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, August 31, 2012

Don't Hold Your Breath Waiting for the Wingnuts to Apologize

Remember this commercial from the 2012 Super Bowl, the one that the Wingnuts howled was nothing more than a disguised campaign commercial for Barack Obama?



Suuuurrrreeee it was. And the facts that Clint Eastwood has been a Republican all of his adult life and that he spoke at the Romney Coronation last night doesn't matter to the Wingnuts.

Haters Just Gotta

For some gunny hilarity, you should read the comments on this post about the Hi-Point C9, the apparent favorite of low-rent bodyguards and mall-gestapo everywhere.

I don't know much about the C9, but the idea of the slide of a handgun being made of zamak (a zinc and aluminum alloy) does not give me the warm and fuzzies. Some gunnies refer to zamak as "pot metal", which is an insult to decent pots everywhere.* Using a blowback action in a handgun firing a higher-pressure cartridge also doesn't seem like a great idea.

But that's probably the best you're going to do if you're going to crank out a pistol with a MSRP of $155.

(H/T)
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*Zamak melts a little over 700degF, so if you left a zamak pot on a hot burner, it'd melt. As opposed to a steel, aluminum or copper pot.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

No, Thank You, I'd Rather Let Badgers Gnaw at My Vagina

This morning, this was the promotion/ad/teaser beneath the search block on Google:
Live! Watch Mitt Romney accept the Republican presidential nomination at 10pm ET

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

How Sweet! A Boat From the Nation Where Romney Keeps His Money Came to the GOP Convention

Because nothing says "I understand the problems of average Americans" like throwing a party for super-rich donors on a boat that is registered in a nation best known for hiding the money of scoundrels and tax-evaders.

Romney Party Yacht Flies Cayman Islands Flag

Gov. Mitt Romney's campaign toasted its top donors Wednesday aboard a 150-foot yacht flying the flag of the Cayman Islands.

Romney the Pirate; or "We Buit It With Money We Extorted From the Feds"

Mitt Romney basically enriched himself during the near-bankruptcy of Bain &Company int he early 1990s. He took a fortune out in executive bonuses and consulting fees and stuck the FDIC with $10 million in loan writeoffs.

Because a bank was part of Bain, the FDIC had loaned the bank $15 million. Romney (legally) looted Bain to the point that if the lenders, including the FDIC, didn't write off 70% of the debt, then the bank would fail and the FDIC would get sutck with cleaning up the mess (and paying for it). The FDIC took the deal after its analysis of a liquidation showed that they'd get just over ten cents on the dollar.

And, as head of Bain Capital, Romney stuck Bain & Co. with $4 million in consulting fees.

This is the flag that should be flying over Mitt Romney's houses and campaign offices, for it accurately describes his business ethics.


Actually, that's unfair to pirates and, if any of the old Spanish Main pirates were still alive, they could sue me for defamation. Pirate crews traditionally elected their captains on merit and a captain who failed to lead well would be relieved of his command by the crew. Romney was anointed as the head of Bain Capital by Bill Bain, the very man who almost caused Bain & Co. to fail by taking out so much money.

Romney has the business ethics of a bottom-feeder. Which is to say, none whatsoever.

So when it comes to business lineage, Romney is the Spawn of a Looter.

Shades of Twenty Years Ago?

The Daily Show is titling its coverage of the RNC convention as "RNC 2012: The Road to Jeb Bush 2016".

Which may have a bit of truth to it.

But then again, there were stories of how a lot of senior Democrats figured that they couldn't win against George H.W. Bush, who had a 91% approval rating after the Gulf War. As the stories go, they decided to sit that one out and let some of the younger kids in the party get some experience at running a national campaign.

We know how that worked out for them.

(Not that I want to see the Romneybot win, not with his unspoken motto of "Of the Plutocrats, For the Plutocrats".)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Zero Tolerance and No Brains at All

Hunter Spanjer says his name with a certain special hand gesture, but at just three and a half years old, he may have to change it.

"He's deaf, and his name sign, they say, is a violation of their weapons policy," explained Hunter's father, Brian Spanjer.
The school district wants to come to the "best solution" to the problem.

Here's an idea: Stop acting like morons.

Akin is Still Driving His Clown Car

By now, GOP doctors are heading to Missouri to wire his jaw shut.
Missouri U.S. senate candidate Todd Akin has stoked more outrage today by claiming that male homosexuality is a disease and that the medical establishment has found the cure.

The Republican congressman, already under fire for his controversial comments regarding rape, told a reporter for Cape Giradeau's KBSI 23 News that "female breastmilk - when fed directly to an adult homosexual male daily for at least four weeks - has a 94% chance of permanently curing homosexual perversions."
I suppose next that he is going to say that the Earth is flat and that the Sun is carried across the sky by a chariot pulled by heavenly steeds.

This goofball sits on the House Committee for Science, Space and Technology. He's arguably qualified, for he has a lot of empty space where most people have a functioning brain.

UPDATE: OK, it was satire. And I got sucked in. Because it is something that Akin could have said and nobody would have been a bit surprised.

Monday, August 27, 2012

At Least He Wasn't Raping the Alterboys

The bishop who is due to take the reins of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco was arrested early Saturday morning in San Diego on suspicion of drunken driving as he was driving his elderly mother home after having dinner with friends.
And he didn't kill anyone.

DUI is no joke, but I have a suspicion that if a senior churchman is going to get slapped into a holding cell until he makes bail, the Church will happily deal with this charge.

The Apology That Rep. Todd Akin Should Have Made

Few would complain that it was not accurate.

Same for this dumbass.

For the Reuse of Lock Nuts, an Airplane Was Lost

That is pretty much one of the findings of the NTSB following the 2011 crash at the Reno Air Races.

I thought that reusing those locknuts with the plastic/fiber inserts was long-ago considered to be a serious Bozo No-No. Maybe Busted Knuckles, Eck! or Fixer will chime in on this.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

More Bullshit From the Flip-Flopper

To wit:
Mitt Romney said Sunday that he gained no tax benefits by investing part of his fortune in funds based in the Cayman Islands and other overseas jurisdictions, or using a Swiss bank account, saying President Obama’s campaign was unfairly accusing him of “some kind of unsavory action.”

“There was no reduction -- not one dollar reduction in taxes -- by virtue of having an account in Switzerland or a Cayman Islands investment,” the Republican presidential candidate told Chris Wallace in a recorded interview broadcast on “Fox News Sunday.” “The dollars of taxes remained exactly the same. There was no tax savings at all.”
Of course, we just have to take his word for it, because he won't release his tax returns to prove it.

People keep money in offshore bank accounts for several reasons. Chief among them are the bit two: To hide the money and to not pay taxes on it. But if you believe Romney, then he was keeping his money there because maybe when he went on vacation, he wanted to be able to use their ATMs without paying extra fees. So it was worth it to Rmoney to have fifty million or so sitting in the Grand Caymans and Switzerland.

Note also that the article repeats the line about Mittens retiring from Bain in 1999, even though he was signing SEC documents proclaiming that he was the CEO and sole shareholder of Bain Capital into 2002.

At worst, Romney has been lying about what he did at Bain.

At best, Romney had a "no-show" job, where they paid him at least $100,000 a year to act as a figurehead. Which may or may not be a felony, considering that he held himself out to the Feds as being the HMFIC.

Thing is, if you have a no-show job in government, you go to jail. In business, you get to run for office.

Something to Think About As You Drive Over the Oakland Bay Bridge

You know, the bridge that they bought from China?

Turns out that the Chinese aren't particularly good at making bridges. And that was by no means unusual:
The worst part is that nobody is surprised by Friday's tragedy; this was China's sixth major bridge collapse since July of 2011.
When our bridges fall down, it's often because the asshats in the various state legislatures are too cheap to fund proper maintenance.

Building a highway bridge so shoddily that it collapses when a few heavy trucks drive over it takes some major corner-cutting and corruption. I kind of imagine that one would have to be close to certifiable to live downstream of the Three Gorges Dam.

GOP: The Party of Sedition

What else is it when the policy of a party is to put the interests of the party ahead of the interests of the nation? As Michael Grunwald, makes clear, that is exactly what the GOP has been doing for the last four years.

It didn't matter what good a bill would do or how badly the nation needed something to be done. If President Obama proposed it, the Republicans were going to fight it.

Loyalty to party was the only thing that has mattered for the GOP. They are not "Americans", they are "Republicans".

What we have in this nation, now is the "Disloyal Opposition", a pack of seditious, selfish bastards. They truly are the modern Confederates.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Neil Armstrong, R.I.P.

He died at age 82 from complications following heart surgery.



Neil Armstrong was a reluctant hero. He easily could have cashed in on his fame of being the first man to set foot on the Moon. But he refused to and led his life as privately as he could. When he was needed, though, as in the Challenger accident investigation, he was there.

Armstrong was one of the greats. Five hundred years from now, the history of the 20the Century will be this thumbnail: "In 1903, the Wright brothers were the first to fly a powered aircraft. In 1969, Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon. And there were a bunch of wars and other stuff like that."

Heh.


Romney Whistles to the Racists

Speaking before a friendly crowd in the Detroit suburb of Commerce, Romney noted that he and his wife, Ann, were born at nearby hospitals.

"No one's ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised." he said.
The whole "birther controversy" is nothing than disguised racism. Romney was not making an awkward joke, he was signalling to the Birthers that he is with them.

The press plays along, of course. The reporters see no difference between Romney dog-whistling to the racists and Obama making jokes about Romney strapping his dog to the roof of his car. Because one is a reference to racist conspiracy fiction and the other is a reference to an event that really happened.

The Birther crap is racist fiction. What isn't fiction are these points: Romney strapped his dog to the roof of his car, keeps much of his money in foreign banks to avoid paying taxes, took several deferments to stay out of the Vietnam War, and falsified documents submitted to the SEC. If that pasty tax-dodging, draft-dodging, animal-abusing felon wants to keep this up, fine.

Caturday

Concealment kitty:


Friday, August 24, 2012

Life on the Mississippi

Sam Lynch, who is in training to be a towboat pilot, used a tricky maneuver to get his boat and the 20 barges it was pushing down the Mississippi River.

He brought the boat into the beginning of a curve, then backed it out a little bit so the current would slowly take the barges downstream and the boat would straighten up behind.

It was all designed to keep the barges safely within the deepest part of the river, which is near historic low levels as the drought that has gripped the nation is making navigation of the formerly wide Mississippi treacherous.
This will hit you, to some degree, right in the wallet. One of the keys to our nation's economic power has been the river system, which makes shipping large quantities of stuff around much of the country as cheap as possible. Normally, one tugboat can move a few freight-trains's (or a shitload of trucks) worth of cargo. In other words, the efficiency of river barges can't be beat.

Less cargo per tug means that the shipping costs go up. These costs get passed along.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

This is Exactly Why Sheriff Taylor Would Not Give Any Bullets to Deputy Fife

An investigation was under way Monday into a deputy-involved shooting in which a Spring Valley woman was shot by a deputy who was checking her backyard for a masked man.
And don't worry, for it appears that the San Diego Sheriff's Department is in full-blown cover-up mode, including lying about the injuries sustained by the victim.

Is This Not a Form of Slavery?

Say that you are driving down the street, minding your own business. Then a large truck comes alongside you and swerves, pushing your car out of control and up onto the sidewalk, where you run into a pedestrian, injuring him badly.

Then, suppose that the legal system told you: "Too bad, so sad, but you have to personally care for that injured pedestrian, at your expense, until he is well enough to look after himself. And if he can't ever recover, then it sucks to be you."

I'll bet that you would not like that one bit. For you were a victim in the accident, as well, but because it was your car that hit the guy, it's your burden to care for him. Doesn't matter if you can get damages from the truck driver or his employer, you're still stuck with caring for the injured pedestrian. You'd probably scream about the injustice of it all.

So how, then, does that scenario differ from this:

Republicans who are drafting the party’s platform approved strong anti-abortion language Tuesday that makes no exceptions to allow abortion in cases of rape or incest victims.

Well, there is one obvious difference, of course: Men don't get pregnant. The vast majority of rapists are men. While men are also the victims of forcible rape (OK, "sodomy"), the only victims of rape who can get pregnant are women.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Did Republicans Put LSD in the Drinking Water?

You have to wonder, for hot on the heels of Todd Aiken's line of "nobody gets pregnant from a legitimate rape, Rep. Steve King of Iowa told a reporter that he never heard of a girl getting pregnant from statutory rape or incest.

They truly believe this crap?

Hey, They Voted For Him

Republican bigwigs are trying to push Todd Akin out of the race in Missouri. That takes complete disregard of the fact that Missouri selects its candidates by a primary system, so pushing him out defies the will of the electorate because the party brass think they know better.

And if you don't think that charges of party elitism won't be bandied about if they do manage to push Akin out, then I have a bridge to sell you.

Speaking of bridges to sell to you, the coroner in Jonesboro, Arkansas is saying that despite being handcuffed and in spite of being frisked twice by the cops, that Chavis Carter did indeed shoot himself in the right temple with a handgun.

Ayup. Suurrre he did. And Salvadore Allende shot himself in the back thirty times, pausing only once to reload.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Parched

Those fields seem to be pretty damned dry. One of those fields was irrigated by a circle-pivot system; it's probably a safe bet that the well ran dry.


Those trees should be all green. A lot of them have shed their leaves and either gone into hibernation or have died.


This drought is going to hurt you in the wallet. The great Midwestern river systems are running low, which means that when the barges can move, they're not fully loaded to lessen the risk of grounding, which increases shipping costs. The harvests of everything but grapes and apples will be hammered. Grapes and apples this year may be super, as lack of water tends to concentrate the flavors, but the trees and vines will be stressed for next year. Pork, chicken and beef prices may drop momentarily as farmers cull their stock and send them to market, but down the road, you may need to take out a payday loan in order to buy enough ground beef to feed a meal to a small family.

But hey, according to John Boehner, Obama caused the drought.

Your Fresh Hell of the Day: Republicans, the Pro-Rape Party

The Congressman running for the Senate in Missouri, a clown named Todd Akin, unleased this corker yesterday:
"First of all, from what I understand from doctors, (pregnancy) is really rare" in rape cases, Akin said, according to a video of the interview posted Sunday on YouTube. "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."
The imbecile then goes on o suggest that it's not fair to penalize the fetus for the father's act of rape:
"But let's assume that maybe that didn't work or something. You know I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child."
Right. Nowhere does the point that this, in essence, sentences the victim of the rape to a long period of involuntary servitude. In no other crime that I know of, would a victim be forced by the state to care for a third party because of being a victim.

Akin now claims that he "misspoke". Bullshit. He said exactly what he thought to be true.

Under Akin's version of the law, a complete defense to the charge of rape would be that the victim became pregnant. Regardless of how madly she was beaten, to the pea-brained mind of Akin, pregnancy equals consent.

I doubt that Akin is very much of an outlier in the GOP on this issue. I'm not sure if Romney would believe that a woman can't get pregnant from being raped,* but I think it's probably a good bet that his newly-purchased running mate does.
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* But he would say that he did if it would get him six more votes.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

Vulcan XH558 at a coastal airshow. The Brits managed to restore and fly a four-engined jet bomber with private money.



So I wouldn't count these guys out.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

What is the Going Rate for a Top Job in a Romney Administration?

$100 million. That is what David Koch allegedly pledged to donate if Rmoney picked Paul Ryan.

Presumably, cabinet posts and ambassadorships can be had for less.

There Has to be Some Really Evil Shit in Romney's Tax Returns

Because, if there wasn't, why would he not just release them and make this whole issue go away?

But he refuses to do so. Because he's either a stubborn jackass, he's painted his stupid self into a corner or else there is something that is seriously damaging in those returns. Something that is so snark-worthy that if it came out, his candidacy would be pretty much toast.

I'm going for "evil" as a choice. For he is deservedly getting beaten to shit over this issue, but he stubbornly refuses to change course. His dad released a dozen years' worth of returns, because as he explained at the time, one or two years might be a fluke.

A smart candidate would, by this time, just release the returns and then take the position of: "Hey, whaddya want. I'm filthy rich and I did what filthy rich people do." Whatever spoiled-rich-fuck tax stuff is in there would probably blow over in a few weeks. So what if he said he wouldn't release the returns; it's not as though Mittens hasn't already flip-flopped on every other fucking hot-button issue (such as gay rights, gun control and abortion).

Unless, of course, what he did was so evil that there is no explaining it away.

Which is looking more and more as though that is the case.

UPDATE: Probably not Medicare fraud, which Romney has been tied to in the past. But hey, stealing from the government? IOKIYAR!

Friday, August 17, 2012

"OK, EF5 Tornado, Pull Over, Yer Under Arrest"

Is there any rational reason as to why NOAA has its own cops?

I bagged off for the afternoon and went to the range because I hadn't been for awhile and because of other crap, I needed to get my head right. I shot two .38s, a Taurus snubbie and a Smith & Wesson Model 19.* The M-19 is scarily accurate, while at the same distance, the snubbie was shooting pretty much to "minute-of-thug". I'll definitely take the M-19 to the next bowling pin match.
________________
* Both are technically .357s, so sue me.

Mittens Only Gives to Charity Because the Government Tells Him To?

If that is not the case, then why is he claiming that charitable donations are the equivalent of taxes?
"..but every year I paid at least 13% and if you add in addition the amount that goes to charity, why, the number gets well above 20%."
Correct me if I'm wrong, here, but aren't "Big Mos" like Romney supposed to tithe to the Mormon Church and that means at least 10% of all income without any bullshit deductions or machinations? So could it be that Mittens was goldbricking on his religious duty and that is what he is trying to hard to hide? And could that be why Harry Reid, himself a Mormon, is bashing Rmoney so hard on this issue?

Show us the tax returns, Mittens!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Ah, Frell It

You might have seen about how Mittens the Crier has said that he has paid "at least 13% in taxes" for the last ten years.

I was going to write about how we only have his word for it, since Rmoney refuses to release his tax returns. I was thinking about writing that a married couple filing jointly pays 15% on their earned income over $17,400 ($8,700 for single people), so if you made more that that, you paid more of your income in taxes than did Mittens. And I was going to write about how the Romney campaign has lied about almost everything from the start, so only a loyal Republican or a fool* would accept Romney's word on anything.

But frell it. Not tonight. Blogging about how Romney is, when it comes to being self-entitled, sort of like a enlarged version of Dubya seems kind of like stating that the Earth revolves around the Sun and expecting it to be received as some sort of new revelation.**

So amuse yourselves this evening, gang.
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* To the extend that "loyal Republican" is not a subset of "fool", that is.
** Yeah, I know that there is a non-zero percentage of Mittens' base that believes the Sun revolves around the Earth. The fact that the Sun would then have an orbit altitude of 22,000 miles, the Moon would then have to be in between the Earth and the Sun and, if the Earth were indeed stationary, it would be impossible to have geosynchronous communications satellites doesn't seem to bother those fools.

Memo to Self

There is a dish in some Mexican restaurants that looks like cigar wrappers that have been stuffed with chicken and then deep-fried. Turns out that is about the way that they taste.

Mistake #1: Ordering them.

Mistake #2: Eating them.

Mistake #3: Not going ahead and jamming my fingers down my throat.

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

By the way, what is it with Mittens? He's in the party that practically wrote the modern book on dirty campaigning. So Obama levels a true accusation, that Rmoney is a rich guy that pays a very low tax rate, and Romney is getting all weepy about how mean Obama is to him?

Cripes, the guy has no steel to him. If Romney didn't like working in a field where he and his cronies bought struggling companies, loaded them up with debt, sucked out the cash and then let the companies fail, then he sure didn't seem to have a problem cashing his paychecks at the time. Soulless, heartless and now spineless...

Now he's "Mister Sensitive?" What's going to happen when other people start to gang up on him, would he do a Palin and quit half-way through his first term?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Krag Cracking

One of the things that I've heard over the years is that Krag-Jorgensen .30-40s are susceptible to cracked bots of they are fired with hot rounds. The explanation that I've heard consistently is that is because the bolt only has one lug at the face of the chamber.

But there is another rifle that had problems with cracking: Early model .30-06 Springfields, the receivers of which were made with Springfield Armory Class C steel. The initial fix, which began to be applied in 1918, was to double-heat treat the receivers. Nine years later, they shifted to making the receivers out of nickel steel.

The connection is this: The receivers of Krag-Jorgensen rifles were also made with Springfield Armory Class C steel.

(Source)

Shorter Rmoney: "We Have Nothing to Hide, Which is Why We Won't Release Our Tax Returns."

That, at least, is what the Spouse of Rmoney is saying.

Bullshit. That is damn near a Nixonian-type claim. Releasing lots of years worth of tax returns is a rite-of-passage for wannabee presidential candidates that goes all the way back to a guy named George W. Romney. If someone wants to keep that stuff private, then there is one thing they can do: Not run for office.

So the allegations that, between 2004 and 2007, Romney invested in Soylent Kitty, Ltd., a firm that planned to make protein crackers that, in part, used the carcasses from high-kill animal shelters as a base source, will just have to stand.

Monday, August 13, 2012

"So Drown Already!" - NY Port Authority to Swimmer

A man abandoned his stalled jet-ski and swam several miles to the only lights he saw, at JFK Airport. There, rather then helping him, the Port Authority cops arrested him for not drowning criminal trespass.

video platform video management video solutions video player
Fewer things in life are more dangerous than a goon with a gun and a badge. The jet-skier was damn lucky that they didn't just shoot him. Like a guy who was soaking wet and wearing a life preserver is some dastardly security threat.

Mars Curiosity Rover Is About to Go Offline!


Caturday; Adoption Bleg Edition

Lots of kitties need homes. If you have room in your home (and in your heart), go adopt one from your local animal shelter.



These kittens are from two "no-kill" shelters, so they'll at least have some semblance of a life regardless. But they'd be much happier in real homes.

Do a solid for both them and your spirit. Adopt one. Or two.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Heh. Heh. Heh.


(H/T)

On another note, is there any reason, now, for anyone to watch the GOP convention? The only reason that I can think of to watch one when a fresh candidate is running is for the drama of "who will he choose for Veep". There is no reason to watch a re-election candidate's convention, for everyone knows who will be the candidates, there is no drama and at best, there may be one or two interesting speeches.

But now Mittens has sucked all of the oxygen out of his convention. And this is the guy who ran an Olympics and he doesn't understand showmanship and timing? Unless the Ron Paul contingent starts chucking rotting fruit at Mittens, the GOP convention will now be as exciting as a Chamber of Commerce meeting at the local golf club.

The Old Days

The view from a window seat as a Super-Constellation takes off.

An Aircraft Loaded With Fail

By now, you may have seen news coverage of the Stinson that was crashed into trees after takeoff from the Bruce Meadows Airport in Stanley, Idaho.

If there was ever a crash that didn't need to happen, this one was it.

Bruce Meadows Airport (U63) has an elevation of 6,370' MSL. According to AccuWeather, the temps that day were in the low 80s.

That puts the density altitude somewhere between 9,000' and 11,000'. To put it succinctly, density altitude is the altitude that, aerodynamically, the airplane sees.

The pilot had the mixture control knob at the "full rich" position. This can be seen both as they taxi out and, in the slow-motion video, as the plane tumbles through the trees.
That is the appropriate setting for sea level to maybe 3,000'-5,000'. Above that, the technique for taking off is to set the brakes, run the engine up to full RPM, and then lean out the mixture until best power is achieved. That way, you'd get about 75% of the maximum rated horsepower, assuming that the engine was in tip-top working order.

A 108-3 Stinson (which is what that was) came from the factory with a 165hp engine. At that density altitude, it could be expected to put out 123hp. With a full-rich mixture setting, the engine was running over-rich and was probably not even close to making full power.

The takeoff roll went on damn near forever. It was pretty clear from the video that the wisest course of action would have been to pull back the throttle and abort the takeoff or, after staggering into the air, land. There was plenty of room to do so, it was obvious that the airplane wasn't climbing worth a fart. But the pilot pushed on. And the airplane did all that it could be expected to do under the circumstances: It flew all the way to the scene of the crash.

I'm not even going to get into the point that on launching from a high-altitude airstrip on a hot day, all of the seats in the airplane were full with adult males. But I will note that if that airplane had been equipped with shoulder harnesses, the pilot's injuries would have likely been a lot less severe. The FAA makes it easy to install newer seatbelts and shoulder harnesses into older airplanes. You don't even need a STC or a Form 337 to do it, it's just a logbook entry by a mechanic. A shoulder harness may not fit the look for some classics, but better that there be a little bit of farb in the airplane and you don't eat the instrument panel in a crash.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Rubber-Stamp Romney

I spent the day out at a volunteering gig. I have not had the time to read any commentary on Mittens' selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate. So what follows is my thinking.

First off, if there was ever a signal that Romney is a weak candidate, this was it. Classic politics is that a candidate plays to the base until the nomination is secured and then pivots towards the center to try and win the moderate/swing voters. Romney, who has spent the last year telling anyone who would listen that he is "a severe conservative" (and persuading hardly anyone), moved even more to the right to pick Paul. This choice signals that Romney had to do more to try to secure his base, that even though he had won enough delegates to win the nomination, he hadn't closed the deal.

Second, Paul handcuffs Romney to the Right. Romney can't swing to the center with Paul cementing him in place.

Third, if anyone thought that Mittens could not have picked a running mate worse than the choice made by Grampaw McCain, they were proven wrong. The Obama campaign is going to hang Ryan's wingnutty policies around Romney's neck like a rotting albatross. If you thought that Romney's tax policies were a reverse Robin Hood, Ryan is that on steroids. As far as tax polices go, Ryan would string up the poor and the middle class by their heels and slit their throats so that the Koch Brothers and the Walton Clan can bathe in the warm blood of the wage-earning taxpayers.

Fourth, the far-Right has been clear that they expect a President Romney to function as a rubber stamp to whatever legislation they can get through Congress. They expect a President Romney to sleep to eight, walk into the Oval Office at ten, spend thirty minutes signing legislation passed by the Chamber of Commerce Congress, and then knock off for the rest of the day to go play with his dancing horses. They expect a President Romney to make Dubya look like a workaholic. And by picking Ryan, Romney has signaled that he is OK with being an autopen for the GOP.

What I feared was that Romney would find a slightly more moderate Republican, maybe even one of the turncoat blue-dog Democrats to run with him and that his operatives would have been out spreading the word among the conservatives: "whaddya going to do, it's either Romney or that nigger Obama gets another term." That might have sucked enough swing voters to Romney to come close or even win.

That's not going to happen now. If anything, the left wing of the Democratic party, which has been pretty upset by the fact that Obama's policies could well have originated from the George H.W. Bush Administration, are going to jump off the fence, open up their pockets and go to work to re-elect him. With a center-right Romney, they might have thought "ecch, what's the difference" and maybe gone through the motions.

Romney may have thought that he energized his base. But he has also energized Obama's base and given moderates a good reason to vote for Obama. Romney's path to power was looking harder each day as his negatives were climbing. He's now, in my estimation, about to go marching off the electoral cliff.

Lord knows that I've not been overly thrilled with Obama's presidency. But I don't see that I have a choice, now.


Go Away, Kid, You're Bothering Me; Caturday Edition



The silent appeal of the cat to the photographer is priceless: "Get this thing out of my face, pleeaase."

Friday, August 10, 2012

We'll See How Long This Lasts

Anniversary gifts.

Gun Control: Always Making the Wrong Arguments Regarding the Law

In this post, I am not referring to the lawyers who are representing the Forces of Evil.[1] I am presuming that they are all competent, even if they are almost always on the losing side. I am referring, instead, to the public arguments.[2]

The most common argument that the gun-control advocates make is that firearms ownership should at least be as controlled by the sate as motor vehicle ownership. This is a false argument because nobody has ever successfully argued (so far as I know) that anyone has a right to drive or own a car. States are usually very clear about this: The license to drive a car is a privilege that is granted by the state and, when the state so desires, can be revoked.[3]

Any discussion about gun control has to start by acknowledging this truth: In the United States (and in most individual states), citizens have a constitutionally guaranteed right to possess firearms. It it not a collective right, it is an individual right. It is a right that appears in the Bill of Rights. You have the right to publish a newsletter and you have the right to own a gun. Period.

When a government seeks to restrict the expression of a constitutional right, it has to come up with a pretty good reason. For example, you have the right to speak your mind, but if you do it by mounting a set of speakers on your car and driving through, you're probably going to end up sitting in the back of a police road car. In First Amendment jargon, those are known as "time manner and place" restrictions.

The problem, of course, is that there is a lengthy history of First Amendment litigation that has fleshed out what the government can and cannot restrict.[4] Second Amendment cases are a modern development. So what the governments, Federal and state, can do to regulate the right of the people to possess weapons will be filled out over the next few decades

It is worth noting that the Bill of Rights is largely concerned with what the Founders thought was necessary to preserve a free republic. That is why they wrote guarantees against the restriction of speech, the promotion of a state religion, searches without a judge's OK, forced interrogations, confinement without trial, trial without counsel, cruel and unusual punishment and the quartering of soldiers in private homes into the Bill of Rights.[5]

If we are going to have a meaningful discussion on gun control, the advocates of gun confiscation and banning control are going to have to confront the reality that possession of a firearm is a right guaranteed by the Constitution. And, to be blunt, they are going to have to come up with an argument more cogent than "zOMG!!!1!! Oh, the Humanity, Shootingz!!!!1!!!"[6]

Which they really haven't been doing. Their lies and fear-mongering are on full display in every debate on concealed carry laws, they've been spreading the same bilge for over 25 years and they've been proven wrong time and again.[7]

And so, they keep on losing the argument. Which is fine with me.
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[1] The Brady Campaign, The D.C. Government, the City of Chicago and the mayors Against All Guns, for starters.
[2] I am also not referring to the idiots who argue that the NRA, an organization with over four million members, represents the gun industry. They don't have to, gun makers have their own organizations.
[3] This is different from a right to travel, which seems to be generally accepted. That right does not extend to the means, which is why the lovable thugs at the DBP
[4] Which is why you get "money equals speech" rulings from the Supremes.
[5] As far as I know, there are no cases on the scope of the Third Amendment.
[6] Especially since it is easy to find cases of mass slaughter in countries that have banned firearms. The killers just resort to more primitive weaponry.
[7] If you follow the gun-banners' logic, the streets of Vermont, which has allowed carrying concealed weapons without permits for almost forever, should be running with blood.

Drought

There is an animation of the last twelve weeks of drought reports. You can see how it has deepened over the summer.

This is the current map:


Bad time to be a farmer across much of the Midwest and South (especially in Arkansas).

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Myth Romney Campaign Gaffe: Please Pass the Popcorn

So it seems that the Democrats are beating the crap out of Romney because when he was head of Bain Capital, they closed a steel mill, throwing people out of work. Those people lost their health insurance and at least oen person died from untreated cancer.

So Mitten's on-duty spokes-troll takes up her verbal arsenal to defend him and offers this corker: If those workers had been in Massachusetts, they'd have had health insurance. Because, as governor, Romney enacted universal health insurance.

Except, of course, that the Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare) was modeled on the Massachusetts universal health care law (Romneycare). Which means that the Romney campaign just backed into endorsing Obamacare.

And since the Republicans have flip-flopped on the universal health insurance mandate from being "the personal responsibility of any sane adult" (when they suggested it in 1993 and when Romneycare was enacted) to "zOMG!!!1!! Soczialism!!!1!", the conservatives are losing their collective shit.

Pass the popcorn.

The Big Banksters at Work

As seen by Danziger and Non Sequitur.

Shadow War

There have been a couple of reports in the press recently about the shadow war, primarily between Israel and Iran, but also involving the U.S.

There is, unfortunately, some need for a level of caution by Jews around the world. Enemies of Israel have a history of conflating Jewish institutions with Israeli consulates. The Iranians bombed a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in 1994, killing 85 people (both Jews and Gentiles) and wounding over 300.[1] This is in addition to the threat posed by ignorant asswipes who seek white-supremacist glory by shooting unarmed people of differing races and religions.[2]

This doesn't mean to go into full-blown paranoia mode, but some degree of situational awareness other than Condition White might be appropriate.
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[1] There are persistent allegations that Iran paid large bribes to Argentinian politicians, including the then-president, to ensure that the investigation was bungled.
[2] Since the Iranians allegedy tplotted to kill the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. by paying a Mexican cartel for the hit, it may not be beyond the reach of probability that the Iranians might seek to pay those neo-nazi douchebags for something similar.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Science and Religion

While the religious whackaloons have been stuffing themselves full of chicken sandwiches to show their support of Chick-fil-A's homophobic agenda, science has been busy.

In probably the longest-term space research project ever, the data is accumulating that Voyager 1 is about to enter interstellar space. This is a big deal, as we do not know what is out there, but we may be on the verge of finding out. In case you've forgotten, Voyager 1 was launched 25 years ago. Her and her sister probe, Voyager 2, were designed for flybys of Jupiter and Saturn, a three year trip for Voyager 1 and four years for Voyager 2.

Voyager 2 ended up in position for flybys of Uranus and Neptune. NASA had not designed her for that, thinking it to be too costly, but Voyager 2 accomplished those flybys and sent back the only close-up data of those two planets that we have.

Both probes are still sending back data from the far reaches of the Solar System.

And this week, NASA successfully landed a one-ton nuclear-powered mobile science lab on Mars. Whether or not Curiosity eventually gets stuck, like the Spirit rover, remains to be seen. But since it is powered by a plutonium nugget, Curiosity may be sending back data until into the second half of this century. (Spirit was solar-powered. It's 90-Martian day mission lasted for over three Martian years. Her twin, Opportunity, is still working and is approaching the fifth Martian anniversary of her landing.)

But hey, if you think that you're going to change the world by stuffing yourselves with fried chicken sandwiches, have at it. Science will still march on without you.

Racist Idiots

By now you've heard of the Oak Creek Asshat,[1] a white-supremacist[2] musician, former Army misfit[3] and heavy drinker who walked into a Sikh temple and commenced to murdering people, including a woman and an 85 year old man. He shot up the kitchen of the temple, where women were preparing a meal called the "langar", which is free and open to the public. The Sikhs in the temple would have welcomed the Asshat and fed him. Instead, he shot up the place.

First, let's give credit where it is richly due: The two Oak Creek police officers who did not fall back and wait for the cavalry, but who engaged the shooter and killed him. Asshat shot and wounded Lt. Brian Murphy, who was trying to aid one of the victims; Officer Sam Lenda then shot and killed Asshat. Those officers probably reduced the carnage by their actions. They are heroes.

Second, all honor to the president of the temple, a 65 year old man named Satwant Singh Kaleka, who, armed with only a dull knife, attacked Asshat and was shot fatally by Asshat. Mr. Kaleka's bravery delayed Asshat, his attack gave time to women and children in the temple to flee for their lives. If they gave the Medal of Honor to civilians, he should get one. But they don't so he should be posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Third, remember when the DHS was looking at the domestic terror threat from right-wing extremists and the GOP got all bent out of shape?

Finally, was Asshat's target selection based on deranged thinking as "Osama bin Ladin wore a turban, bin Ladin was a terrorist, Sikhs wear turbans, so Sikhs are terrorists"?[4] Or was this an attack on "other" and in which case, he could have easily have walked into a mosque, a Buddhist temple or a synagogue?
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[1] Clowns like Asswipe will not be referred to by their proper names in this blog. It would be nice if the traditional press followed a similar practice.
[2] A term that might as well mean "palefaced loser".
[3] Asshat was busted in rank and tossed out of the Army on "other than honorable" conditions, the lowest grade of administrative discharge. An OTH discharge means that he were fired for being an nonredeemable dirtbag.
[4] Asshat reportedly went to high school in Colorado; they need to do a better job in teaching critical thinking skills.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Beep......beep......beep.....beep.....Pasadena, This is Mars Station. Curiosity Has Landed.

The Curiosity rover has successfully landed on Mars.

That they were able to pull off such a kludgey landing sequence without any 1201 and 1202 faults is a triumph for NASA and JPL.

UPDATE:  From George Takei's FB page, an early photo from Curiosity:

Saturday, August 4, 2012

No, I Don't Think That the Town Was Named After Her

Would have been a hell of an honor, though.


The road west out of Tamms is the Grapevine Trail, running about fifteen miles or so to McClure, IL. With a clear road and a high-performance car (or motorcycle), it would be a real blast to drive.

The Missing Trials and Tribulations of Mittens

It can be interesting to look at a person's life and see what shaped them. It could be that a person escaped a life of crushing poverty or political oppression. They may have served in the armed forces, fought in a way, or worked overseas in the Peace Corps. Maybe they had to deal with a severe illness or the loss of a loved one.

For Mitt Romney, the answer seems to be "none of the above". What was his life experience, maybe being teased by the other kids at his preppie high school because his dad didn't work for one of the Big Three car companies? Being beaten like a gong by Teddy Kennedy in the senate race in 1992? Suffering a bad paper cut at Bain Capital, when he was figuring out how to loot yet another company?

Hell, even the last beswaddled privileged brat that the GOP nominated to be president played around in the Air National Guard (deserting for the last two years) and quit drinking (maybe). Both Dubya and Mittens seem to both have had an outsized chip on their shoulder because their fathers lost an election.

Mitt was truly born five steps from the goal line and he seems to be extremely proud that he was able to make the step from being born of privilege to becoming really wealthy.

Other than being a corporate pirate (and running the frozen Olympics in the middle of nowhere, as the Brits love to point out), what has he done? We do know that he wouldn't face the judgment of the voters in Massachusetts for re-election. And he's been running as far away from what he did there as he can.

So, you guys on the Right, why Mitt? Is the only thing he truly has is he's not Obama? And if that's it, then think back to 2004 when you charged that Kerry's sole point was that he wasn't Bush and explain away your hypocrisy now.

Pretty Damned Dry Out There


You can see the interactive map here.

This drought is going to play hob with food prices for the next few years.

Caturday; A Long Time Ago in a State Far, Far Away Edition

Gracie as a kitten, fifteen years ago.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Senator/Pope Urban VIII

Sen. Jeff Sessions is offended by the fact that the overwhelming majority of climate scientists hold views that are opposite to Sen. Sessions's opinions.

Because science is, you know, based on facts and data, not ideology.

Which puts Sen. Sessions in fine historical company, right up there with Pope Urban VIII.*
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*Note that 22 years ago, it was Cardinal Ratzinger (the current pope) who was subtly asserting that the Church did the right thing in sentencing Galileo to house arrest because he did not agree with the Church's Earth-centric view of the Universe.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Caturday; Living the High Life Edition

Jake eats from his new food dishes.


No, he's not eating from fine crystal. Those are glass "sundae" dishes from Wally-Woild6 (Slogan: Purveyors of Cheap Crap From Communist China) at a buck-ninety-seven per. One dish has the remains of his breakfast, the second has some kibble and Jake's eating his dinner from the third. They are really easy to clean, better than the plastic bowls that I had earlier bought from le Boutique Targét.


Plus, he doesn't have to bend over as much to eat from the glass ones. The plastic ones made sense when I had three cats, but now that I have only Jake, the glass ones work. And he is an old man, these appear to be easier for him to eat from.

Not that he seems to be complaining much.

Chick-fil-A

By now, you probably are aware that the president of Chick-fil-A, a clown named Dan Cathy, is pretty much one of those right-wing homophobic bigots. He has caused his company to donate large sums of money to groups that espouse hatred and advocate for discriminating against gays.

That's their right under the Constitution. The douchenozzles in Boston and Chicago (yeah, I'm referring to you, Mumbles Menino and Ratfucker Emanuel) who are trying to use zoning laws to keep out Chick-fil-A are completely nuts and wholly out of line. Kind of what I expected, though, from Chicago, which is largely a Constitution-free city. But from Boston, the self-proclaimed "birthplace of liberty"?

However, it is also my right not to spend any of my money on their rat-feces-laced chicken sandwiches.

But if you want to go there and say that you support his right to be an asshole, feel free. Just don't be too surprised if other people assume that, by proclaiming your support for Chick-fil-A, you are also supporting their agenda of bigotry.

The Empty Suit Running For President

Romney's strategy is to say nothing about anything.

The Daily Show with Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
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So what it comes down to is that the Guy Whose Father Was Born in Mexico's one point is that his father wasn't born in Kenya?

Is the centerpiece of Romney's campaign? Is he worried that if he gets into specifics, we'll learn that he donated to a charity run by narco-communists?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

With Friends Like This, Who Needs Enemies?
2nd Amendment Edition

See, there is this clown in Texas. He owns a gun store. What he did was publically support a ban on mail/Internet ordering of ammunition because if people can't buy their cartridges on line, they'll have to buy them from him.

There is always somebody who supports restrictions on anything because they think they see a way to make a buck off of it. Like this particular carbon-based life-form.

What this asshat fails to recognize is that any such restrictions will be followed by more restrictions. Because once you give the Brady Goons a win, they're not going to go home and be satisfied. No, they'll push for more. Maybe next, Asswipe, they'll want a ban on buying more than one gun a month. Or a year. Maybe they'll put a limit on cartridge sales over a period of time.

Bet that'll do wonders for your bottom line, you turncoat.

Dear readers, if you live in or near Katy Texas, try to stay out of a business known as "Tactical Firearms". We don't need friends (or merchants) like that.

In 2006, Did Romney Donate to a "Charity" That Made Shoes From the Skins of Dead Puppies?

But since he won't release his tax returns, who's to say otherwise?

Romney's Tax Plan: Tax Cuts for Him, Taxes Raised for You and Me.

The Willard M. Romney plan for reforming the Federal tax code translates into this: If you're rich, you'll pay less taxes. If you are not, you'll pay more taxes.
Our major conclusion is that a revenue-neutral individual income tax change that incorporates the features Governor Romney has proposed – including reducing marginal tax rates substantially, eliminating the individual alternative minimum tax (AMT) and maintaining all tax breaks for saving and investment – would provide large tax cuts to high-income households, and increase the tax burdens on middle- and/or lower-income taxpayers. This is true even when we bias our assumptions about which and whose tax expenditures are reduced to make the resulting tax system as progressive as possible.
Nobody will ever accuse Mittens of being a traitor to his class. He'd have been well-suited to being a feudal lord back in the days when knights were bold and serfs were slaughtered for food.

(H/T)

Automatic Defense Cuts

The approach of the two parties towards how to avoid those cuts shows some rather stark differences:
Democrats say the military can be spared if Republicans are willing to consider tax increases for high-wage earners. Republicans argue that the defense cuts could be offset with reductions in food stamps, benefits for federal workers and social services programs like day care for children and Meals on Wheels for the elderly.
I don't think I need to snark about the point hat the Republicans are eager to cut services for the poor and elderly in order to make sure that General Dynamics gets to make more tanks.

But don't worry, O Descendents of Sam Walton and Spawn of Rmoney, the Democrats will cave on this, just as they have caved on everything else. Don't count on Obama to veto anything, his "veto pen" has been remarkably quiescent.

Beyond that, by and large, it's not the kids of rich people who have gone off to serve in the wars of this century, while the Republicans have been doing their level best to make certain that the über-rich pay less and less taxes. Mitt Romney made something like $40 million in the only year of this taxes that he'll show "you people" and he paid a lower tax rate than a married couple making about fifty grand. Yet it is damn near certain that Mittens thinks that he paid too much in taxes.

It would be nice if the rich did more for this country other than rape the workers, push more burdens onto wage-earners and the poor, and buy elections.

Tradition...




Traditions can ground us. But they can also bind us and hinder us from growing, both as individuals and as a people. That could be why the Army is looking at screening women for combat duty, rather than holding on to the tradition of a blanket example.