Tuesday, February 28, 2006

MRE Reviews, continued

Today's menu is #21, Chicken Tetrazini.

You open up the packet, and here is what you see (other than the flameless heater and spoon that come with them all):

  • One packet Chicken Tetrazini
  • Pouch of strawberry jam
  • Molasses cookie
  • MRE Crackers (I *still* can't figure how they keep their crackers from turning into crumbles!).
  • An accessory packet with "Seasoning Blend Salt Free", apple cider mix, iced tea mix, then the standard stuff.
  • A *BIG* pouch entitled "Dairy Shake, Vanilla".
The first thing I did was heat up and decant the Chicken Tetrazini. Sniffing at it, it smelled sort of like mushroom soup and pasta and chicken. That's pretty much what it tasted like, too. It was, alas, rather bland. I opened up the seasoning mix and tried a little of that, but it was rather bitter -- almost Indian curry powder bitter but without the heat (India Indian, not Native American Indian). Bleh. But still, it was quite filling, especially eaten with the crackers. I rate it about a 5 out of 10 -- edible, filling, no faults, but no real reason to go out of your way to eat it either. But this is one you definitely want to use the heater with, it'd be really disgusting cold. Although CatTux gave it his seal of approval -- usually CatTux turns his nose up at people food (he feels that people food is beneath his dignity), but CatTux decided to lick the plate clean for me this time.

The next thing I tried was the molassas cookie. This was really, really sweet. *REALLY* sweet. Almost unbearably sweet. So sweet that I opened up the strawberry jam and topped the cookie with the jam, because the jam wasn't as sweet. *THAT* sweet. But it was quite good nevertheless, though I suggest that if you're in the field, that you fix up a mug of hot chocolate (instant, from a pouch, a tiny soda-can alcohol burner will heat up a stainless steel mug of hot water to sufficient temperature for hot chocolate use within 3 minutes) to drink with it. That way you can get a *triple* sugar rush! Woo!

Finally, there is the "Dairyshake, Vanilla". Apparently an earlier version of this MRE included a strawberry shake that was entirely unpalatable ("Pepto-Bismol!" was a common description). This enormous pouch says to put a whole six ounces of water into it, which would result in something with roughly the consistency of school paste. It also says it has 450 calories (!), 19g of protein (roughly 1/3rd your daily requirement!), and an awesome 16g of fat. In short, this thing accounts for an enormous chunk of the 1200 calories that a MRE is supposed to contain. I am taking it to work tomorrow and will eat it for lunch, and then edit this review to let you know how it turned out. (And don't worry, I have another MRE at work in case this "dairyshake" is entirely inedible!).

-- Badtux the Gourmet Penguin

And then there were 36

Damn, we got ourselves yet *ANOTHER* top aide to terrorist leader al-Zarqawi in Iraq! We got his barber, we got his shoe-shine boy, I bet al-Zarqawi is gonna be reduced to promoting the street vendor who sold him dates last week to his new top aide!

That makes, err... 36 top aides that we've killed so far, reading like a who's who of, well, the service industry.

What next, we grab Zarqawi's cobbler then proudly announce we've cut the head off of the Zarqawi organization?! Before you know it, a third of Iraq will be a top aide to Zarqawi!

Hold it -- maybe that's already the case...

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Monday, February 27, 2006

Tears of a Clown

I got an EMAIL from Mr. Whorowitz today. Poor Mr. Whorowitz. Them LIE-beral perfessers is bein' MEAN to him. How, you ask? Are they giving him wedgies? Are they sneaking into his driveway at night and sticking Darwin Fish on his car, causing all his neighbors to make warding signs against evil when they pass his yard? Did maybe one of those LIE-beral perfessers actually get out of his ivory tower and start picking in front of Whorowitz's house with a sign that said "Here lives evil"? No! It's even worse! It's... it's... THEY GAVE HIS LATEST BOOK BAD REVIEWS! Waaaaaahh!!!!

But never fear, Mr. Whorowitz's kind ole' letter to me told me how I can make Mr. Whorowitz feel better and get back at all them mean old perfessors that, like, hurt Mr. Whorowitz's FEELINGS (waaah!). All I gotta do is send him money. Yep. MONEY. That'll perk him right on up, yessiree, and let them perfessors know that he's better than them because, like, he sells himself on the street, and they don't! That'll teach them mean ole' perfessors to use them big WORDS 'n stuff to hurt Mr. Whorowitz's feelings, yessiree!

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Camping food reviews: Meatloaf w/gravy

Today's MRE menu is Menu #24, Meatloaf with Gravy. My review of this one isn't quite as positive as for previous entries.

Opening the meal pouch, what you see is:

  • "Meatloaf w/Gravy" box and pouch
  • Mashed Potatoes box and pouch
  • crackers
  • cocoa drink
  • fig newtons
  • a brown pouch that says "tootsie rolls" on it
  • two tubes of grape jelly.
  • accessory pouch #2, with the iced tea and red pepper rather than with the coffee and Tabasco.
It appears that the white-smock guys in Natick ran out of ideas for meeting the 1200 calorie requirement for a MRE pouch, and tossed the grape jelly in there just to meet the calorie requirement. There's nothing in this meal that would go good with grape jelly. The fig newtons maybe, sort of, but certainly not *two* tubes of grape jelly. In addition, this grape jelly is completely empty calories. It doesn't even have vitamin C in it.

I ate the fig newtons and Tootsie Rolls as desert with lunch. They were fine. The Newtons were a bit squished, but still quite tasty. The Tootsie Rolls were, well, Tootsie Rolls -- once you removed the brown outer package, you find two commercially-packaged Tootsie Rolls in their normal brown-and-white wrappers.

For supper, I heated up the pouches of meatloaf and mashed potatos in boiling water, then decanted them upon a plate. I'm not quite sure how I'd do this in the field, since only one flameless heater is in the pouch. Probably decant them into my cooking pot and heat them up over a flame, resulting in a pot to wash.

The mashed potatoes tasted like potatoes and butter, and were somewhat yellowish with whatever artificial butter substitute was used. The crackers tasted like, well, crackers -- I don't know how they manage to make crackers uncrushable in that foil pouch, but it works. The "meat loaf", on the other hand, was about the same consistency as Friskies cat food. Now I know what those elderly cat ladies taste when they nibble on their cat's din-din. Finally, the chocolate drink tasted like, well, chocolate drink. Amazing, given that it has little resemblance to the commercially pakaged hot cocoa... it doesn't even have any milk in it! (Probably because the Army is increasingly brown and brown people are mostly lactose-intolerant).

Color me unimpressed. While certainly edible, in case of a natural disaster where folks are eating MRE's this is one I'd trade off for something else. I imagine white-bread boys from the Midwest would think it yummy, but this penguin prefers his food to not resemble his cat's food. Still, if it were the last MRE at the bottom of the case and I were hungry, you better bet I'd be eating it up! While not the tastiest thing on the block, it definitely isn't the rancid lard-tasting thing that would make me puke, so... (shrug).

- Badtux the Culinary Penguin

Brokeback 500 pound penguin

For the guy who typed that as your search term in Google -- what exactly were you looking for?!

- Badtux the *NOT* 500 pound Penguin

Friday, February 24, 2006

Fragments of a life

After my grandfather's old house was demolished, the house in which my mother grew up, I came across these fragments, sitting on the ground. I picked them up, and put them away. This is the front of the postcard, and it tells a story, a story of a fragment of a life. It tells the story of a generation uprooted and scattered across the country, people who had never been more than 50 miles from home in their entire lives suddenly at a military college in Alabama. A dry goods salesman in a small town in Louisiana suddenly become an Army captain in the Military Police in Alabama. And it tells a story about a man who married a woman whom he maybe did not love in the way that sappy romance novels and movies have conditioned us to think about love today, but who he did respect, and she likewise in her own way. A man who was largely deaf and spoke mostly unintelligably and thus was exempted from the Great War in order to continue working in a sawmill that was churning out the boards and timbers being used to build military camps around the world, who, against all odds, had a child in the middle of the Great War.

That child was my mother, and unexpected in all ways. My grandmother and grandfather were living at his father's house. I remember his father's house from before it was torn down. It was a four-square house -- four square rooms, with a cooking porch on the back and a sleeping porch on the front. No running water or electricity, of course. The heat was a fireplace in the front corner room near the sleeping porch, and a wood stove on the cooking porch, which was left open in the summer and had its screened windows covered in the winter. The roof was hand-split shingles. The walls were wood planks, and the wind blew through them in winter. All his younger brothers and sisters, a round dozen of them, were still living at home in these four square rooms. This was no place for a wife and a baby.

I do not know what happened next, but somehow he made the connection with the owner of the land next to his father's land, and bought that land, and built a house on that land for his wife and child. The postcard above, dated 1944, is part of the transaction where he bought the land.

The next postcard is a bit more mysterious: This one is from 1945. The house is obviously built by then, because my grandfather has an address other than "RFD Castor". Captain Caskey is now in Georgia, not Alabama. I don't know what he was doing there, and cannot ask him. I barely remember him as the elderly old codger at the dry goods store who would sell ice cream cones to myself and my grandmother when we went to town. I don't know anybody who would know. They are dead or dying fast, what few remain from The Good War. There apparently is still some business that has not been transacted in these days when everybody is dispersed all around the country.

These fragments of a life tell other stories, but you need to know more to know those stories. They tell the story of the death of the sharecropping system -- with so many able-bodied men overseas, the sharecropping system collapsed, leading to a drastic decline in cotton production and constant shortages of cotton fabric throughout the war, and the cotton planters, as soon as the war was over and civilian industry revived, replaced the sharecroppers with machinery to plant and harvest the cotton. The machinery was not as efficient at harvesting the cotton as nimble fingers of sharecroppers had been, and it was expensive, but machines do not get drafted. They tell the story of the death of the Confederacy. Before The Good War, the South was basically a part of the United States in name only. Culturally, politically, socially the South was a seperate nation. But with so many young men uprooted from their homes and scattered all over the world, experiencing things they had never dreamed existed, they came back home and changed the South (not enough, alas) and brought it into the United States or vice-versa. Those are the big stories. But all big stories are made of fragments, fragments like these. Fragments of a life.

And fragments is all I have of those lives, and fragments are all I will ever have, because all who could tell the tales around these fragments are gone, and, some day, so will I be gone, and these fragments with me.

- BT

I am not good at this hiatus stuff

I guess when you are habituated to writing something daily, it just won't quit. Even if all I have to talk about are contents of boxes I'm sorting through and discarding most of, because I am avoiding the poison as much as I can while I get my own house in order.

So if you want to come read about photos and recipes for a while, feel free to do so. Just don't expect much snark for a while, because my snark done snarked and needs some time to recuperate.

- BadTux the Recipe Penguin


A full stomach, a couch all your own, what more could a happy shiny kitty want? Other than some moron not flashing a light in his eyes, that is?

- Badtux the Light-flashing Penguin

Thursday, February 23, 2006

If Ernest Hemingway had worked at a startup

"Ask not for whom the coffee maker tolls, for it tolls for thee." -- Startup Ernie

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


As you pass 40, they become almost overwhelming at times. Especially when you are sifting and sorting through the clutter of decades of living.

I pulled three boxes out of storage today and started sifting through them. I am holding three photographs, a post card, and a piece of paper. Two of the photographs are of cats. Specifically, two cats, which a friend of the family gave us when I was in my mid teens. One is a jet black cat that my brother and I named "Devil", being unimaginative teenagers more interested in things other than cats for the most part. The other one is a tabby cat that my brother and I named "Brat".

Somehow, those two cats ended up living with me all over the country, from a farm in rural Louisiana to an apartment in Phoenix. Then they went back to my mother for their last couple of years. By that time Brat had arthritis in his hips. Then one day Devil just died. No reason, hadn't been sick, still was as sleek as he'd ever been and despite his advanced age seemingly as athletic as ever, just fell asleep and never woke up. About a year later, Brat started vomiting up his food and losing weight. The vet felt his tummy, and said that he had a lump, hopefully just an obstruction but could be cancer, and if it was cancer, the best thing to do was put him to sleep. She cut him open, and it was cancer. She administered more anesthetic until his heart stopped.

I remember how Devil liked to ride on my shoulders, purring. How Brat loved to sleep on my lap. They were my luck, then they were gone. Their ashes live in a small wooden box now. Someday when it is getting close to my own time I might spread their ashes on the small farm where they were so happy. By that time there will be no one but me and my brother to remember them, and they will be gone when we're gone.

The post card is from a great group of people. We basically lived in an office-warehouse space for a year, and had fun, and did great things together. I don't even remember most of their names today. Memory is the first thing to go, I guess.

The piece of paper says "Welcome backc!" It is from when I was in an auto accident that totalled my car, and I was out of commission with cracked ribs and a broken wrist for a while. Another great group of people. I left because I pined for adventure, for the big city, for everything that wasn't going to happen in the small city where I was born. I wonder what the person who'd stayed there would have been like? I will never know.

Then there is the old Rolodex. Filled with memories of people gone. My Aunt Shirley's address and phone number. She has been dead for six years now. I lived with her for a year when I moved to Houston, well, almost -- I rented a room in a house, but there was no furniture in the house so I went to my Aunt Shirley's during most of my waking hours not spent working, eating, sleeping, or studying (I never went there to eat, her food was rejected by toxic waste companies). My friend David's house and phone number. He recently sold it, finally acknowledging that he wasn't moving back to that city where I was born.

I have to go through this stuff and cull it down to something reasonable, all these memories that have piled up in boxes and photos and drawers. I guess the final cull, however, will be as I approach the end, when all those memories will be gone forever soon, and there is no more reason to keep them around to remind me of things forgotten long ago.

- BT

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The King on His throne

No, I don't place my cat on a pedestal. He does that himself.

This box is stuffed full of packing materials. I moved it from behind my bedroom door to the middle of the living room to go to storage along with other stuff. It was then promptly claimed by The King, as his loyal minion CatTux looks on (or away, as it may be).

This shot was hard to arrange because CatTux got it into his head that I wanted to pet him. In order to get CatTux into the picture, I had to move over to where CatTux is sitting, wait for him to wind around my feet, rub his head until he sat down in contentment, then quickly go back to the other side of the box. A moment after I snapped the shot, CatTux came over and started winding around my feet again.

-- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

Yes, still officially on hiatus

Monday, February 20, 2006

Hungry kitties

My cats are very upset with me. They're hungry and I refuse to feed them. But they're so fat that they waddle like, well, a penguin, so I feed them a measured amount every night, and when they run out during the day, that's that. But if you listen to them, you'd think I never feed them at all... they're whining "Feed me! Feed me!", winding around my legs when I try to walk, getting up in my face and going "Meow! Meooowww!" when I sit down, etc.

Yes, still officially on hiatus.

- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Another camping food review

This one is for "Beef Enchilada in Sauce", a Menu B MRE. I won another Ebay auction so I'm eating up my current stock so I can provide reviews of it all.

The main components of this menu is:

  • Beef Enchilada in Sauce
  • Refried Beans
  • Salsa
  • Jalapeno cheese spread
  • Vegetable crackers
  • Mint chocolate chip cookie
  • Vitamin-fortified powdered orange-flavored drink.

The first thing I tried was, at lunch, the cookie, with some milk. Yumm! But *way* fattening, check out the calories on that thing! (Each MRE is supposed to provide 1300 calories, and the cookie was a lot of them).

At the next meal, I mixed up the orange drink and took a sip of it. Hmm. Vaguely reminiscent of Tang. I heated the Enchilada and Refried Beans pouches in boiling water, then after letting them sit for five minutes to warm up nicely inside.

The first thing I splatted out onto the plate was the "Beef Enchilada in Sauce". Frankly, it didn't look like much -- the handling that this MRE had received had broken up any enchilada into pieces, leaving meat and tortilla sort of mixed into a Chili-Mac-ish looking mix. I topped it with some of the salsa and jalapeno cheese spread, not expecting much, expecting something that tasted vaguely of rancid lard and tomatoes (you have to remember, my iceberg is parked in California at the moment -- lots of real Mexican food).

I then splatted out the refried beans, and similarly topped them with some salsa and cheese. I opened the crackers and put them to the side of the plate, started eating, and ...

Yumm! This is military food?! It had actual flavor! A nice blend of flavor, actually, with enough spices to be interesting, not really spicy hot but still the guys down in the barrio down the street would wolf it down lickity split. This wasn't the icky canned enchilada s*** that you get in Middle America at all! Guess the fact that so much of the military is now Hispanic means that they now know what an enchilada is supposed to taste like (hint: the canned thing in the supermarket ain't it), and forced the military to make an enchilada that actually tasted like real Mexican food.

So once again, I want to compliment the guys at US Soldier Systems Center (Natick, MA) who created the modern MRE after the fiasco of the Gulf War "Meals Refused by Everybody". They have truly done a masterful job, and this penguin gives them two flippers up.

- Badtux the Gustatory Penguin

Note: Still "officially" on hiatus. But will occasionally post recipes or food reviews or such.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Evil lurks

No, I don't have cancer, and I've not been kidnapped and flown to Gitmo. I thank everyone for their kind words below, but documenting the sickness at the heart of America has affected too many other parts of my life. My iceberg has hit troubled waters and is taking on water and I'm bailing with both flippers. So I'm going to discontinue my newspaper subscription, quit reading blogs, and try to get my own life back in order for the next little bit.

And perhaps that is why so many people refuse to follow what's happening to America and instead live in a little happy-happy la la world of their own even though life is getting a little harder and meaner and poorer for most folks every year -- because it's hard to maintain your sanity if you pay attention to what's happening in these insane times.

- Badtux the "Hold on, boys, rough water ahead!" Penguin

Postscript: Bailing delayed due to CatTux sleeping on chest for two hours after I took an after-lunch nap. Happiness is a warm cat on a cold and rainy day.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

That nasty "H" word

Due to events outside of the blogosphere, I may need to take a hiatus for a month or two. We'll see. At the moment I'm having trouble concentrating on anything dealing with blogs or politics or humor.

- Badtux the Unsnarky Penguin

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Respect, not censorship, is the issue

One of the things that is interesting about the Bushbots is how anybody who does not automatically toe the Bushevik line is a "liberal". That includes traditional conservatives such as myself (a believer in a limited government that does only what time and/or experiments in other countries have proven is proper for government to do) or Pat Buchanan.

When we say that exporting democracy at gunpoint is a Wilsonian liberal idea, not something that a good conservative would ever support doing, we're lambasted as "liberals" or "paleo-conservatives". When we say that interfering in the affairs of other nations overseas is not something a real conservative would ever support, we're blasted as "isolationist" and "anti-freedom". When we point out that the neo-conservatives have adopted the methods of the Communists, ranging from the Central Committee that formulates the Party's message to the Party commissars responsible for spreading said message and enforcing Party unity, we're accused of being "alarmists" and "objectively pro-terrorist" for not properly supporting our Dear Leader in his quest to squelch out those dirty nasty liberals who are traitors to America and thus fair game for any methods, no matter how vile the source of said methods.

Those of us who are conservative point out that the Constitution gives three basic roles to the national government -- to defend Americans from foreign threats, to secure this nation's borders and ports, and to regulate interstate commerce -- and that said roles do not include spying on Americans exercising their free speech rights, prohibiting substances that people voluntarily ingest while knowing full well their effects, or regulating how people can die -- then we're called lefty loonies. If we condemn the no-fly list as an unwarranted intrusion into freedom of travel within the borders of the United States, we're accused of a "pre-9/11 mentality" and again accused of being lefty loonies.

If we raise the alarm about a Dubai company buying major U.S. ports we're called anti-Muslim. If we raise the alarm about the neo-con's policy of defending Israel to the last American, we're called anti-Semitic. If we raise the alarm about unrestricted immigration from Mexico creating a new American slave class and depressing the wages of American workers, we are called anti-Mexican racists. If we state that the job of the American government is to serve the American people -- i.e., America for Americans, not for Bosnians or Kosovars or Iraqis or Afghans or whatever other country our leaders decide to "liberate" next -- we're accused of being bigots who don't care about the fates of brown people in other lands. When we object that charity at gunpoint is theft, that we pay our taxes to a government that is supposed to serve America and Americans not some foreign people overseas who have their own government that's supposed to take care of them, we're accused again of having a "pre-9/11 mentality" and of being racist bigots.

If we object to the war in Iraq because it has nothing to do with defending America and Americans and everything to do with liberal ideas of exporting democracy at gunpoint, we're accused of having a "pre-9/11 mentality" and being "racist" and "liberal". If we state that increasing the size of government by more than any president since LBJ is about as conservative as Leon Trotsky, the answer is... [crickets].

Now, here comes Pat Buchanan again, weighing in on the Danish cartoon issue. Pat basically says, "sure, a right-wing Danish newspaper had the right to publish those cartoons. But the U.S. government and its people also have every right to condemn such blatant bigotry." Pat points out that by supporting or at least appearing to support this bigotry against Muslims, so-called "Conservatives" in Washington today merely confirm to the Muslims of the world that America and Americans are all bigots who hate Muslims, and therefore that Muslims should support the terrorist fighting America, rather than supporting America. By appearing to support this bigotry against Muslims, we show that we have no respect for the Islamic faith, and thus have no business tromping around in one of Islam's holiest lands, Iraq.

And frankly, my own opinion is quite similar to Pat's. That right-wing Danish paper had the right to publish cartoons that depict the Prophet Mohammed as a bucktooth inbred foul-mouth terrorist. And I have every right to call them a bunch of bigots and condemn the cartoons as ignorant hate speech by a bunch of folks who are only inches removed from being neo-Nazis. Similarly, the Muslims have every right to protest the cartoons and demand that the Danish government condemn the cartoons as a blatant racist statement by people who are not fit to be seen in mixed company. Free speech is free speech, after all.

I eagerly await to see what the Busheviks are going to say about that little bit of heresy on the part of Pat (and myself). I suppose they can't accuse us of anti-Muslim bigotry. I suppose it's going to be the anti-Semitic libel this time. We support protests against the cartoons because we hate Israel. Or we have a pre-9/11 mentality. Or something. I dunno, it doesn't have to make sense, after all. We're talking Busheviks. Just any old bullshit and lies does for them. Weapons of mass destruction, bay-bee. MARS! Fuck yeah!

-- Badtux the "Wondering which lie the Busheviks will try NOW" Penguin

Borrowed Snark: It's a war of civilizations!!

From FafBlog:

It is a clash of civilizations which can only be resolved by violent bloodshed! Look at these Muslim fanatics, which Giblets will henceforth refer to as “Muslinatics.” All it took was one insult to their lunatic religion to reduce them to bloodthirsty savages! Well, that and decades of being treated like second-class citizens. But that’s all it takes – just one insult and decades of second-class citizenship! And confinement to poverty-stricken ghettos. Just one insult, decades of second-class citizenship, and confinement to poverty-stricken ghettos! Oh, and the Iraq War. All it takes to get these people to resort to violence is one insult, decades of second-class citizenship, confinement to poverty-stricken ghettos, and a half-assed scheme to bomb them into democracy. Giblets’s point is, these are bloodthirsty savages who kill at the drop of a hat! When Giblets’s countrymen kill you can be sure it is purely for the sake of exporting freedom and democracy to the oppressed. And if the oppressed don’t like it they can go back to their second-class ghettos before we bomb them into democracy again!

Indeed, Giblets, indeed. There is obviously only one solution to the brown menace, and that's to invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. Anything else would be, well, just plain un-American. At least, as "American" is defined nowdays (i.e., if you don't worship Dear Leader and hate liberals, you're not American, you're objectively pro-terrorist and are the Enemy!).

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Monday, February 13, 2006

Liberals are getting gamed big-time

It's a setup. Literally.

That Bush budget that cuts Social Security survivor benefits in a way that would never pass? Deliberately done like that, in order to allow Republican congressmen to eliminate the outrageous cuts and thus run against Bush in the 2006 election.

The current story about Bush's abysmal Katrina performance? More of the same -- material being generated to allow Republican congressmen to run against Bush.

And the Democrats are just chortling, without seeing the big picture: that it's a setup. It's a setup to allow a Republican congress that has rolled over and done everything the Bush administration wants them to do, to continue to roll over and do everything the Bush administration wants them to do. Because the Bush administration knew that there was no way that the budget presented to Congress would ever pass. That was the point. The Republicans in Congress are still doing exactly what the Busheviks want them to do. They are bought-and-paid-for tools of the same vile and venal men who own the rest of the Bush administration, and do only what they're ordered to do by the Party central committee -- even when what the Party central committee wants them to vote against a deliberately poorly concieved budget.

The Democrats need to keep hammering on the Bush connection. Bush is extremely unpopular right now, historically speaking. There are only a handful of Presidents who were ever more unpopular than Bush is right now at this point in his Presidency. The Democrats can't let the Republican Congress run away from Bush -- especially when it's the Busheviks who are ordering their Congressmen and Senators to do so in hopes of staving off impeachment if the Democrats take power in Congress in 2006.

For every Republican in Congress, the Democrats need to keep hammering home the point: This man does exactly what Bush wants him to do. This man is Bush's man in Congress. This man is a Bush crony who might fake that he represents his constituency but really only represents Bush. Tie Bush around these people's neck like a 500 pound albatross. Don't let them run away from Bush -- especially when the "running away" is completely fake and bogus, dictated from above by the Party central committee (Karl Rove and friends), rather than something they're doing on their own initiative. If the Democrats let the Republican congressmen get away with this scam, they deserve to lose. Unfortunately, the real losers will be the rest of us.

- Badtux the "I know a scam when I see one!" Penguin

Report critical of President makes Bushbots freak

So we find out that a Republican committee in the House of Representatives has found that hundreds suffered and died because President Bush didn't cut through the bureaucracy to help those affected by Katrina. So what's the response of the Bushbots? Why, simple! "These newspapers talk about how President Bush failed, but don't mention that the same report also blasts Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco!".

I.e., the newspapers are biased! It's that dastardly "liberal press" at work again!

The only problem with that notion is that it completely disregards the difference between news and not-news. News is when something unusual happens. Not-news is when something usual happen. If a man goes to work in the morning then comes home at night and eats then sleeps, that's not-news. If a man goes to work in the morning and discovers a drowned body in the executive washroom, that's unusual (I certainly *hope* that finding drowned bodies in the executive washroom is unusual, anyhow!). That's news.

Mayor Nagin or Governor Blanco are not the President of the United States. They are the mayor and governor of the poorest major city and poorest state in the nation. The notion that they might not have the ability or capacity to properly handle a major disaster is Not News™. It’s sort of like a “dog bites man” story… if the press covers it, it’ll be in a few lines buried in the back of section B (the section where the one-paragraph police reports summaries live). It’s just not unusual enough to be news.

The notion that the government of the United States of America, the world’s richest and most powerful nation, may not have the ability or capacity to handle a major disaster IS News™. This is like a “man bites dog” story—something unexpected, and thus newsworthy. Thus this is where the press is naturally going to focus the majority of their attention—whether said national government is run by Republicans or Democrats.

In short, it’s not the press that’s biased, it’s the facts. Pesky facts, don’t they know that they’re supposed to properly salute Dear Leader and only be what he wants them to be?!

– Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Dick Cheney’s Top 10 Excuses For Shooting Fellow Hunter

Here’s Vice President Dick Cheney’s top 10 excuses for shooting fellow hunter Harry Whittington on Saturday:

10. Sick and tired of Whittington’s “Hey, I’m having a heart attack” jokes

9. Pushed over edge by Dixie Chicks and Streisand blasting on pick-up truck stereo

8. Ongoing dispute over whether it’s acceptable to torture quail before shooting them

7. Thought he saw Michael Moore on other side of tree line

6. Wild Turkey and Lone Star Beer made him do it

5. Companion’s ill-advised decision to wear Moveon.org sweatshirt

4. Was trying to impress Jodie Foster

3. Whittington’s repeated ribbing that Bush is actually the “real president”

2. Targeting scope on rifle made by Halliburton

And the number one excuse given by Dick Cheney for almost blowing away hunting companion Harry Whittington…

1. Because he’s a wartime vice president, damn it

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Adapted/borrowed from BobGeiger.com

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Vice President Fudd

Elmer J. Fudd, that is:

I tawt I saw a wabbit!

Alas, the wabbit was his hunting partner.

Maybe it's a good thing that the Bigus Dickus had "other priorities" during the Vietnam War, or the casualty count (on our side!) could have been even higher than it was.

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Some fine f'ing Mardi Gras floats

New Orleans just rolled out their first Mardi Gras parades. Here's the Krewe du Vieux at work. My two favorite photos are these (click on a photo to see the big version):

Also all too true are these: New Orleans has its own unique way of educating the out-of-towners who flocked there for Mardis Gras, as you can see!

- Badtux the Appreciative Penguin

More camping food reviews

Whereby I talk about a couple of MRE entrees and a freeze-dried entree:


  • Minestrone: Rather forgettable, but quite edible. Tastes like the minestrone soup you get at the supermarket, but surprisingly is less soupy and more chunky. Eat with crackers. I save my MRE crackers from other MRE's to eat with the Minestrone (MRE crackers, unlike regular crackers, appear to be made out of some super-hard material that doesn't turn into cracker crumbs like other crackers do in field conditions).
  • Beef roast with vegetables: Forget about the old Alpo reputation. While this does have a slight tinge of the lard taste that used to characterize MRE's, it is not outrageously intrusive and blends well with the tender chunk of real cooked beef at the heart of this MRE. The vegies are a bit soupy, so the best thing to do with this meal is to serve it over instant mashed potatos and add a bit of Tony Chachere's Cajun Seasoning and a tiny bit of butter buds to the mashed potatos first. Instant mashed potatos are very easy to make -- simply stir hot water into the potato flakes while stirring until it attains the desired consistency. Pour hot MRE over a bed of these potatos, and your purr of culinary contentment will make your tent hum.
  • Beef ravioli: These were truly put together by a chef. Chef Boy-ar-di, that is. They taste just like the canned ones from the supermarket. When you've come to the end of a long day of hiking, this is pure comfort food.
The freeze-dried entre' that I tried is the Mountain House Freeze-Dried Spaghetti with Meat Sauce. Unlike the last one, this one is actually edible. It is somewhat soupy, so eat it with a spoon. Adding a couple of teaspoons of grated parmeson cheese helps it greatly, both in making it less soupy and in improving the overall flavor. Especially if you get the "Pro-Pak" version, this makes a hearty trail meal that will go down even better when you're tired and hungry.

And that concludes this edition of "how to eat well on the trail." Boy, things sure have changed since the days of choke'n'puke trail foods that required guts of steel and taste buds of stone in order to eat. Today even military MRE's taste like real food -- something that, fifteen years ago, I would have stared at you incredulously if you'd said that was possible.

- Badtux the Satiated Penguin

New Orleanians fear they've been abandoned a second time

New Orleanians are still waiting for the help that President Bush promised. Of course, you know what President Liar's promises are worth. Just ask the Iraqi people how much of Iraq has been rebuilt. But New Orleans is America, and it appears that Bush is doing to America and Americans what he did to Iraq -- ignore them, laugh at them, and relish their misery. So most of New Orleans is ruins, and nobody seems to care.

The most important promise that the Feds have not kept is to rebuild the levees. As I noted previously, the Feds haven't even repaired the current defective levee system, which could not keep a Category 2 storm surge out of the city -- it is only 10% repaired and hurricane season starts on June 1.

But even that probably will not be good enough to get business to move back to the city. To quote the article:

The federal government has not committed to the costly demand that levees, which protect the low-lying city, be rebuilt to withstand a Category 5 hurricane - the most brutal kind. The existing system was largely expected to hold against a Category 3 storm, but Katrina, a strong Category 3 with winds at 125 mph, sent water through the flood walls and into neighborhoods.

Many residents and officials say rebuilding plans won't save the city without commitments on levee reinforcement, especially as another hurricane season approaches.

"They have to worry about making the levees safe," said Merrill Rye, a 65-year-old native of the city. "Forget about the rest. We'll do without."

Right now New Orleans is a death trap. Even a small hurricane would flood the city again. Nobody is going to re-open their business in New Orleans when it'll just get flooded out again. Without levees, any other rebuilding is futile. With levees, New Orleans will get rebuilt -- with or without the help of the useless breed of parasites that pose as "our" national government. There's simply too many economic arguments for a city there in that location.

Alas, even that little bit of building levees seems to be beyond our do-nothing, know-nothing Republican government that appears good only for stealing money from us, the American people, and giving it to Republican cronies.

My proposal that the U.S. weasel out of its obligations by giving Louisiana back to France looks better every hour. Let Our People Go! Louisiana back to France! Laissez les bon temps roulez! After all, it seems that the French care more about Louisiana than our own national government does, so why stay?

- Badtux the Louisiana Penguin

Proper behavior at funerals

The proper way to behave at a funeral, apparently, is to scowl at the preacher and squirm in your seat:

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Friday, February 10, 2006

Other blog posts of interest

  1. Move the nation's capitol to Fargo, ND. Like Louisiana had to move their state capitol to a sleepy upriver town named Baton Rouge in order to get away from the sin and corruption of New Orleans, perhaps we'd be better off moving the national capitol to some out-of-the-way place too.
  2. The incredible credible threat to America: Hippies.
  3. Mia Culpa: Operation Enduring Vacation
  4. Swerve Left: Christopaths detirmined to finish destroying the pitiful remnants of the U.S. educational system.
  5. Rising Hegemon: New Orleans lies just keep piling up. And at BlondeSense: Bush knew. He just didn't care.
  6. The difference between New Orleans/Louisiana and the Rest of the USA (do click through to the PGR post he previously references).

Die, crapflooders!

To quote Wikipedia: "Crapflooding is the practice of disrupting online media such as discussion websites or Usenet newsgroups with nonsensical, inane, and/or repetitive postings in order to make it difficult for other users to read other postings."

But crapflooding is more than that. Crapflooding is the basis for all of what passes as "political discourse" in America today. The right wing, especially, heavily relies upon crapflooding to make it difficult for people to figure out what's true and what's real. By flooding all avenues of public discourse with their nonsensical talking points and inane repetitive recitations of untruths, they make it virtually impossible for the average American to figure out what's going on. In response, most Americans have simply given up, and believe whatever they're told to believe, because it's just too hard to figure out what's going on when all you hear when you turn on your radio or TV is crap.

Crapflooders, on the day that Great Cthulhu returns, will be the first to be eaten. Which, I suppose, they view as a virtue. After all, the crapflooder's favorite slogan might as well be, What would Cthulhu do?

- Badtux the Irritable Penguin

Why there is no political debate in America

And I hear you say, "But what about all those political shows on CNN and such where lefties and righties scream at each other?"

That's not a debate. That's just a couple of jerks trying to score points in some obscene game they're playing with themselves. That's just a couple of participants in a massive inside-the-beltway circle jerk spewing jizzum upon the body politic.

A debate is an attempt at finding truth. A debate is an attempt at discovering reality. A debate is an attempt to find the best way of going forward as a nation once we figure out what's true and what's real. The obscene circle-jerk that passes as political discourse in America is not debate. It is the complete opposite of debate -- it is a circus of lies piled chin-high by lying liars in an attempt to score points with the public in some obscene game of "See, I can fool the public better than you can!".

Bushbots aren't interested in truth. They're only interested in scoring points in some obscene game that they're playing. That is why Bushbots and their ilk resolutely avoid reality in favor of talking points handed down by their Party commissars on Hate Radio and Faux News. By veering away from reality and drowning us in lies, the Bushbots and fellow circle-jerkers prove themselves to hate America. Because a real American, concerned for America and Americans, would be trying to figure out what's true and what's real and talking with fellow Americans to decide what's best for America, rather than instead reciting talking points and spreading lies as part of some obscene game of political upmanship. Reality is not a game. Life is not a game. And by pretending that it is, the circle-jerkers prove that they care more about their stupid games than about America.

- Badtux the Reality-based Penguin

Case in point: By the time the U.S. invaded Iraq, Hans Blix had rather convincingly shown that Iraq had no working WMD and no industrial infrastructure for creating them, and was mostly engaged in tracking down and accounting for materials that at some time in the future could be used to make WMD if Saddam ever rebuilt his infrastructure. Bushbots write Hans Blix out of their histories of the Iraq war, instead quoting liars out to score political points as their "proof" that "everybody" thought Saddam had WMD when Bush invaded...

Happy Shiny Friday Cat Blogging

This kitty is happy and shiny and healthy. He doesn't worry about the future. He doesn't care about wars in the Middle East. He eats, and sleeps, and plays, and cuddles with his owner, and does not bother himself with politics or lies or anything like that.

This kitty is an American cat. A healthy, happy cat. A healthy, happy cat who doesn't think, because his brain is about the size of a walnut. How more American can you get than that?!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Thursday, February 09, 2006

In a land of lies, truth is hard to find

One of the hardest things to deal with when talking about the "Palestinians" and a solution to the "Palestinian Problem" is that everybody involved lies through their teeth. And I don't mean small lies either. I mean, big whoppers of the sort that would have had my daddy giving me an ass whuppin' back when I was a kid.

For example, there's the whopper that "the Arabs want to exterminate the Jews". It's clear that they want Israel to go away. But there is no history of genocide against Jews in the Arab world. Indeed, probably 1/3rd of the population of Israel consists of Sephardim who co-existed in relative peace with Muslims for 1500 years. While Muslims have never been particularly fond of Jews (feeling that they are deluded in their refusal to accept Jesus and Mohammed as prophets), there's a long way to go from "dislike" to "want to exterminate". It's Christians, not Muslims, who have a history of genocide against Jews, whether we're talking about the Conquest of Jerusalem by the 1st Crusade when the streets of Jerusalem ran with the blood of Jews who'd co-existed with Muslims for over 500 years, or the extermination of over 10 million European Jews in the period 1934-1945.

Then there's the Israeli claim that the Arabs expelled via ethnic cleansing from the territory that would become Israel left voluntarily. But contemporary news accounts show nothing of the sort -- they show a lot of frightened civilians fleeing paramilitaries and conflict, then not allowed to return to their homes once the fighting was over. Similarly, the Arabs claim that they didn't expell the Jews from Iraq and etc., that the Jews left voluntarily because Israel promised them free housing and land and more rights than in Arab states, while the Israelis claim that the Arabs expelled the Jews. Unfortunately, since the Arab states did not (and still don't) have a free press (unlike Palestine, where in 1947 the British press was operating quite freely), it's impossible to independently corroborate either story about the migration of the Sephardim to Israel.

Similarly, the Palestinians (Arabs expelled from the British Mandate during the waves of ethnic cleansing that surrounded the founding of modern Israel) claim that they are owed compensation for the lands and homes that the Jews took over after they didn't allow the Arabs to come back to their homes. The Israelis, on the other hand, say that the Palestinians are owed nothing until the Arabs compensate the Jews who were expelled to Israel. The Arabs, on the other hand, say that the Jews voluntarily left and sold their property in an orderly manner for fair-market-value before leaving, so no compensation is necessary on their part, or alternately say that the Jews expelled the Arabs first so the Jews should compensate the Arabs first.

Then there's the whole issue of right-of-return. Here, the Israelis quite blatantly say sorry, even those who owned homes and land in the British Mandate cannot return unless they are Jews. And from the Western states you hear this about this blatant religious discrimination -- [crickets]. The Western states are so consumed by guilt for exterminating millions of Jews that they're afraid to say anything at all, for or against, for fear of being called either "anti-Semitic" or "pro-ethnic cleansing", or, worse yet, being called upon to compensate those ethnically cleansed from Palestine due to their implicit complicity in the expulsion.

My personal solution to the "Palestinian Question"” would be to tell the Palestinians, "Israel exists, and that's that. Here's money to compensate each of you for your losses when you were expelled from the British Mandate, now go find a place to live and quit bothering everybody."” But nobody has ever proposed actually compensating the victims of ethnic cleansing in the Middle East. All they do is make excuses as to why they shouldn't, or, in the case of the Western nations, run and hide and pretend they didn't hear anything whenever someone brings up the issue of, "If Israel exists because you, the Western nations, exterminated Jews or allowed Jews to be exterminated, shouldn't you be the ones responsible for paying off the Arabs expelled in order to make room for Israel?".

So in the meantime all these lies just swirl and fester, and nothing happens. That's why it pisses me off when politicians lie. Lies are toxic to the body politic, whether it is lies about the Arabs voluntarily leaving Israel in the aftermath of the founding of the State of Israel, or lies about fictional weapons of mass destruction. You can't even begin to figure out the proper course of action unless you have the truth. And when it comes to the situation in the Middle East, nobody tells the truth --—nobody. Not the Israelis, not the Arabs, and certainly not the Western nations, who run and hide from their own complicity in creating the mess there like a toddler running screaming from a scary clown. But without truth, how the hell are we supposed to clean up this mess?!

-- Badtux the "A pox on all lies and the lying liars who tell them" Penguin

There he goes again...

The world's craziest Swede and wackiest Israel apologist, Per Ahlmark, is at it again. Mr. Ahlmark has a habit of regularly announcing that he has nominated various other wacky Israel apologists for the Nobel Peace Prize, and the very reliable CNSNews (which regularly announces new instances of the Weapons of Mass Destruction being found in Iraq, and is part of Brent Bozell's GOPNEWS empire of Jeff Gannon presstitute fame) says he's done it again. The wacky Israel apologist this time? Well... John Bolton, of course!

Yeppers, THAT John Bolton. Loose cannon. Belligerent bullying asshole who made a habit of terrorizing his female subordinates at the State Department. Nominated. For a Peace Prize. Bwhahahahahahah!

Of course, it's impossible to verify whether Mr. Ahlmark has actually done any such thing, since the Nobel Committee seals all nominations for 50 years and refuses to either confirm or deny whether any specific person has been nominated. But then, I guess that's the point. Mr. Ahlmark is like that crazy guy muttering to himself on the streetcorner that the CIA is beaming mind control rays into his head. I mean, how can you tell? The CIA would just deny it if you asked them, right? But the fact that Mr. Ahlmark hasn't held any public office in Sweden since 1978 and thus appears ineligible to make nominations might give you, like, a little clue, right?

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The new sequel to Brokeback Mountain

Their love was forbidden. They hid it even from themselves. But love, in the end, was something that could not be denied. From Ang Lee, director of Brokeback Mountain, comes his new story of forbidden love:

Brokeback President

Starring George W. Bush as "President Bush", and Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia as "Bandar Bush".

Showing at gas pumps everywhere.

-- Badtux the Hollywood Penguin

Time to add a few more verses to "When the Levee Breaks"

The proposed 2007 budget for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been reduced by 47% from pre-Katrina levels.

Good thing that penguins are good swimmers! As for the rest of Louisianians in the New Orleans area, I suggest it's time to start going around in wetsuits with flippers and air tanks, because you're going to need them.

Hey, America -- could you give Louisiana back to the French? Please? At least the Europeans know how to build real levees!

-- Badtux the Louisiana Penguin

Katrina survivors kicked out of hotels

FEMA yesterday evicted over 4,000 Katrina survivors from hotel rooms. Having utterly failed at finding trailers or trailer sites to house them back in Louisiana where they want to go and where they belong, apparently FEMA hopes that if they simply kick these people out on the street, they'll be stranded as homeless people in whatever city they're in and stop bothering FEMA.

Choice quote of the day is from the spokesman for the Mayor of Houston:

"People need to begin to take responsibility for themselves."

RIIIGHHHT! Because, you know, it's their own damned fault that the levees failed, instead of being the fault of the U.S. Army Corpse of Engineers, which, despite having been responsible for the levees for the past forty years, bears no responsibility for the defective poorly-designed levees that didn't even hold back a Category 2 hurricane. So the folks in the rest of the United States have no responsibility towards these people who are waiting until the levees are fixed well enough to make it safe to go back to Louisiana? Sounds to me like there's some people who need to take responsibility too, and those people are not from Louisiana.

The rest of the United States wants the benefits of Louisiana and New Orleans (through which most of the nation's grain exports go), but don't want to pay for it. Fine. Give Louisiana back to the French. Let Our People Go! Then we'll tax your grain and your oil as they flow across our state using our ports and wetlands, and build our own damned levees. Until then, you goddamn well do have a responsibility towards Louisiana. Fix those damned levees, already!

-- Badtux the Louisiana Penguin

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Great moments in American history

Our glorious attorney general reveals that George Washington had an electronic surveillance program too.

Here, on proud display, is a photo of George listening in on those dastardly Redcoats:

He then picked up his Blackberry and fired off a swift message to Ben Franklin in Paris telling him, "Get French ships to Yorktown, pronto! The British have no sea cover!".

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Image courtesy of Thorg.

Old (new) Army joke

Q: What's the difference between a crack whore and the U.S. Army?

A: The crack whore will stop fucking you after you're dead.

And from the Commander in Chief (miserable failure) comes the sound of...


Leaving a gay guy from one of those sinful big coastal cities to raise the money to reimburse the GI for the destroyed body armor.

Why do gay Democratic activists care more about our soldiers than the Commander in Chief? Hmm?

- Badtux the Disgusted Penguin

Cheese eating rescue monkeys

Does anybody know whether the French would consent to take New Orleans (and Louisiana) back? After all, it seems that they care more about New Orleans than the U.S. government does.

Screw the U.S... if the United States won't fix the levees and make New Orleans safe for business, maybe the French will.

What the hell, they can't do worse than the U.S. did, between destroying Louisiana's wetlands with oil exploration then refusing to do anything to remedy what they did to Louisiana's natural hurricane defenses...

George W. Bush: Give Louisiana back to France! Let our people go!

- Badtux the Louisiana Penguin

Fix the f'ing levees, already!

All attempts to rebuild New Orleans are doomed unless business can build in New Orleans with reasonable assurance that they'll be safe. My favorite hot sauce maker, Baumer Fine Foods, was basically put out of business by Katrina. I can't get their product anymore. They're just one of the thousands of businesses destroyed by the Katrina-related flooding. I'd love to go down to New Orleans and build my own business down there, but how can I do that, when there is a good chance that another hurricane will come along and swamp the city again?

Yet the Busheviks not only are refusing to commit to Category 5 protection for New Orleans, they're not even adequately repairing the *current* levees, the ones that failed when basically a Category 2 hurricane (not even the Category 3 that the levees were supposed to hold against) hit the city?

Look, I'll make you a deal. I'll go down to New Orleans and help rebuild it without a dime of federal money, if you folks in the rest of the United States build the levees to hold off the hurricanes that the wetlands you destroyed while searching for oil and gas used to protect New Orleans against and furthermore take steps to rebuild those wetlands so that storm waves don't pound directly against the levees. But we need those f'ing levees, dammit!

- Badtux the Louisiana Penguin

Monday, February 06, 2006

Pre-1776 Mentality

Patrick Henry famously said, "Give me liberty, or give me death!".

George W. Bush famously said, "Give up your liberty, or you will die!"

Russ Feingold has a word to say about George W. Bush and anybody else who puts life before liberty: "The President's pre-1776 mentality is hurting America and fracturing the foundation on which our country has stood for 230 years. The President can't just bypass two branches of government, and obey only those laws he wants to obey."

Unless he feels like it, Brother Russ. Unless he feels like it. But keep on preaching the word, Brother Russ, and fighting the good fight. Lord knows the rest of the cravens in Congress don't seem to be doing so.

- Badtux the Post-1776 Penguin

Liberating women in the Middle East

One of the strangest oddities to come out of the Bush White House is that the invasions of Iraq, and the upcoming invasion of Iran, have something to do with women's rights.

Women most decidedly had more rights in Saddam's Iraq than they do today. In Saddam's Iraq, women served as government ministers and hospital administrators and university presidents. Today, that is no longer true. In Saddam's Iraq, boys and girls had equal access to education. Today, that is no longer true -- in many cases girls are no longer allowed to go to school, either because of Wahabi interpretations of Islamic law or because the security situation no longer allows it. In Saddam's Iraq, women could dress any way they wish. In today's Iraq, they must wear at least the headscarf portion of an abaya, or risk being assaulted.

Now let's look at Iran. Women have the right to vote in Iran. Iran's parliament even has nine female members. Female students form more than half of the entering class in Iran’s universities. I realize this conflicts with the religious dogma handed down by our Lord and Savior, George W. Bush, that women cannot vote or serve in political office in Iran and have no access to education in Iran, but it is, indeed, true. And Iran's president was elected with an overwhelming majority of the vote too, unlike ours, who lost his first Presidential election and barely won his second. I realize that the reality that the Iranians elected their President democratically similarly conflicts with our Lord and Savior George W. Bush's dogma that Iran is ruled by dictators, but (shrug). Reality simply is, it doesn't care about our petty dogmas.

While Iran has many problems when it comes to women's rights when compared to Western nations, by comparison to neighboring states such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia where women are denied the vote, access to careers, and access to education, it is a veritable paradise for women. So when Dear Leader says we must invade Iran to liberate the Iranian women, he is (doh) LYING.

But what else is new? This administration lies the way that sharks swim or people breathe -- instinctively, repeatedly, continuously. If you believe anything this administration says, I have one word to describe you: SUCKER!

- Badtux the Reality-based Penguin

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Why haven't I blogged about the European Muslim problems?

As some of you might know, a bunch of Muslims got upset with some editorial cartoons published in Denmark and basically ran amok. The result: A lot of tut-tutting by the right wing of the American blogosphere along the lines of "See? Muslims are all savages and should be exterminated!", a lot of hand-wringing in the European blogosphere, and not much in the American wing of the Reality-Based blogosphere.

So the question that was posed to me was: Why haven't I blogged about it?

Well, mostly because it wasn't of interest to me. The United States has its own problems without worrying about European problems. It seemed rather obnoxious of me to start talking about Europe's problems when the problems of the United States are just as bad or even worse in some cases.

Here's the issue in a nut-shell: Europe has some serious demographic problems that it is not handling well at all.

In order to deal with those demographic problems -- basically an aging population, low fertility rates, etc. -- the Europeans have hauled in a bunch of Muslim "guest workers" from Turkey, Algeria, and elsewhere. The problem is that these "guest workers" can live in Europe for decades, marry Europeans, have children, etc... and never have any opportunity to be come citizens of the country they live in. And their children, who were born in the country, raised in the country, speak French or German or Dutch as their first language, are never allowed to become citizens either.

And the reason for that is simple: Europeans are, by and large, nationalistic racist bigots. The French believe that if you aren't of French stock, you cannot "really" be French. The Germans believe if you're not blue eyed blond haired Aryan stock, you can't "really" be German. Etc. European nations believe that nationality and ethnicity are the same thing, that you cannot be a "real" Italian if you weren't born of "real" Italian parents, you can't be a "real" German if you weren't born of "real" German parents, etc.

The end result is that you have a large number of people doing the dirty work in these societies who aren't allowed to integrate into these societies. Racial discrimination is legal in most of Europe, so the Muslim minority finds themselves restricted to ghettos in much the same way that Nazi Germany restricted the Jews to ghettos, albeit in this case it is the bigotry of the Europeans, not law, that thus confines them. And because of geography, they end up going to school mostly with other Muslims, and never integrate into European society.

The Europeans that I confront with this basically sniff and point their nose in the air and claim that the Muslims don't want to integrate into European society. This sounds a lot like the reasoning I heard from segregation-era racists in the United States, who claimed that black people didn't want to be integrated into American society, and thus it was fine to have segregated schools for them and etc. I.e., it sounds like so much self-serving bunkum to me.

Now, the reason I didn't want to really bring this up is because we here in the United States have a bad tendency to do the same thing. Our brown people are largely segregated out from the general population into ghettos, even though, formally speaking, that is illegal -- the U.S. is as segregated today as when the civil rights laws barring segregation were passed in 1966. We, too, have a large contingent of radical racists who believe our brown people are a "fifth column" who are intent upon taking over our nation and destroying our "values" (said values apparently being fear, loathing of brown people, and a desire to bomb and kill innocent women and children overseas if their dictator doesn't kow-tow to our Preznit fast enough).

So, to a certain extent, it's hypocritical to criticize the Europeans for their own hatred of brown people. So I wasn't going to do it.

But believe me, the reason I wasn't going to do it had *nothing* to do with wanting to defend bigotry and hatred on *any* side, and everything to do with not wanting to be the pot calling the kettle black.

Remember, bigotry knows no national boundaries. Alas.

So now I wait for those who will condemn penguin-Americans... hmm... glad my iceberg is fairly well stocked now, eh?

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

The smoking gun could be a mushroom cloud

A mushroom cloud over Iran, that is. From U.S. low-yield "bunker buster" nuclear explosives.

Because, of course, we must nuke the planet to protect the planet from nukes.

This is all I can think that the latest rumbling from Rummy means. Apparently, Iran is the 4th-largest industrial power on the planet, with the most advanced tanks, fighter aircraft, and the largest most advanced military on the planet, and wishes to attack and conquer the rest of the world. At least, that's what Rummy says, when he compares Iran to Nazi Germany, apparently not minding that this makes him sound like some Venezuelan. Remember, Iran isn't some decrepit tin-pot third world nation armed with cast-off weapons gleaned from other nations, nosirree! Iran is a major European power that virtually invented the Industrial Revolution and has its own advanced military that will KILL EVERYONE, that's the ticket!

As for me, I'm just shuddering in my flippers at the thought of all those hyper-advanced Iranian weapons just poised at our borders waiting, waiting I say, to DESTROY US ALL! Because we all know there's one country that has the largest most advanced military on the planet today, and it is... err... hmm... isn't Iran?

But that's not the important thing. The important thing is, as Lurch notes, Israel must be defended to the last American. Because, of course, we elect the government of the United States to defend Israelis, not to defend America and Americans.

Alrighty, then!

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Quote of the day

"If the folks who deal with our levees were any worse we'd all have to walk around with wet suits, flippers and oxygen tank."
   -- Jarvis DeBerry, editorial writer, New Orleans Times-Picayune

Also see: Their levees, our levees.

-- BadTux the Soggy Penguin

Utterly inedible

In yet more of my continued effort to eat down my supply of camping/backpacking/emergency food and replace it with fresh supplies, I grabbed a pouch of something called "AlpineAire Foods Spaghetti Marinara With Mushrooms", a freeze-dried entre' sold for backpackers.

Verdict: Utterly inedible.

It isn't spaghetti, for one thing. It's macaroni. It's not marinara for another thing. I don't know what it is, but I know marinara, and this isn't it. I managed to choke down two or three bites, then flushed it down the toilet.

You have been warned.

Now to run down to the taqueria down the street and get a burro... got to get this disgusting taste out of my mouth *somehow*!

-- Badtux the Nauseated Penguin

Friday, February 03, 2006

Blogspot died *again*?!

Can't reach all my favorite blogs hosted on Blogspot. Guess I moved off of Blogspot just in time. Sigh!

- Badtux the Lucky Penguin

Military overstretch

Over at Balloon Juice, John Cole notes yet another sign that the Army is overstretched: Officers are being promoted via rubber stamp, rather than culled to eliminate the weak sisters, due to an overall officer shortage in the U.S. Army.

The U.S. Army most decidedly is overstretched. Overstretched to horrendous proportions. he problem is that the U.S. Army of today was designed to fight Gulf War I—i.e., a conventional war utilizing overwhelming technology against an outmatched regional foe (no, today’s Army is not the one designed to fight WWIII, that was the army we used to fight Gulf War I). We found out, in Gulf War I, that our military technology made the Soviet military technology look just sick. The M1A1 can pick off a top-of-the-line Soviet/Russian tank at a range where the Soviet tank’s shells just bounce off the M1A1’s armor. We could have destroyed Saddam’s forces in Gulf War I with a tenth of the force we actually used, because our technology simply makes the old Soviet technology look pathetic. And though the Russians have done limited and haphazard improvement of the old Soviet technology in the years since the Soviet Union collapsed, that basic situation still applies, and will continue to apply for the foreseeable future.

So today’s Army was designed to fight Gulf War I -- a conventional war against a conventional enemy, using a combination of superior technology and rapid maneuver. Air power is used in this scheme to basically immobilize the enemy—his tanks and soldiers cannot budge from their camouflaged locations because they will be immediately destroyed via overwhelming air superiority, allowing U.S. commanders to concentrate their forces and overwhelm the enemy at a point, then roll up the still-immobilized enemy from the point of penetration. I suggest you read Tom Clancy’s book on Gulf War I for more on this strategy. The U.S. Army is very good at this, as proven by Gulf War II.

The problem is that the need for this kind of military ends at the point that Bush makes a speech in front of a “Mission Accomplished!” sign, and then we’re in a guerilla war of occupation. The current U.S. Army is not designed for that kind of war. The U.S. Army is heavily oriented around tracked vehicles—the M1 tank and Bradley AFV. The M1 tank is not designed for sustained occupation duty, its gas turbine engine has less than 1/10th the rated duty hours between rebuilds of a diesel engine, and while some combat requires heavy armor (most death of Marines has occurred during times when they did not have integral armor to use for direct fire support, indirect fire support from aviation cannot substitute for direct fire support from integral artillery and armor), the M1A1’s weight and gun length makes it less than suitable for use within cities—indeed, the only deaths in Iraq for tankers within their M1’s have been drownings, either because the tanker fell asleep and ran off the road into a canal, or because a bridge collapsed under the tank.

The Bradley AFV is more suited for this, it has performed quite well in Iraq, but its tracks have proven to have an unexpectedly short life in the Iraqi sands. In addition, it too has mobility problems in urban areas due to its weight and bulk, though not to the extent that the M1A1 does.

The end result of this is that our forces have had to unexpectly rely overly much upon the only wheeled vehicles they have—Humvees and Strykers. And we don’t have many Strykers, I doubt we’ve ever had more than a few dozen in the whole of Iraq at any given time. Humvees were never designed for this sort of warfare, they were designed to haul troops and supplies to the front from whence the troops would disembark and fight on foot and to perform fast patrols, they weren’t designed to drive into actual combat. As for the Stryker, a) we don’t have many of them, and b) the ones we have lack the 25mm autocannon of the LAV or Pirhana and thus lacks effective firepower in combat (the Stryker, as basically an upsized Mowag Pirhana, certainly could mount the 25mm autocannon, but it was decided that being able to roll off of a C135 was more important and the upsizing as compared to the LAV made it too tall for the autocannont turret).

The end result is that our Army is being ground like hamburger meat in Iraq. There aren’t enough boots on the ground, they lack the proper equipment to fight a guerilla war (and uparmored Humvees are NOT the proper equipment, they need a vehicle actually designed to carry armor, the Humvees are very unreliable once uparmored), and the equipment they do have is literally falling apart and spends as much time in the repair depot as in the combat zone because it was never designed for the use that’s being made of it. And then we get this latest Pentagon report that says “Gee whiz, everything’s well! We don’t need to do anything, we have exactly the Army we need!” and I almost growl with frustration…

Here’s some needs I see:

  1. Improve Bradley track and bogie reliability. This is the primary limitation on use of the Bradleys. The Bradley otherwise has proven to be a surprisingly good weapon for this sort of war, but this reliability issue has limited its use.
  2. A better power pack for the M1 tanks. The gas turbine engine seemed the only possibility when the M1 was designed in the early 1970’s, because diesel engines were too heavy and made only 2/3rds the power. But the Europeans have introduced something they call the “EuroPowerPack” for their latest generation of tanks, which is a diesel power pack that produces the same power as the turbine in the M1 tank, weighs only a few hundred pounds more, and will fit in the same space, and has a rated service life between rebuilds that is ten times that of the (no-longer-manufactured) gas turbine. Getting that sucker into our tanks would give the Abrams a new lease on life.
  3. Add the autocannon to the Stryker. I’m sorry, but a .50 caliber machine gun that requires the operator to be hanging his ass in the wind with a target painted on it 10 feet above the ground isn’t a viable weapon for this kind of fight. This conflict has shown that organic artillery is important to keep our troops alive. Despite Rummy’s rantings, air power has not proven to be near as effective as organic artillery here.
  4. More Strykers. Our soldiers should never be doing escort duty in Humvees. Humvees are death traps in this kind of scenario.
That’s the least that needs to be done to prepare our military for future Iraq-style guerilla wars.

And the Pentagon’s happy happy cheery report addressed NONE of this.

Bleh. What a waste.

As for the procurement fat—We're spending $10 billion this year on two new fighter jets, the F22 and the Joint Strike Fighter. We don’t need two new fighter jets, we need more F-16’s and F-18 E/F’s. The F-16 is the best fighter in the world. It is reliable, servicable, hauls a heavy weapons load, has a good range, and is cheap both to acquire and operate. With upgraded weapons systems and avionics it will continue to be the best fighter in the world into the foreseeable future. Certainly none of the old Soviet fighter technology is going to threaten the F-16 anytime in the foreseeable future. As for the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, this relatively new fighter/bomber jet is a workhorse. It has most of the same attributes as the F-16, hauling a huge weapons load into the air either to deliver to a ground target or to take out a dozen Soviet-era fighters all by its lonesome at a range where the Soviet-era fighters can’t even get a good radar fix on it.

We simply don’t need a new fighter jet. The Russian’s limited development of the Su-27 doesn’t cause such a requirement, because the Russians don’t have the money to invest in avionics and weapons systems—the fundamental Su-27 airframe is sound, but the engines are unreliable and the weapons systems are Soviet-era knock-offs of 1970’s U.S. weapons systems. Even the latest variant being purchased by the Chinese and Indians is a sitting duck to the F-16 and F-18 and will remain such for the foreseeable future. And the Eurofighter has proven to be little better than the French Mirage 2000 which was designed in the 1970's and itself little better than the French Mirage F1 which proved to be worth nothing except a target when flown by Iraq during Gulf War I.

What we do need to do is this. 1. Buy more F-16’s so we can a) retire the F-15 fleet which is aging and expensive to operate and b) retire the very oldest F-16's which are reaching the end of their airframe lifespan. 2. Buy more Super Hornets to get rid of the last of the non-Super Hornets and Tomcats, there is no need for a new strike fighter in the Navy, the "Super Bug" is an excellent and inexpensive to operate fighter. 3. Continue investing in weapons and avionics upgrades for the fighter fleet. That’s it. No new fighter jets needed for at least 20 years.

But instead of spending the money on upgrading the weapons systems that Iraq shows we need to upgrade, instead we’re sending hundreds of billions of dollars to defense contractors to build weapons we don’t need. The R&D budget alone for this year is over $60 billion dollars -- contrast that to the entire VA budget, $29 billion dollars for 2005. No money for sick soldiers, but lots of money for new toys for the airhead boys. Sick. Just sick.

Anyhow, that’s what I see -- a military that is not equipped for the war it is fighting and whose leadership, from the Commander in Chief down, refuses to confront and resolve this problem. Iraq has placed pressures upon the Army that it simply was not designed to handle. The fact that they’ve managed to keep going despite all the equipment failures is admirable, but we should get them the right equipment to fight the war they’re fighting. Period. Instead of denying reality and saying “Everything is fine, no problem!”.

And if we're not willing to do that, we should just bring them home altogether. Hell, we should do that anyhow -- as I mentioned earlier, military victory over the insurgency in Iraq is impossible without committing genocide. But the fact that our government appears more interested in enriching defense contractors rather than providing our men and women in uniform with what they actually need is just another nail in that coffin.

– Badtux the Military Penguin

Happy Shiny Kitty

I am sometimes asked, "How do you make your kitty so shiny?" and I always say "He shines himself." I don't shampoo him or anything, all I do is feed him some kibble every day and change his litter box from time to time. He's just a happy, shiny kitty. That's all.

-- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Why a military victory in Iraq is impossible

almost 50% of Iraqis support attacks upon U.S. troops.

Let's do a little history here. It takes the support of approximately 33% of the population to create and sustain a viable guerilla movement in opposition to an occupation army. In both Germany and Japan after WWII, this percentage was never achieved because a) over 33% of their adult males had been killed during the fighting thus there just wasn't enough adult males left, and b) the political war was won by the Allies and thus there was no political support for guerilla war. The end result is that 0 (zero) American soldiers were killed by hostile fire after the German and Japanese surrenders.

By contrast, let's look at the American Revolution. Overall, roughly 33% of the colonists supported the rebellion against their lawful government in London, 33% opposed it, and the remainder simply wanted to go about their life in peace. Despite the rebellion having the support of only 1/3rd of the population, this 1/3rd of the population eventually won out over the largest empire on the face of the planet at that time, the British Empire, and brought the other 2/3rds of the population with them.

The tactics used by the "Sons of Liberty" terrorists in the American Revolution were similar to the tactics used by the Iraqi terrorists, albeit the fact that high explosives had not yet been invented meant that some of the more deadly terrorist tactics couldn't be used. Supporters of the lawful government in London found their businesses burned down or destroyed. This was especially true if they were in the newspaper business, soon supporters of the lawful government were unable to get their position out before the public. People who sold supplies to or interacted with the British soldiers soon had rocks thrown through their windows with the notice to quit doing that or the next time it'd be a firebomb. Prominent supporters of the British position were tarred and feathered and run out of town. "Collaborators" who turned in "Sons of Liberty" terrorists were tarred and feathered then hung, and their possessions burned to deny sustenance to their wife and offspring. The result is that the 33% of colonists who didn't care simply hunkered down and let the "Sons of Liberty" control the political future of the soon-to-be new nation, while the 33% of colonists who supported their lawful government in London were swiftly intimidated, marginalized, and removed as a potential factor.

Now, coming back to the present, the Iraqi insurgency has far more support than the American insurgency had. This does not, in and of itself, mean a military victory over them is impossible. But it does mean that a military victory is impossible WITHOUT KILLING AT LEAST 15% OF THE POPULATION OF IRAQ. I.e., GENOCIDE.

And genocide is one of the things that the U.S. simply doesn't do in the modern era.

Of course, I thought that invading countries that hadn't attacked us was something that the U.S. simply doesn't do in the modern era, and was proven wrong. I thought that torturing prisoners was something that the U.S. simply doesn't do in the modern era, and was proven wrong. I thought that imprisoning American citizens without charges was something that the U.S. simply doesn't do in the modern era, and was proven wrong. So I might be proven wrong about the U.S. not doing genocide in the modern era, too. But I sure hope the hell not.

-- Badtux the Military History Penguin

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

The Republican Party has elected John Boehner, an Ohio Republican with ties to the Abramoff corruption scandal, to be their new House Majority Leader. Because, after all, Ohio Republicans are not known for corruption and thus electing an Ohio Republican to lead the House will present the image of the modern Republican Party that is necessary in order to eliminate the perception of a Republican culture of corruption.

Boy, I'm sure glad to hear that the Republicans in the House are so intent upon cleaning up any taint of corruption in their chambers! Makes me feel proud to be an American, yessiree, to have such honest, straightforward legislators in Washington D.C.!

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

The greatest threat to America isn't terrorism

Somehow, I got onto David Horrorwitz's mailing list a long time ago. In case you don't know, David Horrorwitz is a "professional activist" of long standing. He's never held a real job -- his entire career has been leeching off of first left-wing nutballs, then later, leeching off of right-wing nutballs. So from time to time, he sends out EMAIL's begging people to buy his latest forgettable book, or to send him some money, so he can prove to his right-wing masters that he actually does have a viable readership for them to continue to bankroll.

So anyhow, I got this EMAIL, and that's when I found out that he's written a new book about the most horrible, dangerous threat to America. This book tells us that the most horrible, dangerous threat to America isn't terrorism, isn't war, isn't anything to do with violence but, rather, is... college professors.

Yes, college professors! Black ones. Brown ones. One who (horrors!) WORKED FOR THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION! Apparently, these evil diabolical college professors are actually hypnotizing our children. While our children believe they are still watching a lecture, instead, these evil fascist college professors are operating upon our poor innocent little graduate school children, opening up their heads with saws and planting these "fact" things in there ("facts" are left wing, y'know). And at some point in the future... at some point... these "facts" will explode with the force of a nuclear weapon, and KILL US ALL!

So remember, the biggest threat to America isn't the folks who blow up federal buildings, embassies, Navy ships, and major New York landmarks. The biggest threat is (shudder) COLLEGE PROFESSORS with those evil terroristic "fact" thingies!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

The Return of Thursday Penguin Porn!

This nekkid little Adelie penguin is fussing at his girlfriend to come on and get with the program! Like most Republican penguins, he doesn't get much sex. Just once a year, mostly. So that makes him angry and willing to support random sodomization of other penguins like the ones at Abu Grope Prison.

Have pity on this poor little Republican penguin, but never, NEVER turn your back on him! Like fellow fatties Jonah "Doughboy" Goldberg and John "Pod Man" Podhoretz of the National Review Online's "The Cornhole", the results are likely to be... uhm, nevermind, this is a family blog (for some definition of family) and I won't go there. For true!

-- Badtux the Penguin Porn Pushin' Penguin

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Hell freezes over: Cop admits mistake

It seems that the Chief of Police now says that they made a mistake arresting Cindy Sheehan, admitting that "just wearing a t-shirt is not breaking the law" and that neither woman (the right-winger expelled, or the left-winger arrested) tried to draw attention to their t-shirt or in any way did anything that broke the law.

Now *this* is suprising. Usually the cops will simply deny everything. But apparently there were just too many witnesses here (like, a whole gallery's worth!) for them to do that...

Hopefully we can now get back to more important things, like my lunch and my cats' vet appointment this morning. For lunch I looked in the pantry and found only noodles. So I remembered I had a couple of MRE entre's in my camping gear and fetched one -- the "beef ravioli". My congratulations to their chef -- Chef Boy-ar-dee, apparently, since it tastes almost exactly identical to the canned stuff in the supermarket. Tasty (well, for "comfort food" values of the word "tasty"). That plus the noodles made a fine little lunch. As for my cats, they had their yearly checkup where they got a thermometer stuck up their behind, inspected, injected, and dejected. I'm sure they'll come out from under my bed sometime this week. Maybe.

- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

F*** it, change your bookmarks

Looks like I'm staying at the new location. I simply don't have the sort of readership that would strain this teensy little server (96mb of RAM, 6gb hard drive) in any way (it's running Linux, of course, so while my RAM is definitely too small, I'm only using 27% of the hard drive). So if you still have bookmarks and etc. pointing to the old badtux.blogspot.com site, go ahead and change them over to here.

- Badtux the Server Penguin

Beware the T-shirt of Mass Destruction!

Yesterday evening the Capitol Police responded to a 9/11 message. Someone was in the Capitol Building with an armed and loaded weapon of mass destruction! So they responded in force, and found the weapon silently ticking, making not a sound, motionless in a seat.

Here is the horrible, heinous weapon of mass destruction that they removed from the Capitol Building:

No no, not the lady. Not the podium. not the banner. The T-SHIRT. That's right, the T-SHIRT. It is the t-shirt that was so horrible, so deadly a weapon of mass destruction, that our Dear Leader and the rest of the House chamber had to be protected from it despite the fact that its wearer was sitting motionless and saying not a word. Why, if the t-shirt wasn't removed from the House gallery within 1 minute of its arrival, it could have exploded and KILLED US ALL!

Remember, Osama bin Laden isn't the greatest threat to America today. T-shirts are.

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin