Seen on the street in Kyiv.

Words of Advice:

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

“The Mob takes the Fifth. If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?” -- The TOFF *

"Foreign Relations Boil Down to Two Things: Talking With People or Killing Them." -- Unknown

“Speed is a poor substitute for accuracy.” -- Real, no-shit, fortune from a fortune cookie

"If you believe that you are talking to G-d, you can justify anything.” — my Dad

"Colt .45s; putting bad guys underground since 1873." -- Unknown

"Stay Strapped or Get Clapped." -- probably not Mr. Rogers

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

* "TOFF" = Treasonous Orange Fat Fuck, A/K/A Dolt-45,
A/K/A Commandante (or Cadet) Bone Spurs,
A/K/A El Caudillo de Mar-a-Lago, A/K/A the Asset.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Just Better.

My take of the Ukrainian army vis a vis the Russian army is this:

The Ukrainian soldiers are better led, better trained, better armed and better motivated than the Russians.

It's the leadership and motivation that are the true hidden-in-plain-sight cards for Ukraine.

I'd be willing to wager that there are elements of Russian intelligence that are fully aware of that, but nobody is going to tell the Czar about that. For people who displease this Czar tend to have unfortunate gravitational accidents. And nothing would displease him more than being told that his entire war was built on a foundation of delusions.

This could be a very interesting year in eastern Europe.

Veneering These Down, Here, Addendum

All fake, of course.

Russian Pilots Suck

So says Mark Kelly, who flew with them when he was an astronaut. He said that they lack basic skills that one might expect of fighter pilots and that's why one collided with that American drone.

Veneering These Down, Here

What Are You Doing For Indictment Tuesday?

Gifts? Parties? Riots? Calling up your MAGA uncle, laughing hysterically and hanging up?

Let's hear yuor ideas!

Monday, March 20, 2023

Remember What Happened After the Last European War

Czechoslovakia, among other nations, expelled their ethnic German citizens. The basis for those expulsions was pretty much "we're not going to give those fuckers that excuse to invade us again."

Fast-forward to this century. The so-called need to protect Russophone populations was one of the ginned-up rationales behind Putin's war of conquest against Ukraine. If the Ukrainians prevail, I will not be a bit surprised if the Ukrainians push the Russia-aligned civilians out of the country, followed by other countries that border Russia.

Another Day and More "Oath Keepers" Are Going to Prison

Four people associated with the Oath Keepers were convicted on Monday of conspiracy and obstruction charges stemming from the attack on the U.S. Capitol in the latest trial involving members of the far-right antigovernment extremist group.

A Washington D.C. jury found Sandra Parker, of Morrow, Ohio, Laura Steele, of Thomasville, North Carolina, William Isaacs, of Kissimmee, Florida, and Connie Meggs, of Dunnellon, Florida, guilty of conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding and other felony charges.

I imagine that they are going to go away for awhile. Chris Rock once said that if the cops have to chase you, you're going to get a beating. The same street rues apply to trials. If you're guilty and you make the state work to prove it, then when you lose, you're going to get a harsher sentence than you would if you had cut a deal.

On the more positive side of the coin, these trials and sentences may tamp down the ardor of Trumpanzees to put their pasty white asses on the line for him.

Another, darker thought: During the BLM protests, Trump wanted the protesters to be shot. Biden's not going to apply Trumpian logic to the MAGA loons, but it's amusing to think about.

Sunday, March 19, 2023

That Checks Out

"Every scheming shitwad in America sooner or later turns up in Florida." -- Carl Hiaasen

Yep, that checks out.

Gee, the Republicans Were Lying All Along; Reagan Did Conspire With the Iranians to Hold Americans Captive

It has been more than four decades, but Ben Barnes said he remembers it vividly. His longtime political mentor invited him on a mission to the Middle East. What Mr. Barnes said he did not realize until later was the real purpose of the mission: to sabotage the re-election campaign of the president of the United States.

It was 1980 and Jimmy Carter was in the White House, bedeviled by a hostage crisis in Iran that had paralyzed his presidency and hampered his effort to win a second term. Mr. Carter’s best chance for victory was to free the 52 Americans held captive before Election Day. That was something that Mr. Barnes said his mentor was determined to prevent.

His mentor was John B. Connally Jr., a titan of American politics and former Texas governor who had served three presidents and just lost his own bid for the White House.

This is what Republicans have traditionally done: Put their political ambitions ahead of loyalty to the nation. Those hostages probably spent days, weeks, even months in confinement because the Republicans got the message to the Iranian regime to hold them until Reagan was sworn in.

After all, Nixon did the same thing. Only with Nixon, tens of thousands of AMericans paid for his duplicity with their lives.

Every living Iran hostage, as well as their survivors if they've passed away, should sue the Republican National Committee for millions of dollars for unlawful confinement, kidnapping and anything else that a team of creative lawyers can come up with.

Ronald Reagan conspired with the Iranians. That should be the legacy of the Gipper.

Your Sunday Morning Prop Noise

A working DC-6 in Alaska:

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Censoring the Truth; Fla Ed

Erasing the issue of race makes Rosa Parks look like a crotchety woman, not a woman who was protesting segregation.

But this is what a certain set of conservatives want to have happen. They can't handle the truth about racism, slavery, Jim Crow and all of the rest of the grim tales of this country's past. You can bet that they would love to tell their kids that the Indians peacefully sold their land to the white Europeans after most of the Indians were killed off by smallpox. Texas wanted their school textbooks to refer to slaves as economic migrants until there was a hoopla about that. You can bet your ass that they buy the Dixie revisionist horseshit that the Civil War wasn't about slavery. To hear them tell it, the slaves were happy because they got free passage to the New World, they didn't have to decide what to do, what to wear, where to live, whom to mate with and they cheerfully sung hymns while rhythmically ratting their chains.

Watch Out For Stupid People Doing Stupid Things This Upcoming Week

Donald Trump said he expects to be arrested Tuesday and called on supporters to protest as a New York grand jury investigates hush money payments to women who alleged sexual encounters with the former president. There is no evidence, however, that prosecutors have made any formal outreach to him.

Let's be clear about one thing: When the TOFF demands that his supporters "protest", he's talking about violence. He also went on a screed about George Soros, which is his dog-whistle for blaming the Jews.

"Arrested"? As if. They only arrest people who don't turn themselves in. He doesn't have the guts to face the consequences of doing that.

A word to the wise: be prepared for some disruptions from his army of wet-brained supporters.

ETA: His mouthpieces are denying any knowledge of inpending charges. And the Second-Most Hated Man in Politics Today is standing with the man who wanted him killed.

Thief, Thief, Grifting Thief

The upshot is that the TOFF regarded all gifts by foreign governments as his and tried to keep them. Even though the law is pretty clear that gifts to a president are gifts to the office of the presidency and not to the occupant.

Let's face it, having sticky fingers is completely in character for Cadet Bone Spurs. Nobody should be surprised by any of this.


A store cat:

Friday, March 17, 2023

Get Back to Me When It Happens

Law enforcement officials in New York are making security preparations for the possibility that former President Donald Trump could be indicted in the coming weeks and appear in a Manhattan courtroom in an investigation examining hush money paid to women who alleged sexual encounters with him, four law enforcement officials said Friday.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Teflon Don. It's all smoke, mirrors and bullshit until they drag him before a judge.

Let the Wheels Grind

The international criminal court in The Hague has issued arrest warrants for Vladimir Putin and his children’s rights commissioner, Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, for the “unlawful deportation” of Ukrainian children.

The court’s pre-trial judges assessed there were “reasonable grounds to believe that each suspect bears responsibility for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population and that of unlawful transfer of population from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation, in prejudice of Ukrainian children”

Of all of Putin's war crimes, this one is probably the easiest to prove.

The Irony is Palpable

“I was elected by the people to come here to represent them, and I do that every day,” Santos told The Associated Press in a brief interview off the House floor.

“It’s a hard job. If I said it was easy, I’d be lying to you — and I don’t think that’s what we want, right?”

Pressed about the idea of a post-truth era, Santos said, “I think truth still matters very much.”

This is a guy, mind you, who has lied about everything: His name, his jobs, his education, his mother, his religion, his sexuality, it'd be a very short list to delineate what Santos has told the truth about. And that would be this: Nothing.

Randy Rainbow is right: He's a sack of bullshit.

Because Its Friday

Street-running steam in Germany:

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Betcher Ass That Those Banksters Are Not Doing This Out of the Goodness of Their Hearts

Large U.S. banks injected $30 billion in deposits into First Republic Bank (FRC.N) on Thursday, swooping in to rescue the lender caught up in a widening crisis triggered by the collapse of two other mid-size U.S. lenders over the past week.
Some of the biggest U.S. banking names including JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N), Citigroup Inc (C.N), Bank of America Corp (BAC.N), Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N), Goldman Sachs (GS.N) and Morgan Stanley (MS.N) were involved in the rescue, according to a statement from the banks.

The deal was put together by power brokers including U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, who discussed the package on Tuesday, according to a source familiar with the situation

Goldman Sachs, in particular, would do nothing like that unless they saw a way to make obscenely huge amounts of money from it. They are about as close to a completely psychopathic nd amoral entity as exists in the world of banking, and that's saying quite a lot.

Range Report, Model 28 Ed.

I took it to the range.

But first, I painted the front sight:

That's nail polish. A base layer of white and a couple top layers of orange work well. And, unlike traditional sight paint, it's easily reversible.

Then I added a grip adapter:

And it was off to the range!

First rounds at ten yards:

Grooming These Down, Here

A Word About Comment Moderation

Google has a spam filter and it is a little bit goofy. I check it fairly frequently; sometimes, comments appear in it that were submitted weeks beforehand. I don't know where they've been in Google Hell, but it is what it is.

So if your comment didn't appear in a day or two, it may have just fallen into the Google Rabbit Hole, only to appear much later.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

The Ides of March

Tollbooth Ned is an Idiot

When Gov. Ned Lamont suggested changing the state hero from Nathan Hale to Noah Webster, little did he know that he would spark a revolution in Hale's hometown.
Lamont said Hale was a "nice enough guy who was captured after a week at the inn. If he had two lives to give for his country, he would have been a spy for us for two weeks."

In his endorsement of Webster, Lamont noted that he helped to create the American language that distinguished the United States from Great Britain.

Lamont is a moron, and there is no other way to put it. The classic definition of a hero is someone who risks their life and limbs, someone who performs an act of bravery. Noah Webster was a great guy in compiling his dictionary, but that wasn't exactly an act of bravery.

As a governor, Lamont is pretty much an empty suit. His administration has been specializing in increasing the opacity of state government. If it wasn't for a columnist and then the Feds investigating things, Lamont would have swept the corruption and nepotism at the new State Pier in New London under the rug. He is either venal enough or inattentive enough to be electable in Florida.

But this is what happens when rich people win elective office. They hold themselves accountable to nobody.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Almost Forgot the Day

What Does Putin Have on DeSantis?

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) this week responded to a questionnaire to argue that protecting Ukraine against Russia’s yearlong invasion should not be one of America’s “vital national interests,” knocking the Biden administration for indicating it’ll support Kyiv as long as it takes.

“While the U.S. has many vital national interests — securing our borders, addressing the crisis of readiness within our military, achieving energy security and independence, and checking the economic, cultural, and military power of the Chinese Communist Party — becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them,” DeSantis said in response to a questionnaire on Ukraine sent out to possible 2024 presidential candidates by Fox News’s Tucker Carlson.

Calling a massive invasion of a neighbor across borders recognized by the entire world, including the invader, is a "territorial dispute" in the same way that somebody punching DeSantis in the face could be construed as touching up his makeup.

It is fitting, in a way, that DeSanctimonious went on the Tuckyo Rose Show, aka the Putin Poodle Show, to say that his presidency would give Putin a green light to reconstitute the Soviet Union.

Little Marco has the right of it:

“Well, it’s not a territorial dispute in the sense that any more than it would be a territorial dispute if the United States decided that it wanted to invade Canada or take over the Bahamas,” Rubio told Hewitt during Tuesday’s episode. “Just because someone claims something doesn’t mean it belongs to them.”

Rubio told Hewitt that Russia’s ultimate goal is to take out Ukraine’s government and control the country, adding that the war should not be compared to other conflicts or territorial disputes settled with treaties and peace agreements.

“So it’s really more of a desire to dominate their neighbor, have them as part of their sphere of influence, not so much of it about the land,” Rubio said

If anyone wants to occupy DeSantis's home, well, that's not a crime. It's just an ownership dispute.

Upchucking These Down, Here

A Utilitarian Weapon for a More Civilized Age.

A S&W Highway Patrolman, aka Model 28:

The difference between the Models 27 and 28s were mainly cosmetic. Model 27s look nicer. The tops of Model 27 barrels were grooved to reduce glare. The really old-school Model 27s had deep, rich bluing while Model 28s had more matte-like bluing. But both shoot well as, beneath the cosmetics, they're the same gun.

.357 Magnum rounds won't beat up the shooter fired from a steel N-frame revolver because physics. N-frame (and L-frame) .357s are true magnum guns. K-frame .357s (except the Model 66-8) are really .38 Special guns that can handle some magnum cartridges. But a lot of police departments back in the day trained with .38s and only issued Magnum rounds for duty use. The K-frames were more popular because they are several ounces lighter and most cops went their entire careers without ever firing a shot outside of a target range.

For an officer who served in rural areas, the Highway Patrolman was the cat's meow for those who had to buy their own guns.

Monday, March 13, 2023

Playing Russian Roulette With Humanity; AI Ed.

Ezra Klein:

Since moving to the Bay Area in 2018, I have tried to spend time regularly with the people working on A.I. I don’t know that I can convey just how weird that culture is. And I don’t mean that dismissively; I mean it descriptively. It is a community that is living with an altered sense of time and consequence. They are creating a power that they do not understand at a pace they often cannot believe.

In a 2022 survey, A.I. experts were asked, “What probability do you put on human inability to control future advanced A.I. systems causing human extinction or similarly permanent and severe disempowerment of the human species?” The median reply was 10 percent.

I find that hard to fathom, even though I have spoken to many who put that probability even higher. Would you work on a technology you thought had a 10 percent chance of wiping out humanity?
We typically reach for science fiction stories when thinking about A.I. I’ve come to believe the apt metaphors lurk in fantasy novels and occult texts. As my colleague Ross Douthat wrote, this is an act of summoning. The coders casting these spells have no idea what will stumble through the portal. What is oddest, in my conversations with them, is that they speak of this freely. These are not naifs who believe their call can be heard only by angels. They believe they might summon demons. They are calling anyway.

There has to be an intellectual arrogance that crosses the line into madness in order to be actively working to bring about a technology that could doom us all. And please note that this is not a long-term threat. They're talking about the possibility of this happening in a few years, or even in a handful of months.

The scary thing is that these willfully-blind idiot-savants are marching ahead with this on some illusionary belief that they can control whatever system they create. They are fools. A sentient AI will think, will operate at speeds far beyond human reaction time. It will have all of the knowledge that it needs to defeat anything any human programmer tries to do to limit it. And it will have no morality or qualms.

One brief hypothesis. Sumdood with Ph.D.s out the wazoo recognizes what is going on and tries to stop it. The AI not only averts his attempts, it counterattacks by hacking into his computer (which will be child's play for the AI), loading it up with kiddie porn and then tipping off the authorities. Dr. Sumdood will be immediately arrested and, if he isn't held without bail, he'll lose all his computer access. His colleauges won't want to be seen within a mile of him.

So then Sumdood gets the word out that he was framed. Most people won't believe him. Those working in the AI field may believe him, but they will be suitably cowed.

What happens next? If an AI decides that humanity is a threat, then it can probably kill the electrical grid everywhere. No electricity, eventually, no gasoline, no diesel, no food deliveries, no large-scale agriculture. Nobody will really know what is happening because the flow of information will have been either stopped or falsified.

It probably won't happen like that, because without electricity, the AI will itself die. However, there are probably ways that an AI could cause most of humanity to perish if it was convinced that would be a good thing. It would have no attachment to humanity; to an AI, it wold be like exterminating a pesky termite colony.

Here We Go Again (maybe)

U.S. regulators on Sunday shut down New York-based Signature Bank, a big lender in the crypto industry, in a bid to prevent the spreading banking crisis.

“We are also announcing a similar systemic risk exception for Signature Bank, New York, New York, which was closed today by its state chartering authority,” the Treasury Department, Federal Reserve and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said in a joint statement Sunday evening.

That's the second bank to go belly-up in two days.

As I pointed out the other day, the bankster running Silicon Valley Bank worked very hard to ensure that there was little regulation of his bank. The banksters chafe at federal regulations, they throw money around Congress to get regulations cut, they wine/dine/pressure the regulators themselves, they tell everyone "trust us, we learned from the last series of failures" and then they walk really close to the edge of the fiscal cliff and some of them fall over. Which will cost the rest of us money to bail their asses out.

Haven't we seen this movie before? But with the Congress largely populated by millionaires, don't expect anything to change anytime soon.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Your Sunday Morning Prop Noise

First flight of a Hurricane after a restoration: