Words of Advice:

"Never Feel Sorry For Anyone Who Owns an Airplane."-- Tina Marie

If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It.
" -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot,
by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse.
" -- Me

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Charitable Cash Bleg for the Critters

(Stickied to the top.  Scroll down to read new posts.  [If there are any.])

I kind of hesitate to ask this, as it's really too close to home. For the most part, I do try and keep my personal crap out of this blog, other than cats and guns.

But here it is: I work with an animal shelter. It is the only no-kill shelter in a wide radius. And it has been a tough year for the shelter.

So if you can spare some change (or a lot of it), please go here and make a donation for the critters. If you are on the Book of Face, you can go here and click on the link under the photo that says "Donation Dog". If you feel more comfortable mailing a paper check, the address is towards the bottom of this page.

It's a 501(c)(3), so your donation is 100% tax deductible.

Please, folks. And if you could mention this on your own blog, please do that.

(And if you think they're a buncha pinkos, the majority of the board has CCW permits.)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Shorter John Brennan: "I Apologize For Anything Bad That You Think That the CIA Did."

It's a standard Mark 1 Mod 0 political "non-apology apology", complete with blaming the media and the Senate's investigators for uncovering all of the bad shit that the CIA did and all of the lying to cover-up the bad shit that the CIA then did.

The only variation on the theme is that Brennan didn't do it on a Friday afternoon. At this point, you'd have to be a statist idiot or a right-wing Republican to swallow Brennan's bilge. Even DiFi isn't apparently buying it.

Brennan can surely get a post-retirement job at the NFL, at this rate.

(To the WaPo, the big scandal is that Panetta brought his dog to work.)

Orange County, FL: Warm Up Your Checkbook

You're soon going to need to start writing some checks with lots of zeros in them.
[On Sept. 16th,] a federal appeals court rebuked police in Orange County, Florida, for mounting a warrantless, SWAT-style raid on a barbershop under the pretense of assisting state inspectors. "We have twice held, on facts disturbingly similar to those presented here, that a criminal raid executed under the guise of an administrative inspection is constitutionally unreasonable," says the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. "We hope that the third time will be the charm."

On August 19, 2010, two inspectors from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) visited the Strictly Skillz Barbershop in Orlando and found everything in order: All of the barbers working there were properly licensed, and all of the work stations complied with state regulations. Two days later, even though no violations had been discovered and even though the DBPR is authorized to conduct such inspections only once every two years, the inspectors called again, this time accompanied by "between eight and ten officers, including narcotics agents," who "rushed into" the barbershop "like [a] SWAT team." Some of them wore masks and bulletproof vests and had their guns drawn. Meanwhile, police cars blocked off the parking lot.
The kicker is because the 11th Circuit has twice before ruled that such raids, disguised as "licensing inspections" are unconstitutional, the cops involved don't get qualified immunity. Which means that they, personally, are going to be held liable for damages.

The other thing, of course, is that these storm-trooper style searches, disguised as "licensing inspections" were only carried out on barbershops that were owned by Blacks and Hispanics.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Get Used to the Idea of Another President Clinton

Mitt Romney might run again.

If that's the best that the GOP can do, then they might consider changing their party symbol from the elephant to the wooly mammoth. For extinction, at least on the national level, is looming.


Here We Go Again; Escalattio Edition

A day after US warplanes expanded the war south-west of Baghdad, Army General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate armed services committee that he could see himself recommending the use of some US military forces now in Iraq to embed within Iraqi and Kurdish units to take territory away from Isis.

“If we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific [Isis] targets, I will recommend that to the president,” Dempsey said, preferring the term “close combat advising”.
Is "close combat advising" something like "safe sex"? And didn't we go down that route about fifty years ago, but on the other side of Asia?

Any coincidence to the fact that there are occasional rumbles about registering women for the draft?

And can we land helicopters on top of the American embassy in Baghdad?

Miss Lindsey Has the Vapours Over Everything.

The Daily Show examines the continuing fearfulness of Miss Lindsey.

One must wonder why he isn't living in a padded room and being medicated four times a day. For both his own good and for the good of the country.

The "Race to the Sea"

100 years ago today, following the stopping of the German advance into France at the First Battle of the Marne, the German and Anglo-French armies began trying to out-flank each other to the north.

Neither side was able to do it. The digging-in had already begun and within a month, the trench lines would be more-or-less fixed until the German Spring Offensive began in 1918.

The German Spring Offensive had much the same result as the Battle of the Bulge would, 36 years later, and for much the same reason: The German army was unable to logistically sustain the advance.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

TSA's New Idea: Post-Flight Security Screening

Yes, that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

But that doesn't stop the TSA from trying it.

Three cheers to the guy who they tried to pull that shit on for refusing to cooperate with the blue-shirted goons.

5.7mm, or Something Like That

Let the caliber wars begin!

I don't know why there is any serious consideration of this round. The Euros, for a century or more, have regarded handguns as things that are used either as badges of authority or for executing political dissidents. Stopping power is not a serious concern for either use.

Abrogation. Avoidance. More Bombing.

So we're off to War the 4th in the Middle East. Or 5th. I've lost track.

How we got here is truly inane. The Syrians have effectively promoted ISIS by manipulating their little civil war so ISIS became the predominant group. It's an old trick of tyrants: Eliminate any moderate opposition so that what's left are the really evil guys. That way, the tyrants can stand up and say: "I know all y'all despise me, but it's either me or them guys." The Saudis engaged in their age-old practice of funding extremist groups while simultaneously ignoring any possibility that the monsters they were midwifing would come to threaten them.

Recently removed Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki tried to "coup-proof" the Iraqi army by pushing out competent officers and putting in sycophants. The problem with doing that is that it also neutered the army as far as being able to defend against external threats. Not that there was a serious external threat at the time, for Iraq had become more-or-less an Iranian vassal state. Nobody else was going to attack them, not the Jordanians, Turks or Syrians. And the Saudis, well, they'd wrinkle their Savile Row-tailored uniforms doing anything so messy as being in a war. {Horrors!}

The Kurds have fighters, but no other players in the region were interested in seeing them have much in the way of military capabilities beyond policing their own territory.

So it was Syrian venality, Iraqi cupidity and Saudi stupidity that got us to where ISIS is bomb-worthy to the United States.

The problem, at least domestically, is Congress. Not one of those fucktards is truly interested in exercising any degree of control. Congress has the power to declare war.[1] They have the power of the purse. They have the ability to make a collective decision and enforce it.

But they don't. They'd all rather go on the talk shows and either support the President's policy or condemn it, as the whim strikes them, and as the polls indicate the amount of support the President has from the people.[2,3] Because if there is any place in America that we can't look for anything resembling leadership, it's Congress. The Ebola virus has a higher public approval rating than Congress.

So we'll continue on the way that we have been going for decades. The President, whomever he (or she) happens to be, orders military action against anyone he wants to for whatever flimsy reason he deems fit.  And over and over, the President engages our country in wars, usually by not calling them wars.

When we're dropping bombs on people, it's a fucking war.[4] It's high time that we not only own up to that fact, but that the Congress finds the spine to do something beyond individual members making stupid speeches and going on the Sunday morning blabfests.
[1] Though declaring a formal war on a stateless entity is an interesting concept.
[2] "There go my people, I must find out where they are going so I can lead them."- Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin (possibly)
[3] In that regard, one might think of Congress as just a pack of mouthy bloggers.
[4] Unless you're in the Philadelphia police or in Tulsa.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Why Scotland Might Leave

Because the Brits have run the lamest sales campaign since New Coke.

John Oliver has details, and more:

Part of it is that the Brits could not conceive that the Scots would be serious about leaving. They've been like some drunken bastard who is sitting on the couch, drinking beer after punching about his wife and ignoring the fact that she's in the bedroom, packing a suitcase.

Doesn't Your School District Have a SWAT Team?

At least one does in Texas. Because responding to a burglary alarm at 3 AM takes a full SWAT rollout in Texas.

Time was that a burglary alarm going off at 3AM would get two cops armed with Smith Model 10s or Colt Official Police revolvers. But that was back in the days of real coppers, not paramilitary wannabees.

The LA School District cops also got them a MRAP and they have grenade launchers. In case they want to frag the little bastards from a distance.

Kissing While Black is Illegal in Los Angeles

Because if you're a black woman and you're kissing a white dude, the po-po are going to assume that you're a hooker.

As Danielle Watts, the lead female actress in Django found out.

Why Have a Car Alarm?

First off, nobody pays attention to them. Everyone assumes that the alarm is going off because a cat jumped on the hood or just because.

Second, all of your neighbors will hate you.

I worked at a plant where one of the more hated managers had an expensive car with an alarm. He parked it next to one of the buildings. The building had a basement door that opened onto the parking lot. It became a game to run out, kick the side of the car and then run back in, while someone else timed how long it took for that manager to run down from his office to ensure that nothing was wrong with his precious.

Sunday, September 14, 2014


The C-109 was a variant of the treacherous and unloved C-87. The C-87 was a lousy cargo airplane. The Army modified over 200 B-24Js to become gasoline tankers- the C-109, or, as the pilots called it, the C-One-Oh-BoomGene Autry flew them over the Hump.

If you want to read about what happens when a halfway decent bomber is made into a crappy transport, go read "Fate is the Hunter". Or re-read it, because why haven't you read it by now, people?

The Army got rid of those pigs as soon as they had enough C-46s and C-54s to do the job.

Project Appleseed- Mother Frakker!

There is, for the first time in years, an Appleseed match in my local area.

My luck isn't so good with them. The last time there was a match within convenient driving distance, I lived in the Northeast and a hurricane blew through. Maybe they held it anyway, but I wasn't going to try to shoot a .22 in 80mph winds. I'm too old for that shit.

So this time around, the Appleseed match is scheduled to start on the same day as the final club Bullseye match. (Not to mention a bit of a regional social event later that day.) Also, they want you to bring 500 rounds of .22 ammo, and all I can say there is "good luck with that". (Appleseed's web site says that they were holding some "low round count" events because of the shortage of .22 ammo, but this one isn't listed as one.) They also seem to be hinting that shooters should use a Ruger 10/22, which I don't have and I'll be frelled to death if I'm going to go buy a gun for a one-off event.

Anyway, there's always next year.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

The T-50:

Like our own stealth fighters, the Russians will probably end up keeping a bunch of their older jets because of cost issues.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

OMG, Here Come the Mall Cops!

Your argument is invalid.

"Sir, You Know You're Not in Illinois, Right?"

Smooth move, Asswipe.
TROY, Mo. • A 22-year-old Illinois man is in custody after he allegedly offered to pay a police officer $100 not to write him a speeding ticket.
That'll be good for maybe four years in a nice Crossbar Hotel somewhere in Missouri.

The old trick back in the day in Illinois was to fold up your license in a $20 and hand it to the cop. you certainly weren't supposed to do anything as gauche as ask the cop if he was willing to take a bribe.

Don't they teach kids in Illinois the proper etiquette of corruption anymore?


Jake is enjoying some luxurious lap time.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Nyclad = Unobtainium

If you have any Federal Nyclad rounds in your stash, don't go shooting them off.

I asked Federal about the chance of ever ordering some. This is the reply that I received:
At this time there are no plans to load Nyclad bullets in .38 spl or any other caliber.

Federal Cartridge
Some of the ballistic testing I've seen has concluded that .38 Special Nyclads, and not +P, is an effective round for snubbies. Hell, that's what Smith & Wesson developed the round for, back when they called it the "Chief's Special" round.

Shoot everything else, but save the Nyclads!

Because It's Friday

Danish steam:

Doesn't Every School System Need a Tank?

Hey, kiddies! Your teachers have a tank! So behave!
The San Diego Unified School District Police Department has acquired its own vehicle, known as a MRAP, and expect it to be operational by October.
San Diego thinks they can use it in an emergency. They seem to think they can use it in an earthquake, because it can pull down a wall, but what good is that? They'd have a structurally-compromised building and then Barney Fife is going to start to yank down walls? Without any knowledge of structural engineering?

Are they smoking crack?

The San Diego School Police are trying to calm everyone down. "It's not a tank!"" "We'll paint a big Red Cross on it!" "We'll have teddy bears inside!"

Bullshit. You don't need an armored infantry fighting vehicle to deliver medical supplies and teddy bears. A truck would do the job, or a fucking ambulance. And painting it white and slapping on a Red Cross doesn't make it any less militarized.

For if that was the case, this gun would be legal to buy in California:

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Yah, Sure, This Means Nothing, or So Sayeth the CT Po-Po

New data released by the state of Connecticut show police statewide are stopping black and Hispanic drivers at disproportionately high rates compared with population statistics.

The figures released Thursday show that about 14 percent of all police traffic stops from last October through May involved black drivers, when blacks comprise about 8 percent of the state's population. About 12 percent of stops involved Hispanics, who comprise about 10 percent of the population.

The data also show that blacks and Hispanics were more than twice as likely to have their vehicles searched by police during stops than whites.

Several police officials say they're reviewing the data and cautioned against drawing conclusions until those reviews are complete.
What's missing from the story is the nugget contained on the CT-ACLU's web page, which is that the cops found contraband more often when they searched vehicles driven by whites. Just like in Ferguson.

Well, Isn't That Convenient?

An old pharmaceutical factory in Boston burned down. Developers were seeking to redevelop the site into an apartment building.

If you look at the address on Google Earth (423 Lagrange St., Boston, MA), you'll see that almost all of the housing in that neighborhood is single-family dwellings. The developers wanted to put the apartments there because a commuter rail station is across the street. The local residents were fighting the project and it had apparently stalled.

So now the old factory buildings there have burned down. Less than three weeks after the property was sold to the developer.

Mighty convenient, wouldn't you say?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Consent of the Policed

Chris Hernandez, who has a lot of experience both as a soldier and a cop, writes about what the police and the legislatures will need to do in order to repair the widening breach between the cops and the public.

In a functioning republic, people who let the cops know what is going on are "concerned citizens".

In a police state, they are called "informers".

When occupying soldiers are on the street, the term is "collaborators".

There are some serious issues. First off, as has been discussed ad nauseum on this blog, is the issue of police militarization.

Second is that for most of the country, there is no such thing as an independent review of police actions. The same prosecutors who work day in and day out with the cops are not ones who should then be reviewing the legitimacy of police use of force. You don't have to look far to find where cops shot people in handcuffs and then had the shooting deemed to be justified or a suicide. Even the FBI, which gets involved in lots of cases of local police use of force, whitewashes their own shootings.

Third, the paramilitary mindset has to be broken. Cops call us "civilians". Well, so are they. They are "civilian police", or they are supposed to be. Their departments should prohibit them from wearing camouflage uniforms. They should not be running around in fatigue-style uniforms.

And maybe we all need to do something. If your local police or sheriff's department runs around dressed and acting like a bunch of wannabee militamen, then go to your city council or town meeting or county commission and say something. If they're not responsive, think about finding someone to run for the job who will be.

Ideally, the cops work for us, not just the rich and the powerful. But the only way we can get there is if we, as a people, start applying the heat. For if they feel enough heat, they'll see the light.

Gut-Level Reason to Oppose Scottish Independence

Rupert Murdoch is for it. Which pretty much assures that independence will benefit the rich and will screw everyone else.

(On the other hand, British Petroleum is against it.)

The Difference Between Big Business and Small Business

If you're a small business owner and your business goes into bankrupty, you're probably going to not only lose a shitload of money, you may wind up losing everything.

Not so much with the big guys:
Trump Entertainment Resorts filed for bankruptcy Tuesday
The list of businesses with "Trump" in the name which have declared bankruptcy, often multiple times, is probably longer than your arm.

But noooo, the Donald isn't mooching off of the legal system. And conservatives still flock to a guy whose business model seems to involve gullible investors and a set of sheep shears.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Pro-Militarization of Police Camp is Counting On You to Forget About Them

“This militarized policing thing – it’s all political chest-beating,” said [Alameda County] narcotics officer {Steve} Lenthe, expressing a view shared by many Swat officers and vendors who talked to the Guardian. “Americans have short memories and when something else happens all this knee-jerk stuff about military equipment will all be blown away.”
Let's prove to Officer Lenthe that he is wrong, shall we?

Maybe Because It's Their Internal Issue (Or Because We Don't Give a Shit)

The Brits are lambasting the Americans for not giving a fuck whether or not the Scots vote for independence.

Lemme check on that:
Nope, still don't.

The fact that the Brits are starting to whine that the Americans haven't said anything about the issue might be a sign that the pro-independence forces have a real shot at winning the referendum.

Sure there might be some concerns about this or that or the other. But whether or not Scotland (or Wales or Mercia) votes for independence is an issue for the Limeys and the Haggis-Eaters to settle. It's their domestic squabble and, like most other domestic squabbles, the best advice for outsiders is to stay the fuck out of it.

Mobile Phone Insurance ID: Not a Good Thing

So there you are, having been pulled over, and you hand your license and your unlocked smartphone to Officer Friendly.

Unlike the GEICO ad, most of the time, the cop goes back to his or her road car with your papers. Which, in this case, is going to give him a few minutes to surf through your phone looking for anything incriminating.

Why run the risk? Print out a paper insurance card and stick that into your glove box.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Probably Not a Concidence

After over a century, GE is getting out of the business of making stuff for consumers. And the wages of Americans are stagnant.

Taken together, it's a "no fucking shit" moment. People whose pay hasn't gone up aren't tripping down to the stores to buy new appliances. This is why crap such as why it's really stupid for us to be subsidizing the labor costs of companies like Wal-Mart matters.

Adam-12: Buy Malloy's Gun

The gun that Martin Milner used as Officer Malloy in the series "Adam 12" is up for auction. It was his personal revolver and if you win the auction, it comes to you from him (via a FFL, of course). Bidding is up to $3,600 and it hasn't even hit the reserve price.

UPDATE Sept. 14th: Bidding is up to $5,025 and the reserve hasn't been met. I'm curious as to what Mr. Milner thinks it is worth. But not very much.

Steve Doocy and the Other Guy are Idiots, Episode the Googolplex

Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade's big message to their viewers on Ray Rice beating the shit out his then fiancée: "Elevators have cameras. If you're going to whale away on your girlfriend, take the stairs."


The Knack

Because mostly, I have nothing for you this morning.

I have been reading Rise of the Warrior Cop. It's an infuriating book in many respects. One thing, though, is that it does seem that whenever evil fuckery has been done by the government in the last several decades, if you look, you'll find Nixon's fingerprints on it.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Star Spangled Banner- A Different Treatment

Sung in a minor key. I had no idea what that meant, but he explained it in the introduction.

It sounds a hell of a lot more "singable" than the standard version.

Caturday; Adopt Meeee!

A shelter cat is waiting for a forever home:

Do you have room?

Friday, September 5, 2014

Police Militarization: Eyewash Will be Applied

There will be a Senate hearing on Tuesday.

I'll bet that nothing comes out of it.

Stupid Perv Has a Bad Day

One young Pittsburgh pervert had a bad day when the woman he assaulted turned out to be a cop.
A dep­uty U.S. mar­shal chased down a Spring Garden teen­ager af­ter the teen pulled down her pants while she ran along a North Side trail, ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments re­leased Wed­nes­day. ... The woman told Pitts­burgh po­lice she was run­ning on a trail near River Avenue when she passed [Robert] Flynn [age 19]. When she was about 10 feet ahead of him, he de­cided to run be­hind her, placed his hand on her but­tocks, then pulled down her run­ning shorts, ex­pos­ing her but­tocks, ac­cord­ing to a crim­i­nal com­plaint.

The mar­shal told po­lice she pulled up her pants and chased af­ter Mr. Flynn, scream­ing, “Fed­eral mar­shal! Stop!” and ask­ing peo­ple nearby to call 911. She fol­lowed him to a stair­case be­hind an apart­ment build­ing in the 100 block of Ander­son Street and again told him to stop be­cause she was a mar­shal, po­lice said.

Mr. Flynn, who is 6 feet, 4 inches tall, “at­tempted to charge” at the mar­shal, who is 5 feet, 5 inches tall, ac­cord­ing to the com­plaint. Po­lice said the woman “feared that Flynn was go­ing to as­sault her again” so she kicked him in the crotch, grabbed him by the shoul­der and punched him in the face.
Perv Boy's charged with indecent assault (the grabbing), escape (he ran from a cop), aggravated assault (for trying to fight) and providing false ID (he told the local fuzz he was somebody else.

I have a feeling he's going to have a bit of trouble coming up with the $500,000 bond.

Riddle Me This, Batman; ISIS, Work and Crime

So let me see if I understand this:

If a woman gets date-raped after going to a bar, it's her fault for not watching her drink. If she dates a weasel and the weasel rapes her, it's her fault for going out with a bad guy. If she get cat-called on the street, it's her fault for looking good.

If you go into a bad neighborhood and get robbed, beaten or carjacked, it's partially your fault for going into Over-the Rhine, Roxbury or any other sketchy place. If you're black and some lunatic vigilante shoots you, your fault from mouthing off to the gun-toting fool or for walking in a white neighborhood while wearing a hoodie.

If you work in a steel mill and you get your foot crushed by a shifting load, your fault for not being careful.

But if you're an American reporter and you go into an area where militants who hate Americans are operating, they find you and they kill you, now we have to go all bombsie on them?

How does this make any sense?

Because It's Friday

British steam:

The Brits do heritage steam better than anyone, or so it seems from YouTube.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Now Hear This: Commence Operation Schadenfreude!

A federal jury Thursday found former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, guilty of public corruption — sending a message that they believed the couple sold the office once occupied by Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson to a free spending Richmond businessman for golf outings, lavish vacations and $120,000 in sweetheart loans.
He was convicted on 11 counts, his wife on nine. He was found not guilty on two, his wife on four according to CNN. It would seem that there was a deadlock for each of them on one of the counts. Or CNN can't count.

When Seconds Count, the Po-Po Are Minutes Away

A terrified Arizona widow, armed with a revolver, hid in her bathroom then shot and subdued a robber who broke into her home.
Audio and transcript here.

"A lot of officers are responding"-- none of them got there in time. The perp broke into the house, found her and started beating on her before she managed to shoot him. Four minutes after she shot the perp, the cops came into her home.

No doubt that if she had killed him, one of Hizzoner da Mare Bloomberg's astroturf gun-grabber groups would have listed him as a "victim of gun violence".

Self-defense is a human right.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

VFTP, Update the Second

It's back, after a request that the blog be made accessible for the purpose of perusing the archives.

Tam does not intend to continue blogging and comments have been disabled.

"And That's When the Fight Started."

Which is the last line to all of these jokes:

A woman went with her husband to his high school reunion. Two tables over, a woman was sitting alone and pounding down drinks.
"Honey, do you know that woman," the wife asked.
"Yes," he sighed. "We dated and broke up after graduation. I heard she took up drinking and never stopped."
"Ohmigawd, that's an awfully long time for a celebration," the wife said.

A man was hinting to his wife what he wants for a 50th birthday present.
"I want something that has chrome and will go from 0 to 200 in a few seconds," he announced.
She bought him a bathroom scale.

A man was walking down the street in the city and turns the corner by a building. He bumped into some guy who was carrying a cardboard tray with four coffees in it. The coffees dumped all over the other guy, who starts cussing a blue streak. The guy who turned the corner did a double-take, as he realized that he just almost trampled a dwarf.
The guy with the coffees ended his tirade by screaming: "I am not happy!"
The first guy asked: "OK, so which one are you?"

A man was standing in the bedroom, looking in a mirror and frowning.
His wife walked in and asked what was wrong.
He said: "I've got a pot belly, I'm going bald, what hair I have left is turning gray and I'm not the stud that I once was."
"Is there anything that I can do to cheer you up," she asked.
"I need you to pay me a compliment."
She thought for a second and then said: "Your eyesight's excellent."

A woman walked into her husband's man-cave and asked: "What's on TV?"

A man is reading the paper when his wife walked into the room.
"Dear, I just got off the phone with my mother. She said you didn't buy her a gift for her birthday."
"Hell, she didn't use the gift I bought her last year."
"What did you give her?"
"A cemetery plot."

So the guy in the last joke took his mother-in-law out to a restaurant to try and make amends. For some reason, the waitress first asked him for his order.
"I'll have the prime rib, and I want it rare."
The waitress paused with her order pad: "Aren't you worried about mad cow?"
"Nah, she can order for herself."

A few days later, that guy was was reading a story in the paper about the fight to put the Ten Commandments in the courthouse. He said: "They have a commandment about how we're supposed to treat our parents, but not one about how wives are supposed to treat their husbands."
"Oh, but they do, dear."
"They do," he asked. "Which one is that?"
"Thou Shall Not Kill."

VFTP, Update

If you want to get a very, very tiny taste of the crap that led to Tam zorching her blog, then go to this post on Roberta's blog and read through the comments. The troll that infected Tam's life is there. He's easy-peasy to pick out.

Cram People in Like Rats and People Will Fight Like Rats

For the third time in nine days, a fight over reclining seats caused a commercial airline flight to be diverted.

This time, a Delta Air Lines flight from New York’s LaGuardia Airport to West Palm Beach, Fla., made an unexpected stop in Jacksonville on Monday night after a passenger became irate when the woman seated in front of her reclined.
The "pitch", the distance between the seat rows, has steadily declined over the years. There was a time, Gentle Reader, when you could actually stretch out your legs in a coach class seat and barely touch the seat in front of you. If you had the window seat, you could get up and go to the can without making the passenger next to you move from his/her seat.

But the fucking airlines moved the rows closer and closer and the future isn't looking so good.

If you jam critters too close together, bad shit happens. There's gotta be enough research to support that. Which is probably why the airlines have stopped squawking about the TSA, they need the TSA to ensure the passengers are fully disarmed before cramming 60 of them into the flying version of a "40 or 8".

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Kristol Doctrine: "Bomb Everywhere"

I have been observing, with some bemusement, the knots that the neo-cons have been tying themselves into over Ukraine and ISIS. Their consistent prescription for everything, except maybe Ebola, is the same: Bomb it.

See, if any pissant with a video camera and access to the Internet picks up an AK-47 and starts ranting, the neo-cons want to bomb the shit out of them.

How much more of this shit can we take? How many continuing wars do they want us to get into? You might recall that as the Second Persian Gulf War wore on, the Army kept lowering their recruiting standards to "dim-bulb IQ, not too many facial tattoos, no major felonies, and not old enough for Social Security". The Army was so short of people that tens of thousands of airmen and sailors were effectively drafted into the Army.

As for ISIS, the Saudis have a nice, pretty army and air force. The Almighty knows that they've spend billions and billions of petrodollars buying shiny bangity things for their military. Why don't they try using them?

Well, the Saudis won't. First off, the officer ranks of their military are used, in part, to provide jobs for Saudi princes who are way down the line of succession to the Saudi throne. And second, ISIS became powerful because the Saudis financed them.

That's what the Saudis do. They finance a terror group and then, when their pet monster breaks its chains, we get to go play Whack-a-Terrorist.

Really fixing the shit there is going to require Iran and the United States to get over their respective butthurts and work together. That would piss off the Saudis no end, another reason to do it.

As for Ukraine, when someone points out our hard national interest (other than "zOMG, aggression"), I'm listening. The Euros are freaking out because they opted to suck at the teat of Gazprom, despite all of the people who said: "I wouldn't do that shit if I were you." The same people who are freaking out over the Russians playing with their guns in the "near abroad" nations on their border were cheerleading when Reagan invaded Grenada, Bush I invaded Panama, and Bush II invaded Iraq.

Because "cheerleading" is all they do. Not that any of their kin are going to be shot at. None of Mittster's kids put on a uniform. The only member of the Bush family to serve recently was a USNR intelligence officer, which is a job that can be done adequately whilst wearing a cocktail dress and heels.*

These wars all seem to come down to the gas and oil companies making money, don't they? No doubt, our own energy companies are slavering at the idea of selling LNG to the Europeans. Which means that once again, we'll strip our own domestic energy supplies for the sake of the Europeans.
* I've used that line before. So sue me.

Monday, September 1, 2014

"Permission Denied"

If you have tried to read View From the Porch in the last several hours, you would have gotten a "permission denied" message.

That is not a bug in Blogger. Tam has shut down her blog. Her reasons are sort of private so forgive me, Gentle Reader, if I refrain from commenting on them. Other than to say that they are valid.

I will miss her writings.

Short Barreled Rifles, a Followup...

....to my recent post on them.

The September issue of American Rifleman has the Mossberg MVP as its cover story. This paragraph was in the article:
And the Mossberg MVP series continues to grow. Mossberg has announced that it will soon offer rifles designed in cooperation with Red Jacket Firearms. These are the folks on the “Sons of Guns” show on the Discovery Channel. And you can bet that one of the Mossberg/Red Jacket guns will be an MVP.
I'm kinda guessing that Mossberg is going to put some considerable distance between them and Red Jacket, given the recent arrest of its owner on child molestation charges.

Even the Rich are Feeling Pessimistic

A mother in a very well-off family explains why even they have pulled greatly back on spending.

For some reason, people say they feel confident. But consumer spending is between flat and down. Which would seem that the old line of "money talks, bullshit walks" is still in force.

Workers in general have not recovered from the Great Recession. For the last 35 to 40 years, the economy has been engaged in a massive redistribution of wealth from those in the bottom 80% to those at the top.

Part of this is due to the treason of the capitalists, who have put their own pocketbooks ahead of the good of the country. The "creative destruction", so loved by financial pirates like ol' Roof Rack and Carl Icahn, threw millions of people out of good-paying jobs and gutted financially profitable companies, all so those greedy bastards could get even more riches. The treason was in two parts: Destroying the economic viability of the workers and middle classes and selling our industrial base to the Chinese.

And yes, I believe that's been the long-range plan of the Chinese government for the last 30-35 years: To strip the industrial bases of the West (not just us) and to transfer huge amounts of wealth to China. Here's a stat for you: In 1975, American steel mills produced 150 million tons of steel. In 2013, the U.S. produced was 87 million tons of steel. China produced 779 million tons in 2013, 494.9 million tons in 2007 and 20.5 million tons in 1976. Right now, China produces just a skosh under half of the steel made in the world.

Without doing a jot of research, I'll bet that if you looked at the list of Fortune 500 companies from the Bicentennial and compared it to the current list, you'll find not a few companies which were looted by the vulture capitalists.

As an aside, calling Romney and his ilk "vulture capitalists" is an insult to vultures. Vultures generally wait for their food to die. No, they're more like "hyena capitalists".

So here we are on Labor Day in the middle of the second decade of the 21st Century. Our largest employer is a company whose business model is based on exploitation of its workers and those in its suppliers. (They're joined in that by #2 and #3.) Labor force participation rates began falling as the Great Recession took hold and have continued to fall.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the unemployment rate has fallen:

But if you can't find a job and have been out so long that you have no hope of ever finding one, they don't count you.

If you count those who have been out a long time and those who have part-time jobs, but want to work full-time, then the marginal/unemployment rate is still 50% higher than it was before the start of the recession:

And nearly three million more people are collecting disability from Social Security since the recession began. The number of veterans claiming VA pensions has gone up 50%. Not all are mooching. Many find themselves with no prospect of employment anytime soon, so they grab for what they can. People who have houses are far less mobile than those who rent their dwellings, for the banks, despite their public protestations, make it almost impossible to do a "short sale". And a few states have figured out that the key to lowering the Medicare rolls is to hire the figurative descendents of Franz Kafka to run their programs.

So, Gentle Reader, please enjoy your burgers and brats on this Labor Day. When you look to the future, you may want to wear a welder's helmet.

Because you probably won't like what you'd otherwise see.


Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Grey Lady Weasels Around Again

A few weeks back, the "executive editor" for the NYT said that they will now call what the CIA did to prisoners "torture", rather than some bullshit Cheney-approved euphemism.

This what the Weasel in Charge said about the situation back then:
When the first revelations emerged a decade ago, the situation was murky. The details about what the Central Intelligence Agency did in its interrogation rooms were vague. The word “torture” had a specialized legal meaning as well as a plain-English one. While the methods set off a national debate, the Justice Department insisted that the techniques did not rise to the legal definition of “torture.” The Times described what we knew of the program but avoided a label that was still in dispute, instead using terms like harsh or brutal interrogation methods.

This is what my Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary (7th Edition) says is torture: "The infliction of intense pain to punish, coerce or afford sadistic pleasure." By any rational review of what the CIA and the Army was reportedly doing to prisoners, at the time, they were practicing torture. There is nothing "murky" about waterboarding or beating people to jelly or stripping them naked, dousing them with cold water and tossing them into refrigerated cells. That was torture.

Here's an easy test: If the Gestapo or the KGB did the same thing, would the Times have called that "brutal interrogation" or "torture"? If the Taliban had captured a Times reporter and beat the shit out of him until he confessed to being a Crusader spy, would they have said that "he received a severe beating" or "he was tortured"?

There wasn't anything murky about what the CIA was doing. But if a book is ever written about the Grey Lady's connivance at the aggression of the Iraq War or her turning her back on the CIA's war crimes, I have a suggestion for a title:

"Profiles in Cowardice".

Asshole Parkers, Aviation Edition

I see this over and over at airports with self-service fuel pumps-- Some Nimrod of the Skies refuels his airplane and then, rather than move it from the pumps so others can refuel, just leaves it there while he visits the can or checks the weather, or gets some chow.

This morning, at my local airport, some putz with a Navion did that. A helicopter came in to land and, hoping to refuel, hovered by the pumping station for a bit, before air-taxing over to the tiedowns and shutting down. Turbine guys don't like to start up and shut down unnecessarily, so he'll probably get his Jet-A fix when he leaves. But it didn't need to go that way, if the nimrod with the Navion had merely exercised some good manners.

Probably the worst jerk I ever saw do this was at 44N, where the clown driving this airplane left it parked at the fuel island while he ate at the cafe:

Anyway, this Bellanca Viking was in one of the transient hangar spaces today:

And this Eclipse-500 was on the ramp:

I see a lot of jets that have engine covers to keep the breeze from rotating the turbine elements, but maybe this guy didn't care.  That airplane was here over a year ago and it had covers then.

What the Hell; Microsoft Edition

Apologies for the quality of these photos, but I couldn't get them with screenshots.

So, every so often, this pops up on my computer screen:

But why something purportedly from Microsoft wants to install itself into a Garmin directory, I don't know.

The next three are from the boxes where I can look at its "certificate". Note that the validity date range expired in 2010.

I don't let it install. But I'm wondering what the hell it is and how do I get rid of it.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise (Sort of)

"How to Fly a Ford" (F4D).

No engine noise; you'll live.