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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Thu Oct 28, 2004, 11:18 PM
Number of posts: 72,519

Journal Archives

Even by Pentagon terms, this was a dud: The disastrous saga of the F-35

Even by Pentagon terms, this was a dud: The disastrous saga of the F-35
The military-industrial complex spent $2 trillion building a "flying Swiss Army knife." Now it's been shelved

FEBRUARY 27, 2021 1:00PM

(Salon) Somehow the United States has managed to develop a fighter jet for all three services — the Air Force, Navy and Marines — that goes for $100 million apiece, ran up almost a half-trillion dollars in total development costs, will cost almost $2 trillion over the life of the plane, and yet it can't be flown safely.

How did this happen, you ask? Well, it's a long, complicated story, but basically it involves taking something that's supposed to do one thing and do it well, like take off from the ground and fly really fast, and adding stuff like being able to take off and land on an aircraft carrier or hover like a hummingbird.

That's why they call it the "flying Swiss Army knife." Have you ever tried to use one of the things? First of all, you can't find the knife blade, hidden as it is among scissors and screwdrivers and can openers and nose hair tweezers and nail files and pliers. The geniuses at the Pentagon decided they needed to replace the aging F-16 fighter, and everybody wanted in on it.

The F-16 is what you would call the M1A1 airplane of U.S. forces. The Air Force currently has about 1,250 of the planes, with 700 of those in the active duty Air Force, about 700 in the Air National Guard, and 50 in the Reserves. General Dynamics has built about 4,600 of them since the plane became operational in the mid-1970s, and they are used by allied air forces all over the world. You fill them up with jet fuel, push the starter button and take off. It will fly at twice the speed of sound, it will carry 15 different bombs, including two nuclear weapons, it can shoot down enemy aircraft with five different varieties of air-to-air missiles, it can knock out ground targets with four different air-to-ground missiles, and it can carry two kinds of anti-ship missiles. The thing is an all-around killing machine. ..............(more)


Matt Gaetz is "not an adult": GOP senator

Millennial Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) was criticized for his lack of maturity by a Generation X senator from his own party.

""That guy is not an adult," Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) said of the Florida lawmaker during an interview with Politico. .....(more)


Meet the spouses whose marriages were destroyed by QAnon

Meet the spouses whose marriages were destroyed by QAnon

Adam and his wife were always pretty conservative. While she was an "ardent" supporter of Donald Trump, as he described, it wasn't until the November 2020 election — and nearly eight months into the coronavirus pandemic — that he started to get increasingly concerned about how deep her support for Trump ran. She was spending hours on her phone watching videos by pro-Trump conservatives like Dan Bongino and Ben Shapiro.

"I didn't have a problem with that," Adam, whose name has been changed, said in a phone interview. "But then she started to watch a lot of the QAnon conspiracy videos, and started to share those with me."

She would watch these videos until 2 or 3 in the morning, Adam said. He feared she was having a "psychotic break." Previously, she had been on antidepressants. He wondered if a mix of the pandemic and political chaos was driving her to the edge.

Then, one day, she came home and announced: "I'm going to join the militia."

Adam said he's still "emotional" about it, his voice cracking. He said he couldn't believe what he was hearing as his wife repeated QAnon talking points. ..............(more)


Michigan's aging dams need money, manpower to avoid 'grave situation,' report says

(Detroit Free Press) Michigan needs to do — and spend — much more to avoid further disasters like the two dam failures that caused catastrophic flooding in Midland and Gladwin counties in May 2020, the Michigan Dam Safety Task Force states in its final report submitted this week to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

The 19-member task force, including state department heads, engineers, dam safety officials and others, was convened by Whitmer following the Edenville and Sanford dam failures on the Tittabawassee River amid record rains last May. The dam failures drained the Wixom Lake and Sanford Lake impoundments, causing devastating flooding downriver in Midland, with more than $250 million in damages. Whitmer asked the task force to take a comprehensive look at the state's 2,500 dams, about 1,100 of which are regulated by the state, and whether their regulation was adequate.


"The state is heading toward a grave situation with many dams if significant investments are not made in the short and medium term," the report stated.

But the task force's recommendations — at those price tags — are going to be tough to accomplish, a retired, longtime Oakland County official said. ..........(more)


Vaccine "scavengers" are waiting outside clinics for leftover doses -- and their strategy often works

(Salon) Last week, Amanda Kloots, a co-host on CBS' "The Talk," posted an Instagram photo of herself getting the COVID-19 vaccine. The post sparked a minor social media furor, as many wondered how a 38-year-old woman in California, who by state standards isn't yet eligible for the vaccine, qualified for inoculation. Kloots revealed that she waited at a vaccine site until the end of the day when all other appointments were over — her hope being that she could get a vaccine from an open batch that would otherwise have to be thrown out.

"I went to a site and waited in my car until all appointments were over in hopes that they had any extra vaccine," Kloots explained in an Instagram post. "I was fully prepared to be turned away, but they said they had enough tonight for everyone waiting."

If Kloots' tale of waiting outside a clinic for an extra vaccine to fall off the truck gives you ideas, you're not alone. Many have wondered if waiting outside clinics at the end of the day can yield a free vaccine, one that might otherwise be chucked, or if Kloots' experience was exceptional.

As NPR reported previously, many COVID-19 vaccines at vaccination sites are getting thrown away. That's partly due to the logistics of properly storing the vaccines. The Pfizer vaccine needs to be kept in a freezer at -70° Celsius. Once it is transferred to a refrigerator, it has a short shelf life of just five days because of the fragile mRNA (synthetic messenger RNA) within. The Moderna vaccine is more hardy; it can be kept at a still-frosty -20°C, and can remain stable for up to one month at consumer refrigerator temperatures. But in the case of both vaccines, once the vials have been opened and the content has been thawed, they must be used or thrown out within five to six hours. ............(more)


Embattled S Dakota AG was reading Biden conspiracy theories on his phone when he killed pedestrian

South Dakota's embattled attorney general Jason Ravnsborg admits to reading Joe Biden conspiracy theories on his phone moments before fatally striking a pedestrian with his car.

Detectives examined Ravnsborg's phone records and found that he logged into his Yahoo! email account at 10:20 p.m. on Sept. 12, and moments later was viewing an article on the Dakota Free Press website.

A minute later Ravnsborg went to the Real Clear Politics website, and a minute after that -- moments before he struck and killed 55-year-old Joe Boever -- he was viewing an article about Biden on disgraced reporter John Solomon's Just The News website. ..........(more)


Neo-Nazis planned to establish white nationalist compound in Michigan's Upper Peninsula

(Detroit Metro Times) A neo-Nazi terrorist group was planning to create a heavily armed, white nationalist compound in the Upper Peninsula to wage a race war.

The plan was hatched by Justin Watkins, 25, a former leader of the Base, a militant, pro-Hitler movement that advocates violence against non-white people, according to secret chats obtained by VICE News.

In early 2020, Watkins said the plan was to buy, occupy and fortify land in the U.P., which he described as a virtual “white-ethnostate” because of its racial makeup.

"We are buying houses and land and fortifying them,” said Watkins under an alias on the encrypted chat app, Wire, in early 2020. “Land is cheap [...] I’m setting up a community up there. Going to have houses set up to get guys moved in and situated.” .............(more)


More than 25m drink from the worst US water systems, with Latinos most exposed

(Guardian UK) Millions of people in the US are drinking water that fails to meet federal health standards, including by violating limits for dangerous contaminants.

Latinos are disproportionately exposed, according to the Guardian’s review of more than 140,000 public water systems across the US and county-level demographic data.

Water systems in counties that are 25% or more Latino are violating drinking water contamination rules at twice the rate of those in the rest of the country.

America’s worst public water systems – those that have accrued more than 15 “violation points” for breaking standards over five years – serve more than 25m Americans, the research shows. An estimated 5.8m of these are Latino. .............(more)


More Shifts in the Year of the Plague: Driving Plunged even as Mass Transit Ridership Collapsed

More Shifts in the Year of the Plague: Driving Plunged even as Mass Transit Ridership Collapsed
by Wolf Richter • Feb 25, 2021 •

“L-shaped recovery” for mass transit. Per person, vehicle miles were already in long-term decline since 2003. Than came 2020.
By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

Total motor vehicle travel on all roads and streets in the US – by private and commercial vehicles, including delivery vehicles, over-the-road trucks and rideshare vehicles – dropped by 13.2%, or by 430 billion vehicle miles driven, in the year 2020, by far the largest drop in the data going back to the 1990s, according to the Federal Highway Administration today:

The enormous shifts of the Pandemic.

This plunge was caused by the shift to working from home and learning from home, and by the acceleration of shopping online instead of driving to the mall, and by the massive unemployment crisis that further reduced commuting, and by the restrictions to socializing and driving to restaurants and bars and concerts and ballgames.

Total motor vehicle travel on all roads and streets in December 2020 fell by 10.3% from December 2019, which brought the total for the year to 2,830 billion vehicle miles driven, the lowest since 2001.

And the drop in 2020 makes the declines during the Great Recession, which had caused so much hand-wringing at the time, look minuscule. From the peak at the time in 2007 through the trough in 2011, over these four years, total miles driven dropped by only 2.6%. .................(more)


Hunt for COVID-19 vaccine takes Michiganders to other states: 'They're desperate'

(Detroit Free Press) Jodi Schumaker cried while she drove north on Interstate-75 through Kentucky on Tuesday afternoon, feeling defeated as she headed home to Michigan without getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

Her hopes had been crushed by bad weather that delayed coronavirus vaccine shipments all over the U.S., including the delivery to the Walmart store in Mississippi where she and her husband had appointments Monday to get shots.

"I just want to get back home in our bubble, safe again until I can find yet another place to get vaccinated," said Schumaker, 53, of Independence Township.

Schumaker's hunt for a coronavirus vaccine is centered almost entirely on her husband, David, who is 60, paraplegic, has diabetes, high blood pressure, and congestive heart failure. ....................(more)


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