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

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Opiods

A long piece about Martinsburg, WV.

Trump's Hiring Problems

President* Trump faces serious challenges in restructuring a White House, from getting experienced Washington hands to work for him to whether his own premium for loyalty will block otherwise qualified candidates from working for him.

Republicans say the problems mean that Trump, an outsider who basically took over his party and is still viewed with suspicion in establishment circles, will face even more trouble in trying to refashion his team.

“The talent pool is shrinking, because who wants to sign up for crazy?” said Michael Steele, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC).
There are two things, really.

First off, Trump isn't going to trust anyone associated with the GOP establishment, the core of the "Never Trumpers". It's those people whom a normal GOP president would call upon to fill the positions that Trump hasn't filled. Trump's handling of the political-appointee slots has bordered on the irrational, anyway.

Second, who wants to have on their résumé that they worked for a president who was a Russian operative? That sort of stench doesn't wash off. At this point, it's going to be hard to pull a Schultz and claim that they didn't know about it. And it get even harder as time goes on and the stories keep piling up.

Asswipe Has a Point

A man charged with fatally stabbing two men and injuring a third who tried to shield young women from an anti-Muslim tirade appeared to brag about the attacks as he sat in the back of a police patrol car, saying "that's what liberalism gets you," according to court documents.

The probable cause affidavit filed Tuesday offers the most complete official account to date of the events that unfolded Friday on a light-rail car packed with commuters eager to get home for the Memorial Day weekend.

[The Asswipe of Portland], the man arrested in the stabbings, shouted "You call it terrorism! I call it patriotism!" and "Death to the enemies of America!" as he made his first appearance in the case Tuesday. [Asswipe], 35, did not enter a plea and has another court date June 7.
Funny how now some asswipe on the far-Right is basically using the saying that "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter."

But it is true, nonetheless, that it matters which side you are on. And whether or not it's your side that prevailed.

We've Seen This Movie Before; Sturmabteilung Ed.

A top Oregon Republican said Monday he’s considering using militia groups for security purposes after a man directing anti-Muslim rhetoric at two women fatally stabbed two men and injured a third this weekend.

Multnomah County Republican Party Chairman James Buchal told The Guardian that recent protests have prompted members of the Portland GOP to consider security alternatives.

“I am sort of evolving to the point where I think that it is appropriate for Republicans to continue to go out there,” he told The Guardian. “And if they need to have a security force protecting them, that’s an appropriate thing too.”

He said that might mean making arrangements that don’t rely on police.

“There are these people arising, like the Oath Keepers and the Three Percenters,” he added. “We’re thinking about that. Because there are now belligerent, unstable people who are convinced that Republicans are like Nazis.”
Right, a far-right asswipe verbally abuses some Muslims and then shivs three people who arise to confront said asswipe and somehow, that translates into a threat against Republicans? That is some pretty fucked-up logic.

More to the point, what major political parties have had their own militia to provide "security"? The leader in that regard was the German NSDAP, aka the Nazis.

So here's a free tip to Mr. Buchal: One of the best ways to avoid having people compare your party to Nazis is to not act like Nazis.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Doofus Move

One of Trump's lawyers was asked by Senate Intelligence Committee investigators to provide information that he had about his own contacts with Russian officials. The lawyer, in essence, told them to go screw themselves.

So now the Committee has, unanimously, authorized both its chairman and the ranking Democrat to issue subpoenas as they see fit. Up until this point, subpoenas apparently had to be authorized by the Committee. Now they have a nice stack of pre-signed ones to use.

I know that Trump likes to play legal hardball. But he's in a different league, now, and he doesn't seem to know that.

Trump vs. Muslims: Diplomatic Amateur Hour Continues

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has declined a request to host an event to mark Islam's holy month of Ramadan, two U.S. officials said, apparently breaking with a bipartisan tradition in place with few exceptions for nearly 20 years.

Since 1999, Republican and Democratic secretaries of state have nearly always hosted either an iftar dinner to break the day's fast during Ramadan or a reception marking the Eid al-Fitr holiday at the end of the month, at the State Department.

Tillerson turned down a request from the State Department's Office of Religion and Global Affairs to host an Eid al-Fitr reception as part of Ramadan celebrations, said two U.S. officials who declined to be identified because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
I take that back. It's an insult to amateurs to use that word to describe Trumps foreign policy. "Criminally inept," maybe?

This sort of stuff matters, for it sends a useful signal. George W. Bush may have been disengaged, at times, but he had pros in his state department who understood such things. Clearly Tillerson doesn't get it. Or he doesn't give a shit.

This stuff isn't quantum physics. But clearly it's beyond the grasp of the Trumpanzees who are making a shambolic attempt to run the Federal government.

No, This is Not Art. It's an Obscenity.

The photographer behind the grisly photo of Kathy Griffin raising a blood-splattered replica of President Trump's detached head has defended the controversial image as "art."
No, I am not posting the photo. Go look at that article or this one.

That's fucking disgusting.

It's not art.

It's not satire.

Or irony.

It's an obscenity.

If there is any justice in this world, that so-called photographer will change his name and then end up trying to sell family portrait sessions at a discount store in Yuma.[1] And Kathy Griffith, well, hopefully her next show wouldn't fill a coffeeshop.

UPDATE: Griffith has apologized, says she went "too far". No fucking shit.
________________________________________________________
[1] I'm not naming the photographer. His name should only be a curse word amongst civilized peoples.

This Idea Will Probably Spread

Convicted paedophiles would be denied passports in Australia under a "world-first" plan proposed by the government.

The proposal, to be introduced to parliament, would prohibit registered sex offenders from travelling overseas.

Justice Minister Michael Keenan said it would affect about 20,000 offenders who had completed punishments but remained under monitoring by authorities.

Sex offenders would be able to apply for passports if they were no longer on the register, the government said.
Without looking at the law, RSOs encompass more than just pedophiles. Post-convction and post-probation crackdowns are happening here, as well.

Some of the arguments against all of this may be legit. But then again, as a class of criminals, pedophiles are probably about as bad as it gets.[1] Standing up for the rights is a pretty hard sell to have to make. I can't think of too many people who are going to brag about that in their advertising.
___________________________________________________
[1] I can't be the only one who wonders about those guys driving ice-cream trucks.

Chicago Typewriters For Sale

If you want one, contact Midwest Distributors. They are in the process of purchasing 27 Thompsons from the St. Louis Police Dept.

The guns will be pricey. The department is getting $22K apiece. The article mentions that some of the guns are rather rare. Also, they've been sitting in an armory for over sixty years.

Memorial Day

I realize that today isn't the legal Memorial Day, but it once was (and it should be again). And so, with no further ado:

This is the commemorative stone and the grave of Jacob Russell, a veteran of the Revolutionary War. He served in the Connecticut Militia in 1775 and later moved to what was then Warrensville Township and is now Shaker Heights, Ohio:



When the original South Park Cemetery was relocated in 1909, Mr. Russell's grave was left undisturbed. If you were to go for a walk around the Shaker Lakes, you'll find his grave to the west of the south side of Horseshoe Lake.

What Mr. Russell did during the war has been lost to history. He served for five months. His rank is not known. Whether he was wounded or injured and invalided out or served his enlistment or just walked away is lost to time. There is even dispute as to whether he was born in Windsor, CT or Kingston, NY. There is dispute as to when he moved to Ohio.

But he served his country before it was officially a country.

This day exists to remember Mr. Jacobs and all others who have served in this country's armed forces and whom are no longer with us. It was originally called Decoration Day, a day to put flags and other tokens of remembrance on the graves of veterans. In short, this isn't the day to go around thanking living veterans for their service. You can do that on any other day.

This day is to remember those who have passed.

Monday, May 29, 2017

This Crap is Just Getting Painful

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly is defending an alleged effort by top White House adviser Jared Kushner to create back-channel communications with Russia as a "good thing," while the Trump administration sought to quell mounting questions over secret ties to the Kremlin.
Let's test that "good thing" with a short hypothetical:

December, 2008: A close friend of Barack Obama tells the Russian ambassador that the Obama team would like to set up a secure communications link to Vladimir Putin that would be off the books. To do that, they're willing to go to the Russian embassy or the Russian UN legation in NYC.

Now, imagine that story gets out in May of 2009. What would the reaction be on the part of the GOP, Fox News, Oxy-Boy and the rest of the Right?

I suppose I should lament the fact that another respected senior military officer has laid his reputation down on the floor and let Trump shit all over it. But nah. Regardless of what Kelly has done in his life, people are going to remember him as the retired general who whored himself out for a sitting president. Just like Colin Powell.

SecDef Mattis might want to keep this old joke in mind for the time when he gets called upon to defend the indefensible:
So a man walks into a bar, and sits down. He starts a conversation with an old guy next to him. The old guy has obviously had a few. He says to the man:

"You see that dock out there? Built it myself, hand crafted each piece, and it's the best dock in town! But do they call me "McGregor the dock builder"? No! And you see that bridge over there? I built that, took me two months, through rain, sleet and scorching weather, but do they call me "McGregor the bridge builder"? No! And you see that pier over there, I built that, best pier in the county! But do they call me "McGregor the pier builder"? No!"

The old guy looks around, and makes sure that nobody is listening, and leans to the man, and he says:

"but you suck one cock..."

This Isn't Memorial Day

A continuing objection. I've been on this since the first Memorial Day after I began blogging.

We honor all veterans on what was originally Armistice Day, November 11th and, if that day falls in the middle of the week, so it goes. It bugs me that we cannot accord the same degree of respect to our dead, but no, it's now just another excuse for a three-day weekend and for greedy-as-fuck retailers to lure the dweebs into their stores.

So, to all of those congressmen and senators who voted for the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1968, and to LBJ, who signed the bill into law, damn you all. And to those retailers running "Memorial Day Sales", go fuck yourselves and your horses.

(By the way, there is no such federal holiday as "President's Day". It is still, officially, Washington's Birthday. Look it up.)

Sunday, May 28, 2017

It's Been a Good Coupla Days

Cookouts, some volunteering, some range time and more. All enjoyable.

And yet, there is so much to catch up on. There is Betsy DeVos, who basically has endorsed segregated schools. There is President* Trump, whose doctor said that he would be the healthiest president ever, but still needed to ride a golf cart at the G-7 conference. Ben Carson, who seems to have some weird ideas about poverty. All these stories are worthy of a post of their own.

Twenty years ago, a young Army major named H.R. McMaster, wrote a book called Dereliction of Duty, in which he lambasted senior Army officers who served during the Vietnam War and who did not, in his view, speak truth to the country's leadership about the war.

That major, now a lieutenant general, is the chairman of the National Security Council. He seems to take it as his duty to rationalize the various irrational acts of President* Trump.

Which begs the question: Thirty years hence, will another young officer write a critical thesis about General McMaster's turn in the barrel?

A Trio of Stainless Threes

Smith and Wesson revolvers with three-inch barrels, of course. Top to bottom: A Model 60-15 (J-frame, .357), a Model 65-3 (K-frame, .357), and a Model 696 (L-frame, .44 Special).


I have previously written about the Model 60 and the Model 696. The Model 65 was the first gun in which I can say that I truly got somewhat stung on an Internet deal from a dealer.

Before the repairs, I had test-fired the gun. At 15 yards, it shot eight inches to the left. the yoke button that was damaged was built back up and then machined down. The barrel was torques a little to the left. It still shot 2" to the left, so I brought it back to my gunsmith and asked him to twist it another RCH to the left. He had told me he thought that it wasn't quite on, but he wanted me to shoot it before he moved it any more. Which he did and now the gun shoots as well as any of my other fixed-sight K-frames, including the old M&P that I snapped up last year.

Speaking of a M&P revolver, I got to handle a S&W R8 the other day. It is a N-frame Model Model 327 (8-shot .357) that has a Picatinny rail atop the frame. Apparently the identified market for the gun is for police SWAT breaching teams, when a cop is holding one of those huge shields in one hand and poking a handgun around with the other hand. If the gun used is a semiauto and the slide touches the side of the shield, the gun will malfunction. Whereas a revolver won't give a shit.

I guess if one was hog-hunting at night with NVGs and put an IR laser on it, it'd be quite handy. As a home-defense gun, one could add on a light. But unles you're a human mountain, it's not a gun that a person is likely to carry concealed.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

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

Saturday, May 27, 2017

When is This Ever OK?

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

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

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

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

A Baby-Sitter for Trump; Twitter Ed.

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

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

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

Caturday


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

Cats have no shame about such things.

And they can't read.

Friday, May 26, 2017

They're Going to Jared

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Because It's Friday


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

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Čovjek je nemilosrdan svinja

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

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

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

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

Trump Loses Again

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

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

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

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Trump the OPSEC Imbecile

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

News About Tabby's Star

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

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

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

Fascinating stuff, though.

Mikey Flynn News

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

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



Or, if you're of a certain age:

That Shit Can Kill You

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

Trying Again- FBI Search Ed.

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

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Farewell, Mr. Templar

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

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


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

RIP, Sir Roger.


Backing Up Your Shit

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

This is post #1.

Highly recommended reading.

Monsters

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

Monday, May 22, 2017

A Quarter of a Century Gone

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

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

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

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

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

Both Letterman and Leno have also retired.

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

Cooking Sheriff Clarke

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

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

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

The Past is Still Alive- Aviation Ed.

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


That's pretty impressive.

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

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

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

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Imagine the Screams From the Right If the Clintons Had Done This

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will reportedly pledge $100 million toward a fund for women entrepreneurs that was built by Ivanka Trump.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the World Bank’s Women Entrepreneurs Fund, an idea that the president's elder daughter proposed, will work to help women in the Middle East who want to start their own businesses.

The donation from Saudi Arabia and the UAE was set to be announced at a Sunday event with President Trump’s daughter, according to the report.
If the Clintons had done this, the Right would be frothing so much that they'd be hospitalized for possible hydrophobia.

Saying "but, but Clinton" is hypocrisy. Or it is a childish excuse on the level of screaming "but Maaaaa, Billy did it, too!"

If it was wrong for Clinton, then you can't normalize it by saying that makes it OK for Trump.

And anyone who believes that the Saudis really give a shit about women as entrepreneurs, and that this isn't a form of "pay to play" graft shouldn't be allowed out of the house without wearing a helmet.

Your Sunday Morning, Well, Something Aeronautical

Test footage of "zero-zero" ejection seats:


One of the serious concerns about ejection seats is the real possibility of serious spinal injuries from using them. Above 350kts, there are other forces that can badly injure an ejecting pilots, such as wind blast and wind-induced drag.

On the other hand, it might be better to be a quite a bit messed up than somewhat dead.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

"Person of Interest", Indeed

Trump’s Oval Office boast to Russian officials May 10 about why he fired FBI Director James Comey will almost certainly trigger a more immediate, and potentially perilous, legal development: an obstruction of justice investigation into whether the president intentionally engaged in a cover-up that warrants the filing of criminal charges, current and former Justice Department officials say.

Trump summarily terminated Comey one day earlier, just as it appeared that his FBI investigators were ramping up their investigation into the president’s associates — and possibly Trump himself. A day later, the president told Russian’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Ambassador Sergey Kislyak that, “I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job.”

“I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off. … I’m not under investigation,” Trump added, according to an official White House document summarizing the meeting, as reported Friday by the New York Times.
Donnie seems to be bound and determined to talk himself into either exile* or a prison cell. For he likely sure as shit is now under investigation.

When will politicians ever come to realize that, short of murdering people, it's not what they did that cooks their asses, it's covering it up.

UPDATE: Might be Jared.
________________________________________________________
* It will be very interesting if AF1 makes a side trip to Moscow to drop off a passenger.

For Grammar Nazis Everywhere


At Amazon, `natch.

90 Years On

The Spirit of St. Louis departed from Roosevelt Field in NY enroute Paris. The goal was to win the Orteig Prize for the first successful flight between New York and Paris.

Recently, unpublished photos of the first test flight of The Spirit were uncovered:


It's hard to overstate the importance of the flight. It sparked an interest in aviation that lasted in this country for most of the rest of the century. For decades, a common refrain of the early builders of experimental (amateur) airplanes was that they became interested in flying after Lindbergh's flight. Some of them told of seeing The Spirit of St Louis on its tour in the year after the flight to Paris.

Lindbergh's arrival airport, Le Bourget Field, is still in use. His departure airport, Roosevelt Field, was taken over by a developer who turned it into a shopping mall. The tragedies and controversies of Lindbergh's later life are beyond the scope of this post.

Caturday

A male cardinal was perched on the porch railing.


The bird was looking right at Chip. I'm pretty sure that the bird knew that he was safe and that he was tormenting Chip. The bird flew away, but returned a half-hour later for some more fun.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Drone Away

Hobbyists' drones may not have to register with the FAA:
A D.C.-based appeals court struck down a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rule on Friday requiring recreational drone users to register their model aircraft with the federal government, in a major win for drone hobbyists.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit sided with plaintiff John A. Taylor, a recreational drone pilot, who argued that the FAA doesn’t have the power to make him register his toy drones because Congress already said the FAA can’t regulate model aircraft.

“The FAA’s 2015 registration rule, which applies to model aircraft, directly violates that clear statutory prohibition,” the opinion said. “We therefore grant Taylor’s petition and vacate the registration rule to the extent it applies to model aircraft.”
This could get very interesting. What size does a drone have to be in order to be considered a "model aircraft"? There are some pretty honking huge model airplanes out there.

Because It's Friday


It's nice to watch videos that were made by photographers who understand framing and the use of tripods.

Goombye, Carlos Danger

Former congressman Anthony Weiner, whose penchant for sexting strangers online ended his political career and led to an investigation that upended the presidential race, will appear in federal court Friday to plead guilty to charges in connection with his online communications with a 15-year-old girl in North Carolina, officials said.

A law enforcement official said Weiner has agreed to plead guilty to a charge of transferring obscene material to a minor.
Don't let the cell door hit you in the ass, Tony.

UPDATE: About fucking time, Huma.

Masada

President* Trump is canceling a planned speech at an ancient mountain fortress in Israel, according to a new report.

Trump will no longer visit Masada on Monday after authorities told him that he could not land his helicopter there, Newsweek reported, citing Israel’s Channel 2.
I guess taking a cable car to the ruins of the fortress would be too much for him. Or maybe his aides, suspecting that Trump would toss a hissy fit, didn't even ask him.

If there is such a thing as a secularly sacred site, Masada is one. But given Trump's aggressive ignorance of American history, it's likely that he knows very little about the history of Masada.

When some Trump staffer brought up the subject of visiting Masada, it's probably a safe bet that he thought that he was going to be speaking at a Japanese car factory.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Flynn Won't Testify to the Senate

Ousted White House National Security adviser Michael Flynn will apparently not be testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee anytime soon about Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, the panel’s chairman, said Flynn’s lawyer told him that the retired army general, whom President Donald Trump fired in February, would not honor the committee’s subpoena to produce documents related to the Russia investigation.
That's probably the smartest thing that Flynn has done in years. He may be at risk for treason, for interfering with the planning of a military operation while being paid by a foreign power.

Which would make him the first general officer to commit treason since the Revolutionary War.

Trump and Media Bias

As pointed out here, Dick Cheney survived being hated. But Trump won't:
Many conservatives suspect that our major media outlets and intelligence agencies are out to get Trump, and they’re probably right. (How many of the damaging Trump stories have concerned an unverified allegation by an unnamed source with unknown motives? Many.) But such pitfalls were obvious from the start, and Trump could have overcome them by playing a cool game of humility, cunning, and discipline. (Recall how much Dick Cheney pulled off by staying quiet. Sorry, but do recall it.)

For all that Trump supporters complain of media bias, the most damaging stuff hasn’t come from the press but from the man himself. No one but Trump fired James Comey. No one but Trump tweeted out taunts right afterward. No one but Trump tweeted out soft threats about possible “tapes,” in quotation marks. No one but Trump cited Comey’s investigations into Russia as an explanation for firing him. No one but Donald Trump fired off unbaked tweets in March about being spied on by Barack Obama. No one but Trump has sent aides scurrying almost daily to come up with an excuse for his latest lapse of self-control. If Trump were capable of self-control lasting more than a day, he wouldn’t be in trouble nearly this bad. But counterfactuals will be of no help to him. His slavery to impulse has been obvious for at least a year now, ever since Trump kept sabotaging himself even after all but wrapping up the Republican nomination.

Did the Department of Justice Throw Trump Under the Bus?

A battalion of White House aides entered the Oval Office together to present a unified front after the bombshell.

The Justice Department had appointed a special prosecutor to oversee the probe into Russia's alleged involvement in the 2016 presidential election, White House counsel Don McGahn had just told President* Donald Trump. Many of Trump’s top aides gathered with the president Wednesday evening just after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein signed the order and called McGahn — and just before the news exploded publicly in Washington.
So the DoJ appointed a special prosecutor without Jeff Sessions notifying the President beforehand?

Interesting.

One way to look at it is that Rosenstein just paid Trump back for Trump's attempt to place the responsibility for firing Comey on Rosenstein.

Or the Pros From Dover want to settle this question the right way, instead of allowing Trump to try and tweet-storm his way out of it.

Either way, smart members of the White House staff who may have been even tangentially involved with any of this would be wise to have legal counsel on tap before the subpoenas start flying.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

I Think I've Seen This Movie Before

The Justice Department appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller Wednesday as a special counsel to oversee the federal investigation into allegations that Russia and Donald Trump's campaign collaborated to influence the 2016 presidential election, giving Mueller sweeping powers and the authority to prosecute any crimes uncovered in the probe.
Less than 120 days into the Trump Administration and a special prosecutor has been appointed to do an investigation.

That has to be some sort of land speed record. Nixon was about 120 days into his second term when Archibald Cox was appointed. Bill Clinton had been in about 19 months when Kenn Starr was appointed.

So Trump is pretty damn precocious.
Somebody ought to call the folks at the Guinness Book of World Records.

Crybaby Trump

This, at a speech to graduating cadets at the Coast Guard Academy:
President Donald Trump went off script during his Wednesday commencement speech to Coast Guard Academy graduates, saying critics and the media had treated him more unfairly than any politician "in history."
Smooth move, addressing a bunch of young men and women who are going to face perilous conditions at sea and using the occasion to whine that people are being oh, so mean to him.

Any politician in history? Does he really want to test that? President Andrew Johnson? Or maybe he has forgotten what he himself said, in critic mode, about President Obama (very little of it was good). Does he remember when right-wingers were openly calling for JFK to be shot? Does he remember the protests against his successor over the Vietnam War? Does he recall the mockery endured by Richard Nixon?

If you go abroad, you'll find lots of politicians whose critics killed them. You can start with Sennacherib, who was assassinated about 2,700 years ago, and work up from there. There were probably political assassinations in Sumer, for all anyone knows.

Did this fucking crybaby actually think that every day, he could walk into his office on a carpet of rose pedals, tossed by fawning reporters?

Jeebus! I don't like Trump, but this shit comes with the job. Any politician with half of a working cortex knows that.

Did Donald Trump Obstruct Justice?

Arguably, yes, according to the analysis at Lawfare. Also, witness tampering.

The question is: What are the Republicans going to do about it?

For now, I'm betting on: "Nothing." Because party loyalty trumps loyalty to the rule of law.

Extra Caturday

Because cats can be dicks.

The Choices in 2018 Are Not "Chicken or Fish," Paul

That's what Paul Friedman says in his op-ed that calls for people to get off their fat asses and get involved.

It's more akin to having to choose between a baloney sandwich and a shit sandwich.

The Trump Trajectory

From elsewhere:
1. Media claims he did something.
2. White House staff denies he did it.
3. Conservative media screams "fake news".
4. Trump confirms that he did indeed do it.
5. Republicans in the Congress wring their hands and do nothing.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

David Fucking Brooks

On Trump:
We’ve got this perverse situation in which the vast analytic powers of the entire world are being spent trying to understand a guy whose thoughts are often just six fireflies beeping randomly in a jar.

Precocious Trump

It probably took Nixon five years to get to the point where a plurality of Americans thought he should be impeached. It took Trump four months:
We find 62/28 support both for an independent investigation into Russia's involvement in the election generally, and for the appointment of a special prosecutor specifically. We find that an increasingly large percentage of voters think that Russia did want Trump to win the election- 60% now say that Russia was pulling for Trump to only 16% who claim they think Russia wanted Hillary Clinton to win. Voters are still pretty evenly divided though when it comes to whether they think Trump's campaign team and Russia directly worked together to try to influence the election- 43% say they think there was collusion between Russia and Trump's aides to 38% who don't think there was.

The stakes for Trump on this issue are high- if it does turn out his campaign coordinated directly with Russia, 54% of voters think he should resign to only 34% who believe he should stay in office. And voters do want to see the bottom of this story gotten to- only 33% consider it to be 'fake news.' ... For the first time we find more voters (48%) in support of impeaching Trump than there are (41%) opposed to the idea. Only 43% of voters think Trump is actually going to end up serving his full term as President, while 45% think he won't, and 12% aren't sure one way or the other.
Right now, Trump is in a sort of a spot: His polling numbers are not so bad that the congressional Republicans will openly oppose him, but they are bad enough that Democrats see little risk in going into full-on Mitch McConnell-style obstructionism. But as the polling numbers get worse for Trump, as it is clearly conceivable that they will, one might imagine that he will find it harder and harder to hold his caucus together in the Congress.

At some point, it may occur to them that if they can't find a way to show Trump gracefully to the exit, many of them are politically doomed. For Trump's ship is taking on water. Oh, the lights are still on and the band is playing, but smart politicians are making sure that they will be positioned to be first in line for the lifeboats. Being linked to a crook was survivable. Being linked to a traitor and a Russian asset may not be.

None of those guys are the sort to chain themselves to the railings and go down with the ship. For they all know that, if the situation was reversed, Trump would have bailed on them at the first hint of trouble.

Shorter Trump: "Yeah, I Did It. So, What?"

Story here.

He's right that he had the legal right to do what he did.

It was short-sighted and imbecilic. It showed that Trump has no understanding of the reasons why intelligence information is classified. It showed a complete lack of judgment. Since Russia seems to have a pipeline to the Oval Office, it will, more than likely than not, have ramifications as to what our friends and allies choose to share with us. It was, at best, the actions of a child showing off a shiny toy: "I get great intel! Look at this intel! It's amazing intel, the best!" At worst, it was the actions of a paid actor proving his worth to his paymasters.

But it was legal. And as to why this story was leaked, read this from Erick Erickson.

And this:
The heads of 28 NATO member states will be [at the NATO summit] and they’re all anticipating a meeting tailored to a petulant child who needs to be entertained:
“Even a brief NATO summit is way too stiff, too formal, and too policy heavy for Trump. Trump is not going to like that,” said Jorge Benitez, a NATO expert with the Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank.
Organizers are scrapping the normal declaration that accompanies such meetings because they think Trump won’t be happy. You see, one of the primary reasons for NATO’s existence is its adversarial relationship to Russia and we all know how Trump feels about that.

After Trump’s shenanigans this past week, let’s just say that it’s unlikely anyone at the meeting will feel all that comfortable sharing anything but small talk with President Loose Lips. According to Foreign Policy:
“People are scared of his unpredictability, intimidated by how he might react knowing the president might speak his mind — or tweet his mind,” the former official said. Or, as another current senior NATO official put it before the meeting: “We’re bracing for impact.”

Sessions Confounds

A Mississippi man received a 49-year prison sentence Monday for the first-ever conviction on federal hate crime charges arising from the killing of a transgender woman. ... The case, watched nationally amid concerns transgender women are particularly vulnerable to violence, drew comment from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

"Today's sentencing reflects the importance of holding individuals accountable when they commit violent acts against transgender individuals," Sessions said in a statement. "The Justice Department will continue its efforts to vindicate the rights of those individuals who are affected by bias motivated crimes."
That's not what I would have expected from Sessions, not by a long shot.

I'll be more impressed when the DoJ, under Sessions, brings a similar case. But this is, at least, something.

Opiod

A small newspaper in Pittsburgh, Print, noted recently that in 2015, there were 80 fatal overdoses in the city. In 2016, 149 fatal ODs. By mid-April there had already been 165. The projects were for over 500 for this year.

BadTux has some thoughts on one of the reasons why that may be happening.

Fox Guarding the Chicken Coop

That's the effect of putting Keith Noreika in as head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

Back during the Great Recession, it was clear that the OCC served the banksters, not the American people. As I snarked here, the OCC mostly confined itself to approving the proposed location of new bank branches. As to any other regulation of the banksters, they were asleep at the switch during the runup to the Great Recession.

It was one of the failures of the Obama Administration that they did nothing to fix the OCC, to cure it from its deep affliction of Stockholm Syndrome (or "regulatory capture").

And now, Trump wants to effectively put the OCC further into snooze mode.

Haven't we already seen how this movie ends, people?

Monday, May 15, 2017

{Russian accent} "Say, Donald, What Are Those Nuclear Launch Codes?"

President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said that Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.

The information Trump relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, officials said.

The partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russia, and officials said that Trump’s decision to do so risks cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State.
OK, I was kidding, sort of, when I asked what Dolt-45 would do to top last week's performance.

Blabbing highly-sensitive intel to the Russians would do it. Was he simply showing off, like a child with a shiny new toy? Or was he trying to prove to his backers (or handlers) that he is worthy of their investment in him?

First off, he has the power to tell anyone he wants to anything he feels like telling them. So what the Hair Furor did was not a crime.

But hey, if you have any familiarity at all with intelligence matters, even if all you've done is read some John LeCarre novels, you know how utterly insane it was to blab highly sensitive information to the Russians. If it had been anybody else other than Trump, that person could have been charged with espionage and sent to occupy Johnnie Pollard's old cell for about as long.

The intelligence services of other countries would be completely within their rights to not tell our own spooks a single fucking thing. Not one thing that they couldn't find out for themselves by a Goggle search.

Like Client, Like Lawyer

Trump's lawyer tweeted out rather racy photos of his own daughter, the kind of photos that, back in the day, would have send most male sailors to their bunks.

This is about one or two steps below the fact that Trump would like to bang his daughter.

What From Trump This Week?

President* Trump had a pretty active week last week. He fired the head of the FBI and caused so much turmoil there that he couldn't go visit to dance on the corpse.

What does he have on tap for this week? What new lies will he espouse?

One may think that what Trump is doing is nothing more the the incompetence of a narcissistic troll, who is lurching from one self-made crisis to another.

But there is also an argument to be made that Trump is doing this deliberately, that he, Steve Bannon, Jeff Sessions and the rest of their cabal seek to destroy American democratic institutions and impost an authoritarian state, if not an outright dictatorship.

Some of their motivations are fairly obvious. Bannon espouses an ideology that the only people fit to rule are those whose ancestors immigrated from European countries whose native tongues are Germanic languages.{1} They are the one that, in the neo-nazi view, are destined to rule over everyone else.{2}

Trump probably doesn't think about that, for if he did, he might fret that his prized daughter married into Jewish family.{3} What Trump would see is the chance to have a government that serves only the wealthy, where nobody would care about his legally-dubious dealings. Trump lusts after having a government where eminent domain is openly used to take property from homeowners so that his class of people can build hotels, casinos or golf courses.{4}

Few people, of course, would ever vote for that. So it gets camoflauged in nationalism, xenophobia and the slogan "make America great again". We all know it works. It has on a smaller scale. Politicans come in and promise similar things and the first thing they do is interfere with union contracts by "right to work" laws, which are nothing more than union-busting "you're gonna get paid a lot less money" laws.

The pro-gun side falls for this, because they promise that they will loosen gun laws. But show me an authoritarian state that likes an armed populace. Oh, they don't mind when the ruling classes own guns, but not the lower ones.{5]

Whether by accident or design, Trump is working to destroy our democratic system; a system where there are limits on the power of government and on the grabbiness of the 0.1%. Trump and those working in his Administration are traitors. The Republicans in the Congress vary between traitors, useful idiots and craven cowards.{6}

If you voted for Trump, this is all on you.

(Meanwhile, the wheels are loosening up at Trump's favorite source of fake news.)
________________________________________________
[1] In times gone by, they called themselves Aryans.
{2} In times gone by, "lesser races" or "subhumans."
[3] If there is one group that is despised by the neo-nazis above all, it's the Jews.
[4] And not those pesky "open to the public" golf courses.
[5] The focus on "Saturday Night Specials" was to ensure that poor people couldn't afford to protect themselves.
[6] Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham and John McCain in particular. McCain and Graham are the worst, for they talk a good game, but when the votes come, they always put their party over their country.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Vast Wasteland Report- "The Son"


Pierce Brosnan has the lead role. His accent isn't exactly "Dick Van Dyke speaks Cockney" bad, but if you can get past that, he does a good job. His meeting with a banker in episode 3 is not to be missed.

So far, the people who are supplying the props seem to have been doing a mostly good job at keeping the guns in the right period. In episode 5, Sally McCullough has a S&W revolver with a button-head ejector rod, a feature which was discontinued in the late `20s, probably to save on manufacturing costs. The Lewis gun, seen first in episode 4, might be anachronistic, but I suppose it's not very far-fetched that a wealthy rancher might have gotten one. In 1915, it was about as complicated to buy a machinegun as it was a drill bit.

If you choose to watch it, start at the first episode. The series is telling some stories that otherwise might not be fully appreciated.

Mother's Day


Mothers are important:


I hope you did something nice for the mothers in your life. And not just today.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

F-86:



A lot of those early-generation jet fighters were ground loving hogs on the runway. An old AF F-86 pilot, who had been based in Florida, once told me that on a hot day, he regarded an 8,000' runway as marginal. But those guys were taking off with an airplane that had guns, ammunition and drop tanks.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Caturday

Chip and a "no" bottle.


Water bottles are so cheaply made these days that they aren't much better than balloons. So take the cap and drive a pin through the center, being careful to have the pin at a 90-deg angle from the surface of the cap. Fill the bottle with water and then check to make sure the stream is centered.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Because It's Friday

Steam in Malaysia:

New Oath of Office

"I pledge my loyalty to Donald Trump."

That's pretty much what Trump demanded from James Comey, who declined to make that pledge.

Trump, of course, disagrees with what he wanted from Comey. But to take Trump's side, one would have to believe that Trump is telling the truth. After all that has come to light so far, anyone who believes the story that Trump is currently telling should not be allowed to go walking in the rain without an attendant, due to the risk of drowning.

Diarrhea of the Mouth

Trump admitted that "the Russia thing" was one of the reasons he fired Comey. Another reason was that people were paying too much attention to Comey, the same offense that got Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway exiled to offices in the sub-basement.

Can you imagine Nixon telling a reporter "yeah, I fired Cox because he was investigating the fake Watergate break-in"?

Normally, I'd be snarking about Trump's claim to have authored the phrase "priming the pump," a phase that, when used in an economic content, was around before he was spawned. But this week, that seems like pretty small beer when compared to attempting to kill off the investigation of Trump's ties with Russia.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Turkish Revolvers

The SR38. Seems kinda pricey, starting at $481. That's right around used GP100 territory.

Offhand, I haven't seen a review that isn't a flavor of "we got to shoot it at the SHOT Show and it seemed nice." That sort of write up tends to make me want to reply: "So, what, remember the R51?"

A decent full-size all-steel .357 is worth $500 or so. But I'm not going to be the tester, at least, not on my frelling dime.

His Master's Voice

When President Donald Trump hosted Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the Oval Office on Wednesday just hours after firing the FBI director who was overseeing an investigation into whether Trump’s team colluded with the Russians, he was breaking with recent precedent at the specific request of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The chummy White House visit—photos of the president yukking it up with Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak were released by the Russian Foreign Ministry since no U.S. press was allowed to cover the visit—had been one of Putin’s asks in his recent phone call with Trump, and indeed the White House acknowledged this to me later Wednesday. “He chose to receive him because Putin asked him to,” a White House spokesman said of Trump’s Lavrov meeting. “Putin did specifically ask on the call when they last talked.”
I thought one of Trump's claims to fame was that he was a PR whiz. Who the hell is in charge of optics at the White House, Jose Feliciano? "when they last talked"...how often does Trump report in?

Meeting with the Russian ambassador, allowing only Russians to cover the meeting, and doing that while 98% of sentient adults think that Trump fired Comey because of the FBI's Russian investigation has to be about the worst decision made in the White House since Lincoln chose to go take in a play.

Trump's Letter to Comey; the Rough Drafts


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Stupidity; Dolt-45 Ed.

Say, for the sake of discussion, that Trump's new hand-chosen FBI director looks over the Russian investigation and orders it closed.

Who, other than GOP party loyalists, will ever believe that nothing was found?

Comey got fired days after asking for more resources to pursue the investigation. Nobody is going to believe that he was doing that just to make sure that there was nothing there.

It's a coverup, people. And even the GOP loyalists, if they are being honest with themselves, know that.

Just like they did 44 years ago. They all knew that Nixon had done everything that he was accused of doing. But out of party loyalty, they closed their eyes, plugged their ears and hummed loudly, until the crescendo of evidence was too loud for even them to ignore.

And so it will go this time. Only this time, we all know how it will play out. Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan will willingly sacrifice any shred of personal honor that they may still cling to in order to save Trump.

You know what is really sad? If the situations were reversed, Trump would throw both of them overboard without a nanosecond's worth of hesitation and he'd not look back.

In the end, when all this is over and Trump is either in exile or in a cell, the GOP will look as pathetic and as foolish as they did in 1974. But I guess they can live with that.

Word- Trump Edition


Trump is a hell of an overachiever: It took him less than 120 days to reach the same point in his presidency that Nixon reached in 4.75 years.

This was true then:
“Whether we shall continue to be a government of laws and not of men is now for Congress and ultimately the American people.” -- Archibald Cox, October 20, 1973.
And it is true today. If you've been keeping track, Comey is the third person who was investigating Trump to get fired for doing that.

Which makes Comey's firing sort of a slow-scale Saturday Massacre, only moreso. Nixon was a seasoned pol and understood the system that he was trying to manipulate. Trump, on the other hand, is really just a rich thug with, at best, a second-grade-level understanding of the presidency. He is advised by people, such as Bannon and Sessions, who, at their core, are enemies of democracy. Trump has an elementary-level understanding of the military and of foreign affairs, which partially explains why he seems to be as erratic as a child on crack.

This presidency is a cancer and a far more virulent one than was Nixon's.
------------------------------------------
In other Trump-related news, Operation Butthurt has been strangled in its crib. Because there is no case to be made.

Trump Fired Comey for One Reason and One Reason Only: Russia

President* Donald Trump weighed firing his FBI director for more than a week. When he finally pulled the trigger Tuesday afternoon, he didn't call James Comey. He sent his longtime private security guard to deliver the termination letter in a manila folder to FBI headquarters.

He had grown enraged by the Russia investigation, two advisers said, frustrated by his inability to control the mushrooming narrative around Russia. He repeatedly asked aides why the Russia investigation wouldn’t disappear and demanded they speak out for him. He would sometimes scream at television clips about the probe, one adviser said.
The reason Comey was fired now seems to be that he was asking for more resources for the Trump-Russian probe. So, like Major Strasser, Trump ordered Jess Sessions (in the role of Capt. Renault), to find a reason to fire Comey.

It is now time that Republicans and conservatives decide whether or not their ultimate loyalty is to their country or their party.

I think I know the answer for most of them. They lie every time that they recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

What Nixon Did and Did Not Do.

What Nixon did do: He created the EPA.

What Nixon did not do:


Also, Trump reported to his overlords this morning.

Icon Crash Update

The two killed were employees. One, Jon Karkow, was the chief test pilot and lead engineer.

RUMINT is that the lake where they crashed was frequently used by Icon for tests and that the lake had a set of powerlines that were strung across it. Lake Berryessa is a dam-created lake with a hydroelectric plant, but that doesn't mean that there are lines across it. I can't see anything on satellite photos. And presumably, Icon-employed pilots would know their location and stay well clear, as powerlines are almost invisible themselves.

Shorter Trump Spox: "Comey's Been Fired, So It's Time to Stop Investigating Trump's Russian Ties."

Spicer's assistant liar pretty much has given the game away.

Which, to my way of thinking, shows that they don't give a shit about anything remotely resembling the rule of law. The excuse of "do things Americans care about" would, if taken honestly, mean a full and impartial investigation of Trump's Russian fuckery. Because people do care about that.

Trump's firing of Comey is, to quote Jeffrey Toobin: "Transparently bogus."

Update #1: Sen. McConnell, aka "Toady #1," defended Trump. No surprise there.

.38s

This is a pretty good explanation of the state of .38 ammo and why what is now considered to be +P ammunition isn't anything of the sort.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Shorter Trump: "How Dare You Investigate Me!!!"

President* Donald Trump abruptly fired FBI Director James Comey Tuesday, dramatically ousting the nation's top law enforcement official in the midst of an FBI investigation into whether Trump's campaign had ties to Russia's election meddling.
And then there was this bullshit rationale:
In a letter to Comey, Trump said the firing was necessary to restore "public trust and confidence" in the FBI.
Horseshit. And this part was about pure 100% triple-distilled bullshit:
In announcing the firing, the White House circulated a scathing memo, written by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, criticizing Comey's handling of the Clinton probe, including the director's decision to hold a news conference announcing its findings and releasing "derogatory information" about Clinton.
Riiight. Trump cares about that as much as he cares about ethics or pollution. Without Comey's little "October surprise," Trump would now be living back in his home, giving brick-tossing interview to Fox News. Anyone with even a quarter of a functioning cortex is aware that Comey tipped the election.

Maybe Trump is mad about that, to some extent.

But more likely, the FBI was investigating internal links or leaks to the Trump campaign during the election itself. I have no doubt that that investigation will be squashed. As will the FBI's investigation of Trump's ties to Putin.  The very last thing that Trump wants is anybody investigating his ties to Russia. Clearly, the House of Representatives isn't going to do it. Trump's allies in the Senate will ultimately make sure that investigation goes nowhere. All that was left to worry Trump was an independent FBI investigating him, and now he's taken that off the board. Somewhere in Hell, the spirit of Richard Nixon is smiling broadly.


Trump also wants his own puppet cop running the FBI. Trump, along with his staff of neo-nazis, is clearly frustrated that he cannot bend the Federal government to his will. But he can get a lot closer to what he wants to be, namely, a dictator, if he can put a compliant toady (like Rudy Giuliani) in as director of the FBI.

All hail El Generalissimo Trumpo!

Rumble at the Airport

Canceled flights led Spirit Airlines passengers to scream, shout and throw punches at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

Cellphone video shows a crowd of riled-up passengers swarming the ticket check-in counter for Spirit Airlines Monday evening after nine flights were canceled, leaving hundreds stranded. In one clip, at least two women start swinging at the Broward sheriff’s deputies. Anothert video shows one of the woman being led away and someone held on the ground by deputies.
Airline travel is frustrating, no doubt. Passengers are treated like livestock, only without USDA supervision.

But really, people: Punching out a cop is not OK. You're likely going to get jail time for that.

I'd like to snark about "this is what you get for flying El Cheapo Airlines", but passengers don't seem to be treated any better on the majors these days.

Bambi Strikes Back!

In an unprecedented finding, researchers spotted a deer chewing on a human rib during a study aimed at examining how human remains decompose in the wild.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Heh. Heh. Heh.

Nevada's new private-party background check law is a nullity.

Seems that the anti-gun crowd there wrote their referendum to require that the Feebies do the background checks. They did it that way because they believed that their proposal would have failed if the state did it, because the state would have passed the cost along to the parties.

Thing is, the Feebies aren't going to do background checks unless Federal law says they have to. And since Federal law doesn't require background checks for transfers between residents of the same state, the Feds are effectively telling the Nevada anti-gunners to go shit in their hats.

Which means that Nevada's private-party background check law is a dead parrot.

(H/T)

We'll See if 41 Pages of Legalese Will Protect Them

An Icon A5 crashed in California earlier today, killing both people aboard.

Icon is infamous for its 41-page sales agreement. They trimmed it down somewhat after they got lambasted. But it's going to be interesting to see if they can make it stick against the bereaved.

Il Est de Rire.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday sent a congratulatory message to French President-elect Emmanuel Macron after his victory on Sunday.

In a statement, Putin wished Macron “good health, well-being and success” as president, adding that “overcoming mutual distrust and joining efforts to ensure international stability and security is especially important.”
I'm pretty certain that the French are going to find that at least mildly amusing, since the Russians and their pet toady, Wikileaks, pulled off another hack/data dump just before the French went to the polls.

Only this time, the Russians and Wikileaks paid no attention to French law. They should have, because the French impose a media blackout the day before an election, so news of what those scum were trying to do didn't spread effectively inside France.

Scott Pruitt Wanted to Hire Thomas Midgley, Jr., Only He's Dead

The Environmental Protection Agency has dismissed at least five members of a major scientific review board, the latest signal of what critics call a campaign by the Trump administration to shrink the agency’s regulatory reach by reducing the role of academic research.

A spokesman for the E.P.A. administrator, Scott Pruitt, said he would consider replacing the academic scientists with representatives from industries whose pollution the agency is supposed to regulate, as part of the wide net it plans to cast.
Midgley, in case you've forgotten was a chemist who arguably did more damage to the planet than any other single person in human history. He promoted the use of tetraethyl lead in gasoline, while blatantly lying about its effects on people (effects that were understood by scientists even then). He also invented Freon, the chemical that was linked to severe damage of the ozone layer.

In short, Pruitt is seeking to populate the EPA with the same sort of scientific sellouts who helped the tobacco industry for decades. Pruitt is a well-known shill for the oil industry. As the AG of Oklahoma, he basically turned his office into a free litigation service for them. So none of this should be much of a surprise