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

“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level
and then beat you with experience.” -- Mark Twain

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

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Friday, April 30, 2021

Never Ever Link Payment to Someone to Your Bank Account

This is why: A half a million people had their bank accounts overdrawn by Nationstar Mortgage. Those fuckwads took out months' worth of payments in one go.

Their response was basicly "oops, computer error, our bad, sorry for the inconvenience."

Just what we all need in these difficult times, another reason to hate bankers.

Because It's Friday

A Case-150 steam tractor plowing 36 furrows at a pass:



Those big steam tractors were too expensive for almost all farmers to afford, especially since they were used for plowing and threshing. From what I've read, some farmers formed co-ops to own and run those tractors. Or there were traveling contractors that came by with their engines.

Go to Florida, Have Your Kids Taught by Idiots Who Believe in Stupid Shit

A Miami school has discouraged teachers from getting the Covid vaccine, saying any vaccinated employees will be barred from interacting with students.

Centner Academy leadership cited debunked claims of non-vaccinated people being "negatively impacted" by contact with vaccinated people.
...
Co-founder Leila Centner informed parents on Monday that, when possible, the academy's policy is to not employ anyone who has received a Covid-19 vaccine at this time, CBS Miami reported.
...
Mrs Centner also repeated a false claim of vaccinated individuals affecting unvaccinated people, saying three women in the school's community had their menstrual cycles "impacted after having spent time with a vaccinated person".

There is no scientific evidence for these claims. None of the coronavirus vaccines approved for emergency in the US have been linked to infertility, miscarriages or any other negative changes to women's reproductive health.

You would have to be suffering from either a bad case of QANonism or be totally brain-damaged to spend $30,000 a year to have a kid educated by a school run by Flat-Earth-grade morons. Centner is an anti-vaxxer, which would suggest to a casual observer that she has a rather loose grip on reality.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Pandemic Bangity

It took me eleven months to shoot my TrumpBux gun. This is the gun:

These are the first rounds downrange, at 10 yards:

It's a weird gun, in a way. The frame is from Auto-Ordinance, the barrel is an Ed Brown match barrel. I'm not sure where the slide came from.

But it does shoot, with nary a bobble, feeding from a range of magazines, from cheap-jack stuff to Wilson 47Ds. The only magazine to give me trouble was an old AMT Hardballer magazine that, try as I might, would only take six rounds. If I shoot any matches with a .45, that one will be the "top off at the get ready command magazine".

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

A Lucky Man Goes West

Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins, who orbited the moon alone while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made their historic first steps on the lunar surface, died Wednesday. He was 90.

During an interview with NASA on the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, he had this to say:

Usually, you find yourself either too young or too old to do what you really want, but consider: Neil Armstrong was born in 1930, Buzz Aldrin 1930, and Mike Collins 1930. We came along at exactly the right time. We survived hazardous careers and we were successful in them. But in my own case at least, it was 10 percent shrewd planning and 90 percent blind luck. Put LUCKY on my tombstone.

His book Carrying the Fire is worth reading.

Wise Investors Have Bought Popcorn Futures

Federal agents raided Rudy Giuliani’s Manhattan home and office on Wednesday, seizing computers and cellphones in a major escalation of the Justice Department’s investigation into the business dealings of former President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer.

Giuliani, the 76-year-old former New York City mayor once celebrated for his leadership in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, has been under federal scrutiny for several years over his ties to Ukraine. The dual searches sent the strongest signal yet that he could eventually face federal charges.

Agents searched Giuliani’s home on Madison Avenue and his office on Park Avenue, people familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press. The warrants, requiring approval from the top levels of the Justice Department, signify prosecutors believe they have probable cause that Giuliani committed a federal crime — though they don’t guarantee charges will materialize.

Given that this is the epitome of a high-profile case, the reading of the tea-leaves would be that Rudy is in serious trouble.
-----------------------------------
Meanwhile, in North Carolina, it's beginning to look like coverup season:

A judge refused Wednesday to release body camera video showing North Carolina deputies shooting and killing a Black man, ruling that making the video public at this stage could jeopardize the investigation into Andrew Brown Jr.’s death.
...
Judge Jeffery Foster said he believed the videos contained information that could harm the ongoing investigation or threaten the safety of people seen in the footage. He said the video must remain out of public view for at least 30 days.

“The release at this time would create a serious threat to the fair, impartial and orderly administration of justice,” Foster said.

The judge is looking at this far too narrowly. In the present era, there is a lot more distrust about the righteousness of police shootings these days. Not releasing the footage smells of a coverup along the lines of the killing of Laquan McDonald. Every day that they sit on the footage gives rise to more and more belief that the cops murdered Mr. Brown and that the authorities are trying to figure out how to sweep the killing under the rug.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Larry Kudlow: Idiot of the Week

Fox News host and former Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow raged against the idea of "plant-based beer" on his Friday night show, saying that Biden's climate plan would require that Americans give up meat.

I have never seen a Budweiser ad that mentioned how they brewed beer with the finest of beef. So it's probably pretty certain that Kudlow has never had a beer in his life.

Next, Kudlow's going to start yelling that Biden wants us to eat plant-based bread.



The fact of the matter is that there is no Biden plan to get Americans to eat less meat. This is just another big lie being spread around by the QAnon Party and its mouthpieces on the batshit-crazy news networks.

Two Hundred Million

President Joe Biden hit his goal 200 million vaccinations in his first 100 days Thursday.

It wasn't a stretch: The country hit the goal with seven days to spare, and according to an NBC News analysis of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention figures, from the day Biden announced his new 200 million goal, the country was on a pace to reach that goal.

When the goal of 100 million shots in 100 days was first announced, people I knew thought it was too ambitions. Turns ouot, it wasn't, not by a long shot.

Now, we have to deal with vaccine hesitancy. Part of that could have been negated if The Orange Seditionist had pubicly been vaccinated when he and his Future Ex-Wife got their shots in January, but being vaccinated on camera would have been a selfless act, so naturally, he refused to do it. That might have convinced millions of his supporters to be vaccinated, but as we all whould know by now, The Tiki-Torch Twitler doesn't give a shit about anyone other than some of of his family.

I am of two minds on this. We're not going to reach herd immunity if tens of millions of morons won't get their vaccines. They may be the incubators for newer and more virulent variants. On the other hand, if a person who refuses to get the vaccine then gets sick and dies, that falls into the bin of personal responsibility.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

SR-71



Ancient history, though. The Air Force hated them.

106 Years Ago

First, ANZAC Day:


The Gallipoli Campaign was Winston's Churchill's idea to knock the Ottoman Empire, "the sick man of Europe," out of the war. It didn't go so well, the Turks were far better at fighting than Churchill judged them to be.

Fortunately, in the next war, when Churchill advocated invading the Balkans, the "soft underbelly of Europe", those actually responsible for fighting the war paid him no heed.

Also, around the same time, the Turks got to slaughtering the Armenians in a genocide that, according to some accounts, gave Hitler inspiration for what he was about to order to be done to both the Jews and the peoples of eastern Europe.

For decades, the Armenians have been arguing that the United States should acknowledge that the genocide took place. Yesterday, President Biden fulfilled a campaign promise and did just that.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Sub Sunk

A submarine missing since Wednesday off the coast of Bali with 53 people on board has been lost, the Indonesian navy said on Saturday.

Parts of the submarine, along with debris including prayer mats, were found near to where it went missing, the navy chief of staff said.

A scan detected the sub at a depth of 850m (2,800ft), well beyond its survivable limit.

That's sad news. But I figured as much when an oil slick was spotted where the sub went down.

I can't imagine the terror of being inside of a sinking submarine, waiting for the hull or bulkheads to implode. I can only hope it was quick, but one thing about the sea-- "mercy" is not in its vocabulary.

Things Get Better and Better for Gaetz

Federal authorities are looking into whether a 2018 trip to the Bahamas involving Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz and several young women was part of an orchestrated effort to illegally influence Gaetz in the area of medical marijuana, people briefed on the matter told CNN.

Prosecutors with the Justice Department's Public Integrity Section are examining whether Gaetz took gifts, including travel and paid escorts, in exchange for political favors, the sources said.

Paas the popcorn, please.

I'll take mine with light butter and no salt, thanks.

Caturday

Priss:

Friday, April 23, 2021

The Candle Done Lit

SpaceX's Crew Dragon launched earlier this morning, with a recovery of the first stage.



SpaceX 3, Boeing 0.

Boeing is kind of flailing around, trying to schedule launching a second test of its Starliner.

Why is DeJoy's Postal Service Spying on People?

The law enforcement arm of the U.S. Postal Service has been quietly running a program that tracks and collects Americans’ social media posts, including those about planned protests, according to a document obtained by Yahoo News.

The details of the surveillance effort, known as iCOP, or Internet Covert Operations Program, have not previously been made public. The work involves having analysts trawl through social media sites to look for what the document describes as “inflammatory” postings and then sharing that information across government agencies.

What the hell is wrong with the Postal Service? They complain that they're running short of cash, but then they spend Lord-knows how many millions of dollars surfing around the internet to spy on people? Don't we have the FBI and the DHS to do that shit?

I get that the USPS is a qualsi-independent government agency, but I still think that Congress ought to pass a law that forbids the Postal Service from doing stuff like this. Violations would result in the chief postal inspector and the postmaster general being sent to the pokey where they can only correspond with people by mail.

Because It's Friday

NKP 765 blows by at speed:



Her sister, #779, was the last steam locomotive built by Lima Locomotive Works.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

A Two-Word Response to Conservatives Screaming About "Cancel Culture"

That would be this: Colin Kapernick.

Kapernick spoke out about and demonstrated against police brutality, and, man oh, man, did you clowns do your utmost to cancel him.

Conservatives and assclowns like Former Lord Voldemoron were all calling for Kapernick's head, because he forced them to confront the truth about police brutality. And yes, they were successful in canceling his career.

Kapernick was right. All of the Far Right Bozos, from the Putin's Loser on down, should be ashamed for going after him. But they won't be, for to be a conservative in the Era of the Defeated Pumpkin, one must first jettison one's conscience.

The GOPoQ's Klan Kaucus's Failure to Launch

First there was this:

Conservative Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is launching a new "America First" caucus, her office confirmed Friday, bringing together a group of far-right lawmakers known for their controversial rhetoric.

Punchbowl News obtained a flier promoting the new caucus, which calls for a "common respect for uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions" and pushes a series of conspiracy theories about election integrity. The flier also outlined a nativist argument warning that "mass immigration" poses a threat to "the long-term existential future of America as a unique country with a unique culture and a unique identity."

Except that the backlash was fierce:

Republicans from various factions in the GOP are racing to distance themselves — and the party at large — from a band of hard-line House conservatives whose flirtation with forming a caucus espousing white nationalist views has ignited a firestorm of controversy on Capitol Hill.

GOP leaders, anti-Trump centrists and vulnerable Republicans in battleground districts wasted little time in recent days denouncing the “America First Caucus,” whose stated purpose in a platform document included the defense of America as a nation “strengthened by a common respect for uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions."

In the second story, above, you'll note that one Republican congressman called Greene's caucus "a modern, decaf version of the KKK".

Many in the GOP are trying to wrest the party from Trumpist, white-supremacist, batshit-crazy racists like Greene and Gosar. The Greene Klan Kaucus is going to be tied around the necks of all of them.

Which is as it should be.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Shorter Minneapolis Cops: First Amendment is for White People Only

Tim Walz, the governor of Minnesota, on Sunday responded to reports that the state’s police officers had assaulted journalists covering the unrest in a Minneapolis suburb, saying, “Apologies are not enough; it just cannot happen.”
...
Joshua Rashaad McFadden, a freelance photographer who was covering the protests for The Times, said in an interview on Sunday that the police surrounded the car he was in on Tuesday as he tried to leave the protests. They beat on the windows with batons, then entered the car to force him out, beating his legs and striking his camera lens, he said.

“It was definitely scary — I’ve never been in a situation like that with so many police officers hitting me, hitting my equipment,” Mr. McFadden, 30, said.

Mr. McFadden, who is Black, said the police did not believe his press credentials were real until another photographer vouched for him — a situation that has happened to him and other Black journalists many times, he said.

There are a number of cops out there who don't believe in the Constitution. That's been on full display over the last year.

First Powered Flight on Mars



A piece of the 1903 Wright Flyer was onboard Ingenuity.

Patriots' Day

Shit's going on here. This post will take you to others I've written.

Worth reading: The Minute Men by John Galvin

Extra-Terrestrial Whopita-Whopita


Congrats to NASA and JPL!

(Video when I have time to find it.)

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Another Disaffected White Asswipe With a Rifle

The former employee who shot and killed eight people at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis was interviewed by FBI agents last year, after his mother called police to say that her son might commit “suicide by cop,” the bureau said Friday.
...
The shooter was identified as [Some Asswipe], 19, of Indianapolis, Deputy Police Chief Craig McCartt told a news conference. Investigators searched a home in Indianapolis associated with Hole and seized evidence, including desktop computers and other electronic media, McCartt said.

It's not the fault of the press, of course, but they could do a lot by making these fuckers into nopersons by refusing to name them.
-----------------------------------
Meanwhile, in Chicago:

You've probably heard about the cop who shot a 13-year old who tossed a gun and then turned around to give up.

Three comments:

First, the kid's tossing the gun was probably inside the officer's OODA loop, in that the officer likely make the decision to shoot a few milliseconds before the kid tossed the gun. Which makes this a tragic occurrence but this ins't a George Floyd event.

Second, a kid running through the streets with a gun is no less dangerous than anyone else.

Third, what the hell was a thirteen-year old kid doing running around the streets at two-thirty in the morning?

Pretty Much

Caturday

Elliot, in "cat loaf" mode:

Friday, April 16, 2021

As the Snitches Turn; Insurrection Ed.

A member of the far-right Oath Keepers militia group and heavy metal guitarist on Friday became the first defendant to plead guilty to federal charges in connection with the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Jon Ryan Schaffer, the frontman of the band Iced Earth, has agreed to cooperate with investigators in hopes of getting a lighter sentence, and the Justice Department will consider putting Schaffer in the federal witness security program, U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta said.

This signals that federal prosecutors see him as a valuable cooperator as they continue to investigate militia groups and other extremists involved in the insurrection on Jan. 6 as Congress was meeting to certify President Joe Biden’s electoral win.

It's common lore that the early snitch gets the best deal. If you did the crime and they know you did the crime and they can prove you did the crime, the best way to a shorter sentence is to, as the old saying goes, turn state's evidence. The deals don't come much better than disappearing into WitSec.

That is, if this guy can do it. If he picks up his guitar and starts playing heavy metal and then maybe he and his buddies form a band, he's going to get found. I can't say for certain, but since most criminals are, at their core, stupid and lazy, going into a witness protection program only postpones the inevitable.

Freedom is Being Strangled in Hong Kong

Hong Kong pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai has been sentenced to 14 months in prison after being found guilty of unauthorised assembly.

Mr Lai was one of several activists in court on Friday who were earlier found guilty of charges relating to large pro-democracy demonstrations in 2019.

The 73-year-old founder of Apple Daily is a fierce critic of Beijing.

The verdict comes as the mainland is increasingly cracking down on Hong Kong's rights and freedoms.

Make no mistake about this: These were bullshit charges that the Communists are using to squash critics like Mr. Lai. It is clear that the whole "two systems, one country" things is history. Beijing broke its fifty-year promist to the residents of Hong Kong.

No doubt that Gov. DeathSantis is taking note, for he'd like to make his "ain't no such thing as a peaceful protest" bill even tougher, since he's already making it OK to drive a car into people. And Captain Covfefe is probably cursing that he didn't get Moscow Mitch to ram through a similar bill.

Because It's Friday

Steam in Australia:

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Caturday- Memorial Edition

Bella, 2004(?)-2021


My roomie adopted her in 2007. At the shelter, they called her "Momma", as she had been taken in while raising a litter. Once her kits were weaned, they were also adopted out. At the shelter, Bella was very friendly, wanting to be held. Once into her forever home, that was enough of that shit. But she loved being petted and lap time. And she loved her treats; the spooky catnip treats Temptations made for Halloween were her favorite. Every evening, I would call her by saying: "Bella, pets," and she would come to me for a scratching session. Then she would go into her roomie's bedroom to lay on her lap and help her read.

Bella has had a chronic problem that may have been neurological, because everything else was ruled out.

She needed a steroid shot monthly. She was given mirtazapine to boost her appetite; first a half a pill a week, then the interval tightened up. Recently it's been every other day, then daily. When that didn't work, anymore we gave her a full pill to see if it would jump-start her appetite. It didn't work and, over the last few days, she began drinking a lot of water.

The last photo of Bella, taken ten minutes before her final trip.

Letting her go into kidney failure wasn't an option.

So earlier today, she took a stroll over the Rainbow Bridge.


Fair winds and may your prey be easy to catch.

Just Going to Leave These Here


Captained by Hannukha Solo

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

They Need to Show This Video in Tenth Grade



I'm not excusing the cops for what happened outside of Minneapolis the other day. Grabbing a Taser instead of a gun is the kind of mistake that leads to manslaughter charges (and I expect that'll happen, here). And no regular reader of this blog is going to realistically accuse me of having a pro-cop bias.

But seriously, folks: Trying to resist arrest is something that rarely ends well for the arrestee. There is zero question in this event that the cops were trying to effect a lawful arrest. Mr. Wright had a warrant out on him.

And before somebody says "whatabout George Floyd", I will submit that there is a wide gulf between accidentally shooting someone and slowly squeezing the life out of someone over a period of several minutes.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Winding Down Dick Cheney's War

The flight plans for the helicopters from the embassy are being drawn up;

President Joe Biden will withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on America that were coordinated from that country, several U.S. officials said Tuesday.
The decision defies a May 1 deadline for full withdrawal under a peace agreement the Trump administration reached with the Taliban last year, but leaves no room for additional extensions. A senior administration official called the September date an absolute deadline that won’t be affected by security conditions in the country.

It took a really arrogant chucklehead to decide to invade and occupy Afghanistan and defying (or ignoring) millennia's worth of history. Superpowers of their day for a very long time have thought that they could invade, occupy and subdue Agfhanistan. They've all paid the price for their misadventures.

The bare fact of the matter is that the United States has the same choice today as it had since the war began: Leave and let the Taliban return or stay forever. If there was ever a chance to crush the Taliban and remake Afghanistan, Bush/Cheney threw that away when they moved off for their most excellent war in Iraq.

Also, this, which addresses Spawn of Voldemort's objections.

"Jack-Booted Thug Gear!
"Get Your Official Jack-Booted Thug Gear, Here!"


No word as to whether they're going to be selling AKs left over from Operation Gunwalker at a discount.

Given ATF's reputation for shooting people's dogs, there is either a delicious irony or utter tone-deafness in their selling stuffed dogs.

UPDATE:

It didn't take long for this to appear:

Monday, April 12, 2021

Just Going to Leave These Here



The Republicans Have Left Me No Choice

Traditionally, I have found myself in agreement with much of what Republicans have done. They were in favor of civil rights before it was cool. It was President Eisenhower who sent in the 101st Airborne to enforce the law when the state of Arkansas went full-on white-supremacist in 1957. It was Nixon who signed the Clean Air Act of 1970 and the Clean Water Act of 1972. It was Nixon who signed SALT-I and Reagan who signed the INF Treaty.

But the GOP has become the party of hate, the party of ginning up bullshit culture wars. You can trace that back to Nixon's "Southern Strategy", Reagan's kicking off his campaign in a town best known for murdering civil rights workers and then demonizing "welfare mothers", Bush41's Willy Horton ad, Bush43's pushing Repubicans to change their states' constitutions to outlaw gay marriage in order to turn out the bigot vote in 2004, and Trump's demonization of immigrants, legal or otherwise.

Now, the latest group to be targeted by the Party of Racism and Hatred are transgendered people. Just like they did over sixty years ago, Arkansans are leading the way on this, inserting the state's big foot into medical care issues. The state's governor, a Republican, called GOP's transphobia as "..trying to address the fear of something that does not exist in reality."

As far as I can see, the GOP's become the party of hate. They have to find some "other" in order to gin up the far-right and the Evangelicals who are their only base these days. They're trying to drag the country back to the 1950s, when white men ruled everything, women knew their place and those people wouldn't have dared to come out and vote.

Hate is all that the GOP has left in its quiver.

So, unless you're a personal friend who is running as a Republican because maybe your county is a one-party county, then don't bother asking me for support or my vote. You're not getting it.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Just Going to Leave These Here





People Are Just Dumb

COVID-19 infections are increasing in United States, with 68,835 new infections reported on average each day. That’s 28% of the peak — the highest daily average reported on January 7.


At this point in time, going out and around without practicing basic COVID protocols is a reliable sign of stupidity. I feel bad for the medical professionals who are dealing with the fourth surge. But as regards to the people who don't take precautions and the get sick, not so much.
------------------------------------
In other COVID news:

In a rare admission of the weakness of Chinese coronavirus vaccines, the country’s top disease control official says their effectiveness is low and the government is considering mixing them to get a boost.

Chinese vaccines “don’t have very high protection rates,” said the director of the China Centers for Disease Control, Gao Fu, at a conference Saturday in the southwestern city of Chengdu.

Beijing has distributed hundreds of millions of doses abroad while trying to promote doubt about the effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine made using the previously experimental messenger RNA, or mRNA, process.

So the Chinese were lying about the efficacy of their vaccine and have been lying about the efficacy of the other vaccines.

It's Off to the Slam for "Karen"!

A Florida woman whose image went viral when she coughed on a customer at a Pier 1 store last year in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic has been sentenced to 30 days in jail.
A judge in Jacksonville on Thursday also ordered Debra Hunter to pay a $500 fine, serve six months probation and participate in a mental health evaluation along with anger management, David Chapman, communications director for the state attorney's office in Jacksonville, said in an email. She was also ordered to cover the costs of the victim's Covid-19 test.

It seems that the perp's statement to the court of remorse focused entirely on how the blowback of her assault had affected her and her family with not a word about what she had done to the victim. The judge was having none of that shit.

Your Sunday Morning Big Prop Noise

They don't come much bigger than a Lockheed Constellation.


There's not one flying here. The Save-a-Connie hasn't flown in recent memory. There was a EC-121 that was flying, but as far as I know, it hasn't flown in many years. Breitling had one, but I don't know it's status.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

An Olympic Question for Corporations

First, take some time out of your comfortable day and read "Surviving the Crackdown in Xinjiang", about both the genocidal crackdown on the Uighurs and one woman's experience in being swept up in it. (If you prefer print, it's in the April 12th edition of The New Yorker and the title of the print article is "Ghost Walls".)

The questions for corporations is this: Are you going to participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics, which are being hosted by a country that is actively and energetically trying to erase an entire people?

Is there any doubt in anyone's mind that, sooner or later, there will be a global war that will be started because of Chinese territorial ambitions? Do we bury our heads in the sand and pretend that's not going to happen until it does?

And while I'm on that line of thought, does anyone seriously believe that such a war will be fought only with "conventional" weaponry?

Just Going to Leave These Here





GQP Grifting

From the online RNCC's donation form:
Note that even if you are willing to give those grifters some money, if you don't make it a recurring donation, they will report you to The Donald for being a race traitor and for disloyalty to Mother Russia.

First Rounds Downrange

out of a Model 14 that I bought last year:
I really had intended to shoot it before now. But as the pandemic[1] took hold, I felt uncomfortable going to an indoor range. Not with the range itself, mind you, those places have good airflow. But being in the anteroom, where there can sometimes be lots of people, that could be disquieting. The nearest outdoor range is an hour or so away, which means that it's a half-day project to go for a range session.[2] While I have done dry-firing, those were the first live rounds I've loosed in over a year.

Since I had no idea how the sights were aligned, I shot the first rounds at ten yards. I guessed that the gun was probably set for a dead-on hold and I was right.

I was shooting W-W White Box range ammo. The range sells it for $38 or so for a box of fifty. I brought the stuff I shot from Wal-Mart when they were running clearance sales to get rid of evil handgun ammunition.[3],[4] The Wal-Mart price worked out to being less than 25% of what range ammo is going for nowadays. Still, I was pretty parsimonious with my shooting. But it was fun to finally get out and bust some caps. Even the cleaning didn't seem too bad.
_________________________
1. AKA the Trump Flu.
2. For many years, when I had an airplane, it was at an airport that was a 45-minute drive away. A routine flight chewed up a good part of a day. So yes, I'm done with that shit.
3. Between the state deciding that they know what's best for trans kids (not the doctors, not the parents) and being the global headquarters for Wal-mart, there's much to despise about Arkansas.
4. I bought all that I could carry. When I got a shopping cart and went back for the rest, it had been sold.

Caturday

Chip and a human cat bed.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Bad Times for Matt?

An associate of Rep. Matt Gaetz’s is working toward a plea deal with federal prosecutors investigating a sex trafficking operation, potentially escalating the legal and political jeopardy facing the Florida congressman.

The revelation that a political ally of Gaetz’s, Joel Greenberg, is seeking to strike a plea deal with investigators came during a hearing Thursday at federal court in Orlando. It’s a significant step in the case and signals that Greenberg could potentially serve as a witness in the Justice Department’s investigation into Gaetz.

I'd upgrade that from "potentially" to "highly likely". When a politician is immeshed in a criminal scandal and an associate cops a plea, it's dead-nuts certain that the plea deal will be seasoned with a few dashes of snitching. It'll be the snitching that results in a heavy downward departure from the sentencing guidelines, and/or gets all sentences to run concurrently.

Nah, Biden Can't Probably Do That

A second proposed rule, expected within 60 days, will tighten regulations on pistol-stabilizing braces, like the one used by the Boulder, Colorado, shooter in a rampage last month that left 10 dead. The rule will designate pistols used with stabilizing braces as short-barreled rifles, which require a federal license to own and are subject to a more thorough application process and a $200 tax.

I'm reasonably sure that he can't do that. The problem is that in now saying that pistols with arm braces are now short-barreled rifles means that anyone who owns one immediately becomes a criminal because they didn't go through the application process and get a $200 tax stamp for their gun.

The president can't issue an executive order that makes previously legal conduct illegal. Making something illegal is up to Congress, which makes the laws. Hell, imagine how much use TFG could have made of EOs with his Sharpie if by his whim, he could have made something illegal.

Do I think that pistols with stabilizing braces are essentially short-barrled rifles? I do. But the time to make that determination was when they were offered to the ATF for classification. The ATF said they weren't, so the guns went into production and a shitload of them were sold to people who bought them in good faith that they were buying a legal product. Turning them into felons at the stroke of a pen by executive action is vile and Trumpist-grade arrogance.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Boycotting Coke?

Go for Shasta!

What Does Wilmington, NC (1898), Tulsa, Oklahoma (1921) and The Capitol Hill Insurrection (2021) Have in Common?

They are all violent attempts by White people to retain or reclaim power in the face of the rising power of non-White people.

That is, in essence, what an analysis of the known participants in the 2021 Insurrection reveal:

When compared with almost 2,900 other counties in the United States, our analysis of the 250 counties where those charged or arrested live reveals that the counties that had the greatest decline in White population had an 18 percent chance of sending an insurrectionist to D.C., while the counties that saw the least decline in the White population had only a 3 percent chance. This finding holds even when controlling for population size, distance to D.C., unemployment rate and urban/rural location. It also would occur by chance less than once in 1,000 times.

Put another way, the people alleged by authorities to have taken the law into their hands on Jan. 6 typically hail from places where non-White populations are growing fastest.

They are, in short, examples of the same pack of Tiki-Torch marchers who tromped through Charlottesville chanting "Jews will not replace us" (a slogan which is inane just based on demographics alone).

The Wilnington Massacre was parallel to what happened on Capitol Hill: A pack of white supremacists using mob violence to overthrouw a duly elected government. The Tulsa Massacre was an organized mob of white supremacists, with air support, attacking and destroying an entire Black neighborhood in order to destroy their economic and plolitical power.

All three insurrections have the same motivation: White supremacists using violenct to retain power.

Which, as the demographics change in states such as Texas in the years ahead, should give everyone pause. There are a significant number of White people who have the same view of freedom as do their religious analoge, the Evangelicals: Freedom attaches only to people who look like them and believe as they do.

We are in for a bad time, ahead, if there are enough people, like the Capitol Hill Insurrectionists, who are willing to use violence to change the results of elections that they have lost. And yes, this all dovetails nicely with the GOP0fQ's moves to make it harder for people other than their supporters to vote.

And if you are one of the grouops that those goons are going to target, I have two words of advice to you: Gun up.

Yet Another Force?

There is evidence that there may be an additional force in physics besides gravity, electromagetism, the strong force and the weak force.

I don't pretend to understand any of it. Reading about the sub-sub atomic particles and quantum mechanics hurts my head. But the thing that has always disquieted me about "dark matter" and "dark energy" is that they hae always seemed to me to be fudge factors-- things thrown in to make the math come out to match the observations. This new force may be the answer to part of what makes the math come out right.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Mitch Threatens Corporations

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell says it’s a “big lie” to call the new voting law in Georgia racist and he warned big business to “stay out of politics” after major corporations and even Major League Baseball distanced themselves from the state amid vast public pressure.
...
McConnell warned companies not to get involved in voting issues or other upcoming debates on environmental policy or gun violence heading to Congress.

And yes, he threatened them:

“Corporations will invite serious consequences if they become a vehicle for far-left mobs to hijack our country from outside the constitutional order,” McConnell told a news conference in his home state of Kentucky.

Oooh, big words. What's McConnell going to do, take away their tax breaks?

Get real. That's not going to happen.

Worse is that McConnell knows full well that it is his party's long-standing positions that corporations have legal personhood and have the right of free speech. Giving unlimited amounts of money is speech, or so the Supremes held over ten years ago. If money is speech, then speech is speech. CEOs and companies have the right to take a stand on any issue that catches their fancy. Just as you do. If you don't like what a company is saying, buy someone else's products. Stop watching baseball and get interested in soccer.

So what McConnell is saying that companies can practice free speech so long as what they say pleases him. That's quite in keeping with the beliefs of the conservative crowd, which have been consisten in believing that the right to practice a religion only applies to those religions that they approve of.

The reality of the situation is that McConnell's threat is toothless and he knows it. If he tries to take action against companies that have displeased him, that'll probably fail once it gets to court.

Unaffordable; Bangity Ed.

A 1/2 scale M1919:

Monday, April 5, 2021

No Surprise Here; Insurrection Ed.

Prosecutors are in discussions with an Oath Keeper about his cooperating with the government. The non-legal dictionary term for that is "snitching" or "informing".

This isn't a surprise. The best deals to be made are by those who snitch early and often. There's a saying that there are two kinds of people in prison: Those who snitched and those who wish they had. The latter spend a lot more time there.

And when one considers that the Feds are likely to bring charges against the Oath Keepers that could keep them in prison past the middle of the century (if the judges stack the sentences, which is probably going to happen given what the defendants allegedly did), those who cut deals are the ones who aren't going to be spending their golden years behind bars.

Randy's At It Again

Randy Rainbow's singing about two of Trump's favorite ball-cuppers.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Trump Defrauded His Own Supporters

When Trump was pleading for money from his vast army of supporters, he got it. But he set it up as a way to, in essence, rob them all blind. What he did was bury, deep in the online donation form, a provision that any donation was a weekly recurring payment. Most of the people who gave money to Trump didn't know that. There were two separate boxes that a donor would have to find and deselect to prevent Trump from taking money from them.

In short, Trump conned his own supporters.

I suppose that I should feel some degree of sympathy for them. But, no. They gave money to a known grifter. Is it any surprise that Trump figured out a way to scam his own people?

Once a thief, always a thief.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

Tu-160:

Saturday, April 3, 2021

It All Depends on Whose Ox is Being Gored

You might remember when Elon Musk announced that he was moving the Tesla plant to Texas-- all of the conservatives cheered and said things like "fuck California" and so on.

But when MLB moved the All-Star Game from Atlanta in protest of Georgia's Jim Crow II law, boy oh boy, those very same conservatives are now birthing cows out of their anuses.
----------------------
In all of the stuff about the murder of George Floyd, there hasn't been a lot of attention to the initial encourter between Mr. Floyd and his killers. This is bodycam video:

Note that the first cop starts right off from the bat, pointing his gun at Mr. Floyd and cursing at him. Is there any surprise that shit went sideways from there? A case where there was not a hint of violence went bad because the cops treated Mr. Floyd as though he was a member of the Future Cop-Killers of America.

Mr. Floyd gave the clerk a bad $20 bill. There was zero indication that he knew that the bill was bogus, but the cops went into it as though Mr. Floyd was committing the crime of the decade.

But hey, in a state where the only time a cop gets convicted of killing somebody is when the cop had the temerity to shoot a white person, the murdering cops here probably felt that they had a brass pass pinned to their shirts.

Caturday

A random cat ensures that clean clothes have cat hair on them:

Friday, April 2, 2021

A Weird Killing

A Capitol Police officer was killed Friday after a man rammed a car into two officers at a barricade outside the U.S. Capitol and then emerged wielding a knife. It was the second line-of-duty death this year for a department still struggling to heal from the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Video shows the driver of the crashed car emerging with a knife in his hand and starting to run at the pair of officers, Capitol Police Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman told reporters. Authorities shot the suspect, who died at a hospital.

There is a lot to be learned about this event. At first blush, it smells like suicide by cop.

Meanwhile, with regard to the Insurrection of January 6th, the arrests keep on coming.

Pro-Tip On Dealing With Whores

Investigators appear to be focused on at least two key questions, according to people briefed on their work. The first is whether Mr. Gaetz, 38, had sex with the 17-year-old and whether she received anything of material value. More broadly, federal authorities are scrutinizing involvement by the congressman and an indicted Florida associate with the women, who also received cash payments.
...
The Times also reviewed receipts from Apple Pay and another mobile payments app that show Mr. Gaetz and Mr. Greenberg transferring funds to one such woman, and Mr. Greenberg to another. The women told friends that the money was in exchange for sex.

The tip is this: When you're a public official and you're hiring whores, don't pay them by a mechanism that is traceable.

And if you're buying illegal shit and you don't pay with folding money or something similarly untraceable, you're too dumb to function in this world.

Also, this:

Man, this Gaetz-Greenberg scandal has everything. Snot-nosed rich boys who use their daddies’ money and connections to buy office – check. Arrogant Trump-humping douchebags who think their power enables them to act with impunity – check. Abject morons who leave a trail of literal receipts behind to incriminate themselves – check.

Just Going to Leave These Here





Because It's Friday

More German steam, this time, a snowblower

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Suez Canal

It probably hasn't escaped the notice of various state and non-state actors that the recent grounding of the M/V Ever Given has made it starkly clear that even a short-term blockage of the Canal can cause all manner of havoc on the global trade system.

I've been through the Canal, twice, but not since the Egyptians began constructing parallel segments to the Canal. From looking at satellite imagry on Google Earth, it would appear that there are two single-canal segments north of the Great Bitter Lake, each roughly twenty miles in length. The sixteen-mile segment between the Great Bitter Lake and the Red Sea is single-lane. That's close to sixty miles of canal that, if a single ship breaks down, the entire Canal is closed.

It's no small project to attack a ship and smack it hard enough to disable it, let alone sink it. Besides getting in there with the necessary gear, they have to either have a plan for self-extraction or go in as a suicide mission. It would not be easy to arrange and stage such an attack.

But, on the other hand, the Egyptians have to secure a little under 120 miles of canal-bank. If they're not running medium to hig altitude drones over the Canal, I'll be somewhat surprised.

Attention All Women! If You Get Drunk and a Man Rapes You, He'll Get Away Scot-Free!

That is exactly what has happened in Minnesota.

On the night of May 13, 2017, a woman consumed five shots of vodka and a prescription narcotic before heading to the Dinkytown neighborhood of Minneapolis with a friend. After a bar turned them away, they met three men who invited them to a party.

But there was no party. One of the men, Francios Momolu Khalil, drove the group to a house in North Minneapolis, arriving early the following morning, where the woman blacked out on a living room couch. She woke up to Mr. Khalil sexually assaulting her. She lost consciousness and awoke later with her shorts around her ankles.

The facts of the case are not in dispute, but last week, nearly four years after the attack, the Minnesota Supreme Court overturned Mr. Khalil’s conviction on a third-degree criminal sexual conduct charge. The woman, the court said in a unanimous decision, was “voluntarily intoxicated” at the time because she had made the decision to drink, and therefore did not meet the threshold for mental incapacitation under state law.
...
Minnesota is one of about 40 states that do not explicitly prohibit sex with a voluntarily intoxicated victim

Too bad for Brock Turner, the Dumpster Rapist, that California apparently doesn't look as favorably on raping intoxicated women as Minnesota apparently does.

This is basically the same old, age-old shit: Men are coddled under the law and by custom. Men are deemed to suffer from uncontrollable sexual urges and it is up to women to not encourage their beastial lust. All of the strictures on women's attire in one culture after another is because men cannot be trusted to control their urges.

So, if men are such immature children who are unable to control their sexual appetites, why are they otherwise treated like competent adults?

Just Going to Leave These Here



Look Who's Back in the News!

Former [half-term] Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin says she tested positive for COVID-19 and is urging people to take steps to guard against the coronavirus, such as wearing masks in public.

There's amuch more in this story, which has quotes from Palin's Patented Word-Salad Generator.

Color me "skeptical". The Wasilla-Whackjob was one of the Covid-deniers. So now she's had her "foxhole conversion"? Spare me.