Saturday, December 31, 2011

Where was the kaboom?

This is the clutch from my daughter's car that blew up in the middle of Iowa last summer.

This is what a dead clutch looks like.

That much shrapnel I would have expected a kaboom.

Gary Johnson Discusses Seeking Libertarian Nomination

SIEGEL: ... why isn't it equally true to say that Republican primary voters in this cycle show no interest whatever in somebody who is pro-choice and pro-gay marriage, hence you had little traction in Iowa and New Hampshire?

JOHNSON: You know, I would argue that I'm speaking on behalf of the majority of Republicans but wasn't really ever given a chance on stage. And that had to do more with being excluded from polls that determined who got in the debates. And when I was, I polled equally with those on stage.

Speaking with a broad brush, I think that people consider themselves fiscally conservative and socially liberal. And I think the Libertarian Party certainly stands for that broad brush.

NPR: Johnson Discusses Seeking Libertarian Nomination

Monday, December 26, 2011


It was The Future, part 'Meet the Robinsons', part 'Sleeper', and I was there because I'd been dead, and now wasn't.  Don't ask me how: it involved MRE-size and color pouches with dehydrated person inside.

And it was cool and gee-whiz and flying cars but it was all ashes in my mouth because She wasn't there and I was really sad and when given the choice of 'stay' or 'go' I choose the latter.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Comment of the Day - Gary Johnson Edition

I don’t have a good explanation for why they spent so much time and energy excluding (Gary Johnson) from the debates — since they clearly believe that most of what he stands for (small government, lower taxes, reduced regulation, drug decriminalization, etc.) is anathema to their voters anyway. The GOP braintrust understand that American voters want a bigger nanny state, more borrowing, more spending, and more military adventures abroad.

Nicholas at Quotulatiousness

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Oh, wow, we're going to be profound now

Speaking of the security arrangements of the nation-state ...

"The social structure of any nation-state is ultimately determined by its security arrangements," Ng says, "and Mr. Lee understands this."  Oh, wow, we're going to be profound now. Ng is suddenly talking just like the old white men on the TV pundit powwows, which Y.T.'s mother watches obsessively.

From Snow Crash, duh.  No, I'm not re-reading it, I'm listening to it.  This audiobook is, like, the best of that breed, not so much re-reading the words but getting a new take on an old friend.

X is the least we can do for our men and women in uniform and their families who sacrifice so much

Hey, what else can the government do to stratify society, to make it clear there are serfs and their betters?

Members of the military on official travel, and their families, would move through airport security quicker next year under legislation sent to the president on Tuesday.


Troops could go to the front of the line, or a separate line could be created.

Being a soldier don't pay much, you loose some civil rights, and you gotta listen to cranky sergeants, and your family will live in places like Fayetteville and Oceanside and Jacksonville.  Oh and in this new and shining era of the Coke and Pepsi [1] party and never-ending war you're going to get shot at and blown up on a regular basis in far-off places for reasons that have tenuous and dubious [2] connections to national security.[3]

So I guess the very least that we can do is send them to front of the line of grey dab lines.  Give them some bennies that don't cost nothing and anyway the taxpayers are good for it, don't-you-care-about-the-troops and aren't-you-patriotic?

Worked for the Party in the USSR, nu?  And if it further stratifies society, puts the serfs in their place, that's just gravy, man.

[1] My wookie-suit is on order.
[2] At best.
[3]  Sucks, but USMC stands for You Signed the Motherf*in Contract.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Crapsack World

The universe of Snow Crash is described thusly; [1]
Crapsack World: Society is in serious decline, and everyone seems determined to ignore that and act like nothing's happened.
Example ...
His black Oldsmobile is a fucking bullseye in a place like this. It's the worst thing he has ever seen, Compton. Lepers roasting dogs on spits over tubs of flaming kerosene. Street people pushing wheelbarrows piled high with dripping clots of million- and billion-dollar bills that they have raked up out of storm sewers. Road kills -- enormous road kills -- road kills so big that they could only be human beings, smeared out into chunky swaths a block long. Burning roadblocks across major avenues. No franchises anywhere. The Oldsmobile keeps popping. Jason can't think of what it is until he realizes that people are shooting at him. Good thing he let his uncle talk him into springing for full armor! When he figures that one out, he actually gets psyched. This is the real thing, man! He's driving around in his Olds and the bastards are shooting at him, and it just don't matter!

It's societal collapse all the way down while everything disarranges [2] .. sounds like a lot of suck, all-righty. And the characters sure 'nuff act like it's just a thing, you know?

Thing is ... if you wrote our present as a novel [3] the reader would think we are in serious decline and everyone seems determined to ignore that and act like nothing's happened.

We're a frigging category on TV Tropes.

[1] Warning: TV Tropes & Idioms is a Pit of Time-Suck. You Have Been Warned.

[2] It is possible that the background of Snow Crash is the disarranged past from The Diamond Age. In which case it's not all despair: The Diamond Age 'verse is an okay place to live, if you're a member of a Tribe.

[3] War in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, krep-heads running for President, Congress in a Red Queen's race to see who can sh*t on the Constitution the mostest, etc.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

It's Dead Jim

Congress just voted  [1] to shit-can the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the Constitution, the First is under attack in some kind of internet bill that nobody with a brain is in favor of.

At the rate we're shredding that grand ol' bitch by this time next year I'll have a squad of Marines bunking in my spare bedroom.

[1] Which act appears to me to break the oath [2] each member took on assuming office.

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same ...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Body Modesty

I was in the hospital a few days ago, for a few hours.  Ran into something a little weird.

When I first got there I was not feeling so hot.  I imagine hunters might recognize the look on my face from when they walk up to a still breathing lung-shot deer: a sort of mute look of pain and horror and omg-omg-do-something-oh-this hurts.  A look that says 'A bullet in the brain is the only humane thing to doWhere is my 1911?.'

It got better in a big hurry.  Pain medication is a wonderful thing.

Oh and when I first read this I was like maybe some of you and went 'ha-ha that is so cute but it's just funny not real or anything'.  I now know that Allie [1] has nailed the pain management chart.  I'm going to print that f*cker off and show it to the friendly [2] PA at the doctor's office.  This .. this is a pain management chart and you should pay Allie a whole bunch of money for the rights to reprint it.

Anyway. Pain and I didn't care what happened as long as it didn't involve riding in a car over bumps [3].  Or sudden movement.  Or movement.  Breathing hurtThen I was blissed out on Dilod-oc-whatever and I noticed that I no longer gave a rip.  The sun was out and I was quite happy with the blanket the nurse gave me [4] and all was all right with the world.  Drew Carey was on 'The Price is Right' [5] and even that was okay.

And while they did this thing and that thing, between the pain and the bliss I understood that I no longer had a speck of body modesty.  We're in the hospital, man.  You guys see these sick sacks of meat all the time so it's like slabs of meat at the butcher shop.  Do whatever you need.

Well, that was my opinion.  The nurses, the CT tech, and everybody else was all weird about it and insisted I tie up the flaps of my hospital johnny and made sure even when they were scanning and handling my intimate parts they did so with a sheet covering up the naughty bits and reassuring me (the guy who didn't give a rip) that my modesty was clearly being respected.

Me, Mr. Modesty, had no issues.  Guys who see all kinds of bodies day in and day out, did

That's weird, man.

Or maybe the dipla-dodunk stuff is still chasing around my body.

[1] Oh, look at me,  first-naming the funny lady.  It's just handier than 'Allie that funny chick who draws some good stuff at Hyperbole and a Half'.
[2] No, she really is awesome.
[3] I reckon there are seventy-thousand bumps in the two miles between the clinic and the hospital.  The city should get right on that.  Or maybe a hovercraft ambulance for guys with kidney stones - that would make for a smoother ride.
[4] They have a special heating cabinet for blankets.  I need one of those.
[5] That man does not look right with a Drew Carey head perched on a body conspicuously lacking the Drew Carey gut.
  He looks like a bad photo shop.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Thin Ice

Jenny: Gresham's purse.

Incidentally, see that head? The stylized image of Liberty in a Phrygian cap? That used to be the norm - almost all of our early coinage featured stylized images of Liberty in one pose or another. It wasn't until the first part of the 20th century that we actually started putting dead presidents on our money.

Now personally, I think once the images of real people start going on your coins, your republic is on thin ice.

Jenny uses coins.  I benchmark the names slapped on our capital ships.

Our first capital ships?

United States.  Constellation.  Constitution.  Congress.  President.  Chesapeake.

Now?  In chronological order ...

Enterprise.  Nimitz.  Eisenhower.  Vinson.  Roosevelt.  Lincoln.  Washington.  Stennis.  Truman.  Reagan.  Bush.  Ford.  Kennedy.

Eleven politicians, an admiral, and a noun.

Republic's on thin ice, brother.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Tab Clearing

At What Point?  Now that Congress has repealed the Fifth Amendment, can you please join me in recognizing that this country is on a rocket-sled to totalitarianism?

"Shut Up.  You Don't Get a Lawyer!": The Defense Authorization Act Guts Civil Liberties. (YouTube).

Enemies of the Constitution (video).

Senate Wants the Military to Lock You Up Without Trial.

Ceding Liberty to Terror: Senate Votes Against Due-Process Rights.

The Senate Punted on Terror Law Detainees—and That's a Good Thing.

Can Congress Steal Your Constitutional Freedoms?

This deserves a long essay, a rant, something.  Perhaps later.  The bastards keep shredding the Constitution, people just don't give a damn, and I am just too tired to be outraged.

The Rodney Dangerfield of Politics: Gary Johnson, His Message and Evolving.  Perhaps, we have uncovered why Gary Johnson just can't get respect. When it comes to his pragmatic libertarianism, he believes people should evolve with the facts. But, when it comes to the activists that control his party, they just don't believe in evolution -- ever.

Herman Cain, Fugitive Slave, by L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise.  Cain, however, did not find himself jettisoned from the American electoral process because of his opinions on policy, his past association with the Evil Menace of Fast Food, or even because of the naughty things he was accused of having done with women by three specimens of highly questionable believability and a million braying jackasses of the government-approved news-generating industry. Cain got the boot because—well, let me tell you a story ...

Man tells 12 News He Has Signed 80 petitions To Recall Governor Walker (YouTube).

Org-Mode: Your Life in Plain Text. Org-mode is for keeping notes, maintaining ToDo lists, doing project planning, and authoring with a fast and effective plain-text system.

How 'The West' Beat 'The Rest' With Six 'Killer Apps'. Historians have long struggled to explain how the West became the preeminent political and economic force in the modern world, and why so many people aspire to emulate the lifestyles, fashions and popular culture of America and Western Europe.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Shoot em all let the judge sort it out

... cops in Cobb County, Ga. — one of the wealthiest and most educated counties in the U.S. — now have an amphibious tank.

The picture shows an LVTP-7, with Marines and gear hanging out all over it.  It's not a tank.  But is amphibious.

I could not see what the cops would do with a 30-ton amphibious vehicle that seats 25 combat loaded troops.

Even for cops who are buying all kinds of military hardware that seemed excessive.

I googled.  The reality is the cops in Cobb County, Georgia have acquired themselves an LAV-25.

Which is a 12-ton amphibious vehicle, crew of three, sports a 25mm chain gun, two 7.62 machine guns

The coax gun, of course, is for those times on the mean streets when a 25 mm bullet is just a leetle bit overkill.

See?  That's all kinds of better.

Cross posted to The Daily Brief

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Re: 2012 National Defense Authorization Act

Email to Senator Ron Johnson (R) of Wisconsin.


You recently voted 'nay' on Senator Feinstein's amendment to the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act.  Long story short, in your considered opinion it is fine and dandy for the government to hold a citizen in custody without a trial.

To say I am disappointed is an understatement.  Shocked, dismayed, upset, angry, are close to the mark, but fail to adequately express my feelings.

My vote for you in the last election was the last one in your favor I will ever cast. 

I'd sooner send a brain-damaged beagle to represent Wisconsin than the likes of you.

Brian Dunbar
Neenah, Wisconsin

I then asked her what was she so afraid of

From B&S
I made a traffic stop on an elderly lady the other day for speeding on U.S. 166 Eastbound at Mile Marker 73 just East of Sedan , KS . I asked for her driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance. The lady took out the required information and handed it to me.

In with the cards I was somewhat surprised (due to her advanced age) to see she had a conceal carry permit. I looked at her and ask if she had a weapon in her possession at this time.

She responded that she indeed had a .45 automatic in her glove box. Something—-body language, or the way she said it—-made me want to ask if she had any other firearms. She did admit to also havin a 9mm Glock in her center console. Now I had to ask one more time if that was all. She responded once again that she did have just one more, a .38 special in her purse. I then asked her what was she so afraid of.

She looked me right in the eye and said, “Not a f***ing thing!”

I have seen the USSR and it is the future

In which Andy Stern confuses a mythical free-market fundamentalist economic model with the actual way things are in the United States, then writes about it in the Wall Street Journal.

He also comes back from China, deeply confused, proclaiming that it's the future.

While we debate, Team China rolls on. Our delegation witnessed China's people-oriented development in Chongqing,

Hang on there, Sparky.

It's a real good bet that Stern does not speak Chinese.  Did anyone in his delegation speak Chinese?  I bet, no.  Did he get away from the guided tour, talk to actual people away from the government minders?  I bet, no.

Stern didn't really see China, he saw what the Chinese government [1] wanted him to see.  In terms of actually knowing what is going on he's dumber, now, than before he left for his trip.  It's like he opened a big hole in his head and replaced some of his brains with sawdust.

[1] The government and the people are one and the same to a degree that is really hard for someone raised in the West to get.  It's - not to put a fine point on it - alien.  I, personally, blame Communism.

The only Western counterpart to this I can think of is working for a Big Company.  You toil there, your input in your group is valued, or not: you're a cog.  You have no choice in the company's direction, it's plans, it's goals.  Having an opinion is encouraged, officially, sometimes, and there are official channels for that, but woe to you if you actually dissent: you'll be fired quicker than you can say 'Jack Robinson'.

From the outside, you don't see a separation between 'IBM' and 'IBM people': it's all just IBM.

It's interesting that Stern is advocating that this kind of government is better than that representational democracy jazz.

The Gun

Sometimes .. only the gun can stand between Good and Evil. (video)

The General is speaking in English.  Brandishing an M-16ish rifle.  Go, Team Anglosphere.

I don't see a big holophobe thing in the audience, like some commentators at the link.  I got the same 'ooh now that is different' thing from a crowd of jarheads in an office with an M249.[1] 

It's not the gun, but 'place where there is not normally a big-ass gun' and 'gun'.

If he'd dragged in a drill press the same thrill would have run through the audience.

[1] The fun part was putting a machine-gun on my desk on it's tripod (feed tray up, of course) after the training was over. 

What's that for?  Customer Service.