Words of Advice:

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

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

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

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

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

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

B-17 Crash

The preliminary report is out.

I don't see anything in the report that explains the crash.

Shutterbuggery

I've been getting back into photography.

One issue that I have is getting out of the Kodachrome mindset, which was my favorite film back in the day. For me, it was expensive, so I tried to put some thought into each shot and then take it. I haven't fully realized that I can take a bazillion shots of anything. Two 36-exp rolls' worth of shots isn't even enough to register on the capacity gauge of a 64Gb SD card.

Autofocus is sometimes problematic. On landscapes, with trees with leaves that are moving in the wind, the camera won't settle down. I have to keep my thumb by the switch to change to manual focus. (My last SLR was a straight stick-shift.)

It's a bit of an adjustment for me.

Operation Canned Meat; Hong Kong Edition?

A homemade bomb was detonated in Hong Kong on Sunday amid violent protests, the police said on Monday, indicating an escalation in the street-level arms race between police officers and the protesters.

The device was hidden in a bush and was triggered by a mobile phone as a police vehicle passed nearby in the Mong Kok district of Kowloon, Suryanto Chin-chiu, a superintendent of the Hong Kong police’s explosives disposal unit, said at a news conference.

The bomb caused no damage or injuries, but it was the first time such a device had been employed in weeks of clashes, the police said.
It may be exactly as reported.

But is it possible that the Chinese staged this attack? Absolutely.

Can the HK police be trusted to tell the truth? Not on a bet.

Goofy is on the Way to Talk to Erdogan

Targeting Turkey’s economy, President Donald Trump announced sanctions Monday aimed at restraining the Turks’ assault against Kurdish fighters and civilians in Syria — an assault Turkey began after Trump announced he was moving U.S. troops out of the way.

The United States also called on Turkey to stop the invasion and declare a ceasefire, and Trump is sending Vice President Mike Pence and national security adviser Robert O’Brien to Ankara as soon as possible in an attempt to begin negotiations. Pence said Trump spoke directly to Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who promised not attack the border town of Kobani, which in 2015 witnessed the Islamic State group’s first defeat in a battle by U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters.
Erdogan isn't going to give a shit. The world has learned that Trump is all mouth. He thinks that everyone is like him, that they can be bought like a piece of property.

Here is what the world has learned this month: The only reliable outside power in the Middle East of any consequence is Russia.

Monday, October 14, 2019

All I Can Say Is: Hooray for Body Cams

A white Fort Worth police officer who shot and killed a black woman through a back window of her home while responding to a call about an open front door acted without justification and resigned Monday before he could be fired, the police chief said.

Police bodycam video showed Aaron Dean approaching the door of the home where Atatiana Jefferson, 28, was caring for her 8-year-old nephew early Saturday. He then walked around the side of the house, pushed through a gate into the fenced-off backyard and fired through the glass a split-second after shouting at Jefferson to show her hands.

Dean was not heard identifying himself as police on the video, and Interim Police Chief Ed Kraus said there was no sign Dean or the other officer who responded even knocked on the front door.
And this:
Kraus said a criminal investigation is ongoing and he expects to release a “substantial update” by Tuesday on whether charges will be filed. The FBI also has been briefed to investigate possible civil rights violations, he said.
Compared to Chicago, which dithered and delayed when Laquan McDonald was shot to pieces by a cop and then tried to cover it all up, Ft. Worth has been moving at just under the speed of light.

And then there was this:
[Ft. Worth Mayor Betsy] Price further commented on the photos police released of a gun found in Jefferson’s home. She said the gun was irrelevant and that Jefferson had a right to have a gun in her home.

Kraus said police have previously released images of weapons to illustrate a perceived threat. But, he said, releasing the photos in this instance was “a bad thing to do.”
Because as they recognize in Ft. Worth, the 2nd Amendment applies to black people. Releasing a photo of her gun was an attempt to slur the victim, who did nothing wrong.

Before the days of body cams, Dean probably would have been yapping about "I was in fear for my life", figuring that he was the one live adult witness. But not any more.

Anyone Who Believes This Denial Has Mush for Brains

Donald Trump's 2020 re-election campaign has disavowed a parody video showing the US president massacring media outlets and political rivals.

The video was on display at a conference organised by American Priority, a pro-Trump group.
...
Mr Trump's head is superimposed on the body of a man who goes on a killing rampage inside "the Church of Fake News".

The heads of the people he kills have been replaced with the logos of media organisations, including BBC News, CNN and the Washington Post, and political opponents such as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
There are more details here.

Does anyone seriously believe the denials of the Trump campaign or of his most loyal boot-lickers? Trump often uses eliminationist language. As has been shown by one mass murder after another, his supporters are getting the message: Go forth and kill those whom Trump hates-- Jews, Mexicans, reporters.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

President Cut `n Run

The United States appears to be heading toward a full military withdrawal from Syria amid growing chaos, cries of betrayal and signs that Turkey’s invasion could fuel a broader war.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Sunday that President Donald Trump had directed U.S. troops in northern Syria to begin pulling out “as safely and quickly as possible.” He did not say Trump ordered troops to leave Syria, but that seemed like the next step in a combat zone growing more unstable by the hour.
Make no mistake about this: Every once of blood that has beeh shed by Kurds in the last week is on Trumps cowardly hands. The Kurdish political leader, Hevrin Khalaf, who was forced out of her car and murdered by Turkish proxies: Those deaths are on Trump's head.

To a lesser extent, the bloodshed and murdering, the release of IS fighters, all of that is also on the hands of those who have been defending this unstable maniac for the duration of his presidency.

I hope you guys are pleased with yourselves. You guys have spent years criticizing President Obama for withdrawing forces from Iraq under an agreement negotiated with Iraq by President Bush. There was no negotiation here, just Trump, on a whim, caving to the demands of a third-rate autocrat.

As I said: This is on you.

Villanous Tab-Clearing

Let's begin with a couple of reports in the NY Times today:

The Russians are deliberately bombing hospitals in Syria. They are using a UN list of medical facilities, part of what essentially is a "no-bomb list" to target them. But since Russia is a permanent member of the UN Security Council and Putin is butt-buddies with Trump, there's as much consequence for Russian war crimes as there has been for Russian or Chinese war crimes.

Second, why is Tulsi Gabbard the darling of the same groups of people who support Trump: American Nazis, libertarian nutjobs and the Russians?

Why is it that when corporations and individuals reach a certain amount of wealth and power, they automatically turn into Bond villians? Google, Amazon, Zuckerberg, the Koch Brothers?

Your Sunday Morning Rotor Noise

Hueys (Bell JetRangers) Down Under:

Nobody Wants Your Fucking Help, Jim

Headline to a NYT story:
James Comey Would Like to Help

The former F.B.I. director wants an end to the Trump presidency. And yes, he knows you might think he caused it.
Fucking A right he did. The polling at the time was clear as glass: Clinton held a solid lead until Comey opened his fucking yap.

He thinks history will judge him kindly. But who the hell else likes him? Democrats despise him for putting a thumb on the scales of the election. The Trumpist Republicans dislike him for backstabbing his boss. Comey is a hero in his own mind.

Most everyone would be happy if Comey shut the fuck up and went fishing for the rest of his life. But he seems to have a need to find people to tell him "Good boy, Jim, you did the right thing."

He interfered in the 2016 election as though he was a Russian operative. Fuck him.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Foley Guys: Fuck You

I've blogged before about their love of the four clicks of an 1873 Colt.

This time, I want to rant about cameras. A TV show had scene with a news conference. The sound clowns added the clicking of camera mirrors (OK), the sound of shutters (not KO) and the sound of motor drives (also not OK). Professional news photographers made the switch to digital as soon as the technology was practical. Newspapers loved that they could get rid of their darkrooms (sometimes letting nursing mothers use them for breast-pumping).

I'm somewhat surprised they don't add the sound of steam locomotives to railroad scenes.

Like Nobody Say This Coming

As expected, Trump is distancing himself from Giuliani.
President Trump told reporters Friday that he didn’t know whether Rudy Giuliani was still his personal attorney, adding that the two hadn’t spoken since Thursday.

“I don’t know,” Trump said, responding to a question about the lawyer as he prepared to leave the White House for a rally in Louisiana Friday evening. “I haven’t spoken to Rudy. I spoke to him yesterday briefly. He’s a very good attorney, and he has been my attorney.”
Rudy's been thrown under the bus. Rudy is apparently too much in denial or too dumb to notice the treadmarks on his back.

Loyalty, to Trump, is a one-way street. He demands loyalty, but as soon as any associate or anyone else is inconvenient, he jettisons them like a used kleenex.

He will betray his friends and allies in a picosecond. Especially if a dictator Trump admires asks him to.

Caturday

Chip is interrupted mid-groom:

Friday, October 11, 2019

This Cries Out for Carpet-Bombing

Pearl-clutching

WaPo:
The attack on a German synagogue highlights the threat posed by do-it-yourself guns.
Information, once out there, is pretty damn hard to quash.

Giuliani May Be Headed for a Pair of Locking Bracelets

The business relationship between President Donald Trump's private lawyer Rudy Giuliani and the men charged Thursday in a campaign finance scheme is a subject of the ongoing criminal investigation being conducted by federal authorities in New York, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
I'm sure that, after the arrest, Trump will tell everyone that he barely knew Rudy.

Off to Prison, Asswipe

A white Florida man who told detectives he was irritated by people who illegally park in handicapped spots was sentenced on Thursday to 20 years in prison for the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man outside a convenience store.

Circuit Judge Joseph Bulone called 49-year-old Michael Drejka a “wanna-be” law enforcement officer and a self-appointed “handicapped parking space monitor.”

Jurors found Drejka guilty of manslaughter in August. Drejka showed no emotion when the judge sentenced him.
Asswipe was shown to be a parking-space vigilante who persisted in doing that even when the store's owner asked him to knock that shit off.

Even with good behavior, in Florida, he has to do 80% of that time (sixteen years). See you in the thirties, Asswipe.

Because It's Friday

Along the Oregon coast.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Color Me Surprised; Not

Two Florida businessmen tied to President Donald Trump’s lawyer and the Ukraine investigation were charged Thursday with federal campaign finance violations. The charges relate to a $325,000 donation to a group supporting Trump’s reelection.

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, associates of Rudy Giuliani, were arrested on a four-count indictment that includes charges of conspiracy, making false statements to the Federal Election Commission and falsification of records. The men had key roles in Giuliani’s efforts to launch a Ukrainian corruption investigation against Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
You can guess which two of these five crooks were arrested:


Reports are that both men had lunch with Giuliani at the Trump Hotel in D.C. before they went to Dulles Airport with one-way tickets out of the country.

Given that they were both fleeing the country, it's a fair assumption that neither one will be released on bail. It would be logical to expect that one, if not both, will be happy to tell the prosecutors everything they know to avoid spending a long time in prison.

Which could be that Giuliani is one rat-job away from being indicted.

Maybe the Bureau of Prisons can repaint Bernie Kerik's old cell for Rudy.

Saying That Trump is as Dumb as a Heap of Gravel Opens One Up to Being Sued for Defamation by Rocks

In the face of growing bipartisan anger, President Donald Trump defended his decision to allow a Turkish offensive in northern Syria by saying that the U.S.-allied Kurds — who led the ground campaign against the Islamic State in Syria and are under Turkish attack — did not help the U.S. during World War II.

“Now the Kurds are fighting for their land,” Trump told reporters during a press conference on Wednesday night. “They didn’t help us in the Second World War, they didn’t help us with Normandy, for example.”
One might point out that the French helped us during the Revolutionary War even though we weren't there for them during the Battle of Agincourt. Trump's comment is so glaringly idiotic that it's not worth the debate.

The fact that Trump has mastered aerobic respiration is a wonder.

Music for the Trump Investigations

Apple Bends to China

Apple removed an app late Wednesday that enabled protesters in Hong Kong to track police, a day after facing intense criticism from Chinese state media for it, plunging the technology giant deeper into the complicated politics of a country that is fundamental to its business.
...
Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive, has become a deft diplomat in China. He has traveled there frequently and attended numerous Chinese government events. In recent months, Mr. Cook has argued for moderation in the trade war between the United States and China. Unlike in the United States, where he regularly speaks out on political issues like gun control and immigration, he has largely remained silent on Chinese politics, including the clashes in Hong Kong.
...
Apple also pulled the app of the news organization Quartz from the App Store in China less than two weeks ago. Quartz, which has been covering the Hong Kong protests, said that Apple sent it a vague notice about removing its app “because it includes content that is illegal in China.” Apple did not clarify what content was illegal, Quartz said. A Quartz editor tweeted that Apple removed it “at the request of China.”
This is what happens when one crawls deeply into bed with a murderous dictatorship. Cook is bleating about gun control, but you'll have to search far and wide to find where he has uttered a single word about China's ethnic cleaning of the Uighurs. (You'll probably find nothing.)

Corporations can be politically bought. In watching ABC News, it seemed that they barely mentioned the kerfuffle between the NBA and the Chinese Communists. A cynic might suspect that the fact that ABC's parent company, Disney, which has a large stake in China (Disneyland Shanghai, for example), doesn't want to incur the ire of the Chinese regime. (There do seem to be more stories on CBS News's website than ABC's.)

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

This is What Betrayal Looks Like

Turkey launched airstrikes and fired artillery across its border into northeastern Syria on Wednesday to open a military operation aimed at flushing out an American-backed militia, Turkish and Syrian officials said.

Turkish television stations broadcast video of fighter jets taking off, Howitzers firing and smoke rising from Syrian towns, while images posted on social media showed Syrians fleeing in trucks piled high with their possessions and children. Two civilians were killed and others were wounded, a militia spokesman and a local journalist said.

Turkey’s long-planned move to root out United States-allied Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria has accelerated rapidly since President Trump gave the operation a green light in a call with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey on Sunday.
Let's be clear about this: The word of the United States is now worth nothing. Only a fool would rely on American promises or security guarantees. If another nation or people ally themselves with the Americans, they can rest assured that, whenever it suits the United states, they will be stabbed in the back.

In this way, Trump is far, far worse than Neville Chamberlain. Trump's betrayal of the Kurds was done to please an autocrat who Trump admires.

Expect the Chinese and the Russians to be highlighting American betrayal for decades: "You really want to stand with the Americans? Don't you know that the Americans will cut and run whenever it gets difficult?"

If you are a Trump supporter, then you are good with this. You are an appeaser.

And if you are now going to point to Obama's withdrawal from Iraq, go fuck yourself. For you know, full well, that the withdrawal agreement was negotiated by George W. Bush (remember the flying shoe ceremony).

Trump the Petulant Child

The lawyers for Trump have told the courts that the House Impeachment proceedings are so, so unfair to Trump. They're upset that the full House hasn't voted on the matter before the committees began issuing subpoenas.

Here's the thing: Impeachment is a political act, not one governed by the court system. The House sets its own rules for how it conducts an investigation.

"Great and unmatched wisdom" or not, this is how Trump is setting himself up for impeachment. Every refusal to comply with a House subpoena is, arguably, a separate impeachable offense.

The question is, now, whether the House will go to court to enforce its subpoenas (getting a ruling that Trump has no right to defy the subpoenas) or just proceed straight to impeaching him.

And then we shall see where the Republicans' loyalty lies: To the Constitution of the United States or to Donald Trump.

DSLR Lens Update

(Earlier post and discussion)

So, for about the same price: New 55-200mm or used 70-300mm.

New lens with a warranty or more power?

Thoughts??

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Rep. Matt Gaetz Couldn't Outsmart a Hydrangea


Gaetz, bless his heart, doesn't know the difference between a 19th Century legal term and a children's television show.

But that is becoming true of Republican defenses for Trump: Both factually deficient and comical.

Update: An explanation of the two terms. As pointed out in the explanation, Gaetz is indeed dumber than a bag of hammers.

It's Almost Always the Coverup That Gets Them Nailed

Count II: Obstruction of the House's Inquiry.
President Donald Trump intensified his fight with Congress Tuesday over the Democrats’ impeachment investigation, as the administration blocked a U.S. diplomat from testifying behind closed doors about the president’s dealings with Ukraine. House committee chairmen said they would subpoena the envoy to force him to appear.
The tide is turning against Trump:
A majority of respondents in a new poll supports the impeachment inquiry into President Trump while almost half back his removal from office.

The Washington Post–Schar School poll released early Tuesday found that 58 percent say the House was correct to launch the inquiry, compared to 38 percent who disagreed.

Almost half — 49 percent — said lawmakers in the lower chamber should impeach Trump and call for his removal from office.
...
Support for an impeachment inquiry has risen among all three partisan groups since a July poll, with Democratic support rising 25 points from July, Republican support rising 21 points and independent support rising 20 points, based on the poll.
Republicans have two conflicting electorates. Their batshit base supports Trump. The general electorate may not. So they can lose in the primary or lose in the general election.

Only one choice keeps their integrity from shredding like cheap fabric.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Trump Shivs the Kurds in the Back

In a major shift in United States military policy in Syria, the White House said on Sunday that President Trump had given his endorsement for a Turkish military operation that would sweep away American-backed Kurdish forces near the border in Syria.
Anyone who stands with the United States under the presidency of Cadet Bonespurs runs the risk of being betrayed. Especially when Trump has some sort of twisted love for autocrats around the world. They are all members of a club Trump would dearly love to join.

Miss Lindsey Appears to be Suffering From Trump-Induced Dementia


On September 11, 2001, Barack Obama was an Illinois State Senator. He had no input on American foreign policy, unlike, say, a certain senator from South Carolina, whose picture will be forever in an illustrated dictionary under the entry for "sycophant".

Graham sold his soul to Trump. From what it appears, Trump overpaid.