Monday, January 31, 2005

U.S. lauds election success

Courtesy of The Daily KOS:

U.S. Encouraged by Vietnam Vote :
Officials Cite 83% Turnout Despite Vietcong Terror

by Peter Grose, Special to the New York Times (9/4/1967: p. 2)

WASHINGTON, Sept. 3-- United States officials were surprised and heartened today at the size of turnout in South Vietnam's presidential election despite a Vietcong terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting.

According to reports from Saigon, 83 per cent of the 5.85 million registered voters cast their ballots yesterday. Many of them risked reprisals threatened by the Vietcong.

The size of the popular vote and the inability of the Vietcong to destroy the election machinery were the two salient facts in a preliminary assessment of the nation election based on the incomplete returns reaching here. Pending more detailed reports, neither the State Department nor the White House would comment on the balloting or the victory of the military candidates, Lieut. Gen. Nguyen Van Thieu, who was running for president, and Premier Nguyen Cao Ky, the candidate for vice president.

A successful election has long been seen as the keystone in President Johnson's policy of encouraging the growth of constitutional processes in South Vietnam. The election was the culmination of a constitutional development that began in January, 1966, to which President Johnson gave his personal commitment when he met Premier Ky and General Thieu, the chief of state, in Honolulu in February.

The purpose of the voting was to give legitimacy to the Saigon Government, which has been founded only on coups and power plays since November, 1963, when President Ngo Dinh Deim was overthrown by a military junta.

Few members of that junta are still around, most having been ousted or exiled in subsequent shifts of power.

Significance Not Diminished

The fact that the backing of the electorate has gone to the generals who have been ruling South Vietnam for the last two years does not, in the Administration's view, diminish the significance of the constitutional step that has been taken.

The hope here is that the new government will be able to maneuver with a confidence and legitimacy long lacking in South Vietnamese politics. That hope could have been dashed either by a small turnout, indicating widespread scorn or a lack of interest in constitutional development, or by the Vietcong's disruption of the balloting.

American officials had hoped for an 80 per cent turnout. That was the figure in the election in September for the Constituent Assembly. Seventy-eight per cent of the registered voters went to the polls in elections for local officials last spring.

Before the results of the presidential election started to come in, the American officials warned that the turnout might be less than 80 per cent because the polling place would be open for two or three hours less than in the election a year ago. The turnout of 83 per cent was a welcome surprise. The turnout in the 1964 United States Presidential election was 62 per cent.

Captured documents and interrogations indicated in the last week a serious concern among Vietcong leaders that a major effort would be required to render the election meaningless. This effort has not succeeded, judging from the reports from Saigon.

NYT. 9/4/1967: p. 2.

And from the New York Times today:

Bush Hails Iraqi Vote, but Warns of More Fighting Ahead

Published: January 31, 2005

WASHINGTON, Jan. 30 - Just short of two years after engineering the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, President Bush on Sunday celebrated a comparatively peaceful day of voting in Iraq, declaring it a triumphant moment in his effort to spur democratic movements throughout the Middle East.

"The people of Iraq have spoken to the world, and the world is hearing the voice of freedom from the center of the Middle East," Mr. Bush said in a four-minute televised statement at 1 p.m. from the entry hall of the White House residence, after the polls closed in Iraq.

But he also warned that "terrorists and insurgents will continue to wage their war against democracy, and we will support the Iraqi people in their fight against them." Seeming to acknowledge the toll taken by the ever-growing number of casualties - including more than 1,400 dead American troops since the invasion began - he added, "The people of the United States have been patient and resolute, even in difficult days."

Even on the heels of Mr. Bush's re-election, the past month has been tense and politically risky for the president. On Sunday, the broad strategy of spreading freedom in the world that he described in his Inaugural Address faced its first test since that speech. But Mr. Bush has acknowledged that a successful election is just the first step.

With televised images showing jubilant Iraqis, filling out ballots and participating in the first truly free election in more than 50 years, Mr. Bush and his aides were clearly concerned that the imagery would add to the pressures at home to set a clear timetable for withdrawing the 150,000 American forces now based there. So even while hailing the accomplishment, they spent much of the day tamping down expectations, issuing reminders that the American-led effort to remake Iraq was still at a precarious stage.

But... but... they had an election! That means that victory in VietIraq-nam is just around the corner! Right? Right?!

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Uppity negros refuse to cooperate with IRS

Them uppity negros at the NAACP are refusing to cooperate with the IRS. They claim that the IRS is engaged in a politically-motivated witch-hunt because their president criticized the policies of George W. Bush and the Bush administration, and that they aren't going to participate in it. What a bunch of maroons. Look, there's nothing political about this at all. Why, if the NAACP had criticized BIll Clinton the way they criticized George W. Bush, I'm sure the IRS would have audited them then, too!

Whoops, that's right, they DID criticize Bill Clinton's policies, and were not investigated by the IRS for doing so. Hmm, gosh darn it, but Bill Clinton was a DEMON-crat, so that meant it was fine to criticize him. It's only our Boy Emperor Bush who is beyond criticism! Sheesh, the nerve of these uppity negros, criticizing a fine upstanding Southern gentleman like George W. Bush who only wants them to be happy little pickininnies back on the plantation again.... what's next, they're going to actually insist that their votes be COUNTED like they weren't in Ohio and Florida this year? Apalling! Pretty soon they're going to insist they're actual HUMAN BEINGS instead of just, like, darkies!

Sarcastically yours,
- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Thinking of Kristy - and madness

This all started when I clicked on Google News and noticed (in the Entertainment section) that the impressive Jodie Foster was working on a new film. That took me back to my first view of Jodie Foster as a child -- when she played the spunky Addie in the short-lived television series _Paper Moon_, a role which, at the time, I was rather puzzled about ("is Jodie Foster a girl or a boy?" I remember asking my mother during the first episode that I saw, since she was always bundled up in boy's clothes until finally, in one episode, she wore a dress as part of a con). I did a quick Google to find out how things had gone for her over the years. Seems she's even more impressive than I remembered -- graduating from elite prep school and elite college, her own movie production company (for a while), kick-butt kick boxer, and otherwise being someone who's both talented and making good use of that talent.

Then I wondered what had happened to other girl child actors of that era, such as Tatum O'Neal, Brooke Shields (admittedly, she wasn't much of an actor), and Kristy McNichol.

Well, Tatum O'Neal has a tell-all book out where she talks about just how messed up life really was for her back then and just how bad an actor she really was as a kid (turns out that her bravura performance in the movie version of _Paper Moon_, that won her an Oscar for supporting actress at the lofty age of 10 years old, should properly have belonged to the director of that movie, who managed to coax, nudge, and coach her through sometimes dozens of takes until she finally got her lines right -- sat 9 years old, she could not read well enough to memorize her lines by herself). Seems that even during her teen years, while supposedly under the guardianship of her father Ryan, she was doing enough drugs to keep the Columbian drug lords in business all by herself, and only recently has dried out enough to even think about trying to revive her movie career. Given that her tell-all book appears to have pissed off most of Hollywood, it's unlikely.

Brooke Shields is, well, Brooke. Like most models-turned-actress, she'll never go down in history as one of the world's great actresses. But given her limited talents (she is not one of those who took to acting as a natural, she's been taking acting lessons almost continuously since childhood with mixed results), she's done quite well for herself. Her sitcom _Suddenly Susan_ was fluff, but it was entertaining fluff for the most part. Since it left the air in 2000, she's kept busy doing similar fluff, and another comedy movie with her in a top role is about to come out.

Kristy McNichol... oh my. My memory of Kristy was from the soapy series Family from the 1970's. I must admit that, as a kid about the same age as Kristy, I had a bit of a crush on Kristy. She had that whole courageous tough-but-fragile dark-eyed sad kid thing going big time. Her characters such as her role as Carly in The Pinballs were snarky before snarky was a word, and as a typical confused kid of the 70's (a decade marked by disasters from the final confused disaster of Vietnam to the multiple oil shocks of 1973 and 1978, the Iran hostage crisis, the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviets, etc), well, I could empathize. Having a crush on Jody was not possible (let's face it, Jody Foster is the kind of person you admire from a distance, not someone you want to get close to... you get the feeling that she might *hurt* you if you get too close). Brooke had not yet starred in anything but commercials, where she was astonishingly beautiful but not a name yet. But Kristy... as a kid I hated Family, which was too much like a soap opera for my tastes, but occasionally watched it just to see Kristy's character "Buddy" in action (a role for which Kristy won two Emmies for Best Supporting Actress). "Buddy" was the kind of kid that you just wanted to hug and say "You're a great kid and everything's going to turn out just fine."

So anyhow, I did some googling on Kristy. And all I have to say is, what a shame. What a damned shame.

Child actors are notoriously difficult to direct. McCaulley Culkin threw temper tantrums on the set of Home Alone. Tatum O'Neal couldn't read well enough to memorize her lines on the set of Paper Moon, and was apparently quite confused about the whole notion of "acting". Similar stories are rife in the industry. None of those stories are ever told about Kristy McNichol. Her former cast members all remark on how professional she was as a child actor. She came on the set, the director handed her a copy of the script five minutes before shooting, she read it once, then she got out there and *nailed* it, first take. She had talent, they all agree. The quality of her scripts was sometimes dubious, but she'd usually find some way to make even the most ludicrous of lines work.

But she was also slowly going mad.

First a digression: Bipolar disorder. This is classified by the psych domeheads as a "mood disorder". It is characterized by wild mood swings, from manic to depressive, that interfere with a person's ability to function. Everybody has mood swings. But the brain chemistry of people with bipolar disorder is such that these mood swings are more severe than with normal people. People with mild bipolar disorder just seem a bit more moody than "normal" people. But for people with severe bipolar disorder, when they're in their "depressed" state, they're near catatonic. When they're in their "manic" state, they are so hyper it is as if they're on crack cocaine. In fact, the chemistry inside the brain when they are "high" is such that it is close to what cocaine produces. In severe cases, where they are so hyper that they cannot even sleep, they will even have sleep-deprivation hallucinations after a few days.

There is no cure for bipolar disorder. For mild cases, people can manage without drugs by simply avoiding stressful situations that would cause one to become depressed or excited. Developing coping skills also helps, such as knowing how to take care of yourself so that nothing in your daily life is particularly stressful, and having a perspective towards life where nothing really matters that much, you go out and do your best and what happens happens. For more severe cases, you have to do all that, but it also takes medication to damp out the mood swings, usually lithium, which is a poisonous metal that interferes with brain function. Too much lithium, and it turns you into a zombie by interfering with the high-order function of the brain (and a little over that and it will kill you by destroying your liver). Too little lithium, and it doesn't interfere enough with the mood controlling areas of the brain to damp out the swings enough to make you functional. Thus people on lithium therapy need very careful monitoring of their blood levels of lithium to keep it within the therapeutic range. A change in activity level which would change that blood level abruptly is to be avoided, because either the level will fall below therapeutic range, or if the dosage is adjusted for the new activity level and then you change activity level back to the original, lithium could accumulate in your body at levels that could kill you. (Note: There are a couple of other medications used for bipolar disorder other than lithium, but they have similar properties).

In other words, even medication is not a panacea for bipolar disorder. People with bipolar disorder can function quite well and be productive members of society -- as long as they're not in highly stressful professions that will make it hard to control their lithium levels and moods. Professions like, say, hairdresser or technical writer, where every new day is pretty much like the last one, would be ideal for someone with bipolar disorder. Acting, on the other hand...

And here was Kristy McNichol, not knowing that there was something way wrong in her brain, bravely soldiering on, using professionalism as her shield. The triggers were there, if anybody had known to look. Her relationship to her mother (an aspiring actress who was apparently jealous of her success) where her mother was mildly emotionally abusive such that Kristy very much wanted to please her mother (there goes that coping skill "keeping things in perspective"). The poor level of education that she received (unlike Jody Foster and Brooke Shields, she never received a world-class high school and college education), which in turn reduced her ability to cope with grown-up stuff. The isolation of being a child actor for basically 12 months per year between commercials, specials, and her acting on Family, where she never really learned how to deal with her age-level peers (oops, there goes another bunch of coping skills). Then add in the fact that she never had much nurturing, indeed, as the "responsible" child in a disfunctional family she was the one who "mothered" her mother and older brother who apparently were both rather irresponsible screw-ups. She would have been a screwed up kid even without bipolar disorder thrown into the mix. Add that to the chemical (mal)-functioning of her brain, and she was a ticking time bomb.

As long as she was still a child actor with everything managed and structured for her she could keep her moods stabilized enough to function. But she was already exhibiting warning signs. Her interviews with teen magazines where she expressed admiration of Donny Osmond because "he was part of a strong stable family" and where she expressed admiration for "law and order" were cries for a stability she didn't have in her emotional and family life. Then she reached eighteen, and was basically tossed out into the world, and was utterly unprepared and unable to cope.

All she knew was acting. She tried to cope by basically accepting any script that came along just to keep herself busy and not having to think about anything, as a result making a series of bombs, the most successful of which was Little Darlings (where she co-starred with Tatum O'Neal) where she again played the tough-but-fragile dark-eyed sad kid and managed with pure talent to pull out an adequate movie from a ludicrous concept and mediocre script. In the meantime, her personal life was a mess. In her manic stages (where people thought she was high on cocaine) she spent extravagantly and ran up enormous debts. But when it was time to perform, she marched out on the set, slipped into her role, and nailed it. In her depressive stages, she basically soldiered through by squaring her shoulders, taking a deep breath, marching out to war with her briefcase, performing like the talented professional that she was, then marching back to her room where she bawled her eyes out with sadness.

Eventually it came to a head when making another bomb (this time in Switzerland) while in her depressive mode. Far from home, far from any emotional support, she soldiered through so well that her fellow cast members didn't realize anything was wrong at all. But she wasn't eating, she wasn't sleeping well, she was crying all the time when not in the presence of other cast members, she was an utter mess, and she knew it and didn't know how long she could keep going on. At home over the Christmas break, she confided this to her older brother, who, alarmed, got her an appointment with a psychiatrist. That was when she found out that the mood control section of her brain wasn't doing its job.

With the help of the psychiatrist and her older brother (who for a change was doing the nurturing) she managed to put herself back together, learned the coping skills she needed to cope with ordinary life, got her relationship with her mother straightened out, got her finances back in order, finished the movie she'd had to abort, and learned a new skill (hairdressing) in case she was never capable of going back to acting again. At this point her disorder was such that it could be controlled without medication. Eventually she got a role in a sitcom called "Empty Nest", and by carefully structuring her life managed to keep on with that series for four years. When she reached age 30, though, her condition worsened such that she needed medication. Reluctantly she concluded that her life as an actor was incompatible with the medication that she needed in order to damp down the mood swings to an acceptable level, and withdrew from the show and, largely, from Hollywood.

The fact that Kristy survives at all, and apparently functional and without ever having a drug or alcohol habit, is the miracle. She will never again star in a television series or movie despite the fact that she has more acting talent in her little pinky than Brooke Shields has in her entire body. But sometimes survival is the best you can do. The fact that she has managed more than survival -- that, apparently, she is still capable of taking bit roles and teach drama in a private high school in Hollywood -- shows just how courageous a lady she is. She loved acting. Still does, obviously, since she teaches it. The fact that she just physically could not act as a career anymore could have destroyed her, she could have descended into the same mess of drugs and alcohol that consumed so many other of her peers, eventually becoming one of those "actress died of overdose" stories. She didn't let it happen. Like the courageous sad-eyed tough-but-vulnerable kids she played so many years ago, she manages to keep on living as best she can. Kristy was, indeed, worthy of my twelve year old self's adoration -- and still is. Godspeed and good luck, Kristy McNichol.

- Badtux the Reminiscing Penguin

Monday, January 24, 2005

An Untitled Protest

Red and swollen tears tumble from her eyes
While cold silver birds who came to cruise the skies
Send death down to bend and twist her tiny hands
And then proceed to target "B" in keeping with their plans

Khaki priests of Christendom interpreters of love
Ride a stone Leviathan across a sea of blood
And pound their feet into the sand of shores they've never seen
Delegates from the western land to join the death machine
And we send cards and letters.

The oxen lie beside the road their bodies baked in mud
And fat flies chew out their eyes then bathe themselves in blood
And super heroes fill the skies, tally sheets in hand
Yes, keeping score in times of war takes a superman

The junk crawls past hidden death its cargo shakes inside
And soldier children hold their breath and kill them as they hide
And those who took so long to learn the subtle ways of death
Lie and bleed in paddy mud with questions on their breath
And we send prayers and praises.

-- Country Joe McDonald, March, 1968

Why this penguin keeps his snark

One of my regular viewers asks, "How do you keep your snark in these times?". Well, sonny boy, when I was a child people who dissented against the war in Vietnam were shot, not just beaten. When I was a child, the Southern city I lived in shut down every public swimming pool when a federal judge ordered them desegregated because "we ain't havin' no niggers swimming in the same water as white people." When I was a child, the Police Commissioner and his mounted police officers smashed through the front door of a black church whose preacher was holding a memorial service for the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., rode the horses up the central aisle of the church, and pistol-whipped the preacher man in front of his apalled congregation because "we ain't havin' no celebratin' of no commie nigger man like that in this city." When I was a child black people used different waiting rooms from white people when they went to the doctor, if the doctor would see them at all, and ate in a different dining room from white people, if the restaurant would let them in at all. When I was a child, the President of the United States sent U.S. troops into a foreign country based on a lie, and 58,000 Americans and over 4,000,000 Asians died.

Are these times as difficult as those? Are these times as bad as those? The answer is "Not yet." We have the last part (a craven President from Texas sending troops into a foreign country based on a lie in order to prove how big his balls are), but for the rest... we are still a *LONG* ways away from the situation of 1964. Yes, liberals, gays, and Arabs are the new niggers. But nobody is yet suggesting that they be exterminated (well, except for Ann Coulter). Yes, we've destabilized an entire region of the world in order to satisfy an all-hat-no-cattle Texan's desire to prove he has big balls. But protesters against said war are not yet being shot down in the streets. What we have today is the usual state of the United States of America, not something unusual. It is usual that the United States is smug, self satisfied, ignorant, and hate-filled. The 1990's, when the United States shed its coat of hatred for a while, or the 1940's, when the United States was a beacon of light and freedom for the world, are an aberration of recent history. Just ask the millions of Vietnamese that we killed, or the millions of Filipinos that we killed in another war before that. Or the millions of black Americans that we deprived of freedom and liberty because we, a people full of hate, needed someone to hate.

How can I maintain my snark in these times? That's easy: All I have to do is remember that it's been worse -- and worse within my own lifetime. Which is not to deny that things are sliding backwards, and rapidly... just that the time to panic is nowhere near. The bastards have been defeated before. We can do it again.

- Badtux the Historian Penguin

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Bush solves world energy crisis

Hot on the heels of the Orwell Plant (described in my previous post, where George Orwell's grave is now being used to drive a 30 megawatt generator when the coffin rotates every time Bush or Blair uses Newspeak), green energy enthusiasts believe they have solved our energy problems forever. Soon to be brought online: a Charles Darwin plant (to harness the energy created every time a Southern preacher tries to ban all mention of evolution in science textbooks), an Eleanor Roosevelt plant (to harness the energy created by the Republicans trying to eliminate her pride and joy, Social Security), a Thomas Jefferson plant (obvious!), and a Rachel Carson plant (every time the Bush administration guts an environmental regulation, this one should generate a good 20-30 megawatts!). Not to mention the Founding Fathers generating complex, which should provide enough energy for the United States, Canada, and Mexico combined once it is up and running.

The embattled oil field giant Halliburton has been granted the preliminary $5 billion dollar contract to implement this plan for energy independence. When asked why an oil company would be putting itself out of business forever, honorary Halliburton CEO Dick Cheney notes, "Look, Halliburton benefits far more from having Republicans in power than it benefits from having oil contracts, just see our Iraq contracts!" He also notes that this guarantees that Republicans will control the U.S. government forever, because American voters, given the choice of cheap energy or Democrats, will always choose cheap energy.

Democratic Senate Leader Wimsy Pansy, when asked to respond, says "We welcome this new initiative on the part of Halliburton and the Bush Administration, and will do everything possible in order to make it happen." When informed that this would mean that Republicans would hold power forever because all the rotating in graves would cease if Democrats ever regained power, Mr. Pansy said "So? We Democrats are willing to make any sacrifice if it means cheap energy for Americans!"

We tracked down one of Thomas Jefferson's descendents, a Mr. Estes Hemmings III, regarding how he felt about his famous ancestor's grave being used to generate power on behalf of the opposition of the Democratic party that Mr. Jefferson founded. Mr. Hemmings, found standing on a street corner while attired in stylish baggy pants and a backwards-turned baseball cap and much bling-bling, appeared confused. "Dude, what do I care about some dead asshole who banged my great-great-somethin' granny?"

A survey by the Gallop Group found that Americans overwhelmingly approve. 51% believe that harnessing the power of dead founding fathers rotating in their graves defends freedom overseas before it can come terrorize us at home. Another 51% believe that George W. Bush should be appointed Emperor for Life because they're tired of high energy bills.

This reporter attempted to survey freedom-loving penguins, but they appear to have hit the road for Canada.

Reportorially Yours,
Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Bush pledges to spread Freedom(tm) everywhere

George W Bush started his second term in office today with a rousing call for Americans to help spread Freedom(tm) until "it reaches the darkest corners of our world". Dick Cheney's soul was unavailable for comment.

The Supreme Leader continued, "Freedom(tm) is the most important thing for the world today. Freedom(tm) tastes great, is less filling, and solves all BO problems forever. Freedom(tm) is good(*)." Mr. Bush pointed to his examples of bringing Freedom(tm) to Iraq and Afghanistan as an example of the good that Freedom(tm) brings to a people. "Look," he said, "Until we got there, Iraqis were sexually inhibited. Now thanks to our sex therapy clinic at Abu Ghraib, they know the joys of homoeroticism and group orgies!" He also pointed out that Freedom(tm) meant that the Afghan people were once again free to be the #1 source of opium world-wide. "Free enterprise is good," the President declared. An alarmed Karl Rove then whispered into Bush's ear, at which point the President wiped some white powder off his nose then held his hand behind his back and added, "Drugs are bad, of course."

In other news, George Orwell's grave is now being used to drive a 30 megawatt generator, thanks to new technology which allowed gluing magnets onto the coffin then surrounding the coffin with generator windings in order to harness the power of George rolling over in his grave. Said Sir John Hastypudding, the head of the project, "with all the Newspeak coming out of London and Washington D.C. nowdays, we figure we can get output up to 40 megawatts within a few fortnights."

George Orwell's estate was unavailable for comment.

- Badtux the Reporter Penguin

Freedom(tm): A magic elixir wherein the wealth of nations is looted for the benefit of a Party elite. See, also: Brezhnev, Leonid, and Communist Party, History Of.

(*) Good: Whatever increases the wealth of the Party elite. Typically involves bending over while the Party elite drives large sexual organs up one's bunghole."

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Why I hate Microsoft

Okay, my laptop has Windows XP and Linux on it. No big deal. Except that Windows XP has lost its mind, and is completely unbootable -- it stops at that idiotic blue screen that has the Microsoft Windows XP logo on it, and never moves from there.

What's wrong with it? I don't know. Microsoft took out the "step by step" debug mode that earlier versions of Windows had because "it confused customers". For that matter, in XP SP 2, they even took out the "Boot into Safe Mode CLI" so I cannot even look at the boot log to see where it failed (again, because "it confused customers"). Instead, all I get is that idiotic flag and a mouse pointer that does nothing.

Rescue CD? HAH! HP has a "System Recovery" CD. All it does is overwrite the entire contents of the hard drive to make it look exactly like when it left HP's factory. What about my files? Microsoft and HP don't care about my steenkin' files! BWAH HAH HAH HAH HA ALL YOUR FILES ARE BELONG TO US! That's Microsoft and HP's attitude.

Look: It is absolutely, 100% *IMPOSSIBLE* for this situation to happen with Linux unless you're a total cretin (like one of Microsoft's programmers). First of all, you get to see what's happening when the system boots (if you go into 'e' to edit the boot line and remove the 'quiet' option), so you know where it failed. Secondly, as long as there is a filesystem on the hard drive, you can always boot into a rescue CD and get into your system and fix whatever the failure was. And finally, you don't have DLL Hell on Linux. Multiple versions of libraries happily co-exist on the system, thus you don't have to worry about application X, when it installs, overwriting system files that will make the system unbootable.

So why the hell is Microsoft still in business? Well, it's simple: 51%+ of Americans are utter cretins. (see: November 7, 2004 for proof).

'Nuff said. Microsoft: America deserves them. Too bad America had to impose them on the rest of the world too. Sigh.

-- Badtux the Snarking Penguin

Monday, January 17, 2005

Sy Hersh is a traitor and always wrong anyhow

So here we go again, Sy Hersh once again spitting on our American soldiers and their God-given duty to teach ignorant brown people about democracy by beating the crap out of them until they get some sense knocked into their head. Now Sy's talking about U.S. troops going on recon missions in Iran.

Well, look, first of all, if it was true, Sy would be a traitor for saying so, because the Iranians wouldn't know about recon missions going on in their country if it wasn't for journalists telling them about it, I mean, they *LIVE* there, why would they notice a bunch of white fellers running around with machine guns and stuff unless Sy told them to notice?! He's gonna get our men killed! Well, not exactly, because look: Sy is lying.

Why do I know that? Well, it's simple: nothing that Hersh says ever is true. Why, look at that stupid story he did last year about our soldiers torturing Iraqis at that Abu-whatever placy in Iraq. Obviously lies, all lies, which is why the U.S. military is court-martialling and convicting the soldiers who did the torture, because, well, Hersh LIED. Look, them Iraqi darkies need a good whuppin’ now and then to beat some sense into them, they’ll *never* learn about this “democracy” stuff unless we put a good whuppin’ on them from time to time when they ain’t payin’ attention! There wasn't any abuse or torture there, just God's good discipline, like what a lovin' daddy is 'sposed to do to his children! Why, what daddy is there out there who hasn't likewise stripped his childrens nekkid, stacked them in a pyramid, and took pictures of them to prove to them their sinfulness? Sy lied, nothing happened at Abu Ghraib! Here, look at the monkey. Look at the silly monkey. [BOOM!]

- Badtux the Redneck Penguin

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Torture is cheerleading

The Orwell Administration in action. And the Freepers are just eating it up.


- Badtux the Disgusted Penguin

Thursday, January 13, 2005

A hymn unto our Lord and Savior, George W. Bush

From the wonderful comments at Fafblog:

I Love Thy Empire, Lord (Hymn #112)
 I love Thy Empire, Bush my Lord
 I love thy Garrison State,
 Fortress America, by whose sword, 
 Vile Heathens fall prostrate.
 I love Thy Pentagon of Pow'r.
 When I before Thee stand,
 Thou art my Rock, my Strength, my Tow'r,
 Here, have eight billion grand.
 If e'er to bless Thy hallowed Graft,
 My voice or hands deny,
 Or prophesy a Coming Draft,
 Let me in Gitmo die.
 Bush, shall my scoffing tongue design
 Thy Cabinet to abuse?
 Say Condi's dumb, Gonzo's a swine?
 My hand its skill shall lose.
 For thee O Bush, my heart beats high
 To thee my prayers ascend.
 I'll never ask thee reasons why,
 Wherefore, or to what end?
 If Torture be some ragheads' lot
 I'll know that they did evil;
 If jetplanes strafe some humble cot,
 'Tis well--they served the Devil.

Teach us to stand upon thy Word
 Not Rule of Law, or Reason;
 Give Thee our all, Give Sense the Bird,
 And let all else be Treason.

 Rev. Otho Bludge | Email | 01.10.05 - 5:07 pm | # 
And in honor of our Lord and Savior's latest coronation, the Rev. Bludge has come out with a new hymn:
Coronation Hymn for Our Blessed Sovereign
 Almighty Bush, Thy lofty Throne
 Hath Torture for its cornerstone,
 And shining bright before Thy reign
 Are boundless ways of causing pain.
 All glory unto Bush we yield,
 Thy Death Squads are our Empire's Shield;
 Although we're bogged in Quagmire bleak,
 We'll make some hapless folks to shriek.
 With Payoffs are thy Lackeys bless'd
 They kneel, they tout, at thy behest;
 They in thy light, O Bush, shall dwell;
 Let Naysay'rs be consigned to Hell.
 Thy Boot with gladness all shall lick,
 And those of Rice and Big Time Dick,
 Our slavish Tongues to Thee belong,
 For in Thy Ignorance we are Strong.
 Rev. Otho Bludge | Email | 01.12.05 - 8:53 am | # 

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Marine commits suicide by cop to keep from going back to Iraq


So now a family is without its father, and a family is without its son, and that bastard George W. Bush hasn't a clue. The banality of evil is not a cliche. It is exemplified by our entire U.S. government, which will do evil the same way as a 2 year old -- in all innocence, with no knowledge of the consequences of his actions. But Bush is not a 2 year old. If he does evil out of ignorance, it is because he has made a willful choice to remain ignorant, because he doesn't care. He doesn't give a shit. It's not him or one of his precious children (send Jenna to Iraq, I say!), so why should he give a shit?

So he doesn't.

And the blood soaks into the streets and through the gutters and the White House slowly turns red, and nobody gives a shit, and nobody cares.

-- Badtux the Disgusted Penguin

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

What is torture?

Here is the definition of torture in Russian law:

For the purposes of this Article and other Articles of the Code torture shall be defined as infliction of physical and moral suffering aimed at coercing an individual into giving evidence or committing other acts against his will, as a punishment and for other purposes.

In other words, any kind of deliberate causation of suffering in order to obtain a confession is defined as torture in Russian law.

Here is the definition of torture in American law:


Hmm.... okay, so let's see, here's the definition of torture according to the U.S. Supreme Court...


Well poot! So let's look at the definition of torture as explained by Attorney General Select Abu Gonzales:

"...for an act to constitute torture... it must inflict pain that is difficult to endure. Physical pain amounting to torture must be equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairement of bodily function, or even death."

Yessirree, here we are at that moral high ground again!

In the past I've derided Russia as a thugocracy. The recent contratempts regarding the Yukos oil company, where head thug Vladmir Putin stole most of the assets of the company from one group of thugs at gunpoint and gave them to another group of thugs (a group that happened to be supporters of his) pretty much is a case in point.

But if Russia is a thugocracy... what is the United States?

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Monday, January 10, 2005

This highway kept clean by the Ku Klux Klan

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld a decision today that the Klu Klux Klan be allowed to adopt a Missouri highway. So now the Klan will get to pick up the trash by the side of the road. It is unknown whether they will actually consent to bag themselves, but certainly that would beautify our communities quite a bit to get rid of all that inbred buck-tooth wild-eyed hood-wearing white trash.

A Klan lawyer commented that the group wishes to adopt the highway in order to foster, no joke, “solidarity with the community.” I suppose this leaves nothing standing in the way of the KKK becoming a welcome and productive member of the community. Except, of course, the bigotry, arson, and systematic violent murder.

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Friday, January 07, 2005

Dejavu all over again

A nifty little song from 1971, that sadly enough is relevant once again as flag-waving cretins believe that killing people is okay and you'll still go to heaven if you just wave your flag hard enough...

 Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore
© John Prine 

While digesting Reader's Digest
In the back of a dirty book store,
A plastic flag, with gum on the back,
Fell out on the floor.
Well, I picked it up and I ran outside
Slapped it on my window shield,
And if I could see old Betsy Ross
I'd tell her how good I feel.

But your flag decal won't get you
Into Heaven any more.
They're already overcrowded
From your dirty little war.
Now Jesus don't like killin'
No matter what the reason's for,
And your flag decal won't get you
Into Heaven any more. 

Well, I went to the bank this morning
And the cashier he said to me,
"If you join the Christmas club
We'll give you ten of them flags for free."
Well, I didn't mess around a bit
I took him up on what he said.
And I stuck them stickers all over my car
And one on my wife's forehead.

Repeat Chorus:

Well, I got my window shield so filled
With flags I couldn't see.
So, I ran the car upside a curb
And right into a tree.
By the time they got a doctor down
I was already dead.
And I'll never understand why the man
Standing in the Pearly Gates said...

"But your flag decal won't get you
Into Heaven any more.
We're already overcrowded
From your dirty little war.
Now Jesus don't like killin'
No matter what the reason's for,
And your flag decal won't get you
Into Heaven any more."

Time to get a new laptop?

I'm lusting after the HP DV1000, a sub-5-pound notebook. Even with the Pentium-M 1.8ghz processor, 512mb memory, 80gb hard drive, etc., we're talking under $1600. And it's a helluva lot easier to carry around than my current 10 pound HP brick!

Of course I don't need it. Sigh...

In other news, my server at home bit the dust. The boot/root hard drive has gone whiirrrrr...KLUNK! and will no longer boot and locks up the IDE bus. Luckily all my data lives on a SATA RAID, so none of that is lost, but now I have to install Linux on another hard drive to get to it :-(. I'm switching to Fedora Core 3 rather than Mandrake 10.1 because the Mandrake 10.1 installer just utterly fails the test of installing on a machine that has a USB mouse and keyboard. I've reluctantly come to the conclusion that Mandrake is great for a laptop or other "end user" type setup, but is total crap if you want to build a server... the kernel on the install disk craps out on the Promise SATA controller, for example, while the Fedora installer sees the Promise SATA controller just fine.

So if I'm not around for a while, it's because I'm busy downloading four freakin' CDROMS worth of Fedora 3 (since my notebook doesn't have a DVD burner so I cannot download the DVD image... grrr, another reason why I've been shopping for a newer/faster/more featuresome notebook!) and getting my server back up and serving. The work of a Linux penguin is never done!

- Badtux the Linux Penguin

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Exams cause deaths of grannies

We now have scientific proof that an upcoming exam in college causes the death of grannies. Especially if the student currently has an "F" in the course.

The most realistic solution to the murder of family members by exams (only allow orphans to enroll in college) was discarded as unworkable due to the shortage of orphans. The other possible solutions (keep secret the fact that the student is at college, eliminate exams altogether) were discarded as unworkable due to the difficulty of teenagers keeping anything secret, and the economic effects of discarding exams, which would cause the collapse of the paper industry (amongst others).

In other news, t-shirts at work cause Fridays. I know this because every time I wear a t-shirt to work, it is Friday, with a 100% correlation rate. Remember, correlation = causation, that is a fundamental law of statistics!

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Spamford Wallace in trouble again

Our favorite EMAIL spammer, "Spamford" Wallace, is in trouble again. Seems that he was distributing spyware that then demanded that people buy his software in exchange for stopping popups of advertising for his software. And the bummer is that his software didn't even work!

Which goes to prove that distributing spyware doesn't pay, unless your name is Microsoft and the spyware is named "Windows XP".

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Back from vacation (sort of)

Ah yes, I am stuffed with boudine balls, courtboullion, gumbo, etoufee, muffaletas and poboys. Been down there to Looisianer, whoo-whee!

It'll take a few days for me to get back on track. While you're waiting, check out Errant Story, the only web comic that I check religiously nowdays. Due to the high quality of the artwork it takes a while for the author, Poe, to post each new page of what is going to be an epic graphic novel, but the wait is worth it. Warning: Start from the beginning, and be aware that there are a LOT of subplots, flashbacks, foreshadowing, and every other trick of the trade that Poe learned while doing his old Exploitation Now strip. But while Exploitation Now was originally Poe unabashedly practicing how to draw naked bodies as he learned how to do so in art school and only moved into being a real story towards the end of its run, Errant Story is an actual story with an actual plot, one that is only now, over a year and a half after he started drawing it, starting to come into focus.

- Badtux the Cajun-stuffed Penguin