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


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.

“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


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?


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.


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.


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...


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.


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


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:


Gentlemen, chose your weapons and start your mayhem.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


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.