Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Look Ma - No Radar!

Have been hearing about this light plane crash recently and after reading about how parts of the area the crash occurred in have 'poor radar coverage' I did some research and found this article:

Look, Ma - No Radar! Tomorrow's Air Traffic Control

and this section jumped out at me:

We can do better

GPS makes a whole new approach to air traffic control possible -- the notion of networking GPS units together into one large network.

What if each airborne GPS receiver could report its location and altitude, unasked, every second? Then controllers on the ground would know exactly where every airplane was, more often and accurately than they could by relying on a radar sweep every six or 12 seconds.

Let’s not stop there. What if other aircraft could read each other’s locations, opening the way to a new generation of independent collision avoidance equipment? Even without controllers to call traffic or any human intervention, every aircraft so equipped would have the means to avoid a collision.

Take it one last step. How about equipping each airborne unit with a datalink receiver to receive traffic and weather information and other data such as airspace restrictions without having to talk on the radio?

and later in the article this:

ADS-B has been tested successfully in one of the world’s harshest aviation environments -- Alaska1. The seven-year Capstone program proved that ADS-B could track both weather and traffic when bundled with a GPS receiver and a moving map.

The ADS-B system offers radar-quality aircraft separation services, possible decreases in travel time and better air traffic and aircraft fleet management. All could save airlines and travelers time and money, and reduce pollution, too.

and the money shot is here:

Can ADS-B co-exist with radar?

In the long term, no. The cost to maintain both would be astronomical and redundant. The cost to maintain the aging radar network is about $150 million a year, and it would cost about $2.5 billion to upgrade to ADS-B capabilities.

By contrast, the entire ADS-B system, including ground-based transceivers at about $200,000 each, is being built for about $1.8 billon, and will cost about $30 million a year to operate and maintain.

For this we will get coverage from high altitude right down to the ground, and ADS-B can be used for on-airport surveillance as well.

As for when ADS-B will be introduced throughout the United States, implementation has already begun. It is now available along the east coast from Florida to New Jersey. In August 2007 FAA awarded ITT Corporation a $1.8 billion contract to build and maintain the ADS-B infrastructure nationally. Uniquely, ITT will own and operate the system, and will be paid to supply ADS-B data to the FAA. The full system will be online by 2020.

So, the new system is coming in any event and will cost a third as much to maintain - which means radar-based air traffic control will likely be playing a faint second fiddle by 2010. Something tells me when folks see how much better it works the government will get in the game and hustle ITT to finish the system ahead of schedule.

But this article about the folks that perished in the crash had this insightful if somewhat harsh comment:
Flying is not inherently risky as some have implied here. Having said that, any risk must be managed properly. Many properly trained light aircraft pilots fly every day safely. Unfortunately, like some have alluded to, there are plenty of light aircraft owners who don't obey the rules or have the training, responsibility or experience required to make the right choices.

That's why statistically, you are about 10 times more likely to be involved in a crash flying in a light aircraft than traveling in a car.

It's not the fault of the regulations or the design of aircraft. It's the result of too many morons with too much money owning airplanes.
Ouch. I wouldn't say the pilot in this case was a 'moron' - far from it in fact:
Maureau, a geophysicist, was appointed the executive director of the Oil and Gas Development Partnership at Memorial University in St. John's in 2003, where he helped develop a master's program. He worked for Shell and Petro-Canada, and founded his own company, MaurOil International Inc. He was also the past president of the Canadian Petroleum Institute.
How sad. Clearly a brilliant man - his wife was no slouch either - an accomplished physician.

Maybe incidents like this will help the FAA realize it's past time to modernize and get behind the ADS-B program. Decreasing risk is one of the good things government does for us (FDA, EPA, etc). Personally, I'd like to see more money spent on prevention than playing jigsaw with mangled airplane bits in an empty hangar.
_________
1. McCain, Palin and Bush endorsed it, but let's not hold that against it - however, the lack of standards is a concern and needs to be addressed.

Time for the GOP to grow the hell up

From the Oxdown Gazette at firedoglake

The GOP Must Renounce Limbaugh, The Rest of Us Should Boycott Clear Channel
By: Casey Gane-McCalla Tuesday December 30, 2008 2:28 pm

With the recent scandal involving Chip Saltsman, a candidate to run the RNC, and his distribution of Rush Limbaugh’s CD, which contained Barack the Magic Negro, it is high time for the Republican Party and the USA as a whole to reject and denounce Rush Limbaugh.

Barack the Magic Negro is hardly the most offensive thing that Rush Limbaugh has said and is hardly the strongest tie that Limbaugh has had to the Republican party.

Limbaugh is a bigot, a sexist, a hypocrite and a xenophobe. He stirs up fear and hate in his listeners. He preys on the disenfranchised and uneducated and turns their resentment against blacks, feminists, immigrants, and liberals. If you are interested in Limbaugh’s most racist quotes against blacks click here. Limbaugh has also managed to offend Latinos, saying LA’s Mayor reminded him of a shoe shine boy and also saying in reference to Hugo Chavez “A Chavez is a Chavez. We’ve always had problems with them.”

Limbaugh’s prejudice does not only extend to minorities. He also has discriminated against women, who happen to be the majority of this country. He said “Feminism was established so as to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of society” and also “We’re not sexists, we’re chauvinists — we’re male chauvinist pigs, and we’re happy to be because we think that’s what men were destined to be. We think that’s what women want.”

Rush Limbaugh has acted as de facto spokesman for the Republican party, the self appointed voice of conservative broadcast, saying what they mean to say butt won’t say for fear of being deemed politically incorrect. Still the GOP has given him their approval. George Bush has appeared on Limbaugh’s show several times as has his brother Jeb. GOP Uncle Toms, Condoleezza Rice and Clarence Thomas have also appeared on his show as have Sarah Palin, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. Former White House Press Secretary Tony Snow has not only appeared on Limbaugh’s show, but has been a replacement host for Limbaugh as has Matt Drudge.

Its amazing how few Republicans have come forth to criticize Limbaugh. When rapper, Ludacris, referred to Hillary Clinton as a bitch, Fox News criticized him for a whole news cycle, yet when Limbaugh repeatedly referred to Clinton as a B I itch, Fox News kept quiet. It is amazing that John McCain asked Obama to publicly condemn John Lewis for rightfully comparing the McCain/Palin hate rallies to those of George Wallace, but never condemned Rush Limbaugh for comparing Obama to Bin Laden and Sadam Hussein, democrats to Al Qaeda and feminists to Nazi’s.

In 2000 John McCain bravely stood up to the ‘agents of intolerance’ on the Right in Pat Robertson and Gerry Fallwell. However by 2008 he had turned into a yellow bellied coward. Despite the fact that Limbaugh criticized him heavily through out the primaries, John McCain has never openly criticized Limbaugh. When Limbaugh, who avoided the Vietnam draf,t because he “did not want to go” called soldiers who volunteered to fight for their country and came back to criticize the war when they saw the death and carnage, “phony soldiers,” Harry Reid called on his fellow Senators to condemn the remarks. McCain said “I did issue a statement saying that I thought it was inappropriate, and perhaps Mr. Limbaugh didn’t mean it but he should not have said it,” hardly a condemnation.

McCain had another chance to condemn Limbaugh’s statements when the Obama campaign ran an ad using Limbaugh’s quote “Mexicans are stupid and unqualified” and “Shut your mouth or get out,” referring to Limbaugh as one of McCain’s Republican friends. McCain could’ve issued a statement saying that Limbaugh was not one of his friends and that his views did not represent the McCain camp or the Republican party, but instead stayed quiet for fear of pissing off the dittoheads.

McCain had one last chance to distance himself from Limbaugh on Meet The Press, when Tom Brokaw played a clip of Limbaugh saying the Powell’s endorsement of Obama was all about race and asked him if he agreed. McCain could have said, ‘I know Colin Powell and have been friends with him for many years, while I disagree with his endorsement, it is ludicrous to insinuate that a man who has given so much service to his country would endorse a Presidential candidate based on his skin color.’ By refusing to criticize Limbaugh McCain has shown that he either shares Limbaugh’s bigoted views or is to cowardly to criticize them.

One of the most disturbing things to know about Rush Limbaugh is that he is featured on Armed Services Radio. Given the fact that the army is 24% Latino and 12% black, Limbaugh is offending more than a third of the enlisted soldiers. Is Limbaugh really the voice of America we want represented to our military? Do we really want someone who said Abu Ghraib was just a fraternity prank talking to our enlisted soldiers?

Many of Limbaugh’s supporters have defended him by saying his statements were made in a humorous context. When someone like Borat makes a racist, sexist or anti-semetic comments it falls in the category of humor because we know that Sasha Baron Cohen doesn’t mean it and is using the character to show how stupid racism, sexism and are. However with Limbaugh, it is quite clear that he stands by his statements and it is the minorities and women who are the butt of his jokes, not his racism and sexism

If the GOP is to truly move on into the 21st century they must cut all ties to bigots like Limbaugh and Coulter. When the President, Vice President, Vice Presidential candidates, Governors, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense Senators and Supreme court justices appear on the show of a hate spewing racist, sexist pig, it does not reflect well on their political party or country.

While Limbaugh might have a large base, it is not as large as the base he offends. By attacking blacks, Hispanics, feminists and liberals he is pissing off more than half of the country. Not only blacks and Hispanics but every white person who has an African American or Latino relative, loved one, hero or friend.

Do we really want our soldiers listening to someone who called the Abu Ghraib scandal a fraternity prank talking to our soldiers every day? Do they need to hear a draft dodger who compares our brave soldiers who use their freedom of speech to criticize the war to suicide bombers?

Through out the campaign, Obama was repeatedly asked to denounce people he associated with for their statements. Whether it was Ludacris, Reverend Wright, Louis Farrakhan or John Lewis. Obama denounced all but Lewis. Now it is the Republicans turn to denounce.

Pleases write to you Senators, Congressman and Governors and ask them to publicly denounce Limbaugh for his, racism, sexism, xenophobia and disrespect and cancel his contract with Armed Services Radio. It is ridiculous that our tax money goes to this rich, mean spirited bigot.. and ridiculous that our brave soldiers are forced to listen to him.

Is there any Republican brave enough who to criticize or acknowledge the racism and bigotry of Limbaugh or has the party traded in fiscal conservatism and family values for hatred and bigotry?

I also urge all leaders in the African American, Latino Community as well as leaders of the woman’s movement to protest Limbaugh. When we went after Imus, we went after the wrong bigot, Limbaugh makes Imus look like he works for Air America.

I’m also calling for a boycott of all Clear Channel stations. Clear Channel is the parent company of Limbaugh’s show. Their president, Mark P. Mays, recently defended Limbaugh for his phony soldiers comment. Please email him with you questions and concerns about Limbaugh at MarkPMays@clearchannel.com. You can also call Clear Channel with your concerns at 1-210-822-2828. Also please call the local stations in your area that carry Limbaugh’s show.

HP Board Wake Up Call

I guess when the only god you worship is profit and the only law you obey is greed, selling your product illegally in another country is fine.

Problem is, it AIN'T.

Add this on top of their idiotic spying in 2006 and one begins to think the problems didn't go away with the exit of CEO Dunn. Even though Dunn managed to dodge felony charges, I think it's pretty obvious she was in the know.

My question is: Does the HP board have a clue what's going on?

It's sad that the rank-and-file employees that have given so much to the company have been butt-raped steadily over the years while unethical chicanery was going on in the Executive Suite.

To me it just shows that higher salary does not equal higher standards - in some cases the exact opposite.

Clean it up HP, you're making the tech sector smell bad.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Gagging

Gagging.

It's something we all do when we try to swallow something that either doesn't fit down our gullet or is so disgusting that our body rebels - and usually rightly so.

The brain works the same way. Instead of gagging however, there's an involuntary exclamation of What.The.F--K?

I had that reaction when I read this piece1 by Sara Dogan at the ironically-titled 'Students for Academic Freedom'.

"Big Dog" Dogan jumps right up on the bull and stun-sticks it firmly in the nads with this opening paragraph:
A recent report from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) revealed the shocking statistic that 74% of colleges and universities examined in a national survey were found to have policies that violate the First Amendment protection to freedom of speech.
This is true GOP-fired irony at its absolute best.

A quick check of FIRE's background barfs up this lovely tidbit from Wikipedia:
It has represented the causes of individuals with varied political viewpoints, ranging from conservative and religious student groups to other activists such as members of PETA and Professor Ward Churchill.
Right there is where my vocal apparatus horked out an involuntary WTF??!

Ward Churchill? You mean the professor-cum-pinata for the reich-wing screamers? You have to kidding me. The spittle-spewing screamers of the right villify Churchill for speaking his mind and now this popinjay uses the organization that defends him to shore up an argument that conservative speech is being repressed?

I think the righties in Colorado have found a field of magic mushrooms and held a culinary festival in it.

In clinical terms I believe this is called 'disassociation' - the wingnuts in Colorado want to pillory anyone that speaks out against their party or their President, to the point of driving a professor out of his job - then, turn around and use that as proof that their side is being 'silenced'.

Please. Take something. Quick.

While you're at it, do a quick survey of how many GOP-owned Colorado businesses that will allow you to even say you're a Democrat while at work or support your taking time off to campaign for someone. Oh, that's right, it's their business, the law doesn't apply inside their doors. To that lovely big brother sentiment I say 'kiss my ass - freedom everywhere or nowhere.'

I'd be all supportive of Ms. Dogan's premise that conservative speech is being surpressed and that something must be done - as long as it includes protections for workers that express their political opinions at work. We'll see that happen soon. Oh sure.

Till then I suggest she take advantage of the student discount on meds.
________
1. If by 'piece' you mean 'semi-literate gibberish created by thrashing wildly at a keyboard with both hands after wolfing down a handful of roofies and a pint of Thunderbird.'

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Tragic Mutual Incomprehension

How nice.

Galileo has finally been declared right and the Church wrong.

Inch by painful inch, civilization drags itself upwards from the primordial muck.

Let's be very clear about this - the Inquisition silenced Galileo - they buried the truth.

All the braying in the world about 'suppressing heresy' won't change the fact that crooked politicians used the Church to carry out their own agenda, suppress facts and held back science.

Some things never change.

Boners for Peace

This is great... really.

What a brilliant way to 'capture hearts and minds'.

I'm amazed the drug companies aren't *ahem* short-stroking this all over the media (who love a good spooging).

I wonder what's next from these geniuses?

Shhh! OR ELSE

This is why it's a bad idea for everyone to be carrying guns.

People do stupid shit with them.

One look at this guy's face and you can tell he ain't right.



29 years old. Good grief.

He could have just as easily snuffed the guy he shot - and his entire family.

Oh yes, let's get more guns out there, right away.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Gifts

Of all the gifts I got this year, this was one of the most heart-warming.

The comments are just lovely:
"Before we string him up & use his intestines as bowties, let's wonder if that was the entirety of his quote or just what was put in the story?"
followed by
"I agree. Lets not do what the MSM does: take a quote and write a whole article about it without context. Thats status quo, not change the GOP requires."
Wow.

Sensitivity to out-of-context attacks, not trusting the media - even though they were John McCain's 'base'?

From the GOP?

My, my how times have changed...

Thursday, December 25, 2008

War on Christmas - Fat Man Fights Back

Obviously the War on Christmas must be succeeding - the Fat Man himself was cornerd and came out blazing.

Now if only those poor civilians had gotten guns for Christmas.

Carry on.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Known Unknowns (their words!)

Well, this is really turning up the fear generators tonite:
The US Army War College is ready to handle "unforeseen economic collapse" and the "rapid dissolution of public order in all or significant parts of the US."
That's right - when, not if, when the public goes stark screamin bonkers and starts burning cars in the streets (or protesting in any way, shape or form - or going to their bank demanding their money right now!), our military has a plan (and you know how well 'military intelligence' has worked out for this administration).

In the oh-so-Rumsfeldianly-named Known Unknowns: Unconventional 'Strategic Shocks' in Defense Strategy Development, you find lovely little nuggets like this:
"Some of the most plausible defense-relevant strategic shocks remain low-probability events,"
Well, now I feel all better... then I come to:
"widespread civil violence inside the US would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security."

What would make our military 'reorient' their 'priorities' ?

"deliberate employment of weapons of mass destruction. . . unforeseen economic collapse, loss of functioning political and legal order, purposeful domestic resistance or insurgency and catastrophic natural and human disasters."

AH. Unforeseen economic collapse, well, now we know how the American royalty hopes to ascend to the throne permanently... screw the economy till it falls apart (done), disrupt the government (stop the inauguration somehow? - planning phase) and when riots break out, to quote Tom Lehrer: Send in the Marines! Mission Accomplished! (insert stirring music here)

But I don't know... all those donations to the NRA and fostering a right-wing mentality that you must own a gun may not make that ascension easy... just look at the comments to the NY Post article:
So long as the morons think they can use the military agasint the civilian population here, American communities should withhold their federal tax dollars and use the money to purchase military weapons from the Russians and the Chinese. I live in the Tampa Bay area. Who is to say Russian cargo and military ships can not deliver their weapons directly to the people. F... Washington. They don't represent American anyway!
Well... that's patriotic as all hell. (strong emphasis on hell)

Then there's this blustering blowhard:
There is one flaw in this scenario: The American people are armed. The military has actually done some wargaming of military vs. armed civilians scenarios and the armed civilians almost always win. They take heavy losses but eventually outnumber and outgun the military, which also has serious defections.

The only force that can maintain order if it comes to that is an organized and trained militia. But the Establishment is afraid to resurrect that constitutional institution because it would pose a challenge to them.

Organize a militia unit while there is still time.
I love hearing this shit over and over. We have a militia - it's called the National Guard. I don't give a rats ass what the reich wing thinks it is - that's its function. This bushwah about a 'citizen militia' is just more basement wanking fantasies from gun nuts.

But - suddenly the GOP's reluctance to properly arm and protect our soldiers makes a bizarre kind of sense - easier to defeat them on our soil (rolls eyes, holds head in pain, wincing).

After that one, this old-timey screed yelling out the current bullshit talking points sounds almost sane:
This sounds like O and his crooked chicago & CA Democrats attempting to violate the Constitution (their normal MO) to try to stifle any dissent as they loot the country with "bailouts." I guess the corrupt scum in Congress like Pelosi, Reid, RINO McCain,Schumer, the grifting Clintons, Princess Kennedy & her swimmer Uncle think the citizens will be bullied by these corrupt criminals. The Polish army and other armies in Eastern Europe refused to back corrupt commie dictators when eastern Europe started to fall apart.
See how quickly they bought into that meme? Of course, this COULD be a paid shill (I suspect it is since it's an early comment). Yeah, the Dems are trying to violate the Constitution. Uh huh. Dems are 'looting the country' - I wish I could understand this guy's point of view, but I can't get my head that far up my own ass.

Posse Comitatus much? The people assaulting the Constitution and endangering the country are in office already. Bailouts? The banking and real estate industries are overwhelming Republican (and durned proud of it, hippie!!!) - go tell it to the Marines (they'll be in your neighborhood soon!).

But this comment gives me hope:
Wake up! The military has no business being used against American citizens. There are so many stories prepping us for this, so that when it happens, when another constitional law is broken, that the people will just accept it as being "in the national interest". We have police, to police the people. The military is limited in its constitutional duties to protecting this land from foreign invaders. Not to separate the people from their government. If you read the language of the report. The military plans to use troops to stop runs on banks, political protest and civil unrest. Since when is people lining up at a bank to get their money back a crime? When did political protest become a reason to call out the army? My family has a long history in the military, and is currently serving here and abroad. How dare the US government put them in the situtation of being used against their own neighbors? Oh sure, rubber bullets, right? When did we cross the line? People, please read the constituion. Know your rights. Stand up for your freedom before it is gone.
Merry Christmas folks - it's still more than three weeks to the Inauguration - don't relax yet, there's some very dangerous folks in charge that (I believe) don't intend to go quietly.

Trib-ulations

Man, you know the businessmen are running around the newspaper boiler rooms howling 'no more bad news!!' when, days after a plane crashes on takeoff at DIA, you see this headline:

Christmas Eve travel smooth in Denver

Yeah, as they say: Real smooth, ExLax



From what I've seen of video and the news reports about the cockpit recorder, sounds like a tire blew out just before liftoff (likely one of the nosegear wheels) and the rim shattered or something else failed catastrophically - which is impressive cause that part of the plane is built to tolerate abuse from bad landings. The NTSB hasn't gotten -to- that part yet, so there's no official theory yet - but the first officer told investigators that the plane was pulling to the side as they neared takeoff speed and the NTSB's John Goglia said the rattling could have been caused by a problem with the nose gear - which takeoff abort would have exacerbated. Pilot did a fantastic job of keeping it from spinning/rolling. That ski-jump over the taxiway embankment must have been painful though - the body of the plane is buckled (looked cracked open on video) aft of the wings. A real Christmas miracle that there were no deaths. Thank God.

Yeah, travel is 'real smooth' - as long as you ignore the crashing, explosions and fire.

Buy the insurance.
---
Update - it did crack in half. Read this harrowing account.

Shift the Blame - QUICK!!!

Ah, those geniuses over at the country club must have had extra milk and cookies1.

Now that the loons realize they're going to have go into 'Clintonizing mode2' on Obama3 (cause the realtors and bankers are screeching so loud it's disturbing the canasta players at the Club4) here's their latest lie:

"The Dems manufactured the economic collapse5" - remember, this is coming from 'minds' that simply cannot accept responsibility - which is, to me, tacit admission that the GOP caused the market failures.

They've admitted it6.

Now we just have to wait for the GOP to fracture right down this slime-coated7 fault line into two distinct factions.

Obviously they've forgotten about 'Divide and Conquer' - the first part is 'Divide' which they've done to the entire country.8

The 'social conservatives9' are splitting away from the 'fiscal conservatives10' - assuring the rise of numerous candidates for the next election11. The GOP's fractious primary barfed up John McCain and Sarah Palin - lets hope the next one horks up another unelectable pair of jokers.12
____________________
1. Not to mention healthy subsidies to their far-flung network of wannabee Rushes.
2. You know, make up shit daily, run in circles like crazed chimps flingin poo at damn near everything just to see what sticks where, then doing backflips and rolling in it all while screeching and pounding their chests.
3. and double quick!! He's about to be inaugurated! Hurry! DO SOMETHING!!!!!!
4. and you know how Mr. Sinatra's old pals hate to be 'disturbed'
5. (pee pants laughing, falls off chair and lays howling in mirth on the floor)
6. in their own twisty, playing-the-Beatles-records-backward way
7. and thus more likely to slip faster and further
8. and now, are helpfully doing to their PARTY. Gotta love that. Thanks kids - well done!
9. you know, the 'you're going to hell forever because we don't like you' crowd
10. you know, the 'if only we could put iron collars around their necks like in the olde dayes' crowd
11. But there's no way Mitt Romney will run again, Prop 8 pretty much nailed that particular coffin shut - tightly. Joe Smith will need to show up with a new set of plates to accomplish that particular miracle.
12. Hey, if we get really lucky, Sarah Palin will run for president and get nominated! Woo Hoo!!

What's the code for 'Santa Down'?

The war on Christmas goes on.

Horror

Coal ash slide inundates Tennessee Community.

An Eastern Tennessee community is facing an environmental horror this Christmas holiday after a massive coal-sludge pond collapsed Monday at the Tennessee Valley Authority's Kingston power plant in Roane County. The collapse released at least 1.7 million cubic yards of fly ash, the heavy-metal and radiation-laden waste left after burning coal.

The toxic sludge has covered some 400 acres of land four to six feet deep and damaged at least a dozen homes, including one that was pushed off its foundation. The fly ash has also blocked the Emory River, a tributary of the Tennessee, which provides drinking water for millions of people living downstream. There are already reports of fish kills related to the spill, which could take months or even years to clean up.

TVA President and CEO Tom Kilgore -- who likened the appearance of the ruined land to a "moonscape" -- says he and his company "deeply regret" what happened.

Read the rest

Blurring

Sometimes a headline and a photo are all you need to make a point. yowza

Hate for the Holidaze

I think the Presidential election broke something in the 'mind' of the far right - their rhetoric has gotten even more vicious than usual:

Crooks and Liars bring us this nugget: (go listen)

Jim Quinn yesterday on The War Room with Quinn & Rose:

You know, I was thinking about this. You know, if you were a slave in the old South, what did you get as a slave? You got free room and board, you got free money, and you got rewarded for having children because that was just, you know, tomorrow's slave. So, you got a free house, you got free money, and you got rewarded for having children. Can I ask a question? How's that different from welfare? You get a free house, you get free food, and you get rewarded for having children. Oh, wait a minute, hold on a second. There is a difference: The slave had to work for it.

Yeah, that was the difference. Right.

This raises the question: Are the wingnuts coming so unhinged they are losing any contact with reality?

-----

I would say... 'becoming more unhinged' - their political landscape just had the equivalent of a rhetorical Hurricane Katrina go rampaging across it - with forecasts of four more years of 'bad weather,' and their own philosophy doesn't allow showing any weakness. Basements all over America must be echoing to howls of anguish... kind of like bad remakes of 'Streetcar Named Desire' - Steeellllaaaaa!!!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Realty Check

"Breathtaking" is what you call it when something is so awful, so hideous, so Rudy-Giuliani-in-a-dress-pukemaking that it just sucks the air right out of your lungs.

That's what Robert Barbera, chief economist at ITG said:
"They're about as god-awful as they can get.
This is pretty breathtaking stuff."
He was talking about the decline in home sales - down 8.6% last month. The median price of a home fell 13% in November - $181,300 (down from $208,000) - the lowest since Feb 2004 (when the Chimperor ascended to his badly-soiled throne a second time amidst howls of 'kill the liberals!!').

Go look at the chart labelled 'Home Prices' here. Good grief. A doctor seeing a chart like that would take the family aside and urge them to find a good undertaker.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors1, said that 45 percent of all home sales in November were so-called “distressed sales,” meaning that the poor bastards trying to sell the houses2 were completely up against the wall financially.

“It’s probably the largest price drop since the Great Depression,” Mr. Yun said as he gnawed on the thighbone of a small animal with his razor-sharp teeth. “There needs to be some measure to counter this pessimism3. Without housing market stabilization, it’ll be very difficult for the economy to recover4.”

This is just great. The real estate industry pumped money in the GOP warchests (and they still are) to help get the worst president in history elected - twice. Then they cheered as Congress rubberstamped outsourcing jobs, bleeding the middle class white to the point that the housing market finally folded up like a cheap kite in a tornado. Not happy with that rapine spectacle their market-driven heroes suddenly turned Socialist and used our money to bail out their crooked pals in the banking business. Then the automakers suddenly admit their nuts are in a vice and they need bailing out too.

Now the consumer is saying 'screw the new house, we'll live here' - and the real estate marketeers start screeching like a cat going under a steamroller.

I hope these crooked shits end up living in their Coupe de Villes - that's the kind of karma they've earned.
_________________________
1. AKA 'the perpetrators'
2. AKA 'little people'
3. IE: "My rich pals are pissed off that there's no more blood to squeeze out of the American public."
4. IE: "I'll be on vacation in Haiti till things get better."

Monday, December 22, 2008

MacLaughter

I have to admit, this is hilarious.

Hell, I've never even been to a MacWorld show and now they're changed forever.

SIGH.

It's hard to be a fanboy.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A New Wind Blowing

by Mary Pitt

The whole country is agog with the news of the Madoff Ponzi scheme and the billions he scammed from big investors, but nobody appears to realize that it is only the tip of a huge iceberg. There are other so-called legitimate institutions afloat in the private sector that are profiting from similar scams with the heartfelt approval of the raging capitalists in government as well as private individuals.

Foremost among these are the insurance companies as they have become established in America. Even the government social programs such as Medicare and Medicaid are administered by the accounting departments of insurance companies. The regulations regarding these programs were written in large part by the insurance companies and, as the result, even the very poor are not getting the services they need under their provisions.

Look at the case of a lady I will call Suzy, a middle-aged lady who, though mentally retarded, had worked as a bus person in a hospital cafeteria until her vision deteriorated so badly that she became qualified for Social Security Disability Support. Since she was not yet 65 years old, she was not initially eligible for Medicare and so became dependent on Medicaid for two years for her health care. At the age of forty years, she was found to have serious heart trouble and required a quadruple bypass surgery. Then she required a medical regimen that would last for all her life. Among the many medications upon which her life depended was the blood thinner, Coumadin, a patented and quite expensive tablet. She thrived amazingly well and recovered nicely.

Though her vision was her “primary disability”, the coverage provided for her eyes was minimal and she struggled to pay for the necessary replacement of her lenses as that condition continued to progress. Eventually, a surgerical procedure was developed which would help to recover a portion of her vision. She had become eligible for Medicare and the surgery was covered but the new lenses were something that she had to pay for herself from her limited income. Gone were the “Coke-bottle” glasses due to the addition of the implanted lenses. She could stop practicing with the white cane and see well enough to be able to cross a street without assistance.

Then Medicare Part D was instituted and she had to look to an insurance company for the medications. This became a near disaster which was to threaten her life. The insurance company would pay only for generic medications and so she had to exchange the highly successful regimen of Coumadin for the generic Warfarin, commonly known for its primary use as a rat poison. As her pharmacist later explaind, Warfarin is not “dosage stable”, meaning that the strength is known to vary from batch to batch and she was receiving a “bad batch”! She became covered with black-and-blue patches as the capillaries leaked under her skin and a medical examination disclosed the fact that she was also bleeding internally.

The Warfarin dosage was adjusted but, as she improved, she still complained of “floaties” in her vision. The ophthalmological surgeons found that she had bled inside her eyes and the “floaties” were specks of blood and it would take time for them to resorb. Eventually this occurred. However, the implanted lenses had become permanently clouded and so a second surgery was necessary to replace them, and of course, new glasses were necessary since there was additional permanent damage to her vision. It makes one wonder whether the money saved by “buying generics” was equal to the cost of the second surgery and the after-care, not to mention the added suffering of the patient and the sacrifices for her to have to pay for the second pair of glasses.

This is typical of the quality of care that is provided by Medicare, which is merely a copy of the insurance company standards. The health of the patient takes a back seat to the pennies which are saved by the mandatory desgination of which meds are covered. Suzy is not an anomaly but merely an example of the many shortcomings that are occuring on a daily basis. None of the plans are adequate to the needs. Mothers of young children who become ill are forced to wait until they have the money for the “co-payment” before taking them to the doctor. People who have survived surgery for life-threatening conditions are forced to delay or cancel appointments for after-care because they cannot afford the co-payments. The result is that they wait and become more ill, requiring more care than if they had been able to have their care directed by their physician rather than by an insurance clerk or by their need to pay their rent and utilities.

On the other hand, the insurance companies become more prosperous and even more greedy, They live by the bottom line, some even consolidating into “investment groups” that can later be saved from their own folly by government bailouts. One company had a CEO who embezzled a couple iof million dollars but the newspapers have not carried a story about his punishment, if any. Perhaps they consider that the loss of his cushy, high-dollar job was sufficient. They live in an entirely different world from those for whose health they have assumed responsibility and about whose welfare they couldn’t care less. It’s all about the bottom line to them.

Now we are promised “change” which will “reform” the health care system. What we see discussed is a further subsidy to insurance companies or a plan to “assist” poor people in the payment of their premiums, all of which will only aggravate the problem. Even the compiuterizing of all medical records and the facilitation of their more rapid sharing willl not cut much from the cost of health care delivery. It is only by the removal of power over our most personal care from the hands of the money-grubbing “private enterprise” that this can be accomplished. It is not “socialist” to propose a single-payer plan. The government would not own the hospitals and doctors would not be government employees. They would continue to do business as usual and they and the patients would still make decisions as to the necessary care and procedures. And they would save money by being able to follow a simpler billing procedure.

As the old war-protest song told us, “The answer is wrrtten in the wind”. There is no way to remedy the problem of public health and its burgeoning costs other than to accept it as a public problem,. The cost of health care is threatening all of America’s industrial base, though the workers have the ever-increasing premiums withheld from their paychecks in varying percentages and still must cope with the omni-present “deductibles and co-payments”. If the same amounts were withheld and paid into a public fund, health care would improve and the cost could be contained. Even those who presently carry individual health insurance would find the costs to be even less than they are currently paying. Physicians’ costs would drop due to the lack of necessity to bill various companies and to comply with the pertinent and diverse forms and regulations of those companies. And, incidentally, the corporations would be relieved of the burgeoning costs of providing health care for employees and retirees.

A wise man, Henry Kaiser, once said, “It costs less to keep people healthy than to make them well.” It is time for us, as a nation, to recognize that wisdom and to turn our attention to the provision of all types of health care to all our citizens, not just those who can afford to carry insurance or have the few dollars in their pockets to get past the front desk to obtain the care that they need. The dyed-in-the-wool capitalists will bellow that we would be killing the insurance companies. We can only reply that they are killing us, may they rest in peace. Our out-going President touts “responsibility” and indicates that “it is every man for himself”. We see no acceptance of responsibility from the insurance companies and we are determined to defend ourselves from the many-tentacled monster that has us by the throat.

The citizens of the United States need universal health care and they need it now. What they do NOT need is yet another √©ommission” of very important people who will sit around for a year or two listening to lectures and instruction by a crew of insurance company officials and announce at last another plan to lubricate those same insurance companies with more of the taxpayers’ money. The predictable result would be to throw still more stumbling blocks between the American citizen and his physician.

We must allow the new wind to blow away the cobwebs of complacency and allow our leaders to consider the common sense in moving health care from the profit-making industries and place it where it belongs, in the hands of the health care professionals and the scientific community. Only witth a realistic assessment from this point of view can we understand and find the best answer to the problem. We must allow no more low-income workers to fall through the huge cracks in our medical system and no more children to depend on the skillful manipulation of the family budge to provide the care that they need. No more must our elderly be required to subsist on meager rations in order to pay for their medications, becoming ever more frail as they march to a hospice. Only when these problems are faced head-on can the American Dream get back on the road to reality.

We have a nation that must be rebuilt; we have a democracy to be set back on the right track; we have a national debt that will be with us for generations, and an economy that is depleted of resources. This cannot be accomplished by a nation of ill, handicapped people with neglected children and working adults who are needlessly worried about the welfare of their families. For our nation and our own future, we must correct this situation and we must do it now.

The author is a very “with-it” old lady who aspires to bring a bit of truth, justice, and common sense to a nation that has lost touch with its humanity in the search for “societal perfection”.

Clever. Evil... but clever

Local teens claim pranks on county's Speed Cams

The parent said that "our civil rights are exploited," and the entire premise behind the Speed Camera Program is called into question as a result of the growing this fad among students.
---
Golly... maybe that's why some people have objected to them all along.

Sometimes you just have to have those 'shoes' jammed on just once to get the point.

Welcome to the Middle Class

More wailing and whining from the spoiled rich kids.

Some of the comments are just braying idiocy - "a four day school week" - this is beyond laughable. Someone suggests 'four-day work week' and the shiny-vests all start howling 'socialism!!!' but we're supposed to sit quietly while they openly advocate dumbing the state down (further).

The problem in America, I suspect, is management - there's too much of it not pulling it's own weight yet gulping down the lion's share of profits and resources1. Banks' management and realty tycoons played 'market poker' with our money - then, when the goons they supported flopped on their faces and got kicked out because the economy was tanking, it's "...boo hoo hoo pity me..."

Blow me.

When you financial geniuses were lapping up the GOP koolaid about outsourcing jobs, you were complicit in your own collapse.

Now you'll have no reserves, no future and a life of fear.

Welcome to the Middle Class under George W. Bush - you built it, now you get to live in it.
--
1. That's why I didn't support the school bond issue. The gap between administrator and teacher salaries and the relative proportion is completely insane. I want the teachers to get a raise and more hires, but let's face it, the SVVSD would have stuffed the pockets of their favorite management cronies - again. A plan with some kind of pay-for-perfomance (golly, just like business demands of its workers) and rewards for good teachers (and consequences for bad ones - admins too) I could have endorsed. Not just another 'bailout'.

No Accounting for Anything

From New York Times:

Frank Rich:
In its own independent attempt to penetrate the bailout, the Government Accountability Office learned that “the standard agreement between Treasury and the participating institutions does not require that these institutions track or report how they plan to use, or do use, their capital investments.” Executives at all but two of the bailed-out banks told the G.A.O. that the “money is fungible,” so they “did not intend to track or report” specifically what happens to the taxpayers’ cash.

This truly was an "October surprise." As a going-away present Bush found an ingenuous way to turn over $700,000,000,0001 of taxpayer money to the private sector.

No matter how the election went, the "trickle down" bullshit was secure!
-
1. that's "billions for those of you with the silver spoon in the way - twelve digits of GOP-lovin schwag - nice punking of America

Fishwrap's Epic Fail Continues to Worsen

From The New Yorker

News You Can Lose
by James Surowiecki
December 22, 2008

When the Tribune Company announced that it was filing for bankruptcy, last Monday, Sam Zell, the man who bought the company a year ago, for $8.2 billion, said that its problems were the result of a “perfect storm.” You take readers and advertisers who were already migrating away from print, and add a steep recession, and you’ve got serious trouble. What Zell failed to mention was that his acquisition of the company had buried it beneath such a heavy pile of debt that any storm at all would likely have sunk it. But although Zell was making excuses for his own mismanagement, the perfect storm is real enough, and it is threatening to destroy newspapers as we know them.

Read the rest

--
Here's a chart I posted back in August showing declining paid circulation numbers for newspapers (data from here).

Looks like the classic 'fail' chart from a comic strip. Funny how the curve was going down sharply and then, in 2000, 'went off a cliff'... hmm. Couldn't have maybe had something to do with consumers losing faith in the print media? Nah.

You WILL be Absorbed

Prometheus 6 posted this before I did, so hat tip as required by internet law and blogosphere unspoken left-wing conspiracy rules. (wave!)

Evangelicals aren't the only religious nutjobs out there
Posted December 21st, 2008 by Prometheus 6 in Religion

However, Bush has given religious organization clearance to discriminate by religious beliefs, so this case may not be as open-and-shut as one may think.

Diskeeper argues in its motion that these injunction requests should be struck from the Complaint because Diskeeper is permitted to introduce religious training in the workplace and therefore any injunction which broadly prohibits religious practice in the workplace is unconstitutional.

Former CIO sues Diskeeper claims he was fired for not participating in Scientology training

[Update: mirrored, and probably more reliable links for complaint and motion to strike. Ray Hill kindly mirrored the documents here, as well. ]

Alexander Godelman and Marc Le Shay, two Diskeeper employees (Godelman was CIO and Le Shay hired as the Automation Planning Officer) have filed a complaint in the Los Angeles Superior Court alleging that Scientology training was a condition of employment and that their refusal to participate led to their dismissal. According to the complaint, "{t]he working conditions and work environment at DISKEEPER were inextricably intertwined with the Scientology religion such that a non-Scientologist cannot escape constant impositions of said religion."

When Godelman complained that these programs ran counter to his own religious belief (Judaism), former Diskeeper CEO and current Chairman Craig Jensen told Godelman that his attendance at the "training courses" was "not negotiable," adding that Godelman would become more intelligent and his personal life would "improve drastically." Jensen also warned Godelman to not "complain about the process" in emails, which Jensen feared would be "misconstrued" and/or "taken out of context." Le Shay was eventually fired after he refused to attend and participate in a course series entitled "Basic Study Manual" and after Godelman interceded on Le Shay's behalf, Godelman was also terminated.

The complaint alleges five causes of action--three based on Diskeeper's alleged violation of California's Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA): namely, discharge due to religious discrimination, discharge in violation of public policy, retaliation against persons opposing wrongful practices. A fourth cause of action claims that Diskeeper violates California Labor law, which prohibits employers from retaliating against persons refusing to participate in activity which would result in a violation of a federal or state statute or regulation. A fifth cause of action alleges that Diskeeper failed to maintain its statutory obligation to prevent discrimination.

Drunken Brawl

From NPR
the D.C. Council recently created a flurry of controversy by passing emergency legislation that would allow bars and restaurants to stay open around the clock and serve alcohol until 5 a.m. from Jan. 17 through Jan. 21.
-
Lovely. The businessmen, seeing a chance to scrape up a little lucre figure 'to hell with the laws! Tell that council we bought and paid for to just turn em off! Besides, if the Dems get drunk, more reason for violence and maybe we'll get to shoot a few of em!'

If this idiocy is allowed, you can be assured there will be violence - drunks always live down to their lowest impulses and do insane and retarded things - even during the holidays. Longmont's certainly seen its share of that kind of alchohol-fueled stupidity.

Nation of Laws Once Again?

You can’t just suddenly change some thing that’s illegal into something that is legal by having a lawyer writing an opinion saying that it’s legal. Things can’t work that way or else someone could get a lawyer and say a crime is not a crime and then that would be a defense. It is not a defense. And I was astounded frankly, when I heard the Vice President of the United States sort of just blandly and blindly saying that he thought that was appropriate thing and yes he was involved in discussions about it.
- Senator Carl Levin, Chairman of the Armed Services Committee

And with that one statement, America puts its foot on the road back to being a nation of laws, not men.

I'm sure reicht, er right wing lawyers everywhere spewed scorching-hot java through their well-bred noses when they read that.

Yes (old) boys, the bullet train of gravy and power just blew through it's last whistlestop.

When Cheney admitted, on television, to the public that he was involved in discussions about torture, he as much as flipped his middle finger at the Constitution and sneered "Come and get me copper".

It's time to jail this audacious crimminal.

The Truth is Out

Those zanes over at Camp Jinx have busted this story wide open - watch this expose and you'll realize just how bad it really is.

They're SO useful

Small aircraft are so incredibly useful.

Some fascinating backstory.

Fighting the Fringers

Op-Ed Columnist
Hope Amid the Gloom

By BOB HERBERT
Published: December 20, 2008

Is the end of the war in sight?

I don’t mean Iraq. I’m talking about the war against working people in the U.S. that has taken such a vicious economic toll over the past three decades.

Even as Americans by the thousands sign up for jobless benefits in this horrendous holiday season, or line up to declare bankruptcy, or stand sorrowfully aside as their homes are foreclosed upon, there are some slender reasons to hope.

On Friday, George W. Bush, in the slapstick final weeks of his disastrous presidency, grudgingly announced that, yes, emergency loans would be made available to prevent the collapse of the U.S. auto industry. He looked like a boy who had been forced to eat his spinach, or drink his castor oil.

But the economy is in such an awful state that even the most backward administration of our lifetime recognized that risking the chain reaction of a complete auto industry meltdown was not an option. (The Bush deal is unfairly onerous to auto workers, but the loans will serve as a bridge to the Obama era, when, presumably, a more equitable arrangement could be worked out.)

Mr. Bush’s announcement came a day after it was learned that President-elect Obama had chosen Representative Hilda Solis of California, a fierce advocate of workers, to be his labor secretary. The Obama administration also is committed to moving quickly on an economic stimulus package that could reach $1 trillion over two years.

Read the rest
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I can almost hear the screeching and chest-thumping from the Red Warriors (read CO GOP businessmen) - I'm sure they'll find some way to continue their battle against workers, even if it means cutting their own noses off to spite their faces. I hope the Republicans keep their vicious bullshit up, nothing could bring back unions faster.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

RLIUPA Declared Unconstituional

The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act is unconstitutional, and the federal jury’s decision in a Boulder Case proves it, county attorneys claimed in post-trial motions filed Friday.(link)

It's good to see this being challenged.

“To comply with RLUIPA, the commissioners would have had to give preferential treatment to (Rocky Mountain Christian Church) over secular applications solely because RMCC is a church. As this court has recognized, such preferential treatment is prohibited by the Establishment Clause” of the First Amendment, Boulder County attorney David Hughes wrote in a motion for judgment.
Besides, look at the size of this collossus! It already rivals the size of Niwot High School just down the road (images courtesy of Google Earth, check for yourself) and they want to make it bigger yet! Can you say 'theocracy'? Can you say 'tax dodge'? Good grief. This is just berzerk.

Go for it Boulder County Commissioners! Keep fighting!

Godly Positioning System

This made me weep with pity.

Oh, the rending of garments, the wailing.

Enjoy that trip to the wasteland kids, you bought and paid for it. You oh-so-lovingly serviced the fundies again and again and again, even when they were savaging you. It was funny to watch, I admit.

Let's hope the 'Moral Compass' is useful in finding your way back. Maybe now that you've pried that huge hunk of crusty religious magnetite off of yours, you'll have a prayer. (a leetle teensy tiny one)

Somehow I suspect the journey back is going to be like watching bad outtakes of Survivorman.

Big Steel Balls

Good grief. Is it required to be crooked to be a member of the Bush administration?

"Promoting democracy" in Cuba no less and this tool had to steal - nearly half a million.

I begin to think it's genetic.

Some people find a bag full of money and return it (and refuse any reward) this shitheel, charged with promoting our country's greatest virtue, promptly fleeces people.

There I believe is a fundamental difference in people. Some will do good because it's just the right thing to do, others will immediately try and game the system.

I guess to some people the whole world is a game, replete with buttons, flippers and big steel balls.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Reach across

From Bill Sanders:

Friday, December 19, 2008
Codifying the core of right wing God-O-Meter!

When it comes time to introduce the Reverend Rick Warren to give the invocation for President-Elect Barack Obama, I doubt that we will hear this:

Now we give you Reverend Rick Warren, because he preaches a more moderate, ecumenical tone for our national civil discourse. A minister of strong Christian faith, who believes that Jews are going to hell, who compares abortion to the Holocaust and gay marriage to pedophilia and incest—who describes social gospel Christians as "closet Marxists".

A best selling author of Purpose Driven life who was driven to call Michael Schiavo’s decision to remove his wife’s feeding tube "an atrocity worthy of Nazism" and suggested that Michael wanted Terri to "die" because he feared that if she regained consciousness, she might have "something to say that he didn’t want said."

And finally, we give you a minister with a Christian world view who preaches we should "take out" (kill) evil world leaders like Ahmadinejad, because "The Bible says that evil cannot be negotiated with. It has to just be stopped. In fact, that is the legitimate role of government. The Bible says that God puts government on earth to punish evildoers."

Too bad we won’t hear that because it would go a long way toward proving we can disagree without being disagreeable. After all, reaching across the chasm that divides the Evangelical Right from the vast hodgepodge of the rest of us heathens worked so well in the past.

Why, remember when the Lesser Uniter, Bill Clinton reached across to the Evangelical Right and signed the Defense of Marriage Act–even as the lefties groused about it being the worst piece of anti-gay legislation ever enacted? And remember when he did it again with the school uniform issue and the V-Chip bill? Boy, he really piled up the brownie points and threw cold water on the partisan hostility in Congress! (The only glitch to the Clinton era harmony effort was Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh and their congressional toadies who impeached the President)

And remember how well disagreeing without being disagreeable worked right after 9/11. Congressional Democrats gave President Bush authorization to invade Iraq. What a boon that was to the United States’ reputation and our economy.

The ultimate example of disagreeing without being disagreeable was Nancy Pelosi’s reach across to the right wing by taking "impeachment off the table" and not pursuing war crimes prosecution. If you don’t believe that worked to the advantage of harmony, just look at the executive orders George Bush is leaving behind as he rides off into the sunset.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Disclaimer of the Year

Read to the end.

This guy should get a freakin Pulitzer.

Best Loop of the Month



(ripped ever-so-gently from the pages of ColoradoPols.com - nice giffage dude!!)

WOW



Naomi Issacson, SIST CEO

Okay, this is bloody creepazillic.

Alleged Murder-For-Hire Rattles Small Town
CBS Evening News Exclusive: Placid Midwest Town Turned Upside Down By Alleged Hit List And Secretive Group

SHAWANO, Wisc., Dec. 17, 2008

(CBS) At the annual holiday parade in scenic Shawano, Wisc., for the first time someone was missing this year. The long-time mayor was nowhere in sight. She was afraid for her life, CBS News cheif investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian reports.

"To have this happen, who would - who would think it?" said Shawano Mayor Lorna Marquardt.

So unthinkable that Marquardt's open-door policy is now officially closed, and she had bulletproof glass installed on her office door.

It's all part of a once-quiet town that's been turned upside down.

"We have weapons in our home now," Marquardt said.

All a reaction to news of an alleged hit list and claims by a so-called hit man, now telling his story for the first time.

"And I said, 'you want me to kill 60 people? You want me to kill the whole town of Shawano?" said Canadian businessman Bob Cameron.

Keteyian asked: "They were hiring you as a hit man?"

"Yes, they were," Cameron said.

"You're talking about the mayor, the city administrator, the city treasurer, the city attorney, the police chief, judges, investigators, fire commissioners," Keteyian asked.

"Uh huh," Cameron assented.

Cameron says in late October he received $175,000 in wire transfers from people known to be part of a secretive group long run out of a house near Shawano called SIST.

---
Ah. Religious cult with too much money (or maybe, suddenly, too little). And of course, they're crying discrimmination and not paying their bills. Hm. They like handbills too.

Gee, the death-threats kinda blow that whole act.

Nose-picking malevolence

Holy crap, Whiskey Fire is a must-read today:

(GWB)
And my point is, is that things go in cycles in politics. Now, in order to win, it's important to recruit good candidates who stand on principle. Most Americans believe what we believe — that government ought to be limited and wise, that taxes ought to be low, that we ought to encourage entrepreneurship and small businesses, and that we ought to have a strong national defense.


and Thers superb rejoinder, culminated with this lovely word-picture:

Oy. Just toss it onto the groaning compost heap of evidence showing that "conservatism" means nothing, nothing at all, except for mindless, tribal spite, vulgar money-grubbing, and interminable, nose-picking malevolence.

Funniest Headline of the Day

UNC women hold off Aggies

Sometimes the humor is in plain sight.

Wait a sec. THIS ONE.

Rodrigo Braz Monteiro (aka amz on Slashdot)

wrote this lovely piece:

If programming languages were religions...

And now, for some off-topic:

"If programming languages were religions"
(Inspired by "If programming languages were cars")


C would be Judaism - it's old and restrictive, but most of the world is familiar with its laws and respects them. The catch is, you can't convert into it - you're either into it from the start, or you will think that it's insanity. Also, when things go wrong, many people are willing to blame the problems of the world on it.

Java would be Fundamentalist Christianity - it's theoretically based on C, but it voids so many of the old laws that it doesn't feel like the original at all. Instead, it adds its own set of rigid rules, which its followers believe to be far superior to the original. Not only are they certain that it's the best language in the world, but they're willing to burn those who disagree at the stake.

PHP would be Cafeteria Christianity - Fights with Java for the web market. It draws a few concepts from C and Java, but only those that it really likes. Maybe it's not as coherent as other languages, but at least it leaves you with much more freedom and ostensibly keeps the core idea of the whole thing. Also, the whole concept of "goto hell" was abandoned.

C++ would be Islam - It takes C and not only keeps all its laws, but adds a very complex new set of laws on top of it. It's so versatile that it can be used to be the foundation of anything, from great atrocities to beautiful works of art. Its followers are convinced that it is the ultimate universal language, and may be angered by those who disagree. Also, if you insult it or its founder, you'll probably be threatened with death by more radical followers.

C# would be Mormonism - At first glance, it's the same as Java, but at a closer look you realize that it's controlled by a single corporation (which many Java followers believe to be evil), and that many theological concepts are quite different. You suspect that it'd probably be nice, if only all the followers of Java wouldn't discriminate so much against you for following it.

Lisp would be Zen Buddhism - There is no syntax, there is no centralization of dogma, there are no deities to worship. The entire universe is there at your reach - if only you are enlightened enough to grasp it. Some say that it's not a language at all; others say that it's the only language that makes sense.

Haskell would be Taoism - It is so different from other languages that many people don't understand how can anyone use it to produce anything useful. Its followers believe that it's the true path to wisdom, but that wisdom is beyond the grasp of most mortals.

Erlang would be Hinduism - It's another strange language that doesn't look like it could be used for anything, but unlike most other modern languages, it's built around the concept of multiple simultaneous deities.

Perl would be Voodoo - An incomprehensible series of arcane incantations that involve the blood of goats and permanently corrupt your soul. Often used when your boss requires you to do an urgent task at 21:00 on friday night.
(too true and too funny! d)

Lua would be Wicca - A pantheistic language that can easily be adapted for different cultures and locations. Its code is very liberal, and allows for the use of techniques that might be described as magical by those used to more traditional languages. It has a strong connection to the moon.

Ruby would be Neo-Paganism - A mixture of different languages and ideas that was beaten together into something that might be identified as a language. Its adherents are growing fast, and although most people look at them suspiciously, they are mostly well-meaning people with no intention of harming anyone.

Python would be Humanism: It's simple, unrestrictive, and all you need to follow it is common sense. Many of the followers claim to feel relieved from all the burden imposed by other languages, and that they have rediscovered the joy of programming. There are some who say that it is a form of pseudo-code.

COBOL would be Ancient Paganism - There was once a time when it ruled over a vast region and was important, but nowadays it's almost dead, for the good of us all. Although many were scarred by the rituals demanded by its deities, there are some who insist on keeping it alive even today.

APL would be Scientology - There are many people who claim to follow it, but you've always suspected that it's a huge and elaborate prank that got out of control.
(I've used APL and I have to completely agree!! d)

LOLCODE would be Pastafarianism - An esoteric, Internet-born belief that nobody really takes seriously, despite all the efforts to develop and spread it.

Visual Basic would be Satanism - Except that you don't REALLY need to sell your soul to be a Satanist...
(chortle d)

Thanks to jfs and other people on #aegisub for the suggestions. Keep in mind, this list is a joke, and is not meant to offend anyone. Also, if you're a Muslim, please don't kill me. ;)

Thoiling

Betsy Markey won in Larimer County Colorado by a huge margin - 34,193a (96631 : 62438).

Voter registration in that county was (in Oct 2008) 65,148 Republican / 54,052 Democratic - 11,096 vote advantage (nice districting - shows why they need to be adjusted periodically).

You do the mathb

I believe the term is 'disaffection' (not be confused with 'disinfection' but the effect is similiar).

For the Larimer county GOP, it must have been like spilling a hot yagermeister shot onto sunburnt thighs - no wonder the screeching is getting louder not fading.

a. not the much-lower figure being reported in some places, probably because the bigger number makes Musgrave supporters wail and rend their garments, then casteth thyselves uponeth the stepeths of the localeth newthpaperthsthh wailing and thoiling thyselveth.

b. it's okay, we can wait, you've got four years, you might have enough time. Hurry.

Nice Haircut

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Always watching

I'm so pleased that people are watching every single move I make. :-D

It's comforting. Really. Like warm (slightly rank) breath on the back of my neck.

They could use a hobby though.

or a laxative.

or a mint.

My responses to the peanut gallery

Reading the comments1 at the Times-Call is always appalling, but today had some classics. I thought a few needed more pithy responses than the TC's 'moderators'2 would have allowed.

--
First thing to eliminate should the be the ridiculuous amount of money going toward frivilous open space! Let the Boulder enviro-nuts bury themselves with these foolish spending programs, not us.
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'should the be' ? 'ridiculuous'? This one speaks for itself. Bad grammar and worse spelling = half-crocked winger. Must have been hurrying to get in front of the teevee for 'Wheel'
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Good thing they opened that ice rink!!
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That would be 'kept open' - since no private business has ever come forward with an offer to help - or compete. But always a standard play in the red-state playbook: spit on anything done for the 'little people' (especially if it's non-ivy-league kids). Bra-vo. (golfclap)
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Not to fear, since we just approved a couple hundred million in new taxes for the school district, which means our community will any day now see the enormously positive economic impact of this.
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"Any day now" being "this week" since all wingnut-driven tax increases instantly "bear fruit" and help us be "greeted as liberators" - oh, wait, I forgot, war GOOD, education BAD. Children exist only to feed the maw of the military ambitions of the bloody red staters.
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Is this any surprise. We should have seen this coming. With all the un-needed studies and such and than not doing anything to improve things in Longmont. Some our services are bad now and with new cuts I wonder what is going to suffer next. Maybe the council can take a cut. As always just my opinion.
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"Some our services" - write much?
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The budget was proposed in August. There were public hearings in September and October and they didn't adjust the budget then when we knew the slowdown had turned into a recession? Lame. What happens when many people have their property reassessed downward from May to June and property taxes go down?
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Wait a minute? Now it's a recession? I thought the economy was booming? Funny how the accountability creeps3 in.
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I wonder how many of the negative comments about the ice rink and tax money for the school district come from people with kids. The few positives for our youth seem to be the first things some want to throw out, how sad.
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I'd suspect a LOT of em. But remember, to many people, kids are great because they're a tax deduction and they can do scut work around the house4.
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I have kids and think the ice rink is a waste of tax payer money. Let a private party take it over. I do however feel that the schools are important and do need money.
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Hm. Obviously not a hockey mom5.
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In response to: "First thing to eliminate should the be the ridiculous amount of money going toward frivolous open space! Let the Boulder enviro-nuts bury themselves with these foolish spending programs, not us." I really like the open space, and think Longmont should increase funding to open space when possible. Look at the home values in Boulder, they are still going up last I checked.
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But, but... Longmont doesn't want to be like Boulder!!! (in a high-pitched screechy voice a la Gollum). Besides, no fair using facts, this is a Red Town6 dammit. That'll be enough of that.
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The situation is not as dire as "the sky is falling" folks are claiming. We can certainly live without the Martin Street expansion this next year, for example. That saves $3M right there. The budget is ballooned with other of these "nice to have" projects; delay them as needed.
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For the love of God! Think of the developers! (chokes back sob)(giggle)
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How about emulating Honda Motors cost cutting measures by having all city managers take a pay cut. Seems fair to me since they are steering the ship!
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This one actually makes sense. Why not tie size of raises to city budget? Seems reasonable.
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(skipped a couple that already get way more play than they deserve)7
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No worry are great socialist city council will just tax are way out of this mess.
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Ka-CHING! Right on time. PS. Blow me.
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Maybe it is time for the city to realize we can function without a bunch of government employees trying to run the show. Welcome to the real world and start cutting jobs, not funding. This city deserves what it reaps. The same thing for the federal government, God bless socialism. Idiots!
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How about 'We can function without a bunch of deep-pocket robber-barrons raping and pillaging nonstop' ? Yes, this city does deserve what it reaps - the right-wing elected Stoecker and Pirnack, now that the butcher's bill from their incompetence and cronyism comes due it isn't their meat on the block - yet the whining and bitching is more strident than ever. Personally I think it's because the bag men aren't getting their share anymore and that rankles. God bless socialism? God bless Democracy, another term of barkin-mad wingnuts would have sunk the whole country. Quit blaming socialism every time the pendulum swings7.
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Why is open space even on the table? Certainly there is money there for maintenance. Cuts simply mean we don't buy property. It has it's own tax and the budget would be based on what is collected. It isn't subsidized by general sales tax revenues. How do you expect the council to absorb millions of dollars by having them "take a cut"? They aren't paid. Tighten the belt folks. That what we are all doing (except me; now is the time to make money, if you are an investor).
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Whaddayanuts? Open space? A piece of land without something built on it? Why... why... that's sacrilege!!!! Freakin hippie! (grin)
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Oh heck, let's just have a bond election and a mill levy overide for the city that will take care of things. It's for the kids.
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Oh, I think we can forget about any more 'elections8' in Longmont, there's so much money stacked up under the counter now that the 'consultants' will have 'consultants' to park their towne cars.


1 If by 'comments' one is referring to 'semi-literate howls and screeches punctuated with dung-flinging barrages from right-wing loons helplessly watching their dreams of untramelled corruption going south faster than a beer boner in sub-freezing weather.
2 Because for some reason my best responses never seem to show. Maybe it's all the f-bombs. Go figger.
3 and I do mean 'creeps' - like leeeetle tiny rats with long, razor-sharp claws and needle-tipped teeth... but I digress
4 come on, admit it
5 Besides, schools are great for keepin the lil termites busy while you're downing a fifth of scotch and getting that 'special delivery' from the 'postman'
6 Bought and paid for! Dammit!
7 and whose comments will not be seen here either. GRIN. PS, bite me.
8 I'm just waiting for the media onslaught, should be starting any day now.