mytopleft

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Maybe Temp Town is a rodeo

Almost since the beginning of this blog, I have compared the life of a document review project to fishing for swordfish, where the swordfish starts out strong but  eventually weakens and is brought aboard the fishing boat and dies -- the end of the project.

Well, I think I have a new analogy that describes not the life cycle of a document review project but the process of a document review project. It is, I think, considerably less flattering than the swordfish analogy.

Every document review is a rodeo. As any rodeo fan knows, most rodeos start off with children attempting to ride sheep. In Temp Town, the sheep are the temps, dutifully going wherever they are told while constantly trying to put one over on their masters. I'm pretty sure the children are the agency's project managers "supervising" the temps. They don't really know any more than the temps, they were temps themselves yesterday and will be again tomorrow:


Next up we have the rodeo clowns, who are, of course, the staff attorneys from the firm who are there to provide guidance to the temps and project managers. They also are not told anything by the people who actually know what is going on, so their guidance is of suspect value. Many of them are people with no real connection to the case who need some billable hours and have nothing else to do. Most of them also were temps yesterday and will be temps again tomorrow, and consequently know fuck all about privilege, which is what they most often are there on which to provide guidance.


The broncos and the bulls are the government, proving impossible to ride and unpredictable:


You know what you won't see at a Temp Town rodeo? Cowboys. Cowboys are the heroes of the rodeo, and  Temp Town rodeo has no heroes. There are no cowboys, and, more important, no audience. No one is watching this shit. No one cares. And yet, they're still selling tickets, because the firms, agencies and clients involved all stand to make a metric shit ton of money. They care a lot. No one else does, least of all the people no the ground floor taking part in the rodeo.



You want a higher minimum wage? This is what you get

Faced with economically illiterate progressives pushing for a higher minimum wage, the companies that actually employ people at minimum wage are taking steps that are totally predictable -- automating jobs out of existence. Wendy's is among the first of the biggies, but it won't be the last:
DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) — Wendy's says it plans to install self-ordering kiosks at about 1,000 locations by the end of the year.
A typical location would have three kiosks, The Columbus Dispatch reported. Higher-volume restaurants will be given priority for the kiosks.
Sounds like a lot of Wendy's cashiers are looking at unemployment which, regardless of the minimum wage, pays nothing. And for those of you who think this is the worst development ever, think again:
Customers will still be able to order at the counter for now, although Tristano predicts that mobile ordering and payment via smartphones will one day overtake self-ordering kiosks and cash registers.
And believe it, automation will replace a lot of people in the kitchen, too. Want to Fight for 15? The hundreds of people who still have jobs with the minimum wage at that level will thank you. So will the makers of automation systems that will replace the millions of unskilled former employees who are making the true minimum wage -- zero.


Monday, February 27, 2017

A document review haiku!

This project, which I thought was dying, refuses to do so. I think the swordfish is moderately healthy. God knows why. This thing has gone on much too long. Normally, I would not say that -- long is good, not bad -- but this project hits some sore spots, I guess. Lots of petty tyranny, and Jesus H. is it boring. So without further ado, a haiku:
This project won't end
Boring me to fucking death
Beats no job, I guess

The Marines apparently like the F-35 so much they want it faster

Yeah, this is a couple weeks old, but I've been as busy as a one-legged man at a butt-kicking contest with this God-awful project, so sue me for being late. But the head of Marine aviation wants the F-35 delivered faster than is scheduled:
The pace at which the Marine Corps is getting its new F-35B Joint Strike Fighter aircraft is “anemic,” the service’s head of aviation said this week, adding that the Corps could handle a much faster ramp-up.
Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon on Tuesday, Lt. Gen. Jon “Dog” Davis, deputy commandant of aviation, spoke highly of the Corps’ new fifth-generation aircraft. The first Marine F-35B squadron, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121, relocated to Japan in January in a transition that Davis said was smooth and without incident.
Right now, he said, the Marine Corps owns 50 F-35Bs in two operational squadrons, one training squadron, and a test unit. The service declared initial operational capability for the aircraft in 2015.
By the way, those are really small squadrons. Standard squadron strength used to be 24 aircraft plus spares. It is down to 16 planes for F-35 equipped squadrons now. If you want to plow through some really boring minutiae from the government about Marine air, it's here. Lt. Gen. Davis seems to really want more F-35s, faster:
Davis said he believes the Corps could accept up to 37 aircraft a year, between two and three squadrons’ worth. The current transition plan has the service receiving the last of the 353 F-35B and 67 F-35C aircraft it plans to buy in 2031, a rate that works out to fewer than 30 aircraft a year. The sped-up plan would see the Marine Corps complete its F-35 transition five years early.
The current schedule seems to keep planes like the AV-8B, Harrier (a vertical take-off and landing fighter), the FA-18 Hornet (a carrier-based fighter) and the EA-6B Prowler, an electronic-warfare aircraft that uses the Vietnam-era airframe of the A-6 Intruder carrier-based fighter, in service for a long damn time. The F-35 in its many variants is supposed to replace all of these aircraft, some of which, obviously, are more than 50 years old. More F-35s faster is a good idea in that respect. Also, the unit cost goes down the faster the planes are produced because of economies of scale.

Whether that happens remains to be seen. I wouldn't bet on it though.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Iran wants to pretend it is designing original aircraft. Verdict: Fail

Iran has essentially no domestic aircraft industry, whether for civilian aircraft or military. What they produce -- to the extent they produce any aircraft on their own -- is stolen. Otherwise, they buy planes from overseas. Witness the deal with Boeing for passenger aircraft.

When it comes to military aircraft, though, the Iranians are much more limited. Sanctions against the regime's purchase of, among other things, military items -- largely lifted by Emperor Barry I without Congressional approval (or even knowledge) -- have kept Iran from updating its air force since they ousted the shah in 1979. Consequently, they have to lie about domestic aircraft developments.

Case in point: Iran is now popping off about a new fighter aircraft they have "developed." It would appear to be a slightly improved version of the F-5, one of the fighters Iran used to buy from the U.S. when the shah was still in power. It clearly is not a new aircraft, nor even a modern aircraft:
Tehran is keen to produce its own jet fighters—but designing and manufacturing advanced combat jets poses formidable technological challenges difficult for an isolated industrial base to resolve on its own. Nonetheless, the Iranian air force has prominently showcased its development of several domestic fighter jets since the turn of the century, most notably the HESA Saeqeh (“Thunderbolt”), which Iranian media have claimed to be superior to the F-18 Hornet.
But performance specifications and technical details for these aircraft have remained either vague or nonexistent. This may be less due to secrecy than because additional details would likely be unimpressive, because the Saeqeh is a reverse-engineered American F-5 Freedom Fighter with a new tail and upgraded avionics.
The similarities between the two aircraft are obvious. Here is the F-5:


Note the single tail. Now, look at Iran's "new" fighter" hoping to pass for an F-18 knockoff:



Ooh, ooh, twin tails! Must be like an F-18, which is a near-fifth generation fighter (the most modern). Except, no. It's an F-5 with twin tails. Not clear what that even adds to the plane's performance, if anything. And it is important to remember that the F-5 was originally developed in the 1950s -- it hardly qualifies as a modern fighter, even though it has undergone a number of upgrades over the years. Even improved, the F-5 is closer to a third-generation fighter than a fifth-generation craft. If this is what Iran is putting up as its first-line fighter, Iran is in trouble if anyone with semi-modern aircraft scuffles with the Islamic Republic.


So, it would appear that the Fourth Circuit can't read

There is no other way to reach the conclusion reached recently by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals holding that "military-style" weapons and large-capacity magazines are not protected by the Second Amendment:
The full 4th U.S. Circuit of Appeals in Virginia found that military-style assault weapons—like those used in the Newtown; Orlando, Florida; San Bernardino, California; and Aurora, Colorado, massacres, among others—and large-capacity magazines are not protected under the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms. Assault weapons are a class of semi-automatic firearms; large-capacity magazines can hold as many as 100 rounds of ammunition. Maryland’s measure prohibits the possession, sale, transfer, purchase or transportation into the state of assault weapons, including assault pistols and assault long guns.
This decision, like the law it rules upon, is based entirely upon appearance, not function, of the weapons in question. There are no, repeat no, weapons offered for sale to the general public (without difficult-to-obtain, very expensive licenses for firearms dealers) that are even close to "military-style assault weapons." Those weapons, unlike the civilian look-alikes, do not offer the single-shot option, and the civilian look-alikes do not offer the three-shot burst or fully automatic options the way the military versions do. There simply is no comparison between actual assault rifles and the civilian look-alike counterparts that the media insist upon calling assault rifles. The two simply are not the same. The Fourth Circuit apparently is too stupid to see the difference:
“We are convinced that the banned assault weapons and large-capacity magazines are among those arms that are ‘like’ ‘M-16 rifles’—‘weapons that are most useful in military service’—which the Heller Court singled out as being beyond the Second Amendment’s reach,” the court said in its majority opinion. “Put simply, we have no power to extend Second Amendment protection to the weapons of war that the Heller decision explicitly excluded from such coverage.”
That is possibly the worst misreading of the Heller decision to date. The AR-15 semi-automatic rifles in question here are nothing like M-16 rifles in function and are the most popular civilian purchase among all makes of semi-automatic rifles. The Heller court specifically included such commonly used rifles in the protections of the Constitution:
While Heller established a constitutional right to own a gun, Jennifer Baker, director of public affairs for the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, said this case “flips Heller on its head.” The majority opinion, she added, ignores the Supreme Court’s guidance from Heller that “the Second Amendment protects arms that are ‘in common use at the time for lawful purposes like self-defense.’”
Thus, it would appear that at least 10 members of the Fourth Circuit -- Obama appointees all -- can't fucking read and don't care about the law. This will be appealed to the Supreme Court. The current nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, Judge Neil Gorsuch, will be confirmed by then and this ludicrous decision will be overturned.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Not an athlete

When The Washington Post claimed that Emperor Barry I, retired, "makes rest of us look bad with his effortless kite surfing," not everyone was convinced that the article was not fake news. After all, the Post claimed that former Emperor Barry was good at lots of sports. The Washington Free Beacon begged to differ:
The Washington Post claims Obama is "pretty good at basketball" and "makes [the] rest of us look bad with his effortless kitesurfing." But there is little evidence either claim is true.
A substantial amount of video footage exists disproving their claim that Obama is "not just a one-sport athlete." Moreover, the record shows Obama is not even a one-sport athlete as he has proven to be terrible at basketball, baseball, bowling, and now kitesurfing.
It's one thing to write about Obama's life after the White House, but the Washington Post goes too far in declaring Obama to be athletic. Not only does the Post make this outrageous claim, they also seek to demean their own readers by saying the American people "look bad" because of Obama's athletic ability. We award Four Pinocchios.
At the link is video of Emperor Barry throwing a baseball like a person who has never thrown a baseball, badly missing a basketball layup that most American kids of our age learn by about 7 years old, sucking at bowling and being terrible at golf, not to mention producing testimonial evidence of the former emperor being not very good at basketball, his supposed athletic strength. As for the kite-surfing, um, you be the judge:



Barry was a year behind me in high school in Hawaii -- different schools, of course, because my family couldn't afford the kind of private school Barry went to. I went to public school. I know people who knew him then. No one predicted greatness, athletic or otherwise. And to the Washington Post, I challenge them to find a picture of Barry on a surfboard. I used to surf. He didn't.