Wowee, Zowee!! One of our $3 Million missiles took out a $200 drone

…At the Global Force Symposium in Alabama, U.S. General David Perkins said that an unspecified U.S. ally used a $3 million Patriot missile to shoot down a quadcopter that likely cost around $200-$300.

“That quadcopter that cost 200 bucks from Amazon.com did not stand a chance against a Patriot [missile],” Perkins said. “I’m not sure that’s a good economic exchange ratio.”

“Now, that worked, they got it, OK, and we love Patriot missiles,” Perkins said. “[But] if I’m the enemy, I’m thinking, ‘Hey, I’m just gonna get on eBay and buy as many of these $300 quadcopters as I can and expend all the Patriot missiles out there?’”

Unfortunately, Perkins didn’t elaborate on the incident any further, except to say that the country who shot down the drone was “a very close ally.”

There have been reports of guerrilla groups in Iraq fastening weapons on dozens of drones at a time and flying them at their enemies…The cost ratio between these drones and large surface-to-air missiles makes defending against this drone tactic a costly endeavor.

“It is clearly enormous overkill,” Justin Bronk…told the BBC. “It certainly exposes in very stark terms the challenge which militaries face in attempting to deal with the adaptation of cheap and readily available civilian technology with extremely expensive, high-end hardware designed for state-on-state warfare.”

No matter. The military-industrial complex which holds absolute control of the Pentagon and virtually every member of Congress – Democrat or Republican – will continue to get their welfare checks for building Navy ships that can be sunk by speedboats, million-dollar tanks that can be stopped by $45 RPGs, jet fighters at $100+ million can wow everyone at an air show and star in movies that cost as much as a plane or two – still manage to kill schoolkids in a building that looks just like the one next door hosting a terrorist luncheon.

The backwards mindset – and concept budgets – that ruled our military and politicians at the end of World War 2 are still in charge of the United States government. Often useless against pissed-off folks with a charge card and access to online shopping.

“It tastes like chicken” — only grown in a lab

❝ If you find yourself torn between cravings and ethical concerns every time you tuck into a chicken nugget, there might soon be a way you can have your meat and eat it too. Memphis Meats has just served up chicken and duck meat cultivated in a lab from poultry cells, meaning no animals were harmed in the making of the meal.

❝ Along with the ethical issues of animal cruelty that surround a carnivorous diet, feeding, breeding and keeping livestock for food has an enormous environmental impact. The animals burp more greenhouse gases into the air than all modes of human transport, and require large swathes of land to be cleared, not to mention all the food, water, and care they need. Studies show that growing meat in a lab setting could go a long way towards solving those problems.

❝ …On the menu from Memphis Meats is southern fried chicken and duck a l’orange, which the company says is the first time poultry has been cultivated in the lab. Rather than raise and slaughter animals, the company simply takes muscle cells from animals without harming them and grows them in vats, in a process Memphis likens to brewing beer.

❝ “It is thrilling to introduce the first chicken and duck that didn’t require raising animals,” says Uma Valeti, CEO of Memphis Meats. “This is a historic moment for the clean meat movement. Chicken and duck are at the center of the table in so many cultures around the world, but the way conventional poultry is raised creates huge problems for the environment, animal welfare, and human health. It is also inefficient. We aim to produce meat in a better way, so that it is delicious, affordable and sustainable.”

❝ Again, the meal was probably prohibitively expensive, but reducing the cost of production is one of Memphis Meats’ main priorities, along with improving the taste, texture and nutritional value of the meat. If all goes to plan, the company has set a target of 2021 to finally serve up this clean meat to consumers.

Yes, I would wait in line to try this. Albeit a short line. I hate lines.

I love chicken.

Clowns writing Trump’s scripts are as ignorant as he is


Nigerian Muslim poet Albasheer Adam Alhassan – at present a bank manager 🙂

The world has learned to take things US president Donald Trump says with a pinch of salt and in celebration of a day more synonymous with pints of beers and shamrocks, president Trump delivered another one of his odd gaffes.

In a St. Patrick’s Day reception with Enda Kenny, the Irish prime minister, Trump quoted words from what he appeared to believe was an Irish proverb.

“As we stand together with our Irish friends, I’m reminded of that proverb–and this is a good one, this is one I like. I’ve heard it for many, many years and I love it,” Trump said. “Always remember to forget the friends that proved untrue, but never forget to remember those that have stuck by you,” Trump said, uncharacteristically reading from a script.

But it turns out, the “Irish proverb” is in fact part of a poem titled “Remember to forget” written by Albashir Adam Alhassan, a Nigerian poet. The gaffe may have been missed by prime minister Kenny, but it wasn’t missed by Twitter users.

RTFA for some of the chortles over Trump’s latest dull normal incompetence. Frankly, that the poet in question turns out to be Muslim is stone awesome. Being quoted by an anti-Muslim bigot is even better.

Trump to erase rule identifying chemicals oil and gas drillers pump into the ground

❝ The Trump administration is rolling back an Obama administration rule requiring companies that drill for oil and natural gas on federal lands to disclose chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking…

The Interior Department issued the rule in March 2015, the first major federal regulation of fracking, the controversial drilling technique that has sparked an ongoing boom in natural gas production but raised widespread concerns about possible groundwater contamination and even earthquakes…

❝ Michael Saul, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group, called the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw the fracking rule “disturbing” and said it “highlights Trump’s desire to leave our beautiful public lands utterly unprotected from oil industry exploitation.”

Backing away from what he called modest rules “is doubly dangerous, given the administration’s reckless plans to ramp up fracking and drilling on public lands across America,” Saul said.

❝ Neal Kirby of the Independent Petroleum Association of America hailed the withdrawal of the Obama rule…

If you do something that makes the greedy bastards at the top of the oil and gas industry happy, you probably just committed a crime against humanity and nature. Nothing that bothers Trump – or any of the chumps who voted for him.

Our country’s new Attorney General is a Reefer Madness ignoranus

Marijuana users and heroin addicts are basically the same, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Wednesday in Richmond, Virginia.

“I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana — so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that’s only slightly less awful,” said Sessions. He went on to call for a revival of hardline ’80s- and ‘90s-style “educating people and telling them the terrible truth about drugs.”

❝ For someone on a bar stool arguing with his friends, this would be a stupid but harmless “hot take.” But for the top law enforcement official in a nation of 320 million people, it’s a malicious string of lies intended to justify dangerous policies.

❝ Sessions’ mockery of the idea that marijuana could help people struggling with opiate addiction is especially frustrating to Steve Miller, who retired as a sergeant after 18 years on a suburban Detroit police force and now works as a private investigator at a lawfirm specializing in medical marijuana cases.

“He’s out of reality in that statement. Marijuana has proven to be very beneficial medically for people. And there are studies coming out now showing it is helping people get off their opiate and heroin addictions, and showing it helps kick alcohol addiction as well,” Miller, one of many law enforcement professionals who advocates to end marijuana prohibition, told ThinkProgress. “I don’t know where his medical training comes from that he makes these statements.”

❝ The idea that routine marijuana use is a “life-wrecking dependency…only slightly less awful” than heroin addiction is also medically absurd. Once chemically dependent upon heroin, the human body will tear itself apart if forcibly deprived of the drug. A heroin addict pursuing her next hit or pill is fleeing hours and hours of vomiting, diarrhea, and muscle pain. Someone deprived of their nightly joint might be a little cranky, a little on edge, a little less hungry the next day when they get up and go to work…

❝ Miller…is familiar with the kind of intractable mythologizing of marijuana that the United States Attorney General is reviving today…“Some people are more comfortable believing the lies they have been told by their government for 80 years. You can blast people with science as much as you want, but they just don’t want to believe it,” he said.

“He’s entitled to his feelings. But don’t push that agenda on a public where 71 percent think it should be legal.”

Sessions is representative of the backwards-looking, hardly ever-thinking populism that ranges from Right to Left. Most of the big numbers for that sort of rejoicing in ignorance occupy the Right. Witness the dedicated-to-ignorance brigade that marches from demographics about to be screwed to the economic wall of budget cuts for everything from education to meteorology, science to food safety.

Ignorance ain’t bliss when your kith and kin are threatened. Advancements prohibited by tiny-minded bigots are simply removed from folks’ lives before they can be adopted. Won’t make folks any healthier.

Most powerful sheriff in the country now faces 20 years in prison

❝ Once the most powerful sheriff in the United States, Lee Baca is now headed to prison.

A jury convicted the former Los Angeles County sheriff Wednesday on conspiracy charges stemming from his role in a cover-up of extensive civil rights abuses inside the county’s vast jail system.

❝ The scope of Baca’s actual conviction is much narrower than the departmental scandal that eventually chased him out of office in 2014, as dozens of his officers faced criminal charges.

❝ Baca’s own convictions tie back to one specific incident within a much longer saga of abusive and corrupt practices in the county jail system. Human rights lawyers had documented allegations of brutality and corruption inside Baca’s jails for years before federal investigators got involved. When Baca’s team discovered the investigators had an inmate informant, they hid the inmate from the FBI agents who were working with him and sent two people to confront the lead investigator at her home.

❝ Baca’s role in crafting and approving efforts to stymie an investigation put him in a legal box. But that’s akin to catching Al Capone for cheating on his taxes, considering the years of detailed reports on the culture of extreme and routine violence deputies used to maintain their authority within Baca’s jails.

❝ Baca, now 74, had initially sought to avoid trial entirely, copping a plea on lesser charges in exchange for a six-month sentence. A judge decided that the sentence was too light and refused to approve the deal.

Which is why continued vigilance over judges, how they are elected and/or appointed is critical. One of the last defenses against corruption and crime in a nation that often rewards criminal behavior with elective office. Worshipping the strong man syndrome.

Baca now faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.

Creepy drug company dumped opioids into Washington state black market

❝ After spending millions to combat the opioid epidemic ravaging its citizens, the working-class city of Everett, Washington, is taking the maker of opioid painkiller OxyContin to federal court. The city claims that the drug maker, Purdue Pharma, knowingly sold to black markets out of pure greed, enabling the devastating epidemic hitting Everett and the rest of the country.

❝ …Everett accuses Purdue Pharma of “knowingly, recklessly, and/or negligently supplying OxyContin to obviously suspicious physicians and pharmacies and enabling the illegal diversion of OxyContin into the black market, including to drug rings, pill mills, and other dealers for dispersal of the highly addictive pills in Everett.” Purdue’s goal, Everett alleges, was to “generate enormous profits” at the expense of the people of Everett.

❝ …In 2007, the infamous drug maker and three of its executives pled guilty in federal court and paid out $634.5 million in fines for purposefully misleading regulators, doctors, and patients about the addictiveness of their opioid painkiller. Around the same time, Purdue was also sued by several states, including Washington, over similar allegations. Purdue agreed to a $19.5 million multi-state settlement. And in 2015, Purdue settled a case with Kentucky, agreeing to pay $24 million…

In other words, criminal behavior ain’t anything new for these creeps.

Election Security in America is OK, Donald

❝ The U.S. secretaries of state, charged with running elections, recently met in Washington, D.C., to evaluate the past election season and to discuss what they can do to improve the process. Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill, who serves as the president of the National Association of Secretaries of State, spoke with The Pew Charitable Trusts about the security of voting in America.

Q: What is on the minds of secretaries of state?

❝ A: The security of the elections. We’re seeing the Department of Homeland Security declare elections critical infrastructure. This happened just a few months ago, and we’re still trying to figure out what exactly is the role of the federal government in a highly decentralized system. We’re also thinking about issues of whether or not there is voter fraud, how much is there, and should we have some sort of national voter ID, or even a national ID card—those are the big issues this year.

Q: You’ve been working on reducing long lines at the polls. Do long lines mean people might not vote at all?

❝ A: Oh, absolutely. There’s no problem with a long line if it’s moving. The problem is when it gets stuck because of bad management—not enough poll workers or enough lines, or the lists divided incorrectly. These are all management issues…

Q: The 2016 election has been covered extensively, but what might the public not know?

❝ A: There are over 100,000 polling places in this country. None of them is connected in any way to the internet. Hacking an election is completely impossible.

Q: Voter fraud has been in the news. Tell us the facts.

❝ A: The reality is that voter fraud is highly unusual, especially the type that’s being discussed: in-person voter fraud. Actual fraud—people impersonating a voter or trying to vote when they’re not eligible to vote—is extremely rare…

RTFA for more about ideas to make voting easier, reporting quicker, accurate and timely. The Republican fake news about voter fraud pisses me off, no end. We went through the whole crapload of lies when we got our “moderate” Republican governor, Susana Martinez.

The Secretary of State – later thrown out of office for fraud unrelated to voting – spent a year with a specially chartered investigation of voter fraud with focus on undocumentados getting on the voting rolls. The study “discovered” fewer than a dozen people in the state registered who didn’t qualify. Only two of them had actually gone to the polls to vote because they thought it was mandatory. The usual appointed poll-watchers caught the mistake – they realized the mistake and left. None actually voted once they were notified of the mistake and the system worked just fine.

Except for the creeps in the NM Republican Party wasting $200,000 of taxpayer funds on one of their phony issues.