Words of Advice:

"We have it totally under control. It's one person coming from China. It's going to be just fine." -- Donald Trump, 1/22/2020

“We will not see diseases like the coronavirus come here..and isn't it refreshing when contrasting it with the awful presidency of President Obama."
-- Trump Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, 2/25/20

"I don't take responsibility for anything." --Donald Trump, 3/13/20

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

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

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

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

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Big Fucking Deal, All They Sold Were Fudd Guns, Anyway.

Walmart Inc said on Wednesday it shifted firearms and ammunition out of sales floors of some U.S. stores amid nationwide protests over the death of an unarmed black man at the hands of police last week.
Color me unimpressed. The last time that I looked at a gun case in Walmart, other than a couple of shotguns, they had nothing that was even remotely usable for riot defense.

It is where Fudds shop, now.

Barack Obama Speaks Out

As millions of people across the country take to the streets and raise their voices in response to the killing of George Floyd and the ongoing problem of unequal justice, many people have reached out asking how we can sustain momentum to bring about real change.
Ultimately, it’s going to be up to a new generation of activists to shape strategies that best fit the times. But I believe there are some basic lessons to draw from past efforts that are worth remembering.

First, the waves of protests across the country represent a genuine and legitimate frustration over a decades-long failure to reform police practices and the broader criminal justice system in the United States. The overwhelming majority of participants have been peaceful, courageous, responsible, and inspiring. They deserve our respect and support, not condemnation — something that police in cities like Camden and Flint have commendably understood.

On the other hand, the small minority of folks who’ve resorted to violence in various forms, whether out of genuine anger or mere opportunism, are putting innocent people at risk, compounding the destruction of neighborhoods that are often already short on services and investment and detracting from the larger cause. I saw an elderly black woman being interviewed today in tears because the only grocery store in her neighborhood had been trashed. If history is any guide, that store may take years to come back. So let’s not excuse violence, or rationalize it, or participate in it. If we want our criminal justice system, and American society at large, to operate on a higher ethical code, then we have to model that code ourselves.

Second, I’ve heard some suggest that the recurrent problem of racial bias in our criminal justice system proves that only protests and direct action can bring about change, and that voting and participation in electoral politics is a waste of time. I couldn’t disagree more. The point of protest is to raise public awareness, to put a spotlight on injustice, and to make the powers that be uncomfortable; in fact, throughout American history, it’s often only been in response to protests and civil disobedience that the political system has even paid attention to marginalized communities. But eventually, aspirations have to be translated into specific laws and institutional practices — and in a democracy, that only happens when we elect government officials who are responsive to our demands.

Moreover, it’s important for us to understand which levels of government have the biggest impact on our criminal justice system and police practices. When we think about politics, a lot of us focus only on the presidency and the federal government. And yes, we should be fighting to make sure that we have a president, a Congress, a U.S. Justice Department, and a federal judiciary that actually recognize the ongoing, corrosive role that racism plays in our society and want to do something about it. But the elected officials who matter most in reforming police departments and the criminal justice system work at the state and local levels.

It’s mayors and county executives that appoint most police chiefs and negotiate collective bargaining agreements with police unions. It’s district attorneys and state’s attorneys that decide whether or not to investigate and ultimately charge those involved in police misconduct. Those are all elected positions. In some places, police review boards with the power to monitor police conduct are elected as well. Unfortunately, voter turnout in these local races is usually pitifully low, especially among young people — which makes no sense given the direct impact these offices have on social justice issues, not to mention the fact that who wins and who loses those seats is often determined by just a few thousand, or even a few hundred, votes.

So the bottom line is this: if we want to bring about real change, then the choice isn’t between protest and politics. We have to do both. We have to mobilize to raise awareness, and we have to organize and cast our ballots to make sure that we elect candidates who will act on reform.

Finally, the more specific we can make demands for criminal justice and police reform, the harder it will be for elected officials to just offer lip service to the cause and then fall back into business as usual once protests have gone away. The content of that reform agenda will be different for various communities. A big city may need one set of reforms; a rural community may need another. Some agencies will require wholesale rehabilitation; others should make minor improvements. Every law enforcement agency should have clear policies, including an independent body that conducts investigations of alleged misconduct. Tailoring reforms for each community will require local activists and organizations to do their research and educate fellow citizens in their community on what strategies work best.

But as a starting point, here’s a report and toolkit developed by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and based on the work of the Task Force on 21st Century Policing that I formed when I was in the White House. And if you’re interested in taking concrete action, we’ve also created a dedicated site at the Obama Foundation to aggregate and direct you to useful resources and organizations who’ve been fighting the good fight at the local and national levels for years.

I recognize that these past few months have been hard and dispiriting — that the fear, sorrow, uncertainty, and hardship of a pandemic have been compounded by tragic reminders that prejudice and inequality still shape so much of American life. But watching the heightened activism of young people in recent weeks, of every race and every station, makes me hopeful. If, going forward, we can channel our justifiable anger into peaceful, sustained, and effective action, then this moment can be a real turning point in our nation’s long journey to live up to our highest ideals.

Let’s get to work.
(From here. Emphasis and links in the original have been preserved.)

Meanwhile, Herr Twitler has been bleating overnight. You can go find those spewings if you wish.

Maybe Times Are Changing

Republicans in northwest Iowa ousted Rep. Steve King in Tuesday’s primary, deciding they’ve had enough of the conservative lightning rod known for making incendiary comments about immigrants and white supremacy throughout his nearly two decades in Congress.
Yeah, I know, they were more upset that King couldn't do anything for them after he had been stripped of his committee assignments because of his support for American Nazis more than they cared about his support for said Nazis, but it's still something.

Hopefully, the next occupant of his Capitol Hill office will call in both fumigators and exorcists.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

George W. Bush Speaks Out

Laura and I are anguished by the brutal suffocation of George Floyd and disturbed by the injustice and fear that suffocate our country. Yet we have resisted the urge to speak out, because this is not the time for us to lecture. It is time for us to listen. It is time for America to examine our tragic failures – and as we do, we will also see some of our redeeming strengths.

It remains a shocking failure that many African Americans, especially young African American men, are harassed and threatened in their own country. It is a strength when protesters, protected by responsible law enforcement, march for a better future. This tragedy — in a long series of similar tragedies — raises a long overdue question: How do we end systemic racism in our society? The only way to see ourselves in a true light is to listen to the voices of so many who are hurting and grieving. Those who set out to silence those voices do not understand the meaning of America — or how it becomes a better place.

America’s greatest challenge has long been to unite people of very different backgrounds into a single nation of justice and opportunity. The doctrine and habits of racial superiority, which once nearly split our country, still threaten our Union. The answers to American problems are found by living up to American ideals — to the fundamental truth that all human beings are created equal and endowed by God with certain rights. We have often underestimated how radical that quest really is, and how our cherished principles challenge systems of intended or assumed injustice. The heroes of America — from Frederick Douglass, to Harriet Tubman, to Abraham Lincoln, to Martin Luther King, Jr. — are heroes of unity. Their calling has never been for the fainthearted. They often revealed the nation’s disturbing bigotry and exploitation — stains on our character sometimes difficult for the American majority to examine. We can only see the reality of America’s need by seeing it through the eyes of the threatened, oppressed, and disenfranchised.

That is exactly where we now stand. Many doubt the justice of our country, and with good reason. Black people see the repeated violation of their rights without an urgent and adequate response from American institutions. We know that lasting justice will only come by peaceful means. Looting is not liberation, and destruction is not progress. But we also know that lasting peace in our communities requires truly equal justice. The rule of law ultimately depends on the fairness and legitimacy of the legal system. And achieving justice for all is the duty of all.

This will require a consistent, courageous, and creative effort. We serve our neighbors best when we try to understand their experience. We love our neighbors as ourselves when we treat them as equals, in both protection and compassion. There is a better way — the way of empathy, and shared commitment, and bold action, and a peace rooted in justice. I am confident that together, Americans will choose the better way.

Ayup


Look at the cover and the orientation of the spine: Trump is holding that Bible upside-down.

You Should Also Go Read This

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the protests following the police murder of Mr. George Floyd.

This is what we've seen in 2020: Protests because the cops murdered yet another black man. Protests because people can't get haircuts and go drinking in bars.

You probably don't have to guess which group of protesters Trump sympathizes with.

Our Fake Christian President

Trump had peaceful protesters clubbed and sprayed with tear gas so he could hold a photo op in front of a church. He probably had to stop at a motel to pick up a Bible to hold, as the one he was waving about wan't his. Trump probably has never opened the pages of one, because he's not in it.

This is Owurr Deer Leedur, waving a Bible:


It didn't take long for people to improve the photo:


Arlington County withdrew its police officers from Washington, D.C. after those cops were used to assist in clearing away peaceful protesters so Trump could hold his propaganda shoot.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Unbottling the Wine of Wrath

The protests around the country following the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis are completely understandable. The violence by protesters is, to some degree, understandable. The unhinged violence by some cops, not so much.

Everyone reading this has probably seen the video of Mr. Floyd being slowly killed by a police officer. Everyone has probably seen the one cop standing by, glaring at spectators as if daring them to do something. Everyone has probably seen the two other cops who were assisting the killer as he snatched the life out of Mr. Floyd.

In the last few years, a cop in a Minneapolis suburb shot and killed a black man, Philandro Castile, during a traffic stop. Mr. Castile was lawfully carrying a gun, informed the cop of that, and the cop’s response was to kill him. The cop got off at trial. In fact, the only cop recently in the Minneapolis area who was convicted of shooting a civilian shot and killed a white woman.

Add to that Atatiana Jefferson, a black woman, who was shot in her own home by a Ft. Worth cop. Breonna Taylor, shot in her own home by police in Louisville. Ahmaud Arbery, shot and killed by a vigilante in Georgia; the shooter and his compatriots were not arrested for almost two months, until the video of the murder hit the news.

I don’t feel the need to go on and on. If you haven’t gotten the point, that’s on you.

Add to that the SARS-CoV-2/Covid-19 pandemic. Minorities have been getting sick and dying at much higher rates than white people. Minorities are over-represented in “essential industries”, such as health care (hospital workers, nursing home workers) and grocery retailing. Minorities do much more of the work in food processing plants. Add to that the fact that minorities, in general, have more health problems due to poorer diets, lack of access to health care, pollution and the general stress of living while black/brown.

It seemed that, as soon as the numbers starting coming out on the racial disparity in Covid-19 cases and deaths, the Trump Administration began pivoting from “lets do all we can to stop the pandemic” to “we have to open up the country to business”. The governors of several states, especially of states known in the past for such social niceties as cross-burnings, began pushing to open up their states for everything. The clear undertone from all of them was “well, it’s not our people who are getting sick, so let’s get going.”

(It could be other things, I suppose. Maybe Jared Kusher, one of the nation’s premier slumlords, complained to his father-in-law that his tenants weren’t paying rent. But I digress.)

Now let’s throw in another Covid-19 issue: Unemployment. The unemployment numbers went from essentially full-employment in February to Great Depression levels in May. Forty million people are out of work, and that number only reflects those who have successfully filed for unemployment. It doesn’t include people who can’t, because they may have no good access to computers and the Internet. It doesn’t include people who have been unable to file because their state’s computer system can’t handle the load (some states did that willfully).

The kids themselves have been out of schools for months. Poorer school districts have not been able to effectively handle the transition to online learning. The children don’t have computers or tablets at home and, even if they did, no access to broadband. Many of those kids got food assistance from their schools and are not reliably getting it now. Their parents, if they still have jobs, now have to cobble together daycare for the kids or leave them alone. That’s risky, as one thing is clear, there is little that enraptures Child Protective Services more than being able to charge working-poor people with child neglect.

Finally, factor in a president who revels in divisiveness and bigotry, a president who is nakedly interested in only doing things that benefits the wealthiest of Americans, while throwing rhetorical bones to his less-wealthy supporters. A president who is assuredly interested in widening the racial divide in this country. A president who has scrapped all efforts at police reform and oversight. A president whose reactions to the protests has been to echo racist tropes of the past (shooting the looters, letting lose vicious dogs). A president who sees an upside in looting and burning, as a way to inflame the passions of his supporters.

What do you have from all of this? You have lakes of gasoline, just waiting for a final spark to set the nation on fire. You have a president who has a vested interest in seeing the country burn.

And now there’s been a spark.

ISS Docking Sim

SpaceX has a sim for docking.

Let's just say that for me, it's a good thing that there isn't a fuel gauge. But I did it, first try.

See if you can match.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Go For Docking; Crew Dragon and ISS

A little after 10AM Eastern Time


You can try docking it yourself with this sim.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

The S-3 Viking, aka the Hoover (because it supposedly sounded like a vacuum cleaner):


The Hoover was retired when the Navy decided that it didn't want to play carrier-based ASW anymore.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Dragon: Try Two

Pro Tip for Clueless Idiots

Everybody, or almost everyone over the age of seven, has a video camera in their pocket.
A Minnesota venture capitalist has lost his job and had his office lease terminated after he was accused of racially profiling a group of black entrepreneurs in a video that went viral on social media.

Tom Austin, who ran the F2 Group, was filmed asking a group of five black men about whether they were tenants of the MoZaic East building on Lagoon Avenue in Uptown Minneapolis.
This is akin to Central Park Karen, who persisted in acting ignorantly even though she knew that she was being taped.

There once was a saying about "showing somebody the courtesy due an armed man."


It is probably high time that we all start treating each other with the same degree of courtesy and respect with which we would like to be treated.

For a viral video can fuck up your life almost as badly as a bullet.

Today is Memorial Day (Or It Should Be)


Men and women have paid with their lives for the defense of this country, in wars that ranged from being just to being exercises in damned foolishness. Even when they disagreed with the war or its aims, they did their jobs.

I will raise a glass to the memories of my father and most of my uncles, all of whom are gone, now, but who served in World War Two and the Korean War. I will drink to the memory of the son of a shipmate, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Caturday

Sammy has gone down hard:

Friday, May 29, 2020

A 14-Barrel Rifle

I've never seen the like, not as a rifled shoulder arm.

President Karen Demands That the Government Protect His Easily-Bruised Ego From Twitter

President Donald Trump, the historically prolific tweeter of political barbs and blasts, threatened social media companies with new regulation or even shuttering on Wednesday after Twitter added fact checks to two of his tweets. He turned to his Twitter account — where else? — to tweet his threats.
Let's be clear on this: Twitter didn't censor Trump's tweets. All they did was fact-check two of them.

But President Karen is triggered, triggered, by anybody who has the temerity to point out that he lies. He thinks it's censorship.


It's nothing of the sort. The tweet is still there. Anybody can read it. It's just labeled for what it is: A motherfucking lie.

But President Karen can't have any of that.

(He's also flat out wrong.)

Because It's Friday

The Denver & Rio Grande runs a train during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Famous Quotes, Then and Now.


(Feel free to steal this.)

The Neville Chamberlain of the Pandemic

That would be Donald Trump.
One of Donald Trump's first acts when he moved into the Oval Office in 2017, was to restore to a central position the bust of Winston Churchill that Barack Obama had moved out in favour of a bronze of Martin Luther King Jr.
...
Donald Trump is not imbued with the gift of soaring Churchillian rhetoric; there have been no "we shall fight them on the beaches" moments. Nor has he conjured the Rooseveltian calm when delivering one of his fireside chats. There have been days of infamy, but they have been invariably generated by things that the president has said, rather than what has been done to the United States.

And anyway, for a self-styled war leader he must at least face the charge of ignoring the warnings about the enemy he was confronting in the early stages, appearing more Neville Chamberlain than Winston Churchill.
"Peace in our time" rang as hollow as what Trump was saying for five weeks:
Jan 22: "It's one person coming in from China and we have it under control. It's going to be just fine."

Feb 2: "We pretty much shut it down coming in from China."

Feb 10: "Looks like by April, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away. I hope that's true. But we're doing great in our country. China, I spoke with President Xi, and they're working very, very hard. And I think it's going to all work out fine."

Feb 11: "In our country, we only have, basically, 12 cases and most of those people are recovering and some cases fully recovered. So it's actually less."

Feb 24: "The coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. We are in contact with everyone and all relevant countries. CDC and World Health have been working hard and very smart. Stock market starting to look very good to me!"

Feb 26: "When you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that's a pretty good job we've done."

Only Fifteen Cases, He Said

Trump, February 26, 2020:
And again, when you have 15 people [with coronavirus], and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that’s a pretty good job we’ve done.
May 27, 2020:
The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 has reached a somber milestone: As of Wednesday afternoon, the highly infectious viral disease has taken more than 100,000 lives nationwide.
Heckuvajob, Trumpie. Keep lying to yourself and your supporters about the great job you've been doing.

The rest of us know the truth of the matter.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Heh.


(As inspired by an email)

Scrubbed

SpaceX Crew Dragon launch is scrubbed for today. Next launch window is this Saturday at 3:22 EDT.

Any bets on how long it will be before some Trumpanzees start claiming that the launch was scrubbed because Trump went to Cape Kennedy to watch it?

Colin Was Right


Four Minneapolis officers involved in the arrest of a black man who died in police custody were fired Tuesday, hours after a bystander’s video showed an officer kneeling on the handcuffed man’s neck, even after he pleaded that he could not breathe and stopped moving.
In what universe is it OK to handcuff a guy, put him prone on the asphalt and then kneel on his fucking neck?

Note that the Minneapolis P.D.'s initial statement was self-serving bullshit:
"He was ordered to step from the car … after he got out he physically resisted officers … officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and the officers noticed the male was going into medical distress," Minneapolis police spokesman John Elder said.
"Medical distress"... yep, brought on by a cop kneeling on the the dead guy's neck for ten minutes.

Minneapolis is going to be sued to a fare-the-well for deficient training of their cops.

The guy doing the kneeling will count himself fortunate if he doesn't end up spending decades in a prison.

One thing you may have heard of is "excited delirium". That may be a real medical condition, but mostly it seems to be the coroner's diagnosis that gets made when some black dude dies in police custody.

Nine Years

The feeds are live for the SpaceX Crew Dragon launch later today.





Pandemic Humor



Monday, May 25, 2020

Trump Administration Directs Hospital Aid to the Rich, Shafting Hospitals That Help Poor People

Some things never change. When there there is a pot of money for assisting entities, the Trump Administration always operates in Reverse Robin Hood Mode: Steal from the poor and give to the rich. With states restricting hospitals from performing elective surgery and other nonessential services, their revenue has shriveled. The Department of Health and Human Services has disbursed $72 billion in grants since April to hospitals and other health care providers through the bailout program, which was part of the CARES Act economic stimulus package. The department plans to eventually distribute more than $100 billion more.

So far, the riches are flowing in large part to hospitals that had already built up deep financial reserves to help them withstand an economic storm. Smaller, poorer hospitals are receiving tiny amounts of federal aid by comparison.
Providence Health Systems, a chain so rich that it has $12 billion in cash, got over half-a-billion in free money from the Trump Administration. The Trump Administration made sure that the business bailout fund went to large companies and handed out lavish tax breaks to the rich.

Everyone else, not so much.

This recession is shaping up like almost every one since 1980: The rich get richer while the middle class and blue-collar workers slide further down the pole. The kids who are coming into the workforce, now, will lose years out of their earning potentials that they will never make up.

Sooner or later, if this keeps up, there will be pitchforks.

Pandemic Humor



This is Not Memorial Day

It shouldn't be. (Track back my usual rant, going back a dozen years.)

We're losing the World War II servicemen and women, along with the millions who went into the factories and shipyards, by the thousands each day. The children who helped raise nine million tons of produce in Victory Gardens a year are not much younger.

The day that we remember what they did should be a solemn day. It should not be a day devoted to barbecues, traveling, shopping, and driving while intoxicated.

I know it'll never be moved back to the 30th. The travel and retail lobbyists would throw fits (and cash campaign donations). Those critters only offer lip service to those who have died in service (or after serving) to our nation. Those venal snakes don't give a shit about anything else.

But it's wrong and as long as I'm doing this blog, expect something like this post each year.

P.S., Don't be a chucklehead and thank living veterans for their service. Memorial Day honors the dead, not the living.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Russia and Trump, Hand in Hand, Again

Kathleen M. Carley and her team at Carnegie Mellon University’s Center for Informed Democracy & Social Cybersecurity have been tracking bots and influence campaigns for a long time. Across US and foreign elections, natural disasters, and other politicized events, the level of bot involvement is normally between 10 and 20%, she says.

But in a new study, the researchers have found that bots may account for between 45 and 60% of Twitter accounts discussing covid-19. Many of those accounts were created in February and have since been spreading and amplifying misinformation, including false medical advice, conspiracy theories about the origin of the virus, and pushes to end stay-at-home orders and reopen America.
Nothing seems to change. The Russians flood Facebook and Twitter with all sorts of baseless conspiracy theories and similar bullshit and Trump and his army of flying monkeys swallow it whole.

Why the Stadiums Have Full Parking Lots

Rental car companies are parking their cars there.
Given the “precipitous drop in air travel” over the last few months, rental car companies at Philadelphia International Airport found themselves with more cars on their hands than their airport lots could handle, Calter said.

“In an effort to address this, rental cars are being stored at off-site locations, including the Wells Fargo Center parking lots," she said.
The same thing is happening in California:
Throughout the U.S., rental car companies have parked hundreds of thousands of unused cars as COVID-19 runs its methodical course, sickening Americans and grinding the economy to a halt. Particularly decimated is the travel industry. People aren’t traveling through airports, so no one is renting cars.

Seen from above, places such as Dodger Stadium and Santa Anita racetrack look as if it’s a big day at the yard, when, in fact, the stands are empty.
...
New cars sales are down too, creating a glut of vehicles that Americans suddenly have little desire to purchase as they confront the coronavirus crisis.

That excess has led to choked L.A.-area ports. For example, Toyota Logistics Services at the Port of Long Beach is normally a beehive of activity as new cars are off-loaded from ships, parked and prepped at the yard, and sent off quickly to dealerships throughout the Southland. Now, Toyota Motor Corp. has leased additional storage space at a sports venue in California.
If Hertz truly tanks, there may be a huge glut of used cars on the market.

Pharma Bro Gets to Rot in Prison

Over a month ago, Shkreli asked to be let out of prison because he, and only he, can come up with a cure for the SARS-2-CoVid virus.

The court didn't buy it.
A judge rejected the request of convicted pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli to be let out of prison to research a coronavirus treatment, noting that probation officials viewed that claim as the type of “delusional self-aggrandizing behavior” that led to his conviction.

U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto said in a nine-page ruling Saturday that the man known as the “Pharma Bro” failed to demonstrate extraordinary and compelling factors that would require his release under home confinement rules designed to move vulnerable inmates out of institutions during the pandemic.

Pandemic Humor




Your Sunday Morning Big Prop Noise

A Griffon-powered Spitfire Mk.18.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

How to Make Sure That You Never Have a Decent Job Again in Your Life; Covidiot Ed.

The Thompson & Knight law firm fired a Dallas-based administrative manager Friday after he allegedly posted a threat on social media against businesses with Covid-19 face mask requirements that had references to a handgun and hollow point-bullets.

Screenshots of the “no more masks” rant began appearing on Twitter Friday, with several users claiming it was authored by a Kevin Bain. Bain has worked since 2009 as the law firm’s document services manager, according to his Linkedin profile.
What kind of brain-dead -snowflake asshole does one have to be to issue an implicit public threat to shoot anyone making him wear a mask?

These days, anyone applying for a job better that slicing up carcasses in a slaughterhouse is going to be subject to at least a quick online "has this guy done something stupid" check. Issuing a vague threat to shoot people who piss one off is a great way to ensure that HR is going to say "we don't care how good you think he'll be, this one is a hard no."

One thing is probably certain: Asswipe is going to get a bunch of written notifications to stay the hell out of businesses in his area.

(H/T)

Pandemic Humor



Trump Fucks Over the National Guard

More than 40,000 National Guard members currently helping states test residents for the coronavirus and trace the spread of infections will face a “hard stop” on their deployments on June 24 — just one day shy of many members becoming eligible for key federal benefits, according to a senior FEMA official.

The official outlined the Trump administration’s plans on an interagency call on May 12, an audio version of which was obtained by POLITICO. The official also acknowledged during the call that the June 24 deadline means that thousands of members who first deployed in late March will find themselves with only 89 days of duty credit, one short of the 90-day threshold for qualifying for early retirement and education benefits under the Post-9/11 GI bill.
Does anyone not believe that this is deliberate? Trump is more than willing to use the military and the Guard as props, but he tries to fuck them over every chance he can.

Meanwhile, because Trump is shedding evangelical voters, he's now bleating that churches should reopen. Funny how Trump only found Jesus once he began running for office.

Caturday

Morning snooze time for Chip (again)

Friday, May 22, 2020

Goombye to the Little Crappy Ships, Eventually

The U.S. Navy has selected the design for its new FFG(X) frigate and explained why it is retiring four LCS ships early. The new frigate will be based on the Italian FREMM frigate. The American FREMM will be a modified version of the basic FREMM design and will be built by an American firm under license.
The Rumsfeldian DoD had three shipbuilding programs, the Ford class CVN, the Zumwalt class DDG and the LCS classes of whatevers.

All three programs have been gold-plated failures to a large extent.

The FFG(X) is going to be armed with a Bofors 57mm gun and Norwegian antiship missiles.

The first ship is planned to be in service in six years. I think we'll need them much sooner.

And yes, for the wingnuts, this is a decision out of the Trump Administration that I approve of. File this under "Acorn; Even a blind squirrel can sometimes find a".

Quarantinewhile, in Hong Kong

Chairman Xi is taking advantage of the pandemic to stamp down on dissent in Hong Kong.
China's ruling Communist Party has set in motion a controversial national security law for Hong Kong, a move seen as a major blow to the city's freedoms.

The law to ban "treason, secession, sedition and subversion" could bypass Hong Kong's lawmakers. ... [The new law says:] "When needed, relevant national security organs of the Central People's Government will set up agencies in Hong Kong to fulfil relevant duties to safeguard national security in accordance with the law."
It would seem to be obvious that the Communists would regard any protests whatsoever as being subversive, even if it's one man complaining about parking enforcement.

Anybody who lives in Hong Kong and who has the ability to live elsewhere would be well-advised to put those plans into a "Ready 15 " standby before the city has its own version of the Tienanmen Massacre.

In Taiwan, they might as well start giving away free M-16s or AK-47s, with six hours of training, with boxes of breakfast cereal.

TrumpBux Gun

I have a bad habit of putting in bids on Gun Broker. Almost all of the time, somebody comes in and bids higher. A few times, I've been relieved as I had let auction fever get away with me and someone else won the gun.

I dropped what I thought was a low bid on a 1911 that had been rebuilt with some upgraded parts. And I won it.


In this time of coronavirus, I don't have access to a range to shoot it. The gun is in good shape, I lubed it up. I settled, for now, to inserting empty mags and racking the slide back to see if it locked on everything. It did.

If all goes well, I'm mulling over stripping the bluing from the slide and Parkerizing it to match the frame.

Hmmm.

It appears that I'm not the only one who noticed that both Trump and his Band of Flying Monkeys became less interested in preventing the spread of the coronavirus once it became apparent that it has been having a disproportionate impact on minority communities.
“Not our problem” is an undercurrent in the largely white reopen-America protests popping up daily around the country. “Not our problem” is the undercurrent when people refuse to wear masks in public. And “not our problem” is the conclusion one cannot help but draw when one studies the calendar and sees that the protests commenced around the same time that the data on racial disparities became a central story line in covid-19 news coverage.
The Party of Trump might as well adopt pointy white hats as their official headgear.

Pandemic Humor



Because It's Friday

Steam in Pennsylvania.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Donnie Dithered and People Died

Fifty thousand people. That's how many would not have died if Trump had listened to scientists instead of his infamous gut. More Americans died in the pandemic than were killed in Vietnam because Trump was engaging in his baseless conspiracy theories.

Trump failed to act.

If he had acted two weeks earlier, 54,000 people wouldn't have died. A week earlier, 36,000 people. All dead because Dimbulb Donnie was more worried about the stock market than the lives of American citizens.

But he thinks that he and his son-in-law, the Prince of Merde, are doing a heckuvajob.

Well, we now have a feeling why Trump and his party aren't taking the pandemic seriously:
The effects of COVID-19 on the health of racial and ethnic minority groups is still emerging; however, current data suggest a disproportionate burden of illness and death among racial and ethnic minority groups.
And this:
Neighborhoods with high concentrations of black and Latino people, as well as low-income residents, suffered the highest death rates, while some wealthier areas — primarily in Manhattan — saw almost no deaths, according to the new data, which was published by the New York City Health Department.

The findings reinforced earlier reports showing that black and Latino New Yorkers were dying at twice the rate of white residents when the data is adjusted for age.
Given Trump's long history of racism, one would have to be exceedingly generous to the Grifter-in-Chief to not believe that, as soon as he was told that CoVid-19 was hammering minorities hardest, that's when he shifted gears and went full-bore on encouraging opening up everything.

Sad Day for Old New York

John Jovino's Gun Shop has closed after 109 years.

DeBlasio's probably creaming his drawers over this. Rudy would have been happy, until he decided to run nationally as a Trumpist.

Pandemic Humor



Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Want to Buy a Used A380?

Air France has retired all of theirs. They were going to, anyway, but the pandemic caused them to move up the retirement date by two years.

Assuming that there were the airports to accommodate them, they might make for one hell of a fire-bomber.

You May Have to Quarantine Your Bunnies

We're not the only species dealing with a pandemic:
Humans aren't the only ones facing a pandemic — rabbits across the U.S. are currently battling a deadly disease outbreak of their own. The virus has spread to at least six states, threatening to completely wipe out the country's wild rabbit population.

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease virus type 2 (RHDV-2) spreads quickly and is highly lethal, with the latest outbreak originating in New Mexico. ... Since March, the disease has spread through New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, California and Mexico. ... Morbidity and mortality rates of the disease can be over 90 percent, the USDA said, and it poses a serious threat to domestic rabbits as well.
If we were faced with a virus with 90% mortality, the same moronic Trumpanzees would be proclaiming "but muh rights" and seeking to crowd into bars.

Heh. Heh. Heh.


Best comment elsewhere: "The black guy who was sitting in that seat knew how to run it."

Timing is Everything, HundK Ed.

Ian McCollum, aka Gun Jesus, looks at the HK G11:


The workings of the rifle itself are insanely complicated, in traditional Swiss/German tradition. I saw a few reports on this rifle back in the day; cooking off of chambered rounds was a noted problem.

Corrupt Mike Hates Oversight

Turns out that Mikey Pompeo is about as venal as they come:
As federal workers file out of the State Department at the end of a Washington workday, an elite group is often just arriving in the marbled, flag-lined lobby: Billionaire CEOs, Supreme Court justices, political heavyweights and ambassadors arrive in evening attire as they're escorted by private elevator to dinner with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Until the coronavirus shut them down in March, the gatherings were known as "Madison Dinners" — elaborate, unpublicized affairs that Pompeo and his wife, Susan Pompeo, began in 2018 and held regularly in the historic Diplomatic Reception Rooms on the government's dime.

State Department officials involved in the dinners said they had raised concerns internally that the events were essentially using federal resources to cultivate a donor and supporter base for Pompeo's political ambitions — complete with extensive contact information that gets sent back to Susan Pompeo's personal email address.
...
It's unclear whether the inspector general was also investigating the Madison Dinners, but two administration officials told NBC News that Linick made some type of inquiry to the protocol office last week, before he was fired. One of the officials said Pompeo's office was then notified.
Pompeo is corrupt to the core. If he gets fired, it will be because Trump believes that he's the only one who can use public funds for his personal gain.

The Trump Cabinet: A Team of Grifters.

Pandemic Humor



Quacks for Trump

Republican political operatives are recruiting “extremely pro-Trump” doctors to go on television to prescribe reviving the U.S. economy as quickly as possible, without waiting to meet safety benchmarks proposed by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.
Practicing (and retired) physicians are not scientists. They are not epidemiologists. They are mechanics and pill-rollers, with some expertise in dealing with insurance companies.

It's funny, in a way. The same people who get so, so outraged when doctors have opinions on regulating firearms now seek out doctors to advise on economic and public health issues.

As the linked article explains, there are two prerequisite to being part of the GOP Doctor's Cult: A medical degree and a willingness to parrot everything that Trump says.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Collapse: Air Travel Ed.

On March 1st, 2,280,522 passengers went through TSA checkpoints. A year ago, 2,301,439 did. Yesterday, 244,176 people went through, compared to 2,615,691 a year ago.

And that is high cotton compared to last month. On April 14th, only 87,534 went through, which was less than 4% of the passengers from the same day a year ago.

(Data here)

Mind you, the air travel network has not been shut down. This is a combination of coronavirus and the fact that people aren't traveling for work or pleasure for economic reasons.

I don't know if that's going to change anytime soon. I should have been on a trip this week that was canceled. It would have be nice it I had a small van; I could have put a chemical biffy in it, food and beverages and then just stopped for gas every few hundred miles.

But who knew?

Is the Combination of Hydroxychloroquine and Adderall Rotting Trump's Brain?


Because potato rustlers are a big deal in Virginia?

That man is not right in the head.

Fucking Anti-China Wingnuts Ignore Reality

You don't have to go very far to find modern-day conservatives who are following Their Deer Leedur's lead and blasting China for flooding the United States with cheap goods.

Passing over China's currency manipulation and other such bullshit, the current cries of conservatives are hypocritical, at best.

There are over three thousand Wal-Mart in this country and nearly two thousand Target stores. How much stuff can you find in either store, as far as clothing and hard goods, that is made in this country? In Wal-Mart, other than the few guns that some stores sell, you're going to have to look hard.

You might remember that Snapper walked away from selling to Wal-Mart because Wal-Mart was pushing them to make cheaper mowers, offshore, with the Snapper brand on them. If you buy name-brand jeans from Wal-Mart, you are getting ones that are more cheaply made.

Which means that to some degree, the choice is yours. You can look for products that are made in the States (not just "assembled"), but it's going to take some time and it's going to cost you some money.

If you are buying the cheapest stuff there is and then complaining that it's made in Chinese sweatshops, well, here's your sign.

Trump Thinks That There Is an Epidemic of People Dying From Falling Down the Stairs

...the president recently said that he’d like a “review” of how the coronavirus deaths are counted and studied by the government, citing hypothetical cases in which a person has the virus but is killed by other unnatural means, such as falling down a flight of stairs.
Experts believe that the pandemic death toll has been underreported. But that doesn't sit well with Trump. Like the state of Georgia, Trump is trying to cook the books so that a lower number is reported. After all, cooking the books is what Trump has done all through his business life, to the point that it is a near-miracle that he hasn't done time for fraud.

Is it any wonder that he would apply similar methods to trying to make the pandemic look not as bad?

Grifters gotta grift.

Fuck, It's Been 44 Years!


I presume it's still shedding money to those involved.

Pandemic Humor



Officer Eddie Haskell, R.I.P.

Ken Osmond, the Leave It to Beaver actor known for his convincing portrayal of the weaselly Eddie Haskell on two iterations of the classic TV comedy, has died, according to his son Eric. He was 76. No further details were given.
He had a life after the show:
Osmond worked as a helicopter pilot and studio propmaker before joining the LAPD, bulking up on milk shakes and bananas to make the minimum weight to qualify for the job. (He said he wore a mustache so people wouldn't recognize him from TV.)

In 1980, he and his partner were on motorcycle patrol for drunken drivers when they came upon a stolen taxi driven by Albert Cunningham. Following a crash and a chase on foot, Cunningham shot Osmond; his bulletproof vest stopped two bullets, and a third was deflected by his belt buckle.
With the mustache, Osmond looked a lot like a certain famous porn star. That caused its own set of problems:
Due to his startling resemblance to legendary porn star John Holmes, a rumor started that Ken was actually Holmes and had quit the porn business to become an L.A. cop (supposedly, his superiors in the LAPD weren't entirely convinced that he actually wasn't Holmes, and he was called in by the Internal Affairs division to "prove" his identity. Holmes was renowned for the size of his male member, and Osmond stated that he settled once and for all the rumors that he was Holmes by a "visual aids" demonstration).
Can you imagine the stories about when Osmond got to wave his dick at those pricks in IA?

Being a motor cop back in the day was seriously macho. R.I.P., Officer Osmond.

Your Tax Dollars at Work (Seriously)

If your local fire department needs a new ladder truck, plan on them spending a million bucks for it. Two firefighters can climb onto the end of it and then the truck will put them on top of a building in a minute.

The firefighters on the truck are wearing abut $7,000 worth of gear, between the turnout gear and the SCBA equipment.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Truth


So say we all!

Normalizing Authoritarianism is What Republicans Do

As you probably know by now, Trump is firing the I.G. for the State Department, who was looking into Secretary Pompeo's abuses of power. That's what Trump does. He will never tolerate oversight by anyone. He is sort of a low-wattage version of Richard Nixon.

But this is the point: Republicans are normalizing authoritarianism. They are normalizing the idea that a president does not have to answer to Congress-- no testimony, no discovery of documents, no nothing if a president doesn't want to comply. Their only remedy, now, is impeachment and removal. All of the post-Watergate reforms are being stripped away by Trump and his coterie of buttmonkeys and ass-kissers.

Presidents don't give up power willingly. All of the power being glommed onto by Trump will still be there when a Democrat is president. A Democrat who may be fine with using all those new toys to vex Republicans, who will have zero cause to complain.

"You reap what you sow" is true in politics.

Forty Years Ago

Mt. St. Helens blew up.

There was the usual bullshit about government overreach when the state tried to keep people away from the mountain before it blew up.

Pandemic Humor



Sunday, May 17, 2020

Nobody Should Ever Give a Fuck What Susan Collins Has to Say About Anything

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, criticized President Trump for firing State Department Inspector General Steve Linick on Saturday. Collins' comments come as she faces her own criticism from both Democrat and Republican voters in an election year. ... “The President has not provided the kind of justification for the removal of IG Linick required by this law,” she tweeted. “I have long been a strong advocate for the Inspectors General. They are vital partners in Congress’s effort to identify inefficient or ineffective government programs and to root out fraud and other wrongdoing.”
Collins is a sterling example of a gutless wonder. She's more than willing to flap her gums about things that supposedly disquiet her, but when push comes to shove, when it comes time to actually take a stand on the stupid shit that Trump and his coterie of clowns have done, she's as much an unapologetic ass-kisser as Lindsey Graham.

Oh, she might feel bad about it, and she'll wring her hands in public, but then she willingly joins the queue to give Trump a hummer.

Pandemic Humor



This one is a little old:

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

A pair of F-106s:


The F-106 was the last dedicated interceptor flown by the Zoomies. the video shows two of them flying from Otis AFB, which has survived attempts to close it.

Saturday, May 16, 2020