Feb 28, 2009

Pay to Poo

As airlines consider new ways to make money from a captive audience, watch your sphincters, toilets are next?

That new idea was floated by Irish airline Ryanair.

Michael O'Leary suggested that future passengers on his no-frills airline might be obliged to insert a British pound coin before they gain access to in-flight relief.
And nobody is sure if he was serious or joking, not even his own staff.

After all, O'Leary pioneered charging airline customers to check bags, to use a check-in desk and to use a credit or debit card to make an online booking.

His own chief spokesman said O'Leary often speaks tongue in cheek -- but the spokesman also defended the idea of charging for a toilet as part of a logical trend.

Expect to have exact, Foreign coins, or prepare to show them your real feelings by buying a 50 cent barf bag.

Feb 27, 2009

Who's John Galt?

You know how I keep mentioning that you don't have to read "Atlas Shrugged" since you're living it?

Well, the sales, via Instapundit, of Ayn Rand’s books are reportedly rising. Bonus: in this economy 1200 pages is a real bang for one's dollar. Double bonus: you can use it as toilet paper when you're done and re-purpose those dead tree pulps.

Have you seen a few “Who is John Galt?” bumper stickers cropping up too?

And, here's a sign at the anti-porkulus protest in Denver last week...

There was a story in the Wall Street Journal about it.

Of course, one could say that the antagonists of Atlas Shrugged were the government stooges who nationalized profitable industries to distribute wealth to the worker and the corrupt government officials, which defeated the individual and stifled independent creative thought and work - once those creative industrial individuals could take no more, they stopped working. In a sense, the creative class went on strike.

...Versus the current US situation which issues stimulus packages and bailouts which creates a pseudo-default-nationalization of industry to try to force said industry and capital markets to perform at their previous level of graft, corruption and waste.

Totally different.

Your Damn Ass

Here’s something for you to ponder the next time you’re in the bathroom: Your love for soft toilet paper is ecologically hard on forests! You goddamned monster!

… fluffiness comes at a price: millions of trees harvested in North America and in Latin American countries, including some percentage of trees from rare old-growth forests in Canada. Although toilet tissue can be made at similar cost from recycled material, it is the fiber taken from standing trees that help give it that plush feel, and most large manufacturers rely on them.

Customers “demand soft and comfortable,” said James Malone, a spokesman for Georgia Pacific, the maker of Quilted Northern. “Recycled fiber cannot do it.” [...]

Though most of the pulp comes from tree farms, but not all:

Although brands differ, 25 percent to 50 percent of the pulp used to make toilet paper in this country comes from tree farms in South America and the United States. The rest, environmental groups say, comes mostly from old, second-growth forests that serve as important absorbers of carbon dioxide, the main heat-trapping gas linked to global warming. In addition, some of the pulp comes from the last virgin North American forests, which are an irreplaceable habitat for a variety of endangered species, environmental groups say.


Coen Bros. clean coal parody ad

Coal power plants emit carbon dioxide (CO2), the pollutant that Al Gore says is causing the climate crisis. A third of the America's carbon pollution now comes from about 600 coal-fired power plants. And of the more than 70 proposed new coal power plants, barely a handful have plans to capture and store their CO2 emissions. If these dirty plants are allowed to be built, this will mean an additional 200 million tons of global warming pollution will be emitted in America each year. Until coal power plants no longer release CO2 to the atmosphere, coal will remain a major contributor to the climate crisis.

I would have rather watched Steve Buscemi in a woodchipper.

Feb 26, 2009

Illinois Recap

We finally found out what happened when Former Chicago Ald. Edward "Fast Eddy" Vrdolyak was sentenced. He got resurrected today to only 5 years of probation for his role in a $1.5 million kickback scheme. It was a far cry from the 3 ½ years in prison sought by federal prosecutors...

Meanwhile Sen. Roland Burris's son showed up to help the man in the wheelchair. It was revealed that he's a tax deadbeat who got a $75,000 job from ex-Governor Rod Blagojevich a few months ago...

And while facing a $50M budget gap & having taxed its residents to death, the city of Chicago decides to tax anyone renting a car in any of northeastern Illinois' 6 counties. They've developed a scheme to tax without even having to go there...

Chicago banned foie gras, then smoking, and now metal baseball bats. They're going to paint the Sears Tower silver in order for it to be seen better.

And Rex Grossman has been set free from the Chicago Bears. So there is some good news there.

(let me know if you want links to all that or not)

Someone Watched Watchmen

And the verdict? Oh oh...
The film, directed by Zack Snyder ("300"), will test the limits of superhero movie fans. If you're not already invested in these characters because of the original graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, nothing this movie does is likely to change that predicament.
This doesn't look good...
The film seems to take pride in its darkness, but this is just another failed special effect. Cinematographer Larry Fong and production designer Alex McDowell blend real and digital sets with earthen tones and secondary colors that give a sense of the past. But the stories are too absurd and acting too uneven to convince anyone. The appearances of a waxworks Nixon, Kissinger and other 1980s personalities will only bring hoots from less charitable audiences.

Looks like we have the first real flop of 2009.
And he says you're going to be seeing Dr. Manhattan's dong... a lot.

(For the Full review - Hollywood Reporter)

Holder, STFU!

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi threw a giant STFU over to Holder after he spoke out of turn talking about reinstating the assault weapons ban, highlighting Democrats’ reluctance to take on gun issues.

Pelosi (D-Calif.) indicated that he never talked to her. The Speaker gave a flat “no” when asked if she had talked to administration officials about the ban.

“On that score, I think we need to enforce the laws we have right now,” Pelosi said at her weekly news conference. “I think it's clear the Bush administration didn’t do that.”

Outside of the wicked dig at Georgie Poo, the terminology just happens to be stock lock and barrel discussion point of those who don’t want to pass new gun control laws, such as ... wait for it, the National Rifle Association.

Should we check Mrs. Pelosi's purse to see if she's holding? At least, maybe a check made out to her by the NRA??

Deep Impact

How much debt can the Chinese buy anyway? No wonder Hillary back-peddled on China's human right's "issues" until she got back home.

Oh heck, why not just toss in 20 Billion more in there for another Hoover Dam and we'll just call it an even 3 Trillion.

Thanks for Reader "C" for the tip on the graphic.

To the delight of the GOP...

Obama to Seek New Assault Weapons Ban

(and Maybe Invade Mexico?)

Not learning from the Clintons, the Obama administration is going to seek to reinstate the assault weapons ban, said Attorney General Eric Holder.

"As President Obama indicated during the campaign, there are just a few gun-related changes that we would like to make, and among them would be to reinstitute the ban on the sale of assault weapons," Holder told reporters.

Holder said that the ban would not only be a positive for the United States, it would help cut down on the flow of guns into Mexico, which is struggling with heavy violence among drug cartels.

"I think that will have a positive impact in Mexico, at a minimum." Holder was speaking after arrest of more than 700 people in a drug enforcement crackdown on Mexican drug cartels operating in the U.S.

Mexican government officials (well, I guess those not on the take from the cartels?) have complained that the availability of sophisticated guns from the United States have emboldened drug traffickers to fight over access routes into the U.S.

A State Department travel warning issued Feb. 20, 2009, reflected government concerns about the violence. This is, in your Cap'n's opinion, setting up US Army incursions into our Mexican neighbor before the end of the year. That's right, I am predicting Iraqi War veterans to conduct the Mexican-American War 2.0... at the very least, an "advisory role" in the Mexican attempts to "stop the violence" from those cartels. (MORE)

As it stands today, the Mexican Army is conducting operations on their own soil fighting the cartels. It's getting very serious.

Meanwhile, in a brief interview with ABC News (in an attempt to get both sides of the gun angle to this story), Wayne LaPierre, president of the National Rifle Association, said, "I think there are a lot of Democrats on Capitol Hill cringing at Eric Holder's comments right now."

During his confirmation hearing, Holder told the Senate Judiciary Committee about other gun control measures the Obama administration may consider.

"I think closing the gun show loophole, the banning of cop-killer bullets and I also think that making the assault weapons ban permanent, would be something that would be permitted under Heller," Holder said, referring to the Supreme Court ruling in Washington, D.C. v. Heller, which asserted the Second Amendment as an individual's right to own a weapon.

For you Blasphemer's too young to remember, or those of you who just don't give a rip, The Assault Weapons Ban signed into law by President Clinton in 1994 banned 19 types of semi-automatic military-style guns and ammunition clips with more than 10 rounds. You'll also remember that Newt and the boys came in an kicked half the Democrats out of Congress... some attribute the Assault Weapons Ban as the catalyst that made it happen.

"A semi-automatic is a quintessential self-defense firearm owned by American citizens in this country," LaPierre said. "I think it is clearly covered under Heller and it's clearly, I think, protected by the Constitution."

Bottom line: We're gearing up for an incursion into Mexico, and the administration is using this opportunity as an excuse to reinstate the assault rifle ban.

Feb 25, 2009

Today's Dilbert

Those Nit-Picky Facts

Obama's assurance that his mortgage-relief plan will only benefit deserving homeowners is a stretch.

Oficials in his administration, the supporters of the plan in Congress and the Federal Reserve chairman expect some of that money will go to people who should have known better than to buy that huge house... or give it to that one guy who couldn't qualify to RENT a place...

The president glossed over a number of complex realities in delivering his speech to Congress and a nation hungry for economic salvation.

And let's take a moment to look at some of his assertions, shall we?

OBAMA: "We have launched a housing plan that will help responsible families facing the threat of foreclosure lower their monthly payments and refinance their mortgages. It's a plan that won't help speculators or that neighbor down the street who bought a house he could never hope to afford, but it will help millions of Americans who are struggling with declining home values."

THE FACTS: If the administration has come up with a way to ensure money does not go to home buyers who used bad judgment, it hasn't announced it.

Defending the program Tuesday at a Senate hearing, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said it's important to save some of those people for the greater good. He likened it to calling the fire department to put out a blaze caused by someone smoking in bed.

"I think the smart way to deal with a situation like that is to put out the fire, save him from his own consequences of his own action but then, going forward, enact penalties and set tougher rules about smoking in bed."

Similarly, the head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. suggested this month it's not likely aid will be denied to all homeowners who overstated their income or assets to get a mortgage they couldn't afford.

"I think it's just simply impractical to try to do a forensic analysis of each and every one of these delinquent loans," Sheila Bair told National Public Radio.


OBAMA: "We have already identified $2 trillion in savings over the next decade."

THE FACTS: Although 10-year projections are common in government, they don't mean much. And at times, they are a way for a president to pass on the most painful steps to his successor, by putting off big tax increases or spending cuts until someone else is in the White House.

Obama only has a real say on spending during the four years of his term. He may not be president after that and he certainly won't be 10 years from now.


OBAMA: "Regulations were gutted for the sake of a quick profit at the expense of a healthy market. People bought homes they knew they couldn't afford from banks and lenders who pushed those bad loans anyway. And all the while, critical debates and difficult decisions were put off for some other time on some other day."

THE FACTS: This may be so, but it isn't only Republicans who pushed for deregulation of the financial industries. The Clinton administration championed an easing of banking regulations, including legislation that ended the barrier between regular banks and Wall Street banks. That led to a deregulation that kept regular banks under tight federal regulation but extended lax regulation of Wall Street banks. Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, later an economic adviser to candidate Obama, was in the forefront in pushing for this deregulation.


OBAMA: "In this budget, we will end education programs that don't work and end direct payments to large agribusinesses that don't need them. We'll eliminate the no-bid contracts that have wasted billions in Iraq, and reform our defense budget so that we're not paying for Cold War-era weapons systems we don't use. We will root out the waste, fraud and abuse in our Medicare program that doesn't make our seniors any healthier, and we will restore a sense of fairness and balance to our tax code by finally ending the tax breaks for corporations that ship our jobs overseas."

THE FACTS: First, his budget does not accomplish any of that. It only proposes those steps. That's all a president can do, because control over spending rests with Congress. Obama's proposals here are a wish list and some items, including corporate tax increases and cuts in agricultural aid, will be a tough sale in Congress.

Second, waste, fraud and abuse are routinely targeted by presidents who later find that the savings realized seldom amount to significant sums. Programs that a president might consider wasteful have staunch defenders in Congress who have fought off similar efforts in the past.


OBAMA: "In the last eight years, (health insurance) premiums have grown four times faster than wages. And in each of these years, 1 million more Americans have lost their health insurance"

THE FACTS: The number of uninsured grew by 7 million from 2000 to 2007, the latest year for which Census figures are available, meaning Obama's claim would be true if had been talking about averages. But it's not true that the number of uninsured rose each year by 1 million. In 2007, the ranks of the uninsured dropped by 1.3 million from the year before, to 45.7 million.


OBAMA: "Thanks to our recovery plan, we will double this nation's supply of renewable energy in the next three years."

THE FACTS: While the president's stimulus package includes billions in aids for renewable energy and conservation, his goal is unlikely to be achieved through the recovery plan alone.

In 2007, the U.S. produced 8.4 percent of its electricity from renewable sources including hydroelectric dams, solar panels and windmills. Under the status quo, the Energy Department says, it will take more than two decades to boost that figure to 12.5 percent.

If Obama is to achieve his much more ambitious goal, Congress would need to mandate it. That is the thrust of an energy bill that is expected to be introduced in coming weeks.


OBAMA: "Over the next two years, this plan will save or create 3.5 million jobs."

THE FACTS: This is a recurrent Obama formulation. But job creation projections are uncertain even in stable times, and some of the economists relied on by Obama in making his forecast acknowledge a great deal of uncertainty in their numbers.

The president's own economists, in a report prepared last month, stated, "It should be understood that all of the estimates presented in this memo are subject to significant margins of error."

Beyond that, it's unlikely the nation will ever know how many jobs are saved as a result of the stimulus. While it's clear when jobs are abolished, there's no economic gauge that tracks job preservation. The estimates are based on economic assumptions of how many jobs would be lost without the stimulus.


OBAMA: "And I believe the nation that invented the automobile cannot walk away from it."

THE FACTS: According to the Library of Congress, (not Wikipedia) the inventor of the first true automobile was probably Germany's Karl Benz, who created the first auto powered by an internal combustion gasoline, in 1885 or 1886. Nobody disputes that Henry Ford created the first assembly line that made cars affordable.

Feb 24, 2009

Thrift is a Vice

Not only did your overspending cause the recession, your underspending - Nielsen'sFeburary Economic Current predicts consumer saving rates will rise from 1.7% in 2008 to 5.1% in 2009 - is going to deepen it. America's new thrift ain't a fad, and will destroy it, like Japan, says NYT. Over there, having gone through a decade-long recession, well-off families do horrible things like use bath water to wash the laundry, hold back on flat-panel TV purchases when they know the prices are going down, and there's an overall disinterest in new cars and luxury goods. Bastards! 

So spend, spend, spend like it was Spring 2008!

When Consumers Cut Back: A Lesson From Japan [NYT]
Nielsen Economic Current Debuts [Nielsen]

Feb 23, 2009

Alan Keyes

Ah, Alan Keyes... where have you been?

So Alan's either going full retard here - or is the only one telling it like it is.
Look I have never, ever looked to Alan Keyes to be a voice of reason. If I ever do, I promise you I'll seek professional help instead of the over the counter that I take now.

BUT, he has one point for follow up: Why do does anyone think borrowing 2 trillion from China to prop up the bursting of the housing bubble is a good idea? Watch the thing... discuss.

Hey, Car Czar? Whatcha Drivin?

With the fate of Detroit, Michigan and the U.S. automotive industry now in the hands of 18 individuals... Do you wonder what they're drivin'? The Detroit News has been so kind as to rummage through public records to find out for us. I'm sure that the list bears no indication of how the members of the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry feel about cars - or the Big Three... or buying American.

The co-chairs of the task force, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and White House National Economic Council Director Larry Summers, drive a 2008 Acura TSX and a 1995 Mazda Protégé, respectively. Geithner also previously owned a 1999 Honda Accord and a 2002 Acura MDX, public records show. Interestingly, Geithner's maternal grandfather, Charles Moore, was a vice president at Ford - but Secretary Geithner was never very interested in cars, his father said. Summers previously owned a 1996 Taurus GL.

Peter Orszag, director of the Office of Management and Budget, owns a 2008 Honda Odyssey and a 2004 Volvo S60. He previously owned a 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee and a 1982 Datsun.

Carol Browner, the White House climate expert, said at the Washington Auto Show earlier this year that she does not own an automobile. According to public records, she once drove a 1995 Saab 9-5 SE.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu also doesn't own a car, according to his wife, Jean Fetter.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson owns a 2008 Toyota Prius and a Honda Odyssey.

No vehicle information was available for transportation Secretary Ray LaHood or Christine Romer, head of the Council of Economic Advisers. I'm sure that someone is still looking into that. He represented Peoria, IL - so it's possible he just drove a Caterpillar tractor. Well, his chauffeur drove it. He sat in the cab.

Not stopping just at the heads - the Detroit News also looked at records for the ten policy aides that are assigned to the task force. Among the current vehicles owned by the aides are a 2004 Toyota Highlander, a 2008 Lexus RX 350, a Volvo C30, a 1991 Harley-Davidson, a 1998 Subaru Legacy Outback, a 2003 Mini Cooper S, and a 2005 Honda Odyssey. One aide drives a 2003 Lincoln LS, and one a 1998 Cavalier. One of the aides doesn't own a vehicle.

In summary, there are only three members of the board that drive cars built by one of the Big Three - one of whom owns a 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier - and three members who don't own automobiles at all. As there seems to be little familiarity with the automotive world on this task force, we hope these guys and gals have some serious business and economic savvy.

Source: The Detroit News

Er, no thanks

I'll pass - but, just to clarify, is that McNuggets or the burgers?

Blame For All the Blood Spilled in Iraq and Afghanistan

Al-Qaeda founder launches fierce attack on Osama bin Laden.

One of al-Qaeda's founding leaders, Dr Fadl, has begun an ideological revolt against Osama bin Laden, blaming him for "every drop" of blood spilt in Afghanistan and Iraq.

By David Blair in Cairo 
Last Updated: 10:36PM GMT 20 Feb 2009

Sayyid Imam al-Sharif: Former al-Qaeda founder turns on Bin Laden

Sayyid Imam al-Sharif: The terrorist attacks on September 11 were both immoral and counterproductive, he writes
Sayyid Imam al-Sharif, AKA Dr Fadl, helped bin Laden create al-Qaeda and then led an Islamist insurgency in Egypt in the 1990s.

But in a book written from inside an Egyptian prison, he has launched a frontal attack on al-Qaeda's ideology and the personal failings of bin Laden and particularly his Egyptian deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Twenty years ago, Dr Fadl became al-Qaeda's intellectual figurehead with a crucial book setting out the rationale for global jihad against the West.

Today, however, he believes the murder of innocent people is both contrary to Islam and a strategic error. "Every drop of blood that was shed or is being shed in Afghanistan and Iraq is the responsibility of bin Laden and Zawahiri and their followers," writes Dr Fadl.

The terrorist attacks on September 11 were both immoral and counterproductive, he writes. "Ramming America has become the shortest road to fame and leadership among the Arabs and Muslims. But what good is it if you destroy one of your enemy's buildings, and he destroys one of your countries? What good is it if you kill one of his people, and he kills a thousand of yours?" asks Dr Fadl. "That, in short, is my evaluation of 9/11."

He is equally unsparing about Muslims who move to the West and then take up terrorism. "If they gave you permission to enter their homes and live with them, and if they gave you security for yourself and your money, and if they gave you the opportunity to work or study, or they granted you political asylum," writes Dr Fadl, then it is "not honourable" to "betray them, through killing and destruction".

In particular, Dr Fadl focuses his attack on Zawahiri, a key figure in al-Qaeda's core leadership and a fellow Egyptian whom he has known for 40 years. Zawahiri is a "liar" who was paid by Sudan's intelligence service to organise terrorist attacks in Egypt in the 1990s, he writes.

I have often suggested that those in Al-Qaeda never picked up a history book, and have always underestimated the American ability to "over react" to foreign aggression, i.e. no one asked a Japanese person how that worked out for them. And even if you win or stalemate (Vietnam and North Korea) how well your country comes out of it. No, you're much better off letting the Americans blow you to hell, declare victory, and let the US rebuild your country for you. We love doing that. 

This story is interesting to me because, I had to read this story in an English newspaper, and two, ole' Doc Fadl has just echoed what I've said since Sept 11, 2001. Too bad it took him this long to figure it out. 

... and if you're worried he wrote this because he had an AK-47 trained at his gut, while it is possible, it's unlikely he would have typed 200 pages, and made it so personal.

Feb 22, 2009

The Latest Messiah Sighting

You got some Messiah in your toast, Garry.
I love it when my foodstuffs and religious icons merge into one simple place of worship. As opposed to overpasses.

Feb 20, 2009

Rick Santelli Flips Out

Rick Santelli and the "Rant of the Year"

Obviously, he reads Blasphemes.

Monkey Story

I've been holding off on this one... I thought the picture would be enough. But it just keeps getting better and better.

The newest development in the chimp attack story is a whopper: The relationship between Travis the chimp and his owner, a 70-year old widow, was closer than that of some married couples.

The chimp and his owner cuddled in the same bed and even took baths together.
Bed, Bath and Beyond?

Other Relationship Revelations:

- Sandra Herold gave Travis the finest food and wine in long-stemmed glasses.
- Travis brushed Sandra’s hair each night.
- The chimp kissed her when she left the house ALONE.
- If she left with someone else, the Chimp would get upset.
- The “human relationship” may have played a role in Monday’s savage attack on Herold’s friend.

David Baron, professor and chairman of the Psychiatry Department at Temple University's School of Medicine, said in cases such as Herold's, the grief of losing loved ones could have made it easy for her to view Travis as a surrogate child and friend. Her husband died in 2004 and her only daughter was killed in a car accident several years ago.

"I wouldn't say that she shouldn't have a pet, but this may be something that should be looked at as part of a grief reaction that's beyond normal," he said.

No $hit, doctor.

Big Brother is Watching... your gas tank

The Obama Administration wants to require all cars and trucks to be equipped with global satellite positioning technology, a transponder, a clock and other equipment to record how many miles a vehicle was driven.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (ex-R-Peoria IL) says he wants to consider taxing motorists based on how many miles they drive rather than how much gasoline they burn — an idea that has angered drivers in some states where it has been proposed. (MORE)

The devices also could be programmed to charge higher rates to vehicles that are heavier, like trucks that put more stress on roadways.

The first thing I could think of? Suck it Prius owners.

The second, great idea for say, Rhode Island - not such a good idea for - oh, the rest of the United States of America!

Feb 19, 2009

Wut File: Putin Warns US About Socialism

To quote Walter Sobchak: "Has the whole world gone crazy?"

Russian Prime Minister Vladamir Putin has said the US should take a lesson from the pages of Russian history and not exercise “excessive intervention in economic activity and blind faith in the state’s omnipotence”.

“In the 20th century, the Soviet Union made the state’s role absolute,” Putin said during a speech at the opening ceremony of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “In the long run, this made the Soviet economy totally uncompetitive. This lesson cost us dearly. I am sure nobody wants to see it repeated.”

Sounding more like Barry Goldwater than the former head of the Communist KGB, Putin said, “Nor should we turn a blind eye to the fact that the spirit of free enterprise, including the principle of personal responsibility of businesspeople, investors, and shareholders for their decisions, is being eroded in the last few months. There is no reason to believe that we can achieve better results by shifting responsibility onto the state.”

No, really.

Putin also cautioned the US against using military Keynesianism to lift its economy out of recession, saying, “in the longer run, militarization won’t solve the problem but will rather quell it temporarily. What it will do is squeeze huge financial and other resources from the economy instead of finding better and wiser uses for them.” Ahem. Mr. Putin’s comments come in sharp contrast to Russia’s own military buildup and expansion.

Sounding more like Ron Paul, Putin added, “we must assess the real situation and write off all hopeless debts and ‘bad’ assets. True, this will be an extremely painful and unpleasant process. Far from everyone can accept such measures, fearing for their capitalization, bonuses, or reputation. However, we would ‘conserve’ and prolong the crisis, unless we clean up our balance sheets.”

“The time for enlightenment has come. We must calmly, and without gloating, assess the root causes of this situation and try to peek into the future.”

Yeah, Putin!

Absolutely the strangest of times.

Feb 18, 2009

The Pursuit of Happiness

“The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism, but under the name of liberalism they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program until one day America will be a socialist nation without ever knowing how it happened.”
- Norman Thomas,
-American socialist
Tricky part about that is the few of us who do know.

On one side: we've got the historic American Spirit - to pursue anything goal you wish to pursue (provided it does not infringe on the freedoms of others). You could work hard, enjoy the fruit of your labor, buy land or accumulate wealth, help others pursue their goals by providing jobs and opportunities to pursue their own happiness. What you could not do, though, was infringe on the basic rights of others while achieving your own goals. We'll pull ourselves out of this funk.

The other side of the canyon, is the ideology known as Socialism. Despite countless historical examples that prove the long-term failure - it keeps coming up as the great equalizer. Socialism’s philosophy relies on government to distribute wealth by taking from the “producers” and giving to the “non-producers”… in a sense, it gives people something they didn’t work for… it gives the populace handouts at the expense of the working class. Socialism’s ideals are fueled by the politics of class envy that just because one group of people shouldn’t be penalized for not having the wherewithal to work harder or produce more than others. It is fueled by the philosophy of “fairness” when ‘fair’ actually means the ‘excess’ wealth of the ‘rich’ should be taken by force and given to the ‘poor’ because it’s not ‘fair’ that some have more than others, even when those some worked twice as hard for it. Under socialism, the worker is not rewarded for their labor - although most of the propaganda celebrates the worker and showers them with praise.

An example? Okay, take a classroom. After giving a test, the teacher gives the entire classroom a C-. It takes the achievement out of those A+ students who studied harder (or cheated better) to the hillbilly in the last row who is pre-verbal a passing grade. Everyone isn't elevated, it brings everyone down to same level. The least common denominator. In the classroom example, there's no reward for having worked harder, so eventually, there will be no incentive to work at all.

However, in a free-market society, when you have one person get rich through the fruits of his company, he is not the only one making money because, as it is said, “a rising tide raises all boats.” When that one company owner prospers, he can employ more people, create new jobs, profit neighboring distribution companies and retail establishments which create more jobs, and with all those jobs comes families making more money, allowing them to consume more goods. This "Trickle Down" allows everyone (who cares to participate) to share in the blessings of the Pursuit of Happiness.
"Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness."
-Thomas Jefferson
-The United States Declaration of Independence
These three aspects are listed among the "inalienable rights" of man. Note it is not the government mandated guarantee of happiness.

The phrase is based on the writings of English writer John Locke, who expressed that "no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions." (Yeah, the guy from LOST!)

If you've never read Atlas Shrugged, don't worry, now you don't have to. Because you're living it.

Feb 17, 2009

Inglorious Bastards Trailer

I'm just going to start a flame war here - but this just doesn't look good at all

Pepsi Throwback

Hey gang, PepsiCo is going to manufacture "throwback" Pepsi and Mountain Dew sodas made with real sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup, beginning in mid-April!

Now, Question - why? Is that because 1) Blasphemes tireless campaign to expose that HFCS contains mercury and also is an un-natural product that can only be created in a centrifuge has finally made an impact on the bottom line? 2) it just happens to be coming out in time for Passover (April 9th) to counter their competitor Kosher Coke or 3) because the price of corn syrup has finally surpassed the price of refined sugar?

According to Trading Markets.com:
"In January 2008, a new market was opened to the U.S. sugar industry.

Tariffs on sugar transferred across the U.S./Mexican border were abolished, making it cheaper to import and export sugar.

It essentially "dropped all limits on how much sugar Mexico could sell in the U.S.," Roney said. "Mexico has no constraint on how much sugar they can produce and sell on the U.S. market.

"It's been a big factor in how low the sugar price has been."
Hey - I'd just like to pretend that I'm making a difference around here. And as excited I am about having a Mexican Coke just the other day, drinking a sugar Pepsi or a Kosher Coke - It pops into my head - it's still just fizzy sugar water. Should it have HFCS or cane sugar... if you drink too much of it, it's still not good for you.

I mean, come on. It's not beer!

Pirate Bay Half Way There

50% of Charges Against Pirate Bay Dropped

pirate bay

Good news, copyright bandits: due to an error by the prosecution in misunderstanding exactly how BitTorrent trackers work, all charges related to "assisting copyright infringement" have been dropped. They're halfway there!

The mixup came when the prosecution attempted to tie several .torrent files to the Pirate Bay's tracking servers, which called for Bay co-founder Fredrik Neij to point out that, hey, that's not quite how it works. All of that evidence linking actual torrents to the Pirate Bay has now been thrown out, leaving only the charges related to "assisting in making available" copyrighted works.

The prosecution is shrugging this off, saying that it in fact "simplifies the prosecutor's case by allowing him to focus on the main issue, which is the making available of copyrighted works." Of course the defense is taking quite the opposite stance: On Twitter, the message from Bay honcho Peter Sunde is, appropriately, this: EPIC WINNING LOL.

We'll be following more news from the 13-day trial as it hits.

Venture Bros. Season 3


I happened to punch in "Venture Bros. Season 3" in the Amazon search plane, and bingo - Brocko has a release day! March 24, the best show on television is on the disk. This is also the day that will free up about 420 minutes on my trusty TiVo home appliance.

And the best part of this find was the packaging to Jackson Publik's masterpiece, which I have displayed for you as well.

In case you haven't discovered the show for yourself - even though, I'm fairly sure I might have mentioned it a few thousand times - When The Venture Bros. came on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim in 2004, creator Jackson Publick and partner Doc Hammer built their show on the simple concept, a Jonny Quest parody - which centered on half assed adventure parody and supervillain archetypes slathered in compulsively nerdy dialogue. Much like the Tick. But they took it further and built a rich, self-mocking universe around super-scientist Dr. Rusty Venture, his twin idiot sons Hank and Dean, and their butterfly-costumed nemesis the Monarch. What makes their show different than the typical stoner fare found on Adult Swim is that Publick and Hammer work their plot tangents into a larger story, all while testing the tempers, moral flexibility, and bantering talents of venal heroes and bureaucratically regulated villains. The show's third season throws further shocks into the larger story they're telling.

I mean - look at this box art!

How can you not totally dig this?

I hope there is a mini game inside the second disk where you can actually shoot down the Monarch's henchmen!

In other, semi-related news, the original gag - Jonny Quest - live action feature is moving forward. Moviehole reports that Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is definitely Bannon, and l Zac Efron is in line to play Jonny, even though he's 17-years-old, and Jonny was, what 10?
No word who will be playing Hadji the turbaned magic boy. Do you smell what the Brock is cookin'?

My hope is that the movie will spark interest in a fifth season of my favorite show. The fourth is due out... uh, sometime Fall 2009? An episode called, "Handsome Ransom" which I would speculate would tie up the cliffhanger of the end of season 3.

Feb 16, 2009

GI Toe is [probably] Going to Stink

Folks, the GI Joe movie has been showing signs of total and complete suck for months now. Pretty much ever since they decided that it's going to be an international task force....

A video from the Toy Fair shows a robotic GI Joe suit that does 'awesome' stuff. It's got cords and running, it talks, and looks more like RoboCop and Buzz Lightyear's illegitimate son. That outfit reveals "the Accelerator sequence" in the movie. It's an Iron Man-ish power suit. It is not the simple GI Joe with a Kung Fu grip. Oh, and suggested retail is $70.

Meanwhile, all research on the subject - because for some reason Blasphemes readers really enjoy GI Joe movie updates - everyone involved, from the Director, to the writer, to the art director have zero knowledge of the property before they were hired. Look, that's probably okay. Most Star Wars kids grew out of their toys before GI Joe really got big. But no one involved seems to know what this is about. GI Joe has been around since the 60's. There was a comic, a fairly rich toy history, and a half hour ad/cartoon that ran most of the 80's. Zero knowledge?

Plus - they're under an extreme time crunch to get the principle photography (read green screen) finished so that they can cram in the 1,400 FX in before August. All this because some people went to see the transforming trucks... So don't expect Oscar caliber dialogue on this steamer.

Second, they're screwing around with Cobra Commander. Here's the first look. Granted, it's for the kiddies - but it's a fairly good guess what the final will end up looking like.

Guys, this isn't hard - he's supposed to look like this or this:

I'm not even suggesting that you make him a used car salesman (Marvel Comics) or a complete idiot that spent no time in training his people. Cobra troops couldn't shoot straight. Hell, even his pilots in mini-helicopters had to have standard issue parachutes because they got shot down so often.

At least NO ONE ever got hurt.

Let's face it - Cobra Commander was a meglo-maniac with an inexhaustible trust fund for MASS Devices, a weather dominators, and flying aircraft carrier bases (even at 1985's prices, I can't imagine what it would have cost just to fuel that thing) and a retirement pension fund for henchmen that must rival the UAW especially since no one ever died - but say what you will about the guy - his style was pretty awesome. So why mess with that?

I should also mention that Snake Eyes has a mouth in his face mask - and it kind of moves when he's not speaking.

On the bright side, there's no mention of Sgt. Slaughter being on the cast.

Feb 15, 2009

Obama's First Month

Well, look at that. It's almost been a month whole month without George. Looks like it's time...

Blasphemes Presents:
Obama's First Month:

A Recap

Rod Blagojevich's corrupt attempts to pawn Obama's Senate seat [so far] hasn't directly involved Obama. But they did remind everyone that Obama and his chief of staff, ex-ballerina and ex-Arby's employee Rahm Emanuel, are Chicago Machine politicians.

Bill Richardson withdrew from consideration for the job of Commerce Secretary after a financial scandal in New Mexico erupted. One would have though this might have come up somewhere between the start of his own campaign for President and Obama's vetting process?

Then, speechwriter Jon Favreau groped a cardboard cutout of Hillary Clinton, [tell me that wasn't money] raising questions about taking photographs of important people at house parties (Michael Phelps? Hey, dumb ass - I'm looking right at you... what'r you stoned!?)

Then it turned out he was dating Ali Campoverdi, a Maxim model turned White House assistant. Maybe she liked his technique?

And speaking of Hillary... she's our new Secretary of State! That's proof she really DID have enough votes to give Obama that DNC Convention battle in Denver. It was probably a better idea to send her out of town for four years than to make her Veep. I'm sure The Clinton Foundation's accountant will be happy.

The Attorney General Eric Holder turned out to be the one who gave the nod for Bill Clinton's pardon to financier Marc Rich. And Holder's law firm represents seventeen Gitmo Terrorists... which is now closed. No, it's just a coincidence.

Then we found out that Obama's choice to run the IRS is a tax cheat. Tim Geithner didn't pay his taxes. They appointed him Treasury Secretary anyway. Well, who better to catch the cheats than a cheat himself, right?

On the bright side, they let Obama's Geithner to get in, but he was only allowed one tax cheat out of three. His choice for would-have-been "performance czar" Nancy Killefer withdrew her name over a $946.69 tax lien for employment taxes she didn't pay for her household help. No one asked if "the Help" had a green card.

Then it was revealed that poor old Tom Daschle, who was up for Secretary of Health and Human Services had hadn't paid nearly $140,000 for a car and driver a lobbyist had lent him after he left office.

The reason Daschle and Killefer really had to go? They both had tax problems; meaning they didn't have a problem not paying them. More importantly, they briefly pulled the carefully constructed Change curtain open... just for a second... and it accidentally reminded us, the unwashed public, exactly how the elite Washington insiders actually run the Circus. No one wants to see the mirrors and wires of hypocrisy.

Oh, and back to the White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. Rahm's Capitol Hill basement apartment (rented to him by Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro and pollster Stanley Greenberg) turned out to be an illegal rental unit. Honestly, Rahm? You're from Chicago - if you're going to break the law - it's supposed to pay off way better than that! Also, keep an eye on Rahm to be heavily mentioned and or invited to participate in the Rod Blagojevich criminal trial.

Obama closed down Gitmo - even though there's no plan on what to do with these people. But as long as their Constitutional rights aren't violated, we'll all feel better about it, right? What do you mean they don't have Constitutional rights? They're American citizens, aren't they?!

Obama put caps in White House salaries, and yelled at CEO's who gave themselves bonuses for asking - and then getting - no-strings-attached handouts. Then he made a rule that said "no lobbyists," but hired 17 of them, including Wil Lynn.

Oh, and the other big news was that Obama bought everyone a pony. Well, a pony as long as you're a Congressional Democrat. Yes, Obama's stimulus barrel passed, or as I like to call it the 2010 Congressional Incumbent Strategy Package. Bonus, he got it done without the help of any of those pesky corrupt Republicans. How are we going to pay for it? How exactly does this create jobs independent of government spending? And doesn't that America First clause violate about 130 trade treaties? Hey, don't ask questions or they'll send you to Gitm- well, you won't get your $40 coupon to switch to digital television this week- next week- June 15th. July 18th... gate 19, gate 20.

And to think, there was a time when late-night comedians fretted that there wasn't anything funny about the Obama Administration? It's not even been a FULL month!