Monday, March 30, 2009

Why Monday? Whyyyyy?

Hey, in this tight economy I have to find ways to augment my income.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday Funnies


-Lackadaisy UPDATE! finally. Freckle gets a job as a gunsel. Needs to work on the fierce face bit though ...
-Girl Genius Gil gets backchat from everyone, even a little windup clank.
-Schlock Mercenary The dreaded words, "let's split up and look around" are heard. You'd think they couldn't hear the background music or something.
-TwoLumps My cat did this to me after my surgery for appendicitis.

Still waiting
-No Need For Bushido Now on a two-week schedule, alas.
-Crowfeathers Now "episodic" updates.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Help us, Emperor Norton--you're our only hope!

Norton I, Emperor of These United States (and later, Protector of Mexico), flourished in San Francisco between 1859 and 1880. He slipped a mental gear after losing all his money and decided he was Emperor now, thank you very much. I was thinking about him recently because it occurred to me that even though he was nuttier than Aunt Ethel's fruitcake, he made a lot more sense than our current President. Only consider the following edicts:

-Banning Congress: "...fraud and corruption prevent a fair and proper expression of the public voice; that open violation of the laws are constantly occurring, caused by mobs, parties, factions and undue influence of political sects; that the citizen has not that protection of person and property which he is entitled..." (hasn't changed much, has it?)

-Banning the Democratic and Republican parties:"being desirous of allaying the dissensions of party strife now existing within our realm"

-Fired Virginia Governor Henry Wise for executing John Brown: Norton did not at all approve of Brown's actions at Harper's Ferry, but stated "the said Brown was insane and that he ought to have been sent to the Insane Asylum for capturing the State of Virginia with seventeen men." (Snerk.)

Now, just like the current occupant of the White House Norton was prone to printing money to pay off certain pressing debts, but the money was quite pretty, he didn't abuse the privilege, and it is still worth something. Norton didn't do any harm, and by all accounts did some actual good (supposedly once defusing a potentially fatal anti-Chinese riot). He took his Imperial duties seriously, and when he died 30,000 people lined the streets to pay their final respects.

If we have to have a crazy person in charge, why can't we have a *nice* one?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Your Brain is Your Friend

via Instapundit, a fascinating article from Scientific American about what makes kids learn, and what can make them stop learning. If you read the whole thing, the behavioral traits illustrated are not restricted to children.
Many people assume that superior intelligence or ability is a key to success. But more than three decades of research shows that an overemphasis on intellect or talent—and the implication that such traits are innate and fixed—leaves people vulnerable to failure, fearful of challenges and unmotivated to learn.

Kids in the studies mentioned in the article were taught that the brain was something like a muscle, and exercising it would make it stronger and faster. They became much more motivated to do homework and try hard, since failure didn't mean "stupid". It just meant their brains weren't strong enough yet.

Yeah, strange how that works. If serious adults, that a child respects and believes are all-knowing, say (for example) that math ability is innate and what you have is what you will always have to the end of time, amen, why try to learn? Why try, and possibly fail, and prove to the world your lack of talent? I'm looking at you, Larry Summers.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tap-Dancing in a Mine Field

There is this quaint musty old document you may have heard of, the Constitution. One of the bits tacked on, the Bill of Rights, has this knee-slapper:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Avoiding all use of technical financial terms like "tranche" and "mark-to-market" and "leveraged assets", what has happened with the AIG bonus kerfuffle is not about rich v. poor, or misuse of taxpayer funds. (if it were, Congress would be declared unconstitutional). It is about the government deciding that contracts are no longer enforceable if they don't want them to be.

I know the sawing noise coming from the limb they are sitting on can be a bit distracting, but have they really considered the consequences of this? Never mind AIG. Just think of all the contracts we have. Congressional salaries are a contract. Oaths of office are contracts. If Congress can void a valid contract, what else can it take? My house, that I am still making timely payments on. My bank account. My cats. How can I be secure in my property this way? How can THEY be secure in theirs?

And if that didn't cheer you up, guess what? The Social Security surplus fund that has been used to mask the true size of the deficit is all used up. Good thing I never thought I'd get any of that money-- but can they stop taking it from my paycheck now? I have a mattress to stuff.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Scenes from the Apocalypse: the Dinner Party

I recently attended a dinner party given in honor of a friend who was moving away for a new job. As is not terribly surprising in these parts, the vast majority of those present were liberal to varying degrees (I'm *reasonably* certain I was not invited merely to be the token conservative ..)

The departing friend is heading for Sodom on the Potomac. Not for a political, administration-connected job, but still. A branch of the government.

NOBODY discussed politics. The topic was simply never mentioned. At all. It was very strange, and completely unlike them. I suppose it is too much to hope that they are as angry as I am with the current administration, but the silence was an indication their delight in Obama has vanished.

Maybe they won't denounce me to the Citizen's Committee after all ...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Short but Eventful Life of Spacebat

I was not aware that the latest shuttle launch had a stowaway. An *external* stowaway. A wounded bat clung to the foam-covered main fuel tank and was still visible at launch. It could move, so presumably it could have left if it wanted. But maybe it knew it was doomed anyway, since it couldn't fly with an injured wing, and decided to go out in glory, on a thundering pillar of fire, and take that one small flap for species Chiroptera.

Bon Voyage, Spacebat!
(N.B. you will want to switch from sonar to radar. No air in space. Or bugs. You did pack a lunch, yes?)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Snark-con 5

Mere words cannot express my contempt for the latest presidential effort to drive as many people as possible into a frothing rage. See, he needs money. At least that part has sunk in. He actually needs to cut costs somewhere so he can toss largesse to the stuff he likes. And what are a bunch of gimpy vets going to do to him, anyway? He could save a whole whopping $540 million if the VA bills private insurance for service-related injuries. Really! And that will work for sure, because the insurance companies would *never* refuse to sign up people who are in the military, or exclude "pre-existing conditions". And if forced to cover vets, they *certainly* wouldn't raise premiums. Perish the thought!

Your Humble Snarkatron has a much better idea. $540 million is chump change. Why, if the government simply stopped funding the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program (FEHBP) -- you know, the plan that provides the health coverage for Congress?-- we could save at LEAST $12.1 BILLION dollars (per this 1997 document, it is probably much more now). How about that? I'd much rather Nancy Pelosi have to wait hours in line at the County General emergency room with all the undocumented TB patients than make a veteran worry for even a second about how they were going to pay for their prosthesis.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday Funnies

-No Need For Bushido Forecast calls for soggy, angry soldiers in the near future.
-Girl Genius A girl, her Death Ray, and a Castle that wants to go walkabout.
-Schlock Mercenary Ships are supposed to arrive in the same number of pieces as they left.
-Crowfeathers Chase does not like evil reporters. Clever boy!

Waiting ... but still fun to look at
-Dresden Codak

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

And Now for Something Completely Different

FEED ME, dammit!

That, Dear Readers, is a tawny frogmouth chick. Glory in its floofy attitude! Pictures courtesy of ZooBorns, which was brought to my attention by the Lizard King his own self. I think this must be my spirit totem. I totally grok what this little chick is saying. Plus it made me laugh out loud and if there's one thing we are in desperate need of right now it is things to laugh about.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Sunday Funnies

-No Need For Bushido The Tao does not require suicide on the part of its priests.
-Girl Genius Being a Minion is very hazardous to your health.
-Schlock Mercenary Meanwhile, back at the Galactic Core...
-Crowfeathers Eww! Evil Reporters!

Waiting ... but still fun to look at
-Dresden Codak

Friday, March 06, 2009

Hey 52, aren't you proud?

What a splendid president Obama is becoming. Hiring a tax cheat to be head of Treasury is certainly a change. Only now people are starting to notice and point and laugh when so many of the other nominees just couldn't figure out how to give the government the taxes they are so eager to extract from schmoes like me. Wouldn't it be easier to go to the IRS and get the list of people who CAN correctly file their taxes, and just start working down the list to fill the Cabinet?

You know, I knew this administration would be bad. What I did not expect was the humiliation. Obama thinks it is acceptable for him to deliberately insult another head of state by giving, in return for historical, valuable items, a cheesy collection of DVDs. I thought one of Obama's big selling points was he would "improve America's standing in the world"? There are diplomatic ways of expressing one's extreme displeasure, but I am completely unaware of any reason for the United States to be peeved with Great Britain. This is LOW RENT. Very, very immature. If Baldilock's speculation is correct, and I suspect it is, it is still no excuse. Obama is President of the United States, not Kenya. Gordon Brown may be nobody's idea of a good time but I very much doubt he was involved with the Mau-Mau uprising putdown. If tens of thousands of Kenyan civilians dead is a Bad Thing, surely hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis and Kurds is an equally Bad Thing. Obama didn't support the Iraq war that stopped the butcher who did that, though. Selective outrage, how quaint.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Hey RNC! Want my money? Earn it!

The RNC chair, Michael Steele, recently sent out a begging letter. It was, I think, properly contrite about not having done the right things in the past.

Then they asked for money. Sorry, but on the off chance you haven't noticed the economy is auguring in at full power, unemployment is rising, and we don't have another national election for two years. YOU IDIOTS. I'm keeping my money in the mattress where it belongs.

I took the opportunity to write a brief message on the donation slip before returning the otherwise empty envelope, to the effect of they didn't need my money to have already elected Republicans do their damn jobs. Let's see some proof of this new-found conservative enlightenment, THEN you can try asking me for money. Throwing funds at something that isn't fixed is what Democrats do.

Oh, and while I'm on the subject will you please just give up on ever getting a fair shake in the media? It really doesn't matter how you twist yourself trying to please them or who you denounce ; they will lie and make you look bad *anyway*. Work on getting your message out some other way. Decline interviews with hostile reporters, just hand them a press release. Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin aren't making the Republicans look bad, the MEDIA is. Stop helping them.