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

Friday, January 31, 2020

Because It's Friday

Pere Marquette #1225

Trying the Dead?

(An update to this one.)
Pattis [dead guy's lawyer] said the defense team will continue to seek a trial to clear his name.

“We intend to proceed on as if he were alive to vindicate him,” Pattis said.
That is just silly AF. The state isn't going to waste its money trying a dead guy. The maximum imprisonment in Connecticut for murder is life and, here, the defendant croaked himself. I fully expect that the prosecutor will file two papers: A "suggestion of death" and then a dismissal, neither of which require the other side to consent.

Respect for my former profession precludes me from speculating what the real motive would be for seeking to keep a criminal case going against a defendant who has corpsified himself.

Where this will get fought out is in civil court, particularly if his kids don't inherit what's left of his estate.

Dollars to doughnuts says that the criminal case ended when the defendant shuffled himself off of this mortal coil.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

The Few Are Now Two

The last surviving Battle of Britain ace pilot from World War Two has died aged 101.

Wing Cdr Paul Farnes was among the 3,000 airmen - The Few - who defended Britain's skies in 1940.

He died at his home in Hampshire on Tuesday morning, the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust said.
There are two other pilots left, both centenarians, as one might expect.

The Word of the Day

Ignoranus: Someone who is both stupid and an asshole. As used in a sentence: ""Trump is a true ignoranus."

Only Speak Good of the Dead

Fotis Dulos, the Connecticut man accused of murdering his estranged wife, Jennifer Dulos, last May in a case that received national attention, died on Thursday, his lawyer said, two days after he attempted suicide at his home.

Mr. Dulos had been in critical condition after suffering carbon monoxide poisoning on Tuesday, when the police found him unresponsive in a vehicle in his garage in Farmington, Conn., a suburb of Hartford, officials said.

The lawyer, Norm Pattis, told reporters outside the Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx that Mr. Dulos was declared dead at 5:32 p.m.

“Mr. Dulos was tried and convicted in the court of public opinion,” Mr. Pattis said on Thursday in a text message.
Being "convicted in the court of public opinion" doesn't seem to have bothered Messers. Simpson and Blake. The idea that Dulos offed himself because people thought that he killed his wife and likely chopped her up into bits is risible at best.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

The End of Norton?

Norton, one of the last makers of British motorcycles, has gone into bankruptcy.

I have relatives who have been into bikes for a long time. Me, I regard them as death machines, more due to the motorists that share the road with them than the bikes themselves.

And clowns like this:

The Age of Impeachment

Stephen Colbert's cold open from last night:


This is one of his better ones.

Here's the Thing About the DNC Platform Committee

There is some brouhaha about how corporate shills are rife within the platform and rules committees.

Here's the dirty little secret: Nobody outside of the process gives a shit.

Here's why: Unless the party brass uses the rules to deny the nomination to the candidate who has the most delegates, it doesn't matter. Nobody gives a fuck about the "party platform". Whoever wins the nomination will run on whatever positions they choose. The only two functions of a party platform are to a) mollify the rubes who care about a particular issue , and b) give the other side something to lambaste the party about ("The Democrats want to abort into the sixth trimester"/"The Republicans want to issue M-4 carbines to fourth-graders").

The only vote(s) that matters is the one for the presidential candidate. Whoever wins that will get the veep candidate of their choice. The rest is eyewash and bullshit. For whoever wins the nomination will run on their own policy positions and those are what they may try to enact.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Facebleech

If you use FB, you really should read this article about their tracking off-FB use and targeting ads.

Starve the beast, a little.

Trump Could Have Saved Himself a Lot of Money

All he had to have done was to order his legal team to read this:
You're not going to vote to remove the President from office. Regardless of the evidence, regardless of whether or not the Senate calls witnesses, you're not going to vote to remove the President. You wouldn't do that even if video showed the President strangling the last porn star he had sex with. You don't have the guts to do that. We all know what the outcome of this so-called trial is going to be. Go ahead and vote.
The rest of what Trump's legal team has been saying is nothing more than bullshit and eyewash. There's one piece of ambulatory sleaze who now decries the "age of impeachment" while ignoring the hand he had in the last one. There's another self-styled scholar-for-hire whose argument apparently flips, depending on who's paying him the most or what network will interview him. Another's main talent is making good TV appearances on Trump's favorite network. There's another one who allegedly let Trump skate on fraud charges after he dumped cash into her political PAC.

Trump's legal team is appropriate for Trump: A bunch of scum-sucking sleazeballs defending the most corrupt president in American history.

But none of that matters.

Trump owns the Republican Party. There aren't enough GOP Senators who have the spine, the gonads or the guts to go against him. They are uniformly a pack of lily-livered weasels. (Which, I suppose, is unfair to weasels, but since animals can't sue for defamation....) There is no way that they are going to vote to do anything else than ratify Trump as a wannabee autocrat.

You know that, Gentle Reader. So the GOP senators, a pack of old, white, millionaire cowards, might as well go ahead and vote to not remove Trump.

And be damned for what they are about to do.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Shoah Day

75 years ago today, the Red Army overran Auschwitz. As noted, the old hatred of Jews is arising as the survivors die.

What gets me is how the Poles have embraced the Holocaust as their tragedy. Yes, it is true that Poland suffered greatly at the hands of both the Germans and the Russians. It, however, is also true that when Polish Jews returned to their homes, the Poles massacred them. When the Communists took over, Antisemitism was state policy. Almost all of the Polish Jews who had survived Hitler's murderous regime emigrated to Israel, western Europe or the U.S.

The Poles would like everyone to forget all that.

Forgetting shit like that is not in the DNA of Jews.

American Nazis and Russia

They call themselves "The Base", which is a translation of al-Qaeda. Their leader is an American who lives in Russia. He goes by the alias "Norman Spear" (pretty fucking cute, that), his real name is Rinaldo Nazzaro.

So it would seem that, once again, the Russians are jumping into bed with Nazis.

The neo-Nazis love Russia. Russia loves them back.

And how this all ties in to the Trumpist conspiracy theories that Russia did nothing wrong, that it was Ukraine that meddled in our last election, is something that you can ponder.


When it comes to these clowns: All roads lead to Putin.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Trump is a Master Plagiarist

For a guy who spends so much time carping about theft of intellectual property by China, he seems to have no qualms about stealing ideas when it suits him.

His Force of Console Jockeys has released its new, original, no-shit logo.

And yes, it's pretty goddamn familiar:


Are the people in the Trump White House or the USAF/USSF so drain-bamaged that they thought nobody would notice the similarity?

(Don't answer that.)

Caturday

Priss chows down:

Friday, January 24, 2020

Because It's Friday

High-speed British steam:

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Is It Now "If It's a Boeing, I'm Not Going"? (Updated)

After a Boeing 737 crashed near Amsterdam more than a decade ago, the Dutch investigators focused blame on the pilots for failing to react properly when an automated system malfunctioned and caused the plane to plummet into a field, killing nine people.

The fault was hardly the crew’s alone, however. Decisions by Boeing, including risky design choices and faulty safety assessments, also contributed to the accident on the Turkish Airlines flight. But the Dutch Safety Board either excluded or played down criticisms of the manufacturer in its final report after pushback from a team of Americans that included Boeing and federal safety officials, documents and interviews show.
...
In the 2009 and Max accidents, for example, the failure of a single sensor caused systems to misfire, with catastrophic results, and Boeing had not provided pilots with information that could have helped them react to the malfunction. The earlier accident “represents such a sentinel event that was never taken seriously,” said Sidney Dekker, an aviation safety expert who was commissioned by the Dutch Safety Board to analyze the crash.

Dr. Dekker’s study accused Boeing of trying to deflect attention from its own “design shortcomings” and other mistakes with “hardly credible” statements that admonished pilots to be more vigilant, according to a copy reviewed by The Times.
One of the longest-running gripes of pilots is that, when there is an accident investigation, it seems that the easiest thing to do is blame the pilots. They're usually dead and they can't speak as to what happened. Manufacturer's reps on an investigation are almost always going to be biased, ever overtly on unconsciously, toward deflecting the blame away from their company.

As a result, design lessons were not learned that could have prevented the 737 Max crashes.

Air travel remains the safest way to go. But still, when booking a trip or boarding a flight, one shouldn't have to wonder whether or not the airplane has some badly-engineered system that the aircraft manufacturer knows about, the pilots don't know about and which can kill everyone.

UPDATE: Boeing's press release about "ungrounding" the 737 Max. "Ungrounding"... heh. If there's any further proof needed that Boeing's been taken over by MBAs and idiots, it's the use of the word "ungrounding".

UPDATE II: Everything sucks for Boeing.

Over the Rainbow Bridge

Maxine:


When she was a kitten:


Maxine had pancreatitis. It's gotten worse and she's become basically non-responsive.

She went over the Rainbow Bridge today.

Max was my friend's daughter's cat. She was a wreck, so we made the last trip.

The World is a Little Less Funny, Today

Terry Jones, a founding member of Monty Python's Flying Circus and the director of The Life of Brian, has died.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

An Open Letter to Secretary Hillary R. Clinton

Dear Madam Secretary:

I Implore you:

PLEASE, SHUT THE FUCK UP!

Very truly yours and with all my love and respect,

Comrade Misfit

Bark Bark AOOOOOOOOOHHHHH

When the fire trucks roll by in the neighborhood, the coyotes answer. This time, one was in the yard:

Stupid Criminal Tricks

Earlier this morning {the Suwannee County Sheriff] got word that Daniel Christopher Booth, 36 years old from MacClenny, Fl, had warrants for his arrest from Baker County for selling methamphetamine and was at work at the solar power plant on Hogan Road.

When Deputy Wadford arrived at the solar plant, Mr. Booth decided that he didn’t want to go to jail and tried make his escape and ran away.

Now we can only assume that Mr. Booth has seen one too many action movies and thought he could hide from the K9 teams from Suwannee CI and Mayo CI by hiding under the water in a pond 🤦🏻‍♂️.

He didn’t take into account he’s not a fish and had to come up for air and was quickly captured.
Yep, ya gots to come up for air sometime, Aquaman.

C'Mon, Colt. Do Better.

The new Colt Python being demonstrated at SHOT Show 2020 didn't work right.

Jeebus, guys. The issue with cylinder rotation has been known since the guns were released. How hard would it have been to check over the demo gun for it?

Yes, I still want one of the 4.25" guns. But I might tamp that down.

UPDATE: A little fluffing of an advertiser?

Really, ABC? (MLK Ed.)

Last night, in a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., David Muir said that "his life was taken".



That'd be appropriate if he had died of a heart attack or in a car accident. The truth of the matter is that Dr. King was murdered. he was assassinated. Either one of those words would have been more appropriate.

However, that's not the story of the day. the Trump Administration did something right in naming a future aircraft carrier after Doris Miller. I presume that Trump had to sign off on this, but it's possible that he's been given a big fid. I would have expected that he would have made a big announcement at the monument to Dr. King during his swing by there on the way to Davos. And yes, there is something deeply ironic about Trump flying off to Davos, aka Wealthstock, on the holiday to commemorate the life of Dr. King.

Things haven't changed that much: Military justice is still an oxymoron.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Dragon Abort Test


With luck, they'll fly a manned mission to the ISS later this year.

The Irony of Trump's Drone Strike

As you may recall, Trump ordered the killing of Soleimani after an American contractor was killed in Iraq.

So who was that guy? His name was Nawres Waleed Hamid. He was a translator in Kirkuq. He was an immigrant and a Muslim, a man in two groups that Trump and his in-house Nazi routinely scapegoat.

That Trump would take a chance of going to war over the death of a man whom, if Trump had had his way, would have never set foot in this country, pegs the Irony Meter.

Your Sunday Morning Big Prop Noise

A Hawker Sea Fury with its original engine.


Saturday, January 18, 2020

Idiots In Space



That's right: The Space Force wears woodland camo uniforms. Because there are a lot of trees at their control consoles, or because there are trees in space?

This is risible at best. The Space Force, other than those who are working at a launch site, are all doing jobs that they could do dressed up like Mrs. Maisel:

Caturday

Baby it's cold outside!

Friday, January 17, 2020

As Long As the Infected Don't Die and Then Start Looking for Brains to Eat.

There is a new "mystery virus" in China.
The number of people already infected by the mystery virus emerging in China is far greater than official figures suggest, scientists have told the BBC.

There have been 41 laboratory-confirmed cases of the new virus, but UK experts estimate the figure is closer to 1,700.

Two people are known to have died from the virus, which appeared in Wuhan city in December.
In You may recall that in World War Z, the virus that begat the zombies arose in China.

But if they are zombies, remember, headshots, people.

Clumsy Lying

Nearly one dozen American troops were wounded in Iran’s Jan. 8 missile attack on Iraq’s al-Asad air base. This week, they were medically evacuated to U.S. military hospitals in Kuwait and Landstuhl, Germany, to be treated for traumatic brain injury and to undergo further evaluation, several U.S. defense and military officials have confirmed to Defense One.

Senior military and Trump administration officials had said on Jan. 8 that 11 Iranian missiles had caused “no casualties, no friendly casualties, whether they are U.S., coalition, contractor, et cetera.”
Either TBI is still not considered to be an injury by the Pentagon, or they are lying.

Place your bets on which.

But since the Pentagon has a track record of lying, YMMV.

Because It's Friday

Gotta love the Brits!

Thursday, January 16, 2020

The Christian Taliban Wants to Lock Up Librarians

A bill proposed in Missouri this month represents a transparent, shameful attempt to legalize book banning in public libraries within the state, PEN America said today.

The bill — the Parental Oversight of Public Libraries Act or House Bill 2044 — aims to add several provisions to the state’s funding law for public libraries. These new provisions establish “parental library review boards” that would evaluate whether any library materials constitute “age-inappropriate sexual material.” Members of these five-member boards, who would be elected at a town meeting by a simple majority of voters, are empowered to determine whether material is appropriate, including by evaluating its literary merit. Public librarians are explicitly barred by the statute from serving on such review boards, even if they are from the community
Because you just know that it will be the local members of the Christian Taliban who will run for those positions and then they'll ban all of the books that they deem to be "unfit".

Books such as Huckleberry Finn, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, the Harry Potter series and 1984, for instance.

What kids can and cannot read is a matter for the parents of the kids themselves. There doesn't need to be a bunch of religious zealots exercising their twisted notions of control over everyone else.

It's bad enough that those asswipes have control over what we see on broadcast TV.

Can We Now Arrest McConnell and Miss Lindsey for Perjury?

The U.S. Senate opened the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump with quiet ceremony Thursday — senators standing at their desks to swear an oath of “impartial justice” as jurors, House prosecutors formally reciting the charges and Chief Justice John Roberts presiding.
From both of their statements in the weeks leading up to the impeachment hearing, they have made up their minds and they have zero intention of obeying their oaths.

Fat chance that'll happen.

Donald J. Trump, lawbreaker.
The White House violated federal law in withholding security assistance to Ukraine, an action at the center of President Donald Trump’s impeachment, a federal watchdog agency said Thursday.
Apparently Trump has hired one of the attorneys that got OJ off for killing his ex-wife and her boyfriend (and who helped Jeffry Epstein avoid serious jail time).

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

How to Tell That Iran is a Dictatorship

As everyone knows by now, the Iranians shot down Ukrainian International Airlines Flight 792. it seems that the first missile hit was survivable, so the commander of the missile battery fired a second time.

The Iranians have arrested somebody. Not the commander of the missile battery, oh, no. They arrested the guy whose video recording proved that the Iranians were lying. Or at least, they've tried to.

That's what dictatorships and authoritarian governments, including wannabee dictators, do: They blame the press for exposing their mistakes, their crimes, their corruption. All would be peachy if those inconvenient bastards in the press weren't proving that the deer leedurrs are lying to their people and to the world.

Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

Update Windows 10 Today

Microsoft released a patch for Windows 10 and Server 2016 today after the National Security Agency found and disclosed a serious vulnerability. It's a rare but not unprecedented tip-off, one that underscores the flaw's severity—and maybe hints at new priorities for the NSA.

The bug is in Windows' mechanism for confirming the legitimacy of software or establishing secure web connections. If the verification check itself isn't trustworthy, attackers can exploit that fact to remotely distribute malware or intercept sensitive data.

"[We are] recommending that network owners expedite implementation of the patch immediately as we will also be doing," Anne Neuberger, head of the NSA's Cybersecurity Directorate, said on a call with reporters on Tuesday. "When we identified a broad cryptographic vulnerability like this we quickly turned to work with the company to ensure that they could mitigate it."

The flaw is specifically in Microsoft's CryptoAPI service, which helps developers cryptographically "sign" software and data or generate digital certificates used in authentication—all to prove trustworthiness and validity when Windows checks for it on users' devices. An attacker could potentially exploit the bug to undermine crucial protections, and ultimately take control of victim devices.
That's a good thing that the NSA found a severe flaw and then alerted Microsoft so they could patch it.

Which leads to wondering what flaws exist that the NSA would rather exploit than help fix.

Anyhoo, if you're running a Windows 10 computer, you need to run Windows Update as soon as you can.

Cops in Oakland Go Full Stormtrooper

Squads of sheriff’s deputies in military fatigues and riot gear arrived just before dawn Tuesday outside the old three-bedroom house on Magnolia Street in West Oakland, Calif. A BearCat armored vehicle rolled down the still-sleepy residential street. Officers broke through the reinforced front door with a battering ram and sent a small, camera-equipped robot into the home to check for any potential threatsFSB,.

When the deputies finally entered the home, they called out for the occupants to surrender. They did, saying they wanted the standoff to end peacefully.

But the tense, militarized raid didn’t target anti-government zealots or drug traffickers. Instead, deputies aimed to arrest a small coalition of homeless parents who were trying to live inside the long-uninhabited home without paying rent.
...
Days after the judge’s ruling, sheriff’s deputies in military gear arrived at 5:15 a.m. Tuesday to pull the families out of the home.
The "knock on the door on the middle of the night" is the hallmark of a police state. Against four families that evinced no intent to resist by force, the cops rolled up in the dark with all of their paramilitary toys on full display.

Gregory Ahern, the sheriff is of Alameda County, needs to hire on with a law enforcement agency that is in tune with his ideas of policing. My respectful suggestion is that he submit an application to the FSB (or the ATF).

I cannot think of an eviction that I have either done or heard of where the sheriff's department rolled out a bunch of paramilitary goons with drawn firearms and an armored vehicle. It's unheard of when the eviction is being carried out on single-parent families headed by women.

My suspicion is that this one was driven by the vulture capitalists who bought the house. They now are saying that they'll do something minor to help the local community, which no doubt will be just eyewash.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Blogroll Addition

The Informant, a site that covers hate groups.

For now, it's free. But I'm skeptical how smaller players can make much money trafficking in online news. The big papers do, to some extent. Google and Facebook make money by vacuuming up free content and then selling ads that go along with them.

I had a brief chat with a publisher as to why they offer so many free stories on their website. The response was that the paper gets enough subscribers from doing that, so between that and the online ads, it's worth it to them to give away shit.

It's popular, now, to talk about how Facebook and Google are decimating local newspapers. But it's not just them. Craigslist wiped out the classified ad market a long time before Facebook Marketplace jumped into the game.

Monday, January 13, 2020

UXB: The Gift that Keeps on Giving

German disposal experts have detonated two unexploded bombs from World War II that were discovered in the western city of Dortmund. Some 14,000 residents were ordered to leave their homes for the operation.

Two 250-kilogram (550-pound) bombs were safely defused in Dortmund's southwest on Sunday following a large-scale evacuation and the closure of the city's main train station.

The city administration said earlier that special disposal teams had discovered four suspected bombs from World War II in the densely populated Klinikviertel (clinic quarter). But substrata searches of the area confirmed that two of the objects were not explosives.

The other two devices — an American bomb and a British bomb — were successfully detonated on Sunday afternoon.
I don't buy that they were 550lb bombs. They were 500lb bombs. Neither the Brits nor the Americans did metric shit during the Second World War.

Trump Can't Help But to Entangle Himself in Lies

Let's suppose it went like this: After whacking Soleimani, Trump released a statement that said: "In 2007, the United States Government designated the Iranian Quds force as a terrorist organization. The use of military force against terrorist organizations has been permitted for decades. As the commander of the Quds Force, Soleimani was a legitimate military target. And so, when the opportunity came to attack him and the timing was right, we took it."

That, Gentle Reader, would have been enough. It would have been the end of the story. Iran would have made their demonstration by missile, and the world would have moved on.

But sadly, no. Trump had to embellish and outright lie in order to make himself look good. Trump lied about an imminent threat, which nobody can corroborate. Then he lied about Soleimani planning an attack on four embassies. Oh, his minions are doing a nice job of tap-dancing and fudging, but the truth of the matter is that Trump is, once again, making shit up.

So instead of it being a neat and tidy tale of Trump seizing the chance to kill the leader of a terrorist organization, a story that would have made Trump look like a decisive leader, the story becomes one of how Trump is lying about everything and that only Trumpanzees and tools like Chuck Todd buy his shit.

(The Iranians have their own problems with lying to the world.)

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

A380:


The A380 program has been one of the biggest failures in recent memory.

A possible issue was that unlike the 747, the A380 wasn't designed from the get-go as a freighter. It's ancient history, but when the 747 was designed, everyone thought that SSTs would have the long-haul passenger markets by the late 1970s. Even after the twinjets have obliterated the passenger-carrying market, the 747 soldiers on, trash-hauling. Nearly fifty years on, 747s are still rolling off the production line.


Saturday, January 11, 2020

Trump Listens to Stephen Colbert?


He's trying:
WASHINGTON (AP) — Confronted by persistent questions about his military action in the Middle East, President Donald Trump and his top officials offered a string of fresh explanations Friday, with Trump now contending Iranian militants had planned major attacks on four U.S. embassies.
The problem is, as everyone in the world (except the Trumpanzees) knows, is that Trump is a pathological liar. He has nobody on his team who has the gravitas or public respect to successfully lie for him.

So is Trump lying about this?



Caturday

Bella is enjoying one of her gifts, a catnip pillow:

Friday, January 10, 2020

The Royals: Color Me "Uncaring"

The Duchess of Sussex has returned to Canada to join her son amid discussions over the future role for her and Prince Harry in the Royal Family.

Meghan and Prince Harry had been in Canada over Christmas with baby Archie.

It comes as the Queen, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge asked staff to find a workable solution after the couple announced they will step back as senior royals.

The Royal Family was said to be "hurt" at the couple's statement.
As far as I'm concerned, this is a dispute among the upper management at one of the world's oldest set of theme parks.

Seriously, what is it that they actually do, other than operate a bunch of tourist attractions and occasionally put on glitzy televised spectacles? Plenty of nations with a parliamentary system of government get along perfectly well without oversight from the European Royal Gene Pool. I have no idea what goes on behind the scenes, but it's been almost three centuries since a British monarch last refused to assent to a bill passed by Parliament.

From the comments: A view worth considering.

Because It's Friday

Big Boy in the snow:

Commence the Frothing on the Right in 3....2.....1.....

A Justice Department inquiry launched more than two years ago to mollify conservatives clamoring for more investigations of Hillary Clinton has effectively ended with no tangible results, and current and former law enforcement officials said they never expected the effort to produce much of anything.

John Huber, the U.S. attorney in Utah, was tapped in November 2017 by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to look into concerns raised by President Trump and his allies in Congress that the FBI had not fully pursued cases of possible corruption at the Clinton Foundation and during Clinton’s time as secretary of state, when the U.S. government decided not to block the sale of a company called Uranium One.
There is no there, there, but don't expect the conspiracy whackaloons on the Right to shut their yaps. They'll be blubbering about the Clintons well into the next century.

Speaking of Right wing nutjobs:
A California man has pleaded guilty to setting fire to the same D.C. pizza place targeted by a man investigating a conspiracy theory that falsely connected 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to an alleged child sex trafficking ring under the restaurant.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Another Case of "Poor White Kid" Privilege in Sentencing?

YOUNGSTOWN — [Some Asshole] could get about 20 years in prison after pleading guilty Wednesday to “swatting” law enforcement agencies in communities from six states from 2016 to 2018 — but prosecutors are recommending he get none.

Instead, Mahoning County prosecutors are recommending that Judge John Durkin of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court sentence [the Asshole] on Jan. 31 to one year of incarceration, five years of probation and restitution of $12,972 to the communities victimized. The sentencing is at 8:30 a.m.

Prosecutors are recommending that [the Asshole] get credit for the nearly 10 months he has already been locked up in the Martin P. Joyce Juvenile Justice Center since Feb. 28, 2019.

Mike Yacovone, county assistant prosecutor, said it means [the Asshole] would go free Feb. 28 if the judge agrees with the recommendation.
I most certainly do not agree with this. Swatting is a very serious crime; it's sending out a bunch of cops with drawn guns against innocent people. It is assault with deadly weapons by proxy. If this asshole had pointed a gun at six different people, there's no way that he'd get a slap on the wrist. But because he's some lazy-ass fat fuck behind a computer in his mother's basement, he gets a slap on the wrist.

The End of Police Chases?

Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields sent out a department-wide email notifying officers that the department will no longer chase suspects.

Shields cited the risk to the safety of the officers and the public for each chase, and “knowing that the judicial system is largely unresponsive to the actions of the defendants.”
This is the text of the email Chief Shields sent out last Friday:
Good Morning,

Allow me to first say "thank you " to all of you. I know the job is difficult, perhaps now more so than ever, but I could not be prouder of the work that is done by the Atlanta Police Department. As we move into 2020, I ask that you commit yourselves to safety; both individually and to others. It is along those lines that I must revisit the department's current police pursuit "chase" policy.

I am acutely aware than an overwhelming number of crimes are committed where a vehicle is involved in some capacity; and that some of the most significant arrests we have made as an agency have been as a result of zeroing in on a specific vehicle. In reviewing the department's current pursuit policy, I must weigh these critical successes against several factors. Namely, the level of pursuit training received by officers who are engaging in the pursuits, the rate of occurrence of injury/death as a result of the pursuits and the likelihood of the judicial system according any level of accountability to the defendants arrested as a result of the pursuit. At this point and time, the department is assuming an enormous amount of risk to the safety of officers and the public for each pursuit, knowing that the judicial system is largely unresponsive to the actions of the defendants.

The Executive Command Staff will work to identify specific personnel and certain specialized pursuit training to enable the department to conduct pursuits in limited instances, but until these standards have been formalized, effective immediately, the department has a zero-chase policy. The department has a zero-chase policy and this is effective immediately.

Please know that I realize this will not be a popular decision; and more disconcerting to me personally, is that this decision may drive crime up. I get it. But at the end of the day, I want all of you to keep your jobs and to have a strong and positive career. Thank you, Chief Shields.

(Emphasis as in the original)
I get why she's doing that. Some critter runs from the cops, the critter's vehicle slams into some citizens and the reaction is not "why was that critter running, charge him with felony murder or some shit", but "why were the cops chasing him?" The politicians then slam the cops and now, the cops are saying that the only way to prevent other people from being hurt in chases is to not chase them, and, by the way, fuck you, Mr. Mayor, for not having our back on this, and fuck you, Mr. District Attorney, for not charging people who run.

I submit that this is a temporary situation. I imagine that we are approaching the days when drones will take over pursuit work.

Imagine very police cruiser having a drone in a launcher, so that the drone is both fully charged and it has a running CPU with a constantly-updated GPS position. The drone would be flung into the air by the launcher, the rotor arms and rotors would pop out and away the thing goes. It'd lock onto a target vehicle or person, fly autonomously, with real-time video to a command center.

It'd fly a couple of hundred feet up and the perps might not be able to spot it. It might be an issue if the perps drive under the approach/departure path of an airport, but the drone's programming could command it to dive down low in those areas. Other drones could be launched to take over the chase before the first drone's batteries die.

In the meantime, the Chief in Atlanta is effectively telling people that they might consider looking to their own safety. For in Atlanta, for now, the bad guys can both run and hide.

Mnuchin the Lackey Seeks to Hide Trump's Costs

The Trump administration is seeking to delay a Democratic effort to require the Secret Service to disclose how much it spends protecting President Trump and his family when they travel — until after the 2020 election, according to people familiar with the discussions.

The issue has emerged as a sticking point in recent weeks as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and key senators have been negotiating draft legislation to move the Secret Service back to his department, its historic home.
The SS is required to file yearly summaries of what it costs to protect the First Family, but they haven't done it for years. The obvious conclusion, when any government agency refuses to file required reports, is that they have something to hide.

By now, it is clear that it has been costing a shitload of money to provide SS protection to Trump and his spawn. The SS has asked for a budget boost of $60 million/year in order to cover the huge costs of providing security for the Mouth of Orange and his coterie of rotten kids.

Remember when Trump was lambasting Obama for traveling and promised that he'd be too busy to play golf? Bet you'd have to look far and wide to find a member of the Party of Trump who does.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

One Other Thing to Keep in Mind

People make mistakes when tensions are higher.

I've done it.

So have others.

We need to try to ensure that we don't end up in a serious shooting war because somebody fucked up.

Trump Has Been Given an Out

The question now is whether or not he is smart enough to take it.
Iran attacked two bases in Iraq that house American troops with a barrage of missiles early Wednesday, Iranian official news media and United States officials said, fulfilling Tehran’s promise to retaliate for the killing of a top Iranian commander.

“The fierce revenge by the Revolutionary Guards has begun,” the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps said in a statement on a Telegram messaging app channel.

Iraqi military officials said that Iran had fired 22 missiles at two military bases in Iraq where American troops are stationed. United States officials initially said there were no immediate indications of American casualties, and senior Iraqi officials later said that there were no American or Iraqi casualties in the strikes.
I don't know whether or not the Iranian missiles have GPS or GLONASS guidance, but I would wager a small amount that they do. I'd wager a lot more that Iranian agents have marked the location of every structure on those bases larger than a fire hydrant.

Put those together, add in the advance warning the Iranians gave to the Iraqis, and what we have was a demonstration strike that was designed to satisfy Iran's domestic audience without moving the needle towards a wider war. This gives Trump an out to deescalate a crisis that, let us not forget, has been largely of his own making.

Whether Our Very Stable Genius in Chief has enough firing neurons to comprehend that and act on it is an open question. To quote BadTux: "When it comes to Trump, “*nobody* would be stupid enough to do *that*” doesn’t seem to work anymore for predicting what’s going to happen."

The wild card in this is the crash earlier this morning of Flight PS752, which killed 176 people.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Trump's Pettiness is On Full Display

The U.S. won’t issue Iran’s foreign minister a visa to travel to the United Nations later this week, contending there was not enough time to process the request.
That's just bullshit. It's nothing but petty-ass bullshit because Trump is likely peeved that he can't order the Pentagon to commit war crimes.

It's becoming evident that Trump's rationale for killing Gen. Soleimani was made of whole cloth. If he had evidence to back up his claims, he would have released it by now.

As to why Soleimani was in Baghdad:
As part of the incendiary and escalating crisis surrounding the assassination of Qassem Soleimani, there has come an explanation of why the Iranian commander was actually in Baghdad when he was targeted by a US missile strike.

Iraq’s prime minister revealed that he was due to be meeting the Iranian commander to discuss moves being made to ease the confrontation between Shia Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia – the crux of so much of strife in the Middle East and beyond.

Adil Abdul-Mahdi was quite clear: “I was supposed to meet him in the morning the day he was killed, he came to deliver a message from Iran in response to the message we had delivered from the Saudis to Iran.”
Normally, it would be inconceivable that a hit would have been carried out in such circumstances. But we're talking about Trump, an impulsive and aggressively ignorant man. If he indeed knew why Soleimani was in Baghdad, then one needs to ask why deescalating tensions in the Persian Gulf is something that Trump opposes.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Random Child-Rearing Advice.

Boeing, Boeing

This is the transcript of a speech by Boeing's general counsel at a Boeing "leadership meeting" in 2006.

Read it and ask yourself: "Did they listen to this guy?" Because the shit that keeps coming out on the 737 Max would seem to indicate that the answer is "naw, not really."

I mentioned in a comment that some Boeing insiders were saying that it was the corrupting culture of McDonnell-Douglas that lies at the root of a lot of Boeing's problems in this century. They're now saying it openly.

A Little Diversion

Ricky Gervais at the Golden Globes:

Sunday, January 5, 2020

USDVA Factoid

As of August 2nd, it will, for the first time in history, have been possible to serve an entire 30 year career in the service of the United States during wartime.

A Question for Those Advocating War with Iran

Define "winning".

Explain how that comes about, keeping in mind our recent experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

Let's start the New Year on this feature with the Rhino:


Maybe it's because of when I grew up, the F-4 has always come to my mind as "the" fighter.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Rubio is a Class A Dimbulb



Let's review, shall we? We invaded their country on false pretenses, killed maybe a half-million of their citizens, made several million homeless, wrecked much of their infrastructure, loosed the demons of sectarian warfare, effectively facilitated the existence of ISIS and AQiI, shot motorists for no goddamned good reason, installed a corrupt government that couldn't even put together an effective army (lots of corruption and ghost soldiers on the payrolls) and which has edged into the Iranian orbit, bulldozed a good part of their capital city for an occupation HQ, and for all that, they are insufficiently grateful, according to little Marco?

OK, sure, Saddam is gone. Fat lot of good that has done us.

But hey, don't worry, Mike Pence, the second-dumbest of Trump's lieutenants, is peddling a bullshit conspiracy theory that Iran was behind the 9-11 attacks. Hey, Mikey, you dipwad, remember when you clowns were saying that it was Iraq? Now it's Iran?

Fucking imbeciles. The 9-11 conspiracy theories do have a purpose; for they are handy for signaling which politicians have an IQ in the mid-two-digit range.

Would You Pay to Ride on a Fake Steamboat?

The Mystic Seaport has a steamboat:
The Sabino steamboat is the oldest wooden, coal-fired steamboat in regular operation in the U.S. Built in 1908 in East Boothbay, Maine, by W. Irving Adams, she spent most of her career ferrying passengers and cargo between Maine towns and islands. First she operated on the Damariscotta River in midcoast Maine. After sinking during an accident in 1918, she ran on the Kennebec River. From 1927 to 1960 she served the islands of Casco Bay, running out of Portland. For this service her narrow hull was widened with sponsons to make her more stable in the open waters. Although her configuration and passenger capacity changed through the years, her engine did not. The Sabino Steamboat is still powered by the two-cylinder Paine compound steam engine installed in 1908.
Until now.
The museum has announced plans to its donors to install an electric propulsion system in the steamboat Sabino, whose coal-fired engine is now used to take visitors up and down the Mystic River during warm-weather months.

While the steam engine will remain operational and be used on occasion, Chris Gasiorek, the museum’s vice president of watercraft preservation and programs, said most of the trips would be powered by electric batteries.

He said the electric power would allow more visitors to have the “magical experience” of riding aboard a historic steamboat.
There is no "magical experience" of riding a battery powered boat. Part of the fun of riding a steam-powered anything with a reciprocating engine are the smells, the sights and the sounds of an operating steam plant. Yes, the coal smoke is a feature of that.

People who buy a ticket for a ride on a steamboat are going to feel as though they've been gypped if the boat is actually powered by batteries. And they should.

If the Seaport can't run the Sabino all of the time under steam, then they should use another boat to schlep tourists when they can't run her.

Caturday

Bella under a fancy lamp:

Friday, January 3, 2020

Another Trumpanzee is Headed to Prison

The leader of a right-wing militia that was detaining migrant families at gunpoint near the border in southern New Mexico pleaded guilty this week to a federal gun charge, Justice Department officials said.

The leader, Larry Mitchell Hopkins, who has also operated under the alias Johnny Horton Jr., faces up to 10 years in prison after he admitted Thursday to being in possession of several firearms and various caliber ammunition in November 2017, despite being a felon, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico said in a statement.
NEXT!

A State of War Now Exists Between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States of America

Iran's most powerful military commander, Gen Qasem Soleimani, has been killed by a US air strike in Iraq.

The 62-year-old spearheaded Iranian military operations in the Middle East as head of Iran's elite Quds Force.

He was killed at Baghdad airport, along with other Iran-backed militia figures, early on Friday in a strike ordered by US President Donald Trump.

Mr Trump said the general was "directly and indirectly responsible for the deaths of millions of people".
Let's dispense with Trump's comments: Everything Trump says about anything is either hyperbole or a flat-out lie. This is no different.

You don't kill a senior general of another nation outside of a war. That we did means not that there will be war, but that we are already in one. It would have been nice to be reassured that our government had thought of the question "if we do then, then what", but I have no confidence in that. Trump has the impulse control of a toddler on a sugar high. Somebody on Fox News probably mentioned that Soleimani was responsible, Trump asked "can we kill this guy", was answered in the affirmative and he said "whack him" and that was all of the consideration that went into it.

Trump doesn't do consequences. His entire life has been about creating havoc and then letting other people clean up his messes, whether it's having a business go bankrupt, stiffing suppliers, or paying off women with whom he had affairs.

The Iranians will respond. To not respond would be to look weak in a region of the world where appearing weak is viewed as a terminal disease.

American flag officers around the world might be well advised to look to their own security.

Because It's Friday

Agricultural steam.

How to Tube a Career; Cop Ed.

HERINGTON, Kan. (WIBW/Gray News) – A Kansas police officer is no longer employed after admitting he “fabricated” a story about a McDonald’s employee writing an expletive on his coffee cup over the weekend, according to the Herington police chief.

Herington Police Chief Brian Hornaday confirmed in a news conference Monday that the officer resigned from the agency, calling it a “black eye on the law enforcement community.”

After initially standing by his story, Hornaday said the officer has since told him the note was “meant to be a joke.”
It seems that the McDonald's joint had cameras everywhere and could prove that nobody there did it.

What is wrong with people? Did the attention-whore involved not think that such shit could go viral in a heartbeat?

What happens from here on is that the kid involved won't be working as a cop again.

Wait, What?? Talkies Ed.

Adam Sandler could win an Oscar for Uncut Gems.

My reaction: Really? Really??

Yes, I know that the movie has scored 92% on Rotten Tomatoes, but that would seem to indicate that the critics are operating in hive mind mode.

I saw the movie yesterday. Or, to be frank, about forty minutes of it. We (I went with a friend) walked out. There was nothing at all that was engaging about the movie. Every character in the movie, including Howard Ratner, the protagonist played by Sandler, was a shitbird. Ratner was a jeweler/gambler who was making more and more intricate bets to try and get out from owing a lot of money to some very bad people who have poor impulse control. There was something involving a chunk of rock containing rare opals that was smuggled out of Ethiopia in a box of dead fish.

(Pro tip to Customs: If someone is sending a styrofoam cooler of dead fish to the address of a jeweler in the diamond district of NYC, there is a good chance that there is more in the box than dead fish.)

So no, I don't know how the movie ended. I don't know whether Ratner managed to place a great bet that enabled him to pay off the bad guys or if he ended up dead in the trunk of a stolen car.

Nor do I care.

Sandler's Oscar buzz seems to be of the "lookie here, a comedian can act" sort. The movie sucked. It should be nominated for a Razzie.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Shoot Them Right, They Quit Doing What They're Doing

UPDATE: Colt's Python page.

Shooting a new Python with Ken Hackathorn:


Coming off the trigger each time is indeed important with Colt revolvers.

$1,500 MSRP.

Biden: Dick-Stepping All the Way

On Labor Day, 2019:
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Former vice president Joe Biden said he wanted to spend Monday celebrating the role organized labor has played in improving the lives of Americans. But moments into his first Labor Day appearance, the presidential candidate turned instead to the nation’s latest mass shooting, which left seven dead in the west Texas town of Odessa on Saturday.

“It is irrational, with all due respect to the governor of Texas, it is irrational what they’re doing on the same day you see a mass shooting . . . and we’re talking about loosening access to have guns,” he told reporters at a picnic in Cedar Rapids.

“To be able to take them into places of worship, store them in schools, I mean, it’s just absolutely irrational, and it’s all about special interests, and it has to stop.”
The gun banners have been yammering for awhile that they're all for taking away guns "if it saves one life."[1]

But then there's this:
A gunman killed two people during a Sunday morning service at a church in White Settlement before a member of the congregation fatally shot him, authorities say.

Police in White Settlement, about eight miles west of Fort Worth, were called before 11 a.m. to the West Freeway Church of Christ at 1900 South Las Vegas Trail after one member, who is part of the church’s security team, opened fire on the gunman.
That doesn't exactly fit into the "forbidding guns from these places keeps people safe."

A bunch of people are alive to welcome in the New Year because, in Biden's view, their state government is irrational.
_________________________________________________
[1] Let's close the swimming pools.

Happy New Year 2020

I wish I could be optimistic about this New Year. But I am not.

Politically, I see the partisan divide broadening in an abyss. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know where I stand and whom I blame for that.

Personally, in my offline world, which involves a number of people that I care deeply about, some real shit is happening. Almost all of it has the potential to be pretty bad.

For me myself, all is pretty good. But I'm not an island, I'm not alone in the world.

So I'm pulling on the crash helmet and fastening the safety harness.

2020, here I stand, motherfucker.

Do your worst.