Sunday, March 31, 2013

Texas Gun Culture: Kaufman DA Murdered

Kaufman County is one of the most insignificant of Texas' 254 counties. It's a bedroom community to Dallas, overwhelmingly white and Republican. They are less educated than the average Texan. Basically, Kaufman County is where the poor, white trash of Dallas live.

As far as I can tell nothing of historic significance ever happened in Kaufman County. Except, Kaufman County is one of those places in Texas where the lives of honest law enforcement officials aren't worth a warm bucket of piss.

Two months ago a deputy district attorney was gunned down outside the Kaufman County courthouse when he arrived at work. Yesterday, the district attorney of Kaufman County and his wife were executed with an assault rifle when they answered the door to their home.

Suspicion has fallen on the Aryan Brotherhood. Certainly, the greater Dallas area has long been a comfortable home for several white supremacist organizations. And the Dallas region is renown as the murder capital of Texas with a murder rate twice that of New York City.

For as long as anyone can remember, racism and murder have been the favorite recreational activity of the greater Dallas area.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Conservatives, Marriage and the Bible

If all you listen to is conservatives then...

  • Marriage is nothing more than written permission from authorities to have sex.
  • The lyrics of the old song - Love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage - were part of the liberal homosexualist agenda when they were written by Sammy Cahn back in 1955.
  • Allowing people to marry for love is "unchecked hedonism" - Rush Limbaugh (Limbaugh is a serial polygamist who has married four times).
  • By biblical tradition, marriage is one man-one woman.
On that last point, if you use the Bible as a guide for marriage you get a perverted array of definitions.
  • Rape Marriage - The Bible requires a raped virgin to marry her attacker. (Deut. 22:28).
  • Polygamy - The Bible clearly defines marriage as one man and as many women as he can get his hands on. King Solomon holds the record of 700 wives (1 Kings 11:1).
  • Inherited Marriage - A childless widow was required to marry her brother-in-law (Gen. 38:6).
  • War Prize Marriage - Beautiful women capture during war could be taken as wives (Deut. 21:11).
In the Israelite war against the Midianites (Numbers 31) God ordered all the men, male children, and non-virgin women to be killed. Virgin women and children (32,000 in total) were divided up between the soldiers and civilians as wives and slaves. Thirty-two were taken by God as human sacrifices.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

That's Where Gun Dealers Draw the Line?

Gun dealers will happily sell weapons to heavily tattooed bikers and sullen goths, as long as if for their "personal use." Even though that use might be to facilitate building a network of meth labs or shooting up your high school science class because...Monday.

Gun dealers will sell to rednecked yahoos who have difficulty spelling their own names and whose indented is to use it to frighten their sissy neighbors and keep their bitches in line. Second Amendment, ya know.

They'll even sell guns to people who intend to use the gun to blow their own brains out. It's a personal freedom thing.

But buying a gun for the purpose of showing how fucking easy it is to buy a gun is an extremely bizarre and completely unacceptable intended use.

Gun dealers don't have a problem selling to any of these idiots.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Pending Georgia-Tennessee Water War

The state of Georgia has passed legislation demanding that the State of Tennessee surrender a piece of Tennessee land to the Peach State. While Georgia is not threatening invasion, yet, they are threatening lawsuits.
Georgia wants to draw a line about to about a mile north of the current border to the 35th parallel, follow the parallel for about one and a half miles, and then draw another line reconnecting to the state boundary. Tennessee would cede that chunk of land, about 1000 acres, to Georgia. In exchange, Georgia would promise not to go after more Tennessee land they claim including parts of the city of Chattanooga.

The reason is that Atlanta is greedy for water. Georgia want to grab a piece of the Tennessee River so they can start sucking water out of it to feed their drought stricken lawns.

In 1818 the state of Georgia hired a mathematics teacher named James Camak to draw the official boundary between Georgia and Tennessee. Georgian politicians, being the same cheap-ass people they are today, refused to let Camak buy the equipment he needed to do the job properly. He had to make do with a Navy surplus sextant rather than a state-of-the-art Zenith telescope. With cheap equipment the best Camak could do was a reasonable estimate of the border. He managed to draw a straight line and only missed the 35th parallel by less than a mile.
There is even a monument.

Everybody was perfectly satisfied. Georgia had a gold rush, drove all the Native Americans out of the state, hosted a civil war, and nobody cared the state's northern border was off by a hair. It wasn't until the 1890's when Georgia politicians, fresh from passing Jim Crow Laws to re-enslave their black citizens, thought about snatching up some prime Tennessee real estate.

For the next century, Georgians would periodically bring up the border dispute but mostly because Georgians tend to be royal assholes. They didn't really want or need the land, they just wanted to fuck Tennessee.

Now they want the land, or rather the water, badly. Georgian politicians may condemn climate change science as Communist propaganda but they also believe the scientists when they say climate change will mean permanent drought conditions for Georgia. They want a tiny piece of the Tennessee River so they can claim a huge amount of the river's water.

Of course, Georgia could negotiate regional water issues like Western states have done for decades, like responsible adults. But that's not the Georgian Way. Georgians prefer to resolve disputes by shooting your dog first. Georgia wants the water and they want to fuck Tennessee (whose land they will take) and fuck Alabama (the water they take would otherwise flow into drought stricken Alabama) than negotiate like wusses.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

God Rebirth Festivals

Russian Maslenitsa celebrants.
We all know that early Christianity merged their holy celebrations with existing pagan rituals and that explains what bunnies laying colored eggs has to do with Roman authorities executing a Jewish preacher 2000 years ago.

Can you see the foreskin?
That may even go so far as the naked guy nailed on a cross. The cross was a phallic symbol long before it was an instrument of torture. According the the original Greek text, Jesus was executed on an upright stake (stauros) without a cross beam (see right). The cross, with its phallic symbolism, replaced the less erotic stake.

Of course, Spring is the season of resurrection and renewal which makes it perfect for celebrating the rebirth of a god.

That is why Spring festivals were held for the resurrection of the Semitic god Ba'al, for the Greek goddess Persephone, and the Egyptian god Osiris. Korea, Japan, and the Aztecs all had deities that were reborn in the Spring.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Waiting Sucks

Lesson discovered while waiting in an emergency room waiting room while a relative was being treated:

Waiting Sucks.

Things turned out fine.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Why the Cyprus Insanity Makes Sense

Cutting through all the crap, the reason for the EU's raid on Cyprus bank accounts was to make Russian mobsters pay for the banking bailout.

Increasingly over the past few years, Cyprus bankers have been the go-to guys when the Russian Mafia, and your basic Russian zillionaire, wanted to launder their ill-gotten funds. The Bank of Cyprus has more branch offices in Russia than in Cyprus.

Cypriot bankers paid slightly higher interest rates than the rest of Europe through a technique known as the Ponzi Scheme. Cypriot bankers are world renown for taking a smuggler's attitude to the business of banking.

When Cypriot banks got in trouble, an obvious eventuality, there was no way that austerity would work - the tiny nation's banking industry dwarfs the rest of their economy. Simply bailing out the banks would have just transferred assets from German businessmen to Russian gangsters while propping up the Ponzi Scheme.

Sucking assets out of  bank accounts to pay for the bailout may, on first blush, appear and insane plan to make Ma and Pa Constantinou pay for the idylls of the rich. But the real reason for this plan is to suck assets out of the Russian Mob.

My bet is the Cypriot parliament would rather let their nation's economy collapse than disappoint the Russian plutocrats who lavish them with bribes.

My bet was right.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

St. Patrick Myths

St. Patrick is to Ireland as Paul Bunyan is to Minnesota - mostly myth.

Drove the Snakes Out
It is true that all the snakes were driven out of Ireland, only it wasn't by some Catholic priest. The snakes were driven off the island by a little thing called the Ice Age when Ireland was completely covered by glaciers. There are no snakes in Alaska either, no thanks to Saint Sarah.

He Is a Saint
Patrick was never canonized. An Irish bishop back in the 7th century started calling Patrick a saint and it kinda stuck but no pope ever got around to actually, formally, bestowing sainthood on old Paddy.

Parades Are Traditional in Ireland
The parades are an American tradition. The first was held in New York in 1762. Parades were held in New York, Boston, and even Chicago long before the "tradition" was exported to Ireland. The date did not even become an official holiday in Ireland until 1903. The first St. Patrick's Day parade held in Ireland only happened in 1931. Butte, Montana has a longer tradition of St. Patrick's Day parades than Dublin.

Green Beer Is Irish
Irish value their stout Guinness brew too much to foul it with food dye. The habit of coloring beer green is another American innovation. Pouring green crap into the pale pilsner that Americans call beer can't possibly ruin it.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Jamie Dimon: Master Thief

Steal a loaf of bread to feed starving children and you go to jail for 19 years in Victor Hugo fiction.

Steal a slice of pizza and the punishment is 25 years to life in California.

Steal a bag of M&Ms and the result in Texas is summary execution.

Steal millions from a charity, if you are a slot machine addicted ex-mayor, and you get sympathetic tuts from prosecutors.

But, if you are a gambling addicted CEO of a major New York investment bank like JPMorgan Chase, you can steal $6.2 billion from your customers and investors and piss it all away wagering on exotic derivatives. You can then lie to those investors and tell federal regulators and even the United States Senate to fuck off. You'll find the Federal Reserve covering your losses and the Attorney General kowtowing to you like you were Chinese emperor Qin Shi Huang.

It may be good to be king but it is great to be a bank CEO.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

El Papa de los Desaparecidos

I don't care who is elected Pope, just like I don't care who is the Grand Mufti of Syria or the Chief of Hate for the Southern Baptist Convention. It really is none of my business.

I am interested, however, in the fact that many conservative, non-Catholic, Americans are enamored of the new Pope specifically because he may have been involved in the kidnapping and torture of liberal priests in Argentina during their brutal right-wing dictatorship.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Queues in Nature

A couple of pictures while I recover from my father's 102nd birthday.
This photo is from the 1898 Yukon gold rush. Wannabe millionaires, virtually nobody came out of the Yukon richer than he went in, lined up to climb the Chilkoot Pass to the Canadian gold fields. The Canadian government required each man to have nearly a ton of food and equipment to cross the border so these men had to make several trips.
The National Park Service limits permits to climb Half Dome in Yosemite National Park to 300 daily visitors. Prior to that, on sunny summer weekend days climbers up this route lined with cables could number over 1000 and the scene up Half Dome would resemble the Chilkoot Pass in 1898.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Rudy Wants My Help

Imagine my surprise this morning when I checked my inbox and found a message from Rudy Giuliani. How I got on his mailing list baffles me. It's not like I have expresses anything other than bemused contempt for the most corrupt New York mayor since Jimmy Walker.

Rudy wants me (Really? Me!?) to give money to an old buddy of his. Since I remember the last old buddy he supported, Bernie Kerik, went to prison for corruption and was described by the judge who oversaw his case as a "toxic combination of self-minded focus and arrogance" I'm sure this gumba, a dud named Liota, is of equal moral character.

Sorry, Rudy. I'd rather flush the money down the sewer.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Drone Hypocrites

If I ever met Rand Paul, with his W. C. Fields nose and Doctor Who hair, I would have trouble resisting vomiting on his shoes. That said, I applaud his use of an actual filibuster, rather than the silent filibusters that most senators use, to point out vague hypocrisy from the Administration on killer drones.
Give this man a medal.
The Administration's position, reluctantly discussed, has been that using drones to kill Americans inside the US is just plain wrong and we are not in any way considering it...just now. But who knows if in the future the President might want to designate somebody in Des Moines an "enemy combatant" and shoot a Hellfire missile up his ass. Gotta keep your options open, don't ya know.

What the filibuster has revealed is the hypocrites on both sides. Many Republicans who defended President Bush's desire to torture Americans if needed supported the filibuster, even though drones and torture are the same thing. Conversely, many Democrats who oppose torture have stayed strangely quiet during the drone discussion.

Not everybody is a hypocrite. John Yoo, the notorious torture lawyer for George Bush who said the President can legally crush a child's testicles if the President wants to, supports drone attacks against US citizens inside the United States.

President Obama may want to reconsider any policy that John Yoo likes.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Bits of Tid

Little noshes.

TSA Fatheads
New TSA rules will allow all sorts of weapons on airplanes including small knives, hockey sticks, and golf clubs. It seems nobody has every been attacked with pocket knives, bludgeoned over the head with a hockey stick, or had his wife attack him with a 9-iron. Shoes, however, will still be considered deadly weapons. And genitalia will still need to be searched.

Iraq Money Pit
By now its common knowledge that the Iraq War was a huge, fucking waste of money and lives. Except, of course, for Haliburton which made out like bandits.

Death From the Skies
For those of us who thought torture was unconstitutional how about using drone aircraft to assassinate Americans inside the United States without trial? I haven't decided if this announcement was meant to make Pakistanis feel better by assuring them that the US government is just as cavalier with American lives or to make American accepting of drone spy planes becoming common place over US cities because at least the President isn't dropping Hellfire missiles on us.

Bush III
Jeb Bush will run for President in 2016, guaranteed, because America's highest office is a hereditary position and it is his turn. He is already flip-flopping like a trout on the bottom of the boat.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Justice Roberts and Justice Taney

Notorious Chief Justices
When it comes time to write the Supreme Court decision to overturn key elements of the Voting Rights Act, John Roberts will choose himself to author the decision. This will mostly be because Roberts will be afraid that Antonin Scalia will not be able to resist inserting the word "jiggaboo" into the text, but it will link Roberts for all time with that other great defender of legalized racism in America - Roger Taney.

Shelby Co. v. Holder, rightly, should be considered part of the Citizens United decision. Both have the clear intention of tilting election results in favor of privileged classes. The Citizens United case was insufficient alone in allowing Sheldon Adelson and and his ilk to outright buy the 2012 election. Coupled with large scale disenfranchisement of minorities the two Supreme Court decisions should allow white elites to own government for a couple more generations.

History will certainly link Justice Roberts with Justice Taney. Roberts, like Taney, will be vilified by history as a racial extremist.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

What Happened in March 1911

My father has his 102nd birthday this month which is excuse enough to look back.
  • The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire killed 146 garment workers because factory managers had locked the sweatshop doors. The tragedy led to the major reforms and the growth of the International Ladies' Garment Workers Union.
  • The structure of the atom, electrons orbiting a nucleus, was first described by British physicist Ernest Rutherford.
Las Vegas in 1911.
  • The city of Las Vegas, Nevada, population 800, was incorporated. Gambling was illegal.
  • The US Supreme Court ruled that corporate income taxes were constitutional.
  • Irving Berlin's first big hit, Alexander's Ragtime Band, was published.
  • One quarter of the US armed forces (20,000 soldiers), the greatest troop movement since the Civil War, was dispatched to the US-Mexican border "on maneuvers." The real reason was to prevent the Mexican Revolution from spilling over the border.
  • Congress failed to vote on statehood for New Mexico. It would not become the 47th state until next year.
In international news, the mayor of Jerusalem wrote to the sultan of the Ottoman Empire requesting he stop Jewish immigrants from entering Palestine.

The population of the United States was 93 million. The global population was 1.8 billion. The highest paid player in baseball was Ty Cobb, $9,000. The richest man in the world was John D. Rockefeller. President was Howard Taft.