Friday, July 31, 2009


Government economic wonks have published the results of extensive number crunching and have declared that it's worse than they imagined. How much worse and in what direction is still unclear, as the results seem to indicate that 2 + 2 which was formerly interpreted as 5.8635, is in fact, closer to 8.1638.

If the above interpretation proves unsatisfactory, there is enough information here at Zero Hedge (pdf) to keep you wondering what's going on for some time. Interestingly, these folks talk about unemployment using the U-6 figure which includes people working part-time who want to work full-time, as well as the discouraged workers. Rather than the more commonly publishes U-3 figure, which is currently about 9.5%, the U-6 is running 16.8% nationally, and into the 20s in CA, MI, RI, OR, SC, and NJ.

The thing about economics is that if you want a second opinion, all you have to do is ask the same person the same question again.

Filed under Economics and Mad Science. But I repeat myself.

Gun Fun

OK this is a bit better than guns, but after Bijou Renaissance Man posted this list of things that no red-blooded American family should be without, I had to dig this up.

Neighborhood Nuclear Superiority was probably my all-time favorite clip from Elephant Parts, the video album. The perfect modern embodiment of Machiavelli's observation that "While it is best to be both feared and loved, if you have to choose between them, it is better to be feared."

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Gun Fun

It has been speculated that the pea shooter pictured a few posts down might be dangerous enough to be banned in California. Well, speculate no more, it is:

12582. Any person who knowingly manufactures, sells, offers for
sale, possesses, or uses a blowgun or blowgun ammunition in this
state is guilty of a misdemeanor.

12580. "Blowgun," as used in this article, means a hollow tube
designed and intended to be used as a tube through which a dart is
propelled by the force of the breath of the user.
So, for all you Californians, the next time you're in a Dennys or something like it, and you order the club sandwich and a Coke, if you pull the extra-long toothpick with the frou-frou decoration on it out of the sandwich and put it into your large-diameter straw, you are then ready to hold the whole restaurant hostage.

So will they ban Coke, large-bore straws, or club sandwiches first?

Quote of the Week

Rahm E. to Barry O, re Health Care and Cap and Trade:

"As God is my witness, I believed that these turkeys could fly!"

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Gun Fun

Thanks to Say Uncle for this one. Now this is the sort of thing that really gets my blood moving first thing in the morning:

I've built the smaller ones out of a coffee can that make a vortex about 2" in diameter, and they're fun to play with, but this is up in the Werner Von Braun category. There is a possibly higher powered version of this referred to as "compact toroids". This was described as "the nearest thing to the photon torpedo yet" but unfortunately it doesn't seem to work well except in a vacuum. The one I first saw referenced looked like 2 funnels, one inside the other. The example in the link indicates a rod inside a tube, which would have to be very carefully located to make it work,but this seems to have been done.

Coming soon to a battle cruiser near you....

Health Care

Paul Mirengoff of Power Line is proposing that we ask out congress animals to agree to a pledge:
My Pledge to My Constituents on National Health Insurance

1. I will not vote to expand the bankrupt Medicare program unless and until it is first placed on a sound actuarial basis.

2. I will not vote for any national health insurance legislation that includes a public plan unless I am prepared to enroll myself and my family in the public plan. If a national health insurance bill with a public plan passes the Senate with my vote in support, then I pledge to enroll myself and my family in that public plan.
This is very high sounding, and is probably a good start, BUT we already know that the congress cannot run the insurance industry.

They cannot run the automobile industry.

The cannot run the banking industry.

They cannot manage Wall Street.

And in spite of a preponderance of evidence that many of them are quite familiar with business practices in the industry, we have proof that they cannot operate a whorehouse a few miles from Las Vegas.

My own preference would be for a pledge to vote NO on any piece of legislation regarding business except for one calling for complete withdrawal of government involvement from business except for enforcement of contracts, but that would probably be too much to hope for.

They are supposedly coming home Aug 7th for the August break without voting on the health care bill. Most of them will be having a "town hall" meeting with the constituents while they're here, and I would suggest making it a point to show up at the meetings with metaphorical pitchforks and torches, and be prepared to give the bums a piece of your mind. Visit their websites to find the scheduled times and places.

Same tactic applies to Senators, who are sitting on the Cap and Tax bill the house sent to them.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


I suppose, that since everyone else has put up several posts on the topic, I have to also. Jumping off a cliff-like.

Right now the Dems have enough votes to put Winnie-the-Pooh on the supreme court, and appear ready to do pretty much that. Sotomayors record shows her to be more of a me-too jurist than the sort of thinker who writes opinions. As long as race doesn't get brought up, she rules fairly conservatively, but if that or some issue of government power is at question, she will be a reliable vote for the statist left.

Overall, she will likely be a politically safe replacement for Souter, in that she will vote pretty much the same way he would have. What I don't see is the kind of sharp mind that persuades the other justices to a more extreme position on an opinion.

When Alito and Roberts were up for confirmation, it was obvious that the lefty members of the committee didn't like either of them much. It was also obvious who the smartest person in the room was each time, and it certainly wasn't any of the Senators. This time is was pretty clear that most of the senators rated higher than Sotomayor, with only Senator Franken being obviously lower on the IQ food chain.

During the Viet-Nam war there was a story about a Viet-Cong sympathizing farmer in a rice paddy off the end of the runway of an American air base. Whenever an airplane would take off, this farmer would pick up his rifle from the paddy and take a shot at the plane. A new pilot, observing this, reported this to the base commander and asked that the farmer be arrested.

The commander informed the lieutenant that the farmer had been there, shooting at the planes as long as anyone could remember, and to anyones knowledge, had never scored a hit. The feeling was that if he were picked up, the V.C. would send in someone else who might be a better shot.

In Sotomayor, we have that farmer.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Reading the Bills

John Conyers says that reading the bills congress passes is more trouble than it's worth.
"What good is reading the bill if it's a thousand pages and you don't have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you read the bill?"
After all it's not like they apply to them.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Pink Pistols Bikini Picture

The other McCain has declared an International Rule 5 Bikini-fest Week, and since you're probably all tired of reading my rants and raves on the impending apocalypse, and would much rather read about the fully automatic AA-cell rifle, or the motorized Rube-Goldberg inspired can crusher, both of which are unfortunately still under construction, here's a bikini picture which, since I'm a big fan of diversity, sort of invokes the Pink Pistols.

The rules state that the picture can't be too racy, and yeah, this might be pushing it just a bit, but it's the thought that counts.

And if Smitty thinks this is too much, I'll see if I can dig up something (slightly) less likely to have you joining me at the unemployment office.

Oh yes, and remember, when selecting a gun for concealed carry, keep in mind that you have to conceal it somewhere, and if this proves non-feasible, consider living in an open carry state.


An article here references another "scientific" paper using the latest and greatest computer modeling techniques to predict habitat for wild animals, and impact on the habitat due to outside influences such as the construction of a Wal-Mart or global warming. It seems that if Pope Prius I is right, the habitat for the Sasquatch will be adversely impacted, and the denizens of the Pacific Northwest will be forced to move.
Biogeographers are among the many scientific disciplines that have been employing increasingly sophisticated computer algorithms to predict the ecological niche of species. The algorithms take information about sightings or recorded incidences of a species, find commonalities among those sightings against maps of other ecological data (i.e rainfall, forest type, presence of other species, etc.), and produce a geographic distribution for the target species.
The software is reportedly quite sophisticated, and even produces reasonably accurate predictions of where, for example, one might expect to meet a black bear while hiking through the woods.
“This Bigfoot paper is really good,” writes anthropologist John Hawks, who notes that the authors intended the piece as a tongue-in-cheek’ example, and an illustration of the problems presented by the ‘garbage in, garbage out’ principle.
The output apparently lacks a response of the "You've got to be kidding!" variety, and will cheerfully process anything you put in without snarky comments or anything. It's the sort of thing that should be nominated for an Ig-Nobel prize in biology, at the very least.

Based on the recognized infallibility of anything produced by a computer, I expect that we shall soon see a budget item in the Washington, Oregon, and Idaho DOT budgets to have made up a number of Sasquatch x-ing signs to go with the rest of the warnings to motorists, as the elusive beasts begin to migrate northward to more favorable climes.

I also propose a special prize, consisting of a gift certificate good for a complete repair and detailing of your vehicle to the first person who bags a migrating Sasquatch with his or her vehicle.*

Extra points if you provide us with the cooking recipe and a report on what it tasted like.

Contributions to the award fund should be made to my bank in the Barbados.

*The head must be provided to Billie and Bobs Taxidermy, Bait, Liquor, and Guns, Coolin, Idaho, for authentication.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Kids contest

OK it's open to the inner children too. Here's the world pea shooting contest at Witcham, England. Most folka just use a plastic tube to shoot the peas, but some of them unleash their inner Mad Scientist, and produce the sort of Tacti-cool implements you normally only see at the gun range:

Competition is fierce at the World Pea Shooting Championships on Witcham's village green, where contestants shoot a pea through a tube, 12 feet towards a 12-inch target. Laser-guided shooters are not unknown, taking the sport into the 21st century.
It's enough to make you think there might be some unregistered firearms still lurking around in Merrie Olde England, and the bits and pieces are now finding their way back into the public view. Makes you wonder if the fellow shown above wasn't afterword paid a precautionary visit by the police. Next year, I suppose they'll ban pea shooters over there.

Not that I would ever do such a thing, but say, if you used soft peas, you could put rifling into your straw.....

Friday, July 24, 2009

Gadgeteers Contest

Here's a notification of a contest that should appeal to the builders of the world:
NASA would like you to build a mechanical monkey capable of climbing a 1 Km rope.

Here's the catch: The "monkey" cannot carry any internal power source, and before you ask, extension cords aren't allowed either. What they're looking for is "beamed" power to be transmitted from the ground, to the climber.

LaserMotive is an entrant, and plans to use high-power laser beams to drive high-power solar cells.
This, however, isn't the end of it. The rope is to be supported by a helicopter, which implies that it will be subject to twisting and swaying in the wind.

Winning is worth $2,000,000.

The video from this should be fun to watch.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mission Accomplished

Obama is on TV telling us all how he saved the economy from certain ruin, and answering pre-selected questions from pre-selected "journalists".

Meantime, go here where AT&T and Yahoo are conducting a poll evaluating how the War on the Economy is going.

National CCW

We lost this one, but narrowly. 58 Senators voted for the amendment, but under Senate rules, you need 60 at this point.

Happily, both of our Senators, Bennet and Udall, both democrats, voted for the amendment, and for this they should get a nice thank-you. Interestingly, two of the no votes were Republicans, Lugar of Indiana, and Voinovitch of Ohio. I'm sure they'll be getting some mail about that too.

Here's the detailed breakdown of who did what, both alphabetically and by position.

Update: It appears that both Udall and Bennet brokered their votes, that is, enough votes were there to stop the amendment, so the remainder could vote the other way in order to polish their images with the rubes. Thanks to Sebastian for pointing me to this article in the Washington Post:
Only two Republicans went against the gun lobby, but that was enough to leave supporters just short of the 60 votes they needed. The slim margin was no accident: Other Democrats, such as Pennsylvania's Bob Casey and Colorado's Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, were said to have been willing to vote "no" if necessary. Twenty minutes after the voting began, Bennet and Udall left the cloakroom together and walked into the chamber. Bennet went to the well to consult with Schumer, who indicated that it was safe for Bennet -- a product of D.C.'s St. Albans School -- to vote with the NRA. Bennet looked to Udall, who gave an approving nod, and cast his "aye" vote.
So remember when they try to tell you what staunch 2-A people they are, that their votes meant nothing.

Gun Fun

OK, it wasn't fun for somebody, but this note from the CO RKBA list:

Oops, Wrong House, Kentucky Version: Kentucky State Police are investigating a shooting early Tuesday in Garrard County in which one man died. Dallas Richard Helton, 40, of Paint Lick was pronounced dead at 1:42 a.m. Tuesday at the scene of the shooting, Coroner Daryl Hodge said. The shooting occurred at 1524 Old Richmond Road North in Cartersville, about 8 miles east of Lancaster, Hodge said. At 12:46 a.m. Tuesday, the homeowner, Hurlin McQuerry, called 911 to report that a man had forcibly entered his home and that the homeowner had shot him with a .410-gauge shotgun, state police said in a release. Upon arrival, state police found Helton dead of a single gunshot wound to the chest. Helton was wearing a ski mask and gloves and had a crowbar when he entered the house, state police said. At the time of the shooting, two people were waiting outside in a vehicle, state police said… (I’m gad to hear that the .410 shotgun did the trick – it would not be my recommendation for a defensive firearm.)

At the kind of distances one expects indoors, I would think of a .410 shotgun as a .41 magnum with a really long barrel.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

He Needed Killin'

Believe it or not, this is a valid defense in all states of the U.S.

Keep in mind that if you are found standing over a dead body with the mechanism responsible for the death to hand, you will be required to explain in sufficient detail to a jury just why the deceased needed to be that way.

Page Nine has a collection of 14 supreme court cases in which details of the defense were argued, and to a fairly good extent, sorted out. Several of these go back a ways:
Beard v. United States 1895 158 U.S. 550 208
Can you stand your ground with a shotgun against an unprovoked armed attack on your property near your home [YES]; Is there a greater duty to retreat on your own property than in your house [NO].
Or in the modern sense;"Get off my yard!" An interesting read, and worth the few minutes it takes.

V.R. Hamster Ball

Found this reference over at Gun Pundit.
I can't imagine this thing being particularly cheap:
But by the time you get to the 10th level of Doom, you'd probably be able to bypass boot camp, or at least beat the crap out of all the school bullies.

Gun Bill

The Senate is going to be voting, possibly tomorrow, on the Defense Appropriations bill, to which has been added an amendment by John Thune, to require national recognition of CCW permits. What it says is that if your district recognizes CCW in any form, it must honor a legal carrier from out of state. Not only would Washington DC have to recognize a Colorado CCW permit, but a resident of Vermont or Alaska would get to carry without a permit, just like back home.

A friend of mine in Boulder just wrote Sen. Udall a polite letter requesting that he support the amendment.

Mine, sent to both Senators, wasn't quite so formally polite:

Dear Senator:

It is extremely unsurprising of Senator Schumer to oppose a federal
gun rights measure claiming "states' rights" concerns, as he has been
one of the primary advocates of federal gun control for over 15 years.

Since 1865 the Democratic party has been the party of racism, using the states rights argument as justification for every kind of racist oppressive legislation including gun control, travel control, voting control, school control, labor control, and any other kind of control they could think of.

Now you have one more chance to help the states escape the nationalization of the policies of Jim Crow by supporting John Thune's amendment to extend the doctrine of full faith and credit to CCW.

I urge you to vote "yes" on Mr. Thune's amendment.

Both my Senators are Ds. When dealing with the professionally PC, you have to push the right buttons.

Tea Party Logo

Logo or Logo contest. Hey, why not, if you can do better, let's see it.
A bubbling pot of tar, proper, emblazoned with the Gadsden logo and motto, surmounted with crossed white feathers, over a crossed pitchfork and torch.

Did I mention I'm not an artist?

Anyway Reps McCaskill and Perriello are panicking over protesters without even the pitchforks or torches, so why not?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Moon Landing Mistake

40 years ago, Neil Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface, and uttered the platitude heard 'round the world about One small step...

Today, the moon is vacant, except for the stuff we took there, and left.

It didn't have to be this way. What Neil should have said, perhaps his second line, was: "I claim these lands in the name of the people and the government of the United States of America."

The howls of outrage would have shaken the walls of the UN building, and possibly have been heard all the way to the moon, but so what? Such a statement would have made a moon landing an all-costs imperative for the Russians, which likely would have bankrupted them much earlier. The Japanese, and English would possibly offer to piggyback onto the American space program for a "piece of the action", and the French and Chinese would collapse in frustration at being unable to meaningfully compete.

Short term, such a claim would have had little real meaning, as the distances and expense would render operations there of most any sort prohibitive. Long-term, national pride would demand some sort of participation, and I believe that by today, the light from various lunar bases would be visible from earth.

As Frederick the Great* said: L'audace, l'audace, toujours l'audace.

*Google searches suggest that Patton was pleasantly surprised to hear the quote attributed to Fredrick. I kind of wonder what the German was doing speaking French. Admonishing French prisoners, perhaps?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Chicago Rules

This time, not in Chicago, but it's a great story, and explains a lot.

Remember President Zelaya of Honduras, who was ousted from office for trying to hold a referendum, which he was not constitutionally permitted to call, to allow him to serve an otherwise prohibited second term? The Honduran constitution specifically forbids anyone but the legislature from doing this, and calls for removal from office of any elected official, not specifically authorized, who tries.

Zelayas removal from office was quite legal, although shipping him out of the country for the good of all concerned, while not prohibited, was perhaps above and beyond the call of duty for the arresting authority. Throwing him in the clink is the accepted procedure.

In the ensuing investigation of Zelayas actions, it appears that on his personal computer was the certified results of the referendum, with voting percentages and everything. While it's nice to hear that the election was observed and certified by some respected authority, one usually waits until after the day of the balloting to release the results, lest your country be compared unfavorably with Potsylvania.

No wonder Obama and Hillary like Zelaya so much.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Killer Apps For Your Gun

Go here to see all the latest tactical killer apps for the shooter of your choice. My favorite would be a combo of the Elcan Digital Hunter scope with recording video, and the iPhone on the side rail, shown here with an ordinary scope.

Now a hit man can whack his target, send the confirming video to his employer, and confirm the payment to his offshore bank account even before packing the gun into his tactical backpack, and skating away on his tactical shoes, blending flawlessly into the crowd.

Personally, when they said "killer apps for your gun" the first thing that came to my mind was "ammo". I guess I just old-fashioned.

Billlls Tactical Shoes

Think these are an ordinary pair of Crocs with Mossey Oak camo stuck over the toes? Well WRONG tactical poseur-breath:
These are actually Billlls Tactical Shoes, fitted with Picatinny rails on the soles, these shoes can be quickly and easily be fitted with skis, suction cups, crampons, cleats, skate wheels, blinking LEDs, or even a switchblade for dancing with your favorite spy. Be the envy of all the other mall ninjas, and even avoid getting beaten up by the folks in the cowboy bar as you saunter in with your quick-attach spurs a-jingling away. Optional quick-attach pointy toe also available.

Be the envy of the tactical crowd as you are ready in an instant to tackle every demand the situation can place on your footwear. Running springs? Certainly! Ice skates? Sure!

But wait! There's more! Order now, and get our tactical footgear accessory backpack for only $10 more. This fashionable pack comes in six different colors of camo, including pink, and stores all the accessories you may need for a hard day of tactical schlepping around, weather in the mall or out in the woods.

Tell them I sent you, and get a free baffled look. Offer not valid in states with active anti-fraud laws.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Future of Transportation

While out perusing the junkyard for parts for my Dodge, I noticed a small van, which had been hit or had hit something from the front.
This is a VanGo Vantage utility vehicle. What's unusual about this is this:
This is the first vehicle I've seen in the yard from the PRC. It had a tag on the back, indicating that the vehicle was NOT DOT approved for highway use, and not licenseable as such, but if you go to their website here, they list it as being able to carry up to 5 passengers. The spec sheet claims a 995cc engine, giving it a top speed of 25 mph.

None of the pictures on the website seem to show the drivers seat, but here's the money shot of the thing:
Note that the steering column is sitting just about where the 'ol family jewels would be, and the front panel has bent back in such a way as to come pretty close to amputating your legs. I suppose the compensation for this is that the unfortunate driver could probably push the wheel forward, and unbend the bodywork enough to extract himself without waiting for the jaws of life to show up.

With 55 hp, I would have expected it to be faster than 25 mph, but I guess that's compensation for its 2500 lb payload. Of course if the guy ahead of you is in a mule-drawn cart, you don't need a lot of speed.

Expect to see these all over town soon.

Our Robot Masters

Our future robot masters whom Kent Brockman personally welcomes, are being developed today at assorted R&D centers. This one,

Robotic Technology Inc.'s Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot — that's right, "EATR" — "can find, ingest, and extract energy from biomass in the environment (and other organically-based energy sources), as well as use conventional and alternative fuels (such as gasoline, heavy fuel, kerosene, diesel, propane, coal, cooking oil, and solar) when suitable," reads the company's Web site.

That "biomass" and "other organically-based energy sources" wouldn't necessarily be limited to plant material — animal and human corpses contain plenty of energy, and they'd be plentiful in a war zone.

One might ask what, if any, ethical restraints will be written into the programming of this thing, or does it just "graze" its way around the battlefield until all the "food" is gone, then die of natural causes? Keith Laumers books on the Bolo describe this sort of thing happening with immensely powerful battlefield robots, the people with the command codes long dead, some of the most powerful ones rendering whole planets unaproachable.

This thing looks more like an attempt to weaponize a cow, but hey, it's a start. I could imagine a post-apocalyptic population hunting these things once they run out of ammo, to convert them into stationary generators or human controled tractors for individual farms, running on cow flops. Sort of like Mad Max, only without everyone wearing kinky leather outfits.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Chicago Rules

Senator Kyl of Arizona has been complaining that the stimulus bill hasn't actually stimulated anything by way of jobs and such, and is agitating that the bill be repealed and all projected spending be canceled, presumably along with the borrowing and tax hikes needed to fund it.''

The white house does not like its omnipotence being called into question like that, and is threatening to curt off Arizona's federal funding if Sen. Kyl doesn't shut up.

I know the delegations from California and Massachusetts used to complain a lot about Bush, but I don't recall any threats to cut their percentage of the federal swag. It appears that the whole nation is now Chicago, where if you want your potholes filled, you don't criticize the alderman.


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is now admitting to a U.S. unemployment rate of 9.7%. That's an increase of .1% per week in July, and we're not to the end of the month yet.

Go here for an interesting interactive graph that shows overall unemployment, and allows you to add the curve for your favorite state to the mix to see how you're doing compared to the national average, or anyone else.

I suppose if you want to feel better about your own personal situation, you could add Puerto Rico to your own states figure, or maybe Michigan. As long as that's not actually your state.

As described here, there are multiple ways to figure out the unemployment rate that depend on weather you count people whose unemployment has run out, and who may not be looking very hard for a job they're pretty sure isn't actually out there.

The U-6 rate is probably best estimated by figuring a multiplier of the U-3 since as the U-3 goes down, the marginally attached and discouraged will become fully attached and less discouraged.

Marginally attached workers are persons who currently are neither working nor
looking for work but indicate that they want and are available for a job and
have looked for work sometime in the recent past. Discouraged workers, a
subset of the marginally attached, have given a job-market related reason for
not looking currently for a job.
A quick and dirty SWAG at this makes the multiplier to be 1.736, which makes the U-6 to be 16.86%.

Before things can get better, perhaps the administration should listen to itself, and take some of its own advice. An article in the WSJ, quotes the president in a speech he made on his latest trip to Africa:
Here's some of what Mr. Obama said: "No business wants to invest in a place where the government skims 20% off the top."
While at the same time:
Similarly, while U.S. government officials don't usually demand bribes (at least outside of Illinois), the U.S. corporate tax rate, at 39%, is the second highest in the industrialized world. That's about 10 percentage points higher than the OECD average, or nearly twice the 20% "bribe tax" that scandalizes Mr. Obama.
Even the Chicago mob doesn't usually demand more than 20% from operators of small businesses and pushcarts.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Gun Show Report

The gun show this weekend was not heavily attended at all, which I am told is not at all unusual for the middle of summer. The good news was that ammo and components were there in quantity, and at about 50% of the prices they were commanding 2 months ago.

This is a very positive sign. Small Pistol primers down to $45/1000, which is like a reduction from low earth orbit to the middling stratosphere, and powder of the common types at 22-24$/lb which is only about 125% of what it should be selling for.

One fellow had 550 rd value pak Federal .22lr, about a dozen of them and was asking $24/box 550. I noticed that at the end of the show, he was still asking, so the bid price, which is what people are actually willing to pay, is somewhat below that. Right now, for me, that would be $20.


Slappy McGillicutty (?) has a webcomic that updates once a week, on Fridays, called Gods Playing Poker. At the risk of being called a nitpicker, the comic features one God, 4 prophets, and one Great Old One. That would be Cthulu, Jesus, Budda, Mohamed, Moses, and the Aztec fellow, Tequila-gotcha, whose name I can't corectly remember or spell.

The June 3 panel is an explanation of the state of health care in the US from Moses to Cthulu.

Well, I thought it was funny.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

National Health Care - The Real Reason

I love a good conspiracy as much as the next guy, especially one in which people who ought to know better are sucked in, to the vast amusement of everybody else. Here, however is the root of a real goodie:
"A majority of young people still approve of Obama's job performance, but a majority of seniors over 64 now don't (54%). Maybe they'll die before the next election."--Andrew Malcolm, Los Angeles Times Web site, July 8
Maybe that's the reason for rushing national health care through. The resultant rationing will reduce the ranks of the opposition.

Monday, July 6, 2009

We Need an Assault Cat Ban !

Uncle, unsuspecting, takes in a cute critter.

Said critter attempts to kill Uncle.

Uncle, being a properly manly man, avails himself of privatized health care and overcomes the assault, for which we are all grateful. I, for one, plan to celebrate with a steak and a beer.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happy Independence Day

The report is in from testing done at an undisclosed location, that the Dahlgren replica cannon, described a couple of posts down, makes a satisfactory report with 90 gr of fffg under a 3/4" plug of Ethafoam.

Folks, it's Independence Day. If you don't do something to declare at least some independence from oppressive government, Federal, State, or local, you're not doing it right.
The religion of Orthodox Viking assures us that everything is OK as long as it's done to excess. If a little is good, and more is better, than too much is about right. Before taking on the challenge of lofting a BBQ grill over the house, please do the preliminary math first, and add 20% margin to all calculations to compensate for inferior fireworks made by non-union labor in an Asian sweat shop.

Fun is like explosives: More is always better.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Future of Transportation

In this iteration, someone, presumably from France, has figured out how to get a (mostly) enclosed motor scooter to run on railroad tracks. From Moonbattery:

Generally there is a 5 miles free space between two trains on a regular railway track. This free space and time can be utilized by these commuter cars to get people going on to their destinations. Essentially just hop into Paracité and drive up to the station and skip the train and wait for your turn; use the tracks till your destination and then drive off in it for the remainder of the journey.

There is 5 miles between regular freight trains because that's about what they need to get stopped. If there were 15 of these things on the tracks between two coal trains, guess which one would run out of gas? Now imagine what one of those spiffy black and orange BNSF

locomotives would look like with 15 of these things on the leading edge like big fiberglass bugs on the cowcatcher.

In some parts of the country, some folks have modified bicycles to run on (hopefully) abandoned railroad tracks, which gives you a nice tour of scenic back country un-bothered by traffic, except at grade crossings. The bikes run on bare rims, and have a third outrigger wheel, similar to the gizmo shown above to keep them aligned on the tracks. The railroads may no longer use the tracks, but they take a very dim view of this usage.

Solution Finds Problem

It's nice to be able to talk about something besides the idiots in Washington for a change.

A friend of mine whom I hadn't seen in a while dropped by and told me that he has a job on the municipal limousine service known as Access-a-Ride. This involves picking up and dropping off people confined to wheelchairs and walkers.

It appears that some of the well-retired folks who have limited mobility have discovered that if you can walk a little, a Segway is an improvement over a powered chair for getting around. The problem this creates is that the mini-buses the city uses for the handicapped are not equipped to tie down a Segway on board, as they can with a wheelchair.

A study has been done, and guidelines are about to be issued on how to do this. Myself, I favor a minimalist approach: Simply add a belt or two to a vertical post, have the Segway riders back up to the post, and fasten the belt around both the rider and the machine, much in the manner of preparing a heritic for burning at the stake. Saves adding a seat, and takes up less space. Voila, problem solved.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Cap and Tax

The C&T bill that was recently whooped through the house contains, it seems, what is called in Washington, a placeholder. This is an interesting legal doohicky that allows a bill to be passed with things like TBD installed in it that can be re-written or interpreted later out of sight of the unwashed masses. In the C&T bill, it looks like this, thanks to Michelle Malkin:
Section Reserved is to be filled in later when someone thinks of something that might need to go there. More interesting is that the section that will be installed later is in the allocation of allowances, or for you unwashed masses, the spreading of the wealth around, presumably to the richly deserving.
When you go to section 788, there is no text except the words [section reserved], so the minute details of who exactly would be deserving of allocations is still TBD. Maybe Obamas fine print czar will take care of this, but I would suggest, to my Senator, that some stimulus action be applied here, to wit:
Sec 788. Allocations for Patriotic and Underemployed Bloggers. Setting up a committee to be made up of Billll, Tamera K. and Jeff Soyer, being all patriotic and either unemployed or underemployed, who will allocate CO2 emissions credits as they see fit in such a way as to reduce the discomfiture level of the country and reward patriotic and inspirational blogging. For this service, the committee shall each be given 25,000 tons of CO2 credits to dispose of as they see fit. The committee shall be allocated 25 million tons of CO2 credits to be distributed as they see fit, a report as to the distribution to be submitted to the minister of minutiae at the end of the fiscal year.

Current thinking is that depending on how the economy moves, a ton of CO2 credit would be worth somewhere between 0 and $40. In Europe, the C&T system was installed, and the economy tanked, causing fuel and power usage to drop driving the price of a CO2 credit from 15 euros to about .15 euros. Industries who bought early took a beating, but hey, I might get lucky.

The word in DC is that as soon as a copy of the bill can be printed up, it's going directly to the Senate shredder, so the actual value of a CO2 credit will likely be zero, same as a unicorn fart.

Taxes and Employment II

OK here some explanation, and a new question raised. Gateway Pundit has a report on the unemployment numbers showing the unemployment rate at 9.5%. Oddly, the 470,000 jobs lost in June only added .1% to the unemployment rate, but in the previous month, when the economy shed 520,000 jobs, the rate jumped .4%. It seems a 10% reduction in job losses results in a 75% reduction in the effect.

Regarding my simplistic method of calculating the unemployment rate in the previous post, Gateway notes:
...If laid-off workers who have given up looking for new jobs or have settled for part-time work are included, the unemployment rate would have been 16.5 percent in June, the highest on records dating to 1994.
Still not quite apples to apples, but closer than published government numbers which become more suspect almost daily.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Taxes and Employment

Newsbusters reports that government revenue for June '09 is down 9.8% from June '08. Now I'm sure the relationship between employment and revenue is vastly more complicated than I am perceiving it but, to take a simple-minded peasants view:

Revenue is equal to the number of peasants toiling times the average tax rate imposed on their earnings.

R = E*t

Let Revenue in June '08 (R1) = 100
In June of '08, unemployment was 5.5% so the employment rate was 94.5%
100 = 94.5 * t so the effective tax rate would be 1.0582

Note that the total revenue and the total population don't actually matter since we're only comparing percentages here.

If Revenue in June of '09 (R2) = 90.2, and the tax rate is unchanged, then the percentage employed becomes 90.2/1.0582 = 85.239, which implies a 14.8% unemployment rate.

I know that other factors affect these numbers. At the last place I worked, the main workforce took a 20% pay cut in lieu of layoffs, and I stand by my previous prediction that the rate for June will be 9.8%, but how would that square with the announced revenue drop?