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

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Thursday, April 26, 2018

If You Want to Buy a Car from Ford, You'll Soon Be Shit Out of Luck

Ford Motor Co. said Wednesday it will shed most of its North American car lineup as part of broad plan to save money and make the company more competitive in a fast-changing marketplace.

The changes include getting rid of all cars in the region during the next four years except for the Mustang sports car and a compact Focus crossover vehicle, CEO Jim Hackett said as the company released first-quarter earnings.

The decision, which Hackett said was due to declining demand and profitability, means Ford will no longer sell the Fusion midsize car, Taurus large car, CMax hybrid compact and Fiesta subcompact in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
There was a time in the `90s when the Taurus was the best-selling car in the country, though that was skewed a little because Ford was selling them to rental companies, which Honda and Toyota weren't doing.

I'll bet that Honda and Toyota will continue to be happy to sell cars to those who want them.

"America's Dad" is Guilty

Bill Cosby was found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault.

The prosecutor tried to have him jailed for fears of pulling a Polanski. He remains free on bail.

Ramadan

A guide for non-Muslims.

This year, Ramadan runs from the evening of May 15th to to evening of June 14th (in the U.S.)

Reasonably accommodating the religious practices of another person is being civil, especially when there is no real cost to you.

Michael Cohen: "I'm Taking the Fifth, See."

Cohen is taking the Fifth in the Stormy Daniels case.
Good question, Donny.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Catching Up to the Old Killers

Decades ago, there was a serial killer and a serial rapist terrorizing California. It was one guy, the East Bay Rapist, the Golden State Killer, aka the Original Night Stalker. They didn't even know it was all the same guy until DNA connected the crimes almost two decades ago.

Today, they arrested the guy.

Update: Some credit for this goes to the late Michelle McNamara.

This is What Happens When You Have a Bad Rep

The ISO has rejected two symmetric encryption algorithms: SIMON and SPECK. These algorithms were both designed by the NSA and made public in 2013. They are optimized for small and low-cost processors like IoT devices.
Bruce Schneier goes on to say that he doesn't believe that NSA has put in back doors into those ciphers.

But it's a little obvious to suggest that nobody believes that the NSA wouldn't do that. The Feds have been screaming that they oh, so need a backdoor into encryption ever since the Clipper chip fiasco.

For many people, allowing the NSA to design encryption is a little like giving an embezzler the access codes to your bank account.

And that's assuming that the NSA's or FBI's back door tools don't leak.

Easter-Egging Insults

In this piece in The Economist about Trump's takeover of the GOP, they got in at least three subtle insults aimed at Trump and his base.

See if you can spot them.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Could This be the Thing That Toasts Trump?

Trump told Comey that the pee-pee tape allegations couldn't be true because Trump didn't spend the night in Moscow.

Except that he did.

At the time, Comey was the director of the FBI. Which made Comey a Federal agent. And, as Martha Stewart can tell anyone, lying to a Fed is a felony beef.

That's probably why there is a bunch of coverage, now, about where Trump was.

I've been convinced for some time that if Trump goes to prison, it will be his mouth (or his tweeting) that sends him there.

Riddle Me This, Batman

Why would Trump be so concerned about whether or not Michael Cohen is going to flip on him if Cohen doesn't have anything to flip on Trump about?

Also, keep in mind that, for all of the talk about whether or not Trump might pardon Cohen to remove him from the board, much of what those two goniffs did was set in New York. Trump can't pardon Cohen for acts that were illegal under state law. As much as Gov. Cuomo comes across as a self-interested SOB, I can't see what he'd gain from pardoning either man.

The Ice Under Scott Pruitt's Feet is Getting Thinner

If this report is to be believed:
White House officials are cautioning Republican lawmakers and other conservative allies to temper their defense of Scott Pruitt, according to two people familiar with the discussions, in a sign that administration support for the embattled EPA chief may be waning.
...
Republicans are now sharpening their criticisms about Pruitt amid a revelation that he met at least once with the lobbyist whose wife rented him a bedroom on Capitol Hill.
Since the newly-appointed #2 at EPA is a shill for the coal industry, don't expect much of a change from Pruitt's War on the Environment.

Extra Caturday

I’m sort of slouching on the couch. Chip got into my lap, walked up my torso, and head-butted me on the chin. Because he wants some attention.

In other words, I’ve been face-booped.

(If you look closely at his nose, you can see some of his battle scars.)

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Most People Already Knew that "We're Handing Out Traffic Tickets to Enforce the Law" was Bullshit

It seems to have been pretty well proven in Missouri, where, once the state capped the amount of revenue that municipalities could keep, the number of tickets issued fell off.

One example:
Consider Bellefontaine Neighbors, which deployed a two-officer unit in 2013 to write traffic tickets on Interstate 270. Mayor Robert Doerr said the city ended the unit in 2014 to cover staffing shortages and respond to unrest across the region, and the city never re-established it.

The city’s police wrote 27 tickets a day in the year ending June 2014, and the court brought in $1.28 million that year. In the year ending June 2017, the city wrote just five tickets a day, and the court had $280,000 in revenue.
There's more in the article. One village ended up going out of existence and merging with its neighbor because they couldn't use the highways as their municipal ATM. Another disbanded its police department and joined a policing co-op.

Let's be clear on one point: I have no issue with the police enforcing the traffic laws. But when they are doing it solely because if the revenue that it generates, well, that's fucking evil. It's not then a fine, it's a tax.

The cities and towns in Missouri are pushing back. They want things to go back to the way they were. The legislature should resist that.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

RAF VC10:


The VC10 apparently holds the record for the fastest subsonic trans-Atlantic flight. They were in service for nearly fifty years.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Is Trump Broke?

This article, which does have a slant to it, alleges that Rudy Giuliani is working for Trump on a pro bono basis.

Trump probably believes that free advice is worth what he's paying for it. Or Giuliani knows that Trump will fuck him over on his bill, so Rudy may feel that he might as well lather himself up with K-Y and get it over with. But there is the possibility that Trump is finding himself running a little short these days.

We shouldn't forget that Giuliani was the legal genius that designed Trump's Muslim bans, which have had a hard time passing the giggle test when a judge looks at them.

Meanwhile, Trump is convinced that Michael Cohen won't flip on him. His aides aren't so sure.

Grade A Snark (About You-Know-Who)


Abstinence-only sex education is one of those right-wing reality-free beliefs, like trickle-down economics and believing that rich folks will step up and fund charities if the social safety net is eliminated.

Donald Trump promoting abstinence is like Alferd Packer promoting vegetarianism.

Caturday

Last week's cat in non-yawning mode:

Friday, April 20, 2018

Dear Duke Students: Stand Up and Take Your Lumps Like Adults, You Fucking Snowflakes

It's shit such as this that makes me wonder about the fucking kids these days: Some students at Duke crashed an alumni event to issue demands. The event apparently wasn't open to them. Now that the kids might face some punishment for their behavior, they're using the snowflake defense:
I think we are particularly concerned that the University knows that by sending these conduct letters out that they will be concerning the students and that they will be exacerbating any preexisting mental health conditions and, like Bryce said, traumatizing and starting new ones, especially after Saturday's issues. I think that among the many things that we share in common with the administration, the number one thing is that we all want to see this University be better and be more accommodating and make changes. We're not sure why they're not taking that approach too and reaching out to us in good faith rather than initiating a conduct process.
Well, fucking waah.


Engage in protests, act like jerks and you get treated like jerks.

More to the point, back when there were protests at colleges about integration and the war, the risk that the protestors ran, and which they went in with full knowledge of, was that they might get sprayed with fire hoses and receive a hickory shampoo.

But these kids? They might get a bad mark in their permanent file or some other academic punishment and they're screaming that they shouldn't be punished for disrupting an event. Instead of standing up, like responsible adults, and taking what they have earned, no, they're wailing about it.

So kids, here's a box of tissues:


And the key to the weep locker:


Fucking crybabies.

Do They Make "Supply and Demand for Dummies"?

If so, someone needs to tweet it at Trump.
President* Donald Trump blamed OPEC on Friday for high oil prices, claiming the organization had artificially lifted prices that “will not be accepted.”

“Looks like OPEC is at it again. With record amounts of Oil all over the place, including the fully loaded ships at sea, Oil prices are artificially Very High! No good and will not be accepted!” the president* wrote on Twitter.
If the market price for oil is $71/barrel, then the choices are to either buy the shit or not buy the shit. That's pretty much it.

Is this where I should point out the hypocrisy of Trump complaining about the price of oil while his administration is doing everything it can to gut progress in research and adopting alternatives to oil?

Trump is like an addict complaining about the price of drugs. Nobody gives a shit.

Because It's Friday

The New York Central, back in the day:

Thursday, April 19, 2018

America's Favorite Fascist Joins Team Trump

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, an outspoken supporter of Donald Trump since the early days of his campaign, is joining the team of lawyers representing the president in the special counsel’s Russia investigation.
The only thing that may keep Giuliani on board is that he is about as amoral a shill as one can get, other than Chris Christie. Giuliani's authoritarianism and fascist tendencies were well in evidence during his mayoralty. So he has that in common with Trump.

But Trump is impervious to legal advice. Sooner or later, if Giuliani has any integrity as a lawyer, he will have to try to tell Trump to knock off with the tweets and do what he's told. That's never going to happen. Trump has, effectively, been acting as his own lawyer and he's not going to take legal advice from anyone.

Which will end in Giuliani leaving to spend more time with his wife/girlfriend du jour.

On This, the 243rd Anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord,
Be It RESOLVED....

...That the Commonwealth of Massachusetts be Forever Prohibited From Commemorating Those Most Sacred Battles.

The mission of the British soldiers was to confiscate the weapons and powder of the Colonials, to disarm the populace.

That's pretty much been the official policy of the government of Massachusetts, under both Republican and Democratic governors, for the last two decades, if not longer.

So it seems to me that, on a day when the men of Lexington, Concord, Woburn and Menotomy rallied to send the soldiers of the British Army back to their bases in Boston (without the weapons they wanted to seize), Massachusetts, now a state that is in the forefront of disarming the population, should be required to mourn the defeat of the British on April 19, 1775. The state should be banned from celebrating the victory of the Colonists.

"Throw Down Your Arms!"

That was a command that was given by an army officer 243 years ago.

It wasn't obeyed.

The war was on. It would last for eight years, ending in a series of treaties in Paris.

All most all of the major European powers used the Revolutionary War as a pretext to go to war against somebody else. In some ways, the war might be viewed as a continuation, or appendix, to the Seven Years War. If historians were agreeable to a bit of renaming, the Seven Years War might be renamed the First World War.