Monday, August 31, 2009

California Warming

As California continues to suffer under triple digit temperatures, drought, and massive wildfires we are becoming the poster children for Global Climate Change.

The warmer air is the more water it can contain. Outside of the tropics, the easiest way for rain to form is for water to coalesce around ice crystals. Warm air, no ice, no rain this way. Rain also comes when the atmosphere is saturated. One hundred percent humidity equals rain but as the air gets warmer it take a lot more water to reach the rain percentage. You need very warm oceans and/or moist tropical rainforests and the right air convection working together for this to happen. It is obviously a lot more complex than this. Read the Physics of Precipitation or How Does a Raindrop Grow. There is also Precipitation Patterns for a less dense explanation.

Bottom line, hot air tends to be dry air.

Hot dry conditions lead to more wildfires. That is Common Sense 101. Fire, in turn, consumes oxygen and releases carbon dioxide. That is Chemistry 101. This, in turn, increases the ratio of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere while removing the best air scrubbers ever created, plant life. That leads to still more warming which leads to more fires in a classic feedback loop that brings still more drought and more fire. In simple terms...
Fire bad. Tree pretty. ~ Buffy Summers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
My apologies to rightwing deniers who believe marketing experts and TV clowns over scientists.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


Yep, that's the temperature (in Fahrenheit, only 43 degrees Celsius) today in my corner of Hell. I notice that Juneau is 56 degrees with rain. Envious much?

Climate Change Denier Clown

The latest hero of the climate change deniers is Professor J. Scott Armstrong. Professor Armstrong is not a professor of climatology or meteorology or biology or chemistry archeology or even history or geology. He is not a scientist of any fashion. Why, he isn't even a TV weatherman. No, no. Armstrong is a professor of marketing.

Armstrong's analysis includes comparing global temperature changes to US postal rates and using the Intrade betting parlor as scientific data. Reading his PowerPoint slideshow is a hoot and a half. As scientific research goes it is just as valid as Doink the Clown's.

Pictured is either J. Scott Armstrong or Doink, I have trouble telling them apart.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Why I Don't Believe the Stock Market

The stock market has been absolutely giddy recently and with no good reason. I don't believe this stock rally. Within depressions, the stock market's hope exceeds reality frequently. I would not be surprised if this rally collapses below the April, 2009 lows.

On a personal note, the temperature has been way over 100 degrees F for several days now and is predicted to stay there over the weekend. These are times when a smart person curls up in his den and waits out the weather.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cheney's Tangled Web

Every war is sold to the public by professional liars and totally sincere religious maniacs as a Holy Crusade to save God and Goodness from Satan and Evil. ~ Robert Anton Wilson

Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth. ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

I don't debate wit
h liars. ~ Evo Morales
The skill of a professional liar is a wonder to behold. Dick Cheney is such a professional. A professional sticks just enough truth in his lies so no one can tell where the lie begins. Take this example:
The documents released Monday, clearly demonstrate that the individuals subjected to Enhanced Interrogation Techniques provided the bulk of intelligence we gained about al Qaeda. ~ Dick Cheney
True, in that everyone who gave useful intelligence was later tortured. A lie in that the torture itself produced no new information and many false trails. The intelligence came through traditional interrogation. The torture was unproductive and was only done to give Cheney something to masturbate to.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Great Quote

My new all-time favorite rightwing nutcase quote.
After 8 years of a president sent by God to lead the American people and rescue us from the horrors of 911 and Islamo-fascists, it now boils down to this? ~ Kristen Atkinson
She wrote this defending her announcement that Barack Obama's mother-in-law is a practicing voodoo priestess from the people at Wonkette laughing at her.

Old West Gun Control

Personal Story: While in Ketchikan, Alaska many years ago I witnessed two people trying to pull into the same parking spot. The man in the red pickup truck got out and placed his hand on the gun he had holstered in plain sight. The gunman got the parking spot.

One of the hidden truths is that old western town like Dodge and Tombstone were centuries ahead of the modern United States when it comes to gun control.

While the NRA teaches that the Wild West was a place where everyone wore a gun on their hip, that is a lie. By the 1870's Dodge had a city ordinance forbidding anyone to carry a gun north of the Deadline. Abilene's ordinance was enforced by Wild Bill Hockok. There were no "concealed carry" exceptions. Resisting Tombstone's 1881 ordinance led those well know Second Amendment advocates, the Clanton Gang, to their famous shootout at the O.K. Corral against Wyatt Earp.

As the west civilized they quickly realized that the people toting guns were mostly thugs and criminals, if everyone was allowed to carry guns no decent person was safe. The NRA's position is a perversion of that very common sense.

Dodge City's Deadline: So called because anyone senseless enough to venture across the line was risking death. Dodge set the line as the railroad tracks. To the south, the wrong side of the tracks, was the Red Light District. There is where the lawless ruffians could carry guns, drinking and whoring and killing as they wished. Should they dare travel north of the tracks, however, the law waited to arrest them, for even carrying a gun north of the Deadline was against the law. It is passing strange that the NRA wants the whole of the United States to be like Dodge's Red Light District.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Conservative Hypocrisy -
Swimsuit Edition

At left is a swimsuit from 100 years ago. It is not very different than Muslim burkini (look down a bit).

Conservatives hate the burkini. It has been banned in France as unhygienic and before that it was banned in Holland because it might frighten children. In a northern Italy town the ruling fascist party has imposed a $700 fine on any woman appearing at a swimming pool or beach wearing a burkini.

(a dirty, evil, frightening burkini --->)
Conservatives are, in fact, terrified of the burkini and consider it part of a Muslim war on western culture. This being the only time in my memory that conservatives have approve of either the French or French topless beaches.

The hypocrisy comes in when you consider that those stellar conservatives, devout Mormons, share exactly the same opinion on what is appropriate swimwear as devout Muslims. Mormons are taught to wear nothing more revealing while swimming than their temple garments (underwear). Truth be told, Mormon swimsuits (below) are more modest and less sexy than the burkini.
Now, I love a skimpy bikini and a nude beach even more, but it is insane to force Muslim, or Mormon, women into a Brazilian cut to take a swim. As long as guys like me enjoy leering, women should be allowed to wear whatever they want.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Pro-Trash Lobby

In the ocean plastic bags look like jellyfish, are eaten by and then kill marine life. On land they are a visual blight as well as a killer. Plastic bags degrade sometime between 300 hundred years and never making them a near permanent source of pollution. But that doesn't mean there isn't plastic bag love out there.

Seattle has a modest proposal on the ballot to impose a recycling fee of 20 cents on plastic bags. The businesses who make over 500 billion plastic bags a year are spending millions of dollars fighting it. It is looking like all of that pollution profit is going to swing the election and defeat the bag fee.

It's a funny thing about evil. Evil is very rich and seldom ever loses.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Why Income Inequality Is Bad for the United States

Look at the chart in the previous post and it is obvious that less inequality coincides with times of economic prosperity (the Roaring '20s, the 1950's and 60's). Greater inequality leads to economic decline (the spike in 1928-29 leading up to the Great Depression). The persistent growth in inequality that began in the mid-1990's has lead to the prolonged economic distress that has plagued the United States throughout the 2000's.

Empirically, this should be obvious. As income is concentrated among the least productive members of society, the idle rich, the incentive to work decreases. Why work hard when my family will still starve and I'm just making the bastards richer?

Inequality means a larger proportion of the GNP is consumed by unproductive activities such as monetary speculation. As demonstrated in 1929 and 2008, when the economy becomes dominated by the wealthy playing at financial jiggerypokery, a collapse is inevitable. The financial speculation that created the current recession (depression) was a worthless exercise. It created nothing of value. It was just playing roulette with billion dollar chips.

Inequality disrupts politics as the Super Rich can afford to buy entire political parties. This creates a society where corruption reigns and democracy suffers.

For those of a scholarly inclination, here is a study of Income Inequality and Economic Growth in the U.S.

The bottom line is if the inequality that concentrates so much income to 30,000 elites is not corrected then the weak signs of recovery will pop like a thin soap bubble and we will descend into an even deeper economic depression.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Tax Like It's 1919 Again, and Again

Really, even the Gilded Age was not this bad. This is just 30,000 people pulling down a full 6% of the nation's income. It is time to tax the shit out of these fuckers.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Truth About Barack Obama

The truth that the health care debate was designed to hide is out. Barack Obama has a 10-inch tail, absolute proof that he is a human-reptilian hybrid. Now that the truth is out I can reveal the full depth of the conspiracy.
As this photo of his left ear clearly proves, Obama is not of this earth.

Other evidence, he is left-handed, all of us hybrids are left-handed.

The charge has been out there, thanks to David Icke, that we are intending to take over the world for our full-blood reptilian masters. (Icke is a human-furrie hybrid, the sworn enemy of us reptiles.) Our plan, now that there are enough humans to make a fair sized fricassee, is to eat the human population of this planet (We don't like chicken.)

People have been noticing Obama's reptilian attributes, such as his eyes, and have been calling for Obama to prove he is fully human. Something had to be done. So we have had our sub-human hybrid slaves start riots at townhall meetings as a distraction (That's why most of them look like shell-less turtles). But, now that the truth about the President's tail is in the open we've been found out, we will just have to release our swine flu and cull you that way.

See also Do Reptilians have the right to kill us and drink our blood? (The answer is "yes.")

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I'm working on something else but I had to stop for this blog about a bedroom invaded by bats and I can't help remembering a 2005 made-for-TV movie about a killer swarm of vampire bats that starred my beloved Lucy Lawless.

h/t to Booman

Monday, August 10, 2009

Tax Like It's 1919 Again

The government is all at sixes and sevens trying to figure out what to do with CEOs who pay themselves and their co-workers exorbitant bonuses and salaries for sitting around screwing up the economy. It ain't that hard, just bring back the 1919 tax rates.
  • Bottom tax rate, with deductions, is 4%.
  • That bottom tax was on the first $4,000 which inflation adjusts to $50,000.
  • At $250,000 ($20,000 in 1919) the tax rate is 17%.
  • At one million dollars ($80,000 in 1919) the tax rate is 47%.
  • The top tax rate is imposed on people taking in over $12.5 million (one million 1919 dollars). It is 73%.
There, done. And we'll balance the budget, too. This tax rate won't hurt the economy, in 1919 this exact tax rate ushered in the Roaring Twenties. True, Dick Cheney and George Bush will have conniption fits, that's just an added bonus.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Matanuska Valley Hypocrite

With one breath, Sarah Palin denounces (actually kinda rightly) people who attack her through her children. With her very next breath Palin uses her own child as a political pawn. If Palin wants to protect her children from the political wars she ought to stop dragging them into the middle of the battlefield as human shields.

This whole "euthanasia" line is the stinkiest red herring I've smelt in my life. It's an absurd Blood Libel and Republicans know it. The only human on the face of the earth who has, even for one moment, considered euthanizing innocent little Trig Palin is Sarah herself when she dreamed up her libel.

Friday, August 07, 2009

There Will Be Blood

It is inevitable that a rightwing extremist will shoot up a public meeting or union hall somewhere. They are now being urged to bring their guns to townhall meetings, and use them. There have been threats of violence against union members and death threats against congressmen.

The goal, clearly, is terrorism, to frighten Americans away from their Constitutional right to peaceably assemble.

What began as astroturfing has devolved into an uncontrollable mob thirsting for blood. When the blood is spilled the debate over healthcare will change overnight into a movement to confiscate the mob's guns and indict those who have incited the violence (Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, et. al.) for second degree murder.

Is This a Sign of Recovery?

Habitually, unemployment stats peak at the end of a recession.If that holds true now for the worst economy since the Great Depression, then the fact that unemployment ticked down a hair last month is great news. Certainly the stock market thinks things are improving, it's up over 40% since the March, 2009 low.

The pessimist in me knows that there were several head fakes, several false recoveries, by both the market and the unemployment stats between between 1932 and 1938. I'm cautiously optimistic.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

My Official Kenyan Birth Certificate

via Kenyan Birth Certificate Generator.

Read Booman

Sometimes the best thing I can write is to tell you to read someone else. Booman Tribune has a couple of outstanding articles.

How Wacky Was Bush, Anyhow
George Bush Jr. was not just some addled-brained preppy, although his certainly is. He wasn't just some religious nut, although he is. And Bush was nowhere near as smart as his supporters claimed. The proof lay in his argument pitching the Iraq War to French President Jacques Chirac in 2003.
Gog and Magog are at work in the Middle East. ~ George Bush, 2003
Chirac had to hunt down a theologian to explain what the hell Bush was babbling about.

Bush was more demented then we ever imagined and we had imagined a lot. If he hadn't had a rich daddy and a plethora of handlers manipulating him like a sockpuppet, George Bush Jr. would be standing today on some Dallas street corner, unwashed and ill-fed, shouting incoherent fire and brimstone at passersby.

Conservatives Fearing Justice
Booman predicts the next great Radical Republican panty pissing occasion will be Hillary Clinton's suggestion that the United States join the International Criminal Court. While the news is still too new to have sunk in, we can expect outrage at the notion of Dick Cheney and John Yoo in the dock at the Hague for their war crimes.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Blackwater Prison Blues

When I was just a baby,
My Mama told me, "Son,
Always be a good boy,
Don't ever play with guns,"
But I shot a man in Reno,
Just to watch him die,
When I hear that whistle blowin',
I hang my head and cry. ~ Folsom Prison Blues
File this under Not the Least Bit Surprised. You own the world's most famous mercenary army, Blackwater (now called Xe). Your people have allegedly gotten away with murder and child prostitution in Iraq. You are a religious fanatic with an Aryan taint and Christian megalomaniac. You find out that some of your former employees have turned state's evidence and are spilling your beans to the Feds. What do you do?
The two men claim Blackwater’s owner, Erik Prince, may have murdered or facilitated the murder of individuals who were cooperating with federal authorities investigating the company. ~ Democracy Now!
Maybe, you decide to snuff the stoolies, silencing them while at the same time making an example of them. Why not? Hell, with God on your side anything is possible.
I feel irrational, so confrontational
To tell the truth I am getting away with murder
It is impossible to never tell the truth
But the reality is I'm getting away with murder ~
Getting Away With Murder

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Kenyan Birth Certificate

Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see. ~ Ben Franklin (although I first encountered this wisdom in a 1950's Disney comic book)
The Birthers obsession with an alleged Obama birth certificate from Kenya is just hilarious. In this era of Photoshop, computer graphics, and high-end printers, forging a forty year-old government document is child's play. Sadly, No! shows how easy it is to prove that George W. Bush as actually born in England.

Aging a document is trickier, although coffee, an oven, and patience will do a nice job. A well schooled forger can create a document that will keep experts guessing. The authenticity of the Maybrick Diary, that alleges to be the diary of Jack the Ripper, has been debated for years.

As forgeries go, this is a poor one. It can be proven a forgery six ways from Sunday, although for me there is one outstanding point of illogic that proves it a fake. Barack Obama Sr. was a Kenyan from the region of Victoria Lake of the Luo ethnicity. Why would he choose to take his wife to Mombasa, in Zanzibar in 1961, for the birth of his child? It makes no sense, Nairobi was actually in Kenya and close to his family. And since Obama Sr. was a student in Hawaii at the time, and had left another wife back in Kenya, wouldn't it have been smarter to have stayed put in the Aloha State?

So, why do these fakes keep popping up? There is money in it. Quick and easy money.

Native and Natural Born Citizenship has done the best research into this circus. If you want to see what batshit insane looks like, here is Birther Orly Taitz on MSNBC.
Update: Proof that John McCain is a Kenyan, too.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Scary Tales of the Summer Sun

End of the spring and here she comes back
Hi Hi Hi Hi there
Them summer days, those summer days
That's when I had most of my fun, back
high high high high there
Them summer days, those summer days ~ Hot Fun in the Summertime
When I and my brothers were children so many years ago my mother would tell us to go outside, the fresh air and the sun was good for us. As we grew older the air became more and more polluted and there were many summer days when it was simply dangerous to breath the outside air.

Then the doctors discovered ultraviolet radiation and became obsessed with the notion that sunlight was a hazard and children should not be exposed to the sun's radiation lest they get skin cancer and die fifty years later. Mothers were taught that even a little sun was a horrible thing to inflict upon a child. Use sunscreen, reapplying it every half-hour. Force your child to wear wide-brimmed hats and thick, dark clothing. Instruct them to hide in the shade as much as possible (WebMD advice). Doctors taught that by the time your child showed the first signs of sunburn it was too late, he was doomed to die a horrible death. Being in the summer sun became a joyless experience. It was far safer letting them sit in front of the media center all day.

Now, doctors have discovered that all this hiding away from the Evil Sun had raised a generation of sickly children. More than two-thirds of all children have a vitamin D deficiency. Rickets, virtually wiped out by the time I was born, is making a comeback.

The prescription is my mother's old advice - get your children off their fat asses and let them have fun running around in the summer sun.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Well, That's Disappointing

I'm back after taking several days off to ...
(a) recharge my batteries, and
(b) do something more interesting than hitting square, black keys with the tips of my fingers.

Five days off-line and the world did not collapse into anarchy like it should have without my guidance. What's an egomaniac to do?

Oh, things happened. There was the beer summit where opinion-meisters invested hundreds of thousands of words on the political/economic ramifications of who drank what while desperately pretending the event was important when it was a meaningless photo-op, albeit a smart one by Obama's people.

California's economic mess only got worse when Arnold, our Clown-in-Chief, victimized the youngest, poorest, and sickest in the state with his line-item veto, breaking negotiated deals in the process. I don't hold out much hope for a successful veto override session for two reasons. One, California Republican legislators are, individually and as a group, insanely dedicated to the total ruination of the state to punish it for being Democratic. And, two, California Democratic legislators just want to get out of Sacramento, which is miserable in the summer, and have lost the will to fight.

Iran has begun the predictable mass show trials to be followed by soccer stadium mass executions that will not diminish the hatred by the Iranian people for their bloody dictatorship. Meanwhile, three Americans crossed the border from Kurdistan into Iran and were arrested. If they were student tourists, as is claimed, then they are abysmally and possibly fatally stupid; I can think of about a million better vacation spots than two nations where murder is a leading recreational sport. Given their ages (27 to 36), I suspect they are clumsy spies.
Ahmed Awa, where the hikers got lost.
It this a view worth dying for?