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Archive for July, 2008

Prosser, WA, and by extension Richland/Tri-Cities prove the rule that the more things change the more things stay the same.  Oddly enough this boom-and-bust desert town is growing but also dying off in the labs (Battelle PNNL).  Richland/Hanford is a so-called Superfund site.  The insidious part of the Manhattan Project which birthed from its loins the Hanford site and shaped the Tri-Cities as they are today (Richland, Kennewick, and Pasco) is that while it helped resolve the war decisively (thus saving MILLIONS of lives) it also guaranteed that the bill would come due at a later date, in the form of a radiological/toxic legacy.   The urgent part of the extraction and experimentation for the first bombs left Hanford and Savannah River in less-than-enviable condition, with some of the wastes not even being fully known, much less fully understood.  In the sense of “angels-on-the-head-of-a-pin” the debate could rage about this topic, but leave it at this:  There are many waste tanks out there that have cocktails of things that aren’t well documented, and some them are leaky.  And some of them are radioactive enough to kill a person in the vicinity in short order and like to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.  [ponder that – just ponder]

My picture didn’t turn out as nice as this one, but here is a picture of the Yakima River alongside which grows the famous Russian Olive Tree (Pieceofcrapius Assholicus Bushicus) which is a silver-leafed shrub/tree straight from the lower bowels (colon) of Hell itself.  They are silvery, leafy, bushy, and have placed at very strategic locations these giant-sized thorns capable of skewering your hand right through a glove.  They are also famous for purposely selecting to pierce the webbing between your fingers.  These demon-spawn trees are rampant in this area.

How do I know these things?  Because I lived here for five years at my first job (laser spectroscopy lab) and met/married Cruel Wife here 13 years ago to this very day.

Next is the ubiquitous Tackweed.  See those spikes?  There’s this real funny story about how Lemur King (yours very truly), upon just moving to this area, took his mountain bike out for a ride.  After about a mile it began to get very hard to pedal.  It seemed that it must be sand bogging down the works, but upon investigation it was found that the tires were both flat.  The tires were only flat on the bottoms but flat enough to spoil the party.  No less than 15 spikes in each of the tires.  Ha.  Ha.  Ha.   Funny, wasn’t it?  Even funnier, these little gems can puncture feet with a vengeance as they separate bones in your feet.  The wicked chuckle can be heard quietly in the background… ha…  ha…  ha…This is another example of how the desert seems to like “sticking it to you“.  Rattlesnakes abound as well. Rather than link a pic of a snattlerake, let me link you to a great story.  Fun for the whole family if you like giving them the heebiedejeebies.  The only story I can add is that the damn things would kill power to the area several times a summer by slithering into a transformer to get out of the hot sun.

Three or so days in Prosser, the high point for Lemur King meeting up with his best friend (and wedding day best man) for the afternoon to go see Batman the Dark Knight (kickass, the Joker was incredible and max creepy, too) then it was on to Ellensberg to visit fambly.

Portland – Prosser – Ellensberg

Ellensberg, WA – Coming Down from the Pass

We’re here until Thursday, then on to the Eugene, Oregon locale.  Willamette Valley and all it’s perks – mountains, pollen, and thistles (willamette is apparently native-indian-speak for “valley full of goddamned thistles”)

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Hi All.  First Installment, Vacation 2008.

We started out last Thursday night. The idea was that we would do things in a logical order…

  1. “Pink Juice” the cat
  2. Pack up stuff into the car
  3. Drive to the hotel next to the airport, stay overnight, dump off vehicle
  4. Get up early, get on plane
  5. Endure agony with two freaked out hyperactive ping-pong ball children
  6. Arrive Portland, get rental, have meltdown
  7. End up in Prosser, Washington – take Lithium and Prozac cocktail

Reality bites 50% of the time.

We gave Silver d’Cat his last meal of tuna juice and lots of bittersweet scritches.  The long and short of it was that the vet came by and was the epitome of the benevolent angel (of Death, certainly, but angel is the operative word).  He went peacefully and quietly and surrounded by folks that cared about him and him alone in those moments.

I took the box we wanted to put him in, added his kitty pad and he was laid on it, then covered him with catnip fronds.  The plot was underneath some shady trees smack in the middle of one of his favorite catnip patches and was capped with a heavy flat-topped pyramid stone – it looks good, really.  Lastly I put catnip on his stone.    Why do all this for a cat?  Well, because even the vet remarked on how kind and good-natured of a kitty he was – he was gentle, having only bitten anyone only a handful of times, in great pain, every time.  Times when he *should* have bitten the kids, he did not do so.

Packing the car and picking up the kids worked out well.  Driving to the airport went well.  Getting in the room was lengthy but uneventful.  Dropping off the car was hell.  Apparently our desk clerk at the hotel cannot distinguish between “Michigan Left” and “Left” in giving directions.  So in looking for the parking lot, what should have ended me up 1-1/2 blocks from my hotel put me all the way at the ass-end of Middlebelt Road.  You’re thinking “Oh Lemur King, you are such a whiny-assed pansy”.  Maybe, maybe not.  Middlebelt is not the best place in the world to drive around for an hour, and as I was looking at street addresses and road names, I nearly ran over an idiot who was (1) riding his bike at night, (2) was wearing dark clothes, and (3) had only reflectors on the heels of his shoes.  This is one case where “riding while black” is a distinct advantage.  I honestly could not see the guy because he was all but invisible.   So finally we got it out of the clerk that she meant “Michigan Left”.  I found the place and scrambled out of there to the hotel.  It was a hot and sticky night.  The Surface of Venus was a more hospitable place that night.

The flight went uneventfully.  This is nothing short of a miracle.  We got “our” rental car, but due to my driver’s license expiring on the second-to-the-last day of the lease period, I was unable to be included as a driver.  Get that?  They trust me to not drive the entire period as a non-driver, but they could not trust me to drive up until the day where my license expired and then stop.  NANNY STATE.  I’m still pissed.  $700 for a car rental and I can’t even drive the $*^&#@ thing.

On Our Way, Camera Out – Up the Gorge (I-84)

Through the Tunnel on the Columbia River (I-84)

So, we get on the road and I start taking pictures.  Around Hood River (going up I-84 along the Columbia Gorge), I got the camera out.  I was taking pictures on the fly and through a window, so bear with the reflections and smudges.

Not Too Far from Biggs Jct., Oregon – Home of the World’s Best Cheap Corndogs

Just After Biggs Jct. – Washington Side of the Gorge, to Tri Cities/Prosser, WA

More later…

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(musically, sorta)

Leaving… on a jet plane… sound of kids scrambling my brain… oh Lord, what a way to gooo-ooo-ooo-ooh…

(end musical score)

Will be leaving the sitter with the house and hauling ass onwards to the fruits of my labors – vacation!  The NorthWest beckons, all desert-ey in Washington, and all rainforest-ey in Oregon.  Oh, yeah.  We grew up on opposite sides of the spectrum, Cruel Wife and I.

I will try to post pics and updates but no idea where my internet connection points will be.

Take care, folks – talk to you in two weeks thereabout-ish.

-LK

Plugging for Stephan Pastis, the author of “Pearls Before Swine”… go get one of his books.  You will fall in love with Pig (the little pink guy below).

I can’t let it go…  Forwarded to me by The Dude – some blogmentary from some blog.  Leading up to the last one is a great progression:

By Mike Novean (Blackdice) on Wednesday, July 16, 2008 – 11:17 am: Edit

SPP,

I had read an article earlier this summer from the Chicago region that said that because of higher gas prices they were not going to removing as many dead animals from the roads as they had in the past.

That could be one factor in the higher than normal dead animal count.

By Douglass E. Howard (Doug_Howard) on Wednesday, July 16, 2008 – 12:20 pm: Edit

Mike,
It could also be the new excuse for everything…

By Sean O’Carroll (Terryoc) on Wednesday, July 16, 2008 – 08:21 pm: Edit

The new excuse for everything?!

“Not tonight honey, higher gas prices are giving me a headache.”

By Stephen J. Schrader (Wyvern) on Wednesday, July 16, 2008 – 09:32 pm: Edit

“Not tonight honey. Because of the price of gas, I couldn’t go to the store, just to pick up some aspirin for my headach.”

By Loren Knight (Loren) on Wednesday, July 16, 2008 – 10:59 pm: Edit

“Not tonight honey, the oil companies beat you to it.”

By Ken Lin (Old_School) on Thursday, July 17, 2008 – 09:15 am: Edit

LOL

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Well, certain racists in Texas might call ’em “Black Holes” but that’s just a nasty slur like in an earlier post of mine (scroll down in that post for the Texas county official fighting the good fight).  We don’t do that sort thing over here at The Folly.  We only deal in Ultra-Low-Intensity Holes (the only other holes we cover are ASSholes but that’s another post).

Weighing ULI Holes… Well, who wouldn’t try the simple approach and use a scale?  I would have thought that the link in Weasel’s post would have a scale big enough, like this one, but no joy.

A new way to weigh giant black holes <— slur not mine.

Caption:  A composite image from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory (shown in purple) and Hubble Space Telescope (blue) shows the giant elliptical galaxy NGC 4649. By applying a new technique, scientists used Chandra data to measure the black hole at its center to be about 3.4 billion times more massive than the Sun. The value from this X-ray technique is consistent with a more traditional method using the motions of stars near the black hole. NGC 4649 is now one of only a handful of galaxies for which the mass of a supermassive black hole has been measured with two different methods.

Presumably they used a composite image because there was no positive ID, just eyewitness accounts.

… ? …

From the Smithsonian, a really cool article even if it doesn’t read like a paper published in Physics Today.

Homing in on Black Holes <— it’s not me!

Andrea Ghez of UCLA has been tracking ULI Holes for a while now, estimating the fastest star orbiting the one in our galaxy as moving around 20 million mph – 3% of light speed.  That is DAMN fast and it is a scary amount of energy require to push a star many times larger than our sun to that velocity.

Our galaxy’s fearsome future aside, Loeb hopes that soon—perhaps within a decade—we’ll have the first image of the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole, thanks to an emerging global network of “millimeter wave” telescopes. Named for the wavelength of infrared light they detect, the instruments technically won’t see the black hole itself. Rather, they’ll act in concert to photograph the shadow the black hole casts on a curtain of hot gas behind it. If all goes well, the image should show a black shadow, possibly with a distinctive shape. Theorists expect the black hole to be spinning. If so, according to the counterintuitive dragging of space predicted by Einstein’s general theory of relativity, our view of the shadow will be distorted into something like a lopsided and squashed teardrop. “It would be the most remarkable picture we could have,” says Loeb.

In other words,  one big-assed weenie roast.

One of the truly heebiedejeebious places in the universe is a Quasar, which is a ULI Hole eating a galaxy for breakfast.   (click that there image to see it in all it’s biggishness)

Man, I may be an enginerd science-geek, but you gotta admit this stuff has a high groovitude quotient…

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While we ponder double-standards, let’s look at Je$$ie Ja¢k$on again, shall we?   Yet people love this guy.  And what is reserved for Condi Rice, Colin Powell, Mychal Massie, Thomas Sowell, and Bill Cosby…? Crap, that’s what.

As for Je$$ie Ja¢k$on, open mouth, insert both feet, anything to shut him up before he says something else really stupid.

Breaking: What Else Jesse Jackson Said on That FNC Tape

Exclusive: TVNewser has been sent the transcript of what Jesse Jackson said Sunday morning July 6, as he prepared for an interview on Fox & Friends Weekend. Below is the partial transcript we received in our tips box, and confirmed to be authentic by Fox News Channel representatives.

Barack…he’s talking down to black people…telling n—s how to behave.

So, yes. Jesse Jackson did use the “N” word. But it was not directed at Barack Obama. Fox News and Bill O’Reilly have maintained there was more on the tape, but that the un-aired portion was not relevant to the issue at hand: about whether Obama was “talking down” to the black community.

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Now, I’m not going to name names because Cruel Wife wouldn’t speak to me, but I have had this hammer in my house that I did not buy nor could I bring myself to touch it w/o latex gloves.  Just thought you’d want to see an example of Feminine Construction.

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Can’t seem to keep the UN’s grubby little paws off of anything, can we?

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I’ll leave you with one last picture, since I don’t know when I’ll be able to post again… be safe and take care of yourselves!  Talk at you all later.

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Ok, kids… Listening again to NPR “Talk of the Nation” where the focus is on the latest cover of the New Yorker and the place where facts are rarely factors in decisions – the land where emotion and hysteria trump all.  The source page for the cover shown below is here.

Now, my first thought was – “Gee, that is kind of a slam but given Michelle Obama’s inability to feel pride in her country prior to her husband running for POTUS perhaps… eh, but the rest is clearly satire.”  (my reason for leaning towards satire was that Michelle’s AK-47 should be a Hello Kitty assault weapon)

There were opinions for and against it.  One gentleman called in and said it was great because it exposed the lies of corporate America.  ???  What?  ???  What the hell is he talking about?

Another gentleman, comedian Paul Mooney, called in and was very offended.  He thought that either way blacks win on this election.  Whether Obama wins or loses, blacks would celebrate because a black man has never gotten this far.  His take was that it was just wrong to take something that wasn’t funny and color people’s viewpoints (brainwashed, I think he said) with it.

The host (I think Neil Conan) asked him:  “So do you think that he should be excused from satire because he is a black man?”  (roughly an exact hazy estimate of the wording)

Immediately there was a short pause and then the whole question was avoided by rapid rhetoric.  And when pressed with it again, Mooney became agitated and made his stance above that satire “should be funny”.

Apparently many folks think that Obama should be treated like an endangered/protected species than a presidential candidate.  To crack a joke about Obama seems to be a “bad thing“.

So let me see, Constant Reader… satire is ok as long as you think it is funny, and you have the right to determine what is funny?  How odd, that stance coming from a comedian.

Just wanted to point out another double standard.  Because I don’t recall outcry over these…

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BTW… There was a link by over on DPUD… I want one:   http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2008/07/15/frakkin_cylon_toaster/

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Hey Bro… you’re like NUMBER ONE, you schmuck.  How does it feel to be a winner when thousands upon thousands of others did their duty regardless of their personal feelings?

(For which I owe them profound heartfelt gratitude, and why I think you are a schmuck.)

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Aw, come on… can’t we suspend free speech for just 30 minutes while we get downright violent with these snakes?

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California.  San Francisco.  Nuttiness and flaky.  Granola.

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Dammit I’ve been saying this for years.

It should be obvious to even the most causual of observers and Globular Worming will cause more kidney stones.  I have now been vindicated by the University of Texas.

I mean, they’ve written a paper on it and everything so it must be true right?  In fact, they rarely put their stuff up for critical review before releasing it to the news media because the odds of getting anything wrong (including the basic premises) is so infinitesimally small that it is smaller than Britney’s common sense.

Global warming may increase kidney stones: researchers
Jul 14 05:08 PM US/Eastern

More Americans are likely to suffer from kidney stones in the coming years as a result of global warming, according to researchers at the University of Texas.

Kidney stones, which are formed from dissolved minerals in the urine and can be extremely painful, are often caused by caused by dehydration, either by not drinking enough liquid or losing too much due to high heat conditions.

If global warming trends continue as projected by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007, the United States can expect as much as a 30 percent growth in kidney stone disease in some of its driest areas, said the findings published in Monday’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The increased incidence of disease would represent between 1.6 million and 2.2 million cases by 2050, costing the US economy as much as one billion dollars in treatment costs.

“This study is one of the first examples of global warming causing a direct medical consequence for humans,” said Margaret Pearle, professor of urology at University of Texas Southwestern and senior author of the paper.

God, I hope you noticed that my words were dripping with enough sarcasm to drown a Missouri mule.

I suppose it’s too much for someone to actually look at the hypothetical good things that could come out of a hypothetical Globular Worming?

But no, we have to scream to the rooftops all of the bad things – trenchfoot, suppurating brain lesions, necrotic eardrums, spontaneous tongue bifurcations, nasal polyps, rectal itching, bloodshot eyes, unibrows, arthritis of the sternum, giant sucking head wounds, narcolepsy, double-jointedness, mismatched earlobes, earwax deficits, alimentary canal reversals (liberals only), and chapped eyelids.

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More in the morning… I’m done working for the evening –

it’s 1:30AM – do you know where your cat is?

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McCain says he is modeled after Teddy Roosevelt.  I’m not writing this to make a point, or be exhaustively thorough, or anything like that.  I’m throwing stuff out there to see if anyone has any thoughts on the issue of McCain if he were to actually be the New Roosevelt.

A few things about Roosevelt:

Except universal health care and national health insurance, it sounds good so far, I guess.  Balanced conservation that doesn’t say 100% of the time “Man is Bad” isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

One thing… he wasn’t afraid to grow the size of the federal government in the Progressive name.  For better or for worse…

Roosevelt firmly believed: “The Government must in increasing degree supervise and regulate the workings of the railways engaged in interstate commerce.” Inaction was a danger, he argued: “Such increased supervision is the only alternative to an increase of the present evils on the one hand or a still more radical policy on the other.”[42]

His biggest success was passage of the Hepburn Act of 1906, the provisions of which were to be regulated by the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC). The most important provision of the Act gave the ICC the power to replace existing rates with “just-and-reasonable” maximum rates, with the ICC to define what was just and reasonable. Anti-rebate provisions were toughened, free passes were outlawed, and the penalties for violation were increased. Finally, the ICC gained the power to prescribe a uniform system of accounting, require standardized reports, and inspect railroad accounts. The Act made ICC orders binding; that is, the railroads had to either obey or contest the ICC orders in federal court. To speed the process, appeals from the district courts would go directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Ok, stopping bad guys’ business practices.  That sounds ok, doesn’t it?

In response to public clamor (and due to the uproar cause by Upton Sinclair’s book The Jungle), Roosevelt pushed Congress to pass the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, as well as the Meat Inspection Act of 1906. These laws provided for labeling of foods and drugs, inspection of livestock and mandated sanitary conditions at meatpacking plants. Congress replaced Roosevelt’s proposals with a version supported by the major meatpackers who worried about the overseas markets, and did not want small unsanitary plants undercutting their domestic market

Uh oh. Now we start to have our argument “how much regulation and how much big government is ok?”  See, creating all these big federal entities gets closer and closer to what the founding fathers wanted to avoid – a huge government that took over the rights of the states.  You can make all kinds of arguments and I’m not trying to here, I’m just pointing out the issues I wonder about sometimes.

Well, hell. I’m not really trying to make a case as to good or bad, but if you’re going to say you follow somebody’s model, people ought to ask themselves if they know enough about that model.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teddy_roosevelt

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As usual, if someone comes up with an idea that they say is groundbreaking you should be cautious.  If they say it is revolutionary, you should be doubly cautious.  If the claim is that it will Change Life Forever, run.

This falls in there somewhere. Problem with lots of green solutions is that they would have already been used if they were the cure.  This issue suffers because information blitzes that aid one’s own investments tend to be a bit biased and rosy.

… First, it’s worth noting Pickens’ claim made in the op-ed that his plan requires no new government regulation. Two sentences later, however, he calls on Congress to “mandate” wind power and its subsidies. Next, Pickens relies on a 2008 Department of Energy study claiming the U.S. could generate 20 percent of its electricity from wind by 2030.
Related

Setting aside the fact that the report was produced in consultation with the wind industry, the 20-by-2030 goal is quite fanciful.

Even if wind technology significantly improves, electrical transmission systems (how electricity gets from the power source to you) are greatly expanded and environmental obstacles (such as environmentalists who protest wind turbines as eyesores and bird-killing machines) can be overcome, the viability of wind power depends on where, when and how strong the wind blows — none of which is predictable. …

One common feature of all “cure for the world’s pain” ideas is that they usually rely on government mandates rather than capitalism to become acccepted.   Just because an idea sounds good does not mean that it is possible to run it as a business.

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I wouldn’t have believed it.  Chicago Sun-Times…

The owner said:  “We’re going to send Jesse Jackson his ‘Obama’s Nuts’ so he doesn’t have to be violent about it.”

Because of Jackson’s crude comment, candy seller’s site getting a lot more hits

July 11, 2008

BY ANDREW HERRMANN
Staff reporter / aherrmann@suntimes.com

The owner of “Obama’s Chocolate Nuts” is feeling like “the luckiest person on Earth” in the wake of the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s crude remarks about Sen. Barack Obama.

“Who would have thought anybody would use ‘Obama’ and ‘nuts’ in an actual news story?” said David Feingold, a 30-year-old San Diego resident.

From chocolate makers L.A. Burdick are boxed chocolates honoring Republican presidential nominee John McCain, left, and Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.

His site, Obamaschocolatenuts.com, occupied the top spot on Google Thursday when Web users typed in “Obama” and “nuts.” Feingold said traffic on his site more than tripled over the usual count.

Feingold says he started selling packages of nuts, chocolate balls and T-shirts with Obama’s name and likeness about a month and a half ago — an idea sparked by his revulsion over sycophantic supporters of the Illinois senator and presumptive Democratic nominee.

(The nuts connection is related to vulgar slang that Feingold defines as “liking someone too much.”)

Nothing against Obama, said Feingold, but “I think anytime somebody follows somebody blindly, it’s not a good thing.”

“Nobody knows anything about this guy; everybody claims they do,” he said.

Feingold says he’s sold 650 bags of nuts and candy so far, led by the three-bag, $8.99 sampler pack. An equal opportunity offender, Feingold was peddling “McCain’s dried papaya stick” –advertised on his racy Web site by a hungry girl in a bikini — until the wholesale price got too high, he said.

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I’m not saying I agree with her treatment, but grow a spine, lady.  If this is all it takes to turn you into a weeping turnip, you need some therapy.  Cruel Wife remarks that “If this is all it takes so that you can’t feed your son… ” – and here she lost the ability to speak for a bit, but then – “Boo hoo hoo.”   Can you imagine the magnitude of the miracle folks?  She was speechless for nearly ten seconds!

Suit: McDonald’s served up harassment

Muslim says she was targeted because of her headscarf.

By Matt Birkbeck Of The Morning Call
Breinigsville woman who says she was denied service at a McDonald’s in Whitehall Township because she is a Muslim filed a federal lawsuit Thursday, claiming her civil rights were violated.

Tanveer Walli alleges that a manager at the restaurant, which is in the Wal-Mart off MacArthur Road, behaved rudely and refused to serve her because of her Islamic headscarf, or hijab.

The Aug. 10, 2007, incident upset Walli so much that she cries uncontrollably, can’t nurse her newborn son and couldn’t celebrate her wedding anniversary, according to the complaint.

The suit, which also lists a Wal-Mart assistant manager as well as McDonald’s and Wal-Mart as defendants, is the second filed against Pany Enterprises, which operates the McDonald’s.

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More tomorrow. I put in the last portion of a chain-link fence (which I harbor no doubts as to it’s ability to actually contain my monkey-son but I wanted to do it anyway) and I’m tired and hurt. Pretty strenuous getting it tensioned and fastened all by myself. Plus I’m fishing in the morning.

But before I go to bed…  enjoy this video of a really cute puppy figuring out that mirrors are… hey, who’s that?

Or, this video of a Cadbury’s Chocolate committing suicide.  In many creative, disturbing, and hilarious ways.

Update:  I went fishing.  Strictly catch/release.  Caught one Sun Fish, a fistful of weeds, and a dozen worms.  They nibbled, ate a sparse lunch, and just did not “get the point” if you get my drift.  Ah well, it was lots of fun.  Got too much sun but should be good as new in a day or so.

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Last two days were fairly serious.  I’m all out of serious and so you will have a Psychotic Friday posting.

Mrs. Peel was my Muse.  She got the ball rolling and combined with having a relatively clear head from less opiates (just a wee bit and muscle relaxants) I was able to think complete chains of thought.

Oh yeah!  Clarity, I treasure thee!

Puncture Chronicles

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Have you had a day like this recently?  Me, too.

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Absolute Moral Authority has a fun jab a Globular Worming.

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Huh.  That’s different.  Got a mention in Tailrank.com.  Don’t know whether that’s something that just happens at random to everyone (like getting food poisoning) or whether that is something cool.  Well, it sure ain’t like Michelle Malkin stopped by.  I’d probably glow for a week.  🙂

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Found this parody of the Last Supper

Probably heretical, but I’ll take the chance.  It’s funny.  There’s lots more at that site.

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Looks like the G8 has proven that they are just a bunch of limp tools, as they can’t even do something stupid with anything approaching convicted authority.  Man, I wish someone could get through to them that the issue is far from a “done deal”.  Gobular Worming is still open for debate if it isn’t already dead.

Our leaders are in carbon-cloud cuckoo land

By Christopher Booker
Last Updated: 12:01am BST 10/07/2008

For a perfect example of what is meant by “gesture politics” – an empty pledge given solely for effect, which the politician has no hope of honouring – one could not do better than this week’s commitment by the G8 leaders on how they want us to fight climate change.

Sitting on their cloud-wreathed Japanese mountain top, they solemnly agreed that, to halt global warming, their countries would aim by 2050 to halve their emissions of carbon dioxide.

A tiny indication of the fact that they didn’t really have a clue what they were talking about was a slip by Japan’s prime minister, Yasuo Fukuda, when he had to be corrected for announcing that the CO2 cut would be measured from “1990 levels”.

Even when he amended this to “present-day levels”, he was merely spouting empty words into the oriental air.

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Can people really be so thin skinned that they read insult into anything, including things that have nothing to do with them?  Yep.  I don’t see this as a racial issue.  I see this as an issue where someone feels the need for attention and to beat someone they don’t like over the head with ridiculous accusations.

Texas County Official Sees Race in Term ‘Black Hole’

DALLAS —  What do “black hole,” “angel food cake,” and “devil’s food cake” have in common?

They’re all racist terms, says a Dallas County, Texas, official.

A county commissioners’ meeting this week over traffic tickets turned into a tense discussion over race when one commissioner said the county’s collections office was like a certain astronomical phenomenon.

“It sounds like Central Collections has become a black hole,” Commissioner Kenneth Mayfield, who is white, said during the Monday meeting.

One black official demanded an apology, and Commissioner John Wiley Price, who also is black, said that type of language is unacceptable.

At the meeting, Mayfield said he intended his comments to be taken in the context of the scientific meaning, and became upset that he was being misunderstood.

In astronomy, the term black hole refers to a star that has collapsed upon itself, creating something so dense and small that it does not have any physical properties besides a gravitational force so great that even light cannot escape its pull.

Later, Price told MyFOXdfw.com that he believed it and other terms were racist.

“So if it’s ‘angel food cake,’ it’s white. If it’s ‘devil’s food cake,’ it’s black. If you’re the ‘black sheep of the family,’ then you gotta be bad, you know. ‘White sheep,’ you’re okay. You know?” Price said.

Price said people should watch their words when it comes to stereotypes.  [More…]

I’m having a hard time believing that these gripes are really the most pressing thing on this his mind and really going to be taken seriously by anyone.  In particular the gentleman he is accusing said “he intended his comments to be taken in the context of the scientific meaning”.  That is the ONLY meaning of the term “black hole”… unless of course, you are uneducated and spoiling for something to gripe about.  Civil rights workers died for far more important issues than this guy is quibbling about.

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I am 100% absolutely reasonably somewhat convinced that you might care to lackadasically consider being interested in such a thing as a Thing in a Jar.

I have absolutely zero idea why I included that in this post.

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NOTE: This is a mini-post because I don’t want to detract from the one below this “Why Iraq Had to Happen“. I feel that it is a very important post. This mini-post, however, I could not resist.

Man, for a reverend, he sure has “issues” – extortion, adultery, hatred, greed, pride… I am sure glad that public figures have not yet figured out that if you have a microphone on, you ought to still your tongue. It makes for great theater. I can’t wait to see Je$$ie Ja¢$on’$ apology. I guess HE isn’t qualified to give moral lectures to black folks – prolly just jealous.

In the NY Post:

WASHINGTON – In a shocking blast at Barack Obama that was caught on tape, the Rev. Jesse Jackson said, “I wanna cut his nuts out.”

He made the astonishingly vulgar remark as he accused the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee of giving moral lectures to African-Americans. [More…]

Aaaaaannnnnd the apology!!!

The Rev. Jesse Jackson is apologizing for disparaging remarks he made about Barack Obama’s relationship with African American church-goers, caught on camera during a break in a Fox News interview.

Those weren’t “disparaging remarks”, they were disturbing hateful remarks that if a white guy had said it, he’d be tarred, feathered, and castrated on the spot.

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I found an excellent, and I mean excellent outlining of the timeline and events in their context and how Iraq was really the only morally allowable thing to do. It is LONG. But it is also the single best compilation of information I’ve yet seen in one place.  I’m impressed enough with this that I’m going to pimp for the site where I first saw this material:  Commentary Magazine:  Who We Are

Some of the information provided by Arthur Herman will surprise you. Below I’m going to post some snippets. What is amazing is how much we forget and how easy it is to look back and say things about Bush that are unkind and unflattering, yet we forget how clear and present of a danger it all seemed then. Just read on, and please be patient, as this is dense stuff.

PDF File: why-iraq-was-inevitable-arthur-herman

Source: http://www.commentarymagazine.com/viewarticle.cfm/why-iraq-was-inevitable-11456

Selected quotes. Quotes that are indented were quotes given by the people making the statements.

It is too often forgotten, not least by historians, that George W. Bush did not invent the idea of deposing the Iraqi tyrant. For years before he came on the scene, removing Saddam Hussein had been a priority embraced by the Democratic administration of Bill Clinton and by Clinton’s most vocal supporters in the Senate:

Saddam Hussein must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world with nuclear arms, poison gas, or biological weapons. . . . Other countries possess weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. With Saddam, there is one big difference: he has used them. Not once, but repeatedly. . . . I have no doubt today that, left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will use these terrible weapons again.

These were the words of President Clinton on the night of December 16, 1998 as he announced a four-day bombing campaign over Iraq. Only six weeks earlier, Clinton had signed the Iraq Liberation Act authorizing Saddam’s overthrow—an initiative supported unanimously in the Senate and by a margin of 360 to 38 in the House. “Iraqis deserve and desire freedom,” Clinton had declared. On the evening the bombs began to drop, Vice President Al Gore told CNN’s Larry King:

You allow someone like Saddam Hussein to get nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, chemical weapons, biological weapons. How many people is he going to kill with such weapons? . . . We are not going to allow him to succeed. [emphasis added]

In a February 17, 1998 speech at the Pentagon, Clinton focused on what in his State of the Union address a few weeks earlier he had called an “unholy axis” of rogue states and predatory powers threatening the world’s security. “There is no more clear example of this threat,” he asserted, “than Saddam Hussein’s Iraq,” and he added that the danger would grow many times worse if Saddam were able to realize his thoroughly documented ambition, going back decades and at one point close to accomplishment, of acquiring an arsenal of nuclear as well as chemical and biological weapons. The United States, Clinton said, “simply cannot allow this to happen.”

Convincing Congress that the United States enjoyed a right of “anticipatory self-defense” against Saddam was hardly a difficult task. On the contrary, in September 2002 the Senate virtually arm-twisted Bush into giving it time to pass a new and more specific resolution than the Clinton-era one authorizing regime change in Iraq. In ringing the tocsin, moreover, leading Democrats spoke at least as assertively as leading Republicans. One of them was Charles Schumer:

Hussein’s vigorous pursuit of biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons, and his present and potential future support for terrorist acts and organizations . . . make him a terrible danger to the people of the United States.

Another was Hillary Clinton:

My position is very clear. The time has come for decisive action to eliminate the threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s WMD’s.

John Edwards was still another:

Every day [Saddam] gets closer to his long-term goal of nuclear capability.

Howard Dean, then the governor of Vermont, was of a similar mind:

There’s no question that Saddam Hussein is a threat to the U.S. and our allies.

More than half of Senate Democrats, including John Kerry and Joseph Biden, joined with Republicans in authorizing the President “to defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq,” and in so doing to enforce all the relevant but ineffectual resolutions passed by the UN Security Council. In the House, 81 Democrats (out of 209 in total) concurred. Later, many would claim that they had been tricked or misled or even lied to. In fact, the vote reflected nothing more than an affirmation of the old Clinton-era position, now urgently reinforced by the experience of 9/11.

It was, after all, California’s Nancy Pelosi who had warned the nation on December 16, 1998, during Operation Desert Fox, that Saddam’s “development of WMD technology . . . is a threat to countries in the region.” During the House debate in October 2002, Pelosi sounded the same urgent theme, summing up a threat whose imminence the Democrats had been insisting upon for years. “Yes,” reiterated the tireless Pelosi, “[Saddam] has chemical weapons. He has biological weapons. He is trying to get nuclear weapons.”

That said it all.

And the most damning thing of all?

As the leaves turned in Washington in the fall of 2002, mainstream Democrats were on board with Bush, just as they had been on board with Clinton. The real reluctance for war came from Republican ranks—and from within the administration itself. The most serious dissenter was Secretary of State Colin Powell, together with his assistant Richard Armitage. Both men wanted to find a way to prop up the containment “box” around Saddam without having to resort to drastic military action.

Their hopes, however, were already more than three years out of date. The main feature of the containment regime had become the Oil-for-Food program, set up by the United Nations in 1996 with Clinton-administration approval. Within months, the program had become a spigot of cash for Saddam and his family and cronies. The full extent of the corruption, and the full roster of who paid in and who was paid out, may not be known for decades, if ever. But the overall picture is reasonably clear, thanks again in large part to documents seized in the 2003 invasion.

Saddam had shrewdly realized that vouchers for the sale of his oil might serve as a kind of international currency, distributed by him to favored customers who would be obliged to pay him kickbacks, all out of reach of the scrutiny of the UN. Eventually, UN administrators were brought into the conspiracy as well.3 Within a year the program had miraculously restored Saddam’s personal wealth and power, even as the Iraqi people continued to suffer. By the time of the U.S. invasion, he had skimmed at least $21 billion from the program, in addition to the billions made through smuggled oil sales to other Middle East countries, including his old enemy Iran.

The list of recipients of Oil-for-Food vouchers grew to more than 270 names, constituting a Who’s Who of slippery international politicians and diplomats—all of whom, needless to say, opposed any talk of military action against Iraq. On the Security Council, Russia, France, and China, key adversaries of U.S. policy toward Iraq going back to Clinton days, were among Saddam’s key beneficiaries. Not only was Oil-for-Food the biggest scandal in UN history, it had turned the UN’s mandate inside out. A program established to punish a rogue tyrant was systematically making him more powerful; nations that were supposed to be his custodians had become his accomplices; and the institution whose purpose was to protect international order was destroying it.

At the time, though, no one in the Bush administration knew this. That was why, in September 2002, President Bush was willing to yield to Colin Powell and British prime minister Tony Blair and ask the UN for one more resolution, this one explicitly threatening Saddam with military force if he did not finally comply with all the preceding resolutions against him.

What Powell found at the UN astonished even him. At a press conference, the French foreign minister, Dominique de Villepin, shrieked that “nothing! nothing!” justified war—making Powell so angry that, as he would later tell the reporter Bob Woodward, he could barely contain himself. “Any leverage with Saddam was linked directly to the threat of war,” Powell recalled, “and the French had just taken the threat off the table.” He could not believe the Europeans’ stupidity. Neither could the President. But it was not stupidity; it was self-interested duplicity.

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Can’t make this stuff up.  I would say the bushes have certainly been encouraging wild-life.

I thought I had seen it all.  Turns out, I really really don’t want to see it all.   This isn’t discrimination, it’s public indecency.

Plans to clear undergrowth from gay sex spot branded discriminatory

Bristol City Council wants to prune bushes and remove cover from an area known as the Downs to improve the landscape and encourage rare wildlife.

But its own gay rights group has opposed the move, claiming that cutting back the bushes was “discriminating” to homosexual men who used the area for late night outdoor sex known as dogging.

Work on the beauty spot has been temporarily delayed while talks with gay rights groups take place to try and break the deadlock.

Bristol City Council wants to prune bushes and remove cover from an area known as the Downs to improve the landscape and encourage rare wildlife.

But its own gay rights group has opposed the move, claiming that cutting back the bushes was “discriminating” to homosexual men who used the area for late night outdoor sex known as dogging.

Work on the beauty spot has been temporarily delayed while talks with gay rights groups take place to try and break the deadlock. [The whole story…]

The fact that they temporarily delayed the work based on an excuse like this is… well… LOONEY.

Pop Quiz:  Doc Savage refers to dogging (mentioned in the article) as ________?

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Let’s be fair to our British friends (for they are indeed our friends)… they haven’t cornered the market on Looneyism.  Please don’t get me wrong – I have gay and lesbian friends who I would willingly without reservation give my right arm for, but some of this stuff is weird no matter who you hear it from.

The expectation that someone should be sued for what the BIBLE says? Oh please.

‘Gay’ man sues Bible publishers
$70 million for emotional distress because homosexuality cast as sin

A homosexual man who has a blog on Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign website is suing two major Christian publishers for violating his constitutional rights and causing emotional pain, because the Bible versions they publish refer to homosexuality as a sin. [More…]

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This is not a blogpost about gay/lesbian bashing. I just found two articles back to back that were, well, Looney. Different topics from here on out.

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The rest of tonight’s posting will be on the “Puncture Chronicles” page, but after I do an hour or two more work tonight. LATE posting.

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