Monday, February 27, 2017

QOTD - Saying No

You can say No in a variety of ways. When asked to surrender by the Germans, Gen McAulliffe famously replied "Nuts!"

When asked to surrender by Sultan Mehmed IV of the Ottoman empire, the Cossacks of Ukraine came up with a much wordier response. Cossaks being the Klingons of the diplomatic world, the thought that this response might start a war was probably considered a feature rather than a bug.

Found the initial reference to this on Samizdata in the comments of a piece comparing various methods of attacking the press, some of which sound like great fun. The references there took me to Wikipedia where not only the quote in its entirety appears , but also the initial demand by the Sultan that inspired the thing:

Sultan Mehmed IV to the Zaporozhian Cossacks:
As the Sultan; son of Muhammad; brother of the sun and moon; grandson and viceroy of God; ruler of the kingdoms of Macedonia, Babylon, Jerusalem, Upper and Lower Egypt; emperor of emperors; sovereign of sovereigns; extraordinary knight, never defeated; steadfast guardian of the tomb of Jesus Christ; trustee chosen by God Himself; the hope and comfort of Muslims; confounder and great defender of Christians - I command you, the Zaporogian Cossacks, to submit to me voluntarily and without any resistance, and to desist from troubling me with your attacks.
--Turkish Sultan Mehmed IV
The Cossacks' reply came as a stream of invective and vulgar rhymes, parodying the Sultan's titles:

Zaporozhian Cossacks to the Turkish Sultan!
O sultan, Turkish devil and damned devil's kith and kin, secretary to Lucifer himself. What the devil kind of knight are thou, that canst not slay a hedgehog with your naked arse? The devil shits, and your army eats. Thou shallt not, thou son of a whore, make subjects of Christian sons; we have no fear of your army, by land and by sea we will battle with thee, fuck thy mother.
Thou Babylonian scullion, Macedonian wheelwright, brewer of Jerusalem, goat-fucker of Alexandria, swineherd of Greater and Lesser Egypt, pig of Armenia, Podolian thief, catamite of Tartary, hangman of Kamyanets, and fool of all the world and underworld, an idiot before God, grandson of the Serpent, and the crick in our dick. Pig's snout, mare's arse, slaughterhouse cur, unchristened brow, screw thine own mother!
So the Zaporozhians declare, you lowlife. You won't even be herding pigs for the Christians. Now we'll conclude, for we don't know the date and don't own a calendar; the moon's in the sky, the year with the Lord, the day's the same over here as it is over there; for this kiss our arse!
- Koshovyi otaman Ivan Sirko, with the whole Zaporozhian Host.
Interesting to note that when translating obscure languages that while some terms may become subject to debate over time, like the word "brewer" which might also mean "drunkard", none of the really good inferences seem to have had any such problems. You have to wonder though if being a Macedonian wheelwright might be like being a quality engineer with Yugo.

 Ladies are commended to the study of fine literature so as to be able to say no in such a way at to not foreclose on getting the young man in question to help with your car or moving at some point in the future.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Warring Tribes Upgrade Their Armament - Chicago

Warring tribes in Chicago that is, have discovered that AR and AK pattern rifle works better than a Glock in a drive by. No word yet as to what the city government plans to do about this as quite a few of them owe their seats to help from the gangs tribes.

Police started noticing the rifles early last year, mostly in Back of the Yards, and their use has been increasing. October had three rifle shootings, November had six and December had nine, about the time the shootings started in Brighton Park, according to police.

By the end of December, gangs in the area were using rifles "almost exclusively," according to several veteran officers interviewed by the Tribune.
Throwing the gangsters in jail might affect the voting patterns adversely for some Aldermen so this is unlikely to happen, however there is an alternative approach that has been tried in other states. To wit, you bring in a Federal agency, say the ATF, and let them sell illegal cigarettes to fund the purchase of AR and AK pattern rifles which they in turn sell to the gangs on the premise that they will then trace them to the evil gun dealers who provided them in the first place... oh wait, maybe not. At least they wouldn't have to think up a new name for this fiasco project, as Fast and Furious will probably do just fine. It could also be a solution to the problem of too few people being shot by rifles of any kind which always gets brought up an any legislative hearing to talk about an assault weapons ban.

The increased lethality of rifles over pistols should also do wonders toward restoring Chicago to an "over 100 murders a year" city this year.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Biological Warfare

Here's something usually thought of in rather apocalyptic terms such as the inadvertent or intentional release of an unstoppable plague with near 100% fatality, or worse yet, an organism with 100% fatality and an appetite for anything organic which results in the entire planetary biosphere being reduced to "gray goo". Here's an example which while not as broad spread, is about as disgusting; body lice.

The obvious solution would be to pick this fellow up, de-louse him, find out where he's been living and disinfect that, then turn him loose with the requirement that he wear a Hartz Flea and Tick collar for the next 6 months.

This being Berkley, there's always the chance that he's a student or perhaps one of the faculty, but that's a chance the public health people will have to take. Killing that many lice might bring accusations of genocide.

Obama's Next Calling

I have to admit to being of two minds on this one. It seems there's a movement afoot to bring O'Bungler to France and run him for the presidency there in the upcoming elections. No specific party is mentioned but in France this makes little enough difference.

The up side of this is that we get rid of the man who with 8 years of occupation in the Oval office, arguably still has no executive experience. OFA (ACORN) will be devastated especially if he takes Valerie Jarret with him.

The down side is that the French would be getting a candidate who will stand four square with the rioters in the banlieues around Paris, probably writing the actions off as a pollution reduction effort since a burned out car cannot be driven and therefore pollutes less.
Low pollution vehicle, manufacturing process.

Jokes about the legendary manliness of French men and the martial prowess of the French military aside, I really don't hate the French enough to wish this fool on them. The North Koreans maybe, but not the French.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

WaPo Reveals Its New Mission Statement

I get a daily e-mail news summary from the Washington Post. I frequently have to check to see that the Bolsheviks haven't stormed the White House and replaced the Trump administration. Here's the new banner:
A forthright and uncompromising mission statement if ever I saw one. Ace of Spades has suggested alternative lines, each more lurid than the last.

UPDATE: Post denies that this is actually a mission statement. (FAKE NEWS ALERT?)

REAL UPDATE: Found the link.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

EPA Head To Visit Colorado

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

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

Monday, February 20, 2017

Schrödinger's Cat Box

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

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

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

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

Sanctuary Cities - Local Relief?

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

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

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

BYOD - (Drugs)

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

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

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

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

Friday, February 17, 2017

Odds On Trump

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

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

Immigration - The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

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

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

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

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

Crazy talk.

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

Exercise In Brevity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Science Marches Onward

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

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

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

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

Got possibilities though, no?

Thursday, February 16, 2017

QOTD - Fairness

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

Sunday, February 12, 2017

National Brotherhood Week

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

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

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

Global Warming - How To Read Graphs

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

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

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

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

Friday, February 10, 2017


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

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

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Colorado Gun Laws - Again

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

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

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Transportation - Fun Stuff

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

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

ATF Considering Reforms

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

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

Monday, February 6, 2017

Bill To Hold Sanctuary Pols Responsible

A Colorado legislator has introduced a bill to the State House to make playing the sanctuary game illegal:
The Colorado bill creates the crime of “rendering assistance to an illegal alien through a sanctuary jurisdiction,” a Class 4 felony, and describes how victims can seek charges against public officials who have a hand in giving undocumented immigrants safe haven. It would also make it possible for victims to sue elected officials for personal injury and property damage committed by immigrants.
Sounds great and legislators from other states have taken notice and introduced similar legislation there.

Alas, this will never become law here by the usual route since the Donks hold the House and the Governorship here. The bill is expected to go directly to the "kill committee" never to be seen again. Well, maybe not never, as there is talk of introducing it in the Senate where the Reps have a slim majority, following which it will be sent to the House where it will be killed again.

Of course there is always the possibility that this sort of treatment will lead to the measure being put forward as a citizen initiative where I suspect it would fare better.Those of you in red states, feel free to pull up a copy and pass it on to your local representatives.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

QOTD - Kristallnacht in Berkeley

Happening here.
Or as a friend commented this morning:
 "If Trump is Hitler, why are all the Brown Shirts Democrats?" dcb

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Future Of Transportation - Elio Motors

Let me say up front that I'm an enthusiastic fan of the Elio vehicle. Having built something similar, if nowhere near as good looking, I believe that Paul Elio has the right idea. He also has the right marketing approach, building what is essentially a fully enclosed 3-wheel motorcycle and calling it a commuter vehicle. Think about it. Small engine plus very light weight equals impressive gas mileage and reasonable performance at a modest price. Now here's the problem.

I've been following Scott Adams' blog for about a year now learning a bit more about marketing and business management, and today he put up a post that summarizes what's wrong with the Elio project.
There are two basic styles of management. One is the cautious style of Fortune 500 companies. The other is the rapid-iteration and A/B testing style of entrepreneurs. Trump is bringing the latter style to the office. The markers for this style of management include:
1. Rapid and decisive hiring and firing.
2. Bias toward action.
3. Rapid A/B testing. Release the early beta version and judge reactions. Adjust accordingly.
4. Emphasis on the psychology of success. Entrepreneurial management includes lots of persuasion and bullshit because entrepreneurs have to fake it until they make it. In other words, they have to create demand via persuasion.
Compare that management style to a large company style. Big companies move slowly in both hiring and firing. They get caught in “analysis paralysis” because no one wants to be seen as making a mistake. And they don’t do rapid testing and iteration with consumers. They try to get it right before any customers see the product.
Elio Motors started out with a very simple and austere vehicle made from available OTC parts that would have provided carpool lane access, all weather capability, modest price, and attractive styling. I saw this vehicle and got to sit in it although no one was allowed to drive it. Everyone liked it pretty much as it was and the question most often asked was "What's the Sport model going to be like?"

I don't remember how long ago this was, about 5 or 6 I think, but production was supposedly about a year out and about 20,000 deposits had been taken for the first ones. Note the steps listed above for successful entrepreneurial management, especially steps 3 and 4 which I was expecting would come next.

Instead the press releases were headlining the retired executives from behemoth auto makers who were being hired to oversee the operations of the company as though this was the next Ford Motor Company, emerging fully formed from the brow of the founder.  I don't know what other states have done, but the effort by Elio to get the vehicle removed from the mandatory helmet laws in a lot of states has also gotten it removed from the motorcycle exemption to the HOV lanes here in Colorado, removing a big reason for buying one in the first place. Wait long enough and the government will regulate you right out of business since if no one owns one, no one will be harmed by the regulation, right?

So here they are 5 or 6 years later, acting like a behemoth company, but with no product to sell, showing off the 6th iteration of the machine as though it were the Gen 6 release of the already best-selling 6000 SUX*. Compare this to the description of large company management style in the Adams piece and you now understand why the Elio vehicle will probably never see production, which is really too bad because I want one. A Sport model, since I don't commute to work any more and don't worry if it gets less than 80 mpg.

*Obscure movie reference to a fancy car that gets terrible gas milage.