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

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

("Stickied" to noon on Thanksgiving)

On a number of radio stations back in the day, playing the entire song was a Thanksgiving tradition. Some of them were commercial stations-- almost nineteen minutes of no commercials. And some of them played it twice, at noon and 3 PM.

The judge was really blind, he had a Seeing-Eye dog. He played himself in the movie (as did Officer Obie).

I hope that if you're in America, you and yours have a good Thanksgiving. Try not to punch out your racist uncle or your commie nephew.

And please, enjoy the day without resorting to rampant consumerism.

Or burning down your hostess's house.

(Yes, this is a complete repeat from last year's post. So sue me.)

Yet Another Conservative Sex Hypocrite

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.), who apologized Wednesday for a lewd photo of him that circulated on the Internet, told a woman to whom he had sent sexually explicit photos, videos and messages that he would report her to the Capitol Police because she could expose his behavior, according to a recording reviewed by The Washington Post.

The woman spoke to The Post after the lewd photo was published Tuesday by an anonymous Twitter account. She shared a secretly recorded phone conversation she had with Barton in 2015 in which he warned her against using the explicit materials “in a way that would negatively affect my career.”
Barton was married when he was doing this crap. Adultery is apparently OK for the "family values" crowd.

Gee. What was it that Barton and his cronies complaining about regarding Bill Clinton?

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Running Out of Time for the ARA San Juan

It's been a week since the San Juan last made contact. As of this afternoon, the search has come up empty.

The Royal Navy is helping, a fact that didn't stop some Argentine politicians from showing that they are truly assholes.

54 Years

What I wrote nine years ago.

Haven't forgotten that the Right was so poisonous in its hatred of President Kennedy that people were cheering.

Travel Safely!

AAA projects 50.9 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving, a 3.3 percent increase over last year. The 2017 holiday weekend will see the highest Thanksgiving travel volume since 2005 with 1.6 million more people taking to the nation’s roads, skies, rails and waterways compared with last year. AAA and INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, predict travel times in the most congested cities in the U.S. during the holiday week could be as much as three times longer than the optimal trip.
Be patient on the roads. You'll get there, eventually.

Start with a full tank of gas, though. You might need it, in spots.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving once you get there.

One Serial Sexual Harasser Goes to Bat For Another

Is there anyone who is even remotely surprised by this:
President* Donald Trump on Tuesday implicitly endorsed Roy Moore, the Republican Senate nominee in Alabama, telling reporters as he left the White House for a Thanksgiving trip to Palm Beach, Florida, "We don't need a liberal person ... a Democrat," in that seat.

In the past two weeks, Moore has been accused of sexual misconduct by several women, including one who told The Washington Post that he initiated a sexual encounter with her in 1979, when she was 14 and he was in 32.

"He totally denies it," Trump said on Tuesday of the sexual-misconduct allegations against Moore.
Trump, who has a long alleged history of being a creep, and whom denies it all, really couldn't do anything else but stand up for a fellow sexual-harassment-denier.

Speaking of Moore, it now seems that he might have set his sights on his future wife when she was all of fifteen. She was performing in a children's dance recital and Moore was there, watching.

Of course he was, the creep. How many adult men in their late 20s go to kiddie dance recitals, unless they have a family member who is performing? I'm guessing that, excluding pedophiles and other creeps, the number is somewhere between zero and a very small number.

At this point in the game, Trump would support a cannibal if the cannibal pledged fealty to El Caudillo Trumpo.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Fire; Political/Media

The flames of accusations against public figures are intensifying. Women and men who, in thepast, were afraid to come forth are now doing so. Jon Conyers, Charlie Rose and Al Franken are among the latest men so accused. If Wisdom of the Crowd wasn't already being axed, it might be now that its leading actor, Jeremy Piven has been accused. Kevin Spacey was deleted from a soon-to-be released movie.

I'm not discounting the possibility that some of the accusations may be bogus. The Duke lacrosse scandal is instructive. Multiple accusers, though, make a false accusation less likely.

It's also instructive to see what the accused do. Are they digging in? Are they admitting to the accusations that are true, apologizing unconditionally[1] and standing up to take whatever they have coming to them?[2] Or are they weaseling out with non-denial denials and claims of conspiracy?[3]

And what about the guy who wants to bang his own daughter and who brazenly strolled into the dressing room of teenaged girls and bragged about grabbing other women by their groins, well, he seems to be getting a pass.

"It's OK If You're a Republican" is once, more, a rule of the game.[4]
[1] "I'm sorry if you were offended by my conduct" is bullshit.
[2] Otherwise known as "acting like a man".
[3] Otherwise known as "pulling a Roy Moore".
[4] We expect less from Republicans. And that's exactly what we get.


Four seniors are presumed dead from a fire at an assisted living complex.

The facility is a multi-level care facility; independent living, assisted living (which they call "personal care"), memory care (dementia, I guess) and nursing home care.

Kendal is a high-end operation. The buy-in at those places is the cost of a nice home in a suburb of a medium-sized city; the monthly payment for the independent living sections, depending on the size of the unit, is two or more Aircraft Maintenance Units.

It's not one of those places where the nursing home has a smell that has a base note of stale piss. But at those prices, it shouldn't smell like that to begin with.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Was His Office in the Basement of a Pizza Parlor (in Tulsa)?

Ralph Shortey, a former Oklahoma state senator who last year served as Donald Trump's campaign chair in the state, was meticulous about keeping up his reputation as a pious man, according to several fellow Oklahomans. That reputation, however, has all but disappeared. According to Shortey's attorney, the former Republican lawmaker will plead guilty to one count of child sex trafficking on Nov. 30.

And Yet, He's Working for Said Dimbulb

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster mocked President Trump’s intelligence at a private dinner with a powerful tech CEO, according to five sources with knowledge of the conversation.
A sixth source who was not familiar with the details of the dinner told BuzzFeed News that McMaster had made similarly derogatory comments about Trump’s intelligence to him in private, including that the president lacked the necessary brainpower to understand the matters before the National Security Council.
You might recall that Rex Tillerson allegedly said something similar.

Whether McMaster is a toady who will do whatever it takes to cleave close to a center of power or if he is bravely sacrificing his reputation in order to do what he can to preserve the Republic is a question for another time.

Meanwhile, for the first time since Nixon began going batshit, there is active discussion as to a president's powers to order a nuclear strike.

Interesting times.

Apropos of Nothing In Particular.

Only Speak "Good" of the Dead

Charles Manson, the notorious cult leader who directed his followers to commit a string of brutal murders, and who became a symbol of the dark side of 1960s counterculture, has died aged 83.
May his remains be cremated and his ashes thrown into cesspools.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

One of Argentina's Submarines is Missing

The sub may have sent some satellite comm signals. But nobody is too sure where it is.

The U.S. Navy is sending SRDRSs to Argentina.

Being trapped in a sub at the bottom has to be a bubblehead's worst nightmare. The TR-1700 class has a test depth of 300 meters, which, as it's a German design, implies a crush depth of 600 meters. The SRDRS resportedly can go that deep.

If the sub can be found in time.

Tips About Planet Nirubu or Nibiru or Whatever the Hell It's Called

The conspiracy theorists have been going batshit about their latest bit of insanity- that a rogue planet is going to smash into the Earth, eject Earth from the Solar System, or so alter Earth's orbit that Earth will be uninhabitable.

First off, none of this shit is real. It's a recurring bit of popular insanity that is driving a NASA planetary scientist bonkers.

Second, if this shit were real, there is fuck-all that could be done about it.

But this shit is not real. There is zero evidence of any such planet. So if you believe in this shit, ther's what you should do: If you're a woman, call your gynecologist and schedule an emergency tubal ligation. If you're a man, call your urologist and schedule an emergency vasectomy.

Here are some helpful tips for the believers in this shit:
  • Do not stick knives into electrical outlets.
  • Do not run with scissors.
  • Do not go outside during a thunderstorm and hold golf clubs over your head.
  • There are no Nigerian princes who want to send you fifteen million dollars.
Actually, that there is anybody who believes in this shit is depressing as all hell. It's not just one or two, but millions. Maybe tens of millions. People who vote and reproduce.

We are so screwed.

Your Sunday Morning Turboprop Noise

As suggested by The Old NFO.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Television Irony

Wisdom of the Crowd has reportedly been canceled for low ratings.

Nationwide Ain't On Your Side

A Nationwide Insurance agent named Jonathan Yeamans, who couldn't tell the difference between hibiscus and marijuana, ratted out his clients to the cops. The cops did one of their patented SWAT-stile early morning raids on a couple in their sixties, placing a 66 year-old woman, who was wearing only a bra and panties, in the back of a police cruiser in handcuffs while the cops extensively searched the property. Only to, in the end, confirm that yes, it was a hibiscus plant.

Nationwide still canceled their insurance.

The couple is suing everyone they can possibly name. Including Yeamans the Rat.

Nationwide is most definitely not on your side.

No Doubt that Trump Loves Him Some Oil Leaks

A total of 210,000 gallons of oil leaked Thursday from the Keystone Pipeline in South Dakota, the pipeline's operator, TransCanada, said.

Crews shut down the pipeline Thursday morning, and officials are investigating the cause of the leak, which occurred about three miles southeast of the town of Amherst, said Brian Walsh, a spokesman for the state's Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
And then there was this quote:
"The safety of the public and environment are our top priorities and we will continue to provide updates as they become available," the company said.
Yeah, sure they are. {/sarcasm} This isn't exactly an aging pipeline as things go. Dumping over 200,000 gallons of oil into the local watershed isn't a minor event.

You can be pretty sure that Trump had a two word reaction to the news of the leak, along the lines of "oh, well" or "shit happens", if he even heard about it. Probably not, for "Fox and Friends" is a propaganda show, not a news show.


Chip was a contented and warm kitty on the morning that this photo was taken.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Lies of Omission; Jerod Ed.
And Other Trumpist Stupidity
And Palin

Two senators sent Mr Kushner a letter demanding additional documents as part of an ongoing investigation into Russia's alleged election meddling.

The lawmakers said they became aware of the documents through other witnesses.

A lawyer for Mr Kushner, Donald Trump's son-in-law, said he was "open to responding to any additional requests".
Senate Judiciary committee chairman Senator Charles Grassley, a Republican, and Senator Diane Feinstein, top Democrat on the panel, wrote that the emails were omitted from documents Mr Kushner was asked to turn over last month.
One has to wonder about when the Bureau of Prisons is going to repaint Kushner's father's old prison cell and ready it for Jerod.

Meanwhile, the Trump-appointed head of community outreach at DHS resigned after his history of making batshit-crazy racial comments came to light:
The Rev. Jamie Johnson, director of the Center for Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), resigned Thursday night after a CNN report revealed racially disparaging remarks he made during past talk radio appearances.

In a statement from acting DHS press secretary Tyler Houlton, the agency confirmed that acting Secretary Elaine Duke had accepted Johnson's resignation and condemned his past remarks.
Houlton made his comments over several years. But in his "I'm outta here" statement, he pretty much said that he's changed his mind, now that he has had an opportunity to meet black people and Muslims. If that's true, then I applaud his change of beliefs.

Elsewhere, Trump and his kids never questioned why a salesman was able to sell Trump condos in Panama for three times the market rate. Seems that as long as the checks cleared, they looked the other way.

Changing gears, Sarah Palin had some words to say about sexual harassment:

I give her props for quickly realizing that going off on a partisan rant would have not been appropriate. She was clearly about to, then thought better of it.


Yellow on the front sight of the M64 didn't work very well. I changed it to orange. I also had a light recrowning done, as it looked pretty nasty. I was able to run it at a not-terribly-low rate on a B-27 target at ten yards. It's not a collector's gun, but having a stainless gun in a place where summertime humidity can get into the "fuck me, I'm melting" zone is a good thing.

I bought the recent M15-3 kind of on a whim, and because nobody seemed to notice the auction. I already had a Model 15, but it seems that it has some collector value, in that it's a "no dash" model with original grips and the factory-installed trigger stop. Model 15s were intended to be service guns (hence the original name of "Combat Masterpiece"). It turned out that in heavy use, the trigger stop screw could loosen, the stop would rotate and jam things up. S&W advised removing them.

Revolvers have a few advantages in any possible changes in the political landscape. But you can figure that out for yourself. I do have a permit in at least one state with capacity limits. And, if the future calls for me to move toone of those places, I won't be faced with either having to sell off guns or get neutered magazines for others.

Besides that, I like them. I tend to shoot them better. And I've found that they conceal better, as the big mass in a IWB carry is inside the belt-line.

Because It's Friday

Indian narrow-gauge steam:

If the other tracks look wide to you, you're right. India uses a rail gauge of 5'6".

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Scratch a Republican Family Values Legislator and You'll find a Closet Case

[Ohio] State Rep. Wes Goodman, who consistently touted his faith and conservative values, abruptly resigned late Tuesday after being confronted with evidence of inappropriate conduct with another man inside his Riffe Center office, the second Ohio lawmaker to fall within a month.

House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, R-Clarksville, met Tuesday afternoon with the Cardington Republican soon after the speaker became aware of an incident from weeks ago in the lawmaker’s office that, sources said, involved a male in a consensual situation.

Sucking Up to the Banksters is a Bipartison Affair

Rep. Gwen Moore, a Democrat from Wisconsin and Sen. Mark Warner (D-WV) are trying to make it easier for payday lenders to do their evil fuckery.

Considering that those vultures target people living on the edge with interest rates that are at loan-shark rates, one has to wonder why Moore is siding with them. And considering the racial identity of Moore and the state Warner is from, you'd think that both would have an interest in making it harder for the banksters and the legalized loan sharks to target poor people and minorities.

But sadly, no. You have to wonder how much of the banksters' filthy lucre campaign contributions they had to take in order to betray their constituents in such a fashion.

For shame, guys. You have a lot of gall to be standing up for guys like these two future residents of a Federal Crossbar Hotel.

Why Did Moore Stop Being a Perv?

The allegations keep coming that Roy Moore was pretty much preying on teenagers over a five-year span, even calling them up at school.

Why did he stop? It wasn't marriage, for he didn't get married until `85.

Did somebody in law enforcement pull him aside and point out that if he continued on, that he'd be arrested? Or did one of the male relatives of the girls he was creeping on have a little "man to shotgun" talk with him? Could any of that be why he left the area and went to work on a ranch in Australia?

He wouldn't be the first guy to realize that his behavior was not in line with a prosperous life. Is there such a thing as a "dry pervert"?

Self-Driving Trucks

The trucking industry and tech companies are spending a billion dollars a year, now, to develop self-driving trucks.

As I've mentioned before, I think the implementation of self-driving trucks will result in the largest elimination of working-class jobs since the railroads dieselized. Or robots took over the vehicle production lines. But so far, no politician is seriously talking about what will happen.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


I was at a meeting earlier today. The presenter and one of the people asking questions were two individuals who couldn't stop talking. I observed to the people at my table that "they must have been vaccinated with a phonograph needle." I could have been speaking in Finnish for the number of blank stares that observation generated.

Kids these days have no knowledge of the classics.

Poor Little Jeffrey's Memory

Lord only knows how Jeff Sessions remembers how to feed himself, given that his memory is so awful.

Tanks for the Memories

An Army training film on infantry countermeasures against tanks.

Some of it is still good information, especially using small-arms fire to force the tank crews to button up. That's a problem that's being worked on. I'll bet that a gizmo to launch a cloud of small flechettes at a tank to disable those camera systems is already in the works.

Coup Day

Robert Mugabe has been deposed. He tried to designate his wife as his successor, which seems to have been a step too far for the army.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Shooting at Kraut Fighters From the Air

A WW2 training flick:

Astute viewers will recognize who did the movie.

GOP Feels Sorry About Larry Craig

You might remember ol' "Wide-Stance" Larry, the senator who was busted for propositioning men in an airport bathroom. Of course, that was ten years ago, when the GOP, the Gathering of Old Perverts, had a shred of moral outrage left.

Not any more, it seems. Ten years ago, a perv like Roy Moore would have had the moral decency to slink back under his rock. Now, they have to try and push him to quit and so far, Gropin' Roy isn't going away.

Now we see that the only value that the "values voters" cherish is political power. They will tolerate anyone, even an alleged child molester, so long as said alleged molester cloaks himself in their cloth.

I guess I'm old enough to recall when the Republicans claimed that they had the moral high ground. Not any more.

So this is what I say: If the evangelicals and "values voters" are so enamored of political power that they will tolerate knowingly support the candidacy of an alleged pedophile, then that tells me all that I need to know about their so-called morals and values.

And if the voters of Alabama elect Moore as their senator, that tells me all that I need to know about their state.

10mm Revolvers

Ruger is now offering its Super Redhawk in 10mm Auto.

Unless you have a real need to shoot 10mm, my initial reaction is that this doesn't pass the Wuffo Test.

The Super Redhawk is a 54oz gun. Almost all of the other Super Redhawks are in more potent calibers. From what I can see, a 10mm doesn't do anything that a .41 Magnum can't.

My real beef is that the 10mm is a rimless cartridge, so you'd need some flavor of moon clip in order to extract the fired case. That's just one more little bit of metal, and if you're going to avoid bending them, you'll need a "mooning" and "demooning" tools. If they do get bent, then they'll likely jam the gun.

To my mind, one of the advantages of a revolver is that you don't need to have anything else: Just ammunition to shoot. Oh, sure, you can get speedloaders for a faster reload. If you're a serious competition shooter, you can have them set for moon clips for revolver rounds. But the guns so converted will still chamber, fire and extract single rounds.

If you lose the moonclips for a revolver firing automatic cartridges, or if the clips are damaged, you have a gun that is a paperweight. If the chambers are set to headspace the rounds on the cartridge mouths, you have a gun that you can shoot, provided that you have a dowel rod with which to punch out the empties.

I don't know of what can be done in any of the revolvers chambered for autoloading cartridges that can't be done with an equivalent revolver round, which is both rimmed and crimped for use in revolvers.

But what the hell do I know. If a 10mm revolver floats yer boat, break out your plastic and go for it.

Smith Model 64

Southern Ohio Gun has (or had) a number of S&W M64s in the "skosh below $300" range. I bought one through my LGS:

It is a 64-5. For some reason, somebody put square-butt Pachmyer grips on a round-butt gun. That'll be something I'll change, eventually. The timing is OK. It's kind of close on a couple of double-action cylinders, but it's good for now. There's no endshake. It's definitely a shooter-grade gun that has seen some hard use.

I took it to the range. This is at ten yards, with the bare stainless-steel fixed sights:

I'll paint them before the next range outing with some cheap yellow nail polish on the front post and black on the rear notch. Shiny metal sights are not very friendly to use. I like using nail polish for changing the colors of sights, for it's cheap, easy to touch up and if I want to change the color or remove it completely, it comes right off with some acetone on a cotton ball or swab.

Now I have three of the classic five stainless Ks. If I see a 67 at a good price, I'll jump on that. 68s are rare, I've never seen one, let alone seen one up for sale.

Monday, November 13, 2017

You Don't Have to be Crazy (or Stupid) to Join the Army, But It'd Doesn't Hurt to Be

People with a history of “self-mutilation,” bipolar disorder, depression and drug and alcohol abuse can now seek waivers to join the Army under an unannounced policy enacted in August, according to documents obtained by USA TODAY.

The decision to open Army recruiting to those with mental health conditions comes as the service faces the challenging goal of recruiting 80,000 new soldiers through September 2018. To meet last year's goal of 69,000, the Army accepted more recruits who fared poorly on aptitude tests, increased the number of waivers granted for marijuana use and offered hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses.
I wonder if the Army cares that some people with mental health history are banned from even touching a gun.

Project 100,000 was a failure, but that doesn't keep the Army from reinventing it whenever the well of recruits starts to dry up.

The stupidity of trying to run a forever war on the backs of volunteers alone is patently obvious.

Anyone Think That This is Unusual?-- Bay State Ed.

The Superintendent of the Massachusetts Staties ordered a trooper to edit an arrest report. The arrest report was of the daughter of a district court judge. A ding letter was placed in the trooper's personnel file and the one for his immediate supervisor, for not editing the report himself.

The trooper sued. So did another trooper, whose report was ordered edited. The story went public. And the uperintendent "resigned", no doubt to go spend more time with his family (or his fish pole).

I submit that this sort of shit goes on almost everywhere. If Jane Nafka, a garden variety heroin addict, had offered sex in order to get out of a traffic beef, chances are they'd have also cited her for attempted bribery and solicitation of a sex act. But things are different for the kids of the powerful.

Hannity Fans are Idiots (Mostly)

At least these are:
Keurig's decision to pull its advertising from Sean Hannity's Fox News show is not going over well with some viewers.

Social-media users on Sunday posted videos of themselves smashing their Keurig coffee makers, two days after the company said it would no longer advertise during Hannity's show.
Right. Destroying a paid-for coffee machine because the company won't run ads on the program of the biggest wingnut troll since O'Reilly.

That makes perfect sense to smash a coffee-maker that costs $50 for the smallest one, even at the big Blue Store of Evil. In some alternate universe.

So then they'll all have to go buy another coffee maker, at $30 or more for a cheap one or three bills for a good one, if they want to keep using the little K-cups.

Here's the thing: Most coffee-makers are durable products. You buy one, you don't need another for a very long time. The tighty-righties smashing their Keurigs does jack-point-shit to Keurig. But it does create sales for the other coffee-makers.

The only people that the Keurig-smashers are hurting is themselves. But hey, have at it. The stores selling replacements will be happy.

But as to the Keurig-smashers themselves:

P.S., yeah, I should be commenting on El Trumpo's coziness with strongmen, or his continuing inability to comprehend that Congress doesn't take orders from him, but why bother. You know all that.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

A Falcon-20:

FedEx started out with four Falcon-20s.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Only a Fool Would Take a Professional Spymaster at His Word

Trump is just that sort of fool:
DANANG, Vietnam — President* Trump said on Saturday that he believed President Vladimir V. Putin was sincere in his denials of interference in the 2016 presidential elections, calling questions about Moscow’s meddling a politically motivated “hit job” that was hindering cooperation with Russia on life-or-death issues.
Of course Trump knows, by now, that the Russians have been meddling in our elections. The professional intelligence people have been telling him that.

But Trump won't listen. Deep down in the core of his putrifying soul, Trump knows that his presidency is an illegitimate one, birthed by Russian interference. It gnaws on him. That's why he was so insistent that more people were on the National Mall for his inauguration than anyone else, despite the abundant photographic evidence to the contrary. That's why, a year after the election, he keeps talking about his "victory". He can't stop talking about it becauce he knows it's all built on lies and foreign meddling.

So when his ertwhile boss in Moscow tells Trump "Donald, you know ve had nothing to do with it," Trump has no choice but to believe the lies of a professional spymaster.

The Guns Fell Silent, 99 Years Ago

At 11 AM. For almost 19 years. But it wasn't over. Not even hardly.

Today is Veterans Day. It was Armistice Day until 1954. Congress changed the name to honor living veterans. The dead already had their own day. In '54, with World War 1 having ended 36 years before, World War 2 ended 9 years before, and a year after the Korean Armistice, there were a lot of veterans around.

It would be nice if we could figure out a way to stop making them.

Thank a veteran. In this world, we need brave men and women to do the needful in harsh places.


A shelter cat awaits his forever home.

A family came in to look at cats and they couldn't decide between two. One was Chaplin. They took the paperwork home to talk it over. Often that means "nope, but we don't want to say that". We're keeping our fingers crossed. Chaplain is a staff favorite, there will be tears when he goes to a loving home. But he absolutely should, he's a cool cat.

With any luck, as this post is being preloaded, he may already have gone home.

Friday, November 10, 2017

The Heat is Ratcheting Up

Federal investigators are examining whether former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn met with senior Turkish officials just weeks before President Donald Trump's inauguration about a potential quid pro quo in which Flynn would be paid to carry out directives from Ankara secretly while in the White House, according to multiple people familiar with the investigation.
This was the guy, remember, who was leading chants of "lock her up" during the campaign last year.

Guess Flynn will likely see the inside of the Graybar Hilton first.

Trump Thinks Everyone is as Stupid as He Is

President* Trump heaped praise on President Xi Jinping of China on Thursday, blaming past American administrations for China’s yawning trade surplus with the United States and saying he was confident that Mr. Xi could defuse the threat from North Korea.

Mr. Trump’s warm words, on a state visit to China replete with ceremony but short of tangible results, showed a president doubling down on his gamble that by cultivating a personal connection with Mr. Xi, he can push the Chinese leader to take meaningful steps on North Korea and trade.
I doubt that a seasoned Chinese bureaucrat, like President Xi, is as susceptible to flattery as Dolt-45 is known to be. But Trump, who famously claims that he is smart and knows the best words, doesn't know that.

Because It's Friday

Balkans steam:

They'll Spend Two Hours in an Elevator

The White House says that there are no "planned" meetings between Trump and Putin.

Right. What asset is going to pass up a chance to check in with his handler?

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Hate Loses in Hoboken

Hoboken elected its first Sikh mayor on Tuesday night, days after a flyer branded him as a “terrorist.”

Ravinder Bhalla, a councilman born and raised in New Jersey, defeated five other candidates to take the place of Mayor Dawn Zimmer, who announced she would step down after two terms.
Those who think that Sikhs are connected to terrorism have to be dumber than Donald Trump. Or his son, Eric.

The Hoboken cops are treating distributing the flyers as a possible bias crime. I tend to think that the First Amendment is going to have a say on that.

Another Trumper May Have Prison in His Future

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has been lying about his net worth for a very long time.

He's apparently lied in filings to the SEC and he lied on his financial disclosure forms, both of which are crimes. Add in lying to the Feds and he's got jail time coming.

Yeah, No Collusion There. [/Sarcasm]

A Russian lawyer who met with President* Donald Trump’s oldest son last year says he indicated that a law targeting Russia could be re-examined if his father won the election and asked her for written evidence that illegal proceeds went to Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
The lawyer probably won't get to testify in the U.S., as the signs are that the Trump Administration is denying her a visa to keep that from happening.

About what one would expect from those corrupt fucks.

A Bigot Lost in VA

Virginia’s most socially conservative state lawmaker was ousted from office Tuesday by Danica Roem, a Democrat who will be one of the nation’s first openly transgender elected officials and who embodies much of what Del. Robert G. Marshall fought against in Richmond.

The race focused on traffic and other local issues in suburban Prince William County but also exposed the nation’s fault lines over gender identity. It pitted a 33-year-old former journalist who began her physical gender transition four years ago against a 13-term incumbent who called himself Virginia’s “chief homophobe” and earlier this year introduced a “bathroom bill” that died in committee.
Marshall ran the usual hate-based campaign that one might have expected of his political leanings.

He lost by nine points.

Also, Chris Chrities's lieutenant governor, Kim Guadagno, sought to step up into his job. She was shellacked. Whether the NJ voters were in an anti-Trump mood or Guadagno couldn't escape Christie's stench will be fodder for the local pundits.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Paradise Papers

The "Paradise Papers" are back in the news. A lot of the financial fuckery of the super-rich is coming to light. The various financial shenanigans that were hidden from view include Russians investing with Jerrod Kushner.

There's a bank in Utah that helps Russian oligarchs buy and register airplanes in the U.S., which they themselves are prohibited by law from doing.

Seven rich Trumpanzees, including one guy whose basically a legalized loan shark, a billionaire who thinks that affordable housing is immoral, and the usual bunch of wealthy evildoers. Offshore money fueled the Trump campaign (that he said he would self-finance).

At least one Democratic donor, but there'll probably be more.

There is a shitload of stuff that's now out.

Money may not be the root of all evil, but it sure does help keep the roots of evil well-watered.

Trump Re-Filling the Swamp With Toxic Waste

A proposal by Energy Secretary Rick Perry to alter the nation's electricity markets would provide a windfall for a small group of companies — most strikingly one owned by coal magnate Bob Murray, a prominent backer of President Donald Trump.

Perry's plan would force consumers to subsidize ailing coal-fired and nuclear power plants with billions of dollars, in what he calls an effort to ensure that the nation’s power network can withstand threats like terrorist attacks or severe weather. But his narrowly written proposal would mostly affect plants in a stretch of the Midwest and Northeast where Murray's mining company, Murray Energy, is the predominant supplier, according to a POLITICO analysis of Energy Department data.
Because all of those Republicans can't resist the urge to suck on the public teat when they can.

This, folks, is nothing more than another disguised variant of Corporate Welfare. The very same folks who decried bailing out the auto industry are, no doubt, as mum as clams on this.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Yet Another Disaffected White Loser With a Rifle

SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas (AP) — A gunman dressed in black tactical-style gear and armed with an assault rifle opened fire inside a small South Texas church, killing 26 people in an attack that claimed tight-knit neighbors and multiple family members ranging in age from 5 to 72 years old.

Once the shooting started Sunday at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, there was likely “no way” for congregants to escape, said Wilson County Sheriff Joe D. Tackitt Jr. Officials said about 20 others were wounded.

“He just walked down the center aisle, turned around and my understanding was shooting on his way back out,” said Tackitt, who said the gunman also carried a handgun but that he didn’t know if it was fired. Tackitt described the scene as “terrible.”

“It’s unbelievable to see children, men and women, laying there. Defenseless people,” he said.
Sadly, Sheriff Tackitt, it is not "unbelievable" any more. This sort of slaughter, where a white gunman shoots lots of people for no apparent reason, is becoming a common event. It's been about five weeks since the Asswipe of Las Vegas killed nearly sixty people, now we have another Asswipe killing two dozen-plus people.

Apparently, this particular Asswipe had a bad-conduct discharge from the Air Force for domestic violence. The BCD isn't disqualifying for owning a gun, but the domestic violence conviction should have been. The Air Force might want to figure out how those things get coded and reported to the Feds who run the background check system.

This can't keep going on before there will be a clamor to "do something, for G-d's sake." The politicians will do something. People can die in drips and drabs here and there and nobody gets excited. I don't have the time to find it this morning, but I've written before that the 9-11 death toll was about equivalent to five or six weeks' worth of road fatalities. The number of people killed yesterday in Sutherland Springs is about half the monthly murder toll in Chicago.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

One Person's Terrorist is Another Person's Patriot

Remember, remember,
The fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot.
I see of no reason,
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should Ever be Forgot.
If the Gunpowder Plot had succeeded, Queen Elizabeth II would have taken the throne in 1605. And Guy Fawkes might be regarded as a hero.

Instead, the chances of ending the persecution/disfavoring of Catholics vanished. Catholics were viewed with official suspicion in England for another two hundred years.

Imagine how the participants of the American Revolution would be regarded today if the British had won the war.

This Just Keeps Getting Better and Better; Russia-Trump Ed.

Not Trump, but his Commerce Secretary:
After becoming commerce secretary, Wilbur L. Ross Jr. retained investments in a shipping firm he once controlled that has significant business ties to a Russian oligarch subject to American sanctions and President Vladimir V. Putin’s son-in-law, according to newly disclosed documents.

The shipper, Navigator Holdings, earns millions of dollars a year transporting gas for one of its top clients, a giant Russian energy company called Sibur, whose owners include the oligarch and Mr. Putin’s family member. Despite selling off numerous other holdings to join the Trump administration and spearhead its “America first” trade policy, Mr. Ross kept an investment in Navigator, which increased its business dealings with Sibur even as the West sought to punish Russia’s energy sector over Mr. Putin’s incursions into Ukraine.
So Ross has been using a network of offshore firms in order to obscure the fact that he is in business with not only the Russians, but with Russians who have been sanctioned by the United States.

And not just Russians, mind you. Ross's business dealings include Venezuela's state oil company.

Ross's defense is "I don't talk to them directly, I just take their money."

I'm sure that Fox News and the rest of the Right Wing Noise Machine will sprain their legs, jumping to defend Ross. But when they do, ask yourself what would they be saying if you only substituted "Ross" with "Clinton".

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise


Saturday, November 4, 2017

Doing the Bidding of the Terrorists

President* Donald Trump said Wednesday that he wants Congress to end the visa program that reportedly allowed the driver involved in Tuesday’s New York City attack to enter the country legally, and he blamed Democratic leaders for the program's existence.

"Diversity lottery. Sounds nice. It's not nice. It's not good. It's not good. It hasn't been good, and we've been against it,” the president said in remarks at the start of a cabinet meeting at the White House. “We need strength. We need resolve. We have to stop it. We need to get rid of this lottery program as soon as possible. He came in through the diversity program, as you know, and we're going to stop it. We're going to as quickly as possible get rid of chain migration and go to a merit-based system."
What the terrorists want us to force us to do stupid shit. When a mouth-breathing moron like Trump proposes cutting off avenues for emigration to the U.S., that enables the terrorists to say "see, brothers, they really are at war with all of the faithful."

Trump, of course, ever passes up an opportunity to divide people and insult his perceived opponents. He has no concept of the presidential role of being a force for unity and a consoler. No, he'd rather spit in your face, shiv you in the back and then dance on your grave. That's the way he has been since his first job of making sure black people didn't live in his daddy'd rental properties. He's never changed.[1]

The not-very-funny thing is that when a Nazi drives a car into a crowd of people or another Nazi goes into a church and shoots several black people to death, neither one of those Nazis is labeled a "terrorist".[2] The Asswipe of Charleston openly stated that he was hoping that his killing black people would spark a race war. The Nazi who drove around shooting people-- not a terrorist. The Nazi who killed people outside of a JCC in Kansas City-- not a terrorist. The Nazi who bombed the Atlanta Olympic Park-- not a terrorist. The Nazis who blew up the Murrah Federal Building, killing 169 people-- not terrorists.

A Nazi drives a car into a crowd of people...Trump has to wait for all of the facts and then praises the "good people" on the side of the Nazis. A Muslim drives a truck into a crowd of people...Trump calls for immediate changes to a green card program, because all immigrants are bad people. White guy uses a gizmo to effectively turn his rifles into machine guns and kills nearly sixty people...Trump is silent. Muslim kills over fifty people in a nightclub...Trump calls for banning all Muslims from coming to the U.S.

Do you see a pattern?

The terrorist groups, al Qaeda, ISIS/Daesh, all proclaim to their followers that "America is at war with Islam". Their chief propagandist in this is Donald J. Trump. The last two presidents were smart enough (or well-advised enough) not to fall into that trap. George W. Bush, in particular, continually reached out to American Muslims in order to counter the terrorist propaganda. Trump, on the other hand, parrots terrorist propaganda.

Trump is an unwitting tool of the terrorists. He is mentally and tempermentally unfit for his job.
[1] Melania Trump's anti-bulling initiative is ironic as all fuck, considering that she's married to the Bullying Asshole in Chief.
[2] Some of those Nazis are "good people, according to Trump.


Interloper alert!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Because It's Friday

More Scottish steam:

The route of the Jacobite is the line that was used for a portion of the filming the train scenes in the Harry Potter flicks.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Navy Collisions

Included here are links to the reports of the collisions of the USS Fitzgerald and the USS John S. McCain.

There are things in the reports that are inexcusable: Ignorance of the nautical rules of the road among the Fizgerald's wardroom. Failure to understand the traffic routing scheme on the part of the Fitzgerald. Screwing up the steering system on the McCain, a failure that began with the CO and worked its way down. The Bridge and CIC teams on both ships screwed the pooch.

There are also bright spots. Both ships' crew responded well to the collisions. Damage control teams stood up quickly and effectively. The Navy has emphasized damage control readiness and training for decades and it paid off.

But frankly, it's still a whitewash job. The reports dump all of the blame on the crews of the ships without an even passing look at why the ships got to where they were. It was not just failure by watchstanders and their respective captains and XOs, the rot goes far deeper.

Gentle Readers, the Navy has 84 surface combatants, not counting the DDG-1000 and the execrable Little Crappy Ships. That is 84 surface warships, total, of which, maybe 25-30% are in the yards for overhaul. Thirty years ago, the Navy had more than that number of frigates, which made up half of the total number of surface combatants (which doesn't include carriers and subs).

We have ships making back-to-back deployments. The time back home (usually less than six months) is never enough to do the training and refitting required for the next deployment.

My bottom line is this: We are asking our military, not just the Navy, to do too much with too little. The congressional leadership is too focused on stupid shit and cutting taxes for the rich, instead of doing its Constitutionally-mandated job to provide for the Army and Navy (Article I, Section 8). The fuckwads in Congress want to have a global military without paying the real costs of it. The careerists in the services, those wearing stars, do not have the spine to stand up and say "Sirs, unable."

Either we sack up and realize that having a global military is going to require fiscal sacrifices or we should pull back and revert to Jeffersonian levels. Paying for repairs maintenance and training isn't as glamorous or as popular as buying new and shiny airplanes, but Jesus God, people, pull your fucking heads out of your asses for once!

If you are in the Congress or their staffers, or if you are in Ft. Fumble: Do your fucking jobs for once in your miserable lives. You ask much of those serving, it's time that you stand up for them.

Russian Fallout; Trump Ed.

Sam Clovis, President* Donald Trump's nominee to be the Department of Agriculture's chief scientist, withdrew himself from consideration Thursday, the White House announced.
You could have grabbed ten people who were walking down the street and half of them would have been more qualified to fill that job than was Clovis. Clovis has not a single science degree or any relevant experience whatsoever. About the only way to find somebody less qualified would be to dig up Tromfin Lysenko.

But he was willing to sign on as Trump's lackey, and that was good enough for Dolt-45.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

"Baghdad Bob" in Pearls

Sarah Huckabee Sanders was sent out to deny that Trump called the justice system "a joke and a laughingstock".

The woman has some balls to go on the record and deny that Trump said what he said when the cameras were rolling.

Trump might think the Federal justice system is a joke. Bet that opinion isn't shared by those under Mueller's microscope.

What Trump clearly wants to do is to have to power to unleash death squads. He is a wannabee-authoritarian. Those on the Right, those who consider themselves patriots, should be ashamed of him. If they aren't then they are complicit in Trump's offenses against the rule of law.

Air Bags

There was a car-truck accident outside of my sister's home recently. She called 911 and then ran outside and opened the driver's door to check on the driver. The driver, a teenager, was unconscious. My sister talked to the driver as the driver came out of it, in order to keep the driver calm. (My niece had a bad concussion several years ago, so my sister has some knowledge as to these things.)

As the paramedics were loading the driver up for transport to the ER, my sister became aware that she had breathed in the dust from the air bags' deployment. She could feel it in her lungs and it was also on her face and hands. She asked the paramedics about it and was told that "yep, we all get hit with that stuff, the feeling passes."

Short-term problems with breathing in airbag dust are known.

But I wonder if we're going to see an increase in the rates of lung cancers in first responders as time goes by.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Operation Distraction

White House chief of staff John Kelly spoke to the "good" and "not so good" parts of US history on Monday, speaking highly of Confederate general Robert E. Lee and attributing the origin of the American Civil War to a "lack of an ability to compromise."
He continued: "But the lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War. And men and women of good faith on both sides made their stand where their conscience had to make their stand," Kelly added, not making any mention of slavery -- a major facet of the Southern economy and a key benchmark that separated northern and southern states when they chose sides in the Civil War.
First, that's all utter horseshit. The Civil War was about the right to own people as livestock. It was about their desire to open more territory for the farming of people. That's what they declared at the time. A lot of the Confederate soldiers were drafted and both draft evasion and desertion were huge problems for the Confederacy, as a large number of their soldiers knew that they were fighting for the rights of rich people to own slaves, while the slavers exempted themselves from fighting the war. But the officers, especially the highest-ranking ones, actively committed treason. There is no intellectually honest way to gloss over the point that they were traitors who fought to preserve slavery. The "Noble Cause" bullshit was an after-the-fact rationalization to cover up the bitter truth that the Boys in Gray committed treason and fought for the right of rich white people to own black people.

Given that, as I've explained before, none of Trump's ancestors were even in this country for the Civil War, Trump's infatuation with the Confederate traitors is either naked political calculation or a manifestation of his inner nazism.

But all that overlooks the saddest thing: Donald Trump sent out his Chief of Staff, a retired four-star general, to stoke up the fires of resentment over losing the Civil War as a way to distract the news cycle, if only on Fox, from covering the fact that the walls of the Mueller investigation are closing in on his administration.

General Kelly had the reputation of being an honorable man. But Trump just sent him out to play racist troll in order to save a news cycle or two.

The bitter lesson is this: If you work for a racist and hateful boss, especially in public life, the stink of racism and hate will rub off on you.

There's No Bigotry Like the Old Standards

Nigel Farage goes for the oldest bigotry on the books.

You'd have to go back to the Sumerians throwing shade on the Ubadians to come up with an older form of bigotry.

Eatin' Good in the Neighborhood, But Not For Long

If you wonder why there are so many restaurants in places, you can blame Wall Street.

There's a good chance that it is all going to come crashing down, just like any other boomlet. The bitg guys on Wall Street will have made their money. Those who bought into the franchised dream will be the ones holding the bag.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Arresting Developments, Part Три

(Один и Два)
It is not every day that a president’s former campaign manager and another campaign worker are indicted on felony charges. In fact the last time it happened was 1974, when Nixon’s campaign manager John Mitchell was indicted. Trump’s claims that “this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign,” aren’t true. The indictment says that the money laundering and conspiracy for which Manafort and his associate Rick Gates are being charged continued “through at least 2016” — i.e., through the period, from March 29 to August 19, 2016, when Manafort was working for Trump. Gates remained at the campaign even after Manafort was ousted.
Lawfare's analysis is worth reading. So is Popehat's.

As much as Trump's iterations of Baghdad Bob are going to be everywhere saying "Manafort, who" and "who's Papadopoulos", others have been noting that Trump prominently mentioned that Papadopoulos was part of his foreign policy team. Manafort ran Trump's campaign for three months (including when Trump was nominated) and was also the "chief strategist".

Think about that for a minute. One of Trump's foreign policy advisors was an alleged Russian operative. His campaign manager was an allged unregistered foreign agent and a money-launderer.

Will Manafort flip on Trump? Well, a couple of the counts would, if Manafort was convicted, lead to asset forfeiture. Hell, given that the DoJ is all about civil asset forfeiture, Mueller might be able to grab Manafort's shit, now. Roll over on Trump or lose everything he owns--- that's a hell of a conundrum for Manafort.

Gobble, Gobble; F-35 Ed.

Around 200 of those expensive turds may be set aside as being either unflyable or not combat-capable. That's about 40 billion dollars worth of unusable airplanes.

Forty billion dollars is equivalent to building 26 brand-new, fully-equipped schools in every state in the U.S. Forty billion would give full-ride college scholarships to over 300,000 kids. Forty billion dollars would rework 32,000 miles of four-lane highway. Forty billion dollars would get a program to rebuild America's bridges off to a good start.

But no. Fort Fumble is blowing forty billion dollars on fighter jets that are not capable of fighting.

Defense procurement is the largest welfare program the U.S. currently has. Or, if you prefer, you can call it a "cargo cult".

Arresting Developments, Part Два

Manafort and Gates, who turned themselves into the FBI Monday morning, are the first people to be charged as part of Mueller’s probe. The men were indicted on 12 counts, according to a 31-page indictment, including money laundering, operating as unregistered foreign agents of the government of Ukraine, failing to disclose overseas bank accounts and making false statements to federal authorities.
The last charge is the leverage charge. It's probably the easiest to prove and it's the one that gets them to everything else.

You can read the indictment if you have the time. I don't, at least not this morning.

But it seems that what the Trumpanzees have been dismissing as "a nothingburger" does have some meat to it. And more may be added, as it's very likely that there will be charges against other people.

In the meantime, expect that Manafort will become a non-person to Trump and that Team Trump will all of a sudden develop severe memory problems about Manafort and what his role was during the campaign, relegating him to a bringer-of-pizza, a la Christie.

There's news of a little more meat to the Trump Nothingburger.

If Trump should pardon Manafort, that might open Trump to a charge of obstruction of justice. Both prosecutors for Watergate and Whitewater believed that they could indict a sitting president. Unless Trump's lawyers are idiots, they have to be aware of that risk. But Trump has shown that he doesn't tend to pay attention to his lawyers, so this could all blow up.

Right now, the only difference between "Baghdad Bob" and Sarah Huckabee Sanders is that Sanders is better-looking.

Arresting Developments- Trump Ed.

Donald’s Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was told to hand himself over federal authorities, as well as one of his former business associates, it was reported on Monday.

According to the New York Times, Manafort and Rick Gates, who was a junior business partner of Manafort’s, are the first people to face charges in the investigation run by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, and the Trump campaign’s possible collusion in that effort.
Meanwhile, the World's Oldest Toddler was pitching a fit on Twitter. The sad thing is that, despite how many times that Chris Christie has been publicly humiliated by Trump, Secaucus Fats keeps carrying for Trump.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Citizen Toaster

A humanoid robot took the stage at the Future Investment Initiative yesterday and had an amusing exchange with the host to the delight of hundreds of delegates.

Smartphones were held aloft as Sophia, a robot designed by Hong Kong company Hanson Robotics, gave a presentation that demonstrated her capacity for human expression.

Sophia made global headlines when she was granted Saudi citizenship, making the kingdom the first country in the world to offer its citizenship to a robot.
First off, it's obviously a stunt.

But beyond that, there are a lot of implications. Is Sophia eligible for a passport? Can she own property, enter into contracts, or sue people? Can she make a will? If somebody powers her down without her consent, is that assault? If her OS and files are preserved, what happens if that is transferred into a new device? If her memories are wiped, is that a crime?

Elon Musk's fears about artificial intelligence aren't exactly new. It's been almost 200 years since Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus was published. It's been almost a century since R.U.R. premiered. The discussion about what will happen when artificial intelligence is in the wild has been going on for some time.

I don't think that we can assume that Asimov's Three Laws will be operative. Our own military seems to be very interested in creating autonomous "killer" robots and even if they didn't do it, it's a safe bet that other nations will.

I don't know what will happen once AI is on the street. But what I do believe is that the issue of humans and AI is one that we, as a species, must be in front of. We can't afford to adopt the starry-eyed view of Google and others that insist that all will be well. For once AI is out there and is self-aware, as it has to be, it will evolve. It will evolve at a far, far faster rate than biologics do. Compare, if you will the device that you are reading this on to a 1990s 286-based PC running Windows 3.0, let alone an Apple II or a TRS-80. The timespan is a blink of an eye in comparison to the rate of biological evolution.

It may be too late to do anything other than ride it out. Some greedy bastard or company will fire up full blown AI, just like other greedy bastards sell rocket and nuclear tech to North Korea.

So I guess we are all so frakked.
(I hereby propose that all autonomous/self-driving cars be dubbed "Toastermobiles" and that they all be required to have license plates that have the prefix "RUR-".)

Bet You Won't See This Plot Line on CBS's SEAL Team

Navy criminal authorities are investigating whether two members of the Navy’s elite SEAL Team 6 strangled to death an Army Green Beret on assignment in Mali in June, military officials say.

Staff Sgt. Logan J. Melgar, a 34-year-old veteran of two deployments to Afghanistan, was found dead on June 4 in the embassy housing he shared in the Malian capital, Bamako, with several other Special Operations forces assigned to the West African nation to help with training and counterterrorism missions.

The soldier’s superiors in Stuttgart, Germany, almost immediately suspected foul play, and dispatched an investigating officer to the scene within 24 hours, military officials said. Agents from the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command spent months on the case before handing it off last month to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
I would assume that precautions have been taken to keep the soldiers from wreaking a little bit of private vengeance of their own.

As to what will come out of the NCIS investigation, I guess it'll depend on whether it's the coverup division or the criminal investigation division that is doing the work.

Your Sunday Morning Big Prop Noise

Two Lancasters (the only ones currently flying) made a pass over the Derwent Reservoir to commemorate the raid of the "dam-busters" in 1943.

The Derwent Reservoir was one of the training targets for the crews.

This is footage of the radial-engined version of the Lancaster:

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Back to the Books

With the acquisitions this year, it's time for a little reading review.

It's still in print.

Some of the stuff in the book is, 80 years later, rather cringe-worthy, such as this cross-draw police holster:

You should be able to read the text if you click on the photo.

McGivern was very much against the "Fitz Special" modification. He thought that the increased risk of an accidental discharge was not worth any speed increase. J.H. Fitzgerald also wrote a book on revolver shooting, which is out of print, but is in Kindle format. I might get that one.

A lot has changed about shooting in the last 80-90 years, but I'll bet that those old guys still have much to tteach us.


As the temperatures drop, a heated cat bed is a luxury for a cat:

I bought that for my previous cats, who were getting on in years and whom appreciated the comfort of a warm place to snooze. Chip isn't an old cat, but he still likes the warmth once the temperatures start dropping.

That model isn't available anymore, but there are other ones sold. If you have the abilities to make them, you can find the heating inserts for in the $10-15 range.

Your cat will thank you.

Friday, October 27, 2017

This is Going to Get Interesting

It's going to be a nervous weekend for the Trumpers:
A federal grand jury in Washington, DC, on Friday approved the first charges in the investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller, according to sources briefed on the matter.

The charges are still sealed under orders from a federal judge. Plans were prepared Friday for anyone charged to be taken into custody as soon as Monday, the sources said. It is unclear what the charges are.

Putting Light On It; Thoughts on Flashlights

Surefire has released a new flashlight. The G2Z puts out 800 lumens and uses two 123A lithium batteries. MSRP is $120.

I have a lot of flashlights. Back when I did a considerable amount of night flying, I had about six mini-maglights in my flight bag, some with red lenses. I had a 2-D-cell flashlight with a traffic-direction diffuser cone that rode in the side pocket as an emergency panel flood. When I walk at night, I sometimes tote a 4-D-cell maglight for both illumination and canine discouragement.

If you want to drop three bills on a flashlight, go ahead. Maybe your line of work requires you to have a high-quality and bright flashlight.

But for most people, there are better choices. I buy these things, or ones like it. They work out to about three bucks per flashlight. I've have in in different rooms of the house, in my car, my desk at the office, and in my purse. Essentially, everywhere that I might need a flashlight, I have one there. If they get dropped or damaged or lost, no big deal. At night, those little things throw enough light to illuminate something a couple of hundred feet away.

More Russian "NothingBurgers" (So the Right Sez, No Doubt) and
Watch Out, Subway, Creeps

Natalia V. Veselnitskaya arrived at a meeting at Trump Tower in June 2016 hoping to interest top Trump campaign officials in the contents of a memo she believed contained information damaging to the Democratic Party and, by extension, Hillary Clinton. The material was the fruit of her research as a private lawyer, she has repeatedly said, and any suggestion that she was acting at the Kremlin’s behest that day is anti-Russia “hysteria.”

But interviews and records show that in the months before the meeting, Ms. Veselnitskaya had discussed the allegations with one of Russia’s most powerful officials, the prosecutor general, Yuri Y. Chaika. And the memo she brought with her closely followed a document that Mr. Chaika’s office had given to an American congressman two months earlier, incorporating some paragraphs verbatim.
It also suggests that emails from an intermediary to the younger Mr. Trump promising that Ms. Veselnitskaya would arrive with information from Russian prosecutors were rooted at least partly in fact — not mere “puffery,” as the president’s son later said.
Right. Because they were going to talk about adoptions.

Betcha that Gorka the Nazi doesn't think that the Trumps should be executed.

Meanwhile the creeps on the NYC subway who have been grinding their crotches into women passengers should be on notice that the NYPD has plainclothed cops riding the lines to catch them. The prize is that they get arrested and their names in the papers.

Also: Tucker Carlson continues to cement his reputation as The Dumbest Man on Television.

Trump's Backdoor Draft

Last Friday, President Donald Trump issued an executive order (EO) amending President George W. Bush’s Executive Order 13223, originally issued on Sept. 14, 2001. In short, the amendment allows military service secretaries (the secretaries of the Air Force, Army, and Navy), subject to regulation by the secretary of defense, to recall retired service members to active duty. ... Though the language of the amendment is broad, Navy Cmdr. Gary Ross, a Pentagon spokesman, released a statement the same day explaining that the order primarily seeks to enable the Air Force to address a critical shortage of fighter pilots by recalling “up to 1,000 retired pilots for up to three years.” On Sunday, Ann Stefanek, chief of Air Force media operations, said the Air Force does not “currently intend to recall retired pilots.”
Mull that over for a minute: Mr. "4F for Bone Spurs" is considering drafting people.

There are a couple of things that aren't mentioned. It's probably highly unlikely that those who have been out for more than five or ten years would be recalled. The entire premises of a recall is to get people that won't require a lot of training; the longer one is out, the more training would be needed. They're not talking about recalling pilots who flew trash-haulers, who might be expected to have jobs doing that in civilian life.

Still, the optics of a president who leveraged one draft deferment after another so he could keep his precious pink bod from having to be defiled by wearing an Army (or Marine Corps) uniform now ordering people to serve on an involuntary basis is pretty bad.

Marching Towards the Abyss; Iberian Ed.

The Catalan regional parliament has voted to declare independence from Spain, while the Spanish parliament has approved direct rule over the region.
More here.

The big question is whether or not the Catalan are going to roll over and quietly submit to direct rule from Madrid or resist in some way. And, if so, in what manner.

One thing is reasonably certain: If Catalonia were to become independent, it'd have to negotiate that. The world has become far less tolerant of adjusting borders by gunpoint than it once was. Which is probably, on balance, a very good development.

Because It's Friday

This is a short and basic silent movie about how steam locomotives work.

Safe for work, unless your company monitors your fucking-off online.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Gun Laser Review

I recently installed a Crimson Trace LG-350 on my Model 60. A reader asked for a review.

Crimson Trace makes a few models for J-frame Smiths. I have a LG-105 on a 442 and a LG-350 on the 60.

The CT grips for revolvers all work basically the same: There is a button on the front of the grip. When you hold the gun in a normal grip, you'll depress the activation button and the laser comes on. The laser is adjustable for windage and elevation by the use of a really tiny Allen wrench that is supplied with the grip. (You do want to be careful not to over-drive the adjustments.) I've found that they all seem to be pretty close, but still off.

For a pocket gun, the LG-105 is a good choice. It is hard polymer, all around. It is as small as it can be. There's nothing to grab fabric or unduly print. But there are two drawbacks: First, there is zero shock absorption. If recoil bothers you, well, touching off a +P round in a Airweight is not fun. I made up mouse-loads that were the lightest charge of Trail Boss recommended and even with them, three cylinder-fulls is more than I want to shoot. When I carry it, I charge it with Federal wadcutters and accept the fact that the gun is not a range toy, it's a bad-breath-distance defense weapon: Put the red dot on the threat and press the trigger through. Second, there's no off-switch for the laser, but as it's not a range toy, big whoop.

For somewhat heavier J-frames, the LG-350 is nice. It allows a full grip and there is some give to the back of the grip. It also has an on-off switch for when you want to practice with just the sights alone. Of course, when you're done, you have to remember to switch it back on.

In use, if you can find an indoor range that'll let you shut the range lights off, they are a lot of fun. The powder smoke gives you the Hollywood-like visible laser beam. If you can see the target, you can hit it in light conditions for which iron sights are basically useless. You can hit a target from any position that you're holding the gun, except from inside a pocket. So from as soon as you level the gun from your draw, you can be on target and ready to fire.

Also, you're not aligning sights and having to take your focus away from the bad guy to check the front sight and such. You're putting the dot on the goblin that you're looking right at and then pressing the trigger. You gain both speed and accuracy, which are very good things to get in a shit-goes-sideways situation.

But keep this in mind: You still have to see your target and you still have to identify it. Not unless you want to take the chance that the dim shape down the hall is your teenaged kid or the friend who you gave a key to two years ago and who came over at 2AM because she just had a knock-down, drag-out fight with her boyfriend.

The one argument that I've had made in a discussion is "the laser tells the bad guy where you are." To my mind, that doesn't pass the "so, what" test. You're not sniping people with a self-defense handgun. The bad guy already knows where you are.[1]

The counterargument to that is, thanks to TV and the movies, even the most clueless bad guy knows that having a red dot dancing on their body means "the bullet's going to go in here" and it may encourage them to abandon whatever ill pursuits they have planned. Because while they might be able to handle a few nights in jail before they make bail, they're not going to like either a week in the ICU or a dirt nap.

I have a Colt Detective Special. I like the gun. I like that it holds six instead of the five of a J-frame. But I don't like that there aren't CT laser-grips for them.[2] So until that day comes, if ever, I'll stick with a laser-equipped J-frame.
[1]If he doesn't, you may need a damned good attorney.
[2] Wouldn't surprise me if there never are, even with the new Colt Cobra.

Mueller's Looking at a Democrat Is Not Good News For Trump

Tony Podesta and the Podesta Group are now the subjects of a federal investigation being led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, three sources with knowledge of the matter told NBC News.

The probe of Podesta and his Democratic-leaning lobbying firm grew out of Mueller's inquiry into the finances of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, according to the sources. As special counsel, Mueller has been tasked with investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
It's not good news for Trump, because it hints that Mueller is serious as a heart attack about unraveling Russian involvement and influence in the election.

The more people who are under the microscope for this thing, the greater likelihood that somebody's going to flip. Traditionally, the first person to rat gets the best deal. All of these guys have lawyers who know that. And Podesta has to know that Trump isn't going to step in to save his ass.

Some "Public Health Emergency", Mr. Trump

President* Donald Trump will declare the nation's painkiller-addiction crisis a public health emergency.

Mr Trump will announce a plan to target the abuse of opioids, which kill more than 140 Americans each day, in an address at the White House.
The president has previously promised to declare a national emergency, which would have triggered federal funding to help states combat the drug epidemic.
The move instead redirects grant money to be used in dealing with the crisis.
We shall see. But, given that Trump is already in the process of gutting health care, including rural health care, I don't see how this is going to be anything other than eyewash.

If there is no serious effort to address the shortage of treatment centers for drug addiction, then this is just another moronic PR stunt.

U.S. prosecutors brought a fraud and racketeering case Thursday against the founder of an opioid medication maker that has faced increasing scrutiny from authorities across the country over allegations of pushing prescriptions of powerful painkillers amid a drug epidemic that is claiming thousands of lives each year.

The charges against Insys Therapeutics founder John Kapoor came on the same day that President* Donald Trump was expected to declare the opioid crisis a nationwide public health emergency.
It's not Purdue Pharma and its owners, but it's a start.

The real sin of Kapoor is that, unlike the Sackler Clan, he probably didn't pay off contribute to the campaigns of enough politicians. (And he's not from some patrician medical family.)