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

Monday, April 30, 2018

A Thoroughly Trumpian/Thielian Tactic

Stormy Daniels is suing Trump for defamation.

Given that it is safe to assume that every word uttered by Trump is a lie (including the conjunctions and articles), it's hard for me to perceive how he can defame anybody.

On the other hand, he does have a legion of room-temperature followers. Like this guy. So maybe it'll fly.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Gaslighting the Spooks?

A number of smartphones have a dictation feature. You speak into the phone and what you say gets rendered, on most occasions, as somewhat legible text.

The phone isn't doing it, of course. Your words are sent to a server, which does the actual work, and then sends the text back to the app that you are using.

The security of that is probably piss-poor. It wouldn't surprise me if there is some algorithm to detect criminality and alert the authorities.

So what would happen if people began gaslighting it? Maybe open a message block, dictate "Jeff is going to buy 50 grams of smack in the high school parking lot tomorrow afternoon" and then delete the draft text. Probably be a good idea if the name that was given wasn't in the list of contacts.

Knife Fighting in the Dark; the Civil Side

(The military side)

One of the side-effects of a war between adversaries with first-world comparable EW gear will be a loss of the GPS network. Whether it will be world-wide or localized to the combat area(s), whether the GPS constellation itself will be disrupted is a matter of speculation.

But what will also likely happen is a disruption of the global air traffic system. The short-sighted beancountrs in the FAA have been pushing the decommissioning of a large chunk of the VOR network and shutting down VOR/DME -based approaches. In the event of such a war, less than two hundred "safe" airports will retain the capability to conduct VOR-based instrument approaches. All of the rest of the airport that had VOR-based or NDB-based approaches will be shit out of luck.

Besides that, putting all of the airspace control eggs into satellite based systems is betting on that there won't be any significant solar flares.

In some ways, it doesn't matter very much. Some airliners can't track a VOR. Their navigation systems use GPS and overlay the VOR approach on their GPS displays. So while it may look as though they're flying a VOR approach, they really aren't. Losing GPS would transform those airplanes into VFR-only which would effectively ground them all, as they'd be fuel-sucking pigs at VFR altitudes.

Time was, we had redundant systems of navigation. When IFR airplanes had ADFs, the location of the higher-power AM radio stations were on the navigation charts. It wasn't fun drawing lines-of-position on charts in a cockpit, but it could be done. (See, chapter five of Fate is the Hunter ) High-end airplanes several decades ago had OMEGA and LORAN. Microprocessors made LORAN usable in small aircraft and boats.

It's more than airliners and boats. The trucking industry is dependent on GPS. GPS units ensure that truckers avoid parkways and low bridges. It's far more accurate than the old road atlases. Crop-dusters use GPS to precisely apply their chemicals. Farms use GPS to micro-customize the management of their fields. EMS uses GPS to navigate to the site of the emergency. If you call 9-1-1 on your cell phone or hit the emergency button on your car's nav system (or OnStar), the car sends your GPS location. The clown who stalked you and is wearing an ankle bracelet so he stays away from you while he's out on bail-- want to guess how that thing works?

If the GPS constellation is degraded or disabled in a war, the effects will be far-reaching beyond what most people can fathom.

Your Sunday Morning Old Prop Noise


They look like both DH-84s and -89s, but I'm not knowledgeable with regard to old DeHavillands.

Something From the Old West

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Survival Tip for African-American Men

Put your cell phone in a bright pink case.

Because it's apparent that the cops believe that any object in the hands of a black man is a gun.

They'll shoot white people, but they get fired and indicted for that.

Caturday

A sometimes-vibrating cat bed.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Knife-Fighting In the Dark

CDR Salamander is wondering if the armed forces are prepared to fight in an environment where most of their networked shit does not work.

As I've wondered before, are we in a situation where our military is mentally unprepared to fight an enemy with roughly equivalent capabilities? We haven't fought a war against a competent enemy at sea in seven decades and it's been four decades since the airdales have had to operate in an environment against hostile air defense and enemy fighters. They've spent almost two decades fighting enemies for whom an IED is high-tech.

Does anyone really believe that all of those drones will be allowed to fly over the battlefields unmolested? That all of those networked comm systems will function? That GPS will be accurate, if even functional?

Can we prevail in a combat environment in which a lot of those high-tech toys will be unavailable?

This is why I think that the MQ-25 aerial tanker is a very bad idea. If I were one of the honchos of a possible adversary, I'd make it a priority to figure out how to disrupt the fuck out of MQ-25s.

Because It's Friday

The NYNH&H back in the day:


Look for steam being exhausted from the passenger electric locomotives. Passenger cars up into the 1980s (or later) used steam for heating. That was easy to provide when steam ruled the rails. Early diesels and electrics had boilers to furnish steam to the passenger cars.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

If You Want to Buy a Car from Ford, You'll Soon Be Shit Out of Luck

Ford Motor Co. said Wednesday it will shed most of its North American car lineup as part of broad plan to save money and make the company more competitive in a fast-changing marketplace.

The changes include getting rid of all cars in the region during the next four years except for the Mustang sports car and a compact Focus crossover vehicle, CEO Jim Hackett said as the company released first-quarter earnings.

The decision, which Hackett said was due to declining demand and profitability, means Ford will no longer sell the Fusion midsize car, Taurus large car, CMax hybrid compact and Fiesta subcompact in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
There was a time in the `90s when the Taurus was the best-selling car in the country, though that was skewed a little because Ford was selling them to rental companies, which Honda and Toyota weren't doing.

I'll bet that Honda and Toyota will continue to be happy to sell cars to those who want them.

"America's Dad" is Guilty

Bill Cosby was found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault.

The prosecutor tried to have him jailed for fears of pulling a Polanski. He remains free on bail.

Ramadan

A guide for non-Muslims.

This year, Ramadan runs from the evening of May 15th to to evening of June 14th (in the U.S.)

Reasonably accommodating the religious practices of another person is being civil, especially when there is no real cost to you.

Michael Cohen: "I'm Taking the Fifth, See."

Cohen is taking the Fifth in the Stormy Daniels case.
Good question, Donny.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Catching Up to the Old Killers

Decades ago, there was a serial killer and a serial rapist terrorizing California. It was one guy, the East Bay Rapist, the Golden State Killer, aka the Original Night Stalker. They didn't even know it was all the same guy until DNA connected the crimes almost two decades ago.

Today, they arrested the guy.

Update: Some credit for this goes to the late Michelle McNamara.

This is What Happens When You Have a Bad Rep

The ISO has rejected two symmetric encryption algorithms: SIMON and SPECK. These algorithms were both designed by the NSA and made public in 2013. They are optimized for small and low-cost processors like IoT devices.
Bruce Schneier goes on to say that he doesn't believe that NSA has put in back doors into those ciphers.

But it's a little obvious to suggest that nobody believes that the NSA wouldn't do that. The Feds have been screaming that they oh, so need a backdoor into encryption ever since the Clipper chip fiasco.

For many people, allowing the NSA to design encryption is a little like giving an embezzler the access codes to your bank account.

And that's assuming that the NSA's or FBI's back door tools don't leak.

Easter-Egging Insults

In this piece in The Economist about Trump's takeover of the GOP, they got in at least three subtle insults aimed at Trump and his base.

See if you can spot them.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Could This be the Thing That Toasts Trump?

Trump told Comey that the pee-pee tape allegations couldn't be true because Trump didn't spend the night in Moscow.

Except that he did.

At the time, Comey was the director of the FBI. Which made Comey a Federal agent. And, as Martha Stewart can tell anyone, lying to a Fed is a felony beef.

That's probably why there is a bunch of coverage, now, about where Trump was.

I've been convinced for some time that if Trump goes to prison, it will be his mouth (or his tweeting) that sends him there.

Riddle Me This, Batman

Why would Trump be so concerned about whether or not Michael Cohen is going to flip on him if Cohen doesn't have anything to flip on Trump about?

Also, keep in mind that, for all of the talk about whether or not Trump might pardon Cohen to remove him from the board, much of what those two goniffs did was set in New York. Trump can't pardon Cohen for acts that were illegal under state law. As much as Gov. Cuomo comes across as a self-interested SOB, I can't see what he'd gain from pardoning either man.

The Ice Under Scott Pruitt's Feet is Getting Thinner

If this report is to be believed:
White House officials are cautioning Republican lawmakers and other conservative allies to temper their defense of Scott Pruitt, according to two people familiar with the discussions, in a sign that administration support for the embattled EPA chief may be waning.
...
Republicans are now sharpening their criticisms about Pruitt amid a revelation that he met at least once with the lobbyist whose wife rented him a bedroom on Capitol Hill.
Since the newly-appointed #2 at EPA is a shill for the coal industry, don't expect much of a change from Pruitt's War on the Environment.

Extra Caturday

I’m sort of slouching on the couch. Chip got into my lap, walked up my torso, and head-butted me on the chin. Because he wants some attention.

In other words, I’ve been face-booped.

(If you look closely at his nose, you can see some of his battle scars.)

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Most People Already Knew that "We're Handing Out Traffic Tickets to Enforce the Law" was Bullshit

It seems to have been pretty well proven in Missouri, where, once the state capped the amount of revenue that municipalities could keep, the number of tickets issued fell off.

One example:
Consider Bellefontaine Neighbors, which deployed a two-officer unit in 2013 to write traffic tickets on Interstate 270. Mayor Robert Doerr said the city ended the unit in 2014 to cover staffing shortages and respond to unrest across the region, and the city never re-established it.

The city’s police wrote 27 tickets a day in the year ending June 2014, and the court brought in $1.28 million that year. In the year ending June 2017, the city wrote just five tickets a day, and the court had $280,000 in revenue.
There's more in the article. One village ended up going out of existence and merging with its neighbor because they couldn't use the highways as their municipal ATM. Another disbanded its police department and joined a policing co-op.

Let's be clear on one point: I have no issue with the police enforcing the traffic laws. But when they are doing it solely because if the revenue that it generates, well, that's fucking evil. It's not then a fine, it's a tax.

The cities and towns in Missouri are pushing back. They want things to go back to the way they were. The legislature should resist that.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

RAF VC10:


The VC10 apparently holds the record for the fastest subsonic trans-Atlantic flight. They were in service for nearly fifty years.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Is Trump Broke?

This article, which does have a slant to it, alleges that Rudy Giuliani is working for Trump on a pro bono basis.

Trump probably believes that free advice is worth what he's paying for it. Or Giuliani knows that Trump will fuck him over on his bill, so Rudy may feel that he might as well lather himself up with K-Y and get it over with. But there is the possibility that Trump is finding himself running a little short these days.

We shouldn't forget that Giuliani was the legal genius that designed Trump's Muslim bans, which have had a hard time passing the giggle test when a judge looks at them.

Meanwhile, Trump is convinced that Michael Cohen won't flip on him. His aides aren't so sure.

Grade A Snark (About You-Know-Who)


Abstinence-only sex education is one of those right-wing reality-free beliefs, like trickle-down economics and believing that rich folks will step up and fund charities if the social safety net is eliminated.

Donald Trump promoting abstinence is like Alferd Packer promoting vegetarianism.

Caturday

Last week's cat in non-yawning mode:

Friday, April 20, 2018

Dear Duke Students: Stand Up and Take Your Lumps Like Adults, You Fucking Snowflakes

It's shit such as this that makes me wonder about the fucking kids these days: Some students at Duke crashed an alumni event to issue demands. The event apparently wasn't open to them. Now that the kids might face some punishment for their behavior, they're using the snowflake defense:
I think we are particularly concerned that the University knows that by sending these conduct letters out that they will be concerning the students and that they will be exacerbating any preexisting mental health conditions and, like Bryce said, traumatizing and starting new ones, especially after Saturday's issues. I think that among the many things that we share in common with the administration, the number one thing is that we all want to see this University be better and be more accommodating and make changes. We're not sure why they're not taking that approach too and reaching out to us in good faith rather than initiating a conduct process.
Well, fucking waah.


Engage in protests, act like jerks and you get treated like jerks.

More to the point, back when there were protests at colleges about integration and the war, the risk that the protestors ran, and which they went in with full knowledge of, was that they might get sprayed with fire hoses and receive a hickory shampoo.

But these kids? They might get a bad mark in their permanent file or some other academic punishment and they're screaming that they shouldn't be punished for disrupting an event. Instead of standing up, like responsible adults, and taking what they have earned, no, they're wailing about it.

So kids, here's a box of tissues:


And the key to the weep locker:


Fucking crybabies.

Do They Make "Supply and Demand for Dummies"?

If so, someone needs to tweet it at Trump.
President* Donald Trump blamed OPEC on Friday for high oil prices, claiming the organization had artificially lifted prices that “will not be accepted.”

“Looks like OPEC is at it again. With record amounts of Oil all over the place, including the fully loaded ships at sea, Oil prices are artificially Very High! No good and will not be accepted!” the president* wrote on Twitter.
If the market price for oil is $71/barrel, then the choices are to either buy the shit or not buy the shit. That's pretty much it.

Is this where I should point out the hypocrisy of Trump complaining about the price of oil while his administration is doing everything it can to gut progress in research and adopting alternatives to oil?

Trump is like an addict complaining about the price of drugs. Nobody gives a shit.

Because It's Friday

The New York Central, back in the day:

Thursday, April 19, 2018

America's Favorite Fascist Joins Team Trump

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, an outspoken supporter of Donald Trump since the early days of his campaign, is joining the team of lawyers representing the president in the special counsel’s Russia investigation.
The only thing that may keep Giuliani on board is that he is about as amoral a shill as one can get, other than Chris Christie. Giuliani's authoritarianism and fascist tendencies were well in evidence during his mayoralty. So he has that in common with Trump.

But Trump is impervious to legal advice. Sooner or later, if Giuliani has any integrity as a lawyer, he will have to try to tell Trump to knock off with the tweets and do what he's told. That's never going to happen. Trump has, effectively, been acting as his own lawyer and he's not going to take legal advice from anyone.

Which will end in Giuliani leaving to spend more time with his wife/girlfriend du jour.

On This, the 243rd Anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord,
Be It RESOLVED....

...That the Commonwealth of Massachusetts be Forever Prohibited From Commemorating Those Most Sacred Battles.

The mission of the British soldiers was to confiscate the weapons and powder of the Colonials, to disarm the populace.

That's pretty much been the official policy of the government of Massachusetts, under both Republican and Democratic governors, for the last two decades, if not longer.

So it seems to me that, on a day when the men of Lexington, Concord, Woburn and Menotomy rallied to send the soldiers of the British Army back to their bases in Boston (without the weapons they wanted to seize), Massachusetts, now a state that is in the forefront of disarming the population, should be required to mourn the defeat of the British on April 19, 1775. The state should be banned from celebrating the victory of the Colonists.

"Throw Down Your Arms!"

That was a command that was given by an army officer 243 years ago.

It wasn't obeyed.

The war was on. It would last for eight years, ending in a series of treaties in Paris.

All most all of the major European powers used the Revolutionary War as a pretext to go to war against somebody else. In some ways, the war might be viewed as a continuation, or appendix, to the Seven Years War. If historians were agreeable to a bit of renaming, the Seven Years War might be renamed the First World War.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Indiana Jones and the Temple of AARP

Steven Spielberg is planning to start shooting the untitled fifth Indiana Jones movie for Disney in the U.K. in a little more than a year.
...
“It’s always worth the trip when I get to work with this deep bench of talent coming out of the UK. The actors, and the crew, the chippies, the sparks, the drivers — everybody who has helped me make my movies here, and will continue helping me make my movies here when I come back in April 2019 to make the fifth Indiana Jones movie right here,” Spielberg said.
Harrison Ford will be nudging his 77th birthday when they start shooting. That's a bit ancient for an action movie hero.

It's going to be hard to envision a movie that was as pointless or stupid as Indy #4, but I'm not going to be surprised if it is.

Whether your favorite metaphor is jumping the shark or nuking the fridge, the Indiana Jones franchise has passed it.

If You Believe This Lie

President Donald Trump claimed Wednesday that his firing of former FBI Director James Comey was not related to the bureau’s investigation into Russian interference of the 2016 election...then you must be a GOP party loyalist.

R.I.P., Mrs. Bush

Barbara Bush has died at the age of 92.

Mrs. Bush was a WYSIWYG person. Sometimes her pronouncements were a bit acerbic, but I gather that everyone around her knew where they stood with her.

Mrs/ Bush was a proponent of literacy, education, and civil rights, which means that she wasn't much of a Republican, as the party now defines itself.

Bailing Out

A training film:

More Fiscal Responsibility from the Trumpers

I'm just kidding. Previous EPA administrators have generally traveled in Chevrolet Tahoes, and Pruitt was supposed to do the same when he joined the Trump administration last February.

But work orders from May 2 show that Pruitt's staff scrapped the Tahoe in favor of a larger, newer and pricier Chevy Suburban. The work orders also reveal that Pruitt's staff asked for custom modified bucket seats with bullet-resistant covers, Wi-Fi and GPS navigation systems. The car's lease cost $10,200 for the first year, according to records.
Pruitt also wanted a bulletproof desk, in case his staff went postal on him, I guess. And a $43G phonebooth in his office.

Pruitt seems to have no trouble in living the high life at our expense.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Eric Greitens's "The Mission Continued" May Result in Prison TIme

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley said Tuesday that his office had uncovered evidence that Gov. Eric Greitens may have committed a felony by using a charity donor list to solicit donations to fuel his 2016 campaign for governor.

Hawley, who like Greitens is a Republican, said his office possessed evidence that Greitens obtained and transmitted a donor list without the permission of the St. Louis-based charity The Mission Continues, which Greitens founded in 2007 but left in 2014.

"If proven, these acts could amount to the unauthorized taking and use of property, in this case, electronic property," Hawley said at a news conference. "Under Missouri law, this is known as computer tampering. And given the value of the list in question, it is a felony."
Pass the popcorn. Greitens is one of those ex-Seals who take the attitude that the SEAL Teams have into civilian life: The rules are for other people.

Exhibit 2: Ron Zinke.

While not a Seal, Duke Cunningham was another military hotshot who acted as though that the rules were for other, lesser folk.

"The rules are for others to follow" is an attitude of not only the rich, but of other elites.

Book Arrival


I'm no fan of Comey. I think he put his thumb on the electoral scales to as much effect, if not more, than did the Russians. What he did in `16 was more about covering his bureaucratic ass than anything else. I wonder if this book is partially an attempt to try to toss some smoke over that.

It would seem that it is not a bright thing for a potential trial witness to go blabbing on long interviews, let alone writing a book. All of that will become grist for a cross-examination.

On the other hand, if he put the book out in two or three years, far fewer people would care, let alone buy it. So there is an undercurrent of "cashing out while the cash is good", at least to me. It's not a pleasant smell.

Besides all that, this book is #1 on Amazon's best sellers list and will probably be at or near #1 on the next iteration of most other best sellers lists (non fiction) by the end of the upcoming weekend. To to the extent that will gnaw at the rotting and diseased heart of El Trumpo, that's a good thing.

So, Who Did Cohen Pay Off for Hannity?

A Fox News host is the mystery third client of US President Donald Trump's lawyer, a court has heard.

A judge ruled that Michael Cohen, the president's personal attorney, must reveal the link to Sean Hannity.
...
Just before Monday's hearing, Mr Cohen said in a statement that he had only provided advice to three clients in the past year.
Cohen worked for only three clients in the past year? How the hell does a functioning law practice survive with three clients.[1] So Cohen has to be doing more, a lot more, than practicing law. That may be part of why he was raided last week.

Still, Cohen's law practice, going by what we know of his other two clients, has been funneling large payoffs to women on behalf of a few wealthy men seeking to keep their dalliances quiet. Which leads to the question that is the title of this post.
____________________________________
[1] Tom Hagan had one client.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Another "Fuck You" by the GOP to Working Americans

If you move for a better job, you can't deduct your expenses. The fuckers in the GOP took that away from everyone, except active-duty military, who already get a shitload of benefits when they move.

I don't begrudge the military their benefits. But ist sure seems mean-spirited as fuck to stick a finger in the eye of people who are moving for a better job.

But let's face it: "Mean-spirited as fuck" is where the GOP, especially jackholes like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, live.

That Was Then, Apparently

Gee, Thanks, Obama!

For turning the FAA into an agency that has gone fully into regulatory-capture mode.

60 Minutes spent two segments on Allegiant Air last night.

While 60 Minutes has been known for slanted pieces, this one made it clear that the FAA's attitude toward Allegiant Air pretty much is that they don't intend to do anything until Allegiant kills some passengers. This is because three years ago, the Obama Administration shifted the FAA from enforcement to cheerleading.

In TV cop terms, they've gone from this:


To this:


Because that coffee won't drink itself!

For right now, it would seem that saving a few bucks on a trip might not be worth either your life or, at least, the risk of breathing in hazardous fumes. Of course, look to Allegiant to adopt the Trumpist tactic of screaming "false news".

(Yep, they did.)

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Gunny's Gone West

Actor R Lee Ermey, known for his role as foul-mouthed Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Vietnam War film Full Metal Jacket, has died aged 74.

The former US Marine Corps soldier turned award-winning actor played a host of military men during his career.

Ermey's manager, posting to the actor's Twitter account, said he died from "complications of pneumonia".
A couple of his commercials:




Godspeed, Gunny.

Cohen May be Cooked

Michael Cohen, Trump's personal lawyer and fixer, has long denied that he was in Prague in August or September of 2016, let alone met with any Russians. He denies being in Europe at all during that window of time.

Seems that was a bit of fib on his part. He apparently was in Prague and the Feds investigating the Trump mess have evidence of that.

Apparently, Cohen was about as much of a lawyer as was Tom Hagen, other than Cohen had a few more clients.

Your Sunday Morning Turboprop Noise (Kinda)

The A-29 Super Tucano:

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Bombing Syria

I think I'm going to wait a few days and see what the real truth is about what was hit and how much damage was done. Experience gleaned from watching how things have gone over a half-century of wars has taught me to be very wary of the initial assessments coming out of the Pentagon or NATO (or MACV). One thing that has been consistent has been the stuff handed out to the poseurs in the press at the Five O'Clock Follies has often been a fabrication, regardless of which was was going on.

But really, Trump? "Mission accomplished"?


Are you that ignorant of recent history to know how hollow those words have become? What are you going to do next, fly out to an aircraft carrier?

Jesus. The snark almost writes itself. George W. Trump. I'll bet that people are photoshopping Trump's head onto Bush's body.

Dear Medical Community, Big Pharma and the DEA: Go Fuck Yourselves.

I really despise all of you, especially the DEA.

Yes, there was a problem with the doctors who were "candymen", who were prescribing oodles of pain meds to adicts. Yes, there was a problem with Big Pharma egging them on.

But what we have, now, are people in pain who cannot get any relief because the doctors are terrified that the motherfucking DEA, as overseen by Little Jeffy Sessions, is going to come in and strip their prescription authority. The pharmacies have been similarly scared.

I got a taste of this when I had a surgical procedure recently. The doc gave me a prescription for a dozen Percocet tablets. From the reaction at the pharmacy, you'd have thought that I was asking for the limb of one of their children.

I know people who have severe back pain and other chronic pain issues. Mostly, the doctors are basically telling them to suck it up, stay home and suffer in silence. Because the doctors are afraid that some badged-up, gun-toting Federal beancounter is going to compare the number of patients, the number of prescriptions and pass judgment without a care as to what maladies are afflicting those patients.

To be clear, I am not wishing that Little Jeffy Sessions suffer from a bad back or bone cancer. But if he does, and if he's screaming in pain, I sincerely hope that his doctors hand him a bottle of aspirin and tell him to suck it up.

Shooters to the Line

A 1990s basic-level training video from FLETC:


Youtube tip: If you click on the setting icon (the little gear in the lower right), you can change the video speed. Going to 1.25 doesn't change the narration, but it does appreciably shorten the time it takes to watch one.

Caturday

Mom! I'm bored!

Friday, April 13, 2018

More Garands!

90,000 M-1 rifles are coming back and will be offered for sale through the CMP.

Every American who can shoot a rifle should own one. Especially those living in the less-than-free states such as MA, CT, NJ and CA.

(H/T)

What Was the Quid Pro Quo?

President* Donald Trump plans to pardon I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, a former top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, according to a person familiar with the president’s decision.

The person said the announcement could come as early as Friday. The person, who wasn’t authorized to discuss the decision ahead of its public announcement and demanded anonymity, said the pardon has been under consideration at the White House for months. The plans were first reported by ABC News.
It's a pretty safe bet that Trump does not do things from the goodness of his heart. Even when he purports to make a charitable donation, he does it with both maximum publicity and then the charity has to follow up to avoid being stiffed.

So if Trump is giving Scooter a pardon, then the question is: What did Trump get for it?

What a Stellar Idea; Comey Ed.

Calling it a “regrettable accident,” Amazon apologized on Thursday for shipping ten thousand advance copies of James Comey’s book, “A Higher Loyalty,” to the White House.
I know it's humor, but if you wanted to spend $18 to annoy Trump, you can order the book here. Order "Fire and Fury", as well, and the shipping may be free.

President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.
Washington, DC 20500

Updated to add:

Because It's Friday

Aussie steamboats:

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Military Imbecile-in-Chief

President" Donald Trump has tweeted that Russia should "get ready" for missiles to be fired at its ally Syria, in response to an alleged chemical attack near Damascus on Saturday.

"Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and 'smart!'" Mr Trump said in his tweet.
What sort of idiot tells an adversary what he is going to do? If Trump was a mid-level bureaucrat, he'd be on his way to Jon Pollard's old cell at a supermax.

Machiavelli's Fifth Rule of War: "No proceeding is better than that which you have concealed from the enemy until the time you have executed it."

Trump is applying the rules of hucksterism to military matters. This is likely not to go very well.

About 44 Years Ago

It sounds more Hollywood than history. A paranoid president, unhinged, drinking heavily, ranting against his enemies, terrifies subordinates. The defense secretary commits what may be the most patriotic act of treason in American history: ordering the Joint Chiefs of Staff to ignore any White House military initiatives lacking his signature.

Most historians believe that as Richard Nixon staggered toward resignation in 1974, Secretary of Defense James R. Schlesinger undermined the president’s constitutional authority.
I knew someone who was there at the time. This really did happen. Of course, there were no written orders, but it did happen about the way that this article said it did.

Which leads one to wonder whether Secretary Mattis has had similar conversations with the military commanders. Dollars to donuts that Mattis is aware of this bit of history.

Historical Moron-in-Chief

"Our relationship with Russia is worse now than it has ever been, and that includes the Cold War."-- so sayeth Twittering Donnie.

So he was shacked up with a hooker during the Cuban Missile Crisis? Or they never mentioned the Berlin Blockade when he was sleeping though his classes at NYMA?

Of course, he blames Robert Mueller for it all.

Too bad we can't get a chorus of a thousand or so schoolkids to stand outside the Whitehouse and chant, in a sing-song: "Donnie's going to jail!"

Vast Wasteland Alert!

Season 3 of The Expanse begins airing tonight on SyFy.

It's probably the best SF show of the decade.

If you haven't seen it and if you have Amazon Prime in the U.S., you ought to DVR the new episodes and go do a little binge-watching.

Ship: Sinking; Rats; Leaving a

House Speaker Paul Ryan says his family is the top reason he isn't seeking reelection.

And maybe that's true. Or even partially true.

But it often seems that the "I'm leaving to spend more time with my family" is the excuse that is given by a politician (or senior executive in industry or government) when the alternative is to be tossed out on one's ass.

Ask yourself which looks better in promotional literature (or on a résumé): "Paul Ryan retired from Congress after serving ten full terms, including two terms as Speaker;" or "Paul Ryan was defeated in his bid for re-election for an eleventh term in Congress."

(This ties into an earlier post. Fifty years ago, he would have lived, with his family, in Alexandria, only returning to his home district for meetings and campaigning. For that's what congressmen did, back in the day.)

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Hey, Mark! You Got a Spare $13.6 Quadrillion?

That is, potentially, how big a fine the FTC could whack Facebook with for violating a 2014 consent decree.

And each day, that goes up by another $7.5 billion or so.

Facebook may be shifting into high-grovel mode in order to survive.

Popping the Baddies

One of Raylan Givens's gunfights from the first season of Justified.


I'm not sure how long this'll last, as such videos tend to be taken down. Even if they really work as advertising for the shows.

There's a good point in this one, though: Don't let the bad guys get too close.

First Degree Conflation Isn't a Criminal Charge

“I just heard that they broke into the office of one of my personal attorneys, a good man,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “It’s a disgraceful situation. … I’ve been saying it for a long time. I have this witch hunt constantly going on.”

The president portrayed the seizures in almost treasonous terms, framing them not solely as an attack on him but on all Americans.

“It's an attack on our country, in a true sense,” Trump declared. “It's an attack on what we all stand for.”
No, Russia fucking around with our political processes is an attack on this country. Executing a search warrant that was applied for by the U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York (a Trump appointee) isn't.

Executing a search warrant is a lawful search. It's not a "breaking".

But hey, legal niceties and the truth are things that have never mattered to Trump. Every word that he speaks can be safely presumed to be a lie, including the articles and conjunctions.

Meanwhile, one of Trump's tinfoil-hat-wearing racist idiots has been placed on leave, pending an investigation.

Monday, April 9, 2018

FBI Raids Cohen's Office

The F.B.I. on Monday raided the office of President Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, seizing records related to several topics including payments to a pornographic-film actress. ... The payments to Ms. Clifford are only one of many topics being investigated, according to a person briefed on the search. The F.B.I. also seized emails, tax documents and business records, the person said.
Pass the popcorn.

Also, this, in which Trump Organization lawyers are trying to threaten Panama. Threatening to use the power of the United States to move the needle on a business dispute involving Trump shows that there is no separation between the Trump Administration and his businesses.

In other words, it's all about the grift.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Where Does the First Shot Go?

In the crotch:



He's quite right about body armor being for sale on eBay.

My thought is to envision the critter wearing a necktie and then shoot him in the knot. But starting off with a shot into his crotch is an idea worth pondering.

Caturday

Chip: "You can't use your computer until you feed me."

Friday, April 6, 2018

Bangity- Speedloaders

An Indiana SP video regarding the proper use of Safariland speedloaders.


I don't know when they transitioned to bottom-feeding, evidence-littering guns.

Wrecking the Planet for Fun & Profit

The extraction industries knew for at least thirty years about the dangers of adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. They also knew that by the time the public woke up to the dangers (and overcame the resistance of the energy companies' lobbyists and lackeys[1], that it would be too late to prevent the damage from happening.

Fucking A right they should now be sued to the brink of bankruptcy! Just as they predicted that they would be.
______________________
[1] Looking at you, Scott Pruitt.

Because It's Friday

The twilight of steam in Australia, 1968:

Thursday, April 5, 2018

In England, Self Defense = Murder

A pensioner has been arrested after stabbing to death a suspected armed burglar he confronted in his home early today.

The 78-year-old was asleep with his wife in their south London house when he heard noises and woke to challenge two men in the middle of a suspected break-in.

The homeowner was confronted by one of the intruders who was armed with a screwdriver and forced to retreat into his kitchen.
A struggle ensued, the old man knifed the intruder, who died. The cops charged the old man with murder.

Even in the most asinine state in this country, such a pattern of facts would have likely not resulted in any charges. But in England, the old victim is arrested on a murder beef for defending himself against a much younger man who has a record of targeting the elderly.

That has to me one of the most uncivilized things of which I've heard.

The Germans could take the Brits, now. As I said eight years back, all they'd need would be a few battalions of middle-aged to elderly men armed with Mauser rifles. The Brits would shit their pants and surrender.

(H/T)

Truth in Satire

President* Donald Trump has declared a state of emergency on the U.S. border with Mexico and is deploying thousands of National Guard troops there to masturbate, eat MREs, and play with personal knives, sources confirmed today.

The soldiers will also be tasked with playing card games and generating PowerPoint briefing slides for generals in Washington, according to defense officials, who added the slides will likely lead to questions of overall government capacity on counter-narcotics operations and DEA/SOUTHCOM institutional dynamics, as if they give a shit about any of it.
I am not certain, though, how Trump's order works. He can't order the National Guard to do anything related to law enforcement. But the state governors can, because unless a Guard unit is "federalized", they obey the orders of the governor.

More to the point of the worry of the Pentagon is the fact that soldiers are not cops. Their job, when it comes to guns, is to go places, break things, and kill people. That's what soldiers do. In a civil setting, as was found nearly fifty years ago, shit can go sideways when soldiers are used for police functions.

Given Spanky's bellicosity, it's possible that if he insists on the Guard troops conducting armed patrols, that the Mexicans will deploy armed troops to watch. It takes very little thought to realize that may not go so well.

But rational thought is one thing that nobody has ever accused Spanky of doing.

UPDATE: As I suspected, Trump can't order jack-shit in regards to the Guard. He has to ask the governors. At least one has said "no".

Just Be Nice and Give the Crooks What They Want, Right?

Via Zendo Deb, comes a couple of international stories of interest.

In Durban, SA, an elderly woman fought back against a crew of home invaders who, no doubt, thought that her house would be easy pickings. They were wrong. She killed one, wounded another, and the cops caught a third perp. The woman, herself, was also wounded.

If you have to deal with three armed intruders, damned skippy you're going to be thankful for a gun that has a high-capacity (aka "skool-kid-massacring") magazine. They're legal in states that are less afraid of their citizens than others.

Up in Winterpeg, a crazy woman broke into a family's home. Luckily, she wasn't a threat to the family, but if she was, they'd have been SOL. Because it took the cops 45 minutes to respond to three 911 calls.

Years ago, I called 911 for a violent dispute in progress out in the parking lot of the complex where I lived. It took fifteen minutes for the cops to show up.

I feel no need to state the obvious.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Kids Learning the Toyota Rule

Students at the Florida high school where 17 students and staff members were massacred are now carrying their belongings in clear plastic backpacks in hopes that it will make it difficult to smuggle weapons onto campus.

Officials at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School began issuing the donated backpacks to the school's 3,200 students Monday, The Sun-Sentinel reports.

The students are being allowed through four monitored gates before school starts and only one after the opening bell. Soon, the district plans to issue metal-detecting wands to the law enforcement officers stationed at the gates. Sports bags and musical instrument cases are being searched.
Let's review some facts, shall we: The Asswipe who shot up the school used a fucking carbine that, in all probability, wouldn't have fit into a backpack. He apparently had his rifle in a duffel bag and nobody thought to inquire why someone would carry a duffel bag into a school. He wasn't even a student (having been expelled). But he still walked into the school, with his rifle, and shot the shit out of the place.

The kids, of course, think all of this is stupid as fuck and guess what? They're right.

One of the kids complained that they are "turning the schools into prisons", and well, kid, you're right. There are over 300 million guns in this country, maybe north of 450 million, and they aren't going away. Neither are the ten or so million rifles based on Eugene Stoner's design, let alone those designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov, John Williams, Bill Ruger or Sergei Simonov. Look into the compliance level in the states that have banned such guns. It's about around the levels of compliance with any other prohibition-type law.

(How many of you kids have tried cannabis? That's illegal. Tried tobacco, vaping, or alcohol? That's also illegal for minors, you know.)

So you want perfect security, kids? You want it so no outsider can come in and do you harm? You want it so no other student can bring in any sort of weapon and do you harm? You want to feel safe in school? Then your school is going to look, feel, and operate like a prison.

You asked for it.

You got it.

Toyota.

Some "Massacre", TPM

This was their headline:
Nasim Aghdam’s Massacre Is Part of the Crisis of Big Tech
Maybe I'm just being picky about the use of the word, but I don't know how a writer can seriously use the word "massacre" without a bunch of people being killed. Boston Massacre. Deerfield Massacre. Malmedy. My Lai. Kent State. York.

It's linguistic laziness, pure and simple.

Trump's as Dain Bramaged As Jerry Ford Was

You might recall Ford's statement that Poland wasn't dominated by the USSR.

Well, Trump issued a statement commemorating 100 years of independence for Latvia Lithuania and Estonia. Neither he nor his people remembered that there were about fifty years that they were Soviet Republics, which meant that they were not independent by any rational stretch of the imagination. However, mentioning the decades of Soviet occupation might have upset Putin, so you know Trump's not going to do that.

Oh, and you can look for a statement that marked the 50th Anniversary of the assassination of Dr. King. I couldn't find one.

Trump's Phony Spy Expulsion

Trump's "nobody has been tougher on Russia" spy expulsion was a complete and utter sham.
A State Department official confirmed to Business Insider that the White House's diplomatic expulsion will not require Russia to reduce its staffing levels in the US, and vice versa. In other words, the 60 diplomats who were kicked out - many of whom were undercover intelligence operatives - can be replaced others.
But the real nugget came later in the story:
He is also said to have ordered aides not to talk publicly about tough measures he approves against Russia because he doesn't want to anger Putin.
What does Putin have on Spanky that is so damaging that Spanky feels the urge to kowtow to Putin at every opportunity?

By the way, journalistic assclowns, this is wrong:
“Probably no one has been tougher to Russia than Donald Trump,” he added, citing investments in the U.S. military and NATO.
First off, anyone who refers to himself in the third person should be in a straitjacket and on a lot of meds.

Second, military spending is not an "investment". I feel no need to argue that point.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Traitor's Emissary

Anna Chennault, who helped Richard Nixon commit treason in 1968, has died.

Fifty Years Ago

The 1960s continued to spin off the rails when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis.

Dr. King had been aware, for years, that a lot of people wanted to see him dead. He addressed that in one of his greatest speeches.

Probably the only white politician who had the standing to speak at that time was Robert F. Kennedy, and he did, giving one of the best speeches, not only of his life, but in American history.

Many cities burned, nonetheless.

One of the real ironies was that the FBI, which had done everything that could have done to smear, frame and defame Dr. King during his life, took the lead on investigating the assassination. The assassin was arrested by the Brits at Heathrow as he was attempting to catch a flight to one of the three of the then-most racist nations on Earth. Nobody has been able to explain how an escaped convict managed to come up with the money to buy a nose job, a fake Canadian passport and the plane tickets.

158 Years Ago

On this day in 1860, the first Pony Express rider left St. Joseph, MO with a mail pouch. The mail reached San Francisco on April 14th.

After all of the celebratory folderol and speechifying was finished, the westbound rider departed at 7:15PM. There's no real way to tell when that was, now, as each town kept their own time back then (based on local solar noon), as that was 23 years before Standard Time (also known as Railroad Time) was introduced. Many places refused to adopt standard time, preferring to set their time by the Sun than by some bureaucratic decree. Standard Time became the law during the Great War.

But I digress.

The Pony Express route was 1,900 miles long, broken up into divisions, stages and stations. A rider would change his horse at each station. Another rider would take over at each stage. In an era where a working man may be paid between $12 and $30 a month, the riders were paid $100. the first westbound trip took 11 days, the first eastbound trip took ten days.

It would seem that there was combined telegraph-Pony Express service, as vital news and information went by telegraph to the western end of the line and then by Pony Express to the eastern end of the western telegraph line. News of Abraham Lincoln's election made it to California in less than eight days, which was unheard of at the time.

The Pony Express was doomed as soon as the transcontinental telegraph was completed. It went out of business two days after the telegraph line was completed in 1861.

By the 1880s, if not sooner, the wealthy (it cost north of $100 one way) could ride express passenger trains in relative comfort from New York to Oakland in five days or less. (A special express train made that trip in less than four days.) By the 1900s, regular passenger rail service could take one from New York to San Francisco in just over three days.

In 1929, the trip could be made on Transcontinental Air Transport in 48 hours or so hours for $336. That involved riding a train at night and flying in a Ford Tri-Motor during the day. TAT became TWA, which introduced the DC-2 and DC-3; which made the trip all in the air and in about 18 hours.

In 75 years, the time it took to send an express letter from NYC to San Francisco went from about two weeks to overnight. The cost of sending a letter went from $5 for a half-ounce letter to five cents for airmail.

Domestic airmail is now a thing of the past.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Whenever I Feel Down or Blue....

...I read this column, this one and this one.

I can rarely get through the second one without dissolving into a puddle of laughter.

Autocrats Giving Each Other the Usual Tongue-Baths

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has won a second, four-year term in office, with more than 97 percent of the vote in last week’s election, according to official results announced Monday by the election commission, which put turnout at 41.05 percent.

El-Sissi faced no serious challenger in the March 26-28 vote, after a string of potentially strong candidates withdrew under pressure or were arrested. His sole opponent, little-known politician Moussa Mustafa Moussa, was a supporter of the president who made no effort to challenge him.
...
[Spanky] and [his handler] separately called el-Sissi to congratulate him
Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.

The Trump Toady Television Network

These are the stations owned by Sinclair Media, which is allegedly operating as a form of state-controlled media for Spanky.

Rounding Them Up Using Census Data

It has happened before. The Census Bureau provided what they call "microdata", which is to say, the names and addresses, of people of Japanese Ancestry so that the Secret Service could round them up during World War II.

In this case, "rounding them up" meant sending them to internment camps, which were a nice form of concentration camp.

These days, if you've ever used a credit card to buy stuff from Brownell's, Cheaper than Dirt or any other firearms-related business (or applied for a gun permit), your name is probably in some database of possible gunowners, anyway. Which DasGov can access with a lot less hassle than obtaining census data.

The American Community Survey asks a lot of very nosy questions, but nothing about guns. The Census Bureau bleats that they are strict guardians of your privacy, but they've shared that shit before and they can do it again.

The law requires that people answer the census. But since they haven't prosecuted anyone in decades for refusing to answer, you can draw your own conclusions.

"Novel Design", My Ass

The "Airfish-8":


It's an Ekranoplan:



Ekranoplans, aka ground-effect vehicles, are nothing new. Aerodynamicists were mulling them over eighty years ago. The Soviets began tinkering with them fifty years ago.

The problem with them is that they are boats built as rigidly as airplanes, which they have to be, in order to fly. Seaplanes have problems operating in high sea states, because they get the shit pounded out of them on takeoff and landing (since they have to do that into the wind, that means they're doing that into the waves). Ekranoplans are not immune to aerodynamics, they'd have to takeoff and land into the wind. So when the seas are up to any degree, they're not flying. Which is why you don't see commercial Ekranoplans.

Other than the fact that Ekranoplans of that size are classified as boats, not aircraft (cheaper to crew), it's hard to see what that thing will do that a DHC-2 can't do better.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Yahrzeit

Jake,1996- April 1, 2016:
May peace be upon him.

This was his "The Most Interesting Cat in the World" pose; it is one of my favorite photos of him. He was seventeen when this photo was taken; he still in pretty good health for an old cat.

Things started going downhill about two years later. He'd get a bladder infection, then it would seem to clear up for a while. Then it'd return. Eventually, it became apparent that it was more than that and he went to join Gracie and George on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge.

Chip has been a comfort. He's very friendly with visitors, as was Jake. But Jake was cool. Even people I know who say they don't care for cats adored Jake. He'd put up with children, up to a point. When he'd had his fill, he'd just saunter off for a quieter spot.

I miss him.

Junkers F.13 Revival--- But Why, Exactly

Rimowa, better known for making metal suitcases, has recertified the Junkers F.13 for production. This article is in French and this should take you to an English translation. Junker's press release is here.

In late `15, they were projecting a price of $2.2 million per.

Seems like a lot of money for an airplane that might outrun a Cessna 150 on a good day. Spending the kind of money it took to re-engineer and make a F.13 seems like a very British thing to do.

Your Sunday Morning Rotor Noise

A whole lot of helos: