31 October 2020

I Haz Invented a New Drink

You've heard of a Rum and Coke? 

It's commonly called a Cuba Libre, though some argue that this also requires lime juice.

The other day, I picked up a pizza when I picked up my son from work at Mod Pizza, and decided to get some Birch Beer, which is somewhat hard to find, but always stocked there.

When I got home, I poured the birch beer in a glass, and mixed it with some (a lot, actually) dark rum. (No citrus added)

The wintergreen overtones (The oil in wintergreen and birch are almost identical) works very well with dark rum.

My only question now is what to call it.

"Rum and Birch" sounds like some sort of S&M thing.

I Did Nazi That Coming

Politically motivated terrorism
A group of Trump supporters tried to run a Biden campaign bus off the road in Texas

The use of Brownshirt is now appropriate, now matter what Godwin's law says:

Joe Biden’s presidential campaign canceled a Friday event in Austin, Texas, after harassment from a pro-Trump contingent.

Texas has emerged as a battleground state in Tuesday’s presidential election, with polls showing the typically Republican stronghold now only marginally favoring President Donald Trump. The Biden campaign scheduled a Friday event in the state, in a bid to drum up last-minute support.

But when the Biden campaign bus drove to Austin, it was greeted by a blockade of pro-Trump demonstrators, leading to what one Texas House representative described as an escalation “well beyond safe limits.”


Historian Dr. Eric Cervini was driving to help with the Biden campaign stop when he filmed a line of pickup trucks along the highway, many of them flying Trump flags. The drivers were “waiting to ambush the Biden/Harris campaign bus as it traveled from San Antonio to Austin,” Cervini tweeted.

“These Trump supporters, many of whom were armed, surrounded the bus on the interstate and attempted to drive it off the road,” he alleged. “They outnumbered police 50-1, and they ended up hitting a staffer’s car.”


Video from the highway shows trucks surrounding the bus, at one point colliding with an SUV.

Footage from a CBS affiliate in Austin shows Trump supporters with signs and bullhorns surrounding the bus when it parked, with one person screaming that Biden was a communist.

Rep. Sheryl Cole, a Democrat representing nearby Pflugerville in Texas’s House, announced that a Biden event in her city had been canceled due to the harassment.


The Biden campaign’s Texas communications director, Tariq Thowfeek, said holding the event would have placed Biden staffers and supporters at risk.

“Rather than engage in productive conversation about the drastically different visions that Joe Biden and Donald Trump have for our country, Trump supporters in Texas today instead decided to put our staff, surrogates, supporters, and others in harm’s way,” Thowfeek told The Daily Beat. [Yes, the Daily Beast misspelled their own name right here, I double checked.]


The Trump campaign—and often Trump himself—has encouraged in-person conflict around the polls. Trump used the first presidential debate to urge supporters to act as “poll watchers,” a call that sparked concerns of voter intimidation. His son, Donald Trump Jr., made an explicit call-out regarding the Biden campaign’s Texas outreach efforts.


On Saturday, the president himself relished in news of the MAGA contingent harassing Biden’s campaign bus, retweeting video of the incident along with the caption, “I LOVE TEXAS!”

This does not bode well for the future of the republic.

Also, can we PLEASE give Texas back to Mexico?

Cervini's tweet storm embedded after the break

The Timber Industry Lies

A study of logging shows that logging does not prevent wildfires.

The argument has always been that private, and more heavily logged, forests are less prone to wildfires.

An extensive study has shown this to be false:

As thousands of Oregon homes burned to rubble last month, the state’s politicians joined the timber industry in blaming worsening wildfires on the lack of logging.


In the decades since government restrictions reduced logging on federal lands, the timber industry has promoted the idea that private lands are less prone to wildfires, saying that forests thick with trees fuel bigger, more destructive blazes. But an analysis by OPB and ProPublica shows last month’s fires burned as intensely on private forests with large-scale logging operations as they did, on average, on federal lands that cut fewer trees.

In fact, private lands that were clear-cut in the past five years, with thousands of trees removed at once, burned slightly hotter than federal lands, on average. On public lands, areas that were logged within the past five years burned with the same intensity as those that hadn’t been cut, according to the analysis.

“The belief people have is that somehow or another we can thin our way to low-intensity fire that will be easy to suppress, easy to contain, easy to control. Nothing could be further from the truth,” said Jack Cohen, a retired U.S. Forest Service scientist who pioneered research on how homes catch fire.

The timber industry has sought to frame logging as the alternative to catastrophic wildfires through advertising, legislative lobbying and attempts to undermine research that has shown forests burn more severely under industrial management, according to documents obtained by OPB, The Oregonian/OregonLive and ProPublica.


“That kind of management clearly didn’t provide community protection,” said Dunn, who spent eight years as a wildland firefighter. He now studies fire behavior and risk for Oregon State University and the Forest Service.

In 2018, Dunn co-authored a study with Humboldt State University’s Harold Zald that found the 2013 Douglas Complex Fire in southern Oregon burned 30% more severely on private industrial timber plantations than on federal forestlands.

The way to protect forest from catastrophic wildfires is more fires, whether naturally occurring or prescribed burns, period, full stop. 

The movement for thinning is timber industry propaganda.

2020 Sucks

My favorite film of Connery's

Sean Connery, best known for his hard-edged portrayal of British spy James Bond, has died at age 90.

While I enjoyed his turn as 007, my favorite movie of his is the space-western Outland.

Following his turn as Bond, he spend a lot of time trying to move beyond that, and toward the end of his career, it seemed that all too often he was playing Sean Connery more than he was playing a character.

In Outland he was far enough removed from Bond, but had not become an icon that directors under-used.

His role in the movie as a marshal was restrained and understated, and I particularly liked his interplay with Frances Sternhagen, and Peter Boyle, as always, gave a solid performance.

He will be missed:

Sean Connery, the Scottish actor best known for his portrayal of James Bond, has died aged 90. His son, Jason, said he had died peacefully in his sleep, having been “unwell for some time”.

He was admired by generations of film fans as the original and best 007, and went on to create a distinguished body of work in films such as The Man Who Would Be King, The Name of the Rose and The Untouchables.

Born Thomas Sean Connery in 1930, he grew up in the tough Fountainbridge area of Edinburgh and left school at 14 to work as a milkman for the Co-op. In 1948, he joined the Royal Navy, but was later discharged on medical grounds. He began bodybuilding aged 18, and got work as a life model, among many jobs, and entered the Mr Universe contest in 1953, though he did not win. Having been interested in acting for some time, Connery used his Mr Universe visit to London to audition for a stage version of South Pacific, and landed a role in the chorus.


But it was his casting, at the age of 30, in the first film adapted from Ian Fleming’s series of James Bond novels that cemented his screen status. Reportedly at the insistence of producer Albert “Cubby” Broccoli’s wife, Dana, Connery got the role in Dr No over better known actors due to his “sex appeal”. Despite initial misgivings, Dr No was a huge success, not least because it had been produced, cautiously, on a comparatively low budget. Released in 1962, it was a hit in Britain, but also did well commercially in the US.

Connery went on to appear in four more Bond films in succession, between 1963 and 1967: From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball and You Only Live Twice. His dramatically increased star status also allowed him to take films outside the series, notably the psychological thriller Marnie, for Alfred Hitchcock, and The Hill, a military-prison drama directed by Sidney Lumet. However, his increasing disenchantment at playing 007 saw him drop out of the next Bond film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and he was replaced by George Lazenby. However, the Australian actor’s tenure lasted only for a single film, and Connery was lured back for Diamonds Are Forever in 1971 with an enormous fee.


Throughout his career, Connery made no secret of his support for Scottish independence, and became a high-profile member of the Scottish National party, taking part in party political broadcasts in the 1990s and appearing alongside then-leader Alex Salmond. His politics reportedly led to the Scottish secretary Donald Dewar blocking plans for Connery’s knighthood in 1997, but the honour finally came three years later. However, as Connery had moved away from the UK in the mid-1970s, his substantial financial contributions to the SNP were ended after legislation disallowed funding from overseas residents.

So many of the figures from my youth seem to be leaving us these days.

Makes one think about one's own mortality.

30 October 2020

Official Misconduct in the Breonna Taylor Affair Gets Even More Sordid

First, it appears that the grand jurors completely freaked out when they realized that they wouldn't be presented any possibility of indicting the cops who killed Brionna Taylor.

Even with the power that the Attorney General had over the proceedings, they knew that this was an egregiously corrupt turn of events:

Two grand jurors who heard the Kentucky Attorney General's Office presentation of the Breonna Taylor case say prosecutors were dismissive of their questions and that there was an "uproar" when jurors realized Louisville police officers wouldn't be charged with Taylor's death.

The grand jurors -- who are choosing to remain anonymous, citing security concerns -- spoke to journalists by phone Wednesday evening along with their attorney, Kevin Glogower, and community activist Christopher 2X. They spoke about how their service on the Taylor case was unlike dozens of other cases they heard throughout their month of service.


Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Annie O'Connell earlier this month allowed grand jurors to speak about their service after Grand Juror 1 filed court documents suggesting public comments by Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron about the proceedings were misleading.

Six possible homicide charges under Kentucky law weren't considered against the Louisville Metro Police Department officers who fired their weapons in Taylor's apartment because "they were justified in the return of deadly fire" after being shot at once by Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker III, Cameron said in a news conference last month. The "grand jury agreed" with that decision, he said in his first public comments about the grand jury proceedings.

Grand Juror 1 described Cameron's comments as "inaccurate" and said the first time he heard there were six possible homicide charges that the jurists could have reviewed was in Cameron's news conference.

"Even though we asked for other charges to be brought, we were never told of any additional charges. We were just told that they didn't feel that they can make any charges stick" and that LMPD officers were justified in returning fire," the juror said.

"They didn't go into the details of the self-defense statutes, they didn't go into the details of any of the six possible murder statutes," he said, explaining Cameron's news conference was the catalyst for filing the petition with the court.


A third anonymous grand juror who also has come forward "firmly supports the fact that no additional charges were allowed at the conclusion of their service," according a statement released late Friday afternoon by Glogower, who now represents all three grand jurors.


"When they finally did present the charges to us ... almost of all of the people at once said, 'Isn't there anything else?'" The reply from the attorney general's office was there were no other charges that they could make stick, Grand Juror 1 recalled.

"There were a lot of questions," he said. "We didn't go right into deliberation on charges because we wanted to know what else was missing. ... There was an uproar at the end, and it suggested to me that there were several other people who wanted to know more information."

According to Kentucky law, prosecutors "shall attend the grand jurors when requested by them" and "when requested by them, draft indictments."

And in addition to all of that, we have one of the killer cops is suing Breonna Taylor's boyfriend for causing him, "severe trauma, mental anguish and emotional distress."

These cops break down the door with no notice in response to a bogus warrant, fire indiscriminately, refuse to provide any aid to Taylor after she is shot, and now one of these murderous bastards is suing for "mental anguish and emotional distress".

The entire institution of law enforcement in the United States needs to be dismantled brick by brick.

Have I Mention That Cops Lie?

Philadelphia's Finest

There are lies, damn lies, and every single word that you might ever hear from the Policemen's Benovelent Association
During the protests over the police shooting of Walter Wallace, Jr., police broke the windows of a SUV that had strayed into the area, beat its occupants, dragged them out, and then took the baby in the back and used it for a photo-op.

The victim has still not been told where her car is, which means that it, and the baby's hearing aid that was left in it, are "gone with the wind".

Somewhere in hell, Frank Rizzo is smiling:

Philadelphia police pulled a woman from an SUV during unrest in West Philadelphia Tuesday morning, beat and bloodied her, separated her from her toddler for hours, and kept her in handcuffs in the hospital, her attorneys said Friday.

She has not been charged with a crime, and police won’t say what prompted the show of force.

Philadelphia civil rights attorneys Kevin Mincey and Riley H. Ross III are representing the woman and the toddler, who they said were both injured as police pulled them from an SUV shown in a now-viral video from the 5200 block of Chestnut Street at about 2 a.m. Tuesday. The video depicts at least 15 police officers swarming a vehicle, bashing in the windows, pulling out the driver and another passenger, beating them, then appearing to remove a child from the backseat.


Mincey said Young was struggling to get her child to fall asleep, and, hoping a car ride would help, she took the toddler with her to West Philadelphia to pick up her 16-year-old nephew from a friend’s house as unrest roiled the neighborhood. Mincey said Young encountered police barricades and attempted to make a three-point turn when police surrounded the vehicle.

Then, he said, police pulled Young and the 16-year-old from the car and threw them to the ground; police beat both with batons, handcuffed them, and detained them, he said. Mincey said Young relayed that police at the scene refused to tell her where her child would be taken, saying only “he’s gonna go to a better place, we’re gonna report it to DHS," presumably referring to the Department of Human Services, the city’s child-welfare agency.


Police then took her back to headquarters and processed her. Mincey said she was kept in a holding cell, wasn’t informed of charges against her, and was issued a wristband that read: “assault on police.” She was released without being charged. Mincey said she’s unsure what time she was released, but she said “the sun was up.”

Young and her son were separated for hours. Mincey said Young was in the police van with another woman who had a cell phone. Young called her mother, Mincey said, and the boy’s grandmother went to the scene to retrieve the child. There, according to Mincey, police directed her to go to 15th Street and John F. Kennedy Boulevard, four miles away in Center City. The grandmother, Mincey said, found the child sitting in his car seat in a police cruiser with two officers. The child had a lump on his head and glass from the SUV’s broken windows was still in his car seat, Mincey said.

Video shows Philadelphia Police breaking into an SUV in West Philly early Tuesday morning, and then beating the driver while a child was inside.

Mincey said police have not told the family where their vehicle is, and he said the child’s hearing aid and Young’s purse and wallet are still inside it.


Ross also slammed the National Fraternal Order of Police for on Thursday posting images of an officer holding the child and falsely writing in a caption: “This child was lost during the violent riots in Philadelphia, wandering around barefoot in an area that was experiencing complete lawlessness. The only thing this Philadelphia police officer cared about in that moment was protecting this child.”

The child was the same one pulled from the SUV, according to images shot at the scene by an Inquirer photographer and a freelance photographer in the area. The Inquirer is not publishing images of the toddler out of concern for the privacy of the family and the child.

The FOP deleted the posts about 30 minutes after the Inquirer asked for comment. On Friday, an FOP spokesperson said after posting the photo, the organization “subsequently learned of conflicting accounts of the circumstances under which the child came to be assisted by the officer and immediately took the photo and caption down.”


The video of the incident was shot less than 12 hours after two Philadelphia police officers shot and killed Walter Wallace Jr., a 27-year-old Black man who family and neighbors said was experiencing a mental health crisis. Video of his killing showed him holding a knife and walking toward police when they opened fire, each firing seven shots.

Seriously, the cops are completely out of control.

29 October 2020


The greatest martial arts fight in the history of cinema.
The spear duel in Kurasawa's The Hidden Fortress:

GDP and Unemployment Numbers Today

The initial jobless claims numbers are out, and they are not so bad

The number of Americans filing initial claims for unemployment insurance fell last week to the lowest level since the pandemic began, suggesting layoffs are easing despite a rise in coronavirus infections.

Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs, fell by 40,000 to 751,000 in the week through Oct. 24, the Labor Department said Thursday. That was the lowest level of claims since mid-March, just before the pandemic shut down much business activity throughout the U.S.

But the other shoe dropped on the Covid front:

Daily virus infections reached new highs over the past week, and it is too early to tell how employers and consumers will respond.

Claims remain exceptionally high by historical standards. Last week’s new claims were more than three times the weekly average early this year, before the pandemic. Initial claims, which reflect the number of people laid off only recently and not those receiving assistance for more than a week, are just one measure of unemployment assistance. In total, more than 20 million Americans are still receiving unemployment benefits through regular state and emergency programs.

The GDP numbers for the 3rd quarter also came out today, and that initial report shows that the economy grew at 7.4% between July and September, which is impressive, but with the stimulus having ended, and Covid infections hitting new records, I am calling (as I always do) a dead cat bounce:

U.S. economic output increased at the fastest pace on record last quarter as businesses began to reopen and customers returned to stores. But the economy has climbed only partway out of its pandemic-induced hole, and progress is slowing.

Gross domestic product grew 7.4 percent in the third quarter, the Commerce Department said Thursday. The gain, the equivalent of 33.1 percent on an annualized basis, was by far the biggest since reliable statistics began after World War II.

The rebound was fueled in part by trillions of dollars in federal assistance to households and businesses. That aid has since dried up, even as the recovery remains far from complete: The economy in the third quarter was 3.5 percent smaller than at the end of 2019, before the pandemic. By comparison, G.D.P. shrank 4 percent over the entire year and a half of the Great Recession a decade ago.


Economists said the third-quarter figures revealed less about the strength of the recovery than about the severity of the collapse that preceded it. G.D.P. fell 1.3 percent in the first quarter and 9 percent in the second as the pandemic forced widespread business closures. A big rebound was inevitable once the economy began to reopen. The challenge is what comes next.

I do not think that the 4th quarter will come even close to the numbers, particularly with Covid exploding.

*It's an old Wall Street saying, "Even a dead cat will bounce if it falls from a great height."

Trump Pushing Derp Immunity

In case you are wondering, it appears that Donald Trumo is giving up whatever miniscule f%$#s that he used to have about dealing with Covid.

He is going full birther herd immunity. 

To quote Michael Cain in The Dark Knight, "Some men just want to watch the world burn."

Despite publicly downplaying it, President Donald Trump and his team of White House advisers have embraced the controversial belief that herd immunity will help control the COVID-19 outbreak, according to three senior health officials working with the White House coronavirus task force. More worrisome for those officials: they have begun taking steps to turn the concept into policy.

Officials say that White House adviser Scott Atlas first started pushing herd immunity this past summer despite significant pushback from scientists, doctors and infectious disease experts that the concept was dangerous and would result in far more Americans getting sick and dying. Since then, various White House advisers have tried to play down the idea that the administration has implemented a strategy for COVID-19 based on herd immunity, which holds that if enough people contract a disease and become immune from it, then future spread among the broader population will be reduced.


But those working on the government’s COVID response say that the attempts by the White House and Atlas to steer clear from using the phrase “herd immunity” are merely a game of semantics. Privately, one of those sources said, the actual policy pursuits have been crafted around a plainly herd immunity approach; mainly, that the government should prioritize protecting the vulnerable while allowing “everyone else to get infected,” that source said.

In a recent call with reporters, in which The Daily Beast participated, administration officials laid out a new emphasis in the president’s coronavirus policy which underscored “protecting the vulnerable,” key among them nursing home patients. One official said the coronavirus was “dangerous for a certain subset of the population” and that “most people do extraordinary well.”

Officials on the call pointed to a Great Barrington study, which was assembled by a team of scientists who advocate for trying to reach herd immunity through the uncontrolled spread of COVID-19.


Health officials say that the practical acceptance of herd immunity by the president could lead to a dangerous and potentially deadly new phase in the pandemic, even if it is accompanied by a simultaneous effort to screen and protect seniors and those with comorbidities. Scientists warn that if the administration continues to focus just on protecting, for example, individuals in nursing homes, it will overlook those people who fall outside of the most vulnerable population but who could still contract the virus, survive it, and have long-lasting health complications.


For Trump, Atlas’ advocacy of this approach has represented an opportunity. The president has long pushed for less restrictive public health measures to combat COVID, under the belief that the country needed to prioritize economic interests. Herd immunity as a theory “basically gave him permission to reopen the country even if we hadn’t flattened the curve,” one official said.

If, as the polls indicate, Trump loses on Tuesday, I would expect even more bizarrely destructive actions from Trump and his Evil Minions, on their way out the door.

I expect to see actions that make Herbert Hoover's hissy fit following the 1932 election look like a tea party.

28 October 2020

Yaah! Maties!

I still have some rum left over from the debates, so I took:

  • 1 part sugar
  • 1 part lemon juice (no lime in the house)
  • 1 part rum
  • 4 parts water

And made a Grog.

Not bad, considering that this is really cheap rum.

This is Actually a Good Idea

Which is the last thing that I would expect from Trump and Evil Minions, but the proposal to award H1B visas on the basis of highest salary first, instead of doing so through a lottery.

My idea was to go through a lottery process, but this is also an elegant solution to the problem, assuming that the Indian body shops don't manage to incorporate kick-backs into their recruiting.

I still favor a bid process for H1B applications though:

The Trump administration has proposed changes to the H-1B visa that will see it abolish the current lottery process and instead prioritise highly paid workers.

“Modifying the H-1B cap selection process by replacing the random selection process with a wage-level-based selection process is a better way to allocate H-1Bs when demand exceeds supply,” says a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announcement of the proposed policy.

“If finalized as proposed, this new selection process would incentivize employers to offer higher wages or petition for positions requiring higher skills and higher-skilled workers instead of using the program to fill relatively lower-paid vacancies."


“The H-1B program is often exploited and abused by U.S. employers, and their U.S. clients, primarily seeking to hire foreign workers and pay lower wages,” said Acting DHS Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli. “The current use of random selection to allocate H-1B visas …. fails to leverage the H-1B program to truly compete for the world’s best and brightest, and hurts American workers by bringing in relatively lower-paid foreign labor at the expense of the American workforce.”


The document also suggests that economic benefits could possibly include:
  • A better chance of attracting skilled and highly paid workers to apply for the H-1B, plus the prospect of higher wages for visa applicants because paying them more would rank them more highly as visa applicants;
  • Increased job opportunities for lower-skilled US workers who would otherwise have to compete with H-1B visa-holder;
  • Increased wages for H-1B recipients whose earnings fall into middling earning bands.

This appears to actually be an well thought out and thoughtful policy.

I credit a few million monkeys chained to typewriters.

There Is a Metaphor Here ……… and a Joke

Trump held a campaign rally in Nebraska, at Omaha’s Eppley Airfield, and because of a shortage of buses and traffic congestion his supporters were left on the tarmac in freezing weather for hours.

At least 5 of the MAGAts were hospitalized for exposure:

By the time President Trump finished speaking to thousands of supporters at Omaha’s Eppley Airfield on Tuesday night and jetted away on Air Force One, the temperature had plunged to nearly freezing.

But as long lines of MAGA-clad attendees queued up for buses to take them to distant parking lots, it quickly became clear something was wrong.

The buses, the huge crowd soon learned, couldn’t navigate the jammed airport roads. For hours, attendees — including many elderly Trump supporters — stood in the cold as police scrambled to help those most at risk get to warmth, and some were taken to hospitals.


By the end of the night, 30 people needed medical attention, Omaha police spokesman Michael Pecha said, though that was over the course of the event. Seven were taken to hospitals “with a variety of medical conditions.” It was not immediately clear how many of those were related to the lengthy wait.


After Trump’s speech, in which he promised that “we’re making that final turn” on the pandemic in a state where positivity rates exceed 20 percent, per the World-Herald, Trump flew away on Air Force One around 9 p.m. Attendees began lining up for buses to return to their cars.

By nearly 10:30 p.m., though, they were still waiting.


The crowds didn’t fully clear the rally site until after 12:30 a.m. — more than 3½ hours after Trump departed. A spokeswoman at one hospital network, CHI Health, told The Post that five people were treated “with minor complaints” at the nearby by Creighton University Medical Center. She declined to release additional information.


“Supporters of the President were brought in, but buses weren’t able to get back to transport people out. It’s freezing and snowy in Omaha tonight,” tweeted Nebraska state Sen. Megan Hunt (D). “He truly does not care about you.”

Seriously, you cannot make this sh%$ up.

27 October 2020

And the UDF is Back

If you followed avaition in the 1980s, you probably remember GE's GE36 Unducted Fan

It was an F-404 derived core powering counter rotating free turbines attached to props.

There is now a Safran And GE are working another version of what was fondly referred to a load of bananas whirling around.

With sustainability front and center on the aerospace industry agenda, plans are firming up on both sides of the Atlantic for a new wave of ambitious large-scale technology demonstrators to pave the way for ultraefficient next-generation commercial airliners.

Ranging from advanced propulsion and airframe concepts to new systems, structures and fuels, the main demonstrators will form part of the proposed Clean Aviation initiative in Europe and the next round of NASA X-plane projects in the U.S. Clean Aviation, which is expected to succeed Europe’s long-running Clean Sky program, supports the European Union’s broader Horizon Europe research and innovation framework effort for 2021-27 and will feed technology into new civil aviation projects later this decade and into the 2030s.


Open rotors, also known as unducted fans or propfans, were initially developed in the U.S. in the 1970s and 1980s amid concerns over rising fuel costs. Although two concepts—GE’s GE36 and the Pratt & Whitney/Allison 578 DX—were flight-tested, both were shelved by the early 1990s after oil prices fell. Although development of propfans continued in Russia, it was not until greenhouse gas emissions became a legislative factor in the 2000s that Western interest in the concept was revived.

In the U.S. NASA, GE and the FAA collaborated between 2009 and 2012 on wind tunnel tests of an open rotor with blades developed using modern computer-based design methods. The tests showed up to a 3% improvement in net efficiency relative to the best 1980s design, while nominally achieving a 15-17-EPNdB noise margin to Chapter 4 limits.

Around the same time, two open-rotor concepts were evaluated in Europe under the SAGE effort, with a Rolls-Royce-led team evaluating a direct-drive propulsor system while a Safran-led group developed the geared pusher CROR. The Rolls project was later rescoped to focus on lean-burn combustion, while Safran developed a CROR ground demonstrator using its M88 military engine as a gas generator.

So the direct drive free turbine is not a part of the equation this time around, which is kind of a pity.

 I liked the elegance of that arrangement.

The Bobbsey Twins Are At It Again

Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman have veen indicted in yet another state for their program of threatening voter suppression robocalls.

Seeing as how they have shown themselves to be undeterred from their lives of crime by the prior indictments, I think that pre-trial detention without bail is called for:

A grand jury in Cleveland on Tuesday indicted right-wing political hoaxers Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman with felony charges connected to a multi-state robocall campaign that prosecutors say was meant to scare voters in urban areas with large minority populations out of voting by mail in the Nov. 3 presidential election.

Wohl, 22, of Irvine, California, and Burman, 54, of Arlington, Virginia, are indicted on eight counts of telecommunications fraud and seven counts of bribery in connection with more than 8,000 calls that were placed to residents of Cleveland and East Cleveland.

Wohl and Burkman already face similar criminal charges in Michigan and a civil lawsuit in New York City connected to the same scheme. They are free on a $100,000 bond after pleading not guilty to charges in that state.

Cuyahoga County court records say Wohl and Burkman are expected to make their first court appearance on Nov. 13.

The charges stem from a group called Project 1599, which Wohl and Burkman founded. The caller told potential voters that police and debt-collection companies could use personal information that voters put on their mail-in ballots to track down people who have outstanding warrants and credit-card debt. The claim is not true.


Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office was the first to file charges against the duo. Ohio’s investigation began when U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge, a Cleveland Democrat, and others went to Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s office, which referred the case to prosecutors in Cuyahoga County, the Columbus Dispatch reporter earlier this month.


Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose referenced the indictments Tuesday afternoon during an appearance on Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s twice-weekly coronavirus address. DeWine invited LaRose on to discuss voter turnout and concerns about in-person voting.

LaRose said that his office received a tip through its voter-fraud website of “an incident of voter intimidation that was targeted particularly at the minority community," which he called a “really ugly and pernicious act of voter intimidation.”


Wohl and Burkman have risen to notoriety in recent years as they blundered their way through a series of public announcements of scandals later discredited.

Wohl earlier this year began circulating what he said was a copy of a lab report showing that Biden had contracted COVID-19 and had 30 days to live. Biden and his campaign dismissed the report as fraudulent.

The pair is also accused of hiring one of Wohl’s ex-girlfriends to publicly accuse Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who is more popular and seen as more trustworthy on information about the pandemic than Trump, of assaulting her in a hotel in 2014. The woman later told a reporter that the accusation was false and that Wohl and Burkman paid her to levy it.

How do folks like this, and I am including the evil James O'Keefe (I know a good James O'Keef) stay out of jail.

If they weren't white ……… Oh, now I get it.

Chutzpah Redefined

Facebook is threatening academics doing a study on political advertisements breaking its rules, claiming ……… wait for it ……… that allowing users to voluntarily report what ads that they see is a violation of user privacy.

This is truly beyond satire:

Facebook has ordered the end to an academic monitoring project that has repeatedly exposed failures by the internet giant to clearly label political advertising on its platform.

The social media goliath informed New York University (NYU) that research by its Tandon School of Engineering's Online Transparency Project's Ad Observatory violates Facebook's terms of service on bulk data collection and demanded it end the program immediately.


“We launched the Online Transparency Project two years ago to make it easier to see who was purchasing political ads on Facebook,” said co-founder Laura Edelson, of the project.


Facebook didn't like this one bit, and responded with a warning letter on October 16, the Wall Street Journal first reported. The Silicon Valley titan wants the academic project shut down and all data deleted by November 30.


"We understand the intent behind your tool. However, the browser plugin scrapes information in violation of our terms, which are designed to protect people's privacy."

It seems the researchers aren't backing down. On October 22, they published the latest research showing 12 political ads that had slipped under the radar as non-political on Facebook, some of which are still running.


Rather than rely on Facebook’s carefully controlled library, the NYU researchers built their own external approach and quickly discovered widespread disclosure violations which it says have helped facilitate the spread of election disinformation.

This is not a surprise.  After all, Facebook has been aggressively engaging in ad fraud, click thru fraud, and user fraud for years. 

This is not about protecting user privacy, since, after all the users in this case know what they are doing, this is about their concerns that their fraudulent behavior will be identified and traced.

26 October 2020

You Maniacs! You Blew It up! Ah, Damn You! God Damn You All to Hell!

The Senate just confirmed Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

I would expect her to be sworn in in the next 48 hours, be on the court within a week, and sometime shortly after November 3, to be supporting a 6-3 decision to subvert American elections. 

If there is a way for these folks to rat-f%$# the election, they will find it.


I Have the World's Smallest Violin

It turns out that the Wall Street Journal is having a bit of an existential crisis as its audience dies off.

It appears that there are not enough younger than me who are willing to tolerate their worst-in-the-nation editorial page, particularly given the internet options for near real-time financial news.

Additionally, there are increasing tensions between not just the news and the editorial sides, where frequently the new stories have contradicted the OP/ED narrative, but between the reporters and the editors in the news division.

I am amused:

A brutal internal Wall Street Journal report obtained by BuzzFeed News reveals how the 130-year-old broadsheet is struggling mightily in the current digital and cultural age — such as not covering racial issues because reporters are afraid to mention them to editors, playing to the limited interests of its aging core audience, at times losing more subscribers than it takes in, and favoring “a print edition that lands in the recycling bin.”

The crown jewel of Rupert Murdoch’s media company has weathered months of strife between its news and opinion sections. In July, the same month the report is dated, more than 280 staffers at the Journal and sister newsroom Dow Jones signed a letter to its publisher calling for clearer distinctions between the opinion and news. “Opinion’s lack of fact-checking and transparency, and its apparent disregard for evidence, undermine our readers’ trust and our ability to gain credibility with sources,” the letter said.

This week, the Journal’s news division ran a reported piece that knocked down claims published in an opinion section piece just hours earlier. The opinion piece was trying to connect the dots on a smear alleging corruption by former vice president Joe Biden just days before the presidential election.

This has happened routinely since well before Murdoch bought the paper.

The opinion section has always been dishonest and insane.

The report, which one person at the Journal said was sent to some editors but not the whole newsroom, argues that many of the Wall Street Journal’s editors do not understand the internet and its readers — focusing its content instead on its long-term older male subscribers, rather than on a growing younger audience key to its survival. (Read the report here.)


"This is a months-old draft that contains outdated and inaccurate information," Journal Editor-in-Chief Matt Murray said in a statement, without detailing which elements he considers inaccurate. "The Wall Street Journal is experiencing tremendous digital growth in audience, advertising and subscriptions, in fact has hit new records, and we are more excited than ever about our future. We of course regularly discuss and explore what we are doing, and where we should be going. We have a strong foundation as the best source of business, markets and economics news in the world, and we are incredibly proud to serve all of our readers. Our imperative is to make that service even better, and make it available to ever more people around the world. And we will.”


The key recommendations include major changes to what the paper covers, how it covers topics, and a rethinking of how it ignores some audiences.

One damning example of how the wider newsroom’s failed to listen to Black readers and its own digital-forward staff came from a spring 2020 project with the National Bar Association, the largest organization for Black legal professionals in the country. New audiences chief Ebony Reed shared WSJ articles with the group and asked them what questions they wanted the outlet to answer. Stories sparked from readers' questions during COVID-19 gained wide audiences and traffic, the report states.

When National Bar Association members responded, she shared those questions with other newsroom editors as possible story ideas. “Story ideas ranged from Black Americans dying at a higher rate from coronavirus to questions about how vaping would affect those who contracted COVID-19,” weeks before similar stories appeared in other publications. “None were acted on,” the report states.

Ignoring Black folk is a feature, not a bug of the Wall Street Journal.


To address those appetites, the report recommends beats that focus on the environment, career issues, consumer products, drug addiction, racism, healthcare affordability, income inequality, and violent crime. It acknowledges that such a shift may be jarring to many of the paper’s reporters and editors, who put a high priority on traditional coverage that they feel are core to the paper’s brand.

The first step is to start applying basic fact checking on the editorial page.

Once you do that, you will find that the entire paper will become more adventurous.

I Hope That They Take Uber to the Cleaners

Uber drivers in the EU are suing the Gypsy cab company for firing them via algorithm, which violates the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) because the company fires drivers by algorithm.

The Europeans, and most of the rest of the world, are far less interested in buying the ride-hailing company's "Because ……… Internet" crap:

Four Uber drivers in the UK and Portugal who claim they were dismissed unfairly by the company's anti-fraud algorithm have challenged their account deactivations in a European court, citing GDPR protections against automated decision making.

The App Drivers & Couriers Union, a UK-based worker advocacy group, filed a legal complaint on Monday in a district court in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on behalf of the dismissed drivers.

"Uber has been allowed to violate employment law with impunity for years and now we are seeing a glimpse into an Orwellian world of work where workers have no rights and are managed by machine," said Yaseen Aslam, President of the App Drivers & Couriers Union, in a statement. "If Uber is not checked, this practice will become the norm for everyone."

Anton Ekker, the attorney representing the four former drivers – three from the UK and one from Portugal – said in a statement that the case represents the first challenge under the GDPR to automated decisions affecting the estimated 3.9m Uber drivers worldwide.

Article 22 of the GDPR states individuals "have the right not to be subject to a decision based solely on automated processing, including profiling, which produces legal effects concerning him or her or similarly significantly affects him or her."

I really hope that Uber gets nailed to the wall on this.

About F%$#ing Time

Chile has finally a ditched the neoliberal Milton Friedman abomination of a constitution that the murderous Agusto Pinochet foisted on them almost 40 years ago.

Over 70% of voters have approved a plebiscite to replace that constitution.

Milton Friedman, and his "Chicago Boys" made Chile, and the rest of the world a much worse place.

At some point, we should total up the deaths from their machinations.

I don't think that they would beat out Josef Stalin, but I'm pretty sure that they make Pol Pot look a piker.

First Hint that Today Will Not Be a Good News Day

Nancy Pelosi has announced that she will stand as Speaker of the House again if the Democrats keep control of the Senate.

Because the increasingly geriatric and unimaginative Democratic Party establishment (There is no Democratic Party establishment) sees that we need less imagination, and even more geriatric leadership.

Please, just make it stop.

Also, if you are in her district, vote for Shahid Buttar, and if you are not, maybe phone bank for him.

Nancy Patricia Pelosi  will you please go now!
The time has come.
The time has come.
The time is now.
Just go.
I don't care how.
You can go by foot.
You can go by cow.
Nancy Patricia Pelosi will you please go now!


You may recall that I posted a rather long, and very amusing video about the abuse of DMCA in the wolf porn fanfic community

Well, the crazy-ass author Addison Cain goes after Lindsay Ellis with ……… MORE DMCA complaints.

I do not know if there is a Nobel Prize for lameness, but her DMCA complaints were so lame that Youtube chose to disregard them.

That is seriously lame.

In any case, we get another long, and intensely amusing video from Ms. Ellis about this. (I want that hat)

25 October 2020

This is Not the Mark of a Winning Foreign Policy

That the US is supporting the Taliban in its fight against Isis in Afghanistan indicates that it's not a particularly coherent foreign policy either. 

This is a direct consequence of our regime change Mousketeers misguided attempt at the overthrow of the Assads in Syria.

The Council on Foreign Relations crowd have absolutely no concept of blowback, despite our being the recipient of this phenomenon over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over again:

Army Sgt. 1st Class Steve Frye was stuck on base last summer in Afghanistan, bored and fiddling around on a military network, when he came across live video footage of a battle in the Korengal Valley, where he had first seen combat 13 years earlier. It was infamous terrain, where at least 40 U.S. troops had died over the years, including some of Frye’s friends. Watching the Reaper drone footage closely, he saw that no American forces were involved in the fighting, and none from the Afghan government. Instead, the Taliban and the Islamic State were duking it out. Frye looked for confirmation online. Sure enough, America’s old enemy and its newer one were posting photos and video to propaganda channels as they tussled for control of the Korengal and its lucrative timber business.

What Frye didn’t know was that U.S. Special Operations forces were preparing to intervene in the fighting in Konar province in eastern Afghanistan — not by attacking both sides, but by using strikes from drones and other aircraft to help the Taliban. “What we’re doing with the strikes against ISIS is helping the Taliban move,” a member of the elite Joint Special Operations Command counterterrorism task force based at Bagram air base explained to me earlier this year, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the assistance was secret. The air power would give them an advantage by keeping the enemy pinned down.

Last fall and winter, as the JSOC task force was conducting the strikes, the Trump administration’s public line was that it was hammering the Taliban “harder than they have ever been hit before,” as the president put it — trying to force the group back to the negotiating table in Doha, Qatar, after President Trump put peace talks there on hold and canceled a secretly planned summit with Taliban leaders at Camp David. Administration officials signaled that they didn’t like or trust the Taliban and that, until it made more concessions, it could expect only blistering bombardment.

In reality, even as its warplanes have struck the Taliban in other parts of Afghanistan, the U.S. military has been quietly helping the Taliban to weaken the Islamic State in its Konar stronghold and keep more of the country from falling into the hands of the group, which — unlike the Taliban — the United States views as an international terrorist organization with aspirations to strike America and Europe. Remarkably, it can do so without needing to communicate with the Taliban, by observing battle conditions and listening in on the group. Two members of the JSOC task force and another defense official described the assistance to me this year in interviews for a book about the war in Konar, all of them speaking on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to talk about it. (The U.S. military headquarters in Afghanistan declined to comment for this story.)

As Rita May Brown (not Albert Einstein) said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results."

Of Course She Did

Lisa Murkowski has reversed course, and has announced that she will vote to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

She doesn't care, her next election is in 2022, and she figures that it won't be a problem then.

I will remind you what I say about the "Centrists" in both parties:

A liberal (moderate) Republican will:

  • Talk about the need to work across the aisle.
  • Plead for moderation.
  • Chastise his party for extremism.
  • Sometimes vote against his party.
  • When the vote is close, and it is important, he will vote with the Republicans.
A moderate (conservative) Democrat will:
  • Talk about the need to work across the aisle.
  • Plead for moderation.
  • Chastise his party for extremism.
  • Sometimes vote against his party.
  • When the vote is close, and it is important, he will vote with the Republicans.

Another Assassination Attempt

Only this time, it was Republican Ohio Governor Mike DeWine who was targeted:

A Miami County resident has told police that he was approached about helping to arrest Gov. Mike DeWine at his Greene County home and try him for “tyranny.”

The case has been referred to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, though a spokesman declined to discuss further details, citing security reasons.

A resident of Piqua, in a police report filed last Friday, said that he was contacted earlier that day by Renea Turner, an activist who has been protesting DeWine’s coronavirus policies. Cleveland.com is withholding the man’s name for safety reasons.

During the call, Turner was reported to have said the plan was to arrest the governor later that weekend, try him for several supposed crimes, and sentence him to a penalty that could include exile or execution, according to the Ohio Capital Journal, which first reported the story, as well as state Rep. John Becker of Clermont County in a YouTube video.

I am not a lawyer, but this whole "exile" thing seems to be constitutionally dubious.

The goal here was an execution.  

It's Bank Failure Friday!!! (On Sunday)

We now have the 4th bank failure of the year, just 1 week after the the 3rd bank failure, this time it's the Almena State Bank of Almena, KS.

So, we now have as many commercial bank failures in 2020 as we did in 2019.

I can't help but think that there was some regulatory forbearance going on for electoral advantage, and that now that the election is just over a week away, the political appointees are too busy updating their resumes to worry about this.

Full FDIC list

24 October 2020

So Not a Surprise

It turns out that the bloke who fired shots into a police station during the George Floyd protests was a white supremacist trying to gin up conflict for a race war.

He was a part of the "Boogaloo" crowd.

I'm not sure if I would call this a false flag operation, but if it isn't it's false flag, it certainly is false flag's next door neighbor.

In the wake of protests following the May 25 killing of George Floyd, a member of the Boogaloo Bois opened fire on the Minneapolis Police Third Precinct with an AK-47-style gun and screamed “Justice for Floyd” as he ran away, according to a federal complaint made public Friday.

A sworn affidavit by the FBI underlying the complaint reveals new details about a far-right anti-government group’s coordinated role in the violence that roiled through civil unrest over Floyd’s death while in police custody.

Ivan Harrison Hunter, a 26-year-old from Boerne, Texas, is charged with one count of interstate travel to incite a riot for his alleged role in ramping up violence during the protests in Minneapolis on May 27 and 28. According to charges, Hunter, wearing a skull mask and tactical gear, shot 13 rounds at the south Minneapolis police headquarters while people were inside. He also looted and helped set the building ablaze, according to the complaint, which was filed Monday under seal.

It does seem that a disproportionate number of these interstate terrorist types come from Texas, huh?

Unrest flared throughout Minneapolis following Floyd’s death, which was captured on a bystander’s cellphone video, causing Gov. Tim Walz to activate the Minnesota National Guard. As police clashed with protesters, Hunter and other members of the Boogaloo Bois discussed in private Facebook messages their plans to travel to Minneapolis and rally at the Cub Foods near the Third Precinct building, according to federal court documents. One of the people Hunter coordinated with posted publicly to social media: “Lock and load boys. Boog flags are in the air, and the national network is going off,” the complaint states.

Two hours after the police precinct was set on fire, Hunter texted with another Boogaloo member in California, a man named Steven Carrillo.

“Go for police buildings,” Hunter told Carrillo, according to charging documents.

And Carrillo has a bit of a story as well:
Five days later, Carrillo shot and killed a sheriff’s deputy in Santa Cruz when authorities tried to arrest him, according to charges filed in California. Authorities say he then stole a car and wrote “Boog” on the hood “in what appeared to be his own blood.”

A couple of days later, during police protests in Austin, Texas, police pulled over a truck after seeing three men in tactical gear and carrying guns drive away in it. Hunter, in the front passenger seat, wore six loaded banana magazines for an AK-47-style assault rifle on his tactical vest, according federal authorities. The two other men had AR-15 magazines affixed to their vests. The officers found an AK-47-style rifle and two AR-15 rifles on the rear seat of the vehicle, a pistol next to the driver’s seat and another pistol in the center console.

Hunter denied he owned any of the weapons found in the vehicle. He did, according to the complaint, volunteer that he was the leader of the Boogaloo Bois in South Texas and that he was present in Minneapolis when the Third Precinct was set on fire. Police seized the guns and let Hunter and the others go.

Once again, we see the cops sghowing favoritism to white supremacist terrorists, even though these same terrorists are the ones who are disproportionately likely to kill cops.

Thin blue line, my ass.
Hunter is the third member of the Boogaloo Bois, a loose-knit group intent on igniting a second American civil war, to be charged in Minneapolis as a result of the unrest that followed Floyd’s death.

Michael Robert Solomon and Benjamin Ryan Teeter were indicted in September with conspiracy to provide material support to Hamas, a designated foreign terrorist organization.

Mom's Yahrzeit Today

She died in 1976 in a car accident.  She was 39.

It was a drunk driver.

I don't know the driver's name, or what happened to him in court, but I hope that he did something useful with his life.

My mom was a serious bad-ass, at least to the degree that a 4'11" tall woman with juvenile onset rheumatoid arthritis can be. (Trust me, that's a LOT)

I really wish that I had inherited her singing voice.

23 October 2020

All the News That's Fit to Print, Huh?

It seems to be a routine thing. Some New York Times reporter goes on safari and conduct man on the street interviews, and many of these so-called "Ordinary Folk" are actually Republican operatives.

This happens over, and over, and over again.

This is not accidental.  This is baked into the culture: 

The New York Times has been caught, once again, passing off Republican operatives as “regular” Republican voters in an article intended to show how effectively Trump is maintaining his support.

It raises serious questions about whether Times editor and reporters, rather than actually trying to determine how voters feel, are setting out to find people to mouth the words they need for predetermined story lines that, not coincidentally, echo the Trump campaign’s propaganda.

In the latest case, an article posted on Wednesday headlined “Around Atlanta, Many White Suburbanites Are Sticking With Trump” by Times national reporter Elaina Plott initially misidentified two of the four allegedly run-of-the-mill voters who supported the article’s thesis: That Trump’s unfounded fear-mongering along the lines that “ANTIFA THUGS WILL RUIN THE SUBURBS!” is working.

The lead anecdote came courtesy of Natalie Pontius, who was simply identified as “an interior decorator, married with two children and a University of Georgia alumna.”


Pontius, it turns out, was a paid political consultant for a Republican candidate for Georgia’s House of Representatives in 2018.

Plott also quoted Jake Evans, initially identified simply as “an attorney in Atlanta.”


Evans, it turns out, chairs the state’s branch of the Republican National Lawyers Association, is the immediate past president of the Atlanta Young Republicans, is a member of Republican Gov. Brian Kemp’s election-security task force — and he’s the son of Randy Evans, a Republican heavy-hitter rewarded by Trump with a cushy gig as ambassador to Luxembourg.

And this isn’t the first Times story like this to feature ringers. In a notorious June 2018 story by political reporter Jeremy Peters – headlined “As Critics Assail Trump, His Supporters Dig In Deeper,” the supposedly ordinary Republican woman in the lead anecdote turned out to be a board member of an ultra-conservative PAC.


Because the fact that the reporter couldn’t find real people to support its thesis suggests that she was assigned to produce precisely the story she did. (So does the URL, which I suspect reflects the editor’s original “slug” for the story: “atlanta-trump-voters-women.”)


This, I’m afraid, is Dean Baquet’s newsroom in a nutshell, where the anachronistic notion of “objectivity” is horribly misapplied to produce both-sides stenography instead of calling out liars and racists.


Going forward, readers deserve to know exactly how the reporters found their way to the “average” people they quote, to judge for themselves how typical or atypical they may be. How many people did the reporters talk to before they found the person they needed for their story? What questions did they ask?

And finally, I need to bring up a point I’ve made repeatedly before: Simply quoting Trump supporters who mouth crazy talking points (whether they’re ringers or not) is a terrible disservice to the reader.


The hero in this story is Charles Bethea, a New Yorker staff writer — and Twitter.

Bethea quickly recognized Jake Evans:

That’s because Bethea had actually written a short profile of Evans for the New Yorker in 2018, when Evans was president of the Atlanta Young Republicans.

Eventually, after sleuthing by Zach Kopplin, an investigator for the Government Accountability Project, and Georgia attorney Eric Teusink, Bethea also announced:

Seriously, there is something very toxic in the New York Times newsroom, and while Dean Baquet makes the problem worse, as an institution, it has rot at its bones.

The "Gray Lady" keeps screwing up these stories because senior editors send reporters into the field with the mission to serve predetermined narrative, and reporters know that.

Guilty as Hell, and Stupid

But Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is a Texas Republican, so it come with the territory.

He has now begun retaliating against the senior staff who reported him to the authorities, and firing two whistle-blowers, and stripping authority from 2 others:

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office has sidelined four of the seven senior aides who weeks ago told law enforcement they believed Paxton had committed bribery and abuse of office — firing two and placing two more on leave — in what employment attorneys say looks like a clear act of retaliation against legally protected whistleblowers.

The aides, who represented a large share of the agency’s most senior staff, alerted law enforcement and then agency human resources that they believed Paxton was using the power of his office to serve a political donor, Austin real estate developer Nate Paul. The agency had taken the unusual step of weighing in on a lawsuit that involved Paul, and Paxton personally hired an outside investigator — in a process aides called highly suspect — to vet the donor’s complaints

Ian Prior, a spokesperson for Paxton's campaign, denied Friday that the personnel decisions had anything to do with their accusations against Paxton.


Mark Penley, the deputy attorney general for criminal justice, was put on leave weeks ago, shortly after reporting Paxton to law enforcement, top aides have said. And Jeff Mateer, who worked for years as Paxton’s top deputy, resigned earlier this month after accusing his boss of running afoul of the law.

A sixth employee, Director of Law Enforcement David Maxwell, was also placed on leave earlier this month. Maxwell did not sign on to the whistleblowers’ Oct. 1 letter to human resources, which stated they had “a good faith belief that the Attorney General is violating federal and/or state law.” But he was involved in the investigation that sparked the mutiny against Paxton — and Paxton has slammed Maxwell for his work on the case.

These whistle-blowers were close political allies of Paxton, and the depth of his corruption has been an open secret in Texas for years.

Tweet of the Day

She is right.

Additional regulatory bodies, particularly one which would lend itself so completely to the corruption that is the revolving door.

22 October 2020

Drunk Blogging the Debates

Final analysis:  Biden did not lose, so he won.

Trump really didn't make a case for himself though.

I am at no risk of alcohol poisoning at this juncture, so I call this personal win.

The debate is over, thank God.

It was far less chaotic than I had anticipated.

OK, I have learned that rum and coke is dangerous.

This may be the drunkest I have ever been in a debate.

F%$# this, I need to watch cat videos.

A quick note:  Biden just has to not lose.

He has managed not to lose so far.

Trump is talking about the bird kills and massive carbon footprint of windmills.

This is a lie.

He goes back to claiming that Biden will ban fracking.  (False)

Had to feed the cats some wet food to make sure that Destructo gets enough water in his diet.

I am so f%$#ing sh%$faced right now.

Anthropogenic climate change comes up.

Trump has a valid queation, "Why didn't you  do anything you get anything done in the 8 years that you were VP?"  About crime.

This is a talking point of his, but it is accurate.

Biden actually admits to his earlier crime bills were a mistake.

I am completely sh%$ faced.

Biden, "This guy has a dog whistle as big as a fog horn."


Moderator confronts Trump on his racist rhetoric.

Trump claims to be the least racist person in the room.  Only if David Duke is stuck with him in an elevator.

Trump brings up a valid point:  Biden has over 40 years in politics, and over 8 years as VP, and these things were never addressed.

Don't know whether this will stick.

Thank god for real-time spell checking.  Without it, this will be comepletely incpomprehensible.

I am unequivocally drunk.

Biden correctly reminds people that Trump called for the innocent kids from the Central Park 5.

Biden talks relatively honestly, but does not mention his role in shepherding Clinton's horrible crime bill through the Senate.

Trump brings up the 1994 crime bill.  (True)  And claims that he has done more for the minority community than anyone since Lincoln (F%$#ing lie).

Trump talks up opportunity zones, which is money to rich white developers like ……… Donald Trump.

Race in America.

Talking about "The Talk" that minorities have to give their kids a talk about how cops will just shoot you.

The colloquy over immigration is just dueling liars.

Trump is horrible and cruel, and Obama, and by extension Biden, was horrible and cruel.

Trump talks about immigrant murders and rapists.  Take an drink.

Trump makes the point that punitive immigration policies start with Obama.  The cages, etc.

That is actually true.  

Take a drink.

Trump talks about the beautiful wall.

There is not enough alcohol in the world.

$15.00/hr minimum wage.

Trump says, "Leave it up to the states," just like segregationists said about civil rights.


Trump says that the stimulus is a bailout for blue cities and states, and handouts to illegal aliens.

When the facts are on your side, pound the facts. When the law is on your side, pound the law. When neither is on you side, pound the table.

Trump accuses Nancy Pelosi of playing politics with stimulus.  Well, duh!

Trump claims that Biden living in Scranton as a kid is a fraud.

I need to drink more.

Trump says that Kamala Harris is more liberal than Bernie Sanders.

I am clearly not drinking ENOUGH.

Biden notes that his plan adds a public option, and that he is opposed to single payer.

Bad move, let the ambiguity benefit your electoral prospects.  Single payer polls over 50% with Republicans.

Trump claims that Biden will create a single payer system.

This is:

  • Not true.
  • A stupid thing to accuse Biden of, it's like accusing Biden of supporting motherhood.

Shifts to Amy Coney Barret and Obamacare.

Trump claims credit for eliminating the personal mandate, and that Obamacare sucks.  

He's right that Obamacare sucks, but he has no plan, and if he did it would be worse.

The moderator is losing control.  Will they cut the mic?

The DPRK comes up.

Trump's claims of his wonderful relationship with Kim are bullsh%$.

So is Bidens's dick swinging on the DPRK, the standard Council on Foreign Relations crap.

Tweedle Dee, meet Tweedle Dumber.

Trump: China, China, China!

Biden talks about Trump's secret China bank accounts and his refusing to release his tax returns.

Trump claims that he he prepaid his taxes (bullsh%$) and accuses Biden of corruption.  

More drinking.

Biden talks about Trump's formerly secret China accounts

Trump brings up the Ukraine story.  Take two drinks.

Pivots to national security, and now it's all Russia and Iran and election meddling.

Screw that.  I want to know how we get out of forever wars, and how we stop the US from being a purveyor of misery and drone strikes.

Good question from the moderator.  She called out Trump for trash talking Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Trump responds with false praise for the doctor.

Biden notes that Trump is responding by blaming blue states.

Trump responds to this by blaming blue states.

Trump notes that there is soaring drug abuse, domestic violence, suicides, etc. during the pandemic.

Remind me, who is sitting in the oval office right now?

I am watching on the BBC, because American talking heads make me ill.

Unfortunately, there is some sort of problem at the Beeb studios, with libs not matching the words.

It's refreshingly surreal.

It's over. Jeebus.  I need a f%$#ing drink.

Getting some cross-talk now drinking.

Biden:  Paraphrases to, "What did he know, and when did he know it?"

I love it when someone uses a classic.

Not much interruptions yet, so I'm just having a pleasant drink and an unpleasant watch.

Biden notes that Trump is spending his time claiming that it will go away, instead of dealing with the problems.

Trump tries to deflect to China.

Shorter version Joe Biden response on Covid-19, "This guy has no clue, and is lying, and the US is in worse shape than the rest of Europe.

Donald Trump is asked about what he will/has done on Covid-19.  Claims that everything is good, and that he is immune.

I think that he is arguing that he is Superman.  Take a drink.

Introduction with notes that the microphones will be off for person B when person A is asked a question.

Sobriety Has Left the Building

 The debates start in a few minutes, and tonight,  WILL be drinking.

I will be drinking rum and Coke, some of the good cane sugar stuff from Passover, from a plastic cup.

The plastic cup is because I will be tempted to throw it at the TV.

No drinking games though, I will just drink, because after the last fiasco, there is no way to fit that chaos into a game.

Good News on Initial Claims

They have fallen to within spitting distance of the pre-2020 record.

Obviously, this is good news only in a relative context.

 I still do not know what is keeping the economy afloat

New applications for unemployment benefits so far this month fell to the lowest levels since the coronavirus pandemic shut many businesses in March, a sign of improvement for the U.S. economy.

Weekly initial claims for jobless benefits, a proxy for layoffs, fell by 55,000 to a seasonally adjusted 787,000 in the week ended Oct. 17, the Labor Department said Thursday. Claims for the prior two weeks were revised lower, reflecting new data from California. The revised level of claims for the week ended Oct. 3—767,000—was the lowest since the March 14 week, when less than 300,000 new claims were filed.

Declining layoffs add to indicators the economy is continuing to heal from the pandemic downturn. The National Association of Realtors reported Thursday that existing-home sales rose 9.4% in September to the highest level since 2006, and consumer spending rose last month, despite historically high unemployment.

Still, with millions out of work and concerns about a resurgence of the virus in many parts of the country, many economists expect the pace of economic recovery to slow.

 Still waiting for the other shoe to drop,