Words of Advice:

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

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

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

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

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Monday, April 27, 2015

"Victory or Annihilation!"

The Brown Truck of Goodies brought this to my door:


It came with a new "Brew & Go" coffeemaker, otherwise, it would have arrived via the White Truck of Bills and Junk Mail. I've read the first two, this is the first one that I've sprung for a paper copy.

The first two were really good. My book club, all women, read "Terms of Enlistment" and gave it a thumbs-up. Everyone whose read the third one says it's even better.

I'll get to it. But I also have a new story percolating in my head, which I need to get out while it's flowing. #FirstWorldProblems.....

Torture by Taser

Two South Carolina cops are about to be sentenced to Federal prison for using a Taser to torture a mentally-disabled woman.

While it's a good start, one might suspect that if you or I used a Taser to shock the shit out of someone for our amusement, we'd be doing a lot more time.

Not Giving a Fuck About Bruce Jenner

Because it's not anything remotely close to news. There are a lot of transgendered people out there, quietly living their lives. You may know a few, even if you didn't know their history.

Maybe in the third quarter of the last century and into the fourth quarter, it would have been a serious story. Christine Jorgensen, of course. Renee Richards. Wendy Carlos. Karen Ulane was fired from EAL for being transgendered; now there are transgendered pilots working for most American carriers.

But now? It's not news. It's not about publicly transitioning and hopefully serving as some sort of example for others. I don't buy that, not for a picosecond. Jenner is a C-/D+ grade celebrity; the one rule about being a celebrity is that there is basically no such thing as bad press.* And for two hours of prime-time exposure on a broadcast network, the lower-rent and/or fading celebrities would gladly trade a kidney, half of their livers and their second-born children.

I'm not questioning the genuineness of Jenner's transgenderism. Since he is a celebrity, the story was already likely in the supermarket tabloids. By going public,he gets to manage the story, something celebrities all want to do.

But is this really serious news? No. It's not news in the same way that it wouldn't be news if Jenner flew a single-engined airplane from New York to Paris. It's been done and by a lot of people since Slim did it 88 years ago. That wouldn't be news, now, just high-grade celebrity gossip. Which is what the 20/20 story was: Not news, just gossip.
_____________________________
* Though Lindsey Lohan is pushing that envelope, hard.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

No, the Gulf Isn't Back, BP

British Petroleum keeps putting out slick videos about their "commitment to the Gulf of Mexico", or shit like that. And that they're now a "responsible" oil company, or shit like that.

Don't believe a word of it, folks. BP wrecked the lives of entire communities, including this one. as came out in the months after the BP Oil Spill, the company had earned a long record of cutting corners on safety, maintenance and training.

Does anyone seriously believe that they've changed?

The Corporate-Christianist Brainwashing of America

The "America is a Christian Nation" crap has only been around for about seventy or so years. It's basically advertising by a group of amoral sociopaths (corporations) to wrap themselves in the mantle of religion.

And it's worked. The Preachers to Millionaires (now billionaires, I guess) just skipped over those passages in the Bible about loving others and caring for the poor and the sick because there was no money in it for them. In short, money bought a religious cloak for greed and naked self-interest.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

F9F:

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Greediness of Corporations; UPS Edition

You might recall that, back when fuel prices were north of $4/gallon, the shipping companies began tacking on "fuel surcharges" to the cost of shipping shit. UPS was one of those companies.

I shipped the slide of a newly-acquired heater to Trijicon to have the sights relamped. The box weighed, with all of the stuffing I put in, a pound and a half.

UPS dinged me fifty-two cents for a fuel surcharge. The price of fuel is about two bucks a gallon cheaper than it was back then. So I'm guessing that fuel would have to be free before those greedheads removed the charge.

It's probably fitting that those assholes paint their trucks brown.

Caturday, Shelter Edition

A shelter cat needs a home!

100 Years Ago

Allied forces, primarily from Australia and New Zealand, landed in the Dardanelles, thus beginning the nine-month long Battle of Gallipoli.

Two past blog entries about the battle.

This is the episode about Gallipoli from the BBC's 1964 documentary series on the Great War.



Friday, April 24, 2015

"HK. Because We Suck. And the Bundeswehr Hates Us."

The G36 rifle, sold by HK to the German Army, is a serious piece of shit and the Germans are dumping them.

Apparently, when the rifle gets hot, a soldier can't count on hitting anything outside of Sten gun distances.

The rifle has a "pencil barrel"; heating and inaccuracy is not an unknown problem. Which suggests to me that the German Army was more concerned about weight than having a fighting rifle when they adopted it in the 1990s. With the Cold War over, the Germans probably didn't think they'd ever need to fight a war, so why buy a heavier and more expensive rifle than what was needed for a parade force?

HK: Makers of military rifles for countries that don't fight wars.

Because It's Friday

Double-heading on the Cumbres and Toltec RR.

The Deal to Make the Worst Giant Company in America Falls Through.

The Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger is off.

If there are companies that have worse customer service than those birds, I don't know who they are. Combining the two would have crated a mega-corporation with all of the likeability of the Giftgas Division of IG Farben.*

The merger would have created a company where the working premise of customer service would have been "fuck all y'all", an Americanized version of the HK motto.**
_______________________________
* "At IG Farben, we don't make the gas chambers. We make the gas." (Because BASF was one of the spinoffs after the war.)
** "Because you suck. And we hate you."

100 Years Ago

The Armenian Genocide began.

To this day, the Turks deny that it ever happened. Their explanation for killing 1,500,000 people is eerily similar to a rationale offered by Donald Rumsfeld: "Stuff happens [during a war]."

The Armenian Genocide may have inspired the Germans twenty years later: Since nobody tried to stop the Turks from murdering the Armenians, the Third Reich might have concluded that they could kill millions of people with impunity.

The sad thing is that mass killings have been repeated almost every decade or so. The Indonesians murdered about a million of their own citizens, primarily ethnic Chinese. The Pol Pot regime murdered two million of its fellow Cambodians. The Hutu in Rwanda murdered a million or so people. Compared to all of them, the Serbs were pikers.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

FBI "Integrity"-- It Is to Laugh

I reject the premise contained in the headline to this piece:
The FBI Used to Have Integrity. Now Agents Lie, Cheat, and Break the Law.
I reject that because of things that we know that the FBI did. The FBI rigged the case against Ethyl Rosenberg to pressure her into testifying against her husband. In essence, she was electrocuted for not ratting out her husband.

The FBI harassed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., not because of any suspicion that he was breaking the law, but because J. Edgar Hoover thought them uppity darkies should be kept in their place. So Hoover's FBI lied to get wiretaps and monitored his every move, all without an iota os probably cause.

The FBI spied on those who were opposed to the Vietnam War. The Feebies engaged in illegal searches, wiretaps and all manner of police-state fuckery, much of which came to light when the FBI was given a taste of its own medicine in 1971.*

The FBI did their level best to frame people, including Richard Jewell, Judi Bari and Dr. Steven Hatfill. And then there are two FBI touchstones of the 1990s: Ruby Ridge and Waco.

The there has been the FBI's conduct over the last 14 years of finding a group of impressionable morons, persuade them to become wannabee terrorists and then arrest them need not be gone over in any great detail.

So no, I don't accept the premise that the FBI had any integrity to lose.
_________________________________________________
* A story that the New York Times initially refused to print.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Guilty Fucker; Barney Fife Edition

Less than three weeks after San Bernardino Sheriff's Deputies beat the shit out of a guy, the County is paying him off to the tune of $650,000 to make a potential civil case go away.

That suggests to me that the County's attorneys thought that there was little chance in hell that they'd ever prevail in court and that a jury would probably ding them for one or more orders of magnitude more in damages and punies. And besides the hefty damages, because it'd be a civil rights case, the County would have to pay for both sets of attorneys, as well.

Now the question will be as to what disciplinary actions or criminal charges will be filed against the cops who administered the beating. I'm betting "none", but I'm a bit cynical.

Meanwhile, across the country, the Baltimore cops are busy trying to cover up investigating the hell out of the death of a man who was arrested. Seems that while he was in the paddy wagon, his spine, somehow, was mysteriously nearly severed. Apparently, the cops are saying that his neck was broken because they didn't give him his inhaler, which makes zero sense.

Our Home


The "Pale Blue Dot" original photo:


And from Saturn's orbit, 23 years later:


Carl Sagan's talk about the pale blue dot:



Earth is the only home that we have. It would be nice if we treated our home with a little more respect than one might give to a single-wide that one is renting for three months whilst evading a process server.

I hold little hope of that ever happening. Short-term self-interest seems to be hard-wired into us ugly bags of mostly water.

I Didn't Intend To, Honest; Bangity Edition (& Gun- Tab Clearing)

No, I didn't intend to. But a local gunshop is relocating and they are selling stuff not much above cost, just so they don't have to pack it.

So I picked up a Smith & Wesson 6946.


Two magazines and the price was what would have been about right maybe four or five years back. The only real minus is that it has Trijicon night sights that have long since given up the ghost. Trijicon will relamp them for under $60 and all I have to send in is the slide, so I don't have to deal with the hassles of sending in a handgun for servicing.

In case you're not a Smith nerd, this model is a double-action only. It's true "grip and rip". Like a revolver, there's no safety other than the weight of a double-action trigger. The 6946 wasn't made for very long, maybe eight years or so.

A long time ago, a man who knew a bit about guns advised me that, when I buy a used self-litterer, to change the recoil spring. This photo shows why:


From left to right: A new recoil spring, the one that came out of the 6946, and the one that came out of the 6906.

I took it to the range the day after I bought it. Switching from strong hand to weak hand (offhand both times), I was able to pretty much blow the center out of a silhouette target at seven yards, despite the shininess of the dead night sights. The trigger is smooth. This one is a serious keeper.

---------------------------------------------------

Gun Digest seems to be bringing the stupid these days, with an article that calls for CCW as a response to terrorism. There are good reasons to pack a gun. This is about as far down the list as one can get without getting into "defending yourself from a sharknado" territory.

Also, Remington, the makers of the R51, are bringing out a new micro-.380, because there aren't already a crap-load of those things on the market. Hell, I'm surprised that Remington hasn't decided to bring out one of them newfangled double-action revolvers.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

FAA: Dumb Rule, Guys

The FAA is proposing scrapping a boatload of VOR and ILS approaches. You can read the rule here. If the link doesn't work, go to regulations.gov and look for rule FAA-2015-0783.

My opinion is that this rule is a bad idea. Placing instrument approaches in the GPS basket without any degree of redundancy is foolish. If there is a navigation system in use that is more vulnerable to interference, sabotage or space weather than GPS, I don't know what it is.

There was a time when aviators had shitloads of redundancy. VOR stations are stand-alone, int hat what booted one station off-line wouldn't screw up another. And for decades, a network of AM navigation beacons provided redundancy.

But GPS? Not so much. Every so often there is a NOTAM out that has a few hundred thousand square miles of area where GPS is unreliable due to some testing by the government of something or other. GPS can be spoofed or completely shut down over an area by any clown with an ability to read a schematic and wield a soldering tool. We haven't had a bad stretch of space weather, yet, but when we do, will we be back to flying airliners in VFR conditions only?

Besides that, if we ever have a hot war with a technologically-capable nation, expect the GPS system to come under almost immediate attack. Our potential adversaries know that our military has a crap-ton of "smart" ordnance that uses GPS for navigation. It doesn't take a Sun-Tzu level military thinker to understand the benefits of disabling an enemy's navigation capabilities.

This all ties into the stupid shit that the government should operate like a business instead of a public-benefit service. Public services aren't fucking businesses. Sure, they ought to be run efficiently and fraud and abuse should be countered. But we've gone too far.

And as for the Federal government being captured by corporations, that's a topic for another day.

Stay Classy, Ferguson

Officials in Ferguson, Missouri, say they will replace two recently planted saplings this week, including one planted in memory of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Taken-14

It's inevitable.

Yeah, No Racism Here

Five of the six cops in a tiny Missouri city quit after voters elected their first black female mayor.Nope, none at all. Just a coinkydink.

Seems that the cops in the town had a reputation for being overbearing goons, down to measuring people's lawns to see if they had been properly mowed. And tasing some kid who refused to talk to them.

So it might not be all racism. You can guess as to the percentages.

The Millenial Congress

Congress actually did something and both the media and the President went batshit with praising them. Our long-suffering turd-miner, Jon Stewart, brought the necessary snark.

"They don't need a trophy for showing up, they're Congress, not Millenials!" -- heh.

Monday, April 20, 2015

"zOMG, The Streets Will Run Red With Blood!!!1!!1!"

That's been the prediction of the Bloomberger gun-banners since the modern push to legalize concealed carry began. Most recently, of course, in Illinois.

This is a result that I can tolerate, all righty:
Authorities say no charges will be filed against an Uber driver who shot and wounded a gunman who opened fire on a crowd of people in Logan Square [Chicago] over the weekend.

Capt. Renault and the FBI

I am shocked, shocked to learn that the FBI's much vaunted "scientific experts" have been lying in court.
The FBI and U.S. Justice Department have acknowledged that almost all of the experts in a forensic unit dedicated to microscopic hair comparison gave flawed testimony against defendants before 2000, the Washington Post said.

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Innocence Project found that 26 of the 28 examiners in the FBI's microscopic hair comparison unit overstated evidence in more than 95 percent of 268 trials that the groups have examined so far, the Post said.

Defendants and prosecutors in 46 states, along with the District of Columbia, are being advised of the findings, which could result in appealing of convictions, the newspaper said. The cases with overstated evidence included 32 that resulted in death sentences, and 14 of those defendants have been executed or died in prison.
I agree with the proposal that The New York Crank put forth: In cases where the perjured testimony sent people to their deaths, those so-called "experts" should, themselves, be executed.

I submit that this proposal should be adopted. Look, if people are going to lie other people into prison, let alone Old Sparky, then there should be some serious motivation applied to them to not do that. A perjury beef, when the object of the perjury was executed or died in prison, is nowhere near enough.

If a cop testilies and is caught doing it during the trial, then that cop should get the maximum sentence for the top count of whatever the defendant was charged. If the defendant was convicted and sent away, then the perjurer should be sent to prison for all of the defendant's sentence, clock set to zero, and nothing less than 85% of the time to be served. If the defendant died in prison or was executed, then the same fate should await the perjurer.

The same penalties should apply to those who knew about it. If the perjurer's boss knew... cellmate. If the prosecutor knew that perjured testimony was being offered and put the perjurer on the stand anyway... cellmate!

Then maybe those fuckers will take their thumbs off the scale of justice.

'Murrica, Hell, Yeah!

[At] Sunday's contest at Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas, wasn't even close. Molly Schuyler scarfed down three 72-ounce steaks, three baked potatoes, three side salads, three rolls and three shrimp cocktails -- far outpacing her heftier rivals.

That's more than 13 pounds of steak, not counting the sides. And she did it all in 20 minutes, setting a record in the process.
She finished the first meal in four minutes and 13 seconds.

I find it hard to wrap my mind around the concept that a person can be a professional competitive-eater, let alone that gorging one's self with about fifteen pounds of food in 20 minutes is considered to be a "sport".

What the hell is next, a "train-pulling"* competition?
_________________________________
* That has nothing to do with railroads. Go look it up.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Thoughts on Gunfighting

A May, 2010 podcast interview with a Chicago cop.

Much of what he says disagrees with the "practical combat" fanbois. His recommendation on how to find a gun that works for you is pretty good advice.

"Green Thing" Addendum & More

Addendum to "The Green Thing" post: Counterbalancing that is the fact that, other than in some city centers, most buildings before the Second World War were heated with coal-fired furnaces. That was labor-intensive, the ashes had to be disposed of and with hundreds of thousands of coal furnaces, stoves and fireplaces in cities of any size, air quality during the winter was often likely worse than modern-day Beijing. Because the pollution was so bad, businessmen would take a spare shirt into work so they could change into a clean shirt at lunchtime.

Even in cities and towns that supplied gas for heating and cooking, that gas was most often a product of coal gasification plants. Coal gas, often called "town gas" (nowadays, "synthetic natural gas") was toxic; sticking one's head in an unlit oven was a popular method of suicide.

There were still horse-drawn carts, which meant that the streets were littered with horseshit and washed with horse pee.

In some cities, such as New York, steam for heating systems was supplied by a central steam-generating plant. The steam was piped underground to the buildings that used it. Con Ed still runs such a system. Those systems were coal-fired, which essentially centralized the pollution (and was probably more efficient).

---------------------------------

I've begun going offline in the evening, around 7PM. I do use my computer for writing, but I shut off the network. The cellphone goes off, too. I read, maybe write, or watch some TV. But nothing that needs this massive time-sucking contraption known as the Internet.

Twenty Years Ago

A small group of far-right assholes blew up the Federal building in Oklahoma City. 168 people were killed, including 19 children at a day care center in the building. It took ten hours to reach all of the survivors. Over 20 other buildings either collapsed from the blast or were so badly damaged that they had to be torn down.

The lead asshole was executed six years later. His main accomplice is in a Federal supermax, located on a remote mountaintop.

It might be worth recalling how dead-nuts certain the various government agencies and pundits were initially that Muslims were responsible.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

The Bone!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The "Green Thing"

From an email:
Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the much older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment.

The woman apologized and explained, "We didn't have this 'green thing' back in my earlier days."

The young clerk responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations."

She was right -- our generation didn't have the 'green thing' in our day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles, and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed, sterilized, and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over.

So they really were recycled.

But we didn't have the "green thing" back in our day.

Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we reused for numerous things, most memorable, besides household garbage bags, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribbling. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown bag but we didn't do the "green thing" back then.

We walked up stairs because we didn't have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.

But she was right. We didn't have the "green thing" in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby's diapers because we didn't have the throwaway kind. We dried clothes on a line -- not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts -- wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that young lady is right; we didn't have the "green thing" back in our day.

Back then we had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana .

In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then we didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she's right; we didn't have the "green thing" back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But we didn't have the "green thing" back then.

Back then people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service in the family's $45,000 SUV or van, which cost what a whole house did before the "green thing." We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.

But isn't it said the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn't have the "green thing" back then?

We don't like being old in the first place, so it doesn't take much to piss us off . . . especially from a tattooed, multiple pierced smartass who can't make change without the cash register telling them how much.

Stupid little shit.

(An addendum)

Caturday

Jake, napping on his heated bed.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Isn't It Just Cute to Watch the Optimists at Work; Soviet America Edition

Civil libertarians are persisting in their goal to stop the government from spying on you.

I wish them well, but, seriously? Good luck with that. The CIA and the NSA really don't give a shit what Congress says, as long as the money keeps coming. And since they largely get funded through secret appropriations (we aren't even told the amounts), the American people are given the full mushroom treatment.

A Massive Reservoir of Human Stupidity

Facebook, a place where people post pictures of themselves doing really stupid things.
Dr. Kristen Lindsey, DVM posted a picture on her Facebook page of her holding an arrow that is sticking through the head of a dead cat. The post reads “My first bow kill, lol. The only good feral tomcat is one with an arrow through it's head! Vet of the year award ... Gladly accepted."
How about the award for "Suddenly Unemployed Moron of the Month", does that work for you, Doc?

Oh, and good luck in your job search, chicka. You can pull down your Facebook page from now until the Sun goes nova, to no avail. The Internet does not forget such things, ever.

UPDATE: The cat wasn't feral. Killing another person's animal in Texas is a felony, per Texas Penal Code Section 42.092(b)(2) and 42.092(c). That's good for between six months and two years in the local jail (Section 12.35)

Best hire a good lawyer, doc. You're gonna need one.

Because It's Friday

Making boards the old-fashioned way:


OSHA would have a cow at seeing this.

Democrat or Republican, They All Climb Into Bed With the Oil Industry

Across two administrations, the government has been conniving at helping to keep quiet an ongoing oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.

It's been going on for over ten years. And all they do is watch the evidence that it's still leaking.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

So, Resign Your Commission, LT. See If Anyone Gives a Shit.

A naval officer has posted her reasons for resigning her commission.

The Duffel Blog has a satirical response from the Joint Chiefs that is likely very close to the truth: "We don't give a shit".

More to the point for the good lieutenant, reasons 1,2 and 4 are bullshit. #4 is the most bullshit: Ownership of self. What that seems to be is "I wanna do something else." Fine, go do it. Maybe "take this job and shove it" would be more honest. You don't own yourself in the service. If you are commanded to go die, that's what you do.

#2, strain on personal relationships: Yeah, right. What the hell did you expect when you joined a sea-going service? You go to sea for long periods of time and when you come back, you've got to fix what broke while you were out and train for the next time away. It's been like that for many decades in the Navy. So you hooked up with another officer, you expect special consideration? You're not going to get it, lassie. "Needs of the service" come first. If the detailers can arrange things so you and your hubbie have similar deployment schedules, that's nice. Hell, it's good if they can even get you into the same home port. But their job is to put competent bodies into jobs.

#1, promotions are based in wickets: That doesn't even pass the "so, what test." You have any idea how many fitreps are left-justified (top 1%)? Here's a clue: Shitloads. I'll bet that the percentage of officers who are graded "top 1%" is probably well over 30%. Going by that alone, the Navy has more hot-shot officers to fill jobs than they have jobs for them. So no shit, they look for who has met their milestones and who has earned medals for no-shit serious performance. Otherwise, they'd end up rewarding who had the best bullshit artist for a fitrep author.

As to #3, the service is "anti-intellectual", well, knock me over with a feather. It's a military service, not a frigging book club. The job is to defend the shores, conquer the seas and, at its core, kill people and break things. That doesn't encourage navel-gazing. There are plenty of slots for thinkers and plenty of opportunities for those who want to study more stuff, but that's not all there is about going to sea.

Being in the Navy isn't easy, lieutenant. It never has been. It was never promised to be. Lots of folks resign, either after their first commitment, when they are eligible to go to Department Head School, and yes, even after their department head tours. That attrition is built into the system.

There's no shame in admitting you're not cut out for the life. Lots of people get out. I did.

But essentially complaining that the Navy won't change to suit you-- maybe it's not the Navy that's the problem.

The Shade of Ayn Rand is Probably Pretty Pissed Off

Rand probably thought that she wrote the seminal work for the wingnuts.
The Tennessee state house of representatives ignored serious constitutional concerns – and the wishes of Republican leaders in statehouse – in voting to make the Bible the official state book. The chamber approved the measure 55-38 on Wednesday. It is sponsored by Republican representative Jerry Sexton, a former pastor, who argued that his proposal reflects the Bible’s historical, cultural and economic impact in Tennessee.
Rand was pretty much an atheist, which hasn't slowed her deification by the `tards. She likely would have regarded what happened in Tennessee as appalling.

And it's rather interesting how the conservatives can abandon their stance on being pro-Constitution whenever it suits them. If adopting a religious tome as the state book isn't a violation of the First Amendment in their eyes, then they might have well have passed a bill that says that the First Amendment has no effect in Tennessee.

Of course, if somebody had proposed adopting the Koran as an official state book, the same people would be screaming "First Amendment" at the top of their lungs.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Justified Finale

I'll write something, but in a day or so. And I'll put it here, so nobody who hasn't seen it will accidentally click on the link in a blogroll elsewhere.

If you haven't seen it, it would be a mortal sin for me to ruin it for you. I'll only say this: They didn't fuck it up.

If you have seen it, you can go read the recap interview with Showrunner Graham Yost, who also co-wrote it. Or the ones in the Times or the Post.

But if you've followed the show and if you haven't seen the finale and you click on any of those links, yer a fuckin' idiot of the first rank.

Bet This Goes On Across the Country; Barney Fife on the Take Edition

PHILADELPHIA — A disgraced ex-police officer testifying against his drug squad colleagues acknowledged Tuesday that he stole drug money, planted evidence and lied on police paperwork too many times to count.
They stole over half-a-million dollars in cash and stuff.

Those guys had been cops for at least 19 years apiece. I doubt very much if they had gotten to having eighteen years in on the job and only then decided to start stealing.

Between that and testilying, which has been going on for a very long time, and now the evident cases of "give us any difficulty and we'll kill or beat you", one has to wonder, Gentle Reader, when it will sink into the heads of a critical mass of the American people that too many police in this country have, for a long time, shifted from "to protect and to serve" to "to harass and to rob".

Or, as a popular image puts it:

Your Wednesday Wednesday


Buy a Gun Day

Today might be National Buy a Gun Day, but for me, it's just a day after Mail Off Checks to the IRS Day, so I'll pass.

Take Me Out to the Security Theater

Get there for the early show, if you want to see the main event.
Fans attending Major League Baseball games are being greeted in a new way this year: with metal detectors at the ballparks. Touted as a counterterrorism measure, they’re nothing of the sort. They’re pure security theater: They look good without doing anything to make us safer. We’re stuck with them because of a combination of buck passing, CYA thinking and fear.

As a security measure, the new devices are laughable. The ballpark metal detectors are much more lax than the ones at an airport checkpoint. They aren’t very sensitive — people with phones and keys in their pockets are sailing through — and there are no X-ray machines. Bags get the same cursory search they’ve gotten for years. And fans wanting to avoid the detectors can opt for a “light pat-down search” instead.
The backlog was over an hour long when officials at some of the parks just said "fuck it" and stopped running people through the metal detectors.

Neat GIF (and no Justified, Please)

My plan to watch it as it aired fell through. Sleep was more of a priority. so please, no spoilers in the comments!

Natchez Shooter Supply has a neat animated progress GIF for page loading:


You might have to click on it to see it work, though.

TSA = Thousands of Sexual Assaults

An agency of pervs:
DENVER (CBS4) – A CBS4 investigation has learned that two Transportation Security Administration screeners at Denver International Airport have been fired after they were discovered manipulating passenger screening systems to allow a male TSA employee to fondle the genital areas of attractive male passengers.
They're saying that it happened only a dozen times, but I bet that's bullshit. I'll also bet that variations on that have been happening at other airports.

This was supposed to be humor, not a how-to video:

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

150 Years Ago

A group of bitter dead-enders conspired to assassinate President Lincoln and his cabinet. They killed the President and wounded the Secretary of State, William Seward.

To this day, you'll find the same sort of no-confederate lunatics who believe that that the way to prevail in a civilized society is to murder the politicians they disagree with.

The Right Bourbon for the Justified Finale Tonight?

At least the name fits:
Apparently, it's decent booze.

"You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive"-- Justified

The series wraps up tonight.


So open up a bottle of good bourbon* and settle in.

(And hope that the writers didn't screw it up.)
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* Not that imitation shit from Tennessee.

Care to Guess Whose Cheering for "Bush v. Clinton" in `16?

The makers of fine self-medications:


And it's a good thing that we don't heat and cook with coal gas anymore.

Monday, April 13, 2015

How to Lose the Election to Hillary Clinton

First, a little bit of a news story:
In a new, in-depth Marist poll, 35 percent of Latino-Americans describe themselves as somewhat to very conservative. Only 27 percent describe themselves as somewhat to very liberal. Yet when asked to identify by political party, the shift is dramatic. Just 16 percent identify as Republican, while 47 percent identify as Democrats. That’s basically a 3-1 advantage for Democrats.
Does anyone not understand why the disparity? You can't have a party that basically proclaims itself to be the White People's party and then turn around and wonder why members of other racial and ethnic groups don't like you.

There are roughly 25 million people of voting age who identify as Latino or Hispanic. The GOP has turned off five million of them. Even if half voted, flipping 2.5 million votes in 2012 would have given us President Romney.

But no, the GOP played then and plays now to its nativist base, not caring that the base doesn't win elections.

So what does this mean for the GOP this time around? 61 million women voted in 2012. More voted for Obama by about a 12% margin. The GOP historically has trouble attracting women to vote for their presidential candidate, but it probably could be a hell of a lot worse.

If the Republicans can resist the siren call of the Hate Radio Noise Machine to engage in smutty and misogynistic comments aimed at Hillary Clinton, they may have a shot at keeping the gender gap where it is. But if they can't, and if women across the country get the impression that the Boyos in the GOP are piling on like a bunch of SAE frat boys at a kegger, then women may care less about their differences with Mrs. Clinton and choose to stand with her as sisters.

And the GOP's presidential hopes will capsize faster than the Costa Concordia.

Don't Forget These Guys; American Stasi Edition

Remember, it's not just the NSA who's been spying on you. The DEA has been doing it for decades. The FBI, local cops and the ATF practice their own degree of jack-booted fuckery, as well.

And they lie about it.

Go Heavy on the Chapstik; Gun-Writers Edition

The NRA show is in full swing and that means that out will come the usual stories about the newest blaster by some company.

In this case, HK. Look, you might have to go into your gun shop and think about buying a gun based on one or two coon-fingering sessions, but the Pros from Dover ought to be a little more restrained in their writing. Let them go put 300 or so rounds through the piece and then write a review. These "I got to handle the New Chromium Death-26" reviews are the sort of shit-ass writing that heralded the Colt All-American 2000 and the Remington R51.

As for as it being a great concealment gun, allow me to point out that compared to the HK P30SK, the Ruger LC9s is nearly a half-inch thinner, six ounces lighter (and a hundred-fifty cheaper).

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Seventy Years Ago

President Roosevelt died.

He is roundly hated by the Right to this day. But the historical truth is that Roosevelt saved America for capitalism. And, by ruthlessly marshaling American industry, he was the architect of victory in the Second World War.

Sixty Years Ago

The first polio vaccine, developed by Dr. Jonas Salk, was declared to be safe, effective and potent.


Fewer and fewer people remember the terror of "polio summer" each year, or the gut-wrenching fear of a local outbreak.

All that began to end sixty years ago.

It was said that more people in the early 1950s knew of the status of research into a polio vaccine than they did about the status of legislation in Washington. A few years later, in collaboration between scientists in the Soviet Union and the United States, an even more effective oral vaccine was developed and tested in the USSR.

1979 marked the last recorded cases* of polio in the U.S. The scourge of polio had left our shores

Iron lungs are now virtually a medical curio, though there are a few polio survivors who still use them.
_____________________________
* Among the Amish, a group opposed to vaccination. And no, they didn't learn from that.

Flying a P-51B

An Army instructional film:


Almost everything that I've flown cruises slower than that puppy lands. It would seem that ground-handling could be a real handful.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

A PLAAF H-6


The H-6 is a copy of the Soviet Tu-16. The Russian and the other former Soviet republics retired their Tu-16s over 20 years ago. China exported H-6s to Iraq (destroyed in Desert Storm) and to Egypt (retired 15 years ago). Th H-6 is apparently the only large bomber in Chinese service.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

R51, Redux

LawDog mentioned that Remington has announced that they are re-releasing the R51, supposedly all fixed now.

Shouldn't they call it the R51.1?

Old NFO reports that if you own a Para Ordnance gun and you need repairs on it, you're going to be shit outta luck. Remington will only repair guns made after they acquired para.

Another Day, Another Police Outrage

This time, some cops in California last Friday took it upon themselves to mete out a little bit of private justice once the perp was in custody and handcuffed.

Their problem was that a news helo was overhead. News helicopters in southern California are almost ubiquitous, so they may not have even paid attention. The camera crew captured the beating.


How much longer are we willing to put up with this shit, people?

(H/T)

UPDATE: The cops involved are on mandatory paid vacation and the Feebies are looking into it. Because of course the local department can be trusted to impartially investigate itself, right?

Caturday

Another shelter cat would like to snuggle into your soul.

Friday, April 10, 2015

How the Murderer of Walter Scott May Walk Free

If the prosecutor "stacks the deck" by deliberately empaneling a biased jury.

Yes, that shit still happens. The St. Louis County prosecutor's office has (allegedly) been doing it for awhile.

It wasn't all that long ago that all of the video in the world wouldn't have gotten that killer cop convicted in most states. It still might not be enough.

Because It's Friday

The open-cab locomotive is Firefly, a recently-build replica of an 1840s locomotive:


The original could pull an 80-ton train at 60MPH, which was pretty impressive in its day.

Here's how eccentric the Brits are: The Great Western Rwy. in Firefly's day was a broad-gauge railway with a track gauge of 7'-1/4". So when they wanted to build a replica, they built it in broad-gauge and laid mixed-gauge track so they could run it.

The Brits also have something like twenty steam locomotives under construction.

Words to Live By

"If you run into an asshole in the morning, you ran into an asshole. If you run into assholes all day, you’re the asshole."

R.I.P., Lauren

You may remember the story of Lauren Hill:


(And the other team that made her dream come true.)

She passed away earlier this morning.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Fine Whine of the NYPD

The NYPD is whining that the murder of Walter Scott by an on-duty cop in South Carolina is going to make all cops look bad.

Ya think? That dirtbag in blue was caught using a variant of the old "throwdown gun" technique to justify his murderous act. That gambit has been whispered of for decades, but now, finally, one of the cops has been caught planting evidence.*

So yes, when a cop guns someone down and says "there's the gun/knife/club he threatened me with", fucking-a right people are going to wonder about it. That particular blue-suited killer said that the dead guy had the cop's taser and he was in fear for his life. All lies.

And as for the NYPD, they've had their own problem with overzealous policing and excessive force. But I probably don't need to hash over that, do I?
__________________________________
* Not to mention a previous complaint for excessive force that was swept under the rug. And the first cop at the scene after Scott was murdered? He stomped on the face of a man being arrested.

Ka-Zap: Power Usage Edition

On a per-capita basis, can you guess which state uses the most energy? And which state uses the least?

Ready?

The top user of energy is Wyoming.

The least user is Rhode Island. (California is 49th).

The data.

Of course, California makes some sense. Much of the state is temperate (Hawaii is 48th). But some of it isn't. Some pretty cold places are far down on the list: Vermont is 46th, New York is 50th. Remember, that data is all forms of energy, not just electrical.

As for electrical usage on a per-capita basis, Wyoming is still #1, but California is dead-last. All of the New England states are in the bottom 10.

Optimism in the Face of the Firing Squad

There's an old joke (or cartoon) about a guy who is about to be shot When offered a last cigarette, the guy refuses and says something along the lines of "they're dangerous to your health."

The same sort of attitude is found in this piece by the Washington Post Executive Editor Martin Baron about the shift from print journalism to online journalism. For nowhere in his cheery piece does he answer a simple and fundamental question: How are y'all going to make any money at it?

Newspapers are run by idiots.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A Real "Man of the People"... Heh

Brit Prime Mister Cameron, who is in the middle of campaigning to keep his job, went to a barbeque to mingle with the masses.

Where he sat down to eat and used a knife and fork to eat a hot dog.


Whether it's Dubya clearing brush or Kerry going hunting or Trump eating pizza, when these clowns try to pretend that they're "just plain folk", they often blow it.

How About "@NYPD_Fire_At_Will"

The NYPD is putting the precincts' "Twitter handles" on their cop cars.

Because the NYPD knows how to use Twitter?

Your Wednesday Wednesday

This is the one that has gotten a couple of million hits:

Murder by Cop

Watch the video. You'll see that the victim, Walter Scott, was already running away when the cop Michael Slager, who said he "feared for his life", pulled out his gun and fired eight shots at Scott. You'll also hear a delay between a seven shot fusillade and then the last, and deliberately-aimed, eighth shot. And then, after handcuffing the dying murder victim, the murderer oh-so-casually plants evidence to "justify" the murder.


The reasoning behind the FBI's investigation becomes clearer when it was reported that a South Carolina grand jury indicted a cop, who had shot and killed an elderly black man, with "official misconduct".

(H/T)

(What BadTux wrote is worth reading. Also Charles Blow.)