May 19, 2010

Let's gut Greece

The Greek Prime Minister is threatening legal action against US banks

Greece is considering taking legal action against U.S. investment banks that might have contributed to the country’s debt crisis, Prime Minister George Papandreou said.

“I wouldn’t rule out that this may be a recourse,” Papandreou said, in response to questions about the role of U.S. banks in the crisis, in an interview on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS.” The program, scheduled for broadcast today, was taped on May 13. Neither Papandreou nor Zakaria mentioned any banks by name.

U.S. stocks fell and the euro slumped on concern that Europe wouldn’t be able to contain the debt crisis stemming from Greece. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index declined 1.9 percent May 14, while the euro fell below $1.24 for the first time since November 2008.

Papandreou said the decision on whether to go after U.S. banks will be made after a Greek parliamentary investigation into the cause of the crisis.

“Greece will look into the past and see how things went,” Papandreou said. “There are similar investigations going on in other countries and in the United States. This is where I think, yes, the financial sector, I hear the words fraud and lack of transparency. So yes, yes, there is great responsibility here.”

Oh, fuckall you piece of fucking shit. I HOPE OUR MOTHERFUCKING BANKS CONTRIBUTED TO A RUN ON YOUR SHITTY LITTLE COUNTRY. Why? These morons set their retirement age at 55 and don't pay their taxes. What did they think was going to happen? Oh, and they cooked the books to qualify to join the EMU. So, yeah, I think the Germans should be allowed to shit all over them.

You're going to 'look into the past'? Try a mirror, asshat.

And, once again, I'd just like to point out that if the demands of the teabaggers are just like the average Greek... early retirement and someone else to pay for it. Teabaggers, the ultimate socialists.


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December 12, 2009

Guess who helped Pakistan build nukes...

In what will come as a shocking revelation only to those who've been asleep for 30 years (or working in Republican Administrations), it appears that the Chinese and Pakistanis have a lovely little nuclear co-op going which helped Pakistan in building a bomb and helped China increase their bomb-grade material production yields.

Not surprisingly, the Chinese did this to 'check' the power of India. Now, one has to wonder if they'd like a do-over on this given the troubles in Pakistan being created by the Taliban.

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August 06, 2009

64 years ago today...

...the United States of America because the first and (so far) only country to use a nuclear weapon during war time. And I'm with one of the survivors.

I still think President Truman made the right decision given the progress of the war and what the Japanese had planned as defense against a US invasion. It's not just the American lives that would have been lost, it's the millions of Japanese civilians that would have died defending their homeland.

However, I also think we need to find a way to control these weapons and limit them to more reasonable numbers and yields. While we can't put the genie back in the bottle, we have to find a way to make sure that should another of these weapons ever be used it doesn't have the potential to ignite a larger conflict that could eliminate life on Earth.

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June 26, 2009

China whines (again) about the dollar

Symbiotic relationships are a bitch. You hate the other party but you need them so much you just can't let go.

Sounds like most of the marriages I know.

China is still casting about for a new reserve currency, using the International Monetary Fund's Special Drawing Rights.

"To prevent the deficiencies in the main reserve currency, there's a need to create a new currency that's delinked from the economies of the issuers," the People's Bank of China said in a review of the economy in 2008 released on Friday.

The subtext is "We don't believe the US can balance it's budget and we believe they will monetize their debt by printing ever more currency. This will devalue our already large position in dollars and dollar denominated assets. We are therefore looking for another currency in which we can invest without the fear of depreciation".

Which is kinda dumb since China is effectively tied to the dollar as long as they have an export driven economy. So, good luck with the SDR's, bitches. Realpolitick aside, they do have a valid point. There is zero chance that we will monetize the debt, but there is a real chance we will continue to run structural deficits forever if the cut and spend crowd comes back into power.


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Jonah Goldberg : I want to cut off the Ayatollah's head

Jonah is also unhappy that Obama isn't willing to 'do more' to aid the protesters in Iran. Of course, he doesn't go into specifics, just assaults the President's efforts to keep us out of a third theater of combat operations.

That's the problem with someone like Goldberg. He sits in the shadows, carping and sniping, offering no real solutions. Which is appropriate since he has none.

The funniest thing about the Republicans chastising President Obama for not working harder to 'end the regime' is how it betrays their ignorance of Iran...

If the forces of reform and democracy win, Obama's plan to negotiate with the regime is moot, for the regime will be gone. And if the forces of reform are crushed into submission by the regime, Obama's plan is moot, because the regime will still be there.

Iran is a REPUBLIC with DEMOCRATICALLY elected leaders. The regime is supported by the majority of Iranians who truly believe in the Islamic Republic, despite the corruption of the theocrats who sit atop the state. Most of the protesters don't want to end the Islamic Republic... they're just pissed their candidate didn't win.

Which reminds me of Mr. Goldberg and his gang here in the US.

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June 24, 2009

Iran : Did you really think this was a real revolution?

A little bit about the Iranian election and subsequent protests... I think the election was fraud. The stupid thing is that it was unnecessary, Ahmadinejad would have won anyway. Stratfor has a very nice analysis piece on this and the framework I've been using is that Tehran is to Iran and Austin is to Texas. Just as Austin tends to be more progressive than the rest of the State, Tehran tends to be more progressive (relatively speaking) than the rest of Iran.

In the global discussion last week outside Iran, there was a great deal of confusion about basic facts. For example, it is said that the urban-rural distinction in Iran is not critical any longer because according to the United Nations, 68 percent of Iranians are urbanized. This is an important point because it implies Iran is homogeneous and the demonstrators representative of the country. The problem is the Iranian definition of urban — and this is quite common around the world — includes very small communities (some with only a few thousand people) as “urban.” But the social difference between someone living in a town with 10,000 people and someone living in Tehran is the difference between someone living in Bastrop, Texas and someone living in New York. We can assure you that that difference is not only vast, but that most of the good people of Bastrop and the fine people of New York would probably not see the world the same way. The failure to understand the dramatic diversity of Iranian society led observers to assume that students at Iran’s elite university somehow spoke for the rest of the country.

Could these protests evolve? Absolutely. But that would require the various factions to cooperate and not all of them share common goals (they run the gamut from preserving to ending the Islamic Republic with the latter being very small). The one commonality between the groups is their faith in Iranian democracy... they get to vote and elect their leaders just as we do and it's a cherished right that cuts across all classes.

Which makes me think about the 04 cycle here in the US. A few days before the election, I had a conversation with a friend who thought people would be marching in the streets if Kerry didn't win. I said that was silly and wouldn't happen even if Bush won. Her point was that the people will rise up against a stolen election. In established democracies where the franchise is taken seriously, an egregious theft won't be tolerated which is why there weren't mass protests in the wake of Apocalypse Bush, Redux. You CAN steal an election that's close and you won't run the risk of revolution.

Iran is a little trickier because there was election fraud but the general consensus is that it Ahmadinejad would have won without it (as a side note, anyone else think someone went a little overboard thinking it would be good to run up the score?). It's the egregiousness of the fraud that drives the protests and it's the fact that he would have won anyway that will, IMHO, drive them to fail as a broad change agent in Iran. However this works out, these will be the first firm seeds of doubt in the theocracy and from those seeds something great could very well grow.


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June 08, 2009

Curious about North Korea?

Don't be... there's now a Google Earth complete map of all the high points.

One has to wonder how much more or less information this provides than what the CIA already has.

In other news, North Korea has sentenced two American journalists to 12 years in a hard labor prison camp.

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May 29, 2009

Oh, how 2001

OMG, the Taliban is detonating bombs in Pakistan and threatening more bombs to be detonated unless Pakistan's military quits fighting them and gives them several provinces. And a Krispy Kreme franchise*. This has been going on for a few weeks since the Taliban decided that they weren't satisfied with controlling the massive portion of Afghanistan that Americans didn't control. And that bombing those American strongholds was getting b-o-r-i-n-g.

Not for nothing, but we've been at war with these bastards for, what, EIGHT YEARS? Why the fuck aren't they all dead? I mean, we have the strongest, best trained, best funded military in the world... how the hell are any of them still breathing? I guess the only possible answer is that the leadership in the US (President Bush, VP Cheney, Rumsfeld and the rest) were absolutely worthless.

No, this isn't just another diatribe about the failures of the past Administration. I just wanted to remind everyone of what a miserable failure President Bush was, but you probably already know that because of your repossessed car, foreclosed home and lost job. I also wanted to take a second to think about ways to end all this. The problem is, there isn't a quick and dirty solution. In fact, you're fighting people who are prepared to die. So, why not grant them their wish?

Seriously, give up on the economic reforms. In fact, give up on anything. The only real solution is to turn everyone against the Taliban and the only way to do that is with money. So, give $10,000 to ANY Pakistani or Afghani who brings you the head of a member of the Taliban.

That's gotta be a hell of lot cheaper, anyway.

*This is the first of what will be MANY gratuitous plugs for companies that I own stock in.

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May 25, 2009

Oh, let's all freak out...

So, North Korea tests another nuke. Big fucking deal. It's not like they can use it, since if they do they'll be annihilated in minutes by American and Chinese forces. Sorry, that's just the way it goes.

So, again, rattle your fucking sabers, poor people. You may have nukes but you're still starving.

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May 05, 2009

Guess what... things aren't going well in Pakistan

Looks like our friends the Taliban (who were supposed to be all dead by now but, in a weird twist, aren't) are pretty close to realizing their dream of taking over a second country.

Oh, and the one about having nukes, too.

Initially, Buner was a hard place for the Taliban to crack. When they attacked a police station in the valley district last year, the resistance was fearless. Local people picked up rifles, pistols and daggers, hunted down the militants and killed six of them.

But it was not to last. In short order this past week the Taliban captured Buner, a strategically vital district just 60 miles northwest of the capital, Islamabad. The militants flooded in by the hundreds, startling Pakistani and American officials with the speed of their advance.

The lesson of Buner, local politicians and residents say, is that the dynamic of the Taliban insurgency, as methodical and slow-building as it has been, can change suddenly, and the tactics used by the Taliban can be replicated elsewhere.

The Taliban took over Buner through both force and guile — awakening sleeping sympathizers, leveraging political allies, pretending at peace talks and then crushing what was left of their opponents, according to the politicians and the residents interviewed.

Though some of the militants have since pulled back, they still command the high points of Buner and have fanned out to districts even closer to the capital.

That Buner fell should be no surprise, local people say. Last fall, the inspector general of police in North-West Frontier Province, Malik Naveed Khan, complained that his officers were being attacked and killed by the hundreds.

Mr. Khan was so desperate — and had been so thoroughly abandoned by the military and the government — that he was relying on citizen posses like the one that stood up to the Taliban last August.

Today, the hopes that those civilian militias inspired are gone, brushed away by the realization that Pakistanis can do little to stem the Taliban advance if their government and military will not help them.

The people of Buner got nothing for their bravery. In December, the Taliban retaliated for the brazenness of the resistance in the district, sending a suicide bomber to disrupt voting during a by-election. More than 30 people were killed and scores were wounded.

Of course, it gets worse. The T have people inside the government and who knows how many in the military. Considering the weakness of Pakistani command and control, it's only a matter of time until they are in control of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. Of course, I don't want to alarm you and keep you from being overconcerned about swine flu.

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December 07, 2008

Earthrise in HDTV

Courtesy of JAXA...

Earthrise is about 1:40 in.

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July 08, 2008

Russia says a-ok to preemption

This is definitely great news... It's always nice to know when a nuclear power changes its military posture from defensive to offensive.

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July 02, 2008

People are shocked when Russians act like, well, Russians

So, BP is having problems with it's oligarch partners in it's oil venture, TNK - BP. How shocking... especially when you consider that the synonym for 'Russian Billionaire' is 'Gangster'.

Lookit, Russia is not a politically stable country. Period. The only thing that's kept things from going off the rails there is an increase in natural resource prices (like oil) which has fattened the national treasury and, of course, Putin the Strongman, with whom Russians more readily identify. With a drop in oil prices, watch as things get bad. Real fast.

These people have been lied to all their lives and they are STILL being lied to. For example, did you know that the Soviets were DECADES ahead of the US in high powered chemical lasers for defense applications? Neither did I. Because it's bullshit. However, it doesn't stop the Russian press from trying to build up the collective Russian ego.

Now, Gazprom, the state-owned natural gas company, is projecting $250/bbl for oil. Their future depends on it. The sad part? It's not going to happen anytime soon. What happens when that doesn't materialize? A return to the chaos of the Yeltsin years?

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March 10, 2008

Why is Britian trying to kill a gay kid?

Iran likes to kill that gays that live there and unfortunately for an Iranian student studying in Britian, he's been tagged as gay. The authorities in Iran found out about it when they interrogated his former boyfriend whom they then hanged.

The student has requested asylum in Britian, which, unbelievably, was denied. Gee, fellas, if you just want to kill the kid it would be far more humane to just shoot him in the head.

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February 19, 2008

Caribbean strong man resigns

You know, there's just no way to funny this up. Castro resigned. The story is here. Knock yourself out.

Seriously, can you get excited about the resignation of this fossil? Can there be anything more irrelevant to what's happening today than Cuba? I really don't even care if the Friedmanite shock 'therapists' go in and fuck it all up. I hate the tropics and I'm not so much for rum.

Cocktail flu... that's why I'm such a bitch today.

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January 14, 2008

Think nepotism in Texas is bad?

Try Singapore where there is a large sovereign fund being run by cronies and the relatives of cronies...

The stake was part of a broader expansion started in mid-2002 by the company’s executive director, Ho Ching, formerly head of government-owned Singapore Technologies and wife of Singapore’s prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong. Aimed at reviving Temasek’s financial performance in the wake of a recession, Temasek has since taken large stakes in banks as distant as India, China and the Standard Chartered Bank of Britain.

And...

The Government Investment Corporation, known as G.I.C., is controlled by the state, and Singapore’s founding prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, is its chairman. His son, the current prime minister, is deputy chairman. Tony Tan, its executive director, is a former deputy prime minister.

Wonder when 39% will decide that his boy needs to be on the TTC? Or the ERS?

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December 27, 2007

H*ly F*ck*ng Sh*t!

You know this is big.

Olbermann Back To Countdown Tonight

Keith Olbermann will be cutting his vacation short to cover the assassination of Benazir Bhutto as he returns tonight to anchor Countdown. The Bhutto breaking news resulted in some anchors on Fox News coming in from vacation tonight as well.

However, the Leader of the Free World will remain at his vacation home near Crawford, Texas, playing Wii.

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December 04, 2007

United Russia wins but things look bleak

Yeah, by now you've probably heard that Putin and United Russia (the political party that put him front and center), swept the recent parliamentary elections in Russia with the Communists providing the only serious opposition. Seriously, the communists? Let me get this straight... you guys are voting for the party that fucked y'all up for over 70 years? I guess it proves that there are stupid people in every corner of the world.

UR swept with 60% of the votes which will allow them to functionally control the Parliament and hands Putin a great big 'Good Job, guy!' as he leaves office early next year. And why shouldn't they be saying 'good job'? Sure, Putin (much like Bush) has curtailed civil liberties but he's also got the economy running and people are doing better than at any time in the past 30 years.

At least the Russians got broadbased economic growth out of their deal with the devil.

The interesting thing is that this is truly a high point for Putin and UR. Which means that their 60% isn't quite as strong as it looks.

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November 26, 2007

How secure are Pakistan's nukes?

The NYT has a good time with this...

If General Musharraf is overthrown, no one is quite sure what will happen to the team he has entrusted to safeguard the arsenal. There is some hope that the military as an institution could reliably keep things under control no matter who is in charge, but that is just a hope.

“It’s a very professional military,” said a senior American official who is trying to manage the crisis and insisted on anonymity because the White House has said this problem will not be discussed in public. “But the truth is, we don’t know how many of the safeguards are institutionalized, and how many are dependent on Musharraf’s guys.”

Even if it never comes to a loss of control over weapons or their components, the crisis carries another level of danger. Administration officials say privately that if the chaos in the streets worsens, or Al Qaeda exploits the moment, Pakistan’s government could become distracted from monitoring scientists, engineers and others who, out of religious zeal or plain old greed, might see a moment to sell their knowledge and technology.

Sleep well, y'all!

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November 19, 2007

American honored in Russia...

... for delivering atomic secrets to the Soviets during and after World War 2.

On Nov. 2, the Kremlin startled Western scholars by announcing that President Vladimir V. Putin had posthumously given the highest Russian award to a Soviet agent who penetrated the Manhattan Project to build the atom bomb.

The announcement hailed Dr. Koval as “the only Soviet intelligence officer” to infiltrate the project’s secret plants, saying his work “helped speed up considerably the time it took for the Soviet Union to develop an atomic bomb of its own.”

How about a resolution in Congress condemning him? You know, if we're going to waste time condemning Turkey for something it did during a time of war, let's take a moment and condemn one of our own for giving us 50 years of the Cold War.

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November 05, 2007

Oversubscribed

PetroChina shares went public today in Shanghai to Chinese domestic investors who have been unable to buy the stock which trade in NYC and HK. The offering was so massively oversubscribed that at one point the company had a valuation of more than $1 trillion, double that of Exxon.

It was a record-setting day for PetroChina (PTR). With an $8.9 billion debut in Shanghai, the state-controlled oil-and-gas producer laid claim to raising the greatest amount of money of any new listing globally this year. By the end of the first day of Shanghai trading on Nov. 5, PetroChina's share price had more than doubled, to 59¢, up 163%.

The Beijing-based company first went public in New York and Hong Kong in 2000, but until the Shanghai debut its stock was largely off-limits to China's huge pool of retail investors, who can't legally trade shares outside the mainland. Now PetroChina is no longer out of reach. The euphoria that greeted the Chinese debut left the company with a market capitalization of $1 trillion, leaving second-ranked Exxon Mobil (XOM), valued at a mere $488 billion at the Nov. 2 close, in its dust.

However, on a normalized EPS multiple (13 for Exxon which has almost double the profit of PC which trades at a 55 multiple), the company is still substantially smaller than Exxon and the major global oil companies. In other words, the market cap is more a function of investor demand than corporate performance.

But looking at PetroChina by market cap alone grossly overstates its relative size and importance in the global oil industry. The company's displacement of ExxonMobil is a reflection of just how overheated China's stock markets have become. PetroChina may have a market cap more than twice the size of ExxonMobil, for instance, but when measured in profits the Chinese company is still a pip-squeak compared to the U.S. giant: PetroChina saw earnings rise a mere 1.4% to $10.9 billion in the first half of this year, compared with Exxon Mobil's $19.54 billion.

Regardless of the mechanics behind the valuation, on paper this is the first company in the world capitalized at more than $1 trillion. Pretty impressive for an economy that 30 years ago was widely viewed as just another third world basket case.

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November 01, 2007

Maureen Dowd's joke becomes news in Iran

Oh, this is too funny...

Liberals are accusing the Bush-Cheney folks of trying to foment World War III or IV with all that reckless saber-rattling about Iranian nukes.

But it seems New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd brought us closer to the brink with a Sunday column in which she purported to interview Vice President Cheney. This is how it played on Press TV, the first international Iran-based news network to broadcast 24-7 in English.

"Cheney: Iran has WMDs, just like Iraq," said the headline on the online edition, posted Sunday.

"The US Vice President, Dick Cheney, has accused the Islamic Republic of having weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), 'just like Saddam,' " the story read.

"While the negotiations are underway between Iran and the UN nuclear watchdog, the hawkish US official said the White House considers Iran's nuclear dossier in 'the final stages of diplomacy,' " the report said.

" 'We are not going to get hung up on democracy this time,' Dick Cheney said in an interview with the New York Times on Sunday. 'It's time for squash. Not to mention mushrooms, clouds of them,' said the Vice President, when asked how close Washington was to launching military strikes on Iran.

"When asked if he would wait for the new round of sanctions against Iran, he said Washington has waited enough, adding that 'the sanctions were announced Thursday. It's now Sunday.' "

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October 31, 2007

Iran : Russia and the US face off...

The US is working hard to get the UK on board with possible military action against Iran.

The Pentagon is keen to have the Royal Navy's cooperation in the event of an attack, to prevent Iran from introducing mines to the Persian Gulf to block oil exports in retaliation.

The White House and Downing Street would rationalize such an attack as a protective measure to protect troops in Iraq. But moderates in the US government are concerned that the counterterrorist justification can be used as a cover for military action that could escalate into all out war with Iran.

What they should be doing is effectively negotiating with the Russians. Except Condi and Bush are too dumb to do that.

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October 22, 2007

Hu opens the Communist Party Congress

Just in case you were wondering, the faux commies in China opened their party Congress last week and enshrined the philosophy of President Hu Jintao into doctrine. That was, seriously, the only thing they apparently did.

Hu, dressed in his trademark blue suit and television-friendly red tie, used his two-and-one-half-hour speech mainly to underline his doctrine of "scientific development," which he described as "an important guiding principle for China's economic and social development and a major strategic thought that we must uphold and apply" to pursue "socialism with Chinese characteristics."

The party announced Sunday that Hu's innovation will be enshrined in the party charter during the week-long 17th National Congress as a historical contribution to Marxist ideology. The move constitutes an endorsement by the party faithful of Hu's emphasis on tempering breakneck economic development with such social concerns as protecting the environment and guaranteeing that the poor have access to education and health care.

Just as important, it ushers Hu into a pantheon of historical Communist figures who have shaped Marxist doctrine. In the eyes of the Chinese party, Hu, 64, will be joining a line of ideological greats that began with Marx and Lenin and has continued over more than a century with Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin.

"The Politburo formulated the guiding principles for the current amendment to the constitution, stressing that the amendment must follow the guidance of Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of [Jiang's] Three Represents, [as well as] embody the Scientific Development Outlook," Li Dongsheng, the congress spokesman, said at a news conference.

He spoke for TWO AND ONE HALF HOURS?!?!? Can you imagine being the guy or gal in the audience who had a large coffee prior to the start and about two hours in desperately need to use the restroom?

I really think this is all pretty exciting. I wonder Tyler Perry will make it into a movie starring Tyler Perry. And the exhumed corpse of Mao.


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September 25, 2007

Brownback and Ahmadinejad : A match made in heaven?

Sen. Brownback (R-Asshat) tried to pimp an Anti-Gay 'Marriage Amendment' while speaking to New Hampshire voters. Apparently, those in the Granite State didn't like his gay bashing rhetoric, so they booed him. Think Progress has the transcript and the video...

In related news, the Iranian President yesterday said that there were no gay people in Iran. Dungeon Diary points out that it's probably because the Iranian religious police have killed a bunch and the ones that remain are obviously in hiding. Given this bit of news, it makes me wonder if maybe the gay-free paradise Brownback and his cohorts have been trying to create already exists... in Iran.

Maybe they should go there for a bit and see a country where gays are so scared that they stay in the closet. They can enjoy the basketcase economy, the drab fashion and the lack of intellectual freedom. Maybe then they'll realize that The Gays aren't really that big a threat.

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June 13, 2007

Legislator gunned down

Unfortunately, it was not...

Warren Chisum
Charlie Howard
Leo Berman (Why God? Why not take him??!?!)
Tom CradDICK
Dan Patrick

Instead, it was some Mexican legislator who ran afoul of some drug dealers (I'm all the time telling them to be nice to the drug dealers!) and got himself shot. Of course, the Mexican government won't do much about it, and isn't that the really shocking part?

Seriously, y'all... you need to let a couple of the Federales go a little John Wayne/Clint Eastwood. Kill some folks

(h/t to PinkDome at Dome Of The Pink)

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June 06, 2007

Are you, like me, wondering about buying a nuke?

It's true, it's true... I'm in the market for a small nuclear weapon. I won't say why, let's just say there is a small town somewhere in Texas that, in my opinion, deserves to have a really bad day.

Kidding! I'm actually looking to build a reservoir of my own where I can build a lake house and spend my retirement. I'll sell a few of the remaining lots to some gullible foreigners. Maybe folks from Minnesota?

ANYWAY, I'm in need of a small atomic device and I've been wondering where to get it and how hard it might be. It's not like you can just run down to HEB or Neiman's and pick one up. So, this book will be VERY helpful to me. If I had a copy AND a few million dollars.

So much for non-proliferation.

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June 04, 2007

What if the smoking gun came in the form of dead air?

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to right-wing gasbag Sean Hannity:

Freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of conscience are not a thorn in the side of government. Disagreeing with your government is not unpatriotic and most certainly should not be a crime in any country, especially a democracy.

Okay, small misstatement of fact on my part. Condi wasn't speaking on Fox News but instead at a meeting of OAS foreign ministers and she was actually speaking about events in Venezuela, where bonapartist dictator Hugo Chavez recently shut down a hostile TV network and threatened to do the same to others.

Irony accomplished.

For his part, Chavez's representative compared Bush to ho hum Hitler, and not favorably either. Still, considering that Chavez had previously referred to Bobo as the Devil, some say this could actually be a sign that Chavez wants better relations with the country whose purchases of his oil finance his revolution.

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May 30, 2007

Russia sees US ABM system, raises with new MIRV platform

Well, the Russians did say that if the US broke the ABM Treaty it would open up a pandora's box of new weapon systems.

Russia tested new missiles yesterday that a Kremlin official boasted could penetrate any defense system, and President Vladimir V. Putin warned that U.S. plans for an anti-missile shield in Europe would turn the region into a "powder keg."

First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said Russia tested an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying multiple independent warheads, and it also successfully conducted a "preliminary" test of a tactical cruise missile that he said could fly farther than existing, similar weapons.

Mostly, this is boilerplate BS for Ivanov who is running to replace Putin as Russia's next President. Being seen as the 'strong on national defense' candidate has always been a safe move in Russia. Doesn't that sound familiar?

So now, instead of our ABM systems having to hit a missile, they will have to hit 4 or more VERY small warheads. Considering it doesn't hit larger targets very well, do you think maybe we shouldn't have bothered to waste all that money on a system that can be overcome by just adding a more targets?

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April 26, 2007

Fashion Police

Wow. This is worse than Sugarland.

Some 150,000 women have been detained in Iran for violating strict new Islamic dress code rules, the country's top police officer has announced. "During the first four days [since the code came into effect] we have picked up 150,000 women who were not properly veiled, but many of them were released after they signed an admission of guilt and a formal apology," General Ismail Ahmadi Moghaddam told journalists. An unspecified number of the women taken into custody were also forced to undergo psychological counseling, Moghaddam said.

“Only 13 of these women are still being held and they will have to stand trial," he explained.

Two Hundred-thirty legislators in Iran's Majlis parliament in a letter addressed to Moghaddam, expressed their support for the way police acted.

In the letter, the legislators blame the United States and Israel for "inciting" Iranian women not to respect the Islamic dress code, including the shrouding of the head with the hijab scarf

Radical Islamist deputy, Seyyed Mehdi Tabatabai, said that “those who do not respect the dress code and who refuse to wear the hijab have no place in an Islam country and should leave."

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April 10, 2007

YAY! Nuclear fuel! YAY!

The Iranians have announced that they can refine uranium into reactor fuel! Who's the BSD now, bitch!

"With great honor, I declare that as of today our dear country has joined the nuclear club of nations and can produce nuclear fuel on an industrial scale," Ahmadinejad said. The U.N. has imposed limited sanctions on Iran until it suspends enrichment a key process that can produce either fuel for a nuclear reactor or the basis of a warhead. The United States and its allies accuse Iran of seeking to build nuclear weapons, a claim the country denies.

I know I'm excited!

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February 07, 2007

It's official... we're causing global warming

"I feel that it is inappropriate for the state to regulate carbon-dioxide emissions due to the highly speculative arguments that it may contribute to global warming. As the Star-Telegram correctly noted, I think the global warming theory is bad science." - State Rep. Phil King

Ok, Phil, I think this pretty much settles the fallacy that the arguments regarding the contribution of man-made CO2 emissions are 'speculative'. They are fact, dumbass, even the if they aren't published in the Star-Telegram.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, made up of hundreds of scientists from 113 countries, said that based on new research over the last six years, it is 90 percent certain that human-generated greenhouse gases account for most of the global rise in temperatures over the past half-century.

So, what do we do now? Surely it's a good idea to go with clean coal and gen 4 nuclear as a first step, then move to pure renewables like wind and advanced solar. All the while we can make some dramatic improvements to efficiency and conservation. The sure thing is that it'll take all kinds of solutions to get us past this. One is, as Hank Gilbert talked about, using biofuels derived from crops like miscanthus. For one thing, it's easier to grow in Texas than corn and doesn't require nearly as much water to grow or process into fuel.

Unfortunately, the lead on biofuels is going to Illinois and California. Way to go, Texas Dept. of Agriculture!

Since Phil and his pals won't be able to whine about speculative science anymore, they'll now start whining about how expensive it will be and that it will destroy the economy. That won't play either.

Forcing power plants to reduce carbon dioxide emissions will not make consumers - or in most cases the power plants themselves - feel a pinch in their pocketbooks, according to a study released Thursday.

Economists from the University of Maryland, Towson University and a Washington think tank, Resources for the Future, said the overall affect on Maryland's economy will be slightly positive when Maryland joins the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in June.

"We concluded that there is a modest positive effect, it will actually lower a consumers electricity bill by about $22 dollars per year," said Steve Gabriel, co-principal investigator at the University of Maryland. "We can breathe a sigh of relief. Actually, we can breathe better, because that, after all, is the intent of the program."

We know the problem is big. We know what we need to do. We know that doing it won't break us. SO LET'S DO IT, SENATOR.

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February 01, 2007

Where we screw up, Iran steps in

Oh. Damn. Connecticut native George Bush is being outplayed by the Iranians in the Middle East. Like no one could see that coming...

"It's very bleak and it's very dangerous," said Dakhil, the Saudi writer. "We have a sectarian civil war in Iraq now and this is drawing sectarian lines through the region. This is the most important, the most dangerous ramification of the American war in Iraq."

It's not surprising that the heavy handed tactics of Americans (and, in Lebanon, the Israeli's) have had a deleterious effect. What is surprising is the extent to which Iran is stepping up their aid and support to those affected, creating goodwill from the Mediterranean to the Gulf.

"The United States is the first to be blamed for the rise of Iranian influence in the Middle East," said Khaled al-Dakhil, a Saudi writer and academic. "There is one thing important about the ascendance of Iran here. It does not reflect a real change in Iranian capabilities, economic or political. It's more a reflection of the failures on the part of the U.S. and its Arab allies in the region."

Added Eyal Zisser, head of the Middle Eastern and African Studies Department at Tel Aviv University in Israel: "After the whole investment in democracy in the region, the West is losing, and Iran is winning."

Yeah, we've been thinking for a while that you gain more friends with honey than you do with bullets... but no one in Washington seems to be listening (they all think foreign aid is a waste of money)

In Beirut's southern suburbs, a Hezbollah stronghold, a banner hangs near a bridge wrecked by Israeli strikes last summer: "The Zionist enemy destroys, the Islamic Republic of Iran builds." Even before the 33-day war ended, Iran had provided Hezbollah with $150 million to begin rebuilding, some of it going to victims in $10,000 bundles of crisp U.S. currency, according to a Shiite politician who spoke on condition of anonymity.

"You want me to give you my opinion? Honestly?" asked Hajj Hassan Sbeiti, a 44-year-old merchant, his face breaking into a wry smile. "If you say hello to me, you probably like me. If you say hello to me and ask what I need, you're a friend. If you say hello to me, ask what I need and put money in my hand, then you're going to be my brother."

Oh, sure... attacking Iran is a natural. We're guaranteed to make friends that way. Just look how well it's worked in Iraq. Quit with the bullshit about Iranian nukes and let's get down to winning the war of hearts and minds.

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January 27, 2007

Something is happening but you don't know what it is

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingThe US Central Command revealed Friday that an airstrike near the dusty Somaili town of Buur Gaabo was believed to have killed the elusive terrorist mastermind Burger King. A Pentagon spokesman who insisted on remaining nameless said that the death of the number three man in Al Qaeda was a significant victory in the War on Terror.

UPDATE Intelligence analysts now believe that the man killed was Sali ibn-Wazir, a wealthy retailor of strict Islamic women's apparel, known as the Burka King. A Pentagon spokesman who insisted on remaining nameless said that the death of the number three man in Al Qaeda was a significant victory in the War on Terror.

Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 09:06 AM | Comments (0)

January 26, 2007

China has ASAT weapons...

This is a comforting thought... the Chinese, rather than let their old satellites just fall back into the gravity well and burn up in the atmosphere (which is what EVERY OTHER NATION DOES), have decided to shoot them down with a missile. Of course this causes a tremendous amount of alarm on the part of the DoD because the US military is heavily dependent on satellites for real time information and now, rightly, have figured that they have a tremendous achilles heal. No shit.

We've often wondered why an enemy would want to nuke us at all. It would be far easier and more effective to just EMP out the power grid and kill all our electronics. No cars, no trucks, no computers, no phones, no food. Yeah, without being able to run down to Randall's every two days, I'd certainly be dead.

Yeah, I said it. R-A-N-D-A-L-L-S. Fuck a bunch of Central Market and HEB.

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December 21, 2006

Turkmenbashi croaks

Once upon a time there was a place called the Soviet Union, which was ruled by a series of evil dictators. Eventually they ended up with a not-so-evil dicator and after a few years the country fell apart. Some of the successor states, Russia and Ukraine for example, are somewhat familiar to Americans; others, like the stans of Central Asia, have remained much more obscure. These are to this day mostly run by evil dictators in the worst Soviet tradition; now the leader of Turkmenistan, Saparmurat Niyazov has died, perhaps ending a bizarre cult of personality rivalling anything dreamt of by Kim Jong Il or Kinky Friedman.

Known as Turkmenbashi, or Father of all Turkmens, Niyazov was renowned for such peculiar acts as ordering citizens to get gold teeth extracted, outlawing opera and banning men from listening to car radios.

During a 21-year rule he turned his country into a hymn of praise to himself: kindergartens, towns, factories and a month of the year (January) were named Turkmenbashi. He erected a revolving gold statue of himself in the capital Ashgabat and giant billboards of the leader hung all over the country.

He often feigned embarrassment at the adulation. "I'm personally against seeing my pictures and statues in the streets - but it's what the people want," he once said.

But the pressure to worship the leader was relentless. Children in the gas-rich state were forced to learn his book of poetry, the Ruhnama, at school, and a copy of the book was sent into space for good measure.

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December 12, 2006

Even reading about this hurts

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingMom and dad decide to have their 10 year old boy circumcised. Kinda mean, I know, but it's apparently the 'in thing' for Malay Muslims. My only question is why did they have to select the Shakes McShaky of mohels?

A medical assistant accidentally severed a 10-year old boy's penis during a botched circumcision at a private clinic in Malaysia's southern Johor state, a news report said Sunday.

The boy was rushed to a real hospital where the part of his dick that was sliced off was reattached. No word on whether or not the penile reconstruction was successful.

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December 08, 2006

India Brings Down the Average

I knew someone was holding down the worldwide average for penis size. God only knows the Chinese probably are doing the same but we'd never know it for their state sponsored media machine which advertises Hefty-bag sized condoms for all Chinamen.

Condoms designed to meet international size specifications are too big for many Indian men as their penises fall short of what manufacturers had anticipated, an Indian study has found.

The Indian Council of Medical Research, a leading state-run center, said its initial findings from a two-year study showed 60 percent of men in the financial capital Mumbai had penises about 2.4 cm (one inch) shorter than those condoms catered for.

For a further 30 percent, the difference was at least 5 cm (two inches). A poor fit meant the prophylactics often didn't do the job they were bought for, and led to some tearing or slipping off during use.

Posted by spamburgler at 04:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 04, 2006

Excellent articles on China and India

Two articles caught my eye today... one on China's budding relationship with Saudi Arabia and another on India becoming more attractive than China to international business. Both are worth the read when you have a chance.

One has to wonder exactly how much the Saudi's will value their relationships when push comes to shove.

Posted by mcblogger at 09:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 25, 2006

Old Skool, or, How Putin takes out an enemy

Don't criticize President Putin or he'll jack you up with some polonium. Putin don't play, bitches.


Posted by mcblogger at 01:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Old Skool, or, How Putin takes out an enemy

Don't criticize President Putin or he'll jack you up with some polonium. Putin don't play, bitches.


Posted by mcblogger at 01:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 19, 2006

To our friends overseas : Y'all are fucked up!

From time to time I take some moment out of my busy life to go through the visitor log... you know, to find out where our readers are geographically, how they got to McBlogger and, if through Google, what they were searching for.

Turns out, our friends in the Netherlands, France and England are searcing for HOOKERS. Seriously, image search on google, page two top row. That's us... indexed there because of this post which is definitely NOT about hooking up overseas freaks with trashy women.

Our friends in Germany are even more fucked. They've been searching for 'teenboys' (I shit you not. Every single one of them) and hitting this post which is pretty innocuous and all until you read a comment that's a spam ad for teenage porn. Yeah, I'm deleting it.

Austrians have a bit more of a sense of humor... they were searching for camel toe and happened upon this gift idea from last year.

Just think of us here at McBlogger as your own special NSA. And by special I mean... well, you should know that by now, no? I think I'm going back to watching some asshole making turkey au vin on the Food Network.


Posted by mcblogger at 02:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 17, 2006

Dutch seek ban on burkas in public

Oh no! Paul better not plan on going to the Netherlands anytime soon.

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October 12, 2006

Pastures of Plenty

Afghanistan: easy to invade, hard to conquer. Ever wonder why?

Canada troops battle 10-ft Afghan marijuana plants

Like they say, war is hell.

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian troops fighting Taliban militants in Afghanistan have stumbled across an unexpected and potent enemy -- almost impenetrable forests of 10-feet (three meter) high marijuana plants.

General Rick Hillier, chief of the Canadian defense staff, said on Thursday that Taliban fighters were using the forests as cover. In response, the crew of at least one armored car had camouflaged their vehicle with marijuana.

"The challenge is that marijuana plants absorb energy, heat very readily. It's very difficult to penetrate with thermal devices ... and as a result you really have to be careful that the Taliban don't dodge in and out of those marijuana forests," he said in a speech in Ottawa.

"We tried burning them with white phosphorous -- it didn't work. We tried burning them with diesel -- it didn't work. The plants are so full of water right now ... that we simply couldn't burn them," he said.

Even successful incineration had its drawbacks.

"A couple of brown plants on the edges of some of those (forests) did catch on fire. But a section of soldiers that was downwind from that had some ill effects and decided that was probably not the right course of action," Hillier said dryly.

One soldier told him later: "Sir, three years ago before I joined the army, I never thought I'd say 'That damn marijuana'."

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October 10, 2006

North Korea : "I will not be ignored!"

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingMuch like Glenn Close's character in Fatal Attraction, North Korea and it's pasty little leader have decided to detonate their own little nuke which had the predictable effect of focusing attention back on the troubled nation. Though no one knows the yeild or the type of weapon (uranium or plutonium, fission or fusion), that information did not stop basically the entire world from saying...

Not so much

with the


nukes, dick!

The Russians believe the yeild was in the 5-15 kilotons of TNT range. By comparison, the bomb US forces dropped on Hiroshima was the equivalent of 15 kilotons of TNT. The South Koreans, who are either really smart or super dumb, estimated the yeild at 550 tons of TNT.

Of course, the Foley thing is still much sexier which is really a sad, sad commentary on just what an ugly man Kim Jong Il is. The President also had something to say about it but it was so full of dumb that I'm not even going to bother linking. And yes, he still mispronounces 'Nuclear'.

Posted by mcblogger at 03:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 05, 2006

More on the crisis in Oaxaca

¡Para Justicia y Libertad! has more up on the situation in Oaxaca. Before you freak out on me and ask why the hell I'm so concerned about Mexico, let me explain that an unstable Mexico, led by people whose legitimacy is doubtful at best, is not a good thing for Americans. Further, we may end up having to do the same thing in November.

Have you sent your letter yet? If not, keep in mind that Mexico is our largest trading partner here in Texas. What Texan's think actually does have an impact on Mexican leadership, especially when they realize we're standing with the people, not the power.

Posted by mcblogger at 12:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 02, 2006

What the hell is going on in Oaxaca?

XicanoPwr over at ¡Para Justicia y Libertad! has a post up about the situation in Oaxaca which is, to say the least, disturbing as hell. Apparently, the Mexican government is prepping for an attack on civilians in the city who have been engaged since May in an active protest of the Governor, Ulises Ruiz, who they claim was elected fraudulently. While we can't speak to their claims, given the recent Presidential election and how disputed it was (as well as the 2000 and 2004 Presidential elections here in the US) I'm more than willing to give folks the benefit of the doubt and call for at least an investigation into whether election fraud was committed.

I'm also more than willing to call bullshit on using armed forces and tanks to beat up on civilian protestors.

I'm pasting information how to get a letter to President Fox in the SuperSize as well as link to a site with more details on what's happening in Oaxaca. Please keep in mind, before dismissing this, what happened last Thursday and realize that the people we help today may be the ones who help us tomorrow!

from El Enemigo Común

Dear President Vicente Fox,

Please do not authorize the use of Federal force to resolve the current social and political dispute in Oaxaca.

Sincerely,
Your Name Here

Write to:

Vicente Fox Quesada
(Presidencia, Los Pinos)
Telephone:
011 52 (55) 2789 1100
011 52 (55) 18 7501 Atencion Ciudadana
Fax: (55) 52 77 23 76
email: vicente.fox.quesada@presidencia.gob.mx

If you use email, please send copies to:

President Elect Felipe Calderón Hinojosa: felipe@felipe.org.mx and

Secretary of Government: Carlos Abascal: segob@rtn.net.mx

Posted by mcblogger at 01:11 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

September 27, 2006

New Flavors from Mexico

You love their illicit narcotics, cheap prescription dugs and chiclets. Now you can enjoy some of their quality meth, even better than the bathtub gin like shit made here in Texas by meth heads.

It's methamphetamine, hecho en Mexico and it's coming soon to your local dealer.

...Grits has been sounding the alarm for some time - the crackdown on bathtub-gin style homemade meth handed the lucrative market to Mexican smugglers. The stuff they produce turns out to be purer and even more addictive. Whoops!

Apparently, some of the big boys have set up great meth cooking operations just across the border and are making a high quality product that meth heads here in Texas, accustomed to stuff made with Drain-O, are totally digging. Grits for Breakfast has a full post up on it with a pointer to Rep. Pena who has been concerned about this for a while. Just another example of 'get tough' policies implemented by stupid people that have failed miserably.

Posted by mcblogger at 12:50 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

September 23, 2006

Ted Turner : Invading Iraq was dumb

I can't really say I've always admired Ted Turner... I always thought he was kind of a geek. However, I find more and more that I agree with what he says.

The U.S. invasion of Iraq has caused "incalculable damage" that will take 20 years to overcome "if we just act reasonably intelligently."

"It will go down in history, it is already being seen in history, as one of the dumbest moves that was ever made by anybody. A couple of others that come to mind were the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor and the German invasion of Russia," Turner told the forum.

I'm posting the full text in the supersize

Published on Wednesday, September 20, 2006 by Reuters
Ted Turner Says Iraq War among History's "Dumbest"
by Daniel Trotta

NEW YORK - The U.S. invasion of Iraq was among the "dumbest moves of all time" that ranks with the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor and the German invasion of Russia, billionaire philanthropist Ted Turner said on Tuesday.

The founder of CNN and unabashed internationalist also defended the right of Iran to have nuclear weapons and the effectiveness of the United Nations and, in a jocular mood, advocated banning men from elective office worldwide in a Reuters Newsmaker appearance.

Alternately combative and humorous, Turner spoke nine years after his pledge to donate $1 billion to the United Nations over 10 years and on the same day President Bush addressed the U.N. General Assembly a mile away.

The U.S. invasion of Iraq has caused "incalculable damage" that will take 20 years to overcome "if we just act reasonably intelligently."

"It will go down in history, it is already being seen in history, as one of the dumbest moves that was ever made by anybody. A couple of others that come to mind were the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor and the German invasion of Russia," Turner told the forum.

"It literally broke my heart. You don't start wars just because you don't like somebody. ... I wouldn't even start a war with Rupert Murdoch," Turner said, referring to his onetime cable network rival.

Often contrarian, Turner called it a "joke" that Bush demanded that Iran abandon any ambitions for nuclear weapons while at the same time hoping to ban all such bombs.

"They're a sovereign state," Turner said of Iran. "We have 28,000. Why can't they have 10? We don't say anything about Israel -- they've got 100 of them approximately -- or India or Pakistan or Russia. And really, nobody should have them.

"They aren't usable by any sane person."

POWER TO THE WOMEN

One way to reduce such dangers in the world would be to leave women in charge, said the former husband of Jane Fonda.

"Men should be barred from public office for 100 years in every part of the world. ... It would be a much kinder, gentler, more intelligently run world. The men have had millions of years where we've been running things. We've screwed it up hopelessly. Let's give it to the women."

In the meantime, the United Nations represents the best hope, Turner said.

While the world body is ridiculed as ineffective and irrelevant by its harshest critics and often criticized by its strongest advocates, Turner offered what was then one-third of his net worth to the world body nine years ago.

"I am absolutely certain we would not have made it through the Cold War without the U.N.," Turner said. "When Khrushchev at the U.N. took his shoe off and hit podium he was so mad, but he had a place to let off steam. If the U.N. hadn't been there, that would have been war right then."

When a questioner from the audience challenged Turner on the United Nations's value, Turner shot back.

"The war between Lebanon and Israel and Hizbollah would still be going on if it hadn't been for the U.N., and that's only in the last two weeks, Bubba."

© Reuters 2006

Posted by mcblogger at 09:40 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 19, 2006

Thus spoke The Idiot and more!

The President addressed the UN. Here's a snapshot of the audience

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Look like some engaged people, no? Seriously, I saw people LAUGHING at him around the time he once again said 'NUKULAR'. Basically, he said

"My country desires peace," Bush told world leaders in the cavernous main hall at the U.N. "Extremists in your midst spread propaganda claiming that the West is engaged in a war against Islam. This propaganda is false and its purpose is to confuse you and justify acts of terror. We respect Islam."

Damn! So I guess he IS looking at the polling data which means we'll be leaving Iraq soon, no?

Addressing Iraqis specifically, Bush said, "We will not abandon you in your struggle to build a free nation."

Damn. Guess he's decided to ignore the polling. Huh. Talk about mixed messages.

He then went on to talk about Iran's nuclear program. And Sudan. Honeslty, I'm not sure what the rambling thing was about. However, that doesn't mean that the ambassadors weren't listening...

He was wrong, but still forged ahead with war against Iraq without the support of many other nations. And he is still trying to rebuild credibility with the body, experts say.

"The sense outside of the U.S. is that the United States is responsible for many of the failures in Iraq, first by going in mostly alone and then by incompetent administration," said Jon Alterman, a Mideast expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

"The problem with the way he's talked about democracy in the Middle East is not that people see it as undesirable," Alterman said, "it's that people see it as naive. He needs to persuade cynical people that not only is he sincere, but it's achievable, and here's what they need to do to make it so."

No worries, folks... we think he's an unrealistic nut as well.

Posted by mcblogger at 01:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 12, 2006

US working toward sanctions on Iran. Fools.

Here we go again...

“We are heading toward the U.N. Security Council to consider a sanctions regime,” R. Nicholas Burns, the United States under secretary of state for political affairs, said in a speech at the American Academy in Berlin after meeting with diplomats from Britain, France and Germany. He also met separately with representatives of China, Russia, Japan, Italy and Canada.

Do the morons in the Administration not get just how weak their hand is? Inflamming the situation is going to drive oil above $120/barrel and at that level the economy in the US is screwed. Further, they've seen Bush use the military option... they KNOW we can topple them but much like the Taliban, they'll be able to come back and wreck havoc on everything. Nukes are off the table, so exactly which sabre are you going to rattle this time, President Bush? You've already broken the blades off the ones you have.

Posted by mcblogger at 09:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 29, 2006

Texas isn't the only place to implement stupid laws

Apparently drinking standing is a bigger problem in England than we realized. Here I was thinking their only problem was an unnatural affinity for sherry, port and Guinness.

ENGLAND’S latest public health crisis is a plague of bellicose, over-balancing drinkers. Such at least is the message from Preston, Lancashire, where the police want pub-goers to sit down. They are worried that the inevitable jostling and shoving at the bar leads to trouble — and that standing drinkers, when they drop, have further to fall. Backed by the local health officials, the authorities are trying to impose a no-standing policy in the city’s pubs by autumn.

Granted, not quite as draconian as Austin's smoker discrimination and moral purity law (still hate you for that, Glen) but come on! Have we not learned the futility of laws to modify behavior in bars? Even the smoking ordinance isn't really working at a number of establishments.

Where are they? Don't you wish YOU knew...


August 28, 2006
Op-Ed Contributor
Bar None
By JACK TURNER

Thoiry, France

ENGLAND’S latest public health crisis is a plague of bellicose, over-balancing drinkers. Such at least is the message from Preston, Lancashire, where the police want pub-goers to sit down. They are worried that the inevitable jostling and shoving at the bar leads to trouble — and that standing drinkers, when they drop, have further to fall. Backed by the local health officials, the authorities are trying to impose a no-standing policy in the city’s pubs by autumn.

Anyone who’s spent much time in an English pub might sympathize with the impulse, but the method seems questionable. And history shows that, however commendable the reasoning, efforts to control how people drink — or eat, or smoke — tend to backfire.

Bars and pubs are notoriously difficult places in which to regulate behavior. For much of the 20th century, bars in Australia and New Zealand closed at 6 p.m., the idea being that this would encourage men to spend the evenings with their families, rather than frittering away their time (and money) on liquor. The measure dated from the First World War, and was largely the doing of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, which held that a sober, moral home front would accelerate the successful prosecution of the war.

In fact, the only thing that accelerated was the drinking, now crammed into 60 liquid minutes. To speed things up some pubs fitted a spigot on a hose to fill drinkers’ glasses as soon as they emptied. Publicans pulled up the carpet and tiled all exposed surfaces so they could hose down the premises afterwards. The result was that men became too drunk to spend time with their families. The money was gone (and the morals?), only faster.

Alcoholic fluids, it might be argued, bring out people’s contrary nature, but carping about other patterns of consumption has seldom fared any better. The history of Lenten dietary regulations dates back much further but is not always any brighter. The medieval Roman Catholic Church stipulated a diet free of meat, dairy and eggs for Lent, Advent, special fasting days and, depending on where you were, Wednesdays and Saturdays as well — in other words, nearly half the year.

The result was a quite extraordinary ingenuity in devising meat-free dishes to ease the tedium. Those who could afford it went all out to brighten the Lenten fare of fish and vegetables with exotic ingredients: foremost among them spices, denounced by the church for their luxurious expense, their incitement to appetite and, not least, their purportedly aphrodisiac properties.

The unintended consequence was that for the well-to-do the “lean” days of fish were often far more luxurious — and asked more of the cook — than the “fat,” indulgent days of meat. The dietary martinets of the Middle Ages were due credit, indirectly, for some of the medieval cook’s spiced masterpieces, ancestors of today’s bouillabaisse and Christmas puddings.

There is nothing, however, particularly religious about this instinct. After the French Revolution, the intensely irreligious Jacobins promoted communal “civic” meals in the streets of Paris, with the aim of promoting fraternity and frugality in equal measure.

These years of civic meals were followed immediately after by the stunning success of a new, uniquely French idea: the restaurant. Within a couple of years the new dining establishments had popped up all over town, and Paris was established as the gastronomic capital of the world, and the elitist Michelin guide was just around the corner. So much for fraternity.

While the revolutionaries and utopians took on the conspicuous excesses of the upper classes, just as often as not the Puritan impulse tends to aim at the disempowered. In Lancashire and elsewhere, propping up the bar is, of course, historically a working-class pastime. Women of all classes present a still more inviting target.

For the first decades of the 20th century, the issue of female smoking was so contentious that even Big Tobacco scrupled at advertising to women — which was precisely why, of course, the flappers made such a point of smoking. The taboo crumpled in the late 20’s when American Tobacco coined the slogan “Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet.” This was one of the most successful advertising campaigns of all time.

Ram a message down people’s throats and they tend to gag. Unremarkably, the point was lost on Hitler, a vegetarian who tried convincing the Germans that the future was meat-free, and whose efforts at dietary reform went the way of his other delusions. From what I’ve seen, present-day Germany is a lonely place for a vegetarian.

The United States is of course no stranger to Puritanism, which has seldom been confined to the pulpit. The behaviorist psychologist B. F. Skinner proposed a solution to the age-old problem of the sweet tooth in his 1948 book “Walden 2.” In his fictional community, children lived happily indifferent to lollipops thanks to the rigorous conditioning they received. Backsliders were made to wear lollipops around their necks for a few hours until all temptation was “psychologically concealed.”

Though Skinner went on to become one of the more famous psychologists of the century, his utopian vision was more widely regarded as a dystopia, inimical to basic human freedoms. Several communities modeled upon Skinner’s vision were established and survive in the United States, though whether they have succeeded in lollipop control has, I confess, eluded my researches.

So what should they do in Lancashire? The answer, I think, is known to anyone who has visited the tourist spots of Paris or Rome. Many a footsore traveler has retreated to a cafe only to find, when the check arrives, that a coffee costs double when seated. In Lancashire maybe they should do the same but they should, so to speak, turn the tables. Charge more to stand, and they’ll be falling over themselves to sit down.

Jack Turner, the author of “Spice: The History of a Temptation,” is writing a book about cooks.

Posted by mcblogger at 08:00 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Drunk Irishmen invent perpetual motion machine

Apparently, some former oil company people in Ireland have discovered a new kind of physics that allows a simple arrangement of magnets on a wheel to produce more energy than it consumes. In short, ladies and gentleman, they have invented a perpetual motion machine that violates classical physics, as well as common sense. This is, of course, not the first time the Irish have violated common sense. The first and most heinous violation of common sense on the part of the Irish was the creation of Guinness.

There is a test rig with wheels and cogs and four magnets meticulously aligned so as to create the maximum tension between their fields and one other magnet fixed to a point opposite. A motor rotates the wheel bearing the magnets and a computer takes 28,000 measurements a second. The magnets, naturally, act upon one another. And when it is all over, the computer tells us that almost three times the amount of energy has come out of the system as went in. In fact, this piece of equipment is 285% efficient.

That's a lot of "free energy" and, supposedly, a slap in the face for one of physics' most basic laws, the principle of conservation of energy: in an isolated system (the planet, say), energy can be neither created nor destroyed; it can only be converted from one form into another.

Don't believe it? Well, neither did they at first.

"We couldn't believe it at first, either," says McCarthy, chief executive of the company.

See? But now that they've done all this research and offered a challenge to anyone willing to try and disprove the technology they are actually getting some attention.

Is it just me or does this feel like some kind of email scam to you?

Posted by mcblogger at 09:27 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 25, 2006

I'm guessing the food's better than Auschwitz

A restaurant in Mumbai, India opened recently with a name that invoked history in an unusual way. Ladies and Gentleman, I give you Hitler's Cross Bar and Grill.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

The restaurant's name and its marketing gimmick had infuriated India's Jewish population, which had said it would fight any attempts at "rehabilitating Hitler."

Germany and Israel joined the protests with the Israeli consul-general in Mumbai writing to city authorities urging them to take steps to get the restaurant's name changed.

At first, God help me, I actually thought the Germans and Israeli's were overreacting. Then I looked at the picture again and had to acknowledge that is really offensive. Both my grandfather's fought in Europe and neither of them would have thought this was in good taste. One of them was extremely upset when we was told by a cousin (who was too stupid for words) that a car my mother had recently purchased was German. In the 80's.

The restaurant has decided to change the name but has not yet decided to what. Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments.

photo courtesy Reuters

Posted by mcblogger at 11:00 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 20, 2006

Truthiness, Justice, and the American Way

If you watch the Colbert Report you've probably heard about the on-line effort to have the Hungarian government name a new bridge after America's favorite pundit. (And if you don't, isn't it about time you get with the program?) The good news is that the Steven Colbert Bridge has now pulled ahead, now leading Hungarian national hero Nicholas Zrinyi 19%-11%. And the best part is that we know that since these votes are being tallied electronically, the election is completely fair and tamper-proof!

Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 05:39 PM

I have a few extra bucks...let's knock over an African country

Let's say you're a bored British millionaire who's not particularly bright, nor hindered by any outmoded concept of morality. Let's also say that there is a corrupt African country, run by a cannibalistic dictator many would like to see dead. Finally, let's suppose that there is a group of mercenaries floating around Africa who share your amorality and desire for profit.

With that, you have a basic outline for The Wonga Coup (reviewed here at Salon), a new book detailing the exploits of a rogues gallery of people from Margaret Thatcher's son to the scion of a brewery empire in their almost comical efforts to topple a government. Almost, but not quite because they came so close to actually succeeding.

Posted by mcblogger at 02:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 18, 2006

Deputy British PM : "Bush is Crap"

from The Indepent

John Prescott has given vent to his private feelings about the Bush presidency, summing up George Bush's administration in a single word: crap.

The Deputy Prime Minister's condemnation of President Bush and his approach to the Middle East could cause a diplomatic row but it will please Labour MPs who are furious about Tony Blair's backing of the United States over the bombing of Lebanon.

Full text in the supersize

Bush is crap, says Prescott
Deputy PM criticises US handling of Middle East, condemning 'cowboy' President at private meeting
By Colin Brown, Deputy Political Editor
Published: 17 August 2006

John Prescott has given vent to his private feelings about the Bush presidency, summing up George Bush's administration in a single word: crap.

The Deputy Prime Minister's condemnation of President Bush and his approach to the Middle East could cause a diplomatic row but it will please Labour MPs who are furious about Tony Blair's backing of the United States over the bombing of Lebanon.

The remark is said to have been made at a private meeting in Mr Prescott's Whitehall office on Tuesday with Muslim MPs and other Labour MPs with constituencies representing large Muslim communities. Muslim MPs wanted to press home their objections to British foreign policy and discuss ways of improving relations with the Muslim communities.

Some of the MPs present said yesterday they could not remember Mr Prescott making the remark. He has been at pains to avoid breaking ranks with Mr Blair in public although he is believed to have raised concern about the bombing of Lebanon at a private meeting of the Cabinet. But Harry Cohen, the MP whose constituency includes Walthamstow, scene of some of the police raids in the alleged "terror plot" investigation, said Mr Prescott had definitely used the word "crap" about the Bush administration.

"He was talking in the context of the 'road map' in the Middle East. He said he only gave support to the war on Iraq because they were promised the road map. But he said the Bush administration had been crap on that. We all laughed and he said to an official, 'Don't minute that'." Mr Cohen added: "We also had a laugh when he said old Bush is just a cowboy with his Stetson on. But then he said, 'I can hardly talk about that can I?'

Last night, an official from the Deputy Prime Minister's office said: " These discussions are intended to be private and remain within the four walls. They are private so that there may be frank discussions."

And today Mr Prescott issued a statement in which he said: "This is an inaccurate report of a private conversation and it is not my view. "

Told that others at the meeting could not recall the words, Mr Cohen said: " He did. I stand by that."

Many Labour MPs have been infuriated by the spectacle of Mr Bush and Mr Blair jointly supporting the Israeli action. The Labour MPs went to see Mr Prescott to lodge their criticism of the Government's foreign policy and some said last night that they would be delighted if he did break ranks over the Bush administration following the outcry at the bombing of the Lebanon.

In the private discussions with Mr Prescott, the Labour MPs representing large Muslim communities pulled no punches in their criticism of Mr Blair for giving his backing to Mr Bush. Another of those who was contacted about the conversations did not deny Mr Prescott's words, but laughed and said: " I can't discuss that." When asked whether he had heard Mr Prescott use the "C-word", he said: "I don't remember that."

The Deputy Prime Minister is said to have made it clear he strongly backed the efforts by Mr Blair to persuade the Bush administration to revive the road map for Palestine and Israel. Mr Blair has given a commitment that he will give the peace process his priority when he returns from his holiday in the Caribbean.

"There was a very robust exchange of views," said the MP. " We had a row about community relations. The Deputy Prime Minister was told in no uncertain terms that the Government was relying too much on the elders in the Muslim community who didn't have the credibility that was needed."

Muslim Labour MPs also told Mr Prescott that they needed to retain their own credibility in their communities, which was one of the reasons why they had signed a controversial letter calling for a change in British foreign policy. They said it was not helpful for the Government to have attacked their letter.

Mr Prescott has been accused in the past of making his feelings known about the Republican administration in the White House. He became friendly with Al Gore, the unsuccessful Democrat presidential candidate in 2000, during the negotiations on the Kyoto treaty and allegedly told Mr Gore after his defeat that he was sorry he lost the race to Mr Bush.

Mr Prescott is also known to have used the word "crap" in relation to political events before. Earlier this month, he angrily rejected claims that he could resign over the row about his links to the bid by the tycoon Philip Anschutz for a super-casino at the Millennium Dome as "a load of crap".

Mr Prescott was left in charge by Mr Blair when the Prime Minister went on his delayed holiday but has largely taken a back seat while John Reid, the Home Secretary, has led for the Government on security and the alleged terror plot to blow up planes across the Atlantic.

Behind the scenes, Mr Prescott had to contend with growing backbench demands for Parliament to be recalled to debate the crisis in the Middle East. It remains an option, in spite of the ceasefire in the Lebanon. Campaigners claimed they had the signatures of more than 150 MPs from all parties for a recall. Significantly, they included Ann Keen, the parliamentary private secretary to Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, who is on paternity leave following the birth of his second child. Jim Sheridan, the Labour MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, resigned as the parliamentary private secretary to the defence ministers over the bombing of Lebanon.

Mr Prescott has been keen to show Labour MPs that he is prepared to listen to their grievances but has insisted on party discipline to avoid splits. He will be furious at his alleged remarks being repeated, but the signs of dissent within the Cabinet are becoming greater.

Straight-talker's way with words

* Posing with a crab in a jar at the Millennium Dome, while Peter Mandelson was standing for election to Labour's ruling national executive committee, he said to cameramen: "You know what his name is? He's called Peter. Do you think you will get on the executive, Peter?"

* When asked why a car was transporting him and his wife 200 yards to the Labour Party Conference in 1999:

"Because of the security reasons for one thing and second, my wife doesn't like to have her hair blown about. Have you got another silly question?"

* On the Millennium Dome: "If we can't make this work, we're not much of a government."

* "The green belt is a Labour achievement, and we mean to build on it." (Radio interview, January 1998)

* On the Tories at the 1996 Labour conference: "They are up to their necks in sleaze. The best slogan for their conference next week is " Life's better under the Tories" - sounds like one of Steven Norris's chat-up lines."

* When asked by a journalist about Peter Law's decision to quit the Labour Party after 35 years: "Why are you asking me about this? I don't care, it's a Welsh situation, I'm a national politician."

John Prescott has given vent to his private feelings about the Bush presidency, summing up George Bush's administration in a single word: crap.

The Deputy Prime Minister's condemnation of President Bush and his approach to the Middle East could cause a diplomatic row but it will please Labour MPs who are furious about Tony Blair's backing of the United States over the bombing of Lebanon.

The remark is said to have been made at a private meeting in Mr Prescott's Whitehall office on Tuesday with Muslim MPs and other Labour MPs with constituencies representing large Muslim communities. Muslim MPs wanted to press home their objections to British foreign policy and discuss ways of improving relations with the Muslim communities.

Some of the MPs present said yesterday they could not remember Mr Prescott making the remark. He has been at pains to avoid breaking ranks with Mr Blair in public although he is believed to have raised concern about the bombing of Lebanon at a private meeting of the Cabinet. But Harry Cohen, the MP whose constituency includes Walthamstow, scene of some of the police raids in the alleged "terror plot" investigation, said Mr Prescott had definitely used the word "crap" about the Bush administration.

"He was talking in the context of the 'road map' in the Middle East. He said he only gave support to the war on Iraq because they were promised the road map. But he said the Bush administration had been crap on that. We all laughed and he said to an official, 'Don't minute that'." Mr Cohen added: "We also had a laugh when he said old Bush is just a cowboy with his Stetson on. But then he said, 'I can hardly talk about that can I?'

Last night, an official from the Deputy Prime Minister's office said: " These discussions are intended to be private and remain within the four walls. They are private so that there may be frank discussions."

And today Mr Prescott issued a statement in which he said: "This is an inaccurate report of a private conversation and it is not my view. "

Told that others at the meeting could not recall the words, Mr Cohen said: " He did. I stand by that."

Many Labour MPs have been infuriated by the spectacle of Mr Bush and Mr Blair jointly supporting the Israeli action. The Labour MPs went to see Mr Prescott to lodge their criticism of the Government's foreign policy and some said last night that they would be delighted if he did break ranks over the Bush administration following the outcry at the bombing of the Lebanon.

In the private discussions with Mr Prescott, the Labour MPs representing large Muslim communities pulled no punches in their criticism of Mr Blair for giving his backing to Mr Bush. Another of those who was contacted about the conversations did not deny Mr Prescott's words, but laughed and said: " I can't discuss that." When asked whether he had heard Mr Prescott use the "C-word", he said: "I don't remember that."

The Deputy Prime Minister is said to have made it clear he strongly backed the efforts by Mr Blair to persuade the Bush administration to revive the road map for Palestine and Israel. Mr Blair has given a commitment that he will give the peace process his priority when he returns from his holiday in the Caribbean.

"There was a very robust exchange of views," said the MP. " We had a row about community relations. The Deputy Prime Minister was told in no uncertain terms that the Government was relying too much on the elders in the Muslim community who didn't have the credibility that was needed."

Muslim Labour MPs also told Mr Prescott that they needed to retain their own credibility in their communities, which was one of the reasons why they had signed a controversial letter calling for a change in British foreign policy. They said it was not helpful for the Government to have attacked their letter.

Mr Prescott has been accused in the past of making his feelings known about the Republican administration in the White House. He became friendly with Al Gore, the unsuccessful Democrat presidential candidate in 2000, during the negotiations on the Kyoto treaty and allegedly told Mr Gore after his defeat that he was sorry he lost the race to Mr Bush.

Mr Prescott is also known to have used the word "crap" in relation to political events before. Earlier this month, he angrily rejected claims that he could resign over the row about his links to the bid by the tycoon Philip Anschutz for a super-casino at the Millennium Dome as "a load of crap".

Mr Prescott was left in charge by Mr Blair when the Prime Minister went on his delayed holiday but has largely taken a back seat while John Reid, the Home Secretary, has led for the Government on security and the alleged terror plot to blow up planes across the Atlantic.

Behind the scenes, Mr Prescott had to contend with growing backbench demands for Parliament to be recalled to debate the crisis in the Middle East. It remains an option, in spite of the ceasefire in the Lebanon. Campaigners claimed they had the signatures of more than 150 MPs from all parties for a recall. Significantly, they included Ann Keen, the parliamentary private secretary to Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, who is on paternity leave following the birth of his second child. Jim Sheridan, the Labour MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, resigned as the parliamentary private secretary to the defence ministers over the bombing of Lebanon.

Mr Prescott has been keen to show Labour MPs that he is prepared to listen to their grievances but has insisted on party discipline to avoid splits. He will be furious at his alleged remarks being repeated, but the signs of dissent within the Cabinet are becoming greater.

Straight-talker's way with words

* Posing with a crab in a jar at the Millennium Dome, while Peter Mandelson was standing for election to Labour's ruling national executive committee, he said to cameramen: "You know what his name is? He's called Peter. Do you think you will get on the executive, Peter?"

* When asked why a car was transporting him and his wife 200 yards to the Labour Party Conference in 1999:

"Because of the security reasons for one thing and second, my wife doesn't like to have her hair blown about. Have you got another silly question?"

* On the Millennium Dome: "If we can't make this work, we're not much of a government."

* "The green belt is a Labour achievement, and we mean to build on it." (Radio interview, January 1998)

* On the Tories at the 1996 Labour conference: "They are up to their necks in sleaze. The best slogan for their conference next week is " Life's better under the Tories" - sounds like one of Steven Norris's chat-up lines."

* When asked by a journalist about Peter Law's decision to quit the Labour Party after 35 years: "Why are you asking me about this? I don't care, it's a Welsh situation, I'm a national politician."

Posted by mcblogger at 01:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 16, 2006

Three assholes cause diversion of flight... to Boston

Oh, I would be sooo pissed. CNBC and CNN are both reporting that a United Airlines flight from London to Dulles was diverted because three passangers 'acted up'. Either this is an overbitchy flight crew (and seriously, some of y'all need to calm the fuck down and bring me my cocktail) or a couple of drunk business class dicks.

Whatever ends up being the problem, I would be hella pissed if I was planning to land in Washington and ended up having to go to Boston. If you, dear reader, did that to me I would probably hit you. Hard.

Posted by mcblogger at 09:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 10, 2006

Jordanian authorities : Hijacking Busted (More Terrorism?)

Jordanian Authorities have released information that a Qatar Airways flight from Qatar to Amman was the subject of a busted hijacking. No word yet on whether or not it was terror related or just a mentally imbalanced dick.

Posted by mcblogger at 10:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 30, 2006

The eels! Will no one think about the eels!

Iraq is still on fire, Israel is bombing the crap out of Lebanon while Hezbollah shoots rockets into Israel, but at least dead eels are finally starting to get some respect.

Giant dead eel tossing contest canceled

LONDON - For more than 30 years, crowds have flocked to the small English fishing village of Lyme Regis to watch an annual tradition — two teams of fishermen standing on wooden platforms as human bowling pins, hurling a dead giant eel at each other. But the ritual was abruptly abandoned after an animal rights activist threatened to draw negative publicity to the latest tournament, organizers said Saturday

The practice, known as conger cuddling, is the annual highlight in the small coastal town about 155 miles southwest of London. The object of the game is to knock the opposing team off the platform by swinging a 25-pound eel at them.

Crowds have flocked to Lyme Regis since 1974 to watch rival teams of nine men swing the giant conger eel — suspended in the harbor by a rope — and local residents said they are dismayed at the demise of their historic event.

Andrew Kaye, a resident and spokesman for the Lyme Regis lifeboat crews who raise money through the tournament, said an anonymous e-mailer had called the practice disrespectful to the dead eel.

The lone activist threatened to film the contest to attract adverse media attention, Kaye said

They called this thing off because of a threat from an anonymous emailer? God help us all if that guy ever gets his hands on a blog!

Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 12:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 26, 2006

A modest proposal for peace between Israel and Lebanon

While it's exciting as hell to argue back and forth about Israel, Lebanon and Hezbollah (we could also throw in Iran and Syria but that would just muddy the waters), it's counterproductive. So, in the interests of global peace and security, I would like to propose the following:

  • That Israel give Lebanon $100,000,000

  • That Lebanon use that money to establish a fund for the people hurt during this 'war', and

  • That Lebanon use the remaining money to put a $100,000 bounty on the head of EVERY MEMBER OF HEZBOLLAH KILLED
  • If they need more money, the Israeli's should cough it up. The Lebanese are still trying to rebuild after decades of fundamentalist bullshit. While they should have eliminated Hezbollah years ago it just wasn't practical. Will vigilante's end up killing some innocent people? No doubt. But will they FINALLY put the fear of God in these bastards? Oh hell yes.

    Hezbollah doesn't want compromise or negotiation. They want the end of Israel. So, it's either eliminate Israel or take out Hezbollah. I'm for the later, especially as it will help finally bring peace to Lebanon.

    Posted by mcblogger at 03:21 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    July 22, 2006

    Ask A... Homosexual in Lebanon!

    The rockets red flare, the bombs bursting in aiir, but is it proof that the homosexuals are still there? We know that's what you've been asking yourself as Israel takes Beirut to task for not keeping thier terrorists in line. Thanks to some pulitzer level reporting, we have this "Ask A...." interview for you.

    Let's begin with the most pressing questions.

    x-man.jpgWhat's happening with gay people there now? Are gay clubs closing?

    HiL: Almost all the clubs -- gay and nongay -- are closed since the Israeli aggression, so I suppose that means the gay clubs are closed.

    How is the war affecting gay people in Lebanon?

    HiL: The war is affecting gay people the same way it is affecting straight people for the moment. It is depressing for both gay and nongay people to see that all the effort Lebanese people have made for the past 15 years has been destroyed within five days.

    Actually, for more of this fabulous interview, please go here. Yes, believe it or not, it's a real interview and I've lied to you the entire length of this post about it being a McBlogger production. Then again, gay.com never really was known for it's amazing journalistic skillz.

    Posted by spamburgler at 01:05 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

    July 20, 2006

    Best analysis of Hezbollah and Israel yet...

    Abram over at Casual Soapbox put this up last night and it's honestly the best analysis I've seen so far. In none of the scenario's I've seen does Hezbollah just go away without a fight and I honestly think the Israeli's intend to do everything to put the organization to sleep.

    If they were raining bombs, as Abram points out, on Houston wouldn't we do the same?

    Sadly, There Will Be No Peace in Lebanon

    As I've said before, the Israel-Lebanon crisis has me depressed. I'm both a lover of peace and a supporter of Israel, and it annoys me when I can't have my cake and eat it too. I'm fairly certain a fearsome ground invasion of southern Lebanon by the Israelis is coming, and I'm sad for the devastation I know this will cause innocent Lebanese bystanders. But I have to support Israel's right to defend itself here. Here's the analogy I think is relevant for most Americans:

    If a Mexican gang, that held positions in the Mexican government, were launching rockets at Houston, demanding the return of California, what would we do? If the gang kidnapped a couple of National Guardsmen keeping watch on the border? Would it be an acceptable solution to let an international peacekeeping force made up of Cuban, Venezuelan, and Chinese soldiers patrol Juarez and Nuevo Laredo?

    Disclaimers: I support Israel. I support a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. I don't support terrorism. I don't like war and wish there were a way for Israel to be secure without attacking Hezbollah in Lebanon. I wish war had no casualties. I wish there could be no innocent civilians killed in war. And I certainly don't think it's fair for Lebanese civilians to have to be punished for Hezbollah's actions. If I could see a peaceful solution, I would support it, but I just don't.

    Israel cannot allow rockets to rain down on its heartland without retribution any more than any other country. Israel cannot allow French and Russian troops to be responsible for securing Israel -- they won't be truly willing to do what it takes. Israel might agree to American peacekeepers, but we'd never do it, and we're stretched pretty thin as it is. The Lebanese government is incapable of publicly criticizing, much less disarming, Hezbollah. And an air war alone will not be sufficient to neutralize Hezbollah to any lasting extent. The world political situation is about as favorable for an Israeli strike on Hezbollah as it's likely to get for decades. Israel sees this as an opportunity for at least a medium term solution. It seems to me that Israel will invade and crush Hezbollah (or at least try).

    Our government wants nothing more

    than for Israel to go right ahead. In fact, Condoleeza Rice's trip to the region is not going to produce any sort of diplomatic settlement because we don't want one, and Israel won't accept any plan that Lebanon is capable of meeting. In fact, I'm not really sure how her trip is going to do anything other than make her look ineffective. She probably shouldn't be going.

    Syria could bring pressure on Hezbollah to stop the escalation, but they won't. Israel probably won't go into Syria because they're afraid of what might arise there in the place of the Syrian regime. But of course, in war, the unexpected can and will happen. That's what's getting Bill Kristol and the neoconservatives all worked up again -- the prospects of a wider war in which all the governements they don't like get toppled after all. If Bush won't do it, how about Olmert?

    But Lebanon will face terrible destruction. Israel doesn't intend to occupy Lebanon again. They intend to inflict as much damage as possible in order to knock Hezbollah back years. And then they'll withdraw. The Lebanese government may well fall. I wonder if we won't see more hostage-taking of Americans in Lebanon. But then again, our government is being awfully carefree about getting our people out of Beirut. I wonder if our government knows something, or is just utterly incompetent? Not that they're mutually exclusive.

    Again, all of this has me very depressed. I want a peaceful settlement, but I doubt Lebanon can deliver one the Israelis will accept -- one in which Hezbollah is brought under control by the Lebanese government. And in absence of such a settlement, I'll support Israel's right to defend itself. What would we do if the rockets were hitting Houston?

    Posted by mcblogger at 03:58 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Didn't We Defeat These Fuckers?

    I mean, seriously, why are these people still around. I thought we demolished their asses a couple years ago.

    Afghanistan: Soldiers Reclaim Town From Taliban

    The second of two southern towns seized by the Taliban this week went back into government hands after more than 1,000 Afghan and American-led coalition troops swept into the area. Two Afghan soldiers were wounded and two Taliban were killed in the fight to retake Garmser, a town of about 50,000 people in Helmand Province.

    I guess Operation: Smoke Their Asses Out of Those Goddam Caves missed a few mountains.

    Posted by spamburgler at 06:08 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    July 15, 2006

    Saudi's try to put the brakes on Hezbollah

    Saudi Arabia issued what has to be (for them) a stern warning to Hezbollah

    The kingdom "clearly announces that there has to be a differentiation between legitimate resistance (to Israel) and uncalculated adventures", said a Saudi official quoted by the state Saudi Press Agency.

    The Saudi official said Hezbollah's capture of two Israeli soldiers could lead to "an extremely serious situation which could subject all Arab nations and its achievements to destruction".

    "The kingdom sees that it is time for those elements to alone shoulder the full responsibility for this irresponsible behaviour and that the burden of ending the crisis falls on them alone," the official said.

    Well, at least it's something...

    Posted by mcblogger at 03:44 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    July 05, 2006

    Geopolitics and that sinking feeling

    So, North Korea tests their ICBM and it fails. The next question is, what the hell do they want now? What can we give them to have a reasonable assurance that they won't rattle everyone again for a few years? On Monday I suggested we euthanize North Korea, just consider it so far gone that redemption is no longer an option. Sister Ruth mentioned that it was callous to just forfeit the lives of all the innocent North Koreans who have nothing to do with the regime. I agree, it is callous. But is it any less callous to sacrifice the hundreds of millions of people in range of possible North Korean nuclear weapons?

    Then comes word that Iran will not respond to an offer presented by the US and EU until August and will miss the deadline to stop enriching uranium on July 12th. What's on the table? A free light water reactor with all the trimmings and membership in the WTO.

    Let's not forget that Iraq is constantly in flux. Yeah, things aren't getting better there but I hear the green zones are nice.

    How much of this can be laid at the President's feet? Roughly, all of it. By invading Iraq, Bush created an environment that scared AND emboldened the leaders of Iran and North Korea. By not negotiating early on with North Korea, we now find ourselves in a spot where Kim feels he has to continuously draw attention to himself and North Korea to get anything out of us. And what IS the payoff this time? For what will North Korea and Iran both give up their nuclear dreams?

    NOTHING. They'll never give them up because they can use them as sort of a global ATM card with the international community's checking account and we'll continue to throw them lulu's 'to give up their weapons'. So we'll play cat and mouse for the foreseeable future. This leaves us in a rather intractible position, tied down in a country that we invaded by choice, fighting a 'global war on terror' , and working diplomatically with states that would rather have nukes than not have them. Diplomacy has never been the strong suit of the Bush Administration (take Ambassador Bolton, for example. No seriously, take him). Anyone else have that feeling that we're about to get really fucked?

    Worse, we're tied down in Iraq to such an extent that we might be able to handle one additional theater but not two. Which leaves us only able to respond with nukes, a tactic that would no doubt earn us nothing but scorn from our allies and probably put us on a war footing with China, Russia or both.

    Duncan Hunter was on Larry King Live last night bleating on about an ABM defense system, the so-called missile shield. Idiot. Here's a deal for the retarded Congressman from Lockheed and Raytheon... show us a system that works in the real world, not some contrived test, and we'll deploy it. Otherwise, go to the back of the short bus and shut the fuck up.

    So what IS the solution... the easy answer is I don't know which is what I would like some of the talking heads within government to actually say. One solution involves a remilitarized Japan, a prospect the Chinese would really hate. Withdrawing all forces from South Korea? Not a bad idea and it does have the potential to sharpen South Korea as to what they really face. The two countries that stand to gain the least from any change in the state of North Korea are South Korea and China both of which would really hate to have refugees spilling over the border.

    Let's try something new... let's withdraw our troops from SK, leave a naval force in the area, and drop this volatile problem into the laps of the President of South Korea and Hu Jintao.

    Posted by mcblogger at 04:39 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    July 03, 2006

    Let's just euthanize North Korea

    North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, through his mouthpiece the Korean Central News Agency, issued this statement today

    "This is a grave military provocation and blackmail to the DPRK, being an indication that the U.S. is rapidly pushing ahead in various fields with the extremely dangerous war moves," the dispatch said.

    "The army and people of the DPRK are now in full preparedness to answer a pre-emptive attack with a relentless annihilating strike and a nuclear war with a mighty nuclear deterrent,"

    What brings yet another round of bellicose noise from the lunatics north of the 38th parallel? They are about to test a missile that could, possibly, reach the US with a light (read low yeild) payload. So the US, Japan, China, South Korea and Russia are all asking them not to fly the stupid thing and to back off. But the little crazy country that could just keep trucking along screaming about how powerful they are.

    Can we just stipulate to the fact that North Korea is pretty much lost? We can? Great. Let's just euthanize the fucker.


    Posted by mcblogger at 01:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    June 19, 2006

    ICBMs---Mankind's favorite penis substitute

    Some guys are happy driving hybrids, others demand Hummers. And then there those who will be satisfied with nothing less than the capability of raining down fiery death on those who displease them.

    There's a lot of speculation, but so far as I know no real evidence that the size of the toy varies in inverse proportion to the owner's own masculinity. Still, one does wonder what subtle signal North Korean Whackoissimmo Kim Jung-Il is sending to the world with his missile program called the No-dong

    Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting.

    Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 01:50 PM | Comments (4)

    May 03, 2006

    Iran's a threat? Maybe to the South Texas Nuke

    Iran continues to thumb it's nose at international community by making reactor fuel. Seriously, this is what has Bush and Condoleeza in such an agitated state?

    The announcement by nuclear chief Gholamreza Aghazadeh that Iran enriched uranium up to 4.8 percent purity tops Iran's declaration last month that it had surpassed the 3.6 percent purity level. Uranium enriched to between 3.5 percent and 5 percent is used to make fuel for reactors to generate electricity.

    Uranium enriched to more than 90 percent becomes suitable for use in nuclear weapons. Aghazadeh said Iran had no intention of enriching uranium beyond 5 percent.

    I think the only folks that should be threatened by Iran's nuclear program are these guys. They can probably see the difference between reactor and weapons grade uranium. It's odd that people at the highest levels of government can't see that.

    Posted by mcblogger at 12:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    April 30, 2006

    Russia, all about an Israeli-Iranian war

    So Russia inks a deal to sell an advanced air defense missile system to Iran then lifts an Israeli spy satellite into orbit. Refer Iran to the UN Security Council because uranium enrichment? Not so much.

    Connect the dots and it leads you to one inevitable conclusion... Iran and Israel are on a collision path.


    When the war begins, it will be between Iran and Israel. Before it ends, though, it may set the whole of the Middle East on fire, pulling in the United States, leaving a legacy of instability that will last for generations and permanently ending a century of American supremacy.

    Rosa Brooks at the LATimes has a great piece up after the fold.

    War clouds
    Russia's dangerous double game with Israel and Iran could easily spark a Middle East conflict, with dire consequences for the U.S.
    April 28, 2006

    LET ME TELL YOU about the next war.

    It will start sooner than you think — sometime between now and September. And it will be precipitated by the $700-million Russian deal this week to sell Tor air defense missile systems to Iran.

    When the war begins, it will be between Iran and Israel. Before it ends, though, it may set the whole of the Middle East on fire, pulling in the United States, leaving a legacy of instability that will last for generations and permanently ending a century of American supremacy.

    Despite the high stakes, the Bush administration seems barely to have noticed the danger posed by the Russian missile sale. But the signs are there, for those inclined to read them.

    As international pressure over their nuclear program mounts, the Iranians have become increasingly bellicose toward the U.S. and Israel. On Monday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Israel was a "fake regime" that "cannot logically continue to live." On Wednesday, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, warned that "if the U.S. ventured into any aggression on Iran, Iran will retaliate by damaging the U.S. interests worldwide."

    Israel has upped the rhetorical heat as well. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert reiterated Israel's determination to "make sure no one has the capability or the power to commit destruction against us."

    This alone should make any observer jittery. In June 1981, Israel unilaterally launched an airstrike against a nuclear reactor near Baghdad. Iran's nuclear facilities are dispersed and well-concealed, making a preemptive Israeli strike far more difficult this time around. But there's no reason to doubt Israel's willingness to try.

    Of course, there's no firm evidence that Iran has offensive nuclear capabilities. And even a successful military strike against Iran would be a risky move for Israel, potentially igniting regionwide instability. Absent external meddling, Israel has a substantial incentive to wait to see if a diplomatic solution can be found.

    But Russian brinksmanship is about to remove Israel's incentive to pursue a peaceful diplomatic path.

    Russian leaders continue to mouth the usual diplomatic platitudes about democracy and global cooperation, but Russia is actually playing a complex double game. On Tuesday, Russia launched a spy satellite for Israel, which the Israelis can use to monitor Iran's nuclear facilities. On the same day, Russian leaders confirmed their opposition to any U.N. Security Council effort to impose sanctions against Iran, and their intention to go through with the lucrative sale of 29 Tor M1 air defense missile systems to Iran.

    "There are no circumstances which would get in the way of us carrying out our commitments in the field of military cooperation with Iran," declared Nikolai Spassky, deputy head of Russia's National Security Council.

    The upcoming deployment of Tor missiles around Iranian nuclear sites dramatically changes the calculus in the Middle East, and it significantly increases the risk of a regional war. Once the missile systems are deployed, Iran's air defenses will become far more sophisticated, and Israel will likely lose whatever ability it now has to unilaterally destroy Iran's nuclear facilities.

    The clock is ticking for Israel. To have a hope of succeeding, any unilateral Israeli strike against Iran must take place before September, when the Tor missile deployment is set to be completed.

    At best, a conflict between Israel and Iran (with resulting civilian casualties) would further inflame anti-Israel sentiment in the Islamic world, with a consequent increase in terrorism, both against Israel and against the U.S., Israel's main foreign backer. At worst — if the U.S. gets drawn into the conflict directly — the entire Middle East could implode, terrorist attacks worldwide would increase, the already overstretched U.S. military would be badly damaged and U.S. global influence would wane — perhaps forever.

    So what is Russia up to? Andrei Piontkovsky, a Russian political analyst, suggests that Russia's oil and gas oligarchs wouldn't shed any tears over a war in the Middle East, especially if it's a war that ensnares the U.S. and keeps oil prices high.

    Even so, it may not be too late to avert a new war in the Middle East. A quiet but firm U.S. threat to boycott the G-8 summit in July in St. Petersburg might inspire Russian President Vladimir V. Putin to freeze the missile transfer. And a promise to facilitate Russian entry into the World Trade Organization might even get Russia's oil and gas oligarchs on board. Freezing the missile sale would buy crucial time to find a diplomatic solution to the stalemate over Iran's nuclear program.

    Unfortunately, the Bush administration appears to be asleep at the wheel, too distracted by Iraq, skyrocketing gas prices and plummeting approval ratings to devote any attention to Russia's potentially catastrophic mischief.

    Meanwhile, the clock is ticking.

    Posted by mcblogger at 09:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    March 27, 2006

    This weekend... Chopstick environmentalism, Selling parks and Feingold

  • The NYT has an op/ed up about China's newfound love of the environment. Well, at least environmental regulation. I fully support the chopstick thing... just check my silverware drawer.
  • Who knew Yankees like to eat their own almost as much as Texans! Apparently, Alfonse D'Amato is causing all kinds of problems with Republicans in NY. Absolutely heartwarming!
  • Bush's new FDA nominee... what to do? Hummm let me see... maybe hold up his nomination until the morning after pill is approved? Yeah, that sounds like a marvelous idea especially since the R's seem hell bent on bringing back the coat hanger abortion.
  • Feingold ROCKS! And now we have post-Censure proposal numbers to prove it!
  • The Republican plan for balancing the budget? You know that Coldwell Banker sign in front of the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park... that should give you a clue.
  • Posted by mcblogger at 12:33 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    March 26, 2006

    A weekend of protests...

    Well, I'm sure you've already heard about the 500m - 750m who marched yesterday in LA to protest the rather illconsidered US House bill that would prohibit and criminalize anyone who aids or shelters an illegal immigrant.

    Basically, it's Sensenbrenner's way of letting all the brown people in the US know 'just how he feels'.

    Image hosting by Photobucket
    (Photo: LATimes)
    This is a bunch of folks in SoCal letting Congressman Sensenbrenner know 'just how THEY feel'.

    Yeah, there's been a ton written about this and there will likely be much more. However, one area of protest you're not likely to hear too much about (if anything) is Belarus where police confronted thousands yesterday and today protesting against the election of a tool box by the name of Lukashenko. The election was widely seen as fraudulent and Lukashenko is commonly derided as Russian President Vladimir Putin's puppet. Is it little wonder why the people of Minsk are taking to the streets?

    All I did was go to the Travis County Democratic Convention yesterday. Damn, don't I feel like a loser...

    Posted by mcblogger at 03:11 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    March 16, 2006

    After Altamont, you'd think they would have learned

    Stones Kill 4 Indonesian Officials in U.S. Mine Protest

    Don't hire bikers for security!

    Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 02:21 PM

    March 11, 2006

    Milosevic croaks

    Slobodan Milosevic, the bloodthirsty Serbian dictator who destroyed Yugoslavia in a series of horrifying wars in the 1990s, has been found dead in his cell at The Hague. He had been on trial for a long list of crimes against humanity.

    While some may consider it bad form to hail another person's death, I raise my glass high to toast the arrival of this monster in human form in Hell.

    Posted by mayor mcsleaze at 08:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    February 07, 2006

    TMN - Would you like havarti with your freedom fries?

    TMN has a great piece up on the ruckus created by some crappy cartoons in some crappy Danish newspaper. As if people don't have real fucking problems. Here's my favorite part...

    Similarly, countries don’t seem to have a clue how other countries work. Why else would Bahrain demand an apology over the cartoons from little old Queen Margrethe II of Denmark? If you have no clue that a constitutional monarch figurehead—even if she is the chain-smoking cutie 213th in line to the throne of England—doesn’t control her state’s media, then how are you even qualified to take part in geopolitical conversations for grown-ups?

    Posted by mcblogger at 02:40 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack