TMQ Watch: November 7, 2017.

November 8th, 2017

One thing we’ve noticed about new TMQ in the light of recent events: Easterbrook hasn’t had anything to say in the column about recent mass shootings, especially in regard to “reasonable gun control”. Easterbrook hasn’t been shy about this before (and we’ve called him out on his bolshie bushwa before, too), so the absence of this in his Weekly Standard TMQ columns seems unusual. Almost like someone is editing him.

Not that we’re complaining: the less time we spend pressure-testing our cerebral arteries, the better we feel.

After the jump, this week’s TMQ

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Obit watch: November 8, 2017.

November 8th, 2017

Roy Halladay, former pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies, was killed in the crash of his small plane yesterday. Tampa Bay Times. Miami Herald.

There are a few things in these articles that are…interesting. The plane was an ICON A-5:

The A5 is a single-engine, high wing aircraft that seats two people. It’s amphibious, so it can land on solid ground or water. It’s unique in that its wings fold to allow towing.
The plane is a light sport aircraft, meaning it falls below certain weight and maximum speed thresholds. The Federal Aviation Administration mandates fewer hours of training for light sport pilots.

Here’s a run-down of the sport pilot requirements from the EAA. But this is interesting because Mr. Halladay was pretty well trained:

Halladay said last March that he had accrued about 800 hours in the air. He had received his instrument rating and multi-engine rating. He was working toward a commercial rating.

(The A-5 also has some interesting safety features: it isn’t absolutely clear to me that the $389,000 “Founders Edition” comes standard with the parachute, but for that money, I’d expect it to come with everything including a full IFR panel and Otto Pilot.)

Halladay did not file a flight plan Tuesday, according to, which tracks aircraft movement. The National Weather Service reported clear skies and unlimited visibility in the area at the time of the crash.

So it sounds like he was flying VFR in CAVU conditions. RoadRich or someone else with more light aircraft experience can correct me, but the way I understand it, it’s perfectly normal not to file a flight plan for VFR flights.

No recording devices were recovered in the wreckage, according to the sheriff.

Of course, light sport aircraft and small planes aren’t required by FAA regulations to have recording devices.

Halladay is not the first Major League player to die piloting a plane, joining former New York Yankees captain Thurman Munson in 1979, the Chicago Cubs’ Ken Hubbs in 1964 and most recently Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle, who crashed a small aircraft in New York City in 2006. The Pittsburgh Pirates’ Roberto Clemente also died in a plane crash, as a passenger on a mission to deliver aid to Nicaraguan earthquake victims in 1972.

I’m not sure why they threw in the reference to Roberto Clemente, since he wasn’t piloting the DC-7 that crashed, and (from what I’ve read) that was just a completely f-ed up situation.


November 6th, 2017

You may have noticed that I didn’t make my usual happy Guy Fawkes Day post yesterday.

I was a little tied up in the morning at Wurstfest. Though I got home in the afternoon with plenty of time to make a post, by that point I’d been overtaken by events. It just didn’t seem right to make that post.

However, I ran across this article last night (by way of the Hacker News Twitter) and thought it was worth sharing. Especially this part:

Ottery St Mary goes one step further. As well as the traditional West Country style carnival procession and a bonfire, they also burn tar barrels. The hardy competitors – who have to have been born in the town – don’t roll the barrels through the streets, a tradition suppressed in other areas in the 19th century, but run with the burning barrels on their shoulders until the heat becomes too unbearable or the barrel breaks down.

“Let’s carry burning barrels of tar through the streets on our shoulders! What could possibly go wrong!”

From Ottery St. Mary’s website for the event (note the URL):

This event becomes very crowded and you are in close proximity of fire and burning tar barrels. If you are scared by flames and do not like being in crowded areas then this event is not for you!

I’m not making fun of these people: the event sounds like a lot of fun to watch from a safe distance. I would love to see this in person some day. And you have to like any event that says, “Don’t get dressed up: wear sensible clothes and shoes.”

4. You must watch the barrel movement at all times, the barrel could change direction at any given moment.
5. Do not attempt to run from the barrel as it approaches just take a step back and lean away from it, attempting to run away will cause a crowd surge and could cause injury to fellow spectators and the participants.
6. Do not attempt to touch the lit barrel as it passes. You may cause yourself and others serious injuries.

7. Do not taunt Happy Fun Burning Tar Barrel.

Mike the Musicologist mentioned something to me last night that Charles C.W. Cooke supposedly said, though I haven’t found a link to it yet:

If he was alive today, Guy Fawkes would be a member of ANTIFA. Discuss.

Edited to add: And you may ask yourself, “Is there video of the running of the tar barrels in Ottery St. Mary on the Internet”?

Of course there is. This is from 2012.

Your loser update: week 9, 2017.

November 6th, 2017

NFL teams that still have a chance to go 0-16:

Cleveland (bye week)
San Francisco

Next week, San Francisco plays the New York Football Giants at home. The Browns play at Detroit.


November 3rd, 2017

The ultra-promising season of multidimensional Texans star quarterback Deshaun Watson came to a devastating end during a routine practice play Thursday when the rookie sensation tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, according to league sources not authorized to speak publicly.

I blame Gregg Easterbrook and the vertical integration of the broiler industry.

But on the bright side, this is an opening for Thick McRunFast Tom Savage the Electic Quarterback.

Tweet of the day.

November 2nd, 2017


November 1st, 2017

Alex Wubbels, aka “the nurse who got arrested by a rogue cop for refusing to allow him to draw blood from a patient without a warrant”, settled out of court.

Attorney Karra Porter said at a news conference that the agreement with Salt Lake City and the University of Utah covers all parties and takes the possibility of legal action off the table. “There will be no lawsuit,” she said.

The settlement was for $500,000. What’s she going to do with that money?

Wubbels will use a portion of the money to help people get body camera footage, at no cost, of incidents involving themselves, she said at the news conference. In addition, Porter’s law firm, Christensen & Jensen, will provide for free any legal services necessary to obtain the video.

Good for her, and for Christensen and Jensen.

Wubbels said she also will make a donation to the Utah Nurses Association and will help spearhead the #EndNurseAbuse campaign by the American Nurses Association.

Double good for her.

Porter said she hopes the discussion about the need for police body cameras continues and noted that the footage also protects law enforcement officers.

I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before, but: this is what we hear from officers in the CPA classes, too. Good officers love body cams because they know, if they act right and it comes down to their word against someone else’s, the body cams will back them up.

(Oh, by the way: Lt. James Tracy and Detective Jeff Payne are apparently appealing their discipline.)

Obit watch: regular edition, November 1, 2017.

November 1st, 2017

Jack Bannon passed away last week.

He was one of those knock-around actors: he had credits on “Love Boat”, “Kojak”, “Mannix”, “Petticoat Junction”, “Beverly Hillbillies”, and lots of other television shows.

But he was best known to me as “Art Donovan” on “Lou Grant”.

Nostalgia is a moron, but I loved that show when I was in high school, and the DVDs are on my Amazon wish list. Memory tells me that there was less eyeball bleeding liberalism in the series than you’d expect from a show starring Ed Asner, but it was a long time ago…

Obit watch: special crime and law edition, November 1, 2017.

November 1st, 2017

June Robles Birt, better known under her maiden name, passed away September 2nd. Her death was not widely reported until a few days ago, after a writer working on a book contacted the NYT.

In the afternoon on April 25, 1934, Ms. Robles, who was six years old, was returning from her school in Tuscon, Arizona.

A man approached her. He said her father had asked him to give her a lift to his store. After some cajoling, she got into his car, a black Ford sedan.
Later that day, a local boy handed her father a ransom note. The boy said an unidentified man had given him 25 cents to deliver it. The note demanded $15,000 (about $300,000 in today’s money). Mr. Robles scribbled a reply — its text was not reported — and gave it to the boy to carry back to the kidnapper. According to the testimony, however, when the boy looked for the man, he was gone.

To make a longish story somewhat shorter, the Robles family went around with the kidnappers for 19 days. Finally, the kidnappers sent a map and directions to the governor, prompting a search. Clarence Houston, the county attorney, found “…a mound of dirt covered with sagebrush, mesquite and cholla cactus. Beneath it, he discovered a perforated sheet of metal, which proved to be the top of a narrow, coffinlike underground cage.”

June Robles was still alive.

The girl was filthy, blistered by prickly heat and bitten by ants, her ankles chafed by chains attached to an iron stake. She said she had subsisted on fruit, bread and jam, potato chips and graham crackers that the kidnappers had left. She had made do with a ceramic pot for a toilet.
Immediately after her rescue, as she was escorted away, all she seemed concerned about was her report card, which she had left behind in her underground cell. “I went back and got it,” she told The Tucson Daily Citizen. “I wanted my mama to see it.”

Nobody was ever convicted of the kidnapping. One person was suspected, but the authorities were unable to make a case against him. There are hints in the NYT that some people (possibly including Hoover’s FBI) thought the whole thing was some sort of setup.

Ms. Robles lived the rest of her life quietly.

The last time Little June was interviewed, in 1936, she said that all she had wanted was “to be a mother like my mother.” And that was what she became.
Her marriage in 1950 was to Dancey Birt, an aircraft factory supervisor at the time. He survives her. Besides her son James, she is also survived by three other children, Thomas, Bruce and Barbara; five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Jon Lester passed away in England on August 14th. According to his family, he committed suicide. He was 48 years old.

Mr. Lester was 17 years old and living with family in the Howard Beach section of Queens on December 20, 1986. Early that morning, he ran into three men whose car had broken down in the neighborhood. Mr. Lester went back to a birthday party nearby.

“There’s niggers on the boulevard,”…[Lester] was quoted as telling the beered-up partygoers, adding (and inserting an expletive), “Let’s go kill them.”
According to later courtroom testimony, the 5-foot-4 Mr. Lester was a ringleader of a dozen white teenagers who jumped into three cars and ambushed the black men at a nearby pizza parlor.

The gang beat the crap out of Cedric Sandiford “with a baseball bat, a tire iron and a tree limb”. Another man, Timothy Grimes, escaped. A third man, Michael Griffith, fled onto a “busy highway”, where he was struck by a car and killed.

Mr. Lester was convicted of second-degree manslaughter and first-degree assault in 1988 and received a prison term of 10 to 30 years. He was paroled in 2001 and immediately deported back to England.

“He suffered from depression due to the fact that he was wrongly convicted,” his sister Jayne Lester said in a telephone interview from Florida, where she lives. “He was just tormented. He was never the same person.” Her brother was haunted by “guilt dreams,” she said, but was not a coldblooded killer.
“He really wasn’t a bad person the way they made him out to be,” she said. “He wouldn’t tell on anybody, and they had to blame someone.”

“In my heart I’m sorry to hear of his death,” Mr. Griffith’s mother, now Jean Griffith Sandiford, said of Mr. Lester in a telephone interview on Monday. “Regardless of what happened, I always forgave them.”

He added, however: “I accept responsibility for Michael Griffith’s death. If we hadn’t chased him, he wouldn’t have died.”
Charles J. Hynes, the special prosecutor in the case, rejected Mr. Lester’s version of events and expressed dismay at his release from prison after he had been rejected four times for parole.
“Jon Lester can try and rewrite history all he wants,” Mr. Hynes wrote in an email on Monday. “Some would say 15 years’ imprisonment is significant punishment, but after 15 years he was alive, and Michael Griffith is dead.”

“I was just a typical cocky teenager who got involved in a situation which I couldn’t control,” he told the British newspaper The Sunday Mirror in 2001.
“I’m not that baby-faced thug anymore,” he told The Daily News.
“I’m responsible for someone being dead,” he said in an interview with The Times Herald-Record of Middletown, N.Y. “I can never undo that, and I will live with it every day forever.”

“In his last days he was a successful and caring businessman with a high degree of integrity who tried to live his life and give back to society,” his sister Jayne Lester said. “He always regarded the Howard Beach case as a huge tragedy to everyone involved.”
She added, “The fact that he couldn’t come back to America is basically what killed him, because he couldn’t be with his family.”

TMQ Watch: October 31, 2017.

October 31st, 2017

TMQ doesn’t have anything really spooky going on this week. If we had thought of it a little more in advance, we might have tried to dig up something new and amusing to use as a header.

So before we jump in, we’ll toss out a couple of kind of spooky things we casually ran across in our morning browsing:

Carl Tanzler. We’re aware this was the subject of a recent episode of “The Dollup”, but we’ve tried listening to that podcast and can’t. The Wikipedia entry should be spooky enough for you, and most of us read faster than we can listen to a podcast anyway.

Lawrence’s annual link to the FARK Scary Stories threads.

Wikipedia “Deaths by poisoning”. The “Victims of radiological poisoning” is kind of interesting: Harry Daghlian and Louis Slotin are probably well known to Los Alamos buffs, but we’d never heard of the Cecil Kelley incident.

Okay, enough spooky. After the jump, this week’s pretty much non-spooky TMQ

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Quick followup.

October 31st, 2017

Those two NYPD cops who claimed they had “consensual sex” with a woman who they arrested?

They’ve been indicted.

Typically, when officers are charged with crimes, their colleagues come to court in a sea of blue uniforms to support them. But on Monday, not one officer appeared in court with Detectives Martins and Hall.

I think it would be fun to run a newspaper.

October 31st, 2017

Cox Media Group announced plans today to put up the Austin American-Statesman for sale.

I’ll bid $5.

(Subject line hattip.)