Words of Advice:

"Never Feel Sorry For Anyone Who Owns an Airplane."-- Tina Marie

"
If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"
Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It.
" -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot,
by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse.
" -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Going to be an Interesting General Election Season (plus Caturday)

When the main selling point for the three major candidates (Trump, Clinton & Cruz) is essentially "I'm less despicable than the other guy!"

The polling seems to focus on Clinton, Cruz, Rubio and Trump. Guess they're eliminating Sanders and they think that the Rubot may get a new OS upload and get back in the race.

Anyway, I went home for lunch, since I live less than ten minutes from the office. I went through the drive-thru and bought a couple of junior whoppers from Burger King. In the past, Jake has liked it when I'd break off some pieces and let him have them.

Not today. He sniffed at them, then he snuggled under the top cover of the bed, like this:


and went back to sleep.

UPDATE: He ate a little for dinner. And if we could add another day or two into this week between today and tomorrow, that's be great.

UPDATE II: It's 9PM. Jake was on my bed this afternoon and evening. I laid there with him, read and listened to a couple of podcasts. Jake must have gotten tired of that much togetherness, for he went out to a chair in the living room for another snooze. It has a heated cat pad on it.

If you've been through this before, you know how much it sucks.

The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend, Even if He Was My Enemy Beforehand

Former SS Colonel Otto Skorzeny, whose exploits during the Second World War are the stuff of legend, later worked for Israel as a spy and a hitman. His biggest accomplishment, as far as is known, was crippling Egypt's rocket program.

It's probably a safe bet that, when he helped found a Spanish neo-nazi group in 1966 and the Paladin Group soon after, that he was passing information about them to Mossad.

(H/T)

Caturday. Because Reporters are Idiots.

From the Guardian:
The US military will keep three heavy army brigades in Europe on a continuous basis, reversing Barack Obama’s reduction of forces after concluding that Russian aggression poses an enduring threat to continental stability.
Spencer Ackerman is an imbecile who doesn't seem to understand that in this country, the President is the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. It the President didn't sign off on this, the Army would be saying exactly squat. The military commanders don't get any more say in it because of whatever Trump is spewing, regardless of what the reporter might think. Stupid twit.

Here's Jake, cleaning up some yogurt from my breakfast this morning.


He's not hardly eating anything, now. I can feel the side of his shoulder blade, he's that skinny. If I wasn't taking him in tomorrow, I don't think he'd be long for this world.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

A Feline Buffet


Top to bottom: Water, the dry food he likes as treats, his regular (prescription) dry food, canned fish, and his wet food from tonight and this morning.

Whatever he wants. Right now, he's snoozing.

Caturday; The News is Bad

Jake has been diagnosed with bladder cancer.

This is him, lying against my leg, a few minutes ago.


He's purring away. I'm a wreck.

His last day is Friday.

Unless war breaks out, don't expect much from this blog for awhile.

UAE Building Codes

They probably suck.
A large fire has hit at least two residential towers in the United Arab Emirates, in the third such incident in a little more than a year.

The fire struck one tower in Ajman emirate, north of Dubai, before spreading to an adjacent block.
Or they are "adjustable", in that the building inspectors will develop a sudden case of situational blindness if the situation warrants.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Because We All Know How Much Courts Love Intervening in the Electoral Process;
Donald the Cry-Baby Edition

Donald Trump is doing what he does best: Threatening a lawsuit - this time, challenging the way delegates are awarded in Louisiana.

The Republican front-runner took to Twitter Sunday to complain that he won the most votes in the state's primary, but could emerge with fewer delegates than rival Cruz. "Lawsuit coming," he wrote.

Trump's campaign spokeswoman didn't immediately respond to questions about the grounds on which Trump might sue.
Translation: "Waaahh!! No Fair!!!" Ima gonna SUUUEEEEE!!!1!"


I gather that he's just a spoiled, self-entitled rich brat. "10 uncommitted delegates" means that those ten can vote for whomever they want and if it's not The Donald, well, sucks to be him.

Beyond that, by threatening to sue every time things don't go his way, it's a good bet that Drumpf is torquing off a lot of people who will remember this. Especially since the GOP officially doesn't like lawyers (except when they need them to rig an election).

Minimum SAT Score for Admission: 402

Throwback Time

Going back eight years to five or six inventions that changed the world.

Cirrus Jet and FAA Gobbledygook

The FAA is proposing a special rule that doesn't require Cirrus to flight-test the operation of the parachute system of its new SF-50 jet:
The applicant (Cirrus) does not have to prove or demonstrate that the system works in flight.
Maybe I'm not fully functioning this morning. But what I gather is this: Cirrus is making a single-engine jet. A big selling point of the airplane, for Cirrus, is that if shit goes sideways, the pilot only has to trigger the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System and float down onto whatever is below (open fields, power lines, day-care centers, etc.). They don't have to demonstrate that it really works because in the SF50, the parachute is only a marketing tool, not a required system.

The FAA doesn't think it's worth testing because the parachute gizmo, in the SF50, isn't a standalone system, like it is in Cirrus's prop jobs. The parachute system in the jet interfaces with the flight control system and so they think it's not worth pulling the pin for a live flight test.

I suspect what really happened is that Cirrus, and their congressional reps, whined about a test probably ending up destroying a two-million dollar airplane. To which I say: "So what? That's life in the big leagues." Destroying multi-million dollar bits of equipment to prove that they're safe is par for the course.

Comments to the proposed rule are open through May 2nd.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Those Arresting Physicists

From a joke that;s going around:
Werner Heisenberg, Erwin Schrodinger and Georg Ohm are in a car that gets pulled over. Heisenberg is driving and the cop asks him: "Do you know how fast you were going?"

"No, but I know exactly where I am," Heisenberg replies.

The cop says: "You were doing 55 in a 35."

Heisenberg throws up his hands and shouts: "Great! Now I'm lost!"

The cop thinks this is suspicious and orders him to pop open the trunk. He checks it out and says: "Do you know you have a dead cat back here?"

"We do now, you jerk!" shouts Schrodinger.

The cop moves to arrest them. Ohm resists.

Caturday

Jake the Bed Cat.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Because It's Friday

Indonesian steam:


A dual-drive steam locomotive is fairly unusual.

Wørd!

The degeneration of the Republicans is staggering (try to imagine McCain, to say nothing of Eisenhower, campaigning on the basis of "Nyaah nyaah, I've got a big dick and your wife is ugly").
I can imagine Dubya, through his minions, doing that. His South Carolina primary campaign in `00 was just as nasty.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Richard Nixon Was the Most Despicable Person in American Politics in the 2nd Half of the 20th Century

For he and John Erlichman came up with the "War on Drugs" as a way to destroy groups of voters they opposed.

Trillions of dollars down that rathole. Massive police bureaucracies were created. Civil liberties have been sharply curtailed as the Supremes carved away at the 4th and 5th Amendments. Millions of people were arrested and incarcerated.

All to score political points.

But hey, even if we were to end the (Phony) War on Drugs, the devotees of the American Police State would figure out something else to go after. For their rice bowls have to be protected, which is all that the Drug War is about nowadays.

Why I Want to See Cruz Get the Nod

For years, the Wingnuts have been moaning "oh, if only the GOP would nominate a true conservative, they'd win". They said that after Grampa Walnuts and Caribou Barbie lost in `08 and then Flip-Flop Mitt and the Zombie-Eyed Grannie-Starver lost in `12.

So let's put their most cherished belief to the test. I'm betting that Cruz will get beaten like a bell at Notre Dame.

What the Terror Attacks are Revealing About the Electronic Spies

They seem to be showing that the billions of dollars and pounds consumed by the NSA and GCHQ have been poured down a rathole. For the last fourteen years, those snoops have been telling us that if they have free rein to spy on everyone and use everything, that they can detect the terrorists and their supporting networks.

There's no civil liberties issue with them monitoring what goes on in France and Belgium or Syria.

Where is the evidence that the electronic spies are worth what they have been paid? Where is there proof that the massive data collection, storage and analysis that the NSA has been doing has helps a whit?

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

This Could Get Very Interesting; Terror Edition

The Islamic State group has trained at least 400 fighters to target Europe in deadly waves of attacks, deploying interlocking terror cells like the ones that struck Brussels and Paris with orders to choose the time, place and method for maximum chaos, officials have told The Associated Press.
It's probably ISIL doctrine that the Europeans are soft and will do little more than cower in fear of their fighters.

I think they are very, very wrong. While Western civilization is a veneer that has thickened, the Europeans have a long and not terribly distant track record of engaging in mass slaughter because reasons. Oh, there's art and science and letters, but scratch deeply enough and you'll find a howling Saxon or a Frank or a Viking or a Magyar, all of whom at one time or another, controlled just about all of the land that the then-current technology could reach.

When ISIL pushes the Europeans far enough, I suspect that they'll find that they will have awakened a brutal and implacable foe who will have no compunction at all about doing very hard things. Afterwards, the Europeans will act all contrite but, in private, they will tell each other "but they had it coming to them". And they will.

The Decline of the American Legal System Marches On

Move over, Judge Judy. There's a new TV courtroom judge coming to town – and it's none other than former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

The [failed] onetime vice presidential candidate has been tapped to preside over a new reality court show that would premiere next year. She signed a deal in February with Montana-based production company Warm Springs, a source close to the process tells PEOPLE.
I've had conversations with a few judges who, when the topic of Judge Judy comes up, become almost livid. People who come to their courts have acted like the "litigants" on Judge Judy and more and more, people dress like those on the show.

Frankly, the Former Half-Term Governor of Alaska is no more qualified to act as a judge than your average fourth-grader, and the kid might do a better job of it.

The founders of that production company, Chris Richardson and Marc Pierce, should be flogged through the streets of Missoula with a rusted set of truck tire chains. There's likely no shortage of judges who would be happy to sign such an order.

Because Nothing Promotes Reasonable Discourse Like the Presence of Heavily-Armed Stormtroopers

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz said Tuesday that surveillance in Muslim neighborhoods in the U.S. must be intensified following the deadly bombings at Brussels, while rival Donald Trump suggested torturing a suspect in last year's Paris attacks would have prevented the carnage.
Right. Because it worked so well for the NYPD when Muslims in general were suspicious of the cops because of the NYPD's heavy-handed and clumsy efforts at domestic espionage.

Morons, both of them.

Rmoney Makes a Joke

His joke: "Donald Trump has had several foreign wives. It turns out that there are really are jobs Americans won't do."


Not bad, Willard. How much did you pay for that one?

Out of Jail; Beating the Prisoners Ed.

Six years ago, a sheriff's deputy in South Carolina beat a handcuffed man. Once the guy was on the ground, the deputy continued to beat him and broke his leg. He told a jury that he had to do it.

The cop was sentenced to 63 months in Federal prison. He got out in January (BOP # 22110-171). His victim won a judgment of over $300,000, of which he'll probably not see a penny.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Short-Fingered Vulgarian is Sensitive About His Short Fingers

The "short-fingered vulgarian" insult has pissed Trump off for almost thirty years. The man who coined the insult reflected on it last fall:
Like so many bullies, Trump has skin of gossamer. He thinks nothing of saying the most hurtful thing about someone else, but when he hears a whisper that runs counter to his own vainglorious self-image, he coils like a caged ferret. Just to drive him a little bit crazy, I took to referring to him as a “short-fingered vulgarian” in the pages of Spy magazine. That was more than a quarter of a century ago. To this day, I receive the occasional envelope from Trump. There is always a photo of him—generally a tear sheet from a magazine. On all of them he has circled his hand in gold Sharpie in a valiant effort to highlight the length of his fingers. I almost feel sorry for the poor fellow because, to me, the fingers still look abnormally stubby. The most recent offering arrived earlier this year, before his decision to go after the Republican presidential nomination. Like the other packages, this one included a circled hand and the words, also written in gold Sharpie: “See, not so short!” I sent the picture back by return mail with a note attached, saying, “Actually, quite short.” Which I can only assume gave him fits.
The New Yorker chimed in:


I have little doubt that if he makes it all the way to the White House, that his first proposed bill will be to make it a felony to joke about the Hands of Der Trumpenfuhrer (or "Drumpfenfuhrer").

Who the Chinese and the Russians are Rooting For

Donald Trump. He's said that he's in favor of pulling back from Asia and NATO. Read the transcript, if you can stomach it.*

Predictably, the Aussies are appalled. The Euros have other things on their minds today, but when the scope of the Trump Doctrine sinks in, I expect they'll be similarly appalled.
________________________________________________________
* He spent a lot of time talking about the size of his hands, to the point that the editor running the meeting had to say "let's move on." Just fucking strange.

Deploying the Anti-Terror Clue-Bat

I'm not going to write about the attacks in Belgium at Zaventem airport and a metro station. The story is still developing.

What I am going to discuss is what I heard some "terrorism analyst" say. It was something along the lines of "since the terrorist(s) blew up their suicide bombs in the departure area, we should move the security checkpoint outside of the airport".

My jaw dropped at that. The target of the terrorists wasn't the airport itself, it was the people in the airport. Look at the headlines: "At Least 31 People Killed". The terrorists are trying to reap maximum carnage.

What happens if the security checkpoint is moved off-airport? You know that they aren't going to build six of them for each airport. They'll build one or two because it's cheaper to do that. Which means that there will be masses of people congregating at the checkpoint. Lots of people at the off-airport checkpoint will make that, well, I think you get the point.

Will they then limit that to "ticketed passengers only"? There will have to be massive fleets of buses or trams to move passengers and all of their bags between the airport and the checkpoint, unless they also set up baggage check0in and pickup outside of the new checkpoint. Which will create another inviting target for the terrorists.

How will they handle the passengers who are being picked up or dropped off by friends? Where will the passengers wait for that-- out in the wind, rain, heat and cold, or will they build enclosed waiting areas? What about the parking garages that likely would then be inside the security perimeter? What do they do about older airports, such as Midway, where a highway runs right by the terminal building?

What we will see, in the coming days and weeks, will be large amounts of Classic Security Theater, measures that inconvenience vast numbers of people, give the illusion of something being done and accomplish nothing. Because all of the anti-terror analysts and talking heads have to protect their rice bowls.


Yep, something will be done, all right.

And, of course, the usual politicians and candidates will be out doing their usual bit of demagoguing. Another time on that topic, maybe.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Mitt the Fudge-Packer Is Still an Idiot

Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has said he will vote for Ted Cruz in the upcoming caucuses in his home state of Utah, intensifying his attack against frontrunner Donald Trump.

(Like I'm going to pass up a chance to reuse this photo)

Cruz has earned a reputation of being the single most detested person in the U.S. Senate. Considering some of the trolls and misanthropes who inhabit the place, that took some real doing. Nobody likes Cruz. Even G-d won't talk to him directly.

Rafael Cruz looks the sort of creep that would put a roofie in your drink and then stuff you into a panel van (a good-enough reason to ban vans). Mittens must be desperate beyond belief if he's willing to support him.

Speaking of Cruz, he was babbling about "appeasement" regarding the President's trip to Cuba. I wonder if he regards Nixon's trip to China in `72 as "appeasement". Probably safe to bet "no". Cruz is a fricking moron; the "isolate Cuba" policy of the early 1960s hasn't accomplished a goddamn thing in the last fifty years, other than strengthen the hold of the Cuban communists over their own people.

Stun Guns are Legal, Maybe

In a "per curiam" opinion, the Court hinted that Massachusetts' ban on stun guns is illegal. Pity that they didn't outright strike it down, but I imagine the cards are favoring that; you can read the opinion. It's not very long.

But having a gun in your car when you park in the post office parking lot isn't, at least in the states that make up the 10th Circuit.

Anyway, a unanimous "per curiam" opinion is a very polite way of writing to the loser with a salutation of: "Dear Fucking Idiot". Which might leave a mark on the MA Supreme Judicial Court. Maybe their chief judge had other things on his mind.

(H/T)

I Love the Smell of Snake Oil in the Morning

Lehigh Defense's "Xtreme Defense Ammunition", machined from bar stock. They claim a permanent wound cavity 100% larger than other ammo.

Right. Since good .45 bullets will expand to .75",* it's a pretty bold claim that a solid, non-expanding slug will do better.

The "permanent wound cavity" stuff may look nice in a video, but when the bad guys are composed of ballistics gelatin, get back to me. Until then, I will hold with the opinion that handgun bullets work by cutting blood vessels and/or smashing bone and nerves. A bullet that expands is going to do better at that than a bullet that doesn't.
_________________________________
* So will .40s. Just sayin'.

Only in New Jersey....


I suppose it's better than shooting him.


Money Talks

Ever since Jeff Bezos started the website Amazon to sell books, he has wrestled with how to deliver its products as quickly and cheaply as possible. Today, Amazon, now a retail giant, remains obsessed with this issue, building its own fleet of drones, buying trailers for trucks and signing up drivers for on-demand deliveries.

And nowhere is the company’s push to become a logistics and delivery powerhouse more evident than here in the nation’s capital. Amazon has emerged as one of the tech industry’s most outspoken players in Washington, spending millions on this effort and meeting regularly with lawmakers and regulators.

Amazon has pushed officials to allow new uses for commercial drones, to extend the maximum length of trucks, to improve roads and bridges and to prop up a delivery partner, the United States Postal Service.
Amazon spent $9.4 million on lobbying in 2015, because the wheels of government don't grease themselves.

Drones with packages buzzing around the skies out of the sight of the operators. Bigger trucks beating the shit out of the roads.

One scenario: A medevac helicopter lands in a parking lot or a field. That's normally done outside of any contact with air traffic control. Drones don't have anywhere near the field of view that manned aircraft do, other than maybe the Spirit of St.Louis. That a recipe for disaster.

But it'll come, regardless, because Amazon has the money to buy votes and a newspaper (the WaPo) to push it along.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Why the GOP Establishment is:
A). Scheming Like Mad to Derail The Donald,
B). Sharpening Up Their Seppuku Knives, or
C). Both of the Above.

Paul over at You Might Notice a Trend has been messing around with the polling numbers and past voter turnout and looking at the possible outcomes for a Trump v. Clinton election.

Unless the GOP can suppress minority and youth voting to an unprecedented degree and turn out 83+% of the white vote for Trump, it could be a horrific November for the GOP. A blowout like that could end up in flipping the Congress to the Democrats.

(Play with it yourself.)

I don't like the current situation one bit. While I generally am in favor of divided government, Mitch McConnell would ban AR-15s if Obama proposed giving them away to everyone who graduated from college or a technical school. "Whatever it is, I'm against it" is a morally bankrupt way to pretend to be a legislator.

But this kind of blowout has the potential to wreak some real damage. Which is probably why the GOP establishment would put polonium in Trump's coffee if they could figure out how to blame Putin for it.

(H/T)

Your Sunday Morning Big Prop Noise

A formation of Shackletons:

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Were This Only True

Confidence in driverless cars has soared after Google’s self-driving car chased a cyclist for three miles while unleashing a torrent of abuse and spraying the cyclist with water.
Hell, I'd buy one.

"March Madness" is Over

It's over for those who spend time carefully filling out their brackets. For it's probably a pretty safe bed that only a tiny percentage of people picked the winner of this game: Middle Tennessee (15-seed) beat Michigan State (2-seed) 90-81.

The U. of Northern Iowa beat the U. of Texas on a half-court shot at the buzzer.


It's a good guess that noboy's getting a perfect bracket this time around.

Why there was any doubt that a team of big cats wouldn't beat a team of steers is beyond my comprehension.

Caturday

"I'm trying to take a nap, here," sez Jake.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Investment Opportunity; Election Edition

Maybe pick up a few cheap-jack ARs and some equally cheap magazines?

After the Democratic convention, you might be able to double your money. More than triple it if Hillary wins. Even more if The Donald wins.

Be Pepared to Barf; Movie Edition

Watch a few seconds of this trailer for "Hardcore Henry"


Now imagine watching 90 minutes of that on a huge screen.

People are going to be vomiting from motion sickness.

Failure in the Victim-Selection Process

A security guard fatally shot a 19-year-old man who tried to rob him in the parking lot of a Dallas Whataburger early Thursday morning, police say.

Two people approached the security guard in the parking lot in the 5500 block of Lemmon Avenue just before 1 a.m., according to Dallas Police Department spokeswoman Lt. LaToya Porter.

Police said one of them tried to rob the security guard at gunpoint. The security guard then shot the man, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
Perp #1 is dead and Perp #2 will likely be hit with a felony murder beef.

Because It's Friday

Steam buses weren't built for speed back in the day:

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Dot Torture

I finally gave it a try. The range doesn't permit drawing from holsters, so I had to shoot from low ready. With my Model 17, I went 49/50 at three yards, which isn't a passing score. The last stage, where you "shoot one, reload one" isn't exactly wheelgun friendly. Still, it was fun to do after a session of Bullseye practice.

The session before that, I tried one to Tam's ideas, albeit slightly modified: I drew a somewhat fist-sized circle on the back of a silhouette target, with the bottom of the circle at eye-level. Then I drew two lines down the back, two inches apart, centered on the target. The idea is that only shots that land within the lines count as hits.

Come to think of it, the same holds true for bowling pin matches: If you don't hit on the center, you won't clear the pins.

Dear The Economist: Save Your Time and Money

Donald Trump winning the US presidency is considered one of the top 10 risks facing the world, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit.

The research firm warns he could disrupt the global economy and heighten political and security risks in the US.
Nobody who would vote for The Donald will give a rat's ass what some Limey eggheads think. So if you're trying to persuade Americans not to vote for Trump, well, good luck with that.

Happy Drunken Morons Day

Stay safe, people. And if you drink, don't drive. It's a good bet that the po-po will be looking for those who have had too much to drink and are behind the wheel.

240 Years Ago

The British packed up and left Boston, never to return.

The Massachusetts Militia, succeeded by the still-forming Continental Army, laid siege to the British garrison in Boston in 1775, following the battles of Lexington and Concord. When the Knox Expedition brought the heavy artillery from Ft. Ticonderoga to the siege, the British garrison realized that their positions were indefensible, that their ships could be shelled at will.

It took a week for the winds to blow in a favorable direction for leaving the harbor. By mid-morning on March 17, 1776, the British ships had sailed.

It was the first major American victory of the Revolutionary War, a war that afforded few events. We won the first fight, the last fight, and damn few inbetween.

Blue on Blue: Black = Dead

An undercover narcotics officer for Prince George’s County who came upon a gun battle Sunday outside a station was shot by a fellow officer who mistook him for an assailant, according to the department’s chief.
Of course, the brass are telling the world that t was a tragic accident, yadda, yadda, but this has happened before. Over a 28 year period studied, no white off-duty or plainclothes cop had been shot "by accident" by other cops. African-American and Latino cops have been shot and killed by other cops. The death of Officer Colson wasn't just some "tragic accident". But they'll pretend otherwise and their bosses, in and out of uniform, will pat them on the back and say "there, there, it's too bad."

Officer Colson's a hero for responding to a bad situation while knowing that he stood a risk of being gunned down by his fellow cops. He will get a stirring police funeral and nothing will ever change.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

If You Live in "The Hood", Burglary's an Accepted Way to Raise Money for School

Or so say the relatives of some punk who contracted a fatal case of bullet wounds when he committed a burglary.

Yeah, he "had a future", likely as a resident in a level-4 guesthouse run by FL-DOC.

It's Not Permitted for Cops to Shoot People Who are Lying on the Floor

I don't know why this is even a question, but the City of Framingham, MA has been arguing that it is OK to shoot people lying on the floor.

They've lost that argument.

Lost in the noise is the point that Balko mentioned: That the Framingham SWAT goons broke down a door of the home of a 68-year old grandfather in the middle of the night because of an allegation of a nonviolent offense, even after the main suspect had already been arrested.

The officer wasn't charged, but make no mistake: If you accidentally shoot another person in the head, you're probably going to prison for several years.

Trump Threatens Riots if He's Denied the Nomination

Oh, he didn't put it exactly like that:
"I think we’ll win before getting to the convention," Trump said on CNN's "New Day." "But I can tell you, if we didn’t, and if we’re 20 votes short or if we’re 100 short, and we’re at 1100 and somebody else is at 500 or 400 — because we’re way ahead of everybody — I don't think you can say that we don't get it automatically. I think you'd have riots. I think you'd have riots. I'm representing a tremendous — many, many millions of people."
But given Trump's well-documented egging-on of violence against protesters, including wanting to pay the legal fees for a man who sucker-punched a protester (or he did, until the blowback became too strong), his remarks about riots have to be taken seriously.

Because, as we've seen, there are a lot of low-functioning Y'all Qaeda members out there who might take Trump's comments as orders.

2016: A Tool of the Oligarchy versus a Genuine Tool

That is, apparently, the choice that we'll have on November 1st.

It's way too early to be hitting the vodka.

Well, the Rubot, the "No-Hit Wonder", finally saw the light and quit:
"While this may not have been the year for a hopeful and optimistic message about our future, I still remain hopeful and optimistic about America," Rubio, 44, told supporters in Miami after his projected loss to Trump.
I don't know what reality he's been living in for the last nine months, but it's not this one. His party is nominating an insult comic with fascist tendencies and he's optimistic? Man, I don't know what drugs Rubio's been taking, but he ought to share them.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Trump's Kamikaze Flight

I've mentioned before that The Donald might have gotten into the race to boost his conservative creds and to promote his "brand".

If so, it's likely gone disastrously wrong. Trump as a brand is becoming more and more toxic. People will remember that he ran a campaign rooted in the basest, vilest principles imaginable. Racism. Xenophobia. Encouraging violence against those opposed to him. Supporters proudly giving fascist salutes.

How will that work out for him in the long run, when a "Trump resort" will be akin to- "Klan Hilton"?

A Photo to Give The Donald a Coronary


I'm fairly confident that she's not voting for him.

A Brief Note to Trump, Clinton & Cruz

If any one of you three chuckleheads win in November, please know that a goodly percentage of the votes you receive will have been cast by people who don't like you, respect you or support your platform. They are voting for you because they detest the other guy more.

I saw a Cruz commercial this morning. It has to be the biggest pack of lies that came out the mouth of somebody who wasn't selling used cars in an economically depressed area. If his supporters truly believe his bilge that he's really going to repeal Obamacare, abolish the IRS, pass a 10% flat tax and protect the jobs of industrial workers, then, well, they're stupider than they look. They should be watched to ensure that they don't go outside during a thunderstorm and hold metal rods up in the air. Or maybe they should be encouraged to do just that.

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Greatest Threat to Our Freedom and Liberty

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, which now has a program to spy on school children, to turn teachers and administrators into informants.

It is now time to defund the FBI. It is high time that we take away their right to carry guns and pretend to be police. They aren't cops, not anymore. They are the American iteration of the Stasi. They are spies. And their target for espionage is us.

No Doubt that Bloomberg's "Every Plot of Astroturf" Group Will Log This as Yet Another Senseless Gun Death

A customer shot and killed a hatchet-wielding man attacking a clerk at a convenience store in Burien [WA] on Sunday morning.

About 5:45 a.m., a masked man about 40 years old walked into a 7-Eleven store near South 110th Street and Eighth Avenue South and swung a hatchet at a customer, said King County Sheriff’s Sgt. Cindi West. The man then went behind the counter and attacked the 58-year-old clerk, never saying anything.

Within seconds, a customer pulled out a handgun and shot and killed the attacker, likely saving the clerk’s life, West said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Because, according to the Bloombergers and Clintonistas, the proper move is to call 9-1-1 and pray that the cops arrive before the hatchet-wielder chopped everyone into dog food.

Pi is Round Day


It doesn't work in Europe.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Hits Keep Coming for Hillary

Fuck Benghazi, this one about her and her husband's link to a for-profit college may have legs. A college which paid Bill $4 million a year to serve as an "honorary chancellor".

Let's hope that our choice this year is not between a Foul-Mouthed Fascist (with his own involvement in for-profit diploma mills) and the First Couple of Sleaze.

(H/T)

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

An-225:


A long time ago, I was told that one of the idiosyncrasies of those Progress engines is that they have to be brought up to power slowly to avoid overspeeding. Which is apparently why you'll see that An-225 and An-124s sitting at the end of the runway, running their engines up before departing.

No doubt that ATC loves that all to pieces.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Putting a Spike in the Revolving Door at Ft. Fumble

The radar-carrying blimp program may finally be dead.
Two U.S. senators with sway over all federal spending have dealt a crippling bipartisan blow to the Pentagon’s troubled $2.7-billion program to use radar-carrying blimps to search for enemy missiles.

Sens. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), who holds the Democrats’ No. 2 leadership position in the Senate, have refused a request by the Obama administration to shift $27.2 million to the program to keep it alive.
...
A report released this year by the Pentagon’s independent testing office made clear that JLENS still could not be relied on to perform its expected mission.
The only reason it survived an attempt to kill it in 2011 was because a top-ranking officer saved it. You probably won't be shocked to learn that said officer then retired and got a lucrative job with the prime contractor.

Meanwhile, the Army's boss is asking why it's so goddamn hard to buy a new pistol.
The U.S. Army's chief of staff said Thursday that if he had his way, he'd abandon the bureaucratic Modular Handgun System effort and personally select the service's next pistol.

Speaking at the Future of War Conference 2016, Gen. Mark Milley said he has asked Congress to grant service chiefs the authority to bypass the Pentagon's multi-layered and complex acquisition process on programs that do not require research and development.

"We are not exactly redesigning how to go to the moon, right?" Milley said. "This is a pistol. ... And arguably, it is the least lethal and important weapon system in the Department of Defense inventory."
He's somewhat pissed that the Army is going to spend $17 million to test the guns, which were submitted in response to a 357-page RFP.

I can see why the Army would like to buy only one pistol. But it's a very stupid idea, of the same thinking that has led to the F-35 Flying Clusterfuck.

Neo-Nazis or Trolls?


I suspect that there is a little of both going on. Trump is, without question, the darling of the white supremacists and their ilk. He is as dedicated to the principles of freedom of expression and freedom of speech as Bil Clinton was to the principle of marital fidelity. Trump is a goon and a greedy one, a man who apparently believes that he should get a free ride on paying taxes.

I sometimes wonder if some of his supporters aren't just doing a little bit of trolling. Yet I don't think that we, as a country, can take that chance.

Caturday

Box cat:

Friday, March 11, 2016

Old Flick

There's a real good clue that this is one old movie:

Shorter Trump: "Brown Shirts Wanted. Apply at Any Trump Rally."

The Donald is putting on his brown shirt, all right. He's stated, more than once, that he is in favor of his supporters beating up those who protest at Herr Trump's rallies.

Calling for violence against those who disagree with him is not exactly what one would expect from anyone who has ever glanced at the Constitution.


Never say "it can't happen here". For the indications are that it sure as fuck is about to.

Because It's Friday

Some stuff about steam locomotive rebuilding:

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

"The Name is Pool. Dead Pool."

I finally went to see "Deadpool".

The snarkiness starts with the opening credits, with the actors described by their role than their name. The director is describes as "Some Overpaid Tool".

Although Deadpool is part of the X-Men universe, this isn't your average superhereo movie. Not even close.

He's got a real fondness for Desert Eagles. But shit, he can't keep track of his guns; he keeps leaving his bag of guns somewhere.

The movie breaks the "fourth wall" repeatedly, but, to my opinion, to excess. Fine. This movie is full of excess, which is why this one X-Men movie earned an R rating. How often do you hear of mutants discussing raunchy sex and jerking off?

I didn't know that there was a "Ferris Bueller" bit at the very end. Dammit.

Anyway, if you're hankering for an unconventional mutant movie, this may be one for you.

Wingnuts Take Offense, Part the 5.72 x 10^75th

I took a break and saw, on FB, that some of my Winger relations are up in full hue and cry because President Obama isn't going to Nancy Reagan's funeral.

Riight. And do you want to guess who went to the funeral of Lady Bird Johnson in 2007? Hint: It wasn't some guy named George W. Bush. That funeral was in his home state, he could have taken a few hours off from playing on his ranchette. He sent the First Lady to represent his administration.

Which I don't really recall anyone bitching about at the time.

Obama Derangement Syndrome is a pitiful thing to see.

Not Dead Yet; "Feel the Bern" Edition

Bernie Sanders pulled off his biggest win of the Democratic presidential race on Tuesday, defeating Hillary Clinton in the Michigan primary on a night which also confirmed strong anti-establishment support for Donald Trump in the battle for the Republican nomination.

In an industrial state hit hard by the decline of manufacturing, the Vermont senator’s consistent opposition to free trade deals appears to have been a decisive factor, but he also showed signs of weakening Clinton’s dominance among African American voters.

The shock victory – 49.9%-48.2% with 99.3% reporting – comes despite Sanders trailing the former secretary of state by an average of 21 points in recent opinion polling.
The Clintonistas have been all over every form of media (mass, social, bathroom walls in truck stops), proclaiming that the nomination contest is effectively over and the Democrats need to get behind her as the winner.

Meanwhile, Clinton continues to win states that she'd never win in the general election. Which should mean something, but really doesn't.

As for the GOP, the Batshit-Crazy New Yorker keeps mostly beating the Batshit-Crazy Cuban-Canadian.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Illegal Orders

I've long believed that what went on in Hitler's Germany (and elsewhere) was no fluke. I've believed that when given orders to "go do XYZ", everyone is going to salute and go do that which they are told to do. Nobody is going to ask "is this wrong". If a future president declares martial law and sends the Army into the streets against American citizens, don't expect them not to do it.

CDR Salamander explains why.

In some militaries, the penalty for not following orders will be a Euro-pellet to the back of the head. Not too many will defy orders in that case.

Advance Apologies to Japan

Sorry about the impending radioactive fallout.
North Korea has threatened "indiscriminate" nuclear strikes on the US and South Korea as the two begin their largest ever military drills.

The exercises, Key Resolve and Foal Eagle, are an annual event and always generate tension.

The order for a "pre-emptive nuclear strike of justice" was made in a statement put out by Pyongyang.
Sooner or later, they're going to do something stupid and we're going to have to glassify those morons.

As far as any radiological effects to China and Russia, well, sucks to be them. They've been winking, nodding, and enabling North Korean craziness for decades.

North Korean paranoia is even more extreme than the "Jade Helm" imbeciles in Texas and elsewhere. Except that the NKs have nukes after a fashion and missiles to send them some distance.

The bitter truth of the matter, which is unpalatable to the lunatic running that pissant country, is that nobody really gives a shit about North Korea. If they kept to themselves, few would care what went on there. But engaging in massive counterfeiting and using their embassies for running drugs attracts unfavorable attention and sanctions.

Willard, Go Back to Closing American Factories and Exporting Jobs

It's the only thing you're good at.
Among Trump supporters, 56 percent said they are more likely to vote for Trump after he was denounced by Romney, while 5 percent said they are less likely to vote for Trump. Thirty-six percent said their opinions were not changed.

And among those who voted for Romney, the 2012 GOP nominee, his speech was less helpful in curbing support for Trump: 30 percent were more likely to vote for Trump, while 20 percent were less likely.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Guess the Gizmo



Update: Cross-posted to Target: Babies in Open, which should be a bit of a clue in itself.

Update II:  After the break: more photos, in part to address a comment by CP88:

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Musings on the Impending GOP Implosion

The last time the Republican party had a serious implosion, we wound up with finely educated racist President who thought he knew better than anyone else in the entire world. He bragged about "keeping us out of war" and then, barely a month after his second inaugural, threw us into that war.

His administration was about as anti-freedom and pro-police state as they came back then. Dissenters from his war policy were thrown in prison. He's the reason why, to this very day, if you were to say "I'd like to wring the president's neck", you may get a visit from the Secret Service and serious prison time.

I'm not saying that history is repeating itself. But it sometimes rhymes quite well.

.40 Short & Weak

I took my own suggestion. I bought a police trade-in DA/SA Sig P226 from Sportsman's Outdoor Superstore. They advertised the guns as being in "fair condition", which I think is an understatement.

Judge for yourself:


It has been used, though, as you can see from the barrel:


I've found P226s as low as $399 recently, but those guns came with one magazine and shipping was about $25. For this one, shipping was free and it came with three magazines-- I don't know where I can buy two magazines for $15.

They could have wrapped it better, though. One pass with bubblewrap isn't that costly. There were a couple of scratches that appeared to be from the magazines bouncing off the dust cover. Big deal.

The fun was taking it to the range. I put up a standard silhouette and shot it at seven yards. It shot right to the center with the white-box Winchester Wally-World fodder. I then ran the target back to ten yards, fifteen and finally 25 yards. At 25 yards, I could keep them within the 8 ring-- not fantastic shooting with a new-to-me gun, but not bad.*

It has night-sights that are almost dead. If you were inside a coal bin in the middle of the night during the new moon, they might be usable. Double-action trigger pull is nice, single-action is pretty light. The Hogue "monogrip" has a slightly tacky feel to it.  At first, I didn't like them.  But I've got about 200 rounds through the gun and I'm warming to them.  Perfecta, W-W white box, Federal (Blazer) aluminum and some Winchester Defender, all fed and ejected without a bobble.

It's a solid gun. Given its condition and what I paid for it, it was a far better deal than the High Power that I bought a little while ago.

And no, I'm not running any "2,000 Round Challenge" with this.  I can't see a reason to do that.  Autoloaders have metal pieces sliding on other metal pieces-- running them without lubrication is, to my mind, insanity.

(Yes, before you ask, the oil gets changed in my car every 3,000 miles or 3 months, whichever comes first.  Engines are costly. Oil isn't.)
_________________________________
* When I came off the range, the rangemaster was chuckling. I asked what was so funny. Seems some guys, who had been blasting away with a 9mm at seven yards, had earlier come out of the range into the showroom and said something along the lines of "holy shit, you see where she's got her target"?

NYT Has an Attack of the Vapours Over Donald Drumpf.

They're wondering: "Is it fair?"

Yes, you got that right. The favorite newspaper of neocons and war criminals is concerned about "fairness" in political humor. (They weren't so concerned about fairness in the runup to Chimpy's Most Excellent Desert Ficasco, were they?)

Christ on a Pogo-Stick, who gives a rat's ass if it's fair? It's political satire/humor. John Oliver, who has really popularized "Donald Drumpf" is a frigging comedian, not a member of the news commentariat.

With humor and satire, only one question need be asked: Is it funny? The rest doesn't really matter a fuck.

Gobsmacking Legal Stupidity, MTAHNS Edition

President Obama's DoJ is arguing in court that three-year old children are able to represent themselves in immigration proceedings.
A senior Justice Department official is arguing that 3- and 4-year-olds can learn immigration law well enough to represent themselves in court, staking out an unconventional position in a growing debate over whether immigrant children facing deportation are entitled to taxpayer-funded attorneys.

Jack H. Weil, a longtime immigration judge who is responsible for training other judges, made the assertion in sworn testimony in a deposition in federal court in Seattle.
That is incredulous beyond belief. That has to be the stupidest assertion made by a single judge outside of his own courtroom since the Great Pants Suit.*
____________________
*The Rubber-Stamp FISA Court notwithstanding.

Maybe the iPhone of the Dead Terrorists Has Information About Judge Crater, as Well!

That's almost as looney as the local district attorney, who theorizes that the iPhonein question might could hold a "dormant cyber pathogen" designed to wreak havoc to the computers networked in San Bernardino County.

Maybe the next time that post is up for election, the good voters in that county might consider choosing a prosecutor who knows more about technology than my cat.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

ANG F-106s at dusk

Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Drumphinator

After John Oliver's funny piece a week ago,in which he announced that "the Drumphinator" extension is available for the Chrome browser:


Coders made similar ones for Firefox.

Cute. But be careful that it doesn't screw up your emails.

Caturday

A new resident at the shelter is waiting out his quarantine time.


One he gets through the quarantine, he'll go into the cattery. Unless he's adopted before then.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Drumpf, 2016

Dear Rmoney: Nobody Wants to Hear From You

Mitt Romney, the Republican party’s presidential nominee in 2012, returned to the national stage on Thursday with a blistering indictment of Donald Trump, dubbing the frontrunner “a phony” and “a fraud”.
The full speech, if you have the stomach for it.

In response, The Donald said, in essence, that Romney would have given Trump a blowjob four years ago for Trump's endorsement.

As a candidate, Romney has failed almost as many times as Trump's businesses have failed. But that's not important.

Thing is, the party establishment thinks that Trump will drive the party right over a a cliff. And yet they've waited until the bus was at full speed and 100 feet from the edge before standing up and saying "Driver, I don't think this is a good idea."*

The time to do that was last year, when the opinion polls were beginning to go Trump's way.
________________________________________________
* I await the Downfall parody, with Romney in the bunker.

Because It's Friday

The Flying Scotsman is back!



Video from the first official run, when the locomotive had been painted up, is almost impossible to watch, because of the fucking press helicopters.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

And the Wheels Grind On; Bundy Edition

Federal authorities rounded up 12 people in five states on Thursday, bringing to 19 the number of defendants facing conspiracy, assault and threats charges in a 2014 armed standoff over grazing cattle on U.S. land near renegade cattleman Cliven Bundy's ranch in southern Nevada.

Arrests of alleged co-conspirators in Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Oklahoma and New Hampshire came after a federal grand jury in Las Vegas expanded an indictment already filed against Bundy. It also names two adult Bundy sons and five other men already in federal custody following the end of a nearly six-week armed occupation of a wildlife refuge in Oregon.
I suspect that there wasn't much of an appetite amongst the Feds for this, at least up until the time that the Spawn of Bundy and their minions took over that wildlife refuge in Oregon. But now they've figured out that ignoring that shit only leads to more shit. So now the hammer is coming down, hard.

Those who were involved in either fracas and who haven't been arrested yet might want to think about retaining a decent criminal defense lawyer.

Well, Maybe #NeverTrump Has an Outside Chance

According to the AP, The Donald's percentage of delegates isn't going to do it for him, if he keeps winning at the current rate.
While Trump has racked up 10 wins so far, he's won only 46 percent of the delegates awarded since voting began. It takes an outright majority of delegates to win the nomination.
If the Rubot and the Canadien Usurper don't unite,* then unless Trump steps up his game and wins majorities from here on out, it'll be a brokered convention. For after the first vote, all bets are off.
__________________________________________
* Fat chance of that happening.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

That's Teddy, All Right


Only "The Jacket" and "Save a Pretzel for the Gas Jets" are better.


Heh. Heh.

(H/T)

One Less Participant in "Who's the Best Insult Comic?"

Ben Carson, the only Republican to have once threatened the lead of Donald J. Trump in national polls, said on Wednesday he saw no path forward and would skip a debate on Thursday in his hometown of Detroit, signaling an end to his candidacy after paltry performances in the nominating contests.
He may be nearly 90, but if the GOP contest is going to be for a National Insult Comic, why isn't Don Rickles or Lisa Lampanelli in the race?

America's News Source

No wonder we're so screwed.

(H/T)

Tweaking the Primaries

Yesterday, in the Super Tuesday primaries, The Donald won Massachusetts and Hillary won Alabama.

That should fall under the "who gives a shit" category. The Democrats haven't won Alabama in forty years. The Republicans haven't won Massachusetts in 32 years.

What I propose is that a state's primary delegates be adjusted based on whether or not a state's electors vote for the party's candidates. It work work like this:

Last five elections for your team: 120% of the normal delegate count. Four out of last five elections: 100%. Three out of last five elections: 80%. Two out of last five elections: 60%. One out of last five elections: 40%. None out of last five elections: 20%.

It would also save some money, annoy people less with stupid attack ads, and drive home to the local parties that if you can't turn out the vote when it matters, then why should anyone give a shit whom you think should run.

On the other side of the coin, one could argue that it might reduce any moderating influence, but how has that worked out so far?

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Why #NeverTrump Will Fail

Because either the Canadien Usurper or the Rubot would have to take one for the team and drop out.

Not going to happen. No politician with the ambition to be President is going to do that. Most of them only get one shot at the job, they know that, and they aren't going to give up a chance at the brass ring for another guy.

None of them are that noble.

And as far as the party establishment goes, Cruz only looks good compared to The Donald.

Reince is probably on his second bottle of whiskey for the night.

Rubio Claims Trump Has a Small Penis

That's the unspoken thrust of this crack:
Marco Rubio escalated his slate of recent attacks on Donald Trump's looks Sunday, telling supporters at an event Sunday night that Trump can't be trusted because he has "small hands."

He was responding to Trump's habit of calling him "Little Marco." And while Rubio freely admitted he's the shorter one of the two, he said he was baffled by the size of Trump's hands.

"He's like 6'2" which is why I don't understand why his hands are the size of someone who is 5'2". Have you seen his hands?" Rubio said during a rally in Roanoke, Virgina. "You know what they say about men with small hands? You can't trust them. You can't trust them."
No, Marco, you little shit, that's not what "they say about men with small hands." The old saying is "small hands, small feet, small penis".

That's your best argument against Trump: A dick-measuring contest?

Marco, you're a stupid little shit. Get someone to upload some new insult programming into your hard drive.

After Today, Shall We All Join Reince Priebus in the Bunker?

I hope he's stocked it with plenty of liquor.
Donald Trump appears poised for sweeping victories on “Super Tuesday” that would effectively anoint him the Republicans’ presumptive nominee
And
The Bernie Sanders campaign is bracing for a difficult national debut across the 11 states that vote for a Democratic presidential nominee on Tuesday
Trump vs. Clinton. By Grabthar's hammer, those are our choices? There are roughly 140 million Americans qualified to be president (35 or older and naturally-born citizens) and these two chuckleheads are whom we get as choices? A crypto-fascist/racist who kept a book of Adolph Hitler's speeches by his bed or the pristine personification of a machine politician? That's the best we can do as a nation?

It's too early in the morning to even think about that. But if you follow politics and you can get through this electoral cycle without becoming a raging alcoholic, bully for you.

Yes, That Shit is Still Going On; Diddling Priest Edition

The Belleville [Illinois] Diocese, the organization that oversees Roman Catholic churches in the region, depends on the church’s international ties to recruit missionary priests from across the globe. In Latin, they are called fidei donum, or gift of faith.

The Rev. Peter Balili, of the Philippines, was one such gift, with a tough assignment. He was called to replace the Rev. Steven F. Poole, who was arrested in 2010 for theft.
...
Balili seemed to have the spirit to lead his flock out of an embarrassing time. He’d sing “You are my sunshine” and interact with parishioners of all ages.

Then, without fanfare, he left in 2014.
...
None of the congregants contacted for this story said they were aware that the Belleville Diocese had, in fact, kicked out Balili and requested that he be sent back to the Diocese of Tagbilaran in the Philippines.

That apparent lack of information raises questions as to whether — well more than a decade after the clergy sex abuse crisis broke open in Boston — the push for disclosure and transparency has reached all corners of the church.
Then this:
A U.S. Conference of Bishops' notice that Balili was dismissed over "inappropriate conduct regarding certain of his parishioners" doesn't appear to have been released by the Belleville diocese to its members. The notice did not specify the nature of that conduct or the age of the parishioners.

The San Francisco archdiocese says that prior to coming to Belleville, Balili was dismissed from a northern California parish over improper Facebook contact with students.
So that priest was either a creep or he was getting into Chester the Molester territory. And, as they have repeatedly done, the church hushed it all up.

I'll bet that you can easily find posts moaning that the events in Spotlight took place a long time ago. But that's bullshit. Only two years ago, an archbishop testified in a deposition that he wasn't aware that having sex with a child was illegal. The church has engaged in financial shenanigans to screw over its victims.

Moving priests out of the reach of the cops and the victims is what the church continues to do to this very day.

And yet, the Most Holy Order of Child Molestation continues to claim some sort of moral high ground, because Jeebus, or something. Talk about chutzpah!