Monday, June 30, 2008

The truth that cannot be stated

General Wesley Clark had the gall to state that John McCain's military experience had nothing to do with his qualifications for President. As ABC's Rick Klein was quick to point out, big mistake.

Rick Klein is right. The truth -- that spending 5 years getting tortured in a POW camp qualifies you for a lifetime of physical and psychological therapy and permanent disability payments from the Navy, not for President -- simply cannot be stated. Because people who state the truth will always get shot down by Johnny McCain's cronies in the press corps, who he seems to have bought off with barbecues and "straight talk".

Truth? The American public -- and the American press -- can't handle the truth. More lies, please! We need lies, give us lies, we need more, more, more!

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Just Say No

California's spineless legislators ain't doin' their jobs again. Rather than passing their laws, they're requiring us citizens to do their job. Thus far 11 initiatives on the fall ballot. And possibly more -- there's still 18 petitions circulating around out there and the deadline hasn't arrived yet for November. Gah!

My policy on ballot initiatives is a flat “NO” to all of’em. I don’t have the time or a paid staff to research the economic effects of all these damned things. I already pay someone who does have the time and paid staff, whose job is to say yay or nay on laws, I’m talking about my legislator of course. I damn well expect him to do his job and resent mightily every goddamn time those bastids try to make me do their jobs.

The only time I make an exception is when the new ballot initiative overturns an old ballot initiative. When overturning Proposition 13 comes on the ballot, I will vote for it in pride — that’s the main reason why California has such a housing shortage, Prop 13 basically sets it up so people can’t afford to move because then they’d get a new property tax assessment based on current value, not one from 20 years ago. So you got old farts stuck in properties too big for them but they can’t afford to move because they’d end up paying too much property tax if they did… or else they move out-of-state, but then ya gotta live amongst the heathen. Ugh!

Anywho: I pay my legislator to pass laws. I ain’t gonna do his job for him, and I wish he’d quit sending me these goddamn initiatives and askin’ me to do his job for him. As for the ones put on the ballot by special interests paying signature-getters... fuck'em all. Not a single one of them is good for the people, only for the rich fucks who put them there. ‘Nuff said.

– Badtux the “It ain’t my job” Penguin

Cough... cough... cough...

The penguin has been hacking and wheezing and his eyes have been watering for the past couple of days because the Silly Cone Valley is covered with smoke from all the fires. I can't even see the top of Mount Hamilton. Hell, I can't even see Mount Hamilton through the haze.

Global warming is a hoax, my ass...

-- Badtux the Wheezing Penguin

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Butt cracks and morons

Over on MotoTux, the Penguin talks about proper motorcycle riding gear.

-- Badtux the Motorcyclin' Penguin

Kitty Yoga

The Mighty Fang, having colonized the box that my skid plate came in, does some kitty yoga. Note that his hind knee is tucked behind his ear... eep!

Yet more proof that cats are a liquid. Unless you're trying to put them into their cat carrier to take them to the vet. At that point they are anything *but* liquid...

-- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

Friday, June 27, 2008

Sun Cat

The Mighty Fang enjoys some rays. His brown undercoat is showing through on this pic.

-- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

Thursday, June 26, 2008

An individual right

Supremes dance, say there is an individual right to own firearms.

As I've noted previously, the arguments presented by gun lobbyists don't make any sense. There has never been a brutal dictatorship overthrown because it ran out of brutal thugs willing to enforce its rule, instead said dictatorship has always been overthrown because it ran out of money to pay for said thugs. The fall of the Soviet Union should be instructive there -- the Soviet military at the end could not even buy food for its soldiers, and they simply would not fight to preserve the rule of the Communists anymore. Similarly, the Communist government of Afghanistan lasted for many years after the Soviets left, and collapsed only because the Soviet Union collapsed and quit sending them money, at which time they could no longer pay their thugs and their thugs switched sides and overthrew them.

In short, guns in the hands of ordinary civilians have proven worthless at getting rid of brutal dictatorships, at least if you do not have significant external support and a safe haven beyond the border. The notion of U.S. citizens rebelling and overthrowing their government using personal firearms is beyond ludicrous. Oppressive regimes collapse because their citizens silently undermine them by ceasing economic activity until they can no longer pay their thugs, not because they get overthrown violently (well, often the final act is violence -- but the violence succeeds only because unpaid thugs have deserted, otherwise the result is a lot of dead civilians and a lot of strutting thugs). This is why the petro-dictatorships of the Middle East can continue -- they can still pay their thugs. Once the oil runs out and they can no longer pay their thugs, well, all hell is going to break loose.

So anyhow, as I've pointed out prior, personal firearms in the hands of civilians aren't the magic talisman they're often claimed to be. On the other hand, the language of the 2nd Amendment is clear, and if we want to ban personal firearms, we should do so by changing the Constitution -- not by trying to re-write it by saying it doesn't say what it bloody well does say. That way leads to the rest of the Bill of Rights similarly getting re-written. Now, let's see if the Supremes, now that they've voted to uphold the 2nd Amendment, will similarly vote to uphold the 1st Amendment, 4th Amendment, 5th Amendment, .... well, all the other amendments, the ones that the NRA and Rethugs apparently do not care about. Then we can say they've actually got some scruples. Until then, I'm reserving judgement, other than to say that voting to uphold one amendment of the Bill of Rights certainly is a step in the right direction. Now let's see them vote to uphold the other amendments...

-- Badtux the Constitutional Penguin

A data entry problem

What is the NCIS weapon code for Frozen Chicken? Frederick McKaney did not know what damage he was causing when he attacked a woman with a frozen chicken, sending her to the hospital. Not only did he cause the woman to need stitches, he also inflicted distress upon the cops who have to decide, "How do I encode this into the computer?"

If crooks were smart, they'd be Republicans, and we'd call them "Mr. Vice President". Hmm....

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

The world's dumbest raisin farmer does it again

The mad raisin farmer of Modesto strikes again! Victor Davis Hanson calls himself a conservative? His latest column bemoans the fact that Americans aren't building gigantic government projects much anymore.

Wait. Let me get this straight. V.D. Hanson calls himself a "conservative". Traditionally conservatives were the small government party, right? So why is V.D. bemoaning the fact that, well, big government isn't doing much big governmentin' nowdays?

For other stupidity in that same article, V.D. Hanson bemoans the fact that the last oil refinery was built 30 years ago. Never mind that today's oil refineries don't have a single component on site that was on site 30 years ago -- they've basically been rebuilt in-place with vastly greater capacity than the refineries of 30 years ago, we have more refining capacity today than we've ever had -- facts are not necessary for V.D. to operate.

About the only thing he really strikes home with is his criticism of the fact that the U.S. hasn't built a new nuclear power plant in the past 30 years. River Bend in Louisiana, started in April 1977, was the last nuclear reactor to start construction in the United States. That's over thirty years ago. As I've noted in the past, nuclear energy is the only energy source we have left with the energy density to maintain technological society once the oil runs out. We could burn more coal, I suppose, but that has serious environmental effects both in its extraction and in its effects upon global warming, and the coal won't last forever either. There are enough radioactive isotopes on this planet to fulfill our energy needs for tens of thousands of years, and by that time hopefully we will have figured out some way of doing nuclear fusion -- or we won't exist anymore (most likely, alas).

So anyhow, out of a gigantic three-column article, V.D. Hanson gets exactly *one* thing right. Which is 100% better than he's done in the past, but still. Why do people keep paying this hack to write this drivel?

-- Badtux the

Brokeback Blogger

Seems that Jim Yeager (the blogger formerly known as Mimus Pauley) just can't quit his addiction.

Next up: Brokeback Blogger, The Movie. "Why can't I quit you," Mimus shall mournfully intone. Heh.

-- Badtux the Easily-Amused Penguin

Just finished buttoning up the Wabs

Doesn't everybody work on their motorcycles at 2AM? See MotoTux for the long version...

-- Badtux the Wrenchin' Penguin

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The soft bigotry of low expectations

"John McCain is aware of the Internet." -- McCain aide Mark Soohoo.

Wow. That's reassuring. Sort of. Sort of in the way that a doctor who tells you, "I'm aware of brain surgery" might be. I mean, all that's necessary for someone to be in charge of your surgery is that he be aware of brain surgery, not that he has actually done any brain surgery, right? John McCain doesn't even have a computer, has never used email, doesn't "do" the Internet at all... but he's aware of it. So that certainly qualifies him to be in charge of a nation whose future is high technology... err... how?

Come on now. My *mother* uses the Internet, and she's only a few years younger than Grampa McSimpson. Grampa ain't even got a computer? Gah! Out of touch, all the way, yessiree, that's Grampa John McSimson.

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Women Snark McCain

From Women for John McCain: With John’s record on choice, he’s uniquely qualified to make our most personal, private choices for us as President.

John McCain’s leadership has earned him a 0% rating from NARAL, a 0% rating from Planned Parenthood, and his independent, bipartisan thinking is backed up by his impressive voting record and positions on women’s health and freedom of choice.

  • Supports repealing Roe v. Wade. (May 2007)
  • Voted YES on barring Health and Human Services funding to medical clinics for low-income women that perform abortions. (Oct 2007)
  • Voted YES on notifying parents of minors who get out-of-state abortions. (Jul 2006)
  • Voted NO on $100M to reduce teen pregnancy by education & contraceptives. (Mar 2005)
  • Voted YES on criminal penalty for harming unborn fetus. (Mar 2004)
  • Voted YES on banning “dilate and extract” abortions. (Mar 2003)
  • Voted YES on maintaining ban on abortions at clinics on military bases. (Jun 2000)
  • Voted YES on banning “dilate and extract” abortions. (Oct 1999)
  • Rated 0% by National Abortion Rights Action League.
  • Rated 0% by Planned Parenthood.
  • Despite his extreme voting record, 51 percent of women voters in battleground states have no idea what John McCain’s positions are on women’s reproductive health issues.
Remember, Clinton supporters, let your sour grapes overwhelm you and choose John McCain. It's the last choice you'll ever need to make.

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

You should be ashamed, not insulted

In another forum, I made fun of someone who was making fun of a South American for using the European convention for specifying numbers ( 4,301kg is the same thing as 4.301kg expressed the American way). I said "Just another ugly American mistreating foreigners and showing his ignorance of the world again, thinking that his own second-rate country that tortures prisoners and isn't even the largest economy in the world anymore is the entire world."

Needless to say, I got some feedback :-). But the most interesting feedback was regarding two words: "tortures prisoners". This person said, "I did not vote for Bush and I had nothing to do with setting up the secret prisons where people are tortured. You shouldn't tar all Americans just because some Americans are ugly."

The thing is, we are all tarred by this fact. Rather than being insulted, this person should have been ashamed of the fact that America tortures its prisoners. This is a disgrace and a blot upon the whole country, and we should all be ashamed. I know I am.

-- Badtux the Ashamed Penguin

The sorts of things I talk about at work

Virtualization is successful because operating systems are weak.

Machine-level virtualization using solutions like VMware or XEN is the common solution for the current weakness of commonly available OS's when it comes to isolating users and their applications from one another. But machine-level virtualization adds yet more complexity, and merely pushes the vulnerabilities upwards. You get isolation between applications, but at the cost of greatly increased maintenance -- instead of one OS, you have to maintain multiple OS's (one per virtualized machine). Looking back at the Verizon study and its patching policy questions, and realize that this increases the patching problem exponentially. The question is whether we can retrofit current operating systems with the sort of OS-layer features that would allow avoiding the complexities of hardware-layer virtualization while still creating the bulkheads between applications (and OS!) that we agree are necessary given the poor application-level security of commonly-available applications. (Watch this space, it's a scenario in much discussion in circles like the Jericho Forum).

To a certain extent we've been going backwards since the failure of the Multics Project to produce a system competitive on a price-performance basis. Compare the security model of Multics (which as far as I know never suffered a security breach) with that of any currently-extant OS. Now, I am quite cognizant of the many failings of Multics as an OS (mostly due to the antiquated GE hardware it was implemented upon, which forced numerous compromises in system design), but the point is that we do not have a single OS in common use today which implements what we knew was good security back in 1975. Thirty years, and no progress. Computer science is an oxymoron, we do not learn from the past, we just keep re-implementing its mistakes.

-- Badtux the Security Penguin

Monday, June 23, 2008

Over on MotoTux...

Penguin stupidity.

Don't let this be you, ladies and gents!

-- Badtux the Motorcyclin' Penguin

George Carlin, 1937-2008

Okay, a third time:


I dread the deaths of certain super-celebrities. Not because I care about them, but because of all the shit I have to endure on television when one of them dies. All those tributes and retrospectives. And the bigger the personality, the worse it is.

For instance, imagine the crap we'll have to endure on TV when Bob Hope dies. First of all, they'll show clips from all of his old road movies with Bing Crosby, and you can bet that some news anchor asshole will turn to the pile of clothing next to him and say, "Well, Tami, I imagine Bob's on the Road to Heaven now."

Then there'll be clips of all those funny costumes he wore on his TV specials, including the hippie sketch, where they'll show him saying "Far out, man, far out!" They'll show him golfing with dead presidents, kissing blonde bombshells, and entertaining troops in every war since we beat the shit out of the Peloponnesians. And at some point, a seventy-year-old veteran will choke up, and say, "I just missed seein' him at two, 'cause I got my legs blowed off. He's quite a guy."

Ex-presidents (including the dead ones) will line up four abreast to tell us what a great American he was; show-business perenials will desert golf courses from Palm Springs to O.J.'s lawn to lament sadly as how this time, "Bob hooked one into the woods"; and, regarding his talent, a short comedian in a check-ered hat will speak reverently about "Hope's incredible timing."

And this stuff will be on every single newscast day and night for a week. There'll be special one-hour salutes on "Good Morning America," the "Today" show, and "CBS This Morning." Ted Koppel will ask Henry Kissinger if it's true Bob Hope actually shortened some of our wars by telling jokes close to the frontlines. CNN will do a series of expanded "Show Biz Todays." One of the cable channels will do a one-week marathon of his movies. And it goes without saying that NBC will put together a three-hour, prime-time special called "Thanks for the Memories," but at the last minute they'll realize Bob Hope's audience skews older, and sell it to CBS.

Then there'll be the funeral, carried life on the Dead Celebrity Channel, with thousands of grotesque acne-ridden fans seeking autographs from all the show-business clowns who dug out their best black golfing outfits to attend "one of the hottest burials to hit this town in decades" -- Variety. And all this shit will go on for weeks and weeks and weeks.

--George Carlin

And now George Carlin gets to be the subject of exactly the same zoo he hated in life. Yay! Irony!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Kingdom of fear

Democracy only works if the people have the courage to make it work. There ain't a goddamned problem we got in this nation which isn't solvable if we just damned well roll up our sleeves and solve those problems. Poverty? Solvable. Oil dependency? Solvable. Energy? Solvable. Bad educational system? Solvable.

But everybody's just too goddamned busy wetting their pants at the notion of solving this nation's problems, because it would require more courage than they have and more sacrifice than they're willing to make. So all we get are excuses about how problems aren't solvable, rather than solutions. Pathetic. Just pathetic. Cowards. Gah.

Maybe Michael Moore was right when he blamed a culture of fear for this nation's violent behavior...

-- Badtux the Fear Penguin

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Man, it was hot today... got up to 103F at the San Jose airport, but was around 98-99 locally. I rode the KLR up to the City to check out a motorcycle shop that carries stuff the local shops don't carry, and bought a new mesh jacket while I was there. My old Joe Rocket mesh jacket offers little more protection than a t-shirt, the new one has 500 denier Cordura nylon on all the wear points so it offers okay, though not superb, protection. It is a startling hi-viz yellow too. Visible is good if you're on a motorcycle!

So anyhow, I put about 100 miles on the ole' KLR today plus time spent trying on motorcycle riding gear in an un-airconditioned warehouse in San Francisco (look, San Francisco is supposed to be *cool*, who knew it'd ever be 90F in San Francisco?!), and am just utterly wiped out because of the heat. Well, that and the fact that the KLR vibrates worse than a garbage truck when you push it at high speeds down the freeway. I need to do something about that, but first I need to get the V-Strom kitted out, because it's going to require taking the engine apart and until my Givi side-racks come in so I can put luggage on the V-Strom, my good ole' Green Mule is the only motorcycle I have that can haul lotsa stuff. So I'm going to bed. Gnite!

-- Badtux the Overheated Penguin

Over at MotoTux...

Zen and the Art of the Centerstand.

-- Badtux the Motorcyclin' Penguin


So the Democrats voted yesterday for Der Chimperor's little telecomm spying immunity bill, the net effect of which is to prevent effective prosecution of Der Chimperor's illegal wiretapping of, well, pretty much everybody. Obama even came out and said he was cool with it, seems Obama has about as much spine as the rest of the Democrats. Let us not also forget that 99% of the Dems voted for the Enabling Act oops Patriot Act also. I'd say we should all get together and buy them some spines, but I'm not sure there's anywhere in their squishy invertebrate bodies to put one.

I'd ask "what is it about being a Democrat that turns people into cowards", but in the end, I can't say that. Because, in the end, Congress is us -- a nation of cowards, a nation of fools who won't let our children play outside because it's "dangerous", who shudder in fear of imaginary child snatchers and won't let our kids climb trees, a nation of risk-adverse cowards who drive 4 ton SUV's because we feel "safer" and won't take mass transit and walk urban streets because "what if we get mugged?". We cower in fear in our homes clinging to our guns and our religion and our stupidity because we're scared to venture out into the wide, wide world and be, well, free. Because freedom is messy. And dangerous. And requires courage. And as a people, we just don't have that anymore.

Yes, I am aware of people who join the military because they are willing to fight for what they believe. I am aware of people who join protests against the Empire who go out onto the streets and risk being jailed for "disorderly conduct" or actual physical harm from the riot-baton-wearing stormtroopers that our police forces have become because they are willing to fight for what they believe. But for the most part, we're all too scared, too bought, and tell ourselves we don't believe anything at all. And then we elect people just like us to Congress, and wonder why they're as big of cowards as we are...

- Badtux the Invertebrate Penguin

Friday, June 20, 2008

New definition of an idiot

Someone driving a 3 ton pickup truck who argues with a 10 ton light rail train over who has the right-of-way. Hint: It ain't the pickup truck that wins here. Indeed, the driver is lucky to have gotten out alive, because the train cars have a large steel rod in the front used to link them to other cars in a multi-car trainset.

So when will moron drivers quit making illegal turns in front of trains? Maybe when the monkeys that infest this planet start using their brains as more than potted decorative settings on their tables, maybe. Sigh.

-- Badtux the Well-brained Penguin

Hey! You! Come back with my capo!

I hope this is not an editorial comment upon my guitar playing by The Mighty Fang.

-- Badtux the Capo-less Penguin

Why isn't the free market working for oil?

According to the Republicans, the solution to today's oil crisis is the "free market". However, the concept of a free market is a device to increase the supply of goods, not a religion. The reason we use a free market as our main economic system (note: *MAIN* economic system, not *ONLY* economic system, there are large parts of our economy which are government-controlled, such as military, police protection, etc.) is because it increases the supply of goods and services in our economy and allows us to live a better life. The free market is a means to an end -- a better life for more people -- rather than an end in and of itself. The free market is a mechanism for achieving a goal, not a religion. Where it doesn't work, something else has to be done.

If a) a resource has a fixed supply, and b) said resource is necessary for life, then a free market does not work. That is because a) a free market works only where shortages and resulting price hikes can cause an increase in production, and b) a free market only works when people do not die as a result of it. If you do a Marie Antoinette and say "let them eat cake", well, people do not voluntarily die just because you worship dat free market religion. They will riot and find you and cut your head off. Just ask Marie Antoinette's decapitated head. If you can find it wherever it rolled off to.

Oil, at the moment, is close to falling off the edge insofar as a free market being able to work for oil. They ain't makin' no more of dat dere dinosaur juice -- I mean, have you seen any dinosaurs lately?! Meaning that the increase in production that higher prices should cause, is not happening. The question is what to do about it, and that's a question that I don't have an easy answer to other than buying a 60mpg motorcycle to commute to work on rather than a 15mpg Jeep, and living close to light rail so that if even 60mpg becomes too expensive I can always walk to the light rail station and take the train. But this isn't an option for, e.g., truckers, or for farmers who need gas-hog pickup trucks to haul goods from town to their farm, or people who don't live in communities with working mass transit, or... well, lots of people. Why is my neck itching?!

-- Badtux the Oil Penguin

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Over at MotoTux...

The Menagerie.

-- Badtux the Motorin' Penguin

I'm not sure what to think about this

Supreme Court says mentally disabled people do not have the right to serve as their own counsel. At issue was a mentally ill person who was found sane enough to stand trial (i.e., sane enough to understand the charges against him), but who was undeniably mentally ill to a point that would interfere with his ability to serve as his own counsel. Does this ruling allow show trials where a court-appointed attorney presents only those arguments which the State wishes presented and does not allow a defendent to present other arguments? Or is it a humane response to the problem of mentally ill defendents choosing to represent themselves and getting convicted where, in the presence of a fair trial, they would not have been convicted? Discuss.

-- Badtux the Conflicted Penguin

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


This penguin has now started a new blog for all of his motorcycle and Jeep related posts. That way I don't bore you with five-screen-long procedures for how to install a Givi top-plate on a Suzuki DL650AK8 motorcycle and so on and so forth. If you're interested, go check it out. If not, well, I'll just point ya over there from time to time when I post something over there, and you can go look or not depending on whether you give a flyin' flip about how to install a rear bumper on a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited or cruise control onto a DL650 or etc.

-- Badtux the Wrenchin' Penguin

The world according to Michael Gerson


Not Obscene.

Alrighty, then!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

The truth(?) about Obama

Here's another one of those emails going around about Obama.

From: [Redacted]
To: [Redacted]

There are many things people do not know about BARACK OBAMA. It is every American's duty to read this message and pass it along to all of their friends and loved ones.

Barack Obama wears a FLAG PIN at all times. Even in the shower.

Barack Obama says the PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE every time he sees an American flag. He also ends every sentence by saying, "WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL." Click here for video of Obama quietly mouthing the PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE in his sleep.

A tape exists of Michelle Obama saying the PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE at a conference on PATRIOTISM.

Every weekend, Barack and Michelle take their daughters HUNTING.

Barack Obama is a PATRIOTIC AMERICAN. He has one HAND over his HEART at all times. He occasionally switches when one arm gets tired, which is almost never because he is STRONG.

Barack Obama has the DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE tattooed on his stomach. It's upside-down, so he can read it while doing sit-ups.

There's only one artist on Barack Obama's iPod: FRANCIS SCOTT KEY.

Barack Obama is a DEVOUT CHRISTIAN. His favorite book is the BIBLE, which he has memorized. His name means HE WHO LOVES JESUS in the ancient language of Aramaic. He is PROUD that Jesus was an American.

Barack Obama goes to church every morning. He goes to church every afternoon. He goes to church every evening. He is IN CHURCH RIGHT NOW.

Barack Obama's new airplane includes a conference room, a kitchen, and a MEGACHURCH.

Barack Obama's skin is the color of AMERICAN SOIL.


Barack Obama says that Americans cling to GUNS and RELIGION because they are AWESOME.


-- Frank P. Mouthbreather

(Really, from Slate).

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Another reminder

Less than 5% of the area of the United States and associated continental shelf remains to be explored and exploited for any underlying oil. At most only 5% of the oil that we extracted from the rest of the United States over the past 100 years can be pumped out from under there -- i.e., a 5 year supply of oil, at best. We cannot drill our way out of this oil crisis by drilling more oil wells in the United States, regardless of whether you open up ANWR and the Pacific and Florida coasts or not. Any significant finds remaining to be made are in foreign countries that haven't been explored and exploited to a fare-the-well the way that the United States has been. And most of those places either hate us or they're inaccessible (the Amazon basis) or they're a political nightmare (the Congo basin).

In short, we ain't drillin' our way out of this one, folks.

-- Badtux the Oil Penguin

Thought for the day

The problem with this planet is too many people more concerned about being right than about doing right.

-- Badtux the Misanthropic Penguin

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Netflix Reviews: The Opposite of Sex

This 1999 indy film introduced Christina Ricci to an adult audience and is an enjoyable romp. Ricci's unreliable narrator will have you cracking up from time to time, she was snarky before snarky was a word, and as for the rest of the cast, they do a good job too. Makes fun of Christian fundamentalists, treats gays as real people, otherwise enjoys poking holes in sanctimonious assholes while celebrating real decency.

This penguin gives it four herring out of five. This isn't some sort of life-changing movie or anything, but definitely an entertaining evening.

-- Badtux the Movie Penguin

The Arab's little illegal immigration problem

Now, the Arabs say about the European Jewish illegal immigrants who came in and founded the state of Israel, "let them go somewhere else." Well, there’s a problem with the “somewhere else” thingy. Before Eichmann came up with his “Final Solution”, he went to every country in the world asking if they’d accept Europe’s Jews. “Here, take our Jews,” he said. “We’ll give’em to ya fer *free*!” Every single country on the planet turned him down. When ya got Jews that ya don’t want around, and ya wanna get rid of them, and nobody wants ta take them… well, we all know how that story ends. And it’s no surprise that Israel’s Jews don’t want to re-live it.

Maybe after Lebanon has been stable for a couple of decades then Israel’s Jewish population can figure out for themselves that acting like, well, Nazis, isn’t necessary for their safety. But right now, with car bombings and assassinations being the order of the day in Lebanon… well. Granted, a lot of that is meddling from Israel and Syria. But the fact that Lebanon can’t come together to deal with that meddling doesn’t bode well for the notion of a multi-cultural Palestine that gives both its Arabs and its Jews equal rights, even if both sides hadn’t spent the last forty years demonizing each other as baby killers and genocidal maniacs.

First thing we did at the behavior intervention center when two of our behavior-disordered kids got at it like that was the geographic cure — remove them from each other’s vicinity. Give’em separate timeout cubicles. Unfortunately, that seems to be the only thing that works when you got crap like this going on… and given that the Israeli Jews have atomic weapons, the notion that anybody is going to get them to go anywhere is pretty laughable. Especially since they still remember the last time, which ended up with Hitler’s “Final Solution”. Which means, well, somebody needs to step up to the plate and give the Palestinian Arabs a real home somewhere far, far removed from Israel. Otherwise there will be no peace. Just how it goes, when you got two punks going after it tooth and nail like that…

Of course, everybody keeps saying "it's someone else's problem" and nothing every happens. So it goes. The problem is not that there's no solution to the Palestinian problem. The problem is that everybody's being a stubborn ass and refusing to consider any such solution. The corrupt "Palestinian Authority" likes the Palestinians right where they are as a buncha ignorant impoverished slobs for them to rule over while they loot the monies given to them for the welfare of the Palestinians, Israel just wants the Pals gone, and nobody else is willing to step up and say "okay, we'll give them citizenship in our nation" because, well, either they hate darkies (the United States and Europe) or because they hate Israel (all of Israel's neighbors). So we get a buncha poor bastards with citizenship in no real state stuck in a Bantustan concentration camp with Israeli guns outside the barbed wire making sure they stay there, and a buncha Israelis who have seriously considered Hitler's "final solution" to the Palestinian problem (who shall be Israel's Eichmann?), and Palestinians figure they got nothing to lose but their chains and end up blowing themselves to bits all over the place, and so it goes. All because a buncha assholes want to be either bigots (Europe and the U.S.) or jerks (the entire goddamned Middle East, Israel included). Bah. Monkeys. Monkeys with bad fur and delusions of grandeur. You can have'em. Seriously.

-- Badtux the Monkey-observing Penguin

Monday, June 16, 2008

John McCain's family values

When he came home from Vietnam to find that his wife was disabled, John McCain divorced her and married an heiress twenty years his junior. H. Ross Perot, who paid Carol McCain's medical bills all those years ago while McCain was a POW, now believes that both Carol McCain and the American people have been taken in by a man who is unusually slick and cruel – even by the standards of modern politics.

"McCain is the classic opportunist. He’s always reaching for attention and glory," he said.

"After he came home, Carol walked with a limp. So he threw her over for a poster girl with big money from Arizona. And the rest is history."

Republican family values, yessiree.

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Does this make me a bad penguin?

Police officer shoots, kills, man who stomped and pounded toddler to death. Does it make me a bad penguin to wish a medal upon that police officer?

-- Badtux the Questioning Penguin

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Another solution to the "Palestinian problem"

The State of Israel was created via massive ethnic cleansing, and continues to exist only by depriving the vote from the majority of its citizens (the Arab majority that it refuses to grant citizenship papers to, instead calling them “Palestinians” or just “Arabs”). The State of Israel deprives all non-Jews of civil rights in Israel — just as Iran forces Islamic law upon all, the state of Israel forces Judaic law upon all. In the state of Israel, as with the state of Iran, all laws must comply with their religion as defined by the most radically conservative of their clergy or else are held to be invalid. In other words, Iran and Israel are mirror images, one Islamic, one Judaic.

So what to do, what to do… well, there’s one problem here. The Jews of Europe fled to Palestine because, well, they had no other place to go, what with two years after WWII ended they were still stuck in Hitler’s concentration camps (except with the machine guns turned around to protect them from the Europeans, and re-labeled as “refugee camps”). So while the Arabs may be angry about the illegal immigrants who came and took their land, there’s a problem with just saying “destroy Israel!”. Where do the Jews go?

The Jews aren’t going to go back to their European concentration camps even if the concentration camps hadn’t been largely bulldozed out of a sense of shame, and the Palestinians, who’ve been living in concentration camps for the past sixty years, are pretty goddamned tired of concentration camps too. But there’s already a fait accompli here — the Jews, tired of waiting for someone to rescue them from Europe’s concentration camps, already found themselves a nation to be a citizen of, even if they had to deprive a buncha Arabs of fundamental human rights in order to do so. So the only realistic way to solve the problem of Palestinians living in concentration camps for sixty years is, well, give them citizenship. Somewhere. Anywhere. Pay Egypt to give them all Egyptian citizenship. I'm sure if you paid Egypt another $10B a year they'd be happy to have the Palestinians as new Egyptians. Or fuck, just give’em all U.S. citizenship and give’em all of northeastern Nevada as their new homeland. Or maybe part of southwestern Nevada north of Las Vegas and east of Beatty and Pahrump, so they can learn how to glow in the dark. Whatever. Because as long as the poor bastards are interned in concentration camps all over the Middle East (Gaza being the biggest one of course), they’re always going to be trouble. Because folks just don’t like being kept in concentration camps for generations, and if you do it, well, they figure that dying is better than living life in a concentration camp and tend to strap on explosive vests and shit. Human nature, podner.

You wanna end Palestinian suicide bombings? Simple way to do it — end the concentration camps for Palestinians. Give the poor bastards citizenship somewhere — anywhere — where they’re first class citizens of a real nation (not some bogus Bantu-stan “Palestinian Authority” that doesn’t even control its own borders). I guarantee you that you’ll see an end to the suicide bombings then, because citizens don’t strap on bombs and kill themselves — only concentration camp inmates do, because they got nothing left to lose except their chains.

Will it happen? Of course not. Nobody wants to admit reality. So it goes. So it goes.

- Badtux the Practical Penguin

Shrinking pants

What's up with this? All my jeans seem to have shrunk! And when I went to buy some new ones, they seem to have all been pre-shrunk too, so I had to buy the next bigger waist size and a belt to match!

Sigh. Young whippersnappers.

-- Badtux the Elderly Rotund Penguin

A reminder

John McCain has never worked for a living in the private sector for his entire life. He's always been on the government payroll, first when he was in the military, then when he used his (second) wife's money to buy a government position.

John McCain has never had to worry about health insurance or health care his entire life. He has received government health care from birth. He received government health care from the U.S. military as a child (due to his father being in the military) and continued receiving it after he joined the mlitary until he retired from the military. He has received government health care from the U.S. congressional health plan ever since then, and when(if) he ever retires he will receive government health care from Medicare.

John McCain doesn't know what it's like for ordinary people to struggle to pay for health care because he's never had to do so. John McCain doesn't know what it's like for ordinary people in non-government jobs to struggle during bad economic periods because he's never had to do so. For John McCain -- a man who has never had to pay for his own health care -- to claim that the solution to America's health care crisis is "more free market" is like a blind man claiming that Impressionism is a more valid school of art than Expressionism. John McCain is like a blind man who has never seen private health care yet feels qualified to tell you what it is. Why should anybody listen to this old hypocrite?

-- Badtux the Politics Penguin

Saturday, June 14, 2008

War on (some) drugs

One of the reasons always given for keeping marijuana, heroin, etc. illegal is that "they're dangerous". But oddly enough, there is never any data given to support that assertion. Are they as dangerous as alcohol? Are they as dangerous as Valium? What about Oxycontin -- are they as dangerous as Oxycontin?

The answer, suprisingly, comes from that cesspool of Americana, the state of Florida, which now conducts drug screens on suspicious deaths to detect whether there was something in the bloodstream that could cause it. The answer, not surprisingly, is that nobody died from marijuana overdose (duh, you'd fall asleep before OD'ing). And even heroin, which has a bad rep for causing OD's, ended up killing far fewer people than you'd expect. The study found that the number of people who died with heroin in their bodies was 110 in 2008, while there were 1,253 deaths related to the opioid oxycodone. In other words, (legal) "hillbilly heroin" is literally ten times more dangerous than (illegal) "real" heroin.

Of course, none of this should really be suprising. The main reason why heroin was made illegal in the first place was because it competed with expensive proprietary drugs, not because of safety. America continues to be the most sedated nation on the planet, it's just with drugs that contribute to the profit margins of drug companies, not with drugs that grow in the ground. As for the notion of legalizing heroin and other currently-illegal drugs... what, you want to hurt the profits of the drug companies? COMMUNIST! If Big Government doesn't protect the profits of Big Pharma, the terriers win! Or somethin'.

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

John McCain desperation

John McCain's campaign is desperate. They can't run on the issues, because on every issue, John McCain is on the wrong side of what America wants. America wants its soldiers to be well-cared-for, but John McCain spoke out against the new GI Bill while Obama voted for it. America wants better access to health care, but John McCain says that the solution to health care is more free market magic fairy dust (funny, that someone who has had government health care for his entire life would say that, eh?). America wants our soldiers out of Iraq, but McCain wants them to be there for a hundred years. As a result, the McCain campaign has only one strategy right now, which is to run out its surrogates to spread the meme that Obama is a scary nigger who, like, isn't like them (ooh! His skin is dark-colored! Run away, run away!). If you can't run on the issues, apparently McCain feels racism is the way to go.

Now, nigger-baitin' might seem rather, well, old-fashioned, but it's all McCain's folks have come up with so far. Every other idea his team has come up with has been shot down. For example, the notion of having McCain appear on stage with bikini models in order to appeal to average Americans didn't quite work out. He found some typical McCain supporters willing to be bikini models, but, err, ah... well, see for yourself: Oh well. Maybe next year McCain will figure out something other than racism to run on. Of course, the election will be over next year, but hey, when you're old, time moves faster, eh?

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Abbott and Costello meet John McCain

These time machines work great, eh?

Changed the oil on the Wee

50 miles, dumped the factory fill and put fresh oil and filter. Strained the old oil through paper towels. Not much to see there, the oil was slightly glittery meaning it had some metal in it but it was too fine to get caught by either paper towels or the oil filter. Suzuki puts a magnetic drain plug on this baby, I examined the magnetic drain plug. Not much to see there, either. No news is good news, in this case, it means that things inside the engine are not grenading :-).

For those Googling Suzuki DL-650 V-Strom 650 oil change procedure:

Torque values:

  • Drain plug: 16.5 ft/lb or 198 in/lb
  • Oil filter: 2 turns past gasket touching the crankcase.

Consumables needed: Order from or your local Suzuki dealer:

  • New crush washer for drain plug: Part #
  • Oil filter: Part # 16510-03G00-X07
  • Three quarts of 10W40 oil. Shell Rotella T 15W40 also works fine and is allowed by the manual except in cold conditions (as in, below freezing), and is cheap at Wally World. The manual says 2.9 quarts, but I put all three bottles of 10W40 in and it came just a hair over the 'Full' mark -- no big deal. What about Shell Rotella T Synthetic 5W40? Not explicitly allowed by the manual but has similar characteristics to the 15W40 at operating temperature so should be fine. Note that you don't need to use a specialized "motorcycle oil" in this engine. Just avoid the "energy efficient" oils, which will make the wet clutch slip.

Tools needed:

  • Metric 3/8" socket set and ratchet with extension (makes it easy)
  • 3/8" torque wrench calibrated in inch-pounds, capable of handling 198 inch-pounds in the upper half (or more) of its scale.
  • Oil filter wrench that'll fit the Suzuki filter.
  • Oil drain pan
  • Oil funnel
  • White-out
  • Old newspapers
  • Disposable nitrile gloves
  • Paper towels or shop rags
Spread old newspapers around the work area immediately under the motorcycle. Otherwise the work area will get all oily and greasy. Put on nitrile gloves (if you can't find them locally, Harbor Freight Tools has'em cheap by the hundred mail-order). Used motor oil is a known carcinogen.

Take out the oil filler plug on the right top of the crankcase. Slide the oil drain pan under the crankcase. Take out the oil drain plug on the lower left of the crankcase and let oil drain. Examine magnetic tip of oil drain plug to see if there is anything unusual there. It is usual for there to be a very fine dusting of metal particles, especially if the engine is still in its breakin period, but you should not see metal chips or flakes or worse yet, chunks of engine internals (eep!). Clean the drain plug well with shop rag or paper towel, remove the old crush washer from it, place new crush washer onto it, and place it aside.

Make sure oil drain pan is positioned both under the drain hole and under the oil filter. Take off oil filter from front of engine and dump its contents into the drain pan. Set oil filter aside upright on a piece of newspaper. Let oil drain. Rock bike back and forth, front and back, side to side, to encourage oil puddled around to drain.

Wipe the oil filter area clean with a paper towel or shop rag. Spread a little used oil on the new filter's o-ring. Spin the new filter on until the o-ring just touches the crankcase. Mark the top of the filter with a dab of white-out, then tighten the filter two whole turns.

Put oil drain plug back in, torque it to 16.5 ft/lbs or 198 in/lbs. Put 3 quarts of oil into crankcase using the funnel and put oil filler plug back in. Clean all oil off the bottomside of the engine around the oil filler plug and oil filter. Start the motorcycle. Watch red light on dash for low oil pressure. It should go off within five seconds as the oil filter fills. After about 20 seconds stop the motorcycle, wait a minute or so for oil to drain back down from the heads, and check the oil level. It should be spot on. Check for oil leaks around filler plug and filter. Should be no oil there.

Move oil pan away, put fresh un-sullied newspaper under the motorcycle, pour the used oil back into the 3 quart containers you poured the new oil out of using the funnel, and take it to be recycled. When you come back there should still be no oil under the motorcycle and nothing dripped on the newspaper.

-- Badtux the Wrenchin' Penguin

Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday Music Blogging

This be some hardcore rap, motherf***er!

Agism and McSame

So am I agist when it comes to the thought of a 73 year old man becoming President of the United States? Well... yes. When you get old, your brain simply doesn't work as well as it used to. You can compensate to some extent because, well, you simply know a lot more than some young fart just out of college, but you're not as fast as you used to be, you forget things, you just don't think as clearly sometimes. This is especially true if you're under stress because you're in a stressful job. Like, say, President of the United States.

In other words, there's nothing wrong with discrimination over something that directly affects how a candidate can do their job. So don't think you have to vote for McSame because not to do so would be "age discrimination". There's nothing wrong with discrimination when it's about something that is directly applicable to the job. You might say that I discriminate against technology-hating liberal arts graduates because I don't hire them to be engineers on my engineering teams. Oh those poor English Literature and History grads! I'm so mean to them! But the point is, they can't do the job. That's the bottom line. And John McSame's recent history of verbal gaffes and CRS (Can't Remember Shit) show that he's pretty much gotten to the same point when it comes to Presidentin' that those history grads have gotten to when it comes to writing computer software -- i.e., somewhere between incompetent and no fuckin' way, dude.

So feel free to be agist here. Unlike, say, race or sex, John McCain's age is something that directly affects his capability to do the job. Do we really want a President who says "Congratulations on your election to the presidency of Germany" when he meets the Prime Minister of Russia? Or who thinks that Iran is a Sunni nation? CRS (Can't Remember Shit) is no problem if you're just some retired sod yellin' at the kids to get off your lawn. But when we're talkin' about the Preznit of the United States... dude!

-- Badtux the Discriminatory Penguin

John McSame has a senior moment

Talks about why you should vote for him... because Johnny has spent so much time talking with Vladmir Putin, the President of Germany.

(For the moron-Americans out there, Putin is a) Russian, and b) the Prime Minister, not President, of Russia).

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

I'm Voting Republican

I mean, with these selling points, why would I vote anyway else?!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

All your duffle are belong to us

The Mighty Fang explores a duffle bag. My apartment complex was re-paving its parking lot and I had to park a half mile away, so I got out this duffle bag and emptied out the junk that was in it so I could go back and haul the rest of my groceries to the apartment. But it suddenly got 18 pounds heavier before I could actually zip it back up and leave...

In a cat-owned home, no open container -- whether box, bag, or duffle -- is yours. It's theirs, all theirs, until they're done with it anyhow.

-- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

Thursday, June 12, 2008

An education in lying

That's the education that students at El Camino High School in Oceanside, California got. The notion that lying to students is how you teach them is just... all too Soviet.

We know who really won the Cold War, hmm?

But these administrators inadvertently did these kids a favor. Many young people believe authority figures when authority figures tell them something. Now these kids know that authority figures are just as big of liars as anybody else, thereby teaching them a lesson they'll never forget. Way to go, administrators!

-- Badtux the Sovok Penguin

Help John McCain find a theme song

Seems that Johnny Mac has been having a bit of a bother finding a campaign theme song. Everything he's tried, the owner or writer of the song has thrown a hissy fit.

So let's help Johnny Mac out. Let's nominate some new songs for him to try out as his theme song. I'll start out the lovin' with the following song:

  • Loser, by Beck
Just like his bestest buddy and pal, George W. Bush, yessiree!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

The stupidest prune farmer on the planet

I'm talking about V.D. Hanson, the mad prune farmer of Modesto, and his latest editorial saying we can drill and mine our way out of the current oil crisis.

Uhm, no. We already drilled everywhere on the continental U.S. that's drillable. There's still offshore off the West Coast and East Coast but that's less than 5% of the area of the United States and at most we'll get 5% of the oil out of'em that we got out of the rest of the United States. Sorry, that's just the facts. There's more oil out there, but it's in places that are currently pretty inhospitable politically speaking, or just damned remote (e.g. the Amazon basin, the Congo River basin).

But V.D. Hanson whines that "salt of the earth" types in the "heartland" are hurtin' because of the fuel prices. Oh waaah! I have no sympathy. *NONE*. Jimmy Carter had the solution for that problem back in 1976 -- fund alternative energy so that when the oil ran out, we'd already have a solution ready to go, rather than leaving it to some future generation, plus fund real mass transit that could eliminate the need for most folks living in cities and large towns to have a car. Guess what. These "salt of the earth" fucking dumbasses voted for Ronald fucking REAGAN because he promised to end "alternative energy" and cut their taxes. So now they're gathering what they fucking reaped, and they're going to whine about it? Oh waaahhh! Stupid motherfuckers, nobody wants to take responsibility for their own actions anymore. The stupid motherfuckers voted against alternative energy for the past forty years, and now they wanna go wah, wah, wah because their own stupidity resulted in high oil prices? Fuck'em.

Yeah, not bloody well diplomatic. But I just get fucking sick of all these goddamned crybabies out here whining that they don't like the consequences of their own actions. These are the stupid motherfuckers who voted for Ronald Reagan and ended alternative energy research in the United States for a generation. And they don't like what they voted for? Well fuck them. Fuck them good and hard. Well, OPEC is doing that for us, but so it goes.

-- Badtux the Unsympathetic Penguin

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Federal judge gives smackdown to McCain and Bush

Federal Judge Samuel Conti accepts into evidence an email suggesting that it was official Bushevik strategy to deny veterans' PTSD claims.

If he'd already made up his mind to believe the Busheviks, he wouldn't have done this. Which leads me to believe that he is about to lay down a major smackdown in the fraud trial where the Busheviks are accused of denying care to PTSD patients by deliberately misdiagnosing them...

-- Badtux the Veterans Penguin

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Oops, I did it again

Something followed me home this morning... As for why: It's a safety issue, yessiree! (See the three magic letters 'ABS' and the ABS speed sensor tone wheel there). It's all about being safe, yeah. Nothing to do with having an addiction to fast toys, this is a practical purchase that gets 60mpg, not at all like those impractical purchases ;).

Sorry about the bad pics. Daylight was already gone and this is the best I can do in my garage. Note that my KLR is like a tomcat, it marks its territory (the oil spot on the concrete in the first picture :-).

-- Badtux the Zooming Penguin

Monday, June 09, 2008

The Inexperienced Mr. Obama

The Vanity Press notes that with 12 years of experience at both state and federal levels, Obama in fact has more government experience than most other Presidents of the past sixty years.

So much for the "lacks experience" lie. He lacks experience compared to John McCain, perhaps. But then, this penguin has lots of experience at running, but nobody will ever expect this penguin to win the Boston Marathon. Seems that experience being, well, wrong, about everything from Iraq to health care to the New GI Bill that McCain voted against, doesn't mean a whole lot, just as experience waddling along with short legs and flippered feet doesn't mean a whole lot when it comes to being even a merely adequate runner :-(.

Meanwhile, John Cole notes that the new Reich Wing slam on Obama is that he "lacks humility". Yassah, that thare nigra be uppitty, yessiree! Why, that nigra art ta just get back to his place, yassah! All the Rethugs have is mildly warmed over racism. I hope it gets stuck in their craw and they all choke to death but that's probably too good a death for hateful bigots.

-- Badtux the Waddling Penguin

My country, 'tis of thee

When you look down upon the Earth from space, all you see is land, and water, and clouds, or if looking down upon the night side, the lights of cities. There are no lines on this globe to divide us. There are no divisions on this globe that say, "on this side lies Us, and on that side, lies Them." There is only land, and water, and humanity.

Countries are a fiction, arbitrary lines drawn upon a representation of the world by men of wealth and power, intended to divide the world into "Us" and "Them", where "Us" is good, and "Them" is evil. The whole point of this fiction is to keep us from loving our fellow man. Because if we loved our fellow man, then there could be no such thing as "wars" or "borders" that allow evil men to divide us and conquer us.

Am I patriotic? If you believe that "Love thy neighbor" is the one and only commandment, I have to say "No." Because the whole point of patriotism is love of "us" and hatred of "Them", for some definition of "Us" and "Them". Even if you disagree with the "hatred" part, patriotism by definition means that you love some of our fellow humans more than you love others. But that is not what Jesus taught. Jesus taught us to love our neighbor as much as we love ourselves -- whether that neighbor is American, Mexican, Russian, Iraqi, or Nepalese. Any real Christian by definition cannot be patriotic, because patriotism means giving precedence to the dictates of Man over the teachings of Jesus Christ. A real Christian only has one loyalty, one kingdom -- the kingdom of Christ. The fictional kingdoms of Man are inherently irrelevant to a true Christian, because they are inventions of Man, not of God, and serve only to seperate Man from God.

- Badtux the Unpatriotic Penguin

Originally posted May 8, 2006. Resurrected from the vault because, well, it's a good one.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

TMF's new adversary

The Mighty Fang has a new enemy. "Whack!" sez he with his paw. "Whack whack whack!" he sez again. And his tail goes twitch, twitch, twitch... Sadly, a still photo cannot capture his tail twitching. And I never captured him whacking this evil interloper crouching in his living room like a, like a, err, exercise bike. I looked over and he was whacking the pedal with his paw with claws extended. Whack. Whack whack. By the time I got the camera out he'd moved to the front and was staring at it with an evil glare while his tail twitched. Meanwhile, in the far background you can see Mencken moving this way from the kitchen...

Meanwhile, here's my latest advice for stupid people. If you are a stupid person, buy an exercise bicycle for $550, then for the next two years use it as a handy repository for loose clothing. That way, when my orthopaedic specialist advises that I ride 45 minutes a day for 5 days a week in order to help get my knees back into the game (starting at 5 minutes a day and adding a minute a day as my knees get better), I can look on Craigslist and see that you're selling it for $50 and come take it off your hands. And once I'm done terrorizing my cats with it, I can sell it for $50 on Craigslist. What a deal!

-- Badtux the Rehab'ing Penguin

Saturday, June 07, 2008

I see stupid people

I see stupid people riding motorcycles while wearing flip-flops and wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Now, I wear full armored gear when I ride my motorcycle. I'd tell you why I wear full armored gear, but you'd probably vomit. Let's just say that there was a time that I did not wear full armored gear, and look up the term "debride" and note that I am missing a chunk out of my foot and some skin off my leg and my wrist does a damned good job of predicting the weather, and also note that I would not be here if I hadn't been wearing a helmet at the time (even with the helmet I had a concussion and the coolest hallucinations I'll never remember, without it my head woulda been split like a watermelon).

So anyhow, I see stupid people. Now, seeing stupid people, you might say, "why don't we mandate that these stupid people wear safety gear?" But me, I have a better idea.

See, there's just a ton of stupid people in this nation. I turn on the news, there's stupid people. I read the newspaper, there's stupid people. I troll right-wing blogs, there's stupid people. (Well, I don't bother trolling right-wing blogs since they just delete my comments and me, but there's certainly no shortage of stupid people there). All these stupid people are continually whining about the consequences of their own actions and refusing to take responsibility for their own actions. For example, the stupid people driving Hummers are always whining about how filling their gas tank now costs $100. Oh waaahh! That's what you get for being stupid and buying a gas guzzler, asshole!

Now, one thing that has occurred to me is this: Wouldn't this be a better nation if there was less stupid people? So here's my idea. We should allow people to ride motorcycles without helmets. But only if they agree to a contract that if they're permanently disabled because they weren't wearing safety gear when they crashed their motorcycle, then they immediately get put down like a lame horse instead of hanging around sucking on the Social Security Disability teat (i.e., *my* money) like one of Ronald Reagan's fictitious welfare whores except for real. And then comes the next part of my plan for dealing with stupid people.... Free motorcycles to all right-wing bloggers and commenters on right-wing blogs as long as they sign the above contract! Now, being stupid people, they won't wear safety gear while riding their motorcycles. And, being stupid people, they will crash their motorcycles (because stupid people do stupid things, duh!). And glory hallaleujah, shortly thereafter we shall have less stupid people, and a better nation.

Of course, the hard part is funding for all those motorcycles for all those stupid people. As any of us who have attempted to write idiot-proof software can attest, the world keeps evolving bigger and better idiots to defeat our "idiot-proof" software. But look, that's just a minor detail, okay? C'mon, doncha agree that this would be, like, the bestest ideah evah?!

-- Badtux the Misanthropic Penguin

$2 billion dollar bomber crashes because... it got wet?

Yep, that's why that B-2 crashed at Guam.

Now all we have to do is make sure that any potential opponent of the United States lives in a dry area, and we'll be just fine!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Ghost World

This is a brave, brave film that doesn't give in to stereotype at any point. There are no heros. There are no villains. Bad things happen due to people being thoughtless, people jumping to conclusions, people getting drunk, people doing things that people will do. Thora Birch as the heroine is conflicted and sees the world better than she sees herself, as she moves through a plastic fake world that is America that hides reality underneath a sea of lies. It does not have a happy ending. Some people will throw things at the screen when they see the ending. Others will realize that this is how it must end.

Thora Birch is excellent, as is Steve Buscemi as the nerdy loser whose life she inadvertently ruins when she gets drunk and says and does things she shouldn't have. Scarlett Johansson isn't much more than decoration here for Birch to play off of, but necessary decoration. In the end there is the transit bench with "Out of Service" written on it, and a 1970's style bus appearing out of nowhere, going... where? But does it matter, in the end?

Five herrings out of five.

-- Badtux the Movie Review Penguin

Friday, June 06, 2008


The Mighty Fang is black. In some parts of the world, that would make him discriminated against. But there is no discrimination in my household, because I view a kitty by the character of his soul, not by his fur color -- and TMF is a big lovable lunk of a cat who practically smothers people with friendliness.

-- Badtux the Multi-colored Penguin

Thursday, June 05, 2008

A dream, a death

Quiet. Then in the rubble something moves. A finger touches a trigger, then lightly moves away to rest alongside the trigger guard.

Frank complains to his wife Betty about the high price of their mortgage payment. "We should have never gotten that adjustable-rate mortgage." "Yes dear."

Boot-clad feet slowly feel their way through the street. Eyes look around, looking for the glimpse, the flicker of movement, that means death is near.

"Bobby! Bring in your bicycle!" "Okay, Mom." "Right now, young man!" "I said okay! Jeez!"

A detached arm lies in the street, a bloated bloated reddish color. Raw meat spills out of the end once attached to a shoulder like sausage out of a sausage skin. Flies buzz around it and maggots wriggle. The smell of rotted meat, like hamburger meat left to rot for days in a trash can, fills the air.

Betty places the platter with steamed broccoli onto the table. "Not broccoli again!"

A movement. Without a word, multiple rifles open up on its source. Boots scramble to the side as the men disperse and give covering fire to the two men who charge directly at the place the movement happened.

"Man, I don't know what's happening at the office," Frank says. "They're not giving raises to, like, anybody. I hope the last round of funding didn't fall through."

A toe pushes a small face. "Another kid," says the man. He swings his rifle back up, eyes searching for movement, and moves away with his squad. Behind him, the flies are already finding their next meal on the exposed intestines of a young girl, perhaps five years old, whose torn body in a small pink dress lies half-buried by rubble.

"What's on the television tonight, hon?" "A new episode of Survivor!" "Great! Let's see who gets kicked off the island today."

And the flies buzz.

-- Badtux the Fiction Penguin

Sexism, or just typical treatment of a Democratic candidate?

To quote a commenter on another blog who makes a very salient point:

Just because a woman thinks something is sexist doesn't mean it is. Just because a woman is treated unfairly, doesn't mean that unfair treatment is sexist. Hillary Clinton got treated poorly at times in this campaign, just like John Kerry was treated poorly in 2004 or Al Gore in 2000 or Bob Dole in 1996 or George H. W. Bush in 1992.

Hillary Clinton was a 30 points ahead front runner who got beat, and because she refused to drop out, her defeat was stretched out over several months. Anyone in that situation is going to get a lot of crap dumped on them. Did sexism play some role in that crap? Sure. But knee jerk victimization that exaggerates the role sexism played isn't really going to benefit feminists, women or men.

We are running against the media this November. The media is owned by Republicans, and will dump a ton of crap on Obama before it's all said and done just like they dumped a ton of crap on Hillary Now, granted, Hillary also got some crap from Democrats. Given that much of Hillary's support in late primaries was Republicans crossing over and voting for her because "I don't want a nigger running for President" and she pandered to those people shamelessly, she did get dumped on by Democrats too -- but that's what happens when you run as a Republican in a Democratic race, regardless of your sex, just look at how Democrats dump on Joe Lieberman if you don't believe me. Democrats don't dump on Joe Lieberman because of anti-semitism, they dump on him because he sucks up to Republicans.

But anyhow, back to the point: As the front-runner, Hillary got dumped on because the media would have dumped on any Democratic front-runner. Unfortunately she and her supporters didn't handle it in some way that would diffuse all the crap that was being dumped on her, all they did was whine and whine about how it was "sexist", all of which whining made her look weak, which made her look like a victim rather than a winner. That's not helpful in winning elections. But now all that crap is going to be laser-focused on Obama. Whining about it being "racist" is not going to do Obama any good either. All it'll do is make Obama look like a victim, which isn't the Democratic message. Remember, while the content of some of the crap is going to be blatantly racist, that's not why he's going to be getting the crap. He's going to be getting the crap because he is a Democrat running against the candidate preferred by our ruling elite. We better remember that and re-focus on the Democratic message every time the media tries their crap (which for better or for worse is "change" this election), or we can say hello to President McCain and probably the end of the Republic. Who, then, shall be our Julius Caesar? I think I'd prefer to wait for the next generation to find out, rather than find out first-hand in the fallout from electing a President who will continue leading the nation into utter economic disaster...

-- Badtux the Practical Penguin

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Shorter me

To summarize my previous posting:

Obama, as the offspring of a black man and a white woman, isn't black. He isn't white. What he is, ladies and gentlemen, is American.

'Nuff said.

-- Badtux the Shorter Penguin

The one drop rule

There is only one nation on the planet where someone who is the son of a white mother and raised by white grandparents can be called "black". Everywhere else on the planet, such a person would be called "white" or "brown" or "mixed-race", and calling him "black" would get you expressions of shock, because the word "black" is assigned to those who have more than 50% sub-Saharan African blood. Indeed, in Latin America if you have one drop of white blood in your veins, you're called "white" -- even if your skin is the same color as Barack Obama's. But those are not the Racist States of America, where if you have one drop of black blood, you're "black" -- even if your mother was white and you were raised by white grandparents within white culture.

This vestige of America's past is explicitly related to racism against African-Americans intended to increase the number of people considered to be second-class citizens and thus exploitable for cheap labor. It started in slave days, when a white plantation owner raped his black maid and she got pregnant. If the resulting offspring were considered white, then the offspring would be a legitimate heir. If considered black, then the offspring would be a slave. So there was every motivation to consider the offspring of a white father and a black mother to be black. Later, during the segregation era, this same consideration was an incentive to continue treating mixed-race offspring as black, because there was always a shortage of cheap labor to work on the cotton plantations to do all the hoeing and picking that was required.

In short, the One Drop Rule is a horrible legacy of America's racist past, which exists only in the so-called "civilized" United States of America and in no other nation on the planet. What is appalling is that you see newspapers like the Washington Post proclaiming "Barack Obama is the first African-American to be nominated for the Presidency" -- despite the fact that Obama was raised by a white mother and by white grandparents, and is, at most, 50% black. But in the Racist States of America, that doesn't matter. You have one drop of black blood in you, you're African-American -- not white, not mixed-race, you're a full-blooded nigger as far as our so-called "liberal" press is concerned. So it goes, just more lies as we pretend to be a "civilized" nation. Sigh.

-- Badtux the History Penguin

King of California

Question: Why does the penguin always seem to be reviewing these little indy flicks that might as well be chick flicks instead of manly, manly stuff?
Answer: Once you've experienced enough adventure in real life, the movie version is too artificial to be appealing. I have no need to see manly manly films where men are men and kill each other with no mercy. All I have to do is turn on the news if I want to see that. This penguin prefers more intelligent fare.

Anyhow, back to the review of the latest selection from Netflix. King of California was a Michael Douglas/Evan Rachel Wood star vehicle. Michael Douglas plays (and looks like) Whiskers McCrazy, your typical crazy person that you see shuffling along the streets chasing his delusions. Except he has a daughter, Evan Rachel Wood, who plays a 17 year old who's managed to survive by convincing the authorities in various locations that she's living with relatives in another location. When Whiskers McCrazy is released from the mental institution his daughter has been living at home alone for two years supporting herself by working double shifts at McJobs. The end result is a father-daughter tale that ends with disaster and Spanish gold.

The good parts are where Whiskers and his daughter are interacting. She's an orderly youngster who is absolutely appalled by her father's manic conduct. But she also loves her father. Evan Rachel Wood does a good job of depicting a young woman trying to reconcile those two things, while Michael Douglas does a truly masterful job of depicting a manic psychotic who is, nevertheless, grounded enough to love and care for his daughter even if he can't really be a father to her.

The main problem is that the plot is pretty contrived, other than the parts that aren't -- like their home being foreclosed upon because Whiskers' name is on the deed (his daughter being a minor and all) and he runs up second and third mortgages that, being an unemployed crazy man, he obviously can't pay. Madness ends up that way, with everything being stripped away until there's nothing but the husk of a man shuffling the streets chasing his delusions. But then comes the contrived plot. I won't go into details here, but Whiskers McCrazy ends up dead, his daughter is a sobbing mess... and oh, did I mention a dishwasher full of Spanish gold?

So anyhow, watch if you want to see two good character actors do a good job with their character. Some of the scenes are genuinely touching, especially when Woods' character flashes back to her early childhood when her father was still together enough to make some real attempts at parenting. But don't expect anything earth-shatteringly great. It's a fairly slight film in the end. The penguin gives it three herrings out of five.

-- Badtux the Movie Penguin

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

My next 4x4

My Jeep is getting too expensive. So here I am with my new offroad vehicle: -- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Obama is the nominee

For those suffering from CDS, deal with it. Game over. Obama passes the threshhold and is the nominee, unless someone knocks him off in the next few months. Reality bites. But reality simply is. It doesn't respond to "what if?" and urgent denials of its nature. Either you accept reality, or be viewed as, well, deranged.

-- Badtux the Reality Penguin

More Netflix

Manny and Lo -- this is a slight indy film from 1996, most noted for a very young Scarlett Johansson at age 11 playing one of the title characters. It's not a bad chick flick by any means. But there really isn't much "there" there.

The two title characters are orphans whose mother, an alcoholic, apparently died of a drug overdose, and they've run away from their foster homes and are roaming the countryside in their mother's old station wagon, living by stealing food and gasoline and avoiding the cops for fear that they might get sent back to their respective foster homes. That wouldn't bother Manny, played by Scarlett Johansson as a put-upon little sister who bears her older sister's jabs and occasional idiocies with a quiet dignity that doesn't affect her obvious adoration of her older sister. She is an odd girl who examines ants with a magnifying glass, uses a stopwatch to measure everything, and hypnotizes lizards, but her performance never goes over the top into unbelievability. The best performance here is by a fourteen-year-old Aleksa Palladino playing sixteen-year-old "Lo", a not-so-bright youngster whose capacity for self deception and false bravado hiding fear and desperation rings true of other young women I've encountered who've been in desperate situations. Mary Kay Place's performance as Elaine is excellent character work too, accurately capturing a brittle older woman whose hold on sanity is precarious. The problem is that these excellent character actors are placed into a slight and somewhat ludicrous plot that comes to a ridiculous denouement.

This penguin's rating: Three herrings out of five. Watch if you want to see three excellent character actors doing an excellent job of breathing life into some unique characters, or maybe if you're a random pedophile curious to see what the babe-a-licious Scarlett Johansson looked like when she was a little kid (she looked like a little kid, duh -- couldn't tell at that time that she'd turn out to be such a babe). Otherwise, pretty forgettable.

-- Badtux the Movie Penguin

More Clinton Derangement Syndrome

Clinton Campaign says they're not conceding even if tonight's primaries and superdelegate announcements, as expected, put Obama over the number of delegates needed to clinch the Democratic nomination for President.

The asshat who apparently is running campaign policy for the Clintons is Terry McAuliffe, probably the most incompetent and ineffectual DNC chairman of the past fifty years, the man whose machinations led to the nomination of John Kerry in 2004, probably the weakest Democratic candidate since Michael Dukakis, and the loss of Congress in 2002. This is an example of the kind of people who led to Clinton's loss -- long-time party insiders whose incompetence led to the loss of Democratic majorities in Congress and to 40 years of almost-uninterrupted Republican domination of the Presidency. The Clinton campaign apparently puts loyalty ahead of competence -- hmm, where have I seen that before?

The fact of the matter is that Clinton lost, and every survey and poll says that this is the will of the majority of Democrats -- more Democrats supported Obama than Clinton, regardless of any paranoid delusional silliness from the Clinton campaign about how Obama didn't really win the support of the majority of Democrats. The race was Clinton's to lose -- she was the frontrunner from the time she announced until the day after Super Tuesday -- and she lost it fair and square the old fashioned way, by running a campaign that was strikingly incompetent until these last two months, at which point she started fighting dirty by claiming that John McCain was more qualified than Obama to be President, America wouldn't vote for a black man for President (won her the Republican racist crossover vote in West Virginia and Kentucky, but those people are going to vote for McCain in the fall so that's not exactly a selling point for Clinton), etc. etc. etc. I must say that she is exceedingly good at running a dirty campaign pandering to the worst in everybody, and if she'd run that kind of campaign from day one, the outcome might -- or might not -- have been different. But she didn't.

Yet, just as a delusional John McCain and George W. Bush claim we're "really" winning in Afghanistan and Iraq despite all the years of evidence to the contract, Clinton continues to claim she's "really" winning even though, well, she isn't. And the sufferers of Clinton Derangement Syndrome start saying "well, even John McCain is better than Obama because Obama stole the candidacy." Yeah, he "stole" the candidacy by appealing to more Democrats than Hillary Clinton did , and by opening up a lead over John McCain (and Hillary Clinton) in the polls, a fact which is swaying the superdelegates to ignore Hillary's argument of "America won't vote for a nigger for President". The question is whether the sufferers of Clinton Derangement Syndrome will come to their senses and make sure the disaster that is John McCain is not elected to office, or whether they will elect John McCain. If the latter... well. I guess I need to start liquidating my many many possessions in preparation for the move overseas, because the collapse of the United States during a McCain presidency will not be pleasant.

In short, even though I'm not a big Obama partisan (see my criticism of his health care plan), I will vote for him in the fall. He's not a bad candidate by any means -- he has demonstrated that he is intelligent, cunning, and has an ability to take on the partisan slime machine that will be slung at him in the fall. He's also not an ideal candidate. But he has certainly demonstrated that he is a good candidate, and the perfect is the enemy of the good -- and if we wait for a "perfect" candidate, we'll never have another Democratic president ever. And right now, given the fact that Ghawar is about to stop producing and over 10% of the world's oil production is about to evaporate, another delusional Republican presidency is the last thing this country needs...

-- Badtux the Practical Penguin

Monday, June 02, 2008

Clinton Derangement Syndrome

I've had to stop reading a couple of my favorite blogs for the time being because they have simply gone completely nuts. Obama has won the Democratic nomination for President. Even if you include both Michigan and Florida (respecting the will of the voters in Michigan, where the "uncommitted" votes were clearly for Obama rather than Clinton since Obama wasn't on the ballot there), Obama still wins. That's just the facts.

But the sufferers of Clinton Derangement Syndrome trot out one excuse after another as to why Obama didn't "really" win. It's like play day at the paranoics conference when it comes to the sufferer. Just as the paranoic "really" knows that he lost his job because "the CIA is beaming mind control rays into my brain", the CDS sufferer "really" knows that Hillary "really" won because "caucauses disenfranchise handicapped people" and thus aren't representative of the will of the majority of the Democrats in caucus states (just one example, CDS sufferers have plenty of other excuses for why Clinton "really" won). Nevermind that they haven't found a single handicapped person disenfranchised by caucus states or a single bit of evidence that indicated that handicapped persons would vote any differently than any other voters in caucus states. Evidence is not required for the CDS sufferer, just as it is not required for the paranoic who "knows" that the CIA is beaming mind control rays into his brain.

The funny part is that I voted for Clinton (gasp!). When Edwards dropped out, she had the best health care plan of the remaining candidates. Obama's health care plan is little more than pandering and hot air, and his criticisms of Hillary's health care plan were dishonest. But then after Super Duper Tuesday, Hillary started running John McCain's attack ads against Obama, and has run a dirty Republican-style campaign ever since pandering to the worst parts of the Democratic coalition, including the appeals to racism that are a hallmark of modern Republican politics. And her recent comments claiming victory despite the fact that, uhm, she lost, strike me as being as deranged as John McCain's continued assertions that we're "winning" in Iraq. Just completely divorced from reality. Like a Republican, that. But if I want to vote for a Republican, I'll vote for a Republican, not for a Republican Lite like Joe Lieberman or (apparently) Hillary Clinton. Needless to say, I (and many other Californians) would not vote for Hillary if the California primary were today instead on Super Tuesday. Luckily, since Obama won, I won't have to hold my nose and pull the lever for her in the fall. Saved by reality!

Hopefully the CDS sufferers will return to reality shortly. If not, well... (shrug). Say hello to President McCain. And say hello to a depression that will make the depression of 1929 look like child's play. If less than 50% of Americans die of starvation after the strongmen seize power amidst the ruins of the American economy and all oil imports are cut off, I will be extremely surprised. Well, I'll be dead so I won't be extremely surprised, but you get the point.

-- Badtux the Reality-based Penguin

Why I called off the condo hunt

Look at the above graph of option ARM resets. What that's saying is that over the next three years, we're going to have a flood of foreclosures related to the option ARM's, and housing prices are going to plummet even further.

And yes, I know about the downsides of condos. But I don't have the time to handle upkeep of the exterior of a house and at least with a condo I don't have to worry about rent hikes. But it looks like the hot time to buy a condo will be in 2010. I'll be ready (I hope!)...

-- Badtux the Well-housed Penguin

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Netflix movie viewings continue

Tonight's flick was The Golden Compass. Now, Pullman's books present a huge problem for a movie-maker. They're rather slow-paced most of the time and somewhat philosophical, unlike, say, the LOTR trilogy which is bang bang action from almost the beginning. But the director tried mightily. The movie manages to get about 2/3rds of the way through the first book and breaks off in mid-action. Bummer. Hopefully it did well enough that Dakota Blue Phillips will still be young enough to play Lyra in the next sequel, she did a good job of capturing Lyra's essential pluckiness, but if not... (shrug). Read the books.

Read the books anyhow. If you did not, this movie will be utter nonsense to you, because it has to skim so rapidly over the material. But if you have read Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, this makes an entertaining way to waste an evening.

-- Badtux the Movie Penguin