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, September 24, 2017

Saturday, September 23, 2017

In His Heart, Trump Would Love to See This Happen Here

A prominent left-wing Indian journalist critical of Hindu nationalist politics has been shot dead in the south-western Karnataka state, police say.

Gauri Lankesh, 55, was found lying in a pool of blood outside her home in the city of Bangalore. The motive for the crime was not immediately clear.

She was shot in the head and chest by gunmen who arrived by motorcycle.
I believe that Trump would cheer at the murders of reporters who had the temerity to write stories critical of him. If he had is own on-call death squads, like Philippine President Duarte, Trump would have hourly orgasms at being able to order hits on his critics.

Visit Nambia


Trump is fucking fixated on the idea of drug smugglers firing bags of drugs over the border wall into large crowds of Americans who are just milling around there. At first, he was babbling about 60lb bags, now he's blithering about 100lb bags. Other than some anecdotal remarks to a reporter, there's nothing to document 100lb bags of drugs being flung over the border fence. And even if there was wide use of them, a short perusal of videos of modern recreations of catapults (usually trebuchets) can easily fling objects over Trump's envisioned Great Wall of Trump.

Meanwhile, when he is not babbling about catapults or exchanging childish insults with Kim Jong-un, Trump is showing that he has absolutely no dedication to or understanding of the Constitution. He's only in favor of forms of speech when he agrees with it.

Not to mention the optics of standing before a crowd of white Southeners and, in essence, calling for the firing of uppity black folk. Because there's no fascist like an old fascist.

Caturday

Ready for my closeup, CB!

(That's Chip.)

Friday, September 22, 2017

Police: "We've Been Looking for These Two Guys For Quite Some Time."

They were caught after the two criminals broke into a home and the homeowner shot one of them.

Don't you just love stories with happy endings?

(H/T)

If Paul Manafort is a Russian Asset, What Does That Make Mike Pence?

Because Manafort pretty much picked Pence.

It's important that Manafort picked Pence because of whom Manafort may have been working for. Which may also give some insight into the FBI's extraordinary raid on Manafort.

How all this will play out will be anyone's guess. But if it's shown that Manafort was a Russian asset (who paid him while he was working "for free" for Trump, for instance), then everyone who was associated with Manafort, particularly those whom he had a hand in placing in the Trump administration, will be stained.

Pass the popcorn.

CTE

Aaron Hernandez apparently had a bad case of CTE.

That explains a lot about his life and crimes. CTE is nasty.

I've said before that parents who let their kids play contact sports will, sooner or later, find themselves at risk of being accused of child abuse or neglect.

Say you're a late 20s or 30-something parent. Your kid wants to play contact sports. How are you going to feel twenty years later when it's clear that your child has a form of dementia related to playing contact sports? That's, in part, going to be on you. You let your kid play such sports when their brains were still developing and the risk of damage was much higher. And nowadays, you can't even say "I didn't know". The information is out there. You could have known, you should have known.

When it comes to CTE, the NFL is arguably worse than the tobacco industry. The drugs is the tobacco industry's product. Those kids and young men who are at high risk of CTE are he NFL's product. When it comes to making money from suffering, the NFL stands out above almost all others.

Some "Master Negotiator" Trump Is.

Remember, that was one one of his selling points? That he can negotiate "the best deals"?

I don't see any evidence that he can negotiate a single fucking thing on the world stage. All he's really done, so far, is trash-talk like a eleven-year-old bully on a playground. Slinging juvenile insults and making threats? That's not negotiating. The Chinese and the Russians are shaping up to be the only adults in the room on the North Korea issue.

Now, tearing up agreements, that's Classic Trump. His word isn't worth a bucket of warm shit.

Because It's Friday

This locomotive is punching above its weight:

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Dear "Breaking911.com": You Suck.

A link in FB took me to a story that "Death Wish Coffee" is being recalled because of, wait for it, it can kill you.

I was reading the story on my phone. The site had an extremely annoying popup ad that could not be cleared. Hitting the X to close it was ineffective and it took me to the advertiser's page, which I didn't notice because, by then, I was mad enough to just close everything out.

So, to the good folks at "breaking911 dahht com" (because no, I'm not giving you putzim a free link): It is only the onset of the High Holy Days that keeps me from wishing that you would be slowly dipped into a pool of molten lava,

Hey, Gents! Come See Australia! See the Wonderful Sights! Enjoy the Fine Beaches!

And get bitten on your dick by a spider.

You might not want to let your "equipment" hang down when taking a dump.

If your wife or girlfriend proposes visiting the Land of Oz, you might have a problem.....

Shorter GOP Senators to the Koch Brothers: "Arf! Arf! Arf! {pant} {pant} Arf! Arf! Arf!"

I'm betting that the reason the GOP has resurrected the ACA repeal is that the Koch Brothers are making good on their threats.

So if you were ever curious about whom the Republicans really work for, you have your answer:

New Student Pilot

B, over at "In the middle of the Right". He's taking lessons.

The primary trainer seems to mostly be a Cessna 150, which, between the 1950s and the 1990s, was the J-3 of the day. Probably more people got their license in 150s (and 152s) than any other aircraft type combined.

5778




I hope that my posts have given you cause to think about different things. But I also hope that I have not given offense to any of you, my Gentle Readers.

If I have, I beg forgiveness. (Not applicable to public figures and politicians. If what I write has offended you, toughen the fuck up or find another line of work.)

May 5778 be a blessing for you and yours.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

S&W 929 Review

Pat Kelley's review:


He's obviously a fine shot and he's having fun.

But even if I was in the mood to drop a kilobuck on a range toy, I'd pass based on this review. I'd think that a Performance Center gun would not require one to crank the sights all the way over in order to sight in the gun.

And he's probably right in supposing that the barrel is sized for revolver bullets.

The S&W 929, even with a titanium cylinder, weighs 44oz.

If you do have a gun with a titanium cylinder, remember: Do not use metal bore brushes on the cylinder. Nylon only!

Guess Whose Greasy Fingers Are On the Toys Я Us Bankruptcy?

Bain Capital. It seems that those fuckers were involved in a leveraged buyout of Toys Я Us that loaded the company up with debt.

Bloomberg News thinks that Bain is going to lose a ton of money on this. Right, in a pig's eye.

Shorter Tom Price: "Government Spending Isn't Wasteful When the Money's Spent on Me!"

In a sharp departure from his predecessors, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price last week took private jets on five separate flights for official business, at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars more than commercial travel.

The secretary’s five flights, which were scheduled between Sept. 13 and Sept. 15, took him to a resort in Maine where he participated in a Q&A discussion with a health care industry CEO, and to community health centers in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, according to internal HHS documents.
One of those charter flights was from Dulles to Philadelphia, a route well-served by both the airlines and Amtrak. When you factor in time for security and travel time out to Dulles, Amtrak's probably even quicker.

This is how it is for the Trumpist Grifters: Live large off the Federal purse whilst squeezing down on programs that assist the poor, disabled and the elderly.

The shade of Marie Antoinette is probably looking at this and saying Vraiment?

The Difference Between a Small-Time Crook and a Rich Politician

Your garden-variety small-time crook has to go to the Public Defenders' offices to get a lawyer. If the person charged has some assets, then they get to cash them in to pay for a lawyer.

But hey, if you're a rich politician, you can get other people to pay to defend your sorry ass.
U.S. President* Donald Trump is using money donated to his re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee to pay for his lawyers in the probe of alleged Russian interference in the U.S. election, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Following Reuters exclusive report on Tuesday, CNN reported that the Republican National Committee paid in August more than $230,000 to cover some of Trump’s legal fees related to the probe. ... Trump would be the first U.S. president in the modern campaign finance era to use such funds to cover the costs of responding to a criminal probe, said election law experts.
Pretty nice that the RNC has a "Treason Defense Fund" that Trump can tap into.

zOMG, the "Space Orcs" Are Coming!

That could be the view of another intelligent species regarding humans.

Imagine a world where there is intelligence, but it's plant-based. The plants are like neurons and form up into brains that take up very large areas. Their thought processes could take minutes, hours or days, which is ordinarily not an issue for them, as the brains have an almost infinite lifespan. Drought or wildfires may damage them, but they'd recover. If the world has winters, the brains might go more-or-less dormant in cold weather.

Now an animal-based spacefaring species lands on that world. Can the plant-brains perceive them? Given the mismatch between neural processes, how would they communicate? What would the plant-brains do when they realize that the intruders are not only plucking them, they're (shudder) eating them?

(H/T)

José, You're Drunk. Dissipate and Die, Already

Tropical Storm José is apparently going to bang another U-turn, if not a complete circle, again.


If you're in southern New England or Long Island and you think the storm is passing you by, think again. It's going to come back for another try at you.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

So Long to the Whale, UAL Ed.

United Airlines will say so long to its iconic Boeing 747 fleet with a final flight Nov. 7 from San Francisco to Honolulu.
...
The final flight to Honolulu – Flight No. 747 – will recreate the first scheduled United Boeing 747 flight on July 23, 1970, from San Francisco to Honolulu.

The flight will feature a 1970s-inspired menu served by flight attendants in retro uniforms, while the in-flight entertainment will feature content from that era.
Real food in coach, like back in the day when it wasn't routinely awful?

Anyway, don't bother calling for a seat. The flight reportedly sold out in an hour.

Epic Stupidity; Trump Ed.

Trump administration officials, under pressure from the White House to provide a rationale for reducing the number of refugees allowed into the United States next year, rejected a study by the Department of Health and Human Services that found that refugees brought in $63 billion more in government revenues over the past decade than they cost.
I am not surprised one whit. You can bet that whichever goon The Donald put in HHS will have massaged things so it comes out the way that Trump wants.

He'll call the conclusion that he doesn't like "liberal thinking". Sort of like how biologists were denounced in the USSR as "fly-lovers" and how, in another country, particle physics was dismissed as "Jewish science".

Betcha Trump Says Nothing

A magnitude 7.1 earthquake rocked central Mexico on Tuesday, killing at least 44 people as buildings collapsed in plumes of dust and thousands fled into the streets in panic.

The quake came less than two weeks after another quake left 90 dead in the country's south, and it occurred as Mexicans commemorated the anniversary of a 1985 quake that killed thousands.
There won't be a single tweet of sympathy from Trump. His Duty Liar, Sara Whazerface, will not say a single kind word about Mexico from the Spicer Memorial Podium.

Welcome to Trump's Amerika

At least one Jewish congregation in Texas is holding its High Holy Days services in secret.

Hate crimes are up, in part due to a perception that the Trump administration is sympathetic to the nazis.

I know a lot of my co-religionists in this country are liberals, but if they don't know one end of a Glock from the other and how to competently use one, they are deluding themselves.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Captain Sonny Hernandez, Chaplain Corps, USAF, Can Go Eat a Bag of Dicks

A U.S. Air Force chaplain who ministers to thousands of men and women at an Ohio base is asserting that Christians in the U.S. Armed Forces “serve Satan” and are “grossly in error” if they support service members' right to practice other faiths.
It is a long-standing military tradition that military chaplains minister to all faiths, not just their own. That was shown in the 1949 movie Battleground:


(The clip is worth watching for other reasons.)

The Air Force is an organization that is largely composed of REMFs. In recent years, the Air Force has internally been becoming an evangelical Christian entity.

If you are Catholic, Jewish or anything other than an evangelical Christian, you would do well to avoid serving in the Air Force.

Caturday

This is Sammy:


Sammy's minion is my co-blogger, Eck!.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Mnuchin the Moocher Had No Interest in the Eclipse Because He Wears an Expensive Suit

No, that's not what The Moocher said, but what he did say makes as much sense:
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin defended his trip to view the solar eclipse from Fort Knox in Kentucky, for which he used a government plane, saying he did hot have any interest in the event because he is from New York.

“People in Kentucky took this stuff very seriously. Being a New Yorker, I don’t have any interest in watching the eclipse,” Muchin said on Thursday, according to The Washington Post.
Really. He went to an event that was in the line of totality because he had no interest in the eclipse. And while he was there, he and Mitch "The Turtle" McConnell went to the roof of the Ft. Knox Gold Depository to watch it because he was only being polite to those ignorant Kentuckians who were interest in a fairly rare astronomical event?

And the trip was oh, so coincidentally planned for the very same day as a solar eclipse? And of course, Lady Louise had to tag along to attend an official government meeting for reasons?

Damn, Mooch, you really need to get better at lying. This is fucking amateur.

Warm Up Your Checkbook, Tuscaloosa Ed.

They're on the hook for a nice chunk of change for discriminating against a police officer who was breastfeeding her son.

The news may be worse for them. The Tuscaloosa P.D. basically pushed her husband out of his jb in retaliation for his wife's suing them, so he may have his own cause of action against those bastards.

Go get `em!

Because It's Friday

The Grand Canyon Railway:

Trump Not a White Supremacist?

Heh.
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Upbraiding the ESPN anchor Jemele Hill for calling Donald Trump a “white supremacist,” the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said on Wednesday that “no one has done more than President Trump to prove that white people are not superior.”

"Donald Trump" and "Ethics" are Terms That Don't Exist in the Same Universe

The U.S. Office of Government Ethics has quietly reversed its own internal policy prohibiting anonymous donations from lobbyists to White House staffers who have legal defense funds.
So anyone then can cough up to pay into the Trumpist Legal Defense Fund. Including Putin, the Saudi Royal Family, anyone at all.

Trump's "draining the swamp" would seem to be replacing swamp water with dioxin-laced radioactive sludge.

Not that anybody seriously expected anything else from the King of Grifters.

Trump vs. Mexico

The Mexican government will no longer offer aid to Texas and Louisiana to help with recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Mexico’s foreign ministry announced Monday, instead redirecting that aid to portions of its own nation damaged by a powerful earthquake and Hurricane Katia.

The 8.2 magnitude earthquake struck central Mexico last week near the city of Oaxaca, killing 95 people and injuring hundreds more, the Mexican foreign ministry said. Separately, Hurricane Katia’s landfall inflicted “significant damage” on the Mexican state of Veracruz, the foreign ministry said.
That's reason enough, they're probably strapped for resources. But this, a little later in the same article, was telling:
But while homeland security adviser Tom Bossert said President Donald Trump was “deeply touched” by a phone call from his Mexican counterpart offering aid and assistance, the federal government did not officially accept Mexico’s aid. The Mexican government noted in its statement that its offer had been accepted by the state of Texas, which said it could use the logistical support offered by Mexico.

Trump, who has not publicly offered condolences to Mexico in the wake of its earthquake and hurricane landfall, has made getting tough with America’s southern neighbor a key part of his political agenda, pledging to either renegotiate or tear up NAFTA and to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border that Mexico will pay for.
Really? An earthquake and a hurricane hit our neighbor and Trump can't be bothered to take notice? Is he that afraid that his sheet-wearing neo-nazi base is going to suffer butthurt if he says even one kind word about Mexico?

The Mexicans don't like us very much. That might not matter to you, but it'll matter to Mexican politicians. The room that they have to maneuver to negotiate changes to NAFTA or other matters will be narrowed considerably because of Trump's verbal/Twitter diarrhea.

Trump is heedless of reality. His fecklessness has a potential to cause some real problems with Mexico. If they wanted to, they could set up trains to quickly ferry migrants from Central America to the border.

And that's just for starters.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Goodbye, Cassini

Cassini will fly into Saturn and be destroyed tomorrow morning.

Cassini's been a hell of good mission, nearly 20 years. They planned for a three year lifespan at Saturn and the probe's gone on for thirteen years. If it had more fuel, it'd go longer.

A Little Extra Caturday

Because every day is Caturday, really.

Why not to look into your cat's eyes.

DACA: The Way to Trump is Through His Ego

Democratic leaders announced late Wednesday that they agreed with President* Trump to pursue a legislative deal that would protect hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants from deportation and enact border security measures that don’t include building a physical wall.
Trump has two problems that are chafing his balls. First, he doesn't have a single major win under his belt. He's not signed any legislation of note. Second, he's getting lambasted in the press. Oh, he might decry "fake news", but even he knows that getting praise from sources like Fox News are just the words of sycophants.

What he wants is a nice headline in the NY Times. Which he isn't getting. And if it means that he has to sell out Steve King, who is going into sad panda mode...
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), an immigration hard-liner and early Trump supporter, wrote that if reports of a potential immigration deal are accurate, the president’s “base is blown up, destroyed, irreparable, and disillusioned beyond repair. No promise is credible.”
...don't expect Trump to care very much. He wants that win, and if he has to put Steve King into a coal mine or a whorehouse to do it, so be it.

Besides, if Steve King really believes that Trump's promises are worth anything, he needs to be watered twice a week. And Ann Coulter is also having one of her patented meltdowns.

Trump might be able to regain some momentum, but he's suffered a lot of self-inflicted wounds. His single-mindedness on repealing the ACA gave the Democrats an opportunity to beat the shit out of him and, for once, they didn't blow the chance. The price that the Democrats would have extracted for working on a bill with Trump was a lot cheaper last January. And other than the batshit-nutters like Steve King, the GOP knows that not getting something done on DACA will effectively spell the end of the GOP in the southwestern U.S.

For an example of that, you need only look to what happened to the GOP in California after Prop 187 was passed.

Your Gripes About Mnuchin's Mooching Are Adorable

Steven Mnuchin, the US treasury secretary, requested the use of a government jet for his European honeymoon, it was reported on Wednesday.

The treasury department’s inspector general is investigating Mnuchin’s request for a US air force plane – with a reported operating cost of around $25,000 per hour – to transport him and his wife, Louise Linton, on their honeymoon to Scotland, France and Italy this summer, according to ABC News.
Because Mnuchin thinks that he's entitled to have the government give him a military bizjet for his personal travel, because reasons.

You might recall that Mnuchin mooched another trip by conveniently arranging some conference so he and Lady Louise could also see the eclipse last month. Lady Louise is one of the Beautiful Grifters who attended a non-ABA certified law school in California that has one of the more abysmal bar pass rates in the country. Before she married Mooching Mnuchin, she was best known for her memoir, which other have dubbed "Barbie Goes to Africa".

Just adorable.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

USS Orville

I watched the pilot episode.

First off, I sure hope that the Fox network executives can keep their fingers off this show and not fuck it up, the way they tend to fuck up any decent science-fiction show.

The world of the Orville is Star Fleet with people who have messy lives, like real people do. The one thing that always bugged me about most of the Star Trek shows was that everybody, unless they were captured by the Borg, was so bloody perfect. Few had messy relationships (Riker notwithstanding), or drank much or were arrogant pricks or anything like that.

Well, that's certainly not the Orville. They come across as people with active senses of irony, humor and they use sarcasm. They seem to be aware that the situations they find themselves in are odd.

So yes, I'm going to keep watching. And hoping that Fox doesn't fuck it up, though I'm not counting on that.

Toljaso, PharmaBro Ed.

Brooklyn Federal Judge Kiyo Matsumoto revoked Shkreli's $5 million bail Wednesday evening, saying Shkreli's $5,000 bounty on Clinton's hair was the final straw.
...
His so-called satire wasn't protected First Amendment speech — it was an invitation for crime, the judge said.

"He is soliciting an assault on another person in exchange for $5,000," Matsumoto said.
I was pretty sure that, with his smug attitude, that Shkreli was going to tweet or talk his way into a jail/prison cell (in his case The Tombs).

And so he has. A convicted felon publicly offering to pay money for an assault on another person, let along a prominent former government official, yeah, what could go wrong with that?

Congressional Republicans and Democrats Say "Fuck You" to the Disabled

HR 620 prohibits anyone from suing a business or other public accommodation unless the person so aggrieved has notified the entity that said entity is not complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

That's right:Nineteen Fucking Ninety!

Because twenty-seven years just isn't enough time for people to figure out what the fuck they are supposed to do to comply with the ADA and then do it.

Some horrible excuse for a sentient being named "Ted Poe" introduced the bill. Not surprisingly, he's from Texas. You know, the state that was just hit by a hurricane that brought epic flooding, a state where the congressional delegation almost unanimously said "fuck you" to other states that had similar catastrophes.

This shameful piece of legislative trash has 40 Republican and 11 Democrats co-sponsoring it. Every one of them is obviously lacking in some element of humanity.

Every one of them should be confined to a wheelchair for a year and required to, without any aides or other assistants, tour a goodly sample of cities and towns in their districts, including visiting town halls and courthouses. And they should have to make at least half of the trips by public transportation.

This miserable excuse for legislating means that 27 years after the ADA was passed, businesses and governments will have zero incentive to actually comply with the act unless somebody gives them written notice.

I'm surprised that Ted Poe, a political whore if there ever was one, hasn't introduced similar bills to gut the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

There should be a law that requires his face to be painted into toilet bowls and urinals in all public bathrooms in the the Capitol and in every VA and military hospital.

In Short, Bill O'Reilly Thinks that Trump is Really Stupid

How else do you read this:
I wrote a column for The Hill and said that Trump's mistake — and it was one — was that you can never under any circumstances equate Nazis with anyone else. It's a very simple thing, OK? So if you understand history — and I think Trump does to some extent, but not perhaps to the extent that is needed in this day and age — when you understand the evil that happened in the '30s and '40s in Germany, in Europe and even in Japan, really, truly understand it, you can't make comments about it in any other context other than, this is pure evil.
I don't understand how anyone who was born in the 1940s and whom went to school in the `50s and `60s could have escaped the lesson that "Nazis are bad". Prime-time TV back then was about 35% westerns, 35% World War II and 30% sitcoms. It was kind of hard to miss that the Nazis were bad people.

Maybe Trump's daddy was telling him "don't believe the lies, the Nazis were really good people and they spoke the truth"?

Tightening the Screws; Flynn Edition

US congressional investigators are examining whether Michael Flynn, Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, secretly promoted a plan by private business interests to build US-Russian nuclear power plants in the Middle East while he was serving in the White House.
...
A letter released on Wednesday by top Democrats who are investigating Flynn, who was forced to resign from his post in February because of questions about his links to Russia, accused him of violating federal law when he failed to disclose a trip he took to the Middle East in June 2015 to promote the US-Russia project, as well as several contacts with foreigners that they allege ought to have been declared.
I'm guessing that in the area of "the crime of failing to disclose", that this isn't exactly going to be a tough thing to prove.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A Thousand "Attaboys" Are Canceled by One "You Dumb Shit": Pizza Hut Ed.

A Pizza Hut manager in Florida threatened to punish employees who missed shifts by evacuating too early for Hurricane Irma.

In a memo, the manager said workers at the Jacksonville restaurant have a “responsibility and commitment” to the community, and that employees who needed to evacuate would get only a 24-hour “grace period” before the storm.

“You cannot evacuate Friday for a Tuesday storm event!” the notice read. “Failure to show for these shifts, regardless of reason, will be considered a no call / no show and documentation will be issued.”

It also said that employees would be required to return to the city within 72 hours of an evacuation.
You can read the memo here.

Pizza Hut corporate is trying to backwater, of course.

I haven't been able to determine which Pizza Hut in Jacksonville did this, but hell, there are lots of other places where you can get crappy pizza, or even good pizza. I'd suggest a local Italian restaurant or any of these places. None of which are Pizza Hut (or the other big chains which purvey tomato-flavored cardboard).

Don't Lie for the Other Guy

While gunnies will recognize that as the slogan for the ATF's warning about straw buyers, it applies with even more force for Trump's staffies.
Lawyers representing Donald Trump’s current and former aides are giving their clients one simple piece of advice: Don’t lie to protect the president.

As special counsel Robert Mueller and congressional investigators prepare to question high-ranking aides — including Hope Hicks, Reince Priebus and Sean Spicer — in the coming weeks, Trump’s long history of demanding his employees’ complete loyalty is being put to the test.

But Trump stalwarts know the president is closely following the media coverage of the Russia case — and the last thing they want is to be deemed a turncoat whose answers end up becoming further fuel for investigators.
Worse for them, it is possible that any pardons issued by Trump to block the probe might be challenged in court for being an illegal obstruction of justice. Which cold also mean that Trump would be committing a crime by issuing them, or even hinting at offering them.

Monday, September 11, 2017

What Sort of Microcephalic Sociopath Says Things Like This Out Loud?

Trump told a reporter that the country has “great people” responding to the massive storms and that “a group that really deserves tremendous credit is the United States Coast Guard," according to a White House pool report.

“What they've done — I mean, they've gone right into that, and you never know. When you go in there, you don't know if you're going to come out. They are really — if you talk about branding, no brand has improved more than the United States Coast Guard,” Trump said.

Dear DEA and the Medical Community: Fuck You and Your Families

I know I've said this before.

But when you have a post-surgical patient who has had several other surgeries and who was given Vicdin/Percocet/Oxycotin/Oxycodone then and didn't get addicted, what in the Blue Bloody Hazes of Hell makes you think that it'll be a problem this time around.

But no, they're so, so afraid of the DEA that the "caring" medical community will let people suffer. If high-dose ibuprofen doesn't help, well, it sucks to be you.

Motherfuckers. It might be enjoyable to do some med-mal cases just to fuck with them.

Gluttons for Punishment; Irma Edition

I watched a little bit of the live coverage of Hurricane Irma as it swept ashore over Ft. Myers, FL. CNBC had a few reporters there, who were outside in the eye.

As the hurricane came closer, Mike Bettes of the Weather Channel was standing out in a road, doing his best to stand erect. At one point, he groaned loudly because a piece of debris hit him in the back. A lot of buildings in Florida have those Spanish-mission style terracotta roofs; when those tiles come off, they are heavy (compared to asphalt shingles) and, because they're most likely broken, rather pointy.

What is fucking wrong with these clowns? I doubt if any of them would stand in the middle of a gunfight or on the doorstep of a building that was burning down. Neither would they stand in the middle of I-5 to report on the traffic.

They could put a camera in a reasonably safe location and comment on the storm from there. They can show the rain, the wind gust, shit blowing down the street and trees bending/snapping. There is no adult-grade reason for any of these fools to stand out in the middle of a fucking hurricane.

One of these folks is going to be struck down and seriously hurt or killed one of these days. When that happens, you can bet that the weather reporters will go into mourning about the tragic loss and so forth and so on. They'll completely ignore the point that what they are doing is playing Russian Roulette with Nature.

Sixteen Years On

Which means that there are kids getting their drivers' licenses this month who were born in September of 2001.

Here are a couple of retrospective posts that I wrote years ago. Also one I wrote from a Jewish perspective. And what we, as a country, have lost.

To steal from the last link:
In Year Ten Sixteen of the [Afghan] war, the best that the commanders can say at the Five O'Clock Follies is that "tangible progress" has been made. Many more American fighting men and women will be killed and maimed. At least another trillion dollars will be spent. There is no end in sight for this war.
Sixteen years on. The Middle East remains a chaotic mess due to the aftermath of the Iraq War, a completely unnecessary endeavor. As I wrote in some of the posts linked above, thanks to the ignoring of the situation in Afghanistan for seven years, any chance of securing that country was squandered.

At home, we surrendered rights and liberties without much debate because we took a sucker punch. There has been no serious attempt to repeal or roll back the Bush Police State Patriot Act. The Republicans have been foaming to repeal health insurance because health insurance is tyranny. But allowing the Feds to search though your bank records without a warrant isn't tyranny, I guess. Neither are "sneak-and-peak" searches, nope, no tyranny there. The United States became a nation that resorted to torturing people. A significant percentage of Trump's base is pro-torture. Nobody has ever been held accountable for ordering people to be tortured. The doctors and psychologists who helped oversee torture and, in a couple of cases, designed torture regimes, remain unpunished and in practice to this day. Americans are the "good little Germans" of the 21st Century.

When it comes to civil liberties and freedoms, 9-11 was a defeat for Americans. Between massive deficit spending on the military (always a favorite of the GOP when they have the checkbook) and instability in the Middle East that has its roots in what the United States did post 9-11, it can be fairly argued that al Qaeda accomplished most of its goals for the attacks.

Even though he now rests in a watery grave in the Indian Ocean, the true victor of 9-11 was Osama bin Ladin.

UPDATE: From the comments section:

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Irma- Too Soon?


Someone I know posted on FB that she was worried about her family, so she was glued to Fox News.

Yep: "Storm bad! Winds strong! Rain hard! It's all Obama's fault!"

Should about cover it.

Irma

The wind sensor at the Naples Airport (KAPF) has apparently failed.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

Some runway repairs required.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

ATF is About as Crooked As It Gets

the ATF basically ran a crooked cigarette business for the purpose of generating cash that the ATF could then use for other purposes, without having to put up with such things as Congressional oversight or submitting budgets.
The operation, such was it was, went across the administrations fo Bush II and Obama. The Department of Justice has been doing what it can to hust things up.

Sure it was improper, and actually illegal. Even the AFT knew that.

But will anyone be punished?

Don't hold yer breath.

When an AFT agent does an audit of a gun shop's paper work, even a simple error will be punished with fines ranging from a few hundred dollars to many thousands. Because obeying every jot and tittle of the law is what the AFT expects from those businesses it oversees.

But obeying the law just in't very important if one happens to have a Federal badge. Embezzlement? Piffle.

Caturday

A young kitten arrives at a shelter.


She is so stinking cute that it took very little time to find a foster family. actually, it's a "foster-to-adopt" family, as the shelter keeps such kittens on its books until they are spayed (or neutered).

Animal rescue is more than about shelters, of course. These folks have been doing a bang-up job. Spaying and neutering is about the only way to try and cut down on the problem of unwanted pets.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Monday, Jan 1st

I had to print out a calendar for next year. For fun, I choose a year that has the same starting time, but is not the year in question.

1917 was a possible choice. But, meh. I looked to the future, and guess what year starts on a Monday!


With any luck, this song will be forgotten by then.

Yeah, Well, Let's See

President* Donald Trump surprised the leaders of his own party in Congress on Wednesday when he backed a deal pushed by Democrats to attach hurricane relief money to a shorter-term bump in the debt ceiling as well as keeping the government open, cutting off his own Treasury secretary to strike a deal.

The decision was one of the most fascinating and mysterious moves he's made with Congress during eight months in office.

The remarkable turn of events left Republican congressional leaders, in control of both chambers of the legislative branch, "shell-shocked" and "visibly annoyed," and showcased how a President who also authored "The Art of the Deal" actually cuts one.
Maybe Trump has finally figured out that he can't get shit done with only Republicans.

On the other hand, no deal made by Trump is ever final. His word is worth a sheet of soiled toilet-paper and is about as sturdy.

Heh.

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Eight hundred thousand people with dreams will be deported by one person with delusions, sources confirmed on Tuesday.

According to reports, U.S. residents who have obtained advanced degrees, served in the military, and saved people from Hurricane Harvey will be kicked out of the country by a man who believes that his microwave is spying on him.

Because It's Friday


Using UP 844 to push a freight train is kind of like using a thoroughbred to pull a milk cart. But sometimes needs must.

Dear Equifax: Go Fuck Yourselves. P.S., All of Your Mothers Are Whores

They had a massive data breach, which they didn't bother to tell anyone about for over a month.

They're offering free credit monitoring, if your data was compromised. Which you can check here.

But bad as all that is, this is the kicker: If your data was compromised, then this is the response that you'll get, as of today:



In other words: "Sorry about that. Get Back to us in a week or so, and then maybe we'll help you out a little."

That, Gentle Readers, is nothing but bullshit x 10^(very large number). What they are obviously hoping for is that most people will forget and Equifax can say "hey, we offered it, but people didn't sign up." No mention that they made it inconvenient for people to sign up.

So yes, Equifax executives: Fuck you. Your mothers are all whores, and so are your fathers, spouses and children. And maybe even your pets, you ignoble bunch of thieves.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

She May Not be a Member of the Klan.....

But I wouldn't be exactly surprised.
A Charlotte mayoral candidate wants people to know that she’s Republican, smart – and white.

“VOTE FOR ME!” Kimberley Paige Barnette posted on Facebook. “REPUBLICAN & SMART, WHITE, TRADITIONAL.”

Barnette, who turned 53 on Friday, is a former Mecklenburg County magistrate making her first run for office.
It's one thing to sound a dog-whistle to the neo-nazis, but Barnette was sounding a foghorn.

The state party chairman wasn't overly happy.
Chairman Robin Hayes said Tuesday any suggestion a candidate is more or less qualified based on skin color alone "is offensive to North Carolina Republicans." Hayes added "this type of suggestion has no place in our public discourse."
While that's nice of Mr. Hayes to say that, let's not forget for a second that North Carolina repeatedly elected Jesse Helms to the U.S. Senate. Helms was so racist that even Smirky Sessions probably shook his head and said "I can't believe this guy."

Barnette issued the standard "non-apology apology" along the lines of "I'm sorry if anyone was offended" because she posted a blatantly racist list of qualifications. She pretty much disproved her second claim right out of the gate.

The Dreamers Are Truly Screwed

Paul Ryan says 'Dreamers' should 'rest easy' over expiring Daca policy.
Right. Ryan is telling the Dreamers that he can deliver something that he damn well knows that he cannot. If Ryan was honest about helping the Dreamers, he'd deliver a "clean" bill, one that only handles the issue. But he can't do that. His caucus will insist on adding in amendments and other poison-pill shit that the Democrats will never go for. They'll add in provisions for building habitats for poisonous snakes into The Great Wall of Trump, or provisions that people who are worth $4 billion and whose primary residence is in Manhattan not only pay no taxes, but they get free ponies.

Or Ryan can try to get something through the House by working with the Democrats and a handful of Republicans. That'll eventually end up with Ryan getting deposed, like Boehner was.

That's how things work, these days. Dysfunction is baked into the process.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Heh. Heh.

Trump to have bin Ladin found and reanimated.


As others have pointed out, Trump took pains to describe some of the DACA people as "young adults" and not "kids". But when his 39-year old son met with Russian spooks and then didn't disclose the meeting, Trump called him "a good boy" and "a good kid".

Anyway, Jimmy Fallon is probably right: In six months, DACA will probably be Mike Pence's problem.

Keep It Up, Guys; Barney Fife Ed.

Salt Lake City police Detective Jeff Payne has been fired from his part-time paramedic job as the fallout continues from his arrest of a University Hospital nurse in July. ... At one point, Payne remarks to another officer — apparently frustrated by Wubbels’ refusal to allow a blood draw — that he could retaliate against the hospital in his role as a Gold Cross paramedic. “I‘ll bring them all the transients and take good patients elsewhere,” Payne says in the footage.
I'll bet that the ambulance company really winced at being dragged into this mess.

One of the things that was interesting was how the police department first tried to shuffle all of this under the rug by taking the cop off blood-draw duties, until, that is, the video went public. Then the shit hit the fan.

Sort of like the James Blake incident, which the NYPD officers involved tried to cover up until the video went public. The NYPD, itself, eventually did try to sweep it under the rug. Mr. Blake wasn't happy about that.

I don't doubt that the majority of cops are decent people. But a percentage of them are thugs with badges and they act that way. The thugs are poisoning the view that the people that they police have of them. The cops need to clean up their own mess. Should they not, then sooner or later, it will be done to them. Smirky the Racist Elf can dismiss and refuse to bring civil rights actions, but Smirky's not going to be the AG forever.

What Humans Have Done in 110 Years

Contaminate our drinking water with plastic.
Microplastic contamination has been found in tap water in countries around the world, leading to calls from scientists for urgent research on the implications for health.

Scores of tap water samples from more than a dozen nations were analysed by scientists for an investigation by Orb Media, who shared the findings with the Guardian. Overall, 83% of the samples were contaminated with plastic fibres.

The US had the highest contamination rate, at 94%, with plastic fibres found in tap water sampled at sites including Congress buildings, the US Environmental Protection Agency’s headquarters, and Trump Tower in New York. Lebanon and India had the next highest rates.
...
The scale of global microplastic contamination is only starting to become clear, with studies in Germany finding fibres and fragments in all of the 24 beer brands they tested, as well as in honey and sugar. In Paris in 2015, researchers discovered microplastic falling from the air, which they estimated deposits three to 10 tonnes of fibres on the city each year, and that it was also present in the air in people’s homes.
As the article explains, as the fibers become smaller and smaller, they'll get to the point where they'll easily penetrate into cells. And nobody really seems to know what will happen next.

Better living through chemistry.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Strange Women, Lying in Ponds, Distributing Swords is No Basis for a System of Government

A Yorkshire [England] school girl has made the unexpected discovery of a four-foot sword in the lake that King Arthur's Excalibur was apocryphally hurled into.

Matilda Jones, aged seven, from Doncaster, found the sword when she was paddling in Dozmary Pool, in Cornwall with her father, Paul.
Of course you're going to watch the Monty Python clip, aren't you.

Trump's Long-Term Gift to the Democrats

I'm reasonably confident that Donald John Fucking Trump has delivered the Latino vote to the Democrats for the foreseeable future.
President* Donald Trump's administration will "wind down" a program protecting hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children, Attorney General Jeff Sessions declared Tuesday, calling the Obama administration's program "an unconstitutional exercise of authority."
The question, now, is whether or not there are enough Republicans in Congress who are willing to try and save DACA. If there are, then Trump could claim that all he did was force Congress to do the right thing. Which would then put the Democrats in a bind and, in essence, force them to help the GOP save themselves from Trump.

But I think that's unlikely. There are enough batshit-crazy Republicans in the House to stop any attempt to do that, so long as Ryan follows the Child-Molester's Rule. Today may turn out to presage the biggest shift in political bases since LBJ pushed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law.

I'll bet that, right now, the GOP party officials whose job it is to forecast future trends are shitting bricks.

Meanwhile, Spicy's hitting the Grifter Circuit.

Of Course Smirky Won't Take Questions



As we've seen in the past, Smirky the Racist Elf doesn't do well when asked questions. He starts forgetting important things, such as meeting with the Russian Ambassador.

We'll see if Caudillo Trumpo ends DACA or not.

40 Years On

Voyager 1 was launched on this day in 1977.

It was sort of odd that Voyager 2 was launched first, on August 20th.

Both probes are still sending back data. Voyager 1 is in interstellar space, -2 is expected to cross over in about two years. Both probes are expected to run out of power in about eight years.

NASA stopped launching Voyager probes after 1977. I guess they didn't want to take the risk of sending out Voyager 6.

Monday, September 4, 2017

North Korean Nukes

If anyone has a practical idea that is more workable than deterrence and sanctions, I haven't heard it.

Those blathering about going to war are beyond irresponsible.

Donald Fucking Trump Continues to Poke Our Friends in Their Eyes

Over the weekend, North Korea may have detonated a hydrogen bomb (what the SF guys call a "fusion bomb").

So, what does our Anacephalic-in-Chief do? He is about to kick off a trade war with South Korea.

How does this make even a picogram of sense, geopolitically? At a moment where there is a need, if not more than ever, to unite the world against North Korea, Trump's expressing joy at the prospect of shivving an ally.

I suspect that every nation that regards itself as an ally of the United States is now rethinkng that. With Trump at the helm, the U.S. is proving to be both mercurial and unreliable. The word of the U.S. is no longer any good. Trump treats international agreements and treaties as he treated his business deals and contracts: Pieces of paper to be torn up at his whim.

Anyone who trusts in the promises of Donald John Trump is a fucking fool.

The leaders of other nations, great and small, are not fools.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Outing the Neo-Nazis

A bar in Minneapolis shut down after it came to light that the owner gave money to David Duke's campaign.

In California, a restaurant critic named Christina Waters thinks OK to patronize neo-nazi businesses if their food is good.

Pro tip: Support neo-nazi politicians running for Federal office and you can be found out.

Your Sunday Morning Turboprop Noise

CL-415s refilling their water tanks:


The video title says "idiot boaters", but unless they changed the COLREGS since my day, seaplanes have the right-of-way over nothing.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Clear Skies Often Aren't

I went flying this morning with some friends. The sky conditions everywhere were "clear below 12,000", or "clear" if a human was reporting it.

What there was, however, was a rather filthy inversion layer. The air was tinged brown as we climbed out. At about 3,500' AGL, we got on top of the layer. The sky there was really clear and blue. And cool.

But looking down, the slant-range visibility to the ground way maybe ten miles. Over the rural areas and the forests, it was almost about as navigable as flying over the sea (or northern Maine). There was nothing along a 40-mile stretch that was usable for navigation.

Therein lies the beauty of old VOR-based navigation. VORs, unlike those fancy-dan GPS screens, don't demand constant attention. Look at them every few minutes to check to see if you're still on the radial and the rest of the time, you can do important things such as look out of the windows for traffic. In smooth air, the actual mechanics of maintaining course and altitude just are not that involved.

Sue, the screen-based navigation gizmos are nice in IFR. But when it's VFR outside, it takes real discipline to ignore those suckers and just do the basics: Course, altitude and look for traffic. If all you're going to do is look at the damned screens, then screw flying-- get a flight-sim program and have at it.

It's the difference between flying the airplane and managing it.

Caturday

A shelter cat. His shelter name is Chaplin.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Post Warning

Do not listen to these unless you are certain that you will not plunge knitting needles into your eardrums.

You have been warned.

With little further ado, here is Leonard Nimoy, singing:



Jack Webb didn't even try:


What brought this on was reading some old Dave Barry columns about the worst songs ever recorded. Over 10,000 readers responded, back in the day when that had to be done by mail. Which meant they all found postcards and mailed them in.

Some of the names that people came up with were hilarious. My favorite misquoted title was "Ain't No Woman Like the One-Eyed Gott."

The worst song, for both music and lyrics, was "MacArthur Park":


What difference did it made whether or not the pants being ironed were "stri-ped"? I don't know how much acid one has to drop in order for the chorus to make any sense.
MacArthur's Park is melting in the dark
All the sweet, green icing flowing down
Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don't think that I can take it
'Cause it took so long to bake it
And I'll never have that recipe again
Oh no!
But I'll bet that it was a considerable amount.

Runner-up was "Yummy Yummy Yummy". Second runner-up "Having My Baby".

A song that I despise didn't even make it into the final column.

Anyway, "The One-Eyed Gott" seems to be a natural for a comic book series or even a movie. (I want royalties, if you do it.)

78 Years Ago

The second chapter of the Great War got underway.

I think it's arguable that the Second World War, at least in the northern chunk of Europe, was a continuation of the Great War. Much of the underlying enthusiasm for the war in Germany and Austria was nursed butthurt over losing the last one. The Germans persuaded themselves that they had been shived by a Internationist/Jewish conspiracy; forgetting that they had been bled white on the battlefield. The blockades had taken a terrible toll on Germany and its people. They were badly short of food and military matériel at the very same time that the United States was gearing up to send a couple of million more soldiers into the war. The German military was disintegrating in the final weeks of the war as it was.

Negotiating an end to the war, even on unfavorable terms, kept Germany from being turned into a battlefield. One might imagine the vengeance that Allied troops, particularly the French, would have taken. It's even possible that the ending of the war saved Germany as a more-or-less intact state.

But the German far right didn't see it that way. They wanted to even things up. And they did, temporarily.

But the end did come.


Bonding Evils

A prominent figure in the white nationalist movement argued he is a “shock jock” who runs a “racist podcast” before he was denied bond on Thursday evening.

Christopher Cantwell, 36, faces two charges of illegal use of tear gas, phosgene or other gases and one count of malicious bodily injury by means of a caustic substance or agent. The charges stem from clashes Cantwell had with protesters during the torch-lit march that occurred at the University of Virginia on Aug. 11, the night before a violent white nationalist rally overtook Charlottesville’s downtown, resulting in the death of one woman and dozens of injuries.
The charges are felonies, but denying bail seems a bit excessive. What's he going to do, run off to Nigeria like the Asswipe who was running a Nazi website?

I'll let you mull over the irony of white supremacists hiding in a Sub-Saharan African nation.

Bail typically was denied when a defendant was either a flight risk or posed an unacceptable threat to the community if released. If PharmaBro, who is rather wealthy, can bail himself out, then why not the Crying Nazi?

Actually, I don't know why Shkreli's bail wasn't increased after he was found guilty. If he's seriously facing several years, I can see him chartering a jet and having himself dropped in a country where folding money can substitute for such pesky formalities such as passports and visas.

Because It's Friday

An update on the restoration of UP 4014


It's fairly obvious why UP may have been the only repair shop that could have restored one of the Big Boys.

I've heard that the unofficial goal is to have 4014 running for the Golden Spike sesquicentennial. That seems a bit iffy, at least to me.

You Can Fool Some of the People All of the Time, Donald Trump Edition

Donald Trump is reportedly pledging to donate $1 million to the hurricane Harvey relief effort.

That sounds pretty impressive, doesn't it? But only if you can't do arithmetic. This is why:

Trump is reportedly worth $4.5 billion. If you were worth $4.5 million dollars, the equivalent donation as a percentage of net worth would be a thousand bucks. If you were worth $450,000, the equivalent donation would be $100.

That doesn't sound is impressive, does it? And nobody's going to make a fuss about somebody who is worth about $500,000 donating 100 bucks to the hurricane relief effort. Of course he had to publicize it and try and make it sound like a big deal. Because he wants everyone to think that he's a mensch. But he isn't, he's a schnorrer, a goniff, a dreykopf and a schmuck.

Besides that, Trump has a history of pledging large donations and then not coughing up the cash until some pesky reporter starts calling around.

Walmart, as usual, is being a dick. If customers donate the the Red Cross at checkout, Walmart will match their donation up to $10 million. Why they just don't donate their fucking money and not try to skate out of it by pressuring people living paycheck-to-paycheck to cough up is beyond me.

Meanwhile, Best Buy is trying to escape being hammered for gouging by saying an employee made a math error and that's why they were charging $42 for a case of bottled water.

This guy turned his furniture stores into shelters. Here's hoping when Houstonites are buying furniture to replace what was ruined in the flooding, they shop his establishments.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Corporations Playing Chicken With People's Lives and Homes

Explosions and fires rocked a flood-crippled chemical plant near Houston early Thursday, sending up a plume of acrid, eye-irritating smoke and adding a new hazard to Hurricane Harvey's aftermath.

The plant's owners warned more explosions could follow because a loss of refrigeration was causing chemicals stored there to degrade and burn.
Arkema, Inc. owns the plant.

This is an other example of the Fukushima Effect: What happens when a disaster strikes and the backup systems then fail? In the case of Arkema's chemical plant in Crosby, Texas, the answer is: "Plant go BOOM!"

Between the release of pollutants from flooded plants and refineries to tropical jungle levels of mosquitoes, Houston is not going to be a fun place to be.

Of Course They Will

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday that the Treasury Department could scrap plans finalized under President Barack Obama to replace President Andrew Jackson on the front of the $20 bill with Harriet Tubman.
There are two reasons. First off, not putting Tubman on the $20 will please the shit out of the batshit racists in Trump's base.

Second, even though Old Hickory likely would have regarded Trump as a coward, Trump seems to believe that he is like Andrew Jackson. Well, maybe he's like Andrew Jackson's feces, but that's as far as it goes.

Also, Trump lied about seeing the effects of Hurricane Harvey. His Administration isn't even bothering to try to cover him on it. What Trump's idea of "first-hand observation" means that, if you watched any of the coverage on The Weather Channel, congrats: You saw it first-hand.

I wouldn't believe Sarah Huckabee Sanders if she said that the Sun was up at noontime.

Harvey and the GOP = Excellent Timing

President* Donald Trump is promising billions to help Texas rebuild from Harvey-caused epic flooding, but his Republican allies in the House are looking at cutting almost $1 billion from disaster accounts to help finance the president’s border wall.

The pending reduction to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s disaster relief account is part of a massive spending bill that the House is scheduled to consider next week when lawmakers return from their August recess. The $876 million cut, which is included in the 1,305-page measure’s homeland security section, pays for roughly half the cost of Trump’s down payment on the U.S.-Mexico border wall that the president repeatedly promised Mexico would finance.
"Heartless" doesn't even begin to cover the ground with regard to Paul the Zombie-Eyed Granny-Starver and the rest of his caucus of humanity-deficient robots. They are despicable.

Meanwhile, Cruz is busily defending his lies about why he opposed disaster funding in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. Now-VP Pence was a leader in using emergency disaster relief bills as a vehicle to cut programs he despised. It has never been about helping people cope with a disaster for those birds; it's always about not letting a crisis go to waste when it can be used as a hook to get to their goals.

And what the fuck, Texas? Are you surprised that people other than Southerners can nurse a grudge? Of course the people affected by Sandy haven't forgotten what your congresscritters said and did. New Yorkers are not shy about such things. The difference is that, while they'll remind the Texans about what sort of evil inhuman trolls that Texans sent (and have continued to send) to Congress, the New Yorkers won't follow the old political rule of "I'll do unto you like you did unto me." Even though, politically, they'd be justified in doing so, because payback is part of the game.

For the New York and New Jersey delegations are made up of people who can empathize with human suffering and work to ensure that the Federal government helps in recovering from a severe natural disaster. Unlike, say, the congressmen and senators from Texas.

The Iron Harvest Continues

Up to 70,000 people have been told to leave their homes in Frankfurt after an unexploded second world war bomb nicknamed “blockbuster” was uncovered.

The evacuation was due to take place on Sunday and is one of the biggest such operations ever mounted.

It will allow for the safe defusal of the 1,400kg British bomb, which German media said was nicknamed “Wohnblockknacker” (blockbuster) during the war for its ability to wipe out whole streets or buildings.
As I recall it, that's exactly wrong. The purpose of the heavy bombs that the Brits dropped was to break up the underground water lines so that the Germans would have a harder time in fighting the fires caused by incendiaries. Smaller bombs were dropped to break open the roofs of buildings. Then incendiaries were dropped like rain.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Putin's Poodle Is Hard At Work

President* Trump on Monday declined an opportunity to call out Russia as a security threat, saying instead that he considers “many countries threats.”

Trump was responding to questions at a joint press briefing with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö following their bilateral meeting in Washington.

When asked by a Finnish reporter whether he considers Russia as a security threat, Trump replied, “I consider many countries as a security threat, unfortunately, when you look at what’s going on in the world today.”
If you're a central or eastern European leader and you are not ramping up your defense spending and training, then you are whistling past the cemetery.

Trump also claimed that Finland was buying more F-18s, which is not true.

Only in California

Sunscreen's not supposed to be used to protect eyes, but that didn't stop people from trying.
"One of my colleagues ... stated yesterday that they had patients presenting at their clinic that put sunscreen on their eyeball, and presented that they were having pain and they were referred to an ophthalmologist," Patterson said.

She said it only takes a few seconds of staring directly at the sun for retina damage.
I'm sort of surprised that this wasn't headlined "Florida Man Put Sunscreen In His Eyes."

Another Member of Trump's Cabinet Implies That Nobody Should Listen to Trump

President* Donald Trump said Wednesday that "talking is not the answer" when it comes to reining in North Korea -- seeming to contradict a statement from his top diplomat that the US will continue to seek a peaceful resolution to tensions with Pyongyang despite its provocative missile tests.

"The U.S. has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years. Talking is not the answer!" Trump tweeted just days after North Korea launched a missile that flew over northern Japan.
And this:
Mattis broke from that view, telling reporters asking about the tweet at the Pentagon, “We’re never out of diplomatic solutions.”
Funny how it's the fat old draft-dodger who is slavering at the idea of a war, while it's the wise old warrior who is counseling caution.

Maybe it's because Mattis knows something about war, while Trump only knows what he's seen at the movies.

In a normal administration, a cabinet member would be out the door for openly saying that the President should not be listened to. But Tillerson and now Mattis are saying just that.

That'll Buff Right Out


Nobody was hurt. The CL-415 flew back to its base.

He Finally Did It!

Aaron (The Shekel blog) is now a private pilot.

Slide on over there and show some love. He worked long and hard for that.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Pro Tip on the "Hot Water Challenge"

Another teenager has been injured in the sickening "Hot Water Challenge," where friends dump scalding hot water on an unsuspecting person.

An Arkansas boy suffered first and second-degree burns after his friends allegedly heated up water in the microwave and tossed it on him while he was asleep at a friend's house on Sunday.
Don't be surprised if a future victim opts to try the "Bullet Challenge" in retaliation.

This is no shit: Many decades ago, I was on a group camping trip. We had two large pots of water over the fire on a large steel grate for doing dishes. I was cleaning up (basically doing KP) and I was lifting the heavy pot of rinse-water from the grate. Another kid dashed up and, while I was holding the pot, rinsed his mess kit plate. When he pulled it out, he sprinkled boiling hot water onto my arms. I shrieked and dropped the pot, which sloshed boiling hot water over my legs.

I yelled a string of words, most of them not family-friendly, took three steps to the pile of of firewood and grabbed an axe. I yelled something else, probably an obscenity-laden war cry, and took off after the kid. He was no dummy, he began running as soon as he saw where I was going.

That kid was not a good runner. But he'd have blown right by Usain Bolt that day. I went maybe fifty yards and by then, the red haze of vengeance had faded. I went back to the campsite, where one of the parents poured cold water over my legs.

From then on, the rule was that the fire was to be allowed to go out over the hot water pots and they were to cool before anyone tried to move them. I didn't have to do any more turns at KP. And everyone seemed to have decided that the less said about my channeling Red Sonja, the better.

I Am of Two Minds On This

An army of anarchists in black clothing and masks routed a small group of right-wing demonstrators who had gathered in a Berkeley park Sunday to rail against the city’s famed progressive politics, driving them out — sometimes violently — while overwhelming a huge contingent of police officers.
...
But once again, counterdemonstrators frustrated efforts by police, who numbered about 400. As the crowd swelled to several times that size, officers stepped aside and allowed hundreds of people angered by the presence of the right-wing rally to climb over the barriers into the park, said Officer Jennifer Coats, a spokeswoman for Berkeley police.
I am aware of the history of the 43 Group and the 62 Group, who responded to fascist violence and intimidation in kind.

Nazis and fascists have no respect for democracy, free debate, or the rule of law. I have no doubt that they regard the American tradition of free speech and the constitutional protections of the First Amendment as weaknesses that they are all to happy to exploit. The past is more than clear in proving that fascist regimes have no tolerance for dissent. History is replete with examples of fascist street groups commiting acts of violence and intimidation, including the acts that resulted in the formation of the 43 Group.

So on the one hand, it does not bother me one iota to see fascist rallies crushed by counterdemonstrators.[1]

On the other hand, it allows fascists/Nazis like Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka and Donnie Trump to claim to their weak-minded followers that there is no difference between the "alt-right" (a cute term for fascists and Nazis) and those who oppose them.
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[1] Nor does it bother me that the Nazis are being outed. Be nice, though, if those doing the outing exercised some due diligence to reduce the chance of mistakes.

Meanwhile, in Texas

Fort Nightly

When I was in middle school (which, back in the Stone Age, was called "junior high school"), my parents enrolled me in a ballroom dancing class. The class met every two weeks and it was known as "Fortnightly", which was always pronounced as two words.

I had forgotten about it until I bought a book of Dave Barry's columns at the animal shelter's resale shop, Dave Barry Is Not Making This Up. As hes said:
Our parents sent us to ballroom-dancing class, but it would have been equally cost-effective for them to simply set fire to their money.
True enough.

Like the class Barry wrote about, Fort Nightly was held in what now would be called a "multi-purpose room", but was the cafeteria with a stage at one end. To steal from him, the class started with the enemy genders lined up on either side of the room. The instructors then proceeded to try and teach the kids formal dancing.

They would have had had better luck teaching goats to speak Mongolian.

For one thing, the class was cruelly timed for the year that a lot of the girls had had their growth spurts and the boys had not. It was like watching a WNBA team try to dance with munchkins. But only if the munchkins in question had all of the grace and coordination of a troop of intoxicated baboons. The girls made sure to keep the boys at arm's length, mainly to avoid having their feet stepped on. The boys, in turn, responded the way that adolescent boys do in any uncomfortable situation: By hitting each other and making fart noises.

The final session had refreshments and the parents were invited to watch their kids try to dance. That went about as well as you might have guessed.

Except that one of the mothers asked the organizers where were the black kids. The school was about 30% minorities, mostly blacks, maybe a few Latinos and a couple of Asian kids and about that many Jews. The Asian and Jewish kids had been invited to enroll. Much consternation ensued.

Mothers' Day

Back to school!

(From here)

Monday, August 28, 2017

And the Grift Goes On.... Trump & Russia

A top executive from Donald Trump’s real estate company emailed Vladi­mir Putin’s personal spokesman during the U.S. presidential campaign last year to ask for help advancing a stalled Trump Tower development project in Moscow, according to documents submitted to Congress Monday.

Michael Cohen, a Trump attorney and executive vice president for the Trump Organization, sent the email in January 2016 to Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin’s top press aide.
Drip, drip, drip. Erosion happens.

I'm Shocked, Shocked That Trump is Restarting the "Tanks for Cops" Program

The Trump administration Monday lifted a controversial ban on the transfer of some surplus military equipment to police departments whose battlefield-style response to rioting in a St. Louis suburb three years ago prompted a halt to the program.

The new plan takes effect immediately and fully rolls back an Obama administration executive order that blocked armored vehicles, large-caliber weapons, ammunition and other heavy equipment from being re-purposed from foreign battlefields to America's streets.
What else would one expect from an authoritarian-wannabee administration with dreams of instituting a dictatorship?

Maybe they'll pose Trump in the driver's seat of a MRAP, with him leaning forward and yelling.

(H/T)