Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Fifty Shots

I haven't posted on the Sean Bell shooting verdict, where four cops (two black) were acquitted of murder in a case where they killed an unarmed man and wounded two of his friends. Bell's family demands that those responsible for their son's death be punished. The problem is, if that's what justice is, the problem isn't four cops. The problem is visible in the mirror every morning.

The problem, in essense, is that America has become a nation of cowards. Virtually each and every one of us demands safety at all points in our daily lives. We cower in terror of dusky black people who want to kill us, dusky brown people overseas who want to kill us, we demand ever more and better safety equipment to be imposed on everybody to protect everybody from harm, we have, in essence, become the most pussified nation on the planet. Oh yes, there are exceptions, like random motorcycle-riding desert penguins and folks who volunteer to join the U.S. Army knowing that people are going to shoot at them. But by and large, we have become a nation of spineless invertebrates with all the backbone of a jellyfish.

And so we demand that our police forces punish more and more of those brown people who scare us. Worse yet, we join police forces and are ourselves scared by brown people and do whatever it takes to eliminate even the slightest possibility that we might actually be injured or even killed while doing our job. Even those of us who are brown. And so you get a case where an undercover cop misheard something, thought Bell was going for a gun, and opened fire and his backup thinking Bell was firing themselves opened fire, and a man is dead and four cowards are charged with being cowards for, well, doing what pretty much any of us in Spineless America would have done if we were armed with a gun and a get-out-of-jail-free card entitled "I thought he had a gun". After all, why wait until you're sure he has a gun? Then he might shoot you!

So I view the whole Sean Bell thing as sort of a microcosm of the nation as a whole, shooting the wrong people out of fear that some day, some how, they might shoot us first. Sean Bell died for the same reason that a million Iraqis have died -- because America is, at its very essence, today a nation of cowards. We've been too fat, too complacent, too... bought... for too long, and have let it go to our heads to the point where each and every one of us believes we are the most important person on the planet, much too important to do anything risky like, well, verify that Saddam has no WMD or Sean Bell has no gun. So all I can do is shake my head at the Sean Bell verdict. Those four cops who thought their own safety was more important than Sean Bell's safety should not be police officers, they should be sandwich artists or soda jerks or someplace where being scared all the time isn't a professional liability, but if we are to send everyone to jail who is responsible for the death of Sean Bell, that's gonna be a whole lot of barbed wire... and the streets of America would be strangely quiet, until the day that the forests took them back over and the sound of birds and animals at play reclaimed their ruins.

-- Badtux the Saddened Penguin

Cross-posted at Mockingbird's Medley

A catblogging interlude

Because I don't feel well enough to give you my usual prime plate of herring, I decided to post one of my rare pictures of both of my cats together. Here are The Mighty Fang and Mencken in all their glory. Hmm, well I guess they're under there somewhere!

Yes, TMF got his quilt back, and apparently has introduced Mencken to its wonders.

-- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

PS - if you wonder "hey, where does the penguin sleep if the cats are taking up pretty much all the bed?", well, yeah, that does present a bit of a problem...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Ah bwee thick as a dwawg

Just finished filling up my trash can with snotty tissue papers. I didn't know it was possible for one person to drool so much snot out of his nose. Gah, my nose feels like a friggin' fire hose and my head is pounding too!

So if I didn't post today, know that I didn't do much besides blow snot out of my nose today. Grrr.

-- Badtux the Feelin'blah Penguin

Monday, April 28, 2008

It's Santa Cruz, dude!

From Craigslist:

Charming one bedroom cottage on acreage, pets OK.

Cozy, artistic, woodsy with beautiful decks and awesome views. Sunny, open, redwoods, garden space. Rural and secluded, yet only 5 minutes to downtown Santa Cruz or Scotts Valley.

Bedroom, living room, bathroom with claw-foot tub, full kitchen – well insulated and well heated with two efficient propane wall heaters. Approx. 600 square feet plus two decks. The space is best suited for a single person or a close couple.

The cottage is a private separate unit next to the main house, which is round. The photo shows the cottage in front of the main round house and some of the views.

We're open to well-behaved dogs and cats, who love it here.

$1,250. per month rent, plus utilities, plus $1,500. security deposit.

Absolutely no tobacco smoking and no marijuana growing, thank you.

That last sentence is just so absolutely necessary when we're talking about Santa Cruz :-).

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Green Zone is under seige

Dozens of mortar shells fall on Green Zone. Ah yes, the mighty, mighty Surge at work, with an erect member held up in response to U.S. claims of victory. So Baghdad is apparently secured. In some alternative universe. Mishion acomplished!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Recruiting Jim Bob to watch for terrierists

The deal is that apparently the Department of Homeland Security and Subversion Suppression hath decided small boats are a potential terrier menance and thus Jim Bob in his Bass Master 2000 ought to be on the lookout for them. As Blue Girl puts it: " think that Joe Blow in his boat, along with his idiot brother-in-law Bob and his buddy Skeeter from work--who are usually four sheets to the wind and barely able to handle creating a wake in the wrong area--are the first line of defense against anything other than a shortage of empty beer cans in the water is pushing it."

Alrighty, then!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Mishion Acomplished in Afghanistan

Taliban attacks Karzai's victory parade, almost take out the Mayor of Kabul President of Afghanistan.

Especially hilarious were the photos in my local fishwrap, which show "soldiers" of the Afghan "army" running screaming like little girls for cover in the face of Taliban fire, having dropped their weapons. These are the brave souls who are gonna stand up so we can stand down? Fuhgettabout it!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

A high-tech Jim Crow

"Get back to the back of the bus", the Supreme Court rules in a shameful decision reminiscent of Plessey V. Ferguson, the ruling which allowed legal apartheid and legalized discrimination against blacks in America for over 50 years. In this case, the Supreme Court rules that it is lawful to force people to pay a "poll tax" in order to vote (note that they hide this by saying "legal picture ID", but since those cost a fair amount of money nowdays due to the Real ID laws, the end result is the imposition of a poll tax). In other words, only people with money are allowed to vote in the brave new world that is Soviet America. Which I suppose is getting back to the original intent of the founding fathers, who only allowed people with property to vote, but then the founding fathers also allowed slavery so "original intent" is hardly a guide to what is morally correct...

But then, as some folks are fond of pointing out, law has become completely disconnected from morality in this country and has become just another set of random arbitrary rules to excuse the imposition of State power upon the citizenry and, especially, upon the poor, who must be kept "in their place" lest they demand a seat at the table of American plenty and thereby imperil rule of the people, by the oligarchs, for the oligarchs. Not that this has ever been any different. As was observed in the 1890's, the most impressive attribute of the law is "the majestic quality of the law which prohibits the wealthy as well as the poor from sleeping under the bridges". But at least we at once pretended to have law that was fair and equitable.

The problem is that this perversion of the law to serve a small and wealthy elite is not a sustainable model for the law in the end. The whole point of having this "law" thing is to set down a set of rules that the vast majority of people agree are reasonable and proper. Rule of law, as vs. rule of mob, can exist only insofar as a general consensus exists that rule of law is a reasonable and fair way of organizing a society. If you keep passing senseless and arbitrary laws that punish large classes of people, eventually you erode rule of law, and end up impoverishing the nation because rule of law is necessary before people are willing to invest in a nation. After all, if anything you create via a large investment can be seized arbitrarily by the local oligarch or strongman without recourse to a workable rule of law, why would you invest in a new innovation?

But then, the tighty righties have never been particularly smart, and are so focused on short-term gains to be obtained via disenfranchising voters and imposing arbitrary laws that allow them to loot the nation that they don't see that they're shooting themselves in the foot. The inevitable outcome of their policies is your typical Latin American banana republic, with a small wealthy aristocracy that can barely maintain their lifestyles because the nation has become so impoverished from their looting of the economy. That is the future of America too, if this goes on.

-- Badtux the Socio-economic Penguin

Israel cuts off last food supply for Gaza

U.N. forced to halt food aid shipments into Gaza.

As Jimmy Carter pointed out earlier, and as I verified earlier, Gaza was already getting only 66% of the calories needed for long-term survival, and over 3/4ths of all children showed signs of malnutrition. And that was before the food cut-off. It appears that the Final Solution to the Palestinian problem in Gaza is underway, Olmert's blathering about "of course we don't want a humanitarian crisis" nonwithstanding.

Y'know, what puzzles me is why Israel doesn't just do a normal bit of ethnic cleansing (normal for the region, that is) instead of this slow genocide shit. It's not as if their reputation could get any lower. You don't see it here in the U.S. media (or in the Israeli media, for you Mossad types reading this), but everywhere else in the world you see a constant stream of bloody pictures of dead or severely injured Palestinian children hit by Israeli bombs and missiles and bullets because, duh, a bomb or missile or bullet that misses its target (and not ALL bombs and missiles and bullets can be 100% accurate) doesn't ask, "are you an innocent child?", before it does its deed. The only way that Israel could have a lower reputation in most of the world would be if they started serving roast Palestinian with vegetables in their fine hotels (mmm, long pig!).

Gaza and the West Bank were both ceded to Israel as part of their respective peace treaties with Jordan and Egypt, so there's really no legal reason why Israel couldn't just send in the troops and shove out every man woman and child who's not an Israeli citizen across the nearest border like they did in Haifa when they wanted a port and those non-European wogs were in the way. Well, except for the fact that the Egyptians and Jordanians don't want the Palestinians either, but Israel has never particularly cared what Egypt or Jordan wants anyhow, and it's not as if Egypt or Jordan is going to go to war against Israel over the issue, they have their own problems right now -- Egypt is struggling against fundamentalist sects while trying to get enough economic growth to bring up its standard of living, Jordan is groaning under the weight of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees. It would totally suck to be a Palestinian forced out of your home at gunpoint, but shit, it's gotta beat starving to death in what has basically become Auschwitz South.

So it goes. I haven't the slightest foggiest idea why the hell anybody is doing anything in that region anymore (including the U.S., BTW), except that they're all fucking batshit crazy and there just isn't any sense to it. When Jordan and Syria are the bastions of sanity in the region, that's when you know we've gone through the looking glass into Bizarro World...

-- Badtux the Head-shaking Penguin

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Disabled War Veteran Porn

Lately I've noticed an interesting bit of pro-war propaganda hitting our newsstands. I'll call it "disabled war veteran porn", because that's what it is -- porn, just glossy images that in no way reflect reality.

Now, here's how it works. You get this war veteran who had shit blown off of him. Maybe his legs got blown off, or his arms, whatever. So here comes the porn part -- the inevitable story where some dude who got shit blown off of him is playing lacrosse, or running a race, or climbing Everest, or some shit like that. And then the American sheeple nod and say to themselves, "see, getting your legs blown off in war isn't such a bad thing after all! What a brave man" and go fucking shopping instead of doing something to end an illegal-ass war that's accomplishing nothing except educating a buncha goddamned jihadis in how to kill Americans, and killing and disabling a shitload of people who ain't done nothing wrong other than have the bad luck to be in the way of bombs or bullets intended for someone else.

Let me educate you on something here. That dude isn't playing lacrosse or climbing Everest or whatever because he's "a brave man" or some shit. He's doing it because the alternative is blowing his fucking brains out. Because when you're missing a piece of your body, that's it. You're never gonna have it again. And you goddamn well know it when you get out of bed every morning, you know that a piece of you is gone and it ain't ever fucking gonna come back. So either you whimper and whine, or you live the best way you can with what you got left and do what you fucking gotta do to keep yourself from blowing your fucking head off. And we're tough monkeys, so most of us don't eat a barrel. But I assure you, I might go off hiking in the middle of a goddamned wilderness even though I'm missing part of my foot, but I damn well know I'm missing part of my foot. And it ain't comin' back. But I do what I do, and what I can't do, I don't do, or I figure some other way to do it. That's just how it fucking works.

So next time you see one of those feel-good disabled war porn stories in the media, remember the real story -- the story of some poor bastard who is never, ever going to be the same person he was before he ended up in the cat box getting pieces of himself blown up, and all the brave-ass goddamned feel-good stories in the media ain't gonna get him whole again and he fucking goddamned well knows it even if the average American is too goddamned stupid and apathetic to know or give a shit. You see some disabled veteran climbing goddamned Everest or running a race or whatever bullshit the media is pumping at ya, remember this: you're looking at a dude who is doing that because the alternative is eating a bullet. No more, no less. But it ain't ever going to make him whole again, and he's never going to wake up the same person that he was five years ago. Never. Regardless of how many goddamned feel-good stories get written about his ass.

-- Badtux the Rude Penguin

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Thought for the day

A person who believes any politician also probably believes in the Tooth Fairy.

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Friday, April 25, 2008

I be a'playin' wit me template

I decided on a three-column look. We'll see how it goes. So don't be surprised if your colors keep changing and things keep moving around on the sidebars!

-- Badtux the Blogging Penguin

More on nuclear reactors in Syria

The notion that anybody in this day and age can build a nuclear plant in secret is just ludicrous. The North Koreans didn't do it, the Pakistanis didn't do it, the Iranians haven't managed to keep their nuclear facilities secret, Israel wants to believe their nuclear facilities are secret but everybody knows about them anyhow. Everybody and their brother keeps close tabs on any technology that can be used to build nuclear power plants. Even the North Koreans had to import most of the stuff for their power plants, and Syria is just as dirt-poor as North Korea and has even less industry -- poorer, maybe, because at least North Korea gets cash for their missiles and nuclear technology, while all Syria gets is bribes to let Hizballah rockets pass through their territory to Lebanon.

But, could it have happened for the first time ever? Well, thanks to Bryan at Why Now, I now can look at pictures of the purported nuclear reactor. And the answer is: Bwaahahahahah!

As Bryan points out, the chances of there really being a nuclear plant out there are pretty much non-existent because, well, the Syrians are friggin' flat broke and the North Koreans ain't a charity outfit. The pictures pretty much verify that. This setup looks more to me like a house and a generating station for the pumping station down at the river, for pumping water somewhere uphill. I bet if we look at this area real closely on Google Earth we'll see a water tower further uphill, and a town somewhere nearby that the water tower serves.

Hmm, just found it on Google Earth, and uphill from this is...

a water treatment plant. (And just for comparison, Tempe, Arizona's water treatment plant -- quite similar in many respects).

Well. Wouldn't be the first time that U.S.-built bombs smashed a water treatment plant, eh?

As for the building itself, Google Maps shows it as being 150 feet by 150 feet square (move the building over the scale to see what I mean). Or roughly 22,500 square feet. Not small, but not large enough for the purpose indicated. Crap, your typical Safeway grocery store is twice the size (the average Safeway is 44,000 square feet, and the new ones average 55,000 square feet). Unless the Syrians have mastered Dr. Who's interdimensional Tardis technology, you simply can't fit what the U.S. is saying was in there into the building that was there...

I am SOOO tired of these lying liars and their continued lies... sigh.

- Badtux the Fact-checking Penguin

Someone needs to introduce this dipshit to Mr. Hand

First, Officer Robert Melia Jr. raped three girls. Then he went on and raped four cows. Uhm, someone needs to introduce this dipshit to this thing dangling off the end of his arm called Mr. Hand.

Except, of course, as always rape is not about sex. Masturbation is free, after all. Rather, rape is about power -- the same reason that Mr. Melia became a cop. Because it gives him power over other people. A reason why all too many of today's cops become cops. They have Stormtrooper Syndrome. They like the guns. They like the uniform. They like the power they have over people. And nobody seems to care.

So now Officer Melia is going to spend a long, long time as a guest of the state. I wonder, then, whether he's going to end up raping other prisoners while he's in prison the same way he raped those young girls and those cows? Let's take a look at Mr. Melia and see just how scary and intimidating he looks: Err. Looks to me that Mr. Melia is going to spend a long time in solitary. Or else have a bunghole the size of a friggin' culvert.

Alrighty, then!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

FAA covers up air traffic control mistakes

Fly the Dangerous Skies. As usual, the Busheviks fall back on their "hide, obfuscate, lie" tactics to avoid doing their job, which in the case of the FAA is air safety. When you have a group that attains power who believes that the only job of government is to help them loot money from the rest of America, that's what kinda shit you get...

If my job required me to travel via air, I'd be looking for a new job right now given all the air safety stuff now coming out. The Busheviks have gutted pretty much every safety-oriented department of the government, which is alarming in many instances, but when we're talking about airplanes, those motherfuckers fall out of the air when they ain't safe. And penguins don't fly too well if not sitting in an airplane. Well, penguins don't fly at all. Sorta like turkeys, except we swim better.

So I'm going to leave that flying shit to other people right now. Besides, who wants to get rectal exams every time they go through a friggin' security checkpoint?!

-- Badtux the Flightless Penguin

I know nothink!

Busheviks say they weren't covering up suicide rate amongst veterans, rather, the problem is "It's been hard to track exactly". In other words, it's the Sergeant Shultz Defense:

I know nothink!

Alrighty, then!

-- Badtux the Snark Penguin

It's a MacMencken!


Mencken is unimpressed by high-thread-count sheets, shiny Macbooks, or some silly penguin flashing bright lights at him. The Mighty Fang, on the other hand, is somewhat upset that his quilt is out for laundering, and has stalked off to sulk...

-- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I can has cake?

What John McCain was doing during Katrina. Yeah, looks like he's criticizin' Dear Leader real hard during that photo op. Asshole.

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Nuclear reactors in Syria

Yeah, yeah, pull the other flipper. And I bet people who believe this bullshit believe that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, too. Idiots. Anybody who believes anything the Busheviks say without verifying with multiple independent bodies involved in checking for nuclear proliferation activities (such as, say, the IANA) is so stupid that they probably can't chew gum and walk at the same time. That is, typical American voters. Alas :-(.

-- Badtux the Skeptical Penguin

Hmm, my bed has a tumor...

What could it be? What could it be? Oh. Never mind!

-- Badtux the Lumpy-bed-ownin' Penguin

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Apple posts billion dollar profit for quarter.

Apple rated world's most innovated company by BusinessWeek.


-- Badtux the MacPenguin

Somebody won in PA yesterday

I'm supposed to write a post about the Pennsylvania primary, but it's really one of those "who gives a shit" deals. From what I understand, it really didn't change a thing. John McInsane is still that same ornery old man who shakes his walking cane and yells "you kids get off my lawn!" when not threatening to bomb his neighbors, Hillary Clinton is still a ruthless minion of evil who will do anything it takes to become President no matter who it hurts or how much it destroys Democratic chances of winning the Presidency, and Obama... meh. Still just a guy running for President. Nothing changed, so why are we blathering? Why am *I* blathering. My head hurts, g'nite.

-- Badtux the Tired Penguin

My latest modification to my KLR

I'm getting a cool new toy. Motorcycling legend Craig Vetter has figured out a way to make a motorcycle split the wind even better than before, as well as handling the problem of deer, moose, and random pedestrians jumping out in front of your motorcycle. Behold... the Sawblade fairing. Also good for us Californians who lane split -- those cars aren't gonna jump into our lane if they see that coming, bwahahahah!

Oh, be sure to check out the date at the bottom of that web page :-).

-- Badtux the Motorcyclin' Penguin

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

More on classic American liberalism

In my posts below, I mention classic American liberalism. Note that classic FDR-style American liberalism has nothing to do with radical socialist or Communist agendas or whatever. Indeed, FDR's liberal solutions were intended to prevent radical socialists and Communists from coming to power in America. Rather, classic American liberalism has its basis on the study of reality, and the formulation of solutions to problems found in reality.

For example, when FDR became President, there was a lot of people unemployed. FDR did not look at those people and say, "My ideology says that if they can't find jobs on their own, they should starve to death." FDR did not look at those people and say, "My ideology says that I should nationalize all industry and farmland and put those people onto collective farms and state-owned factories". Rather, he said "They need jobs, and if they don't get jobs they're likely to go Communist or Socialist because no man will voluntarily starve to death just because my ideology says he should. Thus I will create jobs for them." And he did, via the WPA and CCC. Problem solved. Communism averted.

Similarly, when I look at health care today, I do not advocate Medicare For All because my ideology says that government should provide health care. Indeed, if that were my ideology, I would be advocating something like the Swedish system where all doctors are employees of the government and all hospitals and clinics are owned by the government. Rather, I advocate Medicare For All because, looking at the numbers of the current Medicare program vs. the current private health insurance industry, it is the most cost-effective way to fund health care. Medicare For All gets rid of a host of administrative overhead that the current system has, from advertising to enrollment, and eliminates entire bureaucracies (such as the entire billing bureaucracy for billing employers and citizens for their health insurance) that otherwise suck up health care dollars but provide no useful service to America. Medicare's administrative expenses are approximately 1/5th those of private insurers on a per-claim basis. If we eliminated the roughly 25% of current health care spending in America that disappears as administrative expenses or profits for health insurers, if we make all health insurance as efficient as Medicare already is by extending Medicare to all Americans, we can fund health insurance for all Americans without any increase in the amount of money that Americans currently spend on health insurance. In short, I go by what the numbers tell me, not what ideology tells me. And what the numbers tell me is that, by and large, Medicare has been a spectacularly successful health insurance program and that there's no reason to not extend it to all Americans rather than only allowing old prunes to enroll.

That is reality-based policy making. That is liberalism. Liberalism has to do with looking at reality, and formulating solutions to the problems you see when you examine reality. People don't have health insurance and the life expectancy of Americans is thereby declining? Provide it to them, sharing the costs amongst all Americans via the existing Medicare payroll tax. That's liberalism -- solving problems via the most effective and least intrusive means it takes to solve them. It's not as exciting as talking about the revolution where capitalism will be overthrown or other such radical left-wing garbage, or ranting about individual responsibility and how those poor people should just voluntarily starve to death or other such radical right-wing garbage, but so it goes. Reality has never been as clean and simple as ideology, it's always been messy and requiring much study and much number-crunching to understand the problem and devise a solution that will actually solve the problem while upsetting the current applecart as little as possible (thus while nationalizing industry and farms would have certainly solved FDR's unemployment problem, interference into the status quo beyond the minimum needed is not part of liberalism, thus he didn't do it). If you want all that ideological stuff you'll just have to go talk to some radical left-wing anarchists or right-wing glibertarians or such. Meanwhile, those of us who deal with reality have problems to solve, and we will continue to propose solutions to those problems that are based on reality, not ideology. It's the liberal thing to do, after all.

-- Badtux the Liberal Penguin

Those oh-so-effective Republican policies

This just in: Life expectancy decreasing in the United States. But not in all of America. As Karlo at Swerveleft notes, quoting an AP report on this study: What the new analysis reveals is the reality of two Americas, one on par with most of Europe and parts of Asia, and another no different than a third world nation. For example, previous research has shown that the U.S. state of Georgia has a life expectancy and infant mortality rate similar to the impoverished Eastern European nation of Georgia. In Harlem, African American men are less likely to reach the age of 65 than men in Bangladesh, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Disparities in life expectancy are increasing rapidly, with the West Coast and Northeast continuing to have improvements in life expectancy, while the Republican-dominated South and interior states stagnate or have declines in life expectancy.

In short, life expectancies are declining primarily in Republican-dominated areas like the state of Georgia that implement Republican policies, and are increasing primarily in areas like, say, the San Francisco Bay area, which implement liberal policies. In other words, liberalism is good for your health as well as your wealth -- it's no mistake that the states that have the highest concentration of liberals are also the wealthiest states, while the states that have the highest concentration of Republicans are the poorest states. Republican ideology simply isn't based on reality, and if you govern according to ideology rather than reality, you get the stark results of people dying. That's how it's always been, whether we're talking about Lenin's ideology or George W. Bush's ideology. Govern according to ideology rather than reality, and you end up with the life expectancy of the average American being only about 78 years, which places us 41st on the 2008 CIA World Factbook list, behind Bosnia but still edging out Albania.

Yay! We're #41! U S A! U S A! U S A! We may not be #1, but we're still better than Albania. WOOT!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Monday, April 21, 2008

I want the death penalty...

For spammers, scammers, script kiddies, and hackers. Or, rather, for ISP's which host these, with the ban tables managed at a national level. Send some spam? BAM! Your IP address is black-holed by the entire Internet backbone. Problem solved. (Well, except for your ISP, which is going to run out of IP addresses quick, but that's their problem for allowing you to connect to port 25). Issue a port scan against an entire cable modem subnet from a 'botnet? BAM! You're all *dead*. No appeals. No second chances. You're *gone*. And don't whine that you don't know how to secure your Windows machine to keep it from becoming part of a 'botnet. That's *your* problem, and if you needed your Internet connection for work... (shrug). There's always picking spinach in the Salinas Valley in the summer time, y'know, I understand they're short of laborers there as usual.

The reason I say this is because I've found out why my Comcast is running so craptastical right now, and it's got nothing to do with Comcast and everything to do with a botnet currently engaged in port-scanning my entire cable subnet. Unfortunately this ends up saturating the system with ARP requests and things slow to a crawl. I'm sure Comcast is attempting to resolve the situation, but botnets simply are a PITA to defang because you have to identify all the members and black hole them -- and you're doing it as a single ISP, not as a nation-wide effort by multiple ISP's. And because so many of the ISP's with bots on them simply refuse to cooperate by disconnecting bot-infected clients, black holing becomes a game of tag -- the bot changes its MAC address, gets a new IP address, and keeps on crawling.

In short: I've lost my patience with this whole 'bot situation. It's time for grownups to come to the table and start giving the death penalty to ISP's that don't cooperate in exterminating botnets. This is just getting fuggin' *ridiculous*...

-- Badtux the DoS'ed Penguin

A neat thing about right-wing blogs...

is that they never accept comments, or if they do, they're moderated and only comments which agree with the proprietor of the blog are allowed. Any other comments are "disappeared" and the IP or account which originated them banned.

That is the difference between Likkudnik/neo-con blogs and liberal blogs. Liberal blogs are willing to listen to any point of view. Likkudniks, on the other hand, only want to hear their own point of view, and if you express any different point of view, well, then you are untermenschen, other, evil, vile, anti-whatever.

It is, in short, the difference between neocons/likkudniks and liberals in general. Neocons are ideologues who believe what they're told to believe and refuse to accept any piece of data that does not comply with their ideology. Liberals are reality-based and look at what is, rather than at what their ideology says must be.

Note that there is a significant difference between classic American liberalism of the FDR variety, and left-wing radicalism. Note that I've had my own issues with left-wing radicals, who have accused me of being sexist or racist or otherwise politically incorrect for not accepting their ideology due to lack of data supporting their ideology at the same time that I have been accused of being anti-American or anti-semitic or whatever for not accepting neo-con or Likkudnik ideology due to lack of data supporting their ideology. The point is that classic American liberalism is reality-based, not ideology based. This has put it at somewhat of a disadvantage in the middle of the "culture wars" between the ideologues on both sides. But this is also its strength -- in the end, when ideology fails, those who embrace reality will always come out on top. Whether that will be America in 2008 or some other country will determine whether the United States becomes an also-ran country while reality-based leaders in other countries out-perform a failing flailing giant, or whether the U.S. gets a chance to return to greatness.

-- Badtux the Reality-based Penguin

Starving wogs

Jimmy Carter claims that Israel is starving the Palestinians in Gaza to death, saying that Gazans are receiving fewer calories per day than the poorest people in Africa. Right wing commentators and Israeli newspapers, of course, quickly rush to condemn Carter. Which brings up two questions:

1) Is Carter right about the calorie count in Gaza? Are Gazans really receiving only 2/3rds of the daily caloric requirements for life? Well, first of all, let's go to that notorious terrorist-sympathizing organization, U.S. Agency for International Development. In 2003, prior to Hamas taking over in Gaza, USAID found that four out of five children in Gaza and the West Bank have inadequate iron and zinc intake, deficiencies that cause anaemia and weaken the immune system. Over half the children in each territory have inadequate caloric and vitamin A intake. And that was in 2003, before Israeli gunboats cut off Gaza's food imports from the sea and sank Gaza's fishing boats. Now the UNWRA says Palestinian children are receiving only 61% of the calories they need from U.N. relief supplies and have a 77.5% anemia ratio.

2) Is Carter right to blame Israel for the problem? Once again, quoting AFP: "Gaza has been under strict economic sanctions since the Islamist Hamas movement seized power in June 2007, with Israel cutting off food and fuel supplies." But the question is, has this made a difference in the number of calories that Gazans receive? It appears so. In 2002, 19% of Gaza's children had anaemia. In 2008, it is 77.5%. The only difference in that time period has been the blockade of Gaza starting in June 2007.

3) But did the Gazans bring this on themselves by electing Hamas? Hmm, well, that's a good question. First, Hamas only won a plurality in Parliament, not a majority. In other words, the majority of Gazans did not support Hamas. Hamas built a coalition government by enlisting other parties in their coalition. Secondly, all Gazans are being punished for something that a minority of Gazans voted for in hopes that this will convince the minority that voting for Hamas was a mistake. In other words, pretty much the Lidice Solution to the problem of partisan activity in Czechoslovakia except in slow motion. The morality of imposing a Lidice Solution is unclear only if you're a right-wing Likkudnik or an American neo-conservative. Otherwise, the Nuremberg Trials pretty much answered that question for eternity: No, collective punishment of an entire population for the actions of a few is not a moral activity no matter who does it or for what reason.

In short, Jimmy Carter appears to have made that most drastic of mistakes: He spoke truth. And of course we cannot have that. Why, if people made a habit of speaking truth every day, what would this world become? Why, it might even become peaceful and free, which would interfere with profits, yessiree!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Don't tase me, bro!

Well, I saw that keyword in my keywords on the last post, so here we go! So, what's been happening in the wide world of tasers lately, other than cops tasering stray cats and lost Polocks, and random drunks in a bar fight?

Well, y'know, I always wanted to give an electric shock to those obnoxious people who boom and thump through town with their music too loud. The Galvestion P.D. approves. Yay! Too bad I can't call the Galveston P.D. when my downstairs neighbor starts playing Mexipop at full blast downstairs. Oh well, at least I don't have to worry about anybody breaking in to my apartment (they're my "security", or, rather, the various rather thuggish relatives who hang about are, since I've been polite to them and given them a hand from time to time with car problems and such).

A doctor dies of a mysterious seizure disorder that just happens to only happen after he got stunned by a taser. Now, it appears that he was in the midst of a petite mal seizure when the cops stopped him, so the cops pulled him out of his car and, rather than get medical attention for him... well, fuck, they shocked the motherfucking shit out of this motherfucker, fuck yeah! Now, as far as I know a petite mal seizure is not fatal, well, not unless you're getting the shit shocked out of you as you're getting beaten by a bunch of dumb fuck cops who can't tell the difference between someone having a seizure and someone who's just being a stubborn bastard (for the record I can tell the difference, but that is because I once knew someone who both suffered from petite mal seizures and was a stubborn bastard), but what the fuck.

But anyhow, none of those win the Don't Tase Me Bro award for this week. Rather, the winner is... Taser catches man's pants on fire.

Ouch. That hurts where a man lives. If you know what I mean.

-- Badtux the Male Penguin

Objectively anti-American

(Note: This is not original to me):

I've heard it said that a particular candidate is anti-American because he doesn't wear a Chinese-made flag pin on his lapel. I think this is a fair thing to conclude. Because they're made in China, these flag pins are cheap. So there's really no reason for a politician to not wear one.

So anyhow, I went looking for a photograph of Ronald Reagan wearing his flag pin and... uhm... I couldn't find one!

So there's your proof: Ronald Reagan was objectively anti-American!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Anatomy of a Bushevik power grab

Department of Homeland Security Chairman Skeletor says number of security attacks on government installations doubled last year, according to intrusion reports filed with the US-CERT clearinghouse. In response, he calls for a "reverse Manhattan Project" to fend off security attacks. The details of this latest "National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace" initiative (not to be confused with the 2003 initiative of the same name) are largely secret, but involve allowing the NSA to monitor all U.S. government computer systems at the very least, as well as authorizing DHS's new Cyber Security Center to go into all federal agencies and install their own firewalls (and there is new firewall technology which will allow this to happen invisibly, called "transparent firewalls", which look like a bridge or switch to the network but which internally are capable of deep inspection of the traffic going through).

Now, the statistic about the number of security attacks doubling sounds alarming -- until you realize that the number of government computers monitored directly via US-CERT's "Einstein" program doubled last year. Most agencies not monitored by Einstein are not running intrusion detection systems capable of detecting security attacks. So double the number of computers monitored by Einstein, double the number of intrusion reports. Duh.

So there you have it, all the hallmarks of a Bushevik power grab: a) Find a statistic that can be spun out of context to create a "crisis". b) Raise a ruckus about how dire the situation is. c) Propose a solution that sucks yet more power into the hands of the military-security apparatus of the government. d) Ponies!

And oh, Chairman Skeletor? I happen to be one of the computer security professionals you're asking to join your team on this "reverse Manhattan Project" that you're talking about. I got just one thing to say to you: Kiss my fine-feathered ass. Clear enough? You made sure the DHS got created without Civil Service protection so that all employees were political employees, so why the fuck would I want to go to work for you, when I'd just get fired and replaced by the next President's team when he got into office? I swear, Chertoff is the stupidest bastard on the planet, when he's not being evil. Fuck, even when he is being evil. (See: Katrina).

-- Badtux the Security Penguin

We are a kind and helping people

I'm sure that the 1,000,000 Iraqis killed by our war in Iraq and the 3,000,000 Iraqis rendered homeless in Iraq (note -- this is as if 10,000,000 Americans were dead and 30,000,000 Americans had their homes destroyed) are glad that we are a nation of helping. Why, I bet they give us thanks every day from their shallow graves or their tent shanties with raw sewage flowing by that we're such a kind and helping nation, yessiree!

Oh wait, they're darkies, so they don't count... alrighty, then!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin


My Internet connection via Comcast has slowed to a crawl, and it is not because I have a virus or spyware or whatever (the only thing hooked up to my Internet connection is my Macbook via its Airport Extreme, which is immune to that kinda crap and besides it operates at full speed when Im at work). So it looks like tomorrow morning I get to go online with Compost's craptastic customer "support", which is sure to get my day off to a Comcastatic craptastic start.

I swear, if these mofo's didn't have a monopoly on Internet service in my area, I'd switch to someone else. It wouldn't surprise me to find out they've throttled me for downloading too much data on my "unlimited" connection. Why, I downloaded two different Linux distributions this month, as well as all the updates to MacOS 10.5 (twice). Whoa! We can't have someone actually use the service that they're paying for, gosh darn it!

--Badtux the Languidly Internetting Penguin

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Who taught Hitler how to "Heil!"?

So, what nation invented the notion of interning an entire race of people into concentration camps, there to slowly starve to death (or not so slowly in some cases)? Hint: It wasn't Germany. Germany didn't even exist in 1838, when President Andrew Jackson seized the property of an entire race of people (the Cherokee) and sent them to die.

And it goes on, and on, from the near-extermination of the native Americans (and placing of the rest into concentration camps called "reservations"), to the killing of almost a million Filipinos for having the audacity to want to be free rather than a U.S. colony in the period 1899-1912. But you probably don't know any of this. It has literally been erased from the history books. Because being an American means that you are God's holy people, and all those other folks? Just vermin to be exterminated. That's how America has always thought. That's how America *still* thinks, which is why the majority of Americans aren't upset and rioting in the streets over the fact that our invasion of Iraq has killed over a million Iraqis. Because, of course, Iraqis aren't REAL people. They're just some funny-talkin' furriners, vermin, really, so it's not really a crime if we exterminate them, it's more like, well, killing dogs, on the list of moral outrages for the average American. Only Americans are real people to the average American. Everybody else... untermenschen. To be exterminated.

America taught Hitler how to go "Heil!". We invented death camps (except we called them "Indian reservations" or "relocation camps", depending upon whether they were for Indians or Filipinos) long before Hitler got the idea from us, and the only reason the black population was not sent to death camps in the post-Civil-War people was because Southerners needed the blacks to pick cotton. The United States isn't the leader in the genocide business -- that's probably Stalin's Soviet Union, closely followed by Hitler -- but the U.S. is probably well up in the top ten when it comes to exterminating "wogs", untermenschen, those who are, well, not really human because they're not white Americans. Stating this does not mean you hate America. It simply means that you state truth. I realize that in Soviet America it is not appropriate for a good sovok to speak truth, but so it goes. And some Americans dare ask, "why do so many people hate America?" Well, it's because they don't live in Soviet America, so they get uncensored history in their schools. Here, any attempt to put uncensored history into the history textbooks is roundly condemned by folks who insist that the truth "hates America", and thus all you've ever read is propaganda. What, you thought you lived in a free nation? That's what your Party commissars want you to think, Comrade! Welcome to Soviet America, sheep.

- Badtux the History Penguin

Quick review: Matter

Iain M. Banks
SFBC Hardback Edition

There's a pretty much standard template for space opera. You have a hierarchical military organization that's organized pretty much like the U.S. military. You have either an all-human galaxy or there's one alien race that you're at war against. You have warships organized like U.S.N. warships circa 1950's, which is where space opera writers got their military experience. You have scummy merchant vessels akin to the tramp steamers of the 20th century, scrabbling to trade between ports to get the money to keep fuel in the engine and air in the hull and food in the larder. You have a government that is organized either as a monarchy or as a democracy with s strong President or Prime Minister. Everybody is either at the same technological level or if someone's not, they're primitives. Artificial intelligences play no part other than as implementers of human will. There's a happy ending where the hero vanquishes the evildoers. And finally, humanity is on top of all the hierarchy of races as the bestest most advanced race of monkeys.

Iain M. Banks turns pretty much all of these standard tropes on their head in his Culture novels. His espionage agents generally don't come to a happy ending -- they end up getting killed on the job (quite a lot of job attrition in that job), though since they can back up, it's only a specific instance being killed. The Culture has no central governing body and is anarchical and haphazard, with the Minds (giant artificial intelligences) pretty much going their own way or agreeing by consensus on plans for operations and general philosophy of operation even in the areas of military and espionage. The humanoids (who are probably not humans, in this universe humanoid life forms evolved on multiple planets and there's no indication where the humanoids who are the Culture came from) are in a symbiotic relationship with the Minds where they rely on the Minds for most of the necessities of life such as transportation, places to live, clothes, food, etc., and provide the Minds with a random factor, an entertainment value if you will, as well as some level of direction where they don't tell the Minds what to do (that'd be akin to a mouse telling human what to do), but suggest interesting things to do (the Minds, because their "brains" operate at many times the speed of human brains, get bored easily) or make random contributions to the overall philosophy of the Culture that the Minds themselves, due to their lack of organic components, don't easily arrive at. The economy of his Culture is a communism of plenty -- matter transmuters can create any goods at will, drawing upon near-limitless resources such as hydrogen skimmed from gas giants, so everybody pretty much just asks the nearest Mind for whatever they want and the only trading is cultural trading, trading of transmuter templates or works of literature or whatever. And there are a vast number of races and societies in the galaxy, at a wide range of levels of development from pre-industrial to societies that make the wide-spanning Culture look like cavemen.

Into this universe Banks throws his various characters, usually folks in Special Circumstances, a somewhat frowned-upon group of the Culture that specializes in fiddling with primitive cultures to bump them up the social ladder without destroying them culturally or via giving them destructive playtoys like nukes before they're culturally capable of handling them. Many of the agents of Special Circumstances are originally members of a primitive culture, generally an industrial-level culture somewhere, who were brought into the Culture at a fairly early age and acculturated. In Matter, one of these agents hears that her father, the King of a primitive culture that was settled by their patrons on one level of a giant artificial world many eons ago to escape a genocidal conflict elsewhere, has been killed. She heads back to see what she can do for her two brothers, who themselves are having to deal with some rather nasty things involving murder, mayhem, treachery, and malicious alien races as well as culture shock. The end game ends up with a Mind dead, the brothers dead, the agent "dead" (well, she has been backed up, so only this particular instance of her is dead), millions of the agent's people dead including its entire ruling class and most of its military class, and a world-destroying menace dead, as well as much murder and mayhem between members of various cultures at various levels of development.

So yeah, not a happy ending as such, other than that (presumably) the world is saved. But ah, what a journey. I would not call Matter Banks's best Culture novel (indeed, it is arguable that his first one, Consider Phlebas, set a standard that cannot be surpassed), but it certainly does the series proud. Two flippers up.

-- Badtux the SciFi Penguin

Friday, April 18, 2008

Talking about fnord

Talking about fnord simply isn't done in America. Fnord is like that third rail of politics -- talk about fnord, suddenly you have a shitload of people dumping on you calling you a fnordist and worse. Even worse is if you suggest that fnord are not happy about all the lies and broken promises of the past 30 years. Talk about fnord that way, and you're accused of engaging in "fnord war".

Gotta go. Talked too much about fnord today...

- Badtux the Fnord Penguin

Yay, blogger finally let me post my Friday cat picture!

What a fine day to be a cat...

-- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

Thursday, April 17, 2008

And they say there are no modern protest songs?

Serj Tankian of System Of A Down's take on the "War on Terror"...

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Papenfuhrer sez Church handled child sex abuse cases wrong

The Pope also said that the cause of priests sexually abusing children was lax American morals. Really!

Of course, this is the same Pope who, as the director of the Office of the Inquisition, basically told American bishops to threaten anybody who complained about a priest abusing children with excommunication (story from 2003, before Ratzi became Pope). When he says that the Church handled child sex abuse cases wrong, he probably was just pining for the old days when the Church could just take such people and "disappear" them into the Inquisitor's dungeon for a nice session of waterboarding or hot iron branding or plucking out of fingernails... or maybe just crush them under the treads of a panzer, ja?

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

And the neckbone's connected to the... ankle bone?

Microsoft recently released a security update to its spyware detector product built in to Windows Vista. The only problem: It disables USB keyboard and mouse. Which, if you've bought a non-laptop computer lately, you know that all the new computers come with USB keyboard and mouse. Thus rendering said computer into a doorstop.

Now, how it is that a spyware software update can disable USB devices, I dunno. Spyware software shouldn't be touching USB hardware or even the USB subsystem as a whole. There's just no connection between the two. That's like the neckbone connecting to the ankle bone.

On the other hand, we're talking Microsoft. 'Softies don't think like us mere peons, they're smarter than we are and can always come up with new and innovative ways to add bugs to our computers. If Microsoft had designed Frankenstein's monster, the ankle bone probably WOULD have been coming out of the neckbone, and the monster would have been scuttling along on its back with its feet coming out of its neck. I am so glad to be running MacOS on my laptop nowdays...

-- Badtux the Techie Penguin

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tonight's recipe: "Korean" stir-fry

"Korean" in quotes because, while I used ingredients from a Korean grocery, I have never had this dish in a Korean restaurant.


2 chicken breasts
1 small bellpepper
1/2 large onion
1 tablespoon canola oil
1+ tablespoons Korean pepper paste
2 cups of pickled kimchi cabbage with radish and onion
1 cup medium-grain rice (a compromise between traditional Korean "sticky rice" and long-grain rice, sorry, the "sticky" rice just doesn't work for me)
Assorted Korean side dishes (bean sprouts, pickled radish, fresh kimchi, etc.)

Put the rice on cooking in your rice cooker according to its directions.

Slice the breasts, bellpepper, and onion very thin. Heat up the canola oil and 1 tablespoon of Korean pepper paste in a wok. When hot, stir in the chicken. Stir in the onion, and stir chicken and onion until the chicken is done. Add the bellpepper and kimchi in, and stir for another five minutes or so until the big leaves in the kimchi is just starting to look a little limp. Turn off the heat, add additional Korean pepper paste to taste. (Note: I like spicy food, and one additional tablespoon wasn't quite enough, two was enough... but for most people here, it's spicy enough without any additional pepper paste). Serve over rice with side dishes, err, on the side.

Once again, this is NOT a Korean dish (as far as I know), this is just something I whipped up because I was bored with regular stir-fried chicken and have access to a Korean grocery with much weird looking stuff. Not being interested in squid (eeep!), I chose more normal Korean ingredients for my little stir-fry, which turned out interesting. I think I might just put a quarter of an onion next time though, because the kimchi that I bought has some onion in it, as does the Korean pepper paste, so there's a wee bit too much onion taste. But it's still yummy anyhow especially with the additional pepper paste (yeah!).

-- Badtux the Foodie Penguin

Mission accomplished, you stupid fucking dolts!

The Christopathic Rethuglicans destroyed all of Iraq's safety networks thinking that Iraqis would do like Americans do -- turn to their fundamentalist Christian churches for the charitable assistance needed to survive. Unfortunately they forgot that Iraq is a primarily Islamic country. The anti-U.S. movement of Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr is now Iraq's main humanitarian organization helping needy Iraqis.


Dumbest President ever, or just dumb? Your call!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Thankfully penguins can swim

Sea level to rise faster than expected -- as much as five feet in the next 90 years.

But never fear. The tighty righties know that this won't be a problem, because they'll all be raptured by then. And good riddance to them too, I say. Their sanctimonious natterings of negativism and their stringent denials of the obvious truths of Tuxology and their refusal to worship the Great Penguin, instead worshipping that bearded sky demon who walks on clouds (WTF is with that? What kinda demon walks on clouds, anyhow?!) are a blight upon the Earth, and all of us who worship the one true God, the Great Penguin, and properly perform the Sacrament of the Herring at our ice cathedrals on Friday nights will be well rid of them.

It's just too sad that my iceberg will probably be melted because of global warming by then :-(.

-- Badtux the Aquatic Penguin


Hacking code. Have deadline. l8r.

-- Badtux the l33t Penguin

Bookcase cat is looking down on you...

Monday, April 14, 2008

WTF is with this weather?!

It was 86 yesterday at around 4pm. It was 56 today. A friggin' 30 degree swing! Just about froze my fine feathered ass off because it was warm this morning when I left for work, then the temperature went down like a Republican economy, ker-FLOP...

-- Badtux the Fine-feathered Penguin

Shut up and get to the back of the bus, boy

49 year old Republican representative lets folks know exactly what the Republican Party's opinion of black people is. Hint: When a 49 year old white man in the South named "Jeff Davis" (okay, his first name is spelled different, but it's pronounced "Jeff") calls a 46 year old black man "boy", well, glory howdy be, ain't that just SOOOO 1865 of him, yessiree!

Might as well have said, "shut up and get to the back of the bus, boy." 'Cause that was what he was sayin' even as he was trying not to say it, but you know how that goes. Scratch a tighty righty nowdays, see a whit ehood shining through from under that reptilian overskin...

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Mini-snark: V for Vendetta

Natalie Portman is hereby forgiven for her horrible turn of duty as the stiff princess beloved by Jar-Jar Binks in the Star Wars movies.

As for the film itself, it is of course much condensed compared to the original comic book series (oops, that's "graphic novel" for the wangers out there who care about that), but, for better or for worse, is true to the overall feel and philosophy of the comic book series despite the fact that it goes its own way pretty often. I say "for better or for worse" because we are, after all, talking about a comic book series created by an artist, not a political science work created by a political scientist, so the philosophy presented is rather... hmm, how shall I put this. "Comic-bookish". But within its limits, bearing in mind its origins in the comic book genre, it is a fairly entertaining (in a certain horrible way) and watchable movie. I didn't feel like my evening was wasted, anyhow.

-- Badtux the Movie Penguin

Death and taxes

Taxes are the price we pay for civilization.
     -- Oliver Wendell Holmes

In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.
     -- Benjamin Franklin

Yes, the state taxes are in the mail, and the U.S. taxes are e-filed. As usual, pretty close to $0 balance on both, getting a little back from Feds, sending a little to the State.

As a member of the last generation of poor kids who got a free college education from Uncle Sam (a program gutted by Reagan and Bush I, and never restored by Clinton I and certainly not restored by Bush II), I have absolutely no problem with paying taxes. It feels more like paying back a loan from society than an imposition. If it wasn't for the investment that Uncle Sam made in me, I wouldn't be paying any money to Uncle Sam because I'd be just another loser bum like my relatives who didn't go to college. I just feel sad that today's poor kids won't get the opportunity for higher education that I got...

-- Badtux the Well-taxed Penguin

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Another Republican found packing fudge

Bruce Barclay, the Republican commissioner of Cumberland County, PA was discovered with hundreds of videotapes of gay sex acts apparently taken without the consent of the other party. The videotapes did, however, clear him of an allegation that he'd raped a 20 year old male intern. The videotape showed him and the intern having quite consensual gay sex, no rape involved.

I swear, we have enough of these gay Republicans going around 'now to make a Republicans Gone Wild tape, complete with gay orgies and nude wrestling matches (in a manly way, of course). Hypocrisy, thy name is Republican...

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Saturday, April 12, 2008

All your gig bag are belong to us

Busy cleaning up and putting all my camping gear from my trip a couple of weeks ago back into its bins. Tossed my gig bag onto my bed (along with some other stuff) to get it out of the way, and it promptly got colonized. Because, after all, all items in a home belong to the cat of the home... at least, that's what The Mighty Fang thinks. Who am I to tell him he's wrong?!

-- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

Why can't they make a decent canned chili?

Look. Chili isn't hard to make. Take some good beef, cook for a long time with appropriate spices and water (see these fine examples of Texas chili), add a bit of masa flour to thicken up the result, and voila. You have great chili.

Now, the deal is that because of this, it should be damnably easy to produce chili on a production line. The usual problem with canned stuff is that because of the high heat and long time needed to steam-bathe the cans to make sure any nasties inside are dead, the stuff inside tends to get over-cooked. But chili is supposed to be overcooked -- cooked till the beef practically disintegrates it gets so tender. That's the whole point of the deal.

So I go to the store to look at canned chilis, and I run into several problems. First of all, the chili they have on the shelf has beans in it. Real chili doesn't have beans. Beans are a filler used to extend chili when you can't afford enough meat, not something you should voluntarily put into chili. Secondly, the quality of the beef in these chilis is, to put it bluntly, "dog food quality". It looks like something I'd feed to a dog. Then there's the texture of this chili. It's somewhat gelatinous, like a fine cat food. Except I'm not a cat and I don't appreciate that, thank you very much. Finally, there's the "spice". Put in quotes because there is no spice. The whole point of a good chili is to work up a good sweat so you can quench it with the beer that you just happen to have nearby for some reason. Chili that's as bland as a Republican candidate at an old folks' home is practically heresy.

Thus far the closest I've gotten to real chili in a can is the "Stagg Dynamite Hot Chili With Beans". But that's not saying much. It's not "hot" by any measure of hotness. Real chili makes you immediately reach for a beer when you take a bite. This chili makes you reach for mouthwash to wash out your mouth. And it has beans in it. The texture is still vaguely gelatinous, like a fine catfood. And while the beef in it is one step above dogfood, it's only one step above dogfood. In short, I would rate this chili as "barely edible" on the scale of things you find in a supermarket, a little above the dishwashing soap on the edibility scale, maybe equal to the best cat foods, and quite a bit below the best frozen pizzas (which have gotten so good now that they rival pizzeria pizzas).

So here's your opening, free market advocates. There's a market for a good canned chili, just as, twenty years ago, there was a market for a good frozen pizza. Right now, there is no good canned chili, just as twenty years ago, there was no good frozen pizza. A good canned chili is technically possible. I await your entry into the market, oh free marketeers!

-- Badtux the Food Penguin

Obama on frustration

Obama responds:

“I was in San Francisco talking to a group at a fundraiser and somebody asked how’re you going to get votes in Pennsylvania? What’s going on there? We hear that’s its hard for some working class people to get behind you’re campaign. I said, “Well look, they’re frustrated and for good reason. Because for the last 25 years they’ve seen jobs shipped overseas. They’ve seen their economies collapse. They have lost their jobs. They have lost their pensions. They have lost their healthcare.

“And for 25, 30 years Democrats and Republicans have come before them and said we’re going to make your community better. We’re going to make it right and nothing ever happens. And of course they’re bitter. Of course they’re frustrated. You would be too. In fact many of you are. Because the same thing has happened here in Indiana. The same thing happened across the border in Decatur. The same thing has happened all across the country. Nobody is looking out for you. Nobody is thinking about you. And so people end up- they don’t vote on economic issues because they don’t expect anybody’s going to help them. So people end up, you know, voting on issues like guns, and are they going to have the right to bear arms. They vote on issues like gay marriage. And they take refuge in their faith and their community and their families and things they can count on. But they don’t believe they can count on Washington. So I made this statement—so, here’s what rich. Senator Clinton says ‘No, I don’t think that people are bitter in Pennsylvania. You know, I think Barack’s being condescending.’ John McCain says, ‘Oh, how could he say that? How could he say people are bitter? You know, he’s obviously out of touch with people.’

“Out of touch? Out of touch? I mean, John McCain—it took him three tries to finally figure out that the home foreclosure crisis was a problem and to come up with a plan for it, and he’s saying I’m out of touch? Senator Clinton voted for a credit card-sponsored bankruptcy bill that made it harder for people to get out of debt after taking money from the financial services companies, and she says I’m out of touch? No, I’m in touch. I know exactly what’s going on. I know what’s going on in Pennsylvania. I know what’s going on in Indiana. I know what’s going on in Illinois. People are fed-up. They’re angry and they’re frustrated and they’re bitter. And they want to see a change in Washington and that’s why I’m running for President of the United States of America.”

Design Coding

Hmm, picked up some good web design tips for my site from this rapper. Say wha?!

Clintonistas: As batshit crazy as Obamabots, or worse?

The Barefoot Bum has half his front page filled with screeds about how evil anybody who doesn't agree with him about Teh Patriarchy being the cause of Hillary Clinton's problems is. The Apostate de-blogrolled a progressive blogger for disagreeing with her about how Teh Patriarchy is the cause of Hillary Clinton's problems. I swear, Clintonistas have just friggin' *jumped the shark*, accusing anybody who disagrees with them about their candidate's victim-hood of hating women, wanting to rape women, being mean evil representatives of Teh Patriarchy who want women to be barefoot and pregnant servants, fuck, probably even of washing the whites with the colors when they do the laundry (eek! Improper mixing of the colors!).

Crap, Clintonistas are proving to be even more irritating than Obamabots were. At least the Obamabots whine about things that aren’t particularly damaging to their candidate, like whine that their candidate’s health plan is being misconstrued (sorry, it isn’t — it sucks). All the Clintonistas do nowdays though is whine that their candidate is discriminated against by Teh Patriarchy. And whine. And whine. And whine. And whine. Geezus effin’ kee-rist, people. Maybe that makes you feel like, morally superior, or something, but YOU DON’T WIN ELECTIONS BY PAINTING YOUR CANDIDATE AS A VICTIM. Puh-LEEZE. You don’t elect a victim as President. You help a victim, you give her reassurance, you make sure there’s someone there for her, but for a politician, being a victim is TOXIC, because people want a LEADER, not a VICTIM.

In short, it’s a losing card. If Hillary is painted by her campaign and her supporters as a victim, she isn’t going to get voted for as President. Whining about how she’s a victim of Teh Patriarchy isn’t going to change that. And ostracizing anybody who disagrees with you… that is just shameful. That’s no way to get votes for your preferred candidate. That is something that right-wing bloggers do. But I guess ideologues are ideologues, in the end… whether they be right-wing or left-wing. Sigh.

-- Badtux the Multi-colored Penguin

Friday, April 11, 2008

Iranians for McCain!

Click on the thumbnail for the big ad. Please feel free to print out and distribute wherever!

Oh, I thought about putting a little comic strip thought bubble coming out of John McCain's mouth saying "you pesky kids get off my lawn!", but I couldn't figure out how to make the composition work. Hey, I'm a coding geek, not a visual design artist!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Pet peeve #235234523 -- blog registration

Look, if you have a blog, you're just, well, a guy with a blog. You're not some effin' big shot who can demand of people that they do a lotta crap to read and reply on your blog. You're just a guy with a blog, one of approximately 4,000,000,000 other people on this planet of 6,000,000,000 people who have a blog.

So anyhow, it's okay if you make me log in to to post on your blog. No big deal. That login also works on half the other blogs on the planet. One thing that pisses me off, though -- and that has driven me away from most of the "big" blogs -- is if you make me sign up for an account that works ONLY ON YOUR OWN BLOG.

How fucking crazy is that? Look, you stupid motherfucker, I don't give a crap how goddamned full of yourself you are. You are NOT so goddamned *SPECIAL* that I'm going to go out of my way to participate on your blog by signing up for an account that works on one, and ONLY one blog of the several hundred on my blogroll and approximately 4,000,000,000 other blogs on this planet. I mean, who the fuck you think you are? Jesus Christ and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi reincarnated in one body? Get over your fucking self, already!

-- Badtux the Rude Penguin

Elevating the level of discourse of our fine nation, fuck yeah!


In Florida, State Sen. Durell Peaden got a "Take your Gun to Work" law passed that sez your employer can't prevent you from bringing a gun to work. Now, what gives the government to regulate what a private entity (the employer) allows on his or her own property eludes me, but still. What a law!

Next time some disgruntled employee goes nuts and shoots up his place of employment, can we call it "Going Peaden" rather than "going postal"? Please?

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

The Mighty Fang sure is shiny

Especially on a sunny day in the desert: He wishes he could fly:

-- Badtux the Cat-blogging Penguin

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The victim card

One of the most irritating things about the Hillary Clinton campaign is about how her campaign workers and supporters keep whining that she's being discriminated against because she's a woman. It's just one play after another of the "oh poor me, I'm a victim!" thing. Bad press? It's not because she's a prickly personality who rarely gives reporters the time of day. It's because she's a woman. Out of money? It's not because she shunned the online progressive community in favor of sucking up to big wigs, it's because she has no Y chromosome. Etc. etc. etc. Nevermind that women have been elected governor of major red states like Arizona, Texas, and Louisiana as well as a number of blue states, while the number of blacks elected governor in *any* state can be counted on one hand. Women are discriminated against when running for office and if you don't support her it's because you hate women, that's her message, over and over again.

The playing of the victim card was silly the first time, but played over and over again it's just plain old. It might work if she were running against a white male. But she's not. She's running against a black man (and spare me the bit about how he's half-white, as far as white America is concerned, he's black). As in, can't plan a trip of 500 miles without adding a couple of hours because he knows he'll get stopped at least twice for Driving While Black. As in, a quarter of his fellow black male high school classmates are in jail or on probation. As in, more college-age black men in jail than in college. As in, white women cross the street when they see him coming. Now, when you can show me middle-aged white women being pulled over for Driving While Female, 25% of white females in jail or on probation, white females vastly under-represented in colleges, and people crossing the street when they see white females coming, maybe then Hilary could use the victim card. But using it when she's running against a black male? WTF? Is she really that insensitive regarding the state of race relations in this country today?!

BTW, you'll note that Obama *never* plays the victim card. Ever. When things go down hard on him, he *never* says "you're just biased against me because I'm black." He addresses whatever point is in question, e.g. the Wright question, and moves on. Much preferable to all that whining coming out of the Hillary camp...

-- Badtux the Whine Penguin

Ready for the war with Iran?

Main and Central reports that foreign news sources expect war with Iran before the end of the Chimperor's reign. Here's the analysis that scares the crap out of me:

A military assault on Iran is madness. It will destabilise the region, increase terrorism around the world, hike oil prices to unprecedented levels and slash already fragile economies.

But these are far from being ordinary times. Elements of the Bush administration led by Cheney are single-minded and ruthless when it comes to adhering to their long-held New Middle East agenda. Now that Iraq is in their clutches from their point of view the only bulwark blocking their desire for total American hegemony of the Middle East is Iran.

If and when Iran is out of the loop, the puissance of anti-US Iraqi Shiites will diminish while funding and the supply of weapons to Hezbollah and Hamas will eventually dry up. That's the thinking but, in reality, there's many a slip between cup and lip as we witnessed during the 2006 Israel/Lebanon war when Tel-Aviv received a surprise bloodied nose and more recently during the Basra fiasco.

In this case, it's unknown how Russia, which currently has warships off Syrian ports, might respond. Moscow isn't itching for a fight but it would stand to lose much of its geopolitical and economic clout in the area should the US manage a total takeover and its already smarting over a White House initiative to bring Nato up to its borders and install an anti-missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic.

With only another nine months in office and a tattered presidential legacy, George W. Bush has everything to gain in embarking on another deadly adventure. Iran may be his last roll of the dice with winner takes all. He's already one of the most unpopular US presidents in history so even if things go wrong he's got little to lose. He can just walk away and leave his successor and this stricken part of the world to pick up the shards of his failures.

Holy... crap.

Forgive me, gotta go change my undies.

-- Badtux the "These people are fuckin' CRAZY!" Penguin

Yesterday in Iraq


- Around 8 a.m. A mortar shell hit Al Ghadeer neighborhood causing damages with no casualties.

- Around 9 a.m. two mortar shells hit the Green Zone.

- Around 4 p.m. a mortar shell hit the Green Zone.

- Clashes between Iraqi army and Mahdi Army militia in Sadr city, injuring three civilians.

- Police found two dead bodies throughout Baghdad, one in Al Husseiniyah, one in Dora.


- Police found two dead bodies in northern Kirkuk.

BAGHDAD - The U.S. military announced on Wednesday that five U.S. soldiers had been killed, 3 in separate roadside bomb attacks and 2 from non-combat related injuries. Four of the 5 soldiers died on Wednesday and one on Tuesday.

BAGHDAD - 23 people were killed and 83 injured in the eastern Baghdad slum of Sadr City on Wednesday, Iraqi security sources said.

BAGHDAD - Two unidentified bodies were found in Baghdad on Wednesday, police said.

MOSUL - Two successive car bombs killed three policemen and a civilian and wounded 20 people including three policemen when they targeted a police patrol in central Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said. . .

BAGHDAD - The U.S. military killed two armed men northeast of Baghdad, the U.S. military said.

BAGHDAD - Iraqi authorities imposed curfews on Baghdad as well as the cities of Samarra and Tikrit to prevent violence on Wednesday, the fifth anniversary of the fall of the capital to U.S. forces. . .

DHULUIYA - A mortar shell landed on a house in Dhuluiya, 70 km (45 miles) north of Baghdad overnight, killing a woman and wounding her four sons, police said.

DIYALA - The U.S. military said it destroyed a facility used to make explosive devices in Diyala province, north of Baghdad. . .

NEAR KIRKUK - Gunmen killed a civilian in Tal al-Hadeed village near Kirkuk, 250 km north of Baghdad, police said.

NEAR KIRKUK - Gunmen killed a policeman and a civilian in Tuz Khurmato, south of Kirkuk, police said. . .

KIRKUK - Two roadside bombs exploded on Tuesday in the town of Tuz, 70 km (40 miles) south of Kirkuk, wounding 17 Iraqis, the U.S. military said. . .

KIRKUK - Iraqi police found a body hand-cuffed and riddled with bullets east of the northern city of Kirkuk on Tuesday.

So let's summarize. Bombs going off. Mortar shells falling. Dead bodies being found all over the place. Yeppers, left-wingers sure are lying about Iraq when they say things are bad there. But Johnny McInsane insists that Iraq is approaching normalcy... why, just any minute Iraqis will bust out with those flower petals, yessiree!

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin
All reports by Reuters or McClatchy.

Power dynamics, the free market, and inflation

Spencer over at Angry Bear notes that inflationary pressures were driving prices higher in Asia and correctly pointed out that it was showing up in US import prices. Yet, he notes in a puzzled voice, U.S. retail prices are not rising. What's the deal with that, he asks.

One of the interesting areas in which anarchy theorists have been operating is that of power dynamics. Basically, when you have a huge monolith which dominates your sales, like Wal-Mart, it has a higher place on the power spectrum compared to, say, the individual owner-operator delivering a widget to Wal-Mart Store 101 or an individual wholesaler importing a widget to sell to Wal-Mart. Thus things like fuel price increases or source widget price increases will tend to get pushed down upon that individual owner-operator or importer until he is bleeding red ink and eventually either forced to cease operation or Wal-Mart notices that having him cease operation is not in their best interests and beneficiently gives him a pay raise just large enough to keep him in thrall to them. In anarchy theory, the most powerful entity in any economic relationship will be the last to feel any economic distress. All economic distress will be forced down upon those lower in the power hierarchy first.

Now, the solution the anarchists recommend is of course the abolition of hierarchical systems that give rise to power inequalities. Given that monkeys are hierarchical animals and humans are monkeys with bad hair and delusions of grandeur, that seems as sensible as prohibiting fish from swimming. It does give lie to the traditional neoliberal conception of economic passthrough though, the same misconception that is also used against things like, e.g., mandating that employers provide health insurance to their employees, minimum wages, etc. Said misconception being that wages and prices are set by supply and demand. That utterly ignores the power relationships involved, which would argue that a multi-billion dollar corporation which controls a quarter of the retail sales in America has the ability to dictate terms to individually powerless employees because it also has the power to pretty much dictate terms to the rest of retailers (the other retailers can't raise their wages or provide insurance because then they can't compete with Wal-mart anymore). In other words, the most powerful entity in a sector has the ability to set wages and benefits in a way independent of the market for labor if it controls a sufficiently large amount of the sector, assuming a sufficient supply of workers in the sector (in areas where workers are scarce -- such as, say, competent computer geeks -- this is not as feasible). This is not something that traditional supply-and-demand theorists want to consider, because it throws a monkey wrench into their pie-in-the-sky silliness and, like all theorists, they prefer their theory to reality. So it goes...

-- Badtux the not-anarchist Penguin
(But always good to examine everybody's intellectual backing to see how it stands)

Cross-posted at the Medley

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Busy, busy, busy.

Also a bit bored. Maybe I need an Asian girlfriend. Although she would probably kick my ass in every sport. Sigh!

-- Badtux the Busy Penguin

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The smartest politician on the planet

Obviously too smart to be elected in the United States...

-- Badtux the Appreciative Penguin

From TED

Obama's angry America-hating preacher man

Why did Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. hate America? Clearly anybody who admires MLK is unfit to be President. Vote McCain, the only candidate who has explicitly come out against this America-hating black preacher man!

- Badtux the Snarky Penguin (tongue firmly in beak)