Sarah Palin's image already appears on the newer nickels.

calendar   Saturday - April 24, 2010

Weekend vids

[ sorry, this post has been pulled to see if it is creating a problem for IE viewers. ]


Posted by Christopher   United States  on 04/24/2010 at 08:49 PM   
Filed Under: • Fun-Stuff •  
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Actual Economic Stimulus

Somebody must be doing some blog analysis out there. Now I’m getting the maritime newsletters in my inbox. Fine by me.

MMC To build 31 more ships for the government

In Wisconsin

I don’t ordinarily think of Wisconsin as a great center of ship building. What the heck, it’s in the middle of the country, about as far from an ocean as you can be and still be in the USA. But it sits right on the shores of 3 of the 5 Great Lakes, and as the phone company likes to say, we’re all connected. So it makes a lot of sense.

And in Marinette Wisconsin, a bit north of Green Bay, is the Marinette Marine Corporation and it’s shipyard. These are the people who in 2006 launched the USS Freedom, LCS-1, the US Navy’s first Littoral Combat Ship. This week they’ve announced several more contracts. Seems like their personal economies are being well stimulated. Glad to see something solid come out of all this money spent.

Marinette Marine awarded 30 more RB-M’s


Fincantieri Marine Group member Marinette Marine Corporation, reports that, as the Prime Contractor and Program Manager, it has been awarded an additional 30 Response Boats - Medium (RB-M) by the U.S. Coast Guard. The award is worth about $63.6 million and is part of a multi-year, Coast Guard contract for the construction and delivery of up to 250 RB-M’s at a total contract value of up to $600 million. This latest award brings the total number of boats under contract to 97

$73.6M New NOAA Fisheries Survey Vessel

NOAA awarded a $73.6m American Recovery and Reinvestment Act contract to Marinette Marine Corporation located in Marinette, Wis., for the construction of a new fisheries survey vessel, which will dramatically improve NOAA’s ability to conduct surveys for fish, marine mammals and turtles off the U.S. West Coast and in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.

The vessel will be the fifth in a series of state-of-the-art Oscar Dyson-class ships built for the agency.

“Our fisheries and marine ecosystems are critical to our nation’s economy,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “Thanks to the Recovery Act, this new vessel will greatly enhance our understanding of our ocean resources and play a vital role in supporting NOAA’s mission.”

The ship will be equipped with a full suite of modern instrumentation for fisheries and oceanographic research, including advanced navigation systems, acoustic sensors, scientific sampling gear and extensive laboratories.

The high-tech ship will also produce much less noise than other survey vessels, allowing scientists to study fish populations and collect oceanographic data with fewer effects on fish and marine mammal behavior.

Oscar-Dyson? Sounds like a radio call sign, or some really sci-fi lunch meat that comes in little balls. Nope, it’s a very sturdy and very well equipped sea going scientific research vessel.


It’s not built for speed, or to go twice around the world on a tank of oil. It’s built to house all sorts of research gear and instrumentation, and to comfortably berth the science types who use it. From the height of the strakes it looks to me like it’s built to handle some pretty rough seas too.

General Specifications

* Length (LOA): 63.8 m (209 ft)
* Breadth: 15.0 m (49.2 ft)
* Depth to Main Deck: 8.65 m (28.4 ft)
* Draft (Centerboard retracted): 6.0 m (19.4 ft) Full load
* Draft (Centerboard extended): 9.05 m (29.7 ft)
* Full Load Displacement: 2,479 metric tons

Speed & Endurance

* Cruising Speed: 12 knots (14 knots maximum)
* Speed, Hydroacoustic Survey: 0 to 11 knots
* Range: 12,000 nautical miles

Yes, you read that properly. The Oscar-Dyson class of ships have centerboards, retractable keels that help stabilize the ship. They also have rather huge bilge keels along the sides, for the same reason.


So out of all those untold billions of stimulus, here’s about $140 million of it that will actually turn into something useful. I wonder if they’re hiring?


In more shippy news ... in case you’ve every wondered ... it takes 5,500 gallons of paint to paint a battleship. Paint maker Sherwin-Williams knows; they’re putting a fresh coat of gray on the USS Missouri in Pearl Harbor.

Nearly 5,500 gallons of Sherwin-Williams coatings have been applied to the historic Battleship Missouri, which recently returned to her home pier near the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Work on the $18m refurbishment began in October under the guidance of BAE Systems at the U.S. Navy’s Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard. The superstructure was pressure washed by memorial volunteers. BAE Systems and its subcontractors used power tools to remove remaining paint, spot-primed bare steel, airless-sprayed the ship’s superstructure and freeboard, and plural component-sprayed the underwater hull.

Actually, the Big Mo went back in the water January 7th, but I suppose the deck painting came later. For more on the project, read here.


Gray over gray? How utterly dull. Don’t you think it would have made the greatest episode of Extreme Makeover ever if they’d used color? Say a high gloss candy apple green over gold fleck, with white trim highlights and deep plum below the Plimsoll line. It would have been sharp! All they’d have to do is send the Navy to the mall for about 7 months, and then bring them back blindfolded, then SURPRISE!! Great times!


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/24/2010 at 06:34 PM   
Filed Under: • planes, trains, tanks, ships, machines, automobiles •  
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Forming A New Group Identity

Ok, bowling season is just about over. Monday night is the final round. After a really poor season, where our team sunk from 4th all the way down to 12th in a league of 16 teams, we won all the points last week, so we will face the final round in about 10th, with a chance to win our way into 9th. Middle of the pack, but right below the fold. Better than last place.

On this particular league all the teams are sponsored. That means that some business or group ponies up $25 for the prize fund, and the team is named after them. We’ve been After Dark Design for a number of years, since that’s Ann’s husband’s lighting design company. This past year was poor for them - and plenty of other small businesses, thank you government! - so we each chipped in $6.25 for the sponsorship fee. But we kept the name. Next year we’ll have to all chip in again, but I’m thinking there would be no reason to keep that name. So I’ve been thinking about a new team name.

There is an art to coming up with a good name for a bowling team. For a non-sponsored team I mean. It should have some relation to bowling, no matter how vague. It should also have some kind of pun in it, and if you can work in a mildly sexual or naughty word innuendo that’s all to the better. You don’t want it to be too intellectual because no one will understand it. eg - we named our summer league team Stercus Stercus Stercus one year, and carried that over into Stercus Maximus the next year. Not one person understood that stercus means shit. Oh well. After that we used Revved Up as a summer league team name, followed by Still Revved Up last year. Revving the ball means making it spin, and spin gives you hook, and hook makes for more strikes. Maybe this year we’ll use We’re Still Still Revved Up. And if you come up with a really perfect team name, you can make a graphic based on it, and get awesome team shirts printed up. It doesn’t make you bowl any better, but it gives you a small psychological advantage over the other team because they don’t have cool shirts.

Bowling league is a bit of an unusual mix of people. You have fun, you do silly stuff, you get drunk sometimes, and you compete every week. Sometimes odd words and phrases creep in. Sometimes odd sound effects as well. In the middle of the winter one of the teams was rather plastered one night and started calling each other biscuit. I have no idea why, but my guess is that it was a scatological replacement word. Like ass biscuit. For the next few weeks everything was biscuit. Biscuit this, biscuit that, you’re a biscuit with extra buttermilk. It’s a bonding thing I suppose. A month later it was “it’s bacon!!!” whenever anyone got a strike. It’s fun, and it embarrasses the children who get dragged along when it’s mom & dad’s league night. Cool!

Our team is noted for being especially crazy. We’re talking cartwheels on the lanes and rapid fire jokes and stuff. And sound effects. Once upon a time, Ann had done some international animal relief work, rescuing penguins. In South Africa. Mike and I gave her grief for weeks about African penguins. They don’t exist. They can’t swim. What’s black and black and red all over? African penguin roadkill! We even invented the mythical Inland Siberian Penguin and gave it all sorts of special features and abilities. So she started doing penguin noises at us. Well, it turns out that African penguins actually do exist. They’re also known as Jackass penguins. And we’ve all started doing the penguin sound - oooo-ah! oooo-ah! - whenever anyone gets a strike. Middle aged folks cutting lose. It’s a bonding thing, and it embarrasses the children. Cool!

So now we’re thinking about penguin bowling. After all, what could be cooler than critters that live in the antarctic? Chillin’. So I looked it up, and there is a bit of penguin bowling stuff on the internet. A couple games for your iPod, a few plushy toys for little kids. And I got to thinking (always a dangerous thing) that the one thing just as cool as penguins bowling would be polar bears bowling. Combine the two and you’d have polar bears bowling for penguins. Hey, penguins sorta look like bowling pins anyway. And then I thought ... what would the coolest possible polar bear look like while bowling? Answer - he’d be wearing sunglasses and an open hawaiin shirt. Like Magnum PB (polar bear) only without the mustache. The seeds of a design were being planted. Still thinking, but now at a far more dangerous level, I realized that these two critters never actually meet. Polar bears live at the north pole, penguins live at the south pole. Lightbulb time! That makes it bi-polar, right? So we’ve got the pun to work with, and although it isn’t sexual or scatological it’s in-your-face enough to offend some folks. And bi-polar describes our team perfectly. On or Off. Win Big. Lose Big. Happy or distraught. Well, more internet research shows that “bi-polar rollers” has already been used as a bowling team name, and is recognized as one of the cooler names. Better than “alley oops” or “spare us”. But nobody has used that name and the polar bear/penguin combination.

So I ran with the name and did the most important job: design the t-shirt. I can draw, but I am not a cartoonist. Thankfully, the internet is full of great cartoon drawings, and it’s “fair use” to borrow (ahem) them for my own personal group’s use. Or I could pay the artist if the cost is low enough. Like $5.

So, variations on a theme ... see below the fold. Opinions? I’m not married to the fonts, the team names, or the tag lines, but I like the overall graphic. I can move the penguins around too, and I’m thinking maybe I should move their feet down their bodies a bit.

This is the happy penguin from the skuzzo website. Isn’t he just the cutest thing? I’ll name him Skuzzo, which is foreign for “excuse me!”

This is Skuzzo stretched, tapered, turned and snipped to become a fallen bowling pin. Maybe I tapered him too much, but I wanted the shape more than the penguin.

Here he is with as a chubby bowling pin, wings folded, feet lowered. Still not 100% with the feet, but this version might be bowling pin enough, and it’s a lot more penguin. Penguiny? Last version emphasizes the chest stripe, so he looks more like a real African penguin. That’s just an insider’s touch for Ann’s benefit.
image image

The neat part about Skuzzo is that he actually is an African penguin. Look at the “widow’s peak” and the stripe across his chest ...

put him in the graphic and away we go. Hey, 3D is all the rage, so let’s try for a bit of that. It’s adds a little perspective to things (nyuk nyuk nyuk) ...

I like the bear. I couldn’t find a cartoon polar bear in a bowling pose, and I gave up on the sunglasses and Hawaiian shirt idea. I tried the Charmin bears but they didn’t work even when I recolored them. Still, this guy is strutting off the lane in surprised elation at getting a strike, and that suits us to a T. Or to a T-shirt. Right now he’s ice blue, but I guess I could make him white. Some people don’t have the imagination to realize that an ice blue bear is still a polar bear. You have to help them out a bit.

I made the penguin pins and the ball bigger in this version. I’m going to try another one with the lowered feet version. He may not really need to be stretched and tapered to look like a bowling pin so much; you lose the laughing face. I’m also tempted to sneak the Linux penguin in there as well, but he doesn’t seem quite as happy. Not sure about that one.

Ice Down The Lanes ... it’s what you have to do, because we’re so hot. Or it’s the way we bowl, because we’re so cool. Either way. These things have to be brash, otherwise why bother?


( eww factor: a bi-polar roller is also a medical tool used by gynecologists to cauterize internal surfaces. It’s sort of a rolling arc welder on the end of a little stick )

Polar Express was a popular movie a couple years back. Any time a word with an X in gets used in bowling you can put 3 of them in. XXX is a turkey, three strikes in a row. It’s also the symbol for porn, so that adds a small naughty bit.

At first the tag line was “Chillin With XXXtreme Latitude” then “Xtreme” ... since the most extreme amount of latitude you can have is pole to pole, which ties in with the bi-polar pun. Hey, creating cute and funny is hard work! I figure we’ll have to explain that to most people.

Both these designs are shown here on white background, but there are actually transparencies. The “production” version will be limited to 16 or 32 colors for making T-shirt appliques.

I’ve got all summer to work on this, so ideas, comments, etc. are more than welcome.

Oooo ah! Oooo ah!


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/24/2010 at 11:28 AM   
Filed Under: • Bowling Blogging •  
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Random thoughts…

I bought an iPad a couple of days ago. Loaded it up with all of my music, books, etc. So far, I’m impressed. I was looking at the Kindle, but the Kindle uses its own format. The iPad is a great ebook reader. Using some free third-party apps I can read, in full color and almost full size, all those pdf books I’ve saved to disk over the years. Example: I have, in .cbz format, all of Phil Foglio’s XXXenophile comics. (Well, no, I found that 2 and 3 are the same. I may have to scan my own copies...)

Certainly the iPad fits a niche between a laptop and my iPod Touch.  I’ve tired of dragging my bookpack around. But I’ve been doing that since college. This will make my bookpack lighter. Laptops just didn’t do the job. Laptops are heavy, and you have to let them have ‘start up’ time. My iPad is always on. No boot-time involved.


Speaking of iTunes, I was browsing my iTunes library, found Clarence Carter’s ‘Strokin’” and decided to search YouTube for his other hit ‘Patches’.  I found several videos. This has the best sound:

Great. But the interesting thing is that my search for ‘patches’ came up with this gem:

Takes me way back. When I was 10 or 11 Annette Funicello was hot. Obviously I was watching reruns. Annette is a year older than my mother. I like older women but…


Posted by Christopher   United States  on 04/24/2010 at 08:52 AM   
Filed Under: • Personal •  
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calendar   Friday - April 23, 2010

This mostly makes sense

Pirates Who Fired On US Navy Ships To Be Tried In US Court

TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 81 > § 1651
§ 1651. Piracy under law of nations

Whoever, on the high seas, commits the crime of piracy as defined by the law of nations, and is afterwards brought into or found in the United States, shall be imprisoned for life.

TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 81 > § 1659
§ 1659. Attack to plunder vessel

Whoever, upon the high seas or other waters within the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction of the United States, by surprise or open force, maliciously attacks or sets upon any vessel belonging to another, with an intent unlawfully to plunder the same, or to despoil any owner thereof of any moneys, goods, or merchandise laden on board thereof, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

US Indicts 11 Alleged Pirates from Somalia

Eleven suspected pirates from Somalia have been indicted in a U.S. court for attacks on two U.S. Navy ships off the east coast of Africa.

The indictment was unsealed Friday in the city of Norfolk, in the state of Virginia. The pirates, who were taken into U.S. custody and flown to the United States, are expected to appear in federal court Friday.

The charges include piracy, attacks to plunder a vessel, assault with a dangerous weapon and use of a firearm in a crime.

Five of the men were captured March 31 after an exchange of fire with the frigate USS Nicholas, while the six others were seized after shooting at the USS Ashland earlier this month. 

It’s a shame that “being terminally stupid in international waters” isn’t also a crime. This bunch is guilty of that too.

Well, at least we got some of them. Too bad there is a never ending supply ...

Somali Pirates Seize Liberian-Owned Ship With 21 Crew

Suspected Somali pirates have seized a Liberian-owned bulk carrier with 21 crew members, all of them Filipino.

The European Union’s anti-piracy force says the ship, the MV Voc Daisy, was hijacked Wednesday in the Gulf of Aden, off the coast of Oman. [ VOC Daisy, IMO 9154555, 186m (610 feet) LOA, 47183 tons, 1998 Nagasaki built bulk carrier, formerly the MV Golden Daisy ]

It says the ship’s crew contacted security forces before four pirates carrying assault rifles and a rocket-propelled grenade stormed on board and seized control.

The EU force says it has confirmed that all 21 crew members are safe.

Somali pirates are now believed be holding 24 ships in all with about 400 crew members. Ships and crews are usually released unharmed after a payment of ransom.

Damn. So not only is piracy not seen as an act of asymmetrical warfare or terrorism, it’s listed merely as a crime. It is not a capital offense. I have no idea how old these laws are, but it looks like some bleeding heart managed to water them down at some point. I don’t feel like doing the research right now, but US law of 1790 saw piracy as a capital offense. By the war with Mexico in 1847 the definition was expanded to include privateers of other nations, but by the 1958 Convention of the High Seas, the idea was to capture them and then criminally prosecute them. I do not know when the US laws were changed so that punishment became life imprisonment. But I guess they didn’t want Navy officers trying these scum on ship anymore. These days the softies have expanded the definition of piracy to include illegally copying CDs and DVDs. Seriously, “software piracy” is not codified as copyright infringement, which is what it actually is. It’s listed as an act of piracy. Which is utterly absurd and completely asinine.

Want to hear something really sucky? When the radical islamists had control of Somalia a couple years ago, there was NO piracy. NONE. Yeah, and when the Taliban were in control of Afghanistan there was no opium crop either. Go figure.

During the summer of 2006, the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) came to power in Somalia. Immediately afterward, the UIC announced they would punish those engaged in piracy according to Sharia law.

For a time the incidents ceased, until pirates struck the United Arab Emirates cargo ship, MV Veesham I. A small boat with six pirates boarded and took control of the cargo ship shortly after leaving port. Initially the pirates demanded a $1 million ransom; negotiations lowered the amount to $150,000. The UIC in response, set to sea in small boats, recaptured the vessel and rescued the crew after a gun battle with the pirates.

The UIC withstood the challenge to their authority. Unfortunately, the success was short-lived. One month later, Ethiopian forces entered Somalia gaining political control of the country. They pushed the UIC out of power. With the UIC gone, the organized gangs of pirates no longer feared governmental retribution for their offshore attacks. Offshore piracy assaults continued again.

There ya go. Again. Crazy people, islamists, and turd world bottom feeders respect the force of the gun, and that’s all there is to it. Let’s face it, these 11 guys charged with piracy have hit the jackpot. Free food, clothing, and shelter for the rest of their lives, and no work. Climate controlled housing and free medical care. Considering where they’re coming from, what more could they ask out of life?


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/23/2010 at 09:36 PM   
Filed Under: • Pirates, aarrgh! •  
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No Flags Flying

Obama On Haiti: American Flag “Too Provocative”


under this banner Haitians know

good food and medical care await

After Haiti’s devastating earthquake last January, Americans showed their incredible generosity by donating money, resources and manpower to help the victims of the natural disaster and to help Haiti recover.

U.S. Air Force air operations specialists and FAA air-traffic controllers managed air traffic at Haiti’s main airport, facilitating the logistics of getting humanitarian aid coming into the country. More than 12,000 U.S. military personnel supported relief operations.

Except for the usual left-wing nuts and a disgruntled French minister who accused the U.S. military of ”occupying” Haiti during the initial chaotic days of the relief effort, few people – including the Haitians themselves – saw the actions of the U.S. as anything but humanitarian in nature.

Nevertheless, the Obama administration decided that there should be no American flag flying at our main installation near the Port-au-Prince airport because it would appear too provocative.  As explained by the U.S. government’s Haiti Joint Information Center in response to a question about the missing flag:

We are not here as an occupation force, but as an international partner committed to supporting the government of Haiti on the road to recovery

Taking down the American flag is just another example of President Obama’s humiliate-America policies.  We are an exceptionally generous country and should be proud of who we are, wherever we are.

Obama. He just doesn’t get it, does he? No ... he gets it alright ... he’s just against it. Pride, nationalism, international awareness of our good works, you name it. America is what he’s ashamed of, not what he or his wife are ever proud of.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/23/2010 at 12:28 PM   
Filed Under: • InternationalObama, The One •  
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Working Towards Freedom

GM Repays Debt Early: It’s A Start

I got this in my email this morning


Not bad. Nice effort. So, does this mean GM is now “free at last” and can operate as a privately owned company? Not hardly. They still owe the government zillions. This was just a drop in the bucket.

General Motors Co. has repaid the $8.1 billion in loans it got from the U.S. and Canadian governments, a move its CEO says is a sign automaker is on the road to recovery.

GM CEO Whitacre formally announced the loan paybacks Wednesday at the company’s Fairfax Assembly Plant in Kansas City, Kansas, where he also announced that GM is investing $257 million in that factory and the Detroit-Hamtramck plant, both of which will build the next generation of the midsize Chevrolet Malibu.

GM got a total of $52 billion from the U.S. government and $9.5 billion from the Canadian and Ontario governments as it went through bankruptcy protection last year. The U.S. considered as a loan $6.7 billion of the aid, while the Canadian governments held $1.4 billion in loans.

The U.S. government payments, made Tuesday, came five years ahead of schedule, and Whitacre said they are a sign that the automaker is on its way toward reducing government ownership of the company. The payments on the Canadian loans were also made Tuesday.

GM still owes $45.3 billion to the U.S. and $8.1 billion to Canada, money it received in exchange for large stakes in the company. The U.S. government now owns 61 percent of the company and Canada owns roughly 12 percent. GM plans to repay both with a public stock offering, perhaps later this year.

GM officials say the company’s public stock offering will take place when the markets and the company are ready. They will not predict how much of the remaining government debt will be repaid from the stock offering, but said it likely will take years for the governments to divest themselves fully.

The stock offering hinges on GM posting a profit, which Whitacre has said could come this year. GM lost $3.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2009 on revenues of $32.3 billion. After the event at the Kansas City plant on Wednesday, Whitacre heads to Washington, where he is scheduled to meet with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other lawmakers.

I don’t think they are ready for an IPO yet. Not until they have paid off enough of their government debt to be 51% privately owned. Or 65%, given the uncertainty in the automotive marketplace and the possibility that they might need large infusions of cash from the government at some future date. They screwed us all with their bailout and the government’s takeover. Never again.

So keep paying down that debt GM. This is a good first effort. But I won’t be buying your stock, or your cars, until you can show me a lot more than just a profit for one measly quarter. And throw out the unions, or at least rip out most of their teeth. I’ll be damned if I’ll put a nickel into your company until you do.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/23/2010 at 12:00 PM   
Filed Under: • Big Businessplanes, trains, tanks, ships, machines, automobiles •  
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International BMEWS

Good heavens, we have a reader on right now from Susah Tunisia. And another one from Egypt.

Love it. I hope these folks can read English, because this site isn’t done in Arabic.

Well, a big friendly howdy to y’all if you come here in peace. And an even bigger go fuck yourself with an angry cobra if you’re just trolling this blog looking for something to get uppity about. Yeah, we’re against all forms of militant jihad here. And we’re against any form of religion that calls for violence or limits certain people’s rights. Deal with it. On the other hand, if you happen to be one of those mythical moderates our media is always alluding to, and you want a place to publish an essay about tolerance and peace, then you are welcome to sign on and I WILL publish what you write.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/23/2010 at 11:51 AM   
Filed Under: • Blog StuffMiddle-East •  
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calendar   Thursday - April 22, 2010

Christie Leading The Charge

Here’s Some Change You Can Hope For

After a resounding defeat of school budgets across the state, New Jersey’s new Conservative Governor Chris Christie goes on the offensive to cut spending and taxes even more.

N.J. Gov. Chris Christie pushes property tax cap, public benefits changes after schools vote

Claiming the school budget defeat as a validation of his shrinking government plan, Gov. Chris Christie today pushed the next reforms on his agenda: A 2.5 percent constitutional cap on property taxes, and reforms to public worker pensions, benefits and the collective bargaining process.

Christie said New Jerseyans sent “an extraordinarily clear signal,” and the Democrat-controlled Legislature and local elected officials “ignore these results at their own political peril.”

For an example of the school budget voting, see my area here. The township mailed out an info sheet a week or so before the election, on which they showed a whole bunch of numbers that tried to make it look like almost $2 million was being cut from the budget to run the 2 local high schools. Except that $1.7 million “cut” was reflecting the one time expense they had last year when they had to replace the boiler in the one school. Ok, they cut a couple positions, but the executives still got a raise, the maintenance crew got a 10% boost, and the overall benefits package was up 22%. It was a con job, and everyone saw through it. Best comment on the vote: “No one is willing to pay another dollar after being gutted for years in this state by taxes.” The only town that passed it’s budget was Tewksbury, where everyone is rich to begin with. Seriously, the town oozes money. Tewksbury’s budget passed by 1 vote.

“People in public life don’t ignore election results. They absorb them,” he said, adding, “This is going to be a watershed moment for New Jersey because I believe it’s going to unite all of us to say these reforms need to be done, the people need to be listened to.”

The governor urged municipal governing bodies, school boards and local teachers’ unions to work together to implement a one-year wage freeze.

“It’s not too late to reopen those contracts. It’s not too late to agree to a freeze.”

Today, Christie called for legislative approval of a package of reforms, including a constitutional amendment limiting annual property take hikes, benefits cuts for current public workers and changes in the collective bargaining process to give towns and school boards more control.

It’s not going to be an easy fight ... and some entrenched Dems just don’t get it:

Senate president Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) said the governor did a “masterful job” of tapping into people’s “anger over the government right now,” but misled voters about the real impact of a one-year wage freeze.

“He used the wage free to say, ‘Look, we don’t really have to go up in taxes,’ but that wasn’t true. Taxes would have gone up anyway,” Sweeney said. “But it was good theater.”

Sweeney said he agrees with Christie that “we need to do some things to make it easier for governments to control their costs,” and is willing to work with him on some of the reforms. But Democrats also want the governor to reinstate an income tax surcharge on the wealthy, Sweeney said.

Oh, and just in case you might be thinking that NJ is heartless towards it’s children’s education, know that NJ spends about 60% more per student each year than the national average. I swear the schools are gold plated inside. Seriously. The regular ones, not just the “special” Abbot District schools which get super funded. A year or so ago there was a referendum here to raise money so that the local school could have an equestrian team. Climate controlled stables, the works. And 2 dozen horses, with grooms and trainers. And they also wanted a coach so they could have a junior varsity girl’s water polo team. The referendum failed.

But they keep asking. This year’s “bare bones” budget to run the 2 high schools was $56 million. I doubt that both schools together have 1500 students.

So school budgets went down in flames all across the state. Is it a mandate? Maybe. If nothing else, it’s a start. And now Governor Christie is taking it to the next level, and is taking on the unions.

Woo hoo!!!!

There are 700,000 more Democrats than Republicans in New Jersey, [total population about 8 million] but in November Christie flattened the Democratic incumbent, Jon Corzine. Christie is built like a burly baseball catcher, and since his inauguration just 13 weeks ago, he has earned the name of the local minor-league team—the Trenton Thunder.

He inherited a $2.2 billion deficit, and next year’s projected deficit of $10.7 billion is, relative to the state’s $29.3 billion budget, the nation’s worst. Democrats, with the verbal tic—“Tax the rich!”—that passes for progressive thinking, demanded that he reinstate the “millionaire’s tax,” which hit “millionaires” earning $400,000 until it expired Dec. 31. Instead, Christie noted that between 2004 and 2008 there was a net outflow of $70 billion in wealth as “the rich,” including small businesses, fled. And he said previous administrations had “raised taxes 115 times in the last eight years alone.”

Government employees’ health benefits are, he says, “41 percent more expensive” than those of the average Fortune 500 company. Without changes in current law, “spending will have increased 322 percent in 20 years—over 16 percent a year.” There is, he says, a connection between the state’s being No. 1 in total tax burden and being No. 1 in the proportion of college students who, after graduating, leave the state.

Partly to pay for teachers’ benefits—most contribute nothing to pay for their health insurance—property taxes have increased 70 percent in 10 years, to an average annual cost to homeowners of $7,281. Christie proposes a 2.5 percent cap on annual increases.

Challenging teachers unions to live up to their cloying “it’s really about the kids” rhetoric, he has told them to choose between a pay freeze and job cuts. Validating his criticism by their response to it, some Bergen County teachers encouraged students to cut classes and go to the football field to protest his policies, and a Bridgewater high school teacher showed students a union-made video critical of him. Christie notes that the $550,000 salary of the executive director of the teachers union is larger than the total cuts proposed for 190 of the state’s 605 school districts.

New Jersey’s governors are the nation’s strongest—American Caesars, really—who can veto line items and even rewrite legislative language. Christie is using his power to remind New Jersey that wealth goes where it is welcome and stays where it is well-treated. Prosperous states are practicing, at the expense of slow learners like New Jersey, “entrepreneurial federalism”—competing to have the most enticing business climate.

Christie’s predecessor [Jon ”seatbelts” Corzine]addressed a huge unionized rally of public employees, vowing to “fight for a fair contract.” Who was he going to fight? The negotiator across the table would be . . . himself.

Saying “subtlety is not going to win this fight,” Christie notes that New Jersey’s police officers, the nation’s highest paid, can retire after 25 years at 65 percent of their highest salary. In the state that has the nation’s fourth-highest percentage (66) of public employees who are unionized, he has joined the struggle that will dominate the nation’s domestic policymaking in this decade—to break the ruinous collaboration between elected officials and unionized state and local workers whose affections the officials purchase with taxpayers’ money.

It’s no wonder they’re all pissed off at him. The union folks are even wishing him dead. Funny thing though ... here in Blue Jersey, land of the libs ... his popularity gets better every day.

Christie’s entire term will be a slap in the face to the White House. And when it’s shown that cutting spending, reducing the deficit, lowering taxes, easing business regulations, and shrinking the government and the gold-plated school system turn the state around in an economic miracle ... the left won’t have a leg to stand on. Godspeed governor, you’re the nearest thing we’ve got to Ronald Reagan right now.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/22/2010 at 09:24 PM   
Filed Under: • Republicans •  
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Here we go again. Another crop of crazies have got themselves a ship.


Behold, the MV Saint Pancake


Now owned and operated by this bunch

On March 31, 2010, the Free Gaza Movement bought her at auction for €70,000 and will send her to the imprisoned Palestinians of Gaza loaded with cement, paper, and medical equipment, all banned by Israel from this battered and bruised slice of the Mediterranean.

The Free Gaza Movement along with the Turkish humanitarian organization, IHH, the European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza and the Greek and Swedish Boat to Gaza organizations will sail 8 boats loaded with building supplies as well as taking 600 passengers and journalists at the end of May.

As the people from the town of Dundalk work on her every day, painting her, guarding her and collecting cargo, they have a vested interest in what was once a lonely and abandoned vessel, now slowly coming to life under their care. The ship has been renamed the MV Rachel Corrie, in memory of the 23-year-old solidarity activist crushed to death in 2003 by an Israeli military bulldozer as she attempted to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home in Gaza.

h/t to Sondra K, who reminds us that the US has poured over 1.2 billion dollars a year into Gaza for more than a decade and a half ... with nothing to show for it, and they’re still our enemies.

Now, when the ship sails, we’re going to hear a whole media dung pile about these daring humanitarians, braving the crazy Israeli navy, risking life and limb, for the children. And it will all be pure horse manure. Because Israel already decided to let this kind of aid in, and made that decision public BEFORE THE SHIP WAS EVEN PURCHASED!

Israel allows cement, aid into Gaza
04/04/2010 01:14

n a gesture of goodwill to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Defense Minister Ehud Barak has approved the rare transfer of large amounts of cement, shoes and clothing to the Gaza Strip, defense officials said on Saturday.

According to the officials, Barak approved the move in late March, around the time that he and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu visited Washington and Ban traveled to Gaza.


Defense Ministry officials said that they were aware of the Free Gaza Movement’s plans and consult with the IDF and the Foreign Ministry over whether to intercept it or allow it to dock in Gaza. One official raised the possibility that the ship would be forced to dock in Ashdod, where the cargo would be unloaded and searched, and if found to be of a humanitarian nature, sent to Gaza via land crossings.

And that’s exactly what is going to happen. The little Free Gaza flotilla - they have 8 small ships - will be brought to port and searched. Expect more Cynthia McKinney-like hysterics and histrionics about their “narrow brush with death” etc. Same old crap; another dose of propaganda from the left.

For all sailors and lovers of ships, regardless of how they get put to use:

The MV Rachel Corrie was formerly the MV Linda, a Latvian 1200 ton cargo ship. That’s pretty small, down in the “tramp steamer” range. 224.5 feet long by 34.5 feet wide.

The Latvian-owned MV Linda was seized by the International Transport Federation (ITF) last July after the owners were found to be withholding wages and subjecting workers to humiliating treatment.

The ship was auctioned at the Crowne Plaza hotel Dundalk last month where the Free Gaza movement purchased it for €70,000.

Now the Ukrainian crew, who remained on board until last November in an effort to secure payment of wages, will receive over €50,000 of the proceeds.

So the ship itself is only worth €20,000, about $27,000. Minus the auctioneer’s cut. Which is the price of a decent new car. For an entire ship. Uh huh. Makes me wonder if this thing will actually float all the way from Ireland to Gaza. It’s going to need more fuel than the ship cost to make that run. This is starting to smell a little ... fishy.

There are several pictures of a MV Linda online, in stories about the sale. The ship shown in all of them is the Finnish MV Linda IMO 9354325. It took me a little bit of effort, but once I was able to locate the auction notice I could get the IMO number. IMO - International Maritime Organization - numbers are unique, like fingerprints. After that it was, as they say, clear sailing.


the 43 year old rustbucket MV Linda chugging along safely close to shore


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/22/2010 at 09:35 AM   
Filed Under: • Democrats-Liberals-Moonbat LeftistsPaleswineplanes, trains, tanks, ships, machines, automobiles •  
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Howdy Neighbor

We have a new member! Please welcome Cactus Mark, who hails from Arizona State University.

Go Sun Devils!

Let’s hear what he has to say when he has something to say. And don’t forget, we’re not like them:



Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/22/2010 at 09:12 AM   
Filed Under: • Blog Stuff •  
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calendar   Wednesday - April 21, 2010

This Never Existed


I’ve been hearing a lot of crap on TV lately about right wing lies, seditious behavior, and calling the Obama thugocracy a “regime”. God knows that such antics and such terms have never been used before by those golden hearted morally pure intellectually superior libs. Heck no. Just look at the above graphic.

But Drew, it’s just a graphic. It’s not like it’s available for sale as a T-shirt anyone could actually wear!!

Um, uh, Ok, Ok, so it is actually for sale. That doesn’t mean anyone would have the nerve, the gall, the deep down hatred to actually wear such a thing. It’s all in your twisted right-wingnut mind.


Y’all remember Sharon Jasper, right? No? I can’t blame you. She is a headache you just want to go away. But Rich K reminded me of her tonight when he sent one of those funny emails that turn the two libs at Snopes inside out trying so hard to prove are false. So here’s another reminder ...


Sharon Jasper in her NOLA “slum” with hardwood floors and a 60” TV

For extra fun, watch her in action in the video at this link to Micehlle’s.

She’s the lifelong welfare recipient from New Orleans, the one with the freshly renovated apartment and the 60” TV. The one who’s building had to be demolished due to storm damage, and was GIVEN the nice new little house to live in that’s in the picture at this link. She didn’t want that, so she got out there - in the same seditious t-shirt - and protested so vehemently that she somehow got arrested for assaulting a police officer.

Years later, she’s still fightin’ the man. But in a new shirt at least.

Don’t forget, it’s the Tea Party folks and the Conservatives who are violent, racist, and seditious. Right Crappy Nappy?

Don’t drink the ObamaMedia Koolaide. Almost everything you hear that the big bad Right is up to is total projection from the Left, who is actually out there doing it. And has been, for years and years.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/21/2010 at 08:52 PM   
Filed Under: • Miscellaneous •  
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Reader Email

Larry asks “Is this how you got your name?”


No, although that’s darn good research.

We got our name from here


Larry, you can think of us as BMEWS 4, as we do our best to give warning of other “over the horizon” attacks, but of a different nature, and a different horizon. And it may have something to do with BMEWS 1 reacting to the moonrise that one time. But it’s a good acronym which needed to be put to use in the civilian sector.

Thanks for asking though.

This is the beast inside the bubble, the real BMEWS up in Clear, Alaska. I have no idea what it is, but it’s huge, it’s made out of massive slabs of steel and giant nuts and bolts, and it looks like it’s been around a long, long time. And that it consumes massive amounts of power. Cool!! I’m guessing this is something like the world’s largest magnetron, and thus the transmitter heart of the radar system.


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/21/2010 at 03:01 PM   
Filed Under: • Fun-Stuff •  
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That Ain’t Right

UN Budget: $732 Million For “Peacekeeping” In Haiti

The United Nations has quietly upped this year’s peacekeeping budget for earthquake-shattered Haiti to $732.4 million, with two-thirds of that amount going for the salary, perks and upkeep of its own personnel, not residents of the devastated island.

The world organization plans to spend the money on an expanded force of some 12,675 soldiers and police, plus some 479 international staffers, 669 international contract personnel, and 1,300 local workers, just for the 12 months ending June 30, 2010.

Some $495.8 million goes for salaries, benefits, hazard pay, mandatory R&R allowances and upkeep for the peacekeepers and their international staff support. Only about $33.9 million, or 4.6 percent, of that salary total is going to what the U.N. calls “national staff” attached to the peacekeeping effort.

Presumably, the budget also includes at least part of some $10 million that the U.N. has spent on renting two passenger vessels, the Sea Voyager (known to some U.N. staffers as the “Love Boat") and the Ola Esmeralda, for a minimum of 90 days each, as highly subsidized housing for some of its peacekeepers and humanitarian staff. The tab for the two vessels, which offer catered food, linen service and comfortable staterooms and lounges, is about $112,500 per day.

Under a cost-sharing formula, the U.S. pays a 27 percent share of the entire $732.4 million peacekeeping tab for Haiti during this 12 month period, or about $197.7 million.

That adds up to more than 15,000 “peacekeepers”. That’s an army. I think that’s more troops than we had in Afghanistan a year ago, and we’re fighting a war there.

I think we should all be referring to the place as “occupied Haiti”. Not that anyone in or out of their right mind would want to invade the place. Not a chance. So these “peacekeepers” are doing what then? Protecting the Haitians from themselves? In their own country?? Or perhaps they are protecting all the pushy aid workers from the Haitians that might not like the way that these tens of thousands of foreigners are doing whatever they want to, in rebuilding and changing their country? Somebody explain to me why Haiti needs any peacekeepers at all.

I’ll be the first to speak the obvious: Haiti is a mess. A world of hurt. A rolling, never ending disaster, largely self-inflicted. But I didn’t think they needed saving from themselves by an army of occupation. This rather looks like the Imperial UN to me.

Free Haiti!


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/21/2010 at 10:32 AM   
Filed Under: • InternationalUnited-Nations •  
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Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
  1. Keep a firm grasp of Right and Wrong
  2. Stay involved with government on every level and don't let those bastards get away with a thing
  3. Use every legal means to defend yourself in the event of real internal trouble, and, most importantly:
  4. Keep talking to each other, whether here or elsewhere
It's been a long strange trip without you Skipper, but thanks for pointing us in the right direction and giving us a swift kick in the behind to get us going. Keep lookin' down on us, will ya? Thanks.


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GNU Terry Pratchett

Oh, and here's some kind of visitor flag counter thingy. Hey, all the cool blogs have one, so I should too. The Visitors Online thingy up at the top doesn't count anything, but it looks neat. It had better, since I paid actual money for it.
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