Words of Advice:

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

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

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

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

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

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Donald the Grifter

Donald Trump's campaign has alerted Senate Republicans that he won't have much money to spend fending off attacks from Hillary Clinton over the next couple months.

The notice came when Paul Manafort, Trump's senior advisor, met with a group of Senate Republican chiefs of staff for lunch last week, sources familiar with the meeting told the Washington Examiner. The admission suggests that Trump will be far more dependent on the GOP brass for money than he has led voters to believe, but it's consistent with his reliance on the Republican National Committee to provide a ground game in battleground states.
Trump's M.O. in his business dealings has been to start a project rolling, then bring in outside investors, cash out, and stick them with the bill.

Most of the money he's put into the campaign has been structured as loans. The donors will fund his campaign, Trump will get his money back and his donors will end up with nothing.

But, since they're all wealthy Republicans, fuck them if they're that stupid.

For You Haters of Classical Music

The 1712 Overture:

Blood-Drenched David Brooks Implies His Hands are Clean

First, go read this piece by David Brooks about how Trumpism is the "governing cancer" of our time.

I'll wait.

MA from BOS

Monday, May 30, 2016

Maybe It Will All Come to an End this Year, After All.

Today, Memorial Day 2016, the Chicago Cubs are the best team in baseball: 34 wins, 14 losses, for a W/L percentage of 70.8%.

Still plenty of time for them to choke, I guess.

Memorial Day

The late Andy Rooney (Sgt, US Army: Bronze Star, Air medal):


I've written a fair number of pieces on Memorial Day, some rants, some not.

War is a bloody, messy business. The powers that be, in every nation, do their best to hide that fact.

Today, we honor the memory of the men and, increasingly, women, who died in the service of our country. Amidst the various profanities of the day, three-day sales and the like, take a moment to remember them.


Sunday, May 29, 2016

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

Tu-144:


Back in the days of SSTs.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

One Greedy Psychopath Endorses Another

A member of the Future Felons of America, Martin "Pharma Bro" Shkreki, has endorsed Donald Trump.
Martin Shkreli, the 33-year-old former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, said on Twitter Thursday that he would vote for the presumptive Republican nominee in his likely general election matchup. ... Shkreli, who is currently awaiting trial for securities fraud, said later that “all you people who don't like trump are jealous, stupid and poor! don't make me laugh!”
The funny thing is that, after somebody punked the little asswipe on Twitter, he then pulled a Very Donald Move: Threatened to sue.

I am so looking forward to reading the account of his eventual sentencing hearing.

Tool Selection; Election Edition

The Donald and Hillary are absolute tools. As opposed to either one of them, it would seem that in the general election, if the other party had nominated a reasonable candidate that would appeal to independents and disaffected voters fo the other party, that they would win in a walk.[1]

Of course, enough of the base voters of each party being morons, that's not what happened.

"Vote for Me, Because You Hate My Opponent More."

Clinton is amoral and somewhat venal, Trump is amoral, venal to his core and a conspiracy-freak lunatic.

Where can I enter the lottery for a chance at the ticket on one of the off-world colony ships?
______________________________
[1] Not Ted Cruz.

Friday, May 27, 2016

What Passes for a "Weapons Cache" in the UK These Days


A sharpening steel, a pair of scissors, a table knife and tweezers? That's a fearsome cache of weapons, all right.

This comment is accurate, but wrong. Load up a couple of Chunnel trains with soldiers armed with Kar98s and they'll take the place in a week. Which will put an end to the Brexit noise.

Patent Trolls, Gunnie Edition

In a move that’s caught a lot of people by surprise, Mossberg is filing suit against a series of drop-in trigger manufacturers. Mossberg holds the patent to the concept of the trigger pack, which they acquired from CMC triggers.
At first blush, this sounds an awful lot like patent trolling, which, if it wasn't legal, would be called extortion.

I say that because of this statement from CMC:
“CMC Triggers is a Christian company..."
When a company, or anyone or any other entity begins defending itself by referring to its religious faith, it's a pretty good bet that they have been engaging in evil fuckery of some kind.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Arabian Horses

So I was recently at a lunchtime presentation for a civic-service club to which I am a member. The presentation was about a youth program wherein the yoots ride Arabian horses in competition.

There were about six people at my table. I muttered: "Only an Arab would bring..." and two people finished it up: "... a dog to war."



I was surprised that anyone else remembered that movie. After all, it was a massive bomb.

One Oddity About the Transgender Bathroom Kerfuffle

The people who are arguing that bathroom laws are necessary to keep criminals from sexually assaulting people in bathrooms are the same people who one would expect to argue that gun control laws don't work because criminals don't obey the law.

Beyond that, I suspect that the current brouhaha has been ginned up to turn out the mouth-breather vote, in the same way that the Republicans were pushing state constitutional amendments banning gay marriage in 2004. It's the old trick of "The (Insert Name of Despised Group Here) Are Coming For Your Children, Get Out and Vote to Stop Them!"

Don't forget, as Mike pointed out, the NC bill also incorporated provisions banning local governments from passing ordinances on child labor and similar topics. It was a veritable Trojan Horse of Hatred towards working people. But that's what the GOP does: Gin up the low-information voters with some bullshit controversy and then shiv them all in the back.

Windows 10 Blocking

A utility to do that for you.

Windows 10 is both spyware and adware and Microsoft is doing its utmost to ram it down the throats of the users of Win 7/8. Although it's going to nearly kill me to say goodbye to WordPerfect, my next computer will run some other OS.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Germans Could Invade, Now.

The British soldiers would be too busy reading all of the warning labels, such as "CAUTION, Bayonet May Have Sharp Edges and Be Pointy."
Tinned herring has been recalled from Lidl branches because its label does not warn consumers the cans contain ingredients including fish.
Canned fish is being recalled because the cans lacked a warning label that the cans contain fish. Oh, the humanity!

Is it heartless to suggest that any person who has a seafood allergy and who consumes canned fish because there isn't a warning label on the can which explains that a can of canned fish contains fish probably needs to be skimmed out of the gene pool?

(Not the first time that I've made this helpful suggestion to the Wehrmacht Bundeswehr.)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

His Next Project Would Have Been to Find Out Where the Jews Live

A few weeks after his hiring in January, SeaTac’s new interim City Manager James “Donny” Payne asked the staff geographic-information systems coordinator to undertake an unusual project.

“Mr. Payne stated an interest in knowing with a great deal of specificity (to the neighborhood, house, and even person) where Sunni and Shiite Muslim residents lived,” an investigator later wrote in a report issued to the city.

Historical Blindness, Anyone... NYT Edition

Mr. Trump may seem unusual to Americans because the United States did not produce the kind of autocratic populist leaders Europe offered the 20th century, men who built power bases blaming others for their ills: immigrants, Jews, foreigners in general.
Really. Huey Long, anyone? Long was a populist who intended to run for president, with the backing of a crypto-Nazi radio priest.

Or how about George Wallace?

"We're Making a List, We're Using Our Head. Gonna Find Out Whose Shootie or Dead;" Chicago Police Edition

CHICAGO — In this city’s urgent push to rein in gun and gang violence, the Police Department is keeping a list. Derived from a computer algorithm that assigns scores based on arrests, shootings, affiliations with gang members and other variables, the list aims to predict who is most likely to be shot soon or to shoot someone. ... The authorities hope that knowing who is most likely to be involved in violence can bring them a step closer to curtailing it. They are warning those highest on the list that they are under intense scrutiny, while offering social services to those who want a path away from the bloodshed.

About three years into the program and on a fourth revision of the computer algorithm that generates the list, critics are raising pointed questions about potential breaches to civil liberties in the creation of such a ranking. And the list’s efficacy remains in doubt as killings and shootings have continued to rise this year.
"Potential breaches to civil liberties"? That's a laugh. Trashing the Constitution is what the Chicago PD is most known for. That, and corruption.

Iraq Army Field Mod

Look at the wheels of this APC:


And at the wheels and radiator of this Humvee:


It would seem that their concern is adding enough protection so that an enemy gunman (I hesitate to call them "soldiers") isn't able to disable them with a burst from an AK. I doubt if that plate would stand up to rounds from a DShK or a PK.

Pity the Poor Little Republicans

Over seven years and they haven't laid a glove on President Obama. Not for lack of trying.

When the history of this time is written, the Republicans in the congresses from 2009 through 2016 are going to be viewed as a pack of racist-tinged inept clowns.

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Adversary of My Adversary is My Acquaintance

Or "customer".
U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday lifted a half-century-old ban on selling arms to Vietnam, looking to bolster a government seen as a crucial, though flawed partner in a region that he has tried to place at the center of his foreign policy legacy.
That's probably long overdue, the move should have been done 25 years ago. And this didn't hurt things any, from an American perspective.

Dumb German Neo-Nazis are Still Dumb

A surging German nationalist party has sharpened its rhetoric against prominent Islamic groups and is suggesting limiting the religious freedom of more than 4 million Muslims in the country.

Senior members of Alternative for Germany cut short a meeting Monday with the Central Council of Muslims, accusing the group of failing to renounce religious beliefs that clash with the German constitution.

Party co-leader Frauke Petry told reporters that "Islam, the way it is mostly practiced, doesn't belong in a democratic Germany."
I find it almost laughable that the German Neo-Nazis are blathering about the rule of law. If they got power, it would be "one man, one last vote."

Beyond that, who is going to do the shit jobs in Germany if not for the Muslim immigrants? Germany has the lowest birthrate in the world, very far below the rate needed for a stable population (2.1 children per couple in the West). Without immigration, Germany will wither.

The problem for the Euros (and Japan) is that they do not have a culture which welcomes immigrants. Keeping immigrants isolated in segregated housing areas is a recipe for long-term disaster.

Monday Morning Classical Music



Peter Schickele, of course.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

An Open Letter to Whomsoever Changed the Design of Tin Cans

You suck. From hereon out, may your full name be regarded as an obscenity, not to be uttered in polite company.

This is a picture of the bottoms of two cans of pumpkin puree:


The can on the right has the old-style bottom, which is crimped/soldered onto the bottom of the can. The one on the left has an extruded bottom that is of one piece with the body of the can.

Now imagine that you need to empty those cans. You take a can-opener and open the tops of both.

The one on the right, you invert in a bowl and then remove the bottom with a standard can-opener. You lift up the body of the can and push the contents out with the severed bottom. 99+% of what's in the can slides right out, easy-peasy. Maybe you take a table knife and scrape out the rest. Hell, half of the time, it all gooped out when you had a quarter of the bottom opened. You could still then push out the rest with the severed bottom.

The one on the left, you have to go into it with a long spoon and scoop out the contents. It takes a lot more time.

Sure, they're probably saving 0.1 cents on the cost of the can. And no doubt some asshole said "who gives a fuck if the consumers don't like it. We'll make more money and what are they going to do, make their own pureed shit?"

The asswipe who proposed that probably got a big bonus. I hope his partner leaves him, his dog bites him and he gets audited by the IRS. May he live a long, hemorrhoid-inflicted life.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

BUFFs:


Every one of those B-52s is more than fifty years old. Fifty years before the H model flew, "aerial bombardment" consisted of dropping grenades from airplanes about as sophisticated as a Wright Model B.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Facebook: a Veritable Festival of Morons

This was on my FB feed:


The possible reason that less than 2% of people will "like" that photo may be because 98% of them will either recognize the photo as being one of the cast of the movie Tropic Thunder or will at least recognize the man in the middle of the group-- Ben Stiller.

Caturday

A shelter-cat selfie:


This is officially Global Adopt-a-Cat Century, so get thee to a shelter and adopt a cat.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Hey, Mal, I've Got the Whistle-Stop Flag Out!

Mind stopping by for a passenger?


I'll happily clean parts in the engine room for Kaylee. I'll even bring her some fresh batteries.

And I can shoot better than about half of your loadout.

The Coal Companies Got the Mine, the Taxpayers Get the Shaft.

Coal companies were supposed to purchase bonds to pay for cleaning up their mines after they extracted the coal. But a shitload of them didn't. They were allowed to "self-bond"; they merely promised to do it and cited the fact that they were doing well financially.

But now, with coal companies going Tango Uniform, guess who's going to get stuck with the cost of the cleanup?

No prizes if you guessed "the government."

For all the blather on the Right of "socialism", they miss the fact that we have capitalistic socialism in this country, at least for the very big players: They get to reap the rewards, but the risks fall on the government, on you and me.

If you ran a small business and you left a mess behind that the government had to clean up, they'd figure out a way to toss your ass in jail. But if you run a big coal company or an oil company or a chemical company, you can trash the environment and the worst that'll happen is a pesky fine. And if you go out of business, you wan walk away and you won't even have to pay that.

The socialism in this country is a safety-net for the oligarchs, the very people who have been energetically destroying the safety-nets for everyone else.

Happy National Defense Transportation Day!


No shit, it's a real day. After his experiences in 1919, President Eisenhower was adamant about improving the nation's highways so they could be used in times of war. The Interstate Highway system was his cause.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

A Cautionary Tale for the Kids; Election Edition

For those too young to remember the 2000 election, Stephen Colbert reads aloud See Ralph Run:

Not Applicable in West Virginia


In West Virginia, it's "cousin".

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

God, Please Fuck Up the FBI's Shit

Because this:
Hidden microphones that are part of a clandestine government surveillance program that has been operating around the Bay Area has been exposed.

Imagine standing at a bus stop, talking to your friend and having your conversation recorded without you knowing. It happens all the time, and the FBI doesn’t even need a warrant to do it.

Federal agents are planting microphones to secretly record conversations.
The Feebies are arguing that if you have a conversation out in the open, that you have no expectation of privacy. Personally, I think that's bullshit. If there's nobody within audible range, I would argue that you do have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Which is probably one of the many reasons why I don't practice criminal law.

It used to be police states that recorded people's private conversations and kicked in their doors in the middle of the night.

Actually, that's sort of unfair to the old-style police states. For they knocked on the door in the middle of the night. American cops kick the door in, without knocking, and toss flash-bang grenades into children's rooms.

(H/T)

Little Crappy Ships Have Bad Weight Problems?

The Navy has selected the Norwegian Naval Strike Missile for the LCS.

I wonder why the Harpoon wasn't chosen. The Navy has used Harpoons for almost forty years. The goal of any logistician is to keep the number of different types of ammunition in an arsenal as low as possible. (Which is why the proponents of adopting a 6.5mm rifle are pissing in the wind.)

The NSM has a much smaller warhead, each round is 600lbs lighter. Either the LCS has a bad weight problem and the Navy is trying to keep that under control, or this is just another "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" in which the Norwegians will buy some ships they'd rather not, in exchange for the ability to mark the NSM's promotional materials with the logo "as sold to the United States Navy". Either argument will have to be rather strong to fend off the "but foreign = bad!!1!!" crowd in Congress (why FN and Beretta, for example, built plants in the U.S.).

Shorter D.C.: "Somebody Has to Try to Kill You Before You Can Have a CCW Permit."

That's what they argued in court and the judge wasn't having any of that bullshit.

Courts elsewhere have accepted that bullshit, so this'll eventually go to the Supremes.

OK, Amazon, What Have You Done, Now?

I downloaded Chains of Command and it won't open on my Kindle Paperwhite.

(I download everything via USB cable because I don't like Amazon's penchant for fucking with things.)

It's in the directory on the Kindle. But it won't even show up as a book.

Any idea WTF is the problem? What has Lord Bezos done now, the little ##@*&!!

UPDATE: The thing was far enough out of date in software updates that it wasn't compatible with the data downloads. Fixed that. But now the display interface is all changed because fucking coders can't leave shit well enough alone.

And now my computer is saying that "USB Device Not Recognized". Which is funny because I don't have any USB devices attached at the moment. Fucking computers....

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

An Ad That's Ripe for Re-Using in 2016


All they have to change is the card and the voiceover at the very end.

Well, I Can Understand the Sentiment; Election Edition

NOLAND, Mary Anne Alfriend. Faced with the prospect of voting for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, Mary Anne Noland of Richmond chose, instead, to pass into the eternal love of God on Sunday, May 15, 2016, at the age of 68.
It's funny, but Mrs. Noland was indeed a real person.

Slow Moving Wheels; Murderous Cops Edition.

A former St. Louis police officer has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder for the on-duty shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith — an incident that led to one of the largest wrongful-death settlements stemming from a police shooting in the city’s history, the Post-Dispatch has learned.

Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce’s office on Monday charged Jason Stockley, 35, of Houston. St. Louis police and U.S. marshals arrested Stockley on Monday at his home in the 6300 block of Chevy Chase Drive in Houston.

St. Louis Circuit Judge Michael Mullen ordered Stockley held without bail. He is in custody in Harris County, Texas.
The killing took place in 2011. The shooter made statements (that were recorded) during the chase that he was going to kill the guy they were chasing. The cop then did indeed kill the guy, claiming that the vic had a gun.

A gun was found. But testing showed that the only DNA to be found on it was the cop's. It was a classic "throwdown" piece, but only this time they were able to prove it.

Still, it took 4-1/2 years to get to that point. My suspicion is that, without the continuing pressure of the family, activists and the fact that the city settled a wrongful death suit for 900 grand, that this would have been swept under the rug. Just like Chicago tried to do.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Why Not Let the Feebies Listen in on You?

You're doing just that if you have an "Amazon Echo".

Basically, any gizmo with the word "smart" in its description is a potential wiretapping device for the FBI and others to use.

(H/T)

History May Not Repeat Itself, But It Does Rhyme; Warfare Edition

“Today, a major in the Army knows nothing but fighting terrorists and guerrillas, because he came into the Army after 9/11,” [Army Chief of Staff] General Milley said in an interview during his flight to Arusha. “But as we get into the higher-end threats, our skills have atrophied over 15 years.”

A result, General Milley said, has been a loss of what he calls muscle memory: how to fight a large land war, including one where an established adversary is able to bring sophisticated air defenses, tanks, infantry, naval power and even cyberweapons into battle.
You need only look back to the First World War to see how such a situation played out.

The COS is sort of pissing in the wind. When the current employment of the Army is to engage in counter-terrorism operations, or to intervene in places where the enemy du jour has only small arms and IEDs, there isn't going to be any real money in the training budget for the sort of combined-arms training exercise that are necessary to prepare for a war against a roughly even-matched foe.

Time Passes

It's been a month and a half since Jake went over the Bridge.

Last week, I had left the bedclothes rumpled. When I returned after work, the rumple looked as things would have looked if Jake had wormed his way under them for a nap. That memory brought a smile, not tears.

Sure, the tears can come. The other day, I was going back through my FB posts; the one for Jake's passing got a lot of comments. Reading them made my throat clog up. But I almost have to go out of my way, now, to do that. And hell, I can do that with the other pets I've had if I dwell on their memories. Especially the dog that I had growing up and she's been gone for decades.

But I digress.

All this is a rather long preamble into saying that it'll soon be time to start looking for a cat.

I do have a bit of a trip planned. It probably would not be a wise thing to bring a cat home and then leave it to the pet-sitter to visit for that time.

After that, though......

Sunday, May 15, 2016

"It's Hard to 'Lean-In' as a Single Mom;" Rich Whines Edition

Sheryl Sandberg acknowledged Friday that her best-seller Lean In did not take into account how tough it is for single mothers to get ahead – a hard reality she's had to face since the sudden death of her husband last year.
I am sorry for her loss, but Jesus! No fucking shit!

Sandberg is both rich and makes a shitload of money as a FB muckety-muck. There is little doubt that Sandberg can afford to hire all of the help that she needs in order to be a widowed mother and have her career.

No, she's not faced with the need to leave work because the day care is closing for the day. She's not running the risk of prison because she had nobody to watch the kids when she went to work.

It's relatively easy to "lean in" when you can afford to hire a supporting staff to ensure that your family life doesn't pull the ground out from under you.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

The Mystere IV:

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Aviation Humor

This is sort of from memory:

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

Back in the day, nobody used headsets. You had to pick up a microphone, hold it to your lips and then push the button. So anyway, it was a gusty day at the airport, with a goodly crosswind component. A Cessna 150 was having problems with the wind, so at the last moment, the pilot began to go around. Almost by reflex, the pilot realigned the nose of the airplane with the runway's centerline.

While adding power and removing carb heat and retracting flaps, the little Cessna took on an alarming amount of wind drift. The tower controller noticed that the Cessna was on a track to collide with the tower. He keyed his mike and said: "Cessna 34 Bravo, what is your intention?"

The pilot replied: "If I don't have to keep talking on this here radio, I'd like to avoid hitting the tower. 34 Bravo."

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

Love May be What Makes a Subaru, a Subaru,
But Better Parts Might Make It a Usable Car.

Subaru of America said on Thursday it is recalling 48,500 new U.S. vehicles because of a serious potential steering issue and warned owners not to drive them until they are inspected and repaired if needed. ... Subaru said the steering column in the recalls may have been improperly built and turning the steering wheel may have no effect on the direction of the wheels.
If you have one, you may not want to drive the car, especially if it still has the Airbags of Death installed.

It was a Bad Idea for Me to Overestimate the Viewing Public, Overseas Edition

I was very dismissive at the idea of Tom Cruise playing the role of Jack Reacher; not the least because when compared to the description of Reacher in the novels, Cruise is a pretty-boy midget.

The movie didn't do that well in the U.S., but it played well to foreigners. Maybe they re-dubbed it.

A sequel will soon hit the theaters, which will be yet another movie I won't go see.

One Yuge "Boaty McBoatface"

Royal Caribbean Thursday celebrated the completion of the largest cruise ship ever built, Harmony of the Seas.

Top executives at the company including chairman and CEO Richard Fain joined the ship's incoming crew at the STX shipyard in St. Nazaire, France for a traditional flag changing ceremony atop the 227,000-ton vessel. ... It's total capacity will be well over 6,000 people, not including crew.
Crew size will probably be roughly 2,500. An oil tanker of that displacement would be a "very large crude carrier", which is probably an apt description of a Carnival cruise.

It'll be a lot of fun if that monster ever goes cold, dark and quiet at sea, something Carnival ships have had some experience at doing. And then there's norovirus, which can turn a cruise into a trip that's only a little more fun than cruising on a plague-ship. Or, the damn thing can run aground and sink.

But I've ridden that horse before.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Motion for the Internet:
I Move That People Who Use the Phrase "Disruptive Technology" Should Be Beaten With Shovels.
What Say Ye?

"Disruptive technology" is nothing more than a gussied-up way of saying "I have a new idea."

This rant is brought to you by some jerkoffs who are advertising that they have "Disruptive Ammunition Innovation"

Which is what, exactly, you might ask? It's boxer-primed cartridge cases made of something other than brass.

Color me skeptical.

I can buy 9mm brass-cased cartridges for twenty cents a round. Russian lacquered-steel-cased ammunition is in that range. Aluminum-cased ammunition is a tad bit more costly. This stuff is two-pieced. Which, to my untrained eye, would mean that there are going to be more manufacturing steps involved in making the cases. (Need I expound further along that line?)

Two pieces, steel and aluminum. Maybe you're not shooting in rough conditions, but if you might foresee getting drenched from time to time, steel and aluminum plus water can result in a little something known as "bimetallic corrosion".

Brass-cased ammunition is about as mature and proven a technology as there is. The number of centerfire brass cartridges produced and used in wars from the British Expedition to Abyssinia in 1868 to the current wars of today has to number into the many trillions, and that's not counting the trillions of steel cartridges made during World War 2 and thereafter.

The nearly breathless and uncritical regurgitation of SST's press release, as shown here, shows yet again that the dead-tree firearms press is to be regarded with a skeptical, nay, cynical eye.

Because It's Friday

A steam-powered Cat:

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

People from 32% of the Population Killed 71% of the Cops So Far This Year

And yet, that's a stat that you won't read from any of the "All Lives Matter" crowd.

71% of the cops killed so far this year have been killed by white dudes.

White people comprise 63.7% of the population. Divide that by two and you have 31.85% (OK, really 31.3%, since men comprise 49.2% of the population.)

So white men are killing cops at better than twice their percentage of the population.

Listen for the outrage about that and all you'll hear are crickets chirping away.

"Ironic;" Updated

Monday, May 9, 2016

Getting Bombed in the Future

The Shockfrost.

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE Please Stand By EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE


Some serious shit is going down in my family. It doesn't affect me directly, but it still does.

I can't disclose any of it at the moment. There may come a time when I ask for help and suggestions. Not now, though.

But there are a few regular readers of this blog, and I believe I owe it to them to explain why the posts have been sparse, of late, and why they may continue to remain so.

For now, I officially don't give a shit about whether or not Venezuela falls into chaos, whether or not Russian troops capture Vilnius, whenever Bernie drops out of the race, or whether or not The Donald is busily backtracking from all of the racist and hateful shit he said during the primary season.

That shit is all meaningless, at least to me, at the moment. YMMV. Surf the blogroll to find people who care.

It's not me.

p.s.; i'm not betting against The Donald in November.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

Starting up and flying a Yak-15:

Friday, May 6, 2016

Flying Boats Are Still Dead

Even if there are people and groups generating studies of new ones.

They are dead because the sea is a hostile environment to aircraft. If there is any sort of significant sea state, you're not really landing, you're more crashing into the water. Seaplanes have to be built pretty tough to take the abuse of water landings and takeoffs, which means that they have a heavier structure. A heavier structure means a higher empty weight, which means less of a payload-- less money to be made.

And then you can only operate seaplanes where there is a sufficiently large body of water. Which kind of lets out places like Denver or Atlanta.

If you can't operate from a protected harbor, then a good wind will result in a sea state that will either be high enough to suspend operations or will result in a rough enough takeoff or landing that the passengers will wish they had opted to fly on a 747/A380.

Not to mention in these days, operating a large airplane from an open-access waterway will drive the anti-terrorism polizei fucking bonkers.

Seaplanes are almost as dead as steam locomotives. And for good reasons.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Historic Times

The rate to mail a first-class letter dropped last month by two cents. The last time that the first-class rate went down was 1919.

(Maybe you were thinking of the upcoming "unpopularity contest", perhaps?)

I Will Not Roll Over; Self-Defense Edition

Like John Richardson, I only caught a brief glimpse of Rev. Rob Schenk's appearance on CBS's Sunday Morning, where he apparently has characterized defending one's self as un-Christian.

Willingly baring one's neck to a criminal is preferable, so it would seem, to Rev. Schenk, than fighting back.

To my knowledge, lying down and letting evildoers trample one's life into the dust has never really worked. I say that as a member of an ethic community and faith that has had a lot of experience in that regard. Letting evildoers have their way only makes it easy for those who would do you harm. Saying, in essence, that because we're all sinners, you shouldn't defend yourself against an attack by another sinner is like saying that putting up lightning rods is going against the will of the Almighty.

I would assume that, if the cops responded to a crime where Rev. Schenk or his family were being attacked, that he'd have no complaint if the cops had to use deadly force to end the matter. Or, if a foreign power invaded, he'd be fine with the military defending our soil. Which, to my mind, makes him a bit of a hypocrite, in that it's OK for other people to kill to defend his family and home, because what... it's their choice to do that? He's not telling them to kill? They don't go to his church?

That's splitting the hair mighty fine.

Predictably, Schenk is trying to walk back on this, saying that yes, the Bible doesn't ban self-defense. Which he then muddles by saying that his faith commands people to "love their enemies" and so on and so forth. So the Bible approves of self-defense, but one has to do it with love and respect?

How does that work? Tell the bad guy that you feel sincerely badly about having to air him out with half-a-magazine of 9mm bullets?

Or are you supposed to do what Schenk has in mind: Pray that somebody else will save you and nevermind if somebody else has to do the blood-spilling to save your pious ass.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Making a Bet on the Election?

As I understand the current odds, the bookies in London are giving 1.33 to 1 odds on Clinton and 3 to 1 odds on Trump. The numbers bounce around on each, but those would seem to be the averages.

Kasich, who is dropping out now, was a 100 to 1 shot.

Did The Donald Just Shank the Tea Party?

I've read lots of stuff from conservatives, which bemoans the supposed fact that the Republicans haven't tried to elect a "true conservative" as President.

Well, now they have tried. And they couldn't even persuade their own voters to back him.

But they'll surely start wailing that The Donald didn't fight fair or some such nonsense, and that they still await the One True Conservative to pull the Sword of Reagan from the stone and thus restore whatever it is they think needs restoring.

Ballocks.

And So Began the Zombie Apocalypse

A biotech company in the U.S. has been granted ethical permission by the National Institutes of Health to use 20 brain-dead patients for what is sure to be a highly controversial study: From next year, they plan to stimulate their nervous systems in order to restart the brains. Bioquark is hoping that its part in the groundbreaking ReAnima project will reveal if people can at least partly be brought back from the dead. ... Injecting the brain with stem cells, giving the spinal cord infusions of beneficial chemicals, and nerve stimulation techniques – which have been shown to bring people out of comas – will all be tried out.
This sounds like one of those Fantastically Bad Ideas that comes up from time to time in a drunken "what if we" session.

Just because you can do something doesn't mean that you should do something. Bioquark is the scientific equivalent of the "open-carry asshats" who go to a fast-food joint whilst toting an AK.

To the people at Bioquark, I restate the plea of Oliver Cromwell: "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken."

2nd Amendment Musing on the Presidential Race

To cut to the chase: Forget about it. If the right to own weapons is your concern, then work on the state and congressional races.

Clinton is anti-gun. Despite her brief attempt to seem pro-gun in `08, I am confident that if Clinton could send Army squads to every home in the country to confiscate guns, she would do so in a nanosecond.

Trump is a fascist. He has no qualms about using the levers of government power when he sees a gain in it. That's why he's managed to enrich himself while his companies fail and why he's a big fan of taking people's homes for private corporations. I know of no indication that Trump has ever fired a gun, much less held one (outside of military school).

If Sanders were to win, he might be the best of an awful set of choices.

But that's unlikely, so it seems that if you're looking for a presidential candidate who will defend the Second Amendment while in office for the next four years, you're shit outta luck.

Which is why you should work to limit the damage by electing congressmen, senators, and state officials who are pro-gun.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Pollen is in the Air


Which essentially means that everyone is inhaling powdered plant jizz.

That is all.

You Stupid Fucking Bastard, CCW Edition

One churchgoer shot another over a dispute over who got to sit where.

If this story has it right, the situation was deescalated until some mouth-breathing Asshole with a CCW badge and a gun decided to play cop. The guy sitting where he wasn't supposed to ended up dead, the shooter is in jail.

Stupid idiot. The argument over who sat where wasn't his circus, but Asshole flashed a badge and drew his gun. The dead guy called him on not being a cop and threw a punch.

If the story is true, Asshole rightfully will be a guest of the state for many years to come. I'm kind of surprised that they haven't charged Asshole with impersonating a cop, but that'll probably come.

(H/T)

Doesn't Matter if They Release the "Saudi Papers" or Not.

By now, you're probably familiar with the brouhaha over whether the 28 redacted pages of the 9-11 Report should be released or not. The pages allegedly discuss the involvement of Saudi Arabia in funding the attacks. The CIA Director, among others, say that the pages are "inaccurate". The Saudis have threatened economic retaliation, maybe more over the prospect of being sued.

I suspect that it really doesn't matter. It's likely widely assumed that some of the officials in the Saudi government, or some of the royal family (which is very large) were funding al Qaeda. Saudi Arabia is a country that I would call a "frenemy", in that they have been active in spreading an intolerant Islamic sect around the world. Ideologically and theologically, the two countries should be enemies. Economically and geopolitically, well, that's a different story. Geopolitics is first over all (which is why we allied with the USSR during the Second World War/Great Patriotic War), with economics a close second (why we're nominally friends, at least for now, with China).

But yeah, I doubt that anyone truly believes that the Saudis didn't have a hand in the 9-11 attacks.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Hand-Wringing Over NATO

Such as this guy:
A new survey of German attitudes towards security paints a grim picture for Europe. According to the survey, a majority of Germans oppose assisting their neighbors in case of Russian attack. The results mirror those in other countries, and begs the question: Is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization dying?

The survey, conducted by the Program for the Future of Europe and the Polish Institute of Public Affairs, reported that more than half (57 percent) of Germans polled do not support sending the German military to defend other NATO members "such as Poland or the Baltic states." Only 31 percent of Germans believe their country should fulfill its treaty obligations and assist those countries if attacked.
Unlike the author of that opinion piece, Germans can apparently read a fucking map. The Baltic republics are almost completely cut off from western Europe by either Russia or by Belarus, which is effectively a Russian puppet. Resupplying the Baltics in the face of Russian opposition will be a tough endeavor.

The Germans probably don't see a strategic interest in defending the Baltics. Neither does anyone else with a lick of sense. Which, of course, rules out a lot of think-tankers and columnists.

SmartGuns: No, No, a Million Times No.

Jonathan Mossberg is among a small number of pioneers looking to build a safer gun. But unlike many others, he was in the gun business when he started down that path.

His family is renowned for its premier line of shotguns treasured by law enforcement, hunters and the military. Mossberg already has spent more than a decade working to develop - and someday bring to the market - a firearm that the wrong person cannot fire. It is intended to work without fail in the hands of its owner in a life-or-death situation.
If the Mossberg Company has a lick of sense, they'll pay Johnnie-boy a lot of money to change his last name to "Glock".

Both Colt and Smith & Wesson looked into this shit when the last Clinton was president and, as a result, they both were driven to their knees by the resulting consumer backlash. Because it isn't the Bloombergers and the Bradys and the Giffords who buy guns. It's people who are notoriously conservative when it comes to whiz-bang technological "improvements". And there is no way around this: The technology adds another failure point. Where's the watch? Where's the ring?

If it's a RFID setup, it can be jammed. The cops will love it the first time that some bad guy puts a high-powered jammer in his car and then, having disabled the cop's RFID-coded gun, leisurely pots him.

If it's DNA-coded, what happens if the cop has been in a struggle and has traces of somebody else's blood on his hands?

Of course, if this stuff is mandated, there are a couple-hundred million guns, or more, that won't have the RFID chips/DNA readers and will be worth a lot more.

SmartGuns are weapons-grade stupid, all right. And so are their designers.

Correspondents' Dinner: The President Had Better Writers

You watch the President's remarks and Larry Wilmore's bit. And, if you do a little surfing, you'll find Wingnuts who are, oh, so offended by Wilmore's routine.

Which misses the crucial point: Wilmore's gravest sin at the Correspondents' Dinner was that he just wasn't funny. Most of his jokes were flatter than tires of airplanes in Corrosion Corner.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

Su-34s:


(H/T)