Trump Card

trumpzilla_poster_2_0-r2e5a5579883d404a91d6f42032c4d3fa_wvc_8byvr_512So The Donald won New York’s Republican primary. In related news, I left something closely resembling Donald Trump in the toilet this morning.

My point? Both are equally undeserving of attention. But here we are.

There’s a story that Trump had been considering a Presidential run for some time and was finally convinced to throw his combover hat in the ring after a phone call from his good buddy Bill Clinton. For those of you who don’t recall the 90’s, here’s the Cliff Notes version: Bill Clinton is a reptilian pervert who doesn’t do anything for anyone unless it somehow redounds to his and/or Hillary’s benefit. And if he can stick it to the Republicans at the same time, it’s bonus points.

For any Republican, conservative or otherwise, that should’ve rung alarm bells at decibel levels loud enough to cause permanent hearing damage. Could no one see the train wreck this guy was setting us up for from day one? Continue reading “Trump Card”

There is no “I” in “Team”

But there’s a couple of ’em in IDIOT. Also ISIS. Barack E Neuman

Every time I think nothing more could possibly spew forth from our Narcissist-in-Chief that would shock me, he goes and proves me wrong:

“What I’m not interested in doing is posing or pursuing some notion of American leadership or America winning or whatever other slogans they come up with that has no relationship to what is actually going to work to protect the American people and to protect the people in the region who are getting killed and to protect our allies and people like France,” Obama said. “I’m too busy for that.”

Emphasis mine. Lunacy his.

“I’m too busy for that.” Let that line sink in. The heat you’re probably feeling is your blood boiling.

It really is a shame that President Lightbringer can’t seem to avoid these pesky interruptions into whatever it is he thinks is his top priority. We all hate how this most recent assault on humanity and Western civilization has inconvenienced you.

Too damn bad. It’s time to nut up and do your job. You wanted to be the leader of the free world? This comes with the territory, cupcake.

Of course he doesn’t see it that way and his mind (such that it is) certainly won’t be changed by the invective of one part-time writer from Ohio. He’s made it clear that he can’t be bothered with any aspect of the Presidency which doesn’t comport with his “transformative” agenda.

What really gives me a case of the red-ass is his dismissive aloofness in the face of  serious threats that he enabled by creating a power vacuum in the Middle East. I have friends and classmates who never came home from that shithole. It would be nice to think they didn’t give their lives in vain, but his actions have ensured otherwise.

History will judge Obama to be the most destructive person to ever hold the Presidency, and the entire civilized world will pay a heavy price. His folly already eclipses Chamberlain’s, as old Neville at least didn’t run around actively working to kneecap his allies while sucking up to Hitler. It will take a couple of generations to repair the damage done, as our allies would be right to question our will.

If only he went after these animals with the same zeal he goes after Republicans. Those of us who watch current events with an eye towards history grow more anxious with each passing week: it feels like we are at the point of maximum danger and are in a race against time as his final term approaches its end.

It’s as if it were 1938 and instead of FDR, Joe Kennedy is in the White House.

 

 

Offensive Tactics

One of these things is not like the others. Question: does this image offend you?

How about this one?

Maybe this one?

The correct answers are:

a. Yes

b. Probably

c. Hell No and get a life.

So what’s different about them if our cultural elites have decided we’re all of a sudden enlightened and mature enough to take down rebel flags wherever they may be found?

Context, that’s what.

Flag (a) is the infamous banner above the South Carolina confederate memorial on Statehouse grounds in Columbia. Until a few years ago it actually flew atop the dome, after being placed there in the early 60’s by Gov. Fritz Hollings. Who, by the way, was a Democrat who did it to thumb his nose at the burgeoning civil rights movement. It’s been there ever since because Tradition and Heritage.

Bull$#!+.

Flag (b) hangs in Charleston inside the cadet chapel at my alma mater, The Citadel. It was given to the school by some nice lady from a Connecticut yacht club in the mid-1930’s. It’s a replica of the Confederate naval ensign which was replaced (along with all the other flags in the chapel) in the early 80’s. So not even the original, which itself wasn’t even original. Again, still there because Tradition and Heritage. And again, I call B.S.

Flag (c) is from an image I culled at random from a Google search of Civil War reenactments, where one would expect to see lots of rebel colors. What are they gonna carry, rainbow pride flags? Then again, maybe that’s where we’re headed…

So back to my point on context. (A) has clearly outlived its usefulness and deserves to be removed, considering why it was raised in the first place. It took a hundred years to finally throw off the last remnants of state-sanctioned racism, and for my home state to keep flying a banner erected in defiance of what was clearly a just cause really pisses me off. Gov. Haley was right to demand its removal.

(B) was not hung in such a fashion, but considering all it has come to represent I think it’s best to remove it from such a prominent position at a place of worship. I wish things were different, but alas they are not.

If you have a problem with (C), then you need to have your head examined. The people I know who do these reenactments take their roles quite seriously – and I don’t mean the play-acting (though there is that) – I mean their drive to present history in a way that’s far more powerful than a classroom lecture or third-rate drama on the History Channel. To expect them to fly anything else is just absurd.

When I was a young man growing up in South Carolina, rebel flags were everywhere. We’d get the t-shirts at Myrtle Beach and put the plates on our front bumpers. And not a single damned one of us thought of it as a way to rub black folks’ noses in it.

Unfortunately, that’s precisely what we were doing. Doesn’t matter now that we didn’t intend it that way. To us it was a “southern and proud of it” symbol, back when thousands of Northern hordes were moving down our way, driving up property values and pointedly informing us of exactly how stupid and backwards we all were.

I am not kidding.

So, ya’ll don’t like Charlotte? Then move back to Newark or whatever other blue-state Yankee nightmare you came from.

Yeah, I didn’t think so. So why don’t you shut up about how much better hockey is than NASCAR or ACC basketball, and just have some more BBQ and sweet tea? Bless your heart.

Southern Pride is a funny thing: eccentric, like so much of the South can often be. Seriously, have you ever read any Pat Conroy? I used to wonder if the dude wasn’t hiding in our attic, taking notes.

But enough about my childhood dysfunction: back to our national dysfunction. The ugly truth is that the rebel flag has always made certain segments of our populace decidedly uncomfortable. I honestly think a lot of blacks tolerated it because they knew most of us didn’t intend it as a White Power Nazi Skinhead symbol. But the sad truth is that over the past few decades it has been fully co-opted by exactly those types of racist militant douchebags. And that sucks.

The Nazis didn’t invent the swastika, either. So think of it like this: if you saw one in a museum or at a WWII reenactment, would you be offended?

No? Then what about at a Neo-Nazi march?

Exactly my point. There is a difference between recognizing history and using a particular image to rally your troops, so to speak.

The Citadel endured a similar family spat several years ago. When I was a cadet in the mid-1980s, rebel flags were still prominent at home football games. And with good reason: Citadel cadets actually fired the first shots of the war (I dare any pantywaist civilian fratboys to match that prank). But over time, we couldn’t escape just how much that flag was becoming associated with some pretty unsavory groups. It was eventually replaced with this:

That’s “Big Red,” our battle colors during the war. Seems to me a quite appropriate and hopefully inoffensive replacement. But there’s just no satisfying some people. And if that offends you…too bad.

Here, have some BBQ. Bless your hearts.

After Midnight

If your blood pressure’s not high enough today, then head on over to American Spectator to read about the “Two Midnight Rule.”

This is precisely the kind of NHS-style bureaucratic nightmare we all worried about, and it came to pass even sooner than anyone imagined: a family’s beloved father is dead because of a turn of phrase in a law that nobody read, including the “man” who signed it. There are no words to describe how infuriating this is — it’s impossible to comprehend how this man’s family must feel.

Read the whole thing, if you can stand it. If not, here’s the key takeaway:

The “two midnight rule” became a death sentence for Frank Alfisi. An Obamacare Catch-22.

Simply put: Frank Alfisi could not be admitted to the hospital because he needed dialysis. Dialysis does not require a “two midnight” stay in the hospital. So, therefore, Frank would not be admitted as an in-patient and given dialysis. And since the lack of dialysis — which was deliberate per the Obamacare directive to the CMS — had now made Frank so sick that it resulted in two seizures and unconsciousness, a need for oxygen and a wheelchair, Frank certainly was no longer qualified to be an outpatient at DaVita.

This wasn’t even in the law, it was part of a 1500-page regulation as a result of the law. If you or a loved one rely on Medicare, this is your future.

In some measure this can be chalked up to unintended consequences: pass a 3000-page bill that nobody had time to read before voting on it, and that’s what happens. Which is, of course, why I can’t think these consequences are “unintended.” In the long run this clause will save the government money by causing old people to die off sooner. The bastards knew exactly what they were doing and didn’t give a damn about who it might hurt, because Greater Good or whatever.

God save us from politicians hawking good intentions, because their intentions are rarely good. First, last, and always, they are about control. So what if a few eggs got broken; just look at that tasty omelet!

I’ve been ruminating about this for a long time, as it’s increasingly obvious that very few people in politics are actually working in our best interests. Washington is a company town, and the local industry is politics. Its products are laws and regulations, and so it becomes everyone’s interest to craft them in a way to bring in as much profit as possible.

Economics, in other words. But this isn’t private industry operating in a free market, and so the profiteers aren’t labor and management. They’re politicians and their various hangers-on, including the parasitic lobbyist class.

There are precious few national-level politicians whom I believe are honestly working for our interests — and even they have their own agendas. Which is fine, so long as it aligns with the nation’s and adheres to the Constitution. And that’s what it really comes down to: do you, or do you not, believe that our government must perform within the limits defined by our Constitution?

If you don’t, then we have no common ground for compromise. You must therefore be defeated at every opportunity, because your beliefs will ultimately end this nation. And we are getting dangerously close to that tipping point.

Strangling the Baby

Why are the Feds so afraid to let humanity out of its crib?

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/370895/pilot-shortage-made-congress-jillian-kay-melchior

http://www.parabolicarc.com/2014/02/07/nield-moritorium-regulations-2015/

The above links are not entirely unrelated. While the flight crew experience minimums came down from on high (or wherever it is Congress resides), the sudden reversal on regulating spaceflight perfectly illustrates how our government looks at us lately. The FAA is just the branch I have the most personal experience with and they’ve been getting decidedly too big for their britches lately: Weight & Balance rules that will grind airline ops to a screeching halt, directing AMEs to assume anyone over a certain BMI needs a CPAP machine, classifying off-the-shelf R/C models fitted with GoPro cameras as “drones” to be regulated.

Deciding it’s time to regulate in-development spacecraft and orbital operations tells me the Feds have decided that literally nothing is beyond their reach. Pardon me, Mr. Nield, but you have not the slightest damned idea what you’re talking about. Assuming the past 50 years of NASA-centric spaceflight experience puts you in a position to dictate standards to companies who’ve set out to break that mold is the worst kind of hidebound bureaucratic “thinking.”

Over the last fifty years, how much demonstrable progress has been made on reusable launchers? If your answer is “space shuttle” then you’re missing my point. Each orbiter had to go through the rough equivalent of an airline heavy-check every single time they flew. If we did that, we’d be out of business just as surely as if we threw away our airplanes after each trip.

Did anyone anticipate SpaceX would be able to create a reusable first stage that lands on its tail like something from a 1950’s sci-fi movie? Or XCOR’s runway-to-suborbit spaceplane? How would either of those fit into standards that by Nield’s logic should be based on NASA legacy systems?

Those who can’t do, teach. Those who can’t even manage that, regulate.

Get out of our way.

How the West was Hosed

Pictures being worth a thousand words, I give you the American President and British Prime Minister through history. Let’s start with 1945:

1985 (ish):

And then there’s last week:

OK, so FDR and Reagan weren’t being tempted by hot Danish blondes. But something tells me that wouldn’t have mattered.

Time to Jarhead Up (Ranger, Frogman…whatever your preference), because when the Visigoths finally come over the hills to crash the gates of Rome these clowns sure won’t be there to defend us.

Uninspiring

What giving up looks like. Credit: Inspiration Mars

After getting our hopes up last February, Dennis Tito’s Inspiration Mars project has finally released the results of their mission architecture study. Apparently they ran head-on into Grissom’s Law: No bucks, no Buck Rogers.

There’s really no other way to interpret this in my unprofessional opinion. Their presentation to Congress last week feels like a “Hail Mary” play that is less about available technology than it is available funding.

My guess is Inspiration Mars determined that a commercial approach was the most feasible. Given the current state of vehicle development, we’re much more likely to see actual working hardware from SpaceX than we are NASA. Going through their presentation, it’s clear they went to great pains to avoid throwing any hints in the direction of the former.

This is particularly telling:

Inspiration Mars’s chief technology officer Taber McCallum says the group made an exhaustive effort not to involve NASA, but ultimately failed. “Our bias really was, we’re going to do this commercially. That’s what we tried like hell to do.”

The issue is the sheer amount of gear required for a human mission. The crew will need a module that will keep them alive for the duration of the trip, including all their food, radiation shielding, and a separate pod to protect them during the high-speed re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere. Launching all this along with the crew is impossible with existing spacecraft, the report found.

Even if you break the mission into several separate launches, getting all the gear into space would take at least three launches with planned commercial vehicles, such as the privately built SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket, which has yet to fly.

Gotta love that last bit. Falcon Heavy’s development is well under way and the first flight is planned for late 2014-early 2015. Given SpaceX’s record of actually doing what they intend to do, why all the skepticism? Does anyone really think SLS will be as far along before then, or that NASA could bring such a project in for under a billion?

Not to mention a stretched Cygnus module, closed-loop life support which doesn’t yet exist, and reentry in an Orion capsule variant that hasn’t even been discussed yet. As a wise man recently pointed out, our government used to launch men to the moon. Now they can’t even launch a website.

Where’s the unicorn in this picture?

Meanwhile, Dragon was designed from the outset to be capable of typical Mars-return reentry velocities. While IM’s 14km/sec entry is beyond even that high bar, it’s a safe bet that Musk & Co. are much more likely to come up with a capable heat shield than the current government arrangement.

While an all-commercial approach would’ve been the most likely path to success, that comes with a price – literally. This would have been entirely on IM’s shoulders, meaning real money needed to be spent to guarantee the hardware would be available in time for the 2018 launch window. Apparently the money wasn’t there, and wasn’t going to be there anytime soon.

I can see engineers advising Mr. Tito that a couple of Falcon Heavy launches with a Dragon capsule and some kind of Bigelow hab module would be just the ticket. Then the accountants stepped in and made it clear they couldn’t afford that ticket and no amount of frequent-flier miles would make up the difference.

So they dropped back to punt (yes I’m mixing up football metaphors but just run with me here), settling on a NASA-centric architecture in the hopes that they could gin up enough support, with the understanding that Congress and NASA are flailing about to find a purpose for SLS. If they’re hellbent on building it anyway, maybe this would give them better cover than just recreating Apollo 8. And a hard deadline certainly wouldn’t hurt.

Shrewd and desperate. But mostly desperate. At least it didn’t take long for NASA to see right through this and call BS on the whole deal.

Given SpaceX’s goals of reaching Mars, I was always curious as to why they weren’t the obvious partner for such a project even if it meant waiting until the 2021 window. That extra few years could make an enormous difference in capabilities while adding a manned Venus flyby to their intinerary. I’d be happy to throw a billion at that if my last name were Gates or Buffet.

A very disappointing development.

Got Grammar?

So I guess this is for real:

Idiocracy has arrived. Behold your future and weep.

Darwin might argue that we’d all be better off in the long run if douchebags like these WEREN’T insured. Weed ’em out now before it’s too late!

There’s so much WRONG in here it’s hard to decide where to begin, but here’s a helpful hint for all you “bros”: if you have medical bills to pay, you had damn well better be tapping your beer money before you expect the rest of us to pay for it.

American culture is now at the point where satire is no longer possible. “Do you got insurance?” REALLY? Grammar much?

We are so screwed.

Obamaha Beach

From the halls of Montezuma, to the cesspool of DC…

The Marines who took Iwo Jima were not about to be turned away by a bunch of silly barricades and the asshats who tried to keep them out.

Just when you thought Shutdown Theater couldn’t get any more absurd, President Dronekiller decides that he has the authority to shut down open-air monuments, close off public highways, blockade the open seas, and eject property owners from their homes. Which he’d have if we were say, fighting off an invading enemy. Which this ain’t. This is about intentionally disrupting the lives of private citizens to the maximum extent possible just to show who’s boss. It’s also a pointed lesson in the kind of thuggish behavior that erupts among individuals who harbor those tendencies when their Dear Leader signals his tacit approval.

I am so incandescently pissed off right now I can barely put words to it, and am only mildly shocked at how quickly this situation has morphed from absurdity to menace. So yeah, it’s time to show who’s boss: we are.

Fighting fascism, then and now.

Flying Blind

More on the unconstitutional harassment of private pilots from the Toledo Blade:

The Aircraft Owners’ and Pilots’ Association, which represents small-plane owners and operators across the United States, said it has received dozens of complaints from members “subjected to random searches” by Customs and Border Protection, local police, or both.

“None of the stops resulted in anything being found,” said Steve Hedges, a spokesman for the owners and pilots association.

“In most cases, the pilots were stopped and held while their planes were searched. … I’m told one pilot was asleep in a motel room with his wife when agents kicked the door down and took them back out to the airport to search his plane, only to find nothing there.”

So yeah, it’s pretty clear this cat’s out of the bag; DEA/CPB/TSA/WTF are targeting pretty much anybody flying small aircraft between pot-legal and –illegal states, assuming they’re up to no good. Sorry, but Joe Cessna on an IFR flight plan who happens to stop in Colorado for avgas is not the same as somebody skimming the Gulf of Mexico (i.e. masking radar) in a clapped-out Beech 18 and landing on some grass strip in Florida. We can usually guess what that guy is up to.

I keep repeating it, because they just keep doing it: our government has come off the rails and is operating way beyond its constitutional authority. This has to stop before civil disobedience (and unrest) becomes the only recourse we have.

Figures this crap would start reaching a boil right about the time I find a cheap way to fly:

Back in the Saddle, Sep. 2013

UPDATE: Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association (AOPA) is not taking this quietly. Though given this Administration’s history with FOIA requests, we probably won’t see much without legal action. Fortunately that’s not something AOPA’s shy about.