The Amazing Flying Jackal (Open Thread)

Beloved, indomitable commenter and talented lyricist SiubhanDuinne recently jumped out of a perfectly good airplane. She wrote the following narrative and submitted photos of that adventure just for us:

I’ve been a physically timid person just about all my life, with phobias too numerous to count — but for whatever obscure reason, sky-diving has been on my personal bucket list for years. I was given the opportunity to do my first jump as a celebration of my 76th birthday, a few weeks after the fact. It took place on Sunday, 9/9/18, at SkydiveSpaceland-Atlanta (actually located in the obscure little town of Rockmart, GA, pop. 4,100, about 70 miles west of the ATL). I was with three friends; of the four of us, only one had ever jumped before.

Getting suited up and strapped into the harness. That’s my instructor/tandem partner Nigel doing the honours.

Story continues below the fold… Read more



NYT Op-Ed from “Resistance Inside the Trump Admin”

Y’all have to go read this right now. A “senior official in the Trump Administration” wrote an op-ed that was just published in The Times. An excerpt:

President Trump is facing a test to his presidency unlike any faced by a modern American leader.

It’s not just that the special counsel looms large. Or that the country is bitterly divided over Mr. Trump’s leadership. Or even that his party might well lose the House to an opposition hellbent on his downfall.

The dilemma — which he does not fully grasp — is that many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.

I would know. I am one of them.

To be clear, ours is not the popular “resistance” of the left. We want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous.

But we believe our first duty is to this country, and the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic.

That is why many Trump appointees have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump’s more misguided impulses until he is out of office.

The root of the problem is the president’s amorality. Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making…

Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis. So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over.

What the actual fuck, fellow citizens? Spanky’s gonna blow a gasket. I hope to Christ that person has bundled old shoes and newspaper clippings into the “nuclear football” and given the real codes to someone responsible, like Justice Sotomayor. We’re in Cloud CuckooLand.



“A Series of Tubes” (Open Thread)

The moron in the Oval Office watched “Lou Dobbs” last night and got a bee in his bonnet about the Google search results for “Trump News.” Now he’s threatening to “regulate” Google’s search engine. No, really:

WASHINGTON – White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Tuesday that President Donald Trump is considering new regulations on Google’s search engine to address his concern that it turns up too many stories that are critical of him.

Pressed by reporters at the White House on Tuesday about a tweet the president wrote criticizing Google’s search engine as “rigged,” the director of Trump’s National Economic Council said the administration is “taking a look” at federal regulations for the company.

“We’ll let you know,” he said.

Even the not terribly bright Chris Cillizza was able to vaporize this embarrassingly foolish complaint, pointing out the idiotic premises on which it rests, which include profound ignorance of how search engines work and a media ranking system devised by a crackpot that classifies “news” from Alex Jones as “center right.”

Sweet Fancy Moses, fellow citizens, we are living in the stupidest of timelines. Open thread.



Things I Did Not Know (Open Thread)

Finally watching Ken Burns’ “The Vietnam War” and just learned that Hồ Chí Minh once worked as a pastry chef at the Parker House Hotel in Boston. I was not aware of that.

Have any little known facts to share?

Open thread.



Wednesday Afternoon Open Thread

The person who did this is a goddamned genius:

Don’t mind me, I’m just dying over here. 🤣

Dying, I tell you!

Annnnd, I am deceased!



Reports of his demise…

Via TPM, here’s a crazy story out of Ukraine about a Russian journalist (and Kremlin critic) who was reported killed yesterday:

Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko turned up at a news conference in the Ukrainian capital Wednesday less than 24 hours after police reported he had been shot and killed at his Kiev apartment building. The country’s security services said Babchenko’s death was faked to foil a plot to take his life.

Ukrainian police said Tuesday that Babchenko, a strong critic of the Kremlin, was shot multiple times in the back Tuesday and found bleeding there by his wife. Authorities said they suspected he was killed because of his work.

Vasyl Gritsak, head of the Ukrainian Security Service, announced at a news conference Wednesday that the security agency and the police had solved Babchenko’s slaying. He then startled everyone there by inviting the 41-year-old reporter into the room.

To the applause and gasps of the press, Babchenko took the floor and apologized to the friends and family who mourned for him and were unaware of the plan.

“I’m still alive,” he said.

Ukrainian investigators detected an assassination plot and faked the journalist’s death to foil it, then arrested the conspirators. Maybe all countries targeted by Russia need to get more creative to keep Putin’s henchmen from acting with impunity.



“Those responsible for sacking the people who have just been sacked…

…have been sacked:

Jesus, what a fucking shit-show. Open thread!