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

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

Su-25s, the "Rook", NATO codename "Frogfoot". It is their modern Sturmovik.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

When is This Ever OK?

Calling black men "niggers" to their faces" Referring to an adult black man as a "boy"?

When is that OK?
A candidate for Southampton Village Board in the June 16 election placed a call to Village Police last summer and used a racial slur when referring to a group of black men who were standing in front of her home in the Hillcrest neighborhood.

Valerie Smith, who is white, on Friday confirmed that she made the call, and used the slur, after a recording was obtained by The Press on Friday via a Freedom of Information Law request—and she went on to defend her use of the word, and used it several more times in an interview.
...
On Friday, Ms. Smith said her use of the racial slur was no big deal, and she should be entitled to use it whenever she wants.
The dispatcher acted professionally during the call, though it took him a few tries to get her name.

I suspect that if a few slurs were to be directed at her, she might take umbrage with them.

A Baby-Sitter for Trump; Twitter Ed.

The White House is considering having a team of lawyers approve Donald Trump's tweets, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing an advisor to the president.
I cannot see how Trump would ever comply with that. Even if it's in his best interest, legally speaking, to not tweet any more, he can't not do it. Twitter was a big part of his rise to political power. It's how he talks to his base. It's his pipeline to Fox News and the rest of the Batshit Press, which use Trump's tweets to develop their talking points.

Given where Trump's presidency is now, he would have been far better off if he had listened to the pros and stopped tweeting after he had won. He couldn't or wouldn't do that, for reasons that probably nobody, not even Trump, fully understands.

But if he stops tweeting now, or has his tweets vetted by lawyers (same thing, really), then it's a pretty clear tacit admission that Trump is in trouble and he has been forced to realize that.

Caturday


They call this "cat shaming", which is an untruth.

Cats have no shame about such things.

And they can't read.

Friday, May 26, 2017

They're Going to Jared

Investigators are focusing on a series of meetings held by Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and an influential White House adviser, as part of their probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and related matters, according to people familiar with the investigation.

Kushner, who held meetings in December with the Russian ambassador and a banker from Moscow, is being investigated because of the extent and nature of his interactions with the Russians, the people said.
...
In addition to the December meetings, a former senior intelligence official said FBI agents had been looking closely at earlier exchanges between Trump associates and the Russians dating to the spring of 2016, including one at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington. Kushner and Kislyak — along with close Trump adviser and current attorney general Jeff Sessions — were present at an April 2016 event at the Mayflower where then-candidate Trump promised in a speech to seek better relations with Russia. It is unclear whether Kushner and Kislyak interacted there.

The New York Times reported that Kushner omitted from security-clearance forms his December meetings with Kislyak and Gorkov, though his attorney said that was a mere error and he told the FBI soon after that he would amend the forms. The White House said that his meetings were normal and inconsequential.
Last time I filled out a security clearance form, and admittedly, it's been a great while, there was something about certifying the answers under penalty of perjury. And, of course, it's getting better:
Jared Kushner and Russia’s ambassador to Washington discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Trump’s transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring, according to U.S. officials briefed on intelligence reports.

Ambassador Sergey Kislyak reported to his superiors in Moscow that Kushner, son-in-law and confidant to then-President-elect Trump, made the proposal during a meeting on Dec. 1 or 2 at Trump Tower, according to intercepts of Russian communications that were reviewed by U.S. officials. Kislyak said Kushner suggested using Russian diplomatic facilities in the United States for the communications.

The meeting also was attended by Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser.
What would be really interesting would be to know where this story came from. Somebody is engaging in some serious ass-covering. It wouldn't shock me unduly if the story was coming from the Russians.

The Russians could be realizing that the whole Trump thing is falling apart, in part, because the asset they recruited can't keep his mouth shut. In other words, the asset is becoming a liability. Far from gaining a pliable president who could provide them with a cozy relationship with the U.S., they've, instead, have set a torch to the prospects of better relations at all. No sane politician will want to get within a political-parsec of Russia for a very long time.

But the longer that Trump is in office, the worse it's going to get for the Russians. So they may see it in their interest to grease the skids, get Trump out, and thereby at least put a tourniquet on the hemorrhaging.

Trump has a card to play: he could grant pardons to Kushner and Flynn. But that has two problems: First off, it almost invites impeachment, for the GOP would run from him as though he was caught in an airport bathroom, peddling kiddie porn. Second, it would mean that Flynn, especially, would have no shield to use to keep him from testifying.

Trump will probably pardon them, but he'll wait until he on his way out the door to either the final vote in the Senate or five minutes before his resignation takes effect.

Because It's Friday


You might want to click over to YouTube and read the description.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Čovjek je nemilosrdan svinja

President* Trump, during his visit to NATO headquarters in Brussels on Thursday, appeared to shove the prime minister of Montenegro so he could be at the front of a group of world leaders.

Trump is seen in a video of the group, as they prepared to enter the body's headquarters, walking in the back of the pack, before attempting to extend his hand to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who is at the front of the group.

But in doing so, Trump uses his left hand to push back Duško Markovic, the prime minister of Montenegro, and walks in front of him.
It is worth your life to get between Trump and a camera.

A civilized person would, at least, express some words of apology after shoving someone aside like they were a domesticated animal. But nobody will ever accuse Trump of being anything approaching civilized.

Trump Loses Again

A federal appeals court dealt another blow to President* Donald Trump's revised travel ban targeting six-Muslim majority countries on Thursday, siding with groups that say the policy illegally targets Muslims.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling that blocks the Republican's administration from temporarily suspending new visas for people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Oh, Trump can appeal, but the Supremes don't have to take the case. And if the 9th Circuit also upholds the order in Hawaii which black the ban, then there is no dispute among the circuits.

My recollection is that the 4th Circuit isn't known for being a liberal one, but no doubt the Right will start screaming that it is. They'll also be bleating about "judicial activism," which is code for "when the courts don't agree with me."

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Trump the OPSEC Imbecile

In an call with Philippine dictator Duterte, President (for now) Trump couldn't resist the impulse to brag about how he commands the best submarines in the world and where two of them were.

Of all of the operational secrets, the location of nuclear submarines is right at the top. Nobody is supposed to talk about where they are, not even in generalities. Now it is true that the President can do what he wants as far as that goes. But let's be clear about this: This wasn't Trump disclosing a secret for some diplomatic advantage, not at all. This was Trump the petulant man-child bragging about his shiny toys and how much better his toys are than anyone else's.

But hell, we all know that Trump is really jealous of Duterte. Duterte has ordered the extrajudicial killing of anyone involved in the drug trade and, given how those things go, it's probably a safe bet that some of the people he'll have killed will turn out to have been critics and political opponents.

There is little doubt that Trump and the Two Neo-Nazi Steves (Bannon and Miller) would very much like to send out their own death squads.

Reason #2,654,981 Why I Won't Be Appointed an Appellate Court Judge

A white supremacist petitioned a court for mercy, asking the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday to overturn his conviction and death sentence for killing nine black worshippers in a racist attack at a Charleston church.

The notice filed by attorneys for [the Asswipe of Charleston] was an expected move in what's expected to be years of appeals in his federal case. Earlier this month, the federal judge who presided over [Asswipe's] trial rejected his first appeal, ruling that the conviction and death sentence for the June 2015 massacre at Emanuel AME church should stand.

[Asswipe], 23, was sentenced to death earlier this year. Authorities have said the self-avowed white supremacist opened fire during a closing prayer of the Bible study session.
Because "Appeal denied, and go fuck yourself" would not exactly constitute proper judicial decorum.

But I'm sort of a mind that, when the decision is handed down, that's what it will boil down to.

News About Tabby's Star

Late last week, astronomers around the world prepared to work through the weekend observing one of the most enigmatic stars known to humanity: KIC 8462852, better known as Tabby's Star, Boyajian's Star or the "alien megastructures star." Amateur and pro star watchers trained telescopes on the star some 1,400 light-years away, and now we're able to get an early look at those observations and take a few tiny, tentative steps toward solving the mystery of this very weird star.

The alert went out on Friday that the odd dips in the brightness of the star first discovered in Kepler data via a crowdsourced effort were happening once again -- these dips have yet to be explained, giving rise to all sorts of theories, including far-out ideas like huge megastructures built by an advanced alien civilization.
...
Meanwhile, telescopes around the world will continue to keep a close eye on this very weird star, including the SETI Institute's Allen Telescope Array, which continues to listen for signs of intelligent life from Boyajian's star. So far, any aliens that might be building a massive Dyson sphere around the star seem to be doing their work with their radios turned off, because SETI researchers have yet to pick up signs of life from the star.
I wouldn't put too much stock in a lack of a detectable signal. Maybe Eck! might chime in, but it would seem to me that a civilization so advanced as to build such structures also might have a communications system that is beyond our ken. I suspect that a person listening into a digital broadcast in the 1930s would hear what would appear to be random noise. It might be a point of curiosity that it was on a more-or-less discrete frequency, but it would still appear to be noise.

Of all of the possible explanations that I've read, something like a ringworld or a Dyson's sphere would be the least probable. But the others alternatives (clouds of comets or interstellar dust) have also not been shown to be much more than probable.

Fascinating stuff, though.

Mikey Flynn News

Michael T. Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, misled Pentagon investigators about his income from companies in Russia and contacts with officials there when he applied for a renewal of his top-secret security clearance last year, according to a letter released Monday by the top Democrat on the House oversight committee.

Mr. Flynn, who resigned 24 days into the Trump administration, told investigators in February 2016 that he had received no income from foreign companies and had only “insubstantial contact” with foreign nationals, according to the letter. In fact, Mr. Flynn had sat two months earlier beside President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia at a Moscow gala for RT, the Kremlin-financed television network, which paid him more than $45,000 to attend the event and give a separate speech.
He might want to ask Martha Stewart about what happens when one lies to the Federales.



Or, if you're of a certain age:

That Shit Can Kill You

One person is dead and nine others were hospitalized after they contracted botulism from eating contaminated nacho cheese sauce at a gas station outside of Sacramento, California, state and local officials said.
Eating at a gas station, should, as a general rule, only be considered when the alternative is actual starvation.

Trying Again- FBI Search Ed.

The team tasked by the White House with finding a new director for the FBI is resetting its search, a senior administration official told CNN.
Trump is in a pickle of his own making. While he'd likely love to slot in a political toady, like Joe Lieberman, he may have been persuaded that such a pick wouldn't go over very well. On the other hand, someone with real integrity and ethics won't listen to subtle hints to drop the Russia investigations.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

What's a Little Obstruction of Justice and Witness Tampering Between Friends?

President Trump asked two of the nation’s top intelligence officials in March to help him push back against an FBI investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and the Russian government, according to current and former officials.

Trump made separate appeals to the director of national intelligence, Daniel Coats, and to Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, urging them to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election.

Coats and Rogers refused to comply with the requests, which they both deemed to be inappropriate, according to two current and two former officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private communications with the president. ... Trump’s conversation with Rogers was documented contemporaneously in an internal memo written by a senior NSA official, according to the officials.
You can bet heavily that Coates also made a record of his conversation with the Obstructer-in-Chief.

But hey, asking people to lie for you and say that you didn't do what they are saying you did is just another of the innumerable things that are OK if you're a Republican.

Farewell, Mr. Templar

Sir Roger Moore has died. Besides playing the lead role in The Saint, he was the longest-serving of the actors who have played James Bond.

Of course, you know I'm going to embed this clip:


He was awarded a knighthood for charitable work on behalf of UNICEF.

RIP, Sir Roger.


Backing Up Your Shit

Borepatch's blog is doing a three-part series on backing your shit up and other security stuff.

This is post #1.

Highly recommended reading.

Monsters

That's a one-word description of the asswipes involved in the bombing of a concern attended by mainly tweens and younger teenaged girls.

Monday, May 22, 2017

A Quarter of a Century Gone

Johnny Carson's last episode of The Tonight Show began 25 years ago, ending a thirty-year run. The show was more of a retrospective; the last show with guests Robin Williams and Bette Midler had aired the evening before. 55 million people tuned in to watch the last show.

It's pretty hard to describe the impact of the show at the time. It was the era of what is now called "appointment television", for you either watched shows as they aired or missed them. In offices around the nation, what was on "Carson" the night before was a standard topic of conversation. Carson loved political humor, and his jokes could enrage a politician like few others.

If you watched the show, you know what you were supposed to do when you reached the Slauson Cutoff.

A joke by Carson about an impending shortage of toilet paper triggered a run on the stuff in December, 1973, stores were rationing the stuff. There had already been shortages of meet earlier that year (not to mention the gasoline shortage that was going on at the time).

Jay Leno and David Letterman fought hard to replace Carson. Leno won, but there was considerable bad feeling between the two. CBS created The Late Show for Letterman to compete with The Tonight Show.

Both Letterman and Leno have also retired.

Johnny Carson kept a pretty low profile in retirement. He died of smoking-related emphysema in 2005

Cooking Sheriff Clarke

(No, not that one.)
Controversial Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who this week announced he will be joining Donald Trump's administration as assistant secretary in the Department of Homeland Security, plagiarized sections of his 2013 master's thesis on US security, a CNN KFile review has found.
Note that Clarke doesn't flatly deny it, but says, instead, that it wasn't plagiarism.

I knew of a lawyer, a long time back, who was about four years out of school when somebody read that person's writing project and said "what the fuck?" They gave the lawyer an F on the writing project, which meant that that person's degree was yanked. That, in turn, let to revoking their law license.

But if you're a politician, you can get away with that shit. Up to a point.

The Past is Still Alive- Aviation Ed.

A 16 year old girl, Caroline Dougherty, flew her first solo in this 1918 Jenny, powered by an original OX-5.


That's pretty impressive.

I read somewhere that back in the `30s, when even large airports were often grass (or cinder) fields, airport operators began forbidding tailskid-equipped airplanes from landing there because of the damage they did to the turf. The couple that I've seen flying (over a few decades of doing this) have had tailwheels, probably because landing a tailskid-equipped airplane on pavement would be like plopping the tail down on ice.

Shorter Flynn: "I Did Nuttin Wrong, See!"

President* Donald Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn won't provide records to the Senate intelligence committee and will invoke his Fifth Amendment rights in response to a subpoena from the committee, according to a source close to Flynn.
Yep, the guy that Trump insists is as pure as the driven snow.