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

Friday, June 30, 2017

More From the "Foremost Moral Authorities"

The Vatican treasurer, Cardinal George Pell, has vehemently denied any wrongdoing after being charged with sex offences in his native Australia.
and
CARDINAL George Pell has gone to ground, disappearing from his apartment outside the walls of the Vatican as he prepares to return to Australia to fight sex offence charges levelled against him.

The 76-year-old has not been seen at his apartment since he issued a press statement on Thursday morning confirming he would return to Australia in order to clear his name in court.

While staff came and went throughout Thursday and into Friday morning, there was no sign of Cardinal Pell, Australia’s most senior Catholic, prompting speculation he had moved into a temporary apartment inside the walls of the Vatican, or even to one of the country retreats owned by the church.
Yeah, I know, "presumed innocent" and all that. Still, it's notable that his supporters also seem to be officials in the Most High Church of Pedophilia.

Play Stupid Games, Win Stupid Prizes; Felony Murder Ed.

BRIDGEVIEW, IL — An Indiana woman tried in connection with the shooting death of an alleged co-conspirator during a home invasion in a sex tryst gone awry nearly a year ago in unincorporated Palos Park was found guilty of three counts of first degree murder. [Live Asswipe], 21, was the first of four people charged after their friend, [Dead Asswipe], was shot to death by the homeowner after prosecutors said he led the others into the house to rob and beat up the homeowner.
A state to the west or south and the Asswipes involved would likely be looking at going to Death Row.

If you're dumb enough to get involved in the commission of a violent crime and somebody dies, you're going to be charged with murder.

(H/T)

And Down We Go

With the political world distracted by President Trump's media wars, one of the most consequential and contentious internal debates of his presidency unfolded during a tense meeting Monday in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, administration sources tell Axios.
One official estimated the sentiment in the room as 22 against and 3 in favor — but since one of the three is named Donald Trump, it was case closed.
A trade war may be popular with Trump's base, but in the long run, China may benefit. In the short run, a trade war will probably trigger a recession. The impact on what goods are sold would hurt Trump territory more.

The people driving the bus on this would seem to be the Steves of Evil: Shadow President Bannon and his young fascist sidekick Miller.

(H/T)

Because It's Friday

Tornado:

The Powder Magazine of Europe is Getting Warmer

The news from Kosovo, the mini-republic located northeast of Albania, is consistent with the atmosphere in the Western Balkans these days. Kosovo, Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, all part of former Yugoslavia, have spent years waiting to become members of the European Union, but it seems in the early summer of 2017 as though they have almost been forgotten. And people there are beginning to lose their patience. The result: increasing numbers of people leaving the region, accelerated Islamization and rising nationalism. Violent protests recently in the Macedonian capital of Skopje along with ranting about a Greater Albania in both Tirana and Pristina, the capitals of Albania and Kosovo respectively, have served to demonstrate just how tense the situation has become.
Forgotten in the EU's fixation with whatever-the-hell-it's-been-doing is the rationale behind having a European community in the first place: Intertwining the nations of Europe with one another so closely that another European war becomes almost unthinkable.

This should not be a problem for the United States to have to work, other than possibly providing support of some kind or another. But you know that if the Europeans can't get their act together and people begin going for their guns, it will become America's problem to fix.
--------------------------------------
Meanwhile, on this side of the pond, the Mexican government is spying on political opponents and reporters. They are using software sold to them by the Israelis, who, when it comes to spy tools, are pretty much the primo Merchants of Death in the world today.

Except maybe the NSA, but their shit was stolen from them.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

TrumpleThinSkin

A sane and rational president develops a thick skin. when people in the media carp at him, he just goes about doing his job and to hell with them.

That is not President (for now) Trump:
Donald Trump, who promised on the campaign trail to give up Twitter because it’s “not presidential,” on Thursday used the social-media platform to launch an ugly attack on Mika Brzezinski, who along with Morning Joe co-host Joe Scarborough, has been a consistent critic of his administration. “I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don't watch anymore),” he wrote. “Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year's Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!”
His Duty Butt-Monkey seems to think that Trump's acting like a schoolyard bully is normal for a man of his age.
The White House vigorously defended the president’s tweets Thursday, with spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders telling Fox News that “this is a president who fights fire with fire and certainly will not be allowed to be bullied by liberal media.” People on Morning Joe, she added, “have personally attacked me many times.”
"Bullied"? Really? Saying uncomplimentary things about a politician is "bullying"?

Unlike Trump, Dubya didn't froth at the mouth, throw himself on the floor, pound his fists and chew on the carpet when people said nasty things about him. Because, for all of his faults (read the first 18 months of this blog for that), George W. Bush was an adult who acted like one. Ronald Reagan may not have liked what the reporters were saying, but he was a man. Reagan didn't roam the White House, in his bathrobe, and yell at televisions. Hell, people have been saying incredibly vile things about Richard "Lord Voldemort" Cheney and he shrugged it off because he had power and he didn't give a fuck about his carping critics.

You won't find that Cheney, Reagan and Bush carried thirty years' worth of butthurt over a single insult. But Trump sure has.

Trump has the maturity of a four-year old. That was on full display in this morning's tweet-storm.

UPDATE: This just keeps getting better.

Trump: "Russian Interference is Fake News, It Never Happened and Obama's at Fault for Not Getting to the Bottom of What the Russians Did."

Just gobsmacking.

Heh. Heh. Heh.


From here. And why.

The comedians are having fun.

Frontlines (Space Kablooie) News

Book #6, Points of Impact, is now available for pre-order.

Play Stupid Games, Win Stupid Prizes

A Minnesota woman charged in the fatal shooting of her boyfriend told authorities it was a video stunt gone wrong.

[Female Asswipe], was charged Wednesday with second-degree manslaughter in the death of [Male Asswipe].

According to a criminal complaint, the 19-year-old [F.A.] told authorities [M.A.] wanted to make a YouTube video of her shooting a bullet into a book he was holding against his chest. She says she fired from about a foot (0.3 meters) away.
Apparently M.A. had run a test to see if it would work.

[M.A.]'s family doesn't want to see [F.A.] locked up.

I guess we'll see.

Unclean Hands; Coup Ed.

The Russians engaged in a years'-long campaign to undermine the democratic government in Montenegro, culminating in a coup attempt. Which failed.

Lost in the story about the Russians trying to destabilize other countries is the historical point that the United States has done the same thing and for many decades. To the Russians, what they tried to do in Montenegro wasn't much different from what the Germans and Americans did in Ukraine.

The other point is that the Russians are trying to destabilize both our friends' governments and ours. Our current president, of course, will do nothing for reasons that are clear to even a causal observer.*
_______________________________________
* But not to the GOP.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Why is This Such a Surprise, Президент* Трамп Ed.

As President* Donald Trump lashes out at former President Barack Obama for failing to take a harder line against Russia for election meddling, Trump's own advisers are struggling to convince him that Russia still poses a threat, according to multiple senior administration officials.

"I just heard today for the first time that Obama knew about Russia a long time before the election, and he did nothing about it," Trump told Fox News in an interview that aired Sunday. "To me -- in other words -- the question is, if he had the information, why didn't he do something about it? He should have done something about it."

But the Trump administration has taken no public steps to punish Russia for its interference in the 2016 election. Multiple senior administration officials said there are few signs the President is devoting his time or attention to the ongoing election-related cyber threat from Russia.
Why would Trump want to punish the country whose interference may have swung the election his way? If Trump does anything to Russia, it would be a tacit admission, on his part, that he's not a legitimate president.

Besides that, we can only speculate what the Russians have on Trump, from Operation Golden Flow and other blackmail materials to data unmasking Trump's financial fuckery, including stuff on his kids and Jared Kushner.

And you can bet your ass that one of the messages that was delivered to Trump in his Oval Office meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister and their Ambassador was a reminder of how bad the Russians can make life for Trump if he doesn't do what they want. One little data-dump from Moscow and the next Trump family reunion will be held in either a place of exile or in a Federal slammer.

So if any sanctions get passed by Congress, it'll be a safe bet that it will have to be over a veto. If any investigation gets concluded, it will be in spite of presidential interference (which has already been on full display).

And when this is done and proven (as I expect most of it eventually will be), we will need to remind Republicans for the next fifty years that they stood beside and covered for the most egregious traitor since the founding of the Republic.

The Good Guys

The CIA's psychologists developed an implemented a research program that used human subject to refine the efficacy of torture. But at least they drew the line at cooking the torture victim's child and serving it as food to the victim.

So far as we know.

(H/T)

Messrs. James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen should probably not plan on traveling to any country that takes things such as war crimes and crimes against humanity seriously.

Untied Can't Catch a Break

A delayed United Airlines flight on Thursday led to a four-month-old being hospitalized from overheating, NBC News reported.
I can't think of a reasonable excuse for having an airliner full of passengers sitting on the ramp without running the air-conditioning.

But if Sean "Baghdad Bob" Spicer does leave his current gig, United may be hiring.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Cops Shooting Cops (and Everyone Else)

An off-duty black St. Louis police officer who joined the pursuit of individuals believed to have stolen a car ended up being shot by one of his white colleagues, reports say.
This has happened before, again and again and again.

A black cop in plainclothes who goes toward a bad situation with his gun out is running the risk of being shot by his colleagues who will conclude that he's a bad guy. A white cop, in a similar situation, does not run that risk.

A black cop in plainclothes is either incredibly brave or incredibly foolish. Or both.
------------------------------------------------------
Meanwhile, three cops in Chicago are being charged with conspiracy and obstruction for trying to hush up the murder of Mr. Laquan McDonald.
------------------------------------------------------
Another cop on why the shooting of Philadro Castile was a bad one.
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Here is what bothers me the most: In almost any field of endeavor that you can think of, professionals are held to a higher standard of care than the general public.

Except police work.

Cops get away with killing people in situations where, if it were two shmoes, the surviving shmoe would go to jail. If you are awakened by a noise at 0-dark-30 and you suspect that your house is being invaded, if you then kill someone else who should not have been shot, you'll go away for manslaughter. But not a cop. A cop is allowed to claim that he was afraid and, despite his superior training, he gets a pass.

You shoot an unarmed man because you thought he had a gun? You go to prison. A cop panics and shoots a guy with a wallet (or for the old standard "a furtive gesture")-- no big deal.

But let's be honest: The cops don't work for the citizenry. Their job is to keep the peace to the point that the rich and politically connected aren't made to feel uncomfortable or unsafe. You can bet your ass that if most white guys in their teens, twenties or thirties were tossed up against a wall and frisked by the cops for no real reason, things would change. You can bet that the campus cops don't stop white guys carrying boxes of books. You can bet that James McEnroe hasn't been thrown to the ground while waiting for a limo outside of his hotel.

As long as the cops keep brutalizing only black and latinos, as long as the cops only shoot those people on bullshit pretexts that don't survive the giggle test, then nothing's going to change.

Fun Fact About the Senate's Version of TrumpDoesn'tCare

If you took everyone who would be denied health insurance by the Republicans and had them stand, shoulder to shoulder, the line would go from the U.S.-Mexican border to the North Pole and then back down to Vancouver.

The bill does what the Republicans want: Deny health insurance to poor, chronically ill, and disabled people, while giving a massive tax cut to the rich and to corporations.

Did anyone expect anything different from the Party of Hoover?

Kellyanne Conway said that everyone who works for WalMart or a fast-food joint should just go get a better job so they can afford insurance. If that isn't a "let them eat cake" moment, I don't know what is.

The difference, of course, is that the person to whom the saying was attributed really had no clue. That can't be said for Conway.

Aux guillotines!

(Also: No wonder Trump hired that guy.)

Monday, June 26, 2017

Is Three Minutes' Worth of Research Too Much to Ask?

So I read a mystery a couple of weeks ago. In the story, Sumdood was rubbing out people with a Ruby pistol. Which was probably realistic, as there had to have been a buttload of them brought back as souvenirs following each of the two world wars.

The author even mentioned that the gun was based on a Browning. But then the author, repeatedly, referred to it as a revolver.

AAAAUUUGGGHHHHH!!!!

Look, I'll spot someone writing that their character made a call from a telephone booth in postwar Rome and inserted coins into the phone instead of a gettone telefonico. Who'd think to research that point? But guns, especially when one is the central murder weapon in the story, are dirt-simple to research.

Apologies

The marbles championship story had a self-launching video that was annoying.

I've replaced that with a link.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Musing Whilst Waiting for My Food

People who have ornate and visible tattoos should not be upset or annoyed when other people stare at them. Same goes for "ear gauges" or any of that sort of adornment. It's not like a disfiguring injury or a birth defect; they chose to do that to themselves.
------------------------------------------------------------
I wonder about the sanity of people who "donate" shit that can only be described as trash to a charity. Do they think that they are doing the charity any favors? (Go take a look in a dumpster at a charitable thrift store if you are unclear on this.)
------------------------------------------------------------
Ever notice that radio stations never play anything that was recorded before the late 1950s? Did recording technology advance enough around then so that the recordings that where made were of high-enough quality to still be commercially viable?
------------------------------------------------------------
In a busy restaurant, standing around other people's tables and shmoozing with friends really plays hob with the flow of the servers.
------------------------------------------------------------
Where the fuck is my food?*
________________________________________
* They lost my order. The manager put it through, again, as a rush job and comped the meal.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

KC-135s:


Compare the engines to those on the E-8, posted a week ago.

The KC-135 is an earlier airframe than the 707. Boeing had proposed basing the 707 on the KC-135, but the airlines didn't want it, because it could only handle five-across seating (2+3) in coach. Boeing widened the 707 to accommodate 3+3 seating and the rest is history.

Convair went with 2+3 seating for the CV-880, which is why Convair made 65 880s (and 37 990s). Boeing made over 1,000 707s and variations thereof, plus over 800 KC-135s.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Yet Another Trump Crime?

Both Trump and Gingrich said that Trump's tweet about tapes was designed to affect the testimony that James Comey gave to the Senate Intel Committee.

Comey was under oath. What Trump did, therefore, was try to influence the sworn testimony of a witness.

Which may be witness tampering. That's a bit of a crime.

Even if Trump isn't charged with that, his little tweet adds more weight to the scales to substantiate that he has been obstructing justice.

Meanwhile, someone else pointed out that Trump promised that he had a "very secret thirty-day plan to defeat Isis". Maybe he ought to get cracking on that, instead of yelling at televisions.

Caturday

Chip is taking a break from watching the birds.


It was cool the other morning and the windows were open. A cow crow landed on the grass and just stood there cawing. It was facing the house.

The birds seem to be upping their game.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Trump's Latest "Brainstorm"

A solar wall:
President* Donald Trump said Wednesday his administration's proposed US-Mexico border could pay for itself -- if it was solar.

A "solar wall" could "create energy and pay for itself," the President said during a rally at the US Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

"And this way, Mexico will have to pay much less money," Trump said. "And that's good, right? Is that good? You are the first group I've told that to. A solar wall. It makes sense. Let's see. We are working it out. Solar wall panels."
Vertical solar panels. Is Trump ingesting high-speed chicken feed?

Once They Start Looking at You; Trump Ed.

They go around, kicking over the rocks, to see what squirms out.
Paul Manafort and his son-in-law, who embarked on a series of real estate deals in recent years fueled by millions of dollars from Mr. Manafort, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The transactions involve the financing of apartments and luxury homes in New York and California using money from Mr. Manafort, as well as from other investors solicited by the son-in-law, Jeffrey Yohai, including the actor Dustin Hoffman and his son. F.B.I. agents have reviewed financial records related to Mr. Yohai, who has been accused in a lawsuit of defrauding investors, the sources said.

It was not clear if the F.B.I.’s interest was part of the broader investigation that has ensnared Mr. Manafort, who was President Trump’s campaign chairman until he resigned last August amid reports that he had received millions of dollars in off-the-book payments for his consulting work in Ukraine. Mr. Manafort has been the focus of several inquiries looking into his business activities, failure to file foreign lobbying disclosures and possible collusion between Trump campaign associates and Russia.
Meanwhile:
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island suggests that fired national security Mike Flynn has made a deal with the FBI and will testify against President Trump. There is no evidence for this, but Whitehouse says he has 'connected dots' of unrelated evidence to deduce this conclusion.

One Way Cops Can Avoid Shooting People

As one long-time officer has advocated, stop pulling people over for stupid shit.
I don’t make pretextual traffic stops. I don’t stop vehicles for minor equipment violations that don’t endanger the motoring public. I don’t run the plate on every car I see looking for the dude who has a suspended license because he didn’t pay his child support. Most of the people you catch by making these kind of stops aren’t truly criminals. They’re broke! Yes, they have likely made numerous poor decisions that have resulted in their warrants/suspensions, but most of these folks aren’t a real danger to your community. Don’t make it a habit to focus your attention on these “small fish.” Your community would probably prefer that you spend your time doing something more productive to enhance your residents’ safety.
The piece also advocates better training.

It's worth a read.

(H/T)

Shorter TrumpCare: "Die, You Fuckers."

Remember when Trump promised that his health care plan would be better than Obama's and it would cover everyone?

Not so much, it seems. Mostly, it's another excuse for giving Trump's peeps a massive tax cut while cutting spending on health care to poor folks.

Like all of those coal miners and other guys who are receiving disability and who have health coverage through Medicaid. You guys get to go shuffle off and die of untreated medical conditions.

And I supposed I should be outraged. But this is the thing: In rural counties where a significant percentage of the population is on disability, well, those counties went overwhelmingly for Trump.

Hey, we tried to tell you that Trump didn't give a shit about anyone else. We tried to tell you that his focus would be on doing anything so he and his wealthy buddies could make money, even if it meant screwing over all of those who voted for him. We tried to tell you that Trump was a fake populist and that he would be the President of the 0.1%.

But you didn't listen. And now you get to pay the price so Trump and the Oligarchs can get richer and richer.

TrumpCare is going to be very bad for a lot of people, but it's likely that a majority of them will be Trump voters. It's going to suck to be those folks, but they're getting what they voted for.

Whether they like it or not.

Because It's Friday

Remember: Trains have the right-of-way!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Forgery Failure, Probably, or
Buffoon-in-Chief At Work

Apparently the "Covfefe file" was empty:
President* Donald Trump on Thursday said he did not make nor does he have any “tapes” or recordings of his conversations with former FBI Director James Comey, despite having previously teased at the idea that they did exist.

“With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea whether there are ‘tapes’ or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings,” Trump wrote in a pair of tweets on Thursday afternoon.
My completely unsupported guess is that there were recordings that were falsified by Trump's people (or his sympathizers), but then cooler heads pointed out that manufacturing evidence in the midst of a number of Federal investigations would be a sure ticket to the Big House.

Cosby

In an exclusive interview with ABC News, a juror in the Bill Cosby sexual assault case said that after dozens of hours of grueling deliberations in a tiny room, 10 of the 12 jurors agreed he was guilty on two counts. On a third count, only one of the jurors believed he was guilty.

The final, intractable votes on the first of the three counts was 10 to two to find Cosby guilty of digitally penetrating accuser Andrea Constand without her consent, the juror said. On the second count, that she was unconscious or unaware during the incident, the juror said the vote was 11 to one to acquit. On the third count, that the alleged assault occurred after Cosby gave Constand drugs or intoxicants without her knowledge, substantially impairing her for the purpose of preventing her resistance, the jury was deadlocked at 10 to two, in favor of a guilty verdict, according to the juror.
Of course it'll be up to the prosecutor, but with a 10-2 split for conviction on two counts, I imagine that they'll retry the case.

Mibsters

Yes, that's a word.
Allegheny County [PA] is guaranteed to have at least one national marbles champion as two local girls are facing off in today's finals at the tournament in Wildwood, N.J.

Also, a Pittsburgh teen is in the boys final.

Mibsters Sierra Ricci, 12, of Shaler and Lauren Shutey, 13, of the South Side Flats, will play in the girls final.

In the boys division, Eli Murphy, 14, of Squirrel Hill, will compete against an opponent from Michigan.

If Murphy wins, the county will dual boys and girls champions, which also happened in 2008 and 2011. The Pittsburgh area has long been a powerhouse in the National Marbles Tournament, now in its 95th year.
Advance word is that Eli Murphy did win, in a nail-biting comeback. Apparently the first to win 8 games takes the crown. Murphy was down 1-7 and then won seven straight.

Update: Yepper! Good work, kids!

(Video)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Monday, June 19, 2017

Brexit- Looking Ominous for the Brits

British negotiators have capitulated to key European demands for a phased approach to Brexit talks, agreeing to park discussions on free trade until they have thrashed out the cost of the multibillion-euro UK divorce settlement.

Putting a brave face on a concession that may further strengthen the tactical dominance of the EU, the Brexit secretary, David Davis, insisted his initial retreat remained consistent with long-term government strategy. “It’s not how it starts, it’s how it finishes that matters,” Davis said in Brussels after their first day of formal talks. “Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.”
Right. The EU is signaling that they are going to play hardball. Toljaso.

The problem for the Brits is that they don't have a lot of leverage that would seem to be apparent. PM May called snap elections in a bid to strengthen her hand, but it had the opposite effect. She's leading a coalition, now, which may have the lifespan of an Italian one.

If the EU had balls, they'd start building the border control checkpoints right now of a kind that would make Trump green with envy..

Dear CBS: Go Fuck Yourself

The wait for Star Trek: Discovery is almost over. After two premiere date delays and a showrunner switch, the hotly-anticipated revival is finally launching on September 24 at 8:30 p.m. on CBS, and it can't come soon enough.

After the show's broadcast debut, the second episode of Discovery will be available immediately on CBS All Access, the network's digital subscription live streaming service, which will be the exclusive home of the series for the rest of its run.
I'm hoping that its run is short and has few viewers.

"CBS All Access"-- what a fucking laugh. The "B" stands for "Broadcast", not "subscription". If they wanted to set up a pay channel, they could at least had the guts to call it something else entirely, like "The Greedy Fuckers Channel (where you're stupid enough to pay for mediocre programming)".

Conway Lies as Effortlessly as She Breathes

When President* Donald Trump wrote online last week that “I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director,” it was not an admission that he is indeed being investigated, counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway said Monday morning, but instead a Twitter-shortened reaction to media coverage of ongoing probes into his 2016 campaign.

Conway’s insistence Monday morning that Trump’s tweet last Friday was not what it seemed followed in the footsteps of the president’s personal attorney, Jay Sekulow, who said Sunday in an array of political talk show appearances that regardless of what he has written online, Trump is not under investigation.
Yeah, sure.


Conway said that Trump was indulging in irony. Right. Trump wouldn't know irony if he was hit in the face with it.

The best thing that Conway could do for Trump is to somehow lock him out of Twitter before he incriminates himself into an impeachment trial (and then into prison).

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Stephen Furst, RIP

He was 63.

Most of the obits probably are leading with his role as "Flounder" in Animal House. But I prefer to remember him as Vir Cotto in Babylon V:






Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

USAF E-8C:


The airplane is a 707 airframe. Unlike the modded KC-135s, this airplane has low-bypass turbofans. They were likely among the last 707-airframes made before Boeing completely shut the line down in 1991

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Collision at Sea

Seven US sailors are missing and the commanding officer of a US destroyer is among the injured after the warship collided with a merchant ship off the coast of Japan, the US Navy said.

The guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald suffered severe damage to its starboard side.

"The collision affected Fitzgerald's forward starboard side above and below the water line, causing significant damage and associated flooding to two berthing spaces, a machinery space, and the radio room," according to a statement from US 7th Fleet.
I'll predict that the captain of the tin can's going to take the fall for this. Which, to be blunt, comes with the job.

Colliding with the impact on the starboard side isn't a good sign.

Trump's Story Keeps Changing

President* Donald Trump acknowledged for the first time Friday that he is under federal investigation as part of the expanding probe into Russia's election meddling. He lashed out at a top Justice Department official overseeing the inquiry, reflecting his mounting frustration with the unrelenting controversy that has consumed his early presidency.

"I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt," the president wrote on Twitter.
Trump wasn't told to fire Comey. First off, as anyone who has paid even a smidgen of attention to Trump's career trajectory knows, nobody can tell Trump anything. He does what he wants and, like a petulant seven-year old, other people clean up the resultant mess.

Second, this is what Trump said a month ago:
President Donald Trump said Thursday [05/11/17] that he had already decided to fire ousted FBI Director James Comey before Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein wrote up a formal recommendation to do so.

"I was going to fire Comey," Trump told NBC News' Lester Holt in an interview. "Regardless of the recommendation I was going to fire Comey."

The White House initially said Rosenstein's memorandum to Attorney General Jeff Sessions prompted Trump to fire Comey, but Trump contradicted that account, saying he had already planned to do so and requested a memo to back up his decision.
So, was Trump lying then or is he lying now?

Caturday

A stray/feral cat is sleeping:


They're trying to nab or trap it, as the cat appears to be in not good shape. But this isn't around my area, so I don't know if they did.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Because It's Friday

The engine room of the SS Jeremiah O'Brien, one of the few remaining Liberty ships..

Fuck It, I'm Gonna Drive

TSA is conducting a proof of concept demonstration to evaluate the operational and security impact of using biometrics to verify passengers’ identities using their fingerprints. The biometric authentication technology enables a traveler’s fingerprints to serve as both a boarding pass and identity document.
The TSA says that this only applies to their pre-check program, t least for this proof-of-concept test.

But, with all due respect, anyone who believes that it will stop there is smoking crack.

The day is coming, Gentle Reader, when you will be strongly encouraged to go somewhere and submit to a fingerprint check, a retinal scan and a facial scan before an airline flight. After that, then everyone who does those things will go through a lesser-intrusive form of screening, similar to what they do now for the pre-check people.

Those who don't will automatically be subject to the sort of enhanced security screening that will be the next best thing to a colonoscopy.

That will last until some self-radicalized lunatic goes through the higher security screening and then does something stupid.

Pence is Smarter Than Trump

Vice President Mike Pence has hired outside legal counsel to help with both congressional committee inquiries and the special counsel investigation into possible collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia.

The vice president’s office said Thursday that Pence has retained Richard Cullen, a Richmond, Virginia-based lawyer and chairman of McGuire Woods who previously served as a U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia.
Pence hired a criminal defense guy who has significant experience in federal criminal cases. Trump's going with a civil litigator.

Also, Pence is keeping his yap shut.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Dear Microsoft: Please Be So Kind as to Go Fuck Yourselves, Your Horses, and Anyone Who Looks Like You Guys. Oh, and Go Fuck Yourselves to an Early Death

Microsoft keeps trying to pass along the Win-10 spyware installs as a upgrade. KB295664, in particular, keeps popping up.

Fuckers never stop trying.

Really, they're pretty stupid. They could have sold XP update subscriptions to those who like it and they might have made many millions doing that.

A friend bought a new box with Win `10 installed. It was loaded with things to tell Microsoft every move you make. It was also loaded with a lot of intro software that no rational person would ever use.

To know Microsoft is to hate them. They are Enron-grade evil.

Shorter Trump: "Game On, Motherfucker!"

A longtime friend of President* Trump said on Monday that Mr. Trump was considering whether to fire Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating possible ties between the president’s campaign and Russian officials.

The startling assertion comes as some of Mr. Trump’s conservative allies, who initially praised Mr. Mueller’s selection as special counsel, have begun trying to attack his credibility.

The friend, Christopher Ruddy, the chief executive of Newsmax Media, who was at the White House on Monday, said on PBS’s “NewsHour” that Mr. Trump was “considering, perhaps, terminating the special counsel.”
Newt Gingrich, one of the premier political assholes in the world, was on morning television trying to walk back his former praise of Mueller. He also couldn't explain why it was OK for Kenn Starr, an avowed Republican, to investigate Bill Clinton but it's not OK for Mueller who has been appointed in the past to jobs by presidents from both parties, to investigate Trump.

Gingrich's whine was that special counsels end up getting innocent people. Right, like Scooter Libby, whom Gingrich specifically referred to, who was so innocent that he got convicted and was so simon-pure that President Bush didn't pardon him.

Trump's efforts to shut down the investigation by any means possible is a petty good signal that there is something really serious to be uncovered. Republicans' winking at all this because Trump is their guy is even more unseemly than Democrats' winking at Bill Clinton's misdeeds. Clinton's problems were about sex and lies. Trump's is about treason, lies, and covering up.

Monday, June 12, 2017

A Fine Display of Verbal Fellatio and/or Dain Bramage

One by one, they praised President* Trump, taking turns complimenting his integrity, his message, his strength, his policies. Their leader sat smiling, nodding his approval.

“The greatest privilege of my life is to serve as vice president to the president who’s keeping his word to the American people,” said Mike Pence, starting things off.

“I am privileged to be here — deeply honored — and I want to thank you for your commitment to the American workers,” said Alexander Acosta, the secretary of labor.
And it went on and on, as Trump's toadies fellatiated his ego on camera.

A normal person would have been embarrassed to have been captured on camera in such brazen acts of sucking up.


Trump really does seem to believe that he has done more, so far, than any other president in history. He has clearly drunk his own koolaid.

Well, the day may come when, after Trump has been removed from office, that the footage of that session of fluffing Dolt-45's ego will come back to haunt the fluffers.

Don't Fuck with Drummer

If you fuck with her:



She will fuck you right back, and harder:


(From The Expanse)

(I may have posted this before, but fuck it.)

Brexit and May

John Oliver discusses Brexit in light of Theresa May's recent shellacking at the polls:

This Cat Will Soon Have a Job

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Shorter Trump: "I'm Only the President of Those Who Voted For Me."

President* Donald Trump is banking on his loyal base of supporters to help him through the tangle of the Russia turmoil. ... His White House has made little effort to broaden the bedrock of support for a president who lost the popular vote and receives scant backing from Democrats.

Trump has yet to hold a rally in a state he lost to Hillary Clinton in November. He visits many of the small Rust Belt cities and rural heartland communities that went for him.
Trump, by his actions, considers himself to be the president only of his base, his cronies and, of course, the willing tool of his patrons in Moscow. Even George W. Bush was sharp enough to know that governing by division and rancor was a mug's game.

But not Trump. He only represents his base.

Which is fine with me. For he and I would seem to agree that he's not my president.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

A 787 shows off:

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The "Tapes" of Trump

Trump cryptically refused to say whether those private exchanges [between Trump and Comey] were taped — a matter at the heart of the conflicting accounts of what passed between them at a time when Comey was leading an FBI investigation into Russia's interference in the presidential election and its ties to the Trump campaign.
But Trump tweeted that there were "tapes," or so he pretty much threatened.


If there were tapes and if Trump had released them in May, I would have put stock in them. Not now. There has been plenty of time for audio engineers from either Breitbart or the FSB to comb through all of the recordings of Comey's utterances and make a mix tape to say whatever they want.

At least one publisher of commercial telephone listings has a reputation of editing audio so that its scam victims seem to say "yes." Which is why, when you answer a call, never say "yes" until you know to whom you are speaking.

But I digress.

The longer the delay until some recordings are released, the greater the chance that they are fraudulent. Just like our president.

Also, mobsters hire mob lawyers. Russian tools hire lawyers that represent Russian tools.

Caturday

A shelter kitten.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Because It's Friday

Old steam:


"Old", in this context, means "19th Century."

Jeez

I'm watching Corey Lewandowski on GMA. "Bald-faced liar" doesn't even begin to cover it. 

(Wasn't he one of the guys who was talking to the Russians?)

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Shorter GOP Excuse: "Trump is an Inexperienced Dolt."

Before Comey’s testimony about his private interactions with President* Trump had even concluded, Ryan joined an effort already underway among GOP lawmakers to place it in the best possible light for Trump.

“Of course there needs to be a degree of independence” between federal law enforcement and the White House, Ryan said. But he added, “The president’s new at this. He’s new to government, and so he probably wasn’t steeped in the long-running protocols that establish the relationships between [the Justice Department], FBI and White House. He’s just new to this.”
I don't buy that for a nanosecond. The problem is that Trump is, at his core, an authoritarian who believes that his every whim should be law and is confused by the notion of checks and balances.

He is a toxic mixture of ignorance and arrogance, infused with the emotional immaturity of a first-grader.

I watched some of the Comey hearing and it was clear that the RMS Trump has scraped open its hull against an iceberg. The Republicans are going to continue to arrange deck chairs and submit song requests to the band director. But the water is coming in.

The Spy in Your Printer

Your color laser printer may rat you out.

Unlike the old days, when the cops had to find the matching typewriter. some printers will encode source information into the page. Which was one of the tools that may have been used to catch Reality Winner.

Also, if you want to leak shit, don't send it to The Intercept. They would seem to be idiots.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Diplomacy of Dolt-45

President* Trump thrust himself into a bitter Persian Gulf dispute on Tuesday, taking credit for Saudi Arabia’s move to isolate its smaller neighbor, Qatar, and rattling his national security staff by upending a critical American strategic relationship.
Because everything has to be about Trump. A smarter president would have realized that publicly taking the side of one ally over another was an incredibly stupid thing to do. Especially when the country that he is siding against is the host nation for American military bases.

A smarter president would have shut up and let the diplomats do their jobs. But no, not Trump. Everything has to be about him.

He is a whack job. Sooner or later, even Republicans will begin to acknowledge the damage that that 70-year old child is doing.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Wonder Woman

It does not suck.

It could have been shortened, a little, but it was still a fine movie.

"Airport Security is Not a Joking Matter."

But there should be an exception when the public address system is labeled "IED".

Shorter Kellyanne Conway: "Trump Doesn't Speak for His Administration."

Criticism directed at President Donald Trump over his flurry of Twitter activity related to the London terrorist attack over the weekend is misguided, counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway said Monday morning, the result of a press that she suggested is eagerly critical of Trump even amid more pressing situations.

The media, Conway said, has “this obsession with covering everything he says on Twitter and very little of what he does as president.” Conway blamed that obsession for the uproar that began over the weekend when Trump hurled a political attack across the Atlantic, writing online that there had been “at least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!’"
Trump is the fucking President and what he says matters. What any president says matters.

So what Conway is, in essence, claiming, is that Trump doesn't speak for his own administration. Or that he's insane, for why otherwise would he attack his own administration for defending his own policies or criticize executive orders that he issued?

The End of the Beginning + 75 Years

Yesterday was the 75th anniversary of the start of the Battle of Midway. The battle marked the turning point of the war against Japan. The Japanese sent a large force to invade Midway Island, spearheaded by four carriers. The US Navy had three carriers and, thanks to the Navy's code breakers, some knowledge of what the Japanese plan was.

The Japanese carriers launched strikes against the island, only to be found and attacked.


USN divebombers badly damaged three of the carriers on the morning of June 4th. All three were out of the fight, they were all abandoned and scuttled.



The fourth Japanese carrier struck back. Her planes badly damaged the USS Yorktown, which was later sunk by a Japanese submarine while under tow. This photo shows the Yorktown under attack.


The fourth Japanese carrier was sunk that afternoon.

Turning points to a war are only apparent long after they happen. At this point, the US and her allies in the Pacific had been at war with Japan for six months, the war would continue on for three more years.

The person who saw this most clearly, though, was Admiral Yamamoto, who, in 1940, was quoted as saying this about the prospect of a general war in the Pacific: "In the first six to twelve months of a war with the United States and Great Britain I will run wild and win victory upon victory. But then, if the war continues after that, I have no expectation of success."

He was right and he was proven to be so 75 years ago.

(Longtime readers might recognize this one.)

There is a press report about the leak that ran in the Chicago Tribune. The officer who inadvertently leaked it, the reporter who reported on it and the publisher, Robert McCormick of the Chicago Tribune, were lucky that they weren't all shot. What was astonishing was that no quasi-neutral country's diplomatic staff in Washington, such as Switzerland, didn't see the newspaper story and pass it along to the Germans, who would have, in turn, informed Japan.

If you pass through KMDW, be sure and spend a few minutes at the hallway to Concourse A:


There is a display by the windows which succinctly explains the battle, the time leading up to it and the aftermath.

VPN

Opera now offers VPN, so I wanted to see what the speed penalty was.

For Opera, via its VPN: Ping- 156 ms, Download speed- 19.18 Mbps, Upload speed- 6.08 Mbps.

Firefox, no VPN: Ping- 16 ms, Download speed- 20.68 Mbps, Upload speed- 6.00 Mbps.

I gather than using a VPN means that your ISP can't see what you're doing, which now that net privacy has been gutted by the Republicans (Motto: "Since 1921--Fucking You for Fun and Profit"), might be of some concern.

Also, as Trump stumbles down the road to an authoritarian state, you might want to keep your shit more private.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Good Luck With That

But to Trump, there is no such thing as "truth". There is only the leakage from his addled mind, which places no stock in such things as "facts" or "science".

Two clear digs at Trump and his handler:

Caturday

This poor kitten was found in a box that had been bungee'd to the front gate of an animal shelter:


The kitten is young, maybe six weeks old, weights about a pound, had some puncture wounds (including the very visible one to the head) and was spiking a slight fever.

(You can help or go to the non-FB/cobweb site.)

Friday, June 2, 2017

Steam Extra

Union Pacific's steam update:

Because It's Friday

Steam-turbine-electric locomotives:


Basically, they worked sort of like diesels, in that the prime movers powered a generator which then fed power to the driving wheels in the engine's trucks. They were interesting and fast.

But even if they could have competed with diesels, they came along at the wrong time. Railroads needed proven locomotives to haul wartime trains, which meant diesels if they could be gotten, conventional steam if they couldn't. Even if GE wanted to pursue the technology, the plants that would have made the turbines were likely backlogged with building steam turbines for naval warships.

GE scrapped the locomotives before the war ended. GE would became one of the two primary manufacturers of diesel locomotives in North America.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Shorter Trump: "I Stand With Syria and Nicaragua!"

President *Trump and Shadow-President Bannon are moving along on their goal to make the United States the largest rogue nation on the planet. Trump's remarks boil down to "fuck the future, what has it ever done for me?"

And that is all.

And Yet, Neither Pharma Sis, Nor Anyone Else, Is Going to Jail

The makers of the lifesaving EpiPen device may have overcharged American taxpayers by as much as $1.27 billion over ten years, a U.S. senator said Wednesday.

The Department of Health and Human Services announced the discrepancy in a letter to Sen. Chuck Grassley, claiming that the drugmaker may have conned taxpayers out of more than $1 billion by misclassifying EpiPen as a generic, rather than a brand-name drug.
Because if you're a large pharmaceutical company, bilking everyone is part of your business model.

A very safe prediction: Nobody will even be charged with anything. Mylan will cough up some more dough, nobody will admit to doing anything wrong, and they'll all go back to the business of trying to swindle the taxpayers and consumers.

By the way: Pharma Bro is going to trial this month and there's even a musical.

Fussing with NATO

As you may know, President* Trump refused to commit to upholding Article 5 of the NATO Treaty.

The Germans have concluded that America cannot be trusted to honor its agreements.

That is probably realistic. Trump is a businessman and, as anyone who has paid even passing attention to his business career knows, Trump's word is worth less than a dollop of spit on a hot sidewalk.

NATO had two goals, one stated, one not. The stated one was to keep the Russians at bay. The second one was to keep Germany underfoot, at least militarily. In both regards, it has functioned well for nearly sixty years.

Trump's refusal to endorse Article 5 is in the interests of what nation? Certainly not in the interests of the European members of NATO, for it calls into question whether or not the United States will defend them in time of war. It doesn't enhance the cause of international stability. "Stable" is something that Trump is not. He's never run his businesses that way. But in the international arena, stability is key. Instability can and has led to war, and only a fool would try to set the stage for a major conflagration in Europe.

Calling into question American resolve to defend its friends and interests, even if by omission, may have been one of the causes of the Korean War. Anyone with a knowledge of history would be aware of that. Which is, likely, not something that anyone will ever say about Trump.

Who benefits? Russia, of course. By hinting to their neighbors, whether they are in NATO or not, that the Americans cannot be trusted, Russia would gain a measure of control and influence over the countries that they regard as their "near abroad," without the bother and expense of actually having to occupy them.

It's happened before. Having an American president who can make it possible for the Russians to do that to their neighbors has to be one of Putin's wet dreams. Which Trump is going to try and make happen. If Trump can do that, then Putin's investment in Trump will have been well worth it.

Discrimination is Expensive

The township will allow the construction of a mosque in a Liberty Corner neighborhood as part of a settlement agreement signed Tuesday.

The settlement ends two federal religious discrimination lawsuits, one from the Justice Department and the other by the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge, filed against the township after it denied a plan to build the mosque.
Of course, this sort of thing isn't unique to Muslims. Congress keeps passing laws to ensure that localities don't discriminate against religious land uses. But then the "good people" soon find out that the law also applies to religions that they don't care for: Sikhs, Hasidic Jews and Muslims.

What that township in NJ is likely to find is that their D&O policy will either be canceled or their premiums will skyrocket. They'll probably won't have much luck finding another insurance underwriter, either.