Tuesday, December 30, 2008

War on Piracy

We (the civilized world) are being entirely too nice to the scum. In this instance, we should have sunk the boat, and machine-gunned the survivors. Heck, crabs and sharks need a happy new year too.

Monday, December 29, 2008

End Of The Year

I have it on excellent authority* that the world will end on Dec 31, at 12 midnight, so kiss your sweetie early, then drop your pants, and kiss your ass goodbye.

Before that happens, however, I'd like to recommend to you a summary of the years high and low lights by Dave Barry, who can see the humorous side of most things.

Remember Earth Day? Those who didn't celebrate it, didn't notice it, and those who did, smoked so much weed that they forgot what year it was:

In environmental news, Earth Hour is observed on March 29, when cities around the world display their commitment to conserving energy by turning out their lights for one hour. When the lights come back on, Detroit is missing.
If you know what happened to Detroit, please keep quiet. Without it, unemployment and crime both go down 2 points.

*I was talking to myself. We took a vote, and that was the outcome. See? Democracy in action.

Wild Pig

Potentially another really good reason to keep a firearm around the house. Chicago Boyz reports that the porcine population in the US has broken out of Washington, and is rapidly spreading all across the US.

The map shows feral pig populations from Texas all the way to the east coast. The map, however, does not include Javelina and Russian Boar populations. I know that Javelina are fount throughout New Mexico and into Arizona, and Russian Boar are fount in NW Colorado.

Noting that the animals are thick in California, and a major pest on the Catalina Islands there, the high population is blamed on a local aversion to hunting in general. Not by hunters, but by legislators.

Which brings to mind the story of the Indian Raja who imposed a complete ban on hunting of any game, for any reason in his district. The place was soon over run with tigers, elephant, leopard, buffalo, and all manner of dangerous and pestiferous beasts.
The locals quickly grew tired of the depredations of the animals, and with pitchforks and torches, threw the Raja out of office.
This is a classic example of the reign being called on account of the game.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Ban Santa Claus

In the wake of the shooting in CA where the distraught ex-husband showed up in a Santa suit and killed eight people and himself. Paul Helmke of the Brady Bunch, has finally gotten the expected vale-of-tears statement released.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and community touched by this terrible tragedy. It is profoundly sad that a distraught man would take up arms to kill his family and others. In this season of hope, however, we should not despair and say this kind of violence is inevitable. We should not tolerate the steady drumbeat of gun deaths and injuries that tears our families and communities apart. We can and should do all that is within our power to find solutions to gun violence. In the New Year, we hope that our nation's leaders have the courage and conviction to take steps that will help protect our families and communities from gun violence.

To which let me be the first to add:

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and community touched by this terrible tragedy. It is profoundly sad that a distraught man would don a Santa suit to kill his family and others. In this season of hope, however, we should not despair and say this kind of violence, which we have also seen at Wal-Mart, is inevitable. We should not tolerate the steady drumbeat of Christmas deaths and injuries that tear our families and communities apart. We can and should do all that is within our power to find solutions to holiday violence. In the New Year, we hope that our nation's leaders have the courage and conviction to take steps that will help protect our families and communities from Santa Claus."

Which makes just as much sense as Helmke's diatribe. I would point out that all those people didn't get killed because one man had a gun, they died because ONLY one man had a gun.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Bullwinkles Poetry Corner

Music hath charms to sooth the savage breast, and relieve the boredom of sitting in a sandbagged emplacement waiting for something to happen. Thanks to the Jawas for this one:

Friday, December 26, 2008

Banning Motorcycles

The Devil is reporting that some of the Europeans, have come up with what they think of as a swell idea for reducing the roadkill count among their citizenry. It's called "Project Zero", presumably for the eventual yearly fatality count.

Motorbikes should be banned as part of a plan to eliminate road deaths, a safety expert has claimed.

The goal of stopping deaths on the roads has been set by a number of countries including Norway, Australia and Sweden, where the programme has been called “Vision Zero”.

But Norwegian safety expert Rune Elvik said for it to happen, policy makers should consider the radical step of banning motorbikes.

“If they are serious about these lofty road safety ambitions that have been announced then I think such a discussion is needed,” he said in an interview with Motor Cycle News.

“Motorcycling would definitely not be allowed.”
Europe is considered, by the left-leaning Illuminati in this country, to be the future utopia that the US should strive for, with crushing taxes, nanny statism, and a rapidly rising crime rate. Soon, they won't be allowed to go outdoors without a helmet and knee and elbow pads.


These little cuties will soon be gracing the seafood platters at new years parties and Dead Lobster franchises all over the world, as they seem to be quite numerous, and to date, essentially un-harvested due to the extreme depth at which they live.

Sure, they look like lice in their natural state, but as a commenter remarked, once deep fried in batter, no one will notice.

Original article here, courtesy of the Mail.

The problems will not manifest until the adults notice that their sprat are being captured by the bipeds on the surface, and come up to straighten us out on that count.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Econ 101

This time it's job creation, in the sense that FDR "created" jobs by having the unemployed create trails in the national parks, using shovels and rakes, regardless of whatever other qualifications the men might have. Obie is proposing a $750Bn program to create 10 million jobs. This comes to $75,000 per job created.

“If we write a check for $75,000 to each of the unemployed, we won’t have anyone ‘unemployed,’” said former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill.
Even better, if you write such a check, this becomes declarable income, subject to taxation, at the going rate for Federal, State, Local, and FICA. The article suggests that the cost of creating a "make work" government job is, in fact, significantly higher than the $75K allotted.

If putting people to work is the goal, we could get rid of all the heavy earth-moving equipment and go back to digging ditches with shovels.

Why stop there? If it takes one man two days to dig a trench three feet deep and 30 feet long with a shovel, how long would it take 100 men using spoons?

Somehow, there is a vision in my demented mind, of 100 college professors, toiling away to dig the ditch for a new municipal water line, using the large stainless steel spoons they use at the jails. I suppose the professors of archaeology would feel right at home, although some of the others might be somewhat put out. I suppose their former employers could offer credits in archaeology to the English Lit profs for digging, and English Lit credits to the archaeologists for listening to the English Lit profs complain in Iambic Pentameter about the lack of respect they get from the Poly Sci major who's been assigned to the project as supervisor.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Fallback Position

In about a month, I'm eligible to retire and collect social security. Rich Galen has looked into this and comes up with some rather depressing numbers, although as a syndicated writer, he doesn't actually have a job.
I tried looking up me status with the .gov, but there seems to be some kind of secret handshake to which I'm not privy, apparently involving the spelling of my mothers maiden name.
Anyway, if the economy goes into the dumper, I could throw in the towel, and officially retire next month, on about $20K/year. Actually, there may be something to this.

It seems that if you are collecting Social Security between the ages of 62 and 66 you have to give back fifty cents of every benefit dollar you earn over about $13,000 per year. So, if you make anything over about $55,000 per year your Social Security benefit drops to zero.

Plus, you have to pay Social Security taxes on the money you make so you are actually in the hole by starting your benefit at 62 and continuing to work at a job that pays more than about a grand a month.

If I actually get a job that pays my usual wage, I'll be paying SS tax on the money anyway, so no real loss there. What I'll have is an emergency backup income should the bottom fall out, and there's no work to be had at all.
I could get to like this, sitting on the back porch, shooting squirrels off the back fence, apologizing to my neighbor, across the back fence, and ignoring the wife's honey-do lists. Of course, if the economy improves (cue wild laughter), I can always find some kind of job to pay the handyman D'wife hires to replace me, and finishing his screw-ups, or in case one of my hobbyist projects involves words like "self-propelled" or "crew-served".

Monday, December 22, 2008

Econ 101

Think if you have ever heard this: "I am a producer of (sugar, automobiles, street music...) and am unable to compete with (foreign sugar, foreign autos, better musicians) and so must receive a subsidy (to be collected from my competitors.

Here is an explanation of what this is, and at some depth, the damage it does.

The income derived from possessing a special privilege is called "rent" (which, by the way, has nothing to do with the monthly payments that tenants make to landlords). Rents themselves are just a transfer of value from some people to others. So, for example, when each American pays an extra $10 annually for sugar because of the special protections that Uncle Sam gives to American sugar farmers, that $10 winds up in the hands of sugar farmers. Each of us who doesn't grow sugar is worse off by $10, while those who do grow it are better off by the sum total.
As someone else remarked, "when the politician controls buying and selling, the first thing bought and sold is the politician."

That $10 for the sugar grower comes generally from a tariff on imported sugar. It's why the government pays ADM a generous subsidy for their corn-based ethanol while hitting imported Brazilian cane-based ethanol with a $.58/gal tariff. As a by-product of this effort, the price of all the meat you buy is increased as the feed corn supply is bid up by the oil companies in an effort to keep in congresses good graces.

It would be a nice constitutional amendment to forbid the government from becoming involved in the operations of business.

Speed Cameras

The utility of an object is in what you make of it. A rock, by itself, lying on the ground, has no great utility, but fasten it to a stick, and you're on your way to ruling the world. Here is a story that renews my faith in the ingenuity of today's youth, and makes me think that some of them will become productive tool-making members of society.

Originating from Wootton High School, the parent said, students duplicate the license plates by printing plate numbers on glossy photo paper, using fonts from certain websites that "mimic" those on Maryland license plates. They tape the duplicate plate over the existing plate on the back of their car and purposefully speed through a speed camera, the parent said. The victim then receives a citation in the mail days later.

Students are even obtaining vehicles from their friends that are similar or identical to the make and model of the car owned by the targeted victim, according to the parent.

Now ask yourself: What kind of car does your most un-favorite legislator drive. You know, the one who is always putting up the nanny-state legislation to ban smoking in bars, shooting squirrels off your back porch, or putting those stupid cameras up in the first place.

If you think writing the legislator a letter gets little enough attention, think what 15 or 20 speeding tickets will do. HINT: Do not use the legislators vanity plate that identifies the driver as exempt from tickets. Use the plate from their personal car.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Best Lawn Flamingo Ever!

I want one. The transport and decommissioning costs can be sent to Obies new education program, as I'll give walk-through tours to school kids, on presentation of a report card with an A grade in science or math.

NASA has announced plans for disposal of the Space Shuttle fleet and spare main engines. The space agency intends to donate one orbiter to the Smithsonian museum, and give the others to "educational institutions, science museums, and other appropriate organizations".

The proud new owners will need to stump up an estimated $42m in decommissioning and delivery charges for a shuttle and $400-$800k for a main engine, exclusive of shipping.

So it will likely overhang the front yard into the street a bit. I'll put it on a pedestal high enough to clear the local Winnebagos.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Fusion Experiment "positive enough"

Apparently it came out near neutral, mostly because no one wanted to stick out a neck and say yes or no.

I wrote this up earlier noting that the successive experiments seem to be going in the right direction, and further funding from this one was dependent on its success in the series. It seems there was enough success to justify further work, and this time it's to be a net energy producer.

Go, go, go.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Gunney Claus

There's another internet meme going around that asks what 5 items you'd like Gunny-claus to leave under the tree.
Several options come to mind. Since this is Gunny-claus and not someone more omnipotent, I'm afraid that title deed to Puerto-Rico is probably not going to happen.

Since this has to be gun related, how about s shiny new Dillon reloading press, and 4 of the models Dillon uses in their catalog. OTOH, the maintenance on those honeys would kill me.

But I'd die happy.

Closer to reality, how about:
1) CZ 75B compact, w/2 spare mags
2) CZ 97B w/2 spare mags
3) Remington 700 (.308) w/ heavy match barrel, bipod, and a scope that would make the Hubble jealous.
4) A good IWB holster for item 1 above
5) 1000 rds of ammo for each of items 1 thru 3

See, in addition to being good, I'm also not greedy.

Quid Pro Quo

President-elect Oboe has nominated our own Senator Salazar to be Interior secretary, which means that Governor Ritter gets to select a replacement for him. In most states, the governor defers to the party senior membership, or sometimes the departing Senator, if he's still alive to register an opinion, in return for some support or help for his own office. This is SOP, and not the least bit questionable.

In Chicago, this means a big bag of money, which, while looked upon askance, may not be too much of a problem if you already own the judges.

Which brings me to the burning question of the day: What's a Senate seat worth in Colorado?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Star Wars

If this is the one I remember, the video is about 20 years old. In practice, the warhead, which you are seeing in the video, would be traveling at some significant fraction of 20,000 mph, launched either from a ground based interceptor, or from a satellite, which would be carrying multiple rockets. It would contain no explosives.

Congress at the time was controlled by the Dems, and Reagan was prez. Reagan promoted missile defense, and the Dems took the position that since it could never work, no money should be spent on it. Losing the presidency, however, sent the message that if they wanted to keep their seats, then some money must be spent.

The Dem approach was to vote R&D money on whatever they figured was least likely to actually work. In the aerospace biz, our mission was to prove them wrong in the least amount of time. Upon completion of a successful demonstration of the technology, the congress would declare the project to be an unnecessary provocation, de-fund it, and move to the next most unlikely item on the list.

In fairly short order, we had field demos ready for the Space Based Laser, Ground Based Laser, the Kinetic Kill Vehicle (from the video) AKA "Smart Rocks", and were making progress on "Brilliant Pebbles" and "Savant Sand".

Somewhere in my collection of memorabilia, I have a cartoon that illustrates about 12 or 18 of the more popular systems. On average, one of our systems was smarter than Tip O'Neill, speaker of the House, and prime enemy of Star Wars, as the press named it.

Most of the projects that were publicly discussed, were covered in Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine (our motto: If you can't keep it secret from us, you can't keep it secret from the Russians, either). One of the first projects to get R&D funding was the Space Based Laser, since a collection of physicists, who should have known better, had just published a lengthy article in Scientific American, essentially proving that it couldn't be built, couldn't be launched, and wouldn't work anyway. After all, it was to be a 5 meter diameter, 25 MW beast running on Hydrogen and Fluorine.

About 8 months after the money had been awarded, the contractor, Rockwell, I think, rolled out a 1 meter 5 MW proof of principle laser, and asked if a spot on the shuttle could be made available for a test in space.

The phrase "pants shitting hysteria" had not yet been invented, but it would have fit nicely, the reaction of the Dems. Funding was immediately cancelled, and the go-ahead was given to begin testing the Ground Based Laser, which was expected to hit a target on the other side of the world using 2 mirrors in orbit. The former Space Based Laser prototype was located at Sandia labs in New Mexico. The target was conveniently located in the Falklands Islands. Setup took 4 months, and the target was hit on the first try. More PSH, and funding cutoff, and the next item was funded, which I don't remember.

As I remember, it seemed to never take us more than a year to do the impossible and get our funding cut off. Fun times.

Our successes bothered the Russians, too, and they put an enormous amount of money into counteracting whatever we did, and eventually went broke and collapsed.

Star Wars; the best weapon system we never built.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas Shopping

Took advantage of the mild weather yesterday to putt around town looking for some powder for the reloading bench. Went to 2 Sportsmans Warehouse locations, and found both to be sold out of my favorite flavor (Titegroup).

Come on, people, it's just powder, not a brand new AR with hyper capacity magazines. Calm down, don't be panic buying everything from the gun stores. Take a breather, and let me get my stuff. Then you can resume the panic, refreshed by the break and cuppa coffee.

While I don't expect Obies administration to be much of a success, at least nobody has made the news yet by replacing the white picket fence in front of their suburban ranchette with sandbags.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Political Corruption

Here is a piece on political corruption, with state-by-state rankings of the top 35.
Here are the top 10.

1. Louisiana(7.67)
2. Mississippi (6.66)
3. Kentucky (5.18)
4. Alabama (4.76)
5. Ohio(4.69)
6. Illinois (4.68)
7. Pennsylvania (4.55)
8. Florida (4.47)
9. New Jersey (4.32)
10. New York (3.95)

Now why should Illinois rank so low? Well it's because the ranking is based on convictions for political corruption per 100,000 residents. Granted, you have to come up with some way to rank this sort of thing, but I believe the reason Illinois isn't at or much closer to the top, is because the criteria for rank depends on convictions.

When you own the judges, convictions are much harder to get, something the rubes in Miss, Ky, and Alabama haven't figured out yet.

My own state comes in at 29, something I expect to improve (?) as we now have Dem. majorities in both houses, and the Governors seat.

No Gaps In My Knowledge

There Are 0 Gaps in Your Knowledge

Where you have gaps in your knowledge:

No Gaps!

Where you don't have gaps in your knowledge:








I confess to having farmed one question out, as poetry has little enough interest for me. I enjoy this sort of thing, as it takes less time than making level 20 of Doom of the Universe, and occasionally provides some useful information. I wonder about this one, though, as lately my brain is reminding me of a chunk of Swiss cheese.

Thanks to Carnaby Fudge for pointing this out.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bush Depression

Next year, this will be called the Bush Depression.

Obie promises to fix it with a massive public works program on roads and bridges. They used to do this sort of thing regularly in the South.

I want to be the guy with the shotgun.

Quote of the Week

From the revrend Jeremiah Wright:

"Today. Is December 7. The day that this government killed. Over 80000. Japanese civilians. At Hiroshima in 1941. Two days before giving an additional. 64000. Japanese civilians. At Nagasaki by dropping nuclear bombs on innocent. People."
When you're up on the pulpit, shoutin' the devil, coherency isn't a prerequisite. Besides, it was retribution for the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Germans, right?

The U.N. in Action

2 days ago, on U.N. declared International Anti-corruption Day, Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested. And here you thought the U.N. never did anything useful.

It's as much fun as, as Tom Lehr once pointed out, that on the first day of National Brotherhood Week, Malcom X was assassinated.

I'm sure there are more noteworthy events like this that occur on appropriately auspicious days. Can anyone think of any?

Business Plan

Imagine, for a moment, that there is a product out there, that a lot of people buy. Let's say they are Widgets. Now imagine that you have come up with a process that will add a Frammis to every widget, at some cost, which would be added to the price of the widget.

So you visit widget factories all over the country, and try to get them to buy your process, and add the frammises to their widgets. Problem is that the consumers really have little use for frammisses, and find the cost of having one attached to each widget to be prohibitive, to the point that they insist to the marketing types that they would buy their widgets from another source, rather than bear the added cost of having a frammis attached.

At this point, it doesn't look good for your plan to become rich, but wait! You go to the government, and convince them that there is some benefit to them, however slight, to requiring a frammis with every widget. Try not to mention that you hold the patent on frammis attachment, it might look self-serving. Speak, instead of campaign contributions for forward-looking politicians. Got possibilities? Here it is.

Legislation to trace ammunition is pending in several states, and many gun owners are concerned that it is just another attempt by anti-gun groups to violate citizens' Second Amendment rights.

An organization known as Ammunition Accountability is pushing to make coding technology mandatory across the nation. Its website claims it is a group of "gun crime victims, industry representatives, law enforcement, public officials, public policy experts, and more" who are "saving lives one bullet at a time."

These guys already tried to sell the idea on its own merits, such as they were.

According to Seattle Weekly, the men couldn't find an ammunition manufacturer to agree to stamp bullets, so they hired a lobbyist to push for state legislation to require the laser coding. They launched the Ammunition Accountability website and successfully introduced bills in the following 18 states: Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee and Washington.
No doubt pushing the idea that this would somehow benefit "the children", who are, I suspect, limited to the inventors own children.

If states pass the legislation, manufacturers will be required to laser etch a serial number into the back of each bullet and the inside of cartridge casings, a patented process developed by Seattle, Wash., resident Russ Ford and his business partners, Steve Mace and John Knickerbocker.
RTWT. Then drop your legislator a line pointing out the self-serving and monopolistic nature of this idea. Point out that someone of his or her stature shouldn't sell out for less than, say, a seat in the US Senate.

You might also ask how long you will go to jail for if ammo stolen from you, but not reported, as the theft wasn't noticed, is used in a crime. Do you get charged with the crime, or do you just get 5 years for failure to report the theft?

According to its sample legislation, manufacturers would be forced to code all ammunition sold in the state. Private citizens and retail outlets would be required to dispose of all non-coded ammunition no later than Jan. 1, 2011.
A friend of mine has a Brown Bess musket. He casts his own musket balls. Who's going to make, ship and sell laser-encoded musket balls?
What about shotgun shells? I could see the 18" coach gun becoming popular with folks outside the cowboy action fraternity.

Machiavelli famously observed that the successful prince could, and should, be freely generous with other peoples money.

Ammunition Accountability explains its system would require states to establish databases to track coded ammunition for handguns and assault rifles. The databases would be funded by a surcharge of up to five cents per bullet.

At that rate, a brick of .22 would go up by $27.50, nearly tripling the price of plinking.

When it comes time to dispose of non-coded ammo, does anything come to mind as a target?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Gun Show Weekend

Went to the Gun show Sunday, where I worked with the CSSA. I was told that Saturday was a Fire Marshall day in which so many people showed up, that the venue was at capacity. No one else admitted until somebody leaves. Cool.

Of course there is a down side. If any of the vendors there had any Titegroup powder, it was gone by the time I got there.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Fixing the Economy

Now this is one of the better ideas I've seen, proposed by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R.-Tex.). He suggests that instead of the congress deciding who gets big bags of money, they simply give the taxpayers a 2-month break from federal and FICA taxes, and let us give the money to whomever we deem worthy.

Look at your last pay stub, and see how much that adds up to. It's a sizable chunk of change. Of course the problem with this is that it's a one-time thing, and everyone, knowing that their check will get dramatically smaller shortly, will likely just rat-hole the money, instead of putting a down payment on a Chevy Volt.

The good side, in the slightly longer term, is that people are going to be mightily pissed when the size of the tax bite in their paychecks is brought home like this.

Seasons Greetings

Back in about 650 AD, Mohammed invented Islam to help hold his empire together. Later, a Science fiction writer remarked that if he wanted to make the really big bucks, he'd start his own religion (Scientology). Shortly after that, Ron Karenga invented a holiday specifically for blacks, so they wouldn't have to celebrate the white mans holiday. Karenga's problem was that he forgot to set up the rest of the religion with himself as prophet, which would have been far more lucrative than being a head of Black Studies at Cal State Long Beach.

People think it’s African, but it’s not,” admitted Karenga in a 1978 Washington Post interview. “I put it around Christmas because I knew that’s when a lot of ‘bloods’ [Blacks] would be partying.”
So party on, dudes. Happy Kwanzza.

Party Animals

Political party animals, that is.

Found in Samizdata as a quote of the day:

[A despot still has good moments; an assembly of despots never does. If one tyrant mistreats me, I can get round him by means of his mistress, his priest, or his page-boy. But a staid company of tyrants is impervious to temptation.]

- Voltaire.

Voltaire recognized a “staid” company of tyrants, but missed the mark of describing the childlike company we are facing in the US congress. The immediate and obvious way to deal with them is to bribe 51% of them. This raises the price of petitioning for redress of grievances, but it is still possible. Even better is when the tyrants organize themselves in a system based on seniority. Here, one only needs to bribe the more senior, and perhaps one or two of his advisors or cohorts. The drawback is that by the time the Senator or Representative has acquired such seniority, he’s so set in his ways, that the cost of changing his mind can be prohibitive.

The break point is when the cost of bribing the official becomes equal to the cost of replacing him. Incumbents are notoriously hard to displace, especially in a two-party system where voting one crook out means voting what you may consider another, even worse crook in. Thus, the best place to strike, is in the primaries. Incumbents are aware of this, and have done their best to insure that the party is solidly controlled by their allies. This level is where the myriad 3rd parties actually belong. Republicans, for example, should be better organized among the Libertarian, Constitutional, Conservative, or whatever, wings. This makes it harder for the incumbent to sweep troublesome challengers under the rug.

Absent term limits, it makes it easier to replace politicians who have exceeded their shelf life, and become a liability to the party and the country.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Merry Christmas to All

And to all a good night.

Hunting Season

In Jolly Olde England, where it appears that at least some of the rural sorts aren't having any of that restriction on firearms thing. Anyway the gent in the forefront looks to be carrying some curio and relic qualified leftover from several wars ago.

In any case, as I have remarked, if you can tow or carry it in a half-ton pickup, it should be beneath the notice of the government.

H/T to FMFT for directing me to this one over at Theo Spark, which is at least 60% safe for work.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Meyers-Briggs of the blog

The analysis indicates that the author of http://www.billllsidlemind.blogspot.com is of the type:

ESTP - The Doers

The active and play-ful type. They are especially attuned to people and things around them and often full of energy, talking, joking and engaging in physical out-door activities.

The Doers are happiest with action-filled work which craves their full attention and focus. They might be very impulsive and more keen on starting something new than following it through. They might have a problem with sitting still or remaining inactive for any period of time.

I personally test differently. I forget the type, but it was one of the less common ones. Anyway the test is here.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas Shopping Made Easy

Thanks to Dave Barry, one of my favorite sources of literary entertainment.

I liked the" emerging zombie yard sculpture", item 11 on the list. Show the neighbors where your interests lie. Let them know that's why you have that huge gun collection, and enough ammo to last to the end of the invasion. Who needs gnomes, pink flamingos, or barnyard animals, unless you're REALLY in to barnyard animals, in which case maybe you better forget the whole thing.

Plant this baby in your front yard, and retire to watch "The Return of the Son of the Bride of Frankenstein vs. the Living, Laughing Dead II".

Monday, December 1, 2008

Executive Bling

Obie is getting his spouse a really nice $30,000 Rhodium and diamond ring. Publicly this is thanks for her support over the last 2 years of campaigning.

In most of Chicago, this is known as "hush money".

Welcome back out from under the bus Michelle.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Bombay B.S

Oh yes, one other thing about the event. The bombay paper that wrote it up described the terrorists armament as:

Every man was given six to seven magazines with fifty bullets each, eight hand grenades per terrorist with one AK-57, an automatic loading revolver and a supply of dry fruits.
Typically AK magazines hold 20-30 rounds with 50 being rather rare, but what I really, really want to see is that AK-57 automatic loading revolver. I shoot revolvers myself, and that would be a real boon because reloading always takes so long. I hope the dry fruits aren't part of the process. I'm familiar with the external ballistics of some vegetables (pumpkins) and believe me, they're nothing to write home about.

Bombay Massacre

One of the terrorists was photographed walking nonchalantly through the rail station with his rifle and backpack, by a photographer from the local paper. His observation was that there were plenty of armed police in the station, but without orders from their superiors, none would draw his weapon and fire, even after some of the policemen had been shot.

But what angered Mr D'Souza almost as much were the masses of armed police hiding in the area who simply refused to shoot back. "There were armed policemen hiding all around the station but none of them did anything," he said. "At one point, I ran up to them and told them to use their weapons. I said, 'Shoot them, they're sitting ducks!' but they just didn't shoot back."
After all was said and done, only one of the attackers survived the experience. Notwithstanding their inability to shoot, the Bombay police department apparently have the technique of extracting information from suspects down pat.

But it seems the police grilling was so intense that before he left the hospital for an undisclosed location, he pleaded with the police and the medical staff to kill him. “Now, I don’t want to live,” he said.
There's criminals, then there's REAL criminals, then there's these guys. In these guys case, remember you're not really abusing your detainee unless he's begging you to kill him. At this point, you know you're doing it right. Jack Bauer would approve.

The terrorists came to Bombay from Pakistan. The Paki intelligence bureau is little more than a branch of Al Quaida, and we've actually used them to get Taliban fighters to leave Pakistan to avoid an impending bombing, only to cut the fighters off, and bomb them in Afghanistan, where they thought they'd be safe. The head of Paki intelligence actually visited Bombay to expresses his shock (Shocked, you hear!) at the attack, and deny all involvement in it. More likely a post action evaluation.

Much discussion has ensued regarding the probability of such an action having the same success here in the US. In Texas, some 3% of the civilian population has CCW, which is comparable to most states with shall-issue laws. There are armed cops in most public venues, such as train stations and airports, and most of them are not shy about using their weapons. Heck, in the Aurora Mall, East of Denver, the police would arrive in time to find 2 dead terrorists, no weapons, and no one who had seen anything. And the Aurora cops are not slow.

Post action evaluation: 10 terrorists in a densely populated area, facing no real resistance killed about 150 people. That's about 15 each. The shooter at Va Tech killed 31 with only a pistol. For being "heavily armed" and "highly trained" and operating in a classic gun free zone, I'd have to say their performance was, at best mediocre. Here's a list of mass killings for comparison. Note that most of them were done solo.

Bombay was a soft target, and easy to hit. The US would be somewhat more difficult, depending on organization and timing. Obie promised to leave the middle east with his tail between his legs, like a whipped Spaniard. These guys will be wanting to remind him of this, and apply whatever pressure they can to speed up the process. Something to look forward to, along with getting your CCW. As they say: When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Notwithstanding the earlier recipe for turkey, I want to say there's probably nothing better than Mesquite-smoked, bacon wrapped, Jimson-weed stuffed haunch of organically grown, free-range prairie dog, served with a bottle of good Tequila. The feast that keeps on giving.

Somali Pirates

They have struck again, this time picking up a chemical tanker. No word on what chemicals might be on board. The ship had 3 British security guards on it, and we now know who NOT to hire for that job.

The law giving to the US congress the authority to issue letters of marque and reprisal are still on the books. Blackwater seems to be a prime candidate for one. According to international convention, a ship on the high seas is sovereign territory of whatever country who's flag it's flying. If pirates are captured, they are subject to that law, which in the case of the Saudi oil tanker, would likely be beheading. Ships captains are requested to bring any captured pirates to the country in question for trial, but recognizing that this isn't always a practical notion, allows the capturing party to summarily hang them on the spot.

The obvious solution to the problem is to allow merchant ships to go armed, either with personal weapons for the crew, or with larger weaponry mounted to the bow and stern. The problem with this is that when a merchant ship pulls into port, they are subject to the local laws concerning weapons, and the less stable governments are very touchy about who is allowed weapons, to the point that even locking individual weapons up while in port won't keep the local authorities happy.

Designing a shipping container to contain firing ports and a gun nest sounds like fun, placing one on each of the four corners of a merchant ship would be easy enough, provided the ships owners are willing to give up 4 cargo positions for armament. OTOH, back in the day (1802 or thereabouts), a working solution was developed by the US that involved naval bombardment of the pirates stronghold combined with a land attack by marines.

Somalia has no functioning government, which means it would be easy to locate a local panjandrum and pay him enough to sign a treaty giving us the use of the pirates base as a US naval base. All we have to do is go in and control the local vermin, establish a perimiter about 1 mile greater than the range of any local ordnance, and make sure everyone in the neighborhood understands our "zero tolerance" policy regarding perimiter violations. I think this would work out in the long run.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Uber Cool Nerd King

You can't really claim the title unless you have one of these:

Heck, I thought the video toaster was much the same thing. Gee, just put a small packet of jelly in your leather laptop case, and get a flash drive with a knife blade on one end (Hey! That's a GOOD idea), and you're ready to fend off starvation while you work.

Details on this techno-wonder are here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Who said cooking a turkey had to be hard. Here's a recipe from the comment section at curmudgeonly and skeptical that makes the job easy and entertaining as well.

H.T. to olds-mo-william

Here is a Turkey recipe that also includes the use of popcorn as a stuffing.

8 - 15 lb. turkey
1 cup melted butter
1 cup stuffing
1 cup uncooked popcorn

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush turkey well with melted butter salt, and pepper. Fill cavity with stuffing and popcorn. Place in baking pan with the neck end toward the back of the oven. Listen for the popping sounds. When the turkey's ass blows the oven door open and the bird flies across the room, it's done.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Obie Makes Final Cabinet Appointments

As reported here at Iowahawk, Obie has filled the last two open positions in his government, appointing Bill Clinton to the position of President of the United States, and himself to Assistant Undersecretary in the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

I no longer harbor any doubts about the future of the country. None whatever.

Nerdiness Test

NerdTests.com says I'm an Uber Cool Nerd King.  What are you?  Click here!

I haven't looked at a comic book since I was in Jr.High. It was Classics Illustrated.

Let's Go Flying

Thanks to Bijou Renaissance Man for finding this tidbit. Why build a model plane when you can build a model fish, complete with muscle-like actuators.

Air Art from flip on Vimeo.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Believe the Experts

Way back when, which date I don't remember, an Italian wrote a book on how to get to the top and stay there. It's a classic. It's everything you'll learn in Business school except how to actually cook the books yourself, but that's because book-cooking is something best left to expert hirelings, who can be done away with if anyone starts asking questions.
From the comments here at the Volokh Conspiricy:

"There has never been a case in the history of the world in which a Prince whose subjects hated him did not disarm those subjects, that his subjects may not depose him by force of arms," is a fair consensus. Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince, "On Castles."

A bit further down in the same set of comments, is a discussion on the VPCs (Violence Policy Center, AKA Brady Bunch, AKA Handgun Control) in which they discuss long-range, high-power sniper (AKA hunting) rifles in which the author states:

300 meters is only slightly less than the length of two football fields.
Lots of good commentary here.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Promise Marker

Shamelessly stolen from Don Luskin, Obie promised us "change". So what sort of change will we get? Did you think it would be for the better? I'm putting this here, so I'll be able to find it on Nov 4th 2009, assuming I've got electric power and federal permission to use the internet.

CHANGE THIS! Obama ran on a platform of "change," and was fond of pointing out how horrible everything is -- that is, how much it needs his "changing." OK, let's hold him to it. Here's the benchmark. On election day,
The inflation rate was 3.7%
Unemployment was 6.5%
The prime was at 4%
The Dow closed at 9,625
The NASDAQ closed at 1,780
The S&P closed at 1,005
Oil was $60 a barrel.
U.S. monthly domestic oil production: appx 155 million barrels
U.S. proven oil reserves: 21.3 billion barrels
U.S. offshore proven reserves: 3.9 billion barrels
You XL usere, feel free to make graphs.

Monuments to Human Ingenuity

This fellow should have been employed by some big-name high-tech company. His suicide is the sort of thing songs are sung of, and legends arise from.

David Phyall, 50, tied the Black & Decker tool to a leg of a snooker table in his lounge with string, taped up the on button and plugged it into a timer, Winchester Coroner's Court heard.

Mr Phyall, who had consumed a small quantity of alcohol but no drugs, then lay down under the snooker table face up and placed the chainsaw against his neck.

A piece of the tool's cardboard box initially cushioned the blades from his neck.

The hearing heard the timer, which is usually used to turn lights on and off, was fixed to start up the chainsaw for 15 minutes.
Although I had heard of a couple of Russian lumberjacks who, after consuming significant quantities of Vodka, demonstrated to one another just how tough they were as the first bravo fired up his chainsaw and cut off his own foot. The second, not to be outdone, took up his own chainsaw, and cut off his own head.

No one has (pardon the pun) topped him to date that I've heard.

Obies new A.G.

Not only does he firmly believe in "common sense gun laws", he believes in "common sense speech restrictions" as well.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bailing out Detroit

This is an exercise in futility, and the biggest beneficiary will be the UAW, whose members pass 90% of their dues to democrats, via the union. There being no election for another 2 years, the urgent need for money may be fading a bit. If the Big 2-1/2 get 25Bn, or about 4 times what they're worth on the open market, they will keep producing unprofitable cars for a while longer.

Obamas pick for the EPA is Mary Nichols, head of the California Air Resources Board, an immensely powerful and totally unaccountable agency that likes to keep their offices in buildings off the beaten track, and not visited by public transport. She was behind Cali's effort recently to be allowed to dictate emissions and sales requirements to Detroit. The current EPA told her no, Cali was still a state, and forcing Detroit to make a Cali model to sell there, and a US model that couldn't be sold there would be burdensome.

Obama, however, claims to want to make carbon dioxide a "dangerous pollutant", and make most of our transport run on alternative energy sources ASAP, which should put the big 2-1/2 out of business in a year or two anyway.

Why waste the money. Congress could just give itself 10% of the bailout money, and save the taxpayers the expense of the other 90%. At the end of the day, the effect is the same.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Epicurian Delights

It surely can't get any better than this

now can it? My favorite dish in the whole world, contained in a bottle, best enjoyed at room temperature.

And check out the other flavors like Beef Jerky and Dirty Hot Dog.

Obie's Secretary of State

Obie may not be as dumb as I thought, bringing Washington's Lady Macbeth that close to himself. Just imaging if you were one of those no-account tinpot dictators in a country where superstition and belief in witchcraft was still strong, and this

apparition landed her broomstick at your national airport, doffed her pointy black hat, and breezed into your office suggesting you do this, or stop doing that.
If I were them, I'd do like she says lest my dangley bits be stricken with some horrible curse that would spread unstoppably and reduce me to a smelly pile of bare bones in about a week. We Americans know well who the Wicked Witch of the East really is.

Monday, November 17, 2008

And you thought Obama would take away uour guns?

Of course he wouldn't. Didn't he say he was pro-2A? He wouldn'd bring back anything like the old assault weapons ban, because he has 5 (alleged) republicans to do it for him.

  • Rep. Mark Kirk [R-IL]
  • Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen [R-FL]
  • Rep. Michael Ferguson [R-NJ]
  • Rep. Christopher Shays [R-CT]
  • Rep. Michael Castle [R-DE]
The above rinos are introducing H.R. 6257: Assault Weapons Ban Reauthorization Act of 2008, because it's for the children, or something.

Here's a summary:
Assault Weapons Ban Reauthorization Act of 2008 - Amends the federal criminal code to reinstate, for 10 years, the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act's assault weapons ban to prohibit the manufacture, transfer, or possession of a semiautomatic assault weapon or a large capacity ammunition feeding device. Specifies models and features of banned weapons.
Sets forth exceptions to such ban, including: (1) firearms or devices lawfully possessed under federal law on the date of enactment of this Act; (2) certain firearms, replicas, or duplicates listed in an appendix as they were manufactured on October 1, 1993; (3) any firearm that is manually operated by bolt, pump, lever, or slide action and that has been rendered permanently inoperable or that is an antique firearm; (4) any semiautomatic rifle that cannot accept a detachable magazine that holds more than five rounds of ammunition; (5) any semiautomatic shotgun that cannot hold more than five rounds in a fixed or detachable magazine; and (6) firearms manufactured for, transferred to, or possessed by a federal, state, or local government agency or for law enforcement.
Requires the serial number of any weapon or device manufactured after enactment of this Act to clearly show the date of manufacture.
Directs the Attorney General to study and report to Congress on the effects of this Act on violent and drug trafficking crime.
Bold text added by me. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but does this mean that bolt, pump, lever, or slide action firearms are covered unless they have been rendered inoperable? That sort of implies that this bill pretty much bans everything. Period.

I'm reasonably certain that this is a typo, but if engineers designed bridges the way legislators wrote laws, the US would end at the first creek west of Plymouth Rock.

Rep. Kirk's office phone is 202-225-4835. His e-mail address, along with the others, may be found here.

Warning: Democrats are notoriously uncommunicative when you contact them about something, and come down on the wrong side of the issue, so don't be surprised if you don't hear much back from these guys. Yeah, I know they all claim to be republicans, but a common feature with democrats any more is that they lie about everything, including, sometimes, their party affiliation. Feel free to encourage these jerks to at least be honest about that.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Market Humor

Found this at the Conspiracy To Keep You Poor and Stupid


Didya hear about the blonde homeowner? Paid her mortgage.

Difference between an Investment Banker and a Pizza? A pizza can still feed a family of four.

Overheard at Happy Hour: This is worse than a divorce. I've lost half my net worth and I still have a wife.

How can you tell if a banker is an optimist? He irons five shirts on Sunday.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Extra-Solar Planets

American Thinker is reporting that 2 instances of extra solar planets have been successfully imaged, and the pics are here, and here.

The good news is that we're getting actual images of planets. Before this, we got hints of the existence by observing the wobbling of the star as the planetary body orbited it. The problem with that is that it takes a really big planet to cause a star to wobble.

The picture of Fromalhaut is interesting as it seems to be surrounded by a huge asteroid belt, larger than our own solar system. The planet has an orbital period of 872 years as opposed to a sprightly 248 years for Pluto. You'll need push bumpers on your space ship to visit.

The War Is Over and We Won

From Insty, this report from Michael Yon:

Michael Yon just phoned from Baghdad, and reports that things are much better than he had expected, and he had expected things to be good. "There's nothing going on. I'm with the 10th Mountain Division, and about half of the guys I'm with haven't fired their weapons on this tour and they've been here eight months. And the place we're at, South Baghdad, used to be one of the worst places in Iraq. And now there's nothing going on. I've been walking my feet off and haven't seen anything. I've been asking Iraqis, 'do you think the violence will kick up again,' but even the Iraqi journalists are sounding optimistic now and they're usually dour." There's a little bit of violence here and there, but nothing that's a threat to the general situation. Plus, not only the Iraqi Army, but even the National Police are well thought of by the populace. Training from U.S. toops has paid off, he says, in building a rapport.

Of course it's not to say that defeat cannot be snatched from the jaws of victory. The Dems did it once before, in Viet Nam, and the resultant genocide killed 2 million people and created a million or so refugees. In the more populous middle east, a precipitous withdrawal accompanied by speeches declaring the local politics of the area to be none of our business, should bring the Iranian army across the border in no time at all. Half-assed Ah-sod, president of Syria, will soon find out who the junior partner is in his alliance with the Ayatollahs, and Israel will be looking at Iranian rockets on its own border.
It doesn't have to be this way, but to leave some troops in Iraq to help the new democracy would be to do the one thing no real Democrat can being himself to do: Admit that a Republican was right about something.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I Don't Want a Pickle

I just want to ride my motor-sickle. As the song goes, it looks like I'm back on my bike, and will be riding in the Harrys Roamers Turkey Run this Sunday.

Because I can, I'm declaring this the Rocky Mountain Bloggers Motorcycle Ride of the year, and expect to see all of them out on their Harleys (FreedomSight) or Vespas (Left Off Colfax) weather they actually have such transport or not.

It starts and ends at a bar, (G.I.Jodis)it should be right up our alley.

Staircase Wit

From time to time, I say something witty. Alas, it's not always here.

The sad part is that Hamas in Gaza could easily transfer $15M to the Obama campaign in small unmarked credit card transactions, even using a foreign-issued credit card, as all the anti-fraud checks were turned off. Since Obama used only private money, there will be no audit. This is how McCain-Feingold works to protect you from big money unduly influencing politicians.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Gun Goodness

Sebastian has a post up featuring a quote from a UCLA professor who was quoting one of us:

As one of them put it the other day, “If you can tow it behind your pickup it ought to be legal.”
For some reason the prof failed to see the crystal clear logic behind this statement. If I ever run for office, and some press person asks my position on guns, this is it.
Heck, if your weapons are self-propelled, they should be exempt from the "tow-ability by a pickup" requirement.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

My Own Personal Nuke Plant

Soon to appear at the Super Wal-Mart nearest you, at some kind of bargain-basement price.

Nuclear power plants smaller than a garden shed and able to power 20,000 homes will be on sale within five years, say scientists at Los Alamos, the US government laboratory which developed the first atomic bomb.

I certainly have that much space available for such a worthy cause.

The miniature reactors will be factory-sealed, contain no weapons-grade material, have no moving parts and will be nearly impossible to steal because they will be encased in concrete and buried underground.

"no weapons-grade material". Oh well, nothing's perfect.

Supposedly refuelable, although getting the "gas cap" off sounds like a major project. Maybe your garden should have access for a largish crane, too.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Let's Go Flying

This looks like fun:

Unlikely, but fun.


Stretching the definition of the word "research" a bit, here's a piece by a friend of mine who is a budding young Mythbuster:

Friday, November 7, 2008

Get 'em While They're Hot!

Guns, that is. It appears that Obama can sell more guns per day, between now and Jan 20th than Charlton Heston could in his whole life. In the words of one gun shop owner:

I found 5 DPMS AP4s yesterday and picked them up from a local cop shop. I brought them into the shop around 3:00, put them on the bound book, and the last one was sold by 6:00. In that same timeframe I sold 2 Sig 556s, a Colt sporter, an Olympic plinker, 2 WASRs, a Golani, an AK made out of railroad ties and plywood by a Pakistani over a campfire from the Khyber Pass, an Airsoft gun, and traded 2 chickens and a bag of rice for a goat. It was a very busy afternoon.
At this rate, by the inauguration, gun manufacturers will have enough back orders on the books to keep them busy until Sarah Palin is sworn in in 2012.

If you already have an EBR, get your sweetie a CPR (Cute Pink Rifle). I suppose you could think of putting a picture of a cat with a Kalashnikov on the gun as the equivalent to putting an enemy flag on your fighter plane.

Suggestion: If you already have a gun, buy more ammo. If you already have ammo, buy more ammo.

Bailing out the Bikes

We all knew that the price of the bankers bailout bill was a lot of unrelated pork, so that individual congressmen could not mention having voted for it, but crow about their own piece of pork, but whose idea was this?

The massive financial bailout law signed by President Bush in October adds a bicycle commuting reimbursement to the list of IRS qualified transportation fringe benefits.
Yessiree, if you pedal your butt into work, semi-regularly, you qualify for a break on your taxes:

The reimbursement will cover the purchase of a bicycle and the cost of improvements, repair, and storage if the bicycle is regularly used for travel between the employees residence and place of employment. The bicycle must be used for a substantial portion of the employees commuting.
The bonus, $20/month to a maximum of $240, for me won't even cover my band-aid bills. Frankly, I think I'd be far better off to junk the bike and switch to motorcycles, exclusively.
If you buy your bike at Wal-Mart, you could have some cash left over from this to buy a light set, and thermal spandex to use in the winter.

Post Election Commentary

Because it's obligatory. And since I have nothing at the moment, I direct you to Iowahawk, who is much wittier than I am. Example:

It's also heartening to realize that as president Mr. Obama will soon be working hand-in-hand with a former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard like Senator Robert Byrd to craft the incoherent and destructive programs that will plunge the American economy into a nightmare of full-blown sustained depression. As Vice President-Elect Joe Biden has repeatedly warned, there will be difficult times ahead and the programs will not always be popular, or even sane. But as we look out over the wreckage of bankrupt coal companies, nationalized banks, and hyperinflation, we can always look back with sustained pride on the great National Reconciliation of 2008. Call me an optimist, but I like to think when America's breadlines erupt into riots it will be because of our shared starvation, not the differences in our color.
RTWT. I found it hilarious, in a graveyard-humor sort of way.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Postal Match Results

The October postal match results are here.
I did not embarrass myself (yay!), finishing:

Class 1 Rimfire pistol, Iron sights, 1st place
Class 2 Centerfire Pistol, Iron sights, 2nd place
Class 3 Rimfire rifle, Optical sights 8th of 19
Class 4 Centerfire rifle, optical sights, 1st place.

There seems to be someone else using the name Billll, with 4 Ls. Either that or Traction Control seriously fumble-fingered the data. Or maybe I have an admirer. Or a stalker. Or something.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Worked at the gun show today for the state NRA affiliate. Sold multiple NRA memberships to people who still had money left over after buying guns and ammo. The pistol merchant, whose table I peruse as I walk by on an ordinary day was invisible behind 2 layers of customers. My favorite powder and shot merchant was out of my flavor of powder.

Obama has promised to bankrupt the coal industry by making the stuff prohibitively expensive. If you buy electricity from someone who makes it from coal, your power bills can be expected to skyrocket. Likewise if you work for someone who uses coal based electricity.

Pollsters work for industry when they're not trying to get someone elected, and a bad record of predicting the election won't help their credibility on Nov 5th. You can expect the BS to diminish as the election gets closer, but really accurate numbers won't come out until Nov 4th when the pollsters can claim to be surprised at how many people changed their minds at the last minute.

Should Obie win, I'll predict a re-run of 1933 when the US, in a deep recession, elected an economic ignoramus who expanded what should have been a 3 or 4 year recession in to a 15-20 year nightmare, complete with a world war.

I don't expect McCain to fix everything either, but I do expect that he'll do less damage.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Home Economics

Of a sort. I've been told I can get back on my motorcycle the 16th of this month, if I promise to be very careful. Still, no drinking until January, which depending on how the election turns out, is not good.

In the coming hard times, however, the paper that knows best how to get to the good times, the Wall St. Journal, has a piece on what the best whiskeys might be if your portfolio isn't supporting the better single malts.

Sampling Whiskies


Teacher's Highland Cream $16.99
Robust, chewy malt taste gives this whisky ballast. Above deck, the Scotch gets dressed in the elegantly restrained smokiness of the lightly peated Ardmore single malt.

Ballantine's Finest $13.99
A rich, rounded, malty sweetness balanced by dry herbal notes.


J&B Rare $18.99
A grassy-green young whisky in which you can taste the light and flowery Knockando single malt, one of its constituent parts.

White Horse $12.99
A soft whisky with hints of vanilla, cinnamon, and caramel.

I don't normally drink whiskey, but this description of Teachers is enough to pique my curiosity.
Might make a good Christmas present.

Fixing the Economy

At least if you're a public employee whose pension fund has been chronically short, there's help on the way.
Stolen shamelessly from insty:

Colo. public employee pension fund plunges $10B. "Colorado PERA had been hoping that investment gains would help resolve its long-term underfunding problem." I'll bet they had. Hope is not a plan.

UPDATE: Taxpayers To Fund Public Pension Shortfalls. "While most people have watched their 401K values drop with the stock market over the past several weeks, taxpayers may have spend millions more propping up pensions paid to county and state retirees." I don't think that will play well, politically.

Now if your 401(k) has taken a hit recently, you know there's a way to fix it: Steal the shortage from the taxpayers.

There was a strip in the old comic "Pogo" in which the characters were playing Russians during the Khrushchev years. That would be the 50s for you kids. One of the characters cites a Russian proverb to the other:"The shortages will be divided among the peasants!"

I guess that's true here, too.

Quote of the Week

Found at Insty, but singularly appropriate on the eve of an election:

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as "bad luck."

Robert Heinlein

Friday, October 31, 2008


Law Dog notes that an increasing number of his friends are splitting the ticket by voting for the Republican for president, then voting for the Libertarian on all the lower offices.

As the Democrat party is hijacked and converted to the Social(ist)-Democrat party, and the Republican tent is pitched farther to the left, the electorate, like nature, abhorring a vacuum, drifts toward voting for Libertarians, Constitutionists, and other small, conservative groupings.

This, I believe, is the way for those parties to actually get somewhere. Quit running spoiler candidates for president, and get your people elected to the more mundane offices. Convince the electorate that you're not a bunch of whackos with solid, honest candidates, then go for the big one. Meantime, vote Republican on the top slot and keep the really big whackos out.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Deja Vu

For quite some time now I've observed that neither party really wants to win a presidential election. Every 4 years, the Democrats nominate some pathetic barking moonbat that no rational person would want to be seen with, and the Republicans dig up some party apparatchik, dull and boring enough to lose to him. Both parties did that this year.

Alas, the best laid plans go often astray, and someone gets elected anyway.

This year the trick may have been played to its logical conclusion. The radio news and American Thinker was reporting that in Florida, while the Dems are otherwise doing well in the early voting, Obama is losing.

It must really suck when your old yellow dog won't acknowledge you, but when the word gets out that you hate white people in general and Jews in particular, and admire Castro, you're not going to do well in Florida.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I Voted

I voted today.

Well, strictly speaking, D'Wife took our absentee ballots down to the county election office and turned them in. We could have gotten the little oval stickies you get, which encourage people who shouldn't to vote themselves, but heck, every park bench, tombstone and vacant lot in the country already sports one, so why bother?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pin Shooting

I took the weekend off from the world, and kicked back. The club match was a bowling pin shoot.

For those of you who have never heard of such a thing, here’s how we do it in our neck of the woods. 2 tables are set up at about 7 yards from the line of fire. There is probably an official table type defined by the National Pin Shooting Nobbelers, but we use wooden saw horses and wooden doors. The edges of the doors are up near eye level so the 5 bowling pins set near the near edge are easy to see against the backstop.

This is a timed event. Two shooters take the line, and assume a “low ready” position (gun drawn, halfway raised). When the timer goes off, both shooters attempt to clear their table of the pins, and that means the pins must be on the ground, not lying on the table. I don’t know what a pin weighs, but it’s a bunch. The first thing you need to know about pin shooting is “bring enough gun”. A .380 pocket pistol isn’t going to cut it. A 9mm is about as small as will work, and something bigger is definitely a plus.

Murphy looks over this event. If you tap a pin just so, it will fall over, and spin on the table, coming to rest with the rounded top pointing right at you. Hit this, and it will spin some more, coming to rest….. get the picture?

The second thing you need to know is where your gun shoots. I saw more than one person nicking one side of the pins or the other, over and over, and not even knocking them down. For a real treat, imaging 5 carefully placed shots, each one entering the edge of the door, exactly beneath the pin, until the far edge of the door is completely shot out.

On that note, I will mention that I had brought some ammo for my .357 that I had loaded a bit light. Now a .357 will happily take .38 special, and that can be loaded to various levels, depending on your application or inclination, from “cowboy action” at the light end, to +P on the high end. Normally I load .38 brass, which is easy to find, to +P, which I think gives me the most bang for the buck. I wanted to get rid of the lightly loaded stuff, as I had made it in error, and frankly that stuff would have drawn snickers from the cowboys. NOTE 2: do not use cowboy action ammo on bowling pins. They will laugh at you. Fall over, yes, fly off the table, not so much.

Bowling pins are tough. If everybody would use a 9mm or .38 special, you could shoot the same pins all day. A .45 will damage the pins if you use hard ball ammo. A .44 magnum will cause shattered pieces of plastic to fly off the pin as it flies 2 yards back off the table. A .45 with soft lead wadcutters will bounce off the pin, fly back 7 yards, and bounce harmlessly off your sneakers. In its defense, it will knock the pin over.

Oh yeah, how did I do? Well, I’m plenty accurate, but I need to work on the speed. Individually, I finished lower than usual. More practice is indicated. I’ll be picking up more bullets, primers, and powder at the gun show this weekend.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Who Ya Gonna Believe?

Like having 2 news sources in one. Today at Drudge, in the top left corner:


and in the middle, this big headline


Now both Battleground and AP have the two even, and Zogby has Obie 10 points up. Zogby has been known to favor the left, but then so has AP. Obie and Joe are campaigning like the Devil is close behind them with a handful of IOUs, which makes me think that Zogby has been jiggering the numbers, and they know it.

One other thing: The big headline is suggesting that Obie will win in a huge landslide, but Reagan was not a Socialist who relied on vote fraud to get elected.

Your 401(k)

Some of my readers may have a 401(k) to which they contribute. If you are employed, your employer may contribute also, and the contributions are tax-free until you withdraw them.

The democrats, however, are adding up the costs of all those hopeful new programs, and want to change all this.

Under Ghilarducci's plan, all workers would receive a $600 annual inflation-adjusted subsidy from the U.S. government but would be required to invest 5 percent of their pay into a guaranteed retirement account administered by the Social Security Administration. The money in turn would be invested in special government bonds that would pay 3 percent a year, adjusted for inflation.

The current system of providing tax breaks on 401(k) contributions and earnings would be eliminated.

So, instead of getting around 15% on my 401k investments, I'll get a government bond at 3%. Why don't they just kick me straight in the groin while they are at it? Seriously, this is what passes for a reform to Democrats?

But look, instead of one of those unreliable and soon-to-be-nationalized financial outfits managing your 401(k), you get the inimitable services of Social Security department, which your ill-gotten (tax deferred) money is in competition with.

All this makes a powerful argument for complete privatization of the retirement system, phasing Social Security out as quickly as is practical, and letting people manage their own retirement.

Now, yes, if you were 20-something and just getting started with your retirement account, and had it all invested in a market index fund that tracked the Dow Jones 30, you’d have lost about half your investment in the last 6 months. I’m guessing that would be about $500. If you were 65.5 and getting ready to retire, you’d probably have your account managed by someone who knew what they were doing, and only be down abut 10%, which is where I’m at. Just not that old.

Peru adopted this system in the early 1990s and it produces retirement incomes about 6 times what US social security gives.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Piece of History

You got a real piece of history there, mate. Ed Roth's Orbitron, found in Mexico, and now restored.

The New Mussolini

Back in the 20s Benito Mussolini pushed the idea that the best form of government was a benevolent dictatorship. As proof, he describes a citizen with a problem petitioning an elective democracy and getting only partisan bickering. The same citizen petitioning a dictator would get a solution producing the greatest benefit to the greatest number almost immediately.

On that basis, Benito ran for office on the platform that he would be Italy’s Dictator, solving problems without recourse to an endlessly bickering parliament. It was a strong appeal in a country where every city block had its own party, and it got him elected.

He was immensely popular with the press and the rest of the left, both in Italy and in the US, to the point that Studebaker even named their current model the Dictator, except in countries with governments that frowned on that sort of thing, where it was rebadged. Bypassing the parliament turned out to be quite easy mostly resulting in endless bickering with Benito’s Fascists in the majority.

90 years later Obama is proposing the same thing, without the title of dictator, which has fallen into some bit of disrepute over the years. For him, no tax is too large, and a huge, crippling energy tax will certainly fill the bill. This sort of thing has been proposed in the past, but some democrats, notably those from states where energy comes from coal, saw the folly of this and wouldn’t support it. See? Endless bickering.

The Obama solution for this is to have the EPA declare carbon dioxide to be a “dangerous pollutant”, which would impose heavy taxes and penalties on anyone producing it.

Mr. Grumet said that come January the Environmental Protection Agency "would initiate those rulemakings" that classify carbon as a dangerous pollutant under current clean air laws. That move would impose new regulation and taxes across the entire economy, something that is usually the purview of Congress. Mr. Grumet warned that "in the absence of Congressional action" 18 months after Mr. Obama's inauguration, the EPA would move ahead with its own unilateral carbon crackdown anyway.

This applies no matter how large or small the producer, thus not only Excell Energy, our local electricity producer would be hit with “pollution penalties”, and you know who winds up paying those. But you, Joe six-pac with your car, your power boat, your motorcycle, your lawn mower, your leaf blower, or gas grill, are now a producer of “dangerous pollutants” and the taxes will be levied against you, and against the polluters who sold you the hydrocarbons you used to produce them. You know who will be chipping in to pay the gas station’s share, now don’t you?

The EPA hasn't made a secret of how it would like to centrally plan the U.S. economy under the 1970 Clean Air Act. In a blueprint released in July, the agency didn't exactly say it'd collectivize the farms -- but pretty close, down to the "grass clippings."

Speaking of Excell Energy, if the power bills at US manufacturing plants get too high, the sensible thing to do is move the plant somewhere with lower energy costs, like China or Mexico. To compensate for this, the Dems propose extending unemployment benefits.

They think of everything.