Words of Advice:

"Never Feel Sorry For Anyone Who Owns an Airplane."-- Tina Marie

If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It.
" -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot,
by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse.
" -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

A Sea Vixen, two Vampires and a Vulcan:

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Republicans Ignore Ethics, At Least When It's Their Ethics

As you may know, Elaine Chao is Trump's pick for Secretary of Transportation. she is the wife of Sen. Mitch McConnell, who isn't recusing himself from voting on her appointment.

The silence from the Right is deafening. Oh, imagine the uproar you'd be hearing from the quiescent conservatives if the election outcome had been different and if Clinton had nominated the spouse of a current Democratic senator. Sort of like the way that, no matter what Trump does, Reps. Issa and Chaffez will have recurrent attacks of situational blindness and deafness.

Why Not Abolish the Draft?

If you are male and you were born after 1953, you have never been at risk for being drafted. The last no-shit draft lottery was held in 1972 for men born in 1953. Of those born that year, only 646 were drafted. My recollection is that all of them were offered discharges around mid-1973.

The draft is a relic of a time when wars were fought by masses of soldiers who had received a few months of training (if that) and then were sent into combat. The draft is from a time when wars were fought (or planned to be) between nations that had roughly equal military abilities. Wars of those types were known for chewing up men and materiel on a very large scale.[1]

As a nation, we aren't very damn likely to get into that type of war. The navy sure doesn't think so, or they wouldn't be buying those littoral combat ships and calling them "frigates". There isn't the industrial base to turn out masses of tanks, fighters or bombers that would be lost in combat. Hell, during Vietnam, the usage of bombs was so high that the ones being shipped from the States late n the war were still warm from the pouring of their explosive cores.[2]

Even when we had a functioning industrial base and we could make damn near anything, the first two years after we entered the Second World War were more of "hold and annoy" strategy until sufficient forces were built up to do something.

It would also take a span of time to build training facilities for a large influx of draftees. The Navy and the Air Force each only have one boot camp. The Marines have two. The Army has four. During the last mass-mobilization war, the Army alone had over 110 boot camps, though to be fair, the Air Force was part of the Army then. It's a fair bet that the training done was as minimal as it could be, given the need to increase throughput.

The point is that even having every man (and maybe woman) registered is almost useless. After registration, there is no requirement to keep the Selective Service people updated on one's whereabouts. Further, everyone has a social security number and if they have a job, the IRS knows where they are (or recently have been).

The shell of the draft system could still be there, with a requirement that, upon activation of the draft, that everybody register for it-- just as was done during both world wars.

For now, registering for the draft is a useless paper drill. It should be abolished most ricky tick.
[1] One brief example: During the Second World War, the U.S. built about 10,000 B-25s. Maybe 2,000 were ever operational at one time. Most were lost from being shot up, shot down or crashes.
[2] This is not a new problem, see "The 1915 Shell Crisis", when the Royal Artillery Corps was so short of heavy shells that they could fire their guns four times a day.

Like Wearing Clown Shoes in a Minefield; Trump's Foreign Policy Ed.

In a break with decadeslong diplomatic tradition, President-elect Donald Trump spoke directly with the president of Taiwan, a move that drew an irritated response from China on Saturday and looked set to cast uncertainty over U.S. policy toward Asia.

It is perhaps unprecedented for a U.S. president or president-elect to speak directly with a leader of Taiwan.
The three-way dance between the United States, Taiwan and China has been going on for over 40 years. Leave it to Trump to tromp around like an elephant in a chicken factory.

The Chinese are, for the moment, willing to cut Trump some slack on this; they're blaming Taiwan for it. But they certainly know that Trump could have refused to have taken the call. Which is something that anyone who had more than a Twitter-based knowledge level of Sino-American relations would have known not to have done.

However, the Trump people said that Trump was aware of the diplomatic niceties involved, that the call was planned, and he took it anyway. Which the Chinese government will surely take note of.

No surprise, there's some grifting going on:
The call also has drawn attention to Taiwanese media reports that the Trump Organization is interested in investing in the Taiwanese city of Taoyuan, near Taipei.


Mama cat at a shelter and her kittens.

Adopt a rescued pet, if you can. They enrich your life.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Stocking With Swamp Creatures

Trump is picking banksters and other vermin for his administration. Putting "The Foreclosure King" in charge of the Treasury Department is akin to putting the head of a drug cartel in charge of the DEA.

The most interesting appointment is Wilbur Ross, the "king of bankruptcy", as the Commerce Secretary. Ross's knack was making money from companies that were in trouble, while Trump made his money by setting up companies and running them into the ground. So in a way, they complement each other.

So far, I have yet to note a single appointment of anyone who has a track record of sticking up for the working stiffs of America. Between a troll who wants to set fire to what's left of the social safety net and banksters, Trump's picks sound more like hiring the firm of Kyd, Teach and Roberts to defend the sea lanes.

Everybody Has a Video Camera, People. Please Act Accordingly.

You've may have heard about the woman who went on a racist Trumpian rant at a store because they didn't have a free bag large enough to hold her shit. Apparently, losing her shit in public is her thing.

As the cops are gradually realizing, when you do stupid shit in full view of other people, somebody's probably recording your antics. And, should your stupidity be of the sort that becomes widely known, it will fuck up your life.

I'm not writing her name, but it's easily findable. Unless the Klan or Breitbart is hiring, she's going to have a hell of a time finding a job where the human resources department does any bit of research on job candidates.

When you're out in public, act like adults, people.

Crime and Video

If you're going to do highly illegal/stupid shit, it's a good idea to not stream live video of you doing said stupid shit.
Police say a Rhode Island man who streamed himself on Facebook Live driving 114 mph before crashing into a garbage truck and a concrete barrier was driving with a suspended license.

Because It's Friday

There is some annoying music in this one. But to be fair, I regard any music on steam and aircraft videos as annoying as all fuck.

Foreign Policy: Now Commence Amateur Hour

Late on Wednesday afternoon US President-elect Donald Trump had a phone call with Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

According to a Pakistani account of what should probably have been a procedural discussion, Mr Trump lavished extravagant praise upon Pakistan's prime minister and its people.

"You have a very good reputation. You are a terrific guy," it goes. In addition, Pakistan is "a fantastic country, fantastic place" with the most "intelligent" people and "your country is amazing with tremendous opportunities".

Not satisfied with that, the account, commonly known as read-outs, culminates with this flourish: "Please convey to the Pakistani people that they are amazing and all Pakistanis I have known are exceptional people, said Mr Donald Trump."
One may be surprised that Trump didn't say that "Pakistanis are the best cab drivers and suicide bombers."

Naked and baseless flattery may work in Trump's world, but to those who live in a reality-based universe, it looks like insincere bullshit.

Since apparently the fetal-Trump administration doesn't believe that there is such a thing as "facts" or reality, then this is going to be a very interesting administration to watch and endure.

Caturday Humor

A "cat treat" commercial:

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Another Newspaper Died Today

As I wrote two months ago, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review ceased operations today.

I don't see how it'll work worth a crap. If you're in Pittsburgh and you want a morning paper to read, the P-G is still around. There's a weekly that targets a few neighborhoods.

Most digital news sites are tied into other media, which generates both the operating income and the content. Purely digital news sources don't seem to do a lot of original reporting; they may add commentary, but they mostly bite off other sources, the ones who employ the reporters who interview people, attend public meetings and research stuff. The Trib's been open about buying out senior staff and laying off others, which I take to mean that they have the staff to reformat press releases, but they're not going to be attending school board or city council meetings.

I strongly urge that people subscribe to a newspaper. It's great if it's your local one, but if not, so long as you're subscribing to some form of general print journalism. The digital folks aren't going to be the ones who hold public officials' feet to the fire. For freedom and liberty to exist, there has to be independent watchdogs.

If not the press, then whom?

(My screed about newspapers and online content.)

Selling Out, Mitt?

Mitt's expression seems to indicate that he didn't get a good price for his soul.

Trump, on the other hand, looks like a cat playing with a fresh mouse.

Here's another one, for your pirating pleasure:

It appears that Mitt forgot to bring it.

My guess is that, having publicly humiliated Mitt and destroying what's left of his reputation for integrity, Trump will curb-stomp Romney. And it would seem that Romney knows that will happen, for he looks about as happy as a man whose been told that he has stage 4 penile cancer.

(Romney's thinking: "I got more votes than this tool and I lost?"

Trump's "Blind Trust"

It's beginning to appear that the Grifter-Elect will, at least on paper, leave his businesses to his kids to run for him.

Trump's apparent plan, when compared to a traditional blind trust, is akin to a comparison of the visual acuity of Chuck Yeager and Helen Keller.

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Short Title is "Racist"

From a profile of Steve Bannon:
Ms. Jones, the film colleague, said that in their years working together, Mr. Bannon occasionally talked about the genetic superiority of some people and once mused about the desirability of limiting the vote to property owners.

“I said, ‘That would exclude a lot of African-Americans,’” Ms. Jones recalled. “He said, ‘Maybe that’s not such a bad thing.’ I said, ‘But what about Wendy?’” referring to Mr. Bannon’s executive assistant. “He said, ‘She’s different. She’s family.’”
The Times may think that Bannon is "combative" and "a populist", and maybe those terms apply. But so do "bigot" and "racist".

Warm Up the Needles

A white man accused of fatally shooting nine black parishioners at a Charleston church last year was allowed to act as his own attorney in his federal death penalty trial Monday.

[Asswipe's] request came against his lawyers' advice, and U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel said he would reluctantly accept the 22-year-old's "unwise" decision.
Asswipe is facing the Federal death penalty for hate crimes resulting in death and the state death penalty for multiple murders.

Seems to me that the taxpayers could save several million bucks by the prosecutors letting Asswipe plead out to multiple life terms and then wait for the somewhat inevitable shanking.

Donald the Delusional

US President-elect Donald Trump has asserted he won the popular vote on 8 November "if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally".
Of course, he has no evidence whatsoever to support his claim.

Not having facts or evidence has never stood in the way of that narcissistic nutcase before. Why should it now? The Donald knows nothing and he takes pride in being ignorant.

Kind of like Bush II.

By the way, has anyone set up a "Trump or Orangutan" web page, yet? I don't see one, but there are a shitload of photo comparisons.

I have little doubt that Trump will seek to make any such comparisons illegal.

Step One in Setting Up an Authoritarian State

Torture people.
Human rights group Amnesty International recently said it had "credible reports" of detainees [in Turkey] being subjected to "beatings and torture, including rape", while Human Rights Watch documented several cases of alleged abuse, facilitated by a state of emergency that extends police detention from four to 30 days and denies access to a lawyer for up to five days.

The BBC uncovered more testimony of alleged abuse, not just from suspected coup-plotters but from others caught up in the purge accused of "support for terrorism", including Kurds and leftists.
It's a fair bet that if the coup had been successful, that many of the people doing and approving of torture would have been themselves subjected to it. Hell, the lower-level torturers may have been torturing for the coup plotters.

None of this should be surprising. When the authorities think they can get away with torturing people, they do. Torture was winked at by the legal system here for a very long time. Only the rise of European fascism began to make torture unappealing to Americans.

But, as we saw fifteen years ago, our government and law enforcement will resort to torture in the blink of an eye. So while people may be horrified at what is going on in Turkey, don't kid yourselves for a picosecond that it can't happen here.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The "Why" is Really Fairly Obvious

The writer of this piece is wondering why Americans are closing their eyes to Russian interference in the presidential election.

The reason, or at least part of the reason, is clear to me: The Right hates the Clintons, especially Hillary Clinton, with a hatred that is so visceral that they'd rather turn over the government to a Putin-puppet and burn it to the ground than see Hillary elected. In short, they hate Hillary far more than they love the country. In that, the only historic American that they resemble is Benedict Arnold.

As for the Democrats, most of them are stuck in some time-warp from the 1950s. They still believe that the other side is acting out of a reasonable ideology and is open to persuasion and working together for the good of the land. Which is complete and utter horseshit. The Right has been playing scorched-earth warfare for two decades, at least, and the Democrats act as though they're in a mixture of a college debate club and a high tea.

So yes, we let the Russians cook the election. The media is too craven to cover it and the ones that aren't have the attention span of gnats. The Fourth Estate failed in their duty-- rather than pull the lid off Russian interference, they got twisted around what The Donald's latest Twitter outrage happened to be.

Now, of course, there is fuck-all that can be done about it.

Interesting What Will Get One Suspended as a Teacher in California

Comment on the historical parallels between the rise to power of Hitler and Trump: Suspension.

Make some comment about lynching all black people as an example of equality in action: Not so much.

Get Ready for Another Episode of "Bin Ladin Determined to Attack the U.S."

President-elect Donald Trump has received two classified intelligence briefings since his surprise election victory earlier this month, a frequency that is notably lower — at least so far — than that of his predecessors, current and former U.S. officials said.

A team of intelligence analysts has been prepared to deliver daily briefings on global developments and security threats to Trump in the two weeks since he won. Vice President-elect Mike Pence, by contrast, has set aside time for intelligence briefings almost every day since the election, officials said.
Ignorant and incurious.

We've been down this road before, about sixteen years ago.

Maybe Pence is going to run the store while Trump concentrates on glomming onto as much as he can.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

The CF-18:

The Canadians are buying more F-18s. Apparently, they are not casting their lot with the F-35 Turkey.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Of All the Grifting That Is Going On, or Will Go On, The Outrage Over This Won't Be Worth the Squeeze.

The Secret Service is in negotiations with the Trump Organization to take over two vacant floors in the gilded 68-story Fifth Avenue tower, law enforcement sources told The Post.

The federal agency and the NYPD plan to run a 24/7 command post out of the space that would be housed at least 40 floors below Trump’s $90 million penthouse triplex, where wife Melania and their 10-year-old son Barron will continue to reside at least through the spring, sources said.
I can understand the Trumps not wanting to jerk their youngest son out of school in the middle of the year. If memory serves, the Obamas first thought about doing the same thing, but the disruption that would have caused to their neighborhood in Chicago made them reconsider that plan.

Sure, Trump will charge the government full market rent, if not more. Nobody would expect anything else.

There's little doubt that the security bullshit will result in some current residential tenants pulling up stakes. The sort of people who can afford to rent a luxury apartment in Manhattan aren't the type to put up with a lot of annoyances, especially if the NYPD or the SS takes to rooting around through their luggage and making it inconvenient for them to enjoy premium-grade illicit pharmaceuticals.

It's not as though Trump can make up the difference with renting to foreign legations, as those people have their own security, which might not mesh well with the SS/NYPD. Maybe he can make up the vacancies with sycophants and wheeler-dealers, like Wall Street banksters and the Koch brothers.

Bottom line is that the SS has a job to do and if Trump wants to spend time in his own home, so be it.


Chip is watching a nature show on TV.

It was The Story of Cats (prior alert was given).

Friday, November 25, 2016

Heh. Heh. Heh.

I'd never seen this show before. Looks like I'm going to fall into another time sink.

Now Let's Fuck Up ATC

Trump is listening to the airlines, who want to privatize the national air traffic control network.

The way it works now is that if you want to file an IFR flight plan, you just do it. You then pick up your clearance and go. Whether you're flying a Citation-X or a Super Cub, as long as the aircraft is IFR capable and the pilot(s) are instrument-rated and capable, that's about it. The system itself is paid for by fuel taxes. Oh, some of the bigger airports have landing fees, but most don't.

What the airlines really want to do is to stamp out the use of ATC by general aviation, which they will seek to do by charging user-fees that the airlines will say are "fair and equitable". It'll be like converting the interstate highway system into toll roads and then letting the trucking companies set the toll rates. That won't bother users of the really big bizjets, a couple extra grand won't faze Larry Ellison or Oprah Winfrey. But charging owners of Mooneys or Cessnas a couple hundred to file an IFR flight plan will persuade a lot of them to either try the trip VFR or take a commercial flight, which would also please the airlines.

One Bit of Good News; Criminal Justice Ed.

The Asswipe of Charleston has been found competent to stand trial.

Vignettes: Apologies to the Author

In this post, I should have included a link to the author's book. The post got over a thousand hits, so he might have sold a few more copies.

Fixed that.

Sorry about that, Mr. Bryson.

Don't Use This Photo of Trump, He Hates It.

(click on the photo for full-size)
(Photo credit)

Trump bitched to NBC News that they were using unflattering photos of him.

Maybe they used this one:

Calling Trump "thin-skinned" would seem to be a gross understatement, akin to calling Hurricane Katrina "a bad storm". He seems to crave flattery and adulation, as exemplified in his early remarks about Putin, when he said that he wasn't going to criticise anyone who said nice things about him (Trump).

One thing about George W. Bush, as much as people made fun of him with his vague resemblance to primates, I don't recall anyone ever relaying that Dubya, AKA Chimpy, was offended by it enough to rail about it in public. He was a somewhat-seasoned politician who knew that distain and mockery was part of the job.

When Trump's criticized, it seems to drive him slightly batty. His staff is going to have a hell of a job to keep him insulated from that, sort of like palace courtiers in the Middle Ages. And since the GOP has established a precedent for heckling at the State of the Union speech, this could be fun in a trainwreck sense of the word.

Imagine the billboards that could go up when Trump goes places. He might want to nuke American cities.

And will Trump go with whomsoever flatters him the most, regardless of the merits of an issue?

Because It's Friday

Railroad jobs in the postwar UK: