Category Archive 'Catastrophes'
10 Sep 2018
Hussar, enormous Taigan puppy, just about in my lap.
We have two: Uhlan, a 9-year-old Tazy (a breed of sighthound from Kazakhstan) and Hussar, a one-year-old Taigan (a breed of sighthound from Kyrgysztan, a member of the first litter born in North America). (I have friends who are into weird dogs.)
The tazy is significantly smaller, but smarter and a lot more feral. Uhlan has all the unspoiled-by-civilization-and-domestication wildness and complete lack of subordination that crazy sighthound fanatics particularly prize.
The taigan is huge, black, and goofy. He is a lummox with no sense whatsover of how much space he takes up and no regard for human property. He is fanatically playful, in the manner of a puppy, and he loves to fetch and retrieve dog toys.
The tazy is like the Dragon Smaug in The Hobbit. He considers all dog toys his and will collect them and then sit gloating over the pile of them.
Smaug’s greed recently reached a new peak. When he hears the impact of a toy I’ve thrown for the puppy, Smaug will deliberately come downstairs, confiscate the toy, and remove it to his hoard upstairs.
Last night, Karen and I were watching a movie, and the puppy wanted to play, so he brought over the flat, entirely disemboweled rag that was once some kind of stuffed animal. Karen and I were distracted by the movie, so Uhlan’s sudden arrival was overlooked. A violent dog tussle and spinning canine tornado erupted in front of us, which quickly took hold of the power cord of my brand-new $1500 laptop PC, yanking it right off the table and hurling it to the floor.
The new Lenovo survived, but the male end of the power cord was twisted and bent. Last night, I thought it still made an electrical connection, but I was wrong. That cord is as dead as Fogarty’s goat.
I ordered a replacement last night. $47.00 and change, discounted from Amazon. It’s due to arrive tomorrow. Meanwhile, I’m back on my older, slower machine.
If anybody is planning any medical experiments, I know where he can get a couple of dogs.
It is also monsooning here and satellite Internet is out a great deal. Blogging will be light.
20 Jun 2018
damage to USS Fitzgerald
Robert Stacy McCain received an anonymous letter pointing out that other issues besides simple negligence were involved in the USS Fitzgerald’s collision.
During the early weeks after the USS Fitzgerald was speared by a lumbering Philippine container ship, it was noteworthy that the captain and a couple of admirals were publically named, but not the actual officer in charge, the officer of the deck. (OOD) The other person who should have kept the Fitz out of trouble is the person in charge of the combat information center, the Tactical Action Officer. That individual is supposed to be monitoring the combat radar, which can detect a swimmer at a distance of two miles.
Not until a year later, when the final reports are made public and the guilty parties have been court-martialed, does the truth come out. The OOD was named Sarah, and the Tactical Action Officer was named Natalie, and they werenâ€™t speaking to each other!!! The Tactical Action Officer would normally be in near constant communication with the OOD, but there is no record of any communication between them that entire shift!
Another fun fact: In the Navy that won WWII, the damage control officers were usually some of the biggest and strongest men aboard, able to close hatches, shore up damaged areas with timbers, etc. The Fitzâ€™s damage control officer was also a woman, and she never left the bridge. She handled the aftermath of the accident remotely, without lifting a finger herself!
Look it up: The OOD was Sarah Coppock, Tactical Action Officer was Natalie Combs. . . .
When I noticed last year that they were doing all they could to keep the OODâ€™s name out of the headlines, I speculated to my son that it was a she. Turns out all the key people (except one officer in the CIC) were female!
Indeed, I did some searching, and Lt. Coppock pleaded guilty to dereliction of duty. Lt. Combs faced a hearing last month:
In an 11-hour hearing, prosecutors painted a picture of Lt. Irian Woodley, the shipâ€™s surface warfare coordinator, and Lt. Natalie Combs, the tactical action officer, as failing at their jobs, not using the tools at their disposal properly and not communicating adequately. They became complacent with faulty equipment and did not seek to get it fixed, and they failed to communicate with the bridge, the prosecution argued. Had they done those things, the government contended, they would have been able to avert the collision.
That two of the officers â€” Coppock and Combs â€” involved in this fatal incident were female suggests that discipline and training standards have been lowered for the sake of â€œgender integration,â€ which was a major policy push at the Pentagon during the Obama administration. It could be that senior officers, knowing their promotions may hinge on enthusiastic support for â€œgender integration,â€ are reluctant to enforce standards for the women under their command.
09 Aug 2016
Publius Tex argues that it would be awfully hard.
Trump has run for the presidency several times, only capturing a nomination because President Barack Obama paved his path via eight straight years of mendacity, dishonesty, verbal trickery, and deceit. Nothing means anything anymore, so it’s impossible to hold Trump to account for anything at all.
Hillary Clinton lost the nomination last time around to a smooth-talking rookie, despite her claim to be the Smartest Woman in the World. This time she struggled to put away an avowed Communist who possesses all the personal charm of a tapeworm.
Visually, both are terrible on TV. Trump has the worst hair ever. Hillary has the worst voice ever. He has permanent bed head. She sounds like a screech owl with hemorrhoids. …
Whichever one wins, a majority of the nation will despise them. And their voting base will be, at best, indifferent once the shine of victory wears off five minutes after inauguration.
Trump lets his mouth get so far ahead of his brain that he’s likely to troll his way into a war. Hillary Clinton beat him to that, though, with her insane intervention in Libya — an actual war that has created a terrorism Dante’s Inferno.
Trump is a serial philanderer who, until this current run for president, bragged about all the women he bedded while he was married. Hillary is the enabler of a serial philanderer and probable rapist who, when her cheating husband ran for and was president, ran operations on the taxpayer’s dime to destroy his mistresses and victims.
Trump is known for the â€œart of the deal,â€ an art that as often as not comes down to using bankruptcy laws to screw his partners and investors while he keeps getting paid. Hillary takes Mandarin opacity to glorious new extremes. From hiding subpoenaed law firm records to lying about why Americans died in Benghazi with their corpses behind her and their grieving families in front of her, she is a heartless ghoul and a cover-up artist without peer.
Trump gets himself into trouble by trolling the media and Hillary over her illegal email server and dangerous mishandling of classified information. But Hillary actually used the illegal server, with the obvious intent of skirting freedom of information laws so she could hide her doings and the operations of the Clinton criminal Foundation from the public — which might ask about all that — and the media, which we all know never, ever will.
Trump’s core argument for being president comes down to a string of absurdities. He’ll make Mexico pay for a wall to be built in the middle of a river, he’ll fix everything that’s bad (but don’t ask him for a plan!), and heâ€™ll wipe out terrorists while being resolutely anti-war.
Hillary’s core argument comes down to â€œFirst Woman President Yay!â€ atop a party that now thinks gender is entirely fluid and not biological, and â€œcompetency!â€ which does not extend to how she actually performed in every job she has ever had, as she has always performed miserably. She was a lousy senator. She was a terrifying secretary of State. She would be a horrible president.
These are two awful people who could only beat each other. Their respective ascents are evidence that the nation has gone morally bankrupt. They are evidence that character does not matter.
But â€¦ could we do worse?
No. We could not.
Well, maybe if we pulled two convicts out of maximum security prison and nominated them. But convicted felons might have a contrition that lifelong scofflaws like Trump and Hillary will never know.
Otherwise, adjusting for the Kim Jong Un’s of the world … no, America. We could not do worse.
Read the whole thing.
06 Aug 2016
Jonah Goldberg looks on sadly as some Republicans continue to delude themselves with the fantasy that Trump can stop the insane, embarrassing, election-losing behavior and become presidential.
The battered-spouse establishment canâ€™t come to grips with the fact that theyâ€™re being played for suckers or that they are actually enabling Trump. I half expect Reince to come out with a black eye and tell everyone that he walked into a door at Trump tower. â€œI shouldnâ€™t have been so clumsy.â€
And I get it. When something is too terrible to contemplate, thereâ€™s a natural human tendency to avoid contemplating it. But when a grizzly bear is eating your face, saying â€œHe can changeâ€ is not the best response.
Not least because Trump canâ€™t change. He canâ€™t change any more than a one-armed southpaw can suddenly pitch right-handed. Within days of the supposed Pence-pivot, Trump got worse:
In the time since he accepted the nomination Trump has, among other things: revived a crackpot theory on Ted Cruz’s father and the JFK assassination; suggested his adopted party is filled with people who don’t want to help others; invited Russia to influence the U.S. presidential election; smeared the parents of a fallen U.S. Army captain; trashed a retired four-star general; and appeared not to know that Russia had annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014.
And then, just this morning, Trump ate a live hamster on national TV.
Okay, I made that last one up, but you get the point. The Trump you see is the only Trump youâ€™ll get.
Iâ€™d love to see a mash-up of Hannibal Lecter channeling Marcus Aurelius as he talked to Reince Priebus.
Hannibal Lecter: First principles, Reince. Simplicity. Read Marcus Aurelius. Of each particular thing ask: What is it in itself? What is its nature? What does he do, this man you seek?
Reince Priebus: He wins primaries? He controls the news cycle? He insults people?
Hannibal Lecterâ€‹: No. That is incidental. What is the first and principal thing he does? What needs does he serve by doing these things?
Reince Priebusâ€‹: Anger, um, social acceptance, and, huh, sexual frustrations, sir. . .
Hannibal Lecterâ€‹: No! He covets. That is his nature. He covets attention and respect and he confuses one for the other .
. . .
Itâ€™s important to keep in mind that Trump knows he has to promise things he cannot deliver just to keep everyone on the hook. Heâ€™s a bit like a pimp in this regard (actually heâ€™s like a pimp in a lot of ways: gaudy, loud, self-absorbed, fond of gold and red velvet â€” but weâ€™ll stay on point). He tells those counting on him that he can be better.
On March 9, he told Sean Hannity:
â€œAt the right time, I will be so presidential that youâ€™ll call me and youâ€™ll say, â€˜Donald, you have to stop that.â€™ (LAUGHTER) But you know what? It is true, and I think you understand: When they attack me, I have to attack back. Iâ€™m a counter-puncher. When they attack me, if I donâ€™t attack back â€” You know, the press could say, â€˜Oh, he should act more presidential.â€™ And then like a couple of days ago, I gave a speech, they said, â€˜That was so presidential.â€™ I can be presidential. But when you’re being attacked and when you attack back, they say it’s not presidential.â€
This is pimp talk. This notion that he canâ€™t let any insult go un-answered is the lizard-brain logic of the streets and the prison yard. â€œHoney britches, I gotta save face. I canâ€™t let no one trash-talk me or my name wonâ€™t mean sh*t out there.â€
I want to put forward a challenge to everyone still clinging to the he-can-change, pie-in-the-sky, free-beer-tomorrow, Godotâ€™s-bus-is-just-running-late, he-can-change fantasy. Pick a date. Any date between now and Election Day. I want you to commit to the idea that if he hasnâ€™t changed by that day, he never will. And on that day, you need to accept that he is the same cheeto-dusted smatterer some of us saw from Day 1. Then, ask yourself: â€œWhat should we do now?â€
Read the whole thing, it’s excellent.
06 Aug 2009
Pay attention, reporters, all the scary stories you need for filling up front page columns on slow news days for years to come are right here.
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