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, May 31, 2019

Because It's Friday

A rather eventful day on the Durango & Silverton

The Death of the Pocket Camera

I recently completed a trip. For decades, I always had a camera with me when traveling. That has been a 35mm SLR, a 35mm compact and, for well over a decade, a compact digital camera of some flavor.

On this trip, I took none of them. I used only my phone.

Chicago, looking to the north:


To the left, on the riverfront, is the (in)famous Watergate. To the right of that is the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. This photo was shot during the Potomac River Arrival into National Airport.


The photos are almost as good as I could have taken with my pocket camera. The tradeoff is that I had one less thing to bring along.

Unclear on the Constitution; Trump Ed.

Trump, asked about impeachment by Congress, called it a “dirty word” and said he couldn’t imagine the courts allowing him to be impeached. “I don’t think so because there’s no crime,” he said.
Maybe one of his lawyers can do a "How Impeachment Works" coloring book for Trump.

I do not feel a need to expound on impeachment procedure. I believe that every reader of this blog knows that.

But Trump doesn't, bless his heart.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Funding Medicare for All

A nonpartisan coalition of economists has published the findings of an intensive report they conducted, and have concluded that the United States could “pretty easily” fund a universal healthcare program for 400 years just by charging people a dollar to punch Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the face.

“There is no smugger a face to be punched in all of Washington, so if you charge a buck to do it, you’ll make a fortune,” Prof. Sherry Lamb told reporters this morning at a press conference announcing the report’s findings.
I'd pay a lot more if I could get to cut the line.

Flameouts Are No Fun

There is this stuff called "diesel exhaust fluid". It's not supposed to be used as a fuel additive. Diesel engines don't like that.

But Murphy being the bastard that he is, DEF has been added into fuel stocks. it is really bad when it is added to Jet-A, which is essentially diesel fuel that is made to a higher purity level.

DEF has been found in Jet-A. What seems to be happening is that instead of adding anti-icing additive to Jet-A, the guys at the fuel farms at airports have added DEF.

A Cessna Citation made a deadstick landing last month because of DEF contamination.

For the jet drivers, the problem is that once DEF is in Jet-A, it's not detectable. If the FBO has mixed fuel additive with Jet-A in the refueling truck's tank, there's no way to know that they didn't accidentally add DEF. If it's done at the point of refueling, then the pilot can oversee the refueling. Which may be not much fun, but it's better than having one or all of your engines flameout in flight.

Petty Is as Petty Does; Trump Ed.

The White House asked the Navy to hide a destroyer named after Senator John McCain in order to avoid having the ship appear in photographs taken while President Trump was visiting Japan this week, White House and military officials said Wednesday.

Although Navy officials insisted they did not hide the ship, the John S. McCain, they did give all of the sailors aboard the day off on Tuesday as Mr. Trump visited Yokosuka Nhttps://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/29/us/politics/uss-mccain-navy-ship.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage
aval Base.
...
A Navy service member based on Yokosuka said that all of the American warships in the harbor were invited to send 60 to 70 sailors to hear Mr. Trump’s address, with the exception of the McCain. When several sailors from the McCain showed up anyway, wearing their uniforms with the ship’s insignia, they were turned away, the service member said.
How fragile is the ego of Der Trumpenfuhrer, that his staff fears that even the sight of a USS John S. McCain patch on a sailor's uniform would send him into a mouth-foaming rage.

The sad thing is that nobody seems to really be surprised that Trump's childish jealousy of McCain has reached such levels.

By the way, in case your first instinct is to bleat about the "liberrrull media," the Wall Street Journal is reporting the same story.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

A Tough Sell in Court; Nazi Ed.

After [Asswipe] pleaded guilty to charges in connection with painting swastikas on an Indiana synagogue’s property and setting the yard ablaze, his attorney argued in court documents that the 21-year-old man did not deserve prison time.
...
Prisons are hotbeds for brainwashing by white supremacists, [Asswipe's] lawyer, Samuel Ansell, wrote in a sentencing memo filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. Probation and significant community service were more appropriate punishments, Ansell wrote.
...
Ansell argued that [Asswipe's] radicalization was heavily influenced by what his wife, who was 17 at the time of the crime, had been reading online. “According to [Asswipe], she began with rightwing yet mainstream views such as those presented on Fox News,” Ansell’s sentencing memo said. “She then moved on to writings by Ben Shapiro and articles on Breitbart News which bridged the gap to the notorious white supremacist and anti-Semitic propaganda site Stormfront.”

[Asswipe] “bought into the propaganda,” Ansell wrote.
I guess I have a twinge of sympathy for Asswipe's attorney. He had a pretty tough sell to make. But the judge didn't buy it, Asswipe got three years.

Asswipe's attempt in court to throw Mrs. Asswipe under the bus must have been unconvincing as fuck. She got probation in state court, the Feds apparently didn't think she was the primary culprit.

Hate speech has its consequences. I believe that these low-wattage fools think that Trump sympathizes with what they are doing. The remind me of gay-bashers who are shocked when the cops arrest them for their crimes.

Monday, May 27, 2019

WW2 Vets: Let's Not Repeat the Mistake From the Great War Vets
(In Lieu of My Usual Screed About Memorial Day)

Stickied for the day, newer posts follow..

(The usual screed)



You may remember Frank Buckles. He was the last living American doughboy from the First World War. When he passed away, eight years ago, there was a movement to have him lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda to honor all of the veterans of the War to End All Wars.

That request was denied by the then-Speaker of the House, John Boehner, in one of the pettiest political acts in modern memory.

We should not repeat that mistake. There should be a law that when the last living veteran of the Second World War goes west, whomever he or she happens to be, that person gets a state funeral, including lying in state in the Capitol, to honor the millions of men and women who served in the war. It should not be left to the whims of whatever gasbags are the Speaker of the House and the Senate Majority Leader at the time.

I once knew a man who was born in 1930 and who was a combat vet in the war. He had signed up when he was fourteen. When he wrote his bather from boot camp to ask his dad's help in proving his that he was too young, his father wrote back: "Boy, you got yourself into this mess, you get yourself out of it." (He did, when he retired after thirty years of service.)

I've long ago forgotten his name. I don't know if he's alive. But there were probably other kids who did that. They answered the call at a time of great peril; the veterans of WW2 have richly earned such a final honor.

So we may have time to make sure that this honor is enshrined into law. But we shouldn't dawdle.

Pardoning War Criminals

As far as the rule of law in armed conflict, Trump's anticipated move to pardon a boatload of war criminals would be as though Chancellor Adenauer did the same after the Second World War. The Germans weren't aggressive in going after those guys, but they didn't formally shake their hands.

That's what Trump is going to do.

Which is why you should read this post on Lawfare.

NPO's Losing Trust

The Florida-based Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) ran into a media storm about its spending and fundraising practices at the beginning of 2016. As had happened with Susan G. Komen before it, there was an extended period of denial, followed by high level staff departures, then precipitous fundraising losses. Komen, in fact, slipped from its high rank of 21st among the nation’s fundraisers to 127th, or from a high take of nearly $350 million in 2011 pre-scandal to $198 million in 2015.

Similarly, the Wounded Warrior Project raised almost $373 million in donations for the 2015 fiscal year, but the next two years’ financials show the effects of the public scandal on public support. In 2016, the new executive director announced the organization had lost between $90 and $100 million in donations as a result of the scandal. Its latest Form 990 shows those revenues continued to drop; it raised only $211 million in donations in 2017.
Losing public trust for a non-profit organization is a serious matter. It's one thing if one person gets sticky-fingers; for they can call in the cops, press charges and ratchet down on audits and cross-checks. It's another thing if the management is being seen to living the high life at the expense of the donors.

(Past posts about Komen and WWP)

So I'm pretty sure that Trump is in Japan, doing his usual routine of shitting oh his hosts (if they are democracies) and praising autocrats/dictators, but you can go read the news yourself. As it seems, giving large amounts of money to Trump and then trying to leverage that for personal favors is turning into a risky affair.

Yuks From the Past


References for the young'uns: McHale's Navy, The Fugitive. The final episode of that show set a record for most-watched shows. It's still #3 for most-watched series finales.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Caturday

Chip is looking a little evil on a homemade ("artisanl?") blanket:

Friday, May 24, 2019

Freudian Slip, DHS Ed., or "Robbing Peter to Pay Donald"

DHS is going to make the TSA cough up just shy of a quarter of a billion dollars to "support the humanitarian crisis on the Southern border".

Not "ameliorate" or "combat" or "deal with" or anything like that. "Support". You are free to speculate as to the meaning of that word choice.

Since Trump is raiding every Federal pot of money for his manufactured emergency border wall, he'll probably order money taken from the Statue of Liberty National Park.

Anywho, the last time I flew commercial, there was a PA announcement that someone had left a money-clip at the TSA checkpoint. If that was unclaimed, now we know where the money went.

Narcissistic to the Very End and Beyond

A healthy dog was put to death in Virginia at the behest of its owner, who made the request in her will.

The owner of Emma, a Shih Tzu mix, died March 8. Her dog was held at the Chesterfield Animal Shelter before it was picked up March 22 and then euthanized, NBC affiliate WWBT in Richmond first reported.
...
Emma's owner, Anita Cullop-Thompson, 67, wanted to be interred with her pet, Morrissett Funeral and Cremation Service owner Larry Spiaggi told NBC News.
Dogs are property, so as far as the dead woman ordering her dog be put down, no crime, there.

But morally and ethically? That is severely fucked up. I'm somewhat surprised that they could find a vet to do it, for as far as I know, the Cat-Murdering Vet hasn't taken up practice in Virginia.

If there is an afterlife, Emma's owner should spend it with Emma gnawing her ass every day.

Because It's Friday

An Indian Garrett:

Goombye, Theresa May

Bowing to the inevitable, Theresa May announced Friday that she will step down as U.K. Conservative Party leader in two weeks, admitting defeat in her attempt to take Britain out of the European Union and sparking a contest to replace her as prime minister.

May said she will quit as head of the governing party on June 7 but stay as caretaker prime minister until the new leader is chosen, a process the Conservatives aim to complete by late July.
Which means that she'll still be the Prime Minister when the Chief Saboteur of the Western Alliance comes for an official visit.

Her replacement may end up being a man who, for all intents and purposes, is another pseudo-lackey of Vladimir Putin. I suppose one must pay the devil his due, for Putin will have, to some degree, conquered the Anglophone Alliance and NATO without firing a shot. Even when his minions have left office, the Western Alliance will have been severely weakened.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Corrupt AF, Again

President Trump has personally and repeatedly urged the head of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to award a border wall contract to a North Dakota construction firm whose top executive is a GOP donor and frequent guest on Fox News, according to four administration officials.
I don't know how much of this has to go on until conservatives pull their heads out of the sand and wake up to the fact that Trump is corrupt to the core. But I'm guessing it will be a long time until they can grow a spine.

I thought Democrats were spineless. But when faced with Trump, the Republicans have all of the spine of a one-celled organism (and they're about as smart).

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

Don Henley's The End of the Innocence is a song from the 1980s that sounds mightily relevant today:
O' beautiful, for spacious skies
But now those skies are threatening
They're beating plowshares into swords
For this tired old man that we elected king

Armchair warriors often fail
And we've been poisoned by these fairy tales
The lawyers clean up all details
Since daddy had to lie

In the present day, we have a president who thinks that he is above the law, that he was elected to be king. "L'État, c'est moi" is the motto of the Trump Administration. Trump, as enabled by his coterie of bootlickers, truly believes that he can do what he wants with no consequences.


Monday, May 20, 2019

And Kris Kolbach Also Wants a Pony and an Ice Cream Machine in His Office, Too!

Kris Kolbach, whose last jobs involved whitening the voting rolls and stealing elections, has given Der Gropenfuhrer his list of demands should Trump choose him to be his Border Fuhrer Czar. It is an eye-popping ask from a self-entitled snowflake:
1. Office in the West Wing.

2. Walk-in privileges with the president.

3. Assistant to the President rank - at highest pay level for WH senior staff.

4. Staff of 7 people (2 attorneys, 2 research analysts, 1 scheduler, 1 media person, 1 assistant).

5. POTUS sits down individually with Czar and the secretaries of Homeland Security, Defense, Justice, Ag, Interior, and Commerce, and tells each of the Secretaries to follow the directives of the Czar without delay, subject to appeal to the President in cases of disagreement.

6. 24/7 access to either a DHS or DOD jet. Czar must be on the border every week.

7. Ability to spend weekends in KS with family on way from border back to DC, unless POTUS needs Czar elsewhere.

8. Security detail if deemed necessary after security review.

9. Serve as the face of Trump immigration policy - the principal spokesman on television and in the media.

10. Promise that by November 1, 2019, the president will nominate Kris Kobach to be DHS Secretary, unless Kobach wishes to continue in Czar position.
What is it with these right-wing grifters? It's a good thing for Bizjet Kris that Gen. Mattis is no longer SecDef. The first time that ol' Kris walked into Mattis's office and issued orders, Mattis would kick his pasty ass all the way down the stairs of the River Entrance.

If Trump has any spine at all, this list should receive a FOAD stamp, with orders to the WH cops to deny Kolbach entrance to the WH and to shoot him if he argues the point.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Next, the Hazards of Dihydrogen Monoxide



That's right: LVI% of Americans are, well, ignorant and bigoted to boot.

You probably don't need to be told that the Arabic numeral system is the one that we use today. The concept of zero was in use in Arabia when Europe was firmly stuck in what was formerly called the Dark Ages. Because of the use of zero, Muhammad al-Khowarizmi was able to develop algebra at a time when Europeans were still using Roman numerals.

I'm reasonably sure that if the pollsters asked if "the Arabic system of al-Gebra" should be taught, a lot of people would say no.

Why the World Hates New York Bankers and Lawyers

If you have the time and stomach, you ought to read this article about how the banksters and the lawyers fucked over a lot of immigrants by selling them overpriced taxi medallions. It is a long read, but in short, the same usual suspects who brought down the economy in the Aughts are still hard at work.

We should have built and used guillotines the last time around. But Obama and Holder couldn't even be bothered to investigate those fuckers. Hell, Holder was one of them and, arguably, did his level best to ensure that few of the banksters, if any, were ever held accountable..

If You Are Pregnant, Planning to Become Pregnant, or Could Become Pregnant Someday.....

..... and if you live in one of the states that is criminalizing abortion, I have a quick bit of advice to you:

Leave. Move to another state. Do it now.

If your boyfriend or husband doesn't want to move, then dump his ass and go.

For you are at risk of incarceration. If you become pregnant and have a miscarriage, all a prosecutor has to do is convince a low-wattage jury that you did something wrong and you'll be sent to prison for second degree murder.

Up to one in four pregnancies end in a miscarriage. Most every woman I know who now has children had one or more miscarriages. It's devastating enough, every mother-to-be I personally know mourned their miscarriages as the loss of a child. But to then have the cops go tromping around and some Christian Talibanista of a prosecutor attempt to prosecute them? That's outrageous.

Did you have a couple of drinks one night? The state could try and argue that there's a link between that and a subsequent miscarriage. Or they could charge you with child endangerment.

In the case of Georgia and some of those other Cult of the Fetus states, once you leave, never go back. Not even for a visit. Don't even change planes at Atlanta.

The striking thing about the Christian Taliban Fetus Cultists is that they show absolutely zero concern for the child other than criminalizing being a mother. I don't know of any of them that are doing anything to promote prenatal health. There's no move to expand the availability of prenatal care. There is zero support for anything to do with the child or the mother from conception to post-birth that doesn't involve incarceration.

Oh, they say that they are "pro-life". But where are their works to actually help people? Help mothers with child-care? Nope. Do anything to make pediatric care available to poor people or to rural areas where the hospitals have closed? Not going to happen. Support education so that the kids may have a future? Dream on. They stopped supporting things like that when black kids became legally entitled to use them.

The Talibanistas are moralists; the only tool they know is the stick.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

A Falcon 900:

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Caturday

Max has gotten coned.

Friday, May 17, 2019

The Passing of Giants

Both Herman Wouk and I.M. Pei have died. Both men were centenarians.

Tardar Sauce, R.I.P.

Grumpy Cat has died.


She was seven.

For NRA Members

You should read Tiffany Johnson's letter to the NRA Board and, if you agree, sign it.

Note for commenters: For the purposes of this post, anti-NRA snark will be deleted without warning or even the formality of a red card.

Because It's Friday

More footage from 4014's first test run.


It's amazing that they restored it in less than three years.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Fucking A Right


I presume that as soon as the fourteen year old daughter of one of those members of the Cult of the Fetus in tthe Back-Alley States becomes pregnant from her cousin or a kid under the bleachers, that she'll be shipped off to a blue state for an abortion quicker than you can recite the names of the noble gases. (If the father-to-be happens to be a racial minority, they won't get past saying "neon" before the girl is on her way to New York.)

For that's what I've seen happen, both with respect to abortion and divorce. People who say that divorce is a sin and that marriage is forever seem to change their tunes most ricky-tick when their marriages go sour.

Is Trump Waking Up to How Much He's Been Rolled by Bolton and Pompeo?

President Trump has told his acting defense secretary, Patrick Shanahan, that he does not want to go to war with Iran, according to several administration officials, in a message to his hawkish aides that an intensifying American pressure campaign against the clerical-led government in Tehran must not escalate into open conflict.
There was a process for diplomatic discussions with Iran. But between the machinations of chickenhawks like Pompeo and Bolton and the infantile dislike by Trump of everything Obama did, Trump blew that up last year.

The chickenhawks have persuaded Trump that by tightening things on Iran, that the Iranians would bend to their will. It hasn't happened. Other than the Saudis and the Israelis, who are always happy for Americans to shed blood and treasure for them, there is precious little support around the world for Bolton's War. To the rest of the world, the irrational player in this has been Trump. If anyone has managed to make the Iranian government appear to be a sober and thoughtful party, it has been Trump.

Trump may now want to talk to Iran, but to the Iranians, the current crisis has been manufactured by the chickenhawks. Trump has been painted into a corner by the chickenhawks.

He may now be realizing that Pompeo and Bolton are no friends of Trump, that they view Trump as a puppet whose strings they can pull.

Mosque Fire


Setting fire to a mosque during the holy month of Ramadan... gee, I wonder who could have done that?

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Trump's War (or Bolton's)

The U.S. on Wednesday ordered all nonessential government staff to leave Iraq, and Germany and the Netherlands both suspended their military assistance programs in the country in the latest sign of tensions sweeping the Persian Gulf region over still-unspecified threats that the Trump administration says are linked to Iran.
...
The U.S. on Wednesday ordered all nonessential government staff to leave Iraq, and Germany and the Netherlands both suspended their military assistance programs in the country in the latest sign of tensions sweeping the Persian Gulf region over still-unspecified threats that the Trump administration says are linked to Iran.
Pompeo, of course, is lying like a senior Trump official:
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said the United States does not seek a war with Iran, amid rapidly growing tensions between the two countries.
The Iran nuclear deal was not perfect. But Trump blew it up because of his childish opposition to anything and everything that President Obama did. That is the bottom line for Trump: He's opposed to everything Obama did. It is a level of childish vindictiveness that normal people outgrow by the time their age reaches double digits.

If a war ensues, the U.S. is likely going to be largely going it alone. The rest of the Western world is blaming Trump for ratcheting up tensions with Iran. Bolton, in particular, is trying to engineer a war. It has apparently been Bolton's lifelong dream to mastermind a war, and now he seems to be achieving his goal.

In a just world, Bolton would be in a jail cell in The Hague for war mongering.

Trump, who has criticized other presidents for getting into wars in the Middle East, is on the verge of making the mother of all foreign policy fuckups.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Fascists of a Feather Flock Together

President Donald Trump is meeting with Hungary’s far-right prime minister — another example of the president not being shy about engaging with foreign leaders not warmly embraced by the West.

Trump and Hungary’s Viktor Orban both have espoused hard-line anti-migration rhetoric. Orban says he hopes he and Trump can coordinate that stance into a global alliance.
It's far more than that. Dictator Orban has made the judiciary of Hungary subservient to his whims. He has used the power of the state to neuter his opposition and destroy press freedoms.

Trump is, in point of fact, is jealous of Orban. The American ambassador to Hungary, a long-time friend of Trump, said this: “I can tell you, knowing the president for a good 25 or 30 years, that he would love to have the situation that Viktor Orbán has, but he doesn’t.

That's it in a nutshell: Trump hates our democracy. He seeks to undermine it at every turn.

The Republican Party is now the Trump party. Those who still call themselves "Republicans" will, some day, wake up and see what damage Trump has wrought in their name.

One can only hope they wake up before the American experiment is killed off by Trump's greed and his lust for power.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Caturday

Two shelter cats:

Trump the Wannabee Tinpot Tyrant

For living memory, the Fourth of July has been a unifying and patriotic holiday. Not any more, for El Caudillo de Mar-a-Lago wants to make the Fourth of July all about him. He's obsessing over it more than he is issues such as trade and terrorism.
President Trump has effectively taken charge of the nation’s premier Fourth of July celebration in Washington, moving the gargantuan fireworks display from its usual spot on the Mall to be closer to the Potomac River and making tentative plans to address the nation from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, according to top administration officials.

The president’s starring role has the potential to turn what has long been a nonpartisan celebration of the nation’s founding into another version of a Trump campaign rally. Officials said it is unclear how much the changes may cost, but the plans have already raised alarms among city officials and some lawmakers about the potential impact of such major alterations to a time-honored and well-organized summer tradition.
...
The president has received regular briefings on the effort in the Oval Office and has gotten involved in the minutiae of the planning — even discussing whether the fireworks should be launched from a barge in the Potomac River, administration aides said. The president has shown interest in the event that he often does not exhibit for other administration priorities, the aides added.
Because Trump is a showman and he figures that if he puts on a really good show, it'll distract everyone from how badly he's doing. No doubt farmers, who are being hammered by Trump's trade war, will be cheered by the televised spectacle of Der Fuhrer of Orange reviewing the troops.

Meanwhile, Brokeahantus sees nothing wrong with using the Department of Justice as his personal hit squad.
When asked whether he would consider directing [Bootlicking] Barr to investigate the Bidens, as some Democrats fear, Trump said he had not spoken to Barr about the issue. But he left open the possibility, saying “certainly it would be an appropriate thing to” discuss with Barr.

“Certainly it is a very big issue and we’ll see what happens. I have not spoken to him about it. Would I speak to him about it? I haven’t thought of that. I mean, you’re asking me a question I just haven’t thought of,” he said, noting it “could be a very big situation” for Biden.
Because that is what autocrats, like Erdogan of Turkey, do. I guess Biden should be grateful that Trump hasn't asked the Saudis for the loan of their bone saw.

Of course, don't look for Republicans to stand up to Trump. It's now an accepted fact that Republicans are loyal to Trump and not to their country. They might as well stand up in public, thrust out their right arms, and swear fealty to Trump.

FL Kids: Don't Act Up in Miss Williams's English Class

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law Wednesday a bill that will allow school districts in Florida to arm teachers.

The controversial measure, SB 7030, is an extension of the guardian program put in place after the Feb. 14, 2018, Parkland massacre in which 17 high school students and staff were killed. That program allowed some employees — but not classroom teachers — to receive weapons training and then carry guns on school property. Twenty-five of 67 Florida school districts are taking part in the program, including Lake and Broward counties.

The new law signed by DeSantis would allow classroom teachers to take part, too, with local school board authorization.
There was a fair amount of hyperventilating over this issue from the Astroturfers Against All Guns, who have been saying that the bill requires arming teachers. It does not.

I suspect that the vast majority of teachers won't opt for the training, even if their district offers it. The kids would know which teachers have guns. Even if they didn't, a public records request for training records would show who took the weapons training.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Because It's Friday

UP "Big Boy" 4014 rolling under her own power:


A couple of interesting points: First, you'll see her original tender parked in front of 844. 4014 is using Challenger 3985's tender, as 4014's tender hasn't been converted to carry fuel oil. Second, at one point, you'll see the train back up far enough to clear a signal block.

It's been a few months shy of sixty years since a Big Boy was steaming. I really thought that even the UP Steam Shop had bit off too big a project to have her ready for the Golden Spike Sesquicentennial. They've cut it mighty fine, though, as the ceremony is today.

Of course, 4014 and 844 won't be at the original location of the Golden Spike. Those tracks were pulled up for reuse elsewhere during World War II. All that's at the original location is a live-steam play.

4014 and 844 on the road:

Trump Continues to Lie About Tariffs

You can read his entire thread of stupid babblings here.

China doesn't pay tariffs to the U.S. Treasury. That's not how tariffs function. The "far more wealth" that Trump claims will flow into the Treasury will be paid, not by the Chinese, but by Americans.

Tariffs are a tax on Americans. Trump cannot be so stupid as to believe that the Chinese are paying the tariffs. So what he is doing is spreading another one of his Big Lies, knowing that his supporters will repeat it and that the mouth-breathing bobbleheads on Fox will obediently repeat it.

By the way: Remember all of those free-trade Republicans, the ones who have abhorred tariffs in the past and who know that tariffs are a tax on Americans? They've been silent, which suggests to me that the pro-trade Republicans are nothing other than lily-livered cowards.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

The Freude is Particularly Shaden on This One


A US teenager who took legal action against his school after he was banned for refusing the chickenpox vaccination now has the virus, his lawyer says.

[Numbnuts], 18, made headlines last month after he unsuccessfully sued his Kentucky school for barring unimmunised students amid an outbreak.
Meanwhile, RFK, Jr's family has come out and lovingly said that he is nuttier than a jar of peanuts.
We love Bobby. He is one of the great champions of the environment. His work to clean up the Hudson River and his tireless advocacy against multinational organizations who have polluted our waterways and endangered families has positively affected the lives of countless Americans. We stand behind him in his ongoing fight to protect our environment. However, on vaccines he is wrong.

And his and others’ work against vaccines is having heartbreaking consequences. The challenge for public health officials right now is that many people are more afraid of the vaccines than the diseases, because they've been lucky enough to have never seen the diseases and their devastating impact. But that’s not luck; it’s the result of concerted vaccination efforts over many years. We don’t need measles outbreaks to remind us of the value of vaccination.
I think he's a fucking loon.

Q: How Do You Sink an Indian Submarine?

A: Knock on the hatch.

The INS Arihant nearly sank last year because somebody forgot to secure a hatch.

Shorter Trump: Only the Little People Pay Taxes

The data — printouts from Mr. Trump’s official Internal Revenue Service tax transcripts, with the figures from his federal tax form, the 1040, for the years 1985 to 1994 — represents the fullest and most detailed look to date at the president’s taxes, information he has kept from public view. ... The numbers show that in 1985, Mr. Trump reported losses of $46.1 million from his core businesses — largely casinos, hotels and retail space in apartment buildings. They continued to lose money every year, totaling $1.17 billion in losses for the decade.

In fact, year after year, Mr. Trump appears to have lost more money than nearly any other individual American taxpayer, The Times found when it compared his results with detailed information the I.R.S. compiles on an annual sampling of high-income earners. His core business losses in 1990 and 1991 — more than $250 million each year — were more than double those of the nearest taxpayers in the I.R.S. information for those years.
Trump's Mouthpiece du Jour says that the report is "demonstrably false", but then does not point to any data that contradicts the report.

Which leads to the conclusion that Trump is a loser who has kept himself afloat by bullshit, bluster, and screwing over anyone who has been gulled enough to do business with him.

He is, in short, a grifter, a con artist. The sad thing for this nation is that tens of millions of Americans continue to buy into his con.

Monday, May 6, 2019

What the Hell Is It With Trump?

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza on Sunday.

That the two would meet is not surprising — Russia, after all, is economically invested in Venezuela and is standing behind President Nicolás Maduro, who managed to remain in power last week after opposition leader Juan Guaidó’s attempt to stir a military uprising failed. Guaidó declared himself interim president of Venezuela in January and is recognized as the country’s legitimate leader by several nations, including the United States.

But the timing of the Lavrov-Arreaza meeting is, if not surprising, then at least conspicuous. On Friday, two days before the foreign ministers met, President Trump said at a news conference with Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini that he had spoken with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the phone.

“I had a very good talk with President Putin — probably over an hour,” Trump said. “And we talked about many things. Venezuela was one of the topics. And he is not looking at all to get involved in Venezuela, other than he’d like to see something positive happen for Venezuela.”
Last time I looked at this, the State Department, right up to Secretary Pompeo, has been saying that Russia has been involved in Venezuela. Two Tu-160s visited Venezuela and flew at least one patrol.

But Putin both flatters Trump and gives him a line of shit and Trump just eats that shit up. Trump has this thing about cozying up to dictators and autocrats.

What is it with him? And why do all of those "principled conservatives" keep their mouths shut (or firmly glued to Trump's ass)?

Apropos of nothing:

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Equity Firms and Vulture Capitalists Are Destroying American Industry

The victim this time was Remington Arms, a profitable company that was drained of cash and driven into bankruptcy by Cerberus.

That a vulture firm is named after the Hound of Hell is a bit ironic.

Happy Estúpido Anglo Drinking Day

As I explained two years ago. But, as it seems, there is a good reason for Americans to celebrate the holiday. [1]

If there are bars in your area, it'd be a good idea to be home by 3PM so that the cops can have a clear path to busting the drunks.
_____________________________________________
[1] True Americans. Not the treasonous trash who celebrate their War to Preserve Slavery.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

A KC-10 taking off:

Friday, May 3, 2019

Because It's Friday

UP Big Boy 4014 has steam up.


That they have the boiler lagging on implies that everything under it has checked out OK.

It may not be long until we get to see a sight that hasn't been seen in sixty years: A Big Boy moving under its own power.

World Press Freedom Day

To mark World Press Freedom Day, the New York Times is taking down its paywall for three days.

   Good situation
   Satisfactory situation
   Noticeable problems
   Difficult situation
   Very serious situation

Our esteemed president believes that "freedom of the press" means that the press is free to write laudatory stories about him. The core of his political calculus is to attack press freedom. His press secretary's main job is to reinforce his lies with a dead-eyed look of someone who knows that their soul has long ago been sold on the cheap.


Among the major Anglophone countries, which proclaim themselves as beacons of freedom, press freedom is only "satisfactory". After a few more years of this miserable excuse for a leader, press freedom in the U.S. will probably be downgraded.

But hey, the Orange Fascist is doing what he can to shore up and distract his base. Whenever he is in trouble, he starts screeching about abortion and his lapdogs in the "no longer either moral or a majority" eat that shit up.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Farewell to The Saint

And one of the Bonds.
Actor Sir Roger Moore, best known for playing James Bond, has died aged 89, his family has announced.
...
Sir Roger's family confirmed the news on Twitter, saying he had died after "a short but brave battle with cancer".
His obituary is here.

I first became aware of him in The Saint. An older cousin was staying with us for the summer and he was addicted to the show.

Still, here is one of my favorite clips with Sir Roger from the Bond moviesL

DoJ = Bunch of Political Hacks

The Trump administration formally declared its opposition to the entire Affordable Care Act on Wednesday, arguing in a federal appeals court filing that the signature Obama-era legislation was unconstitutional and should be struck down.

Such a decision could end health insurance for some 21 million Americans and affect many millions more who benefit from the law’s protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions and required coverage for pregnancy, prescription drugs and mental health.
Looking at a straight political calculus, OK. Trump is playing to his base. The Democrats are likely welcoming this fight. They're going to broadcast that Trump is actively trying to take health insurance away from tens of millions. Those with pre-existing conditions are going to get screwed. The congressional Republicans and those thinking of running for office know this; this is the last fight that they want to have next year.

"Donald Trump and the Republicans Want You to Die of Pre-Existing Conditions"-- the attack ads almost write themselves.

But, on a systemic note, this is fucking dreadful. It's the job of the Justice Department to defend the constitutionality of the laws that have been enacted. Congress enacts the law, the Executive enforces and defends the law, and the Court says what the law is. If any president disagrees with the law, the proper route is to go to Congress to change the law, not to slime its way into court and attack the law there.

Worse, how are we, as a people, supposed to know what conduct is illegal and what isn't if the enforcement of the law is openly acknowledged to be up to the whims of the Executive branch? If ignorance of the law is no defense to breaking it, now we have to know what laws are effectively voided because the prosecutors are going to look the other way?

Before you ask whether or not this means that I believe it's wrong for prosecutors to refuse to enforce low-level laws against the possession and use of pot. Yes, I believe that it should be legalized. I also believe that the drug laws should be enforced until they are changed. Not enforcing the law because it's not politically popular is wrong.[1]

It's no stretch to think of other times when the law wasn't enforced because it was politically expedient to do so. The Fifteenth Amendment was not enforced throughout the South for over ninety years. Laws against murder were similarly not enforced, depending on the skin color of the victim and the killer.[2]

This isn't rocket science, people. This is basic, grade-school level civics: The Legislative Branch enacts the law, the Executive Branch enforces the law; the Judicial Branch says what the law is.

Trump, though, is a wannabee autocrat/tyrant. He arrogates to himself the job of saying what the law is. And his acolytes, like Bill the Bootlicker Barr and Miss Lindsey, go right along with it.
__________________________________________
[1] The better approach would be to target the rich areas for enforcement, for after a few dozen rich kids get sent to the slammer for pot possession, the laws might change quickly. Because money talks.
[2] No, I'm not accusing the Trump Administration of being pro-lynching. But it would not be a total shock if they were.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Random Surgical Observation

Trump needs to have a plexiglas window installed in his abdomen so that Miss Lindsey Graham can see out.

Bangity on Steel, a Virgin No More

I recently shot a .22 steel plate "man on man" match, the first steel match I'd ever shot.

This is what the rack looks like:


The plates were colored black, except the far-right plate, which was colored red and was the stop plate. Shoot the red one before getting all the others and you foul out.

I shot this gun, a 6" S&W Model 17:


It was a little difficult, as I was the only revolver shooter up against guys with various 10-round .22 autoloaders. And, of course, if I missed a plate, I had to reload.

But I did prevail in a few stages because either I kept it slow and the other guy emptied his magazine without clearing the plates or the other guy had problems. Even with reloading, I won two stages. .22 autos can be fickle. I had one plate left after shooting six, saw that the other guy wasn't finished, reloaded one round and beat him by a half-second or so. That happened twice. But with a miss or two and low capacity, I eventually got knocked out.

But hey, I won both revolver and female classes (by default). And it was a lot of fun!