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, July 18, 2019

I Hereby Nominate Rand Paul's Neighbor For Some Sort of Nobel Prize

The Senate will vote Tuesday on a bipartisan bill to ensure a victims’ compensation fund related to the Sept. 11 attacks never runs out of money, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday.

The announcement came after Democratic Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer, both of New York, reached an agreement with Republican Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky to bring up the bill with two amendments sponsored by the GOP senators.

Paul and Lee had been blocking a vote. Paul was concerned about its effect on the deficit, while Lee wanted to ensure the fund has proper oversight in place to prevent fraud and abuse.
Concerns about the deficit didn't stop Paul from voting for Trump's budget-busting tax cut. Because busting the deficit doesn't matter if all it does is benefit the rich.

Raising the deficit to help the rich like Trump and Epstein-- Rand says yes. Raising the deficit to help the 9/11 responders-- Rand says no.

Which is about what one might expect from a dude named after the Goddess of Selfishness.

More Lies From Trump

President Donald Trump on Thursday chided his supporters who chanted “send her back” when he questioned the loyalty of a Somali-born congresswoman, joining widespread criticism of the campaign crowd’s cry after fellow Republicans warned it could hurt the GOP in next year’s elections. ... “I started speaking really quickly,” he told reporters. “I was not happy with it. I disagree with it” and “would certainly try” to stop any similar chant at a future rally.
I watched coverage of the crowd chanting "send her back". Trump stood there and drank it in. There was no move by Trump to do anything other than to drink in the the roar of the crowd.

It's only now, when even Republicans are pushing back against Trump's latest Festival of Hate and Racism, that Trump is backwatering.

I don't know the wisdom of the President of the United States focusing so intently on four freshman congresswomen. There is hardly an equivalence. Besides the obvious racism, there is also the point that Trump has some special ire in his soul towards women who aren't about to suck his puny, withered cock. (So he has to make do with Lindsey Graham.)

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Two Questions from Trevor Noah

1) Why is it that Trump never tells Bernie Sanders to "go back where he comes from?"

2) If Trump is saying "if you don't like it here, you can leave," then why didn't Trump go back to Bavaria instead of going down that escalator in 2015?



Seth Meyers points out that for Trump, racism isn't a bug, it's a feature.


Look for More Racist Tweets from Trump

Because articles are starting to appear, again, about the times when he was buddy-buddy with convicted/indicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

Trump isn't the only one who is worried.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

No, He Has 206 of Them


President Trump on Tuesday insisted he is not a racist amid sustained criticism of his attacks on four minority, progressive Democratic congresswomen.

The president’s latest defense of his tweets telling the lawmakers to “go back” to their home countries, even though they are all U.S. citizens, came hours before the House is set to vote on a resolution condemning them as racist.

“Those Tweets were NOT Racist. I don’t have a Racist bone in my body!” Trump tweeted.
That number includes the bone spurs.

"Go back where you came from" is racist. It has almost always been said to minorities (including Jews, Italians and Greeks, back in the days when "white people" were those from northwestern Europe and Scandinavia).

You can bet that nobody ever told Donnie to "go back where you came from".

Meanwhile, almost all of the Republicans are running for cover and deploying their best dodge-em skills:
QUESTION: Senator McConnell, you’re — you’re married to an immigrant who’s a nationalized [sic] U.S. citizen. If someone were to say to her she should go back to her country because of her criticism of federal policies, wouldn’t you consider that a racist attack?

MCCONNELL: Well, the secretary of transportation came here at age 8 legally, not speaking a word of English, and has realized the American Dream, and I think all of us think that this is a process of renewal that’s gone on in this country for a very long time and is good for America, and we ought to continue it.
I'll bet that if someone walked up to McConnell's wife, Elaine Chao and said to her, in his presence "go back where you came from", that McConnell would have no problem in recognizing the racism of that insult.

If you are white and you are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with a racist like Donald Trump, do not be surprised if the filth of racism gets all over you.

And if you are not white and you are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Donald Trump, there is another word that describes you: Quisling.

Fifty Years On

Apollo 11 lifted off to become the first time a human set foot on another celestial body.


Here's a look-back from ten years ago.

If civilization survives to the 25th Century, if anyone knows the name of anyone from th 20th Century, it will be Neil Armstrong. If they know three, add the Wright Brothers' names.

Doing things on a national basis because they are hard is passé in this country. Oh, we'll throw money at expensive programs for the purposes of killing other people, but programs to go explore the cosmos.. not so much. Programs to do something about climate change... hard pass. Programs to fight pernicious diseases... nickel and dime funding.

We no longer have no national will for anything other than making war and giving tax cuts to the rich.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Can You Be an Ambulance-Chaser if Nobody Was Hurt?

Some lawyers in Texas are working that problem.
Southwest Airlines Co. and The Boeing Co. were hit with a lawsuit by Southwest customers who say the companies colluded to hide a fatal design defect in Boeing’s 737 MAX 8 aircraft.

The complaint, filed July 11 in a federal court in Texas under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, alleges Southwest obtained profits through a collusive relationship with Boeing, its sole airplane supplier.

It also alleges Southwest lied and defrauded its customers, regulators, and its own pilots and employees, and risked thousands of lives in the process.
I am not going to bother to read the legal excrement that passes for a complaint in this sorry excuse for litigation. I fail to see how an objective argument can be made that SWA defrauded anybody. I'm not aware of anyone who was injured on a SWA 737 MAX aircraft as a result of the design of that particular aircraft.

Nobody was injured, but the ambulance-chasers are still in full cry.

Trump's Racism and the Party of the Confederacy

From the Beeb: Republican Party representatives kept quiet amid a wave of criticism.

There is no doubt left: Trump is a raging racist and the GOP is complicit in that. Not a single Republican has spoken out against Trump's racism. American nazis are chortling with glee, for Trump is indeed their guy.

Trump could don a full Klan uniform and burn a cross on the South Lawn of the White House and there would not be a single peep of criticism would be heard from any Republican.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

À Bastille, Mes Amis !

Today is the French National Day.




A version that is more familiar to American audiences:



Allons enfants de la Patrie
Le jour de gloire est arrivé !
Contre nous de la tyrannie
L'étendard sanglant est levé
Entendez-vous dans nos campagnes
Mugir ces féroces soldats ?
Ils viennent jusque dans vos bras.
Égorger vos fils, vos compagnes !

Aux armes citoyens
Formez vos bataillons
Marchons, marchons
Qu'un sang impur
Abreuve nos sillons

(Full translation, which makes The Star-Spangled Banner look pacifistic.)

The Bastille was torn down very soon afterwards. Very little of it survives. The key to the fortress was given by Marquis de Lafayette to President Washington.

Trump Blows His White-Supremacist Steam Whistle

President Donald Trump on Sunday assailed a group of Democratic congresswomen of color as foreign-born troublemakers who should go back to the “broken and crime infested places from which they came,” ignoring the fact that the women are American citizens and all but one was born in the U.S.
The "go back where you came from" line is pure racism. There is no other way to slice it.

Trump has no more claim to being a true-born American than those people that his is assailing. His mother came from Scotland and his paternal grandparents came from Bavaria.

If he doesn't like living in a multi-ethnic nation, he can go back to where he came from. Which, by his standard, isn't the United States.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

A KLM 747 landing at St. Maarten.


KLM stopped flying 747s to St. Maarten in 2016. But they still fly them elsewhere.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Sweet Fucking Gig

Two years after he shot an unarmed man and was fired, former police officer Philip “Mitch” Brailsford was rehired by the City of Mesa in order to obtain a special pension. Now, Brailsford is considered medically retired, not fired, according to a Mesa city spokesman.
...
"He [Brailsford] had a PTSD claim prior to his termination, so in fairness, he was given the opportunity to make that appeal to the board," Brady said.

One of Brailsford's attorneys, Michael Piccarreta, told ABC15 the PTSD stemmed from the Shaver shooting incident and the resulting criminal prosecution.
...
Brailsford, who is 28 years old, receives a monthly check for $2,569.21. He will receive the pension for the rest of his life, unless the local board requests a new medical diagnosis and it shows a recovery from PTSD symptoms.
So, to recap: Kill an unarmed man, beat a murder rap for the killing, and then get to claim PTSD for both things and retire, at age 28, at $30K/yr.

Pretty sweet fucking gig. Brailsford won't worry about being googleable/unemployable for the rest of his life. And if he gets a job, that's just a lagniappe for him. I'll bet that the PTSD diagnosis doesn't affect his right to own a gun.

Really sweet fucking gig.

(H/T)

A Mere Rap on the Knuckles

The Federal Trade Commission approved an approximately $5 billion settlement with Facebook over the company’s 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal, a person familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal. Several other news outlets separately reported the approval.

The fine represents the largest ever imposed by the FTC against a tech company. Previously, the agency’s largest fine against a tech company came in 2012 when Google agreed to pay a $22.5 million penalty due to its privacy practices. The fine would represent approximately 9% of Facebook’s 2018 revenue.
Keep in mind that Facebook could pay that fine every few months and still remain a rather profitable entity.

$5 billion isn't chump change, but it's not a huge hit for Facebook. To them, it'll be another cost of doing business.

$25 billion might have gotten their attention.

Fireworks Tonight

You may be able to see them at 9 PM EDT on this webcam.

Not sure if it'll pick them up, but what the hell.

UPDATE: It pretty much sucked over a webcam. The camera's image kept washing out.

How We Got to Now; Bangity Ed.

This is an article about the early evolution of .38 hollowpoints. One of the evil things alluded to is how the major ammo companies stepped on the neck of Super-Vel.

It's interesting in that it roughly parallels the development of the .38/44 Heavy Duty 30-40 years previously; higher velocity to obtain better performance.

Ooopsie

Sorry about that.

Caturday

Chip in harness:


He does not get along with Bella. When he is out of his (and my) room, he wears a harness, so I can break up any fights.

It's a royal PITA. But she thinks that she should be in charge and Chip does not hold with that.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Trumpist Tab-Clearing

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta said Friday he is resigning following renewed scrutiny of his handling of a 2008 secret plea deal with wealthy financier Jeffrey Esptein , who is accused of sexually abusing dozens of underage girls.

President Donald Trump, with Acosta at his side, made the announcement as he left the White House for a trip to Wisconsin and Ohio. The president said Acosta had been a “great” labor secretary.

“I hate to see this happen,” Trump said. He said he did not ask Acosta to leave the Cabinet.
Trump may be telling the truth to some extent. He hates the idea that those who have protected the rich and powerful from paying the full price for their peccadilloes are being held to account for their toadyism.
----------------------------------
President Donald Trump is arguing he didn’t retreat when he abandoned his effort to insert a citizenship question into next year’s census and insists his fallback will prove a more accurate option.

“Not only didn’t I back down, I backed up because anybody else would have given this up a long time ago,” Trump told reporters Friday, one day after directing federal agencies to try to compile the citizenship information using existing databases.
Right, and a retreat is "attacking in a backwards direction"? Trump picked this fight on tinkering with the census and he lost. Only his most-loyal base is going to accept Trump's line of whimpering bullshit.
----------------------------------
A Koch Industries executive was told he could not leave China. An ex-diplomat who helped organize a technology forum in Beijing was hassled by authorities who wanted to question him. An industry group developed contingency plans, in case its offices were raided and computer servers were seized.

Business executives, Washington officials and other frequent visitors to China who were interviewed by The New York Times expressed increasing alarm about the Chinese authorities’ harassment of Americans by holding them for questioning and preventing them from leaving the country.
...
“In a very not-so-subtle manner, the Chinese government has upped the ante by detaining Americans at the borders and at their hotels, and with the obvious intent to send a message to the Trump administration that they can engage in hostage diplomacy if push comes to shove,” said James Zimmerman, a partner in the Beijing office of the law firm Perkins Coie, which works with American companies in China.
Apparently the Chinese are not convinced that trade wars are easy to win. They intend to make it difficult.

Because It's Friday

UP Big Boy 4014 on the road!

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Weather

There is something deliciously ironic in the fact that Tropical Storm/Hurricane Barry is about to beat the living shit out of TrumpLand.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE


I'm not ill. Family matters and other things have occupied my time today. They will for a good part of this week.

So surf the blogroll. In those blogs, you may find others worth your time.

See you later.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Live on Fox

Trump was watching.
...[Trump] was particularly annoyed by Fox correspondent Greg Palkot’s live report from a sports bar in France, where patrons erupted in a “F--- Trump” chant, according to two advisers not authorized to speak publicly about private discussions.

Trump's Work on Iran

Iran on Monday began enriching uranium to 4.5%, just breaking the limit set by its nuclear deal with world powers, while it is still seeking a way for Europe to help it bypass U.S. sanctions amid heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington.
This is all on Trump. There was a deal in place. It might not have been perfect, but
objective observers had confirmed that Iran was complying.

Its fault, in the eyes of the World's Oldest Toddler, was that the agreement was negotiated by Obama (and other countries). Trump tore it up because Trump hates Everything Obama.

So here we are, with Iran doing exactly what the deal Trump tore up sought to prevent.

Heckovajob, Donnie.

Epstein: Take This For What You Will

Eleven years after letting Jeffrey Epstein off lightly with a secret deal, federal prosecutors took another run at putting the billionaire financier behind bars on sex charges, accusing him in an indictment unsealed Monday of abusing dozens of underage girls as young as 14.

The 66-year-old hedge fund manager who once socialized with some of the world’s most powerful people was charged with sex trafficking and conspiracy and could get up to 45 years in prison.

As you'll read in the story, the prosecutor who let Epstein pretty much skate in an illegal deal in 2008 was Alexander Acosta, now Trump's Secretary of Labor.

Epstein has a lot of friends across the political spectrum. Those known to be horndogs, besides Trump, may have cause to begin sweating.

Snowflakes with Badges, Our National Surveillance State and DoJ Looks for Lawyers With No Ethics

Starbucks apologized after an employee reportedly asked six police officers to leave or change their location in one of the company’s shops in a Phoenix suburb because another customer reported feeling unsafe.
From the amount of press coverage that this has generated, one might have thought that the cops at that Starbucks had all been shot at.

Stop the Presses! Somebody was mean to some cops!

How this is a national story, much less one that is getting prominent airing on the news shows, is baffling.

There seems to be less outrage in the press over the fact that the FBI and ICE have been using all of our DMV photos for facial recognition.
Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Immigration and Customs Enforcement have turned state driver’s license databases into a facial-recognition gold mine, scanning through millions of Americans’ photos without their knowledge or consent, newly released documents show.
They always cite the same trite rationale: "We're violating your privacy to keep you safe".

Meanwhile, the DoJ is bringing in their "ethics, schmethics" legal team to continue to argue for Trump's census question, a question that the Supreme Court has already shot down. The government has, in th past, used census data to round up people. Anyone who thinks that Trump and Miller wouldn't do the same needs to reach down, grab their ears, and pull hard until they can see daylight.

"Because I'm Rich, I'll Make a Great President"

Now comes the Democratic version of Donald Trump:
The billionaire investor Tom Steyer, who in the past decade has been both the top Democratic donor in the country and the prime engine for pushing for the impeachment of President Donald Trump, appears ready to become Democratic candidate No. 26. Last week in San Francisco, Steyer told staffers at two progressive organizations he funds, Need to Impeach and NextGen America, that he is launching a 2020 campaign, and that he plans to make the formal announcement this Tuesday.
I think that one time that buying the con job of "I'm a rich guy, surely I can run the government" is quite enough, thank you.


No only no, but fuck no. Hard no. Steyer needs to go back to what hedge-fund guys do: Tear up the fabric of American manufacturing for fun and profit.

Trump's Concentration Camps

Since the Border Patrol opened its station in Clint, Tex., in 2013, it was a fixture in this West Texas farm town. Separated from the surrounding cotton fields and cattle pastures by a razor-wire fence, the station stood on the town’s main road, near a feed store, the Good News Apostolic Church and La Indita Tortillería. Most people around Clint had little idea of what went on inside. Agents came and went in pickup trucks; buses pulled into the gates with the occasional load of children apprehended at the border, four miles south.

But inside the secretive site that is now on the front lines of the southwest border crisis, the men and women who work there were grappling with the stuff of nightmares.

Outbreaks of scabies, shingles and chickenpox were spreading among the hundreds of children who were being held in cramped cells, agents said. The stench of the children’s dirty clothing was so strong it spread to the agents’ own clothing — people in town would scrunch their noses when they left work. The children cried constantly. One girl seemed likely enough to try to kill herself that the agents made her sleep on a cot in front of them, so they could watch her as they were processing new arrivals.
The stench of people who are not allowed to clean themselves is so bad that it permeates the guards' clothing.

The lead villain is a Border Patrol sector chief[1] named Aaron Hull. Hull seems to be one of the people who, arguably, deliberately engineered the overcrowding at Clint and other facilities. To Hull, as wll as Trump and Miller, cruelty and degradation are part of their plan.
__________________________________
[1] Gruppenfuhrer?

They Grow Them Stupid in Mississippi (and Europe)

This week, a new law went into effect in Mississippi. The state now bans plant-based meat providers from using labels like “veggie burger” or “vegan hot dog” on their products. Such labels are potentially punishable with jail time. Words like “burger” and “hot dog” would be permitted only for products from slaughtered livestock.
I think it risible that people in Mississippi are thought to be so dumb as to think that a "veggie burger" has meat in it.

But it's not just people in The. Worst. State. In. The. Union. that are thought to be rather slow on the uptake. The EU parliament also believes that Europeans are too stupid to be able to tell the difference between a veggie burger and a hamburger. Which, by the way, doesn't usually contain any pork, but people seem to be able to figure that out without governments having to so inform them.