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, 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,
A/K/A P01135809, A/K/A Dementia Donnie

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Homeland Security Joke

Alarm System

I've disconnected my home alarm system and de-registered from the Neighborhood Watch.

I've got two Pakistani flags raised in the front yard, one at each corner, and the black flag of ISIS in the center.

The local police, sheriff, FBI, CIA, NSA, Homeland Security, Secret Service and other agencies are all watching my house 24/7.

I've never felt safer and I'm saving $49.95 a month.

Not Exactly Leading by Example; "Let Them Eat Cake" Edition

After flying his wife, children and two nannies with him on a private jet to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, billionaire Jeff Greene reportedly said during an interview, “America’s lifestyle expectations are far too high and need to be adjusted so we have less things and a smaller, better existence. We need to reinvent our whole system of life.”
He, of course, doesn't mean himself, nosiree.
Greene owns a $195-million mansion in Beverly Hills with 23 bathrooms, a Turkish spa, rotating dance floor, a 50-seat theater, and a vineyard. He also owns two other mansions in Los Angeles, one in Palm Beach, one in the Hamptons, and a 145-foot party yacht.
After all, wouldn't it be asking too much of Mr. Greene to get by with only two opulent mansions in Los Angeles?

One of the fattest of fat cats, a guy who made his money by wrecking the economy in 2008* has a lot of gall to preach to Americans that we have to tighten up out lifestyles. He tried to buy himself a Senate seat and failed, bigtime.

Greene and his ilk love to sit in their mansions, drink champagne on their yachts and buzz around in their jets, all the while decrying those who advocate for paying workers living wages, not merely wages that put them on food stamps and hoping that the local church-run food pantry's shelves aren't bare this week. They engineer the tax codes to make taxes regressive and to exempt themselves from taxation.**

But don't think about sharpening up your pitchforks, making torches and warming up the tar. The world's oligarchs are buying up chunks of New Zealand so they have places to flee to.
* Earning the nickname "the Meltdown Mogul".
** Leona Helsmley's mistake was being small-minded: she cheated directly on her taxes, instead of paying off congressmen to rewrite the tax code.



Jake reads the paper in the style of cats:

For the Critters; Bleg Update 2

(Stickied for a couple of days.)

Gentle Readers, last Fall, I asked you to give some spare coin to my local animal shelter.

Quite a few of you did. So I want to share this bit of news with you:

For the first time in many, many years, the shelter finished the year in the black. Oh, sure, not by a lot. But in the black, for sure.

You guys made a difference.

My Humble thanks to you!

(And if you wanted to give some more, I won't be stopping you.)

Friday, January 30, 2015

Mittens Folds His Tent

Rmoney isn't going to run in `16. That's reasonable, given that nobody seems to want him to.

Which probably means that the American oligarchs will coalesce around Jeb Bush.

NRA Keeps Donning Its Clown Shoes

This is the cover of the 2/15 issue of "The American Rifleman":

(Stolen from here)

I guess that the little brouhaha between us and the Germans and Japanese in the early `40s wasn't all that serious, so we can forget all of that "greatest generation" malarkey. Not to mention that little family spat between 1861 and 1865. Or the two wars of independence against the most powerful power on the planet (the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812). Or all of those years where the USA and the USSR had thousands of nuclear-tipped missiles aimed at each other.

Those were safe times, according to the NRA.

The NRA has gone off the deep end many times during the Obama presidency. One mark against them is having an avowed racist on their board. The NRA has darkened photos of Obama to make him appear more like a scary Black dude (like Time magazine did to OJ).

I can understand a vigorous opposition to the Obama Administration. That's fine. And I get the need to whip up one's supporters in order to beg for more donations to the political action funds. But I sure wish that the NRA could do it without coming across as a pack of sheet-wearing mouthbreathers.

Because It's Friday

Steam in Thailand:

I don't think I've ever seen the "reverse direction" situation handled this way.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Headline Winner of the Year

I don't know how anyone tops this one:
Allegedly drunken trombone-playing clown arraigned for protection order violation

You May Not Want to Drive Your Car to a Gun Show

The ATF really wants to use license-plate readers to determine whose going to them.

Doesn't matter if you bought, sold, or just walked around and left. The ATF thinks it's a good idea to have a record of who drove there.

But don't worry your little head about it. The Right is too involved getting upset over travel bans when a blizzard is forecasted.

A Little Bit of Tab-Clearing; Spooks and Idiots Edition

First the spooks: The Canadians are watching what files you download. Unless, of course, you're a Canadian, for that'd be illegal. No doubt whatsoever that the GCHQ or the NSA is filling that gap for them.

Aren't we at the point, now, where if you want to do any serious research of a topic, you'd better be running Tor? Though Tor probably doesn't do much good if you have to log into a site, but if you're even researching anything innocuous that has ever been used by a terrorist, you might want to use Tor.

Second, the idiots: The Open-Carry Assholes of Texas. I can't top this commentary:
You guys actually believe so strongly in your holy cause, you don’t care how much damage you’re doing to your own side. You’re the suicide bombers of the gun rights movement, happy to indiscriminately destroy anyone, on either side, who doesn’t live up to your standards of what a true 2A believer should be. Like all zealots everywhere, you’ll do whatever makes you the hero of your own little drama, without regard for the negative effects on others.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

I Got Yer "Low Impact Exercise" Right Here!

From last winter:

Freedom to Be Left Alone is Dead

The cops are bringing in surveillance radars to examine the shit in your home.

The FBI and General Electric are pushing for wholescale vacuuming and collection of DNA samples from everybody. The FBI, because they're the nation's premier fascist organization. GE, because they're just another bunch of capitalistic sociopaths and they see a way to make a buck off of it. Aware of privacy concerns, the FBI promises to purge your data when you turn 75.

And we all know about how the NSA, DEA, telcos, ISPs and the Post Office have been monitoring our communications for well over a decade. And how the NSA has been building a huge server farm in Utah to keep all of that shit.

We're getting a lot closer to George Orwell's vision of the future than Gene Roddenberry's.

A Modest Proposal to Solve the Problem of Ignorant Yuppies Not Vaccinating Their Kids

Two parents in California, whose son cannot be vaccinated because his immune system is compromised from chemotherapy, have asked the local schools to ban children whose parents have refused to have them vaccinated. It seems that seven percent of the children at the school have parents who are ignorant fucktards who have refused to have their children vaccinated.

Measles is highly contagious. So kid A, who has measles, walks through a room. Two hours later, another kid walks through the room and the second kid is likely to catch the disease.

If you don't vaccinate your kids and some other kid, like that child who is recovering from leukemia, gets sick, then the parent of that kid gets to whale on your kneecaps with a 3' length of rebar.  Because shit like this shouldn't be happening in a First World country.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

DasGov is Monitoring Your Movements (If You're Going by Car)

The DEA has been forming a massive nationwide network of license plate scanners in order to track everybody.

Because they can't buy it from a fascist company that's been doing the same thing, I guess.
A national plate tracking database exists, run by Vigilant Solutions, and it is widely used by law enforcement nationwide.
Companies like that one would harvest your organs, if they could figure out a way to do it without raising a fuss.

But that's what companies do. They're really sociopathic entities who do whatever it takes to make a buck, regardless of how repugnant it is.

Just like Degesch and IG Farben, which have continued on their merry way.

Do Professional Gunwriters Buy Chapstik By the Case?

One of the more interesting things to do on a gloomy January day is to read the reports by the gunnie reporters at the annual SHOT Show. You might recall that last year, they were almost all falling over themselves to praise the Remington R51, a gun that proved to be such a turkey that Remington recalled all of them. Well, this year, the reporters are once again falling to their knees and opening wide over new guns that haven't been in the hands of the (beta-testing) public.

#1: Here is a review of the Korth 9mm "Sky Marshall" by a writer who got to dry-fire it a dozen times.

Korth makes revolvers for people who think that a Colt Python is a budget-priced gun. (They're really pricey). A grand for this one is dirt-cheap by their standards.

Beyond that, a revolver that doesn't need moonclips for rimless rounds isn't exactly new. Maybe Korth's system is better. But I can't see why someone would want to use speedloaders over moonclips. And a Picatinny rail on a snubbie, well, that just looks wrong.

#2: You can hit somebody with a Taurus Curve at 12 feet. BFD, I can hit them with my desk stapler at 12 feet. In comparison, you can shoot someone with a Derringer at 21 feet. Touting that a gun is accurate enough at 12 feet, well inside Tueller Drill range, is kind of damning it with faint praise.

#3: At least, in the midst of praising All Things Bull(shit), this guy gets around to acknowledging that Taurus "had" a quality-control problem. I don't know about "had", I've heard too many stories about their crappy QC and, even in recent years, people talking about buying Taurii and then having to repeatedly send them back for repairs. The biggest gripe, besides general crappiness, is that you have to pay the shipping each way when you send in your heater to Taurus for them to attempt to fix their cruddy products.

#4: Remington is back with the R51 and they've fixed all the problems! Because Remington told this guy so and they couldn't be wrong, right?

#5: HK's "popular" USP 9mm pistol. I don't know how "popular" it is, I never see one for sale in any of the gun shops. Maybe it's because the MSRP on those things is a grand or better? Yep, when you can get two Glocks or two S&W 9mms for the same price*, dropping a grand or better on a HK is going to appeal to whom, exactly? Certainly not to any cop shop that's crunching budget numbers. HK. Because, well, you know.
* Or half-a-dozen High Points, if you're equipping a street gang.

48 Years Ago

A major blizzard hit the Chicago area.

While Chicagoans were digging out from the snow, the news came that the three astronauts of what was then known as Apollo 204, aka Apollo 1, had burned to death in a fire inside the Command Module. Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee were doomed as soon as the first spark flew.

NASA would go on to forget many of the lessons learned in the Apollo 1 fire, only to relearn them in separate accidents nearly 20 years apart.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Why Black Parents Have "The Talk" With Their Children

Because you might be a reporter and columnist for the New York Times and your son might be a junior at Yale, but to the cops, he's just another thug until proven otherwise.
This is the scenario I have always dreaded: my son at the wrong end of a gun barrel, face down on the concrete.

In Indiana, the State-Run Propaganda Service

And it's the brainchild of the GOP governor.

I don't need to snark about this one bit, do I?

Blast Effects

A National Geographic article on what blast effects do to people. It's now "blast-induced neurotrama". Besides the obvious brain-rattling of a concussion, the blast pressure wave sets up oscillating pressure waves in the blood system, which transfers kinetic energy throughout the body, including the brain.

We, as a nation, have a very large debt to pay to these men and women. It will likely not be paid in full in our lifetimes.

It's Nice to Want; Gunnie Edition

A new .45 Luger.

There are a few videos of the gun being fired, but this is the only one which shows the entirety of the gun.

I imagine that this gun is to Glocks what Lear jets are to Cessna Skyhawks in price, but it sure would be fun to shoot it in a PPC match.

Those New England Pats, Will Cheat on You

The Onion nailed it:
Americans across the nation announced Wednesday that they would love—absolutely love—to hear the excuses from Patriots fans this time. “No, no, by all means, go ahead,” said every single person living outside of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Rhode Island, and Connecticut before reportedly smiling and adding, “I’m all ears.”
That's a tad bit unfair, for if you're west of the Connecticut River, you're getting into Giants and Jets fan territories.

But only a tad. The rest is spot-on.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

A Ninety-Day Mission of Exploration

That's what the Opportunity Rover was sent out to do. It's now been on the job for 11 years.

It took this photo recently

If the Rover were a human being, it would now be over three thousand years old.

The Revolver Girl Goes Off the Reservation

S&W 6906

There are a lot of these on the used market today and the pricing is good for a lot of them. I don't care for striker-fired guns at all. I'm reasonably comfortable with DA/SA autoloaders; one of my EDC guns is a PPK.

From what I've read, the general consensus is that S&W got it right with their third-generation automatics. The LEO market, though, wants striker-fired guns (a subset wants 1911s), so that's what they make. And if you want a used .40 S&W M&P or Glock, lots of them are out there, as well, as there seems to be a flow back by cop shops to the 9mm ever since the Feebies began to move that way.

Anyway, the gun was used and came with only one magazine. More are on order; I should be able to do a good range run with it later this week.

Sputtered Out +70

The Battle of the Bulge ended seventy years ago today, as the Germans withdrew from the last bit of territory that they had taken several weeks before. The Germans were so short of fuel that their Panzer soldiers had to abandon large numbers of their tanks and walk back out of the Ardennes.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

The Luscombe Speedbird.

It was for sale over a year ago. Nobody bid on it. The FAA lists the registration as expired.

I couldn't find any footage of it in flight.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Comedians Around the Nation Are Lifting Their Arms to the Sky and Proclaiming:
"Thank You, Jesus!"

For they have been given the gift of comedy gold.
Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin told The Washington Post in an interview Friday that she is “seriously interested” in running for the White House in 2016.

“You can absolutely say that I am seriously interested,” Palin said, when asked to clarify her thinking about a possible presidential bid.
Right. The pol who couldn't handle the pressure of being the governor of the least-densely populated state in the country (and third least populous) and who had to quit half-way through her first term thinks that she can handle a job which rapidly ages people?

Warm up the Official GOP Campaign Vehicle.

High Class and No Class; Sports Edition

First, high class: Ernie Banks has died. If you lived in the Chicago area, even if you weren't a sports fan, you knew about Ernie Banks. He was a great ballplayer who played for one of the worst teams in the history of baseball. Banks was probably the best player never to play in a World Series. He loved the game.
"As I traveled around in baseball then and now, people would ask me, 'Is Ernie really like that? Is he really that happy all the time?'" said Billy Williams, a Hall of Fame outfielder and teammate of Banks from 1959 to 1972. "I always say, 'That was Ernie. He was that way every day.' He's the most positive guy I ever met. He loved playing the game. Maybe it came from playing in the Negro Leagues, where they had so much fun with the game. I just know that Ernie loved being at the ballpark. He was as genuine as they get."
Scott Simon's tribute is worth listening to.

And now, no class:
The [NFL] said evidence shows the [New England] Patriots used underinflated footballs during the first half of the AFC championship game Sunday night against the Indianapolis Colts.
The Patriots seem to have an allergy to playing clean. Cheating is apparently an institutional practice with them. Whatever edge they can take, fair or foul, clean or dirty, you can count on New England to grab it. The term "sportsmanship" means nothing to them.

Sports aren't war. A game isn't a small-unit battle. It's still a game and how you play it still matters. You can ask Mark McGuire or Barry Bonds about that, who will likely not be elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame until sometime after the heat death of the Universe.

Which is why there will be lots of column inches of praise and hours of remembrances on the sports channels for Mr. Cub. But when the Steroid-Sluggers or Coach Belicheat pass away, you'll see little of that.


A shelter cat needs a home:

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Shorter RIM (Blackberry) CEO: "The Free Market Sucks!"

App makers should be required to make software for Blackberry handsets, says the boss of the phone company.
Blackberries have gone from being the hot mobile phone to being about the last choice for almost anyone. If app developers aren't making their apps for Blackberries, it likely is because they don't see anything to gain by doing so. Go into a meeting and you'll see people with iPhones and Android devices, but you're going to find jack-all users with Blackberries, unless their employer gives them to the users.

But like a lot of companies who have failed or are in the process of failing in the market, RIM wants the government to tilt the playing field in their favor. They're half-socialists, in that they want the government to protect them from failure (and subsidize them if they do), but to let them keep everything if they then begin to succeed.

If you go bust, it's on you. But the CEOs all expect to be bailed out in one way or another. Which is just what RIM is asking for, now.

Things That I Wish I Could Be Shocked About

New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who bent governors to his will for more than 20 years as one of the state's most powerful and canny politicians, was arrested Thursday on charges of taking millions in payoffs and kickbacks.
Some decades ago, or so the story goes, the Feebies set up a sting operation to bribe a bunch of politicians in New York. They only found one guy who wouldn't take the cash offered. Afterwards, it turned out that the reason the guy spurned the cash was because they didn't offer enough- he was insulted.

This one falls into the "no fucking shit" category:
A major measles outbreak traced to Disneyland has brought criticism down on the small but vocal movement among parents to opt out of vaccinations for their children.

In a rash of cases that public health officials are rushing to contain, at least 70 people in six states and Mexico have fallen ill since mid-December, most of them from California. The vast majority of those who got sick had not gotten the measles-mumps-rubella, or MMR, vaccine.
Stupid people doing stupid things to their kids.

Worse is that there are people who, for medically legitimate reasons, can't be vaccinated. They depend on everyone else being vaccinated, so that there is little risk of them catching the disease in question. It's a concept called "herd immunity". But if enough morons don't get vaccinated, then there is a transmission pathway to them through the imbeciles.

As for this, I'm pretty much convinced that humanity has fucked things over past fixing. If you ever saw the beginning to the movie Serenity, it mentioned that humanity fled Earth, pretty much after fucking things up beyond all repair. The reality is that we'll probably fuck up the planetary ecosystem past the point of no return long before we develop the technology to flee the planet.

Which, in a way, may explain why we've not found any hints of intelligent life. For any species that develops to that point probably fouls its own nest and dies off. Just like bacteria in a Petri dish does and just like we're doing.

Justified; Two Good Conversations

The two conversations in the first episode of season 6 (#66 overall); one between Chief Deputy Art Mullen (home recuperating from a serious case of bullet wounds) and Raylan Givens, and one between Boyd Crowder and Dewey Crowe, are not to be missed.

I won't say more, in case the show is in your DVR or you're going to catch it "on demand" on cable.

The one thing that bugs me about the show is that everybody, including stone-cold thugs like Boyd Crowder and incompetent thugs, like Dewey Crowe, all have such perfect, bright, white teeth. They have all of their teeth and not a one has stains from nicotine or coffee.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Terrafugia Wants a Hell of an Exemption

Specifically, they want a waiver of the LSA gross weight limits from 1,320lbs to 1,800. (As well as a waiver of the stall speed from 45kts to 54kts.)

AOPA says the rules are arbitrary. So what, aren't they all? What's so sacrosanct about the single-engine stall speed of 61kts? Or the 800HP rule for type-ratings? If the Terrafugia is a LSA, why not the Cessna 150 or 152, which are both lighter and have a lower stall speed?

LSAs were supposed to be simple and relatively cheap. The Terrafugia is neither. Anyone who can afford to buy a $300,000+ airplane isn't going to be terribly deterred by the requirement to get a private ticket.

If I had a Kitten in a Jug

Because cuteness.

No other reason for this post.

The Whistleblower Rules Apply to the TSA:
Claiming "National Security" Doesn't Cover Up All Fuckery

So sayeth the Supremes:
The Supreme Court extended whistle-blower protection Wednesday to an Orange County man who disclosed that the government was about to remove armed air marshals from overnight flights to save money on hotels.

In a 7-2 decision, the high court said Congress wanted to shield whistle-blowers who disclose wrongdoing within the government.

In 2006, Robert J. MacLean was fired from his job as an air marshal after officials of the Transportation Security Administration learned that he was the source of a TV news report that revealed the planned cutback. They said he had disclosed sensitive security information.
This is by no means over, but eight years of back pay is not an insignificant issue. And it's quite possible that the TSA is going to have to pay a boatload of attorneys' fees to Mr. MacLean's lawyers.

I hope that comes out of the HQ budget for the TSA. Little chance of that, though.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive

Justified starts tonight for its final season.

(What, you're watching some other bullshit on the tube tonight?)

Shorter UK: Free Press is the Enemy

That's pretty much how the British government views the press*. Reporters are terrorists, in their view.

So they may go march to defend a satirical rag that makes fun of people that the Pommies don't like, but when it comes to scrutinizing what government, does, oh, the horror!
* At least a press that, unlike, say, the New York Times, actually does investigative reporting.

94% Fuel; Lunar Launch/Timesink Edition

The Saturn V Flight Manual is now online. I've just begun to peruse it (it's 244 pages).

Fun facts: The dry weight of the first state was 288,000 pounds. The fueled weight of the first stage was over five million pounds. The center engine of the first stage was shut down early in order to limit the acceleration of the rocket.

Monday, January 19, 2015

100 Years Ago

German Zeppelins bombed three English towns.

it wasn't the first time that somebody had dropped bombs from an aircraft, but it was the first time that more than one aircraft was used and the first time that "strategic bombing" was carried out. The idea was then, and remained for decades, that civilian morale could be sapped and the war ended by attacking civilian targets in the far rear areas.

As a way of forcing an enemy to divert military assets from frontline use to air defense, maybe it works. But as a way of draining enemy morale and compelling them to end a war, it's been a failure, time and time again.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Wounded Warrior Project- part 2

I signed into Charity Navigator so I could look at WWP's tax filings.

Murphy was right about their staffing. They have 11 people whose pay they had to report, because they're pulling down six-figure paychecks, according to the most-recent Form 990 (Sept, `13). Steve Nardizzi, the Executive Director and founder, gets paid $375K. Of the paid employees, there is apparently only one woman, Christine Hill, who is the "EVP Congressional Affairs", who was paid $133.9K and who was the one who was paid the least of all.

They got paid $5.8 million in royalties, $225 million in fundraising and contributions, $2.5 million in investment income. The top brass were paid $2.83 million, they paid out $26 million in payroll costs (including wages, taxes, pension benefits). $16 million in office expenses, $6.3 million in travel costs, $33 million to "consulting & outside services".

Murphy is right about another point: They seem to exist mainly to give money to other groups. A quarter-mil to CT Public Broadcasting (and to no other PBS station)? $600K to the Lizzie Doyle Foundation? They had nearly $17 million in cash and $166 million in "net assets" at the end of the tax year. Seems like a hell of a lot of cash to be squirreled away. In comparison, local charitable organizations seem to run on the financial knife-edge. I'll bet if you were to look at the financials of your local animal shelter, or battered spouse shelter or food pantry, you'll find that they are not exactly flush with cash.

Maybe you can call up the forms for any other large charity and similarly pick them apart.

But it would seem to me that giving money to what essentially is a "charitable middleman" is a waste of at least part of your donation.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

Finnish F/A-18 road ops:

The techno music bullshit stops at 1:36 when they start flying, so if you want to skip ahead....

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Wounded Warrior Project

I'm watching the evening news in real time tonight. One of the commercials was for the Wounded Warrior Project, a spot that seemed to be at least 60 seconds long. They wanted $19/month.

I looked them up on Charity Navigator. They don't seem to be too bad, other than the point that the founder is sucking down $375,000/year. Scroll to the bottom of the page and you'll find out that while they're not the worst charity for servicemen (that's the USO), they're not exactly stellar, and certainly better than the Komen folk.

No, the point that bugs me is that taking care of wounded warriors is a collective responsibility, a moral responsibility, that should not be left to the private sector running begathons. It belongs to all of us and the Federal government should be funding everything needed to take care of the veterans. Arguably, relying on the VA to deliver all of the care is a bad idea. And maybe we don't need the humanitarian version of LockMart to suck up huge profits while delivering shitty services.

But tin-cupping it is just wrong. If the Federal government can't afford to take care of the vets who need help, then we've got no business sending any more of them into harm's way.

RomneyBot, Version 5.0x10^9

Seems that Willard is now experimenting with being a populist:
One of the most important things to focus on in the post-Obama era, he said, was to lift people out of poverty. "Under President Obama, the rich have gotten richer and more people are in poverty than ever before," Romney said. He also touted his work as a pastor in the Mormon Church helping the sick and elderly.
The "rich getting richer" is pretty much the core of the GOP. You don't have to look hard to find GOP powerbrokers whose cause is cutting taxes for the rich and increasing them for everyone else.

That didn't sell too well on the national stage, so the man who ran in `08 as a slightly moderate conservative and in `12 as a severe conservative is now trying to find some other robe that will look good on him.

At this point, it's clear that Rmoney's core political belief is "I should be president." Which, at least, is honest. He'll say anything, do anything and become anything in order to become the president. But what he'd do as president, well, good luck guessing that. For when you try to find his bedrock political philosophy, there's no there, there.

Stay Classy, Miami!

The North Miami Beach Po-Po were using mugshots from a photo array for target practice on a rifle range. The next group to use the range were some National Guardsmen, one of whom was the sister of one of the "targets".
Sgt. Valerie Deant peered into a stack of garbage at a Medley shooting range last month and saw a photo of her brother. His face had bullet holes.
The cops were claiming that they used the photo arrays for "facial recognition drills", which is hogwash, because they shot everyone. And this is how they tried to claim "nope, we weren't racist" position:
A mass email was sent to media outlets with photos of other targets used by the city's two snipers. Among them: A photo of Osama Bin Laden, and another of a man holding a gun to woman's head.
Probably commercial targets, which you can buy at most indoor ranges. Bzzt: Fail.

Real classy move, using photos of locals as targets.


That face!!

Friday, January 16, 2015

40 Days!

That's how long it's been since the weather and availability have permitted me to go flying. This afternoon was just gorgeous: Low winds, clear skies, temps in the mid fifties. I got in an hour before dark and shot three landings. Maybe I need to fly less, for those landings were all smooth. I did two 3-point and one wheel landing. All no drama.

Some guy had a stuck mic on Unicom. At least he wasn't singing to himself.

Beautiful day to fly. A fair number of pilots were bagging off work and going flying. As did I.

Airport rules require airplanes in the shade hangars to be tied down. The pilot of this Cessna 206 might as well have used baling twine.

Imagine that you have a nice house in the country on a quiet road. You never know what might happen across the street. I'll bet that these two homeowners sometimes feel like opening up a vein.

This farmer may be off the grid, a bit:

Because It's Friday

Irish steam:

Shell Shock/TBI is Real

That's the conclusion from some autopsies of veterans who had closed-head brain injuries.
After conducting autopsies on US combat veterans who survived improvised explosive device (IED) blasts in Iraq and Afghanistan but later died of other causes, researchers in the US found the ex-soldiers had a unique type of brain injury.

Described as a ‘distinctive honeycomb pattern of broken and swollen nerve fibres’, the injuries were not the same as those found in car crash and drug overdose victims, or sufferers of punch-drunk syndrome, which is caused by repeated blows to the head.

The lesions occurred in critical regions of the IED survivors’ brains, including in the frontal lobes, which control decision making and reasoning, lead the scientists to conclude that hidden brain injuries may play a role in the social and psychological problems faced by some combat veterans
A more medical-jargoned piece here.

I suspect that you won't have to do much digging to find posts by the Keyboard Commandos which had disputed that those soldiers were truly injured. If you were to go back a century, you'd find the Fountain-Pen Brigade arguing that shell shock was a form of cowardice.

Now we know that those chairborne warriors were full of shit then and now. And we have a moral duty to care for the TBI sufferers. Regardless of the squawking of loons like former Senator Tom Coburn.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Little Crappy Ships are now "Frigates"?

So sayeth SecNav.

What the Navy once called frigates and, before that, Destroyer Escorts were ships that were designed to escort convoys, replenishment ships and landing ships. They were primarily ASW ships, built for blue-water warfare.

LCSs are glorified offshore PT boats. They don't have the crew or the capability for extended open-ocean operations (like DE/FFs did). The very word "littoral" implies that they are designed to operate where brown water meats blue water-- not very far offshore. And certainly not in the middle of the ocean. So far, it hasn't been proven that the LCSs can operate very far from a support base (or ocean-going tugs).

Calling a LCS a FF is like calling a 3-wheeled motorcycle a "sedan".

No, It's a Giant Space Station

Some clothing designer and a QVC hostess couldn't figure out whether the Moon is a planet or a star. The concept that the Moon is a moon, a satellite, never occurred to them. Even when somebody off camera informed them of that, they didn't believe it.

How did either one of these bozos ever get out of elementary school?

Natural-born Republicans, both of them.

Aircraft Parachutes: Is the Debate Over?

Flying Magazine thinks so.

The idea of parachuting down the entire airplane, though, was nowhere near as new as one might think. There was a test nearly fifty years ago. The original concept is still around.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Old Days; Movie Edition

I watched Shaft the other day. The movie, in case you're not familiar with it*, was made in 1971.

John Shaft carried a Colt Detective Special, either blued or nickel-plated (he had one of each, he kept the spare in his freezer). In that world, if somebody wasn't next to a telephone, you couldn't reach him. A lot of buildings still had elevator operators and elevator starters (yes, that was a job). Some apartment buildings had switchboards and staffed kitchens that supplied meals to the residents. Apartments had servants' entrances. People were smoking on the street, in stores, restaurants, bars and offices.

Different world. Still had the best opening music, ever.

And the best cover of that:

* Man. there's something wrong with you.

A Court Clerk is Free to Be a Bigot.

That's the shorter reason for why a number of counties in Florida are no longer performing marriages at the courthouse, because they don't want to marry queers.

How long will this take to work through? Interracial marriage has been the law of the land for the last 48 years and yet, there are places where that fight keeps coming back.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Shorter NYPD: "Go Ahead, Choke `Em Out!"

Cops choking people is prohibited by NYPD policy. In practice, not so much.
New York City’s longest-serving police commissioner, Ray Kelly, “routinely rejected” recommendations for disciplinary action against police officers who carried out banned chokeholds on civilians, and offered no explanation for dismissing the findings of the city’s independent police watchdog, a stinging report has found.
A prohibition with no teeth is not really a prohibition. It's kind of like gambling at a Casablanca saloon.

The worm may be starting to turn, though*.
Prosecutors in New Mexico filed murder charges on Monday against two Albuquerque police officers in the 2014 shooting death of a knife-wielding homeless man, a killing that sparked protests in the city over concerns about excessive use of force.
I have heard cops say "I'd rather be judged by twelve than carried by six." The bitter truth is that cops being judged by twelve is exceedingly rare. Most shootings are found to be justified. It pretty much takes putting a guy on his knees or on the ground an then shooting him in the back for charges to be brought. Even forming an impromptu firing squad has been found to be a righteous killing.

Normally, they just get a pat on the back, no matter how bad the shooting is. In small departments, they may be later encouraged to find work with another department. In large departments, there is the "rubber gun squad" or working the motor pool.

Update: In Chicago, they're trying a cop for shooting a 95-year-old man to death with a beanbag gun.
* On the other hand, what might be going on in Albuquerque is a little game of "if you're going to fuck with me, I'll fuck with you."

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

Tu-154. Watch the buckets on landing:

The Cat Is Not Impressed

Not by that puppy's attempts to reclaim his bed:

Saturday, January 10, 2015

French Hostage Siege

In the coverage, one thing caught my attention:
Another employee, Lilian Lepere, 27, stayed undetected on the second floor of the warehouse throughout the siege, sending text messages to the forces surrounding the building.
That's a great idea. But other than sending a text to a friend, having them call the police and then the cops contact you, how would you send a text to the cops? Do they have a text-variant of 911?

Falcon 9-Dragon Launch to ISS

Launched in fine form before dawn:

That second-stage engine nozzle bell glows nicely!

The launch narration has some mention of the descent of the first stage. The soft-landing of the first stage onto a barge didn't go so well. I presume they'll eventually get to recovering and reusing the first stages.

At this point, it's an engineering problem. So it's doable by the proper applications of brains and cash.


Thomas, a Caturday guest cat:

Friday, January 9, 2015

Because It's Friday

Downeast steam:

The Wiscasset, Waterville and Farmington Railway. The original railroad pretty much operated on a shoestring and was sliding towards the scrapper even before the Great Depression.

The Worst Company in America Is.....

..... Comcast. Which is no surprise to anyone who has them as a cable/ISP provider. Comcast has gotten so large and so evil that over-the-air TV is enjoying a resurgence. Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Fire TV are growing because Comcast and the other cable providers suck so badly.

A friend's Comcast box stopped working. They gave her another one, which didn't run right. See, for Comcast, their "cable boxes" are also cheap-ass DVRs, which Comcast keeps "refurbishing". ("Refurbishing", to Comcast, is putting fresh batteries into the remote. Sometimes, they don't even bother to wipe the drives, so you can get a random selection of somebody else's recordings.) The Comcast cable boxes are old pieces of crap from Cisco or Scientific Atlanta that have been out of production for several years.

You'd think that just swapping out a box would be no big deal, right? Not to Comcrap, which crammed $50 onto her bill. It wasn't for service, because Comcast customers now have to do their own equipment installations.

Comcast is so large, now, that they really don't give a shit about residential customers.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Je Suis Charlie, Deux

Two of the many cartoons in reaction to the massacre yesterday in Paris:

I was going to point out in this post that Christian fundamentalists, at least in the First World, have pretty much confined reacting to blasphemy by running their mouths or suing people. But a spot of research on that brought up the firebombing of the Saint Michel theater in Paris in 1988, in which some Christian fundies threw Molotov cocktails into a theater while "The Last Temptation of Christ" was being shown.

So never mind that argument.

UPDATE: Shorter Catholic League statement: "They had it coming."

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

It's Not Terrorism When White Folk Do It?

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Authorities are looking for a man who may have information about a homemade explosive that someone set off near the Colorado Springs chapter of the NAACP.

The blast happened Tuesday outside a barber shop that's next door to the group's office, which is about an hour south of Denver. There were no injuries and only minor damage, police said.

An improvised explosive device was detonated against the building, but it was too soon to know whether the nation's oldest civil rights organization was the target, FBI spokeswoman Amy Sanders said. The agency sent members of its Joint Terrorism Task Force to help investigate.

Sanders said investigators were looking for a balding white man in his 40s who may be driving a dirty pickup truck. It could have an open tailgate or a missing or covered license plate.
Betcherass if the guy had a dark skin or was named "Abdullah" or "Jamal", this story would be broadcast far and wide, rather than being buried in the news blurb sections.

Shorter Comcast: "We Don't Care, We Don't Have To."

Comcast has, apparently, gotten so large that they don't give a shit if all they can give you for a DVR is six-year old pieces of shit.

They're supposedly "refurbished", which is a code for "just shrink-wrap it and give them a remote".

A friend of mine is on her fourth unit in two weeks. Two of them won't "provision", which is their term for being recognized by Comcast's system.

Comcast makes going to an OTA antenna look better each day....

Je Suis Charlie Hebdo

Gunmen have shot dead 12 people at the Paris office of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in an apparent militant Islamist attack.

Four of the magazine's well-known cartoonists, including its editor-in-chief, were among those killed, as well as two police officers.

The magazine has outraged the militant Islamists before.

Yet, before anyone starts tarring a religion of a billion or more people for this, ask yourselves if all Christians are to blame for the bombings of abortion clinics and the murders of doctors who have performed them. Ask yourselves if all Christians are to blame for the Srebrenica massacre or the Rwandan genocide.

Murder and terror in the name of a religion is hardly unique to Islam.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Crybabies in Blue

This shit is going to backfire:
For two straight weeks, New York City police officers have sharply cut back on making arrests and issuing summonses throughout the five boroughs, magnifying the growing divide between the city’s police force and its mayor, Bill de Blasio.
And this:
Dozens of New York City police officers turned their backs on Mayor Bill de Blasio during services Sunday to honor and remember a police officer who was killed while on the job last month. The protest defied a request from the city’s police chief not to use the funeral to protest the mayor.
For the last few months, a lot of cops and their political apologists have been saying things such as "if you respect our authoritah, none of this bad shit would have happened."

But when it comes time for them to respect the authority of the elected official who is their boss, nope, not gonna happen.

I believe that people largely get that police officers have jobs that can be stressful at times, boring at other times, and downright dangerous at times. I think that people understand that most cops do good work each day.

But the fact cannot be denied that there are bad cops. (Rampart Division, anyone?) There are bad procedures (NYPD's "stop and frisk", for one). There are questionable shootings. There are rotten departments (NOPD, for one). The paramilitarization of law enforcement is a problem that has impacted those who are poor and are minorities for a long time, and is now becoming apparent to all but the most entitled citizens. The reality that prosecutors routinely rubber-stamp all but the most egregious (or videoed) abuses by police officers is hardly debatable. There are towns, cities and counties that use their police and the local court systems for revenue generation.

Yet to point any or all of that out is considered by the cops to be "anti-police". Apparently, anything other than applauding them when they shoot unarmed suspects full of holes or shoot newspaper delivery women is "anti-police".

Reform will happen. There is a consensus building. The police can either be part of the process or, at the end of the day, reform will be jammed down their throats by the courts and by the politicians who ran and won on a platform of reforming the goons with guns.

Don't Let the Screen Door Hit You; NFL Edition

The owner of the Rams is stirring the pot for a return to Los Angeles.

Typical NFL shit: The owner fields a lousy team for years. Fan support drys up. Then the owner claims that the fans have abandoned his stinkpile of a team and he moves it for a "better deal".

Any city or state which plays this game has political officials whose heads are filled with cement.

And to Mr. Stan Kroenke, the owner of the Rams, a musical salute:

Monday, January 5, 2015

Will a Dog Be Their Copilot?

Rockwell Collins has been tapped to lead a NASA-sponsored study into "single pilot" operations of commercial airliners.
There has been a running joke for decades in the aviation industry, back to the days when the Flight Engineer's job was eliminated: Airliners will eventually have a single pilot and a dog on the flight deck. The pilot's job will be to take over if things go wrong. The dog's job will be to bite the pilot if he touches anything.

It would appear as though that joke will become reality.

But without the dog.

Saturday, January 3, 2015



Bella, a sometime guest cat on this blog.

Friday, January 2, 2015

"Due to Increased Security Measures, Only Ticketed Passengers are Permitted Past Security Checkpoints"

Can we finally can that announcement? Those "increased security measures" have been in place for the last thirteen yeas. By now, they are "normal security measures."

It's become as ridiculous as giving everyone in the military the National Defense Medal, which after twenty-four years of wartime, is somewhat like giving a kid a gold star for showing up in class.

Let's just fucking sack up and admit that those "increased security measures" are never going to go away, just like the blue and green lights on the Stoplight of Death are never going to be lit.

Which reminds me, a shirttail nephew got deployed to one of our war zones recently. I suggested to him and his girlfriend that they stay cool on Skype, since the NSA has a track record of listening into the smutty phone calls of soldiers.

Because It's Friday

Pere Marquette Railway 1225:

The Pere Marquette merged with the Chesapeake & Ohio after the Second World War.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Steve Scalise---YAWN!

You've probably heard of the story that Congressman Scalise spoke before a white supremacist group, and is now claiming total ignorance about what the group stood for.

Which is probably 99.44% bullshit, but that's not the point of this post.

When you get right down it it, what Scalise did was nothing more than a blatant application of the GOP's Southern Strategy, which Lee Atwater described over three decades ago:
You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.… “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”
That, I submit, is what it was all about and what it is still all about. Mike Huckabee got Wayne Dumond released from prison,* a serial rapist, who went on to commit murder. But that hasn't torpedoed Huckabee's presidential ambitions. Not like the release of Willie Horton sank Michael Dukakis's campaign, at any rate.

You can probably guess the respective racial identities of the two criminals.

Scalise's error wasn't that he spoke to a bunch of white supremacists, for he was merely following the GOP's playbook. His error was being caught doing it. Which is why Boehner and the other GOP congressman will do nothing more than tut-tut in public, for Scalise knows that they are just spreading the ol' whitewash over him.
* A particularly nasty twist to the efforts of some people in Arkansas to release Dumond was because one of his earlier victims was a third cousin to Bill Clinton. To some folks on the far, far right, any crime committed against anyone related to Clinton was (and still is) worthy of praise.

Telephone Nostalgia

"Remember when it was only the operators who were listening in on our calls?" -- Jane Fonda, during the honoring of Lily Tomlin at the Kennedy Center, which aired two days ago.

Happy New Year!

I hope 2015 is better for you in every way possible.