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 in the ground since 1873." -- Unknown

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

"The Dildo of Karma rarely comes lubed." -- Unknown

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

* "TOFF" = Treasonous Orange Fat Fuck,
"FOFF" = Felonious Old Fat Fuck,
"COFF" = Convicted Old Felonious Fool,
A/K/A Commandante (or Cadet) Bone Spurs,
A/K/A El Caudillo de Mar-a-Lago, A/K/A the Asset,
A/K/A P01135809, A/K/A Dementia Donnie,
A/K/A Dolt-45, A/K/A Don Snoreleone

Sunday, June 30, 2013


I wasn't the only one who thought that it looked a little like someone had detonated a nuke.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise


You can see the doors that cover the engine intakes on the ground. They were the Soviet solution to foreign objects on the airfield.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

A Little More Nature

The morning mist moves over a lake.

Gone from there, now. Soon it will be back to the World. I had a week of not thinking of anything other than relaxing and doing whatever it was I was doing at the time. It was a terrific vacation, the best I have had in decades. I've had other ones, of course. But they've all been variations on visiting friends and family. This was the first pure getaway since I last went to Sun `n Fun. Yes, I was with family, we all were away. No cares, no worries for a week. It was glorious.

When I get the rest of the way home, I expect it will be several days before Jake unwelds himself from me. The catsitters are all in love with him.


There is a Jake-sized lump somewhere there.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Why I'm Not Caring About Politics This Week

If a picture is worth a thousand words, this ought to be good for ten thousand of them.

Crank up the audio for a dose of nature.

Anthony Kennedy and the Supremes and All That

I am sitting on a balcony on this cool morning, as I have most of this week. Dawn is breaking over a mountain ridge. I hear owls hooting to mark their territory and songbirds greeting the new day. Down along the path that leads to the lake, a rabbit is having breakfast. Two doves flew by; from their sounds, they have having a dispute over something. Chipmunks are foraging and being cautious, lest they be spotted by an owl.

The sky is brightening, it promises to be a nice day. I've been staying offline a lot. It's been kind of nice not being online.

Yes, I am aware that the Supreme Court issued its blockbuster set of rulings. I've heard that Justice Scalia apparently thinks that it is OK to overturn a law passed by overwhelming majorities in Congress, but it's not OK to overturn a law passed by voters. Yes, I know that once again, what's constitutional and what isn't has become the decision of one justice on the Court. And I've heard that some football player is sitting in jail for killing someone else.

If you want to read more about any of that, you'll have to move along. I'm away from all of that.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Odd Formation, That

A cicada and a Tiger Moth:

A completely accidental photo.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise


As the "affordable alternative to the F-22" is turning out to be "the far more costly alternative", you might to get to see too many of these pigs built.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Extreme Gardening


And sometimes, he's kind of awake.

Shorter FBI: "All Our Shootings Are Justified."

That's what the FBI claims. Even when one of their agents shoots at a safe, it's justified.

And every day, at the FBI Headquarters, a pallet of this stuff is delivered:

Note that the justification for the FBI's summary execution shooting of Ibragim Todashev keeps changing. "He was armed with a knife, no, a broomstick, no, a metal pipe, oh, he wasn't armed at all" when he supposedly attacked two FBI agents in a room full of other cops. Then there was a case where an FBI agent (with a history of questionable shootings of people) shot a man for not obeying his orders, when the man he shot was obeying the orders of another FBI agent.

The question should be asked that, if the FBI is so eagerly whitewashing all of its shootings, an old tradition, why do they even bother to investigate any of them?

Friday, June 21, 2013

An Essay on Veterans

I have been reading "The Great War and Modern Memory", by Paul Fussell. I was not near a computer at one point, so I wrote this essay (or free verse poem) in the flyleaf of the book.

It is called "How They Must Hate Us."
How they must hate us.

We back in the States.

We concern ourselves with Snookie and Sarah.

Our politicians bluster and blather, eager to get us into three or four more wars.

We don’t sacrifice for the war efforts, we give up nothing.

Only those who need a job, a path to citizenship, a path to respectability, an education, go off to serve in the latest little war.

Three, four, five tours. Until they reach their EAOS or until they are shattered in mind or body.

We do nothing in support other than to run our mouths and fly flags. Some politicians decry the cost of veterans benefits, of family benefits.

We give up nothing.

We sacrifice nothing.

How they must hate us.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Ratcheting Up the Paranoia Index

Well, this is good news for the makers of tinfoil.
FBI director Robert Mueller said Wednesday that the nation's top law enforcement bureau uses drones to conduct surveillance on U.S. soil, though only on a "very, very minimal basis."

Mueller, the FBI director since 2001 who is set to retire this year, acknowledged that his agency uses drones in its investigative and law enforcement practices, and is further working to establish better guidelines for the use of drones.
Of course they're only surveilling the bad guys, right? They would never ever use a drone for watching law-abiding citizens.

Because there aren't any, so they could use that "three felonies a day" argument to justify watching everyone, since we're all criminals.

Tinfoil would be ineffective. Wearing broad-brimmed hats, on the other hand, might be better (and don't look up). So would driving a silver sedan or a white pickup truck.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Operation Zorch

I ran the whacker through the blogrolls. In short, if your blog has been inactive for two years, I am presuming that it is dead and it's gone from here.

Later, I'm going to fire up the weed-whacker and set it for a year. I don't see a reason to link to dead blogs.*

If your blog was listed and you resume operation, drop me a line. Or link to me a few times and, if I see it, I'll add you back. Better to drop me a line, though.
* There are blogs about dead blogs. This one is dead, and this one isn't.

When Newspapers Began to Slit Their Throats, and the Difference Between Product Placement and Whoring.

When they began to put them online.

The clip didn't say, but the service was probably the Compuserve Information Service, as they were located in Columbus, OH. The newspapers were probably happy to do that, as Compuserve often kicked back ten percent of the connection fees generated by some services. Some of the owners of large-traffic discussion forums made a shitload of money in the late `80s and early-mid `90s, when Compuserve's consumer-grade users paid an hourly connection fee. By the time the Web came along, getting the news for free was ingrained, with predictable results.

On another topic, I've been watching some episodes of the new version of Hawaii Five-0 (cable on-demand, functionally monitored by the NSA/FBI, no doubt). They take product placement overboard.

Product placement, as you likely know, is when a show highlights the use of certain products. This goes at least as far back as the `60s FBI series, where the use of Fords was so prominent in the show that that when Mad Magazine satirized it, they had the FBI logo reading "Ford Better Idea".

Five-0's big product placement is Microsoft's Windows 8 and other Microsoft products. Each show features an extended look at the tile-screen for Win 8, the shots are long enough to qualify as computer porn. Which is pretty icky, as anyone who would be that aroused by Windows 8 belongs in a rubber room at the bottom of a disused coal mine.

The shots (and the references to Windows products by the actors) are beyond product placement. It's whoring. Bill Gates can at least buy dinner for Steve McGarrett.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

DasGov: "You Can Trust Us to Do the Right Thing."

When you drill down through the bullshit, rationales and rhetoric defending the NSA's hoovering of essentially everything that goes across the telecommunications networks, that's what they are saying: That we can trust them not to overstep the boundaries between what is legal and what is not.

First, I question the premise for that. The NSA may be adhering to what is legal, but only because the Congress expanded the definition of what was legal for them to do. The NSA gets wiretapping authorization from a court which has turned down less than a dozen requests out of 30,000. You're eight times more likely to catch a ball during a major league baseball game than the government is to get a warrant request denied by the FISA court. Congressional oversight, at least until the current brouhaha erupted, has apparently been about as effectual as scolding a clowder of feral cats.

Second, the "trust us" advocates are, in my view, deliberate ignoring the bedrock principle of the Constitution and our entire system of government, which is this: Government cannot be trusted to do the right thing.

The Founders were some of the smartest and well-educated men and women[1] in the American Colonies. They had a far deeper understanding of human history and abuse of power than 98% of the people in Congress today.[2] They understood the truth that power corrupts. Hell, they lived through it. They were well aware that Prime Minister Pitt said as much in 1770.[3] They were aware that politicians, in particular, grow to regard their perquisites of power as their just due. They were well aware that powerful people tend to conflate their wants and desires with what is proper for their office.[4]

So when it came time for them to design a government, they did not choose the "trust us" form. They wrote a Constitution of limited powers.[5] After pushback from the states, they immediately passed the Bill of Rights to protect citizens from an intrusive government.[6]

Our government has been pushing to limit the rights and liberties of Americans ever since. From the Alien & Sedition Acts of 1798[7] to the satirically named "USA Patriot Act", our history has been a long process of government and often the courts, trying to limit the rights, freedoms and liberties of Americans. I suspect that the Founders expected as much. We have the right to make our voices heard to those legislators, 90% of them, if the truth were known, would rather only talk to lobbyists and bribe-givers large campaign donors. Oh, they try and make it as hard as they can, from delaying mail to their offices to making it inconvenient to go see them, but we still have the right to speak to them. Or to yell at them in large groups.

Government, of course, keeps trying to limit the rights of citizens, from "First Amendment Free Zones", gun laws, and laws and court rulings that have eviscerated the Fourth Amendment. When it is convenient for the Feds, they have used material witness statutes to get around the Fifth Amendment. By uttering the majickal word "terrorism", they have gotten around the Sixth and Eighth Amendments. They have outsourced torture to ex-Soviet bloc nations and Arab nations. They have engaged in torture, only calling it "sharp questioning".[8]

The sad thing is that a lot of Americans seem to be just fine with all of this. Admittedly, the poll questions are suspect, at times,[9] it would seem that, just as with the gun control arguments, those who pay the most attention and those who say that they care about the issues seem to come down on the side that the government does not favor.

The lesson there is that if you care about this issue, you need to speak up. You need to contact your congressvermin. Maybe, if your senator is Lindsey Graham or Diane Feinstein, you shouldn't suggest to them that they are so full of shit that they should be composted, but you get the idea. Be respectful in pointing out that they are pro-police-state fascists.[10] Push back against the promulgators of reduced liberties and freedom. Let them know that this is an issue that can swing your vote.

And if you happen to be one of those people who has made four-figure donations, politely suggest to their fundraisers that you intend to hold them accountable for this.

Point out to them that we do not have a "you can trust us to do the right thing" form of government. If we did, we wouldn't need a written constitution, one that makes it very clear to everyone that we have no such form of government.

It's up to all of us, gang.

("DasGov" is borrowed from my co-blogger, Eck!)
[1] I include Abigail Adams in this group.
[2] Probably the same for the Executive branch. Probably a lot less for judges.
[3] "Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it."
[4] "Well, when the President does it, that means that it is not illegal."- Richard Nixon
[5] Not like those pissant local zoning codes that say "all uses not permitted are prohibited."
[6] Only one of them has been respected without contest.
[7] The 1798 act had a three-year lifespan and the country damn near fell apart over it. There wasn't just opposition, there were serious calls for a revolution in opposition. The opposition may have led the intellectual groundwork for the Civil War.
 [8] Sorry, "enhanced interrogation".  It was the Gestapo who called it "sharp questioning". Oopsie
[9] And about as subtle as "would you rather have the NSA listen into your telephone calls or die in a terrorist bombing?" Not to mention that I would argue that those who care more about their privacy are less likely to answer a pollster's questions.
[10] There I go again.

Feds: "Because We Can Spy on Everyone, We've Thwarted a Bazillion Attacks!"

The number keeps changing, now it's 50. Mostly with nebulous or no details.

Yeah, right. More mush from professional liars and prevaricators.

Bruce Schneier is rethinking his earlier opinion that the NSA isn't storing voice data. The NSA's definition of "listening in" apparently is opening up the files that they have already collected and then listening.

So it's as though the NSA has taped your calls and, as long as they don't actually listen to the tapes, that's supposedly OK? Wiretapping isn't the act of tapping the wire, it's listening to the call itself?

Anyone else find that to be a pretty perverse definition?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Shorter NSA: "Warrant? I Don't Have to Show You Any Stinking Warrants!"

The NSA has admitted to Congress that they can and do listen in on domestic telephone calls without a warrant. All it takes, as Snowden said, is the decision of some GS-3 analyst that they want to listen to the call.

Now, maybe this is a Godwin's Law violation, but bear with me:

One of the rights we had as Americans was to be left alone. The Founders were serious about that, which is why the Constitution likely would have not been ratified without a commitment to immediately pass and ratify the Bill of Rights. Over the last 34 years, that right has been chipped away, ever since the Supreme Court ruled that who you call and who calls you is not your information, but the information of the phone company. They took that ruling and expanded it to rule that your mobile phone's location is not private as it is "pinging" the cell towers and thereby sending its (and your) location to the phone company.

Without a warrant, the government can find out where you are, who you call and who calls you, who you email and who emails you, what websites you visit, what you buy on your credit and debit cards, and who you write checks to. If you have EZ-Pass, they know where you drive. They don't have to read your emails and listen into your calls to know everything they about you, but being able to do so is a lagniappe.

What do we get when we raise the right to be left alone? We get the rationale used by every police state: "You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide." But doesn't everyone have something they don't want broadcast around?

Do you mind the government knowing what books you've been reading? Unless you live in a good-sized area, chances are that the neighborhood bookstores are all gone. Which means that you're buying books over the Internet or borrowing them from your library, all of which means that the government can find out what you read, what magazines you subscribe to. Maybe you like to catch up with your favorite shows using the cable company's "on demand" feature-- which means you told the cable company what you like to watch. Do you use an "affinity" card in the grocery store? Did you sign up for the rewards points at your local movie house?

All of that information is accessible to the government, just about any level of government, without a warrant. A subpoena, which isn't issued by a judge, or a letter is all it takes.

One of the guiding principles of political power is that power, even if created for good reasons, will be abused. Maybe your local sheriff, an elected official, has no problems with doing opposition research for his friends. Maybe a high-level bureaucrat wants some information for his files for a little subtle blackmail.

Can you imagine what thugs like J. Edgar Hoover or Richard Nixon would have been able to do today? What information they could acquire on people, now, without having to do any black-bag searches?

Don't count on any help from the politicians. The Democrats are scared of looking weak on security and the Republicans, most of them, drool over this level of intrusiveness.

You need to start fighting back. You need to make it less easy for them.
  • Start paying cash, again, for incidentals.  (If you buy liquor or smokes with a credit or debit card, you're a serious moron.)
  • Turn off your cell phone and go for a drive.
  • Toss the EZ-Pass into a foil bag.
  • Use the Tor browser (from a USB drive) from time to time.
  • You and your friends start encrypting your emails.
  • Write real letters.  Sure, they can intercept those, but they have to physically do it.  Some NSA or FBI cubicle-drone can't click with a mouse and  read them.
You can have some privacy, even in this connected age.  But you're going to have to work for it.

Maybe in One of Those Universes, They've Already Hung Dick Cheney for War Crimes.

Some cosmologists think that they may be finding some indications of other universes.

Scammers Posing as Charities

There are a lot of them. Here are fifty.

If you get a cold call from any charity, it's a reasonable bet it's a scam. And if it's a charity that claims to support lw enforcement, it's a dead-nuts certainty.

I'm kind of surprised that the Komen goons aren't on there, what with them paying the president/founder several hundred thousand a year and spending only 15% of what they raise on cancer research.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

A 747 departs from Runway 28 at SXM.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

NSA: A Thought Experiment

Let's assume, for the sake of discussion, that the Patriot Act is repealed and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is revised to prohibit the blanket surveillance warrants that the FISC issues. Hell, let's even assume that there is a privacy advocate which has the job of going before the FISC to argue against those blanket search warrants.

Does anyone truly believe that the NSA would obey the law?

I don't. They'd do it all anyway. Even if they didn't, directly, they'd enter into deals with their Canadian and British counterparts along the lines of: "You spy on our citizens, we'll spy on yours and we'll all share what we find."

Trusting a spy not to break the law is like trusting a dog not to lick its ass.


The old man sleeps.

Friday, June 14, 2013

That Was Then, This Is Now; NSA Edition

Joe Biden in 2006 debates his boss in 2013:

And Sean Hannity debates himself:

As does Bill O'Reilly:

As the Brad Blog notes, this sort of partisan crap is exactly why we cannot make any headway on this. Democraps are against it when when a Rethuglican is in power and vice versa. The Dems enact a GOP-designed health insurance program and GOP goes apeshit in denouncing their own program.

If what we are doing in this country is interpreting the Constitution through lenses of partisanship, then we are truly screwed and we might as well adopt Mandarin (or Swedish) as a second language.

We got to this mess with the NSA, in part, because the GOP bought into the Rovian bullshit that they had a "permanent Republican majority" when they advocated for the Bushes to have the authority to do widespread surveillance using the NSA. Now, eight years later, when it may be that the reverse is true, the Obama Administration is pleased as punch to have the sort of datamining and wiretapping powers that the Republicans thought would be theirs alone.

Hell, who needs national gun registration when the government can see that you've bought .38s here, or maybe ordered a gun from Bud's gun shop on your credit card?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Yeah, and There Are 67 Known Communists Working For the State Department, Too!
(and More on the FISA Rubber-Stamp Court)

In a US Senate hearing, National Security Agency Director Keith Alexander said the programmes had disrupted dozens of terror plots.
"I know that it has been successful in preventing terrorism," [Sen. Al Franken] said.
With all due respect guys, prove your assertions. Show some hard proof that there have been "dozens" of terrorist plots disrupted because the NSA has been wiretapping everyone. Show how the NSA's work would have been harmed if they couldn't have done that.

Bald-faced assertions from known liars will not suffice.

On another topic, it seems that since the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court was established, the government has submitted over 30,000 requests for various forms of surveillance. Only eleven requests were denied.

So, 0.037% of all requests were denied. Which suggests to me that the money that it's cost to run that court for the last 34 years has largely been wasted, since a better name for the court would have been the Stockholm Syndrome Spy Court. We'd have been better off setting up a tribunal of trunk monkeys.

Things need to be overhauled.

I have no confidence that it will happen.

So maybe we need to start doing things such as this:

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

NSA: Legislators Unclear on the Concept, or
These Idiots Write Our Laws?

First up, Sen. Feinstein and Rep. Boehner, both of whom say that Edward Snowden is a traitor.

One might have thought that before those two veteran legislators opened up their vomit-holes and began spewing legalistic opinions, they have bothered to go read the fucking law. This is the law on treason:
Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.
Snowden neither waged war against the United States nor did he adhere to the enemies of the United States. Without either of those two elements, he cannot be found guilty of treason. One would think that maybe either Boehner or or Feinstein would have a passing familiarity with the elements of a crime that they are accusing someone else of, but one would be wrong.

Which leads me to propose the Boehner-Feinstein Rule: Whenever those two agree on something, they're likely both wrong.

Second up is Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Ratfuck), who said that because Congress redid the Patriot Act to authorize the NSA to go into datamining against American citizens, what the NSA did under Obama was legal.

Hoyer does not get it. It's the fact that the NSA has been collecting data on Americans for seven something years (probably closer to a dozen years) that is the problem. That Congress is OK with it and that a rubber-stamp-wielding court is the problem. It's even worse that the government is now not breaking the law.

What Feinstein, Boehner, Lindsey Graham and the President are saying in this whole thing is: "You can trust us. We won't grossly invade your privacy." That is a near complete reversal of the bedrock principles of our nation. The foundation of our system of government is that government cannot be trusted to not trample on the rights, liberties and freedoms of the citizens. That's why most of the provisions of the Bill of Rights were written into the Constitution.

We have the right to be secure in our homes and effects, not that we can be secure in our homes and effects unless some faceless terrorcrat feels like listening into our phone calls or reading our emails. The Congress, the Executive and the FISA court have completely gutted the Fourth Amendment with permitting one stinking court order to authorize surveillance on every person with a telephone. Hell, they apparently didn't even bother going to the Rubber-Stamp Court to get an order to turn Google, MSN, Yahoo, Facebook, AOL and the rest into Stasi-style informants.

I am not sure that the standard political labels apply anymore. What we have, now, are people who want their individual freedoms back and those who are pro-police/surveillance statists, who are just fine with being watched by the authorities. Those of us who believe in the right to be left alone need to start speaking up and, we need to start making it harder for them to track us.

And finally, if you are trusting that cloud computing and data storage are safe and that your data will be secure in the cloud, I respectfully suggest that you rethink that.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Shorter DNI Rationalization: "What's a Little Lying Among Colleagues?"

That's pretty much what Director Clapper said, when he confessed that he lied as little as possible to Congress. His rationalization has a lot of the flavor of "it depends what your definition of 'is' is" to it. Go read the exchange from March in light of the current revelations and then ask how that answer can be anything other than a bald-faced lie.

Of what good is Congressional oversight if the people who run the program are lying?

Note also that Verizon wasn't going to push back against the search order because their security chief is a former FBI bigwig.

The Lying "Terrorcrats"

"Terrorcrats" is a term used by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to describe the massive government surveillance apparatus.

That editorial noted that the Director of the NSA, a gent named Keith Alexander, stated to Congress fourteen times that the NSA does not collect information on Americans.

The chances that Mr. Alexander will ever be charged with perjury are less than the chances that Dick Cheney will be made a saint by the Catholic Church. Because if you are a terrorcrat, lying to Congress, lying to the American people is all part of the job. The reaction of pro-fascist legislators, like Sen. Lindsey Graham, shows that the Circus of Lies and Tyranny will only grow stronger.

During the various debates over gun control, a lot of my fellow liberals poo-poohed the famous Ben Franklin saying along the lines of those who give up liberty for security will end up with neither. Yet that is where we are going. We have been giving up our liberties, our freedoms, because we took two punches on one day a dozen years ago.

How free are you if, at the keyboard command (or the click of a mouse) of a faceless government clerk, all of your private electronic communications are there for perusal? How free are you if that clerk decides to start recording your telephone calls?

Twenty years ago, it was possible to drive from coast to coat and leave no electronic trail. But now, almost all of us carry trackers that can be used to find us. Our license plates are scanned automatically. Cameras are being networked by police departments.

We have been giving up our right to privacy, our right to be left alone. And we have done it without a struggle.

The Founding Fathers would be so proud of us.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

No Chance that the DNI Will Be Arrested, I Bet

Weeks before the National Security Agency (NSA) began a massive phone sweeping operation on U.S. cellular provider Verizon, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Congress the agency does not conduct intelligence on American citizens.

Testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Clapper denied allegations by panel members the NSA conducted electronic surveillance of Americans on U.S. soil.

"Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?" committee member Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) asked Clapper during the March 12 hearing.

In response, Clapper replied quickly: "No, sir.
Of course, we all know now that that statement was a complete lie. The NSA is collecting telephone data on everyone. The man flat-out lied to Congress. The DOJ went after Roger Clemens for lying to Congress, but as to the chances of Clapper being so charged-- my cat stand a better chance of winning a MacArthur Genius Grant.

The NSA, of course, wants to arrest the the guy who blew the whistle on their spying on everyone.

Oh, and CBS News? Bullshit on saying that Clapper "rebutted" anything. DNI released something that CBS called a "fact sheet" that touts the judicial oversight of the FISA* court. What little has been leaked out from the FISA process would seem to support the notion that the FISA court is a glorified rubber stamp, existing only to put a constitutional gloss on things. Nobody gets to litigate any of this, of course. Because the NSA won't confirm anything, nobody can prove that the NSA is spying on them, so the Supremes have turned their backs, closed their eyes, put their fingers in their ears and are humming loudly.
* The first word in "FISA" is "foreign", an inconvenient fact that doesn't seem to stand in the NSA's way of collecting phone data on everyone in this nation.

A Natural Enemy of Airplane Owners

Birds during nesting season. When you see a lot of bird shit on an airplane, the odds are good that those feathered devils have made themselves at home inside the airplane.

This is a low-wing Piper. The birds are in the tail.

They got into the wheel well of this Beechcraft Bonanza. Without looking, I'd guess that there is a lightening hole in a wing rib and that the birds are inside the wing itself.

The owner of this airplane made an attempt to block off the holes in the tail. The bastards got in anyway.

This is a short-wing Piper, one of the descendants of the J-3.

I've never had an issue with them getting into the tail of my Stinson. The elevator mechanism is right at the back of the fuselage, so there may not be enough room for them to feel comfortable about going in there. If I leave the engine cover off long enough for it to cool down, there's almost certainly going to be a bird setting up a home on top of the engine deck. So I put an engine cover on the cowling.

As you might suspect, it is very bad form to fly an airplane with a bird's nest in it.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

Lockheed L-1011:

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Stick to What You Know; Bangity Edition

So I shot a club PPC match this morning. I took two guns, a Colt Government Model .45 with three-dot Wilson sights and a Smith & Wesson Model 19 6". Since the last match, I painted the back side of the front sight. First, I used an undercoat of white nail polish and then a coat of orange nail polish.

The results could not have been more different. With the .45, which I know is an accurate enough gun, I shot an execrable score of 317-5x out of a possible 480. That's just horrible. I would have been better off throwing the gun at the target.

With the Model 19, I shot 463-16x. That's the best score that I have ever shot in that style of match. If nobody edges me out (the match was still going on when I left), I might have scored high enough to medal or trophy or whatever at the Master level.

The lesson to me is that I need to stick with what I know, and that's wheelguns.

DHS Ammo Purchases?

Any idea why those nimrods are buying .410, .45 Long Colt and .30-30 Winchester ammo?

Next. they'll be ordering .44-40, .45-70 and .56-50 Spencer.....


Washcloths in Space

What happens when you wring out a towel in space:


Jake was looking out the window as he slowly gave in to his need to nap.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Shorter Bosses of Google and Facebook: Either They Were Given the "Mushroom Treatment" or They are Lying

The bosses of both Google and Facebook deny that the NSA has been tapped into their servers. Even though the existence of the PRISM program was acknowledged by the President.

So either those guys knew about it and they are now furiously lying, knowing full well that the NSA will never officially confirm the matter, or they were deliberately kept in the dark by their staffies, who saw no reason to bring this matter to their bosses' attention.

I think I'm going to go with "Lying CEOs".

Good Luck Finding a Cop Today (or Tomorrow)

Today is National Doughnut Day and tomorrow is National Jelly Doughnut Day.

The Canadians are in mourning because they didn't think of it first.

The NSA Can Spy on You in Real Time

“They quite literally can watch your ideas form as you type.” If you use a cloud storage or document sharing service, it's a pretty safe bet that the NSA has their greasy tentacles there, as well.

Not to mention your credit card transactions. If you buy a "grand slam" breakfast at Denny's and you pay by credit card, the NSA knows about it.

If you want your work to be safe from Federal intrusion, you need to disconnect your computer from the Internet. And maybe, for correspondence, you might think about going back to using snail mail.

That President Obama is now heavily invested in all of the intrusive bullshit that he used to speak out against when Bush was doing it is a point that is blindingly obvious. We might as well have had Dick Cheney stick around for a couple more terms, for all of the concern about preserving Americans' freedoms and liberties that this current administration is showing.

The Defenders of Your Freedom and Liberty in the Congress are Wilfully Asleep

Because they all seem to think that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the NSA collecting phone records, emails and whatnot.

Sen. Harry Reid (D- No Balls): "I think everyone should just calm down and understand that this isn't anything that is brand new, it's been going on for some seven years.."

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R- Closet): "I don't mind Verizon turning over records to the government... I don’t think you're talking to the terrorists. I know you're not. I know I'm not, so we don't have anything to worry about."

Ah, yes, the old "if you have nothing to hide, if you've done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear" argument. It is the classic pro-police state lie.

Sen. Feinstein (D- Disarmed Serfs) claims that the NSA's spying on everyone has enabled them to disrupt some terrorist plots. With all due respect, Senator, show us the proof of that statement.

Here's a fucking clue for you good Senators: Go read the motherfucking Constitution, especially the Fourth Amendment. With all due respect to you 100 august legislators, the Framers of the Constitution were a hell of a lot smarter than you. And you guys prove that every time you open your mouths. For right now, you're acting more like those crack legal scholars, Bush and Gonzales.

You clowns all took an oath to defend the Constitution. I suggest that you consider doing that.

Oh, and in a note of irony, tomorrow is the 64th anniversary of the first publication of Nineteen Eighty-Four

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Shorter NSA: "It Takes too Long to Get the FISA Court to Rubber-Stamp Our Shit!"

And so they have been tapping directly into the servers for Google, Yahoo, MSN, Facebook, Apple, etc, etc. If you send emails through any of them, if you use Skype, if you send files though those services, you've given all of that shit to the NSA.

Freedom and privacy are illusions, now.

What are you going to do about it?

Update: The question has been asked: What do 20,000 NSA employees do each day? I imagine that there are at least that many contractors, if not more, also assisting the NSA in doing whatever the hell they do.

FISA Court: "No, We Are Not a Star-Chamber Rubber-Stamp Court"

That's what the chief judge says.

The facts would seem to be different. The FISA court is the only Federal court I know of which is not adversarial. In a regular court, the issuance of a search warrant may be heavily scrutinized when the defendant's lawyer challenges it and the evidence gleaned as a result.

Not so with FISA. It apparently rarely turns down a request for a warrant. "Rarely" as in "about as often as a Chicago alderman turns down cash".
In 2012, the government requested its imprimatur for surveillance 1,856 times, an increase of 5% over its 2011 petitions. The court approved every request in both years.
There is evidently no proof of any real due process, just an illusion of it.

The other point, which needs to be hammered a little, is that it is very interesting how this story didn't break in an American newspaper. It took the Brits to do it.

Bet Your Ass That the NSA is Watching You!

The KGB NSA is collecting pen register data on every call made by Verizon subscribers. No targeted suspicion, they are watching everybody. The sooper-sekrit court order is here.

So it's a safe bet that they are also collecting similar information on every subscriber using AT&T, as well as every other provider out there.

This is no longer tinfoil-hat shit. They are watching everyone. Call your mother, your boss or your bookie, the NSA knows about it.

The question now is what are we going to do about it. This is the 69th Anniversary of the Normandy Invasion, part of a war that, as we have been told ad nauseum, was fought to preserve liberty and freedom. And yet, here we are, throwing it away.

We won the Cold War, as well. And now our government is emulating the East German Stasi?

Write your Senators and I suggest two things: Really write them. Don't email them. Send the fuckers a letter. And ask them the classic question from Watergate: What did they know and when did they know it.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Hey, DHS, How Do You Like This Blog?

Here is a list of the words that the NKVD DHS uses to look for suspect writings on social media sites.

The Vulgar Curmudgeon suggests seeding some of them into every text, tweet, FB post, blog post or email that is sent. I don't know how to avoid them, frankly. Was there a drug bust of a meth lab in your neighborhood? Did your airline flight get delayed or cancelled because of lightning or a snow storm?  Was there a power outage?  Did you strain your back planting your spring garden plot so you could have some home grown produce? If you didn't get immunized, and you had symptoms of influenza, did you take any Tamiflu?  When you drove over the bridge across the Interstate to buy a new gas can for your rototiller, did it leak and did you ask for help? When you rode AMTRAK, did they give you ice in your drink?  Maybe you got a quick sandwich at Subway?

Every underlined word in the previous paragraph is one of the words that the DHS screens for.  Assholes.

Oh, Weather Channel, Can You Stop Now?

The Weather Channel has been engaged in a long festival of mourning over the deaths of three storm-chasers, killed by a recent tornado in Oklahoma. Understandable, those guys all knew each other.

But what got my attention was a whine by one of their own storm-chasers that there were too many other people out chasing storms. He pretty much said that there were so many clowns out chasing storms that there were traffic jams near bad storms.

So the very people who popularized storm-chasing are having second thoughts? That might have been a bit persuasive, if the next segment hadn't been their anchor showing video that had been sent in by listeners, including video sent in by (wait for it) amateur storm-chasers of the very tornado that killed the three professional storm-chasers.

"Don't go chasing storms, but if you do, send us your video"... that's going to be really effective.


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Dumb-Ass Lazy TV Script Writers; Gun Edition

So I'm watching Monday's episode of Longmire, a show set in a fictional county in Wyoming. In this episode of the show, there is at least two mentions of handgun registration. A deputy mentions that a suspect has an unregistered .38 revolver.

Except handguns aren't registered in Wyoming.

How hard would have been for those idiots to check that out?

I imagine that you know what the problem is: The scriptwriters are a bunch of Californians and, since handguns are registered there, those lazy fools think that is the way it is everywhere else.

The Dog's Diary

Of course, since the cat has a diary, one had to be done as well for the dog.

(Posted in lieu of actual content.)

Monday, June 3, 2013

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Older Guns Still Work

Danger Room has a piece about the Syrian rebels using old (or copied) American recoilless rifles.

If you watch the second video in the clip, you'll see them using the spotting rifle that is attached to the weapon. The spotting rifle uses a .50 cartridge that is ballistically matched to the 106mm round. So you'd shoot the spotting rifle, get on target with it (the projectile generated a puff of smoke on impact), and then let fly with the recoilless rifle.

IIRC, the projectiles had pre-engraved driving bands to match up to the rifling. Might have been something about how if they didn't do that, they couldn't be counted on to be able to balance out the recoil and counter-recoil effects, as the amount of effort it took to normally engrave the rifling on the driving bands had too much variability. Maybe they also needed to match the vent holes in the chamber with the perforations in the cartridge casings.

One issue with shooting them a lot was that the jets in the recoil compensator part would wear out, allowing even more gas to fire to the rear. When that happened, the gun would start to move forward on firing.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

C-5 Galaxy.

The engines of the Galaxy made a low-pitched whine that was very distinctive. You can hear it on the video.

A Caturday Extra: zOMG, A Cat Could Simply Starve In This Place!!!

When I finally rolled out of bed (after tiring of hearing the Lamentations of the Food Bowls), Jake was sitting by his food dishes, rubbing the cabinet.

There was food, but it was probably too aged for his taste.

The old food was removed, fresh food was produced and served. All is now right with the world.

Saturday, June 1, 2013


Jake is on watch for those evil, trouble-making squirrels and birds.