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

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Fuck You, Chicago

And Richard M. Daley, Junior, may you burn in Hell forever. Or longer.


Let's Play a Game! Change the Word "Aryan" to "Islamic" In This Story

[Texas:] Kaufman County’s district attorney and his wife were found slain Saturday, raising fears that their deaths may be part of a plot that included the death of one of the county’s assistant district attorneys in January.

Kaufman Police Chief Chris Aulbaugh and other officials confirmed that Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia Woodward McLelland, had been shot at their home near Forney.

Their deaths followed the Jan. 31 slaying of Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse. ... In December, the Texas Department of Public Safety had issued a statewide bulletin warning that authorities had received “credible information” that the Aryan Brotherhood was “actively planning retaliation against law enforcement officials” who helped secure indictments in Houston against dozens of members, including the gang’s leadership.
I don't see how this is any other than domestic terrorism, for they are striking at the foundations of civilized society. The killers have taken a page from the Mexican cartel's playbook, sending a not-so-subtle message of "fuck with us and we will play by Chicago rules."

If law enforcement is going to deal with this, then the FBI will have to give up its fetish of trying to persuade nineteen year old Muslims to become wannabee terrorists and go after the real bad guys. But that's going to imply that the FBI is willing to seriously go in harm's way, as the Aryan Brotherhood has far more reach and is far more vicious than some stupid kid who was persuaded by a fast-talking agent-provocateur that modeling clay is C-4.

And as for what the media reaction would have been if the killers were followers of Mohammed, rather than of Hitler, well, I don't really need to riff on that, do I?

UPDATE: Wasn't the Aryan Brotherhood, just a corrupt fuck of a justice of the peace. Bastard didn't even get any jail time, but because Hasse and McLelland prosecuted said corrupt fat fuck, the asswipe and his wife killed them. Which means that, around 2025, they'll be executed.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

Turboprops count, if they're big enough. And they didn't come bigger than the Tu-95!



The Tu-95 was the Soviet equivalent of the B-52. The Russians plan to fly it about as long as our Air Force plans to fly the B-52.

Your Local Cable Company Sucks. Doesn't Matter Which One.

Lots of truth in this one:

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Cypriot Banks and the Eurozone

It appears that the Germans European Central Banksters are making the Cypriots confiscate 60% of all bank deposits over €100,000.

I'm wondering if anyone with significant funds that they'd like to have on deposit somewhere will now think twice about depositing that kind of cash in a bank anywhere in the Eurozone.

Caturday, "Oh, Hai!" Edition

A blast from the past: Gracie was peeking out from under a chair.


This photo was taken in 2001, well before she began to suffer from arthritis.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Coming to the Computer Battle Late

I don't know why I've missed this one:


The Continuing Utility of Floppy Drives

Maybe just not in the way that you were thinking!

Kremlinology and the Supreme Court

Back during the Cold War, there was a little discipline called "Kremlinology". The idea was to try and see who was influential in the Soviet hierarchy. This form of analysis included things such as the number of public comments any given member of the Soviet leadership made (whether they were military or members of the Politburo. The analysts looked at who stood next to whom during the parades on Red Square, who was mentioned in articles in Pravda and Izvestia, who made what other public appearances, who made foreign trips and whether those trips were to places like Bulgaria or France.

It was kind of like garbology. And, in retrospect, it was often laughably wrong.

The analysts who try to predict how the Supremes will come down on an issue based on the oral arguments seem to be practicing a version of Kremlinology. And they often get it spectacularly wrong.

You want to know how the Court will rule on Prop 8 and DOMA? Wait until the rulings are handed down, most likely in June.

Until then:


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Friendly Warning to Other Bloggers

I am trimming the blog rolls. If you have not made an entry in your blog in the last 2.5 years or longer, then I'm probably going to zorch the listing.

So far, I've found at least three blogs which had their own domains and those have expired. One on Blogger appeared to have been either hacked or transferred.

A couple won't be deleted, because the bloggers have passed away and their blogs are nice memorials to them. Jon Swift and William the Coroner come to mind.

So if you are one of the latent bloggers, post something!

A Journalist's Guide to Firearms

In the spirit of the Journalist's Guide to Piper Aircraft...


(H/T)

OK, Mr. President, Let's Take This a Couple of Steps Further.

What he said:
If you think that checking someone’s criminal record before he can check out a gun show is common sense, you've got to make yourself heard.
What the fuck? He wants a background check run for everyone who is attending a gun show? Not just anyone who wants to buy a freaking gun, but everyone who wants to walk through the door?

So let's take this a step further, shall we? Let's start checking the licenses of everyone who walks into a supermarket, because they sell beer, wine and cigarettes there.

Let's check the driver's license of everyone who walks into a store where auto parts are sold. After all, if you can't legally drive a car, wuffo you need to buy any parts?

Nobody under 21 should be allowed into a restaurant that has a liquor license.

I've not bought a gun at a gun show. Most of them, I buy nothing. At a couple, I've bought ammunition and at a couple others, accessories. Bought a pair of sunglasses at one of them. For that I should get a background check at the frakking door?

Light up the phones to your congressmen and senators, people. This is bullshit. He wants the people's voices to be heard? Fine, let's let them hear our voices.

(H/T)

The Cluelessness of MSNBC is Pathetic

The results of the search of the Newtown Asswipe's home have been released. Besides the weaponry (four firearms) he brought to the scene of his unspeakable crime, two others and a BB gun were found in the house. The ones in the house were two bolt-action rifles, a Savage Mk II and a Lee Enfield .303 (which MSNBC thinks is an "Enfield Albian.323", a weapon I've not heard of*).

Six guns. MSNBC terms that as a "massive arsenal".

Let me be plain about this: Roughly 90% of the people I know who own firearms have more than that. When my gun club has a "bowling pin match", the classes are these: .38/357 DA, .44/.454 DA, 9mm/.38 Super, .45 ACP, pocket revolver, pocket auto, .22 auto, .22 DA revolver, .22 SA revolver, and SA centerfire. A lot of the shooters who turn out for those matches shoot in every freaking classification. Sure, there is some cross-over, but not a lot. So a shooter who is coming out for a day of bangity fun is bringing about ten handguns.**

Some also compete in the several different types of rimfire and centerfire rifle matches as well. A shooter who competes in SASS shooting has at least four guns just for that purpose, and the really serious shooters have a spare one two with them.

A "massive arsenal"? Maybe by Upper West Side of Manhattan standards. Certainly not by upstate NY standards, or almost anywhere else. And a BB gun is part of a "massive arsenal"? It is shit such as this that leads tens of millions of firearms owners to conclude that the mainstream press is both clueless and engaging in propaganda on this issue.

"Cluelessness" comes in because the Asswipe had .45 ammunition and no such weapon was recovered. There were also magazines for a Ruger 10/22, a rifle which also didn't appear in the evidence list. If those reporters knew something about firearms, they might have questioned it. But fat chance of that.
_______________________________
* And which is apparently unknown to Google or Bing. Maybe the Enfield-Albion rifle is one of the missing Iraqi WMDs? Somebody should notify Dick Cheney.
** And spending the next several evenings cleaning them.

Reloading? Good Luck With THAT!

So this morning, I got an email from Natchez Shooters Supply that had this graphic:


It was an ad for a sale on scales, calipers, case cleaners and other tools. Many would be nice to have.

But there is little point in buying any of that stuff if you can't buy powder, primers or bullets.

I decided to try reloading last year and began to assemble the various pieces of kit necessary to do that. I bought a little bit at a time. But by the time I got to the point of needing to buy consumables, well, none were to be had. My gun club has a full schedule of matches and I'd like to participate in some of them. But without being assured that if I, say, shoot two boxes of .38s at at PPC match, that I can replace the rounds, whether by reloading or buying new, I'm probably not going to go out and play.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Cypriot Bank Withdrawls: Why Is This a Surprise to Anyone?

I'm shocked, shocked!
Yesterday, we first reported on something very disturbing (at least to Cyprus' citizens): despite the closed banks (which will mostly reopen tomorrow, while the two biggest soon to be liquidated banks Laiki and BoC will be shuttered until Thursday) and the capital controls, the local financial system has been leaking cash. Lots and lots of cash.

Alas, we did not have much granularity or details on who or where these illegal transfers were conducted with. Today, courtesy of a follow up by Reuters, we do.

The result, at least for Europe, is quite scary because let's recall that the primary political purpose of destroying the Cyprus financial system was simply to punish and humiliate Russian billionaire oligarchs who held tens of billions in "unsecured" deposits with the island nation's two biggest banks.

As it turns out, these same oligrachs may have used the one week hiatus period of total chaos in the banking system to transfer the bulk of the cash they had deposited with one of the two main Cypriot banks, in the process making the whole punitive point of collapsing the Cyprus financial system entirely moot.
Why is there any surprise about this? Did the European banksters think that a bunch of guys who got rich by shady methods (including killing off those they found to be inconvenient) were just going to sit back and let the EU take tens of millions of Euros from them, because some wonks in Brussels thought it up?

If I were writing it, this is how it would have gone: Some of the more influential bankers would have received a portfolio of photographs. The photos would have been all candid shots, probably from a distance. The photos would show them, their wives, their children, and their grandchildren all going about their every day routine. If the photos were deliverd by hand, the delivery man would have uttered some vague threats, Chicago style of "nice family you have there, pity if anything would happen to them". Maybe in writing, it would look sort of like an insurance pitch. But the message would be clear and unmistakable. Then someone else would contact them, on behalf of some of the depositors, and ask for help on "doing the right thing" and allowing people to have access to their own money.

Or, the other option, the Russians got to them early on and the backdoor withdrawl system was not a bug, but a feature.

Everyone knows that the German were the drivers of the idea to steal from the Russian oligarchs. The Germans had better hope that next winter is not a cold one. Or they may find that there are some "technical problems" with the pipelines that send natural gas to Germany from Russia, for if anyone thinks that the Russians are not going to let this one go unanswered, they are fooling themselves.

Lasering Airplanes

Not steep enough, though.
A 19-year-old North Hollywood [CA] man has been sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for aiming a laser pointer at a commercial aircraft — a steep punishment going well beyond the year federal prosecutors were seeking.
If I were running things, the little fuck's head would be on a pike in the town square (or whatever passes for one in North Hollywood).

As far as I'm concerned, this is equivalent to shooting at airplanes, though with a green laser, the effective range is longer. This isn't some harmless kiddie prank, as his attorneys tried to portray it. Some of those jets are flown single-pilot, blinding the pilot with a laser could have bad consequences, both for everyone on the aircraft and people on the ground.

This story needs to be publicized far and wide.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Take Your Cat to Work Day

They're spraying for brown recluse spiders at my place today, so Jake had to come into work with me.

Here he is, relaxing on the floor. I put one of the heated beds under my desk. He's spent a lot of time on it.


Of course, an appropriate warning sign had to go up on the door.

NRA- Wingnuts in Charge, and It Needs to Fix That

It should be no surprise that I know a number of people who are progressive in their politics and who own firearms. Over the last few months, I've been trying to persuade them to join the National Rifle Association.

The cover of the April, 2013 issue of The American Rifleman is not helping:


Two points: First off, like it or not, President Obama won his re-election contest with 51% of the vote. He is the first president in 56 years to win both of his elections by a clear majority. Not even Reagan did that.* Tens of millions of people who have firearms in their homes voted for him. Those are people who, likely as not, do not belong to the NRA. As long as the NRA pulls shit like this, they aren't going to.

Lobbying groups are all about numbers. The AARP is powerful because they have something like 35 million members. You can bet your ass that when an AARP lobbyist talks to a congressional staffer or the boss politician, those folks know that. They know that if the AARP sends out an alarm to its members, that the congressional/senatorial office is going to be overwhelmed with mail and telephone calls from outraged AARPers, that there will be the horrible optics of grannies protesting and those folks vote.

When the NRA pulls shit like this that has the effect of discouraging non-Tea party gun owners from joining, they are only hurting themselves. I'm an NRA member, I have been for a long time, and I can't think of the last time that I read one of the lobbying/political articles in The American Rifleman, because it's just more bluster and bullshit like this. I don't pay attention to them.** I check out the proposed legislation, look at the bill's track record on Thomas and read the bill if it looks like it is going anywhere. I make up my own mind without any input from the NRA. I'll bet that I'm not alone.

Second: We have a lot of problems in this country. We have a lot of things that people disagree on. If you are going to preach to the choir and effectively give up any hope of persuading the other listeners to adopt your point of view, then fine, shit like calling the President "King Pinocchio" is not the worst thing anyone has said about him.*** Nobody with more than six functioning neurons is ever going to expect reasoned discourse from the likes of Glenn Back, Rush Limbaugh or Donald Trump.

But if you want to have your point of view listened to by the other side and treated seriously, you don't do it by opening with insults. When the NRA claimed that the Obama Administration wasn't listening to them, well, shit, who can blame the Administration for that? Would you take seriously a guy who has spent the last five years calling you a Marxist tool?

I believe that the NRA can turn out its membership without resorting to rhetoric that is just offensive. I believe that if the NRA dropped the demonizing, they could significantly grow their membership. But I guess we won't know, not so long as the current crop of clowns is in charge.
_____________________________
* George W. Bush had to steal both of his.
** Frankly, if the local gun club didn't require NRA membership as a condition of being a member of the club, I would have let my membership in the NRA lapse.
*** I'm looking at you, History Channel.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Guns, Taxes and Airplanes

I have been on the lookout for a .22 revolver. I once had a K-22, but I loaned that out and it was quote stolen unquote. I'd like to get another one, but I haven't seen a used K-22/Model-17 for less than $600. At that price, I can buy a used Model-19 and four hundred rounds of .38 (when it's in stock). So, no Model-17 for that.

The gun shops have various singe-action .22s. Do not want. One had a Charter Arms Pathfinder .22 for $425. Frankly, it felt like a cheap piece of shit.

I stopped by a gun store and groused at the lack of .22 revolvers. The sales guy said "we're switching over from Taurus 94s to Ruger LCRs in .22 for our CCW classes." I asked the wuffo question. The answer was that the instructors wanted to use the snubbies because they can just drop them into a jacket pocket. So I asked what they were doing with the Tauruses. (Taurii?)

Got one for just over $300.


Bore's bright, lockup is solid. Yeah, it's not a K-22, but it'll be a good range/field gun.

And, better yet, I was able to score this!


.22 is about the hardest to find these days. One LGS had a bunch, but it was all Lapua match ammo at $13.50 for a box of 50. This is more better. Man, for the days when one could pick up a 550 round Federal bulk pack for $14!

Time to do my taxes, but I couldn't find a form that I needed. I just swept everything from my coffee table onto the floor and found it. Now I just have to do the plug-&-chug and find out how much I owe.


And just for the dream of warmer, better weather, a T-6. From the ADF housing on the back, this one was an instrument trainer at one point.


The annual on my airplane starts this week, so expect to read lots of grousing.

Anyway, I think I'm done with buying guns for the time being.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

This should give you an idea of how the B-52 has evolved over sixty years:




The newer TF-33 turbofans still smoke, but nothing like those old water-injected J57s! There have been proposals over the years to re-engine the B-52s with four high-bypass turbofans for better range and fuel economy. That may still happen, since the B-52 is planned to be in use for another thirty years. By then, the newest airframe will be over 80 years old.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Everyone Considered Him the Moron of Butler County

Officials in Butler County, Ohio have indicted a famous groundhog for the rash of cold winter-type weather we've been having.

The indictment, filed by Butler County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Gmoser, alleges that on or about February 02, 2013, at Gobbler's Knob, Punxsutawney Phil did purposely, and with prior calculation and design, cause the people to believe that Spring would come early.
Gmoser, hereinafter referred to as "Asshat", should be pilloried outside of the county courthouse. Piles of rotten fruit and broken-up cinderblocks ought to to be placed behind him, with the citizenry encouraged to make free use of them.

This little episode illustrates the power of overly zealous prosecutors like Asshat to ruin people's lives. And they do, for if they look hard enough, they can charge anybody they want to with something. Here, Asshat even dreamed up his own charge to bring, so he can get his name in the papers.

What he should get is his name in an ethics complaint for abuse of office.

I find nothing funny about this.

Caturday; Warm Cat is Warm Edition

Jake is warming himself on two sides.


That is a heated cat bed he's lying on. The Sun is shining through the window; it'll have risen enough soon so that the sunbeam won't be there. But for now, he is taking full advantage of it, occasionally rolling over to get the sunbeam on a different part of his back.

At 17, he's an old man.

Update: I have two of those pads, for I formerly had three cats. I took the heating element out of one of them and washed the pad. It's back on the chair and Jake's asleep on it.

Friday, March 22, 2013

What If They Were to Adopt the Bill of Rights Today?

What would happen if the Bill of Rights were being debated today?

Let's take a look!
Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;
Oh, this is not going to happen. At best, the right to exercise freedom of religion would be limited to Jews and Christians. Keep in mind that there are some Christian sects which do not hold Catholics or Mormons to be Christians, so you guys would be as screwed as if you were Satanists.
or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;
That's gone. The Right will never settle for letting those pesky reporters print whatever they want.
or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Gone, gone, gone. The cops don't like demonstrations and the very last thing the professional politicians want is to see the proles buttonholing them at work. If the politicians had their secret wish, anyone not displaying a valid Capitol/Statehouse ID would be summarily shot.
Amendment II

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
This one is gone, Gone, GONE! The last thing that the politicians and the professional bureaucrats want to see is any hint that the government doesn't hold a monopoly on the use of force. The cops would greatly oppose the idea that people had a right to own anything more powerful than an air rifle.
Amendment III

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
Nope. Why do you hate our military? If they want to use your home for a residence, you should let them, you unpatriotic fiend!
Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
This'll be gone faster than any hint of humanity on the part of Antonin Scalia. The "law-and-order" crowd will chant the mantra of police states everywhere: "If you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear/hide." Though in reality, this one is almost dead anyway. The courts have largely written your cars out of the 4th Amendment. And if you are within 100 miles of a border, you are in a "Constitution free zone" and they'll search you and your car with or without probable cause.
Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;
Definitely out. The War on Terror has had the government holding people for years without charges. For awhile, they were classifying anyone they wanted to detain as a "material witness" and holding them without charges. And if there is anything that prosecutors would love to see stricken, it is the double jeopardy provision.
nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
As commenters, below, have pointed out (and I neglected to), it is now settled law that government can take your property from you so that a large corporation can make even more money.
Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
Oh, they'd love to get rid of the jury trial and the right to counsel. After all, if the cops arrested someone, they have to be guilty of something, right? And they'd certainly not want to see lawyers cluttering up the process of speeding people to Old Sparky. Not to mention that the last thing the prosecutors want to do is be made to turn over exculpatory evidence (a lot of the time, they don't, anyway, Supreme Court be damned). This'll be gone as well.
Amendment VII

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
This one is kind of dead, anyway. Appeals courts routinely re-examine the facts of a case to correct where they think the jury erred. Even though it was the jury which heard the witnesses and saw the exhibits, when all the appellate court sees is a written transcript, they seem to feel better qualified to step into the shoes of the jury.
Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Another casualty of the Great War on Terror, this one is gone. "Enhanced coercive interrogation techniques", "refined interrogation techniques", "sharp questioning" and "special methods of questioning" are all the order of the day, now.

Actually, that's not all true. Two of those terms were used by the CIA and the Bush Administration, two of those terms were used by the Gestapo. But I digress.
Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
These two will be scrapped. The new Framers would assert that the Federal government is the supreme government, so they can do everything. And they will also take the same position as some power-mad pissant zoning board, that "Anything that is not expressly permitted is prohibited."

So there you have it. If the Bill of Rights came up for discussion in this century, none of them would get enough votes to even make it out of committee.

The Pill That George W. Bush and Rick Perry Took Together


Free sample packs were likely handed out at the CPAC conference.

Grumpy Cat Cares Little for Reporters

(Original video deleted because of a report that there seemed to be some malware embedded. Here is the YouTube one)

Good Morning America:



The Today Show:



Stay Away From Cloud Computing (Unless You Like the FBI Perusing Your Shit)

The FBI has served those sooper-seekrit National Security Letters on the service providers.

You can bet the farm that all of those online data backup services are also being rifled through by the FBI.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Ten Years Later, Cheney Haunted By People He Didn't Manage To Kill In Iraq War

The border between satire and truth gets awfully fuzzy at times.


Ten Years Later, Cheney Haunted By People He Didn't Manage To Kill In Iraq War

Carnival Cruise Ships: Now With Even More Hamsters!

(CNN) -- Carnival Cruise Lines said Wednesday it will increase the number of systems and services that its ships can run on backup power -- part of a fleetwide review the company is conducting after a string of mechanical problems.
The only way to do that, of course, is to add either more emergency generators or increase the capacity of the ones that they have.

And if there is a fire in the engine room, then the emergency generators will have to be somewhere else, of course. Carnival has had at least two ships in the last few years which went cold, dark and quiet after an engine room fire, which sort of suggests that the ships either lack redundant sources of power or that the redundancy has a pattern of also failing.

I have no idea what the engineering plant of those beasties looks like or how difficult those fixes would be. What I am more confident of is that Carnival will probably cut every possible corner it can on both installation and upkeep of the new emergency generator sets.

And yes, I still question the sanity of anyone who would choose to vacation at a hotel that can both catch fire and sink. At least if a resort loses power, you can hail a cab and go elsewhere.

Why the "Universal Background Checks Bill" Sucks

I am referring to Senate Bill 374, which has been reported out of committee. The full text is here, in PDF format.

First, go to page 12 and begin reading on line 10. This describes that isn't a transfer. Line 16 through line 2 on the next page pretty much states that if you have a gun in your home, and if you have roommate or a relative who isn't your sibling, parent/child, grandparent/grandchild, or a spouse and you go away for more than 7 days, the Feds will deem that as you've given the guns to your your roomie. If you go on a vacation and you have a house-sitter or a pet-sitter, they're deemed to have possession of your guns after seven days.

Now go to page 13 and begin reading at line 6. If you and your buddy are shooting on an informal target range, say, your backyard or out in the woods, and you hand your gun to your buddy to try out, that's a "transfer" for the purposes of this bill. If you are hosting a SASS competition on your land and one guy hands another one his gun to shoot, that's a "transfer".

Do any of that and you're subject to the penalties contained in 18 USC 924(a)(1).

That's five years in Federal prison. Five years for going shooting at your buddy's woodlot and saying: "Hey, Dude, wannta try shooting this gun?" That's five years in Federal prison for both you and your friend.

That's five years in Federal prison for you and your roomie or house-sitter if you take a ten day vacation.

Call and write your senators. Kill this bill!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

FinFisher, aka FinSpy

It is a monitoring program that is installed covertly onto people's computers. iTunes is/was a prominent transmission vector for the program. Like other such tools, it is sold by a bunch of greedheads who care nothing about freedom or liberty, as long as they can make a blood-soaked dollar (or pound) in the process.

FinSpy is used by a number of governments who don't give a crap about the rule of law.

Including ours.

A Word to the Neo-Con Chickenhawks

Charles Pierce on the NeoCons at the tenth anniversary of the start of the Iraq War:
Shut up, all of you. Go away. You are complicit in one way or another in a giant crime containing many great crimes. Atone in secret. Wash the blood off your hands in private. Because there were people who got it right. Anthony Zinni. Eric Shiseki. Hans Blix. Mohamed ElBaradei. The McClatchy Washington bureau guys. Dozens of liberal academics who got called fifth-columnists and worse. Professional military men whose careers suffered as a result. Hundreds of thousands of people in the streets around the world. The governments of Canada and France. Those people, I will listen to this week. Go to hell, the rest of you, and go there in silence and in shame.
He has a lot more words for the New York Times, which is slinking around this anniversary, hoping that few will remember their supine connivance in the Bush Administration's use of the Times as their own personal megaphone.

I think it is kind of Pierce to suggest that some of the neo-cons ought to be pilloried outside of Walter Reed Army Hospital.* They should have been crucified outside of the major military hospitals, the Army Burn Center, and the VA medical centers. Failing that, when they appear in public, they should have to walk three paces behind a bell-ringing crier, who would announce to everyone: "A war criminal is approaching", so the people ahead can ready their rotten tomatoes and stones.

Those neocons were so sure that they were right in their justification for the war. Those of us who did not agree with them were belittled, insulted and our patriotism was questioned. Those who did not agree and who worked for the government were fired.**

Dance around it all you wish, neo-cons and your fellow ass-monkeys. You were wrong. You cost this nation trillions of dollars. You have a lot of blood on your hands: Thousands of American soldiers and contractors. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Millions of Iraqis who were displaced, even to this day. Trillions of dollars thrown down that rathole of a war. The revelation that, if America was "the shining city on a hill", the cellars of that city was a warren of black prisons and torture chambers, overseen by American torquemadas.

And if there was any chance of a favorable outcome in Afghanistan, you clowns wrecked it by diverting resources to your folly.

Damn you all. Damn anyone who won't damn you all.
______________________
* Other than the point that it's closed.
** Lawrence Lindsey was fired for estimating that the war would cost $200 billion, an estimate that is at least an order of magnitude low.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Damn Anti-Spam Algorithm Needs Tuning, Blogger!

Two of my usual commentators, Nangleator and the Old NFO, had their comments snatched up by the frelling Blogger spam filter and I did not notice that until today.

Sorry, folks. I released them.

Inside Job; Star Wars Edition

An argument that the destruction of the Death Star in the first (1977) Star Wars movie was an inside job:



Of course, this is a parody of the "9/11 Truthers", if you didn't already know that.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

The Convair YB-60:


I'm not convinced that the sound isn't dubbed in, but it's probably about the best that can be done. Only one of these things ever flew.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Caturday

Jake hears a bird outside, but he is not motivated enough to go to the window to look:


I had to keep him away from yesterday's home project: Regreasing my Kitchen Aid mixer.


In the directions that I downloaded, the guy uses wheel-bearing grease. That is a bad idea. If any of the grease liquefies and drips out into your food, it'd be like adding a few drops of machinery oil to your food. If you use food-grade, you won't contaminate your food if that happens.

Something else, if you do it yourself, see the big gear on the right that has a shaft?


That gear does two things: It drives the accessory drive on the front and the shaft is what drives the rotating parts of the mixer. When apart, the gear slides up and down on the drive shaft. The drive shaft has a cross-pin that fits into a channel on the top of the gear:


The top of the drive shaft rotates inside a housing at the top of the mixer itself. If that pin is not inside the channel when you try to put the mixer back together, it won't fit. Of course, at that point, you can't really see the pin because the gear and shaft have fresh grease on them.

I won't tell you how long it took me to figure that out.* It came to light when I was wondering if maybe the sacrificial gear (it breaks if the thing freezes up) in the gear tower wasn't meshing with the worm gear on the motor. So I put an allen key through the pin hole at the bottom of the shaft and tried to turn things, but the shaft moved and the gears didn't. That's when the 4-watt light bulb glowed and I wondered how torque got transmitted if the shaft could move independent of the gear train.
____________________________
* Long enough that throwing the entire mess into the garbage can was up for consideration.

Nixon: Not Only a Bigot, But a Traitor

Richard Nixon deliberately sabotaged peace talks in 1968 by sending a personal emissary to meet with the South Vietnamese ambassador to persuade South Vietnam to pull out of the discussions.
[Anna] Chennault was despatched to the South Vietnamese embassy with a clear message: the South Vietnamese government should withdraw from the talks, refuse to deal with Johnson, and if Nixon was elected, they would get a much better deal.
How is that anything other than treason?

Richard Nixon: Racist. Anti-Semite. Unindicted criminal. And now, traitor.

Great legacy.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Shorter CPAC: Hooray for Slavery!

At a session on how the GOP can better reach out to minorities, a jackoff who claimed to be a descendant of Jefferson Davis rose to defend slavery:
The session's moderator, K Carl Smith, described himself as a "Frederick Douglass Republican", an audience member interjected. "When Douglass came through slavery … he [wrote] a letter to his former slave master and said: 'I forgive you for all the things you did to me'," Smith said.

From the floor, Scott Terry asked: "For giving him shelter and food for all those years?"
And it got worse. The attendees tried to shout down a black woman who tried to speak.

Great way to talk about minority outreach, guys. You really helped your cause.


UPDATE: It got worse. Much worse.

A Ten-Minute Objective Lesson in DoD Procurement



Which is also why the Lawn Dart has morphed from a lightweight day fighter into a tricked-out pig, why it took over two decades to field the F-22 and the V-22, why it took the Army almost fifteen years to develop the M-14* and so on.

(H/T)
______________________________________
* Though, to be fair, part of the time in developing the M-14 was spent in creatively rigging tests to eliminate the FAL.

The National Circus

A long time ago, a ship I was riding made a port visit to Israel.* Not having much to do in port, I took advantage of a guided tour to Masada. On the way back, the bus detoured to Jerusalem for a "drive-by" tour of the sights.

One of the things the guide pointed out was what he referred to as "the National Circus of Israel". It was this building:


The sailors on the bus began asking questions about whether they had live performances, how much were the tickets and were any shows scheduled during the port visit, so they could go and watch. That's when the guide had to admit that it was the Knesset building. The Knesset has a very long reputation of being little more than a dysfunctional collection of self-aggrandizing imbeciles.**

Well, we have our own National Circus:


Between Sen. Ted Cruz's tea-fueled campaign to keep trying to repeal Obamacare and the Democrats pushing a gun control bill that won't be enacted, it's hard to take any of those clowns seriously.

And they are clowns and not just garden-variety clowns, but ass clowns. They're wasting time when there are serious challenges facing this country. It's not just them, of course, for the Administration is complicit in much of this congressional circle-jerking, what with Joe Biden going around the country, telling women they should buy an 1870s-era shotgun if they feel the need for a weapon.

So as the climate warms and the seas rise and nothing is done to develop any method of deflecting asteroids and the middle class is being squeezed out of existence and none of the banksters were sent to prison and the "too big to fail" banks keep getting larger and engaging in the same stupid risk-taking that they did before (because it cost them nothing the last time around), our National Circus will continue on basically doing nothing but making noise.
____________________________
* Never you mind what I was doing on that ship.
** I think you'd find that most Israelis would say that I am being overly generous in that description.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Afghanistan: Time to Exercise the Aiken Plan

Which is: Declare victory and leave.

This is why:
President Hamid Karzai has accused the United States of colluding with the Taliban to justify its presence in Afghanistan, dumbfounding U.S. officials during a problematic visit by the new Pentagon chief.
Nothing like the guy you have propped up for a decade accusing you of working with his enemies. That accusation, of course, has alarmed our own military:
"His remarks could be a catalyst for some to lash out against our forces," US and Nato forces commander Gen Joseph Dunford said in a leaked email.
Karzai has handed us a golden opportunity to leave now and let him conduct his war as he sees fit. We should take full advantage of it. Withdraw our units and bring out whatever equipment we can. Wjhat we can't, either give it to the Afghans (if we're feeling generous) or render it unusable.

Not one more dime for Karzai and his corrupt cabal of hangers-on and sticky-fingered cousins.

Time to go.

Free is Good, Right? (Today Only)

Free guide to gun holsters.

It'll be ten bucks tomorrow. And you'll need a Kindle, or a Kindle app, or however the hell that works for you.

Happy Pi Day!

Or Pie Day.


Whichever works.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Pope Frank

Yeah, so they have a new pope. Yet another old geezer who can be counted on to not do much of all in the way of reforming the hot mess that is the church's buraucracy and who can also be counted on to die (or retire) soon.

Big frakking deal. This isn't the reformer that you were looking for. Move along.

Ryan Blurts Out the Truth



Classic Freudian slip if there ever was one.

(H/T)

Sequester Effects, Employee Edition

As you probably know, most Federal employees are being given furloughs of one day a week. That's a 20% pay cut. Before you start thinking "good", ask yourself how you would feel if your employer announced a similar measure. Could you make your bills? Could you pay your rent/mortgage? What would you have to eliminate to tighten your belt that much?

Not that people care, mind you. One of the bad things about working for government, especially the Feds, is this: Your bosses hate you. Of the two political parties in this country, one of them outright loathes you. They think you are nothing but a pack of leeches and parasites, feeding off the blood and sweat of the "makers".

Until the mail doesn't get delivered on a Saturday, or their tax refund checks don't get processed, or their Social Security paperwork is delayed, or their favorite national park isn't open, or the inspectors aren't showing up or they have to wait longer to clear Customs or wait longer to go through the TSA grope points.

Then it'll be an outrage, of course. But they still won't love you guys. That's why your pay hasn't risen in two years.

The other party, of course, doesn't exactly hate you. Most of the time. But they still don't really like you.

Even if you are in the military, they don't really love you. Oh, they say they "support the troops", but we all know that's just eyewash. When it comes to supporting the troops with Federal cash, that doesn't happen very much. Not unless some big defense contractor is going to make a huge profit from it. So they'll buy you shiny new F-35s and V-22s, but if you get injured or wounded and then discharged, you're off to the VA, which is understaffed already and unable to cope, but at least they're not getting furloughed, not unless there is a shutdown.

Caturday, Night Edition

Why is it that, when a cat gives you the Paw in the middle of the night, that dainty little paw feels as though it's the size of a catcher's mitt, tipped with tenpenny nails?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Shorter LAPD: "You'll Get Your New Truck When Hell Freezes Over"

Remember the two women who were shot at during the Dorner manhunt? The LAPD shot their truck to pieces because, to someone with 3/600 vision, their truck looked like Dorner's.

The LAPD was oh, so sorry about that! And they promised to give the two women a new truck.

A promise that they haven't kept. For reasons that amount to bullshit.

So here is a better idea: Don't take the truck, sue the LAPD for about ten pasta-gajillion dollars. And then buy yer own truck.

FAA to AOPA: Blow It Out Yer Ass!

AOPA is urging FAA Administrator Michael Huerta to halt cuts that will disproportionately affect the safety and integrity of general aviation operations.

“The recommended cuts will have unacceptable consequences for the nation and the flying community,” AOPA President Craig Fuller said in a March 12 letter to Huerta. “We urge you to suspend the planned cuts while we, and others, call upon Congress and the Administration’s budget officials to grant you the needed flexibility to make choices that will reduce spending without threatening the safety of our skies or disabling general aviation.”
The whole idea behind the sequester, as they voted for it nearly two years ago, was that the cuts were supposed to be painful. That's why the Army is cutting back training, the Navy is parking ships, the Air Force is cutting back on their schedule of bikini waxes, the air demostration teams are canceling shows, government employees are being furloughed, national parks are closing and so on.

I know that AOPA is a lobby group and of course, they're going to scream because their particular ox is being gored. Well, so are a lot of other people's oxen.

It comes across as whiny and petulant, at least to me. And I've been an AOPA member since damn near the invention of dirt.

The Probable Glassification of North Korea

Hong Kong (CNN) -- The North Korean army has declared invalid the armistice agreement that ended the Korean War in 1953, the official newspaper of the country's ruling Workers' Party said Monday.

Since last week, North Korea had been threatening to scrap the armistice after the U.N. Security Council passed tougher sanctions against it in response to its February 12 nuclear test.

On Monday, the Rodong Sinmun newspaper reported that the Supreme Command of North Korea's army had done so.
If North Korea is crazy enough to try to fire off a nuclear weapon, then hell will rain down on their country. For we will have no choice but to nuke them hard.

The world has gone nearly seventy years without a major war between first-rank powers. That is probably damn near a record. The reason that degree of peace has stood is because of nuclear weapons, of a promise that "if you nuke our guys, we will nuke your guys."* That whole regimen of world security falls apart if one nation uses nukes on another nuclear nation (or nations under a nuclear umbrella) and gets away with it. If they hit us, or South Korea, or Japan, we have to hit them back and with no screwing around.

It is getting on towards spring in Korea. The prevailing winds in late April through the summer blow from the southeast. Fallout from a nuclear attack will spread into China or, if the winds shift, Japan. But it will be the Koreans who will bear the worst of it.

If war does come again, we should take a lesson from the First and Second World Wars: It is not a good idea to let an enemy limp off, bloodied but unbowed. For that lies a chance for them to become resentful.** It is better to do as Gengis Khan purportedly said.
________________________________________________
*One of the entertaining and improbable fictions of "Red Storm Rising" was that a major war in Europe could erupt with nobody using nukes.
** The outcome of the American Civil War is another example of that misplaced magnanimity.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Much to be Proud Of.

I have one quibble:


"And we didn't scare so easy."

Sure we did. After Pearl Harbor, we put American citizens into concentration camps based on their national origin. In World War One, our government locked people up for sentences ranging to ten years for the crime of dissent. After World War One, there were "Red Scares" and the "Palmer Raids". Once the Great Depression swung into gear, our government was so afraid of a protest by former soldiers that they sent the cavalry, backed by armor, after them. And yes, one of the lesser discussed reasons for the GI Bill of 1944, including the provision known as the 52-20 Club, was to get returning servicemen either working, subsidize their looking for work, or into school, rather than have them hanging around and breeding resentment.

After the Second World War came another round of Red Scares. We executed the wife of a spy as a ploy to put pressure on him. Our government, pressured in part by one drunken paranoid senator, ruined the lives of a hell of a lot of people just based on suspicion.

There are, of course, other things that we are #1 in. We're first among industrial nations in teen pregnancy. We're first in health care spending per capita (and 40th in life expectancy).

More than that, we've pretty much lost our way on science. Over fifty years ago, we as a nation thought that teaching mathematics and science to children, along with physical fitness, was a good idea. 150 years ago, education was valued enough that state-supported universities was thought to be a fine idea. Now, state-supported universities are being gutted like fish hauled up onto a dock. On a per capita basis, we were 4th in the world for number of college graduates and that was before the banksters and the Republicans wrecked our economy. We're 20th in math education, 23rd in science education.

Yes, we reached for the stars. But then we spent over thirty years settling for low Earth orbit flights and it doesn't look as though that will change anytime soon. We sent probes out to deep space, but now, for the most part, we pretty much keep sending them to Mars (12 since the Viking landers). (Since Voyager 1 and 2: 2 probes to Jupiter, 1 to Saturn, 1 to Mercury, 1 to Venus, 1 to the Asteroid Belt, 1 to Pluto)

Both the government and some corporations spent money on basic research, which was scientists asking "wuffo" and then doing experiments to find out what and why. Sometimes, things were discovered, not by accident, but because the data demanded it. Now, the only time that technological developments get any funding from the government is if there is a use in it to better kill people. In 1883, a friend told Hiram Maxim to give up on experimenting with electricity, telling him: "If you want to make your fortune, invent something to help these fool Europeans kill each other more quickly!"

We have become those fools.

Now, a scientist who comes up with a hypothesis that does not comport with a politically-accepted ideology will face having his life ruined by blowhards on cable news and on the radio who are so scientifically illiterate that they probably believe that "Brownian Motion" has something to do with a Colt M1911. We have tens of millions of people and an entire political party that judges science through the lens of ideology, a concept that has failed before and is failing now.

But why should I get upset about this? It's not going to change. We have politicians shrieking for government austerity, despite filing cabinets full of data that show that austerity in bad economic times not only doesn't work, it makes things worse. But that's what their ideology demands and that is what they then demand. We have politicians that deride people who live in areas where education is still valued. We say we want to raise our children to be competent in math, science and technology, but then we spend years teaching them only how to pass a series of tests.

No, we're not the greatest country. And we show no sign of trying to reverse that.

We are so screwed

(H/T)

Taking Care of Veterans- Another Empty Promise

Depending on where a veteran happens to live, it can take upwards of 500 days for a basic VA claim to be processed. The only thing that seems to be happeneing in the Obama Administration is that the situation keeps getting worse.*

If you are a veteran with a serious problem, it may be worth the trouble to move to Maine, South Dakota or Minnesota. At least there, the claim will be processed in 3-4 months.
__________________________________
* Heckovajob, Barry!

Arrgh.

Today is going to be a maximum-coffee day, I fear. I was not ready to go to sleep an hour earlier than I had been. And for damn sure, I was not ready for the alarm clock to go off an hour earlier.

Can we do away with "standard time", now? It's not as though most kids walk to the bus stop any more; they all get picked up and dropped off at their driveways right under the watchful eyes of their parents.

When Daylight Savings Time became law in 1966, it was effective for six months out of the year (last Sunday in April to last Sunday in October). Since then, the beginning has moved up six weeks and the end back a week, so now we're barely at four months of Standard Time. So Standard Time isn't the standard, now.

Let's get rid of it. Or at least, move the beginning of DST to the middle of February, so that the period of Standard Time brackets the Winter Solstice.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Fifty Years On

The "Onion Field" murder happened fifty years ago.

Caturday, or "Why Does My Laptop Keep Overheating" Edition

Probably because the heat sink is clogged.


Totally worth it.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Caturday; Game On Dept.

After quite a few nights of sleep interrupted by a cat who feels that his attention bank needs replenishing, I've started making those deposits when he is sound asleep.

I doubt if cats appreciate that sort of irony.

Spare a Thought for Tam

As she gets slices cut out of her nose.

This is what is going on. And why.

UPDATE: Her procedure is done. Won't hurt to keep the good wishes header her way, though.

What Was Once "Unthought Of", Eventually Becomes "Meh".

It was once unthought of that the police would have the right to accost citizens on their peaceful daily routine. But it is more and more common. The "reasonable suspicion" for a frisk, as in Terry v. Ohio, has morphed into the "furtive movement" testilie that is commonly resorted to by the NYPD, among others. The Feds now vacuum all electronic communications, so much so that the NSA has to keep building new server farms to hold all of the data. The loosening of 4th Amendment protections, done to facilitate going after terrorists, has been almost entirely used by the Feds for other investigations.

Oh, you could convert your savings to cash, so the Feds wouldn't be able to look at your financial transactions. But then they'd just confiscate your money, claim it was illicitly obtained by you, and you have to prove otherwise.

So the idea that the government is even cracking open the door to using drones to kill people on American soil is most disturbing. Because sooner or later, we wi as a nation, get to the point where the cops will feel justified in using a drone to kill somebody because either the SWAT team was on a coffee and doughnuts break, or because of budget cuts.

We need to stop this shit now. Before it becomes acceptable.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Bay Lights

It'll only be visible during the night, San Francisco time.

acmelive on livestream.com. Broadcast Live Free

Another Reason to Stay Home If You're Going to Drink


Maybe it's not an easy job to sit in an air-conditioned trailer in Nevada and serve out death to people on the other side of the planet (or the country). But there is no personal risk involved, other than the risks of driving down the road to a job that one might not enjoy.

But the mere thought that in forty years, some geezer is going to be sitting on a bar stool and whining about "how hard it was to drive a drone during the War on Terrrah" is enough to make me glad that I'm already getting old.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Dat Hat!!

This is a photo of the Rough Riders with their two Colt 1895 "Potato-Digger" machine guns, the first automatic machine guns used by the Army in combat. As you can read in the article, these guns were purchased privately and given to the Rough Riders.


Check out, though, the hat worn by the man on the far right. It looks as though he is wearing a cover from a large soup tureen.

Here's a Potato-Digger being fired:



Cable News Idiots

I opened my newspaper this morning and saw this cartoon:

(Click to emgigginate)
(It came from here)
Video here

And then Jon Stewart pointed out how all of the cable news idiots* focused on President Obama's science-fiction flub and completely ignored Speaker Boehner's outright lie.


Stewart has it right. Speaker Boehner should be immediately removed for utter incompetence. But he won't, because his Republican base is incapable of distinguishing between Constitutionally-mandated government functions and crime.

Because they are ideological idiots.
_______________________________
* Admittedly, "cable news idiots" is a tad redundant.

Monday, March 4, 2013

When Fiction Starts to Become Reality

A few decades ago, John Varley wrote a science fiction short story called "The Barbie Murders". The case was set in a Lunar colony where all of the inhabitants had themselves surgically altered to look like Barbie.

So it was not just a little creepy to find out that some clown has actually done just that. And that she hasn't been the only one that has tried, just the one that has come closest.

There are times that the planet-killing asteroid doesn't sound so bad...


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Gun Shop Primer



Good video and accurate, as far as it goes. He has left out one type: The Sexist Pig.

If a woman walks into a gun store, she will be invisible to the S.P. unless she flags him down like a taxicab. When she finally gets his attention, the S.P. will immediately try to sell her an airweight J-Frame .38 as "the perfect gun for a lil' lady like yerself." If a woman walks in with her husband or a male friend, the S.P. will insist on talking to him about what is the best gun for her, even long after it becomes obvious that she has her own money and has her own thoughts on what she wants to buy.

(H/T)

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

Autobahn Airport, 1984:



I wonder how practical that would have really been. Presumably the Soviets would have noted every stretch of the highway where the lanes came together for several thousand feet without a median strip.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Fun With Captions

It's probably no shock to readers of this blog that I am a huge fan of the show Justified on F/X. I'll record a show and then watch the bits that I like a few times.

In the episode "Outlaw", Wynn Duffy informs Boyd Crowder that a hitman has been sent by a mobster from Detroit:
"Theo's got a guy on the way down who has apparently killed more people than malaria."
So I'm watching it, the phone rings, and I hit the mute button instead of the pause button. And this caption popped up:
THEO'S GOT A GUY ON THE WAY DOWN WHO HAS APPARENTLY KILLED MORE PEOPLE THAN MARIA.
I'm imagining a few thousand deaf folks reading that and wondering who the fuck this Maria is and how many people has she killed.

This Maria?



Or this one?


One Looong Flight

Guam to Jacksonville, FL. Now over Alabama. Apparently they've given him a new squawk code and FlightAware has dropped the track.

That's a 39 hour flight. Talk about the "Iron Butt" award!

I don't know he fits that much gas in a Lancair.

Caturday

Jake playing with some toys.


This photo was not staged. I don't know how he got that one squirml onto his side.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Statist Conservatives

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court split along ideological lines Tuesday in dismissing a challenge to an expanded federal law that allows interception of electronic communications between foreign targets and people in the United States.

Justice Samuel Alito Jr. wrote for the conservative majority in saying the lawyers, journalists and human rights organizations that brought the suit cannot prove that they have been caught up in the surveillance, and therefore may not challenge the law's 2008 expansion.
The NSA grabs everything. Not just communications between here and foreign nations, but everything. There are only two ways that you can communicate with another person without the NSA listening in: Face to face or by writing it down, on paper, and delivering the actual written word to the recipient.

The "conservatives" on the Supremes are telling people that they can only file suit if they can prove that the government actually listened to them. Which is as surrealistic as when Lindsey Graham asked Chuck Hagel to prove that the defamatory rumors about him weren't true.

But there is something else going on here: A contentment that the conservative wing of the Supreme Court has with handing the Executive branch the tools of tyranny. It's as though they're saying: "We'll let them be as tyrannical as they want to be, but if you don't like it, take your rifles out and do something about it."

I just don't get where this Right-wing trust of the government not to listen in on their communications comes from. The same folks who quote Ayn Rand as though she personally wrote one of the books of the Bible have no problem with the Feds monitoring their emails and telephone calls?

Do the anti-government folks really believe that they aren't being monitored? Are the people who screech about "Second Amendment solutions" really confident that their communications are not being analyzed? When the Feds infiltrate informants and agents provocateurs into their groups, how do they think the Feds came to learn of their existence?

But that's OK with the Right. It's OK with them that the same government that they don't trust to run a health care system is a government that they trust with wiretapping everyone, tracking everyone, and having broad access to their mental health records.

How does this make any sense?