Month: May 2021

More of This

In Texas, Democrats in the Statehouse walked out, denying quorum for a vote, to stop the Republican voter suppression bill.

The Texas Governor is threatening to veto the budget for the legislature in response, because black and brown people voting is to their twisted minds is an affront to God, or at least THEIR god, because it’s clear that they are seriously into Mammon:

Democrats in the Texas Legislature staged a dramatic, late-night walkout on Sunday night to force the failure of a sweeping Republican overhaul of state election laws. The move, which deprived the session of the minimum number of lawmakers required for a vote before a midnight deadline, was a stunning setback for state Republicans who had made a new voting law one of their top priorities.

The effort is not entirely dead, however. Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, indicated that he would call a special session of the Legislature, which could start as early as June 1, or Tuesday, to restart the process. The governor has said that he strongly supported an election bill, and in a statement he called the failure to reach one on Sunday “deeply disappointing.” He was widely expected to sign whatever measure Republicans passed.

“Election Integrity & Bail Reform were emergency items for this legislative session,” Mr. Abbott said on Twitter on Sunday night. “They will be added to the special session agenda.” He did not specify when the session would start.

While Republicans would still be favored to pass a bill in a special session, the unexpected turn of events on Sunday presents a new hurdle in their push to enact a far-reaching election law that would install some of the most rigid voting restrictions in the country, and cement the state as one of the hardest in which to cast a ballot.


After a lengthy debate in the State House of Representatives in which Democrats raised numerous objections, staged lengthy question-and-answer sessions and leveraged procedural maneuvers, Democrats departed en masse, leaving the chamber roughly 14 members short of the required 100-member quorum to continue business. Without the requisite number of legislators, Dade Phelan, the speaker of the State House, adjourned the session around 11 p.m. local time, effectively killing the bill for this legislative session.

Maybe if Democrats in the US Senate get their heads out of their asses, this will mean something in the end. 

I’m not holding my breath.

Candace Owens is the Worst Minstrel Show Ever

It’s not fair to mock Candace Owens for not knowing Lee Harvey Oswald was a marine.

In her defense, she is a moron.

— JDP (@petee224) June 1, 2021

Candace Owens who has gone from not particularly talented actress to right-wing joke, just doubled down on the joke part.

You see, an internet prankster sent a (real) picture of a (real) US Marine to various right-wing figures, asking them to wish a happy memorial day on behalf of his (fake) grandfather.

It was a picture of Lee Harvey Oswald, a man who every US Marine would condemn, even if he had not shot JFK, because he also defected to the USSR.

Candace Owens was in high dudgeon about this, claiming that it was disrespectful to Photoshop his picture into a photo of a US Serviceman.

Of course, anyone who knows who Oswald was should know that he was (a pretty horrible, twice court martialed) US Marine.

You can object to the prank, I find it hilarious, but claiming that it is a Photoshop is beyond stupid.

I guess that this is what comes from a decade or so of channeling Lincoln Theodore Monroe Andrew Perry (Aka Stepin Fetchit).

It rots the mind.


Microwaves Reanimate Hamsters: 

Boeing F%$#s Up Again

Boeing will be delaying delivery of new 787s because of new safety issues.

Once again, Boeing’s MBA driven culture has led to it cutting corners, and the FAA has called foul.

It appeared that faith based safety procedures are not looked upon favorably by the regulatory authorities:

Boeing Co. has halted deliveries of its 787 Dreamliners, adding fresh delays for customers following a recent five-month suspension in handing over the aircraft due to production problems, people familiar with the matter said.

Federal air-safety regulators have requested more information about Boeing’s proposed solution to address the previously identified quality lapses, these people said.


A Boeing spokesman said the company was working in a timely and transparent manner to provide regulators with more information related to undelivered 787s. The Federal Aviation Administration on Friday confirmed that Boeing had halted Dreamliner deliveries, saying that the plane maker needs to demonstrate that its proposed inspection method complies with federal-safety regulations.

There are statistical methods to validate these procedures, it’s just that Boeing couldn’t be bothered to take the time, because there were union members to be laid off.


The FAA launched a review of Boeing’s Dreamliner production last year and has increased scrutiny of its 737 MAX manufacturing operations following earlier factory slip-ups.

As part of its Dreamliner scrutiny, the agency has recently requested more information about the plane maker’s proposed method for addressing quality issues using a system that would allow for targeted checks of newly produced aircraft, rather than broader inspections of more areas, people familiar with the matter said. Boeing’s proposed method is based on a statistical analysis of data.

Until Boeing can satisfy the FAA’s requests, the agency is requiring Boeing to perform the broader inspections, which are more time-consuming and labor-intensive, these people said.

Many of the 787 quality lapses involve tiny gaps where sections of the jet’s fuselage, or body of the plane, join together. Problems have emerged in other places, too, including the vertical fin and horizontal stabilizer at the tail. Such gaps could lead to eventual premature fatigue of certain portions of the aircraft, potentially requiring extensive repairs during routine, long-term maintenance.

This is a problem with composite structures.  Unlike aluminum, things need to fit exactly, since you there is very little flexing to accommodate tolerance stack-up.

You have to get these shims right, or you get point loads, which are death to composites.


Boeing has reduced output of the Dreamliner to five a month after shuttering assembly at its Everett, Wash., plant near Seattle and focusing production at North Charleston, S.C. It had built up a backlog of around 100 finished planes by the end of April, and had hoped to deliver most of them by the end of the year.

Yes, the South Carolina plant, which (by their own admission) they opened just to punish and weaken the union, which has poor training, poor morale, and poor safety procedures.

The management at Boeing does not know how to make airliners, and holds the people who do in deep disdain, and it shows.

When do the crashes start?  

My bad, they already have.

Well, It’s a Good Thing We Didn’t Buy Greenland

Anthropogenic climate change is triggering a massive, and perhaps irreversible melting of Greenland’s ice fields.

It now appears that in addition to causing sea level rise, it appears that it is also triggering a massive release of mercury into the environment.

I had though at first that this was pollution from coal use over the past few hundred years, but this is far more extreme than would be predicted by this mechanism.  It appears that much of this mercury is natural and has been sequestered by the ice:

Greenland’s melting ice sheet is unleashing an astonishing amount of mercury into the nation’s rivers and fjords.

Downstream of three glaciers in the southwest, researchers have found coastal ecosystems are swimming in high concentrations of the heavy metal, which can build up in the food web to toxic levels.

The quantity of mercury observed in three glacial rivers and three fjords in Greenland was among the worst in recorded history. In fact, researchers say the concentrations here are only matched by the polluted waterways of Industrial China, which overall produces about one-third of the world’s mercury pollution.

As Greenland’s glaciers continue to melt in line with our worst-case scenarios, experts are worried even more trapped mercury (Hg) could one day be released into the environment.


Previous studies have shown moderate mercury concentrations in run-off from melting glaciers, but the concentrations found in Greenland are two orders of magnitude higher than what scientists have found in other Arctic rivers.

“We didn’t expect there would be anywhere near that amount of mercury in the glacial water there,” says climate scientist Rob Spencer from Florida State University (FSU).

“Naturally, we have hypotheses as to what is leading to these high mercury concentrations, but these findings have raised a whole host of questions that we don’t have the answers to yet.”


If the hunch is right, Greenland may very well be a neglected hotspot of natural mercury emissions, which have been trapped in ice for millennia. Even if we curb industrial mercury emissions tomorrow, the rapid melting of all this ice could sabotage human efforts to reduce pollution from this heavy metal to safe levels.


“But mercury coming from climatically sensitive environments like glaciers could be a source that is much more difficult to manage.”

Given that Greenland is a major exporter of seafood, and the region is home to precious marine ecosystems, we’d best find out what’s going on.

The study was published in Nature Geoscience.

The fact that this may be a natural source is potentially even more concerning, because it can be far more extreme and unpredictable.

We are in for a bumpy ride.

Your Mouth to God’s Ear

It appears that Israeli opposition parties may have cut a deal to replace Benjamin Netanyahu (יִמַּח שְׁמו) as Prime Minister.  Your mouth to God’s ears.

Netanyahu has been awful for Israelis, the Palestinians, and pretty much everyone else involved in Israel and the Middle East except for Benjamin Netanyahu.

Given Netanyahu’s extreme cunning on matters political, particularly in Israel’s extremely dysfunctional proportional representation system, I’m not going to declare that he has been vanquished until he takes up residence in a prison cell for his egregious corruption:

The far-right Israeli politician Naftali Bennett and opposition leader Yair Lapid have agreed to forge a coalition government that would oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from his 12 straight years in power.

“It’s my intention to do my utmost in order to form a national unity government along with my friend Yair Lapid, so that, God willing, together we can save the country from a tailspin and return Israel to its course,” said Bennett, a former settler leader and religious nationalist, in a televised address.

While further political negotiations are expected, the move by Bennett served a massive blow to Israel’s longest-serving leader, who is famed for his political wizardry and has survived repeated attempts to end his career.

Minutes after the speech ended, a stern-looking Netanyahu went on air to rail against Bennett. “He’s committed the scam of the century,” Netanyahu said of his former ally and senior aide, accusing him of abandoning rightwing voters.

Bennet is a complete horror-show, but he is less so than Netanyahu (יִמַּח שְׁמו).

Netanyahu (יִמַּח שְׁמו) is completely a completely amoral individual who would sacrifice anything and anyone to his own personal desire for power.

Not this Sh%$ Again

Yeah, like this

It seems that every few years, someone tries to pitch airships as a solution to some transportation conundrum, this time, it for making short trips across a body of water.

The numbers are compelling, about 90% less carbon per passenger than an aircraft, but the competitor would be a high speed ferry, which would have additional capabilities, like carrying cars and cargo.

The example that they give is Barcelona to Palma de Mallorca route, which they claim would take 100 passengers, “Four and a half hours,” to reach their destination

A ferry trip, according to google maps, is 212 km (132 miles), so a high speed (30 kt — 55.6 km/h — 34.5 mph, and some ferries reach 50 kt) ferry could make the transit in the same amount of time, and not require any new shore facilities.

The counter-argument is “But Airships!”


Amy Cooper, who was caught on tape attempting to use the police to murder a bird watcher who noted that her dog needed to be leashed in that area of Central Park, has now sued her former employer, who fired her for the episode.

She is now claiming that she was fired because she was white.

My guess is that she has discovered that she is justifiably toxic and cannot get a new position anything near to what she used to do.

Consequences are a good thing, and they should apply to white people as well:

Amy Cooper, a white woman who last year became an international symbol of the routine racism that Black people face in their daily lives, is suing her former employer for firing her, arguing that she is a victim of racial discrimination.

Ms. Cooper makes the claim in a lawsuit filed this week against the investment firm Franklin Templeton, which terminated her employment a year ago after she was captured on a widely shared video in a tense encounter with a Black bird-watcher.

The lawsuit is the latest fallout from the May 2020 episode in Central Park, which touched off intense discussions about the history of white people making false, and sometimes life-threatening, accusations against Black people to the police.


She says in the suit, which was filed in federal court in Manhattan, that she “did not shout at Christian Cooper or call the police from Central Park on May 25, 2020, because she was a racist — she did these things because she was alone in the park and frightened to death.” She goes on to say that Mr. Cooper had selected her as a “target” and describes him as “overzealous.”

And the suit argues that Franklin Templeton did not thoroughly investigate the situation because of Ms. Cooper’s own race and gender, effectively reaching its decision to terminate her because she is a white woman.

They terminated you because are a self-important bigot, and people won’t hire you for the same reason.

The fact that you are a horrible human being who got caught on tape is karma, not oppression.

Why Do We Keep Choosing Neo-Nazis?

I do not think that the interception of a Ryanair flight to detain Roman Protasevich in Belarus is a travesty.

I’m less concerned about this than the fact that once again, the US foreign policy apparatus, having confronted a broad based opposition to a despot, always seems to choose Neo-Nazi assholes.

I’m not a fan of our US regime change operations, but I wonder why these efforts always seem to pick Nazis.

It seems that the US State Security Apparatus has been very careless for a very long time:

There is more to say about the Ryanair incident in Belarus and the arrest of the ‘regime change’ operative Roman Protasevich.

We will start with the latter.

The sympathetic portraits of Protasevich in the New York Times and in the Guardian are only of interest for what they leave out.

FOIA Research and The Canadafiles have very well sourced and way more complete pieces on him. They link to a mountain of evidence in form of social media postings, photos and videos which support their findings.

From those we learn that Protasevich has long been a member of the fascist “Young Front” militia of Belarus. He has fought alongside the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion in Ukraine’s post-Maidan civil war.


Neither the NYT nor the Guardian mention Proasevich’s ideological position or his involvement with the neo-nazis of Azov. The London Times had originally reported that Protasevich was involved with Azov but later silently removed that passage from its report.

Another point missing from ‘western’ media is that Protasevich has long been on the payroll of various ‘western’ government financed propaganda media:

If this were an isolated case, I’d put it down to someone being lazy, and not doing a proper background check, but this happens over, and over, and over, and over again, so I have to conclude it’s deliberate policy.

This is worse than a crime, it’s a mistake, and it raises an obvious question:

Today in Stupid

A group of counties in rural Oregon want to secede and join Idaho.

They call the movement, “Greater Idaho,” and it’s never  going to happen.

Even if they could, they would find their taxes (sales taxes) going up, and the money from the state going down, as these counties are net recipients of state money.

About the only reason to do this is if you REALLY love Basque cuisine:

Seven rural Oregon counties have voted in favor of an effort to become part of Idaho, and organizers of the Greater Idaho movement say more counties could soon have the option on the ballot.

“We want out from underneath Oregon’s governance and go underneath Idaho’s governance, which we tend to match up better with, as far as our values go,” the group’s president, Mike McCarter, told Insider. “Now for 20 years-plus we’ve been trying to change the makeup and improve the makeup of the Oregon Legislature, but when you haven’t got the vote, there’s not much you can do about it.”

What they mean by, “Match up with our values,” is a return to Oregon’s famously racist roots, and ensure that the state somehow overthrow, “One man, one vote.”


“We’re not saying that that is wrong. We don’t agree with it, but they’re dealing with those issues, and those aren’t the issues that we have. Rural Oregon is traditional, has traditional values. We’re more into our communities, more into our schools, more into supporting law enforcement. Right is right, and wrong is wrong,” he added.

[Spokesman Keaton] Ems said that the majority had “no incentive” to include people in the rural parts in their decision-making and that people living in “concrete jungles” were telling those who live and steward the land how to run their own land.”

If you were racist dog whistling any harder, your spokesperson would be a Shiba Inu, Mr. Ems.

I’m sick to death of these Mayberry insurrectionists.

Tweet of the Day

These are not the Tweets of the day:

The real poetry will come when the self-interested narcissist who weaponised falsehood realises he cannot inflict damage on the other self-interested narcissist who weaponised falsehood, because he undermined truth-telling as a functional quality in political discourse.

— Ian Dunt (@IanDunt) May 26, 2021

These are the two Tweets before the Tweet of the day.

The Tweet of the day is the one following, which I am quoting and Bowlderizing, because it reads, “It’s like Aesop’s Fables for c%$#s,” and I just don’t feel comfortable dropping the “C-Bomb” on the blog.

It is, however a perfect metaphor for Boris Johnson former senior political advisor, Dominic Cummings, testifying against the PM’s handling of the pandemic.

The man who made fecklessness the new normal in British politics is now complaining that Boris Johnson is a feckless git.

How Utterly Appropriate

Why am I not surprise that former DNC chair and former Obama Labor Secretary Tom Perez has just joined the staff of a union busting law firm.

This is the guy that Barack Obama heavily lobbied to be head of the DNC in order to prevent Keith Ellison from assuming the role.

So the former Labor Secretary is going to work to bust unions.

So why am I not at all surprised?

Considering the Obama administration’s indifference, if not outright hostility, to organized labor, this seems to be a natural progression:

Former Obama Labor Secretary Tom Perez announced on Thursday that he’s joining the law firm Venable LLP, whose website boasts that its lawyers “regularly counsel and train clients on union avoidance.”

Perez, who was the Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair until January, joins a growing number of Obama officials who cashed in their government experience with jobs at union-busting companies. That list includes press secretaries Jay Carney, who became the top flack at Amazon, and Robert Gibbs, who spent several years as a top flack for McDonald’s. Obama senior advisor David Plouffe served as policy chief at Uber, while former senior adviser Valerie Jarrett has a board seat at Lyft.

Yeah, Obama also promised no revolving door in his administration, and we know how that worked out.


Perez served as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights under President Barack Obama, before serving as Obama’s Labor Secretary from 2013 to 2017.

Later, he served as DNC chair, after Obama and now-President Joe Biden reportedly worked the phones to help propel him to victory over progressive favorite Keith Ellison, who is now Minnesota’s attorney general.

The bright side is that Ellison worked assiduously to convict Derek Chauvin, while a more conventional prosecutor might have let the local DA throw the case.

It really is remarkable just how quickly former Obama Administration officials peddled their government connections for profit.  (How audacious)

Of Course They Did

Is anyone surprised that Mitch McConnell and his Evil Minions™ have filibustered a bipartisan insurrection investigation?

I’m not, and this is a good thing:

  • It allows Democrats, if they have the guts, to use this as a hammer against the ‘Phants in 2022. 
  • It allows the House to set up a special select committee that won’t require Republican votes for a subpoena, so for example, House Minority Leader  Kevin McCarthy.
  • The committee staff won’t have half their members selected by Republicans and functioning as saboteurs.
  • The Democrats can set the rules, as opposed to the fiasco of the 911 commission, which never pressed the Bush administration, and, for example, allowed Condoleeza Rice to filibuster.

I hope that Democrats seize the opportunity, but I am not holding my breath.

Not Enough Bullets

After engaging in one of the most brazen and delusional frauds in the history of history, former WeWork CEO Adam Neumann will get even more money as payment for leaving the criminal enterprise that he founded.

Whoever said that crime doesn’t pay has clearly never been funded by Softbank: 

Nearly two years ago, SoftBank Group Corp. sought to part ways with WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann when it bailed out the shared-office company. It hasn’t been an easy divorce.

Securities filings from earlier this month show WeWork in February gave Mr. Neumann an enhanced stock award worth roughly $245 million, a benefit that wasn’t extended to other early shareholders and hasn’t been previously reported.

The deal was part of a renegotiation of the former chief executive’s giant 2019 exit package meant to end a long-running dispute between him and SoftBank and help clear the way for a public listing for WeWork, according to people familiar with the matter.

In addition, the final package gave him nearly $200 million in cash, let him refinance $432 million in debt on favorable terms and allowed an entity Mr. Neumann controls to sell $578 million in WeWork stock.


The filings also show how, after Mr. Neumann’s exit in the fall of 2019, WeWork took big losses as it sold off a number of companies acquired at his direction. It garnered just $164 million on 10 investments that were initially purchased for $759 million in cash and WeWork stock.


Executive-severance experts said the package stands out not only for its enormous size, but also given Mr. Neumann’s record. The valuation of WeWork, which he co-founded in 2010, fell to around $8 billion when he left from $47 billion in early 2019. In all, WeWork has raised more than $11 billion to build a company worth $7.9 billion, not including debt.

This guy should be sharing a cell with Martin Shkreli, not getting hundreds of millions more dollars in remuneration.

The man looted the company, and has been rewarded for this.

Something is very wrong with our society’s incentives.

Another Improvement in Initial Jobless Claims

Initial claims have fallen to a new post pandemic low of 406,000.

Better news, but not exactly good news until the number falls below 300K:

Worker filings for jobless benefits fell again to a fresh pandemic low, extending a steady downward trend and adding to signs of a healing labor market and a broader, though uneven, economic recovery.

Initial unemployment claims for regular state programs, a proxy for layoffs, fell last week to 406,000 from 444,000 the prior week, the Labor Department said Thursday. That level represents the lowest levels of claims since the coronavirus pandemic’s onset last year and the fourth consecutive week claims have reached a new pandemic low. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had forecast there were 425,000 new claims last week.

A separate report from the Commerce Department showed orders for cars, appliances and other long-lasting, or “durable,” goods fell a seasonally adjusted 1.3% in April from March—the first monthly decline in demand for such products in a year. The decline was concentrated in the automotive sector, where a semiconductor shortage has caused disruptions, and the defense industry, which tends to be very volatile. Shipments of motor vehicles and parts fell sharply as well, while shipments of defense capital goods rose.


U.S. gross domestic product, a broad measure of the economy’s output of goods and services, rose in the first quarter at an annual rate of 6.4%, unrevised from the initial estimate, according to another Commerce Department report. Consumer spending, the economy’s key driver, was revised up to an annual rate of 11.3% in the first three months of the year.

It’s clear that the first quarter numbers, while quite good, are not sustainable.  It’s a rebound from the economic contraction of the past year.

I would expect GDP growth numbers to return to trend, around 2½%.

I Kind of Like the Frantically Mating Arthropods

I am referring to the Brood X Cicadas, of course.

Unlike the last time around, the volume is such that it does not penetrate the walls of my house, we moved a few miles north in the interim, and I find their calls kind of flutey.

When we were down in Northwest Baltimore, they were loud enough to be physically painful at times.

Charlie, on the other hand, finds it relentlessly desperate and filled with dread and .

I explained to him that desperation and existential angst (my term, not his) are why creatures procreate in the first place:  Having a progeny creates a legacy, and meaning.

It’s awfully deeply philosophy for a bunch of frantically f%$#ing bugs, at least for me.

I’m an engineer, I don’t look for solutions to major problems of existence, I just try to get, “Close Enough.”