Words of Advice:

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

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

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

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

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

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Friday, September 30, 2016

Because It's Friday

NKP 767:

Poor Donald Has a Genetic Defect

His STFU gene is missing. Four days after the debate, he can't let the Miss Universe thing go.

Petty and vindictive seem to be good words to describe Trump. Anyone who is even remotely comfortable with giving that man the ability to order around federal cops and the military should be seriously considering the concept of letting a man with the emotional maturity of a pre-teen play with big weapons.

(His base won't abandon him.)

Jimbo Goes Back to Prison

John G. Rowland has apparently decided against appealing his sentence for campaign-finance fraud and the former governor reported to a federal prison on Monday to serve a 30-month sentence, Hearst Connecticut Media has learned.

Rowland, 59, was given his old identification number - 15623-014 - when he reported to the federal prison facility in Otisville, N.Y. in Orange County, about 93 miles from his home in Middlebury.
Besides his two convictions for corruption, thanks to Rowland's fuckery as governor, the state is faced with paying out a nine-figure amount to people who Rowland had illegally laid off.

His first conviction was for "honest services fraud", which is pretty much a bullshit catch-all charge that Federal prosecutors would bring when they couldn't really prove anything else. If you left work five minutes early and didn't put that on your timesheet, arguably the Feds could try to send you to prison for that. Or they could until the Supremes limited the charge to cases involving bribes or kickbacks.

It's Time!!


Chip doesn't do this, thankfully.

At least, not yet.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Would Clinton Be in Politics If...

... she were on her third marriage, had children by different men, and had six of her businesses go under and file bankruptcy?

Would she be in politics if she bragged about not paying taxes? Or if she had bragged about making money in a crisis that cost millions of people their jobs and their homes?

I tend to doubt it. She'd have been run off from any chance at elective office.

But it's OK if you're a Republican. Even if you're one of Mitt Romney's 47%.

Trump Can't Give It a Rest, Ever

The more time goes on, it begins to look as though Hillary Clinton gave The Donald a can of gasoline and a match, then stood back to watch the fun.
Donald Trump and his allies are refusing to let up on their attacks on former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, with Newt Gingrich shaming her for gaining weight during her reign and Corey Lewandowski suggesting she’s an attempted murderer.
A seasoned pol would recognize when he triggered a land mine and would back away. Not Trump. He has to go on the attack and keep attacking, even if he blows himself up in the process.

Continuing to attack a woman for gaining weight isn't going to play very well with about 95% of the women out there.

Moral:  If you find yourself stepping on your dick, at least take off your golf shoes.

I'll Help Pay to See This Done!

Just go read it.

The Hits Keep Coming for Wells Fargo

They've been fucking with the military and now they're in trouble.
Wells Fargo & Co., reeling from weeks of pummeling over fraudulent customer accounts, is now facing a Justice Department sanction over improperly repossessing cars owned by members of the military, according to two people with knowledge of the investigation.

Federal prosecutors and the bank’s regulator, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, are planning to punish the San Francisco-based lender for alleged violations of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, said the people, who asked not to be named because the investigation isn’t public. A penalty of as much as $20 million is expected from the OCC, one of the people said. That’s an unusually large fine for abuse of this law, which in most cases requires that firms obtain court orders before seizing vehicles from soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who are delinquent on their loans.
I'm somewhat surprised about the OCC's involvement, for they've been the agency that has long taken the lead in shielding banks from consequences of their financial fuckery.

Speaking of bank fuckery, hedge-fund managers (otherwise known as "very wealthy psychopaths") are starting to flee Deutsche Bank. Which is bad news for Trump, as that's about the last bank that will deal with the short-fingered grifter.

Keep Smoking that Crack, Gary

Gary "What's Aleppo" Johnson has written an op-ed arguing that people should vote for him.

Good luck with that, Bucko. When Nanny Bloomberg was mulling over a third-party run, I wrote a post to explain why if he made a real try at it, he'd toss the election to The Donald. That still holds. If Johnson garnered enough electoral votes so that neither Clinton nor Trump racked up 270 electoral votes, then Trump wins, even if he only won Mississippi.

Johnson's smoking political crack. The sad thing probably is that deep down, he likely knows it. Which makes him just another huckster.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Republican Newspaper Implies that Trump is Worse than Hoover

Since The Arizona Republic began publication in 1890, we have never endorsed a Democrat over a Republican for president. Never. This reflects a deep philosophical appreciation for conservative ideals and Republican principles.

This year is different.

The 2016 Republican candidate is not conservative and he is not qualified.

That’s why, for the first time in our history, The Arizona Republic will support a Democrat for president.
They could stomach Herbert Hoover, Alf Landon, Richard Nixon and Sarah Palin John McCain, but they can't stomach The Donald.

Nothing to add to that.

(H/T)

Another One-Newspaper Town: Pittsburgh-Tribune Review: DOA on Nov. 30th.

In essence, it's going to become a glorified blog after it ceases print publication on Nov. 30th. I am skeptical that they can make any money doing that, since they will be giving the content away for free.

One line from the story deserves a little notice:
[The late billionaire Richard Mellon] Scaife bought several smaller daily and weekly newspapers and created Trib Total Media in 2005.

In the decade since, however, Trib Total Media has contracted, with much of the downsizing occurring after Scaife died in July 2014.

His children have since sued Scaife's estate claiming money to which they were entitled had been spent on propping up Trib Total Media. That litigation is ongoing, though attorneys for Scaife's estate have argued that the spending was lawful.
Scaife is alleged to have taken $450 million from the family trust to prop up his newspaper operation. The heirs are alleging that the trustees knew that Scaife was looting the trust to prop up his newspaper operation and they want the money back from the trustees.

The Trib laid off or bought ought over 200 people in `14 and `15, the paper went on the DNR list once Scaife died and there was no more money coming from him.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette isn't exactly healthy. They bought out or laid off 120 people last year.

Breaking Pittsburgh News

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review is shutting down.

More later.

The Lies That They Tell

Politico analyzed the lies told by Trump and Clinton.

Clinton mostly fibs about herself.

Trump fibs about everything. The economy, crime, taxes, you name it, Trump lies about it.

Trump lies so frequently that, if you had a pot of boiling water and dropped some eggs in when he told a lie, if you took them out when he told his next lie, you'd have decent soft-boiled eggs.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Two Debate Pics

They've come to me by email, so I have no idea whom to credit.


Donald Trump: The Frank Burns of American Politics

Donald Trump blamed the moderator, a bad microphone and anyone but himself Tuesday after he was forced onto defense by Hillary Clinton's cascade of critiques about his taxes, honesty and character in the first presidential debate.
Duke Forrest on Frank Burns: "Every time a patient croaks on him he says it's 'God's will' or somebody else's fault."

That's The Donald. He showed up unprepared for a 90-minute debate and he even had the gall to try to make it seem as though trying to bullshit through it was a virtue. When he fell flat on his face, it was the fault of the microphone, of the audience, of the moderator, and maybe of the guy who didn't get lost while driving the limo to the hall. It's the immature losers of these things that make excuses for their shitty performances. An adult would have acknowledged that he did a shitty job, but that's not Trump. He's a petulant 12-year old boy in the body of a short-fingered old man.

It's always the losers who blame the referees. That the Trumpistas are bleating about the moderator tells you all you need to know about who prevailed last night.

Now maybe he'll just run away, as Rudy Giuliani suggested.[1] Apparently, to Rudy, "journalist" is equal to "stenographer".[2]
____________________________________
[1] Rudy's learned his military strategy from the original Mussolini.
[2] Besides, Giuliani's full of shit, for stop-and-frisk was indeed held to be unconstitutional. But the Mussolini of Manhattan's gotten a little rusty, since he effectively stopped practicing law about 25 years ago.

Don't Be Videoing Gunfights, You Idiots

As a followup to this post, I want to harp on the imbeciles who hold up their smart phones and video gunfights.

Last year, NYPD cops got into a running gunfight with some perp. The cops fired 84 shot and hit the bad guy once, in the calf.

When eight LAPD officers thought that they were being shot at by two women who were delivering newspapers, they fired over 100 rounds at them. Most missed the truck. The bullets hit homes and other vehicles.


A hell of a lot of cops, probably a huge majority of them, only fire their guns on a range when they have to. They are not experts. Couple in heavy triggers (mandated to reduce the chances of accidentally shooting themselves), adrenaline and large-capacity magazines and what you get is a recipe for "spray and pray". If it's truly a two-way gunfight, then the other party might not be any better at it.

All of which means that bullets will be flying everywhere and bullets care not what they hit. Get behind cover* or run the fuck away until you can get behind cover. You are not getting paid to march towards the sound of the guns.

One of these amateur videographers is going to catch a stray round, sooner or later. Don't be that guy.
_____________________________________
* "Cover" is a place where the bullets aren't going to hit you.

Stupid Criminals are Really Stupid

This isn't exactly rocket science.
A nationwide manhunt for a man accused of kidnapping a 13-year-old girl and her 22-day-old baby came to an end Saturday when the three were found in a rural area of West Virginia. ... Kanawha County Dispatchers told WOWK-TV they received a report that Chris Derleth’s credit card had been used around 1:46pm Friday. Deputies believe Derleth is equipped with tents, sleeping bags and other goods and may be hiding out in a campground, national forest, or a rural wooded area, that would allow for free or inexpensive primitive camping.
Then he had the misfortune to walk into a convenience store where there was a sales clerk who was paying attention to Amber Alerts:
Faye Jarrell works at a convenience store along Cabin Creek Road. She says a little after noon Saturday, a customer walked in whose face was immediately recognizable.

"As soon as he walked through the door, I said 'Oh my God, that's the guy who kidnapped and they have the Amber Alert for.' "
Dumbass. And, given the family structure, DNA tests of the asshole and the baby might be illuminating.

Monday, September 26, 2016

A Puzzling Shooting by Another Asswipe

A troubled lawyer opened fire on morning commuters in Houston on Monday, injuring at least nine people before being fatally shot by police, authorities said. ... Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, in Cuba on a trip to develop trade relations, told reporters, "The motivation appears to be a lawyer whose relationship with his law firm went bad."
Really? Asswipe had problems with his former partner and/or where he had worked, so he loaded a bunch of guns into his Porsche, went out and just shot at random people?

They much be growing some real cowards in Texas.

Oh, and look, you idiots: If people are slinging lead about, don't stick your head up and take video! Who do you think you are, Robert Fucking Capra? (He got killed, by the way. So did Dickie Chapelle.)

And if you are going to be dumb enough to take video with your cell phone, can you at least take the video in landscape mode, ie, turn the phone sideways? Have a little bit of pride in what you're doing, will you?

Meanwhile, don't jump the line in a D.C. pizzeria.

Worth a Look; Mideast Ed.

An interview with the King of Jordan:



While shouldering much of the burden of the Syrian refugee crisis, the Jordanians seem to be fighting by Israel's playbook: Never give the enemy a break and always extract vengeance for brutality.

A question for NATO and the Obama Administration: Why aren't you asking the Jordanians what military equipment they need and then why aren't the C-5s, C-17s, A-330s and 747s in the air, already?

The King made a couple points that are worth hammering home.

First, that the West (the First World) is making a mistake by not going after all of the extremists at the same time. In our parlance, we're playing whack-a-mole. The King believes we need to hit all of the holes, simultaneously.

Second, that the Islamophobic rhetoric in the West is aiding and abetting the extremists. Al Qaeda flew those airliners on September 11th in order to spark an overreaction from the United States. The Islamophobic crap about "we are at war with Islam" serves the purposes of al Queda and ISIL. The Western Islamophobes are instrumental in helping the goal of the extremists to radicalize Muslims.

So why aren't we prosecuting Islamophobes for aiding and abetting the enemy?


Aww, I Was Hoping It Was a News Report of an Arson Attack in Redmond.

Microsoft's Ignite conference for IT Professionals is in Atlanta, Georgia, all this week, and it kicks off on Monday with a keynote led by Scott Guthrie, Microsoft's executive vice president of cloud and enterprise.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Riots and More

A few decades ago, I was on a ship that made a port call to Haifa. There were a number of guided tours available; one was to Masada. I signed up for that tour, for reasons that should be obvious to regular readers of this blog.

On the way there, the bus, a standard Israeli intercity bus, stopped at a checkpoint. A soldier in uniform came onto the bus, spoke to the guide briefly, and we were sent on our way.

Meanwhile, across the road, a bus going the other way was also stopped at the checkpoint. Its passengers appeared to be Arabs. Everyone had disembarked, with all of their belongings. The soldiers were in the process of searching everyone and everything when our bus, in essence, coasted through the checkpoint. Men, women, children, shopping bags full of food, everything was being searched.

One of the sailors on the tour bus remarked: “Them people ain’t going to put up with that shit forever.”

I tell that story as a parable for the deteriorating relations between the African-American community and the police.

Now, another story:

I went to law school in a Midwestern city. I was a member of a handful of was once called a “retreads”, the term had been updated to “second career students”. It was sort of nice, because the law professors didn’t fuck with us in the same way that they did with the fresh meat from college.

Anyway, one of the other retreads was a Black woman. She had had her own business, done very well, and had sold it. From time to time, she would drive to visit family in a Southern city. I once asked her how long it took her to drive there. She said sixteen or so hours. I expressed some surprise, as it was maybe twelve hours away. She told me she allowed time for being stopped each way, twice, by cops who were suspicious because she was Black and driving a late-model Beemer (or some other German luxury car). She regarded that with about as much aplomb as I would a drive during orange-barrel season.

This shit has been going on for a very long time.

It is within the living memory of some people that there was a time when cops called their nightsticks “nigger-knockers”. It is within the living memory of some people that there was a time when if a cop shot a Black man, there was no investigation-- all he had to do was reload his revolver. It was a little longer ago that the police would show up at lynchings in order to ensure that the murder was done in an orderly fashion.

It is beyond reasonable dispute that the NYPD’s “Stop and Frisk” program disproportionately targeted Black and Latino men. White parents don’t normally give their children “the talk” about how not to get their asses kicked or killed by the police. White scientists normally don’t end up discussing all of the times that they were hassled by the cops. When police departments are hit with consent decrees, it is almost always because of how the cops have treated minorities.

This shit has been going on for a very long time and the pressure has been building. It is not helped by the Clueless Corps of Conservatives blathering about "all lives matter", and their subtext of "there'd be no problem if all of you people would know your place." It's not helped by police militarization and the spreading police attitude that Americans, especially minorities, are the enemy.

It's getting ugly. And it's going to get worse. When you have a pot on simmer, it doesn't take much more heat to get it boiling.

But there are some glimmers of hope, for the proliferation of video recording has started to bring some of the brutal acts to light and to justice. The Rodney King case was the harbinger of that, for even though the cops that tuned up Mr. King escaped justice, the world saw what happened. Without video, the killer of Mr. Walter Scott would have gotten away with planting evidence to cover up the murder. The killer of Mr. Laquan McDonald would have gotten away with it, because his buddies lied to cover it all up (and only now, are facing some consequences for that.) In a story that has not seen much national exposure, an ex-St. Louis cops is being tried for murder from a 2011 shooting where said cop allegedly planted evidence to cover up the killing. And without video the killer of Mr. Crutcher would have gotten an attaboy instead of a manslaughter beef.

No wonder the cops want to make it illegal to video them. They want to go back to the days when they could tune up or kill people and only their testilying would be given weight.

Riots are often the protest of the powerless. You can condemn the riots, but to paraphrase Dr. King, doing so without acknowledging and condemning the underlying reality is moral bankruptcy. People are protesting and rioting because they know that the system is biased. They know that the Charlotte cops are desperately trying to frame Mr. Keith Scott in a way to show that their shooting of Mr. Scott was justified. Like the murder of Mr. McDonald by a Chicago cop, they fear that the delay and obfuscation by the city is a coverup.

It is clear that the ranks of the police contain a number of men who believe that the shooting of any Black man is justifiable. This is something that the cops, themselves, have to clean up.

You don't have to look hard to find cops and their friends bemoaning that they have lost the trust of the community. They need to take a hard look in the mirror instead of blaming video cameras and smartphones. Cops need to act as lawmen who are public servants, not as extrajudicial enforcers and occupiers. Saying, in essence, "we'll take our boot off your neck if you stop squirming" is no longer going to cut it.

But that's not going to happen any time soon.

Things are going to get worse.

Caturday

"Bloody tourists!"- A shelter cat is not amused.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Because It's Friday

Steam plowing:

Ruger Mk.IV

A write-up by Tam.

I was kind of hoping that the new-seekrit Ruger would be a .44 Special revolver for the CCW market, but this still looks interesting.

No doubt Volquartsen will be selling accurizing kits in reasonably short order.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

They Move Faster in Tulsa

Prosecutors in Tulsa, Oklahoma, charged a white police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man on a city street with first-degree manslaughter Thursday.

Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler filed the charge less than a week after officer Betty Shelby shot and killed 40-year-old Terence Crutcher on Sept. 16. Kunzweiler said arrangements were being made for Shelby's surrender.
Or maybe they realized that trying to sweep this under the rug was not an option, not after the last one there.

Meanwhile, As the Cops Were Gunning Down More Black People, Pharma Sis was Grilled.

She was lambasted for her lavish compensation and for jacking up prices on the EpiPen. She thought the price was fair, probably because those executive bonuses don't fund themselves.

Then there is the corruption of Pharma Sis's mother using her position with the National Association of State Boards of Education to push her daughter's company's product.

And let's face it, taking a private jet to a hearing where one is being accused of profiteering was pretty fucking stupid.

I Remember It As Though It Was Yesterday


They didn't specify a year.....

The Coverup in Charlotte?

The Charlotte police are citing a law that hasn't yet come into effect as justification for not releasing the video of the shooting of Mr. Keith Scott.

That's bullshit. And it smells of coverup.

Just as it did in Chicago, where the city fought the release of the video showing Mr. Laquan McDonald being murdered by a cop.

I submit, Gentle Readers, that if the video in Charlotte supported the story of the cops, that it would have been released, somehow, within 24 hours.

UPDATE: The Charlotte cops are doubling down on their stance of "fuck you, no video". Again, I submit that if the video showed Mr. Scott with a gun, it would have been released. But since it hasn't, I will believe that the correct story is that he had a book in his hand and the cops killed him for Reading While Black.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Goddamnit, Are We Ever Going to Guillotine These Fuckers; Pharma Edition

A US drug company has increased the price of an acne cream by more than 3,900% to $9,561 in less than 18 months in the latest example of drug “price gouging”, which has enraged the American public and become a central topic of debate in the presidential election campaign.

Novum Pharma, a recently formed privately held Chicago-based company, bought the rights to drug Aloquin in May 2015. The 60g cream, which contains two cheap ingredients, was sold by its previous owner, Primus Pharmaceuticals, for $241.50.

Novum almost immediately increased the price by 1,100%, and hiked the price higher still in January 2016. Figures seen by the Financial Times show the company increased the price a third time last week to take the cost to $9,561.
The spokesweasel for Novum said that their products are "affordable to patients", which is a huge laugh in and of itself.

I don't know who the dead-armadillo-blowing bottom-feeders are who own the company, but I expect that information will soon be ferreted out and they will reap the public scorn and ridicule that they so richly deserve.

Assholes.

Seems That Trump Thinks Slavery Wasn't So Bad.

Donald Trump made another eyebrow-raising comment in his efforts to speak to the African-American community Tuesday, telling a rally in North Carolina that blacks in the United States are in their worst shape “ever, ever, ever.”
What sort of historically blind imbecile would even say something like that, you might ask. Your choices:
  1.  A white supremacist.
  2. Donald J. Trump.
  3. Both of the above.
  4. There's no difference between #1 and #2.
Slavery. Jim Crow. Lynch law. Yepper, times were so much better back then.

Monsanto is too Dirty a Name?

With Bayer AG’s proposed $66 billion purchase of Monsanto Co., the company that invented Aspirin is poised to take on one of the world’s biggest corporate headaches. A potential cure: dropping the Monsanto name.

The German drug and chemical conglomerate is considering that move to avoid sullying its reputation, according to people familiar with internal discussions at Bayer who asked not to be named because the talks are private.
Really? A company that made poison gas in the First World War, whose "doctors" conducted "medical research" in concentration camps during the Second World War, who promoted them to high positions after the war and which, to this day, has stuck with its Nazi-inspired rewriting of the history of the development of its signature product in order to eliminate any credit due to a Jew, this is the company that fears that "Monsanto" would sully its good name?

Ye Gods!

Compared to what Bayer has done, Monsanto is like a kid scribbling on the walls with crayon.

Whoa- That Ever Happened?

I had the TV on in the background, as I was playing with the cat. The usual ads were blathering and then I heard a line: "It's time to bring integrity and honesty back to Illinois."

Whoa. That was ever a thing in Illinois? It seemed to be the rule that the retirement package for their governors included a stretch in the penitentiary.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Almost a Good Idea from Gary Johnson. Almost.

Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson on Monday said he would shutter the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as president. ... Johnson, the former GOP governor of New Mexico, said he would have the FBI assume the DHS’s responsibilities.
Disestablishing DHS is a decent enough idea. They are a clusterfuck agency, with La Migra chasing down lawful private pilots, when not acting like tenth-rate music critics.[1]. DHS, an agency founded to fight terrorism, is combating art theft, copyright violations, illegal parking, and child pornography.

But putting the FBI in charge is a terrible idea. The FBI was fascist back when fascism was cool. And they are fucking pretty good at it, for they've had over a century's worth of practice.

Johnson calls himself a "libertarian", which is hooey. Anyone who advocates giving more power to the FBI is a statist. You'd expect such an inane proposal from DiFi or Peter King (R-IRA), not a "libertarian.
_______________________________
[1] Kind of like making the meter maids do building inspections.

How Sleazy is Trump?

Very. For when you think you've seen the worst of his ethical practices, the Donald sinks to a deeper low.
Donald Trump spent more than a quarter-million dollars from his charitable foundation to settle lawsuits that involved the billionaire’s for-profit businesses, according to interviews and a review of legal documents.

Those cases, which together used $258,000 from Trump’s charity, were among four newly documented expenditures in which Trump may have violated laws against “self-dealing” — which prohibit nonprofit leaders from using charity money to benefit themselves or their businesses.
As the article goes on to explain, he has also used money from his foundation to buy expensive bits of crap for himself.

As for his tax returns, it's probably open to speculation whether or not they will show that he is in bed with the bin Laden family as well as elements of the Russian mafia. For he is doing his level best to hide them from public inspection. It's already an open secret that he can only borrow money from one of the more corrupt banks. Even Vinnie the Hammer wouldn't float him a loan.

Dear Parents Who Let Their Kids Play With Toy Guns:

You need to supervise them. Don't let them go running around the town with toy guns or BB guns that look like the real thing.

This is what happens: The kid points the gun at an adult. The adult calls the cops. The cops show up to a "armed perp" call. Then maybe your kid points the gun at the cops.

Now, if your kid is maybe six years old, the cops might ask the kid to please put down the gun and you're going to get a hell of a lecture. You might even have some legal troubles.

But if your kid is 12 or 13 and he (for it's almost always boys) points what looks to be a gun at a cop, he is going to get shot to doll rags. That will be even more likely to happen in cities and places where it is not unheard of for kids that age to commit armed robberies.

It's possible that the person that the kid pointed a gun at has his or her own gun and they shoot your kid. Whether your kid was killed by a cop or an armed citizen, they will probably feel really bad about it afterwards. But legally, they're going to be in the clear, maybe 99.44% of the time. What a rational person would assume to be a gun was pointed at them; the law does not require them to take fire before defending themselves.

You will be left with some mementos of your child and a grave to visit.

True, race and class enter into this and may have an effect on the outcome. But that's a bigger problem to solve.

Don't let your kids run around with realistic-looking toy guns.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Congressman Lev Zeldin is a Dick

With a suspect in the weekend bombings in New York and New Jersey caught by police Monday morning, Congressman Lee Zeldin of New York took to Twitter to inform his constituents of the news.

He also took the opportunity to mention San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

“Suspect in custody,” Zeldin tweeted. “You are welcome Colin Kaepernick.”

This is Asswipe's Tweet.

What the issue that Kaepernick is protesting (the harsh over-policing of minorities) has nothing to do with the most recent NY bombing.

Except, maybe, in the mind of some batshit-crazy and apparently racist congressman from one of the least-racially diverse districts in the NY metro area.

Birther Nation


No additional comment required.

We'll See If This Sticks to Christie

Gov. Chris Christie was told of the George Washington Bridge lane closures as they were occurring in 2013, a federal prosecutor told jurors on Monday in U.S. District Court.

David Wildstein, who has already pleaded guilty to playing a role in the incident, and Bill Baroni, who is now on trial for his alleged role in the scheme, “bragged” about the traffic gridlock that lane closures were causing when they spoke with the Republican governor at a Sept. 11 memorial in Lower Manhattan, Assistant U.S. Attorney Vikas Khanna said.
Doesn't mean, of course, that any of that is true. Opening statements can be a good roadmap of what that side's case is. They can also be bullshit that doesn't hold up in trial.

We shall see. Be interesting if Baroni pleads out in the middle of trial, without admitting anything.

Shiver Me Timbers, Mateys!

Today is Intergalactic Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Arrrrr.

Detecting Bigotry

I have a test that I use when I read or hear stuff about "the Muslims" or "the Mexicans". I substitute "the Jews". And then, if the sentence or speech or article comes across as being deeply racist and offensive, I figure that it probably is.

You can probably connect the dots.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Yard Signs

In my drives and strolls, I've seen a lot of yard signs promoting various candidates: Governor, senator, congressman, county assessor, lieutenant governor (who wants that job) and so forth.

But I rarely ever see a yard sign for any of the presidential candidates.

That tells me something, but I'm not sure what.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

A F-22 in the Mach Loop:

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Fascists for America Endorse Trump

This is absolutely no surprise whatsoever: The "Fraternal Order of Police" endorsed Trump.

Trump has a long history of using the legal system to abuse people with less power, or those who displease him. He's been blowing a dog-whistle that he approves of harsh police tactics and brutalizing minorities.

So no wonder the Association of Junior Jackboots has endorsed him.

Trump Campaign Channels Its Inner Putin

So a reporter asks for access to a Trump event. In short, the reporter is arrested for trespassing.

Naturally, the Trump campaign denies all involvement. They blame the hotel, so it might be worth asking the Omni Hotel corporate brass why they are acting as Brownshirts for Trump.

Caturday

Moms make good pillows.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Big Fucking Deal; Rocket Edition

Blue Origin Will Test Its Capsule Abort System ... in Flight!
Yawn.

NASA tested the abort system for the Mercury and Apollo spacecraft in flight. But they built a much cheaper and smaller rocket for the tests, the Little Joe and Little Joe II. One of them came apart in flight and gave the abort system a real-world test.

Actions Have Consequences; Hacker Edition

The computer activist Lauri Love has lost his appeal against extradition to the US, where he could face up to 99 years in prison for hacking into the computer systems of American missile defence centres and financial institutions.
Of course, there is plenty of butthurt. He's "special".

Whatever. You know what? Fuck him. I've not seen any claims that Love did what his is charged with because of a higher motivation. He wasn't exposing wrongdoing or governmental illegality. He allegedly attacked government computers because some other hacker, who had been arrested for the same kind of shit, offed himself in jail. He was participating in acts of vengeance, not social justice or the common good. He was doing it because he could. Which is not really different from other vandals.

I don't know what the current UK legal standard for an insanity defense, but I'll bet that having Asperger's or depression isn't going to cut it. His extradition for similar crimes was blocked in `12, but the little fuck didn't take that as a warning. He apparently took that as a license to keep fucking with government computer systems.

So yes, fuck him.

Because It's Friday

Steam sawmill demonstration:


Some of the footage is laden with lens lice. But there is enough visible to make an OSHA inspector drink heavily. You'll see plenty of things where a moment's inattention would give someone a really bad day.

The second to last verse of The Secrets of the Machines applies.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Winning Hearts and Minds Around the World

Here are a few people who are populating the basket of deplorables:
A British woman's traditional Muslim clothing was set on fire on Fifth Avenue, New York police have said.

The woman, who had been staying in a Manhattan hotel, was returning from sightseeing when she felt a warm spot on her arm, an officer told the BBC.

She turned and saw her arm on fire and a man with a cigarette lighter. She was able to pat out the fire with her hands and did not suffer any injury.
And more: Some asshole set fire to a mosque in Florida in a crime equivalent to torching a church on Easter Monday
A mosque in the US state of Florida has been set ablaze by an arsonist during the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday, authorities said, without ruling out that it was a hate crime.

Fire crews arrived at the scene in the early hours of Monday after receiving reports of flames coming out of the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce, located about 160km southeast of the city of Orlando.
And back in New York:
A Donald Trump supporter who calls herself Mary Magdalene has been arrested for a hate crime after allegedly punching and attacking two Muslim women in front of their babies.

Cop Fired for Not Being Trigger-Happy

You might want to avoid Weirton, WV, where the cops get fired for not killing people.

MH370, JonBenét Ramsey, Another Bankster, NK, the 9/11 Families and the Deplorables

One of the benefits of this modern age is that, with so many media outlets, nobody has to pay attention to bullshit stories if they don't want to. Two examples that come to mind are the continuing tidbits of "did this bit of metallic debris come from Malaysia Air Flight 370" or "who whacked JonBenet Ramsey".

My take: Let me know when they either find the fuselage or they make an arrest. Otherwise, STFU.
----------------------------------------
Wells Fargo has agreed to pay $185 million in fines for illegal sales tactics. Meanwhile, the very bankster who was in charge of all of that fuckery is getting $125 million to go away. It's probably a safe bet that most of the other people the bank fired for this got no such lavish treatment.

Here're two ideas: 1) Increase the fine by tenfold, and 2) give the bankster a golden parachute and then toss said bankster out of an airplane (at or above 3,000' AGL).
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Historic flooding has crippled North Korea’s most remote counties, killing at least 133 people and leaving at least 100,000 people homeless after a devastating typhoon ripped through the already isolated nation, according to U.N. officials.

The storm’s aftermath forced the power-hungry country to ask for water, medicine and food — anything to help the estimated 150,000 people impacted by Typhoon Lionrock, all while facing international backlash for unleashing its fifth and most powerful nuclear test yet Friday.
In the face of such a human tragedy, saying "go fuck yourself" may be a hard and cruel response, but so be it. The rest of the world has helped North Korea deal with famines and other disasters and the general response of the North Koreans has been to stick a thumb in the eye of the international community.

Sooner or later, we're going to have to glassify the fucking country. And we will have no choice. The security of our country, and indeed, that of most of our allies has been based on the premise of "fuck with us or our friends and you will be nuked." If they are dumb enough to call the bet, then they'll get to see our hole card.


(Yes, I know it's film of a Soviet test shot. So sue me.)
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President Barack Obama will veto a bill that would allow terror victims of the attacks on September 11, 2001, to sue Saudi Arabia, the White House said Monday.
"That's still the plan," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said when asked if the President planned to veto the bill.
(Self-launching video alert)
At some point, it begins to look less like "justice for the 9/11 families" and more like "9/11 families seek more cash". There was a yuuge special victims fund that was set up after the attacks and the 9/11 families got some pretty generous compensation for their losses.

They want more, now?

Everybody reading this knows a family that has been touched by tragedy. Disease, accidents, homicide, war, natural disasters. A storm floods your home and your lose your family, you might get some help. Or not. Your mom walks across the street and gets creamed by a drunk-driver with no insurance-- you're not getting a huge payout. Your brother get carjacked and killed in downtown (name your city)-- there's no special victims fund to help your family.

But the 9/11 families are "special".
----------------------------------------
Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence blasted Hillary Clinton Monday for her comment referring to "half" of Donald Trump's supporters as belonging to a "basket of deplorables." But Pence declined to categorize Trump backer -- and white nationalist -- David Duke as "deplorable."

"I'm not in the name-calling business," Pence told CNN's Wolf Blitzer, while at the same time repeating Trump's disavowal of Duke's support.
(another goddamn self-launching video)
Really, Mikey? A guy who calls for reinstituting segregation, and worse, isn't "deplorable"? I guess you have to take a knee during the playing of the National Anthem to be deplorable to Republicans. Trump has been blowing the white supremacist/neo-nazi steam whistle for over a year. They all know that he's their guy and they've been actively working to support him. And, despite Pence's mealy-mouthed words, Trump has been pretty shy about denouncing them.

If noe-nazis are not deplorable, then who is?

Monday, September 12, 2016

A Bit of a Fib, Mr. President

In his 9/11 statement:
Because as Americans, we do not give in to fear. We will preserve our freedoms and the way of life that makes us a beacon to the world.
Bullshit. Sure we do. The execrably-named "USA Patriot Act" was fear-based legislation. The national-security caucus (Dianne Feinstein and Peter King, prop.) have never found a freedom or liberty that they have been willing to preserve.

Warrantless searches. National security letters. Monitoring the electronic communications of all Americans (whether directly or by proxy). There have been no shortage of liberty and freedom-curtailing legislation and executive actions over the last fifteen years.

Go back in the past a bit. How about the internment of Japanese-Americans and the forced confiscation of their property in 1942? How about the Red Scare or the Palmer Raids? How about the suppression of dissent by the Wilson Administration during the First World War? Or you can go all the way back to the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798.

In the present day, we have a major presidential candidate that is running about 95% on a platform of fear and xenophobia. And he has a lot of supporters.

"We do not give in to fear."-- Horseshit, Mr. President.

LCS: Putting Tabasco on a Dog's Breakfast

VADM Rowden, Commander of Surface Forces, has issued a statement of what is going to be done to make the LCS hulls into a semi-usable asset.

There are some good things. One of which is ditching the "swappable mission modules" bit (of which, none have had any demonstrated utility as of eight years after LCS-1 was commissioned). Another is establishing shore-based non-contractor support, sort of like an ashore tender. There will be training support, again, non-contractor. The first two hulls of each class will be training ships. And all of that will be under the command of the LCS squadron commander. Finally, the "multiple crews manning multiple ships" idea, so favored by the MBAs in Ft. Fumble, is gone, replaced by blue/gold manning.

All of which is probably nearly as good as it'll get. I remain skeptical that the LCS hulls will ever be of more than marginal utility, as they are too lightly manned to remain at sea for any extended operations. And without pouring a lot of assets into supporting the ships, even a two-crew model is a recipe for lousiness.

But we shall see.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

9/11 + Fifteen Years

I'll stand with what I wrote on the ninth and tenth anniversaries. And this, written before then.

And read this, which FB censored, because the " 'Murrica, 'Murrica!" crowd hated it.

Rudy Giuliani is Beyond Stupid

The former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani has argued that “anything is legal” in war, defending Donald Trump’s call to “take the oil” of Iraq, one of the Republican nominee’s proposals that appears to violate international law.
So there is no such thing as a "war crime" to Rudy.

The man is a clown, a revisionist who once claimed that there were no terror attacks during Bush's term.


Bless his heart.

Your Sunday Morning Prop Noise

P-38s.


Air-show announcers should be seen and not heard. Or heard less often.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Political Operatives are Doug Feith-Level Stupid

With Election Day less than two months away, Democrats are increasingly worried that Hillary Clinton has not built a formidable lead against Donald Trump despite his historic weaknesses as a national party candidate. ... Clinton leads Trump by three percentage points, having fallen from her high of nine points in August, according to the latest RealClearPolitics average. That tightening has frustrated many Clinton allies and operatives, who are astonished that she isn’t running away with this race, given Trump’s deep unpopularity and his continuing stream of controversial comments.
How is this a mystery to anyone? There has been plenty of polling data about the high negative numbers for both candidates and that their chief pitch has been "I'm not as despicable as my opponent".

To not see that this would be the situation takes some real professional-grade stupid. Hasn't it been obvious for a year or more that Trump can say all manner of hateful and outright false shit and it doesn't slow him down a whit?

And only now the Clinton campaign is understanding this? Did they hire these guys?


Caturday

One of these kittehs is not like the others......

Friday, September 9, 2016

"Quantity has a Quality All of Its Own"

That's the rationale for churning out a lot of weapons as cheap as possible.

Another one is: "Perfect is the enemy of the 'good enough'."

The Liberty ships were a fine example of that. Problems were acceptable in wartime when the idea was to build cargo ships very quickly due to the losses in the Battle of the Atlantic. The B-29s were rushed through with teething problems, the early ones were known for engine fires. P-39s and P-400s were crappy fighters, though the Soviets made good use of them.

And, of course, the prime example is the T-34 tank, of which the Soviets made over 55,000. The Americans made almost as many Shermans.*

The LCS was supposed to be all that: Cheap to build and built in quantity. Except that they are such pieces of shit that the first four are being sidelined as T&E hulls that will only deploy if the Chinese need more ships to sink.

Which means that, eight years after the first one was commissioned, only one Independence-class LCS is in active service (and undergoing repairs from shock trials) and only one Freedom-class LCS is in active service (in repairs from an engineering casualty).

Fucking pitiful.

In that time, Bath has commissioned five DDG-51s and Ingalls three. The Navy has bought fourteen more of them. The LCSs take two crews to run, which is close to 200 officers and sailors. A DDG-51 takes over 300, but what the hell, they work and they're manned like warships (one crew per).

When you have one crew per ship, the crew has an identity with their ship. She's theirs, they own it and the ship's ability to sail and her appearance matter to the crew. Two or more crews, well, they don't own the ship, they rent her. If there's a problem that can be kicked to the next crew's cycle, it will be.

In short, a traditional warship is family. A multi-crewed warship is a whore. And they are both treated about as you'd expect.

Our circle-jerk of a congress, of course, doesn't seem to give a fuck. LockMart and Austal are making bank and, well, you know how the corporate welfare department at Ft. Fumble operates.
_______________________________________
* The Germans, in comparison, made less than 2,000 Tiger tanks and 44,000 other tanks during the entire war, a number doubled by the Americans alone. The British made about 38,000 and used most of the Lend-Lease Shermans. The Soviets used Shermans and, besides the T-34, made about 10,000 other tanks.

Because It's Friday

The Pikes Peak Cog Railway.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Trump is Like an Arsonist Complaining About Firebugs

Donald Trump defended his admiration for Russian President Vladi­mir Putin at a forum here Wednesday focused on national security issues, even suggesting that Putin is more worthy of his praise than President Obama.

“Certainly, in that system, he’s been a leader, far more than our president has been a leader,” Trump said. “We have a divided country.”
And who has been one of the prime-movers in dividing the country? Donald the Birther:
Donald Trump's running mate Mike Pence admitted Wednesday that he believed President Obama was born in the U.S. — a stark contrast to the years of refusals by the GOP nominee to do so. ... Pence's obvious statement marked a sharp departure from Trump, who as recently as this past weekend again refused to disavow his years-old "birther" claims that Obama was not born in the U.S.
Trump is a race-baiter and the best bud for white supremacists. He admires dictators and thugs like the Kim Jong-un (who just outlawed sarcasm), Saddam Hussein and Vladimir Putin, whose political foes seem to end up in jail or the morgue.

Can you imagine the uproar in "conservative" circles if a Democrat who was running for president said nice things about Kim Jong-un? Or Putin? They'd lose their fucking minds. And if Hillary Clinton played as fast and loose with reality as does Trump, they'd definitely lose their shit.

The only time that Trump isn't lying is when he tells people how great he thinks he is. For he is truly a legend in his own mind.

UPDATE: Republicans in the Senate are doing their very best impression of an ostrich.


But, to be fair, what choice do they have?

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

How's That "War on Drugs" Working Out for You?

Heroin has been found laced with a pain medicine developed for elephants. Since elephants are about 75 times heavier than people, the drug is extremely potent. People are overdosing and dying, if nobody can get to them with one or two doses of narcan.

This is, mind you, 45 years after Tricky Dick declared the war as a political tool to boost his chances for reelection.

Of course, just as the prohibitionists did in the 1920s, the modern-day prohibitionists will cheer every overdose death as a morality play.

All this goddamned "drug war" has done is kill people, enrich police departments, create larger Federal law enforcement bureaucracies, fill our prisons and dismantle the protections of the Bill of Rights against unlawful searches and seizures.

It is time that we end this insanity. Legalize *everything*. Regulate the purity and quality of the drugs so if people want to ruin their lives by taking drugs, at least they're not using shit that has been stepped-on with baby laxative or mixed in with painkillers for pachyderms. Legalizing would also shut down the cartels, the police that have been leeching off drug money confiscations and the vampiric private prison industry. They can give WARN notices to everyone in the DEA, close a bunch of prisons, do a thorough investigation of the alleged brutality and mistreatment endemic to the private prison industry and maybe refill some of the public prison cells with those profiteers of human tragedy.

Legalizing would take much of the stigma out of admitting that one has a drug problem.

And we can tax it all, too. Some of the tax money could go to funding treatment programs.

Legalizing drugs won't solve everything. But what we've been doing in this country for the last ninety years or so hasn't worked.

Not Something You See Every Day; Baseball Edition

An inside-the-park homer:


His team lost.

A 3-Engine Airplane with 4-Blade Props

As I noted over a year ago, the EAL DC-7 is still grounded in Charlotte. The Carolinas Aviation Museum lists it as a temporary exhibit.

The Historic Flight Foundation, which restored and owns/owned the airplane, no longer acknowledges it as part of their collection.


The airplane has been deregistered.


Sad.

Shorter Jill Stein: 'Waaah. Waaaah. Waah."

She is complaining that she and Gary Johnson are being excluded from the debates.

Call the waaabulance!


The debates are put on by a private entity. They get to set the rules for their debates, under the age-old legal principle of "my bat, my ball, my rules". If Stein and Johnson don't like it, well, it sucks to be them. They're free to set up their own debates. Whether or not they can persuade Trump or Clinton to play along and whether or not anyone pays attention is a different matter.

Glenn Beck Makes Sense

Please, just read it.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

A Pithy Comment to the Retail Geniuses Who Think It is a Good Idea to Rearrange Where Stuff is Stocked in Your Stores

Go fuck yourselves. May you ultimately die in a crotch fire.

See, there you are, before work on your lunch hour. You go to the store to buy a few things, figuring it'll be a quick in-and-out because you're tight for time. But you get into the store and you can't find the shit you need because some marketing retar genius has moved everything around.

Their idea, of course, is that by making you tramp around the store, they'll "expose" you to other merchandise and maybe you'll buy something else, too.

Sadly, no. You'll just get what you need and you'll leave the store, seething because it took you five additional minutes to find the stuff you went there for, and possibly you had to track down one of the "associates" to direct you to the stuff they so helpfully relocated.

And so, later than you planned, you leave the store, angry as fuck, and wishing that you could stick the marketing guys' heads on pikes outside of corporate as a lesson to No Longer Fuck With People.

But only Vir Cotto got a wish like that granted.

ITT Tech has Closed Its Schools,
Fox is Out $20 Mil,
Hope Your Shit Isn't On These Ships, and More.

The Feds barred them from receiving student loan funds, following allegations of fraud and deceptive marketing. They were also losing (or had lost) their accreditation. ITT Tech tried to restructure as a non-profit or sell off its campuses, but to no avail. So they're done.
-------------------------------------------------------
Fox News formally apologized to Gretchen Carlson and they're paying her $20 million to settle her lawsuit against them and Ailes. Ailes, uncharacteristically, had nothing to say, but since Fox paid him $40 million to go away, why would he?
-------------------------------------------------------
If any of your stuff that is being shipped is on a containership, you'd best hope that it's not a Hanjin ship. They've filed for bankruptcy, which means none of their ships can enter a port to be unloaded, for the ports and their stevedores won't be paid. The ships and their crews are pretty much stranded at sea, in the hopes that a deal of some kind can be reached before they run out of fuel or food.
-------------------------------------------------------
If you don't know how I feel about this news, you haven't been reading this blog for very long. De mortuis nihil nisi bonum: Bonum.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Schlaf gut!


"Rolling Coal" Assholes

This story, about men (because it's always men who do this shit) who fuck with the emissions controls on diesel pickup trucks to "roll coal" (because it's always assholes with pickup trucks) reminded me of a past event.

I try to get some exercise by walking, if the weather permits. So one day, I'm walking along a street, when about a hundred feet ahead, at an intersection, a big dually pickup truck pulled up the the stop sign on the cross street. The truck turned right, so it was coming my way. The driver made eye-contact, then he mashed down on the gas, causing a huge plume of smoke to come out of the truck's exhaust pipes (which were horizontal under the truck bed). When I say "huge plume of smoke", I've seen steam locomotives fighting a grade that emitted less smoke.

I was able to draw a quick breath and hold it before the cloud of smoke being emitted by asswipe's truck enveloped me.

Grr.

If I had my phone with me, I would have taken a picture and seen if I could have had the asswipe busted for assault.

At other times, assholes in pickup trucks have seemed to think it's funny to come onto the shoulder and see how close they can come to whacking me with their mirrors.

So when I see a full-size pickup, like a Dodge Ram or a F-250, my operating assumption is that the driver, if it's a guy, is an asshole until proven otherwise.

For Those Who Think that the MSM is in the Tank for Clinton

Then you might ponder why this story isn't a big deal:
Florida's attorney general personally solicited a political contribution from Donald Trump around the same time her office deliberated joining an investigation of alleged fraud at Trump University and its affiliates

The new disclosure from Attorney General Pam Bondi's spokesman to The Associated Press on Monday provides additional details around the unusual circumstances of Trump's $25,000 donation to Bondi.

The money came from a Trump family foundation in apparent violation of rules surrounding political activities by charities. A political group backing Bondi's re-election, called And Justice for All, reported receiving the check Sept. 17, 2013 — four days after Bondi's office publicly announced she was considering joining a New York state probe of Trump University's activities, according to a 2013 report in the Orlando Sentinel.

After the check came in, Bondi's office nixed suing Trump, citing insufficient grounds to proceed.
It's been pretty much ignored, until this:
Donald Trump paid the IRS a $2,500 penalty this year, an official at Trump's company said, after it was revealed that Trump's charitable foundation had violated tax laws by giving a political contribution to a campaign group connected to Florida's attorney general.
let that sink in a little: Trump has used his "charitable foundation" to funnel what would appear to be a payoff to the Flodia AG in exchange for not going after his ass, and then covered it up with by claiming a donation to another group:
In that year's tax filings, The Post reported, the Trump Foundation did not notify the IRS of this political donation. Instead, Trump's foundation listed a donation — also for $25,000 — to a Kansas charity with a name similar to that of Bondi's political group. In fact, Trump's foundation had not given the Kansas group any money.

The prohibited gift was, in effect, replaced with an innocent-sounding but nonexistent donation.
Paying off politicians to not go after him, covering it up by lying about who got the money, getting fined by the IRS for doing all that and he has the gall to call Clinton "crooked"?

C'est inconcevable! L'horreur!

The French Army is adopting a German rifle.
According to an as of yet uncorroborated report from the French publication RETEX MAG, the next French rifle will be a variant of the German-made Heckler & Koch HK416.
With much of Europe, the past isn't over, not by a damned sight. The Brits are known for going from zero to the Blitz in ninety seconds and, as the French might point out, damn few Germans during the wars set foot in England with weapons in hand. On the other hand, the French have gone 1-2 in wars with the Germans, with the Prussian/German army twice marching in victory through Paris.

Both countries have worked hard, especially since de Gaulle began the process, to bury the hatchet. But infantry rifles are potent national symbols, that the French are adopting a German rifle says a lot.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

Since this will be the only way anyone will see a He-162 fly:


Interesting how the builder got around the laws banning the swastika in Germany.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Drought and Trump

First off, this is from Monday's drought monitor:


Keep an eye on the Adirondacks of NY, as well as upper New England. Those areas are sometimes referred to as "the fireproof mountains", because the climate is wet enough that there isn't the same sort of fire risk as there often is out west. If they dry out, there will be a lot of fuel and the fires may be epic.

Now to Donald Trump. As you've probably noticed, Hillary Clinton has been keeping a low profile. Part of that is from the old adage of "never prevent an enemy from making mistakes" and, YDAFL knows, he's been campaigning as though he enjoyed stomping on Bouncing Bettys.

But it seems that she has been campaigning: Among the rich.
At a private fund-raiser Tuesday night at a waterfront Hamptons estate, Hillary Clinton danced alongside Jimmy Buffett, Jon Bon Jovi and Paul McCartney, and joined in a singalong finale to “Hey Jude.”

“I stand between you and the apocalypse,” a confident Mrs. Clinton declared to laughs, exhibiting a flash of self-awareness and humor to a crowd that included Calvin Klein and Harvey Weinstein and for whom the prospect of a Donald J. Trump presidency is dire.

Mr. Trump has pointed to Mrs. Clinton’s noticeably scant schedule of campaign events this summer to suggest she has been hiding from the public. But Mrs. Clinton has been more than accessible to those who reside in some of the country’s most moneyed enclaves and are willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to see her. In the last two weeks of August, Mrs. Clinton raked in roughly $50 million at 22 fund-raising events, averaging around $150,000 an hour, according to a New York Times tally.
If Clinton wants to lose this election, I can see no better way, right now, than making the argument for Trump that she is a willing tool of the Oligarchy, that she will look out for the interests of the very people whose interests the politicians have been putting first for the last forty years.

This issue has been driven home, at least to me, by some conversations with some bright people who I would have never pegged for Trump voters, but who are voting for him. They all despise Trump's racism and xenophobia. They think that he is a despicable narcissist. They think that it is an absolute horror that he won the nomination. Frankly, they despise him.

But they despise the system more. They have said, in varying words, that the system is rigged against everyone but the ultra-rich. As one person told me, "if you don't have a billion dollars, they won't do shit for you." St. Louis was going to build a football palace for Stan Kroenke, who is worth several billion dollars, but good fucking luck finding the money to fix the inner-city schools, for reasons that border on the nefarious.

The system is rotten. The only person on the political horizon who even remotely promises to rip it down is Trump.

And yes, a goodly number of them would have voted for Bernie Sanders, for the same reason that they'll now vote for Trump.

If the Trump campaign had any smarts, they'd now be blaring that Hillary is the candidate of the rich. Because nobody who is not already a Trumpanzee is going to give a fuck about Benghazi or her email server. But tar her with being a tool of the billionaires, and maybe Trump might gain some traction.

Fortunately for Clinton, there're are few signs that the Trump campaign has any smarts.

Caturday

"Keeping the bed warm for you, Mom!"

Today marks two months since I brought him home. He has brought a lot of joy into my life.


Last weekend, Chip tore into another loaf of fresh French bread. Clearly, he likes the stuff and he isn't going to loaf around, waiting for me to give him some. The cat's a serious breaditor. As for cat food, yesterday he scarfed down a can of Fancy Feast in 3 minutes, 35.71 seconds.

His health is mostly good. He has a bit of a yeast infection in one ear, for which he is receiving drops. Seven drops in each ear, twice a day. I guess the idea is that at least a little bit will get down to where it's needed. Even with massaging his ears afterwards, I wind up being spritzed with the stuff.

Friday, September 2, 2016

So Where's My Local Taco Truck?

A Latino surrogate for the Trump campaign warned Thursday that without tighter immigration policies from the Republican presidential nominee, "you're going to have taco trucks on every corner."
So when I don't feel like preparing dinner, I can walk 200' to the corner and get fresh tacos and a beer?

Sounds like a hell of a deal to me.

I presume that testing Trump's surrogates for at least a room-temperature IQ is not routinely done.

The Little Crappy Ships Have Earned Their Name.

Less than two days after the US Navy revealed a third mechanical breakdown in a year of one of its $360 million littoral combat ships, the service has announced a fourth.
The reason behind the LCS class of ships was that they were supposed to be commercially-available ships that would be cheaper to build than milspec warships and they could build them faster than warships.

Hasn't worked out. It's been eight years since LCS-1 (USS Pierside) was commissioned and in that time, a dozen LCSs have been commissioned. It took eight years to commission all 46 ships of the Knox class. Eight years after the commissioning of the USS Oliver Hazard Perry, 48 ships had been commissioned. It took eight years to build the 35 ships of the Spruance and Kidd classes. And all of those warships were built as warships, to milspec/BuShips standards. The only possible "COTS" tech on them was the installation of LN-66 radar units (and maybe the typewriters and copiers).

Why these floating abortions continue to be produced is probably a matter of greasing the right congressmen, if not project offices. They can't sail, they can't fight and they can't take a punch. CDR Salamander has had a lot to say about them, as far as I can tell, none of it is good.

And SecNav Ray Mabus should have been flogged for ordering that the LCS be rebranded as frigates. I can't think of a single DE/FF, other than maybe the Evarts class, that would not have been able to reduce a LCS to a burning and sinking hulk in a fight.

Because It's Friday

One very large steam tractor.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

157 Years Ago

The Carrington Event began.

The cornonal-mass ejection hit the Earth square-on. The resultant auroras, what we often refer to as "northern lights", were visible almost to the Equator. The storm energized telegraph systems and caused small fires.

I don't know what would happen if one hit us now. There's been periodic attention paid to hardening the electrical grid, especially for a time after the 1989 solar storm. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued regulations two years ago, but there's debate if they were strong enough.

Over There, Folks Care About the Election


What I said here and here still goes.

The Final Frontier Hates Facebook

A massive explosion erupted at a SpaceX launch pad Thursday during a routine rocket test for a planned launch of a communications satellite.
The satellite belonged to Facebook. That was a quarter-billion smackers that just went *bang*, which doesn't include any damage to the launch pad.