Tuesday, February 21, 2017

EPA Head To Visit Colorado

Trumps new head of the EPA has promised to visit Colorado as part of an effort to see what if anything can be done about the Animas River spill. Anticipating this I have re-written the old Hamms Beer ditty from way back when:
From the land of Orange waters, waters
Comes the Gold King mine's effluvia, effluvia
EPA home free.
Not their fault you see,
Fine. If I was any good at songwriting, I'd be a songwriter instead of an engineer. Readers are challenged to do better in the comments.

As it happens, Hamms was acquired several times until it became part of the MillerCoors consortium so it currently has a connection to Colorado.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Schrödinger's Cat Box

Everyone by now knows the thought experiment called Schrödinger's Cat and the 2 possible states of the cat. In Government there is a varient on this that involves 3 states.

When a bill is introduced, it is read by the poo-bah of the chamber to the assembled critters, then referred to whatever committees might be interested in the effects of the bill should it be enacted. A legislative committee is a Schrödinger's Cat box within which a bill can achieve one of 3 states.

State 1: It can be approved with recommendation and sent back to the chamber.
State 2: It can be disapproved, in which case it leaves the box out the bottom slot in neatly cut strips.
State 3: It can be tabled for (much) later consideration, usually after the legislature has adjourned. This has the same effect as State 2, but without the embarrassment of a recorded vote for or against. State 1 or 2 sets up a requirement for a public hearing at which the committee members are expected to support or attack the bill with the populace invited to enter commentary. 

This can be dangerous as pols have been known to say some really stupid things to their constituents to justify a position on a bill. Moving consideration out to the next century is much safer.

Sanctuary Cities - Local Relief?

From a summary article at Diogenes Middle Finger, to the linked article at American Patrol, and cherry picking the relevant sections, I find that

A person (including a group of persons, business, organization, or local government) commits a federal felony when she or he:
* assists an alien s/he should reasonably know is illegally in the U.S. or who lacks employment authorization, by transporting, sheltering, or assisting him or her to obtain employment, or
* encourages that alien to remain in the U.S. by referring him or her to an employer or by acting as employer or agent for an employer in any way, or
* knowingly assists illegal aliens due to personal convictions.
and down a bit lower this
RICO -- Citizen Recourse
Private persons and entities may initiate civil suits to obtain injunctions and treble damages against enterprises that conspire to or actually violate federal alien smuggling, harboring, or document fraud statutes, under the Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO). The pattern of racketeering activity is defined as commission of two or more of the listed crimes. A RICO enterprise can be any individual legal entity, or a group of individuals who are not a legal entity but are associated in fact, and can include nonprofit associations.
To my non-lawyerly eye it looks like a citizen of a city can sue the Mayor and city council if they actively engage in protecting illegal aliens. Looks great but you probably want to be careful of this in case you don't happen to have more money guns, and lawyers than the city you are filing suit against lest you find out that everything you own from your house and car to the brand of shoes you're wearing is in violation of city code and subject to impoundment.

The American Patrol link quotes the statute in some detail and makes for some interesting reading.

BYOD - (Drugs)

Arizona is having trouble getting pharmaceutical companies to provide some of the drugs used to execute criminal and is considering asking the families of the condemned to help provide the necessary drugs in the requisite doses.

Having worked in the medical device industry for a few years, I can assure you they the function of the FDA is to assure the public that absolutely nothing ever gets to market and here's one more example, accomplishing the same thing by using lawyers.

The obvious solution to this is to deal the medical professionals, lawyers, and government agency busybodies out of the process, and bring in an engineer. Group A above consists of the people who made Obamacare what it is today, and group B is the folks who brought you the self-loading pistol. Either device will get you to the same place, but face it, the pistol is faster and much cheaper.

To avoid a messy cleanup, borrow a page from Pol Pot who executed most of his 2 million with a plastic bag and a rubber band. Flood the bag with Nitrogen, and the process becomes quick, quiet, cheap, non-toxic, and painless. The condemned even gets to leave a pretty corpse for the undertaker.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Odds On Trump

British bookies are giving near even odds that Trump will not serve out a full 4-year term due to impeachment or just early resignation.

Remember these are the same bookies who began paying off the winners who bet on Hillary to win the presidency up to a week in advance of the election.

Immigration - The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

What I love about the internet is that eventually you can find someone who knows what he/she is actually talking about who can explain seemingly complex issues in a straightforward manner. Here, for example is Milton Friedman explaining why uncontrolled immigration was good in 1914, but is a disaster in 2014 and why illegal immigration may not be as bad as all that.

What he overlooks is that when an illegal comes here and works, everyone benefits with the exception of the legal fellow who would otherwise be doing the job. That fellow can't compete because it would be illegal for him to offer to work for a bit less. The government sets his wages and benefits which below a certain level are non-negotiable.

Makes the case for a minimum wage of $0.00 doesn't it? As to the welfare state, back in the 60's, President Kennedy declared a "war on poverty" in the united states. This was met with some skepticism even from a largely supportive press who dutifully went out to find this "poverty". They reported that it was nearly non-existent except for a fer isolated patches deep in Appalachia. The sort of places where they shot at government agents.

Today, 20% of the American population is by definition "in poverty" and entitled to a big TV, fancy sneakers, and subsidized housing. Maybe if we subsidized the poverty business less we'd have less of it.

Crazy talk.

 Found the video at Mish Talk where it played a part in a column on the Women's March.

Exercise In Brevity

Pols love to ramble on and on and on and........ Bills they write follow the same lead probably as they write the things some pesky staffer notices that sub paragraph (b) of section 20 would effectively legalize slavery or something, so some more qualifying statements need to be added:

254  notwithstanding any understanding that sexual relations with owls are NOT made mandatory by

255 any part of this bill, not that there's anything wrong with that, and

256 quit with the snide remarks about my nephew who would become Director of the agency

257 in charge of whatever this is.....

Or you can keep it short, succinct, and to the point:
If you were looking for an excuse to write to your congress critters this week, here it is. HR 861 in all its glory. It currently has 3 co-sponsors and has been referred to 3 committees. You can check on its progress here.

And no, abolishing the agency would NOT abolish all our environmental laws and rules along with it. Those would need to be addressed by the congress which had the sole authority to write them in the first place.

Science Marches Onward

The latest innovation in camera technology is the cameras worn by police which may soon include face recognition abilities. Couple this with the license plate readers already installed in some dashcams and voila! the cop on the beat comes into work in the morning, sits down at his laptop, and gets his marching orders complete with a BOLO list of people and license plate numbers.

His body camera can pick out the listed items and send an alert to his earpiece and maybe a visual cue to his sunglasses, and in a flash, another scofflaw is in custody.

I want one of these myself, already having bluetooth enabled hearing aids, that will spot people I walk up to and if I've ever met them, will whisper in my ear their name and something about the context. "Fred, gun club.","Karen, bicycles", "Charlie, business". That sort of thing. Perhaps wearing a camera might be too much of a warning that the wearer is either developing Alzheimers or might be an undercover cop, in which case the camera might be disguised as something innocuous, like Google Glasses, or a Boutonniere, or maybe a parrot on ones shoulder.

Invaluable to politicians to instantly identify constituents by name and contribution amount thus allowing them to tailor their greeting to the correct level of warmth and obsequiousness.

Got possibilities though, no?

Thursday, February 16, 2017

QOTD - Fairness

When I hear the word fairness being used I generally take that as a dog whistle cue to grab my watch and wallet. Here's an observation from Scott Adams, author of Dilbert:
Fairness is a concept invented so children and idiots can participate in debates.
The whole article is here.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

National Brotherhood Week

Some time back it was noted that at the start of National Brotherhood Week, Malcom X was assassinated.
In honor of the week, song writer Tom Leher wrote this ditty

The actual Week hasn't been observed for some time now but this article noting the death of Frank Ancona, Grand Imperial Wizard of the Traditionalist Knights of the Ku Klux Klan under suspicious circumstances led me to check. Sure enough, NBW is the third week in February so there we are.

Keep it up folks, there's still 6 more days left.

Global Warming - How To Read Graphs

Elmer Beauregard of M4GW fame* shows how to read the sometimes alarming graphics put out by the warming lobby.

The last 2 days around here the high temp has been in the 80's. Not bad for Denver in February, eh? Gentlemen, if this be global warming, then let us make the most of it.

At the same time, snowpack in the mountains is currently over 100% of what we usually get so the skiers are jamming the roads up to the resorts. If you're going, add an extra hour to your drive time. Bring adequate snow tires or chains as well remembering that skidding out and causing an even worse jam will get you a stiff ticket.

*Minnesotans 4 Global Warming. Fame is relative, like a lot of other things but do google the You Tube versions of "I'm a Denier" or "Hide The Decline".

Friday, February 10, 2017


Currently the House version, H.R.367, has had another committee added. In Addition to Ways and Means and Judiciary, it's also in Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations. Committees are like Schrodinger's cat box, you'll know something when the bill is reported out. Hurry up and wait. It now has 97 co-sponsors which bodes well for its success.

The companion bill in the Senate, S.59 has been referred to the Finance committee where it shows up  on the docket and now has 7 co-sponsors. Bill sponsor Crapo and co-sponsor Cornyn are on the finance committee

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Colorado Gun Laws - Again

Until the Reps control the entire state trifecta, we're going to be stuck with the nonsense we had jammed down our throats in 2013. 3 bills to reform our gun laws were predictably killed in the house "kill committee" yesterday after 8 hours of mostly unfavorable testimony.
House Bill 1036 would have allowed anyone with a concealed-carry permit to carry on public school grounds.
So if you have a permit and are carrying, and you hear gunshots inside a school, stay away. The police will be called and will get there soon
House Bill 1037 would have extended the right to owners, managers and employees to use deadly force against an intruder at a business.
If someone wants to rob your business, just let them. No doubt they'll let you make a phone call before shooting you. Your life is worth less at work than at home.
House Bill 1097 would have repealed Colorado’s 2013 ban on ammunition magazines of more than 15 rounds.
The law originally called for a 10-round limit but it was pointed out that law enforcement wasn't exempt, and most guns didn't have 10 round mags available. The Golden Chief of Police was asked how many rounds his duty gun held and he had to excuse himself from testimony to go count them. Turned out to be 15 so the bill was amended to fit his gun. If you want a 30 round mag for your AR or AK, go to any gun store and buy 2 repair kits, one containing the outside housing and one containing the internal workings. Just don't assemble them in the store.

The usual bogus arguments were repeated:
Amie Baca-Oehlert, a school counselor for the Adams 12 Five Star Schools and vice president of the 35,000-member Colorado Education Association, said allowing people to carry a concealed weapon on campus raised liability and ability issues.
Training is available for free to educators and other school personnel.
Teachers interact closely with students, and the possibility of a student taking a gun by overpowering a teacher is real. She questioned if the teacher would be liable or the school system for the deaths or injuries that might result from that.
The old "Your assailant will disarm you and use your gun against you line. Maybe the school district should be liable for death or injuries occurring prior to the arrival of the police.
“I’m trained to educate children, not to assess whether I should take out a gun and use it on someone,” Baca-Oehlert said.
Obviously then she's under qualified for her job and should be replaced. Parents should keep in mind that she's placing their children at risk.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Transportation - Fun Stuff

A friend is building an old pickup into a hot rod. I haven't seen it but one of the things he's doing involves removing the old engine and replacing it with a much larger one. To this end he wants to change the old factory logos
which is about 1/4" thick, with something similar but with the new engine size displayed. Keeping with the older styling motif of simple block letters embedded into the underline bar:
You'll have to envision the polishing but this seems to fill the bill. Same height, width, and thickness as the old one and probably some blind threaded holes in the back for studs. I matched the newer font as it would be easier to machine from a billet.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

ATF Considering Reforms

Here's a link to a white paper suggesting some long-overdue changes.

I have a better idea. Why not abolish the whole agency and repeal the 2 laws that give it justification: NFA34 and GCA 68?