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Don't panic.

There is nothing in Texas that is of any interest to anyone else in the Universe. You people take solipsism to a whole new level. You have nothing to fear from the Constructor Fleet. It has been determined that, if you represent the level of sophistication and intelligence in this part of the galaxy, there is no need for a hyperspace bypass in ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha. There is nothing to bypass.

You have nothing to fear from the the US government either. In fact, I understand that the US government is in negotiations with the government of Mexico, shamelessly apologizing for the annexation of Texas in 1845, and is trying to persuade them to take you back . . .

Good luck with that . . .

Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz

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That is the title of one of the best articles on the current state of national politics. He takes on the Republican Party and the Democratic Party as well as the usual suspects, Boehner, McConnel and Hillary. I could not do justice to it if I paraphrased it, so I'm providing the URL here.

It is also not very often that I have run into some writing that really made me stop and think. It's not very long, Quarter of a cup of coffee tops. I hope some will follow the URL and read the article. If it doesn't do anything for you, please talk about what you thought was missing.

Cheers

Discuss

Yes, it's true. New Orleans did get 20 snow camouflage parkas in their latest tranche of goodies from the DoD. They also got a "rough terrain" forklift, 21 7.62 mm rifles (probably M4s . . . probably not AK-47s) and two 5.56 mm rifles (probably M-16s). Oh, and 30 survival axes, in case someone falls into the Mississippi.

Rather than risk sounding like Major Kong reading off the list of everything else they got (humble apologies, Major Kong, but I just had to do it) the interested reader can catch up on all of the goodies that are now available to the New Orleans regional LEAs here.

I'm sorry, but I do have to mention one more item . . . I swear it's listed . . . Jefferson Parish got 3 (three) (bridge) erection boats . . .

It is truly Strangelovian . . .

Discuss

Wed Aug 27, 2014 at 05:25 PM PDT

By the Book

by lartwielder

Russia is raising the stakes in eastern Ukraine. In the past couple of weeks  we've seen:

 - August 14: An "aid" convoy from Russia, which included military vehicles . . . which proceeded into the Ukraine even though the main convoy stopped at the border for a while.

 - August 25: The Ukrainian army halts Russian armored column trying to carve a path to the Azov Sea port city of Novoazovsk.

 - August 26: Russia admits that its soldiers have been captured in Ukraine.

 - August 27: Russia takes a second shot at Novazovsk . . . and succeeds this time.

 - August 27: Putin washes his hands of negotiations with Ukraine and leaves Russians wondering if they are at war.

It seems things didn't "just happen" this way. I started smelling a rat when I read an article from Reuters titled "Pushing locals aside, Russians take top rebel posts in east Ukraine," so I started digging around on the interwebs looking for anything that would shed any light on the behind-the-scenes wheeling and dealing that seemed to be going on in the rebel camp.

I hit paydirt when I found a policy paper published by the National Defense Academy of Latvia titled: "RUSSIA’S NEW GENERATION WARFARE IN UKRAINE: IMPLICATIONS FOR LATVIAN DEFENSE POLICY." Like Ukraine, Latvia is on Russia's western border and was "annexed" by the Soviet Union. As a result of the Soviet occupation, a quarter of its population is Russian, many of whom are not Latvian citizens. Though Latvia is now a member of NATO, it is prudently very wary of the 600 lb. bear in its back yard. Given its history and its location, it has paid very close attention to what the Russian military has been up to, and, since things heated up in Ukraine, learning lessons from how Russia has gone about things there was of great importance. They really need to understand what's going there and what the implications are for them. Hence, the policy paper.

I had no idea what to expect when I started reading it, but along with the *facepalm*s and *headdesk*s, what the Russians were up to in Ukraine became crystal clear. It's like a football scout getting a copy of an opposing team's playbook. I am going to quote extensively from it because I haven't read anything close to this in providing insight into what Putin has up his sleeve, and I believe that it is crucial to understanding what's going on. These events and the way the crisis has been choreographed since Yanukovitch was on the ropes follow straight from Russia's New Generation Warfare tactical and strategic planning. The good stuff is after the fleur-de-kos.

Continue Reading

I was banging around the Interwebs earlier this evening and I stumbled on this column on the Huffington Post: Megyn Kelly Battles Joe Scarborough

Under other circumstances, I would not have followed the link, but since it was on HuffPo, I figured there might be something of interest there, so I clicked on it. It was pretty much what I expected until I got to:

Kelly said that Scarborough has also been critical of Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. "How can you be a true conservative if... you’re at war with so many of the conservative icons?" she wanted to know.
In order to frame my point, I'm going to rephrase Kelly's comment.
"Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh represent all that is good and true about conservatism and the conservative cause. How can you possibly not be in total agreement with them?"
My reply would be something on the order of: "How can one have an IQ above that of a hanging fern and take them seriously?" These are the icons of conservatism? I'll bet George Will, Charles Krauthammer, et al. are really disappointed . . .

Or not. Maybe they consider the source and the audience.

Discuss

Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 12:17 PM PDT

The Perfect Troll

by lartwielder

In today's Washington Post there is an article in the Style blog by Caitlin Dewey by the title of "'I will get the people to buy into my works just to rip their hearts out.' A Q&A with a professional Internet troll. In this article, the author recounts an email exchange with the subject, the purpose of which seemed to be to call him out on what he writes. But the result produced a double irony . . .

I haven't read any of his stuff, but apparently he has a House-like (as in Gregory) online persona and is not at all bashful about taking potshots at sacred cows. The great part is that he stays in character for the "interview" so he ends up trolling the author, who seems to be oblivious to what he's doing. Then comes the best part . . . all of the commentards who responded to the article got suckered in, too . . . That made my year . . .  :-)

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Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 12:15 PM PDT

Rewriting "Deliverance"

by lartwielder

If James Dickey were to write the screenplay for "Deliverance" today, the "squeal like a pig" scene would have turned out completely differently. Today, the governor of Georgia signed House Bill 60 which, according to Greg Bluestein writing in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

. . . allows Georgians to legally carry firearms in a wide range of new places, including schools, bars, churches and government buildings.
The guys wouldn't have gotten in any trouble for turning the tables in the situation, because, according to Georgia governor Nathan Deal,
"People who follow the rules can protect themselves and their families from people who don’t follow the rules."
because
"The Second Amendment should never be an afterthought. It should reside at the forefronts of our minds."
I think I'll look into what it would take to get the rights to do a rewrite . . . I can envision some really neat plot twists . . . Does anyone have any contacts in Hollywood?
Discuss

I don't know how I ended up there, but I just stumbled onto this: National Review article "Obama's Earth Day Travels Will Generate 868 Tons of Carbon."

There really wasn't any point to the article except to talk about how much more carbon Obama was going to be dumping in the air than most other people, but what the author seemed not to realize that by pointing it out, he was making a big deal out of the fact, and, that, therefore implied that he was concerned about it . . .

So which is it? Human activity affects the environment or not? If it doesn't, what's the big deal? If it is important, then the National Review has to turn in its climate change denial creds.

Discuss

There's an article with the title "Those NSA 'reforms' in full: El Reg translates US Prez Obama's pledges" on today's Register. The subtitle says it all: "Filleting fact from fiction."

Here's what it's about:

"As such we've taken a transcript of the president's words and, given what we know about today's mass surveillance operations, tried to work out what was actually said. Prez Obama's speech is presented below in bold, with our annotations throughout."
Depending upon one's mood, it might be an interesting read . . .
Discuss

I have a very strong opinion about the government showdown and harbor some particularly ill will toward Republitarians (high RWA Republicans). Robert Altemeyer, a psychologist who studied authoritarianism for 40 years characterizes them this way:

But research reveals that authoritarian followers drive through life under the influence of impaired thinking a lot more than most people do, exhibiting sloppy reasoning, highly compartmentalized beliefs, double standards, hypocrisy, self-blindness, a profound ethnocentrism, and–to top it all off–a ferocious dogmatism that makes it unlikely anyone could ever change their minds with evidence or logic.
I thought that by now I couldn't be surprised by anything they'd do, but, again today, another record was broken. There was an article in Talking Points Memo about poor Renee Elmers (R-NC02) who allowed as how she  really needed to get paid even though no one else in the government was . . .

According to Renee:

I need my paycheck. That's the bottom line.
despite the fact that, according to her bio on her House web page:
Before her election to Congress, Renee served as a registered nurse for over twenty-one years, initially as a surgical intensive care nurse and then focusing on surgical and wound care patients along with her husband Dr. Brent Ellmers in their General Surgery practice.
Gee, the poor woman and her family might starve if she doesn't get her paycheck. There's no way that they could possibly get by on her husband's income . . .

Now, I grew up in eastern North Carolina where the "plantation mentality" still flavors every aspect of life, and have lived in North Carolina much of my adult life. I thought I'd seen just about every kind of lack of empathy and hypocrisy that was in Tar Heels' repertoires. (The Tea Party assault on the legislature was an eye-opener, but only to the extent that they were able to do so much damage so quickly). Imagine my relief when I saw that she was

Originally born and raised in Michigan . . .
I guess Michigan rednecks outclass Southern rednecks. It must be the winters . . .

So far, Ellmers' poor-mouthing trumps anything I've seen for the category of Combined Cluelessness, Lack of Empathy, Hypocrisy, Double Standards and Self-blindness. I think I have to come up with some kind of prize.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Discuss

Today was a great day for watching high RWA Christians in their natural habitat. For bait we had the two most recent rulings by the Supreme Court . . . the one that gutted legislation that was designed to provide assurance that "even the least of these" would not have their right to vote hampered or restricted and the one that invalidated DOMA.

There was all kinds of wailing and gnashing of teeth after the ruling on DOMA was announced . . . Of course, Michele Bachmann had something to say:

Marriage was created by the hand of God. No man, not even a Supreme Court, can undo what a holy God has instituted.
Despite the Establishment Clause, she is perfectly happy to have laws passed that are based purely and solely on religious grounds and she is very unhappy when those laws are declared unconstitutional. But she gets mightily upset when she encounters laws that would seem to conflict with her beliefs . . . Even if those laws do not directly affect her ability to live her life the way she sees fit. She has no qualms at all about imposing her beliefs on others and is not willing to allow others to live their lives according to their beliefs even if they don't affect her. She has no respect whatsoever for others. She is a bully, and she does so in the name of god. She is by no means by herself . . . this example was just low-hanging fruit.

Lets hear next from Bishop Anne Gimenez, Rock Church, Virginia Beach.

We’re disappointed in the court’s ruling in what we feel is a biblical issue, defined by the Bible. [Emphasis mine.] We feel the court cannot find a better definition than God has given in His word: one man and one woman… It’s not a victory because there is quite a majority against it. That the court cannot move above the will of the people doesn’t seem to enter into their decisions. I’m surprised at their audacity and ashamed that America has come this low in our moral standards.
Here we have it then. There is no possible interpretation of what Bishop Gimenez is saying but that the reason she is upset is that the issue is a biblical one and that "God has given in his word . . ." That is as bald and blatant a violation of the Establishment Clause as any I've ever seen. Memo to Bishop Giminez: My freedom of religion is also my freedom from your religion. How is it that you feel you have every right in the world to impose your beliefs on others and not accord others the respect of their beliefs that you demand of them. This is a grown-up world, Bishop. You get the respect you give. You can take your beliefs and your morals and shove them where the sun don't shine.

Rather than beating a dead horse, I'll stop here and just say to all of you sanctimonious, self-congratulating, busybody, stick-your-nose-in-everybody-else's-business, blustering, bullying people who call themselves "Christians," you're not. Listen to what The Rev. Rob Schenck had to say when warning that Christians should expect a backlash:

The script's already been written: Christians are mean, angry, bigoted, narrow-minded ugly people. That's the stereotype. We need to do what we can to defeat that stereotype.
Yea, veriily, Brother! He's got it to a T. I couldn't have said it better myself. So get your god out of peoples' bedrooms, their vaginas and their politics. We are all grown up here. Each of us has his or her religious beliefs and relationships with the universe. We each have the right to our beliefs and value systems. You Prunella Pecksniffs can either get over it or get off the bus.

I left the short rant for last. In the wake of the Supreme Court decision on voting rights, all of the ALEC dittoheads in the South are now set to do as much damage as possible to the electoral process. Not that it will have any effect at all (hence this being in a rant on hypocrisy), but I would like to remind all of the good a**hole redneck Christians who vote in favor of these bills of what Jesus is quoted as having said in Matthew 25:45 -

And he will answer, "I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me."  - New Living Translation
Just sayin' . . .
Discuss

Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 12:12 PM PDT

The joke's on him

by lartwielder

Today's Guardian web site posted an op-ed by John Bolton (as in Bush's UN ambassador). When I saw who wrote it, I thought I knew what I was in for if I read it, but I was curious about how he would justify the idea that Edward Snowden should be drawn and quartered and fed to the wolves.

Up until know, I don't think I'dever read anything he had written, so I didn't have any idea of what exactly to expect. . . . About a third of the way through the article I got the image of Jeff Dunham with Peanut on his arm and Peanut making the "going over his head gesture." He was castigating Snowden for publicizing the fact the the US was engaged in snooping on the Chinese. Here is what he had to say:

The political implications are grave. Snowden has given Beijing something it couldn't achieve on its own: moral equivalence.
Indeed. Of course, his intent was that now China could justify it's activities by claiming self-defense. It completely escaped him that that moral equivalence also implies that it's perfectly OK for the US to suppress and spy on its own citizens. That doesn't seem to be a problem. (That is not a surprise, Bolton is an archetypal high-RWA, and as far as they are concerned, anything goes when it comes to maintaining "national security" and "law and order.)"

If you're up for a few giggles, the comment section has some real zingers. Take a half hour or so before bed, pour a glass of wine and head over there. Outside of the Daily Show and the Colbert Report, it may be some of the best amusement to be had today . . .

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