Friday, December 09, 2011

Nobody Asked Me, But...

1) Some positive Occupy news. Law & Order: SVU sought to both commercialize and ridicule the Occupy movement by doing one of their "ripped from the headlines" stories, presumably having something to do with sexual assault at an Occupy-like encampment. #OWS moved in and stopped the shoot.
2) Judging the entire Occupy movement on the actions of a tiny fringe element that probably is not even be part of the actual movement is a little like judging every South Korean on the actions of Kim Jong Il and his henchmen.
3) And some negative Occupy news. The police state in America received judicial approval yesterday as an asshat of a judge ruled that any behavior that triggered a violent response on the part of the authorities was not protected speech or activity.
4) The whole point behind having freedom of speech is to be able to piss people off. Indeed, if what we thought and said DIDN'T piss people off, we wouldn't need the damn First Amendment.
5) Rick Perry: Butthurt little victim or butthurtest little victim?
6) Well, I mean, it is an island.
7) Heh. ThumbPer has one more toe than this little feller.
8) Up until the end, a defense of intellectualism. And then he had to go and ruin with a match up between a greyhound and a mole rat.
9) In Bolling's defense, Bert did end up on a poster alongside Osama bin Laden.
10) Really. You can't make this shit up.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

I'd Be Remiss


The Obvious Answer Is....

The Appeals court will let the ruling stand, since to rule otherwise would open the door to any number of challenges to any number of cases simply because of a judge's personal traits.

Right Lens

Wrong region, or else I'd post photographs of this very unusual occurence at this weekend's soler eclipse: a selenehelion

We're All Bosons On This Bus

The Higgs may finally start giving up its secrets soon

Fracked Up

Well, I mean, it's not like they're drilling in remote areas of the country where nothing untoward can happen. You'd like to think this warning would be unnecessary, but...

Oh, Arizona....


Gee...You Think The Usual Suspects Will Wad Panties Over This?

President Barack Obama to host non-Christian holiday celebration at White House.
Pam Geller? The Middle Easterning of the White House? Hullo?

In Russia, Election Fixes You

Needless to say, on the heels of the Arab Spring and the American Occupied Fall comes yet another tyrannical regime under scrutiny by its own people. Naturally, that scrutiny is causing dismay among the entrenched elite:
President Dmitry Medvedev says alleged vote fraud in Russian parliamentary elections that led to major protests will be investigated .

Medvedev told reporters Thursday — after meeting Czech counterpart Vaclav Klaus — that the law may have been violated during Sunday's vote, because "our electoral law is not ideal."

He called for Russians to remain calm during any inquiry, adding that "experts, not ordinary people" would investigate.

Stalin once famously observed that its not who votes that counts, its who counts the votes. "Experts," my ass.

This statement by Medvedev comes on the heels of, well, almost neo-con-like charges from once and future Russian President Vladimir Putin that the US and in particular, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were fomenting unrest among the populace:

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin strongly criticized U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday, accusing her of encouraging and funding Russians protesting election fraud, and warned of a wider Russian crackdown on dissent.

By describing Russia's parliamentary election as rigged, Putin said Clinton "gave a signal" to his opponents.

"They heard this signal and with the support of the U.S. State Department began their active work," Putin said in televised remarks. He said the United States is spending "hundreds of millions" of dollars to influence Russian politics with the aim of weakening a rival nuclear power.

I speak fluent Russopolispeak too, so let me translate: "The sheeple noticed? Holy crap! Who can I blame?"

Let me sum up events for you quickly, to comprehend what happened here: the United Russian party (basically, the former KGB-sponsored political arm) held something like 70 percent of the seats in the Russian Duma after the 2007 elections. After the 2011 elections, the margin was narrowed considerably, and the actual results, discounting any fraud as claimed, may show Putin losing the Duma completely.

Since he planned on running for President in 2012, this would effectively scuttle his presidency, win, lose, or draw.

And so now you understand why there's some resistance to the official results, despite Medvedev's claim that the results are in line with polling done before the election (which you might expect...indeed, it's how closely the results hew to that polling that make me sit up and take notice.)

There is to be a rally in Moscow on Saturday, for which the Moscow police have issued a permit for 300 people. More than 17,000 have pledged on Facebook to attend.

Muscovite officials have said strong police action will be triggered if more than 300 show up. If 17,000 show up, then I would imagine all bets are off.

It will be interesting, over the next few days, to watch the rabid anti-Occupy forces spin trying to reconcile support for what may be violent Russian dissidence while mocking and deriding peaceful, non-violent domestic protests.


Wednesday, December 07, 2011

In Memoriam

A fine actor, best known for his role on the M*A*S*H television series, Harry Morgan, has died.
My favorite Morgan vehicle, tho, is Inherit The Wind.


2024's Herman Cain

He talks the talk, and is even dumb as a bag of hammers.
Regulation does not kill jobs. In fact, America is one of the LEAST regulated free market nations and the only free market nations experiencing job growth are the ones with strong regulations.

If You Live In The Northeast, Prepare For Lyme Disease Next Year

We know there will be a bad outbreak next year, because there aren't many acorns this year.

Some Great News

Tick "Ebola" off the list of diseases without a vaccine.

Considering His Future Plans...

Andrew Cuomo has all but announced that he would run for President in 2016. Considering the current attitude in this country about tax hikes, this is a bold move. He could easily have passed the plate.
But, on the other hand, if he does reduce the deficit without creating major economic damage, it will be an incredibly strong platform to run on.

A Good Start

It was nice to hear Obama finally pick up the populist mantle yesterday.
Needs moar substance.

On Black Friday, We Bought X-Boxes, iPads, Clothing...Guns....

It's true. Black Friday 2011 set the all-time record for gun sales in America, eclipsing Black Friday 2008 (just after the black Muslin socialist was elected).
In fact, gun ownership is trending upward, in large part due to the tough economic times which will undoubtedly spike crimes like burglary and robbery, along with the divisive nature of the far right wing, the hate speech of the Teabaggers, and of course, the ridiculous-yet-intriguing apolcalyptic talk of 2012.
It's enough to make me think I may need one sooner or later. Fortunately, I have enough LEO friends to not only get great advice on which guns, but to help train me better.

So They Warn Us...

...but then tell us they can't stop it.

Throwing His Balls In

In the great Pokemon battle that has become the Teabaggers v. Mitt Romney, competitor after competitor has been laughed off the pitch: MickeyMousemann, Perryoopsie, Caintrain. The Teabaggers might finally have thrown a Pokeball that might have an effect against Mittman: Newtiechoo

Mitt Romney vows to make his "closing argument" for the GOP presidential nomination, including drawing some sharp distinctions with new front-runner Newt Gingrich.

Romney has led or been near the top of national public opinion polls this year, only to lose ground to Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry., Herman Cain and now Gingrich. They have been viewed as more conservative than Romney, who has drawn the ire of some in the GOP for the health care law he signed as Massachusetts governor.

Newtiechoo has taken a pretty commanding lead in Iowa polling, has pulled ahead in New Hampshire and has a strong lead in South Carolina, all states now critical to a Romney victory. Until now, Mittman had been able to rise above the crowd, confining his direct confrontation to the endless debates.

The two combatants find themselves in similar straits, with similar weapons and similar strengths and weaknesses (save for Newtiechoo's immoral behavior all his life.) This creates a distinct problem for Romney since the "Anyone But Romney" vote is almost three times as big as Romney's poll numbers.

Romney's saving grace is that Gingrich has his own baggage as far as the rank-and-file Teabaggers go. For example, his comments on Paul Ryan's "conservative social engineering" healthcare proposal could not have sat well, nor his flip-flop on an individual health insurance mandate. Both seem to support Obamacare. Both seem to support Romneycare. The debate on the far right will be about the lesser of two weasels.


In Remembrance

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

His Bark Was Worse Than His Gum


Put It This Way

When this was launched, Jimmy Carter was President
There was no iPhone. No iPod. No Internet as we know it. There were no personal computers. Yet. No GPS. Cable was something only the really wealthy and the really lucky could afford. You could still dial a telephone call, but your phone and receiver were landlocked. Cell phones were bricks the weight of a shotput and had to be slung over your shoulder.
And even with all that, we made it to the edge of our Solar System using computers whose power today would fit on a fingernail.

Who Are You, And What Did You Do With His Body?

He's practically rational here!

Hey! You Know "It's A Wonderful Life"?

Well, for ZuZu, not so much!

Jon Stewart Has That Je Ne Sais Quoi Pas

Y'know, I never really thought of the Republican Presidential contest as a Pokemon battle before.
"Newtiechoo! I choose you!"


Mitt "Republican Establishment" Romney criticizes the President for playing golf.
Gee, where was he the first eight years of this century?

I Suspect China Will Sign Off On Kyoto Long Before America Does

They have air so thick you can slice it.

So, I'm Flipping Channels On My DISH Last Night...

...when I come across this: Russia Today television.
OK, granted, it's as propaganda-laden as any of the mainstream media, but at least they're taking a fresh look at American stories (like Occupy Wall Street.)
And to my wondering eyes, what should appear on the TeeVee but one Robert Farley of Lawyers, Guns, and Money, one of my favorite hangouts on the web, discussing the apparent US-Israeli attacks on Iran that no one in the US media was talking about until it was almost impossible to ignore.
Yet another reason to drop your corporacratic cable company or FOX-owned DirecTV and get yourself DISH Network. The unvarnished truth.

I Can Only Imagine The Right Wing Panty Twisting On This Story

Suicide bombing in Kabul kills dozens of Shi'ites.

No One Could Have Forseen This!

Under the cloud of possible layoffs and/or benefit cuts after working dozens of years, many experienced and knowledgable public sector workers are opting for early retirement to lock in their benefits.
And basically leaving government at all levels sorely lacking in wisdom at their time of most dire need.
Really smart, Teabaggers. Really smart.

Unexpected Consequences

I suppose that, in order to keep up appearances of "fairness" in dealing with Occupy Wall Street, extending the police state to include all street musicians is appropriate.
Fucking fascists.


(photo courtest NASA/JPL Caltech)

Ever Wonder What Billionaire Cum Tastes Like?


Lies, By Airmail

The US Postal Service is in pretty drastic difficulty. Of course, the usual suspects are laying blame at the usual feet:
How did it come to this? The culprits include the internet, labor expenses, and, as with pretty much every problem our country faces now, Congress.
When you analyze the facts a little, as Weismann clearly has not, you begin to understand that it's the last that is responsible for the problems, in toto.
Let's take a look...
Keep in mind that the US Postal Service is two things: it is one of the few Federal agencies mandated in the Constitution (under the guise of "Post Office," but more on that in a bit,) and it is the only private corporation masquerading as a Federal agency (yes, you can make a case for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and all the other nym-lending agencies, but those are public corporations in which the government holds preferred stock.)
Yes, the Internet and e-mail have made first class mail almost...almost...superfluous. And the decline in total mail volume has clearly hurt the postal service. Remember, the Postal Service must guarantee delivery to every citizen in the United States, regardless of how remote that person may be.
And ever since Congress allowed for the privatization of express delivery services to FedEx and others, a very profitable arm of the postal service was amputated, the bleeding never staunched.
By the way, none of the delivery services has to guarantee delivery to anyplace. They can make you get in your car and drive to a local facility where you can pick up your package, and then it's up to you to get it home. Good luck with that.
Which now raises the second facet of this point: the Postal Service must clear any rate increases with the Postal Regulatory Commission, membership on which is subject to Senate confirmation and Presidential appointment.
Meaning that, if for example, the USPS was to ask for a rate increase that recognizes that bulk mail now makes up the lion's share of its carrying obligation (the "universal service obligation"), if the commission is comprised of smart people that rate will be allowed. But half the current commission (a commissioner's seat is vacant, awaiting Senate approval) is not smart, but Republican.
And we all know the lobbying that goes on in Republican quarters. Indeed, a rate hike in bulk mail would not only trigger protests from the junk mail senders (who have a substantial lobbying presence) but the banks, credit card companies, retailers...well, you get the picture.
So, once again, the revenue stream is hampered by a Congress which wants private industry to make as much money as possible, except for this particular private corporation, which it views as a government agency.
Which now introduces point #2: labor costs.
It's true, the US Postal Service seems at times to be the employer of last resort: if you're too old to go into the military and can't get a job anyplace else, there always seems to be some post office somewhere that could use a hand.
Remember, the USPS is under a Constitutional mandate to deliver your mail, anywhere, and under a statutory obligation to deliver your mail anywhere...within six days. End of discussion. All for less than 50 cents. That means manpower, because the USPS can't go to the capital markets to raise funds to, say, automate better. That means that 80% of the Postal service budget is spent on people. By contrast, Fedex (which can float bonds to raise capital) can automate to their hearts delight (as can UPS) and cut delivery services without anyone forcing them not to. Fedex still spends over half its budget on payroll related items. UPS, almost two thirds.
That doesn't sound out of line with the USPS when you think about it, but the USPS is a government job.
And as with so many government jobs, the pay is crap but the enticements to stick it out are great.
Like a pension. The Postal service pension obligation is somewhere in the billions of dollars annually, like any other large government operation.
Unlike any other government obligation, the Congress deemed fit to "tax" the Postal Service $5.5 billion dollars each year as a contribution to the pension fund, and if you factor out that olbigation, the USPS turns a pretty stunning profit right up until 2010 (it still earned $400 million dollars, pre-pension funding.)
Mind you, that funding is to shore up pensions payable over the next several decades, not the immediate obligations (which are fully funded, thankfully.)
So the USPS is a private corporation when they want it to be, but a public corporation when they want it to be, which means things are pretty muddled and it really is all Congress' fault. If Congress treated it like a government operation, that entire pension would be funded out of our tax dollars instead of our tax dollars.
That's right: you and I subsidize that bulk mail thingie in both our postage and whatever small fundings Congress deems appropriate.
And it's this part that Weismann actually gets right: the Postal Service can't shut a branch without Congressional approval, despite the fact that 25,000 of 32,000 branches run an operating loss. It can't act as a private corporation when it has to.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Gulag Me Elmo


Ten You Missed

The stories in foreign affairs no one talked about in 2011.

Clueless Douchebag Is Clueless

Here's a clue: maybe if they created jobs, people wouldn't be so pissed.

Some Sanity

Now, I have no issue with churches, particularly small, struggling ones.
That said, I'm glad the SCOTUS took a rational position here.

So, Eat At Grimaldi's...


When Will The Dems Get It?

There's no compromising with these asshats. There's only beating the tar out of them.

Santa's Gonna Have To Move His Workshop




Here's The Thing

The US Postal Service is the only "private" company in the world that is guaranteed to lose money because it is required to pay an annual stipend to the Federal government of $5 billion.
It is also the only private company in the country that is required by the US Constitution (yes, I know, it only requires a postal service, but this is the form we've put it in.)
So how in the hell can Weaker Boener allow this to happen?




It never ceases to amaze me how many people think stinking up your clothes and body is somehow more pleasant than bathing daily and using a modicum of cologne.

Ross Douthat Gets Schooled

By a kid!

Newt-Onian Physics

There's an interesting dynamic now taking shape in the GOP race: the rise of Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich drips with disdain for sound-bite politics, but last week he authored perhaps the best bumper sticker of the Republican primary race. “I don’t claim to be the perfect candidate,” he said. “I just claim to be a lot more conservative than Mitt Romney and a lot more electable than anyone else.”

In and of itself, that's a remarkable statement: Gingrich hasn't been on the national political scene since he was forced out as Speaker of the House way back in the Clinton administration. Even President Dumbya was smart enough to stay away from this pudgie toxic waste dump of stoopid.

But when you consider how Gingrich both withered away-- revelations of his demanding a divorce from his wife on what could have been her death-bed, complete with notepad of how to divide the marital assets, his numerous affairs with women clearly out of his league, his tantrum when he was forced to sit in the back of Air Force One on a state visit-- and his intervening years-- making television commercials with both Al Sharpton and Nancy Pelosi, calling out Paul Ryan's budget plan, accepting money from Freddie Mac while deriding them publicly, coming out in favor of a healthcare mandate, to name just a few-- make his "comeback," however temporary it is fated to be, pretty astounding.

It would not be unlike Eliot Spitzer deciding to run for President, and becoming the front-runner by basically making shit up about his past: "Twitter? What's that?"

I'm pretty convinced by now that President Obama and the Democratic party are egging on this "flavor-of-the-month" gallop by the various nags and dodgepots in the horserace to accomplish two things: to force the nomination into Mitt Romney's hands and then to force an insurgency candidacy by (choose your poison.)

Newt is just the current bookmark until the race begins in earnest early next year. The ideal scenario for the Democrats would be a bloody, heated battle between Newt (or whomever) and Mitt that would last well into the spring, exhausting the financial resources of both while tallying up much-needed ammunition for the general campaign.

I know, it's really unfair to hold a candidate to his own words, but what the hey, right?

That Newt believes he is more electable than anyone else running is a black mark on both the Republican party and Newt himself.

Newt's self-image is grossly out of proportion to his actual essence as a cad, liar, and coward. Somehow, tho, he's managed to surround himself with enough desperate people to "yes" him to death. This, I think, explains the mulitude of enticements that have been put in his way. Too, I think his success has come about because he operates at his best in an environment that applauds mediocrity. If Newt was playing tee ball today, he'd get a trpophy for getting the bat off his shoulder, is what I'm saying.

As for the party, that Newt can still be taken seriously as a candidate speaks to the shallowness of the gene pool, which happens when a small but vocal minority of your party has oversized influence. It would be nice to see the Olympia Snowes and Amo Houghtons of the GOP get a chance in the spotlight, but those candidacies would be non-starters, precisely because they want to work to make the country a better place, not pray it does.