Words of Advice:

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

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

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

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

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

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Caturday

A shelter cat contemplates jumping up onto some cat furniture:


He looks a lot like Chip, he even has a torn ear. But Chip's left ear is torn and Chip's tiger striping goes down onto his front legs.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Word! (Plus Bannon)


Steve Bannon, a forceful but divisive presence in President* Donald Trump's White House, is leaving.

Trump accepted Bannon's resignation on Friday, ending a turbulent seven months for his chief strategist, the latest to depart from the president's administration in turmoil.
"Voluntary".... right. Kind of like those Russian soldiers voluntarily going into battle with NKVD "encouragement troops" behind them. Trump probably should have been reminded about what LBJ had to say about Jedgar Hoover.

Do Women Owe Their Rights to Racism?
And, of Course, Our White-Supremacist-in-Chief

That's an arguable point. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was amended on the floor of the House at the last minute to include outlawing discrimination based on sex. It's been a long-standing premises that the amendment was a legislative poison pill that was added to increase the chances of killing the bill.

On the other hand, there's also an argument that the congressman who introduced it, who was a southerner, was a strong supporter of rights for women. So he might have seen it as a "win-win" situation: If the bill died as a result, his contributors constituents would be happy and if it didn't, one of his legislative goals would be achieved.

Now, back to Trump:
Another advisory group is walking away from President* Donald Trump after his equivocation on neo-Nazis and white supremacists, with the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities resigning en masse Friday morning.

“We cannot sit idly by, the way that your West Wing advisors have, without speaking out against your words and actions,” members write in a joint letter to Trump obtained by POLITICO, which ends by calling on the president to resign if he does not see a problem with what’s happened this week.
...
The PCAH is an official agency. That makes this the first White House department to resign.
Mitt Romney released a long statement on his FB page. This is the first paragraph:
I will dispense for now from discussion of the moral character of the president's Charlottesville statements. Whether he intended to or not, what he communicated caused racists to rejoice, minorities to weep, and the vast heart of America to mourn. His apologists strain to explain that he didn't mean what we heard. But what we heard is now the reality, and unless it is addressed by the president as such, with unprecedented candor and strength, there may commence an unraveling of our national fabric.
Romney was crystal-clear that there is absolutely no moral equivalence between Nazis and those who oppose Nazis. And unless you want to be saddened by the number of Nazi-sympathizers who are screaming at him in fury, then don't read the comments.

You might want to check your local congresscritters' social media sites: Their web site, Twitter feed, FB page and see what they are saying about the Nazis of Charlottesville. Mine has been radio-silent. If yours has been, call them out as the cowards that they are.

I put no stock in this. Though I do agree that Trump does not, nor has he ever known the difference between right and wrong. He knows the difference between what he can get away with and what he cannot, but that's as far as it goes.

And yes, it's wrong to call for Trump to be assassinated. Jesus, is that even a debatable proposition?

Because It's Friday

A "steam speeder":

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Tear Down Those Confederate Statues. Every Motherfucking One of Them.

Statues are not put up to remember people. Statues of people are erected to honor them.

So I ask you: Why are we honoring men who turned their coats and took up arms against this country? Why do we have statues of traitors in our public places and in the halls of government buildings? Why do we continue to honor the memory of men who fought for the right of rich men to own slaves?

Funny how it's overlooked that over 100,000 white Southerners were in the Union Army. Apparently, every Southern state, other than South Carolina,[1] had at least one organized battalion (or larger) of white soldiers.

The only statue that I know of which depicts Benedict Arnold[2] is of his foot. We don't have statues of the Loyalists who fought for the British. We didn't erect a statue of Tokyo Rose, Axis Sally, Lord Hee Haw or Americans who fought on the other side in any other war.

There are a lot of people that whose names are taught in schools without having a worshipful statue to gaze at: General Cornwallis. General Howe. General Gage. Col. Tarleton. Kaiser Wilhelm. General Ludendorff. General Goering. Adolf Hitler. Vladimir Lenin. Josef Stalin. Mao Zedong. Ho Chi Minh. William Tweed.

We can remember the generals who fought for the Confederacy and slavery. But we sure as shit don't have to honor them.

Tear them all down.
______________________________________
[1] State Motto: "The Birthplace of Treason."
[2] And there is, as far as I know, no statue of Abigail Dolbeare Hinman, who tried to shoot Arnold in New London during his raid there in 1781. Her musket misfired.

Bet You Trump Doesn't Wait Two Days for "All of the Facts to Come In."

At least 13 people have died and 50 were injured after a van ploughed into crowds in Barcelona's famous Las Ramblas tourist area, police and local officials say.
Damn. I've had quite a few drinks there. It was a nice place to hang out and people-watch.

The Plans of President Bannon

But first, a few appetizers:



Now, to the main course:

Bannon gave an interview this week that is a little bit surprising.

Some things he said were things that have not emanated from Trump's mouth or twitter feed. For instance:
“There’s no military solution [to North Korea’s nuclear threats], forget it. Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don’t die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don’t know what you’re talking about, there’s no military solution here, they got us.”
He's also focused on getting a trade war going with China. That seems to be his only concern.

As to the white nationalists, the alt-right:
“Ethno-nationalism—it's losers. It's a fringe element. I think the media plays it up too much, and we gotta help crush it, you know, uh, help crush it more. These guys are a collection of clowns.”
It would seem that Bannon believes that if Trump can get past Trump's reflexive support of racists and focus on economic nationalism, that Trump can gather steam.

I'm not sure he's wrong about that. But Trump is clearly one of the more self-sabotaging politicians out there, one whom has been in the process of self-administering the political equivalent of "death by a thousand cuts," so it's not clear to me that Trump can survive politically long enough to carry out Bannon's master plan.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Historical Antifascist Photo for You


More Crap for the Nazis

Trump was talking yesterday about the "alt-left".

There is no such thing.
Researchers who study extremist groups in the United States say there is no such thing as the “alt-left.” Mark Pitcavage, an analyst at the Anti-Defamation League, said the word had been made up to create a false equivalence between the far right and “anything vaguely left-seeming that they didn’t like.”
Trump has begun using that term to imply that those who oppose Nazism are no different from the Nazis themselves. Because, to the alt-right, opposing their agenda of racism and antisemitism makes those people just as evil as the Nazis that they oppose.

If you are opposing the Nazis, then you are on the side of righteousness. Angels ride on your shoulders.

Anyway, to change gears a little, Trump's presser yesterday was so full of bullshit, I'm surprised that they didn't bring in a steam-cleaning rig afterwards. He claimed that he waited two days to denounce the Nazis because he wanted to wait for all of the facts to come in? Since when has Trump waited for facts on anything else? Some half-baked allegation crawls across the bottom of his TV set and he is up on Twitter in less than a heartbeat. Trump is the best friend that the racists have had since maybe Wilson. His whining that the Nazis are being treated unfairly by the media was unseemly. His defense of the "good people" on the side of the Nazis was, frankly, insane. If the Nazis are marching with you, then you are a Nazi. If you don't want to be thought of as a Nazi when the Nazis appear on your side, then go the fuck home.

If you continue to stand behind Trump, who has been unalloyed in his support of white supremacists (other than when he is reading a statement that was clearly written by someone else), then don't be surprised if that stench rubs off. If you work in the Trump White House and you stay on the job after all of this, you will be known, for the rest of your career, by the company that you are now keeping. Savvy corporate executives have broken that code. So should you.

This clip seems to be "slash-dotted" at the moment, but it's worth seeing:



Not much has changed in fifty years:



By the way: Where were all of these Nazis who are screaming about taking down statues honoring traitors when statues of Lenin and Stalin were being pulled down all over eastern Europe? Where were they when the U.S. Army pulled down statues of Saddam Hussein? Wasn't that also destroying history?

And, if you think, as Donald Trump does, that there is no difference between General Washington and General Lee (other than maybe competence), then I sincerely implore you to go commit an unnatural act upon thyself.

A Jewish Wedding Without Jews

That happened recently in Poland.

Maybe next, they'll set up a Jewish version of Colonial Williamsburg.

I wrote about this sort of thing nearly ten years ago. My opinion has not changed.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Keep Bringing Those Nazi Flags to Your Protests, Boys

Keep doing it.

For what you are going to do is tie your "Southern heros"[1] to the the Nazis and their crimes against humanity. You are helping to make the case that slavery was a form of genocide.

Every time you stand in front of a statue and wave the Swastika, you help make the connection. Every time you do that, you make it easier and easier for the decision to be made to confine those statues to a scrapyard.

The day will come when a battery of howitzers will line up, open fire on the carvings on Stone Mountain and pound them into rubble. When that day comes, those who have marched in Nazi regalia, marched under the Nazi flag, given the Nazi salute and yelled "seig heil" will have made destroying the symbols of the Confederacy politically possible. They might as well have pulled the firing lanyards, themselves.

If you think this is far-fetched, remember this: For over fifty years, the Confederate descendants fought the removal of the Confederate battle flag[2] from the Capitol Building in South Carolina. But then one young white supremacist went into a black church and murdered nine parishioners. Almost immediately, that flag came down.

So keep marching, Nazis.
_________________________________
[1] Or "Traitors".
[2] Or the Flag of Traitors.

Nazi-Punching

My view is that waving a Nazi flag is not only hate speech, but fighting words.

The Nazis industrially slaughtered over ten million people. When shooting and burying so many people turned out to be burdensome, they developed what could be described as factories of death-- industrial processes to murder all of the people who did not die of starvation or disease in their ghettos. Before the Nazis murdered a lot of them, Nazi "doctors" conducted "experiments" on them. Millions more died in the war of conquest that was unleashed by the Nazis.

All of that is factual. It is not open for discussion. (See, Rule 2.H)

If you wave a Nazi flag or wear a Nazi armband, then you are adopting that ideology. You are saying that you approve of all of the crimes committed by the Nazis. You are saying that, given the chance, you'd do the same.

And so, I maintain that waving a Nazi flag and wearing the swastika is not merely provocative speech or even hate speech. It is uttering fighting words.

Anyone who punches a Nazi or otherwise lays hands on them should be allowed to plead that the violence was justified because the Nazi(s) had it coming under the Toyota Rule:

They asked for it, they got it.

Toyota.

Hmmm. I Wonder If Trump Now Would Prefer That Everyone Was Talking About Russia.

Apparently the Russian government was very interested in Trump and early on.

And Robert Mueller may already have the tax returns of every person that he is interested in.

Even the Washington Times is falling out with Trump over the Russian investigation.

Meanwhile, back at Der Führerbunker Trump White House, business executives are fleeing his manufacturing council, because being associated with Donald "But Them Nazis Are My Peeps" Trump is not good for their corporate image. Trump is lambasting them far, far faster than he did his Nazi buds.

At this point, I don't know if even IG Farben would join forces with Trump. But still, the Party of the Confederacy is taking the stance one would expect.

By the way: Running over demonstrators is a wingnut thing.

Word! (But With Disagreement)


He's right that the "pencils down" moment for Trump to have said something effective was last Saturday night. It should have been easy to condemn the Klan and the Nazis. But he couldn't bring himself to do it. He didn't until, under political duress, he read a prepared statement two days later. Yet you can bet your ass if the Asswipe of Charlottesville was named "Achmed-Something", he would have been screaming about "Islamic terrorism" within 25 picoseconds.

I disagree with Mr. Meyers on one point: I think Trump has made his choice. He's in bed with the racists. As has been pointed out elsewhere, Trump has not been shy at lambasting everyone else.



We know where Trump's heart is in this. If you want to continue to support him, then don't be surprised if his stench attaches itself to you.

Heh. Heh. Heh.

Andy Borowitz on Trump's woodenlike statement yesterday.

The Mooch was on The Late Show last night. That took quite a bit of stones, given how tough Colbert has been on Scaramucci for the last few weeks. He stated that while he didn't know of Steve Bannon is a white supremacist, one thing he didn't like about the Trump White House was their toleration of white supremacy.

At the end of his appearance, Mooch gave Colbert a front-stabbing knife.

And then there's this:

Monday, August 14, 2017

Trump's Slow Denunciation of the Nazis.



Condemning the Nazis should have been a no-brainer, given that "Nazis are bad" has been official policy since the 1930s, but not for Trump. Which was not surprising, given his history of racially-tinged attacks, alleged discrimination, and his trio of Nazi advisors.

And so, nearly three days after the Tiki-Torch Nazis did their first march and two days after a Nazi drove his car into a crowd of people, killing Heather Heyer, Trump read a prepared statement condemning the Nazis (presumably while his Chief of Staff stood offstage, with a loaded revolver in his hand). Trump never denounces the Nazis on his own; it always takes an uproar and then, a few days later, he reads remarks that someone prepared and that someone convinced him that he has to read. It's never by Trump's own impulse to be a good person, an impulse that arguably would be as foreign to Trump as speaking in Mongolian.

Remember, this is the guy who, after the Central Park Five were exonerated, still believes they were guilty. He has approved of slaughtering demonstrators. He's cut funding for combating Nazi groups in the U.S.

For it should be pretty clear that Trump, in hi heart-of-hearts, stands with the Nazis.

Crush the Vermin Before They Multiply


Statuary Question

If we're going to have statues around the country to honor people who took up arms against the United States, then where are the statues for Benedict Arnold and other Loyalists, like Oliver De Lancey, Joseph Galloway, and Edward Jessup (to name only three)?

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Trump's Message Received by the Nazis

It's pretty horrible when Trump's threatening a nuclear war wasn't the worst thing that he said last week.

The Nazis got the message that Trump is with them when Trump refused to denounce them.
The founder of the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi and white supremacist website that considers itself a part of the alt-right, celebrated the fact that Trump "outright refused to disavow" the white nationalist rally and movement.

"People saying he cucked are shills and kikes," wrote the founder, Andrew Anglin. "He did the opposite of cuck. He refused to even mention anything to do with us. When reporters were screaming at him about White Nationalism he just walked out of the room."
Didn't we settle this shit in 1945?


And right after the yelling of the Tiki-Torch Nazis, wasn't there supposed to be some massive face-melting?


I wanted to see face-melting.



What the Hell, It Worked in the `40s.


If you think I'm overreacting, this was one of the posters for the Citronella Nazis:


These vermin must be sent packing.

And those of you on the Right: They claim to be acting in your name. Denounce these fuckers and not only here, but in your own spaces.

Step up or be complicit.

Your Sunday Morning Big Prop Noise

How to fly a P-38, Part 1:



Click on the "Watch on YouTube" button and it'll automatically go to parts 2 and 3.

I'd really want to get some training on twin-engined emergency procedures, but my initial reaction was "yeah, I could fly that thing."

Too bad that P-38s are so rare. Back when they were available for about ten grand in today's money, too bad someone didn't buy up a bunch of them and store them (with spares) in someplace remote.

(H/T)

Saturday, August 12, 2017

How Many Wars Does Draft-Dodging Trump Want to Get Into?

Donald Trump said last night he was considering possible military action against Venezuela in response to Nicolas Maduro's power grab.

Mr Trump told reporters at his New Jersey golf course that he was "not going to rule out" a military option".
Afghanistan is ongoing. Resuming the Korean War, this time with nuclear weapons, is on the table. And now Trump is thinking about going into Venezuela?

Right. Cheap talk from a fat old man who has a family history of draft-dodging. Nobody in Trump's family has ever served in the armed forces, at least those who could have passed the ASVAB.

Trump is a chickenhawk, pure and simple. And, like all of the other chickenhawks, they are more than eager to send other people's kids off to fight and die. It never touches them.

Yet When Muslims Do It, It's Called "Terrorism"

A car plowed into a crowd of people peacefully protesting a white nationalist rally Saturday in a Virginia college town, killing one person, sending at least 26 others to hospitals and ratcheting up tension in an increasingly violent confrontation.


And Trump can take his "many sides" shit and shove it up his and his neo-nazi staffers' asses. Is is the bitter fruit that Trump has sown with his embrace of the neo-nazis of the alt-right. The neo-nazis were very clear at the demonstrations that they believe that Trump is on their side and he has given them no reason to doubt that. When some act of terror or violence is committed by one of Trump's supporters, or people sympathetic to Trump, he is either silent or, when he does say something, it is his typical both-siderism bullshit.

Marco Rubio gets it:

And, as to this, no fucking shit:

But let's seem them handle it as terrorism, too.

Trump's Self-Fluffing

The Trump White House just gets stranger and stranger:
Twice a day since the beginning of the Trump administration, a special folder is prepared for the president. The first document is prepared around 9:30 a.m. and the follow-up, around 4:30 p.m. Former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and former Press Secretary Sean Spicer both wanted the privilege of delivering the 20-to-25-page packet to President Trump personally, White House sources say.

These sensitive papers, described to VICE News by three current and former White House officials, don’t contain top-secret intelligence or updates on legislative initiatives. Instead, the folders are filled with screenshots of positive cable news chyrons (those lower-third headlines and crawls), admiring tweets, transcripts of fawning TV interviews, praise-filled news stories, and sometimes just pictures of Trump on TV looking powerful.

One White House official said the only feedback the White House communications shop, which prepares the folder, has ever gotten in all these months is: “It needs to be more fucking positive.” That’s why some in the White House ruefully refer to the packet as “the propaganda document.”
Past presidents have lamented that the White House is a bubble and they try, from time to time, to get out of it. Both Reagan and Bush41 made at least one shopping trip. Truman called the White House "the great white jail". Bill Clinton called it "the crown jewel of the prison system." Past presidents, even though they recognized the necessity of security, have chafed at the isolation that it brings. They're in a bubble and they find that they miss contact with people who are not fawning staff members or politicians.

Trump, on the other hand, seeks to armor-plate his bubble so that no bad news will get in. He won't read briefing folders, but he'll read folders full of self-laudatory materials.

As a nation, we are so screwed. And it is no surprise that, with Bubble-Boy in the Oval Office, America is losing influence in the world. Under Trump, the only reason that other countries will pay attention to our president is because of national military power. Which makes America not that much different from Russia. Or North Korea.

Trump is doing damage to American power and prestige that can not be easily undone. Nature hates a vacuum and that is true in the international realm. Other countries are stepping forward to take the place that Trump is vacating and, once there, they will not be easily displaced.

Caturday

"Oh, hai!"


The little varmint.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Nuclear Snark


What Would Have Been Normal; Russian-American Relations Ed.

In the past, any American president, whom was presented with intelligence reports that Russian intelligence organizations were trying to influence or interfere with our electoral process, might have been expected to support sanctioning Russian interests.

But not Trump. Even when the Russians retaliated for sanctions imposed by President Obama for Russian meddling, Trump couldn't bring himself to say even the tiniest bad thing about Putin. No, Trump thanked Putin for cutting the American government's payroll.

And that, Gentle Readers, says volumes.

I suspect that if the Russians fired off a nuke and leveled Chicago, Trump would thank Putin for jump-starting urban renewal.

Putin must have one hell of a grip on Trump's gonads. And others are noticing.

Because It's Friday

A "steam railmotor", or something like that:


Sort of like a steam-powered Budd car?

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Just. Fucking. Bizzare.

What sort of microcephalic says things such as this:
Instead of rebuking him, President* Donald Trump on Thursday thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for expelling American diplomats from Russia on the grounds that “we’re going to save a lot of money.”

“I want to thank him because we’re trying to cut down our payroll, and as far as I’m concerned I’m very thankful that he let go of a large number of people because now we have a smaller payroll,” Trump told reporters at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, according to a pool report.
And this:
President* Donald Trump escalated a stunning feud against his top Senate partner Thursday, suggesting Majority Leader Mitch McConnell might have to think about stepping aside if he doesn't deliver on the president's agenda of health care, taxes and infrastructure.
Does he not realize that the Congress of the United States is a separate branch of government and that they don't answer to him? McConnell is right about Trump not seeming to understand how the fucking government is set up, according to the Constitution. Which, I'm pretty confident in saying, is a document that Trump has never read, nor does he understand. It's too long and it's written at well above a third-grade level.

And this:
President* Donald Trump said Thursday that his administration plans to declare the opioid crisis a national emergency, a designation that would offer states and federal agencies more resources and power to combat the epidemic.

"The opioid crisis is an emergency, and I am saying, officially, right now, it is an emergency. It's a national emergency," Trump said at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. "We're going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis.

"We are going to draw it up, and we are going to make it a national emergency. It is a serious problem the likes of which we have never had."
He sure does love saying "the likes of which we have never..."

So, what does Preznit Four-Year Old plan to do that is no different than what has been done for the last 48 years of the War on Drugs, or, for that matter, was tried during Prohibition?
  • More cops on the street? Tried that.
  • Harsher sentences? Tried that. 
  • Sending the military to support interdiction efforts? Tried that.
  • Cutting deeper into the 4th Amendment? Tried that.
  • Setting up special drug task forces? Tried that.
None of that shit has worked. 48 years into this so-called war and drugs are more plentiful, more potent and probably cheaper than they have ever been. Nixon declared "war on drugs" in 1969, all we've managed to do is quadruple the incarceration rate, use the criminal justice system to demolish people's lives for nonviolent offenses that are essentially morals crimes and what good has come of it?

I ask again: What good has it all done?

We need fresh ideas, not the Old Stale Ideas from the DEA-LEO Industrial Complex.

It probably doesn't matter, though. Trump has the attention span of a toddler; he'll be off on some other fixation in a week or less.

Trump Administration Greenlights Violence Against Muslims (and Others)

That's the only way that I can read this:
In the early morning hours of August 5, someone hurled an improvised explosive device at a mosque in Bloomington, Minnesota. None of the roughly 20 early morning worshippers were injured, but the blast broke windows and began a small fire, filling the building with smoke. The mosque’s executive director told a local TV station that “one of our congregation members came out immediately and he saw a truck fleeing from the parking lot, running at very high speed.” The FBI is investigating; no arrests have been made. On Sunday, Minnesota governor Mark Dayton called the attack “an act of terrorism.”

But the response from the Trump administration has been predictable yet disturbing: almost complete silence. President* Trump has not issued a statement or tweeted about the Minnesota attack, preferring to direct his attention to other pressing matters, like Senator Richard Blumenthal’s Vietnam record. (The Department of Homeland Security did issue a strong statement condemning the attack.)

In a Tuesday appearance on MSNBC, Nazi-ish quasi–White House adviser Sebastian Gorka put forth a bizarre justification for the radio silence: The attack, you see, may have been perpetrated by the left.
I think it's being charitable to call Gorka "Nazi-ish". He's a member of a group of Nazi collaborators. And he is not a "quasi-White House adviser", he holds the title of Deputy Assistant to the President, ostensibly for something to do with national security, but I'm guessing that he's part of the liaison operation to American neo-Nazi groups.

Trump has a long track record of not condemning violence against minorities. In this case, silence is presumbed consent.

You can bet that the neo-Nazis are receiving that signal 5 by 9.

Hold Off on the Pants-Shitting, Please

An unarmed Russian Air Force aircraft overflew the US Capitol, the Pentagon, Central Intelligence Agency and Joint Base Andrews at low altitude on Wednesday as part of a longstanding treaty that allows the militaries of the United States and Russia to observe the other from the air, according to two people familiar with the flight.

The flight was part of the Treaty on Open Skies, which allows military aircraft from the United States and Russia and other nations to fly aerial observation flights to observe military sites of the 34 signatory nations.

The Russian Air Force Tupolev Tu-154 on Wednesday afternoon passed at around 3,700 feet over downtown Washington and Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, where Air Force One is based, according to tracking website Flightradar24.
Our Air Force has specialized airplanes for such flights.

This is, essentially, no big deal. Anyone who is panicked by it is advised to breathe into a paper bag or, alternatively, into a plastic one that is secured tightly around their neck.

Delay of Game



The cat might have brought some luck.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Police State Bullshit

The FBI used a search warrant to raid former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s home late last month, a spokesman confirmed on Wednesday, using the warrant to seize documents related to the investigation into Russian interference in the US election.

The Washington Post first reported on the raid, which occurred in the predawn hours of 26 July without prior warning. According to the report, FBI agents working with special counsel Robert Mueller seized “various records” from Manafort’s Virginia home under a wide-ranging search warrant.
It was once a widely-held view that a knock on the door by a policeman in the middle of the night was a hallmark of a fascist or totalitarian state.

I can think of no rational reason for busting down Manafort's door in the early morning hours. Certainly not one that requires heavily-armed and armored goons to break down his door at zero-dark-thirty.

Dear DEA and the Medical Community: Fuck You

I have a couple of friends who are dealing with chronic pain. One is awaiting surgery to hopefully fix the issue. The other is sort of screwed in that regard. The sources of the pain, the maladies, if you will, are different.

What is really inane is that neither one can get adequate pain relief or effective sleep aids. The doctors are all too terrified to prescribe anything that works. And when they prescribe something that might work, the insurance companies and pharmacists substitute those drugs with generics that, for all of their effectiveness, might as well be made of compressed Chinese drywall.

One of the sufferers said as much as that they ought to give the druggies pez-dispensers of whatever they need and let them die, instead of making patients suffer the way that our medical professionals are content to have them suffer.

45 or so years into the "War on Drugs"... it's time to start thinking of solutions other than "lock them all up". The street drugs appear to be more potent and cheaper than they were back in the day.

If You Need Me, I'll Be in the Backyard, Digging a Bunker.

North Korea has said it is considering carrying out missile strikes on the US Pacific territory of Guam.
The North's official news agency said it was considering a plan to fire medium-to-long-range rockets at Guam, where US strategic bombers are based.

It quoted an earlier military statement from Tuesday. President* Donald Trump threatened Pyongyang with "fire and fury" on the same day.

The exchanges mark a sharp rise in rhetoric between the two countries.
What we have, now, are two unhinged men with the power to order nuclear strikes and who are yelling at each other. One of them is vicious enough to essentially be a Bond villain. The other is a semi-literate braggart who gets 95% of his news from a warmonger propaganda feed and whose thought processes have been described as "six fireflies beeping randomly in a jar".

We are so screwed.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Dumb Fucking Mercs

Erik Prince, founder of the private security firm Blackwater Worldwide, is still calling to replace U.S. troops in Afghanistan with private military contractors. In an interview on MSNBC on Tuesday, Prince pointed to the East India Company in India during British colonization as a source of emulation for U.S. policy in Afghanistan.
First off, if that would have worked in Afghanistan, one would have reasonably expected that Her Majesty's Government would have done that when they installed Shah Shuja in 1839. Indeed, that first war between Afghanistan and the Brits was, on the British side, largely overseen by the British East India Company. So if colonizing Afghanistan was possible, they had centuries' worth of expertise.

Second, I really doubt that there is much support for giving Afghanistan to a fucking greedy mercenary. I have little doubt that they would fuck things up, even worse than now exists, and then a certain mercenary commander would go whining to his sister, a high government official, to try and get a bailout by the American military.

Third, I suppose I can think of little that would inflame support for the Taliban more than turning over the conduct of the war to the Butcher of Nisour Square. (Other than turning it over to the IDF.)

Sig P320 Alert

As the Old NFO reports, they can fire when dropped.

If you have one, caution is advised.

This is Where I Get to Say "Toljaso"; Avigation Ed.

LORAN is coming back, because of GPS vulnerability.

This is where I get to say Toljaso.

Anyone with five functioning neurons that are set aside to understand radio theory could have seen this coming.

Fucking chuckleheads.

In California, Perjury is All in a Day's Work for State Social Workers

That would seem to be the point that the attorneys for Orange County are defending on appeal.
From the you-can't-make-up-this-crap file, county officials are paying Lynberg & Watkins, a private Southern California law firm specializing in defending cops in excessive force lawsuits, untold sums to claim the social workers couldn't have "clearly" known that dishonesty wasn't acceptable in court and, as a back up, even if they did know, they should enjoy immunity for their misdeeds because they were government employees.

A panel at the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit this week ruled on Orange County's appeal of federal judge Josephine L. Staton's refusal last year to grant immunity to the bureaucrats in Preslie Hardwick v. County of Orange, a lawsuit seeking millions of dollars in damages. In short, judges Stephen S. Trott, John B. Owens and Michelle T. Friedland were not amused. They affirmed Staton's decision.

But to grasp the ridiculousness of the [county] government's stance, read key, Oct. 7, 2016 exchanges between the panel and Pancy Lin, a partner at Lynberg & Watkins.
Click on the link and you can read them.

This, from the opinion itself, is telling:
No official with an IQ greater than room temperature in Alaska could claim that he or she did not know that the conduct at the center of this case violated both state and federal law.
That's just judicial gold, even though I don't know if houses in Alaska are poorly-heated. But I'll defer to the court on that point.

Shorter Hertz: "We're Happy to Ruin Your Once-in-a-Lifetime Trip."

Hertz is canceling reservations that travelers have made for the Great Eclipse of 2017. They say "oops, we overbooked."

So if you've booked a rental car (or anything else, for that matter) to see the eclipse in thirteen days, you might want to confirm it. And find out whose liver you can cut out and feed to a pack of feral dogs, in case they screw you over.

Monday, August 7, 2017

"11th Time's the Charm?"

WAn Atlanta rapper who called himself "bulletproof" after surviving 10 shootings was shot and killed by an unidentified gunman Sunday evening in DeKalb County, Ga., according to officials.
A casual observer might wonder what sort of shit that guy was involved in which led to him being shot ten previous times.

43 Years

Since Philippe Petit walked a high-wire between the towers of the World Trade Center.

Stupid Academics and Greedy Companies

On Tuesday, the same day campus carry was officially implemented at Texas community colleges, a geography instructor at San Antonio College came to class dressed to express exactly what he thought about the new law.

"I was just saying I don't feel safe," Charles K. Smith told mySA.com.

Smith came to class on Tuesday dressed head to waist in protective combat gear - a bulletproof vest and helmet.
I'll pass over the obvious point that handguns are close-range weapons and that anyone who wanted to whack that moron could easily pop him in an unprotected spot. But this is the quote that got my ire:
"There is nothing on this planet worth a human life."
Reallly. Maybe he ought to have had a talk with the Challenger Seven and told them that going into space wasn't worth the risk.


Maybe he ought to take a trip to France:


Or to Arlington:


He could sit next to any marker and tell that soldier, sailor, Marine or airman that their death was meaningless, that they died for nothing.

Or he can go to Poland:


He could go to the site of the gas chambers at Auschwitz and explain to the shades of the people murdered there that it was not worth the lives of any of the millions who were killed in the war to end the horror that was Nazi Germany.

Or he could go to any veterans' hospital or retirement home and explain to the men (and no, increasingly, women) who have left body parts on a battlefield that their wounds were meaningless.

Or maybe, more locally, he should call up the fire and police departments and explain to them that none of the men and women there should risk their lives in any attempt to save his fat, privileged, pampered ass.

A  hell of a lot of people have died over the centuries so that Prof. Smith could waddle around in a bulletproof vest and feel superior to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Too bad he is so unappreciative.
-----------------------------------------------------------------
As to "greedy companies", I was going to get into a rant about generic pharmaceuticals and the companies that make worthless ones, but the above piece went overlong. So some other time.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Your Sunday Morning Rotor Noise

Since it's been requested that I also cover helos, here's a Mi-24:

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Mounted Shooting

I saw a Cowboy Mounted Shooting match yesterday. This was one of the competitors:


There are better videos than my crappy one.

Fascinating stuff.

But we can update this, no?

So I propose a new sport: Sicario Mounted Shooting. It would be shot from motorcycles by a two-person team- the rider and the shooter. Lot of details to work out, of course.

Caturday

I'm backing up an old iPhone in preparation for scrubbing and donating it.

Found this photo of Rocky, may peace be upon him.

Friday, August 4, 2017

PharmaBro is GUILTY!

Martin Shkreli, the eccentric former pharmaceutical CEO notorious for a price-gouging scandal and for his snide "Pharma Bro" persona on social media, was convicted Friday on federal charges that he deceived investors in a pair of failed hedge funds.

A Brooklyn jury deliberated five days before finding Shkreli guilty on three of eight counts. He had been charged with securities fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
I gather that the "He Only Stole From the Rich" defense didn't work for him. I wonder if the judge will increase his bond (or revoke it outright), as he's a hell of a flight risk.

I doubt he'll do a full 20 years, but a girl can dream.

And so much for him snarking that the prosecution lawyers were "junior varsity". They kicked his motherfucking ass.

Senatorial Oddity & Backhand to Trump

The Senate moved unanimously to block President Trump from making appointments during the August break Thursday evening.
I gather that it's a little bit unusual for the majority party to so willingly agree to this when their guy is the one who can make appointments.

So it would seem that a signal has been sent, albeit to a president who is about as tone-deaf as the average lamppost.

Because It's Friday

African steam:

ADS-B Getting Cheaper


I've not been thrilled about ADS-B. The gear has, so far, been about $2,500-$4,000, not including installation and maybe other stuff you'd need. That's enough that, if you don't fly into areas where you'd need it, it's not going to be worth the expense. Rumor has it that post-installation calibration and testing of the ADS-B sets is not a non-issue.

Even the pros are getting frustrated by ADS-B.

I'll bet that a lot of FLIBs that have transponders and don't fly IFR or go into Class B/C airspace have opted to ignore ADS-B. An informal survey of owners at my home airport has shown that only the owners of twins and higher-end singles have installed ADS-B, and not even all of them, yet. Many are betting that the price is going to come down because of owner reluctance to install higher-end sets. I thing that's a good gamble.


Thursday, August 3, 2017

Time to Invest in Popcorn Futures

We're going to be eating a lot of it.

True Then, True Now

From the Album of Mugs:

Trump to Mexico: "New Hampshire is a Drug-Infested Den and Stop Talking About the Wall!"

That's pretty much what Trump told the President of Mexico. "I won New Hampshire because New Hampshire is a drug-infested den" then tRump pretty much admitted that his "Mexico will pay for he wall" was just a massive lie to gull the stupid people in his base:
"Because you and I are both at a point now where we are both saying we are not to pay for the wall. From a political standpoint, that is what we will say. We cannot say that anymore because if you are going to say that Mexico is not going to pay for the wall, then I do not want to meet with you guys anymore because I cannot live with that. I am willing to say that we will work it out, but that means it will come out in the wash and that is okay. But you cannot say anymore that the United States is going to pay for the wall. I am just going to say that we are working it out. Believe it or not, this is the least important thing that we are talking about, but politically this might be the most important talk about."
Meanwhile, the Wheels of Justice are grinding away:Robert Mueller, the special counsel overseeing the Russia investigation, has impaneled a grand jury in Washington, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.As I understand things, that's not exactly good news for Trump. Grand juries have subpoena powers, for one. Empaneling a grand jury doesn't mean that charges will be brought, but it increases the possibilities.

Plus the Russian-Trump, Jr. meetings were classic Russian ensnarement.

Today, in the West Wing:



Pass the popcorn.

Wronger Than Wrong; Vast Wasteland Edition

NBC is looking to reboot one of its most successful procedurals.

The network is teaming with Vin Diesel to develop a Miami Vice revival.


I see that the Bad Idea Fairy has been flying around Hollywood again, leaving turds of ideas for all of the desperate producers.

Miami Vice was more than Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas. They were the stars, but the uncredited stars were 1980s South Florida, the music arranged and sometimes composed by Jan Hammer and, frankly, the 1980s. That was the real magic, not the snazzy suits, fast cars and unobtainium guns. The show was a vision of Michael Mann, but it proved to be unsustainable over several seasons. Still, the show had a pretty significant cultural impact and is arguably the iconic TV show of the 1980s.

May I remind you that Season 1 of Miami Vice aired a third of a century ago?

They tried to recapture the magic of the show in a movie and it was, arguably, a bomb.

Resurrecting old television series is a dicey affair. Doing so shows more of both a lack of fresh ideas and untreated brain damage than anything else.

Most of them suck. As I expect this lame attempt will.

Cowardice in Oz

In essence, it'll be damn near impossible to build a new synagogue in Australia because of the risk of terrorist attacks.

The Shitting-Our-Drawers crowd has, heretofore, been crying about mosques and cemeteries being built.

The Aussies are taking pants-shitting to an entirely new level. Their reasoning could also be used to ban the construciton of any religious facility, or a dance hall, a theater, or a bar.

People need to be getting a grip.

Good Work, Boeing

This is the radar track of one of their test flights from a few minutes ago:

Trump to Call in the E-4 Mafia (and the Mercs)

During a tense mid-July meeting with his national-security team, President Donald Trump dismissed the counsel of high-ranking military commanders, saying he leaned toward the advice of rank-and-file soldiers over that of his generals.
Maybe every flag/general officer ought to submit their retirement papers. Hell, everyone who has their twenty in might as well do the same. And then we'll see how well that goes for Trump.

History has not been terribly kind to national leaders who go with their gut and ignore the advice of the professionals. They tend to lose, bigly.

What the hell does that ignorant putz expect will happen in Afghanistan? Anyone with a passing familiarity of history has a better understanding of the score than Trump.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Lie About Adoption

Remember that statement that Donny, Jr. issued that claimed that his meeting with representatives about the Russian government was about adoption; the statement that was proven to be a lie from his own emails?

Seems that his dad dictated the statement. So Donny, Jr. just read his dad's words out. Which makes Donny, Jr. nothing more than his daddy's sock-puppet.

Update: Stephen Colbert had a funny line: "Don, Jr. gets in trouble and he literally gets his daddy to write a note for him- 'Please excuse Don, Jr. from prison, he's a good 39-year-old kid.' "

So now we have Trump continuing to try to obfuscate, if not outright cover up, contacts between his campaign and the Russian government (and their spooks).

More and more smoke.

Trump keeps digging his hole deeper and deeper.



Meanwhile, the Husband of the Spawn of Trump is going with the Stupidity Defense. The Mooch is dead to Harvard. And apparently Trump's latest pick for communications director is a guy who was fired to sexual harassment. So he'll fit right in Trump, who admitted that he got a kick out of ogling naked teenaged girls and grabbing women by the crotch.

64 Years

The Korean War sputtered to a temporary halt sixty four years ago today.

It's not officially over, as no peace treaty was signed.

This Clown Had Better Hope That He Dies Within Twelve Years

After weeks of negotiations with the International Olympic Committee, Los Angeles officials have reached a deal to host the 2028 Summer Games under terms they hope will generate hundreds of millions in savings and additional revenues.

The agreement will bring the Olympics back to Southern California for a third time, after Los Angeles hosted in 1984 and 1932. It also opens the door for the 2024 Games to be held in Paris.

“It has been certainly a roller coaster,” L.A. bid chairman Casey Wasserman told The Times, adding that IOC officials “showed a real willingness to be thoughtful and creative.”
Mayor Garcetti might also consider dying or emigrating. The Olympic movement is a festering cesspit of venality and corruption. And that's before you even get to state-sanctioned doping.

A locality would have to be completely chuckleheaded to even think of putting on an Olympics. It's expensive, it brings nothing but chaos for the locals and the benefits of hosting the Olympics are illusionary at best.

The residents of Boston were smarter.

The only thing LA has going for it is that they might have enough stadiums and shit to be able to hosty the Olympics without building anything new. For cities that do build shit for the Olympics tend to get stuck with facilities that just rot away.

White House Staff Uniforms


Muwhahaha- Fly the Fiendish Skies

I'll bet that the airline industry is going to despise this show:


I'm guessing this will be "ten shows and out" series, because I don't know how much humor can be mined from an immoral pilot, a slutty flight attendant and a bunch of drunken and surly passengers.

But we shall see. After all, I thought Brooklyn 99 was meh and it's going into its fifth season.

(For new readers, this is how it works: If I like a show, it's probably going to be canceled. If I don't like a show, it's probably going to be a hit.)

Why The Mooch is Gone

First, even the Weather Channel chimed in. Jim Cantore said this morning that Tropical Storm Emily, which was rather short-lived as a tropical storm, lasted longer than the Mooch, who apparently was frog-marched out of the White House yesterday.

I think Scaramucci was fired because he took on Steve Bannon. Bannon is the architect of Trump's moves to subvert American democracy. Bannon is Trump's Rasputin. Bannon is the guy whose job is to keep the other haters of democracy and freedom in line behind Trump.

The firing of Prebius may have effects that Trump either doesn't foresee or doesn't care about. There is nobody in the White House, now, who has any real ties to the GOP as a party. Sooner or later, it's going to sink in to the congressional majority that their president doesn't give a shit about their party or any of them. Trump never has. it's all been about amassing power in order to make more money for his family and his cronies.

Trump's role model, if there is one, is Putin. Putin both demolished what democracy existed in Russia and, in the process, has made both himself and his circle incredibly wealthy. Allegedly, Putin is the richest man in the world. And it's probably a good bet that business acumen had nothing to do with it.

So Trump looks at Putin, sees how rich Putin has made himself, then looks at the relative size of the two national economies. Trump may think that if Putin could amass a $200 billion fortune, Trump could do much better. If there is a single motivating force in Trump's head, it's greed. So if he has to destroy American democracy in order to be the first trillionaire, Trump will make the decision to do that in a picosecond.

Bannon is a necessary player for that to happen.

The Republicans int he congress could stop Trump, of course. But Trump's cooking them like if he was slowly boiling a frog. By the time they figure out what is happening, it'll be too late for them.

And for us.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Arizona Criminal News

Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio was convicted of a criminal charge Monday for refusing to stop traffic patrols that targeted immigrants, marking a final rebuke for a politician who once drew strong popularity from such crackdowns but was ultimately booted from office as voters became frustrated over his headline-grabbing tactics and deepening legal troubles. ... The lawman who made defiance a hallmark of his tenure was found guilty of misdemeanor contempt-of-court for ignoring the 2011 court order to stop the patrols. The 85-year-old faces up to six months in jail, though attorneys who have followed the case doubt that someone his age would be incarcerated.
Arpaio believed that he was above the law and he pretty much acted as though the law and the Constitution were helpful hints, not mandatory limits.

Ultimately, he was wrong.

The Mooch Wasn't in His Chair Long Enough to Warm Up the Seat

President* Trump has removed Anthony Scaramucci from his new job as communications director, exactly 10 days after he was named to the position.

"Anthony Scaramucci will be leaving his role as White House Communications Director. Mr. Scaramucci felt it was best to give Chief of Staff John Kelly a clean slate and the ability to build his own team. We wish him all the best," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.
Yep. No turmoil in the West Wing whatsoever, folks.

So Mooch is out of a job and all he has to show for it is being the respondent in his divorce case.

Putin's Regrettable Investment

Russia’s deputy foreign minister said Sunday that his country was poised to retaliate aggressively against any new U.S. sanctions on Moscow.
Because:
President* Donald Trump has reviewed the final version of Russia sanctions legislation and plans to sign it, the White House announced Friday night.
Trump has no choice but to sign it. Oh, he could veto it, but any such veto would be overriden in a New York minute. And if he were to veto it, many people, including Your Humble Scribe, would insinuate that Trump was vetoing it on the tacit (or overt) instructions of his master in Moscow.

But maybe he'll change his mind. Nothing is ever sure with Trump. As our allies in the Western Pacific should be aware by now, Trump's promises and vows might as well be written on flash paper.

So what Putin got for all of his spooks' efforts last year is an American president who, while personally sympathetic (and somewhat pliant) to Putin, has been hamstrung by a suspicious Congress and populace. The chances of Russia having good relations with the United States are even more remote, now, than they were before Russia's "little green men" began mucking about in Ukraine.

UPDATE: Weapons for Ukraine. That'll please Putin not a bit.

A Fucking Long Time

Ten years, as a matter of fact.

Some themes haven't changed. Stubbornly contrarian. Hating on Glocks. Stupid pilot tricks. The first post that got any wide notice (by the Field Negro). Life at sea. Making fun of stupid shit.

Some bloggers that I admired have gone west since then: Jeff Huber. Lurch. William the Coroner. Frank James. Jon Swift. Neptunus Rex.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

C-17 Globemaster III


The C-17 had a very long gestation period, almost making the C-5 program looked trouble-free. But ultimately, the C-17, with or without arm-twisting, was the first Air Force freighter since the C-130 to be adopted by other nations' militaries. The A-400M is said to compete with it, but the C-17 can lift twice as an A-400M. That's a factor when there is a need to move really heavy things, such as armored vehicles.

C-17s went out of production in 2015. There is currently no projected replacement for them.


Friday, July 28, 2017

Mooch Now Gets to Do a "Bannon"

Anthony Scaramucci, the White House’s potty-mouthed new communications director, has been dumped by his beautiful blond wife because of his “naked political ambition,” multiple sources exclusively tell Page Six.

Deidre Ball, who worked as a vice president in investor relations for SkyBridge Capital, the firm he founded in 2005 and sold to ascend to the White House, has filed for divorce from “The Mooch” after three years of marriage after getting fed up with his ruthless quest to get close to President Trump, whom she despises.
What is "doing a Bannon", you might ask? The Mooch defined it:
“I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock."
Now there're a couple mental images I may need to drink to erase.

Reince Priebus now has time to write his memoirs. I'll even give him a title: Six Months in Hell, Inside Trump's White House

Spicer and Preibus will probably come out all right. As the saying goes, there's no profit in being one of the last guys out of the bunker.

Pharma Bro's Trial

It is winding down, with closing arguments being made.

I gather that his lawyer's argument is that "it's not a bad thing to steal from rich people."

Seems kind of bizarre, but we'll see.

Nice State You Have There. Pity if Anything Happened to It.

That was essentially the threat that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke made to Senators Murkowski and Sullivan after Murkowski's first vote against TrumpNoCare.
President* Donald Trump isn't going to just let go of Sen. Lisa Murkowski's no vote Tuesday against debating Obamacare repeal.

Early Wednesday, Trump took to Twitter to express displeasure with Murkowski's vote. By that afternoon, each of Alaska's two Republican senators had received a phone call from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke letting them know the vote had put Alaska's future with the administration in jeopardy.
Did it work? Nope.
The Senate has dealt a devastating setback to Republican efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare, defeating a GOP "skinny repeal" bill early Friday morning.

Sens. John McCain, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins joined with Democrats to oppose the measure, a major blow to President* Donald Trump and the Republican congressional agenda.
Murkowski is the chairman of the Senate's Energy and Natural Resources Committee which has a lot of sway over what the Interior Department does. Murkowski wasted little time in signaling that if they want to play "fuck-fuck" games with her, she's got a pretty large hammer to swing and she's not afraid to use it.
As chairman... Murkowski indefinitely postponed a nominations markup that the Interior Department badly wants.

This demonstrated the degree to which Zinke’s ham-handed phone call was political malpractice. The secretary, or whoever at the White House ordered him to make the calls, clearly doesn’t understand the awesome power that comes with being the chairman of a Senate committee. Only an amateur would threaten the person who has oversight over his agency! If she wants, Murkowski can make Zinke’s life so unbelievably miserable.
Trump, of course, also blamed the Democrats.


He completely ignored the fact that the GOP has, from Day One, run their repeal efforts in a way that they neither needed nor sought any votes from Democratic legislators. If you keep proclaiming "we can do this ourselves, we don't need no stinking help from the likes of you", then it's not the other people's fault when your efforts crash and burn.

As to McCain, there could be a few things going on. First, he clearly has no fucks left to give. Trump insulted him repeatedly and questioned McCain's bravery. It took an amazing amount of gall for a draft-dodger to question the heroism of a man who not only was a POW, but refused early release when the enemy was trying to curry some favor. Add to that the point that there is nothing that Trump can do to McCain in retailiation for McCain's vote and that might be enough.

Another point is that this bill was truly awful and there were a number of Republican senators who, if push came to shove, would have torpedoed it themselves. But because McCain provided the coupe de gras to TrumpNoCare, they didn't have to. They could vote for a bill that they knew had no chance of passing (just like they did on the bazillion or so repeal efforts they attempted when President Obama was in office) and, by doing so, not do any harm and keep their cred up with the batshit-crazies in the GOP base. So McCain was, in essence, the beard for other GOP senators.

If there is any better example of why amateurs make shitty political chief executives than Trump (other than maybe Gov. Rauner in Illinois), I don't know who it is. Going from running businesses where you're the boss and everyone has to jump to your whistle and kowtow to your every whim to being a president or governor, where the legislature can and will tell you to fuck off and where the bureaucracy can slow-roll things on you seems to be too much of a leap.

Meanwhile, of course, Scott Pruitt is putting into play his policy of "clean air and water are for pussies", Betsy DeVois is running the Education department with a new motto of "we doan need no edjucashun" and beleagured Jeff Sessions is ramping up the failed war on drugs, but those are topics that will probably get more play now that Trump has failed to do anything about the ACA.

And, of course, the Russia thing is percolating away.

Because It's Friday

Working steam in China, throwing a lot of hot cinders:



Mainline steam operations ended in China a few years ago, but industrial and small-line operations continue. It's worth remembering that while mainline steam operations ended in the U.S. in the late 1950s, it was roughly another 25 years until the last working steam locomotive was retired.