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

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Why You Shouldn't Take Business Advice from the Newspaper Industry

Look, I'm not in that business. But, as I explained seven years before, a newspaper offering its shit online and for free is run by morons who are committing business seppuku.

That's not how The New York Times sees it, of course:
It should be no surprise that The Village Voice has ended its print edition in favor of an online, digital-only presence. The alternative newspaper, whose weekly edition once helped set New York’s political and cultural agenda, is merely going the same route as a slew of other newspapers and magazines before it.
Yes, because they went online.

Most of those "paywalls" are about as effective as a chain-link fence is at preventing the flow of water. When a publication goes online, they are giving their shit away for free. You tell me, how does a private enterprise succeed by giving away its product?

I will give you an example of the dumbshitedness of The New York Times: They offer digital subscriptions in their print service areas. A regular 7-day print subscription in the New York metro area is about $15.50 a week. A basic digital subscription is $3.75. For $6.25 a week, you get two enhanced digital subscriptions.

So, for a quarter of the price, you get to read everything and all of those print advertisers lose eyeballs.

How the hell does that make business sense, people?

(And that would assume that The New York Times had a relatively impermeable paywall. Which they absolutely do not.)

A newspaper may be able to exist in its home market if it's a print-only operation. But most of them, if they go on line, will die, sooner or later.

ESPN = Extremely Stupid People Network

ESPN is facing criticism after deciding to take announcer Robert Lee off of a University of Virginia football game simply because his name is similar to the famous Confederate general.

The network came to the decision after a white supremacist rally protesting Charlottesville's planned removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee turned violent, culminating in a man driving his car into a group demonstrating against the neo-Nazis and killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.
Really, guys? You fuckers don't know that Lee is one of the more common surnames in both China and Korea? It'd be akin to getting upset because an Anglo was named John Brown.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Stupid Fuckers, USN Edition

The U.S. Navy’s top uniformed officer wants to bring in industry experts to help the service understand why it has suffered two serious crashes in the Pacific theater in the last three months.

Speaking to reporters Monday afternoon, Adm. John Richardson, the chief naval officer, said that he expects to bring in leaders from industry as part of a broader review on what might have led to Sunday’s crash between the destroyer John S. McCain and the Liberian-flagged merchant vessel Alnic MC.
"Industry experts". Right. About the only similarities between merchies and warships is that both types of ships float and move through the water.

Here's a better idea: Get together a few panels of post first-tour and second-tour junior officers. Ask them what the fuck is going on and task them with coming up with solutions. They know the problems of driving warships better than any bunch of "industry experts" with Ph.Ds in whatever.

Not that'll happen.

Stupid fuckers.

It's Your War, Now, Donnie

President* Trump put forward on Monday a long-awaited strategy for resolving the nearly 16-year-old conflict in Afghanistan, but he declined to specify either the number of troops that would be committed, or the conditions by which he would judge the success of their mission there.

In a nationally televised prime-time speech to troops at Fort Myer, Va., Mr. Trump said there would be no “blank check” for the American engagement in Afghanistan. But in announcing his plan, Mr. Trump deepened American involvement in a military mission that has bedeviled his predecessors and that he once called futile.
"Trump's plan" makes the war his war.

Smoke, mirrors and few, if any ideas. "Kill the enemy." Doing that without trying to minimize civilian casualties is a fairly terrible idea. "Rein in corruption in Afghanistan".... might as well go order the tide to reverse itself. The only Afghan regime since 1979 that was able to make inroads against governmental corruption was the Taliban, because they did it by the simple expedient of bribe-takers got shot.

Afghanistan is one of the most corrupt nations on the planet. It has been for a very long time.

And, to be blunt about it, the idea that Trump is going to come out against corruption is laughable.

Collision at Sea, Some Thoughts

If you want to get a look at the disaster that is the Navy's training of shipboard officers ("surface warfare officers"), then read this.

No surprise that the trainwreck became fully-formed during the Rumsfeld era.

Saying "oh, we'll train them on their first ship" was about as foolish as it gets.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Of Course Trump Looked Directly at the Sun

Maybe someone told Trump that Obama had tweeted a reminder to people to wear their eclipse glasses.

I can't even snark about the fact that we have a president who is so stupid that he doesn't know that one should not look directly at the Sun. Did he think the warnings not to do that were fake science?

The Great Eclipse

I didn't photograph it. I wanted to *see* it. And see it, I did.

Besides eclipse glasses, I bought a set of solar filters for binoculars and split them between two pairs. I taped lens covers over the non-projected objectives.

The group I was with had a shade tent by a tree. The tree acted like a pinhole camera:

Totality was quite possibly the most amazing thing I have ever seen, even more awe-inspiring than seeing the Grand Canyon from the south rim at sunset. The sky was dim and, all around the horizon, it looked like sunset. The temperature dropped. I removed the lens cover from the objective and looked at the corona around the black disc of the Moon. On the right side of the Sun, I saw the pink arc of a solar flare. There were planets and stars visible to the naked eye.

I understand, now, why people chase solar eclipses. If seeing one is not on your "bucket list", then take it from me: Put it there.

The next total eclipse that will be visible from the US happens in seven years. Make plans. And see it with a bunch of people.

Trump is Breaking the Secret Service

At least financially:
The Secret Service can no longer pay hundreds of agents it needs to carry out an expanded protective mission – in large part due to the sheer size of President* Trump's family and efforts necessary to secure their multiple residences up and down the East Coast.

Secret Service Director Randolph "Tex" Alles, in an interview with USA TODAY, said more than 1,000 agents have already hit the federally mandated caps for salary and overtime allowances that were meant to last the entire year.

The agency has faced a crushing workload since the height of the contentious election season, and it has not relented in the first seven months of the administration. Agents must protect Trump – who has traveled almost every weekend to his properties in Florida, New Jersey and Virginia – and his adult children whose business trips and vacations have taken them across the country and overseas.

"The president has a large family, and our responsibility is required in law,'' Alles said. "I can't change that. I have no flexibility."
Let's not forget that Trump was the guy who was lambasting President Obama for taking too much time off. Also, Obama used Camp David, which is already a federally-protected facility and to which he could travel by helo. Trump's gotta jet off to Mar-a-Lago by 747.

A great way to lose good people is by making them travel frequently and then not paying them, but offering them "comp time" that everyone knows will never be taken.

Collision at Sea, Again

Vessels from several nations are searching Southeast Asian waters for 10 missing U.S. sailors after an early morning collision Monday between the USS John S. McCain and an oil tanker ripped a gaping hole in the destroyer's hull.
I'm going to go out on a limb and speculate that the impact appears to be that of a bulbous bow riding high in the water.

Collisions between warships and merchants were exceedingly rare. Two in a handful of months is a hell of a coincidence.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Did Trump Self-Identify with the Nazis?

Go listen to his press conference, starting at the seven-minute mark. Or here.

He may have said "what about the alt-left that came charging at us"

I'm not certain of that, but it sure sounds like it. On the other hand, it's what I'd expect to him to say if he thought he could get away with it. so you an take that into account.

Also, the petty little bastard can't let go of the fact that McCain voted against the Senate bill on the Obamacare repeal. Smart politicians know that, whether you win or lose on the vote on any bill, the next day is a new day. But not to Trump. His deep sense of butthurt, his willingness to take offense over anything and everything, does not bode well for his administration getting much of anything done.


Current Events Images (Heavy on Sarcasm)

The Fragility of President* Trump

Of all of the batshit-unhinged things he said at his press conference lat Tuesday, this was one of the most nuts:
And honestly, if the press were not fake, and if it was honest, the press would have said what I said was very nice.
So what it comes down to is that Trump was suffering butthurt, because the commentators weren't lauding his statement that didn't outright condemn Nazis?

Well, I guess that should have been expected, given Trump's decades-long butthurt over the "short-fingered vulgarian" insult.

Or, more succinctly:

N-E-S-T-L-E-S, Nestle Makes the Very Best...Fraudulent Products

Oh, this is going to be good:
A 325-page lawsuit filed in Connecticut this week by eleven plaintiffs claims that for more than 20 years, Nestlé Waters’ marketing and sales of Poland Spring water has been “a colossal fraud perpetrated against American consumers.”
Noting that Nestlé bottles 1 billion gallons of Poland Spring water per year, the complaint points out that even if the eight sites the company uses to bottle water did contain a spring, it would have to flow at an average rate of 245 gallons per minute. That’s more force than a two-inch diameter fire hose spraying at 40 pounds per square inch.

“Such a spring would be plainly visible – more like a geyser than a spring – and undoubtedly well known,” the lawsuit states. “Yet there is no photographic proof that even one such spring – much less eight – exists on or near defendant’s sites in Maine.”

To that end, the complaint claims there is no historical evidence for six of the purported springs, and that two are former springs that no longer exist.

“The famous Poland Spring in Poland Spring, Maine, which Defendant’s labels claim is a source of Poland Spring Water, ran dry nearly 50 years ago, decades before Defendant bought the Poland Spring brand name,” reads the lawsuit. “The ‘spring’ Defendant now claims exists in Poland Spring is at the bottom of a lake. It has never been proven to exist, and the evidence that Defendant itself filed with Maine regulators shows it does not exist.”
If the water in your area is sketchy, purified bottled drinking water is usually cheap enough.

Your Sunday Morning Bomber Noise

New and old:

Saturday, August 19, 2017

"Dear Mother: We Had to Turn Back. Resistance Was Too Strong."

The portly defender of slavery seemed to be a little dejected. He would have been an anomaly, anyway. The Confederate Army was pretty shitty at logistics. Most of their soldiers were ill-fed and ill clothed.

Anyway, the guesstimates seem to be that less than a hundred Nazis and their fellow-travelers showed up on Boston today for their rally. The number of counter-protesters was somewhere between 20,000 and 40,000.


(A break from blasting Nazi and Klan thugs.)

I shot a match this morning, my first this year.

The course of fire was, all holster-draw:
5 yards: Five shots from a primary handgun (one hand hold) at a B-27 target in five seconds.
Five shots from a backup gun (one hand hold) at a 3x5 brain card in five seconds.

7 yards: Five shots from a primary handgun (one hand hold) at a B-27 target in seven seconds.
Five shots from a backup gun (one hand hold) at brain card in seven seconds.

15 yards: Five shots from a primary handgun at a B-27, two-handed hold, reholster, draw the backup, five shots at a brain card, in 20 seconds.

25 yards: Five shots with the primary handgun, two hand hold, reload, five more, reload, five more (barricade optional), in 60 seconds.
Scoring for the brain card was 10 points for a hit, zero for a miss.

It was pretty hard. Previous matches were all shot with one gun at a B-27 with the same round count. The top shooter before, who shot in the 445 range (450 max), was down around 420.

I pretty much sucked.


A shelter cat contemplates jumping up onto some cat furniture:

He looks a lot like Chip, he even has a torn ear. But Chip's left ear is torn and Chip's tiger striping goes down onto his front legs.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Word! (Plus Bannon)

Steve Bannon, a forceful but divisive presence in President* Donald Trump's White House, is leaving.

Trump accepted Bannon's resignation on Friday, ending a turbulent seven months for his chief strategist, the latest to depart from the president's administration in turmoil.
"Voluntary".... right. Kind of like those Russian soldiers voluntarily going into battle with NKVD "encouragement troops" behind them. Trump probably should have been reminded about what LBJ had to say about Jedgar Hoover.

Do Women Owe Their Rights to Racism?
And, of Course, Our White-Supremacist-in-Chief

That's an arguable point. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was amended on the floor of the House at the last minute to include outlawing discrimination based on sex. It's been a long-standing premises that the amendment was a legislative poison pill that was added to increase the chances of killing the bill.

On the other hand, there's also an argument that the congressman who introduced it, who was a southerner, was a strong supporter of rights for women. So he might have seen it as a "win-win" situation: If the bill died as a result, his contributors constituents would be happy and if it didn't, one of his legislative goals would be achieved.

Now, back to Trump:
Another advisory group is walking away from President* Donald Trump after his equivocation on neo-Nazis and white supremacists, with the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities resigning en masse Friday morning.

“We cannot sit idly by, the way that your West Wing advisors have, without speaking out against your words and actions,” members write in a joint letter to Trump obtained by POLITICO, which ends by calling on the president to resign if he does not see a problem with what’s happened this week.
The PCAH is an official agency. That makes this the first White House department to resign.
Mitt Romney released a long statement on his FB page. This is the first paragraph:
I will dispense for now from discussion of the moral character of the president's Charlottesville statements. Whether he intended to or not, what he communicated caused racists to rejoice, minorities to weep, and the vast heart of America to mourn. His apologists strain to explain that he didn't mean what we heard. But what we heard is now the reality, and unless it is addressed by the president as such, with unprecedented candor and strength, there may commence an unraveling of our national fabric.
Romney was crystal-clear that there is absolutely no moral equivalence between Nazis and those who oppose Nazis. And unless you want to be saddened by the number of Nazi-sympathizers who are screaming at him in fury, then don't read the comments.

You might want to check your local congresscritters' social media sites: Their web site, Twitter feed, FB page and see what they are saying about the Nazis of Charlottesville. Mine has been radio-silent. If yours has been, call them out as the cowards that they are.

I put no stock in this. Though I do agree that Trump does not, nor has he ever known the difference between right and wrong. He knows the difference between what he can get away with and what he cannot, but that's as far as it goes.

And yes, it's wrong to call for Trump to be assassinated. Jesus, is that even a debatable proposition?

Because It's Friday

A "steam speeder":

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Tear Down Those Confederate Statues. Every Motherfucking One of Them.

Statues are not put up to remember people. Statues of people are erected to honor them.

So I ask you: Why are we honoring men who turned their coats and took up arms against this country? Why do we have statues of traitors in our public places and in the halls of government buildings? Why do we continue to honor the memory of men who fought for the right of rich men to own slaves?

Funny how it's overlooked that over 100,000 white Southerners were in the Union Army. Apparently, every Southern state, other than South Carolina,[1] had at least one organized battalion (or larger) of white soldiers.

The only statue that I know of which depicts Benedict Arnold[2] is of his foot. We don't have statues of the Loyalists who fought for the British. We didn't erect a statue of Tokyo Rose, Axis Sally, Lord Hee Haw or Americans who fought on the other side in any other war.

There are a lot of people that whose names are taught in schools without having a worshipful statue to gaze at: General Cornwallis. General Howe. General Gage. Col. Tarleton. Kaiser Wilhelm. General Ludendorff. General Goering. Adolf Hitler. Vladimir Lenin. Josef Stalin. Mao Zedong. Ho Chi Minh. William Tweed.

We can remember the generals who fought for the Confederacy and slavery. But we sure as shit don't have to honor them.

Tear them all down.
[1] State Motto: "The Birthplace of Treason."
[2] And there is, as far as I know, no statue of Abigail Dolbeare Hinman, who tried to shoot Arnold in New London during his raid there in 1781. Her musket misfired.

Bet You Trump Doesn't Wait Two Days for "All of the Facts to Come In."

At least 13 people have died and 50 were injured after a van ploughed into crowds in Barcelona's famous Las Ramblas tourist area, police and local officials say.
Damn. I've had quite a few drinks there. It was a nice place to hang out and people-watch.

The Plans of President Bannon

But first, a few appetizers:

Now, to the main course:

Bannon gave an interview this week that is a little bit surprising.

Some things he said were things that have not emanated from Trump's mouth or twitter feed. For instance:
“There’s no military solution [to North Korea’s nuclear threats], forget it. Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don’t die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don’t know what you’re talking about, there’s no military solution here, they got us.”
He's also focused on getting a trade war going with China. That seems to be his only concern.

As to the white nationalists, the alt-right:
“Ethno-nationalism—it's losers. It's a fringe element. I think the media plays it up too much, and we gotta help crush it, you know, uh, help crush it more. These guys are a collection of clowns.”
It would seem that Bannon believes that if Trump can get past Trump's reflexive support of racists and focus on economic nationalism, that Trump can gather steam.

I'm not sure he's wrong about that. But Trump is clearly one of the more self-sabotaging politicians out there, one whom has been in the process of self-administering the political equivalent of "death by a thousand cuts," so it's not clear to me that Trump can survive politically long enough to carry out Bannon's master plan.