Words of Advice:

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

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

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

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

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Friday, October 3, 2014

Charitable Cash Bleg for the Critters

(Stickied to the top.  Scroll down to read new posts.  [If there are any.])

I kind of hesitate to ask this, as it's really too close to home. For the most part, I do try and keep my personal crap out of this blog, other than cats and guns.

But here it is: I volunteer at an animal shelter. It is the only no-kill shelter in a wide radius. (Almost all of the shelter cat photos that you've seen over the last couple of years of Caturday posts have been taken there.) And it has been a tough year for the shelter.

So if you can spare some change (or a lot of it), please go here and make a donation for the critters. If you are on the Book of Face, you can go here and click on the link under the photo that says "Donation Dog". If you feel more comfortable mailing a paper check, the address is towards the bottom of this page.

It's a 501(c)(3), so your donation is 100% tax deductible.

Please, folks. If you've gotten anything out of this blog over the years, I'm asking you to please, show them some love of the cash-money kind.

And if you could mention this on your own blog, please do that.

(And if you think they're a buncha pinkos, the majority of the board has CCW permits.)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Gimmie That Old-Tyme Religious Bigotry; Anti-Muslim Edition

The owner of a public gun rage won't let Muslims shoot there.

I hope she's set up a legal defense fund, for she is going to need it. Her range is open to the public. Banning people for religious reasons is as pernicious (and as illegal) as putting up a "No Irish" sign.

My FOB ancestors, some of whom I knew before they passed, were mainly anti-Catholic. They were that way because, back in the Old Country, the local peasantry would, from time to time, get liquored up and go an a pogrom. Pogroms were when the good G-d-fearing Christians would engage in acts of rape, pillaging, arson and murder against the local Jewish population. When I was a child, one of my great-aunts advised me: "When it's time for you to marry, better you bring home a Schvartzer than a Catholic."

Clearly, they considered Catholicism, if not Christianity itself, as a religion that held acts of violence as part of its tenents. So, let's say, for the sake of argument, that they opened up a business that served the public. Would they have been entitled to put a sign on the door that said "No Catholics"?

Next step: A number of my extended ancestral family didn't come over. A few went back to the Old Country. As far as anyone knows, they all perished in the Holocaust. Does that entitle me to put a sign on my office door saying "No Krauts Allowed"?

Or, let's go back to the Catholics. Say that you're from Northern Ireland, that most of your family was killed in an IRA bombing and that you came over here to escape the Troubles. Would you have a right to put up a sign saying "We Do Not Serve Catholics" in your coffee bar?

Clearly, the answer to all those hypothetical questions is "no". If you operate a business that is open to the public, you can't discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, religion or gender. Men, women, Hebes, Micks, Mackerel-Snappers, Krauts, doesn't matter. Their money is as good as that of Lester Maddox and the law requires that you treat any of those folks as you would a member of the Daughters of the Confederacy.

And if you don't want to do that, then this is what you do: Find another line of work.

Odd thing is that some people who are so eager to defend their rights are, in the same breath, more than willing to proclaim why other people should be denied their rights. Because bigots always can come up with rationalizations.

The Gullibility of Air & Space Smithsonian

The latest issue (October, 2014) has an article about the fight against the NIMBYites in Santa Monica who want to shut down the airport. That article has a side-bar article about the closure of Meigs Field in 2003 by Stadtführer Richard Daley. The article contained this nugget of bilgewater about Daley's rationale for carving massive Xs into the runway:
The decision to shut down Meigs Field was made by Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, ostensibly to prevent terrorists from using the field as cover to mount an attack. While that was a legitimate concern, many contend the true motive was Daley’s long-held wish to turn Meigs into a large park.
There was nothing legitimate about it. There was no support for the notion that terrorists were planning to use small airports as staging areas for terrorist attacks on Chicago or any other damned place. As was shown when some clown crashed a Piper into an IRS office or when Cory Lidle's airplane hit an apartment building, small airplanes are pretty piss-poor weapons.

I've read some fairly incredible things in Air & Space over the years. But this one takes the cake for complete gullibility on their part.

New Security Measures at Bass Pro Shops?

From an email:
Gun Control has already started at Bass Pro Shops Sporting Goods.

When I was ready to pay for my purchases of gun powder and bullets at my local Bass Pro Shop, the cashier said, "Strip down, facing me."

Making a mental note to complain to the NRA about the gun control wackos running amok, I did just as she had instructed.

When the hysterical shrieking and alarms finally subsided, I found out that she was referring to how I should place my credit card in the card reader.

I have been asked to shop elsewhere in the future.

They need to make their instructions to seniors a little clearer.
I still do not think I looked that bad.

Sony's Running Out of Time

Sony released PlayStation 4 last year.

This is what Sony promised for PS9:

They probably have a long way to go.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Searching for Life on Exoplanets

An article on Bad Astronomy.

I'm somewhat pessimistic about the possibilities of finding a radio signal from another civilization. The radio geeks can weigh in on how faint a omnidirectional broadcast signal gets over interstellar distances. Sure, NASA is talking to Voyager 1 and 2 at phenomenal distances, but the probes are sending out highly directional signals that are being received by honking huge antennas. I don't know what the power output is of the transmitters aimed at the Voyagers, but it's probably enough to fry somebody unfortunate enough to be in front of the antenna.

So we'd have to pick up a directional signal that was, by sheer coincidence, aimed in our direction. If the transmitter is so gross in control that it can only be aimed in steps of one degree, there are 129,600 possible aiming points (if by minutes of degree, then that jumps to over 466 million). It'd probably be a signal sent to either a probe or another celestial body in the same solar system, for unless a species has lifespans that make ours seem like mayflies, radio communications over interstellar distances would make sending a letter across the pond in the 1700s seem speedy by comparison

Then we'd have to recognize that a signal contains information. Which could be rather tricky if the signal is a digital one. If you've ever tuned in a scanner on a digital transmission, it woulds like noise. So if a really faint signal is there that sounds like noise, would it even be picked up?

Maybe they'll find something. I think the odds of finding something are about as astronomical as those of willing a $500 million Powerball jackpot, but maybe that's no reason not to be listening.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Time to Spare, Go by Air

Chicago Center will not be back to full operational capability for two weeks.

EMS Scanner

The Vulgar Curmudgeon found this one: Broadcastify.

Select your state, county, and what services are online. (Not all counties are.) You might want to have a list of the 10- brevity codes available.

In my local feed, the airport Unicom is included in the public safety feed.

Your Sunday Morning Jet (Rotor) Noise

UH-1 Iroquois:

If there is a helicopter that more people can identify by sound than the Huey, I don't know what it is.

If there is another helicopter that comes to mind for more people than the Huey when you say the word "helicopter", I don't know what it is.

Saturday, September 27, 2014


A shop/barn kitten:

It may not be the easiest life for a cat. But she'll at least have dry and warm places to sleep and a reliable supply of cat food. And humans to give her attention, if she wants.

Friday, September 26, 2014

FBI Director Looks For Someone to Blame, Avoids Mirrors.

FBI Director James B. Comey sharply criticized Apple and Google on Thursday for developing forms of smartphone encryption so secure that law enforcement officials cannot easily gain access to information stored on the devices — even when they have valid search warrants.
First off, the FBI, the NSA, the DEA and the local cops have nobody to blame but themselves for this. People don't want them rummaging around in their shit. Apple and the other tech companies are (wait for it) responding to market forces.

Second, and more importantly, nothing will prevent law enforcement from getting a search warrant and then compelling the owner of the smartphone to unlock it. So the "we can't get the data, even with a warrant" mantra is bullshit.

What would be true is that the FBI and the other goons couldn't get the data in secret. Just like as it used to be with search warrants, at least, before the Patriot Act "legalized" secret searches.

Gimme That Old Time Racism; Wisconsin Edition

Really, Wisconsin? Having armed goons at the polls to discourage people from voting?

What the fuck, is this 1890 again?

UPDATE: The self-proclaimed organizer of the group says it was a hoax. Or was it? It could be that the clown didn't think that he'd be found out so quickly and that he could put a group of similarly-minded fascists together.

Time to Spare? Go by Air! (Especially In and Out of Chicago)

There are no IFR flights in and out of Chicago this morning because of a fire in an FAA facility, reportedly Approach Control Chicago Center.

O'Hare is a hub for American and United. Midway is a hub for Southwest.

Expect things to be seriously screwed up for a bit.


The airspace arround the ARTCC is NOTAM'd:
NOTAM : 4/0256

I'd look for a lot of airplanes to drop down to bugsmasher altitudes to stay out of ZAU's airspace.

And apparently, the fire was arson as part of a suicide attempt.

Nice Move; Holder!! Edition

[Attorney General Eric] Holder said he would remain in office until a successor was confirmed.
So the Republicans have a choice: They can try to obstruct the hell out of the appointment of his successor, in which case, Holder isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Or, if they want to get him out of there, they can suck it up and confirm the appointment of his successor.

The Democrats didn't have this issue when Gonzo the Inept resigned, for he specified a "gone by" date in his resignation letter.

AAh, Alberto Gonzalez. Lied to Congress. Hired people into civil service posts based solely on whether or not they were "good Bushies". Authorized the use of torture. Expanded warrantless surveillance of Americans. Thought that the Right to Habeus Corpus could be suspended at the whim of the President. A guy who was so toxic in the job that he he lasted only three years and was pretty much run out of town on a rail for his role in politicized hiring and firing.

Yep, that's the guy that the Winguts think was a better AG.

Because It's Friday

Turkish steam:


The latest mock-scandal from the Wingnut Noise Machine.



And the expressors of outrage over the Coffee Salute:

We have a lot of problems facing us, from how we educate our children to our penchant for engaging in endless wars in the World's Largest Catbox. And yet, the Wingnut Noise Machine is going all agog over a fucking salute?

If that's the issue that merits hours and hours of news coverage and oodles of column inches in papers and the Almighty knows how many gigabits of computer memory and gigglebytes of data transmission, then all I have to say is this:

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Alien Invasion

Per Key and Peele.

I'd embed the video, but sometimes Comedy Central's videos self-launch. And that's a pain if there are more than one video posted on a page.

The Despicable Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

So there's a female clerk who worked in a state prison. One of the convicts raped her. The state put him away for life for that.

Here's the thing: The state prison management let that guy, a three time sex offender, have unrestricted access to the office area. In fact, there were no locked doors between the cell block and the office. The clerk complained about that and about the creepy sex offender. Management did nothing.

So now she's suing. And the state's defense, in part, is that it's her fault for getting raped.

Even worse is that the Commonwealth's AG, whose name is on the papers as one of the attorneys of record, is female.

Fucking despicable.

Wingnut-o'-Sphere to Explode in 3....2....1.... (Holder!!)

Eric Holder, the United States’ first black attorney general, will announce later on Thursday that he plans to resign from his post as soon as a successor can be confirmed.
The Right Wing Noise Machine has been calling for Holder's resignation since the day after he took the job. So expect a lot of cheering from those guys.

Obama should find the most militant Asian-American feminist that he can find and nominate her.

My biggest knocks against both Holder and his boss are that they did not have the stones to go after the bankers whose fraudulent actions brought about the Great Recession. Nor did they have the guts to prosecute the torturers in the Bush Administration.

The former have now escaped justice. The latter, well, someday they'll be held to account.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

L' Shana Tovah

Happy New Year: 5775!

Don't Believe for a Minute that the FBI Now Cares About Animals

Maybe you've seen this story:
FBI Director James Comey signed off to add animal cruelty offenses to the Uniform Crime Report (UCR). In addition, local agencies will begin tracking animal cruelty offenses and report them to the FBI.
First off, I can't find a FBI press release or anything else to substantiate this. I would think that if the FBI was really going to do this, they'd at least issue a press release. Blowing their own horn is something that the FBI excels at doing.

But even if the report is true, it's not that the FBI has gotten all soft and cuddly about animals. What they may have finally processed through their thick bureaucratic skulls is that animal abuse cases are often an indicator that somebody is working their way towards being a serial killer.

Memo to Wordpress: Fuck You Guys.

For some reason, I am finding it next to impossible to leave comments on Wordpress-engined blogs. So you you're blogging on that platform and you haven't seen a comment from me lately, don't take it personally.

"Madam Secretary"

That's the title of a new drama on CBS, which first aired on Sunday. Téa Leoni has the lead role as secretary of state Elizabeth McCord. The show has kind of a The West Wing vibe to it. In the pilot, McCord is a college professor and former CIA analyst who is asked by the President Dalton (played by Keith Carradine) to be Secretary of State when her predecessor is killed in a plane crash. Dalton was a high-ranking official in the (wait for it) CIA when McCord worked there.

I recorded it and watched it last night. My rating: A solid "Meh."

Here is where I think it is going to suck: The pilot episode has already jumped into the Land of Shadowy and Nefarious CIA Conspiracies. Some guy who McCord knew from her CIA days came to her home in the middle of the night to warn her that her predecessor was running some sort of unsanctioned operation and that he had oodles of cash stashed away in an offshore account and that the plane crash was no accident. Then, at the end of the pilot, that same guy dies in a one-car crash into a telephone pole, which McCord immediately pronounces as "that was no accident".

Really, folks? You can't do a show anymore about government without it being shaked and baked in conspiracy theory horseshit? What idiot pitched that-- "Ohh, I know what will make this series work: We need to have an overarching off-the-books CIA conspiracy which Our Heroine will try to uncover!" The sad thing here is that, instead of taking that clown out back and tuning him up with a sap, they bought the idea.

That is where Madam Secretary parts company with any similarities to The West Wing, which was a show that, at its core, had as its premise a Rooseveltian ideal that government can be a force for good. Madam Secretary, at least from the pilot, is showing signs that it will be "the brave crusader and her compatriots in battle against an evil gummint conspiracy". Which is a premise that is cheap, easy, trite and, by now, so overdone.

I guess it would be too difficult to write a show about a high-ranking government official trying to do her job in spite of a Congress that is heavily invested in partisan bickering and with a press that cares far more about style than substance. And not without turning it into a pseudo commercial for Hillary Clinton.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Makeup applied the NFL way:

Monday, September 22, 2014

Contrarian View on Ruger's New 9mm LCR

The gun blogiverse is all agog at Ruger's new LCR in 9mm.

I say: Spare me.

Revolvers are designed to function with rimmed cartridges. "Half-moon" clips were developed during the First World War as a stop-gap measure. The Army service cartridge was the .45 ACP round, but the Army needed far more automatic pistols than Colt could make. Both Smith & Wesson and Colt made large revolvers, but with a rimmless cartridge, like the .45 ACP, there was nothing for the extractor star of a revolver to push against. For the .45 ACP to work in a revolver, something had to be developed to adapt a rimless round to weapons designed to fire rimmed cartridges.

Hence, a kludge was developed that came to be known as the "half-moon" clip.

Full-moon clips look more like stars, because they hold all the cartridges and are there for the revolver's extractor star to push against:

What you lose is the ability to single-load a cartridge. Even if the chambers are cut so the cartridge's rim rests on a little ledge to headspace the round, you still can't reliably extract the cartridge, unless you use a pencil or something to knock them out from the other end of the cylinder.

So now you have a fiddly little bit that you have to have in order for your revolver to work. Depending on how well they're constructed, they might bend and not be useable. The old M917 GI half-moon clips were a bear to remove the empties from and reload.

In the modern era, there's a reason why revolvers that shoot cartridges designed to function in self-litterers are almost always collector's items: Because they basically suck.

If you want to fire a .36 diameter bullet from a revolver, get a .38 Special or a .357 magnum. If you want to fire a 9mm cartridge, buy the kind of gun that the round was designed for: An automatic.


I understand the feeling.

Update: Very little sleep last night. Going to be a bad day.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Saturday, September 20, 2014

No, Barn', I Don't Have to "Trust You".

In an article about the rapidly proliferating networks of license plate scanners, one cop dropped a variant of the old excuse "if you got nuttin' to hide, you got nuttin to fear":
"At some point, you have to trust and believe that the agencies that you utilize for law enforcement are doing what's right and what's best for the community, and they're not targeting your community," Los Angeles County Sheriff's Sgt. John Gaw said.
No I do not have to. There will inevitably be stories about how one cop used the networks to track his wife, or another used it to stalk her ex-girlfriend. Fuck, we have had incumbent sheriffs and opposing candidates put out contract hits on their rivals. Do you really think that political incumbents won't try to use that information to dig up dirt on their rivals?

Only a statist fool would trust the cops with a tool like this without rigorous oversight, laws on how long data can be kept and sunshine laws.

If the Snowden revelations have taught us anything, it is that government, at any level, cannot be trusted not to either over-collect or misuse personal information.

Stupid Pilot Tricks; Downwind Landing Edition

I went flying for a little bit this morning. It's kind of hazy, so I went up more to heat up the engine oil than anything else.

My home `drome is uncontrolled (no tower). There was not enough traffic this morning so that there would be more than one airplane in the pattern at a time. So pilots were really free to land on the runway of their choice.

There is only one runway, so pilots have a choice of landing in either direction. The wind was blowing at 7kts, right down the runway. The airport has an AWOS (computerized local weather) and it has a prominent windsock.

I saw more pilots land downwind than upwind.

This is really stupid, in my view. For reasons of basic physics.

Let's say that your airplane touches down at 43kts. (For the sake of convenience, I'll use knots for this discussion.) You should remember the formula for kinetic energy: E = 0.5M x V^2. The square of 43 is 1,849.

So say you do a proper landing and you land upwind into that 7 kt wind. Your touchdown speed is 36kts. Square that and the velocity component is 1,296.

Now if you land downwind, your touchdown speed is 50kts. The velocity component is 2,500.

In other words, by landing downwind, you land with nearly twice as much energy, energy that mostly has to be bled off. Sure, you can pull the throttle to idle and try to coast down to taxi speed, but now you have that wind behind you, pushing you.

Land downwind and you need to use brakes more, you'll use more runway and, if something goes bad when you touch down, you're moving a lot faster and you're more likely to bend something.

Doing that in a nosewheel airplane is not terribly smart. Doing it in a taildragger (and I saw two piltos do it) borders on moronic. And the slower your airplane's no-wind touchdown speed is, the more moronic it is.

Why make the laws of physics work against you?

(Obviously, this applies to airports with flat runways and good approaches. There are airports where a downwind landing is a better choice. But my home field isn't one of them.)


Hunting Kitteh wants the hoomins to do the work for him.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Former CT Gov. Rowland's Headed Back to the Clink.

He's now, officially, a two-time loser:
Former Gov. John G. Rowland, who resigned from office a decade ago in a corruption scandal, was convicted Friday of federal charges that he conspired to hide payment for work on two congressional campaigns.

Rowland, once a rising star for the Republican Party, served 10 months in prison for taking illegal gifts while in office and now as a repeat offender faces the possibility of a much stiffer sentence.
It probably plumbs a new depth of either arrogance or stupidity to engage in seven indictable offenses after doing ten months in stir. I don't know how the sentencing guidelines will stack up, but I'll be surprised if he doesn't have to do at least five years before he can be let out.

Shorter San Diego Schools: "OK, So Maybe We Don't Really Need a Tank."

The San Diego school district will return its armored military vehicle to the Department of Defense, school officials announced Thursday night.
I gather that they found a serious downside to having a heavily armed vehicle to deliver medical supplies and teddy bears.

Meanwhile, the LA School District is going to keep their MRAP and M-16s, but they are going to give back their grenade launchers. As much as it probably kills them to do so. LA is a huge place, as far as geography goes. The freeways are often jammed. It's 50% larger in area than New York City, maybe 40% or so the size of Rhode island, and they're going to be able to ensure that they have their one armored vehicle where they happen to need it?

For a civilian police department, let along a school district's police department, having a MRAP is the police equivalent of an edifice complex.

Hey, LAUSD! Nice MRAP. 
Sorry about your small penises, though.

Christianist AF Takes a Knuckle-Rapping

In response to what was becoming a stalemate over an airman who was trying to reenlist, the U.S. Air Force has directed its support offices to allow both enlisted members and officers to omit the words "So help me God" from oaths for enlistment and officer appointments if an airman chooses. The change became effective immediately with the Sept. 17 announcement. 10 U.S.C. 502, 5 U.S.C. 3331 and Title 32 contain the oaths of office—the Air Force had interpreted them as requiring the specific religious expression
Note that the AF requested an opinion from the DoD General Counsel on the matter. I would not be a bit surprised in the response did not contain a variant of "you stupid fucks" in it.

Hypocrisy Writ Large; Banksters Edition

The Bank of America is running a sponsorship promo just before the Ken Burns PBS documentary on the Roosevelts. The spot talks about the Roosevelts' promoting the value of altruism and the virtue of helping out one's fellow man.

"Altruism" and "virtue" are two words that, as far as the Bank of America/Countrywide is concerned, might as well be pronounced in Klingon. Because those are concepts that, by the evidence of their conduct, are not known to them.

On the contrary, it's probably a safe bet that FDR's bank regulators would have had them in their sights from early on.

Because It's Friday

Italian steam:

Why did the Italians put the stack exhaust at the midpoint of the locomotive, you ask? It is a "Franco-Crosti" boiler; the exhaust gasses run back through a large feedwater heater before being exhausted up the stack. The West Germans and the Brits built some locomotives with those boilers. But they turned out to be maintenance hogs because the stack gasses corroded the guts of the feedwater heaters. The Germans lived with them until dieselization in the late `60s. The Brits converted them to a standard configuration.

Now Commence the Backstabbing; Perfidious Albion Edition

The Scots have voted to stay in the UK.

As part of the "vote no" campaign, British Prime Minister Cameron promised that if the Scots voted no, that the British government would cede (or "devolve") more power to Scotland.

I'll bet that he's going to forget about that promise faster than Obama forgot about being "the most transparent administration in history".

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Shorter John Brennan: "I Apologize For Anything Bad That You Think That the CIA Did."

It's a standard Mark 1 Mod 0 political "non-apology apology", complete with blaming the media and the Senate's investigators for uncovering all of the bad shit that the CIA did and all of the lying to cover-up the bad shit that the CIA then did.

The only variation on the theme is that Brennan didn't do it on a Friday afternoon. At this point, you'd have to be a statist idiot or a right-wing Republican to swallow Brennan's bilge. Even DiFi isn't apparently buying it.

Brennan can surely get a post-retirement job at the NFL, at this rate.

(To the WaPo, the big scandal is that Panetta brought his dog to work.)

Orange County, FL: Warm Up Your Checkbook

You're soon going to need to start writing some checks with lots of zeros in them.
[On Sept. 16th,] a federal appeals court rebuked police in Orange County, Florida, for mounting a warrantless, SWAT-style raid on a barbershop under the pretense of assisting state inspectors. "We have twice held, on facts disturbingly similar to those presented here, that a criminal raid executed under the guise of an administrative inspection is constitutionally unreasonable," says the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. "We hope that the third time will be the charm."

On August 19, 2010, two inspectors from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) visited the Strictly Skillz Barbershop in Orlando and found everything in order: All of the barbers working there were properly licensed, and all of the work stations complied with state regulations. Two days later, even though no violations had been discovered and even though the DBPR is authorized to conduct such inspections only once every two years, the inspectors called again, this time accompanied by "between eight and ten officers, including narcotics agents," who "rushed into" the barbershop "like [a] SWAT team." Some of them wore masks and bulletproof vests and had their guns drawn. Meanwhile, police cars blocked off the parking lot.
The kicker is because the 11th Circuit has twice before ruled that such raids, disguised as "licensing inspections" are unconstitutional, the cops involved don't get qualified immunity. Which means that they, personally, are going to be held liable for damages.

The other thing, of course, is that these storm-trooper style searches, disguised as "licensing inspections" were only carried out on barbershops that were owned by Blacks and Hispanics.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Get Used to the Idea of Another President Clinton

Mitt Romney might run again.

If that's the best that the GOP can do, then they might consider changing their party symbol from the elephant to the wooly mammoth. For extinction, at least on the national level, is looming.


Here We Go Again; Escalattio Edition

A day after US warplanes expanded the war south-west of Baghdad, Army General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate armed services committee that he could see himself recommending the use of some US military forces now in Iraq to embed within Iraqi and Kurdish units to take territory away from Isis.

“If we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific [Isis] targets, I will recommend that to the president,” Dempsey said, preferring the term “close combat advising”.
Is "close combat advising" something like "safe sex"? And didn't we go down that route about fifty years ago, but on the other side of Asia?

Any coincidence to the fact that there are occasional rumbles about registering women for the draft?

And can we land helicopters on top of the American embassy in Baghdad?

Miss Lindsey Has the Vapours Over Everything.

The Daily Show examines the continuing fearfulness of Miss Lindsey.

One must wonder why he isn't living in a padded room and being medicated four times a day. For both his own good and for the good of the country.

The "Race to the Sea"

100 years ago today, following the stopping of the German advance into France at the First Battle of the Marne, the German and Anglo-French armies began trying to out-flank each other to the north.

Neither side was able to do it. The digging-in had already begun and within a month, the trench lines would be more-or-less fixed until the German Spring Offensive began in 1918.

The German Spring Offensive had much the same result as the Battle of the Bulge would, 36 years later, and for much the same reason: The German army was unable to logistically sustain the advance.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

TSA's New Idea: Post-Flight Security Screening

Yes, that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

But that doesn't stop the TSA from trying it.

Three cheers to the guy who they tried to pull that shit on for refusing to cooperate with the blue-shirted goons.

5.7mm, or Something Like That

Let the caliber wars begin!

I don't know why there is any serious consideration of this round. The Euros, for a century or more, have regarded handguns as things that are used either as badges of authority or for executing political dissidents. Stopping power is not a serious concern for either use.

Abrogation. Avoidance. More Bombing.

So we're off to War the 4th in the Middle East. Or 5th. I've lost track.

How we got here is truly inane. The Syrians have effectively promoted ISIS by manipulating their little civil war so ISIS became the predominant group. It's an old trick of tyrants: Eliminate any moderate opposition so that what's left are the really evil guys. That way, the tyrants can stand up and say: "I know all y'all despise me, but it's either me or them guys." The Saudis engaged in their age-old practice of funding extremist groups while simultaneously ignoring any possibility that the monsters they were midwifing would come to threaten them.

Recently removed Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki tried to "coup-proof" the Iraqi army by pushing out competent officers and putting in sycophants. The problem with doing that is that it also neutered the army as far as being able to defend against external threats. Not that there was a serious external threat at the time, for Iraq had become more-or-less an Iranian vassal state. Nobody else was going to attack them, not the Jordanians, Turks or Syrians. And the Saudis, well, they'd wrinkle their Savile Row-tailored uniforms doing anything so messy as being in a war. {Horrors!}

The Kurds have fighters, but no other players in the region were interested in seeing them have much in the way of military capabilities beyond policing their own territory.

So it was Syrian venality, Iraqi cupidity and Saudi stupidity that got us to where ISIS is bomb-worthy to the United States.

The problem, at least domestically, is Congress. Not one of those fucktards is truly interested in exercising any degree of control. Congress has the power to declare war.[1] They have the power of the purse. They have the ability to make a collective decision and enforce it.

But they don't. They'd all rather go on the talk shows and either support the President's policy or condemn it, as the whim strikes them, and as the polls indicate the amount of support the President has from the people.[2,3] Because if there is any place in America that we can't look for anything resembling leadership, it's Congress. The Ebola virus has a higher public approval rating than Congress.

So we'll continue on the way that we have been going for decades. The President, whomever he (or she) happens to be, orders military action against anyone he wants to for whatever flimsy reason he deems fit.  And over and over, the President engages our country in wars, usually by not calling them wars.

When we're dropping bombs on people, it's a fucking war.[4] It's high time that we not only own up to that fact, but that the Congress finds the spine to do something beyond individual members making stupid speeches and going on the Sunday morning blabfests.
[1] Though declaring a formal war on a stateless entity is an interesting concept.
[2] "There go my people, I must find out where they are going so I can lead them."- Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin (possibly)
[3] In that regard, one might think of Congress as just a pack of mouthy bloggers.
[4] Unless you're in the Philadelphia police or in Tulsa.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Why Scotland Might Leave

Because the Brits have run the lamest sales campaign since New Coke.

John Oliver has details, and more:

Part of it is that the Brits could not conceive that the Scots would be serious about leaving. They've been like some drunken bastard who is sitting on the couch, drinking beer after punching about his wife and ignoring the fact that she's in the bedroom, packing a suitcase.

Doesn't Your School District Have a SWAT Team?

At least one does in Texas. Because responding to a burglary alarm at 3 AM takes a full SWAT rollout in Texas.

Time was that a burglary alarm going off at 3AM would get two cops armed with Smith Model 10s or Colt Official Police revolvers. But that was back in the days of real coppers, not paramilitary wannabees.

The LA School District cops also got them a MRAP and they have grenade launchers. In case they want to frag the little bastards from a distance.

Kissing While Black is Illegal in Los Angeles

Because if you're a black woman and you're kissing a white dude, the po-po are going to assume that you're a hooker.

As Danielle Watts, the lead female actress in Django found out.

Why Have a Car Alarm?

First off, nobody pays attention to them. Everyone assumes that the alarm is going off because a cat jumped on the hood or just because.

Second, all of your neighbors will hate you.

I worked at a plant where one of the more hated managers had an expensive car with an alarm. He parked it next to one of the buildings. The building had a basement door that opened onto the parking lot. It became a game to run out, kick the side of the car and then run back in, while someone else timed how long it took for that manager to run down from his office to ensure that nothing was wrong with his precious.

Sunday, September 14, 2014


The C-109 was a variant of the treacherous and unloved C-87. The C-87 was a lousy cargo airplane. The Army modified over 200 B-24Js to become gasoline tankers- the C-109, or, as the pilots called it, the C-One-Oh-BoomGene Autry flew them over the Hump.

If you want to read about what happens when a halfway decent bomber is made into a crappy transport, go read "Fate is the Hunter". Or re-read it, because why haven't you read it by now, people?

The Army got rid of those pigs as soon as they had enough C-46s and C-54s to do the job.

Project Appleseed- Mother Frakker!

There is, for the first time in years, an Appleseed match in my local area.

My luck isn't so good with them. The last time there was a match within convenient driving distance, I lived in the Northeast and a hurricane blew through. Maybe they held it anyway, but I wasn't going to try to shoot a .22 in 80mph winds. I'm too old for that shit.

So this time around, the Appleseed match is scheduled to start on the same day as the final club Bullseye match. (Not to mention a bit of a regional social event later that day.) Also, they want you to bring 500 rounds of .22 ammo, and all I can say there is "good luck with that". (Appleseed's web site says that they were holding some "low round count" events because of the shortage of .22 ammo, but this one isn't listed as one.) They also seem to be hinting that shooters should use a Ruger 10/22, which I don't have and I'll be frelled to death if I'm going to go buy a gun for a one-off event.

Anyway, there's always next year.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

The T-50:

Like our own stealth fighters, the Russians will probably end up keeping a bunch of their older jets because of cost issues.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

OMG, Here Come the Mall Cops!

Your argument is invalid.

"Sir, You Know You're Not in Illinois, Right?"

Smooth move, Asswipe.
TROY, Mo. • A 22-year-old Illinois man is in custody after he allegedly offered to pay a police officer $100 not to write him a speeding ticket.
That'll be good for maybe four years in a nice Crossbar Hotel somewhere in Missouri.

The old trick back in the day in Illinois was to fold up your license in a $20 and hand it to the cop. you certainly weren't supposed to do anything as gauche as ask the cop if he was willing to take a bribe.

Don't they teach kids in Illinois the proper etiquette of corruption anymore?


Jake is enjoying some luxurious lap time.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Nyclad = Unobtainium

If you have any Federal Nyclad rounds in your stash, don't go shooting them off.

I asked Federal about the chance of ever ordering some. This is the reply that I received:
At this time there are no plans to load Nyclad bullets in .38 spl or any other caliber.

Federal Cartridge
Some of the ballistic testing I've seen has concluded that .38 Special Nyclads, and not +P, is an effective round for snubbies. Hell, that's what Smith & Wesson developed the round for, back when they called it the "Chief's Special" round.

Shoot everything else, but save the Nyclads!

Because It's Friday

Danish steam:

Doesn't Every School System Need a Tank?

Hey, kiddies! Your teachers have a tank! So behave!
The San Diego Unified School District Police Department has acquired its own vehicle, known as a MRAP, and expect it to be operational by October.
San Diego thinks they can use it in an emergency. They seem to think they can use it in an earthquake, because it can pull down a wall, but what good is that? They'd have a structurally-compromised building and then Barney Fife is going to start to yank down walls? Without any knowledge of structural engineering?

Are they smoking crack?

The San Diego School Police are trying to calm everyone down. "It's not a tank!"" "We'll paint a big Red Cross on it!" "We'll have teddy bears inside!"

Bullshit. You don't need an armored infantry fighting vehicle to deliver medical supplies and teddy bears. A truck would do the job, or a fucking ambulance. And painting it white and slapping on a Red Cross doesn't make it any less militarized.

For if that was the case, this gun would be legal to buy in California: