You Got to Be Kidding Me!

Today’s WTF Moment…

Posted in Silly/Funny, Ungeheuer by Stacy McMahon on August 31, 2008

…is brought to us by the great state of Indiana, where some nutsack has been convicted in court of trying to force his kids to stab their cat, so they could “learn to kill”. Unsurprisingly:

Collins said he was intoxicated at the time


Another Georgia Update

Posted in Politics by Stacy McMahon on August 31, 2008

I am shocked, shocked! to hear that Russia has set up a security zone extending 4 miles into Georgia, and that Russian soldiers are running interference for Ossetian ethnic cleansing against Georgians.

Sarah Palin Makes Yer Head Asplode!

Posted in 2008 Election, Politics, Sarah Palin by Stacy McMahon on August 29, 2008

Like, I suspect, a lot of people, my reaction to McCain’s veep pick was “er, who?”. Then I read up a little bit on Sarah Palin, and mostly liked what I saw. She has executive experience at two levels of government, more than either of the headliners this year. She’s her own woman and is willing to call out asshattery, even when it comes from her own party.

Wait, she’s a woman? And conservative? I went out and got some microwave popcorn, and sure enough, I didn’t have long to wait. First out of the gate with the most (but not the worst) stupidity, Andrew Sullivan:

The more you think about it, and the more you consider how many charges he has leveled against Obama’s alleged inexperience in a time of peril, the more outrageous it is that she he picks an unknown local politician he has only met once before to be a heartbeat away from the presidency.

Palin isn’t the issue here. McCain’s judgment is. It’s completely off the wall. Is there something wrong with him?

Palin looks to me like a lovely person and a good local politician, with some inevitable rough spots. I’d be delighted if she took a leadership role in the GOP in the future. But in the same league as Obama? Do Republicans really think that little of him?

[the next two are reader email that Sullivan decided to post]
The VP isn’t just some vote-grabbing machine – it is the second-highest Constitutional office. For JM to offer this slot to someone with such meagre credentials, whom he hardly even knows is a sign of serious character disturbance.

No sooner did my best friend hear about the Sarah Palin pick than I received an e-mail from her. It said simply: “Sarah Palin is a Bad Mother!”

And of course there’s the always-reliable DailyKos (link via The Bitch Girls):

But it appears that Pallin’s [sic] last child, a baby with Down’s syndrome, may not be hers. It may be that of her teenage daughter.

Seriously, get. a. fracking. grip.

Something the Obama camp should keep in mind, but won’t, is that Karl Rove’s big strength was jujitsu, pulling moves that brought out the crazy in a big way among the GOP’s opponents. What will the party of identity politics and rigid talking points-enforcement do when faced with a strong woman who doesn’t profess their ideology? Heads asplode, that’s what. Look for lots more of this in the next two months. If you’re an Obama supporter you now know who and what to blame if he loses.

Edit: Let me add that I’m not approving or disapproving of Palin, McCain, or anyone else. Just saying that the media and Kos Kidz are about to cough up an epic fail, taking out their sexual obsessions and social prejudices on McCain’s veep, and that’s probably just what McCain is hoping for.

Putin Begins to Overplay His Hand

Posted in 2008 Election, Politics by Stacy McMahon on August 28, 2008

Direct interference in US elections is bad juju:

Putin told CNN his defense officials had told him it was done to benefit a presidential candidate — Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama are competing to succeed George W. Bush — although he presented no evidence to back it up.

If he keeps that up and it gains traction in the US media (and this is already CNN reporting it) then a lot of people will vote for McCain just to spite Russia. Of course Putin can count on some folks, like Andrew Sullivan:

America needs Russia right now.

On a slightly different note, someone or other linked an article yesterday (too lazy to look it up right now) calling it a scary development that a strong US Navy squadron is carrying humanitarian supplies directly to the (Russian-occupied) Georgian port of Poti. It’s actually a brilliant peacekeeping maneuver – the US has been humiliated once already by being helpless in the face of Russia invading a close ally (Georgia has made a huge effort in Iraq, relative to its size). If foreign aid sailed for Georgia in unarmed civilian ships and was impounded by Russian forces, US and NATO credibility would be directly on the line, and could only be restored by a pissing contest; pissing contest here having the meaning of a full-on shooting war. So, sending the aid on warships that Russia won’t dare to attack actually prevents war, at least for another few days.

And that might just be long enough, since Russia may be approaching the end of its leash:

But Russia’s hopes of winning international support for its actions in Georgia were dashed Thursday, when China and other Asian nations expressed concern about tension in the region.

The joint declaration from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which includes China, Russia, Tajikistan, Kyrgystan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan, said the countries hoped any further conflict could be resolved peacefully.

Japan Going [Somewhat] Electric

Posted in Uncategorized by Stacy McMahon on August 27, 2008

The thing is, we have the technology already to build electric cars, or most other known alternative energy sources. All else being equal, modern manufacturing technology can make almost anything available in large numbers and efficient enough to be workable (if not necessarily economic) for a given mission.

But all else isn’t equal – there’s a huge infrastructure (gas stations, qualified mechanics, aftermarket components and even general public knowledge) supporting hydrocarbon fuels, and effectively zero infrastructure for any alternative. If you live in a large city, there may be half a dozen hydrogen stations. You can plug your EV into your garage at home, but what about the office? That’s a serious problem because all extant EVs are lucky to get from home to office before they need to be plugged in.

The US doesn’t do big public infrastructure projects anymore (reality: our road infrastructure, including a lot of the oil industry, was jump-started by government policy 70+ years ago) so it’s not clear how we’ll get from here to there. And before anyone comments, yes that is definitely a separate issue from whether we should. Anyway, Japan is attacking the issue head-on:

Utility Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) has announced the development of new electric stations that could charge an EV enough to run for 40 km (26 miles) in five minutes, or up to 60 km (40 miles) in ten minutes. The company sees them in, for instance, supermarkets. The government is helping build the infrastructure as well: The Kanagawa prefecture, the region adjoining Tokyo, is providing 150 recharging stations in an effor to fulfil the Japanese Government’s announcement that half of the new cars sold in 2020 will be electric.

News: Ethanol Still Corrodes Engine Parts

Posted in Economics, Going Green, Politics by Stacy McMahon on August 27, 2008

For the commenter the other day who wanted to ignore ethanol’s obvious, big problems because it’s a quick way to go green, here’s some evidence that I’m not making up the part about it destroying any fuel system into which it’s introduced:

MSNBC has an polled a handful of small engine mechanics and each of them cite internal engine damage, which they claim can be attributed to the use of alcohol fuels. We’ve heard about this problem for at least two years, and expect that this is an issue which will get even more attention as the government mandates more ethanol to replace petroleum.

My guess is that once the problem becomes too big to ignore, the response is likely to be more regulations that will end up taking small engine-powered tools off the market – whether or not there’s any feasible replacement available. Remember this when your only option for yard maintenance is to hire a service, because you can’t personally afford a decent lawnmower anymore.

Somebody Get That Man a Map

Posted in Politics by Stacy McMahon on August 27, 2008

I have to admit I needed to look at the map to be sure of this one:

Miss South Carolina, where are you? Tim Kaine, a US American, needs the Iraq maps!

That’s because he said Delaware borders Virginia. I guess I could see someone making that mistake, you know, if they were from California. If you don’t go to the beach much, but have heard of “Delmarva” (Del[aware]Mar[yland]V[irgini]a) you might not realize that Salisbury commands Southern Maryland, which stretches from the Chesapeake to the Atlantic and puts about 40 miles between Virginia’s Eastern Shore and Delaware. Then again, Obama thinks there are 52 states, and McCain has apparently managed to raise the ire of the Swift Boat Veterans.

The silly season indeed…

Michael Totten Reports From Tbilisi

Posted in Politics by Stacy McMahon on August 26, 2008

Michael Totten has a new dispatch with a blunt and shocking lede:

Virtually everyone believes Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili foolishly provoked a Russian invasion on August 7, 2008, when he sent troops into the breakaway district of South Ossetia. […]
Virtually everyone is wrong.

This from a conversation with Patrick Worms and Thomas Goltz, who he says are respectively a freelance investigator on the Georgian government payroll (with appropriate grains of salt) and an academic expert on the region who is not on any interested party’s payroll, but confirms everything Worms says.

Links are to Google – I don’t have time to look these guys up myself, but let me know if you find anything interesting…

Apparently the record shows that the fighting began on August 5th and 6th when Ossetian irregulars attacked Georgian peacekeepers (and later, Georgian villages inside Georgia) – not on August 7th when Georgian forces attacked Tshkinvali. That attack was a reaction to the entrance of Russian Army units, which thus also happened before the Georgians attacked Ossetia. In other words, if this is true then Russia planned this attack just like Hitler planned to attack Poland.

Something else to consider if you’re going with the “Georgians are ethnic cleansers just like the rest” explanation (emphasis added):

“Well,” Goltz said, “there are some details that I would chip in. Who are the Ossetians and where do they live? This is the question that has been lost in all of the static from this story. This autonomy [South Ossetia] is an autonomous district, as opposed to an autonomous republic, with about 60,000 people max. So, where are the rest of the Ossetians? Guess where they live? Tbilisi. Here. There. Everywhere.


“Are they on the side of those who live in South Ossetia?” I said.

“No,” he said. “One of them is Georgia’s Minister of Defense. Georgia is a multi-ethnic republic. And the whole point of the Ossetian ethnic question is this: South Ossetia is part of Georgia.”

Sound familiar?

Motorcycling Is In My Blood

Posted in Two Wheels by Stacy McMahon on August 26, 2008

Who knew? A couple years ago while visiting my folks, I was looking through an old photo album and saw some pics of a guy on an old-style motorcycle. It turned out this was my maternal grandfather, who was a newspaperman in the UP during the Depression. Looks like he had a bit of misspent youth to his name as well:

The pics didn’t come with any info on the ride, so I had to Google things like “classic motorcycle”, and had a hard time coming up with anything. Then by chance the other day I saw a reference to Excelsior, and the “X” logo on the gas tank just like on Grampa’s bike. After some more research it looks like his poison was a 1920 Excelsior 20r, with a 1,000cc v-twin. In its day it was the equivalent of an Indian, or (later) Norton or Vincent. Grampa Bolger had good taste — I wonder what he’d think of my Bandit, or the BV

With Friends Like This…

Posted in 2008 Election, Politics by Stacy McMahon on August 25, 2008

TalkLeft: “Obama’s supporters I find are his worst enemies now.” I’ve been saying that for awhile too. My favorite quote is Frank Rich: “So while Obama can continue to try to reassure resistant Clinton loyalists in Appalachia that he’s not a bogeyman from Madrassaland . . .”

These people represent Obama, whether anyone wants them to or not. If he gets voted down by other people who resent statements like the above, they’re going to have nobody but themselves to blame. Not that they will blame themselves, of course.