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

Saturday, January 20, 2018


Bella was in her refuse over the holidays.

Bella is a bit of an introvert. She will have no truck with people whom she does neither know or approve of. I am honored to be on her list of friends.

Friday, January 19, 2018

A Working Stereotype

Every Trump political appointee is homophobic and a racist.

Case in point:
An appointee of President Trump has resigned from the federal agency that runs AmeriCorps and other service programs after remarks he made disparaging blacks, Muslims, gays, women, veterans with PTSD and undocumented immigrants surfaced in the news media.

Carl Higbie lasted less than six months as the chief of external affairs in the Corporation for National and Community Service.
About the only group that this clown didn't insult were Hispanics. Which puts him one up on Inspector Callahan.

Tide Pod Challenge

There is a satirical piece up on the Duffel Blog about Marines eating Tide pods.

Here is why I may be an incurable optimist about humanity: I thought "No way, that can't be a thing."

It is. Even though:
Tide Pods contain chemicals that according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry can cause esophagus damage, burns, blood pressure changes, gastrointestinal and neurological and endocrine problems among other things. The presence of the chemical 1,4 dioxane is especially dangerous.
If you are contemplating biting into a Tide pod, then you are a fucking idiot as well as a future competitior for a Darwin Award.

Because It's Friday

UP "Big Boy" update:

Rumor has been that UP wanted her done for the sesquicentennial of the "Golden Spike", but I don't see how that's going to happen. They are basically hand-building the entire locomotive.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Russian Wrinkle in the Investigarion

The FBI is investigating whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump win the presidency, two sources familiar with the matter have told McClatchy.

FBI counterintelligence investigators have focused on the activities of Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank who is known for his close relationships with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the NRA, the sources said.
A lot remains to be proven. I have little doubt that Mueller and the FBI will ferret out the truth.

But, and this is a huge but, if it turns out that the NRA was a front organization for the Russians, then the NRA will have done to itself what Bill Clinton, Gabby Giffords, Sarah Brady, Pete Shields and other have never been able to do.

Pete Brownell, who was elected president of the NRA last year, needs to jump on this with booth feet while wearing track shoes.

Shorter Trump: "Die, Faggot, Die."

Just when you think they've hit the bottom of the well on being hateful and despicable, Trump breaks out his entrenching tool and begins to dig:
Health care workers who want to refuse to treat patients because of religious or moral beliefs will have a new defender in the Trump administration.

The top civil rights official at the Department of Health and Human Services is creating the Division of Conscience and Religious Freedom to protect doctors, nurses and other health care workers who refuse to take part in procedures like abortion or treat certain people because of moral or religious objections.
Let's not forget that those so-called "religiously moral" medicos would have denied service to Trump's mentor, Roy Cohn, because he was (a) Jewish, (b) gay; and (c) had AIDS.

So now, under President Stable Genius, all one has to do to be able to discriminate is claim religion or moral grounds.

Seems to me that was a tactic under the old Jim Crow era.

I'd snark more, but I have to go.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Our Broken Surface Navy

Five officers involved in two Navy ship collisions last year that killed a total of 17 sailors are being charged with negligent homicide, the Navy said Tuesday.

A Navy spokesman, Capt. Greg Hicks, said the charges, which also include dereliction of duty and endangering a ship, will be presented to what the military calls an Article 32 hearing to determine whether the accused are taken to trial in a court-martial.
I'm throwing the "Bullshit Flag" on this.

But don't listen to me. Pay attention to Commander Salamander. He has a long and excellent piece over at the USNI blog, but this is the nut of it, if you don't want to read the entire thing:
As the former COs of FITZ and MCCAIN get ready for their ordeal, there are a few things we should keep in mind.

They were not the ones who created the conditions that addressed manning shortfalls by cross-decking Sailors neither trained nor qualified for the watches they would stand.

They were not the ones that created the conditions where ships could not get the depot level maintenance they needed, so already short-manned ship’s company would complete that required maintenance out of hide – not doing their primary jobs or getting enough rest.

They were not the ones who so “optimally” manned their ships to the point there was little white-space in the calendar for the COs to fully train and drill their crews.

They were not the ones who were more than happy to deploy ships that demanded 80-100 hr work weeks for weeks and months on end and expected nothing bad would happen on their watch.

They were not the ones who created a culture where self-abuse was a virtue; where professional development and mastery of your craft was seen as an obstacle to ambition.

…and yet, they will be the ones at Courts Martial. They were in command. That comes with the package.
It is hard to train people. It's hard to persuade our skinflint do-nothing Congress to pay for it. It's hard to get funding for enough people to do the jobs, so the fraking in-house MBAs at Ft. Fumble came up with the idea of cross-decking-- "let's train gunners' mates to stand helm watches" and more stupid shit.

The surface Navy is so far behind the curve on shipbuilding and manning that, well, you ain't seen nothing yet. The Tyco-class is wearing out without any replacements in even the planning stage. In contrast, the CG-47s were being launched well before their predecessors, the CG-16/26s, were scrapped (or SINKEXed). There is no real replacement for the DDG-51s, which have been in production since the late 1980s. The LCS class will be the subject of "WTF happened there" studies for the next fifty years. It seems that insufficient manning is now baked-in to the system.

People who were aboard those ships were killed because of this shit. Others may go to prison. These charges and upcoming courts-martials are and will be the most egregious use of the military justice system to cover up systemic problems since the execution of Admiral John Byng.

The flag officers who were responsible for the lack of training and undermanning, both active-duty and retired, should be put up against a retaining wall at Ft. Fumble and shot, pour encourager les autres.

(Earlier post.)

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Unloved; Bangity Ed.

A kind of gnarly-looking Smith & Wesson Model 10-7:

There were freckles of surface rust. Under the grips, there was bright orange rust. All the rust (or 99.44% of it) was scrubbed off with gun solvent and a copper pad.

The inside of the crane is fine, so the neglect apparently didn't reach to the internals. The timing is excellent. There is no endshake. The bore and chambers are in fine shape; the bore is bright and there is very little firing erosion in the chambers.

S&W began producing 10-7s in 1977. S&W stopped pinning barrels in 1982, so I have a five-year production window for the gun. Before the days of CCW permits, six-inch barrels were very popular for non-police purchasers. Most cop shops got away from 6" barrels in the early-mid 1960s,

My guess would be that somebody bought the gun, fired it a little, and then put it away. It then laid on a shelf in a workshop or basement until it got sold off in an estate sale or a nursing-home downsizing.

It'll be treated better and shot more often.

Trumpist Normality

Trump's lawyer allegedly paid a porn star 130 large to shut her up about having sex with Trump during his 3rd marriage.

What's surprising about this: First, the story was broken by the Wall Street Journal, a Murdoch rag.

Second, nobody's at all surprised by any of this.

What's not surprising is that the so-called "moral majority" has not uttered a peep and has not flagged in their support of Caudillo Trump. They would have been in batshit-raving mode at any suggestion that Bill Clinton had sex with a hooker, let alone paid her to shut up about it. But when it comes to their guy, they're just as amorally opportunistic as a K Street lobbyist representing Greater Berzerkistan.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Manning for Senate?

Chelsea Manning is running for the Senate in Maryland.

I don't think she has a chance in hell of winning, but then again, I thought the same with regard to Trump. So maybe you shouldn't listen to me.

P.S.; Transphobic comments will receive an automatic Red Card.

Cloudy With a Chance of Missiles; 1971 Edition

What happened then.

A followup broadcast:

I don't remember this happening. But it was a Saturday morning and, unless somebody was watching cartoons, the TV would have been off. I listened to CBS Radio News a lot when I was younger, on WCBS-880 and WBBM-780, depending on where I was living. I haven't heard Neil Strawser's voice in a very long time. But I digress.

Anyway, this is a "teletype tape," for those of you too young to have seen one in operation:

This is a teletype machine:

The red arrow is pointing at the tape printer: The operator would type out a draft of a telex or radio message (these replaced Morse code) and the printer (red arrow) would spew out the perforated tape. (Telex machines were also used for remote computer access back in the days of punchcards and FORTRAN). Once the message was reviewed and approved by whomever, the tape would be placed in the reader (green arrow) and sent out.

I think some of the machines could do both functions in draft mode, so if there were a few changes to be made a good operator could run the old tape to the point of changes, and then begin typing from there. But I'm not certain of that; it's been decades since I've had anything to do with them.

The nice thing for them in the service was that if one drafted a nasty message, it could be held for a bit to rethink it. If the writer then decided "nah", they'd tear up the tape and that was that.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Today's Weather: Cloudy With a Chance of Missiles

(Updated to add:)

A false alarm that warned of a ballistic missile headed for Hawaii sent the islands into a panic Saturday, with people abandoning cars in a highway and preparing to flee their homes until officials said the cellphone alert was a mistake.
The emergency alert, which was sent to cellphones statewide just before 8:10 a.m., said: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”
White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said it “was purely a state exercise.”
It wasn't an "exercise", Lindsay, you stupid, stupid loon.

This is the sort of mistake that should result in a rip, if not worse. One or two false alerts and if a real alert is then sent out, a lot of people will ignore it.

Hell's bells, when you go to exit Adobe Acrobat or Firefox and you have multiple tabs open, those programs ask if you really mean to close them all. How hard would it have been for a warning flag to pop up that says "You are about to issue a nuclear attack alert. Do you really want to do that?" and then another one: "Are you really sure you want to do that?"

Because No White House Staffer Has Any Short-Term Memory

With an eye on bolstering cyber security protocols and cracking down on leaks to the media, Chief of Staff John Kelly issued a memo to staff on Wednesday outlining the administration's new ban on personal cell phones within the West Wing complex of the White House.
“For the purposes of this memorandum, the West Wing means the facility generally located between the President’s Executive Residence and West Executive Drive,” a footnote of the memo reads. “For purposes of this policy, the West Wing does not include the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room, any White House Press Corps work spaces, or any outdoor common area, such as the Rose Garden or the North Lawn media positions.”
Right. Because none of the staff can remember the details of the Avalanche of Daily Trumpist Stupidity until they get out to their cars.

Guess The Donald has to leave his cell phone in his bedroom. But he can go back there and tweet during his "executive time", a little dodge that cuts his official working day down to about two hours a day.

With his light schedule and all of the time he spends golfing or otherwise fucking off, it'd be a stretch to say that Trump is on the clock for more than 600 hours a year. That's about $666/hr at his current pay rate.

Nice work if you can get it.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

The duPont DP-1:

As a failed military procurement/R&D aircraft program goes, the DP-1 was sort of small potatoes. But it showed the power of the single congressman who kept it alive for a very long time.