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

"Stay Strapped or Get Clapped." -- probably not Mr. Rogers

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Imma Just Going to Leave This Here



Cosby the Rapist Walks

Pennsylvania’s highest court threw out Bill Cosby’s sexual assault conviction and opened the way for his immediate release from prison Wednesday in a stunning reversal of fortune for the comedian once known as “America’s Dad,” ruling that the prosecutor who brought the case was bound by his predecessor’s agreement not to charge Cosby.

Right. An oral agreement that someone who committed rape wasn't going to be prosecuted?

This is probably a done deal, but he still got to spend two years in the Crossbar Hilton, so there's that. The tossing out of the conviction removes the conviction, but it doesn't change the fact that Cosby was proven to be a rapist.

The conviction was tossed, but he's still guilty as fuck.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Cue the Helicopters

The U.S.’s top general in Afghanistan on Tuesday gave a sobering assessment of the country’s deteriorating security situation as America winds down its so-called “forever war.”

Gen. Austin S. Miller said the rapid loss of districts around the country to the Taliban — several with significant strategic value — is worrisome. He also cautioned that the militias deployed to help the beleaguered national security forces could lead the country into civil war.

Is there anyone out there who seriously thought that, at least since 2004, that it would end any other way? If there was ever a hope that it wouldn't, that ended when the Bush Administration declared victory and starved Afghanistan of resources so they could prosecute their misbegotton war with Iraq. Afghanistan became a kleptocracy, one that was funded by pallets of cash. Government officials and generals on a public salary of a few hundred dollars a month built massive mansions.

Afghanistan has consistently ranked as one of the most corrupt nations on Earth. The army and police had tens of thousands of "ghost soldiers," men who were on the payroll, but whose pay ended up in the pockets of officers. Virtually every construction project or civil works project was riddled with graft.

Afghanistan, like a certain other southeast Asian nation, was a country that floated on the largess of the American treasury and the blood of American soldiers.

This ending was carved in stone and highlighted with blood a very long time ago.

I respectfully submit that anyone who believed otherwise was either under orders to espouse the company line or has the brains of a tuber.

Corruption, Much?

In 2011, Archer-Daniels Midland bought a grain plant in South Carolina for $5.5 million. Six years later, they sold the plant to Sonny Perdue's company for $250,000, after offering to sell it to him for $4 million in 2015. Perdue had beem nominated a few weeks before to be Jabba the Gut's Secretary of Agriculture. Some months later, Perdue sold the plant for $12 million.

Details here.

How that doesn't stink to high heaven is a wonder, but hey, Hunter's laptop, amirite?

In more corruption news from the Former Administration of the Tangerine Lord, his political appointees at the EPA continued to pay Trumpist employees who had been fired. They paid nearly $0K to employees who had been fired, and one of those ordering it defrauded the agency of $96,000. Nobody was prosecuted at the time, because Hunter's laptop, amirite?

Monday, June 28, 2021

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Imma Just Going to Leave These Here





Your Sunday Motor Rotor Noise

Kaman HH-43:



If you believe the FAA's registry, six are in private hands.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Imma Just Going to Leave These Here



Grinding

The Manhattan district attorney’s office has informed Donald J. Trump’s lawyers that it is considering criminal charges against his family business, the Trump Organization, in connection with fringe benefits the company awarded a top executive, according to several people with knowledge of the matter.

The prosecutors had been building a case for months against the executive, Allen H. Weisselberg, as part of an effort to pressure him to cooperate with a broader inquiry into Mr. Trump’s business dealings. But it was not previously known that the Trump Organization also might face charges.
...
“In my more than 50 years of practice, never before have I seen a district attorney’s office target a company over employee compensation or fringe benefits,” said Ronald P. Fischetti, a personal lawyer for Mr. Trump. “It’s ridiculous and outrageous.

I'm not a criminal defense attorney, but it seems to me that arguing that "nobody's ever been charged with breaking this law before" is a pretty weak argument to make.

The Trump family has been grifting for decades. For anyone to assert that any organization with the name "Trump" attached is honest and ethical is laughable.

Caturday

Come out and plaaaayyyy!

Friday, June 25, 2021

Just Going to Leave These Here



Because It's Friday

Steam on the New Hope and Ivyland. You'll have to click the link; embedding is verboten for this clip.

Horror in Fla,

A beachfront condo building partially collapsed Thursday outside Miami, killing at least one person and trapping others in the tower that resembled a giant fractured dollhouse, with one side sheared away. Dozens of survivors were pulled out, and rescuers kept up a desperate search for more.

At a news conference a few minutes ago, the death toll was raised to four and the number of people missing and unaccounted for was raised to 159. The last number cannot be taken as anything more than an extremely rough figure; as we learned after 9-11, the number can change drastically.

There's been a lot of speculation that the land in south Florida has been subsiding for a long time and maybe that had something to do with it. But we don't know and we may not know for a very long time. But it's probably a safe bet that the rest of the building will be torn down in the very near future. Those whose apartments are still standing possibly might not ever be allowed to go back inside.

1911 Update and First Rounds

I spent some range time with the 1911 in which I installed the Fire Safety System. The trigger seemed a little lighter when I dry-fired it, but it really was apparent on the range. The system is easy to use, once you get accustomed to pushing the hammer forward to set the safety. It also prevents "hammer bite" on that gun, which had a GI-standard hammer and grip safety.

I ran some Hydrashoks and Golden Sabers through them; not a lot of either, as these days, the rounds are not replaceable. The Hydrashoks shot to point of aim at ten yards, the Golden Sabers shot a little high.
----------------------------------
I bought a S&W 66-1 early last year in a private-party sale just before the TrumpFlu hit. The indoor ranges here were closed for a long time. Once they reopened, I had other guns that I needed to practice with and to test. Yesterday I got around to shooting the 66:

I had one flyer at ten yards. I don't care, at all, for the grooved service trigger, but the flyer wasn't the fault of the gun. I've never seen a set of target grips shaped like that, but whoever did that, did a nice job.

Definately a keeper. But I may get a combat trigger installed.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Catching Up on Things (Including Bozo Rudy)

Hubble is OOC:

On June 13, the Hubble Space Telescope's payload computer stopped working, bringing the great instrument's operations to a halt. Several attempts have been made to restart – so far without success – and astronomers are bracing themselves for the possibility this is the end for the telescope that changed our view of the universe.

If they can't get Hubble to go back on line, it's not as though we have the capability to fly up there and fix it.
---------------------------------------
The Disgraced Asshole of Orange wanted to use the Feds to stop comedians from making fun of him.

“It’s truly incredible that shows like Saturday Night Live, not funny/no talent, can spend all of their time knocking the same person (me), over & over, without so much of a mention of ‘the other side,’” Trump tweeted, long before he was banned from Twitter for inspiring a violent mob. “Like an advertisement without consequences. Same with Late Night Shows. Should Federal Election Commission and/or FCC look into this?”

It was, on its face, a ridiculous question and threat, as SNL is obviously satire, and therefore a form of protected speech in America that pissed-off commanders-in-chief have no authority to directly subvert. However, then-President Trump went further than simply tweeting his displeasure with the late-night comedians and SNL writers’ room. The internal discussions that followed, between the former leader of the free world and some of his political and legal advisers, once again underscored just how much Trump wanted to use the full weight and power of the U.S. government to punish his personal enemies.

According to two people familiar with the matter, Trump asked advisers and lawyers in early 2019 about what the Federal Communications Commission, the court system, and—most confusingly to some Trump lieutenants—the Department of Justice could do to probe or mitigate SNL, Jimmy Kimmel, and other late-night comedy mischief-makers.

Autocrats, and wannabee autocrats, are notoriously thin-skinned. They know that their weapon of fear doesn't work very well if people are laughing at them. That applied, in spaces, to The Mangolorian.
---------------------------------------
Republicans are still pushing Jim Crow 2.0 voting laws and the party members in the Senate are going to do everything possible to ensure that those people have a harder time voting.

Every objective study of the 2020 election has found it to be a free and fair election, including, most recently, in Michigan:

State Senate Republicans who investigated Michigan’s 2020 presidential election for months concluded there was no widespread or systemic fraud and urged the state attorney general to consider probing people who have made baseless allegations about the results in Antrim County to raise money or publicity “for their own ends.”

None of that will tamp down the Big Lie of the Scrfer of Hamberders or those who are too afraid to do anything other than parrot his lies (which includes every Republican senator). They know that they can't win in a battle of ideas, that a majority of Americans doen't buy their schtick. So their sole road to power is to tilt the playing field, to keep as many of those who won't vote for them from voting.

It really is a modern version of Jim Crow.
---------------------------------------
Speaking of the purveyors of The Big Lie:

An appeals court suspended Rudy Giuliani from practicing law in New York because he made false statements while trying to get courts to overturn Donald Trump’s loss in the presidential race.

An attorney disciplinary committee said in its motion to suspend Giuliani’s license that there was “uncontroverted evidence” that Giuliani had made false statements to the courts, the public and lawmakers as he pushed theories that the election was stolen through fraud.

You can read the 33-page motion to suspend Rudy's law license here.

There are four appellate courts in New York State, called "Departments". Each Department administers the discipline for the attorneys who practice within that Department.

Lying to judges is one of those things that can get arttorneys in real trouble. (Snacking on the client's own money is a big no-no.) Attorney discipline is sort of a universally-reciprocal thing, in that if an attorney is admitted in more than one state, or to Federal courts, being suspended or disbarred in one state is effective in all of them.

I don't think Rudy's likely to be standing on the side of the road with a cardboard sign anytime soon. But Rudy now is feeling the full force of working for Individual-1: He got stiffed on his fees and his reputation is in tatters. Melania's Future Ex-Husband throws people to the side like used Kleenexes, and that's what's happening to Rudy.
---------------------------------------
Welcome to the 1970s:

The U.S. Navy has swapped more than 1,600 parts among its new Virginia-class submarines since 2013 to ease maintenance bottlenecks as components that are supposed to last 33 years wear out decades sooner.

Parts are being shuttled regularly among the nuclear-powered fast-attack submarines so that vessels in the $166 billion class built by General Dynamics Corp. and Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. can return to operations, according to data from the Naval Sea Systems Command and the Congressional Budget Office
.

This isn't quite as bad in the 1970s, when the primary task of shipboard security watches was to stop the theft of parts and equipment by the sailors of other ships.[1] But the under-funding of spare parts and maintenance is a perennial problem. Building ships, tanks and airplanes is sexy. Congresscritters like that, because it's splashy and the jobs created can be pointed at. But buying repair parts isn't as sexy, so it gets underfunded.
________________________
[1] I'm not saying that I once told a lieutenant from another ship that if he didn't get off my quarterdeck, that I was going to shoot him. But I'm not saying that I didn't say that, either.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Too Much

Just Going to Leave These Here



Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Chinese COVID Vaccines Suck

The story is here.

Neither seems to be particularly effective. The Sinovac is particularly sucky.

Good luck getting honest data from the Chinese on it.

Monday, June 21, 2021

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Your Sunday Morning Rotor Noise

Piasecki H-21 "Shawnee":



The H-21 was a 1950s-early 1960s era workhorse. Word I've heard is that they sucked in Vietnam, as the helo wasn't designed for hot-weather environments. It was replaced by the UH-1 and and CH-47; nobody looked back.

The one shown here is the last flyable example of the type. I haven't researched it, but it could be the only flying Piasecki helicopter left.

ETA: There are threee PV-18s, the earlier iteration of the helicopter, on the FAA's registry. There are several H-21s. That just means they exist and the FAA has them registered, not that they can fly.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Caturday

The prison visit:

Friday, June 18, 2021

Just Going to Leave These Here



Because It's Friday

There will be steam in the new "Nuking the Fridge, Part Deux" movie:



AKA Indiana Jones and the Temple of AARP.

The DoJ Did Stop the Attempted Theft of the Election

The WaPo has a long story about the pressure Trump and his toadies were putting on the Department of Justice to overturn the election. Among other things, Rudy the Clown was really pissed because the then acting AG, Jeff Rosen (after Barr tucked his tail and ran), told Rudy that if he had evidence of fraud, to take it to the FBI's Washington Field Office, like anyone else who would have evidence of crimes.

Mark Meadows, who was Trump's COS, also pressured the DoJ to look into the whacko claim that the Italians had used military satellites to steal the election.

What happened is that the Department of Justice refused to sign onto Trump's quasi-legalistic coup attempt. That left the Tyrant of Orange with the sole option of egging on his low-wattage supporters to attack the Capitol.

Which they did.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Juneteenth

The US will officially recognize Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery in America, as a federal holiday after Joe Biden signed a bill into law on Thursday.

Even some of the seriouosly batshit members of the Congress voted for it.

The Lightness of Blogging



Family obligations will keep blogging light for a few days. Regularly scheduled features are already cued up.

Feel free to surf the blogroll. If you live in states where reason and science prevail, go out and do something.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

The Wheels Keep Grinding, 1/6/21 Ed.

A Chicago cop was arrested for participating in the Trumpist Insurrection.

Six men, including a former police chief of some buttfuck town in southern California, were charged with conspiracy with regard to the insurrection.

As of three days ago, over 500 people have been charged.

Here's a tip: The Capitol building has its own cellular network, because the signals from outside towers don't penetrate well into the building. So, if you were inside the Capitol building or on its grounds on january 6th, if you had your phone with you, then the Feds know who you are and they will come for you.

By the way, this shows the insanity of the QAnon boobs who are blathering about trackers inside the vaccine. Almost all of those fools are already carrying trackers, and they are paying each month for the service.

The Dirksen Rule in Effect

("When I feel the heat, I see the light."-- Everett Dirksen)

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene apologized Monday for affronting people with recent comments comparing the required wearing of safety masks in the House to the horrors of the Holocaust.

“I’m truly sorry for offending people with remarks about the Holocaust,” the Georgia Republican told reporters outside the Capitol, saying she had visited Washington’s U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum earlier in the day. “There’s no comparison and there never ever will be.”

Color me unconvinced. She's not sorry for saying it, she's sorry for offending people. And she hasn't completely got off the crazy train:

But the Georgia Republican declined to walk back other controversial statements she has made, including one in which she compared the Democratic Party to Hitler’s party, the National Socialist German Workers’ Party.

I'll be more impressed if Greene visits The Legacy Museum, The National Memorial for Peace and Justice and The National Museum of African American History and Culture to learn something about racism, Jim Crow and the struggle to gain the right to vote for minorities (and she can take Rand Paul with her). Then she can go over to the National Air and Space Museum and learn that there is no such thing as Jewish space lasers. After that, she can go over to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and learn that the Earth is not flat and that it isn't the center of the Universe.

It's a sad thing that some Georgian Republicans have to be elected to Congress in orer to learn some basic facts about history and science.

Monday, June 14, 2021

Just Going to Leave These Here



For No Reason

James Thurber's story "The Little Girl and the Wolf"

One afternoon a big wolf waited in a dark forest for a little girl to come along carrying a basket of food to her grandmother. Finally a little girl did come along and she was carrying a basket of food. "Are you carrying that basket to your grandmother?" asked the wolf. The little girl said yes, she was. So the wolf asked her where her grandmother lived and the little girl told him and he disappeared into the wood.

When the little girl opened the door of her grandmother's house she saw that there was somebody in bed with a nightcap and nightgown on. She had approached no nearer than twenty-five feet from the bed when she saw that it was not her grandmother but the wolf, for even in a nightcap a wolf does not look any more like your grandmother than the Metro-Goldwyn lion looks like Calvin Coolidge. So the little girl took an automatic out of her basket and shot the wolf dead.

(Moral: It is not so easy to fool little girls nowadays as it used to be.)

The Christian Taliban is Kerfuffling

This is an article about "conservatives" trying to take back the Southern Baptist Convention.

From my view, the Southern Baptists are among the reasons to ensure that your powder is dry. I have not a single doubt that they would eagerly use the power of the state to force their beliefs on everyone else.

It's worth remembering that the SBC's sole reason for coming into existence was to give a moral and religous justification for slavery. They were not exactly quiet about supporting Jim Crow laws. Their core DNA is the promotion and protection of white supremacy.

That's one thing about the SBC's brand of conservatism. It is all about keeping their foot on the necks of people that they deem to be inferior to themselves, viz, white men.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Friday, June 11, 2021

Once a Russian Stooge, Always a Russian Stooge


He's still earning his pay.

Because It's Friday

A steam-powered bus:



They ought to star this thing at a steampunk convention.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

One in Three

Doctors are seeing such cases around the world: About a third of COVID-19 patients go on to develop "long-haul" neurological or psychiatric conditions months after being infected, new research shows.

The findings suggest a link between COVID-19 and a higher risk for later mental health and neurological disorders, researchers report.

The new analysis of data from more than 236,000 COVID-19 survivors focused on 14 neurological and mental health disorders. It found that 34% of patients were diagnosed with such disorders in the six months after infection with the new coronavirus.

It just boggles my mind that there are people still willing to take a risk of contracting Covid.

In part, one has to wonder whether or not we have had a few hundred thousand people die and a million or more contract COVID because some old fat white guy was so vain that he was afraid that wearing a mask would mess up his spray-on tan.

Vaccine availability in this country is near the point where any adult who wants to be immunized should have been immunized. So those, from here on out, who end up in the hospital with COVID and whine that they should have taken precautions or should have gotten vaccinated should be given a Tough-Shit card and the key to the Weep Locker.

WØRD!

Just Going to Leave These Here



Time to Invest in Pitchforks and Tumbrels?

Once again, we are learning that the rich in this country are parasites: They reap the benefits of being Americans, become wealthy, but they pay nothing approaching their fair share int axes. They pay less of a percentage of their income in taxes than a Wal-Mart worker. In many cases, they pay less taxes than a burger-flipper.

ProPublica has the story.

It's not unusual for the ultra-rich to pay less then a tenth of a percent of their income in taxes. In some years, by their financial shenanigans, they'll make billions of dollars and pay not a penny of taxes.

Let's be clear: This is not a bug in the tax code. This is a feature. The rich have pretty much bought the politicians who enacted the changes to the tax code to make it possible for them to get richer on the backs of the wage-earning schlubs who actually pay taxes and who have little access to the tax breaks that the rich do.

I could snark about the fact that there is an entire political party devoted to fucking over workers and making the rich richer, but it goes beyond that. Two presidental administrations ago, we had an attorney general whose mission in life was to protect the greedheads who crashed the economy in 2008. And he did just that, for other than some low-level scumbags, none of the real bandits spent a minute in a courtroom.

My belief is that a democracy cannot survive when the rich are paying nowhere near their fair share of taxes.

Bezos the Pirate

Do you own an Amazon smart device? If so, odds are good that the company is already sharing your internet connection with your neighbors unless you’ve specifically told it not to.

On Tuesday, the company launched a program that forces users of many Echo smart speakers and Ring security cameras to automatically share a small portion of their home wireless bandwidth with neighbors. The only way to stop it is to turn it off yourself.

Amazon, which is a wealthy company that has made much of their money on the backs of their workers, to the point that "Amazon warehouse" is a modern synonym for "sweatshop", now seeks to make even more money by stealing your bandwidth.

If you have one of their devices, shut that shit off.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Sunday, June 6, 2021

A MR Democrat, Indeed

A key Democratic senator says he will not vote for the largest overhaul of U.S. election law in at least a generation, leaving no plausible path forward for legislation that his party and the White House have portrayed as crucial for protecting access to the ballot.

“Voting and election reform that is done in a partisan manner will all but ensure partisan divisions continue to deepen,″ Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia wrote in a home-state newspaper, the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

He wrote that failure to bring together both parties on voting legislation would “risk further dividing and destroying the republic we swore to protect and defend as elected officials.”

Manchin is high on his own supply. Voting legislation was intensely partisan in the 1960s, albeit between the Dixie segregationists refighting the Civil War and those who were committed to civil rights. There is no way that the Trumpist GOP is going to back voting rights. They've openly concluded that their path to power is to make it harder for poor people, working people, city dwellers and minorities to vote. If that doesn't work, they're making it easier to throw out election results if they lose.

That Manchin is immune to that reality is proof positive that he is not playing with a full deck. And,for that matter, neither is Sen. Kyrsten Sinema.

On Its Way to the Supremes

A federal judge has overturned California’s three-decade-old ban on assault weapons, calling it a “failed experiment” that violates people’s constitutional right to bear arms.
U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez of San Diego ruled on Friday that the state’s definition of illegal military-style rifles unlawfully deprives law-abiding Californians of weapons commonly allowed in most other states and by the U.S. Supreme Court.

This case will end up at the Supreme Court, unless the 9th Circuit sustains the ruling and California declines to appeal in order to avoid having the Supremes rule on it.

Just Going to Leave This Here