Saturday, February 9, 2013

I forgot about this bit of weirdness

VATICAN CELEBRATES KNIGHTS OF MALTA'S 900 YEARS

Now if the AP piece had tweaked your interest, read some of the Wiki entry--

Knights Hospitaller

Get to know your enemy

NRA'S LAPIERRE: WONK WITH MILLION-DOLLAR MEGAPHONE

Dems Don't Pay Attention To Foreign Policy

If they did, then Obama would probably not have been the nominee in 2008 and most definitely not been the nominee in 2012.  Come to think of it, other than the health care mess, what has he really done domestically?

Do I feel better with him in office over any other Democrat from 2008?  No.  Do I feel better with him in office over any Republican? Yes, trogs are worse.   When the bad guys send drones to the U.S. we will all experience the Obama legacy.  For that matter, I'm not really sure that Obama has ended either rendition or torture, hell his nominee's answer to "is water boarding torture," was, "I'm not a lawyer."

LIBERAL IN DOMESTIC ISSUES, OBAMA A HAWK ON WAR

Bonzo Gave Us Star Wars

Reagan led the charge.  We, through the morons we elect to office, have spent billions on missile defense shields (SDI, a.k.a. Star Wars)of one kind or another.  About all I say for all of the variations in our shields is that one, they don't work, and two they do provide handsome profits for DOD contractors and generous incomes for generals who retire into the same contractors boardrooms.

This should not come as a surprize to even a casual observer of defense system procurement--FLAWS FOUND IN US MISSILE SHIELD

Do Food Workers Have Sick Leave?

I bet they don't.  Restaurant owners maximize profits on low wages and fear of job loss.  Now, if it's cold and flu season, do you really want to dine out?  Food workers are a primary source of the illness.

About 50% of all outbreaks of food-related illness are caused by norovirus. In many of these cases, sick food handlers were involved in spreading the virus.

Actually, until the standards are raised, why eat out at all?  Want a case of Winter vomiting, then wander on down to your local fast food emporium.

Call it what it is!

How will the Violence Against Women Act fare in Congress?

Senate rejects GOP bid to limit Violence Against Women Act 

If the bill fails again, then it is obvious that every person who voted against the bill, last time and in this Congress,  is a person who hates, dislikes, mistrusts, or mistreats women.  If your Rep or Senator a misogynist?  If you are female, did you vote for a misogynist?




Language

Quick, what is an "overseas contingency operation?"  Come on, what did that phrase replace?  We will be mired in one, since no one remembers what it means.  Funny how deft use of language frees pols to keep on fucking us over.  We smile, say thank you and tune in to this week's game as life goes on.

What Was Given A New Name?

Legacyland

The Shrub imposed a government on Iraq, it was built per his understanding of guvment (see his book, "Nation Building for Real Dummies").   How's it all working out?  Well--

Arab Spring-style protests take hold in Iraq

Friday, February 8, 2013

Can we square the circle?

What circle?  Oh, our Prez.  What's the problem?  Well let's try to square a Nobel Peace Prize (2009) with his use of drones and targeted killing.

From Bob Park

WHAT’S NEW Robert L. Park Monday, 8 Feb 2013 Washington, DC

1. THE POLITICAL CLIMATE: GLOBAL WARMING IS NOT INEVITABLE. "Don't look back," Satchel Paige warned, "something may be gaining on you." Like maybe global warming? The 37-nation Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gas emissions terminated on 1 Jan 2013, having accomplished little or nothing in 15 years. Indeed, climate scientists find atmospheric carbon increasing faster than ever. If all this is true, and I believe it is, the vanishing of the Arctic’s summer sea-ice could mark a tipping point that will shift the Earth's climate into a new trajectory that could take millennia to reach a new equilibrium, as Clive Hamilton points out in a brilliant new book, Requiem for a Species. Sadly, the issue of climate change was almost totally ignored in the 2012 presidential election, pushed aside by class warfare. Speaking of class warfare, that's not getting better either.

2. PERSONHOOD: HOW MANY CELLS DOES IT TAKE TO MAKE A PERSON? A month ago the US Supreme Court ended an effort to shut down government support of human embryonic stem cell research by refusing to hear a case that challenged the legality of such work at NIH. Good! Embryonic-stem- cell research is thought by many to be the most promising approach to treatment of numerous human diseases, but 20 years ago anti-abortionists pushed a bill through Congress banning the use of federal funds for research on human embryos. Some religions believe the Holy Ghost bestows a soul on a zygote at the moment of conception, making the zygote a one- celled person (see What’s New, 8 Nov 98). The Obama administration rejected this silly superstition, but it was kept alive in the courts by the appeal process. Rejection of the appeal by the Supreme Court assures resumption of potentially life-saving stem-cell research.

3. FERTILITY: HOW MANY PERSONS SHOULD THERE BE ON EARTH? About 6 billion fewer than the 7 billion we have now would be nice. Our streams would again run clear, the Milky Way would return to the night sky, and cod fish to the Grand Banks. However, in last Saturday's Wall Street Journal, neoconservative writer Jonathan Last blamed a falling fertility rate for our financial problems. He seems unaware of other problems in the world. In fact, a modest decline in population is already seen in rich countries; that's why they're rich. But we live on a finite planet and there are already far too many of us. An average fertility rate of two would lead to a gradual reduction but there is no reason to hurry. Human history is largely an account of clumsy attempts to reduce populations by war. It usually has the opposite effect.

It took a study to state the obvious?

Eat like a grit and your heart will not work for long

Once again the loons gathered

National Prayer Breakfast day came and went.  Obama attended.  He spoke, but did not talk about the victims of his drone attacks.  After all, the shindig is about power and nothing more.

At Prayer Breakfast, Obama Issues Call for Humility

Perhaps we need a refresher on the org that brings us the breakfast-- The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power

And next week somewhere in Gritland, USA

I would not be surprized to see a similar event here at home.  Any rural area, any part of the former Confederacy, any red state, any place science is rejected and anywhere legitimate rape is thought to be real, can and might pull off a witch burning without hesitation.  The veneer is mighty damn thin.

ACCUSED WITCH BURNED ALIVE IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA

First Warning

It's that time of year again.  What time is it?  Oh, it's POTUS SOTUS time.  Next week.  Yawn.  At least cable will have a cheap story with which they can provide wall to wall coverage for a few days.

Why President Obama is about to deliver his most important State of the Union address

What word will you pick to get hammered by during the speech?  Maybe "jobs" will be a good word.  Guns?


The Shrub's Legacy -- Car Bombs

I still have not found any memorial statues erected to honor the Shrub or his Uncle Dick anywhere in Iraq.  Maybe they really don't think to highly of him after all.  Damn, he came, he wrecked ruin, he conquered the place, he built a green zone, he stuck in his thumb pulled out a plum called himself a good decider and split.  His successor ended it.  Iraqis are coping in a most traditional Islamic manner.

Car bombs kill 36 in Iraq’s bloodiest day since November as Sunnis rally against Shiite PM

Guvment? We don't need no stinkin Guvment

Now as the grits and crackers cheeer, may I point out what happens when "guvment" fails to do its job--keep the 10% of business types who are crooks at heart, honest.  Want a recent example of government staying off a segment of business's back?  Ready, think compouding pharmacies.  Now think death and meningitis from coast to coast.

And you can bet generous donations to pols lurk in the dearth of regulation.  It's nice to confirm that health care is just one more bit of sleazeball capitalism.   How many more deaths will it take to finally nationalize the system?  Oh, that will never happen, we'd have to kill patients off on the order of deaths during the civil war before the average slob would even notice and quit worrying about who'll be the next American Idol.

Compounding pharmacies have been linked to deaths, illnesses and safety failures for years

Simple Questions and Government Officials

If someone asked me "is water boarding torture?" I would respond, "yes."  It is.  It has been since it's invention and use in the 1500s by Spain's Catholic inquisitors.  Others may answer "no," but I think 99.9% of us would, without hesitation or quibble, answer the question either yes or no.

There is a segment, the 0.1% who do not answer the question with a one syllable answer.  They hesitate.  They circumlocute.  They answer with paragraphs.  They give us bullshit responses.  These people are our elected and appointed federal officials.  God forbid someone should provide an honest answer to a straight forward question.  Hmm, maybe now we have an insight why folks don't think much of Congress, the Executive Branch, or the White House.

Oh, yesterday Brennan was asked the question.  He provided a paragraph or two in reply.  The short version, "it's not nice, but I'm not a lawyer..."  CIA here we come.  He's a straight talker?  If so, we're in for more bullshit, more drones. more secrecy and more interrogation that looks a lot like torture but is defined as confinement.


Brennan defends drone strike policies

Thursday, February 7, 2013

I wonder

If we could somehow get honest answers from House staffers about which member is the dumbest and craziest, I wonder who would win?  Would it be Steve King?  Michelle Bachmann? There are so many possible winners.  How do these people get elected to office?  Ooops, forgot they represent their district.  Damn that's got to be embarrassing for everyone who voted against the winner.

Censors at play in the fields of Fairfax

Once again a novel crosses some parent's acceptability line.  Instead of finding a way to save her urchin spawn from polluted words, she seeks to ban a book.  After all, if she objects then all must share her thoughts.  I'm not a fiction reader--I read sources that inspire novelists, like history and newspapers to get my dose of brutality, bestiality, sex, slavery and all the other crap to which this this mom objects.  If we're going to start banning books, I'd start with the Bible, there's too much begetting and smiting--it can give a sensitive soul a lifetime of nightmares.

Fairfax County parent wants ‘Beloved’ banned from school system

Headed to Boston?

Better get there now or delay the trip for a few days.  The god created (if you are a strict determinist) global warming climate change effect is poised to dump on New England.

New England blizzard: Two feet of snow possible from East Coast bomb, Boston may be ground-zero

Crud Watch -- Menendez

Today it's just normal sleaze, next week I bet he'll be apologizing lying about consorting with whores.

Sen. Menendez contacted top officials in friend’s Medicare dispute

He's Still The Shrub

Just because Obama decided to share his secret law with Congress does not make him any different than the Shrub.  Secret law?  That's Star Chamber stuff in the 21st Century.  What does the secret law define? Oh, killing people via drones--citizens and otherwise.  Look, murder is murder and assassination is assassination.  Both are on this administration's hands.  Obama makes the Shrub's secret intel about WMDs and double secret torture's okay law look almost quaint in comparison.  I am getting to the point where I might have to say that Willard might have been the better choice.  No way, but...

LAWMAKERS STUDY DRONE REPORT BEFORE CIA HEARING

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Spreading Lies as News

Who the hell even uses these lists anyway?  Now we have confirmation that colleges and universities do run like businesses--they lie to sell their product.  Rector Dragas at UVA must be proud of the sound business practices at places like Tulane and GWU.  Truth has no place in business nor apparently most of our colleges and universities (these are just the ones who were caught).

Five colleges misreported data to U.S. News, raising concerns about rankings, reputation

Now about that $28,000 graduation debt....

Iron? What the hell is an iron anyway?

Does anyone still use an iron?  What are wrinkles anyway?  Haven't clothes always been wrinkle free? Hmm, it makes sense to see the iron disappear from the Monopoly board--

Monopoly fans vote to add cat to real-estate trading game, replacing iron token

Confederates Remain In Virginia Attics and House of Delegates

If those old rebel bills remain worthless, then how about some new confederate coins?  One of the nation's premier taker states wants it's own currency.  Hmm, without federal money there'd be no Old Dominion since there's not much there of value.  Well, Virginia would still exist, but it would look more like the South in 1932 than the poorest blue state in 2013.

Virginia coin moves closer to reality

it's time to rid ourselves of the Boy Scouts

Adult homophobia appears to drive the BSA.  I think the crap spoken about gays by adult scouters says more about them than their target--gays.  Frankly, I'm more afraid of the adult male who just wants to hang out with boys and help them become adults.  Take a moment and think Sandusky here.

I'm more afraid of priests who "help" boy scouts.  Nothing says pedophile like a funny collar.  Gays are not the problem in the BSA, it's the straight adults who are contending with their own personal sexual demons and fears that cause the mess.  I have a feeling most of the boys don't give a shit about gay boys in their troops (except for those who emulate their homophobic parents).  They do care about adult pervs--they come in all flavors.   Maybe it's time to just end the BSA.

Boy Scouts delay decision on whether to lift ban on gay scouts and leaders

Today's Bullshit

We can look forward to an end to Saturday mail delivery this coming August.  I'm disgusted with this.  The Post Office is mentioned in the Constitution (that's the only reason the idiots in Congress have not sold it off to FedEx or UPS).  Now Congress will allow the end of the Post Office to begin.  A death by decay begins now.

I should note that the Post Office is one of those universal things in our collective political and social lives.  It is a universal that sustains our joint expression of a successful democracy.  The universals keep us from ripping each other apart as we seek power, fame and fortune in both the public and private sectors.  When they go or are diminished, we become less and less of a democratic people and drift towards a variation of ruthless totalitarian rule.

The Post Office should be restored to being a government department.  We should pay for it with our tax dollars (hard earned and otherwise).  I'd rather pay for the USPS than the current wars, current drone usage, and most of the DOD contracts for "new" weapon systems.

At any rate we will have to wait and listen for the two positions on this matter.  Our government only sustains two ways to look at this or any issue.  There is for and against, against and against  or for and for.  We'll be hearing shills from the GOP and Dems spread their respective bullet points as they deepen the national bullshit.  What comes after hip waders?

Postal Service plans to end Saturday mail delivery by August

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

What if this belonged to the Shrub?

If the Shrub had put forth the "targeted killing" memo, I have a feeling Dems in Congress would be all over each other to get to the mic first and express their "outrage."  Talking heads on MSNBC would be exploding with rage at an "impeachable offense."  Instead, the Trogs are okay with this kind of killing and the Dems, well, it's their guy so who gives a shit.  Both parties really suck.   In the long haul, Obama will go down as worse than Bush.

White House, Justice officials defend drone program after release of memo

Quiz Time

Test Your Knowledge of Current Events

House of Cards

If you are a NetFlix streaming customer you've probably binged on the new "House of Cards."  If you haven't, you're missing a very good show.  If you're not a NetFlix subscriber, become one and watch both the BBC version and the new one starring Kevin Spacey.  Then sated on politics, take a few months out and enjoy 10 years of McLeod's Daughters or Monarch of the Glen.   After a pleasant respite, we'll all be ready for season two.

Netflix Series 'House Of Cards': Viewer Admits To Binging On Kevin Spacey Drama

Can House of Cards Help Netflix Take on HBO and the Other Cable Giants?

Assassin In Chief?

More on legalizing murder of U.S. Citizens.  Today it's righteous to kill our home grown terrorists when they are overseas, tomorrow why not a Mitch McConnell or anyone else who poses an imminent threat to Mr. Obama's agenda?  I can't wait until the killer micro drones show up.  What a legacy!  Thus we begin our decline into lawlessness.

The Justice Department’s White Paper on Targeted Killing

To Save The Village We Destroyed It

So much for the rule of law, the Constitition and civility.  Obama's legacy is drones and legalized murder by him and his henchmen (appointees) today and their future counterparts.  I wonder when the first drone will make a "legal" kill within the United States for political purposes.  How much trust do your really have in government?

Justice Dept. document justifies killing Americans overseas if they pose ‘imminent threat’

DOJ Drones Paper: Obama's Second-Term Cabinet, Agenda Faces New Scrutiny

When all nations adopt the U.S. standards what kind of world will we be living in?  Welcome to Obamaland.

Monday, February 4, 2013

guns

People who buy guns because they are afraid the government is going to come and take their guns prove through their actions they are not mentally fit to own guns.

Obama's Legacy


Fascism, American-Style, & The Drones

Deja Vu All Over Again

We never learn.  We keep on repeating the worst in our nature.  At least we're consistent.  Back in my day it was Hippies, for my parents it was Commies.  Today it's Muslims.   If we don't structure strong checks to power within our institutions, newer incumbents will revert to older forms--at heart we're ll just rat bastard human beings.  It's hard to keep civilization a going concern, it's not in our genes--we're just made in god's image, right?  Gee, that must be why I bagged religion eons ago.

CIVIL RIGHTS LAWYERS: NYPD SPYING VIOLATES RULES

Dick Cheney Should Retire to Cairo

Dork would be quite comfortable there.  If he aligned himself with the military and police he'd feel right at home.  They are his kind of folks and do their work his way.

Super Bowl

I'm not a football fan.  I don't even watch the Tennessee - Alabama game anymore.  I used to watch at least the first quarter.  Mrs. Jake, however, likes football.  At half time, she joined me to watch TV in the bedroom.  I realized that meant  I was now going to watch the big game or be forced to adjourn to another room.   I did watch the half time show.

I must be getting too old, Beyonce's half time show was just so much noise to me.  She can sing, but I'm not sure if the S&M stripper, pole dancer motif was really needed.  I do have to admit, I cannot understand the lyrics to most popular songs most of the time.  For clarity, I wait until they are sung on Glee--they tend to enunciate.  I assume there was no lip syncing.  The show was a Super Bowl half time show, no more, no less.

I did catch the 108 yard return.  That was unexpected as was the half stadium power outage.  The outage did piss me off.  The game ran long so I was not able to watch this week's episode of Elementary ( I did use the DVR and it is far, far better show than any football game).  As I said, I'm getting too old and find I nod off about 11:30 regardless of TV, radio or other noise sources.  I'll see what Sherlock and Watson did today.

As I semi-watched the game, I noted, football is even more idiotic than ever.  Oh, what's the big deal about Super Bowl commercials?  I did not catch one that impressed me.  Of course I may have missed them since I was not paying 100% attention to the tube.  Mrs. Jake did record one first half commerical for me--the Taco Bell old farts out carousing as though they were once again the morons of their youth.  That was a novel ad, but it certainly will not make me patronize Taco Bell (I did once and have chosen to not repeat that experience).

One of the teams won.  Now about all the brain injuries caused last night...

Did Anyone Expect Otherwise?

Bless my liberty cabbage and freedom fries, Israel and Palestine muck with their children's textbooks to present a "correct" view of the local milieu for their respective urchin spawn.  It's not right, but it's so very human.

Israelis unhappy with study of their textbooks and Palestinians’

Here's A Very Good Idea

Since it's a good idea I'm sure that, while originating in government, by the time it is realized it will have been bastardized by Congress and the White House, who both obediently conform with the endowed whims of lobbyists and special interests, into something that is not public, free, widespread or Wi-Fi.  Hell, it will probably be some kind of dedicated dial up.  It never ceases to amaze me how little folks in office sell themselves for.  I guess the beds in Mabel's Capitol Hill house must be comfortable.

  Tech, telecom giants take sides as FCC proposes large public WiFi networks

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Get Ready for the real Nanny State of Drones

It will be that or the wild, wild, west will return in the high tech guise of killer nano drones!   I wonder if all the crazy "they're coming for our guns" folks will be able to deal with killer drones?  They won;t be coming for the guns.  Gee a good use for drones does exist.

Mini Drones: Army Deploys Tiny Helicopters

Drones

When the drones come home

‘Earthlings, there is no place to hide’ — drone strikes blur the laws of war

Bad Guys

I do have to wonder who in intelligence circles spoke to the authors of this piece and on what conditions.  As we have ended the idiotic war in Iraq, we've begun to shutdown the wasted war in Afghanistan.  Gee, we might have peace?

We, through our elected and appointed aces in D.C., did mangle bin Laden's al Qaeda.  Hell, we might think the war on terror is over.  Ooops, more bad guys are out there.  Be afraid.  And in your fear do not ask questions of Obama or Congress.  

After all, if we tamp down DOD spending, donations to pols will go down.  Any bets on the sequester really hitting Defense?  We won't have to even think about it as we put more little al Qaedas on display. Run in terror, run!

Here 'tis, the next decade of war--

Although splintered, al-Qaeda finds new life in unstable areas

Idiot Watch: Maryland

Prince George's County seems like a good place to put on your "never visit this shithole" list.  Any government that comes up with this kind of crap deserves to be shunned by the nation's citizens--

Prince George’s considers copyright policy that takes ownership of students’ work

Immigration

Five Myths

Guns

Here are a couple pieces from today's Washington Post of interest.

I don't understand gun nuts, never will.  I thought this piece might help.  It didn't.  The guy is just one more gun nut --they just have loose screws.

This gun rights backer, armed with his Glock and his blog, is always on alert

Every time I begin to think, maybe the gun nuts have a case to make, I am reminded that the source of their guns and ammo thoughts, the NRA, is just one more industry lobbying organization.  Gun sales are up as minds shut down.  Talk about being used!  Given all the nonsense the NRA has spewed over the years, I'd be embarrassed to admit to being a gun owner much less a member, these days.

NRA-backed federal limits on gun lawsuits frustrate victims, their attorneys

I like Sam Harris as a militant atheist a lot more than as a gun nut.  He has some points to make.  You might agree with him.  I have no problem with guns.  I have problems with idiots with guns--the NRA crowd, the Guns & Ammo zealots.  Guns should be treated just like cars--license them and regulate their initial purchase and resale.   AS we have licenses to drive, perhaps we need to license gun ownership too.  Frankly, as long as the sales are controlled, who gives a shit about the types of guns, magazines and ammo.  Ditto for ammo.  Oh, enforcement of all existing gun laws would help--crimes committed with a gun in your possession are federal offenses, period.   Sam writes well, he's just not on target on this one--

  Why I own guns

I do like Sean Faircloth's thoughts.  You may too--

Why more guns won't make us safer

Guns don't scare me.  I've done my share of shooting.  I never liked the M-16.  I preferred an M2 carbine in my urban military days.  I never transferred the fear of getting killed in war to a fear for my life or safety here at home.  I guess we all live in very different worlds.