iJunk not as good as indoor plumbing — paper sez

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 2:53 pm by George Smith

I’ll buy that:

Attention in the past decade has focused not on labor-saving innovation, but rather on a succession of entertainment and communication devices that do the same things as we could do before, but now in smaller and more convenient packages. The iPod replaced the CD Walkman; the smartphone replaced the garden-variety “dumb” cellphone with functions that in part replaced desktop and laptop computers; and the iPad provided further competition with traditional personal computers. These innovations were enthusiastically adopted, but they provided new opportunities for consumption on the job and in leisure hours rather than a continuation of the historical tradition of replacing human labor with machines …

This, from a scholarly paper entitled, “Is US Economic Growth Over: Faltering Innovation Confronts the Six Headwinds.

“One hopes this is a paper to look back on fondly from the back seat of a robot-driven alternatively-fueled hover car in the near future but, even if you don’t find his arguments all that persuasive, it might be nice to take a moment and, courtesy of Gordon, remember how cool indoor plumbing is …” writes the blogger at the Financial Times.

Two options are presented. Option A — we get to keep everything up to and including Windows98. Option B, you get Facebook and iJunk, but you have to “give up” indoor plumbing.

Ha-ha. Good thought experiment. iJunk, but you get dysentery and cholera, among other things.


My old Pennsyltucky home

Posted in Extremism at 1:55 pm by George Smith

Todd Akins in the woodwork everywhere. Today, from a press meeting in Harrisburg, PA, a Republican suspiciously named “Tom Smith,” running against Senator Bob Casey:

Robert Vickers, Patriot News: In light of Congressman Akin’s comments, is there any situation that you think a woman should have access to an abortion?

Tom Smith: My stance is on record and it’s very simplistic: I’m pro-life, period. And what that Congressman said, I do not agree with at all. He should have never said anything like that.

Vickers: So in cases of incest or rape…

Laura Olson, Post-Gazette: No exceptions?

Smith: No exceptions.

Smith isn’t like Todd Akin except when he is like Todd Akin. It gets worse as he tries to backpedal in front of the reporters, one of whom was from The Morning Call newspaper in Allentown.

There is no dealing with the Republican Party and only one rule to follow for a rational country:

Export surplus

Posted in Crazy Weapons, Culture of Lickspittle, Decline and Fall at 9:01 am by George Smith

The balance of trade in non-military domestic manufacturing may have gone to hell upon sale to China but there’s one place were the US still rules supreme.

We’re the biggest sellers of arms, bar none, with special emphasis on sales to countries ruled by our toadies.

“A worldwide economic decline had suppressed arms sales over recent years,” writes the New York Times. “But increasing tensions with Iran drove a set of Persian Gulf nations — Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman — to purchase American weapons at record levels.”

One can think of US arms manufacturing as a protected Keynsian jobs program. No other sector of the American economy enjoys such status. It is a near perfect example of industrial socialism in which the taxpayers assume all the investment and initial risk but are returned little to none of the profit made on it.

DD blog covered this phenomenon in the Economic Treason series last year, at Globalsecurity.Org and here.

At the time, I made the argument that every American was entitled to a royalty on arms sales since it is taxpayer money that pays for the innovation, development and primary manufacturing of the American weapons coveted by the various tin pot oil-producing countries on the southern side of the Persian Gulf.

And the royalty was calculated this way:

Again, it’s not unreasonable to make the argument that the stressed in the middle class ought to receive something back for the country’s primary business product/export, one its taxes bankroll and grow. A 20 percent war dividend for 2011 might look like this:

20 percent of 247 billion in arms sales = $49 400 000 000

20 percent of 164.7 billion for direct war = $32 940 000 000

Total war dividend clawback = $82 340 000 000

Bonus check cut for 49.3 million people on food stamps, adjustable for increases = $1670.18.

Since then the royalty check has increased.

The CRS report examining US arms sales was obtained by Steve Aftergood at Secrecy blog. And it is here in a post bearing the title: US Arms Transfer Agreements Reach Record High.

To alter a current and much overused trope from the presidential war: The Lockheed Martins and General Dynamixes didn’t make that, We made that.

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck …

Posted in Ted Nugent at 8:34 am by George Smith

Caption of weekend at the Ft. Worth altie after Ted’s show at Billy Bob’s.



Poor groundhog. The petty indignities of being the punchline in a Nugent story.


Press Button, Blow up Pipeline

Posted in Cyberterrorism at 2:58 pm by George Smith

The Press a Software Button & Blow Something Up in America meme is a constant in mainstream news on cybersecurity and the often very alleged vulnerability of the infrastructure. It has become so omnipresent that many implicitly believe all such assertions, often in the almost complete absence of compelling evidence.

It is unsurprising that the Congressional Research Service be asked to issue something on such matters, or that it would independently perform an analysis, because the subject is topical.

And so Steve Aftergood’s Secrecy Blog has posted a recent CRS report entitled Pipeline Security: Federal Policy.

It is a short report — 13 pages — because there is no information on pipelines in the national infrastructure being damaged by cyberattack.

Since this is the case, the CRS must resort to doing what everyone else generally does when left with a paucity of material: cite from poor sources, take examples from standard industrial accidents, mention trivial al Qaeda net propaganda and discuss only generally network intrusion and the US-made malware, Stuxnet.

Problems exist with such an approach.

First, there have been no acts of terrorism perpetrated against US pipelines through cyberspace.

Small collections of news reports of cases in which Americans interested in aiding al Qaeda in the last ten years in aspirational conventional bomb plots against pipelines, which the CRS mentions, are irrelevant.

Citation of brief, mostly fact free, news reports on an al Qaeda video urging an audience to attack the infrastructure of the US electronically is not compelling evidence of anything, particularly in light of the fact that the terror organization has never demonstrated capability in this area.

It is, however, some evidence of a standard wishful, or aspirational thinking.

Wanting to attack the infrastructure through cyberspace, because terrorists may have read in western sources that it is easy to do so does not confer a capability or demonstrate a vulnerability.

Historically, al Qaeda has published many exhortations for followers to attack the United States in a multiplicity of ways, often reacting to mainstream western news in which experts say or imply such strikes would be easy. While the issuing of such calls has occurred with regularity it has not been backed up by significant action.

If and when a federal assessment in 2011 concluded “with high confidence that the threat to the US pipeline industry is low,” it may actually be true.

Citation of three industrial accidents caused by worker error and industrial breakdowns in the US pipeline industry do not demonstrate that the same industry is vulnerable to cyberattack.

Computer network intrusions in the pipeline industry, unless the details are specifically described, do not imply or, worse, prove the pipeline infrastructure can be damaged through remote attack.

Malware and intrusions occur everywhere there are networked computers, daily. They are security problems that must continually be dealt with, and the risk managed.

Citation of a report by a computer security company, McAfee, on the nature of threat or risk, in this case on cyberattacks against global energy companies, should always be accompanied by caveats that such reports are well known to be untrustworthy.

A recent ProPublica news article on such security software industry reports contained the quote, from researchers at Microsoft, which, as a rule, does not issue these kinds of things: “Our assessment of the quality of cyber-crime surveys is harsh: they are so compromised and biased that no faith whatever can be placed in their findings.”

And if the Stuxnet virus is going to be used in a discussion to imply vulnerability in US systems, it should also be noted that it is now widely accepted that this particular piece of malware was engineered by an American military or intelligence team of programmers specifically to attack the Iranian nuclear program. While the program was successfully attacked, there are conflicting views on the degree of setback it received due to Stuxnet. Despite the presence of the malware, the program continues — as shown by this large collection of recent news cuttings.

The same team responsible for Stuxnet is also recognized to be continuing to write and dispense malware for infiltration and potential strike against various infrastructures in Middle Eastern nations with confusing and difficult to assess or cryptic results.


Posted in Extremism, Ted Nugent at 10:54 am by George Smith

Quote of the day, from Charles Blow:

Representative Todd Akin, he of “legitimate rape” infamy, even said earlier this month that the federal government should stop financing the National School Lunch Program altogether. That man is just a font of humanity.

And, the weekend Nugent, collected from a gig at “Billy Bob’s” in Ft. Worth:

I vow that I will use our freedom to get these dirty c**k s**kers out of the White House. The president is a bad man. The vice president is a bad man. They’re all bad people. If you don’t get that, you’re a dead mo**erf**ker. If you don’t get that, get out of Texas. Move to Illinois.

This is an illegal Gibson guitar, the game warden told me it was illegal. They’re soulless p**sies. Those spineless, soulless pieces of sh*t from the Wildlife Agency should take me down now, because all of my Gibsons are made of dangerous species. This one is made of platypus! My audience will beat them within an inch of their lives. Is that illegal?

And I can’t wait for the man’s annual Labor Day column cursing labor at the WaTimes next weekend.


My old Pennsyltucky home

Posted in Phlogiston at 11:59 am by George Smith

Far out. Smiling boy loads wheelbarrow of hay and turds (lower right) at Grange Fair.

From the Centre Daily Times:

Cati Besch, 11, bustled through the swinging door of the rabbit and poultry building, watering and checking in on her two mini rex rabbits, Charlie and S’mores.

The white and brown rabbits earned prizes in Friday morning’s junior rabbit show — Charlie got first place and S’mores got second. Charlie also got second for the “best buck in show” contest.

I like rabbits. So does Robert Fripp.

‘The theory of the delighted womb …’

Posted in Extremism at 11:03 am by George Smith

One remarkable line, retrieved by an Internet search of (one assumes, because it’s unspecified) American southern white Christian theocratic groups, conducted by a Texas State University professor of health education.

Published in a Gail Collins column on Todd Akin and the belief that there is a magical inner shield against pregnancy after rape:

“If the woman is dry, the sperm will die.”

“This theory goes back to our forefathers, who believed that in order for our foremothers to conceive, ‘the womb must be in a state of delight,’ ” Collins writes.

Hat tip to Pine View Farm.

Alternative title: Der Heevahava.

The toast could still land butter side down. The Psychopath Vote guarantees Der Heevahava could still be Senator.

Here’s a woman-in-the-store interview piece from a DC-centric publication that makes an attempt to dig deeper. And fails. It does not ask other equally relevant questions: How many of the women are tuned into Fox daily?

Wal-Mart is only the vat in which we, the story’s subjects, collect. And it’s a non-specific vat in a very down economy where most people are affected.

What’s the voting split of Wal-Mart shoppers, or for that matter, Target, which serves my area in Pasadena?

Pretty wide, I’d guess. I shop there. But I’d also guess the views go wide by color of skin, and other factors outside of shopping location, too.

The lede, excerpted:

ASHBURN, Va.—It’s a scary time to be a woman,” says “Jenni,” the young star of one of President Obama’s television ads airing in Virginia and other swing states. “We need to attack our problems, not a woman’s choice.” To hear Democrats tell it, the Republican Party is waging a “war on women” in which abortion rights, birth control, and Planned Parenthood services are under siege.

Republicans counter that the only “war” being waged is by the Obama economy. “Poverty, unemployment, fading hopes …”

The real war on women is for their votes.

In Virginia and other battleground states, the most open-minded and coveted sliver of the electorate skews female …

Still, the photo caption reads: Walmart mom: The GOP’s attempts to limit abortion rights rankled Miller.


Those Poor Poor Billionaires

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Ted Nugent at 7:57 pm by George Smith

You have to see it to get the full fatuous nature.

Billionaires alleged to be harmed by “socioeconomic lynching.” They “feel like they’re the victims.” Well, they can always go to Galt’s Gulch and we’ll all die and they’ll be able to come out.

“Is there an all clear signal? … What about the wealthy who think they’ve been victimized a lot?”

Near the end two of the shoeshiners snap to their senses and briefly say they’re unsure they believe all the rot about the victimization of the wealthy.

Ted Nugent, shoeshiner, explaining how the Democratic Party hates success and wealth because it threatens their voters/moochers (read non-white non-Republicans), in the WaTimes:

What the Democrats want to do is to play class warfare, pit rich against poor … The Democrats abhor success. They would rather Americans be beholden to Fedzilla for food stamps and other government programs than go out and become tremendously successful on their own.

The Democrats hate success … The “man” keeping down the people is not a successful person such as Mr. Romney, but rather the Democratic Party, which buys their votes by enslaving its supporters with government programs and checks, funded with the tax dollars that people like Mr. Romney have paid.

House Science & Ladyparts Committee

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Extremism at 2:32 pm by George Smith

Must see from Mark Fiore. But still not as good as “Don’t Vote for Dicks.”

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