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, July 29, 2017

Caturday

A snowshoe kitteh:

Friday, July 28, 2017

Mooch Now Gets to Do a "Bannon"

Anthony Scaramucci, the White House’s potty-mouthed new communications director, has been dumped by his beautiful blond wife because of his “naked political ambition,” multiple sources exclusively tell Page Six.

Deidre Ball, who worked as a vice president in investor relations for SkyBridge Capital, the firm he founded in 2005 and sold to ascend to the White House, has filed for divorce from “The Mooch” after three years of marriage after getting fed up with his ruthless quest to get close to President Trump, whom she despises.
What is "doing a Bannon", you might ask? The Mooch defined it:
“I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock."
Now there're a couple mental images I may need to drink to erase.

Reince Priebus now has time to write his memoirs. I'll even give him a title: Six Months in Hell, Inside Trump's White House

Spicer and Preibus will probably come out all right. As the saying goes, there's no profit in being one of the last guys out of the bunker.

Pharma Bro's Trial

It is winding down, with closing arguments being made.

I gather that his lawyer's argument is that "it's not a bad thing to steal from rich people."

Seems kind of bizarre, but we'll see.

Nice State You Have There. Pity if Anything Happened to It.

That was essentially the threat that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke made to Senators Murkowski and Sullivan after Murkowski's first vote against TrumpNoCare.
President* Donald Trump isn't going to just let go of Sen. Lisa Murkowski's no vote Tuesday against debating Obamacare repeal.

Early Wednesday, Trump took to Twitter to express displeasure with Murkowski's vote. By that afternoon, each of Alaska's two Republican senators had received a phone call from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke letting them know the vote had put Alaska's future with the administration in jeopardy.
Did it work? Nope.
The Senate has dealt a devastating setback to Republican efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare, defeating a GOP "skinny repeal" bill early Friday morning.

Sens. John McCain, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins joined with Democrats to oppose the measure, a major blow to President* Donald Trump and the Republican congressional agenda.
Murkowski is the chairman of the Senate's Energy and Natural Resources Committee which has a lot of sway over what the Interior Department does. Murkowski wasted little time in signaling that if they want to play "fuck-fuck" games with her, she's got a pretty large hammer to swing and she's not afraid to use it.
As chairman... Murkowski indefinitely postponed a nominations markup that the Interior Department badly wants.

This demonstrated the degree to which Zinke’s ham-handed phone call was political malpractice. The secretary, or whoever at the White House ordered him to make the calls, clearly doesn’t understand the awesome power that comes with being the chairman of a Senate committee. Only an amateur would threaten the person who has oversight over his agency! If she wants, Murkowski can make Zinke’s life so unbelievably miserable.
Trump, of course, also blamed the Democrats.


He completely ignored the fact that the GOP has, from Day One, run their repeal efforts in a way that they neither needed nor sought any votes from Democratic legislators. If you keep proclaiming "we can do this ourselves, we don't need no stinking help from the likes of you", then it's not the other people's fault when your efforts crash and burn.

As to McCain, there could be a few things going on. First, he clearly has no fucks left to give. Trump insulted him repeatedly and questioned McCain's bravery. It took an amazing amount of gall for a draft-dodger to question the heroism of a man who not only was a POW, but refused early release when the enemy was trying to curry some favor. Add to that the point that there is nothing that Trump can do to McCain in retailiation for McCain's vote and that might be enough.

Another point is that this bill was truly awful and there were a number of Republican senators who, if push came to shove, would have torpedoed it themselves. But because McCain provided the coupe de gras to TrumpNoCare, they didn't have to. They could vote for a bill that they knew had no chance of passing (just like they did on the bazillion or so repeal efforts they attempted when President Obama was in office) and, by doing so, not do any harm and keep their cred up with the batshit-crazies in the GOP base. So McCain was, in essence, the beard for other GOP senators.

If there is any better example of why amateurs make shitty political chief executives than Trump (other than maybe Gov. Rauner in Illinois), I don't know who it is. Going from running businesses where you're the boss and everyone has to jump to your whistle and kowtow to your every whim to being a president or governor, where the legislature can and will tell you to fuck off and where the bureaucracy can slow-roll things on you seems to be too much of a leap.

Meanwhile, of course, Scott Pruitt is putting into play his policy of "clean air and water are for pussies", Betsy DeVois is running the Education department with a new motto of "we doan need no edjucashun" and beleagured Jeff Sessions is ramping up the failed war on drugs, but those are topics that will probably get more play now that Trump has failed to do anything about the ACA.

And, of course, the Russia thing is percolating away.

Because It's Friday

Working steam in China, throwing a lot of hot cinders:



Mainline steam operations ended in China a few years ago, but industrial and small-line operations continue. It's worth remembering that while mainline steam operations ended in the U.S. in the late 1950s, it was roughly another 25 years until the last working steam locomotive was retired.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Go Ahead, Mooch. Make Their Day

President* Trump may veto the Russia sanctions bill and “be tougher” on Russia than Congress, newly appointed White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci said Thursday in an interview with CNN.
Really. Trump is going to be even tougher on Russia?

OK, class, let's see a show of hands. How many believe that Trump will be tougher on Russia?

*crickets*

The votes on this bill are nearly unanimous. If Trump vetoes it, look for an override as a signal to Trump of, well, FOAD.

Trump Warned that Senate Will Shit All Over Him

Trump is reportedly considering trying to replace Sessions using a recess appointment, according to The Washington Post.

Democrats have pledged to block any move by requiring the Senate to have pro-forma sessions through out the August recess.
...
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, warned on Wednesday night that his panel would not take up an attorney general nomination this year--a move that could effectively stonewall Trump if he fires Sessions.
Now, to switch over to FLAILEX-17, which is the GOP's efforts to do something, anything, about the ACA. Trump is making it harder and harder.
President* Trump’s management style isn’t making him many friends in Congress.

Trump’s habit of bullying his allies has sown seeds of doubt about whether any political sacrifice by a GOP lawmaker will be rewarded — or even remembered — by the president.
What Trump doesn't seem to get is that Congress is, by the Constitution, an equal branch of the government. He cannot order them to do anything. They are warning Trump that the GOP caucus will shift into Seagull Mode if he keeps this up.

What Trump also doesn't get is that Sessions is one of the Senate's peeps. They know that he gave up a safe seat, where he could have stayed until he croaked, in order to serve as Trump's AG. They're not going to be very understanding if Trump fires Sessions because Sessions followed the law on conflicts.

My bet is that if Trump does fire Sessions, the needle on impeachment will move a bit.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Cooping Cops

In the St. Louis, MO area, the metro system serves two states. They have their own cops. St. Louis County didn't like that, so they've done their level best to ensure that only county cops can patrol the parts of the system in the county.

But they don't want to be held accountable. The county cops have been covering up surveillance cameras and otherwise just plain goofing off on the job.

The reaction of the County police mouthpiece is pretty much "how dare you guys watch us not working." And they are 100% against being accountable for bad performance.

Football and CTE

Basically, if you play football, you're at risk for brain damage. If you're playing college or pro ball, it's getting more towards not a risk, but a guarantee.

Probably the same for hockey.

As I wrote over a year ago, the day is coming when letting a minor play tackle football will be grounds for charges of abuse and/or neglect of a child.

Trump Eyes Another Purge, Wants a Bigger Toady at DoJ

President* Donald Trump has spoken with advisers about firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, officials say, and launched a fresh Twitter tirade Tuesday against the man who was the first U.S. senator to endorse his candidacy.
The thing that has to be understood is that Trump views the DoJ as his private goons-- go after anyone that he wants and leaves alone anyone that he wants to be protected. The rule of law matters nothing to Trump and he has been grievously wounded because Sessions followed the law instead of protecting Trump.

I have little regard for Sessions. But firing Sessions because Sessions followed the law is nothing more than a slow-motion Saturday Night Massacre.

So what Republican politician and attorney is sufficiently venal and soulless to take the job and do Trump's bidding?

Ted Cruz.

During the campaign, Trump called Cruz "Lyin' Ted", insulted Cruz's wife and said that Cruz's father was involved in the assassination of President Kennedy. It would take a certain level of self-hatred and lack of self-regard to even be in the same room with a person who said that about oneself and one's family, let alone go to work for such a bozo.

But that's Cruz. Besides, he's up for re-election next year and maybe he plans to get out while the getting is good.

At What Point do We Acknowledge That Child Abuse is a RCC Sacrament?

Five-hundred-and-forty-seven pupils at one of Germany’s most famous Roman Catholic choir schools were physically or sexually abused between 1945 and 2015, an independent report has found, with some boys likening the institution to “prison, hell or a concentration camp”.

The 440-page report chronicles teachers at the school in Regensburg doling out physical violence including slapping boys in the face so hard the marks could be seen the next day, whipping them with wooden sticks and violin bows and subjecting them to severe beatings.
One might think that they would eventually get around to realizing that they have a systemic problem with people in authority within their organization abusing children.

Back when the first big stories of child abuse in the RCC began to come out, there were people who dismissed it as an American problem. But it's everywhere and even now, the RCC keeps shifting their pervo priests around.

Of course, it's wider than that. It's in all religious entities. But the RCC, because of its hierarchal structure, has a serious problem with child abusers within its ranks. They don't seem to be making great strides at fixing their problems.

(H/T)

Monday, July 24, 2017

ObamaCare: Now Since 2000

So sez Trump, in what appear to be prepared remarks:



In 2000, Barack Obama was a second-term state senator and part-time law professor. That he was able to persuade the Congress to enact the ACA in 2000 and to get President Clinton to sign it into law was a stunning achievement.

And then, he was able to have it operating in the background with nobody noticing it for an entire decade....



Nazi-Grade Bullshit is Going On in Tennessee

Inmates in White County, Tennessee have been given credit for their jail time if they voluntarily agree to have a vasectomy or birth control implant, a popular new program that is being called “unconstitutional” by the ACLU.

On May 15, 2017 General Sessions Judge Sam Benningfield signed a standing order that allows inmates to receive 30 days credit toward jail time if they undergo a birth control procedure.

Women who volunteer to participate in the program are given a free Nexplanon implant in their arm, the implant helps prevent pregnancies for up to four years. Men who volunteer to participate are given a vasectomy, free of charge, by the Tennessee Department of Health.
...
District Attorney Bryant Dunaway, who oversees prosecution of cases in White County is worried the program may be unethical and possibly illegal.

“It’s concerning to me, my office doesn’t support this order,” Dunaway said.

“It’s comprehensible that an 18-year-old gets this done, it can’t get reversed and then that impacts the rest of their life,” he added.
"Concerning," "unethical," and "unconstitutional" are not the words that come to my mind. The word that comes to my mind is "evil". This is no different from having a program where thieves would have their sentences reduced if they agreed to having their dominant hand amputated.

This judicial order is nothing other than eugenics, the now-discredited idea that humanity can be improved by sterilizing marginal people. Eugenics was a central tenet of what passed for Nazi ideology. Eugenics was the intellectual basis for their reign of mass murder and genocide.

There are folks who keep coming back to the idea that they can make humanity "better" by selective breeding or some other similar bullshit. I do not hold with that.

And, unless I've misjudged the readership of this blog, neither do you.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Dunkirk, the Movie

I don't know how well it'll do at the box office, especially when the kids are going to see Valerian, but Dunkirk has to be near the top of great war movies. It doesn't focus on the leaders; the highest-ranking officers in the movie are a naval commander and an army colonel.

As far as I can tell, the film took very few liberties with the history of Dunkirk. The story gets told, but as an undercurrent to the chaos and terror of the battle.

I saw it in 2D. But they shot it in IMAX (film, not digital) and if you can see it in that format, do it.

UPDATE: Concur Ref. A. and B. And it won the weekend.

Leading Contestant in "The Most Despicable Person on Earth; Political Division"

A day after news came out about Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) brain cancer diagnosis, his onetime political opponent urged the ailing senator to think about his political future sooner rather than later — and expressed interest in the possibility of her taking over his Senate seat.
Dr. Shitbird said that she is only making this offer out of the goodness of her heart.

Apparently Shitbird was once an ER doc, which may make her qualified to remove the shiv that she tried to firmly place in McCain's back.

Just another one of those "compassionate conservatives."

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

C-5:



The C-5 program had a bit of a gestation problem. Wing cracks developed early on. The entire fleet had to be reworked. But ultimately, the airplane was successful and, finally, the Air Force had the heavy-lifter that it needed to retire its C-124s and C-133s.

The wings on the C-%as were replaced in the 1980s. The current reworked airplane is known as the C-5M.

C-5s are planned to be in use for another 25 years or so. There is currently no planned replacement.