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

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Trump the OPSEC Imbecile

In an call with Phillipino 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. Thios 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.
________________________________________________________
* It will be very interesting if AF1 makes a side trip to Moscow to drop off a passenger.

For Grammar Nazis Everywhere


At Amazon, `natch.

90 Years On

The Spirit of St. Louis departed from Roosevelt Field in NY enroute Paris. The goal was to win the Orteig Prize for the first successful flight between New York and Paris.

Recently, unpublished photos of the first test flight of The Spirit were uncovered:


It's hard to overstate the importance of the flight. It sparked an interest in aviation that lasted in this country for most of the rest of the century. For decades, a common refrain of the early builders of experimental (amateur) airplanes was that they became interested in flying after Lindbergh's flight. Some of them told of seeing The Spirit of St Louis on its tour in the year after the flight to Paris.

Lindbergh's arrival airport, Le Bourget Field, is still in use. His departure airport, Roosevelt Field, was taken over by a developer who turned it into a shopping mall. The tragedies and controversies of Lindbergh's later life are beyond the scope of this post.

Caturday

A male cardinal was perched on the porch railing.


The bird was looking right at Chip. I'm pretty sure that the bird knew that he was safe and that he was tormenting Chip. The bird flew away, but returned a half-hour later for some more fun.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Drone Away

Hobbyists' drones may not have to register with the FAA:
A D.C.-based appeals court struck down a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rule on Friday requiring recreational drone users to register their model aircraft with the federal government, in a major win for drone hobbyists.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit sided with plaintiff John A. Taylor, a recreational drone pilot, who argued that the FAA doesn’t have the power to make him register his toy drones because Congress already said the FAA can’t regulate model aircraft.

“The FAA’s 2015 registration rule, which applies to model aircraft, directly violates that clear statutory prohibition,” the opinion said. “We therefore grant Taylor’s petition and vacate the registration rule to the extent it applies to model aircraft.”
This could get very interesting. What size does a drone have to be in order to be considered a "model aircraft"? There are some pretty honking huge model airplanes out there.

Because It's Friday


It's nice to watch videos that were made by photographers who understand framing and the use of tripods.

Goombye, Carlos Danger

Former congressman Anthony Weiner, whose penchant for sexting strangers online ended his political career and led to an investigation that upended the presidential race, will appear in federal court Friday to plead guilty to charges in connection with his online communications with a 15-year-old girl in North Carolina, officials said.

A law enforcement official said Weiner has agreed to plead guilty to a charge of transferring obscene material to a minor.
Don't let the cell door hit you in the ass, Tony.

UPDATE: About fucking time, Huma.

Masada

President* Trump is canceling a planned speech at an ancient mountain fortress in Israel, according to a new report.

Trump will no longer visit Masada on Monday after authorities told him that he could not land his helicopter there, Newsweek reported, citing Israel’s Channel 2.
I guess taking a cable car to the ruins of the fortress would be too much for him. Or maybe his aides, suspecting that Trump would toss a hissy fit, didn't even ask him.

If there is such a thing as a secularly sacred site, Masada is one. But given Trump's aggressive ignorance of American history, it's likely that he knows very little about the history of Masada.

When some Trump staffer brought up the subject of visiting Masada, it's probably a safe bet that he thought that he was going to be speaking at a Japanese car factory.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Flynn Won't Testify to the Senate

Ousted White House National Security adviser Michael Flynn will apparently not be testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee anytime soon about Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, the panel’s chairman, said Flynn’s lawyer told him that the retired army general, whom President Donald Trump fired in February, would not honor the committee’s subpoena to produce documents related to the Russia investigation.
That's probably the smartest thing that Flynn has done in years. He may be at risk for treason, for interfering with the planning of a military operation while being paid by a foreign power.

Which would make him the first general officer to commit treason since the Revolutionary War.

Trump and Media Bias

As pointed out here, Dick Cheney survived being hated. But Trump won't:
Many conservatives suspect that our major media outlets and intelligence agencies are out to get Trump, and they’re probably right. (How many of the damaging Trump stories have concerned an unverified allegation by an unnamed source with unknown motives? Many.) But such pitfalls were obvious from the start, and Trump could have overcome them by playing a cool game of humility, cunning, and discipline. (Recall how much Dick Cheney pulled off by staying quiet. Sorry, but do recall it.)

For all that Trump supporters complain of media bias, the most damaging stuff hasn’t come from the press but from the man himself. No one but Trump fired James Comey. No one but Trump tweeted out taunts right afterward. No one but Trump tweeted out soft threats about possible “tapes,” in quotation marks. No one but Trump cited Comey’s investigations into Russia as an explanation for firing him. No one but Donald Trump fired off unbaked tweets in March about being spied on by Barack Obama. No one but Trump has sent aides scurrying almost daily to come up with an excuse for his latest lapse of self-control. If Trump were capable of self-control lasting more than a day, he wouldn’t be in trouble nearly this bad. But counterfactuals will be of no help to him. His slavery to impulse has been obvious for at least a year now, ever since Trump kept sabotaging himself even after all but wrapping up the Republican nomination.

Did the Department of Justice Throw Trump Under the Bus?

A battalion of White House aides entered the Oval Office together to present a unified front after the bombshell.

The Justice Department had appointed a special prosecutor to oversee the probe into Russia's alleged involvement in the 2016 presidential election, White House counsel Don McGahn had just told President* Donald Trump. Many of Trump’s top aides gathered with the president Wednesday evening just after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein signed the order and called McGahn — and just before the news exploded publicly in Washington.
So the DoJ appointed a special prosecutor without Jeff Sessions notifying the President beforehand?

Interesting.

One way to look at it is that Rosenstein just paid Trump back for Trump's attempt to place the responsibility for firing Comey on Rosenstein.

Or the Pros From Dover want to settle this question the right way, instead of allowing Trump to try and tweet-storm his way out of it.

Either way, smart members of the White House staff who may have been even tangentially involved with any of this would be wise to have legal counsel on tap before the subpoenas start flying.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

I Think I've Seen This Movie Before

The Justice Department appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller Wednesday as a special counsel to oversee the federal investigation into allegations that Russia and Donald Trump's campaign collaborated to influence the 2016 presidential election, giving Mueller sweeping powers and the authority to prosecute any crimes uncovered in the probe.
Less than 120 days into the Trump Administration and a special prosecutor has been appointed to do an investigation.

That has to be some sort of land speed record. Nixon was about 120 days into his second term when Archibald Cox was appointed. Bill Clinton had been in about 19 months when Kenn Starr was appointed.

So Trump is pretty damn precocious.
Somebody ought to call the folks at the Guinness Book of World Records.

Crybaby Trump

This, at a speech to graduating cadets at the Coast Guard Academy:
President Donald Trump went off script during his Wednesday commencement speech to Coast Guard Academy graduates, saying critics and the media had treated him more unfairly than any politician "in history."
Smooth move, addressing a bunch of young men and women who are going to face perilous conditions at sea and using the occasion to whine that people are being oh, so mean to him.

Any politician in history? Does he really want to test that? President Andrew Johnson? Or maybe he has forgotten what he himself said, in critic mode, about President Obama (very little of it was good). Does he remember when right-wingers were openly calling for JFK to be shot? Does he remember the protests against his successor over the Vietnam War? Does he recall the mockery endured by Richard Nixon?

If you go abroad, you'll find lots of politicians whose critics killed them. You can start with Sennacherib, who was assassinated about 2,700 years ago, and work up from there. There were probably political assassinations in Sumer, for all anyone knows.

Did this fucking crybaby actually think that every day, he could walk into his office on a carpet of rose pedals, tossed by fawning reporters?

Jeebus! I don't like Trump, but this shit comes with the job. Any politician with half of a working cortex knows that.

Did Donald Trump Obstruct Justice?

Arguably, yes, according to the analysis at Lawfare. Also, witness tampering.

The question is: What are the Republicans going to do about it?

For now, I'm betting on: "Nothing." Because party loyalty trumps loyalty to the rule of law.

Extra Caturday

Because cats can be dicks.

The Choices in 2018 Are Not "Chicken or Fish," Paul

That's what Paul Friedman says in his op-ed that calls for people to get off their fat asses and get involved.

It's more akin to having to choose between a baloney sandwich and a shit sandwich.

The Trump Trajectory

From elsewhere:
1. Media claims he did something.
2. White House staff denies he did it.
3. Conservative media screams "fake news".
4. Trump confirms that he did indeed do it.
5. Republicans in the Congress wring their hands and do nothing.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

David Fucking Brooks

On Trump:
We’ve got this perverse situation in which the vast analytic powers of the entire world are being spent trying to understand a guy whose thoughts are often just six fireflies beeping randomly in a jar.

Precocious Trump

It probably took Nixon five years to get to the point where a plurality of Americans thought he should be impeached. It took Trump four months:
We find 62/28 support both for an independent investigation into Russia's involvement in the election generally, and for the appointment of a special prosecutor specifically. We find that an increasingly large percentage of voters think that Russia did want Trump to win the election- 60% now say that Russia was pulling for Trump to only 16% who claim they think Russia wanted Hillary Clinton to win. Voters are still pretty evenly divided though when it comes to whether they think Trump's campaign team and Russia directly worked together to try to influence the election- 43% say they think there was collusion between Russia and Trump's aides to 38% who don't think there was.

The stakes for Trump on this issue are high- if it does turn out his campaign coordinated directly with Russia, 54% of voters think he should resign to only 34% who believe he should stay in office. And voters do want to see the bottom of this story gotten to- only 33% consider it to be 'fake news.' ... For the first time we find more voters (48%) in support of impeaching Trump than there are (41%) opposed to the idea. Only 43% of voters think Trump is actually going to end up serving his full term as President, while 45% think he won't, and 12% aren't sure one way or the other.
Right now, Trump is in a sort of a spot: His polling numbers are not so bad that the congressional Republicans will openly oppose him, but they are bad enough that Democrats see little risk in going into full-on Mitch McConnell-style obstructionism. But as the polling numbers get worse for Trump, as it is clearly conceivable that they will, one might imagine that he will find it harder and harder to hold his caucus together in the Congress.

At some point, it may occur to them that if they can't find a way to show Trump gracefully to the exit, many of them are politically doomed. For Trump's ship is taking on water. Oh, the lights are still on and the band is playing, but smart politicians are making sure that they will be positioned to be first in line for the lifeboats. Being linked to a crook was survivable. Being linked to a traitor and a Russian asset may not be.

None of those guys are the sort to chain themselves to the railings and go down with the ship. For they all know that, if the situation was reversed, Trump would have bailed on them at the first hint of trouble.

Shorter Trump: "Yeah, I Did It. So, What?"

Story here.

He's right that he had the legal right to do what he did.

It was short-sighted and imbecilic. It showed that Trump has no understanding of the reasons why intelligence information is classified. It showed a complete lack of judgment. Since Russia seems to have a pipeline to the Oval Office, it will, more than likely than not, have ramifications as to what our friends and allies choose to share with us. It was, at best, the actions of a child showing off a shiny toy: "I get great intel! Look at this intel! It's amazing intel, the best!" At worst, it was the actions of a paid actor proving his worth to his paymasters.

But it was legal. And as to why this story was leaked, read this from Erick Erickson.

And this:
The heads of 28 NATO member states will be [at the NATO summit] and they’re all anticipating a meeting tailored to a petulant child who needs to be entertained:
“Even a brief NATO summit is way too stiff, too formal, and too policy heavy for Trump. Trump is not going to like that,” said Jorge Benitez, a NATO expert with the Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank.
Organizers are scrapping the normal declaration that accompanies such meetings because they think Trump won’t be happy. You see, one of the primary reasons for NATO’s existence is its adversarial relationship to Russia and we all know how Trump feels about that.

After Trump’s shenanigans this past week, let’s just say that it’s unlikely anyone at the meeting will feel all that comfortable sharing anything but small talk with President Loose Lips. According to Foreign Policy:
“People are scared of his unpredictability, intimidated by how he might react knowing the president might speak his mind — or tweet his mind,” the former official said. Or, as another current senior NATO official put it before the meeting: “We’re bracing for impact.”

Sessions Confounds

A Mississippi man received a 49-year prison sentence Monday for the first-ever conviction on federal hate crime charges arising from the killing of a transgender woman. ... The case, watched nationally amid concerns transgender women are particularly vulnerable to violence, drew comment from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

"Today's sentencing reflects the importance of holding individuals accountable when they commit violent acts against transgender individuals," Sessions said in a statement. "The Justice Department will continue its efforts to vindicate the rights of those individuals who are affected by bias motivated crimes."
That's not what I would have expected from Sessions, not by a long shot.

I'll be more impressed when the DoJ, under Sessions, brings a similar case. But this is, at least, something.

Opiod

A small newspaper in Pittsburgh, Print, noted recently that in 2015, there were 80 fatal overdoses in the city. In 2016, 149 fatal ODs. By mid-April there had already been 165. The projects were for over 500 for this year.

BadTux has some thoughts on one of the reasons why that may be happening.

Fox Guarding the Chicken Coop

That's the effect of putting Keith Noreika in as head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

Back during the Great Recession, it was clear that the OCC served the banksters, not the American people. As I snarked here, the OCC mostly confined itself to approving the proposed location of new bank branches. As to any other regulation of the banksters, they were asleep at the switch during the runup to the Great Recession.

It was one of the failures of the Obama Administration that they did nothing to fix the OCC, to cure it from its deep affliction of Stockholm Syndrome (or "regulatory capture").

And now, Trump wants to effectively put the OCC further into snooze mode.

Haven't we already seen how this movie ends, people?

Monday, May 15, 2017

{Russian accent} "Say, Donald, What Are Those Nuclear Launch Codes?"

President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said that Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.

The information Trump relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, officials said.

The partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russia, and officials said that Trump’s decision to do so risks cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State.
OK, I was kidding, sort of, when I asked what Dolt-45 would do to top last week's performance.

Blabbing highly-sensitive intel to the Russians would do it. Was he simply showing off, like a child with a shiny new toy? Or was he trying to prove to his backers (or handlers) that he is worthy of their investment in him?

First off, he has the power to tell anyone he wants to anything he feels like telling them. So what the Hair Furor did was not a crime.

But hey, if you have any familiarity at all with intelligence matters, even if all you've done is read some John LeCarre novels, you know how utterly insane it was to blab highly sensitive information to the Russians. If it had been anybody else other than Trump, that person could have been charged with espionage and sent to occupy Johnnie Pollard's old cell for about as long.

The intelligence services of other countries would be completely within their rights to not tell our own spooks a single fucking thing. Not one thing that they couldn't find out for themselves by a Goggle search.

Like Client, Like Lawyer

Trump's lawyer tweeted out rather racy photos of his own daughter, the kind of photos that, back in the day, would have send most male sailors to their bunks.

This is about one or two steps below the fact that Trump would like to bang his daughter.

What From Trump This Week?

President* Trump had a pretty active week last week. He fired the head of the FBI and caused so much turmoil there that he couldn't go visit to dance on the corpse.

What does he have on tap for this week? What new lies will he espouse?

One may think that what Trump is doing is nothing more the the incompetence of a narcissistic troll, who is lurching from one self-made crisis to another.

But there is also an argument to be made that Trump is doing this deliberately, that he, Steve Bannon, Jeff Sessions and the rest of their cabal seek to destroy American democratic institutions and impost an authoritarian state, if not an outright dictatorship.

Some of their motivations are fairly obvious. Bannon espouses an ideology that the only people fit to rule are those whose ancestors immigrated from European countries whose native tongues are Germanic languages.{1} They are the one that, in the neo-nazi view, are destined to rule over everyone else.{2}

Trump probably doesn't think about that, for if he did, he might fret that his prized daughter married into Jewish family.{3} What Trump would see is the chance to have a government that serves only the wealthy, where nobody would care about his legally-dubious dealings. Trump lusts after having a government where eminent domain is openly used to take property from homeowners so that his class of people can build hotels, casinos or golf courses.{4}

Few people, of course, would ever vote for that. So it gets camoflauged in nationalism, xenophobia and the slogan "make America great again". We all know it works. It has on a smaller scale. Politicans come in and promise similar things and the first thing they do is interfere with union contracts by "right to work" laws, which are nothing more than union-busting "you're gonna get paid a lot less money" laws.

The pro-gun side falls for this, because they promise that they will loosen gun laws. But show me an authoritarian state that likes an armed populace. Oh, they don't mind when the ruling classes own guns, but not the lower ones.{5]

Whether by accident or design, Trump is working to destroy our democratic system; a system where there are limits on the power of government and on the grabbiness of the 0.1%. Trump and those working in his Administration are traitors. The Republicans in the Congress vary between traitors, useful idiots and craven cowards.{6}

If you voted for Trump, this is all on you.

(Meanwhile, the wheels are loosening up at Trump's favorite source of fake news.)
________________________________________________
[1] In times gone by, they called themselves Aryans.
{2} In times gone by, "lesser races" or "subhumans."
[3] If there is one group that is despised by the neo-nazis above all, it's the Jews.
[4] And not those pesky "open to the public" golf courses.
[5] The focus on "Saturday Night Specials" was to ensure that poor people couldn't afford to protect themselves.
[6] Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham and John McCain in particular. McCain and Graham are the worst, for they talk a good game, but when the votes come, they always put their party over their country.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Vast Wasteland Report- "The Son"


Pierce Brosnan has the lead role. His accent isn't exactly "Dick Van Dyke speaks Cockney" bad, but if you can get past that, he does a good job. His meeting with a banker in episode 3 is not to be missed.

So far, the people who are supplying the props seem to have been doing a mostly good job at keeping the guns in the right period. In episode 5, Sally McCullough has a S&W revolver with a button-head ejector rod, a feature which was discontinued in the late `20s, probably to save on manufacturing costs. The Lewis gun, seen first in episode 4, might be anachronistic, but I suppose it's not very far-fetched that a wealthy rancher might have gotten one. In 1915, it was about as complicated to buy a machinegun as it was a drill bit.

If you choose to watch it, start at the first episode. The series is telling some stories that otherwise might not be fully appreciated.

Mother's Day


Mothers are important:


I hope you did something nice for the mothers in your life. And not just today.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

F-86:



A lot of those early-generation jet fighters were ground loving hogs on the runway. An old AF F-86 pilot, who had been based in Florida, once told me that on a hot day, he regarded an 8,000' runway as marginal. But those guys were taking off with an airplane that had guns, ammunition and drop tanks.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Caturday

Chip and a "no" bottle.


Water bottles are so cheaply made these days that they aren't much better than balloons. So take the cap and drive a pin through the center, being careful to have the pin at a 90-deg angle from the surface of the cap. Fill the bottle with water and then check to make sure the stream is centered.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Because It's Friday

Steam in Malaysia:

New Oath of Office

"I pledge my loyalty to Donald Trump."

That's pretty much what Trump demanded from James Comey, who declined to make that pledge.

Trump, of course, disagrees with what he wanted from Comey. But to take Trump's side, one would have to believe that Trump is telling the truth. After all that has come to light so far, anyone who believes the story that Trump is currently telling should not be allowed to go walking in the rain without an attendant, due to the risk of drowning.

Diarrhea of the Mouth

Trump admitted that "the Russia thing" was one of the reasons he fired Comey. Another reason was that people were paying too much attention to Comey, the same offense that got Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway exiled to offices in the sub-basement.

Can you imagine Nixon telling a reporter "yeah, I fired Cox because he was investigating the fake Watergate break-in"?

Normally, I'd be snarking about Trump's claim to have authored the phrase "priming the pump," a phase that, when used in an economic content, was around before he was spawned. But this week, that seems like pretty small beer when compared to attempting to kill off the investigation of Trump's ties with Russia.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Turkish Revolvers

The SR38. Seems kinda pricey, starting at $481. That's right around used GP100 territory.

Offhand, I haven't seen a review that isn't a flavor of "we got to shoot it at the SHOT Show and it seemed nice." That sort of write up tends to make me want to reply: "So, what, remember the R51?"

A decent full-size all-steel .357 is worth $500 or so. But I'm not going to be the tester, at least, not on my frelling dime.

His Master's Voice

When President Donald Trump hosted Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the Oval Office on Wednesday just hours after firing the FBI director who was overseeing an investigation into whether Trump’s team colluded with the Russians, he was breaking with recent precedent at the specific request of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The chummy White House visit—photos of the president yukking it up with Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak were released by the Russian Foreign Ministry since no U.S. press was allowed to cover the visit—had been one of Putin’s asks in his recent phone call with Trump, and indeed the White House acknowledged this to me later Wednesday. “He chose to receive him because Putin asked him to,” a White House spokesman said of Trump’s Lavrov meeting. “Putin did specifically ask on the call when they last talked.”
I thought one of Trump's claims to fame was that he was a PR whiz. Who the hell is in charge of optics at the White House, Jose Feliciano? "when they last talked"...how often does Trump report in?

Meeting with the Russian ambassador, allowing only Russians to cover the meeting, and doing that while 98% of sentient adults think that Trump fired Comey because of the FBI's Russian investigation has to be about the worst decision made in the White House since Lincoln chose to go take in a play.

Trump's Letter to Comey; the Rough Drafts


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Stupidity; Dolt-45 Ed.

Say, for the sake of discussion, that Trump's new hand-chosen FBI director looks over the Russian investigation and orders it closed.

Who, other than GOP party loyalists, will ever believe that nothing was found?

Comey got fired days after asking for more resources to pursue the investigation. Nobody is going to believe that he was doing that just to make sure that there was nothing there.

It's a coverup, people. And even the GOP loyalists, if they are being honest with themselves, know that.

Just like they did 44 years ago. They all knew that Nixon had done everything that he was accused of doing. But out of party loyalty, they closed their eyes, plugged their ears and hummed loudly, until the crescendo of evidence was too loud for even them to ignore.

And so it will go this time. Only this time, we all know how it will play out. Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan will willingly sacrifice any shred of personal honor that they may still cling to in order to save Trump.

You know what is really sad? If the situations were reversed, Trump would throw both of them overboard without a nanosecond's worth of hesitation and he'd not look back.

In the end, when all this is over and Trump is either in exile or in a cell, the GOP will look as pathetic and as foolish as they did in 1974. But I guess they can live with that.

Word- Trump Edition


Trump is a hell of an overachiever: It took him less than 120 days to reach the same point in his presidency that Nixon reached in 4.75 years.

This was true then:
“Whether we shall continue to be a government of laws and not of men is now for Congress and ultimately the American people.” -- Archibald Cox, October 20, 1973.
And it is true today. If you've been keeping track, Comey is the third person who was investigating Trump to get fired for doing that.

Which makes Comey's firing sort of a slow-scale Saturday Massacre, only moreso. Nixon was a seasoned pol and understood the system that he was trying to manipulate. Trump, on the other hand, is really just a rich thug with, at best, a second-grade-level understanding of the presidency. He is advised by people, such as Bannon and Sessions, who, at their core, are enemies of democracy. Trump has an elementary-level understanding of the military and of foreign affairs, which partially explains why he seems to be as erratic as a child on crack.

This presidency is a cancer and a far more virulent one than was Nixon's.
------------------------------------------
In other Trump-related news, Operation Butthurt has been strangled in its crib. Because there is no case to be made.

Trump Fired Comey for One Reason and One Reason Only: Russia

President* Donald Trump weighed firing his FBI director for more than a week. When he finally pulled the trigger Tuesday afternoon, he didn't call James Comey. He sent his longtime private security guard to deliver the termination letter in a manila folder to FBI headquarters.

He had grown enraged by the Russia investigation, two advisers said, frustrated by his inability to control the mushrooming narrative around Russia. He repeatedly asked aides why the Russia investigation wouldn’t disappear and demanded they speak out for him. He would sometimes scream at television clips about the probe, one adviser said.
The reason Comey was fired now seems to be that he was asking for more resources for the Trump-Russian probe. So, like Major Strasser, Trump ordered Jess Sessions (in the role of Capt. Renault), to find a reason to fire Comey.

It is now time that Republicans and conservatives decide whether or not their ultimate loyalty is to their country or their party.

I think I know the answer for most of them. They lie every time that they recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

What Nixon Did and Did Not Do.

What Nixon did do: He created the EPA.

What Nixon did not do:


Also, Trump reported to his overlords this morning.

Icon Crash Update

The two killed were employees. One, Jon Karkow, was the chief test pilot and lead engineer.

RUMINT is that the lake where they crashed was frequently used by Icon for tests and that the lake had a set of powerlines that were strung across it. Lake Berryessa is a dam-created lake with a hydroelectric plant, but that doesn't mean that there are lines across it. I can't see anything on satellite photos. And presumably, Icon-employed pilots would know their location and stay well clear, as powerlines are almost invisible themselves.

Shorter Trump Spox: "Comey's Been Fired, So It's Time to Stop Investigating Trump's Russian Ties."

Spicer's assistant liar pretty much has given the game away.

Which, to my way of thinking, shows that they don't give a shit about anything remotely resembling the rule of law. The excuse of "do things Americans care about" would, if taken honestly, mean a full and impartial investigation of Trump's Russian fuckery. Because people do care about that.

Trump's firing of Comey is, to quote Jeffrey Toobin: "Transparently bogus."

Update #1: Sen. McConnell, aka "Toady #1," defended Trump. No surprise there.

.38s

This is a pretty good explanation of the state of .38 ammo and why what is now considered to be +P ammunition isn't anything of the sort.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Shorter Trump: "How Dare You Investigate Me!!!"

President* Donald Trump abruptly fired FBI Director James Comey Tuesday, dramatically ousting the nation's top law enforcement official in the midst of an FBI investigation into whether Trump's campaign had ties to Russia's election meddling.
And then there was this bullshit rationale:
In a letter to Comey, Trump said the firing was necessary to restore "public trust and confidence" in the FBI.
Horseshit. And this part was about pure 100% triple-distilled bullshit:
In announcing the firing, the White House circulated a scathing memo, written by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, criticizing Comey's handling of the Clinton probe, including the director's decision to hold a news conference announcing its findings and releasing "derogatory information" about Clinton.
Riiight. Trump cares about that as much as he cares about ethics or pollution. Without Comey's little "October surprise," Trump would now be living back in his home, giving brick-tossing interview to Fox News. Anyone with even a quarter of a functioning cortex is aware that Comey tipped the election.

Maybe Trump is mad about that, to some extent.

But more likely, the FBI was investigating internal links or leaks to the Trump campaign during the election itself. I have no doubt that that investigation will be squashed. As will the FBI's investigation of Trump's ties to Putin.  The very last thing that Trump wants is anybody investigating his ties to Russia. Clearly, the House of Representatives isn't going to do it. Trump's allies in the Senate will ultimately make sure that investigation goes nowhere. All that was left to worry Trump was an independent FBI investigating him, and now he's taken that off the board. Somewhere in Hell, the spirit of Richard Nixon is smiling broadly.


Trump also wants his own puppet cop running the FBI. Trump, along with his staff of neo-nazis, is clearly frustrated that he cannot bend the Federal government to his will. But he can get a lot closer to what he wants to be, namely, a dictator, if he can put a compliant toady (like Rudy Giuliani) in as director of the FBI.

All hail El Generalissimo Trumpo!

Rumble at the Airport

Canceled flights led Spirit Airlines passengers to scream, shout and throw punches at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

Cellphone video shows a crowd of riled-up passengers swarming the ticket check-in counter for Spirit Airlines Monday evening after nine flights were canceled, leaving hundreds stranded. In one clip, at least two women start swinging at the Broward sheriff’s deputies. Anothert video shows one of the woman being led away and someone held on the ground by deputies.
Airline travel is frustrating, no doubt. Passengers are treated like livestock, only without USDA supervision.

But really, people: Punching out a cop is not OK. You're likely going to get jail time for that.

I'd like to snark about "this is what you get for flying El Cheapo Airlines", but passengers don't seem to be treated any better on the majors these days.

Bambi Strikes Back!

In an unprecedented finding, researchers spotted a deer chewing on a human rib during a study aimed at examining how human remains decompose in the wild.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Heh. Heh. Heh.

Nevada's new private-party background check law is a nullity.

Seems that the anti-gun crowd there wrote their referendum to require that the Feebies do the background checks. They did it that way because they believed that their proposal would have failed if the state did it, because the state would have passed the cost along to the parties.

Thing is, the Feebies aren't going to do background checks unless Federal law says they have to. And since Federal law doesn't require background checks for transfers between residents of the same state, the Feds are effectively telling the Nevada anti-gunners to go shit in their hats.

Which means that Nevada's private-party background check law is a dead parrot.

(H/T)

We'll See if 41 Pages of Legalese Will Protect Them

An Icon A5 crashed in California earlier today, killing both people aboard.

Icon is infamous for its 41-page sales agreement. They trimmed it down somewhat after they got lambasted. But it's going to be interesting to see if they can make it stick against the bereaved.

Il Est de Rire.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday sent a congratulatory message to French President-elect Emmanuel Macron after his victory on Sunday.

In a statement, Putin wished Macron “good health, well-being and success” as president, adding that “overcoming mutual distrust and joining efforts to ensure international stability and security is especially important.”
I'm pretty certain that the French are going to find that at least mildly amusing, since the Russians and their pet toady, Wikileaks, pulled off another hack/data dump just before the French went to the polls.

Only this time, the Russians and Wikileaks paid no attention to French law. They should have, because the French impose a media blackout the day before an election, so news of what those scum were trying to do didn't spread effectively inside France.

Scott Pruitt Wanted to Hire Thomas Midgley, Jr., Only He's Dead

The Environmental Protection Agency has dismissed at least five members of a major scientific review board, the latest signal of what critics call a campaign by the Trump administration to shrink the agency’s regulatory reach by reducing the role of academic research.

A spokesman for the E.P.A. administrator, Scott Pruitt, said he would consider replacing the academic scientists with representatives from industries whose pollution the agency is supposed to regulate, as part of the wide net it plans to cast.
Midgley, in case you've forgotten was a chemist who arguably did more damage to the planet than any other single person in human history. He promoted the use of tetraethyl lead in gasoline, while blatantly lying about its effects on people (effects that were understood by scientists even then). He also invented Freon, the chemical that was linked to severe damage of the ozone layer.

In short, Pruitt is seeking to populate the EPA with the same sort of scientific sellouts who helped the tobacco industry for decades. Pruitt is a well-known shill for the oil industry. As the AG of Oklahoma, he basically turned his office into a free litigation service for them. So none of this should be much of a surprise

Move Over, Doug Feith (with Tab-Clearing)

Trump's got competition in the quest to replace Doug Feith as the title-holder:
A conservative Republican congressman from Idaho is drawing criticism for his response to a town-hall attendee’s concerns about how his party’s health-care bill would affect Medicaid recipients.

“You are mandating people on Medicaid to accept dying,” the woman said.

“That line is so indefensible,” said Rep. Raúl R. Labrador, a member of the influential House Freedom Caucus. “Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care.”

The boos instantly drowned him out.
Worse for this challenger to be the Dumbest Fucker on Earth, the comment was caught on video:


That is so contradicted by reality that it was a gob-smackingly stupid thing to say. You will not have to search far, Dear Reader, to find stories of women who didn't get a lump in their breasts looked at because they couldn't afford to. Or people who die of hypertension or other medical issues because they couldn't afford to go to a doctor for a checkup.

Of course, Labrador is whining about how everybody is blasting him for one comment he made. The poor man must have severe organic brain damage, for he clearly doesn't understand the game of politics. If he doesn't have brain damage, then he is a fucking sociopath who allowed his mask to drop.
-----------------------------------------------------------
In other news, conservatives are proceeding with Operation Butthurt. The last time I looked into things, the percentage of complaints to the FCC that were traceable back to the Parents Television Council were in the upper 90-percentile rage, maybe as high as 99%. In short, the FCC essentially operates as a tool of a wingnut pressure group.
-----------------------------------------------------------
Condoleeza Rice is making the round to flog her new book, here, on Sunday Morning. She's dropped her Iraq War defense down to "we went with what we knew," which was pretty much "we went with the lies that Dick Cheney's stooges told up." The historical record is revealing that Bush-43 and his team were focused on Iraq before the smoke had stopped rising from Ground Zero. They knew what they wanted and they were not willing to give credence to any contrary information. They saw what they wanted to see, heard what they wanted to hear, and there were plenty of people, including an alleged Iranian agent, willing to give them what they wanted.
-----------------------------------------------------------
The French Nazi Party is going to have yet another makeover. Le Pen didn't get trounced as badly as her father did fifteen years ago. But she is little more than a pretty face masking the same old antisemitism, Holocaust denialism and xenophobia that has always been a hallmark of her party.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Yes, I Know It's a Commercial

It's still funny.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

Crosswind operations


Wish I had the tire concession there!

(H/T)

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Caturday

Chip is settling in for a nap.


I bought that cat tower six months ago. Only now has Chip decided that the top level (which is padded) is a good place to sleep.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Cinco de Mayo

Today is Cinco De Mayo, a holiday that celebrates Mexico's victory over a superior French force at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. So it is a holiday that celebrates a French military defeat-- sort of like every other holiday in Germany and every third holiday in England.

The French began mucking around in Mexico in 1861, because the United States had more pressing matters to attend to than to get froggy about a violation of the Monroe Doctrine.

Despite the victory and despite heavy guerrilla resistance by Mexican patriots, the French were able to set up a puppet regime in Mexico. By 1866, with some realization that the United States now had the largest navy and the most battle-hardened army on the planet, the French began to withdraw. The United States helped things along by "losing" arsenals of weapons to the Mexican resistance.

For some reason, the French puppet emperor of Mexico, Maximilian I, didn't flee. He was captured, given a trial by court-martial, and, along with two of his generals, shot by a firing squad on June 19, 1867.

Max is on the right side.

The story was that Maximilian paid the firing squad not to shoot him in the head, so that his mother could view his body after he was embalmed and sent home. They kept to the bargain.

The generals died shouting "long live the Emperor". Which was sort of futile, as they shot Max first.

Anyway, today isn't supposed to be a day for stupid Anglos to get wasted. That's St. Patrick's Day.

Because It's Friday

The Flying Scotsman:


She might be the most-traveled locomotive ever.


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Coupla Things

I've had quite a bit to do at work this week.

also, I've enjoyed the hell out of The Expanse. So I picked up some of the books. Leviathan Wakes, the first book, took a season and a half for SyFy to adapt. The latter part of the second season gets into Caliban's War.

There is stuff out of sequence, as the show introduces some characters far earlier than the books did. And the series on syFy seems to be diverging from the second book to some extent.

Anyway, each book is over 500 pages and they are not speed-reads. I'm part-way through Caliban's War.

What all that means is that I have other stuff that's, at the moment, more interesting for me to do than blog frequently. I don't get paid for this, mind you. So if there is something for me o do that is either paying (work) or is more fun, then so be it. I'll probably drop a post a day, maybe two.

Yes, I know that TrumpCare advanced with the assistance of the Zombie-Eyed Granny-Starver. That's a meaty topic, for now, and I'm not going to tear into it.

The blogrolls await your attention.

Unless You're Muslim. Then It's OK to Discriminate Against You. Especially by DHS.

At his signing ceremony in the White House’s Rose Garden, Trump delivered a speech steeped in religious pride and said the order “will not allow people of faith to be bullied, targeted, or silenced any more.”

He vowed to defend all faiths, saying the order showed the United States “will never stand for religious discrimination.”
Riight. I call bullshit. Anyone remember when The Donald was loudly proclaiming that he'd ban all Muslims from entering the United States once he became president?

We've had at least one sitting state supreme court judge who has declared that religions that do not follow the Ten Commandments aren't genuine. And that, of course, is just one example. You can find many more examples of government officials and even judges who have been perfectly happy to discriminate against people who follow non-Christian faiths.

You want to go look for examples where people have been bullying Muslims for practicing their faith? You want to look for places that are fine with people building churches, but panic at the idea of someone erecting a mosque? Won't take you very long to find them.

You want more proof? Change your last name to something that sounds vaguely Arabic and then try to enter the United States. Even on a U.S. passport, you'll damn near be strip-searched by the CBP goons for no other reason than your religion.

How Soon Conservatives Forget

They've must have had their brains wiped with some really strong street meds, for they have completely forgotten their treatment of President Obama.

Which is why it's kind of amusing to read their umbrage over this:


Now that their guy is in the job, the Right demands that we respect the president and be loyal to him. But none of those itemst were not in stock on the Right when President Obama was in office. And you can bet your next paycheck that they would have been in extremely short supply in conservatives circles if Hillary had won. You'd not see a shred of what the conservatives are now demanding.

But hey, none of this is new stuff. Conservatives hated JFK to the point that their kids cheered when he was killed.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Gimme That Old Southern Hatred

So there was an old married gay couple in Mississippi. They'd been together for half-a-century and got married after the Supremes said it was legal for them to get married.

One of them got ill and died. A funeral home agreed to handle things. But then it got hateful:
The couple’s nephew, John Gaspari, made the arrangements ahead of time with Picayune Funeral Home, the only funeral home in the county with an on-site crematory, according to the complaint. Zawadski had hoped to hold the funeral there so the couple’s local friends could pay their respects. On May 11, 2016, Gaspari contacted the funeral home to let them know Huskey had died.

But after filing the paperwork, including a document naming Zawadski as next of kin, Gaspari got a call from the nursing home. “The Nursing Home relayed to John that once received the paperwork indicating that Bob’s spouse was male, PFH refused service because it did not ‘deal with their kind,’ ” the lawsuit stated.
I'll withhold comment as to the lack of humanity or basic dignity with regard to the staff and owners of the Picayune Funeral Home in Picayune, Mississippi. Because all of that is self-evident.

It is Illegal to Laugh at Jefferson Beauregard Sessions the Third When It is Claimed That He Has Been a Defender of Civil Rights

Katherine Coronado of the U.S. Capitol Police was in her second week on the job when she was assigned to keep watch over Sessions’ confirmation hearing on Jan. 10. Coronado was involved in the arrest of Desiree Fairooz, an activist affiliated with the group Code Pink, after Fairooz laughed when Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said that Sessions’ record of “treating all Americans equally under the law is clear and well-documented.” (Sessions had been rejected as a federal judge in the 1980s because of concerns about his views on race, and back when he was still a Democrat, Shelby himself actually ran an ad suggesting Sessions had called the Ku Klux Klan “good ole boys.”)

Fairooz was seated in the back of the room, and her laugh did not interrupt Shelby’s introductory speech. But, according to the government, the laugh amounted to willful “disorderly and disruptive conduct” intended to “impede, disrupt, and disturb the orderly conduct” of congressional proceedings. The government also charged her with a separate misdemeanor for allegedly parading, demonstrating or picketing within a Capitol, evidently for her actions after she was being escorted from the room.
This is a pretty good example of why I hold Congress, especially Congressional Republicans, to be among the lowest slime on the continent. Shelby uttered a bald-faced lie and got laughed at. I'm surprised that the entire room didn't break out in laughter.

More troubling, if it's OK to laugh when one of the hearing participants tells a joke, but it's not OK to laugh when they say something that is ludicrous, then we're getting into content-specific charges that relate to the freedom of speech, which is a pretty damn iffy area.

Monday, May 1, 2017

For the Love of G-d, Read a Book for Once in Your Life, Donnie!

"I mean, had Andrew Jackson been a little later, you wouldn't have had the Civil War. He was a very tough person, but he had a big heart. He was really angry that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War. He said, 'There's no reason for this.' People don't realize, you know, the Civil War, you think about it, why? People don't ask that question, but why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?"
Does Trump not know that Andrew Jackson was long dead before the fucking rebs opened fire at Ft. Sumpter?

Trump also does not seem to realize that the Civil War may well be the most written-about war in American history. You could blow out the springs in a large car if you loaded it with one copy of every book on the war. And there is no shortage of discussion in those books about the causes of the war and whether or not there was a hope in avoiding the outbreak of the war.

But Ol' Dumb and Delusional doesn't know a thing about that. Your average fifth grader would know more about the Civil War than Our Preznit.

He's earning the appellation of Dolt-45. He may very well be the dumbest motherfucker ever to hold down the job.

Update: This.

Freedom-Hating Snowflake Donnie Wants to Change the First Amendment


Let's be clear on this: Trump thinks that "being unfair to me" means "writing pieces that are not flattering me." So Donald the Special Snowflake wants to revise the Constitution because he can't handle people saying mean things about him.

My response:

Dear Mr. President:

Grow up and suck it up. Bad press is a fact of life for presidents. And, for the sake of argument, what would happen to your favorite news channel if you got your way? What would happen to Steve Bannon's baby, Breitbart? What would happen to your favorit eInternet broadcaster, Alex Jones, if they were not free to sling mud that had no foundation in fact?

Hell, what would have happened to you with the Birther Conspiracy? You would have been sued into bankruptcy, to the point that you would have been lucky if "The Trump Estate" was a rusting out mobile home in the northern tier of New York State. You are proviing to be the stereotypical asshole with a glass jaw..

If you can't stand the heat that comes with being a politician on the national stage, then follow the advice of Harry Truman and get the hell out of the kitchen.

Sincerely,
Me
Feel free to copy and/or plagiarize any and all parts of this post.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Traveling Whilst Muslim

As a musician, Mohammed Fairouz travels to other countries frequently.

Usually, there’s no problem.

But recently, after getting off an eight-hour flight from London, immigration officials at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York stopped him, Fairouz said. He was told to go into a room, where he stayed for several hours without knowing why he was there.

Fairouz, an American who was born in the United Arab Emirates, told The Washington Post that he was given no reason for his detention, other than his Muslim name.
Apparently, Mohammed Fairouz is a very common name. Which means jack point shit. I've not heard of Customs goons detaining men named John Smith or Robert Brown because their names are common.

Next Step: Trump Will Appoint David Duke to the EEOC

A former director of an anti-immigration group, Julie Kirchner, is expected to be named as ombudsman to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on Monday, according to a person with knowledge of the pending appointment.

Kirchner was from 2005 to 2015 director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a group that has advocated for extreme restrictions on immigration.

The ombudsman’s office at USCIS provides assistance to immigrants who run into trouble with the agency, such as immigration applications that take too long to process or applications that may have been improperly rejected.
I wish that this could provoke outrage on my part, but it doesn't. Not anymore. The Trump administration is ethically corrupt. They don't want government to function, they want to sabotage it at every turn. Anything that helps corporation, economic and environmental pirates is what they will do. Anything that helps people to make informed decisions is fought.

Trump Tears Up His Oath of Office

Remember when he swore to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States"?

Well, it seems like the last Republican to infest the White House, he has little regard for the Constitution.
In an interview with Fox News to mark the 100-day mark, he declared himself “disappointed” with congressional Republicans, despite his many “great relationships” with them.

He blamed the constitutional checks and balances built in to US governance. “It’s a very rough system,” he said. “It’s an archaic system … It’s really a bad thing for the country.”
The Constitution is fine. It's only a bad thing for wannabee dictators. Like Dolt-45.

Which is possibly why he's invited another Constitution-shredding president in for a visit.

Update: The Fox News transcript makes it pretty clear that Trump is enraged at the idea that he has to compromise on anything:
We don't have a lot of closers in politics and I understand why. It's a very rough system, it's an archaic system. You look at the rules of the Senate, even the rules of the House, bit the rule of the Senate and some of the things you have to go through, it's really a bad thing for the country in my opinion.

There are archaic rules and maybe at some point, we're going to have to take those rules on because for the good of the nation things are going to have to be different. You can't go through a process like this. It's not fair, it forces you to make bad decisions. I mean, if you're forced into doing things that you would normally not do except for these archaic rules, so -
Trump pretty much seems to think that the legislative process should be trimmed down to Congress passing what he wants, with zero debate or consideration. Which is all pretty funny, in a way, for the conservative ideal was a low-IQ president who would sign whatever Congress gave him.

It's clear, or should be, that to Trump, being fair to him is the same as sycophantic praise. He has the same concept of fairness as a child who thinks that the umpire was unfair for calling him out on strikes.

Our president is a 70-year old with the emotional development of a tweener boy, at best. He has that amount of ability to see his own screwups ("everyone else is so mean to me") and the same about of impulse control.
...

Your Sunday Morning Turboprop Noise

Airbus A400M:


Hard to tell, but I'm assuming that the A400M uses ailerons for roll control. Getting into high bank angles with spoilers for roll control is a bad thing, as the Air Force has found out.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Move Over, Doug Feith

He has arguably been displaced from his title of "The Dumbest Motherfucker on the Planet."

Meet the new title-holder, who said:
"I want to see peace with Israel and the Palestinians. There is no reason there's not peace between Israel and the Palestinians - none whatsoever."
Donald J. Trump.

I gather that the prospect of peace in the Middle East is one of those "hard things" that he hasn't had anybody tell him is going to be really difficult to do. Maybe he needs a ten-minute lecture from some foreign leader.

Some times, it seems as though Trump is like a baboon who has been given a set of wrenches and a tractor. Nobody should be surprised when he can't fix it. He doesn't even know what he's looking at or have any understanding of the scope of the problem. Or that there even is a problem.

We are so boned!

Caturday

Chip catches some Zzzzs:


It's a skill that a number of people I know would love to have.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Bayer Should Be Used to This

Bayer's chief executive acknowledged on Friday that he will face an uphill battle to improve Monsanto's reputation once Bayer completes the takeover of the U.S. seeds and agrochemicals company.

"Monsanto’s image does of course represent a major challenge for us, and it’s not an aspect I wish to play down," Werner Baumann told shareholders at Bayer's annual general meeting.
For a company that was once part of the IG Farben empire to show any signs of squeamishness about another company's reputation is almost funny. IG Farben produced Zykon B and developed Sarin.

Monsanto may be the largest producer of carcinogens in the U.S. You'd think it'd be a natural fit with a former Farben company.

What is Hopeful About Trump's Cluelessness

President Donald Trump on Thursday reflected on his first 100 days in office with a wistful look at his life before the White House.

"I loved my previous life. I had so many things going," Trump told Reuters in an interview. "This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier."
Maybe he's growing into the job, but I have my doubts. For one thing, this:
White House aides have figured out that it’s best not to present Trump with too many competing options when it comes to matters of policy or strategy. Instead, the way to win Trump over, they say, is to present him a single preferred course of action and then walk him through what the outcome could be – and especially how it will play in the press.

“You don’t walk in with a traditional presentation, like a binder or a PowerPoint. He doesn’t care. He doesn’t consume information that way,” said one senior administration official. “You go in and tell him the pros and cons, and what the media coverage is going to be like.”
Or, as was said in the 19th Century: "There go the people. I must follow them, for I am their leader." That isn't leadership, but craven political cowardice.

"How will it play in the press" is not the mark of any sort of leader. It is the mark, rather, of a narcissistic publicity whore. Trump would seem to prefer to be flattered and believe that the American people love him, rahter than provide any sort of leadership in perilous times.

This is also disturbing:
Midway through a discussion about Chinese President Xi Jinping, the president paused to hand out copies of what he said were the latest figures from the 2016 electoral map.

"Here, you can take that, that's the final map of the numbers," the Republican president said from his desk in the Oval Office, handing out maps of the United States with areas he won marked in red. "It’s pretty good, right? The red is obviously us." He had copies for each of the three Reuters reporters in the room.
Sore losers are pretty common, witness the South since 1866 (once the shock of losing wore off) and post-Great War Germany. Winners rarely feel a need to keep bragging about their victory (Patriots fans notwithstanding). People in the North rarely talk about their ancestors who marched off to crush those traitorous rebels 150 years ago.

But not Trump.