Words of Advice:

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

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

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

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

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

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Friday, November 30, 2018

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Manafort & Corsi Angle for Pardons; Trump Slouches Towards Impeachment

A pardon for Paul Manafort is “not off the table,” President Donald Trump said, drawing swift rebuke from critics who fear the president will use his executive power to protect friends and supporters caught up in the Russia probe. ... Trump also praised two other supporters who are caught up in the Russia probe — conservative author and conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi and longtime Trump associate Roger Stone. He said they were “very brave” for resisting Mueller’s investigation.
Corsi probably will need a pardon, as he has hired a lawyer who has the reputation of being a clown (and a racist). Corsi wants his lawyers to file "a criminal complaint" against Mueller, which shows that, for a guy who says he has a Ph.D., Corsi's understanding of the criminal justice system hasn't gotten about second-grade level.

What this will eventually get Trump is impeachment for obstructing justice by using the pardon power to choke off an investigation that would ensnare himself, his sons and his son-in-law.

The question then will be whether there will be enough Republicans who will stand up for the rule of law over their party.

I'm betting "no".

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Pistol Training

The Army way, in the Second World War.


There are some differences between then and now.

Apocalypse Now- We Are Going to Be So Screwed!

This is a long report in the New York Times concerning the disappearance of insects around the world.

It will come as no surprise that one of the possible causes is the wide use of neonicotinoid pesticides. They seem to be the equivalent of using megaton-sized nuclear weapons to end a hostage standoff.

It's more complicated than that, of course. In some areas of the planet, the insect population has dropped to one-sixtieth of what was previously observed.

So what happens when the insects drop off? Nothing good. But I'm not going to rehash the article, read it for yourselves.

Monday, November 26, 2018

InSight Lander is on Mars!

Intact and functioning, so far.
After seven months of traveling through space, the NASA InSight mission has landed on Mars. A few minutes later, InSight sent the official "beep" to NASA to signal that it was alive and well, including a photo of the Martian surface where it landed.
Good work, guys!

Of Course Trump Hates Science

Unchecked climate change will cost the US hundreds of billions of dollars and damage human health and quality of life, a US government report warns.

"Future risks from climate change depend... on decisions made today," the 4th National Climate Assessment says.

The report says climate change is "presenting growing challenges to human health and safety, quality of life, and the rate of economic growth".

The warning is at odds with the Trump administration's fossil fuels agenda.
Trump probably had no good way to block a report that is required by law, but he had it released the day after Thanksgiving as a way to try and bury the story.

Which is why I'm posting this when I am.

Between refusing to do anything about rising greenhouse gas levels to demolishing the relationships that the United States has had with other democracies, together with cozying up to tinpot autocrats, Trump may be the most effective anti-American terrorist in history.

Capitaine Renault-Trump

It's pretty clear that Trump, possibly the worst detective in history, is willing to accept the denial of Saudi Prince Bone Saw that Bone Saw had nothing to do with the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

I can see the script of CSI-Trump:


Trump: You're under arrest for multiple homicides

Crook: I didn't do it, see? I'm as innocent as a new-born babe, see?

Trump: Good enough for me. You're free to go.

The difference between Capitaine Renault and Trump is that, when push came to shove, Renault did the right thing. The one thing you can count on Trump to do is sprain his arm, patting himself on the back.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Caturday

Chip and some toys, which are not currently impressing him.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Thursday, November 22, 2018

2LT Trump in SE Asia

From elsewhere:
"I have often thought about how Donald Trump's leadership skills would have worked out in SE Asia with a platoon of 11B draftees?"

"One can almost hear the clink of the grenade spoon in the night."

Shorter Trump: "It's So Unfair That We Have an Independent Judiciary!"

When you drill down to the core of Caudillo Bone Spur's ranting abut the Federal courts, the key point is this: Trump considers any ruling that he disagrees with to be "sooooo unnnffffaaaaaiiirrrrr!"

In that, he displays the emotional maturity and temperament of a three-year old. Which may be insulting to a lot of three-year olds to compare them to Trump.

As a now-retired attorney, I never found it to be a wise practice to engage in personal criticism of judges. But things are different in Donnie's world.

Happy Thanksgiving

First, the traditional song:



Followed by the traditional video:


Have a thought for those who brought the meal to your table today. Also, those who are doing their jobs today.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Well, That's a Depressing Fact


From XKCD

Yep, They Have Him By the Balls.

Despite mounting evidence of the prince’s role, some of which the president has seen during intelligence briefings, Trump indicated that U.S. economic and national security interests — especially the billions of dollars in arms purchases he said the Saudis would make — outweighed the need to establish whether Mohammed was involved and, if so, punished.

“They have been a great ally,” he said of the Saudis, and “the United States intends to remain a steadfast partner.”
As the article goes on to point out, Trump has a track record of taking the personal assurance of autocrats and dictators over evidence. Trump is of the opinion: "Who ya gonna believe, me or your lyin' eyes?"

But, more to the point, I suspect that the Saudis have Trump and/or his son-in-law by the balls, as does Putin.

Which leaves Kim Jong-un. There, Trump thinks that if he signs any sort of agreement with the Norks, that he'll get a Nobel Peace Prize. He'd probably sell Melania to a Somali brothel for that.

Lock Her Up! Lock Her Up! (and Other Trump Stupidity)

Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and a top White House adviser, sent hundreds of emails about government business from a personal email account last year, The Washington Post reported Monday.

The emails were sent to White House aides, Cabinet members and Ivanka Trump’s assistants, many in violation of public records rules, the paper said.
After her dad spent months on the campaign trail, bleating about Hillary Clinton using a private email account, one might suppose that everybody in Team Trump would have known not do do that.

But it's apparent that the Trump Family regards obeying the law as something for "the little people" to do.

Meanwhile, her father, Commandante Bone Spurs, has criticized Adm. McRaven for not getting bin Ladin sooner. Trump either ooesn't know or doesn't care that it was the CIA which had the job of finding bin Ladin. The special warfare folks' job was to go and whack him when the CIA found him, which is what they did.

In the same article, it was mentioned that Trump said that he was "too busy" to go to Arlington to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns. Most of Trump's daily schedule is set aside for fucking off, he only does official business for three hours a day. He could have skipped a couple of hours of watching Fox News to hop over to Arlington, but no.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Heh. Heh. Heh. Headline Ed.


(If you didn't get it, read this.)

Your Sunday Morning Turboprop Noise

C-130 flight demonstration at Farnborough:

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Caturday

Chip the hunter!

Friday, November 16, 2018

The Allure of Public Executions for These Clowns; GoFraudMe Ed.

Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina on Thursday said an "extremely successful" GoFundMe campaign that raised over $400,000 for a homeless veteran was a scam.

New Jersey couple Katelyn McClure and Mark D'Amico created the GoFundMe campaign on Nov. 10, 2017, saying homeless veteran Jonny Bobbitt Jr. had given his last $20 to McClure for gas after her car broke down. The campaign's original target goal was $10,000 and said money would be used to help Bobbitt with rent, a vehicle and up to six months of living expenses. In the next two weeks, the campaign went viral and was shared widely in the media and online in the US and internationally.

"The entire campaign was predicated on a lie," said Coffina in a release posted Thursday on Facebook. "Less than an hour after the GoFundMe campaign went live, McClure, in a text exchange with a friend, stated that the story about Bobbitt assisting her was 'completely made up.'"
It all might have succeeded if the homeless dude hadn't sued because he wasn't getting enough of a cut. Once he did that, the cops started looking into the whole affair.

Pro tip: If you're engaged in defrauding people, don't sue your co-conspirators. It's like trying to press charges because your dope dealer sold you a bag of oregano.

Preying on people's good natures to scam them with fake charitable causes ought to be a heavy felony to begin with and then ramp up from there. There will be online fundraisers for good causes that people won't donate to because of these three criminals.

Corporate Inanity; S&W and ABC

First, ABC. If you watch Good Morning, America's second hour this week, you will have seen that a good part of it has been nothing but a Disney infomercial. Look, I understand that GMA is the softest of the three morning news shows, and that a goodly percentage of its hard news s rewarmed shit from the previous evening's news show, but even with that, the amount of corporate toadyism going on is a bit much.

Now, Smith & Wesson: One of the worst features of a 21st Century S&W revolver is the frelling internal lock. It's a poor design, to say the least. There are credible reports of spontaneous activation with lightweight J-frames and with guns firing heavy magnum loads. There are a number of S&W fans who scour the the used gun cases because they don't trust the lock.

What's even more inane is this: I offer, for your consideration, two S&W guns manufactured in this decade:


The gun on top is a Model 60-15. You can see the activation hole for the internal lock just above the cylinder release.

The gun on the bottom is a M&P Shield. It has no internal lock.

The trigger pull for the striker-fired Shield is lighter than the double-action of the Model 60. It is shorter, too. But there's no lock.

I suppose that one would have to be either a S&W executive or one of their lawyers for this to make any sense. For it sure doesn't make sense to me.

Because It's Friday

UP 3985 in Kentucky:


3985 has been in storage for repairs for the last eight years. UP plans to start that work after they have placed 4014 on the road.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Greedy Fucks of Facebook

It's pretty damn hard to read this lengthy story about how Facebook's senior management failed to respond to the prevalence of fake accounts, especially from Russia, and not conclude that their blindness was willful. Sheryl Sandberg, who is the #2, comes across as being particularly aggressive in trying to ensure that nobody at Facebook looked into things and, when they did anyway, that nothing would come of it.

Meltdown in Old Blighty? &
The Fall Guys; Khashoggi Ed.

British PM Theresa May has negotiated a draft Brexit agreement with the EU. At least three of her cabinet ministers have quit today in protest.

One of the intractable issues seems to be the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. Setting up a hard border between the EU and Great Britain would require re-establishing the fences, patrols and checkpoints between Ireland and Northern Ireland. But that may violate the Good Friday Agreement, which effectively ended the Troubles.

Whether or not May's government falls is something we may know this week.

------------------------------------------

Saudi Arabia's public prosecutor has concluded a senior intelligence officer ordered Jamal Khashoggi's murder, and not Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
...
The prosecutor has charged 11 people over the murder and is seeking the death penalty for five of them.
Yeah, sure. The Saudis have changed their stories on this faster than Trump shifts his lies. This latest iteration of whodunit seems calculated to both insulate Prince Bone Saw and to give O3 Trump the fig leaf that he needs to push back against congressional sanctions against Mr. Bone Saw and his cronies.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Kind of Hard to Not Use the Words "Attention Whore;" Lewinsky Ed.

Monica Lewinsky said Monday that she decided to participate in a new documentary series about her infamous 1990s affair with then-President Bill Clinton so that she could ensure that her experience "never happens to another young person in our country again."
So, for two decades, Lewinsky has wanted to be a rivate person, notwithstanding her 1999 interview with Barbara Walters and her starring in a documentary in 2002.

When she walked out of an interview two months ago, one has to wonder whether she chose to do so because she already had a deal with A&E, instead of any actual butthurt.

One might reasonably suppose that we're going to be hearing about this, off and on, for the next forty years.

It would be interesting to know who put up the money for this.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

His Bone Spurs Were Acting Up

President* Trump faced criticism on Saturday while traveling in France after the White House canceled his trip to a cemetery in the northern part of the country due to bad weather.
Trump's conduct during the Great War Centenary has been nothing short of disgraceful and a national embarrassment.

Which brings me to my next point.

History may not repeat itself, but it has a rhythm. One of those rhythms is a situation known as a Thucydidian Trap, in which a rising power, seeking to assert itself, ends up in a devastating war with an established power.

There have been two such traps since 1900. One, primarily between Great Britain and Germany, which took place in three parts (war from 1914 to 1918, armistice from 1918 to 1939, and war from 1939 to 1945) ended up with well over 100 million dead and the effective destruction of the empires of Great Britain, Germany, France, Belgium, Austro-Hungary, Russia, Japan and the Ottoman Turks.

The second one, between the USA and the USSR, was avoided at a few points when cooler heads prevailed at different times. What helped was that the leadership of both countries had bright memories of the cost of a large war, were under no illusions as to the ease of such a war, and set up mechanisms to talk to each other in times of crisis.

We may be approaching another such trap between China and the United States. Only this time, nobody has any memories of the cost of an all-out war. One nation has spent the last quarter-century beating up on inferior foes. The other one hasn't fought a war in decades and, the last time they did, kind of got their asses kicked by a much smaller country.

The leadership qualities to avoid falling into a Thucydidian Trap are, to my mind, lacking in both nations. There may be some pissant junior officer on either side who sparks an incident that will lead to a general war and, quite possibly, a nuclear one.

Your Sunday Morning Big Prop Noise

A Vickers Vimy, the RFC's heavy bomber from the Great War:

The Silence of the Guns

The guns fell silent one hundred yeas ago today at this moment, one minute after John Gunther was killed, ending the First World War. It was, at the time, the bloodiest war in history.

Armistice Day was first commemorated a year later.

Field Marshal Foch turned out to be correct when he said that the resultant peace was just a twenty-year armistice.

One hundred years. Everyone who was in the war, everyone who had any first-hand recollection of the war is gone. My grandfather had two infant sons in 1917 that he called his 'weather-stripping," because they kept him out of the draft. They're gone, too.

There's a tangible difference between learning history from those who were there and from books. When my English class read 1984, the elderly teacher has been a teenaged girl during the First World War. She told us that before a movie rolled, somebody would stand up before the audience and tell why it was so necessary to send their young men to fight the Kaiser-- the "two minute hate" had been a real thing.

The sad thing is that there is a sense that the lessons of that war are fading. That we're heading back towards a time when the only ways that disputes between nations were resolved was by trade wars and shooting wars. Leaders are starting to take up smoking in powder magazines.

Anyway, as I'm sure that I've ranted before, anyone who is running a "Veterans Day Sale" should have one testicle crushed with a mallet.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Opening Day

Everyone be safe and follow the Four Rules.

Caturday

Bella shows some of the fun of shooting a solid-black cat in a well-lit room using natural light:


I probably should have enabled the flash in order to fill in the background. But I like how it came out.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Because It's Friday

Steam in Cuba, a couple of decades ago:

80 years

Kristallnacht was 80 years ago.

Germany had been an the trajectory to the Shoah since the German far-right began blaming Jews for the outcome of the Kaiser’s War (WW1). If there was any doubt as to what was going to happen, it should have ended on November 9, 1938.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Talkie Report: Bohemian Rhapsody

It does not suck.

Go to see Rami Malek's performance as Freddie Mercury. If he's not nominated for a "best actor" Oscar, then the theater where they host the awards ceremony should be razed.

But don't go if you're expecting a biopic. At best, it should be labeled "based on a true story," for considerable liberties were taken.

But still, it's one of the best pictures that I've seen in a good while.

And hell, it's a cheap concert. You'll probably stay through the credits for the music.

For your viewing/listening pleasure, here is Queen's set at Live Aid in 1985:

I Did My Part, You Do Yours

VOTE!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Ayup

The West Wing Buys These in Case Lots

Even Fox News Can't Stomach Trump's Racism

NBC and Fox News Channel both said Monday that they will stop airing President Donald Trump’s campaign advertisement that featured an immigrant convicted of murder.

CNN had rejected the same ad, declaring it racist.

Fox pulled the ad Sunday “upon further review,” said Marianne Gambelli, president of the network’s ad sales department. Fox did not immediately say how many times it aired on either Fox News Channel or the Fox Business Network.
Fox News has promoted, nay, been actively egging on Trump's racist attacks. For them to draw the line, now, a day before the election, smacks more of blatant hypocrisy rather than newly-fund morals.

Americans! Get Of Your Asses and Go Vote Tomorrow!

If you are eligible to vote in the United States and if you have not already voted, get out and vote tomorrow. If you do not, you are morally banned from commenting about political matters on this blog until 2020.

For if you don't do the one act that every eligible citizen can do to have a say, then running your mouth/keyboard is a masturbatory act.

If you are a woman, your ancestors fought for decades to gain the right to vote. If you are a minority, your ancestors were intimidated by violence and murder to stop them from voting. Racists and bigots fought enfranchising both women and minorities. Even to this day, racists are doing what they can to make it hard for minorities to vote.

Give them nothing. Vote. Or shut the fuck up.

Vote.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Of No News to Anyone; White Supremacist Ed.

Trump keeps blowing his racist steam-whistle and the neo-Nazis are hearing it loud and clear.

Meanwhile, law enforcement has not been paying attention to the threat from neo-Nazis. Even though, since 2001, racist whites have committed more terrorist acts and killed more people than any other group, law enforcement, from the FBI on down, hav largely been ignoring them. DHS issued a report about the threat from white supremacists in 2009; the Confederacy Party lost their collective minds.

The FBI warned thirteen years ago that white supremacists were infiltrating law enforcement. Nobody seemed to give much of a shit.

The Asswipe of Pittsburgh was yelling "all Jews must die" after he was arrested following his slaughter of eleven (and mostly elderly) Jews. Imagine, if you will, what the reaction would have been if he had, instead, yelled "Allahu akbar." The FBI would be questioning his third cousins and anyone that he had talked to in the last ten years. He would be charged with terrorism and Republicans would be calling for him to be sent to GITMO.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

A group of Poles put together a nice tribute to the MD-11:


UPS is retiring their MD-11s. One pilot once said that flying a MD-11 is like having sex with an ex-; Fast, fun and unforgiving as all hell.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Caturday

In this closeup, you can see some of Chip's battle scars.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Because It's Friday

A Big Boy update from the UP:



This will give you an idea of how much work it has taken to rebuild a part of the locomotive. It would not surprise me to learn that there is no other place in the Western Hemisphere that could do this work.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

"Stochastic Terrorism"

It's a term that I had not heard before.

The definition and examples in the post are seven years old. Things are getting worse.

(H/T)