Anybody who is still teaching in an American classroom in this day and age is woefully underpaid given the risks they're taking and the amount of work they're putting out. I'm making four times more money now than I made when I was teaching... and I'll tell you one thing, I worked twice as hard as a teacher, not to mention being physically threatened with violence more than once. (Which doesn't work on me, my Cajun comes up, but still... ).
I got tired of dealing with rude, violent, disrespectful people every day... and those were the parents and my principal. Good riddance to all of them. A pity about the kids, but shit, if their parents gave a fuck, teachers would make six figure salaries in the first place. I don't feel bad at all about the fact th at now an English teacher is "teaching" the Algebra and Geometry classes I once taught. We get the school system we want -- and deserve.
A Catholic bishop in Rhode Island has taken time from gay-raping little boys and forcing women to have babies to note in alarm that the mighty supervillain The Gay Agenda (left) has shot Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch with his Gay Ray Gun of Gayness, forcing A.G. Lynch to rule that (gasp) gays should have equal rights under the Establishment clause of the Constitution rather than be stoned to death. Why, if gays had equal rights, they would... they would... CUT OUR HAIR AND DECORATE OUR HOMES MOST TASTEFULLY! What would the makers of knotty pine furniture do then, I ask you? Think of their innocent little children, starving amongst a sea of knotty pine furniture in Cooterville Alabama. Oh the horror!
So remember boys and girls, keep an eye out for that mighty supervillain The Gay Agenda flying across your sky clad in his gay little short-shorts and perfectly coifed permed hair, because if he got his way, why, we'd all be gayer than the gay mayor of gayville and the children of the makers of knotty pine furniture would be reduced to eating sawdust for breakfast lunch and dinner. Think of the children! Oh the poor little children!
How fucked do we have to be here in America in order to read something by Seymour Hersh, about nefarious plots, illegal fund streams to al-Qaeda associated groups, and the fomenting of an enormous war in the Middle East, and fuckin' John Negroponte comes across looking like the most honorable man? What twisted trip into a sphincter-like rabbit hole do we have to be on in order to be able to put those words together, that the depraved motherfucker who turned a blind eye to (and ensured funding for) Honduran death squads that plagued Central America back in the Reagan era (known these days to liberals as "Jesus, who'd've thought it could get worse?"), who was at the center of Iran-Contra, would sound, in the screwed up context of the players in Hersh's article, like the good guy?
If the man who justified the groups that raped and killed nuns as just part of the fight in the Cold War is worried about the legality of something, it's gotta be a bloodcurdling monstrosity
The Rude One has an important message for you. Read it.
They didn't call me. SOB! I just had to check a web site twice a day for a week to see if they wanted me to report. Not that I would have been chosen for a jury -- it's a "jury of peers" and hey, how many penguins are subjected to trial by jury? A penguin on the jury of a people trial just doesn't work out! But it's nice that I'm finished for a year with that silliness.
In other news, I got a new tent, an ultralight one-man tent (no link, not sure I want to recommend it yet). Last night I set it up to seam-seal it. Because it was raining outside, I set it up in my living room, using string and weights to take the place of stakes. The Mighty Fang was much help in tying the strings (not!).
About the only right wing media personality who has *not* called for the death of someone in that "oh shucks, you know, it'd be great if someone assassinated person X" manner that they use to call for assassinations is Michelle Malkin. She merely wants to intern opponents of Dear Leader as "enemies of the state", indeed, wrote an entire book defending the idea. I suppose that makes her the moral paragon of right-wing punditry. Which says something about right wing punditry, I suppose....
So why do these people still get a national voice in the media? Hmm, oh yeah, that's right. The people they want dead are the same people that Big Oil and Big Media want dead. Alrighty, then!
The most qualified candidate currently in the race for President is a fat man with bad hair who has a penchant for getting speeding tickets and who loves to eat. And who, BTW, would probably bring most of the Western states with him and thus guarantee the Presidency to the Democratic Party (15,000 votes in Nevada and 100,000 votes in Colorado would have made Kerry President). F**k the South. John Edwards couldn't win his own home state of North Carolina in 2004, the chances of any Democratic "Southern strategy" working is nil. Anybody in the South with any brains has already left. (Case in point: ME). The South will be solid Republican for the foreseeable future. It's time to pursue a Western Strategy, and this candidate has been very successful at that, completely trouncing the Republican candidate in his last race for governor with 67% of the vote despite the fact that Bush won his state in that very same election.
Sadly, though, I doubt that Bill Richardson has a chance. As the election of George W. Bush proves, being smart and qualified means nothing in politics today. It's all about appearances and superficiality. A fat man with bad hair will win the Presidency sometime after hell freezes over...
He won an Oscar last night for his documentary An Inconvenient Truth. Well, technically the director and producers won the Oscar, but as the director said when handing the statue to Al, "It's his film."
This was a big win for Al because the competition for best documentary was stiff this year. There was a *ton* of good documentaries in 2006. Also nominated this year for best documentary were "Deliver Us from Evil," about a pedophile priest, "Jesus Camp," about brainwashing children into being Jesus freaks, and two films about the war in Iraq — "My Country, My Country" and "Iraq in Fragments." All of these are smart and important films. So Al and his director and producers should feel really proud of themselves right now.
I think Al would make a great President. He's smart, he's thoughtful, he's dedicated to public service, and he's already been elected President once (in 2000). He came out against the Iraq war early and has never backed off. Alas, it isn't to be. As Al himself has noted, he just isn't good at politics in the modern era of attack dog politics. He's just too nice a guy to be able to cope with the junkyard dogs of the reich wing noise machine. Of course, he did win once...
That mighty supervillain The Gay Agenda gets a lot of press on World Nut Daily ("A free press for a free people", for some value of "free"). A quick Google search of World Nut Daily turns up over 500 articles published there about that horrible supervillain.
So what is so horrible about The Gay Agenda, he of the iridescent tights, rainbow cape, big "G" on his chest, and his Gay Ray Gun of Gayness that he carries between his legs as he flies through the skies Superman-style? Well, clicking through some of the search results turns up some interesting facts about The Gay Agenda:
The Gay Agenda wants to be taught in elementary schools. Now, I know what you're saying -- why does a big lunk in tights, with that, err, suggestive ray gun, want to sit all akimber in one of those little 4th grade seats learning his multiplication tables along with little kids? Well, I'm not sure, but The Gay Agenda apparently went to court to make sure he got taught in elementary schools.
The Gay Agenda wants to adopt little boys and girls and use them for child sacrifices. Many states have had to actually pass LAWS prohibiting The Gay Agenda from adopting little boys and girls in their states! C'mon, the notion of some evil supervillain in tights adopting a small child ought to raise a few questions, eh?
The Gay Agenda goes around looking for pregnant girls, and when he finds one, he rips the fetus right out of her belly (this is called "Plan B", I suppose "Plan A" would be to take the girl to a normal abortion clinic). Then The Gay Agenda eats the aborted fetus as it wriggles in his rainbow-gloved hands. Once finished eating the aborted fetus, The Gay Agenda then uses the Gay Ray Gun of Gayness to force the girl to gay-marry another girl, or maybe Senator Santorum's dog or Senator Cornyn's box turtle depending on his mood.
The Gay Agenda has super-powered breath that contains Super AIDS. All that The Gay Agenda has to do is breathe on someone and that person gets AIDS. It is unknown whether this super-power is related to Rush Limbaugh's breath, which merely reeks of brimstone and reduces the IQ of anyone subjected to it by 50 points.
The Gay Agenda sneaks up on loving families at night and holds a knife to the throat of the woman and forces them to divorce and gay-marry other people and forces the children to be sad and kill themselves.
The Gay Agenda wants to put all straight people in jail, or kill them if he can't jail them.
The Gay Agenda sneaks into unsuspecting households at night, kidnaps the children, and makes them watch X-rated movies. It is unknow what The Gay Agenda's motivation for doing this is. Perhaps he is lonely and just wants company. In any event, it is clear that The Gay Agenda is a bad, bad man.
The Gay Agenda wants to marry a sheep. In other news, half of the state of Wyoming and most of the country of New Zealand goes "Ewe!".
The Gay Agenda sneaks into homes at night and replaces Bibles with Qurans, then takes the Bibles and rips the pages out to use as toilet paper. The Gay Agenda apparently has irritable bowel syndrome.
The Gay Agenda sneaks into military recruiting stations and shoots the new recruits with his Gay Ray Beam of Gayness and turns them all into swishy boys and manly girls.
The Gay Agenda invades churches and forces preachers at gunpoint to preach to The Gay Agenda. It is unknown what joy he gets from doing this. I guess being an evil supervillain means never having to explain your evil-ness.
The Gay Agenda forces nations that tolerate his presence, like Canada and the Netherlands, to be unlivable hellholes, while nations that shoot at The Gay Agenda at sight, like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Iran, are beautiful paradises.
Boy, I sure learn a lot about The Gay Agenda by reading World Nut Daily. The Gay Agenda is truly an evil supervillain!
Meanwhile, at the bottom of that story, I see a fascinating link: "Massachusetts judge orders teaching of the Gay Agenda". Oh dear. There's that evil supervillain, The Gay Agenda, again, with his rainbow cape and the big "G" on his chest, and the Gay Ray Gun of Gayness that he uses to shoot unsuspecting boys and girls to make them Teh Gay. I guess that, as an evil supervillain, the schools turned him away earlier in life. Perhaps he would not have become a supervillain if those nasty schools had allowed him to be taught. I am glad that a Massachussets judge now is going to allow The Gay Agenda to attend school. Teaching The Gay Agenda, though, probably is going to be a bit difficult for the teacher. I mean, c'mon. Here you are, with all these little shrimpy 4th graders, then there's this big lunk wearing tights and a rainbow cape, with a big Gay Ray Gun of Gayness clutched between his legs? And you think that won't be disruptive to the learning of the other students in the class?!
No, sadly I must agree with Wingnut Daily here. Teaching The Gay Agenda in a normal classroom is just too disruptive to the learning of our students. Besides, if we allow The Gay Agenda to be taught in a regular classroom, what next? The Joker sues for admission to Gotham University? Lex Luthor requests admission to Metropolis High School? Dr. Doom demands admission to Oklahoma State? Supervillains wearing tights, alas, simply are not appropriate as students in our classrooms.
-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin
PS: C'mon, people, I've had *ZERO* submissions for pictures of The Gay Agenda, it'd be *great* to tag these posts about that mighty supervillian with a picture of him so that wingnuts can know what they're supposed to be shuddering in fear in their homes about! Flippers, guys. Penguins have flippers. We aren't good artists, okay?!
I happened onto a "911 truth" website, and promptly found out that it was an A-3 Skywarrior ("Whale") that crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11, not a 757 airliner. This A-3 Skywarrior apparently flew off the carrior U.S.S. George Washington, which was docked in New York Harbor on 9/11.
Where to start, where to start... okay. First of all, the A-3 was retired in 1991. There are none in military service. Secondly, this is a big-ass plane. Its nick-name was "Whale", because it was the biggest plane to ever be flown off a carrier flight deck. If one of them got pulled out of retirement, rehabilitated, and put onto a carrier, someone would have noticed. I mean, we're talking *big*. The damned thing weighs 38,000 pounds *without* fuel and bombs, it's twice the size of any current jet that flies off a carrier deck, you don't hide something that big! Thirdly, flying an unmanned "drone" off the flight deck of an aircraft carrier ain't happenin', and because the A-3 has no ejection seats (and no way to retrofit any due to the cockpit design), it's unlikely that any pilot would volunteer to fly a kamakazi mission. Finally, it takes dozens of people to launch a jet plane off the deck of an aircraft carrier. You can't launch a jet plane in secret. It has to be fueled, the deck crew has to guide it to the end of the runway and hook up the catapault hooks, the operations crew has to clear a flight path... you just can't hide it, and if there was a conspiracy of this size, someone would have leaked by now.
Which brings up what Karl Rove O'Brien called the Conspiracy Theory Conspiracy. That is, that whack conspiracy theories of this sort are generated as "black ops" by U.S. intelligence agencies (See: COINTELPRO) in order to hide the fact that there are real conspiracies out there. 25% of the world's prisoners are in the United States, despite the U.S. having only 5% of the world's population. We are swiftly becoming a prison state where an astounding 10% of adult males of some minority groups are imprisoned in the American Gulag, a vast decentralized system of county jails, state prisons, and federal penitentaries that is the fastest-growing industry in America today. There are currently eight million people caught in the claws of the American Gulag. How did this happen? Who is responsible for this? Alas, if I start speculating, I am merely putting forward a "conspiracy theory" -- which, thanks to the Conspiracy Theory Conspiracy, means it's automatically discredited.
So what does that mean for us? Not much... other than, of course, than we're going to be in Afghanistan until the Lord Jesus, Himself, returns, at which point He'll take one look and say, "Oh, kiss my cross-hanging ass," and turn around and leave. -- The Dark Wraith
This penguin bows before a true master of snark...
By now you've read more than you want to read about the sickening way in which the military and VA are treating the veterans of Oil War II. You've read about the horrible conditions. About how they deliberately give soldiers low disability ratings to deprive them of benefits, forcing them to appeal and appeal to get what they're owed by the nation that threw them into an unnecessary war and now refuses to care for them. About how veterans with severe problems related to the war, such as suicidal depression at all they did and all that happened to them and their fellow soldiers, are turned away from the VA hospitals.
I don't think there is any more I can add to that. "Support our troops" has to mean more than yellow ribbon magnets, but, sadly, I doubt it does. So I will instead post a poem:
He sat in a wheeled chair, waiting for dark,
And shivered in his ghastly suit of grey,
Legless, sewn short at elbow. Through the park
Voices of boys rang saddening like a hymn,
Voices of play and pleasure after day,
Till gathering sleep had mothered them from him.
About this time Town used to swing so gay
When glow-lamps budded in the light-blue trees
And girls glanced lovelier as the air grew dim,
-- In the old times, before he threw away his knees.
Now he will never feel again how slim
Girls' waists are, or how warm their subtle hands,
All of them touch him like some queer disease.
There was an artist silly for his face,
For it was younger than his youth, last year.
Now he is old; his back will never brace;
He's lost his colour very far from here,
Poured it down shell-holes till the veins ran dry,
And half his lifetime lapsed in the hot race,
And leap of purple spurted from his thigh.
One time he liked a bloodsmear down his leg,
After the matches carried shoulder-high.
It was after football, when he'd drunk a peg,
He thought he'd better join. He wonders why ...
Someone had said he'd look a god in kilts.
That's why; and maybe, too, to please his Meg,
Aye, that was it, to please the giddy jilts,
He asked to join. He didn't have to beg;
Smiling they wrote his lie; aged nineteen years.
Germans he scarcely thought of; and no fears
Of Fear came yet. He thought of jewelled hilts
For daggers in plaid socks; of smart salutes;
And care of arms; and leave; and pay arrears;
Esprit de corps; and hints for young recruits.
And soon, he was drafted out with drums and cheers.
Some cheered him home, but not as crowds cheer Goal.
Only a solemn man who brought him fruits
Thanked him; and then inquired about his soul.
Now, he will spend a few sick years in Institutes,
And do what things the rules consider wise,
And take whatever pity they may dole.
To-night he noticed how the women's eyes
Passed from him to the strong men that were whole.
How cold and late it is! Why don't they come
And put him into bed? Why don't they come?
Those brave Republic Party members in the Utah Legislature have discovered that the dastardly supervillain, The Gay Agenda, is out there trying to convert our innocent little boys and girls into gay hairdressers and gay interior decorators with his mighty Gay Laser of Gayness, and have come up with a way to stop The Gay Agenda: Outlaw Gay-Straight Alliance clubs in the schools.
I'm not quite sure what that has to do with that dastardly supervillain The Gay Agenda, but anyhow. I've been looking for a picture of The Gay Agenda and not finding one. I picture him as looking like Superman, except with a "G" rather than an "S" on his chest, and a rainbow-colored cape, flying across the sky with his arms held out in front of him in the classic Superman pose. He holds his Gay Laser of Gayness between his legs while he is flying, and it looks sorta like this pic from Shakes (notice the gay ray beams coming out the end):
Now, what I'm trying to do is put together a wanted poster for The Gay Agenda. You know, something along the lines of: "Wanted: The Gay Agenda", a picture, then a detailed description of why exactly The Gay Agenda is so evil below. Let's see: shoots superheros like Superman and Batman with his Gay Laser of Gayness and turns them into hairdressers and interior decorators (hold it, Superman and Batman already wear tights, has The Gay Agenda already got them?!), caused Osama bin Laden to attack us on 9/11, you know the drill, I'll have to troll a few right-wing sites to find out what other evil The Gay Agenda has been up to. But all of it fails without that picture of The Gay Agenda. After all, how can the brave Republic Party members cowering in their homes in fear of The Gay Agenda know what they're supposed to be scared of if they don't know what The Gay Agenda looks like? Oh the horror!
-- Badtux the "I can't draw" Penguin
Flippers, folks. Flippers are LOUSY for drawin'. Just sayin', y'know?
Dear Richard Wollfe: I don't want journalists to be partisans. I want journalists to report the truth. A citizen of a democracy has to know what's true and what's not true, so we can contact our representatives and tell them how we want them to vote, or vote them out of office if they refuse to do the right thing. Somebody has to figure out what is true and what's not true and report it, and if you useless "reporters" (stenographers) refuse to do so and instead whine that it's not your job because that is "analysis" (huh? When is reporting the truth "analysis"? Truth simply *is*!), we bloggers have to do so. And if you're upset that we bloggers are mean to you because you're making us do your job for you... Oh WAAAHHH! Poor little babies! We call on you reporters to do your job, we call on you to dig through all the piles of reeking flying monkey shit raining down on our head and report the truth buried underneath all the lies and deceptions and misleading statements, and you stamp your little footies and throw down your little journalistic shovels like munchkins going on strike and whine "Not my job!" at the top of your pathetic little voices. And it's we BLOGGERS who are out of line? DO YOUR FUCKING JOB AND THEN WE WON'T PISS ON YOU. Got it?
We bloggers already have full-time jobs making widgets or otherwise doing shit that makes the country's economy work. We don't have the resources of multi-billion-dollar corporations behind us. We don't have a team of researchers to dig up all the facts regarding a particular issue. Yet WE ARE MORE OFTEN RIGHT THAN YOU ARE because we do the job you refuse to do. We were right about Saddam's non-existent weapons of mass destruction. We were right about the lack of a Saddam-al Qaeda connection. We were right about the disaster that would be the Iraq occupation. We were right when we predicted civil war in Iraq. We were right, and we were right because we spent fucking HOURS AND HOURS of our own precious time away from our families and cats and livelihoods doing your fucking job for you and looking up the goddamned FACTS. The facts that you piss-poor excuses for "reporters" were too fucking stupid, lazy, or just plain bought to look up for yourself, instead just acting as stenographers for whatever vile political bullshit was being spewed by the goddamned Ministry of Truth as if it were God's own manna from the heavens instead of just a pile of reeking flying monkey shit.
So don't give me that bullshit about how we bloggers are so "mean" to you. Do your fucking job, report the truth, and you'll never hear from us again. Shit, I'd quit blogging tomorrow if I had access to a free press that would report the truth to me. But I don't. And I won't, as long as you reporters refuse to do your job and refuse to report the truth because you're too busy stamping your widdle footsies and whining that it isn't your job... shit, if it isn't YOUR job, then whose it? A fucking PENGUIN'S?!
The real threat to America
is not terrorists, according to right-wing nutballs Sean Hannity and Neal Boortz. No. The real threat to America is... teachers.
Yes. Teachers. Why, if we don't fire all these "teacher" fiends immediately and replace them with Bible-thumpin' preacher men to teech our childrens rite, they'll, they'll... KILL US ALL! AGGH! THE PAIN! THE PAIN! MAKE IT STOP, BABY JESUS! MAKE IT STOP!
I can't make up shit funnier than today's Republican Party. I try and I try, but... oh my aching head!
-- Badtux the "Reality is stranger than fiction" Penguin
Left: One of those dangerous "teacher" fiends tortures a room full of innocent children. Oh the horror!
So let me get this straight. Osama bin Laden attacks America on 9/11/2001. Now, over 5 years later, he's still rambling around at large setting up training camps, while the entire U.S. Army is bogged down in some dismal sandpit called "Iraq" that has *NEVER* attacked America? MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! If you're Osama bin Laden, that is...
and not a symbol of male domination over womankind. Sorry, Ampersand. I just don't buy this neo-feminist nonsense that fat is a body image problem caused by male domination pushing a draconian body image upon women, rather than a health problem.
Look, both of those people above are just plain *fat*. Gender image has nothing to do with it. They have a health problem, not a body image problem. They're going to die at an earlier age than someone who is not morbidly obese. They're going to develop insulin-resistant diabetes at a far greater rate than someone who is not morbidly obese. They are going to suffer a restricted lifestyle due to the mobility issues of being morbidly obese. They aren't "victims of the patriarchy", they're just freakin' *FAT*. I'm not talking about "oh woa I'm a size ten and I wanna be a size one" fat. I'm talking about fat fat FAT fat. Morbidly obese fat. A health issue, not a body image issue.
Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, rather than being a phallic symbol of patriarchial oppression. Sheesh!
There's nothing like backpacking into the wilderness with all of civilization being the 30 pounds on your back to realize just how nice civilization is. Especially grocery stores. I took enough food for three days. I finished it all by the end of day two. I must be the only penguin in existence that can actually gain weight while hiking 20 miles a day with 5,000 feet altitude gain both ways (don't ask -- I swear that this particular park defies the laws of physics here!).
Anyhow, other than blistered feet (forgot the Right Guard to sweat-proof my feet!), I'm back, and intact. Meanwhile, let me tell you a little story about tents, and condensation.
I have Eureka Zeus EXO tent. It's about 5 years old, and well used. This is a large 2-man tent, but very lightweight (under 4 pounds) because it is a single-wall tent built with coated nylon ripstop rather than with polyester. One day a couple of months ago I managed to "force" one of the poles and it split at the end. The whole tent is looking rather faded, so it looked like it was time to buy a new tent rather than get a replacement part for the old one. The nylon fabric these things are made of is UV sensitive and decays with time, and I'd rather replace it after five years than risk the thing totally failing when I needed it.
So anyhow, I look for a replacement tent, and they've replaced the Zeus EXO with the Zeus LE. The Zeus LE has two doors rather than one. It has two top vents rather than one. It should ventilate better than the EXO did. Not that I had any problems with the ventilation of the EXO, mind you. But still, seemed like a reasonable thing to pull the trigger and get the new LE.
BIG mistake. I went to the exact same location, under the exact same conditions, with the LE and found out a few things:
All tents condense on the inside of their outer fabric when the air goes below dewpoint. What matters is how well they keep the wet fabric away from you. So let's see how well the two tents do that:
The EXO had your head at the all-mesh door that was between you and the vestibule fabric. It had side flies that started about a foot and a half up at the head, and came down to the foot corner on the side. All that could get wet was your feet. Big deal.
The LE only has about six inches of mesh at the head. It is easy to rub the wet fabric above it with yoru head. On the left and right of your head is the outer wall. It is easy to roll over and rub your head on the outer wall. BAD news.
The Zeus EXO already required an astounding eight stakes to stake it out -- four at the dome corners, two for the vestibule, and two to pull out the side flies. The Zeus LE requires *TEN* (10) stakes to stake it out -- four at the doam corners, four for the two vestibules, and two for the end flies.
If you have the vestibule open on the EXO to get more ventilation, you can still put your boots under the remaining half of the vestibule to keep the mud and dirt out of your tent. If your vestibule is open on the LE, your boots are out there in the open ready to get full of water if it rains or dew if it gets below dewpoint.
The LE is a *very* complicated design, with lots of little pieces of fabric stitched together. This gives it lots of places to leak. Which means lots of places to work seam-sealer into the stitching. Which means lots of places where you can miss getting seam-sealer into the stitching and thus get a leak :-(.
Progress? Hardly. The Eureka Zeus LE simply *sucks* compared to the EXO. The Eureka marketing department looked at the common complaints about the EXO -- that it only had one door (the one at the head of the tent), that it needed more ventilation (true, it can get a little stuffy in there with the vestibule closed), and then they completely ruined it. Part of the problem is that they were working under a strict weight budget and thus, for example, could not make the side flies wide enough to fully protect the side walls. Part of the problem is that they were working under a strict dollar budget and thus could not go to a more lightweight fabric. And part of the problem is simply lack of imagination on the part of the Eureka engineers.
The good news is that Eureka apparently realized that they screwed up. On their website it appears they have discontinued the Zeus LE in favor of resurrecting the old Zeus EXO as the "Zeus Classic". The "Classic" still has the same flaws that led to the LE redesign -- the ventilation is still poor when you close the vestibule and it still only has one door -- but at least it isn't dangerous when it's damp outside. Not that this matters to me anymore. I've decided to eBay the Zeus LE to someone who lives in a desert (where condensation isn't an issue) and get a tent that weighs an entire 23 ounces, and only needs six stakes to set it up, not eight or ten. Yes, the Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo weighs an entire 23 ounces, or roughly 1 1/2 pounds... now that's more like it when ya have to haul your entire house on your back!
Anyhow, now you know why I'm a conservative (of the old fashioned sort, not one of these big-spendin' big-war-makin' neo-conservative types). You don't take a reasonable design (like the old EXO) and just throw it away and start over from scratch. You look for little ways to improve it, ways that will address the biggest flaws without totally discarding the good parts. The ventilation could have been improved, for example, by making the vestibule vent slightly larger and the top vent slightly larger to get better cross-flow through them. There was no need to simply re-do the entire tent and risk ruining it. Yet that is what they did. Similarly, there was no need to invade Iraq and get involved in a gigantic nation-building scheme, when sanctions were working fine at containing Saddam's ambitions. If it turned out that the sanctions were leaky, the conservative thing to do would have been to re-tool the sanctions to give them more teeth. Yet taking the huge risk of invading Iraq, a risk which George H.W. Bush had warned about ten years prior, is exactly what the neo-cons did rather than taking the conservative choice of tweaking what was already working. Conservative? Hardly! Bah humbug!
Norman Vincent Peale's philosophy can be summed up by the last scene of "Monty Python's The Life of Brian", where Brian is hanging on the cross dying and the whole chorus of dying people is happily singing "Look on the bright side of life." In that respect, it is similar to many Oriental philosophies, which advocate looking beyond worldly things to the spiritual. It is, fundamentally, the philosophy of someone with no hope and no courage.
It's a nice philosophy if you're living under a Confucian dictatorship with no hope of changing the conditions under which you live, or if you are a mouthpiece of men of wealth and power who want you to convince the rabble to not overthrow their oligarchy, or if you're hanging on a cross dying with no hope and no future. It is not, however, the philosophy of a free man who is both ready and willing to stand up for what is right and oppose that which is wrong. A free man must be willing to be outraged by injustice, applaud courage, worry about those in need, and otherwise experience the full gamut of human emotion. Otherwise he is but a tool.
If you wonder why I am no big fan of "spritual" approaches to life, that is it. Life is a mean, nasty, dirty, ugly business for far too many people both in our nation and elsewhere. Until you acknowledge this, until you bother your beautiful mind with reality, there can be no hope for the better.
I am, fundamentally, a small-government libertarian. Unlike the radicals in the Libertarian Party I don't view my libertarianism as a religion, as an ideology into which reality must be fitted. Rather, I view it as a sensible way of denoting what should be done by individuals under a free enterprise system, and what should be done by we as a people collectively via our representative government. What we as a people should collectively do should be limited to those things where history and the experience of our nation and other nations has shown that free enterprise doesn't work and government does, such things as as police, fire, courts, prisons, highways, parks, libraries, schools, and national health care.
I am by no means a radical of any sort. I don't want my government doing *anything* unless it is darn well proven to work or there is just an overwhelming consensus on the part of the people that the government needs to do it. Furthermore, I only want my government to do things that benefit we the people as a whole, not some folks overseas or just a small group of people who don't need any help from we the people as a whole. Yet somehow, I find myself in bed with liberals who are comfortable with using the power of Big Government to attack every social issue and every social ill. Why is that?
In part, it is because there is no longer a party for folks like me. Today's Republican Party is about borrow-and-spend Big Government and is filled with vile and evil people who refuse to speak up when death threats against young women are made, who speak of young women as "vile pieces of shit", who advocate raping and killing young women, who get vile demagogues like Bill Donohue who hate Jews and gays and white people (gosh who does he NOT hate? Other than his hand?) and makes excuses for child molesters and priests who rape boys to speak for the party. Today's Republican Party is all about imposing the hate-filled "Christian" ideology of a small group of very vocal radicals upon the rest of the nation at gunpoint (I put the word "Christian" in quotes because there is nothing Christian about hate). There is no place in today's Republican Party for sensible small-government conservatives because today's Republican Party is a party of ideologues, radicals, and hate. Their platform is a Big Brother nanny-state platform of imposing their peculiar morality at gunpoint upon the rest of us, and their policy is "kill the liberals", and their mouth-breathing brownshirts endorse it entirely.
Which brings up the question of the cowards who advocate raping and killing young women and their families yet somehow never manage to make it down to their local recruiter's station to sign up for their Dear Leader's little foreign war. I don't know if you've ever had a violent person threaten to kill you before. I have. Your heart starts thumping. The world suddenly assumes a terrible clarity. Then what happens next... well, I'm still alive, that's all I can say. But more insiduous is if they're threatening to kill you, and they are too cowardly to say it to your face. When you are getting anonymous phone calls at all hours of the night threatening to kill you. Then there is no respite from that adrenalin, you can't eat, you can't sleep, and you can't end the threat because they are cowards too cowardly to confront you to your face.
I have this to say about all cowards who threaten to rape and kill young women: My address is on my whois record, and my B.F. Mossberg & Sons 12 gauge tactical pump is ready and waiting. Bring it on. You mouth breathers are real brave, REAAAL brave, when it comes to making anonymous threats to young women. But Shakes ain't in this one alone. All of us who believe that hate is not an American value, who believe that all Americans, not just the ones with your perverted beliefs, are worthy of basic dignity and respect, all of us who oppose endless wars of conquest that do nothing for America and Americans, we are Spartacus. Take on one, you take on all of us. But somehow, I suspect my shotgun ain't gonna get no workout. It figures.
Edwards hired two attack dogs -- Amanda Marcotte especially being one (she's banned me a couple of times when I called bullshit on her always accusing everything of being sexism, as I keep pointing out, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and not a taunt about womankind's lack of a penis), but Melissa McEwan is no shrinking violet either. Edwards hired these attack dogs, then refused to loose them upon his enemies. This tells you something about Edwards: Either he's an idiot, or he's a coward. Either way, he's not someone to elect as President.
Remember, the first thing the enemy does when he comes to smash through your door and destroy you is go after your attack dogs first. The thing to do when someone comes after your attack dogs is to loose their chains, pat them on the butt (figuratively speaking), and say "Go get'em, Killer!" We should have seen Marcotte and McEwan on every talk show that the condensed racist evil that is Bill Donohue showed up at. But the Edwards campaign wouldn't let that happen, because they "might say something embarrassing". Instead, Edwards muzzled his attack dogs, and put them on so short a leash that they ended up resigning.
If you don't want attack dogs, don't hire them. Marcotte and McEwan's writings were right there on the Internet, it should have been clear to anyone other than a moron that Marcotte, at least, was a snarling attack dog. If you do want attack dogs, don't put a 3 foot choker chain on them. Evil bastards like Bill Donohue will just stand 3 inches outside their choker chain and wave raw meat at them until they're snarling and snapping, then reach out and snap their necks. If you're not willing to loose the choker chains and let them rip the fat evil bastard's throat out, don't hire them in the first place. Edwards basically assured himself that a) his attack dogs would end up resigning, and b) that the enemy will now destroy him, since no attack dogs are ever again going to come to his rescue. After all, why come to the rescue of someone who choked his last attack dogs? Even this penguin knows that dogs aren't that dumb!
I constantly get told that the reason the Chinese are kicking our butt in manufacturing is because they are "so hard-working". I'm pretty much shut down again because my Chinese colleagues are off on yet *another* week-long government-sanctioned vacation. So where are those hard-working Chinese? Just wondering. Even when they're not off on vacation, they need to be practically led around by the nose. I spend more time telling them exactly how to write a particular module than I do actually writing modules myself.
But they're cheap, thanks to the Chinese government's currency manipulations. They might not be as hard-working as Americans, they might not be as creative or flexible or productive as Americans, but they're cheap. So that's all that matters, right?
I'm thinking of moving over to Slicehost. One problem is that, because they are running Xen in native mode on 64-bit dual-core dual-processor AMD boxes, you're pretty much limited to 64-bit distributions, of which Debian Sarge is not. Thus only Debian Etch, currently in "testing", is available there.
The other Debian-based distribution that they have available is Ubuntu Dapper Drake. This is what I"m running on my box at home, and it works okay, I guess. But Ubuntu doesn't have the track record of stability that Debian does.
So just based on reputation, it's hard to tell which would be more stable and secure. I understand a few of you folks out there are pretty technologically nifty. Anybody have input?
New York Times Reveals "Reporter" Michael Gordon Actually Voice-Activated Tape Recorder
Go read. Then come back and read the next paragraphs.
Those of us in the Reality Based Community tend to have a lot of criticisms of newspapers. We see them as uncritically rote-reciting the words of politicians, whether said words are truth or lies. We see them as doing the job of tape recorders, not of reporters. And we flame them big time for it. The newspapermen, on the other hand, are unapologetic. Actual email from Michael Gordon defending his Iran article spreading the bullshit that Iran (majority Shiite) is arming the Iraqi insurgency (majority Sunni): "I spent some time talking to a range of officials on this issue and quoted the intel reports accurately."
So why do citizens see a problem and newspapermen do not? I think the problem here is a disconnect between what newspapers see their job as being, and what citizens want and need in order to do their job as citizens of a free nation. Newspapers, and the reporters thereof, see their job as being accurate transcriptionists of people in power. See Michael Gordon's "defense" of his reporting above. As far as he is concerned, he did exactly what his job description says he's supposed to do -- accurately transcribe the words of people in power. But citizens of a democracy want newspapers to go beyond simply transcribing. Citizens want newspapers to find out what the truth is and report the truth. Newspapers today don't see that as part of their job. Thus evil and venal men of power, using the newspapers as uncritical transcriptionists of their words, find it easy to manipulate a public that cannot figure out what's true and what's not because the truth is literally buried beneath a sea of lies accurately transcribed by newspapers.
So now, you ask, why do newspapers see their job as transcription? I'm not sure. I do know that indoctrinating reporters and editors into this mindset starts early, in "journalism" school, which could be more accurately described as "transcription schools". Future reporters are taught a style of "he said she said" transcription, and taught to never attempt to find out the truth because finding out the truth and reporting it is "analysis" rather than "reporting". Thus they give equal weight to lies and truth on their pages -- that's "fair and balanced", as far as they're concerned. But we as citizens of a democracy need more than equal helpings of lies and truth. We need to know who's telling the truth, so that we can properly execute our duties as citizens. Newspapers aren't giving us what we need, and thus newspapers bleed readership as we turn to other sources, such as the blogosphere. If we had newspapers interested in the truth, we could read newspapers. But we don't. We don't. And not only the newspapers are poorer as they bleed readership, but the nation is poorer for it.
The next two are part of the big load of 50% off books that came in from the Science Fiction Book Club last week...
Charles Stross, Glasshouse -- A good cyberpunkish novel that doesn't quite match its ambitions but still hits a solid double in the baseball of science fiction. This one works on multiple levels, and while it's not as mind-blowingly good as Singularity Sky, it's still a fine read for those who like quality science fiction.
Neal Asher, Brass Man -- Utterly unintelligible unless you've read the previous novels in the Gridlinked series. Even if you have (and I have), it is a fairly mediocre space opera with hints of cyberpunk. Not recommended.
The Boondocks Complete First Season, Uncut and Uncensored (3 DVD set): Holy crap! This shit is GOOD! Aaron Mcgruder is an equal opportunity (but very profane!) skewerer of the inanities of our culture. There's a couple of stupid episodes but for the most part Mcgruder hits it out of the ballpark, whether he has a resurrected Martin Luther King Jr. trying to preach to a church full of B.E.T. black trash and finally throwing up his hands in exasperation and dropping the "N" word left and right then puts his hat on and moves to Canada, or has rich white men and women reacting to his wanna-be black revolutionary kid protagonist in much the same way as Joe Biden reacts to Obama, "Gosh, you're just so ARTICULATE!". Having taught at black schools and thus experienced first hand the various parts of black culture that Mcgruder skewers, I applaud him for saying things I can't say without being called a racist bigot. And being white and thus the subject of many more of Mcgruder's sword thrusts, all I can say is "ouch!". As for Mcgruder's skewering of big business and the incestuous relationship between big business and government, all I can do is applaud...
As noted in my post earlier today, I decided to read a book rather than go camping in the rain. I'm now finished with it. John Scalzi not only runs an interesting writing blog but also has some kick-rear novels. The Android's Dream, despite the title and cover with its shout-out to the great Phillip K. Dick, is not one of them. Rather, it is a romp, a romp with a literal deus ex machina at the end and a rather unexpected sheep (hence the shout-out to PKD). While an enjoyable read, I wouldn't buy it in hard cover unless you have a Science Fiction Book Club membership and can get it at 50% off during a special sale (as I did). Wait for the paperback.
Just disqualified myself from working for a political campaign. Good!
I was going to go camping with my new tent. But it is raining outside. Now, I hear you saying, "No duh, it's the rainy season in Northern California. So? You're an aquatic waterfowl, what do you care about rain?" Well, granted, rain just beads up and rolls off of my fine feathered carcass (thanks to the wonders of Marmot and Outdoor Research and Gore Inc.), and the gear in my backpack is either in heavy-duty utterly waterproof kayaking drybags or doesn't care if it gets wet, but still. I am wimp. Hear me whimper.
Of course, it's not *entirely* paranoia. I set the tent up in the living room of the apartment where my iceberg is currently docked and ran a line of seam sealer across the major seams, but I probably need another coat or two of seam sealer on the seams before I can really trust them not to leak. And sleeping in a leaky wet tent is just plain miserable. But it would just be miserable, not dangerous. I am such a wimp...
So I curl up with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate. Hey, don't misunderestimate the danger of a cup of hot chocolate! Why, if I set it down on the futon beside me as I blog from my notebook computer and accidentally spilled it, it could soak my clothes and cause burns! Oh the dangers I put myself through for your sake... what can us say, us fowl (penguins and chickenhawks) must make sacrifices. Why, maybe I'll even put pants on sometime today! (Which of course is more than the brave cheeto-stained-finger warriors of the 101st Fighting Chickenhawks, 1st Chairborn Brigade, will do as they blog from their mommy's basements in support of a war they refuse to fight in, but still).
Oh, as you may have noticed, I'm back on my old ugly template. The new one I tried out just could not be made to work across all major browser platforms. I finally got it looking good under both Firefox and Opera, but then it broke under Internet Exploder. Sigh. Back to Web 0.9 (i.e., table tags).
A Right-wing nutcase who is a media consultant for Republicans claims:
Look, whether or not global warming, or climate change, is occurring is not an issue I’m interested in debating. You likely feel passionately one way or another. But for goodness sakes, if there are two sides to the issue, then I should be hearing both sides of the story.
In other words, he doesn't care what the issue is, just that he hears both sides of the stories. So let's try that with a different issue, slightly substituting a couple of words in his statement:
Look, whether or not the earth is flat is not an issue I'm interested in debating. You likely feel passionately one way or another. But for goodness sakes, if there are two sides of the issue, then I should be hearing both sides of the story.
I will be forwarding him the latest edition of the Journal of the Flat Earth Society shortly, since obviously he wants to hear the other side of what scientists claim is a decided issue. What do those pesky scientists know, anyhow? Besides, I found Dr. Ruthen Van Fogelhorn, a geology professor at West Kansas State Community College And Day Care Center who says (thanks to the Flat Earth Society's $500 research grant to him) that the notion of a round earth is just plain balderdash! Why does the MSM only give us one side of the flat earth debate?!
Why don't I be geting that fancy label menu on the left like dem udder pipples? And what wid dat archive link list when de templates got one of them dere pull-down menu thangs dere? Dis here coonass be wantin' ta know dat, cher! I wan dat dere right menu farkle, boo-yah!
No, not that former Playboy bunny. Editor & Publisher reports on another woman whose death was tragically reported on the very same day. But unlike the useless parasite with no redeeming social value, this woman was a far more serious person. Her name was Jennifer Parcell. She was 20 years old. She joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 2005 and was killed in Iraq. She doesn't get a Wikipedia page. She doesn't get press coverage. She doesn't get thousands of photos of her on the Web. Yet she was a far, far better person than the useless parasite.
Says Centcom's statement: "Cpl. Jennifer M. Parcell, 20, of Bel Air, Md., died Feb. 7 while supporting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq. Parcell was assigned to Combat Logistics Regiment 3, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Okinawa, Japan." That dry paragraph doesn't say anything about how this young woman sponsored a child in Africa. About her service providing humanitarian assistance in Pakistan after the earthquake there, or about the six medals she earned in her short two years of service. It doesn't say anything about her love of the water, scuba diving and boating, or her hobbies of yoga and music. It doesn't say anything about how she was taking college courses towards her degree, even from Iraq, thanks to the miracles of the Internet. It doesn't say anything about how much she loved her big brother Joseph and wanted to be a Marine like him, and made it come true. It doesn't say much of anything except that she's dead. She will never again scuba dive or hug her brother or help others. She's dead. Dead dead dead. And the world is a worse place for it.
A right wing poster, in a response to a previous posting on my blog, says "The public debate and political disharmony that should never accompany a military mission, justified or not, has put the situation where it is." I respectfully disagree. We live in a democracy, not a military dictatorship. Public debate is what happens in a democracy when our leadership goes to war when it is not clear and obvious that war is necessary. Public debate and political disharmony is a symptom, not a cause. It was the lies that took us into Iraq, and the incompetence thereafter, that cause the public debate and political disharmony, not vice versa. As long as there are young men and women like Jennifer Parcell being placed into harm's way, as long as there are young men and women like Jennifer Parcell being injured, disabled, or killed, we have a right, nay, a duty, as citizens of a democracy to question whether this is a wise and appropriate use of the best of our youth. And if our leaders cannot answer that question to our satisfaction, it is not only our right, but our duty to debate and dissent. That is our duty as a citizen of a democracy. It is sad that some people view it as more important to unify behind leaders who have shown that they are not worthy of such. But as a citizen of a democracy, I have both the right and the duty to respectfully disagree.
--Badtux the Citizen Penguin
There are thousands of photos of the dead parasite on the web but the above is probably the only photo of a serious young woman that will ever be published. Pfc. Jennifer Parcell reads a Medal of Honor citation during a stop at a memorial on Iwo Jima Sept. 27. 2005
I have now randomized my blogroll so that I can clickity click over there at random to hit random blogs of interest to me. Take that, self-important big-name bloggers!
In other meta-blogging news, I am dreading the switch to New Blogger. See, I have three strikes against me:
I have my own template which is utterly different from any of the Blogger standard templates
I use Blogger's own comments code, not Hellscan
I use my own server for hosting, not Blogspot.
So while blogs that don't have those three strikes have moved over smoothly, I'm not so sanguine about the possibility of my own efforts being so successful :-(.
And no, I don't have enough server to run my own blogging software. My server is hard-pressed to handle, process, spam-filter, virus-scan, and discard 50 pieces of spam and viruses per minute. No, I'm not joking about how pounded I am by spammers...
Edwards didn't go for the "Republicans: Wrong on everything" bit, but he did retain his bloggers. For now. They will be quietly fired a few months down the road, when it doesn't look like he's being a weak-spined lily-livered coward if he fires them.
On to that glorious victory in Iraq deal...
The Pentagon is pissed at the State Department. Seems that the State Department can't fill positions in Iraq because, well, civilians are kinda reluctant to get shot at (imagine that!), so has reqested a couple of hundred reservists to fill those positions instead. Secretary of Defense Gates says that his reaction was "unprintable".
Six choppers in three weeks. Yes, the insurgents' aim is getting better, but that's not the only factor. One problem is that choppers have simply been worn out by the pace of operations and are literally falling out of the sky. Another problem is that the Pentagon, rather than coming up with better anti-missile systems, instead is buying fighter jets we don't need. Another problem is a shortage of phosphorus flares due to the continuing logistical issues facing the military in Iraq, which are so bad that we had to cut off the Iraqi army's supplies in order to have supplies for our own military.
Hmm, Bremer was literally unloading pallets of cash with no accountability, at the same time that CPA personnel were steering contracts to contractors based on who bribed them the most. All that U.S. dough apparently just disappeared into either corruption or the maw of the insurgency in the end. Indeed, Bremer's actions from cancelling elections to disbanding the Iraqi Army seem to have been calculated to produce just such an insurgency -- after all, Karl Rove had been heard to state that Poppy Bush's big problem was that he'd actually *won* his war. Rove thinks Orwell's 1984 is a manual for governance, not a novel, and thus perpetual war for perpetual peace is how to retain power. In short, the insurgency was created by the Busheviks as part of a cynical ploy to be re-elected in 2004. Unfortunately, the insurgency then didn't just fold up and go home as planned, they had their own ideas...
More about the logistical situation: This is the primary reason we cannot get a viable Iraqi Army up and going. The Iraqis can't do their own logistics because their country is a war zone and the Iraqi government is literally bankrupt. But our own logistics are stretched to the limits just supporting our own troops.
The transport arm of the U.S. Army is crumbling due to equipment breakdowns and attrition. It takes 2,000 fuel tankers *per day* to truck fuel from Kuwait to Baghdad in order to keep our patrols moving, and dozens, perhaps hundreds, of fuel tankers have been blown up by insurgents over the past three years. The current logistical arm of the U.S. Army was based around a short conflict on the plains of Europe supported by European transport assets and was never intended to sustain this pace of operations for an extended period of time without significant acquisition of new transport assets. In WWII, for example, by the time the war entered its third year in 1944 Detroit had manufactured over 1,500,000 trucks for the military and to ship to Russia (where they were important in giving the Russians the logistics needed to defeat Nazi Germany -- note that 80% of all German casualties were inflicted by the Red Army). For Iraq, the number of trucks manufactured for the military since the war began is... [crickets].
Why do I focus on logistics? Because the logistical situation of the U.S. Army is why we cannot field enough troops in Iraq to quell the insurgency. We probably would need 500,000 boots on the ground to stabilize the country. We only have logistics for around 150,000 combat boots total (including the U.S. Army and the Iraqi Army). Soldiers without food, fuel, transport, bullets, clothing are not soldiers, they are an unarmed mob with no military effectiveness. A M1A1 tank which is immobile due to lack of spare parts or fuel for its turbine engine is not a military asset, it is just a pile of useless junk. An Apache attack helicopter with no rockets to fire, operating at 3/4ths power from its turbines due to wear caused by the sand and lack of spare parts for rebuilding those turbines, is not a military asset, it is a target.
It wasn't supposed to be this way. We were supposed to have partners to provide logistics. We were supposed to have private contractors to handle lots of logistical tasks. But Dear Leader took us into this war against the advice of virtually the entire world, so we have no partners. And private contractors are understandably reluctant to enter a war zone, and can't be ordered to enter a war zone because they are civilians, not soldiers (duh!). But rather than admit that the logistical situation is dire and putting major resources into the logistical arm, Dear Leader's military geniuses instead spend billions to buy fighter jets that we don't need (F-22's and F-35's -- why, when the F-16 is the best fighter jet in the world and will remain so for the next three decades?). Instead of buying fuel trucks, Dear Leader's military geniuses spend billions on designing and acquiring "advanced fighting systems" that are totally unnecessary because the current military equipment is already the best in the world and will remain so for the next three decades. Amateurs. Freakin' amateurs. Remember, amateurs talk tactics and strategies. Professionals talk logistics. Logistics are what win wars. We won WWII because of superior logistics, not because of superior weapons. But we are ruled by freakin' amateurs who literally have no clue. And the soldiers are the ones who suffer because of it...
AIPAC, as I mentioned previously, is a Mossad front that masquerades as "concerned Jewish Americans who support Israel". AIPAC's declared goal is to lobby for beneficial treatment of Israel. I.e., their first loyalty is to Israel, not to America. As I investigate, I find an interesting thing: Virtually every declared Democratic candidate has ties to AIPAC.
Clinton, Edwards, and Obama have all accepted money from AIPAC and spoken at AIPAC events. Interestingly, those are also the three "front-runners" as declared by the media (hmm, so when do the *people* get to decide? Oh silly me, I forgot, there's people, then there's people, youknow what I mean, right?). All three have expressed support for Likud-backed pro-war policies regarding Iran.
Now let's look at the other declared candidates. Dennis Kucinich expresses opinions that are the "anti-AIPAC", but took thousands of dollars of AIPAC money in 2006. Tom Vilsak spent a week in Israel courtesy of an AIPAC-sponsored trip.
The two undeclared but maybe running candidates are Wesley Clark and Al Gore. Al sucked up to AIPAC big-time in 2000, allowing them to choose his running mate (Joe Lieberman, R-Tel Aviv). Wesley Clark, on the other hand, has pointed out AIPAC's hand in the drumbeat for war against Iran, and been smeared as an anti-Semite for it. As a result, the chances of him entering the race are dim, and getting dimmer.
But candidates Bill Richardson and Chris Dodd show just how deep AIPAC's tentacles go:
WASHINGTON -- David Gillette brings an interesting perspective from the other side of the Washington lobbying battles to his new job as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's senior lobbyist.
Gillette's last job before coming to AIPAC -- excluding the time he took off to care for his baby twin daughters -- was deputy assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs. Gillette coordinated the State Department's discussion with the Senate concerning legislation on Middle East, arms control and security issues.
Gillette, 37, also spent two years learning the inner workings of Capitol Hill as a top aide to then-Rep. Bill Richardson (D-N.M.), who was appointed the Democrats' chief deputy whip after the 1992 elections. He also spent a year as staff director for Chris Dodd, the Democratic National Committee general chair and the senior senator from Gillette's home state of Connecticut.
With his new job at AIPAC, Gillette is coming full circle. He started his career in Washington in 1988 at the pro-Israel lobby.
Hmm... so tell me that AIPAC has no influence upon American policy in the Middle East. Yessiree. No influence.
"We, the Edwards campaign, understand that Republicans, the people who were wrong on Iraq, wrong on the deficit, wrong on Katrina response, wrong on the economy are now saying that the Edwards campaign is wrong on its choice of campaign staff. Given the Republican's track record, we are hereby giving those campaign staffers a raise."
I mean, c'mon. We're talking Republicans. As in, wrong on pretty damned much everything over the past six years (hey, dumbass Republicans reading this -- where are those WMD's, again? And our soldiers are *still* looking for those flowers that you dumbfucks said that the Iraqis would be showering, showering I say, upon our brave men in uniform, where's the flowers? And why isn't Osama's head decorating the desk in the Oval Office, you incompetent morons?). Given the Republican track record over the past six years, the only appropriate response from any Democrat with the balls that God gave a hamster would be to laugh and say, “Republicans: Wrong on everything. Again.” Push that meme "Republicans: Wrong on everything" to its limits. Because in your heart, you know it's right. (With apologies to the ghost of the late Barry Goldwater :-).
California: Millions for jail, not a dime for the disabled
When I was a child, the first wave of de-institutionalization of the mentally insane and developmentally disabled occurred as part of a conspiracy by idiot lefty do-gooders who thought that all those disabled people were actually just being put-upon by The Man, and tighty righties who saw an immediate way to reduce spending on social services and fuck the retards and nutballs, I got mine and fuck you, yeah baby! The old lady who ran a boarding house on the other side of my grandfather's back fence saw an immediate opportunity. She kicked out all her low-rent tenants, filled out the licensing paperwork to become a "community group home" for the disabled, and filled up the rooms in her shabby boarding house with retarded and mentally disabled adults for a much higher per-week rate. She didn't actually *do* anything for these people, mind you, except cook them a couple of cheap meals of beans and cornbread every day and occasionally run one of them to the doctor when he seemed ill. She didn't really bother too much with cleanliness, for example, or with meds for the ones that had medical problems. When the state inspectors finally shut the "group home" down after one of the residents died of neglect, they found a scene of indescribable squalor, as un-potty-trained mentally retarded adults were found literally sleeping in their own accumulated urine and feces.
For those with severe cognitive disorders, a "community group home" is a sick joke. The State of California, for example, has eight inspectors for the entire state to make sure that patients are receiving proper care. Group homes go for years with no inspection because there are no inspectors to do the inspecting. For patients who still have living relatives complaints can get an inspection more swiftly, but old lady Woodson was quite careful to select only residents with no listed next-of-kin.
The State of California once ran an extensive chain of nursing homes for the severely disabled. In those nursing homes, the severely disabled could receive the care they needed and had access to the resources they needed in order to survive and have a reasonable quality of life. Now the State is closing them down, to be replaced by prisons. Because, remember, it's more important to lock up a man for selling whacky weed to willing customers, whacky weed that has never killed anybody in the history of the planet, than to care for the least amongst us. After all, it's those retards and crazy people's own damned fault for not pulling themselves up by their bootstraps. They should have chosen to be born intelligent sane white Christian fellers like you and me, gosh darn it! Remember, the 11th Commandment of the Republican Bible is "I got mine, and fuck everybody else." Hallaleujah, AMEN!
I've been puzzled by the Democrats for the past six years. When they should have been opposing Dear Leader's insane war policies... [crickets]. Even today, when it comes to substantive work to stop Dear Leader's next war... [crickets]. Indeed, Senator Clinton (D-Tel Aviv) even promised AIPAC, "whatever it takes", explicitly not ruling out armed attacks upon Iran if Iran continues efforts towards a nuclear bomb of their own to counter Israel's nuclear arsenal.
Then there's this thing about a non-binding resolution calling for a pullout of troops from Iraq. The Democrats are the majority. They could pass a law requiring Dear Leader to withdraw the troops from Iraq. The shrubbery would either veto it, in which case he owns the war, or not, in which case the Democrats get some political fallout as "the party that lost Iraq" but at least our soldiers aren't dying anymore for no good reason that I can fathom.
Which, I suppose, is a risk that the Democrats simply aren't willing to take -- that Dear Leader might actually sign anti-war legislation that they send to him, and thereby move the onus of the outcome of the Iraq disaster to the Democrats, rather than leaving it with Dear Leader and his sycophantic gang of cronies.
The Democrats, I suspect, are using Russian war tactics here: "Retreat, and wait for winter." There's a long way down for the U.S. to fall, and sooner or later the U.S. Army in Iraq is going to totally collapse due to inadequate training of new recruits, inadequate logistical supply, and attrition upon equipment (the AGT-1500 gas turbines in the M1 tank, for example, are completely and utterly worn out with no spares left, and the assembly line to make them was dismantled and sold for scrap fifteen years ago during the Bush I administration). An attack upon Iran will even further hasten that. Even without an Iran attack, the enormous budget deficits being run up by the Bushevik regime will sooner or later bankrupt the nation as the Chinese and other debtors call in their debts. So the Democrats are waiting for Republican mismanagement to so totally and utterly destroy the nation that the Republican Party and Republican ideals will be discredited for a generation, as when Herbert Hoover's disasterous Presidency caused a generation of Democratic domination of national politics. The Democrats, in other words, are waiting for winter -- the perfect storm that destroys Republican aspirations for a generation.
Thing is, if/when winter hits, *we're* the poor fuckers who are going to be out in the cold, not the Democratic elite, who, like their brethren in the Republican elite, will be out in the cold when hell freezes over. Well, unless we do a French Revolution gig on them and hold a few necktie parties, anyhow...
Via The Moderate Man, I learn that Hillary Clinton just spoke at a convocation of Israeli spies, a convocation of people whose first allegiance is to the state of Israel, not to the United States. Yes, Hillary just spoke to AIPAC, the folks who are clearly a Mossad front, the folks who amongst other pro-war factions were behind our little trip into Iraq that was supposed to make the Middle East safe for Israel. And now they're trying to get us to attack Iran, and Hillary is just fine with that, just as she was just fine with attacking Iraq, another attack which history has shown was maybe in Israel's best interests, but definitely was NOT in the best interests of the United States of America.
I think my opinion of AIPAC is pretty obvious by now. And my opinion of Hillary. Hillary was elected to serve America and Americans. It is obvious now that she sees serving Israelis as important also -- even though it was Americans who elected her, and Americans who pay her Senatorial salary. She was elected to be a United States Senator, not an Israeli Senator. But that isn't how she's voting, and I will vote for her when hell freezes over. In the California primary I'll vote anybody but Hillary. In the Presidential election I'll vote for f'ing RALPH NADER before I vote for Hillary (thankfully I live in California where that's a meaningless protest vote).
Now, the Moderate Man has this habit of posting videos of cute country singer chicks on his blog. So I thought to calm down a little I'd post a video of some nice soothing music from a peaceful little girl band called Sleater-Kinney, a song called "Jumpers" that they did live on Letterman. I'm sure Moderate will find this just as pleasant as his recent favorites, the Be Good Tanyas (heh!).
Want something to do with all those LED's that you were going to use to make circuit boards with cartoon characters? Concerned about making Bostonians pee in their pants if, say, you make a LED lite-board with this cartoon character, who, I understand, is really the bomb amongst some demographics?
If you really aren't interested in holding press conferences about haircuts in the '70s, maybe Makezine has the project for you:
I, for one, welcome our jiggly overlords.
It occurs to me that some of you may have never actually seen the lite-brites that conquered Boston, and might actually think they sorta, kinda, maybe look like a bomb. So check it out:
Yeah, that thin circuit board just has a *ton* of explosives in it... why, if it was a bomb it could... it could... ALMOST BE AS POWERFUL AS A FIRECRACKER! Yeah! And if it was a bird instead of being a cartoon character shootin' the bird, it could POOP ON MY HEAD!
Well, and the Iraqis too, but we already knew that. They've been fucked since the day the bombs started falling in 2003. Ah well, at least given the insurgents' recent success in shooting down American helicopters, we aren't going to see any Saigon moment out of this war. No helicopters taking off from the roof of the American Embassy with frantic people hanging off the skids. Nope. More a Dien Bien Phu moment. Complete with shot-down aircraft crashing out of the sky, except choppers rather than C-47's this time.
Victory! Well, for someone, anyhow. Maybe for Dear Leader's daddy, whose family trust gets some bucks to replace that chopper thanks to their defense industry investments. Certainly not for the two youngsters flying the chopper, who really don't care much about whose victory it is. See, they're dead. D-E-A-D. They don't care about anything anymore. Unlike Dear Leader, who cares deeply, really deeply... about the bottom of his bottle. And unlike their families, who are going to be crying their heads off for a long time to come over the loss of their loved ones. Just like the families of the 800,000 or so Iraqis that we've killed in Iraq, but they don't count, because they're BROWN. Ick. If they were good white Christian Americans, on the other hand, they'd count... well, not really. Just ask those two helicopter pilots. Oh wait, you can't. Because they're DEAD.
And remember Molly's advice: "Keep fighting for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce."
Damned good advice, this penguin thinks.
Now, instead of the Boston Tea Party, Boston will be remembered best for its collective pants wetting on the national scene and its mad scramble to cover its spreading piss-stain in front of a bemused nation. Welcome to the Boston Pee Party. Just remember, if these advertisements had been bombs, they could have exploded and KILLED US ALL! And if my cats were bulls, I'd have to dodge reeking piles of bullshit on my iceberg. Hmm, come to think of it...
This jury acquitted two terrorists. Well, at least Dear Leader and His holy angel, John Asscroft, said that these two men were terrorists, and that's the same as them being terrorists right? I mean, that whole thing about fair trials and evidence and stuff in the Constitution, that's all, like, just SOOOO pre-9/11 thinking. We're under attack! Why, just the other day, I saw a pesky brown person who... who... SAID BAD THINGS ABOUT DEAR LEADER! WAAAHHHH!
Why do Americans hate America?*
-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin
* "Why do X hate America" where "X" stands for some group of people is a Registered Trademark of Fox News Corporation, Inc., and is used without their permission.
Holy crap. I didn't realize that I could get a double-double animal style with peppers. I ate at In 'n' Out once, didn't see anything special, haven't been back because their "default" burger doesn't match my taste in burgers (on the rare events when I eat burgers it's been at Carl's Jr., their jalapeno burger is pretty good). But maybe it's time to try'em again...
More to follow, after I finish cursing SOB chickenhawks and get my breath back...
"Keep fighting for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce."
-- Molly Ivins, 1944-2007
"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men."
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