Saturday, August 13, 2011

"Corporations are my friend, people..."*

*From a 'comment' on this TPM post.


Well, that was quick. Several hours after Mitt Romney told an Iowa heckler that "corporations are people, my friend" the DNC is up with a video lampooning the quote. Featuring the smooth sounds of Barbara Streisand's "People," no less.

Note to Willard: Ya stepped on yer dick but good this time, numbnuts. Wishing you continued success at waffle-stompin' yer unit.

The good MIC comes through

I posted on the "youth bike ban" some time back when it went down and no I'm not going to go look for it. Basically it was that dirt bikes, ATVs, etc. couldn't be sold to kids because of extremely small amounts of lead alloyed into some parts such as clutch and brake levers, batteries, etc.. The kids woulda had to eat a lot of clutch levers to get lead poisoning. Batteries, not so many, but they don't eat many after the first one. They taste terrible. It got fixed. Amazing.

Basically, the new law just gives the CPSC the flexibility to use common sense in interpreting laws so oddball shit doesn't fall into unforeseen cracks like this did.

I got this via an email from my trials club, thus the reference to trials bikes. Full text below, original here.

[Hugely important to off-roading in general, and those wanting a buy a trials bike for their kids, specifically. Now it's legal...

Obama Signs CPSIA Amendment into Law Ending Ban on Youth OHVs

Youth ATVs and Dirtbikes are Categorically Excluded from Lead Content Limits

IRVINE, Calif., August 12, 2011 – President Obama signed H.R. 2715 into law today, just days after it passed the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives nearly unanimously, putting an end to an unintentional ban on youth ATVs and off-highway motorcycles that has lasted for morethan two years. The new law amends the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) to categorically exclude youth ATVs and dirtbikes from the lead content provisions.

"For more than two years, the powersports industry and its riders have urged Congress to categorically exclude youth dirtbikes and ATVs from the CPSIA's lead content provisions," said Larry Little, chairman of the Motorcycle Industry Council Board of Directors. "We are gratified that our community's passion and perseverance have paid off and the ban on youth model OHVs is finally over. MIC’s Member Companies worked hard on this issue, as well as many MIC staff members, and we are especially grateful to Paul Vitrano, Kathy Van Kleeck, Duane Taylor and the MIC Government Relations Office."

Since CPSIA took effect, the Motorcycle Industry Council has been working to end the ban by providing written comment and congressional testimony, and by leading a large grass-roots effort consisting of phone calls, letters and emails that cumulatively reached well over a million.

"On behalf of riders everywhere, we thank the Congress and the President for their action on H.R. 2715 to reverse the unintended ban on youth ATVs and motorcycles," said Paul Vitrano, general counsel of the MIC. "In particular, MIC and its members thank Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-CA) for sponsoring the bill and Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) for leading the Congressional effort to enact the categorical exclusion.”

The Motorcycle Industry Council exists to preserve, protect and promote motorcycling through government relations, communications and media relations, statistics and research, aftermarket programs, development of data communications standards, and activities surrounding technical and regulatory issues. As a not-for-profit, national industry association, the MIC seeks to support motorcyclists by representing manufacturers and distributors of motorcycles, scooters, motorcycle/ATV/ROV parts and accessories, and members of allied trades such as insurance, finance and investment companies, media companies and consultants
The MIC is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., with a government relations office in metropolitan Washington, D.C. First called the MIC in 1970, the organization has been in operation since 1914. Visit the MIC at]

Thanks to Congress and President Obama for correcting this and allowing kids access to new bikes again. IMNSHO dirt bike riding is the best sport in the world for da youts of America. That may have had less impact on Congress than the fact that it's a $Billion industry. Mox nix. They did the right thing for once.

Quote of the Day

Dr. Krugman:

... When you’re bleeding profusely from an open wound, you want a doctor who binds that wound up, not a doctor who lectures you on the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle as you get older ...

Saturday Emmylou Blogging

Two pretty songs and some chitchat.

Emmylou Harris - Johnny Carson Tonight Show

Thanks to billwitt2010.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Yglesias Award Nominee

Andy Sullivan

"Michele Bachmann's first answer, Mark Halperin, was "I wish the federal government had defaulted." Had defaulted, a week after Americans had lost--some of them perhaps lost half of their pensions. Lost half of their 401(k)s, when trillions of dollars went down the drain [pounds the table] with Americans suffering, she said that and got applause, and if anybody thinks that guys like my dad are going to be voting that way when this rolls out of Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina, in the early stages, and really gets going, they are out of their mind and they are too stupid not only to prognosticate, they are too stupid to run Slurpee machines in Des Moines. I'll let you go now. I got it off my chest.

Michele Bachmann is a joke. She is a joke. And now I will pass it on to you. Her answer is a joke, her candidacy is a joke, and anybody that sits here and says she has any chance of winning anything is out of their mind. Take your straw poll, take your caucus, but Iowa, if you let her win, you prove your irrelevance once again," - Joe Scarborough (Hit the link just for grins - G).

If Bachmann is a joke, what does that make Palin?

The punch line.

Headline of the Day

Why No Democrat Will Challenge Obama

Many reasons, but cut to the chase:

[...] The voices of protest bump up against the stubborn reality of divided government. It’s possible, but not probable, that Democrats will get the 24 seats they need to regain control of the House, but there’s a stronger possibility the Republicans will take the Senate; they only need four seats. “If they have the presidency, then the Tea Party is running the country," says Schneider, and Democrats "can’t take any chance that will happen."

There you have it.

Fried butter on a stick


In preparation for a day of Sarah-chasing at the fair -- which we predict will result in, oh, nothing of actual news value -- we offer you this a whiff of the Iowa State Fair. The new Heartland delicacy this Fried butter on a stick.

Here's what it looks like. We chased it with a Snickers bar on a stick.

Video. Wouldn't play. I don't blame it.

After I ordered, they asked if I wanted anything else. "How about a paramedic?" I snarked. ...and then a very worried looking woman stepped to the window. "Is everything OK?" she asked. "I'm a paramedic."

A kindly paramedic who sells fried butter on a stick. Only at The Iowa State Fair.

Fixer made reference earlier today to the kinda stuff him and me like to eat - pizza, Meskin, French - all rich and tasty as hell and loaded with stuff from inside a cow, but I think I can speak for him when I say that there comes a time to draw the line. Butter goes on stuff. It isn't stuff. Whaddya put on butter? Batter, then dip it in boiling fat, I guess. Eating a stick of butter, even, or especially, disguised by deep-frying is just plain gross on sooooooooo many levels. Yechhh.

I wish the Iowa Teavangelicals all the luck out there in the Heart Attack Belt. I hope you all connect with your death wish soon. I hope you can squeeze through them Pearly Gates.

All that said, Mrs. G said she'd try the deep-fried cheesecake. Lives on the edge, she does!

A Brief Observation on Last Night's Republican Fisticuffs (in Haiku Form)

By The Rude Poet:

Bachmann roughly fucked
Pawlenty with a large red,
white, and blue spiked cross.

(One other note: when Ron Paul is the sanest man in the room, you've got a hell of a lot of problems in your choice of candidates, GOP.)

(One other other note: Mitt Romney is scary.)

Yeah, ol' "Soylent Green Corporations are people!" Romney is that.


You can go see the "highlights" of the Repug talking points turkey slap here if you must. Video too.

A comment:

You mean this wasn't "American Idiot: The Musical"?

Bachmann's Auschwitz Warning

Raw Story

In a strange revelation Thursday, Mother Jones magazine unearthed a mostly forgotten 2002 movie that stars none other than Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann during her days as an education activist, warning Americans about a coming second Holocaust brought on by the U.S. public education system.

The film, called Guinea Pig Kids II according to the report, was made in conjunction with a conservative group called the Maple River Education Coalition. Consisting mainly of two presentations -- one by Chapman and one by Bachmann -- building upon conspiracies that sound like Glenn Beck's worst nightmares.

He goes on to assert that school-to-work programs, which help students identify core skills needed to get jobs in their chosen fields, are an echo of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler's concentration camps. Later the film shows an image of a deserted, foggy area bearing the words "Work Makes Free!," a rough translation of the phrase that hung in the Auschwitz concentration camp.

This is what our country has devolved to, that batcrap crazy right wingers like this can run for President and be taken seriously.

With the stuff me and Gordon eat ...

This comes as welcome news:


"In essence, we have built a replacement sphincter that we hope can one day benefit human patients," said Khalil Bitar, a professor at the institute. Bitar performed the work while on the University of Michigan faculty.


After a hard night of pizza and beer, or a night with the chef's tasting menu and drinks at my pal Guy's French restaurant, I have begged for something like this the next morning. Heh ...

Seriously, I applaud any medical advance that can help people live more normal lives. Good on 'em.

Great thanks to Susie for the link.

The narrative ...

If the Dems, like the conservatives, would harp on shit the other side does, maybe the narrative that the Republicans are just a buncha obstructionist assholes might stick:

And it's not just judges. The GOP is filibustering left and right on administration appointees across the baord. But again, the Democrats and the White House should be railing about this. We shouldn't have to rely on Ari Melber and MSNBC. All these issues are related. If we kept talking about the GOP filibuster of appointees we'd also have more fodder to go after the GOP filibuster of the debt ceiling increase, of health care reform, of DADT (that we finally surmounted after losing two initial votes). Everything is related to everything else. If you let the GOP slide on one thing, it helps them get you on dozens of other issues.


This should be Obama's job, with the bully pulpit that he has, but he's abdicated that responsibility. If he'd come out loudly on this in the beginning, maybe more Dems would have followed suit. Just another missed opportunity.

Run, baby, run!

Hopefully the people of Massachusetts will realize she's one of the good guys:


Former Obama adviser and longtime consumer protection advocate Elizabeth Warren is moving toward a Senate run, several Democratic sources tell the Huffington Post.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

My Conversation with Jesus

You'll like this. Andy Ostroy:

Me: Mr. Christ, or can I call you Jesus?.... I gotta ask you this question before anything else. Is it true that you're a Republican?

Jesus: What!? Where did you get that ridiculous notion from, my dear Jewish atheist child. Have you not actually read my book, I mean the Bible?

Me: What about Rick Perry's 'prayer rally' in Texas on Saturday? He was talking to you. Told you "you are our only hope." Were you listening to him? Did you say anything back?

Jesus: First off, let me say neither I or anyone in my family was at that event. That's not my kind of prayer rally. As for me being the only hope, that's quite sad. Perhaps Mr. Perry would be better served to look in the mirror and judge his own narrow-minded, divisive behavior. How he and his conservative brethren prey on the weak, the meek, the needy. Remember Proverbs 14:31...He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God. Ok, gotta run...I have a bris in Great Neck I have to get to...

An 'ouch' for Great Neck. Much more.

Me'n Jesus had a conversation once, but we had better acid back in the day. We pretty much agreed I'll only do very simple carpentry and he won't try to fix his own motorcycle.

Obama does not understand "bully dynamics"

Good piece by the Legal Schnauzer

Why has Barack Obama been such a disappointment to many progressives? More importantly, why has he failed the country in a time of crisis?

It's largely because Obama does not understand how bullies operate, according to a prominent political psychologist. [...]

The president is fond of referring to “the arc of history,” paraphrasing the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous statement that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” But with his deep-seated aversion to conflict and his profound failure to understand bully dynamics — in which conciliation is always the wrong course of action, because bullies perceive it as weakness and just punch harder the next time — he has broken that arc and has likely bent it backward for at least a generation.

The arc of history does not bend toward justice through capitulation cast as compromise. [...]

Much more.

Fixer and I have expounded at some length on how - the only way - to deal with bullies and no doubt will continue to do so until somebody does it to the far right. They have to find themselves unexpectedly sitting on their ass with a bloody nose and an incipient two-week raccoon mask shiner that'll make people laugh at 'em and tell 'em they got what was coming to 'em and give 'em something to think about when they look in the mirror. If that doesn't work, the next time you hurt 'em. Repeat as necessary until they stop fuckin' with you. Make it so they step off the curb when they see you coming down the sidewalk. Comity and respect are fine but fear works just as well.


Thanks to YubaNet.

Goddammit, O-Man, just hit the sonofabitch.

Why the center-left is fed up with Obama

Matt Miller

Here’s the thing. I know Tea Party Republicans were behind the debt-ceiling standoff that wreaked needless damage on confidence in the United States. I wrote weeks ago of Standard & Poor’s outrageous nerve in threatening a downgrade when America’s ability to pay its debts can’t possibly be in doubt. In short, I know who the real villains are at this volatile moment.

So why am I so mad at Barack Obama?

You may or may not agree with the writer. Just...go.

Chinese flattop update

Following up on Fixer's post, Reuters/Yahoo!News has an update. Nice photo of the ship.

The long-awaited debut of the vessel, a refitted former Soviet craft, marked a step forward in China's long-term plan to build a carrier force that can project power into the Asian region, where seas are spanned by busy shipping lanes and thorny territorial disputes.

I think the 'refitting' consisted mostly of pumping enough water out of her so she would float, patching rust holes, and changing all the signs and instruction manuals from Russian to Chinese.

The aircraft carrier, which is about 300 meters (984 feet) long, plowed through fog and sounded its horn three times as it left the dock, Xinhua said on its military news microblog.

Sounds like a real powerhouse. The horn works.

No word yet on the rumored deal that the Brits are selling China some surplus naval aircraft so the deck won't look so empty.

So far, the Chinese carrier is simply referred to as 'the Chinese carrier' by most, though rumor has it that the skippers of the world's fast attack submarines are calling her 'torpedo practice'. My suggestion for a name is Sin King Dragon.

Sucks to be you ...

Even if Mr. Obama and AG Holder don't want to "look back" at the transgressions of those in the Chimp administration, a federal judge thinks private citizens should be able to. Via Avedon, it looks like a lot of folks want a piece of Rummy.

What's the black stuff ...

Between the elephant's toes?

Slow moving pygmies*.

I've said it a million times; the rich don't care who they trample in their lust for money and power.


It seems that the very rich people... the ones who like to call themselves the "upper class" in this country... may not be so upper class after all. They actually lack many of the personality traits that differentiate we human beings from the dog eat dog, survival of the fittest denizens of the animal world. As a matter of fact, there are a lot of the "lower" animals" who are more capable of empathy for their fellow creatures than most of our elitist rich.


Recent studies have verified that the upper class is pretty much incapable of giving a damn about the havoc they wreak on the lives of the common people... otherwise identified by both they and the mass media as the "lower" class... and while there are differences of opinion as to whether this disability is inherited through some kind of genetic disposition or learned, most of them agree that the elite are indeed incapable of or indisposed to giving any indication that they give a damn about anyone but themselves.


For those who think the answer to our problems is to kiss the "job creators'" collective ass and hope they feel a bit of noblesse oblige, let me be the first to say you are barking at the moon. The rich give nothing up unless it suits them, or makes them more money. If you want more financial equality in the US, you're gonna have to take it, in the forms of taxes, better regulation, and at the point of a gun if necessary.

*And before anyone gets offended, I didn't mean "pygmies" in the "little black guys from Africa" vein, purely symbolic of our plight among the elephants of the GOP and their minions.

Christ ...

Our resident Long Island Dumbass is embarrassing us once again:

Rep. Peter King (R-NY) has written a letter to the Defense Department and the CIA requesting that they investigate whether the White House leaked classified information to Hurt Locker filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow about the raid that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden.


Genius has nothing better to worry about (like the fact the banks are foreclosing on an average of 700 homes a month on Long Island) but amazingly, he gave up bashing Muslims for a day. Oh wait, I almost forgot the President is a Secret Kenyan Muslim Commie Fascist. Silly me ...

Keep praying ...

Because your faith in your elected officials is, sadly, misplaced:

In case anyone was wondering if there would come a point at which basic reality would send a wake-up call to blinkered Tea Party conservatives, you have your answer in the Great State of Texas. Specifically, the town of Kemp, population 1,133:


I think our pal, and fellow New Yorker, Montag coined the phrase "cement heads". An apt term if I ever heard one.

Welcome home ...

Now get out:

BEND, Ore. -- It was a bittersweet, even ironic "homecoming" day for Bend resident Tim Collette who's home is in foreclosure. His son, Aaron, arrived back home on leave from a tour of duty in Iraq. But hours earlier, his house was sold back to the bank.


You know, it's amazing what the banksters have done - are still doing - to this country and they're allowed to walk the streets, free men. They don't pay taxes yet they take our tax money to bail themselves out after running their businesses into the ground, and are still running them, still living in the style they're accustomed to. In a sane world, these people would have been the first up against the wall, shot as traitors and economic terrorists.

But, in Bizarro America, a GI can come home from the war in time to see his dad, a hard working man affected by the rotten economy the banksters caused, get evicted from his house.

I hope the powers-that-be are looking across the pond, and understand that what's happening in England can quite easily happen here. The fuel is already here, it just needs the spark.

Great thanks to our pal Montag for the link.

Standard Republican hypocrisy ...

Via TPM, one of the people who made hypocrisy into an art form shows how it's done:

Gov. Mitt Romney lobbied the credit ratings agency Standard & Poor’s in 2004 to raise his state’s credit rating in part because Massachusetts had raised taxes during an economic downturn two years earlier.


I think Larry O'Donnell pointed this all out last night, that the Republicans know what it takes to fix the economy but they just won't do it. Thanks to President Grover Norquist's anti-tax pledge they signed and the idiot Teabaggers who've been conned into voting against their own interests, with religious-like fervor, they'd rather flush what's left of this country than do what they know is the right thing in order to hold on to power. To me, that's treasonous.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pardon me...

...for not being too involved in this shit today. My little Tami hasn't been feeling well for a coupla days and we took her into the Vet today. Turns out she has an auto-immune problem that's causing anemia. She's very sick. Prognosis is guarded but it is not considered life-threatening at this time. Treatment is just starting and we will have to wait and see. I'm worried about her like any Dad would be. Please think good thoughts for my sweet little dog. Later.

If the Tea Party Were Liberal

Tina Dupuy

If liberals were doing to the country what extremist tea party Republicans are doing – it would be called unpatriotic. A whole tsunami of sound bites would sweep the country calling for the sabotage to stop.

Liberal dissent is akin to a security breach but conservative economic calamity is given a pass. We’ve treated the tea party like they are our country’s kooky, graying, drunken uncle at Thanksgiving dinner spouting some non sequiturs he picked up on AM radio. When really they are well-funded economic saboteurs who refuse to participate in the democratic process. Their goal of causing the executive branch of government to fail means our entire country goes with it.

If liberals did this to their own country they’d be called criminals. The tea party did do this to their own country and they are treated like avant-garde Civil War reenactors.

That's right on the money. Let's hope this "Civil War reenactment" comes out like the Civil War did, that is, with the miscreants crushed.

I gotta call my friends in England ...

They'll be happy to know President Obama supports the protesters/rioters in London and other cities. Come on, you knew it was coming from the right wing nutosphere.

Before you freak out ...

Like all the "experts" seem to be doing, Comrade Misfit explains why we need not worry about a Chinese aircraft carrier just yet, maybe not for a long time.

What's a dirty old man to do?



Hey guys, remember that time that Congressional losers Nancy Pelosi and John Boehnerdecided to kill off the Congressional Page Program to save money? Me Neither! Anyway, some former pages are protesting. "Getting felt-up by a horny old man was a life-changing experience for me," said former page "Fark Moley." Anyway, they have set up (wait for it) a Facebook Page to reach out to other victims alumni of the program. (Roll Call)


Good. The less young lives these old perverts can fuck up, the better.

For a buncha treasonous clowns ...

Who are always threatening to secede from the Union, they sure like to use the levers of government to gain an advantage here:


Then [Rep.(R-TX) Michael] Burgess fielded a suggestion that the House move to impeach Obama. "It needs to happen, and I agree with you it would tie things up," he reportedly said. "No question about that."

The U.S. Constitution, in Article II, Section 4, requires a conviction on "Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors" before an office-holder can be impeached. President Obama faces no such charges.

Asked to clarify, "Burgess said he wasn't sure whether the proper charges to bring up articles of impeachment against Obama were there, but he didn't rule out pursuing such a course," ...

Instead of trying to fuck up a country that most people, generally, still enjoy living in, why not just get the fuck out?

Great thanks to They Gave Us A Republic for the link.

Sorry ...

I been AWOL 2 mornings in a row but I had to do some emergency maintenance over at Dad-in-law's this morning. When it rains, it pours. Amazing to me, though, that a male aide (the overnight guy we have for the old man), 45 years old, can go for weeks wondering why half the lights in the house don't work and not think to change a light bulb or two to remedy the problem (let alone a half dozen like I changed today, among other things). He couldn't even bother to alert me to a possible electrical problem if he didn't have the sechel to try a new bulb. He tells the Mrs. when she was there the other day that the "house is getting dark". Fortunately, after 4 1/2 months of interviews, we've found a replacement and his ass is shipping out next week. Idiot.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Why ...

I'm house shopping in Europe. Cenk on the Obama presidency:


A young woman I talked to at the airport last week said that she will not vote in the next election. I hate to hear that. I think if you don’t vote, you have no right to complain the next time around. You have voluntarily ceded your voice in this democracy. I told her that and she said, "After Obama, what is there left to hope for?"


That about says it.

Shakedown ...

Useta be, around here anyway, that if you paid for cable service, you could split off the main and hook up as many TVs as you wanted. Now, I have HD boxes for all the flatscreen TVs (the bar, the Mrs. office, my office) and a non-HD box in our bedroom (not an HDTV). I also got this little shitbag 12" TV in the kitchen that I've had for 15 years (cost me $65 at Target).

Now, this little TV is digital, so I just connected a cable to the back and I had basic cable on it. Worked fine for 15 years. I don't have to watch movies or football (soccer) on it, just the evening news while I'm having dinner or the local weather channel.

So, last month, I got a thing along with my cable bill saying that I could no longer have this TV hooked up without the signal going through a box. On 1 August, when I turned the TV on, there was a notice on the screen directing me to call cable to order a box.

It ain't like they can't put a signal through without a box, they managed to get that notice up on every channel. I know it's only like 4 bucks a month for the extra box and it ain't gonna break me, but Jesus Christ, do you have to nickel and dime me for everything?

So today I go get the box, bright and early to beat the crowd (still takes me the better part of an hour). Fine. Then I have to get out my drill and hole saw kit so I can run the wires through the TV cabinet (can't fit the box in the cabinet with the TV and I can't leave it on the kitchen counter for the Mrs. to spill shit on while she cooks) and install the box on top of said cabinet. Fine. I re-install the TV I had to take out, make up 2 more cables, and install the box after running the cables, turn it on, and let it boot (1/2 hour). All good.

I turn it on when it tells me to and check the channels (like I said, not that I care for the kitchen, but I want to make sure I get everything I'm paying for, since I am paying for it on this little shitbag TV now). So what do I get? Basic cable. Don't you think that, if I ask you for "a non-HD box", you'd give me one programmed to the level of service I already enjoy on my other non-HD box? Better yet, ask me if I do want full service while my old ass is standing in front of you and you're scanning all the bar codes? Shows you what I get for assuming.

So I made the Mrs. call. She has far more tolerance than I do, especially with the automated menus you have to go through (I'm an old pothead, I forget the first option by the time the computer voice gets to the last one). So she talks to them, relays the instructions to me (I had to grovel back up on the cabinet to read the fucking serial number off the box, you know, the one they scanned at the cable company to link it to my account), and then I tell them what's happening. Finally, after another 1/2 hour of playing around, they send the signal through and I get my service. Thankfully, it's the 21st Century and they could do this all remotely and I didn't have to undo everything and bring the box back to cable.

It just kills me that to weasel another $36 a year out of my pocket (and fuck what my time is worth to set this shit up and play games with their technicians), they make me go through all this hassle for a little old shitbag TV. You know this ain't about technology, it's about the bottom line and snatching every last dime from their customers. Vultures.

The Forlorn Hope*, or, we gotta out-nut the 'baggers!

*If you don't get the reference, watch the video, then click here.

Via BuzzFlash.

Cruise News

Something a little different.


Looking past them, at sails being raised on the three other masts and at the sun setting off our starboard, I thought about how rare (and how high) this view is - you can be 10 decks up on a mega-cruise ship, but still feel like you're in an office building. From this perch, there's vastness - a startling amount of empty space between me and the deck, plus an open panorama of stern, prow, port and starboard of the ship.

The Star Flyer, which has four masts rising 206 feet and can set 16 sails totaling 36,000 square feet, carries 170 passengers. My cabin (Category C, with a queen bed) measured roughly 9 by 12 1/2 feet, had a fixed nightstand on the open side of the bed, a padded seat against the hull and a stool beneath the shelf opposite the bed. While the voyage is clearly an upscale experience, it helps to have a flexible definition of "luxury." (The bathroom was a snug 5 by 3 1/2 feet.)

The masts aren't just for show. The Star Flyer is one of the handful of commercial passenger ships that use sails as their primary propulsion.

"We are a sailing ship," Capt. Jurgen Muller-Cyran told me. "The wind, the seas - we want this for our onboard atmosphere. ... Our passengers come for adventure: They don't care where they are going."

Much more in the piece, including how to park your car at an active volcano...

See also Star Clippers Cruises. I couldn't find any prices without signing up so they must be expensive.

I'd love to see Fixer after this cruise - a peg leg, eye patch, parrot on his shoulder, new tattoos where we wouldn't want to see, regaling us with tales of rum, sodomy, and the lash and a good time was had by all!

President Obama's Imaginary Friend

The Rude Pundit lays out what a whole buncha folks are thinking.

It's as if Obama has created this imaginary friend called "Mr. Nice the Elephant," and he's so happy to have Mr. Nice the Elephant around to play with that he just wants everyone to know about Mr. Nice the Elephant. He may as well have said, "Mr. Nice the Elephant and I come up with great ideas all the time. We should all have a pal as terrific as Mr. Nice the Elephant. Isn't that true, Mr. Nice? He says it's true. You just can't hear him, but I can."

Mr. Nice the Elephant is fuckin' awesome. He'll sit down at a table with you and tell you how grand a bargain you can come up with. He'll tell you not to worry about all those meanie rogue elephants out there. Mr. Nice will take care of them. He'll teach 'em all to be nice, like him, Mr. Nice the Elephant.

It's as if nearly all of us are watching Jim DeMint and Rand Paul and Eric Cantor and Michele Bachmann and other nutzoids raping Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty and skull-fucking Ted Kennedy's dead head with Ronald Reagan's femur and calling that compromise. And we're all yelling, "Hey, could someone stop them from doing all that? It's really bad." And then Obama says to us, "Well, guess Uncle Sam shouldn't have bent over to pick up that beard soap in the shower. It's his problem because he thinks getting ass-raped is bad. Why is he drawing a line in the sand over the fucking of his anus? Gosh, Mr. Nice, that's not very nice of Uncle Sam."

The Democratic point of view is so degraded right now in the country that people keep telling the Rude Pundit, "But..but...the majority of Democrats support the debt deal." That's because Democrats actually understood that if you didn't raise the debt ceiling, the zombie recession would have risen even more viciously hungry. That's because, if we take John Boehner at his word that he got 98% of what he wanted, Democrats are happy they got 2% and Republicans are angry that they negotiated 2% away.

Just as an aside, the 98% of what Boner wanted that he got was to keep his fucking JOB.

Here's the question the Rude Pundit would like to ask this President who keeps on attempting to appear post-partisan, who refuses to lay the dead bald eagle at the feet of the people with the gun: "Would you have been elected if you had run as a Republican? No? Then maybe you should lead like you need to defeat the fuckers who want to defeat you."

(Note: That last part presumes a level of hope and bravado that may not be possible at this moment.)

Am I disappointed with the way Obama is doing his job? Hell yes.

Am I going to waddle on down to the polling place with my panties all in a bunch and vote for him as a "closet Repug" to try to keep a real ideological ass-rapin' Repug outta the White House? Hell yes. It ain't about me and how I feel. It's a helluva lot more important than that.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Good for him ...

Because he ain't getting my vote:


The data, taken from Gallup's polling from January 2011 to June of this year, charts the president's rating in all 50 states, using interviews with more than 90,000 American adults. While his national approval rating for this time period in the Gallup tracking poll is below 50%, the map shows an improving picture after the GOP victories of 2010, and much of that improvement in swing states.


Sorry, but I ain't voting for an incompetent/closet Republican. I'll vote for everything else, but my vote for President will remain uncast. He's gonna have to get reelected without me.

Verrrrry interesting...

From The Spy Who Billed Me with a tip o' the Brain to Andy Sullivan.

Bin Laden Turned in by Informant -- Courier Was Cover Story

[...] Sources in the intelligence community tell me that after years of trying and one bureaucratically insane near-miss in Yemen, the US government killed OBL because a Pakistani intelligence officer came forward to collect the approximately $25 million reward from the State Department's Rewards for Justice program.

The informant was a walk-in.

The CIA and friends then set about proving that OBL was indeed there. And they did.

Next they approached the chiefs of the Pakistani military and the ISI. The US was going to come in with or without them. The CIA offered them a deal they couldn't refuse: they would double what the Saudis were paying them to keep bin Laden if they cooperated with the US. Or they could refuse the deal and live with the consequences: the Saudis would stop paying and there would be the international embarassment...

The ISI and Pakistani military were cooperating with the US on the raid.

The cooperation was why there were no troops in Abottabad. They were all pulled out. [...]

Although the White House really pissed off the intel and DEVGRU guys with their knee-jerk reaction that tossed the Pakistanis under the proverbial bus, ironically it did have the same outcome as the original CIA cover story: the way they were treated, no one believes Generals Kiyani and Pasha were cooperating with the US.

Since my personal opinion is that the CIA couldn't find a Jew in Miami without a tip-off, I have no trouble believing this. Doesn't matter. The fucker's dead and that's the important part.

Credibility, Chutzpah And Debt

Paul Krugman

To understand the furor over the decision by Standard & Poor’s, the rating agency, to downgrade U.S. government debt, you have to hold in your mind two seemingly (but not actually) contradictory ideas. The first is that America is indeed no longer the stable, reliable country it once was. The second is that S.& P. itself has even lower credibility; it’s the last place anyone should turn for judgments about our nation’s prospects.

Let’s start with S.& P.’s lack of credibility. If there’s a single word that best describes the rating agency’s decision to downgrade America, it’s chutzpah — traditionally defined by the example of the young man who kills his parents, then pleads for mercy because he’s an orphan.

So there is no reason to take Friday’s downgrade of America seriously. These are the last people whose judgment we should trust.

No, what makes America look unreliable isn’t budget math, it’s politics. And please, let’s not have the usual declarations that both sides are at fault. Our problems are almost entirely one-sided — specifically, they’re caused by the rise of an extremist right that is prepared to create repeated crises rather than give an inch on its demands.

The real question facing America, even in purely fiscal terms, isn’t whether we’ll trim a trillion here or a trillion there from deficits. It is whether the extremists now blocking any kind of responsible policy can be defeated and marginalized.

Here's my way of doing that, from a short story about how sailors and Marines used to deal with people who fucked 'em over:

There was much talk of "dungaree liberty," a time honored Naval tradition in which sailors donned working uniforms, armed themselves with knives, pipes and clubs and went ashore to wreak havoc on an offending liberty town.

A little dungaree liberty on the 'baggers and the Repugs who kowtow to them would not be out of line at this point.

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

Dow Tumbles 513 Points on Thursday
Oil, gas down; gold, ramen up.

CNN Poll Shows Congress’ Approval Now at 14%
Slightly below Al Qaeda.

Taiwan-based Foxconn, Electronics Manufacturer, Will Replace 1,000,000 Workers with Robots
Workers will be dismantled and sold for scrap.

Only 52% Give God Positive Job Approval Rating
If they had to choose today, 48% would worship “unnamed other deity.”

Quote of the Day



If this is a all a kabuki conspiracy, it's the best acted Vaudeville farce of all time. The other alternative is to concede that we're governed by drooling idiots in Wall St. and Washington alike, largely because anybody with a clue about what's really going on is relegated to the sidelines and not allowed anywhere near real policy decisions.


I'll go for the drooling idiot option.

Liquidating the Empire ...

We're gonna have to do it, either voluntarily or not.

Chalmers Johnson died on November 20, 2010, but -- for me at least -- his spirit lives on in the most active of ways. In his last years at, he regularly chewed over the profligacy of the Pentagon, our unbridled urge for military spending, and our penchant for war-making and war preparations without end. He was convinced that we had long passed the point at which we were still a “republic,” that we had decisively opted for empire, and -- long before the U.S. intelligence community came to that conclusion -- that we were on the downward slide, helped along by what he called a “military Keynesianism” run amok.

One question he raised regularly in conversation, but never answered in print, was: What would it mean for the United States -- i.e. a great military superpower -- to bankrupt itself? After all, we aren't Argentina. But if there was no obvious model to draw on, he never doubted one thing: if we didn’t change our ways and reverse course on empire, we would certainly be a candidate for debtor’s prison and a wreck of a country. In his last major essay, also the title of his last (and still unbearably relevant) book, he turned to the issue of “dismantling the empire,” knowing full well that it wasn’t on any imaginable Washington agenda.


I've said all I've had to about this financial mess we're in. It's 2008 redux and there's nothing more to do than ride it out at this point. With the leadership, or lack thereof, in Washington today, I'm not optimistic about the outcome.

Thanks to Susie for the link.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The "Dummy Belt" ...

Satire ... mostly:

We are a land of many ‘belts’: the Bible Belt, the Rust Belt, the Sun Belt, to name a few.

But watching the near dissolution of our political institutions and our international reputation as a scientific, medical, and cultural leader at the hands of ideologically puritanical and intellectually useless base idiots, the time has come to name another of America’s ‘belts’: the DUMMY BELT.

This belt encompasses a swath of the United States that, were it drop-kicked from the Union, would instantly join the likes of Sierra Leone and Guinea-Bissau among the world’s most primitive societies. A grotesque mutation joining Iranian theocracy and Central African poverty would emerge, despoiling the planet and setting back global progress a dozen generations merely by existing.


Thanks to Infidel753 for the link.

Yeah ...

"I find it interesting to see S&P so vigilant now in downgrading the U.S. credit rating. Where were they four years ago when they, and other credit rating agencies, helped cause this horrendous recession by providing AAA ratings to worthless sub-prime mortgage securities on behalf of Wall Street investment firms? Where were they last December when Congress and the White House drove up the national debt by $700 billion by extending Bush's tax breaks for the rich?"

Bernie's right but like I say when it comes to football (soccer) and teams complain about a bad call or two by the ref: If you play well enough (score enough goals, play good defense), a bad call shouldn't matter.

S&P should never have been in the position to judge our creditworthiness*. Had they not manufactured this debt ceiling "crisis" (Obama and the Republicans) - if our elected representatives would govern instead of act like children - the "good faith and credit of the United States" would never have been in question.

To use another football analogy: play the game the way it's supposed to be played. In football, there are The Laws of the Game and none may change them to suit their whim. All over the world (from playground to Premier League), the rules of football are the same. It wouldn't be the same "beautiful game" if FIFA allowed individual regions and leagues to put their own spin on it.

We're changing the rules of the economic game for stupid political motives and we're ruining the game for everyone else. If we want to play with the rest of the world, the people in Washington will have to grow up and govern. American Major League Soccer learned that and so will the rest of us.

*And I got a sneaking suspicion that a whole buncha Wall St. assholes made a killing because of the downgrade. I wonder if Barry will have the AG look into S&P's motivations in that regard? And yes, I already know the answer to that question.