Monthly Archives: July 2016

Sunday Sermuncle

This weekend was the Team Dive. There was, as always these days, no diving; but many of the members of A-1 / ODA-111 / ODA-1111 / ODA-2034 (the same basic team, with different numbers, over a span of some forty years) and a few friends from other ODAs in the same company did show up to enjoy grilling, drinking, camaraderie and, of course, endless “war stories” from exercises in Norway to experiences in Legland as a raw private to the process of getting out of an assignment to Hindi/Urdu school in Monterey and volunteering for Vietnam by calling Mrs. A.

A lot of stories involved getting around the Army bureaucracy that committed boneheaded follies, such as assigning a native Filipino who’d spent his last three pre-SF years in units in Hawaii to the unit that covers South America, because his name was Rodriguez. (Not his real name, but close. He escaped with a call to Mrs. A., naturally, and went to Okinawa instead, where his Tagalog fluency was treasured).

As the event is held in Massachusetts, and many of the guys who show up are local, there was a lot of discussion of Massachusetts gun laws, and we all said a few Heil Healeys because that seems to be what she wants, or at least, deserves. Heil Healey!

Some were absent. One guy is going through some hard times and wants to be alone — boy, he doesn’t know what a pestering that has put him in for.

One guy got himself into a severe legal jam, and showed up at the house of a teammate who was keeping his guns, begging for just one back. The friend, of course, refused (or what sort of friend would he have been?) but the troubled man opted for Plan B, a combination of overdose and bloodletting, and saved the authorities a trial and decades of room and board. Given what his future looked like, it may have been the right choice for his family, but his absence was felt.

Then there was the guy who is rumored to be motor racing in Colorado as a relief from his high-stress job in the C-suite. We suspect we missed him more than he misses us.

And some just couldn’t show up — summer weekends are premium for everybody, in these latitudes.

Which brings us to the thing that makes this not a random musing, but a sermuncle — which the dictionary says is a “short sermon.” Go thou, and contact thy friends from service days; do not let this week pass without picking a name at, more or less, random from your phone or rolodex, and calling. Just to say, hello. Just to say that you are a friend.

Perhaps even to say, I can not approve of the misdeed you have done, but I still love you like a brother. It is a small thing, a Christian thing (or perhaps a human thing, for you need not be a Christian to do it; the phone is available to the Hindu and the Jew, and, through the grace of God, to the Godless heathen himself). It is a thing worth doing.

Call a friend you’re out of touch with, before the sun rises next Sunday.

Thus endeth the sermuncle.

 

Saturday Matinee 2016 30: Star Trek: Beyond (2016)

Star_Trek_Beyond_posterThe movie is called Star Trek: Beyond. So what, exactly, are they beyond? Well, the last two episodes of the Star Trek “reboot,” maybe. The edge of known space? The box-office reach of endless sequels? The capacity of endless CGI to entertain?

Has the Great Buggernaut inserted a gratuitous attempt to mainstream teh ghey?

Yes. Yes to all of those, to all of it.

But… it’s not all bad, particularly for fans of, or at least people familiar with, the original Star Trek TV series. There are numerous homages to the original, including: known taglines: “I”m a doctor, not a…”; the expected interplay between Bones and Spock; and, worthy of a laugh out loud, the officers of the Enterprise running through a cheesily-lighted set of even cheesier papier-maché “rocks,” just like Shatner, Nimoy and Kelley did fifty (yes, 50!) years ago.

There is at least one missing cliché: Kirk doesn’t fall for any of the women (alien or crew). But then, they’re all arrayed along the Galactic H-Line between Homely and Hideous; you won’t fall for them, either. That may be the reason for Kirk’s un-1966 chasteness, or it may just be that the imaginary century being depicted here is post-hetero or something.

So it has the entertainment value of any average 50-minute Star Trek episode, crammed tightly into over two hours of plot twists and more and more CGI. Apart from the above-mentioned cameo by the fake rocks of 1966, the entire movie seems to have been shot in front of a green screen.

Acting and Production

The actors are all competent and all have clearly studied the TV versions of their characters; for most of them, the continuity is remarkable. The exception is Zachary Quinto as Spock; he’s a perfectly logical bowl of seething emotions, whatever that is.

A vast fortune was spent on pixels that were blown hither and yon by CGI. By and large, the effects, while dominating the film, don’t fail at their role in telling the story. But the score also tries to dominate the film, and that’s worse luck. It’s jagged, distracting, and just generally “off.” A good score often goes unnoticed, but this one kneels on both armrests of your theater seat and punches you in the face — and then comes back to do it again the next time the director’s insecure about the DRAMA or TENSION (his caps, honestly) in a given scene.

The movie is available in regular and 3D; we recommend, after watching the 3D for a stinging $14 a seat, and being somewhat disoriented at times, given the 3D a miss.

The script was co-written by Simon Pegg, the talented British actor who plays Montgomery “Scotty” Scott. Pegg’s brilliant comedies are essentially a string of episodes only loosely organized by a plot or storyline, and, sad to say, this script is like that, too. On the plus side, he did write a decent part for himself, so there is that.

Idris Elba, or The Creature from the Black Lagoon?

Idris Elba, or The Creature from the Black Lagoon?

Idris Elba’s talents are utterly wasted as a mostly unexplained Starfleet-officer-turned-immortal villain, and he’s stuffed in a fake rubber Creature from the Black Lagoon suit anyway, so it could have been anybody.

As we have said in other recent reviews (John Wick, for one, although we might not have hit publish on that one), the current trend in cinematography of loading up the dark end of the histogram means that this will have a hard transition to the small screen.

Accuracy and Weapons

Space opera is not the place to quibble about accuracy, but the physics of the Star Trek movie universe is so far off plumb as to be inadvertently funny.

You know, if James T. Kirk really totaled a starship every movie, Starfleet would stop giving him the keys.

You know, if James T. Kirk really totaled a starship every movie, Starfleet would stop giving him the keys.

We could give endless examples of this, but here’s one: a spaceship reenters a planet’s atmosphere and tumbles to the surface in a jagged, mountainous area. On impact with a jagged, rocky crag, it breaks the crag off. And this doesn’t happen just once, but every time the screenwriter is stuck for a way to get Character X from space to surface, and the screenwriters seem to get stuck a lot.

In true Roddenberry, fuzzy-thinking-LA-denizen spirit, numerous saccharine platitudes about the universal and overwhelming power of peace and love are floated out by the script, before the situation is resolved by the good guys with a massive arsenal blow the living Jesus out of the bad guys and their massive arsenal.

The bottom line

Star Trek: Bryond is a must for Star Trek completists. It’s not a bad movie to take a teenager to, because it has enough cartooney violence to please the kid without the violence ever failing to be cartooney. Really, it’s basically just an overgrown (and scriptwise, unnecessarily convoluted) Lost Episode of some baby boomers’ favorite childhood TV show.

See the matinee, though, and don’t splurge on the 3D.

For more information

These sites relate to this particular film.

  • Amazon.com DVD page (preorder only):

http://www.amazon.com/13-Hours-Secret-Soldiers-Benghazi/dp/B018IDVB5S/

You can also find Blu-Ray at that link. Amazon also has the book on which the movie is based:

http://www.amazon.com/13-Hours-Account-Happened-Benghazi/dp/145558228X/

(Interesting to note: most of the reviews max the book out, four stars. But there are some one-star reviews. Or are there? When you click on the one star to read them, they are mostly very positive. Apparently if you ignore the stars when reviewing, Amazon defaults to one star).

  • IMDB page:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2660888/

  • IMFDB page:

(none)

  • Rotten Tomatoes review page (60%):

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/star_trek_beyond/

  • Wikipedia  page:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Trek_Beyond

  • History vs. Hollywood Page.

(none)

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Rock-Throwing Elephants

One of the elephants in the Rabat zoo. No idea if this is the mishap elephant.

One of the elephants in the Rabat zoo. No idea if this is the mishap elephant.

Who says primates are alone as tool users?

Not the people of Rabat, Morocco, where a young citizen has expired after a zoo elephant took up that great Arab pastime, trying to kill people with thrown stones.

A seven-year-old Moroccan girl has died after a zoo elephant threw a rock at her.
Managers at the zoo in the Moroccan capital of Rabat confirmed the tragic details in a press statement.
The girl died a few hours after being transferred to hospital. Video shot by a zoo visitor shows a number of people huddled around the girl and holding her head, which was flowing with blood, whilst waiting for the ambulance to arrive.
The park management said the girl had been hit after the female elephant threw the rock out of its enclosure. The girl had been in the visitors’ area with her family, looking at the elephant and trying to take a picture.
The Rabat zoo does not use a metal fence to separate the animals from the visitors but has a huge ditch and wooden fence. Zoo managers sent their condolences to the girl’s family and said in the statement that the zoo meets the required international safety standards.

via Girl killed after Morocco zoo elephant threw rock at her – CNN.com.

Deadly assault rocks are available just about everywhere, without any background checks. Shouldn’t we do something? For the children?

 

1946: Destroying Leftover Nazi Bunkers

October 1946, an Allied engineer unit with a mix of British and US uniforms and equipment does its bit for peace, blowing up leftover Nazi bunkers along the Siegfried Line in France. Polish-language newsreel, possibly French or Polish engineers.

We couldn’t figure out ow to embed the video, so you’ll have to follow the link:

http://www.repozytorium.fn.org.pl/?q=pl/node/4894

Seriously, does language matter when you’re watching guys blow big stuff up?

Here’s the key points of the film, po-polski:

Opis sekwencji
00:00:01:00 Wielki betonowy bunkier.
00:00:03:00 Wnętrze, tunel.
00:00:04:18 Dynamit.
00:00:07:07 Przed wejściem do fortyfikacji kilku żołnierzy alianckich, niosą skrzynki z dynamitem.
00:00:09:21 Żołnierz podpala lont i ucieka.
00:00:14:06 Wybuch.
00:00:17:06 Zapalony lont.
00:00:19:04 Bunkry. Wybuchy.
00:00:23:21 Bunkier, widoczne zabudowania.
00:00:25:12 Żołnierze detonują wybuch.
00:00:29:16 Bunkier, miasteczko, kościół. Detonowanie wybuchu. Wybuch.
00:00:40:06 Napisy końcowe: “FILM POLSKI”.

And here’s our meatball translation:

Time and Sequence
00:00:01:00 Big concrete bunker.
00:00:03:00 Entrance tunnel.
00:00:04:18 Dynamite.
00:00:07:07 Several Allied soldiers place dynamite in the bunker.
00:00:09:21 Soldier lights the fuze and runs. (This must be staged, because the cameraman would have been running, too! -Ed).
00:00:14:06 Explosion.
00:00:17:06 Lit fuze.
00:00:19:04 Bunkers; explosions.
00:00:23:21 Bunker near other buildings.
00:00:25:12 Soldiers set off an explosion.
00:00:29:16 Bunker in a city with church. Explosion set off. Another explosion.
00:00:40:06 end titles: “Polish Film”.

There are quite a few other interesting films at that site, which is some kind of national film archive, but you need a little Polish to get around.

Shooting Austro-Hungarian Arms

Our research on Czechoslovak and Bohemian gun designs and designers has caused us to dive surprisingly deep into Austro-Hungarian arms. A lot of the key designers of Habsburg empire were either Czechs (ethnically) or were ethnic Germans resident in the majority-Czech Kingdom of Bohemia, one of many small historical kingdoms subsumed into vassalage to the Austrian and Hungarian dual crowns. We’re going to see some designs that the ethnic Czech Austro-Hungarian citizen Karel Krnka worked on.

Here’s Ian from Forgotten Weapons, boldly holstering a Roth-Steyr 1907 (primarily designed by Krnka, who presumably got paid, if not credited) for a three-gun match. “Boldly” because the gun is a little, uh, different, from what others are running. It has good sights — for 1907 — but a fixed ten-shot magazine reloaded by stripper clips.

Ian did alright, considering he was short about one stripper clip to really shoot the

Now, let’s get on with the 19th Century Werndl rifle. Designed by Josef Werndl and Karel Holub, it replaced the Wenzl rifle, which was a breech-loading conversion of the muzzle-loading Lorenz rifle-musket (which was widely used by both sides as a substitute weapon in the US Civil War. The M1867 Werndl rifle went into production in Werndl’s new factory, which would put the town of Steyr on the world map. These following videos from the Hungarian Cap and Ball.eu channel use the M1867/77 variant, chambered for a larger-capacity 11mm (.41) cartridge and still in second-line use during the First World War.

From the above video, the conceptual but not mechanical similarity to the US Allin conversion/trapdoor and the British Snider system is obvious.

Josef Werndl was a remarkable character. From the design of the rifle, he built a manufacturing empire, the Österreichische Waffen Gesellschaft at Steyr, which became the great Steyr works. When he passed away, the grateful citizens of Steyr ercted a massive bronze statue showing Werndl on top, holding a brace of these rifles, while below him four workers build the guns.

Josef Werndl Monument Steyr Werndldenkmal

Here’s a close up of old Joe:

1024px-Werndl-Denkmal_(Josef_Werndl)

Karel Krnka, the principal designer of Ian’s Roth-Steyr pistol, couldn’t break into the rifle cartel of Werndl’s OWG and Friedrich Mannlicher’s eponymous firm, so he decamped to Britain where he worked on repeater for a while, before returning to the Austrian Empire for the Roth-Steyr pistol job.

More Werndl shooting (and reloading):

Here they are making the steel ring at 100 meters with a pair of Werndls (one minute video):

And finally, here’s a look at the old girl’s terminal ballistics:

 

The 24-gram bullet retained 100% of its weight, mushroomed to twice its 10.9 mm (.41 caliber) diameter, and generally put a serious wound on the gelatin pack. The rifle was clearly a good equivalent of the other early single-shot, .40-50 caliber rifles of competing world powers at the time.

The Werndl rifle would be replaced in Austro-Hungarian service by the Mannlichers, which would be made in Werndl’s old plant in Steyr, and in a new one constructed in Budapest. But that’s another story!

Friday Tour d’Horizon, 2016 Week 30

This Tour d’Horizon collects a bunch of stuff off the spindle.

This is where we throw a lot of our open tabs.

Guns

I don’t wanna work, I just wanna bang on my gun all day.

Slide Fire Solutions Bumps off Bump Fire Systems

bumpfire_systems_logoSome of the gun media are reporting this as a “settlement,” which it is, technically; but it’s a settlement in which one side takes a deep draught of hemlock. As Guns.com reports:

Bump Fire Systems, as part of the deal, agreed to pay a “confidential sum of money” to Slide Fire Solutions. The company also stopped production and sale of their bump fire stocks per the agreement.

Bump Fire is offering refunds to buyers who bought in the last thirty days, but they have shut down “for the duration of the terms of the patents.”

Slide Fire (left) and Bump Fire (right).

Slide Fire (left) and Bump Fire (right). (Images the two companies, juxtaposition by Guns.com). 

Judging from the grammar on their website (see 1st two lines below), attention to detail was not their thing:

ALL CURRENT MODELS HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED INDEFINITELY !

WE ARE NOT ALLOWED TO SALE AT THIS TIME

NO STOCKS AVAILABLE

Slide Fire Solutions, LP and Bump Fire Systems, LLC announced that they have resolved their
patent infringement lawsuit. Pursuant to their agreement, Bump Fire Systems, LLC pays a confidential sum of money to Slide Fire, acknowledges the validity of four patents asserted in the litigation and agrees to a judgement under which it must cease and desist from any further sales of bump fire stocks for the duration of the terms of the patents.

Slide Fire’s Jeremiah Cottle has many patents, but four were at issue in this case. Most of the patents were issued from 2004-2014 and have a typical duration of 14 years.

The Guns.com article is a good overview of the case, and there has also been extensive coverage at The Firearm Blog.

State Department Attacks Gunsmiths

If you’re a gunsmith who cuts metal on firearms or firearms parts, the State Department has just mounted an attack on you. You will now need a $2,500 annual “registration fee” to as much as crown a barrel or fit a flash hider, because you’re now “engaged in the export of armament services.”

And Gun Control Group Attacks Gun Shows

The anti-gun Democratic group, “Americans for Responsible Solutions,” led by Democratic congresswoman Gabby Giffords, has opened a new front in its pursuit of gun bans: pressuring venues to ban gun shows. They’ve secured bans with the help of friendly anti-gun Democrats in Saratoga Springs, New York, and Nashville, Tennessee(!).

Heil Healey! State AG Attacks Gun Owners; Governor Melts; Manufacturers Shrug

In Massachusetts, national socialist Attorney General Maura Healey (Heil Healey!) banned nearly all semi-automatic centerfire firearms with a broad “reinterpretation” of gun laws, effective midnight the next day; then, after she inspired a run on dealers that cleaned out MA FFLs, she issued a follow up saying that no, it was effective immediately, and the 2,500 or so ARs, etc., that were sold before the deadline — cleaning are, like all the “MA Compliant” ARs, etc., now contraband. She then said that even though the owners of the hundreds of thousands of freshly banned guns are now felons, she isn’t going to prosecute them — now. She reserves the right to do it later. And she just might prosecute the dealers that sold the guns.

Governor Charlie Baker, a nominal Republican, has been talking out of both sides of his mouth, praising Healey’s ban to supporters of it and opposing it to opponents. When his staff finally figured out that the opponents outnumbered the supporters and had opinions of much greater intensity, he wrote a letter begging Healey for “clarification,” to which she responded, surprisingly reasonably: “Hey, you were all for it when we discussed it before I implemented it.” Or as that news story put it:

Healey’s office said that’s different from what the Baker administration told them last week.

Baker’s staff is still telling callers that support the fiat ban one thing and callers that oppose it something else; trying to split the baby between tyranny and resistance, but de facto on the side of the ban. Baker’s weak, vacillating, and cowardly inaction has shown him to be #2 to his own attorney general. She’s twice the man he is.

If Baker has been a coward and a cuckold in this, the state’s remaining gun manufacturers have been utter eunuchs. Smith & Wesson? No statement. Troy? No statement*. Kahr? Crickets. All three make banned firearms in Massachusetts. Even Seecamp, whose products aren’t banned yet? Nothing.

*Unless you call this a statement: “Effective Immediately: TROY cannot sell semi-auto firearms to Massachusetts civilian residents.”

Usage and Employment

The hardware takes you only half way. (We have nada this week).

Cops ‘n’ Crims

Cops bein’ cops, crims bein’ crims. The endless Tom and Jerry show of crime and (sometimes instantaneous) punishment.

At the Conventions

Last week, we said:

In case of riot, one of their agencies was tasked to provide thousands of gas masks. Some literal-minded equipment manager duly delivered what looked like the agency’s entire stock of masks.

No filters.

This has been clarified to us, and perhaps we have it right now. 400 gas masks were sent to each convention. It appears that none of the ones sent to the Republicans’ convention had filters, and maybe half of the ones sent to the Democrats’ did. As God protects the fools, the innocent, and the 1% that mismanage Federal agencies, riot control gear wasn’t needed much; the TTPs that work on two-year-olds being generally effective on Black Criminals’ Lives Matter, Occupy Dad’s Basement, and Butthurt Bernie-bros also.

In addition, plate carriers that don’t hold standard size SAPI plates were sent to the convention locations, and plates that are odd sizes and don’t fit any standard carriers. Naurally, neither the odd-size carriers nor the odd-size plates actually match and fit each other.

It didn’t occur to the geniuses issuing this equipment to get the SAs to sign for it, so now, they only know they didn’t get a lot of it back, not who got it, who returned it, and (therefore) who still has it. It’s pretty unlikely any agent wants a protective mask or a set of maladjusted plate carriers as a souvenir of a political convention, so they should probably have thought through issue and turn in a little more. If nothing else, SACs could put out a collection box for returning agents to drop their junk in, and when it fills up, send it to whoever the genius was that send the wrong stuff to special details!

At the Democrats’ convention, there was enough hostility to cops that the managers insisted on tactical and response teams being dressed in suits and not displaying arms or armor overtly. Rather appropriately, the convention was gaveled into order by the Baltimore mayor who gave the Freddie Gray rioters “room to burn” and who has pursued, through her DA, the prosecution of a number of cops, exactly zero of whom have been convicted in what look like fair trials.

 The Perils of Kathleen: Continued

This is our ongoing series where we examine the ongoing meltdown of the paranoid, vengeful and extremely anti-gun Pennsylvania attorney general, Kathleen Kane.

In addition to the porn question, [Judge] Demchick-Alloy denied a motion by the Kane team to block any testimony regarding her ongoing feud against Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, who hired former Kane staffers and pursued a corruption sting Kane had argued was fatally flawed due to racial bias.

Kane had spiked the corruption investigation, possibly because the crooked state politicians were all political allies of hers.

Demchick-Alloy also allowed prosecutors to pursue a taped conversation involving Joshua Morrow, a Kane political consultant who was at the heart of the alleged leaks.

“Morrow questioned the strategy behind the leak and described the defendant as being unhinged,” according to an earlier motion filed by prosecutors.

Kane’s motion to compel the release of handwritten notes from the case against her was also denied by the judge. Steele, the Montgomery County DA, argued that his office had turned over all of the evidence in their possession already.

These developments bode ill for Kane’s defense, but then again, she’s guilty, which always makes a defense attorney earn his pay.

  • Will She Testify? Kane says, “Maybe.” The subtext there is that her lawyer is unlikely to raise some of the stuff that the judge has told him not to raise in these motions denials, so this is her one chance to bang that stuff on the table. This is one of many reasons that the attorney will probably discourage her from testifying. On the other hand, if her goose looks cooked anyway, it gives her a chance to grandstand and play Joan of Political Arc on her way to conviction.
  • The cost of Kane’s corruption? To the taxpayers of PA, at least $436k and counting. Her personal defense in criminal and civil case employs top-dollar legal talent. (That their results have been, shall we say, limited, has less to do with their legal abilities than with the fact patterns she has given her attorneys to work with. They’re lawyers, not miracle workers). (Do Read The Whole Thing™ because it has a rundown on several of the lawsuits, none of which paint Kane in a good light).
  • Kane flunky Doug Gansler, brought in from out of state as her paranoia mounted to the point where she trusted no one local, is lining up to run for governor in Maryland. His issues will clearly be corruption (all for it, obviously), crime (ditto), and guns (unclean! Unclean! He’s against ’em).

Maura Healey (Heil Healey!), have a loo. Kathleen Kane’s political present could be your political future.

Unconventional (and current) Warfare

What goes on in the battlezones of the world — and preparation of the future battlefields. 

Erdo’s Countercoup

The goats themselves are not safe in the new Turkey. Tens of thousands of Turks have been rendered jobless, thrown in jail, or driven into exile. Austin Bay has a good roundup at the Observer.

It’s a Mystery, My Son

What’s a mystery? Why Moslems keep murdering people while screaming Aloha Snackbar, that’s what. At least, as Tim Blair recounts in the Australian Telegraph, it’s a mystery to the see-no-Moslem enablers of the Press.

UK: Hide, Soldiers, Hide

The British Forces reacted boldly as Brave Sir Robin, when faced with an attack by Moslems on an RAF Marham airman. Did they declare open season on jihadis? No, you silly goose.

They told the troops to run (but not alone!) and hide.

After a spate of terror attacks in France and Germany rocked Europe, Top Brass are determined not to see another Lee Rigby-style attack on a British hero by anyone inspired by the Munich or Nice attacks.

Troops are also warned to run in pairs off base after two Middle Eastern men armed with a blade tried to bundle an RAF airman into the back of a van in a feared abduction attempt this week. …

The guidance, added: “While there remains no ban on the wearing of uniform in public, personnel should not feel compounded to wear it outside MOD establishments when common sense says a lower profile would be more appropriate.”

Yeah, that’ll fix the problem. “And when the enemy reared his head, Sir Robin turned his tail and fled, brave, brave, brave, brave Sir Robin….”

US: We Need a War on Air Conditioners

That is a supremely silly statement, so you won’t be surprised to learn it comes from the supremely silly Secretary of State, John Kerry, whose previous diplomacy experience includes looking French, marrying African ketchup heiresses, and trying to sell out to the North Vietnamese (who rather sensibly refused to pay even 1 Dong for the turncoatery they were already getting gratis). To wit, the wealthy half-wit twit emits:

Secretary of State John Kerry said in Vienna on Friday that air conditioners and refrigerators are as big of a threat to life as the threat of terrorism posed by groups like the Islamic State.

Yeah, whatevs. Call us next time an air conditioner beheads a priest, m’kay? When the phone doesn’t ring, we’ll know it’s you not calling.

Meanwhile, Sumdood reacted appropriately, and filed a petition to strip the overpaid, underworked striped-pants dullards of the Department of State of that murderous air conditioning in their offices, limos, and uparmored Escalades.

India: Bodyguards for Rich Guy’s Wife, Bupkus for Crime Victims

India seems to be pursuing US levels of corruption. Now: commando force detailed to protect a wealthy crony’s consort.

The Indian government was dispatching a team of elite commandos to protect Nita Ambani, the socialite wife of India’s richest man.

Her husband, Mukesh Ambani, an oil and gas magnate worth $21 billion, has had a government security escort since 2013, when he was the subject of terrorist threats, and covers the costs himself.

But in a country where there is a shortage of police officers, the news about 10 additional officers for his wife rankled.

“Women raped daily in Delhi. No security for them despite repeated requests. But [prime minister Narendra Modi] providing security to his friends,” Delhi’s chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal, said in a tweet.

How crooked does it get? It sounds like that third world country is almost as far gone with crony-capitalist corruption, which the Indians call “VIP Privilege,” as the USA.

Veterans’ Issues

Is it time to disband this thing yet, and letting all its bloatoverhead seek its own level in the Dreaded Private Sector™?

VA Appears to Encourage Disability Fraud (Again)

That was a headline last week. This week, we heard that a VA rep tried to lure a friend who’s perfectly well-adjusted (well, for an SF guy) into making a PTSD claim, with this argument:

Hey, it’s free money. If you have it, it’s all inside your head, and so no one can ever prove you don’t.

Apparently, the Powers That Be™ are pressing the patient-facing workers to maximize PTSD claims. We don’t know why. Maximize budget? Look like they’re doing something? Your guess is as good as ours. Does anybody else find this morally reprehensible?

Lord Love a Duck!

The weird and wonderful (or creepy) that we didn’t otherwise get to. 

Photon Torpedoes?

The hoary old science fiction weapon might be realistically possible, say British physics students. Their description seems to suggest a chain-reaction cascade of high energy particles much like a nuclear blast, but directional. If we understand it, but it’s that kind of physics that we probably don’t.

Hat tip: Futurism.com via we forget (sorry)

Urban Ruins: Tire Plant

The US Royal Tire Company, later Uniroyal, made tires and other natural and articficial rubber products for a century in Chicopee, Massachusetts. The 26-acre plant site is now a combination of ruins, Superfund brownfields, and demolition projects. Jeannette DeForge and photo Don Treeger of the Springfield, MA Republican, made a rare visit to the site and there’s a long report and a 44-shot image gallery online. Here’s three of Treeger’s images:

(stand by, we’re having image problems).

Go See The Whole Thing™ if you share our fascination for industrial ruins.

Unfortunately, most of the potentially beautiful riverfront site is under political control, so it will be used for centrally-planned ego projects and to reward cronies, not put to economic use. Most of the 19th and early 20th-century bricks will be used as landfill.

What’s Up? Doc!

OK, we already showed you Doc’s first flight, cut short by an indicator light (better safe than sorry in a 70-year-old, fiendishly complex airplane). But this video by professional videographer Scott Slocum was shot from a chase plane (an RV-8? Not sure), and it is, in places, breathtaking.

You can click on the “vimeo” link in the lower right to go to the Aero Media Group’s website and see some more of Scott’s fine work. Along with some cool sailing stuff, there’s P-40 and B-17 video also.

But here’s one more B-29 video: Doc’s sister ship FIFI, the Commemorative Air Force’s bird, shot this year also, in amazing crepuscular light.

If we had a B-29, we’d want Scott and his camera in the chase plane. Wouldn’t you?

When Guns Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Houses

house crashThere he was, minding his own business, driving down the road, when the house hit him.

Wait, what?

Oh, OK. He hit the house. Probably wasn’t on the road then, eh?

At 10:25 p.m. Saturday, police received a 911 call for a report of a “loud bang” on the lawn of 220 New Road, according to a statement released by the Newmarket Police Department. When officers arrived, police observed a single vehicle had left the roadway and crashed into a home at 220 New Road.
The only occupant of the vehicle, William Morley, 30, of 28 Cedar St., Newmarket, was rushed to Portsmouth Regional Hospital, and was pronounced deceased at the hospital at 11:30 p.m.

via Newmarket man dies after crashing car into house – News – seacoastonline.com – Portsmouth, NH.

The sad thing is, even if you are such a failure as a driver (or such a prodigious consumer of Judgment Juice) that you go swanning about slamming into parked homes, you still are an odds-on favorite to live if you just wear your jeezly seat belt.

To die in a crash like this requires either bad luck in the Book of Job range, or broad-based and multidisciplinary recklessness. Or — a remote possibility with a 30-year-old, but a possibility nonetheless — he could have been suddenly incapacitated at the wheel by a medical issue such as a heart attack.

Are You on ISIL’s List?

List-Home-banner-1You know, that list of 8,000 names they’ve instructed their splodydopes, machete-meisters and generally murderous mohammedrones to go kill?

CounterJihad claims to have a copy of the list. You can go to this link and enter your name and email, and if Hadji has spelled your name right, when he put you on the list, they’ll give you an up, and instructions on how to request an update from the Sword and Shield of The Party the partisan political police previously known as the FBI.

CounterJihad reports:

ISIS has released another kill list of people with names and addresses it says it has targeted. This list contains over 8,000 names worldwide and more than 4000 Americans.

The FBI is investigating the list but has not at this point notified the people included on it.

We have a copy of the list that law enforcement is using. We cannot vouch for the accuracy of the list, or the ability of ISIS to deliver on their threats– but we do think it is fair for Americans to know if they are listed and be able to query the FBI as to the status of the investigation.

They’re also using the list request as a way to sign you up for their emails. We signed up because we’re interested in the civilizational jihad that they report on.

To our great disappointment, we were not on the list. We’re going to have to redouble our efforts.

Shoot Like an Egyptian! Two Rare Rifles, One Auction.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the great European empires that had ruled most of the world continued their retreat from Africa and Asia, and many new nations became independent. Other nations which had longer if interrupted history of independence — Egypt is at issue here — found themselves realigning away from former colonial or commonwealth “protectors” and pursuing more nationalistic ends.

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This often produced, especially when home-country nationalists returned from education abroad full of hopeless, emotional Marxian economics, a reach for self-sufficiency in all things (including armaments) that seems, in retrospect, irrational to the point of insanity. But Egypt tried to develop indigenous weapons including surface-to-surface missiles and transonic jet aircraft; naturally, it also tried to make its own small arms, as did such other gunmaking powerhouses as the Dominican Republic and the Republic of Indonesia.

Egypt, having chosen a mathematically insupportable course of action, then dialed up the strange in its selection of inspiration: its homegrown weapons were based on Swedish prototypes. The Misr or “Egypt” submachine gun was a simple and direct copy of the Carl Gustav M45B, but for rifles, Egypt made a modified copy of the Swedish Ljungman AG42B — at first. 

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The rifle’s similarity to the AG42 is clear, up close or at a distance.

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Early Hakeem rifle, chambered in 7.92/8mm mauser. One 10 round magazine and bayonet. The bayonet is missing the locking screw but is otherwise in good condition. Bore is in good condition with strong lands and grooves. Overall finish is good or better. Not too many dings from being in an armory. Imported by Century Arms International (small import stamp on barrel just behind the muzzle brake). The Hakeem was produced between 1950 and 1960. According to my research, this is an early model Hakim with minimal production stamps all in Arabic Script. Later production guns would have duplicate information engraved in English as well as Arabic. The information I have found also states that the bayonets were only produced during the first year.

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The bayonet’s similarity to the Swedish version is clear.
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The second rifle looks, at a glance, like an SKS, but that’s mostly just an artifact of the copy of the SKS’s bayonet and stock, and the use of the same cartridge.

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Egyptian Rasheed carbine chambered in 7.62 x 39mm. 10 round magazine, and folding bayonet. Ladder sight marked in Egyptian. Left side stamp marks: Serial number in what appears to be both Arabic and English, “Rasheed Made in UAR” then also in Arabic script. Bore is in excellent condition with strong lands and grooves. Bluing is in excellent condition. Wooden stock shows normal wear for an armory weapon with small dings and scratches, armory mark painted on the butt.

Action's clearly a scaled-down Hakim.

Action’s clearly a scaled-down Hakim.

That mark appears to be the Arabic numeral “3”.

The action is a bit tight against the magazine and causes the bolt to drag a bit too much preventing full lock up. A good gunsmith can fix this problem.

via Egyptian Duo: Hakeem Rifle & Rasheed Carbine : Semi Auto Rifles at GunBroker.com.

The initial bid asked for this auction is $1600 for the pair.