Words of Advice:

"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

"Everything is easy if somebody else is the one doing it." -- Me

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

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Saturday, October 31, 2020

EEEEEEEEEEEE



I am having technical difficulties of the "I won't shed a tear if the Norks nuked Cupertino" kind.

Go ahead, touch that dial!

Halloween Caturday

Since Halloween is about things that are feline and spooky, here's a picture of George from about fifteen years ago.



He was a bit of a shitcake in attitude. He went across the Rainbow Bridge over eight years ago.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Because It's Friday

A race between UP 8444 (then) and SP 4449



Note that Southern Pacific isn't using a "helper" diesel. Whether that had anything to do with it is pure speculation.

Donnie, Junior: Almost Nobody Died in the 9-11Attacks

No, he didn't say that, but when it comes to the pandemic, a thousand dead people a day is nothing to him:

Dismissing the surging number of daily coronavirus cases across the nation, the Trump scion insisted on Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle that the CDC was focusing on infections instead of deaths because “the numbers are almost nothing,” adding that “we’ve gotten control” of the virus due to therapeutics. “If you look at my Instagram, it’s gone to almost nothing,” he added. “We’ve gotten a hold of it.”

On Thursday, the United States logged more than 80,000 new COVID-19 cases, and 1,016 Americans died from the disease. Overall, the nation has suffered nearly 230,000 deaths and over 9 million people have been infected.

Over a thousand people died yesterday, and Donnie the Brat doesn't care. He's a man who has done absolutely nothing in his life but suck on his family's largesse, including his daddy buying Junior's way into college. His "bestselling book" only achieved that status because his dad's political campaign bought a shitload of copies.[1]

Donnie is an even bigger fraud than his dad.
______________________
[1] That's the way the Right does it. If you look at the bestseller's list, their books are almost always there because of bulk sales. They cheat, they can't do it any other way. The Right can't win in free and fair contests and haven't been able to for the last 32 years.

Officer Whiny Sues

A Louisville police sergeant filed suit Thursday against the boyfriend of Breonna Taylor, alleging assault, battery, and intentional emotional distress.

What this blue snowflake is doing is trying to make sure that he's in line for any money that Mr. Walker may get from suing the city of Louisville for what happened. Sgt. Snowflake broke into a home in the middle of the night on a bigus no-knock warrant and got shot for his trouble.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Trump Has Killed More Americans Than Did Hitler

From Columbia University:

This report looks at the staggering and disproportionate nature of COVID-19 fatalities in the United States, which now ranks first in the world in the total number of fatalities, to estimate how many deaths were “avoidable.” With more than 217,0001,2 lives lost, and a proportional mortality rate twice that of neighboring Canada and more than fifty times that of Japan -- a country with a much older population than the U.S. – the United States has turned a global crisis into a devastating tragedy.

Through comparative analysis and applying proportional mortality rates, we estimate that at least 130,000 deaths and perhaps as many as 210,000 could have been avoided with earlier policy interventions and more robust federal coordination and leadership.

This paragraph and table show how things could have been:

We have 4% of the world's population and yet, the United States has 20% of the Covid deaths, all due to the utter fecklessness of the Trump Administration, the Republican governors who are too craven to do anything but kiss TGrump's ass, and the Covidiots who follow his line of bullshit and propaganda.

Trump is probably in the running for the title of Worst President in American History.

Heckuvajob, Trumpie.

Jared Kushner, Stupid, Tone-Deaf, Racist or All Three?

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner criticized athletes and others who have protested against U.S. racism on social media and basketball courts and suggested that Black people had to want to succeed for policies to change.

I guess we should all forget that Kusher got into Harvard after his dad donated $2.5 million to the school. Kusher's entire life has been boosted by his father's money. He didn't start out from a poor family and got where he is by grit and smarts. No, Kusher has benefited from his background. For him to slam other people for not being born into a wealthy family lands somewhere on the continuum from stupid to racist.

By the way, Trump did the same things for his kids; he made large donations of cash to elite schools, which, by a stunning series of coincidences, all found room for his kids.

Kushner's touting Trump's care for minorities is laughable. Trump's track record of racism goes back nearly fifty years.

Edited to add: After I wrote the above and saved it to the queue, I saw this:

Wear Your Mask. Avoid Covidiots Who Don't.

In Tennessee, hospitalizations are up in counties where people don't wear masks. A study from Vanderbilt U. shows that pretty clearly. (H/T)

We are mired in this pandemic, things are getting worse and they are getting worse because people are proving to be morons. This pandemic is working as a global intelligence test and a significant number of Americans are proving themselves to be dumber than posts. Not believeing in science and facts and choosing to engage in conspiracy theories and fantabulist thinking has had real costs. Hospitals are filling up in many places because of idiots who can't be bothered to wear a facemask.

Masks reduce the transmission of the coronavirus. Reducing the transmission means that the pandemic will burn itself out, sooner, because the virus isn't finding new hosts. Because fools are not doing their part to reduce the spread of Covid, we will be dealing with this into 2022.

The blame for this lands first and foremost on Donald John Trump, who proved himself to be utterly incapable of actually leading the country in a pandemic. He chose to use the pandemic as a way to inflame divisions in this country.

The sad thing is the tens of millions of people who drink the Fox New/Trumpist punch and who are spreading the virus because reasons that make no sense to sentient adults.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Does Trump Have Brain Damage?

The White House’s science policy office on Tuesday ranked “ending the Covid-19 pandemic” atop the list of President Donald Trump’s top first-term accomplishments, even as the country registers record amounts of infections and hospitals fill up again.

The list, included in a press release from the Office of Science and Technology Policy credits the administration for taking “decisive actions to engage scientists and health professionals in academia, industry, and government to understand, treat, and defeat the disease.”

"Defeated"? In what universe does Donald Trump reside? Because it surely isn't this one.

The average number of new daily cases of the coronavirus in the United States hit another record on Monday as 36 states reported worrying rises in the number of hospitalized patients.

The average number of patients hospitalized with Covid-19 over the past seven days rose by at least 5% in 36 states as of Monday, according to a CNBC analysis of data from the Covid Tracking Project.

Covid defeated the Trump Administration, not the other way around. They've already thrown in the towel on Covid.

Trump's claim that his administration has defeated this pandemic is probably a sign of brain damage.

How to Get a Shit Factory Named After You

Have a cable show and pick a fight with a city:



Monday, October 26, 2020

139 Years Ago

The Gunfight at the OK Corral (or, actually, several doors down the street from it) took place on this day in 1881.



"Gunfight Next to the Photography Studio" probably didn't have the same resonance.

Hurricane Season Ain't Over Yet, Zeta is Coming



People along the Gulf Coast may be ready to be done with hurricanes for this year, but the hurricanes aren't done with them.

No Doubt That Trump Would Have Surrendered

From back when leaders had balls:


The movie is Battleground, one of the best war movies of its time.

With Regard to the Value of Your Opinion on Political Matters:

Ask yourself two questions:
  1. Am I eligible to vote in this election?
  2. Am I voting?
If the answer to the first one is "no", or if the answer to both question is "yes", then sound off.

If the answer to the first question is "yes" and the answer to the second question is "no", then please shut the fuck up until November, 2024.

However much you think your vote doesn't count, it does. 100 million Americans were eligible to vote in 2016 and, for whatever reason, couldn't be bothered to do that one act of citizenship. An act of citizenship that people have been killed for trying to exercise. An act of citizenship that a majority of Americans were once forbidden to perform, either by intimidation or by the law (and still are, in more and more states).

John Lewis got his head cracked open by the Alabama cops when he was marching for the right to vote. But you, you special snowflake, no, you can't get off your dead ass and go vote, in a year where, in most places, voting is easier than it has ever been.

Please take note that I'm not making this contingent on for whom you would vote. Regardless of what I think of Der Drumpfenführer, those who are voting for him are mostly honorable citizens (neo-nazis notwithstanding) who are exercising their rights as citizens.

To those who could vote but aren't: Your opinions on political matters are without value.

If you aren't voting, shut the fuck up.

If Trump and the Party of Death Get Their Way, a Million People Will Die from Covid (just from September through February)

Ninety years ago, Republicans surrendered to economic collapse. Now, they surrender to a disease.

Universal mask wearing in public could greatly reduce the number of Americans who die by COVID-19 by February, a study published Friday in the journal Nature Medicine projects.

Researchers at the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation made estimates based on some assumptions under different scenarios.

In what they describe as the worst-case scenario, they project that COVID-19 deaths could exceed a million between September 2020 and February 2021 if what they call "the current pattern of easing" restrictions continues in states.

In a second scenario that they think is more likely, they say 511,000 could die between September and February under the assumption that "states would once again shut down social interaction and some economic activity" for six weeks once deaths reach a certain threshold per million residents.

But in a third scenario where 95% of the population dons face coverings and social restrictions are in place, the projection is for deaths to be about 381,000 — or about 130,000 fewer than under the second scenario.

Nothing will be done until it's too late, because Trump has surrendered to the pandemic. Trump has presided over the greatest failure of leadership since Hoover. This is indeed consisten with how Republicans operate, for if it doesn't affect rich white men, they really could not care less.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Trump the Surrender Monkey Waves the White Flag of Defeat, Loses to the Coronavirus!

The coronavirus has reached the upper echelons of the White House again, with an outbreak among aides to Vice President Mike Pence just over a week from Election Day. A top White House official declared: “We’re not going to control the pandemic.” Officials on Sunday also scoffed at the notion of Pence dialing back in-person campaigning despite positive tests among several people in his office. Pence, who leads the White House’s coronavirus task force, has an aggressive travel schedule planned for the final days of the campaign. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, pressed to explain why the pandemic cannot be reined in, said, “Because it is a contagious virus just like the flu.”

As I've said before, other nations have done a far better job of combating this pandemic, Taiwan most of all. Anywhere from 120,000 to 220,000 Covid deaths were avoidable, if the Trump Administration had really led, had taken strong action to limit the spread of this disease.

Nothing about this state of affairs was inevitable, other than to an administration full of people who made Frank Burns look smart.[1] But these guys have engaged in magical thinking all along, believing that Trump could out-Twitter an infectious disease.

Well, guess what? One can't tweet down a virus. One can only take medically and scientifically sound measures to fight it. Trump and his coterie of morons have been incapable of doing that. If Trump had been in London in 1854, he would have been publishng pamphlets castigating Dr. Snow for proposing to remove the handle of the Broad St. pump to end a cholera outbreak. The Trump White House is a nest of arrogant imbeciles and fools.

Should Trump lose the election, most of them are likely going to be unemployable outside of the Wingnut Welfare Circuit. For who would willingly hire a person who has shown themself to be soomewhere between a soulless sycophant and an idiot?
_____________________________________
[1] "Dammit, Henry, Frank Burns is a menace! Every time a patient croaks on him he says it's "God's will" or somebody else's fault." -- Duke Forrest.

Trump's Superspreading

At least three top aides to Vice President Mike Pence have tested positive for the coronavirus in the last few days, people briefed on the matter said, raising fresh questions about the safety protocols at the White House, where masks are not routinely worn.
...
Two people briefed on the matter said that the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, had sought to keep news of the outbreak from becoming public.

One of the "top aides" is Pence's chief of staff, Marc Short.

Last night, I was reminded of the AIDS epidemic in South Africa, where the then-president Mbeki disregarded the doctors and the scientists and engaged in magical thinking. Nearly a third of a million people died, most of whom wouldn't have died if the government had acted based on knowledge and science instead of fantasy. It was one of the greatest public health failures of modern times.

And yet, here we are, with well over a hundred thousand, if not more, fatalities because Trump couldn't take this pandemic seriously. He has been totally unable to lead. He is an utter failure.

And now, the pandemic is burning through Trump country.

By the way, whether or not any of the vaccines will work may be difficult to determine, for Trump closed the National Vaccine Program Office last year. So basicaly, there will be nobody watching the store.

The utter fecklessness of this presidency will be hard to overcome.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

A Falcon 20:



Falcon 20s were pretty popular business jets fifty years ago. FedEx started its operations with Falcon 20s. The Coasties flew them for many years.

The Almighty Is Laughing At These Fools

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The United House of Prayer For All People in north Charlotte has now been linked to over 100 confirmed COVID-19 cases and at least three deaths, according to Mecklenburg County Deputy Health Director Dr. Raynard Washington.

Washington announced Friday that a super-spreader event at the church earlier this month has resulted in 101 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 99 of those being in Mecklenburg County and two in Iredell County. So far, three people have died from the virus linked to the event. Two of those victims were over the age of 60, according to Washington.

We have free will. We, supposedly, have the ability to look at a situation and decide what is the safest and sanest course of action. Going into a crowded church during a pandemic isn't a test of fealty to Thine Dear and Fluffy Lord, it's a test of stupidity.

It's like the "two boats and a helicopter" joke. Maybe, sometimes, the Lord works in mysterious ways. But when faced with a pandemic and given the knowledge of how to be safe during it, sometimes, things ain't that fucking mysterious.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Right-Wing False-Flag Attacks

In the wake of protests following the May 25 killing of George Floyd, a member of the Boogaloo Bois opened fire on the Minneapolis Police Third Precinct with an AK-47-style gun and screamed “Justice for Floyd” as he ran away, according to a federal complaint made public Friday.

A sworn affidavit by the FBI underlying the complaint reveals new details about a far-right anti-government group’s coordinated role in the violence that roiled through civil unrest over Floyd’s death while in police custody.

Ivan Harrison Hunter, a 26-year-old from Boerne, Texas, is charged with one count of interstate travel to incite a riot for his alleged role in ramping up violence during the protests in Minneapolis on May 27 and 28. According to charges, Hunter, wearing a skull mask and tactical gear, shot 13 rounds at the south Minneapolis police headquarters while people were inside. He also looted and helped set the building ablaze, according to the complaint, which was filed Monday under seal.

No doubt that those right-wing terrorists are doing acts that Trump and the Right-Wing Noise Machine then blames on the BLM protesters.

Trump is Johnny Covidseed

There is evidence that Trump rallies are followed by localised spikes in the case rate for Covid-19.

(H/T)

Russian Hacking

The Justice Department announced charges Monday against Russian intelligence officers in cyberattacks that targeted a French presidential election, the Winter Olympics in South Korea and American businesses. The case implicates the same Kremlin unit that interfered in the 2016 U.S. elections, but is not related to the November vote.

The indictment accuses the six defendants, all said to be current and former officers in the Russian military intelligence agency known as the GRU, of hacks that prosecutors say were aimed at furthering the Kremlin’s geopolitical interests and in destabilizing or punishing perceived enemies. All told, the attacks caused billions of dollars in losses and disrupted a broad cross-section of life, including health care in Pennsylvania, a power grid serving hundreds of thousands of customers in Ukraine and a French election that saw the late-stage disclosure of hacked emails.

The Russians were hacking into the 2018 and 2020 Olympics because they were mad that they had been caught and punished for widespread doping thier athelites.

And this:

Washington imposed sanctions on Friday on a Russian research institute tied to the development of a dangerous computer program capable of causing catastrophic industrial damage, a move that Russia called illegitimate.

The U.S. Treasury Department alleged that the Russian government-backed Central Scientific Research Institute of Chemistry and Mechanics - also known by its Russian acronym, TsNIIKhM - was responsible for “building customized tools that enabled the attack” on an unidentified petrochemical facility in the Middle East in 2017.

The attack electrified the cybersecurity community when it was made public by researchers that year because - unlike typical digital intrusions aimed at stealing data or holding it for ransom - it appeared aimed at causing physical damage to the facility itself by disabling its safety system.

One might wonder why it took the State Department three fricking years to react to this.

As for the rest, has it not become clear to everyone, by now, that whether or not Trump and McConnell cozy up to Putin, that we are back to being in a cold war with the Russians? The hacking is not that much different from when the Russians were providing support to the Red Brigades (Italy) and the Red Army Faction (West Germany) terrorist groups.

Russia will never be a partner with the West. At best, it's an adversay. At the worst, it's an enemy.

Trump: We're Turning a Beautiful Corner on Coronavirus (and more)

A day after US President Donald Trump said his country was "rounding the corner" on COVID-19 during the final presidential debate, new figures have emerged contradicting the US leader's view of the pandemic.

The number of new COVID-19 cases reported in the US on Friday was the highest on record, beating a midsummer peak, according to a Reuters analysis.

With 84,218 new cases on Friday, the news agency said the United States had eclipsed its one-day record high of 77,299 new cases on July 16.
...
Asked about his handling of the pandemic as part of the presidential debate earlier on Thursday, Mr Trump predicted a reversal to the crisis that has killed more than 223,000 people in the US.

"We're rounding the turn, we're rounding the corner ... it's going away," Mr Trump said.

In a pig's eye. Trump has been saying that "we're turning the corner" for the last month-and-a-half. We're not rounding any corner, except maybe one that leads to more cases and more people dying. Cases are climbing, with no sign of that trend reversing. They are going up in the states where the governors went full-on-Trumpist, aided and abetted by the idiots in local governments who are abdicating their responsibilities.

Let's face facts: Trump wants people to die. He especially wants minority and poor people to die. The CDC wants people to wear masks while taking public transportation, Trump said no. Even the most causual observer would have to conclude that Trump is indifferent, at best, to the suffering of the American people, unless it affects him in some way.

If Trump had mobilized the American people by saying things like "let's fight this foreign invader, everybody mask up, keep your distance and wash your hands", where would be we on this? It's possible that 3,000 people would have died.[1] Maybe that's too much to have hoped for, but it could have been kept at a level that would have killed less than 40,000 people.[2] Even if all we had done was wear masks, maybe 100,000 people would have died. Not 230,000. Not the half-a-million projected for the end of the year.

But no. Instead of trying to unite the American people, Trump seized on countermeasures as a way to stoke yet another culture war. The result was a death rate of 62.2 per 100,000, which, for a large country, is one of the highest rates of death in the world. He is complicit, if not directly responsible, for the deaths of well over 100,000 Americans to date. Trump has been responsible for the deaths of more Americans than Prime Miniser Tojo of Japan.

And, Dear Reader, if you have been one of the Covid deniers, if you haven't been wearing a mask, if you've been one of those demanding that everything go back to the way life was in January, then this is on you, too.
_____________________________
[1] South Korea's death rate has been 0.85 for every 100,000 people. But they are pikers compared to Taiwan, which has had a death rate of 0.03 per 100,000 people.
[2] Germany's death rate has been 11.72 for every 100,000 people.

Caturday

Chip plays with brains:

That thing is a brain-shaped "stress ball" that I was given at some presentation or meeting. Chip likes to play with it because it does not roll predictably.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Because It's Friday

The last Southern Pacific Cab-Forward:



I don't know if the audio is dubbed-in or live. But still, it's a color look at the last of its type.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Trump's Twitter Password was "maga2020!"

Not a joke, that. It really was.

Our Wannabee Autocrat Is Not Happy

President Trump and his advisers have repeatedly discussed whether to fire FBI Director Christopher A. Wray after Election Day — a scenario that also could imperil the tenure of Attorney General William P. Barr as the president grows increasingly frustrated that federal law enforcement has not delivered his campaign the kind of last-minute boost that the FBI provided in 2016, according to people familiar with the matter.

The conversations among the president and senior aides stem in part from their disappointment that Wray in particular but Barr as well have not done what Trump had hoped — indicate that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, his son Hunter Biden or other Biden associates are under investigation, these people say.

The Daily Beast makes it even clearer:

But Wray has been particularly out of step with the president’s priorities in recent weeks. He testified, accurately, that antifa was more a “movement or an ideology”—antifascism—than the terrorist organization Trump portrays. He has emphasized that Russia is a particular danger for 2020 election interference. He, like the FBI, has warned that white supremacist violence is the premier domestic terrorism threat facing the United States. And he has undermined Trump’s misinformation campaign that mail-in voting is a vector for election theft, telling Congress for the FBI there is no evidence of “coordinated national voter fraud.”

The FBI director’s ongoing public divergences with Trump, and Wray’s reluctance to settle Trump’s scores, have further solidified the president’s desire to remove Wray, those close to Trump said.

Trump wants the FBI to operate as his personal goon squad. The FBI seems to understand the risks of doing Trump's bidding to announce baseless investigations just because the boss is ordering it.

At this point, it has to be clear that one has to choose between being a Trump supporter and being a loyal American. Loyal Americans believe in democracy, in free and fair elections, and in the rule of law. Trump believes in dictatorship, in authoritarian rule. If you support Trump and you don't see that is what he believes, then you are, in my opinion, being willfully blind.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

124 Years Ago, the Battle of Lyon



The Lumière brothers developed photographic equipment and had the first commercial moving picture showing in 1895. They reportedly were not terribly interested in motion pictures, they weree also pioneers in color photography.

DoJ Sues Google

The Justice Department on Tuesday sued Google for abusing its dominance in online search and advertising — the government’s most significant attempt to protect competition since its groundbreaking case against Microsoft more than 20 years ago.

Google probably has gotten too big and too powerful. Once companies reach a certain critical mass, they become evil. They can't help it.

But it's worth recalling how this all began. In the late '90s, the predominant search engine was Yahoo. Yahoo was frustrating as fuck to use. When you got a result, the first two pages were nothing but ads. You had to go down a couple of pages to get to the results that you wanted. That might not sound too burdensome, now, but back then, most people who were at home were accessing the Internet through a dial-up service.[1] Given the slow loading speed, the fact that Yahoo's pages were loaded with graphics only slowed things down even more. So using Yahoo was like slamming your hand in a door.

Then along came this minimalist search engine called Google. Maybe one or two lines of ad listings, but that was it. No graphics. Compared to Yahoo (and the other search engines, of which I've forgotten), Google loaded amazingly fast. However long it took it to become the predominate search engine, it wasn't a long time. They didn't even need to advertise, word of mouth did it for them. Within a year or two of Google's debut, I didn't know a single person who didn't use it.

Unlike Microsoft, Google didn't need, then, to strongarm computer makers to preload its stuff. They didn't need to. Their stuff was, simply, better. On my iPhone, Apple Maps was often significantly off, with destinations being a mile or so closer or further up the road. Google Maps hasn't had that problem.

I don't doubt that, since Google has grown it a behemoth, that they now engage in monopolistic and anticompetitive. It's inevitable for very large companies to do that. But still, it's worth remembering that Google got to where they are by having a better product.
_________________________________
1. This is why Cyber Monday was such a big deal; people did their online shopping at work, whre they were more likely to have igh-speed Internet service.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Colt Got Going Selling to Civilians

Colt got itself going in the 1850s by selling to civilians:



In recent times, it has seemed that Colt, among others, has had a tendency to throw the civilian market aside, until it gets to the point that those military and police contracts have dried up.

Wear a Mask, Dammit

Is Trump Trying to Lose (and a Supreme Surprise)

An angry President Donald Trump has come out swinging against Dr. Anthony Fauci, the press and polls that show him trailing Democrat Joe Biden in key battleground states in a disjointed closing message two weeks before Election Day.

“People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots,” Trump said of the government’s top infectious disease expert. “Every time he goes on television, there’s always a bomb. But there’s a bigger bomb if you fire him. But Fauci’s a disaster."

If you take a look at the polling on Fauci, he polls 20-25% higher than Trump. Attacking Fauci may make his base of rabid Trumpanzees happy, but Trump can't win without more support from people that he has been alienating. So, is he really trying to lose, or is it that Trump only has one tool in his toolbox and that's what he's using?

On another note:

The Supreme Court will allow Pennsylvania to count mailed-in ballots received up to three days after the Nov. 3 election, rejecting a Republican plea in the presidential battleground state.

The justices divided 4-4 on Monday, an outcome that upholds a state Supreme Court ruling that required county election officials to receive and count mailed-in ballots that arrive up until Nov. 6, even if they don’t have a clear postmark, as long as there is not proof it was mailed after the polls closed.

It has seemed, at least somewhat, that the Supremes have largely been seeing things Trump's way during this election season. This one was a loss for Trump. One might suspect that there is at least one justice who believes that if the Supremes become seen as a subsidiary of GOP, Inc., they could end up with a few more people sitting next to them.

The Supreme Court's ruling operate by persuasion, not by a use of force. This country operates, in large measure, by rule of law. Even so, it took decdes for the ruling against school segregation to be fully implemented.[1] If the nation largely decides to ignore a ruling, there is little that the Court can do about it. Oh, if the district court judges can nail a few people for contempt charges, they might, but it's pretty hard to hold the country in contempt. A few of the justices probably keep this in mind, that they are not all-powerful gods, and in a way, like the gods themselves, they only have power and influence if people believe in them.

If the Court starts issuing rulings that are far out of step with the sentiment of the nation, it will not be good for the Court itself. Over a century ago, it was observed that while the Supreme Court may follow the Constitution, they also follow the elecion returns. That observation is probably still true.
_________________________________________
[1] It is arguable that the ruling in Brown v. Board of Education has never been truly implemented. Between private schools, charter schools and "white flight" (segregation by town boundaries), schools in many areas are still, effectively, segregated.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Sturgis Superspreader Event

Even a casual observer of this pandemic would have realized that the Surgis Motorcycle Rally was a potential superspreader event. And that is exactly what happened.

One guy, who thought that Covid was no big deal and went there, got sick and brought it home to his family. He had this to say afterwards:

“I was naive I was dumb, you know? I shouldn’t have went. I did; I can’t change that, so I just got to move forward. But sitting here just the past few days, that’s all I keep thinking about. I’m like, Jesus, look at the hell I’m going through, the hell I put everybody through. It ain’t worth it. It wasn’t. It really wasn’t.”

He was naive and dumb, indeed. If there ever is a Hall of Retarded Governors, Kristi Noem (T-SD) will be a shoo-in.

Meanwhile, Gov. Cuomo (NY) ordered the shutting down of a massive Hasidic wedding scheduled for tomorrow. The Hasidim have been obstructionist in fighting the pandemic is Israel, as well. If Hasidic Jews hadn't been regarded as being backward and ignorant before, they will have by the time this is all over.

Trump Kids on SNL



The one bad thing about a Trump loss would be not seeing these guys do their Don-and-Eric act.

Federal Appellate Courts

The New York Times has a lengthy article today on how Trump has turned the Federal appellate courts into a bulwark for his policies.

Frankly, I distrust the Federal appellate courts, and have done so for a long time. They often seem to base their opinions on their personal political ideology than the law.

A long time ago, I had some tangential involvment in Federal appellate cases. As I got to know the practitioners in that field, they told me that they could guess the outcome of thier cases depending on who the three judges were that were assigned to the panel to hear their cases. I had some free time (and access to a one of the online legal services), so I looked into it.

Damned if they weren't right.

Federal appellate panels have three judges on them. If you were appealing a civil rights violation case in that particular circuit, if you got two or more conservtive judges, you lost. If you got two or more liberal judges, you didn'tnecessarilly wn, but you had a shot at it. It was so bad and so predictable that lawyers whose cases drew three conservative judges would advise their clients that it was fruitless to appear for oral arguments.

It was almost funny, in a tragic-comic sense. If the plaintiff lost at trial, or had a low award, the judges, both liberal and conservative, would respect the decision of the jury. But if the plaintiff won big, the conservative judges would write all sorts of mealy-mouthed words about how the jury was the finder-of-fact, but then come up with rationales for why they were going to shitcan the jury's verdict.

What it did, for me, was color my view of the Federal bench. And I went down a different road.

Come Ye, MAGAites!

Coming to a city near you (if you live in a "swing state"):

It was a real sign.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

A guy flying a jetpack:

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Duckbill Chokes?

I had never heard of such things. So, over to Gun Jesus:

After Four Years, Ben Sasse Finds His Balls. But Can He Use Them?

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) told constituents that President Trump's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and alienation of voters could result in a "Republican blood bath" within the Senate in November, according to The New York Times,

“I’m now looking at the possibility of a Republican blood bath in the Senate, and that’s why I’ve never been on the Trump train,” Sasse said, according to the Times. “It’s why I didn’t agree to be on his re-election committee, and it’s why I’m not campaigning for him.”

He said Trump's defeat in November “looks likely” and warned “we are staring down the barrel of a blue tsunami,” according to the Times.

For nine minutes on the Wednesday call, Sasse lambasted Trump's foreign policy, stating the president has turned away allies and ignored human rights.

“The debate is not going to be, 'Ben Sasse, why were you so mean to Donald Trump?’” Sasse said, according to the Washington Examiner, which first obtained the audio. “It’s going to be, 'What the heck were any of us thinking, that selling a TV-obsessed, narcissistic individual to the American people was a good idea?'"

If Sasse wants to demonstrate his independence from Trump, let's see him vote against Trump's Handmaid for the Supreme Court.

But Sasse won't. Because there hasn't been a single Republican in the Senate with any spine since John McCain died.

Yet Another Racist Republican Toots His Dog-Whistle

Republican U.S. Senator David Perdue appeared to mock Kamala Harris at a rally for President Donald Trump in battleground state Georgia on Friday, where he repeatedly mispronounced the vice presidential nominee’s name.
...
Video of his speech shows Perdue repeatedly making exaggerated attempts to pronounce the name before saying, “I don’t know, whatever.” The crowd responds with laughter.

That was racist as fuck. Perdue knows Harris personally, he knows how to pronounce her name, He was deliberately mocking her name to make the point that she's not white like he is and like 95$ of Perdue's supporters.

Caturday

A cat in a charitable thrift store makes sure that everything is shipshape and in Bristol fashion:

Friday, October 16, 2020

Heh. Heh. Heh..

DEA: Still Racist After All These Years

At the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Training Academy in Virginia last year, an instructor on the firing range called out a name that was shared by two trainees, one Black and one white. When both responded, the white instructor clarified, “I meant the monkey.”
...
As the DEA continues a decades-long struggle to diversify its ranks, it has received a string of recent complaints describing a culture of racial discrimination at its training academy in which minorities are singled out, derided with insults and consistently held to a higher standard than their white counterparts, according to interviews with former recruits and law enforcement officials and records obtained by The Associated Press.

Holding minorities to a higher standard is an old trick of a system thaat is systemically racist. It exposes the lie of "we're promoting unqualified minorities" that the "conservatives" like to scream about. One supposes that the agencies figure that they don't have to worry about fairness in assignments and promotions if they bilge out all of those pesky minorities and women during their training.

Trump Installs Commissars at the CDC

Make no mistake about it: Trump is doing what he can to ensure that science conforms to his fantasy view of reality. One step is to put politruks in the CDC:

The Trump White House has installed two political operatives at the nation’s top public health agency to try to control the information it releases about the coronavirus pandemic as the administration seeks to paint a positive outlook, sometimes at odds with the scientific evidence.

The two appointees assigned to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Atlanta headquarters in June have no public health background. They have instead been tasked with keeping an eye on Dr. Robert Redfield, the agency director, as well as scientists, according to a half-dozen CDC and administration officials who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal government affairs.

This is just more evil stupidity from the Trump administration. At this point, it's becoming clear that one can be loyal to The United States of America or one can be loyal to Donald Trump. One cannot be both.

Because It's Friday

A Garrett in Zimbabwe:



One thing about Garretts made no sense to me: Why the cylinders were placed as far as possible from the boiler. That means that the steam lines from the throttle dome have longer to run and that the exhaust from the cylinders also have further to go before they are exhuasted out the blastpiple. The engines of a steam locomotive don't really care in which direction they run; see, the Southern Pacific's Cab-Forwards.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Trump: Unclear on the Concept

It Smells Like a Summary Execution

The shooting of Michael Reinoehl by a Federal task force smells fishy. He had a handgun, which was in his pocket, and a rifle, which was cased. Most witnesses said the cops just rolled up and began shooting. Then they pretty much faked trying to save him after shooting him full of holes.

Barr and Trump wanted that guy dead and the Marshal's Service obliged.

Three Thoughts About Soon-To-Be Justice Barrett

1. The fact that she wasn't able to say whether or not a president has the power to suspend the election was truly frightening. A little less frightening is that she seems to think that Miranda v. Arizona should be reversed. One wonders if she thinks the "third degree" should be brought back.

2. When you take her previous writings on both Roe v. Wade and the Affordable Care Act, and contrast them with her answers before the judiciary committee, I think that if she then votes to overturn Roe and to scrap the ACA, that it is arguable that she committed perjury during her hearings and that she should be impeached forthwith.

3. If she's an "originalist", then I'd like to know if she thinks that the First Amendment applies to electronic media. Those didn't exist in 1791. Neither, for that matter, did newspapers printed on continuous offset presses printing in CMYK.

These GOP judicial nominees all say something on the lines of "we're not there to enforce an ideology, we just call balls and strikes." That is primo-grade horseshit. If the judges indeed just called "balls and strikes", then Moscow Mitch wouldn't have sat on 200 nominations to the lower courts and either stolen a Supreme Court seat from President Obama or stolen one from the next president.

I think that should Biden win, he should watch how the Supremes rule and, if they are clearly showing an ideological bent, then it'll be time to respond to the GOP's stacking the courts with packing the courts.

Monday, October 12, 2020

The Taliban Loves Trump

[A] senior Taliban leader told CBS News, "We hope he will win the election and wind up U.S. military presence in Afghanistan."


A Little Bondo, Some Paint, and That'll Buff Right Out

A Belgian Air Force F-16 has been destroyed and another aircraft damaged when the M61A1 Vulcan 20mm cannon on board a third F-16 was accidentally fired on the ground by maintenance personnel at Florennes Air Base in the Walloon area of Southern Belgium on Friday, Oct. 12, 2018.


Yeah, I know, it happened two years ago. So sue me.

Why Republicans Are Hypocritical on Court-Packing

Never forget that, when it appeared that Hillary Clinton looked as though she might win, Republicans were vowing that they would never confirm any Supreme Court justice that she nominated.

[S]everal Republicans have said if the voters elect Clinton, they’ll block her nominees, effectively abandoning their advice and consent role for her entire term.

“If Hillary Clinton becomes president, I am going to do everything I can do to make sure four years from now, we still got an opening on the Supreme Court,” North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr said in an audio recording of his meeting with GOP volunteers on Saturday. CNN obtained a copy of the audio.

GOP Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Ted Cruz of Texas have also suggested blocking any Clinton nominees. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said in a debate Monday night that he “can’t imagine” voting for any Clinton nominee though he stopped short of vowing to block a pick from a Democratic president.

Under the GOP's plan for gutting the Supreme Court, there would now be six justices on the Supreme Court. They were going to keep doing that until either they lost control of the Senate or gained the presidency. Moscow Mitch was eviscerating the Federal judicial system, emptying out court seats until a Republican was elected. They are nothing but a bunch of reverse ferrets.

Since Republicans were going to pack the Supreme Court by emptying it out until they could fill it, it is only fair that the Democrats respond by packing the Supreme Court by going in the other direction.

We also need to think about doing away with lifetime tenure for all judges.

News About Trump That Should Surprise Nobody Whatsoever

He's corrupt as fuck; he's used his properties to build an influence-peddling system that is unmatched in modern times.

It's a long article with a lot of data, but not a single word of it is surprising to anyone who has paid attention to Trump's chicanery. You can get a better understanding of why he is so concerned about losing the election-- he's afraid that he'll be investigated and charged. The reason he's so afraid of that is because it is exactly what he would do.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Do Want, Gun Ed.

A DeLisle carbine:


It's a reproduction that'll set you back $2,500 for one with a working suppressor.

Not that I can afford one, but it would be fun to have.

It Was Just Fitting

That last week was Mental Health Awareness Week.

Question of the Day

“I think some of this is sad to watch,” Nunberg said. “It’s getting to the point where he’s almost turning into a laughingstock. What I’m worried about is whether he wants to completely self-destruct and take everything down with him vis-à-vis the election and the Republican Party.” He added, “This is a guy who’s not gonna lose joyfully.”

It does appear at times as though self-destruction may be the point. How else could you explain the Plague Parade circling Walter Reed, in which a very sick Trump boarded a tightly sealed SUV with his Secret Service agents so he could wave at the supporters who had come to fly their flags on the street? Or the Evita-inspired return to the White House, in which a still very sick Trump ascended the staircase to the balcony, ripped off his face mask, and saluted to no one as his photographer snapped away? Or calling in to the Fox Business Channel to suggest his infection may be the fault of the Gold Star military families, since they were always asking to hug him?
...
The president’s staff, this person said, have no ability to think strategically because the president’s behavior poses new threats to survival every five minutes. “I don’t think they’re even considering what happens if he’s back in the White House and he needs oxygen or a ventilator. Their view is ‘If it happens, well, we’ll fucking figure it out when it happens!’ ”

Like Gingrich, they have to stay optimistic. “They aren’t even considering what happens when he’s feeling worse than he’s feeling now, when he’s hopped up full of steroids and other performance enhancers. He’s on the sort of drugs you’d see with a Tour de France rider in the mid-’90s!” Another way to say this, the former White House official said, was that the president is “hopped up on more drugs than a Belgian racing pigeon.” In keeping with the bird theme, this person said the president’s illness was proof that “the chickens are coming home to roost.”

Serious question: How does one tell the difference between Trump when he is “hopped up on more drugs than a Belgian racing pigeon” and when he is not? Or has he ever been "not"? There have been allegations for years that Trump abuses Adderall and gobbles down British Sudafed like candy.

That's just part of the hypocrisy. Anti-vaxxers have, for years, claimed a religious exemption for vacciens because some were oritigally derived from fetal tieeus. The monoclonal antibodies Trup took (or is still taking) were derived from fetal tissue. But Trump has been against research on new drugs that use cell lines derrived from fetal tissue. The evangelical anti-vaxxers seem to also be slient about Their Orange Deity taking a drug that they normally would oppose.

I don't need to go on on this, do I? Almost everyone has watched moralists' objections to things crumble when the rubber really hits the road on a personal issue.

As for Trump blaming his sickness on military families, that's about what one would expect from a man who can't comprehend why those families' loved ones would willingly choose to join the military, let alone go during wartime.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

F-18 carrier ops:

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Earth Dodged a Bullet 112 Years Ago

The Tunguska Event in 1908 may not have been an exploding comet. It may have been a very near miss from an iron asteroid, which went over 400 miles through the atmosphere over Siberia and then continued on its way.

That asteroid was/is nowhere near as large as the Chicxulub impactor. Even so, it it had smacked dead-on, it would have been a very bad day for almost everyone.

Caturday

Bella chills out behind an old chair:



She had a maintenance vet visit earlier this week and she's doing well. Bella needs a steroid shot every four to six weeks to help her breathe.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

No Doubt That Trump Thinks That The Michigan Right-Wing Extremists Are "Very Fine People"

The FBI says it has thwarted a plot to abduct and overthrow Michigan's Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Mrs Whitmer has become a target of coronavirus sceptics after enacting strict mitigation measures that were overturned by a judge last week.

Officials say the kidnapping plot involved six men who planned to hold a "treason trial" for her.

"Hatred, bigotry and violence have no place" in Michigan, Mrs Whitmer said, describing the accused as "depraved".

In a press conference on Thursday, the governor tied the plot against her to the rhetoric of President Donald Trump, who she said has spent the last several months "stoking distrust, fomenting anger and giving comfort to those who spread fear and hatred and division".
...
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, said that separate to the kidnapping charges, seven members of the "wolverine watchmen" militia will be charged by the state with gang affiliation and providing material support to terrorists. Mrs Nessel said the arrested militia members hoped to start a civil war.

Yep, "very fine people". My guess is that the state charges are being brought to ensure that those alleged domestic terrorists will be sent to prison, even if Trump pardons them.

Pence is So Full of Shit, He Attracts Flies


 Kinda stolen from Stephen Colbert.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Time to Face Reality: Trump, AKA Covita, is Insane

 President Donald Trump's aides were preparing for him to return to the Oval Office on Wednesday, an eventuality one senior official seemed to believe was so inevitable he mistakenly claimed it already happened.

There is no scenario that I am aware of which holds that a patient who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 is safe to be out of quarantine in less than ten days to two weeks.  But that is just what Covita, the Very Stable Genius, is going to do.
Trump probably had the virus when he debated Joe Biden.  The reason I say that is that Trump's medical team has refused to tell the American people when he last tested negative for the virus.  Given Trump's lengthy track record of lying about his health, indeed, about everything else, only an utter fool would refuse to consider that Trump was spreading the virus when he went to Cleveland.  Chris Wallace has stated that the candidates were "on the honor system" that people from the campaigns didn't have coronavirus.  But, as we all should know by now, Trump has no honor.  Indeed, Trump regards personal honor as a weakness to be exploited.
Biden should not consent to an in-person debate with Covita.

Shorter Trump: Confirm the Handmaid and Fuck the Economy


Yep, that's his priority.  He doesn't give a fuck about whether or not the economy goes down the tubes, only so long as he can get Handmaid Amy on the Supreme Court.

By the way, the "Handmaid Amy" title is not just snark. 

 
So, it would appear that Barrett is, arguably, a member of a cult.  She is free to believe what she wants, but putting someone on the Supreme Court with views that are, essentially, nostalgic for the 18th Century, would be a terrible error.

Let's also dispense with the fiction that "judges follow the law".  Judges generally do that.  But the Supreme Court doesn't have judges, they have justices.  The justices are indeed free to bring their moral views and political bents to cases.  If they were not, the push by Moscow Mitch to remake the Federal judiciary would make no sense.

But the main point still is this:  As long as Trump gets his handmaid on the Supreme Court, he will not give a fuck if thirty million or more Americans are out of work forever.  

Trump doesn't care about other people.  His inactions on recovery plans, his malicious mishandling of the pandemic, his feckless management of his own offices, resulting in the West Wing becoming a cornonavirus hot spot, his Kim Jong-un-esque helicopter ride and saluting the empty lawn of the White House grounds from the balcony, they are all emblematic of Trump's lack of caring for anyone but himself.

That's the way that Trump has been for all of his adult life.  Anyone who expected that he would "grow in the job" or anything like that, had to have been smoking crack.  Sociopaths don't change their spots.  

Google Keeps Fucking With Blogger

 Google seems to have disabled the backdoor to the old blogging tools.

If I learn of another way to get there, I'll pass it on.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Lock Him Up!
Lock Him Up!
Lock Him Up!

Mr. Trump spent more than $70,000 on hairstyling during several years of his run on “The Apprentice,” his reality-TV show.

That, of course, is quite a lot for any one person to spend on having his hair cut, blow-dried or colored. But what is really remarkable about the revelation is that Mr. Trump’s production company deducted his hairstyling expenses from its taxable income, reducing its tax bill.

Tax experts told me that deducting what is ordinarily considered a personal expense is prohibited under almost any circumstances. And they said such a deduction could potentially constitute criminal tax fraud if the cost of the hairstyling was reimbursed by someone else.

Three former NBC executives involved in “The Apprentice” told me that, while they didn’t recall the exact terms of Mr. Trump’s contract, they were very familiar with the way such contracts are typically written. The cost of hair and makeup for a star of Mr. Trump’s stature would generally be covered by the show, and Mr. Trump would have been reimbursed for any of the costs he incurred.
If this can be proven, and if Trump goes down for tax fraud because of it, there is something that will be deliciously ironic about him going to prison for double-dipping on his hair styling.

Fuhr You, Ze Election Ist Offuhr

I voted today, so for me, this election is over.

For you, it may not be.

Tens of thousands of people, if not more, are voting every day. The effect is that the window for Trump to reverse his dive in the polls is closing fast. James Comey isn't out there to send out a sabotaging email. The Republicans' attempt to smear Biden through his son very quietly fizzled out.

New Orleans May Have an Unwanted Visitor This Weekend

Hurricane Delta:


Make ready, people.

Covita Sings From the Balcony




And this:

Monday, October 5, 2020

Man Who Got Stinking Drunk, Drove While Intoxicated, and Then Got Into an Accident Says Being in a Car Crash is No Big Deal

That, when it comes to Covid, believe it or not, is Trump's latest shtick. The 210,000 dead people don't matter to that narcissistic sociopath one bit.

They won't answer when Trump's last tested negative for Covid. They're not telling people how sick Trump is. They're not telling how many members of the White House staff have gotten the virus. They're not telling how many people have gotten sick from the Handmaid's SuperSpreader Event nine days ago. The evening news noted that in one of the photos of Trump at Walter Reed, he was signing a blank piece of paper. They're just handing out pap and fiction. For all we know, they shot him full of stimulants to he can walk in public.

The bullshit and lies from Trump and his minions continue unabated.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Trump Does Stupid Shit While His Doctors Lie

President Donald Trump has surprised supporters gathered outside the hospital where he is being treated with Covid-19 by riding past in a motorcade.

Wearing a mask, the president waved inside a car moments after tweeting that he would pay a "surprise visit".
So Trump, who has Covid and who is in all probability still contagious, gets into a sealed SUV and rides around, Even with a mask, he's breathing out virus particles and in close quarters for any period of time, masks may not stop everything.

Once again, Trump shows that the people who work for him, who protect him, as disposable.

Then there is this:
[Trump's medical] team, Dr Conley said, decided to give Mr Trump dexamethasone, which is shown in studies to improve survival for patients in hospital with severe Covid-19.
They're giving a drug for people with severe cases to Trump, whom they're saying has a mild case? How does this make any sense?

But let's face this fact: Dr. Conley is a fucking mealy-mouthed liar:
Dr Conley also addressed a conflicting account about the president's health given shortly after his briefing on Saturday by the White House chief of staff. Mark Meadows said Mr Trump's vital signs over the previous 24 hours had been "very concerning" and that the next 48 hours would be critical.

"I think his statement was misconstrued," the doctor said.

However, he acknowledged giving an overly upbeat description of Mr Trump's condition a day earlier: "I didn't want to give any information that might steer the course of illness in another direction. And in doing so, you know, it came off that we were trying to hide something, which wasn't necessarily true."
"Not necessarily true"? Who says shit like that, other than a liar who has been caught lying and is now trying to cover his tracks?

Conley was caught lying about when Trump was given oxygen. He was caught lying about the severity of Trump's symptoms. In the footage on the evening news, one could see Trump's Chief of staff, mark Meadows, sitting off to the side and doing a facepalm.

It's eminently clear that everything that comes out of the Trump White House, including the pronouncements from the white-coated phalanx briefing the press (you have to love the other doctors who are standing behind Lyin' Conley for no goddamned good reason), are lies and have to be rigorously and aggressively checked.

By the way, here's a pro tip for everyone being treated at Walter Reed NMMC: If your doctor is some dude named Sean Conley, he'll lie to you without a qualm.