Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Why is the Rum Always Gone?

Via the splendid and worthwhile Belmont Club, a curious tale of government, the TARP fiasco, and ... rum.

The facts are just a tad curious.

-Diageo Plc is a British company.
-It is not a bank.
-It manufactures Captain Morgan rum in Puerto Rico.
-The governor of the Virgin Islands wanted them to move production to St. Croix, and offered billions, yes, with a "B", in tax incentives if they would do so.
-Congress, with all the careful forethought of a herd of stampeding wildebeest, decided to add non-bank tax incentives into the TARP travesty. As you may recall, nobody read the whole bill before it was passed. I don't think it was physically possible to read the whole bill from first printing to when it was voted on. Sound familiar?
-Diageo Plc was not mentioned by name in the tax incentive portion of the bill, but the general tax incentive under which it was offered Billions-with-a-B *was* included.

Logic puzzle: Given that the TARP bill contained such vast expenditures for non-American, non-bank corporations, and given that the bill passed with no-0ne being able to read the whole thing, what is the logical expectation when the Cap and Trade Energy bill hasn't even been read in its entirety by the people who WROTE it? For all we know pages 299-320 are the Klingon translation of Longfellow's "Evangeline". Plus billions of dollars for a study that will evaluate global temperatures as a function of the pirate population.

Complete the Link:Pirates are to Rum as Congress is to _____

God I need a drink...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday Funnies

-Schlock Mercenary Everyone is happy except Schock.
-TwoLumps Snooch sees his chance to become King of Pop.
-Girl Genius And so the minicomic ends with Ferretina and the fashion robot headed off to Paris...
-No Need For Bushido No, there isn't a main comic update but there is a non-canon fan comic to tide you over. Ken, who is NOT a homicidal maniac!
-My Ninja Family appears to be back in production!

Not Updated, last I checked ...

-Dresden Codak
-Lackadaisy Commence pouting.
-Gone with the Blastwave.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Why the Mainstream Media is dying, #4984854

Things that are not very important, in the grand scheme of things:

-Death of a former Hollywood starlet, mostly known for big hair and flashing teeth. Not, I will point out, medical acumen or profound thought. Or acting ability.

-Death of a former musical child prodigy, mostly known for weird hair, flashing teeth, and a prolonged reverse suntan. Also for attracting rumors about Inappropriate Behavior with Children.

I'm thinking that the world will get along quite well without them, and *has* gotten along without them for years. I don't rejoice in their deaths, but why are we getting the full media mourning suitable for, you know, someone important? Why this, instead of ...

Things that are very important, in the tick-tick-BOOM with radioactive sprinkles sense:

-The theocratic despots of Iran, who divide their spending between funding "insurgents" in Iraq and building a nuclear bomb they don't need, have managed to enrage the populace so, naturally, they are slaughtering their own people in the streets. Mr. Obama appears to think that he, a foreigner and infidel, will have a better chance of persuading the mullahs to do what he wants than the people of Iran. I don't quite see how.

I keep feeling like I took the wrong exit and ended up in a different dimension. Where I come from, it is morally reprehensible to slaughter unarmed people gathered to voice their opinions. The United Nations, ostensibly formed to prevent nastiness like this, will burst a valve about alleged Israeli crimes but can't be bothered to condemn the violence of the Iranian theocracy against its own people. Mr. Obama wishes people would stop asking about it, he already said the Iranians can't come to the 4th of July picnic, and isn't that punishment enough? And the media seems to agree, or why are they so eager to broadcast ANYTHING except the poor people of Iran trying to take back their country by throwing rocks and pleading for the West to help them. (Hmm. Kinda like the Palistinians, isn't it? Only without the sniping or the rocket barrages on their part. I thought this would be right up the MSM's alley ...) The protesters don't want to be shot, they just want their vote to count. They have no interest in nuclear weapons or destroying Israel, not when they are getting killed by their own government. Why can't we deal with THEM?

Maybe the big words, like "freedom", "democracy", and "liberty", are too confusing. Let's try pictures.

This is Iran.

This is Iran under the mullahs.

Any questions?

(pictures via Gateway Pundit, an excellent source of Iran uprising news)

Monday, June 22, 2009

The President is like a sulky schoolboy

I get the feeling Obama only ran for President because you can't run for King. Plus, the United States is (for the moment) the top of the power heap and if you're planning on telling all the peasants what to do, power helps. Only he's not going to figure out exactly what the peasants should do, that is boring, uninteresting drudgery like homework. He already knows it all, so why study? No, instead he will do things like graciously tell the Israelis and Palestinians not to fight. How they manage to do this is up to them, though he strongly suggests Israel should just give up everything the Palestinians want. Then it will be fair. See? He will also direct Congress to come up with a comprehensive universal health care program, that will cost less and insure more people. Neat trick. He's not going to sully himself by giving any hints on how to accomplish this miracle either. No, he's much too busy getting hamburgers, getting ice cream, going golfing -- in short, just about anything that doesn't involve making difficult decisions.

Obama wants to enjoy the Presidency. The thought that it is a damn difficult *JOB* never seems to cross his mind. Furthermore, laws are only important if they don't get in the way of what he wants. I never thought the tax laws were optional--in fact, I was pretty sure getting on the IRS shit list would be a Very Bad Thing Looking at the people in the current administration, it appears there is just a bit of a double standard. If I missed paying my taxes for two years they'd wall me up with a cask of Amontillado, but for a (cough) chief of protocol these little faux pas are only to be expected. IG's who go after Bush are wonderful. IG's who go after Friends Of Obama are nekulturny and should be banished, insulted, fired, and banished again. Even if doing so violates a law Obama himself co-sponsored while a Senator. That was, like, a year ago! Everything is different now, really.

Fortunately for us, and the rest of the planet, the United States can't turn on a dime. There are enough people in the government still doing their jobs, saying things that can't be ignored, and you can tell it rubs our Fearless President raw when he is forced to acknowledge reality. In my opinion, Obama still could care less about the streets of Tehran running red with the blood of citizens protesting the theft of their votes. They might not have much in the theocracy of Iran, but their votes were supposed to count. Days went by, full of highly aerated piffle from Obama about not getting involved. You could sense he resented even having to address the issue at all. And then, just like he had returned from the principal's office with an ultimatum to finish his book report or get paddled, he comes out with the most unenthusiastic defense of democratic values yet. These are the values that GAVE him his current high position, but never mind that. Real democracy is electing Obama, and the Iranians didn't do that so they can go hang. I sure hope they don't, but if they do, how can he possibly consider his hands clean? Like it or not, the United States is a beacon of democracy and the principles of freedom of speech and assembly. It *will* look hypocritical for us to not even offer words of support to those who also wish to enjoy those freedoms.

People have been noticing something about the President's many speeches. The word "I" is used quite a bit, for example. The word "justice" and "diversity" also get a workout.

"Freedom" and "liberty"? Not so much.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunday Funnies

-Schlock Mercenary Now they are using lawyers. That's harsh.
-TwoLumps "Put down the blowtorch" is almost always good advice.
-Girl Genius Garlic perogies are involved.
-No Need For Bushido (updates Monday). I never knew artichokes migrated before. You learn the most amazing things in webcomics!

Not Updated, last I checked ...

-Dresden Codak
-Lackadaisy Commence pouting.
-Gone with the Blastwave.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Apparently I'm Evil

I have no interest in talk radio of any sort. I've never listened to Rush Limbaugh, or any of the other famous hosts. I don't watch TV either. I've got better things to do with my time. Even videoclips on the internet get ignored. I can read faster than people talk, so unless there is a transcript I can't be bothered.

Recently, however, I went on a trip. The omnipresent CNN broadcasts in the airports can be avoided using heavy-duty headphones and strategic seating, but I took a shuttle from my home to catch my flight and the driver had on talk radio. "Progressive" talk radio. My, what an illuminating experience. I learned things about myself that would never have occurred to me, such as the aforementioned evilness. This was not just the radio personalities, or whatever they call the primary yakkers--oh no, the ads were special too. Conservatives, I was informed, love torture, killing, guns for killing, only listen to Fox and don't believe in Global Warming. Teh horror.

(Okay, I cop to loving guns and disbelieving Anthropogenic Global Warming. The rest is a filthy lie.)

Then the segment went on to bloviate about the purported torture photographs that oscillate between getting released and then being withheld. I swear, it's worse than the Istanbul/Constantinople thing. Anyway, some newspaper in Australia, I think, supposedly got some of these photographs, and the progressive hosts were hyperventilating about how horrible they were. Even described some on the air, for our benefit. So, blood. Some guy not looking so healthy. That's all they mentioned, and that is supposed to be proof positive that the American military has a policy of torture. Didn't mention seeing any US uniforms in this picture, or a label that said "Torture Manual Illustration #256, property of the United States Army". Didn't even consider the possibility that a photo could have been taken as proof of atrocities committed by Al Qaeda. Nope, somebody somewhere is bleeding so it must have been some American wingnut in uniform that did it.

And when even the progressives can't blame the US military for bloodshed, e.g. the current Iranian protest killings, suddenly that isn't a big deal and is just a Quaint Cultural Tradition that we *certainly* can't judge by our imperialistic Western standards.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Seattle Pests: Students with Clipboards

Seattle is a pretty nice city, as big cities go. There is always some grit in the spinach, however, and one of the most annoying downtown parasites are these earnest young people Saving Teh World by accosting innocent pedestrians, yammering their memorized spiel about Oxygen Dihydride/Sea Kittens/Tibet/the Flat Tax. Of course they don't come out and say this up front. Oh no, they have to pretend like they just want to chat because you are a wonderful person.

Actual encounter between Earnest Young Person and Snarkatron:
EYP: "Hi! How are you doing today?" (the clipboard starts to come out)
Snarkatron: "I was doing fine until you started bothering me."
EYP: "Have a nice day!" (said as Snarkatron escapes...)

I swear, they are all on Quaaludes. There is an unwritten code that even the mumbling psychotic street people understand. If a person refuses to make eye contact, they don't want to talk to you. It's not difficult, really! You hardly ever see older people (this means over 30) doing the clipboard petition thing. I suspect the little punkins eventually figure out that they've been collecting signatures for petitions to support freedom in Tibet for a long, long time, and guess what? Nothing has happened.

Plus, why are they doing their petition drives here? Besides the fact that it is much more comfortable to Raise Consciousness (tm) in the United States, that is. I would be much more impressed with their efforts if they would try and improve the places which aren't so nice to live in. How about an End Violence Now drive in Somalia? I bet the starving populace would be all for it even if the warlords objected. They could go to Saudi Arabia and petition for religious freedom, and go to Iran to petition for gay rights, and go to China to petition for the right of Falun Gong to peaceably assemble (plus deliver all those petitions to Free Tibet). That might actually be useful. There is, regretfully, a non-trivial chance they would get shot or thrown in jail, but at least they wouldn't be bothering me.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Sunday Funnies

-Schlock Mercenary Schlock has discovered the final destination of some circus fatalities.
-TwoLumps Santa Claus is a redneck?
-Girl Genius An extremely silly interlude featuring giant rabbit costumes.
-No Need For Bushido will supposedly update Monday. How cute; Atsumori thinks he's going to cross the river in the morning!

Not Updated, last I checked ...

-Dresden Codak
-Lackadaisy A multipage update was promised a week ago but not sighted. Phooey.
-Gone with the Blastwave. I may have to go to Finland and "persuade" the artist to be more productive.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

People on a bus, cont.

I recently overheard an animated conversation on politics between a young (white) man and a middle-aged (black) woman. The woman freely admitted she was frightened about what was happening to the country, and was particularly irate about vanishing Social Security and billions to car manufacturers that government "had no business owning". The young man agreed completely, and called it communism. She corrected him, saying it was socialism. She couldn't bring herself to blame Obama, though. Somehow all of this happened before he took office. He still has to fix it, according to her.

I suppose it is too much to ask that people blame the real source of the problems, or remember Mr. Obama was a US Senator before being elected to the White House (and thus most definitely implicated in every boneheaded bill he voted for). Still, even the kool-aid drinkers are starting to notice the ship tilting and the prevalence of icebergs.