30 April 2009

News from The Millionaire's Club.

When a bankruptcy judge exercises his or her ability to restructure the terms of a loan to enhance the chances it can actually be repaid (as opposed to the collateral being repossessed), it's called a "cramdown." 
In a time of rampant foreclosures, this seems like a relatively sane course of action, except the power doesn't apply to primary residences. Cramdowns only apply to your second (or additional) homes, yachts, airplanes, etc. Which is really helpful for rich folks. God bless 'em.
The White House essentially promised Chrysler the Mother of All Cramdowns today.
In the Senate, there was some proposed legislation to remedy the cramdown provisions to provide the same protections to ordinary citizens with, well..only one home, no yachts or aircraft. They finally voted on that issue today. 
Every Republican senator, plus 12 Democratic senators, decided that chumps with only one house didn't deserve the protections allowed their betters.
Hey America — your Senate has spoken, and it said, "fuck you, losers!"

Jawdropping idiocy.

It may be pretty early to name 2009's Asshole of the Year, but this yutz — excuse me — US congresswoman is certainly on the shortlist.
Unfortunate incident where a young man was killed during the commitment of a robbery? Jebus, lady. Are you too stupid to live? Mr. Shepard was befriended by two degenerates who were pretending to be gay. He asked them for a ride home, and they all left the bar together. The degenerates spent the next several hours torturing Mr. Shepard, including caving in the side of his skull with a pistol butt. They concluded their evening by tying Mr. Shepard's dying body to a fence post, leaving him hung up to die in the cold overnight. 
Yes, that is ever so unfortunate. Using the passive construction of "was killed," Rep. Foxx avoids mentioning that Mr. Shepard was tortured to death and his dying body displayed.
While the pair did indeed steal Mr. Shepard's belongings, it should be obvious to anyone with two brain cells to rub together that robbery was not the primary motive of this criminal enterprise. Put another way, this is not the way a typical jack goes down. In fact, at their trial, both the degenerate's then-girlfriends testified that the degenerates had previously told them of their conspiracy to rob a gay man.
It was not a commitment of a robbery. Not in reality, and not in English, you insufferable lackwit.
And if this wasn't bad enough, this dope called Mr. Shepard's bias-motivated torture-murder a hoax, on the floor of the House, while Mr. Shepard's mother was seated in the gallery.
During a hearing on the proposed legislation, Rep. Foxx insisted, "this bill takes us in the direction of creating 'thought police.'"
No, it doesn't criminalize thinking, but if it did, she'd clearly be immune from prosecution. Bias crime legislation penalizes certain criminal motives. Penalizing crimes based on motive has been an element of our criminal justice system since...well, the Code of Hammurabi.
People of Winston-Salem North Carolina — this is your representative. Ferchrissakes, do something.

26 April 2009

God got her for this.

For my favorite bon vivant Bea (of Another KC Blog), who took his nom de blaug from Ms Arthur. 
In memorial. Take it away, Bea & Rock!
Damn she was a good sport. This one made me laugh too.

18 April 2009

Lightning causes gay.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Colbert Coalition's Anti-Gay Marriage Ad
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorNASA Name Contest

13 April 2009

Hey J9...

since I know you love these remixes, please to enjoy:
And another:
Since they brought it up, it's worth mentioning that some homosexual concentration camp survivors were required to serve additional prison terms even after their camps were liberated, as their time in the Nazi camps didn't count toward their sentence. The few surviving homosexuals were also disqualified for compensation as Nazi victims. This was the case because various governments determined that homosexuals were not a persecuted minority, but only common criminals justifiably imprisoned.
Hm, a group of people manipulating the law to heap insult upon indignity. What does that remind me of?

12 April 2009

Poetic Justice.

By now you've heard that MV Maersk-Alabama's Captain Richard Phillips is safe, and the pirates dead or captured. Excellent. 
Phillips' rescue ship is the USS Bainbridge. That particular naval destroyer is named for one William Bainbridge. Commodore Bainbridge was a pirate fighter in both the First and Second Barbary Wars. Those wars were fought after the young United States decided that bribing African pirates wasn't nearly as good an idea as putting together a badass navy and just kicking the living shit out of them.
Alas, I don't really expect a bunch of Somali degenerates to appreciate that old-school message in its fullness. 
I do expect that very soon the Somalis will regret their recent embrace of piracy and association with al-Qaeda. A few well-placed late-night missile strikes can encourage much better manners. Ask Muhammar Qaddafi. 
This is not cowboyism. Thirty percent of the world's oil moves by ship past this area, and shipping insurance is already up 10x. It is a virtual certainty that if this nonsense continues unabated, there will be a catastrophe with an oil tanker. 
The answer is not to arm merchant vessels, wait until pirates approach commercial shipping, then hope to prevail in a shootout. The solution is to change these asshole's minds about the wisdom of launching their pirate ships at all.
Technology. We have it. 
They don't.

Pay attention, California Supreme Court!

A court has decided to enforce the majority's view of traditional marriage, as described in an ancient holy book.
Therefore, the marriage of an 8-year-old Saudi girl (given in marriage by her debtor father to a creditor as a settlement) to a 47-year-old Saudi man shall be deemed a valid legal marriage until the bride reaches puberty and may bring suit on her own behalf.
This should be cause for celebration among our homegrown traditional marriage defenders, no? 
After all, courts should be in the business of enforcing the majority's views. 
Or so I am told.

10 April 2009

There is a storm gathering.


08 April 2009

Enough is enough.

Somebody at the Missouri Attorney General's office is gonna read this soon:
As a preliminary matter, I have no personal animus toward Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser. I am a political nobody, with no connections to anyone in local politics. However, it is inescapably clear that the mayor's appointment of his wife to a public office is a clear violation of the Missouri Constitution's Nepotism provision (Article VII § 6)
Penalty for nepotism Any public officer or employee in this state who by virtue of his office or employment names or appoints to public office or employment any relative within the fourth degree, by consanguinity or affinity, shall thereby forfeit his office or employment.
The mayor's wife, Gloria Squitiro, signs her letters as "Personal Assistant to the Mayor." Until the mayor abandoned city hall, his wife had office space and a parking space there. She still has supervisory powers over paid city employees and assigns them work, and she presides over staff meetings. Thus, Squitiro exercises a public office, and was appointed to this position by her husband, the mayor.
Funkhouser argues that his wife labors in a voluntary capacity, placing her outside the constraints of the law. That is not so. The Supreme Court of Missouri has decided a case on-point — State ex inf. Attorney General v. Shull, 887 S.W.2d 397 (Mo. banc 1994). SCOMO held that the constitution was offended even where the relative held an unpaid position.
Having willfully violated the Missouri Constitution, Mark Funkhouser has forfeit his office. Rather than ceding that point or conforming to an ordinance passed by a unanimous city council, he's sued the city. The mayor's nepotism has cost the city in other ways — literally by defense of lawsuits brought against Squitiro, and figuratively by the petty squabbling and pointless disruption of governance perpetuated by this issue.
Enough is enough. 
As a concerned citizen, I believe that there is good cause for your office to bring an action in Quo Warranto against the mayor of Kansas City. That decision would not be without precedent and I fully suspect that it would be politically popular. 
Please let me know if I can be of any assistance in this matter. I look forward to your response.

06 April 2009

Welcome aboard.

If you're arriving from the S.S. JustCara, thanks for stopping by. 
Cara, I owe you a drink.
JUSTCARA's blog is conveniently located on the "crustybastard approved" list. Good stuff there.

What letter-grade applies to 3.26% success?

Over the weekend, the KCPD and the JackCo Sheriff's Department put together a sobriety checkpoint in Waldo.
Hours spent: 5
Vehicles stopped: 368
DUI arrests: 12
For the purpose of the roadblock, there was reason to detain only 3.26% of all drivers actually detained without suspicion.
Brace yourself — here comes another lesson in Our Crusty History:
Back when we were part of England, judges would issue Writs of Assistance. These writs were nonspecific general warrants that didn't expire. One's property could be searched by Writ's bearer at any time, for any reason. The bearer could freely transfer his Writ to another, and that new bearer had all the same rights.
This busybodying didn't go over very well with our forbearers. Oh no, not at all.
However, when challenged, the government reaffirmed the legality of such general warrants — among other things — in the unpopular Townsend Acts. (The Townsend Acts eventually led to the Boston Tea Party, which eventually lead to the Revolution, which would eventually lead to Purple Rain.)
After the colonists and the British had a pretty ugly breakup, Writs of Assistance were abolished in the new United States. Just to ensure the new government couldn't engage in such other odious intrusions, the Framers permabanned such general warrants with the Fourth Amendment.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
In short, if the government intends to stop you, search your person or property, or take possession of your stuff, it must have (1) "probable cause" (a reasonable belief that you committed a crime), plus (2) a sworn document that (3) says in detail the purpose for the search and/or arrest. 
Sounds reasonable. In fact, that's the definition of a "reasonable search."
Well, it was. Not so much anymore. When it comes to vehicles, modern Supreme Courts have held that there's pretty much no such thing as an "unreasonable search." They've blessed "sobriety checkpoints" as a permissible exercise of the government's police powers, thus giving law enforcement officers the open-ended power to stop and search any person inside any vehicle without requiring those officers to have any reason to do so. It's a modern-day Writ of Assistance — suspicionless, indefinite seizures and searches that are, by definition, unconstitutional under a plain-language reading of the Fourth Amendment.
I'm not even going to go off on the tangent that laws that compel you to provide breath or blood evidence to aid in your own criminal conviction seem to run afoul of the Fifth Amendment's prohibition against self-incrimination.
I'm not saying that law enforcement has no business going after dangerous drivers. Of course they do. I'm saying that obligation doesn't give them an open-ended fishing license. Law enforcement also has an obligation to investigate property crimes, but that doesn't give them the right to toss every residence in your vicinity because you got robbed.
Pragmatically, a 3.26% success rate just doesn't indicate an efficient use of resources either. It's certainly not productive enough to justify eroding the people's Constitutional Rights.
Alright, I've donned my Nomex Underoos in anticipation of the "drunk drivers are worse than Hitler" flaming I expect to be forthcoming.

I'll be damned.

If Iowa had been struck by an earthquake yesterday, for a lot of people it would be proof positive that God disapproves of gay marriage. Right?
Instead, nothing happened in Iowa. Maybe it was a little chilly.
Volcanos erupting in Alaska, earthquakes in Italy. 
All quiet in Iowa.

05 April 2009

Hey President Obama!

Over here!
Oh, hello. Do I have your attention?
Good. I love attention.
I know that you're busy with the failures of capitalism and stuff, but you're forgetting about your #1 nemesis — me. I'm not sure why you're messing around with Queen Elizabeth. She is not dangerous. You should be giving me an iPod, not her. 
Well, I hope you learned your lesson about not giving me your full attention. See, while you weren't looking, I used advanced North Korean technology to place a communication satellite in low geosynchronous orbit. 
Very, very low orbit.  
Quite a wet orbit, actually...because it is a communications satellite for fish! That's right, our launch was a completed and unmitigated success. North Korea has taken the lead in advanced communication with fish and, um, other ocean stuff. So, be afraid,  imperialist running-dog.
P.S. Hungry, send more food.

We shall call her "Odette."

Cleaned out the fridge this weekend and, as is my habit, I tossed a few things back on the driveway for the wildlife.
Today's Special: CORNBREAD
I was merely checking the back door lock this evening when I noticed a faint bit of movement outside. Could it be? Yes, an opossum eating the cornbread con gusto. 
No, this is not my picture. I stole it from the Opossum Society. It's awesome though. And I have that very shrubbery — it's a viburnum plicatum. I wanted to get a picture, but I made too much noise and she scampered away. Maybe next time.
I like opossums because they're cool animals — varmints very much like them were underfoot Jurassic dinosaurs. I love opossums because they're very cute plus as a bonus, they eat snails, roaches, and slugs. 
I really hate stepping on slugs. Gah. 

04 April 2009

I love this show.

Every time I watch Garth Marenghi's Darkplace I laugh my fool ass off. Sometimes the TOON network plays the episodes on Adult Swim. My trusty TiVo is poised for such an occurrence. 
How to describe Darkplace? Imagine all those gawdawful late '70s early '80s cliché hospital and detective shows at once, with ineptly written supernatural-themed story lines, directed by an Ed Wood disciple, and performed by the hammiest soap opera actors ever. Deliberately. 
Dr. Liz Asher's hairdo alone is made of industrial-strength awesome.
Here's a sample. Please to enjoy:

03 April 2009

"As Iowa goes, so goes the nation"...?

Iowa's mini-DOMA is unconstitutional.
Money quote:
The legislature has excluded a historically disfavored class of persons from a supremely important civil institution without a constitutionally sufficient justification.
Holy shit. Somebody actually read their constitution. I believe I just got the vapors.
Flyover Iowa is now officially more progressive than California and New York? 
Hahaha. Suck it, smug coastal progressives!
Heh, I kid. It won't last. As elsewhere, the Mormon and Catholic churches will again swoop in and use their immense tax-free resources to influence legislation by persuading Iowans:
These autocratic churches will once again pay homage to the virtue and wisdom of the popular vote as applied to public policy. Jebus loves democracy, hates homos! 
Of course, when it comes to these churches' internal policy issues, well, they hardly need the ignorant opinions of the unwashed rabble when they already have the benefit of their appointed and enlightened priest-kings.

01 April 2009

Another day in the big city.

So I was driving through midtown a couple of weeks ago. Well, not exactly driving. I was sitting at one of the many stoplights that occur every 5 1/2 feet on Main Street. I noticed this bleary looking old dude shambling across the crosswalk. Then I notice a middle-aged woman in scrubs crossing a different crosswalk. 
Then the noise. 
The woman starts screaming at the old dude. He looks ashamed. When they both arrive at the same sidewalk, she totally starts smacking the old dude around. She's really giving him the business, and he's just taking it.
I'm almost certain it was this guy:
Kansas City, Missouri — William James Smith, a 59-year-old Missouri man was arrested last week after shooting daughter who poured out his gin. Smith was charged Thursday with first-degree domestic assault and armed criminal action after police say he shot his own daughter in the leg in a dispute over alcohol. Investigators say Smith's 26-year-old daughter became aggravated with her father St. Patrick's day, after seeing him intoxicated. She reportedly poured out the remainder of his gin so that he wouldn't drink any more. That's when Smith pulled a handgun from his pocket and shot his daughter in the left thigh, according to the arrest report. Smith told detectives that he was attempting to remove a live round from the chamber of the gun when it accidentally fired. Smith was booked into the Jackson County Jail in lieu of a $250,000 bond.
It's comforting to know that our town drunk is packing heat. 
He drunkenly shoots his daughter and the family hasn't bonded him out? Astonishing.

Pup Fiction

Xtranormal.com is the timewaster de jour. 
Please to enjoy. (Caution: NSFW language).