Terror Alert Level

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Who is the genius who decided rush hour was a good time to paint the fog line on I-79???


This Corps Goes To Eleven

Watched the History Channel's much ballyhoo'd Gettysburg special last night, and all I can say is, meh. The battle scenes were well done, I thought, capturing the horror of mid 19th century infantry action. The "human interest" stories woven into the narrative were also compelling. However, there were just too many inaccuracies for me to take it seriously.

For one, it was obvious that many of the actors had never held a musket or rifle before. Many scenes had actors thrusting the weapon out in front of them before pulling the trigger, rather than bringing the piece to the shoulder. Secondly, the Federal infantry insignia was wrong. Union troops were shown with crossed rifles on their headgear, rather than infantry bugles. Crossed rifles weren't used until the 1870's. Also, both Confederate and Federal infantry NCO's were depicted with yellow chevrons. Infantry of the time would have had blue chevrons, yellow was for cavalry, and red artillery. Pretty bad job on some of the miscellaneous gear too, Federal troops were shown with plain white haversacks, while the norm would have been black canvas. Some of the straps on the odd looking knapsacks reminded me of horse tack.

The production depicted the poor dental hygiene of the 19th century in loving detail. You'd think if you're going for that level of realism, you'd get the other details right as well. During the battles, the spacing between individual soldiers was too tight for a skirmish line, and too loose for a line of battle. Several times, Confederate troops were shown advancing towards the battle as a disorganized mob, when they would have been moving either in column of fours, as skirmishers or in a line of battle.

By far the worst error was identifying Richard Ewell's II Corps as the eleventh corps. Its as if the narrator didn't know how Roman numerals work. I'm also pretty sure I saw a black Confederate infantryman attacking a Federal battery during the Pickett's Charge scene. Pretty damn sure THAT never happened!

All in all, I give it a C. Not worth staying up late for.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Struck Down

Judge in Wisconsin voids anti-labor legislation.

Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi ruled that Republican legislators violated Wisconsin's open meetings law during the run-up to the bill's passage in March. She said that renders the law void. She had previously put the law on hold temporarily while she considered the case.
Sumi said violating the open meetings law betrays the public's trust.
"The court must consider the potential damage to public trust and confidence in government if the Legislature is not held to the same rules of transparency that it has created for other governmental bodies," she wrote in a 33-page decision. "Our form of government depends on citizens' trust and confidence in the process by which our elected officials make laws, at all levels of government."

Sucking Us Dry

Hmmm...it appears that oil supplies are just fine, our pump woes might be due to speculators ripping us off.

A McClatchy investigation earlier this month showed the extent to which financial institutions now influence the price of oil. Until recently, end users of oil — such as airlines, refineries and other consumer of fuel — accounted for about 70 percent of oil trading as they tried to hedge against price fluctuations.
Today, however, speculators who'll never take possession of a barrel of oil account for that 70 percent of oil futures trading, and the volume of speculative trading has grown fivefold.

Will any elected types run with this? A campaign based on reining in speculators might be a winner.


Say, How About That Weather?

In a nutshell, we're screwed.

What's up with the weather?
Scientists say there are connections between many of the severe weather events of the past month and global warming.
"Basically, as we warm the world up, the atmosphere can hold more moisture in it," said Anne Jefferson, an assistant professor in the geography and Earth science department at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
"Weather patterns that used to be limited to the South move farther north now," she said. "Both of those things together will increase the frequency with which we see these big rainstorms, and those are likely to increase flooding in the future.

I read recently (no link, sorry) that as we put more energy (as expressed by rising temperatures) into what is essentially a chaotic system (weather) we expand the parameters of what we can expect. Not only will we see more storms and tornados, we'll see a greater frequency of exceptionally strong weather events. What was once rare, starts becoming more frequent. Buckle up, looks like we're in for a bumpy ride.

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Happy Birthday Stevie Nicks!

Happy Birthday Levon Helm!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Summing Up

From the Booman Tribune:

Here's the GOP agenda in a nutshell: Anything Government does that helps people and saves lives should be eliminated. That is, Public Schools, Social Security, Medicare, Disaster Relief, etc., etc. etc., need to be eradicated and their ashes spread tossed into the sea, but anything that helps private business and rich people rip off the American taxpayers (fraud and abuse in government contracts, wasteful defense spending, tax cuts for the top 1% of Americans, et alia) should be promoted and increased until the Middle Class has a waist size roughly equivalent to that of a person in end stage anorexia.

Dems Take NY-26

Republicans won big in November in large part to running a misleading campaign charging that Democrats were going to "gut medicare." Once back in power, House Republicans are now proposing to "gut Medicare." Look what got them.

The results set off elation among Democrats and soul-searching among Republicans, who questioned whether they should rethink their party’s commitment to the Medicare plan, which appears to have become a liability heading into the 2012 elections.
Two months ago, the Democrat,
Kathy Hochul, was considered an all-but-certain loser in the race against the Republican, Jane Corwin. But Ms. Hochul seized on the Republican’s embrace of the proposal from Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, to overhaul Medicare, and she never let up.
On Tuesday, she captured 47 percent of the vote to Ms. Corwin’s 43 percent, according to unofficial results. A
Tea Party candidate, Jack Davis, had 9 percent.

Touch that third rail and you're going to get hurt. I doubt the Republicans will learn the lesson, they've been trying to destroy Medicare and Social Security for decades. The question is, will the Democrats learn the lesson and start defending our signature programs and stop going into debates from the compromise position? Just start hammering at them, its a winning formula.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Dylan is 70??

Friday, May 20, 2011

John Cigna Dead

Adult Response

Hey, remember that high school student who challenged Michelle Bachmann to a debate? Well, she's getting threats from the mouth breathers.

"A lot of them are calling me a whore," 16-year-old Amy Myers said, referring to anonymous comments reacting to online news reports about her challenge to the 55-year-old Minnesota congresswoman.
In a letter addressed to Bachmann and dated April 29, Myers leveled pointed criticisms at the Tea Party Caucus founder.
"I have found quite a few of your statements regarding the Constitution of the United States, the quality of public school education and general U.S. civics matters to be factually incorrect, inaccurately applied or grossly distorted," Myers wrote....

Amy and Wayne Myers said the comments on conservative websites alarmed them most. Several commenters threatened to publish the Myers' home address.
Others threatened violence, including rape, they said.
"They're targeting me just because I'm challenging Bachmann," Amy said.

Its who they are.

Blondie - Rapture

Since tomorrow is The Day when the Select fly up into Heaven, I thought we could enjoy just one more song before the Tribulation.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Fun Rapture Day Events

Here's a fun project for May 21, via Friendly Atheist!

Everyone gather up a full set of clothes, including shoes.

Place them in a public area on May 21st, as if someone was raptured.

Underneath, place a note which says: “The rapture is a MYTH, but people and their needs are REAL, and these clothes were placed there for someone who needs them.”

Unforunatly, too many people will probably see a pile of clothing in a public place as a possible "threat" and the bomb squad will have to dispose of them.

Primary Election Day

Monday, May 16, 2011

Busy Busy Busy

I'm in college level classes all week, so posting will be sparse. The Rapture is supposed to happen on Saturday, so if you expect to be one of the vacuumed up, may I have your stuff?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Congresscritter Challange!!

Highschool sophmore challenges U.S. House Rep Michelle Bachmann to a civics debate!

I, Amy Myers, do hereby challenge Representative Michele Bachmann to a Public Forum Debate and/or Fact Test on The Constitution of the United States, United States History and United States Civics.

Is Bachmann smarter than a highschooler? Is she willing to debate? Or is she a craven coward?

Who Creates Jobs?

Unlike the Randian freaks, I've long known that the rich do not create jobs, jobs are created by demand for a product or service. Dave Johnson neatly lays that out here:

If I had extra money I wouldn't just hire people to sit around and read the paper. And if I had more customers than I could handle that -- the revenue generated by meeting the additional demand from the extra customers -- is what would pay for employing more people to meet the demand. It is a pretty simple equation:

you employ the right number of people to meet the demand your business has.
If you ask around you will find that every business tries to employ the right number of people to meet the demand. Any business owner or manager will tell you that they hire based on need, not on how much they have in the bank.

Did Indiana Legalize Unwarranted Entry?

No, no they did not.

Overturning a common law dating back to the English Magna Carta of 1215, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Hoosiers have no right to resist unlawful police entry into their homes.

The key word here is resist. An illegal entry is still an illegal entry, and any results of that illegal entry would be suppressed in court, while the police and municipality would be liable civilly for the infraction. Resisting is likely to lead to dead or injured homeowners or police officers, and that's the point of the ruling; there are other remedies.

However, the case at hand is a bit more complex. From the ruling:

On November 18, 2007, Richard Barnes argued with his wife Mary Barnes as he was moving out of their apartment. During the argument, Mary tried to call her sister but Barnes grabbed the phone from her hand and threw it against the wall. Mary called 911 from her cell phone and informed the dispatcher that Barnes was throwing things around the apartment but that he had not struck her. The 911 dispatch went out as a ―domestic violence in progress.‖

In Pennsylvania, that might be enough right there to get Barnes arrested for domestic violence. No idea about Indiana though. More:

Officer Lenny Reed, the first responder, saw a man leaving an apartment with a bag and began questioning him in the parking lot. Upon identifying the man as Barnes, Reed informed him that officers were responding to a 911 call. Barnes responded that he was getting his things and leaving and that Reed was not needed. Barnes had raised his voice and yelled at Reed, prompting stares from others outside and several warnings from Reed.
Officer Jason Henry arrived on the scene and observed that Barnes was ―very agitated and was yelling.‖ Barnes ―continued to yell, loudly‖ and did not lower his voice until Reed warned that he would be arrested for disorderly conduct. Barnes retorted, ―if you lock me up for Disorderly Conduct, you‘re going to be sitting right next to me in a jail cell.‖ Mary came onto the parking lot, threw a black duffle bag in Barnes‘s direction, told him to take the rest of his stuff, and returned to the apartment. Reed and Henry followed Barnes back to the apartment. Mary entered the apartment, followed by Barnes, who then turned around and blocked the doorway. Barnes told the officers that they could not enter the apartment and denied Reed‘s requests to enter and investigate. Mary did not explicitly invite the officers in, but she told Barnes several times, ―don‘t do this‖ and ―just let them in.‖

So Barnes is also in the process of moving out. That raises the issue if he even has the right to contest entrance to the apartment, as his wife, who is remaining with the apartment, seems to differ with him about letting the police in.

Barnes was charged with Class A misdemeanor battery on a police officer, Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement, Class B misdemeanor disorderly conduct, and Class A misdemeanor interference with the reporting of a crime. Before the trial, Barnes tendered a jury instruction on the right of a citizen to reasonably resist unlawful entry into the citizen‘s home. The trial court refused Barnes‘s instruction and did not otherwise instruct the jury as to the right to reasonably resist. The jury found Barnes guilty of battery on a police officer, resisting law enforcement, and disorderly conduct.
Barnes appealed, challenging the trial court‘s refusal to give his tendered jury instruction

The only person alleging that the entry was illegal was Barnes. While his jury instruction wasn't allowed, the jury was privy to the details of the incident, and found Barnes guilty on all counts. The jury had no issue with police entering the apartment. It looks, despite Barnes arguments, that the entry wasn't illegal at all. So again, no the court did not legalize unwarranted, illegal entry by the government.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The REAL Reason

Why the South lost!

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Instant Replay

While watching last night's Pirates/Dodgers game, the "instant replay" issue reared its head. In the top of the eighth with a runner on first and no one out, the Dodgers' Juan Uribe hit a sinking fly to Pirates' left fielder Jose Tabata. Tabata slid and made the apparent catch, got up and fired the ball in to Walker, who relayed to first to double off Matt Kemp. If Tabata doesn't make the catch, then Kemp easily makes third, and in a tie game late with runners at the corners and no one out, LA in all likelyhood comes up with at least a run.

The replay showed that the ball hit the ground just before winding up in Tabata's glove, which of course, brought up instant replay. Should it be used to overturn incorrect calls by the umpires?

There's a couple of issues here. One, is this a solution in search of a problem? Major League unpires are generally very, very good, and almost always make the correct call (of course, there are exceptions). Overall, during the course of a season, those blown calls will tend to average out. For example, on Sunday, Andrew McCutcheon made a diving grab in center that was called a trap, although the replay showed he caught the ball cleanly.

The other issue is what do you do with the baserunners? If no one is on, its fairly easy, award the batter first base if the replay shows the catch was actually a trap. However, what about the baserunners? If we allow field calls to be overturned based on instant replay, a baserunner would benefit by attempting to advance on any sinking liner or fly. If the ball is caught, he's likely to be doubled off anyway, while if its a trap, he's likely to get the extra base or possibly even score. As the game stands now, a prudent baserunner holds up to see if the ball is actually ruled a catch or not before attempting to advance or retreat.

Instant replay overrules are likely to slow the game down, and would more than likely result in very few overturned calls. I say leave it out. But then again, I'm a purist. I can't stand the DH, I like bunting, basestealing, and pitcher duels, and I'm against mediocre fielding shortstops who start because they can hit homeruns. So there.

Oh, and the Buccos are over .500, two games out and in third place in mid-may. WOOOO!


Saturday, May 07, 2011

Paper Planes launched from the edge of SPACE!

1945 - Bugs Bunny - Hare Trigger

Your Saturday morning cartoon! First apperance of Yosemite Sam.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Huckleberry Gets One Right

Credit where it is due.

Meanwhile, Will Bunch's "Tear Down This Myth" is an excellent read on how the actual Reagan and his policies are distorted by today's Teabagger Republicans.


Hmmm...bears a resemblance to my freshman year roommate.

Guilded Age

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Rocket Test - Project Excelsior launch 24

Amateur rocketry at its best!

No, Its Spelled Luxury Yacht

But its pronounced mangrove throat wobbler.

In response to the worst state budget crisis since World War II, the Texas House has proposed slashing $27 billion from the budget, including huge cuts to education, nursing homes, and health care for the poor. Yet last Friday, the Texas House Ways and Means Committee approved a tax break for those who want to buy yachts costing $250,000 or more.

The state has had a chronic shortage of revenue after years of slashing property and business taxes and creating numerous tax breaks and exemptions, just like the proposed one for yacht owners. Yet Republicans still insist on not raising taxes, and as a result have had to rely on draconian cuts to balance the budget.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011


The death of the murdering Osama bin Laden leaves me with a sense of satisfaction, but contrary to the spontaneous street demonstrations, does not leave me with a sense of joy. Yes, he was a killer. Although I am not a supporter of the death penalty, I realize that there are some criminals where the normal rules of polite society do not apply. OBL certainly falls into that category.

From a personal standpoint, I'd prefer to have him captured alive, tried, and sentenced. I also realize that a scenario following those lines was an impossibility.

From a visceral standpoint, I'd have liked to seen him caged, and hauled from city to city, town to town, village to village, hamlet to hamlet, where in each location, a specially built platform was erected, and citizens invited to take a massive dump on his head.

My point is, despite our personal desires, emotions, and wishes, it is important to be guided by the rule of law, and not the rule of revenge. And that is what makes liberalism superiour to authorativism.


SONY is going to get its ass sued off.

Monday, May 02, 2011

We Got Him!

"Justice has been done."

Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks that killed thousands of Americans, was slain in his luxury hideout in Pakistan early Monday in a firefight with U.S. forces

Congratulations to our brave and skilled military personnel who pulled off this operation.

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