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

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.

Alex Jones News

After nine hours of deliberation in the child custody trial involving internet broadcaster Alex Jones, a Travis County jury gave his ex-wife, Kelly Jones, a victory, awarding her joint custody with the right to have their three children make their primary residence with her instead of her husband for the first time since their 2015 divorce.
Jones tried to make the case that who he played on the air wasn't who he was, but his chili defense might not have gone over very well.

Nor might have his lawyers insisting that Jones doesn't really believe what he spouts and then Jones denying that.

Because It's Friday

The Valley RR in Connecticut:

Thursday, April 27, 2017

"I Want This Fucking Case Out of the Papers. Make It Go Away."

That'd be my guess of the summation of a discussion between UAL's brass and their lawyers.
CHICAGO, April 27 (Reuters) - United Airlines and the passenger who was dragged from a Chicago flight earlier this month have reached a settlement for an undisclosed sum, they said on Thursday, in the carrier's latest step to contain damage from an incident which has sparked international outrage.
The real meat may be if the settlement doesn't include the Chicago Aviation Department.

In related news, Southwest Airlines has decided that whatever they can gain from overbooking isn't worth the potential hassle anymore.

A Collision at Sea Can Ruin Your Entire Day

Thucydides probably never wrote that line, but it is indeed true.
A Russian spy ship has sunk off the Turkish coast after being breached in a collision with a freighter, with all its crew rescued, the Turkish coastal authority says.

Umm, Okayyyyyyy


The Classic Political Career Path for Bigots In Alabama

Running for Senate:
Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore's entry into the U.S. Senate race adds another layer of drama to what's already expected to be a rollicking special election to fill the seat previously held by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The fiery Republican jurist's stands against gay marriage and for a courthouse display of the Ten Commandments have earned him the nickname the "Ayatollah of Alabama" from the Southern Poverty Law Center - and legions of loyal followers across the country. Moore announced his candidacy among the swelling GOP field Wednesday in what is expected to be a cutthroat primary.
Moore has taken the rather strange position that removing racist language for the Alabama Constitution is racist. Which was bullshit. The reason was more likely if the sheet-wearing crowd ever got Federal law changed somehow, than Alabama would be ready to go in reapplying Jim Crow. Which he likely would be all in favor of doing.

Moore's view also is that non-Abrahamic religions aren't "real religions", so they fall outside of the First Amendment.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Trumpist Brown Shirts

Kyle Chapman, a California activist arrested earlier this month in a clash in Berkeley between anti-fascist protesters and pro-Trump demonstrators, announced this week he is forming the Fraternal Order of Alt Knights (cleverly called “FOAK).
History may not repeat itself, but it seems to have a rhythm.

Now Watch the Conservatives Yawn

From Axios:
Ivanka Trump told me yesterday from Berlin that she has begun building a massive fund that will benefit female entrepreneurs around the globe. Both countries and companies will contribute to create a pool of capital to economically empower women.

"The statistics and results prove that when you invest in women and girls, it benefits both developed and developing economies," she said. "Women are an enormous untapped resource, critical to the growth of all countries."
  • Under the radar: Canadians, Germans and a few Middle Eastern countries have already made quiet commitments, as have several corporations, a source said.
  • How it'll work: The fund will provide working and growth capital to small- and medium-sized enterprises. 
  • Who's involved: President Trump is a huge supporter of his daughter's idea, and she has consulted with World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim about how to pull it off in a huge way.
So, to recap, Ivanka Trump's going to operate a private foundation out of the White House and she's accepting donations from foreign sources.

If Hillary Clinton had tried that when she was the First Lady, you guys on the Right would have lost your goddamned minds.

Replenishing the Ol' Coffers

Barack Obama is to be paid $400,000 (£312,000) to speak at a healthcare conference organised by the Wall Street firm Cantor Fitzgerald, despite his criticism of the finance sector when he was US president.
Giving speeches for a lot of money is what Dubya said he would do and he has done.

I guess it's just capitalism. And it's not corrupt, for other than persuasion, ex-presidents have no power or any real influence.

But it does have a bit of an odor to it. To some degree, cashing in on public service seems a bit unseemly. It has for a long time.

All this makes Harry Truman's brand of morality and ethics seem quaint.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Ewww

I use a stainless-steel triwall thermos to take coffee to work. It holds about 12oz.

I thought it was fairly clean. But following a tip that I saw elsewhere, I squirted in some dishwashing machine soap and then filled it up with boiling hot water. I let it sit for 30 minutes and then poured it out.

Sheets of brown gunk came out. The inside looked mostly sparkling clean. After a second try, it was.

(It'll also work with powder or a pod. Not sure if it'll work with handwashing soap. )

96% of Trump Voters

They'd vote for him again if the election were held again, today.

Well, no fucking shit. Why are people so amazed at that statistic? Have they forgotten what the choice was?

ANZAC Day

ANZAC Day today commemorates the 102nd Anniversary of the Battle of Gallipoli. Though, in truth, we probably should be calling ti the Battle of Çanakkale, because the Turks prevailed.

56,000 soldiers of the French and British Empires died, as well as a roughly equal number of soldiers from the Ottoman Empire.

In a more just world, a few general officers would have been shot afterwards.

Anyway, a past post, with links to others.

Monday, April 24, 2017

How Do You Say "Ivanka Trump" in Italian?

Adrienne Vittadini.
At American discount retailer Stein Mart, Ivanka Trump apparel is being sold under the guise of a different label. BoF has learned that the Jacksonville, Florida-based chain — which has 290 stores in 31 states, everywhere from Little Rock, Arkansas to Madison, Wisconsin — is selling Ivanka Trump garments relabeled as Adrienne Vittadini Studio.

Meanwhile, in Kansas:
Benedictine College Administration just announced that campus is no longer offering academic or recreational yoga classes after spring semester 2017.

The decision was made in response to a growing number of concerns from students, alumni and faculty and by the request of Archbishop Joseph Naumann and Abbot James Albers.

“Yoga as created has some potential for eastern mysticism which has caused concern among members of the Catholic Church,” said Stephen Minnis, president of the college. “[Archbishop Naumann] has expressed his concerns and the issues surrounding that. We asked ourselves if there was a way to bring those yoga benefits to our students and faculty without the possible effects of eastern mysticism and are currently investigating other alternatives.”

Starting in fall 2017, the college will be offering a “stretching and breathing” class called “Liftestyle Fitness” in replacement of what is traditionally called yoga. Minnis believes students are still hoping to reap the physical benefits of yoga and is currently searching for close alternatives.
Which sounds a lot like serving up the Eucharist, but calling it "crackers and wine", because the idea that one is symbolically chowing down on the Son of G-d is rather icky.

Self-Defense in the Show-Me State

ST. LOUIS • A woman who stepped out of the 7-Eleven where she worked for a smoke break found herself in a shootout early Monday when an armed man tried to rob her.

She pulled out a gun and exchanged fire with the would-be robber.

The 30-year-old robber was shot in the chest, arm and thigh, police said. He died from his injuries at St. Louis University Hospital.

The 35-year-old woman, whom police have not named, was shot twice in the leg. Police said the woman was conscious and breathing when she was taken to a hospital, where she was stable.
If that's what happened, then patch her up and give her a medal.

7-Eleven will probably fire her:

(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

So.she may be looking for work.

We Had It Rough In Our Day

Kids these days have it easy.

If we wanted to know about something, we had to go to the public library and look it up in books. Or magazines. Or back issues of the newspapers. And if we wanted to insult people, we had to do it face-to-face, by letter, or over the telephone.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Frigging Genius; Ski-Jumping Ed.

Rolling tires down a ski-jump.


Because science?

A Clear Sign That Somebody Knows What They Said Was Hateful and/or Racist

It's when they fall back on the line of: "Awww, can't you take a joke?"

Which is pretty much what Jeff Sessions did.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

Tu-160 "Blackjack":


While similar in form to the B-1, the Tu-160 has never had more aircraft in operation service than the B-2.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Caturday

Adopt meeeeee.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Ecch; Gunnery Ed.

I've been kind of busy as of late.

(Today, I've been babysitting my fax machine as some moron at a medical-type office tried to send me 400 pages of records.)

One of the things that have had to give way has been range time. So I went, as I have a Bullseye match in a little over a week.

Yeesh.

Normally, at 50', I can shoot slow-fire at least into the mid 70s with open sights, upper 80s if I'm really on.

This time around--- 47. One shot barely clipped the paper on the left, another on the right. All were on the paper, at least, and the remaining eight were inside the five ring, but it was pretty bad. I probably would have done worse with my eyes closed, but not by much.

Disconnect Your Smart TV From the Internet, Now, Now, Now!

Borepatch has the details.

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III's History Lesson:
"On December 7th, 1941, the Japs Bombed Some Damned Island in the Pacific."

Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke dismissively about the State of Hawaii while criticizing a Federal District Court ruling last month that blocked the Trump administration from carrying out its ban on travel from parts of the Muslim world.

“I really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the president of the United States from what appears to be clearly his statutory and constitutional power,” Mr. Sessions said this week in an interview on “The Mark Levin Show,” a conservative talk radio program.
I guess it escaped Sessions's notice that Hawaii is a state, just like Alabama is, except the weather's better than Alabama, the people are more educated in Hawaii (by a long shot), the poverty rate is much lower in Hawaii, the crime rate is higher in Alabama, and white folks in Hawaii are in the minority, unlike in Alabama. All of the foregoing are reasons why ol' Jeff isn't likely happy about Hawaii. And he probably can't get a decent mint julip there, bless his heart.

Oh, and Hawaii has this:


Most of the battlefield memorials in Alabama likely have something to do with their Failed War to Preserve Slavery.

Because It's Friday

Tornado broke the "century mark":


They're really serious about steam in the UK.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Another Cost of Brexit?

The Argies are licking their chops over the Falklands:
Argentina believes Brexit might cost Britain the support of European allies for its control of the Falkland Islands and is watching developments closely, the Argentinian foreign minister said in Brussels.
The Royal Navy is a shadow of what it was during the Falklands War. They have no aircraft carriers and no fixed-wing C/VTOL aircraft; their only land-attack capability is by Tomahawk cruise missiles. The RAF has no long-range striking power. If Argentina makes a try for the Falklands before the end of this decade, they may be able to make it stick.

After this decade, the Royal Navy may have a couple of carriers with F-35s, which could make things a little more interesting.

Meanwhile, the Euros are suggesting that since the divorce isn't final, the Brits can change their minds and all will be forgiven. Mostly.
The president of the European parliament has said Britain would be welcomed back with open arms if voters changed their minds about Brexit on 8 June, challenging Theresa May’s claim that “there is no turning back” after article 50.

Speaking after a meeting with the prime minister in Downing Street, Antonio Tajani insisted that her triggering of the departure process last month could be reversed easily by the remaining EU members if there was a change of UK government after the general election, and that it would not even require a court case.

Brexit: Toljaso

The European Commission wants Britain to pick up the tab for any costs related to its departure from the EU, such as the relocation of agencies now hosted by the U.K., and bear the currency risk by paying in euros, according to a draft of Brussels’ negotiating plan.

The hard line for the Brexit talks, laid out in a draft of the Commission’s detailed negotiating directives obtained by POLITICO, also includes tight protections for EU citizens and the EU budget, robust legal controls for any transitional phase for U.K. withdrawal, and clear guarantees for businesses whose goods go on the market before the “divorce” is finalized.

But it is the Commission’s approach to the U.K.’s ongoing financial obligations to the EU that stands out in the document, suggesting that Brussels wants to make it very clear that leaving the bloc doesn’t come cheap.

“The United Kingdom should fully cover the specific costs related to the withdrawal process such as the relocation of the agencies or other Union bodies,” the Commission wrote, adding that the U.K.’s financial obligations to the EU “should be defined in euro” rather than sterling.
I thought that once the Euros dug into this, that they would not be inclined to go easy on the UK. As they get deeper into the weeds of the negotiations, I would look for the EU to take a hard line at every point. It is not in their interest to make it easy for member states to bug out and it is very much in their interest to make an example out of the Brits.

UK Cops Have the Same Problem as Ours Do

Police cannot continue to pick up the slack for cuts in other public services, especially the shortage in mental health provision, Her Majesty’s chief inspector of constabulary has warned.

In an annual state of policing report, Sir Tom Winsor highlights a “modern tsunami of online fraud” and increased police awareness of crimes against the elderly and child sexual exploitation as among the increasing daily pressures facing officers.

“The police are considered to be the service of last resort. In some areas, particularly where people with mental health problems need urgent help, the police are increasingly being used as the service of first resort. This is wrong,” says the chief inspector.

The Post Office is Missing a Yuge Opportunity

They ought to sell stamps such at this:


Think of the uses! Paying bills. Mailing off alimony checks. And think of how many people would send off letters to politicians if there were suitable stamps for expressing one's opinion of them! Why, a stamp such as this one could double or triple the mail to Congress, not to mention state legislatures!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Teleslime Should Not Piss Off Their IT Folks

Or this can happen:


You can't say that fair warning wasn't given.

(I've covered the number in case whomsoever did that is still on the job.)

Spicer's Crib Notes

What Was That Whore's Price? (Senatorial Ed.)

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham enthusiastically praised President* Donald Trump on Wednesday for his foreign policy, a continued departure from his sharp criticism of Trump during the 2016 race and even after the election. ... “I am all in. Keep it up, Donald,” Graham added. “I'm sure you're watching."
If I know anything about Trump, this will fall into "too little, too late" as far as he's concerned. He values friends and loyalty and has less regard for those who have been conquered.


I don't know what to make of this, other than to wonder if the payoff was in the seven or eight figure range:
Bill O’Reilly, the star of Fox News’ primetime line up, is leaving the network after more than two decades.

“After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the Company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel,” 21st Century Fox said in a statement.
I doubt if his core audience gave a fuck. But advertisers don't like their products being linked to sexual abusers, especially considering who has the purchasing power.

Fox News is clearly trying to shed its reputation of being friendly to sexual harassment. Good luck with that.

Meanwhile, in Massachusetts:
Embattled former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez was found dead in his prison cell early Wednesday, authorities confirm.

According to a spokesperson with the Massachusetts Department of Correction, Hernandez hanged himself with a bed sheet attached to a window at the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts.
Because he had an unadjudicated appeal from his first conviction, that conviction will probably be vacated and he will officially be a non-convicted murderer.

The same thing happened, you may recall, when one of the Enron crooks croaked while his appeal was in progress.

Patriots' Day

For reasons that, to be blunt, are none of yer frelling business, I've not been able to pay much attention to either this blog or the news for the last few days.1

Today is Patriots' Day, the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, where the Colony of Massachusetts kicked off the Revolutionary War. I've written about it a few times in the past.

Also, for your reading pleasure, a past essay on patriotism.
__________________________________________
1 Which is why you've been seeing mostly photos, links and short snark.

Words Are Failing Me; Trump & the Republicans

The president of the United States has requested to ride in Queen Elizabeth II’s golden state carriage during his upcoming visit to Buckingham Palace — a choice that will require a “monster” security operation. Officials told the Times of London that, “The White House has made clear it regards the carriage procession down the Mall as an essential element of the itinerary for the visit currently planned for the second week of October.”
Trump's people are denying it, of course.

Meanwhile, Republicans are trying to sneak a revised GI Bill under the radar. Hearings with only laudatory witnesses will be held next week.

I don't know if this new GI Bill is any good or not. But I assume that, whenever the Congress (or any other political body) tries to sneak legislation through without people noticing, that there is some serious fuckery going on.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

It's Difficult to Hate a Sad Story With a Happy Ending

The man who randomly killed a Cleveland retiree and posted video of the crime on Facebook shot himself to death in his car Tuesday during a police chase in Pennsylvania, ending a multistate manhunt less than 48 hours after it began.
The "why" question won't likely ever be answered, so the family of the victim, Mr. Robert Godwin Sr., won't have that questioned answered. They won't have the satisfaction of watching the trial of Asswipe of Cleveland and see him sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison (whether he ultimately died by lethal injection, of a shanking, or of old age).

On the other hand, Asswipe's self-capping did save the taxpayers of Cuyahoga County a few hundred thousand dollars, at a minimum. So there is that.

Elsewhere....
DNA evidence and an attentive state trooper helped find the man authorities believe killed a New York City woman last summer who was out jogging near her mother's Massachusetts home, authorities said Saturday.
His attorney says:
Speaking before the hearing, the suspect’s lawyer said his client has no criminal record and the case is no slam dunk.
I don't do criminal law, but I don't see the relevance of the Asswipe of Princeton not having a criminal record before he allegedly tried to rape and ultimately murdered the victim, Ms. Vanessa Marcotte. As long as the judge doesn't toss out the DNA evidence, Asswipe's lawyer is going to have to come up with some believable explanation as to how Asswipe's DNA was found under Ms. Marcotte's fingernails. So it would seem that Asswipe is going to be residing at MCI Walpole for the next several decades.

Today's One-Day Tax Extension Is Brought to You by D.C.

Tax Day falls on April 18, 2017. That's the deadline for filing taxes on income earned in 2016. Usually, April 15 is the day taxes are due, but in 2017, that falls on a Saturday. And on Monday, the District of Columbia celebrates Emancipation Day, which is normally April 16, but that's a Sunday. Emancipation Day affects taxes the same way federal holidays do. Therefore, the tax deadline is pushed out to the following Tuesday, April 18, giving taxpayers three extra days to file their returns.
Silly me, I thought it was because of Patriots' Day. It used to be that Patriots' Day sometimes gave a one-day extension to those who lived in Massachusetts or Maine, or those who sent their returns to IRS offices there, but I gather that no longer is true.

Monday, April 17, 2017

One Person, One Vote, One Last Time; Turkish Ed.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has claimed victory in the referendum on granting him sweeping new powers, saying it was won by a clear majority.

He was speaking in Istanbul as the count neared completion. With more than 99% of ballots counted, "Yes" was on 51.36% and "No" on 48.64%.

Erdogan supporters say replacing the parliamentary system with an executive presidency will modernise the country.
I think it's fairly likely that Turkey is about to become a "democracy in name only" nation, like Russia. Erdogan says that his new system will be like the American one, except that in the United States, the president has no power over the judiciary, other than the power to nominate appointments to the Senate.

Well, other than the odd military coup, Turkey had a pretty good run, of almost a hundred years.

Trump Tax Protest Sign


On a side note, if you're on FB, you might have noticed that if you mouse-over a face, it asks you for the name of the person to tag it.

I'm telling it that the person was Igor Stravinsky.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

SNL & Trump

Last night's cold open was pretty funny. (Compared to last week's, which was condescending and unfunny.)

Here we have Trump and his team:


Note the photo on the credenza:


After consigning Bannon to the basement, Trump and Kush-ball take their desks to get to work:


No doubt that this will further enrage Trump. The thing is, he can't not watch. It's not in his DNA to ignore people who make fun of him, especially if they have an audience in the millions.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

Papal flights:




Flying aboard "Shepard One". They are all chartered flights.

There seems to be a tradition of the Pope flying Alitalia out and an airline of the visited country back, or using a local airline for in-country trips. Popes had used TWA, before it was absorbed by American. (The jokes write themselves.)

Saturday, April 15, 2017

April the Giraffe Update

It's a breech-birth. The babies are supposed to come out head-first.

This may not end well.


I was wrong. Those were the front legs. The baby came out head first and when it was time, just slid right out. It's moving its head.

Damn giraffes have broken the Internet, too.

Finally, Here Comes the Damn Giraffelet!

Caturday

Chip, on one of his favorite places to lie:


He thumps his tail on the couch when he feels ignored.

Friday, April 14, 2017

The Latest Internal Trump War

Trump's national security adviser, General H.R. McMaster, has been quietly pressing his colleagues to question the underlying assumptions of a draft war plan against the Islamic State that would maintain only a light U.S. ground troop presence in Syria. McMaster's critics inside the administration say he wants to send tens of thousands of ground troops to the Euphrates River Valley. His supporters insist he is only trying to facilitate a better interagency process to develop Trump's new strategy to defeat the self-described caliphate that controls territory in Iraq and Syria.
Depending on which source you listen to, the Trump plan would be to beef up specops forces, send in 10,000 ground troops, or maybe 50,000.

Sending ground troops into an ongoing war in the Middle East. What a terrific idea!


We need to get some of those deep thinkers on IEPs, for they seem to be kind of stuck on stupid. The Trump Administration is shaping up to be as inept as the Bush Administration, only with an added dash of racism.


When our president has to receive a ten minute history lecture on North Korea from the premier of China before he can comprehend that things aren't so simple, well, we know who is simple, all right: President* Trump.

Super Decathalon AD Alert

There is an urgent AD out on Super Decathalons (8KCAB) following the issuance of a service letter.

Basically, the ailerons can bind up in flight. Owners have ten flight hours in which to get it fixed. Aerobatic flight is prohibited until the AD is complied with and that has to be placarded.

(H/T)

Because It's Friday

The locomotive in the first sequence is a three-cylinder, which is why it's chuffing so much for its speed.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Come Visit Mar-a-Lago, Have a Nice Meal, Go Home with Food Poisoning

Just days before the state visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Mar-a-Lago, President* Donald Trump’s Palm Beach private club, Florida restaurant inspectors found potentially dangerous raw fish and cited the club for storing food in two broken down coolers.
...
In two of the club’s coolers, inspectors found that raw meats that should be stored at 41 degrees were much too warm and potentially dangerous: chicken was 49 degrees, duck clocked in a 50 degrees and raw beef was 50 degrees. The winner? Ham at 57 degrees.
That explains why The Donald has his steak cooked well-done-- he knows that his own kitchen is a hotbed of disease, filth and villany.

Jobs the World Doesn't Need

"Cicerone". That is a "beer professional". Yes, there is such a thing, and you can be certified as one. You can become a "certified beer server"!

In my day, the "beer professional" was called a "bartender" or, if he owned the joint, a "saloon-keeper".

But no, now we have hoity-toity beers and professionals to tell you the merits of each beer.

My one tip about drinking beer: Make sure that the first two or three are good beers. After that, you can switch to Naragansett, or whatever the locally-produced industrial slop happens to be, because you won't care.

("Cicerone"... sounds like somebody from Cicero. Which was were a lot of the high-class mobsters used to live, back in the day.)

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Trump's Flip-Flop du Jour

Donald Trump is set to closely hug the Nato alliance he has previously derided as tensions with Russia escalate following last week’s missile attack on Syria.

Trump will host Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg at the White House on Wednesday and express what a White House official called an “ironclad” commitment to the transatlantic military alliance.

Capped by a joint press conference, the White House hopes Stoltenberg’s visit will turn a page after Trump’s erratic dismissals of Nato as “obsolete”, a theme he developed first as a Republican candidate.
Kind of foreseeable, really. Trump's been beefing with Russia, in no small part to try and show that he's not Putin's Poodle. But since he's now switched from wanting closer ties with Russia to being adversarial, he needs NATO.

(Bet your ass that conservatives are now going to rapidly forget their disdain for how the "Clinton/Obama Russian Reset" worked out, given that Trump has covered the same ground in less than three months.)

And this.

On another note, Trump is now denying that he's known Steve Bannon for more than a few months. If Bannon hasn't come to realize that he's standing on the curb and that roar in the distance is an approaching bus, he's dumber than he looks.

Armed Robbers

That is pretty much what the DEA is: A pack of armed robbers.

And yes, that goes for local cops, as well.

Whupita-Whupita

The Myrtle Beach police are about to add another weapon to their arsenal in the department’s war on drugs.

The department received approval Tuesday from the Myrtle Beach City Council to purchase a gyrocopter—essentially a two-man aircraft that’s a cross between a helicopter and an airplane.
...
The cost of the gyrocopter will be roughly $207,000. This includes the purchase of the aircraft and installing the latest in technology, which Gall said is the most valuable part of the acquisition.

The aircraft will be equipped with the latest in camera and video equipment including thermal imaging and also with spotlights and flares to help the officers on the ground locate the bad guys.
Color me skeptical. The one in the photo (probably this model) doesn't seem to be overloaded with extra cop gear.

Max gross is 1,234lbs. Empty weight is 595lbs. It holds 19.8 gallons of gas (119 lbs), so there is 390 lbs of useful load left over for the pilot and observer (only an idiot would do low-level spotting solo) and the extra gear they'd like to slap on. And you can pretty much bet that, because the crew will be cops, that they'll have to carry all of their personal duty crap with them.

And if they add a bunch more gear, they'll need the power to run it all, which may mean either swapping in a larger alternator or adding a second one. Homebuilders do that all of the time, but this thing's a certificated aircraft.

This thing doesn't require two pilots, so anyone in the second seat may be "non-required crew", per the FAA, which (as I understand the rules for operating public aircraft), means that they'll have to do 100-hour inspections.

Rotorcraft are not cheap to operate. And because this one will be able to carry no additional people or cargo, the utility of having a rotor seems kind of, well, useless. Gyrocopters can't hover, at least, not for very long. They are basically an autorotating helicopter that is being pushed along by a prop.

Not my call, but they might have saved a bunch of money in both acquisition cost and operating costs by finding a decent used Cub Crafters Cub or Aviat Husky and installing a STOL kit. (Or a Maule or even a 172.)

Trump: Of the Grifters, By the Grifters, For the Grifters

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Tuesday rolled back an Obama administration attempt to reform how student loan servicers collect debt.
...
A recent epidemic of student loan defaults and what authorities describe as systematic mistreatment of borrowers prompted the Obama administration, in its waning days, to force the FSA office to emphasize how debtors are treated, rather than maximize the amount of cash they can stump up to meet their obligations.

Obama’s team also sought to reduce the possibility that new contracts would be given to companies that mislead or otherwise harm debtors. The current round of contracts will terminate in 2019, and among three finalists for a new contract is Navient Corp. In January, state attorneys general in Illinois and Washington, along with the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB, sued Navient over allegations the company abused borrowers by taking shortcuts to boost its own bottom line. Navient has denied the allegations.

The withdrawal of the Obama administration guidelines could make Navient a more likely contender for that contract, government officials said. Navient shares moved higher after the government released DeVos’s decision around 11:30 a.m. New York time. Navient stock ended up almost 2 percent.
It's pretty clear that when it comes to looking out for the interests of the sharks and financial predators, the Trump Administration is all-in.

"Drain the swamp"... hardly. Trump is energetically restocking it.

Let's be clear about this: DeVos's decision-making powers as Secretary of Education are likely limited to deciding how she likes her coffee. This sort of fuckery is all Trump's doing.

Trump, the Russians and the Neonazis

The hits keep coming for The Hair Furor.

First off, the payments that his former manager denied receiving from a Ukrainian political party that was a Russian puppet were, in fact, received by his lobbying firm. Now that he has effectively been caught red-handed, his denial is, in an older parlance, no longer operative.

Second, Trump's appointed people to high-level jobs in DHS, people who have links to hate groups. The groups were founded by some clown who believes in eugenics and forced sterilization of "undesireables".

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

And Now, Back to Trump and Russia

The FBI obtained a secret court order last summer to monitor the communications of an adviser to presidential candidate Donald Trump, part of an investigation into possible links between Russia and the campaign, law enforcement and other U.S. officials said.

The FBI and the Justice Department obtained the warrant targeting Carter Page’s communications after convincing a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge that there was probable cause to believe Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, in this case Russia, according to the officials.
Page, about as tone-deaf a white guy as they come, thinks that the FBI getting a warrant on him is the same as when the FBI was wiretapping Dr, Martin Luther King, Jr.

Page wasn't exactly some innocent dweeb vacuumed up by the FBI. He had repeated contacts with Russian spooks in circumstances that apparently ld the FBI to believe that Page knew exactly what he was doing.

(And so, maybe, we see a reason why Spicer stepped all over his dick today.)

The Hits Keep Coming for United

Guy buys a full-fare, first-class ticked on United from Honolulu to LAX. He's on board the airplane, in his seat, when they tried to kick him off because "somebody more important" needed the seat. They threatened to drag him off the airplane in handcuffs, but ended putting him in a middle seat between a married couple that fought the entire flight.

A week later, after he complained, UAL offered to refund the difference in fares between first-class and steerage and to give him a $500 voucher.


United is apparently willing to fuck over rich white guys, as well.

United doesn't seem to think that it carries customers. No, they have the attitude that they carry either livestock or criminals.

I know that there are a lot of pundits who think that this stuff won't matter much. But I disagree. When people start to believe, in numbers, that flying United will be akin to flying Spirit or Frontier, then they will have to cut their fares accordingly in order to stay afloat.

For you know that rich white dudes who can afford a kilobuck or better for a six-hour flight will find other choices.

Spicer Uncorks a Whopper

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer came under fire Tuesday after saying that Adolf Hitler "didn't even sink to using chemical weapons" against his own people like Syrian strong man Bashar Al-Assad.

He later sought to clarify his remarks in three separate statements.

Spicer, speaking from the White House podium at the daily press briefing, said that Hitler, whom he called "despicable," did not use "the gas on his own people the same way Assad used them."
Right. German Jews were among the first to be marched into the gas chambers (though to the Nazis, those Jews weren't Germans because the German government had stripped them of their citizenship). So I guess that putting people into enclosed rooms before gassing them to death, as opposed to dropping gas bombs from aircraft, is a distinction in Spicer's fetid mind.

There also seems to be a distinction, in his pathetic cluster of crainial neurons, between Zyklon B and Sarin gases.

"The Holocaust Center" is Spicer's euphemism for extermination camps.

Saying that what Assad had done was worse then the Holocaust, which is apparently what Spicer was ineptly trying to say, is tantamount to denial of the Holocaust.

And all of this during Passover?

United Airlines Snark






Fake Stock News Isn't Just Wrong, It's Illegal

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced enforcement actions against 27 individuals and entities behind various alleged stock promotion schemes that left investors with the impression they were reading independent, unbiased analyses on investing websites while writers were being secretly compensated for touting company stocks.
...
The SEC filed fraud charges against three public companies and seven stock promotion or communications firms as well as two company CEOs, six individuals at the firms, and nine writers. Of those charged, 17 have agreed to settlements that include disgorgement or penalties ranging from approximately $2,200 to nearly $3 million based on frequency and severity of their actions. The SEC’s litigation continues against 10 others.
No doubt in my mind that Trump will soon gut the SEC to prevent any future such enforcement actions.

"Reaccomodate"

That would seem to be the preferred United Airlines euphemism for "beating the shit out of our customers".

Meanwhile, Trump Models is shutting down. You might recall that it came to light last year that Trump's modeling agency wasn't exactly picky when it came to whether or not their models had the legal right to work in the U.S.

This is Going to Get Good; The Factor Ed.

For help [in finding charges of sexual harassment and keeping his job], Mr. O’Reilly has turned to none other than a man who took a leading role in defending Mr. Clinton from the likes of Mr. O’Reilly in the 1990s, the former White House aide and Democratic strategist Mark Fabiani.
Oh, yeah, this is going to be good.


The ratings for his show are up, he pulls in over $200 million a year in ad revenue and Fox News is a vital profit engine for the Murdoch Empire. As long as O'Reilly can keep himself under some semblance of control, he's not going anywhere.

But, as soon as he costs Fox New more than he's worth, he'll be given a hefty payout and he'll be gone.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Trump's Staff: Aggressively Ignorant About History

Trump's duty neo-nazi (allegedly) has come up with a plan that is so hare-brained that one might have supposed that it occurred to Cheetolini in the midst of a late-night snacking binge:
A senior White House foreign policy official has pushed a plan to partition Libya, and once drew a picture of how the country could be divided into three areas on a napkin in a meeting with a senior European diplomat, the Guardian has learned.
...
Gorka is vying for the job of presidential special envoy to Libya in a White House that has so far spent little time thinking about the country and has yet to decide whether to create such a post.
Right. Some fat-assed clueless dude in a First-Word country is doodling up a map to decide how a part of another region should be divvied up.

That was done by the British and the French a hundred years ago and it hasn't worked out very well.

Baghdad Bob Spicer is at It Again


Maybe somebody can explain how firing about five dozen Tomahawk missiles at somebody works to "de-escalate" an ongoing civil war. Because it sure isn't making sense to me.

Untidy Airlines' New Seating Chart

A followup to this post:

Satire is Dead in the Age of Trump

WASHINGTON—After ordering the first U.S. military attack against the regime of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, President Donald Trump held a press conference Friday to express his full confidence that the airstrike had completely wiped out the lingering Russian scandal.

Trump's On-Staff Alleged Neo-Nazi; and
Fly the Fiendish Skies of United

First off, one of Trump's staff pukes seems to be very proud of his ties to a Hungarian neo-nazi group. Oh, they say they're not really a bunch of neo-nazis and they deny being a pack of collaborators during the war, but they were listed as being Nazi tools by our government.

Elsewhere, United Airlines wanted four people to get off a flight because reasons. One refused, so they dragged him bodily off the airplane and may have used a stun gun on him, as well.

I'm kind of guessing that United's terms for selling a ticket doesn't include consenting to being violently assaulted by the airline's employees for not giving up a seat.

Bravo to New Mexico

What is “lunch shaming?” It happens when a child can’t pay a school lunch bill.

In Alabama, a child short on funds was stamped on the arm with “I Need Lunch Money.” In some schools, children are forced to clean cafeteria tables in front of their peers to pay the debt. Other schools require cafeteria workers to take a child’s hot food and throw it in the trash if he doesn’t have the money to pay for it.

In what its supporters say is the first such legislation in the country, New Mexico has outlawed shaming children whose parents are behind on school lunch payments.

On Thursday, Gov. Susana Martinez signed the Hunger-Free Students’ Bill of Rights, which directs schools to work with parents to pay their debts or sign up for federal meal assistance and puts an end to practices meant to embarrass children. It applies to public, private and religious schools that receive federal subsidies for students’ breakfasts and lunches.
Every school administrator who did (or does) this should have been locked into a set of stocks and then pelted with rotten fruit from the school cafeteria. It's not the kids' fault that they are poor or that their parents are deadbeats. But they are the ones that the school administrators chose to bear the brunt of their parents' inability or unwillingness to pay for their lunches.

Gov. Martinez, by the way, is a Republican. No doubt that she'll be drummed out of her party for an act of compassion.

Dear CBS: Fuck You





Just so I'm clear on this: CBS wants me to pay them directly to watch a show that should have been on my local channel last night, if they had done the usual sports shits and just bumped the entire lineup back an hour.

And for what? Golf? A sport that makes soccer look exciting?

Fuck you, CBS.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

UK Legal Advice: "Stay the Hell Out of the United States."

If you work in a tourism-related business that derives at least a portion of its revenue from foreign tourists, the Trump Administration has a message for you:

You are so screwed!
Tourists from the UK and other US allies including Germany and France, could be forced to reveal personal data, as well as disclose financial information and face detailed ideological questioning, according to Trump administration officials quoted by the Wall Street Journal. While US citizens have established rights against unlawful searches at the border, the extent to which foreign travellers can resist requests to hand over personal information is unclear.
...
In January, Susan Hall, head of technology and intellectual property team partner at law firm Clarke Willmott, advised the firm’s lawyers not to comply with requests for social media information. Hall told the Guardian: “Given the degree of discretion given to US Border forces by relevant legislation, it appears to me quite clear that all options – choosing a burner phone, using heavy encryption with the password only being supplied after the traveller has entered the US, and changed prior to leaving and so forth – risk creating a catch-22 situation in which any attempt to mitigate the effects of the procedures are likely to be interpreted as ‘probable cause’ for searching.

“In the short to medium term, I think the answer is going to be avoiding all but absolutely essential travel to the United States,” Hall added.
When I was younger, such border security would have been the province of the East Germans and the USSR, not the USA. We're going to have to rewrite our national anthem to change the last words to "the home of the pants-shitting cowards." We face far more risk from our on home-grown neonazis than we do from tourists. What is the risk here, intoxicated Eurotrash hitting on girls in nightclubs?

Changing our border policy from "come visit (and spend money)" to "what the fuck do you want" is going to do a fuckload of damage to our standing and image in the world. Not that Donald the Fearful cares.

The Izod Warriors

Jared Kushner and lackey in Iraq:


I don't quite understand how he is going to be able to do anything productive in the Middle East, given the facts that Kushner knows little, if anything about the region and that his sole qualification for his job was marrying the boss's daughter.

It's kind of interesting to see all of the conservatives who previously declared that we should stay the hell out of Syria now falling into line behind Missile Man Donald.

Apparently, the airbase that the Navy fired $100 million in missiles at was back in operation in less than 24 hours. If the goal was to render the base inoperable, as proclaimed by Secretary of Being Out of the Loop Rex Tillerson, then it it was a failure.

President* Trump said that he didn't have the runways hit, because they're too easy to repair. Seems that turned out to be true for the rest of the base.

The thing that bothers me is that Trump apparently has no plan, no strategy for the Syrian mess (or any other). He's operating on gut instinct. He ordered the strike because he say disturbing images on television. So that's what it takes to get Trump to do something; put a viscera-grabbing story on Fox News?

That begs the question: Why hasn't Trump given all of his money away to Save the Children or the Humane Society? They both run ads like that.

We're going to get into conflicts because our Commander*-in-Chief sees things that outrage him on television? No policy, no plan, no strategy, just "zOMG, open fire"?

And, from the Right, which would have been in F5-level outrage if President Obama had done the exact same thing, all you hear is the Chorus of Crickets, interspersed with the usual plaudits because "Trump looked strong".

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Asian continent:
The US military has ordered a navy strike group to move towards the Korean peninsula, amid growing concerns about North Korea's missile programme.

The Carl Vinson Strike Group comprises an aircraft carrier and other warships.

US Pacific Command described the deployment - now heading towards the western Pacific - as a prudent measure to maintain readiness in the region.

President Trump has said the US is prepared to act alone to deal with the nuclear threat from North Korea.

Your Sunday Morning Rocket Noise

Tomahawk launches:


There were a number of reasons why I opted to pull the pin and get out well short of retirement. Tomahawk, especially the TLAM-N/A version, was among them.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Putin is a Gay Clown?

Heh.

Caturday

Two shelter cats, in Chip's old quarters, await their forever home.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Putin Might Now Have Buyer's Remorse

The C.I.A. told senior lawmakers in classified briefings last summer that it had information indicating that Russia was working to help elect Donald J. Trump president, a finding that did not emerge publicly until after Mr. Trump’s victory months later, former government officials say.

The briefings indicate that intelligence officials had evidence of Russia’s intentions to help Mr. Trump much earlier in the presidential campaign than previously thought.
The FBI knew of this, as well. Why Director Comey thought it best to go public in October with some bullshit about Hillary Clinton's emails while staying silent about the Russians trying to elect Trump is a damned good question.

So was Trump's Syria strike a move to bury this latest story about Russian involvement in his election? Was Trump hoping that a few dead Russian soldiers might bolster his claim that he is independent of Putin?

Or was it this:

Mapping Apps

I had to travel for a continuing edumacation class yesterday. On an elderly iPhone, I used Apple maps going up and Google maps coming back.

Both seemed to do the job, but my phone used a hell of lot more power for Google maps. The phone case got rather warm to the touch.

I had to go off route in the morning because of traffic that was so bad, the off-ramp was jammed from one highway. Apple maps didn't send me the wrong way down one-way streets, which is always a plus.

Anyone have an idea why the difference in power usage for the two apps?

UPDATED to add: Both times, the phone was plugged into the car's electrical system.

Because It's Friday

Tornado in revenue service in February:

Trump and Syria

Four years ago, well after the Syrian government used chemical weapons against civilians, Trump was against any military response.


This time around, well, I guess things look different when one is sitting the Big Chair.
President* Trump said Thursday night that the United States had carried out a missile strike in Syria in response to the Syrian government’s chemical weapons attack this week, which killed more than 80 civilians.
Was this the right thing to do? Possibly, yes.

But there is one thing that I know about Donald Trump from his track record of forty years: Trump never does anything because it's the right thing to do. I doubt if that consideration has ever entered his mind. Trump's M.O. is always ubi est mea ("where's mine" or "what's in it for me") and never pro bono.

I have things to do, so I'll leave the question "what was in this for Trump" hanging.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Rahm Emanuel Needs to be Flogged With a Rusty Logging Chain, Thrice Daily

Chicago high school students may soon need to create a plan for their future in order to graduate.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel appeared on “CBS This Morning” on Wednesday to discuss his new proposal, which would require students to develop a post-high school plan before receiving a diploma.

Chicago would be the first city to adopt such a requirement if the measure is approved by the city’s board of education.
That is pure bullshit. A high school disploma is a certificate of completing a set of requirements. Supposedly the recipients can read, do their numbers and they know some other stuff, as well. If some kids want to go to work somewhere, armed only with their high-school diploma, that should be up to them.

This could be a page out of the Trumpist playbook, Distraction 101, to get people to talk about Chicago in reference to something other than their homicide rate and corrupt police force (hell, the whole city). Emanuel is just the sort of political lowlife who would use kids as political propaganda tools.

I predict that this proposal will soon sink out of sight. And hopefully, it'll take that corrupt fuck with it.

Nunes is Out

I'm in class, so no links. 

House intel chair Devin Nunes stepped aside because, as he put it, he did nothing wrong. 

Bangity Tests

Lucky Gunner has put up a series of gel tests for .38 and .357 loads.

A fairly obvious point: 12-18" of ballistic gel is a testing analogue. It is not a 1 to 1 comparison with human flesh.

There are some interesting results, but you can go peruse them for yourself.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Get Your Panera Fix While You Can

JAB Holding Co., the owner of Caribou Coffee and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, said on Wednesday it would buy Sunset Hills [MO}-based Panera Bread Co. in a deal valued at about $7.5 billion, including debt, as it expands its coffee and breakfast empire.
I give them five years before those vulture capitalists do what they do: Layer on a lot of debt to draw money out of the company, then run it into the ground and go into Chapter 11 --> 7 bankruptcy.

It's what they do. The only people to get hurt will be fifty thousand or so employees. Whom none of the vultures will care about.

Looks as Though Gen. McMaster Won That Fight (and a Few Other Things)

President Donald Trump has removed chief strategist Steve Bannon from the National Security Council, reversing an earlier, controversial decision to give Bannon access to the high-level meetings. ... The new memo also restores the director of national intelligence and the Joint Chiefs chairman to the principals committee.
Now for the "something else":
JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon has two big pronouncements as the Trump administration starts reshaping the government: “The United States of America is truly an exceptional country,” and “it is clear that something is wrong.”
Something's wrong, all right. What's wrong is that we didn't set up a scaffold in Battery Park to hang the financial plunderers of this nation, beginning with, of course, Jamie Dimon.

Also, "the tent city jail" is closing down. It seemed that the only ones who liked it were the inmates. The guards hated it, for reasons that make sense. (Read the story.)

And some student journalists in Kansas looked into the credentials of their new high school principal. What they found led to the principal's resignation.

Send a Dictionary to Poor Ivanka!

If Ivanka Trump is "complicit," as critics and even a "Saturday Night Live" perfume sketch allege, she's not concerned.

"I don't know what it means to be complicit, but I hope time will prove that I have done a good job and much more importantly, that my father's administration is the success that I know it will be," Trump told CBS News' Gayle King in an interview taped Tuesday.
I'm betting that she also doesn't know the meanings of other words and phrases, such as "nepotism" or "conflict of interest".

As a public service to Ivanka:
Complicit (ˌkɒmˈplɪsɪt )
adjective
involved with others in reprehensible or illegal activity

Anyway, in case you missed the SNL sketch that she was asked about, here it is:



I'm betting that the Internet is now blowing up over this, but I don't have the time to go enjoy the outpouring of snark.

In case you have a beat-up dictionary lying around, you might want to mail it to:

Ms. Ivanka Trump
Assistant to the President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

(And if you find a Russian-English one at the thrift sore, mail it to her daddy. Or you can send him one of these books.)


Vulture Capitalists are Strangling Retail

It's not just online shopping that's closing retail chains at a rate four times the closure rate last year. It's also vulture capitalists (Mitt Romney's peeps) who are responsible.
More than half the [bankruptcy] filings year to date have come from retailers that were previously purchased by private equity firms, according to AlixPartners. That's up from an average 31 percent over the prior five years.

These transactions, known as leveraged buyouts, occur when a private equity firm uses a combination of equity and debt to purchase a firm — saddling the company with debt in the process.
President Asterisk has been taking credit for every uptick in the stock market since the day of the election. But no doubt that he'd blame this on someone else.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Spam Filter

The spam filter hasn't been doing a good job as of late. I just flagged a few comments as spam and had to release more non-spam comments from Filter Purgatory.

If this is a trend, expect to see full moderation.

Nothing Like Demoing an Airplane Right Into a Crash

An Icon A5 light sport aircraft partially sank into the ocean off Biscayne National Park in Miami on Saturday afternoon after a landing mishap, according to the Flight Safety Foundation's Aviation Safety Network. Both the pilot and passenger escaped unhurt and did not require medical attention, fire officials told the local ABC-10 News. The aircraft sustained substantial damage, according to ASN. An Icon pilot was flying the airplane, with a customer on board for a demo ride, CEO Kirk Hawkins told AVweb on Monday morning.
I'm skeptical of Icon. First there was their infamous "you can't never sue us" sales agreement. They then laid off a significant fraction of their production staff amid left-handed admissions of quality problems.

Between Icon's general attitude of being the first LSA manufacturer to mandate a FDR, its insistence that CFIs be Icon-certified, that all maintenance be done in Icon-approved shops, that anyone who buys a used Icon agree to ratify the original sales agreement, I would respectfully suggest that anyone who buys an Icon A5 is automatically qualified to receive an embossed certificate to certify that the purchaser of an Icon A5 officially has more money than brains.

Or they can just be given a sign.

Trump-Russia Gets Weirder

The United Arab Emirates arranged a secret meeting in January between Blackwater founder Erik Prince and a Russian close to President Vladi­mir Putin as part of an apparent effort to establish a back-channel line of communication between Moscow and President-elect Donald Trump, according to U.S., European and Arab officials.

The meeting took place around Jan. 11 — nine days before Trump’s inauguration — in the Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean, officials said. Though the full agenda remains unclear, the UAE agreed to broker the meeting in part to explore whether Russia could be persuaded to curtail its relationship with Iran, including in Syria, a Trump administration objective that would be likely to require major concessions to Moscow on U.S. sanctions.

Though Prince had no formal role with the Trump campaign or transition team, he presented himself as an unofficial envoy for Trump to high-ranking Emiratis involved in setting up his meeting with the Putin confidant, according to the officials, who did not identify the Russian.
What makes this plausible is that Prince's sister is Betsy DeVois, who is President* Trump's Secretary of Education (and arguably the least-qualified member of Trump's cabinet, other than maybe Ben Carson).

What weighs against it is that Prince seems to have a long track record of, well, stupid fuckery involving overstating his influence. (Not to mention the odd war crime.)

Guess we'll see how this plays out.

100 Years On

On this day in 1917, President Wilson asked Congress to declare war on the German Empire. Four days later, they did.

Wilson might have thought that entering the war would make the world safe for democracy. It arguably had the opposite effect. The crushing of Imperial Germany led, less than 30 years later, to dictatorial regimes controlling all of eastern Europe.

Years ago, I read something that the British government had informed Wilson that if the Americans didn't enter the war, that the British would have to sue for peace. One can never know, of course, what would have happened if Wilson had turned a deaf ear to the British and let the war play out among the European powers.

If the United States had not entered the war, imagining an outcome that would have led to even more carnage than that which arose from the Great War might be a difficult endeavor.

Get a Grip, NCAA

You have an entire month in which to fit your damned basketball tournaments. You don't need to bleed "March Madness" into April.

Hell, you don't even bother to start the bloody affair until half-way into March. Move it up a week or two.

Next thing you know, the Superbowl will be in February and the NHL will be playing hockey in June.

This Should have Been an "April's Fools" Joke

President* Donald Trump on Friday declared April National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, saying the country has a shared responsibility to " reduce and ultimately end sexual violence."
Really? The Pussy-Grabber-in-Chief is announcing a month of awareness about sexual harassment? Trump might as well have asked Roger Ailes, Bill Cosby and Bill O'Reilly to coordinate his Sexual Assault Awareness Task Force, or at least he was going to, until Ivanka pointed out that it's not supposed to be promoting sexual harassment.

Other Trump task forces that are awaiting a signature to be formed:
  • The Ethics in Banking TF: Lloyd Blankenship, Jamiee Dimon, Vikram Pandit and Angelo Mozzilo.
  • The Rebuild America's Industrial Base TF: Mitt Romney, Tim Cook (Apple), Chuck Robbins (Cisco) and the Walton family.
  •  The Heal America's Racial Wounds TF: Jeff Sessions, Steve Bannon and David Duke.

I'm sure the list could be quite expansive.