Saturday, March 26, 2011

Winter of '52

I have about eight feet of snow at my house. I posted about shovelling off my deck a coupla weeks ago*. It's as deep with new snow as it was then and I'm going to shovel it off again today. The Meskins may come tomorrow, weather permitting, and I want someplace for the snow from the roof to land without getting so deep I can't reach that high. When I think of the winter of '52, I count my blessings that I live in the local Banana Belt.

*Post is gone forever to whither I do not know. We're too prolific around here for Blogger to keep track of it all.

Update:

Just got a call. The Meskins are on their way as we speak. Fuck me. I can always stand on stacked milk crates to shovel...

Update II:

False alarm. Bentley brought a ladder over for 'em. They'll be here in the AM. Put my pants on fer nuthin'...

Bentley was near here working on a house that had a chunk of ice as big as the bed of his F-350 slide off the roof and fall the wrong way and punch a hole through the side. Picture broken wall studs stickin' through the drywall into the living room.

Mark McLaughlin talks about one of the biggest winters here in the Lake Tahoe area!


Thanks to RSNTVTAHOE.

Maine Gov. Paul Lepage Agrees to Install New ‘Labor Mural’



"We think 'Children In Coal Mines' best captures the old-time values we want to get back to."

Thanks, Don.

Stand Up For Your Rights And Starve

Think Progress, links at site.

Buried Provision In House GOP Bill Would Cut Off Food Stamps To Entire Families If One Member Strikes

Much of the bill is based upon verifying that those who receive food stamps benefits are meeting the federal requirements for doing so. However, one section buried deep within the bill adds a startling new requirement. The bill, if passed, would actually cut off all food stamp benefits to any family where one adult member is engaging in a strike against an employer:

Yet removing entire families from eligibility while a single adult family member is striking would have a chilling effect on workers who are considering going on strike for better wages, benefits, or working conditions — something that is especially alarming in light of the fact that unions are one of the fundamental building blocks of the middle class that allow people to earn wages that keep them off food stamps.

With a record 42 million Americans on food stamps during these poor economic times, it appears that the right is simply looking for more ways to hurt working class Americans.

Update

Believe it or not, there are already a whole host of sanctions against strikers in the current Food Stamp program -- the section quoted is actually part of a 1981 Reagan era law. Rep. Joe Baca (D-CA) has introduced a bill to do away with these restrictions. A 1988 Supreme Court case reversed lower court decisions that ruled these sanctions unconstitutional.

There it is - go against the Bosses and lose Federal benefits. Who's yer daddy?

California going to sh*t

Grist

Recession-wracked California is truly going down the toilet.

For green energy, that is. In a gift to headline writers everywhere, the California Energy Commission on Wednesday handed out nearly $1 million to fund an experimental project to convert what it politely refers to as "biosolids" into electricity. In other words, sh*t.

Okay, we'll suppress our inner 12-year-old boy now. This is serious sh*t. No, really, we'll stop.

Much more.

Boy, if this works we can light up the world with the heretofore useless output of Limbaugh, Beck, Bachmann et many alia! Once again, California leads the way!

Note to the Energy Commission: Hand out some money to figure out how to make energy outta SNOW, willya?

Until this is fixed ...

GE isn't the only one doing it by a long shot. An article a year or two ago stated that at least 80 of the top Fortune 500 companies pay no US taxes at all while dozens more pay percentage amounts far below what the average small business owner or head of household pays. But GE is the acknowledged leader in making tons of money for it's executives and shareholders and not paying their fair share of taxes and indeed, actually getting billions of dollars FROM the poor and middle class taxpayers.

...


The middle class will continue to disappear. Saw a statistic that average net worth for an American family has dropped 23%. It's going to drop more as we make up in local taxation what we're getting cut from federal and state budgets. Until those who aren't paying taxes are forced to, things will only get worse. As long as these politicians (of both parties) are afraid to demand fair taxes on the rich and corporations, the middle class will have to pay and will continue to suffer.

***


Again, for my lack of posting I apologize. Still dealing with Dad-in-Law issues, construction, and getting ready to leave for London in 3 weeks (that sure snuck up on us quick).

Saturday Emmylou Blogging

Live performance of Six White Cadillacs from Emmylou Harris at the IFC Crossroads House in Austin, TX, from SXSW 2011.

From her new album "Hard Bargain".


Thanks to ifc.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Muslims Have No First Amendment Rights

I have said before, and maintain, that to some people "religious freedom" means you can belong to any batcrap crazy right-wing christowhacko nutjob retard protestant sect you want to. Right again, G-Man!

TPM

Bryan Fischer, the "Director of Issues Analysis" for the social conservative group the American Family Association, says that when it comes to Islam, the First Amendment is a privilege, not a right. "Islam has no fundamental First Amendment claims, for the simple reason that it was not written to protect the religion of Islam," Fischer wrote today.

"The First Amendment was written by the Founders to protect the free exercise of Christianity. They were making no effort to give special protections to Islam. Quite the contrary," Fischer wrote on his Renew America blog.

There's a link to that, but not from me.

Fischer, also known for his frequent anti-gay, anti-bear rhetoric, has previously called for the U.S. to have "no more mosques, period," because "every single mosque is a potential terror training center or recruitment center for jihad." He's also suggested that we should "handle Muslims just like we handle neo-Nazis."

Huh? Let 'em have parades in Jewish neighborhoods? Let 'em stockpile guns and ammo in private compounds? Never refer to them as terrorists after they bomb something because they're good white Xtians? Give them all the protections of the First Amendment? I sense inconsistency there. Heh.

Tons of comments:

I know of no one more deserving of getting lost in the woods, and having a gay bear make him his bitch.

I hate to Godwin a thread, but what DO you call people who cordon off swaths of humanity and label them less than human by denying them full human rights?
...

Obergruppenf├╝hrer?
...

Sturmbahnfuhrer... better looking uniforms.

Hey, I'm an atheist as well - how come I never see you at services? ;-)

I'm guessing he's unfamiliar with Article 11 of the 1796 Treaty of Tripoli:

Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen,—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

Too bad so many folks pay little attention to facts which contradict their belief system...

I'll stop with that one because it's the root of our problems, but there are many more.

The Craft Beer Chronicles

This may be of interest to you beer guys.

Brand X

Stark Bar grips craft beer bandwagon rave, makes local beer writer mad

Beer writer?! You can get paid for that?

Whereas L.A.’s bars and restaurants were once divided into two categories (those who served craft beer, and those who did not), the more recent arrivals seem to be increasingly divided into two new categories (those who serve craft beer right, and those who do not).

Chilled glasses aside, I also wonder why Stark Bar offers one type of glass for all sixteen beers. They’re ready with an array of glassware to serve any wine or mixed drink you order. But for beer, they only have a goblet. Now, a (room temperature) goblet is a great vehicle for a burly beer like, say, a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, or even an Imperial IPA. But the majority of the beers on Stark Bar’s bottle list require a pint glass, not a goblet.

I had no idea there was such ritual involving the proper serving of beer. "Pull the tab, chug" was about as far as I ever got. I don't imbibe any more, but this article made my eyes glaze over like I never quit. Heh.

Enjoy.

Hey, it worked to start WWII in Europe...

...and the Chimp considered doing it to start his war in Iraq, so it figures some wingnut would drag it out for their war on the middle class.

Indiana prosecutor told Wisconsin governor to stage ‘false flag’ operation

An Indiana prosecutor and Republican activist has resigned after emails show he suggested Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker stage a fake attack on himself to discredit unions protesting his budget repair bill.

"If you could employ an associate who pretends to be sympathetic to the unions' cause to physically attack you (or even use a firearm against you), you could discredit the unions," Lam said in his email.

An associate? A registered Repug lobbyist? Someone on his own staff? Hopefully the clown would be a terrible shot and ding him right between the runnin' lights by mistake. Heh.

Update:

Similar story at TPM. Great comments!

But what does it mean to *read* something really? Maybe for elite coastal liberals reading actually involves looking at the words on the screen or page. However, in Real America (tm) it is sufficient to merely be aware of the existence of email to know that it is in support of your position.

Walker really needs to come clean on which false flag operations were considered and which weren't.

I like that, but I think his actions and disingenuous rhetoric (aka "lies") are proof enough.

Your State Sucks Because Your Governor and Legislators Are Dicks

El Rude-o

Yes, even with the eternal dickishness of Republican legislative behavior when it comes to abortion, which is their favoritest issue, even with the totally dickish campaign to strip public workers of collective bargaining rights, GOP governors and their lackey co-conspirators in the legislatures have found new and exciting and unusual ways to be complete wads of dick. We're talking here about spending time on shit that's absolutely worthless except as a way of announcing, "Holy Christ, we're a bunch of dicks."

Several examples of how legislatures have found new and exciting and unusual ways to be complete wads of dick.

Over in Ohio, which is in competition right now for America's dickiest state, the Senate there just voted to ban mention of federal stimulus funds on signs that mark construction done with federal stimulus funds. And that's fine and dandy: the Obama administration does not require such labeling of how your tax dollars are being spent to improve your roads and bridges. Of course, they also voted to allow advertising on state road signs. Classy all around.
...

[...] The Republican reasoning behind the elimination of the stimulus signs was that they were merely an advertisement for the successes of the Democrats. That was just too above-board a way to show job creation. It's much easier (and way more dickish) to bribe your rich friends under the table.

The fun part? You elected these dickheads, good citizens of these states, and now you've got huge buyer regret. Here's a tip: don't elect teabaggers or Fox "news" commentators.

The 'baggers say they want less government intrusion into your life and freedom, but in actual fact they're perfectly willing to use all the government intrusion that's necessary to make sure you get the 'freedom' to do things their way. Or else.

In my experience, "or else" are the last two words a bully says before his nose goes 'splat'. These governors need massive shiners to show that godless commie liberal pussies and just plain Americans can throw a helluva punch when they get tired of being pushed around.

One more dumb snow video

Not much goin' on the last few days but do the best I can for Mrs. G and her new see-through eyeball, move snow around, and anything I can to ward off a little touch of cabin fever.

The time stamp on the vid is wrong. It was actually about 1 PM. Musta changed when I dumped the vidcam's memory so it'd work again. It's OK now.

I called my friend Bentley, who is a Celtic musician who pays for his habit by being a roofing contractor, to find out if he knew anybody who can shovel the snow off my roof. Strange things are starting to happen in the house and I think I'm creeping up fast on my snow load. I have no desire to go up there and Mrs. G doesn't want me to. I called the right guy. He said he just by chance has a crew standing by seeing as how the car wash is closed for a few days and all he's been doing for the last month is shovelling off roofs anyway. He said he wouldn't ask anyone to do that in this weather and he'd bring 'em over as soon as we get a break in the storms. I was off the phone before the line came to me, "...unless they're Repuglicans".

Just so you'll know, I've only had to shovel my roof twice in thirty years and I'm gettin' too old for that shit. This has been an above-average snow year, a real old-time Truckee winter.

I edited this down and spared you, among other things, five minutes of my man cave that bears dare not enter office upside down after I missed the 'off' button and set the glassescam on the desk upside down. Heh.

Enjoy the video. I can hear you folks in Florida laughing...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The GOP's Libya dilemma

Doyle McManus

How do Republicans support the bombing without supporting President Obama?

Republican presidential hopefuls have been scrambling to figure out the right vocabulary for denouncing President Obama's decision to launch U.S. planes and ships into action against Libya's Moammar Kadafi.

Because Obama made the decision, they know they're against it. But it took most of them a day or two to settle on exactly why, in part because so many of them had called for intervention before Obama pulled the trigger.

Please read the rest.

The Repugs' Job One is to make sure somehow - by any means necessary, whatever it takes - that Obama fails. Period. If Libya, the economy, civil rights, the middle class, the Constitution, you name it, is ripped asunder in the process, it's acceptable collateral damage to them as long as they gain the power to take from the little guy and give the proceeds to their Masters.

Semper Huh?

LATimes

Border Patrol agents on Interstate 8 east of San Diego arrest two alleged smugglers and 13 migrants wearing military garb while traveling in a van with U.S. government plates.

The illegal immigrants donned Marine Corps camouflage uniforms and military-style buzz cuts. The license plates on their van had been switched from Mexican to U.S. government plates. If anyone asked, they were Marines traveling to March Air Reserve Base.

But their ploy didn't take into account the possibility of being stopped by a U.S. Border Patrol agent who was a former Marine armed with a simple question. The agent, S. Smith, asked the driver to tell him the birthday of the Marine Corps. The driver, Arturo Leyva, didn't know.

Every, I say again every Marine knows that. Nice try, vatos. Gimme 15 to 20. Heh.

Gotta get out more ...

I've said, since I've been blogging, that my travels throughout the world have made a big impact on what I feel America's place on this planet and responsibilities toward it should be.

If there is ever a truism in life, I've found, it's that people are far more alike than different. We all want the same things and have the same aspirations, regardless of race or nationality.

Krugman touches on this today (along with a handy map):

...

But what struck me about the whole piece was the assumption that modern medicine in general is something only we lucky free-market Americans have, while in Europe they’re still using leeches or something. In other words, it’s part of the superiority complex you often encounter in U.S. politics; people just know that we’re the best, and won’t believe you when you tell them that actually they have the Internet, cell phones, and antibiotics in Europe too.

...


Though, seemingly unbelievably in this day and age, I still run into Ugly Americans all over the world.

I've had many experiences with European health care over the past 45 years (the first time when I was 4 years old, breaking my leg while jumping across a stream that runs behind the house). I've seen their cancer wards (when my uncle was dying with leukemia) and how they treat their old people (my great-uncle and aunt and their nursing home care) and we would be damned glad to have what they do.

I hope I live long enough to see the US come to its collective senses.

Eventually ...

The Republicans might get to the issue they ran on:

...

But in the three months since taking over the House and expanding their voices in the Senate, Republicans have yet to pass a jobs-focused bill, instead prioritizing numerous social and cultural issues that are unrelated to job creation -- and have little or no chance of becoming policy.

Here are six such legislative goals they've been hard at work on.

...


You know, regardless of their ideology, a buncha people voted for them (right or wrong) on the promise they'd put Americans back to work. What the Republicans, on every level of government all across the country, are doing amounts to legislative malpractice.

Thanks to our pal Montag for the link.

So ...

I hope nobody still believes Libya is a humanitarian mission:

...

[British Prime Minister David] Cameron's foreign secretary, William Hague, was evasive during a heated BBC interview Monday about whether Gadhafi would or could be assassinated.

"I'm not going to speculate on the targets," he said, adding ominously, "that depends on the circumstances at the time."

However, British Defense Secretary Liam Fox insisted Gadhafi was "a legitimate target," underlining how the objectives of the military intervention remain nebulous and obscure outside the corridors of power in Washington, Paris and London.

George Friedman, founder and chief executive officer of the global security consultancy Stratfor, observed: "The long-term goal, unspoken but well understood, is regime change -- displacing -- the government of Gadhafi and replacing it with a new regime built around the rebels ..."

...


The Libyans are gonna have a new government by the time this is over, come Hell or high water. The no-fly zone was a ruse, just as WMD in Iraq was and, whether this was planned weeks ago or they pulled it out of their asses once they began this adventure, "regime change" is the mission's endgame.

Too big to fail?

Let's hope so:

...

I suspect the medical marijuana industry, thanks to its fast growth, is approaching an important financial tipping point as it becomes legal in more states. At a certain size, it will have enough employees, related businesses who depend on it, and governments who rely on its tax revenue that it will become integral in the greater economic web. As a result, it will start gaining political clout as it becomes better able to directly lobby for its interests and becomes more important to the overall economy. Effectively, the industry will be increasingly “legitimated,” mainly because the political system won’t be able to afford not to.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mixed Emotions

TPMMuckraker

Darrell Issa (R-CA) lobbed criticism at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Wednesday night and revealed he is investigating allegations that the agency intentionally let more than 1,700 guns be illegally trafficked to Mexico.

Holy crap. Yes, I'm glad my pet outrage of the moment is being investigated.

By Issa?! Not so much. We'll see how this goes, but I have zero confidence in that puke. All that might happen is that any evidence that could be used against the government perps will forever be tainted and inadmissible at their trial, which probably won't happen at all now that he's involved. I think he's best used for investigating things that will have no meaningful outcome, like the authenticity of Obama's birth certificate.

The investigation of Operation Gunrunner is best left to very high-powered law enforcement and a Grand Jury.

Then again, if the plan is to let the rocket scientists who came up with that deadly criminal nonsense off scot-free, Issa's the man who can make it happen.

Glenn Beck is a message from God

If it's Wednesday, it must be Morford. The cat's smokin' some good shit today! Do not miss this one! Links I can almost guarantee you won't see anywhere else today.

Truly, it's astonishing to read of someone so far "out there" on the right-wing fringe, someone so legendary for his aggressive ignorance of all things subtle and intellectually astute, someone whose "facts" are regularly discredited, well, it's just refreshing to learn the man knows a thing or two about, say, Shaivist unity consciousness, or the Mahayana cognitive obscurations, perhaps Christian mystic's desire for direct experience of God, all of it based on texts and teachers who sing so far outside the halls of the typical monotheistic, dualistic gobbedlygook religions they might as well be, well, radical liberals.

How else to explain? Certainly no one can be so ridiculous as to suggest that some sort of miserable, bearded Christian deity was just sitting around, bored out of his mind and a bit pissed off, and suddenly decided, on a frustrated whim, to flick his middle finger against the Pacific plate and touch off a temblor that killed thousands and sent a nation into a vicious tailspin, just to "send a message," like a petulant toddler acting out against quiet time.

Go. Enjoy. Leave a trail of bread crumbs so you can find yer way back from some really deep...

Headline of the Day

Chavez says capitalism may have ended life on Mars

My first thought was oy gevult! but I got to thinkin' about it. I don't know a damn thing about Mars, but even out on the end of the Crazytown Political Pier with some of our own politicians as he is, he may be right. Capitalism unchecked is fixin' to end life as we know it on this planet.

Slice 'n Dice Day

I dropped Mrs. G off for her eyeball job at 10 to 7 this morning. She is having cataract surgery in her left eye.

Please pump good wishes at her. Thank you.

Guilty pleasures dept.:

I'm hardly ever out that early in the morning. No reason to be. So I figured that since I've been busting what's left of my ass clearing snow to dig us in, then same-same to dig us out, and it's gonna be more of the same since it's snowing now and it's supposed to snow for the next week, and since I was already out and about, I might as well treat myself, so I went and did something I haven't done in a coupla years. I actually had pre-planned this and bummed the cash off Mrs. G before we left the house.

I went to Mickey D's and had a Big McStarchbombBreakfast. Quite filling, no worse than I remember it.

The joint was pretty empty. I knew about what I wanted, but I couldn't see it up on the menu. Three different people tried to rotate the menu to "morning" and the dinner picture kept falling out. Two men failed to accomplish the mission. Finally, the counter girl yanked the thing out by its roots and rotated the menu so gramps here could see the shit he wanted.

They were playing 'old people music', which I liked. Elvis, Everly Brothers, Motown, British Invasion. I was probably the only person in there (I actually was the only person in there. On my side of the counter anyway.) who knew the words to all the songs. I put on a semi-deranged look and thanked them for the Vietnam era memories on the way out. Heh. It went right over their young heads.

There's no smoking in Mrs. G's truck, so I finished my McCaffeine outside and burned one. Snowing, no plows working close by, hardly any traffic. Absolutely small-town peaceful and beautiful. A rare sight for me and a moment that won't last long, but then none of them do.

It was a nice way to start the day.

Update:

Mrs. G is home now and everything is fine. Thank you all for the good thoughts.

More small town shit:

At 9 AM I got the call that my rig was ready to be picked up Mrs. G was ready to come home. I got to the ambulatory surgery center and things took a turn for the truly weird and wonderful. The gal who was looking after Mrs. G turned out to be the old girlfriend of a friend of mine who died in an auto accident about 23 years ago. He was a mechanic, a SAAB specialist of all things. Anyway, we hadn't seen one another in all that time, but she recognized me (a face for the ages?) and caught me up on his daughters' lives, whom I remembered as little girls and who now have kids of their own of course, and her own life since. Mrs. G was still getting unwoozy enough to walk so we chatted for maybe 20 minutes or so about all kinds of things, like how I caused the road out to her rural-even-for-around-here neighborhood to get paved*. Thanks for the memories, Susie.

*I worked for the Census in 2000. Susie's neighbors told me to make damn sure they all got counted because they wanted the three miles of dirt road to Russell Valley** to be paved so they didn't have to snowmobile their kids out to Hobart Mills to catch the school bus any more. The road is now paved, the school bus comes, and I modestly claim credit.

**Best I could do. I don't think that's Susie's house. Heh.

About Libya ...

Greenwald with a level-headed look at our motivations, then and now:

...

I understand -- and absolutely believe -- that many people who support the intervention in Libya are doing so for good and noble reasons: disgust at standing by and watching Gadaffi murder hundreds or thousands of rebels. I also believe that some people who supported the attack on Iraq did so out of disgust for Saddam Hussein and a desire to see him removed from power. It's commendable to oppose that type of despotism, and I understand -- and share -- the impulse.

But what I cannot understand at all is how people are willing to believe that the U.S. Government is deploying its military and fighting this war because, out of abundant humanitarianism, it simply cannot abide internal repression, tyranny and violence against one's own citizens. This is the same government that enthusiastically supports and props up regimes around the world that do exactly that, and that have done exactly that for decades.

...


And there are people who've been suffering for decades who could use our "help" that will never be forthcoming.

As I've said more than once over the years, I don't have a problem with using the US military for humanitarian purposes. If we were to honestly say, "we will not allow tyrants to exist on this Earth"; if we would decide to be "the worldwide protector of human rights", I'd back that. My concern is the innocents who get trampled by these despots; the fewer, the better. Were we to have a non-cynical policy, as opposed to the hypocritical approach we have today, I wouldn't mind US power being used to make the world a better place (and I'm not just talking about shooting wars, but humanitarian relief - a good job for the Christian Airmen Air Force).

That said, a lot would have to change in this country, especially how we see ourselves in relation to the rest of the world and our obligations to it. Right now, until we get our house in order, any imposition of our will on another nation will be taken with nothing more than cynicism. The United States of 2011 has no standing as the moral arbiter of anything.

Populism ...

Not:

Last week, ThinkProgress documented conservative efforts in twelve states to shift the tax burden onto the middle class even while cutting taxes for corporations and the wealthy. In three states, conservatives are going even further, proposing massive estate tax cuts for millionaires even as income inequality is at its [worst] since the 1920s ...


Now tell me how voting Republican is good for the middle class? There is no such thing as "trickle down economics". It's called pissing on us and telling us it's raining.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Could it be ...

These two are actually realizing what it means to be a Supreme Court Justice?

What a dipshit...

...and wrong to boot. Just go read this. Pearce is the racist/teabagger/tenther/asshole who came up with AZ's "show us your papers" hatebill.

Headline of the Day

Gov. Brown Offers To Send His Dog to Debate Grover Norquist on Proposed Statewide Vote on Tax Hike Extension

Heh. No contest. Sutter'll beat him hands down. Then he can eat him.

There's good news too

Political Carnival

Major tea party convention suffers from shrinkage

The post leads off with a video of George Costanza gettin' caught nekkid after being in a cold swimming pool. Heh.

The tea party is shriveling. It is experiencing its own unique little brand of shrinkage. It’s dwindling away, melting like the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz, diminishing in whatever stature it thought it had, whittled down to nearly nothing, slip-slidin’ away… at least if its Tampa, Florida convention is any indication.

This was to be a big shindig, a huge shebang, a real barn burner… except for just a few minor issues: There were no– as in zero– female speakers; “video recorders and audio rendering devices were prohibited and would be grounds for removal without refund;” only about 300 showed up to see a crowd-enticing line-up that included Ron Paul, ClusterFox’s Judge Andrew Napolitano, and Tom “mandatory literacy test” Tancredo; all which resulted in the venue looking a little something like this:

Photo: large room, few people.

It seems as if the 'baggers finally figured out that AV lasts forever, is irrefutable, and capturing their misreality for the ages is not in their best interests.

Hence, their spiffydoodle event turned out to be a colossal dud.

Thank you Lord.

Via Think Progress, where there’s more:

[T]his kind of uber-conservative fare has had no trouble attracting bigger crowds not long ago.

That was then, this is now. Cricket, cricket.

I guess the successful pro-union rallies consisting of of hundreds of thousands who have consistently shown up week after week are coincidental. Comparing the enthusiasm, passion and numbers of those supporting the New Civil Rights Movement to the paltry turnout at the Very Important Tea Party Convention is nothing more than a meaningless exercise in… gloating.

I'll take gloating. We need more gloating where those yingyangs are concerned.

Clusterfuckiya ...

Unfortunately, with all the running around I'm doing, I can't insulate myself from what's going on in the world. It would be nice if I could because this Libya operation is pissing me off.

We've gone, in less than a week, from wondering whether to enact a no-fly zone or not to a UN resolution and a full on ground attack operation. Now, I can understand taking out anti-air installations and cratering runways in the guise of a no fly edict, but how come we're hitting tank formations? How come we're hitting supply convoys? How come we're hitting government compounds in Tripoli? Last time I checked, tanks don't fly and neither do semi-trucks (unless you kick 'em out the back of a C-130 on a pallet during a low level cargo offload).

To me, it looks like "regime change" revisited. Nobody's mentioning what they'll do if Gadhafy manages to weather all this. Judging from the "rebels" organization, that's a genuine possibility. So what are we prepared to do about that? Are we planning to send "advisory" teams in, a la the Northern Alliance operation at the beginning of the Afghan fiasco? Or are we prepared to put up with a wounded and dangerous Gadhafy? Seems to me we're determined to get him out regardless.

I'll give George Bush (well, really his "handlers" because he couldn't have pulled it off) credit for one thing. They actually had a plan (not saying it was good) when they decided to remove Saddam Hussein. They prepared for it before Bush was even elected. This Libyan adventure looks like the most poorly planned military operation of our time.

This has a distinct possibility (probability even) to descend into a long, low grade insurgency, something I'm certain our military, political (well, the Republicans would like to pin another quagmire on Obama), and economic (the oil companies, both inside the US and out) leaders certainly don't want.

To be completely cynical (which, at this point, is probably being realistic), this op was nothing more than taking advantage of civil unrest to make an oil grab. It's not easy to pump oil and transfer it out to the Med ports (a lot of Libya's oil production is out in the desert) via hundreds of miles of pipelines that are easy targets for an insurgency. The only satisfactory end would be Gadhafy gone along with his loyalists, and a deal in place with the new government for the oil rights. This requires a strong government, able to keep their boot on the necks of those who sympathize with Gadhafy and would be willing to agitate. Looking at the motley crew of "rebels", I don't see how that's going to happen without "assistance" from the Western coalition (you know the Arab League states are only there for window dressing).

Ending, I can't see any way this doesn't end up as another "long war", or at least a commitment on NATO's part for "advisory" and "training" operations for a long time to come. My only hope is that Obama ends our participation in the next few weeks and leaves it to the Euros to figure out. I'm not optimistic.

I'll be back later this evening.

So much for the "fairly easy drive home"*

*Reference is to the post just below this one. Everything went fine until we started up into the mountains, except for one iffy moment when Mrs. G made my blood turn to ice in Sacramento rush hour traffic with one little sentence: "Watch it, Asian girl on her phone at 3 o'clock..."

This may be my worst video ever, but consider the circumstances. Me and Mrs. G were having fun anyway.

Eastbound on I-80 during chain control on 3-21-11, not sure just where, but east of Drum Forebay Road.. About 6PM. Handed the camera to my wife. Heh.

Got home to three feet of new snow in my driveway. The Berm Fairy (I think) had plowed it out just enough to get off the street. Thank you, Dave.

See 'Berm Fairy' video.

Used a Vivitar DVR620HD. About the size of a cell phone, but better. Can't get annoying calls on it.

CAFKIA (comment, post below) nailed it. Snowed like a big dog. Got home at 8PM. Blew and shovelled snow, ran over buried trash can lid, replaced shear bolt, got truck up driveway at 11:30. Tired. Just enough energy to do this. More later. G'night. Zzzzzzz....



Update:

One thing our big rainstorm did was clear the air. The photo shows something I don't think I've ever seen before and I've been in California for 65 years. The photo was taken from near Lockwood (Monterey County) on U.S. 101. In the center is a strip of dark/white between the green and the clouds. That's the Sierra Nevada about 100 miles or more south of where I live. Using the old ruler/map scale/pencil & paper method I determined it's approximately 140 miles distant. I knew it was a long way off, but that surprised me a little. I saw the clouds starting to sock in over there and didn't want to miss the photo op. Five minutes later it was gone. This view is a rare occurrence, folks. Please click to embiggen.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Headin' home today

Yahoo! News

Air pollution regulators in Southern California say they have not detected increased levels of radiation from the damaged Japanese nuclear reactors.

They're lookin' in the wrong place. It's been raining since Friday. They should check to see if the storm drains have become self-lighting. Also, there's so much standing water that we're likely to have glowing mosquitoes here shortly.

I stepped outside our room this morning for my first cuppa/smoke/ great ripping fart and saw blue sky for the first time in three days, so we should have a fairly easy drive home.

First things first. It'll be off to Rancho Grande Park to empty the pups and then to Francisco's Country Kitchen for something with dangerous levels of eggs and linguica and then hit the road.

I'm looking forward to seeing my state in lovely shades of green instead of its normal 'one-match brown'. See yas tomorrow.

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

NRA Declines Invitation to Meet With Obama
He'd asked they come unarmed.

Good News: 70,000-Member Internet Pedophile Ring Broken Up
Bad news: SEVENTY THOUSAND!

Head of Fox News Resigns
After secret recording catches him saying something bad about liberals.

Pepsi Designs 100% Recyclable Plant-Based Bottle
To hold its artificially flavored, artificially colored sugar water.

March Madness Begins
Once schools that don't pay their players are eliminated, tournament gets interesting.

The real world ...

Intrudes. Sorry about my absence over the weekend. Dad-in-Law Fixer has taken a turn for the worse (not life threatening, thank god). Those of you who've dealt with caring for a family member with Alzheimer's knows what I'm talking about. He was out of control delusional Friday night, enough to scare the shit out of the health care aide we have for him and they took him to the hospital. He's home now but we're doing interviews with new aides, having to up the level of qualifications to deal with him at this point. We're still trying to keep him in his house (as opposed to putting him in a home) and hopefully we can find someone who can handle him by the end of the week.

While the old man is the last of the parents we have left, we've never had to deal with Alzheimer's (cancer took my parents and the Mrs.' mom) and it's one of the saddest things to see. To see a man who was once the Deputy Comptroller for the City of New York not be able to add 2+2 is heart wrenching.

I'll be in and out but hopefully things'll be back to normal in a couple days.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Somebody besides us...

...went first so it's OK if we jump in, I guess the thinking goes. I hope so.

Truthout

In a briefing Saturday afternoon, Vice Adm. William Gortney told reporters that about 110 Tomahawk missiles, fired from American warships and submarines and one British submarine struck 20 air-defense targets around Tripoli, the capital, and the western city of Misurata. He said the strikes were against longer-range air defense missiles as well as early warning radar sites and main command-and-control communication centers.

EssEffChron

Gortley said the assault was supported by Western and Arab nations, while declining to name all involved. [...]

Not very reassuring. I guess he's expecting some of them to cancel. Like the Arab nations that say they're on the side of the people but don't want their people to get any ideas.

I hope Mooamar caves in quick and this can be over with.

Two Ghouls

William Rivers Pitt on comments made by two well-known scumbags in the wake of the disaster in Japan.

These are two fairly nauseating examples of some of the reactions to what happened in Japan, but these pale in comparison to the reactions from a pair of soulless cretins we know all too well. Try to contain your shock, but yes, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh went out of their way to peg the needle on the Ghoul-o-Meter in the aftermath of the Japan calamity.

So yeah, Beck is not saying that God struck Japan because you're a bad person doing bad things and because he has stuff on radical Islam...but he's not not saying it, either.

Got it?

Me neither.

Fuck Miss Becky. I'm sure someone, somewhere, is blaming it on gay pride parades in Orlando or something. Run-of-the-mill assholery. On to an even worse douchebag.

The theme of a vengeful Gaia is suddenly all the rage for the scumbag wing of the Radio Right, as evidenced by Rush Limbaugh's gleeful reaction - literally: gleeful - to the catastrophe in Japan. The March 15th edition of his radio show featured a caller who joked about nature taking a hard shot at Japan despite that nation's excellent recycling policies. Vomitous hilarity ensued:

CALLER:

'Caller' my ass. Probably on Limpdick's payroll, fully scripted to make his moron audience drool in ... well, drool more than usual. Go read it if you want to.

It is worthwhile to note that, for reasons passing understanding, Rush Limbaugh is still prominently featured on American Armed Forces radio. Currently, there are scores of American service members in Japan assisting with the search for the lost and the injured. They are witnessing firsthand the reality of this disaster. One wonders if those men and women find it all as funny as Rush does.

Do me a favor, gentle reader.

Step outside. Look all around you at your familiar surroundings, your home, your car, your place of business, your garden, your family, your pets, your neighbors, your friends, your life.

Now close your eyes and imagine all of it gone, just gone, reduced to matchsticks and blood.

Now make a joke. Blame it all on people you don't like.

Yeah, I didn't think you could.

You're a human being, not a ghoul.

Somebody needs to deck that sonofabitch. Just one punch. Make his nose look like a run-over cantaloupe and give the bastard an ear-to-ear raccoon shiner so everybody'll ask him what happened and he can say a human being, maybe even a pussy Liberal, kicked his useless fat ass.

I couldn't do it, but I'd sure like to. I couldn't do it because it'd feel too good to stop after just one.