Words of Advice:

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

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

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

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

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Fifi!

Fifi, a photo on Avsig:


If they can get Doc back into the air, you might be able to see two of them in flight.

Monday, April 29, 2013

What the Press Doesn't Know About the Bagram Crash

The published reports are sketchy. Either they say nothing much at all or they misidentify the airplane as a Herk.

The word in aviation circles is that the airplane was a 747-400 with eight SOBs. The crew radioed that the cargo had shifted aft. The airplane then went very nose-high, stalled and crashed.

UPDATE:  Video of the crash from a dashboard cam.

In a Binary World....

... this would be a low-mileage car:



Kind of torqued right now about the car, though. Turns out that there is a recall on it for something to do with the transmission. The recall was issued two years ago. Two years ago, the nearest Honda shop was ten miles away and there were four within 30 miles and, if I wanted to go hang with a friend, one was three miles from her house.

Nearest one here is sixty miles away, which kills the day flat. And I get to go hang around the frigging waiting room of the dealership for the duration.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Life in the Teens for Working Stiffs

About sums it up.



The irony of this one is that, when I ran the preview, it led with an ad for Mercedes Benz.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

The Eurofighter Typhoon



(Not that there is anything else called a "Eurofighter", so they could drop the "Typhoon" part...)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Moron-in-Chief?

2012:
President Obama said Monday [8/20/12] that any attempt by Syria to move or use its chemical weapons would change his administration’s “calculus” in the region, evoking the possibility of more direct U.S. intervention in the conflict.

Speaking at an impromptu news conference at the White House, Obama noted that he has not authorized military operations against Syria. But he said that any effort by President Bashar al-Assad to use chemical weapons would have significant consequences.

“We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus,” Obama said.
And, of course, very recently:
The White House said for the first time that there was evidence Syria had used chemical weapons in its civil war, but administration officials called for a broader United Nations investigation and edged away from declaring Damascus had crossed a "red line" that might trigger U.S. intervention.
And this:
The White House bumped up its confidence Thursday that Syria’s Bashar al-Assad has used chemical weapons against his own people, but it stopped short of issuing a definitive conclusion on what President Obama has said would be a “game-changer” for US policy on Syria.
When one issues a declaration that "we won't tolerate X", it's a damn good idea to have a plan ready as to what to do if X is done. I am getting the impression that wasn't done, that the Administration may have thought that just saying "don't use chemical weapons" would be enough.

Sometimes, the world is a bit like a schoolyard, in that if you want to be taken seriously, when you issue threats, you need to back them up. Otherwise, at a later juncture, when you're serious that if another nation does something, there will be war, nobody will take you seriously.

Of course, Netanyahu is always willing to see American blood shed to solve his problems, but that's another topic.

Shorter Congressional Action: "Sequestration is Bad If It Affects Us (and the Rich)!"

Your Congress at Work: Lifting to ease the sequestration cuts that directly affect them:
Sequestration became a reality to the broad public in airports across the country this week, and on Friday both Congress and the White House caved in to pressure from tens of thousands of airline passengers angered by flight delays.

The lawmakers and the Obama administration, creators of the across-the-board funding cuts, found a path around their own creation, approving legislation to end the daily furloughs of 1,500 air traffic controllers that caused long delays at several major airports.

The House voted 361 to 41 Friday in favor of a bill that had won unanimous support in the Senate, and White House press secretary Jay Carney said President Obama would sign it.
Most of those asswipes travel to their home bases by airliner, so any delays affect them directly.

Lots of hypocrisy here, for there's little outrage at Congress doing the bidding of the airline industry, but oh, let gun owners burn up the lines to oppose a bill and the outrage of the gun control crowd is tangible.

And then there are the other effects of the sequester, which Congress is in no hurry to fix, such as cuts to Head Start, the social safety net for Indians or the national parks. Because neither the rich nor congressmen tend to hang out in national parks ("what, mix with people?") or use social services for poor kids. But oh, let the sequester land on the convenience of Congressmen and they're stumbling over sacks of cash from lobbyists in order to fix the problem.

Assholes.

And if Obama had any balls, he'd veto the bill. Which he doesn't and he won't.

Caturday

A mother calico and her three kittens. The kittens are two days old. They were a squirming hot mess and all I had was a cheap-ass cellphone camera.


This one held still for a few seconds.


Friday, April 26, 2013

Democrats are Morons, But Can Republicans Avoid Being Idiots; "It's the Economy, Stupid" Edition

Income inequality is getting worse. The economic recovery that this president likes to talk about is only benefiting Wall Street. The stock market is up, but real wages are not. Most Americans are worse off, with their incomes either flat or declining.

This would seem to be progressive gold. Democrats could make a serious stab at fixing the Federal budget deficit proposing to go back to much higher brackets on the vampire class. They could make a serious attempt to level the playing field (taxes) between investor income and wage income. They could talk about how the real unemployment rate is probably closer to double the published rate of 8.1%. There could be a serious discussion about revamping the tax code to make it attractive to run businesses that employ Americans and make it tax-punitive to engage in vulture capitalism.

Add to that the recent news that the "austerity is good" economic theory, a theory that is akin to trying to cure malnutrition by fasting, turns out to have been fatally flawed. If there was ever a good time since 1941 to beat the drum of progressive economics, this would be it. If there was ever a time to stand up for the wage-earners, the working stiffs, this is it.

So what do the Democrats do, instead? Obama's big idea to address budget issues is to make things harder on seniors, by pushing to cut cost-of-living increases by using a different system to calculate CPI. So the argument can be made that the Democrats are going to try to save Social Security by making life meaner for seniors. And, let's not forget disabled veterans, for whom a chained CPI system will impact even worse.

Then, with an economy that is pretty much stalled (unless you're in the economic vampire class), the Democrats spend three months of political capital blathering about meaningless gun control bills. They let Diane Feinstein's new AR ban come up for a vote, instead of quietly killing it in committee, thus setting off an uproar among voters who own weapons.

The Democrats spent three months playing right into the GOP narrative of "you know, they really do want to take your guns away from you", a narrative that is reinforced by laws enacted in New York and Connecticut. If the Democrats in largely rural and western states tried to talk about economic fairness, the Republicans will be whispering "and you know, if you vote for those guys, they'll come for your guns."

The Democrats are morons.

But that may not translate into electoral disaster, for, as the past few election cycles have shown, the Republicans are idiots. The GOP has been, for all intents and purposes, seized by a bunch of ideological lunatics who would rather nominate a series of unelectable candidates, rather than a more moderate candidate who has a shot at winning a general election. Recent history bears this out:

2010: The Republicans nominated senatorial candidates in several states that they should, arguably, have had a good chance of winning. Harry Reid was not at all popular in Nevada, he had huge negative numbers in the polls, but the GOP ran a candidate who was so crazy that she lost. The same thing happened in Delaware, Colorado and Washington. The Republicans had a tougher road to hoe in Connecticut, but they went with Linda McMahon,a candidate whose sole claim to fame is being married to the guy who owns the WWE or WWF or something like that and she lost.

2012: In Missouri, Claire McCaskill was not at all popular. The Tea party folks managed to nominate the most conservative clown they could find, a man who promptly put on a pair of golfing shoes and stomped on his own dick. He lost. In Indiana, the Tea party was instrumental in kicking Sen. Lugar, a Republican, to the curb. The Indiana Tea party guy was only a little less inept than the Tea party guy in Missouri, which is why that seat switched to the Democrats. The Tea party guy lost in North Dakota. In Connecticut, the Rasslin' Lady' money pretty much scared off the professional politicians in the GOP, she ran again. After spending close to $100 million on her two attempts, she was beaten so badly the second time that the race was called fifteen picoseconds after the polls closed.

The Democrats currently have 53 Senate seats (or 55, if you also count the two independents). Angle, McDonnell, Mourdock, Akin, Buck, Rossi, Berg, and maybe McMahon, twice, all lost for the Republicans. Do the math. Without the Tea party driving the GOP into Batshitland, the Senate would be in GOP hands today.

And possibly even the White House. The crazies pushed the GOP candidate, a Republican who won statewide office in Massachusetts, so far to the right that he was unrecognizable. Worse, he was inauthentic, because he had to discard so many of his previous positions in order to win the nomination. The one other candidate who might have made a serious try for independent and center-right Democrats sank so fast that he might as well been wearing cement shoes.

The Republicans are idiots.

And as for the rest of us? We are so screwed.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

It's Not "the Moocher Class" If You're a Rich Conservative


The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Texas has been handed over to U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. ... The George W. Bush Foundation raised the money to build the center. The foundation donated the library and museum portion of the center to the National Archives, which provides access to presidential records, documents, historical materials and artifacts over time.
So the Federal government gets stuck with maintaining the Dubya Memorial Shrine for perpetuity? This from the side of the aisle that decries government involvement in almost everything?

I suppose there is a countervailing argument: That with professional archivists and historians running things, that Bush and his lackeys will lose control of their cover up, in the same way that Nixon did.

Still, the point should be made repeatedly that for all of the conservatives' disdain for government, Bush was a sucker on the governmental teat for decades. The Texas Rangers, like most other major-league sports teams, had no qualms about sucking down public money and power. Then Dubya jumped and spent fourteen years working government jobs and living in subsidized housing. Since he was retired at the point of the 22nd Amendment, he's continued to suck down government money, spending $400,000 a year on office rent and $85,000 on telephone costs.

Hard to know what he does with all of that office space and such. Chimpy isn't exactly big on doing charitable work, unlike Pope Jimmy (whose total expenses are equivalent to what the Former Tsar of the Baboons spends on office rent and stamps) or even Bubba Clinton, who is very involved in global charitable matters (almost like Bill Gates, but with presidential prestige and without Gates's checkbook).

As far as I can tell, C-Minus Augustus spends most of his time trying to avoid being arrested for crimes against humanity. So we're spending $1,300,000 to fuel Bush's evasion of the War Crimes Tribunal?

ANZAC Day




98 years ago today, ANZAC forces stormed ashore at Gallipoli. Their mission was to knock the Ottoman Empire out of the Great War. The First Lord of the [British] Admiralty, Winston Churchill, thought that the Ottoman Empire was rotted and would fall with a slight push.

He was wrong.

For lightly-populated countries, Australia and New Zealand paid a heavy price for Churchill's "error".

And it could be why, in the next war, when Churchill advocated invading the Balkans as "the soft underbelly of Europe", nobody seriously listened to him.

Old School Police Shooting Techniques

Over sixty years ago, this is how it was done:



Some of it is, well, scary. Extra rounds held in individual loops or loose in a pocket! It looks positively slow compared to what an expert today can do:



"State of the art" is never static.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Roadkill

There was a cat lying in the sun at the edge of the road. At first glance, it might have been sunning itself.

But it was still, unmoving. Not even its abdomen moved slightly to breathe. Then there was the bits of blood on the pavement next to its mouth. It was dead.

The road was wide. The cat and the blood were at the very edge. Did the driver know that he or she had even hit it? Or did some sick, pathetic and twisted asshole swerve to kill it?

It was a tiger-striped cat. It did not look underfed. Its fur gleamed. From all appearances, it had been someone's cat. It did not have a collar.

Was it along a road that its owners traveled? Would they see it and learn that it was dead? Was a loving family about to be devastated? Would a young child learn, all too soon, that life is fragile and death comes for all, eventually? Will the child's parents try to tell the child and themselves about the Rainbow Bridge?

Or would they not learn of the cat's death? Would they be able to tell themselves that maybe the cat had strayed and found a new home? Would they reassure the child that the cat was probably fine, for cats are survivors?

Did they think that they were doing what was best for the cat by letting it go outside? Would they realize that because they let the cat out, that death came for it many years early?

Or was the cat a working cat, a barn cat in a nearby farm? Was the cat feral, maybe part of a colony that someone was feeding? It appeared to have been healthy, until it meet up with Death on Wheels.

No way of knowing any of the answers, other than the plain fact that a tiger-striped cat had been killed alongside a road on a Spring day. I only hope that the cat had known the pleasure of a warm and loving home.

If you have a cat, please keep it inside. For its sake, and yours.

Data Dump

For all of the stuff that a number of people, including me, wrote that critized the way that the Boston cops handled the search for the Brothers Kablamazov*, I've only see one writer mention what the Hub cops did right:

They didn't spray everything that moved with bullets. Even when two of their own were shot (one fatally), the cops only shot at things that needed shooting. Unlike the LAPD and the other cops in California, who transformed the streets into free-fire zones.

The WaPo reports this morning what I said days ago: Those who are wondering why the American people aren't frothing like Joe Biden over the defeat of the background checks bill have misread the situation.

So Max Baucus is stepping down. Meh. The seat will likely flip, that is, if the GOP primary voters can restrain, for once, their impulses to nominate people who are unelectable by anyone with a GAF Fuctioning Scale score above 20.

Reloaders, better start burning up the phones to your Congresscritters. Thanks to the Brothers Kablamazov, they are now coming for you.
__________________________________________
* She does such good snark.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Yeah, Well, a Good Cry Isn't Unhealthy

I've recently learned of the Star Trek Phase II episodes. I can't believe how good they are. I've watched a few of them.

Episode 4x03, "World Enough and Time" is, so far, the best one that I have seen. Go full screen and better speakers than a laptop. And have a tissue handy.

More Bullshit From Barry; Hoplophobia Edition

This was in my email inbox this morning:
When I last emailed you a few months ago, I told you about my dad, Reuven, who was killed this past September in a mass shooting in Minneapolis.

Since then, I've been fighting every single day to reduce gun violence, so no one else ever has to grieve like I did.

When the Senate defeated a bill that would expand background checks last week, I just couldn't believe it. Something that 90 percent of Americans support should be a slam dunk.

Right now, we might be witnessing the greatest disconnect between Congress and the American people in our history.

This is why Organizing for Action's job is so important. Together, we can make sure that no one in Washington ever gets away with ignoring the voices of the people who sent them there -- no matter how powerful the special interests.

Add your name -- say you're ready to keep on fighting.

I can't get over the fact that those 45 senators cast their votes against background checks while family members of the victims of Newtown, Tucson, and Virginia Tech watched from the Senate gallery.

Could those senators even look those families in the eye and explain themselves?

The truth I'm finding is that the gun lobby has got decades worth of money and organizing behind them, and they know how to stir their supporters into a frenzy.

But 90 percent of this country is on our side, not theirs. If we all step up, we will be heard. And we will win the next vote.

This past weekend, thousands of OFA supporters got together at 45 targeted events across the country to thank the senators who stood up for us, and to tell the senators who caved to the special interests that we're not about to give up this fight.

That's the kind of action I'm talking about. Join in -- let's make sure that Wednesday was the most powerful the gun lobby will ever be in Washington.

Add your name right now:

http://my.barackobama.com/Keep-Fighting

Thanks. Now back to work.

Sami

Sami Rahamim
Minneapolis, MN
Let's dispense with the "overwhelming majority of the American people", bullshit, shall we?

Here is the truth: Yes, if you ask people "are background checks a good idea", without telling them the details, they say, "sure".

But, if you ask people "what national priorities are important to you", then guess what-- the answer is one that Bill Clinton famously would answer this way: "It's the economy, stupid!"
CBS News Poll. March 20-24, 2013. N=1,181 adults nationwide. Margin of error ± 3.
"What do you think is the most important problem facing this country today?" (Open-ended question)

Economy and jobs: 41%
Budget deficit/National debt: 9%
Health care: 5%
Partisan politics: 4%
Guns: 3%
Other: 35%
Unsure: 3%
Every similar poll that I have seen has pretty similar results. The politicians can read those polls, too. Even when a laundry list is presented and one of the choices is "gun policy", the number doesn't break 15%.

The message the professional politicians take away from that, as buttressed by their office contact statistics, is this: The people who say they want more gun control really don't care that much about it. The people who say they don't want more gun control do care about it.

Care to guess which group is going to turn up on Election Day and vote their feelings in the matter? The answer is pretty clear to the pros.

One has to wonder why the Obama Administration is spending its political capital on this issue. In the first really big fight since he was re-elected, he has engaged in the political equivalent of Pickett's Charge. In `09, before the GOP recovered from their drubbing, he got the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act through. This time, he chose an issue that, if the Republicans can stay away from nominating clowns like Mourdock, Angle and Akin, might give them a shot at picking up some Senate seats next time around.

Relying on the stupidity of your opponent is not a good plan, in my view. But that seems to be what the Obama folks are doing.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Shorter Cadillac Deval: "We Have to Protect Our Phony-Baloney Jobs! We Have to Do Something, Immediately! Immediately! Immediately!"

Unfortunately, there was nobody there to say: "Gentlemen, rest your sphincters."

Cooler heads are prevailing and are starting to question the locking down of an entire city to conduct a search for one armed teenager.
It was about 1 P.M. on Friday when I decided this fine country of ours had lost its moorings and gone a little nuts. That was when I heard that the authorities—which particular ones wasn’t clear—had stopped the trains running between New York and Boston. At Penn Station, a radio reporter said, Amtrak passengers and trains were piling up.

It wasn’t just the trains, it turned out. Some of the airspace over Boston was closed lest … well, it wasn’t clear lest what, but lest something. Logan Airport remained open, but there wasn’t any mass transit running to and from it. And all this on a Friday at lunchtime, when tens of thousands—who knows, maybe hundreds of thousands—of people are preparing to move north or south along the Boston-New York corridor. Even buses were halted, thus enabling the benighted Tsarnaev brothers to achieve something that proved beyond Emperor Hirohito and Hitler. They stopped the Greyhound.
It stops looking like "determined resolve" that the cable news bloviators were crowing about and begins to look more like a mix of panic and cowardice. Even when a rouge LAPD cop had declared war on law enforcement and when those two asswipes were sniping people in the metro DC area, neither city shut down. But in Boston, a city that prides itself on being tough, they hid inside.

I keep wondering what would have happened if today's political "leaders" in Massachusetts had been in office in the 18th Century. Odds are we'd still be singing "God Save the Queen".

The other thing is that we may need some sort of Constitutional amendment that bans legislation reacting to an event like that for a reasonable cooling-off period, like 90 days or more. We wouldn't be stuck with the Patriot Act, one of the more execrable pieces of modern legislation, if there had been a mandatory cooling off period.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

The Rhino:

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Gun Lasers

This is sort of what I knew before watching Crimson Trace's promotional DVD:
  • Lasers are good for low light situations.
  • Lasers have an intimidating effect, as the bad guy sees where he is going to take a bullet.
  • Lasers aren't a cheap add-on.
This is what I learned from the DVD:
  • In a situation where shit is going sideways, with a laser, you can keep your eyes on the bad guys and watch the situation.  You don't have to refocus on your front sight.
  • Crimson Trace's lasers are better because, with the activation button in the front of the grip, if you're holding the gun in a shooting grip, the laser is on. You don't have to fuck with any switches or buttons.
The part where the guy was showing how long it took to activate a competitor's laser looked kind of hokey. Someone who was probably pretty serious about it would likely have it down better.

It doesn't take much thought to come up with a scenario where an instant-on laser is not a good idea, which negates the "our shit is better" claim. You're giving away your position when the laser is on. The pros from Dover, the ones who use night-vision goggles, use infrared lasers so the run-of-the-mill bad guy won't see them. (Of course, if a bad guy uses the monitor screen of a cellphone camera, he'll see them. Which is why you can use your cellphone camera to see if your TV remote is working.)

For a carry gun, I can see why you'd really want a laser sight. Not the least of it is if the bad guy sees the dot on his chest and then decides he has an urgent appointment elsewhere, even better for you.

It Occurred to Me Yesterday....

.... that on April 19th, 1775, the Redcoats set out to search houses in Middlesex County and they got met by gunfire. On April 19th, 2013, the Boston cops were searching houses in Middlesex County and got met with applause.

Yes, I know, the circumstances were different. But the principle fact is that when the authorities in both cases thought it was a good idea to just go search people's homes and outbuildings, they just did it.

(Or, 238 years ago, they tried to.)

Caturday; Favorite Activities Dept.

Jake was engaged in two of his favorite activities:

Sleeping:


Watching the world go by:


Friday, April 19, 2013

"It's Like Watching the Weather Channel, Except With Cops and Guns."

That was the comment that a friend had about the televised coverage of the doings in the Boston area today. If anybody uttered a new syllable, it was breaking news.

You don't have to be a complete moron to work for TV and/or cable news as an on-air personality.

But it doesn't hurt.

And While You Have All Been Whining About the Failure to Pass a Gun Control Bill...

.... Congress has been sneaking CISPA through.

Which might as well be titled: The Let Your Government Eavesdrop On Everything You Do Without a Warrant Act of 2013.

Pretty sneaky of them. The bill might have been killed if people were paying attention. But they weren't. They were too busy getting their panties bunched up over gun control and the Boston bombing.

Some Deaths Are Just More Righteous Than Others

President Obama has ordered flags at the White House and all federal buildings be flown at half-staff in honor of the victims of the Boston bombing.

The president issued a proclamation this morning that all flags be lowered until sunset on April 20 “as a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on April 15, 2013, in Boston, Massachusetts.”
On the other hand, if the blast that took your loved ones' lives was an industrial accident, meh.
At least 11 emergency responders are missing and presumed dead following the massive West fertilizer explosion near Waco, but the search for survivors continues.

State officials said Friday that 12 bodies have been recovered so far, and search and rescue efforts will continue for a second day after the West Fertilizer Co. blast Wednesday night.
If you do the arithmetic, that's at least 23 dead and a good part of a town leveled. Over 200 injured, 150 buildings destroyed and the heart of the town gutted. An apartment complex was pretty much blown flat.

But it wasn't terrorism, so two days later, you have to dig through some of the news websites in order to find any stories about the explosion in West, Texas. Because some deaths are more righteous than others.

And it has not escaped notice that Sen. Cruz, who derided aid for the victims of Superstorm Sandy as "pork", now wants aid for Texas. I hope that the entire northeastern congressional delegation tells him to go shit in his hat.

238 Years Ago

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Battle of Lexington began around sunrise on April 19th, 1775. The Battle of Concord would be fought about three hours later.

The militiamen gave better than they got. The morale boost from going toe-to-toe with the best army in the world and beating them probably can't be overestimated.

By the end of the day, the Revolutionary War had begun.

It would take over a year before the rest of the Colonies had joined the fight.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Hey, Reince, How's That Minority Outreach Program Working for You?

Because getting your troops to treat othrs with respect sure seems to be an epic failure.

Fist, there was Don Young who was remiscing about all of the "wetbacks" his dad used to hire.

And now, there is a leader in the Oklahoma House who put his foot in his mouth and then proceeded to hammer his jaw closed:
Oklahoma state Rep. Dennis Johnson (R-Duncan) apologized Wednesday for recently using the phrase "Jew me down."

While speaking on the virtues of small business in debate over a bill Wednesday, he said, "They might try to Jew me down on a price. That's fine ... that's free market as well."
He's not just some schlub there, he is a ranking member.

Yeah, that's really helping the GOP to convince voters that they're not the Party of the Klan.




Don't Let the Screen Door Hit You in the Ass, Piers!

"If you don't change your gun laws to at least try to stop this relentless tidal wave of murderous carnage, then you don't have to worry about deporting me.

"Although I love the country as a second home and one that has treated me incredibly well, I would, as a concerned parent first – and latterly, of a one-year-old daughter who may attend an American elementary school like Sandy Hook in three years' time – seriously consider deporting myself."

Well, we're not changing the law.

Mr. Morgan, you can book your ticket back to Old Blighty here.

Have a nice flight.

Free Advice to the Senior Members of the Bush (43) Administration

If you want to have free food, lodging and medical care for the rest of your lives, all you have to do is travel abroad.
An independent review of the U.S. government's anti-terrorism response after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks reported Tuesday that it is "indisputable" the United States engaged in torture and the George W. Bush administration bears responsibility. ... The report says brutality has occurred in war before, "But there is no evidence there had ever before been the kind of considered and detailed discussions that occurred after September 11, directly involving a president and his top advisers on the wisdom, propriety and legality of inflicting pain and torment on some detainees in our custody."
Regular readers of this blog may recall that I've been advising them to not travel abroad for a while now.


The verdict of history is coming in: You guys tortured people.

Oh, and President Obama? You're not off the hook. By not doing anything to investigate the war crimes of the Bushies, you are covering them up. That makes you complicit in them. Covering up war cries is, in and of itself, a war crime.

This stain on our national honor will not be removed by reports. It can only be removed by bringing our own alleged war criminals to justice. But I have no confidence that we will ever do that. As a people, we just don't have that kind of stones. So we might as well just repeal our own law on torture.

Fire, Ready, Aim; CNN and the Boston Bombing Edition

CNN puts on its golfing shoes and then proceeds to step all over its crank, first claiming that the cops have arrested a suspect and then having to back off that.

I can appreciate the urge to run with a scoop. But damn, isn't it preferable to be accurate over the journalistic equivalent of "spray and pray"?

CNN, Your First Choice For Wild-Ass Guesses.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

OK, Cletus, Can You Stop Buying Up All of the Fucking Ammunition, Now?

The Obama background check bill is dead:
Washington (CNN) -- In a major defeat for supporters of tougher gun laws, the U.S. Senate on Wednesday defeated a compromise plan to expand background checks on firearms sales as well as a proposal to ban some semi-automatic weapons modeled after military assault weapons.
Barry's got some gall, accusing the bill's opponents of lying. He and his minions have spent the last four months bleating the lie that "40% of all gun sales do not have background checks," which even the quasi-liberal WaPo determined was a fib. John Kerry also just had to get into the fibbing game, as well, lying that foreign students are not coming to the U.S. because they fear being shot, rather than the more prosaic reason, to wit: Money.

So anyway, the bill is dead. Can all of you clowns please stop with the hoarding of ammunition and components? Please?

Apropos of nothing in particular, Patton Oswald's ad-libbed filibuster on Parks and Recreation:

Monday, April 15, 2013

Boston Marathon Bombing

Presumably a bombing.


Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy
What is definite (or seems to be) is that there were two explosions and a number of people are injured. There may or may not be fatalities. There seems to be confusion as to whether or not a third bomb was found and defused. When something like this happens, initial reports are often contradictory, if not ultimately wrong. The smart thing to do is wait and see what develops.

No doubt that there is already lots of speculation as to who was behind it and remember, in 1995, there was lots of people pointing fingers at Islamic terrorists until it was determined that it was good old angry white dudes.

I'm tempted to joke that since the Boston Marathon takes place on the day that Patriots' Day is observed, maybe the cops ought to be looking for Loyalist sympathizers. But it wouldn't be amusing, not today.

UPDATE:  3 dead, 141 wounded. I'm not the only one who looked at the copious amount of smoke and thought about black powder.

"Dark Lightning"?

I'd never hear of this before:
Unknown to [Benjamin] Franklin but now clear to a growing roster of lightning researchers and astronomers is that along with bright thunderbolts, thunderstorms unleash sprays of X-rays and even intense bursts of gamma rays, a form of radiation normally associated with such cosmic spectacles as collapsing stars. The radiation in these invisible blasts can carry a million times as much energy as the radiation in visible lightning, but that energy dissipates quickly in all directions rather than remaining in a stiletto-like lightning bolt. ... Unlike with regular lightning, though, people struck by dark lightning, most likely while flying in an airplane, would not get hurt. But according to [lightning researcher Joseph] Dwyer’s calculations, they might receive in an instant the maximum safe lifetime dose of ionizing radiation — the kind that wreaks the most havoc on the human body.
By "not get hurt", I imagine the reporter means that a person struck by dark lightning would not be crispy crittered. Yet getting a lifetime's dose (or more) of ionizing radiation does not seem like a good thing. Maybe better than the alternative.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Bangity, Smart Dogs, the Stupid News Media and Stalling Out

I went shooting at a club PPC match. While I shot well, into the top of the "expert" range,* I wasn't terribly satisfied. My top scores in the three matches that I have shot so far differ by a single point.

This time, I shot both a skinny-barrel Model 10 and a Model 19. No difference in the scores. The problem that I had with the -19 is that I was trying to see black sights against a solid black silhouette target in bright light. It took me a noticeable amount of time to pick up the sights. On the third stage (shoot six rounds , reload, shoot six more), the time loss translated into a shooting style bordering on "spray and pray", as getting all shots of and at least hitting the target is preferable to leaving rounds in the gun.

So I need to color at least the front sight and do it in a non-permanent way.

A number of the match attendees was laughing a little at the news media's characterization of the "massive arsenal" which the Newtown Asswipe and his mother owned. It would be a safe bet that everyone at the range for the match owned more weapons and cartridges. Asswipe probably owned more edged weapons, though.

The match itself had a lot of time between shooting, as the fat was chewed, the match director totaled up scores and shooters decided whether to declare their scores as their high score or try again. During one of those periods, a female pit bull puppy came over to the range. She was very friendly, she wanted to be petted by everyone and lick their faces. When the next match started, she wanted to follow everyone out there, but another shooter and I, who were skipping that run-through, called her back and gave her lots of attention.

Everyone figured that as soon as the match started, that she would run off. But she was smarter than that. She took off running as soon as the match director yelled: "Shooters ready?" She had gone through the fence line (just a single strand of wire to mark the property line) and was making tracks before the first shots were fired.
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*Considering I was using revolvers.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

F-104 Starfighter.



If you believe the rumors, the F-104 killed more Luftwaffe pilots than Spitfires did.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Friday, April 12, 2013

2013 Blue Angels Routines; Sequester Edition

Some modifications were necessary:

How to Lose the Black Vote

Every so often, you'll run across a GOP politician (or a blogger) whining about how can it be that the party that was abolitionist in the 19th Century, was behind the 13th Amendment and sent Federal troops to enforce integration orders now only gets -0.7% of the African-American vote.

Two words: "Southern strategy." Jon Stewart brings the history lesson.

(Part two)

Questions? (Not that this is news to regular readers.)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Drone War of Barack W. Bush

I don't think that there would be any difference between them when it comes to the use of drones.


Now it has come to light that President Obama has been lying about the extent of his drone war. We haven't just been killing men who were either senior al Qaeda leaders or who were involved in terrorist plots. No, we've been killing guys whose closest connection to terrorism was apparently having breakfast at El Jihado's House of Pancakes:
Contrary to assurances it has deployed U.S. drones only against known senior leaders of al Qaida and allied groups, the Obama administration has targeted and killed hundreds of suspected lower-level Afghan, Pakistani and unidentified “other” militants in scores of strikes in Pakistan’s rugged tribal area, classified U.S. intelligence reports show.
At times, they didn't even have a clue who they were shooting at:
The documents also show that drone operators weren’t always certain who they were killing despite the administration’s guarantees of the accuracy of the CIA’s targeting intelligence and its assertions that civilian casualties have been “exceedingly rare.”
Because we are the first nation to use killer drones in warfare, we are, by our actions, setting the standard for what is permissible and what is not. We have set the standard at: "You can kill that guy because he looks funny." We are killing people at a lower level of suspicion than we allow our cops to pull somebody over. Our standards for using lethal force are right around those used by the Russians in Chechnya.

George W. Bush at least had an excuse, for he was (and likely still is) a sick twisted man who got his rocks off by killing people by remote control. If he has ever shown a drop of remorse for the hundreds of thousands of people that were maimed and killed on his watch (not to mention the millions made into refugees), I've seen no evidence of it. Barack Obama apparently is bloodthirsty in his own special way.

The chickens are going to come home to roost on this. Mark my words.

Flogging the Bishop Whilst Driving??

First, the story:
A former vice mayor exposed himself and masturbated in the direction of at least three different women while driving his car at 90mph, it emerged today.

The women testified against former Mount Carmel Vice-Mayor William Blakely in Tennessee court last week and all described in graphic detail how he would get their attention while they were driving and then hang his penis out the car window. ... Police believe that Blakely has been pulling the disturbing stunt for years as they have received dozens of complaints from different women about a man doing lewd acts on the road.
I am having a difficult time trying to imagine the physiological contortions required for him to drive his car at 90mph, hang his schlong out the window and masturbate, all without rolling his car into a ball.

Now if he was driving a convertible and the victims of his lewd display were in SUVs or pickup trucks, then maybe it would be possible for them to have a clear line of sight to his lap. But hanging his whizzer out the window? The guy has to be either hung like a horse or have a dick that looks like a good length of garden hose.

His lawyer might want to go with an impossibility defense, though I don't know how that could be proven in open court. Maybe in chambers, but if I were the judge, I'd want to have the room steam-cleaned afterwards.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Guns & Teddy Bears; 98% Stupidity

This is all over the Intertubes:
As lawmakers' session wound down early last month, [Illinois State Senator Dan] Kotowski had a small teddy bear on his Senate desk. A last-minute attempt to move legislation to limit the size of firearm ammunition magazines had stalled, but Kotowski had gotten the bear in an effort to make a point about gun regulation.

"Teddy bears are more regulated than guns," Kotowski said, arguing that while toys have to meet rigorous safety standards, guns don't have to go through the same testing.
That may be true as far as it goes, but it is a stupid coment nontheless, for a very obvious reason: Guns are not toys. Guns are not meant to be placed in the hands of toddlers. Guns are weapons. You might as well compare teddy bears to knives, hammers or chain saws.

Once the item hits the store shelves, then things change, of course. You can be a felon and legally purchase and possess a knife, a teddy bear or a chain saw. You don't have to have a background check done in order to buy those things. You don't get reported to the BATF if you were to buy two knives or teddy bears at a time. You don't have to be 18 or 21 to buy gasoline for a chain saw. You don't need a state permit in Massachusetts to own a teddy bear. You can carry a teddy bear openly, down the street of any metropolis without being arrested.

Kotowski is only a little less moronic than the comments of Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), who seems to think that gun magazines come pre-loaded with ammunition and cannot be reused. Maybe it's just me, but I'd think that a legislator who is going to offer opinions about any sort of kit has an obligation to at least try to understand the technology or devices that she is opining about. Note that she tried to backwater and say that she was referring to "clips", which she thinks can't be reloaded (an assertion which will surprise anyone who owns a M-1 or, for that matter any other firearm capable of being fed from clips).

Here is a rule I would like to offer: Anyone who says that "my proposals are a common-sense solution to (insert issue/problem here)" should immediately be punched in the throat. What they are trying to do (and the lazy-ass press lets them get away with it) is to marginalize their opponents, who are obviously not operating with common sense.

It is a very old rhetorical trick. By this point, it is one that the users should be called out on whenever they pull it.

Or just punch them in the throat. Either way.

У Mеня Hичего Hет......

I really don't. I haven't even worked up the motivation to snark at the morans who are screeching that Margaret Thatcher won the Cold War. Which is, of course, bullshit. The economic foundations of the Soviet Union were rotten, a fact that had been known by serious analysts for at least decades before Thatcher came to power. They were spending 25% of their GDP on their military. That's doable in wartime, but not for the long haul.

The USSR was going to come apart sooner or later. If a house is termite-infested and about to fall down, credit for destroying the house doesn't go to the clown who kicked down a wall. But that's how the Right sees it, I guess.

Best comment about Thatcher wasn't mine: To honor her memory, take away your kid's milk and call Nelson Mandela a "terrorist".

Yeah, I got nothing.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

An Opinion on the 2016 Presidential Election

Here it is:

It is not even six months since the last election. If you speculate online about who is running and where they stand in the polls, I reserve the right to make fun of you.

If you were to do that in my presence, I reserve the right to put on a pair of golfing shoes, toss you out on the street and step on your face a few times. And/or your gonads.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

John Travolta's 707:

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Caturday

A friend of mine played this video with the speakers up.



Her cat, Bella, then spent over an hour, searching the house for the interloper. She was determined to find that cat and kick its ass.

Friday, April 5, 2013

So, When Will the Grand Cayman Banks Go Tango Uniform?

One of the hammering points on Cyprus was that the amount of money on deposit in Cypriot banks was more than the gross domestic product of Cyprus. So if the national banking system collapsed, the banks could not be bailed out.

The bank deposit/GDP ratio for Cyprus was 5 to one.

So, what about the Grand Cayman Islands? In 2011, their banks had 1.6 trillion dollars on deposit. For the same year, their GDP was 2.4 billion dollars. That's one-tenth of the GDP of Vermont and just slightly less than the GDP of Danville, IL.

The bank deposit/GDP ratio for the Grand Caymans is 667 to one.

Yet nobody seems to be worried about the stability of the Grand Cayman Islands.

To be fair, Grand Cayman's debt to GDP ratio is about 25%, while for Cyprus, it was close to 180%. Still, there is no way in this Universe that Grand Cayman can guarantee its deposited funds for more than a quarter-penny on the dollar.

But nobody seems to be worried about their money there.

What am I missing?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Command Responsibility Still Means Something to Some Captains

It did to a 737 captain at American Airlines, who did what he thought was right.

Read it and keep a tissue handy.

Gun Drones

Some folks have built a drone that can fly a paintball gun.


The recoil impulse of a firearm discharging is a little bit different than a paintball gun. It would probably take a more robust flying drone to fire a weapon and not fall apart, let alone remain controllable. But it's probably doable, at least initially for smaller-caliber weapons.

The other thing is that if that guy is trying to remain anonymous, he's doing a shitty job of it. It is possible to identify people by the shapes of their ears, provided, of course, you have photos of people to compare with that of the unknown person. That's probably why the Feds would like it when they can see the ears of people who were photographed for visas and green cards.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Yahrzeit

George passed over the Rainbow Bridge a year ago today.

George was my first cat. He was also a bottle-fed cat and for whatever reason, he grew up with a lot of attitude. I didn't know from owning a cat, he didn't know from being raised as a cat, but he was mine for just over fifteen years.

He hated being groomed. So, as he got older, I had him shaved once the weather warmed up in order to remove his knotted and matted fur. Because he was pretty bad-ass, I had him given a mohawk.


George was a Gravity Inspector. If he could knock something on the floor, he did.


He loved water, preferring to drink the stuff dripping out of a faucet.


He also liked people food, especially seafood and beef. But it had to be cooked! Once, I tried giving him some slices of raw beef, as I was informed that cats go nuts for it. Not George! He sniffed at it, looked at me as if to say: "What the fuck, this shit's not even cooked!" and he stalked off, radiating displeasure.

He loved his toys, especially small balls. He'd bat them from one end of the apartment to the other, chasing and, so it seemed, dribbling them like a champion soccer player. Of course, he preferred to do that in the middle of the night, because he was George, and that was what he did.

A friend of mine said that he was a shitcake, and he could indeed be all that. But he was my cat, I loved him, and I think he probably loved me as much as he could.

I miss him so.

The Lightness of Blogging

Between doing my taxes and shit. I hate doing taxes. It makes me want to claw my eyes out and stomp on them.

So last night I picked up a book, The Sweetness of Forgetting. I had to force myself to put it down and go to bed.

Expect that I'll pick it up tonight.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Taking That GOP Train to Crazy Town

The chairwoman of the GOP in Georgia thinks that straight men will marry each other "for the benefits".
“You may be as straight as an arrow, and you may have a friend that is as straight as an arrow,” [Sue] Everhart said. “Say you had a great job with the government where you had this wonderful health plan. I mean, what would prohibit you from saying that you’re gay, and y’all get married and still live as separate, but you get all the benefits? I just see so much abuse in this it’s unreal. I believe a husband and a wife should be a man and a woman, the benefits should be for a man and a woman. There is no way that this is about equality. To me, it’s all about a free ride.”
How many men and women entered into sham marriages with each other for the benefits? Other than "green card" marriages, how prevalent has this been? "Hey, let's get married so you can have access to my employer health care. We won't even have to live together or shit!" Really, that's probably been the basis for, oh, I don't know, no marriages?

An inference could be drawn that Everhart probably got married for that reason.*

What kind of a twisted paranoid nut does it take to come up with shit like this?
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* If there ever was a time that I wish I could get away with saying "I wouldn't fuck her with your dick", this is one.

This isn't Going to End Well; Stupid-Ass Kids With Far More Money Than Brains Edition

Justin Bieber spat on a Calabasas neighbor and threatened him after a harsh exchange of words over the pop star's behavior and that of his entourage, a neighbor told deputies when making a battery complaint.

L.A. County sheriff's detectives are now investigating allegations involving the Tuesday morning confrontation, as well as complaints Bieber and his entourage drove at excessive speeds through his Calabasas neighborhood, authorities said.
And there's more!
TMZ broke the story ... Bieber was allegedly driving his Ferrari at speeds approaching 100 mph in the gated community ... this according to multiple neighbors. The guy next door went onto Justin's property to complain, and he says Justin told him, "Get the f**k out of here," and then he spit in the guy's face and said, "I'm gonna f**king kill you." The neighbor filed a battery report.
100mph through a residential neighborhood? And I like it how some punk-ass little twerp with an entourage the side of a reinforced rifle platoon thinks that he's a real tough guy.

In the real (non-celebrity) world, a twerp like Bieber who spit on somebody would have had a bloody mudhole stomped into his ass and nobody would have thought a thing about it. There probably are legions of eight-something great-grandmothers who could beat the crap out of that fool without even mussing their hairdos.

And they should.