Donald Trump and treason?


My Facebook friends are up in arms about Donald Trump committing “treason” by saying (or not saying?) something to Vladimir Putin. The only exception is a Ukrainian friend who is anti-Russian and anti-Putin:

Well, most Democrats never cared about Russia when it started doing sh*t in Ukraine. Maybe they care about it because it is now a way to dump on Trump and Republicans.

Although he would like to see the U.S. recognize Russia as an enemy and oppose Russian initiatives worldwide, he can’t figure out what Trump did wrong this week.

The New York Times accused King Donald of treason just two months after his coronation (see “‘There’s a Smell of Treason in the Air’,” March 23, 2017). Now he is accused of “double secret treason”?

I lived through one Russia scare in my lifetime (the 1960s-80s) so I can’t bring myself to invest time in learning about this latest one.  But maybe readers will educate me. What was Donald Trump supposed to say and do, in an ideal world, and what did he actually say or do?

Folks I want to meet at Oshkosh


This is mostly a note to myself, but others might use this too. Everyone listed here is speaking/teaching at EAA AirVenture 2018.

For 16 years, Ramona Cox has flown her Cessna TU-206 into highly remote and challenging wilderness airstrips SOLO air-camping for months at a time. She fishes daily and hunts with a recurve bow while dodging wolves, bear and mountain lion. (Why a 6-seat 206 for someone camping “solo”? Maybe the payload and space is for elk carcasses?)

Dick Rutan received his solo pilot’s & driver’s license on his 16th birthday. A fighter pilot in the Air Force, he flew 325 missions in Vietnam. After the Air Force, Dick joined his brother, Burt, at Rutan Aircraft Factory & flew test flight programs of many types of experimental aircraft. In 1981, he founded Voyager Aircraft to complete the first world flight.

Shaesta Waiz, founder of the non-profit Dreams Soar, Inc., flew around the world solo in a Beechcraft Bonanza A36 aircraft in 2017, becoming the youngest woman to circumnavigate the globe in a single-engine aircraft. Born in an Afghan refugee camp, Shaesta is the first certified civilian female pilot from Afghanistan. [Afghanistan has a population of over 35 million.]

Gus Hawkins: After the May 2, 2009, crash of his experimental aircraft, Mr. Hawkins found that there were no readily available resources to help pilots overcome their doubts and fears and return to flying after an accident. Back To The Cockpit endeavors to provide multiple resources to help accident pilots. [Anyone can brag about his or her successes. But it takes real courage to come out and say “I built it. I crashed it. I am here to talk about it.”]

Mark Skoog, NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center Principle Investigator for autonomy. Over the past 37 years I have supported numerous NASA and the Air Force fighter and UAV research efforts as well as initial flight test of the F-16 and B-2. Work has included integration of digital flight controls and avionics with high authority autopilots to automatically accomplish all phases of fighter combat missions as well as full vehicle autonomy.

Walter Fellows, Owner, Composite Creations Business-Gweduck Amphibian Aircraft Kit Sudied Aeronautical Engineering at University of Washington after retirement Instrument rated private pilot Previous career international and domestic investment and commercial banking

Kate Sampson, NOAA (see “Merry Christmas to the Sea Turtles“), giving Thursday and Friday afternoon talks about sea turtle flying.

Gao Yuanyang is the director of General Aviation Industry Research Center of BUAA (Beihang University of Aeronautics and Astronautics).Ph.D.,a famous general aviation industry expert,China Private aircraft owners and pilots Association (AOPA-China) deputy secretary general (talking about GA in China)

Dick Cole, the last of the Doolittle Raiders. (What kind of bravery do you need to take off from an aircraft carrier in an aircraft not designed for carrier operations and knowing that landing at an airport is unlikely?)

Readers who are going to Oshkosh: Which presentations and presenters are you excited about?

What will the federal government do with children for whom no DNA match can be found?


From a friend:

Government is DNA testing kids so as to reunite them only with their actual parents. I wonder how many fathers are going to find out their kid is not related to them.

Following arrests for crossing the border illegally rather than asking for asylum at an official entry point, roughly 3,000 children were separated from adults claiming to be their parents by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (source). Toronto’s Globe and Mail gives estimates of non-paternity at between 5 and 10 percent (“Mommy’s little secret”), so that would be between 150 and 300 of the 3,000 total children, assuming that all migrant claims of parenthood are sincere.

When all of the DNA testing is done and most of the children have been paired off with parents, but there are still a bunch of adults and children in the “no match found” category, what happens?

(Is 3,000 the actual number that has most of Facebook riled up? How does that compare to what goes on in local family courts? “Litigation, Alimony, and Child Support in the U.S. Economy” finds at least 16 million children who are products of separated parents since the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement manages cashflow associated with these children. Back in 2000, Heritage Foundation:

Each year, over 1 million American children suffer the divorce of their parents; moreover, half of the children born this year to parents who are married will see their parents divorce before they turn 18. Mounting evidence in social science journals demonstrates that the devastating physical, emotional, and financial effects that divorce is having on these children will last well into adulthood and affect future generations.

The U.S. population in 2000 was 282 million. Today it 328 million. So we should expect roughly 16 percent more children today in any given category compared to 2000. (One thing that is questionable is the phrase “the divorce of their parents” since much litigation around custody and associated child support profits occurs between the never-married.)

But let’s take the Heritage Foundation’s number from 2000 and adjust it for population growth to 1.16 million. Then consider that roughly 2/3rds of children who are put through a winner-take-all family court system are permanently separated from the loser parent (data referenced within). The most heavily populated states, such as California, Florida, New York, and Texas, haven’t adopted the 50/50 shared parenting rules that prevail in, e.g., Arizona or Nevada. So let’s assume that 80 percent of children whose parents are currently separating will be in winner-take-all jursidictions and therefore roughly 53 percent of all 1.16 million children will be permanently separated from a parent by a state-run family court. That’s 612,480 children per year. If family courts operate 6 hours per day, 250 days per year, that’s 2450 children per day or 408 children per hour who are cut off from one parent for the rest of their childhood, if not life.)

Let’s meet at Oshkosh on Wednesday after my talk about helicopters


Aviation enthusiasts who are going to Oshkosh this year: Let’s meet at Oshkosh on Wednesday, July 25 after my talk about helicopters (8:30 am-9:15 plus questions; Forum Stage 6; slides).

Also, due to advanced age and wimpiness, my companion and I paid up for the “air conditioned oasis” of the EAA Aviators Club. I should be there Tuesday through Friday hiding from the heat and humidity!

I’m happy to meet with readers at any other time, but let’s have that Wednesday morning at Forum Stage 6 as a default.

Is it reasonable for Trump to demand that Europeans spend more on their military?


“Trump suggested NATO countries double their defense spending goal” (CNN). Why does this make sense? Wikipedia shows that France and Germany together (forget the rest of NATO!) already spend more than Russia, the hypothetical military opponent.

I don’t think that the answer can be “the Russians are inherently super efficient at everything and therefore we have to out-spend them by 20:1 to have any hope of holding our own.” When you want to buy something in Russia that is produced to international standards the costs are fairly similar to what you’d pay in the West.

Honda removes a feature with a software update


Our Honda Odyssey had a spectacularly broken implementation of CarPlay (see “Honda and Apple CarPlay“). I conjectured that Honda couldn’t leave the car out there with such an embarrassing failure, at least not if it wanted anyone ever to buy another Honda, and, sure enough, recently a software update became available. I accepted the update (nose the car up close to a WiFi source) and CarPlay indeed seems to work without crashing.

However…. the car no longer beeps if you’re about to back into something. It did this on the test drive and I marked that down as a plus for the car (since the world is full of kids, stuff, and other obstacles). It did this during the first months of ownership. Now it just shows you a picture of what you’re about to slam into. The Honda web site shows that “Body-Colored Parking Sensors” are a feature supposedly only on the Touring and Elite models. We have an EX-L. But maybe the hardware is actually present on all Odysseys? They just disable it via software for the LX, EX, and EX-L? But the same programmers who couldn’t implement Apple CarPlay successfully also couldn’t disable this feature the way that the marketing people told them to?

Readers: As consumers, what do you think of this? We were never asked to sign anything that said exactly what the car would and wouldn’t do. Why wouldn’t we expect whatever it did on the test drive to keep happening? Is it reasonable for Honda to disable stuff progressively via software updates and then tell unhappy consumers “Well, if you’d read every piece of our marketing material carefully you’d have seen that the car wasn’t supposed to have that capability to begin with.”?

Great New England Air Show this weekend at Westover


Readers: If you can get organized to fly into Westover (central Massachusetts) by 8 am (airport is closed after 8) this weekend and/or get there by car no later than 8 am (traffic is insane), you’ll be able to enjoy the Great New England Airshow.

We attended the breakfast preview event this morning and got a few photos:

Colonel Scott Durham, the base commander, was fun to listen to at breakfast. A maintenance expert (the true challenge with the C-5!), he seemed like the kind of guy that anyone would be happy to work for and was a natural with impromptu jokes.

The guest speaker was Catherine Coleman, a retired astronaut who spent nearly half a year in space. She is an MIT graduate and has a PhD in polymer science. Being a nerd, I would have loved to hear her talk about (a) what she did when in space, (b) what she did in graduate school, (c) technical challenges for future space missions, etc. However, aside from the obligatory thank-yous, her talk was 100 percent devoted to the subject of diversity. She described how not all astronauts “looked like me” and that this was a challenge she overcame by being “brave and open”.

(Can NASA astronauts legitimately claim to be experts on diversity? If astronauts are all young, perfectly healthy, fit, highly intellgent, and technically educated, how is that a diverse workforce, regardless of gender ID or skin color? Colonel Coleman, Ret., seems to have spent most of her time in space on a mission that was staffed with 100 percent young white astronauts, in any case. Her previous Space Shuttle mission was also 100 percent young astronauts. Could it be about someone who identifies as a woman serving in an air force? Hanna Reitsch was a test pilot in the Luftwaffe in 1937. American women were flying high-performance combat aircraft (albeit not in combat) starting in 1943 (see the WASPs). If anything, NASA seems to be known primarily for a retrograde (so to speak) attitude toward staffing, e.g., in the book/movie Hidden Figures.)

After Colonel Coleman’s talk, a Lockheed Martin executive (she appeared to identify as “female”, but did not say that this had any relevance to her job) handed over the keys to a refurbished C-5M plane (take a C-5B and add $100+ million; the result is longer range due to more efficient engines and the ability to fly LPV approaches). The plane will be named the “Spirit of Chicopee,” after the town in which Westover resides.

Then it was time for the Golden Knights parachute team, Bill Stein in a Zivko Edge 540, a World War II heritage formation, and a couple of F-35s arriving to rattle the windows. The Thunderbirds started their practice at 2 pm.

[Logistics tip for future years: If you’re doing the Friday breakfast option as a family, I recommend skipping the “breakfast” part of the breakfast and arriving at the gate at 8:59 am (supposedly guests must arrive by 9). McDonald’s will sell you fresher eggs and the kids will need only about one hour of patience before the action starts. Go off base for lunch at Chick fil-A and then park near the FBO to watch the Thunderbirds practice from outside the fence. Stay with the Thunderbirds team at the Hampton Inn Chicopee.

If you don’t want to bake, consider the Rhode Island Air Show in 2019. Right next to the ocean is a lot cooler than Westover’s inland location. Also, the Rhode Island folks leave the airport open until at least 10:00 am for a show that starts at 10:25 so it is a much less grueling experience. Despite the stellar line-up, the Rhode Island show attracts a smaller crowd and therefore, if you can’t fly in, you aren’t likely to get stuck for five hours on the Mass Pike as we learned happened to one breakfast attendee in a previous year (he had three kids in the back of the car!).]

Summer travel idea: the public aquarium in Lisbon to see the Takashi Amano show


Here’s a summer-to-fall travel idea: go to the Oceanário de Lisboa to see a “temporary exhibit” of planted aquaria by the world’s greatest-ever artist in this medium: Takashi Amano (1954-2015). Inspiration: my photos from September 2017.

The permanent exhibit is more conventional, a huge tank representing “one ocean” with additional habitats represented by smaller tanks. What’s remarkable about this aquarium, at least at the time of my weekday afternoon visit, was the peace and quiet. Instead of a continuous roar of screaming kids, the environment is hushed and conducive the contemplation.

Lisbon itself is a fantastic place to enjoy life. Here are some folks dancing after 10 pm on a weekday at the Time Out Market (not to be confused with the “Times Up Market” of sexual harassment litigation!).

[Portugal is a great place to spend money, since the weather is beautiful, the people are friendly, and prices are much lower than in the UK, France, or Scandinavia. Unfortunately for locals, Portugal is not a great place to earn money. See “Why is Portugal’s economy so sluggish?“]


Reasonable to force children to learn Danish?


“In Denmark, Harsh New Laws for Immigrant ‘Ghettos’” (nytimes):

When Rokhaia Naassan gives birth in the coming days, she and her baby boy will enter a new category in the eyes of Danish law. Because she lives in a low-income immigrant neighborhood described by the government as a “ghetto,” Rokhaia will be what the Danish newspapers call a “ghetto parent” and he will be a “ghetto child.”

Starting at the age of 1, “ghetto children” must be separated from their families for at least 25 hours a week, not including nap time, for mandatory instruction in “Danish values,” including the traditions of Christmas and Easter, and Danish language. Noncompliance could result in a stoppage of welfare payments.

Is this reasonable? Danish is spoken by 5.4 million people. Denmark is part of the EU and therefore once immigrants to Denmark gain citizenship they can relocate to another EU country where Danish language skills will be useless. If Denmark’s mission is to help migrants, wouldn’t it make sense to educate their children in the language of the parents’ choice, not only from age 1 but right through high school graduation?

[Separately, why are there political disagreements about these “new Danes”? We are told that even the lowest-skill immigrants boost an economy and lower a country’s crime rate (see “Germans shutting down immigration because they are tired of getting wealthier and enjoying lower crime rates?“). Danes now have years of direct personal experience with the positive benefits of immigration. Why wouldn’t voters be clamoring to get more immigrants?]


  • “How Not to Welcome Refugees: With its new immigration law, Denmark is once again sending a blunt message to migrants.” (Atlantic, January 2016): On Tuesday, the Danish parliament overwhelmingly passed a bill seemingly designed to solidify Denmark’s reputation as Western Europe’s least attractive country for refugees—a hard-earned title at a time when many of its neighbors are tightening border controls … recently, the government proposed moving refugees from urban housing to camps outside cities, an initiative that would “shift the focus of government immigration policy to repatriation rather than integration,”


A lot of homeless folks DID move to Los Angeles


In “Economics lesson from McKinsey regarding the homeless in Seattle” I wondered the following:

The McKinsey geniuses don’t answer the question that always strikes me when I’m in Seattle and I see homeless folks camping in the cold rain: Since these unfortunate souls don’t have a job or a house, why don’t most of them move to Santa Monica and camp in a warm dry climate?

It seems that quite a few have done this! From a recent NYT, “In Los Angeles, Where the Rich and the Destitute Cross Paths”:

In recent years, homelessness has leapt beyond its old boundaries, with more than 53,000 people living without homes this year. This means that Angelenos are encountering homeless people in places they never did before.

For many in Los Angeles, the spread of homelessness is a challenge to their identities as political progressives. Some are angered by the presence of the homeless and some communities have mobilized to keep shelters out of their neighborhoods.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has called homelessness the “moral crisis of our time,” and voters have approved millions of dollars to tackle the issue.

Across Los Angeles communities oppose new housing for the homeless. “It’s fear of the other,” [John Maceri, executive director of The People Concern, a social services agency] said. “It’s ‘those people.’ It’s ‘them.’”

“Millions of dollars”? Enough to buy one third of a house in Santa Monica, in other words? (well, not one third of a nice 15,000 square foot house, nor anything in the Bel Air neighborhood) And this will substantially assist 53,000 homeless people?

How is it that in a place where nearly everyone votes for Democrats and professes a desire to help the “vulnerable,” the only person that the reporter could find with a kind word for the local homeless is Mr. Maceri, a guy whose paycheck depends on the continued supply of local homeless?

The reader comments are kind of interesting:

cbarber from San Pedro: If i was homeless(i’m one paycheck from the street) LA is where I’d want to live. The weather is great and you wouldn’t have to worry about freezing to death at night.

Reader In Wash, DC: Another reason to crack down on illegal aliens. According to Pew Research there are 500,000 illegal aliens in NY metro area. If they double and triple up and they do to save cost even at 10 people per unit that is 50,000 housing units off the market. Why bleeding heart liberals want to turn the US into a 3rd world slum is a mystery.

Papaya in Belmont, CA: Same with us “empathetic” Bay Area residents. We support the disadvantaged and poor in theory but NIMBY. We consistently reject most ballot measures that may even allow our teachers, police and fire departments to actually live in the cities they serve. If those with middle class salaries won’t be helped, how do homeless people have a chance?

Aaron (A-aron?) in Orange County: Why can’t we send these people to Detroit? Detroit has thousands of empty tract homes and open land.. We just need a few billion dollars to re-build the place. In addition, if European nations decided to contribute they can send their immigrants to us. Detroit can be a worldwide refuge for homeless and immigrant populations. A convergence of diversity and creativity.

GeorgePTyrebyter, Flyover, USA: There is a simple reason that LA has this crisis: the tidal wave of illegals. Illegals drive up the cost of rental housing, by increasing demand. They take the low-end jobs. That 18YO-19YO couple would in years past been able to get jobs dishwashing or other low end jobs, but these are taken by illegals. Schools in CA are being destroyed by the cost of ESL and the needs to take care of far more kids than planned for. Illegals need to be booted, to allow US citizens to live in the US.

DickeyFuller, DC: But I am not for giving them housing in the expensive cities of Washington, NY, Boston, SF, LA and Seattle. If middle class folks cannot afford to live there then there is reason for them to expect we will house them there. No. You don’t get to pick your free housing. We’ll build homeless housing in states where the cost of living is dirt cheap — Oklahoma, for example. Way upstate New York. The rural South.

sob, Boston: Thanks to the NYT to bring this issue to light. Seems to me that the liberal California politicians, who have had complete control of both houses and the governorship have shown the country their true contempt for the poor. The more they talk the worse the poverty gets, and yet the mostly liberal media can’t bring themselves to tell the truth.

Scott, Los Angeles: Homeless is the new scam industry to keep city employees/agencies busy and justify the jobs of the people that work there. … Santa Monica is paying their Homeless Director $150K+yr. Her only credential – a self chosen degree from a for profit diploma mill AND she got canned by the city of LA prior!

William Case: The U.S. Census Bureau now publishes an annual poverty report titled the Supplemental Poverty Measure that takes regional cost of living into account. The report is changing perceptions regarding which states are rich and which are poor. The most recent report shows that California is by far the poorest state, with 20.4 percent of its residents below poverty level. The poverty rate in often maligned Mississippi is 16.9. The national average is 14.7

Jack Wagner, Los Angeles: Homelessness is a symptom of overpopulation. The US population has increased by 36% since we passed the Immigration Reform Act of 1986 which was supposed to end illegal immigration.

SC, Venice: The Palisades raised $750k to send all their homeless to Venice. The Palisades are the ultimate NIMBY’s: no facilities in their community to help the homeless, just raise loads of cash to ship them next door.

Back when U.S. population was around 200 million it was fashionable to at least feign sympathy for the homeless. Now these virtuous California-dwelling, Hillary-voting, NYT-subscribing folks aren’t even bothering to make that effort.

Readers: Do you agree that NYT subscribers are going to be the most sympathetic large audience that could be found for any proposal to help the homeless? If so, why is there now so little sympathy?

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