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Posts from — June 2012

More On The Crash

The Local Puppy Trainer has the latest twist in the Osprey crash:

HURLBURT FIELD — The commander of the CV-22 Osprey squadron that lost one of its aircraft in a crash last week has been dismissed from his post.

Air Force leadership has lost confidence in Lt. Col. Matt Glover, who headed Hurlburt Field’s 8th Special Operations Squadron since May 2011.

First off, Colonel Glover’s last assignment before being made squadron commander was training to fly the Osprey, i.e. he had no operational experience with the aircraft before they gave him the job. That is a definite problem when you are trying to command.

Second, it sounds like the preliminary investigation has found something at odds with established policy for training flights, which points towards a ‘pilot error’ finding. My wild guess would be that the aircraft was flying below the established minimum altitude for a training mission. I say that because that would bring the performance of the squadron commander into question. Commanders are responsible for ensuring that standards are maintained.

For security reasons the military generally doesn’t put flight data recorders on its aircraft. If there was a crash in enemy territory the flight data recorders would provide the enemy with a lot of information the military doesn’t want them to have. There should be an exception made for the Osprey so it can document what a bad idea the project is.

June 22, 2012   Comments Off on More On The Crash

Post-Tropical Cyclone Chris – Day 4

/Post-Tropical Cyclone ChrisPosition: 44.6N 46.9W [10AM CDT 1500 UTC].
Movement: West-Southwest [255°] near 16 mph [26 kph].
Maximum sustained winds: 45 mph [ 70 kph].
Wind Gusts: 60 mph [ 95 kph].
Tropical Storm Wind Radius: 205 miles [335 km].
Minimum central pressure: 990 mb ↑.

Currently about 335 miles [ 535 km] East-Southeast of Cape Race, Newfoundland.

This is the final advisory on the storm as it has finally noticed that it is cold up there and lost its tropical characteristics.

June 22, 2012   Comments Off on Post-Tropical Cyclone Chris – Day 4

Friday Cat Blogging

Kitten of Leisure

Friday Cat Blogging

Where’s my drink?

[Editor: The lighter of the tabbie kittens naturally assumes that my neighbor’s lawn chair was for her convenience – else there wouldn’t have been a pad on it.]

Friday Ark

June 22, 2012   7 Comments

Tropical Storm Chris – Day 3

/Tropical Storm ChrisPosition: 43.6N 42.9W [10PM CDT 0300 UTC].
Movement: North [000°] near 14 mph [22 kph].
Maximum sustained winds: 65 mph [100 kph].
Wind Gusts: 80 mph [130 kph].
Tropical Storm Wind Radius: 70 miles [110 km].
Minimum central pressure: 987 mb ↓.

Currently about 540 miles [ 870 km] East-Southeast of Cape Race, Newfoundland.

This is the first hurricane of the season, and it should have been weakening at those latitudes, not strengthening. The old assumptions aren’t very reliable anymore.

Chris is back down to Tropical Storm strength and making the expected turn.

June 21, 2012   2 Comments

What Did They Know

…and when did they know it?

Tristero at Digby’s, Susie Madrak, and Charlie Pierce all weigh in on the Jordan Michael Smith article at Salon: New NSA docs contradict 9/11 claims

Over 120 CIA documents concerning 9/11, Osama bin Laden and counterterrorism were published today for the first time, having been newly declassified and released to the National Security Archive. The documents were released after the NSA pored through the footnotes of the 9/11 Commission and sent Freedom of Information Act requests.

Based on the documents it would appear that the Hedgemony and Shrubbery were less than forthcoming about the lead up to the attack on the World Trade Center. The primary lack of intelligence was apparently in the White House, and the Shrubbery’s National Security Council, not the CIA et al.

It looks like John Ashcroft wasn’t the only person in the Hedgemony who cut funding for counter-terrorism and/or monitoring the al Qaeda threat. Actually, it is part of the Republican pattern – if a Democratic President thinks something is important, Republicans ignore it when they win control.

June 20, 2012   2 Comments

Tropical Storm Chris – Day 2

/Tropical Storm ChrisPosition: 38.9N 46.4W [10PM CDT 0300 UTC].
Movement: East-Northeast [075°] near 22 mph [35 kph].
Maximum sustained winds: 60 mph [ 95 kph].
Wind Gusts: 70 mph [110 kph].
Tropical Storm Wind Radius: 90 miles [150 km].
Minimum central pressure: 994 mb ↓.

Currently about 635 miles [1025 km] Southeast of Cape Race, Newfoundland.

It is picking up speed as it edges North and getting slightly stronger, but it is running out of warm water and will probably transition to Post-Tropical. It still isn’t considered a threat to coastlines.

June 20, 2012   2 Comments

Litha

Today at 6:09PM [CDT] is the Summer Solstice, technically considered the “first day of Summer”, but the mid Summer by much of Europe.

Many Wiccans celebrate the day as Litha, while computer programmers honor their predecessors, the druids, who build the first solid-state computing devices, the megaliths, like Stonehenge.

The Slavs celebrate St. John’s Night, Иван Купала [Ivan Kupala], the battle between the White god [Белобог – Belobog] and the Black god [Чёрнобог – Chyornobog] for control of the Sun. The Black god always wins and the night begins to expand.

The sound track to the battle is Иванова Ночь на Лысой Горе [Night on Bald Mountain ] by Модест Петрович Мусоргский [Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky], which everyone should play very loudly.

Archæoastronomy tracks all of the important solar events, another of the many things I learned from Andante.

June 20, 2012   4 Comments

Tropical Storm Chris

/Tropical Storm ChrisPosition: 38.8N 56.0W [10PM CDT 0300 UTC].
Movement: East-Southeast [110°] near 13 mph [20 kph].
Maximum sustained winds: 45 mph [ 75 kph].
Wind Gusts: 60 mph [ 95 kph].
Tropical Storm Wind Radius: 70 miles [110 km].
Minimum central pressure: 1005 mb.

Currently about 565 miles [910 km] South-Southwest of Cape Race, Newfoundland.

I’ve been watching this for a day or so and it finally got its act together to become a Tropical Storm. It is not expected to be a threat to land.

June 19, 2012   2 Comments

And The Horse He Rode In On

CBS News has an ‘exclusive’ interview with Mitch McConnell: Tax code favors lower income too much already

(CBS News) The United States tax code favors lower income Americans too much already and should be restructured to make it fairer to upper income earners, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said.

In an interview that aired on “CBS This Morning” Tuesday, the Kentucky Republican said he is ready to sit down with “this president or the next president” and have an animated discussion about the tax code to “reach a conclusion” that would bring down the ballooning U.S. deficit.

“Almost 70 percent of the federal revenue is provided by the top 10 percent of taxpayers now. Between 45 percent and 50 percent of Americans pay no income tax at all. We have an extraordinarily progressive tax code already. It is a mess and needs to be revisited again,” McConnell said in the interview, taped Monday.

He is lying and knows it. The tax code includes so many loopholes for the wealthy that the alternate minimum tax had to be instituted to collect anything from a lot of people in the top bracket.

The personal income tax only represents a little over 40% of the Federal revenue stream, just slightly more than the revenue from payroll withholding taxes, which are only collected from working people and are currently capped at about $110,000 of income.

The poor may not make enough to pay income taxes, but they pay the payroll withholding taxes, as well as state and local taxes, like sales taxes, school and property taxes, gas taxes, utilities taxes, etc. The wealthy generally pay a lower percentage of their income in taxes than the poor, as I can personally attest to based on my last tax return, compared to Mitt Romney’s for the same period.

The super-rich don’t usually pay at the income tax rate, they pay at the capital gains rate of 15%, the bottom of the income tax table and don’t pay payroll withholding taxes.

McConnell has made it crystal clear who he works for, and it isn’t the coal miners of Kentucky, it is the mine owners.

June 19, 2012   3 Comments

Suicide By CEO

It isn’t just in the US, newspapers around the world are being bled to death by their management. The ABC comments on the decline of the Fairfax newspapers, which have fallen on hard times.

As pointed out, when you view the content as an expense, rather than the product you are selling, the death spiral begins. The process is really simple and straight-forward: people subscribe to newspapers for their content; advertisers pay for ads to reach the subscribers. You get more subscribers by improving your ‘product’, the reporting. People subscribe when they can’t get that product anywhere else. If you slash your newsroom staff, you degrade your product, lose subscribers, and lose advertisers.

This particular corporation was an early adopter of the Internet, but failed to take advantage of that facet of the business.

The Internet isn’t responsible for the decision to destroy the company, that decision was made by the management.

June 18, 2012   2 Comments

Fire Update

High Park Fire

Information from the current High Park Fire InciWeb Page

  • Date Started: 6/9/12 about 5:54AM
  • Location: about 15 miles west of Fort Collins
  • Cause: Lightning
  • Size: 56,480 acres [88.3 miles² 228.6 km²] based on infrared data
  • Number of Personnel: Approximately 1,748 including 16 Type 1 hand crews and 20 Type 2 hand crews
  • Equipment: 4 dozers, 113 engines, 17 watertenders, 3 feller bunchers
  • Aircraft: 5 heavy air tankers, 5 Type 1 helicopters, 3 Type 2 helicopters, 7 Type 3 helicopters, and 3 Blackhawk helicopers
  • Incident Commander: Bill Hahnenberg
  • Percent Contained: 45%
  • Fuels Involved: dry fuel, beetle-killed trees.
  • Confirmed Dead: 1
  • Residences: 181 destroyed

While rain has helped firefighters in New Mexico control those fires, the Colorado fire has been plagued with low humidity and gusty winds. In addition to the main fire, there have been incidents of the wind carrying embers over containment lines and starting spot fires. Lately the gusty winds have grounded air resources, making things even more difficult.

The weather is not forecast to get much better in the near future, and firefighters are concentrating on protecting structures.

June 18, 2012   Comments Off on Fire Update

Taxing

Avedon questions the conventional wisdom that you can’t raise taxes in a economic downturn and wonders why we don’t tax unproductive money, like the over one trillion dollars corporations have ‘tucked in their mattresses’.

I won’t comment on that, but I will note that it would be nice if the Federal Reserve Banks started charging ‘fees’ on the excessive funds that member banks are hording, rather than paying interest. After all the member banks are starting to do this to their customers.

When Republicans talk about ‘cutting taxes’, they are only referring to income taxes, as if those were the only taxes anyone pays. Given that more than two-thirds of the GDP of the US is based on consumption, why is there no discussion of cutting sales taxes?

In Florida taxes on corporations were cut at the same time that ‘fees’ for things like vehicle registrations and driver’s licenses were doubled. Given the almost total lack of public transportation in the state, that was a nasty thing to do to people in minimum wage jobs who were already hurting from high gas prices. Obviously the money spent on the increased costs of driving in the state came directly out of the amount that consumers had to spend in stores.

The real problem with Republicans is that they never want to offset the costs of reduced taxes in the bad times. When times are good, they use that as an excuse to cut taxes even further. It doesn’t even enter their minds that you should use the increase in revenue during boom times to pay off debts and build up funds for the bad times that will follow.

The unemployment tax is a prime example of how little they understand about reality. The legislature passed a law that increases the unemployment tax during periods of high unemployment. They don’t understand that the tax should be high enough during the good times to cover the cost when things turn bad. They keep talking about ‘the family budget’, but their families apparently don’t ever bother to save anything for a ‘rainy day’. They create the account for the ledger, but they never put any money in it.

A government budget has almost nothing to do with the budget for a corporation or family, but if you are going to attempt the comparison you should at least use the budget of a well-run business or responsible family.

June 17, 2012   Comments Off on Taxing

Really Annoying

I get the impression that everyone who uses Comcast has something to complain about, and they certainly do often enough on the ‘Net. Comcast doesn’t have any local presence, but they have managed to reach out and annoy me using their ads – they don’t work and the complaints from my browser make it very difficult to read sites like the Weather Underground’s Tropical Weather site, and Duncan/Atrios’s place.

I have a suggestion for the Comcast marketing people – if you can’t put a working advertisement of your Internet service on the Internet, don’t buy ad space on the Internet. It is highly unlikely to attract customers when you don’t seem to have mastered the basics of web design.

I know that they are totally different skill sets, web hosting and web design, but would anyone seriously consider using an expensive ISP who had a really rotten web site unless they had no choice?

June 17, 2012   Comments Off on Really Annoying

Chronicles Of The Clueless

Charlie Pierce had a lot to work with today and produced two pieces that demonstrate the pitiful level to which ‘our leaders’ had fallen.

He started with Vagina Is a Word You Can’t Say in Michigan, Apparently, about the panic attack the Republican leaders of the Michigan legislature had after a female legislator used the word ‘vagina’ in response to the new bills on women’s health issues.

The reaction is either from raw ignorance, i.e. they don’t know that vagina is the proper term for the body part, or they have a genuine fear of women. Fear is often covered by acts of hatred. I guess they would prefer to have the vagina called ‘the part that must not be named’. It’s really pathetic. Come on, we may not have a clear memory of it, but we all saw a vagina at least once, so it is not exactly an unknown.

Charlie finished off with a report on the Clan of the Red Beanie Let He Who Is Without Spin. The bishops think that the Church’s problems are a public relations problem.

Sorry, but when you attack Girl Scouts and nuns after having dozens of priests exposed as child molesters who were protected by the Church, what kind of public relations can they imagine they would have. As for being persecuted at a level equivalent with Thomas More, the claim is ludicrous. Nothing that the government is currently doing even approaches the level of the 19th century Blaine Amendments that targeted the Church. With six Catholics on the US Supreme Court, these claims of victimhood ring hollow.

After reading that, this piece from the Newsbiscuit will cleanse your palate: Ayatollah Khamenei clinches US Republican presidential nomination.

June 16, 2012   Comments Off on Chronicles Of The Clueless