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The Phalse Phable Of The Phantom’s Gun (And Other Tales)

The traditional narrative summary of American air-to-air combat in the 1960s and 1970s goes a little like this:

Believing a new age of pushbutton warfare had dawned, the Americans designed their new fighter without a gun! This technological hubris resulted in American combat aviators being unprepared to face a brave, hardy foe flying “obsolete” cannon armed Russian fighters. After suffering terrible losses, and finally learning their lesson and some humility, the Americans relented and put the gun back on their fighters, and finally won the air war.

Like most common knowledge distillations, the facts of this story are generally correct, but the interpretation of them is not, and can lead historians and other people trying to glean lessons from the past to incorrect conclusions. So I come here today to defend the honor of the F-4 Phantom, and its engineers and designers, who I think knew a thing or two about what they were doing and shouldn’t bear the blame for (two!) intellectually clumsy institutions learning a new way of fighting on the job.

USAF F-4D Phantom II.

USAF F-4D Phantom II.

To begin, we have to go back to 1945 and the close of the Second World War. The problem faced by the Allied air forces had changed in scope and magnitude. The Axis powers never fielded large, multi-engined strategic bombers in any numbers, but the new era of atomic warfare meant two things: Future enemies would be flying big bombers to carry one big bomb, and no enemy bombers could be allowed to penetrate the defensive perimeter. One or two 1944 bombers getting through wouldn’t be a disaster, but a single 1946 bomber evading interception would mean the loss of a city.

The Soviet Tu-4, a to the rivets reverse-engineered copy of the B-29

The Soviet Tu-4, a to the rivets reverse-engineered copy of the B-29

Atomic-capable bombers were big, durable aircraft with multiply redundant propulsion and control systems that were difficult to destroy with the .50 BMG machine guns (with solid, non-explosive bullets) that were the main armament of interceptors and fighters. Early 20mm cannon with HE shells jammed a lot and were slow firing. The revolutionary 6000rpm 20mm M61 Vulcan wouldn’t be ready until the next decade, and even then an interceptor would have to close to bad-breath distance to engage and could only handle one bomber per pass.

M39 20mm Autocannon.

M39 20mm Autocannon.

M61 "Vulcan" 20mm rotary autocannon.

M61 “Vulcan” 20mm rotary autocannon.

Nazi Germany, having had to contend with waves upon waves of heavy, hard to kill, multi-engined bombers for years, pointed the way. Rockets could carry a bigger warhead than any cannon an aircraft could be expected to manage, and offered significantly better speed and range. Early attempts were unguided salvo fired rockets, but work had begun on guided rockets like the air-to-air Ruhrstahl X-4 and other surface-to-air designs. Early attempts were manually wire guided and limited by the fragility of the wire spools and the target being within visual range. But the possibility of a one hit kill was tantalizing.

America has two air forces, with two slightly different target sets, so two slightly different approaches were taken.

Our Army’s Air Force (newly independent in 1947) was mostly concerned with knocking down the bombers before weapons separation, so their missiles reflected that.

Hughes AIM-4 Falcon

Hughes AIM-4 Falcon

The Hughes Falcon was a slow flying, lag pursuit missile that relied heavily on lift over pure rocket thrust. The warhead was small and contact fuzed, as it was expected to have to a) fly through seductive decoys and b) physically hit and detonate inside the bomber to guarantee a kill.

The Falcon was a disaster in combat, especially against small, agile, maneuvering targets that its engineers did not expect it to engage.

By the beginning of June, we all hated the new AIM-4 Falcon missiles. I loathed the damned useless things. I wanted my Sidewinders back. In two missions I had fired seven or eight of the bloody things and not one guided. They were worse than I had anticipated. Sometimes they refused to launch; sometimes they just cruised off into the blue without guiding. In the thick of an engagement with my head twisting and turning, trying to keep track of friend and foe, I’d forget which of the four I had (already) selected and couldn’t tell which of the remaining was perking and which head was already expiring on its launch rail. Twice upon returning to base I had the tech rep go over the switchology and firing sequences. We never discovered I was doing anything wrong. — Col. Robin Olds (2010)

The Falcon also had short range, which was largely dictated by the small, unreliable radar sets the Air Force could cram into the noses of its fighters, which also had to share space with guns. Those guns that got hot, vibrated hard and generally shook to death the vacuum tubes and connections of early radars.

Our Navy’s Air Force had two things on its mind. First, the bombers themselves. For this the Navy was designing Sparrow, which began life as three designs: A beam rider that would go wherever the nose of the launching aircraft pointed, an active-homer with it’s own radar set (Sparrow’s narrow body limited the size of the radar and thus it’s range, and this variant went nowhere), and a semi-active homer that used the launching aircraft’s radar instead of its own, and only had to carry a receiver antenna. This was the winner, and it carried a good sized proximity fuzed warhead and had the range to engage enemy bombers at arm’s length.

Unfortunately, a big ranged missile meant a big radar set to tell it where to go, and while transistors helped with the size of the computers and heat dissipation, engineers were still restrained by Maxwell and a big dish behind a big nose was required. There was no room for a gun in the nose, and it’s heat and severe vibration would have compromised the size and thus power and reach of the radar, which, take notes because this is important: which had become the primary weapon.

But the Navy had another threat looming large in its institutional memory, that of small bombs guided by humans: the Kamikaze. And Germany had again shown the future…

C10/V-1

V-1 cruise missile.

…the robot kamikaze. Not only would the bombers have to be prevented from reaching the carrier group, and would have to be engaged further away than the range of their atomic-capable robot kamikazes, but if that failed, then the missiles themselves would have to be engaged with missiles.

Fortunately as often happens, we had the right people on the job at the right time, and a team of veritable geniuses at China Lake had pieced together a nose-steered, proportional pursuit (the missile flew to where the target was going to be, not simply follow it and out-accelerate the target) heat-seeker from basically off the shelf parts. Sidewinder was a brilliantly simple and effective design and went on to change air combat for both Air Forces, and the enemy as well.

Both Sparrow and Sidewinder deployed from the F-4 Phantom were (generally) what our Air Forces flew into combat with in Vietnam and accounted for the majority of American air-to-air victories. Early on, not much success was enjoyed. Inadequate battlefield radar surveillance and restrictive rules of engagement meant our spear chuckers had to close to within knife fighting distance. Missiles frequently failed to launch or zoomed away into the distance. Inadequate and improper maintenance resulted from ground crews treating missiles as ordnance, not fragile miniature aircraft that also needed to be maintained and preflighted. Overeager pilots were driving their missile armed fighters like gun-armed fighters and aggressively within the minimum engagement distance and the helpless missiles flew straight past their targets. Sharp turning MiG-17 and -19s were luring Phantoms into angle fights they couldn’t win, instead of relying on their massive engine power to decline unfavorable engagements.

In the four year lull between the battles of 1968 and the renewed air campaign of 1972-3, stock was taken and lessons learned. Arrogant hotheads like Steve Ritchie and Duke Cunningham taught new tactics and mindset to the new pilots and backseaters, and dictated improved ground handling to the support crews. Pilots learned to maneuver the target aircraft into the missile engagement basket, instead of putting their nose on the target. Missiles were fired in salvo pairs instead of one at a time. When the Linebacker air operations kicked off in 1972, two entirely new Air Forces went to battle, with reliable missiles and aircrews who had the patience to fly the Phantom with missile tactics in mind over gun tactics. Even after the cannon-bearing F-4E was available, only a handful of gun kills were recorded. The vast majority of victories were with Sparrow and Sidewinder. In fact, no gun kills were recorded a generation later in the skies over Iraq.

The biggest problem with the traditional narrative as above is this: Both the USAF and the US Navy flew into Vietnam with exactly the right aircraft and the right missiles they needed to dominate the skies, even though both organizations had made institutional and equipment decisions to deal with a completely different set of threats. The aircraft and missiles that won the skies in 1972 were almost the same as the ones that were nearly beaten in 1968. The only thing missing was the right doctrine, discipline and tactics to use the weapons in the optimal fashion. Big, lethargic, sclerotic organizations only learn their lessons when written in blood, and the loss of our pilots in 1968 paved the way for 1972, and 1991, and the resulting dominance America has enjoyed in the air since.

The gun (or lack thereof) had nothing to do with it.

So there.

So there.

Jim Wilson: Full Of Crap, Again

So “Sheriff” Jim Wilson is again confirming his high capacity for fecal matter retention, this time subtly questioning the need for ordinary citizens to participate in Super Scary paramilitary training and own any kind of MOLLE. From the fazeboogs:

jimwilsontroll

Of course he doesn’t come out and say it, but he’s heavily implying that the only reason American gun owners buy ARs and ancillary gear is to play GI Joe at the range and take cosplay instagram pictures of each other. I won’t deny that there’s an element of that going on, but people questioning why we’d prepare for a rainy day gets on my nerves, doubly so when it comes from other gun owners we thought were nominally on our side of the barricades.

But to take Wilson more seriously than he deserves for a moment, why do we put in all this time, effort and money into preparing for an event we desperately hope never comes?

Some of us take seriously the idea that the thin veneer of civilization is laid upon a foundation of citizen-soldiers (not soldier-citizens), ordinary free men willing to go to war at the drop of a hat, a tradition that extends back from Colonial Minutemen to landed Frankish infantry to the Hoplites of the primordial Greek city-states.

Some of us believe that our current epoch of peace and plenty is not a new normal that we are entitled to, but a historical aberration that must be defended if it is to be enjoyed by our children.

Perhaps for no other reason than Fuck You, that’s why. Should we not try our hands at the guitar if we’re never going to join a band or go on tour? Should we not bother learning to paint if we’re never going to get your own exhibition? Simply learning a new skill makes our limited, finite existence in this world a richer, more rounded one even if we never have to put it to practical use. Spending a weekend and 1100 rounds learning to run the battle carbine with a bunch of like minded gentlemen whom I’d never met before (yet have continued to be in contact with afterwards) in 2008 was one of the most enjoyable, exhilarating experiences of my life and I’d go back in a second if I could find the time and money.

I fully expect to live my entire life without having to take up my rifle in anger, but at the same time I will maintain its condition, keep some support gear ready and hone my skills with it until the day I die. My doing so doesn’t cost Wilson a dime, makes me happy, and yet has the slim, improbable potential to save more lives than my own in the future. So what’s his problem? Maybe it sounded better in the original German.

Range Time Meltdown

Depending on what gunblogosphere orbits you circulate in, you may or may not have heard about the sudden drama surrounding Range Time Tactical Shooting, one of the higher profile “guy and a berm” firearms training companies that have sprung up in the last decade. The duo of Corey Jackson and Erika Maxwell rode the waves of both the rise of the weekend MOLLE cosplay fantasy camp training school, and YouTube exposure, to financial success and popularity, for obvious reasons.

This all fell apart when the Stolen Valor folks looked a bit into Corey’s claimed Army service and combat experience, and discovered it was a crock of shit. You can read the thread on pistol-forum.com for the sordid details, but tl;dr: the guy’s a fraud.

coreyerika

Try as I might, I just can’t get any joy from the digital curbstomping of this guy’s reputation. I’ve never served in any capacity, so I don’t have a dog in the whole fraudulent service fight. Lying about your past and experience for no other reason than to seek a shortcut to legitimacy immediately destroys a man’s integrity and trustworthiness, forever. In his desire to give his voice as an instructor an authority he felt it lacked, Corey lied about his past, was found out, and now will never be able to live it down. It’s a total waste of a life, especially since he seems to be a personable fellow otherwise.

But.

Why did Corey feel such a need to concoct this cockamamie tale, especially in this age of digital records, google, and free-lance investigators? Because the rewards were great enough to ignore the risks. The market for firearms training has become overwhelmed with demand not for challenging classes designed to hone skills in a quantifiable manner, but for weekend mancamps with occasional shooting where supplicants can bask in the glow of a guru or a badass retelling tall tales.

Yes, Corey is a liar and a fraud, but the customer base that pays money for .mil qualifications and cool war stories over instructional ability provided the motivation. People were happily, uncritically buying what he was selling and you can’t blame the whore for the demand.

So go ahead and kick the guy while he’s down, but just as you would contemplate a post turtle, consider how he got there.

Patrick Kilchermann of Instant Accuracy, Meet the Streisand Effect. Streisand Effect, Meet Patrick Kilchermann

So about a year ago, Caleb at Gun Nuts junked the light night cable TV pitch come to the shooting community, Instant Accuracy. tl;dr: If you want a proven, skill improving at home dry-fire program, you can get better ones for less, or free.

Anyway, this didn’t sit well with pitchman Patrick Kilchermann, who was apparently unable to defend his business practices or product using logic, reason, facts or evidence, (or even been able to move his google ranking above Caleb’s review) instead resorted to the last refuge of hacks and scams: the lawsuit threat.

This is, of course, laughable and absurd. The answer to a negative review is to either improve the product by answering the criticisms, or to disprove the premises of the criticism. The threatened lawsuit does neither, and is a tacit admission of intellectual bankruptcy and weakness. I find this kind of anti-intellectual, bullying legal thuggery absolutely loathsome and while its inevitable backfiring is amusing, I am disgusted that people are burdened with the requirement to defend themselves from it.

Suing over deliberate defamation, slander or character assassination is understandable, but Caleb did nothing of the sort. Anyone who knows about shooting, and marketing, that views Instant Accuracy will see it for the As Seen On TV snake oil that it is. It would be best if Kilchermann developed a spine and/or honor and withdrew the threat, but part of me wants to see this throw down cost Instant Accuracy legal fees (of both sides) to discourage this kind of harassment of reviewers in the future.

Guns I Hate Part 2.5: Externalities of The Derp Tier

As I’ve mentioned before in this slow running series, singular anecdotes of individual guns failing or working well aren’t demonstrative in of themselves, but my observations at this month’s 2-gun match reminded me of something I had forgotten to bring up.

In my squad of a baker’s dozen shooters, the Springfield Inc XD was well represented with three examples. Remarkably for even a piece of junk like the XD, all three had at least one stoppage over five stages. You might think even a derp-tier gun could run for 40 rounds without issue, but you’d be wrong. One of them even locked up so hard it took a good fifteen minutes to get it back into action so the competitor could reshoot the stage.

This put us way behind on time and for a while we had to share a bay with the squad behind us, holding up another twelve shooters and dragging the match out.

Inconvenience was not the only problem, as encountering a stoppage while the shooter is deep into Beeper Fever can lead to some pretty hairy malfunction clearance techniques. I didn’t see any obvious 180 violations and nobody cranked off a round inadvertently, but in the excitement, people swept themselves and forgot where their trigger finger ought to be during remedial actions. This is not an issue that was the direct fault of the XD, but if your gun doesn’t go down, then you won’t have to mess with it either.

lolxd

xdwhut

I’ve repeatedly pointed out that cheap guns, optics, holsters, belts and other ancillary gear are a false economy if you value your own time, safety and frustration levels, but if you go shooting with others, you’re also costing them wasted time and potentially putting their safety at risk because you wanted to save $50 or thought you were too much a unique snowflake to get a Glock.

A Note On “Privilege”

So this “privilege” thing is in the air and of course everyone has to comment on it, I guess me too. In case you haven’t run into it yet, it’s the annoyingly, increasingly common debate-ending tactic where the person losing the argument notes the relative success and/or race of the person winning the argument, and thus claims victory.

Of course, that’s not what it’s supposed to be. Originally intended as a polite request to reexamine the effects of your position and upbringing on your opinions and outlook, I have never seen it used that way. Instead, the “privilege check” is exclusively employed as a childish PLEASE STOP, a racist trump card to be thrown when facts and logic are inadequate to support a position. As an enshrinement of the Professional Victimhood movement, it’s a bullshit Kafkatrap where the accusation and attempts to deny “privilege” is part of the punishment, and the only way to win is to refuse to play.

mzwlol

I don’t, however, wish the idea would go away. Much like someone who defaces the flag, it’s a useful marker. Once I read someone unironically citing “privilege” in an argument, it’s a sure flag to stop taking that person seriously on that subject, because they’re no longer trying to argue a position, they’re demanding to be allowed to shout down their opposition.

Which is about as honest an admission of intellectual laziness as you could hope for.

Guns I Hate Part 2: The Springfield Inc. XD

nb: In the case of butthurts, please take a moment and reread this post. Also see Part 1: The Ruger SR. tldr: That your singular pistol works fine and you are happy with it is not a statistically relevant piece of information. Without the magnitude of numbers involved in police contracts or competitive pistol leagues, it’s impossible to make a judgement on how good a particular design is. If what I have to say hurts your feelings, I don’t care. But if you could demonstrate how I’m wrong, I’d appreciate it.

The pistol currently known as the Springfield Inc. XD was originally introduced to the US market as the HS-2000 in 1999, and was renamed the XD when Springfield Inc bought the rights to the design in 2002. The XD is a polymer framed double-stack Browning style short recoil autoloader that was designed in Croatia during the Yugoslavian Civil War. It is available in all common service pistol calibers and a variety of slide and frame sizes and finishes. It features a single action trigger, a grip safety lever and an internal key lock. It has not been issued by any major domestic police organization, but it is on the approved list for a few and has been sold to some undemanding foreign customers. It is not popular in competition, although Springfield Inc. does pay some shooters to say good things about it.

Derp within Derp.

Derp within Derp.

There are two main problems with the XD: It was designed wrong, and it is built wrong.

Apart from general sloppiness in manufacturing and spotty quality control, the XD has a number of design faults. The first deal-breaker is that the grip safety not only locks the trigger and prevents it from moving, but also locks the slide and prevents it from moving. This means that the shooter needs to maintain a perfect firing grip in order to clear malfunctions or perform remedial actions. An additional risk is that if the grip safety breaks or gets debris under it (both of which have been frequently documented), the gun is out of commission until it can be fixed.

Unique among modern service pistols, the XD can be assembled wrong. There are pins that can be inserted such that they need to be drilled out, the slide can become locked open hard enough that it needs to be hammered apart, and it’s even been observed to malfunction when loading.

The trigger is also a puzzle. Although it features a Glocklike trigger-on-a-trigger and has a long, mushy trigger pull, the only function of the trigger is to trip the sear and release the striker, which is held back under full spring tension. Unlike real designs, the XD offers the feel of a trigger-cocker with the lack of failsafes of a single action pistol. This is why IDPA classed the gun in ESP for many years.

All of these would make the pistol unacceptable even if it wasn’t assembled poorly, which it is. For many years, Springfield Inc. refused to sell replacement parts for the gun, requiring the pistols to be sent back to the importer for even small parts breakages. This is because the gun-to-gun variance in dimensions was so great, parts had to be selected and fitted to the individual gun. The Croatian geniuses at HS/Springfield hadn’t even managed to master early 20th century parts interchangeability, previously featured in the Colt 1903, 1911, and M1 Garand. This problem was somewhat improved in the XDm redesign, although lack of QC is still an issue and its design faults remain untouched. There are several other designs that retail for about the same price and do not have these faults, and are popular in competition and police service. Choose one of those instead.

I have been accused of being an “elitist” (if encouraging people to spend the same — or less — money and get a better gun makes me an elitist, so be it), so perhaps my motivations aren’t clear. I honestly do not care what an individual shooter shoots. What I do care about, and offends me greatly, is when companies choose and are rewarded for a cynical marketing strategy that puts their customers lives at risk. Instead of putting their money into designing, building and shipping the very best pistol they can, a pistol that could be depended on to work right, the first time, out of the box, Springfield Inc. supports the XD series with a lavish, expensive advertising campaign. Their ads are in all the magazines, and they’ve bought more than a few awards for their derpy gun. Springfield Inc. thinks you’re dumb enough to prefer advertising over quality. I’d like you to prove them wrong.

There’s Always Free Cheese In A Mousetrap

Soooo, the SIG SB15 “Pistol” “Brace”.

Clever end run around stupid and anachronistic legal hassles or this generation’s SWD Striker-12?

Will the ATF demand we hand over the Pistol Brace units only or will they also take the gun it’s attached to?

Guns I Hate Part 1: The Ruger SR Series

As I alluded to months ago, there exists a tier of autoloading pistols between outright trash like Hi-Point and the various potmetal ring of fire companies, and actual decent pistols that are popular in police service and competition. Let’s call it the “Derp Tier”, because for about the same money you could have had a real pistol, but instead you saved $50 and got a piece of junk.

nb: In the case of butthurts, please take a moment and reread my above post. tldr: That your singular pistol works fine and you are happy with it is not a statistically relevant piece of information. Without the magnitude of numbers involved in police contracts or competitive pistol leagues, it’s impossible to make a judgement on how good a particular design is.

The Ruger SR series was introduced in 2007 chambered in 9mm, with compact and .40 S&W versions available a couple years later. Ruger then introduced a .45 ACP version, as well as a scaled down .22LR model that merits its own section. The centerfire SR guns are striker fired semiautomatics with a polymer frame and a stainless slide. They feature an ambidextrous safety and magazine release button, have adjustable sights, a slim grip and an accessory rail.

So where’s the beef?

rugersr9

The Ruger SR series is quite simply the most contemptuous pistol design I’ve ever seen. It’s festooned with unnecessary, condescending “safety features” that do nothing useful but add additional points of failure. They all come with a double sided safety (that is too small to reliably operate under any kind of pressure), a gigantic chamber loaded indicator, an integral key lock, and a magazine disconnect. None of these gimmicks do anything to make the pistol easier to use, but rather to fill out a checklist of arbitrary “safety” criteria invented by anti-gun jurisdictions in order to limit the selection of pistols available to people living within its borders. These criteria, oddly enough, do not apply to guns carried by police, which is why the SR series has never been a contender for any law enforcement contracts.

It is a pistol not designed to be shot, but to kowtow to Democrats.

I know it’s meaningless, but since people seem to be impressed with anecdotes, here’s two.

The first SR-9 I’ve seen in person showed up to a local USPSA match. It was a post-recall gun with a stainless slide, and stopped firing halfway through the first stage. The owner took it back to his truck to fiddle with it, and then returned in time to run it through the second stage. A pin sheared off three targets in and the pistol was down for the count.

The second one I met was purchased by my cousin, whom you may remember from my review of the Moore’s Machine Co. / Bear Creek AR-15, does not have the best luck in choosing his own firearms. He bought a SR-9c for about $325 at a gun show and we hit the range soon after. Trouble started early, as the gun would consistently fail to feed the first round from a magazine if the slide was released from slidelock or slingshotted vigorously. Only by easing the slide home could we get it to chamber a round. It also had a failure to feed about one round per magazine, and the observed accuracy was quite poor. (We had three varieties of ammo and this behavior was consistent between them). The polymer grip was also slippery and hard to keep a consistent grip, and I noticed my cousin having to readjust his grip after every couple of shots.

Oh, and when he pulled it out of the soft pistol rug he stored it in, a pin had drifted out of the frame from a 20 mile car ride over paved roads.

“Yeah, it does that sometimes,” he mentioned as he used a pen to push it back in.

NO! REAL GUNS DO NOT DO THAT!

Ironically, the SR series is probably the least worst option in the Derp Tier. If I absolutely had to pick a carry pistol from this loser’s group, and was forbidden from getting a used Glock, S&W K-frame or 3rd gen S&W for about the same price, I’d probably, reluctantly, take an SR9. But it’s kind of like preferring the clap over herpes at that point.

The Ruger SR series is a piece of shit designed by lawyers to appease fascists by a company that thinks you’re stupid. Buy something else.

The Ruger SR-22

The SR-22 is a special case because while it sucks just as much as the centerfire SR series, it does so in a completely different way!

sr22

When it was introduced, everyone hoped for an equivalent of the Walther P22 that actually worked, but also didn’t have a cheap zinc slide. The aluminum slide of the SR-22 gave us hope, but in practice it turned out to be an unreliable turd just like the P22. But even if it worked, I still wouldn’t recommend it because of the way the safety lever functions.

It’s been customary for frame mounted safety levers to operate such that they are pressed DOWN to fire, and UP to block the hammer or striker. This is intuitive and consistent across dozens of manufacturers over the last century. However, for some inexplicable reason, the lever on the SR-22 operates in just the opposite manner! UP to fire and DOWN to safe!

“But pdb! What’s the big deal? It’s just a plinker!”

Yes, and most people spend more shooty time with their plinkers than their carry guns, it’s just economics. You might not care, but your brain will. And I’d rather not have any confusion in my thumbs when it comes to a lever that can make my gun not work.

There are plenty of decent .22 autoloaders on the market, and even in Ruger’s own lineup, that work the right way. Pick one of those instead.

Surely This Must Be Some Kind of Record

Lost in the hilarity of Democratic California State Senator Leland Yee getting hooked up for corruption, arms trafficking and money laundering, was that on the very same day, our own Mayor of Charlotte Patrick Cannon (D) got the stainless bracelet treatment for corruption and bribery.

Which brings me to this article by the Associated Press, which is a brief roundup of Mayors across the nation who have recently been arrested and charged with bribery and other scandals.

I’ll reproduce it here in case it gets memory holed:

Big city mayors caught up in recent scandals

By Associated Press, Published: March 26

Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon is facing public corruption charges after prosecutors said he solicited $48,000 in cash, airline tickets, a hotel room and the use of a luxury apartment as bribes from undercover FBI agents posing as developers. Cannon is the latest mayor of a large city to face a scandal in recent years. Here is a look at some others:

— Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is awaiting sentencing after being found guilty in February of 20 counts of accepting bribes and other corruption charges for taking money to help business owners get millions of dollars in city work, including in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

— Former Trenton, N.J., Mayor Tony Mack was convicted in February of taking money in exchange for getting approval in 2012 to develop a downtown parking garage that only existed in a federal sting. He is awaiting sentencing. He is one of a long list of New Jersey mayors to face corruption charges since 2000, including the leaders of Newark, Camden, Paterson, Perth Amboy, Hoboken, Passaic, Asbury Park, Orange and Hamilton.

— Former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner resigned last August after a number of sexual harassment allegations. He pleaded guilty to false imprisonment and misdemeanor battery in October and was sentenced to three months of home confinement in December.

— Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is serving 28 years in prison after being convicted in October of extortion, bribery, conspiracy and other crimes. In October 2008, Kilpatrick spent 99 days in jail for his part in a sex-and-text scandal.

— Former Birmingham, Ala., Mayor Larry Langford took $235,000 in cash, loans and gifts while he was president of the Jefferson County Commission in the early- and mid-2000s. He was convicted of 60 counts in October 2009 and is serving 15 years in prison.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. [WHATCHA GONNA DO ABOUT IT, SUCKA? — pdb]

Well, that’s quite a list! Odd that party affiliation seems to be missing from this. It’s a running gag in my circles that not mentioning the party affiliation is mentioning the party affiliation, but because the AP seems to be lazy, I’ll do their homework for them:

Well, how about that? When a Democrat gets arrested for something, their party affiliation doesn’t seem to be a relevant part of the story. But when they catch a Republican, it’s in the lead paragraph:

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, once viewed as a rising star in the GOP, and his wife were indicted Tuesday on federal corruption charges accusing the couple of accepting tens of thousands of dollars in loans, shopping sprees, money for their daughter’s wedding — and even a joyride in a Ferrari — from the owner of a company that makes health supplements.

AP, are you in the business of reporting the news or not? The answer, it would seem, is not.