Saturday, March 31, 2007

Aggressive grooming

The Mighty Fang is a vicious kitty. When confronted with another cat, he viciously attacks said other cat with... the tongue of mass fur grooming. Here the irascible Mencken was just trying to catch a few rays from the sun, and the Mighty Fang came up to him and started... grooming him. And when he tried to wiggle away from that pink tongue of raspy hair displacement, The Mighty Fang put his paw up and held his head steady. Oooh, the Mighty Fang is just so mean!

Finally Mencken had enough of that "grooming" stuff: He shoved TMF away and is threatening to shred TMF with his uplifted paw. Meanwhile, TMF is just sitting there saying, "who, me?" like nothing had happened...

Yeah, trying to raise my cat blogging hit count because having those other people getting more hits than these sweet kitties is... ick. Just ick.

-- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

Friday, March 30, 2007

Mencken is not happy...

Looking at my web hosting statistics and adding up "cat cats kitty kitties" then looking at "coulter", nude ann coulter naked is getting almost as many Google hits as the pussies are. michelle malkin nude naked is way behind, nobody wants to see michelle malkin (yay!). Add the two together, though, and they're only a dozen hits behind Mencken and the Mighty Fang...

Mencken asks, "What is wrong with people?" Then he put his head down and put his paw over his eyes and say "meh, go away" and went back to sleep.

- Badtux the not-nude Penguin

Thursday, March 29, 2007

World's worst mechanic: wheel alignment specialist

When you pick up a Jeep by adding a 2" lift to it, you pull up on the drag link, which in turn pulls up on the tie rod. This causes excessive toe-in. I just checked my Jeep (which hasn't been anywhere since I lifted it except around the block), and the front of the tires are 54 7/16" apart, and the backs are 55" apart, for a total toe-in of 9/16" or over half an inch. Figure that's roughly .25", divide by the 30" tire width, take the asin (boy, you knew that high school trig was gonna come in handy, eh?), and you end up at 0.47 degrees toe-in per wheel. The spec is 0.15 degrees toe-in per wheel. (hey, so I'm a former math teacher, shoot me!) shows that .15 degrees toe-in, take the sine, multiply by 30, hmm... should be .078" difference between front and back. .075" is a tad more than 1/16 but less than 1/8.

So now I apply some more trigonometry to figure out what the difference *should* be (boy, you knew that high school trig class would come in handy, huh?). The spec is +/-0.06 degrees, so the toe-in should be between 0.09 degrees and 0.21 degrees. Take the sine of each of those, multiply by 30, hmm... that's 0.047" to .101 inches. Multiply by two to add up the toe angle for each wheel, and that's 0.094" to .202". Or, given the limits of my tape measure which don't do decimal,more than 3/32" (0.093"), but less than 7/32 (.21875"). So let's say 1/8" to 3/16" is fine. Definitely *not* 9/16"!

Soooo... tomorrow I get to go under the Jeep and loosen up the tie rod turnbuckles and test out how well my pipe wrench works on the steering tie rod! Now I hear what you're saying. "Should the world's worst mechanic be doing something so... dangerous... as mess with the steering?". Ah, but see, I'm not mechanicing anymore. I'm in the realm of mathematics now... and mathematics doesn't care how incompetent a mechanic I am. As long as I tighten those turnbuckles back up when done, there's nothing I can do wrong here. It's all just measure... adjust... measure... adjust... measure until the measurement is between the limits I mention above.

Oh, how I measured: Take tape measure, and a bit of duct tape. Tape tape measure to first row of tread at the front of the tire. Extend tape measure to other tire. Take measurement at first row of tread. Now do the same thing to the back of the tire. Simple, crude, and ... close enough. This is a Jeep, for cryin' out loud. I could get a bit closer with one of those fancy machines like some real suspension alignment shop would have, but it's not as if the beast really cares that much. You can almost get it close enough just by banging on it with a hammer and duct taping random stuff, which is pretty much how the gnomes in Cleveland put it together in the first place (heh!)

And so a little magic goes out of the world, replaced by mathematics. No incantations needed, just use of the sin and asin buttons on my scientific calculator. That's the world, folks. There is no magic, no matter how much people want to believe in the Invisible Sky Fairy that will do all sortsa neat things for them if they just babble the right incantations. It's all math, in the end. Even mechanicking is all math, in the end. Which is probably why mechanics are the most intuitive mathematicians I've ever run into, even though most of them don't have the slightest damned idea they're doin' it :-).

-- Badtux the Math Penguin

PS - the fun part is going to be re-centering the steering wheel after I do this, since there is only a single adjuster on the tie rod... luckily the drag link has its own adjuster for centering the steering wheel!

Leiberman Democrats want more Americans dead in Iraq

"Americans want to win", said Leiberman Democratic leader Harold Ford (R-DLC). Err, yes. I hate to break it to Mr. Ford, but we already won in Iraq. Held a huge party on an aircraft carrier and all that way back on May 1, 2003. Even had a banner up there, that said "Mission Accomplished!", and the President of the United States struttin' across an aircraft carrier deck with sock-stuffed crotch making Republican pundettes swoon everywhere and making a purty speech and all about major combat operations being done because -- get this -- we WON. We beat Saddam handily. Not only did we disarm Saddam's weapons of mass destruction (okay, okay, so there were none, but they're disarmed, gosh darn it!), but Saddam and his evil sons are both dead, either by our bullets or through our proxies' hangman's noose.

Now, I dunno where Mr. Ford was when we won. Maybe he was hiding under a rock or something. Maybe he had a five-day marathon hiking trip through the Washington Mall during that time frame, and never caught up with the news or something. But hey, Mr. Ford -- we won. All that's happened since is just our soldiers getting caught in the middle of someone else's bloody civil war. How can we "win" someone else's civil war?

We won. Shit, we even already declared victory. It's time to bring the troops home, MORON -- and the majority of the American people agree.

-- Badtux the Mission Accomplished Penguin

We're number seven!

Yep, when it comes to high technology innovation, the United States is now in seventh place thanks to a combination of factors such as decrepit K-12 educational infrastructure, lack of government provision of e-services (which has gone *backwards* under the Bush administration -- for example during the last years of the Clinton administration you could once read civil lawsuit decisions on the Internets, but under pressure from legal publishers, the courts have now taken all that stuff offline), etc.

We're number seven! We're number seven! U S A! U S A! WOOT!

And in other news, Bob Dylan actually smiled. What next, Leonard Cohen is going to write a happy happy children's song?

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

A rant on Perl

In case you're wondering why I haven't posted anything the last 24 hours: I've been up to my neck in the stupidest, most brain dead, drug addled technical BS ever created: Perl. Please quit reading unless you want to read a technical rant from an irate Cajun...

You were warned. Okay. Here we go: What kinda fuckin' drugs was Larry Wall smokin' when he designed Perl's reference system? And what kinda drugs was he fuckin' smokin when he designed Perl's object system? And man, you put the two together, we're talking fucked, fucked, fucked!

Look, I'm not trying to do anything fancy. I'm just trying to store an array into a hash reference that gets blessed as an object, then later retrieve the array. Simple enough in Python or Ruby or Java. But in Perl? Noooo! Perl's rules for dereferencing appear to be even more arcane and ridiculous than those of "C" (I went to the book store and checked a dozen "C" books on how to create an array of pointers to functions that return an int, and one -- ONE -- got it right out of all those books. Even the experts get confused!). What is literally TWO WORDS in Ruby "return self.stuff" -- is all sorts of arcane incantations in Perl, indeed, the only way I've managed to make it work is to store a *reference* to an array into the hash and then retrieve the reference and dereference it later...

I am just SOOO glad that the next project is going to be written in Ruby on Rails... I'm thinking of holding a seance where we burn Perl books or somethin'. This penguin's flippers will be flappin' fer joy then!

-- Badtux the Perl-hating Penguin

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


World Nut Daily has a breathless headline, "Left spews deadly venom over Tony Snow's cancer!". Unlike the venom NOT spewed(hah!) over Elizabeth Edwards's cancer, I suppose. But anyhow, I checked The Left's website, and didn't find anything over there about Tony Snow's cancer, so I dunno what World Nut Daily is talking about. Maybe they found some lefty somewhere in the Kos comment sections saying nasty things, I don't care enough to click on the headline to see the "story".

You'll notice that I have not mentioned either Tony Snow's cancer or Elizabeth Edwards's cancer previously on this blog. That's because cancer is a decidedly non-snarky subject, especially terminal cancer such as liver cancer or bone cancer. I had a relative recently die of bone cancer. It was a horrible and painful death. I've had a relative die of liver cancer. Another horrible and painful death. It seemed neither decent nor appropriate to in any way mention these people's condition, fate, or comment upon how they intend to deal with their condition.

Cancer is not a joking matter, and decisions made in the treatment of cancer, or in how to live one's life during the period of time between being diagnosed with terminal cancer and becoming too sick to continue functioning, are not decisions that I or anybody else should be second guessing. It is shameful that these two people's seperate ordeals may become political footballs, and if any of you out there are tempted to do so, I have just one thing to say: Stop. Just stop. For the sake of simple common decency, just shut up. It's not your business, or my business. I realize common decency ain't so common nowdays, but for the sake of all that is holy and decent, please just stop. That's all.

-- Badtux the not-snarky-at-the-moment Penguin

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I asked for it...

EMAIL correspondence, re: KLR seats, after I complained that the stock OEM seat was comfortable except for the fact that it's slanted so that I'm always sliding down the slope into the tank, with resulting discomfort (eek!):

Tomcat wrote:
> I have ridden 1100 miles in one day on original seat without a lot of
> discomfort. You are on a motorcycle you are suppose to feel pain. TC
Indeed, I've ridden multiple 500+ mile days on the original seat with no real issues other than getting tired of my nutsack getting crunched against the gas tank (grin!). I suppose if you have smaller balls, that's not an issue. (Okay, I'll go to my corner now :-) .

Tomcat replied back:

I know what you mean Badtux I have already replaced three fuel tanks where my balls slammed into the tank leaving BIG impressions. Got to go. TC

I gotta admit it. Tomcat *owned* me on this one. I asked for it tho!

-- Badtux the out-balled Penguin
Hold it, penguins have cloaca, don't they?!

On energy density and nuclear power

Two words: Energy density. Nuclear power is currently the only technology which has the energy density to replace oil, gas, coal and so forth. We could put solar panels on every patch of barren ground, windmills in every windy pass in America, biofuel rapeseed on every piece of marginal ground not needed to raise timber or food, and still fall woefully short even of the energy requirements of modern agriculture, which is a very energy-intensive process that requires hauling enormous amounts of food long distances over a transportation infrastructure that requires enormous sums of energy to operate even if we transition it all to electrical or hydrogen operation. And without modern agriculture, we have a great die-off, because we now have far more people on this planet than can be supported by primitive agriculture.

Frankly, I prefer being alive to being dead. I've looked at some of the modern nuclear reactor designs, and they're far safer than Three Mile Island (which itself was far safer than Chernobyl, a weapons reactor converted to civilian use which would have never been permitted to operate in the United States). Note that the so-called "hydrogen economy" is basically a mechanism for storing nuclear power in an energy-dense manner for individual transportation, rather than a method of generating energy... the only method for generating energy is nuclear power, whether it is the nuclear power of the sun (which also powers the wind as well as solar cells and plants), or nuclear power from man-made reactors. Even oil, gas, or coal is just nuclear power in the end, since it is just stored nuclear energy from the sun, energy stored in hydrocarbon bonds rather than in batteries...

- Badtux the Energy Penguin

NYPD spying on America

Hmm. Apparently the NYPD is under the impression that their job now includes spying on people who don't like Republicans. Funny, I thought the job of the police was to protect me from criminals, not to protect me from folks saying things I don't want to hear. But oops, I forgot! Remember, the terrorists hate us for our freedoms. If we don't destroy our freedoms before the terrorists can do so, the terrorists win! If we don't spy on our fellow Americans or shut them up when they say things we don't like, why, those nasty islamofascists will swim across the Atlantic with box cutters in their teeth and KILL US ALL!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Monday, March 26, 2007

Radical Islam in my sock drawer!

Courtesy of The Truffle, I find out that creepy Little Rickie Santorum of fetus fondling fame (and one-time senator from Pennsylvania) is making a movie about the danger that "radical Islam" poses to America.

So... does "radical Islam" have the world's best tanks, like Nazi Germany had? Or maybe "radical Islam" has thousands of nuclear-tipped missiles pointing at us, like the Soviet Union had? Or maybe "radical Islam" has dozens of battleships and aircraft carriers like Imperial Japan had?


What's that you're mumbling, Little Rickie? Box cutters, you say? BOX CUTTERS?! That's all that "radical Islam"'s got? Well poopers. Box cutters might have worked one time. But they done shot their wad, nobody's going to kill thousands of Americans with box cutters again. Oooh, I'm just SOOOOO scared that swarthy brown fellers armed with... box cutters... are gonna swim the Atlantic with these things clenched in their teeth, sneak into our sock drawers during the day while we're out at work, then emerge at night to KILL US ALL! Yeah, I'm just SHAKIN' in my boots (well, if penguins wore boots, anyhow)...

Methinks that Little Ricky needs to lay off the hillbilly heroin. Ya think?

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Gonzo is *SO* Gone

From World Nut Daily, voice of crazed Republican fanatics everywhere: Embattled AG now accused in sex scandal 'cover-up'; Attorney General Gonzales among officials who allegedly ignored abuse of minor boys.

Oh brother. If you're a Republican and World Nut Daily has turned on you, it means that the Party has turned on you. Better polish up your resume, Gonzo. I hear the Bush mansion in Kennebunkport needs a new gardener...

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Can you eat gold?

As others have noted, the U.S. Treasury is printing money with all the fervant abandon of a Weimar Republic finance minister, and, as expected when you have too much money chasing the same amount of goods, the value of the dollar is falling. In addition, the sub-prime market is collapsing, and since the notion that trillions of dollars of collateralized securities can be allowed to suddenly vaporize into nothingness and cause a deflationary spiral similar to 1929 is ridiculous, the Treasury will be printing yet more money shortly to bail out the holders of those collateralized securities.

Those are short-term problems. Long term, there are even bigger problems on the horizon. The U.S. economy is hollowed out and makes nothing of note anymore, other than increasingly worthless dollars that we export in ever greater numbers to buy the essentials of life. The American "lifestyle", which is heavily petroleum dependent, is unlikely to survive $25 per gallon gasoline, which is coming within the next twenty years. Add to that the melting of the ice caps, which will submerge many of the important coastal cities, and we may be setting up for a Dark Ages that will rival that which occurred during and after the fall of Rome.

What to do? Some folks say "buy gold." The problem is, you can't eat gold. If the currency collapses and you're reduced to barter, nobody is going to trade stuff to you for gold. They're going to trade stuff to you for something useful. Something that can be eaten, or that they need to keep warm or housed.

So now we know what's NOT useful. Some other things I can think of that aren't useful:

  • Lots of food. Food goes bad after a while, so you end up having to rotate it out. Food is also very bulky. It would be hard to store enough food to be useful in the long run.
  • Seed. Not bulky like food, but unless you're actually a farmer, impossible to rotate out as it goes bad. Illiquid -- you can't easily get rid of year-old seed.
  • Guns. Well, lots of guns would actually be *very* good to stock since as governments collapse neighborhood militias and other such substitutes will take their place, except that in a pre-collapse world lots of guns also tend to result in unwanted attention from the BATF. See: Branch Davidians, Waco. Oh that's right, you can't, because they're dead. Anyhow, the U.S. is already awash in guns, so I think we can figure that there will be no shortage in the future either.

So, what WOULD be useful? Well, being young, feral, and vicious would be useful. Being an attractive breeding-age female would be useful. Since this penguin is neither of those, however, that doesn't seem like a good plan of action. Beyond that, well, discuss.

- Badtux the non-survivalist Penguin

MRE Review: Menu #22 Jambalaya

This is off the 2004 menu, thus why I am eating it (taste and nutrition of MRE's goes downhill after 3 years).

Entre': Jambalaya. This had nice chunks of high-quality ham and shrimp in it. I added in the little bottom of Tabasco and ate it with the MRE crackers and it was quite tasty.

An aside on MRE crackers: These are one of the wonders of the universe. How the wizards of Natick could manage to make a cracker that will survive anything short of a nuclear blast without becoming crumbles is one of those testaments to old-fashioned American know-how that are rare nowdays. They aren't the tastiest crackers around -- they have to be sort of heavy and dense to both a) provide calories to meet MRE calorie requirements and b) be able to survive being dropped 50 feet from a hovering helicopter -- but they are definitely edible and tasty enough after you've been slogging for miles with a pack on your back and are hungry enough to eat a horse, hooves and all.

MRE Bread and Jalapeno Cheese spread -- I've mentioned MRE bread before, which is more a soft dense wheat cookie than anything that you might think of as "bread" due to shelf life and durability requirements. But this makes a nice little meal all in and of itself. Just knead the cheese spread tube until it's soft, snip open the end with the scissors on your pocket knife (note: If you do not have a pocket knife with scissors in it, *get one*, very very handy!), squirt out on "bread", enjoy!

Pound cake: This is good in and of itself. Soft, moist (if a bit dense), little pieces of carrot and fruit. But if you had one of those MRE meals like Menu 16 (Chicken w/Noodles) that inexplicably included peanut butter despite having nothing that would taste good with peanut butter on it, this is a good target for your leftover peanut butter.

Candy - just your commercial Skittles package.

In later years they deleted the candy, cheese spread and crackers and replaced them with the MRE Dairy Shake, which is quite good (albeit a bit lumpy even with a full two minutes of vigorous shaking). The MRE bread tastes okay in place of the crackers as something to eat with the Jambalaya, so I suppose it all works out, you still end up with basically two "meals" (the dairy shake vs. the bread+cheese, and the entre').

All in all, I have to rate this one a winner, whether it's the 2004 version or the later versions. Alas, it appears this one was discontinued for 2007 to make room for "Meatballs with Marinari". Whoa, sounds like the round balls of death circa 1993 the "four fingers of death" ("smoky frankfurters"). Definitely *not* a substitution that I think I'm going to enjoy, but (shrug). If you get dropped old stock for disaster relief, this is definitely one to keep rather than trade.

-- Badtux the Disaster Chef Penguin

Saturday, March 24, 2007

I am the world's slowest mechanic

I just spent six hours doing a one hour job. Is that sad, or what?

This morning I went to Harbor Freight Tools and Kragen Auto Supply to round up the supplies I needed (or wanted) for the job. Actually, when I go to Harbor Freight I buy more stuff than I need, but that's another issue :-). I ate some Pho while I was in Newark's Little Vietnam where Harbor Freight is. Yum. That's good stuff. I love all the great ethnic food you get around here in the SF Bay area. I was in the mood for some chicken soup... and pho is the Vietnamese version of chicken soup (if you get it with chicken that is :-).

Then I came home and started working on my Jeep... and working... and working... slow, slow slow. And I can't even say that I did it any righter than Joe-bob down at the local garage. I overtorqued a jounce bumper spacer and probably cracked it because I was mis-reading the torque table in my factory manual (why, oh why, do these guys play hide-and-seek with the torque values? Just askin!), and while the other issue I ran into was a case of a poor quality bushing on the part of the shock vendor (I'm supposed to put 50 ft/lbs of torque on the lower shock mount? Nuhn-uh, that collapses that cheap-ass bushing!), it wasn't much fun to deal with. Probably got about 25 ft-lbs on the replacement bushing (luckily there was a spare in the box the shock came in!) and then it's a case of hoping that red thread-locker does what it's supposed to do.

Oh well. At least I torqued my rear lug nuts to 100 ft/lbs after I finished putting in spacers and changing out shocks. My Jeep now has an eager rear sticking two inches further in the air than it was sticking this time yesterday. Next up: I get to do the front. I expect that it's going to take me all day tomorrow to do the front too... Thankfully, I have my motorized mule so I'm not transportation-less. I can haul a *lot* of groceries between the Givi hard bags and a big duffel bag strapped to the back seat!

-- Badtux the Greasy-flippered Penguin

Friday, March 23, 2007

The sorrows of being rich...

Seems that our lords and masters are a bit nervous about the notion that a jury of ordinary Americans might someday, somehow, decide their fate. See, for example, the case of Conrad Black pilfering millions:

[Conrad] Black's lawyers even argued (unsuccessfully) that their client could not get a fair trial because the average Chicagoan "does not reside in more than one residence, employ servants or a chauffeur, enjoy lavish furniture, or host expensive parties".

I, for one, would relish Darth Cheney's trial for looting billions out of the Treasury for the benefit of Halliburton while our soldiers died for his profit. Fair trial. Conviction. Rope. Just sayin', ya know?

- Badtux the not-cryin' Penguin

Cats are more popular than Coulter

Yes, folks, I just looked at my statistics for the month of March so far, and the words "cat" or "cats" in search terms are *TWICE* as popular as the word "coulter" in search terms, naked or not! Ann Coulter naked is getting five times more hits than Michelle Malkin naked (poor Michelle, nobody loves her!), but my cats are twice as popular as either of them.

Although, I must say I do have some questions. Okay, so The Mighty Fang is black, and big. But he's a fluffball, seriously, the biggest danger he is to anybody is to rub them to death while purring, why does Google send people here for the search term "scary black cat", if you want a scary cat this is a scary cat! And for the guy asking the question, "are cats immune to scorpion venom", uhm, sorry I couldn't answer your question, dude. The Minstrel Boy notes that scorpions are immune to scorpion venom, but that doesn't answer your question. And come on. My cats are NOT funny looking! Why did so many people come here looking for "funny looking cats"?! Sheesh. No respect, no respect I say! My cats are handsome cats. Fine, upstanding dignified cats. Not funny looking! Though, okay, they can be a bit clingy...

-- Badtux the Cat-loving Penguin
Who thinks it's great that cats are more popular than Coulter!

Gonzo Gone Watch

Alberto Gonzales Death Watch continues. Good. Gonzo is an evil venal little toady who defends the indefensible (torture). But it won't be this week or next week. Gonzo knows too much about where the bodies are buried. Gonzo ain't gone until his Medal of Freedom is ready.

Past that point, his job prospects are... maybe the Bush mansion needs a gardener, eh? Boy, I'd love to see the look on his face when Babs makes that offer!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Thursday, March 22, 2007

In Soviet America, the politicians tell scientists what is science

In Russia, scientists tell politicians what is science. In Soviet America, when it comes to global warming, politicians tell scientists what is science.

Whether it is Al Gore calmly reading scientific studies to Republican legislators who claim they know science better than scientists, or directives to government scientists to not talk about science, in Soviet America, as in Soviet Russia prior to the fall of the Soviet Union, it is politicians who tell scientists what is science, rather than scientists who tell politicians what is science. Because, of course, being able to round up billions of dollars in campaign contributions makes one far more able to evaluate scientific evidence than, like, being an actual scientist, y'know? Who are these "scientist" folks to tell Senator James Inhofe what is science? Why, Senator Inhofe done been ELECTORATED, and that automagically makes him far more expert than some dude who, like, spent decades learning science from the best and brightest scientists on the planet! Besides, them scientist fellers, they ain't billionares like Senator Inhofe, so they can't be so smart, right? 'Cause the richer you is, the smarter you is, right?

So thank you, Senator Inhofe, for correcting the record here! People like you and me, who aren’t, like, scientist fellers and stuff, we know best. How *DARE* those pesky climate scientist fellers say they know more about climate science than we do?! Them thare scientist fellers just gotta, like know thare place! And if they say they know better than us about science stuff, they’re just… just… POOPY HEADS! Yeah!

– Badtux the Snarky Penguin

In Soviet America, the military beggars YOU!

Over half of all federal discretionary spending goes to the Pentagon. In non-Soviet Russia, the people beggar the military, which has to beg even for enough money to feed its troops and keep the power hooked up at its falling down bases. In Soviet America, the military beggars YOU.

So where is the money going? Well, bunches of it are going to contractors who provide truck drivers making $150K+/year to take the place of GI's making $20K/year, who provide cooks making $150K+/year to take the place of GI's making $20K/year, etc. Because of course it's cheaper to hire someone for $150K/year than to hire someone for $20K/year (snark!). Funny, most of these contractors also seem to be Bush administration cronies. Odd how that works out, eh?

Other money is going to weapons we don't need. The F-16 and the F/A 18 Super Hornet will be the best fighter jets in the world for the next 20+ years. Past a certain point you hit fundamental laws of physics, past which it is impossible to improve beyond what an airframe has already achieved. Consider this: The F-16 first flew over 30 years ago, yet even today, there is not a single jet fighter in the world that can out-dogfight it. None. Zero. Zilch. The only improvements there have been in the past thirty years have been in engines and avionics. Airframes? Not so much. We've hit fundamental laws of physics there. Yet we are spending hundreds of billions of dollars on F-22 and F-35 fighter jets that don't work any better for 99% of tasks than what we have yet are five times more expensive because, well, Pentagon cronies need money, I guess.

Then there is the enormous sum of money spent maintaining legions around the world -- Germany, South Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, and hundreds of military bases all over the globe. Democracies don't need that. But empires do. And, in the end, that is what causes the collapse of empires. The Roman Empire collapsed because it ran out of money to pay its soldiers and they decided to sack Rome (repeatedly) and install one of their own as Emperor (repeatedly) to take by force what was due them, until there was nothing left to take and the barbarians came in and took over the pitiable remnants. In a democracy, there is little need for a large military because democracies do not attack other nations and defense can be handled by a part-time National Guard like in Switzerland. In a democracy, the people beggar the military because there just isn't much need for one. In an empire like Soviet America, on the other hand, the military beggars you.

-- Badtux the Budgetary Penguin

Bad MRE's revisited

Menu #24, Meatloaf with Gravy: This was a 2005 MRE rather than a 2004 MRE, so the contents of the pouch were a little different. There was only one tube of grape jelly, and there was a sugar wafer rather than fig newtons. But the verdict remains the same: Friskies cat food. Totally. Same consistency. Same taste. (Oh shut up, we had cats growing up, and I was a curious kid!). Oh, since there's only one heater in the packet, if you don't have a spare heater from another MRE heat up the meatloaf and gravy then pour the hot gravy into the pouch of mashers to heat them up. Otherwise the gravy is really lumpy and lardy and disgusting. Trust me on this.

Menu #14, Vegetable Manicotti. Again this was a 2005 MRE rather than a 2004 MRE. The alarming color of the 2004 entre' with its garish applications of red and green food coloring was reduced, the coloration of the 2005 entre' is almost natural. The taste was still, well, vegetable manicotti. But with crackers it was edible, even though I was out of parmesan cheese powder to put on it. I move this from the "avoid at all costs!" column to the "Eh, bore-ing" column. Unfortunately it appears that we're going to be stuck with this rather blah entre' until 2008, when it gets replaced with vegetable lasagna. Hey, Natick dudes, can you figure out some way to package a little packet of parmesan cheese powder with this thing? Yeah, I know the shelf life requirements are a bitch, but you guys are geniuses, surely you can figure this one out!

Oh, regarding MRE crackers: If I could buy just MRE crackers all by themselves, I'd buy them by the bushel for backpacking. They're lightweight, bullet-proof, filling, and nutritious. I'm not sure how the guys in Natick managed to make crackers that don't turn to crumbles even when dropped a hundred feet from a chopper to the ground, but the result is still visibily and gustatorially crackers, unlike some of their past concoctions (MRE "bread", for example, is good but doesn't really resemble bread very much, nor really taste much like bread... more like a soft wheat cookie, I think).

-- Badtux the Gustatory Penguin

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Ann Coulter vs. Michelle Malkin

Who is more popular?

Thus far, I've gotten 14 Google hits for Ann Coulter Nude, and only 2(two) Google hits for Michelle Malkin Nude. Does this mean that Man Coulter is 7 times more popular than Michelle Malkin? Or does it merely mean that people are curious to see what sexual organs Man Coulter possesses between his/her legs? Curious penguins want to know!

-- Badtux the Curious Penguin

Iraq veto promised oh look! Shiny toys!

President Bush is promising to veto funding for the Iraq war because it contains advisory deadlines for withdrawal of troops, and over 25% of Iraqi reconstruction money was embezzeled by war-profiteers like Halliburton and ... oh wait! Over there! It's a bald panti-less washed up teeny bopper mousketeer getting out of rehab!

Sorry, as a typical American I have the attention span of a ferret oh look shiny toys! shiny things! Boyohboyohboyohboy! Oh wait! There's a washed out music producer on trial for murder having a bad hair day! Whoa boy howdy a penguin has to have priorities, y'know?

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Project Silver Demon

As long time readers know, a silver demon forced me to buy it back in December. It's been four months now, so it's time to farkle the thing. I just finished installing a CB radio with a Firestick antenna (which I mounted on top of the 3rd brake light over the spare tire), wiring up an auxiliary fuse block under the driver's side dashboard for that and for the rear power outlet (once I find it in my electrical junk box, I bought it for another vehicle and never installed it on that one!). So now for the fun parts:

  • 2" Rubicon Express budget boost -- spring spacers, shocks, and bump stop extensions. I already killed the OEM shocks, which are truly aweful and just did not stand up to washboarded fire roads (they puked their oil out and have mostly quit working -- sheesh, American quality at its best!). This will get the belly "shovel" 2 inches further off the ground as well as replace those piece of crap Chrysler shocks that I killed. $230 for shocks and spacers.
  • Because I have to take the front swaybar links off anyhow to get the springs out so I can put the spacers on top, JKS front swaybar disconnects -- useful in certain offroad situations to help keep both front tires planted on the ground. $130.
  • 32"x11.50 B.F. Goodrich AT KO (All Terrain) tires. These are the big ticket item, $145 apiece (!!!) plus mounting and balancing. I already shredded the sidewalls on the piece of crap Goodyear tires that came with my Jeep. These have much tougher sidewalls and will add another inch of clearance under my pumpkins and under my Jeep.
  • Cragar Soft 8 steel wheels. These have a slightly different offset than the OEM wheels so that I can fit the wider tires without hitting the shock tower at the rear or rubbing the sway bar at full turn on the front, and are much sturdier than the P.O.S. OEM cast aluminum wheels, which would shatter if a rock ever hit them. $35 apiece.
  • Aussie Locker "lunchbox" locker for the Dana D30 front axle. This gives more traction when offroad in 4x4 mode, but is utterly invisible when onroad in 2 wheel drive mode. Combined with the limited-slip in the rear axle, I get the best of both worlds -- good on-road handling and good off-road traction. $230.
All of this is chosen to preserve handling stability on-road (the wider tires and wider-offset wheels have the effect of widening the track, thus keeping the Jeep stable even though it's going to be 3" higher off the ground) while improving offroad capability. The bottom of my Jeep wouldn't have its current assortment of gashes and scrapes if it was 3" higher (heh! Famous last words!). But the folks running 35" tires and 5" lifts and such will just sneer at my little Jeep. Let them sneer. At least I won't flip over on my side turning into my driveway like their over-tall unstable heeps will!

Of course, to pay for this, I'll have to ride my motorcycle to work for the next six months so that I can save money by getting 50mpg (at $3.30/gallon 50mpg vs. 15mpg adds up, sigh!). Oh, the lengths to which a penguin will go to have a comfortable ride along forest roads and desert trails!

Oh - I'm doing all the wrenching on this myself (except mounting and balancing the tires of course, that's what tire stores were invented for). What, you think I'd let some heathen touch my silver demon to do something like this?! Sheesh! Greasy flippers are a small price to pay for knowing that the job was done right by someone who cares!

- Badtux the Greasy-flippered Penguin

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

MRE Review: Menu #21 Chicken Tetrazzini

Yes indeed, boys and girls, it is that time of year again when I rotate out my emergency supplies. I have a new case of MRE's on the way, and am blowing out the old. Every one must go! (Down my gullet, that is).

Today's meal is Menu #21 from 2005, Chicken Tetrazzini (discontinued for 2006). This basically tastes like Grandma's chicken and noodles. It's sort of bland, but a dash of Tabasco makes up for that. Unfortunately, the extras pouch that comes with it doesn't have Tabasco in it. Use the one from your ravioli MRE (WTF is with putting Tabasco in the ravioli MRE anyhow? Not even this demented penguin puts Tabasco on ravioli!).

For the sides, it comes with the prerequisite MRE crackers, a yummy cookie, and the strawberry dairy shake, which tastes surprisingly good despite its rather... chemical... reputation. It also comes with a small package of strawberry jam. Strawberry jam? WTF?

As noted, this one disappeared for 2006, replaced by Chili Mac. Given that it tasted exactly like Menu 16, Chicken w/Noodles, probably good riddence. And Menu 16 comes with the little bottle of hot sauce needed to make it taste well. Still, if you're rotating out your MRE stock in preparation for a new batch of 2006 MRE's (or even, gasp, 2007 ones!), this one makes a quite tasty little meal.

-- Badtux the Culinary Penguin

"We" need to fix Iraq?!

I've got a better idea. How about we let the *IRAQIS* figure out what to do with their country? They live there. They have skin in the game. They are the ones who have to live with any solution. They don't need some self-absorbed white honkies from across the sea telling them how to run their country. It's time to get the fuck out and let them figure this shit out themselves, and then send billions to whatever government(s) arise out of this so they can rebuild the shit that *we* blew up. Blew up because blowing shit up is all that the U.S. of Fuckin' Self Absorbed Incompetence is capable of doing nowdays.

This shit of us pretending to be ubermenschen dictating to the unseemly untermenschen mud peoples as to how they should run their country is just bullshit and needs to stop. Fuck, we can't even provide medical care to our own citizens. Why the fuck do we think we can solve the problems of some folks overseas when we can't even solve our *own* problems?!

- Badtux the Rude Penguin

Monday, March 19, 2007

On war

You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out. ... You might as well appeal against the thunder-storm as against these terrible hardships of war. They are inevitable, and the only way the people [...] can hope once more to live in peace and quiet at home, is to stop the war, which can only be done by admitting that it began in error and is perpetuated in pride.

-- William Tecumseh Sherman, 1864

At 9:30pm EST on March 19, 2003, the first bombs dropped on Baghdad, part of a massive bombing campaign that coincided with a military campaign to disarm Saddam's weapons of mass destruction prevent Saddam from harboring al Qaeda terrorists liberate Iraqis like these very well liberated Iraqis:

Before the inevitable objections "but we didn't *intend* to kill little girls!", bullshit. When you choose to go to war, you choose to kill little girls. Period. To quote a man who knew war, "War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it". If you intend to go to war, you intend to kill little girls. Period. If you are not willing to kill little girls, then you are not willing to go to war. Those who chose to go to war -- which was some 65% of the American population in 2003 -- implicitly chose to kill little girls. They might claim that this is not what they chose, but they lie. You might as well appeal against the thunder-storm as against these terrible hardships of war. They are inevitable. Choose war, and you choose to kill little girls.

Four years later, little girls are still dying. As are American soldiers, but they are a tiny, tiny tiny percentage of the dead. Over 650,000 Iraqis have died over the past four years -- or more Iraqis than Saddam managed to kill in his entire 25 year reign. As a people we Americans focus on the dead American soldiers only because we are an ignorant, self-interested people who view anybody who is not American as untermenschen, inhuman, just two-legged cockroaches to be exterminated like vermin. As a people we are cruel and heartless towards anybody who isn't part of our own little enclave of hairless monkeys with delusions of grandeur. We are maliciously vindictive towards anybody who points out that we're just monkeys and no better than any other monkeys on this planet and that we're being cruel and vicious. And little girls still die. And little girls still die.

How many little girls will die before our leaders stop the war, which can only be done by admitting that it began in error and is perpetuated in pride? How many little girls must die before the piteous mewling of self-interest politicians more interested in political gamesmanship and bullshit do what's right instead of what's expedient? How many? And for what purpose?

"Freedom isn't free," the wingnuts cry. But it seems to me that it is the Iraqi people who are paying the price, especially the 50% of the Iraqi population that is below the age of 18. They are dying by the hundreds of thousands. They are paying the price. How dare we say that we should choose their deaths? Should not the price of freedom be one that the Iraqis themselves decide for themselves? But I forget, they are mere untermenchen, mud people, just filthy cockroaches. They cannot liberate themselves. They need fine white ubermenschen American GI's to do that.

And so they die. And so they die. For no purpose that anybody can tell me. Stop civil war? It's happening. Stop al Qaeda from setting up in Iraq? They're there. Stop ethnic cleansing? It's happening. Prevent a refugee crisis? It's happening. Even the "war for oil" reason, in the end, fails. There is no oil in Baghdad. Yet our soldiers fight and kill and die in Baghdad. For what reason, other than for the sake of ignorance and pride? How many more young girls must die, before we admit that the war was begun in error and perpetuated in pride, and bring the soldiers home?

The answer, sadly, is too many. Far too many. And the answer of the wingnuts is... clap louder. Ah yes. Clap louder. But this penguin, for one, is tired of clapping.

- Badtux the War Penguin

See the hate in their eyes...

I stumbled upon a Young Republican's site that I won't link to because frankly I don't feel like deleting his outraged spams. He had this picture of the 20 Percenters as they counter-protested at the Washington protest march.

The hate in their eyes is saddening to see. They have nothing left but their hate. Their Dear Leader's war has proven to be a disaster. The economy is in free fall as trillions of dollars of national wealth disappear into one big poof of housing price collapse. Their Dear Leader's administration is unraveling, and their homes are being repossessed. They have nothing, nothing at all. Nothing but their hate and rage that swirls through their tiny little minds like the red haze of a dying fire.

These poor pathetic losers in decrepit flyover states full of trailer parks and old people and dead dreams and lies have nothing left to contribute to the national discourse, yet they still show up to spread the hate and lies, like junkyard dogs who rush up to the gates of the junkyard to snarl and slather at passers by in full knowledge that they are caged animals and that the people passing before them are free. I pity them, in much the same way that I pity a junkyard dog that has been kicked and abused and turned mean. If one of them comes after my throat I will shoot him dead (remember, that's LIBERTARIAN, not LIBERAL), but that is merely what one does to an animal that is beyond salvation when there is no choice. As long as they continue to snarl and slather and glare hatefully from behind the bars of their virtual prison, a prison of the mind, pity is all they should get.

- Badtux the Observant Penguin

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Four years

One place where I can guarantee you will NOT find Dear Leader or his minions. Or, for that matter, any of the yellow-bellied chickenhawks such as Doughy Pantload or Blake Rebling or any of the other pundits, Young Republicans, etc. who got us into this war. It might disturb their beautiful mind.

I do suppose that the family of the deceased appreciates the fact that Dear Leader and his minions stay away, though. Maybe Dear Leader wasn't lying when he said he stayed away because the families didn't want him at the funerals...

- Badtux the Saddened Penguin

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Who was right and who was wrong

Juan Cole is widely considered by the wingnuts to be only a millimeter away from being a terrorist himself. Here is what he said on March 19, 2003:

I remain convinced that, for all the concerns one might have about the aftermath, the removal of Saddam Hussein and the murderous Baath regime from power will be worth the sacrifices that are about to be made on all sides. The rest of us have a responsibility to work to see that the lives lost are redeemed by the building of a genuinely democratic and independent Iraq in the coming years.

He was wrong. The building of a democratic and independent Iraq was never a reasonable or feasible goal as long as the overarching goal of making the Middle East safe for both Israel and for U.S. oil companies was a higher priority.

The late Molly Ivins was considered by the wingnuts to be some Commie who hated the troops. Here is what she said:

I assume we can defeat Hussein without great cost to our side (God forgive me if that is hubris). The problem is what happens after we win. The country is 20 percent Kurd, 20 percent Sunni and 60 percent Shiite. Can you say, "Horrible three-way civil war?" And as George W. Bush himself once said, "Unrest in the Middle East causes unrest throughout the region."

Right now she's standing at the Pearly Gates alongside the archangel Michael, looking down and lettin' loose with some of that salty Texas language that she loved so much because being right was the last thing she wanted in this case. I figure she isn't going to condescend to actually enter Heaven until the war is actually over and done or maybe not even until Dear Leader's soul is on that down escalator to get an eternal spanking by his spiritual daddy. Molly was kinda stubborn that way.

- Badtux the History Penguin

Four years ago today...

At 8:01pm Eastern Time, March 17, 2003, George W. Bush appeared on national television and told Saddam Hussein and his sons that he had 48 hours to leave Iraq. It was widely accepted that this meant that bombs would start falling in 48 hours, since the chances of some country granting a visa for Saddam and his sons within 48 hours was almost none.

The previous day, a young lady by the name of Rachel Corey was run over by an Israeli bulldozer for the crime of standing in front of a man's home. To this day the State of Israel has neither apologized nor even admitted that they have a policy of deliberately killing any protesters who attempt to prevent the demolition of Palestinian homes. Note that demolition of civilian homes by a military occupation is illegal under the Geneva Conventions, but those only apply to unseemly brown untermenschen, not to good white European Jews.

The two events are related only in that it is widely perceived in the Middle East that the invasion of Iraq was a war to make the Middle East safe for the State of Israel.

-- Badtux the History Penguin

Welcome to your new bedroom, child

This Iraqi child, standing in the rubble of her bedroom destroyed by American shells, isn't throwing flowers.

American soldiers justify themselves by saying "the terrorists hide amongst the people." Of course, the "terrorists" ARE the people of Iraq. They aren't "hiding" there. They live there.

Soldiers tell themselves what they have to tell themselves in order to stay alive. Soldiers tell themselves what they have to tell themselves to keep from going crazy. They tell themselves these things, but 25% of troops returning from Iraq suffer PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). They tell themselves they're killing "terrorists", but deep down inside, they know the truth. They can't hide from the truth. They live the truth, every day. And it chews them up inside.

I'd talk more, but American Idol is coming up. If I don't find out who Simon insults today, why... why... gosh, it'll be just the end of the world! We gotta have our priorities straight after all. Why should I bother my beautiful mind when none of my immediate family is in Iraq? It's time to clap harder, harder I say! Dear Leader says so, and Dear Leader loves me and wants only the best for me!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Friday, March 16, 2007

Feed me. Now.

The Mighty Fang prepares his glowing eye lasers of Forcing Penguin To Feed Me in preparation for the penguin opening the cabinet door beneath him, in which his tasty kitty food lives...

- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

The school of far, far away

Prestigious public school illegally gets rid of poorly performing students to raise its NCLB test scores.

Republican to English translation: "No Child Left Behind" = "Fuck the darkies." After all, the easiest way to raise your test scores is not via teaching better -- NCLB provides no money for teaching better, after all. No, the easiest way to raise your test score is to get rid of all those untermenschen -- the poor, the disabled, those who are, let us say, suspiciously dusky (horrors!). After all, if we educated them, why, they might even compete with OUR kids for those prestigious slots at the top ranked universities. Horrors!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The alarm clock for teenagers

Yes, an alarm clock that runs away, forcing you to play hide and seek to find the alarm clock to make it quit beeping at you.

The two most impressive things about this alarm clock:

  1. It got a PhD for its inventor, Gauri Nanda (it was his PhD project), and
  2. It won an igNobel Prize in Economics (after all, anybody chasing their alarm clock around is unlikely to be late to work due to oversleeping, and thus is going to be more productive!).
As for me, I have three alarm clocks -- one that beeps at me, and two that bat at my arms and face with their paws and yowl at the top of their lungs that it's time to feed them -- so I'll pass on young Nanda's invention... still, impressive. Way impressive.

- Badtux the Impressed Penguin

Chiquita + terrorists: BFF?

Hoo boy.

Remember, if we don't pay off the terrorists, the terrorists have won!

Although, given Chiquita's past history, it might just be birds of a feather flocking together... Chiquita + terrorists: Best Friends Forever?

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Reaming continues...

$3.20 per gallon for regular at my local gas station (which is one of the cheaper ones in the city).

Here is what I want to do to oil company executives: Too bad penguins can't fly, or I'd do it to their face rather than to their shoe :-(.

-- Badtux the Poopy Penguin

Note: For more about penguin defecation than you ever wanted to know, check out this igNobel-prize-winning paper...


Naked pictures of Ann Coulter are NOT located here. This is just a test to see whether I get lots of Google hits from perverts looking for nude pictures of Ann Coulter. Heck, let's throw in Michelle Malkin too. Don't get your nude pictures of Michelle Malkin here! Michelle Malkin nude pictures! Ann Coulter nude pictures! Everything not here!

What are you, some kinda *sicko* lookin' fer that kinda stuff here?!

-- Badtux the Hit-whoring Penguin

Not     Not
Ann Coulter Nude     Michelle Malkin Nude

What's wrong with this picture?

Let's say that you have a country. It's the most advanced country in the region, with a first-class medical system.

Let's say that your country was invaded four years ago, but now you're a government official for this country and say that everything's okay and back to normal.

Question: Where do you go to get treated if you have a medical condition?

Answer: Jordan.

Response of wingnuts: If the President of the United States had to fly to France for medical treatment because proper medical treatment was not available in his own country, that would be news. If the President of Iraq has to fly to Jordan because proper medical treatment was not available in his own country... err... Oh look! Over there! A stupid blond actress is having a baby! Woot!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

The Mighty Fang back from strike!

I'm not fat, I'm just big-boned!

Err, yeah, right, guy. Tell us another one. Oh well, glad you're no longer on strike!

- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

Nutritional crack

Little Caesar's Pizza opened an outlet three blocks from me. $5 for a hot pepperoni pizza, no waiting, any time of the day.

It's a conspiracy, a conspiracy I say, to increase this penguin's rotundity!

-- Badtux the More-rotund Penguin

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

General Pace clarifies morality for us

So, war is not immoral, lack of health care is not immoral, sending people to war who do not have adequate training or equipment is not immoral, sending sick and crippled soldiers back into battle is not immoral, having over 10% of new recruits being convicted criminals is not immoral, no, none of that is immoral. What is immoral is... guys who like guys or gals who like gals.

Seriously. That's what the General said! And not even Jesus's General -- we're talking about the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the big kahuna of generals.

Thank you, General Pace, for protecting us from that evil supervillain The Gay Agenda. I mean, do we *really* want someone in our military who looks like this? No no, we obviously must protect our brave men and women in uniform from that evil supervillain The Gay Agenda, because if we don't, he'll KILL THEM ALL with his rainbow-beamed Gay Ray Gun! After all, the real enemy of America isn't jihadis or terrorists or whatever. The real enemy of America is... err... gay people?

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Cross-posted over at the Mockingbird's Melody

Monday, March 12, 2007

Spring forward

This is the time of year where it is always a PITA to reset the clocks on the VCR, microwave, stove, stereo, etc. However, last fall I had a nifty idea: Why bother resetting those clocks? Since most of the year is spent on DST nowdays, why not just leave them set to DST? Just remember when I looked at them that they were an hour ahead!

So now all the clocks in my house all say the correct time again, and I didn't have to do a thing! No digging for the microwave manual and the stove manual and the stereo manual and etc. to figure out how to reset those clocks, just leave'em alone and presto!

Am I a genius, or what?

-- Badtux the Practical Penguin

Local warming

The scientists say that the globe is warming. I'm not going to comment on that other than to say that, as a penguin, it's not my place to say whether the globe is warming or not -- that's scientists' job. Rather, I'm going to talk about another issue: local warming.

Until fifteen years ago, air conditioning was almost unknown in the city where I live. Only large commercial buildings had air conditioning. Residential buildings had windows. You got hot, you open a window. Since the temperature rarely hit 80 degrees on summer afternoons, and was always 75 or less by bedtime, it worked fine.

These last fifteen years, however, have been a scorcher. Yesterday was bright, sunny, and ... 83F according to both the bank sign and the thermometer on the dashboard of my Jeep. Today is supposed to be even hotter. And it was only March 11, not July, not August. March. Not even freakin' *SPRING* yet. And I had to turn on my air conditioner to keep from stifling.

Global warming? I'll let the scientists make that call. All I'll say is that keeping my iceberg afloat seems like it's requiring an aweful lot more air conditioning than it used to...

-- Badtux the Overheated Penguin

"We called it Hurricane FEMA"

It turns out FEMA lied about conditions in a FEMA trailer park near New Orleans that they evacuated precipitously. They had told the press that they evacuated the park because of raw sewage and power outages. But it turns out that the reality was different: They decided to pack up and leave because of a contract dispute with the owner of the park.

Meanwhile, residents of FEMA parks have been given until August to find new housing. There is no new housing in the New Orleans area -- indeed, there has been a total of six hundred reconstruction grants given out thus far, far fewer than needed to rebuild the housing of the New Orleans area that was destroyed by Katrina -- so where do these people go? Well, they get ethnically cleansed to elsewhere, of course, since they are predominantly brown. How dare those nasty mud people expect the government to rebuild housing that was destroyed due to government incompetence! Why, next thing you know, they'll be expecting government to, like, provide fire and crime protection!

But of course they're just unseemly mud people, so nobody gives a shit...

Finally: Congratulations to St. Bernard Parish school superintendent Doris Voitier for winning the 2007 JFK Profiles in Courage Award for her actions in re-opening the St. Bernard Parish schools only months after Katrina hit. Thus far she's not in jail, despite her prediction that she would be. But I'm sure FEMA is working on that. Given the pace that FEMA works, though, I suspect Doris will die of old age first...

-- Badtux the "Racism? In America?" Penguin

Happy Birthday, Osama bin Laden

Yeppers, on March 10, you turned 50 years old. It took a little searching on Google Images, but I finally found a picture of your birthday party. It looks like you had a gay old time with your old buddy and pal George W. Bush (who says you're "Osama bin Forgotten" anyhow?!). What kind of cake was that? Anyhow, you're looking rather healthy, I guess all that time in a nice cushy Islamabad condo has been good for you! Good call to wear a suit to your birthday party instead of robes, robes look kinda funny when you're the guest of honor, so, how's it hangin'? Now, don't fret, 50 might be over the hill but there's still a long life ahead of you. Oh, I know, when Dear Leader said he'd get you "dead or alive" you might have worried. But really, c'mon, it's been over 5 years since you hit the World Trade Center and you're very much alive, why would you think you'd be any less alive tomorrow? I mean, c'mon. We only execute people who've never attacked America but who are sitting on lots of oil, people like this guy: You attacked America and you have no oil, so why would we want to kill you? I mean, it's like the most patriotic thing on earth to let people attack you and get away with it, right?

Anyhow, I'm sure ten years from now I'll be wishing you a happy sixtieth birthday, so anyhow, best of wishes to you and your buddy George. I hope you both kill yourselves, you murderous bastards.

- Badtux the Birthday Penguin

Sunday, March 11, 2007

To the folks in the next apartment over

If you're going to have loud energetic sex at 12:30am, could you at least move your bed away from the wall so it isn't going bump bump bump bump bump against the wall behind my head?

Thank you, this has been a public service from your neighbor the penguin.

-- Badtux the Woken Penguin

Saturday, March 10, 2007

What did I get right and what did I get wrong?

There's a blog-meme at the moment asking, "what did you blog about in the runup to the Iraq invasion and its immediate aftermath? Were you right, or wrong, in your predictions?"

So I went back to the archives of my old (now-offline) blog. And found a problem: I quit blogging between December 15 2002 and May 6 2003. Seems that my employer was going under at the time, and I was spending most of my time trying to bail them out. (They eventually went under altogether on June 15 2003, which I knew on May 6 when their May 1 SEC filing hit the SEC web site and basically said they were out of money, which is when I quit bailing and started waiting for the layoff notice).

Never fear, though. I did find the following on another forum: It appears I was pretty unconvinced about weapons of mass destruction.

Feb 10, 2003
>> Have the yanks
>> really found dangerous sites in Iraq that warrent destroying,
> Yup.
>>and if so
>> why haven't the weapons inspectors been sent there?
> They have, Eddy, they have.

And found nothing. Not a single biological warfare spore, not a single molecule of nerve gas. The most frightening thing the inspectors have found is a bunch of aging, rusty missile warheads that could be used to carry nerve gas or spores, but said warheads are not themselves a 'weapon of mass destruction'.

The Bush Administration's response appears to be to accuse the weapons inspectors of collusion with Iraq, basically stating that Iraq is getting a tipoff from within the weapons inspectorate as to what's about to be inspected.

If the U.S. is going to go to war with Iraq over weapons of mass destruction, I'd like to at least *SEE* one, being held up to the cameras by a U.N. weapons inspector or by a U.S. Army Ranger acting in support of the U.N weapons inspectorate (by, e.g., sequestering a site before the inspectors arrive). Right now all we've heard is rumor and innuendo, with not a single actual WMD found.

So it seems that, in the absence of, like, actual weapons of mass destruction, that I wasn't going to believe in weapons of mass destruction. As we all know, there were no weapons of mass destruction, so I was right to not believe in them.

What about an Iraq/al Qaeda connection? What did I think then? Seems I was pretty damned skeptical about that too:

Mar 20 2003, 6:23 pm
> You seem to have missed the part where he's been working with al Qaeda
> operatives in the north, best get some education son.

Saddam isn't in control in the north, idiot. Two Kurdish groups split control of the north. Saddam had to put four divisions of his regular Army just south of the Kurdish-controlled areas just to keep them from rolling into Baghdad. Hell, according to John Pike's, Saddam has more divisions facing off the Kurds in the North than facing off the Americans in the South!

So I dig around. What did I think was going to be the outcome of the war? Combining a post from April 1 and from April 3, we have this:

The eventual outcome (the toppling of Saddam's power) is not in doubt, though Saddam may do an Osama bin Laden and "disappear" to become a hidden hero of the Resistance. The aftermath... well, that's what I fear. I don't see much good waiting there.

The military will do its part. Saddam's military will be destroyed. Then comes the hard part: Winning the peace.

The only questions remaining, now, are how many Iraqi civilians we "liberate" by sending them on to the afterlife, and how many American GI's die from suicide bombings and snipers after we install our puppet government, and how many decades our troops will have to stay in Iraq to keep our puppet government in power.

Well, our troops have been in Iraq for four years thus far keeping our puppet government in power, though our puppets are not behaving well lately... we'll have to see how well that plays out. Will we be in Iraq for "decades" as I predicted? We'll find out, I suppose. The Iraqis seem to mostly be using IED's against GI's, not suicide bombings and snipers, but the effect is the same as what I predicted - most GI's getting killed after the conquest of Iraq, not during the conquest. We've "liberated" over half a million Iraqis by sending them on to the afterlife, mission fucking accomplished I suppose, so that prediction of mine was correct too. And my prediction that the peace was going to be the hard part... well, we know the validity of that prediction too, right?

What was I wrong about? Not a hell of a lot. I expected Saddam to pull his soldiers back into the cities and force us to pound the cities into rubble, not that this would have changed the eventual outcome, but it would have made things a bit messier. That didn't happen, thankfully -- Saddam apparently figured out we would kill as many civilians as necessary to topple his government, and decided to fade to guerilla activity instead, which eventually failed because Saddam was the second-most-hated man in Iraq by that time (the most hated man in Iraq being, of course, George W. Bush). But that is the *only* major thing I was wrong about, and really it wasn't all that major, the overall outcome is the same as what I predicted -- victory in war, but the peace being a bitch with our troops being required to prop up one puppet government after another, possibly for decades.

So, given that I was right and every single right-wing pundit, politician, blogger and commentator was wrong, why should I listen to them? More importantly, why should *anybody* listen to them? How can anybody listen to someone who has been proven wrong so many times? This penguin has no idea, other than that monkeys are stupid. But that's hardly a satisfying answer, given that monkeys rule the world...

-- Badtux the Memory Penguin

Every Child Left Behind

Can we just quit with this crap of giving a shit, as a nation, about children? Because the stranded children of New Bedford show it obviously is not true. As do the blood-spattered children of Iraq. And a kid cracks and kills her abusive alcoholic mother? Why, it's all the girl's fault, and nothing to do with the fact that social service agencies didn't do anything to help her. It's not about me, so why should I care, right?

Face facts: We, as a nation, don't give a shit about children. We don't give a shit about anything other than our fat narcissistic deranged ignorant asses and our own spoiled rotten selfish violent idiot spawn. Caring about others would require having, like, empathy and the ability to think beyond "me good! Me great! Me love me!". Fuck that shit, this is the United States of Fuckin' America, fuck you, and fuck everybody else, it's all about ME ME ME ME ME!!!!

Shit. This is the kind of crap that makes me feel like burning a fucking American flag. It seems we're devolving into the most stupid, vicious, jackbooted goddamned savages on the whole fucking planet nowdays. I mean, you go into a factory and round up a hundred women and jail them, what fucking moran CAN'T figure out that hey, these women probably have KIDS at SCHOOL and what the fuck do we do about the kids? What kind of fucking moran can't figure out that if you drop bombs on a nation where 50% of the population is under the age of 18, you're going to be killing children left and right? But this is the United States of Fucking Don't Give A Fucking Shit, Dear Leader gave us our goddamned marching orders, so we put on our fucking brown shirts and go HEIL HEIL HEIL! Fuck the little children up the fuckin' ASS, fuck YEAH, USA USA USA USA!!!

-- Badtux the Rude Penguin

Are we getting fucking outrage fatigue yet? FUCK NO. I ain't even *started* gettin' outraged at the stupid, idiotic, fucking EVIL crap goin' down right now...

Clashing styles

Unintentionally hilarious headline: "Brazil police clash with protesters demonstrating against Bush visit".

Uhm, yeah. Hasn't anybody ever told the Brazil police that blue-grey really, really does NOT go with green and yellow? The Brazil police need to get those Queer Eye guys to come in and give them a fashion makeover, sheesh! Although I must admit that the jaunty beret certainly gives this fine example of Brazil police-dom a rather dashing look, wot? But what's with the motorcycle helmet worn by the cop in the background? Quite unfashionable, that!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Friday, March 09, 2007

Quote of the day

General Tony McPeak (retired), Member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during Oil War I in 1991-1992, about the aftermath of Dear Leader's little war to liberate Iraq's oil:

McPeak: The worst case? Iraq's Sunnis begin to be backed into a corner, then the Sunni governments -- Jordan, Saudi Arabia -- jump in. Israel sees that it's threatened by these developments. Once the Israelis get involved, then everybody piles on. And you've got nuclear events going off in the Middle East. That would be about as bad as it could get.

Let's hope General McPeak is wrong...

-- Badtux the Alarmed Penguin

Louisiana now almost Annthrax-free

From Media Matters I learn that the last two major dailies in Louisiana who were carrying Annthrax's newspaper column have dropped her column, thus leaving only the tiny wingnut-run Bastrop Daily Enterprise, with a total circulation of 5800 (total Louisiana population is around 4,500,000), as the only newspaper in Louisiana carrying Annthrax's column. OUCH! That's gotta hurt!

Louisiana, I gotta say I'm proud of you. Now go check out Media Matter's list above, and see if you can get *your* state Annthrax-free!

-- Badtux the Louisiana Penguin

Friday Guest Cat Blogging

Mencken and The Mighty Fang went on strike this week. I pulled out my camera and tried to take a picture of Mencken on top of the kitchen cabinets, but a) he started running like a scalded cat to get away from my evil camera, and b) I forgot to put a memory card into the camera before I started trying to get cat pictures, so the camera just started flashing its lights at me anyhow. Once I found a memory card and inserted it, Mencken was gone. I don't know where, but gone. And The Mighty Fang had seen fit to abscond also, leaving me standing in the middle of my apartment with a camera but no cats to photograph. Maybe they didn't like getting poked with needles at the kitty doctor and are punishing me. Hmm.

So instead, I have a guest cat, Fred The Cat, the cat that owns Pissed Off Patricia. Fred is a very wise and dignified cat. Read Fred's comparison of conditions for veterans at Walter Reed with the conditions for cats at Little Feet Veterinary Hospital. Sadly, it appears that cats get better care than wounded veterans... what does that say about our national priorities?

Of course, I'm sure Fred, Fang, and Mencken would all agree that cats are better than people thus it is only right that cats should get better medical care. But they're cats. They have brains the size of walnuts. People are supposed to be smarter than that -- but apparently aren't. Alas.

-- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Gettin' Raped

Day before yesterday, gas was $3.01 per gallon here. Last night, it was $3.05 per gallon. I hate to see what it'll be tonight. I wouldn't mind so much if all these billions were going into some fund to create an alternative to oil. But they aren't. The oilmen are raking it in and piling it up. Which goes to show that oil and the open market don't work once we're past peak oil, which we probably are.

If there was someone making, say, widgets, and piling in billions in profits, someone else would start making widgets too. But ain't nobody makin' no more oil. What we've got, is what we've got. And the alternative energy guys still aren't getting enough money to come up with some viable alternative to oil. It'd be easy enough to do -- just whack an oil windfall profits tax on the oil companies. But it ain't happenin'.

Gotta go, gotta get dressed in all my motorcycle duds to get 50+mpg on my morning commute...

-- Badtux the Raped Penguin

Should we just ignore Man Coulter

That's what Jersey Guy over at Alternate Brain suggests. Man Coulter wants attention? Fine. Let's all ignore her, and she goes away.

But I gotta disagree. Man Coulter don't give a shit if those of us in the reality-based community ignore him or not. On the edge of every lynch mob, you got some smirking evil ratbastard egging it on, until the lynch mob breaks through the doors of wherever, grab whoever their target is, and tears the poor victim of the lynch mob to pieces. And the evil ratbastard doesn't actually get any blood on his own hands, he just stands by and smirks as other people do evil for him. Evil Accomplished. Man Coulter is one of those evil ratbastards.

Now, if nobody actually listened to Man Coulter, if Man Coulter was just wandering in circles in the public square muttering "invade their countries, kill their leaders, convert them to Christianity" and everybody avoided him, that'd be one thing. But Man Coulter is widely loved in the moran community where he stands there in the public square shouting "Kill the raghead! Kill the liberal! Rape the Democrat!" and the morans standing around cheer and say shit like "Fuck yeah!" and "USA! USA! USA!" and somebody has to stand up to the ratbastard and say "Excuse me, but that's fuckin' NUTS".

The only way to stop a lynch mob - the ONLY way - is for men of good will to gather around and remind people that the evil ratbastard who's egging them on is, well, a fucking evil ratbastard. Simply ignoring the evil ratbastard won't stop the lynch mob. We've tried that before. It don't work. But when directly challenged, evil ratbastards will often slink away and if you do it enough, the evil ratbastard ends up bein' that wino in the public square muttering "invade their countries, kill their leaders, convert them to Christianity" while even morans avoid the reeking stench of sour wine and evil.

So no sir, I ain't takin' your advice to ignore Man Coulter. Evil ratbastards like him don't go away just because you ignore them. They just gather together a lynch mob of morans that then sweeps up otherwise normal citizens into its crusade to kill, kill, kill, kill, kill. Crap, isn't Dear Leader's holy war in Iraq proof enough of that?! Or as 18th century philosopher Edmund Burke probably didn't say, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing". That appears to be the advice here, and it is not advice that in my opinion is wise or warranted.

- Badtux the Rude Sociology Penguin

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Gay Penguin Conspiracy

OMG, The Gay Agenda got my cousin Tux!

- Badtux the "They're getting personal, now!" Penguin

Gay Agenda sighting!

Yes, that mighty supervillain The Gay Agenda, with his Gay Ray Gun of Gayness that he is going to use to shoot all our masculine boys and feminine girls and turn them into girly-men and manly girls, has been sighted AGAIN by those brave patriots of the Christian News Service, who, braving the risks of carpal tunnel syndrome or being affected by stray Gay Rays shot from the Gay Agenda's Gay Ray Gun, bravely read an AP news article about a speech at a gay rights convention! And now we find out that The Gay Agenda has a boss: Hillary Rodham Clinton, who, these brave patriots tell us, is running as the first gay President (gasp!). Well, I guess since her husband ran for office as the first black President there is a precedent... still, who would have thunk it that The Gay Agenda had a female boss? This penguin is aghast, aghast I say! Oh Gay Agenda, how could you have let us manly men err penguins down like that?!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

The jihadis are getting desperate...

I hate to see what will happen if they get any more desperate. 30 Iraqis dead, 3 Americans dead in one bombing attack? But hey, I'm sure a school got painted somewhere today in Iraq, why isn't the liberal media covering that!?

Oh look, over there! It's a diaper-wearing astronaut! Nothing to see here, move along...

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Carrying my kitties to the kitty doctor

Wish me luck. If you don't hear from me, watch for news reports of a Jeep found mysteriously sitting by the side of the road with two very satisfied looking cats and a lot of penguin feathers.

-- Badtux the "They don't like kitty doctors!" Penguin

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Evil lurks

What evil lurks atop the kitchen cabinets? OMG, it's The Mighty Fang!

- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

Monday, March 05, 2007

When Johnny Came Marching Home (David Rovics)

Let nobody say that the Iraq War has not produced protest songs of note...

Also check out his web site.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Support Our Troops

Until they get wounded, that is. At that point, we fuck'em in every orifice of their body by denying them the 30% disability rating needed to qualify for Tricare (the military health plan for active duty and retirees) rather than the perpetually underfunded VA system.

The next time I see some rat-fucking bastard with one of those yellow ribbons on his fat-assed SUV, I’m going to take printouts of these two stories, smash in the driver’s side window, put these on the front seat, and spray paint on the door “So when are you going to start supporting the troops, motherfucker?!”. Okay, maybe not. But look, us “lefties” (term in quotes, because as a rational Libertarian I’m about as “lefty” as Barry Goldwater, but whatever) have been raising cain for the past four years that the Bush Administration has been shitting on our veterans and the response of the Freeper yellow ribbon crowd? “You’re just being a hypocrit, if you really cared about our troops you’d support dear leader’s war!”

What the fuck does support or not of Dear Leader’s war have to do with it? We ought to be giving these poor kids the best care we can for as long as they need it, fuck the budget, do what’s RIGHT not what’s CHEAP. But the Freepi just whine “you’re trying to make Dear Leader look bad!” whenever you point that out. Excuse me? What does motivation have to do with it? Right is right, and saying “I won’t listen to you because I don’t like what you’re saying or why you’re saying it!” is the act of, well, a fucking MORON.

What’s the Freepi response to all this:

“Dana Priest=traitor.”

For real!

@#$. Dammit, these right wing rat bastards are turning me into a clone of the Rude Pundit and giving me a blood pressure of 240 over 160…

The only good news is that now that Democrats are in charge in Congress, the so-called-liberal “mainstream” press can finally start covering stories that we’ve been covering in the “alternative” press (places like, Raw Story, Capitol Hill Blues, etc.) for literally years. Yeah, we got a free press here in the United States. And somehow, they always seem to report whatever the ruling party wants them to report (SNORT!).

– Badtux the Rude Penguin

Republican Culture of Life at work again

I've been wondering what to say about a 12 year old kid dying because we as a society were too cheap to spend $80 on a basic medical procedure. But then Coyote Angry (going onto my blogroll) pretty much nailed it: This is just the whole Republican Culture of Life thingy in a nutshell.

Remember, Republican Jesus* says, "Suffer the little children, for they are worthless after being born." Republican Jesus says, "Begrudge the poor your money, for the poor are just untermenschen and should be exterminated anyhow." Republican Jesus drives the biggest baddest Cadillac Escalade around to attend anti-abortion ralleys, then goes home to a house that's four times as large as ordinary people's houses to prepare his next speech saying how everybody needs to give Republican Jesus more money while poor people in New Orleans are evicted from their homes after their original homes were destroyed because Republican Jesus has spent the past seventy years preaching that the government should not spend Republican Jesus's money on those levees to make them safe. Republican Jesus loves life, as long as life is unborn. The moment that squalling little pupae makes it out of that woman's glory hole, though, it's every child for itself. Remember: Republican Jesus says selfishness is good, greed is the only moral value, and the only life worth anything is unborn life.

And people just LURRRRVE that Republican Jesus. They can't get enough of him. He's not some wimp Jesus preaching about caring for others. He's not some pussy Jesus saying that we should provide basic universal health care to all Americans because, well, it's the right thing to do, to save people's lives by providing basic health care to all (nevermind the economic arguments for universal healthcare, the very fact that we even have to talk about the economic arguments shows just where Republican Jesus's priorities lie). No, Republican Jesus is the kind of Jesus that a lot of people prefer to worship. Like them, he's shallow, greedy, venal, narcissistic, self-interested, loves money, and otherwise an expression of modern American values.

So remember, boys and girls, let's all give a hip hip hoorah for Republican Jesus and the Republican Culture of Life that he represents. Republican culture of Life: Offer void after birth. Batteries not included. Offer may not be combined with any other offer. Have a happy day, sucker!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

* Republican Jesus(tm) is an unregistered trademark of Jesus's General

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Back from backpacking

How does a penguin hike, you ask? Well, in this case, thanks to New Balance trail runners. New Balance makes shoes in a bunch of different widths, including "flipper feet wide".

Here is this penguin's portable iceberg, nicely appointed (click for bigger pic):

Now, it occurs to this penguin that he has been somewhat remiss in his cat blogging. Indeed, both the curmudgeonly Mencken and the mighty Fang have bitterly complained that this penguin is ignoring them in favor of those nasty "politician" people. Thus I shall rectify that problem: Hmm. That doesn't look like a cat. Let's try that again: Darn, that doesn't look like a cat either! Let me try this one last time...

Ah yes... the curmudgeonly Mencken simply cannot maintain his usual disdainful posture when there's an ear-rub to be found...

And that is all from my iceberg for this Sunday. Hope your weekend was as pleasant as mine!

-- Badtux the Backpacking Penguin

Friday, March 02, 2007

What can we do about out-of-control schools?

That is a question asked by The Quaker Agitator. I have some answers. Not answers that he, as a practitioner of non-violence, is likely to agree with, but answers.

  1. Acknowledge that for a significant number of students, the correct environment is more akin to a juvenile detention center than to a traditional school. This isn't a popular notion, but I should not have been required to teach students who had probation officers due to having committed violent crimes. Neither my principal nor myself had the training nor the backup personnel or facilities available to deal with violent criminals. These students need to be in a more institutional setting where there are personnel trained to deal with violent criminals and "timeout cells" available for removing violent criminals to spend time if they disrupt a class. They don't need to be in neighborhood schools where they disrupt the education of children who wish to learn.
  2. Fix the system of discipline for special education students. The current system gives perverse incentives to principals to refuse to discipline said students, because if the student is suspended or expelled the district is require to provide home schooling for the student, and the money to do so is taken directly out of the school's budget. With 20% of students now "officially" being classified as ADHD, there is a hard core of "special ed" students who will basically tell you, as a teacher, "you can't discipline me" -- and they're right.
  3. Fix the system for financing schools. Right now, schools are financed on either a per-pupil or average-daily-attendance basis depending upon the state. This gives a principal a perverse incentive to not expel (or in ADA states suspend) a violent student, because if he expels a violent student, he loses money for educating the kid. Losing $6,000 out of the school's budget due to expelling a single student might mean, for example, that the school is no longer able to purchase toner for the copiers, we're talking a big deal here. Principals should continue to receive money for students who've been expelled or suspended due to discipline infractions.
  4. Fix the basis for assessing principals' performance in the discipline arena. Discipline assessment should not be done by counting up the number of suspensions and expulsions and patting the principals on the head if they have fewer suspensions and expulsions than their peers. Assessment of principals should be done by, for example, issuing survey forms to teachers where said survey forms are then turned in anonymously so that they cannot be tracked to a particular teacher (otherwise retaliation becomes an issue). Principals should not be rewarded for ignoring discipline problems, but currently they are.
  5. Quit deferring to criminal parents. I'm serious. There are a significant number of parents who have been convicted of violent crimes, who are currently drug abusers, or otherwise not suited to make any sort of positive contribution to the education of their children. Yet when their child is disciplined, they are quick to come to the defense of their child in ways both legal and non-legal, both with threats of violence (mock drive-by shootings are quite effective there) and with threats of legal action. In many cases the principal and school administrators back down. Instead, those parents need to be arrested for making threats, and there should be mandatory jail time for threatening school personnel, rather than the current situation where at best a judge will fuss at them and fine them. Violence is one area where I support the notion of zero tolerance.
  6. Require local police departments and judges to properly protect schools from violent criminals. Often local police departments simply refuse to respond when a principal or teacher calls them due to violent crime happening on-campus, basically saying "none of our business." But violence is the reason police departments exist in the first place. If a student is behaving in a violent manner, the police need to respond, and if they do not, there needs to be a legal infrastructure in place so that top police department personnel can be punished for refusing to respond.
  7. End the War on Drugs. The War on Drugs rewards kids for violent behavior, as they use violence to defend their "turf" from others who would sell drugs in that neighborhood. Often this violent behavior is brought into the schools themselves. We need to quit rewarding violence.
Some of these are going to be controversial. The notion that children can be violent criminals who need to be treated like violent criminals, for example, is offensive to many people who insist that children are innocents and not capable of evil. But reality doesn't care about us being offended. Reality simply is.

Chances of ANY of this happening? None. Nada. No way. Everybody prefers to simply stick their head in the sand and refuse to admit we have a problem with violence in our schools. Far, far better to ignore the problem than admit that it is a problem, and that we're going to have to spend time, effort, and money implementing often-controversial proposals in order to solve it. And so it goes here in the United States of Delusion, where reality is something that other people worry about...

-- Badtux the Former Teacher Penguin