The President Has A Science Advisor

But something seems to have gone wrong in the selection process.

Kelvin Droegemeier seems to be a competent meterologist, accused of no crimes. There are serious questions as to whether he can fit in at the White House.

Compounding the problem is that he has advocated for “Balanced, predictable and stable funding” of science to keep the United States leading position in science.

Most science advisors in the past have been physicists, but now that global warming is becoming obvious, a meterologist may be a good choice. Drogemeyer has served on the National Science Board, which oversees the National Science Foundation, under presidents Obama and George W. Bush. He is an expert on extreme weather.

The president’s science advisor advises on all sorts of things, including nuclear weapons issues, funding for universities, extreme weather events, and science issues in commerce. He also interacts with the scientific community, so he needs to grow a thick skin in this anti-science administration.

Everything I’ve seen about him is good. That can change, of course, and there is no guarantee that the president will listen to him any more than he does any other advisor.

Good luck, Kelvin Droegemeier!

And open thread.

Pulled this one back when I saw I bigfooted Doug.

 

Edited to correct the spelling of Droegemeier’s last name.



3D Printed Guns or Dude Why are These Shards of ABS Plastic Sticking Out of My Hand and Other Parts of My Body?

There’s been some chatter in the comments over the past several days over the DOJ settling with the anarcho-libertarian who set up a company to make the blueprints for 3D printing guns and gun parts readily available and to sell his own CNC machine so that people can machine gun parts at home using the blueprints available from him. Yesterday a Federal judge issued a temporary restraining order on the release of the blueprints by Defense Distributed. The simple truth is the temporary restraining order is pointless. The CAD files are available from download at numerous other sites on the Internet. As all good browncoats know, you can’t stop the signal!

Before anyone starts to freak out because people will be able to 3D print their firearms, you can’t 3D print any form of firearm that is going to do much but blow up in your hands after a few shots. The plastics just can’t take the pressures. So you can get a shot or two plastic zip gun and maybe that’s it. Even the highest end, most advanced 3D printers that can print metal aren’t advanced enough to fabricate a decent firearm that is going to be sturdy enough. If you’re looking to print a new butt stock or the grip module for say a SIG P320 or a Beretta APX – both of which have a removable fire control unit that under Federal law is the serialized gun – then 3D printing is fine. But printing the lower receiver for an AR pattern rifle, which is the serialized part of an AR pattern rifle and therefore technically/legally the gun, is just stupid. All you’re going to do is hurt yourself because the plastic lower receiver can’t take the pressures. And you can’t print barrels out of 3D plastic filament that can handle the pressures either.

Not to rag on SIG Sauer, but SIG just released a brand new subcompact pistol, the P365. It is a similar concept to their P320, which with a couple of modifications, is the new duty side arm for the military the M17 (full size) M18 (compact). The actual firearm for both the P320 and the P365, according to the law, is the removable fire control unit (FCU), which is the serialized part. The slide is machined steel. The FCU, the return spring, the striker, the trigger springs, etc are all machined. Either directly produced or by metal injected molding (MIM). The trigger is plastic and the grip module (frame), is polymer. The magazines are metal. SIG spent significant amounts of money designing, creating a prototype, testing a prototype, etc. In the first several months of the production run they’ve been making rolling adjustments to both the production process and the design of several parts as a small number of problems have been reported. Initially it was barrel peening because of the fit between slide and barrel as it returned to lock up. Then it was a problem with the trigger spring on the FCU, as well as issues with the striker.

This is not surprising. There has not, as far as I know, been a new handgun debuted that hasn’t had production teething issues. Largely because they are mass produced items where the parts have slight variations while still technically being in spec. SIG has this problem with the new P365. They had a different issue that came to light last year with the P320. In fact Springfield Armory, which just rolled out a new variant of their pistol that is a direct competitor to the P365, has also introduced a marketing campaign that takes direct aim at the new competition without naming the competition.

Remington has had significant trigger problems with the triggers on one of their best selling shotguns. There are so many of these shotguns in circulation that it will take them decades, if not hundreds of  years, to replace all the triggers if they do nothing but replace triggers 24/7. GLOCK, known for their GLOCK Perfection advertising campaign, have had several issues as they move from generation to generation or introduce new items within a generation. And these are just ones I can think of off the top of my head. And that’s before we mention that even in a perfected, if you will, firearm, because there are always some variations in production runs of parts, even a largely reliable, trouble free firearm line will produce the occasional lemon.

If the professionals, with professional gunsmiths and hundreds of years of experience among those gunsmiths, have teething issues in their professionally manufactured and assembled firearms, all the 3D printed ones made at home are going to do is get a lot of people self perforating with ABS plastics. Unless and/or until the 3D printing technology, specifically the 3D printing technology for metal, gets a lot more advanced and a lot cheaper for personal purchase and use, all that is going to happen is that people trying to make ghost guns are going to be just as likely to blow their hands up as hit what they might be aiming at with a roll your own gun made of plastic filament. And then the lawsuits for damages will start. The 3D printing manufacturers will claim that injured people need to sue the anarcho-libertarian pushing to publish the plans. And then he’ll be in a lot of legal jeopardy.

Obligatory musical accompaniment:

Open thread!



The Human Geography Trap: War with Iran

Last week The Modern War Institute at the US Military Academy West Point (West Point/The Point) published an article about the need to plan for an occupation of Iran. That article got a lot of buzz, especially so because a lot of the buzz had to do with the title, not with the actual substance of the article. The author, Joe Karle, argued that even though occupying Iran would be a very, very bad idea, given the recent political rhetoric, the President’s withdrawal of the US from the JCPOA, and the possibilities of events occurring that simply override the ability to prevent what would be an unfortunate event – an escalation to military engagement with Iran – that the Department of Defense needs to plan for a post conflict occupation. Even though such an occupation would be a very, very, very bad idea. I initially thought about doing a response to the article here, but instead decided to reach out to the appropriate folks at The Modern War Institute. And look what happened!

Right now the US military does not have personnel with deep specialization in conducting or overseeing the type of occupation that Karle argues is an unfortunate necessity of being prepared for all possibilities. It is also not clear who the United States would seek to empower as a legitimate alternative to the current Iranian government—both the popularly elected facade and the largely opaque theocracy that runs in the background. Or how the United States would go about doing so successfully. Karle is arguing that, no matter how inconceivable it might be, the Department of Defense must begin to plan now for how to not just achieve battlefield success, but also properly manage the post war termination transition in order to secure the peace. And while he is right to argue that having a plan and a strategy is always better than not having either, if the United States’ policy is to eliminate Iran’s nuclear weapons development program and remove the theocratic Iranian government, then United States policy is asking of strategy that which the strategy cannot provide: an achievable end state.

You can click across for the rest if you like. Including the nifty map I put together.

Open thread!

 



Not All Heroes Wear Capes

This happened in my small town about a mile away (since it was after midnight, I of course slept right through it):

This will probably be one of the rawest posts I’ll write. It’s not for glory or any of that shit. I debated posting anything but, in doing so, my hope is that it serves as a swift kick in the ass to a lot of cops.

Early this morning I found myself in a full-out fight with a 5’11, 195lb collegiate male athlete who was gooned up on an unknown drug (I’m assuming some sort of dissociative anesthetic). It was me and him for about five minutes. During said altercation, my glasses were shattered and knocked off my face, none of my radio transmissions got out, and a ton of equipment was stripped from my vest and duty belt. I managed to stay in the fight and maintain some control despite exchanging punches and knees with the subject. I secured one of the subject’s hands in cuffs and maintained that grip throughout the majority of the fight. I also released my K9 partner and she did exactly what she trains to do; however, all the K9 bites, punches, knees, and baton strikes did not deter this guy. He wasn’t there. The drug had consumed every part of him. After about 5 minutes of fighting, my partners finally found us (due to lack of comms) and, after several more minutes of fighting, we were able to secure him in cuffs ending the fight.

While fighting with this guy, he reached for my duty weapon. Given the circumstances (full details are not being disclosed in this post), deadly force was warranted and it was probably getting close to my last resort. Thankfully, it did not reach that point … I think the majority of the credit goes to my training outside of work. I’ve been beat to hell and back in training so I knew how to react and fight through being repeatedly being struck in the face and head. I didn’t freak out … I knew I was okay and still in the fight. This post isn’t to be all bravado … I got my ass kicked this morning (there’s no doubt about it), but I also gave it right back. Another huge reason it ended the way it did was due to my partners (all 3 of them). My guys found me and my K9 engaged. If it wasn’t for them intervening when they did the outcome probably would have been much worse. I am so thankful for them! They are literally the best partners I could ask for.

A young man is alive today because of her training, toughness, and desire to use deadly force as a last resort.








Twitter for Neighborhood Busybodies

Good lord, y’all. Are any of you on the Nextdoor app? It’s a neighborhood-specific social media thingy where people can post yard sale notices, advertise items for sale, complain about road work, provide alerts about upcoming local events, etc.

But “Crime & Safety” is where the real action is. The crime rate is low in my town, but apparently I’m surrounded by nitwits who do nothing but watch Fox News segments on MS-13 by day and stand armed watch in their darkened lanais after the sun goes down, scrutinizing passersby via surveillance cameras and passing judgment on teenagers’ dress (pull up your pants! take off that hoodie!) and intentions.

I’d rather see a horde of saggy-pantsed, be-hoodied teens on my lawn than any one of these armed, bloodthirsty, middle-aged drama llamas who are so clearly eager to shoot anyone who steps on their property.

Open thread!



Gentleman’s C

Badger and I had puppy school last night. He’s in the middle of the class, I’d guess — better than some, worse than others.

He and I both live very cloistered lives, I realized. We’re not used to interacting with strangers, and it stresses us out.

In him, this anxiety manifests as trembling, irritability and occasional growling. Same here, I guess.

Next week, we’re working on “leave it!” Hopefully I’ll benefit from the training; “leave it” has never been my strong suit.

Open thread!

ETA: When we got home, we were so keyed up from the experience that we needed to decompress in our own ways. He ran around like a maniac, and I had a glass of bourbon. Later, he mounted sneak attacks on my husband and me while we dozed. Next week, maybe Badger will have the bourbon and I’ll run around the block…



Breaking News: Allen Weisselberg Issued a Federal Grand Jury Subpoena

From The Wall Street Journal:

Allen Weisselberg, a longtime financial gatekeeper for President Donald Trump, has been subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury in the criminal probe of Mr. Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, according to people familiar with the investigation.

Mr. Weisselberg is considered a witness in the investigation, the people said. It isn’t known whether he has already appeared before the grand jury or what questions prosecutors of New York’s Southern District have had for him.

Tim O’Brien, one of the President’s biographers, wrote about Weisselberg yesterday.

Weisselberg isn’t a bit player in Trumplandia and his emergence on the Cohen-Trump recording – as someone possibly facilitating a scheme apparently meant to disguise a payoff – should worry the president. Weisselberg has detailed information about the Trump Organization’s operations, business deals and finances. If he winds up in investigators’ crosshairs for secreting payoffs, he could potentially provide much more damaging information to prosecutors than Cohen ever could about the president’s dealmaking.

As I noted in a column in April, the press and others have sometimes characterized Cohen as the man who knows all of Trump’s secrets or even, errantly, as someone who ran the Trump Organization with the president’s children. Not so.

Weisselberg, on the other hand, has worked for the Trump family since the 1970s, and knows more about the Trump Organization’s history and finances than nearly anyone. Almost 71 years old, he joined the company after graduating from college and worked for the president’s father, Fred, as an accountant. He has since become the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer and one of the president’s closest business confidants (alongside Jason Greenblatt, who was Trump’s in-house legal counsel before the president named him as a special diplomatic envoy to the Middle East).

Weisselberg also served as treasurer of the president’s troubled philanthropy, The Donald J. Trump Foundation, which the New York State Attorney General has sued for allegations involving “extensive and persistent violations of state and federal law.” The suit says the foundation routinely and willfully broke the law by engaging in self-dealing that ultimately came to include illegal coordination with Trump’s political campaign. Weisselberg hasn’t been charged with any wrongdoing.

(I interviewed Weisselberg extensively for a 2005 biography I wrote, “TrumpNation.” Trump unsuccessfully sued me for libel and Weisselberg testified during the case, which was dismissed in 2011.)

Over the years, Weisselberg’s professional duties also came to include handling Trump’s personal finances as well as the Trump Organization’s corporate finances. He has paid household bills, made large purchases for Trump, and has communicated with Trump’s outside investment advisers. After Trump became president his lawyers created a trust that safeguards his interest in the Trump Organization while ostensibly managing the company without his input. The trust is run by Weisselberg and the president’s two eldest sons, Donald Jr. and Eric.

O’Brien provided a brief bit of commentary after Wall Street Journal broke:

Weisselberg knows where every dime that every came in came from and where it went. Perhaps more than any other development in the various investigations into the President, his campaign, his business, his and his children’s charities, and the Russian active measures and cyberwarfare campaign; this one investigative action by the prosecutors in the Southern District of New York is the most significant so far.

Open thread!