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, January 31, 2016

The Bitter Dead-Enders of Y'all Qaeda

Still hanging in there:
As the anti-government standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge entered its 30th day, the remaining occupiers claimed many of their phone lines no longer worked.

The four holdouts awoke to discover that many lost phone and Internet service overnight, according to [Some Other Jerkoff], a Nevada [fellow-traveler] who said he had been in contact with the armed protesters. They have refused to leave the refuge until they are guaranteed they won't be arrested.
Right. "We've take over a Fed'rul building for a month, we got guns, and we're only gonna leave if you don't arrest us."-- Let me know how that works out for you guys.

Peaceful protest is usually protected b the First Amendment. Civil disobedience is not. And certainly not armed criminal activity. These clowns are no more "legitimate protesters" than were the Weathermen who were robbing banks.* Breaking the law can get you jail time.

Y'all Qaeda's new motto: "Give us immunity or give us death."
_______________________________

*The difference between the Weathermen and Y'all Qaeda is the Weathermen didn't just run their mouths.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

An-74:




Saturday, January 30, 2016

Clinton Suports Gun Control, Only Because She Thinks It'll Get Her Votes

Eight years ago, she was trying to persuade votes that she was pro-Second Amendment.

This time around, she's taking the opposite tack.

Clinton is about as pure an electoral politician as there is this time around. She will say and support anything that she thinks will result in a net increase in votes. Clinton would barbecue and eat parrots.

I think her time has passed. But then again, I think that the time of any establishment candidate has passed.

Knocking Off the Rust, Aviatrix Ed.

I flew yesterday and today for the first time in four weeks. (I had a cold that then took up long-term residence in my sinuses.) It finally cleared up.

Yesterday, I shot some landings. I almost thought that I'd have to jump-start it, but a couple of blades kicked over and the engine started. The landings weren't too horrible, even with a bit of a crosswind.

This morning was a cross-country to an airport cafe. The engine started fine. On the way down, the rust showed- keeping course and altitude together was a chore. Coming back, it was all good. 97mph groundspeed down, 136mph coming back.

Earlier this week, same thing for shooting. Because of the volumes of air that have to be moved, indoor ranges are cold when the temps are down. Shooting when one is feeling bad is sort of a waste of ammunition. I shot Bullseye practice: First relays of slow and rapid fire were horrible. Second time through, not so much.

Wounded Warrior Project = Sleazeballs?

Apparently so. They consider fundraising and advertising to be programs that assist veterans.
Wounded Warrior Project says 80 percent of their money is spent on programs for veterans. That's because they include some promotional items, direct response advertising, and shipping and postage costs. Take that out, and the figures look more like what charity watchdogs say -- that only 54 to 60 percent of donations go to help wounded service members.

They're also sitting on a quarter of a billion dollars in cash. Which seems a bit odd. If you've ever worked with a charity, it seems really odd.

Anywho, where are the conservative leaders expressing umbrage over this? If they were government workers engaging in lavish travel and parties, the outrage would be volcanic.

(Other posts of mine) on point.

Caturday

Shelter cats are taking their ease inside the top of a cat tower.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Lightly Modding a BHP

It now has a slightly-extended safety lever from Cylinder & Slide:


You can see the difference from the one that was on the gun by comparing it to this photo:


What was on the gun from the factory was an extended ambidextrous safety. Someone installed an older nubbin-sized safety. Which I felt was too small to be reliably actuated, hence the replacement.

Down the road might be better sights. The trigger is heavy, but it's not gritty. Being heavy doesn't bother me too much on a carry gun. If this gun was to be a range toy or a race gun, then that'd be something to address.

Whither Afghanistan?

The U.S. Army general picked to lead U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan warns the security situation there is deteriorating despite a valiant effort by Afghan forces.
The reasons are slightly unpalatable. The Bush Administration established (or allowed) a government of kleptocrats. The Obama Administration has been either unwilling or unable to change that. Afghanistan is the third most-corrupt nation on the planet.

Like the Iraqi army, the Afghan army has been plagued by officers who have cared more about lining their own pockets than fielding an effective army. Their army has ranks filled with ghost soldiers, names on a roster that don't correspond to a living person, so that the officers can pocket their pay. Equipment has been stolen and sold, often to the enemy. Public improvement projects have been repeatedly built with shoddy materials; the contractors skim the difference between what was spec'd and what was built-- often paying off the officials who awarded the contracts.

Because it would seem to be easy as pie to obtain a post in the army by bribery, the enemy has had little trouble in salting the Afghan army with agents who wait for an auspicious time and then slay their supposed comrades, superiors and advisers.

By invading Afghanistan, the neocons who were then in charge thought that they were striking a mortal blow against the Taliban and al Qaeda. But what they were really doing was punching a tar-baby. And now we're pretty well stuck there.

Unless the Pakistanis finally get tired of letting the Taliban operate within their borders, there will be no change to the situation. There is no sign of the Pakistanis ever doing that. When the 20th anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan rolls around, I predict that things will be no better than there were at the 5th, 10th or 15th anniversaries.

And, unless we follow the advice of Se. George Aiken, we'll still be there.

Because It's Friday

On the Valley RR:

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Thirty Years Ago

Space Shuttle Challenger exploded just over a minute after liftoff.


Seven astronauts were killed that frigid January morning.


The failures in management that led to the explosion were many, mostly ones of "we did this before and nothing bad happened"-- which, in retrospect, was like proclaiming that Russian Roulette is a safe game because the hammer fell on empty chambers in the first two tries.

In a public demonstration, using o-ring material and ice water, Richard Feynman showed why Challenger blew up. Arguably, much of the credit for uncovering and making public the cause of the disaster is Feynman's.

But did NASA learn from the loss of Challenger? Probably not.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

About Time for a Few Laughs Around This Here Blog

DWB = Tickets

In Florida, a black motorist who is not wearing a seat belt is twice as likely to get yanked up by the cops than a white motorist. In some parts of the state, the disparity is four to one.

And don't be found being a person of color and riding a bicycle in Tampa. That'll get you a ticket.

As for being black and shopping in Grand Rapids, MI? That'll get you arrested.

Dear NY Times: Welcome to the Party, Pal, Part the 1,563rd

The NY Times is raising red flags about The Wounded Warrior Project, for both being a Legion of Kool-Aid Drinkers and for spending lavishly on their internal operations.

Not that this is news.

"It's a Dirty Trick to Arrest People Who Are Committing Felonies!"-- Militia Fine Whines Ed.

That's the line from one of the self-styled "militiamen" in Oregon, following the arrest of a bunch of them (and the shooting of two of them).

Interesting world that clown lives in. Who does he think he is, Richard Nixon?

More to the point: At least in a moral sense, the Feds brought this on themselves. They didn't bring any charges against the militia assholes following the `14 standoff in Nevada. That probably gave the militants the idea that they could break Federal and state laws with impunity.

Bundy Père said, of the Feds arresting his sons for committing felonies: "We are tired of the abuse." If Bundy and his clan aren't the poster children for "white privilege", then they are among the top runners-up for the job.

The remaining Y'all Qaeda clown are vowing to die. They should follow the example of Yukio Mishima.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

About Frelling Time, Oregon Edition

Ammon and Ryan Bundy, the brothers leading anti-government protesters occupying Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, and three other people were arrested Tuesday in a confrontation with authorities, the FBI said. One person was dead, the FBI said.

Shots were fired about 4:25 p.m. (7:25 ET) when the FBI and Oregon State Police began an "enforcement action" at the wildlife refuge, the FBI said. It didn't identify the victim.
Except for the part about somebody getting shot.

CNN (Our Motto: "Air First, Fact-Check Later") is saying that it happened at a "traffic stop".

Most thugs who hole up somewhere then don't go gallivanting around town.

More later, obviously, as this is what they call a "developing story".

A New Definition of "Federal Overreach": Having to Give Back Free Shit, Po-Po Ed.

That's the complaint from local cops who are bristling at the Feds taking back military equipment that was loaned to them. To them, "Federal overreach" is when the military wants its gear back. Because local cops have a need for heavy machineguns and shit.

The whining goes right down to complaining that the Feds are taking back bayonets that are "used to cut through seat belts"... because, what, the cops can't afford to buy knives from the local Wal-Mart?

I'll bet dollars to doughnuts that a lot of the same officials who are bristling about having to give back their military toys are people who have applauded every attempt to make the lives of poor people even harder and meaner. Because Federal benefits are evil, unless one's own ox is being gored.

Another Country That the Germans Can Have Back

Denmark.
The Danish TV channel TV Syd reports that a 17-year-old girl from Sønderborg on Wednesday night was assaulted and attempted raped by an immigrant.

The girl now risk being fined because she protected herself against the assailant with pepper spray when he tried to pull her pants off to rape her.

Use of pepper spray is illegal in Denmark, and the girl now risks being charged with violation of the Firearms Act.
When a state outlaws self-defense, the physically stronger will prevail in almost any confrontation. One of the oft-unspoken implements of the liberation of women was the firearm.
Be not afraid of any man;
No matter what his size;
When danger threatens, call on me—
And I will equalize.
A 5'3" woman likely will not prevail against a man a foot taller and 150 lbs heavier. She may be lucky or she may be well-trained and her assailant may not be so. A society that seeks to disarm its citizens/subjects in order to, in effect, make them easy prey for criminals is a pretty pathetic excuse for a civilized society.

In any event, Danes should not expect much from their police, as they are too busy robbing refugees.

Another Hero Gone

Stephanie Czech Rader has died at age 100. She was one of the few American spies in Poland just after the end of the war.

More here, where it seems apparent that she was denied an award because she was both a spy and a woman.

I'm surprised that nobody's ever made a movie about her and that time.

Opposite Ends of the Gun World

First, a gun that definitely will hurt on both ends, the Heizer .45 semiauto.

Second, a gun that will hurt your wallet, a Webley Anderson-Wheeler Mk.VII. No official word on pricing, but these will apparently be bespoke guns, made to order, and will be into the five-figure range.

Of course, while the gun will be every bit British-made, subjects of that country can't own one.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Bloomie Weighs 3rd Party Run


Former Mayor McBig Gulp is contemplating an independent run for President:
Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is taking early steps toward launching an independent campaign for president, seeing a potential path to the White House amid the rise of Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Bernie Sanders.

Bloomberg has retained advisers and plans to conduct a poll after the Feb. 9 New Hampshire primary to assess the state of the race and judge whether there is an opening for him to mount an independent campaign, according to three people familiar with his thinking.
Now, one might think "great, he's gonna burn through a shitload of his money doing that". But one needs to keep some perspective. Bloomberg is worth somewhere between $37 and $42 billion. He can self-finance a presidential run with less damage to his net worth, on a percentage basis, than most people would take buying a car. He dumped $100 million into winning a third term as mayor of NYC, which required yanking a term-limits ordinance that had been passed, twice, by the voters.

The last wealthy person to run a third-party campaign, Ross Perot, sucked off enough conservative votes from Bush I to elect Bill Clinton in `92.

I don't imagine that Bloomberg has a chance. But if he does run, there is a chance that no one candidate will get 270 votes in the Electoral College. If so, the 12th Amendment specifies what happens next:
if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice.
The vote would be taken, presumably, by the current Congress. 34 states have House delegations that have a majority of Republicans as their representatives. That's easy arithmetic: 34>26. The Democrats would have to flip enough congressmen so that 9 GOP-majority House delegations would support their guy. Not going to happen, there aren't enough ambassadorships in nice countries to accomplish that.

It has happened before. In the election of 1824, the candidate with both the most votes and the most electors ended up losing. It came close to happening in 1876, but the Republicans sold out their Black constituents and, in exchange for getting the presidency, made the South free for the imposition of institutionalized racism that imposed a form of economic and political slavery.*

That would only happen, of course, if The Former Nanny Mayor managed to win states. What is more likely is that he would suck off enough votes from the Democratic nominee to make the Republican the winner in states. Since most states allocate their electoral votes by "winner take all", in a tight three-way race, getting 39-40% of the vote will more than be enough to win.

In this hyper-polarized political environment, being president when 60% of the voters didn't vote for you would be like being elected to run an open-air toxic waste dump from an onsite office trailer.
_______________________________________________
* Something modern Republicans fail to mention when they try to brag about their historical support for civil rights.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Big Prop Noise

Avro Shackleton:

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Adventure Tourism for Imbeciles

A China-based travel agency said Saturday an American university student recently detained by North Korea is being held over an unspecified incident at his hotel before he was scheduled to board a flight for Beijing.
By now, it should be clear to even the most casual observer that those who go on tours to North Korea are running a risk of being arrested for whatever reason strikes the fancy of the North Koreans. It's about as safe as going hiking in grizzly bear country. or climbing into the crater of a smouldering volcano.

Which is why this should be the official U.S. government policy with regard to those who travel to the Hermit Kingdom:

Caturday

Jake on the floor, waiting for attention.


Not to get into the heavy details, but I suspect that senility is taking hold. In human equivalents, he is in his upper 90s.

Friday, January 22, 2016

I Pass-- 1911A1 Edition

"[The CMP] has no idea on the condition of the pistols in inventory. But, based on their experience with M1 Garand the CMP expects there will be Rack Grade, Field Grade, Service Grade, and Collector Grade pistols available and that [Chief Operating Officer Mark Johnson] expects 10% to be in the worst condition, 10% to be in the best condition, and the rest somewhere in the middle. (He later added that the CMP will thoroughly inspect, repair, and test fire all pistols prior to sale).

"The pricing is expected to start at about $1,000 per pistol with the better grades 'priced accordingly.' "
To my mind, that's kind of pricey for a heavily-used 1911, even if it was bought by the Army during the Second World War or before. It's not like Garands, where there's not exactly a lot of choice if you want one. There is no shortage of companies making 1911s.

If you're jonesing for a WW2 1911A1, well, then maybe you might want one.

Otherwise, I vote: "Meh."

Po-Po Guns: What's Important is the Price

Ruger has just launched a new handgun with the hope that it will return this manufacturer to its former standing as a desired police sidearm. This new firearm — dubbed the Ruger American Pistol — is chambered in 9mm Luger, 45ACP and, very soon, the 40S&W.
As I've noted before, two of the most important things to a largish department are price and maintainability. If Ruger can compete with Glock on price, then they have a shot at getting a good taste of the market share. If they can't, they won't, absent some catastrophe to the Glock company.

Because It's Friday

Large stationary steam engine:

Thursday, January 21, 2016

A Fairly Positive Blog Post, for Once.


Other than that, I have nothing. Jake is having some problems with his urinary tract that are still unsettled. More on that later.

Left-Right Tab Clearing

I watched, as much as I could, the Caribou Barbie endorsement of The Donald. As Palin ranted in her trademarked stream-of-consciousness speaking style, the expression on Trump's face became more and more of the "pasted on" variety. You could almost see that he was thinking: "Holy shit, why am I standing next to this crazy person and when can I get out of here?" In a different reality, Palin would have been wielding a squeegee at a city intersection.

------------------------------

AG Lynch says that the President's executive orders on gun matters are lawful.

That doesn't even come close to passing the "so, what test" for me. That any given AG is going to say "yeah, what The Boss wants is legal" is no real shocker. Exhibit 1: Alberto Gonzalez.

Stupid Police Chiefs; StL Edition

This, from Chief Dotson of St. Louis, at the Conference of Mayors:
Dotson said some of St. Louis’ challenges — it had 188 murders last year, 179 committed with firearms — came from an urban-rural split in the state. He said municipalities should have more power to enforce their own gun laws.

“We have a state that has incredibly liberal gun laws,” he told a ballroom full of mayors, their staff and corporate sponsors of the three-day conference. “They are controlled by people that don’t live in the urban centers. They (pass) legislation to get re-elected. … We are left with the proliferation of guns.”
Well, no fucking shit that legislators pass laws that they think their constituents will like and will reward them by re-electing them.

[Deep breath] That's how the system is supposed to work, you blithering idiot! You don't get why most of them are called "state representatives"? What part of "representative" is not clear to you?

Dotson shows why the term "police state" is not a positive one. Because at their core, the leaders of large police departments fall in somewhere between statists and fascists.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Latest Palindrone

So Palin's kid got drunk, punched out his girlfriend, waved around an AR-15 and has been charged with domestic assault, among other things.

Of course, Caribou Barbie blamed Obama. Because everything bad that happens to Palin or her clan is Obama's fault.

You just can't make this shit up, Gentle Reader. Nobody would believe if this was fictional.

Nailed It!-- Endorsement Edition


Nothing else need be said (at this point).

"Center of Excellence" Pro Tip

I assume that any entity that calls itself a "center of excellence" most likely is a black hole of incompetence and general suckitude, staffed largely with managers who could guest-star in a Dilbert cartoon.

Our Orwellian Security Organs seem to be big on calling themselves that, so I rest my case.

Which is why I believe that GE might want to rethink its name for its new turboprop plant.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Love-a-Thon of the Reality Show Whores

Donald Trump's Republican presidential bid has received the backing of Sarah Palin, the populist ex-governor of Alaska who was the Republican vice-presidential candidate in 2008.
Or "Trade Guild Members' Mutual Protection Society". Which ever works for you. Both have (or had) their own "reality" television shows. Palin has/had a show where she showed that she knew about as much about the outdoors as your typical Manhattan socialite. Trump had a long-running show that basically showcased the fact that he's a dick.

Still, they got the description wrong of Palin's last semi-honest job: she was "the former half-term governor of Alaska".

More to the point, I don't see Bible Spice convincing too many people who were not already included to back The Donald. Though it might take some votes away from one of the other two whack-jobs running, namely, Ted Cruz.*

But gads, it must frost her that Trump is where he is, right now. He's basically doing the shtick that she pioneered eight years ago of just saying flat-out outrageous shit and bad-faced lies and, whenever anyone called her on it, she blamed "liberals in the lamestream media" for catching her distortions and fibs. He's doing her bit, only better and yes, smarter. And he may ride it all the way to a win at the convention, while the best Palin could manage was some appearances on Faux News and a reality show on a cable channel that nobody would ever pay to watch if a la carte pricing were in effect.
_______________________________________
* The other whack-job is still waiting for marching orders.

Browning High Power for the 1%

Nighthawk's offering a custom-reworked BHP for $2,895.

Way out of my league. But it sure does look spiffy.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Space is Hard

Falcon 9 almost stuck the landing.

Back in the day, when SF movies always showed rockets landing tail-first, none of them blew up. Of course, they weren't landing on barges, either.

Stupid and Irrelevant Political Shit; MSM Edition

Hillary Clinton leads rival Bernie Sanders by 25 points nationally ahead of Sunday's final Democratic debate and the all-important Iowa caucuses, according to the latest results from the new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
It's irrelevant because we don't have a nationwide primary in this country. What voters in Georgia think about the candidates matters zip point shit in Iowa or New Hampshire.

It's stupid because the clowns at NBC News and the Wall Street Journal should know that, but they ran the story anyway.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Obama Derangement Syndrome Hits a New Peak. (Or a New Low.)

Depends on your point of view, that.

Anyway, there are now a raft of right-wing political pundits who are blaming President Obama for the ascendancy of Donald Trump. (H/T)

Lunacy.

Those dears have had no small part to play in stoking the present-day fires that may yet wreck the GOP for the next generation. So now they're trying to find somebody to blame; too bad they seem to be all out of mirrors in their biffies.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

A Il-62 at KLAX:

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Inconsequential Political News; GOP Ed.

South Carolina senator and former presidential candidate Lindsey Graham endorsed Jeb Bush for the Republican nomination on Friday, saying the former Florida governor would make the best commander in chief in a time of war against terrorism.
Graham said that John Ellis Bush has "the ability to bring the world on board", but so far, Bush hasn't managed to bring many voters on board.

Politico calls the Graham endorsement "a major get" for Bush. That's a little puzzling, since Graham's supporters, outside of his home state, probably could have all been comfortably seated in a single city bus. Graham's poll numbers were consistently within the margin of error of zero support.

Conclusion: Graham's endorsing Bush fails to pass the "So What Test".

Grabbing the Low-Hanging Fruit; Oregon Militia Edition.

One of those idiots took a government vehicle and drove to a local supermarket. Where he was arrested for boosting a government vehicle.

About frigging time the cops did something.

Be Prepared to Embrace the Suck; Revolver Ed.

Kimber is fixing to announce their first revolver.

Of course, they had to come up with a cutesy name for it so they could trademark it.

What I know of the company is that they've earned a reputation for better at marketing than they are at making.

Kimber warrants their guns for one year. On the other hand, Smith & Wesson has a lifetime warranty. So does Armscor/Rock Island, Charter Arms, Colt and Springfield. That suggests something to me about how well the various manufacturers regard their products.

Caturday

Red velvet cat:

Friday, January 15, 2016

Ted Cruz & "New York Values"

Later in the debate, Trump and Cruz went at each other’s jugulars a second time – on this occasion over Cruz’s recent jibe that Trump subscribed to “New York values”. “I think most people know what New York values are … Not a lot of conservatives come out of Manhattan,” Cruz said.


Ted Cruz has no problems with NYC money, that's for sure. His wife, Heidi, is a banker for the Global Vampire Squid.

Cruz is a world-class jackass.

Because It's Friday

Probably the smallest working Mallet locomotive, ever.

The Only Smart NFL City is Los Angeles

Cleveland built those fuckers a new stadium right on the shores of Lake Erie. Minneapolis is building them a billion-dollar palace. St. Louis offered to build one (but stipulated that the NFL and the owner would have to cough up some dough). I'll bet that if you go down the list of teams, almost all have publicly-financed stadiums.

Except Los Angeles. Three teams wanted to move there and those savvy Angelenos offered them: Nothing, other than maybe zoning changes. They offered them not a dime of public money.
Every place else you've gone, the grateful locals have slipped you a few bucks to show up, but not here, not even close, which is probably why it took 21 years for you to return.

We didn't pry open civic pocketbooks or agree to any special taxes like some of those other smaller towns. We're sophisticated enough to understand that you're not a hospital or firehouse, that billionaires shouldn't need handouts to bankroll their pigskin parties.
That's the way it should be. Pro sports teams are, in the main, the playthings of billionaires. Public money shouldn't be used to subsidize their toys.

LA got it right. Bravo!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Alan Rickman, R.I.P.

Alan Rickman has died.

He did an excellent job at playing bad guys.

Poor Weedle Billionare is the Victim, Here!

Stan "the Lying Liar" Kroenke thinks that he's been just victimized by the people of St. Louis.

If he has any sense, he'll sell his fucking house.

Kroenke is married to one of the Spawn of Walton. His business is developing properties near to where Wal-Marts will be built. Information that he surely comes by on the up-and-up.


One doesn't have to be overly cynical to imagine that, if it was a stock transaction, he'd have been jailed for insider trading ages ago.

Chemistry Humor


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

What Football Fans Should Have Learned By Now

It's this: Fuck the NFL.

If the owner of your local team wants to move it, there is fuck-all that your city can do about it. They might offer to build a new stadium, complete with fountains flowing single-malt scotch, and it will make not a whit of difference.

If your local team's owner says he wants to move, then keep your dignity and self respect: Tell him to not let the screen door hit him in the ass. Let some other city be stupid enough to cough up several hundred million to build said asswipe a new stadium.

For if your city can cobble together that kind of scratch, spend it on something that will really benefit the city: New schools, repairing infrastructure, that sort of civic improvements that will help your residents.

Fuck the NFL.

Gotta Love the Christian Taliban

49-year-old Laura Reid was visiting a disabled man in his home. At one point, police say, Reid asked the victim if he believed in God, and he jokingly replied that he did not.

According to an arrest warrant, Reid became angry with his response, so she picked up his metal cane and began beating him on the head and body, hitting him so hard that the cane broke.

Police say the victim was unable to leave his home because of his disability, and Reid stayed there for three hours after the assault. When she finally left, she allegedly took the man's cell phone, keys, $50 cash and a wallet containing credit cards.
She gave her victim a concussion and broke his arm.

Christian mercy at its finest!

If You're a Democat and You Own Guns

You'd best go down to the polls/caucus sites in the primary season and vote for Bernie Sanders.
Calling Clinton “a true national leader and advocate for the safer nation we all want and deserve,” the president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence Dan Gross told voters gathered in Ames that Clinton is the only candidate in the 2016 truly committed to gun safety.
Don't sit on your hands, go vote. Show the Bloombergians that their approval is "the kiss of death" in electoral politics.

Republicans who can cross over and vote in the Democratic primary should do that.

Nuclear Insanity; Fort Fumble Edition

The Department of Defense, with the approval of the Obama Administration, has been working on modernizing the B61 nuclear bomb. Part of that plan is the development of a more sophisticated "dial-a-yield" system that would permit tuning it down to about a 400-ton blast. The idea is that if they have to be used, a smaller blast would result in lower environmental effects and collateral damage.

I think that is faulty thinking. Smaller yields will, in my belief, result in a greater temptation to use the damned things. The reaction to one being used will be a variant of "they nuked our guys, let's nuke their guys!" Nuclear weapons use has not happened in 70 years; if we use them, it will open the door to other nations using them. Distinguishing our use from, say, Pakistan's use based on yield factors will be widely seen as quibbling, in the same way that the law doesn't care whether you shoot at somebody with a 4.25mm Liliput or a .338 Lapua.

Once they start being used, then nobody will give a shit about the difference between a 400 ton yield bunker-buster and a 800 kiloton yield city-buster. And then we'll soon find out if the scientists were correct about nuclear winter.

"Making the world safe for the use of nuclear weapons" is hardly the sort of legacy that President Obama should want to leave. But that's pretty much what he is doing.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

World-Class Snark; Nanny Mayor Edition

Michael Bloomberg is contemplating running as a self-financed third-party candidate for president, which resulted in this bit of snark:
If we know anything about America in 2016, it’s that gun confiscation, calorie restriction, and Wall Street all enjoy overwhelming popular support, especially in swing states. So it should come as no surprise that Michael Bloomberg, a public figure associated with bond trading, small sodas, and weapons bans, is once again contemplating a run at the White House.
They even provided a slogan for him: "Make America Drink Smaller Beverages Again".

If there is a politician out there who more exemplifies "nanny-stateism" than Bloomberg, I don't know who it is.

Physics Geeks and Politics: Two Posts in One!

I should separate them, but laziness.

First, the physics stuff: Gravitational waves may have been detected.

As this video explains, they are very hard to detect, and the detection would be a very big deal, indeed.


And now for something completely different:

Monday, January 11, 2016

Riiiiigggghhhhtttt; Affluenza Edition

A cynical observer might wonder if the fix is shaping up:
A Texas magistrate on Friday signed an order to examine Tonya Couch for "mental illness and mental retardation." The order said the court determined there was reasonable cause to believe she "has a mental illness or is a person with a mental retardation."
And her bond has been reduced to $75,000. Which seems to be a tad bit low for someone charged with aiding and abetting a fleeing felon.

Good One, GEICO


Kind of derivative, though:

Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Canadian Hypocrite

That would be Ted Cruz.

The hard-line conservatives believe that the Constitution has to be interpreted by the original intent of the Framers. The problem for ol' Rafael is that back in the 18th Century, citizenship was determined by either the birthplace of the person or the citizenship of the father.

Which means that, if you interpret the Constitution the way that Ted Cruz normally would do, he's not eligible to run for president. If you interpret the Constitution the way that conservatives hate, as a document that takes up the meaning of the current times, then he is eligible.

The only non-hypocrite in the Cruz birtherism flap is The Donald, who is proving to be an equal-opportunity birther.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

Me-262:


I'm reasonably certain that's one of the replicas. Flying one of the originals with Jumo 004 engines would seem to be rather foolish, since they had an operational TBO of maybe 25 hours.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Friday, January 8, 2016

"Gimmie Yer Money! I Have a Rolling Pin and I Know How to Use It!!"

AKRON, Ohio– A Cuyahoga Falls man is behind bars after police say he held up a bar with a rolling pin.

Foster E. Ball, 32, is charged with aggravated robbery, felonious assault and carrying a concealed weapon.

Akron police said Ball was wearing a black mask when he walked into Ido Bar and Grill Thursday afternoon. He demanded money from the register and when the bartender refused, Ball pulled out a rolling pin and pointed it at her.
Probably some good jokes there, but I'm not feeling well, so have at it.

Flippidy-Flopping on Guns; GOP Ed.

Chris Christie on Wednesday conceded that he changed his mind on guns.

Fox News host Sean Hannity pressed the New Jersey governor on his gun stance, noting that he supported an assault weapons ban in 1995, called GOP opponents who wanted to repeal it “dangerous,” “crazy” and “radical,” and ran against opposition to concealed carry laws in 2009.
Funny how they all seem to do that when they are pandering seeking votes.

Remember Rudy Giuliani or Romney flip-flopping on gun control? Those guys want the job and they, like every othrr candidate (other than maybe Bernie Sanders) will say or do anything to get it.

Because It's Friday

Lombard log-hauler on snow.


Winter time was prime logging season, because it was easier to skid the logs out over snow and ice than dragging them over dirt.

On the Fritz


The Free Ice Cream Machine, to steal Tam's term, is sort of broken. A couple of regularly scheduled features are in the queue and will be dispensed on time.

In short, I appear to have picked up a bug from one of those Aluminum Infection Dispensers (airliners). At least the weekend is almost here, for some enforced downtime.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Now, Now, Girls-- GOP Edition

Ted Cruz is working himself into a lather over Marco Rubio's shoes.

Seems a little familiar...

One Pissant FF Club

This is what now passes for a frequent-flyer club:


A wide-screen TV, a few stools and Internet access. BFD.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Closing a Gun Control Loophole

There was a little-remarked change to the procedures for buying Title II weapons (machine guns, silencers, etc.): Formerly, one had to have the application signed off by the chief law enforcement officer in one's jurisdiction. That let to a lot of de facto gun bans, where the Chief Fuzzy would just refuse to sign any of them. Or any that weren't pushed by major political donors.

That just went away. The change becomes effective in six months. Now the Head Cop only gets a courtesy copy of the application.

Now. let's get the Hearing Protection Act passed.

Spawn of Bundy Hates the Federal Government.
Unless They Can do Something For Him.
Then That's Just Peachy.

A company that said Spawn of Bundy owns got a $530,000 loan from the Feds. So while he says that he hates Uncle Sam, he has no problem with taking Uncle Sam's gelt.

Meanwhile, the men he's supposed to be helping reported to prison on Monday. They are likely all too aware that any hopes of obtaining clemency evaporated when the Spawn and His Ilk occupied that building in a bird sanctuary.

The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1908. I've heard that the government expanded it by buying up failing ranches during the Great Depression. Whether or not those ranchers were happy to sell out, they did, and, given the tenor of the times, they likely got well above market value for their land.

By the way, if anybody has a claim for being dispossessed by the government from that land, it's the Paiute Indians.

Pass the Popcorn; Birther Ed.

Donald Trump said in an interview that rival Ted Cruz’s Canadian birthplace was a “very precarious” issue that could make the senator from Texas vulnerable if he became the Republican presidential nominee.
Barack Obama was born in Hawaii of an American mother and a Kenyan father, which caused the Wingnut Birthers to spin themselves into frenzies for years.

Rafael T. Cruz was born in Canada of an American mother and a Cuban father. His claim for being an American birth is a bit tenuous. By the same standard, he's a Cuban.

So now The Donald is throwing down the birther card. This could get interesting.

And if GOP voters still support Cruz, then we'll know why, won't we.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Vanilla ISIS Needs a New Supply Officer

They forgot the Doritos and Red Bull.

Seems to me that cutting the power and phones should have been done within minutes, if not hours. Kill all of the cell towers in range, block the roads so they can't be plowed, and let those fuckers freeze and starve whilst being ignored.

And then prosecute them once they come down from the place.

Full of Sound and Fury, Signifying Little; Gun Control Edition

You can read what they want to do here.

The biggest thing is that the ATF is going to stomp down on gun trusts, a move that was widely expected.

The rest is bullshit and proposals to spend money next fiscal year on various things.

None of what this Administration wants to do would have, as far as I know, prevented a single school shooting. It wouldn't have stopped the Assholes of San Bernardino.

They propose to work on enforcing existing gun laws, no word if Chicago will crack down on its gangbanger voter base.

And as far as "destigmatizing mental illness" goes, seems to me that this crap will work in the other direction.

The Best Gun Salesman of All Time!

That title goes to President Obama. The share prices of gun makers that sell to the civilian market are up to near-record highs. NICS record checks are at all-time highs.

Smith & Wesson and the other gun makers should be sending thank-you cards to the President.*
____________________________________________
* I'd suggest some nice bottles of Scotch, but the Secret Service would probably intercept and drink them.

Meanwhile, in Chicago

The City has been paying reparations for people who were tortured by the police.

A lawyer for the City "resigned" after the verdict in a civil suit against the City was tossed because the City's lawyers withheld evidence. The plaintiffs, who had lost at trial, are going to get a new trial, as well as their attorneys' fees, and the lawyer(s) involved may be in ethics trouble.

Bucking the Trend; Dead Tree Edition

Some years back, I wrote a post regarding how the newspapers were digging their own graves. It gets worse, for there are papers that now have free apps for smartphones, where you can get the news.

The trend is being bucked by, of all things, a start-up newspaper in Pittsburgh. You can arrange for advertising or buy a subscription, but that's all you can do online.

Good for them. Local government needs to have people watching them.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Really, Amazon?

A shipping projection:
Arriving:
Tuesday, January 19 -
Wednesday, February 3
I'm surprised that Spirit Airlines doesn't have the same sort of arrival times: "Departing BWI at 4:45PM- Arriving IAH later the same evening."

Y'all Qaeda in Oregon

Armed protesters, who police say are coming from outside the area, took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge south of Burns on Saturday after participating in a peaceful rally over the prison sentences of local ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond.
What these lunatics want is to provoke another Federal overreaction, like at Waco back in 1993. They hope that'll lead to other people striking at the Federal government.

Like those assholes who blew up the Federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995.

As for their unstated goals, they are no different from the various and sundry assholes who have gone around killing minorities (mostly African-Americans) in the hopes of sparking a race war. People have occupied buildings before as a form of protest, but one doesn't do with with lots of guns unless one is itching for a fight.

These guys do have some similarities with al Qaeda: Both groups want to have martyrs for their causes. And both seek to provoke an overreaction from the U.S. government in order to recruit more followers.

By the way, it's a safe bet that the people who are cheering on those guys would be calling for airstrikes if a bunch of hippies had done the same thing.

Now and Then; Big Muddy Edition

The Mississippi River, just upriver of Chester, IL. The shots weren't exactly taken from the same position or with the same camera, but it's close enough.

The first photo was taken in the Fall of 2012:


This was taken yesterday:

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Madman, Madman, Weapon Away Now, Now, Now!

I haven't seen a magnetic sensing boom on anything other than a P-3C

This is the airplane that is doing the survey:


I suppose that they don't call it a "magnetic anomaly detector" and that they can't drop a torpedo.

Dumb-Ass Pax (and the TSA Still Sucks)

On a recent trip, this is what the induhvidual in front of me in the cattle chute was wearing for footwear:


That may be great for getting past the TSA's Probing Station, but in the event of an emergency, those flip-flops are only marginally more practical than 4" heels. That's especially true if the idea is to move fast and get the frak out of and away from an airplane in an emergency.

Speaking of the TSA, nobody, at either end, was going through TSA PRE. The TSA staffies at the PRE station were standing around, being about as useless as the rest of their ilk. Unless you travel a lot, I can't see it worth the money to pay for Global Entry or TSA PRE. Plus, the idea that one would have fill out some goddamned security questionnaire and then travel to a DHS office (which is likely less friendly than a DMV office) and get fingerprinted is a bit of a turnoff.

The TSA's scanners are also set to "Annoy Mode". I think they just indicate random parts of the body so people think the scanners actually do something.

Security Theater at its finest.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

A Paris Jet.


You can hear the whistling of those old centrifugal-flow turbojet engines. There may be about 38 of them in the States. I've no idea how many are airworthy.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Friday, January 1, 2016

Because It's Friday

Ozzie steam:


Garratts look weird to my eye.

Happy New Year

I hope it's a good year for you, Gentle Reader.

Given that in politics, we've got the March to Coronation in the Democratic race and the Running of the Retards on the GOP side, it's going to be an interesting year (as in the apocryphal curse).