North Korea Tests Another Missile

A devoted corps of North Korea watchers analyzes information coming out of North Korea on its missile and nuclear tests. I sometimes chime in, but missiles are not my thing. Much of the conversation takes place on Twitter, so you can see people figuring things out in real time.

First, a summary of this latest test. It seems to have been a successful test of an intermediate-range ballistic missile that North Korea is calling the Hwasong-12. This article summarizes the early information and analysis and links to many of the people who participate in those discussions.

The test appears to have been a success. Kim Jong Un looks overjoyed in all his photos. The missile can reach further than previous North Korean missiles. It is one of the new missiles and missile containers displayed in North Korea’s annual weapons parade last month. The test seems to have been from a platform rather than a mobile launcher, which may indicate that they don’t have a lot of mobile launchers available. It’s a liquid-fueled missile, which means that it must be fueled just before launch, and the propellants are difficult to handle.

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Tunnel Collapse at Hanford

 

A tunnel collapsed in the 200 Area of Washington State’s Hanford Reservation. The 200 Area is where fuel elements from Hanford’s reactors were processed to recover the plutonium that went into American nuclear weapons. I was not aware of an underground rail system there. The system is probably in the 200 area only because the reactors are much too far away to make an underground system possible. Read more



How I Learned To Love Climate Modeling

I’m annoyed by the New York Times hire of Bret Stephens, more annoyed by the defense that Times editors are mounting on Twitter. I’m annoyed that this has to be said again, but here we are, as Times editors tell us that any criticism is merely trying to silence a conservative voice. My objections have nothing to do with Stephens’s political views, except that it is clear that those views drive his views of climate change.

I was once a climate skeptic, with a great deal more basis than Stephens’s sense that life is uncertain and therefore we should eat dessert first. My skepticism arose BECAUSE I knew something about the climate models. Read more



National Embarrassment Embarrasses Nation

Here’s a fascinating exchange between Trump and a reporter, who asks about the British national security organization GCHQ’s sharp rebuke of Trump’s claim that they (GCHQ) had a role in spying on Trump at President Obama’s behest:

Jaffy highlights Trump’s reference to Merkel’s phone being tapped, but what I find most interesting is what occurred next: Trump shifted blame for the false claim about GCHQ to Fox News. As if U.S. presidents bear no responsibility for babbling unverified nonsense in public.

I think I mentioned to y’all a while back that our family, alarmed by our grandma’s transformation from a conservative but kindly old lady into a rage-filled Fox bot, secretly activated the parental controls on her TV and blocked Fox News. In a matter of days, she turned back into a kindly old wingnut and now dotes on Animal Planet.

On the basis of our successful experiment and in the spirit of bipartisanship, I offer the following information to Sean Spicer, who, while undoubtedly a vile sack of shit, is probably weary of being trotted out daily to defend the indefensible:

To set up and use Parental Controls:

1. Press the Menu button on your remote.

The Main Menu is displayed on your TV screen.

2. Highlight System and press OK/Select.

3. Using the arrow buttons on your remote, highlight Settings and press OK/Select

4. Select Parental/Purchase and press OK/Select.

5. Create or enter your 4-digit Parental Controls PIN. You’ll then need to retype your PIN to confirm your selection.

6. Select Parental Controls to turn them on.

7. Select Parental Preferences to block by content rating/channel/day/time or to control adult information.

You can’t fix stupid and hateful, but you can deprive it of fuel. You’re welcome, Spicer.



Set Your DVRs: News Is Supposedly Going To Be Broken

May want to pop some popcorn too!

And we leave the last word to the drunk at the end of the bar er, um, noted, local crazy person er, um, official mouthpiece for state propaganda outlet er, um pundit and talk show host:

Open thread!



Reality Conforms to My Expectations: Today’s Wikileaks Release

Earlier today a couple of you asked me what I thought of the Wikileaks release. I wrote the following in two related comments. I’m highlighting the relative parts and I’ve edited the non-essential portions out from the original comments.

First:

Wikileaks is a distro arm, and has been for a while, of the Russian government. Given that some of what was dropped – and please remember I am, like everyone else with a clearance, not allowed to actually look at anything Wikileaks posts because I don’t need to know it whether its spilled onto the unclassified Internet or not, so I’m working off of other people’s reporting – claims that the CIA has the ability to make its cyber activities look like Russian Intelligence’s cyber activities. And that this is the stuff being pushed heavily by the known Russian governmental propaganda outlets, their fellow travelers, and sites/individuals that seek to shield the President from all criticism… It is important to remember that there is a remarkable amount of overlap, in terms of time and language, between what is reported and tweeted and distroed by other social media by RT and Sputknik towards the US on this stuff, what is then reported and tweeted/retweeted and distroed by other social media by FOX News personalities (Hannity, the Fox and Friends lack of brains trust), right wing radio talkers (Levin, Hewitt, etc), Breitbart, WND, etc, and then, ultimately the President and a number of folks in and around his inner circle. This pattern has been going on and remarked on for months and is quite bizarre.

And:

I think what you’re going to see, and I want to clarify from above, that the claim will be that the CIA did the hacking into the DNC and RNC on Obama’s request, but made it look like Russia and made it looked like Russia was helping the President’s campaign. That’s the only reason you start talking about the CIA having the ability to make its hacking tools and malware look like Russia’s. This will be in order to discredit the charges of Russian hacking and a Russian campaign of active measures in support of the President’s campaign.

Hopefully that makes more sense.

Lo and behold:

 

I don’t think any of this comes as any great surprise to anyone, but its always nice when reality conforms to one’s expectations of it.



Excellent Read: “In Conversation: David Letterman”

We need a respite, or at least I do. From NYMag, something to break the political monotony:

Since retiring after 33 years on the late night television, David Letterman has kept a low public profile — aided by the growth of a truly impressive beard. But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been as fixated on politics as the rest of us. “If I still had a show,” says the 69-year-old, dressed in a baggy sweater and cargo pants and sitting high above midtown Manhattan in a conference room at his publicist’s offices, “people would have to come and take me off the stage. ‘Dave, that’s enough about Trump. We’ve run out of tape.’ It’s all I’d be talking about. I’d be exhausted.” Late-night TV comedy has offered some of the sharpest — and most-remarked-upon — responses to the Trump presidency. But despite the work of Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, Saturday Night Live, and the rest, it’s hard not to wish Letterman, late-night’s greatest ironist and most ornery host, was still around to take aim. And so we’ve brought him out of retirement to weigh in on life after television and his old frequent guest and punching bag, the man he calls Trumpy…

David Marchese: Have you ever wondered what you might’ve said if you’d been doing The Late Show the night after Trump was elected?
No, I haven’t thought about it. See, I was out running one day when he was still president-elect, and I thought, Let’s call him. I’ve known the guy since the ’80s. I was one of a few people who had routinely interviewed him. I’m not blinded by the white-hot light of “president-elect.” I mean, we elected a guy with that hair? Why don’t we investigate that? He looks like Al Jardine of the Beach Boys. I don’t know. I’m sorry for rambling. I’m afraid something has happened to me hormonally. I can’t stop talking…

There’s this idea that reducing Trump to a punchline could make him seem harmless or helps to normalize him. Is there any validity to that argument?
I guess it’s a possibility. On the other hand, Donald Trump can be Donald Trump, but if he doesn’t help the people that need help, then he’s just a jerk. That press conference that he held berating the news media? I mean, how do you build a dictatorship? First, you undermine the press: “The only truth you’re going to hear is from me.” And he hires the Hunchback of Notre Dame, Steve Bannon, to be his little buddy. Bannon looks like a guy who goes to lunch, gets drunk, and comes back to the office: “Steve, could you have just one drink?” “Fuck you.” How is a white supremacist the chief adviser to our president? Did anybody look that up? I don’t know. How’s this interview going? Do you think you’re talking to a normal person here? Don’t I seem like I’m full of something?…

For probably the first half or so of your TV career, you stayed away from politics —
Because Carson was my model. I’ll tell you the other thing: All of that changed because of Jon Stewart.

Because what he did on The Daily Show influenced you?
I wouldn’t say that, but he made it so that not doing political stuff got to be the elephant in the room. And also it was having Monica Lewinsky and President Clinton. It was hard to ignore that. We’re always looking for the easiest path, the most obvious joke. Bill Clinton having sex with the intern, well, that’s not comedic heavy lifting. After that it became George W. Bush, and I thought he was funny in a harmless way. I mean, Dick Cheney was the guy to keep your eye on at a party, because he’d be going through your wife’s purse. But George W. was nothing but fun.

So the political jokes were about expedience?
We changed our attitude to make it easier on ourselves. And again, what defense do you have for ignoring these topics? None, really…
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