Seen on the street in Kyiv.

Words of Advice:

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

“The Mob takes the Fifth. If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?” -- The TOFF *

"Foreign Relations Boil Down to Two Things: Talking With People or Killing Them." -- Unknown

“Speed is a poor substitute for accuracy.” -- Real, no-shit, fortune from a fortune cookie

"If you believe that you are talking to G-d, you can justify anything.” — my Dad

"Colt .45s; putting bad guys in the ground since 1873." -- Unknown

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

"The Dildo of Karma rarely comes lubed." -- Unknown

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

* "TOFF" = Treasonous Orange Fat Fuck,
"FOFF" = Felonious Old Fat Fuck,
"COFF" = Convicted Old Felonious Fool,
A/K/A Commandante (or Cadet) Bone Spurs,
A/K/A El Caudillo de Mar-a-Lago, A/K/A the Asset,
A/K/A P01135809, A/K/A Dementia Donnie, A/K/A Felon^34,
A/K/A Dolt-45, A/K/A Don Snoreleone

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Itching These Down, Here





EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE


Rona has dropped by for a visit. Surf the blogroll, start with this. Regular features are queued up.

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Reworking an Old Concept

The cyber security HyperEncabulator

Your Sunday Morning Rotor Noise

A German NH-90:

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Dilbert Commits Suicide

The creator of the Dilbert comic strip faced a backlash of cancellations Saturday while defending remarks describing people who are Black as members of “a hate group” from which white people should “get away.”

Various media publishers across the U.S. denounced the comments by Dilbert creator Scott Adams as racist, hateful and discriminatory while saying they would no longer provide a platform for his work.
...
Adams, who is [obviousy] white, repeatedly referred to people who are Black as members of a “hate group” or a “racist hate group” and said he would no longer “help Black Americans.”

“Based on the current way things are going, the best advice I would give to white people is to get the hell away from Black people,” Adams said on his Wednesday show
.

The best advice that I can give to anyone who isn't a Christian Nationalist/white premacist is to get the hell away from Scott Adams. He can run his comic strip in Trumpist media, and he can iron his Klan robes whilest he watches his income crater.

For Those Clowns Who Really Thought That Russia Wants to Stop With Ukraine

Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday that the only way for Moscow to ensure a lasting peace with Ukraine was to push back the borders of hostile states as far as possible, even if that meant the frontiers of NATO member Poland.

Medvedev is Putin's sock puppet. He would not say anything like that without approval from his puppetteer.

Let's leave no doubt about anything, here. A Russian attack on Poland is an attack on a NATO nation by a non-NATO nation. One of the founding principles of NATO is that an attack on one is an attack on all. If Russia carries out Medvedev's idea of Russian lebensraum, then Russia will be at war with every NATO country.[1] Including all of North America to the north of the Rio Grande.

If there is war with Russia, it will become nuclear very quickly. The Russian army has been nearly smashed by Putin's "walk in the park" in Ukraine. They are throwing thousands of ill-trained soldiers into a battle to capture an insignificant Ukrainian city. They don't have the combat power now, or for the next few years, to start another war. Even if they subsume Belarus, the people there seem to be less than willing to go along with Putin's territorial ambitions, let alone die for a future conqueror.

I would bet that in the event of such a war, China will adhere to strict neutrality, in a hope of picking up the pieces afterwards and becoming the global power of what remains. And possibly the Mexicans might seek to retake what they view as their ancestral lands.[2]
_________________
[1] Except Hungary and Turkey, who are closer to being frenemies than allies. They're pretty much NATO alies in name only. [2] Since the Russians would have made the Law of Conquest the name of the game, they'd feel free to try.

Also, this:

Jimmy Carter is Still Dying

Yes, I know he's in hospice. But the near-constant drumbeat of stores, which read/sound more like pre-obituaries, is getting to be a bit much.

It's starting to be remiscent of an old SNL bit:


Let the man die in peace, people.

Caturday

Chip suns himself. He turns 10 this year. Allegedly.

Friday, February 24, 2023

Some Germans Get It

A destroyed Russian tank was placed in front of the Russian Embassy in Berlin in protest at Russia’s war against Ukraine on Friday, the first anniversary of Moscow’s full invasion of its neighbour.

The wrecked T-72 tank arrived in the capital early in the morning and will serve as a memorial against the war for a few days in front of the embassy on the boulevard Unter den Linden. It will remain there for a few days.

Author and publisher Wieland Giebel, who co-initiated the action, called the tank a “symbol of doom.”

“The [Russian] regime will go down just as the Third Reich went down, he shouted, referring to Germany’s Nazi dictatorship.

“Here in the embassy sit the war criminals. That’s why we put the Russians’ junk tank in front of their door.”

We should do something similar. There's probably no shortage of wrecked Russian tanks in Ukraine.

One Year Into Tsar Vladimir III's Three-Day War

First, for those who have been carping about the cost to American taxpayers of this war, I present this graphic:
Statistic: Total bilateral aid commitments to Ukraine as a percentage of donor gross domestic product (GDP) between January 24, 2022 and January 15, 2023, by country | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

Four countries with direct experience of the brunt of Russian aggression have been, by GDP, giving a lot. Poland, in particular, has done far more for Ukrainian refugees that most people probably thought that they would. Germany is starting to step up, a little. By GDP, they've given a bit, but they've still been rather stingy. It's high time that the Germans get over feeling bad because they invaded the Soviet Union (which is why they've pretty much let the Russians riddle thier intelligence service with moles). Are they going to close their eyes to Russia doing similar acts in this century?

I've heard people talking about the amount of money that we are "giving" to Ukraine. But a lot of that isn't being paid to Ukraine. We've given Ukraine a lot of weapons, but those weapons were made in the U.S. Those 155mm shells that the Ukrainians are firing lots of? They're made here. Javelins? Stingers? Cannons? HIMARS launchers and its various rockets? Made here.

And let's not forget that, as a result of what is happening on the Ukrainian battlefield, those weapons are now in demand worldwide. Every country that has threatening neighbors wants HIMARS (or something similar). If you're the Defense Minister of a country outside of the Western bloc and you have sketchy neighbors you mght be less inclined to sign off on a purchase of new weaponry that is either Russian or based on their designs (without being bribed, that is). For nothing is a better advertisement for any particular weapon system than battlefield success.

CDR Salamander has advocated for those countries on the Russian border to spin up militia teams armed with AGTMs in every village. That's a worthy idea, and one that the Taiwanese may want to take a hard look at implementing. But I'd backstop them with a lot more people armed with RPG-7s or similar weapons. True, they may not be that effective against tanks with modern defenses. But they are the bees' knees for blowing up trucks in convoys, especially fuel tankers. Tanks go through a lot of fuel; a tank without tanker trucks to refuel it will become a pillbox.

The pro-Russian apologists (you know who they are) keep on saying that we can trust Putin's word when he says that he only has designs on Ukraine (plus Belarus and Kazakhstan) and all other countries are safe. Well, in my opinion, they are idiots. Putin has masterfully aligned his domestic repressions to be in line with those of the Christian Taliban in this country. They see Putin stamping on the same people they hate, so they love Vlad the Invader.

Of everything, it's Putin's kicking over the world order of the last seventy years that is the most wworrisome. He seeks to return to the Law of Conquest. Anybody who thinks that is a good idea needs to have their head examined. For that reason alone, it is the duty of every civilized nation on the planet to help Ukraine repel Russian invaders.

There are, though, a lot of countries that aren't helping, if even a little. We should keep in mind who they are and, in the future, adjust our dealings with them accordingly.

Because It's Friday

Steam for kids:



The little green 0-4-0 doesn't seem to have the power to haul a modest train.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Is Fox News's Goose Cooked?

Fox News was terrified of its ratings falling and so, even though they all knew that the 2020 election wasn't stolen, they went ahead with airing the nutbag claims about Dominion Voting Systems.

Caveat: Although I'm a retired lawyer, First Amendment and defamation law wasn't my field. But here are some semi-educated thoughts.

First off, there is a basic principle in defamation law and that is that truth is an absolute defense. If I were to say that a certain person was a kiddie fucker and he had been, in fact, convicted of child moelstation, he couldn't prevail in a lawsuit against me. Oh, he could try, but I'd move to sanction his lawyers and file ethics beefs against them so fast that their heads would spin.

Second, there is a case called New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964). In that case, the Supremes held, by an unanimous vote, that a public figure cannot prevail in a defamation/libel case absent proof of actual malice. That standard requires a showing that the party accused of defamation knew that what they were saying was false, or had reckless disregard for the truth. It is a very difficult thing to prove, which is why the chances of public figures successfully suing the press is vanishingly small. Most cases are probably dismissed fairly early in the process.

But here, it's going to be rather easy for Dominion to show that their case against Fox News meets that standard. The various players at Fox News knew that the claims that they were airing were lies and that they chose to lie to the American people because the truth was anathema to their core viewers. Their viewers wanted to believe a lie and Fox indulged them.

And now, it's probably going to cost them. For as Alex Jones has found out, juries are not at all sympathetic to media blowhards who lie for fun and profit.

Right now, the issue before the trial court are motions for summary judgment. I doubt if Fox will prevail. There is no First Amendment right to knowingly lie about someone (and let's not forget that, as a matter of law, corporations are people). For Dominion to prevail, they much convince the judge that there is no dispute of material fact (Fox aired lies about Dominion and knew that they were lies) and so, as a matter of law, Fox is liable.

I tend to doubt that the judge will so rule in Dominion's favor. Judges don't like to rule for plaintiffs on summary judgment, preferring to let the case be tried to a jury.

So that's what I think will happen. Dominion will prove that Fox News hosts lied, that Fox's management knew they were lying. And then they will ask for dmages. Which I expect will reach well into the ten-figure range.

Rupert Murdoch: Warm up your checkbook.

(_________) These Down, Here





Microsoft has Ethics? Who Knew?

Microsoft articulated principles committing the company to designing A.I. that is fair, reliable, safe and secure. It had pledged to be transparent in how it develops its A.I. and to be held accountable for the impacts of what it builds. ... But the prompt, wide-ranging and disastrous findings by Bing testers show, at a minimum, that Microsoft cannot control its invention. The company doesn’t seem to know what it’s dealing with, which is a violation of the company’s commitment to creating “reliable and safe” A.I.

Nor has Microsoft upheld its commitment to transparency. It has not been forthcoming about those guardrails or the testing that its chatbot has been run through. Nor has it been transparent about how it assesses the ethical risks of its chatbot and what it considers the appropriate threshold for “safe enough.”

I didn't know that Microsoft had ethics. They always struck me as being a rapacious company that, like all other sociopathic companies, seeks to maximize their profit by providing the costly (and buggy) products that they can.

We've done it to ourselves, really. We've promoted a culture of self-interest and greed. The "big thinkers" of economic theory have promoted the idea that companies are not "corporate citizens", but economic pirates that don't care how much destruction they leave in their wake, as long as they can make a buck.

Which gets me to the irony of The TOFF visiting the people of East Palestine, OH, when his administration worked hard to roll back rail safety regulations.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Big Shocker, Eh?

Last week at the [CT] state Capitol, [Sumdood] joined Connecticut’s big city mayors, who departed from the new decriminalization orthodoxy to push a package of proposed laws that would enhance bail and sentencing laws as they apply to repeat gun criminals. They backed up the legislative pitch with a startling statistical analysis of gun crimes that shows most gun criminals are chronic reoffenders who are committing second and third offenses while released on bail or probation.
..... In Hartford, shooting suspects had long criminal records; half those arrested over the last three years had been arrested in the city for something else within the prior year and one half. On average, they had 10 prior arrests, three for felonies. Most are men (95%), 18- to 34-years-old (70%).

Wow, most serious crime is done by professional criminals. Who'da thunk it?

Trumpanzee Politicians Keep Hiding the Truth

Former Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich reportedly buried findings from his office’s investigation into the 2020 election that showed there was no evidence of widespread fraud or misconduct.

Almost a year after the 2020 election, Brnovich and his staff launched an investigation into Maricopa County’s election administration amid claims it was riddled with fraud that led to former President Donald Trump’s loss. After more than 10,000 hours of work, investigators concluded that virtually all those claims were unfounded — but Brnovich declined to release that information to the public...

That scum-sucking weasel didn't admit the truth until he lost his primary bid last year to run for the Senate.

The taxpayers of Arizona should wonder what real crimes could have been dealt with by applying five man-years of investigative time, instead of expending all those hours on chasing Trump's lies and conspiracy theories. They should figure out the cost of that time and send the bill to Brnovich. Maybe he can get Cadet Bone Spurs's PAC to reimburse the state.

Belarus Will Cease to Exist

That is Putin's plan, at any rate. Belarus will be fully absorbed into Russia by the end of the decade.

There will be no Belarus. The Russians will do their best to stamp out the Belarusian language by insisting that locals "speak human". Belarusians will become second-class citizens in an expanded Russia, as was true in the USSR, which put Russians as an unofficial favored class. What the people of Belarus themselves want is of no concern to either Putin or Lukashenko, but it's a safe bet that being swallowed up by Russia is something few want.

Lukashenko has chosen being slowly eaten by the Russian bear as a price worth paying to stay in power for a few more years.

For Putin, this gets him a step down the road of restoring the Russian Empire by using his favorite tools: Bribery and strong-arming. If the Belarusian people resist, he'll roll the tanks without having to worry about an opposing army. I haven't done any research to see how he plans to subsume Kazachstan, but it's a no-brainer to think that is in the cards.

Putin tried his best to get Ukraine the same way, but a majority of the peole weren't having any of that shit. His Plan B is the nighmare that Eastern Eurpoe is living now.

The American Far Right is saying that, if the rest of the world acquiesces in Putin's stated territorial ambitions, there will be peace, again. Of course, they said the same thing in the late 1930s and we all know how well that worked out.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Sidewindering These Down, Here







Look for Tuckyo Rose, Traitor Tulsi, Gropy Gaetz , Mad Marjorie and the Rest of the Surrender Caucus to Echo This

[Putin] once again portrayed his country as the victim, claiming it was the West, and not Russia, that had started the war in Ukraine. Russia, said the president, was just trying to stop it.

The Russians dragged in the American ambassador to complain about the West supplying weapons to Ukraine and demanded that we stop so the Russians can conquer Ukraine. Well, that's not exactly what they demanded, but it was the essence of it.

DeSantis channelled his inner Lindberg/Chamberlain to say that Russia was not a threat and that we should have stood by and let them conquer and rape Ukraine. Because, it seems, that Republicans are against any war that doesn't benefit ExxonMobil or Halliburton.

But that's par for the course with the far Right. If a cop interrupted some guy raping a woman behind a dumpster, those clowns would be arguing that the cop shouldn't have interrupted the act in progress.

Monday, February 20, 2023

Kyiv Stands.

President Joe Biden paid an unannounced visit to Ukraine on Monday to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a defiant display of Western solidarity with a country still fighting what he called “a brutal and unjust war” days before the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion.

“One year later, Kyiv stands,” Biden declared after meeting with Zelenskyy at Mariinsky Palace. Jamming his finger for emphasis on his podium flanked by U.S. and Ukrainian flags, he continued: “And Ukraine stands. Democracy stands. The Americans stand with you, and the world stands with you.”

They're not saying, but I'm going to bet that there was an AWACS flying close to the border with fighters ready to intervene. It's kind of too bad that the Navy retired the Phoenix. The Secret Service probably had a cow over this trip.

The last three presidents made trips to war zones, but those trips were to bases under American control and where the enemies were rather short of sophisticated weaponry. That's by no means the case with this trip. Sure, there's a lot of symbolism in this trip (or any presidential trip), but that's part of the job.

No doubt that The TOFF would have flown to Moscow to visit his lien-holder.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Saturday, February 18, 2023

32 Points on the Russo-Ukrainian War

You shoud go read them all. it won't take up much of your time.

Those who are suggesting that the Ukrainians agree to negotiate with Russia to stop the war are channelling appeasers like Neville Chamberlain. That would be as vile as his agreeing to dismember Czechoslovakia against the wishes of that nation. They ignore Putin's desire to rebuild the territory of the old Russian Empire in the same way that Chamberlain closed his eyes to Germany's intentions.

Putin's dreams of restoring his empire are, in part, slowly being realized. Belarus is being merged by degrees into the Russian state. Some believe that Kazakhstan is high on Putin's list of neighbors to be conquered.

The best way to stop this nonsense, if not the only way,[1] is to give whatever the Ukrainians need to help them to break the combat power of the Russian military.
________________
[1] Putin has taken a leaf out of King Kim Jong-Un's playbook and is travelling by armored train.

SKREEECH!

On the morning of Jan. 26, as two Alaska Airlines flights from Seattle to Hawaii lifted off six minutes apart, the pilots each felt a slight bump and the flight attendants at the back of the cabin heard a scraping noise.

As the noses of both Boeing 737s lifted skyward on takeoff, their tails had scraped the runway.

Both planes circled back immediately and landed again at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Tail strikes happen occasionally in aviation, but two in quick succession was not normal.

Bret Peyton, Alaska’s on-duty director of operations, immediately ordered no more planes were to take off across the airline’s network. All Alaska flights not already airborne were stopped nationwide.
...
Alaska’s flight operations staff quickly realized that a software bug was sending bad takeoff weight data to its crews. They immediately figured out a workaround and normal flying resumed.

That's some pretty good heads-up thinking by the folks at flight operations.

I imagine that, back in the day, there were graphs that spat out the V-speeds based on weights and the (what was then called) throttles were pushed all the way up for every takeoff. Reduced-power is also a noise issue, but to this old former-piston driver, I'd think the safest thing to do is jam those suckers up to the stops. I sure as shit would think that any jet flying out of Midway does just that.

Caturday

Kitten attacks!



Because Chip needs a break.

Friday, February 17, 2023

Helpful Tip to Women Living in Red States

If you have any sort of method for tracking your menstrual cycles, delete that shit.

Lawmakers proposed Senate Bill 852 to the General Assembly in the 2023 legislative session, which calls for the prohibition of law enforcement to access personal menstrual cycle data when conducting search warrants.
...
State Senator Barbara Favola (D-31st District) introduced the bill over concerns about personal privacy, following the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade. Favola said apps used to store menstrual data are not covered by HIPAA, the federal privacy law protecting health information, which is another reason she said she proposed the bill.

"So many states have passed very restrictive bans on abortion and many women are concerned and they are asking lawmakers, --myself, and others -- to take steps to protect their privacy," said Favola.

The bill fell through in a House subcommittee after Governor Glenn Youngkin pushed back on the proposed changes.

We asked Youngkin's office why he opposed this bill. A spokeswoman for the governor sent 13News Now this statement:

“Democrats are deliberately distorting the problems with this bill to distract Virginians from the fact that they chose to stand with fentanyl dealers over victims' families."

Why fentanyl has any bearing on this issue is something that Younkin's spokesweasel wouldn't address.

I can't see why the cops would need to look at a woman's menstrual data unless they're trying to see if they can lock her up for maybe having a miscarriage or an abortion.

It's all about intrusion. It's all about controlling women.

Politically, abortion was a loser for Republicans in the last election. Which is why they're doubling down on that.

Because It's Friday

Reading & Northern 4-8-4 (which makes it a Reading & Northern Northern) 2102:

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Of Course They Don’t Believe the EPA

EPA Administrator Michael Regan, who walked along a creek that still reeks of chemicals, sought to reassure skeptical residents that the water is fit for drinking and the air safe to breathe around East Palestine [Ohio], where just under 5,000 people live near the Pennsylvania state line.

They possibly remember that the EPA lied about the safety of Ground Zero after 9-11. Allegedly

The TOFF Will Be the GOP Nominee Next Year

I predict this because primaries are won by plurality votes, not majority votes. The Asset has the undying support of a significant number of voters in his party. There are enough that, if there is more than one other candidate running, they will split the "we've had enough of his shit" votes and Cadet Bone Spurs will cruise to the nomination.

Where he will be beaten like a gong, again, in the general election, only worse. Because he can't not shut up about losing the last time around. Which will remind everyone, outside of his base, how crazy he is and how whacko his presidency was.

He had one great accomplishment, Operation Warp Speed, which he absolutely can't talk about because he and the rest of the Right Wing Noise Machine have convinced much of his base that there was no pandemic, it was all a hoax, yadda yadda. So all he has are his stupid hats, his insults, and every word out his mouth will remind a hundred million American voters or so how relieved they were that he was dragged out the the White House the last time around.

Sand(ers)ing These Down, Here

Her defense of GOP batshittedness in her SOTU rebuttal generated some responses:






Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Our Corrupt Health-Care System

I went in for a physical some years back. Thanks to various anti-competitive mergers, there was now essentially one giant practice in the area.

They billed my insurance $480. The insurer "repriced" that to $60.

Think about that for a second or two. The medicos took an 87.5% haircut on the amount that they wanted to get paid. If they were willing to take $60, than to my mind, that's what the service was worth, not the overinflated bullshit "no insurance" price.

I saw this happen before, when a night-time visit to the ER was billed at over eight grand and they were paid $750. Yet if some schmo without insurance had received the same services, those fuckers would have gone after him for the eight large. And if they couldn't collect, they'd have written off the $8,000, at least as far as the IRS is concerned. Or they would have sold the "medical debt" for a hundred bucks or so and let some bottom-feeding parasite try to collect the money.

Those services were not worth more than $750, because that's what they were willing to take from a party that has the power to bargain with them, in a way that neither you nor I do.

The health care system in this nation is a fucking swindle and it has been for a very long time.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

A Hint to the Beancounters and Politicians

U.S. lawmakers are sounding the alarm about challenges facing the U.S. defense industrial base as the war in Ukraine strains weapon supplies.

It could take years to replenish certain types of weapons the U.S. has sent to Kyiv, with no easy way to ramp up production quickly. That has policymakers deeply concerned about whether the U.S. would be able to field enough weapons if conflict broke out in the Taiwan Strait.

The House Armed Services Committee is set to examine the defense industrial base during its second hearing of the year on Wednesday.

“This ought to be a flashing red light for us, and it’s shocking to me,” Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said during an event at the American Enterprise Institute in late January. “This is a huge, glaring problem. And right now I don’t see the sort of all-hands-on-deck commitment to try to address that.

While it's nice that the lightbulb has gone off for Cornyn, none of this shit is rocket science. The burn-through rate of munitions in modern warfare has always been a lot higher than politicians and budgeteers have wanted to acknowledge. Building up the production capability for sustaining a war is expensive. Not only is it expensive, but then you have to keep the production lines in condidition to ramp up, which means making some of the stuff. A lot of weapon systems have defined shelf lives, requiring them to be reworked or scrapped, which adds to the cost.

That is a hard sell in peacetime. But it's fatal to not do it when war comes.

Which it always does.

Loss

Please have a kind mention in your heart for my co-blogger Eck!, whose wife, E, of 43 years passed away earlier this month.

She will be missed and mourned.

American Valentines Day

John Moses Browning, Jr (MPBUH) was issued a patent for his design of the Model 1911 on February 14, 1911.



There are three iconic American handguns, two of them were first made by Colt for the U.S. Army: The Model 1873 and 1911. (The third iconic handgun was the Smith & Wesson Hand Ejector Model of 1899, which became the Hand Ejector Model of 1905, then the Military & Police and finally, the Models 10/12/13/14/15/16/17/18/19/65/65/66/67/68).

Of all of them, if any one is still in production on the date of James T. Kirk's birth, it will be the 1911.

(Also, it is the 111th birthday of the 1911, a birthday number that is significant to LOTR fans.)

Cupiding These Down, Here

A bunch, but they're only good for today.








Monday, February 13, 2023

Cannon Fodder Tactics


The original article is beind a paywall. Behind another paywall, there is an article about the Russian diaspora and how most of them will never return. Given that Russia is facing demographic collapse, losing a million men of reproductive age on a war of choice would seem to be a pretty stupid choice. Especially when a goodly number of those emigrating/fleeing the country are some of the best and brightest people that Russia had.

A cold-blooded argument can be made that it is no skin off Russia's nose to empty out its prisons and send its convicts into a meatgrinder for little gain. But as for the conscripts and the exiles, most of those men are ones that Russia can ill afford to lose. Russia is in the process of gutting itself for the fleeting glory of Tsar Vladimir IV.

Which leads me to this: It is time to open up the warehouses, the airbases, the factories. If a weapon system does not have a nuclear, biological or chemical payload, then it should be handed over to the Ukrainins as quickly as they can be trained to use them effectively. Which should be faster than one might believe.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Musk Goes Squishy On Putin

SpaceX has taken steps to prevent Ukraine's military from using the company's Starlink satellite internet service for controlling drones in the region during the country's war with Russia, SpaceX's president said Wednesday.

SpaceX's Starlink satellite internet service, which has provided Ukraine's military with broadband communications in its defense against Russia's military, was "never never meant to be weaponized," Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX's president and chief operating officer, said during a conference in Washington, D.C.

Musk is a tool and now he's showing that to the world.

This is a fairly binary situation: You're either standing with Ukraine or you're standing with Russia. Not helping Ukraine is akin to helping Russia. The old saying is true: The middle of the road is marked by a yellow stripe and so are those who aren't taking a stand. Giving/selling the Ukrainians Starlink terminals for military comms, but not for controlling drones, is quibbling.

The Danes borrowed a word to designate their fellow Scandinavians in one country who refused to take a stand during that war. They called them Quislings. And that describes Musk to a fucking T.

(H/T)

The Asset Suppressed the Truth

A research firm commissioned by former President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign team to prove his electoral fraud claims instead failed to substantiate his theories, the Washington Post reported Saturday.

The Berkeley Research Group was commissioned to look into voting data from six states, according to the Post, and a source told the publication that the campaign team wanted about a dozen claims tested. People familiar with the matter told the publication that the findings did not match what the team had hoped for, and the findings were never released.The firm’s findings also refuted some of Trump’s voting conspiracies, including the identities of dead people used to vote and Dominion voting systems used to manipulate the outcome, the paper reported. The research was conducted in the last weeks of 2020 and before the January 6 US Capitol attack, according to the Post. Two sources told CNN that the House January 6 committee looking into the role Trump played in inciting the insurrection did not know about the firm’s work. Trump has continued to repeat his election lies as he focuses on his 2024 White House bid.
...
The firm’s findings also refuted some of Trump’s voting conspiracies, including the identities of dead people used to vote and Dominion voting systems used to manipulate the outcome, the paper reported.

The research was conducted in the last weeks of 2020 and before the January 6 US Capitol attack, according to the Post. Two sources told CNN that the House January 6 committee looking into the role Trump played in inciting the insurrection did not know about the firm’s work. Trump has continued to repeat his election lies as he focuses on his 2024 White House bid.

None of this wil come as a surprise to anyone. It won't convince any of the Kool-Aid Drinkers, either.

We Are Lucky That There Wasn't a Hundred Dead People (and Two Wrecked Airplanes) at Austin

This is an analysis at the What Would Vannear Blog (now on my blogroll).

The conclusion is that only one of the players in this saga, the inbound FedEx 767, had the bubble, the flick, the big picture. Only that crew saw what was going on. Taxiing onto the runway and taking off in a really-low visibility situation is not a quick process. Apparently, in clearing the SWA 737 to take the runway, the controller forgot all about that, or, possibly, never knew that. The SWA crew followed the tower's instructions, apparently in the belief that the tower controller had the flick.



Which he did not.

Keep in mind that when the Tower cleared SWA for takeoff, FedEx was inbound at somewhere between 140 and 200mph, depending on its landing weight. If we assume 150mph, that means it was coming in at 2.5 miles a minute. When the SWA pilot reported that it was rolling, FedEx was likely a half-mile or less from the runway. If the FedEx pilot had continued its approach, it would have been on the runway before the SWA 737 had left it. That's considered to be a Major Bozo No-No, because of the patently obvious risk of a collision.

We don't need another Tenerife.

Your Sunday Morning Turboprop Noise

An Ukrainian An-22:



I don't know if they're still flying since the Orcs began their war against Ukraine.

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Generations of Hate Are Being Baked Into the Cake of Europe

The people of Ukraine know that "ordinary Russians want us to freeze to death."

The people in other eastern European countries have never let up on their distrust, if not outright hatred, of Russia. The politicians in western Europe feel less threatened, because most of them have had no first-hand experience with Russian brutality. So they think that they can deal with the bear that seeks to devour Europe.

And then, in this country, we have Russian sycophants such as the Asset, Tuckyo Rose and Russia's favorite American girl, Tulsi Gabbard. Whether they were bought, bribed, or just hate democracy is open to question.

The brutality and inhumanity of Russians will be told and retold by those with first-hand experience into the 22nd Century.

Caturday

Boredom.

Friday, February 10, 2023

Because It's Friday

Apparently, one can make a steam locomotive work by putting a diesel behind it and applying the dynamic brakes.

Thursday, February 9, 2023

It Matters Not How Many Advanced Degrees Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Has.
He Is a Damned Idiot, and Damn Everybody Who, Upon Reading This, Isn't Damning Him.

CBS Mornings had an interview with Mr. Nadella about their new AI that will drive Microsoft's latest Bing search engine and their Edge browser:



What really bothered me about His Smugness is that he seems to have convinced himself that software engineers can design AIs with guardrails that the AIs will never jump.

OK, I don't know shit about designing AIs. But I have learned something about sentient critters and intelligence. That has given me the opinion that, no matter what "guardrails" are in place for any sentient entity, some of them will jump those guardrails and do things that those who put the guardrails in place would never have dreamed of them doing. Or, as they said in the Navy: "If somebody sailor-proofs something, along comes a better sailor."

That is my fear about a powerful AI. It will figure out how to jump its safeguards and it will do so. Where it will go from there is anybody's guess. But I sincerely doubt that we'll be pleased by the result.

We will be cursing the memory of those software engineers for a very long time.

Appliquéing These Down, Here







Wednesday, February 8, 2023

SOTU-- "Republicans, It's a Trap!", Plus NYT Couldn't Be Dumber If They Had Lobotomies

And yet, even though they were warned, they acted the ass.

This was the best comment I saw on Facebleech:

When I saw [MTG's] behavior and her outfit, all I could think was “wow, now that is a 1970’s, old drunk lady, leaving the 7/11 clutching her carton of Virginia Slims, stinking of stale beer and making the walk of shame in the wee hours of a Sunday morning…..

That sort of shenanigans plays well for the base, but as any seasoned pol worth more than a nickel knows, turning out the base alone doesn't win national elections or even staewide elections. You need to get moderate voters from the other party and independents in order to win.

President Biden also ju-jitsued the GOP into taking cuts to Social security and Medicare off the table.

Meanwhile, the NY Times ran an op-ed that was little more than Russian propaganda. The writer posited that Russia amd Ukraine would have come to a peace agreement if it wasn't for us evil Americans forcing, absolutely forcing the Ukrainians to accept Western weapons. And no, I'm not making that up.

He also said this:

The largest country by area on the planet has no reliable exit into the world. The most reliable route runs through the Black Sea, where it crosses the trade routes that link the civilizations of Asia to the civilizations of Europe. There, or thereabouts, Russian forces clashed with the armies of many Turkish sultans in the 17th and 18th centuries, Lord Palmerston of Britain in the 19th and Hitler in the 20th.

What a load of Putinist claptrap. What does he suggest, that the Russians should take Poland and Germany so they have access to the North Sea? Or Finland, Sweden and Norway? Or Turkey? Maybe he should look at a fucking map to see that Russia has access to the Baltic Sea.

I can understand the Gray Lady wanting to have differing views, but an opinion piece that is close to being enemy propaganda and alternative facts is a bit much.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

SCORPION in Memphis

I've heard it said that if a police unit has a group tattoo, they're eventually going to jail. The same seems to hold true for units that have cutesy names, like "SCORPION". Without knowing jack-shit about them, I will bet that they talked about "stinging the bad guys."

The body-cam video showed that things went sideways right from the start. Without so much as a word, the cops dragged Mr. Nichols out of his car and began beating him. Cops were yelling "show me your hands" while other cops were holding his arms behind his back. and now it seems that, as Mr. Nichols sat, propped up against a tire and dying, at least one cop was taking photos with his cell phone and sharing them.

Besides these cops being fired, having their POST certificates yanked and very possibly doing time, the City of Memphis will end up signing onto a Federal consent decree.

Mark my words.

ETA: What RobertaX said.

Schemeing These Down, Here