Month: January 2015

Jon Stewart Weeps

Mitt Rmoney has announced that he will not be running for President in 2016:

On a ski lift high above the powdery slopes of Deer Valley, Utah, Mitt Romney made it clear: His quest for the White House, which had dominated nearly a decade of his life, was coming to a close.
In a talk with his eldest son, Tagg, between runs down the mountain on Monday, Mr. Romney, 67, said he had all but decided against a third bid for the White House.

The conversation, according to a person familiar with it, came after days of increasingly gloomy news reached the Romney family.

Donors who supported him last time refused to commit to his campaign. Key operatives were signing up with former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida. The Republican establishment that lifted Mr. Romney to the nomination in 2012 in the face of scrappy opposition had moved on.

I don’t think that there is anyone, besides the Mittster, who is more disappointed by this than the writers of topical comedy.

They already had the jokes written, because they could have used their jokes from 2012 and 2008 with a few tweaks.

For the rest of us though, it is a win.

Alan Grayson Was Right! They Want You To ‘Die Quickly’*

Michael R. “Andromeda” Strain. a resident “scholar” for the American Enterprise Institute, penned an OP/ED, and the moral pygmy that is Washington Post editorial editor Fred Hiatt, published a work titled, “End Obamacare, and people could die. That’s okay.”

He wants the death penalty for poverty.

What’s more, he tacitly admits that Obamacare saves lives.

 Seriously, the Washington Post has the 2nd worst opinion pages in the nation.

*This is not my bon mot, it is courtesy of Crooks and Liars.

The Best “Pass the Popcorn” Moment of the Year so Far

Pass the Popcorn

The only gay state legislator in Alabama, State Rep. Patricia Todd (D-Birmingham), has just announced that her fellow representatives had better walk the “family values” walk if they talk the “family values talk”, and that she will publicly out the philanderers in the state house:

State Rep. Patricia Todd, Alabama’s only openly gay legislator, is threatening to play hardball in the fight over marriage equality in her state. Over the weekend, Todd warned her colleagues who oppose same-sex marriage that they’d better be careful about the way they defend “traditional” marriage, and about the way they conduct their own lives: according to the Times Daily, the representative claimed she’s prepared to out lawmakers rumored to have had extramarital affairs, but who proclaim to defend family values.

“I will not stand by and allow legislators to talk about ‘family values’ when they have affairs, and I know of many who are and have,” Todd posted on Facebook over the weekend. “I will call our elected officials who want to hide in the closet out.”

I haven’t been this amused about the juxtaposition of marital infidelity and politics since Larry Flynt offered a bounty for cheating Congress critters during the height the attempted putsch against Clinton in 1998.

Women, Hit Your Congressman with a Clue Stick

After decades in politics, Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) has come up with the revolutionary idea that he should  actually talk to women about reproductive rights:

There are many factors involved when a woman decides to end a pregnancy, and over the past 14 years in political office, I have gained a deeper understanding of the complexities and emotions that accompany the difficult decisions that women and families make when confronted with these situations.

I was elected to political office at a young age, and being raised in a Catholic household, always considered myself pro-life. My faith is important to me, and like many Catholics I strive to adhere to its principles, especially one of the essential and highest teachings of “judge not, lest ye be judged.” I’ve heard firsthand from women of all ages, races and socioeconomic backgrounds about the circumstances and hardships that accompany this personal choice, which we should not judge.

I have sat with women from Ohio and across the nation and heard them talk about their varying experiences: abusive relationships, financial hardship, health scares, rape and incest. There are endless stories about women in troubling situations — the woman who became pregnant and has a violent spouse; the woman who lost her job and is unable to afford another child; or the underage girl worried she’ll be thrown out of her house if she reveals her pregnancy.

These are just a few of the many stories I have heard. Each of these women lived through difficult and personal situations with few options and no clear path to take. This is why there is no easy answer.

These women gave me a better understanding of how complex and difficult certain situations can become. And while there are people of good conscience on both sides of this argument, one thing has become abundantly clear to me: the heavy hand of government must not make this decision for women and families.

As my friend and colleague U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro says, “Nobody celebrates abortion.” No woman makes this decision lightly. Each and every American deserves the right to deal with these difficult situations in consultation with their families, close friends or religious advisers. No federal or state law banning abortion can honestly and fairly take into account the various circumstances that make each decision unique.

Where government does have the ability to play a significant role is in giving women and families the tools they need to prevent unintended pregnancies by expanding education and access to contraception. We must get past the ignorance, fear and — yes — discrimination against women that lead to restrictions on contraception and age-appropriate sex education.

Only then can we hope to continue to make significant advances in what should be our true, shared objective: reducing the number of unintended pregnancies, which make up the vast majority of abortions. Isn’t that a simple approach on which we all could agree? This is not a partisan issue, but instead a personal one.


Today, I am a 41-year-old father and husband whose feelings on this issue have changed. I have come a long way since being a single, 26-year-old state senator, and I am not afraid to say that my position has evolved as my experiences have broadened, deepened and become more personal. And while I have deep respect for people on both sides of this conversation, I would be abandoning my own conscience and judgment if I held a position that I no longer believed appropriate.

I have come to believe that we must trust women and families — not politicians — to make the best decision for their lives.

I think that a part of this is that he realizes that his long held support for criminalizing abortion is a losing proposition, a part of this is some maturity that comes with time, and part of this is that he realized that his former anti-abortion fellow travelers don’t just want to ban abortion, they want to ban all forms of birth control, because they want to punish women for having sex.

In either case, it is an indication that the Democratic party is becoming a less friendly place for those would restrict a women’s reproductive choices, which is a good thing.

I Think that the US Attorney Just Painted a Target on Hizzonner Cuomo

With the indictment of Sheldon Silver, it is clear that the US Attorney is going to be turn over some rocks in Albany, but it now sounds as if he is drawing a bead on Governor Cuomo and the Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos:

One day after charging one of New York’s leading lawmakers with exploiting his office to obtain millions of dollars in kickbacks and bribes, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York delivered a stinging condemnation of the culture of corruption in Albany and said the system was set up to breed misdeeds.

The prosecutor, Preet Bharara, speaking at the New York Law School on Friday, castigated how deal-making has long been done in Albany — by “three men in a room” (the governor, the State Assembly speaker and the State Senate majority leader), who work in secret and without accountability to decide most vital issues.

For decades, state government has essentially been controlled by the three leaders. When they emerge from their private meetings, issues are usually settled, with no cause for public debate.

Mr. Bharara said this structure could lead to the kind of corruption outlined in the criminal complaint unveiled on Thursday against Sheldon Silver, a Manhattan Democrat who has been the Assembly speaker for two decades.

If the charges are proved true, he said, then “at least one of the proverbial three men in a room is compromised.”

If that is the case, he said, “then how can we trust that anything that gets decided in Albany is on the level

By concentrating power in the hands of so few, he said, good people are discouraged from running for office because they know they will have little influence on important matters.

If you are one of the three people in the room, you have all the power and everyone knows it,” he said.

There is no need to brook dissent, encourage debate or explain yourself. “If you are one of the three men in the room you keep people in the dark because you can,” he said.

Mr. Bharara seemed to revel in mocking Albany and ridiculed the very concept of “three men in a room.”


As an example of such thinking, he cited the former leader of the State Senate who instructed his members to deliver their public disclosure forms by hand rather than mailing them so as to avoid any possible federal mail fraud charges — the unspoken assumption being that lawmakers might have lied on those forms.


But he urged voters to get angry, to demand change. “My hope is that in bringing the case,” he said, “there will be reform.”

“That almost happened with the Moreland Commission,” Mr. Bharara said, referring to the anticorruption panel established by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo that was looking at lawmakers’ behavior when the governor shut it down. “But it turned out to be a little bit fleeting.”

It sounds to me like he’s looking at Cuomo very closely.

Inside Baseball, but it is the Supreme Court

Like many other courts, the Supreme Court can also mete out discipline against misbehaving lawyers who are/were before it.

The court has now decide to make the disciplinary docket public:

Beginning on February 1, the Supreme Court will publicly disclose documents on actions it is considering or taking to discipline lawyers who are members of its bar, a process long shielded in privacy, the Court announced on Tuesday. Currently, that file is treated as confidential, although final disciplinary actions are made public along with regular orders on pending cases. In the new arrangement, attorneys involved in a case may ask to keep their response confidential, in whole or in part.

Under the new disclosure policy, the Court’s announcement made clear, public availability of that docket will be the general rule. It will apply to documents filed after February 1. But if there are reasons to keep an attorney’s response confidential, that will be considered on a case-by-case basis, if sought by the lawyer involved. Typically, a lawyer is notified that potential disciplinary action is being considered by way of a “show cause” order, to which the lawyer then has a chance to respond and to argue against a disciplinary order.

One of the Court’s most noteworthy disciplinary cases now unfolding involves a “show cause” order issued on December 8, involving a Washington, D.C., attorney, Howard Neil Shipley. The order told him to respond within forty days on why he should not be sanctioned for his handling of a specific petition for review. There was no explanation of why that document may have involved a breach of either the Court’s rules or ethical rules. The petition at issue was rambling and, at several points, nearly incoherent. There was an indication that a non-lawyer may have had a central role in its drafting.

The reason that this is significant is that it is highly likely that this change in policy will work it way down to lower courts, and the law “profession” is sorely in need of sunlight on issues of ethics, which is typically handled ways that serve members of the state bars more than the interest of their clients.

The filing in question was in Sigram Schindler Beteiligungsgesellschaft MBH v. Lee, (copy and paste is your friend) a patent case, and it appears that the filing was basically gibberish.

Someone on/around SCOTUS has decided that there is a significant possibility that much of the brief was written by the holder of one of the patents at issue, and that Mr. Shipley simply put his name on it without any meaningful review.

Still, it’s kind of weird.

Yes, That Military Rape Problem is Being Handled………

That’s why the Army put a rapist in charge of prosecuting rapes:

A former Army prosecutor has been sentenced to 20 years imprisonment after being convicted of several sexual assault charges, including rape and forcible sodomy, against multiple victims.

A court-martial panel on Monday found Maj. Erik J. Burris guilty of two specifications of rape, four specifications of assault, forcible sodomy, and disobeying an officer, Fort Bragg said in a statement.

He was found not guilty of other sodomy and assault charges.

Burris had been serving as the chief of justice for the 82nd Airborne Division when the allegations against him came to light, a Fort Bragg spokeswoman told BuzzFeed News.

(Emphasis mine)

Seriously, you need to take this out of the chain of command.

Church of England Enters 20th Century

The Church of England has appointed its first female Bishop. The American branch of the church, the Episcopal Church, first did so in 1989:

The Church of England consecrated its first woman bishop on Monday, the culmination of years of efforts by Church modernizers to overcome opposition from traditionalists – one of whom briefly shouted a protest during the service.

More than two decades after the Church allowed women to become priests, 48-year-old mother-of-two the Reverend Libby Lane became Bishop of Stockport in a ceremony at York Minster, a Gothic cathedral in northern England.

The protest came as John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, asked the congregation whether Lane should be consecrated as Bishop.

As the congregation chorused its approval, a lone man’s voice shouted above them: “No, not in the Bible.”

When Sentamu asked the question again, there was no dissent and the ceremony went ahead.

During the service, which ended in applause, Sentamu and other bishops ceremonially laid their hands on Lane and prayed for her.

This is really something that should have happened in the last century, but religious institutions are frequently MANY centuries behind the time, so this ain’t too shabby.

FCC to Marriott: Go Cheney Yourself

The FCC just made it clear to hotels and convention centers, you block WiFi, and there will be sanctions:

After Marriott blocked Wi-Fi hotspots in parts of its hotels, the FCC sent a stern warning: don’t even think about trying that again.

“The Communications Act prohibits anyone from … interfering with authorized radio communications, including Wi-Fi,” said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in a statement. “Marriott’s request seeking the FCC’s blessing to block guests’ use of non-Marriott networks is contrary to this basic principle.”

Wheeler pointed out that the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau fined Marriott (MAR) $600,000 for blocking Wi-Fi, and said the agency will fine other hotels if they try anything similar.

After being fined, Marriott petitioned the FCC to change the Communications Act so that it could block access to Wi-Fi devices in its conference spaces. The hotel chain said it needed to block Wi-Fi hotspot access in conference centers because attendees could launch cyberattacks on the company’s network or disrupt Wi-Fi service for the conference or guests.

Many customers were outraged by the petition, claiming that Marriott’s request for a conference center Wi-Fi ban was a veiled attempt to ban access in hotel rooms and lobbies as well.

Of course it was.

Overpriced phone and internet has been a major profit center for hotels, and they are eager to find ways to get that money back.

The law is pretty simple though:  Civilians operating radio jammers is illegal.

In fact, it’s illegal for most law enforcement as well.

BTW, Those People Saying that Greece has no Leverage? It’s Bullsh%$

Greece, the only Eastern Orthodox Christian nation in the Eurozone, has a number of close cultural ties to Russia.

What’s more, Russian tourism, which has been hurt by sanctions, is a big part of their economy.

It is not in Greece’s national interest to extend the sanctions, and I expect the new PM, and whoever ends up his Foreign Minister are likely to make this clear on any negotiations with the ECB and EU:

The first test for Syriza would be its stance toward European sanctions on Russia. EU measures including curbs on financing for Russian state-owned banks and a ban on the export of sophisticated energy-exploration equipment will lapse in July unless renewed unanimously by the 28 EU governments.

July is the same deadline for the continuation for Greece’s bailout.

I’m pretty sure that Greece could get a decent deal from Russia if it voted against sanctions.

Smells like leverage to me.

If It’s a Blizzard, Uber will be Price Gouging

Here in New York City and other parts of the Northeast, the snow has begun to fall and it likely won’t stop for the next 24 hours or longer. Some estimate the city will be buried in up to 30 inches of snow by late tomorrow.

For customers of Uber and Lyft, that should bring up nightmares of blizzards past when Uber’s surge prices hit seven to eight times the normal rates — or upwards of $30 a mile.

With that in mind, NYC mayor Bill de Blasio said in a press conference, “Price gouging in the context of an emergency is illegal.” In response, Uber and Lyft have capped their surge prices at 280% and 200% respectively.

The cap is a welcome gesture, but doesn’t that still constitute “price gouging in the context of an emergency”? Under New York State law, price gouging is defined as an “unconscionably excessive price” during an “abnormal disruption of the market.” Like many laws, there’s a bit of vagueness written into that language, and I’ve reached out to the Attorney General’s office to ask whether Uber’s and Lyft’s capped surge rates qualify as “unconscionably excessive” and will update the post if I hear back.

Seriously.  This is a company whose business model is, “We’re contemptible greed-head ratf%$#s.”

Why do people use this, and why do their massively underpaid drivers stay with them?

Syriza Wins Election

He formed a (rather odd) coalition with the, “populist right-wing Independent Greeks party,” as he secured only 149 seats in the 300 seat assembly, Syriza chief Alexis Tsipras has been sworn in as Prime Minister:

A new chapter in Greece’s uphill struggle to remain solvent – and in the eurozone – has begun in earnest as anti-austerity politicians assumed the helm of government following the radical left Syriza party’s spectacular electoral victory on Sunday night.

Ushering in the new era, Alexis Tsipras was not sworn in, as tradition dictates, in the presence of Archbishop Iernonymos but instead took the oath of office in a civil ceremony. At 40, he becomes the country’s youngest premier in modern times.

The leftist, who surprised Greeks by speedily agreeing to share power with the populist rightwing Independent Greeks party, Anel, was on Monday afternoon handed a mandate by president Karolos Papoulias to form a government following his investiture at the presidential palace. Afterwards, the new prime minister pronounced that he will give his all “to protect the interests of the Greek people”.

Earlier, Panos Kammenos, Anel’s rumbustious leader, emerged from hour-long talks with Tsipras saying the two politicians had successfully formed a coalition.

“I want to say, simply, that from this moment, there is a government,” Kammenos told reporters gathered outside Syriza’s headquarters.

This was a bit of a surprise.

It was generally expected that the centrist/center left The River (To Potami) party would be a likely coalition partner, who would be expected to be more attuned with Syriza’s stated policies.

I think that there were 7 reasons for him to go with Anel:

  1. To Potami was formed roughly a year ago by a TV news personality, Stavros Theodorakis, and as such its existence beyond this election cycle is not by any means a sure thing.  (Anel is only a bit older, having been formed in 2012)
  2. Theodorakis is very much not a Euroskeptic, and drew “Red Lines” (German) on leaving the Euro and a deposit levy, and taking the first item off the table fatally weakens the Greek negotiating position.
  3. To Potami has very much focused on “Structural Reforms” (which appear to be defined as the reduction in patronage and corruption) to the exclusion of everything else, which would also make them an unreliable.
  4. Anel has a history of working left wing parties on issues of common interest. (Panhellenic Citizen Chariot)
  5. Anel is Euroskeptic, and really hates the Germans. (It has a demand for reparations from Germany for WWII).
  6. The founder of Anel is a long term politician, the founder of To Potami is a news talking head.  I think that the latter is far more likely to channel the behavior of pastry chefs.
  7. To Potami seems to be kind of a “Seinfeld” party, in that it doesn’t seem to be about much beyond platitudes, and Theodorakis’ personality.

 In any case, it is significant that Tsipras’ first act as PM was pretty clearly a bit “F%$# You” to the Germans:

His first act as prime minister was to lay flowers at the National Resistance Memorial at Kaisariani, which commemorates 200 Greeks who were killed by Nazis there in the second world war. The highly symbolic act was interpreted by Greek TV commentators as “another up yours to the Germans”.

I would call it a very well deserved “Up Yours” to the Germans.  Merkel has been “n***er baiting” the southern tier of the Eurozone for domestic political consumption, .

As to what it means, a lot of ink (electrons?) has been spilled about how little leverage Greece has, but this has been the same media sources who try to cast Syriza as the new Khmer Rouge.

Two Nobel Prize economists, Joseph Stiglitz, and Paul Krugman, have both weighed in on the damage inflicted by “confidence fairy” based austerity today, and they both gave it a thumbs down.

Stiglitz is very clear, and he blames Germany, not Greece for the disaster that is the policy for Greece: (And Ireland and Portugal, and to a lesser degree, Spain and Italy)

Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz told CNBC on Monday that the euro zone should stay together but if it breaks apart, it would be better for Germany to leave than for Greece.

“While it was an experiment to bring them together, nothing has divided Europe as much as the euro,” Stiglitz said in a “Squawk Box” interview.


Greece is not the only economy struggling under the euro, and that’s why a new approach is needed, Stiglitz said. “The policies that Europe has foisted on Greece just have not worked and that’s true of Spain and other countries.”


He said the real problem is Germany, which has benefited greatly under the euro. “Most economists are saying the best solution for Europe, if it’s going to break up, is for Germany to leave. The mark would raise, the German economy would be dampened.”

Under that scenario, Germany would find out just how much it needs the euro to stay together, he added, and possibly be more willing to help out the countries that are struggling. “The hope was, by having a shared currency, they would grow together.” But he said that should work both ways.

I’ve been saying that Germany is the problem, and not the solution for a while.

Prof Krugman sees it as primarily a failure of policy brought on by adherence to thoroughly discredited economic theory:

To understand the political earthquake in Greece, it helps to look at Greece’s May 2010 “standby arrangement” with the International Monetary Fund, under which the so-called troika — the I.M.F., the European Central Bank and the European Commission — extended loans to the country in return for a combination of austerity and reform. It’s a remarkable document, in the worst way. The troika, while pretending to be hardheaded and realistic, was peddling an economic fantasy. And the Greek people have been paying the price for those elite delusions.

You see, the economic projections that accompanied the standby arrangement assumed that Greece could impose harsh austerity with little effect on growth and employment. Greece was already in recession when the deal was reached, but the projections assumed that this downturn would end soon — that there would be only a small contraction in 2011, and that by 2012 Greece would be recovering. Unemployment, the projections conceded, would rise substantially, from 9.4 percent in 2009 to almost 15 percent in 2012, but would then begin coming down fairly quickly.

What actually transpired was an economic and human nightmare. Far from ending in 2011, the Greek recession gathered momentum. Greece didn’t hit the bottom until 2014, and by that point it had experienced a full-fledged depression, with overall unemployment rising to 28 percent and youth unemployment rising to almost 60 percent. And the recovery now underway, such as it is, is barely visible, offering no prospect of returning to precrisis living standards for the foreseeable future.


Still, in calling for a major change, Mr. Tsipras is being far more realistic than officials who want the beatings to continue until morale improves. The rest of Europe should give him a chance to end his country’s nightmare.

I’m inclined to go with Stiglitz’ here. 

I think that once again, the German sense of exceptionalism has screwed up the Eurozone from day one, and until the rest of the member nations get together to challenge Merkel’s fairy tail, the Euro will continue to circle the drain.


 How to gift wrap your cat:

I am surprised about just how accepting this cat is of this.

My darlings would have drawn blood.

Since it’s been a while, here is a bonus vid:

I Think I’m Going to be Sick

I’m watching TV, and an ad for Jackson Hewett comes on, talking about all their offices, including about a thousand in Wal-Marts.

The background music is, I’ve Been Working on the Railroad, and it’s sung by Pete Seeger.

Seriously, Pete Seeger, who would never do this, and must be spinning on his grave over this.

I confirmed this via a Google search, and it appears that his family licensed this use.

It’s not some sort of bullsh%$ record label stealing for the artist bullsh%$.

Stop the world.  I want to get off.

I am so angry that I could chew iron and spit nails.

So Much for “Safe” Vaping

It turns out that E-Cigs are pumping outs lots of formaldehyde.

So much for safe smokes:

Vapor produced by electronic cigarettes can contain a surprisingly high concentration of formaldehyde — a known carcinogen — researchers reported Wednesday.

The findings, described in a letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine, intensify concern about the safety of electronic cigarettes, which have become increasingly popular.


He [David Peyton, one of the researchers] calls it “masked” formaldehyde because it’s in a slightly different form than regular formaldehyde — a form that could increase the likelihood it would get deposited in the lung. And the researchers didn’t just find a little of the toxicant.

“We found this form of formaldehyde at significantly higher concentrations than even regular cigarettes [contain] — between five[fold] and fifteenfold higher concentration of formaldehyde than in cigarettes,” Peyton says.

And formaldehyde is a known carcinogen.

“Long-term exposure is recognized as contributing to lung cancer,” says Peyton. “And so we would like to minimize contact (to the extent one can) especially to delicate tissues like the lungs.”

So, yes, FDA regulations is a good idea, and applying the same smoking bans to E-cigs as for the old fashioned cigarettes is an even better one.

And I Thought that US Defense Procurement was Tortuous………

After 32 years development, India’s first indigenous fighter has entered service, albeit with far less “indigenous” content than originally envisaged:

The Indian Air Force (IAF) today received the first indigenously built Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) designed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and built by Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL). The LCA, also named ‘Tejas’, was handed over today by Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar to the Indian Air Force Chief Air Marshal, Arup Raha, in Bangalore. Parrikar congratulated all parties involved in the program for their achievement and called upon them to ‘think out of the box’ to meet the schedule and challenges by applying the right management tools. “Work culture should modify by adapting better technology and tools to achieve better results” Parrikar urged his audience.

LCA-SP1, the first aircraft handed over to the air force, rolled off the HAL assembly line in September and, since then, has been inspected to Initial Operational Clearance II, attesting its airworthiness for operational missions. Previous Tejas fighters delivered to the IAF since 2011 have been used primarily for training, as they were qualified only under ‘IOC-I’ rating. Full operational clearance of the LCA is expected by the end of 2015.

Initially HAL will produce only six aircraft per year, the goal is to build 20 aircraft by 2018 to equip Bangalore based No. 45 Squadron (Flying Daggers) – the first IAF squadron to fly the Tejas. Production will slowly ramp up to 16 aircraft per year. Overall the IAF plans to deploy 10-14 squadrons, each equipped with 21 Tejas.


Meeting deadlines has not been the strong side of the LCA program. [You can say that again —mgs] Launched in 1983 to replace India’s Russian-made MiG-21 fighter jets, the LCA took 32 years to mature to this stage – an extremely long process, even by Indian standards. Most of the MiGs it was supposed to replace have already been phased out; about a hundred that still remain in service are to be retired by 2017. With the French Rafale contract signing nowhere in sight, and LCA gearing up slowly to deliver only a single squadron in two years, the IAF will have to deactivate 10 squadrons by 2017, against a force structure requirement of 42 squadrons originally planned.


As production gears up, the Tejas is expected to begin to produce a return on investment – the unit cost of the aircraft is expected to be between $27 and $32 million (170-200 Crore), which is less than half the cost of an Indian-built Su-30MKI and significantly lower than other, fully equipped western alternatives, such as the Gripen and F-16. However, the Tejas will be more expensive than the less-equipped Chinese or Korean fighters, such as the JF-17 and F/A-50.

At a production rate of 6 a year? Puh-lease.

Although India presents the LCA as an indigenous aircraft, even HAL admits it is not fully domestic, as its engine, some of the avionics, and some of the weapon systems are foreign. In fact, only 60 percent of the aircraft is ‘indigenous’. When the program began the intention was to make the LCA fully indigenous. This would have required Indian industry to master new production techniques and to develop an indigenous engine, as well as indigenous electronic, electro-optical and electro-mechanical systems, and software systems, including flight controls and mission management systems.

The relatively high level of foreign content is likely to make those numbers impossible.

I do not doubt that there will be 1-2 squadrons equipped, but not 200 aircraft, particularly when it still needs a lot of development to match payload and range capacity of its near peers. (At least according to Wiki)

I Made a Jive Ass Newbie Mistake on “Ball-Gate”

Last week, I looked at deflate-gate (the Patriots ball inflation “scandal”), and ran some numbers.

I used °F, and figured that if the balls were filled up to 12.7 psi at 70°F, and they cooled to 20°F, you would get a pressure drop of 1.38°F.

Boyle’s law is PV=nRT, where P=pressure, V=Volume, n=the amount of the gas in moles, R=the ideal gas constant, at T=temperature.

Since in the football, volume, amount of gas, and the ideal gas constant remains the same, so we can reduce this to:


Then we can solve for P2: P2=(P1/T1)T2

So, the math looks good, where is the “Jive Ass Newbie Mistake?

Because the pressure in the football isn’t 12.5 psi it’s 27.2 (12.5+14.7) psi.

Boyle’s law is based on absolute pressure, not gauge pressure. Gauge pressure is the difference between the absolute pressure of what you are measuring and the atmospheric pressure.

I am a complete tool for screwing this up.

It turns out that using absolute pressure, a 31 degree ball will be 2.076 psi under-inflated.

So, “Ball-Gate” is largely just an effort by Roger Goodell to make people forget that he is an incompetent and corrupt liar.  (Ray Rice and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, two name just 2)

Full disclosure: My wife is a Patriots fan, though I’m not.

I’ll be watching the Superbowl for the ads.

(On edit)
There also might be water vapor in the air used to inflate the ball that would further exacerbate the pressure drop as it condenses.

(2nd edit)
I just realized that I had not posted this on my blog before, the screw up was on a comment I made on Facebook.

Still, I will apologize here.