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

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Bullseye

The local club had its first Bullseye match today. I shot the .22 portion with an iron-sighted 6" Model 17 and scored 766-5x. That was enough for second place; everyone else was using some flavor of Ruger/Volquartsen Mk II/III with optics. I had gotten in quite a bit of practice, primarily to get the timing down for shooting rapid-fire single-action style. And it paid off.

It was raining at the beginning of the match and maybe some other shooters stayed home, opting to roll back into bed or kick back with some coffee and the paper. Still, I got "into the money" with a revolver and iron sights, so I'm pretty happy with that.

Ancient Stupidity; Automotive Edition

(This post has been inspired by this one.)

Decades ago, we had relatives visiting. My uncle decided that he wanted to back his new car into the garage. He asked my brother to guide him into the garage-- probably because cars back then didn't have right-side mirrors and he had a car that was the size of a boat.

So my uncle backed his car in. My brother waved him on. (Probably should have mentioned that my brother was five years old.)

It probably went something like this:


Yes, my uncle smacked the garage with his new car.

My uncle was pissed off. My father was even more pissed off at my uncle, and asked, loudly and within earshot of everyone: "What kind of idiot asks a five-year old kid to help park his car?"

I don't remember how much damage was done to the garage or to the car. It was a very long time ago. But it was a memorable event.

And thanks, Murph, for reviving the memory.

Friday, April 29, 2016

"The Most Miserable Sonuvabitch on the Planet"

John Boehner had the right of it. Cruz is nothing more than a Mk1-Mod0 demagogue.
As Senator Ted Cruz of Texas seeks every possible edge to stop Donald J. Trump, he has seized on a once-obscure issue with a proven power to inflame conservatives: letting transgender women use women’s bathrooms.

Mr. Cruz mentions it constantly in Indiana, a state with many social conservatives that is all but a last stand for him in his fight to deprive Mr. Trump of the Republican presidential nomination.
Attacking a small, powerless subset of the population and demonizing them for political gain is about as despicable as it gets. This is the "Willie Horton" ad, three decades later. It'd be political suicide, these days, to go around insinuating that black men are being let out of prison so they can rape white women. So now it's "transgenders are going to rape your daughters in the shitter."

Right. And nobody gets at all upset about white pedophiles using the bathrooms in stadiums or shopping malls. Did you see anyone screaming about white Republican men using public bathrooms after Larry Craig was arrested? Were there any calls (other than snarky ones) to ban Republicans from using public bathrooms? Or Catholic priests?

Nope. There sure as hell wasn't.

This is rancid demagoguery. "Lucifer in the flesh" is understating the matter of the lack of character of Rafael T. Cruz.

Cruz is younger than I am. So what I plan to do is buy some high-quality vials, fill them with urine, and instruct my executor to pay someone to pour them on his grave.

Celebrate the Day


Because It's Friday

Until 4014 is out of the shop, this'll have to do.

Listen to Hutch for a Bit


Sort of suggested by the Bangor P.D., which ends their posts with variations of this:
The men and women of the Bangor, Maine Police Department urge folks to keep your hands to yourself, leave other people's things alone and try to be kind to one another.
Which is pretty damn good advice. Even if you're far away from Bangor.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Laugh About It, Shout About It, When You Get to Choose

Any way you look at it, you lose.
I think we got the two candidates we are going to see in November on Tuesday night. You don't vote for president with the candidates you want. You vote for president with the candidates you have.
I talked to a fairly hard-core conservative the other day who pretty much wished that President Obama could have a third term instead of either a President Trump or a President Hillary Clinton. That speaks volumes.

Look, Clinton has laid the groundwork for this for a long time. She began measuring the drapes for her general election run years ago. The one or two Democrats who might have been able to derail her never even tried. But her fragility as a candidate was laid bare by Bernie Sanders, who gave her a hard run and did it on a comparative shoestring. A stronger Democrat might have beaten her.

But on the GOP side: Jesus! They were given a gift, the single-most hated Democrat in the last quarter-century running as their opponent and what did they do? They came down to choosing between the two clowns who have even more negatives than Hillary and they're going with the one who is the most hated candidate since Hoover in `32, a man whose mentor at PR was Roy Cohn, a self-hating gay man who was probably the single most evil fucker in this country for decades.[1]

I've said it before: There are about 140 million people who are constitutionally qualified to be the president and it comes down to these two chuckleheads.
Because "Bailey's on your cereal" is amateur.

I don't know if my liver will stand it until 1/20/2021. Or 2025.
_______________________
[1] If there was anyone else in the country back then who had a faster slide into Hell than Cohen, other than maybe John Wayne Gacy, that worthy's name escapes me.

Seen on the Ramp

This monster was parked outside of an airport diner last weekend:



I think it's a Thrush. The windows don't look quite right for an Air Tractor. But that's just a wild guess.

Shorter McDonnell: "Bribery is Speech"

That's his pitch to avoid staying out of jail:
Facing an uphill fight to avoid a prison term for bribery, former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is making a bold argument in the Supreme Court this week that buying access and influence with public officials is protected by the 1st Amendment.
This could be the case in which the Supremes say "sorry, we fucked up" and cut back on Citizens United. Or it could be the case where they just open the floodgates and legalize bribery once and for all.

In the second eventuality, it might be time to take out the mill files and sharpen up the pitchforks.

Boom-chucka-lucka-lucka; +30 years

Chernobyl Unit 4 blew up 30 years ago. The nearest city, Pripyat, home to 50,000 people, was hurriedly abandoned. A thousand square miles, home to 120,000 people, had to be evacuated and which may be uninhabitable for the next 20,000 years. By default, the "exclusion zone" has turned into a thriving wildlife park.

Monday, April 25, 2016

"We're the Treasury Department and Yes, We're That Incompetent."

Because redesigning a piece of paper in anything less than four years is hard.


We should cut them some slack; they're too busy papering over the financial crimes of the oligarchy.

Sorry, Goose, but It's Time to Strafe the Tower

A Norwegian fighter jet on a training exercise jet mistakenly machine-gunned a control tower with three officers inside, who survived unhurt, the military said Sunday.
To be fair, the tower in question seems to be a range-observation tower, not an airfield control tower. It's not as though the pilot was shooting up his home field.

One "you dumb shit" wipes out a thousand "attaboys".

The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend; GOP Edition

Ted Cruz and John Kasich have announced that their campaigns will cede certain states in an attempt to keep Donald Trump from reaching the 1,237 delegates he needs to clinch the Republican nomination.

In a pair of coordinated statements released on Sunday night, the Cruz and Kasich campaigns said that the Texan senator would concentrate his resources in Indiana while the Ohio governor would put all his effort into Oregon and New Mexico.
As you'll see at the bottom of the story, The Donald took to Twitter:
Wow, just announced that Lyin' Ted and Kasich are going to collude in order to keep me from getting the Republican nomination. DESPERATION!
That's pretty much the truth of it.

In other news, the Koch Brothers have apparently come up with a plan to make Hillary Clinton even more toxic to Democrats: They gave her a pseudo endorsement. Needless to say, Clinton wasn't overly pleased to receive any sort of public support, even tepid, from the Twins of Evil. Which she disavowed, also via Twitter.

ANZAC Day

It marks the landings at Gallipoli which, as I've blogged about before, were a disaster for the Allies.


They listened to Churchill then. Thank the Almighty that nobody listened to his "soft underbelly of Europe" strategic blathering in the next war.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Pesach

A day late (almost two).

Your Sunday Morning Jet Nosie

The T-33


The T-33 was developed from the P-80. It became apparent, early on, that giving piston aircraft pilots a cockpit and procedures brief and then turning them loose in a single-seat jet was a really bad idea. The T-33 was training American pilots into the 1960s and then served in various utility roles for another thirty years. It's served as a recon airplane, an attack airplane and, on occasion, reverted to its roots as a fighter.

Reportedly, the military versions had the ability to blow off the tip tanks if one refused to feed, as the imbalance that resulted was not survivable. The FAA took a dim view of that and demanded that civilian-operated T-33s disable that feature. The T-33's fuel system is supposed to shut off fuel from the other tank if one won't feed, but it's a good idea to watch out for it not working.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Gimmie Two Grants and Five Tubmans

As BadTux pointed out, Jackson was put on the $20 by the Republicans as a way to piss off Democrats. So this change is just fair play.

And this design would be fucking pisser:


It'd piss off the Right, which is seething over the idea of a non-white woman on the the one bill that the ATMs all spit out. It'd piss off Michael Bloomberg, Hillary Clinton and the rest of the hoplophobic Left. It'd piss off most of the Euros, too. Pierce Morgan and the rest of those snobs would be muttering into their tea.

It would be genius.

Friday, April 22, 2016

I Gave the Waitress a Tubman and Told Her to "Keep the Change".

The very best thing about the change from Jackson to Tubman on the $20 has been observing the butthurt of the conservatives.

It's almost as though the President is taking pleasure at finding new ways to poke at the sensitivities of the Right.

Anyway, when somebody says "that's political correctness", I hear it as "I don't have a good argument, so I'll just sling some mud about."

OK, So Maybe There is a Benefit to Global Warming

Technology giants including Facebook and Google face the prospect of their prestigious Silicon Valley headquarters becoming swamped by water as rising sea levels threaten to submerge much of the property development boom gripping San Francisco and the Bay Area. ... Without significant adaptation, Facebook’s new campus appears most at risk.
For Redmond, we'll have to hold out for an old-fashioned earthquake.

Because It's Friday

A steamroller.

Bailey's for Breakfast- RNC Style

Skipping to the climax of the bit, in case you're short of time:


The entire bit was pretty funny.


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Shorter Gov. LePage: "So Die, Already."

Gov. Paul LePage vetoed a bill Wednesday that would allow pharmacists to dispense an anti-overdose drug without a prescription, saying that allowing addicts to keep naloxone on hand “serves only to perpetuate the cycle of addiction.” ... “Naloxone does not truly save lives; it merely extends them until the next overdose,” LePage wrote, repeating a contention that has caused controversy before. “Creating a situation where an addict has a heroin needle in one hand and a shot of naloxone in the other produces a sense of normalcy and security around heroin use that serves only to perpetuate the cycle of addiction.”
Gotta love those social conservatives: They're pro-life until humans start breathing air. Then they don't give a fuck about anyone.

How About This Radical Idea, WaPo: Shoot the Fucker!

The Washington Post's graphic on how to handle an active shooter situation your building.

Nowhere in the WaPo's world can it be contemplated that a reasonable response might be to try to shoot the fucker.

That's All We're Going to Hear About for the Rest of Today

Prince is dead.

Where There is Evil Political Fuckery Going on About Raping the Environment.....

.... you're almost sure to find the fingerprints of the Koch Brothers.
Billionaire businessmen Charles and David Koch are channeling money into an Arizona-based organization that’s fighting a plan that would include a permanent ban on uranium mining around the Grand Canyon.

A proposal to declare the area around the Grand Canyon a national monument – Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument – calls for protecting 1.7m acres of land from uranium mining. A number of environmental groups and native tribes as well as the vast majority of Arizonans support the plan.

Still, a handful of Arizona Republicans and a major not-for-profit group are trying to block it. Much of the group’s efforts apparently are being funded by the Koch brothers, according to Greg Zimmerman of the Center for Western Priorities.
The Koch Brothers are against preserving anything for posterity, because posterity isn't putting any money in their pockets.

Basically, those two evil trolls hate government, unless the government is killing those people (or giving money to corporations). If the government announced that they had developed a cure for heart disease, the Koch Brothers would be screaming blue bloody murder about all of those unemployed cardiologists.

The Great Escape Murders

If you're a regular reader of this blog, it's probably a safe bet that, at one time or another, you've seen The Great Escape In the movie, the Germans murdered fifty captured escapees by machine-gunning them in a field.

The reality was different. The fifty were murdered by the Gestapo, either individually or in groups of two or three.

The RAF was not amused. After the war, they launched an investigation and manhunt for the killers. They caught quite a number of them. Seven were executed for other crimes. Fourteen of the killers were hung in early 1948. A few escaped the hangman when the British stopped hanging war criminals in 1948 and then, later that year, abandoned most prosecutions for such crimes.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Tour de France Motorcycle Race?

It's possible to rig out a bicycle with a nearly-undetectable motor.

I say "nearly", because the motor will show up on thermal imaging. Which the International Cycling Union refuses to use. Probably because, just like doping in the past, they don't want to know the truth.

Muwhahaha, Got Mine; Book Edition



Launch day!

I'll have to carve out a few hours where I can read it at a less-than-my-usual breakneck pace.

Wørd; Gunnie Edition

There is only one Truth. It gets expressed a lot of different ways, but it always boils down to "only hits count." How and where you make those hits (technique), why you should or should not make them (legal and moral issues), when you should start trying to make them (tactics and mindset), what you should use to make them (hardware/gear), and how you should prepare yourself to make them (software/training) is a huge gray area.
Or, as Wyatt Earp is purported to have said: "Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything."

Sometimes, It Feels Like the Universe is Fucking With Me

Yeah, I know. The Universe is vast and it's not going to bother with shit like that. But it still feels like it.

I have made no secret about the fact that I have been having a hard time dealing with Jake's passing. Last night, I opted to sort of get lost in the fictional portrayals of other folks' lives and problems, so I began watching stuff from my DVR.

One of the shows was Madam Secretary. At the end of the episode, she got the news that her beloved horse, Buttercup, had cancer that had metastasized. There's only one choice and she made it, but she wanted to spend the last day with her horse. Yeah, that hurt.

It's not just Jake. Earth-Bound Mom is having some medical issues that have yet to be nailed down. It feels as though one of the anchors in my life is pulling loose and there is fuck-all to be done about it. I know that I should be thankful for the great gift I've had of having my mom in my life for so long, but that's not making it any easier.

I've got friends and family. I'll get through all of this.

“Throw Down Your Arms! Ye Villains, Ye Rebels.”-- Patriots' Day

That is the command that a British officer shouted to the Colonial militiamen at the Lexington town green at dawn on April 19th, 1775.

It was not obeyed. The war was on.

By the way, most colonials would have regarded themselves at the time as British citizens. Riding about, shouting "the British are coming" would have made no sense. The alarm was passed quietly.

My early childhood was lived in some of the towns where fighting took place. When people spoke of "the war", they were referring to either the Revolutionary War or World War II. That little brouhaha to the south in the middle of the 19th Century wasn't paid much attention.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Colt: Managed by Imbeciles

Sumdood did a side-by-side comparison of a Colt Python and a Smith 686, which had this line in it about the Python:
"I can’t imagine a world where the gun isn’t in production, and where a solid working gun becomes a collector’s item."
Yeah, well, the material for a doctoral dissertation (or six) in management ineptitude awaits somebody who can mine the Colt corporate archives for the last quarter of the 20th Century.

Oh, sure, you'll find lots of anti-unionists who blame the unions for Colt's decline. My experience has been that when management-labor relations are toxic, you can almost always trace that back to management. I'll bet that was true at Colt.

To say that Colt has almost a singular inability when it comes to innovation is like saying that it snows in Hartford, CT during the winter. But I've ranted about that before.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

A Soggy Ride?


It would seem, at least to me, that cutting the rear fender that far back on a road bike will result in a rather wet experience if there is any moisture on the road.

Note that Our Intrepid Rider has also removed the front fender. So he can get equally soaked on both sides, I guess.

If the cops take a good look at this machine, I don't expect they'll be overly impressed by the license plate that's affixed with zip-ties.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

Mirage 2000:

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Caturday

This is the piece of cat furniture that Jake liked to lay in and look out the window. Before I moved and when Gracie was alive, she used it to get to the windowsill and to get to my bed.

The day after Jake passed, I gave it to the local shelter, where the cats there have put it to good use.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Caturday, Ripping the Scab Off Edition

Jake is back home.

De Plane! De Plane! De Sale! De Sale!


The airplane is being auctioned off tomorrow.

The Power of the Global Vampire Squid

Even Vladimir Putin doesn't want to cross them:
The Kremlin has apologized over Russian President Vladimir Putin's accusations that U.S. bank Goldman Sachs was behind one of the leading German papers that publicized the Panama Papers leak which drew links to Putin's associates.

Because It's Friday

Restoring a steam locomotive:

People So Dumb That They Ought to Be Watered Twice-Weekly; DoJ Edition

US Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Barbara McQuade, who uttered this gobsmacking pit of stupidity:
"I think it would be reasonable to ban the import of open-source encryption software."
Jeebers. Good luck with that.

See, there is this thing called the "Internet", Babs. You may have heard of it. Our own government has spent large amounts of money developing software for people to use in order to evade the restrictions of overbearing governments. It's not as though code traveling on the Internet fills out customs declarations. Anyone with a modicum of computer skills can get the stuff.

And I'm not even touching First Amendment issues. Code is speech, at least one court has held that.

Still, Babs may get what she wants, if DiFi and her ilk have their way. They're pretty much a toxic mix of being both professionally paranoid and technologically illiterate, so unless the tech community stays on top of them and watches them as though they were jewel thieves at a damond expo, we'll get stuck with some pretty awful laws.

Because when it comes to freedom, there isn't a right or a liberty that DiFi and her pack of slavering security goons doesn't want to restrict. Except maybe the right to give money to politicians.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

UC Davis Has Money to Burn; Flushing the Memory Hole Edition

UC Davis spent $175,00 or so trying to disassociate itself and Chancellor "Chemical" Katehi from the Pepper Spray Cop.

You know, this guy:


Pepper Spray Cop was a UC-Davis white-shirt, Lt. John Pike.

Pepper Spray Cop later got $38,000 in worker's comp, because PTSD or some other such nonsense. Maybe he sprained his finger when he held down the button on his pepper-spray canister.

Glassless Gunning

After reading a blurb in a post by Massad Ayoob about the possibility of having to shoot in self-defense without glasses, I gave that a try at the range last night.

When I'm given an eye exam and they tell me to "take off your glasses and read the top line", I tell them "I can see that there's a chart." I'm likely somewhere around 20/400 without my specs.

So I ran a silhouette target out five yards and banged away with three cylinders-full from a K-22, no corrective lenses, just generic eyepro only. There wasn't too much point at trying to use the sights, so I just sort of directed the gun at the target and banged away about as fast as I could. The shots landed within the eight-ring in a grouping that one might call "minute of lunch plate".

Probably good enough for what I'd need.

Affluenza Asshole is Now an Adult (and That Other Asshole from Texas)

And so off he goes to jail for just a few days shy of two years, probably less time served.

In the meantime, having previously lambasted "New York values", the Canadian Usurper is busily campaigning in, you guessed it, New York City.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Shorter North Carolina: "We Still Hate Your Kind, But We Want Your Money."

The governor of North Carolina has tried to "fix" his hideous state's pro-discrimination" bill.

There is no "rich history of diversity" when your state rammed through a pro-discrimination bill in less time than it took Andy Cuomo to fast-track his gun-ban bill in New York. The legislators passed and the governor signed HB2 so fast that one would have thought that "LGBT people" was the name of a category 5 hurricane bearing down on the state.

Sorry, gov, but telling companies that they can still hire whom they want to and that the state's putrid hurray-for-discrimination laws don't apply to private companies is a piss-poor bone to toss.

Nobody's going to be fooled. As the legislatures of some states continue to make haterade their official state beverage, companies that believe that it is in their best interest to be all-inclusive and who believe that talent and ability are irrespective of gender or sexual identity will prefer to locate in places that support those ideals.

North Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee and the other states where the government listens to the Christian Taliban are swimming against the tide of history. Sooner or later, those states will be apologizing for their intolerance and begging for companies to consider doing business within their borders.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

And Now I'm Crying Again

The story of Superman's cat.

(H/T)

The Donald was Hit by Capt. Obvious with a Clue-Bat

Trump...said he believes the RNC is rooting against him.
No fucking shit, Donald, what was your first clue about that? Stories about how the party elite has been working to stop Trump go back for weeks.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Don't Worry, President Trump, They're Lying. It's What They Do.

A future president Trump or Cruz could be defied by his own intelligence chief, after CIA director John Brennan said on Sunday he would not allow members of his agency to carry out torture techniques such as waterboarding.

“I will not agree to carry out some of these tactics and techniques I’ve heard bandied about because this institution needs to endure,” Brennan told NBC News.
They're not so much worried about the future of the CIA as they are worried about their own skins, as the last CIA director admitted.

Which is sort of deciding not to kill your annoying neighbor, not because murder is wrong, but because you might get caught.

Horseshit. Bet your ass on this: If they're ordered to maim, torture and summarily execute prisoners, they will. As much as Hayden whines about CIA officers being investigated for torturing and killing people, not one of them spent a night in jail over it. No official of the Bush Administration has been charged with sanctioning, ordering or condoning torture. Those shitheel lawyers who provided legal justification for torture are sitting on the Federal bench, teaching at law school or otherwise lucratively employed.

Big punishment, eh? They had to answer difficult questions.


There are other shitheel lawyers who are happy to opine that what the CIA did wasn't torture. So if the CIA is ordered to torture people, bet the farm that they'll happily don their rubber aprons and go to work.

One City's (Unofficial) Anthem


It's called "Here Comes the King". You might know it from something.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

A Morning at the Range

My club's first PPC match of the year was today.

Damn, it was cold. Not being willing to open my coat, I used a belt over it for the match. That put the holster a few inches higher. Which played hob with the draw.

Anyway, I'm not going to discuss score numbers. The match director tinkers with the format each year, it's probably not anywhere a sanctioned match.

My gold standard gun is a 6" S&W Model 19. I was two points off that with my Sig P226, three points with a 4" Model 66 and 25 points with my 6946. I bobbled one stage and ended up with two rounds in the gun when the whistle blew, so my performance with the gun wasn't as terrible. Still, shooting a compact gun against the clock at 25 yards was pretty sucky.

I ran out of time, so I'll have to try the High Power another time.

I had people to see (and the sky was blue).

Dog is My Co-Pilot

They taught three dogs to fly a Cessna:


I can hear flight instructors now: "Wassamatta wit you, kid, they teach dogs to fly this airplane!"

Or maybe not. I gather that instructors are far less acerbic these days.

Caturday

Venus and Serena are both interested in a squirmle, which they inherited from Jake:


They are a friend's kittens, still both under a year old. They're littermates and were adopted from the shelter.

For a reason that is known to frequent readers, Caturday will become a somewhat irregular feature.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Yow! SpaceX Did It!

They landed a Falcon-9 booster on a barge:


The people there seriously lost their shit and with good reason. Pay attention to the shots of the barge, it was not exactly a stable platform.

Bravo Zulu, guys.

Because It's Friday

Ex-GTW 4070 on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic RR:


The locomotive's been down for a rebuild for a very long time. They wanted to have it done by 2018, its 100th anniversary, but that's apparently not going to happen.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Range Report: Nazi Euro-Pellet Launcher

I bought a box of Aguila 71-gr FMJs and put some through the Sauer 38H at 21 feet, all fired offhand:


The sights, frankly, suck. There is the merest hint of a rear notch and the front post is more like a sliver. On an indoor range and with my aging eyeballs, I had to really take my time to line up each shot. The gun wasn't designed for target use.[1]

There were a couple of failures to feed with magazine #2.[2] Magazine #1 functioned without a hiccup. Recoil was surprisingly snappy.

I don't see myself shooting it very much. But if I do, I'll get new grips, as the Bakelite original ones are reputed to be delicate.
______________________________________
[1] The police-issue guns, like this one, functioned mainly as badges of authority and for carrying out the occasional summary execution.
[2] Yes, besides being serial-numbered to the gun, the magazines are, themselves, numbered.

It's Always "Just a Few Bad Apples"

Four high-ranking veterans of the New York Police Department were pushed into desk jobs on Thursday in a first wave of discipline connected with a continuing federal public corruption inquiry.

Two of the four officers were placed on modified duty, stripped of their guns and badges and taken off patrol, Police Commissioner William J. Bratton said, and two others were transferred from their current assignment.
All "white shirts", and three of them are deputy chiefs.

But hey, it's always "only a handful" or shit like that.

Sitrep

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

A Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy

Or, in other words: The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department.
A federal jury on Wednesday convicted former Los Angeles County Undersheriff Paul Tanaka of deliberately impeding an FBI investigation, capping a jail abuse and obstruction scandal that reached to the top echelons of the Sheriff's Department.
The head of that fish was definitely rotten:
In the jail abuse scandal that has roiled the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and resulted in the convictions of more than a dozen officials, one question has remained open: How high did the corruption go?

Retired Sheriff Lee Baca admitted in federal court Wednesday that it went all the way to the top.

Baca, who left office two years ago, pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents and federal prosecutors investigating the beatings of inmates and visitors at the nation's largest jail system. As part of a surprise plea deal with the U.S. attorney's office, Baca acknowledged for the first time taking an active role in trying to stymie the federal probe, even allowing a team of deputies to confront one FBI agent at her home.
The rot began at the head, but from reading only some of the stories about abuse at the LA County Jail, the rot went all the way down.

Harder to Buy a Federal Judge, Donnie Boy

A judge sentenced former coal executive Don Blankenship to a year in prison Wednesday for his role in the deadliest U.S. mine explosion in four decades, saying he was part of a "dangerous conspiracy."

One day after the sixth anniversary of the Upper Big Branch Mine explosion, which killed 29 men, U.S. District Judge Irene Berger gave the ex-Massey Energy CEO the maximum prison time and fine of $250,000. A federal jury convicted Blankenship on Dec. 3 of a misdemeanor conspiracy to violate mine safety standards at Upper Big Branch.
Blankenship, by large "campaign contributions" had enough influence in the West Virginia state courts to merit getting a slap-down by the Supremes. But it's a lot harder to pull that shit with Federal judges.

Pass the Popcorn; Judicial Stupidity Edition

A former U.S. Tax Court judge and her husband have been indicted on charges in Minnesota that they conspired to evade at least $400,000 in federal taxes, the U.S. Attorney's office said Monday.

Diane Kroupa, 60, and her 62-year-old husband, Robert Fackler, are charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, tax evasion, making and subscribing false tax returns and obstruction of an IRS audit, U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger announced.
It's a pretty safe bet that, unless they go to trial and aren't convicted, that they're going to do time for this. The former judge'll likely draw the maximum stay in the joint as an example to the herd.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Caturday; After-Action Report

Four days on, I can report that the day afterwards was not a good one. I tried to spend the day out of my home, doing other things. Only broke down into a puddle three times. Sunday was better, only got choked up at the grocery store when I passed by the pet-supply section.

This morning, as part of my "get ready to go to work" routine, I took four steps towards the utility room out of habit, before I remembered that there is no litter box to scoop.

Jake's death was on a par with losing George. Gracie's passing was the hardest, because she was my favorite and it was so sudden. I knew that Jake's health was declining. He was in the process of checking out; I only made it happen for him with less discomfort.

I've been trying not to second-guess things and wonder if possibly I should have shown him over the Bridge a few weeks earlier. But that way lies madness, for my conscience is clear that I did the best that I could with the information that I had at each step.

But damn, I miss him.

Coonfingering; Gunnie Edition

This is a Sauer 38H, in .32 ACP:


It's in an apparently military-issue flap holster, complete with a second magazine:


The magazines are serial-numbered to the gun.

The gun has a concealed-hammer DA/SA type action. The lever above the magazine release is a decocker, which functions just like a modern Sig, at least on decocking. But unlike modern guns, the 38H's decocker also functions as a cocker: Pushing it down on an uncocked gun will cock the hammer. (It's probably best to not use it, as obtaining replacement springs and parts is problematical.) Like a PPK, there is no slide release. Unlike a PPK or modern guns, there is no slide-locking mechanism.

The original guns didn't have a safety, but the Luftwaffe wanted one, so like any other good government contractor, Sauer added one. It could be because the Luftwaffe issued them to paratroopers and the safety was added protection from an accidental discharge in a hard landing. Apparently, German paratroopers jumped with their long guns in separate equipment canisters; the 38H (and other handguns) gave them a weapon to jump with.

The lever at the top of the trigger guard is for disassembly. Pull down on it; it functions like pulling down on the trigger guard of a PPK:



After you do that, it field-strips in the exact same way as a PPK. The bore is bright and sharp.

The internal markings of the slide match the serial number. On the front web of the trigger guard, there is an "eagle c" acceptance stamp.

The safety and the acceptance marking would hint at the gun being of post-1940 manufacture, but not terribly much later.

The "c" marking indicates that the gun was destined for police use. The holster apparently is of Luftwaffe-type, as it seems that the Reich cops used black leather holsters.

There are no import markings of any kind. Interarms brought in a bunch after the war and pre-68; those apparently are marked "7.62mm" on the right side of the slide. This one isn't so marked. It may have been a "GI-bring back", but there is no way I know of to tell that.

I hope to be able to take it to the range, after applying a little bit of lubrication.

UPDATE: Range report.

Might Want to Reconsider Buying an Icon Airplane

In order to buy one of their airplanes, you have to sign a contract where you pretty much have to promise not to sue them, let them train you (at your expense), do a whole bunch of other shit and, when you sell the airplane, you give Icon a right of first refusal and if you sell it to another person, you pay Icon either $2,000 to assign the sales contract to the new buyer, or pay them $5,000 if the new buyer says "fuck you, I'm not signing shit."

It would seem that nobody with a barely competent lawyer would buy one.

But if you're stupid enough to sign a 41-page contract for a quarter-million-plus dollar airplane without having a lawyer look it over, then you're pretty much going to get the rogering that you have coming to you.

It's Mississippi, Whaddya Want? Fuhgeaboudit.

Mississippi's governor signed a law on Tuesday that allows public and private businesses to refuse service to gay couples based on the employers' religious beliefs.
Really. Does anyone not expect Mississippi to act in the most hateful, discriminatory way that they can? It's their goddamn heritage to say "I'm better than you and I'm gonna write a law allowing me to grind the hell of my boot into your face."

"Good" Christians have used religious arguments in the past to justify segregation, so this is really just the same-old, same-old shit.

So if the people of Mississippi want to be known as "The State Where We Don't Serve Your Kind", about the best thing to do is avoid the fucking place altogether, both physically and economically.

Jobs can go elsewhere, as North Carolina is finding out.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Offside! 30 Bars in the Penalty Box!

Calling a concert as though it were a sporting match.


Peter Schickele, of course.

Can We Now Start Beating the TSA Administrator With a Wire Whip?

The TSA paid IBM $1.4 million to develop an iPad app that randomly points right or left.

The even crazier thing is that IBM was one of four bidders for the contract, so it's a reasonable guess that the other bidders wanted even more money.

The TSA says that they are "a risk-based, intelligence-driven, professional counterterrorism agency", to which I strongly object. They assume facts not in evidence.

Kinda Not Impressed

On Saturday, April 2, Blue Origin successfully launched its reusable New Shepard vehicle on a brief jaunt to space for the third time from its launch site in West Texas, continuing to showcase the viability of its reusable rocket technology.
Lord Bezos of Amazonia is behind this, but color me "meh".

Maybe this is taking it slow, but it seems to me that the idea of a space rocket is to deliver stuff to space, whether putting it in orbit or propelling it into deeper space. Maybe they can scale it up, but as SpaceX has found out, it's a hell of a lot more difficult to fly a rocket capable of throwing stuff into orbit back to Earth land land it safely. If you want to land it back where you took off, you're going to need to build a larger stage in order to bang a uey and fly back the way it came.

Or you have to land the thing in the middle of the ocean, which SpaceX has been trying. I kind of doubt that the FAA is going to look kindly on, say, launching something from Vandenberg and then landing the first stage somewhere in Nevada, Oregon or southern California. And the NIMBYistas would go batshit over that.

Smart Cars and American Roads

In short: Our roads are too poorly maintained for smart cars to use them.
Shoddy infrastructure has become a roadblock to the development of self-driving cars, vexing engineers and adding time and cost. Poor markings and uneven signage on the 3 million miles of paved roads in the United States are forcing automakers to develop more sophisticated sensors and maps to compensate, industry executives say.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently called the mundane issue of faded lane markings "crazy," complaining they confused his semi-autonomous cars.
...
Even Volvo's North American CEO, Lex Kerssemakers, lost his cool as the automaker's semi-autonomous prototype sporadically refused to drive itself during a press event at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

"It can't find the lane markings!" Kerssemakers griped to Mayor Eric Garcetti, who was at the wheel. "You need to paint the bloody roads here!"
Of course, you can bet money that the gabillionaires who want to push smart cars are whining to their pets in Congress.

Still, if you want to monkey-wrench the damn things, you could take some flat-black paint and go over assorted markings here and there. Human drivers might not even notice it, but the robots would go snakeshit.

The Logic of the Donald; Cult of the Fetus Edition

As you likely know, Donald Trump recently said that women who have abortions should be punished. He then tried to walk it back.

But what he said, initially, exposes the real logic of the Cult of the Fetus. For if one believes that life begins at conception, then abortion is murder. And if one believes that, why wouldn't that include punishing the person who decided that the murder should be committed and who contracted for the murder and paid for it.

In most states, engaging in murder-for-hire, whether as the contractor or the customer, merits enhanced punishment (often capital). It's simply more egregious to pay for another person to whack your target than to do it yourself.

The logic of the Cult of the Fetus, though, goes further. In Tennessee, it is a crime to use drugs while pregnant. In 44 other states, prosecutors have gone after women who have used drugs while pregnant. In Utah, having a miscarriage can result in the woman going to prison.

Mikey Pence signed a bill requiring all miscarried fetuses to be interred or cremated. So then, would the advocates of the Cult of the Fetus seek to have all miscarriages treated as crime scenes? They would have to, really, for the logic of their position demands it.

What about drinking coffee? That one could possibly open the male participant in the act of conception to charges, as caffeine consumption may increase the risk of a miscarriage.

What about drinking alcohol? The CDC recommends that women not on birth control refrain from drinking any alcoholic beverages. The risk to a fetus is fairly well known.

How about smoking? Would it be a crime to smoke in the vicinity of a pregnant woman? Or what if the mother refuses to eat healthily?

Sure, the anti-abortion groups will scoff at all that. "We have no intention of ever advocating such legislation," they'll respond Well, I believe they are masking their true intentions, just as the Bloombergers lie about not wanting total weapons confiscation. The logic of the anti-abortionists demands that they adopt such measures.

I argue that if they don't adopt such positions and try to enact legislation for those purposes, then they would have to accept that a fetus deserves less protection, as a person, than the law could provide.

What Trump did was follow the logic to its rational conclusion. Which is never a good idea in politics.

Happy Square Root Day!

04/04/16.

Which I'm posting at 04:16....

Sunday, April 3, 2016

No, Donald, They're Not Your Property

Donald Trump on Sunday called for John Kasich to drop out of the Republican presidential race, arguing that the Ohio governor shouldn't be allowed to continue accumulating delegates if he has no chance of becoming the nominee. ... "He doesn't have to run and take my votes," he said.
Trump doesn't have a right to a single vote until it's cast. They're not "his votes" before the voting.

Asswipe.

And Now for Something Completely Different

A small woods fire this morning.


The wind is blowing here, a bit. Not like it was yesterday, but it's strong enough that Unicom was pretty quiet for a sunny weekend day. The wind wasn't far off the centerline and, since there is a full-length grass runway next to the paved one, no worries.

It's gusting a bit, now, so I'm glad I'm on the ground.

But I needed that flight today.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Caturday; the Aftermath

Now that the needful is done and I've done some cleaning, I'm OK, mostly.

It was obvious that it was Jake's time. Any longer would have been only so I could have more time. He was clearly uncomfortable and likely in some pain. No regrets.

My car has a lot of cat gear in it that will go to the shelter in a couple of hours. They'll use what they can and sell what they can't in their second-hand shop.

If you want to make a memorial gift, you can go here and click on the yellow "donate" button, or you can send a check to FPAC, P.O. Box 45, Farmington, MO 63640. Like all such shelters, they're almost always on the ragged edge financially.

My home feels empty. There isn't another presence in it. I have a longish trip coming up and, while my preference is to not adopt another cat until I return, I make no guarantees.

But as to almost everything else, my Give-A-Shit tank is empty. On the issues of the day, expect to see little, if anything, on this blog for awhile.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Caturday

It is done. May peace be upon you, Jake.

Just before we left, he used the litter box and ate a couple bites of the red salmon.

Two friends went with me. We came back, drank wine, and talked and laughed about other things.

I have a carload of cat gear, between scratching posts, toys and unused litter in my car for a trip to the shelter tomorrow. His old littler pan, the mat it was on, a half-used bag of prescription food, his dishes and much vacuumed-up detritus is in the trash. The cat towels that covered most of my furniture are in the wash. They'll probably be donated, too. The heated cat beds, I'll save those after the bedding is washed.

And that is all.

Caturday-- Farewell, My Friend

Jake: 1996-2016

"FireClean is Vegetable Oil"- the Streisand Effect

FireClean is suing the bloggers who first claimed that FireClean is little more than vegetable oil.

This is, in my opinion, a totally dickish move. FireClean is likely going to have to prove that the bloggers recklessly disregarded the truth, which is going to be pretty hard to do. "Members of the jury, here are the lab tests we had done and you can see that their gunk matches up almost perfectly to vegetable oil."

If it even gets that far.

No, Gentle Readers, this seems to be more a case of a company suffering butthurt and using the courts to squash its critics than anything else. It is a SLAPP suit, which is a dickish move.

And it is a really stupid one. The "FireClean is vegetable oil" posts pretty much blew over six months ago. But now, it's going to be resurrected. At every step of this litigation, bloggers will be writing about the "FireClean is canola oil" controversy. Besides the fact that canola oil is much cheaper, readers will be reminded of the dickishness of the people who own FireClean.

Which is basically the definition of the Streisand Effect.

UPDATE: Legal defense fund.