Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Molly Ivins, 1944-2007

Last week Molly checked into the hospital. There the doctors found out there wasn't a damned thing they could do for her. Cancer's like that, once it manages to get out and spread around your body about all the doctors can do is give you chemotherapy to slow it down and hope it goes away on its own. Molly hit that point around this time last year. But the cancer didn't stop. And when that happens, it just eats you up until things stop working, and there's nothing the doctors can do to make'em start working again. So Monday she went home to die in her own bed.

And so she did.

Molly wasn't born in Texas, but she spent most of her early years there and became as Texan as any woman I ever saw. She was a take no prisoners no bullshit funny as hell by-god Texas woman with a heart as big as her adoptive state and a wit to match. She had a turn of the phrase every bit as funny as the late Lewis Grizzard, but where Grizzard was exploring the inner life of Americana, Molly headed straight for the big circus that was politics, especially Texas politics.

Molly once explained that she'd once wanted to write fiction, but after covering the Texas Legislature for the Texas Observer, she couldn't figure out anything more outrageous that anybody would ever believe. So she went into political reporting instead. Whatever the reason, after a stint at the New York Times that ended disasterously when she described a communal chicken roast as a gang pluck, she headed back to her adoptive state and never left again.

If life was fair, Molly would have been with us for another twenty years, and would have been no doubt tartly skewering another self-important politician from her rocking chair at the nursing home two weeks before she died just as she did two weeks ago. That was not, alas, to be. So while the Freepers celebrate that a woman who had more balls than all the Freepi combined has died (hey fuck-heads, why aren't you in Iraq?), I think I'll head out and go grab a beer. Somehow, that seems a helluva lot more fitting than anything else I can do to celebrate a woman who was a Texas original and a damned fine by-god American the way they ain't making many of nowdays in today's world of ball-less Freepi and an American public cowering in fear of some dumbass hiding in a cave in Afghanistan.

Or as the fine folks at Editor and Publisher put it, Molly would have said "Hang in there, keep fightin' for freedom, raise more hell, and don't forget to laugh, too." Sounds like a damned fine idea to me.

-- Badtux the Remembering Penguin

A modest proposal for dealing with partisan politics

Our so-called "representatives" in Washington spend most of their time trying to figure out what's right for Democrats or what's right for Republicans, not what's right for America and Americans. The result: lots of hooting and howling and feces flinging, and not enough doing what's right.

I have a modest proposal to solve this problem: Ban political parties. Rather than party primaries, have open primaries like in Louisiana, where anybody can run regardless of political party and the top two vote-getters end up in a runoff election even if they're both Democrats or Republicans. Ban mention of political parties on balloting and campaign materials. Add a Constitutional amendment amending the oath of office so that the President swears allegiance to America and Americans and to act in the best interests of America and Americans, not of any other group or organization.

Can't be done, you say? Err, it most definitely has been done in the past. I claim that the Democratic and Republican Parties are a criminal conspiracy against the American public. Given the events of the past six years, can anybody really disagree?

-- Badtux the Independent Penguin

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

We are ruled by idiots

Now they're insisting that Iran is behind all the violence in Iraq.

That's ridiculous. Iran's man is currently President of Iraq. The last thing he, or Iran, wants in Iraq is violence intended to overthrow the (Iranian-supported) Iraqi government. But hey, any old bullshit is good enough, I guess, if you're an idiot and the 29% of "dead enders" who support you are also idiots.

As a commentator on Balloon Juice points out when replying to a Bushbot: Your team has been wrong about EVERY SINGLE FUCKING THING HAVING TO DO WITH IRAQ SINCE 1985 AND ESPECIALLY SINCE 2002 AND IN REGARD TO EVERY SINGLE ASPECT OF THIS WAR. Wrong. And want to pick your nose here on our time and talk about “reality?” You wouldn’t know reality if it bit you on the left nut.

Indeed. Indeed.

-- Badtux the non-idiot Penguin

I want me some good guys and bad guys! WAHHH!

It appears that recent events in Najaf, where conflicting reports say that U.S. and Iraqi security forces killed hundreds of "terrorists" (but can't agree on which "terrorists" got killed), may have been a case of American forces being duped into taking sides in an internectine conflict.

I like the conclusion best of all, because I think it summarizes the whole bloody mess over there right now:

Hint for the U.S.: There are no "bad guys" and "good guys" in Iraq. Everyone has dirty hands. It makes no sense for you, nor is it going to improve anything in Iraq, to side with one bad guy against another, just because you're so confused that you can't differentiate between friend and foe. Just please remember that. The trick is to reach a settlement where all the "bad guys" are satisified and agree to behave as "good guys" again. Otherwise, just forget about it.

But... but... that requires thinking in those fuzzy shades of grey! Oh my head, my poor aching head, I need some herring ASAP because, like, it's un-AMERICAN to think that gosh, you know, not everything is black and white, good and evil, liberal and conservative, left side black vs. right side black....

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Oh the humanity!

Why do 58% of Americans hate America?

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

The woes of a high-tech penguin

I want to move my web site to a bigger server. I can move it to a bigger/faster server with twice the memory and twice the hard drive space for the same price I'm currently paying for a smaller server. But Debian 4.0 Linux is coming out shortly, and installing Debian 3.1 only to have to update to Debian 4.0 shortly afterwards would require a disruption of service. The current web site works okay, just very slow at serving dynamic requests (due to all the spam banging into it since it shares the same server as email), so the only prudent thing to do is to wait for Debian 4.0 to come out before I do it.

I want to buy an Apple Macbook. Recent upgrades to the amount of memory and hard drive space in the Macbook make it very sweet. But there is a major upgrade to MacOS coming out in the next few months, so I'd be silly to buy a Macbook right now.

This penguin HATES waiting :-(. The life of a high-tech penguin is such a pain...

-- Badtux the High-tech Penguin

Monday, January 29, 2007

An end to war?

Not in our lifetime.

Indeed, the roots of war are fundamental in our genome. We are, at our core, barely-evolved hairless monkeys with delusions of grandeur. We share 95%+ of our genome with the great apes, complete with the fundamental biological underpinnings that lead to war -- the desire to follow an Alpha Male leader, the division of the world into "us" which are fully human and "them" which are not, the hooting and howling and flinging of feces which occurs when "us" meets "them" (think two troops of monkeys meeting in the jungle, and what occurs at that time... or watch any political talk show that has "right wing" and "left wing" guests hooting and howling and flinging feces at each other... it is like a mirror). We are fighting against millions of years of evolution with the puny tool of a brief 50,000 years of civilization, and civilization, alas, often loses. The result is war.

Regarding disasterous wars, the Colonial Rebellion of England's North American colonies was not such a war for England, but nevertheless had long term consequences that took decades to play out. The demise of Crown power was an eventual result of the war, though the short-term result was an increase in the power of the Crown.

The fundamental cause of the war was the fact that the colonies had been neglected for so long by the Crown, and thus each colony had devised its own set of power structures and power brokers. When the Crown decided to re-assert its powers, Crown power ran up against the entrenched power structures in the Colonies. The results were inevitable. Men of wealth and power do not appreciate others attempting to strip them of their wealth and power, and responded with a campaign of disinformation, terrorism, and eventually outright armed warfare to preserve their power.

As with all wars, men of wealth and power in control of public discourse can sway a sizable percentage of the population to support their war, and they certainly used this advantage. To a certain extent, the Colonial Rebellion was the first modern example of "information warfare". Printing presses were the most important tool of the war, and destroying printing presses of opponents of the war was one of the first things that the "Sons of Liberty" terrorist group did when they formed a terror cell in an area. The Crown and its supporters lost control of the information battlefield in the Colonies, with resulting loss of popular support in the Colonies. Thus a rebellion against the lawful government was turned into this great patriotic uprising against tyranny via the power of propaganda.

What is interesting is that the fundamental cause of the war was the same reason why 1.5 million colonists were able to hold off the world's greatest superpower (at the time) -- money. The Crown's treasury was empty, with the Crown barely able to pay the interest on the monies it had borrowed to fight the Seven Year's War, which had been a victory for England that turned it into the world's sole superpower but only at a staggering cost. Parliament refused to raise taxes. Thus the Crown turned to what were supposedly its possessions, the Crown colonies, and attempted to raise the taxes needed to pay off the Crown's debts via taxing the colonies.

The obvious parallel between Parliament refusing to raise taxes to pay for a war, and GWB refusing to raise taxes to pay for a war, immediately comes to mind. There are some other eery parallels though. The Crown could not conscript soldiers to serve overseas. That power was reserved to Parliament. Thus, as with today, the Crown was reduced to paying mercenaries a large amount of money to enlist in the military (current U.S. enlistment bonuses for high-demand specialties are as high as $40,000). Furthermore, the logistical situation was difficult. Due to the successful information warfare and terrorist activity on the part of the Colonial rebels, the Crown had lost all overt logistical support in the Colonies, requiring that most of the supplies for the Crown's Colonial armies be imported at enormous cost over a long and vulnerable supply chain from England.

Once France and Spain entered the war, that supply chain became even more vulnerable, much as the supply line for our soldiers in Iraq would become untenable if Iran entered the war there. The Crown was financing the war using borrowed money. But lenders were becoming nervous and raising interest rates on the money they loaned to the Crown.

Then Cornwallis's army was destroyed. The Royal Exchequer went to borrow money to hire a replacement army... and there was no money left. Nobody was willing to loan money to the Crown anymore. It had become widely known that the Crown did not have sufficient revenue to pay even the interest on the monies it had borrowed, and indeed was borrowing money to pay the interest on loans it had already taken out. King George III finally accepted the resignation of Chancellor of the Exchequer / Prime Minister Lord North (who had offered his resignation several times but George III had refused to accept it) and sued for peace. The world's greatest superpower had been bankrupted by an expensive overseas war fought under circumstances where national survival was not at stake, and had no choice but to submit to a humiliating peace that granted independence to the rebel colonies.

At the moment we are financing the war in Iraq using money borrowed from the Chinese. But how long, I wonder, will they continue to be willing to loan money to the modern Crown? Only they know that -- and we should be worried too. Because while the disaster that was the Colonial Rebellion did not destroy the British Empire and indeed the governmental reforms caused by the war both in the remaining British colonies and in Britain itself helped bring the British Empire to its greatest extent by the mid 19th century, that only occurred with help from Napoleon, who basically destroyed both Spanish power and French power by chewing it up in endless wars of foreign conquest, thus leaving Britain to fill the vacuum. But Chinese power is growing, and Russia has emerged from its chaotic slumber and will happily rush in to fill any power vacuum left by U.S. defeats overseas. This is not 1784, and the U.S. is not Britain circa 1784, and Iraq, unlike the English colonies of the 1770's and 1780's, is a fundamentally foreign and hostile land. Whether repercussions from the failures of the world's sole superpower in an overseas war have more long-term effects today than they had in 1784 is yet to be seen. But I don't see a Napoleon out there destroying Chinese and Russian power... do you?

-- Badtux the Geopolitical Penguin

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Singin' them blues...

B.B. King & Eric Clapton - The Thrill is gone

Two blues masters at work.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Industrial espionage in the news

Don't know if you've noticed the latest HP vs. Dell vs. corporate secrets theft industrial espionage scandal. And some people thought I was making that kind of crap up for my first novel. Hell, I just read the newspaper like everybody else -- I just notice things that other folks scan by.

- Badtux the Newspaper-readin' Penguin

Who's afraid of the Mayor of Tehran?

Well, the Likud party has given marching orders to the Bushevik neo-cons. Iranian President Ahmadinejad must be brought to trial at the Hague. Since the only way to do this is to invade Iran and topple the government, why, that is what must happen.

Mr. Ahmadinejad, apparently, is guilty of genocide. Somehow. It's not clear how. But anyhow, he must be painted as the Great Evil Man who will wipe Israel off the map if he's not removed from power. Even though Ahmadinejad is basically the Mayor of Tehran.

Hold it, what's that, you say? He's the President of Iran? Yeah, but you're forgetting something. Only in banana republics and the United States (but I repeat myself) is the Presidency a position of power. In most of the world, the Presidency is a purely ceremonial office. When was the last time you heard of the President of Israel? Or the President of Austria? Or the President of Germany? Like, never? That's because those are purely ceremonial offices. The Prime Minister has the reins of power in those countries, as is true of all functioning democracies in the world as of the time of this writing.

Now, the Iranian Constitution does grant Mr. Ahmadinejad a little more power than the Austrian constitution grants the President of Austria. He has pretty much the same powers as a big city mayor here in the United States. Thus my crack about Mr. Ahmadinejad as the Major of Tehran. But c'mon. If someone said that the major of Los Angeles was going to wipe Israel off the map, we'd all be rolling on the floor laughing. It simply wouldn't pass the giggle test.

As for who really has the power in Iran: The military in Iran is commanded by the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, who in turn is appointed by the Assembly of Experts, which in turn is basically appointed by the Guardian Council which vets potential members to make sure they are proper clerical Islamic scholars, who is in turn appointed by the Supreme Leader. This little self-perpetuating circle of power is primarily comprised of ayatollahs who came to power with the Iranian Revolution and basically appoint their successors and vet candidates to other offices to make sure they're sufficiently "politically correct" (as in, agree with the ayatollahs on most issues regarding proper Islamic conduct).

Ahmadinejad is completely outside this particular circle of power. He is not a cleric and thus not qualified to be a member of the Assembly of Experts or the Guardian Council, and similarly would not be allowed, by the Iranian Constitution, to become the Supreme Leader. He cannot declare war or order the military to do anything because both powers rest with the Supreme Leader. Insofar as foreign relations are concerned, therefore, he is basically a non-entity other than as the ceremonial leader of the Islamic Republic in meetings with foreign dignitaries. Which is why the Bush Administration's emphasis upon demonizing Ahmadinejad is completely and utterly laughable to anybody who has even the slightest knowledge of the Iranian Constitution. It's as stupid as trying to paint the mayor of Paris as a threat to the nation. What's he going to do, pie us?

Unfortunately, the arrogance, ignorance, and stupidity of the average American citizen (including its politicians) is impossible to underestimate, so it appears that the Bush Administration's goal of creating a bogeyman in the Middle East is succeeding. Why we should be scared of the Mayor of Tehran still eludes me, but then, I actually took time to look up a little basic information about Iran's government, which makes me better informed than 99.999% of the American public.

- Badtux the Geopolitical Penguin

Cross-posted over at the Mockingbird's place

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Tool good. Ugh.

(Cue Tim Allen grunt).

I spent most of the day looking at battery-powered drills. I need one because getting a power cord out to my Jeep while I drill holes in it to mount things like a CB radio, a better license plate holder, etc. has proven to be quite impractical due to the fact that my iceberg is currently docked at an apartment complex. Now, I have a general philosophy. Cheap tools are worse than no tools. I've been let down by cheap tools far, far too many times. Nowdays when it comes to power tools, I only go for the big guys -- Makita, Milwaukee, DeWalt.

I'm partial to Makita because those Japs are fanatics when it comes to craftsmanship of their power tools, and Makita is the #1 tool folks in Japan. I have a Makita circular saw that, every time I pull it out of its case, I am literally in awe of just how perfect it is as a circular saw. It is powerful, lightweight, well balanced, has a beautiful setup for the rip guide and other guides, and is otherwise worth every penny I paid for it, which was probably three times as much as a cheap Black & Decker but this thing will be passed down for generations. So I must admit I had a bias towards Makita in the first place. But when I encountered this drill -- which weighs the same as a 12 volt drill, but has the power of an 18 volt drill -- I knew I had found it.

Tool good. Ugh!

Tomorrow I get to use it. I have some self-tapping screws to use for the new license plate holder, after I drill the proper holes in the front bumper. Then I am moving the CB radio junction box from the passenger side to the driver's side, and drilling a hole in the kick panel next to the transmission tunnel to mount the microphone jack and running the power through the plenum to under the hood and to the battery instead of piggy-backed off of another fuse the way it is now (piggy-backing is bad because it gives more opportunity for noise). I have no doubt that this drill will perform admirably at both tasks. I've played with it a little now that I got it home, and like its circular saw brother, this thing is what a highly portable drill used for installing stuff like this is supposed to be. Those Japs done created yet another perfect tool. Sorry, Milwaukee. Sorry, Porter. You snooze, you lose!

-- Badtux the Tool Penguin

What he said

Thought I’d just repeat Da Fixer’s injunction for those two or three people on this planet who still worship Dear Leader from the safety of their momma’s basement:

Lose the Cheetos and finish the keg, lardass. Off momma’s couch, drop the game controller, and head down to the recruiter’s office. Move it! Move it!

I know a whole buncha guys who still have “W-’04” stickers on their F-150s and Tahoes who are young and able-bodied enough to help our guys out. You know who you are, the ones who go around saying we should ‘kill all the ragheads’. The guys with the good union jobs who wouldn’t give that up for $25-grand a year and a tent in the desert, though they can talk tough over a six-pack at lunch.

Talk is cheap. Our Army and Marine Corps are at the breaking point. ‘Supporting’ the troops with a yellow ribbon on your pickup just won’t cut it anymore. At this point, put up or shut up.

And for all you wingnut bloggers who are ‘fighting the war of ideas online’, the Chimp’s gonna do what he’s gonna do and he doesn’t need cheerleaders anymore – no one’s listening to you anyway, nobody believes your horseshit anymore. Time for you to trade keyboard for rifle. We need sharpshooters more than bullshitters.

If you support this war and you’re not prepared to go and ‘kill some ragheads’, shut the fuck up and let us figure out a way to end it, you spineless turds.

What he said, except more politely since, unlike him, I ain’t some ex-Special-Forces type with the street cred to spout off like that :-) .

– Badtux the Admiring Penguin

Friday, January 26, 2007

My presidential campaign committee at work

I attempt to bribe my exploratory campaign coordinator with a fine ear-rub. Meanwhile, my exploratory campaign press secretary and organizational director relaxes after a hard day of work...

Both of my top campaign officials advise that you go see the Infinite Cat Project, starting with cat #1 and going all the way to cat #1392. Especially read the words of wisdom below each cat.

Both of my top campaign officials also advise me that I should dump Opus the Penguin as my potential Vice Presidential candidate and instead select Bill the Cat. They point out that while a penguin would help solidify the all-important Linux geek voting bloc, that having two penguins on the ticket would not gain more voters. A cat, on the other hand, would attract the all-important cat lady demographic. The fact that Bill the Cat is flea-bitten, brain-addled, and hacks up hairballs all the time would not dissuade them a bit, at our campaign outings they would all rush to pet the sweet little kittie and if he hacked up a hairball all over them, why, they'd clean it right up and say what a sweet kitty he is and hug and cuddle him.

Hmm, on the other hand, would I really want a Veep candidate who would upstage me at campaign events? There's also one other chilling thing that I read at the Infinite Cat page:

"Cats are kindly masters, just so long as you remember your place."- Paul Gray

Shudder. Of course, it wouldn't be the first time that the vice presidential candidate was the one running the show...

-- Badtux the "Ain't Decided Yet" Penguin

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Republican Presidential hopefuls line up

Latest is Representative Duncan Hunter (R-Tancredoville). Who? Uhm, exactly.

In other news, my apartment complex's gardener has not yet announced his candidacy for the Presidency, but has formed an exploratory committee comprised of the maintenance man, the office secretary, and his wife to detirmine whether he has as much a chance as the rest of the Republican field. Says he, "My name is Jesus, surely that will get me at least a few votes in the South?" Being a kind and charitable penguin, I did not inform him that Southerners prefer their Jesus dead and trapped inside the pages of a book, and certainly don't want to see him or listen to his words, because then they might, like, actually have to live up to the faith they claim to adhere to.

On a more personal note, I have formed an exploratory committee consisting of myself, my cat Fang, and my cat Mencken, to explore whether I should run for the Presidency. The first question was what party to run under. Eventually that was resolved: I shall run as the nominee of the Birthday Party (assuming I win the party's nomination). The current hangup is whether penguins can actually run for office. Once we've figured that one out, then I can announce yay or nay.

My vice presidential candidate, should I decide, will be Opus the Penguin. Free herring for all shall be our campaign slogan. Herring. Yum. BURRP!!!

-- Badtux the Presidential Penguin

World Nut Daily: Lincoln still lives

That's the headline on the "News burst" they just sent me, anyhow. Wow. That must be harsh, a 250-year-old Lincoln lurching around the countryside with his head blown off by that John Wilkes Boothe dude.

In other news, the UFO's that World Nut Daily was printing (typing?) breathless headlines about turned out to be... uh... phosphorus flares fired from A-10's during a training exercise.

Oh well, guess we aren't going to get to meet our alien overlords after all. Though the following photo might contradict that statement:

Note the Eye Lasers of Death on that model of the T-1240 Klingon Ambassador droid, and the Dominatrix Boots of Domination upon its feet. Woot!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

How to know you've bought too much shit over the Internet....

you no longer have to pull your card out to punch in the credit card number and security code.

And my card gently weeps...

-- Badtux the Internet-enabled Penguin

The Chimperor to military families

Left: Bush's message to Iraq / Afghanistan war veterans

Okay, so I'm over-using the image. But what other image would be appropriate, when we find that Defense Department officials have laid off most of their case workers who help severely injured service members? What other picture would adequately express the attitude towards veterans of a Commander-in-Chief who would eliminate the case workers for the Military Severely Injured Center, who serve as advocates for wounded service members who have questions or issues related to benefits, financial resources and their successful return to duty or reintegration into civilian life - all forms of support other than medical care?

Of course, since this represents Dear Leader's attitude towards anybody who is not a millionaire (his "base"), I suppose I could use this image on virtually any post that references Dear Leader...

- Badtux the Visual Penguin

Hat tip to the Alternate Brain

State of the union blah blah blah

Left: Bush's entire State of the Union Speech

There's not enough whiskey in the universe to get me to either watch that dumbass or even read the transcript. I spent my evening playing with my kitties and riding my motorcycle (not at the same time!). The kitties are more intellectually stimulating anyhow. Their brains may be the size of walnuts, but that still makes them ten times smarter than the Idiot in Chief.

-- Badtux the Hangover-nursing Penguin

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Murkey News furthers right-wing agenda

In today's San Jose Murky News, we find that Yosemite National Park is getting fewer visitors today. They print a lot of speculation about why that's so, but the real reason is buried deep within the article. Hmm, the price of admission to Yosemite rose from $5 in 1990 to $20 today? And visitors are down? Gosh, I wonder why!

Congratulations, Murky News, on being patsies for the right-wing neo-cons who want to price the National Parks out of the reach of ordinary people so that they can sell them off to private enterprise. This is a propaganda campaign they've been trying out for the past ten years -- price the parks out of the range of people who want to see them, claim the parks aren't popular anymore ("people just don't want to go to national parks any more") and then comes the next stage ("since nobody wants to go to national parks any more, we might as well sell them off to our cronies"). The Murky News bought it hook line and sinker and repeated the right-wing line like parrots.

If there is an attendance problem at Yosemite, it can be solved simply by dropping the entrance fees back to 1990 levels (adjusted for inflation). But that won't happen because that would not further the right-wing agenda. And after all, if the Murky News wasn't parroting the right wing agenda, they'd have nothing but blank newsprint!

-- Badtux the Parks Penguin

Cross posted at the Mockingbird's place.

Monday, January 22, 2007


This morning, like, totally sucked. I was completely out of coffee, other than the instant variety that I drink while backpacking. BLEH! Any hot liquid tastes okay if you're out in the wilderness and it's cold outside, but in place of real coffee, it just doesn't work.

I got home this evening, and ... what's this??? Huh. I wonder what could be in that box? Yay! It's coffee! And the investigator of open boxes, the Mighty Fang, looking at the mouth of said open box with suspicion (whoa, wonder what evil he believes is in there? Are his ears tipped back because he has spied the evil Box Monster???).

Life is good.

-- Badtux the Well-Coffee'ed Penguin

Choice day

It has been brought to my attention that this is the umpty-umpth anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which is not something to do with pirogues but, rather, has something to do with abortion.

Since I am male and therefore lack a uterus, I am not qualified to speak about abortion, and therefore will not. What I will say is that men who do speak about abortion are like Bush Administration officials who speak about the valor of military service -- they simply are not qualified to make any such statements due to lack of personal experience on their own part, and should STFU and let the folks with actual experience (women, in the case of pregnancy) decide this shit on their own, without us men mucking up the scenery.

-- Badtux the Male Penguin

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Happy happy happy

7 club flash by Olga
If you play it past that balding dude, you will see what a fourteen year old girl looks like when she's very, very happy. I don't know how I got to this while I was browsing around YouTube, but she apparently is one of the best competitive jugglers in the world. Yes, amazing as it seems, there apparently is such a thing as competitive jugglers!

Anyhow, it was just the sheer puppy-like exuberance on her part that tickled my fancy. So if you're feeling sad and down, give it a watch. It's almost as good as puppies.

-Badtux the now-happier Penguin

Why Hillary is wrong for 2008

I don't have anything against Hillary. I just don't think she's the right person for the job right now. She's a wonk. If the country was prosperous and peaceful and moving down the right path, a wonk like the Clintons is just who we need to lead the country, because wonks take what's working and make it work even better. But wonks aren't dreamers, and I think this country is hungry for a dreamer who can help us find a better way and lead this country down a better path. Why do you think the Kossites squee like teenage girls whenever Obama burps out something that even vaguely sounds like he’s looking forward to a better America?

What we need is a serious national discussion about what kind of nation we want to be and how we are going to get there. Wonks don’t do that. Wonks are totally focused on the here and now. But focusing on the here and now is no good if we don’t also look at the future. What kind of country do we want to be? What do we want our country to be like in ten years, twenty years, thirty years? And what kind of people running for office are going to get us there? A detail-oriented wonk is not the kind of person who can embrace a vision of American-that-could-be and sell it. Because that's what we need right now. I don't think any of us in this room think this nation is moving in the right direction. Yet people in the left and center, and traditional conservatives, seem afraid to dream, afraid to express a belief in what this nation should and could be, afraid that in these times where we are fighting such vile darkness such dreaming will merely get them laughed at. But without dreams that are not nightmares, where are we? Without dreams of a better America, the only dreamers are the theocrats, who in their konklaves dream of an America that is Saudi Arabia except with the Bible rather than the Koran used as the excuse to keep women servile, the darkies in their place, and the ruling class on top of all. And without a dreamer willing to give us a better dream, that is where we will be.

In the next election, we will have an opportunity that we haven't had since Nixon screwed up the Republican Party in the early 70's. Nixon discredited the Republican Party and Republican principles in much the same way that George W. Bush has done for this generation, and for a short time it appeared that the Republican Party would not hold power again within the lifetime of those who'd experienced his regime. But a wonk rather than a dreamer won in 1976, and we know what happened. Let's not squander it *again* by electing Jimmy Carter Lite to office. Because we all know how that worked the first time. Jimmy was -- and is -- a nice man. But he did not know what to do with the historic opportunity that had been granted to him -- and neither does Hillary, if she's elected.

- Badtux the Political Penguin

Friday, January 19, 2007

Shooting blanks in Iraq

Best comment by a Balloon Juice commentator about the invasion of Iraq:

We had the actual invasion, it was ok ‘till clean up time when it became obvious that no thought to ‘we’ve won, now what?’ happened at all. it was like my old neutered cat who’d jump on the female cat, mount her and then look at us with the ‘i’m supposed to do something important now…what was it?’ look.


I opposed the invasion from the beginning. After Hans Blix’s team had pretty much gone over the place with a fine-tooth comb and filed their first report, it was clear that a) Iraq had no functioning WMD factories (you can’t hide WMD factories from men on the ground, they need too much infrastructure, Blix had inspected every possible installation and found nothing that could make WMD), b) Iraq had no large WMD stockpiles that would threaten America and Americans (stockpiles deteriorate with time, no infrastructure since 1992 means no working WMD), and c) Iraq was thus not an immediate threat and handling the issue of Iraq could wait. It was also clear just from looking at the demographics that invading Iraq with the idea of installing a democracy in the place essentially meant Iraq becoming Iran West, due to the Shiite majority—the same reason why Bush Sr. didn’t send his troops to Baghdad. I couldn’t figure out why that would be in the national interests (creation of an Iranian satellite state next door to Saudi Arabia) thus couldn’t support sending troops into the country under the rubric of “spreading democracy” either (the purpose of the American government is to serve America and Americans, not to serve some other folks overseas). I supported sending those troops into Afghanistan and Pakistan instead to find and bring to justice the man who DID attack us on 9/11 (Osama bin Forgotten—remember him?). Osama attacked us. He needed to go DOWN, to show the world that you can’t attack America and get away with it.

Instead, Dear Leader decided to give aid and comfort to our nation’s enemies by making it clear that our nation can be attacked with impunity, and attacked Iraq instead of bringing to justice the man who attacked America. It was as if the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor, and FDR had declared war on Mexico in response.

That said, when our troops crossed into Iraq, I did not say “I hope we lose!”. I just muttered “Well, I guess the Rubicon has been crossed, we’re officially an empire now, I just hope the Bush administration does a good job of it.” Of course, they didn’t. They believed their own propaganda about how it was a war for democracy rather than a war for oil, elections were held, the Shiites won (shocker! They’re the majority!), and now Iraq might as well be called Iran West because the “Iraqi” government has ties to Iran that go back to before Saddam’s time. Just as was predicted, by Bush Sr. and myself and anybody else who knew anything about Iraq.

The deal with empire is you can’t play around with all this “democracy” if you want to be an empire. And if you don’t want to be an empire, behaving like one by attacking nations that haven’t attacked you never works, because a democracy simply doesn’t have it in its genes to do what it takes to pacify and hold an empire (hint: Stalin knew. As Stalin would put it, “no man, no problem”—i.e., genocide solves all imperial problems, just ask the Ukrainians, or the 1/3rd of them that were left after Stalin finished slaughtering and starving them to death anyhow). While I am glad to find out that we are not the type of nation that can do empire “right” (i.e. via mass slaughter and genocide), the fact that we can’t do empire “right” means the imperial experiment is doomed to failure, regardless of how many troops we pour onto the burning bonfire that is Iraq.

-- Badtux the History Penguin

They're BAAACK!

Some of you may recall my first encounter with the fine professionals at TrueLogic Financial. Well, they're BAAACK! Approximately ten months after they finally acknowledged that I don't owe anybody any money and removed my name from their robot's calling list, I have now received two calls from their robot within the past 48 hours.

These calls come in with no caller ID displayed (which is illegal under Section 806 and Section 807 of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, credit collectors are supposed to identify themselves upon calling, but hey, criminals don't care about law except insofar as law benefits them), and a robotic Asian-sounding voice which does not denote the identity of the caller asks me to call the phone number 18664884299 (that's 1-866-488-4299 or 1 (866) 488-4299 for the Googlebot to capture).

Examining the Colorado Secretary of State's site turns up a lot of interesting info on them. Their current address is:

TrueLogic Financial
10000 E. Geddes Ave. Suite 100
Englewood CO 80122
(720) 974-0386

The report was filed by a gentleman named Douglas Spencer. Their registered agent, who should be served with any legal papers regarding this company, is was listed in public records as:

Ty Coffelt
4695 Springmeadow Ln
Castle Rock, CO 80125

Who, however, apparently resigned on October 30, 2006, according to a report filed in public records on 11/08/2006. That report does not name a new registered agent and thus violates Colorado law, which requires a registered agent (that is not the corporation itself) in order for a corporation to operate legally within the state of Colorado. Because no registered agent has been named in public records, all legal correspondence should thus be addressed to a gentleman named Paul J. Konkel, who filed the report on 11/08/2006 and who apparently is the scam artist in charge of the outfit (i.e. their President and CEO). His address in public records is listed as:

Paul J. Konkel
13 White Oak
Littleton, CO 80127

Mr. Konkel's phone number is listed in another document as (720) 974-0715 and a previous poster listed 303-932-8718 as his home phone number but both phone numbers appear to be unlisted and it is unknown whether either is his current number. He has previously done business under the names "PROMINENCE FINANCIAL SERVICES CORPORATION" and "Genesis Financial Services Corporation". Note that businesses which change name often may indicate a classic criminal scam operation, which must change their name often in order to try to evade the wrath of their victims.

Mr. Konkel apparently is ignorant of the fundamental laws under which his corporation operates, as is demonstrated by his filing of 11/08/2006 with the Colorado Secretary of State which blatantly violates Colorado corporate law as well as his company's continued violations of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. My advice to Mr. Konkel: Get a lawyer. If you continue to act in a manner that blatantly disregards both Colorado and Federal law, you will need one. You may have gotten away with your illegal behavior in the past. But the law eventually does catch up with criminals, as Ken Lay and Jeffery Skilling prove.

-- Badtux the Investigative Penguin

World Nut Daily: The Aliens are Here!

Left: A demonstration of Ferengi mastery of foot-operated puppets and ventriloquism. Note that the puppet's mouth appears to be moving. Prehensile toes!

World Nut Daily has been all atwitter about UFO sightings lately. Are these delivery ships delivering the blood of virgins for our alien overlords' sustenance? Or is this just an attempt by our alien overlords to distract attention from the fact that our Secretary of State is a Klingon and our Dear Leader's Puppetmaster is a Ferengi? Or is it just that World Nut Daily is run by incurious morons who see spaceships in photos of aircraft landing lights and never think to go query local airports about their landing patterns on those days? Curious penguins want to know!

-- Badtux the Conspiracy Penguin

In memory of Robert Anton Wilson(January 18, 1932 – January 11, 2007)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

George W. Bush: Stupid or not?

Left: One of our alien overlords in an unguarded moment.
Well, it looks like Bush is well on the way to breaking the U.S. military.

I was talking with someone the other day and he said, "I was listening to Art Bell the other night..."

"What, Art is out of retirement AGAIN?"

"Oh yeah, him and his latest Filipino squeeze finally got past the Homeland Security jackboots and made it to his bunker in Nevada. Anyhow, there was this caller who said that President Bush was obviously in the pay of the aliens..."

"Oh get outta here. "

"Seriously! He said obviously the aliens' goal was to destroy the world's strongest military so they could more easily invade..."

"So if these aliens are so all-powerful, why didn't they do it back when we were clanging swords together while wearing sheetmetal on horseback, genius?"

"Speed of light, numnuts. The alien scouts got here, but had to send back to their home star for the invasion fleet. If their home star is thirty light years away, and the UFO crash at Roswell in 1947 was the first scout in the scout fleet, we ought to see the invasion fleet any time now."

"Oh get outta here. President Bush isn't an alien trying to destroy America so that an invasion fleet can have an easier time of it. He's just an overpriviliged moron who never worked a real job in his whole life screwing up because he's an idiot. He's destroying America's military because he's stupid, not because he's working for aliens."

But thinking about it... if I wanted to destroy America (or more specifically its military) so I could more easily invade Earth... wouldn't it be cool to find the dumbest rich boy on the planet, implant a transceiver in his brain so that he can "hear voices" telling him what to do, and maneuver him into the Presidency using the hidden resources of our vast alien conspiracy of cosmetically-engineered aliens posing as humans? And has anybody else noticed the disturbing similarity between Condi Rice and a Klingon?

Naw. That's just sci-fi. Right?

-- Badtux the Conspiracy Penguin

A few lessons from life

These are a few things I've learned in life:

The longest all-nighter I ever pulled in the software industry to meet a state-imposed deadline is less exhausting than a single day of teaching, yet teachers get paid less than half of what I get paid now. What's the deal there?

Librarians really DO know everything. (And are cool people too, reputation aside).

A swimming pool on a hot day ain't no fun for the guy who's cleaning it.

A rusty 1981 Chevy Chevette is just fine for offroading in deep sand, as long as you keep moving fast enough. (You can surf the belly pan!). I did end up having to weld the top of a shock tower back on though.

People with small children should insure that they behave appropriately in restaurants, rather than allow them to throw food, run screaming in circles, and otherwise drive minimum-wage workers to distraction and causing havoc and destruction. If your child cannot behave in a restaurant, stay home.

The all-you-can-eat buffet is for all YOU can eat -- not all that your dog, your brother, your sister, your dentist, and your auto mechanic can eat. They can buy their own buffet.

Playing with the nuts and bolts is a lot more fun than writing reports about nuts and bolts.

Successful companies are built by people with a passion for building great products. Successful companies are destroyed by people with a passion for working for successful companies.

A college degree is worth about as much as the sheepskin it's printed on. Except when it's not.

It's not what you know, it's who you know that counts at any company with over 100 employees. (Now you know why I work for small startups, with the sole exception of that semiconductor company).

Lawmakers should be allowed to introduce only one law apiece per year, which must be expressed in 100 words or less. Lawmakers should get their salaries doubled for a year if they introduce no law at all that year.

If I am going on trial for a crime I didn't commit and I have a choice of a) an auto mechanic, or b) a typical Silicon Valley software engineer as a potential juror, I will take the guy who deals with nuts and bolts every time.

Other people's opinions aren't worth what you pay for them. (And if free, they're worth even less).

In the end, we're all dead. So you might as well live first.

A purring cat on your lap is a better anti-depressant than every drug pill-pushers will ever try to foist on you.

If you are seeing double, having irrational paranoid delusions, and your hands are shaking, DON'T DRINK SO MUCH COFFEE!!!!!

If God hadn't intended us to forget sometimes, He wouldn't have invented beer.

God doesn't need other folks to tell us what He says. He can speak for Himself. I don't know whose voice these high-powered preachermen and politicians are hearing in their head, but I suspect they're more profit than prophet in the end.

Truth is a journey, not a destination. God is Truth and God is infinite, while Man is mere mortal and limited, so we can never know more than a tiny sliver of Truth. Anybody who says they know The Truth is saying he's God. Which I suppose might be okay if this person's name is Jesus Christ, but otherwise...

That is all for now.

-- Badtux the "Poor Richard" Penguin

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A cacophony of boors

By now, pretty much everybody in the Blogosophere knows about Spocko's little tiff with KSFO-AM Talk Radio. The result: three hours of blustering and name-calling.

Now you know why I don't listen to talk radio, whether it is the right wing or left wing variety (frankly, it took only three attempts to listen to Air America before I turned it off and left it off). Politeness and manners may be old-fashioned, but class will never be out of style. And talk radio nowdays ain't got no class. Screaming at people, interrupting or talking over people, and calling people names because they disagree with you is the sort of thing I expect from immature little children, not from grown men who are supposed to know better. Sister Mary Margaret would have given them all bruised knuckles every time they tried that sort of nonsense in her 3rd grade class. But then, Sister Mary Margaret expected her students to behave politely and respectfully as if they had some modicum of breeding and culture, even if they may have come into her classroom at the beginning of the year as uncivilized savages. Such an expectation apparently is not common today. Alas.

So sorry, I will not listen to talk radio. Whacking my radio over the knuckles with a ruler does not, alas, do anything to teach these boors proper manners and decorum, it only succeeds in raising my blood pressure and breaking the ruler or the radio. If I wish to listen to children screaming and name-calling and acting immature, I shall go to the toddler section at the local park. But they have an excuse. They are toddlers. They don't know any better. The talk radio boors, on the other hand, have no such excuse. They are adults who should know better. They are men (and women) of no culture, no breeding, no manners, and deserve every bit of respect they get from any person who aspires to being a member of civil society (i.e. none).

-- Badtux the Cacophonous Penguin

Good riddance to a bad general

Israeli defense chief General Dan Halutz has abruptly resigned. This is the military genius who thought that he could bomb Lebanon back to the Stone Age and destroy Hisballah that way. Reality is that the only way to destroy Hisballah is genocide, so that didn't quite work the way Halutz thought -- all those photos of dead children being pulled from the rubble because bombs don't ask you whether you are a child or a terrorist before blowing up were a real bummer and got Hisballah even more recruits. So then he sent in ground troops, reservists who, thanks to the fact that Israel has destroyed its economy by locking out the Palestinian labor that once was critical to its economy (much in the same way that locking out the Mexicans rather than legalizing them would damage the American economy), were inadequately trained and armed because Israel now lacks to money to adequately train and arm their reserves. The reservists did a reasonable job considering Halutz sent them into combat without any food or water, but they didn't -- and couldn't -- produce the "victory" that the Israeli politicians were promising the Israeli public (i.e., the destruction of Hisballah).

All in all, good riddance to a hide-bound air-head who, like the neo-cons in the United States, hasn't figured out that the world has changed since those days when the IDF could pick any random Middle Eastern state and pick it up and throw it against the wall and smack it across the mouth just to prove it could with complete assurance that there would be no meaningful consequences. The world has changed. Nowdays, you try mucking around inside a Middle Eastern state as an invader, you get your ass bled to death, if not handed to you outright.

Of course, Halutz's replacement will be just as stupid as he was. All the smart Israelis have seen the writing on the wall and are now living in Ft. Lauderdale or San Jose. The ones left behind are the ones too dumb or too hidebound to be able to emigrate somewhere else (heck, even France is now getting Jewish immigrants from Israel, and some of the Russian "Jews" are even going back to Russia!). The Israeli experiment is doomed, and was doomed from the start, because it was based upon racism and ethnic cleansing rather than upon a genuine desire to build a multicultural democracy in the Middle East with liberty and justice for all. The only question is when it'll finish imploding. Right now, only the money that the U.S. provides (either via foreign aid from the U.S. government, Israeli-owned enterprises in the U.S., or via Jewish fundraising in the U.S.) keeps the country afloat. What happens when the U.S., beset by its own economic problems, is no longer capable of providing that support? Hint: What happened to the Communist government in Afghanistan when the Soviet Union collapsed and was no longer capable of providing monetary support to said government?

-- Badtux the Military Penguin

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Paul Hackett is a true American hero

Not only did he serve honorably in the military (unlike every top official of the Bush Administration), but he's also in the habit of chasing down criminals and holding them at gunpoint -- AR-15 gunpoint (that's a M-16 without the rock'n'roll mode) until the cops can arrive.

That kind of aggressiveness at taking the offensive has not gone unnoticed in the NFL. So now they're hiring Paul Hackett as the offensive coach of the Green Bay Packers. Go Pack!

-- Badtux the News Penguin
With apologies to Newsblog 5000

Monday, January 15, 2007

Martin Luther King Jr.: Psychic

This is officially "Martin Luther King Jr. Day". A day in which we refuse to remember the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., instead choosing to celebrate an uncle tom who didn't threaten the status quo and just wanted a fair shake for innocent li'l darkies being oppressed by KKK bigots, that's all.

Here is the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in a speech from 1967, shortly before he was assassinated:

The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality we will find ourselves organizing clergy- and laymen-concerned committees for the next generation. They will be concerned about Guatemala and Peru. They will be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia. They will be concerned about Mozambique and South Africa. We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy. Such thoughts take us beyond Vietnam, but not beyond our calling as sons of the living God.

And Iraq and Iran, Afghanistan and Syria. What is the answer?

I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

Oooh! A threat to profits! No wonder he had to be assassinated. So what does this "person-oriented" society involve?

A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: "This way of settling differences is not just." This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of people normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing, except a tragic death wish, to prevent us from reordering our priorities, so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood.

But... but... that would interfere with the ability of the wealthy elite to loot the economy for their own profit! Boy, aren't we glad that the paper mache' version of Martin Luther King Jr. whose day is celebrated today never said anything like that? So what else did the real Martin Luther King Jr. have to say?

A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.

This call for a world-wide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one's tribe, race, class and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all men. This oft misunderstood and misinterpreted concept -- so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force -- has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man. When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. This Hindu-Moslem-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John:

Let us love one another; for love is God and everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. If we love one another God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day. We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate. As Arnold Toynbee says : "Love is the ultimate force that makes for the saving choice of life and good against the damning choice of death and evil. Therefore the first hope in our inventory must be the hope that love is going to have the last word." But... but... the Bible said "Get yerself a gun and kill lots of darkies", I don't know what passage it is, but World Nut Daily said so, so it must be true!

And c'mon. What about hate? Hate is so... inspiring. Hate lets us feel good about our pitiful pathetic lives of masticating and defecating and fornicating and accumulating shiny baubles of no import for no end other than to be hooting howling monkeys flinging feces at all who are not "like us". This Martin Luther King Jr. who wrote this speech is UNPATRIOTIC! He says other people are just as human as Americans. HERESY! Boy, I'm glad that the paper mache' dude whose birthday we celebrate today never said stuff like that. He was a good darkie, the proper servile kind.

Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter -- but beautiful -- struggle for a new world. This is the callling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response. Shall we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? Will our message be that the forces of American life militate against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets? Or will there be another message, of longing, of hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost? The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise we must choose in this crucial moment of human history.

I'd choose, but there's a good basketball game on TNT tonight that I can't miss. Maybe after I finish watching the game. Phoenix is playing Memphis, then Miami is playing the L.A. Lakers. C'mon, a man has to have his priorities straight. Why decide about all that love and peace stuff, when I can watch a great basketball game instead? Boy, I'm glad that the paper-mache' saint whose day we celebrate today never asked me to do anything. Asking folks to do something to help their country and humanity is, like... like... COMMUNIST! Yeah! Help someone else, and the terrorists have won!

-- Badtux the American Penguin
(Tongue firmly in beak).

Crossposted over at the Mockingbird's Medley

Vice President Darth Cheney defends checks of underwear drawers

WASHINGTON - Vice President Dick Cheney said yesterday that the Pentagon and the CIA are not violating people's rights by examining the underwear drawers of hundreds of Americans and others suspected of terrorism or espionage in the U.S.

National-security letters permit the executive branch to search underwear drawers in terrorism and spy investigations without a judge's approval or grand jury subpoena.

"The Department of Defense has legitimate authority in this area. This is an authority that goes back three or four decades. It was reaffirmed in the Patriot Act," Cheney said on Fox News Sunday. "It's perfectly legitimate activity. There's nothing wrong with it or illegal. It doesn't violate people's civil rights."

Constitutional scholar I.M. Cracker, who blogs under the name "Instahack", also appeared on Fox News defended Cheney's interpretation of the Constitutional implications of this novel surveillance program. "Look," he said. "I don't have anything to hide. Why should I care if Dick Cheney is sniffing my underwear?" At this point his eyes started rolling and he started emitting ecstatic noises while his right arm moved suggestively, at which point Fox broke to an urgent news bulletin about a missing white blond girl, then returned to Pat O'Really's show for commentary, with two special guests appearing via remote camera.

"A man's underwear is his most personal possession," exclaimed outraged civil liberties advocate L. Wombat from his fortified compound in San Francisco. On the other screen, Vice President Darth Cheney smirked. "You're just afraid that I'll find out you wear frilly string bikini underwear," Vice President Cheney said. L. Wombat started to say something, but Pat O'Really cut the mike and said "There you have it, folks. All liberals are pervert Commies! And from the No Spin zone, I'm Pat O'Really!"

White House press secretary Pony Blow denied reports that the administration was next going to examine sock drawers. "And if the New York Times reports that we are, they're enemies of America and should all be hung! We're trying to defend America! Why does the New York Times hate America?" When reporters objected to the notion of reporters being hung, Pony Blow added "After a fair trial for treason in front of a military tribunal, of course. Why do you hate our criminal justice system?"

That's today's news from the penguin's iceberg...

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Yay! We can put Republican pols in jail!

Michigan shows the future of the Republican party: Life sentences in prison for cheating on their spouses. Unfortunately, I'm not sure how many of this list of adulterous Republican politicans live in Michigan... and as the A.G. of Michigan points out, nobody has been prosecuted for adultery in Michigan for over 30 years... but hey, we can hope, eh?

-- Badtux the Optimistic Penguin

Oh joy...

Biggest California oil refinery blows up.

In case you don't know, California is rather constrained geographically. There's big mountains between California and the big refineries in Texas and Louisiana, so California's gasoline is largely locally refined. Furthermore, the big oil companies have conspired to keep refining capacity in California limited, closing at least half a dozen refineries over the past 10 years as part of an industry-wide plan (documented in oil industry journals) to bring refinery utilization to 95% from the unprofitable 70% that it was 15 years ago. Because a refinery that is 95% utilized is more profitable than a refinery that is 70% utilized.

The problem is that when one of these mega-refineries blow up, there's no slack anywhere in the system. In short, closing those refineries was good for refiner's profits, but was most definitely *not* in the public interest, because it means when anything happens to one of those refineries, there isn't going to be enough gas for everybody. So the price of gas skyrockets as suppliers try to force pseudo-rationing i.e. discourage people from driving. Meaning, excuse me while I go fill up my Jeep...

The sad thing is that it is mostly the poor here in California who suffer. We relatively wealthy people can simply walk or bike a half mile or so to the nearest mass transit stop and take Caltrain or BART to work. But the teachers who teach our children, the cops who patrol our streets, the janitors who sweep our floors, the "sandwich artists" who fix our lunchtime meal, the "office assistants" (secretaries) who keep our offices running, even the bus and train drivers who drive our trains and busses, none of them can afford to live here on the coast where mass transit is available. They're forced to live inland, in the Central Valley or in L.A./San Diego's "Inland Empire" where mass transit is not available, from where they commute 50 or 100 miles a day (one way) via car to their jobs in the city.

In short, higher gas prices are primarily just another tax on the poor, on top of all the other taxes on the poor. And that's how the ruling elite like it, of course. "Let them eat cake", the ruling elite say.Funny, that's what Marie Antoinette said too. A short time later, the angry starving masses chopped off her head. Imagine that!

-- Badtux the Oily Penguin

Sunday, January 14, 2007

War for Oil

I have no problem with the notion of going to war for oil. I like driving my Jeep, and nothing but disdain for the lefty types who chant "no blood for oil!" and want us all riding electric bicycles. Frankly, if Dear Leader had said "This is a war to secure Iraq's oil for America and Americans" and then deployed the troops to protect the oilfields, I'd be chanting "USA! USA!" and waving the American flag just as loudly as anybody. Politically incorrect? Hell yeah! But at least it'd make sense.

But this notion of sending American troops into the middle of a civil war in order to support one side of the civil war (the Iranian side) against the other side of the civil war (the Saudi side) sounds... err... what's the word... oh yeah, STUPID. Why do I care who wins the Iraqi Civil War? Let the Iraqis solve their own civil war. Taking money out of my pocket at gunpoint to benefit Iran (by having our troops defend the Iranian-supported Iraqi government) is just plain dumb. I pay my taxes to benefit America and Americans, not to benefit Iraqis or Iranians or for that matter Bosnians or Darfurians (yeppers, I also opposed sending U.S. troops to Bosnia and Kosovo, WTF did that have to do with America and Americans?!).

Remember, folks: There ain't no oil in Baghdad. So why the hell do we have over 100,000 troops in the Baghdad area right now?? Other than that it gives Dear Leader a great big boner and allows war profiteers to loot my pocketbook using the jackboots of the IRS?

I realize that the notion that our government is supposed to serve America and Americans, rather than some funny-talkin' furriners overseas who pay no taxes to the IRS, is sorta heretical nowdays. What can I say. I'm old fashioned that way.

-- Badtux the Politically Incorrect Penguin

Thursday, January 11, 2007

He helped me see the fnords

Mimus Pauly passes on the sad news that Robert Anton Wilson has left his body as of 4:50 AM on binary date 01/11. RAW was one of the tricksters, but there was a method to his madness. He was paralyzed and bedridden due to post-polio syndrome at the end, and the release from his body apparently occurred smoothly, peacefully, and without any major regrets. The last, I am sad to say, will not apply to my own exit.

-- Badtux the Embodied Penguin


I do some guest-blogging at Mimus Pauly's place. You might want to check in over there sometime, he has some interesting stuff up...

Badtux the Bloggin' Penguin

Respect my authoritah!

One day, a British history professor was crossing the street in Atlanta to get from one conference venue to the next. As he did so, a scruffy-looking young man hollered at him, "Hey! You can't cross there! Cross at the street corner!". The professor thanked the young man for his input, and crossed anyhow.

When he reached the other side, the scruffy-looking young man approached him and told him, "Your papers, please." The professor said "Excuse me?". "I'm a police officer, and I'm giving you a ticket for jaywalking." "You're a police officer? You'll have to show me some ID, young man, because you certainly don't look like one."

So of course the scruffy young man took down the professor, and called over four of his gang members to help beat the professor up. Because said professor did not respect his authoritah and thus was a menace to society as bad as 16 year old girls and probably a terrorist besides, so what is any self-respecting police officer supposed to do? I mean, c'mon. If people fail to respect the authoritah of scruffy young men wearing brown jackets who SAY they are police officers but look like common thugs and fail to show any identification that they really ARE police officers, next thing you know they'll fail to respect the authoritah of well-uniformed young men wearing black jackboots, and THEN where would we all be? Why, the terrorists might KILL US ALL!

-- Badtux the Helpful Penguin

Atlanta's finest respond to the threat of a terrorist professor with maximum force and a major crime scene tape deployment.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

OMG we're all going to DIE!

As some of you know, I regularly peruse World Nut Daily to find out the latest about how those evil niggersMuslims are trying to KILL US ALL. Now I find out that them evil darkies have discovered a new secret weapon: snakes scorpions on a plane.

So far nobody has died, but it's OBVIOUS that terrorists have graduated from such ineffective tactics such as, say, blowing up truck bombs outside of government buildings or crashing jet airliners into towers, and gone to more effective ones like sprinkling insects into airplane cabins! And I'm sure that ANY TIME NOW that people will die either from being stung by a scorpion, or because one of those nasty darkies said "Boo!" and they keeled over from the heart attack. Just you wait!

But neverfear, World Nut Daily has a solution to those pesky scorpions: Pack heat. I suggest a .45 caliber ACP (Colt 1911 pattern automatic pistol). That big-ass soft lead bullet will put a 1" hole in those nasty snakes scorpions, and you'll be a hero! Remember, Jesus said to carry in verse, err, something or another (can't find it in my Bible, but I'm sure it's there, because WND said it was!). Remember, the Bible says there aIn't no social problem that can't be solved by slingin' 'nuff lead, whether it's pesky niggers Muslims (note that the terrorists mentioned in WND's book above were black Christians fighting the apartheid-era South African government, not Muslims, WND did a quick search-and-replace of "nigger" to "Muslim" and voila!), or scorpions!

Reporting from the nutty world of right-wing paranoid zealots,
- Badtux the "These people are NUTS!" Penguin

PS: When I lived in Arizona, exterminators didn't spray for roaches -- roaches couldn't survive the dry climate. They sprayed for scorpions, which were a common household pest. I'm not aware that people in Arizona are falling dead left and right after being stung by scorpions, but maybe the Arizona Republican newspaper is part of the terrorist conspiracy and was covering it up, snicker!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Internet Exploder 7 and Google ate my posting

I had a beautiful posting about the situation with bomb scares in Miami, and f#$%@# Exploder and Google ate it.

Sorry. It was great. Too bad Google and Microsoft together have the fine breeding and quality of, err, Borat...

Too discouraged to try to resurrect it from scratch. Sigh.

-- Badtux the Discouraged Penguin

Silly Muslims think they live in a free country

"They treated us like animals", said a man arrested for driving while Arab who was hauling a load of dangerous Auto Parts Of Mass Destruction to a major port to be shipped to South America so Osama bin Forgotten, hiding there with Adolph Hitler and Saddam Hussein, could use them to KILL US ALL!

Now, look. One of these men didn't immediately produce his papers. That's an obvious terrorist right there, right? I mean, it is our patriotic DUTY to carry our national ID cards so that our brave Dear Leader and His holy annointed administration can properly track us to make sure that we're doing our Holy duty to Dear Leader and His holy annointed administration. Remember, Dear Leader loves us and wants only the best for us! Remember, that "freedom" stuff is no good because if we have it, the terrorists will KILL US ALL! Do you want to die? Do you? No? Then you have to be willing to give up every bit of freedom so that Dear Leader can protect you!

Rights? Pshaw. Rights are only for good white Christian men, not for these heathen darkies. They should be glad we allow them to live rather than shooting them down like the dogs they are. Remember, if you're not a white male native-born Christian by-God American, you're not REALLY human, and you live only because we let you live!

Oh wait. I'm a penguin. Err... just call me the Michelle Malkin of waterfowl...

-- Badtux the Republican Penguin
(Tongue firmly in beak)

Monday, January 08, 2007

Discrimination is evil

In a reply to one of my posts below, a poster says that affirmative action is discrimination, and thus evil, even if it's an attempt to counter other forms of discrimination. I thought about it for a while, and he's right, discrimination IS evil!

Because of that, I have decided to free my mind of that evil discrimination stuff. For example, there's two sides regarding the Iraq stuff. The first side consists of retired military generals, people who've spent their lives studying military history, and Middle East scholars. The other side consists of draft dodgers, residents of the American Enterprise Institute, and Israeli agents. The first side says that Iraq is a mistake and we need to leave. The other side says that Iraq is an important front on the war on terror and we need to send more troops. Now, previously, I was giving more weight to the opinions of military and Middle Eastern scholars than to the neo-cons of the AEI. That's wrong. I should give just as much weight to the opinions of AEI scholars or of Joe down at the garage who says we ought to nuke Iraq. Anything else is DISCRIMINATION, and thus evil!

Next: I have some bad aweful allergy problems. Lots of stuff just gets me sniffling and sneezing. Now, doctors (folks who've spent dozens of years studying and getting licensed) tell me I need to take anti-histamines. They've spent years studying allergies and have some scientific evidence that shows that anti-histamines will reduce my allergy symptoms significantly. But over there are some "alternative medicine" guys who got a certificate from Joe's Trade School who tell me that all I need to do is take the right herbs and stuff and I'll be fine, and that the anti-histamines are actually poisoning me, and when I ask for scientific evidence, these guys say that science is an anti-humanistic conspiracy so they don't do it. Should I believe the doctors, or should I believe Joe Herbologist? Well, if I believe the doctors just because they have, like, training and scientific evidence and stuff, that's DISCRIMINATION. I shouldn't discriminate against Joe Herbologist just because he has,like, no education or training in biology and no science backing up his claims! That's wrong, and evil!

Now, getting along to discrimination, I understand that Democrats have a majority in Congress this year. But why should the opinion of Democrats count more just because the majority of people voted for them? This is DISCRIMINATION! Democrats and Republicans should get equal say in Congress! Forget all that "democracy" stuff, democracy discriminates against the minority,and thus is EVIL!

So anyhow, that affirmative action stuff -- it's been shown that given the choice of hiring a white criminal and a black man, most small business owners will hire the white criminal first. But doing anything to counter that discrimination would itself be discrimination, and thus wrong! We should look at solving the real problem -- the mindset of small business owners -- rather than simply setting up a system where black men get a fair chance. Because remember, it's a lot easier to change ingrained racial prejudices on the part of crackers and bigots than it is to set hiring quotas.

Similarly, it's been shown that the SAT over-estimates college performance for whites, and under-estimates college performance for blacks. But adding additional points to blacks to compensate for that would be discrimination! Err, hold it. Let me rethink this. Oh, I know -- the SAT is *ITSELF* discrimination, as are high school grades, and should be banned! Everybody should have an equal chance to get into the University of Michigan, regardless of whether they're dumb as a rock or the smartest genius alive! And grades... boy, when professors give grades to people, they're DISCRIMINATING against stupid and lazy people! So we should ban grades, too! And...

Boy, I sure am glad that discrmination is wrong! That relieves me of the need to differentiate between bad discrimination (discrimination that is based on nothing but prejudice and bigotry), and good discrimination (discrimination that is based upon achieving a particular goal, such as an educated populance or equal opportunity for all with the talent to succeed). Thinking is HARD, and having to think about the difference between "good" discrimination and "bad" discrimination makes my head hurt! No no, better just to call ALL discrimination "evil", and not have to think about it anymore. And hey, y'know, I'm being discriminated against by blog readers because they don't come to my blog as often as they come to Atrios's blog. Maybe blog readers are evil, too? Curious penguins want to know!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin
(Tongue firmly in beak).

Friday, January 05, 2007

Them darkies are all just criminals

Especially the Mexican ones, who should all be deported. Like these guys, who interfered with natural selection by saving the life of a young boy who crawled out onto a fire escape then fell. And, get this, these evil darkies are MECHANICS! That is, people who actually work for a living, rather than inheriting a fortune from Pappy! How un-American can you get, anyhow?! Working for a living. Pshaw. Bah humbug!

We oughtta send'em all back to Mexico. Then send all them other darkies back to Africa. Remember, Jesus wants America to be a white Christian nation, so there!

Badtux the Tom Tancredo-channelin' Republican Penguin

Friday Kitty Porn

The Mighty Fang reacts to the news that now 1 *TERABYTE* hard drives will be available for storage of his kitty porn collection...

- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

Even the town drunk...

realizes that the hanging of Saddam Hussein was a lynching, rather than an execution.

Hitch hasn't been sober since LBJ was President, but some things are just so obvious that even the town drunk can figure them out...

As another Chris says: Yet the fact remains: Saddam -- who had been a murderous blunderer throughout his reign, not unlike a certain brush-cutting goober from Crawford -- managed to pull off a PR masterstroke at the end. The level of sheer idiocy and incompetence it would take to make Saddam look good even for a nano-second is almost inconceivable; yet the remarkable Mr. Bush and his team were obviously up to the challenge.

George W. Bush is the only goober on this planet who is so stupid that he can make even a two-bit thug like Saddam Hussein look like a martyr.

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Surging to defeat

So the neo-cons want to "surge" 20,000 more troops into Iraq.

Madness. Utter madness. The fantasy that 20,000 extra troops will accomplish anything other than providing 20,000 extra targets for the jihadis is just that -- a fantasy. At this point, we would need to put at least -- at LEAST -- 500,000 soldiers in-country in order to make any difference at all. We don't *have* 500,000 soldiers, and we can't get them, short of calling a draft. And then what? What would we arm them with, sticks and stones? We don't have 500,000 rifles in inventory. How would we transport them within Iraq? Every servicable military vehicle with wheels is already in Iraq (all the rest are broke down in repair depots) and we only have enough of them for 150,000 or so soldiers. How would we supply them in Iraq? Our entire military airlift capability is already stretched to its limits simply supporting the troops already in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Fantasies. Deluded fantasies. Short of a WWII-style complete mobilization of America for the war effort, "victory" (defined as "securing the oil of Iraq for America") is impossible in Iraq. Do we really care that much about Iraq's oil???

- Badtux the Oily Penguin

America: The land of racial equality

Left: One of those uncivilized savages benefiting from affirmative action. We don't need affirmative action anymore (nevermind what that Democratic commie Gerald Ford said about how he supported affirmative action at his alma mater, the University of Michigan) because, duh, America is the land of racial equality. Why, the darkies even have the right to get up and dance on national television nowdays, not like back in the day when they knew their place and didn't take white men's jobs! Nevermind that there study that shows that employers prefer hiring white criminals to hiring black men with no criminal record, that's just facts, and everybody knows that those "fact" thingies are just liberal propaganda. Reality is that all of them darkies are just criminals, even the ones who jump out in front of a moving train to save the life of a white man, so it's just RIGHT that white criminals would be preferred by employers!

What matters is faith, faith I say! I have FAITH that white men are discriminated against, and that's all I need, I don't need none of them "fact" thingies! Why, Rush Limpdick was telling me the other day that the University of Michigan was giving admissions to jungle bunnies based on nothing more than color, so they're all a bucha COMMIES! Darn commie egg-heads! David Horriblitz was right, how DARE these university egg-heads indoctrinate our children with those liberal "fact" thingies, when they ought to be indoctrinating our children instead with our prejudices and faith in the Invisible Sky Demon!

Remember, facts are just liberal propaganda. You gotta have faith, faith I say, in our Lord and Savior George W. Bush and His holy jihad to do away with all that "affirmative action" stuff and make university admissions based soley on merit! Why, isn't having the right pappy and grandpappy merit enough, after all?!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

My prediction for the U.S. economy in 2007

A picture is worth a thousand words...

-- Badtux the Prediction Penguin

Monday, January 01, 2007

Christ says, "Carry heat"

For it says in the Gospel of Jesus as recorded by World Nut Daily, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, that you cannot follow me unless you're carrying heat." Right next to the passage that says "thou shalt smite the sand niggers and other darkies, and if a man should slap one cheek, why, you should blow him away."

Boy, I'm glad we have World Nut Daily to tell us about things like this!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Self-destructive geniuses

Townes Van Zandt and Blaze Foley from Austin Pickers 1984

Both of the men above basically drank themselves to death. Reading about Blaze Foley, I came across an interesting comment by a writer of historical romances and college teacher of creative writing who is herself in her late 60's now. She basically says, "Genius does not require a self-destructive lifestyle. I've had far too many of my students think that the way to write like Hemingway was to drink themselves into a stupor and take insane risks. We should not glorify their lifestyle choices as part of their genius."

Is she right? I'm not sure. Blaze Foley's first wife notes, "His earliest works, and some of his best, were written when we were living in a treehouse on a commune and were absolutely happy." The drinking, apparently, came later. So obviously the drinking and the hard lifestyle didn't cause the genius. But did the genius cause the drinking and hard lifestyle?

One thing I've noticed about those who create great things, is that they are obsessive personalities. Obsessive-compulsive, perhaps. For example, take Linus Torvalds. He was not the first person to think about re-implementing the Unix API from scratch. A college professor in the Netherlands even did so once with his students as a student project for an operating systems class. But nobody else had Linus's obsessiveness about it. His compulsive desire to have it be an absolutely correct implementation of the Unix API, rather than simply "good enough for a student project" like the Dutch professor's version. Or take me. I wrote a handful of very good songs, and quit writing songs because I'd pretty much proven that I could write good songs so what was the point? My second novel has pretty much bogged down half-finished for the same reason -- I already proved I could write a novel, so what's the point? Other than to prove I can write a second novel? I'm just not obsessive enough to push these things through. But there's an upside to that lack of obsessiveness. When it comes to drink, or drugs, or whatever, I can try it, and say "eh, okay, now I experienced it, so what" and move on. Lack of obsessiveness has its upsides. Us un-obsessive people tend to live longer.

Then I think about Alison Bechdel who in her autobiographical graphic novel "Fun Home" that I mentioned a while back, notes that she suffered from an obsessive-compulsive disorder when she was very young, and "cured" herself only by becoming obsessive-compulsive about not being obsessive-compulsive. The obsessive-compulsive part is, apparently, a requirement for taking things to the extremes needed for greatness.

Throw in drink, and you have a recipe for disaster. And road houses and bars are full of drink. You can't escape it, as a musician on the road. Give an obsessive-compulsive person drink, and allow him to obsess on it, and you have an instant alcoholic.

From "minstrelboy" on another post featuring Townes van Zandt:

townes was a friend and a true troublesome talent. i had somebody ask me what it was like playing with him after i had done two months of roadhouses and stuff with him. i said "like being caged up with a swamp panther in a hurricane" i miss his ass. thanks for the clip.

Large parts of Townes van Zandt's past had been wiped out by shock therapy. He gave himself a new obsession, song writing, which during the 1980's turned into another obsession -- drinking and hard living. I think it's no coincidence that he wrote nothing of note in the 1980's, and did a minor comeback in the 1990's when he refocused his obsession onto his music again, although he still drank enough to drink himself to death in the end just like his idol, Hank Williams.

So anyhow, if you think you want to be the next Hemingway, or the next Hank Williams or Townes van Zandt, I guess my point is that the drinking and hard living has nothing to do with it. You need talent, and you have to want it, to the point of wanting it obsessively. And you need a little bit of luck, which poor Blaze Foley never had, but luck is nothing without the talent and the obsessiveness. But if you really do have that sort of personality, one thing I'd suggest: Never take that first drink, that first snort, that first puff. Because if you truly have the sort of obsessive personality that leads to greatness, the lifestyle of the hard-drinkin' hard-livin' road dog will become an obsession, and it will either distract you from your talent like it did Townes van Zandt in the 1980's, or it will destroy you, in the end. Genus and what they call an "addictive personality" (i.e. a personality prone to addictions) do seem to go together far too often...

- Badtux the Thoughtful Penguin