Words of Advice:

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

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

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

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

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

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Moscow Mitch is Upset

Ol' Mitch is upset and denies that he's a Russian asset. But his actions, well, they tell a different tale.
Last week, former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III testified to Congress about Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether President Trump tried to obstruct the inquiry. Casting Russian sabotage as a serious threat to the United States, Mueller warned that interference efforts were happening “as we sit” in the hearing rooms.

Hours after Mueller’s testimony, Democrats tried to get the Senate to vote on bipartisan election security legislation. Republicans objected. The next day, Democrats tried to get a vote on a bill that would have authorized hundreds of millions of dollars to update voting equipment. McConnell objected.
Everyone knows that Trump can't countenance discussions of improving election security and counteracting Russian meddling. The benign explanation is that Trump is still suffering butthurt from his victory in 2016 and believes that any discussion of Russian meddling and interference taints his win. The less-benign explanation is that Trump is Putin's asset and his doing everything he covertly can to make life easier for his handler.[1]

Whether McConnell is so unpatriotic that he is willfully closing his eyes to Russian interference because it benefits his party or he is willfully closing his eyes to Russian interference because he is doing Trump's bidding is an open question. In either event, the result is the same.
_______________________________
[1] That article is sarcastic. But sarcasm has to be rooted in the truth in order to have its sting.

Monday, July 29, 2019

The "Underground Railroad" for Catholic Priests Who Abused Kids

I guess it should be no surprise that the Catholic Church had a hidden organization to support the priests accused and/or convicted of abusing children.
For nearly two decades, the group [Opus Bono Sacerdotii] has operated out of a series of unmarked buildings in rural Michigan, providing money, shelter, transport, legal help and other support to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse across the country.
Besides all that, when the Michigan Attorney General's office launched an investigation of allegations that the group's founders were lining their own pickets, it sure seemed that the ended up soft-footing the investigation. Which you will see if you read the article.

Those who have been saying for decades that the RCC cares more about protecting its priests who abused kids than helping the kids, the article will be an affirmation of that.

How a criminal organization such as the Roman Catholic Church can ever pretend to hold the moral high ground is beyond my understanding. It is high past time to apply the RICO laws to them.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Caturday

A pensive cat.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Tulsi Gabbard: A Mini-Trump

Representative Tulsi Gabbard, the long-shot presidential candidate from Hawaii, said in a federal lawsuit that Google infringed on her free speech when it briefly suspended her campaign’s advertising account after the first Democratic debate in June.
...
Ms. Gabbard and her campaign are seeking an injunction against Google from further meddling in the election and damages of at least $50 million.
Good luck with that. From January 11 through June 30th, Gabbard has raised $6,062,974.29, of which, over a third has come from her congressional campaign fund. She's raised $3.5 million in six months directly for her campaign, which is a far, far cry from her alleged damages from not being able to buy ads on Google for six hours.

Trying to fundraise via litigation is a dickish move worthy of Deadbeat Donnie.

So Much for Conservatives Espousing Freedom of Thought

You don't have to go far to find conservatives decrying what they believe to be liberal groupthink at universities and colleges.

But when a conservative university ruthlessly enforces its own version of groupthink, then all you hear from the Right is crickets.

Which tells me that to a good part of the conservative movement, "freedom" means "freedom to think the way I think," "freedom to write things that please me," and "freedom to believe as I believe."

About the only difference between Moscow University under Stalin and Liberty University under Falwell, Jr. is that, so far as we know, Falwell doesn't have people shot.

Because It's Friday

Big Boy (Up 4014) roaring through Wisconsin.

Shorter McConnell/Trump: Russia's Meddling In Our Elections Is No Big Deal (Because We Benefit)

The Senate Intelligence Committee concluded Thursday that election systems in all 50 states were targeted by Russia in 2016, an effort more far-reaching than previously acknowledged and one largely undetected by the states and federal officials at the time.
...
Some administration officials have suggested that the issue is not getting enough high-level attention because President Trump equates any public discussion of malign Russian election activity with questions about the legitimacy of his victory.
There are GOP senators, notably Ricahrd Burr, the chairman of the committee, who are not buying that they should close their eyes to Russian meddling because it benefits Trump, but McConnell is not one of them.

You can bet your farm that if a true Trumpist senator was chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, that this first report would never have seen the light of day. More are coming.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

110 Years Ago

Louis Bleriot flew the English Channel in a Bleriot XI.


Ten years later, Handley Page Transport began offering flights from London to Paris.

The pictured airplane, a license-built copy made in Sweden, was used to recreate the Channel flight in 1999.

Like Tears in Rain

Rutger Hauer has died. He was 75.

The Party of Treason

Of the many things that came out of the Mueller hearings yesterday was this: Republicans are not perturbed by the fact that Russia not only sought to interfere with the 2016 election, but that the Russians are also interfering with the 2020 election.

The Motto of the Republican Party: We're Down With Treason If It Benefits Us.

On another note, Trump has been making one seriously outlandish and frightening claim: "I have an Article 2 where I have the right to do whatever I want as president."

That is frightening both in its arrogance and stupidity. Article II of the Constitution says no such thing. Go read it.

You may be familiar with your local zoning ordinances. They almost always have a provision that if a use is made of the property that is not permitted in the zoning code, then that use is illegal. Just because the zoning code doesn't say that you can't promote axe-fighting matches in your back yard, that doesn't mean that you can. You can't.

The Constitution is a little like that. The Federal government is a government of limited powers. If a statute does not fall within the boundaries of the Constitution, that law is unconstitutional. If the action taken by the Federal government pursuant to a statute that is constitutional is not authorized by the statute or is proscribed by the Constitution, then that action is unconstitutional.

The Founding Fathers were well aware of the evils of a monarchy. A fair number of them had risked their necks in a struggle to get rid of being governed by one. They had no intention of establishing another monarchy. Most of them had the benefit of a classical education; they were well versed in the idea that revolutions can establish greater tyrannies than the ones they displaced.

The Constitution does not give Trump the right to do whatever he wants. Those who are feeding him this line of reasoning are those who support the idea of a fascist or authoritarian state: An illiberal democracy, where liberty and freedom are words that have no meaning. Trump has already promoted the idea that freedom of the press should be limited only to stories that praise him. It's been pretty clear that he thinks that freedom of religion does not apply to Muslims. He's also been clear that he thinks that neither protections against illegal searches and seizures or protections against cruel and unusual punishments apply to Blacks or Latinos.

But the GOP goes along with all of this. Trump claims that he has the powers of a dictator, the GOP is silent. The evidence is there of Russian interference in our elections, the GOP looks the other way.

The Grand Old Party is the Party of Treason.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Launch to the ISS

SpaceX is attempting a launch at 6:24 EDT, for anyone who wants to watch it live.

Update: Going on Thursday.

Can Facebook Be Any More Venal?

Users are complaining that the phone number Facebook hassled them to use to secure their account with two-factor authentication has also been associated with their user profile — which anyone can use to “look up” their profile.

Worse, Facebook doesn’t give you an option to opt-out.
Even worse, Facebook has been gleefully selling those phone numbers to advertisers. So what users were encouraged to do 'for better security" was nothing more than a ploy by Mark Zuckerberg to get more information on people in order to sell that off.

Guess Zuckerberg thinks he doesn't have enough money.

And yes, the $5 billlon fine that Facebook is paying was, indeed, a slap on the wrist.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Another Thing Ballyhooed by Trump Flops; ICE, ICE, Baby

More than 2,000 migrants who were in the United States illegally were targeted in widely publicized raids that unfolded across the country last week. But figures the government provided to The New York Times on Monday show that just 35 people were detained in the operation.
ICE set out to arrest 2,105 people and found 35. That's a 1.66% success rate.

Pro tip: If you're going out to arrest some guy, you don't tell him that you're coming by to snap on the bracelets and when.

The raids were a farce. They were always going to be a farce, a Potemkin-show, ginned up by El Caudillo de Mar-a-Lago and his faithful lacky, Gruppenfuhrer Miller

Heckovajob, Donnie.

PRC and HK Thugs; or Cops are Cops, No Matter Where

A brazen overnight attack by a mob of men with sticks and metal bars who were apparently targeting antigovernment protesters raised tensions in Hong Kong to new levels on Monday after weeks of demonstrations, prompting fears of violence spiraling beyond the authorities’ control.

Dozens of people, including journalists and a pro-democracy lawmaker, were injured in the assault in and around a train station in Yuen Long, a satellite town in northwestern Hong Kong near the border with mainland China.
...
Yau Nai-keung, an assistant district police commander in Yuen Long, said early Monday that officers had made no arrests and found no weapons.

But in one encounter captured by photojournalists, the riot police spoke with two masked men in white shirts holding metal bars or sticks, patting one on the shoulder before walking off.
There is video of the cops chatting with the goons here.

But, after that blew up, the Hong Kong cops managed to find a few fall guys to arrest.
Hong Kong police say they’ve arrested six men, some with links to triad gangs, following a violent attack on pro-democracy protesters at a subway station over the weekend that saw dozens injured.
The people of Hong Kong do not want to be ruled by the Chinese Communist Party. But the local government is more or less in bed with the PRC and there is little doubt by anyone that direct rule of Hong King by Beijing is only a matter of time. For as Chairman Mao once said, political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.

Which should give the people of Taiwan something to think about.

Also, the Butcher of Beijing is now rotting in Hell.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Chris Kraft Has Gone West

Chris Kraft was the creator of NASA's Mission Control system. He was 95.

If the name Chris Kraft means powerboats to you, you are not a true space geek.

Is Trump Threatening to Nuke Afghanistan?

This is not normal:


“I could win that war in a week. I just don’t want to kill 10 million people,” Mr. Trump said, describing what he said were prepared military plans in Afghanistan. “If I wanted to win that war, Afghanistan would be wiped off the face of the earth. It would be gone in 10 days.”
Name another American president who has bragged that he has plans on his desk to wipe an entire country from the face of the Earth; a country, mind you, that is the one that we are fighting for.

That's the talk of a tin-pot demagogue.

NRA Reform Proposal

This petition is a proposal to reform the Board of the NRA. If you are a voting member (life or annual for five or more years), please look it over and, if you agree, sign it and send it in.

If you were planning to give a significant chunk of change to the NRA, consider this.

The petitions have to be received by August 1st, so time is of the essence.

Administrative note: Comments that are essentially snarky or anti-gun screedswill be deleted without any further warning. The Usual Suspects know who they are.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

USPSA Newbie

I shot my first USPSA match, using a 686:


I was one of three revolver shooters. One had a Ruger GP.100, the other had some kind of eight-shot 9mm running on moon clips. I was probably the only shooter in the entire match with a leather holster. The autos I saw ran from stock Glocks to full-gamer 1911s. The only malfs I saw were with 1911s. They seemed to be gamer guns. The 8-shooter had a moonclip of rounds which didn't work.

It was fun, even though the heat index went over 100degF. I had belt pouches for six reloaders and, on two stages, I went through all of them. Five stages, some with moving targets. On one evil one, you had to hit a popper and then a no-shoot target briefly dropped away from a shoot target. I screwed that up, so I had to carefully aim and hit the valid target in the head. Which I did, but barely. I bobbled one reload and dumped the rounds. Oh, well.

The really young guys were running through the stages. I walked. It was too hot and I'm too old for that nonsense.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

A Lear 25:

Saturday, July 20, 2019

I am a Bad Person for Thinking That This is Amusing

Officials say the deputy commissioner for Baltimore City Police and his wife, were robbed at gunpoint Friday night.

Tranquility Base +50

Fifty years ago, the Eagle landed on the Moon.


Nearly seven hours later, Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon:


Apollo 11 had a TV camera that was of a slower scan rate than broadcast TV. So the networks had to run the image as it appeared on NASA's monitor, which is why the image was pretty crappy.

The taped greeting was not played, nor was Mr. Gorsky wished any luck.

As an aside, it was during the days of the marking of the fortieth anniversary of Apollo 11 that Walter Cronkite died.

Trump Bangs Another Racist Uey

President Donald Trump has reversed his previous criticisms of a North Carolina campaign crowd that chanted “send her back” about a Somali-born congresswoman.

Trump on Friday defended the rally-goers as “patriots” while again questioning the loyalty of four Democratic lawmakers of color. His comments marked a return to a pattern that has become familiar during controversies of his own making: ignite a firestorm, backtrack, then strongly reaffirm his original, inflammatory position.
Because chanting racist rhetoric is so patriotic, I guess. This is what Trump does: He says something hateful, often racist, and then he listens to Ivanka and some professional politicians, so he walks it back. But he can't avoid drinking Racist-Cola, so Trump goes right back to what he said the first time.

The Defenders of All Things Trump are achieving new heights of ridiculousness. Two clowns in particular argue that the dictionary is racist.

Funny thing: Disagree with a Republican president and the Right yells "love it or leave it" to everyone and to minorities "go back where you came from." But those very same people have no problem with disagreeing with a Democratic president and threatening violent revolution.



If "love it or leave it" is a valid argument, then why didn't Trump get on his gaudy jet and go back to Bavaria?[1]

Trump has been crystal clear that he won't even pretend to be concerned with those Americans who are neither white nor filthy rich. He should not be accorded the title of "Mr. President" by anyone who is not in those groups.
_______________________________
[1] His older kids could go back to the Czech Republic (where their mother was on the non-existent Czechoslovakian Olympic Ski Team).

Caturday

A cat helps his staff shop on Prime Day:

Friday, July 19, 2019

Because It's Friday

Texas State RR:

The Dead Tree Death Spiral; Pittsburgh Ed.

The once-daily Post-Gazette, having gone from a daily paper to a five-day paper, is now only going to publish a print edition for three days a week.

A daily paper slowly going all-digital, to my mind, is a glaring sign of long-term mismanagement by the owners. Typically, the papers have been treated as cash cows, laden down with debt, and then all of a sudden, it's not profitable.

All of this is eminently foreseeable by anyone who didn't go to business school. The basics are not that hard to understand.

An all-digital newspaper is just another goddamned website, with as much claim to importance as any other goddamned website.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

I Hereby Nominate Rand Paul's Neighbor For Some Sort of Nobel Prize

The Senate will vote Tuesday on a bipartisan bill to ensure a victims’ compensation fund related to the Sept. 11 attacks never runs out of money, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday.

The announcement came after Democratic Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer, both of New York, reached an agreement with Republican Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky to bring up the bill with two amendments sponsored by the GOP senators.

Paul and Lee had been blocking a vote. Paul was concerned about its effect on the deficit, while Lee wanted to ensure the fund has proper oversight in place to prevent fraud and abuse.
Concerns about the deficit didn't stop Paul from voting for Trump's budget-busting tax cut. Because busting the deficit doesn't matter if all it does is benefit the rich.

Raising the deficit to help the rich like Trump and Epstein-- Rand says yes. Raising the deficit to help the 9/11 responders-- Rand says no.

Which is about what one might expect from a dude named after the Goddess of Selfishness.

More Lies From Trump

President Donald Trump on Thursday chided his supporters who chanted “send her back” when he questioned the loyalty of a Somali-born congresswoman, joining widespread criticism of the campaign crowd’s cry after fellow Republicans warned it could hurt the GOP in next year’s elections. ... “I started speaking really quickly,” he told reporters. “I was not happy with it. I disagree with it” and “would certainly try” to stop any similar chant at a future rally.
I watched coverage of the crowd chanting "send her back". Trump stood there and drank it in. There was no move by Trump to do anything other than to bask in the the roar of the crowd.

It's only now, when even Republicans are pushing back against Trump's latest Festival of Hate and Racism, that Trump is backwatering.

I don't know the wisdom of the President of the United States focusing so intently on four freshman congresswomen. There is hardly an equivalence. Besides the obvious racism, there is also the point that Trump has some special ire in his soul towards women who aren't about to suck his puny, withered cock. (So he has to make do with Lindsey Graham.)

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Two Questions from Trevor Noah

1) Why is it that Trump never tells Bernie Sanders to "go back where he comes from?"

2) If Trump is saying "if you don't like it here, you can leave," then why didn't Trump go back to Bavaria instead of going down that escalator in 2015?



Seth Meyers points out that for Trump, racism isn't a bug, it's a feature.


Look for More Racist Tweets from Trump

Because articles are starting to appear, again, about the times when he was buddy-buddy with convicted/indicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

Trump isn't the only one who is worried.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

No, He Has 206 of Them


President Trump on Tuesday insisted he is not a racist amid sustained criticism of his attacks on four minority, progressive Democratic congresswomen.

The president’s latest defense of his tweets telling the lawmakers to “go back” to their home countries, even though they are all U.S. citizens, came hours before the House is set to vote on a resolution condemning them as racist.

“Those Tweets were NOT Racist. I don’t have a Racist bone in my body!” Trump tweeted.
That number includes the bone spurs.

"Go back where you came from" is racist. It has almost always been said to minorities (including Jews, Italians and Greeks, back in the days when "white people" were those from northwestern Europe and Scandinavia).

You can bet that nobody ever told Donnie to "go back where you came from".

Meanwhile, almost all of the Republicans are running for cover and deploying their best dodge-em skills:
QUESTION: Senator McConnell, you’re — you’re married to an immigrant who’s a nationalized [sic] U.S. citizen. If someone were to say to her she should go back to her country because of her criticism of federal policies, wouldn’t you consider that a racist attack?

MCCONNELL: Well, the secretary of transportation came here at age 8 legally, not speaking a word of English, and has realized the American Dream, and I think all of us think that this is a process of renewal that’s gone on in this country for a very long time and is good for America, and we ought to continue it.
I'll bet that if someone walked up to McConnell's wife, Elaine Chao and said to her, in his presence "go back where you came from", that McConnell would have no problem in recognizing the racism of that insult.

If you are white and you are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with a racist like Donald Trump, do not be surprised if the filth of racism gets all over you.

And if you are not white and you are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Donald Trump, there is another word that describes you: Quisling.

Fifty Years On

Apollo 11 lifted off to become the first time a human set foot on another celestial body.


Here's a look-back from ten years ago.

If civilization survives to the 25th Century, if anyone knows the name of anyone from th 20th Century, it will be Neil Armstrong. If they know three, add the Wright Brothers' names.

Doing things on a national basis because they are hard is passé in this country. Oh, we'll throw money at expensive programs for the purposes of killing other people, but programs to go explore the cosmos.. not so much. Programs to do something about climate change... hard pass. Programs to fight pernicious diseases... nickel and dime funding.

We no longer have no national will for anything other than making war and giving tax cuts to the rich.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Can You Be an Ambulance-Chaser if Nobody Was Hurt?

Some lawyers in Texas are working that problem.
Southwest Airlines Co. and The Boeing Co. were hit with a lawsuit by Southwest customers who say the companies colluded to hide a fatal design defect in Boeing’s 737 MAX 8 aircraft.

The complaint, filed July 11 in a federal court in Texas under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, alleges Southwest obtained profits through a collusive relationship with Boeing, its sole airplane supplier.

It also alleges Southwest lied and defrauded its customers, regulators, and its own pilots and employees, and risked thousands of lives in the process.
I am not going to bother to read the legal excrement that passes for a complaint in this sorry excuse for litigation. I fail to see how an objective argument can be made that SWA defrauded anybody. I'm not aware of anyone who was injured on a SWA 737 MAX aircraft as a result of the design of that particular aircraft.

Nobody was injured, but the ambulance-chasers are still in full cry.

Trump's Racism and the Party of the Confederacy

From the Beeb: Republican Party representatives kept quiet amid a wave of criticism.

There is no doubt left: Trump is a raging racist and the GOP is complicit in that. Not a single Republican has spoken out against Trump's racism. American nazis are chortling with glee, for Trump is indeed their guy.

Trump could don a full Klan uniform and burn a cross on the South Lawn of the White House and there would not be a single peep of criticism would be heard from any Republican.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

À Bastille, Mes Amis !

Today is the French National Day.




A version that is more familiar to American audiences:



Allons enfants de la Patrie
Le jour de gloire est arrivé !
Contre nous de la tyrannie
L'étendard sanglant est levé
Entendez-vous dans nos campagnes
Mugir ces féroces soldats ?
Ils viennent jusque dans vos bras.
Égorger vos fils, vos compagnes !

Aux armes citoyens
Formez vos bataillons
Marchons, marchons
Qu'un sang impur
Abreuve nos sillons

(Full translation, which makes The Star-Spangled Banner look pacifistic.)

The Bastille was torn down very soon afterwards. Very little of it survives. The key to the fortress was given by Marquis de Lafayette to President Washington.

Trump Blows His White-Supremacist Steam Whistle

President Donald Trump on Sunday assailed a group of Democratic congresswomen of color as foreign-born troublemakers who should go back to the “broken and crime infested places from which they came,” ignoring the fact that the women are American citizens and all but one was born in the U.S.
The "go back where you came from" line is pure racism. There is no other way to slice it.

Trump has no more claim to being a true-born American than those people that his is assailing. His mother came from Scotland and his paternal grandparents came from Bavaria.

If he doesn't like living in a multi-ethnic nation, he can go back to where he came from. Which, by his standard, isn't the United States.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

A KLM 747 landing at St. Maarten.


KLM stopped flying 747s to St. Maarten in 2016. But they still fly them elsewhere.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Sweet Fucking Gig

Two years after he shot an unarmed man and was fired, former police officer Philip “Mitch” Brailsford was rehired by the City of Mesa in order to obtain a special pension. Now, Brailsford is considered medically retired, not fired, according to a Mesa city spokesman.
...
"He [Brailsford] had a PTSD claim prior to his termination, so in fairness, he was given the opportunity to make that appeal to the board," Brady said.

One of Brailsford's attorneys, Michael Piccarreta, told ABC15 the PTSD stemmed from the Shaver shooting incident and the resulting criminal prosecution.
...
Brailsford, who is 28 years old, receives a monthly check for $2,569.21. He will receive the pension for the rest of his life, unless the local board requests a new medical diagnosis and it shows a recovery from PTSD symptoms.
So, to recap: Kill an unarmed man, beat a murder rap for the killing, and then get to claim PTSD for both things and retire, at age 28, at $30K/yr.

Pretty sweet fucking gig. Brailsford won't worry about being googleable/unemployable for the rest of his life. And if he gets a job, that's just a lagniappe for him. I'll bet that the PTSD diagnosis doesn't affect his right to own a gun.

Really sweet fucking gig.

(H/T)

A Mere Rap on the Knuckles

The Federal Trade Commission approved an approximately $5 billion settlement with Facebook over the company’s 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal, a person familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal. Several other news outlets separately reported the approval.

The fine represents the largest ever imposed by the FTC against a tech company. Previously, the agency’s largest fine against a tech company came in 2012 when Google agreed to pay a $22.5 million penalty due to its privacy practices. The fine would represent approximately 9% of Facebook’s 2018 revenue.
Keep in mind that Facebook could pay that fine every few months and still remain a rather profitable entity.

$5 billion isn't chump change, but it's not a huge hit for Facebook. To them, it'll be another cost of doing business.

$25 billion might have gotten their attention.

Fireworks Tonight

You may be able to see them at 9 PM EDT on this webcam.

Not sure if it'll pick them up, but what the hell.

UPDATE: It pretty much sucked over a webcam. The camera's image kept washing out.

How We Got to Now; Bangity Ed.

This is an article about the early evolution of .38 hollowpoints. One of the evil things alluded to is how the major ammo companies stepped on the neck of Super-Vel.

It's interesting in that it roughly parallels the development of the .38/44 Heavy Duty 30-40 years previously; higher velocity to obtain better performance.

Ooopsie

Sorry about that.

Caturday

Chip in harness:


He does not get along with Bella. When he is out of his (and my) room, he wears a harness, so I can break up any fights.

It's a royal PITA. But she thinks that she should be in charge and Chip does not hold with that.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Trumpist Tab-Clearing

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta said Friday he is resigning following renewed scrutiny of his handling of a 2008 secret plea deal with wealthy financier Jeffrey Esptein , who is accused of sexually abusing dozens of underage girls.

President Donald Trump, with Acosta at his side, made the announcement as he left the White House for a trip to Wisconsin and Ohio. The president said Acosta had been a “great” labor secretary.

“I hate to see this happen,” Trump said. He said he did not ask Acosta to leave the Cabinet.
Trump may be telling the truth to some extent. He hates the idea that those who have protected the rich and powerful from paying the full price for their peccadilloes are being held to account for their toadyism.
----------------------------------
President Donald Trump is arguing he didn’t retreat when he abandoned his effort to insert a citizenship question into next year’s census and insists his fallback will prove a more accurate option.

“Not only didn’t I back down, I backed up because anybody else would have given this up a long time ago,” Trump told reporters Friday, one day after directing federal agencies to try to compile the citizenship information using existing databases.
Right, and a retreat is "attacking in a backwards direction"? Trump picked this fight on tinkering with the census and he lost. Only his most-loyal base is going to accept Trump's line of whimpering bullshit.
----------------------------------
A Koch Industries executive was told he could not leave China. An ex-diplomat who helped organize a technology forum in Beijing was hassled by authorities who wanted to question him. An industry group developed contingency plans, in case its offices were raided and computer servers were seized.

Business executives, Washington officials and other frequent visitors to China who were interviewed by The New York Times expressed increasing alarm about the Chinese authorities’ harassment of Americans by holding them for questioning and preventing them from leaving the country.
...
“In a very not-so-subtle manner, the Chinese government has upped the ante by detaining Americans at the borders and at their hotels, and with the obvious intent to send a message to the Trump administration that they can engage in hostage diplomacy if push comes to shove,” said James Zimmerman, a partner in the Beijing office of the law firm Perkins Coie, which works with American companies in China.
Apparently the Chinese are not convinced that trade wars are easy to win. They intend to make it difficult.

Because It's Friday

UP Big Boy 4014 on the road!

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Weather

There is something deliciously ironic in the fact that Tropical Storm/Hurricane Barry is about to beat the living shit out of TrumpLand.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE


I'm not ill. Family matters and other things have occupied my time today. They will for a good part of this week.

So surf the blogroll. In those blogs, you may find others worth your time.

See you later.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Live on Fox

Trump was watching.
...[Trump] was particularly annoyed by Fox correspondent Greg Palkot’s live report from a sports bar in France, where patrons erupted in a “F--- Trump” chant, according to two advisers not authorized to speak publicly about private discussions.

Trump's Work on Iran

Iran on Monday began enriching uranium to 4.5%, just breaking the limit set by its nuclear deal with world powers, while it is still seeking a way for Europe to help it bypass U.S. sanctions amid heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington.
This is all on Trump. There was a deal in place. It might not have been perfect, but
objective observers had confirmed that Iran was complying.

Its fault, in the eyes of the World's Oldest Toddler, was that the agreement was negotiated by Obama (and other countries). Trump tore it up because Trump hates Everything Obama.

So here we are, with Iran doing exactly what the deal Trump tore up sought to prevent.

Heckovajob, Donnie.

Epstein: Take This For What You Will

Eleven years after letting Jeffrey Epstein off lightly with a secret deal, federal prosecutors took another run at putting the billionaire financier behind bars on sex charges, accusing him in an indictment unsealed Monday of abusing dozens of underage girls as young as 14.

The 66-year-old hedge fund manager who once socialized with some of the world’s most powerful people was charged with sex trafficking and conspiracy and could get up to 45 years in prison.

As you'll read in the story, the prosecutor who let Epstein pretty much skate in an illegal deal in 2008 was Alexander Acosta, now Trump's Secretary of Labor.

Epstein has a lot of friends across the political spectrum. Those known to be horndogs, besides Trump, may have cause to begin sweating.

Snowflakes with Badges, Our National Surveillance State and DoJ Looks for Lawyers With No Ethics

Starbucks apologized after an employee reportedly asked six police officers to leave or change their location in one of the company’s shops in a Phoenix suburb because another customer reported feeling unsafe.
From the amount of press coverage that this has generated, one might have thought that the cops at that Starbucks had all been shot at.

Stop the Presses! Somebody was mean to some cops!

How this is a national story, much less one that is getting prominent airing on the news shows, is baffling.

There seems to be less outrage in the press over the fact that the FBI and ICE have been using all of our DMV photos for facial recognition.
Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Immigration and Customs Enforcement have turned state driver’s license databases into a facial-recognition gold mine, scanning through millions of Americans’ photos without their knowledge or consent, newly released documents show.
They always cite the same trite rationale: "We're violating your privacy to keep you safe".

Meanwhile, the DoJ is bringing in their "ethics, schmethics" legal team to continue to argue for Trump's census question, a question that the Supreme Court has already shot down. The government has, in th past, used census data to round up people. Anyone who thinks that Trump and Miller wouldn't do the same needs to reach down, grab their ears, and pull hard until they can see daylight.

"Because I'm Rich, I'll Make a Great President"

Now comes the Democratic version of Donald Trump:
The billionaire investor Tom Steyer, who in the past decade has been both the top Democratic donor in the country and the prime engine for pushing for the impeachment of President Donald Trump, appears ready to become Democratic candidate No. 26. Last week in San Francisco, Steyer told staffers at two progressive organizations he funds, Need to Impeach and NextGen America, that he is launching a 2020 campaign, and that he plans to make the formal announcement this Tuesday.
I think that one time that buying the con job of "I'm a rich guy, surely I can run the government" is quite enough, thank you.


No only no, but fuck no. Hard no. Steyer needs to go back to what hedge-fund guys do: Tear up the fabric of American manufacturing for fun and profit.

Trump's Concentration Camps

Since the Border Patrol opened its station in Clint, Tex., in 2013, it was a fixture in this West Texas farm town. Separated from the surrounding cotton fields and cattle pastures by a razor-wire fence, the station stood on the town’s main road, near a feed store, the Good News Apostolic Church and La Indita Tortillería. Most people around Clint had little idea of what went on inside. Agents came and went in pickup trucks; buses pulled into the gates with the occasional load of children apprehended at the border, four miles south.

But inside the secretive site that is now on the front lines of the southwest border crisis, the men and women who work there were grappling with the stuff of nightmares.

Outbreaks of scabies, shingles and chickenpox were spreading among the hundreds of children who were being held in cramped cells, agents said. The stench of the children’s dirty clothing was so strong it spread to the agents’ own clothing — people in town would scrunch their noses when they left work. The children cried constantly. One girl seemed likely enough to try to kill herself that the agents made her sleep on a cot in front of them, so they could watch her as they were processing new arrivals.
The stench of people who are not allowed to clean themselves is so bad that it permeates the guards' clothing.

The lead villain is a Border Patrol sector chief[1] named Aaron Hull. Hull seems to be one of the people who, arguably, deliberately engineered the overcrowding at Clint and other facilities. To Hull, as wll as Trump and Miller, cruelty and degradation are part of their plan.
__________________________________
[1] Gruppenfuhrer?

They Grow Them Stupid in Mississippi (and Europe)

This week, a new law went into effect in Mississippi. The state now bans plant-based meat providers from using labels like “veggie burger” or “vegan hot dog” on their products. Such labels are potentially punishable with jail time. Words like “burger” and “hot dog” would be permitted only for products from slaughtered livestock.
I think it risible that people in Mississippi are thought to be so dumb as to think that a "veggie burger" has meat in it.

But it's not just people in The. Worst. State. In. The. Union. that are thought to be rather slow on the uptake. The EU parliament also believes that Europeans are too stupid to be able to tell the difference between a veggie burger and a hamburger. Which, by the way, doesn't usually contain any pork, but people seem to be able to figure that out without governments having to so inform them.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

100 Years Ago

The Army's transcontinental motor convoy set out from Washington, D.C., en route to Oakland, CA. There were a number of observers from other parts of the army, including LTCOL Eisenhower.

Ike wrote about it in a somewhat breezy book At Ease: Stories I tell to Friends.

A lot has been written that the Autobahn was Ike's inspiration for the Interstate Highway System. That may be true, in part, but I believe that the germ of Ike's push came from his trip with the 1919 convoy.

The Dictator's Parade

Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro oversaw a grand military parade to mark independence day Friday, reveling in his might as commander in chief as the embattled socialist leader comes under mounting criticism for using brutal tactics to crush his opponents.
Seems that Maduro got the kind of parade that Trump was having wet dreams about.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

Hessian mercenaries try for a little bit of shock and awe:


(It's a German F-4.)

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Circus Fire, 75 Years Ago

The Hartford Circus Fire occurred 75 years ago today. The circus was held under a 9,000-seat "big-top" canvas tent, which had been waterproofed with gasoline-thinned paraffin. Over 168 people were killed, over 700 injured.


The cause of the fire has never been fully determined.

A circus fire in Brazil in 1961 killed over 500 people. The tent there had been waterproofed in a similar manner.

"Take the Airports!



Caturday

Today, we see the difference between spot-metering and using a fill-in flash on an iPhone:


Friday, July 5, 2019

"Man the Air! Ram the Ramparts!"

The Internet is blowing up with snark today.



Revolutionary War Airport Snark





(What's going on, here)

Can't Trump Afford a Fact-Checker?

"In June of 1775, the Continental Congress created a unified army out of the revolutionary forces encamped around Boston and New York and named after the great George Washington, commander in chief. The Continental Army suffered a bitter winter of Valley Forge, found glory across the waters of the Delaware and seized victory from Cornwallis of Yorktown. Our army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do. And at Fort McHenry, under “the rockets red glare,” it had nothing but victory. And when dawn came, their star-spangled banner waved defiant."
I had to put that together from a few sources, as different ones had different gaps.

Nobody bothered to tell Trump that there were no airports in the 1770s because the airplane wouldn't be invented for another 125 fucking years?



There's lots more snark about that on Twitter.

"Ramming the ramparts"? Isn't there a military attache who could have told CBS[1] that ramparts are on land and that it wasn't possible to "ram" them? Maybe Trump thinks that they could have used Sherman tanks.

I'm not sure if he thinks that the Battle of Ft. McHenry took place during the Revolutionary War or if he didn't mention that it was a different war.

Factually, it was a mess of a speech that was given by someone who is illiterate in history and who is proud of it.
___________________________________________
[1] Cadet Bone Spurs

Because It's Friday

Chinese steam in Iowa:

Thursday, July 4, 2019

The Fourth

243 years ago, the Second Continental Congress recognized that the American Colonies, at least the northern ones, had been at war with the British Empire for over a year.

(Open this link in a new tab and listen as you read.)

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

Shorter Trump: Cruelty Isn't a Bug, It's a Feature

President Trump said on Wednesday that migrants were “living far better” in Border Patrol detention centers than in their home countries, one day after his own administration reported that children in some facilities were denied hot meals or showers, and that cells were so crowded that migrants begged to be freed.
Trump has made it obvious: The cruelty on public display has been encouraged by Trump and his Chief Brownshirt Stephen Miller.

Trump sucks up to dictators, jokes about killing reporters, gives short shrift to our allies, and does everything he can do to stomp on minorities of all types. Trump is a wannabee dictator, a fascist.

The truly sad thing about this country is the tens of millions of people who are fine with that. The wealthy have always hated democracy, there's no surprise that. But what is surprising is that most people would seem to have a stake in a nation that follows the rule of law and treats people with fairness and respect.

But they don't.

On this Fourth of July, I will say this: If you support Trump, you have no business taking any pride in the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution. You have no moral right to take pride in the American Experiment. You are no patriot.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Affluenza is Dropping Off in New Jersey

Two judges in New Jersey who were giving rich kids a break when they rape girls got their knuckles rapped by the appellate courts. One of the perps recorded his rape and repeatedly shared it with his friends. The judge thought that was just peachy, because the kid came from a good family, was an eagle scout and had high test scores, so he denied the state's motion to prosecute the perp as an adult.

Of course, if the perp had been Tyrone from the 'hood, the judge would have bound the kid over to adult court in a nanosecond, which the appellate court implied.

The appellate courts are signaling that the "rich boys will be boys, whaddya want" attitude of some judges is unacceptable.

As it always should have been.

Ten Years Ago on This Here Blog

Cagers and Donorcycles.

What I didn't mention, then, was that there was a kid in my college class that was in the same type of motorcycle-car accident as AD was. In that kid's case, he was in the hospital, in traction, for weeks. He had on a hip-to-ankle cast for a while after that.

With the proliferation of smartphones, it probably has only gotten worse.

King Donnie's Parade


Mr. Trump said that “brand-new Abrams tanks” and “brand-new Sherman tanks” would be on display on Thursday.
The last Sherman tank rolled off the production line at the Pressed Steel Car Company 74 years ago this month.

No doubt that Trump thinks that this is what the Army uses for "armored cavalry":


Tuesday, July 2, 2019

No Doubt that Republicans Will Defend the Indefensible

A report from an internal US watchdog has found "dangerous overcrowding" in migrant detention centres in the south and urged authorities to act.

Jarring photos of facilities in the Rio Grande show 51 female migrants held in a cell made for 40 men, and 71 males held in a cell built for 41 women.

Adults were packed in standing room only cells for a week, with others held in overcrowded cells for over a month.

One facility manager called the situation "a ticking time bomb".

"We are concerned that overcrowding and prolonged detention represent an immediate risk to the health and safety of [Department of Homeland Security] agents and officers, and to those detained," inspectors said in the report.
Cramming people in standing-room-only cells for a week? I'm sorry, but that's some Nazi-grade treatment.[1]

Please note that these descriptions are coming from DHS's own internal watchdogs, not from a bunch of squishy Congressmen.

This is who we are, a nation that tolerates industrial-scale cruelty from an administration that couldn't care less. This is the face that we are projecting to the world.

Heckovajob, Donnie.
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[1] No, I'm not sorry.  If you want to understand what happened in Germany in the 1930s, look at what is happening here, now, in the United States.
I’ve spent my entire life trying to figure out how the entire nation of Germany, all of its ordinary citizens living in cities and towns and villages across the country, could have stood by while their own government rounded up people and stuck them in hastily built, disgusting concentration camps, and then proceeded to kill them by gas or bullets or starvation or overwork or disease or simple filth and neglect.

This was the week I think I finally understood it. What happened in Nazi Germany didn’t affect their own lives, it happened away from them, it happened to “others,” to people who were not like them, whom they had been conditioned to hate, and it happened at the direction of a leader they admired and revered. And it happened with the overt or tacit approval of their fellow citizens all around them.

This is what is happening in our country right now, right this minute, right in front of us.

Change of Pace

Instead of writing about El Jefe de Mar-a-Lago's corruption of the Fourth of July or the fact that he has to use paid foreign models to stand in for his supporters, let's look at something a little different.

LAPD gear in the 1970s:


Here is a better photo of the gear:


The revolver, a S&W Model 67, has a barrel that is significantly heavier than the standard barrel. I've been told that the LAPD armorers were well versed in doing barrel work on S&W revolvers. When the LAPD moved from 6" Model 14s to 4" Model 15s in the late 1960s (a change you can see if you watch old episodes of Adam-12), a lot of those Model 14s had barrels that were shortened to 4" by the department armorers.

Monday, July 1, 2019

What Trump Has Wrought on Iran

Thanks to Trump, the Euros have created an alternative banking system to get around American sanctions on Iran.
The governments of France, Germany and the United Kingdom have developed a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to enable European businesses to maintain non-dollar trade with Iran without breaking U.S. sanctions. That SPV, known as INSTEX, is now up and running.
Note that Russia, China, Japan and other countries are interested in joining INSTEX.

What this may lead to is a long-held goal of the EU, the Russians and the Chinese: Replacing the dollar as a global currency. Trumps grandstanding and going-it-alone on Iran may very well hasten that happening.

Good job, Donnie.

Shorter CBP: "9,500 is Only A Few."

There's a formerly-secret Facebook group of Border Patrol agents, which is pretty much a cesspot of racism and sexism.
Members of a secret Facebook group for current and former Border Patrol agents joked about the deaths of migrants, discussed throwing burritos at Latino members of Congress visiting a detention facility in Texas on Monday and posted a vulgar illustration depicting Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez engaged in oral sex with a detained migrant, according to screenshots of their postings.
And now, the bullshit:
"These posts are completely inappropriate and contrary to the honor and integrity I see—and expect—from our agents day in and day out," U.S. Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost said in a statement.
Cue up the whining about "a few bad apples":
"We take all the posts that were put out today very seriously. These do not represent the thoughts of the men and women of the US Border Patrol. Each one of these allegations will be thoroughly investigated," said US Border Patrol Chief of Operations Brian Hastings...

What Trump Has Wrought

Iran has breached a 300kg (660lb) limit on its stockpile of low-enriched uranium set under a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, sources say.

One told Iran's Fars news agency that the International Atomic Energy Agency had measured the stockpile on Monday.
Make no mistake, this is on Trump. He recklessly pulled out of the Iranian nuclear deal, hoping that he could bully Iran into giving into a deal more to Trump's liking.

It hasn't happened.

There was a chance to bring Iran back into the world community, which Trump threw away because anything negotiated by Obama has to be bad. That is his motivation, "Obama bad, Trump good". Trump would impose a ban on AR-15s if Obama had had range time on one.

More broadly, the US government bleats about Iran being a state supporter of terrorism, but they continue give a free pass to the Saudis, which have aggressively spread a hate-based version of Islam around the world. It's been well-documented that the Saudis have provided aid and comfort to all manner of terrorist groups, including al Qaeda and ISIS, if they agreed not to bother the Saudis.

To shift gears a little, color me "unimpressed" over Trump's latest stunt with one of the more murderous dictators on the globe. Trump is a showman, or, less charitably, a circus act. While they say that lower-level negotiations will begin again soon, those will be farcical. North Korea has nuclear weapons and they are not about to give them up. Trump may promise that there will be a better life for North Koreans, but Kim Jong Un doesn't care. His family runs the country, they have for generations. In a country beset by repeated famines, Kim appears to be morbidly obese. The Kim dynasty well know that a people obsessed with filling their bellies every day aren't going to ask for higher things, such as freedom. In short, there is likely nothing that Trump can offer Kim to get an agreement.

Any lower-level negotiation involving the United States is farcical, nowadays. There is no American team anymore. What we have, instead, is an impressionable toddler with no impulse control at the top. So no matter what deal is reached, Trump can, and has, whimsically throw the whole thing away. Other nations are slowly realizing that any negotiation that doesn't directly involve Trump will be risky and, quite possibly, a huge waste of time.