He will restrain (Ps. 76:10). Foppish “hackers” – like all humans – must obey God. Obey or perish.


Jiffy Pop or Orville Redenbacher's?

How we got here ...

If you wonder how we got to the point we are now, where corporations make government policy and suborn our elected officials, a primer:


The consequences of this should be obvious. When bribery is legal and profitable it will be frequently utilized. The wealthy will have the potential to use it, and the poor will not. So, legalized bribery of public officials translates into a government that represents the interests of the wealthy over everyone else.

These consequences have multiplied in the United States over the past three decades, mainly for two reasons: Wealth and income inequality have steadily expanded to record proportions; and the idea of trickle down economics has gained just enough respectability to prevent a massive outcry against it. Trickle down economics is the ridiculous idea that society’s interests are best served by tending to the interests of the wealthy, on the rationalization that when the wealthy become wealthier their wealth will trickle down to everyone else, or simply that the wealthy deserve the special attention of government.


The average person means nothing in the face of the corporatist state the US has become. Of, by, and for the corporations.