Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Toronto cops protect against terrorist threat of...

Role-playing game participants clad in chain mail and carrying blunted padded swords and arrows. Because, y'know, if LARP'ers weren't arrested and their evil weapons seized, then this might happen:

The horror! Oh the horror!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Another gardening question

So... what kind of plant is this? It appears to be a sprawling vine of some sort, with red trumpet-shaped flowers. Hmm. (Note - you can click on the photo for a bigger version).

- Badtux the Gardening Penguin

It's a great time to be a girl

Cool summer camps abound. Rock on!

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Attention all thugs and bullies

Get your kicks by beating people with a baseball bat? Love shooting people as they lay on the ground restrained by your fellow thugs? But you're not willing to go to jail to get your woodies on? Don't despair! Join your local police force! Then you can beat anybody you want to beat, anytime you want to beat him, for as long as you want to beat him, and pay no price at all -- as long as you select an appropriate victim such as a mentally ill veteran. Feel like using a high-tech cattle prod to electrocute someone for hopping over a subway gate? Never fear, being a member of your local transit police lets you do that anytime you wish! Beating and cattle prodding people doesn't get your pecker hard enough? Want to actually kill people? Don't worry, as long as the person you kill is black and you practice saying "I thought he had a gun!" and crying on demand for long enough, you'll never see a day in jail.

So, all you thugs and bullies out there: Now you know how to be a thug and bully -- and get away with it! What a deal! For you. Not for the rest of us little people, but hey, we're just the sheep, to be culled by you at will, right? Right?!

-- Badtux the Sovok Penguin

Almost a decade of lying desperately

Our new military governor of Afghanistan, General Julius Petraeus Maximus, says a brazen daylight attack on a NATO base means the Taliban are getting desperate. For some definition of "desperate" that includes controlling parts of the country that hold more than half of Afghanistan's population, I suppose. Just another day in the chronicles of desperation...

But never fear, General Julius Petraeus Maximus's legions will pacify Germanica any day, any day now, I say! And once they turn their eyes back homeward after their 20 year tour of duty is up, I'm sure they'll fit back into civil society just fine, yo...

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Nature girl

Okay, so this one has ear-wormed its way into my playlist, so might as well do it for you guys too. This is Bjork, "Bachelorette", from her album Homogenic. The gal is seriously weird, yo.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Unintentionally hilarious headlines

I'm a member of my local FreeCycle group where we recycle each other's unwanted items to keep them out of the landfill. For example, I got a bedroom bureau/drawers with a broken leg, and turned it into tool storage in my garage by taking my circular saw and chopping off the other three legs (bwahhahaha!). Their software has an interesting trait: It chops off subject lines at a given number of characters. Leading to this subject line:

[SantaClaraFreecycle] OFFER: Microwaves, moving, children

Yeah, I think my Mom felt that way sometimes when my brother and I were growing up. Especially the day we burned down half the backyard and almost got the garage while testing our campfire-building skills, heh!

-- Badtux the Easily Amused Penguin

Drugged pillows

Pillow Army with their song "Codeine". These youngsters from the Pacific Northwest are starting to get a bit of attention with their strings-driven rockers. This one is available from iTunes, or select music stores in the Seattle area on their EP "To Comfort and Destroy".

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Monday, June 28, 2010

Texas GOP wants to outlaw finance industry

Texas GOP issues platform calling for banning of anal sex. Since the finance industry is currently engaged in ass-raping America for 41% of America's profits (as compared to an average 16% from 1973 to 1985), clearly the Republican platform is calling for outlawing the finance industry.

Or maybe not, since it's only a virtual ass raping. Hmm....

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

The Six Million Dollar....


"Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to build the world's first bionic cat. Oscar will be that cat. Better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster. "

I, for one, welcome our new furry bionic overlords...

-- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

But in more optimistic news...

the Department of Homeland Security's latest No Fly List is protecting us from those terrorist six-year-old Hannah Montana fans. Here is little terrorist Alyssa Thomas with her Musical Weapon of Terroristic Terror: The horror! Oh the horror! Protect me, oh Big Brother!

-- Badtux the Terror Penguin

The new orthodoxy

Whether it is the economy, Iraq, or Afghanistan, the new orthodoxy described by Paul Krugman holds true:

It is, instead, the victory of an orthodoxy that has little to do with rational analysis, whose main tenet is that imposing suffering on other people is how you show leadership in tough times.

Too bad about all those dead Iraqis and Afghans. Too bad about the unemployed who are having their unemployment benefits cut off, the school kids who wanted to take classes during the summer who are adrift on the streets right now because their schools don't have money for summer school, and so on and so forth. We must show leadership by imposing suffering on them, yo!

Have you ever noticed that the man proposing imposing suffering always proposes imposing it on other people, not himself? Sort of like the man who says to the unemployed, "there are plenty of jobs, if you're willing to work for less." But don't ask that man for a job, or for the name of someone who has one of those jobs, because he neither has a job to offer himself, nor knows anybody else who is hiring. His knowledge of the existence of jobs is purely theoretical rather than one which he has any personal first-hand knowledge of, sort of like knowledge of the existence of unicorns and cotton candy trees.

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Thought for the day

Bud Light Lime is the waterboarding of beer.

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Senator Robert Byrd dead at 92

Rest in peace, ye olde warrior. He was the only voice in the Senate questioning the Chimperor's march to war, and all too prescient when he called the war resolution "Bush's Gulf of Tonkin resolution" -- given that he'd voted for the original, he shoulda known. And he did.

-- Badtux the News Penguin


By now you should be getting the connections that drive my musical tastes. From Nick Drake to Sandy Denny to... uhm... Elliott Smith.

This is "Between the Bars", off the album Either/Or.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Don't tax you, don't tax me, ...

EBM points out that governments are turning to higher and higher traffic fines/fees to pay for basic services because of the refusal of the general public to raise taxes on themselves to pay for the services they demand from their government. What, you say there is no free lunch, that if we want to have government services we must pay for them? Heresy, heresy I say! Don't tax you, don't tax me, tax that suspicious looking feller over there behind that tree! Oh wait, no, that feller happens to own most of the politicians in town, so we can't do that, can we? Heh.

At which point the tighty righty interjects,

Here's a thought. How about we cut some spending.

Sure! So what spending do you want to cut? Spending on regulators for gulf drilling? Yeah, that worked out well. Spending for defense? Your ilk shits your tighty whities every time we suggest that, even though defense is over 50% of the federal government's discretionary budget when you add in the war spending. Spending for unemployment insurance? Uhm, these folks paid into the unemployment insurance fund for all their working lives with the promise that if they needed it, they'd get unemployment compensation while they looked for a job, your ilk sure likes breaking your promises. Shall we cut spending for children's health care insurance and watch children die? Well yeah, I know that gives tighty whities like, the biggest erections of all time, they just stroke their rods at the thought, tighty righties just *love* the thought of people dying (preferably brown people, but they'll stroke to children dying too, but *never* fetuses, fetuses are God's special little ugly monkeys).... oh I know! We'll cut Medicare! Those wrinkly old prunes ought to just have the sense to die when they get sick like they used to back before Medicare! (50% of our elders had no health insurance before Medicare was passed, and basically no access to health care if they got sick).

Or cops! We don't need police departments anyhow, because you, a pasty-ass soft white cubicle dweller, are perfectly capable of taking on vicious criminals with that .22 caliber pistol in your dresser drawer that you've never, ever fired but hey, the people on Westerns manage to do it, so how hard can it be? And fire departments, let's cut fire departments, because after all, if your house catches on fire you should have just installed a fire sprinkler system that would have put it out so if it burns down it's your own darn fault, right?! Too bad about your *neighbor's* house that burned down because there was no fire department to keep pumping water on its roof to keep the embers from your house from catching it on fire...

Or maybe... just maybe... being the OECD nation with the lowest taxes of all major economies isn't a healthy place to be? I mean, fuck. Even SOUTH KOREA and JAPAN have a higher percentage of their GDP going to taxes than the United States! How fucked up is that?!

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin


Fairport Convention, with Sandy Denny singing "Who knows where the time goes". I'm listening to Richard Thompson's electric guitar sort of winding around Sandy's voice in a restrained yet interesting way and thinking of how I'd play that part if I ever were in a band with a singer as strong as Sandy...

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Sandy Denny is one of those singers who most folks who aren't of a certain age have never heard of. Unlike some other contemporaries who similarly died at an early age, Sandy's best-known work at the time of her accidental death in 1978 was with the folk-rockers Fairport Convention, with whom she did three albums as lead singer, and the band existed both before and after her presence in it so at the time, it didn't seem to be a big deal.

But Sandy Denny was also a singer-songwriter in her own right, and did several quite good solo albums during her lifetime. The 1970's weren't a good time for a folk singer -- remember, this is the era when metal and disco originated -- so these albums were overlooked during her lifetime. But today, some folks are starting to rediscover her work...

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Friday, June 25, 2010

The truth gives Republicans the vapors

Republicans are deliberately trying to sabotage the economy, states a Democratic Senator from Michigan after a Republican filibuster kills Federal aid to states plus kills unemployment benefits for 5.29 million of the 9.6 million Americans receiving employment benefits.

So, starting next week, millions of Americans will no longer have enough money to buy bread and water for their supper (because that's all the pitiful "unemployment benefits" offered here in the USA will buy), and states will have to fire 40% or more of their employees, adding yet *more* unemployed people to starve in the streets. And this is all according to plan, according to the leader of the Republican Party, Rush Limbaugh, who publically has stated that the Republican plan is for Obama to fail.

And now the Republicans are having the vapors, the vapors I say, over Senator Debbie Stabenow's stating of what their very own leader said was the plan. So it goes... "hypocrisy" and "Republican" go together like "macaroni" and "cheese", yo!

- Badtux the Unsurprised Penguin

BP burning sea turtles

And in other news, apparently BP employees have been spotted stealing lollipops from toddlers.

Well, not yet. Just waitin' for it.

BTW, yes, a) the top hat is back, for whatever good it's going to do -- the blowout preventer is now leaning significantly, and if it breaks off the casing entirely, we have an oil volcano at the bottom of the sea, and b) the relief well is within 1,000 feet of being where it needs to be to shut down the gusher. Let's hope that the casing of the gusher is intact enough that it'll hold the mud and not let the mud ooze out into the surrounding rock formations, otherwise the only thing that'll stop the gusher is the final bleedout of the reservoir -- which BP at one time estimated to hold 2 billion barrels of oil.

- Badtux the Oily Penguin


Mencken and The Mighty Fang catch some zzz's on a lazy Sunday morning...

-- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

Blinded by the sun

Nick Drake with "Things behind the Sun", off of his album Pink Moon. He walked into the studio at midnight with his guitar, started playing and singing into a microphone, and walked out 4 hours later with an album in the can, and walked into depression, insanity, and, finally, death. Some things just shouldn't be seen if you wish to remain sane...

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Libertarian lifeguards

If these children had really wanted to live, they would have saved themselves. We must not protect children from the consequences of their actions, otherwise children will not learn to avoid drowning. Ronald Reagan would weep in Heaven if this lifeguard interfered with these swimmer’s God-given right to drown themselves.


-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin


A prayer

The world's most unlucky music artists, Neil Halstead, Rachel Goswell, and Ian McCutcheon, with another of their beautiful songs, this one in a more Nick Drake vein. This one is in their stripped-down Mojave 3 incarnation, and is called "A Prayer for the Paranoid" off of their 2000 album, Excuses for Travelers.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

And on a lighter side....

Can anybody identify this large rambling bush for me? It has heart-shaped serrated leaves, pendulous purple flowers, rambles like a rambling rose, and seems to like the shady spot between the house and the fence.

-- Badtux the Gardening Penguin

And the top hat is gone...

Oil now spewing unhindered into Gulf.

While I'm not expecting Preznit ObamaMan to swim down to the oil leak and plug it up personally with his mighty powers of HopeyChangey, it would be nice if he'd get someone besides BP to work out ways to collect oil and stop the leak, because BP (because they're paying for it) has every incentive to cheap out. The notion that BP is the only people with the expertise to do this is nonsense -- BP relies on the same contractors as everybody else, BP has geologists on staff but that's about it, everything else is contracted out to people like Halliburton and Schlumberger who do the same work for Exxon-Mobil, Texaco, etc. All it would take would be a contract (and a bill to BP to pay for it)...

-- Badtux the Oil Penguin

The New American Police State

In the comments below on my story about how the U.S. was a prison state with almost 1/4th of the world's prisoners despite having less than 5% of the world's population, Jazzbumpa linked to a guy in Chile who pointed out that the U.S. today looks an awful lot like Chile under Pinochet's police state. There is the same deal where if the President declares you to be an Enemy of the State (or a "terrorist organization"), then anybody who talks to you can similarly be jailed as an Enemy of the State. There is the rubber stamp judiciary which rubber stamps all actions of the Supreme Leaders when it comes to declaring Enemies of the State, and the same gulags into which people are disappeared if they are declared Enemies of the State. The forms differ (some of the gulags are outsourced overseas via "extraordinary rendition", for example), the Presidents change out from time to time, but the substance remains the same -- the United States is a police state.

So... why don't we hear more about this? Well, as I pointed out to JzB, it's because the majority of Americans want to live in a police state. It makes them feel safe, knowing that Big Brother Police State is busy beating down on "those" people -- you know, those people that make them feel uncomfortable, people who are dusky, people who advocate too stridently, people from other countries, people who are, well, NOT LIKE THEM. It's the same reason Saddam stayed in charge in Iraq. Yeah, he was a brutal dictator... but he kept the streets safe. As it turns out, the people of Iraq had plenty of guns and ammunition to overthrow Saddam if they'd so desired... but the majority of Iraqis wanted Saddam. And if Saddam had been an American President rather than Iraqi... the majority of Americans would have wanted him too.

WASF, yeah... but WASF because the majority of Americans are, to put it bluntly, fucking idiots who don't give a shit about democracy and freedom other than to give them occasional lip service. After all, who can worry about those sorts of things when there's a new episode of Survivor:Afghanistan on the air? Sheesh, priorities, folks, priorities, we'll worry about that whole "freedom" thing after we find out who gets voted off the helicopter!

- Badtux the Waddling Penguin

Not so nice

Madness stays classy with their song Sugar and Spice. I like their latest formal look (as vs. their earlier sloppy kids look), it gives their songs a bit of an added weight. Here they're doing "Sugar and Spice", off of their album The Liberty of Norton Folgate. Funny how divorce can inspire songs like this one...

-- Badtux the Muic Penguin

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I'm in need of some chocolate therapy

I made the mistake of answering "Yes" when iTunes asked me if I wanted to update my iPhone to the latest OS. Since then, I've been in a restore-reboot loop, with occasional halfass-working iPhone.

So right now I'm about to restore again... but this time, I'm going to tell iTunes to set it up as a new iPhone, without restoring any settings. It appears that the update is fucked big time, it restores about half your data then goes into an endless loop when it tries to restore your contacts. So much for that vaunted Apple reliability, if Sprint had the EVO 4G in stock I'd be on my way to Radio Shack now to buy one...

So anyhow, I just baked some chocolate brownies from Ghirardelli mix... I need some chocolate therapy, big time!

-- Badtux the Frustrated Penguin And therapy is well underway...

California is not Greece

As you know, Greece's national debt is approaching junk bond status, and Greece's population wants oodles of government services but is unwilling to pay taxes to support them. Sounds just like California, you say. Well, except for two important differences:

  1. California's economy is FIVE TIMES LARGER than that of Greece, and
  2. Greece's budget deficit is running 6-7% of GDP, while California's is running at.... uhm.... around 1%.
Yes. 1%. 1% of California GDP. California could close up its budget deficit gap with a whole 1% tax.

Why they don't do it? Hint: Starts with an "R", and last syllable rhymes with "can't". The Party of No strikes again!

-- Badtux the Budgetary Penguin

Summer wind

Anna Ternheim is a Swedish singer-songwriter who performs in English. Sounds like a straight-up fact, but what is interesting is how she can take what could be a maudlin idea and present it so well in a language that is not her first language. This is a simple, beautiful, and sad song that works so well...

"Summer Rain", off her 2008 album Leaving on a Mayday. Enjoy.

- Badtux the Music Penguin

Okay, she's blond, not a redhead, JzB -- what can I say, I ran out of redheads?

Note#2: I am having technical difficulties with my music queue, *two* vids showed up today! The other one has now been moved to the end of the queue. My apologies for the issues these past two days, hopefully they are sorted out now.

Monday, June 21, 2010

National Pork Board thinks unicorns are real

That's the only conclusion I can reach, given that they sent a cease and desist to ThinkGeek over this product that was introduced on April 1, 2010:

Stupidity. It's the other white meat :). (As vs. sparkly reddish unicorn meat, that is).

Besides... canned? As one of the commenters on the above news article points out: by Heliophilos June 21, 2010 4:54 PM PDT Canned? That's disgusting!!! I will only buy grass-fed, free range, and fresh. Canned, ick!

Might as well eat Spam, at least you won't poop sparkles afterwards :).

-- Badtux the Amused Penguin

It's Pride Week in San Francisco!

Yeppers, accidentally learned about that on another blog I browse :). So anyhow, yesterday I made fun of the gay dude next door for preening for his boyfriend for four hours shirtless while washing, waxing, and polishing his vulva err Volvo. I mean, c'mon. Volvos are typically driven by crunchy granola lesbian types, not by gay DUDES! Have a little pride, man! So, what kind of car does a gay dude drive? Well, judging from the fahhhbulous gay guys I've encountered over the years, the #1 gay car has to be....

Ford Mustang convertible. On a beach. With beach volleyball courts nearby so you can preen for your boyfriend in action shots. Don't believe me? Just ask Mustang Bobby. I'm sure there's other cars that can make the list (hmm, Volkswagen New Beetle -- that bud vase is just fahhhbulous, eh?). You can even mention a few of them in comments if you wish. But VOLVO?! Doesn't even BEGIN to make that list, yo!

-- Badtux the Time-wasting Penguin

J.D. Hayworth, corrupt white-wing tool

Turns out that ole' J.D. made a pitch for a free government money scam operation. John McCain may have made a cranky pandering fool of himself with his race against Barack Obama, but McCain at least has only tried to scam votes, not money, out of his public.

-- Badtux the "Where does the GOP find these crooks?!" Penguin

To be free

Sinéad O'Connor with a beautiful ballad, "A Perfect Indian" off of her 1994 album Universal Mother.

I'm not quite sure what it's about, but the heart and soul shines through. Good music is like that... it's more than technique, more than mechanics, it's about things that are far beyond that, I think.

EDIT: OOPS! Sorry about the video not showing up, for some reason it was set to 10PM, not 1AM!

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

What kind of flower is this?

It was almost dead when I moved into the new place, but it resurrected itself when I gave it water. But what is it? Curious penguins are.... curious!

-- Badtux the Gardening Penguin

Random reminder

America is a prison state, with 23% of the world's prisoners despite less than 5% of the world's population. Some "Land of the Free", snort! Yeah, Freedom(tm), for some definition of the word that looks suspiciously like the old Soviet Union...

Don't feed me that line of bullshit about the "Land of the Free" as long as it's illegal in at least three states to record evidence of police misconduct... free nations don't need such restrictions on recording the police. Only police states need such restrictions. Just sayin'.

-- Badtux the Sovok Penguin

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Cat 1, Penguin 0

So I came up with a bright idea for dealing with my furry pillow problem: Prop my pillows on edge so that the kittehs had no flat surface to fur! The result? Well, see for yourself:

Fur-bearin' varmint simply nuzzled one of the pillows down flat, and settled in for a nap!

BTW, taking photos of a black cat is a situation fraught with problems. Yes, The Mighty Fang is black. But I promise you, he's not so black that he simply sucks all light out of the picture, he's actually a shiny black, who gleams somewhat iridescently. Despite what this photo seems to say.

-- Badtux the Cat-furred Penguin

War for oil

Alt-country rocker Kathleen Edwards with her song "Oil Man's War", off the album Asking for Flowers.

You know what it's about. But she does it well.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Random thoughts

I drive by a place called "Bruce Lee Hair Salon". I think I'd be afraid to have my hair done there. Some mean looking dudes in black might storm into the place then the hair stylists assume the chop-suey position and chop chop kick while I try to hide under the barber chair, heh. And if you don't tip, do they karate-chop your ear off? Not interested in finding out :).

Have you ever noticed that if you see a guy who isn't in his 20's riding a sport bike, invariably this guy is short and pudgy, and probably balding under his helmet? Which reminds me of the typical Hummer driver, now that I'm thinking about it. I got cut off by one of them while driving down the street. I swear that he looked like he was utterly swallowed up by that wallowing mass of steel, dude looked like a fat pudgy accountant or somethin', and of course his wallowing steed had never seen dirt other than from a distance. Testosterone substitute, anybody? And what will pudgy wimps do now that Hummer is gone?

Getting close to having everything unpacked, then I have to furnish the guest room so relatives can come visit. My intent is to furnish it with third-hand free (or almost) stuff off of Craigslist so that visiting relatives feel welcome, but not *too* welcome, if ya know what I mean :). Or else I can just make it the music room, put the patio table and patio chairs in there and pile all my music gear on top of it. Hmm.

The kittehs are back on their diet, and they're not happy about it. Nevermind that their fat bellies wobble back and forth as they jog up and down the central hallway, they're starving to death, starving they say, at the top of their lungs! I held out until 5:45PM, then gave them their daily kibble.

Had chicken pho for supper. I was hungry, but didn't know what for. I went up and down El Camino Real a couple of miles before I went back home... and stopped at the pho shop that's four blocks from my digs. Funny how that works, huh?

Dude next door spent like four hours shirtless, showing off his hairless muscular chest and rippled abs, while washing, waxing, and polishing his vulva today. Whoops, Volvo. My bad. I realize that gay guys sometimes feel like showing off for their boyfriends -- just look at George Reker's rentboy lifting his luggage -- but c'mon. It's a fucking VOLVO. Not even a *NEW* one. Dude. That was the most pathetic display, like, evah. If you're going to be an exhibitionist, at least do it with a car that *deserves* it!

Got a fair amount done today. Put pet-proof screening on the front screen door (yes, TMF had climbed it and ripped gaping holes on it, so I rolled new screening in), then put some pegboard on the one remaining unfinished stretch of wall in the garage and started unpacking tools on the shelves and onto the pegboard and onto the various nails that someone else had pounded into the walls of the garage. Emptied a few more boxes too... though four boxes behind me are making me feel guilty about typing rather than unpacking.

Damn, now I remember why I hate moving. I have just too much crap. Gah!

-- Badtux the Harried Penguin

One night stand

Songs: Ohia (Jason Molina) with his song "Tigress", off the album Lioness. Another great song by one of the best (and least known) musicians out there.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Friday, June 18, 2010

Properly furred

All pillows must be properly furred before use. What, you didn't know that?! You should just ask Mencken and the Mighty Fang, they take turns doing the duty!

-- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

I am the Walrus

Obama administration still approving drilling plans that promise to protect walruses in the Gulf of Mexico -- despite the fact that there hasn't been any walrus in the Gulf in over 2 million years.

If we had a President, rather than an empty suit making speeches, maybe there'd be a real moratorium on Gulf drilling until the industry could provide real response capabilities for dealing with blowouts -- the most important of which is the drilling of a relief well to bottom-kill depth *before* it's needed, rather than requiring 6 months to do the job *after* a blowout. Oh wait, that would cost money and be bad for business, thus can't be done, despite the fact that the Canadians and Norwegians require exactly that. So I guess we have to be satisfied with protecting the rare Gulf of Mexico walrus. Koo koo kachoo.

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

A girlfriend

Kaki King shows that she can do something other than highly technical guitar god stuff, with a simple strummed love song to "Jessica".

-- Badtux the Guitar Penguin

Thursday, June 17, 2010

What's the matter with Israel?

73% of Israelis basically endorse genocide of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, or at least a state-sanctioned apartheid that basically keeps Palestinians dependent upon what meager rations that Israel deems to dole out to them. Gaza, apparently, is going to be treated like a late 1890's U.S. Indian reservation, where the natives are exiled and systematically starved to death.

Israel is clearly a nation that has gone off of its moral tethers. Even in the United States, one of the most violent nations on the planet, support for genocide has declined since the 1890's to the point where it never cracks the crazification factor of around 27%. What in the world has happened to Israel, to have such a blithe disregard for other people's fundamental human rights?

The Stormfront crowd, of course, would claim that this is because the Jewish faith is inherently racist and Jews are inherently greedy people who just want to steal everybody else's land and money. But this is clearly contraindicated by, well, facts. Jewish intellectuals and philanthropists were prime movers of the American Civil Rights movement that freed America's minority populations from state-sanctioned apartheid, and provided much of the funding that allowed the NAACP to challenge apartheid before the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1950's.

So clearly the notion that Jews are inherently greedy racists doesn't pass the laugh and giggle test. Furthermore, while Israel's founders were, by the accounts of their own historians, not at all loathe to engage in massive acts of ethnic cleansing in order to free up space for Jews in Palestine, there is no indication that they were actively hostile to the Arabs they were pushing off the land... rather, they needed a place to go from Hitler's concentration camps where they were still interned in 1947 (except relabeled "relocation camps" and with the guns turned outwards to protect them from the Europeans who wanted to finish the job Hitler started), they had nowhere else to go, so they were going to make a place for themselves, period. Too bad about the Arabs pushed off the land, but there just wasn't any good alternative for them, given widespread discrimination against Jews at the time such that no other nation would take them. But racism? Not really, indeed many of those first Israelis spoke Arabic, and there was serious talk about making Arabic the second official language of Israel.

So what happened? I have no way of knowing, but I can speculate. First, that generation of Israelis is now either dead or so elderly as to be close to death. For someone who survived Buchenwald, some Arab asshole blowing himself up in the middle of a bus is, like, "eh, so what." When you've seen your fellow Jews piled up like cordwood in piles of the dead, a spot of terrorism doesn't cause fear... you've seen the real thing, and it just makes the asshole look like an asshole, not like someone you should be afraid of. But today's generation of Israelis were raised in a time of peace and prosperity -- the last time anybody ever threatened the existence of Israel was 1973, almost 40 years ago, and the younger generation of Israelis have never known any war that Israel itself did not start -- and, lacking that personal first-hand knowledge of real existential threats, they freak out when some asshole fires an unguided overgrown bottle rocket out of Gaza City at an empty field somewhere, especially if the overgrown unguided bottle rocket misses the empty field and manages to hit a school or something. In other words, the younger generation of Israel is a generation of pussies -- not much different from the Baby Boomers here in the U.S., now that I think about it.

Second... the Russian influence. Russia has never been a warm and welcoming place. Death is always around the corner in Russia, either from the bitter climate, or from the series of incompetent and/or brutal governments that have run the place over the years. Russians are xenophobic to a fault, the "Putin Youth" in Moscow today make the Hitler Youth look downright multicultural, if you're a black man be prepared for the fact that many restaurants in Moscow simply will not serve you or, indeed, even allow you through the door. Russians also, because of their history, don't attach much value to human life. Human life is cheap in Russia... if the government doesn't get you, the weather or the vodka will.

Some estimates I've seen is that 40% of today's Israeli "Jewish" population is ethnically Russian. The exact percentage is unknown, since the demographics of Israel are classified as a state secret. These people fled the former Soviet Union largely by finding an official to bribe to produce a fake birth certificate for a parent claiming a Yid granny, and Israel turned a blind eye to the widespread document forgery because of the fear of being demographically overwhelmed by the birthrate of their own (non-ethnically-cleansed) Arab population. The Russians, they felt, were at least white Europeans, and maybe if they pretended hard enough to be Jewish, they'd be close enough to the real thing to outweigh the Arab influences. Thing is, these Russians by and large were neither culturally nor ethnically Jewish, and brought their own cultural values with them, amongst which are xenophobia and brutality. Thus the hilarious stories of "Jewish" neo-Nazis in Israel. That's what happens when you try to pretend that Russian thugs are actually Jews... eventually the thug comes out. Anyhow, nobody gets elected to higher office in Israel today without the support of the Russians -- which invariably requires promising to be evenb more brutal and xenophobic than the opposition.

So what now? I have no idea. Clearly the majority of people in today's modern State of Israel are, to put it blankly, racist thugs. But what to do about it? Well... I suppose for a start, quit enabling them. Israel gets over $4B/year in aid from the US, granted, mostly in the form of assistance for buying U.S. military gear, but that's money they don't have to spend out of their own defense budget for bombs and bullets to kill women and children at the beach with. Beyond that, I don't think it's anything for America and Americans to get involved with. Israel has no -- zero -- strategic value to the United States, and if Israel disappeared tomorrow -- or if Israel successfully managed to finish their ethnic cleansing against their Arab population by exterminating the Palestinians -- it would make no -- zero -- difference to America's strategic interests. That's blunt, but true. The United States is not the world's policeman, indeed is well on the way to being a third-world nation itself, and the world will just have to make do without the U.S. around as their mercenaries for hire.

-- Badtux the Practical Penguin

Am I worried about Israel?

That is the question that Mark Kirk (R-Crazyville) asks me, before asking me for a donation for his U.S. Senate race.

Nevermind that this liar Republican dipshit lied about both his military record and his teaching career, a moron so cowardly that he was worried his nursery school students would bring a gun to class... the deal is that I'm electing folks for the Senate of the UNITED STATES of AMERICA, not for ISRAEL. I want someone in office who puts America and Americans first, not Israel. Mark Kirk, on the other hand, puts Israel ahead of America and Americans, to whit (from his email to me):

Thank you for your strong support. Together, we will defend the State of Israel from those who seek her destruction ...

All I gotta ask is this question: What's in it for America and Americans to give a shit about Israel? Because that's what my Congress is supposed to be looking out for -- America and Americans -- because they're the Congress of the UNITED STATES, *NOT* the Congress of some folks overseas who speak some foreign gabble and, like, aren't Americans, doh!

-- Badtux the Patriotic American Penguin

(Note: I give the same answer to the people who say we have to stay in Afghanistan or Iraq "for the good of the Afghans" or "the good of Iraqis". Fuck that shit -- America's goverment is the government of the UNITED STATES, not of some folks overseas who speak some foreign gabble and, like, aren't American, so let them take care of themselves, yo!).

Girl kiss

Huh, I didn't know L7 did riot grrrl as well as straight-up grunge... Dave Grohl, of a then-unknown band called 'Nirvana' (this is Jan 24 1991), is sitting in on drums and is an absolute beast here, and the girls rock too.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Let them eat dumpster scraps

Marie Antoinette: "Let them eat cake"(*)
Rush Limbaugh: Let them eat dumpster scraps.

That's Rush Limbaugh's child nutrition program for poor kids. No, I'm not joking. Really. Not joking.

It's clear Rush hasn't studied history, because if he had, well, he would have remembered what happened to Marie Antoinette. Just sayin'.

-- Badtux the Neck-measurin' Penguin

* Marie Antoinette never said that. That's right, the cake is a lie. But it was certainly well within her mentality, she said plenty of other things over her short life that were similar in nature.

It *IS* your fault

Juan Cole says that the Deepwater Horizon is not your fault because it's a case of regulatory capture, deep-pocket corporations buying legislation in their favor with campaign contributions. Thing is, as I've pointed out repeatedly, every one of those corrupt bastards in Congress or in your local legislature is there because the majority of Americans in their district or state voted for them. We don't live in a tyranny imposed by some evil dicator, we live in a democracy -- and keep voting for the most corrupt person, the person who accepts the most bribes err campaign contributions, despite the fact that it's destroying us as a nation.

Don't blame me, I voted for the hobbit in the California Democratic Presidential primary. He was the only one who refused to accept bribes err campaign contributions from corporate interests. Yet everybody else seems to have voted for the most corrupt candidates in the race, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Huh. Why is that?

I suppose it's because our campaigns have turned into mudfests where each side uses millions of dollars to smear the other side as un-American baby-molesters who probably bathe in the blood of 9 year old virgins every morning, but that only works because Americans let it work. If Americans simply ignored the mud-slinging, did their own research, and voted for the most honest candidate, we wouldn't have this regulatory capture problem. Yet they don't. They allow themselves to be swayed by the most laughable things, like the majority of Americans who voted for George W. Bush (or had no problem with him and thus stayed home) because "he's the kinda guy I'd like to go to a bar and lift a brew with." Nevermind that GWB didn't even drink. That's the mentality of the average American... they vote for an image, not for honesty, integrity, or substance. And there's nobody forcing Americans to do this. They do it because, well, just because they're Americans, fuck yeah, and nobody's gonna tell them they can't vote for Georgey Dry Drunk or Barry Hopey Changey just because Georgey is a draft-dodging moron and Barry is an empty speech-making suit, yo.

Compound this with the destruction Reagan did to our civil service, a destruction that the majority of Americans approved of because "federal employees shouldn't have better retirement options than the rest of us"... before Reagan destroyed the Federal Retirement System, federal employees were fairly honest because they intended to put in their 30 years and then take their FRS retirement, which would suffice to keep them in herring for the rest of their lives, and crooked companies couldn't influence them with bribery offers of cushy jobs if they ruled the company's way because, well, 30 years, dude, no job offer today outweighs the thought of putting in your 30 years and retiring and spending the rest of your life enjoying yourself. But when Reagan destroyed the FRS and instead put federal employees into Social Security and 401(k) plans, suddenly federal employees were bribable -- and they are.

Yet the majority of Americans still support cutting the pay of federal employees and still support cutting the retirement benefits of state and local employees, retirement benefits that are there to keep employees from being bribable. It seems Americans want something for nothing. They want honest bureaucrats, but they aren't willing to tax themselves for the pay and benefits that it takes to keep them honest. This was Reagan's great observation, that Americans want something for nothing and will vote for anybody who tells them they can have something for nothing, and as long as the majority of Americans are that way... yes, it *IS* your fault, America. You fucking morons.

-- Badtux the Moron-observin' Penguin

You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers, these are people of the land, the common clay of the new west. You know... morons. -- The Waco Kid, in Blazing Saddles

A lonesome morning

Townes van Zandt, "I'll Be Here In The Morning". Yet another one of his lonesome lonely songs, just Townes and his guitar and his voice full of hopelessness and sorrow.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

If it's Tuesday....

... it must be time for another speech by Preznit Obama proclaiming that he's Mr. Commander Guy and that the devastation on the Gulf Coast isn't really *that* bad, why, the redfish even come pre-oiled so you don't need to oil your pan anymore!

No action, of course. But the Preznit does give pretty speech, yo. Why, if BP keeps misbehaving they better watch out, because... because... Preznit Commander Guy will give another speech about it! The horror, oh the horror! Why, I'm sure the corporate thugs at BP are just a'shudderin' in their wingtip shoes about that possibility, yessiree...

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin


Alan Wilder (formerly of Depeche Mode), with his project Recoil doing his composition "Grain". Just some ambient music to sooth your day.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Monday, June 14, 2010

Furball just cost me $25

Yeah, The Mighty Fang decided that the rear patio screen was a climbing tree, and ripped big gaping holes in it. So I had to run to Home Cheapo and get some "cat-proof" screen material and spline to replace the torn screen. That was an hour of my time (between buying the screen and rolling it into the frame) that I'll never get back...

You might remember a few posts back where I said I had to reinforce my cracked bedframe with some mending plates to keep it from collapsing. Here is what a mending plate looks like on my bedframe: It's that metal plate you see along the side of the rail. There is a matching one on the side of the leg, inside the rail. On the backside there is already reinforcement, a crossbrace that goes to the other side of the bedframe, which is what kept the leg from collapsing altogether when it split there at the weak spot (the slot) while I was moving the bed around. I figure that with the crossbrace and these two mending plates, this leg ain't goin' nowhere...

So anyhow, I guess I'm a home improvement penguin today. Not that I own a home, sigh...

-- Badtux the Home Improvement Penguin

Bambi is a thug

Just sayin'. Bloody 4-hooved rats are running amok, killing motorcyclists, breaking into bars, and now attempting to break into a jail. I fully expect to hear on the news tomorrow that Bambi did a drive-by shooting outside of a Disney store.

There's only one good place for one of these four-hooved rats, and that's on a barbecue spit. Just sayin'.

-- Badtux the Deer-hatin' Penguin

Hey, if *you* had thousands of dollars worth of damage done to your vehicles thanks to these critters, you'd have a sour disposition towards them too, yo!

And in today's news....

Kyrgyzstan burns. I mentioned at one point in time that people who wished for an armed revolution were crazy, because the aftermath was always tragedy. This is the case here too. The folks who ran the last government out of town at gunpoint and installed an interim government, are now ignoring the government they installed and engaging in a bit of ethnic cleansing of ethnic Uzbeks. Just consider it a prelude to what would happen to Mexican-Americans if the teabaggers seized power at gunpoint...

Yeah yeah, I hear you saying. Yet another one of those trashcanistans doing what transcanistans are always doing (lots of waving of guns and killing people), that's not news. Well, except the U.S. has $1 trillion reasons to care, given that Kyrgyzstan is the main transshipment point for U.S. airborne supplies to Afghanistan.

So, SNAFU (Situation Normal, All Fucked Up). Which brings up the question of, "why is the U.S. mucking around in that part of the world anyhow?" And that's a question I have no answer to, since Osama bin Laden, not the Taliban, attacked the U.S. on 9/11/2001... and as far as I know, Osama is in Pakistan, not Afghanistan.

-- Badtux the Geopolitics Penguin

Demented Dowd

Johnny Dowd is like the demented love child of Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan. This song, "Swamp Woman", is apparently off his album Wake up the Snakes which is available only from, err, his web site. Uhm, to say that labels are not bustin' down his door is an understatement :).

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Sunday, June 13, 2010

And fuck you, Bill Donohue

As you know, I'm not that big a fan of Lady Gaga. I was around when the original Madonna was in her prime, and while Ms. Germanotta does a great update of the whole Madonna act and clearly is a talented performer in her own right, for me it's like, "eh, seen it before." I can understand why the kids who weren't around when Madonna was young go, well, Gaga over Gaga, though. If you've never seen anything like that before, it must seem rather daring and new. And Stef does do it very, very well.

So what am I doing posting a Gaga video, for the second day in a row supplanting the video that *should* be here (which got bumped somewhere later in the month)? Simple: To piss off that asshole Bill Donohue and his one-man "Catholic League", who claims that this video is "anti-Catholic". But I think P.Z. Myers gets the last word here: "...muscular young men gyrating in jackboots and tight shorts and nothing else, the weird headgear, the sadomasochistic imagery, the black leather uniforms, the flaming homoeroticism, and I was thinking, yeah, all that does remind me of Catholicism. I didn't think it was Catholic bashing, though. I thought it was a recruiting video." Heh.

-- Badtux the Catholic Music Penguin

Oh yeah, just to fuck with asshole Bill some more, here's the Dum Dum Girls with their song, "Catholicked":

Now that's some good ole' fashioned girl band rock'n'roll, early 60's style, heh. Even though the song actually dates to, err, 2009.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Notes to self...

  1. Spray unwanted weeds in back/front with RoundUp.
  2. Get a haircut
  3. Shop for washer/dryer. Top loading, none of the front loaders are as reliable as the old top loader designs are, a front loader that lasts more than five years is a rarity and there are 20 year old top loaders still happily sloshing along.
  4. Get marigolds for front flower bed to freshen things up
  5. Figure out what to do with the big empty space on the left of the fireplace. Put a TV there? I won't watch it, but my mother might when she comes to visit. Put more Ikea book-cases there? I suppose not entirely incompatible with television idea, with modern flat screens... but I'm trying to cut down on my physical book habit and go more to eBooks, which are more environmentally friendly since I already have the computer to read them with...
  6. List all the random mismatched cups/glasses/mugs on FreeCycle, maybe someone needs more cups/glasses/mugs and doesn't mind that they don't match. (I had way more than I needed so culled out the mismatches).
  7. Move the book-case in the spare bedroom to the master bedroom, place it in corner by the dresser
  8. Fix the cracked leg of the bedframe with mending plates.
  9. Go get wood screws to screw mending plates to bedframe (grin!)
  10. Unpack enough tools in the garage to find the drillbits to drill the pilot holes to screw the wood screws into for screwing the mending plates to bedframe (heh!)
  11. Check the mail at the old place
  12. Unpack books to free up space in garage, since now the book-cases are where I want them to be.
  13. Get one of those cool chairs from Ikea to fill in the space by the doorway in the living room.
Last night I finally got the futon assembled in the living room and got the furniture mostly arranged, now I need to get the bedframe disassembled, thing is I cracked one of the legs moving it around to get the mattresses off and get it disassembled. I'll want to buy a new bedroom set eventually but I'm just going to mend it for now. So after today, the master bedroom should be together...

Temperature today in San Jose is supposed to be in the low 90's. The new place doesn't have air conditioning, it was built before air conditioning was needed and while it'd be trivial to add air conditioning (the furnace unit in the utility room is fairly new and has the chamber for the evaporator), it wasn't needed historically in this area (SF Bay Area), which has a mild Mediterranean climate. Global warming, anybody?

-- Badtux the Busy Penguin

Testilying? You don't say!

You know that Border Patrol agent who supposedly was surrounded by rock-throwing Mexicans and had to regrettably shoot a 14 year old boy by the name of Sergio Adrian Hernandez Huereca in order to save his own life? Uhm, turns out that there was someone making a video of the incident and, err... the agent lied. The video shows nobody was within at least 30 yards of the agent. Here, see for yourself:

But of course the fact that the agent lied won't change anything, because as I noted earlier, there's two laws in Soviet America -- one for the Stasi 2.0 (our very efficient and deadly police forces that enforce a "soft" police state upon us), and one for ordinary civilians. And murdering 14 year old kids isn't a crime if you're a member of the Stasi 2.0. Alrighty, then!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Fuck you too, YouTube

HEALTH - USA BOYS from City Slang on Vimeo.

YouTube deleted the video for this gorgeous song because it was "too sexy". WTF?! Fuck you, YouTube.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Friday, June 11, 2010

The cult of safety

They're at it again, the cult of "we must keep our children safe!", today snarling about 16-year old round-the-world sailor Abby Sunderland, whose sailboat is adrift in the Indian Ocean today with a broken mast, saying "her parents should have stopped her!". Especially insulting are the people who bring up 7-year-old Jessica Dubroff, killed with her father and flight instructor at the wheel of a small aircraft that she didn't have the experience to take off in the bad weather she took off in. At which point I gotta say... are you fuckin' kidding me?!

Look. A 7 year old is just a baby. She mostly wants whatever Mommy and Daddy wants, and mostly does whatever Mommy and Daddy says to do and lacks the ability to think abstractly. A 16 year old, on the other hand, is a full-fledged person, with her own wants and desires and the ability to reason and think both concretely and abstractly. Stop a 16 year old from doing something dangerous? SNORT! No, you can't stop a 16 year old from doing something dangerous, all you can hope is that you damn well raised her well enough that when she does do something dangerous (which she will do), it's something that won't end up with her dead or permanently harmed.

I dealt with plenty of 16 year olds in my teaching career, and while they're prone to hormonal flights of fancy and bursts of irrational enthusiasm they're perfectly capable of being level-headed and resourceful in the face of adversity. From reading young Ms. Sunderland's blog, she seems pretty typical of the 16 year old that I'm describing here, she's a healthy level-headed resourceful young lady who is irrationally enthusiastic about sailing and has approached it with every bit of obsessiveness that 16 year olds are prone to when they get such an irrational enthusiasm. To compare a 16 year old like this who is her own person to a 7 year old is, frankly, insulting.

And if we're talking safety, if I was going to parent a 16 year old girl, I'd rather have one out in the middle of the Indian Ocean with all the proper safety equipment where I know she ain't gettin' pregnant or picking up a STD or getting date-raped or doing drugs or shit, than deal with raising a 16 year old in regular society. Being a 16 year old girl simply isn't safe regardless of where she is, so if she decides she wants to sail around the world and has the skill and you have the wherewithal to help her do it, WTF not?

But then, I'm not a member of the Cult of Safety that wants to coddle our kids in cocoons for the first 18 years of their lives to keep them "safe". Life is dangerous, and if you try to keep kids "safe" all the time, all you're doing is making it impossible for them to deal with life once they leave home and go out into the world. Which they *will* do, regardless of what you want -- unless you want to lock'em in your basement, they're going to go out eventually and do shit you'd rather they not do. Might as well equip'em with the tools to deal with the invariable shit that happens, rather than try to stop'em -- because eventually you won't be able to stop'em. Just sayin'. Trying to make the world "safe" just creates a prison for all of us, in the end.

-- Badtux the Practical Penguin

They're not even pretending anymore

Back when I was growing up in the South, the worst epithet that could ever be placed upon a white person was that of "nigger-lover". Everybody knew you were supposed to hate black people, and if you didn't, if indeed, you said "hey, they're just people like anybody else", you were shunned as unfit for polite company. Well, that went away for a while, but that sewer of filth World Net Daily sent me an email today that it's *back*. Yeppers, author Erik Rush has released a new book via the WND Press saying that America's problem today is an outbreak of... nigger-lovers.

Seriously. "Negrophilia" -- nigger-loving -- is, apparently, according to this book, the affliction of people who are "race traitors" who like blacks more than they like their own race and thus elected President Obama. Oh, Mr. Rush doesn't use those words, of course. He's a polite racist, the new breed that uses fancy made-up words in place of our old racist words we used to use in the Bad Old Days in the South. But that's what he's basically saying, he's just plugging new made-up words into the old holes. He also says that blacks shouldn't like their own race more than other people's race, and the fact that they do is why black America has such troubles.

Nevermind that, as far as I can tell, he's full of shit -- one of the advantages I had as a white teacher in a black school was getting *much* more respect from the parents than the black teachers got, hardly the sort of "preference for things black" that Mr. Rush says is prominent. Rather, it's the fact that he resurrects those old memes from the Old South at all. These folks ain't even pretending anymore, which is why they are in the end doomed to irrelevancy because the younger generation by and large doesn't have time for that kind of nonsense.

-- Badtux the Southern Penguin

Friends in high places

The Mighty Fang saw me put his "Cat Dancer" toy into that cabinet two days ago. He *still* occasionally jumps up there on top of the oven hood and meows at me to open that cabinet and get the toy out for him.

When I put down the kitty kibble last Sunday, ants got into it, and I opened a cabinet and a roach looked back out at me. I promptly put out Combat roach baits and put them in all the cabinets and under the stove and refrigerator, and got some new ant baits that appear to be boric acid in sugar water and put one of them near where the ants were entering the house. Today I notice no more ants other than some dying ones near the bait, and I open a cabinet and a dead roach falls out. Yeah! That's the kind of results that I like to see! And no real danger to the kittehs, since the baits are all hidden away in places they can't get to. Sure beats having to call out an exterminator to spray the place with Premise (the only somewhat pet-safe insecticide, but only available to professional exterminators).

Still way too many boxes to open and unpack. At least I have the kitchen unpacked though. A rotund penguin must have his priorities ;).

-- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

Fried Brains

The Kills, "Fried My Little Brains". Talk about some hot sex :).

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Thursday, June 10, 2010

True, true

If BP was responsible for cleaning up a coffee spill:


Has someone else like, say, Halliburton or Schlumberger, been given a contract by the government to be prime contractor yet to clean up the Deepwater Horizon spill, with BP being handed the bill? No?

Leadership. It's more than just giving good speech, President Obama. Just sayin'. SIIIIIIIIIGH!

-- Badtux the Bumfuddled Penguin

Telescoping acid trip

One of the best bands of the 90's that you never heard of, The Telescopes, with their song "Celeste". It's been about six months since the last time I played one of their videos, so it was time again...

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Like East Germany, only nuttier

Welcome, fellow inmates of Soviet America. In today's news, here's something you did not hear about, except maybe gloatingly on some white-wing web site or buried deep inside a tiny 2-inch side column in the middle of the A-section of your newspaper.

Like our forefathers in East Germany, we are regularly spied upon by our very efficient police agencies, with our every phone call monitored for disturbing content (do not mention the words "terrorist" or "bomb" in your phone calls unless you desire a visit from men wearing black suits). Like in East Germany, soon one shall need to register with The State if you want a phone. And we, too, have a wall at our border, albeit a very porous one intended to keep people out, rather than in.

And, like the former East Germany, we shoot people who cross the wall. If one shot doesn't kill the crosser, why, we shoot him twice. And if he's a kid, why, no big deal. Sergio Adrian Hernandez Huereca was 14 years old, but he's just as dead as if he'd been 34.

According to the witnesses, some Mexican boys were under the bridge in Ciudad Juarez, without wearing backpacks or anything (i.e., they were *not* part of a group crossing the border to stay in America), they were running over onto the American side of the border and back again, taunting the border patrol agents on the other side of the border. The kids started throwing rocks, and one of the border patrol agents opened fire, killing young Sergio on the other side of the border. And on right-wing hate sites everywhere, white-wingers gloat.

At which point I say... wow. Just wow. Look. When I was a kid, we were sort of like the "Little Rascals" gang in our neighborhood, and would have rock fights with the rival gang across the bayou. But none of us ever thought of actually *shooting* at the folks throwing rocks at us. No, we simply threw rocks *back* at them! Wow, what a concept... proportionate force! Wow, I should have been thinking like a Border Patrol agent, and actually shot one of those kids throwing rocks at us. Oh wait, if I'd done that, I would have been sent to jail for life. Oops, my bad, I forgot, there's two laws in Soviet America -- one for the Stasi 2.0, and one for the rest of us. But that's okay, because here in Soviet America we have Freedom(tm), and beside, it was an unseemly darky that died, not a good upstanding tighty whitey, and darkies don't count as real people so it wasn't *really* murder. Alrighty, then!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

A real ball

1990's noise rockers Helium with their song "Superball". Mary Timony, their lead singer and bassist, is still around. Their music is very definitely an acquired taste, there was at least one New York indie label that felt that Helium and/or Mary Timony was going to be their "next big thing" after Nirvana, but clearly that is ridiculous. That would be like me saying that Scout Niblett is going to be the next big thing (snort!)... I love her stuff to death, but lets be real, okay?!

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

New candidates for the dumbest people on the planet

Okay, candidate number one: Angela Merkel, PM of Germany. Says Ms. Merkel, excusing draconian budget cuts, “We can only spend what we receive in income.”

So why is Ms. Merkel a candidate for the dumbest person on the planet? *BECAUSE SHE THINKS MONEY IS THE SAME THING AS WEALTH!* It's not. As I've repeatedly pointed out, money is just pieces of toilet paper with pictures of dead people on it. It's what you *buy* with money that is wealth.

The wealth of a nation such as Germany isn't measured in terms of how many pieces of toilet paper or how many 0's and 1's sit in the central bank's computers. Rather, the wealth of a nation such as Germany is measured in terms of how much goods and services the economy is producing -- and capable of producing. I.e., it's what money can buy that has value, not the money itself, whose only value is the fact that for some reason people will give you real things for it, and whose only intrinsic value is for wiping your butt.

So: Germany is seeing reduced "income". But is it, really? Has the wealth of Germany decreased? Has Germany's ability to produce goods and services suddenly collapsed? NO! Germany is still as wealthy today as it was five years ago! The only problem is, a lot of that wealth is sitting on the sidelines at the moment, idle, and you can only tax things that are moving, not coal that's still in the mine because the factory isn't building widgets, or factory workers sitting idle because people aren't buying widgets, or store owners seeing empty shops for that reason. But the economy still has the same amount of wealth in it. It's just not moving around. It's the moving that turns wealth into income and thus makes it taxable. That, or fiscal policy.

Wait, wait... fiscal policy is a tax on wealth? *YES!* Running deficits paid for either by printing money or by selling government bonds on the open market is a way to reallocate resources in the economy from the private sector into the public sector just like taxes are a way to reallocate resources in the economy from the private sector into the public sector. So in actuality, fiscal policy and money printing activity is a tax -- it's just a tax on idle resources if there are idle resources in the economy. (If there are not idle resources in the economy, on the other hand, it is an tax upon all the other transactions in the economy through either higher interest rates or inflation, but we are nowhere near that scenario so I shall stop here).

Okay, so Ms. Merkel says she must cut because her nation's wealth has declined. But it hasn't, all that has happened is that the wealth stopped moving around and so her tax system can't see it at the moment, meaning it's quite valid to use fiscal policy to tax the idle wealth -- I mean, she'd tax it if it were moving, why not tax it while it's idle too? The fact that she confuses money with wealth and can't figure out that a deficit when there's idle resources is just a tax like any other tax (just one on idle resources) qualifies her as being one of the world's dumbest people. But only one of the world's dumbest people... because, of course, Mish exists. While Mish exists, Ms. Merkel is going to have some competition for that spot, yo!

-- Badtux the Economics Penguin

Abusive church

Sleater-Kinney, "The Last Song", off of their self-titled first album. I was very surprised when Carrie Brownstein started screaming. Usually screaming duties were Corinne Tucker's.

I'm not quite sure what this song is about. An abusive boyfriend? An abusive parent? All I know is that it's dark, dark, dark... and noisy. Really noisy. Sigh, I miss the 90's, when you could hear some really noisy stuff like this practically everywhere you turned, instead of all the overproduced overcompressed crap...

-- Badtux the Wistful Music Penguin

Monday, June 07, 2010

$13 trillion reasons why right-wingers are idiots

Because they get upset that the U.S. government has $13T in "debt".

Note that I say "debt", but it's not, really. Debt has to be paid back. So when does this $13T "debt" have to be paid back? Let's make this a multiple choice question:

  1. Next year
  2. 10 years from now
  3. 100 years from now
  4. Never
Tick....tick...tick....tick... and your answer is? Let's take a look behind... DOOR NUMBER FOUR!

Yes, *NEVER*. Because essentially, this $13T is OWED BY THE SAME PEOPLE WHO LENT IT.

Oh hold on you say, the Treasury holds auctions to sell off Treasury bonds all the time! Well, yes, but the deal is that a) only $3.8T is owed to foreign individuals or government (source), meaning that b) the remainder is money *borrowed* from us that we *owe to ourselves*. And if we choose to never repay ourselves the money that we borrowed from ourselves (or, rather, just roll over the debt year after year), well, so what?

Besides, even $13T is hardly a big deal. U.S. GDP is around $15T/year. If I could afford to buy a $150K house while making $75K/year, then the U.S. could easily repay $30T worth of debt the same way (i.e., by extending repayment over 30 years time). It would require doubling taxes, but it could be done. But really, *why*? I mean, first of all, we owe this money mostly to ourselves, and second of all, the Federal Reserve possesses that most wondrous of inventions, the PRINTING PRESS, and could trade freshly-printed cash for Treasuries with nothing but the stroke of a pen.

At which point I hear the screams of "Inflation!" Well, first of all, as I've repeatedly pointed out, capitalism doesn't work without inflation. Without inflation, money disappears under mattresses and ceases to perform its primary function, which is the lubrication of commercial transactions, thereby causing commerce to grind to a slow drip. And capitalism is a good thing to have, because capitalism allows paying for the capital investment needed to produce future output with the income from that future output, allowing capitalist economies to be far more nimble than economies without capitalism. So... inflation? Given the deflationary pressures we're currently facing, bring it on!

But, more importantly, these Treasuries are already effectively money! The main reason short-term Treasuries are at 0% interest is because people find holding Treasuries to be equivalent to holding cash, and rather than haul around truckloads of cash, they just trade it for Treasuries instead. So if they decide to go the other way around and trade the Treasuries for cash again, how much additional money just got put into the economy? NONE! They started with $1M in cash, and ended up with $1M in cash, for effectively $0 total change in the money supply as far as their personal frame of reference is concerned. In other words, the very act of printing Treasuries is effectively the same as printing money. Making it official at some future point in time makes $0 difference in terms of facts on the ground.

And finally: As I pointed out previously, printing money doesn't cause inflation. Rather, printing more money than there exists goods and services in the economy to trade it for causes inflation. But with 21% real unemployment, there is clearly a *lot* of idle goods and services in the economy that printed money could purchase, with no (zero) change in the effective price of goods and services. In short, we could run a deficit of 10% of GDP this year, financed *entirely* by printing money, and cause no - ZERO - inflation.

So anyhow. Those are the facts. So when hysteria-mongers throw big numbers around and say "oooh, scary" and talk about "solid economic principles", remember: That's solid like THEIR HEADS. Not to mention that this is usually "code" for "gold", about which I've repeatedly noted gold bugs don't understand what money is. 'Nuff said on that.

-- Badtux the Economics Penguin

Southern-fried healthcare

Band is Cracker, song is "Take me Down to the Infirmary" off of their 2008 album Kerosene Hat. Just some Southern-fried rock.

- Badtux the Music Penguin

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Left wingnuttia, just like right wingnuttia...

... i.e., gullible.

The case of Debrahlee Lorenzana, who claims she was fired from Citi for being too attractive, is a case in point. She has made all these claims against specific bank managers, but has nothing to back up these claims other than her own word. Yet left wingnuttia, gullible fools they be, have bought it hook line and sinker.

Sigh... look, anybody can file a claim that makes accusations. That doesn't mean the accusations are true. Crap, Orly Taitz files a claim every other day saying that President Obama is a secret Muslim Nigerian and thus not *really* President, but that doesn't make it true. As much as I agree that Citi is evil, Citi is also a giant bureaucratic corporation and you can be damned sure that if she got fired from Citi, there's a thick file on her telling exactly why, because it's almost impossible to fire someone from those big corporations like that unless you've got everything documented to a fare-the-well. You think it's hard to fire a teacher, you ought to see what it takes to fire a full-time employee of Citi or any other Fortune 500 company. It ain't easy, nosirree, they'll shuffle a person to a different position or to a different department long before they fire that person.

So what does Citi say? "Ms. Lorenzana has chosen to make numerous unfounded accusations and inaccurate statements against Citibank and several of our employees. While we will not discuss the details of her case, we can say that her termination was solely performance-based and not at all related to her appearance or attire. We are confident that when all of the facts and documentation are presented, the claim will be dismissed."

Note that this is *not* the typical non-denial denial that basically says nothing. This is pretty damned specific, which says to me that Citi's law critters think they have a pretty good case. And furthermore, this case is going to be heard by an arbiter, not by a jury, so why the media blitz? Arbiters aren't swayed by media pressure, indeed, a media blitz typically prejudices them against the person. What that tells me is that Ms. Lorenzana already knows she doesn't have a case and will lose when it goes to arbitration, so she's using this opportunity to punish the people who fired her by dragging their name through the mud -- and gullible fools are buying it.

My speculation on why she was fired? Language skills. Watch her interviews on YouTube. She struggles with English pronunciation big-time. She was hired as a business banker in a midtown branch, where the majority of people she met would be white businessmen -- and her English language skills simply weren't up to dealing with them. My bet is that her personnel file is full of complaints from customers demanding to be reassigned to some other representative because they couldn't understand her, at which point she was transferred to a non-customer-facing position -- a typical response of a large corporation to such complaints. My understanding is that she felt that this was punishment and a demotion, and stopped showing up for work regularly, at which point she was fired. Of course, we'll never actually know, since arbitration proceedings are not entered into the public record... but my suspicion is that the arbiter isn't going to take a long time to rule against her, and then she's going to be on the news yet again claiming the arbiter was biased against her because she was "too attractive". Siiiiiigh!

-- Badtux the Skeptical Penguin

Comcast strikes again!

So.... Friday my Internet was working. Last night, it was not -- it claimed I needed to activate it. When I tried to activate it, it said I had no address and that a technician appointment was scheduled for on . Siiiiigh! The good news is that a sales person was able to associated my account with my actual address, cancel the non-existent technician appointment, and set me up to be activated, which I then went ahead and did. So I'm online again. Yay!

Regarding the kittehs, the furry bastards slept near me all night, then woke me up at 6:30AM this morning to be fed. So I fed them and they chowed down, then did their business in the cat box. Yeah, I think they're going to be just fine, it's when a cat goes off their appetite that ya have to worry...

One worry was that TX DB was 50.5 Dbmv, which is slightly above spec, in the yellow zone. But according to I'm getting 20mb/sec downloads and 3mb/sec uploads, so clearly that isn't hurting anything. So I'm not going to worry about it.

-- Badtux the Groggy (6:30AM!) Penguin