Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

Rolling it up with the news that GM is recalling it's entire production of the Sonic, which I had never heard of, on account of the workforce may have neglected to install all of the brakes.

Quotable quote comes from Glenn Reynolds who in turn quotes the long-suffering Russians observing the new year: How was 2011?
I’d say it was average, in the sense of the old Soviet joke: Worse than last year, better than next year, so . . . average.
He has hopes for the latter part of 2012, as do I.

Best of luck to everybody and thanks for visiting. See you next year.

Kindle

The wife wanted a Kindle for Christmas, and sure enough, Santa brought her one. It's been all downhill from there.

First off, the Fire model is so totally wireless that you apparently can't even register it without a wireless internet access. And not just any wireless access, you need your own in-house wireless setup for which you and no one else know all the secret serial numbers, addresses and passwords. Several internet sites say you can do this on your regular machine, but the wife is reluctant to try it.

I was pretty sure you could register the thing with a hardwired computer by logging on to Amazon and entering the required information, but I guess not, although I suspect the wife is being overly cautious here. It seems the Kindle has its own unique e-mail address which it does not share with the owners, just with Amazon.

Well, O.K. so I got a wireless Point of Access box. This thing, I was assured, will act as a wireless hookup to our existing home network, creating a wireless point on the router. Ah but wait. Setting the thing up involves disconnecting one computer from the network while the Access Point is configured, then reconnecting everything which will then work as advertised. Except that the Access Point requires a wireless device to talk to it to do this. That would be the Kindle. Battery life on the Kindle is notably shorter than what was advertised, although this may be related to an extended period of non-use.

I will likely have to bribe a geek to come over and patiently explain to her the operation of the On and Off switches, or whatever else is required to get this rig up. Amazon has e-mailed the wife wondering why she hasn't yet registered her device.

What a drag it must be, getting old.

Vote Fraud

Atty General Holder has attacked North Carolina's requirement that anyone showing up at a po9lling place wanting to vote must show a state-issued photo I.D. Reports suggest that Texas will be next on the hit list. Coming as he does from a state where the biggest voter registration results come from the coroners office, I can see his point. Anyway if this bunch
showed up at your polling place, would you refuse them ballots simply because they had no photo I.D.?

Range Report

Currently 42 degrees, with winds averaging 12.5 mph from the north, and 6-12" on snow on the ground which would be slowly turning into 6-12" of mud.

Looks like the science experiments will have to wait. I blame global warming.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Energy and Environment

Colorado has a requirement that a variable, but increasing percentage of energy sold in the state come from "renewable" sources. This is called a Renewable Portfolio Standard, or RPS. Currently we get about 5% of our electricity from these renewable sources, primarily wind and solar.

As of today, the Independence Institute is reporting that this 5% portion of salable energy has caused our power bills to run some 30% higher than they would if no such requirement were in place.

Just think, in a perfect world, all our energy would come from renewables, and our power bills would be six times as high as they are now. And the greenies are working on moving that date in closer.

Obama on Immigration

Who says he's doing nothing. Single handed he stopped the construction of a real fence along the Mexican border, and the INS is currently paying storage charges on the materials for some 600 miles of it.

Additionally, he's established a hotline at ICE. Yes, if you're an illegal immigrant, and you need help, call the ICE help line and they'll do what they can to keep you from being deported, and even send someone right over to get you registered to vote.

O.K. I made that last item up. Sounds plausible though, doesn't it?

Modern Journalism

First the New York Time prints an anti-gun piece full of errors, then the Denver Post follows suit, although in all fairness, smaller errors.

At the first link, one of the commentors asks what the result might be if one day's paper might be 100% fact checked. An interesting proposition. Doing this for the Times might be a bit of a chore, but for the Post, I'm thinking much easier, since after removing the comics and the ads, there isn't really very much left of it.

It has also been noted that currently far fewer people are getting their news from the papers or the TV any more. Wonder why that is?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Castle Doctrine

In what was described as the first test of the states newly passed castle doctrine law, a Pennsylvania man with a bow and arrow shot an attacker armed with a club.

I had heard that Western civilization was in decline, but I had no idea just how far it had gone. Were both of the principals dressed in bearskins?

Executive summary: Someone else's wife and copious quantities of alcohol were involved.

How soon will it be before bodkins are banned in New Jersey?

H/T to Sebastian for this one.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good morning. O.K. this post is a tad late, sue me.

The New Year is almost upon us, and the world is going to Hell in a handbasket at an alarming rate. When UBS bank advocated tinned food and ammo as investments, you know it's not looking good. On the other hand, the predictions of financial wonks have such a reputation that you probably don't need to stockpile all that much of either.

On another note, Scott Adams, writer of Dilbert, has announced his candidacy for the presidency. He has an interesting platform that puts him only about 1/2" to the left of center, which is not that bad. This also puts him to the right of the most conservative front-runner out there.

His proposal to force members of congress onto a Jeopardy/Survivor-style TV show has merit. I'd steal that in a minute, and let the viewers vote someone off the island after each show. To this I'd add my suggestion from the last election, to give Rush Limbaugh a part-time job as press secretary. The down side, from Limbaugh's point of view, would be having to read presidential press releases once every week or two. The up side would be permission to comment on them freely, and additional sanction to treat the members of the press in any way he sees fit, up to and including non-lethal but humiliating physical abuse, along the lines of some of those Japanese game shows.

At this point, Mitt Romney has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the public would hate Pres. Obama even if he were a squeaky clean, white Mormon.

Newt Gingrinch the alleged intelectual and all-around idea man, has had his staff come up short of the number of signatures required to get him on the ballot in his current home state of Virginia.

Ron Paul, the Republican party's Uncle Fester from up in the attic, is at this point looking good enough by comparison to be a serious front runner.

Happy new year, and don't forget to stockpile enough charcoal to get you through the next two winters.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Definitions

Here's a piece offering up some words you may not have known about, or have seldom heard, put into modern context. It's always good to expand your vocabulary, so drop on over and give it a read.

One jumped out at me and although I was already familiar with it, the definition struck a chord:
sangfroid | ng 'frwä|
noun
composure or coolness, sometimes excessive, as shown in danger or under trying circumstances
President Obama’s sangfroid in the face of economic collapse leads one to believe that controverting American exceptionalism is his goal.
To add to the definition, sangfroid is most easily achieved by closing ones eyes and turning up the volume on the MP3 player until the annoying sounds of people screaming and yelling is drowned out. Here's a reference:
The man at the wheel was made to feel
Contempt for the wildest blow-ow-ow
Tho' it often appeared when the gale had cleared,
That he'd been in his bunk below.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Your Tax Bucks At Work

Conducting scholarly studies on the taxpayers dime is a longstanding way to produce PhD's and keep graduate students from starving. Sometimes this produces results that are useful in the grand scheme of things. Sometimes it doesn't.

Take this study of gun violence which may have been a bit too honest for its own good. Executive summary:
It took $2.6 million of taxpayers’ money to find out what could have been assumed for free: that teenagers who possess illegal guns, engage in underage drinking and hang out with other ne’er-do-wells are more likely to get shot. The agency also wasted $2 million to determine if there is a causal relationship between gun violence and the presence of bars and liquor stores.
That second part was presumable to boost efforts to bring back prohibition, striking success that that was.

It's good to see the small but regular successes the Republicans are having chipping away at the anti-gun thinking that goes on among Democrats although they try very hard to keep it "under the radar".

Gun Law, Chicago

I had always had a suspicion that the big reason Chicago opposed allowing the citizenry to own guns was because an armed citizenry would reduce the thug population, thus cutting in to the politicians voting base.

I was right.

Apparently without the support of the street gangs, you can't get elected.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Gun Fun?

President Obama has added another notch to the well-carved stock of his M4 rifle, with the additional kill of Kim Jong-Il in North Korea. This on top of his virtually single-handed disposing of Osama Bin Ladin and Mummar Q-Daffy.

His claims to being responsible for the demise of Václav Havel and Christopher Hitchens are still being investigated.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Missing a Bet

Janet Robinson, CEO of the New York Times Company has suddenly announced her retirement. During her tenure, in seven years, the company has lost about 80% of its value, and probably about the same percentage of its credibility.

Here's the opportunity: Rupert Murdoch, owner of the Times biggest competitor, News Corp, could offer to pay Mrs. Robinson's salary and benefits for another two years, at the end of which times, one would expect the Times to go out of business and completely disappear. That would be $10M well spent.

Alternatively, he could buy the paper after one year for a relative pittance, and keep the employees doing what they do best by turning it into a grocery-store tabloid. The possibilities are vast.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Balancing the Budget

Here in Colorado, we used to have a TABOR amendment to the constitution that severely limited the legislature's ability to siphon money from the taxpayers and spend with no limits. The same is being proposed in Washington in the form of balanced budget amendments put forward in various forms by various people.

A few days ago I got an e-mail from one of my Senators, Mark Udall, announcing that being the budget hawk he was, he was proposing a balanced budget amendment of his own. Now I get a weekly e-mail noting the votes my congress critters make on the various stuff that comes up, and based on their voting records, Senators Udall and Bennett are possible the most loyal toadies president Obama ever had. What the One wants, these two will deliver, so when I read the announcement the B.S. alarms were going off at full volume.

By now I know better than to even consider endorsing anything these to do, no matter how they sugar coat it, so no letters to other pols urging their support. Turns out my instincts were right.

Nobody who looks at this would be fooled, but the Senate Dems are counting on nobody actually seeing it. When it goes down in flames as it should, the Dems can say they all voted for a balanced budget amendment, but the spendthrift Republicans blocked it.

If the Dems put forward a bill in support of motherhood and apple pie, you can bet that a close reading will reveal that it calls for selling your mother into slavery to make apple pies in a sweatshop, said pies earmarked to be included in a foreign aid package to North Korea.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

News Of The World

Drudge is reporting that the Sec of State, Thunder Thighs herself, is currently engaged in a 3-day sit-down conference with some several assorted Nobs from the middle east over what the U.S. government can do to discourage the unimpeded criticism of Islam.

Short answer: Nothing.

Part of the job description for a diplomat is the ability to tell someone to go to Hell in such a way as to make them look forward to the trip. I'm pretty sure Hillary can handle the first part, but I've got my doubts about the second.

Now visualize this: The conference ends with Hil, tired of Koranic interpretations and condescension, tells the Nobs, what else, to pound sand. The Nobs, in high dudgeon, demand that the Hil get 20 lashes for un-islamic conduct. The pres, eager to improve his standing in the Middle east, agrees, and Hill gets 20.

O.K. I'm channeling Mad Magazine, so sue me.

Hil said that while head chopping is not currently on the approved list of punishments here, we would do our best to shame those who insult Islam. When the e-mail arrives from the State department, I promise to publish it.

Career Advice

This week, we consider majoring in political science. Play your cards right and there's no limit to the advancement you can achieve, weather you deserve it or not. Even if you don't play all your cards right, there's frequently little or no down side:
Things to keep in mind would be location. The above cartoon is from Scotland, but would serve one well enough in Massachusetts. Beware of Illinois. In spite of its reputation, about half the Chicago aldermen and Illinois governors get to see the Big House from the inside, and no, not the one in D.C. That's the exception.

Just found out today that Gov Blago is going to be living just up the road from me, just southeast of Kipling and Hampton. Small world, no?

Silencing the Opposition

An Obama-appointed federal judge has ruled that no matter how much work you do on line, if you're not affiliated with the MSM or dead tree media, you're not a journalist, and not entitled to any of the protections that go with that.

Specifically:
He said, “Although the defendant is a self-proclaimed ‘investigative blogger’ and defines herself as ‘media,’ the record fails to show that she is affiliated with any newspaper, magazine, periodical, book, pamphlet, news service, wire service, news or feature syndicate, broadcast station or network, or cable television system. Thus, she is not entitled to the protections of the law in the first instance.”
Radly Balko, who richly deserves a Pulitzer, would not qualify.

Next blogger-fest, everybody bring a printed copy of your latest page. Pass it to the person on your right. Now pass a nickel to the person on your left. Having done this, we are all now pamphleteers, and thus journalists, entitled to all the perks of the title.

Meantime, let's hope the judge, Obama appointee Marco Hernandez, is quickly and firmly overturned.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Gun News

Gallup is reporting that 47% of American households now posses a gun of one sort or another, up from 41% only a year ago. The Brady bunch attributes this to marketing, but somehow I don't remember being blasted with ads for guns on the TV and radio, even the conservative talk shows.

I attribute this to the large number of people who get their financial advice from UBS as mentioned below. I am surprised to see they have such widespread influence, who knew?

How Bad Is It?

UBS is a large and reputable purveyor of economic advice. Here's some advice from one of its people on preparations for an impending collapse of the Euro:

"I suppose there might be some assets worthy of consideration—precious metals, for example. But other metals would make wise investments, too. Among them tinned goods and small calibre weapons."
Larry Hathaway, UBS Financial
I get e-mails daily warning me to prepare for one sort of zombie apocalypse or another, but not usually from such a well regarded source.

RTWT

Fast And Furious

As the sordid story continues to unfold, it appears that the "iron river of guns" flowing from the U.S. to Mexico, has its headwaters in Washington D.C.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Junk Science Checklist

How can you tell when "leading scientists" or "top Russian scientists" are jerking your chain? Especially when the topic is something you know nothing about.

Here's a quick and easy checklist.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Future of Transportation, Driverless

Here's an article noticing that BMW is developing a driverless car by teaching one to run laps around the Laguna Seca racetrack, east of Monterrey, CA. The results seem impressive from the description in that they're letting media types sit in the drivers seat while company wonks fill the remaining leather and are amused at the terror that ensues.

To which I say: Big deal. Every other car maker in the world is actively experimenting with this technology, and not on a closed road course either. Nosiree! Everybody else has their Beta Johnnyycab software controlling the cars of daily commuters on the streets of Denver and the surrounding suburbs.

I am here to attest that this technology is definitely in the beta stages, and will need a bit more wringing out before a more general release. I suggest adding sensors to the left and right sides of the vehicle being controlled to insure that the spot in the adjacent lane is in fact empty before moving into it.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Unemployment - How To Read the Charts

By now it's pretty well understood that any information or statistics provided by the government are to be taken with a generous dollop of salt. Remember that we were told that Freddie and Fannie were rock solid, and that the banking industry had no problems in the foreseeable future. Keep in mind that at the U.S. weather service, "foreseeable" means 5 days out, and we all know how well that works.

Mike Shedlock at Townhall Finance has a nice piece up explaining where those rosy unemployment numbers come from, and hints on how to interpret any such future proclamations.
  • In November, those "Not in Labor Force" rose by a whopping 487,000. If you are not in the labor force, you are not counted as unemployed.
  • Were it not for people dropping out of the labor force, the unemployment rate would be well over 11%.

  • Toss in discouraged workers and that number rises to around 16%. How many of your friends do you know are currently unemployed?

    Saturday, December 3, 2011

    The Future of Transportation, Electrics

    The Aptera company, which I spoke of earlier, is officially closing its doors.
    Which is too bad as I thought the basic design had a lot of promise, just not as an electric. It seems that even with some prospect of $150M from the government, private investors couldn't be persuaded to pony up another $150M.

    I wonder what the prototypes will bring in the bankruptcy auction.

    Thursday, December 1, 2011

    How Things Work - Economies

    Found this graph and couldn't pass it up.
    Let's say I'm a farmer, and I have some potatoes. I'm asking $900/truckload for my potatoes. They begin to depreciate as soon as they are dug up, and my price declines to $700. Then the government, seeing that the price of potatoes is in decline, prints a bunch of money and gives it to state and local governments.

    I recognize that the value of the money is diluted, and raise the price of my potatoes to compensate to $1200/truckload. I'm selling potatoes, but not quickly enough for the government who prints another load of money and repeats the previous feat.

    I raise the price of the remaining potatoes to $1350 to compensate, and continue to sell at lower prices as time goes on.

    Oddly enough, the $1200 I'm currently getting has the same purchasing power as the $400 I would have been getting by now if the government had done nothing.

    For all this effort, the government expects to get re-elected.

    Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    How Bad Is It?

    I hear a lot in the news about how Greece is effectively unable to pay its bills, and several other countries are in the same condition but the finance ministers are too polite to talk about it in polite (when the media is listening) company.

    I guess I find it not too surprising that this article got pulled from the Guardian in England as being "too dangerous" but I guess I had not expected to see such a thing at all.

    The author seems to feel that things are getting dicey enough that the Yanks Second Amendment is beginning to look like a really good idea, and recommends that persons with something worth defending seriously consider getting a gun to defend it with.

    Free Advice: It's easier to defend a whole block by barricading the street at either end than it is to defend an individual residence or business. Get to know your neighbors. The ones who can't shoot can always spot for those who can.

    Monday, November 28, 2011

    First the Good News...

    Rep Barney Frank, top Democrat and former chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, has announced his retirement. Paired with Sen Chris Dodd, the two oversaw Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae into the current housing bubble which is still in the process of deflating.
    Elected in 1980, Frank survived scandal early in his career and rose to become the nation’s most powerful openly-gay elected official.
    The scandal involved a male prostitute operating out of Franks office when he wasn't servicing the Representative. I don't have a problem with our elected congress animals employing rent-boys / girls / sheep since the more time they spend distracted in this manner, the less time they spend (figuratively) doing the same to us. Still, you like to think your elected representative might be held to a marginally higher standard than the trailer trash that elected them.

    Then there's the bad news. Frank's successor is Maxine Waters, who famously threatened to "socialize" the oil industry in the face of rising oil prices.

    Good Government

    Is minimal government. Here's someone advocating for the abolition of the EPA, which is certainly a worthy cause:

    EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson recently told University of Wisconsin-Madison students that she is proud to work for a President who will bypass Congress and create his own rules via executive order: ‘I’m proud to be part of an EPA that has mobilized science and the law to create modern and innovative protections for the health of the American people. I’m also proud to be working for a president who has said that “we can’t wait” on these issues.’

    Jackson may think our President is a king. Yet the Constitution prohibits the President from making laws or delegating lawmaking to an extra-Congressional committee. Federalist and framer Alexander Hamilton explains in “The Federalist No. 78” that Congress controls the purse strings and makes laws while the president merely enforces the laws: “The Executive ... holds the sword of the community.”

    Personally I'd settle for a rewrite of the agency's charter that would require all the rules and directives it issues to be approved by both houses of congress before being inflicted on the American people.

    Along the same lines someone else is proposing essentially the same thing for the department of Transportation. You know, the folks that won't let you widen your roads unless half the money they give you (back) is spent to establish a state-wide network of barge canals.
    The Golden Gate Bridge is an ironic* American structure. It was finished in just four years and came in $1.3 million under budget. Earlier this month, California Senator Dianne Feinstein acknowledged that could not happen today: “…it would take a hundred years to do it with all the permits we need.”
    *O.K. it's made of iron, but I suspect the word the author was looking for was "iconic". I blame spelling autocorrection. Anyway both are good articles.

    Sunday, November 27, 2011

    Gun Fun: IDPA

    Never let it be said we don't know how to have fun around here. Here's a shot of stage 1 of the club IDPA shoot we held yesterday:
    Note the number of tires necessary to hold the walls in place. The wind was blowing 10-20 mph and the temperature at start time was in the high 20's. It got up into the high 30's by the end of the festivities, but the wind never let up.

    Note to self: Preparation before the R.O. asks "Shooter Ready" includes changing glasses so I can see both front sights and targets. This improves the accuracy no end.

    Unpaid endorsement: Craftsman (R) mechanics gloves are excellent shooting gloves with leather palms and elastic backs, and are reasonably warm. They were designed for careful, accurate tool manipulation, which is pretty much what you're doing at the range.

    Gun Control and National Politics

    Here's an article on newsmax.com that I've seen linked multiple times by multiple bloggers. Executive summary: Gun control is NOT a winning issue. The candidates varied positions, and a bit on their assorted actions is included, which is worth reading. My favorite part:
    Rick Perry and Rick Santorum go pheasant hunting and give interviews before heading out. Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain speak to the National Rifle Association convention. Michele Bachmann tells People magazine she wants to teach her daughters how to shoot because women need to be able to protect themselves. Mitt Romney, after backing some gun control measures in Massachusetts*, now presents himself as a strong Second Amendment supporter.
    *That bit about Romney: After backing and signing the Massachusetts AWB, he also backed and signed their state-controlled healthcare law. Romney famously holds two positions on every issue, and at this point has me convinced he's actually a Democrat who is lying about his party affiliation.

    Saturday, November 26, 2011

    Energy and Environment

    When the politicians control the buying and selling, the first thing bought and sold is the politicians.

    This bit of timeless knowledge explains why North Dakota has a shortage of employees, housing, and everything else required to produce oil and gas in large quantities, and New York isn't producing anything. It certainly isn't for lack of monies being paid to politicians, it just seems that the ones in New York are a premium bunch and need bigger bribes.

    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

    Economics

    The big news today, for you economic wonks is that the Germans attempted to sell national bonds, and no one stepped up to buy them. This is a big-time no-confidence vote in the notion that the Mediterranean countries will be allowed to run up debt and the Northerners will pay it off for them.

    QOTD:
    “We must re-establish the primacy of politics over the market.”
    A. Merkel
    FWIW, Frau Merkel, political bodies have always been able to destroy markets. Think of a political entity (country) as a body, and the market as the blood circulating within it. It's easy for the body to control the blood, simply place a tourniquet around the neck and tighten. Of course this results in a shrinking market, falling GDP, higher unemployment and a pressing need for the government to raise taxes to cover the cost of tightening the tourniquet.

    Good thing we're not that dumb here, right?

    November E-Postal Match

    So I went out to the range and standing an near absolute calm and warm temperatures, I shot a target that should have everybody who ever wanted to humiliate Billll in the current e-postal match running to the nearest range to shoot one of their own.

    Or maybe not. I've noticed that when my scores are sub-my-standard, for some reason no one else does all that good either. Usually.

    People around here will have a chance to shoot this this weekend. Guess which day my club is having an outdoor defensive pistol match with a side match for shotgun and another for carbines?
    If you guess any day when the projected temperature is above 60 and the wind is not blowing, you lose!

    QOTD - Gunwalker

    H/T to PJmedia for this one although I couldn't find the exact quote at the link, I'm willing to go along with ascribing this to Rep. West:
    Florida Republican Allen West has said if Holder doesn’t resign and President Obama doesn’t fire him, “then perhaps the president of the United States of America is also complicit in this horrible, tragic event of Operation Fast and Furious.”
    Ya think? And the crowd goes wild.

    Of course Gunwalker is, strictly speaking, an act of war against Mexico and if the president was complicit, he should probably resign too.

    I'm not holding my breath on that one.

    Monday, November 21, 2011

    Supercommittee 3

    Can I call these things or what? I just wish calling the stock market or football games was this easy.

    When you're the junior member of a committee, you show up late, avoid yawning at all the incomprehensible mumbo-jumbo going on around you, defer your questioning time to the senior members, and vote present. Still photos make you look distinguished and you can have your people put any caption at all under them.Link

    Being a senior member is similar, but you defer to the members who actually did their homework, and vote the way they did.

    When you're president, and the peasants are becoming restless, you conspicuously appoint a study committee and go golfing. If you think you actually want something done, you appoint a committee with an odd number of members in which your side has the one vote majority. If you are afraid that any outcome at all will not look good for you, you balance the committee, and blame the resultant gridlock on the opposition.

    The problem here is that the problem doesn't get solved, and the peasants can see quite clearly what's going on.

    Sunday, November 20, 2011

    Happy Thanksgiving

    Over at the Whiteboard, is a suggestion for you amateur chefs as to how to "save the bacon" in case something goes wrong while you're cooking.
    This is probably one of the most benign disasters to befall Docs Machine. A great application of creative thinking and foresight. Not to mention a great read.

    NRA Fundraising

    The local Friends of the NRA had a fundraiser last night which I believe sets a new standard for that sort of thing. It comes in the form of two raffles, held simultaneously.

    Raffle number one is actually a series of drawings in which tickets are sold at $20/each, and when 50 tickets have been sold, one is drawn. Over on the tables in the center of the floor are some 160 guns of various calibers, types and base prices. If you're the lucky winner of the moment, you have 3 minutes to pick one off the table and it's yours. Then they move to the next 50 tickets.
    This goes on all night or until interest flags. It took a while for interest to flag.

    For raffle #2, you bought a $50 ticket or tickets, and they all go into the hopper. There are 100 guns arranged in some sort of order on a list, ranging from a very well appointed AR type, to some .380 mouse guns and Taurus Judges. They start at the top of the list, and draw a winner for gun #1. Then the winning ticket is put back into the drum, shuffled up, and another ticket is drawn for gun #2. There was a limit of 5000 tickets sold, and yes, more than one person bought several, and yes you could win more than one gun. High score was 4 guns. All on different tickets, I'm pretty sure.

    This raffle was seriously under subscribed, but it didn't help, I won nothing.

    For the amount of money taken in, I expect the Colorado NRA to buy a voting majority in the state Senate, and a fun, if somewhat expensive time was had by all.

    Thursday, November 17, 2011

    War

    Angela Merkel,P.M.of German, has raised the possibility of armed conflict in Europe over the financial debacle currently growing there like a mutant mushroom. Consider the possibilities:

    1 Germany, in lieu of being expected to cover the debts of every country south of itself decides to foreclose on a couple of them using the Bundeswher as the collection agency, say in Austria and the Czech republic. If the conquerors limit themselves to jailing a few obviously corrupt politicians and actually cut your taxes, they will likely encounter little resistance.

    2. Russia has never used subtlety. They cite national security and annex Georgia, Ukraine,and the Baltic republics. Sure this is an act of war against the EU and NATO,but how badly do you want to go to war with the country that supplies 25% of your natural gas?

    3. China appears to be in worse shape than thought with a housing bubble and rapidly dropping exports. The obvious solution to the possibility of peasants with pitchforks and torches is to find a scapegoat. Taiwan comes to mind.

    Gives you something to think about doesn't it?

    The Federal Budget

    While the federal supercommittee dithers and solicits campaign contributions, the Tea party has put together the framework of a ten-year budget plan that looks like it will actually work.

    Interestingly it includes several things I've been pushing to any pol that might listen, including phasing out Social Security, and adding a popular vote line to tax forms which would designate part of your contribution to the feds to the agency or department of your choice. They also suggest eliminating several of the same agencies that I targeted here earlier.

    Release your inner policy wonk and RTWT.

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    Newt Gingrich

    Say what you like about him, he is so far the only Republican who recognizes that the sitting president is represented at the debates, standing behind the moderators podium, making the wannabes dance to the Dems jig.

    War Crimes

    Most every one I drink with is a big fan of improvised munitions, and improvised everything else for that matter, but...

    There are certain defined weapons and systems that are banned and their use is considered a war crime.

    Guess what the Occupy Portland hobos got caught with?

    Headline

    Here's the headline, and H/T to WSJ for it:

    "Fertility Math? Most Women Flunk, Survey Finds"

    Which suggests that there might be a survival value in women being bad at math. If they were math geniuses, we'd be extinct.

    Sunday, November 13, 2011

    Science Marches Onward

    Here's a product with a good deal of appeal: a spray-on substance that renders practically anything super hydrophobic. Sounds like just what I need for when I get caught in the rain on the bike.

    What they don't mention is how it reacts to some of the other kinds of contaminants, like motor oil.

    Watch the video at the link. What it does for chocolate syrup is nothing short of amazing. It's supposed to hit the market next year.

    Motorcycles

    A great day for a motorcycle ride, specifically Harrys Roamers 55th annual Turkey Run.

    Held this time of year, the joke is that all too often the turkeys are out there riding bikes in temperatures ranging from the low 30's to the high 20's. Today was one of the better ones with a high in the low 60's.

    It was a tossup as to which was the cuter, the sidecar specifically set up for two children, or the fellow with his pug riding with him on his lap.

    Saturday, November 12, 2011

    Blog Con

    Apparently there's a bloggers convention in town. The first I heard about it was when some of the people I read announced that they were going to Denver, and posting would be scarce.

    Now I hear the hippies from OWS tried to occupy the place.

    Sounds like a fun time.

    Wednesday, November 9, 2011

    The Future of Transportation, Airborne

    Thanks to Tam for pointing this thing out. I agree with her that dangerous as it obviously is, it would be hard to resist the siren call of individual air travel.

    Being a typical engineer, I have to say "That's not how I would have done it!", but so what?

    This electrically driven system is quiet, clean and economically cost efficient. A one-hour flight would cost something near to 6 Euro for electricity. In addition, the device holds few parts, which could wear out, making maintenance intervals and cost low and far between.
    6 euros is about $10, and if I drive my pickup for 1 hour at 60 mph at 20 mpg, the comparative cost of the fuel is currently pretty close. Keep in mind that we're comparing the cost of European electricity, which is expensive, to American gasoline, which in Republican administrations is relatively cheap.

    Flight time is said to be 20-30 minutes which means I'd be falling out of the sky just as I get to work or back. Still, adding a small generator would extend this significantly.

    The propeller arrangement leaves something to be desired as I'm having a hard time seeing this thing fitting in my front yard, never mind the garage. Still, I bet that an improved, i.e. more compact, arrangement wouldn't be too hard to come up with.

    Oh yeah, I'm sure the motors are whisper quiet, but I guarantee the propellers will sound like a swarm of giant killer bees on crack.

    Looks like fun, though.

    Link

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011

    New Game In Town

    First in Sacramento, now in New York City, how come they can't show up in my neighborhood?

    That first link is hilarious. Pinned down in your own car by 15 lbs of turkey sandwich.

    Holder Testifies

    It becomes clearer why this man is AG of the U.S. He gives a whole new dimension to the word "chutzpa".

    First he is shocked....shocked...Link
    "I want to be clear: Any instance of so-called 'gun walking' is unacceptable," Holder said of weapons smuggling, later adding: "This operation was flawed in its concept, and flawed in its execution."
    Then we get Sgt. Schultz: I know nottink...

    Last week, his assistant attorney general, Lanny Breuer, expressed "regret" for his failure to alert Holder about the operation.
    Sure, your #2 kept you in the dark.
    Then, of course, the obvious answer to preventing this sort of thing from happening is to give the guilty parties more money:
    Holder made a plea to the committee for strengthening the authority of the ATF to detect and disrupt illegal gun trafficking, and urged full funding for the ATF to combat gun-running.
    Sure we broke U.S. law, Mexican law, and international law, but that's just because we didn't have the budget.

    If the ATF had had the budget, they probably would have sold nukes to Al-Quaida.

    Write your congress critter and ask politely that he or she ask, politely, for Mr. Holders resignation. And while you're at it don't forget to ask that the BATFE be disbanded.

    Sunday, November 6, 2011

    Socialist Utopia

    My liberal friends used to assure me that their economic model would work and endlessly cited Europe as proof of this. It was easy for me to point out that per capita GDP in Europe was about 2/3 of that in the U.S. The retort was that U.S. workers were enslaved by the blood-sucking capitalists and shouldn't have to be so productive.

    Today we are less productive and per capita GDP is down. For some reason my liberal friends, those not employed by the government, seem strangely silent. Europe is on the receiving end of admonishments by the ChiComs:

    “I think if you look at the troubles which happened in European countries, this is purely because of the accumulated troubles of their worn out welfare societies,” Jin Liqun said in an interview with Al Jazeera television. “I think the labour laws are outdated – the labour laws induce sloth, indolence rather than hard working. The incentive system is totally out of whack.”
    Keeping in mind, of course, that sloth and indolence are civil offenses in China and draw rather severe penalties up to public execution. Still...

    Diplomacy

    The State Department has figured out yet another way to spend the taxpayers money, this time by exporting postmodern art to foreign countries in an attempt to get them to see the U.S. in a more favorable light.

    When I hear the word postmodern, the vision I get is something out of Mad Max in which modern society is definitely post. Thus while I believe that an exhibition of works like Piss Christ and the Dung Madonna would probably be well received in the middle east, I would look forward to public exhibitions of outsized vaginas or lower intestines, presided over by the actual artists, which might well result in unfortunate circumstances such as the public burning of the art followed by the public beheading of the artist.

    Better yet we could cut the State Departments obviously bloated budget, fire the current secretary, and appoint someone more like Don Corleone who can wear nice suits, make polite speech and leave no doubt in anyone's mind as to what will happen if his advice is not taken very seriously.

    The Army You've Got

    A post over at Sailor Curts despairing of the quality of the potential Republican nominees inspired this:

    I know a lot of people who are pretty unimpressed with the field right now. Big deal. As someone remarked, "You don't go to war with the army you wish you had, you go to war with the army you've got."
    Romney's a democrat who lies about his party affiliation. We all know that, and the GOP insiders think this is a plus. After all that approach worked well with Dole and McCain, didn't it?
    Perry's a former Democrat who's a bit out of his league at the national level. Still, he has an enviable record on the economic front and hopefully would be bright enough to pick good advisers.
    Cain has essentially no experience in politics at all, and it shows. The "bimbo eruption" to me has Obama's fingerprints all over it. That's the way Obie has gotten elected in the past, by finding some dirt on an otherwise strong opponent and getting him to drop out. The approach does not seem to be working as well this time. His executive experience should help him in the selection of advisers.

    That said, remember we're electing a president here, not a dictator. A change in control in the House, and Obie is reduced to ruling by decree through agencies like the EPA. It's to the point now that he doesn't have enough support in the Senate to pass any legislation and while the agencies can do a lot of damage, what they do by executive fiat can be undone the same way with new agency heads or, since precedent has been established, temporary Czars who don't have to be approved by the Senate.

    Was McCain the best candidate we could have come up with? Of course not. He was endorsed by the New York Times in the primaries, and was thought of by the Republican base as a Democrat in Republican clothing. Would he have made a great president? Doubtful. Would he have appointed Kagan and Sotomayer to the supreme court? No. Would he have signed Pelosi's health care bill? Probably not.

    You can't judge candidates in absolute terms. Holding out for Mr Perfect will only get you a bunch of Mr. Horribles who win when you stay home. Face it: Attilla the Hun is not going to be on the ballot this election, so show up and vote for the alternative to the devil we already know too much about.

    Unemployment

    As measured by the government, you are unemployed only if you are collecting unemployment. Noted today is that over 50% of the unemployed are no longer collecting unemployment, hence we can expect the unemployment rate to begin dropping.

    Also helping the numbers is the boomers facing retirement in the near future, and finding themselves out of work with no prospects, and taking Social Security at an earlier age than they had originally planned. This also works as a cost-saving measure since a 62 year old retiree gets only about 2/3 of what a 66 year old would draw.

    The disadvantage of being an older worker and actually working is that by the time I get to retirement age, all the best bridges and intersections will already be occupied by folks younger and stronger than me.Link

    Saturday, November 5, 2011

    November Postal Match

    It's not yet official, but in the aftermath of the very back-to-basics match hosted by Traction Control,

    some enthusiasm has popped up to repeat that match and this time specialize in pistol-caliber carbines. General consensus is that this target should be shot at 20 yards, standing, unsupported.

    So far, the classes are with or without magnification, and the assumption is that all guns will be center fire, which leaves out the .22 LR AR conversions.

    Details are still being hashed out with one faction rooting for a Hi Point match, and another bucking for any C-F carbine. Either way I'm in.

    Update: It's on at True Blue Sams. Any P.C. (!) Carbine, so if you have an Uzi or a Tommy gun, go for it. Anyone scoring less than 50 points will be relegated to the "full auto" division so they won't feel so bad about their large groups.

    Note to liberals: Shooting in this match is P.C. so go ahead.

    Thursday, November 3, 2011

    Deuling

    Some people probably shouldn't be allowed weapons as even with the best of intentions, they do more unintended damage than intended. Here's one:


    And here's another from earlier:

    http://billllsidlemind.blogspot.com/2009/01/gentlemens-duel.html

    Gentlemen, chose your weapons and start your mayhem.

    Wednesday, November 2, 2011

    Heresy

    Sometimes the heretics are right, as Matt Ridley explains in a fine lecture in Edinburgh. Excerpt:

    “Will this be the world that your grandchildren will thank you for? A world where industrial production has sunk to zero. Where population has suffered a catastrophic decline. Where the air, sea and land are polluted beyond redemption. Where civilization is a distant memory. This is the world that the computer forecasts.”
    Limits to Growth in 1972
    Now we all understand the implications of the "Garbage in - Garbage out" phenomenon, and computers have reduced the time span of the information alimentary tract to milliseconds. Still, you throw in a computer and for a lot of people, the phrase becomes "Garbage in - Gospel out".

    Click over and RTWT. You won't be disappointed.

    Tuesday, November 1, 2011

    Fire Eric Holder

    The NRA has joined (at last count, 17 Congressanimals in calling for Attorny General Holders resignation, in one form or another.

    An attorney's job is to keep his client out of jail, and if his resignation will even delay the inevitable, than Mr. Holder should do just that. "No greater love hath he that lay down his (political) life..." and all that.

    Besides, at this point I do believe there are vastly more people under the bus than there are still riding in it.

    Sunday, October 30, 2011

    The Daily Grind

    Local TV channel 7 has posted a list of the 10 most dangerous places to drive in Denver:
    The following is a list of the top 10 accident locations in Denver in 2009 according Denver police.
    • I-25 at I-70 -- 195 crashes
    • I-25 at Alameda Avenue -- 192 crashes
    • I-25 at 6th Avenue -- 177 crashes
    • I-25 at 20th Avenue -- 176 crashes
    • I-25 at Santa Fe Drive -- 128 crashes
    • I-70 at Quebec Street -- 118 crashes
    • I-25 at Colfax Avenue -- 105 crashes
    • I-25 at Hampden Avenue -- 93 crashes
    • I-70 at Peoria Street -- 88 crashes
    • I-70 at Quebec Street -- 84 crashes
    This is per the Denver police, and I know it doesn't include a couple of places I know about just outside of Denver, notably I25 just north of town and I-25 just south of town and at Monument Hill.

    Ignoring that, my daily commute takes me through locations 1 through 5 as well as #7. Both ways.

    Oh well, a life unrisked, they say, is not worth living, so absent a straight razor to shave with, I drive to work on the municipal deathtraps, on a motorcycle. Uphill. Both ways. Barefoot. In the snow.

    O.K. that last part may be stretching it a bit. #7 is under construction. I'd think that CDOT would post pretty pictures showing the smoothly flowing traffic that's sure to follow completion, but right now I'm going with a new football stadium and parking garage going up there.

    #5 is under construction as well. It looks like the XL pipeline, carrying crude from Canada to Houston will be routed under the center median of I-25 at some point.

    The European Debt Crisis

    People in expensive suits have been traveling to expensive resorts to stand in front of expensive cameras and assure us that everything's under control and not to worry.

    Other people, is more modest suits, have been opining from their workplaces that this is nonsense and that the whole house of cards will be coming down pretty shortly now.

    The gist of the problem is that governments have been spending money they don't have and now find themselves in the position of being unable to pay it back. We peasants understand that this usually means that someone is going to lose a lot of money and as things roll down hill, we are likely to find ourselves near the bottom.

    Here's an animation that seems to sum things up nicely:


    The remaining question is what to do about this if only to avoid being at the bottom of the rubble heap when the dust settles.

    H/T to Perry at Samizdata for this one.

    Political Debate

    Here's the Quote Of The Campaign, so far anyway:
    At a million-dollar San Francisco fundraiser today, President Obama warned his recession-battered supporters that if he loses the 2012 election it could herald a new, painful era of self-reliance in America. - ABC News
    So there's your choice, America; Four more years of the messiah-in-chief, or self reliance. What'll it be?

    Friday, October 28, 2011

    Local Issues, Prop 103

    In the off-year elections coming up there is a big tax increase called Prop 103. The proponents assure us the money will go to education to keep the teachers and diversity administrators employed.

    University profs are salivating at the thought of big bonuses in the face of 8.2% unemployment.

    The revenues will go into the general fund where the legislature will earmark the extra revenue for education. I have no doubt that education will be served with this measure.

    Vote for it. You'll learn.

    Guns and Crime

    Here is the results of a survey asking residents all across the country if they currently have a gun in, on, or about the premises, including your car. Now before you rush over to see how your state compares to the rest of the country, ask yourself, where would I be most likely to get shot? Now don't just think of the Michigan upper peninsula during deer season, think on average, all year round.

    Now go look.

    In general, it looks as though the harder the state government makes it to own a gun, the fewer people actually do. Now imagine you've gotten a phone call:

    "Hi, I'm from the Nosy Survey Company. Do you have any guns around your house?"

    You answer:"......"

    Thursday, October 27, 2011

    Tranparency

    Or how transparently you can run a cover-up.

    The DOJ has proposed new federal regs, which don't require Congressional approval, which would allow beleaguered Federal agencies to respond to FOIA requests for documents by denying that the documents exist. Doesn't exactly inspire confidence, does it? But wait, there's more!

    The doctrine apparently extends to even live people whom the phone answerers can describe as being in Iraq, or possibly on the moon. I suppose this is how the witless protection program works in Washington.

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011

    More Gun Control

    One of my favorite observations is that the oldest gun control law in the U.S. came from Virginia Colony in 1644 and stated that "No person of color shall appear in public armed, even with a club."

    Now in the course of tracking down my own ancestors I find one described as a Burgess from Henrico and Charles City, a justice from Charles City, a captain of militia, and a sheriff. Oh yes, and owner of an 850 acre tobacco plantation, all in Virginia colony.

    All this in the time period from 1633 to about 1663. I'm almost afraid to dig any further lest I find out he wrote the damn thing. OTOH, the morality of owning slaves notwithstanding, the instinct for self-preservation is a strong one.

    Robots

    Visited MileHiCon last weekend where I saw the Critter Crunch, a contest of fighting robots. You remember the TV shows about that a few years back? They're gone, but the art goes on.

    By now I've seen at least 3 levels of fully autonomous fighting 'bots entered, with each generation getting a bit better than the one before. Terminator 1.0 is long obsolete, and the current crop are at Terminator 1.5. Sure they have a long way to go yet, but remember that technological progress is frequently exponential. The military's current crop of drones are not so much autonomous as they are teleoperated from a base in Nevada.

    How long before the deployment of the Bolo Mk 1?

    Gun Control

    It seems that support for gun control is at an all-time low in the U.S. This does not prevent certain people from engaging in some wishful thinking:
    This finding is confirmed by other recent polling that shows that Americans support measures to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals. According to one poll, 89 percent of respondents support requiring all gun buyers to pass a background check at gun shows, 94 percent support requiring gun owners to alert police if their guns are lost or stolen, and 69 percent support requiring those buying ammunition to pass a criminal background check. Another poll showed 86 percent of respondents supported background checks for every gun buyer
    "Other recent polling" appears to have been done around the water cooler at the Brady H.Q.

    How would you like to pay $10 for a Brady Check before buying a $12 box of ammo? I think this would make bulk purchases vastly more popular. Of course if you buy 1000 rounds of pistol ammo you run the risk of being identified as a terrorist, even after the background check.

    Tuesday, October 25, 2011

    The Future of Energy

    The EPA has announced that since the country is now getting significant amounts of gas and oil from fracking, that it will soon have in place a complete set of rules and regulations to control the practice.

    What do you bet this will amount to a moratorium on the practice?

    After all, every barrel of oil we produce and every cubic foot of natural gas is one less ray of sunshine or one less puff of hot air dedicated to making this country as Green as say, North Korea.

    It's also one less barrel of oil that Saudi Arabia will be able to sell us.

    Monday, October 24, 2011

    Energy and Environment

    First off, we now hear that cellulosic ethanol is about to hit the market. Oh goody! this means that the additive that reduces your fuel economy and adds to pollution via enhanced evaporation and increased consumption will now be less likely to be made from stuff you would otherwise eat. This should bring down the price of food.

    Good thing. You'll need that money to give to the government:
    As Poet exec Greg Hartgraves points out, production of cellulosic ethanol is expensive and that means those floodgates need to be helped open with federal monies. Without an energy policy mandating its production, U.S. firms are likely to shy away from the cellulosic biofuel, he said.
    But with sufficient financial incentives, the race is on.

    If you turn away from motor fuel, which is what ethanol is, we get into the even greener pastures of photovoltaic solar energy. The good news is that manufacturing techniques are getting better and better, enabling those with a supply of the (very) rare earth materials required to partly offset the cost of the underlying product.

    The bad news is that most of the mines producing rare earths are in China, and believe me they haven't heard of the EPA there. Of course if your miners all die by age 40, the up side is that there are more where they came from and with their self-induced shortage of women, reducing the supply of men just makes sense.

    Absent any progress in the field of converting unicorn farts into limitless energy, it now appears that "energy efficiency" is simply political doublespeak for shutting down your economy. The less industry you have, the less energy you use all around.

    Sunday, October 23, 2011

    Day At The Range

    It's always nice when you can spent the whole day at the range with no particular pressure on yourself. Start at 8:30 to help with setup, 9:30 to 2 PM, 4 stages of an IDPA shoot, 2-3, one stage of a carbine side match, in which the Hi Point performed flawlessly, knockdown, set up for an e-postal match, shoot 4 targets, and roll on out at 4 PM, leaving with more brass than I arrived with.

    Life is good.

    Thursday, October 20, 2011

    Important Advice

    Kevin Williamson at NRO has some advice for the upcoming (ongoing) election. It's not exhaustive by any stretch, but it's a good start:

    1. There is no austerity.

    Austerity means a program is growing at 5% instead of 6% annually. Anything less than 5% growth is "draconian slashing".

    2. There was no deregulation.

    The last piece of genuine deregulation I saw was the demise of the "fairness doctrine" at the FCC.

    3. You can’t trust Republicans on spending.

    Or pretty much anyone else for that matter.


    Seven more items at the link. Check 'em out.

    Wednesday, October 19, 2011

    Happy Birthday

    To Jeff who is 9.

    That's in blog years. In human years, that's about 63.

    Jobs

    It becomes clearer to we ignorant masses when our betters explain things to us using short words in short sentences:

    "It's very clear that private-sector jobs have been doing just fine; it's the public-sector jobs where we've lost huge numbers, and that's what this legislation is all about,"
    Harry Reid
    Now it's clear. If not for the evil Republicans, all those holders of degrees in gay black feminist history who are Occupying Wall Street would be holding jobs with the government administering the opportunities of unborn whales to receive grants to sell solar powered machine guns to Mexican drug traffickers.

    QOTD

    Found at Forbes in an article on foot-dragging by the lower courts on gun control issues:
    The Gun Control Act of 1968 was “passed not to control guns, but to control Blacks, and inasmuch as a majority of congress did not want to do the former but were ashamed to show that their goal was the latter, the result was that they did neither.
    Robert Sherrill in his book The Saturday Night Special (1972)

    Indeed, the earliest weapons control law I ever found in this country was from Virginia colony in 1644 which declared that "No person of color shall appear in public armed, even with a club."

    It's not about guns, it's about control.

    Sunday, October 16, 2011

    OWS

    OWS is quite a movement I must admit. Beginning in New York for a few hundred dollars a week per person, and spreading across the country with union help, vaguely connected to dying socialist movements in Greece and other European countries.

    Some have even tried to connect it to the Arab uprisings in North Africa, after all they all seem to hate Jews, right?

    Nice crisis someone manufactured there. Be a shame if anything happened to it. Just don't let it go to waste now, hear?

    Friday, October 14, 2011

    Ethanol Follies

    It has been announced that we've passed a milestone in the field of energy production in that more U.S. grown corn is now burned in our gas tanks than is fed to animals. The breakdown is approximately this:
    20% - fed directly to humans. Corn flakes, Corn bread, sweeteners in everything.
    39.8% fed to animals - Beef, Pork, Chicken
    40.2% burned in cars as an additive to gasoline. 5% less milage, increased evaporative emissions, and we send less money to countries that hate us to buy their oil. Like Canada.

    We even export some of it which is like the farmers acting as brokers to exchange taxpayer subsidies to foreigners in exchange for foreign currency.

    Have I mentioned that when I'm dictator, the Agriculture will be joining the Energy and Education departments on the ol' ash heap of history?

    The Future of Transportation, Electrics

    We've come a long way, baby. Back in 1896 the Roberts Electric could get you from here to there in silent luxury as long as there was no more than 40 miles away, 20 if you planned on coming back. It also occurs to me that in 1896, finding an outlet to plug the thing into was also a bit of an iffy proposition.

    Today you get headlights, tail lights, a radio, a heater, wipers, horn, 360 degree airbags, and some 1500 lb of federally mandated crash protection and a range of.....40 miles. Optional is a gasoline motor that runs a generator that will keep your Chevy Volt moving as long as you can find gasoline.

    Thursday, October 13, 2011

    Who's Paying The Protesters

    Remember way back when ACORN was caught repeatedly fomenting vote fraud? Several of their people went to jail, and the congress voted to cut off their funding. Funding, you ask? Yes, we can, since they're a community activist group, but not with a big scandal surrounding them.

    ACORN is an umbrella group with many sub-groups under the acorn hat. This makes it easier to deny collusion when one group is caught doing something illegal. In this case, it was the umbrella organization that got caught, so it "disbanded" into its various subsets, and continued on its way. Federal money now flows in smaller amounts to the subsidiaries.
    The one on the upper right, the Working Families Party, is running ads on Craigslist for protesters at $22/hr.

    OWS: Your tax dollars at work.
    And

    Your First Car

    Found this meme over at Robb Allens, and what the heck:
    1. What was your first car? Model, year, color, condition?
    2. What adventures did you have in it, good or bad?
    3. What happened to it, what's the end of the story?

    My first car was a 57 Renault Dauphene.
    Like this one only black. I got it for $50 because it needed a head gasket, and by forging my mothers signature on the papers. Mom was, shall we say, less than amused. The repair work was easy for me, I believe it took about half a day to fix. What I should have done was sell it and move on to something bigger and more profitable. But no.

    Since I couldn't put it on the street legally, I decided it might make a nice autocrosser, but why run H production when with a bit of work you can run H Modified? So I did a bit of work on it:
    Minor stuff like flipping the tranny upside down and mounting the motor midships. This leaves about 3 inches ground clearance, but that's a plus. It worked, but not as well as I'd hoped and it wound up getting passed on to a friend who planned to put the drive train onto a go-kart. I understand he had less success than I did.

    The dapper fellow sitting on the coachwork is my younger brother.

    Wednesday, October 12, 2011

    Gettum Young

    No, not the founder of the religious cult, but here.

    And before I start getting flak about being religiously intolerant, here's my definition of a cult, based on observation of other peoples definitions:

    A cult is any religion that is younger or smaller than yours.

    Leaves lots of room, no?

    Monday, October 10, 2011

    Political Humor

    The Egyptian military, who are standing in for a real government until one they like can be elected, have announced a ban on religious slogans in the upcoming elections.

    The Muslim Brotherhood, who is looking to take over the country after the elections, is protesting that disallowing their slogan, "Kill the Christians, Kill the Jews, vote for us or we'll kill you!" will cut into their expected support.

    Sunday, October 9, 2011

    Drinking And Driving

    I'm not sure this is really legal in Colorado but having a designated driver is a plus, and having a sober bartender has to count for something.

    Are there seat belts for the customers or do you just lose your seat when you fall off the stool? More here.

    Thanks to Robert for this one.

    Saturday, October 8, 2011

    Political Humor

    The problem with political jokes, it's said, is that they all too often get elected. This one recently showed up in my mail box, and yes, it's funny, but alas, pretty much completely made up.
    The guest of honor here is, apparently one Tom "Black Jack" Ketchum, who is shown here being retired from his career as a train robber.

    The accompanying text that goes with the picture describes him as a long-lost great uncle of some prominent politician:
    "'Remus (insert name here), horse thief, sent to (Insert State) Territorial Prison 1885, escaped 1887, robbed the (Name of Railroad) six times. Caught by Pinkerton detectives, convicted and hanged in 1889."
    It's a great story, and the fellow pictured actually did rob trains. The rest of the gag goes that the sitting politician to whom this fellow is supposedly related to is aware of the black sheep, and will acknowledge him with a cleaned up biography that looks like this:
    "Remus (insert pols name) was a famous cowboy in the (Insert state) Territory . His business empire grew to include acquisition of valuable equestrian assets and intimate dealings with the (insert railroad) railroad. Beginning in 1883, he devoted several years of his life to government service, finally taking leave to resume his dealings with the railroad. In 1887, he was a key player in a vital investigation run by the renowned Pinkerton Detective Agency. In 1889, Remus passed away during an important civic function held in his honor when the platform upon which he was standing collapsed."
    The picture and text may be adapted to any sitting pol or person of importance, or even yourself if you find your own ancestry to be rather more humdrum than you'd wish. The version I got attributed this to an uncle of Harry Reid, but it's been done for the Bushes and the Gores.

    Tuesday, October 4, 2011

    It's National CB Radio Day

    And that's a big 10-4, over.


    Sorry, I couldn't resist.

    The Future of Transportation, Interplanetary

    How cool is this? Here's a microbe that eats pee and craps rocket fuel. Hydrazine, to be specific.

    Makes you want to run right out to the Mad Scientists Supply store, buy a bunch of petri dishes, and get right to work re-arranging them genetically to produce something the size of a cow with this kind of talent. You thought regular cow farts were bad? Trust me, you don't want to be anywhere near these babies.

    If nothing else, it seems like the basis for a good B movie.

    If You're Catching Flak...

    You must be over the target, say the bomber pilots. So here's CBS news catching flak from the White House over their coverage of the Fast and Furious gun running scandal.
    They will tell you that I'm the only reporter--as they told me--that is not reasonable. They say the Washington Post is reasonable, the LA Times is reasonable, the New York Times is reasonable, I'm the only one who thinks this is a story, and they think I'm unfair and biased by pursuing it.
    Being fair and reasonable evidently means ignoring a government agency passing arms to a criminal enterprise in a foreign country.

    Sunday, October 2, 2011

    Al-Awlaki

    As a result of a generous and benign U.S. agricultural assistance program to Yemen, Mr Al-Awlaki and three of his close personal friends are now improving the fertility of the land in Yemen.

    Somehow, the ACLU has their panties in a knot over this. To them I say: Don't worry, mon, be happy mon, Mr Al-Awlaki's absentee ballot will be mailed to his American mosque as always, and filled out according to his wishes by his stay-home associates, just like always. The party will not lose a single vote.

    Playing Chicken

    Here's the latest in fast food in China:
    Yup, Obama Fried Chicken. Presumably made with local chickens as there's a 50-100% tariff on U.S. chicken there. Have no fear, there are branches in Brooklyn and Harlem.

    Secret herbs and spices? Hah! You'll have to eat it to find out what's in it.

    Supercommittee 2

    I'd brag about how well I can call them, but this was too much like shooting fish in a barrel. Crippled fish, in a small barrel, with a grenade launcher at that.

    Seems the members of the supercommittee are getting oodles of attention from lobbyists to the point that probably none of them will have to worry about the next election. Some people are complaining about this and rightly so, but it's the most natural thing in the world under crony capitalism.

    The pols pass laws to "encourage" business to act in ways that are contrary to what would ordinarily be their best interests. In the case of financial institutions, making loans with a low chance of getting paid back, to people the pols are trying to curry favor with. They get the banks to engage in what would otherwise be suicidal behavior by offering to buy the bad loans from them, thus shielding the banks. The taxpayer assumes the risk, and gets to make up the losses, and the banks become the scapegoats for the losses, giving the hippies something to protest over.

    Absent the government incentives, none of this would be happening. If your bank goes this route, however, threatening to remove the incentives would be a shock to the operational model which the bank directors don't want to see. Fair enough, bank directors, or for that matter any managers don't like to see big changes. Predictability makes their job easier and reduces their Maalox consumption.

    As long as the media is willing to ignore this, it goes on and gets bigger, although nine-figure grants to companies with party fundraisers on the boards, who take the money, pass a percentage to the pols, then either go broke or move to China may prove the straw that breaks the camels back.

    One could almost wonder if, post 2013, several high-ranking pols don't find themselves retired with their primary income source from being a director with an otherwise defunct solar panel company headquartered in the Cayman Islands.

    Friday, September 30, 2011

    The Coverup Suddenly Gets Larger

    Uncle is reporting that in light of the embarrassment the Gunrunner scandal is causing, the administration is giving serious consideration to abolishing the BATFEIEIO.

    Hold the applause.

    The methodology reveals the reasoning. It seems the plan is to abolish the agency and fire about 10% of the staff, mostly low level grunts. The remainder would be quietly reassigned to positions behind the bushes and under the flat rocks of the justice department.

    Most likely, the people who did the complaining get the ax, and the people responsible get a cushy retirement.

    Thursday, September 29, 2011

    The Only Thing Standing In The Way Of Good Government...

    Is the governed.

    Ever since the Nixon administration, My liberal moonbat friends have warned me that every sitting Republican president was surely about to declare a state of emergency and suspend the upcoming elections. I use to wonder if it was the pot or something else that gave them such ideas.

    Now I know better. It's projection, the practice of assuming that everybody else is just like you are and is about to do what you would do if you were in their position.

    Obama budget director Peter Orszag says that the only thing standing between Washington and good government is constituents. Rule by executive fiat is called for.

    N.C. Governor Bev Perdue says that partisan bickering is such an impediment to straightening out the budget mess that suspending the 2012 elections to free the congress from the unreasonable demands of the proletariat is a valid approach to solving the crisis.

    In Ms Perdue's case, may I help her with what seems to be a minor misunderstanding: It's not the elections the peasants want suspended, it's the congress.

    Monday, September 26, 2011

    Gun Fun: IDPA

    IDPA style, actually. Great fun. How'd I do? Well, I've done worse.

    The "3-window" stage, which theoretically should be complete in 21 rounds, saw me standing there, 32 rounds later, with one plate still hanging from the Texas Star, and me out of bullets.

    The two "no-shoots" in front of the star didn't help.

    In my defense, I have cleared this stage in 21 rounds in the past. This just wasn't my day.

    When I Use A Word...

    It means precisely what I want it to mean, neither more nor less. Quoth the caterpillar to Alice. Here's another: With the presidents stock slipping, and actual valid arguments scarce,

    "Electoral racism in its most naked, egregious and aggressive form is the unwillingness of white Americans to vote for a black candidate regardless of the candidate's qualifications, ideology or party."

    Melissa Harris-Perry, a racially oriented political scientist from Tulane University

    Sorry, but if the candidate is unqualified, holds an antithetical ideology, and belongs to a party that's been hijacked by barking moonbats, it's not racist to not vote for him. To vote for him in spite of this, simply because he's black, that's racism.

    Saturday, September 24, 2011

    Happy Birthday



    Today, September 24th, is the 286th birthday of Arthur Guinness, founder of the brewery that bears his name. More or less. His actual birthday being misplaced somewhere, the management at the brewery picked Sept 24 to be the official birthday to stop the squabbling and get to the drinking.

    So get to it.

    The Nanny State

    This could be a QOTD, but there's more to it than just a thick crust of Big Mommyism:

    As if to show how pissed he was at being questioned, he said his decision translates further that "no, Plaintiffs to not have a fundamental right to own and use a dairy cow or a dairy herd;

    "no, Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to consume the milk from their own cow;"

    And in a kind of exclamation point, he added this to his list of no-nos: "no, Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to produce and consume the foods of their choice..."

    Judge Patrick J. Fiedler

    Context reveals part of the logic here, that being that the plaintiffs wished to drink raw milk, and the state insists that no one may do this. Pasteurization is mandatory. Raw milk can carry a list of diseases and bacteria, and bovine tuberculosis is contagious. To that end, requiring pasturization to protect the public health makes sense.

    As to the rest of the position, this looks like a classic case of Wily Coyote running off the edge of a high cliff without noticing his error. At least not immediately.

    Thursday, September 22, 2011

    There Comes A Time

    When it becomes apparent that you're probably better off to judge a man by the content of his character than by the color of his skin.Link

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011

    Polling

    I've commented before on polling and how much weight to ascribe to them this far in advance of the elections, but occasionally, some actual data slips out. The Miami Harald is reporting that Sarah Palin is now within 5 points of the president among voters, which is moderately interesting, considering that she's not even a declared candidate.

    Far more interesting is the one-line note a few paragraphs in to the article:
    By a margin of 49 percent to 36 percent, voters said they definitely plan to vote against Obama, according to the poll. Independents by 53 percent to 28 percent said they definitely plan to vote against him.
    If someone is polled over the phone, as I was last night, the questions run to "Do you plan to vote for the president?" yes or no. "If Sarah Palin was the Republican candidate, would you vote for her?" yes or no. The pollee, expecting the next question to be about his or her favorite candidate, may say no, only to find that Palin was the only Republican example to choose from, and you didn't vote for her.

    I stand by my position that Obama would lose to an old yellow dog at this point, as long as the dog didn't apologize for anything, and was photographed lifting a leg on the New York Times building. When you're losing 49-36 against nobody, the opposition is going to have to run a pretty skanky candidate to keep you in office.

    "Dog 2012: A leg Up On The Democrats"

    Makes a nice bumper sticker too.

    Monday, September 19, 2011

    Might Get A Bit Slow

    Extractions, bone grafts, and implants, oh my!

    I had no idea that they used cow bone for the grafts. I had assumed they would just knock a chunk out of my skull where it's plentiful.

    Sunday, September 18, 2011

    Gun Blogging

    You may have noticed the new logo over on the left sidebar, proclaiming this blog to be on the Gun Blog Black List. This is an interesting list, and I'm flattered to be included on it. One of my visitors, North, put me on the list, for which I'm grateful. I've always thought that being a gun blogger would be a lot more fun than carping about politics and the economy, but since that's what's biting me the hardest, that's what gets most of the attention. As a result, while I enjoy writing about guns, I had a hard time thinking of myself as a gun blogger.

    Besides, being a top-tier gun blogger requires things I don't have, such as friends in the industry who send you free goodies to test and write up, or a collection of every military rifle ever issued by every army in the world from 1890 to 1919, complete with the matching pistols.

    The ability to clearly write out ponderous pontifications would be a plus, but that's something I'm working on. Meantime you get the occasional bit of backyard Mad Science. Don't worry, I'm working on acquiring more guns and spending more time shooting them.

    Too Much Money?

    The columnless columnist, Kate Morrison, in a column in the Denver Pest today confesses to an urge to commit an act of vandalism. Interestingly, I'm inclined to volunteer to help her out on this.

    What set the creative juices to flowing was one of those catchy ads by the Denver Water Board encouraging folks to trim their water use. These run to a billboard, for example, with only half the board covered, with the logo "Use only what you need" on the printed half. Very clever.

    The ad in question featured two benches, one full-sized, and one much smaller with the messages "What you use" on the big one, and "What you need" on the little one. Kate thinks this is a great metaphor for incomes in this country, with most people making way more than they really need. Her version is "This is how much money you make" on the big one, and "This is how much money you need" on the little one.

    I think the idea is nearly perfect. All it lacks is the arrogant image of the president on the big one, and the circle-D logo of the DNC on the little one. The message is especially poignant as the benches in question are located in one of the more affluent areas of town. I'm sure the drivers of every Mercedes and Lexus that passes by would be nodding their heads in agreement and phoning in donations to the bus line that runs from El Paso to Denver, bringing in new voters to help the cause.

    He knows how much you need, and trust him, it isn't very much.