Sunday Links

Sunday, May 20th, 2012


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31 Responses to “Sunday Links”

  1. #1 |  Bob | 

    That photo needs a Caption Contest!

    Like: “That’s not a WMD, sir. It’s ok to take that onto the plane.”

    Or: “New improved TSA Checkpoints! Now with ‘Happy Endings’!”

  2. #2 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Re; the Owl story. Yes, people really do that. In fact, any time you get a particular animal or breed of animal making a splash in a movie, the odds are pretty good that in a few months there will be a glut of them in the animal shelters. Or a bunch of them loose in the wild. Which isn’t always a bad thing. Eagle owls were native to the British isles for a long time, but for various reasons died out. Now they are back, and the reason is probably dumb macho falconer wannabes who got eagle owls because eagle owls are huge (and gorgeous), and then couldn’t handle the birds, and either got dumped by or dumped them.

    I have always understood the emotional basis of PETA, I just don’t think any of their proposed ‘solutions’ will work worth a goddamn.

    Oh. Excuse me. I just remembered that PETA was putting up a large reward for the development of vat-grown meat. That probably will work.

    At which point, I cynically expect that PETA will turn against it.

  3. #3 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Congressman from the party of limited government procured millions in earmarks to purchase $17,000 helicopter drip pans from a contractor in his district.

    You made an error here. This guy is not from the party of limited government. He’s a republican.

  4. #4 |  Dave Krueger | 

    If you look closely, the TSA guys is about to whip out his own WMD (probably to claim his is bigger).

  5. #5 |  perlhaqr | 

    “Well, you said you were going to feel for Resistance, and here he is!”

  6. #6 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    TSA Caption: “My nuts won’t hold three ounces. Do I have to show ya?”

  7. #7 |  Onlooker | 

    “People really did this?”

    Never underestimate the idiocy and shortsightedness of people!

    This plays out over and over again with different animals; especially dogs from the latest popular movie/TV show, like Dalmatians, Jack Russel terriers, etc. Impulsive decision-making leads to terrible decisions. And then the animals pay the price.

  8. #8 |  Onlooker | 

    Re: $17,000 helicopter drip pans

    “…the Army had bought 374 drip pans from Phoenix Products at an average cost of $17,000 — discounted from the company’s usual price of $19,000…”

    Yeah, I’m sure. Show me just one private party who has paid that putative “usual price” and I’ll start believing; maybe.

  9. #9 |  Onlooker | 

    I’ll bet that TSA “officer” ‘s mother (and wife, if there is one) are just soooo proud of the work he’s doing. LOL

  10. #10 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Military procurement is insane, and seldom quite what it seems. It is complicated by rules put in place by grandstanding Congresscritters, by (compared to retail production) small production runs, and from time to time by obdurate military stupidity.

    Example; the legendary $700 screwdriver. As I understand it, this particular screwdriver was part of a fighter (I think it was F-14, but won’t swear to it) jet engine rebuild kit. The way you rebuild a fighter engine in the field is you pull the entire thing and send it off to Depot for a complete overhaul, and replace it. So the engine ‘rebuild kit’ included a complete jet engine. By Congressional rules the price of the rebuild kit had to be divided evenly by the number of pieces.

    So, you were paying $700 for a screwdriver. And you were paying $700 for the jet engine.

  11. #11 |  jmcross | 

    @ TSA pic

    I’d never seen one quite this big before
    When he’s soft he’s nearly hung down to the floor
    I don’t know if I love him
    But I love is dick of death
    —“Dick of Death” Pansy Division

  12. #12 |  Marty | 

    and cops wonder why people hate them- this kid set out to take pictures showing them in a good light… I’d like to read some before and after quotes from him!

  13. #13 |  Rojo | 

    Note to self: Don’t freeball it when flying.

    Note to TSA: FU.

  14. #14 |  jmcross | 

    @ #10
    I imagine if we were getting jet engines for $700 congress critters would be shouting it to the heavens.

    Maybe it’s more like the scene from the movie “Independence Day” where the President’s party enters the secret underground facility…

    Bill Pullman (President): I don’t understand, where does all this come from? How do you get funding for something like this?

    Judd Hirsch (Julius Levinson): You don’t actually think they spend $20,000.00 on a hammer, $30,000.00 on a toilet seat do you?

  15. #15 |  Personanongrata | 

    “You have to wonder,” said Ryan Alexander, the president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan group. “Is the Pentagon really getting the message?”

    Forget the Pentagon getting the message, what about the taxpayers, when do we get the message?

    The message being of course is that the Pentagon cannot acccount for over $2.3 trillion in spending and that was back on 10Sept11.

    More money for the Pentagon, CBS News Correspondent Vince Gonzales reports, while its own auditors admit the military cannot account for 25 percent of what it spends.

    “According to some estimates we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions,” Rumsfeld admitted.

    $2.3 trillion — that’s $8,000 for every man, woman and child in America. To understand how the Pentagon can lose track of trillions, consider the case of one military accountant who tried to find out what happened to a mere $300 million.

    “We know it’s gone. But we don’t know what they spent it on,” said Jim Minnery, Defense Finance and Accounting Service.

    The link:

    Military spending is code for the theft of tax money under guise of security.

    Imagine where the US would be today if we had spent that $2.3 trillion on domestic infrastructure improvements/addtions or better yet left the money in the pockets of those who earned it to spend as they see fit.

  16. #16 |  Other Sean | 

    That abandoned owl piece was very unfair. Based on a comparison of box office receipts, at least 1.7% of the blame should go to “Legend of the Guardians: the Owls of Ga’Hoole”.

    They can’t put it all down to Harry Potter.

  17. #17 |  Personanongrata | 

    •Photo of the day (via Brian Tannebaum, via Carlos Miller):

    Must be the new on your knees and smile like a doughnut customer service enhancements the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is putting into place at it’s kabuki theater security checkpoints.

    Now you are guaranteed to leave a TSA checkpoint with a smile.

  18. #18 |  (B)oscoH, Yogurt Eater | 

    “Son, if you want to walk with my swagger, eat your yogurt.”

  19. #19 |  CyniCAl | 

    •Walter Olson takes on Nicholas Kristof’s latest crusade: Boycotting alcohol manufacturers because of alcoholism on American Indian reservations.

    I saw a comment the other day regarding the drug war violence in Mexico, to the effect that anyone who lights up a joint is responsible for the 49 bodies being dumped on the street.

    Non-sequiturs might be the absolutely stupidest form of logic fails. When someone like Kristof resorts to one, all he’s really telling you is to ignore him.

  20. #20 |  CyniCAl | 

    •Something else to worry about: Worms eating your brain.

    Been worrying about this since 1979.

    “And the worms ate into his brain.” — Hey You by Pink Floyd

  21. #21 |  (B)oscoH, Yogurt Eater | 

    Captain Oveur: You ever been in a cockpit before?
    Joey: No sir, I’ve never been up in a plane before.
    Captain Oveur: You ever seen a grown man naked?

  22. #22 |  Rick H. | 

    Kristof’s latest crusade has a lot in common with his state-sponsored vendettas against women in sex work. In every case, this paternalistic, narcissistic creep considers women and minorities incapable of making their own choices. Those poor unfortunates are simply waiting for the Great White Father from the NYT to wade in, dick swinging.

  23. #23 |  When a Picture Says a Thousand Words... - INGunOwners | 

    […] Originally Posted by singlesix Source of the picture? Sunday Links | The Agitator […]

  24. #24 |  supercat | 

    #10 | C. S. P. Schofield | “Example; the legendary $700 screwdriver.”

    By my understanding, the rules didn’t divide total cost by the number of pieces, but they did allocate research-and-development costs for a project among components based upon their raw procurement cost. So if a project had $1,000,000 of research and development to produce 100 units from $100 worth of components each (total component cost $10,000), the project wouldn’t be billed as “100 units @$100, plus $1,000,000 R&D”. Instead it would be billed as “100 units @10,100”. The total cost is the same–$1,010,000–but those who oppose the military get to wave around the 100-fold over-reported costs as examples of government waste.

    To be sure, it well may be that the $1,000,000 in R&D might be well-spent. The government may be planning on buying many more of the units (for $100 each, not $10,100) once they’re proven to work, but wanting to limit its investment until the technology is proven. Or it may be that the units are very specialized devices for which the number required is small but the need for careful design may be great (this could be especially true for some types of communications gear). In any case the “$700” for a screwdriver is a basically meaningless number.

    BTW, I’m reminded of a story about a company that balked at a $1,000 invoice for what was apparently a fairly simple repair on a piece of equipment, and demanded an itemization. “One XY-341 transistor: $0.50. Knowing where to put it: $999.50”.

  25. #25 |  Aresen | 

    From the article about the exonerated photographers”

    it’s the story that the officer who arrested him told again under oath in court on Monday.

    Why is this officer not up on perjury charges?

    (I know, it’s a rhetorical question.)

  26. #26 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    supercat & jmcross

    Congress DID shout it to the skies; that $700 screwdriver part. Naturally that precluded patting themselves on the back for the comparably cheap engine. Even reporters aren’t THAT stupid. At least, they didn’t used to be.

    Another common problem is that, for many categories of stuff (that’s a technical term; stuff), one is required by law to put out specs and call for bids because just doing a walk through Ace Hardware, looking for something that works is ‘single sourcing’, which is A Bad Thing. So you end up paying for tool-up costs spread over very short production runs.

    Another thing that has happened a time or two is Congress decides to extend the life of a weapons system (probably because they haven’t thrashed out who gets it build in their district), which is all very well, but when it was bought the military bought spare parts based on the original intended service life. Now they need more spare parts, but the company that made the damned things junked the tools to make them half a decade ago. So, again, you end up paying an outrageous amount of money if you think of it in terms of bolts (for, say, nose wheel assemblies). On the other hand, what you are really looking at is the cost of keeping a bunch of expensive helicopters, or tanks, or what-have-you going as opposed to buying a fleet of brand new whatever.

    Not that the military isn’t capable of stunning waste. A lot tends to accumulate where there is friction between services. For example; when it was decided that the venerable jeep was outdated, and the army accepted the Hummer, they completely neglected to consider that the transport planes that the Air Force had (grudgingly) committed to ‘rapid deployment’ had been designed so that two jeeps, secured for transport, would exactly fit the width of the cargo bay.


  27. #27 |  Andrew Roth | 

    Kristof has one hell of a raging case of the White Man’s Burden. Is that blowhard trying to parody himself?

    I’m just about ready to start calling him Jesus Kristof. Dude obviously enjoys playing savior. The idea that he, of all people, will bring about an end to alcoholism on Indian reservations is presumptuous beyond belief.

    Jesus H. Kristof, some people just like to drink. If a self-promoting professional activist like Nicholas Kristof doesn’t buy the liquor that they favor, they still will. Not giving a shit is an important part of being a drunk. The Pareto Principle would hold that a fifth of the drinkers do four fifths of the drinking. In fact, I know a dissipated old honky from San Mateo who can put down a fifth or two himself on a strong day. He prefers nice reds, but he isn’t above quaffing a bottle of Lodi rotgut if that’s what’s available, and unlike Kristof he’ll settle for a white. That was low, but so is a self-important newspaperman who thinks he has the solution to Indian alcoholism.

    Enough blasphemy for today. This is an exquisite opportunity for Mr. T to pity a fool.

  28. #28 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Andrew Roth,

    I object. Kipling’s “White Man’s Burden” was the burden of teaching Little Brown Brother to stand up like a man, and rule himself as the White Men did. Racist, but entirely different from Kristof’s intent, which is to treat grownups who are different from himself like children, forever.

  29. #29 |  Charlie O | 

    Looks like TSA agent who knows his place. On his knees servicing the flying public.

  30. #30 |  Pi Guy | 

    Note to self: Don’t freeball it when flying.

    Or DO. And mention plastic explosives or jihad to a few fellow passengers. IF you’re into that sort of thing.


  31. #31 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Boycotting alcohol manufacturers because of alcoholism on American Indian reservations.

    Isn’t the more rational act to drink all the alcohol so it doesn’t end up on Indian reservations?