Observations and inanities by a second-shift assistant supervisor in the Puppy-Grinding division of the Evil Atheist Conspiracy® (our motto: "Sure it's cruel, but think of the jobs!"), your host, Brent Rasmussen.
Stupid Human Tricks
Remember the "California Drones"? The odd, spiky UFOs reported about 18 months ago, purporting to be proof of alien visitation? Here's a bit about it from the Coast to Coast Am show (lots of photos there), which helped launch the whole thing:
Last month (April 2007), my wife and I were on a walk when we noticed a very large, very strange "craft" in the sky. My wife took a picture with her cell phone camera (first photo below). A few days later a friend (and neighbor) lent me his camera and came with me to take photos of this "craft". We found it and took a number of very clear photos. Picture #4 is taken from right below this thing and I must give my friend credit as I was not brave enough to get close enough to take this picture myself!
The craft is almost completely silent and moves very smoothly. It usually moves slowly until it decides to take off. Then it moves VERY quickly and is out of sight in the blink of an eye. MORE THAN ANYTHING I simply want to understand what this is and why it is here?
Here's what you need to know in order to understand why 18 Republican Senators voted to not fund a $15 Billion bailout for the US automakers, but were perfectly happy voting for the $700 Billion bailout of the banking industry:
1. Senators are rich. Pretty much every one of them is worth multiple millions. They have very vested interests in the financial sector.
2. Republicans hate the UAW.
3. Um, that's about it.
Now, I'm not sure that the best long-term plan is to hand out more government money to so-called private enterprise. And I'm not a big fan of Unions. But to listen to the speeches from these multi-millionaires about how it was unconscionable to spend this kind of money to save good-paying blue collar jobs really pisses me off. Particularly when these same jokers were more than happy to hand over trillions to insurance companies, banks, and Wall Street investment firms.
Just a follow-up to this post, because this nice little news item is making the rounds on teh intarwebs:
Like Mark Draughn, I've been somewhat skeptical of Barry Cooper, the former drug cop turned pitchman for how-to-beat-the-cops videos. He comes off as more of a huckster than a principled whistle-blower, which I think does the good ideas he stands for (police reform) more harm than good.
But damn. I have to hand it to him. This might be one of the ballsiest moves I've ever seen.
From my local paper, on the front page Saturday:
Earlier this week, Brent Decker was at a low point. He says couldn’t find work and was doubting himself.
* * *
In that dark mood, he said a prayer.
" ‘God, I know you’re still a part of my life,’ " he recalls praying. " ‘But sometimes I get frustrated and wonder why things happen the way they do.’ I told him, ‘Show me a sign and give me a reason to believe you’re still a significant part of my life.’ "
Two days later, he believes he got his answer. Picking through a bag of "Always Save" plain ripple potato chips, Decker pulled a chip with what appeared to be a cross burned through its center. He believes it was a sign from above.
"I believe God shows himself in different ways. It may seem insignificant or not, but he manifests himself in different ways," said Decker. "It was a big eye-opener for me."
The radio said 13 degrees. It's cold enough that the cats have left taking turns curling up on my lap, and have parked themselves on radiators. We're fortunate that we can afford to heat this 125 year old house, at least enough to keep us warm if we wear layers.
And the news is as cold as the weather: 533,000 jobs cut last month, over one and a quarter million in just the last three months. Take a look on how Yahoo! news titled that link - it's very telling. As I have written previously, I think we're in for a long haul, something akin to a true depression rather than just a bad recession. All the elements are in place, many are already playing out just as they did during the Great Depression. And, as bad as it is, I think this is also a time of potential - potential to make some changes which would normally be resisted by entrenched interests: reregulation (intelligent reregulation) of the financial sector; revamping transportation to create an infrastructure supporting mass transit; introduction of single-payer health insurance; elimination of our insane War on (Some) Drugs.
The clergyman, in his 50s, told nurses he had been hanging curtains when he fell backwards on to his kitchen table.
He happened to be nude at the time of the mishap, said the vicar, who insisted he had not been playing a sex game.
Would a churchman lie? Of course not.
Oh, and Merry Christmas!
When a drunken neighbor came over and threatened his Thanksgiving guests with a kitchen knife, one Del Paso Heights man allegedly took matters - and a plastic candy cane - into his own hands.
In what police said was self-defense, the man used the two-foot plastic lawn decoration to beat 49-year-old Donald Kercell until police could take Kercell into custody, said Sacramento Police spokesman Sgt. Norm Leong.
Remember kids, don't bring a knife to a candy cane fight. And using a candy cane to beat some drunk will make the baby Jesus cry, since it is His symbol. Or not.
Man, you gotta love the holidays.
Nov. 24 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. government is prepared to provide more than $7.76 trillion on behalf of American taxpayers after guaranteeing $306 billion of Citigroup Inc. debt yesterday. The pledges, amounting to half the value of everything produced in the nation last year, are intended to rescue the financial system after the credit markets seized up 15 months ago.
The unprecedented pledge of funds includes $3.18 trillion already tapped by financial institutions in the biggest response to an economic emergency since the New Deal of the 1930s, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The commitment dwarfs the plan approved by lawmakers, the Treasury Department’s $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program. Federal Reserve lending last week was 1,900 times the weekly average for the three years before the crisis.
That comes out to something like $24,000 from every man, woman, and child in the country.
Vice President Dick Cheney is reported to have set forth the "One Percent Doctrine" following the 9-11 attacks. The basic premise is that if there is just 1% chance that an enemy is planning a serious terrorist attack, we have to treat it as though it were a certainty, and respond accordingly.
So, I suppose it really is no surprise that all the absurdity of "behaviour detection" that the TSA employs at airports leads to just a 1% arrest rate, and that they proclaim this as ""incredibly effective." No, seriously:
WASHINGTON — Fewer than 1% of airline passengers singled out at airports for suspicious behavior are arrested, Transportation Security Administration figures show, raising complaints that too many innocent people are stopped.
Some quick hits, absurd-religion-news style:
Garden gnomes banned from church cemetery because they are 'unnatural creatures'
The gnomes, along with plastic flowers and other decorations such as teddy bears, have been called "inappropriate" and tacky by the Diocese of Bath and Wells.
* * *
A spokesman for the Diocese of Bath and Wells said: "There is no such thing as a real gnome so why should we have such unnatural creatures in churchyards?"
Yo, Mr. Spokesman: Show me a 'real' cherub or angel, OK?
I have some good news to report. As you may or may not know, I'm a member of the Abimelech Society. You can read more about them here. We are dedicated to the legal removal of religious materials from the public sphere. In other words, if someone offers us a tract, we ask how many we can have, take them all and then round-file them. Those Gideon bibles at hotels; gone! Prayer meeting announcements on the grocery store pin-board; removed. Etc., etc., etc., ad nauseum because it always comes back.
Via Lawyers, Guns, and Money a link to this post:
I have believed from the start that Bush should have nuked Tora Bora in 2001. The GWOT would have ended right then and there. It would have sent the right message: Don't Tread On Me!
* * *
Nuking Tora Bora with a few small tactical nukes would have killed the entire al Qaeda leadership and warned everyone - terrorists and the nations which aid or harbor them - that they shouldn't fuck with us. Had Dubya done this the Bush Doctrine ("you're either with us or against us") would've has some teeth - and some positive effect. Now it's too late; what we could've done then in righteous reprisal can not be done now. Not until we are attacked here in the USA again.
Poor lad sounds almost sad that there haven't been any recent attacks which killed thousands of Americans...
Anyway, thought-experiment time: what do you think would have happened had we followed this course of action?
Why, yes I did!
OK, this is basically S&L Crisis, Part II: Revenge of the Greedoids. You, and me, and every other US taxpayer are now on the hook for trillions of dollars of bailout money. Why? Deregulation and unwise real estate lending.
That was Sept. 7. And someone in the comments called me on it, saying that I was grossly overstating the case.
Total Fed lending topped $2 trillion for the first time last week and has risen by 140 percent, or $1.172 trillion, in the seven weeks since Fed governors relaxed the collateral standards on Sept. 14. The difference includes a $788 billion increase in loans to banks through the Fed and $474 billion in other lending, mostly through the central bank's purchase of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bonds.
Man, and I thought my opinion of Gov. Palin couldn't get lower:
Less than 24 hours after the election is over, and this stuff is starting to come out already. Someone has the long knives out for Sarah.
There's a lot of hurt in this world. A lot of violence, a lot of trauma, and a lot of poverty. Children in particular should be helped either avoid these problems, or to cope with them as best they can. As one charity says on their website:
At CCF, we believe:
* all children deserve an environment of hope, respect and understanding;
* that poverty is a personal experience for every child and this insight and sensitivity guides all of our actions;
* it takes a global perspective and collaborative effort in order to substantially impact the issues of poverty that are facing children today;
* we must work together to create an environment of understanding towards all children embracing cultural and religious differences;
* that all of our actions must be guided by the utmost integrity and transparency;
* that we are accountable for all funds we receive, and we will always be upfront and honest with our donors and stakeholders and use these funds in the most efficient and productive manner.
Wow - wrap your head around this:
Music can alter a space as much as lighting, fabrics and artwork, but until recently, most people relied on their own judgment when it came to sound. Now, though, an increasing number are hiring personal music stylists to pick out tunes for their homes just as they might hire an interior decorator to select furnishings.
* * *
Though they consider clients’ musical preferences, stylists said they are paid to be the final arbiters of what songs work in a space. “When clients hire me, they are buying into the Coleman brand of taste,” Mr. Feltes said. Stylists typically charge between $50 and $250 per hour of music, which they usually download onto iPods but which can also be delivered on CDs.
* * *
“When someone walks in and hears great music, it’s like looking at a wonderful painting on the wall that gives you certain emotions,” said Mr. Wagner, who gets his playlists updated quarterly. “I love that I don’t have to think about what to put on. It’s already done for me.”
Couple of weeks ago I got my notice from the state that it was time to renew my CCW permit. The whole process was fairly straight forward: go to the sheriff's office, hand over my driver's license and other ID, have them renew the paperwork on their end (checking to make sure I hadn't done anything which would warrant losing my permit); then over to the Driver's License center for a new ID.
I use a non-driver's ID for my CCW permit. It costs me an extra couple of bucks to have a separate ID, but that way if I have to hand over my DL to someone, they don't know that I have a permit to carry. It's not an issue for the police, should I get pulled over or something, since the CCW info is tied into the driver's license database. And this way, I always have a second photo ID.
So, I got to the Driver's License center. Light crowd, and it only took me a minute to get to a clerk. Who took my paperwork, pulled up the info on her computer, and said that since none of my information had changed, the simple thing to do was just to issue a renewal with the updated CCW expiration date. Cool.
Then she asked if I had a birth certificate or passport.
. . . this is going from bad, to worse:
Now, someone please explain to me how this is all some cunning plan to lower expectations for her debate on Thursday...
OK, a few minutes ago Prez Bush made a statement to the press urging Congress to pass the bailout legislation cobbled together over the weekend. The closing paragraph from that AP story:
"I know many Americans are worried about the cost of the bill," Bush said. But he also said the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and the federal Office of Management and Budget expect that the "ultimate cost to the taxpayer" will be much less.
I'm actually not that concerned with the *cost* of the whole thing. I'm concerned - no, make that pissed off - about the fact that we're bailing out investment banks, speculators, criminally incompetent CEOs, predatory lenders, and people who committed to mortgages on houses they could in no way afford.
This is your chance to vent - what pisses you off about this whole debacle?
Another for the "Taser Abuse" files:
NEW YORK (AP) _ A naked, distraught man fell to his death after a police officer shocked him with a Taser stun gun as he stood on a building ledge, authorities said.
The man, Iman Morales, 35, was pronounced dead at a hospital after his nearly 10-foot fall Wednesday. Police said he suffered serious head trauma when he hit the sidewalk.
The death of the man, who witnesses and neighbors said had become distraught and had threatened to kill himself earlier in the day, brought renewed focus to the use of Tasers by the police.
Gee, I can't imagine why.
Then there's this:
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- As if getting a DUI wasn’t enough, a man arrested for driving under the influence got in a lot more trouble at the police station.
Police stopped Jose Cruz on Route 60 in South Charleston Monday night for driving with his headlights off.