Saturday, April 30, 2005

We coulda won Vietnam

Coulda, shoulda, woulda... 30 years ago, Saigon fell. The South Vietnamese Army ran out of bullets after the funds to buy them were embezeled by corrupt generals who then fled to Switzerland or America, and the defense of South Vietnam collapsed. The vast majority of South Vietnamese merely shrugged their shoulders, believing that it was nothing to do with them, after all they'd seen many governments come and go over the decades and it all pretty much was the same to them. They were soon to find out differently, as over a hundred thousand South Vietnamese were slaughtered for "counter-revolutionary activities" and as even small businessmen were rounded up and sent to "re-education camps" as punishment for daring to run a business.

The question then becomes, "how could the United States have won the Vietnam War?" and the answer is simple: "By starting WWIII." The borders of South Vietnam were indefensible, unlike Korea, which is a peninsula. The only way to "win" would have been to invade North Vietnam and destroy the source of the weapons and guerillas that were infiltrating the borders of South Vietnam. Neither LBJ nor Richard Nixon dared do that, because both the Soviets and the Chinese had stated that if the U.S. sent troops into North Vietnam, they would send troops to defend the North Vietnamese in exactly the same manner that the U.S. had sent troops to defend the South Vietnamese. And what gain would the U.S. have gotten from invading North Vietnam? North Vietnam had no resources that would benefit the United States. The people of the U.S. would have gotten nothing out of invading North Vietnam. There just wasn't any gain for America, and both LBJ and Nixon gave it a pass. At that point, it was impossible for the U.S. to win the Vietnam War, all that could be done was a bloody stalemate that killed probably five million Vietnamese people during the course of our involvement there.

In the end, South Vietnam fell because the majority of the South Vietnamese people weren't interested in fighting for their own liberty. There is a delusion amongst armchair "patriots" that the majority of people, if their nation were invaded, would engage in armed resistance. But the lesson of France under Nazi occupation is less than reassuring there. The French Resistance had a few thousand members at best. The vast majority of the French people cooperated with the Germans, supported the Vichy puppet government, cooperated with the Vichy policemen, served in the Vichy government, sold goods to the Vichy government. Similarly, the vast majority of South Vietnamese did not resist the North Vietnamese invasion. They figured that there was no difference between a French-Catholic dictatorship and a Communist dictatorship, so they stayed home. They didn't care.

Fast forwarding 35 years: Saddam Hussein stayed in power because the majority of Iraqis either supported him or were apathetic toward his rule. No ruler can stay in power if the majority of the people oppose him. If the majority of Iraqis had refused to serve in his military and instead had sacked the security headquarters, ransacked Saddam's palaces, and hung Saddam by his heels from a bridge until he died, Saddam would have been gone. But the majority of people are sheep. They don't care. I mean, we're talking about a nation where AK-47's and RPG launchers are ordinary household utensils. It's not as if five million people descending upon Baghdad armed with AK-47's and RPG launchers could not have overthrown Saddam. But they didn't bother. They didn't care.

Fast forwarding to 2004: Less than 25% of the voting-age populated of the United States voted to remove George W. Bush from office. In the aftermath of that election, the Republican Party has issued death threats to judges that do not rule the way that they wish the judges to rule, is about to change the rules in Congress so that nobody except Republicans can decide who new judges will be, re-instituted slavery in the guise of "bankruptcy reform", and is destroying the value of the American dollar by printing government bonds (dollar bills) by the bushel-load, leading to the majority of Americans seeing their relative purchasing power sink towards third-world levels. But the majority of people are sheep. They don't care. Less than 25% of us care.

Question: If the majority don't care, why should I care? The majority in South Vietnam welcomed the North Vietnamese. The majority in Iraq didn't care about Saddam. The majority of Americans don't have any objection to George W. Bush. People talk about not running to Canada or elsewhere because "you have to stay and fight." But why stay and fight when the majority don't care?

And this ventured far away from where I was going to go, which was a snarky tale of Agent Orange, lawsuits, crippled children, and love of untermenschen on the part of the American people, but more on that in another post... I guess my point is a good Libertarian point: if a people wants freedom, they need to be willing to fight for it. If they're not... (shrug). Then they deserve all the woes and tyrannies that will befall them.

Once there was a land called the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. Now it's called the Land of the Groped-In-Airports and Home of the Scared Security Mom. If at least 75% of the United States has voted, in the last election, to be part of a nation of cowards, who am I to tell them different? In the end, we get the government we deserve -- alas. Just ask the South Vietnamese. The ones who weren't exterminated, that is.

- Badtux the Newly-Apathetic Penguin

Friday, April 29, 2005

It's a blank disk

CD advertisement in today's Fry's Electronics flyer for $16.77:

Question: Who pays $16.77 for a blank disk?

- Badtux the Snarkly Penguin

Friday Cat Killer Blogging

Howdy, fellers, this here's Bubba the Suthern Penguin again, for today's episode of Friday Cat Killer Bloggin' Starring Bill Frist. Now here's the latest hummedy-doo that them LIE-berals is tryin' ta hang on our brave Dr. Mengele of the Cat World: why, him and his patriotic Republican buddies voted against armor for U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

Now, look here, our boy Bill is no dummy. He knows that our fellers over there in Iraq is the most trained, best equipified, guys and gals in the world, and that this armor would have KILLED THEM ALL! Yessiree, 'cause you see, this here armor was suggested by DEMON-crats, and nuthin' suggested by a DEMON-crat can be any good, so see, Dr. Frist was PROTECTING our troops, that's all! It's not as if soldiers are actually dying over there anyhow, oh sure, them LIE-beral news medias occasionally shows some big explosion or sumthin' in Iraq, but do you ever notice how it all looks like the SAME darned explosion every time? They're just re-using footage to fool us good patriotic Americans into believing Iraq is a hell-hole rather than a peaceful bastion of liberty and democracy in the Middle East! But we'uns is wise to them LIE-berals, 'cause we got the word from our Lord and Savior, George W. Bush, that the people of Iraq is liberated, especially the children, hallaleujah, AMEN!

Now, I gots ta go now, got a bit of a crisis here. Darlene! NASCAR is on and my beer bottle's empty, where's my next bottle of Bud? You mean you ain't got no more? Well why didn't you get your fat butt off yer chair and go get sum? What? Why don't *I* do it? Quit yer whorin' ways and do your biblical duty towards your man, woman! [SLAP! BAM! BANG! CRASH!] Err, gotta go, the little woman is throwin' dishes at me again...

- Bubba the Southern Penguin

But they're smarter than their Commander in Chief...

Marines in Ramada were so short of men that they propped cardboard dummies in sentry towers to fool the insurgents into thinking they faced more Marines than were available.

As Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld put it, "you go to war with the army you have, not the army you want". Even if it's four years after the war started. Or something like that. Don't ask me, it made no more sense the first time.

One thing you gotta say for cardboard cutout dummies: They're smarter than their Commander-in-Chief. But given that it's been almost four years since we knew we were going to war... do you realize that by the time four years had gone by during WWII, the U.S. had launched over 30 aircraft carriers, built over 70,000 tanks, over 300,000 aircraft, and enlisted an army of 19,000,000 men? But hey, that's because FDR wanted to *WIN*. Which appears to be a concept that the Bushies are a bit fuzzy on... hmm, could it be that Orwell's "perpetual war for perpetual peace" has finally arrived? Naw, couldn't be!

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Pooty-poot to Israel: "Go bugger yourself!"

Yessiree, SovietRussian premier Vladmir "Stalin was just misunderstood!" Putin, he of the "the fall of the Soviet Union was the biggest catastrophe of the 20th century" quote, is doing his typical job of making everybody uneasy, in Israel this time. Nevermind that the Russian army couldn't fight its way out of a paper bag, or that Russian military technology is 15 years out of date, and the Russian navy is literally rusting away at its moorings, and most of Russia's nuclear missiles would probably fizzle or explode in their silos due to lack of maintenance if the Russians ever tried to fire them. When that creepy little ex-KGB goon starts talking, people start getting nervous, wondering whose back is going to sprout a knife next...

So he sells Syria some (useless) anti-aircraft missiles. (Useless because Israel can blanket Syria with so many planes spewing so much electronic and thermal jamming that the missiles are more likely to cause the Presidential Palace to burn down than any Israeli plane to fall from the air). He sells the Palestinian Authority some (useless) troop carriers (troop carriers that last served in Afghanistan and proved to be a sitting duck to any half-trained jihadi with an RPG launcher). And of course he sells Iran nuclear reactor equipment. And everybody is sort of standing around, looking over their shoulder, wondering "What is he going to do *NEXT*?!"

Unlike Bush, nobody misunderestimates Pooty-poot. I suspect that, in the middle of the night in his fortified bedroom in the Kremlin, Pooty-poot secretly smiles at that thought. For a millisecond. Then returns to his normal creepy little ex-KGB half-scowl half-smile that makes people look around nervously. Pooty-poot might not have an army capable of fighting its way out of a paper bag (but don't dare say we ought to invade Russia, Napoleon and Hitler both made that mistake and it was a fatal one), but he has something far, far better for Russia's purposes right now: the kind of creepy, gloomy mein that would make Alfred Hitchcock look like an optimistic ray of sunshine.

So the Israelis fume and rant, and Pooty-poot gives that little half-scowl half-smile and smoothly utters inconsequentials and sarcasms, and... all those complaints just slide right off him, leaving the Israelis sputtering. Oh sure, he's a goon, and the world would be a better place without him. But hey, sometimes it's just entertaining to watch one set of goons receive their comeuppance from a professional at the art of goonery. Even penguins need entertainment beyond snorting kippered herring and browsing penguin porn sometimes, y'know!

- Badtux the "Watching the goon circus" Penguin

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Where's my porn?

I find out from General J.C. Christian that AT&T is a porn peddler. I just have one question: As an AT&T subscriber, how can I get my porn? And do I get a choice of porn? Can I get nice lucious penguin porn featuring Scandinavian hotties? I tried calling AT&T to see where my penguin porn was, but all that happened was that the lady laughed for, like, musta been five minutes, then hung up on me!

So where's my porn? Curious penguins want to know!

- Badtux the Aroused Penguin

These slackers need to buck it up

Look, so those Vietnamese whiners say that they ought to get some medical help from the United States because of their birth defects caused by Agent Orange. Well, TOUGH! These slackers just need to buck it up and pull themselves up from their bootstraps (or glovestraps, for those without legs). For example:

This slacker needs to get a job at Saturday Night Live. Oh, I suppose the lack of much of the cerebral cortex might present a slight problem, but hey, considering the uneven quality of SNL over the years and the fact that their audience is all drunk by the time SNL comes on, who would notice?!

Look, this little girl has GREAT hair! She could star in her own shampoo commercials! Why, I bet there's just DOZENS of shampoo companies just BEGGING her for a contract... how DARE she whine that living without arms is a handicap! As for that kid behind with the useless arms and the crippled spine, well, he just needs to get a job that doesn't require a spine, like Democratic Congressman, and he'll be just fine!

The perfect baby girl, it's the new trend in town, rather than buy a doll for your little girl, rent a real baby! The fact that she doesn't have legs just HELPS, since it means she won't be crawling around and getting into things. I can see the advertisements now, "Rent-a-Doll*" (* Legs Not Included).

Hey look, he has no right arm and no legs, but he can curl 50 pounds with his left arm! This slacker needs to try out for the Major Leagues. I mean, how's a pitcher going to throw the ball between his knees and his chest if he has no knees? He'd walk every time! Well, crawl, pushing himself along with that mighty arm of his, but hey, it's a living, right?

Now, there's some who say, "we broke it, we ought to fix it." Oh puh-LEEZE. It's not like they're REAL kids. They're just two-dimensional pictures on a computer monitor, untermenschen, unseemly brown people, just extras in the cast of Survivor:Vietnam who at the end of the day will put on all those unseemly missing parts and become regular folks like you and me. It's not as if they were REAL people, God's people, Americans. They're not like you and me, so why should we care?! It's their own fault anyhow for not being born American, they shoulda just plucked their fetal cells out of their mother's wombs, swam across the ocean, and implanted themselves in good god-fearin' American wombs yessireee!

Yes indeed, as the 30th anniversary of the fall of Saigon approaches, it's definitely a time for introspection and compassion on the part of America and Americans. ***NOT!!!!***

- Badtux the Freeper Penguin

Credit to GreatScat for three of the pictures and the inspiration. And of course to for the model of how Freeper America thinks...

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Who would Jesus beat?

Little children, apparently. For hours at a time. Gah. And not only is this self-proclaimed "Christian" not arrested and put into prison, but he is put in charge of a school for "incorrigible" girls. Makes you wonder what ELSE he beats...

Then comes the woman who called the cops because her kids were acting up. The cops arrived, and found the kids tied up in the garage. And said she was just following the "Tough Love" advice of James "Who Would Jesus Beat?" Dobson.

Then there's the three white cops it took to subdue a vicious, out-of-control... five-year-old girl. In Florida. Of course.

Apparently in Jesusland, the slogan isn't "What Would Jesus Do?". The slogan is "Who Would Jesus Beat?". Nevermind that I search my Gospels high and low and I cannot find any instance of Jesus beating little children...

Jesusland makes Afghanistan under the Taliban look almost sane.

- Badtux the WWJD Penguin

Monday, April 25, 2005

Pooty-poot: "Stalin was just misunderstood"

Yessiree, Soviet Russian premier Vladmir Putin is at it again, saying that the collapse of the Soviet Union was "the worst geopolitical disaster of the 20th century". Funny, I'd say that the collapse of the German Republic in 1934 was probably worse... as far as I know, the collapse of the Soviet Union has NOT led to millions dying... but what the hey, I'm not a megalamaniac Joe Stalin wanna-be disappointed about only ruling 1/6th of the world rather than 1/4th of the world.

But what the hey, some elderly moron in Iraq with no army and no weapons worthy of the name was a bigger threat to the United States than a man who appears to be restoring many symbols of Communism to Russia... it's no wonder that Dubya the Dumber looks into Putin's eyes and likes what he sees there. Dubya the Dumber wants to BE Putin... but labors under the handicap of working in a semi-democratic system (oh sob! I can hear Dubya whining at night that things would be better in a dictatorship, as long as he was the dictator!). I'm sure that every time Bush thinks about his plan to loot Social Security for the benefit of his Wall Street cronies and the buzz-saw that has resulted, he wishes he was Pooty-poot...

- Badtux the "Bush and Putin sitting in a tree" Penguin

Why we need John Bolton for UN Ambassador

Bolton has his head bolted on straight. He knows that God doesn't care about dead babies. Rather, the most important thing is profits for American companies such as Nestle'. Remember, God Loves Profits. God only cares about dead babies if they're being aborted, not if they're being killed for profit. Indeed, any action is okay with God as long as it increases profits, including chasing someone through the halls of a Russian hotel, throwing things at her, shoving threatening letters under her door and, generally, behaving like a madman. After all, if someone interferes with profits for God's own chosen people, the American Corporation, why, that person must be a worshipper of Satan and thus must be punished!

Yessiree, we need a LITERAL ass-kicker as ambassador to the UN, someone who knows that truth is what he wants it to be and anybody else needs to be fired, someone whose sterling record of success as Undersecretary for Arms Control at the Department of State includes North Korea building (or at least saying they built) their first atomic bomb and Iran taking bold steps towards doing so themselves. Surely such a track record of success must be rewarded! I will love to see Mr. Bolton chasing Kofee Anan through the halls of the UN building yelling at him. Of course, Kofee has armed bodyguards with diplomatic immunity. Who are likely to shoot Mr. Bolton dead right there on the spot. But hey, it'd be a great scene while it lasted!

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Techno-geek troubles

  1. My Samsung ML-6060 needs toner. A toner/drun package costs $99, and prints about 6,000 pages. Not too bad, about 1.6 cents per page.
  2. But wait -- my Epson Stylus C84 ink jet has started screwing up. It's started dribbling black ink all over the paper. Looking inside discovered three sponges. The one under the bed was saturated with ink on its ends, so I washed it out in rubbing alcohol and put it back in. The one under the black head where it usually sits when not busy was saturated with black ink, so ditto. Big glops of clotted black ink were everywhere, so I cleaned them up with paper towels and cotton swabs wherever possible then used rubbing alcohol on cotton swabs to finish the job. The one under the color head was saturated with ink, but that does not appear to be an issue because of the design (there is a rubber wiper around the sponge and there is a suction hose beneath it, apparently it's supposed to be saturated with ink?). There were great globs of black ink on the rubber wiper that wipes the nose of the print heads as they come across the bed from their resting place. I cleaned everything up as best I could, but there's still black glops. I suspect there's a black glop sitting under the printhead where I couldn't get, trapping black ink when the head recharges into the sponge and then dragging it across the paper.
  3. Still, it's obvious that this is a disposable printer. Those sponges aren't consumables, they were intended to last the life of the printer -- which, apparently, is around a half-dozen ink cartridge changes and a thousand sheets of paper. This is the last Epson printer that I ever buy. They claimed they'd solved their problems with print head clogging. Obviously not -- they just moved them. Fool me once, shame on them...
  4. So: Laser printer needs toner. Need color printer. What's the obvious solution? A color laser printer! So I go look around. The obvious solution is a Samsung color laser printer. Ooops, that thing is HUGE, I have no place to put it! Hmm, and it's a boat anchor with Linux (i.e., unusable). Look around. Ah, there's a Minolta-Konika! Err, no. Consumables eat you alive. The per-page costs are about twice that of an HP ink jet.
  5. ERK! Well, I'm satisfied with the ML6060's print quality and its per-page cost is astoundingly low, so I'll buy another toner/drun cartridge for it. Guess I end up buying an HP ink jet printer to replace the Epson paperweight. Sigh. What I liked about the Epson was the waterproof inks, which was nice when you went hiking (your topo map turning into a colored smudge is a REAL bummer!). But if Epson can't produce a reliable printer... well, what can you do?
  6. Ut-oh. My server is locking up. Updated my SATA subsystem to the very latest libata patches applied to the very latest 2.6.11 Linux kernel, and still locks up. This isn't supposed to happen. What is supposed to happen is that a drive fails, and the Linux MD RAID subsystem fails the drive and continues on using the two drives that remain working. It isn't supposed to lock up the whole friggin' system when a drive in a RAID array locks up! Since the system locks up before it prints an error message, I don't know which drive it is. I wrote a test that sequentially read each and every byte on each and every disk and everything works PERFECTLY. I don't know what's happening here, other than that Linux sucks. But if you're a penguin, what else can you run?
So I guess what I'm saying is that computer geek issues are going to be top of my plate the next few days, and it's unlikely that I'll do much more than an occasional snark riff based on someone else's blog postings. Bummer.

- Badtux the Computer Geek Penguin

Friday, April 22, 2005

Untermenschen and Ubermenschen

I expanded my entry on Hitler's birthday and submitted it to Kuro5hin, a peer-reviewed discussion site. A very interesting discussion has resulted.

One of the things I brought up, but did not expand upon, was American Exceptionalism as the logical descendent of racial bigotry as a dark stain upon the soul of America. This perhaps requires a bit more explication as to how, and why, this philosophy (and its related philosophies Christian Identity and Christian Reconstructionalism) are inherently evil.

The basic tenent of American Exceptionalism is that Americans are a special and unique people. Americans are Ubermenschen, better than most, and everybody else is untermenschen, sub-human, to be pitied and aided if you are a liberal (for surely they lack the ability to help themselves, being mere untermenschen, sub-human, rather than real people, Americans), or to be dominated and exploited if you are a conservative (especially a conservative of the Christian Reconstructionalist variety), for surely it is God's will to dominate the untermenschen if you are an American, otherwise He would not have gifted us with the enormous natural resources and largely empty countryside that allowed our nation to become the greatest in the world by the mid 20th century.

Few Americans will state the notion of American Exceptionalism in such bald and blatant terms, for it is such an ingrained part of the American psyche that it goes unnoticed, unheralded, unexamined. News editors cynically state "one American is worth 100 wogs" when deciding which stories they should cover (i.e., a disaster where 10 Americans die is equal to a disaster where 1,000 Malaysians die when it comes news-worthiness), but no one questions why this is so. Yet the number of flags that you see flying in America (in no other country is it routine for individuals to fly flags, only government buildings fly flags), the whole "liberals hate America" meme, etc., are all based upon the notion that America is the best, Americans are the chosen people, that Americans are better than other people, and that pride in America is to be expected and enforced no matter what. To the extreme advocate of "America first", it is completely impossible for America or Americans to do something evil. They will literally justify any behavior on the part of America or Americans, no matter how brutal, as being only right and just because it is America bringing her uniqueness to some other place and some other people.

Yet this concept is, in the end, no different from the concepts of 'ubermenschen' and 'untermenschen' which led to the Nazis liquidating entire populations of 'untermenschen' and enslaving the rest. Indeed, this concept is a logical descendent of the same attitudes that led to slavery and segregation in America. Both slavery and segregation in America were justified by the notion that blacks were untermenschen, subhuman, and thus it was right and proper to maintain them in conditions of slavery or near-slavery. Even today, you will find apologists for slavery who will claim that blacks were happier and healthier under slavery, that slave-owners were charitable people simply bringing people out of the Stone Age into civilization, that Abraham Lincoln was a criminal who stole the property of Southern gentlemen without compensation as called for by the Bill of Rights, etc.

All that has happened is that this basic attitude has mutated. America has always had a rather mutable attitude towards race, witness the late 1800's when Boston businesses had help-wanted ads that said "No Irish Need Apply" because Irish immigrants were considered a seperate (and inferior) race. What has happened is that now that it is no longer fashionable to consider blacks or other Americans as sub-human, the concept has instead been generalized to non-Americans as sub-human.

An example is the rhetoric that George W. Bush now uses to justify the war in Iraq, and the reaction of the American news media to casualties in Iraq. Bush's current justification is that America had to bring democracy to Iraq. The implicit assumptions, however, typically go unexamined. For example, this statement implies that Iraqis are untermenschen, sub-human, incapable of bringing democracy to their own nation without soldiers from America, God's chosen people, imposing it at gunpoint. Similarly, the news media covers every Amerian casualty in Iraq, prints the name of each and every one of them, but the dozens of Iraqis who die per day in the violence of the civil war there are completely anonymous.

A typical lead paragraph for a particularly gruesome car bombing might say, "Forty Iraqis died and two Americans, Pfc. John Howard and Pfc. Tony Blaire, were injured when a car bomb went off outside the Green Zone in Baghdad Iraq today." Two injured Americans are literally more important than forty dead Iraqis, whose names, whose stories we never are told. They are extras on the set of a reality TV show "Survivor:Iraq", they are Star Trek "Red Shirts" (the extras who never lasted past the middle of the episode), they aren't people. Then when they die the Little Green Footballers and Freepers chortle "Yeah! Four more rag-heads dead!" because those who embrace the current virulent form of American Exceptionalism view only Americans as humans. Everyone else is a subhuman, and it is only right and just that America should rule them and cull them as desired.

That, then, is where American Exceptionalism leads us: an imperial America imposing her vision upon the rest of the world. Because if America is the best, if Americans are the chosen people, surely this is right and just? But this attitude inevitably, invariably, leads to atrocity. All nations which view themselves as "the chosen nation" or "God's chosen people" inevitably end up causing enormous harm both to others whom they consider "untermenschen" or to themselves. It took national disaster and the complete destruction of their nation to wake Germans to the notion that perhaps dividing humanity into "ubermenschen" and "untermenschen" was not right. Unfortunately, the United States, protected for so long by vast oceans, has never had to face the price for her hubris. But that price may be coming, and in a far worse way than if we'd learned our lesson during earlier times, because the rest of the world is no longer content to be an American plantation filled with darkies working their American massah's overseas plantations...

- Badtux the Sorta-Exceptional Penguin

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Blogger is bloggered, as usual :-(

Whenever I try to view my blog from Firefox, all I get is the Blogger dashboard. If, on the other hand, I view it from Konquerer (where I do not have a cookie logged in), I see my blog.

I'm not sure what the problem is here. If I view a mirror of the blog published to my own web site, I see my blog. If I view another blog that I have posting priviliges to, I see the blog. So it's not a content problem with the template. It's something on their web server reacting to the user cookie. I'm just irritated that I have to fire up a different browser to see my very own blog.

I could, of course, relocate my blog to my own domain. But I do not have the bandwidth at my current ISP and thus would need to host a server with a hosting company. And frankly I lack the interest in managing my own server, I design Linux distributions for a living and don't wish to do so as a hobby too.

Anyhow, if things seem to be going oddly here, now you know why: I been Bloggered!

- Badtux the Bloggered Penguin

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Institutions are better than loving homes

The State of Texas, faced with a shortage of loving foster homes, has taken steps to resolve that shortage -- by protecting these children from homosexual and bisexual foster parents. After all, it is better that these children live in institutions than living with someone who, like, BANGS THE WRONG SEX. After all, if they bang the wrong sex, what else might they do? Eat quiche? Admire French cuisine? VOTE DEMOCRAT?! No no, it is far better that we keep these children in sterile institutional settings than to submit them to the horrors of a loving home. After all, no child ever suffered from being raised in an institution rather than in a loving home!

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

A celebration of a birthday.

Adolf Hitler
Date of Birth: 20 April 1889

Adolph Hitler is the face of evil for most Americans, so much so that what we think of when we say "Hitler" is a caricature of the real man. The real man was just a man. Hitler did not invent anti-Semitism in Germany. Hitler did not invent militarism in Germany. Hitler did not invent concentration camps. Hitler did not invent pre-emptive war. He was just a man, a small and insecure man who gave voice to what his fellow Germans and Austrians would have said if they had dared voice their opinions but did not dare say because it was not politically correct. All Hitler did was voice the darkness in the soul of the German nation -- he did not invent it.

In a way, this makes Adolph Hitler exactly equivalent to people like Ann Coulter, she of the "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity" quote still proudly displayed on the National Review web site. Ann Coulter did not invent that sentiment. That is a sentiment that, instead, reflects the darkness at the soul of America, a darkness that, for example, during the Iran hostage crisis at the end of Jimmy Carter's presidency, led to Bubba America calling for Carter to nuke Iran. But making this comparison does not work, because we no longer see Hitler the man when we say the word "Hitler". We instead see the personification of Evil. He wasn't. He was Ann Coulter if Ann had gone into politics rather than punditry -- i.e., someone who channeled the evil at the heart of a nation and said what the majority wanted to say, but would not say because it was not politically correct.

The problem with making Hitler the personification of Evil is that it allows those who would similarly channel the darkness in the soul of nations to reject comparisons between them and Hitler. Because Hitler is now a caricature rather than a man, because Hitler is now Satan incarnate rather than just being an ordinary politician speaking to the popular prejudices of the population, people who similarly are ordinary politicians speaking to the popular prejudices of the population are swift to condemn comparisons between themselves and Hitler. After all, is a Bill Frist, George W. Bush, or Tom Delay the incarnation of Evil? No, no more than Hitler was. They are just men, politicians, giving voice to the darkness at the heart of America, a darkness of racism and lynchings and brutality which seemed to have receded for a bright and shining moment of American life in the 1960's, but which has been slowly creeping back and expanding from its bastion in the Deep South ever since, to the point where it now encompasses the majority of America and Americans. If Adolph Hitler was born in America 50 years ago and became a politician, he would not be ranting about Jews and untermenschen. He would be saying the exact same things as Bill Frist, George W. Bush, or Tom DeLay. Because Hitler was just a man -- as is Bill Frist, George W. Bush, and Tom DeLay.

Digby talks about being boiled. That is because Digby is a relatively young man who grew up in a time of light and hope, a time and place which is fairly unique in the history of both the United States and of the world. I grew up in the segregation-era South. I have seen the evil at the heart of the beast up close and personal. I have seen policemen boasting about "nigger knocking". I was not there when Police Commissioner George D'Artois busted down the door of a black church and paraded down the aisle with dozens of mounted police officers, and pistol-whipped the preacher for holding a memorial service for the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. because "we don't celebrate Commie niggers in this city", but I heard about it. I have seen policemen talk about how planting a knife on a "nigger" they shot was better than planting a gun, because knives don't have serial numbers. I have heard politicians say "Segregation Now, Segregation Tomorrow, Segregation forever!". I saw the city fathers shut down every public park and recreational facility in the entire city because a court had ordered them desegregated and, quote, "we ain't gonna have no niggers mixing with white people in OUR city." I saw a city destroyed by hatred and evil in much the same way that Germany was destroyed. This evil went underground. This evil changed its rhetoric. But this evil is no more dead today than it was 100 years ago, and indeed, has grown, mutated, changed, inserted itself deeper into the very soul of America.

On this day, Hitler's birthday, let us reflect upon evil and recognize it for what it is: something that lives in the souls of nations, not in the souls of politicians. For politicians are nothing more than mirrors. Hitler was a mirror unto the soul of a nation, not evil incarnate -- as are George W. Bush, Tom DeLay, and Bill Frist. And may the Lord have mercy upon our souls.

-- Badtux the Historian Penguin

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Banned by another site!

Yes indeedy, the Snarky Penguin peeves both left wingers and right wingers equally. Today I was banned by a left-wing site that I won't name for basically quoting this article to them and pointing out that we hold marches for the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing, but Iraq and Afghanistan have had over 100 Oklahoma Cities and all we do is wring our hands and tut-tut and say "oh what a shame". Because those Iraqis are, like, DUSKY. And, like, AREN'T AMERICAN. So that means they don't REALLY count, right? So I applaud these fine left-wingers for joining Tacitus, Little Green Footballs, and Free Republic in banning the Snarky Penguin -- they are truly in fine company!

- Badtux the Banned Penguin

Welcome, Pope Panzerfaust I !!

Well, the Catholic Church, apparently wanting to go back to its glory days hob-nobbing with fascists, has now elected "The Panzer Cardinal" as Pope. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected pope by the cardinals in Rome yesterday. Apparently the fact that he was the only cardinal who showed up with his own Panzer division swayed them to vote for him. Well, that, and because as head of the Holy Inquisition, the Vatican's own secret police, he knew which cardinal's mistresses had borne children and which cardinals were banging which alter boys...

So here's a warm welcome for "God's Rottweiler", who almost certainly will NOT use the Comfy Chair as part of his efforts to clear the Catholic Church of dissent -- soft cushions or no. Pope Benedict XVI, like his famous namesake, is truly a man for the new century -- the 14th Century.

- Badtux the Catholic Penguin

Monday, April 18, 2005

Only the good die young

Marla Ruzicka, 1977-2005

Marla Ruzicka was the founder, along with Raed Jarrar, of CIVIC, the Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict, a group which tried to account for and help civilian victims of war. She was only 24 years old when she founded CIVIC to help victims of the Afghan war. She herself became a civilian victim of war when, at age 28, her car was blown up by an IED that was aimed at an American convoy in Baghdad.

Evil persists because we are cowards. Those of us who, in our comfortable lives of apathy and greed, fail to act when evil walks the land are Good Germans as Sophie Scholl described, refusing to act, refusing to live, because we are scared of life, scared of reality. Oh sure, we may pontificate on these keyboards, but what good does that do, really? So we grow old, and fat, and grey, and clutter this world with our useless lives of masticating and defecating and fornicating and accumulating useless baubles, and when we die we will be buried and forgotten and for what purpose? For what reason? And can you really call what we do "living", when we refuse to live because we are snivelling cowards who lack the guts to act to make this world a better place for all?

But perhaps I grow too cynical as I grow older, perhaps what I view as a clear-eyed analysis of the basic character of the human race -- i.e., as a race of cowards who refuse to end evil because it would require taking risks -- is just the mysogonist viewpoint of a man who has seen too much evil and seen too many making excuses for evil. I know what Marla would have said. She would have said the same thing she said three years ago, when asked if she would rather do something safer: "To have a job where you can make things better for people? That's a blessing," she said. "Why would I do anything else?"

Sadly, the answer for most of us is, "because we are cowards."

And so another heretik dies. But then, we all die, some day. Is it better to live before dying? Marla believed so. Sadly, the majority of us do not. We eat, we sleep, we defecate, we fornicate, we accumulate useless baubles, then delude ourselves that we are living and that this is life. Goodbye, Marla Ruzicka. Some day, perhaps the rest of us will be worthy of those like you who dare to live rather than being good Germans, people who roll up their spirits into tiny little balls so as to be safe.

- Badtux the Saddened Penguin

The funeral is scheduled for Saturday, April 23, at 11pm at St. Mary's Church in Lakeport CA. In lieu of flowers, the family is requestion donations be sent to Ruzicka's group, CIVIC, Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict, 1630 Conneticut Ave. NW, Suite 500, Washington DC 20009.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Sheriff Joke does the right thing (for a change)

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County Arizona (the Phoenix metropolitan area), the self-proclaimed "America's Toughest Sheriff", scourge of pink-underwear-wearing comics everywhere, has finally done the right thing for a change: He has arrested a man who held seven people at gunpoint because he thought they were illegal aliens.

I've been pretty rough on Sheriff Joke in the past. I mean, we're talking about a guy who is almost the caricature of the Southern sheriff, a man who runs a jail so brutal that his guards regularly kills inmates (most of whom have been convicted of no crime other than not having money for bail), who is so fat that, when his "posse" (a bunch of old farts who look half dead) ride in parades, has to sit in a wagon and wave his hat rather than ride a horse because any horse that Sheriff Joke tried to sit on would collapse of exhaustion within a few footsteps. He's a publicity hound, an incompetent who basically got run out of the DEA as a publicity-seeking useless bag of wind, and otherwise has no business being a lawman.

But in this case, at least, he did the right thing. If "America's Toughest Sheriff" has no liking for the "Minutemen" (apparently how long they can keep their little soldier salutin' while doing their marital duty :-), that sends a clear message that any abuses by these beer-swillin' shotgun-totin' morons is not going to be tolerated -- a message that needed sending, and one for which Sheriff Joe is to be commended.

- Badtux the Law-abidin' Penguin

Thursday, April 14, 2005

The Chains of Reality

One of the things that irritates this penguin are ideologues who substitute their pet ideology for reality. For example, I ride motorcycles. I have experimented with WD-40 and found that it increases chain life with modern O-ring chains to over 20,000 miles (in case you're wondering, that's very good). Yet people still insist that their pet sticky chain loob stuff that costs ten times as much as WD-40 is better because it has ingredients X, Y, and Z "which are better than some old light oil formulation". Yet chains don't last as long with that expensive sticky chain loob stuff, and I have the data to prove it.

So why do people keep using the sticky chain loob stuff? Ideology, pure and simple. Ideology passed down from motorcycle shop owner to motorcycle owner over the eons, ideology which has the net result of enriching motorcycle shop owners who sell sticky chain loob stuff and chains (doh!) while ignoring a practical, inexpensive alternative which actually works BETTER than the expensive stuff. Ideology that says, "if it's more expensive, it must be better", or, "if it was explicitly designed for motorcycle chains, it must be better", or, "if it wasn't better, they wouldn't sell it," notions that they've never tested against reality. Indeed, the idea of testing their ideology against reality simply never occurs to them.

The same applies to health care. A practical realist like myself looks around for the health care system that works best -- that has the most doctors, the most high-tech equipment, the most hospital beds per patient, the best outcomes, that extends life the longest. Then we say, "that's the health care system we want for the United States." The ideologue, on the other hand, doesn't care about reality. He uses the same sort of moronic ideological reasoning that afflicts the sticky chain loob crowd -- "if it's more expensive, it must be better", or, "if it's provided by government, it can't be good", etc. You present these people with data that shows that France has the best health care system in the world on every single measure -- has more doctors per patient than the United States, has more high tech equipment and hospital beds per patient than the United States, etc., yet provides this better care for 40% less money per patient than in the United States -- they start plugging their fingers in their ears and start shouting, "I can't hear you! I can't hear you!" and start shouting about "waiting lists" and about "I want to be able to choose my own doctor", objections which do not apply at all to the French system (where as many surgeries are done by private hospitals -- reimbursed by the French state-owned insurance company -- as are done in publically-owned hospitals).

I'll be blunt: This reluctance to face reality is why the political system in the United States is utterly dysfunctional. Our entire political system has become a bunch of Catholic theologians fighting about how many angels can stand on the point of a pin, arguing about theological issues utterly divorced from reality. I don't give a flyin' flip about whether something is "socialist" or "government-run" or "free enterprise", what I want is the best life for me and mine.

Now, practically speaking, experience has shown that for *most* things, private enterprise works better than government-run businesses. I don't want a car made by a government-run business, for example -- they typically suck (see: the old British Leyland company, or Fiat or Renault). But that's not a case of me having a religious attraction to free enterprise and making theological arguments about its superiority. That's a case of me looking at the observable facts and saying, "government doesn't work for making cars".

But when we talk about health care, I look at the observable facts and say exactly the opposite. Ever since for-profit hospitals became legal here in the United States (prior to the 1980's most hospitals were non-profits owned by local doctors with roots in the community), the standing of the United States health care quality relative to other nations has plummetted. Where once we were #1 in the world, now we're #30 or so, with all European nations and many Asian nations having more doctors per citizen, more high tech medical equipment per citizen, etc. than we do. France, for example, has 2.5 times as many doctors per citizen as we in the United States have. It is clear that private enterprise has been an utter failure at providing affordable and readily available health care for the majority of U.S. citizens, especially in poorer areas or rural areas where there is little access to medical care on the part of U.S. citizens. Comparing the U.S. health care system to France, we spend close to 75% more money, yet have fewer doctors, less high tech equipment, and poorer results on every measure.

Now, we can make theological arguments about how many angels can dance on the point of a pin, or how "socialist" health care just can't work because of religious beliefs A, B, and C. But facts are facts. And the facts say that if we want better health care for less money, there's an easy and effective way to do this: adopt the French system for funding and providing health care. That's the facts. All the religious zealotry in the world won't make the Earth quit going around the sun rather than vice-versa, or make privately-provided health care as effective and inexpensive as the French mixed private-public system. For those of us more interested in reality than in religious zealotry, it's a no-brainer: adopting a time-tested, proven system that has been shown to work beats religious zealotry every day.

So why do people still insist that a French-style health care system couldn't possibly work? Probably for the same reason that my motorcycling buddies insist that WD-40 can't possibly work and that sticky chain goop is worth the premium price it costs -- this is what other people have told them, along with some reasons why it can't possibly work, and damn the facts, their mind is made up! But WD-40 still gives me 20K+ miles on a motorcycle chain, giving me more chain life than the sticky goop for less... and a French-style mixed public-private health care system still works better than an American-style private-insurer health care system, giving better quality care for less.

There's no ideology necessary here -- just observing reality, and then accepting reality. For those of us who are practical engineering types, all that ideological gobblety-gook is just plain hot air -- all we care is whether it works. WD-40 works. A French-style health care system works. In the America that I was born in, that's all we cared about -- whether something worked. Alas, today's America is more concerned about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin... which is why this nation now has a worse health care system than any other OECD nation other than Mexico. Hmm, Mexico is the new Mississippi, and the U.S. is the new Arkansas... who woulda thunk it?!

- Badtux the Reality-based Penguin

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The Pope is Going to Hell

At least, according to Hilltop Baptist Church, in Newport, Tennessee.

Guess the pastor there must hear voices in his head or somethin', or maybe just has something against them statue-worshippin' Catholics. Oh well, since I'm a hell-bound penguin I'll be happy to have the Pope as my buddy down there...

- Badtux the Holy Penguin

Kinkos saves the President from bad satire!

Thank you, Kinko's! I'm sure that calling the FBI every time you read bad satire is time consuming, but your adoring public appreciates your efforts to keep our nation safe from fake Muslims!

UPDATED: The Secret Service is saving us from bad art, too. Thanks, Secret Service! (Hat tip to Corrente for this one).

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

[ Note: My apologies for the enormous dump, I had a bunch of material accumulated and it was time to free up some of my browser windows so I could close them!]

Brains! Brains! Brains! Redux

Seems that now we know where the zombies are going to come from that are going to attack George Rogers Clark High School. It appears that they're in Kings County, and are being fed by the Kings County Coroner using the brains of people he's autopsied. No word yet on whether the Kings County Corner already autopsied Winchester, Kentucky police officials.

Boy, I'm glad THAT mystery is cleared up!

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

New Zealand biologist offends guitar and banjo players

A New Zealand biologist, talking about the endangered Kakapo and biologists' diabolical plan to force them to copulate:

"The majority of kakapo sperm is rubbish. Even productive birds have poor sperm because of past inbreeding. They’re so inbred that if they were humans, they’d probably have six fingers and be playing a guitar."

That's BANJO, dude. BANJO. What, you didn't watch Deliverance? And my cousin Bubba the Southern Penguin has six fingers and plays a banjo, so don't diss inbred banjo-players, dude!

All guitar players everywhere should be OUTRAGED that someone would be so stupid as to think inbred humans play guitars rather than banjos!

- Badtux the Guitar-playin' Penguin

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Pot, here is Kettle

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld warns the new Iraqi government about corruption, saying that it destroys trust in government and results in bloated and inefficient government.

Presumably this is the voice of experience speaking. What next, Ken Lay to start giving seminars on business ethics at Harvard Business School? Martha Stewart give talks about how to make money in the stock market? The Ghost of Richard Nixon enlisted to give stern warnings about fair and ethical campaigning? George W. Bush enlisted to teach noocleer physics at Stanford University? John Bolton to now give seminars on how the United Nations is our friends? Curious penguins want to know!

- Badtux the Curious Penguin

Monday, April 11, 2005

Beware the CD Players of Mass Destruction!

There was a bit of high drama on Capitol Hill today, as a baffled Chinese tourist meditating upon the Capitol was screamed at in a foreign language he didn't understand, then tackled, and had his luggage hauled off and exploded by the police. The final tally: one baffled Chinese tourist, one less CD player in the world, and one less wristwatch in the world.

Note: AP says the police report that contrary to early reports, the tourist, dressed like Johnny Cash all in black, did not speak to the police at all (as you'd expect, since the police spoke no Chinese). Other reports that he demanded to see President Bush or verbally refused to open his suitcases appear to be based upon testimony of over-imaginative bystanders who've been drinking too much Department of Homeland Security kool-aid.

Still, the action of the policemen was entirely justified. I mean, you get some dusky-lookin' furriner close to the Capitol Building who, like, speaks only that furriner gabble, why, he just has to be up to some mischief! And that CD player... why, if the police hadn't blown up that CD player, it could have exploded and KILLED US ALL!

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Sunday, April 10, 2005

What would it be like if Unitarians went jihad?


We are Unitarian Jihad. We will appear in public places and require people to shake hands with each other. (Sister Hand Grenade of Love suggested that we institute a terror regime of mandatory hugging, but her motion was not formally introduced because of lack of a quorum.) We will require all lobbyists, spokesmen and campaign managers to dress like trout in public. Televangelists will be forced to take jobs as Xerox repair specialists. Demagogues of all stripes will be required to read Proust out loud in prisons.

People of the United States! We are Unitarian Jihad! We can strike without warning. Pockets of reasonableness and harmony will appear as if from nowhere! Nice people will run the government again! There will be coffee and cookies in the Gandhi Room after the revolution.

Hmm... must say that when it comes to that jihad stuff, the Unitarians don't quite inspire the kind of fear that, say, Islamic Jihad (or Bush Christian Crusaders) does... but then, these are the same terrorists behind the Cover the Uninsured Week (May 1-8, 2005), so maybe they DO inspire terror -- in health insurance executives.

- Brother Broadsword of Reasoned Discourse

Did Robert Zimmerman threaten Bush's life?

In celebration of Poetry Month and in commemoration of an event that happened a few months ago, I present Robert Zimmerman, a.k.a. "Bob Dylan", and his threat against the lives of Dick Cheney and George W. Bush:

Copyright 1963 by
Bob Dylan

Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks

You that never done nothin'
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it's your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain

You fasten the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion
As young people's blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud

You've thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain't worth the blood
That runs in your veins

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I'm young
You might say I'm unlearned
But there's one thing I know
Though I'm younger than you
Even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul

And I hope that you die
And your death'll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I'll watch while you're lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I'll stand o'er your grave
'Til I'm sure that you're dead

The only thing he left off was the urination upon their gravestones. I suspect that the Secret Service will have to post a permenant guard upon their graves once they're dead, otherwise it will smell like a urinal.

- Badtux the Non-Violent Penguin (hey, urinating on a grave IS non-violent, okay?)

Friday, April 08, 2005

Our Glorious Leader reads my blog!

It appears that our Glorious Leader is reading my blog. A while back, I made a modest proposal that we adopt the Roman system of enlistments. After all, if we are to be an empire, we darn well ought to start acting like one!

I am glad to see that our Glorious Leader has heard my advice, extending a soldier's enlistment for 27 years, to 2031. Although I must admit that this penguin is somewhat disconcerted that our Glorious Emperor has not granted the Roman benefits of a plot of land upon retirement, RomanAmerican citizenship, and all the booty that an Imperial centurion can loot. Oh well, maybe next week..

- Badtux the Imperial Penguin

Friday Cat Killer Blogging

Howdy thare, Bubba the Suthern Penguin here, to talk about our good pal and buddy, Senator Bill Frist. Right now what's I got to talk about is the NOO-CLEER OPTION, which is kinda like killing a cat (something that our good buddy Bill is good at doin', what's yer favrite way to killa cat? Mine's a .22, you ought ter see them critters jump in the air when that thar bullet hits'em!), but is instead about killing Filly Busters.

Now, these here Filly Busters, I'm not quite sure what they is, but they's somethin' about them DEMON-crats stoppin' government from doin' stuff. Look here, feller, that's just plain wrong. When we'uns elected God's Own Administration into office, what we wuz votin' fer was BIG guvernment. TEXAS-sized guvernment. That kicks ass, 'specially them DEMON-crat's ass. Them DEMON-crats tryin' to keep guv'ment from doin' stuff, why, that's just un-AMERICAN! If guv'ment can't do whatever it feels like doin', the TERRORISTS HAVE WON!

So whatever these here Filly Busters is (I wonder if they got somethin' to do with taming horses?), contact our good pal Bill and tell'em Bubba sent ya to tell him that you want them Filly Busters to be glowin' in the dark, ka-BOOM! NOO-clear, my man. Whoo! Makes my li'l soldier salute just a THINK'IN about that thare mushroom cloud where them DEMON-crats was thinkin' they were gonna, like, act like democracy was somethin' other than doin' like we'uns tell'em to do!

Well now, I gotta go. I shot me ten of them thare does and they is hangin' up out back of my trailer house and Darlene is whinin' that she's tard of cleanin' them all, that I ought to do some of the work too. Now, ya think I oughtter use my belt on her, or just slap her upside the head till she's thinkin' right? I had to work HARD to lay out 'nuff corn to get all them thare deers to come in front of my 30-30! That thare woman just don't 'preciate the work I do, well, I'm gonna teach her, yessiree!

Yours in luvin' democracy,
Bubba the Southern Penguin

Translations for damnyankees out there, courtesy of Badtux the Snarky Penguin: Filly: a young female horse. Does -- female deer, now that the deer population has exploded it is encouraged to cull does but the limit generally is very small, 4 or fewer per day or per season depending upon what Tennessee county you're in, and deer season ended back in January. Baiting -- quite illegal in Tennessee, you cannot set out baiting stations in order to attract deer to where your stand is set up. .22 -- a small game rifle, typically used by children in the South to kill rabbits, cats, and birds. 30-30 -- a rifle firing the .30-30 Winchester round, one of the more common deer rounds out there (the other common one is the.30-06 Springfield round, which is referred to in Bubba land as a "thirty-ought-six").

Thursday, April 07, 2005

This one's for SKB

Call it an early Friday Bird Blogging present for him :-). (And sorry about the misunderstanding, Bubba, just never got any reply to my EMAIL so ...).

- Badtux the Flightless Waterfowl

A modest proposal for travel documents

Americans will soon be required to have a passport in order to go shopping across the MExican or Canadian border. This is required in order to deal with all those Mexican and Canadian terrorists that have been entering the country and blowing up buildings like on September 11. I mean, there's been... err.... ah... *NO* Mexican or Canadian terrorists entering America using American birth certificates and picture ID? WTF?

It's clear that this is mostly a mechanism for keeping the prune faces from making those bus trips across the border to get cheap medicines, but taking it on face value (that this is to keep terrorist from travelling), this penguin has a modest proposal: Make a passport required to travel *ANYWHERE* in the United States. Going from California to Arizona? Your passport, please! Going from New York to New Jersey? Your passport please!

It is clear that this would have stopped the 9/11 terrorists, who, after all, had valid passports and visas (WTF?).... thus should be instituted, like, tomorrow!

Remember, "Your Papers, Please" isn't just a good idea -- it should be the law. If we don't turn our nation into a fear-filled fortress state with machine-gun-armed soldiers on every streetcorner demanding your papers, the terrorists have won!

- Badtux the Fascism-luvin' Penguin

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Congratulations to the AP

for winning the Pulitzer Prize for news photography. Especially touching is this prize-winning photo of an Iraqi terrorist after receiving his just due (because, as Tacitus and Instycracker and Little Green Footballs are quick to remind us, only terrorists get killed by U.S. troops in Iraq):

Yessirree, we gave him Freedom(tm) and threw in the pine box for free...

We are *SO* going to hell as a nation.

- Badtux the Sickened Penguin

Hat tip to The Heretik

Carter left off list for Pope funeral

Can you think of anything so petty as telling a former President, "Sorry, but I'd rather take my wife and my other wife than you"?

Apparently that's what Bush did -- told Carter the delegation was full because he had to take his wife and his Sally Hemmings in preference to Carter. Jimmy, to his credit, decided not to make an issue of it and apparently allowed the Bush Administration to put out that he withdrew his request upon hearing that the delegation was filled. That still does not excuse the fact that Bush apparently prefers to bring his black mistress to the Pope's funeral rather than a former President who belongs there.

- Badtux the "These Busheviks have no shame, I guess" Penguin

*ANOTHER* Newsflash about the Pope!

He's still dead.

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Thanks to G.D. Frogsdong for this news update!

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Terrorist commies oppose our Great Leader's wise plans

Attorney General Abu "I Love Torture!" Gonzales today spoke before Congress in favor of extending the most onerous provisions of the Patriot Act. In response, those Communist groups "American Conservative Union", "Americans for Tax Reform", the "Citizens' Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms", the "Eagle Forum" and the "American Association of Physicians and Surgeons" formed a coalition of liberal Commie terrorist organizations, called "Patriots to Restore Checks and Balances", in order to oppose the extension of these provisions. It is clear that any group with a name like "American Conservative Union" or "Citizens' Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms" is just die-hard liberal Commies out to DESTROY AMERICA! After all, surely only liberals could dare oppose our Great Leader's just use of domestic spying, torture, and public accusations against known terrorists, right? Right?!

In other news, the Justice Department sticks its tongue out at a group that wants information about its secret detentions of, well, people who haven't been convicted of anything (not a single terrorism conviction in the whole batch, as far as we know). Wanting to know who's being "disappeared" by the Department of Justice is, well, just plain UN-AMERICAN, right? Right?!

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Mild mannered biologist goes Hannibal Lector

Faced with the prospect of a rabid creationist cretin speaking against evolution on his college campus, mild-mannered biologist Pharyngula fights against the desire to pummel the moron with Biology textbooks. Says he: Jeez, but I'm feeling cranky. Nelson picked a bad week to stroll into my back yard—I'm thinking I better wear a muzzle to this talk. Maybe I can get a few students to strap me to a frame and wheel me in ala Hannibal Lector.

This penguin wants to see that spectacle! The NERVE of those Creationists, believing that God created Man in His image and thus evolution is wrong. Tuxology, as usual, has the answer. It's clear, given that penguins are God's perfect creature, that God created *PENGUINS* in His image, and that Man evolved (or rather, devolved) from penguins! Man, I wish I had time to waddle up there to UMM to flagellate that Bible-thumping cretin with limp herring until he cries for mercy... this guy is DEFINITELY headed for Hell (Arizona) to be flagellated with limp herring by the Penguin Inquisition as soon as we finish installing a Tuxologist theocracy in America, as is only our due!

- Badtux the Tuxologist Penguin

Monday, April 04, 2005

The dream died 37 years ago today

The Heretik reminds us that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated 37 years ago today. As we mourn the death of another prince of peace, let us also mourn the death of MLK's dream of a land where all men are born equal, where every little child has all the opportunity in the world limited not by color or race or economic class, a dream that is gone now, lost in violence and lost in hate, lost in fear and lost in tears. Goodbye, MLK. Goodbye.

- Badtux the Saddened Penguin

Blogger barfs again :-(

Now they're not posting comments. This sucks. I'm considering picking up stakes and moving over to LiveJournal, which at least stays up most of the time. Sigh...

Update: Blogger is back. But man, what a bummer. The biggest bummer is that Google refuses to publish any kind of explanation or notice of what's going on with Blogger. It appears that Google's notion of "service" is what a stallion does to a mare. And then the Google recruiters wonder why I just laugh when they call me and ask me if I'd like to work for Google?! Maybe before their IPO... but it looks to me that Google is now a place where you go when you want to work for a successful company, rather than being the kind of company you join when you want to make a company successful. I'm the latter type of person, which is why I'm hacking operating systems in an undisclosed location for a company that might be the Next Big Thing if I and my co-workers execute on what we're doing, rather than going to work for some company like Google that's already successful.

- Badtux the Snarked Penguin

War on Fun drafts pharmacists

One of the new fronts in the "Christian" right's War on Fun is your helpful drugstore pharmacist, who is being enlisted to deny birth-control pills to women. It seems that some "Christian" pharmacists are refusing to provide birth control pills to women because it "conflicts with their ethics", because it allows women to have fun without getting pregnant (the NERVE of those uppity witches!). After a few pharmacists got fired for this, the "Christian" right started pushing for Freedom of Conscience laws, which say that pharmacists can't be fired for "following their conscience".

The Snarky Penguin applauds this law, because it will protect Tuxologist pharmacists, too. See, Tuxology believes that modern medicine is a conspiracy, and that large doses of cod liver oil are all that is necessary to cure every human disease. So now the following scenario will no longer result in the firing of a Tuxologist pharmacist:

Man: "Hi, could you fill this prescription?"
TP: "Sure! Here you go."
Man: "Uh, this isn't Viagra, this is cod liver oil."
TP: "That's right. Cod liver oil will make your little soldier salute like a Marine!"
Man: "But I want Viagra!"
TP: "Well you can't have any, because I'm a Tuxologist and we Tuxologists don't believe in Viagra!"
Man: "But... but... I have a PRESCRIPTION! And it's your JOB to fill this prescription! What kind of customer service are you providing, anyhow?"
TP: "It's for your own good, sir. You can talk to the manager if you want, but it won't help you, because of the new Freedom of Conscience law, that says I don't have to dispense medicines that my religion says are evil!"
Man: "But... but... that's WRONG! It's your JOB to dispense medicines!"
TP: "Sorry sir, I don't have to dispense Viagra and there's nothing you can do about it. It's the law."

My understanding is that Christian Science pharmacists are especially pleased by the new laws. Since they believe that all medicine is anti-God, their entire job will become handing out religious tracts and pray for the sick when people come to get their prescriptions filled -- Praise the Lord!

Yours in Snark,
Badtux the Snarky Penguin

The Snarky Penguin's Inner Hiker

Courtesy of the South Park character generator toy (note: Must have Flash to see), here is the Snarky Penguin's inner hiker kitted for the trail, in half-snark mode:

The only 'wrong' note is that my boonie hat is more grey than brown, and my shirt is more an olive color than the dark brown shown. Oh well. Note: Montrail's new 'wide' sized hiking boots fit webbed feet like a glove! Finally, I can hike for days without blisters!

- Badtux the Hikin' Penguin

Sunday, April 03, 2005

PopeJohn Paul II: Conservative

The Catholic Church is one of the most conservative institutions on this planet, as you'd expect of an institution that has managed to survive close to 2,000 years. Anything that old doesn't keep going by making wild changes of direction.

John Paul II was a conservative steward of the Church, and you'll probably hear a lot of so-called "conservatives" puffing their chests in pride at that fact. They shouldn't. John Paul II had nothing but contempt for those who call themselves "conservative" but are anything but. Indeed, he regularly called them small-minded and short-sighted, stating that a world which was divided into rich and poor where the poor were largely deprived of basic services such as health care, education, housing, safe water, and adequate nutrition was not only a moral atrocity but could not, in the end, stand. In fact, many of John Paul II's statements such as his statement opposing the war in Iraq would be called "liberal" by the people who pose as "conservatives" in the United States today. That, however, shows just how far American "conservatives" have moved away from the principles of conservatism, rather than John Paul II being a liberal.

What principles of conservatism did the Pope uphold and American "conservatives" do not? Let me count the ways:

  1. True conservatives believe that there are fundamental moral values which are fixed in stone, such as respect for life, Christian charity, and a respect for tradition. American "conservatives" respect life only if it is an American fetus (once it grows up, it's okay to kill it, as long as the proper legal procedures are somewhat followed), believe that taxing themselves in order to provide charity for those in need is theft, and respect tradition only if tradition is profitable to them (thus why they are trying to destroy the tradition of filibuster in the Senate). Catholic coservatives, on the other hand, decry all taking of life whether abortion, capital punishment, or unnecessary wars of foreign aggression, maintain the world's largest charity organization (Catholic Services) which provides vital help to those in need such as insulin and syringes to poor diabetics who cannot afford to buy those and who will in fact die if they do not receive those, and maintain a tradition that goes back close to 2,000 years.
  2. True conservatives do not change their moral values whenever the breeze changes. If a true conservative does not believe, for example, that American taxpayers should be responsible for nation-building overseas, he does not suddenly shift his opinion a few months later just because it is convenient or popular, the way that Bush did when he moved into nation-building exercises in Afghanistan and Iraq. Catholic conservatives, on the other hand, maintain their beliefs regardless of their popularity. For example, the Pope's continued statements against birth control and abortion dismayed American Catholics. The Pope's response was to basically shrug and say that morality was not a popularity contest. Bush's response to his prior statement was to shrug and say "September 11 changed everything", which would make a real conservative raise his eyebrow because moral values, to a conservative, are not something that are changed by a single event.
  3. True conservatives believe that moral values are *universal*, i.e., that they apply to everybody. If torture is wrong, for example, true conservatives believe that torture is wrong no matter what. True conservatives do not believe in the sort of moral relativism that says "well, torture is wrong, except when it's not", as exemplified by Anerican "conservatives" who basically say torture is wrong but it is okay as long as it's being done by Americans for the right reason. When John Paul II spoke out in favor of human dignity and against torture in his visits to 3rd world nations, he did not add a "unless torture is done for the right reasons" clause. That would not have been conservative.
  4. True conservatives, when change *is* necessary, are careful to adopt policies and procedures that have been tested in the crucible of time and proven to be effective. They don't run off half-cocked implemented untried and untested policies just for the sake of change. They are *conservative*, i.e., slow-moving. They do not, for example, discard 60 years of military thought on what it takes to invade and occupy a country in order to test an untried theory of "Shock and Awe". If traditional policies tested and found valid in the crucibles of Nazi Germany and Japan say that it takes a force of 500,000 men to properly conquer and occupy a nation the size of Iraq, conservatives do not move until they have that force of 500,000 men in place, unlike "conservatives" such as the Bush Administration, who had no problem throwing out decades of military experience in favor of untried theories, and thus ended up allowing Iraq to spiral out of control to the point where the United States controls only those places in Iraq within eyesight of an American soldier. The Catholic Church, on the other hand, as a conservative institution, did not move away from the Latin mass until the vernacular mass had been tried and tested by other institutions (such as the Church of England) over the course of centuries, and only after it had become apparent that change was necessary for the future survival of the Church. Change for the sake of change is not a conservative value.
  5. And finally, one difference between Pope John Paul II and the "conservatives" in the United States is that the Pope worshipped God, while the "conservatives" worshipped the dollar bill. This was often a point of contention between Pope John Paul II and organizations such as the U.S. government and multi-national corporations that often pursue policies intended to enrich the wealthy nations and impoverish the poor nations. A true conservative similarly worships God, not the almighty dollar, and has ethics based upon God, not upon how many dollars the decision will make for him. Contrast that with Vice President Halliburton, whose decisions as President of the United States have often seemed calculated to enrich his company (which he still receives paychecks from as "deferred compensation") rather than inspired by any ethical or moral concerns.
So when American "conservatives" start praising Pope John Paul II, remember this: Pope John Paul II was disgusted by them, feeling that they were a moral-less bunch of leeches who were "conservative" only by the warped standards created by their own propaganda as dutifully recited in the American press. By the standards of American "conservatives", the only conservative value the Pope had was his opposition to abortion... they very carefully closed their eyes and put their hands over their ears whenever he talked about capital punishment being immoral, or waging unnecessary war being immoral, or when he said that pushing trade policies that enriched wealthy nations at the expense of poor nations was immoral. As with other true conservative icons, they're going to hijack his image in order to push their own (un-conservative) agenda. That, alas, is the disgusting truth of the American "conservative" movement today -- having no morals, no ethics, no values of their own, they hide behind the skirts of true conservative icons in order to pursue their Brezhnevian policy of looting the wealth of nations for the benefit of a Party elite. And now they're doing it again.

- Badtux the Disgusted Penguin

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Pardon our renovations...

still trying to get rid of all the pea green in favor of penguin colors (black, white, and orange). My next experiment will be trying to get the pea-green links re-drawn in dark and light orange (for unvisited and visited links). At least I got rid of the annoying pea-green background and the strange box that floated in mid-air!

Afterward: Hmm, the green HTML links do seem to match my mohawk quite well! So I'm going to leave them green. Woohoo, no more stylesheet hacking for me!

Afterward 2: I have now added a NAQ (Never Asked Questions) link to the right. If you want to know Tuxology's opinion of evolution, whether Bubba the Southern Penguin is related to South Knox Bubba (he isn't), or what exactly left-wing Libertarianism consists of, that's the place to start.

- Badtux the HTML Penguin

Friday, April 01, 2005

It's all Clinton's fault.

Of course. And 30 years from now, as President Jenna Bush presides, it will STILL all be Clinton's fault.

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Friday Cat Killer Blogging

Howdy folks, Bubba the Southern Penguin here, with today's fine feature, Friday Cat Killer Bloggin' with Senator Bill Frist! Today, let's talk about his legendary doctorin' skills. Why, this is a heart surgeon who, like, knows everything about doctorin', who can diagnose any illness via only a few snippets of highly-edited video, even if it's an illness that's got nuthin' to do with heart surgery. Why, that makes him almost as smart as my buddies down at the general store, who know more about how to deal with furriners (nuke'em all!) than the entire U.S. Department of State, despite most of'em never ever even gradgiating high school! (Well, I gots to say I gradgiated, my senior year I took arithmetic, reeding, speling, and auto shop at Cooterville High School and they gave me one of them thare deploma thingies to hang on my wall proudly!).

Yessiree, that's why me'n the good ole' boys down at the general store think Mr. Bill will make a fine, fine Presnit. I mean, look, he tole' it like it was about that Terri Shiavo lady: "In my expert medical opinion, Terri Schiavo is not a vegetable," Sen. Bill Frist (R- TN) said. "Broccoli is a vegetable. Green Beans are a vegetable. Terri Schiavo is not. I done seen her on the TV, and I am a doctor, just like Doogie Howser. So there." You know us southern fellers just love straight talkin' fellers like that! And he was right, y'know? I done seen plenty of vegetables in my life, green beans, collards, turnips, okra, tomaters, you name it, and that Terri Shiavo didn't look like NONE of them!

Well, gotta go. My shift down at the chicken renderin' plant starts in a few hours, and I gotta go fix one of the cars up on blocks in my front yard and borrow some tires from one of the cars in Cooter's front yard so I kin gets to work. See ya down at the gen'ral store!

- Bubba the Southern Penguin