Friday, September 25, 2015

Boehner Is Out

I'm middle-age, and I've never voted in a federal election in which John Boehner wasn't on the ballot. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

If The Cuckoo Don't Crow

If they aren't having relations with dead pigs, British folks are telling stories like this:

If The Cuckoo Don't Crow from Steve Kirby on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

RIP Yogi

He was much more than just a font of funny quotes:
Berra starred on Yankees teams that dominated baseball during his 18 years playing in pinstripes, from 1946 to 1963. He played in 14 World Series and was on the winning side 10 times, both records. He also holds World Series career records for at-bats (259) and hits (71).
The American League Most Valuable Player in 1951, 1954 and 1955, he was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972, the same year the Yankees retired his uniform, No. 8.
“He would beat you in some way, whether it was with his defense behind the plate, a great throwing arm or that clutch hitting that every winning ball club must have,” recalled former Yankee pitcher Don Larsen, who threw the only perfect game in World Series history in 1956, with Berra behind the plate.
Another baseball legend leaves us.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Genius Plan of Emission Testing Fraud

Until they got caught, that is:

This reminds me of the novel I read that was written by an armored car robber.  It detailed all the preparatory work they did prior to a heist, and all I could think of was, "man, these guys are smart enough to make good money doing something legitimate, they wouldn't have to work as hard and there wouldn't be an inevitable stint in the joint."  Just design the emission system to work.  What I'd like to know in the Volkswagen case is whether they were charging customers to refill the DEF tank in their cars, even if it wasn't being used.  Now that would really piss people off.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Why Are Voters Mad As Hell?

This might be one of the main reasons:
The typical man with a full-time job–the one at the statistical middle of the middle–earned  $50,383 last year, the Census Bureau reported this week.
The typical man with a full-time job in 1973 earned $53,294, measured in 2014 dollars to adjust for inflation.
You read that right: The median male worker who was employed year-round and full time earned less in 2014 than a similarly situated worker earned four decades ago. And those are the ones who had jobs.
This one fact, tucked in Table A-4 of the Census Bureau’s annual report on income, is both a symptom of an economy that isn’t delivering for many ordinary Americans and at least one reason for the dissatisfaction, anger, and distrust that voters are displaying in the 2016 presidential campaign.
Now one major caveat is that this number doesn't include health insurance costs, which have skyrocketed and have eaten up every bit of the additional compensation the average worker would have gotten over the last 40 years.  But, in fact, everyone making less than the median income has fared even worse.  No wonder so many voters are pissed off.

The Prop Plane Better Than The F-35

At least for close air support, the A-29 would be vastly more useful:
Political infighting like this led to poor air support in Afghanistan. And by 2006, a group of SEALs in Afghanistan were fed up with it. They asked the Secretary of the Navy personally for his help in getting a better plane overhead.
Not long after the SEALs’ request, the Secretary put together a small team and charged them with finding a better aircraft for this kind of war. Consensus quickly grew around a lightweight turboprop-driven plane. The team took possession of a couple old Vietnam-era OV-10 Broncos that last saw combat in Desert Storm, and started flying them. But they wanted something with more punch. More lethality. They soon found a plane built for exactly this purpose.
The classified Imminent Fury project was born.
In response to the SEALs’ request, the Navy committed Pentagon heresy by going backwards in airplane technology. Instead of jet engines, they found a propellor-driven plane worked better.
Years before, a Brazilian company called Embraer had built a plane specially made for the close-in aerial fighting that the dirty wars South American and African insurgencies required. The Navy immediately leased one of them for testing. (A later phase would have raised the number to four.) This is how Embraer’s EMB-314 Tucano became reborn as the A-29B Super Tucano.
The plane was refitted at the Navy’s test facility in Patuxent River, Maryland, and flown to an out-of-the-way airbase in Nevada so it could be seen how well this “Super T” could fight...
In Nevada, they shot 50-caliber machine guns mounted in the A-29’s wings. They dropped small laser-guided and GPS-guided bombs. They fired thousands of 2.75-inch rockets, some of which had laser-guidance upgrades. These were the types of weapons best suited to the war in Afghanistan. And for self-defense, the A-29 could even fire the same Sidewinder air-to-air missile used in their previous lives as jet pilots.
Multiple Imminent Fury test pilots, including Lt. Col. Mann, tell me that the plane was perfect for fighting guerrillas in Afghanistan. The commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, wanted four of them flying in his skies immediately. But would the Pentagon really fight for this plane? Especially one that, technologically, ran in the complete opposite direction of its stealthy F-35? 
The F-35 is a massive, perfectly politically designed boondoggle which is going to waste taxpayer dollars for a generation.  Meanwhile, ground troops will suffer in whichever ill-conceived wars our idiot politicians send them into.  That is how empires collapse.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

NASA Photo of the Day

September 18:
A Plutonian Landscape
Image Credit: NASA, Johns Hopkins Univ./APL, Southwest Research Institute
Explanation: This shadowy landscape of majestic mountains and icy plains stretches toward the horizon of a small, distant world. It was captured from a range of about 18,000 kilometers when New Horizons looked back toward Pluto, 15 minutes after the spacecraft's closest approach on July 14. The dramatic, low-angle, near-twilight scene follows rugged mountains still popularly known as Norgay Montes from foreground left, and Hillary Montes along the horizon, giving way to smooth Sputnik Planum at right. Layers of Pluto's tenuous atmosphere are also revealed in the backlit view. With a strangely familiar appearance, the frigid terrain likely includes ices of nitrogen and carbon monoxide with water-ice mountains rising up to 3,500 meters (11,000 feet). That's comparable in height to the majestic mountains of planet Earth. This Plutonian landscape is 380 kilometers (230 miles) across.