mytopleft

Monday, March 31, 2014

I am an outlaw at last!

Years and years of bad behavior, and finally I am an outlaw. Today was the deadline to sign up for Obamacare, and I didn't do it. I guess technically I am not an outlaw until after midnight. But I have refused to comply with Barry's dumbass mandate that I buy the kind of insurance he thinks is right for everybody (it isn't) and so, because I have made a rational economic decision for myself, I am an outlaw. Well, fuck you, Barry, and good luck collecting on your fine, or tax, or whatever the hell it is. You'll never take me alive, copper.



Hard to believe that in the land of the free and the home of the brave I am an outlaw for refusing to buy a product offered through private corporations because the product doesn't suit my needs. But that's the case. So come and get me, bitches. I am not alone.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Iran couldn't possibly be practicing attacks on U.S. aircraft carriers, could they? Nah.

About a week ago, the idiots at The Hill -- a government-funded propaganda organ for the Democrat party (supposedly nonpartisan but, seriously, read it sometime) couldn't imagine why Iran would be building a 3/4-size replica of a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. It apparently is not intended to be a functional carrier, but merely a reasonable, sea-going-ish (it floats) facsimile of a Nimitz-class carrier. Maybe without engines. Why build such a thing?
“We’re not sure what Iran hopes to gain by building this. If it is a big propaganda piece, to what end?” said Cmdr. Jason Salata, a spokesman for the Navy’s Fifth Fleet, which operates out of Bahrain.
One potential reason that Tehran might want to blow up an American carrier would be if the nuclear talks fall apart between Iran and the P5+1 group: the United States, Britain, Germany, France, Russia and China.
It is not surprising a Navy spokesman wouldn't tell a media outlet -- in this case, not The Hill but the New York Times, whom The Hill was quoting -- what the Navy really thought. Instead, they fed the NYT the maybe-they-want-to-blow-it-up-for-propaganda horseshit quoted by The Hill:
WASHINGTON — Iran is building a nonworking mock-up of an American nuclear-powered aircraft carrier that United States officials say may be intended to be blown up for propaganda value.
What could possibly be misleading about that? Hmmmmmmm. Why might Iran build a mock-up of a U.S. aircraft carrier? Gee, it's almost like the way U.S. Special Forces build mock-ups of villages and buildings where we are planning to conduct raids so that they can practice under realistic circumstances. Nah, that couldn't be it, Iran says:
According to Iranian newspapers quoted by Reuters, the mock ship was in fact “part of the decor” of a movie being made by director Nader Talebzadeh on the 1988 shooting down of an Iran Air civilian plane by the USS Vincennes. All 290 passengers and crew on board the plane were killed in the disaster, which the US called an “accident.”
Hard to understand why a movie about that incident would involve building a mock-up of an aircraft carrier when the U.S. ship that shot down the airliner was an Aegis cruiser, and no aircraft carrier was involved. Oddly enough, this Aegis cruiser:


does not look like this Nimitz-class aircraft carrier:


So why is it so difficult to figure out why the Iranians are building a mock Nimitz and not a mock Vincennes, the ship involved in the shoot-down that supposedly is the subject of the movie? Oddly enough, somebody finally found an analyst who would tell the truth: that Iran clearly is planning to practice techniques to take down a U.S. carrier:
It is far more likely that the Iranians are building a replica of a U.S. aircraft carrier to practice their swarm techniques, [Christopher] Harmer [of the Institute for the Study of War] said. After losing battles with the U.S. Navy in the 1980s, the Iranians realized that they could not defeat the U.S. Navy in a conventional fight, so they have adopted Kamikaze tactics in which hundreds or thousands of small boats armed with rocket launchers or machine guns would launch suicide attacks against U.S. warships.
Hey, ya think? I mean, just because we build mock-ups to practice attacks doesn't mean other countries might do the same thing, right? Yeah, that's what I thought, too.

I'm sorry, stone-cold killer goats?

By way of Ace, we have what is apparently the self-described "world's dumbest game:"
Goat Simulator, the self-described "world's dumbest game," will be available on April 1, and now developer Coffee Stain Studios has released a launch trailer that channels Dead Island. Just like the chilling Dead Island trailer before it, the Goat Simulator launch trailer moves backwards, beginning with goat lying dead on the ground and then showing how he got there.
"Goat Simulator is the latest in goat simulation technology, bringing next-gen goat simulation to you," Coffee Stain Studios writes. "You no longer have to fantasize about being a goat, your dreams have finally come true!"
I don't know how I feel about a Goat Simulator. I've never really thought about goats as killer beasts. They apparently plan to have a glitchy game that kinda sucks but works sort of like Grand Theft Auto. Of course, if you can't get into a goat as a stone-cold killer, fear not:
If goats aren't your thing, there's also a Bear Simulator in development.
Can't wait/

And working conditions continue to deteriorate in the industry

I got an email the other day from co-author Raised by Wolverines, who has not posted in a coon's age. His email amounts to a post, warning temps away from an agency I can't, unfortunately, identify by name. Conditions there are interesting, to say the least:
They have the doors to all the rooms locked and closed all the time.
You need a key to get in and out of your review room. If you forget
your key any one day, it is apparently a serious offense. (Of course,
leaving the door open so they do not have to worry about people
leaving their keys at home is not considered a serious option )
Their new [project manager] is a total idiot who spends most of his time worrying
about how they are going to treat logos/gifs attached to documents.
We are on a review with a very narrow geographical limitation in one
state but the client has sites and work in a number of states. We
were using Google to determine if a particular site in a document was
within the geographical region. But then [the agency] decided to remove
internet access and said go to the two internet computers to find out.
(To which I said I do not get paid to get out of my chair, walk across
the room, sit down in front of another computer to find out relevant
info when I could do it at my desk.)
We were subjected to a lecture that we can improve our review rate by
staying in our chairs longer instead of taking breaks. To which I
responded by coding 1000 docs in 8 hours. And finally the assistant
[project manager] took five minutes to explain that some reviewers checked back in
batches that were not complete and we should feel free to sign them
out and only review the unreviewed documents. He simply could not
explain that and the riff raff working there got awfully confused.
Stay away. You have been warned.
I used to work at this agency quite a bit -- in fact, for three or four years, it was almost the only agency I worked for. In recent years, they have begun lowballing on pay. Sounds like they now are getting stupid all around. I guess with jobs becoming much more scarce, agencies are starting to think they can be as dickish as they want and people won't have a choice about where to go.  I hope that's not the case, but it sure looks like it.

Wintry mix?

I'm sorry, but I don't think anybody predicted this. All I heard about was it raining all day. And that was true until about noon, when sleet started falling. At that point, The Weather Channel website was still calling it rain and was a couple degrees warm on the temperature. At about 1 pm, the rain-sleet mix turned to plain old snow:



So there it was, snowing. After a couple hours of snowing, I decided to check and see what The Weather Channel website said was happening. Not surprisingly, they were just a touch off, letting me know that:
A mix of wintry precipitation is occurring nearby.
I suppose that might have been true. But where I was, it was snow. Of course, it wasn't sticking to the roads yet. But it was sticking to dogs:


And it was sticking to the ground:



And to cars:


And it was coming down pretty good. Looking north:


So there it was at about 3 pm, snowing like a motherfucker. TWC says:
Expect occasional wintry mix to continue for the next several hours.
Woulda been nice to see some wintry mix at that point, because I am seriously tired of snow. As it is, it finally turned to rain again. I think we're done with snow for the rest of the season. Lord, I hope so.

Gunman dies from shame of shopping at Dollar General and gunshot wound, but mostly from gunshot wound

Yeah, I stole that style of headline from Ace, but it fits. Thanks to Rationality Rebooted, via Hot Air, we get this story from the Selma (Ala.) Times Journal about a shooting at a Dollar General store in Selma. Apparently, a guy walked in with a pistol, waving it in the air, and was herding everybody in the store into an employee break room in the back of the store. One customer had a bad feeling about the way things were headed, and we all know it pays to take advantage of those feelings:


 Anyway, taking advantage of the handgun on his person that his concealed carry permit allowed him to legally carry, he shot the fucker who was threatening everybody in the store:
The incident occurred when Dallas County resident Kevin Mclaughlin entered Dollar General reportedly waving a pistol in the air, Huffman said. Mclaughlin then ushered a group of people inside the store into a break room.
“It appears that once the cashier got inside the break room, a customer that was walking into the break room shot the individual, the white male, with the pistol,” Huffman said. “There was only one shot fired and that shot struck the individual with the pistol causing the disturbance.”
District Attorney Michael Jackson confirmed the customer who reportedly shot Mclaughlin was Orrville resident Marlo Ellis.
No charges filed, the sherriff calls it a clear case of self-defense and local officials call Ellis a hero. Sounds good to me. One shot, bad guy dead, nobody else hurt. And libs will tell you there is no legitimate reason to have a firearm. Oh, except for hunting with rifles or shotguns, as long as they aren't those scary assault rifles.

This is what we like to call "gun control." One shot, bad guy dead, nobody else hurt. Kinda like the Mark Chesnutt song, "Bubba Shot the Jukebox," in which the aforementioned Bubba, heartbroken from a failed relationship, shot the jukebox when a sad song came on. He got arrested, but disputed the charge:
"Reckless discharge of a gun," That's what the officers are claimin'.
Bubba hollered out, "Reckless, hell, I hit just where I was aiming."

Yes, the video says Joe Diffie, and it's the kind of song Diffie did, but this is Mark Chesnutt. I'm not even sure Diffie ever recorded this. And the guy who got shot was no jukebox, so I don't want to sound insensitive. On the other hand, it's not like the jukebox had it coming.  So fuck him.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Another stupid traffic post

I wasn't going to do this, because traffic hasn't been what I have been shooting for over the last couple months -- wow, it hurt my ears when all those readers shouted, "Post more, Asshole!" -- but on Thursday we passed 85,000 hits for Eff You. It's probably only 20 people who have visited 4,250 times each since the blog started in May 2011, but 85,000 visits is 85,000 visits, I guess. Anyway, thanks for coming by, please keep coming and maybe we can get to 22 or 23 unique visitors. I warn you, though -- you have to carry your share of the load. I expect 4,250 visits from each of you. No slackers.

A nice reader response about Adm. Denton

Almost as soon as I put it up, I received a very nice response to my post about the passing of Rear Adm. Jeremiah Denton. The reader, the daugher of an Air Force veteran who lived at Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu in the early 1970s, said:
Made me think of all the times my parents took my brother and me to Hickam airport to welcome home the POWs when they landed at Hickam. We lived on base and missed hardly any of those homecomings. Not sure I understood my emotions at age 12 but I'm sure I was grateful that my dad had come home two years earlier after spending 1969 in Saigon. Certainly easier duty than your dad's at Khe San but a plenty scary 12 months for an 8-9 year old girl.  
As I told her: those were  hard times for a lot of 8-year-olds.

One of the all-time-good-guy-bad-asses has left the building

Rear Admiral Jeremiah Denton Jr., one of the longest-held prisoners-of-war during the Vietnam War, died yesterday. He was 89. While America in my opinion is now less well off, this actually is a personal post.

Adm. Denton was Commander Denton when I met his family. It was January 1966, I was 5 years old and he was already a POW. At the time, nobody was wearing the POW bracelets that became popular later -- there just weren't that many POWs yet -- so I never had a bracelet with his name on it. I wore one later, when they came out in the late '60s, but I can't remember whose name was on it. I wish I had had a Denton bracelet.

I never met Adm. Denton. He was a POW when we moved to Virginia Beach, and he was still a POW when we moved away. He was still a POW when we moved back to Virginia Beach three years later, for that matter. We lived in a different neighborhood in 1973 when he was finally released, and shortly after that we moved away again. Military families are like that.

So I never met Adm. Denton. But I went to church with his family for two years, and I lived not far from them. Sometimes I played with some of his younger children. He had seven children, and at least two were old enough to have moved out by the time my family met the Dentons. Still, Michael Denton was my older sister's first boyfriend, to the extent an 8- or 9-year-old girl can have a boyfriend. My older sister was a heartbreaker early, though, so Michael got the title of First Boyfriend. And I knew and played with several of Adm. Denton's other kids from time to time. It might seem odd to a lot of people, but because the father of pretty much everybody I knew was in Vietnam, had been there or was going there, at the time I rarely thought much about the fact that the Denton kids' father wasn't just in Vietnam. The Dentons were, in many ways, just some kids whose dad was away at war. Like mine.

I knew, even then though, that their dad was no "like mine." Adm. Denton was a POW long enough to get promoted twice before he was released. He endured unbelievable torture and was awarded the Navy Cross -- second only to the Medal of Honor -- for his actions as a POW. The award stemmed from a television appearance with Japanese journalists that really didn't turn out the way his captors hoped:

In the [televised interview], orchestrated by the North Vietnamese as propaganda and broadcast in the United States in 1966, he appeared in his prison uniform and blinked the word “torture” in Morse code — a secret message to U.S. military intelligence for which he later received the Navy Cross.
Having been tortured to force him to do the interview the right way -- on top of the random torture to which he was subjected -- and knowing that he would be tortured again if any of his captors figured out what he was up to, this was an incredibly ballsy move.  What he said in the interview was even more courageous than sending his coded message:
Ten months into his imprisonment, Adm. Denton was ordered to submit to an interview with a Japanese reporter. He said the North Vietnamese tortured him before the meeting in an effort to compel him to assist with their communist propaganda.
In the footage, Adm. Denton walks through a doorway, bows and then, with evident discomfort, takes his seat in a chair. Hunched over, he clasps his hands between his knees. Looking into the camera lights as he speaks, he blinks his eyes hard and repeatedly, in a manner that to an untrained observer might have seemed involuntary — and that in Morse code spelled t-o-r-t-u-r-e.
Adm. Denton later said that while the blinking drew more attention, the words he spoke to the interviewer required greater courage. At one point, the reporter asked him what he thought about the “so-called Vietnamese War.”
“Well, I don’t know what is happening,” Adm. Denton replied. “But whatever the position of my government is, I support it fully. . . . I am a member of that government, and it is my job to support it, and I will as long as I live.”
Another torture session followed.
I remember the video playing on the news and thinking, "Hey. Naturally, there is video available today:


I didn't know anything about this when I was 6 and 7. All I knew was my father was at Khe San, which was under siege, and my friends' father was a prisoner. To the extent I thought about it, I was scared shitless my father would be joining their father. Didn't happen, and I felt bad for my friends and the plight of their father, but a 7-year-old probably has tunnel vision in that respect, so mostly I was glad my father came home. But even then I knew the Denton kids were suffering. The youngest among them didn't even really remember him, or at least only vaguely -- the very youngest was only 18 months old when Adm. Denton was shot down in  July 1965. I came to understand that feeling later, when my own father came home from Vietnam after 13 months there. Because he spent his tour of duty prior to Vietnam on a Navy ship, he was deployed more than half of the time even in the year before he went to Vietnam. Before that, he was part of one of the Marine Amphibious Units that spent six months of the year in the Mediterranean. Even before he went to war, my father was away more than he was home. That was the life of military kids (or at least Marine and Navy kids), though, and we accepted it. Or we thought we did --I spent several months after my father returned from Vietnam and had a posting that let him come home ever day sort of semi-nervous everyday when I saw his car in the driveway in the afternoon. He was, in many ways, a stranger. I can only imagine what it was like for some of the Denton kids who had little or no memory of their father to come home from school and find someone who really was literally a stranger, even though he was their father.

During the war, though, what the Denton kids had to deal with -- and what the rest of us feared -- was not "away more than home," but "never coming home." I'm sure I wasn't as happy as the Denton kids when Adm. Denton stepped onto the tarmac at Clark Air Force Base in the Phillipines in February 1973, but I knew exactly how they felt, because I felt that way when my own father came home. Stranger or not, I wanted my father home. And when Adm. Denton came home, I remember crying like a baby seeing it on TV.

I don't know where somebody who underwent what Adm. Denton suffered finds himself able to say something like this:
On February 12, 1973, Denton was released in Hanoi by the North Vietnamese along with numerous other American POWs during Operation Homecoming. Stepping off the jet back home in uniform, Denton said: "We are honored to have had the opportunity to serve our country under difficult circumstances. We are profoundly grateful to our Commander-in-Chief and to our nation for this day. God bless America."
Adm. Denton was part of the Reagan Revolution and was elected senator from Alabama in 1980, the first Republican elected to the Senate in Alabama since Reconstruction. He served only one term, losing his re-election bid to Rep. Richard C. Shelby, a Democrat who later became a Republican. He spent four years in solitary confinement; I doubt losing an election upset him too much. This guy was tough.

Hard to believe somebody would be thankful for having served his country at least in part by becoming a POW; Jeremiah Denton was. This video is long, but it's worth it:


I doubt the family remembers me, or my family. (Well, maybe Michael remembers my sister -- she was hot, even at 8 or 9.) But I remember them. I wish I had met Adm. Denton. He might be the only guy I never met that I miss now that he's gone. Now I'll never get to meet someone who was both a national hero and a mythic figure from my childhood. Rest in peace, Adm. Denton. You've earned it.








Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Snow situation officially surpasses ridiculous

Yes, it snowed again today. Fortunately, it did not interfere with work in any way. If it doesn't cost me money, I don't care as much, but it is almost fucking April and it has no business snowing this time of year this far south. I really believe this was the last gasp of winter, at least as far as snow goes. Maybe it will get warm now, too.

As it is, this was not a major event -- predictions a few days ago pegged it as being big here, but the track shifted and we only got about 2-3 inches. Probably still more than we should ever see in this area with only a week until April showers start to bring May flowers. Anyway, I was at work but had Mrs. Wolves go take some pictures, which I present here for you edification regarding post-beginning-of-spring snow south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

Naturally, my miniature daffodils were deeply disturbed by the late snow:


I think they'll be OK, though:


Jeb the Wonder Dog, naturally, took the opportunity to roam far afield in a field:


He also managed to look majestic amidst the debris of a high-precipitation winter that, between heavy snowfalls and ice storms, brought down a lot of branches:


All in all, this was a minor bump in the road toward spring. I sure hope it's the last one.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Who loves you, baby? Tunisia, that's who

I got Tunisia. Were I a rapper, I probably would trot out rhymes including sqeeze ya, please ya, freeze ya, and get down on ya knees huh. Or something like that. As it is, I am trying to welcome Eff You's first visitor from Tunisia, and all this talk of hip hop is not doing much to ease ma way along. I'm sorry. I couldn't resist.

Anyway, Tunisia is a North African country that can claim credit as the birthplace of the 2011 "Arab Spring," for better or worse. Tunisia also was where German Gen. Erwin Rommel made his last stand in Africa during World War II following Operation Torch, the American landing in Morrocco. The ruins of the ancient city of Carthage are in Tunisia.

Anyway, welcome, Tunisia, in a big Eff You way.

Sometimes, you just have to feel the Noize

Thanks to Ace, who reminded me of this cover and also informed me that it was, indeed, a cover. While I have long known that Quiet Riot scored a hit with "Cum on Feel the Noize" in 1983, I was not aware until today that it was a cover of a 1973 Slade song. Slade, a British glam rock band had a U.K. hit with the song in 1973:


Naturally, we all know that Quiet Riot recorded the song in 1983. Best version? You decide:


And yeah, the Quiet Riot video is stupid. Live with it.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Kerry and global warming: he's a moron

Having said in a recent post that Secretary of State John Kerry finally said something I agree with -- that his mind is a blank slate -- I am now back to disagreeing with Kerry because he is, frankly, an idiot. He apparently does not realize that his job is diplomatic relations with the other nations of the world and the protection of U.S. interests abroad against foreign aggression. No, he doesn't get that:
In his first department-wide policy guidance statement since taking office a year ago, he told his 70,000 staff: "The environment has been one of the central causes of my life."
"Protecting our environment and meeting the challenge of global climate change is a critical mission for me as our country's top diplomat," Kerry said in the letter issued on Friday to all 275 US embassies and across the State Department.
"It's also a critical mission for all of you: our brave men and women on the frontlines of direct diplomacy," he added in the document seen by AFP.
He urged all "chiefs of mission to make climate change a priority for all relevant personnel and to promote concerted action at posts and in host countries to address this problem."
Being secretary of state does not mean you get to push "one of the central causes of [your] life." It means you represent U.S. interests. Even if you believe the horseshit that is the theory of anthropogenic global warming, dealing with that is not the State Department's job. Kerry apparently believes that, though, which makes him an idiot. The fact that he believes man-made global warming is the biggest threat to this nation makes him delusional. And yeah, he said that recently, calling global warming the most "fearsome weapon" the planet faces:
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned Indonesians on Sunday that man-made climate change could threaten their entire way of life, deriding those who doubted the existence of "perhaps the world's most fearsome weapon of mass destruction".
Kerry described those who do not accept that human activity causes global warming as "shoddy scientists" and "extreme ideologues", and said big companies and special interests should not be allowed to "hijack" the climate debate.
I am not, in this post, going to get into why Kerry is so monumentally wrong. But he is. I doubt he can even explain the theory of anthropogenic global warming, much less argue in favor of it. He's one of those pinheads who says "the science is settled" and wants to leave it at that. Really? Then what is the First Law of Global Warming? That's what I thought. Blow me.

Meanwhile, Russia is calmly taking back former Soviet republics and we are letting it happen with a feckless response. Syria does what it wants despite President Obama's "red line" on chemical weapons. Iran cheerfully continues to develop nuclear weapons and interfere in Iraq. North Korea has restarted its nuclear program. Afghanistan's president says he doesn't need U.S. troops there, while the Taliban prepares to take over again. China is claiming it owns territories it doesn't, bullies its neighbors and continues to develop force-projection capabilities while harassing U.S. vessels trying to keep an eye on them. Yeah, global warming is the biggest threat to our international interests. You want links to all that shit? Google it. And if you Google all that and still think global warming is our big problem, refer to the title of the blog.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/new-post-abc-news-poll-keystone-xl-project-overwhelmingly-favored-by-americans/2014/03/06/d74c58c6-a4a1-11e3-a5fa-55f0c77bf39c_story.html




Americans support the idea of constructing the Keystone XL oil pipeline between Canada and the United States by a nearly 3 to 1 margin, with 65 percent saying it should be approved and 22 percent opposed, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sevastopol Spring shaping up nicely, and Barry is handling it every bit as well as we did the Prague Spring in 1968.

So, on Sunday, with 83 percent turnout (really?), more than 96 percent of residents of Crimea approved joining up with Russia. I'm sure that's rooted in fond memories of Soviet rule, brutal suppression and exile of the Crimean Tatars by Stalin and good stuff like that, and not by the thousands of Russian troops all over Crimea. Or fraud, maybe. So the result is expected.

Leading up to that referendum, Secretary of State John Kerry proved once again that he's a fucking idiot. He drew a red line and gave Russian President Vladimir Putin until Monday (um, yesterday) to back off on taking over the Crimea or else we were gonna get really mad and do something big.

Yeah, well, come Monday, Barry leveled some really evil sanctions:
The new executive order Obama signed Monday targeted seven Russian government officials — Vladislav Surkov, Sergey Glazyev, Leonid Slutsky, Andrei Klishas, Valentina Matviyenko, Dmitry Rogozin and Yelena Mizulina — and used an existing order to sanction four Ukrainians, including the country’s former president.
Four others are targeted under the executive order Obama issued earlier this month: Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and former chief of staff Viktor Medvedchuk, as well as Crimea separatist leaders Sergey Aksyonov and Vladimir Konstantinov.
Monday’s order authorizes Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to work with Secretary of State John Kerry to impose asset freezes and travel restrictions on “any individual or entity that operates in the Russian arms industry, and any designated individual or entity that acts on behalf of, or that provides material or other support to, any senior Russian government official,” the White House said in a statement.
That's great, I guess, if those guys bank in the U.S. or want to come here. Otherwise, that's a big nothingburger.

Which might explain why maybe not everybody views those sanctions as so tough, like Charles Krauthammer:
He’s being ridiculed by Russia, especially, because the statement and the policy are ridiculous. He doesn’t have a lot of cards, but he has some cards, and if he thinks that sanctioning seven Russians, out of a population of, what, 150 million, is a sanction, he’s living in a different world. The one thing that we could do is to respond to the Ukrainian request, when the president was here last week, they asked the Pentagon for weapons, and we said no, because somehow, to arm the victim of aggression is a provocation.
Or the Russians themselves. Such as the deputy prime minister of Russia, who tweeted, "Comrade @BarackObama, what should do those who have neither accounts nor property abroad? Or U didn't think about it?)." Or Putin himself, who announced sanctions of his own to mirror Obama's:
U.S. senators, congressmen and top Obama administration officials are sure to be on Vladimir Putin’s sanctions list; a response to the Obama Administration’s announcement on Monday that 7 Russian officials and 4 Ukrainian officials would be barred from holding assets or traveling to the United States.
Putin is expected to release his retaliation list as early as Tuesday and while the final list is still being crafted, it will include top Obama administration officials and high profile U.S. senators, in an effort to roughly mirror the U.S. sanctions against Russian officials and lawmakers, according to diplomatic sources. At the top of the list in Congress is Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, who recently co-authored a resolution criticizing Russia’s invasion of Crimea.
I'm sure Putin stands alone. It's not like anybody else in Russia is with him on this, right? Oops.
Russia’s deputy prime minister laughed off President Obama’s sanction against him today asking “Comrade @BarackObama” if “some prankster” came up with the list.
Oh no, the administration assures us, this is serious pressure:
The measures are “by far the most extensive sanctions imposed against Russia since the end of the Cold War,” an [Obama adminstration] official said.
Of course, they are the only sanctions leveled against Russia since the end of the Cold War, but hey, who's counting?

The U.S. is telling Putin the international diplomacy equivalent of "I'm gonna hold my breath until you get out of the Crimea," while Putin is telling the U.S. the international diplomacy equivalent of "Blow me." Who do you think wins that face-off?






Monday, March 17, 2014

Finally, John Kerry says something I can agree with

Actually, I think Secretary of State John Kerry might have said two things I agree with, which would, of course, be a first, since I'm not sure I've ever agreed with him on anything. However, in response to Sen. Mary Landrieu, (D-La.),  applying pressure on him to approve the Keystone XL pipeline to bring oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast refineries, Kerry revealed a couple of truths that forced me to agree with him:
“I understand it’s on a lot of people’s minds, a mean a lot of people’s,” said Mr. Kerry, who noted that he has to review public comments along with his department’s lengthy environmental impact report and must “get feedback from eight different agencies.”
“So I’m not at liberty to go into my thinking at this point,” he said, adding, that he is approaching the matter “tabula rasa.”
Once he completes his evaluation, it will be forwarded to President Barack Obama, “who has the ultimate authority to make this decision,” Mr. Kerry said.
First off, of course, it is worth noting that Kerry is lying his ass off about having to review public comments or get feedback from other agencies. His own department already issued its report saying no significant environmental issues militate against building the XL pipeline. The comments have been reviewed and the agency feedbacks have been noted. This this has been under review since before Barry took office, for Christ's sake. No one can find any reason not to approve the project, except for Barry -- he knows environmental groups will stop giving the Democrats money if he approves it. Kerry, at least, pretends he needs to evaluate substantive reasons.

Which leads us to the points on which I agree with Kerry. (I'm not trying to be disrespectful toward Sec. of State Kerry, by the way -- I'm just showing him the same level of respect the left showed toward Pres. George W. Bush, who was usually referred to as just "Bush" by the left, unless they were calling him "Bushitler" or something worse. The justification, of course, was that Pres. Bush was an idiot. Well, W. got better grades at Yale than Kerry did, and he was playing college-level baseball at the same time. So suck it.)

Anyway, Kerry said he would look at the XL pipeline "tabula rasa," which is Latin forr "blank slate." I guess Johnboy thought he was showing off his smarts, but mostly he just conceded what many of us already knew: his mind is blank. So that's one area in which Kerry and I agree.

The other concession Kerry made, with which I agree, is that the president has the ultimate authority to decide this issue. Barry has pretended for years now that he is simply awaiting a decision from the State Department, as if he had no input. Barry is, of course, a lying sack of shit. Johnboy just inadvertently called him one. And I agree.

Even NPR, not exactly a bastion of conservatism, makes it clear that Barry has to decide and that Kerry makes a recommendation only:
Secretary of State John Kerry will make a final recommendation to Obama, who has 90 days to decide. The question is how long the president will wait — and what effect it will have on November's midterm elections, when the fate of Democratic senators from conservative-leaning, energy-producing states will determine whether the party retains control of the Senate.
Good to know that major energy policy decisions depend solely upon party politics. And this from the lips of hard-core liberals like NPR. 








In the field of opportunity, it's plowing time again

Yeah, that's right, this past weekend officially opened farming season at Chez Wolves. My farming partner and I -- he has the land, I have the strong back and weak mind -- prepared our early beds and put in the seeds for peas, carrots, lettuce, spinach and radishes. Next weekend we'll put in the potatoes.

Naturally, Jeb the Wonder Dog came along, ready to fend off intruders and play with his buddy, a golden lab. He was out the window the whole way over in anticipation. That boy does love a car ride:


Unfortunately, his buddy has been "fixed" since last growing season and no longer seems interested in rampaging all over the property the way he used to. So Jeb was forced to keep a vigilant eye out for marauding deer or whatever on his own:


First, of course, we had to fertilize and till the beds:

 

Right there you are looking at a tiller afflicted by a clogged fuel filter. Beds got tilled the old-fashioned way -- me busting my ass with a hoe. Only had to till a few beds this week, though. Two like the one above for peas, then a 4 x 8 bed for the spinach and lettuce:


Other beds, for warm-weather plantings like tomatoes, squash, peppers, zucchini, beans, onions, garlic and cucumbers, can wait a few weeks:


Of course, all this happened Saturday. Monday, it snowed about 6 inches. Not a problem for what we planted, but further indication that winter might not ever go away. But that's OK, because, as Neil put it:


Yes, it snowed again, and yes, I'm really fucking tired of it

Of course, because the firm I work for goes by what the federal government does, and the federal government is run by dickless wimps, we didn't work today, just because it snowed 4-6 inches. Seriously, people. Anyway, it is what it is. Here it is, the first day of spring just a couple days away, and I am walking in a winter wonderland. Here we are, yet again, looking left from my porch:


 Looking straight out the door:


And, of course, looking right:


Based on the depth of snow on the hood of my car, I'm guessing 5-6 inches. Of course, it spent most of the day melting, even though it was overcast and snow kept falling until about 1 pm. Something to do with the directness of the sun's angle toward the surface of the earth. Not trying to get technical here:


Anyway, those flowers that came up the other day? Yeah, they are somewhere down there under this:


The way the weather has been -- 60 degrees yesterday, snowing today -- this snow will probably be gone tomorrow afternoon. Let's face it -- it's time to quit snowing.


Pakistan comes by

Our newest first-time visitor comes to us from Pakistan. The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is  the sixth-most populous nation in the world with 180 million people, and the 36-largest in terms of land area.  Wikipedia has an interesting take on Pakistan:
Pakistan's post-independence history has been characterised by periods of military rule, political instability and conflicts with neighbouring India. The country continues to face challenging problems, including overpopulation, terrorism, poverty, illiteracy and corruption but regardless of that it ranks among the countries with most income equality[14] while has among the worlds most happiest citizens.[15] It also ranks among worlds most powerful countries. It is a member of the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, the Next Eleven Economies, SAARC, ECO, UfC,D8, Cairns Group, Kyoto Protocol, ICCPR, RCD, UNCHR, Group of Eleven, CPFTA, Group of 24, the G20 developing nations, ECOSOC, founding member of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (now the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation), and CERN.[16] It is also characterized as a Major non-NATO ally byUnited States.
"Income equality"? I guess that's one way to describe pretty much everybody being mired in abject poverty. As for being among the world's "most powerful countries," that's true, but not because Pakistan belongs to a bunch of inernational organizations. Being a nuclear power with at least several dozen warheads and ballistic delivery systems (missiles, kids) might have a little something to do with it.

The Wikipedia main page article on Pakistan also ignores the very existence of the Directorate of InterServices Intelligence, Pakistan's intelligence agency. The ISI has a history of of supporting terrorism, training and support for the Taliban, harboring Osama Bin Laden and sponsoring terrorist activities overseas, notably in India. The ISI was heavily involved in planning the November 2008 terrorist attack on the Taj Hotel in Mumbai, India that left more than 160 people dead.

Normally I try to find nice things to say about first-time visitor nations. But this isn't a travel blog -- except when I say it is -- and Pakistan is no friend of the U.S. I'm sure there are a lot of good people in Pakistan, but there were also a lot of them dancing in the streets after the 9/11 attacks. So a big Eff You welcome to our visitor from Pakistan, unless the visitor was one of the people dancing in the streets after 9/11, in which case it's just a big Eff You.

Peru checks in

So, we got our first visitor from Peru the other day. Guess I'm still doing better in South America that Barry is. Peru, of course, is on the west coast of South America, bordered by Ecuador and Colombia to the north, Brazil to the east, Bolivia to the southeast, and Chile to the south. To the west, of course, is the Pacific Ocean.

Peru has been there awhile, civilization-wise, beginning with the Norte Chico civilization, apparently one of the oldest in the Americas. Of course, the Incas were there when Columbus got to the New World, the largest pre-Columbian civilization. Not that it helped them much. Francisco Pizarro still kicked their asses in 1532.

Lima is the capital. Peru's economy is pretty healthy and lives on exports. The country is pretty mountainous, what with the Andes being there and all. All those old civilizations make for some nifty ruins for tourists to spend money to see, like Macchu Picchu:


So, everybody give a big Eff You welcome to Peru. Thanks for stopping by!


Sunday, March 16, 2014

California town can't figure out how to get rid of wild pigs terrorizing populace; North Carolina man can

Yet another element of the Carolina/California divide, I guess. In San Jose, California, feral pigs apparently are rampaging through town, causing lots of damage and scaring the shit out of people:
The feral pigs have acclimated to residential neighborhoods in northern California, damaging property and threatening the safety of homeowners, according to ABC News station KGO-TV in San Francisco.
City officials apparently acknowledge that the pigs are a safety threat, but, as you might expect in California, aren't actually willing to do anything to solve the problem. Instead, apparently, they issued a memo:
Officials from the city of San Jose have issued a manual to help residents manage the problem, saying more aggressive measures to control the population are impractical, dangerous or illegal.
"It is difficult and costly to have a lasting impact on the pig populations in this area through trapping or hunting," they write in the manual. "It is illegal to relocate pigs … it is dangerous to the community to hunt pigs."
The city says the most effective way for homeowners to get rid of the pigs is to put up low, sturdy fences in their yards. Other recommendations include using chemicals to rid lawns of bugs on which the pigs feed and putting up motion detectors to scare them away with lights or sound.
I admit, given the price of ammunition these days -- any decent variation of a .30 caliber round costs nearly a buck a pop, be it .30-06, .308, .303, .30-30, .307 or whatever -- if you have a lot of pigs, you could run up a pretty good ammunition bill. San Jose apparently prefers to save its money for public employee pensions instead of actually serving the public. Telling its citizens that it can't really do anything about this, the city instead puts the burden on residents and tells them to build a fence or apply other, costly, you-pay-for-it solutions and call the fence idea "the most effective way for homeowners to get rid of the pigs."

The problem, of course, is that doesn't get rid of the pigs. It just keeps them out of your yard, should you spend the money to build a "low, sturdy" fence. That doesn't mean there won't be a pissed off pig standing in your driveway in the morning looking to kick your ass. It just means he didn't root up your backyard first. And if you think pigs aren't dangerous, quit thinking about Wilbur from Charlotte's Web or Arnold from Green Acres and starting thinking about "Razorback." For those of you not familiar with that Australian masterpiece starring Arkie Whitely (best know for her part as the hot blonde in The Road Warrior), here's a taste:


Anyway, wild pigs really can be dangerous. It does not surprise me that a bunch of California bureaucrats can't figure out how to get rid of some wild pigs. On the other hand, it also does not surprise me that some guy from North Carolina, can figure out how to get rid of wild pigs. You kill them:
Under starry skies on Feb. 28, Jett Webb of Conetoe ensured there will be one less mouth to feed in the Indian Woods section of Bertie County – and a real big mouth, too. Webb took down a massive wild boar that bottomed out a set of scales certified to 500 pounds that’s used for weighing tobacco bales.
Michael Mansell, president of the White Oak Ranch Hunting Club, said he weighed well over 500 pounds.
“He pegged the maximum weight capacity of the certified scales with his head and shoulders still on the skinning shed floor,” Mansell said. “It was a true beast!”
I don't know what kind of pigs they've got out in San Jose, but I'll bet they don't look like this:


Please note that he took down this boar with a scary, scary, need-to-ban-them "assault rifle," which liberals will tell you has no legitimate purpose. This particular AR-15 has been modified with a new barrel and upper receiver so that it is now chambered in .308, which is plenty big enough for hunting large game, as opposed to the original 5.56 mm (.223 caliber, for comparison to the .308), which is not. The ease with which you can make such changes to the AR-15 is one of the many reasons for the popularity of the weapon. But I digress.

So once you kill a pig that size, what do you do with it? Silly question:


Friday, March 14, 2014

Actual temp conversation

One of the guys on this project is also a member of an improv comedy troupe (unpaid, of course). While he was at one of the internet terminals, another temp came up to use the terminal next to him, and the following conversation ensued:

Temp 1: So, how late you working tonight?

Temp 2: Leaving in just a few minutes.

Temp 1: Wow. Leaving early. You going part time?

Temp 2: No, I'm in an improv group, and we have rehearsal tonight.

Temp 1: How do you rehearse improv? I thought the whole point was that shit just happens spur of the moment.

Temp 2: It does, but you still have to rehearse, try different situations and things like that to help you react spontaneously and be funny.

Temp 1: Look, everybody knows, all you have to do when you're not sure what to do is start singing "Tomorrow" from "Annie." That shit's always funny.

Temp 2: I don't know.

Temp 1: Sure, everybody knows that's always funny. Unless you're actually in Annie, and playing Annie, and it's time to sing "Tomorrow." But if your'e in Annie, and not playing Annie, and you just start singing "Tomorrow," then that shit's funny again. And otherwise, it's just aways funny.

Temp 2: I'm not sure about that.

Temp 1: Of course it is. Try it. You're out there improving, you're not sure what to do next, just break into "Tomorrow." Fucking bring the house down every time.

Temp 2 has not, to my knowledge, tested this theory yet.

I think this guy might be my hero

If I ever get bitten by an extremely deadly snake, I hope I have the courage to emulate Rod Sommerville, an Australian man who recently was bitten by an eastern brown snake, an incredibly deadly breed. He killed the snake, then sat down to have a beer while waiting for the ambulance:
The 54-year-old was moving a few pot plants in his yard when the two and half foot snake nipped him on the finger.
Rod's reaction was to grab his shovel and "whack it on the head".
As soon as he was done with the snake, he called an ambulance, grabbed a beer from the fridge and sat down.
"I said to myself, if I'm going to cark it I'm going to have a beer, so I got a Goldie out of the fridge and drank that; 'cause you know eastern browns are the second most venomous snake in the world," Rod said
"If I'm going to cark it, I'm going to have a beer." The presence of mind here, the grace under pressure, is something the rest of us can only aspire to.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Kerry tells Russia to leave Ukraine alone by Monday or we'll really get mad -- "Don't make me get out of this chair!"

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, continuing the administration policy of speaking loudly and carrying no fucking stick at all., apparently has given Russia until Monday to do, um, something about Ukraine or the U.S. is going to get really serious about this and Russia will be sorry:
Secretary of State John Kerry warned of serious repercussions for Russia on Monday if last-ditch talks over the weekend to resolve the crisis in Ukraine failed to persuade Moscow to soften its stance.
Soften it how? For Christ's sake, they invaded Crimea, took it from Ukraine and are occupying it, knowing that Ukraine lacks the power to take back its territory and that the West -- mostly the U.S. -- lacks the nuts to do anything about it. If Kerry thinks this is a red line, Russia knows full well what a U.S. "red line" means under President Obama -- fuck all. Russian President Vladimir Putin already beclowned Obama over Obama's "red line" in Syria. Putin knows Barry won't do anything. Putin simply isn't worried about Obama and the U.S. interfering with Putin's actions. How do I know this? Because of this:
With a referendum on secession looming in Crimea, Russia massed troops and armored vehicles in at least three regions along Ukraine’s eastern border on Thursday, alarming the interim Ukraine government about a possible invasion and significantly escalating tensions in the crisis between the Kremlin and the West.
While the Obama administration shouts about illegal secessions and territory seizures, Putin continues along his merry way. We'll be lucky if Russia doesn't seize all of Ukraine, just because it can. The U.S. State Department continues to send out signals that we are a bunch of politically correct pussies who see the world as we wish it were, not as it is:
Asked about Russia’s military moves, a senior State Department official said, “We’re very concerned.”
“It certainly has created an environment of intimidation,” said the official, who cannot be identified under the agency’s protocol for briefing reporters. “It certainly is destabilizing.” Mr. Kerry plans to ask for an explanation of the military moves when he meets with [Russian Foreign Minister] Mr. Lavrov, the official said. Mr. Kerry said in testimony on Thursday that further sanctions would be announced Monday if the referendum went forward on Sunday. “There will be costs if the referendum goes forward,” the official said. If Russia escalates the crisis further, those costs will be increased, the official added.
Boy, I'll bet the Russians are shitting their pants worrying about how those costs will be increased. So far, the costs have been zero. The U.S. is "concerned" about "destablizing" "intimidation" on Russia's part. Putin hears this and says to himself, "I'm in." We're "concerned," Putin is consolidating his conquests. So long, Ukraine. Hope you enjoyed independence while it lasted.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Almost like a visit from the Kardashians -- Armenia checks in

We just got our first Eff You visitor from Armenia, homeland of Kim Kardashian's ancestors. Not exactly the same as the Kardashians dropping by, but a perfectly good excuse to run a photo of America's best-known Armenian-American:


Hey, I could have been much more exploitative -- there must be a bazillion pictures of her out there with next to nothing on. And I won't even mention the video that made her famous. But I digress.

So, Armenia. It's a democratic republic jammed in there between Turkey, Iran, Georgia, Azerbaijan and a couple countries you never heard of. Yeah, it's land-locked. And reallly mountainous. Mount Ararat, the traditional landing spot for Noah's Ark, is in Armenia.

Armenia is often referred to as the "first Christian nation" because it adopted Christianity as its official religion around 300 A.D. Things have been pretty much downhill from there. Armenia is most famous in this country for the Armenian genocide from 1915 to 1917, when the Turks killed as many as a million Armenians (the current population of Armenia is 3 million. Even tossing in the current 8 million or so Armenians living abroad, and that is nearly 1 in 10 Armenians. And, of course there were fewer Armenians then.) Turkey still says it didn't do shit. No one believes them. They also claim they didn't torture Lawrence of Arabia. Nobody buying that shit, either.

Anyway, Armenia has had a hard time of it, what with the genocide, its time as a Soviet possession, and the centuries of getting kicked around and owned by more powerful neighbors. We hope our Armenia visitor enjoys the blog. Send friends.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

I don't really know why, but we have an Eff You visitor from Iran

First time for somebody from Iran, of course. Seems weird, considering we did not get a visitor from Iran even after my infamous "Iranian space monkeys" post which, I admit, may have been infamous only on this site. Still, you know you want to say "Iranian space monkeys" during a conversation.

In any event, we have a visitor from Iran and, while this is not a geography blog -- except when it is -- we must give Iran the Eff You treatment. So here goes.

Iran, formerly known as Persia, is an extremely old civilization, with a settlements dating back to around 8000 BC. One of the world's most mountainous countries, Iran was not blessed by the weather gods, as most of the country is arid or semi-arid, but it is up to its collective schwanzes in oil. Iran is mostly in the news these days as a country trying really hard to develop nuclear weapons so that it can nuke those nasty Jews in Israel out of existence.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Barry can't spell "respect" -- what, no outrage?

When Dan Quayle, vice president under Bush 41 and one of the media's favorite examples of stupid Republicans, famously misspelled "potato" while at a school spelling bee by putting an e on the end, the media went apeshit. They did not, of course, bother to report that Quayle prompted the student involved to add the e because he was holding a school-provided flash card that spelled the word "potatoe," nor did the media report that Quayle didn't think that was right. Didn't matter. Quayle was an idiot.

Flash forward to a couple days ago at at White House event where Aretha Franklin performed, and when Barry misspelled "respect" during his remarks, the media didn't bat an eye. Never mind that his gaffe proved 1) that he reads from his teleprompter without regard for the content of what he is reading and b) the supposedly pop-culture-savvy president isn't even familiar enough with the sound and meter of Aretha belting out "R-E-S-P-E-C-T" that he would recognize that what he just said sounded wrong. This got reported, but in a very low-key way. I'll just sit back here and wait for the media to go on about what a twit Obama is because of this. I will not, of course, hold my breath.


Actually, I'm not suprised Barry can't spell "respect." After all, he has none for us.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The country is in the best of hands -- not! -- and our enemies know it

I've done a couple posts about Russia's invasion of Ukraine -- or at least its invation of the Crimean Peninsula, which from Russia's perspective is the most valuable part, with its warm-water naval base at Sevastopol -- so I guess it makes sense that Russia and Ukraine both are among the top 10 nations visiting Eff You this week. So from a traffic perspective, that's an interesting footnote.

Unfortunately, from a foreign policy perspective, the entire affair -- Eff You traffic notwithstanding -- is a demonstration of what a bunch of feckless morons are running this country. When the shit started hitting the fan about a week ago, Secretary of State John Kerry didn't tell Russia to get the fuck out of Crimea, he lamented that Russia was not behaving according to Kerry's views of modern norms:
“You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pre-text,” Kerry said. “It is serious in terms of sort of the modern manner with which nations are going to resolve problems. There are all kinds of other options still available to Russia. There still are. President Obama wants to emphasize to the Russians that there are a right set of choices that can still be made to address any concerns they have about Crimea, about their citizens, but you don’t choose to invade a country in order to do that.”
Um, if you're the country that just behaved in "19th century fashion," are you chastised? For one thing, seems like the 20th century was full of "19th century fashion" behavior -- U.S. invading Mexico in 1916, World War I, World War II (not to mention Japan invading Manchuria in 1933 and Germany taking over Sudetenland 1936 and Austria in 1938, leading up to the war), North Korea invading South Korea, Iraq invading Kuwait. The list goes on. Also, the U.S. invading Afghanistan in 2002 and Iraq a year later, along with all the other "19th century fashion" behavior going on all over the world, seems to indicate that 19th century behavior is not an aberration, it is the norm. The history of the world is one of the use of force to achieve national interests. That didn't stop with the turn of the 20th century. The fact that our national leaders seem to think it did is a little disturbing. And if I just invaded somebody and got that kind of response, I'm pretty sure I'm home free, because I know those worthless losers won't respond in a "19th century fashion" by kicking my ass ouf of Ukraine the way Bush 41 kicked Iraq out of Kuwait in 1991.

Plus, the mealy-mouthed crap that came out of Kerry after the invasion doubtless assured Russia that nothing would happen:
"It's an incredible act of aggression. It is really a stunning, willful choice by President (Vladimir) Putin to invade another country. Russia is in violation of the sovereignty of Ukraine. Russia is in violation of its international obligations," Kerry said.
Russia and Putin obviously are not concerned with violating Ukraine's sovereignty of Russia's international obligations. You call that applying pressure? Putin will agree to talk, and then will say, "You say potato. I say, I have the Crimea. Blow me." We're not playing the same game here.

You think this is just me saying this. Hell, I'm just a temp attorney, and a conservative to boot,  so of course I'm critical of Barry's ineptitude. But the Washington Fucking Post agrees with me:
FOR FIVE YEARS, President Obama has led a foreign policy based more on how he thinks the world should operate than on reality. It was a world in whichthe tide of war is receding” and the United States could, without much risk, radically reduce the size of its armed forces. Other leaders, in this vision, would behave rationally and in the interest of their people and the world. Invasions, brute force, great-power games and shifting alliances — these were things of the past. Secretary of State John F. Kerry displayed this mindset on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday when he said, of Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine, “It’s a 19th century act in the 21st century.”

. . .

Unfortunately, Russian President Vladimir Putin has not received the memo on 21st-century behavior. Neither has China’s president, Xi Jinping, who is engaging in gunboat diplomacy against Japan and the weaker nations of Southeast Asia. Syrian president Bashar al-Assad is waging a very 20th-century war against his own people, sending helicopters to drop exploding barrels full of screws, nails and other shrapnel onto apartment buildings where families cower in basements. These men will not be deterred by the disapproval of their peers, the weight of world opinion or even disinvestment by Silicon Valley companies. They are concerned primarily with maintaining their holds on power.
Nations act in their own best interests, regardless of how the rest of the world perceives those nations' best interests. To pretend otherwise is to ask to get fucked, and that's what Obama and Kerry are doing on behalf of the United States. They are not projecting strength, they are showing the belly, the way a dog submits. Think it's just me? Pay attention:
Appearing on Thursday's CBS Late Show aired early Friday morning, former NBC Nightly Newsanchor Tom Brokaw discussed the Russian invasion of Ukraine with host David Letterman and observed: "...when chemical weapons were used in Syria and they were discovered, I didn't think it was President Obama's finest moment. He said there's a red line, then he kept moving that sucker....[Vladimir Putin] might have taken the measure of President Obama and said, 'I may be able to test this guy'....it has that appearance."
Tom Fucking Brokaw, a dyed-in-the-wool liberal, agrees with me. Barry showed the belly over Syria, and Vlad knew he didn't have to worry about a challenge from that quarter. As it is, the last secretary of state this country had who was worth a shit thinks its time we quit showing the belly:
Most important, the United States must restore its standing in the international community, which has been eroded by too many extended hands of friendship to our adversaries, sometimes at the expense of our friends. Continued inaction in Syria, which has strengthened Moscow’s hand in the Middle East, and signs that we are desperate for a nuclear agreement with Iran cannot be separated from Putin’s recent actions. Radically declining U.S. defense budgets signal that we no longer have the will or intention to sustain global order, as does talk of withdrawal from Afghanistan whether the security situation warrants it or not. We must not fail, as we did in Iraq, to leave behind a residual presence. Anything less than the American military’s requirement for 10,000 troops will say that we are not serious about helping to stabilize that country.
. . .
These global developments have not happened in response to a muscular U.S. foreign policy: Countries are not trying to “balance” American power. They have come due to signals that we are exhausted and disinterested. The events in Ukraine should be a wake-up call to those on both sides of the aisle who believe that the United States should eschew the responsibilities of leadership. If it is not heeded, dictators and extremists across the globe will be emboldened. And we will pay a price as our interests and our values are trampled in their wake.
Barry doesn't really care about foreign policy, except to the extent it helps him win elections. That's why, now that he has no more elections to win, he makes noises but does nothing. He just doesn't care. Russia will keep Crimea, because we won't do anything to stop it. And Putin will pick his next target and say, "You say potato, I say I have . . . " And we'll be stuck with it. Heads up, Latvia and Estonia, where 25 percent or mor of the population is ethnic Russian -- the U.S. won't help you. Putin intervened in Crimea to "protect" the Russian minority in an area that was only 12 percent ethnic Russian. Think he won't do it to regain more former Soviet territory with a much higher percentage of Russian population? Especially when he believes we will do nothing? Yeah, right.






Saturday, March 8, 2014

Signs of spring?

Today was quite pleasant, reaching the low 50s and doing a lot to melt the remaining snow. Still a lot of it around, of course, but I think we might be done with snow soon. Not sure if any more is supposed to fall. I might do a river level update tomorrow, as I noticed today that snowmelt is pushing water levels pretty good.

Anyway, this isn't a weather blog, except when it is. About a week ago, I saw the first blooms of spring flowers in my beds:


Naturally, the day after I took that picture last Sunday, we got about 8 inches of snow. I was pretty sure those blooms were going to come out a little worse for the wear. Never underestimate the resilience of nature, however. Today, as the temperatures soared (relatively speaking), those hardy little flowers opened up again:


Lots more tulips and whatnot pushing up now. Should be just a few weeks before the beds look pretty good. We'll be planting tomatoes in no time!

Just a reminder that the NSA is reading your email

In the course of my daily stuff, I send links from my personal email account to the Raised By Wolves account. My personal account is with Yahoo, for no particular reason. Anyway, recently, Yahoo, apparently as part of an anti-spam effort, has started requiring some kind of text in every email -- you can't just send a link. Naturally, because I know that National Security Agency director James Clapper is reading everybody's email -- or at least his minions are -- the text I now include with the links I send to myself reads "Fuck you, Clapper."

What are the odds I get audited by the IRS next year?