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

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Susan G. Komen Race to Find A Spine

Just fucking despicable:
The nation's leading breast-cancer charity, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, is halting its partnerships with Planned Parenthood affiliates — creating a bitter rift, linked to the abortion debate, between two iconic organizations that have assisted millions of women.
No doubt that the flag-waving fascists are creaming their jeans in jubilation.

The rationale is a bullshit one. The Komen Kowards hare now saying that they won't fund any group that is being investigated by Congress. So all that had to happen, and what did happen, is some knuckle-dragging congressman with a sub-sub committee announces his bit of vindictive subpoena-throwing and that's enough for the Komen Kowards.

To hell with them. They can go raise their money from the Christian Taliban and the Koch brothers.

Do Me a Favor, (XYZ) News, and Just Stow it.

Heard on the news tonight (Floria primary underway): "We'll bring you updates throughout the evening."

No, thanks. I'll either go watch some basic cable station that won't bother with updates or I'll just switch off the idjit box altogether. This is just one bullshit primary of many and I can wait until tomorrow to find out who the purported winner happens to be. As Dave Barry put it:
How can you protect yourself from a presidential primary? I’ll tell you. As soon as you know that a campaign is going to hit [your state], you should go to Home Depot and buy sheets of plywood three-quarters of an inch thick. You should take these home, cut them to size, and then, using a hammer and nails, fasten them firmly to every TV screen in your house. You should also fill your bathtub with water, add about a cup of bleach, and drop in all your radios.
Sage advice.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Where's What?

The Pig Goes Viral!



(H/T)

Mars and Moon Base Gingrich

Newt is taking some grief for his Moon base idea.

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BadTux asks: Why the hell not? Why not return to the Moon and then go to Mars? It can't be any more wasteful than the F-35 or the V-22 programs. We build bridges to nowhere so that people will have jobs building the bridges. In the overall scheme of things, going back to the Moon and to Mars is expensive, but not overly so.

But is it possible? I am not terribly sure that it is. A hell of a lot goes into flying a large spacecraft. For example, during the Apollo program, the first all-up test flight of the Saturn V-Apollo stack was in November of 1967. The first manned flight was the Apollo 8 translunar flight in December, 1968. The Air Force began the development of the Saturn V main engine in the mid-1950s. The Air Force was going to drop the engine, realizing that they just didn't have a need for an engine of that power, but NASA took it over. The first all-up test firing of the F-1 engine was in 1959.

We cannot build them that big anymore. The RS-25 engine of the Space Shuttle is the largest flying engine that we can make in series production and it is less than a quarter of the power of the F-1. The RS-68, designed in the 1990s, is maybe half the output of a F-1, it is used on Delta-IV rockets and it has only flown a few times. In comparison, the workhorse of the American rocket program is the Atlas V which has a main engine, the RD-180, that is built by NPO Energomash in Russia (for the Atlas-Centaur, the Centaur upper state uses an American RL-10, which was originally developed in the 1950s).

NASA has resurrected the J-2 engine that was used on the second stage of the Saturn V. Some of the old engines were dragged out of of storage and museums and test-fired to support the development of the new J-2X.

Going to the Moon is, of course, more than just rocket engines. The Apollo capsule was under design in 1961; the first iteration, the Block 1, was so rushed that it killed three astronauts on the launch pad in 1967. Grumman was awarded the contract for the Lunar Excursion Module in 1962, though Grumman had been studying the concept on its own dime since the late 1950s. When President Kennedy proposed going to the moon by the end of 1969, most of the pieces were already in the planing pipeline and some of them had been tested.

Even if we get there, everything that is needed at the Moon base, for now, would have to be fired out of the Earth's deep gravity well to the Moon. A Falcon-9 costs $50 million or so to launch and it might be able to send 400 pounds of stuff to the Moon. A Delta IV heavy can get ten tons to escape velocity at $400 million and given that you'd need some sort of engine and such to slow the stuff down and land it, maybe you be able to land three or four tons of usable freight on the Moon. 8,000 lbs, that's something like $50,000 a pound in freight costs to the Moon. How much stuff would it take to build a habitable shelter on the Moon, given that there is no radiation protection and without radiation sheltering, a nice large solar flare, like the kind that we are seeing now, might cook everyone there?

So it will be expensive to construct, to maintain, to live there. Should we?

Here is one reason: If civilization survives for another five or ten centuries, the 20th Century will be known for three things: The invention of powered flight, the Moon landings and the development of atomic weapons. All of the rest will be the province of historians, in the way that the 15th Century is remembered for the first voyage of Christopher Columbus.

If the 21st Century is going to be remembered for anything, it will be either for a Moon colony or a Mars landing. It would be nice if our national government could get its shit together so that the first language spoken on Mars is English.

But don't bet the farm on it. Or even a bag of cat litter.

One Way to Identify a Bully

It is that they are the ones who whine the loudest when they are the ones who are being beaten into a powder. Bullies are really good at handing out damage, but they are awful at taking it.

Which is why I find Gingrich's whining about Romney's campaign ads and tactics to be rather interesting.

Gingrich is a past master at hamstringing and backshooting. He's been trying that against Romney, but Romney and his allies have the resources to take it to Gingrich, hammer and tong, and you can hear Gingrich whining about it on almost every news broadcast.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

NRA... Really?

It is the time of the year when the National Rifle Association distributes ballots for choosing its new slate of directors. Almost everyone is deeply involved in gun issues, whether as a 2nd Amendment advocate or a manufacturer or a shooting instructor, or a hunter, or something like that.

Except one guy, whose connection to firearms issues seems rather tangential: Some clown named Mr. Grover G. Norquist of Washington, D.C. Other than being an unelected one-man no-tax goon squad, there is little indication that ol' Grover has ever held a firearm in his fat, pasty mitts.

Wassamatta, NRA, you couldn't talk either the Blubbering Fascist or Snowflake Snookie into being on the board?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Air Force Project Management: It's More Expensive to Fly Drones Than Manned Aircraft

The Air Force has managed to screw up the Global Hawk program so badly that it has become cheaper to keep flying U-2s than to fly Global Hawks.

One has to wonder what sort of platinum-plated nonsense the Air Force was doing in order to drive the cost of a drone over that of a manned aircraft doing the same mission.

Or, it could be that this is a serious bit of Air Force fuckery that did exactly what they wanted to: Keep seats in manned airplanes. For while the Air Force has been adamant about only using rated pilots to operate drones, even those clowns know that nobody is going to join the Air Force in order to basically play with a fancy flight simulator program.

I'm Shocked, Shocked, to Learn That Haley Barbour's Pardons Favored Those With Ties to Money and Power

Really, is anybody truly astonished at the idea that Haley Barbour tended to pardon people who had ties to GOP politicians or to those who gave lots of money to them?

Note that one of the people that Barbour pardoned for a felony DUI conviction is being prosecuted for another DUI in which he killed a teenager, something that had to have been known to Barbour when he let the clown skate from his earlier crime.

It retrospect, the really astonishing thing is that Bush didn't pardon Scooter Libby.

Caturday; Now I See Why Edition

All three cats were lying on the couch, with George and Gracie sharing the heated pad.


With two of those pads, it occurred to me to wonder why the other one wasn't in use. Upon closer inspection, the reason was obvious:


So off to the wash it goes. The heating element itself is wrapped in a towel, so it can still be used.

UPDATE:  Within two minutes of the pad being  washed, dried, the heating element reinstalled and the bed being put back in place:

Friday, January 27, 2012

Another Harbinger of Suck

Katherine Heigl. The studio did not screen "One for the Money" for the critics, which is a pretty solid indication that the movie likely is going to blow rotten chunks.

Apparently, from the early published reviews from the first showing, the movie is pretty awful.

Too bad. There are eighteen books in the Stephanie Plum series and it could have been a lucrative movie franchise. I know a fair number of people who are fans of the series and all of them were more or less appalled at the idea of casting Heigl in the role.

I was thinking of seeing it, but even an early showing is six bucks in these parts. I'll wait until the DVD hits the buck-a-night Redbox.

Update: as of Friday evening, Jan. 27th, it is 0 for 22 on the Rotten Tomatoes website. That is Gigli-level awful.

Google's Sexism

You can check what Google thinks of you, here.

If you're interested in airplanes, Google apparently seems to think that you are a man and that you're probably going to vote for Mittens.

Short-Sighted Governmental Stupidity; FAA Edition

The FAA wants to effectively scrap the VOR network. I wrote about it here.

Make no mistake about it, the FAA's excuse for wanting to shut down the VOR network, which is "the stations are beyond their economic service life", translates into "we haven't bothered to maintain it for the last fifteen years". The FAA's proposal to scrap the VOR network is beyond stupid, it is criminally short-sighted.

If you think that the FAA is displaying classic bureaucratic moronosity, then go here and post a comment against the proposed rule. Not a lot of people have done so, so you guys need to step up to the plate.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Flying the Old Way

When airplanes were made of wood and fabric and the pilots were made of tobacco juice and whiskey.



The range in the video is supposedly audible on 28.210 MHz and they'd like to do a full-up recreation at 529 kHz.

Or if you want to read about it: My writeup and Wickipedia's.

In Aviation, Being the First Is Often Not a Good Thing

Case in point, the McDonnell 220.


The MD-220 was one of the first business jets to be certified in the transport category. McDonnell designed it as a proposal for the Air Force, which wanted a small jet for navigation training and executive transportation. Lockheed won the contract with the JetStar.


The MD-220 never went into production. The reasons vary, depending on which source you read. The two theories seem to be that either McDonnell had too much work from the military to devote factory floor space to the MD-220 or an inability to land enough contracts to justify series production.

The prototype airplane still survives, long-term readers of Trade-a-Plane will remember seeing it offered for sale from time to time.

License to Kill Beavers, Issued by the Government of the United Nations, No Doubt

One idiot must have been channeling "Caddyshack", when he attempted to construct a bomb out of gunpowder in order to blow up a beaver dam.
Spafford, N.Y. -- A Spafford man who wanted to remove a beaver dam ended up with a severely injured hand and criminal charges from an improvised explosive device, Onondaga County Sheriff’s deputies said.

Justin Clark 22, of 353 Cold Brook Road, was charged Wednesday with third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, second-degree criminal possession of marijuana, first-degree reckless endangerment, all felonies; unlawfully growing cannabis, a misdemeanor; and unlawful possession of marijuana, a violation.
There's a serious Federal charge in there of building a destructive device if they feel like going after him.

And if this moron were a Muslim, it'd be all over Fox News.

Shorter Mitch Daniels: "We Are All Doomed."

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Daniels, who is currently on track to drag Indiana down to the level of Mississippi, hasn't been known in the past for being exceptionally accurate when it comes to economics. As Bush's budget director, he said that the Bush tax cuts would lead to budget surpluses, when they really led to staggering deficits. Daniels took his job when the Federal government was running budget surpluses of over $200 billion; he was a major player in running it in the other direction. He stated that the Iraq War would cost, at most, $60 billion and he fired the analyst who said that it would cost $300 billion. (The overall cost of the Iraq is on the order of $3 trillion.)

Jon Stewart the Stud

He is in impressive condition.


(The interview itself)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Texans Say: "Thank the Lord for Oklahoma"

An Oklahoma legislator is introducing a bill to outlaw the use of human stem cells in food products.

So, in Oklahoma, if Soylent Green is made out of people, that would be OK, as long as it is not made out of fetuses.

Nice to know that those good Sooners have solved every other problem in their state, so that they can devote their time to this significant issue.

In Their Hearts, the Republicans Know That This is True:

(H/T)

They know it's true. To glom from BadTux, the race right now is between Sleazy dwarf and Creepy dwarf.[1] Frothy and Goldy are pretty much only serving a vote-sinks who are hurting Sleazy, as nobody who votes for them would have voted for Creepy.

I miss the entertainment value of both Crazy and Dopey. I wasn't sad to see Oily go, as he was probably the one who was most likely to win n November. But he wasn't nutty enough for the modern GOP.
__________________________
[1] I know that BadTux refers to Sleazy as "Grumpy". Here, Newt's Sleazy dwarf.

Badged-Up Bullies

This comes as no surprise to a lot of people in Connecticut, who have known for years that the East Haven police have had a program of persecuting Hispanics: The East Haven, CT Police, where four officers have been arrested by the FBI for civil rights violations. The rot apparently reached all the way to the top, as the indictment mentioned an indicted co-conspirator, who apparently was the chief himself. It is possible that he may still be charged.

When the mayor of East Haven was asked what he might do to repair relations with the Hispanic community, he said that he "might have tacos" for dinner.

Did You Know That Rick Santorum Ran a White Slavery Ring?

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

About-Face?

The Obama Administration has reportedly changed its mind on blocking the re-importation of M-1 rifles that had been sold to South Korea.

As I said before, if this really happens and if they are indeed priced at $220, they'll be a hell of a bargain, unless they are rusted pieces of shit.

But note that the Obama Administration is still blocking the re-importation of M-1 carbines, because they're evil assault rifles, I guess.

Remind Me to Avoid Flying on That Airline

Romney: It's Easy to be Unemployed on Twenty Million Smackers a Year!

Remember when ol' Willard said that he was "unemployed"? Well, it seems that unemployment isn't too harsh for Mittens, since his investments pay him over twenty million dollars a year.

That's four hundred thousand dollars a week. No wonder he thought that his speaking fees weren't "much money". In comparison, if you made thirty grand a year and you had a side job where you took in an extra six hundred dollars: That would be comparable to the scale of Romney's little side work.

Remember Romney's offer to bet ten grand with Baby Dubya? That'd be like most people offering to bet fifteen or twenty bucks.

And if you make thirty grand a year, you're not parking a few million in a Swiss bank account. Not like Willard the Wealthy.

I suspect that anyone who believes that Mitt the Ripper cares about middle class Americans, let alone the working poor, probably needs to have their head examined.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Frothy Speaketh: "Being Raped is a Gift."

Santorum has to be one of the most despicable people walking around in a suit these days.

How is this not a form of slavery?

But what the hell, if you follow Frothy's line of reasoning, then miscarriages should be investigated as homicides.

Your After Lunch Squeeeee!

funny pictures - Cyoot Kittehs of teh Day: The Apple of My Eye
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Supreme Surprise, or
Why Nobody Pays Me For This Shit

I sure didn't see this coming:
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday that police must get a search warrant before using GPS technology to track criminal suspects.
I would have thought it would have been another 5-4 or maybe 6-3 case, with the usual cliques arguing that the government is free to monitor whoever they want and so on.

Here is another wrinkle: The cops were monitoring that dude for four weeks, which the Supremes said was far too long without a warrant. They declined to address what shorter period of time would be OK.

So the court stuck to narrow grounds. Unlike in Citizens United, where the nuts in black took a narrow question and used it to subvert the entire political system.

LCS: "Teething Problems" or Piece of Shit?

The Navy's line on the littoral combat ships is that they have "teething problems". LCS-1 was so poorly built that the hull began cracking. LCS-2 had bad corrosion problems.

There is a fine line between teething problems and garbage. When they try to push the state of the art, it's pretty easy to slide into piece of shit. Sometimes what is tried is too much of a leap and, when the technology matures a little, it could have worked. For every P-51, they often build a XP-55. Or, if you like the Garand and the Pedersen.

The difference is often whether a program's problems are addressed directly or papered-over in the hopes of being able to fix the issues after the gizmo is in service. My suspicion is that papering-over is what is going on, as the fear may be if the Navy openly addresses the problems with the LCS program, it will go the way of the Zumwalt class DDGs. It still might.

Yeah, Like Nobody Saw That Coming; F-35 Edition

DoD Secretary Panetta took the F-35B off probation.

Right. The F-35B can't operate on amphibious landing ships without the heat of the airplane's engine softening the ships' decks. The F-35C may not even be capable of operating on aircraft carriers.

Frank Van Haste is right: The F-35 program is indeed too big to fail.

It's ancient history, now, but I have to wonder how big a turkey the XF-32 had to have been in order to lose out to the XF-35. (Other than the fact that the XF-32 looked ugly, that is.)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Cowboy Re-enactors



And not a person to spout the "guns = bad" line.

"When I Feel the Heat, I See the Light"; Campaign Edition

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney said Sunday he will release his 2010 tax return and an estimate of his 2011 tax liability on Tuesday.

The comment, in an interview on "Fox News Sunday," was a big change in Romney's plans for handling an issue that dogged his campaign last week, and followed Saturday's loss to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in the South Carolina primary.
And then we can get to the issue of why somebody who arguably sits on his ass and lets the money roll in pays a lower tax rate than someone who holds down a full-time job.

You've probably seen the link all over the place, but if you haven't read the Rolling Stone article on George Romney, you should. It's hard to escape the conclusion that while Mittens may be a hundred times richer than his dad ever was, Mittens is also a hundredth of the man.

George Romney bucked the then-prevalent racism of the Mormon Church. George Romney stood up for the rights of all people at a time when it was not only unpopular for a politician to do so, it was dangerous. he also stood up against the Vietnam War within a party which was very much pro-war. George also had a sense of it being unseemly to rake in too much cash.

Contrast that to his son, who is willing to say anything and do anything to win an election. Nobody really can be certain what Mitt believes in, because he can flip and flop within seconds on anything. But we do know one thing for certain: A third of a million bucks is chump change to Mittens.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Newt-Mentum

Nobody seemed to wait longer than a nanosecond after the polls closed before calling the SC primary for Newtie.

Other than taking the wind of the sails of Mittens the Inevitable, I don't know if this means anything. It may toughen Mittens up a little, as for a guy who supposedly is big on preparation, Newt sandbagged him every step of the way. This race is going to get nastier and if the fight is going to go to the dirtiest, I suspect it'll be Gingrich's to lose.

Sedition, Pure and Simple

Atlanta, Georgia (CNN) -- The U.S. Secret Service is looking into a controversial column by an Atlanta Jewish newspaper publisher that mulled the assassination of an American president.

Andrew Adler, owner and publisher of the Atlanta Jewish Times, wrote a January 13 column about the threat of Iran to Israel. He posed three options for the Jewish state to counter the Iranian regime.

One of them called for a "hit on a president in order to preserve Israel's existence."
Only somebody who has been drinking the Wingnut Kool-Aide for a few decades would believe that killing an American president would do anything good for the nation responsible. If anything it would create enmity that would take at least two generations to abate.

Israel receives over three billion dollars a year in foreign aid. Anyone who thinks that those monies would continue to flow if an Israeli prime minister were to have our president assassinated would have to be certifiably insane.

The writer of that column is either insane or a seditious bastard. Or both.

SOPA Nyet, TSA Da!

(From here via Tam)

This one is also very true:


Our government is big on freedom in the abstract. By "our government", I am referring to both parties, for each one has areas where they want to kill off freedom in order to satisfy some pea-brained constituency. One thing is for sure, there are very few corporations that promote freedom. Most will gladly sell the tools of recession, whether it is internet-blocking software, data-mining to identify dissenters or electronic torture devices, to whomever will pay for them.

And it is not for nothing that ol' Rupert Murdoch damn near blew a blood vessel over the widespread opposition to SOPA.

It is Primary Day Today in South Carolina

In case it is not obvious to you, today is not a Tuesday. It is a Saturday. South Carolina is holding its primary vote (they are not caucusing, they are voting) on a Saturday.

This makes so much sense that having an election on a weekend should be adopted immediately. Article I, Section 4, Clause 1 and Article II, Section 1, Clause 4 of the Constitution permits the Congress to set the dates of all Federal elections.

Congress should do this forthwith. But they won't, for there is one political party that mouths the words of democracy, but in practice, their existence depends on denying as many citizens the right to vote as they possibly can.

Feel free to show me that I'm wrong, O Ye Goat-Fuckers On Capitol Hill.

Caturday; Bed Wars Edition

Jake is normally a pretty easy-going cat. When Gracie horns in on wherever he is lying, he usually gives way. But not on the heated cat beds when it is winter. Gracie got on the bed with him and he was not giving way.



Gracie gave up and left him alone.


But Gracie and George seem to have no problem with sharing one of the beds.  Part of that is that Jake is a much larger cat.  The other part is that George and Gracie grew up together.  Even though when they were younger, they weren't as willing to share. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Tactical Retreat

SAN ANTONIO — Lawmakers on Friday indefinitely postponed anti-piracy legislation that pits Hollywood against Silicon Valley, two days after major Internet companies staged an online protest by blacking out parts of prominent websites.

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid postponed a showdown vote in his chamber on the Protect Intellectual Property Act, or PIPA for short, that had been scheduled for January 24.

Lamar Smith, the Republican chairman of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, followed suit, saying his panel would delay action on similar legislation called the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, until there is wider agreement on the legislation.
Chris Dodd and the MPAA were clearly surprised of the blowback to their proposal to establish their version of the Great Firewall of China. Their lobbyists and bribes campaign contributions did not avail them. At least at this time.

So they will back off, for now, and hope to sneak the bill through. Possibly buried in some omnibus funding bill.

Hopefully, people will be watching these weasels like hawks.

Bangity

I went to the range the other day with my newbie friend. We were shooting at one of these, a reduced-sized silhouette at about 20':


I asked her if she wanted to try the two .45s that I brought. She didn't care for the 1911 Government Model. Then she shot my .45 Colt (Clone) SAA with Magtech "cowboy" loads. They're a little slower than full-power stuff, but they aren't exactly mouse-fart rounds, either. She hit the center of the target five times out of five shots.

When finances are better, maybe we'll look into getting her some good training. I think she has the makings of being an excellent shooter.

Such a Helpful Cat

This morning I was looking at one of the cat beds, realizing that I needed to wash it sooner or later. Then Gracie was lying on the bed when I gave her her morning meds. She then puked up the meds and her breakfast, right onto that cat bed.

So now it's in the wash.

(And 30 minutes later, I gave her the meds again and she kept them down.)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Romney, Just Your Average Joe Who Has Millions of Dollars in Offshore Bank Accounts

How is this defensible?
Although it is not apparent on his financial disclosure form, Mitt Romney has millions of dollars of his personal wealth in investment funds set up in the Cayman Islands, a notorious Caribbean tax haven.
And did he not think that this was all not going to come out and that people would look askance at it?

Or is this just more of the attitude of a man who thinks that $375,000 is "not a lot of money"? A man who can casually afford to wager ten grand on a bullshit bet? But hell, ten grand is pocket-lint level cash for the Mittster.

$375,000 is Not a Lot of Money, If You're Mitt Romney

I was wrong earlier today when I said that Mitt made a quarter mil in speaking fees. It is a hell of lot more than that,

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I could live very nicely on the difference between the two. Most families would could themselves lucky to have $125K in income, let alone $375,000.

"Not very much [money]" What an asswipe.

The Herd Thins

Rick Perry is telling supporters that he will drop his bid Thursday for the Republican presidential nomination, two sources familiar with his plans told CNN.
Well, I am going to miss the fun of having The Most Uninformed Politician Since Palin out there on the campaign trail. Perry is another one of the "the Lord told me to run" crowd; either Perry had a defective receiver or this is a good indication that the Almighty has a sense of humor.

Dubya was, at least in `00, a likeable boob who had people in the shadows doing his dirty work. What his goons did to McCain was beyond reprehensible. Of the things I sort of admired about McCain, one was that he was eventually able to work with Chimpy. If I were in that position, I would have held a grudge a mile wide and a thousand feet deep.

Perry came across as being dumber than Bush and about as half as personable.

Romney lacks personality to the point of being robotic. Unlike his dad, Romney comes across as the kind of guy who would eagerly shiv your grandmother if he could make a nickel out of the deal.

Well, it Seems That Romney Lost in Iowa

Willard M. Romney may have lost the Iowa caucuses to Rick Santorum.

No word as to whether or not this news has dented the "The Inevitable Mitt" line of dung that is being peddled by the pontificating pundits.

Meanwhile, the McCain campaign's opposition research book on Romney is out on the Intertubes. Apparently somebody on Grampaw's old campaign staff wasn't in tune with McCain's endorsement of the Flip-Flopper.

NYPD and Kahr

I know it's old news, but effective a month ago, the NYPD outlawed the Kahr K9 as a permitted off-duty gun. It was banned for new purchases and those who had them were grandfathered, but that ended. The issue was the trigger pull; supposedly the brass at 1PP have decreed a minimum trigger pull of 12lbs.

Word I heard is that Glock is running a hell of a trade-in deal for the NYPD officers, $50 for a Glock 26. Or they can buy a S&W 3916(?) for six bills or better.

I don't understand why Glock would offer that sort of trade-in deal.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

You Know What, Mitt?

... go fuck yourself, your kids, and the dog that you strapped to the roof of your SUV.

Mittens paid fifteen percent of his income in taxes. That's been true for the last dozen or so years, since he quote-retured-unquote from his job as a vulture capitalist.

Which means that for the past umticlutch years, I've paid more of my income in taxes than ol' Willard the Liar, and I made less than a hundredth as much. Maybe a thousandth.

But I still paid more of my income in taxes.*

(H/T)

How is this fucking fair? Just because rich douchenozzles like Mittens get the Congress to write the tax laws so that pirates and sponges pay less a percentage of their income in taxes than people who actually work for a fucking living?

Oh, and according to what I heard on the TV, ol' Willard was saying that he earned "a little bit" in speaking fees for his last tax year.   "A little bit" to Mittens was somewhere around a quarter of a million dollars.  You can be in the top 1% in most areas of this country with just making what that insulated jackoff regards as "a little bit".

A quarter of a million bucks is nothing but chump change to Willard M. Romney

Can we get to rolling out the tumbrels



and building the guillotines?


______________________________________
* Until I was laid off.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

SOPA Strike

This blog is on strike today in protest against SOPA/PIPA.


See what xkcd had to say.

Piracy is a problem. SOPA/PIPA is like using a nuclear weapon to make a DUI stop.

See You on Thursday



SOPA Strike

This blog will be on strike tomorrow as part of the stop SOPA/PIPA demonstration.

Peter has a lot more information about it.

It should be no surprise that this bit of legislative fuckery is being pushed hard by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, one of the biggest cesspools of evil in Washington.

For the 19th Century Mall Ninjas

The Mossberg Tactical Model 464-SPX:


Adjustable stock, picatinny rails, flash hider and it's a lever-action? Why not just put a freaking picatinny rail and EOTech sight on a flintlock?

The Drink of the Devil!

In centuries past, it was coffee. What they didn't know is that coffee can be good for you.

Suuuupppeeerrrr-Pac



it is amazing what damage five fools in the right place can bring about.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Harder Than It Seemed

Click on the certificate to try your hand.


That it is reasonably difficult explains why we are so screwed.

(Yes, I screwed up entering my handle. Sue me.)

(H/T)

You Just Gotta Be Shitting Me; F-35C Edition

This is just too much:
Leaked Pentagon documents claim a design flaw in the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) has caused eight simulated landings to fail. The “F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Concurrency Quick Look Review” claimed the flaw meant that the “arrestor” hook, used to stop the plane during landing, was too close to the plane’s wheels.
This chart shows the distances from the main gear to the tailhook on a number of naval aircraft.


As noted in some of the articles on this, the problem is that they can't relocate or lengthen the tailhook on the F-35C. Unlike other airplanes, where the hook retracts up against the fuselage (and is visible in-flight), the F-35C's hook is retracted and stowed internally, so the hook is within the stealth skin. So they just can't move it aft and let it ride out in the breeze, as that would tend to compromise the stealthiness of the airplane.

The Navy has been successfully designing carrier-capable aircraft for the last ninety or so years. There are specs on how the geometry of a tailhook should be set up. Apparently, the upper-level project managers just disregarded them and figured that they could ignore proven engineering art and that as long as the hook could touch the deck, the pilots would make it work.

This is too much. It's been known for awhile that the F-35B (and the V-22) has a problem with melting the decks.

Stalin would have had the program managers shot by now. We, on the other hand, are just throwing billions of dollars at this project and will throw tens of billions more in order to make it work. Even if we have to retire a carrier to do it.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

First, you ought to go read what Roberta X wrote.

You can find naysayers all over the place when it comes to Dr. King. I've seen at least one blogger who was celebrating that today is "Jackson and Lee Day", because they were "honorable military officers," regardless of the cause they served[1], because neither owned slaves.[2]

Dr. King's influence will live on long after the time that the names of the bigots who tried to perpetuate segregation are forgotten. His name and what he stood for will be known long after the names of Civil War generals are as well known as the generals of the Polish-Ottoman War.[3]

Dr. King's work, unfortunately, is not yet finished.[4] it sure won't be over because some pundits on a certain propaganda network declare "racism is over", while completely ignoring the toxic effects racism has had and continues to have in this country. It isn't over by a long shot.

But we continue to make progress. And that is worth noting.

____________________________________________
[1] So were Erwin Rommel and Friedrich Paulus, for that matter. "Jackson and Lee Day" is a holiday created by racists, using the cover of two generals to draw a sheet over modern-day hatred.
[2] Neither Rommel nor Paulus personally shoved people into gas chambers.
[3] Quick, who was involved in the Battle of Nasiriyeh?
[4] That is why you have been reading and hearing all manner of disguised racist comments, both subtle and not-so subtle, for the past few months.

WW2 Recreated

The video is a teaser, click on the link to watch "Bombing Hitler's Dams."

Watch Bombing Hitler's Dams on PBS. See more from NOVA.

Huntsman Out?

The rumors are flying that Jon Huntsman is dropping out of the GOP presidential race today.

Huntsman' candidacy was doomed from the start, for he believed that:
  • Climate change is a real and present danger,
  • Evolution is proven,
  • A real patriot will serve in the Federal government if called upon by the President, even if the sitting President is from the other party,
  • Gay people's relationships should be legitimized by the state,
  • The Earth is several billion years old, and
  • The Earth revolves around the Sun.
Huntsman's problem was that of the statements in that list, only one of those is believed by the religious whackaloons and nostalgic Confederates who have captured effective control of the GOP's nominating process. He's a conservative; Huntsman appeared as to a moderate only in comparison to Frothy, Flip-Flop Mitt, the Megalomaniac and the Cranky Old Bigot. I have felt all along that as a candidate, Huntsman posed the best chance of defeating President Obama. But hey, if they want to go with the Mormon Robot, that's their call.

In other political news, if you care about Santorum's chances, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has a lengthy article about his use of earmarks when he was in the Senate. In short, Frothy used earmarks mainly to benefit those who paid bribes made campaign contributions, not to benefit the people of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Phobos-Grunt is Down

It apparently crashed into the South Pacific Ocean this afternoon.

Ve Haf Vays of Vatching You Blog, Meine Herren (und Damen)

The Department of Homeland Stupidity has hired General Dynamics* to track bloggers and determine who we all are. Because even if you have the right to speak your mind without identifying yourself, the Feds see no reason to respect your rights.

But what the hell, this is no longer a free country. It only pretends to be one. Not when we have a fearful Congress that is more than willing to write the destruction of the Bill of Rights into law. Oh, sure, President Obama said that he'd not use those powers, but that is not binding on the next boob to sit in the Oval Office.

Too many people in this country regard "rights" as "privileges", not as being inalienable, but as being bestowed conditionally by the sovereign. All it takes is one sharp blow for the bed-wetters to scream "we'll give up our rights, just protect meeee". It is a sad commentary on the state of this nation when the only nationally recognized politician who is talking about this is some old conspiracy whackaloon with a background of Jew-baiting and racism.

One party has no spine. The other party's definition of "freedom" is only applicable to white Christian heterosexual males.**

We are so screwed.
______________________________
*GD's Motto: 'Fascism May Not Be Fun, But It's Profitable!"
** And fetuses.

Mitt the Ripper



The official video source is here.

"Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow" is officially known as "The Definitely Not Coordinated With Stephen Colbert Super PAC", Jon Stewart, President for Life For Now.

(For now, I'll pass on the points that Mittens is both a cheater and a liar who even fibs about his own name.)

Wørd; Signage Edition

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Wright Noise



(Different from what BadTux chose.)

The Sweet Smell of Desperation

Influential evangelical Christian leaders on Saturday endorsed Rick Santorum for the Republican U.S. presidential nomination, in an attempt to strengthen him as the more conservative alternative to front-runner Mitt Romney.
A fair number of evangelicals regard Catholics as being even worse heathens than they regard Jews. Old-line evangelicals held that Catholics were heathens. For Catholics in the South, it was not unusual for them to come outside after Mass to find that their cars had been leafleted by the Baptists.

It was not unusual for the Catholic and Jewish kid to band together, for they had a common enemy. Among a lot of New York Jews, who were only a couple of generations removed from the immigrants from Slavic Europe, hooking up with Catholics was heavily frowned upon. But things were different in the South.

It is a sign of desperation when those same evangelical church leaders are turning to a Catholic to save them from Flip-Flop Mitt.

A Lesson in Safe Shooting From Rick Perry

It is a positive one. See if you can spot it:



The big lesson: He is using double-hearing protection on that indoor range. He was wearing both earmuffs and earplugs. A lot of shooters don't use both. But they should, especially on indoor ranges.

Perry is doing other things right, of course. He is keeping the pistol pointed downrange.  When he stops shooting, the weapon is on the bench, pointed downrange, with the slide locked back.

I disagree with almost everything that Perry stands for.  But I don't fault his gun handling. Unlike, say, another former governor.

(H/T)

Caturday, It's Good to be the Queen

Portraits of Gracie, the queen cat in the household:



The slight ridge of hair above her nose makes her look as though she is angry about something.


George is recharging his solar cells.

My Bologna Has a First Name, It's C-A-N-C-E-R

According to a study published in the British Journal of Cancer, individuals who consume too much processed or red meat may have an increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer.

Researchers discovered that compared to individuals who ate no meat, for every 50 grams of processed meat consumed each day - equivalent to two rashers (streaks) of bacon or a sausage - the risk of pancreatic cancer increased by 19%.
The article goes on to say, however, that the link between processed meat and pancreatic cancer was only shown for me. for women, the results were "inconclusive".

But there was no way in Hell that I could resist the snark of the title for this post.

You might be able to counter the risk by increasing your daily intake of nickel and selenium. Doesn't sound too appealing, though. I'll bet that in a month, you will be able to find that dietary supplement at GNC.

What Passes for Spectator Sports Elsewhere

Building human towers.



it would never happen in New York City, for Mayor Mike "Fun Should Be Illegal" Bloomberg would find a way to stop it.

(Story here.)

Warm Up the War Crimes Trials

Former U.S. President George W. Bush has cancelled a visit to Switzerland over fears he could have been arrested on torture charges.
I toljaso, yes, I did.

If those clowns in the Bush Administration are so convinced that they did the right thing, then one one think that they would jump on a chance to defend their alleged honor. But they won't. Canada might even be too hot for Chimpy and his cabal of torturers. It's probably too much to hope for that if he was traveling by air, that his flight would be intercepted.

The ordering of the use of torture by the Bush Administration has been a deep stain on the honor of this nation. The dishonor continues because, as a nation, we have so far refused to clean up our own shit.

We should.

But we won't. Our beloved country will turn out to be worse than Germany and no better than Japan when it comes to investigating and prosecuting its war crimes, a path that was established by Rumsfeld and Cheney when they covered up an investigation of earlier war crimes.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Air Florida Flight 90

Thirty years ago today during a blizzard, Air Florida Flight 90 crashed into the Potomac River on takeoff from Washington National Airport. It clipped the 14th Street Bridge on the way down, killing four people in their cars.

That bridge is now named for Arland D. Williams, Jr. He was a passenger on the flight; he declined rescue in order to help other people to safety which cost him his life. Another man, Lenny Skutnik, took off his coat and boots and jumped into the river to save one of the passengers. Both gentlemen were awarded the Coast Guard's Gold Lifesaving Medal.

Aircraft deicing procedures were changed as a result of the crash.

Better Riverdance

You can watch the whole thing:



Or skip to the good part.

What Phobos-Grunt Can Teach Us

You have probably heard of the failure of Russia's Phobos-Grunt Mars mission. What you might not know is that the Russians have not successfully flown a deep-space probe since the fall of the Soviet Union. Their last attempt, Mars 96, failed to leave Earth orbit.

Designing and flying a space probe calls for a lot of skills. Skills are perishable. In our everyday lives, we all know this. The more times that you do something, the better you get at it. Whether it is cooking, skiing, shooting, the more practiced you are at something, the better you can do it. As you get better at something, you learn the tricks and techniques that aren't in the books.

Designing and flying space probes is no different. There is a lot that can go wrong; the Hubble would have been a failure if it wasn't in an orbit reachable by the Shuttle. A few minutes' worth of research will show you the testing that is being conducted for the Webb Space Telescope. If you have ever seen this animation of the steps involved in deploying the Webb Telescope, it is pretty complex.



Designing and flying these things takes a lot of skill and experience. Knowing how to do it and knowing what can go wrong, as well as what can be done to minimize the chances of failure, is not for amateurs.

The same is true, unfortunately, for other technically deep programs. That's true for designing airplanes, ships and submarines. If you don't keep at least a core group of engineers employed, the skills will be lost. One of the problems that the Russians have been having is that the collapse of the Russian economy in the 1990s resulted in the elimination of a lot of their technical capabilities, which is one of the reasons why the Russians turned to buying warships from the French.

Some technologies basically hit maturation and then it doesn't matter as much. But some have not and for those, it's either keep working at it or give up the ability to do so.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Operation Migration; Whiny-Ass Former Employee Edition

Operation Migration, as reported previously, first was shut down by the FAA and then allowed to finish the current mission.

But as you may or may not know, Operation Migration has been doing this for almost twenty years. They've been the subject of nature documentaries and numerous articles.

So why the fuss now? Seems that a former and (alleged) currently disgruntled pilot for Operation Migration filed a complaint with the FAA. Because, you know, getting revenge for a perceived slight is far more important that saving an endangered species.

Do You Have a Spare 80 Minutes?

One-Six Right is on Hulu!



Which you can see in 480p!

Yes, there are some commercials. Tango Sierra, just watch the movie.

(If you're a pilot and the first 3:05 doesn't bring tears to your eyes, then I don't know you.)

Your Morning Mental Health Break



More here.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Ideal GOP Presidential Candidate?

Apparently, the ideal Republican candidate for president will have the following characteristics:
  • His father was born in another country.
  • He allegedly is a member of an oddball religion.
  • He is from a blue state.
  • He once claimed that he was a "progressive".
  • He has minimal experience in elected office.
  • He graduated from Harvard Law School.
  • He supported the "assault weapons ban".
  • He has signed a bill which imposed universal health insurance.
But since Barack Obama already is president, the GOP will go with Willard M. Romney.

 (H/T)

Come to think of it, has anybody seen either Mitten's birth certificate or his tax returns?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

When They Feel the Heat, They See the Light; FAA Edition

The FAA has backwatered and decided to let Operation Migration continue.
Nine young whooping cranes grounded in Alabama since December can resume their winter migration to Florida guided by their surrogate mother -- an ultralight aircraft, the Federal Aviation Administration decided today.
The glare of the spotlight is one of the best remedies for bureaucratic stupidity.

Republicans Will Deny That Humans are a Carbon-Based Life Form

It would be so easy to get them to do so. All it would take is for President Obama to talk a few times about how we are all carbon-based forms of life. The Republicans, especially Rick Santorum, would trip over themselves to deny that we are carbon-based life forms. Except for Mitt Romney, who would flip-flop several times on the issue.

Speaking of Flip-Flop Mitt, the Daily Show had tape of him taking only 12 seconds to flip-flop, just go to 4:18 in this clip. That has to be a land speed record for the flip-flop.

Santorum found a way to beat his Google problem: He paid for an ad to be the first result. He's also got the same problem on Bing, but since nobody uses that search engine very much, it doesn't seem to get the same press. But ol' Frothy is currently trying to step away from his little bit of racism.

The Criminalization of School Children; Texas Edition

It should be little surprise that, when it comes to treating misbehaving school kids as members of the FFA,* Texas leads the way. So if Johnny shoots a spitball at Timmy, little Johnny might be hauled off in handcuffs.

Get this: Yelling on the playground can get the kid a ticket. And if the parents don't pay it, as soon as the kid turns 18, the po-po will arrest the kid and lock his or her ass up.

How does this make any sense to anyone, at least anyone with a working cortex?**
________________________________
* Future Felons of America.
** Which, of course, excludes school administrators.

The Old Days

Smoking turbojets on airliners, with good food, pleasant stewardesses and people dressing up to go to the airport. 707s, 727s, DC-8s, 880s and if you look in the background, you can see the older piston-engined airliners still in use. Eastern, Western, Braniff, TWA, Pan Am, Northeast, and other airlines that have long ago gone bankrupt or were merged out of existence. You'll see carbon-copy tickets, which were written by hand and no TSA!

Ayup.

An Open Letter To The Anti-Gun Folks.

She's also running a give-a-way contest for women who are new to shooting.

(H/T who hangs out here)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Mitt the Job-Cremator

Newtie is going almost full Marxist on Mittens:
“You have to ask the question, is capitalism really about the ability of a handful of rich people to manipulate the lives of thousands of people and then walk off with the money?” ... The former Speaker is making the case that, in contrast to good old fashioned businesses who make stuff, Romney and his ilk have instead gamed the system to create a soulless machine that profits from the misery of others. Whereas Republicans used to merely whisper that Bain was an electability problem for Romney, Gingrich and other candidates are now openly making the case that the invisible hand has failed to stop corporate raiders from hurting American workers — even as they condemn President Obama as a radical socialist for his rhetoric on Wall Street.
Meanwhile, in the Cry Me a River department, the minions of the banksters are not going to be making anywhere near as much money. Some of those spoiled pricks are even threatening to sue.

They can find a lawyer at this exit:


This is my suggestion:

And the Winner of the 'Worst Photography for a Blog Article" Award Goes to...

.... me.

I was perusing a lot of the blog posts that were in response to Weer'd's idea. There were more in a bunch of gun blogs that didn't post a linked comment in Weer'd's blog.

I think it is safe to say that I posted the worst photo. using one candle as illumination was probably the reason, especially since all I had was a "prosumer" pocket camera.

By the way, have you seen the specs on the new Nikon D4? Standard max film speed is ISO 12,800 and it can be pushed by some sort of expansion pack to 204,800. I can't comprehend how little light would be needed to take a photo at that film speed.

George was barfing up a storm last night. I don't know what his problem was, but he was retching at five-minute intervals, starting at 2310. I'd switch on the light, see where he was puking, clean it up, go back to bed and just have turned the light out when he was at it again. He did that five times before he got out whatever was bothering him (which I couldn't see in the last puddle of barf). Hearing that "Ack! Ack! Ack! Ack! Splat!" is kind of like hearing the GQ klaxon go off, it'll awake most cat owners from a sound sleep.

Short-Sighted Governmental Stupidity; FAA Edition

The FAA recently released a proposed rule for a gradual but major reduction in the VOR navigation system in the United States. ... With the increased use of GPS and proven accuracy of WAAS approaches, the FAA appears to view the cost of operation of the VOR system as excessive. According to the FAA proposal 80 percent of the 967 VORs have reached their “economic service life” and cost the agency $110 million per year. The document also claims that replacing all VORs would cost $1 billion.
This almost would set a new record for being short-sighted. To my mind, this passes the idiocy of scrapping the NDBs. Between NDBs and VORs, pilots have enjoyed redundant methods of radio-based navigation. LORAN and GPS added to that redundancy.

But the redundancy is going away. NDBs are being dismantled as fast as the FAA's little feet can move. The Coast Guard has been scrapping the LORAN stations. Now the FAA wants to dismantle the vast majority of the VOR network, leaving just a skeleton network that would be only useful to the airlines.*

The article cited above mentioned that LightSquared's proposed network could severely degrade the usefulness of GPS. I've blogged about that a few times. GPS signals are very weak signals and they can be jammed or interfered with. Under the FAA's proposal, most of you guys flying IFR would be shit out of luck if something happened to the GPS signal.

It is odd, to me, that I've heard people carp about single-engined airplanes as having no redundancy, but now those same big-iron pilots are going to happily launch into the clouds with no redundancy when it comes to the second most important part of flying.** Some of those big boys have three comm radios and two transponders so even if they lose one of each, they can continue on, but they'll trust their asses to just one method of navigation?

The FAA needs to pull its collective head out of its ass and keep the VOR network up and running. If they need to replace/upgrade VOR stations, they should do that.

(And you guys flying cross-ocean routes? Better brush up on your celestial nav.)

Read the proposed rule and submit a comment. You have until the middle of March to comment, so let's get the word out and blast this rule to Hell!

(H/T)
__________________
* Who the FAA regards as their "customer". As far as the folks at 800 Independence Ave are concerned the rest of us FLIBS ("fucking little itinerant bastards") are the enemy.
** Avigate, navigate, communicate.

FAA, a Class Act, All the Way; Endangered Species Edition

The FAA has grounded Operation Migration, which teaches whooping cranes how to migrate.

It's even more fucked up than the article implies, for, as pointed out by On a Wing and a Whim, one part of the FAA was fine with what Operation Migration was doing, but another part is not.

(also H/T)

I've got to write another bit of moronosity on the part of the FAA, but that'll have to keep for now.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Blogrolling

In the last week, I've found two blogs that had my blog in their rolls, but I didn't not have them in mine.

If you have this blog in your blogroll and I do not have yours in mine, please, please let me know.

Light a Candle to Stop Violence

Weer'd Beard has suggested as follows:
So the Brady Bunch are planning Candle-light vigils on January 8th to “Stop Gun Violence”. Now many have pointed out what a stupid and pointless gesture that is, also many are noting the dwindling numbers of people willing to come out in the cold with a candle for the sake of their lost cause.

I propose a display that will show we have the same goals, but our side is actually interested in results.

So on January 8th I ask everybody to post a picture of a lit candle and your carry gun. Because lit candles don’t do a whole lot but cast a meager amount of light…but a loaded gun in the hands of lawful citizens can do wonders to protect innocent lives from harm.
I'm in.


The weapons are a PPK/s and a .38 snubbie.[1] Both are somewhat old-school, as they are steel-framed guns.

It has been brought out, in more than one court case, that the police are there to protect "society". They don't exist to protect you or me. I have had first-hand experience with calling the cops for a violent incident; the response time was about a quarter of an hour.[2] I would much rather be the lady who the 9-1-1 dispatchers listen to as she takes her attackers under fire than the one that the dispatchers listen to as she is ramped and/or murdered.

Samuel Colt had it right: Guns are equalizers. I am physically no match for a strapping twenty-something intruder, especially if he is armed with a large knife or a bludgeon. But with a gun, I have a chance. A gun is not a majick talisman, but it does provide a chance to survive an attack by a bad guy who is close to a third of my age and half-again my size.

And that is all I ask.

____________________
[1] Yes, I know I'm a big fan of the .45 cartridge. But even in a smallish gun, they are not as concealable as either of these two.
[2] I've lived in places where that would be exceedingly fast, even if they came Code 3.