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 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.

(H/T)

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.
Bull-motherfucking-shit.

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.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Things I Don't Get; Short Barreled Rifles Edition

Mossberg has a new series of rifles out, the "MVP" series. You can go from a "patrol rifle", which has a 16.5" barrel, the "predator model", either 18.5" or 20" barrels, or a "varmint" model, which has a 24" barrel and a bench-rest type stock.

I don't really get short-barreled bolt-action rifles, at least for civilian uses. The idea of a rifle is to have, to use an old neighbor's term, an "AT&T gun". A carbine is for close-in work and why the hell would you want a bolt gun for such a situation? It'd be like trading in an AK for a M-44 Mosin.

Bangity, PPC Edition

My club had a PPC match today. It doesn't strictly follow the NRA's rules; the club likes to mix things up a little bit each year.

The course of fire is 45 rounds. I shot 433-19X with a S&W Model 19 (6") for my best round. I was three points off a perfect score until the 25 yard stage. Lots of 9s and two 8s.. sheesh. I know I can do better than that.

On my first run through, I shot 408-17X. I was shooting handloads for that, 4gr of Trail Boss pushing lead 158gr SWCs. I had one light primer strike on one stage and I fumbled the reload on another stage, so I ended up dropping two shots. For the second pass, I switched to Winchester White Box ammo from Wally-Woild. The reloading stages went smoother.

I might end up taking the gun in and have a local guy lightly chamfer the charging holes. My suspicion is that the sharp edges of the chambers were slightly grabbing the lead noses of the bullets. On the other hand, it is a "P&R" gun and I kind of hate to have anyone messing around with it.

Must Be a Big IED Threat from College Kids

Otherwise, why would the Ohio State University campus cops have a MRAP?

Caturday; Neighborhood Watch Edition

Jake is keeping an eye on the comings and goings.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Charter Meeting of Ye Olde Society of Dog Abusers


The guy on the left is the Puppy Kicker. You already know ol' "Roof Rack" on the right.

"Community Policing? We Doan Got to Do No Steenkin' Community Policing!"-- Ferguson Edition

Now this is just insulting:
As darkness fell on Canfield Drive on August 9, a makeshift memorial sprang up in the middle of the street where Michael Brown's body had been sprawled in plain view for more than four hours. Flowers and candles were scattered over the bloodstains on the pavement. Someone had affixed a stuffed animal to a streetlight pole a few yards away. Neighborhood residents and others were gathering, many of them upset and angry.

Soon, police vehicles reappeared, including from the St. Louis County Police Department, which had taken control of the investigation. Several officers emerged with dogs. What happened next, according to several sources, was emblematic of what has inflamed the city of Ferguson, Missouri, ever since the unarmed 18-year-old was gunned down: An officer on the street let the dog he was controlling urinate on the memorial site.
Do I even need to expound on how insulting that was for a cop to have a police dog piss on the memorial to a man gunned down by the police? It might not have made it into the papers right away, but you can be pretty sure that the folks on the street knew about it.

Within the last few days, I stumbled across a police chief's blog. Fuck me, I can't find it, now.* But he was bitching that the cops are at war and they need even more militarized gear

Not only no, but hell, no. If we need an army patrolling out streets, then the proper way to do that is to declare martial law (as Dick Cheney probably wanted to do) and bring in the fucking Army. We are supposed to have civilian cops in this country, not heavily-armed paramilitary goon squads.

I'll make a sad prediction: If the police want to keep acting like an occupying army, sooner or later, they're going to be treated like one.
__________________________________________
* But did you know that former NYPD Commish/convicted felon Bernie Kerik has a blog?

Because It's Friday

Kiwi steam:

Billyuns of Planets

When I took an astronomy course, there was some discussion about whether other star systems had planets. Nobody knew back then, and there was not some little speculation that planets were rarities.

How wrong that was. It seems that as the instruments get better, everywhere the astronomers look, they're finding planets.

They haven't detected life, but I would hazard a guess that's because the instruments are good enough, at this time, to find signs of life. It might be kind of like trying to read the fine print on a contract that somebody is holding up in front of a searchlight.

Then comes the question of intelligent life. We don't know where our planet stands on that spectrum. Are the odds of intelligent life developing so low that we may be unique? Or is it so common or different that we've been fenced off for being the galactic retards?

I suspect that we'll eventually find out.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Desmond Hague, Rich Asshole of the Month

He was filmed on a security camera while he was kicking a puppy in an elevator.

Hauge is the CEO of a company called "Centerplate" which runs sports concessions. Centerplate is heavily into Damage Control Mode. Hague is whining that he was "frustrated" with the puppy (and no doubt that he didn't know that there was a camera in the elevator).

He's trying to buy his way out of this one. and he'll do a thousand hours of his company-mandated community service when cows are piloting starships.

If you or I were caught on camera kicking the shit out of a puppy, especially when it would appear that he's done it before, Gentle Reader, we'd already be in handcuffs.

UPDATE: Centerplate owns the John Harvard chain of brew-pubs in the Northeast (NY, MA, RI). You might consider going elsewhere.

The Ft. Fumble Death Spiral

It's how a program dies.

This is how it works:

Blue on Blue: Black = Dead

Here's a stunning statistic: From 1982 to 2010 (when the report was written), no white off-duty cop has been shot dead by a fellow police officer. All off-duty cops who have been shot and killed by other cops have been black or Hispanic:
A special fear haunts police officers of color across the United States. Beyond all the dangers that every law enforcement officer faces, these officers feel uniquely threatened by another. It is the danger that a day will come when they are out of uniform—off-duty, undercover, or in plainclothes—and the color of their skin and a gun in their hand will prompt fellow officers to mistake them for an armed criminal, and shoot. When an officer of color is not in uniform and sees a crime in progress or a life threatened, and considers taking police action, he or she must often think twice about how the next police officers on the scene will react to an unfamiliar black or Latino with a gun. .
The study was done after two off-duty black cops in New York were gunned down by other cops.

The "off-duty" part is the key. If the cops were on-duty, there might have been some mechanism to let the other cops know that plainclothes police were on the scene.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Shenanigans

Once again, folks: It isn't the crime, it's the cover-up that sinks these nitwits.
A former Iowa lawmaker has pleaded guilty to federal charges stemming from his switch of support from one Republican candidate for president to another before the 2012 caucuses, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

Former state Sen. Kent Sorenson received "under the table payments" before switching loyalties from U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann's campaign, which he headed in Iowa, to then-U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, and then lying to federal investigators about it, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Prosecutors refused to say which campaign paid him.
Don't any of these imbeciles know that it's a felony beef to lie to a Federal investigator? If you lie to them, they don't have to prove anything else. They only have to prove that you lied about a material fact and it's off to the Crossbar Hilton for you.

If a Fed wants to talk to you, you have two choices: Tell the truth or shut the fuck up and call your lawyer. (Probably should call your lawyer anyway.) Don't try to fib your way out of it. You'll only get caught.

"Where's That [Search] Warrant Now, You F**king N***er?"

A story of one young black man's encounter with the cops in Denver.

Of course, the internal review in Denver found that nothing was amiss. But they still paid out almost $800,000 to settle the case.

At least one of the cops involved was later fired for brutality, in another case.

The New Goodyear...Zeppelin?

The new "Goodyear Blimp" isn't a blimp.

"Wingfoot One" is semi-rigid, with a partial frame and pressurized envelope. Germany's ZLT Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik built Wingfoot One, which Goodyear then assembled over the past year.
It's a Zeppelin.

But not this kind:


HP/Compaq Laptop Power Cord Recall.

If you have a HP or Compaq laptop, look at the end of the AC cord which plugs into the transformer (the thing that looks like a black brick) and see if the code LS-15 is molded on the plug.

If it is, go here and fill out the form. HP will send you a new cord.

A few of the cords have been catching on fire. HP says to stop using the cord. I'm just going to unplug it from the wall when I'm not using the laptop. YMMV.

A Little too Accurate for Satire; Duffel Blog Edition

A 67-year-old man who as a young man lived under constant fear the Soviets would launch nuclear missiles at his beloved country and wipe out everyone and everything he loved characterized a terrorist group as an “imminent threat to every interest we have” late last week, sources confirmed.

The man, identified as Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, went on to say that militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) were “beyond anything” he’s ever seen, despite his once serving in a bloody conflict in southeast Asia against a cunning and brutal adversary which utilized guerrilla tactics, irregular warfare, and committed numerous war crimes, all while supported by pinko heathens in Moscow.
...
According to several senior defense officials, a regional terrorist group which has seized parts of Iraq and Syria but has so far demonstrated no capability of attacking inside the U.S., poses a much graver threat to the homeland than a nuclear-armed Iran, a rising and increasingly militaristic China, or a country named Russia which was a Cold War adversary for 44 years that would now like a do-over.
Indeed.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Most Produced Airliner

The 737.


As Air & Space Smithsonian pointed out, the early sales of the 737 had been somewhat lackluster. Boeing re-engined it with not much enthusiasm. They thought that maybe they'd sell another 300.

They've sold over 12,000.

Yes, I know, over 16,000 DC-3s were made. But the vast majority were made under military contracts, 5,000 of those were license-built in the Soviet Union and the Japanese built about 500.

Off to School-- `70s vs. Teens (Plus Bonus Tab Clearing)

Other than the point that my bus stop for the last two years of high school was 3/4th of a mile away, this seems kind of spot-on.

For the last month, I've seen adults in the Wal-Mart clutching lists of school supplies. One woman had so much stuff in her cart that I asked her if she was outfitting her classroom. She said no, that she was buying the stuff for her two grandsons and that she hadn't gotten everything on the list.

What I remember: Some new clothes from Sears (or K-Mart or any of the other now non-existent low-rent department stores). A 3-ring binder with dividers and fresh paper. A ruler that had those holes so you could clip it into the binder. For geometry class, a protractor and a compass (the kind that held a pencil stub). A few pencils and a couple of Bic pens. And for the younger set, a box of crayons (eight crayons if your parents were cheap, 16 if they were feeling generous, 64 if they were rich).

And that, Gentle Reader, was it.
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At the match last weekend, nine shooters participated in the rimfire portion. Seven were shooting some flavor of Ruger Mk.I/II/III. Two had Browning Buckmarks. All had optics mounted.

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No doubt that these two poor lost souls were only breaking into the house and pistol-whipping a kid because they wanted to borrow their Bible and have a glass of milk.

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Sources in Moscow have admitted that a number of men captured inside Ukraine were indeed serving Russian soldiers, but said they crossed the border by mistake.
Aw, they probably got confused between the town of Donetsk and the city by the same name. They're only about 220km apart.

--------------------------------------------------

The Vast Wasteland Awards were handed out last night. If you give a shit. (The "Schmemmy" awards were handed out the day before.)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Whose Side Are We On?

The United States is preparing military options to pressure the Islamic State in Syria, the U.S. military said on Monday, but officials cautioned that no decision had been made to expand U.S. action beyond the limited air strikes under way in Iraq. ... General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last week that the Islamic State would need to eventually be addressed on "both sides of what is essentially at this point a non-existent border" between Syria and Iraq.

Dempsey's spokesman confirmed on Monday that options against Islamic State were under review and stressed the need to form "a coalition of capable regional and European partners."

"With Central Command, (Dempsey) is preparing options to address ISIS both in Iraq and Syria with a variety of military tools including airstrikes," Colonel Ed Thomas said.
I am asking a serious question.

We don't like ISIS because they're a bunch of murderous goons. I get that part. But in Syria, ISIS is fighting the Syrian government, whom we also don't like. Only last year, American Chickenhawks were advocating giving weapons to the Syrian rebels, including ISIS.

I also understand that part of the reason why ISIS is such a bother is because Prime Minister al-Maliki in Iraq effectively neutered the national army by purging officers not associated with his faction and promoting loyal Bushies officers based on loyalty, not on competence.

But if we bomb ISIS in Syria, aren't we inadvertently helping the Syrian government And aren't we also then violating Syrian's sovereignty? And if we're helping the Syrian government by bombing ISIS, do we then have to give weapons to the other Syrian rebels in order to cancel out the advantage we gave to the Syrian government by bombing their other enemies?

And why are we not talking about directly arming the Kurdish Peshmerga, which seems to be more capable than the Iraqi army?

Whose side will we be really on?

"Maybe the 1033 Program Needs to be Rethought a Mite"

That would seem to be the current line from the MTAHNS.
President Obama has ordered a review of federal programs that supplied nearly half a billion dollars in military equipment to municipal police departments last year, amid criticism of the heavily armed response by local law enforcement agencies to protests in Ferguson, Mo.

The review probably will include the Defense Department’s Excess Property program, which is designed to give away tents, generators, pickup trucks and all-terrain vehicles, as well as military aircraft, grenade launchers and heavily armed tactical vehicles.
Here's a big shocker: The denizens of Ft. Fumble don't think that there is a problem with handing out military-grade hardware to the Barney Fifes of the land.
The Pentagon’s Excess Property Program, sometimes known as the 1033 Program, has supplied police departments across the country with more than $4.3 billion in gear since 1997, including $449 million in 2013. Its use in Ferguson has come under scrutiny by civil rights advocates, but Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said the program also has assisted police across the United States in counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism operations that “get right to the protection of the homeland.”

“I want to make sure that it’s clear that this isn’t some program run amok here, or that there isn’t proper accountability,” Kirby said. “There is. And it’s well thought-out.”
Riight. As in "hey, we're not giving them A-10s and cluster bombs, fer Pete's sake."

And you don't have to go very far to find the cops giving out the tired old statist line of "if you've done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear." Which is, in this case, bullshit. Peaceful protesting, peaceful reporting, standing in your own front yard even sitting in a McDonald's were worthy of a forceful police response in Ferguson.

There is a shitload of research to back up the premise that a heavy-duty rollout to a peaceful demonstration is one of the best ways to provoke a riot. The cops in Ferguson, Missouri and St. Louis County either ignored that research or, more likely, never heard of it. They apparently took their riot-control tactics from Sheriff Bull Connor's playbook, right down to using German Shepard dogs to intimidate the protestors and blaming everything on "outside agitators".

Maybe the cops need some of that milspec stuff. I'm skeptical. The evidence of police over-use of military-grade hardware is undeniable.

And so is their lack of training. I know of a gun club that ran a "shop with a cop" PPC match a few years back. The club raised quite a bit of money, mostly through donations, and some in match fees. The club delivered promotional flyers to all of the cop shops and lockups within a goodly distance, all prominently highlighted with the legend that the match fees would be waived for all active-duty LEOs.

Care to guess how many cops showed up to shoot in the match?

Not a single one.

The match organizers made some unofficial inquiries afterwards as to why the dearth of LEOs for a match that supported a LEO charity. The excuse given was along the lines of "hell, none of our guys can shoot as good as you guys can. They didn't want to show up and be embarrassed."

Those. mind you, are the same guys that are being outfitted with more hardware than a Marine infantryman in Fallujah, courtesy of DasGov.

Goddamn right that the 1033 program needs to be rethought a little.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Tony Blair: A Whore for Tyrants

He's a tyrant's best friend, provided the tyrant can afford the fee. (And most can.)

Kazakhstan is one of the more corrupt countries on the planet. It is not a free state by any stretch of the imagination. If you looked up the definition of "autocratic keptocracy", Kazakhstan would be in the definition.

But that's who Tony Blair is whoring for.

(Saddam Hussein's shade is probably finding this all pretty funny.)

(H/T)

And Still, Nobody Goes to Jail; Banksters Edition

Nearly six years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, Bank of America reached a $16.65 billion deal on Thursday to resolve federal government accusations that it had misled investors into buying cratering mortgage securities prior to the financial crisis. The government had previously reached a $13 billion deal with JPMorgan Chase and a $7 billion settlement with Citigroup , but the Bank of America deal is the biggest ever and likely the last monster financial crisis-era settlement, resolving investigations federal prosecutors and state attorneys general have conducted from Manhattan to Los Angeles.
Other than a few schmucks picked up for insider trading and for running Ponzi schemes, nobody has gone to prison for wrecking the economy.

Bet your ass that the local prosecutor in St. Louis County will go after every protestor he possibly can. Because those cases are easy and most of the people he'll charge can't afford an attorney, so they'll be appointed a "meet and plead" public defender. Unlike the banksters, who can afford $1,000/hr white collar criminal defense legal teams.

I personally think that Bank of America is an evil entity. If you are trying to negotiate a short sale, Bank of America has five people assigned to that program. Not one of them has an IQ above "tepid". Every document that is sent to them has to be sent to a 1980s vintage fax machine, which is in a different office entirely. The paper they use goes blank when exposed to light, so you have to fax everything to them again and again. Until you either give up and go through foreclosure or you off yourself.

And if anything in the preceding paragraph strikes you as an exaggeration, Gentle Reader, I suggest that you try dealing with those people.

I'm not saying that the fine is small potatoes. But it's still equivalent to their profits for a year. Which means that they still have enough to pay all of their high-falutin' executives all of their pay, for that's a pre-profit expense. And they'll probably be able to pay the fine without breaking a sweat.

For it's dead-nuts certain that Bank of America made far, far more than that from their massive swindling and manipulation of the home mortgage market.

Rob a bank and you'll do ten years in prison. Use a bank to rob millions of people and the bank will pay a fine. Oh, maybe a few of them might be barred from banking in some state, but none of those goniffs have had to pay a real penalty for their fuckery.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

Waddington 2008, and more than just jets.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Bangity Time

Today was the club bullseye match. They're running an 1800 match, which is a rimfire 900 match and a centerfire 900 match. Freaking ungodly hot, with 90+ temps and heat indices of around 100.  I only shot the rimfire match.

12 days ago, I went to the range and realized that I had forgotten to order a new sear and trigger for my 22/45. So I ordered a Volquartsen target hammer and sear from Rimfire Sports. About $58, with shipping.

I pulled the gun apart Thursday night and installed the parts. I had my laptop on the table with video instructions cued up. (Or, if you prefer text directions.)

I should have taken photos. Compared to the mirror-polish on the Volquartsen sear, the stock sear looks like a rough sand-casting. Just installing that should clean up a trigger pull. The target hammer has adjustments for takeup and over-travel. There, you have to be careful that you don't have the adjustment screws tightened down far enough to prevent the gun from working. I set it for just a touch of takeup and overtravel. I went to the range yesterday for a function check. I did have to make a couple of tweaks to the pretravel screw.

It now shoots like a dream. The trigger is smooth, it doesn't have the gritty feeling as before. But after over 500 rounds through the stock lashup, I find that I have to get used to the feel of the new one. I went from "jeebus, when is this fucking gun going to fire" to "holy shit, it went off". Gotta be on target at all times, now.

The results? My score improved from 745-7X in the previous match to 767-8X. Still lots of room for improvement, especially in 50-yard slow fire, but now it's all on me. Which is as it should be.

Caturday

Jake is resting on the sheets.


George (MPBUH) was really into lying on cotton sheets. George was the cat who got me to do what my mother never could: Make the bed when I got up.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Get Thee to Thy Keyboard

And write your senators and representatives. Explain that to your Federal ones that they should work to scale back the militarization of the civilian police by curtaining the DoD 1033 program. Write your state legislators and local government reps to express reasoned opposition to accepting surplus military gear.

Thanks to the Ferguson Police Riots, we may be at a tipping point, where we can do something about this through the political process. The politicians are paying some attention.

Turn up the heat.

Get a-writin'!

Because It's Friday

The Kempton Steam Museum.


That is the sort of engine that would have been found in the engine room of a very large ship a century ago.

Utopia/Dystopia Arriving

Or, why human may be like horses.


What do we do when there is no productive work for people to do? And we're getting to that point, given that, seven years since the Great Recession began and five years since it technically ended, unemployment remains stubbornly high and only the top 1% (or fewer) are doing better economically. The labor force participation rate began to fall at the start of the Great Recession and has not recovered since then. In fact, labor force participation rate has continued to slide downwards. In essence, there are not enough jobs for everybody who wants one. At present, there is no prospect for that changing in the foreseeable future.

As the video implies, higher education may actually make things worse. Under our current system of higher education, more and more students are graduating with higher and higher amounts of debt. Without decent jobs, they will never pay that back. Without decent jobs, they can't buy a home or a new car or new furniture or most of the other consumer goods, the purchase of which has been the foundation of our economy for generations.

It wasn't just the Internet which killed Blockbuster Video. At the same time that Blockbuster Video was closing stores, Redbox began showing up in grocery stores, gas stations, and fast-food restaurants. In the parlance of the video, robots replaced the blue-shirted workers in the video stores. In many towns nowdays, if there is still a video store, it likely is renting porn out of a back room.

Think of those fast-food places. People go there for sameness. A Big Mac or a Whopper is the same, regardless of where the restaurant happens to be. It won't matter to a lot of people if their order comes out of a slot instead of across a counter. Robots won't drop a box of patties on the floor (and then put them on the grill) or spit in your food. It probably won't be too long before we begin to see the Redbox equivalent of restaurants.

Humans may not be "terminated" by legions of killer robots. But we may be made redundant. What does this means for the future, when more and more people who graduate from high school and college realize that, no, the world isn't your oyster or that they no longer have a great and shining future, but that they have almost no chance of ever having gainful employment?

Will a lot of ceremonial jobs be created, where people go to jobs that essentially will be "stand here and watch the robots work"? Will we have hundreds of millions of people consigned to idleness and poverty? What does that mean for families, when potential parents know that their children's lives will be as bad or worse then theirs live are?

However it plays out, the robots are coming for your job. The job of planning how society will adapt is one that is both too big for any of us and is one that our national leaders seem to be doing their very best to even avoid thinking about.

But it's going to happen, regardless.

When Bagpipes are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Bagpipes.

Bagpipers have expressed their fear over a new law which led to two US teenagers having their pipes seized by border control staff at the weekend.

Campbell Webster, 17 and Eryk Bean, 17, both from New Hampshire had their pipes seized while travelling between Canada and the US, just two days before they were due to fly to Scotland for the World Pipe Band Championships.

Mr Webster’s pipes, which were previously used by his father in his role as an official piper to the Queen, were confiscated by officials because they are made out of ivory.
They have to get a certificate from the Federal fish cops that the ivory in their old pipes complies with the law and then they have to leave and enter the country through a small number of airports that have goons inspectors trained to recognize what the certificates mean.

At least the pipers may not be replaced by robots anytime soon.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Officer Go F. Yerself Gets Benched

Winning hearts and minds:


Turns out that, at least in NYPD parlance, Officer Go Fuck Yerself is a white shirt.
A St. Ann police lieutenant has been suspended after pointing a semi-automatic assault rifle at a protester in Ferguson late Tuesday night, police said.

St. Ann Police Chief Aaron Jimenez identified the officer as Lt. Ray Albers, who has been with the department since 1994.
The St. Ann PD identified and removed that guy at warp speed, compared to how the Ferguson has handled things. Of course, the Chief then went on to say that by pointing his rifle at everyone around him, Lt. G.F. Yerself was only trying to keep everyone safe.

But they still benched him, without pay.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

FNH, That's Gotta Be Wrong

I received an email flyer from CDNN regarding FNH's special pricing for LEO guns.

What caught my eye was who is eligible for the special pricing, especially the line that read "District Attorney, Deputy District Attorney and Officers of the Court."

My suspicion is that they mean "Court Officers", or bailiffs. "Officers of the Court", at least in the U.S. of A., means "lawyers".

If I was interesting in buying one of FNH's "self-littering" guns, I might ask about that. But, nah.

Ferguson RUMINT

Darren Wilson, the cop who shot Michael Brown, allegedly sustained an orbital fracture.

I don't know how that squares with the private medical examiner's finding of no signs of a struggle on Brown's corpse, though.

"Respect My Authoritah, Proles"

That's basically what one former cop and now professor at some crap-ass for-profit college is saying.

Tam points out that the old Officer Friendlies were, at times, vicious oppressors. The nightsticks that they carried, back then, were sometimes called "(vile word) knockers". Confessions extracted by torture were not unusual. And the cops, to this day, are backed up by prosecutors who have forgotten that their job is to seek justice, not just rack up convictions.

It was still possible, into the 1970s, to see "sundown" signs in the South, which local police enforced with not a little bit of brutality.

Nearly seven years ago, I wrote this:
One of my classmates from law school was from Atlanta and I asked her how long it took to drive there. Her answer was about three or four hours longer than I guessed and when I asked why so long, she explained, in the same tone of voice that she might have used to mention Orange Barrel Season, that she planned on being stopped, on average, three times each way. But that's something I have never experienced.
She was a retread student (as I was). She had done well in her previous career and had a very nice German sedan. She got stopped on each and every trip because she was a black woman driving a nice car.  The excuse was usually something on the order of a non-working tail light, which all of a sudden had miraculously repaired itself (praise the Lord).

Yes, the cops have become more militarized. But to an extent, that translates into that they are, more and more, treating white folk the same way that they have historically treated everyone else.

If you are a minority in this country, especially if you are visibly a member of a minority, the police are, quite often, not your friends. That is a reality that is on display, quite blatantly, in Ferguson. The armored cars, M-4s and sound cannons may be military gear. But the cops likely would have acted no differently if they were all equipped with Smith & Wesson Model 10s, Winchester `97s and surplus M-1 carbines which had been purchased by the department from Herter's or Bannerman's. They'd have thrown tear gas and they would have drafted the firemen to hose down the demonstrators.  Then they would have lined up and opened fire.

And if you were a white man in a union out on strike between 1880 and 1940, the cops treated you the same way, as they were used as strikebreakers, just like the Pinkertons.

The cops have better gear now. But Tam is right, things haven't changed very much.  There are still a lot of goons in police uniforms.  And, apparently just like the retired cop whose article I linked to at the beginning of this post, if you look crossways at them, they'll bust your head open.  Or worse.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

What Crap Did Your Po-Po Get From the Government?

You can look it up by county here.

(H/T)

A Hunk-a, Hunk-a Burnin' Jet A.....

Elvis's two airplanes are on the block: a Convair 880 and a JetStar.

Seems there's a bit of a fight going on.

Either that, or one might presume that Graceland/OKC figured it was best to get rid of them while there are still some living Elvis fans to buy them.

It's Always "Outside Agitators"

Seems that in Ferguson, they're blaming everybody but the Jews.

That'll come soon enough....

You Know You've Been on the Internets for a Long Time, If

The term "Mall Ninja" or the userid "Gecko45" can make you laugh.

It started out with some guy who claimed that his wife was duct-taping trauma plates to his back and went downhill from there.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Yesterday was "Black Cat Appreciation Day"

Who knew?

But not this kind of "black cat":


Jeebus Gawd, People!

Please don't go into court and say that you are living the staid, straight and narrow life and then have something entirely different posted on a social media website.

Because you'll look like an even bigger idiot (than you already are) when you get cross-examined.

Only saving grace was that it wasn't my client. Hell, it wasn't even my case, I was just sitting in the gallery, waiting for my case to be called.

And don't post photographic proof that you're breaking the law, either.

Oh, and if you buy cheap shit for your guns, don't be surprised if it fails later on. You do get what you pay for.

Notice Anything Odd About the Pro-Cop Demonstration?

I'll leave the obvious observation for you to ponder.



Disinterested citizens, such as another cop, planned that rally.

(The Guardian made the obvious observation.)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

To Protect and to Serve

Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Johnson is not giving up his efforts to reach out to the community and calm things down in Ferguson.


Big change from the cops yelling "Bring it, you fucking animals" to the protestors a few days back.


No Deposit, No Return.


In case you want the original:

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

F-102:


From the looks of that cockpit, over-the-shoulder visibility was pretty poor. It wasn't important, for the -102 was built to shoot down bombers. It wasn't a dogfighter.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Probably Time to Read This Book

Rise of the Warrior Cop, by Radley Balko.

I'm getting a dead-tree edition so that I can loan it out.

The Ferguson cops apparently let Michael Brown die in the street and forbade even minimal medical attention:
Another neighbor, a woman who identified herself as a nurse, was begging the officers to let her perform CPR.

They refused, Mr. Stone said, adding, “They didn’t even check to see if he was breathing.”
Dead men tell no inconvenient tales to Federal investigators, you see.

(H/T)

Short Memo to the Police Chief of Ferguson, Missouri:
1. You Are Not Helping.
2. So Please Shut the Fuck Up.

The police chief of Ferguson, whose cops have been fired from riot control duties for gross incompetence, responded by trying to run a smear campaign against Michael Brown, the man that his officer allegedly murdered.

The state police commander on the scene was pissed off about that, commenting that there was no need to release that information. Well, yes, there is a need, if you're a vicious pea-brained clown who is trying to protect his own ass and to keep a riot going.

And the cops still haven't figured out that showing up in riot gear before the riot is a bad thing.
For most of Friday night, a festive atmosphere reigned in Ferguson as hundreds of people lined a two-block stretch of West Florissant Avenue, waving at honking cars slowly passing by, but shortly after midnight, the situation turned volatile as police showed up in riot gear.

The several hundred protesters who had remained had been fairly peaceful but stood in a face-off with police at the corner of West Florissant and Ferguson avenues.

The groups stood about 20 feet away from one another, some police officers pointing guns at the crowd, some protesters pointing cameras at police. Police told the crowd over a loudspeaker to disperse immediately. Some in the crowd threw a few bottles at police, who didn’t initially react.

After several minutes, police turned and left, but as they retreated, they sprayed smoke bombs and threw sound cannons at the crowd. Some responded by throwing more bottles.
And there is a good reason why the Feds are looking into it: The local prosecutor is a wannabee cop who consistently has their backs, no matter what they do. I'm not saying that in St. Louis County, that the cops could machinegun a busload of nuns and kindergarteners who are holding puppies and get away with it, but you shouldn't be surprised if they did.

Caturday

A cat bed inside of a cat tree-- could life be any better?


With tuna, sure. Life can always be better for a cat.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Guess Them New Glasses Didn't Help Him Much

Texas governor Rick Perry has been indicted for abuse of power after carrying out a threat to veto funding for state public corruption prosecutors.

The potential Republican candidate for president in 2016 is accused of abusing his official powers by publicly promising to veto $7.5m for the state public integrity unit at the Travis County district attorney’s office.

He was indicted by an Austin grand jury on Friday on felony counts of abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant. Maximum punishment on the first charge is five to 99 years in prison. The second is two to 10 years.
It's not the first time that something like this has happened in Texas. The last governor who was indicted did much the same thing.
The indictment of Perry is the first of its kind since 1917, when James "Pa" Ferguson was indicted on charges stemming from his veto of state funding to the University of Texas in an effort to unseat faculty and staff members he objected to. Ferguson was eventually impeached, then resigned before being convicted.
There is still over a year for Perry to beat the rap and then run for President. I'm looking forward to seeing the booking photo.

On another note, I kind of wish that ol' Barry would play some hardball.

Because It's Friday

Steam in the London Underground.


The Metropolitan and District railways were both underground steam railways from the early 1860s until they were electrified just prior to the Great War. The Metropolitan Railway had a station on Baker Street, across the street and only a few steps from Sherlock Holmes's digs.

(Note that the electric locomotive at the other end of the train's doing a lot of the work in the tunnels.)

One Cop on Paramilitarized Police: "We Bought This Shit Because You Proles Got Guns."

That's effectively what Lt. David Tiefenbrunn of the St. Charles County (Missouri) Sheriff’s Department said yesterday:
“Our actions are based on what we’re faced with on the streets. America is becoming more heavily armed.”
No, Barn', that's just bullshit. Recent history has shown that local cops cannot be trusted with these toys. The Ferguson and St. Louis County cops were shooting tear gas at people in their own front yards. They were arresting people sitting in a restaurant. They were lying on top of their armored trucks and aiming rifles at unarmed people.

There have been a number of soldiers who have commented recently that they went out on patrol in Iraq and Afghanistan with fewer weapons and less gear than the St. Louis cops have been festooned themselves with. Those soldiers could reasonably expect to go up against people with RPGs and full-auto AKs.

It should be clear to everyone by now: The boys in blue have gone well down the road to being a poorly-trained, poorly-disciplined and poorly-led occupying paramilitary goon squads.

This is still a democracy, people. Call your politicos, vote and let's change this shit, if we can.

"Go Back to Scarfing Down Donuts, Boys, the Grown-Ups Are Here"

In Missouri, Gov. Nixon effectively fired the local and county cops from crowd control duties and brought in the staties. The city quieted down, with peaceful protests.

In marked contrast to how things had been going, one of the protests was joined by the state police officer who is commanding the Ferguson detail.
As many as 300 marchers made their way along West Florissant Avenue late Thursday afternoon in the most peaceful demonstration since the shooting death of Michael Brown five days ago.

Capt. Ronald Johnson, the Missouri State Highway Patrol officer Gov. Jay Nixon placed in charge of the Ferguson situation Thursday afternoon led the procession.

Johnson marched in shirtsleeves - a stark contrast with the para-military uniforms that have become the symbol of the Ferguson police presence during nearly a week of unrest.
Meanwhile, as you'll see in the top story at the previous link, the local prosecutor effectively announced that he preferred to see the police riot continue.

This may be the moments when we may be able to gain some traction on discussing the militarization of the police.

UPDATE: And now, days later, the rationalizations begin.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

"We'll Decide What is Peaceful".

The cops in Ferguson declared that they weren't infringing on anyone's right to peaceably assemble and protest, then they opened fire with tear gas on people who were peacefully protesting. The cops have arrogated to themselves the right to decide your constitutional rights, at least in Ferguson, Missouri.

Well, BadTux is probably right. Those weren't cops. They've become soldiers. The protestors are probably lucky that those soldiers aren't opening fire with machine guns.

UPDATE: This article argues that our soldiers are better trained to deal with civilian protest than the cops, for, by the Army Field Manual, the cops in Ferguson have been doing it all wrong. So the cops haven't become soldiers, no, they've become paramilitary goons.

Over A Billion Gallons of Toxic Shit

That's what was released into the forests and streams when a slurry dam burst at a mine in British Columbia.

(You probably hadn't heard of this, since it affected mostly deer, bears and Indians.)

(Insert Name of Activity Here) While Black

It goes on in Ferguson, Missouri.
Ferguson police are much more likely to stop, search and arrest African-American drivers than white ones. Last year, blacks, who make up a little less than two-thirds of the driving-age population in the North County city, accounted for 86 percent of all stops. When stopped, they were almost twice as likely to be searched as whites and twice as likely to be arrested, though police were less likely to find contraband on them.
If you look at the statistics for Ferguson, you'll see that in comparing the number of stops to the population as a whole, whites were two-thirds less likely to be searched than an equal distribution would imply and blacks were one-third more likely to be searched.

Mull this over: Suppose that the protestors in Ferguson were openly carrying weapons; what do you think would have happened? If you think that they would have been accorded the same sort of treatment that the Bundy Ranch protestors received, with the cops tipping their hats and saying, in essence: "Sorry to bother you nice gentlemen, we'll be leaving now", then I submit that you would be sadly mistaken.

When the cops rush into a McDonald's and start rousting people because they were committing the heinous offense of sitting down, then you have to wonder how badly things are fucked up in Ferguson. And arresting reporters is a really brain-dead move, Barn'.

UPDATE: Five years ago, the cops in Ferguson beat an innocent man to the point that blood was pouring from his head and then charged him with getting blood on their uniforms.