Sunday, July 31, 2005

The Myth of the American Minuteman

While I'm talking history here, there's another myth that seems beloved by both high school history books and the right wingnut fringe: the myth of the American Minuteman. The myth goes like thus: The American Revolution was won by militia who mustered whenever the British soldiers came near, then went home afterwards. These militia defeated the British by firing from behind trees instead of by marching in easy-target columns like the British.

The reality was a bit more complex. First of all, the majority of the militia were not armed with useful military weapons. The most common weapons owned by militiamen were fowling pieces and flintlock rifles (common only on the frontiers). Fowling pieces were basically single-shot muzzle-loading shotguns, not designed to fire ball rounds but it was possible to use them to do so (though they were horrifically inaccurate if you did so). Flintlock rifles were accurate in the hands of a trained sniper (which most Colonials were *not*, they rarely hunted, instead relying on farming and barnyard animals for their food) but took a very long time to load, perhaps two minutes in a combat situation. Furthermore, neither of these allowed fixing a bayonet. Since the slow rate of fire meant that hand-to-hand combat was a near certainty, soldiers with military-grade weapons capable of fixing a bayonet had an enormous advantage.

The other issue is with those military grade weapons. These were smoothbore muskets. At 100 yards, you were lucky to hit within six feet of what you were aiming at. However, they made up for this lack of accuracy with rate of fire. A well-trained musketman could let fly one round every 15 seconds. Thus the proper use of musketmen was to stand them in ranks facing the enemy, and have each rank take turns letting lead fly. The goal was to keep so much lead in the air that the enemy had to keep his head down until you were amongst his ranks with your bayonets, at which point the enemy became sashimi.

The reality was that the Battle of Long Island showed George Washington that militia were basically useless against well trained musketmen. The militia fired their one shot, then ran, and never quit running because when you have people with long knives stuck on the ends of their muskets running after you getting ready to give you an unwanted proctology exam, and you have no long knife of your own, well... Washington barely got off the island with his own life, and that was only because the British troops weren't exactly marathon runners (they'd been on ships for a long voyage over the ocean, after all) and were loaded down with gear and ammo, while the American militia men threw down all their gear and ammo and ran for their lives.

From thence onward, militia were only used as skirmishers and snipers. The rest of the fighting was basically done by professional soldiers fighting in ranks with military-grade weapons (including bayonets). Indeed, there was only three brigades of Virginia militiamen amongst the two armies (French and American) that cornered Cornwallis at Yorktown, and they were employed primarily as snipers, where their ability to pick off British officers from long distance made them valuable but their inability to fire rapidly meant little absolute firepower. In addition, since the Pennsylvania flintlocks were basically modifications of a German Jaegar rifle, as the German mercenaries became more widely used in the American conflict any "sniper gap" in favor of the Americans was gone -- the German snipers were every bit as good as the Americans.

In the end, the majority of the American Revolution was fought with professional soldiers, and was won because the expense of shipping and provisioning an enormous army overseas (the British eventually had over 60,000 soldiers in North America as part of the effort to put down the revolution) was unsustainable given the limits of the British tax system and the lack of a draft for replenishing British manpower. The militia were basically irrelevant to the outcome -- far more important were the "Sons of Liberty", a terrorist organization which terrorized farmers and merchants into not selling goods to the British thus forcing the British to supply their forces via long expensive overseas supply lines (albeit the militia helped in this effort by preventing the British from sending out foraging parties to simply steal the goods). After the battle of Lexington and Concord, which was a disaster for the British primarily because of poor discipline and poor tactics on their part (doctrine said that if the enemy was sniping at you from behind the trees, the proper thing to do was for your skirmishers to fix bayonets and go turn him into sashimi, but the British had left their skirmishers at home that day) the only other battle where militia were important was Cowpens, where the militia won the day only because of the fog of war, not because of their military firepower. Basically, Morgan's regulars had thought they'd received an order to retreat, the British regulars gave chase running right by the militia who had previously retreated to the side in order to reload, then Morgan got his soldiers turned around and shooting again at the same time that the militia decided to chime in from the side and rear of the British, and the British, under the delusion they were beset on all sides by regulars who could kill them, largely surrendered -- although the militia, lacking bayonets, actually could have been swiftly chopped down by the British if the British had but known that the soldiers behind that huge cloud of smoke on their flanks were militia rather than regulars.

But the myth of the Minuteman still lives on, even though it *is* a myth. It's unclear why this is so. Perhaps it is like a lot of other myths that Americans cherish not because they're true, but because they make you feel good to be an American. In the end, feeling good about yourself, not truth, appears to be most important to the majority of Americans. The cult of self esteem is not a recent invention... indeed, the whole deal about George Washington and the Cherry Tree originated in 1806 via a hagiography by Parson Mason Locke Weems, sort of a combination of the Judith Miller, Karl Rove, and Pat Robertson of his era. Making Americans feel good about their leaders and their national exceptionalism seems to have been a primary goal of American propagandists from day one of this nation's existence.

The more things change, in other words...

- Badtux the History Penguin

The Madness of King George

Let's say that there's a nation out there. Let's call it Big Freakin' Nation. It's the richest nation on the planet. But the rich folks who run it are a bit of the penny pinching type, and aren't interested in raising taxes on themselves.

Now, let's say that the titular ruler of this country, let's call him Mad King George, decides that he's just going to go overseas and grab whatever money he can. He even insists that the budget can be balanced without raising taxes if he can just squeeze enough money from overseas.

Now, let's say that the folks overseas object to this, and when Mad King George refuses to listen to their objections, basically declare war against Big Freakin' Nation and start chewing up its armies.

Sound far-fetched? I just described the American Revolution in a nutshell.

England defeated France and Spain in the Seven Year's War (1756-63), and gained France's former Canadian colony and Spain's former Florida colony, as well as consolidating control over India and kicking France out of India. But the victory came at a high price. The feudal system had collapsed some years before when Oliver Cromwell's "New Model Army" showed that a professional standing army was the most effective way of making war, meaning that the King could no longer call upon the Lords for a levy (draft) but, rather, had to rely on an expensive "volunteer" professional military (I put "volunteer" in quotes because some of the volunteers were not particularly eager to join the military, especially those press-ganged into the Navy, who fell asleep drunk in the gutter outside the bar and the next time they woke found themselves in the middle of an ocean on a ship as a "volunteer"). The rich folks in Parliament refused to raise taxes on themselves to pay for the war, so the national debt doubled. The new king, George III, went looking for more money, and decided to try to milk the colonies.

War could have been averted, but Mad King George could not fathom the notion that anybody would dare fight the empire upon which the sun now never sat, what was arguably the greatest empire now that the world had ever seen. So he laughed off attempts by the colonists to avoid war, and when they actually started shooting at British troops, had an unpleasant surprise.

The biggest surprise was that they didn't just quit when he sent over virtually the entire standing Army, nearly 32,000 troops, in the summer of 1776 (the size of the British Army in 1775 is estimated at approximately 36,000 men world-wide). Instead, the colonists declared independence. This put Mad King George into a bit of a bind. There were no more troops to send, and 32,000 troops was barely enough to hold what little territory was being held. Englishmen were showing little desire to sign up for the Army, despite pay hikes and improvements in conditions for soldiers. So he recruited Germans with promise of good pay and land, a total of over 30,000 of them over the course of the war. This put an even larger dent into the treasury. Since the rich people in parliament still refused to raise taxes upon themselves, there was no choice but to borrow yet more money.

I won't go into the rest of the war here. But the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown in 1781 was the turning point of the war for one simple reason: the British treasury ran out of money for hiring more soldiers, and indeed, was no longer capable of meeting interest payments on its current debt and could get no more loans at all.

In short, the political inability of Mad King George to raise taxes and institute a draft led directly to the defeat of the most powerful nation on earth by a rag-tag bunch of colonists whose armies, at their largest, numbered perhaps 17,000 soldiers total. The American Revolution was not won on the battlefield. The American Revolution was won by bleeding the British dry -- by running the Exchequer out of money and the Royal Army out of soldiers (since they could hire no more soldiers once the treasury ran out of money).

Today, Mad King George II appears to be going the same way... once again, refusing to believe that anybody would dare fight the greatest Army ever to roll across a desert, once again, refusing to raise taxes to pay for the war, once again, refusing to institute a draft to raise the manpower to fight the war. After the Iraqis finish bleeding the army we currently have there dry, who will replace them? No one. No one at all. The United States will be forced to sue for a humiliating peace just as England was forced to do so 230 years ago.

There will be no draft. Congress will no more approve a draft today than parliament would have done so 240 years ago. What there will be, will be a humiliating withdrawal and the loss of American prestige and power for years, if not decades. If we learn something from the experience, we may go on like Britain did to a second level of greatness, having learned humility from our defeat. If we don't learn, well... America as the world's only superpower was a nice idea, wasn't it?

- Badtux the History Penguin

Friday, July 29, 2005

Where did the Thursday penguin porn go?!

On Wednesday I got home to find that my Internet connection was dead.

Thursday morning I called the ISP. After all attempts to convince them that I was not getting any signal at the hub in the closet failed, they decided to send a technician out. He came out on Thursday afternoon, and discovered that (doh) there was no signal coming to my apartment. However, he apparently decided that the reason for this was that the embedded hub (in the wall, belonging to the ISP) was bad. Why he decided this, I don't know, because I plugged a switch of my own into the wire coming from his router down in the telcom closet at the end of the building, and got no signal there either.

So *finally*, at sometime between 5pm and 6pm today, he discovered the bad wire or whatever it was and got my Internet connectivity at home going (I could tell you exactly by looking at my web server logs -- I had my system at home attempting to ping my web server -- but there was no ping at 5pm, and there was a ping at 6pm, and I don't care enough).

So what does this have to do with penguin porn? Well, normal news and blogging is one thing. Doing that from hotspots, work, etc. is maybe a little iffy in some cases, but doable. But use the word "porn"? Uh uh. No way. Their filters would have shut me down in a millisecond.

So just consider this week's penguin porn to be yet another victim of the War on Fun, which has led to so many companies and Internet services imposing filtering in order to prevent, like, *fun* from happening. Hopefully next week I'll be able to give you a *double* dose of penguin porn! But for now, I think I'm just going to go downstairs and put Water Wetter into the radiator of my motorcycle in preparation for a nice little motorcycle ride tomorrow...

- Badtux the Porn-pushin' Penguin

Rats deserting sinking ship...

You know it's bad news for the Bush Administration and their cronies when one of their more loyal supporters, Moonie Press International, publishes an article that begins like this:

Hard to find good news in Iraq By Martin Sieff
UPI Senior News Analyst
Published July 29, 2005

WASHINGTON -- It was another very bad week indeed in Iraq:

A roadside bomb killed four U.S. soldiers from the Georgia National Guard; 16 Iraqi government workers were killed when their buses traveling together were machine-gunned by insurgents and two Algerian diplomats kidnapped by al-Qaida in Iraq were killed.

In addition, a U.S. Government Accountability Office report issued Thursday documented the impact of the insurgency in seriously derailing reconstruction efforts. And a psychiatric survey concluded that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a serious mental illness, was 10 times more prevalent in American combat veterans from Iraq than had been previously thought.

The s*** has hit the fan. And some of the rats, at least, seem to have noticed.

- Badtux the Herring-breathed Penguin

Whither the "War on Terror"?

Okay, so you already know that the Global War on Terror is over. And the terror won, of course. The Orwell Administration couldn't function without terror, after all.

So now they've re-named it to the Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism. But sooner or later, someone is going to notice that "violent extremism" is an accurate description of Mad King George's regime (I mean, Mad King George has "only" killed some 100,000 or so innocent Afghan and Iraqi civilians with his violent extremism).

It is clear that we need a better term, one that is accurate without being embarrasingly so. So this penguin, fortified with mind-boggling quantities of herring and alcohol, has endeavored to produce one, and come up with:

Global Fight Against Those Sitting on our Oil (G-FATSO).

This acronym pithily sums up a) the girth of the average American, and b) The ultimate motivation for this global "struggle".

Gotta go now, that herring is threatening to come up the wrong way...


- Badtux the Sloshed Penguin

Alzheimers-like disease sweeping Washington D.C.

Get all the details at Newsblog 5000 about the mysterious memory-destroying disease sweeping Washington D.C.. It is unknown yet whether the Centers for Disease Control has been called in yet to find a focus and vector for this apparently-communicable disease, but it surely is only a matter of time...

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Why not just re-name it 'Corporate States of America'?

After all, it appears that shareholder's rights are more important than free speech rights. God forbid that we have a government of the people, by the people, for the people! Remember, all men were created equal, but some men (and token women) are more equal than others....

Mike Lynn, a former researcher at Internet Security Systems, is under attack for speaking out about a problem with Cisco's router security. The problem has been fixed by Cisco, so theoretically there's no harm that could come from Mr. Lynn speaking, but Cisco and ISS have decided to shut him up anyhow, even to the point of suing him until the rubble glows.

It is sad that in a day and age when Rush Limbaugh can freely speak that "Liberalism is the focus of all evil in America" and Ann Coulter can freely say that liberals should be shot "in order to teach them a lesson", a man cannot speak freely about a threat to the health of the American economy... in Soviet America, apparently only Party apparatchniks have free speech. Or penguins too irrelevant to bother with attempting to squash.

- Badtux the Freely Speaking (for now) Penguin

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Nude hiking

More popular than you'd think.

To which this penguin says: okay, so you people enjoy the "freedom". Me, I view it more like a matter of taste. Basically, I'm not for it because I believe unexpected nudity is like a zucchini casserole. I'm glad you like it, but I don't necessarily want to see it....

- Badtux the Amazed Penguin

I didn't leave the Republican Party, the Republican Party left me

When a Republican Senator Santorum talks about man-on-dog sex and insists there is no right to privacy but that there is a right to unreasonable -- to unreasonable search and seizure...

When a Republican Vice President tells a Senator, "Go fuck yourself"...

When a President extends the middle finger to the press...

When the President's top henchman says that Democrats are all traitors...

Once upon the time, the Republican Party was the party of decorum and conservative thought, small government and balanced budgets. The Democrats were goons who fixed elections via corrupt politicos, slandered fine upstanding men as crazed lunatics, spent other people's money like water, and otherwise behaved like a bunch of crooks from a Batman comic. No longer. Today's Republicans are a course, crass bunch that the late Barry Goldwater would have been repulsed by, whose big government agenda has led to the largest increase in domestic spending since LBJ's "Great Society" programs, whose borrow-and-spend fiscal policy has led to the largest fiscal deficits in this nation's history, whose henchmen traitorously expose CIA secret agents for political gain, who like Democrat Woodrow Wilson believe in foreign wars of aggression in order to "make the world safe for democracy" (which curiously seems to be more about making the world safe for funneling billions of dollars of taxpayer money to Vice President Halliburton's pocketbook)...

Hmm, where to start. I almost joined the College Republicans. I voted for Reagan and George H.W. Bush (both times), and voted for Clinton reluctantly the second time only because he was doing a decent job. I believe in free enterprise as the primary engine of wealth, and believe in a government that is limited to only protecting the rights of individuals and providing only those services that time has proven need government intervention because the free market has failed to provide them in timely and/or cost-effective manner, things likes roads, schools, libraries, police, fire, and health care. I would say that this makes me pretty darned conservative.

Yet I read the hate-filled screeds of today's "Republicans" and am utterly apalled. I cannot imagine the late Barry Goldwater calling Democrats "traitors". I cannot imagine the late Ronald Reagan or any of his supporters claiming that liberals should be killed. They were too polite, too well-mannered, too principled, and while I didn't agree with them on everything they were men I could respect. I can imagine Richard Nixon saying such things, but only in private, the Republican Party leadership would have been utterly apalled if he'd said things in public. But not today. Today's "conservatives" regularly are rude, crude, and advocate violence against those who disagree with them. What has happened to decorum or simple manners, the hall-mark of a classical conservative? What happened to the Republican Party of my youth, the Republican Party of Dwight D. Eisenhower and Barry Goldwater? It appears to have been subsumed by the Republican Party of Richard Nixon... a bunch of venal, small men of no breeding or manners, who are about as conservative as LBJ was.

I didn't leave the Republican Party, the Republican Party left me. And the nation is the poorer for it.

- Badtux the Once-was-Republican Penguin

Mad King George makes Boy Scouts sick


- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Die, spammer, die!

Here in America, we jokingly laugh that somebody ought to beat spammers to death with their own keyboards.

In Russia, they don't joke.

-- Badtux the Spammed Penguin

Rove Watch: Is a promotion next?

Karl Rove got his annual raise today. Meanwhile, like most Americans, I haven't received a raise in close to 2 years.

Today's White House press conference was filled with questions about Rove. Courtesy of the Applied Herring Mind Reading Cosmotron, I fill in what Scotty McClellan was *REALLY* thinking...

Q Has Karl Rove offered to resign, in view of his problems?

MR. McCLELLAN: Oh shit, why are you asking me? Do I look like someone who has the slightest fuckin' idea what's going on with Turd Blossom? Besides, it's a ridiculous question. Rove can no more resign than Edgar Bergen could resign the Charlie McCarthy Hour. In fact, we're giving Mr. Rove a pay raise and a promotion, you morons.

Q Does he still have his security clearance?

MR. McCLELLAN: I already told you I'm not going to answer this question. Didn't I tell you that? I haven't the slightest idea, and I sure as hell am not going to ask Turd Blossom. He might make me jerk him off again. Yuck!

Q No, they -- I've never heard this before. Have you?

MR. McCLELLAN: The question has been asked before. I already told you that.

Q We haven't heard an answer.

Q What was your answer?

Q There hasn't been an answer.

MR. McCLELLAN: What the fuck about "I'm not answering that question" do you turdballs not fuckin' understand?

[At that point, Mr. McClellan storms out of the White House press room, muttering that he needs to get a job where he gets to answer questions, instead of make up excuses for not answering questions.]

There you have it, folks! The *truth* about what Scott McClellan wanted to say to those pesky journalists who keep, like, asking those *questions*! Next up, I apply the Mighty Applied Herring Mind Reading Cosmotron to a famous right-wing "journalist"...

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

The terrorists have won

One of the goals of terrorism is to create a backlash, a backlash that creates more terrorists. By that standard, the terrorists have won. The only puzzling thing is why is it that it's the British police forces that have become terrorists, executing a young man with seven shots to the head for the crime of running from a bunch of shouting men in plain clothes waving guns?

The facts of this day are not known. We know that the media lied, at least, when they stated that he was wearing a heavy coat on a warm summer day. There was no "warm" about that day. The weather report doesn't lie -- it was 55F when Menezes left the apartment he shared with two cousins. I wear a coat too in that temperature. And eyewitnesses have proven equally unreliable. They said he "looked Asian" and "looked like he had wires hanging out from a bomb vest". No such wires were found on his dead body, and he looks about as Asian as I do.

But those were bystanders, not trained policemen. The police are supposed to be different, more observant, more capable. The British police aren't supposed to be the Keystone Kops. They're supposed to be professionals. But having bombs go off has apparently turned them into panicked, trigger happy nut cases ready to shoot and kill anybody brown that they think looks suspicious -- just like the terrorists planned. And all the apologies in the world won't bring him back to his grieving parents.

The terrorists have, indeed, won. They've sucked the US and Britain into a hellhole in Iraq, they've suckered the US and British into destroying the civil rights of their people, they have, in short, accomplished everything they ever wanted to accomplish. The only question now is this: What do we do now? What do we do, now that the terrorists have won?

That is a question I have no answer for.

- Badtux the Puzzled Penguin

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

But they're *desperate*!

In yet more proof that the Iraqi insurgents are desperate and in their "last throes", 17 Iraqis were shot down by the insurgents and four U.S. National Guardsmen were killed by a roadside bomb.

It seems that the more "desperate" the Iraqi insurgents get, the higher the body count gets. If the Iraqi insurgents got any more "desperate", there'd be a shortage of coffins to bury all the bodies. Wait -- there is!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Last gasp of the shuttle

Today the U.S. Space Shuttle blasted off into a new era for the U.S. space program -- an era where the Shuttle will be used only for flights to the Space Station, and only as necessary to complete the Space Station and keep it in orbit.

This is a far cry from the Shuttle's original promise -- as a cheap and reusable way to get people and cargo into orbit. The technology did not exist to do this when the Shuttle was being designed in the mid to late 1970's, and it is unclear whether it exists today. Instead, what the Shuttle ended up being was an awkward and complex compromise, sort of like the Bradley combat vehicle -- large, clumsy, expensive, prone to breakdowns, and overly fragile due to all the conflicting demands that it was required to fulfill.

The U.S. is supposed to have a replacement for the Shuttle within the next 5 years, basically a combination of a heavy lifter for cargo and an aerospace plane for people. It is doubtful whether this will happen. The era of America as a "can-do" nation is coming to a close. As with the Roman Empire in its latter days, the will and means to maintain the Imperial infrastructure is deteriorating rapidly, and her ability to perform massive and prodigous engineering feats has already disappeared.

While the late Roman Empire was capable of the occasional engineering feat, the Rome that built the highways to the four corners of the known world and the massive aquaducts that allowed millions to live in Rome and Byzantium had already passed. And similarly, the America that could go from no man in space to a man on the moon in eight years, that could build something of the vast scale and complexity as the Space Shuttle, is passed on, dead, gone, lost in hate, lost in fear, lost in ignorance and incompetence as her leaders became increasingly corrupt, incompetent, and (in the case of Mad King George) deranged and out of touch with reality.

As with the late Roman Empire, the American Empire has been literally drained of its wealth via warfare and single-sided commerce where the Empire exports its wealth to import luxuries, but does not itself manufacture anything worth exporting, while petty tyrants squabble for the Imperial sceptre while the Empire crumbles around them. With the destruction of the American educational system, the crumbling of the infrastructure, and the lack of Imperial competence on the part of her rulers, the days of America the Great are swiftly slipping into the past. And with it, alas, the opportunity for the conquest of the Solar System are similarly slipping into the past...

It appears, now, that the human race will strangle itself in its cradle, as the world slowly deteriorates into constant warfare and pain as the survivors squabble over the few remaining resources and the environment is slowly poisoned until major parts of the planet become unlivable. It didn't have to be this way. It shouldn't be this way. But without a dream, without a lie that is a dream that can come true, this is how it shall be. We are monkeys squabbling over turf, hooting and howling and throwing feces at each other. And right now, it appears that this is all we ever be, until we as a race go the way of the dinosaurs and the wooly mammoth.

- Badtux the Historian Penguin

Monday, July 25, 2005

The Downing Street memos in context: Lies and the lying liars who tell them

It has now been three years since the "Downing Street Memos" were written. Why are they important? Simple: they show that the war in Iraq was entered into based upon two lies: that Saddam had WMD, and that "everybody" knew that Saddam had WMD.

Lie #1. That Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. We now know that a) he didn't even have WMD *programs*, much less actual weapons (sorry, that's the facts, in an official U.S. government report no less), though of course he wished he had WMD programs (and I wish I had a billion dollars but you know how that goes), and b) that the Bush Administration was aware of this as early as 2002, and proceeded to "fix" the evidence (see the Downing Street memos) so that they could snow Congress and the UN into giving them authority to invade Iraq.

2. Lie #2, pulled out by the wingnuts once you start talking about #1, is "everybody knew that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, we had to invade Iraq because he would not prove he had none." Two words: Hans Blix. Maybe everybody "knew" Saddam had weapons of mass destruction before Blix's team went into Iraq. But by mid-February, it was clear from Blix's reports that a) Saddam had no nuclear program, and that b) Saddam had no large-scale chemical weapons program. Contrary to wingnut ranting, Blix and his team went where he wanted, when he wanted, and talked to whoever he wanted. He went to each and every pesticide plant in Iraq to verify that it had not been converted to produce nerve agents. His teams drove all over Iraq looking for any sign of radioactive gas emissions as would come from a nuclear enrichment or reprocessing facility (you can reduce this signature, but you can't eliminate it). His teams checked every UN seal on every radioactive barrel in the country to verify there were no unaccounted-for nuclear materials. There was no "there" there, and his reports to the UN said as much. The only thing left for Blix to do was to verify the state of Iraq's biological weapons program, at which point the U.S. ordered Blix to leave under penalty of death. The CIA had bugged the United Nations and was listening in on Blix's conversations with Kofee Anan (this is not conjecture, BTW, UN security found the bugs after the start of the war and raised a stink about it). The CIA reported to the Bush Administration that Blix was on the verge of proving that Iraq had no WMD or WMD program. The Bush administration could not allow Blix to finish his work because that would have exposed the lie, the lie they used to justify the war -- that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Thus Blix was threatened with death if he refused to leave Iraq, and Iraq was invaded before the lies could be exposed.

So what about all those other post-invasion reasons given for invading Iraq, like "spreading democracy", "the world is better without Saddam", etc.? Irrelevant. The Congress of the United States of America is not in the habit of authorizing war for altruistic reasons, otherwise we'd be in Sudan right now dealing with the genocide of the Darfur. Congress authorized war for one reason, and one reason only: because the Bush Administration snowed them with bogus evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. That is why the Bush Administration had to threaten to murder Blix if he refused to leave Iraq. That is why the Bush Administration had to invade Iraq before Blix finished proving there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The war was based on a lie, and the Bush Administration knew it was a lie, and the Bush Administration would not -- could not -- allow Blix to expose the lie.

However, the truth is now out. U.S. inspection teams went all over Iraq in the past two years looking for weapons of mass destruction or evidence of a WMD program, and found nothing. The fact that the Bush Administration rigged the "evidence" to show existence of a WMD program where there was none, and stopped the inspections because they were about to reveal the lie, is now out there. Blix was right. Not that it matters.

-- Badtux the History Penguin

Friday, July 22, 2005

A beautiful story about baseball and a father's love

Read it.

- Badtux the Sappy Penguin

Some gratuitous pussy

What a slut.

Sad commentary on the times

is when someone who is "merely" a right-wing pro-business Federalist Society stalwart, like Supreme Court nomineee Bob Roberts, seems downright sane and middle-of-the-road compared to raving religious lunatics that Bush *could* have nominated, like Judge Roy Moore. Roberts is more of a Goldwater/George H.W. Bush Republican rather than a raving lunatic like Roy Moore or a moron like George W. Bush. It's ironic that this makes him almost a leftist in today's America...

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

It's the piss that counts

In today's America, employers don't care about your performance when deciding whether to retain or fire you. Your performance is irrelevant. I mean, c'mon, really, you expect a manager to keep track of how well her subordinates are performing? Get real! Managers have more important things to do, like kissing their boss's ass, playing golf with potential new employers, and figuring out ways to knife other managers in the back in order to snatch juicy projects out of other people's departments into their own. Fire someone for being a poor performer? Why, that'd reduce headcount, and thus the department budget!

So how do managers decide whether to retain or fire someone? Well, that's simple: It's all in the piss. You gotta piss upon demand, or you're fired, even if you're 79 years old and got a bad prostate and you have no freakin' idea who this goofy woman is who's demanding that you piss upon demand for her. And you can't just piss on demand. It has to be the right *kind* of piss. Pure, yellow piss, uncontaminated by anything that might be, like, *fun*. Because in today's America, that "fun" stuff is just plain unpatriotic. We must all look as dour as the family of the new Supreme Court nominee, Bob Roberts, or the terrorists have won!

So remember, boys and girls. In corporate America, it doesn't matter if you're the bestest, most greatest employee ever. What matters is one thing, and one thing only: your piss. It's your kidneys, not your performance, that counts!

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

All hail the Creator!

The First United Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster has sent a demand to the Kansas School Board that their own religion's version of the creation of Man be taught in science classes in Kansas. While of course as a good Tuxologist I believe that all Pastafarians will end up going to Hell (Nevada), if the Pastafarians get their way, that presents an excellent precedent for the teaching of Tuxology in Kansas science classrooms.

See, while the First United Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster believes that a flying spaghetti monster created the universe, we Tuxologists know better. We know it was the Great Penguin who did so, who then created penguins in His image, some of whom subsequently devolved into the absurd monstrosity that we call "man", and that by partaking of the Sacrament of the Herring one can contact your Inner Penguin and, at some point in the future, perhaps even attain perfect peace and harmony. We know this because our holy documents, passed down from flipper to flipper over the years by the Emperor Penguins of Antarctica and found during Admiral Robert Byrd's last trip to Antarctica, tell us this is so. But for some reason we can't get science educators to take us seriously. Every time we push our theory of the creation of the universe at some convocation of those nerdy science geeks, they LAUGH at us!

But once Kansas rules that creationism can be taught in classrooms... HAH! I can see the sour look on those evil "scientists" faces when they have to teach their students about the Great Penguin. Who will have the last laugh then?

- Badtux the Tuxologist Penguin

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Thursday Penguin Porn Blogging

Anne the Rock-Hopper Penguin gets ready for some hot Deep Throat action with her buddy Karl, but Karl isn't quite sure he wants it with such an intimidating, uhm, woman? Wait, is that Jim-Jeff over there behind that next rock?!

- Badtux the Pornography Penguin

France, Arizona

The right wingnuts are always bringing up how a lot of old people died in France during their heat wave last year. But dozens die during American heat waves too.... many of them because they cannot afford to run their air conditioning, or are homeless.

What is worse, dying of the heat in a country that usually is cool and damp, or dying of the heat in a place like Phoenix or Las Vegas that is always hot because you can't afford to turn on your air conditioning in the world's richest country? Well, I have a good way to put it. The former is an act of God. God made France hot that summer, and there was no predicting it. The latter is an act of Man. Man is the reason why these people are homeless or cannot afford to turn on their air conditioning in the world's richest country, because in a land where a startup company can burn over $90 million dollars of investor money on designing a dubious product in order to make one (1) sale before collapsing, there certainly is no shortage of resouces for paying an old lady's electric bill so she can live another year instead of die from the heat.

And if it is an act of Man rather than an act of God, it is something that we can do something about. If we care. Which we don't, of course.

- Badtux the Cynical Penguin

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Only the deaths of Americans count

And one of those lefty liberal bleeding hearts is irate about that.

But oh come on now. Getting upset about the deaths of Iraqis is like getting upset about the death of insects when we spray pesticides on our crops. It's not as if they're really *human*. Like those insects they're just vermin sitting on top of a resource we want to harvest and thus okay to exterminate. I mean, it's *our* oil now!

- Badtux the Freeper Penguin

What to do about those pesky liberals

It's 2006. Republicans sweep all major House and Senate races. Tampering with the electronic ballot boxes that count most of the nation's votes has become so obvious that nobody other than Republican stalwarts believe there was a fair vote. The left wing of the Democratic party is irate. Millions of outraged people swarm upon Washington D.C. and threaten to bring the government of the United States to a standstill. What to do, what to do?

Well, in a traditional banana republic, that's pretty obvious: Call out the goons. Send in the troops with live bullets and have them open fire. That solves the problem, yessiree! The problem is, often governments don't survive killing tens of thousands of their own citizens. Soldiers blanche at all that bloodshed of their fellow citizens, and often end up turning around, fragging their officers, and joining the protesters. Sorta like what happened to the Shah of Iran when he ordered his troops to open fire on university students espousing the formation of an Islamic Republic. The soldiers couldn't bear shooting down their fellow Iranians like that, and eventually ended up turning around and joining the revolution, causing the Shah to have to flee barely hours before his armed forces totally melted away.

But here in the newer, better banana republic north of the Rio Grande, our brave men (and token women) at the Pentagon have a new, better way to handle these protests. No longer will live bullets be needed to clear the streets. No longer will clouds of tear gas fail to dissuade detirmined protesters. No longer will our brave Director of the Ministry of Love, Mr. Negroponte, require death squads to exterminate enemies of the Party in order to dissuade dissent. Because today... we have the Active Denial System, which will render death squads, bullets and teargas obsolete when it comes to dissuading opponents of Party rule.

This weapon works basically as a giant directed microwave oven. Unlike the famed "exploding poodle", it won't make people explode. It'll just make part of their skin very, very hot, causing them to run in the direction where their skin is NOT hot, i.e., hopefully home. Definitely the kinder, gentler way to deal with that pesky "democracy" stuff that despite the best intentions of our rulers has a bad habit of turning up at the worst time. Despite the obvious moral issues, there are some practical ones too. For example, will it cause people's eyes to explode if they look at the trucks that have the microwave dishes mounted on them? But never fear, it will not be deployed until those issues are worked out. After all, our newer, high tech banana republic can't be allowed to resemble those old-fashioned kinds of brutal banana republics, because otherwise people could not continue to delude themselves that they live in a free nation!

And so it goes in the United States of Delusion, where the Party rules America... and nobody is willing to acknowledge it.

-- Badtux the Orwellian Penguin

Scotty beamed up.

But who will beam up Captain Kirk now?

- Badtux the Saddened Penguin

Joe Wilson: Covert agent

While this penguin was out battling bears, our friends at NewsBlog 5000 found out shocking news: Joe Wilson, whose wife was illegally disclosed to be a secret agent, is himself a covert agent for the Liberal Conspiracy to Destroy America, so deep undercover that he voted for George H.W. Bush (twice!), donated $2,000 to George W. Bush's first Presidential campaign, and voted for George W. Bush in 2000! It wasn't Valerie Plame who was the covert agent, it was her husband, thus our Dear Leader's Brain did nothing wrong!

Boy, glad we've got *that* out of the way....

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

A moderate for the Supreme Court?

Seems that Dear Leader decided that, with his Brain under attack, it wasn't worth it trying to get Judge Roy Moore onto the Supreme Court. So he nominated someone who is generally respected.

Amazing... Dear Leader was given a chance to screw it up, and didn't. Is that a first for Dubya?

But then, this isn't the first time that a Republican President, under attack in the media and in Congress, decided to throw a few bones to the hounds. You *do* know that all of the welfare programs that Jimmy Carter was accused of creating were actually at least proposed, if not signed into law by.... Richard Nixon, right?

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Missing her

At 5AM I woke up crying from a dream.

I was a child once more, in the Old House, the house where my mother was raised as a little girl, eating dinner with my grandmother. I still remember the rich warm wood tones of that house, the worn bare planks of the floor, the rich wood planks that formed the walls and ceilings. The house was low to the ground and cool and damp in the summer, and that was its downfall eventually, as the termites entered it and chewed it to pieces, it is long gone, torn down by myself with help from a neighbor after it became unsafe and had partially collapsed. But in that day and age it was a cool sanctuary from a harsh and uncertain world.

Suddenly my grandmother clasps her chest, and she sits down, and dies, and I am awake with tears in my eyes. Oh, she did not go like that. It was a far longer, gentler death for her, a death that did not happen until she was 84 years old, and it has been over five years since she is gone. But I still remember talking to her about her childhood growing up in the abject poverty of rural Louisiana in the 1920's and 1930's, about her life as the wife of a sharecropper and sawmill worker, I still remember just sitting with her as she watched "Touched by an Angel" and "Murder She Wrote" at peace with where life had left her even though she was living on less than $500 per month in Social Security widow's benefits in a house that had no air conditioning and no modern conveniences. I remember the six months I lived with her, and the three years I lived next door to her, visiting every day. I remember...

I wish I had had the courage to ask her about her younger sister, the one who died in a fire at an early age, the one she never talked about. I wish I had had the courage to ask her about the time my mother had to be rescued from a bad situation in Mississippi as a teenager, a time that one of her sisters now gone once told me about but that my mother will not talk about. I wish I'd asked her about my Uncle Marvin, "Crazy Marvin". I wish everybody else I could ask about these things was not gone, all my great-aunts and great-uncles. But that is what happens when you are solidly into middle age, your links to the past go, dead, you lose your history and forget where you belong or forget that you ever did. I wish...

But wishes like these come true only in dreams, or in the maudline musings of a middle-aged heretic who has lost his past and is seeing a future that is terrifyingly real. All I can do is remember her. But who will remember me?

There was a musician, I will call him Jeremy. He was a young man, barely 30 years old, but had a history of heart disease and several heart attacks in his past. He wrote songs as if possessed by the ghosts of Woodie Guthrie and the Bob Dylan that died in the 1960's. He released an album. He had a web site. One day he simply disappeared, gone. Is he dead? I don't know. I Google for him and find very few references to him, one being my own web site. I have MP3's of some of his songs, songs that seem to exist nowhere now except on the fragile bits of my own hard drive. But where is he? Is he dead, or did he simply tire of music and disappear into a quiet life as a historian of early 20th century folk music? I don't know. And one day, that could happen here too. A week will pass without posting. Two weeks. Someone will ask, "what happened to the penguin?" And some people will send EMAIL, and get no reply, or worse yet an 'unknown domain' bounce. And everyone will shrug and go on with their lives.

I will now leave you with the words of long-gone blues artist Blind Lemon Jefferson:

Well there's one kind favor i'll ask of you
Well there's one kind favor i'll ask of you
There's just one kind favor i'll ask of you
You can see that my grave is kept clean.

An' there's two white horses followin' me
An' there's two white horses followin' me
I got two white horses followin' me
Waitin' on my buryin' ground.

Did you ever hear that coffin sound
Did you ever hear that coffin sound
Did you ever hear that coffin sound
Means another poor boy is underground.

Did you ever hear them church bells toll
Did you ever hear them church bells toll
Did you ever hear them church bells toll
Means another poor boy is dead an' gone.

There's just one last favor i'll ask of you
And there's one last favor i'll ask of you
There's just one last favor i'll ask of you
See that my grave is kept clean.

Far from being kept clean, Blind Lemon Jefferson's exact gravesite in the decrepit Wortham Negro Cemetery is unknown. There was not even a monument there with his name on it until some blues fans bought one in 1967. Such is the fate of all of us, eventually, even the greatest amongst us. Who, after all, knows where Julius Caesar's bones were buried?

- Badtux the Maudlin Penguin

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Laws are for the little people, not for Republicans

That great patriot bodypart, G.D. Frogsdong, points out the Republican party's culture of corruption, and wonders what the deal is. Oh puh-LEEZE. We're talking about Republicans here. God's chosen people. Laws are for, like, Democrats and stuff, not for good Republicans.

Being in power in a one-party state means never having to worry about little things like "law". Law is for the little people, not for the members of the Party. As was true in Soviet Russia, as was true in PRI Mexico, so shall be true in Republican America. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

I often challenge Republicans who mutter about taxes to move to Mexico. "Mexico's taxes are half those of the United States," I say. "Surely that makes it a paradise?" They mutter and mumble and change the subject. But there's a reason why they do so, because their model for the future of America is the PRI's Mexico -- where taxes are low, government services are almost non-existent, the government is owned lock stock and barrel by a corrupt oligarchy, where there is a small elite making obscene amounts of money amidst millions living in abject poverty, where for many decades the PRI assured itself of power by blatantly rigging the vote and cease doing so blatantly only under international pressure. Today's Republican leadership wants to be the PRI of America. They want absolute power to loot the wealth of the nation for the benefit of themselves and their cronies. They want to rig the vote by rigging the (electronic) ballot boxes. They want to eliminate all government services not directly related to getting income into their own pockets. They, in short, want to make America into Mexico with better highways.

And they're doing it. I've been watching the Mexification of America for most of my adult life as the Republicans have schemed and gained power and done their best to enrich a powerful elite at the expense of the people as a whole, as the nation's infrastructure slowly decays from willful neglect. Now they're on the cusp of pushing the nation into permenant one-party state mode, thanks to their control of the media, the ballot boxes, and of all three branches of the national government. And if we don't stop them...

Well, let us just say that some day, Mexico may need to erect a fence to keep out Americans fleeing the crushing poverty of the United States, rather than the other way around.

- Badtux the Apocalyptic Penguin

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Thursday Penguin Porn Blogging

Sorry about the late hour. I work hard, hard I say, bringing you only the best Penguin Porn in the universe. And this is primo stuff, these African penguins are doin' the bump'n'grind better'n anything you'll find in your local dirty book store. Yessiree, you're viewing Thursday Penguin Porn blogging, where the nekkid penguins do... err... what nekkid penguins do. Yrrroow!

Which of course is why we should not only ban porn, but also ban, err, farm animals.

- Badtux the Aroused Penguin

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

How to fill the ranks of the Army

Recruiting is still down, down, down. This cannot be allowed to continue, because it will affect Dear Leader's plan to annex Iran's oilfields to our new Iraqi oilfields! I already made one proposal to fill the ranks of the U.S. Army -- raise the enlistment age and require that senior citizens between the ages of 61 and 71 serve if they wish to receive Social Security -- but apparently the image of the 101st Fighting Geriatric Division, shuffling along in their spiffy uniform of fuzzy slippers and bathrobes, was just too much for our Dear Leader's brave men (and token women).

Thus a new proposal: Let Ronald Reagan light the way. See, when the Great Father was elected President, our Army was in a horrible state. That big meaney Jimmy Carter had cut it down to almost as small as it is today. But our brave Great Father Reagan knew we needed 20 divisions in arms in order to take on them godless Commies. now, how can you recruit 20 divisions worth of soldiers if you're barely recruiting enough to staff 12 divisions worth of soldiers?

Well, our Great Father knew how to do this: Simply *DESTROY THE ECONOMY!*. Yessiree, during our Great Father Reagan's time in office, U.S. manufacturing went from being over 22% of the U.S. economy to being only 15% of the U.S. economy (it's 11% today). Where did those extra 7% of workers go? Why, we recruited the cream of the crop into the U.S. Army!

So how is our glorious Dear Leader going to top this? Well, I suggest that he destroy *another* industry. Let's say, health insurance. All he has to do is extend Medicare to all Americans not just old wrinkled prune Americans, and think of all the insurance examiners, acturials, call center workers, etc. that would be put out of work! A *huge* pool of workers, my friend, just ripe for the picking, albeit somewhat flabby compared to the industrial workers that Great Father Reagan put out of business.

So there we are, a picture-perfect plan for meeting recruiting goals! So who's going to present it to Dear Leader?

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

How standardized testing killed American education

I will talk mostly of mathematics at the high school level, since that is what I taught. The standardized tests for mathematics required my students to memorize vast numbers of equations and mechanical techniques in order to regurgitate them upon the standardized tests. If my students performed poorly on the standardized tests, the state came down on the district. The district came down on the principal. The principal came down on me. Shit flows downhill. When the state instituted promotion testing things got even worse. For example, students could not be promoted out of 10th grade unless they passed a standardized test of algebra problems -- all of which were basically about how to perform various mechanical operations upon recognizing that a problem was of type X.

The problem is that memorizing vast numbers of equations and mechanical techniques is not mathematics. It is what standardized tests measure, but it is not what algebra is.

Algebra is, in the end, a method for modeling problems using mathematical equations. If you are incapable of understanding the concept of a "variable" as a stand-in for any changable item in a real-world problem, you are not in possession of any mathematical knowledge. You are merely a trained monkey, who has undergone obedience training in order to convince you that knowledge consists of rote memorization of things handed down by Big Brother rather than something developed by human beings using a very small set of assumptions plus a lot of logic and reason.

The hilarious thing is that while my students tended to do poorly on standardized tests, they always did well at the "Math Olympiads" and similar competitions, because they understood *mathematics*, and thus were capable of devising means of solving the problems they encountered, rather than being restricted to a set of memorized techniques to be regurgitated for the set of standardized tests. The problem they had with standardized tests was primarily one of time -- they approached each problem as a unique and individual question to approach using logic and reason. But logic and reason take time. And usually they only got through with maybe 1/4th of the problems before they ran out of time. Thus one of the things I tried to do, at standardized test time, was spend some time on test-taking strategies. But it was hard to de-program kids who had learned to approach mathematics as an intellectual question and instead force them to view mathematics as a set of rote-memorized equations and techniques to be regurgitated upon demand upon the standardized test.

In the end, modern education appears to be designed to be incompatible with the use of logic and reason to approach problems. If a teacher attempts to teach his or her students to use logic and reason, the students will perform poorly on standardized tests, because it will be hard to put them back into the mindset of viewing mathematics as a set of fixed-in-stone facts and techniques to be regurgitated upon the test. Since the whole *point* of mathematics is the use of logic and reason to model and solve problems, this has rather dire consequences for our children's education. But, alas, many ignorant people, having never encountered any mathematics, believe that the rote monkey training you received in school is in fact "mathematics", and that "if it was good enough for me, it is good enough for my children" -- ignoring the fact that you received no mathematics education at all.

Which, of course, is the point. Mathematics is the use of logic and reason to create models of potential universes (albeit the mathematical systems most commonly used were created to try to model our *own* universe, mathematics itself has no such restriction). Knowledge of mathematics (as vs. the rote mechanical crap taught in schools) would interfere with our rulers' ability to bypass logic and reason and drill down direct to the inner monkey of the jumped-up hairless ape that is the human animal. And if politicians had to actually present logical and reasonable policy proposals rather than simply hoot and howl and fling feces at one another... why, someone intelligent might actually get elected. Oh the horror!

- Badtux the Mathematical Penguin

Monday, July 11, 2005

Nasty liberals stab soldiers in back

Some people wonder about why it is that liberals protesting the war in Iraq is so harmful to our soldiers. Those people just are ignorant of history. Look, we all know that Vietnam was lost because those nasty "liberals" was killing our soldiers. Why, every time they held one of them thare "anti-war protests", it was, like, bullets spewing into the flesh of our brave men in uniform!

I can see it now. Platoon C is hiking through the Mekong Delta, looking for slopes. Suddenly the radio officer shouts "Incoming!" as from the radio comes the sounds of Jane Fonda saying "POW's who claim they were tortured by the North Vietnamese are liars!". "I'm hit, I'm hit!" calls Corporal Longman as he falls writhing to the rice paddy. "Where are you hit?" calls the corpsman, pulling out his medical kit. "She hurt my feelings!" Corporal Longman cries. "This is serious," says the corpsman, pulling out a huge needle and a scalpal. "I think I'm going to have to operate."

The radioman shouts "Incoming!" again. The radio blares out Muhammad Ali saying , "I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong. Ain't no Vietnamese ever called me nigger."

"I'm hit!" calls Private Ryan as he falls writhing to ground. "Oh no!" shouts the corpsman, "where are you hit!" "I'm hit in my racial identity, I'm from the Detroit projects, sir!" The corpsman pulls out a huge compress to stem the bleeding, and says "Oh dear, this might be fatal. Radioman, call for medical evac, stat!"

Repeat for every platoon in Vietnam, and you can see that those dastardly liberals were *personally* responsible for thousands of deaths of our brave soldiers in Vietnam!

So now, just like in Vietnam, those nasty liberals are at it again. So that commie ex-soldier Kos over at Daily Kos says, "Support our troops, bring them home!" And somewhere in Iraq, a crusty old sergeant of 26 years of age grasps his heart, and keels over, feelings fatally hurt by this assault upon his mission, and a medic shakes his head in sorrow at the evil of those dastardly liberals. It happens, over and over, as those dastardly liberal commie terrorist sympathizers continue to refuse to properly obey and worship our Glorious Leader and refuse to support His holy war in the holy land, and it'll cause us to lose this war too, mark my word!

Oh, and those Vietnamese bullets? And those Iraq bullets and IED's and stuff? Have nothing to do with our soldiers dying, nosirree! It's all those LIBRUL'S fault!

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

The art of practical politics

The art of practical politics is to attempt to bypass the thinking, reasoning part of the human being, and instead reach for the inner monkey. I mean, could any thinking, reasoning human being even hypothetically elect the current coterie of losers and morons who currently govern us? Geeze, get real!

The whole point of practical politics in today's day and age is to convince the majority of the population that you, politician A, are part of the same pride of monkeys as they are, and that the other politician, politician B, is not and thus is someone to hoot and howl and throw feces at. Logic and reason are not necessary. Only the ability to hoot and howl and throw feces is necessary. In fact, that is the usual method of political discourse in today's America -- to define the opposition politician as "other", as part of some other pride of hairless monkeys that aren't "really" people like our own particular pride of hairless monkeys, and thus someone to hoot and howl and throw feces at.

The sad thing is that it works. Monkey politics works. I'm not quite sure what this says about today's America, other than that few people bother using logic and reason anymore, preferring to instead rely on their inner monkey to guide their actions.

Aristotle once said, "man is the rational animal". Alas, events of his own era proved him wrong -- the Peloponesian War pretty much destroyed Athens as a power, leading to the Macedonian then Roman conquests. I suspect the truth is that man is the monkey that has the capability to reason and think. Said capability, alas, is far too seldom used -- far too many of these hairless monkeys prefer to hoot, howl, and throw feces rather than use logic and reason.

- Badtux the Reasoning Penguin

Sunday, July 10, 2005

The press is the enemy in Iraq

They keep tell us about all those, like, bombs and stuff, that are going off all over the place, and about that rat-tat-tat of gunfire that goes on almost 24 hours a day. But never fear. Our brave men (and token women) in the Bush Administration have a plan: arrest journalists and detain them indefinitely if they dare try to report from Iraq.

Yessiree, definitely a plan! Now, the question is how many journalists are the Americans holding in their gulags in Iraq? We don't know. The military won't tell us, saying that it's a "national security secret". Apparently if the insurgents find out how many journalists we're holding in our gulags, why, it'll make them suddenly become stronger, more accurate with their gunfire, and more deadly! Whereas keeping this secret, why, it just makes Ahab whose child was killed by a 500 pound bomb dropped from an F-16 on a house next door that supposedly had "insurgent leaders" in it just so dispirited that he'll just go right on home to his little tarp pitched in a corner of the rubble of his former house, trade in his AK-47 for an American flag, and start a pro-American parade. Uhm, except his child is still dead, so I guess that isn't happening. Oops! But that's okay, she's Gone to Jesus and is in Heaven and wasn't really a person anyhow, since she was a member of a different pride of monkeys and only monkeys that belong to our pride are actually real, all others are just enemy to hoot and whoop and fling feces at hooo hooo hooo HOOOOT!

Look at the monkey. Look at the silly monkey!

hooo hoo hoo HOOOT!

- Badtux the Naked Ape Penguin

Friday, July 08, 2005

Iraq = Iran West

Iranian troops will shortly enter Iraq in order to "help train the Iraqi army". The current Iraqi government, which is heavily Iranian-influenced (their Prime Minister's election campaign was funded with Iranian money) undoubtedly has other plans for using the Iranian Army to help retain power. We've managed to take a secular nation with no terrorists and turn it into a Shiite theocracy that will basically function as Iran West once we leave.

And we *will* leave, the American people will not tolerate occupying Iraq forever in order to make sure our puppet government does our bidding. The longest the American people have ever tolerated such doings is eight years during the post-civil-war Reconstruction era, and that was after the bloodiest war in U.S. history (as a percentage of population), where 25% of all able-bodied men of military age in the South ended up dead or disabled and an equal number (but smaller percentage) in the North similarly ended up dead or disabled. The American Civil War was 10,000,000 WTC attacks. And produced a military occupation that only lasted eight years before the American public, tired of the costs of military occupation, decided to let the American South go back to Confederate rule (as long as the former Confederates pretended to be part of the United States and pretended to not have slavery).

All of this could have been predicted. Hell, George H.W. Bush's own Secretary of Defense predicted this in 1991, when justifying why we didn't topple Saddam then, saying that the Shiite majority would have ended up imposing an Iranian-style theocracy which was a Bad Idea. Oh, the name of that Secretary of Defense? A guy by the name of Dick Cheney. Hmm.... so what changed, in the ten years since? Oh, that's right, the Bigus Dickus's company (Halliburton) was going bankrupt, which would have cut off his deferred compensation, so we had to invade a sovereign nation in order to hand it to Iran on a platter so that Halliburton could get those big juicy contracts that have once again made it profitable. Okay, then!

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Getting some exercise

Hey, even penguins need exercise sometimes. Boldly snarfed from from this deranged site...

-- Badtux the Rotund Penguin (sigh, time to exercise!).

The best medical care in the world?

Maybe if you're rich. If you're not, you might as well just go home to die.

How come I never hear of stories like this coming out of Canada, or France, or any other Western nation? Well, DOH! They have universal health care coverage, thus poor people in those countries aren't funneled to emergency rooms in public hospitals where they could possibly wait for days to see a doctor.

Then there's the example of six months for knee surgery that always comes up when someone whines about how some specialties in Canada are underserved. How about *NEVER* for knee surgery? That's the reality for poor people in America today. Heck, my grandfather went for six years needing hip replacement surgery, until there was virtually nothing left of his hip bone. It wasn't until he finally was old enough to qualify for Medicare that he got the hip surgery he needed -- which was extremely risky because so much of the bone was destroyed, and he ended up dying from it. Why should my grandfather have been given a death sentence for the crime of being poor?

But I forget, working hard for all your life isn't good enough. If you work hard all your life, like my grandfather did, and you still can't afford health care, why, you deserve to die... even though that's not true in any other Western nation.

Ooops. But I forget. Poor people are "them", some other tribe of hairless monkeys. So it's okay to hoot and screech and throw feces at them because, like, it's not like they're REAL people like you and me, they're just, like, these disgusting OTHER, ick! Hooo hooo hooo SCREECH! [SPLAT!]

- Badtux the Disgusted Penguin

Thursday, July 07, 2005

In a time of chimpanzees I was a penguin

Tannish the Buddhist Wolf points out a logical and reasonable refutation of all the nonsense about gays changing the meaning of the word "marriage", which points out that it was heterosexuals, not gays, who did this. Unfortunately, this is a typical example of why liberals continue to consistency lose elections: They think that logic and reason are useful tools for getting elected.

The problem is that you cannot reach hairless monkeys with little things like "facts" and "logic". You have to appeal to their inner monkey. Democrats and liberals continue to believe that if they just keep sincerely attempting to convince people using logic and reason that their way is in the best interests of the majority of the people, people will naturally gravitate to Democratic/liberal positions because it's in their own best interests. BALDERDASH! What monkeys want to do is hoot and scream and howl and throw feces at anybody who is not part of their own little troop of hairless monkeys. To reach monkeys, you don't speechify to them in droning detail about how it's in their best interests to vote for your policies. You convince them that your particular troop of hairless monkeys is a buncha bad-asses that will give them LOTS of opportunities to hoot and scream and howl and throw feces at other hairless monkeys!

Just listen to right wing radio for a moment. Ever wonder how such drooling abortions of illogic could ever be listened to by millions of Americans? But look: The fact is, millions of Americans are NOT hearing drooling abortions of illogic. They're hearing screeching and howling and throwing feces at those who are not part of their own particular "troop" of ditto-heads... and they *LIKE* it, because it appeals to their inner monkey. What's logic and reason got to do with it?!

Logic and reason work fine when you have an educated populance. But now that 30 years of Republican policies have turned the U.S. educational system into a 12-year obedience training system where people are taught that "facts" are whatever people in authority say they are, logic and reason just won't work for reaching the majority of the American people, because the majority of Americans have never used logic and reason, were never exposed to logic and reason in their schools or their home life, and have no idea how to respond to them. In the long term, we must fix our schools, but to get to the long term, we must recognize reality and address the inner monkey.

- Badtux the Cynical Penguin

Thursday Penguin Porn Blogging

In today's lesson about the evils of penguin porn, we hear about the sad case of Karla the Kitty. Karla was once upon a time a cute, carefree little kitty cat. Then one day she heard about this Internet thing, and stumbled across her first penguin porn. It became an obsession, where she browsed penguin porn every minute that her Human was at work. Until one day her human came home early... and her life as an innocent, carefree little kitty cat was changed forever.

So does this mean that I'm going to avoid posting more penguin porn in order to avoid corrupting cute little kitty cats like Karla? *Of course not!*. Today's penguin porn comes courtesy of the Transportation Security Administration. Seems that airport screeners at the Denver International Airport were suspicious of a strange package being carried by some suspicious characters. This package seemed to *move* as it was being carried. Suspicious of a herring-powered bomb, the screeners made the carriers of this package remove the contents of the package and pass it through screening. Here is the contents of the package passing through screening:

Now that the Penguins of Mass Destruction have been defused, I feel safer already!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Cropped picture courtesy of NomadLife, as found via Google

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Bush propagandist goes to jail, Bush falls

Happy birthday, Preznit Bush! Seems that our Dear Leader fell of his bike today, according to the British Broadcasting Commies. Perhaps he'd heard that his favorite propagandist is going to jail for refusing to finger Dear Leader's mouth, Karlie Rove, for the perp walk to jail for divulging the identity of a CIA agent. But no fear, I bet that Dear Leader will reward her loyalty richly once she is released from jail, just like he has rewarded many another convicted felon for their loyalty. Surely someone who served Him as well as Queen Judy Miller of the "aluminum tubes of mass destruction" fame will get just as much of an award as the many other felons that he rewarded for their loyalty to Pappy's friend Ronnie?

Heck, next thing you know, she'll even have her own radio talk show like convicted felon J. Gordon Liddy or Ollie North! Remember, loyalty is rewarded by the neo-con con men who run our country. Like the Mafia, they know the value of "made men". And there ain't nobody more made than Judith Miller, who willingly reported their lies as if they were God's gospel truth and helped panic a nation to war against someone who, we now know, threatened America not at all. Surely such loyalty, such service to the nation, deserves a Presidential Pardon and a Medal of Freedom just like her fellow cohorts in fixing the intelligence?

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

We're winning! We're winning!

Because the terrorists are desperate and are in their "last throes". As has been true for the past two years, but hey, now they're REALLY desperate and REALLY in their last throes!

Iraq. It's not like Vietnam, because Vietnam had jungles, and Iraq has sand. We're winning every battle, just like in Vietnam, which means we're winning, right? Nope, not like Vietnam at all...

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

A whole MOVIE full of Penguin Porn!

The March of the Penguins. Subtitled "A love story", it focuses on how emperor penguins choose their mates and reproduce. It is an arduous, perilous tale (80 degrees below zero, 100mph winds with blowing snow, no food for months while balancing an egg on feet) but amazing footage of these penguins in action.

This penguin gives it a two flippers up rating. See it if you can!

- Badtux the Astonished Penguin

Monday, July 04, 2005

A celebration of liberty

Today is the day we Americans celebrate liberty and freedom. Unless you're a faggot, in which case you are vile and disgusting and we hate you. Or if you're a pregnant girl who decides she doesn't want the baby, in which case you're a killer, a sinner, a whore. But anybody else, we celebrate your liberty and freedom. Unless you're brown and you read the Koran instead of the Bible, in which case we detain you as a "material witness" for as long as we feel like, but that's your own fault for not being a member of the One True Faith. All you have to do is accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior if you want liberty and freedom.

Two hundred and thirty years ago, some darkie-boinging dude from Virginia wrote these words: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." Obvious balderdash. Why, that commie pinko probably even thought MUSLIMS and LIBERALS had rights. Obviously one of those America Haters who supports Osama bin Laden and is objectively pro-terrorist. Unless he was only talking about good white Christian Americans like you and me having rights granted by God and anybody else having no rights granted by God, in which case, why, YES!

Reporter: "Mr. Penguin, what do you think about the land of liberty and freedom?"
Penguin: "It'd be a good idea."

- Badtux the Snarked Penguin

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Operation Yellow Elephant: Las Vegas

The new front in Operation Yellow Elephant is the Young Republicans National Convention, July 6-10 2005, Mandalay Bay Las Vegas NV.

The perfect op would be to put on your old military uniform (for you vets out there), and, holding a pile of enlistment forms, cruise for yellow elephants, and watch the yellow elephants run screaming for cover! For after all, like their Glorious Leader, they know that military service is for people who are, like, poor, or dark, or otherwise not REAL people who by definition are only rich white brat kids like themselves. Fighting is, like, so declasse', like cleaning toilets. They hire people for that sort of thing.

Meanwhile, our brave General J.C. Christian, Patriot, has the perfect bingo card for your next game down at the VFW! Read all about it.

When I walked up to the recruiting station so many years ago, I knew Ronald Raygun was a senile nutball who could get us all vaporized at any time. I knew that the chances of the military wanting a flat-footed penguin were close to nil. But dammit, at least I showed up and signed on the dotted line before the medical people said "Sorry, we don't want you." Not all birds is tha same, y'know. Some birds actually have, like, courage. Unlike Generation Yellow Chickenhawk Elephant, which I'm sure are absolutely terrorizing those aweful terrorists in Iraq that they are always blathering about. I mean, look, what AK47-armed terrorist could ever stand up to their mighty superpowers of fatuous oration?! If they just spout enough hot air, why, I bet all those terrorists will just curl up and die from sheer embarassment at being called a poopy-head doo-doo brain by Generation Yellow Elephant!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Friday, July 01, 2005

The Bugman makes sense (for a change)

Our favorite pesticide-addled exterminator, Tom Delay, and the rest of the Republican indulgers in beastiality, e.g. John "Box Turtle" Cornyn and Rick "Man on Dog" Santorum, have finally done something that makese sense: They are going to prohibit federal money from being used to take away people's property in order to give it to private developers.

This is all politics, of course. After leading the biggest growth in the size and scope of government since FDR, the Republican Party can hardly claim to be the party of "small government" and "get the government off of people's backs" anymore. Indeed, they seem to be more the party of "take from the poor and give to the rich via government contracts" nowdays, sorta a reverse Robin Hood. And the practical effect of this ban will be virtually nil. The real grunt work is going to have to be done at the state level, adding amendments to state constitutions to prohibit states from taking from the poor in order to give to the rich (the victims of these sort of "redevelopment" projects tend to be poor homeowners, who are given a pittance for their humble homes and then thrown out on the streets). But still, it is the sort of rhetoric that once was common for Republicans, back before they were the party of Big Government. And it's the sort of rhetoric we need to hear more often -- our government needs to be concerned about *our* rights, not about the rights of Halliburton stockholders or Iraqis.

-- Badtux the Libertarian Penguin

Our Dear Leader loves our troops

After all, he is always showing up in front of our troops wearing a giant codpiece and uniform, showing us all exactly how manly a man he is. Our dear leader obviously loves our troops. Sincerely. At least, his codpiece says he's happy to see them.

Well, at least he loves our troops as long as they're not combat veterans. As of February, VA officials reported, 85,857 of the 360,674 veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq who had separated from active duty — 24% — had sought healthcare from the VA. This included treatment for both physical injuries and mental health problems.

Yet Bush's budget proposal for the VA was far, far below what everybody acknowledges is necessary to care for all the newly-disabled veterans that Bush's dirty little war in Iraq is creating. Thus Congress had to come in and basically back-fill with enough money to give our veterans the medical services they have earned by doing their duty to our nation. As hard as it is to believe, invading random nations, killing their citizens, and standing on the smoking ruins is their duty to our nation -- the Constitution states that they must obey their Commander in Chief, the President of the United States, and President Bush was elected by 3/4ths of the voting age pouplation -- by 1/2 of the people who voted, and by the remainder who were so satisfied with Bush that they didn't bother voting. It's a tough job, but it's one we told them to do, either via our sins of commission or omission, and they damn well deserve the best medical care that America can offer once fulfill their duty.

So the question I have is this: Why does Bush only love our soldiers when he is staring at their dinguses, and hate them all the rest of the time, not giving them the armor and equipment they need, shorting them on medical care, etc.? Curious penguins want to know: Is our Dear Leader yet another victim of that dastardly supervillain, The Gay Agenda, and his evil superweapon the Gay Raygun of Gayness?!

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin