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

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Failed State That is Greece

This analysis, from Stratfor, argues that Greece has become a failed state. The argument is that Greece cannot survive in the modern era without a steady supply of foreign capital. No military power of any consequence needs Greece anymore, in the way that the Americans need Pakistan and are supporting that nation.

So if the Euro is to survive, Greece has to be ejected from the Eurozone. Greece would immediately default on its debts and not just the sort of technical default that the Teapartiers tired to bring about last Summer in the U.S. This would be a real "no shit, you ain't never getting repaid" default and it would require trillions of Euros to bail out the European banks in order to prevent the entire European (and global) economy from collapsing.

But nobody is going to stand up before the German people and explain to them that they have to pay the equivalent of a war's costs in order to keep the Euro afloat, for the costs of ejecting the financial cancer of the Greek economy would be borne largely by the Germans. So things are going to have to get much worse before they get better.

The British, along with the other European nations that have not joined the Eurozone, must be feeling somewhat smug right now.

Why Is This a Hard Question?

The U.S. drone killing of American-born and raised Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, a major figure in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, has re-energized a national debate over the legal and moral quandaries of a government deliberately killing a citizen.
If you take up arms against a country, then that country has the right to try to kill you, if they can. How is this different than the killing of Admiral Yamamoto?

The fact that this particular dead guy was a U.S. citizen makes no difference to me. You take up arms against the U.S. at your own risk.

Any Last Requests, Comrade?

China released this animation of the launch and flight of the Skylab 1 Tiangong-1 space station.

Turn up your speakers and listen to the music that they chose for the video:



(The story)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wørd!

In case you've forgotten whose first came up with the idea of subsidizing alternative energy companies as well as bailing out the banskters and the auto industry:

Wait, What??



(And don't miss "Gang Fight")

(H/T)

Don't Wear This Name Tag to an Academic Conference!

For they will shit their pants.


(This is why.)

Time to Give Up Your Debit Card?

Bank of America is going to ding you $5 for every month that you use one of their debit cards.

Here's a tip: If you have to stick with BofA, get a free "rewards" credit card, use that, and pay off the balance in full every month. Or write a check.

Or find a bank or credit union that doesn't charge you to use a debit card.

Reality Follows Satire

Three years ago, the Onion ran this video:


9/11 Conspiracy Theories 'Ridiculous,' Al Qaeda Says

And now, al Qaeda is telling the president of Iran to stop with the crazy conspiracy theories.

You couldn't make this stuff up if you tried.

Now, This Is the Way to Demonstrate On Wall Street!

Wall Street saw yet another surge in protesters today - as hundreds of Continental and United Airlines pilots demonstrated in New York City's financial district.


Can you imagine NYPD Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna hosing those guys down with pepper spray? No, that wouldn't happen. Those guys look like professionals because they are professionals. The optics if the NYPD abused those guys would be horrible and even the most brutal thugs on the NYPD know that.

Badtux is right about this: The Occupy Wall Street protestors look like a bunch of hipsters and other clowns. That is one reason why the press ignored them, until Inspector Bologna sprayed down a bunch of women who were not doing anything. That is one of the reason why the cops felt free to harass and abuse the protestors, for "Punch a Hippie" is an unofficial police sport.

Outsourcing the Operation of Concentration Camps

While I am aware that the title of this post skirts Godwin's Law, the analogy is apt. For private prison companies, especially in the area of detaining unlawful immigrants, have been operating prisons that are little more than brutal concentration camps.

Inhuman treatment, including locking prisoners into closed vans on hot days and not providing them with water. Poor food. Lengthy detentions in solitary confinement. Lack of competent medical care, or any medical care.

The goons doing this include the GEO Group, which detains thousands of immigrants in this country, a Brit-Danish conglomerate called, cryptically, G4S, and Serco Group, plc,  a company whose governing principles have nothing to do with either ethics or humanity.* And yes, CCA is also playing this game. of warehousing detainees.

The companies love this because few people care what happens to unlawful immigrants. They don't have families that can vote or protest. Their families aren't in the country, so they can't hire lawyers or buttonhole politicians.

The real surprise is why isn't Blackwater Xe or Halliburton/KBR involved in this racket. It would seem to be a natural for them.
____________________________________
*But they proudly support the Annapolis Opera, which might soothe their consciences.

Wile E. Coyote, Terrorist

(CNN) -- A 26-year-old Massachusetts man with a physics degree was arrested and charged Wednesday with plotting an attack on the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol with a remote-controlled model aircraft, authorities said.

Rezwan Ferdaus, a U.S. citizen from Ashland, Massachusetts, planned to use model aircraft filled with C-4 plastic explosives, authorities said.
It is almost humorous how all these clowns seem to come up with ideas that require logistical and financial support from other people, all of whom seem to be FBI informants.

Happy 5772!

May it be better for you and your family than 5771!

(In case you need to buy a clue.)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pan Am

Maybe the show itself is nothing to write home about, but I still loved the sight of that 707 with turbojet engines, even if it was pretty crappy CGI.

The captain was waay to young. Jet captains back then were at the top of the seniority heap, which meant that they were either WW2 vets or, on Pan Am, pilots who had flown the old seaplane Clippers.

I'll probably skip the rest of the series. Might be different if they used real 707s.

Covering the FBI's Ass-- The Real Reason For the Terrorist Watch List

Some information on the Terrorist Watch List has been released by the FBI.

A couple of things came out of the story on the NY Times. First off, if another agency puts a person on the Terrorist Watch List, the FBI will "renominate" that person to make it virtually impossible that the person's name will ever be removed.

Second, Timothy J. Healy, the director of the F.B.I.’s Terrorist Screening Center, revealed the true reason why the FBI makes the Terrorist Watch List system as opaque as possible and why there is no appeal to being placed on it:
He also defended the idea of the watch list, saying the government would be blamed if, after a terrorist attack, it turned out the perpetrator had attracted the suspicions of one agency but it had not warned other agencies to scrutinize the person.
The FBI was roundly lambasted for being obstinately blind to clues that a terrorist attack ten years ago. At the end of the day, the FBI, like any other government bureaucracy, cares most about not being blamed for whatever goes wrong.

It's all about covering their ass.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

zOMG!!!1!!! Threats in Academia!!!!11!!!!!!11

A theater professor* in the University of Wisconsin put this poster on his office door:


Predictably, the University of Wisconsin lost their shit over it. The university cops tore down the poster.

So the professor put up this poster:


And the school lost their shit one more time.


How either poster can be construed as a threat or disruptive is beyond my understanding. But see, that's because, unlike either the administrators at UW-Stout or their Chief Mall Ninja, I have a functioning cerebral cortex. Crimus, I have cats that have more sense than those worthies.

(H/T)
_______________________
*On the Academic Macho Scale, being a "professor of theater" is pretty damn close to the bottom, outranking maybe a professor of ceramic arts.

Monday, September 26, 2011

So, BATF Was Directly Giving Guns to Criminals?

Apparently the boyos at the BATFE wasn't just letting smugglers buy guns and funnel the guns to Mexico. The ATF agents were using their authority as law enforcement officers to directly buy the guns that they then gave to the Mexican cartels.

Wouldn't that be like the FBI buying high-speed getaway cars for bank robbers?

What was the point of all of this, other than to make sure that American firearms were given to the cartels' gun thugs? And having done that, was all this done so that the BATF could then say "see, we need more gun control and more authority for our agents and more agents and a bigger budget"?

Was all of this, including the murders of Border Patrolmen, done just so the BATF could prevail in the Annual Battle of the Budget?

If so, can anyone posit a reason why the BATF's budget should not receive something like a 25% haircut?

(H/T)

"I Want to Fly Like an Eagle"

Or a gull.



They still had to add in a small downward-pointing vertical stabilizer in order to make the model bird maintain stable flight. So they are not quite there.

Still, I wonder about how much power is consumed by flapping the wings compared to a fixed wing and a prop, especially in scaling. There are quite a bit of timing and control issues in working a flapping wing. If it had been possible in an evolutionary sense to develop balanced high-speed rotational structures, birds might have also had propellers.*
_______________________________
*Maybe they would have had to evolve runways, as well.

NYPD Has Surface to Air Missiles? (Also, the Press, They Are Full of Idiots.)

First off, the speculation in this article that the anti-aircraft weapons that Commissioner Kelly is bragging on are .50 Barretts on a helicopter is probably flat wrong. Most helicopters have a maximum speed of between 120 knots and 180 knots (138 to 220 mph). Commercial jets generally have maximum speeds of over 500 knots (580 mph), though they fly no faster than 250 knots below 10,0000' due to Federal regs.*, ** A jet being used in a 9-11-type kamikaze attack would blow right past the helicopter. (Unless this is what the NYPD is fearful of.)

If the NYPD has the capability to reliably shoot down an airliner, then they have surface-to-air missiles. The NYPD has a well-earned reputation for the use of excessive force.*** What chowderhead approved the transfer of MANPADs to the NYPD?

Second, anyone who would put into a news story that they are surprised that a helicopter can fly at 3,000 feet is an idiot, and so is the editor that approved the story. The Robertson R22 has a service ceiling of 14,000' and that is for a piston-engined helicopter. Most turbine-powered helicopters can fly higher. This is the sort of gaffe along the lines of "all small airplanes are Piper Cubs" that helps to convince people that, when it comes to anything remotely technical, one can never trust a news story to get the facts right.

_______________________________________
* The DC-8 that collided with a Constellation over Staten Island in 1960 was flying at over 400 knots.
** FAR 91.117.
*** Well, maybe not by Bull Connor's Jim Clark's or the NOLA PD's standards.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Cat Beds

Here we see Jake actually using a cat bed. Sort of. The tan/brown pad he is lying on is an actual cat bed. Of course, the cat bed is on my couch, so maybe that doesn't count.


The real honest-to-gawd cat bed is vacant most of the time.


The cardboard box and the old grocery-store paper bag are far more likely to be used for cat lounging.

Fascism Is Alive and Well in New York City

The NYPD has put its best fascist food forward in dealing with the "Occupy Wall Street" protests. If you say anything at all to the cops, you would get pepper-sprayed, arrested for "obstructing governmental administration", beaten, or a combination of all three. Stand where they tell you to-- get sprayed down with pepper spray.

At one point, a handful of women were standing behind an orange barricade. A high-ranking NYPD good walked over and sprayed them all down with pepper-spray or mace. He walked away and his underlings then arrested all of the women who were sprayed, apparently to justify the suit's spraying them down.



Those women should count themselves lucky that the cops didn't take them back to the precinct and rape them with broom-handles. Or maybe the cops did just that.

The NYPD seems to be made up of some brutal fuckers, that's for sure. One thing that has been apparent for the last ten years or so: New York City is pretty much a Constitution-free zone when it comes to the Bill of Rights.

Update: On full display world-wide.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Tell Me About It!

Yeah, been there, done that:
"Geez, I wish I had marketable skills and the interpersonal skills to market them."
Got the t-shirt, too.

I am absolutely horrible when it comes to selling myself. When I get asked questions like "why should we hire you", my impulse is to answer "you probably could do a lot worse."

The "Elected" Tsar

Tsar Vladimir the Fourth.
Vladimir Putin said Saturday he'll run for Russia's presidency in 2012, almost certainly ensuring he'll retake the office he previously held and likely foreshadowing years more of a strongman rule that many in the West have called a retreat from democracy.
The chances are greater that Putin will be hit with falling space debris than he'd lose the 2012 election.

Soldiers Without a Sex Drive

That's who Rick Santorum wants defending this county:
“I would say, any type of sexual activity has absolutely no place in the military.”
Right. And when the soldiers and sailors are off duty and pounding down some beers, they are, no doubt, debating the theories of Clausewitz and Sun Tzi and how they apply to irregular warfare.


Damn, I just crack myself up, sometimes.

Is Santorum high? Has he been swilling the sacramental wine, perhaps? Or was he dropped on his head too many times? One has to be terminally stupid to think that soldiers don't think about getting laid and that they don't act on those thoughts from time to time.

Reno Air Races- Crash of the Galloping Ghost

The preliminary NTSB report has been released.

It doesn't really tell much that wasn't already known. The final report will hopefully relate the data that was recorded prior to the crash.

Dream On; Torture Nation Edition

From a piece by Ariel Dorfman:
Dick Cheney, it has been said, fears that "somebody will Pinochet him." ... If Cheney really loved his country, he would demand that a grand jury be convened, he would want a world where the schoolchildren of tomorrow, his own grandchildren and great-grandchildren, can truly pledge that there will be justice for all.

He would want to clear his name and never more see it even remotely associated with Pinochet, that thief, that traitor, that man who tortured his own people and lives on only in the annals of villainy.
You should read the entire piece, it won't take long.

But this is the thing: Dorfman is truly wrong about the "justice for all" part. Cheney believes in Richard Nixon's concept of the law and the presidency, which is: "If the President does it, it is legal."[1] That is why Cheney all but ordered Bush to pardon Scooter Libby.[2]

Cheney was an elected tyrant. He probably will not live long enough to be tried for his crimes, at least not in a court of law. But in the judgment of history, he will be named for what he was: A brutal war criminal.

And we, the citizens of the United States, will go down as this generation's version of the "good little germans" who closed our eyes and ears to the crimes being committed in our names and did nothing about it.

Cheney stained the honor of this country. His eagerness to pervert the material witness statutes into tools for holding people in detention without access to counsel or the courts and his advocacy for the use of torture stained the honor of this country. It gave moral cover to other brutal regimes who tortured their own people.

But that stain on our national honor need not have been permanent. We, the people, the citizens of this country, by not demanding that Cheney be held to account for his crimes, have made Cheney's stain irrevocable.
__________________________
[1] Of course that only applies to Republican presidents. Undoubtedly, Cheney subscribes to the GOP view that Democratic presidents would be executed for illegal parking.
[2] Somewhere around 2006, Bush seems to have figured out that he didn't have to do what his Uncle Dick wanted him to do.

Caturday

George and Gracie at rest. With all of the comfy cat places, including a heated cat bed, this is where they elect to lie.


Jake is no different. That little blue wedge in the corner is a chair with a throw on it for the cats to lie on. Far more cat hours have been spent in that chair than human hours.


is all part of the inherent mystery of felines.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Boeing 747-8

Cargolux has refused to take delivery of the first 747-8 for "contractual" reasons. The reason seems to be that Qatar Airways owns a third of Cargolux and is using that leverage to squeeze Boeing over the 787 program. Meanwhile, Atlas Air has terminated its order for three of the jets, saying that they are looking at other options.

For a freighter that size, if it's not an Airbus-380 or an Antonov-124, I don't know what else could be on the table.

Faster Than Light?

Maybe. Maybe not.


Don't ask me. I took three semesters of college-level physics and barely passed the "electricity and magnetism" semester with an average in that course of about 2.0005. Something about the "right-hand rule" and if you were to ask me today how electricity and magnetism work, I'd mutter something about "magic gnomes" and suggest you go get a book from the library or something.

But I love reading about science. It gives me hope that maybe humanity can work things out before we turn this planet into a toxic cinder.*
___________________________
* But not all that much hope.

That Gun Probably Really Sucks and Other Stuff

The Kimber Solo.

It was on the cover of the October, `11 American Rifleman. Like a lot of the gun press, one can usually count on good reviews of guns made by companies that advertise heavily. So it was a little surprising to see an acknowledgment that "earlier samples were troublesome". I take that to mean "they had to send us several guns to test until we got one that functioned."

It's hard to know who to trust on gun reviews. The Internet tends to hype any problems. The commercial gun press almost never lets a bad word slip about anything. About the only hint you can get from them is if you don't see a review of the WhizBang 2200. Gun Tests reports what it sees, but if they bought a gun that turned out to be ahead or behind the quality curve, well, that's the risk of testing a single item.

One good thing about the Taurus Judge and the S&W Governor is that they are helping to make decent .45 Colt ammunition more prevalent. A lot of what is out there are "cowboy" loads that are designed for the Cowboy Action Shooting game; they are lower-velocity rounds.

The other day at the range, I shot some of the cowboy loads from Winchester and Magtech. They were 250 grain lead flat point loads. I then tried some American Eagle (Federal) 225 grain jacketed soft points-- the recoil was more pronounced and, unlike the cowboy loads, the JSPs had some muzzle flash out of a 4.75" barrel. They felt almost like the standard-pressure Buffalo Bore load, but cheaper to shoot.

What's interesting is that the street price of the supposedly cheap-jack Blazer rounds in this caliber is higher than the American Eagle JSPs, which have a brass case, in the event that you want to collect cartridge cases for reloading. The Blazers seem to be pretty potent hollowpoints, so you pays your money and takes your pick.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Wait, What??

Wørd!


(H/T)

Breathing While Muslim and Living In New York City?

Then you can be reasonably certain that the local Stasi NYPD has a file on you.

Now imagine the NYPD keeping a file on you because your parents moved up from Dixie and attend the local Southern Baptist church. Imagine that the file noted that you were a paid-up member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, a proud member of the Koch Tea Party and your dad had demonstrated outside of family planning clinics. Would you have a problem with any of that?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Murder by Cop

The Westerly, RI cops said that they only hit Ryan O'Loughlin in the leg when they arrested him. But he died from a lacerated liver after he was released by the cops. And because he died in Connecticut, the RI cops were unable to hush up the autopsy.
The Connecticut Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled that O'Loughlin's death, caused by blunt force trauma to the abdomen, was a homicide.
Westerly had better warm up the town checkbook, for this is going to cost them.

It probably should cost some cops at least some unpaid desk time, if not some time in the Crossbar Hotel. But that's probably not going to happen.

Highway Robbery By the Boys in Blue

The cops are concentrating on interrupting the flow of money back up the supply chain. They are focusing on stopping the cash because they get to keep the money seized, which they can use for their departments and agencies.

There is no profit to the cops in stopping the drugs themselves, so they let them go sailing on by. One might reasonably suppose that the cops want enough drugs to get through to keep the money flowing to them.

If you were to go out and rob someone who had a lot of cash, that would be a crime. When the cops do it, it's "civil forfeiture". If a crime was being committed, there would be arrests. But the cops just take money and let the drivers go, because if they prosecuted them, the cops would have to prove that a crime was being committed. This way, the rightful owner of the cash has to sue to get the money back.

It's funny, in a way, how the cops get around that pesky 4th Amendment. It's pretty sad, though, that the cops and the courts are more than willing to gut the 4th Amendment when there is money in it for them.

(H/T)

Wørd!

Fuggin' A, ain't dat da troot!

funny pictures - I'm just shocked finding a cat actually using the catbed, and not the five pieces of furniture around it, or the box it came in.
see more Lolcats and funny pictures.

Restoring a Mk 1 Spitfire

Being done by the Aircraft Restoration Co. in Duxford. The Mk 1s were the "Battle of Britain" Spitfires, which are now rather rare. The later models are the ones most usually seen, as they survived the war to be sold as surplus.

When they say in the story that a Mk 1 Spitfire might sell for "five million", that's in English pounds, not dollars. At current exchange rates, you'd be thinking of writing a check for nearly eight million dollars (and probably close to $400K a year just for insurance).

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Star Trek- Star Wars, Shatner Brings the Smackdown



Thing is, though, Shatner has a point. There are eleven Star Trek movies. When you add up the original series (79 episodes), the animated series (22 episodes) TNG (178 episodes), DS9 (176 episodes), Voyager (172 episodes) and Enterprise (98 episodes), that's a shitload of screen time.

Star Wars has six movies at its core, six other movies, most of which were made for television, and several animated series: Droids (13 episodes),Ewoks (26 episodes), Clone Wars (25 episodes), and The Clone Wars (88 episodes, 20 didn't air). One of the TV movies, the Star Wars Holiday Special, only aired once and was never released again.

There's really no comparison. Shatner has the right of it.

(But what is with that t-shirt?)

Government Spending is Bad.
Unless, That Is, Government Spends Money In My Constituency.
Then It is A-OK With Me!!

Among the critics of government energy spending, Sen. "Diaper Dave" Vitter wanted the Obama Administration to spend government money on alternative energy programs in Louisiana. So did such other fearless critics of government spending like Sen. Mitch McConnell and Congressmen Fred Upton, Cliff Stearns, and Lamar Smith, all of whom alternated between lambasting the alternative energy program and begging for money from that program to go to their states.


Hence the title of this post.

Along similar lines, two other Republican stalwart defenders of the public purse, Senators Saxby Chambliss and John Cornyn, are doing their utmost to make sure that the Department of Defense continues to pur money into the F-35 program.

I gather that being embarrassed by one's own blatant hypocrisy is something that politicians like these ambulatory mouse-turds have to get over.

Who Do You Have to Thank for Motorcycle Helmets?

In part, Sir Hugh William Bell Cairns, a British neurosurgeon. He was a neurosurgeon who treated T.E. Lawrence after Lawrence's fatal crash in 1935. That experience sparked Cairns's research on head protection for motorcyclists.

$91 per Meal per Person

That is apparently the food budget for Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) who says that he needs $200,000 a year to feed his family. Since his children are grown and have left home, he has to spend that to feed himself and his wife.

So, assume they eat three meals a day. That's 365 days, three meals a day, two people, or 2,190 meals. Divide that by his $200,000 food allowance, and that comes out to $91.32 per person per meal.

Maybe he might want to try eating breakfast at Denny's from time to time. With coffee and a tip, he and his wife could eat there for less than $10 a person, so they'd save $160 on that meal alone.

It is hard to imagine how anyone can spend close to $550 a day on food for two people, unless they're having Kobe beef twice a week with caviar for an appetizer.

Military Retirement

The Administration is starting to make noises about cutting the military retirement system. Of course, they aren't the only ones, as there are Republicans, especially Sen. Coburn, who are hostile to the cost of military retirement and veterans benefits.

I cannot tell you how much I feel that the politicians who are voicing these concerns should be horsewhipped.

Military service is not a cushy office job like, say, being one of the wonks in the Office of Management and Budget or the Congressional Budget Office. It's not like being a senior congressional staffer, where the biggest hazard is cirrhosis of the liver from all of the free booze from lobbyists.

Even in peacetime, which is now a distant memory to most, those in the Navy and Marine Corps went on long deployments. If you were a sailor on a ship or an attack sub, you could roughly plan on sleeping in your own bed at home seventy days out of the year. In the Army and the Air Force, there were "unaccompanied tours", which was bureaucratic-speak for going away for a year. Depending on the job specialty, the work could be hard, filthy and often dangerous. And, to be frank about it, the pay, especially for those on their first enlistment, was not great.

The burden on the families from what I wrote in the preceding paragraph is obvious. Less obvious is the impact on frequent changes of duty station. It was a rare spouse who could keep any kind of career going when they had to pick up and move every three or so years. Oh, the services sometimes tried to keep a change of duty station to the same location (so the serviceman would change jobs and commands, but not location) to lessen the burden on the families, but the needs of the service were paramount and if that meant you had to uproot your family and move, away you went.

This isn't the first time that the politicians have wanted to play "fuck over the troops". During the inflation and "stagflation" from the 1970s oil shocks, Presidents Ford and Carter limited all federal pay increases, including military ones, to 5.5%. The purchasing power of the soldiers and sailors, especially the mid-grade enlisted with families, eroded under that bit of White House forced austerity. It was particularly evil then, and it is evil now.

More to the point, we made a promise to the men and women who served. The promise was that if they stayed and made a career out of it, that they would get a decent pension and medical care. Then, when they "retired" after twenty years of active duty and started over in the civilian world, at least they had a base income and medical care as a floor.

If we, as a nation, are unwilling to shoulder the financial burden of caring for our military retirees and veterans, then this is what we should do: Stop making so many veterans by getting into wars. When the shooting starts, there are going to be maimed veterans who will need care for the next eighty years. If that cost is unacceptable to the politicians, then stop sending men and women off to fight. No fighting, no combat veterans to care for-- that should be a simple enough equation for even most politicians to grasp.

If we don't want to pay for so many military retirees, then cut the size of the armed forces and cut back on the global presence that we have had since the end of the Second World War. If, on the other hand, you want to have that global presence, then suck it up and realize that when someone on active duty completes a twenty-year career and retires, you're going to be paying him or her retirement benefits for possibly another sixty years. Shut the fuck up and pay for it.

The Terminator Mk. 1

“Lethal autonomy is inevitable,” said Ronald C. Arkin, the author of “Governing Lethal Behavior in Autonomous Robots,” a study that was funded by the Army Research Office.

Arkin believes it is possible to build ethical military drones and robots, capable of using deadly force while programmed to adhere to international humanitarian law and the rules of engagement. He said software can be created that would lead machines to return fire with proportionality, minimize collateral damage, recognize surrender, and, in the case of uncertainty, maneuver to reassess or wait for a human assessment.
And if the software has a bug in it and the machine kills when it was not supposed to, would they then charge the software engineers with negligent homicide?

This country has become a lot more desensitized to war, because combat is now something that only impacts a small percentage of the population. I submit that if we still had an army where a good percentage of the combat soldiers were draftees, that there would be more political ramifications to going to war and our governing classes would not do it so casually.

Moving towards a day when autonomous robots, robotic mercenaries if you will, do the fighting will make war even more likely. We are becoming a nation of chickenhawks.

Those who think that this is a good idea need to have their heads examined.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Meanwhile, At Another Air Show....

I'm not going to spoil it for you. Just watch.

Not Getting Excited About This At All

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Monday proposes a package of tax increases and cuts from projected spending totaling nearly $3.1 trillion over 10 years to slow down soaring federal budget deficits.

His plan, which he'll detail in a Rose Garden address, will call for $1.5 trillion in tax increases over the decade starting in 2013, most of them on incomes above $200,000.

He'll also propose $580 billion in cuts in projected federal spending. And he'll say his plan should count $1 trillion in savings from the planned withdrawal of troops from Irag and Afghanistan.
I'm not paying any attention, for I know this means nothing. The Obama Administration has more reverse gears in its transmission than does an Italian Army tank. The GOP only has to mildly utter: "I say, sport, we don't like that at all." and this Administration will tear up whatever it wrote down.

Which leads me to why I'm not paying much attention to the upcoming presidential race. At this point, the GOP seems to be mulling over Mitt Romney and Rick Perry.

Romney's claim to business expertise is that his group took over companies, ran them into the ground by stripping assets, declaring bankruptcy, firing all of the American workers and then taking the jobs offshore. Romney's political track record is of a man who will say and do anything to get elected. If euthanizing the elderly became popular, you'd see Romney shooting his mother.


Perry is a man who is aggressively ignorant and proud of it.* He is rather proud of the fact that he was a bad student and his attitude seems to be one of someone who appears to believe that "book larnin' ain't worth t' trouble". If anything, he comes across as the sort of swaggering stupid bully that was exemplified by George W. Bush, only Perry has ramped it up by a couple orders of magnitude.

For all the disdain and near hatred that Perry has expressed for the Federal government, one wonders why he would even want to be president. Remember that he spent `09 and `10 bleating about the joys of seceding from the Union. A Perry presidency would be like electing a convicted child rapist to the presidency of a school board.

And opposing those two worthies is the sitting president, whose negotiating style is to back down faster than Neville Chamberlain. I have no clue what Obama believes in, for whatever it is, he sure doesn't hold to them.

So there we have it: Two weasels and a moron. Is it any wonder that I'm not finding it interesting to
write about presidential politics these days?

UPDATE:  A couple of captioned photos from Comedy Central's Indecision Forever that explain things:


_____________________________
* Perry is even prouder of being uneducated than is Sarah Palin, if that is at all possible.

Aerodynamics and the Reno Crash

There is a term of art in aerodynamics known as the "angle of incidence". In essence, this is the difference between the long axis of the aircraft fuselage and the fore-and-aft axis of the wing (where it meets the fuselage. Most airplanes have a positive angle of incidence, especially those with low-mounted wings.

I mention this because there is a relationship between the angle of incidence and the speed at which the airplane will fly with neutral elevator trim. In essence, the airplane "wants" to fly at that speed. If the trim is neutral and the pilot adds power, the airplane will climb. If the pilot reduces power, the airplane will descend, but the airplane will seek to maintain that speed. To go faster, the pilot has to hold the nose down by adding down elevator and to go slower, the pilot has to hold the nose up by adding up elevator.

Obviously, pilots want the airplane to fly in a stable configuration at different speeds. It gets tiring to have to hold pressure to the wheel/stick. That's what the trim-tabs are for. If the pilot wants to fly faster, then nose-down trim is added-- the trim tab sticks up a little and forces the elevator down. If you ever have ridden in a light airplane that has good range of speed between cruise and landing speeds, you may have noticed the pilot adding nose-up trim as the airplane slows.

Now say that you are flying along at a very fast rate of speed. You're going to need to trim the nose down and probably by quite a lot. If the trim tab were to disappear, the airplane will want to climb and it will do that abruptly, for the considerable down-force that has been applied to the elevator by the trim tab is now gone.

Of course, if the airplane happens to be somewhat inverted when that happens, what looks to the airplane as a climb will look to the outside observer as a dive.

The Galloping Ghost had a data recording system and at least one installed camera. The memory cards for those systems may have been recovered. The airplane also transmitted some real-time data to the ground crew during the race and that data is now in the hands of the NTSB.

So even though the airplane pretty much was shredded when it hit that concrete parking ramp, the NTSB may have quite a lot to go on.

Poisoning the Servicemen-- And Keeping Quiet About It

You probably have heard of the health problems that Vietnam War veterans have suffered as a result to exposure to Agent Orange.

What you probably don't know is that the airplanes used to spray Agent Orange were heavily contaminated with dioxin, the active ingredient of Agent Orange. The Air Force brought many of those airplanes back and assigned them to the Air Force Reserve, which flew the airplanes into the 1980s. The pilots and crewmen who flew and worked on those airplanes have since been coming down with Agent Orange related ailments.

The Air Force knew that the airplanes were contaminated, so much so that they refused to sell the airplanes as surplus and, instead, very quietly shredded and melted them down. The Veterans Administration does what they do best: Deny that there is any causal relationship between dioxin contamination and the veterans' ailments and deny any benefits.

We, as a nation, asked (and in some cases, forced) those guys to serve the national interest. Now that they are suffering as a result of that service and they have asked for help, the answer they are receiving is: "It sucks to be you, now go away."

And this latest bit of coverup and stabbing the veterans in the back can be laid at the feet of the Obama Administration and former Defense Secretary Gates:
Records show that some C-123 planes were held in quarantine storage in recent years, and then disposed of by shredding and smelting in 2010. In June 2009, an Agent Orange consultant to the Secretary of Defense had lobbied for the “immediate destruction” of the planes, in part to avoid attracting media attention to the health claims of stateside veterans.

“A whole new class of veterans may claim that their exposure was due to the fact they were members of aircrews or mechanics associated with the contaminated aircraft that returned from Vietnam,” the consultant, Dr. Alvin L. Young, wrote in the June 26, 2009, memo.
Lies and coverups. That's what the military does and that's what the VA does when it comes to the needs of veterans. What the VA has done with regard to the Agent Orange veterans for many decades (and with the Persian Gulf War veterans) is to deny that there is a problem and hope to kick the can far enough down the road that most of those men and women die before the VA is forced to pay any benefits.

This shit is just wrong. But that's the mindset of this nation: Glorify the men and women in uniform and then kick their asses to the curb once the uniform comes off.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Airline Pilots Only Know How to Engage the Autopilot?

If you have bought that story, then you might want to read about Captain Dave flying an approach into Edmonton, Alberta.

Moooo-sic



(Unedited footage here and here.)

Peak Everything

When stuff may all run out.

I imagine that, in several decades, if this civilization still stands, people are going to look back to the latter part of the 20th Century through today and wonder how we could have been so wasteful as to use millions of tons of irreplaceable phosphorus each year just to wash our clothes.

Bad Week for Air Shows

A T-28 from the "Trojan Horsemen" team crashed at the Martinsburg Airport.



No word yet on cause.

More on the Reno Crash

Lots of speculation abounds about the crash of the Galloping Ghost, but still...

Take a look at these photos from a similar incident in 1998. There, an elevator tab came off and the airplane pitched up violently, pulling at least 10 Gs. The pilot suffered G-LOC (he passed out) and he came to as the airplane was climbing past 9,000'.*

The same sequence of events, though when an airplane has rolled past vertical, probably will end very badly. In this case, the pilot may have been unconscious when the airplane crashed, which might be some small mercy.

(Earlier posts)
___________________________________
* Despite the sign to the contrary, Bob Button continued to race Voodoo Chile for several more years.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Reno Crash, Cont.

This photo shows part of the left elevator trim tab coming off:


This blowup shows that part of the trim tab is missing:


I've no idea if the airplane was controllable, at least in pitch. I'd not be surprised if the answer was "no".

Reno Crash

A P-51 racer, the Galloping Ghost", crashed at the Reno Air Races yesterday. Several people were killed and the death toll is almost certain to rise.

There is some video here, but it doesn't show much of the crash itself. This video has a couple seconds, if that, of the airplane beginning to go in. It's hard to tell, but it seems to me that the airplane was inverted, maybe a few hundred feet above the ground, and it sucked into what looked like the backside of a loop, hitting damn near vertical, very close to the front row of spectators.

These two photos are interesting, from MSNBC:

(Click on the photo to enlarge it)

Look at the left elevator, visible in the left-hand photo. The trim-tab is missing.

There wasn't much left of the airplane. This photo is from last year. (Photo credit)

Caturday; Claim-Jumping Edition

I keep old towels on my furniture to keep the wear and tear down from the cats. I was reading in this chair and got up to make a cup of coffee. Gracie immediately moved in.


Bella as Guard-Cat. She loves sitting at the front screen door and watching the world go by.

Friday, September 16, 2011

CIA-- Behind the Times Yet Again; Domestic Propaganda Edition

The CIA is pitching stories to screenwriters and studios.

You have to wonder how dense the people are at Langley not to have figured this out before. The FBI crawled into bed with Hollywood decades ago. Nearly fifty years back, the FBI even had its own TV series. Ol' Jedgar Hoover worked hard to ensure that Hollywood glorified the FBI. As a result, the FBI brand commands respect, even to this day, despite their long history of flouting the Constitution and opposition to the civil rights movement.

The Department of Defense figured this out years ago. "Top Gun was, for years, a terrific recruiting tool for the Navy.* If you want to use government hardware for your movie, figure that the movie is going to be good for recruiting.

(Or you can do your movie in such a way that you only need small arms and shit like that, so you can make the movie you want without the Pentagon quibbling over the script.**)

Maybe the CIA has figured out that Covert Affairs has been a good puff-piece of a series for the CIA, though all of that icky "Thou Shalt Not Operate on American Soil" stuff seems to have gone by the boards.*** And this way, they get to transform themselves into "the fluffy friendly people who spy on your shit", as opposed to "the cabal of torturers."

_________________________________
* Before that movie came out, the Navy was so hurting for aviators that they were trying to get junior officers in other specialties to volunteer for flight training.
** MASH, Apocalypse Now, Catch-22, Three Kings and so on.
*** Whether that is just dramatic license or a covert move by the CIA to desensitize the nation to CIA operations within the country is open to speculation.

Statistics on Guns

A few more thoughts about the graph here, and which I wrote about yesterday.

I question the statistics regarding the number of weapons in circulation. Firearms are among the most durable of consumer goods.[1] Traditionally made of high-quality steel with wooden stocks, a firearm that is maintained with any degree of care doesn't deteriorate.[2] If you spend any time on the firearms discussion boards, you're sure to find a post from someone who has inherited an old firearm that is over a century in age.

I am reasonably certain that prior to 1968, there was no formal requirement to stamp serial numbers on firearms. Prior to 1968, in most states, buying a gun was no different (in paperwork and legal requirements) from buying a sack of potatoes. Herter's, among other companies, had a good mail-order business selling guns.

Even if one considers weapons purchased after 1968, there, things get fuzzy. Almost all states do not require registration and tracking of guns.[3] Once a weapon was sold, it can pass through many hands in the succeeding decades. It might rust away, it might not. So how they can come even close to guesstimating the number of guns in circulation is beyond my understanding.

The second quibble I have is the statistic of X number of guns per Y number of people. It really demonstrates nothing. I know a lot of people who own weapons and who do not. Damn few of those who do own guns only own one.[4] The ownership rates also likely fluctuate wildly by geographic location-- you'll probably find a hell of a lot more guns per household in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont than you will in the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

There are a lot of firearms in circulation in this country. But who has them, and how many there are, I submit are probably matters of speculation more than of statistics.
_________________________________
[1] This might not apply to polymer-framed weapons.
[2] This may not apply to weapons used for high-intensity shooting, but even those can be maintained by parts replacement.
[3] Anecdotally, I have heard that in some areas, the compliance with registration and reporting laws is so low as to render those requirements impotent.
[4] Collectors probably really skew this statistic.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Food for Thought About Guns

This graph is from here:


You may want to click on it for full-size.

Some interesting points can be gleaned.

First off, the number of firearms owned by civilians has been going up slightly faster than the population growth. Thirty years ago, there was roughly seven guns for every ten people, the number is now over eight.

The firearms-related death rate began dropping before the Brady Bill was passed and leveled off after the 5-day waiting period was replaced by the NICS check. It has remained relatively constant since then.

The increase in the number of "shall issue" carry permit states (from two to 39) has had no effect on the rate of firearms deaths.

One thing you don't see on the chart is this: The increase in firearms-related deaths between 1984 and 1994 may be attributable to the crack epidemic. The crack distribution turf wars took place during the spike in firearms deaths and once those petered out, the firearms death rate plummeted.

(H/T)

What Was More Important to the Founding Fathers Than the Army and the Navy?

If you take the list of enumerated Congressional powers in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution as a priority list, then you may be surprised to learn this:

The Post Office was more important to the Founding Fathers than the Army and the Navy.

Of course, Congress doesn't see it that way, now, since they provide no support to the Postal Service, other than the benefit of Congressional meddling. And the "Constitution Forever" teabaggers tend to ignore that the Postal Service was that important to the Founders.

Colbert Super-Pac Donors

Maybe they need to hire a proofreader, for this is a screenshot from last night's show:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"In Sickness and In Health, Until Death Do Us Part.
Unless You Get a Terminal Disease. Then You're On Your Own, Bitch."

Or "asshole", as the case may be.

For those would seem to be the wedding vows endorsed by Rev. "Lesbian Judges Caused 9-11" Robertson:
Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson says divorcing a spouse with Alzheimer's disease is justifiable because sufferers are "like a walking death."
"Cut and Run Christianity" at its finest. Sounds as though that particular Biblefied Bigot is setting himself up to endorse ol' Newt, who allegedly has his own personal experience with that sort of thing.

Maybe Try Not Opening Your Mouth So Often?

NANUET [NY] — Martin Kessman says he loves White Castle burgers and has been eating them for 50-plus years, but the 290-pounder from Airmont doesn't like that he can't fit into the booths [anymore] at the Nanuet restaurant.

So the 64-year-old stockbroker is suing.
I've not done disability law in a long time. But if I remember correctly, the Americans with Disability Act deals with "major life activities". While eating is one of those, it's hard for me to see how being able to sit in a booth and cram sliders down one's gullet qualifies. The whiny honorable plaintiff also could have asked for a chair, but he apparently did not.

Hard to know whether Kessman realized that filing this lawsuit would end up making him into an object of ridicule all over the Internet. This one is probably going to displace the "hot coffee" litigation in t
he "why I hate lawyers" posts for awhile.

Update: This case made Lowering the Bar.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Murk

Summer time, and the visibility get sucky.


As far as being able to see useful stuff for identifying landmarks for navigation, five to seven miles is it. If you're flying a 172, that's three minutes to fly from where you are to where you couldn't see before. You have to have pretty good situational awareness.

A long time ago, I took a student pilot up for a ride when the visibility was 4 miles. I gave her the sectional and told her to keep track of where we were. Ten minutes after takeoff, she was lost.

Days like today, when it is murky and there is no visible horizon, it's also easy to develop an attack of vertigo. The key there is to ignore what your senses are telling you and fly by the gauges.

The Day We Started to Forget

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Monday, September 12, 2011

In the Event of a Lack of Posts

That will be due to an unfortunate set of circumstances involving my computer and repeated applications of a claw hammer.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Law, War and 9/11

(Last year's post.)

I was in the process of writing a long post about international law following 9/11. Well, fuck that noise.

No, I'm not going to wallow in the "10th anniversary of 9/11" horseshit. It's sort of like remembering the anniversary of getting your ass kicked. I find it to be unseemly. You don't see the French commemorating the Battle of Agincourt, do you? Hell, when we mark dates of the Revolution, we don't remember the battles where the Redcoats kicked our asses (which was most of them, come to think of it).

But if we're going to commemorate the Attacks of 9/11, let's start by rolling back the national security state that has mushroomed in its wake.

Let's start by scaling back the Patriot Act, or at least rename it for what it is: the Police State Act. Let's start by limiting the Patriot Act to those cases involving terrorism.

Here's an example: Over a four year period, 1,755 "sneak-and-peek" warrants were issued. (H/T) That's when the cops, with less-than-probable-cause, go tippy-toeing into a person's home of place of business to look for shit. Rather than an up-front "here we are, here's a warrant, stand aside" search, a sneak-and-peek search is done as though it were a criminal act: No notice and maybe, someday, they'll get around to telling you.

1,755 searches. Of those, fifteen were for terrorism cases. That is less than one percent of the time. Less than one in one-hundred searches were for the reasons that the Patriot Act was passed.

Then there is the vacuuming of all telecommunications by the NSA, the screening of all telephone calls, facsimiles and e-mails. There has been enough written about that and how they do it, with the craven help of all of the telcos. Let's stop that shit as well.

If you feel the need to mark 9/11 by rehashing the culpability of the Bush Administration and how they used that to institute a regime of torture and invade a nation that had nothing to do with the attacks, thereby causing the deaths of over three times as many Americans as did al Qaeda, not to mention causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians and displacing millions more, well stop. Nobody is going to seriously investigate any of that shit.* It's now up to the historians to point out who was culpable.

You want to mark 9/11? Fine, let's mark it by remembering what is important: Our freedoms. Our liberties. Our right to be left alone and unobserved by the government, absent a damned good reason.

Let's start recalling that this nation was founded by men and women who did not cower in their cabins when the mightiest nation on the globe tried to oppress them. They would probably never have believed that a small group of suicidal men would cause us to willingly start throwing away our freedoms and liberties. Those men and women who suffered and fought and died to bring this country into existence would have never have believed that their descendants would create a monster of a cabinet department such as the DHS.

Let's get over this national tendency to shit our pants and run for the embrace of an ever larger police state every time something happens. Let's start laughing at the pro-police state cowards like Rep. King (both of them, the putz from Iowa and the former terrorism supporter from New York) and call them what they are: Supporters of fascism. Every time that some politician or bureaucrat starts talking about how they can make us safer if we consent to a little more monitoring or a little more searching or a little less privacy, let's grab the tar and feathers.

Let's start by reversing the paramilitarization of the civilian police forces and by taking an axe to the number and size of "tactical response teams" (SWAT, ESU, whatever the designation of the local goon squad happens to be). Let's, by statute, limit the use of those teams and require the sign-off by the chief/sheriff/commissioner for any planned deployments of the squads.

Let's once again understand that being a free and open society has risks. Let's get back to accepting those risks as an inherent and structural cost of being free.**

And above all:

______________________________________
* Yes, there were serious investigations after Pearl Harbor and folks were held accountable. Times were different and anyway, the Chattering Classes have decreed that Thou Shalt Not Hold Republicans Accountable. Sure, I know that if the attacks had happened on President Gore's watch, there would have been serious investigations, not the joke that was the 9/11 Commission. Get over it.
** If you want to live in a nation where the police have unlimited power to keep you safe: Emigrate.

The Horse Left the Barn a Long Time Ago

The New London Day is going to start charging non-subscribers for digital access.

Good luck with that. The "News is Free Online" horse left the barn fifteen years ago. There are too many places to get state, national, world, business, sports and fashion news for free, now. For a local newspaper, the only way that a paid-digital feature will work is that if there are enough people far enough away who cannot subscribe to the paper edition, but who want to keep up with the local news, so they'll buy the digital edition.

Guess we'll see how it works for them. My bet would be that it won't, that there will be few people willing to pony up for a digital edition. Either the digital readership will crash, so the paper loses that ad revenue, or whose with ties to the region will glom onto the login data of a local friend or relative, so they'll still see it for free. I'll be surprised if they pull in more than a couple of grand a month doing this.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Burned Out on "Burn Notice"

My opinion: Burn Notice has jumped the shark in its current (5th) season).


You can read the Wikipedia reference, above, for a detailed synopsis of the show. Basically, the show is about a spy who was kicked out of the CIA and dumped in Miami, where he has a few friends and family. Four seasons have gone by as the main character, Michael Westin, first tried to find out who burned him and why, then struggled to get the burn notice listed. (Most of each show has Westin and his friends (and sometimes his mother) taking cases to help other people.*)

At the end of the 4th season, Westin was back with the CIA as a consultant. Where the show went sideways was when Those People Who Don't Like Mike killed off his CIA handler and tried to frame him for the killing. This included using a prepaid cellphone to coordinate the killing and hiring a guy who looks a lot like Westin to buy the phone, so he'd show up on the store surveillance tapes.

This is about where I threw my hands up and stopped watching the show. I know television shows have only a tangential connection to reality, but Jesus! If you don't like a guy that much that you can arrange to break into a clandestine CIA office and whack the agent there, why not just fucking shoot Mikey, instead? (Or, for that matter, Sam Axe** or the other supporting players?)

So I stopped watching the show. In talking to a friend last night, she told me that the show has gotten even loopier in its plot and she just removed it from her TiVo list.

Too bad. It was good for awhile, probably longer than most.*** But all good things...

By the way, I don't mean to belittle the writers. It has to take some damn good work to generate a show concept and then keep it working for several seasons. But even the best writers produce clinkers and, if you're doing a series with an overall arc, once the path of the arc takes a wrong turn into the Land of Suck, it can be devilishly hard to get back out.
__________________________________
* This is how they've been able to stretch the main plot out, for some episodes are only about the case for that episode, or they spend maybe three minutes moving the main plot forward.
** Please.
*** Buffy the Vampire Slayer went two seasons too long. So did Xena. Babylon V's last year felt that it was tacked-on at the last minute. I've also stopped watching the Closer, as well. Battlestar Galactica was probably damn near unique, as it made it to the last episode before it seriously embraced the suck.

Caturday

With all the cat-friendly furniture that I have here, why George wants to lie on a scratching pad is something I don't understand.


Gracie takes the time to get acquainted with literature.


Jake is closing in on a hand to pet him.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Reporting Corruption at Glacial Speed

In June, Roll Call and Mother Jones reported that part of the patent reform bill pending before Congress contained a provision that would bail out one law firm, WilmerHale, which blew a deadline to extend a patent for a drug company, the Medicines Co.

The congressman who was pushing this was Jesse Jackson, Jr. While Democrats were behind this measure to rewrite the law to save the profits of one drug company and to save one law firm from a huge malpractice bill, quite a few opposed it and there were enough Republicans standing up to do what is best for the rich and influential among us.

So today, the NY Times ran with the story. Nice catch, guys.


I spend a lot of pixels on this blog blasting the GOP for being the party that looks out for and protects the interests of the rich and the powerful. That is still true, but let's not kid ourselves: The Democrats do the same thing. Maybe the Democrats aren't as slavishly evil about it (the GOP would never have passed the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act), but they still go out of their way to help those oppressed big law firms and corporations.

Kill this bill.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tombstone Courage

I know that there are a lot of people who are linking to the modern confessions of a GOP operative, who is proclaiming far and wide that his party only serves the rich and they don't give a fuck about the general well-being of this country.

It takes a certain lack of moral courage, I suppose, to take the shillings of a political party for thirty years, retire*, and then upon retiring, throw open the curtain of the machine that the same person spent thirty years feeding and nurturing.

Beyond that, is he saying anything that we don't already know? I think not:
  • The Republicans only seek to serve the interests of their rich donors.
  • The Republican party is full of fundamentalist/chickenhawk crackpots.
  • The Republicans would eagerly ruin this country as an economic/military power if there was a perceived benefit to the rich in doing so. And they do see a benefit to the rich and the corporations in destroying the government.
  • The Democrats are too spineless to call out the Republicans' willful destruction of this country.
  • The national news media is too craven to point any of this out.
Crimus, 95% of the blogs in the "politics and shit" section of my blogroll routinely discuss all of the above points. Most of the economic blogs I link to also discuss it. It's not like any of this is news for anyone who has been paying attention.

So excuse me if I don't join the "Mike Lofgren Cheering Society".

(H/T)
____________________________
* Presumably with an intact pension.

He's a Republican?

Buddy Roemer: "Corporations don't give a damn about America."

Roemer wants to get big money out of politics, because it is corrupting the entire political process. Of course the Republicans are doing their best to give him the Ron Paul treatment.

Republicans Get the Vapours

For all of the feigned GOP outrage over Jimmy Hoffa, Jr.'s "let's take those suns-of-bitches out", one might wonder about how they were so able to forget their very own "2nd Amendment solutions" rhetoric of the last few years.

Jon Stewart didn't forget about it.

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You ought to also watch him and John Oliver go after the cable news idiots about Schedule-gate- Parts one and two.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Weird Science; or
The Whores of PBS

I watched a repeat of the PBS science program NOVA on one of the local public television channels. The show was about the most recent Shuttle repair flight to the Hubble Telescope. Fascinating stuff, really. Those guys were doing repairs that were thought to have been impossible and they used some pretty ingenious gizmos (look up the "fastener capture plate" if you're curious).

What caught my eye, though, was the list of sponsors. One of the big sponsors of the show was one of the two princes of evil, David H. Koch. In case you're drawing a blank, he and his older brother, Charles, are the clowns who have been funding the Tea Party. They have been as anti-science as all get-out, they are two of the major funders into the Wingnut attack on science.

So why is this clown sponsoring a science television show? Wouldn't that be sort of like Alferd Packer underwriting the promotion of veganism?