mytopleft

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Maybe Temp Town is a rodeo

Almost since the beginning of this blog, I have compared the life of a document review project to fishing for swordfish, where the swordfish starts out strong but  eventually weakens and is brought aboard the fishing boat and dies -- the end of the project.

Well, I think I have a new analogy that describes not the life cycle of a document review project but the process of a document review project. It is, I think, considerably less flattering than the swordfish analogy.

Every document review is a rodeo. As any rodeo fan knows, most rodeos start off with children attempting to ride sheep. In Temp Town, the sheep are the temps, dutifully going wherever they are told while constantly trying to put one over on their masters. I'm pretty sure the children are the agency's project managers "supervising" the temps. They don't really know any more than the temps, they were temps themselves yesterday and will be again tomorrow:


Next up we have the rodeo clowns, who are, of course, the staff attorneys from the firm who are there to provide guidance to the temps and project managers. They also are not told anything by the people who actually know what is going on, so their guidance is of suspect value. Many of them are people with no real connection to the case who need some billable hours and have nothing else to do. Most of them also were temps yesterday and will be temps again tomorrow, and consequently know fuck all about privilege, which is what they most often are there on which to provide guidance.


The broncos and the bulls are the government, proving impossible to ride and unpredictable:


You know what you won't see at a Temp Town rodeo? Cowboys. Cowboys are the heroes of the rodeo, and  Temp Town rodeo has no heroes. There are no cowboys, and, more important, no audience. No one is watching this shit. No one cares. And yet, they're still selling tickets, because the firms, agencies and clients involved all stand to make a metric shit ton of money. They care a lot. No one else does, least of all the people no the ground floor taking part in the rodeo.



You want a higher minimum wage? This is what you get

Faced with economically illiterate progressives pushing for a higher minimum wage, the companies that actually employ people at minimum wage are taking steps that are totally predictable -- automating jobs out of existence. Wendy's is among the first of the biggies, but it won't be the last:
DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) — Wendy's says it plans to install self-ordering kiosks at about 1,000 locations by the end of the year.
A typical location would have three kiosks, The Columbus Dispatch reported. Higher-volume restaurants will be given priority for the kiosks.
Sounds like a lot of Wendy's cashiers are looking at unemployment which, regardless of the minimum wage, pays nothing. And for those of you who think this is the worst development ever, think again:
Customers will still be able to order at the counter for now, although Tristano predicts that mobile ordering and payment via smartphones will one day overtake self-ordering kiosks and cash registers.
And believe it, automation will replace a lot of people in the kitchen, too. Want to Fight for 15? The hundreds of people who still have jobs with the minimum wage at that level will thank you. So will the makers of automation systems that will replace the millions of unskilled former employees who are making the true minimum wage -- zero.


Monday, February 27, 2017

A document review haiku!

This project, which I thought was dying, refuses to do so. I think the swordfish is moderately healthy. God knows why. This thing has gone on much too long. Normally, I would not say that -- long is good, not bad -- but this project hits some sore spots, I guess. Lots of petty tyranny, and Jesus H. is it boring. So without further ado, a haiku:
This project won't end
Boring me to fucking death
Beats no job, I guess

The Marines apparently like the F-35 so much they want it faster

Yeah, this is a couple weeks old, but I've been as busy as a one-legged man at a butt-kicking contest with this God-awful project, so sue me for being late. But the head of Marine aviation wants the F-35 delivered faster than is scheduled:
The pace at which the Marine Corps is getting its new F-35B Joint Strike Fighter aircraft is “anemic,” the service’s head of aviation said this week, adding that the Corps could handle a much faster ramp-up.
Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon on Tuesday, Lt. Gen. Jon “Dog” Davis, deputy commandant of aviation, spoke highly of the Corps’ new fifth-generation aircraft. The first Marine F-35B squadron, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121, relocated to Japan in January in a transition that Davis said was smooth and without incident.
Right now, he said, the Marine Corps owns 50 F-35Bs in two operational squadrons, one training squadron, and a test unit. The service declared initial operational capability for the aircraft in 2015.
By the way, those are really small squadrons. Standard squadron strength used to be 24 aircraft plus spares. It is down to 16 planes for F-35 equipped squadrons now. If you want to plow through some really boring minutiae from the government about Marine air, it's here. Lt. Gen. Davis seems to really want more F-35s, faster:
Davis said he believes the Corps could accept up to 37 aircraft a year, between two and three squadrons’ worth. The current transition plan has the service receiving the last of the 353 F-35B and 67 F-35C aircraft it plans to buy in 2031, a rate that works out to fewer than 30 aircraft a year. The sped-up plan would see the Marine Corps complete its F-35 transition five years early.
The current schedule seems to keep planes like the AV-8B, Harrier (a vertical take-off and landing fighter), the FA-18 Hornet (a carrier-based fighter) and the EA-6B Prowler, an electronic-warfare aircraft that uses the Vietnam-era airframe of the A-6 Intruder carrier-based fighter, in service for a long damn time. The F-35 in its many variants is supposed to replace all of these aircraft, some of which, obviously, are more than 50 years old. More F-35s faster is a good idea in that respect. Also, the unit cost goes down the faster the planes are produced because of economies of scale.

Whether that happens remains to be seen. I wouldn't bet on it though.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Iran wants to pretend it is designing original aircraft. Verdict: Fail

Iran has essentially no domestic aircraft industry, whether for civilian aircraft or military. What they produce -- to the extent they produce any aircraft on their own -- is stolen. Otherwise, they buy planes from overseas. Witness the deal with Boeing for passenger aircraft.

When it comes to military aircraft, though, the Iranians are much more limited. Sanctions against the regime's purchase of, among other things, military items -- largely lifted by Emperor Barry I without Congressional approval (or even knowledge) -- have kept Iran from updating its air force since they ousted the shah in 1979. Consequently, they have to lie about domestic aircraft developments.

Case in point: Iran is now popping off about a new fighter aircraft they have "developed." It would appear to be a slightly improved version of the F-5, one of the fighters Iran used to buy from the U.S. when the shah was still in power. It clearly is not a new aircraft, nor even a modern aircraft:
Tehran is keen to produce its own jet fighters—but designing and manufacturing advanced combat jets poses formidable technological challenges difficult for an isolated industrial base to resolve on its own. Nonetheless, the Iranian air force has prominently showcased its development of several domestic fighter jets since the turn of the century, most notably the HESA Saeqeh (“Thunderbolt”), which Iranian media have claimed to be superior to the F-18 Hornet.
But performance specifications and technical details for these aircraft have remained either vague or nonexistent. This may be less due to secrecy than because additional details would likely be unimpressive, because the Saeqeh is a reverse-engineered American F-5 Freedom Fighter with a new tail and upgraded avionics.
The similarities between the two aircraft are obvious. Here is the F-5:


Note the single tail. Now, look at Iran's "new" fighter" hoping to pass for an F-18 knockoff:



Ooh, ooh, twin tails! Must be like an F-18, which is a near-fifth generation fighter (the most modern). Except, no. It's an F-5 with twin tails. Not clear what that even adds to the plane's performance, if anything. And it is important to remember that the F-5 was originally developed in the 1950s -- it hardly qualifies as a modern fighter, even though it has undergone a number of upgrades over the years. Even improved, the F-5 is closer to a third-generation fighter than a fifth-generation craft. If this is what Iran is putting up as its first-line fighter, Iran is in trouble if anyone with semi-modern aircraft scuffles with the Islamic Republic.


So, it would appear that the Fourth Circuit can't read

There is no other way to reach the conclusion reached recently by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals holding that "military-style" weapons and large-capacity magazines are not protected by the Second Amendment:
The full 4th U.S. Circuit of Appeals in Virginia found that military-style assault weapons—like those used in the Newtown; Orlando, Florida; San Bernardino, California; and Aurora, Colorado, massacres, among others—and large-capacity magazines are not protected under the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms. Assault weapons are a class of semi-automatic firearms; large-capacity magazines can hold as many as 100 rounds of ammunition. Maryland’s measure prohibits the possession, sale, transfer, purchase or transportation into the state of assault weapons, including assault pistols and assault long guns.
This decision, like the law it rules upon, is based entirely upon appearance, not function, of the weapons in question. There are no, repeat no, weapons offered for sale to the general public (without difficult-to-obtain, very expensive licenses for firearms dealers) that are even close to "military-style assault weapons." Those weapons, unlike the civilian look-alikes, do not offer the single-shot option, and the civilian look-alikes do not offer the three-shot burst or fully automatic options the way the military versions do. There simply is no comparison between actual assault rifles and the civilian look-alike counterparts that the media insist upon calling assault rifles. The two simply are not the same. The Fourth Circuit apparently is too stupid to see the difference:
“We are convinced that the banned assault weapons and large-capacity magazines are among those arms that are ‘like’ ‘M-16 rifles’—‘weapons that are most useful in military service’—which the Heller Court singled out as being beyond the Second Amendment’s reach,” the court said in its majority opinion. “Put simply, we have no power to extend Second Amendment protection to the weapons of war that the Heller decision explicitly excluded from such coverage.”
That is possibly the worst misreading of the Heller decision to date. The AR-15 semi-automatic rifles in question here are nothing like M-16 rifles in function and are the most popular civilian purchase among all makes of semi-automatic rifles. The Heller court specifically included such commonly used rifles in the protections of the Constitution:
While Heller established a constitutional right to own a gun, Jennifer Baker, director of public affairs for the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, said this case “flips Heller on its head.” The majority opinion, she added, ignores the Supreme Court’s guidance from Heller that “the Second Amendment protects arms that are ‘in common use at the time for lawful purposes like self-defense.’”
Thus, it would appear that at least 10 members of the Fourth Circuit -- Obama appointees all -- can't fucking read and don't care about the law. This will be appealed to the Supreme Court. The current nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, Judge Neil Gorsuch, will be confirmed by then and this ludicrous decision will be overturned.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Not an athlete

When The Washington Post claimed that Emperor Barry I, retired, "makes rest of us look bad with his effortless kite surfing," not everyone was convinced that the article was not fake news. After all, the Post claimed that former Emperor Barry was good at lots of sports. The Washington Free Beacon begged to differ:
The Washington Post claims Obama is "pretty good at basketball" and "makes [the] rest of us look bad with his effortless kitesurfing." But there is little evidence either claim is true.
A substantial amount of video footage exists disproving their claim that Obama is "not just a one-sport athlete." Moreover, the record shows Obama is not even a one-sport athlete as he has proven to be terrible at basketball, baseball, bowling, and now kitesurfing.
It's one thing to write about Obama's life after the White House, but the Washington Post goes too far in declaring Obama to be athletic. Not only does the Post make this outrageous claim, they also seek to demean their own readers by saying the American people "look bad" because of Obama's athletic ability. We award Four Pinocchios.
At the link is video of Emperor Barry throwing a baseball like a person who has never thrown a baseball, badly missing a basketball layup that most American kids of our age learn by about 7 years old, sucking at bowling and being terrible at golf, not to mention producing testimonial evidence of the former emperor being not very good at basketball, his supposed athletic strength. As for the kite-surfing, um, you be the judge:



Barry was a year behind me in high school in Hawaii -- different schools, of course, because my family couldn't afford the kind of private school Barry went to. I went to public school. I know people who knew him then. No one predicted greatness, athletic or otherwise. And to the Washington Post, I challenge them to find a picture of Barry on a surfboard. I used to surf. He didn't.




Got a little bit of pork chops food porn for you

A couple weekends ago -- sorry, but the project I am on is eating pretty much every minute of my time, so there might be some delay in certain things -- I fixed what I considered to be some truly magnificent smothered pork chops. Nothing difficult here. You start with, of course, a couple thick-cut pork chops, a cup of all-purpose flour, 2 tbs of onion powder, 2 tbs of garlic powder, 1 tsp of cayenne, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 cup chicken broth and 1/2 cup buttermilk:


Got all that? Good. Put the flour in a shallow dish, add the onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, salt and pepper, then mix it up right with a fork:


Dredge those pork chops in the flour mixture:


Heat up a good old-fashioned iron skillet -- what? get one, damn it --and put the olive oil in to heat:


Once the oil is hot, drop those dredged chops into the pan, fry for three minutes on each side:


They're going to look pretty tasty already:


Remove the pork chops from the pan and sprinkle a little of the remaining seasoned flour in the drippings. Mix it up right until smoothly blended, then add the chicken broth:


Cook on medium-high heat until the mix starts to thicken:


Stir in the buttermilk to make a delectable, creamy gravy:


Mix it up right:


Put the chops in the pan, cover them with sauce and cook about 5 minutes, until cooked through:


Season with salt and pepper, throw in the sides of your choice and dig in:


Bon appetit, y'all. It don't get much more southern than that.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

I was not remiss on Valentine's Day

I think I fulfilled my spousal duties satisfactorily with chocolates and roses. Plus wine:


So I have that going for me.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Does that swordfish look sick to you?

After more than three months, I have been confident that the swordfish is looking pretty sorry-ass at this point. The agency and the firm tell us nothing, of course, but there are other indicators, such as when a response is due to the government, how many documents seem to be left, and things like that. Truth is, I have no damn idea. Everyone is going over to one of the law firms' offices tomorrow for some kind of new training, and we are being offered a bonus to work all three days of the holiday weekend. Push to finish? Who knows.






Wednesday, February 15, 2017

I guess this is all the winter we're going to get

Almost a week ago, last Thursday, we had a little snow. Again, just a dusting, probably less than an inch. It barely lasted past sunrise. Long-term forecast indicates this pathetic showing might be it for the winter:


Damn

Monday, February 13, 2017

Hard to believe the dog is still there

Mrs. Wolves got pretty zealous about packing stuff away recently, which means we can't find anything. One of the things we couldn't find was our dog brush. Cpl. Wolves noticed that Jeb the Wonder Dog needed brushing -- badly -- and ordered a dog brush. Mrs. Wolves put that brush to work last night, and it was clear that Jeb needed brushing:


Which is bigger, the pile of hair or the dog?

Lefties talk big about letting refugees in, but balk when it comes to where the rubber hits the road

All rhetoric, no action. When you try to make lefties turn their policies into personal action, those signs they're waving suddenly don't matter so much, right? Just listen to them:


Fuck them.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

CBS poll shows most Democrats think other religions just as dangerous as Islam

And you wonder how Donald Trump got elected? I guess this doesn't really surprise me:
According to a CBS poll, a majority of Democrats have said that they believe that the religion of Islam is dangerous, but that other religions are just as bad.
66 percent of Democrats believe when it comes to other religions such as Christianity, Judaism, Mormonism, et al, they are responsible for just as much violence as Islam. Only 14 percent believe Islam is more violent, which totals out to one out of seven Democrats.
Meanwhile, Republicans have few qualms with calling Islam a more violent religion than the others with a majority 63 percent.
Man, I just get the willies every morning when I go online and see all the reports of radical Lutherans beheading people and those crazy Mormons wiping out entire villages and taking the women as sex slaves. And don't get me started on those Episcopalians -- Lord, how they do love to set them some people on fire for worshiping the wrong God or stone them to death for being gay. Oh, wait. Never mind.

Democrats love them some moral equivalence if it prevents them from criticizing one of their core constituencies. Emperor Barry used to do this shit all the time, pretending that modern Islamist terrorism is just a contemporary response to the Crusades -- which happened almost a thousand years ago and were a counterattack against Muslim conquest of the Holy Land, Jerusalem and other sacred Christian sites. Barry acted like it happened yesterday and was an unprovoked attack on a bunch of peaceful Muslims who hadn't done a thing. Naturally, he had his defenders on the left and his detractors on the right. The problem for Barry, and the Democrats who seem to still think Christianity is a collection of gun-slinging killers is that the only examples of "equivalence" between Christian violence and modern Islamist violence is that the Islamists are still doing it, every fucking day and proudly proclaiming that they are doing so in the name of Allah. The only example Barry and his fellow travelers can come up with is the Crusades.

While you can claim, as Barry did and doubtless still would, that violent Islamists today are "perverting" a "religion of peace," the fact of the matter is they aren't. The Koran and the hadiths -- the holy writings of Islamic scholars containing material they attribute to Mohammed that was not included in the Koran -- provide more than ample basis for Islamist terrorists to claim they are acting in the name of their God as directed by their prophet. There are six such collections:
The two most highly respected collections of hadith are the authenticated collections the Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim. (Sahih literally means "correct, true, valid, or sound.") In addition to these, four other collections came to be well-respected, although not to the degree of Bukhari and Muslim's sahih collections. These four other collections are the Sunan of Tirmidhi, Nasa'i, Ibn Majah, and Abu Da'ud. Together these four and the two sahih collections are called the "six books" (al-kutub al-sitta). Two other important collections, in particular, are the Muwatta of Ibn Malik, the founder of the Maliki school of law, and the Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal, the founder of the Hanbali school of law.
Feel free to look them up. Believe me, there is plenty there to support the view that Islamist terrorists aren't "perverting" their religion.

So Democrats want to pretend we're the problem. No surprise there, I guess. Maybe a little surprised they're becoming so open about their beliefs. My response to those folks is that nobody died because they published the (taxpayer-funded) image of a crucifix submerged in urine known as "Piss Christ;"



At least 12 people at the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo died in Islamist retaliation for cartoons like this one:


Guess which one of those images is more likely to get me killed. To quote someone whose name escapes me at the moment, I don't much care who the Islamists send, as long as they don't care if they come back.

Marine sergeant makes you (and me) look like a complete pussy

Nice know that guys like this are wearing the eagle, globe and anchor:
United States Marine Sgt. Michael Eckert from Winter Park, Florida has a talent that many men would envy. For one, he’s competed in the American Ninja Warrior competition he currently holds the world record for most pull-ups in one minute, which he set at 50 while stationed in Iwakuni Japan.
This guy is ridiculous:


Of course he's a Marine.



"Environmentalist" protesters wreak havoc on the environment

Hell, it's what they always do. The so-called environmentalists who were protesting the pipeline in North Dakota trashed the place beyond all recognition:
Clean-up crews are racing to clear acres of debris at the largest Dakota Access protest camp before the spring thaw turns the snowy, trash-covered plains into an environmental disaster area.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Friday that the camp, located on federal land, would be closed Feb. 22 in order to “prevent injuries and significant environmental damage in the likely event of flooding in this area” at the mouth of the Cannonball River in North Dakota.
They weren't environmentalists; they were paid socialist activists and a bunch of useful idiots. They left behind tons of trash because they don't give a fuck about the environment; they only care about causing chaos and disrupting society. A number of pipelines already go under the body of water in question, and nobody ever said boo. Suddenly that matters? No, but they managed to get a like-minded lame-duck president to go ahead and try to block the pipeline on his way out the door. Fortunately, the effort failed.

Further, by the time the socialists finally left, they were no longer welcome even by the tribe they supposedly were there to support:
Those involved in the clean-up effort, led by the Standing Rock Sioux, say it could take weeks for private sanitation companies and volunteers to clear the expanse of abandoned tents, teepees, sleeping bags, blankets, canned food, supplies and just plain garbage littering the Oceti Sakowin camp.
“It’s unfortunate. Again, that just goes against what they’re fighting against, is leaving that stuff and abandoning it and obviously the environment the river,” Scott Davis, North Dakota Commissioner for Indian Affairs, told KFYR-TV in Bismarck.
Naturally, the turds aren't helping matters any.
Many of the several hundred protesters who remained after the early December snowstorm are helping with the effort, some of them attempting to salvage reusable goods. Other activists have been less helpful.
The operation was delayed Wednesday, when activists tried to set up a camp on private property owned by the Dakota Access pipeline company and blocked Highway 1806, resulting in 76 arrests.
For months, these protesters have been trespassing on private land while also being allowed by Emperor Barry I to carry out their horseshit on federal property without evicting them. The pipeline route was completely non-controversial. The only reason to protest was simply to disrupt society and the economy:
The 1,172-mile, four-state pipeline, which is nearly completed, runs almost entirely on private land. Pipeline supporters argue that the oil pipeline route runs alongside an existing natural-gas pipeline, making it the least disruptive to the landscape, while tribal leaders have called for rerouting the project.
Hundreds of people were arrested during the course of the "protest." With a little luck, lots of them will go to jail. I hope they are joined by a couple folks held responsible for the environmental devastation they left behind.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

It is possible that the "F-35 Sucks" crowd might have just taken a kick to the nuts.

I still oppose the "one size fits all" approach of the F-35, using the same air frame to be a strike fighter, dogfighter and carrier fighter, because I think that different roles require different airplanes. I am not alone in this. I have, however, been a defender of the F-35 as the next fifth-generation fighter aircraft for the U.S. military. While the cost for the program is high, the cost per unit is dropping and could drop a lot more as the production ramps up. This sort of thing makes me believe that the plane is worth it:
\Exercise Red Flag at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada is considered one of the most realistic and challenging aviation warfare exercises, and pilots from this year's event say the Air Force's F-35A exceeded expectations by dominating the air space and improving the lethality of other legacy aircraft. It's stellar performance is a major victory for a war plane that's been criticized for its high costs and plagued with several development setbacks.
Running from January 23 to February 10, this year's Red Flag involves more threats to pilots than ever before, including surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), radar jamming equipment, and an increased number of red air, or mock enemy aircraft. Against the ramped-up threats, the F-35A only lost one aircraft for every 15 aggressors killed, according to Aviation Week.
The F-35 Lightning II's advanced avionics software was the star of the show, as multiple F-35s successfully compiled data into a detailed layout of the battlefield with each individual threat pinpointed. The stealthy aircraft could then slip into weak spots in the defensive layout and take out SAM targets, opening up the space for follow-on forces of legacy fighters. Even when the F-35s ran out of munitions, F-22 and fourth-generation fighter pilots wanted the aircraft to remain in the combat zone, soaking up data and porting target info to the older fighters.
It sounds like the F-35 is doing what it is supposed to be doing -- not simply dominating the battle space by itself, but allowing fourth-generation fighters to dominate the battle space with the assistance of the sensors and avionics of the F-35.

It is important to remember that the F-35 is our second fifth-generation fighter. The first, the F-22, is probably in many ways a superior aircraft, but it costs far more to operate per hour than any other aircraft in the U.S. inventory. As good as the F-22 is, it lacks the advanced avionics of the F-35 simply by virtue of being older. It can be upgraded, and will be -- as will fourth-generation fighters such as the F-18, F-16 and F-15 airframes, which will need upgrades to benefit from the data provided by F-35s participating in the mission.

Working in concert with the F-35, our best current aircraft -- already the envy of the world -- will be that much better and should give any foreign military pause if the consider challenging us. Hello, Russia and China, I'm talking to you. The next problem, of course, is where these aircraft will be based. The problem areas tend to be farther from us than from our enemies. One hopes that good minds are considering these obstacles as we speak.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Not sure this wasn't one of my cats' relatives

Early this week, the National Zoo apparently lost one of its bobcats, who escaped through a hole in the enclosure. Fortunately for the zoo, the bobcat was recaptured Wednesday:
Ollie, a bobcat at the National Zoo who went missing Monday morning, was captured late Wednesday afternoon near the zoo’s bird house, zoo officials said.
“We found her thanks to a tip from a visitor,” great cats curator Craig Saffoe said at a news conference Wednesday evening.
Saffoe said that after receiving the tip, he and a zookeeper set live traps near the bird house and within 15 minutes had captured Ollie.
The 25-pound beast made its way out through a hole in its enclosure Monday morning. The runaway looks like this:


Seriously, you think she isn't related to Murder and Mischief:


Yeah, that's what I thought, too. So, in honor of Ollie the runaway, we have this:


Then we have this, from the David Letterman show in 1986:


Dude still had it. Here is the link to Ollie the Bobcat, and it is not a happy one, alas. At some point, Shannon decided he did not still have it and killed himself on Feb. 8, 1990, just over 26 years ago. Love me some Del Shannon. Wish he'd felt better about himself, because he should have.

Why is Democrat-dominated San Francisco such a cesspool of racist hate?

Seriously, look at this streetcar:


Damn those racist liberal bastards.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

What we've got here is a failure to communicate

PETA insists that all hunting is bad. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, it would appear that wild pigs are fucking things up pretty much everywhere, environmentally speaking:
Feb. 2 (UPI) -- Wild invasive pigs are wreaking havoc on North American ecosystems, a new report warns.
"Feral swine cause major damage to property, agriculture (crops and livestock), native species and ecosystems, and cultural and historic resources," Gail Keirn, a public affairs specialist with the National Wildlife Research Center, told PLOS ONE.
The National Wildlife Research Center, NWRC, is the research arm of the Wildlife Services program, part of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, a USDA agency.
"This invasive species also threatens the health of people, wildlife, pets, and other domestic animals," Keirn said. "As feral swine populations continue to expand across the country, these damages, costs, and risks will only keep rising."
Apparently, the problem springs from a combination of feral pigs, which used to be raised for food but escaped, wild board introduced for hunting purposes, and hybrids of the two from interbreeding. And yeah, they aren't going away:
The largest wild pig populations are found in the South, but a team of scientists led by Nathan Snow found the pigs have been moving northward at a clip of 4 to 8 miles per year. In 30 to 50 years, Snow and his colleagues predict, wild pigs could be found living in all 50 states and every county in the country. Their conquest could happen even quicker if boars introduced into Canada continue to move southward.
Wild pigs reproduce quickly and often, eat nearly anything and can survive in a variety of habitats. They also have no natural predators.
Nothing is killing them except us. Enter the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals:
Although it was a crucial part of humans’ survival 100,000 years ago, hunting is now nothing more than a violent form of recreation that the vast majority of hunters do not need for subsistence.1 Hunting has contributed to the extinction of animal species all over the world, including the Tasmanian tiger and the great auk.2,3
Less than 5 percent of the U.S. population (13.7 million people) hunts, yet hunting is permitted in many wildlife refuges, national forests, and state parks and on other public lands.4 Almost 40 percent of hunters slaughter and maim millions of animals on public land every year, and by some estimates, poachers kill just as many animals illegally.
By all means, read the whole thing about how evil hunting is, and read the other report on the damage caused by wild pigs, who have no curb on their population if we don't hunt them. Then ask yourself if this is the problem with PETA:


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

About that bacon shortage

Yeah, not happening. Sure, the initial reports sounded very official, based on government estimates and whatnot, and things were looking grim:
U.S. bacon reserves have hit a 50 year low. The non-profit Ohio Pork Council said that demand for frozen pork belly, often made into bacon, has far outpaced supply, USA Today reports. “Today’s pig farmers are setting historic records by producing more pigs than ever. Yet our reserves are still depleting,” said Rich Deaton, the group's president.
With low reserve levels, prices have increased; the cost of pork belly rose by 20% in January, according to the council. Officials said that increased foreign demand might also be responsible, however, as hog farmers export around 26% of their total product according to the group.
Many local news sources dutifully reported the 20% rise in pork belly, implying it was a rise in the cost of bacon:
In December, the inventory was at 17.8 million pounds. That sounds like a lot, but it’s the lowest it’s been since 1957, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
It doesn’t take a business degree to deduct that when demand outweighs supply, prices surge. Those prices increased 20 percent in January.
 As someone who buys a lot of bacon, I knew that prices are quite low right now and have shown no upward trend. Sure enough, my sense of the bacon market was correct. It pains me that the New York Times confirmed my believe, but even a blind squirrel finds an acorn now and then:
But the truth is this: The frozen reserves are just that — reserves. There will be no rationing at breakfast, or for your burgers (or B.L.T.s, or quiche, or roasted bacon-wrapped rabbit, or apples and ice cream. Not even for your bacon footballs this weekend.)
. . .
. . . . bacon lovers have nothing to fear. According to Mr. Meyer, the United States produces almost 75 million pounds of pork belly every week. “We’re going to slaughter about 3 percent more pigs this year than we did last year — a record number,” he said. “Bacon production will be higher than it’s ever been."
Of course, I am glad to hear that bacon will be plentiful. On the other hand, as a buyer of bacon and observer of prices (I do the grocery shopping in this family) I already knew that there were no price signals of a coming shortage.  If only government would pay more attention to market price signals and ignore the urge to intervene. Sigh. A post for another day.
 

Monday, February 6, 2017

I kind of wonder who in the Patriots organization sold his soul to the devil

That was a hell of a football game, and until about halfway through the third quarter, it didn't look like it would be. Mrs. Wolves kept saying "don't count them out," and she was right, even though that is not normally what the Patriots do. Usually, when they are losing big, they lose. They just almost never are losing big. Well, this time Tom Brady decided he didn't want to lose. And they didn't.

Gaga did a good halftime show -- saying "hi" to her parents was a nice touch -- and it didn't matter that all of the songs she did were earlier hits, since her last two albums have been "meh." It was a good show, followed by a second half for the ages. Wow. Hope y'all got to see it.

So this leaves us with the question, who over in New England is in league with the devil? I lean toward the evil genius, head coach Bill Bellichick. But I don't think he sold his soul in exchange for gridiron success. Bellichick, the evil genius, doubtless negotiated a much better deal than that. Maybe sold Brady's soul.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Hang on, I'm getting confused,

I voted for Trump, so I'm a fascist, but this so-called comedian isn't:


Last time I checked, a military coup is practically the definition of fascism. Stop being so butt-hurt over losing the election. You put up a shitty candidate, and she lost because she was a shitty candidate. The GOP put up a shitty candidate, and he won because enough people believed he really was as tired of the establishment as they were, plus he wasn't as shitty a candidate as she was. But she lost. Get over it. I remember, way back in my youth, when people screamed bloody murder when a candidate sounded reluctant about accepting election results if he lost. Such as here, and here, and here. Not to mention there. Oh, hell, that wasn't my youth, that was practically yesterday.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

So, who had the biggest Inauguration crowd?

Um, not the person who expected to:

Sorry, Hillary.

There are some real characters on this project

Folks who follow this blog know that I had started a series of "real emails from management" that kind of highlighted how stupid this industry is. I had to suspend that series and delete the posts for some rather unusual reasons. Since then, I have largely avoided posting about the project I am on, even though it is just fucking hilarious.

Well, I have found a way around that. I've decided to do a post about a few of the movie characters who appear to be on this project. As regulars know, I don't do names -- people you meet on projects are like taxis. You see them everywhere, they look a lot alike but you're never sure if you're seen that particular taxi before. I don't bother to learn or remember people's names because I likely won't work with them again and if I do, well, I didn't care what their name was last time, why start now? This system has flaws, such as when people I worked with before remember me and I don't remember them, but I generally am able to pretend I remember them. I just never call them by their names, because I either don't remember or never knew. Several people on this project who greet me enthusiastically fall into that latter category seem to be convinced I remember them. Um, no.

In any event, I generally give nicknames to memorable people. By memorable, I don't mean people I want to hang with. I generally mean people who look like someone -- or something -- that I find amusing. Yes, all of this makes me an asshole, but I don't really care. I give out the nicknames nonetheless.

Lord help me, here they are. I am generally not linking to what made the real characters famous. Look it up yourself. But I'll give you the photos of the people these folks resemble. Without further ado:

Balki, from the TV show "Taxi" played by Andy Kaufman, is on this project:



We also have Booger, from  the "Revenge of the Nerds" movies:


And who could forget Doc Brown from the "Back to the Future" flicks (who also appeared in the series "Taxi" with Andy Kaufman):


So proud to have the late Clara Peller on board:


Clara, God rest her soul, gained fame in 1984 in this Wendy's commercial:


Finally, we also have famed radio DJ from the 1960s and '70s, Wolfman Jack:


With a little luck, I won't ever see these people again. I'm sure they feel the same way about me.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

My taxes for 2016 promise to be a nightmare

I have 9, count 'em 9, W-2s for 2016. Worked for 9 different agencies, several for only a week or two. I have 1099s for unemployment and state tax refunds, my wife's pension, all kinds of forms. I can hardly wait. Still waiting for a W-2 to launch into this shit. God help me.

You don't post, they don't come

Terrible month for traffic. My fault, since I posted less than once a day. Not a formula for success. This is: