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, June 23, 2017

Trump's Latest "Brainstorm"

A solar wall:President* Donald Trump said Wednesday his administration's proposed US-Mexico border could pay for itself -- if it was solar.

A "solar wall" could "create energy and pay for itself," the President said during a rally at the US Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

"And this way, Mexico will have to pay much less money," Trump said. "And that's good, right? Is that good? You are the first group I've told that to. A solar wall. It makes sense. Let's see. We are working it out. Solar wall panels."
Vertical solar panels. Is Trump ingesting high-speed chicken feed?

Once They Start Looking at You; Trump Ed.

They go around, kicking over the rocks, to see what squirms out.
Paul Manafort and his son-in-law, who embarked on a series of real estate deals in recent years fueled by millions of dollars from Mr. Manafort, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The transactions involve the financing of apartments and luxury homes in New York and California using money from Mr. Manafort, as well as from other investors solicited by the son-in-law, Jeffrey Yohai, including the actor Dustin Hoffman and his son. F.B.I. agents have reviewed financial records related to Mr. Yohai, who has been accused in a lawsuit of defrauding investors, the sources said.

It was not clear if the F.B.I.’s interest was part of the broader investigation that has ensnared Mr. Manafort, who was President Trump’s campaign chairman until he resigned last August amid reports that he had received millions of dollars in off-the-book payments for his consulting work in Ukraine. Mr. Manafort has been the focus of several inquiries looking into his business activities, failure to file foreign lobbying disclosures and possible collusion between Trump campaign associates and Russia.
Meanwhile:
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island suggests that fired national security Mike Flynn has made a deal with the FBI and will testify against President Trump. There is no evidence for this, but Whitehouse says he has 'connected dots' of unrelated evidence to deduce this conclusion.

One Way Cops Can Avoid Shooting People

As one long-time officer has advocated, stop pulling people over for stupid shit.
I don’t make pretextual traffic stops. I don’t stop vehicles for minor equipment violations that don’t endanger the motoring public. I don’t run the plate on every car I see looking for the dude who has a suspended license because he didn’t pay his child support. Most of the people you catch by making these kind of stops aren’t truly criminals. They’re broke! Yes, they have likely made numerous poor decisions that have resulted in their warrants/suspensions, but most of these folks aren’t a real danger to your community. Don’t make it a habit to focus your attention on these “small fish.” Your community would probably prefer that you spend your time doing something more productive to enhance your residents’ safety.
The piece also advocates better training.

It's worth a read.

(H/T)

Shorter TrumpCare: "Die, You Fuckers."

Remember when Trump promised that his health care plan would be better than Obama's and it would cover everyone?

Not so much, it seems. Mostly, it's another excuse for giving Trump's peeps a massive tax cut while cutting spending on health care to poor folks.

Like all of those coal miners and other guys who are receiving disability and who have health coverage through Medicaid. You guys get to go shuffle off and die of untreated medical conditions.

And I supposed I should be outraged. But this is the thing: In rural counties where a significant percentage of the population is on disability, well, those counties went overwhelmingly for Trump.

Hey, we tried to tell you that Trump didn't give a shit about anyone else. We tried to tell you that his focus would be on doing anything so he and his wealthy buddies could make money, even if it meant screwing over all of those who voted for him. We tried to tell you that Trump was a fake populist and that he would be the President of the 0.1%.

But you didn't listen. And now you get to pay the price so Trump and the Oligarchs can get richer and richer.

TrumpCare is going to be very bad for a lot of people, but it's likely that a majority of them will be Trump voters. It's going to suck to be those folks, but they're getting what they voted for.

Whether they like it or not.

Because It's Friday

Remember: Trains have the right-of-way!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Forgery Failure, Probably, or
Buffoon-in-Chief At Work

Apparently the "Covfefe file" was empty:
President* Donald Trump on Thursday said he did not make nor does he have any “tapes” or recordings of his conversations with former FBI Director James Comey, despite having previously teased at the idea that they did exist.

“With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea whether there are ‘tapes’ or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings,” Trump wrote in a pair of tweets on Thursday afternoon.
My completely unsupported guess is that there were recordings that were falsified by Trump's people (or his sympathizers), but then cooler heads pointed out that manufacturing evidence in the midst of a number of Federal investigations would be a sure ticket to the Big House.

Cosby

In an exclusive interview with ABC News, a juror in the Bill Cosby sexual assault case said that after dozens of hours of grueling deliberations in a tiny room, 10 of the 12 jurors agreed he was guilty on two counts. On a third count, only one of the jurors believed he was guilty.

The final, intractable votes on the first of the three counts was 10 to two to find Cosby guilty of digitally penetrating accuser Andrea Constand without her consent, the juror said. On the second count, that she was unconscious or unaware during the incident, the juror said the vote was 11 to one to acquit. On the third count, that the alleged assault occurred after Cosby gave Constand drugs or intoxicants without her knowledge, substantially impairing her for the purpose of preventing her resistance, the jury was deadlocked at 10 to two, in favor of a guilty verdict, according to the juror.
Of course it'll be up to the prosecutor, but with a 10-2 split for conviction on two counts, I imagine that they'll retry the case.

Mibsters

Yes, that's a word.
Allegheny County [PA] is guaranteed to have at least one national marbles champion as two local girls are facing off in today's finals at the tournament in Wildwood, N.J.

Also, a Pittsburgh teen is in the boys final.

Mibsters Sierra Ricci, 12, of Shaler and Lauren Shutey, 13, of the South Side Flats, will play in the girls final.

In the boys division, Eli Murphy, 14, of Squirrel Hill, will compete against an opponent from Michigan.

If Murphy wins, the county will dual boys and girls champions, which also happened in 2008 and 2011. The Pittsburgh area has long been a powerhouse in the National Marbles Tournament, now in its 95th year.
Advance word is that Eli Murphy did win, in a nail-biting comeback. Apparently the first to win 8 games takes the crown. Murphy was down 1-7 and then won seven straight.

Update: Yepper! Good work, kids!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Monday, June 19, 2017

Brexit- Looking Ominous for the Brits

British negotiators have capitulated to key European demands for a phased approach to Brexit talks, agreeing to park discussions on free trade until they have thrashed out the cost of the multibillion-euro UK divorce settlement.

Putting a brave face on a concession that may further strengthen the tactical dominance of the EU, the Brexit secretary, David Davis, insisted his initial retreat remained consistent with long-term government strategy. “It’s not how it starts, it’s how it finishes that matters,” Davis said in Brussels after their first day of formal talks. “Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.”
Right. The EU is signaling that they are going to play hardball. Toljaso.

The problem for the Brits is that they don't have a lot of leverage that would seem to be apparent. PM May called snap elections in a bid to strengthen her hand, but it had the opposite effect. She's leading a coalition, now, which may have the lifespan of an Italian one.

If the EU had balls, they'd start building the border control checkpoints right now of a kind that would make Trump green with envy..

Dear CBS: Go Fuck Yourself

The wait for Star Trek: Discovery is almost over. After two premiere date delays and a showrunner switch, the hotly-anticipated revival is finally launching on September 24 at 8:30 p.m. on CBS, and it can't come soon enough.

After the show's broadcast debut, the second episode of Discovery will be available immediately on CBS All Access, the network's digital subscription live streaming service, which will be the exclusive home of the series for the rest of its run.
I'm hoping that its run is short and has few viewers.

"CBS All Access"-- what a fucking laugh. The "B" stands for "Broadcast", not "subscription". If they wanted to set up a pay channel, they could at least had the guts to call it something else entirely, like "The Greedy Fuckers Channel (where you're stupid enough to pay for mediocre programming)".

Conway Lies as Effortlessly as She Breathes

When President* Donald Trump wrote online last week that “I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director,” it was not an admission that he is indeed being investigated, counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway said Monday morning, but instead a Twitter-shortened reaction to media coverage of ongoing probes into his 2016 campaign.

Conway’s insistence Monday morning that Trump’s tweet last Friday was not what it seemed followed in the footsteps of the president’s personal attorney, Jay Sekulow, who said Sunday in an array of political talk show appearances that regardless of what he has written online, Trump is not under investigation.
Yeah, sure.


Conway said that Trump was indulging in irony. Right. Trump wouldn't know irony if he was hit in the face with it.

The best thing that Conway could do for Trump is to somehow lock him out of Twitter before he incriminates himself into an impeachment trial (and then into prison).

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Stephen Furst, RIP

He was 63.

Most of the obits probably are leading with his role as "Flounder" in Animal House. But I prefer to remember him as Vir Cotto in Babylon V:






Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

USAF E-8C:


The airplane is a 707 airframe. Unlike the modded KC-135s, this airplane has low-bypass turbofans. They were likely among the last 707-airframes made before Boeing completely shut the line down in 1991

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Collision at Sea

Seven US sailors are missing and the commanding officer of a US destroyer is among the injured after the warship collided with a merchant ship off the coast of Japan, the US Navy said.

The guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald suffered severe damage to its starboard side.

"The collision affected Fitzgerald's forward starboard side above and below the water line, causing significant damage and associated flooding to two berthing spaces, a machinery space, and the radio room," according to a statement from US 7th Fleet.
I'll predict that the captain of the tin can's going to take the fall for this. Which, to be blunt, comes with the job.

Colliding with the impact on the starboard side isn't a good sign.

Trump's Story Keeps Changing

President* Donald Trump acknowledged for the first time Friday that he is under federal investigation as part of the expanding probe into Russia's election meddling. He lashed out at a top Justice Department official overseeing the inquiry, reflecting his mounting frustration with the unrelenting controversy that has consumed his early presidency.

"I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt," the president wrote on Twitter.
Trump wasn't told to fire Comey. First off, as anyone who has paid even a smidgen of attention to Trump's career trajectory knows, nobody can tell Trump anything. He does what he wants and, like a petulant seven-year old, other people clean up the resultant mess.

Second, this is what Trump said a month ago:
President Donald Trump said Thursday [05/11/17] that he had already decided to fire ousted FBI Director James Comey before Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein wrote up a formal recommendation to do so.

"I was going to fire Comey," Trump told NBC News' Lester Holt in an interview. "Regardless of the recommendation I was going to fire Comey."

The White House initially said Rosenstein's memorandum to Attorney General Jeff Sessions prompted Trump to fire Comey, but Trump contradicted that account, saying he had already planned to do so and requested a memo to back up his decision.
So, was Trump lying then or is he lying now?

Caturday

A stray/feral cat is sleeping:


They're trying to nab or trap it, as the cat appears to be in not good shape. But this isn't around my area, so I don't know if they did.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Because It's Friday

The engine room of the SS Jeremiah O'Brien, one of the few remaining Liberty ships..

Fuck It, I'm Gonna Drive

TSA is conducting a proof of concept demonstration to evaluate the operational and security impact of using biometrics to verify passengers’ identities using their fingerprints. The biometric authentication technology enables a traveler’s fingerprints to serve as both a boarding pass and identity document.
The TSA says that this only applies to their pre-check program, t least for this proof-of-concept test.

But, with all due respect, anyone who believes that it will stop there is smoking crack.

The day is coming, Gentle Reader, when you will be strongly encouraged to go somewhere and submit to a fingerprint check, a retinal scan and a facial scan before an airline flight. After that, then everyone who does those things will go through a lesser-intrusive form of screening, similar to what they do now for the pre-check people.

Those who don't will automatically be subject to the sort of enhanced security screening that will be the next best thing to a colonoscopy.

That will last until some self-radicalized lunatic goes through the higher security screening and then does something stupid.

Pence is Smarter Than Trump

Vice President Mike Pence has hired outside legal counsel to help with both congressional committee inquiries and the special counsel investigation into possible collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia.

The vice president’s office said Thursday that Pence has retained Richard Cullen, a Richmond, Virginia-based lawyer and chairman of McGuire Woods who previously served as a U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia.
Pence hired a criminal defense guy who has significant experience in federal criminal cases. Trump's going with a civil litigator.

Also, Pence is keeping his yap shut.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Dear Microsoft: Please Be So Kind as to Go Fuck Yourselves, Your Horses, and Anyone Who Looks Like You Guys. Oh, and Go Fuck Yourselves to an Early Death

Microsoft keeps trying to pass along the Win-10 spyware installs as a upgrade. KB295664, in particular, keeps popping up.

Fuckers never stop trying.

Really, they're pretty stupid. They could have sold XP update subscriptions to those who like it and they might have made many millions doing that.

A friend bought a new box with Win `10 installed. It was loaded with things to tell Microsoft every move you make. It was also loaded with a lot of intro software that no rational person would ever use.

To know Microsoft is to hate them. They are Enron-grade evil.

Shorter Trump: "Game On, Motherfucker!"

A longtime friend of President* Trump said on Monday that Mr. Trump was considering whether to fire Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating possible ties between the president’s campaign and Russian officials.

The startling assertion comes as some of Mr. Trump’s conservative allies, who initially praised Mr. Mueller’s selection as special counsel, have begun trying to attack his credibility.

The friend, Christopher Ruddy, the chief executive of Newsmax Media, who was at the White House on Monday, said on PBS’s “NewsHour” that Mr. Trump was “considering, perhaps, terminating the special counsel.”
Newt Gingrich, one of the premier political assholes in the world, was on morning television trying to walk back his former praise of Mueller. He also couldn't explain why it was OK for Kenn Starr, an avowed Republican, to investigate Bill Clinton but it's not OK for Mueller who has been appointed in the past to jobs by presidents from both parties, to investigate Trump.

Gingrich's whine was that special counsels end up getting innocent people. Right, like Scooter Libby, whom Gingrich specifically referred to, who was so innocent that he got convicted and was so simon-pure that President Bush didn't pardon him.

Trump's efforts to shut down the investigation by any means possible is a petty good signal that there is something really serious to be uncovered. Republicans' winking at all this because Trump is their guy is even more unseemly than Democrats' winking at Bill Clinton's misdeeds. Clinton's problems were about sex and lies. Trump's is about treason, lies, and covering up.

Monday, June 12, 2017

A Fine Display of Verbal Fellatio and/or Dain Bramage

One by one, they praised President* Trump, taking turns complimenting his integrity, his message, his strength, his policies. Their leader sat smiling, nodding his approval.

“The greatest privilege of my life is to serve as vice president to the president who’s keeping his word to the American people,” said Mike Pence, starting things off.

“I am privileged to be here — deeply honored — and I want to thank you for your commitment to the American workers,” said Alexander Acosta, the secretary of labor.
And it went on and on, as Trump's toadies fellatiated his ego on camera.

A normal person would have been embarrassed to have been captured on camera in such brazen acts of sucking up.


Trump really does seem to believe that he has done more, so far, than any other president in history. He has clearly drunk his own koolaid.

Well, the day may come when, after Trump has been removed from office, that the footage of that session of fluffing Dolt-45's ego will come back to haunt the fluffers.

Don't Fuck with Drummer

If you fuck with her:



She will fuck you right back, and harder:


(From The Expanse)

(I may have posted this before, but fuck it.)

Brexit and May

John Oliver discusses Brexit in light of Theresa May's recent shellacking at the polls:

This Cat Will Soon Have a Job

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Shorter Trump: "I'm Only the President of Those Who Voted For Me."

President* Donald Trump is banking on his loyal base of supporters to help him through the tangle of the Russia turmoil. ... His White House has made little effort to broaden the bedrock of support for a president who lost the popular vote and receives scant backing from Democrats.

Trump has yet to hold a rally in a state he lost to Hillary Clinton in November. He visits many of the small Rust Belt cities and rural heartland communities that went for him.
Trump, by his actions, considers himself to be the president only of his base, his cronies and, of course, the willing tool of his patrons in Moscow. Even George W. Bush was sharp enough to know that governing by division and rancor was a mug's game.

But not Trump. He only represents his base.

Which is fine with me. For he and I would seem to agree that he's not my president.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

A 787 shows off:

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The "Tapes" of Trump

Trump cryptically refused to say whether those private exchanges [between Trump and Comey] were taped — a matter at the heart of the conflicting accounts of what passed between them at a time when Comey was leading an FBI investigation into Russia's interference in the presidential election and its ties to the Trump campaign.
But Trump tweeted that there were "tapes," or so he pretty much threatened.


If there were tapes and if Trump had released them in May, I would have put stock in them. Not now. There has been plenty of time for audio engineers from either Breitbart or the FSB to comb through all of the recordings of Comey's utterances and make a mix tape to say whatever they want.

At least one publisher of commercial telephone listings has a reputation of editing audio so that its scam victims seem to say "yes." Which is why, when you answer a call, never say "yes" until you know to whom you are speaking.

But I digress.

The longer the delay until some recordings are released, the greater the chance that they are fraudulent. Just like our president.

Also, mobsters hire mob lawyers. Russian tools hire lawyers that represent Russian tools.

Caturday

A shelter kitten.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Because It's Friday

Old steam:


"Old", in this context, means "19th Century."

Jeez

I'm watching Corey Lewandowski on GMA. "Bald-faced liar" doesn't even begin to cover it. 

(Wasn't he one of the guys who was talking to the Russians?)

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Shorter GOP Excuse: "Trump is an Inexperienced Dolt."

Before Comey’s testimony about his private interactions with President* Trump had even concluded, Ryan joined an effort already underway among GOP lawmakers to place it in the best possible light for Trump.

“Of course there needs to be a degree of independence” between federal law enforcement and the White House, Ryan said. But he added, “The president’s new at this. He’s new to government, and so he probably wasn’t steeped in the long-running protocols that establish the relationships between [the Justice Department], FBI and White House. He’s just new to this.”
I don't buy that for a nanosecond. The problem is that Trump is, at his core, an authoritarian who believes that his every whim should be law and is confused by the notion of checks and balances.

He is a toxic mixture of ignorance and arrogance, infused with the emotional immaturity of a first-grader.

I watched some of the Comey hearing and it was clear that the RMS Trump has scraped open its hull against an iceberg. The Republicans are going to continue to arrange deck chairs and submit song requests to the band director. But the water is coming in.

The Spy in Your Printer

Your color laser printer may rat you out.

Unlike the old days, when the cops had to find the matching typewriter. some printers will encode source information into the page. Which was one of the tools that may have been used to catch Reality Winner.

Also, if you want to leak shit, don't send it to The Intercept. They would seem to be idiots.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Diplomacy of Dolt-45

President* Trump thrust himself into a bitter Persian Gulf dispute on Tuesday, taking credit for Saudi Arabia’s move to isolate its smaller neighbor, Qatar, and rattling his national security staff by upending a critical American strategic relationship.
Because everything has to be about Trump. A smarter president would have realized that publicly taking the side of one ally over another was an incredibly stupid thing to do. Especially when the country that he is siding against is the host nation for American military bases.

A smarter president would have shut up and let the diplomats do their jobs. But no, not Trump. Everything has to be about him.

He is a whack job. Sooner or later, even Republicans will begin to acknowledge the damage that that 70-year old child is doing.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Wonder Woman

It does not suck.

It could have been shortened, a little, but it was still a fine movie.

"Airport Security is Not a Joking Matter."

But there should be an exception when the public address system is labeled "IED".

Shorter Kellyanne Conway: "Trump Doesn't Speak for His Administration."

Criticism directed at President Donald Trump over his flurry of Twitter activity related to the London terrorist attack over the weekend is misguided, counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway said Monday morning, the result of a press that she suggested is eagerly critical of Trump even amid more pressing situations.

The media, Conway said, has “this obsession with covering everything he says on Twitter and very little of what he does as president.” Conway blamed that obsession for the uproar that began over the weekend when Trump hurled a political attack across the Atlantic, writing online that there had been “at least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!’"
Trump is the fucking President and what he says matters. What any president says matters.

So what Conway is, in essence, claiming, is that Trump doesn't speak for his own administration. Or that he's insane, for why otherwise would he attack his own administration for defending his own policies or criticize executive orders that he issued?

The End of the Beginning + 75 Years

Yesterday was the 75th anniversary of the start of the Battle of Midway. The battle marked the turning point of the war against Japan. The Japanese sent a large force to invade Midway Island, spearheaded by four carriers. The US Navy had three carriers and, thanks to the Navy's code breakers, some knowledge of what the Japanese plan was.

The Japanese carriers launched strikes against the island, only to be found and attacked.


USN divebombers badly damaged three of the carriers on the morning of June 4th. All three were out of the fight, they were all abandoned and scuttled.



The fourth Japanese carrier struck back. Her planes badly damaged the USS Yorktown, which was later sunk by a Japanese submarine while under tow. This photo shows the Yorktown under attack.


The fourth Japanese carrier was sunk that afternoon.

Turning points to a war are only apparent long after they happen. At this point, the US and her allies in the Pacific had been at war with Japan for six months, the war would continue on for three more years.

The person who saw this most clearly, though, was Admiral Yamamoto, who, in 1940, was quoted as saying this about the prospect of a general war in the Pacific: "In the first six to twelve months of a war with the United States and Great Britain I will run wild and win victory upon victory. But then, if the war continues after that, I have no expectation of success."

He was right and he was proven to be so 75 years ago.

(Longtime readers might recognize this one.)

There is a press report about the leak that ran in the Chicago Tribune. The officer who inadvertently leaked it, the reporter who reported on it and the publisher, Robert McCormick of the Chicago Tribune, were lucky that they weren't all shot. What was astonishing was that no quasi-neutral country's diplomatic staff in Washington, such as Switzerland, didn't see the newspaper story and pass it along to the Germans, who would have, in turn, informed Japan.

If you pass through KMDW, be sure and spend a few minutes at the hallway to Concourse A:


There is a display by the windows which succinctly explains the battle, the time leading up to it and the aftermath.

VPN

Opera now offers VPN, so I wanted to see what the speed penalty was.

For Opera, via its VPN: Ping- 156 ms, Download speed- 19.18 Mbps, Upload speed- 6.08 Mbps.

Firefox, no VPN: Ping- 16 ms, Download speed- 20.68 Mbps, Upload speed- 6.00 Mbps.

I gather than using a VPN means that your ISP can't see what you're doing, which now that net privacy has been gutted by the Republicans (Motto: "Since 1921--Fucking You for Fun and Profit"), might be of some concern.

Also, as Trump stumbles down the road to an authoritarian state, you might want to keep your shit more private.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Good Luck With That

But to Trump, there is no such thing as "truth". There is only the leakage from his addled mind, which places no stock in such things as "facts" or "science".

Two clear digs at Trump and his handler:

Caturday

This poor kitten was found in a box that had been bungee'd to the front gate of an animal shelter:


The kitten is young, maybe six weeks old, weights about a pound, had some puncture wounds (including the very visible one to the head) and was spiking a slight fever.

(You can help or go to the non-FB/cobweb site.)

Friday, June 2, 2017

Steam Extra

Union Pacific's steam update:

Because It's Friday

Steam-turbine-electric locomotives:


Basically, they worked sort of like diesels, in that the prime movers powered a generator which then fed power to the driving wheels in the engine's trucks. They were interesting and fast.

But even if they could have competed with diesels, they came along at the wrong time. Railroads needed proven locomotives to haul wartime trains, which meant diesels if they could be gotten, conventional steam if they couldn't. Even if GE wanted to pursue the technology, the plants that would have made the turbines were likely backlogged with building steam turbines for naval warships.

GE scrapped the locomotives before the war ended. GE would became one of the two primary manufacturers of diesel locomotives in North America.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Shorter Trump: "I Stand With Syria and Nicaragua!"

President *Trump and Shadow-President Bannon are moving along on their goal to make the United States the largest rogue nation on the planet. Trump's remarks boil down to "fuck the future, what has it ever done for me?"

And that is all.

And Yet, Neither Pharma Sis, Nor Anyone Else, Is Going to Jail

The makers of the lifesaving EpiPen device may have overcharged American taxpayers by as much as $1.27 billion over ten years, a U.S. senator said Wednesday.

The Department of Health and Human Services announced the discrepancy in a letter to Sen. Chuck Grassley, claiming that the drugmaker may have conned taxpayers out of more than $1 billion by misclassifying EpiPen as a generic, rather than a brand-name drug.
Because if you're a large pharmaceutical company, bilking everyone is part of your business model.

A very safe prediction: Nobody will even be charged with anything. Mylan will cough up some more dough, nobody will admit to doing anything wrong, and they'll all go back to the business of trying to swindle the taxpayers and consumers.

By the way: Pharma Bro is going to trial this month and there's even a musical.

Fussing with NATO

As you may know, President* Trump refused to commit to upholding Article 5 of the NATO Treaty.

The Germans have concluded that America cannot be trusted to honor its agreements.

That is probably realistic. Trump is a businessman and, as anyone who has paid even passing attention to his business career knows, Trump's word is worth less than a dollop of spit on a hot sidewalk.

NATO had two goals, one stated, one not. The stated one was to keep the Russians at bay. The second one was to keep Germany underfoot, at least militarily. In both regards, it has functioned well for nearly sixty years.

Trump's refusal to endorse Article 5 is in the interests of what nation? Certainly not in the interests of the European members of NATO, for it calls into question whether or not the United States will defend them in time of war. It doesn't enhance the cause of international stability. "Stable" is something that Trump is not. He's never run his businesses that way. But in the international arena, stability is key. Instability can and has led to war, and only a fool would try to set the stage for a major conflagration in Europe.

Calling into question American resolve to defend its friends and interests, even if by omission, may have been one of the causes of the Korean War. Anyone with a knowledge of history would be aware of that. Which is, likely, not something that anyone will ever say about Trump.

Who benefits? Russia, of course. By hinting to their neighbors, whether they are in NATO or not, that the Americans cannot be trusted, Russia would gain a measure of control and influence over the countries that they regard as their "near abroad," without the bother and expense of actually having to occupy them.

It's happened before. Having an American president who can make it possible for the Russians to do that to their neighbors has to be one of Putin's wet dreams. Which Trump is going to try and make happen. If Trump can do that, then Putin's investment in Trump will have been well worth it.

Discrimination is Expensive

The township will allow the construction of a mosque in a Liberty Corner neighborhood as part of a settlement agreement signed Tuesday.

The settlement ends two federal religious discrimination lawsuits, one from the Justice Department and the other by the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge, filed against the township after it denied a plan to build the mosque.
Of course, this sort of thing isn't unique to Muslims. Congress keeps passing laws to ensure that localities don't discriminate against religious land uses. But then the "good people" soon find out that the law also applies to religions that they don't care for: Sikhs, Hasidic Jews and Muslims.

What that township in NJ is likely to find is that their D&O policy will either be canceled or their premiums will skyrocket. They'll probably won't have much luck finding another insurance underwriter, either.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Opiods

A long piece about Martinsburg, WV.

Trump's Hiring Problems

President* Trump faces serious challenges in restructuring a White House, from getting experienced Washington hands to work for him to whether his own premium for loyalty will block otherwise qualified candidates from working for him.

Republicans say the problems mean that Trump, an outsider who basically took over his party and is still viewed with suspicion in establishment circles, will face even more trouble in trying to refashion his team.

“The talent pool is shrinking, because who wants to sign up for crazy?” said Michael Steele, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC).
There are two things, really.

First off, Trump isn't going to trust anyone associated with the GOP establishment, the core of the "Never Trumpers". It's those people whom a normal GOP president would call upon to fill the positions that Trump hasn't filled. Trump's handling of the political-appointee slots has bordered on the irrational, anyway.

Second, who wants to have on their résumé that they worked for a president who was a Russian operative? That sort of stench doesn't wash off. At this point, it's going to be hard to pull a Schultz and claim that they didn't know about it. And it get even harder as time goes on and the stories keep piling up.

Asswipe Has a Point

A man charged with fatally stabbing two men and injuring a third who tried to shield young women from an anti-Muslim tirade appeared to brag about the attacks as he sat in the back of a police patrol car, saying "that's what liberalism gets you," according to court documents.

The probable cause affidavit filed Tuesday offers the most complete official account to date of the events that unfolded Friday on a light-rail car packed with commuters eager to get home for the Memorial Day weekend.

[The Asswipe of Portland], the man arrested in the stabbings, shouted "You call it terrorism! I call it patriotism!" and "Death to the enemies of America!" as he made his first appearance in the case Tuesday. [Asswipe], 35, did not enter a plea and has another court date June 7.
Funny how now some asswipe on the far-Right is basically using the saying that "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter."

But it is true, nonetheless, that it matters which side you are on. And whether or not it's your side that prevailed.

We've Seen This Movie Before; Sturmabteilung Ed.

A top Oregon Republican said Monday he’s considering using militia groups for security purposes after a man directing anti-Muslim rhetoric at two women fatally stabbed two men and injured a third this weekend.

Multnomah County Republican Party Chairman James Buchal told The Guardian that recent protests have prompted members of the Portland GOP to consider security alternatives.

“I am sort of evolving to the point where I think that it is appropriate for Republicans to continue to go out there,” he told The Guardian. “And if they need to have a security force protecting them, that’s an appropriate thing too.”

He said that might mean making arrangements that don’t rely on police.

“There are these people arising, like the Oath Keepers and the Three Percenters,” he added. “We’re thinking about that. Because there are now belligerent, unstable people who are convinced that Republicans are like Nazis.”
Right, a far-right asswipe verbally abuses some Muslims and then shivs three people who arise to confront said asswipe and somehow, that translates into a threat against Republicans? That is some pretty fucked-up logic.

More to the point, what major political parties have had their own militia to provide "security"? The leader in that regard was the German NSDAP, aka the Nazis.

So here's a free tip to Mr. Buchal: One of the best ways to avoid having people compare your party to Nazis is to not act like Nazis.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Doofus Move

One of Trump's lawyers was asked by Senate Intelligence Committee investigators to provide information that he had about his own contacts with Russian officials. The lawyer, in essence, told them to go screw themselves.

So now the Committee has, unanimously, authorized both its chairman and the ranking Democrat to issue subpoenas as they see fit. Up until this point, subpoenas apparently had to be authorized by the Committee. Now they have a nice stack of pre-signed ones to use.

I know that Trump likes to play legal hardball. But he's in a different league, now, and he doesn't seem to know that.

Trump vs. Muslims: Diplomatic Amateur Hour Continues

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has declined a request to host an event to mark Islam's holy month of Ramadan, two U.S. officials said, apparently breaking with a bipartisan tradition in place with few exceptions for nearly 20 years.

Since 1999, Republican and Democratic secretaries of state have nearly always hosted either an iftar dinner to break the day's fast during Ramadan or a reception marking the Eid al-Fitr holiday at the end of the month, at the State Department.

Tillerson turned down a request from the State Department's Office of Religion and Global Affairs to host an Eid al-Fitr reception as part of Ramadan celebrations, said two U.S. officials who declined to be identified because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
I take that back. It's an insult to amateurs to use that word to describe Trumps foreign policy. "Criminally inept," maybe?

This sort of stuff matters, for it sends a useful signal. George W. Bush may have been disengaged, at times, but he had pros in his state department who understood such things. Clearly Tillerson doesn't get it. Or he doesn't give a shit.

This stuff isn't quantum physics. But clearly it's beyond the grasp of the Trumpanzees who are making a shambolic attempt to run the Federal government.

No, This is Not Art. It's an Obscenity.

The photographer behind the grisly photo of Kathy Griffin raising a blood-splattered replica of President Trump's detached head has defended the controversial image as "art."
No, I am not posting the photo. Go look at that article or this one.

That's fucking disgusting.

It's not art.

It's not satire.

Or irony.

It's an obscenity.

If there is any justice in this world, that so-called photographer will change his name and then end up trying to sell family portrait sessions at a discount store in Yuma.[1] And Kathy Griffith, well, hopefully her next show wouldn't fill a coffeeshop.

UPDATE: Griffith has apologized, says she went "too far". No fucking shit.
________________________________________________________
[1] I'm not naming the photographer. His name should only be a curse word amongst civilized peoples.

This Idea Will Probably Spread

Convicted paedophiles would be denied passports in Australia under a "world-first" plan proposed by the government.

The proposal, to be introduced to parliament, would prohibit registered sex offenders from travelling overseas.

Justice Minister Michael Keenan said it would affect about 20,000 offenders who had completed punishments but remained under monitoring by authorities.

Sex offenders would be able to apply for passports if they were no longer on the register, the government said.
Without looking at the law, RSOs encompass more than just pedophiles. Post-convction and post-probation crackdowns are happening here, as well.

Some of the arguments against all of this may be legit. But then again, as a class of criminals, pedophiles are probably about as bad as it gets.[1] Standing up for the rights is a pretty hard sell to have to make. I can't think of too many people who are going to brag about that in their advertising.
___________________________________________________
[1] I can't be the only one who wonders about those guys driving ice-cream trucks.

Chicago Typewriters For Sale

If you want one, contact Midwest Distributors. They are in the process of purchasing 27 Thompsons from the St. Louis Police Dept.

The guns will be pricey. The department is getting $22K apiece. The article mentions that some of the guns are rather rare. Also, they've been sitting in an armory for over sixty years.

Memorial Day

I realize that today isn't the legal Memorial Day, but it once was (and it should be again). And so, with no further ado:

This is the commemorative stone and the grave of Jacob Russell, a veteran of the Revolutionary War. He served in the Connecticut Militia in 1775 and later moved to what was then Warrensville Township and is now Shaker Heights, Ohio:



When the original South Park Cemetery was relocated in 1909, Mr. Russell's grave was left undisturbed. If you were to go for a walk around the Shaker Lakes, you'll find his grave to the west of the south side of Horseshoe Lake.

What Mr. Russell did during the war has been lost to history. He served for five months. His rank is not known. Whether he was wounded or injured and invalided out or served his enlistment or just walked away is lost to time. There is even dispute as to whether he was born in Windsor, CT or Kingston, NY. There is dispute as to when he moved to Ohio.

But he served his country before it was officially a country.

This day exists to remember Mr. Jacobs and all others who have served in this country's armed forces and whom are no longer with us. It was originally called Decoration Day, a day to put flags and other tokens of remembrance on the graves of veterans. In short, this isn't the day to go around thanking living veterans for their service. You can do that on any other day.

This day is to remember those who have passed.

Monday, May 29, 2017

This Crap is Just Getting Painful

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly is defending an alleged effort by top White House adviser Jared Kushner to create back-channel communications with Russia as a "good thing," while the Trump administration sought to quell mounting questions over secret ties to the Kremlin.
Let's test that "good thing" with a short hypothetical:

December, 2008: A close friend of Barack Obama tells the Russian ambassador that the Obama team would like to set up a secure communications link to Vladimir Putin that would be off the books. To do that, they're willing to go to the Russian embassy or the Russian UN legation in NYC.

Now, imagine that story gets out in May of 2009. What would the reaction be on the part of the GOP, Fox News, Oxy-Boy and the rest of the Right?

I suppose I should lament the fact that another respected senior military officer has laid his reputation down on the floor and let Trump shit all over it. But nah. Regardless of what Kelly has done in his life, people are going to remember him as the retired general who whored himself out for a sitting president. Just like Colin Powell.

SecDef Mattis might want to keep this old joke in mind for the time when he gets called upon to defend the indefensible:
So a man walks into a bar, and sits down. He starts a conversation with an old guy next to him. The old guy has obviously had a few. He says to the man:

"You see that dock out there? Built it myself, hand crafted each piece, and it's the best dock in town! But do they call me "McGregor the dock builder"? No! And you see that bridge over there? I built that, took me two months, through rain, sleet and scorching weather, but do they call me "McGregor the bridge builder"? No! And you see that pier over there, I built that, best pier in the county! But do they call me "McGregor the pier builder"? No!"

The old guy looks around, and makes sure that nobody is listening, and leans to the man, and he says:

"but you suck one cock..."

This Isn't Memorial Day

A continuing objection. I've been on this since the first Memorial Day after I began blogging.

We honor all veterans on what was originally Armistice Day, November 11th and, if that day falls in the middle of the week, so it goes. It bugs me that we cannot accord the same degree of respect to our dead, but no, it's now just another excuse for a three-day weekend and for greedy-as-fuck retailers to lure the dweebs into their stores.

So, to all of those congressmen and senators who voted for the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1968, and to LBJ, who signed the bill into law, damn you all. And to those retailers running "Memorial Day Sales", go fuck yourselves and your horses.

(By the way, there is no such federal holiday as "President's Day". It is still, officially, Washington's Birthday. Look it up.)

Sunday, May 28, 2017

It's Been a Good Coupla Days

Cookouts, some volunteering, some range time and more. All enjoyable.

And yet, there is so much to catch up on. There is Betsy DeVos, who basically has endorsed segregated schools. There is President* Trump, whose doctor said that he would be the healthiest president ever, but still needed to ride a golf cart at the G-7 conference. Ben Carson, who seems to have some weird ideas about poverty. All these stories are worthy of a post of their own.

Twenty years ago, a young Army major named H.R. McMaster, wrote a book called Dereliction of Duty, in which he lambasted senior Army officers who served during the Vietnam War and who did not, in his view, speak truth to the country's leadership about the war.

That major, now a lieutenant general, is the chairman of the National Security Council. He seems to take it as his duty to rationalize the various irrational acts of President* Trump.

Which begs the question: Thirty years hence, will another young officer write a critical thesis about General McMaster's turn in the barrel?

A Trio of Stainless Threes

Smith and Wesson revolvers with three-inch barrels, of course. Top to bottom: A Model 60-15 (J-frame, .357), a Model 65-3 (K-frame, .357), and a Model 696 (L-frame, .44 Special).


I have previously written about the Model 60 and the Model 696. The Model 65 was the first gun in which I can say that I truly got somewhat stung on an Internet deal from a dealer.

Before the repairs, I had test-fired the gun. At 15 yards, it shot eight inches to the left. the yoke button that was damaged was built back up and then machined down. The barrel was torques a little to the left. It still shot 2" to the left, so I brought it back to my gunsmith and asked him to twist it another RCH to the left. He had told me he thought that it wasn't quite on, but he wanted me to shoot it before he moved it any more. Which he did and now the gun shoots as well as any of my other fixed-sight K-frames, including the old M&P that I snapped up last year.

Speaking of a M&P revolver, I got to handle a S&W R8 the other day. It is a N-frame Model Model 327 (8-shot .357) that has a Picatinny rail atop the frame. Apparently the identified market for the gun is for police SWAT breaching teams, when a cop is holding one of those huge shields in one hand and poking a handgun around with the other hand. If the gun used is a semiauto and the slide touches the side of the shield, the gun will malfunction. Whereas a revolver won't give a shit.

I guess if one was hog-hunting at night with NVGs and put an IR laser on it, it'd be quite handy. As a home-defense gun, one could add on a light. But unles you're a human mountain, it's not a gun that a person is likely to carry concealed.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

Su-25s, the "Rook", NATO codename "Frogfoot". It is their modern Sturmovik.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

When is This Ever OK?

Calling black men "niggers" to their faces" Referring to an adult black man as a "boy"?

When is that OK?
A candidate for Southampton Village Board in the June 16 election placed a call to Village Police last summer and used a racial slur when referring to a group of black men who were standing in front of her home in the Hillcrest neighborhood.

Valerie Smith, who is white, on Friday confirmed that she made the call, and used the slur, after a recording was obtained by The Press on Friday via a Freedom of Information Law request—and she went on to defend her use of the word, and used it several more times in an interview.
...
On Friday, Ms. Smith said her use of the racial slur was no big deal, and she should be entitled to use it whenever she wants.
The dispatcher acted professionally during the call, though it took him a few tries to get her name.

I suspect that if a few slurs were to be directed at her, she might take umbrage with them.

A Baby-Sitter for Trump; Twitter Ed.

The White House is considering having a team of lawyers approve Donald Trump's tweets, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing an advisor to the president.
I cannot see how Trump would ever comply with that. Even if it's in his best interest, legally speaking, to not tweet any more, he can't not do it. Twitter was a big part of his rise to political power. It's how he talks to his base. It's his pipeline to Fox News and the rest of the Batshit Press, which use Trump's tweets to develop their talking points.

Given where Trump's presidency is now, he would have been far better off if he had listened to the pros and stopped tweeting after he had won. He couldn't or wouldn't do that, for reasons that probably nobody, not even Trump, fully understands.

But if he stops tweeting now, or has his tweets vetted by lawyers (same thing, really), then it's a pretty clear tacit admission that Trump is in trouble and he has been forced to realize that.

Caturday


They call this "cat shaming", which is an untruth.

Cats have no shame about such things.

And they can't read.

Friday, May 26, 2017

They're Going to Jared

Investigators are focusing on a series of meetings held by Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and an influential White House adviser, as part of their probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and related matters, according to people familiar with the investigation.

Kushner, who held meetings in December with the Russian ambassador and a banker from Moscow, is being investigated because of the extent and nature of his interactions with the Russians, the people said.
...
In addition to the December meetings, a former senior intelligence official said FBI agents had been looking closely at earlier exchanges between Trump associates and the Russians dating to the spring of 2016, including one at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington. Kushner and Kislyak — along with close Trump adviser and current attorney general Jeff Sessions — were present at an April 2016 event at the Mayflower where then-candidate Trump promised in a speech to seek better relations with Russia. It is unclear whether Kushner and Kislyak interacted there.

The New York Times reported that Kushner omitted from security-clearance forms his December meetings with Kislyak and Gorkov, though his attorney said that was a mere error and he told the FBI soon after that he would amend the forms. The White House said that his meetings were normal and inconsequential.
Last time I filled out a security clearance form, and admittedly, it's been a great while, there was something about certifying the answers under penalty of perjury. And, of course, it's getting better:
Jared Kushner and Russia’s ambassador to Washington discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Trump’s transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring, according to U.S. officials briefed on intelligence reports.

Ambassador Sergey Kislyak reported to his superiors in Moscow that Kushner, son-in-law and confidant to then-President-elect Trump, made the proposal during a meeting on Dec. 1 or 2 at Trump Tower, according to intercepts of Russian communications that were reviewed by U.S. officials. Kislyak said Kushner suggested using Russian diplomatic facilities in the United States for the communications.

The meeting also was attended by Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser.
What would be really interesting would be to know where this story came from. Somebody is engaging in some serious ass-covering. It wouldn't shock me unduly if the story was coming from the Russians.

The Russians could be realizing that the whole Trump thing is falling apart, in part, because the asset they recruited can't keep his mouth shut. In other words, the asset is becoming a liability. Far from gaining a pliable president who could provide them with a cozy relationship with the U.S., they've, instead, have set a torch to the prospects of better relations at all. No sane politician will want to get within a political-parsec of Russia for a very long time.

But the longer that Trump is in office, the worse it's going to get for the Russians. So they may see it in their interest to grease the skids, get Trump out, and thereby at least put a tourniquet on the hemorrhaging.

Trump has a card to play: he could grant pardons to Kushner and Flynn. But that has two problems: First off, it almost invites impeachment, for the GOP would run from him as though he was caught in an airport bathroom, peddling kiddie porn. Second, it would mean that Flynn, especially, would have no shield to use to keep him from testifying.

Trump will probably pardon them, but he'll wait until he on his way out the door to either the final vote in the Senate or five minutes before his resignation takes effect.

Because It's Friday


You might want to click over to YouTube and read the description.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Čovjek je nemilosrdan svinja

President* Trump, during his visit to NATO headquarters in Brussels on Thursday, appeared to shove the prime minister of Montenegro so he could be at the front of a group of world leaders.

Trump is seen in a video of the group, as they prepared to enter the body's headquarters, walking in the back of the pack, before attempting to extend his hand to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who is at the front of the group.

But in doing so, Trump uses his left hand to push back Duško Markovic, the prime minister of Montenegro, and walks in front of him.
It is worth your life to get between Trump and a camera.

A civilized person would, at least, express some words of apology after shoving someone aside like they were a domesticated animal. But nobody will ever accuse Trump of being anything approaching civilized.

Trump Loses Again

A federal appeals court dealt another blow to President* Donald Trump's revised travel ban targeting six-Muslim majority countries on Thursday, siding with groups that say the policy illegally targets Muslims.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling that blocks the Republican's administration from temporarily suspending new visas for people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Oh, Trump can appeal, but the Supremes don't have to take the case. And if the 9th Circuit also upholds the order in Hawaii which black the ban, then there is no dispute among the circuits.

My recollection is that the 4th Circuit isn't known for being a liberal one, but no doubt the Right will start screaming that it is. They'll also be bleating about "judicial activism," which is code for "when the courts don't agree with me."

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Trump the OPSEC Imbecile

In an call with Philippine dictator Duterte, President (for now) Trump couldn't resist the impulse to brag about how he commands the best submarines in the world and where two of them were.

Of all of the operational secrets, the location of nuclear submarines is right at the top. Nobody is supposed to talk about where they are, not even in generalities. Now it is true that the President can do what he wants as far as that goes. But let's be clear about this: This wasn't Trump disclosing a secret for some diplomatic advantage, not at all. This was Trump the petulant man-child bragging about his shiny toys and how much better his toys are than anyone else's.

But hell, we all know that Trump is really jealous of Duterte. Duterte has ordered the extrajudicial killing of anyone involved in the drug trade and, given how those things go, it's probably a safe bet that some of the people he'll have killed will turn out to have been critics and political opponents.

There is little doubt that Trump and the Two Neo-Nazi Steves (Bannon and Miller) would very much like to send out their own death squads.

Reason #2,654,981 Why I Won't Be Appointed an Appellate Court Judge

A white supremacist petitioned a court for mercy, asking the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday to overturn his conviction and death sentence for killing nine black worshippers in a racist attack at a Charleston church.

The notice filed by attorneys for [the Asswipe of Charleston] was an expected move in what's expected to be years of appeals in his federal case. Earlier this month, the federal judge who presided over [Asswipe's] trial rejected his first appeal, ruling that the conviction and death sentence for the June 2015 massacre at Emanuel AME church should stand.

[Asswipe], 23, was sentenced to death earlier this year. Authorities have said the self-avowed white supremacist opened fire during a closing prayer of the Bible study session.
Because "Appeal denied, and go fuck yourself" would not exactly constitute proper judicial decorum.

But I'm sort of a mind that, when the decision is handed down, that's what it will boil down to.

News About Tabby's Star

Late last week, astronomers around the world prepared to work through the weekend observing one of the most enigmatic stars known to humanity: KIC 8462852, better known as Tabby's Star, Boyajian's Star or the "alien megastructures star." Amateur and pro star watchers trained telescopes on the star some 1,400 light-years away, and now we're able to get an early look at those observations and take a few tiny, tentative steps toward solving the mystery of this very weird star.

The alert went out on Friday that the odd dips in the brightness of the star first discovered in Kepler data via a crowdsourced effort were happening once again -- these dips have yet to be explained, giving rise to all sorts of theories, including far-out ideas like huge megastructures built by an advanced alien civilization.
...
Meanwhile, telescopes around the world will continue to keep a close eye on this very weird star, including the SETI Institute's Allen Telescope Array, which continues to listen for signs of intelligent life from Boyajian's star. So far, any aliens that might be building a massive Dyson sphere around the star seem to be doing their work with their radios turned off, because SETI researchers have yet to pick up signs of life from the star.
I wouldn't put too much stock in a lack of a detectable signal. Maybe Eck! might chime in, but it would seem to me that a civilization so advanced as to build such structures also might have a communications system that is beyond our ken. I suspect that a person listening into a digital broadcast in the 1930s would hear what would appear to be random noise. It might be a point of curiosity that it was on a more-or-less discrete frequency, but it would still appear to be noise.

Of all of the possible explanations that I've read, something like a ringworld or a Dyson's sphere would be the least probable. But the others alternatives (clouds of comets or interstellar dust) have also not been shown to be much more than probable.

Fascinating stuff, though.

Mikey Flynn News

Michael T. Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, misled Pentagon investigators about his income from companies in Russia and contacts with officials there when he applied for a renewal of his top-secret security clearance last year, according to a letter released Monday by the top Democrat on the House oversight committee.

Mr. Flynn, who resigned 24 days into the Trump administration, told investigators in February 2016 that he had received no income from foreign companies and had only “insubstantial contact” with foreign nationals, according to the letter. In fact, Mr. Flynn had sat two months earlier beside President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia at a Moscow gala for RT, the Kremlin-financed television network, which paid him more than $45,000 to attend the event and give a separate speech.
He might want to ask Martha Stewart about what happens when one lies to the Federales.



Or, if you're of a certain age:

That Shit Can Kill You

One person is dead and nine others were hospitalized after they contracted botulism from eating contaminated nacho cheese sauce at a gas station outside of Sacramento, California, state and local officials said.
Eating at a gas station, should, as a general rule, only be considered when the alternative is actual starvation.

Trying Again- FBI Search Ed.

The team tasked by the White House with finding a new director for the FBI is resetting its search, a senior administration official told CNN.
Trump is in a pickle of his own making. While he'd likely love to slot in a political toady, like Joe Lieberman, he may have been persuaded that such a pick wouldn't go over very well. On the other hand, someone with real integrity and ethics won't listen to subtle hints to drop the Russia investigations.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

What's a Little Obstruction of Justice and Witness Tampering Between Friends?

President Trump asked two of the nation’s top intelligence officials in March to help him push back against an FBI investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and the Russian government, according to current and former officials.

Trump made separate appeals to the director of national intelligence, Daniel Coats, and to Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, urging them to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election.

Coats and Rogers refused to comply with the requests, which they both deemed to be inappropriate, according to two current and two former officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private communications with the president. ... Trump’s conversation with Rogers was documented contemporaneously in an internal memo written by a senior NSA official, according to the officials.
You can bet heavily that Coates also made a record of his conversation with the Obstructer-in-Chief.

But hey, asking people to lie for you and say that you didn't do what they are saying you did is just another of the innumerable things that are OK if you're a Republican.

Farewell, Mr. Templar

Sir Roger Moore has died. Besides playing the lead role in The Saint, he was the longest-serving of the actors who have played James Bond.

Of course, you know I'm going to embed this clip:


He was awarded a knighthood for charitable work on behalf of UNICEF.

RIP, Sir Roger.


Backing Up Your Shit

Borepatch's blog is doing a three-part series on backing your shit up and other security stuff.

This is post #1.

Highly recommended reading.

Monsters

That's a one-word description of the asswipes involved in the bombing of a concern attended by mainly tweens and younger teenaged girls.

Monday, May 22, 2017

A Quarter of a Century Gone

Johnny Carson's last episode of The Tonight Show began 25 years ago, ending a thirty-year run. The show was more of a retrospective; the last show with guests Robin Williams and Bette Midler had aired the evening before. 55 million people tuned in to watch the last show.

It's pretty hard to describe the impact of the show at the time. It was the era of what is now called "appointment television", for you either watched shows as they aired or missed them. In offices around the nation, what was on "Carson" the night before was a standard topic of conversation. Carson loved political humor, and his jokes could enrage a politician like few others.

If you watched the show, you know what you were supposed to do when you reached the Slauson Cutoff.

A joke by Carson about an impending shortage of toilet paper triggered a run on the stuff in December, 1973, stores were rationing the stuff. There had already been shortages of meet earlier that year (not to mention the gasoline shortage that was going on at the time).

Jay Leno and David Letterman fought hard to replace Carson. Leno won, but there was considerable bad feeling between the two. CBS created The Late Show for Letterman to compete with The Tonight Show.

Both Letterman and Leno have also retired.

Johnny Carson kept a pretty low profile in retirement. He died of smoking-related emphysema in 2005

Cooking Sheriff Clarke

(No, not that one.)
Controversial Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who this week announced he will be joining Donald Trump's administration as assistant secretary in the Department of Homeland Security, plagiarized sections of his 2013 master's thesis on US security, a CNN KFile review has found.
Note that Clarke doesn't flatly deny it, but says, instead, that it wasn't plagiarism.

I knew of a lawyer, a long time back, who was about four years out of school when somebody read that person's writing project and said "what the fuck?" They gave the lawyer an F on the writing project, which meant that that person's degree was yanked. That, in turn, let to revoking their law license.

But if you're a politician, you can get away with that shit. Up to a point.

The Past is Still Alive- Aviation Ed.

A 16 year old girl, Caroline Dougherty, flew her first solo in this 1918 Jenny, powered by an original OX-5.


That's pretty impressive.

I read somewhere that back in the `30s, when even large airports were often grass (or cinder) fields, airport operators began forbidding tailskid-equipped airplanes from landing there because of the damage they did to the turf. The couple that I've seen flying (over a few decades of doing this) have had tailwheels, probably because landing a tailskid-equipped airplane on pavement would be like plopping the tail down on ice.

Shorter Flynn: "I Did Nuttin Wrong, See!"

President* Donald Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn won't provide records to the Senate intelligence committee and will invoke his Fifth Amendment rights in response to a subpoena from the committee, according to a source close to Flynn.
Yep, the guy that Trump insists is as pure as the driven snow.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Imagine the Screams From the Right If the Clintons Had Done This

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will reportedly pledge $100 million toward a fund for women entrepreneurs that was built by Ivanka Trump.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the World Bank’s Women Entrepreneurs Fund, an idea that the president's elder daughter proposed, will work to help women in the Middle East who want to start their own businesses.

The donation from Saudi Arabia and the UAE was set to be announced at a Sunday event with President Trump’s daughter, according to the report.
If the Clintons had done this, the Right would be frothing so much that they'd be hospitalized for possible hydrophobia.

Saying "but, but Clinton" is hypocrisy. Or it is a childish excuse on the level of screaming "but Maaaaa, Billy did it, too!"

If it was wrong for Clinton, then you can't normalize it by saying that makes it OK for Trump.

And anyone who believes that the Saudis really give a shit about women as entrepreneurs, and that this isn't a form of "pay to play" graft shouldn't be allowed out of the house without wearing a helmet.

Your Sunday Morning, Well, Something Aeronautical

Test footage of "zero-zero" ejection seats:


One of the serious concerns about ejection seats is the real possibility of serious spinal injuries from using them. Above 350kts, there are other forces that can badly injure an ejecting pilots, such as wind blast and wind-induced drag.

On the other hand, it might be better to be a quite a bit messed up than somewhat dead.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

"Person of Interest", Indeed

Trump’s Oval Office boast to Russian officials May 10 about why he fired FBI Director James Comey will almost certainly trigger a more immediate, and potentially perilous, legal development: an obstruction of justice investigation into whether the president intentionally engaged in a cover-up that warrants the filing of criminal charges, current and former Justice Department officials say.

Trump summarily terminated Comey one day earlier, just as it appeared that his FBI investigators were ramping up their investigation into the president’s associates — and possibly Trump himself. A day later, the president told Russian’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Ambassador Sergey Kislyak that, “I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job.”

“I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off. … I’m not under investigation,” Trump added, according to an official White House document summarizing the meeting, as reported Friday by the New York Times.
Donnie seems to be bound and determined to talk himself into either exile* or a prison cell. For he likely sure as shit is now under investigation.

When will politicians ever come to realize that, short of murdering people, it's not what they did that cooks their asses, it's covering it up.

UPDATE: Might be Jared.
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* It will be very interesting if AF1 makes a side trip to Moscow to drop off a passenger.