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 Felon^34,
A/K/A Dolt-45, A/K/A Don Snoreleone

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Brady Center Haz a Sad....

In an order released yesterday, Senior U.S. District Judge Richard P. Matsch ruled against the plaintiffs in the case of Sandy Phillips, et al., v. Lucky Gunner, LLC., et al.

Sandy and Lonnie Phillips are the parents of Jessica Ghawi, one of the victims of the Aurora movie theater shooting. The lawsuit was backed by the anti-gun Brady Center.
In the order, the defendants are being awarded their attorneys' fees. I haven't heard if they are going to step up and cover the attorneys' fee award for their sock-puppet plaintiffs (or if Former Mayor Mikey "Nanny" Bloomberg will cough it up).


OK, I am getting to the point that the next person who says "brick and mortar" to me, in reference to a store that is in a physical structure, is liable to be whacked in a sensitive anatomical spot of my choosing.

I propose:

"Store": A place that you can walk into (or drive up to) in order to buy shit.

"Website": A place on the Intertubes where you might be able to buy shit.

When you "go to the store", you're going to a three-dimensional location where you can pick up merchandise, talk to sales clerks, and hopefully not get shot at by robbers.

When you "shop online", you're going to a website that may sell you good stuff cheap, or they may take you money and vacuum out your bank accounts, because you were stupid enough to use a debit card to buy crap from some fake site that was put up by Lithuanian scam artists.

The difference in reality is that if the store screws with you, you can have a process server show up and serve a summons on the manager to haul his dead ass into court. Or you can just go stomp him (but that isn't advised). If the website screws you, well, good luck with that, Bucko.

And So, It Began

Photos from the early years of the Vietnam War.

One of the labels that I used for this post is a bit of a fib. The past isn't over on this one. Not even hardly.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Eugenics Is Not Dead

Eugenics, where a government forces people to undergo sterilization procedures, is still going on in this country.

You'd think that the self-proclaimed "Pro-Lifers" would be all over this like politicians on lobbyists, don't you? But it seems that you'd be wrong.


Better Term for the Indiana Law

The "We Don't Serve Your Kind Law".

If they're going to do that, the law ought to be that the business has to post their discriminatory policy, right at the door, and in the most offensive possible terms possible.

Something like this, perhaps:

Then we can truly know the nature and quality of the owners of those particular businesses that choose to discriminate against members of the public.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

Air ops on HMS Ark Royal:

When she was decommissioned in 1979, the Royal Navy lost its ability to operate CTOL fighters at sea. After decade upon decade of budget cuts, the Brits are arguable done as anything other than a regional player.

If the Argies took the Falklands again, the Brits would have a far more difficult task with no carriers or long-range bombers available to them. Which is likely why the Brits are looking at making it even harder for them to do so.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The White Privilege of Secession

One thing about the modern secessionists is that, just like the ones 155 years ago, they're all mainly white folk. And so, their bloviatings and ravings are treated with some deference.

Now imagine, if you will, that the secessionists were advocating to calve off a few states to form a Muslim republic or one for African Americans (or any other group). The FBI and the other TLAs* would be sticking them them like napalm on a child. They would be wiretapped, mail-covered, surveilled within an inch of their lives. Agents provocateur would be sent in to join them and rabble-rouse them into committing indictable offenses.

But no, that just isn't done against the secessionists.** They get to engage in their seditious rantings without any hindrance.

What I get a laugh out of is their insistence that they can break this country up without a war. For except maybe the Soviet Union (which even itself never really recognized those in the other soviet republics as equals to Russians), it's hard to find an example of a nation that peacefully dissolved. For one thing, you just know that the modern secessionists are eager to walk away from the Federal debt and if they think that the Yankees are just going to swallow that bitter pill, they're nucking futs.

Which they are, anyway. They're unable to win the battle of ideas, they can't elect their people to the White House, so they'll just tear the country apart in their bitterness.
* Three Letter Agency.
** That we know of.

"You Can Drink a Glass of Roundup...."

That's what a Monsanto advocate stated, but when he was offered a glass of the stuff, it quickly became apparent that he wasn't willing to back up his words.

Maybe he was thinking of Thomas Midgley,* who tried to prove that tetraethyl lead was safe and almost died as a result.
* If there is any one person who deserves the title of "Wrecker of the Environment", it's probably Midgley.


"I can haz forever home?"

Friday, March 27, 2015

Free to Be a Bigot in Indiana

Does anyone not get that Indiana's "Religious Freedom Law" has very little to do with religion and almost everything to do with bigotry? Am I now supposed to ask in businesses, at least ones that don't display signs or stickers welcoming everyone, if they will serve my kind?

After all, Easter is coming up. Some hard-line Christians still have hard feelings for my people because we arguably had a hand in whacking their Dear and Fluffy Lord about 1,980 years ago.[1]

Can you imagine what fun the segregationists would have had with such a law? After all, they adamantly argued that their religious beliefs permitted them to discriminate on the basis of race, an argument that Bob Jones University took all the way to the Supreme Court.[2]

If your business is open to the public, then to the public it should be open.[3] If you can't bring yourself to do that, then you need to find another line of work, such as wielding a bolt gun in a slaughterhouse.
[1] We at least sold the hardware and timber to the Second Italian Cohort.
[2] Only Rehnquist bought that.
[3] Notwithstanding limitations such as age restrictions or Dram Shop laws, that is.

Because It's Friday

German steam.

By the sheer height of her drivers alone, you know that she's very fast.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Modest Proposal for a New California Initiative

Since some clown named Matt McLaughlin has filed for a referendum on his lunatic idea to permit private citizens to kill gay people, I have a proposal:

Somebody in California should pony up $200 and file a for a referendum vote on the proposition that Mr. McLaughlin be hunted down and killed, with the State of California putting a $500,000 bounty on his head.

That ought to get the Soft-Rock Militia out and looking for him.

Not Ever Giving Up My Old Honda

Ford is planning to introduce cars that will automatically obey the speed limit. I will wager that the insurance companies will discount rates for the owners of those cars.

Progressive's Snitch "discount" is, no surprise, resulting in raising the rates on drivers which the Snitch software doesn't like. One of the things the Snitch doesn't like is drivers who drive between midnight and 4AM, so if you work a second or third shift job, it sucks to be you.


But If the Kid Had Been a Saudi Prince...

... there would have been no problem at all. For rich Gulf Arabs routinely go to the Mayo or Cleveland Clinics for treatment, to the point that both places have staff dedicated to making their (and their entourage's) stay as comfy as possible.

But if you're Mexican, whoa, not so fast, Bucko:
Family and friends raised thousands of dollars to send Jose Chua Lopez to the prestigious Mayo Clinic for an urgently needed heart and liver transplant.

But the 20-year-old Mexican born with a heart defect has twice been turned down for a US visa, and relatives and his doctor say his life is in danger.

“They denied me the visa and my world has fallen down,” Chua told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “This needs to be fixed quickly.”

His mother, Myra Lopez Martinez, said Chua has an appointment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, in 10 days, but his visa application was rejected a second time by the US State Department on Tuesday
The difference, of course, is money. But the real impact is that, around the globe, this makes our country really look petty and inhuman.

If I were the Chinese ambassador to Mexico, I'd look into greasing the skids to get that kid into the best hospital in China. It'd be a PR coup that would both make the US look bad and help counter the impression that the Chinese are economic rapists of the Third World.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Placid Cat

There are some heavy thunderstorms moving through this area tonight. The concussions have been, at times, loud enough to rattle the windows.

George and Gracie, may peace be upon them, would have both sought refuge under the furniture.

Jake could give a shit.

(Post #10,000. Big effing deal. Probably fitting that it's a cat post.)

Shorter FBI: "We Must Spy on More Americans!"

That's the gist of an internal FBI review: They need to do more spying on us. Among of what the FBI is going to do is to take a leaf from the KGB's old manual and engage in "false-flag" operations.

They're supposed to go interview more people and not disclose that the interviewers are Feebies. So that polite guy conducting a survey on the phone or that Mormon going door-to-door could be an FBI agent.

If you're a law-abiding Muslim, a law-abiding prepper, or a teabagger, you may have something to fear from the FBI. For "violent extremeism" isn't necessarily tied to any one religion.


I got to hold and dry-fire one of these: A Colt Anaconda!

Less expensive than a stainless-steel Python (thanks to The Walking Dead). More costly than a blued Python. And what a sweet trigger pull!

And waaay too rich for my blood.

Your Wednesday Wednesday

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Ted Cruz: Enrolling In Obamacare

His wife works for the Global Vampire Squid, but she has to take a leave of absence while he pursues his plan to become eligible for higher speaking fees. Her job at Pillage & Plunder Associates provided health insurance, but now Cruz has to do that himself.

So he's signing up for Obamacare.

Let's check the meters:

Oh, man....

Another Durst Murder Case?

Police said Monday they've been investigating a link between the 1971 disappearance of a Middlebury College student and millionaire murder suspect Robert Durst.

Investigators have been aware for several years of a link between 18-year-old Lynne Schulze and Durst, who operated the All Good Things health food store in the town, the Middlebury Police Department said in a statement.
Unless there is something else to this, color me deeply skeptical. Are the cops now going to try to tie Durst to every missing person who went missing within a half-mile of his vicinity for the last 55 years?

The Canadian Usurper and the Nigerians

Ted Cruz's donation begging site shared a security certificate with Nigerian scammers.

Let's see: Cruz makes his announcement at an evangelistic school founded on the pillars of homophobia and racism (with a later tinge of teletubby-hating) in front of students who were required to be there to hear him bloviate. At one point, he whined a little bit about being a student at a college a long way from home where he didn't know anybody-- something that everyone who goes to an out-of-state school experiences (and which I've never heard anyone else describe as a character-building event).

I was going to snark about the right-wing birthers who will line up to support a candidate who was truly born in another country and whose father wasn't an American citizen. At least The Donald is being true to his birther roots. But since Trump is mulling over his own candidacy, his attack was more rank opportunism than intellectual purity.

Speaking of voting for Ted Cruz:

Monday, March 23, 2015

Remington/Tracking Point 2020

You might remember the Remington 2020, which debuted in 2013 for a MSRP of $5,500 or more.

Apparently, they didn't sell for shit and Remington discontinued them. They've recently been dumped out from the distributors at about $1,900 or so. The scope alone probably cost well over $2,000 to make.

Shorter Bibi: "I'm Not a Racist, I Just Play One When I Need to Motivate My Base."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he regrets statements he made last week during his country’s elections, when he warned that “Arabs are voting in droves” in an attempt to get his supporters to vote.

“I know that the things I said a few days ago hurt some citizens in Israel, the Arab Israeli citizens,” Netanyahu said in a meeting with Arab community leaders, according to The Jerusalem Post.

“This was not my intention and I am sorry,” he said, adding that he sees himself as prime minister of every Israeli, regardless of religion, race or sex.
Well, if you parse his words, you'll see that Netanyahu's not one bit sorry for what he said. He's sorry if people were hurt by his words. Which is just the same sort of "I'm sorry if you were offended" non-apology language that American public figures use when they're caught being racist, sexist or homophobic.

"They Love Us Everywhere We Go" (plus "Justice for the Rich")

Tourists from other nations are going to Cuba before Americans start showing up in large numbers. Part of the attraction seems to be visiting a country without a single McDonald's. (There is one, but it's at Gitmo, a place no sane person would choose to visit.) Still, there are plenty of countries that don't have McDonald's, including Iceland, Jamaica and Bermuda. Many of the other nations that don't have one are shitholes by 1st world standards (North Korea, Kazakhstan, most of Africa).

Robert Durst's lawyers are pulling out all of the stops. They don't seem to be charging him with possession of a weapon while in possession of illegal drugs, which is probably a crime almost everywhere. I wouldn't bet against Durst beating the rap yet another time.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Bangity- Ammo Tests

I took some of the ammo that I have managed to accumulate decent amounts of to the range for some testing, as Bullseye season is coming up.

Federal Target Match, Remington "Golden Bullet" hollowpoints and CCI Standard Velocity Target.

I shot from a rest at 25 yards. The CCI was the clear winner. The Federal wasn't much better than the Remington bulk stuff. Frankly, I was surprised at the difference. But it's only been now that I've had enough of anything (other than the Remington) to do any testing. I'll probably shoot the Remington for practice, use the CCI for matches, and use the Federal for trading material.

(About the gun)

Picture = 1K Words

OK, a Venn diagram:

(From here)

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

More money than brains.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Sometimes the Weather Channel Seems Like That

Six minutes of commercials, a minute of content and then "Your Local on the 8s".

Get Ready to Welcome Our Chinese Overlords

Borepatch is talking about, as he calls it, the inevitability of secession.[1],[2]

Kind of curious to see how them Good Ole Boys will pay for their infrastructure.  Of the states that get the most from the Feds, compared to what they pay in takes, three out of the four most dependent on the Federal government are in the Deep South: Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Of the top half of the states that are less dependent on the Federal government for funding, only two are southern states: Arkansas and North Carolina. In any sort of peaceful breakup, the taxpayers of the Northeast and far West will be more than happy to stop sending money to the neo-Confederates.

Anyone who thinks that a divided America will continue to be a player on the world stage is smoking crack. There won't be the funding for a large navy, army or air force. It takes a large and economically powerful nation to be able to afford a strong military (or a subservient population which is yoked to feed one). It's no accident that the slow collapse of the British from a global military power to a weak regional power followed the near-complete divestiture of the British Empire. The collapse of the USSR was followed almost immediately by the collapse of the Soviet armed forces.[3] The same story has been repeated over and over- collapse of an empire goes hand-in-hand with collapse of the same empire as an effective military power.[4]

The only way to keep such military power in existence following secession is that the smaller nations would have to agree to band together to support a military. Which would require some sort of confederation. But a confederation doesn't have the power to compel its members to do much of anything.[5] Only a strong central government is able to do that.[6]

Which is where we are now.
[1] Which I take to mean that since the Right can't persuade a majority of voters to vote for their guy for president, they want to take their ball and go home.
[2] Of course, the blame all falls on the Left. Not a peep of criticism about the GOP's pursuing a policy of racial divisiveness for the last fifty years. Not a single hint of dissatisfaction towards the GOP's full-throated eagerness to keep redistributing the wealth of America from the middle class to the rich.
[3] Russia's recent "show the flag" air ops have been conducted with aircraft that came into their arsenal during the pendency of the USSR.
[4] Some of the collapsed empires that were once military powers: Roman, Byzantine, Turkish, Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, Austro-Hungarian.
[5] Which was one of the problems the CSA had when it came to raising and supplying its army.
[6] Without a strong patron to provide economic assistance to support its military, Israel will be doomed in the middle-to-long run. And which of the rump-states will inherit the United States' seat in the Security Council will be an interesting squabble.


A shelter cat catches some sun in the outdoor cattery extension.

March is Official Adopt a Shelter Cat Month. Do yer duty.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Spring is Here, Tra-La, Tra-La

Still supposed to snow in Boston tonight and tomorrow morning.

There was a total eclipse just after sunrise, but it was mostly on the Atlantic ocean.

I split from the office, ran home to change and then went for a bit of a flight. The grass runway has dried enough for use, giving me my first sod landings of the year. Glorious.

"zOMG Those People Are Voting!!1!!1!!"

Netanyahu lashed out at the prospect of Arab-Israelis voting for the other guy.

Which leads to this obvious question: Are the Republicans going to sue him for copyright infringement? Because complaining about those people voting is pretty much a GOP thing.

The Most Transparent Administration in History, No Shit

The Obama Administration is setting records in fucking with Freedom of Information Act requests. They've also decided that the White House itself (the administration of the place) won't be subject to FOIA requests anymore.

And, of course, the Obama Administration has been going after whistleblowers with a zeal that probably wins the admiration of only Dick the Torturer (and Dick the Unindicted, if he wasn't dead).

Tab-Clearing; Gun Edition

Glock fanbois around the country are rejoicing over the Glock 43, a single-stack 9mm.


OK, I am on record about how I feel about Glocks. And yes, Glock will probably sell several metric shit-tonnes of them.

But still, so fucking what? Single-stack 9mms have been around for a century. S&W was making good single-stack carry guns in the `80s. Damn near every other gun-maker on the planet offers a single-stack 9mm.

Over to the Vast Wasteland:

On Madam Secretary, one of the baddies capped himself with a subcompact autoloader of some flavor. He pressed it up under his jaw, then the next camera shot was from the outside, looking to the windows of the guy's home. There was a flash in the windows, followed by the sound of the shot. I'm pretty certain that if a gun is so held, there isn't going to be much of a muzzle flash, certainly not enough to completely light up two windows. And an adjacent window showed no visible flash, which was weird. Must have cost too much to CGI in the third window's flash.

The NCIS series has been pretty decent on guns for the agents, with the Feebies carrying Glocks and the NCIS agents carrying Sigs. But in the latest episode of NCIS New Orleans, the lead agent, Dwayne Pride (played by Scott Bakula) was toting a Colt stainless 6" Python in a shoulder holster. What the fucking fuck, guys? Channeling Walking Dead, much? Or have you folks visited a gun shop recently? Shiny 6" Pythons are going for north of four grand- no rational street cop is going to carry such an expensive gun as a working tool. And Federal cops probably can get in a boatload of trouble for carrying unapproved guns, of which any large revolver is very likely on the "no fucking way" list.

This one has griped me for a long time: On the opening credits of Justified, one can see one of the "dirty bird" targets. Those targets go for a buck or more when you buy a package of them at a gun shop. You generally don't see too many people using them, for that reason. Not when you can get a ream of cheap copy paper for three bucks or so (500 sheets) and then dab the center of the paper with a bingo marker from the dollar store.

Speaking of Justified, on the episode "Burned", which aired on Tuesday, a spoiler alert:

Because It's Friday

Aussie steam:

It's interesting that the locomotive has both buffers and Janney-style couplers.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Bibi's Fast 360

He went from flipping to being against Palestinian statehood a few days before the election to flipping back to being (nominally)in favor of it again, even denying that he ever was against it.

A lot of politicians can't be trusted, Netanyahu raises it to a high art.

Two-Time Loser

Former Connecticut Governor John Rowland (R-Stir) is headed back to prison, this time for 2.5 years.

The Difference Between Serbia and the U.S.A.

The Serbians are arresting their war criminals.

We give ours jobs as law professors, federal judges, World Bank presidents and commentators on Fox News.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Reagan Phones and Bush Phones

Subsidizing telephones for poor folk began in 1985. The program was expanded to cell phones in 2005.

Class, of the parties that have held the White House since 1861, which party did not hold the White House in both 1985 and 2005?

Class, was the current President of the United States the president in 1985 and/or 2005?

Let's not always see the same hands, people.

Your Wednesday Wednesday

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

"Big Brother Barbie" and Hill's Emails

Mattel has developed "Big Brother Barbie", a doll with a microphone, a speaker and WiFi to send everything it hears to Mattel's cloud server. (H/T)

Expectation of Privacy? Scratch that, not with Wire-Wearing Barbie in your home.

You might want to introduce NSA-Stooge Barbie to another Mattel product:

Anyway, if the GOP wants to have all of Hillary Clinton's emails (and you know they do), why don't they just serve the NSA with a subpoena duces tecum for copies of the emails?

Monday, March 16, 2015

A Day Late

But still funny:

Never Read the Comments In a News Article

They are a haven for trolls. And, increasingly, the trolls are being paid to be trolls.

The Chinese and the Russians have been leading the way on this. But our government isn't too far behind.

Of Course He Whacked Them

Robert Durst, the wealthy heir to a New York real estate fortune whose stranger-than-fiction involvement in three mysterious deaths has baffled prosecutors and police investigators across the US for decades, made a veiled confession in a documentary aired on Sunday night that he “killed them all”.
If Durst hadn't been able to buy into the platinum level of the criminal justice system, he would have been in prison for decades already. Unfortunately, he conned a jury in the only state that could have given Durst what he has coming to him.

Almost anyone else would now be sent away to die in prison. But the rules are different for the rich, so don't be shocked if Durst beats the rap again.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Jesus Needs Him a Gulfstream

At least, one of his preachers thinks he does.
Creflo Dollar is hoping a few folks will see fit to bless him.

The minister, known for being a prosperity preacher at his Atlanta-area World Changers Church International, is seeking "200,000 people committed to sow $300 or more (to) help achieve our goal to purchase the G650 airplane."
I'm not a Christian, but what little I've read of the life of Jesus would imply that he would have been horrified at the suggestion that one of his acolytes needed a top-dollar gold-plated chariot.

Also, CNN, hire somebody who can do research, will you? No bizjet can make it from NYC to LA in 2.5 hours.

Do I Need a CPL to Take Aerial Photographs and Video?

I've taken both aerial photos and in-flight videos. The videos get posted to YouTube before I put them here. I've posted aerial photos on Facebook.

Both YouTube and Facebook have ads. I don't see any of the money from them.

One would think that neither activity on my part would be a commercial one, in that I'm not getting paid.

But if a drone driver posts video on YouTube, now the FAA thinks that's a commercial use of the drone?

How nuts is that?

And even if one films something and the images can later be sold, unless one set out on the flight with the intent of making money from it, it's a hard stretch to argue that the flight was a commercial one.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

DC-9 "powerback".

The big sin for those was touching the brakes. If they needed to stop, the drill was to stow the buckets and then apply forward thrust. For if the pilots touched the brakes whilst the airplane was moving backwards, a tail strike would ensue, and that was A Bad Thing.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Military Command Grade Inflation and Operation Scare Putin

Time was that a ship with 40 or so sailors on it would have been, at most, commanded by a lieutenant commander (in lieu of serving as an XO on a tin can).

Not any more, for the boss of this one LCS is a full commander. No doubt that the toy-frigate LCSs will also be commander commands.

Even the puff-piece article had to point out that both the ASW and MCM modules for the LCS pretty much suck.

On the other side of the globe, the Army is going to drive a bunch of Strykers around Eastern Europe to send a message of some kind or another. As far as I know, armored vehicles are normally transported by truck or train because they're not designed for extended periods of road use. I don't know shit about Strykers, but I'll still bet that a thousand miles a year on their clocks would be at the high end.

And what, exactly, will this show? Strykers are glorified armor-plated buses. If they came across even a T-34 tank, let alone a T-72, they'd be flaming coffins.

Pi = 3.2 in Indiana (Almost)

Some mathematical nutter in 1897 came very close to persuading the Indiana Legislature to enact into a law a bill which would have, in essence, defined Pi as equaling 3.2.

Fortunately for Indiana's legislature, a genuine professor of mathematics was in the Statehouse on the day that the bill passed the Assembly. He was able to persuade some senators that the state legislature lacked the power to define mathematical truth. The professor was aided in his efforts by the press, which had caught wind of the Pi Bill and were having a lot of fun with the story.

The Pi Bill thus died in a state senate committee.

Pi Day


Jake is sort of half-awake from a nap on one of the heated cat beds.

He spends a lot of time sleeping. Not a few times have I gone over to him to make sure that he's still here.

He's an old man.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Untied Airlines: Smashing Guitars Is Just For Starters

United is "outsourcing" its baggage handling operations at a lot of airports. Which means that your luggage will soon be tossed across the tarmac by workers who weren't able to get a job at Walmart or Micky D's.

So besides the surly gate agents, flight attendants and copilots on those RJs who make a skosh over minimum wage, now the people who you're trusting to handle your stuff are also going to be among the lowest paid workers. The pilots and FAs have signed up for the "glamor", but who the hell signs up for the glamor of being a ramp rat?

You know that those low-pay baggage-smashers are also going to have safety gear and ramp equipment that are the cheapest pieces of shit available.

If you have to fly on a Untidy flight, you might consider shipping your stuff ahead.

(Or flying on Southwest, renting a car, or just staying home.)

Because It's Friday

Steam whistle music.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Orbiting Dwarves

Apparently, there are at least nine dwarf galaxies orbiting our galaxy, which are supposedly made up of 99% dark matter.

I'm a little skeptical about the whole "dark matter/energy" thing. It seems to me, at least, that dark matter and energy could be viewed as cosmological fudge factors to explain why what astronomers observe doesn't line up with the theories which explain what they should be observing.

Recall that over 150 years ago, astronomers couldn't explain why Mercury's orbit was the way it was. So they hypothesized that there was a small planet, very close to the Sun, which affected Mercury's orbit. They looked hard for that planet, but they never found it. Many decades later, Einstein developed his theory of general relativity, which, when applied to the observations of Mercury's orbit, explained why it was like that.

So I'm a little skeptical of the "we infer X because of Y" reasoning. I'd rather see direct evidence of X. And so would a lot of scientists, which is why they are working on experiments to directly detect dark matter and energy.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Only Condition Cured by Homeopathy is "Heaviness of the Wallet"

It's completely useless for anything else.
Homeopathy is not effective for treating any health condition, Australia’s top body for medical research has concluded, after undertaking an extensive review of existing studies.

Homeopaths believe that illness-causing substances can, in minute doses, treat people who are unwell.

By diluting these substances in water or alcohol, homeopaths claim the resulting mixture retains a “memory” of the original substance that triggers a healing response in the body.

These claims have been widely disproven by multiple studies, but the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has for the first time thoroughly reviewed 225 research papers on homeopathy to come up with its position statement, released on Wednesday.

“Based on the assessment of the evidence of effectiveness of homeopathy, NHMRC concludes that there are no health conditions for which there is reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective,” the report concluded
No doubt that there will be a number of whackaloons who see this as some Big Conspiracy by th' Medical and Pharma Communities t' Hush Up da Troot(tm). There are people in this world who are convinced that they know reality and won't be convinced bu such foolishness as science, reason, or research studies.

The True Believers in Homeopathy won't pay a whit of attention to this.

Ferguson: The Axe Keeps Falling

The City Manager was fired yesterday and the Chief of Police quit today. The municipal court judge quit two days ago.

Your Wednesday Wednesday

Douchebags With Lasers

Some alleged scum-sucking weasel was arrested in New York City for allegedly pointing a high-powered green laser at airplanes.

Funny how the perp's lawyer is apparently going to try and put the blame on the guy's mother. That should play well in court.

Also kind of funny how the judge doesn't seem to think that the charged offenses are any big deal. I'll bet heavy money that if the perp had punched a cop, the bail would have been a hell of a lot higher. But shining a laser into the eyes of pilots of three aircraft, including a police helicopter, is no biggie.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Republicans May Be Perfidious Bastards, But the Democrats Are Still Idiots

Republicans:A letter from Senate Republicans to Iran’s leadership has divided the GOP and forced it to play defense, endangering the party’s chances of passing a new round of sanctions that would kill President Obama’s nuclear talks with Tehran.The GOP so hates Obama that they would risk a war rather than see him get any credit for anything. Their hatred led them to pull out their collective cranks, lay them on a table and then invite the President to put on his golf shoes and dance on them. Which pretty much is what happened.

Now, for the Democrats:
The Obama administration is backing off its plan to ban a type of armor-piercing ammunition following a deluge of criticism from gun rights groups and congressional Republicans.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) said Tuesday it will not ban bullets commonly used in AR-15 hunting rifles “at this time,” after receiving more than 80,000 comments on the proposal.
The proposed ban was always stupid, for the fact alone that most cops don't wear body armor that will stop high-powered handgun rounds, let alone rifle rounds. The M855 round isn't classified as armor-piercing ammunition by its main user (the military), so why the ATF wanted to take it on is a mystery.

But this is the stupidity: It is the Democrats' fascination with gun control that allows the GOP to split off enough working-class voters to win elections. Wiser Democrats have known this for a quarter-century but no, the dim Dems keep messing around with gun control and then losing elections here and there. The GOP is taking back the Colorado legislature because the idiot Dems passed gun control.

Something like 98% of American workers work for another person. Almost every one of those people would be a good bet to think about voting for a party that at least tries, from time to time, to help out workers. But no, the dim Dems have to keep poisoning the well with their stupid addiction to passing gun control bills.

Like it or not, the AR-15 series has been the most popular type of centerfire rifle sold in modern times. Most of those sold shoot the .223 round. Even trying to ban one of the most widely sold (and cheapest) type of ammunition for bullshit reasons will cost the Dems some seats here and there that they should have won.

One party is full of treasonous loons, the other is full of idiots who couldn't figure out this numerical sequence: 1, ___, 3.

We are so screwed.

Ferguson: One Small Step

The Missouri Supreme Court has effectively put the Ferguson Municipal Court out of business by transferring all of its cases to a judge from the court of appeals, who will handle the cases as a circuit court judge.

That's a good first step. But it's only a first step. There are a hell of a lot of other towns that use their municipal court system as an ATM to fill the town coffers, and not only in Missouri. They all need to be shut down. Enforcing the law should be about public saety, not about revenue generation.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Treachery, Thy Name Is Republican

Forty-seven Republican senators warned on Monday that any agreement the Obama administration strikes with Iran to limit Tehran’s nuclear programme may be short-lived unless Congress approves the deal. The White House accused the Republicans of advocating a “rush to war”.

In an open letter to Iranian leaders, freshman Senator Tom Cotton and 46 other Republicans said that without congressional approval any deal between Iran and the US would be merely an agreement between President Barack Obama and Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Imagine, if you will, that when President Nixon was negotiating the SALT I treaty with the Soviets, that the Democrats in the Senate had sent an letter to Leonid Brezhnev to inform him that any agreement would be a dead letter once a Democrat was elected president. Republicans would have accused the Democrats of conducting their own foreign policy and would have called for their heads.

Same scenario when Presidents Reagan and G.H.W. Bush were negotiating the START treaty with Mikhail Gorbachev. Republicans would have been outraged.

But here, the GOP seeks to not only conduct its own foreign policy, they want to grease the skids for yet another war. Just like in 2003, we have had Netanyahu tromping around Washington, saying that the threat to his country will be reduced and the deserts will bloom with daisies if we only engage in another war.

I don't know about you, but I'm truly sick of this shit. If the American military is going to be used as a mercenary army to fight a war in somebody else's interest*, they can at least pay us for it.

And I am thoroughly sick of the party of Chickenhawks, old men who mainly did whatever they could to avoid serving in one war, sending our young men and women out to die in another war. For you can bet your farm that their kids and grandkids aren't going to be carrying a M-4 in yet another misbegotten war.
* A nation that had no qualms about attacking one of our own ships.

Message Endorsed!

Scrap daylight savings time.

DST made some sense when electric power was mainly used to light homes with those little heaters that also gave of incandescent light. Those days are long gone. And yet, each year, we still futz around with changing the fucking clocks.

Daylight savings time has far outlived its usefulness. It's time to retire it.

Post-Racial `Murrica; Oklahoma Edition

Some frat punks from the SAE fraternity at Oklahoma University were singing a racist chant on a bus.

Video here.

Things haven't changed anywhere near as much as people like to think.

Coming to a Helipad Near You (Some Day)

The AW609 tiltrotor, to be assembled in Philadelphia.

According to Wikipedia, the minimum autorotation altitude is 3,000'. I don't know how noisy those buggers are going to be, but I suspect that they'll be flown more at turboprop altitudes than helicopter altitudes. The selling point for a tiltrotor is being able to go high, far and fast, while landing and taking off from helipads.*

* The Hamptons crowd will love them.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Fifty Years Ago

Bloody Sunday in Selma happened, when the Alabama State Police and a civilian posse (legalized thugs) attacked a peaceful civil rights march with clubs. The protestors were protesting the lack of voting rights in the South.

Clergy members around the country came to Selma for another march two days later. The cops let them pass, but a group of thugs beat James Reeb, a white minister who had participated in the second march, to death that evening. The usual result happened afterwards, with an all-white jury acquitting the killers.

The thugs lost, for the time being. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was signed into law five months later.

Self-styled conservatives have never given up trying to eviscerate the Voting Rights Act with fictional claims of voting fraud. In private, they have admitted that their goal is to make it harder for poor folk and minorities to vote.

Shorter Ferguson Mayor: "I Saw Nothing, I Heard Nothing, I Know Nothing."

That's about what he said, in one of the lamest interviews given:
While the civil rights investigators portrayed a culture of rudeness and intolerance among Ferguson police officers, [Mayor] Knowles said he had never witnessed that. “When I’m looking … they’re actually pretty considerate to the individuals they deal with. Now, when I’m not there, I have no idea.”

One GOPer's Solution to Homelessness

Sic wolves on them. Rep. Don Young (R-Palinland) was ranting about Federal protection for wolves, complaining that those Congressmen who are in favor of protection don't have wolves in their districts, when he dropped this nugget:
“How many of you have got wolves in your district? None. None. Not one. They haven’t got a damn wolf in their whole district. I’d like to introduce them in your district. If I introduced them in your district, you wouldn’t have a homeless problem anymore.”
Now, of course, his spokeweasel claims it was just hyperbole.



Jake, at one of his other favorite endeavors.

Friday, March 6, 2015

CSI: Cyber

I'm watching it on demand right now and, fifteen minutes into it, I'm about to dump it. Patricia Arquette is overacting like somebody in community theater, probably to counter what looks like a lot of botox. I haven't seen a face that plastic and immobile outside of a department store mannekin.

Worst line so far: "Pack your bags, we're going to Baltimore!" (Their offices are in D.C.)

Ick. The special effects are just awful. They'd get a failing grade in a community college film class.

30 minutes, I'm done.

Because It's Friday

Steam isn't all about generating power of one kind or another.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Twenty-One Foot Rule

Yep, he didn't think that through.

TBT Warning

Gravity Inspectors

I do need to plow my own way through the Ferguson Report, which, by all accounts, is a scathing compilation of a police department that both exists to fund the local government and should be wearing white sheets while on the job.

Let's face it: There are a hell of a lot of police departments that couldn't withstand the same degree of scrutiny, either. You'd find the same levels of racism, including emails, there, too. It's systemic. There are a shitload of other towns or cities, just waiting for a similar spark to ignite an uproar.

But for now, let's just watch some Gravity Inspectors at work:

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

NYPD Commish is Smoking Weed (or Crack)

For he is blaming an increase of shootings in NYC on legalized pot in Colorado and Washington.

Dumbass. If marijuana was legal, drug dealer wouldn't be killing each other over it. Just like liquor distributors stopped using Tommy guns to settle territorial disputes after Prohibition was repealed.

Then and Now; Vast Wasteland Edition

This link will take you to one of the original Star Trek episodes.

The curious thing is that the episode, without commercials, is fifty minutes long.

Go up a few decades. TNG and DS9 ran 46 minutes. This episode of Star Trek: Enterprise is 41 minutes long. If you pick up an "on demand" or Hulu episode of almost anything, where they haven't added commercials or promos, they seem to be about 43 minutes long.

I'm not exactly sure when the time began to get crunched. The Rockford Files ran fifty minutes per episode. McGyver and Quantum Leap were just under 48 minutes.

These days, it's just more crap to fast-forward through on the DVR/VCR.

Your Wednesday Wednesday

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A Different Justice System for the Rich and Powerful

Gen. David Petraeus gets a slap on the wrist: He gets to plead to a single misdemeanor with no jail time. Even though he admitted to lying to Federal agents, which is a felony beef if any normal mortal does it.

Yet if the Feds arrest you for misdemeanor drug possession, if you have a gun in your safe at home, they'll try to toss you in stir for ten years.

But hey, if you are politically connected and you have the money to throw $1,000+/hr lawyers at the DoJ, you, too, can get your wrist slapped for charges that would have put an ordinary schlub in prison for years and years. Especially, given this Administration's unholy zeal for going after leakers and whistleblowers.

And so, Petraeus will have to stand for having a judge wag his finger at him, write out a bit of a check, and then he can go about his merry way, becoming even filthier rich.

Rumor was that, after the Agnew deal, prosecutors had a hard time convincing juries to find people guilty. Small wonder.


Place iPhone inside a guitar. Shoot into bright sunlight with a high shutter speed.

Reporters Are Idiots (and So Are a Lot of Bloggers); Cleveland Edition

CLEVELAND — A 12-year-old boy with a pellet gun whom police shot in November died because of his own actions, lawyers for the city said in newly filed court papers.

Tamir Rice's injuries resulted from a failure "to exercise due care to avoid injury," one of 20 defenses filed Friday in Cleveland's response to a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of Tamir's family.

"It's incredible that they would take such a posture, such and insensitive position instead of just acknowledging bad behavior," lawyer Walter Madison, who represents Tamir's family, said Sunday. "I think the more healthy thing for them to do is to come together, acknowledge that they're wrong, work on solutions so that this never happens again and allow this family to properly heal instead of insult them."
Attorney Madison is a hypocrite or an idiot.

One of the first things that every first-year law student is supposed to learn is that almost all possible defenses to a civil lawsuit have to be stated in the answer. If you don't do that, you waive them. So yes, if you get drunk, smash a car into someone else and you get sued, one of the defenses that your lawyer will raise is comparative/contributory negligence on the part of your victim. Not only is there nothing wrong with that, it'd be malpractice not to raise that defense.

Madison knows all that, which leads me to suspect that he's a shameless showboater who is trying his case in the press. When a lawyer tries his case before the press, it's often a sign that the lawyer knows that his case sucks. So he goes the PR route to try and force a settlement.

None of the reporters, and a shitload of bloggers, don't seem to know that, or care about it. Which is why they are morons.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Horseshit From Bibi

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said his coming speech to the US Congress is "not intended to disrespect" President Barack Obama.
What a load of putrid tripe! I would accept that, maybe, if Netanyahu was the President of Southeast Goofystan, but he's not. The Israeli Ambassador, who has been one of Netanyahu's closest advisers, is a former GOP thug*.

It is an open secret that Netanyahu did everything he could to support the Rmoney campaign in 2012. If the premier of China had been so involved in our elections, there would have been a national uproar over foreign meddling. Which is exactly what Israel engaged in the last time around: Meddling in our elections.

There is no way that the Israelis couldn't have known that the Speaker of the House, John Boehner (R-Tanning Bed) was trying to score cheap political points. And so, Bibi is doubling down on his bad bet.

Israel has, unwisely, chosen sides in American domestic politics**. They may find out, soon, how foolhardy it was to make that choice.
* And a former American.
** The side that wants to establish a state religion, because fuck the First Amendment.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

PSA: Vaccinate Yer Frakkin' Kids!

Two great quotes from this clip:

"Parents here are more scared of gluten than they are of smallpox."

"If you're one of those people who knows more than doctors, that's fine, no vaccinations, but you're not allowed to go to the doctor anymore. Why would you even want to go to a doctor who knows less than you do? So, if you fall and you cut your head open, you will not be admitted to the Emergency Room. Stay at home, find that sewing kit you stole from the Marriott, and stitch it up yourself, Doc. Oh, by the way, you should also let your kids smoke. Why wouldn't you, the only people who say not to are doctors, and they don't know."

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

The BD-10:

The BD-10 was the late 1980s-early-`90s model of Jim Bede's versions of flying snake oil. A lot of people forget that, in exchange for not being prosecuted for taking deposits on the BD-5 in an aviation equivalent of a pyramid scheme (a trick that later sank the Eclipse jet), Bede was banned for ten years from selling airplanes or kits or plans. But as soon as the time on his suspension ran out, Bede was at it again, this time with the BD-10.

The jet had problem after problem. The empty weight ballooned by 50%. It was nowhere near as fast as Bede claimed and the jet's range was about that of an early Cessna 172. Five were built. Two suffered structural failures in flight, killing the pilots. A third had an asymmetric flap retraction; the plane crashed and the pilot was killed. One is in a hangar in Arizona, the other survivor is in a failed museum in Toronto.