Badtux the Snarky Penguin

In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin.

Religious fundamentalists are motivated by the sneaking suspicion that someone, somewhere, is having fun -- and that this must be stopped.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Dastardly darkies break the law!

Yes, they do illegal stuff, like give an incorrect social security number to employers in order to get jobs, and we should send'em all back to where they came from. Why, just the other day, those dastardly darkies drank from the whites-only fountain, sat at the front of the bus rather than the back of the bus, walked into a whites-only school and expected to be educated, and so forth. How dare those darkies demand that they have the same rights as, say, immigrants from India, who are allowed to come here on H1B visas while there is no such visa for farm-worker immigrants from Mexico! The audacity of those unseemly darkies, disobeying an unjust and discriminatory law that gives some people more rights than they have based only on their color or nation of original origin!

Let's deport all these illegal immigrants back to where they came. Let's deport all those Negros back to Africa. All those Mexicans back to Mexico. All those honkeys back to Europe. All those Asians back to Asia. America for Americans! America for the Apache/Navajo/Pima/etc.! Send all the illegals back from where they came!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin
Err, does that mean I need to return to Antarctica? Sigh!

Okay, here's the deal, folks. This so-called 'stepped up enforcement' of the SSN requirement doesn't mean a goddamned thing. Most of the "illegals" work temp jobs -- they're employed by fly-by-night temporary agencies that then contract their services to the "real" employer. They are not employees of their "real" employer, and thus their "real" employer never has to check their social security number. The labor contractor legally has to do so, but he's one guy with a pickup truck with no fixed address, so how is the IRS going to track him down? All this does is hurt small businesses that are trying to do the right thing. It doesn't affect the major employers of the "illegals" at all, since they use the labor-contractor cut-out to avoid having to do things like, e.g., pay social security taxes to the temp workers. It only affects the employers who give real paying jobs to people rather than temp jobs.


Posted by: BadTux / 8/08/2007 12:28:00 PM  4 comments  

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Social Security is going bankrupt!

Uhm, no. Social Security is not going to go tits up. Without tax hikes or sale of lots of Treasuries on the open market to pay back the bonds in the Social Security trust fund it’s not going to be able to pay all the promised benefits, but frankly even the 60% of the promised benefits that it will be able to pay worst case is more than enough for me to live on in retirement (granted, I qualify for the maximum benefit due to years of six-figure salaries and have modest needs for retirement income since I own my retirement property clear and outright and it’s in a state with no property tax on most residential property and thus need money only for utilities and maintenance, but even folks with more modest income will still get a good shake from Social Security).

Medicare is not going to go tits up either. Before the Baby Boomers allow Medicare to go tits up, they’re going to mandate it as the single payer health care insurer for America, and thus use payroll taxes on the young to pay for their retirement health care. On average the typical person will be paying less for Medicare than they currently pay for private insurance even with the subsidy of the prunes so it’s a win-win all the way, nevermind that the health insurance companies hate the idea (duh, they’d be like buggy whip makers in 1928 after the automobile had displaced horse and buggy nationwide!). So it’s going to happen. If you work in the health insurance business, I suggest that you do like the buggy whip makers and get another job, yours is going to get obsolete as soon as the boomers realize they need young farts to subsidize their Medicare and that the only way they’re going to get that without a revolution is to extend Medicare to all.

In short, whining about how Social Security is a "scam" and that there is a Social Security "crisis" is bullcrapola. Just typical scare tactics by people who know only the bullshit talking points handed down to them by their Party commissars on Faux News and Talk Radio…

– Badtux the Party Penguin


Posted by: BadTux / 8/07/2007 06:23:00 PM  4 comments  

War is Hell

Wikipedia's Page of the Day is William Tecumseh Sherman, the first modern general -- the first general who truly understood the nature of war in the industrial age.

Read. Discuss. Understand why there was not a single general in the U.S. Army advocating invading Iraq prior to being ordered to do so by Herr Bush.

-- Badtux the History Penguin

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Posted by: BadTux / 8/07/2007 01:49:00 PM  5 comments  

Monday, August 06, 2007

Don't cry for Hiroshima

So, 62 years ago, Hiroshima went up in smoke, and thousands of her citizens too, in the world's first use of a nuclear weapon against a civilian population.

That's supposed to be a bad thing. Like, I'm supposed to feel sad about it or something. But I don't. You know why? Because of the Rape of Nanking. The Bataan Death March. The forced prostitution of women in conquered populations. Military attacks upon every single one of their neighbors except the Soviet Union, generally without provocation or any justification other than a desire for empire and conquest.

What you sow, thus shalt thou reap. If you kill hundreds of thousands of people, do not expect sympathy from me. A government serves only with the consent of its people, for if a people do not consent, if a people refuse to work and pay taxes and enforce the rulings of the government, the government falls. Sympathy when such a people receive in kind what they have sown elsewhere is not in my nature.

What that says about my opinion of my own government and my own people... I shall not go there.

-- Badtux the Bloody-minded Penguin

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Posted by: BadTux / 8/06/2007 11:11:00 PM  6 comments  

Another one bites the dust

Hmm, how's that housing bubble doin'?

Yeppers, another home loan vendor bites the dust. But unlike the others, this one wasn't a sub-prime lender. This one is an "alt-A" lender, someone who lends money to folks who have good credit but maybe are buying a little more house than they can afford or something like that. The failures are moving up the home loan lending food chain.

So what does it mean to you? Well, that's still unclear. You can bet that housing prices are going to be down. The assets of these lenders are being picked up by vultures for peanuts. The vultures take the proceeds of the performing loans, but the non-performing loans go into foreclosure. Where the mortgage lender was willing to work with homeowners in hopes that either a) housing prices would rise enough to make it worth foreclosing at some point in the future, b) the homeowner would somehow start paying his loan on time, or c) cows would fly, the vulture is going to foreclose and sell the house at auction to the lowest bidder and write off the loss. That's why he paid only pennies on the dollar for the portfolio of the failed lender, after all -- so that he could wring a few pennies more out of the deal. If it was a $500K loan and he sells the house for $200K after repo expenses, but he only paid $150K for the loan, he's still ahead. But other folks in the neighborhood with $500K houses suddenly just had the values of their homes reduced to $300K, and are underwater on their loans now, and can't get the promised re-fi to deal with their ARM that's about to re-adjust to 13.5% interest after 5 years because their house is no longer worth enough to re-finance the loan with... so the troubles spread.

The eventual result, if too many of these lenders fail, is galloping deflation similar to that in the period 1929-1932. Now, galloping deflation is great for millionaires. It means their millions are worth more (in real terms) because their millions will buy more. It's horrible for working people who have a bit of debt, because they can't sell their services in the open market for enough to service that debt, and end up with all their possessions repossessed by (duh) the wealthy. The period 1929-1932 was probably the greatest transfer of real wealth (land and goods) from working people to the wealthy in the history of the nation, because that's what deflation does -- it transfers wealth from people who owe money (generally working people) to people with lots of money in the bank (generally the wealthy).

So the next question is, "will the U.S. government bail out the lenders?" In a word... no. The only outfits that the U.S. government is going to bail out is going to be Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, who are too big to allow to fail. If individual mortgage lenders fail, that's disappearing dollars from the economy (since those assets are suddenly worth only 20% of what they were once worth), but given that the Federal Reserve has been cranking out dollars with all the avid fervor of a Weimar Republic finance ministry over the past six years in order to finance the horrible federal balance of payments imbalance, it could be said that what the Fed giveth, the Fed now taketh away. But if Fannie and Freddie go under, the government will have to step in and guarantee those mortgage-backed bonds because if those disappear, then we are truly in the deflationary death spiral because too much money will vaporize out of the economy. The problem is that the U.S. government itself is not exactly in a fiscal situation where it is flush with dough. What that means is that the printing presses will have to be cranked up even more. Now, the printing presses actually have been cranking for a while now to finance the current federal balance of payments deficit (thus why food and fuel have been going up in price -- too many dollars from those presses cranking away chasing too little food and fuel), but if we go the Weimar Republic route we'll all be hauling bales and wheelbarrows full of cash out of the bank every day to buy a loaf of bread and a gallon of gas.

So what's going to happen? Fuck, you're asking a penguin what's going to happen? I haven't the foggiest clue what's going to happen. Galloping deflation (good for rich, bad for working people) is one possibility. Galloping inflation is unlikely -- hurts the rich, y'know, and this regime is all about helping the rich. Lots of working folks losing everything they own to sharks... well duh. This is the Bush Administration, bay-bee! You can bet that whatever happens, Vice President Halliburton will protect his own. Ah gher-uhn-TEEE! (With all due respect to the late Justin Wilson). In the meantime, if you're thinking of buying a house, I recommend doing it only if the payments (minus the interest and property tax deductions) will be the same or lower than what you're paying as rent. Because housing prices are only going one way for the next few years, and that is down, D-O-W-N, bay-bee!

-- Badtux the Economics Penguin


Posted by: BadTux / 8/06/2007 10:22:00 PM  7 comments  

Bin Laden Determined to Strike America

August 6, 2001. President George W. Bush attends a conference with National Security Advisor Condi Rice and representatives of several intelligence agencies to be briefed about a threat to America. These representatives of the nation's intelligence services brief the President, at this Presidential Daily Briefing (PDB), that Osama bin Laden is planning to strike America, and furthermore that he plans to hijack an airliner. At the end of it, Dear Leader tells the intelligence agents "Okay, you've covered your butts now" and goes on vacation. No action is taken to tighten surveillance on known al Qaeda agents or tighten security at airports.

On September 11, 2001, four jet airliners are hijacked and three of them are flown into buildings while one, apparently after a struggle with passengers, is crashed into a field. Over 2,000 Americans die.

It continues to mystify me why 1/4th of the nation still continues to insist that George W. Bush exhibits leadership, when it has been clear for over six years that nothing of the sort is true. Dear Leader's notion of leadership is to go on vacation. It's the only thing he knows how to do, apparently, he has spent over 20% of his Presidency on vacation. While any normal President would have sounded alarm bells at a briefing stating that a known enemy of America who had killed hundreds of Americans over the past five years was planning to strike again, and would have ordered the nation's security apparatus to locate and neutralize the threat, George W. Bush... went on vacation.

I don't agree with the 9/11 conspiracy freaks who think that surely no President could be so incompetent thus he must have known that 9/11 was coming and thus 9/11 was an inside job. This President has proven too many times that yes, he really is that incompetent. Still, I know where they're coming from. That level of arrogance, stupidity, and incompetence simply is hard to believe. Too many people, still, would rather believe that their President is an evil machiavellian mass murderer of Americans than that he's, well, a fuckin' moron. Well, except for the 27% of True Believers, who apparently lack the brain mass that God gave a housecat and think that going on vacation is decisive action against America's enemies...

-- Badtux the Reminiscing Penguin

Just another li'l node in Blue Gal's PDB Blogswarm

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Posted by: BadTux / 8/06/2007 09:44:00 PM  2 comments  

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Sleep deprivation experiment

DIdn't get to sleep until 6am, woke up at 10am. How does a penguin do on 4 hours of sleep? Interesting experiment, dear Watson. Didn't stop me from heading up to Wally World to get my medicines, then over to Harbor Freight Tools and Sears to start the work of replacing the tools that were in the toolbox that thieves stole (grrrrrr....). None of my core tools were in that toolbox (they were all with my Jeep that weekend), but lots of shit that just make working on cars and motorcycles more pleasant were in there, as well as some specialty tools that I don't even know whether I need'em anymore but it was nice having them in case I ever did need'em again (tools good! Ugh!). So over at Harbor Freight I got cheap replacements for the various specialty pliers (bent nose, needle nose, etc.) which when you need'em you need'em as well as various picks, scribes, tweezers, and other such implements of mass destruction, and oh yeah, my freakin' *air nozzles* were in that tool box too for attaching to my air compressor/air tank to do stuff like fill up tires and such via quick disconnect so I had to pick up a new air tool kit. Then over at Sears, I got replacements for the locking pliers and channel-loks that got stolen (I had the one of each that I use most often in the Jeep with me, well actually had two of the Vice-grips a tiny one and a regular size one, but the ones I didn't have do get occasional use when they're just the right tool for the job). Thus far the thief has set me back around $120, and I haven't even started on stuff like sheet metal shears and such that were in that toolbox, grrr...

So it appears that sleep deprivation makes me type run-on sentences and buy tools. Sigh. Guess it could be worse. Oh, yeah, what beats me is that I'm cutting back on my caffeine intake, just one cup in the morning for the past two days otherwise I can't safely navigate out of my front door and I'm going to cut that down to an 8oz cup rather than a 16oz mug (heh!) then to a 4oz cup at which point I should be able to kick the coffee habit entirely, but it doesn't seem to be helping the insomnia issue. And no, I don't use meth or crack, so don't bother telling me to quit them either :-). Oh yeah, my Macbook in clamshell mode hooked up to my widescreen 22" monitor is suhweet, but I can't find a picture browser that is as nice as gqview on Linux for the Mac. iPhoto is almost there, but is way too slow once you import thousands of photos into it and sucks up all the memory on the system (and remember I have two gigabytes of memory in my Macbook), not to mention that you have to import the photos into it in the first place, you can't just browse an arbitrary directory full of penguin porn for example unless you import it and who wants to have a 'penguin porn' category in their iPhoto left tab heh! So I guess I gotta fire up Xcode and do my first Aqua programming -- porting gqview to the native MacOS API. That oughtta be a trip :-).

Oh, for those of you who have multiple cats with multiple food bowls, do you find that your cats are picky about what order you fill the food bowls in? If I fi ll the food bowl by the wine rack before I fill the food bowl by the refrigerator, the furry beasties get all discombobulated. The Mighty Fang goes and starts eating out of the food bowl by the wine rack until Mencken shoves him away to grab a few bites, meantime I put food into the food bowl by the refrigerator and nobody's eating out of there. But if I put food into the food bowl by the refrigerator, TMF starts chowing down, while Mencken goes and waits by the one by the wine rack, I put food in there, and Mencken starts chowing down, then it's both kitties chowing down at the same time like it's supposed to be. Damned furry beasts simply do not tolerate any variation from their routine, it gets them all tangled up... hmm, okay, so sleep deprivation starts making penguins start talking about cats, photos, crack habits, and other stuff in a posting about insominia too. Babble babble babble...

-- Badtux the Sleepless Penguin

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Posted by: BadTux / 8/05/2007 07:12:00 PM  8 comments  

Saturday, August 04, 2007

A minor correction

In a previous message regarding "Dr." Michael Savage extolling gold as an investment, I implied that he didn't really have a doctorate degree. Uhm, I gotta post a correction there. He does. Under his real name, Michael Allan Weiner (sounds like "whiner"), he has a Ph.D. from the University of California-Berkeley in Nutrition, and wrote a number of books in the 1970's and 1980's about various dietary supplement regimes (the most famous of which is his book "Getting Off Cocaine", where he advises an herbal regime for kicking the coke habit). If I were planning a series of meals to meet the dietary needs of a diverse population, I'd definitely consider Dr. Weiner to be someone whose expertise, if offered, would be valuable. Financial advice... uhm, no.

- Badtux the Correction Penguin


Posted by: BadTux / 8/04/2007 11:58:00 PM  3 comments  

Friday, August 03, 2007

Baby pictures

I have been trudging through my old photos today, putting them into iPhoto and sorting and categorizing them. While doing so I came across these photos of The Mighty Fang and Mencken shortly after they came home from the Arizona Humane Society. I was living in Scottsdale at the time in a funky 1950's concrete block ranch house just outside of downtown. Some of the other photos of the Arizona wildlife on the Squaw Peak Trail are rather more interesting (this penguin does admire the sight of hot sweaty well-buffed wildlife, yessiree!) but that's another posting :-). The Mighty Fang is about 8 months old at this time and considerably smaller than he is today. Mencken is about 4 years old and was pulled out of a dumpster where he was foraging for food. Mencken spent about 2 weeks lurking under my bed, coming out only at night or when I was away for food and water and litter box duty, before he decided I was safe and came out while I was around, at which point I couldn't go anywhere without him following me and meowing asking for me to sit down so he could jump on my lap and purr. I decided he needed companionship. TMF -- a playful teenage kitten at the time -- was the result. TMF didn't hide under the bed. He practically mugged me -- and Mencken, who he drove nuts by alternately grooming Mencken and then, during a grooming session, suddenly deciding to wrestle with him. This second photo is about six months later, after TMF got somewhat bigger (he's now bigger than Mencken, he was about the same size as Mencken at the time of the photo). Neither of these photos are posed, but both are the result of TMF following Mencken around and doing whatever Mencken was doing. In the first photo, Mencken went to sleep on my futon (much younger and bluer at the time, I need a new futon cover!), and TMF followed. In the second photo, I had a cat lure on a string and had lured them on top of the box while catfishing, and now they're looking down at the cat lure preparing to pounce on it. But at least Mencken quit following me around meowing at me. He was too busy trying to avoid being groomed by TMF, which is why he's had an irritated look on his furry face ever since...

-- Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin


Posted by: BadTux / 8/03/2007 11:01:00 PM  3 comments  

My plan for fixing Iraq

is .... BWHAHAHAH! C'mon, did you really think I was going to do a Romney/Lieberman style "plan" for solving Iraq's problems? Get real, folks. The time when I, or any American, had the moral standing or any standing at all to say anything about how to "fix" Iraq is long gone. As a nation we have proven to be utterly incompetent and inept at the task of ruling an Arab nation. There is literally nothing that any American pundit or politician has ever uttered or implemented that did anything except make things worse.

Anybody who proposes a "plan" that does not a) immediately remove U.S. troops from Iraq so that they quit acting like a bull in a china shop and fucking things up (note -- it's a soldier's job to fuck things up, preferably enemies-of-America things, so don't blame the soldiers for this, blame the men who sent soldiers in to do a policeman's job) and, then, b) immediately start paying anybody who's not American to "fix" the situation however they so propose to fix it, regardless of whether the Iraqis are sitting on "our" oil or not, and then, c) pay hundreds of billions of dollars in reparations to the Iraqi people over the next ten years for the damage we've done to their infrastructure and their society... any plan that doesn't call for turning the problem over to someone who, like, knows their shit (which ain't anybody American when it comes to Arab societies)... any such plan should be greeted with only derisive laughter. Because, unfortunately, every single plan that has ever been proposed by any American doesn't pass the giggle test when you run it by an actual Iraqi.

It's time to face facts: We fucked up, and like Bubba in the fancy dish shop, we just ain't got the smarts to fix it. Best thing we can do is get out, and pay for the damage we've done, and hope that the proprietor of that there fancy dish shop can get the old smashed stock repaired or replaced without our "help" (other than our money, of course). At this point in time, anything we do in Iraq, regardless of how well intended, will only make things worse. We might not like knowing that America is not omnipotent and rah rah USA whatchamacallit, but facts is facts, people. We just ain't smart 'nuff as a people anymore to fix even our own fuckin' bridges, much less Iraq's.

- Badtux the Plan Penguin

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Posted by: BadTux / 8/03/2007 09:53:00 PM  0 comments  

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Mitt Romney: Terrorist

As some of you know, I subscribe to World Nut Daily's news flashes so that you don't have to. In the latest news flash, I learned an interesting thing: Mit Romney is a terrorist supporter.

See, Mitt Romney sez that the way to get those darkies overseas to love us is to, like, be nice to them. Give them money to buy food and clothes. Build bridges and water treatment plants and roads for them. Open up health clinics and schools for them. That kinda thing. Like Hezbollah does. But any real Republican knows that darkies don't understand it when you're nice to them. The only thing darkies understand is force. That's why Hezbollah is so popular in Lebanon, because they kill so many Lebanese. Uhm, except they don't. They give the Lebanese people free food, run a construction company that builds bridges and houses for them, and so forth. Which darkies view as weakness and thus view you as someone to disdain if you do that kinda stuff for them. Which is why Hezbollah so unpopular in Lebanon. Except they aren't. WAH! Mommy, logic is making my Republican head hurt, make it stop, WAH!

So anyhow, the Mitster stuck his foot into his mouth. But never fear. I'm sure that, like with abortion, universal health insurance, gay marriage, and other such issues where the Mitster believed one thing before he believed another, next week he'll believe that the proper way to deal with those darkies overseas is to bomb and kill them, just like all good Republicans believe. Because, after all, being nice just isn't as much fun. Even if it actually works at gaining friends, unlike the bomb'em to the stone age thingy, but hey, he's a Republican. Logic? BWahahahhah!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

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Posted by: BadTux / 8/02/2007 07:55:00 PM  3 comments  

Army recruiting illegals

Yeppers. That's the latest target that the U.S. Army is going after in their quest to fill ranks depleted by the War on Brown People Overseas -- brown people. Mexican brown people. With false promises of citizenship.

Crap, even the Roman Army didn't go that far. They recruited illegals, sure, but they gave the illegals and their families citizenship in exchange for their service.

Hmm, reminds me of another empire that relied on illegal immigrants to staff their army. Say, how's that Roman Empire thingy doin' nowdays? Just askin'!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

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Posted by: BadTux / 8/02/2007 09:19:00 AM  3 comments  

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Democrats are nice to teachers!

The Coultergeist (sorry, no linky, I won't drive hits to the harpy) has come up with the latest crime that the Democrats are guilty of: They're being nice to teachers.

Good call, Republicons! Everybody knows that the best way to deal with the people who are raising your children (because you're too self-centered, selfish, apathetic, and/or stupid to do it yourself) is not to be nice to them. If your kid isn't doing well in school, remember, it's not your kid's fault for being lazy, apathetic, or just plain stupid. It's the teacher's fault! Why, if the teacher wasn't so selfish as to work for almost nothing for twelve hours a day during the school year trying to pound some knowledge into the heads of ungrateful little brats who would rather be anywhere else, if she'd just wave her little magic wandy thingy abra cadabra like Hairy Potter, your kid would be a genius instead of an ignorant, self-centered apathetic idiot!

Yessirree, them Demon-craps. They just don't know how to treat teachers. Why, they say teachers ought to be paid more to deal with your demon spawn? Oh the horror! They say teachers ought to have better working conditions rather than working in dungeon-like Early Industrial settings with leaky roofs and drafty windows? To the gallows with them! Why, ever good Republican knows that the only way to deal with a teacher is to come in with a belt and start walloping the hell out of her for ruining your child with them thare "idears" thingies, yessiree!

So remember, boys and girls: Vote Republicans. Because them Demoncraps, why, they're... they're... nice to teachers. GASP!

-- Badtux the Snarky Former Teacher Penguin

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Posted by: BadTux / 8/01/2007 06:24:00 PM  4 comments  


Can't sleep. Was browsing blogs at 3am last night. Time to cut down on the coffee. Sigh.

- Badtux the Sleepless Penguin

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Posted by: BadTux / 8/01/2007 01:18:00 PM  4 comments  

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Voting blues

So now both California and Florida have certified electronic voting machines -- as being crap. Even World Nut Daily (R-Nuttsville) has expressed alarm, mostly because they're concerned that those nasty Demon-craps are gonna hack an election (they don't figure Republicans are smart enough to hack an election apparently), but still, it seems that the general consensus everywhere outside of local bribed elections official's offices and the offices of ES&S/Diebold/etc. is that electronic voting machines are crap.

So how did we get into this situation? Well, the deal is that local elections officers really aren't very knowledgeable about fundamental accounting principles. By and large they got their jobs by being elected or appointed based on political leanings, not on whether they knew how to account for money or for votes. As a result, when the voting machine companies came around with these new electronic voting machines, they had not the foggiest notion that they were supposed to demand that the same standards used to account for money also be used to account for votes. Audit trails, paper trails, none of those things were on their priority lists because they just plain didn't understand that those things are important in order to have any confidence in any accounting system, whether for votes or for money. Furthermore, none of these people are technologists. So what you had was people ignorant of technology, ignorant of fundamental accounting systems, who were charged with purchasing multi-million dollar amounts of voting machines. You had people who had no idea that a voting machine written in Visual BASIC on Windows with no paper audit trail was inherently a Bad Idea(tm) making the decision as to what machines to buy.

The results... well, we know the results. The machines don't work worth a shit. But boy, they sure look cool! And man, those presentations! And hey, wasn't that conference that ES&S flew us to in Hawaii great? What? Diebold wants to fly us to Bermuda for a conference there? Whoa! Uhm, do the machines work? Who the fuck knows, so we'll just buy the coolest looking machine whose maker flys us to the neatest places!

So how do we get out of this situation? Well, first we need national standards. Real national standards, that require voting machines to meet the same accounting standards when accounting for votes that their business counterparts are required to meet when accounting for dollars. I don't care if the dimwit Registrar of Voters in Palm Beach County makes the decision to buy a particular machine, as long as the machine is guaranteed to work properly via some national body that has full authority to audit the thing. Secondly, we need to educate local voter registrars that just because it's a computer doesn't make it great. You'd think that anybody who had regularly experienced the Blue Screen of Death under Windows would have been cured of the notion that technology is necessarily a good thing, but a lot of these people still think technology is magic, not a bunch of cranky machines that humans programmed and often mis-programmed that do stupid things like, say, crash and lose votes, which is why you need that paper trail. And finally we need more folks like in Florida and California who are willing to stand up to powerful forces and say "We aren't gonna buy stuff that doesn't meet our standards, and if your stuff doesn't meet our standards, you either fix it or you're out of here."

Is it going to happen? Well, given that World Nut Daily (the voice of the right-wingnut ranks) is as worried as the civil libertarians and lefties... maybe. But we're up against big money here. We'll see. We'll see.


Posted by: BadTux / 7/31/2007 04:29:00 PM  6 comments  

Monday, July 30, 2007

How to reduce # of food quality problems

Putrid seafood. Lead-tainted candy. E. coli tainted spinach. You've probably heard about the rash of food quality problems that have occurred recently. There's been a lot of mention of them in the press and all that. But never fear, the Bush Administration has a sure-fired plan to solve the problem of reports of bad food quality, a sure-fired plan sure to reduce the # of food quality problems: Shut down labs testing for food quality problems.

This is typical response action for the Busheviks and their ilk, of course. It's sort of like their ranting about the "liberal media" reporting on the chaos that is Iraq. The problem there isn't that jihadis are blowing up car bombs all over the place, Shia militias are drilling holes in the heads of Sunni women and children, etc. Nope, the problem is that the nasty ole' "liberal media" is reporting on all that. Why, if we didn't know it was happening, it wouldn't be happening! And similarly, if we don't know that our food supply is tainted and putrid, why, it wouldn't happen!

"That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do." Talk about channeling O'Brien talking to Winston Smith in the basement of the Ministry of Love...

Of course, that's not how the world really works. Those of us in the reality-based community know that the jihadis will continue blowing the shit out of Shia whether it's reported or not, and that food will continue to be putrid whether a lab detects it or not. But then, we're not POTUS and thus us knowing this reality is irrelevant...

-- Badtux the Reality-based Penguin

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Posted by: BadTux / 7/30/2007 03:29:00 PM  4 comments  

Fightin' them over there so we don't gotta fight'em over here

Yeah, that's what the tighty righties always say about Iraq, as they cower under their bedsheets in terror of Teh Brown. Thing is, I remember yet another time when we had to "fight them over there so we don't have to fight them over here". Except the place was Vietnam. And we really did have terror cells "over here", Communist front groups devoted to "bringing on the revolution." And yeah, they managed to blow up a little shit here and there too.

So how did we defeat "them" (actually, us) over here, even though we didn't defeat "them" (actually, the Vietnamese people) over there? Simple. The FBI infiltrated these groups so heavily that if four radical activists got together to plan an action, three of them were probably FBI informants. The CIA was in on the action too, reporter Walter Pincus of the Washington Post got his start as a CIA operative by infiltrating student groups for example (probably he still is a CIA operative, he tends to break the CIA side of any story in Washington, but what the hey that's how it works in Soviet America). In other words, law enforcement. Duh. And it worked, mostly, until the terrorism started coming from the right-wing (Unibomber, Oklahoma City, abortion clinics, Osama) rather than the left wing. Official Washington was a bit in denial about the possibility of right-wing violence, after so many decades of fighting "the commie threat"=, and did not devote law enforcement resources to infiltrating and neutralizing such groups, instead preferring to go after ill people and people who like viewing videos of kinky sex.

So anyhow, I've heard the latest tighty rightie rhetoric before. Iraq-Nam. Like Viet-Nam, except in urban jungles rather than rural jungles. And you know something? Once we left Vietnam, guess what the VIetnamese people did -- did they follow us over here? Uhm, no. They settled down to rebuilding their country after the many decades of war. Which is exactly what the Iraqi people will do once we leave. But hey, that's drawing on the lessons of history, and tighty righties neither know history, nor care about history. All they care about is their fear of Teh Brown and whatever their political commissars on talk radio and Faux News tell them. Alrighty, then!

-- Badtux the History Penguin

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Posted by: BadTux / 7/30/2007 08:24:00 AM  3 comments  
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