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

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Two Debate Pics

They've come to me by email, so I have no idea whom to credit.

Donald Trump: The Frank Burns of American Politics

Donald Trump blamed the moderator, a bad microphone and anyone but himself Tuesday after he was forced onto defense by Hillary Clinton's cascade of critiques about his taxes, honesty and character in the first presidential debate.
Duke Forrest on Frank Burns: "Every time a patient croaks on him he says it's 'God's will' or somebody else's fault."

That's The Donald. He showed up unprepared for a 90-minute debate and he even had the gall to try to make it seem as though trying to bullshit through it was a virtue. When he fell flat on his face, it was the fault of the microphone, of the audience, of the moderator, and maybe of the guy who didn't get lost while driving the limo to the hall. It's the immature losers of these things that make excuses for their shitty performances. An adult would have acknowledged that he did a shitty job, but that's not Trump. He's a petulant 12-year old boy in the body of a short-fingered old man.

It's always the losers who blame the referees. That the Trumpistas are bleating about the moderator tells you all you need to know about who prevailed last night.

Now maybe he'll just run away, as Rudy Giuliani suggested.[1] Apparently, to Rudy, "journalist" is equal to "stenographer".[2]
[1] Rudy's learned his military strategy from the original Mussolini.
[2] Besides, Giuliani's full of shit, for stop-and-frisk was indeed held to be unconstitutional. But the Mussolini of Manhattan's gotten a little rusty, since he effectively stopped practicing law about 25 years ago.

Don't Be Videoing Gunfights, You Idiots

As a followup to this post, I want to harp on the imbeciles who hold up their smart phones and video gunfights.

Last year, NYPD cops got into a running gunfight with some perp. The cops fired 84 shot and hit the bad guy once, in the calf.

When eight LAPD officers thought that they were being shot at by two women who were delivering newspapers, they fired over 100 rounds at them. Most missed the truck. The bullets hit homes and other vehicles.

A hell of a lot of cops, probably a huge majority of them, only fire their guns on a range when they have to. They are not experts. Couple in heavy triggers (mandated to reduce the chances of accidentally shooting themselves), adrenaline and large-capacity magazines and what you get is a recipe for "spray and pray". If it's truly a two-way gunfight, then the other party might not be any better at it.

All of which means that bullets will be flying everywhere and bullets care not what they hit. Get behind cover* or run the fuck away until you can get behind cover. You are not getting paid to march towards the sound of the guns.

One of these amateur videographers is going to catch a stray round, sooner or later. Don't be that guy.
* "Cover" is a place where the bullets aren't going to hit you.

Stupid Criminals are Really Stupid

This isn't exactly rocket science.
A nationwide manhunt for a man accused of kidnapping a 13-year-old girl and her 22-day-old baby came to an end Saturday when the three were found in a rural area of West Virginia. ... Kanawha County Dispatchers told WOWK-TV they received a report that Chris Derleth’s credit card had been used around 1:46pm Friday. Deputies believe Derleth is equipped with tents, sleeping bags and other goods and may be hiding out in a campground, national forest, or a rural wooded area, that would allow for free or inexpensive primitive camping.
Then he had the misfortune to walk into a convenience store where there was a sales clerk who was paying attention to Amber Alerts:
Faye Jarrell works at a convenience store along Cabin Creek Road. She says a little after noon Saturday, a customer walked in whose face was immediately recognizable.

"As soon as he walked through the door, I said 'Oh my God, that's the guy who kidnapped and they have the Amber Alert for.' "
Dumbass. And, given the family structure, DNA tests of the asshole and the baby might be illuminating.

Monday, September 26, 2016

A Puzzling Shooting by Another Asswipe

A troubled lawyer opened fire on morning commuters in Houston on Monday, injuring at least nine people before being fatally shot by police, authorities said. ... Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, in Cuba on a trip to develop trade relations, told reporters, "The motivation appears to be a lawyer whose relationship with his law firm went bad."
Really? Asswipe had problems with his former partner and/or where he had worked, so he loaded a bunch of guns into his Porsche, went out and just shot at random people?

They much be growing some real cowards in Texas.

Oh, and look, you idiots: If people are slinging lead about, don't stick your head up and take video! Who do you think you are, Robert Fucking Capra? (He got killed, by the way. So did Dickie Chapelle.)

And if you are going to be dumb enough to take video with your cell phone, can you at least take the video in landscape mode, ie, turn the phone sideways? Have a little bit of pride in what you're doing, will you?

Meanwhile, don't jump the line in a D.C. pizzeria.

Worth a Look; Mideast Ed.

An interview with the King of Jordan:

While shouldering much of the burden of the Syrian refugee crisis, the Jordanians seem to be fighting by Israel's playbook: Never give the enemy a break and always extract vengeance for brutality.

A question for NATO and the Obama Administration: Why aren't you asking the Jordanians what military equipment they need and then why aren't the C-5s, C-17s, A-330s and 747s in the air, already?

The King made a couple points that are worth hammering home.

First, that the West (the First World) is making a mistake by not going after all of the extremists at the same time. In our parlance, we're playing whack-a-mole. The King believes we need to hit all of the holes, simultaneously.

Second, that the Islamophobic rhetoric in the West is aiding and abetting the extremists. Al Qaeda flew those airliners on September 11th in order to spark an overreaction from the United States. The Islamophobic crap about "we are at war with Islam" serves the purposes of al Queda and ISIL. The Western Islamophobes are instrumental in helping the goal of the extremists to radicalize Muslims.

So why aren't we prosecuting Islamophobes for aiding and abetting the enemy?

Aww, I Was Hoping It Was a News Report of an Arson Attack in Redmond.

Microsoft's Ignite conference for IT Professionals is in Atlanta, Georgia, all this week, and it kicks off on Monday with a keynote led by Scott Guthrie, Microsoft's executive vice president of cloud and enterprise.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Riots and More

A few decades ago, I was on a ship that made a port call to Haifa. There were a number of guided tours available; one was to Masada. I signed up for that tour, for reasons that should be obvious to regular readers of this blog.

On the way there, the bus, a standard Israeli intercity bus, stopped at a checkpoint. A soldier in uniform came onto the bus, spoke to the guide briefly, and we were sent on our way.

Meanwhile, across the road, a bus going the other way was also stopped at the checkpoint. Its passengers appeared to be Arabs. Everyone had disembarked, with all of their belongings. The soldiers were in the process of searching everyone and everything when our bus, in essence, coasted through the checkpoint. Men, women, children, shopping bags full of food, everything was being searched.

One of the sailors on the tour bus remarked: “Them people ain’t going to put up with that shit forever.”

I tell that story as a parable for the deteriorating relations between the African-American community and the police.

Now, another story:

I went to law school in a Midwestern city. I was a member of a handful of was once called a “retreads”, the term had been updated to “second career students”. It was sort of nice, because the law professors didn’t fuck with us in the same way that they did with the fresh meat from college.

Anyway, one of the other retreads was a Black woman. She had had her own business, done very well, and had sold it. From time to time, she would drive to visit family in a Southern city. I once asked her how long it took her to drive there. She said sixteen or so hours. I expressed some surprise, as it was maybe twelve hours away. She told me she allowed time for being stopped each way, twice, by cops who were suspicious because she was Black and driving a late-model Beemer (or some other German luxury car). She regarded that with about as much aplomb as I would a drive during orange-barrel season.

This shit has been going on for a very long time.

It is within the living memory of some people that there was a time when cops called their nightsticks “nigger-knockers”. It is within the living memory of some people that there was a time when if a cop shot a Black man, there was no investigation-- all he had to do was reload his revolver. It was a little longer ago that the police would show up at lynchings in order to ensure that the murder was done in an orderly fashion.

It is beyond reasonable dispute that the NYPD’s “Stop and Frisk” program disproportionately targeted Black and Latino men. White parents don’t normally give their children “the talk” about how not to get their asses kicked or killed by the police. White scientists normally don’t end up discussing all of the times that they were hassled by the cops. When police departments are hit with consent decrees, it is almost always because of how the cops have treated minorities.

This shit has been going on for a very long time and the pressure has been building. It is not helped by the Clueless Corps of Conservatives blathering about "all lives matter", and their subtext of "there'd be no problem if all of you people would know your place." It's not helped by police militarization and the spreading police attitude that Americans, especially minorities, are the enemy.

It's getting ugly. And it's going to get worse. When you have a pot on simmer, it doesn't take much more heat to get it boiling.

But there are some glimmers of hope, for the proliferation of video recording has started to bring some of the brutal acts to light and to justice. The Rodney King case was the harbinger of that, for even though the cops that tuned up Mr. King escaped justice, the world saw what happened. Without video, the killer of Mr. Walter Scott would have gotten away with planting evidence to cover up the murder. The killer of Mr. Laquan McDonald would have gotten away with it, because his buddies lied to cover it all up (and only now, are facing some consequences for that.) In a story that has not seen much national exposure, an ex-St. Louis cops is being tried for murder from a 2011 shooting where said cop allegedly planted evidence to cover up the killing. And without video the killer of Mr. Crutcher would have gotten an attaboy instead of a manslaughter beef.

No wonder the cops want to make it illegal to video them. They want to go back to the days when they could tune up or kill people and only their testilying would be given weight.

Riots are often the protest of the powerless. You can condemn the riots, but to paraphrase Dr. King, doing so without acknowledging and condemning the underlying reality is moral bankruptcy. People are protesting and rioting because they know that the system is biased. They know that the Charlotte cops are desperately trying to frame Mr. Keith Scott in a way to show that their shooting of Mr. Scott was justified. Like the murder of Mr. McDonald by a Chicago cop, they fear that the delay and obfuscation by the city is a coverup.

It is clear that the ranks of the police contain a number of men who believe that the shooting of any Black man is justifiable. This is something that the cops, themselves, have to clean up.

You don't have to look hard to find cops and their friends bemoaning that they have lost the trust of the community. They need to take a hard look in the mirror instead of blaming video cameras and smartphones. Cops need to act as lawmen who are public servants, not as extrajudicial enforcers and occupiers. Saying, in essence, "we'll take our boot off your neck if you stop squirming" is no longer going to cut it.

But that's not going to happen any time soon.

Things are going to get worse.


"Bloody tourists!"- A shelter cat is not amused.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Because It's Friday

Steam plowing:

Ruger Mk.IV

A write-up by Tam.

I was kind of hoping that the new-seekrit Ruger would be a .44 Special revolver for the CCW market, but this still looks interesting.

No doubt Volquartsen will be selling accurizing kits in reasonably short order.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

They Move Faster in Tulsa

Prosecutors in Tulsa, Oklahoma, charged a white police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man on a city street with first-degree manslaughter Thursday.

Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler filed the charge less than a week after officer Betty Shelby shot and killed 40-year-old Terence Crutcher on Sept. 16. Kunzweiler said arrangements were being made for Shelby's surrender.
Or maybe they realized that trying to sweep this under the rug was not an option, not after the last one there.

Meanwhile, As the Cops Were Gunning Down More Black People, Pharma Sis was Grilled.

She was lambasted for her lavish compensation and for jacking up prices on the EpiPen. She thought the price was fair, probably because those executive bonuses don't fund themselves.

Then there is the corruption of Pharma Sis's mother using her position with the National Association of State Boards of Education to push her daughter's company's product.

And let's face it, taking a private jet to a hearing where one is being accused of profiteering was pretty fucking stupid.

I Remember It As Though It Was Yesterday

They didn't specify a year.....

The Coverup in Charlotte?

The Charlotte police are citing a law that hasn't yet come into effect as justification for not releasing the video of the shooting of Mr. Keith Scott.

That's bullshit. And it smells of coverup.

Just as it did in Chicago, where the city fought the release of the video showing Mr. Laquan McDonald being murdered by a cop.

I submit, Gentle Readers, that if the video in Charlotte supported the story of the cops, that it would have been released, somehow, within 24 hours.

UPDATE: The Charlotte cops are doubling down on their stance of "fuck you, no video". Again, I submit that if the video showed Mr. Scott with a gun, it would have been released. But since it hasn't, I will believe that the correct story is that he had a book in his hand and the cops killed him for Reading While Black.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Goddamnit, Are We Ever Going to Guillotine These Fuckers; Pharma Edition

A US drug company has increased the price of an acne cream by more than 3,900% to $9,561 in less than 18 months in the latest example of drug “price gouging”, which has enraged the American public and become a central topic of debate in the presidential election campaign.

Novum Pharma, a recently formed privately held Chicago-based company, bought the rights to drug Aloquin in May 2015. The 60g cream, which contains two cheap ingredients, was sold by its previous owner, Primus Pharmaceuticals, for $241.50.

Novum almost immediately increased the price by 1,100%, and hiked the price higher still in January 2016. Figures seen by the Financial Times show the company increased the price a third time last week to take the cost to $9,561.
The spokesweasel for Novum said that their products are "affordable to patients", which is a huge laugh in and of itself.

I don't know who the dead-armadillo-blowing bottom-feeders are who own the company, but I expect that information will soon be ferreted out and they will reap the public scorn and ridicule that they so richly deserve.


Seems That Trump Thinks Slavery Wasn't So Bad.

Donald Trump made another eyebrow-raising comment in his efforts to speak to the African-American community Tuesday, telling a rally in North Carolina that blacks in the United States are in their worst shape “ever, ever, ever.”
What sort of historically blind imbecile would even say something like that, you might ask. Your choices:
  1.  A white supremacist.
  2. Donald J. Trump.
  3. Both of the above.
  4. There's no difference between #1 and #2.
Slavery. Jim Crow. Lynch law. Yepper, times were so much better back then.

Monsanto is too Dirty a Name?

With Bayer AG’s proposed $66 billion purchase of Monsanto Co., the company that invented Aspirin is poised to take on one of the world’s biggest corporate headaches. A potential cure: dropping the Monsanto name.

The German drug and chemical conglomerate is considering that move to avoid sullying its reputation, according to people familiar with internal discussions at Bayer who asked not to be named because the talks are private.
Really? A company that made poison gas in the First World War, whose "doctors" conducted "medical research" in concentration camps during the Second World War, who promoted them to high positions after the war and which, to this day, has stuck with its Nazi-inspired rewriting of the history of the development of its signature product in order to eliminate any credit due to a Jew, this is the company that fears that "Monsanto" would sully its good name?

Ye Gods!

Compared to what Bayer has done, Monsanto is like a kid scribbling on the walls with crayon.

Whoa- That Ever Happened?

I had the TV on in the background, as I was playing with the cat. The usual ads were blathering and then I heard a line: "It's time to bring integrity and honesty back to Illinois."

Whoa. That was ever a thing in Illinois? It seemed to be the rule that the retirement package for their governors included a stretch in the penitentiary.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Almost a Good Idea from Gary Johnson. Almost.

Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson on Monday said he would shutter the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as president. ... Johnson, the former GOP governor of New Mexico, said he would have the FBI assume the DHS’s responsibilities.
Disestablishing DHS is a decent enough idea. They are a clusterfuck agency, with La Migra chasing down lawful private pilots, when not acting like tenth-rate music critics.[1]. DHS, an agency founded to fight terrorism, is combating art theft, copyright violations, illegal parking, and child pornography.

But putting the FBI in charge is a terrible idea. The FBI was fascist back when fascism was cool. And they are fucking pretty good at it, for they've had over a century's worth of practice.

Johnson calls himself a "libertarian", which is hooey. Anyone who advocates giving more power to the FBI is a statist. You'd expect such an inane proposal from DiFi or Peter King (R-IRA), not a "libertarian.
[1] Kind of like making the meter maids do building inspections.

How Sleazy is Trump?

Very. For when you think you've seen the worst of his ethical practices, the Donald sinks to a deeper low.
Donald Trump spent more than a quarter-million dollars from his charitable foundation to settle lawsuits that involved the billionaire’s for-profit businesses, according to interviews and a review of legal documents.

Those cases, which together used $258,000 from Trump’s charity, were among four newly documented expenditures in which Trump may have violated laws against “self-dealing” — which prohibit nonprofit leaders from using charity money to benefit themselves or their businesses.
As the article goes on to explain, he has also used money from his foundation to buy expensive bits of crap for himself.

As for his tax returns, it's probably open to speculation whether or not they will show that he is in bed with the bin Laden family as well as elements of the Russian mafia. For he is doing his level best to hide them from public inspection. It's already an open secret that he can only borrow money from one of the more corrupt banks. Even Vinnie the Hammer wouldn't float him a loan.

Dear Parents Who Let Their Kids Play With Toy Guns:

You need to supervise them. Don't let them go running around the town with toy guns or BB guns that look like the real thing.

This is what happens: The kid points the gun at an adult. The adult calls the cops. The cops show up to a "armed perp" call. Then maybe your kid points the gun at the cops.

Now, if your kid is maybe six years old, the cops might ask the kid to please put down the gun and you're going to get a hell of a lecture. You might even have some legal troubles.

But if your kid is 12 or 13 and he (for it's almost always boys) points what looks to be a gun at a cop, he is going to get shot to doll rags. That will be even more likely to happen in cities and places where it is not unheard of for kids that age to commit armed robberies.

It's possible that the person that the kid pointed a gun at has his or her own gun and they shoot your kid. Whether your kid was killed by a cop or an armed citizen, they will probably feel really bad about it afterwards. But legally, they're going to be in the clear, maybe 99.44% of the time. What a rational person would assume to be a gun was pointed at them; the law does not require them to take fire before defending themselves.

You will be left with some mementos of your child and a grave to visit.

True, race and class enter into this and may have an effect on the outcome. But that's a bigger problem to solve.

Don't let your kids run around with realistic-looking toy guns.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Congressman Lev Zeldin is a Dick

With a suspect in the weekend bombings in New York and New Jersey caught by police Monday morning, Congressman Lee Zeldin of New York took to Twitter to inform his constituents of the news.

He also took the opportunity to mention San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

“Suspect in custody,” Zeldin tweeted. “You are welcome Colin Kaepernick.”

This is Asswipe's Tweet.

What the issue that Kaepernick is protesting (the harsh over-policing of minorities) has nothing to do with the most recent NY bombing.

Except, maybe, in the mind of some batshit-crazy and apparently racist congressman from one of the least-racially diverse districts in the NY metro area.

Birther Nation

No additional comment required.

We'll See If This Sticks to Christie

Gov. Chris Christie was told of the George Washington Bridge lane closures as they were occurring in 2013, a federal prosecutor told jurors on Monday in U.S. District Court.

David Wildstein, who has already pleaded guilty to playing a role in the incident, and Bill Baroni, who is now on trial for his alleged role in the scheme, “bragged” about the traffic gridlock that lane closures were causing when they spoke with the Republican governor at a Sept. 11 memorial in Lower Manhattan, Assistant U.S. Attorney Vikas Khanna said.
Doesn't mean, of course, that any of that is true. Opening statements can be a good roadmap of what that side's case is. They can also be bullshit that doesn't hold up in trial.

We shall see. Be interesting if Baroni pleads out in the middle of trial, without admitting anything.

Shiver Me Timbers, Mateys!

Today is Intergalactic Talk Like a Pirate Day.


Detecting Bigotry

I have a test that I use when I read or hear stuff about "the Muslims" or "the Mexicans". I substitute "the Jews". And then, if the sentence or speech or article comes across as being deeply racist and offensive, I figure that it probably is.

You can probably connect the dots.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Yard Signs

In my drives and strolls, I've seen a lot of yard signs promoting various candidates: Governor, senator, congressman, county assessor, lieutenant governor (who wants that job) and so forth.

But I rarely ever see a yard sign for any of the presidential candidates.

That tells me something, but I'm not sure what.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

A F-22 in the Mach Loop:

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Fascists for America Endorse Trump

This is absolutely no surprise whatsoever: The "Fraternal Order of Police" endorsed Trump.

Trump has a long history of using the legal system to abuse people with less power, or those who displease him. He's been blowing a dog-whistle that he approves of harsh police tactics and brutalizing minorities.

So no wonder the Association of Junior Jackboots has endorsed him.

Trump Campaign Channels Its Inner Putin

So a reporter asks for access to a Trump event. In short, the reporter is arrested for trespassing.

Naturally, the Trump campaign denies all involvement. They blame the hotel, so it might be worth asking the Omni Hotel corporate brass why they are acting as Brownshirts for Trump.


Moms make good pillows.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Big Fucking Deal; Rocket Edition

Blue Origin Will Test Its Capsule Abort System ... in Flight!

NASA tested the abort system for the Mercury and Apollo spacecraft in flight. But they built a much cheaper and smaller rocket for the tests, the Little Joe and Little Joe II. One of them came apart in flight and gave the abort system a real-world test.

Actions Have Consequences; Hacker Edition

The computer activist Lauri Love has lost his appeal against extradition to the US, where he could face up to 99 years in prison for hacking into the computer systems of American missile defence centres and financial institutions.
Of course, there is plenty of butthurt. He's "special".

Whatever. You know what? Fuck him. I've not seen any claims that Love did what his is charged with because of a higher motivation. He wasn't exposing wrongdoing or governmental illegality. He allegedly attacked government computers because some other hacker, who had been arrested for the same kind of shit, offed himself in jail. He was participating in acts of vengeance, not social justice or the common good. He was doing it because he could. Which is not really different from other vandals.

I don't know what the current UK legal standard for an insanity defense, but I'll bet that having Asperger's or depression isn't going to cut it. His extradition for similar crimes was blocked in `12, but the little fuck didn't take that as a warning. He apparently took that as a license to keep fucking with government computer systems.

So yes, fuck him.

Because It's Friday

Steam sawmill demonstration:

Some of the footage is laden with lens lice. But there is enough visible to make an OSHA inspector drink heavily. You'll see plenty of things where a moment's inattention would give someone a really bad day.

The second to last verse of The Secrets of the Machines applies.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Winning Hearts and Minds Around the World

Here are a few people who are populating the basket of deplorables:
A British woman's traditional Muslim clothing was set on fire on Fifth Avenue, New York police have said.

The woman, who had been staying in a Manhattan hotel, was returning from sightseeing when she felt a warm spot on her arm, an officer told the BBC.

She turned and saw her arm on fire and a man with a cigarette lighter. She was able to pat out the fire with her hands and did not suffer any injury.
And more: Some asshole set fire to a mosque in Florida in a crime equivalent to torching a church on Easter Monday
A mosque in the US state of Florida has been set ablaze by an arsonist during the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday, authorities said, without ruling out that it was a hate crime.

Fire crews arrived at the scene in the early hours of Monday after receiving reports of flames coming out of the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce, located about 160km southeast of the city of Orlando.
And back in New York:
A Donald Trump supporter who calls herself Mary Magdalene has been arrested for a hate crime after allegedly punching and attacking two Muslim women in front of their babies.

Cop Fired for Not Being Trigger-Happy

You might want to avoid Weirton, WV, where the cops get fired for not killing people.

MH370, JonBenét Ramsey, Another Bankster, NK, the 9/11 Families and the Deplorables

One of the benefits of this modern age is that, with so many media outlets, nobody has to pay attention to bullshit stories if they don't want to. Two examples that come to mind are the continuing tidbits of "did this bit of metallic debris come from Malaysia Air Flight 370" or "who whacked JonBenet Ramsey".

My take: Let me know when they either find the fuselage or they make an arrest. Otherwise, STFU.
Wells Fargo has agreed to pay $185 million in fines for illegal sales tactics. Meanwhile, the very bankster who was in charge of all of that fuckery is getting $125 million to go away. It's probably a safe bet that most of the other people the bank fired for this got no such lavish treatment.

Here're two ideas: 1) Increase the fine by tenfold, and 2) give the bankster a golden parachute and then toss said bankster out of an airplane (at or above 3,000' AGL).
Historic flooding has crippled North Korea’s most remote counties, killing at least 133 people and leaving at least 100,000 people homeless after a devastating typhoon ripped through the already isolated nation, according to U.N. officials.

The storm’s aftermath forced the power-hungry country to ask for water, medicine and food — anything to help the estimated 150,000 people impacted by Typhoon Lionrock, all while facing international backlash for unleashing its fifth and most powerful nuclear test yet Friday.
In the face of such a human tragedy, saying "go fuck yourself" may be a hard and cruel response, but so be it. The rest of the world has helped North Korea deal with famines and other disasters and the general response of the North Koreans has been to stick a thumb in the eye of the international community.

Sooner or later, we're going to have to glassify the fucking country. And we will have no choice. The security of our country, and indeed, that of most of our allies has been based on the premise of "fuck with us or our friends and you will be nuked." If they are dumb enough to call the bet, then they'll get to see our hole card.

(Yes, I know it's film of a Soviet test shot. So sue me.)
President Barack Obama will veto a bill that would allow terror victims of the attacks on September 11, 2001, to sue Saudi Arabia, the White House said Monday.
"That's still the plan," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said when asked if the President planned to veto the bill.
(Self-launching video alert)
At some point, it begins to look less like "justice for the 9/11 families" and more like "9/11 families seek more cash". There was a yuuge special victims fund that was set up after the attacks and the 9/11 families got some pretty generous compensation for their losses.

They want more, now?

Everybody reading this knows a family that has been touched by tragedy. Disease, accidents, homicide, war, natural disasters. A storm floods your home and your lose your family, you might get some help. Or not. Your mom walks across the street and gets creamed by a drunk-driver with no insurance-- you're not getting a huge payout. Your brother get carjacked and killed in downtown (name your city)-- there's no special victims fund to help your family.

But the 9/11 families are "special".
Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence blasted Hillary Clinton Monday for her comment referring to "half" of Donald Trump's supporters as belonging to a "basket of deplorables." But Pence declined to categorize Trump backer -- and white nationalist -- David Duke as "deplorable."

"I'm not in the name-calling business," Pence told CNN's Wolf Blitzer, while at the same time repeating Trump's disavowal of Duke's support.
(another goddamn self-launching video)
Really, Mikey? A guy who calls for reinstituting segregation, and worse, isn't "deplorable"? I guess you have to take a knee during the playing of the National Anthem to be deplorable to Republicans. Trump has been blowing the white supremacist/neo-nazi steam whistle for over a year. They all know that he's their guy and they've been actively working to support him. And, despite Pence's mealy-mouthed words, Trump has been pretty shy about denouncing them.

If noe-nazis are not deplorable, then who is?

Monday, September 12, 2016

A Bit of a Fib, Mr. President

In his 9/11 statement:
Because as Americans, we do not give in to fear. We will preserve our freedoms and the way of life that makes us a beacon to the world.
Bullshit. Sure we do. The execrably-named "USA Patriot Act" was fear-based legislation. The national-security caucus (Dianne Feinstein and Peter King, prop.) have never found a freedom or liberty that they have been willing to preserve.

Warrantless searches. National security letters. Monitoring the electronic communications of all Americans (whether directly or by proxy). There have been no shortage of liberty and freedom-curtailing legislation and executive actions over the last fifteen years.

Go back in the past a bit. How about the internment of Japanese-Americans and the forced confiscation of their property in 1942? How about the Red Scare or the Palmer Raids? How about the suppression of dissent by the Wilson Administration during the First World War? Or you can go all the way back to the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798.

In the present day, we have a major presidential candidate that is running about 95% on a platform of fear and xenophobia. And he has a lot of supporters.

"We do not give in to fear."-- Horseshit, Mr. President.

LCS: Putting Tabasco on a Dog's Breakfast

VADM Rowden, Commander of Surface Forces, has issued a statement of what is going to be done to make the LCS hulls into a semi-usable asset.

There are some good things. One of which is ditching the "swappable mission modules" bit (of which, none have had any demonstrated utility as of eight years after LCS-1 was commissioned). Another is establishing shore-based non-contractor support, sort of like an ashore tender. There will be training support, again, non-contractor. The first two hulls of each class will be training ships. And all of that will be under the command of the LCS squadron commander. Finally, the "multiple crews manning multiple ships" idea, so favored by the MBAs in Ft. Fumble, is gone, replaced by blue/gold manning.

All of which is probably nearly as good as it'll get. I remain skeptical that the LCS hulls will ever be of more than marginal utility, as they are too lightly manned to remain at sea for any extended operations. And without pouring a lot of assets into supporting the ships, even a two-crew model is a recipe for lousiness.

But we shall see.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

9/11 + Fifteen Years

I'll stand with what I wrote on the ninth and tenth anniversaries. And this, written before then.

And read this, which FB censored, because the " 'Murrica, 'Murrica!" crowd hated it.

Rudy Giuliani is Beyond Stupid

The former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani has argued that “anything is legal” in war, defending Donald Trump’s call to “take the oil” of Iraq, one of the Republican nominee’s proposals that appears to violate international law.
So there is no such thing as a "war crime" to Rudy.

The man is a clown, a revisionist who once claimed that there were no terror attacks during Bush's term.

Bless his heart.

Your Sunday Morning Prop Noise


Air-show announcers should be seen and not heard. Or heard less often.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Political Operatives are Doug Feith-Level Stupid

With Election Day less than two months away, Democrats are increasingly worried that Hillary Clinton has not built a formidable lead against Donald Trump despite his historic weaknesses as a national party candidate. ... Clinton leads Trump by three percentage points, having fallen from her high of nine points in August, according to the latest RealClearPolitics average. That tightening has frustrated many Clinton allies and operatives, who are astonished that she isn’t running away with this race, given Trump’s deep unpopularity and his continuing stream of controversial comments.
How is this a mystery to anyone? There has been plenty of polling data about the high negative numbers for both candidates and that their chief pitch has been "I'm not as despicable as my opponent".

To not see that this would be the situation takes some real professional-grade stupid. Hasn't it been obvious for a year or more that Trump can say all manner of hateful and outright false shit and it doesn't slow him down a whit?

And only now the Clinton campaign is understanding this? Did they hire these guys?


One of these kittehs is not like the others......

Friday, September 9, 2016

"Quantity has a Quality All of Its Own"

That's the rationale for churning out a lot of weapons as cheap as possible.

Another one is: "Perfect is the enemy of the 'good enough'."

The Liberty ships were a fine example of that. Problems were acceptable in wartime when the idea was to build cargo ships very quickly due to the losses in the Battle of the Atlantic. The B-29s were rushed through with teething problems, the early ones were known for engine fires. P-39s and P-400s were crappy fighters, though the Soviets made good use of them.

And, of course, the prime example is the T-34 tank, of which the Soviets made over 55,000. The Americans made almost as many Shermans.*

The LCS was supposed to be all that: Cheap to build and built in quantity. Except that they are such pieces of shit that the first four are being sidelined as T&E hulls that will only deploy if the Chinese need more ships to sink.

Which means that, eight years after the first one was commissioned, only one Independence-class LCS is in active service (and undergoing repairs from shock trials) and only one Freedom-class LCS is in active service (in repairs from an engineering casualty).

Fucking pitiful.

In that time, Bath has commissioned five DDG-51s and Ingalls three. The Navy has bought fourteen more of them. The LCSs take two crews to run, which is close to 200 officers and sailors. A DDG-51 takes over 300, but what the hell, they work and they're manned like warships (one crew per).

When you have one crew per ship, the crew has an identity with their ship. She's theirs, they own it and the ship's ability to sail and her appearance matter to the crew. Two or more crews, well, they don't own the ship, they rent her. If there's a problem that can be kicked to the next crew's cycle, it will be.

In short, a traditional warship is family. A multi-crewed warship is a whore. And they are both treated about as you'd expect.

Our circle-jerk of a congress, of course, doesn't seem to give a fuck. LockMart and Austal are making bank and, well, you know how the corporate welfare department at Ft. Fumble operates.
* The Germans, in comparison, made less than 2,000 Tiger tanks and 44,000 other tanks during the entire war, a number doubled by the Americans alone. The British made about 38,000 and used most of the Lend-Lease Shermans. The Soviets used Shermans and, besides the T-34, made about 10,000 other tanks.

Because It's Friday

The Pikes Peak Cog Railway.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Trump is Like an Arsonist Complaining About Firebugs

Donald Trump defended his admiration for Russian President Vladi­mir Putin at a forum here Wednesday focused on national security issues, even suggesting that Putin is more worthy of his praise than President Obama.

“Certainly, in that system, he’s been a leader, far more than our president has been a leader,” Trump said. “We have a divided country.”
And who has been one of the prime-movers in dividing the country? Donald the Birther:
Donald Trump's running mate Mike Pence admitted Wednesday that he believed President Obama was born in the U.S. — a stark contrast to the years of refusals by the GOP nominee to do so. ... Pence's obvious statement marked a sharp departure from Trump, who as recently as this past weekend again refused to disavow his years-old "birther" claims that Obama was not born in the U.S.
Trump is a race-baiter and the best bud for white supremacists. He admires dictators and thugs like the Kim Jong-un (who just outlawed sarcasm), Saddam Hussein and Vladimir Putin, whose political foes seem to end up in jail or the morgue.

Can you imagine the uproar in "conservative" circles if a Democrat who was running for president said nice things about Kim Jong-un? Or Putin? They'd lose their fucking minds. And if Hillary Clinton played as fast and loose with reality as does Trump, they'd definitely lose their shit.

The only time that Trump isn't lying is when he tells people how great he thinks he is. For he is truly a legend in his own mind.

UPDATE: Republicans in the Senate are doing their very best impression of an ostrich.

But, to be fair, what choice do they have?

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

How's That "War on Drugs" Working Out for You?

Heroin has been found laced with a pain medicine developed for elephants. Since elephants are about 75 times heavier than people, the drug is extremely potent. People are overdosing and dying, if nobody can get to them with one or two doses of narcan.

This is, mind you, 45 years after Tricky Dick declared the war as a political tool to boost his chances for reelection.

Of course, just as the prohibitionists did in the 1920s, the modern-day prohibitionists will cheer every overdose death as a morality play.

All this goddamned "drug war" has done is kill people, enrich police departments, create larger Federal law enforcement bureaucracies, fill our prisons and dismantle the protections of the Bill of Rights against unlawful searches and seizures.

It is time that we end this insanity. Legalize *everything*. Regulate the purity and quality of the drugs so if people want to ruin their lives by taking drugs, at least they're not using shit that has been stepped-on with baby laxative or mixed in with painkillers for pachyderms. Legalizing would also shut down the cartels, the police that have been leeching off drug money confiscations and the vampiric private prison industry. They can give WARN notices to everyone in the DEA, close a bunch of prisons, do a thorough investigation of the alleged brutality and mistreatment endemic to the private prison industry and maybe refill some of the public prison cells with those profiteers of human tragedy.

Legalizing would take much of the stigma out of admitting that one has a drug problem.

And we can tax it all, too. Some of the tax money could go to funding treatment programs.

Legalizing drugs won't solve everything. But what we've been doing in this country for the last ninety years or so hasn't worked.

Not Something You See Every Day; Baseball Edition

An inside-the-park homer:

His team lost.

A 3-Engine Airplane with 4-Blade Props

As I noted over a year ago, the EAL DC-7 is still grounded in Charlotte. The Carolinas Aviation Museum lists it as a temporary exhibit.

The Historic Flight Foundation, which restored and owns/owned the airplane, no longer acknowledges it as part of their collection.

The airplane has been deregistered.


Shorter Jill Stein: 'Waaah. Waaaah. Waah."

She is complaining that she and Gary Johnson are being excluded from the debates.

Call the waaabulance!

The debates are put on by a private entity. They get to set the rules for their debates, under the age-old legal principle of "my bat, my ball, my rules". If Stein and Johnson don't like it, well, it sucks to be them. They're free to set up their own debates. Whether or not they can persuade Trump or Clinton to play along and whether or not anyone pays attention is a different matter.

Glenn Beck Makes Sense

Please, just read it.