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

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

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Caturday

"Thanks for the canned food. I want my treats, now. Hop to it!"


This is the litter that I use:


It's normally $9 a container. The local grocery store had them on sale for $4 on clearance. There were nine containers on the shelf.

I bought all of them. I don't know if they're no longer going to carry it, but I'm not looking forward to the fun of changing over a cat's litter. Chip is a pretty easy-going cat and so far doesn't seem to be finicky about anything, but one never knows.

135lbs of cat litter will last a good while.

Friday, March 24, 2017

TrumpCare: The Seven Year Gestation of a Turd

In a humiliating failure, President* Donald Trump and GOP leaders yanked their bill to repeal "Obamacare" off the House floor Friday when it became clear it would fail badly - after seven years of nonstop railing against the health care law.
The Republicans had seven years to come up with a plan to replace Obamacare.

They failed. They couldn't even get a bill through the House of Representatives, a chamber that they control.

Of course, Trump blamed the Democrats, which might play well in his own mind, but few will be fooled. The only way that the Democrats would have helped if the Republicans had tried to come up with a bill that would fix things that might need fixing.

But the GOP couldn't or wouldn't do that. Their fix was akin to curing illness by killing off the sick.

Trump's also going to deny that he ever said that he'd replace Obamacare immediately, even though he spent months on the campaign trail promising exactly that. That won't matter to his base. He'll keep lying to them and they'll remain in WETSU mode forever.

The hidden truth is that the Republicans never expected that they might have to do anything. They don't know how to do much of anything expect rant and rave. They have no ability to govern. It's been over a decade since the Republicans had control of Congress with a member of their party to sign things for them. There are a lot of House Republicans who, even though they've been in Congress for several years, have no experience at actually getting shit done.

The same is somewhat true in the Senate, especially when you consider Senators like Cruz and Rubio: Tools who have no use whatsoever.

Oh, they'll get a few things done. Like giving your ISP the power to collect your usage history and sell it to the highest bidder. That sort of shit they can do.

"Pizzagate" Deplorable Pleads Guilty

A North Carolina man who commandeered a Washington pizza restaurant with an assault-style rifle in December pleaded guilty Friday to weapons and assault charges in a deal with U.S. prosecutors. ... [Asswipe] pleaded guilty to a federal charge of transporting firearms and ammunition across state lines and a District count of assault with a dangerous weapon. ... Each count carries a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison, but prosecutors and [Asswipe]’s federal defender agreed that nonbinding guidelines would likely call for a federal sentence of 18 to 24 months and a District penalty of 18 to 60 months, which could run consecutively. The sides did not agree on a sentencing recommendation.
Whomsoever concocted and then those that spread the "Pizzzagate" lie should be doing time right along with Asswipe.

Shorter GOP: Ethics, Shmethics

The Justice Department is investigating California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter for possible campaign finance violations, an allegation the lawmaker dismisses as inadvertent mistakes.

The House Ethics Committee has been investigating allegations that Hunter improperly used campaign funds to pay for tens of thousands of dollars in personal expenses, such as trips to Hawaii and Italy and tuition for Hunter's school-age children.
Not quite sure how paying his kids tuition out of his campaign accounts falls under "inadvertent mistake", but I guess we'll see.

(Now cue up Fox News to start yelling: "But, email!")

Because It's Friday

Sometimes, even diesels need a hand!


From the narration, I'm guessing that this took place in the `90s.

The Answer is "No...

... and fuck you for asking."


Here is what I don't understand: The FBI is investigating Trump's campaign for colluding with Russia to swing the election. Trump's former campaign manager lobbied for Russia and was paid millions by the Russian government for doing so. The first guy he installed as his National Security Adviser took money from Russia and failed to register as a foreign agent. Trump's people watered down the pro-Ukranian plank of the GOP platform in `16.

An example of the last point: Go back a couple of years and you'll find no shortage of Republicans who were lambasting the Obama Administration for not sending weapons (aka "lethal aid"). but since Trump took control of the GOP, there has been word bupkis about any of that.

More and more keeps coming out about ties between Trump's people, if not Trump himself, and Russia.

And yet, Republicans are doubling down on their embrace of Trump.

Let's be really clear on this: We're not talking about financial improprieties or sexual randiness or use of a private email server or taking illegal campaign contributions or covering up illegal campaign activities (the latter is why Nixon resigned).

What we are talking about, now, is treason.

Republicans were so, so outraged over Hillary Clinton for having a private email server and were screaming to the heavens about the FBI investigating her for that, but they are closing their eyes to the FBI's investigation of Trump and his campaign for colluding with a hostile foreign power.

If this plays out as I believe it will, the Vichy Republicans (or Quisling Republicans) may find themselves having to to explain why they were so eager to embrace an Administration that was influenced by Russia and sought to put their thumb on the scales for Russia.

Because there are a lot of people out there who will do their damnedest to make sure that this isn't forgotten.

Including Yours Truly.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Nunes Needs to Go

I can't think of any other situation where the raw data of an investigation is openly discussed with the subject of such an investigation.
The chairman of the House intelligence committee defended his decision to both publicly discuss and brief President Donald Trump on typically secret intelligence about surveillance of members of the Trump transition team's communications.
So the Chairman of the committee investigating Trump's alleged ties to Russia is briefing Trump and keeping him apprised of what is uncovered and when. How is this anything close to being proper? Nunes is a fucking party tool. It should be clear that Nunes is playing Mata Hari for Trump and that Nunes has zero intent in conducting anything even remotely resembling an objective investigation.

This sort of treachery, though, is not unheard of:
A North Carolina district attorney said Friday that two assistant prosecutors no longer work for him amid charges they sabotaged investigations into abuse in their secretive religious sect.

District Attorney David Learner's announcement came just two days after he asked the State Bureau of Investigation to look into allegations by former Word of Faith Fellowship members against Frank Webster and Chris Back. As part of an ongoing investigation by The Associated Press, nine ex-congregants had said the men, both of them ministers of the sect, provided legal advice, helped at strategy sessions and participated in a mock trial for four congregants charged with harassing a former member.
...
The ex-congregants also said that Back and Webster, who is sect leader Jane Whaley's son-in-law, helped disrupt a social services investigation into child abuse in 2015, and had attended meetings where Whaley warned congregants to lie to investigators about abuse incidents.

So I Was Wrong

Israeli police on Thursday arrested a 19-year-old Israeli Jewish man as the primary suspect in a string of bomb threats targeting Jewish community centers and other institutions in the U.S., marking a potential breakthrough in the case.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld described the suspect as a hacker, but said his motives were still unclear. Israeli media identified him as an American-Israeli dual citizen and said he had been found unfit for compulsory service in the Israeli military.
Whether or not the Asswipe of Ashkelon is deranged or not will be determined. But clearly, his belief that he couldn't be traced was wrong.

I don't imagine that the Israeli courts will be too easy on him. As far as I know, they serve kosher food in Federal prison, so extradition is a possibility.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Drip, Drip, Drip

The FBI has information that indicates associates of President Donald Trump communicated with suspected Russian operatives to possibly coordinate the release of information damaging to Hillary Clinton's campaign, US officials told CNN.

This is partly what FBI Director James Comey was referring to when he made a bombshell announcement Monday before Congress that the FBI is investigating the Trump campaign's ties to Russia, according to one source.
The stench of treason is beginning to emanate from the White House and waft over Washington.

Meanwhile, another deplorable was hard at work:
A white man from Maryland who told police he traveled to New York to kill black men turned himself in on Wednesday, about 24 hours after he fatally stabbed a man he encountered on the street, officials said. ... New York police said they charged [the Asswipe of Baltimore], 28, with murder. Police said [Asswipe] encountered 66-year-old Timothy Caughman shortly after 11 p.m. on Monday and stabbed him multiple times. Caughman went to a police precinct for help and was brought to Bellevue Hospital, where he died, police said.

Trump Tower Wiretap

There, indeed, was an FBI wiretap involving Russians at Trump Tower.

But it was not placed at the behest of Barack Obama, and the target was not the Trump campaign of 2016. For two years ending in 2013, the FBI had a court-approved warrant to eavesdrop on a sophisticated Russian organized crime money-laundering network that operated out of unit 63A in Trump Tower in New York.
Let's be clear on this: Nobody's implicating Trump in any of this. There's no evidence that Trump or any of his people knew that criminal activity was being conducted out of that unit in his building.

London Attack

Some shit happened in London.

I kind of like the idea of not getting into stuff like this until at least some initial reportage and investigation's been done.

And so I shall do just that.

Tech Humor


The original.

Customs Continues Its Policy of Fucking With People Who Have Arab-Sounding Names

This time, it was a retired police chief.

What makes this even more damning is that Chief Aden has been cleared for PreCheck, so the Feds have already checked him out. I wouldn't be a bit surprised to learn that he had been screened for the "Global Entry" program, as well.

But hey, if you have a Muslim-sounding name, all bets are off.

The Life of a Violent Criminal is Dangerous

A robbery suspect inadvertently shot himself in the head as he was struck by a victim's vehicle early Wednesday morning outside a Denny's restaurant in Hawthorne, authorities said.
Across the country, stupid criminals are stupid:
EDWARDSVILLE, Pa. — Authorities say a man mistakenly sent a text message to a Pennsylvania prosecutor indicating that he wanted to trade marijuana for heroin.
The second idiot was arrested and then didn't appear for a court date, so they're looking for him.

Marky Meadows May Be the Dumbest Guy in Congress

[President* Trump] singled out Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, which has led the right-wing opposition to the bill.

“I’m gonna come after you, but I know I won’t have to, because I know you’ll vote yes,” Trump said, according to several lawmakers who attended the meeting. “Honestly, a loss is not acceptable, folks.”

Trump’s remarks — which Meadows said he took as good-natured ribbing — reflected his mounting urgency to secure a major legislative victory in the early months of his presidency and fulfill a central campaign promise by repealing the signature domestic achievement of President Barack Obama.
"Ribbing", my ass. Trump's history is of a guy who lives by a fairly well-defined rule: Never forgive, always get even. He never lets a slight go unanswered.

There's no such thing as political give and take for Trump. he's not a seasoned pol who knows that you win some, you lose some and that there's nothing personal in it. For Trump, it's all personal. He's still operating at the level of a grade-school playground bully.

One Case of Voter Fraud in Colorado

And it was committed by a Republican. Not just a Republican, mind you, the former state party chairman, who claimed that only Democrats commit voter fraud.

Seems that his ex-wife called her county's election office to ask for an absentee ballot. They told her that they had already received a ballot from her. An investigation was commenced and much hilarity ensued.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Good Enough for Some Death Threats From Cowardly Trumpanzees


(The story.)

FBI and NSA Directors Confirm: Trump is Nuttier Than a Truckload of Almonds

No, they didn't actually say that. They didn't have to.
British intelligence officials were formally exonerated on Monday by the director of the US National Security Agency from an extraordinary accusation of improper surveillance of Donald Trump.
And
Under questioning from the committee's top Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff, the FBI director also publicly contradicted a series of tweets from Trump that declared the Republican candidate's phones had been ordered tapped by President Barack Obama during the campaign.

"With respect to the president's tweets about alleged wiretapping directed at him by the prior administration, I have no information that supports those tweets, and we have looked carefully inside the FBI," Comey said. The same was true, he added, of the Justice Department.
But they are investigating Trump's ties to Russia:
Comey also acknowledged the existence of a counterintelligence investigation into the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election, and said that probe extends to the nature of any links between Trump campaign associates and the Russian government.

Comey said the investigation is also exploring whether there was any coordination between the campaign and the Kremlin, and “whether any crimes were committed.”
Meanwhile, Spicer the Liar is doing what he does best: Lying through his teeth.

Meanwhile, this is not terribly far-fetched.

And So It'll Begin; EU Edition

The Brits plan to send their Brexit letter on March 29th.

My suspicion is that the EU side of the negotiation will attempt to make it as hard as possible for the Brits. No favorable trade treatment, no deal on British expats unless the Brits agree to permit free movement of EU-member workers, which I assume they won't, as that was a centerpiece of the Brexit campaign. It may end up with a "hard Brexit", where if no deal is reached, the UK is booted out of the EU on March 29, 2019.

The UK might want to stay in the "single market" (despite what PM May has said), but I bet that won't fly. Paris and Geneva, among other major EU cities, may want to siphon off the banking business that London has had. They'll put pressure on their governments to not agree with the UK staying in the single market.

Scotland may leave the UK over this. There's probably less of a risk of Northern Ireland doing the same, but it's not inconceivable. Which means, for all intents, that the reign of Queen Elizabeth II will have begun with her being sovereign over an empire and it will end with her being the Queen of England and Wales.

PRODUCT RECALL: Walther CCP

Walther is recalling all CCPs to fix a problem with "drop-safe."

The biggest knock that I know of against the CCP is that it is allegedly a Umarex gun that was rebadged as a Walther. Umarex is better known for making airsoft (replica) guns. Putting Walther's name on a Umarex product is like putting a Porsche badge on a VW.

Trump Installs Politruks

The Administration of President* Trump has been installing political officers in Cabinet agencies.

The job of Trump's commissars is the same as the job was in the Soviet Union: Ensure political loyalty and shoot offenders in the back. Probably the latter is figurative under Trump, but one can never be too certain. I have little doubt that Chief Commissar Bannon would not hesitate to issue Tokarevs to his band of politruks if he could get away with doing so.

Meanwhile, Trump continues to peddle his lie that he was wiretapped by President Obama, either directly or by the Brits. Let's be clear, there is zero evidence on this, other than the bleatings of the mentally-questionable conspiracy-mongers. At this point, if Trump really does believe that he was wiretapped, then an objective observer would have little choice but to question Trump's grasp of reality.

In short, Trump is unhinged. He is a barking madman, a complete nutter, a lunatic with the ability to wipe out the bulk of humanity.

The Biggest Laugh I've Had About Trump in Weeks

Trump sees himself as a modern-day Andrew Jackson.

That is almost funny. Andrew Jackson was an army general and a war hero. Trump was a draft-dodger. Jackson was in at least one gunfight, fought duels and carried the ball from a duel in his chest for the rest of his life.[1] Trump's only violent towards women.

Jackson vs. Trump would be like taking a sword to a block of tofu.

I have little doubt that Old Hickory would regard The Donald as little more than a loudmouthed, shirt-fingered blowhard, if not a craven coward and a despicable insect because of the way Trump has treated women.
______________________________________________
[1] His doctors believed that the ball was too close to Jackson's hear to operate. That was probably a good thing, as between the lack of anesthesia and ignorance of the Germ Theory of Disease, they probably would have killed him.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

30 Year Space Mission

The Japanese Space Agency is working on a mission to the Jupiter Trojans. The mission will launch in the next decade and will finish in the middle of the century.

I know, Voyager 1 and 2 have been in space for forty years, still doing science, though they weren't planned for that.

(H/T via here)

Nobody Loves or Respects a Bully, or
How Trump is Surrendering the World to China

Ken McElroy was the town bully of Skidmore, Missouri for decades. After he shot and wounded an elderky grocer and was on bail, he walked around with a rifle and threatened the citizens of the town. Two people responded by shooting him to death in the middle of town, in broad daylight, and in front of at least forty witnesses.

Almost 36 years later, the killing is open and unsolved.

The story of Ken McElroy came to mind s I read stories about President* Trump's budget:
“It is not a soft-power budget,” Mulvaney explained. “This is a hard-power budget, and that was done intentionally. The president very clearly wants to send a message to our allies and to our potential adversaries that this is a strong-power administration.”
Hard power is the tactic of a bully. And it yields poor results.

Soft power wins friend and influence. The Marshall Plan was an example of soft power. The Soviets understood soft power. The Chinese understand it. China is making friends around the world by funding development projects in Asia, Africa and South America. China's friends will do things in return, such as allowing them to build port facilities for the Chinese Navy and airports for forward deployment of Chinese aircraft.

Soft power gives the country that uses it leverage in negotiations on other issues. Maybe a large power is having a problem half-way around the world; soft power gives that country a way to negotiate for support facilities. Soft power wins friends in other countries outside of the government. With soft power, you can influence generations, as the children who went to schools that America helped build and were educated by teachers funded by America, if not taught by Americans themselfs, will remember which nation gave them the tools they needed to prosper in life.

Hard power, by itself, gets a country little. Look, for example, at North Korea, which seems to rely only on hard power. Nobody gives a shit about North Korea. Even the Chinese are slowly running out of patience with North Korea.

What Trump and his team of neo-nazis are effectively attempting to do is turn this country into a large version of North Korea, a country that has no friends, only countries that are potential enemies and countries who will keep their distance. It is a foreign policy that is beyond stupid.

It is, in effect, if not actual fact, treason.

Deplorable at Work

How is not anything other than racism?
It was girls’ day out, and Diana Carrillo had abandoned her desire to eat healthy well before she, her sister and two friends got to the Southern California restaurant. The destination: Saint Marc, an upscale spot in the seaside city of Huntington Beach, where Carrillo had been once before.

As the waiter walked up to the table, Carrillo figured she’d splurge on the grilled-cheese sandwich and pay the $2 up-charge to add some of the restaurant’s signature bacon. To start, maybe she’d share a watermelon and cheese plate with her sister and friends.

But the mood soured quickly after the waiter appeared. Before he could serve the four Latina women, he said, they needed to show proof of residency. “I need to make sure you’re from here,” he said.
What that waiter now needs is a new job, for they fired him as soon as the shit hit the fan.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

L-39:


One of them was at my former home airport for years. It landed due to engine trouble. It ended up being pushed into a grass tie-down and left there. It was a huge hornet's nest.

Eventually, somebody bought it. It was disassembled and trucked out.