Sunday, August 31, 2008

Andrew Sullivan on Presidential judgement

We have had two big presidential decisions from both candidates - the first time we can clearly judge their decision-making skills. Obama's (vice presidential decision) was prudent, cautious, thoroughly vetted, and serious about governing. McCain's was impulsive, rash, barely vetted and decided at the last minute by a small coterie that left everyone else gasping.

We are at war. Another 9/11 is possible. Israel may attack Iran. Pakistan may go up in smoke. Putin may invade another country. Who would you rather have as president?

The impulsive rash one, of course. That notion of thinking through alternatives, doing the smart thing rather than the emotional thing, and such is elitist. Real conservatives know that the best bodily organ to do your thinking with is not the brain, but, rather, the gallbladder.

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Hurricane Gustav

Just hoping everybody got out of New Orleans okay. Especially from the southern suburbs, because Gustav is going to push water up into Terrebonne Parish and is likely to slosh over the back levees of the part of New Orleans that did *not* flood last time (the West Bank).

My brother is doing fine. He's on high ground fifty miles inland in a 130 year old house that has survived pretty much everything that has ever happened to Louisiana. But it's going to be interesting to see whether he has an office left to go back to -- he works in Intracoastal City.

-- Badtux the Louisiana Penguin

Oh boy, another loony religious tighty rightie

Okay, first of all, if you're older than say seven years old and you believe you have an invisible friend, you're nuts. It's okay for little children to have invisible pals. But grownups who have invisible pals are the sort of people who you see stumbling around downtown talking to their invisible friend while pushing a shopping cart loaded with their life's possessions.

So anyhow, I'm going to violate one of my principles, and link to World Nut Daily, who I have a policy of never linking to because ever since 9/11 and the War on Terra, Joseph Farrah has gone just completely nuts. He has allowed his hatred of Muslims (he is Lebanese Christian and learned hatred of Muslims while suckling his momma's milk) to push him to support everything the Bushevik regime has ever done, because any regime that kills Muslims is, in Joseph Farrah's point of view, a good regime. He has the same philosophy towards Muslims that General Phil Sheridan had towards Indians, i.e., that the only good one is a dead one.

But anyhow, here's the link: lunatic assistant pastor invents terminal cancer to hide addiction to porn. Apparently he even hid the fact that he was faking having cancer from his wife, having her drop him off at the hospital for his "chemotherapy" then pick him up later. Or else he was just a common scammer. One or the other.

So anyhow, I think we have another winner in the "he speaks to his invisible pal" sweepstakes here. But let's add another rule here. If someone speaks to his invisible pal, and you can't hear his invisible pal answer, don't give the guy money just because you think he's special to be able to hear his invisible pal. He might hear his invisible pal. Or he might not. But either way, it's not going to do you any good to give him money for the privilige of having him talk to his invisible pal. Because, well, imaginary friends when you're an adult are just plain imaginary, know what I mean?

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Is it satire, or is it real?

Just came from a site that purports to be a right-wing site, but I'll swear up and down I can't figure out whether it is satire, or real. Yes, it makes some statements that at first look like satire on how Republicans think, e.g. "Obama's plan has you paying higher taxes even if you make only $161,000 a year" (note that the median family income in the U.S. is $61,500, and if you make $161,000 a year you're in the top 20% of taxpayers, so this seems suspiciously like John McCain's "joke" that if you make $4,999,999 you're "middle class"). The problem is that tighty righties often make such statements in all sincerity. They really do believe that if you make less than $5 million per year, you're "middle class".

That's the non-hilarious part of Republican rule of the United States. It's been such a joke over these past 8 years (if you can count two wars, a drowned city, a trashed economy, and a collapsing health care system as "a joke") that it's hard to tell the difference between delusional Republican beliefs in "invisible hands" and such, and satirists' attempts to make fun of those beliefs. Sometimes satirists just can't exaggerate enough for the rest of us to tell the difference between a satirist's depiction of Republicans, and a Republican's depiction of himself.

-- Badtux the Baffled Penguin


Anybody got a spare generator near Rayne, Louisiana? Because it looks like Rayne is going to get some rain. And wind. :-(.

-- Badtux the Dry Penguin

Friday, August 29, 2008

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day...

and Wednesday was Thomas Friedman of "Friedman Unit" fame's time, when he published an editorial in the New York Times that can be basically summarized as, rebuild America first. Merle Haggard, anybody?

Says Friedman (and I agree): Obama got this far because many voters projected onto him that he could be the leader of an American renewal. They know we need nation-building at home now — not in Iraq, not in Afghanistan, not in Georgia, but in America. Obama cannot lose that theme.

I do not know if Obama is "The One". But I do know that McCain, as an adherent to the failed policies of the past, certainly is not going to be the man who rebuilds what we've lost over these past years.

-- Badtux the Politics Penguin

Beauty and the Beast

Huh. So John McNasty chooses a former beauty queen, creationist, anti-feminist activist, and current crooked politician as his Veep nominee? This is certainly unexpected. Standing beside Alaska gov. Sarah Palin, John McCain will look even more elderly, out-of-touch, and just plain old. Way to go John, you managed to choose one of the few Republicans who could make you look worse than you already look...

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Governor Sarah Palin Senator John McCain

Is anti-semitism inherent in the Middle East?

My answer is "no".

Historically, anti-semitism was not an issue in the Muslim world. When the European barbarians invaded Palestine in 1099 and conquered Jerusalem, they found not only a large Muslim population, but also a thriving Jewish population. Which, of course, they slaughtered to the last man. If you are looking for the root causes of anti-semitism in the Middle East, you have to look to the Zionist movement and the frictions between Jewish settlers and Muslim settlers in Palestine in the period of British rule.

Let's start with 1900. At the turn of the 20th century the percentage of practicing Jews had fell to under 10% of the population of Palestine, mostly because it was advantageous from a tax point of view to convert to Islam under the rule of the Ottoman Turks, not because of any pograms against Jews. It is ironic, in the context of the current problems between Palestinians and Israelis, that most of the Palestinians in actuality are ethnically identical to the Israelis who they are fighting -- i.e., they're both ethnically Jewish, it's just that one group converted to Islam, while the other one did not. (Note: This is a *drastic* simplification of the situation but for the purposes of this discussion sufficient).

In any event, the Ottoman Empire fell during WWI and Britain got the Palestinian and Jordanian mandate. Now, first you must remember how Ottoman land management occurred. The Ottoman Empire was the last feudal state, i.e., a state based upon conquest and plunder. One of the things plundered was the land. The owners of the land were stripped of their ownership, and the ownership was transferred to Ottoman Turks instead. Who, as the Empire wound down, gravitated to Istanbul. The former owners of the land then ended up working as tenant farmers for absentee landlords and paying a percentage of their crops as rent to said landlords.

Anyhow, the British made the decision to respect the Turkish land titles rather than redistribute the lands to the people who had been working the lands as tenant farmers for generations. And the Zionist movement had access to capital, while the tenant farmers did not necessarily have such access. What ended up happening was that Jews moved in and bought up lands from the absentee Turkish landlords who needed money far more than they needed some land in what was now a foreign country. As far as the new Jewish owners were concerned, it was simply commerce. The historical question of how those lands ended up titled to those absentee Turkish landlords did not concern them. Where the people went who were evicted off the lands by British courts and escorted off the lands by British law officers was not a concern either, they probably figured that the displaced farmers would just find some other place to go, some other land to rent, the Middle East is a large place after all. The problem is that when you create a large landless unemployed minority, you create a population that is ripe for exploitation by ideologues. And some of those ideologues, as usual, found it advantageous to use anti-Semitism as their tool to get popular support.

Now, I am entering into a sensitive area here, because the above explanation may appear to be blaming the Zionist Movement for causing frictions with the Palestinians that eventually exploded into the current situation. Indeed there was, and has historically been since the beginning, a striking lack of consideration for the sensitivities of those pushed off of their traditional lands as a result of either the pre-1948 activities of the Zionist Movement or the expulsion of a large segment of the Muslim population in the time frame immediately following the foundation of the state of Israel. There was no thought to their fate and no thought to helping them find a new home elsewhere in the region, either by the new Jewish immigrants or by British officials or by any of the post-independence nations in the region. If someone, anyone, over the past seventy years had taken in the displaced population and given them citizenship in some state, any state, there would be no "Palestinian problem". Rather, after a few generations as a full citizen of some other country it would be like the situation of Irish-Americans, who might have a propensity to visit Irish pubs and drink beer on St. Patrick's Day but otherwise are culturally indistinguishable from any other American and no more prone to blowing up the occasional London subway station than any other American.

However, it can be said that there was little leeway for the new Jewish immigrants to do much beyond what they did. It was more a case of, "we're being persecuted in Europe, we need this land as a refuge, we will do what it takes to obtain this land, and people who already have this land are simply out of luck." All available resources were being used to relocate Jews to Palestine, there simply wasn't anything left over for addressing the fate of the tenant farmers who formerly farmed their new lands, even if the mindset had been there (which arguably it was not -- my conversations with ardent Zionists tend to end with a statement from them along the lines of, "we are the most persecuted people ever, people less persecuted than we have historically been simply have no reason to complain about anything bad that happens to them" -- an attitude not conducive to any sort of diplomacy or smoothing of ruffled feathers). The location of most of Europe's Jews in 1947 should be instructive there -- most of the surviving European Jews in 1947 were in exactly the same concentration camps that Hitler had placed them in, except renamed to "relocation camps" and with the guns facing outward to protect them from Europeans who wished to finish the job Hitler had started rather than inwards.

But back to our story... so anyhow, the point, the point... ah yes. A large population of displaced people. Ideologues like the various Arab dictators in the surrounding states who find it useful to use this large population of displaced people as pretty much slave labor and as a way of distracting their own population from the failures of these dictators. People like Yasir Arafat, who invented the concept of a "Palestinian" and made corrupt deals with said dictators to make sure that his new-found "people" didn't get citizenship and thus assimilated out from under him, then, when that scam started running dry, managed to make a corrupt deal with Israel to set him up a Bantustan-style apartheid state on the West Bank and Gaza Strip in exchange for "peace" that any sensible person could have seen wouldn't happen because if there was peace, then the corruption of the Arafat regime and its utter lack of empathy for the plight of the population it supposedly ruled would come to the forefront. All of these people found it handy to fan the flames of anti-semitism in the Middle East, and the new European immigrants to Israel didn't help the situation either, refusing to learn the language of the nations that surrounded them and having utterly no interest in engaging with non-Jews in any way. (The percentage of Jewish-faith Israelis who speak Arabic is still astoundingly low, considering that Israel itself still has a large population of Arab citizens). As a result, Israel is now the most dangerous country in the world in which to be a Jew. While violence against Jews in other parts of the world has become almost unknown, it is an almost daily occurrence in Israel.

So now we go back to the question of whether there is any inherent reason for anti-semitism in the Middle East. I would say that any relatively affluent largely-European population pushing a largely-Arab population off of the land of historic Palestine would have been similarly demonized by the surrounding states. That is, that it isn't anything about being Jews that is the root cause of the frictions between Israel and its neighbors, there would be anti-Christianism (is that a word?) if it had been Christians who had instead seen the opportunity of buying cheap lands from absentee Turkish landlords and bought up the place. In short, what we are seeing in the Middle East today may be being expressed as anti-semitism. But what it is, in the end, is whatever happens when a more successful culture collides with a less successful culture -- the people in the former get demonized by the latter.

And there ends my history lesson, and the end of my explanation of why I believe anti-semitism is not inherent in the Middle East.

-- Badtux the History Penguin

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Historical revision

Did you know that Hitler was a socialist? Really! And Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a Republican when he was assassinated. And Stalin was a fascist, not a Communist. Except Communists are the same thing as fascists, even though Hitler killed every Communist he could find. And Russia attacked Georgia rather than Georgia invading South Ossetia. And war is peace. Freedom is tyranny. Obama is a Socialist. GAH!

Y'know, I would have more respect for these people if they were not so obviously using George Orwell's novel 1984 as their template. In 1984, the English language is being re-written into NewSpeak. Words that once had meaning now mean the exact opposite of what they once meant, or have changed in meaning to be exactly what Big Brother wants them to be. There are entire areas of thought that are no longer capable of being discussed because the words to use to discuss them no longer have the meaning they once have.

Now me, I read 1984 and I see a precautionary tale. But when it comes to the tighty righties and their assault upon the English language, it's clear that the tighty righties don't see 1984 as a precautionary tale. They see it as an instruction manual. And the end product of that instruction manual? Why, we all know that one. If you want a picture of their perfect future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.

-- Badtux the Literary Penguin

Do you really think this is coincidence?

45 years ago today, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his "I have a dream" speech in Washington, D.C. It had been a long and bloody year, many civil rights workers killed, injured, or arrested, many blacks and whites both ending up paying a horrible price fighting for freedom and equality for all Americans.

They failed. They failed, but not because they did anything wrong. They failed because while they could change the laws, they could change what was socially acceptable to say in public, they could not change the hatred in the hearts of bigot-Americans or heal the anger and suspicion of those raised to fear the outsider who found themselves suddenly asked to treat fairly those who did not look like them, talk like them, or worship like them. They failed because, in the end, America could change her laws, but America could not change her heart.

But that was 45 years ago. Two generations have died since then. Two generations have been born since then. And so tonight, 45 years after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his I have a Dream speech, a man who is half African mounts the stage before a throng, and standing beside his African-American wife accepts the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. I cannot think that it is coincidence that the Democratic National Committee scheduled this convention's penultimate speech on the day they did. But it is very fitting anyhow, coincidence or not.

-- Badtux the Seeing-history-made Penguin

It's Freedom(tm)!

ABC News reporter arrested for taking photos of fat cat lobbyists meeting with Senators.

Folks, this has nothing to do with Obama or McCain. This has to do with a Denver Police Department that has been out-of-control and lawless for decades. For example, it was found back in 2002 that they were spying on ordinary citizens to the point where they had even had a file that classified a 73 year old nun as an "criminal extremist" and the Quakers as an "anti-government terrorist group." Yes, *Quakers*, those folks who are so pacifist that if you walk up to one and slug him, he will turn the other cheek so you can slug that one too. That's just an example of how lawless the Denver Police Department has been for literally decades.

Unfortunately, the majority of Americans don't mind that their police forces are acting like paramilitary goons. They just don't want to be bothered with that "democracy" stuff, it's too much work, and besides, American Idle is on. Most Americans, it seems, would prefer that the cops be judge, jury, and executioner. So much easier that way. So freedom becomes Freedom(tm), a trademark of Corporate America that is like lite beer -- less taste, less filling, less of what once made America the greatest nation on Earth. And nobody gives a flip, or cares, or bothers doing anything about it because, well, American Idle is on, we gotta have our priorities straight, right? Right? Right?!!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Freedom(tm) is a trademark of Corporate America, your owners. Any resemblance to the non-trademarked term "freedom" is coincidental. Offer void where prohibited, refunds not given in the event of cancellation.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A penguin's guide to Bay Area wildlife, Part III


This particular wildlife generally is found on Silicon Valley freeways, especially near the "Golden Triangle" in northern Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, and San Jose. You can recognize it by the dashing dark-colored suit and dress shirt and power tie plumage, the Rolex watch, short dark hair, light-brown skin coloration, and, now, both hands wildly waving in the air (prior to the recent hands-free law, only one hand was waving in the air -- the other one had a Treo or Crackberry glued to the ear) as this species of wildlife negotiates deals at high speed in its favorite habitat, an upscale European automobile making its way at high speed down the highways. Yes, I'm talking about the Successful Indian Businessman.

This species of wildlife is an exotic import that believes it owns not only the majority of businesses in the Valley, but the freeways themselves. Having learned to drive in the crowded streets of Hyderabad, Bangalore, or Mumbai, this exotic believes the proper way to proceed down a highway is to simply choose a general direction and expect everybody else to get out of the way. The wonder is that rarely, if ever, is the Successful Indian Businessman ever involved in an accident. Apparently its serious-colored plumage and choice of steed is sufficient to warn all other creatures using those same highways that it is time to make way.

Habitat: This species is typically found in two places: 1) The executive offices of most high-tech businesses in the SF Bay Area, and 2) in an upscale European automobile making its way down Valley freeways. It is presumed that this species has a place where it perches at night-time, but has never been observed in that habitat.

Breeding habits: Occasionally the S.I.B. can be spotted in upscale shopping malls with the O.I.W. (Overweight Indian Wife) and O.I.S. (Overindulged Indian Spawn), thus it is clear that this species does reproduce. However, given that it appears to spend twenty hours a day in its favorite habitats (the executive suite or the expensive European automobile), it is unclear where or how it finds time to perform reproductive activities, and the nature of its sexual activities are completely unrecorded by any human eye. I may point out that, unlike more colorful species that don bright plumage in order to attract mates, this species appears to don rather dull and drab plumage (other than its shiny black dress shoes), though its access to gigantic quantities of lettuce (moolah, dough, cash) perhaps polishes its attractiveness to mates.

Danger to observer: If observed in its European automobile habitat, *extreme danger*. Do not approach. You risk being injured or even killed by its abrupt high speed maneuvers as its hands wave wildely around in the air and the automobile veers all over the highway. If observed in the executive suite, approach with caution and be sure to say "Yes boss, no boss, thank you boss" when interacting with it, because otherwise you will learn the meaning of the words "unemployment line".

-- Badtux the Wildlife Penguin

I guess they were scared of his Gay Ray of Gayness

Gay dancer shot in back by police. He was participating in a gay pride event aboard a yacht and either fell overboard, was pushed, or jumped overboard for a swim. Either way, the harbor patrol was called. What happens then, according to the cops, is that he appeared drunk or high, struggled with them as they tried to pull him out of the water, tried to get one cop's gun, and the other cop shot him in the chest. What happens then, according to the people on the yacht, is that the cops got him onboard the harbor patrol boat, realized he was gay as the gay mayor of gaytown, and started beating him, and when he fought back one of the cops pulled his gun and shot him execution-style.

So now we find out that the cops lied about shooting this dude in the chest. They lied about him being high on drugs -- there were only slight trace amounts of drugs in the guy's bloodstream and no alcohol, nothing that would have left him intoxicated. So what's left? Other than what the witnesses say happened -- that a couple of homophobic cops beat a gay dancer for no reason and when said gay dancer tried to defend himself, shot him in cold blood? I mean, if the cops lied about two very important things, why should we believe them about anything? Curious penguins want to know!

-- Badtux the Serve-and-protect Penguin

Political cat blogging with Mencken

Having given TMF an opportunity to blog about politics, I of course had to give Mencken his chance. So I woke him up as he slept on my bed and asked him if he wanted to do a political post.

Me: Do you want to do a political post?
Mencken: Bah humbug.
Me: Oh come on. What do you think about Obama?
Mencken: He sucks.
Me: Why do you say that?
Mencken: Everything sucks. You suck. Obama sucks. McCain sucks. The world sucks. Go away.
Me: Oh come on now, surely something doesn't suck?
Mencken: Pet me. That doesn't suck.
Me: So you aren't going to enlighten us about politics? C'mon, give us your wisdom!
Mencken: [hack cough cough cough PUKE!][giant hairball now adorning my quilt] You want wisdom? There's your wisdom. Now sod off, you silly monkey, I'm trying to sleep here.

Sigh. How I envy Pissed Off Patricia and her wise kitty, Fred the Cat, who always has something to say about current events...

-- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

My Sunday hike

Attack of the giant sunflowers! The garden is looking a bit ragged in late summer, but a few sunflowers are still standing tall... at least eight feet tall, that is. This isn't a cat in the Wilder Ranch paddock... Wilder Ranch gets its water by pumping it out of the creek up here. Thus the signs down at the ranch-house saying don't drink the water. Though I suspect it's just fine, it's untreated so you know they gotta say it... Here another bit of wildlife -- a mountain biker who ran into a tree, got knocked out, and now is being attended to by the park rangers and paramedics in an ambulance. Sorry I didn't get a better photo, but it was up another fork of the road and I didn't want to be in the way when the ambulance pulled back out, these are very narrow one-lane fire roads that I'm on at the moment. The wildlife is very friendly at Wilder Ranch. This is a cat that I came across in the middle of a path: Or maybe he wasn't a cat. Hmm. Okay, so maybe this is a cat: Nope? Well, anyhow, I eventually descended from the Santa Cruz Mountain foothills back to the ocean, where I found this wildlife: I think this next guy is a sea otter, because he was pounding open a clam against a rock on his chest. He was going ratatatatatat just a'pounding that sucker. Sorry I couldn't get a better picture of him, I'm way up on a cliff and my telephoto lens isn't *that* good. There were also other critters of this species frolicking just beyond the rocks but I couldn't catch a good picture of them, they were appearing and disappearing above and below water too quickly. And of course I saw lots of sea birds as I walked along the shore... And that was pretty much my 12 mile walk around the park. Other than the part about my knee deciding it didn't like me. But it's better now...

-- Badtux the Wanderin' Penguin


For some definition of Free(tm). Maybe Josef Stalin's.

And thanks to a suggestion in a comment below:

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Free(tm) is a trademark of USA Inc. and may not be used without attribution. Violators will be taken to a hole in a farm field and shot and used for fertilizer.

Some people are more equal than others

Some people are real people. Their deaths get nationwide attention. Kevin Duckworth is one of them. Famous for playing a child's game of bouncing a ball around on a wooden floor and throwing it through a hoop, his death was mentioned on USA Today and other places, even though his death was likely because of his own behavior -- he was grossly overweight and ate gigantic portions of fatty foods. But if someone had murdered him, you can bet that there would be outrage, and the murderer would get at the very least life in prison.

Meanwhile, consider pregnant 17-year-old Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez. Who collapsed in a field where she had been working for nine hours straight without water or shade in 95 degree heat, then died of heat stroke shortly thereafter. The people who deprived her of water and shade in violation of California law? Well, the farmer wasn't even fined. He claims he's not responsible for making sure his farmworkers have water and shade, that it was the labor contractors who were responsible for that. The labor contractors? Fined. Rather than pay the fine, they closed up shop on the corporate entity that got fined, and opened up shop again with a new corporate entity and new business name doing the exact same thing. And the same is true for each of the other seventeen California farm workers who have died of heat stroke over the past four years -- not a single murderer has even seen the inside of a booking room, much less been jailed for murder.

But these are just untermenschen, mud people. It's not like they're real people. Remember, boys and girls, in Soviet America some people are more equal than others, and its okay to murder unseemly mud people, it's just a fine. And yes, it's murder. Nobody should die of heat exhaustion. There are simple and effective methods to prevent this -- provide plentiful water, provide shade and electrolytic fluids for workers suffering initial symptoms of heat exhaustion, have some method of taking worker temperatures, and provide a quick cool water bath if a worker's temperature is too high in order to prevent brain damage that causes death. It works for firefighters, who similarly suffer heat exhaustion -- but who never die of heat stroke. It would work for farm workers too. But farm workers are just unseemly mud people, so it will never happen in AmeriKKKa... remember, boys and girls. Murder is fine. As long as you're a murderer with money, and the people you murdered don't have any. Alrighty, then!

-- Badtux the Death Penguin

The Mighty Fang's political blog

Me: Who do you support for President?
Me: John McCain?
Me: You're crying about the possibility of John McCain being President?
Me: You want to eat John McCain?
TMF: Sweepy time, lap?
Me: John McCain puts you to sleep?
TMF: Look, you moron, I'm a cat. All I care about is food, water, and sleepy time, preferably on your lap. So quit chattering like a monkey and start serving me properly, slave!

Methinks this "political cat blogging" thing doesn't work out too well around this household...

-- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

The POW card

How John McCain remembers what to say in a variety of circumstances:

Mock him all you'd like...but that POW Card got him an amazing upgrade in the wife department: Younger, healthier & Dirty-Filthy-Sexy Rich with unlimited access to beer and pills...

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

H/T to The McCain Card

Monday, August 25, 2008

Do we really want four more years of the same old tune?

Noun, verb, P.O.W.

John McCain's response to any criticism is a sentence consisting of a noun, a verb, and the letters P.O.W...

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin
H/T to Alternate Brain


I have become a hermit until November 4.

That is all.

-- Badtux the Hermit Penguin
PS: Don't expect my resolve to last any longer than it has in the past, heh!

Sunday Netflix viewing

Girl Scout: (Points at lemonade). Is this made from real lemons?
Wednesday: Yes.
Girl Scout: I only like all-natural foods and beverages, organically grown, with no preservatives. Are you sure they're real lemons?
Pugsley: Yes.
Girl Scout: Well, I'll tell you what. I'll buy a cup if you buy a box of my delicious Girl Scout cookies. Do we have a deal?
Wednesday: Are they made from real Girl Scouts?

That's pretty much it. The Addams Family. Just a fun little movie. Popcorn. Christina Ricci's second film after Mermaids, and she nails Wednesday. It would have worked better as a 1 hour episode of the series, 90 minutes is just too long for the thin plot to get stretched across, but still an entertaining way to waste 90 minutes when you're all busted up and can't do anything.

-- Badtux the Movie Penguin

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Getting old fuggin' sux

I had a nice little hike today at Wilder Ranch State Park. I did an 11 mile loop through the backcountry, then back along the oceanside. All that bicycling definitely helped my wind, I pretty much chugged away uphill with just a bit of heavy breathing but never out of breath. I shot a bunny rabbit, two deer, a buzzard, a buncha sea lions, various sea birds, some wildflowers, and some surfers (with my camera, of course). Just one problem: My fuggin' right knee decided it didn't like the downhill coming back down from the crest, I ended up having to sort of Frankenstein and hobble on my walking stick with that knee. Then after about 2 miles down the oceanside, about half a mile from the Jeep, it decided to just lock up altogether, making that last half mile very slow and painful. GRRR.

So I guess it's back to the doctor again. All that bicycling was supposed to cure that problem. Well, it helped my cardiovascular fitness big time, but didn't help my knee at all. And yes, I took an anti-inflammatory before setting out. Didn't help.

So anyhow, my camera is down in the Jeep, and I managed to hobble up to the second floor where my apartment is, and I am *not* going back down tonight. So you're going to just have to imagine the deer, the bunny, and the sea lions for now. Meanwhile, I just took an ibuprofen and have the oven heating up for a pizza. Definite comfort food time. And tomorrow, I have a suspicion that I'm going to be working from home...

-- Badtux the Gimpy Penguin

Saturday, August 23, 2008


For an 8.5 pound bag of "Science Diet for cats with Sensitive Stomach".

funny pictures
more kittehs

I had bought a small bag to try it to see if maybe Mencken would stop yakking all over my furniture. I mean, I thought maybe it was just that Mencken kept reading the newspapers that I leave hanging around and the news was causing his upchucking, but turns out the "Sensitive Stomach" cat food did the trick -- no more yakking.

I just hope he appreciates his owner's attendance to his needs. Oh who am I kidding, he's a cat, with a brain the size of an almond. Oh well. At least he's warm, fuzzy, and loves to purr on my lap.

-- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

Friday, August 22, 2008

Clean and articulate

Joe Biden?!?!

-- Badtux the Confused Penguin

Over at Moto-Tux...

the world's luckiest motorcycle racer. Misses being smashed to a pulp by a microsecond. Also: Be sure your front axle nut is tight and is safety wired or cotter pinned so it can't come off!

-- Badtux the Motorcycling Penguin

Diebold voting machines eat votes

They finally admitted what we already knew.

more kitties

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

And for the important Olympic news...

Michael Phelps returns to his tank at Sea World.

-- Badtux the Mildly Amused Penguin

John McCain lied?

Of course not. When a Republican lies, it's not a lie. It's an "error", and when pointed out, disappears down the "memory hole".

So nevermind that Mother Theresa lie. It never existed. The chocolate ration is 25 grams. The chocolate ration has always been 25 grams. If you believe the chocolate ration was ever 30 grams, report for psychological counseling, citizen.

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Fly vs. no-fly

A U.S. combat veteran of the Gulf War and his wife have landed on the no-fly list, the one for "terrorist extremists". The problem: He's a pilot. It's his job to fly. But the FAA took his flight privileges away, and nobody will tell him what list he's on, why he's on it, or how he can get off of it. He's suing the government with the help of the ACLU, but expect a Kafka-esque outcome -- the government will claim that "national security" prevents them from being sued in this case, and the U.S. Supreme Court will uphold it.

Their real crime appears to be sending out DVD's of Mass Destruction -- DVD's about the Muslim faith. Erich Scherfen served 13 years in the military, including flying National Guard helicopters. But apparently he defended his country overseas, only to find that his country will persecute him here because of his faith, just as others are apparently being placed on the list for writing a book critical of Bush or other such political crimes. U S A! U S A! Do you want freedom with those fries? Sorry!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

When maps and bicycles are outlawed...

only terrorists will have maps and bicycles.

Yeppers. Denver Police are on alert for the map-wielding Bicyclists of Mass Destruction. Oh the horror!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

PS: I can think of another country where maps are illegal... Way to go, America, you're on par with a Communist slave state!

The kibble monster is in da house

Nom nom nom...

The Mighty Fang does like his kibble.

-- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Over at Moto-Tux...

I take on a leaky rear differential cover.

-- Badtux the Wrenchin' Penguin

If you don't know how many houses you own...

maybe you're out-of-touch with the concerns of real Americans?

For the record, unlike John McCain, I can answer the question "how many houses do you own?". The answer is "One." If you don’t know how many houses you have, then it’s not surprising that you might think the economy is fundamentally strong, eh?

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

The Russian side

Some folks have accused me of "being on the side of Russia" when it comes to the Russian reaction to Georgia's attempted ethnic cleansing in South Ossetia. Uhm, no. The only side I'm on is the side of truth. And truth is, Mikheil Saakashvili made a big mistake sending the Georgian Army into South Ossetia. Even if he didn't intend the Georgian Army to engage in a little ethnic cleansing, history notes that whenever Georgian military forces have entered South Ossetia in the past, ethnic cleansing is exactly what happened, whether we're talking 1920 or 1991. Only an idiot would think that Russia wouldn't respond in that case, especially since they had handed out Russian passports to the Ossetians and thus could claim that they were coming to the aid of their citizens (Granada, anybody?).

Does this make the Russians "good guys"? No. They've gone well beyond the boundaries of the autonomous provinces that they claim to be protecting and appear to be rambling around Georgia at random for ill-defined "security reasons". They apparently also are letting various nasty paramilitaries from Chechnya, Ossetia, and elsewhere roam around the Georgian countryside pillaging and looting, and while they haven't committed atrocities themselves, they definitely aren't going about their business with a light touch. But what it does mean is that Saakashvili has nobody to blame but himself for what happened when he prodded the bear in the side with a pointy stick. Even a half-lame bear with bad eyesight is likely to maul you severely at that point.

Now for the last thing: Does this mean that Russia has achieved superpower status again? The answer is no. Russia right now is a thugocracy, ruled by whoever is the most vicious and venal. It more resembles a Mafia-ruled state than any modern first-world nation. It has a declining population, an economy that looks more like that of Saudi Arabia than of any modern state, a military that while better trained now than in the past still is no where near first-world quality, and antique Soviet-era military equipment (the good stuff is all for export, they have only purchased a few brigades worth of modern equipment and most of that sits around Moscow as a last-ditch reserve in case the West invades again like in 1941). That said, they have definitely shown that while not a world-class power, they are decidedly a regional major power, and need to be treated as such. I suspect that other regional states are observing, and reacting accordingly -- i.e., with much caution and respecting the adage, don't poke the bear!.

-- Badtux the Geopolitical Penguin

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Quicky book reviews

Got a load of books from the SF book club recently. So I'll do a few quicky book reviews.

First up is Charles Stross, Saturn's Children. This is a rollicking space opera that's half depraved Isaac Asimov, half warped Robert Heinlein, and half deranged Charles Stross. Think Robert Heinlein's sex-crazed Friday if she were one of Isaac Asimov's robots from I, Robot incarnated as a sexbot, combined with Charles Stross's big-picture space opera and an espionage plot that aims to bring back the slavemasters who've died out -- the human race.

I wouldn't call it a significant book. But it's rollicking good fun if you have the background in science fiction to know what novel by which author he's riffing off of at any given time (Friday is the main one of course, but he riffs off of other "classic" science fiction novels too). And oh, there is a riff on one of Robert Heinlein's favorite statements, the one where he said that a human being ought to be able to do this, that, and the other... and his lead character (the sexbot) says "but why would I need to do any of that, when I can get someone else to do it in exchange for sex?" Heh. Look for it. Also look for Stross's other space operas, most of which are better than this one, though not as much fun.

Next up... having read one space opera, I went back to my bookshelf and got one of my favorites out, C.J. Cherryh's Cyteen. I re-read this every few years and always enjoy it every time. It's a big brick of a book with a fascinating lead character who is reincarnated via cloning after she dies -- or is she? What does it mean to be "human", anyhow? As usual, I enjoyed this novel immensely, perhaps because it is more a sociological / psychological novel than a space opera even though it's set in one of her space opera universes in a space-going civilization. The only thing I'm really dissatisfied with is the ending -- her "father" who raised her for many years tries to kill her, and we never are told why. There are other issues that are never resolved too, such as who killed Ari 1.0 (or was it an accident?), and the beginning of the book (which shows Ari 1.0 as a real bitch who frankly I would have been tempted to murder too) is way too flabby, we get pounded over the head by Ari 1.0 being a bitch over and over again (okay, Carolyn, we got it the first time!). But once Ari 2.0 is birthed from her vat, all is forgiven. I wouldn't say this is a "classic" of the field, but the fact that I re-read it every few years -- which is not true of very many books -- means it tweaks something in my psyche. And maybe in yours. It didn't win the Hugo Award because it was lousy. Oh, there's a sequel coming out in January. I'll be looking for it...

And that's today's literary drive-by shootings. Tomorrow, I have a couple of real stinkers. Hint: What happens when you have right wing writers write politics into their novels instead of sticking to traditional space opera with space battles and stuff? It ain't pretty...

-- Badtux the Literary Penguin

Today's Presidential campaign update

John McCain tells lies. Press reports them with a question mark. Obama gives some speech somewhere that the press doesn't cover where he calls McCain on his lies. Nobody knows because the press only covers the lies, not the response.

Tomorrow, more of the same. And the next day. And the next day. And the next...

- Badtux the Tired Penguin

Apple is hot

Literally. And that's not counting exploding iPods, power supply cables that catch on fire, and roasting video chips. Seems that one of their IT buildings caught on fire. Luckily it apparently wasn't an important one.

As for Apple's other, err, hot, problems, oh well. Apple still makes the best personal computers on the planet. A shame they're so expensive, but so it goes...

-- Badtux the MacPenguin

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My life

more cat pictures
This is my life.

-- Badtux the Pessimist Penguin


A 17 year old kid let an 85 year old granny hold him at gunpoint with a .22 caliber pistol.

If this had been one of the gang-bangers that I worked with at the center back in the day, Leda Smith would be dead. He would have had a gun in his hand when he went in, and he would have shot her and killed her the moment she emerged from the bedroom with a gun in her hand, because she came out of that bedroom ready to talk, not ready to shoot to kill. Luckily this was some neighborhood kid intent on a quick smash and grab, rather than a hard-core criminal. Otherwise there would be a dead body on the floor.

But I'm sure that the tighty righties are now going to all join together and chant, "arm the grannies!" Nevermind the body count, that's just a trifling detail...

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

PS: Found the perfect photo for the tighty righties:


He turns out to be... a rubber Halloween costume.

Yet last week newspapers were uncritically printing press releases about how these jokers had found Bigfoot, had DNA, and so forth. It just goes to show you what kind of press we have here in America -- stenographers. Useless stenographers. You could replace pretty much every reporter in the American media with a tape recorder operated by a trained monkey without any difference in the quality of the "reporting".

-- Badtux the Media Penguin


Over at Moto-Tux, I talk about a flying penguin and the Never-Ending Electrical Project, which is, oddly enough, *ending* shortly as soon as I get the first circuits hooked up (two circuits, one at the handlebars for the GPS, one at the side for a heated jacket or vest or etc.).

So if you are interested in motorcycle technology, go take a gander...

-- Badtux the Motorin' Penguin

Putin devises his plan for Georgia

In honor of all the looting going on in Georgia by the Vostok Brigade (Chechen brigands armed and supported by Russia), Ossetian irregulars, and pretty much every other nasty militia in the area, here is a video of Putin devising his plan for Georgia...

I don't think Putin has sent in the bull dykes yet though, but give him time!

Of course, given that the Vostok Brigade is currently persona non grata in Chechnya due to their ongoing feud with the current "president" of Chechnya (another nasty militia chief by the name of Kadyrov who is being paid by Russia to not make war against Russia much as the Vostok Brigade is being paid by Russia to not make war against Russia), this musta seemed like the opportunity from heaven for Russia for getting the Vostok Brigade out of their hair.

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Monday, August 18, 2008

Exercises in futility


Later in the afternoon, around 5:30, four Russian tanks rattled past the Russian checkpoint at Igoeti and drove in the direction of Tbilisi. Soldiers were piled on top, cradling Kalashnikov rifles.

As they drove past, one old man, Koba Gurnashvili, stepped into the street and yelled at the them: "Where do you think you're going!" One of the soldiers yelled back: "To Tbilisi!"

But they did not, instead turning up a side road leading to a village near the border with South Ossetia. At an intersection blocked by Georgian police cars, the Russian commander climbed off his tank and began arguing with the Georgian police officers.

The Russian officer said that he had orders to move up the road; the Georgian said that he had orders to remain on the road and asked to call his superiors for guidance. The Russian said: "You have three minutes to move your cars."

The two argued for a few minutes longer. Then the police stepped away from the cars, stony-faced, taking the keys with them. The commander ordered his tank to drive forward, and it smashed aside the cars and kept going.

A Georgian policeman looked at the dusty tanks passing, took off his hat and spat at the ground.

A word to the wise. When someone in a tank orders you to move your car, and all you're armed with is a 9mm pea-shooter, it's always a wise idea to move your car. These Georgians seem to be about as bright as your average chunk of granite...

-- Badtux the Mildly Amused Penguin

OMG It's the end of the world!

The California Supreme Court ruled in favor of that evil supervillain, The Gay Agenda, with his evil master plan to, uhm, get equal rights for gays, and says that doctors have to live up to that Hippocratic Oath thingy as well as California's law barring discriminating against gays. Oh the horror! Doctors who specialize in in-vitro fertilization must treat gays! What next, doctors have to impregnate dogs, box turtles, or mules?

No, clearly, unless doctors are allowed to discriminate, doctors will have to, uhm, serve the public instead of serving some religious agenda based on hate and ignorance. And we can't have that, can we? Why, why... if we make doctors treat people equally regardless of sexual orientation, that nasty Gay Agenda will zap us all with his Gay Ray of Gayness and then the human race will die out because nobody will reproduce (except those nasty lesbians gay-marrying each other and getting artificially inseminated of course) and ... and... uhm, what was I saying? I lost my train of thought there. For some definition of "thought". Hmm.

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Saturday, August 16, 2008

When darkness falls

I am working on a new song. It is dark, dark, dark.

For some reason I don't write happy songs anymore. Not that I really did, I've written maybe three songs in my entire life that qualify as "happy", but at least they were songs about life and lost loves and broken dreams. The best way I can describe what I've written over these past few years is... apocalyptic? Too many visions of small bodies and blood running down streets as the world runs down and everything comes to an end. It's hard to motivate myself to write them down, much less record them.

I would say I'm depressed, except it's not that, exactly. Observant, perhaps. I am witnessing a race between technology and species extinction, and unfortunately a majority of the human race seems more inclined toward the latter than toward the former When the oil runs out, people are going to start dying of starvation by the billions -- without fertilizers and farm equipment, we can raise food for maybe a billion people. And when that happens...

-- Badtux the Gloomy Penguin

Friday, August 15, 2008


Traffic was backed up this morning because of a concert/festival at Shoreline Ampitheater starting at 11am this morning. Lots of alternative/electronica/metalcore bands that I never heard of. The kids walking down the street (having parked elsewhere to avoid paying parking fees) are certainly the fashion plate. Apparently, for teen guys, skinny saggers are apparently the "in" thing. These combine tight pants that cling to the legs with low-riding waist that shows the butt crack area and gives you a good view of the dude's underwear. Call it ghetto slim. For gals, it's tight shirts and hip-huggers that showcase their fat hips and thunder thighs as they blob their pasty way down the street. None of the girls appeared to be over 20 years old or so, as you'd expect since older girls would have a job and not be going to a concert on a Friday afternoon. Almost all of them seemed to have said "super-size it, please!" more than once when grabbing chow at a fast-food place.

Sigh. Kids today. (Insert photo of crotchety old man shaking his fist and saying "you darned kids get off my lawn!").

-- Badtux the Fashion Penguin

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Chinese gymnastics team

Did anybody else notice that the Chinese "women's" gymnastics team looked more like the Chinese "elementary school girls" gymnastics team? The youngest/smallest "women" on the team couldn't have been more than twelve years old!

-- Badtux the Observant Penguin

Olympic swimming

I assume my gay readers are having a really nice time watching the U.S. swim team. It's like gay porn without the sausage. As a penguin I'm not quite sure what exactly is the attraction -- their plumage is rather, err, lacking, and they swim like monkeys thrashing the waters desperately instead of elegantly like penguins -- but just for those who appreciate, here is some beefcake:

Just making sure you get your daily dose of gay porn!

-- Badtux the Helpful Penguin

That oh-so-mighty Georgian military

They might run screaming like little children anytime a Russian points a water pistol in their direction, but they sure are hard on unarmed journalists.

To be fair, if I saw a Faux News "journalist" around and I was armed with an AK-47, I might be tempted to see how fast he could run too :-).

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Put down the propaganda pipe, folks...

and step away.


Lucky the Russians had conveniently built up 20,000 soldiers just north of the border on training exercises one week prior to the crisis.


The Russians normally keep that many troops in the region because of Chechnya, which, remember, is less than 100 miles away from South Ossetia. In fact I'm wondering what the Chechens are doing right now, since the troops that normally would be chasing Chechen rebels are currently inside Georgia.


And, of course, the Russian peacekeepers already in South Ossetia, who armed the South Ossetian rebels, must not actually be Russians on Georgian soil.


That depends on whether South Ossetia is Georgian soil. South Ossetia was an autonomous province within the Soviet Union, nominally within the administrative boundaries of the Soviet state of Georgia but never ruled from Tsibili. Georgia arbitrarily declared the autonomy of South Ossetia null and void in 1993 despite the fact that Georgia had never ruled South Ossetia, ever, not even hundreds of years ago, and only Russian troops prevented Georgia from actually making good on that. South Ossetians are "rebels" in much the same that Mexicans would be "rebels" if we declared that Mexico was our 51st state -- South Ossetia never was culturally part of Georgia, and never was ruled from Tsibili, and is about as "Georgian" as Mexico is "American".

So clearly the situation is more complex than "Georgia attacks rebels". South Ossetia is obviously too small to be an independent nation. It will have to join either Russia or Georgia. The Georgians seem determined to make sure that South Ossetia joins Russia rather than Georgia. So be it. But to say that Georgia was "justified" in invading South Ossetia because it is just a state of Georgia, is like saying that the U.S. would be "justified" in invading Mexico because it is just a state of the United States. That has not been historically true, and arbitrary lines drawn on maps do not make it true.


  1. American media is a bunch of propaganda bullshit. But we already knew that. Pravda on the Hudson and Izvestia on the Potomac are slicker than their Russian counterparts, but put them in a mirror and they all look the same.
  2. Putin is a ruthless hard-ass. But we already knew that. Beslan, anybody? The Russian theatre hostage massacre, anybody?
  3. Georgian President Saakashvili is a moron. He thought a bit of training from American trainers, combined with having more up-to-date weapons than Russian forces in the area (who are armed with old 1960's and 1970's Soviet-era gear because they're equipped to take on Chechen rebels, not modern armies), would suffice to destroy the Russian forces sent against him. He didn't seal off the tunnel between South Ossetia and Russia because he wanted to engage in a spot of ethnic cleansing and drive the Ossetians through the tunnel in front of the Georgian Army, and only *then* seal the tunnel. The South Ossetians ruined that plan by fighting back far harder than Saakashvili and his Israeli Defense Minister Davit Kezerashvili (yes, the defense minister of Georgia is an Israeli citizen, go figure!) expected, thereby giving the Russians time to use the tunnel first. Then Saakashvili thought the U.S. would come help him. With what troops? Riiiiight...
  4. South Ossetia will never be part of Georgia. Well, you try a bit of ethnic cleansing and genocide, folks just seem to not like that. Russia is content with a de facto independent South Ossetia that in reality is part of the Russian Federation. The Georgians are just going to have to live with the fact that they aren't going to be allowed to engage in the ethnic cleansing they wanted to engage in.
  5. Russia has effectively put the Trashcanistans on notice. Russia swatted Georgia using basically light forces intended to chase down Chechen guerillas. These were not top-of-the-line elite Russian units that rolled into Georgia, folks. They were armed with old 1960's and 1970's Soviet weapons that were a generation older than the ex-Warsaw-Pact weapons that Georgia was armed with. If Russia can swat Georgia so easily without even bringing their elite units into play, the other folks along Russia's Southern frontier are on notice: Don't poke the bear. Because despite being rather shabby nowdays, the bear still has teeth and claws that can maul you but good.
More than that will have to wait. But one final thing about the U.S. media coverage. It reminds me of U.S. media coverage of the Iraq-Iran War. Iraq invaded Iran. But the U.S. media was rooting for Iraq for most of the war. WTF? Georgia invaded South Ossetia. But the U.S. media was rooting for Georgia for the entire war. WTF? Since when does starting a war make you the "good guys"? Oh yeah, that's right -- when the folks who start the war happen to be U.S. puppets. Alrighty, then!

-- Badtux the Geopolitics Penguin

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sigh, 11pm and still working :-(

One of my new babies is leaving the cradle tomorrow. Just finished teaching him how to write good code and now he leaves me, boo hoo hoo! But anyhow, he has one last checkin to make into the source tree. And I have to go over it with a fine tooth comb before he leaves. And he leaves at 2AM my time because that's when the last bus leaves his time and like most people in his nation he doesn't own a car, he's reliant on mass transit. And that's it. So I may be up to 2AM working with this guy...

These multi-national software development efforts are the pits sometimes :-(.

-- Badtux the late-working Penguin

Some people ought to be aborted post-natally

To whit: this creep, Raymond Daniel Thurmond, who held his wife and three children captive for years in a mobile home. He apparently screwed the windows shut, locked the doors with padlocks, and threatened to kill them if they tried to escape.

So now he gets his own captivity. Hopefully sharing a jail cell with some 300 pound 7 foot tall brute named Bubba. Who don't like child abusers. Squeal like a pig, Gay Ray, squeal like a pig!

-- Badtux the Disgusted Penguin

Best summary of the Georgian war I've seen

No, Civil War fans, this isn't about Sherman's March to the Sea. I'm talking about the Former Soviet Georgia, which the Russian bear just slapped silly and threw against the wall as an object lesson to small nations that want to piss off neighboring large (and surly) nations. And The Political Cat has probably the best round-up I've seen on the situation so far. I especially like one of his snarky lines: He (Saakashvili) is trying to draw the U.S. and Europe into a war with Russia — a war which no one will win. Vladimir Putin is an ex-KGB man and nobody's fool. And unfortunately, the U.S. is currently in the hands of the biggest fool to ever walk the planet.

Alrighty, then!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Busting the Anthrax myth

Stratfor brings reality into the anthrax-as-weapon discussion. Says Stratfor: It ain't as easy as sci-fi thrillers make it sound. For example:

The [Aum terrorist] group sprayed thousands of gallons of aerosolized liquid anthrax in Tokyo. This time, Aum not only employed its fleet of sprayer trucks but also used aerosol sprayers mounted on the roof of their headquarters to disperse a cloud of aerosolized anthrax over the city. Again, the attacks produced no results and were not even noticed.
Oooh, I'm so scared of anthrax!

Reality is that terrorists go with what gets them the most bang for the buck. A single suicide bombing in Iraq typically kills more people than have been killed in all the anthrax attacks in known history -- combined. And it takes less than a hundred bucks worth of explosives, not a massive R&D laboratory and fancy equipment and shit. The humble truck bomb that blew up the Oklahoma City federal courthouse is what we should be concerned about insofar as terrorism is concerned. Some bug that even the most highly weaponized version, out of our own weapons lab, can't manage to kill more than a dozen people total despite multiple attacks... uhm, yeah. About those truck bombs...

-- Badtux the Practical Penguin

Sad all around

Librarian recognizes man who ran down two old ladies, calls cops. Turns out he was a 66 year old dude who was living out of his car, who apparently has "problems".

Our society's treatment of its old, its poor, its mentally ill is abysmal, and the result is dead bodies. But hey, we don't care, because at least we don't have to pay taxes to take care of the old, the poor, the mentally ill, and money is more important than human beings, right? Right? Right?!

-- Badtux the Priorities Penguin

War on Liberals continues

Gunman invades office of Arkansas Democratic chairman, shoots him multiple times, and drives off in pickup truck. What do you bet that we're going to find out that this guy has copies of Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, and Rush Limbaugh's books sitting on his bookshelves?

-- Badtux the "Had enough hate speech yet?" Penguin


It's Not Criminal If You're Republican. Attorney General Michael Mukasey confirms that there are two laws in this country -- one if you're a Democrat, and one if you're a Republican. If you're a Democrat, it's a crime. If you're a Republican, you're not. Mukasey says the Justice Department broke the law by applying partisan political considerations to non-partisan positions, but he intents to do nothing about it because, well, INCIYR. Or as Attorney General Mr. Mugookasey put it, "Not every violation of a law is a crime."

So much for that old "equality" and "justice" bullshit, eh?

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Random natterings

This "body wash" stuff just doesn't feel right. I dunno, there's something somehow... manly... about boldly seizing a big bar of soap and rubbing that sucker all over your body. I understand the soap scum argument (which isn't a problem with "body wash"), but it just feels weird.

One of my cat towels finally managed to collect something yesterday. When I got home, I found that Mencken had puked all over the office chair in front of the computer desk. Luckily a towel lives on that office chair, so I just had to change towels.

In my never-ending electrical project on the Nightstrom, I gave up on trying to relocate the relays and fuses behind the battery to being behind the left side panel. It's just too hard to get the left side panel off. Instead I used plastic stick-on hooks to move them to a more compact location, and will put the fuse panel relay next to them. The fuse panel itself, alas, has to go into the place I didn't want to put it -- the tray where the owner's manual is supposed to go. Oh well. I've strapped on a tractor owner's manual tube to the left-side Givi rack and will simply relocate the owner's manual to there. More on that project at Moto-Tux...

-- Badtux the Busy Penguin

Monday, August 11, 2008

So much for that vaunted "U.S. training"

Georgian troops abandon their posts, run screaming in terror for home.

Shades of the ARVN running screaming like little girls from the NVA...

What is it with U.S. "training" anyhow? It seems all the U.S. is able to do is train armies to run screaming like little girls whenever someone shoots in their direction. There was an action recently in Afghanistan against the Taliban where nine U.S. soldiers were killed and fifteen wounded that exemplifies that. There were approximately 200 Afghan soldiers and 40 American soldiers involved in this action. Not one -- ZERO -- of the Afghan soldiers were injured at the end of the day. You just know that the moment the first shot came their direction, they ran like the dickens the other way and didn't come back until the U.S. soldiers had saved the day.

U.S. training of foreign militaries seems to go like this, from what I can see:

  1. This is your rifle, this is your gun. One's for shooting, one's for fun.
  2. If someone shoots in your direction, throw down your rifle and take your gun the other way.
I mean, c'mon. Can anybody point at a single U.S. trained military that's worth a bucket of warm spit? Iraq... Afghanistan... South Vietnam... Georgia. Bah.

-- Badtux the War Penguin

Why I'm glad I don't own a BMW

At Moto-Tux.

-- Badtux the Motorcyclin' Penguin

John Edwards

He had an affair.

That is all. End of story.

-- Badtux the Brief Penguin


The "leader of the free world", Jenna, and Not-Jenna show the world how dignified a U.S. President can be as they watch the Olympics.

Note the scabbing on the Chimperors' right arm. Looks like Chimpy McBoozy's been hitting the bottle and falling down drunk again...

-- Badtux the More-dignified Penguin
(Probably the permanent formal wear, heh)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Motorcycle wiring sucks

That is all. At Moto-Tux.

-- Badtux the Wrenchin' Penguin

Got free speech?

Uhm... no. You have free speech only if you speak in government-approved manner about government-approved topics. It is okay to diss a member of one branch of the Party, praise a member of another branch of the Party, or otherwise engage in speech that has absolutely no effect upon the profits or power of our ruling elite. Heck, you can even say that every member of our ruling elite should be strung up by the neck from the nearest oak tree and democracy brought to America, because our rulers know that if you say this, people will just laugh at you -- after all, centuries of propaganda have convinced most Americans that democracy already is in America.

This is a softer, gentler rule that we live in here, where our rulers do not feel the need to remind us every few hours that we are ruled, this is a rule where the iron fist is well disguised in a most plush velvet glove. But if your conduct ever truly rose to the point of threatening the profits or rule of the oligarchs who run our nation... well. You, too, would find a court order slapped into your hands prohibiting you from speaking. Or perhaps even, like Eugene Debs, slammed into a jail cell for the crime of disagreeing with the ruling elite. But as long as we are merely nattering here on the Internets rather than taking any real action to bring our rulers to justice and bring real democracy to America, why would our rulers bother? It's just a way for us to let off steam. It's not as if we threaten their rule doing this nattering. That would require us to, like, actually do something, rather than just natter along...

-- Badtux the Nattering Penguin

Kosovo breaks out in the Former Soviet Union

Okay, let's recap this:

In 1999, a province of a Russian ally, Serbia, decided to declare independence. In response, Serbia sent their troops into that province to reassert control. When bombing of Serbian troops by U.S. bombers did not result in Serbian troops leaving a Serbian province, the United States started attacking civilian targets within Serbia itself -- bridges, water treatment plants, and the occasional Chinese embassy. This forced Serbia to withdraw their troops from their province of Kosovo, and U.S. troops poured in as "peacekeepers" to take their place. During all of this, Russia was fussing big-time about Western meddling in the former Yugoslavia, saying that Kosovo was a Serbian internal matter and the West should just butt out. The United States ignored Russian objections. Kosovo recently declared independence and its independence is now recognized by the United States and most Western nations, but not by Serbia or Russia.

Okay, let's fast forward to 2008. In 2008, a province of a U.S. ally, the Republic of Georgia, had declared its independence some time back. Georgia sent its troops into the breakaway province of South Ossetia to reassert control over the breakaway province. Russia responded by sending its own troops into South Ossetia just as the U.S. sent its troops into Kosovo, and by bombing Georgia just as the U.S. bombed Serbia. And, just as Serbia had to do in Kosovo, Georgia apparently has now been forced to withdraw its troops from the breakaway province of South Ossetia. And just as the U.S. ignored Russian objections to the U.S. breaking away part of a Russian ally to turn it into an independent nation, Russia is ignoring U.S. objections to Russia breaking away part of a U.S. ally to make it into an independent nation.

It's payback time for Russia. They've played the Kosovo playbook, except in reverse. And it's unclear that there's anything to be done about it. The U.S. cannot seize the moral high ground here -- the Russians did not do anything in South Ossetia that the U.S. did not do in Kosovo. And just as Kosovo wasn't worth starting WWIII for Russia, South Ossetia is not worth starting WWIII for the United States. If this were a chess game, both sides just pushed their king's pawn forward by two spaces in reciprocal moves. Now we get to wait and see the next move in this geopolitical chess game... and oh, too bad about all those dead bodies, huh?

-- Badtux the Geopolitical Penguin

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Did Bush tell Georgia it was okay to attack South Ossetia?

In a word: no. Yes, it's likely that lower echelons of the CIA and State Department were aware that Georgia intended to attack South Ossetia. But no, Bush didn't in any way give them "permission" to do so, and it is unlikely that his aides had any understanding of why the lower echelons were sending them this information about some place they'd never heard of. Saying that Bush somehow gave Georgia "permission" to invade South Ossetia ascribes far too much competence to George W. Bush and the people around him.

In the end, George W. Bush is a tool of ideologues who have as their goal the destruction of the United States Government, which they feel is too much an impairment to their ability to make profits off of the suffering of other people. He is not a Putin or even a Medvedev who controls the machinery of state, Bush doesn't control even what he has for breakfast. Anyhow, one of the side effects of this is that the competence of major arms of the U.S. government has been destroyed by driving out competent people and replacing them with incompetents who can then be used as an excuse to dismantle portions of the U.S. government. An example is the U.S. Secretary of State, who as National Security Advisor was warned that al Qaeda was about to strike inside the United States by hijacking airliners and, rather than issue a directive to the domestic law enforcement services to be on the lookout for al Qaeda operatives trying to hijack airliners, instead feebly asked the people at the meeting where she was warned to gather more information. As her reward for incompetence she was made Secretary of State. That is the sort of incompetent person that is appointed to positions in the U.S. government today. Even if the CIA advisors in Georgia noticed the preparations to invade Ossetia, there was literally nobody competent in the U.S. government that they could communicate that to, all the competent people have been fired or pushed out into retirement as part of the plan to destroy the U.S. government...

So in any event, the notion that the U.S. somehow "allowed" Georgia to do this does not pass the laugh test to those of us who have viewed with dismay the dismantling of major portions of the U.S. government over the past seven years. Most of the upper echelons of the U.S. government are no longer competent to walk and chew gum at the same time, much less evaluate urgent notices from CIA operatives overseas... and these people have nuclear weapons. That is scary. Very scary.

I notice that people outside the United States ascribe more competence to the U.S. government than it deserves. I suspect that this happened to the Georgians -- they got mixed signals from the morons at the U.S. State Department and decided that this was a deliberate action on the part of the U.S. government to say that the U.S. would back them if they took action without actually saying so. Sad for all the dead Georgians and Ossetians, this ascribing of competence to the U.S. government was utterly wrong. The U.S. government is a bunch of morons with nuclear weapons, and should be depended upon for nothing more than invading the wrong country (the only country in the Middle East that did *not* contribute to the WTC destruction) and sending aid to "democracies" that boil and skin alive their own people.

-- Badtux the Geopolitical Penguin

Friday, August 08, 2008

Silly Chinese think they're equal to Americans

When Chinese passengers land at LAX (Los Angeles International), their luggage is searched and they endure a three-hour wait to get through Customs.

When American journalists land in Beijing, their luggage is searched and they endure a three-hour wait to get through Customs. Oh the horror!.

Silly untermenschen. Why, next thing you know they'll produce some document whose second paragraph starts with "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal ...", which clearly would be a Communist document and anti-American. Sheesh!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

It has started

Missouri illegally denies people right to vote, arrests someone for the crime of trying to legally cast his ballot.

Just as a coincidence, I happen to have a photograph of the Missouri Elections Board in session:

Yippee, I just love how this country has just come soooo far since the 1950's when it comes to voting rights, yay!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Question for tighty righties

You are fond of saying that Obama espouses "socialist policies". Can you please point to me one of those socialist policies? Because I read Obama's web site, which has enough policy proposals on it to make a penguin's head spin, and all I found was centerist policy proposals based upon using the free market to solve problems (with a bit of a nudge from government in terms of tax breaks, incentives, etc.). Just in case you're fuzzy on the concept of socialism, socialism is the notion that government itself should directly provide employment, goods, and services -- tax breaks and incentives have nothing to do with socialism.

So can you point me to one web page on Obama's web site that espouses a socialist policy, i.e., that proposes government replacing private enterprise in providing employment, goods, and services? This penguin is willing to believe, but he's kinda a Missouri mule -- ya gotta show him the money or he don't believe ya. So -- got a link?

-- Badtux the Skeptical Penguin


I was recently assigned a new team of engineers, completely green, not familiar with the computer language of the application in question. After three weeks of tutoring, code reviews, etc, they just checked their first two modifications to the system into the source control system. Not minor ones either, these were major critical pieces of functionality needed for release.

I feel like a proud daddy who just saw his baby take her first steps...

-- Badtux the Managing Penguin

Darth Cheney to remind America to vote Republican

It was announced today that Darth Cheney will speak at the Republican National Convention. It is expected that Darth Cheney will remind Americans that voting for the Jedi Obi-wan Obama will result in terrorists swimming the Atlantic Ocean from Iraq, sneaking into their bedrooms in the middle of the night, and killing them all. The smell of brimstone is expected not to bother the assembled Republicans, given their propensity for raping young girls (and their mothers), having inappropriate relationships with teenage interns, accosting various strangers in gay gloryholes (but they aren't gay, no sirree!), and having sex with mules, box turtles, and the occasional basset hound.

However, the pathetic stench of flop sweat emitting from the Bush Administration may cause many Republicans to skip Darth Cheney's speech and instead catch it on their hotel room's television... after all, who wishes to be in the audience when someone whose popularity rating is only barely above that of genital herpes is speaking?

No word on whether Darth Cheney will bring his imperial storm troopers with him, or will simply use The Force to strangle anybody who does not appropriately clap and cheer upon prompt...

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Problem making my bed

It's lumpy. Of course, we all know why that is...

-- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

Omens and portents

My subconscious is trying to tell me something. I got woken up several times by nightmares last night. The basic theme of all of them was, "evil is coming. Run and hide."

What exactly is tickling my subconscious, I have a bad feeling I'll find out in the coming weeks...

-- Badtux the Omen-scrying Penguin

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Another sick Republican motherfucker

Literally, in this case. Maru explains.

It's all about power. These Republicans are Republicans because they want power, they want dominion, they want to rule. They don't want to govern. They don't care about governing. They want only the ability to fuck anybody or anything they want in any way they want, without repercussion.

Missouri state Rep. Scott Muschany(R-Sickfuck) is the latest of the pervert Repubs to be arrested. He was indicted today in connection with a reported sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl on May 17, the day after this year's Legislative session ended.The alleged victim is the daughter of a state employee that Snotty was apparently romantically involved with -- despite being married. So let's get this straight. Scott "Family Values" Muschany was two-timing his wife by fucking his co-worker. AND he was two-timing his co-worker by... fucking his co-worker's 14 year old daughter? Sick sick sick sick SICK.

But I guess you can't expect better from a Republican...

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Make cupcakes, not war

Chocolate cupcakes

I'm a bit hungry, so in honor of this cool t-shirt I went out on the Internets and found this generic recipe for chocolate cupcakes:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 ounces melted unsweetened baking chocolate
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

Combine all ingredients into large mixing bowl. Mix at low speed for 30 seconds, and scrape bowl. Mix at high speed for 3 minutes.

Fill liners 1/2 to 2/3 full of batter. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool 10 minutes in pans then remove from pan, and place on wire racks to cool completely.

Frost when chocolate cupcakes are completely cool.


-- Badtux the Soon-to-be-more-rotund Penguin

The continuing collapse of the U.S. health care system

Having stomach cramps and are afraid it's your appendix? It's 3am on a Saturday morning and your regular doctor isn't going to be available until next week? Well, head on down to the emergency room... but be prepared to wait. Because while the number of people in the United States has gone from 270,000,000 to 300,000,000 over the past ten years, the number of emergency rooms in America has declined from 4800 to 4500 over that same period of time -- and the number of hospital beds has declined also, from 1,465,828 in 1975, to 1,213,327 in 1990, to 946,997 in 2005. So people back up in the fewer emergency rooms waiting for an open bed in one of the fewer beds available in the medical system.

As Anne Zieger points out, where healthcare is concerned, supply and demand apparently just don't work the way they do in other industries. If demand is going up because a shortage of primary care doctors is leading to even insured people going to emergency rooms for primary care, you would expect there to be an explosion in the number of emergency rooms, not a decline. Supply should increase to match the demand, right? Right?

Except that it doesn't work like that in real life as vs. Republican masturbatory delusions. The reason it doesn't work like that is because of two things: a) health care eats up 15% of the U.S. GDP and sick people don't make 15% of U.S. GDP, meaning that sick people are not capable of paying the full cost of their care, meaning that hospitals can't get emergency room costs reimbursed by the people using their emergency rooms because you just can't squeeze 15% of the U.S. GDP out of people who don't make 15% of the U.S. GDP, and b) insurance companies are refusing to pay for the care that they contracted to pay for, and government isn't making them pay. So emergency rooms, which should be a profit center for hospitals, are instead a massive drain on their financial resources. So no more emergency rooms get built. Not because of lack of demand. Not because of lack of money -- health insurance compannies are making record profits. But because health insurers are refusing to live up to their contractual obligations, and the U.S. government is letting them do so.

Add in the 18% of emergency room visits by the uninsured, and you have a health care crisis. And it's a health care crisis that's 100% predictable. Health insurers have a financial motivation to not pay out claims, so unless there's government intervention to force them to pay out claims, they don't pay. At one time they wouldn't have dared, because from 1968 to 1980 or so they were under warning that if they refused to live up to their obligations, the Medicare system created by LBJ for old farts would be extended to everybody (i.e., Medicare For All) and put them out of business. But nowdays they seem to believe they can simply refuse to live up to their contractual obligations and get away with it. Hmm, I wonder why that is? (Hint: Follow the money... straight into Congress's pockets).

Regarding the current Presidential race: Neither candidate has a plan that will do anything about the continuing collapse of the U.S. health care system, a system that was the best in the world in 1975 but now can only barely provide minimal care for most people under the best of conditions (i.e., no plagues or epidemics) and which would totally collapse if stressed by any major disease outbreak. John McCain continues to utter nonsense about the "magic of the marketplace" despite the fact that the marketplace has utterly failed to provide sufficient emergency rooms and hospital beds to meet the nation's needs, and Barack Obama's plan privatizes the profits of health insurers while socializing the costs (by having government take on the expenses of being reinsurer for people who use more than X$ of services due to need for expensive surgeries or cancer treatments or etc.) while doing nothing to force insurers to live up to their contractual obligations. Both candidates get an "F" from this health care penguin for their health care plans. But McCain gets an "F-", and I'll talk about that one later...

-- Badtux the Health Care Penguin