07.27.12

Afghanistanization

Posted in Bombing Paupers, Culture of Lickspittle, Decline and Fall at 12:47 pm by George Smith


Afghanistan’s only heavy metal band. Yes, grenade.

Right in there with the fancy of Afghanistan having an air force:

For “District Unknown”, Afghanistan’s first heavy metal band, the answer could be “Two Seconds After the Blast”, from their soon-to-be recorded first album, “A 24-hour life time”…

The thumping, heavy metal rock and aggressive lyrics which reverberate within the sound-proof walls of Kabul’s “Sound Centre” music school allows young Afghans to vent their anger at the violence they have witnessed during years of war before and after the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States …

Kabul’s rock music school, housed inside the small “Venue” restaurant in the Afghan capital, also reflects the return, although sometimes tentative, of social and individual freedoms since the end of the Taliban rule … And the shadow of the Taliban looms large ahead of the 2014 transition when most [American] combat troops leave … The Taliban staged a 12-hour siege at a popular lakeside hotel outside Kabul this month.

I’m sure Saigon had at least one rock band in 1973, too. That ended well.

I just finished rereading Phil Caputo’s book on his experience as a Marine in Vietnam, “A Rumor of War.” In 1975, Caputo was back as a reporter to cover the fall of Saigon. The South Vietnamese shot at the evac helicopter as the Americans left town.


And, yes, Saigon did do rock and roll.

Nugent aligns ‘socialists’ and Jerry Sandusky

Posted in Extremism, Ted Nugent at 9:36 am by George Smith

Ted Nugent in today’s WaTimes:

Fedzilla is growing fatter, less accountable and less transparent by gorging itself on our tax dollars. Instead of tightening Fedzilla’s fiscal belt, government bureaucrats just buy him bigger belts and suspenders, and he gets fatter and smellier each day. The only good pig is a dead pig.

Regrettably, there are way too many intellectually stunted Americans who support this gluttonous and irresponsible spending curse. They are called socialists. Socialists believe in Keynesian economics, which supports government control and meddling in our economy. It’s akin to Jerry Sandusky managing a little boys’ football team …

The rest of the column attempts to make that case that Grover Norquist is like Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry character. Even Ted’s idiot fans will have a hard time with it, Norquist being a tubby GOP nerd.


Red line is actual government purchases, 2009-2012.

“This isn’t a picture of an economy hobbled by Big Government; it’s a picture of an economy hobbled by premature austerity,” writes Krugman.

07.26.12

Impossible to cheat IQ test

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 12:57 pm by George Smith

Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.” If you make a video of it, you flunk.

Pitilessly, the over-publicized and lauded lip readers of the US Olympic Swim Team.

Our cyberwar theoreticians …

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Cyberterrorism at 10:56 am by George Smith

Parked in Monterey by the US military, so even they don’t have to listen to him, John Arquilla, the alleged father of cyberwar, and his ineffable wisdom, passed on by the Guardian:

Instead of prosecuting elite computer hackers, the US government should recruit them to launch cyber-attacks against Islamist terrorists and other foes, according to a leading military thinker and government adviser.

The brilliance of hacking experts could be put to use on behalf of the US in the same way as German rocket scientists were enlisted after the second world war, said John Arquilla, a professor of defence analysis at the US Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, in an interview with the Guardian.

He said that the US had fallen behind in the cyber race and needed to set up a “new Bletchley Park” of computer whizzes and codecrackers to detect, track and disrupt enemy networks. “If this was being done, the war on terror would be over,” he said …

Many dabbled in illegal or questionable acts but the US, he noted, had turned Wernher von Braun, Hitler’s top scientist, into an American hero after putting him to work on US rockets and space programmes.

Would you want to sit in a course by a fellow who actually makes such a comparison with a straight face?

Rhetorical. It would be fun to sit in back and hoot, though.

Anyhoo, it’s just a little bit difficult for our limited mind to see similarities between the guy who used concentration camp slave labor in WWII to build his V2 rockets to bombard London, the chief architect of the Saturn V and — “hackers.”

Standards for the technical help have been so watered-down.

Some have harsh words for this man of renown
But some think our attitude should be one of gratitude
Like the widows and cripples in old London town
Who owe their large pensions to Wernher von Braun!


Note: To my knowledge, no hackers have ever employed concentration camp labor or launched ballistic missiles at one of the biggest cities in the world.

Cyberattacks on the train tracks …

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Cyberterrorism at 10:21 am by George Smith

Or reality, from the New York Times:

On a single day this month here, a US Airways regional jet became stuck in asphalt that had softened in 100-degree temperatures, and a subway train derailed after the heat stretched the track so far that it kinked — inserting a sharp angle into a stretch that was supposed to be straight. In East Texas, heat and drought have had a startling effect on the clay-rich soils under highways, which “just shrink like crazy,” leading to “horrendous cracking,” said Tom Scullion, senior research engineer with the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University. In Northeastern and Midwestern states, he said, unusually high heat is causing highway sections to expand beyond their design limits, press against each other and “pop up,” creating jarring and even hazardous speed bumps.

Excessive warmth and dryness are threatening other parts of the grid as well. In the Chicago area, a twin-unit nuclear plant had to get special permission to keep operating this month because the pond it uses for cooling water rose to 102 degrees; its license to operate allows it to go only to 100. According to the Midwest Independent System Operator, the grid operator for the region, a different power plant had had to shut because the body of water from which it draws its cooling water had dropped so low that the intake pipe became high and dry; another had to cut back generation because cooling water was too warm.

Nature, global warming — or hackers and armies of Chinese cyberwarriors just raring to bring down the nation through Internet attacks on the “infrastructure”?

National security experts with tunnel vision — priceless.

Why you don’t like Mitt Romney

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Extremism at 9:11 am by George Smith

Top Ten Reasons, I was told:

1. Drop-dead, collar-ad handsome with gracious, statesmanlike aura. Looks like every central casting’s #1 choice for Commander-in-Chief.

2. Been married to ONE woman his entire life, and has been faithful to her, including through her bouts with breast cancer and MS.

3. No scandals or skeletons in his closet. (How boring is that?)

4. Can’t speak in a fake, southern, “black preacher voice” when necessary.

5. Highly intelligent. Graduated cum laude from both Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School…and by the way, his academic records are NOT sealed.

6. Doesn’t smoke or drink alcohol, and has never done drugs, not even in the counter-culture age when he went to college. Too square for today’s America?

7. Represents an America of “yesterday”, where people believed in God, went to Church, didn’t screw around, worked hard, and became a SUCCESS!

8. Has a family of five great sons….and none of them have police records or are in drug rehab. But of course, they were raised by a stay-at-home mom, and that “choice” deserves America’s scorn.

9. Oh yes…..he’s a MORMON. We need to be very afraid of that very strange religion that teaches its members to be clean-living, patriotic, fiscally conservative, charitable, self-reliant, and honest.

10. And one more point…..pundits say because of his wealth, he can’t relate to ordinary Americans. I guess that’s because he made that money HIMSELF…..as opposed to marrying it or inheriting it from Dad. Apparently, he didn’t understand that actually working at a job and earning your own money made you unrelatable [sic] to Americans.

Show-stoppers, you just can’t argue ’em. Particularly the bit about not getting his wealth from Dad. Boy do I hate people who get stuff from their Dad.

Readers know I believe in failure, sodomy, promiscuous sex, cigars, going to the liquor store daily, taking many naps, cheap malt beverages, free pornography, no goin’ to meetin’, drinking before noon and stealing. Among other things.

It’s natural I not like the man.

Commies!

Posted in Decline and Fall, Permanent Fail at 7:48 am by George Smith

Tuesday marked the third anniversary of the last increase in the federal minimum wage. For the last three years, while the prices of gas and milk have risen steadily and the richest 1% have enjoyed huge tax breaks, the federal minimum wage has remained frozen at $7.25 an hour, which amounts to just $15,080 a year — as long as you get paid for any time you take off. That’s more than $7,000 below the federal poverty line for a family of four. As a result, the purchasing power of the minimum wage has slowly eroded — in just three years, its real value has sunk to $6.77 per hour, a nearly 50-cent drop.

The Bush tax cuts, which are simply the perquisite of the moment for the 1%, allow for the richest to prosper at the expense of middle-class and low-income workers. While CEOs make millions and their corporations make billions as part of a so-called economic recovery, the majority of Americans are struggling to make ends meet. This struggle is exacerbated by the low federal minimum wage. As middle-class jobs are increasingly replaced by low-wage work, however, this is the economic reality for a growing number of Americans.

Unless Congress raises the federal minimum wage, economic security for workers in low-wage jobs, the fastest-growing sector, will disappear. It is incumbent on members of Congress to raise the federal minimum wage …

Here.

In the interest of fairness can we have the anti-labor Labor Day essays and demonstrations now?

The Psychopath Vote’s Philosophy

Posted in Extremism, Psychopath & Sociopath, Ted Nugent at 7:17 am by George Smith

More assault rifles to stop evil, the same tune Ted Nugent sang after the Giffords massacre last year:

We can still be relaxed and comfortable, but mentally prepared and more tuned in to our surroundings. Be prepared to stop evil in its tracks and live.

On Twitter, this week, according to the Seattle newspaper:

“We pray for all victims & loved ones of demonshooter in CO & we SALUTE the brave warriors who saves lives IF only they would hav [sic] had a good gun,” Nugent declared.

It is at best questionable whether a shootout in a darkened theater would have saved lives or upped the casualty count.

Nugent, on Glenn Beck’s radio show, yesterday:

NUGENT: But dear God in heaven, doing nothing is not an option. Training, having a firearm to neutralize an evil gun maniac is a way to go, and we train for that. And I wish I would have been in the theater that day.

The entire show was bizarre.

“Heed these words, my disciples: When the crowd has not machine guns, it cannot protect itself from evil carrying a machine gun and a Glock.” — Chapter 2, The Compleat Sayings of American Jesus.


Not everyone who owns a gun can possibly be so ill in the head. It’s a pity they lack the nerve to make changes at the NRA.

07.25.12

Afghanistanization

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, War On Terror at 4:34 pm by George Smith

You can’t beat American delusion — this time on the non-existent Afghan air force:

The budding Afghan air force was supposed to receive $355 million worth of planes custom-made for fighting guerrillas well ahead of the U.S. withdrawal in 2014. Equipped with machine guns, missiles and bombs, those reliable, rugged turboprop aircraft are cheaper to operate and easier to maintain than fighter jets …

The Afghans won’t get the planes on time. The Air Force initially awarded a contract to a U.S. company to supply Brazilian-designed planes. But it canceled the contract after a Kansas-based plane maker filed suit to block it, and the Air Force decided the contract had insufficient documentation. The Kansas congressional delegation also lobbied hard against the Brazilian plane …

Air power is essential for policing Afghanistan, a mountainous land with forbidding terrain, harsh weather and few roads. Recent events have underscored its importance in quelling the insurgency. When the Taliban staged attacks in Kabul and across the country in April, Afghan security forces managed to end the assault thanks to U.S. air support.

The country’s previous occupiers knew this well: As the Soviets withdrew in 1989, they left to the Afghans over 400 military aircraft, including over 200 Soviet-made fighter jets. Remnants of that defunct air force—rusting supersonic Su-22 attack planes, bullet-perforated Mi-6 heavy lift helicopters—now litter the boneyard of Shindand, the hub of the Afghan air force near the Iranian border.

Maj. Gen. Mohammad Baqi, the top Afghan air force commander at Shindand, likes to bring young Afghan trainees here for a history lesson. The scrap heap, he says, is a reminder of “what a strong air force we had” before the base was battered by Afghanistan’s civil war, and before its runway was cratered by U.S. bombs during the 2001 campaign to oust the Taliban.

Read the whole thing if only for the astonishing levels of bullshit and cognitive dissonance.

What made the United States think Afghanistan could have an air force? It’s not even a functioning country. On both sides, people with so little sense they couldn’t pour piss from a boot with the instructions printed on the heel.


Forty seven million Americans on food stamps and we’re trying to buy an air force for the crooked semi-government of Kabul.

The brilliant Mr. Bezos — he knows what customers want

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 1:40 pm by George Smith

From the Financial Times:

Mr Bezos does not have an obvious deputy, but former employees say its most influential senior executives are fearsomely smart. The unified way they repeat Mr Bezos’s mantras suggests they are so well drilled that the company could tick over without him for a while.

[Mr Bezos] said he was focused on customer needs that were not going to change, because he could plan for them. “I know for a fact that 10 years from now customers will still want low prices. I know for a fact that they will still want fast delivery. I know they will still want selection.”

Amazon says it “obsesses” over doing what is best for customers. But coddling them seems to depend on stretching its employees.

According to an investigation last year by the Morning Call, a Pennsylvania newspaper, workers at local warehouses said they endured punishing productivity targets and temperatures that soared above 38C in the summer, while Amazon parked ambulances outside to treat people with heat stress.

Federal regulators that received complaints from some employees recommended that Amazon take several steps to reduce the risks, the newspaper said.

Amazon says its safety record cannot be portrayed accurately with anecdotes …

Fearsomely smart. And making life more miserable for everyone except Mr. Bezos and the people who buy lotsa stuff through the mail, one day at a time.


And this, the press-release trivial profile on the Presto and E la Carte, the innovative business for eliminating the poorest paid wait staff at the most generic restaurants, because — y’know — people who earn less than minimum wage and get tips already take away too much profit.

Excerpted:

E La Carte knows that waiting too long in a restaurant can leave customers with a bad taste in their mouths, regardless of the chef’s best efforts …

“It’s so fast, so easy to order and pay,” said Rajat Suri, CEO and founder of E La Carte …

E La Carte has already received $5 million in funding from investors including SV Angel and Lightbank, and Suri said he plans to continue focusing on the casual dining experience rather than replace the interactions between waiters and customers in high-end restaurants.

Appropriately, written by an intern at the San Francisco Chronicle. Interns work for free, just for the privilege of it. Cuz they wouldn’t work at all for corporate America were it any other way.


The brilliant Mr. Bezos — from the archives.

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