Thursday, June 30, 2011

Why, Back In My Day...

Thugs were real thugs. Bikers were real bikers, and the bikes they rode were real bikes. Any biker caught riding a 50cc scooter would be drummed out of his society, stripped of his colors, forced to get a shave, a haircut, a suit, and become an accountant or something.
A child was shot in a Dorchester park Monday night, and motorized dirt bikes emerged as the villain, with the city moving swiftly to ban the buzzing vehicles, which the mayor and police commissioner blamed for fostering mayhem.
So the city council in Dorchester (suburb of Boston) is proposing banning scooters. Looking at the accompanying picture, if I had to guess, I'd say the thugs had a small industry in the stolen motorbike business going on. I suppose it's easier to fence an unlisenced scooter than it is a lisenced and titled real motorcycle, and the things are bringing pretty good money nowadays.

It's just that I'd be embarrassed to be seen on one. Plus I'm too old to be changing careers to become an accountant.

Fat Cats Buy Politicians

And here, thanks to Power Line and, is a breakdown of just who those fat cats are and how much they're paying for the politicians they buy:
Click to embiggen, as they say.

When you hear a pol whine about campaign finance reform, what he really wants is to shut off his opponents completely.

Health News

Found these references over at Indy, but they bear repeating. After all, you knew all along that diet soda makes you fat, right? I mean did you ever see a skinny girl drinking one? Now they think they've found the actual reason why.

Point two suggests that while it won't cure Alzhiemers, coffee can stave it off. Or maybe it's just that a dotty old coot talking three times as fast doesn't seem quite so dotty. Or maybe he just runs the blather by you so fast you don't pick up on it. Hmmm. Coffee can also help you get elected?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Gun Law, Colorado

In a case before the 10th circuit, Gray Peterson is suing the state to demand recognition of his out-of-state carry permits. Colorado does not recognize Mr. Petersons Florida permit since he doesn't live there, and doesn't recognize his Washington permit because we haven't gotten around to recognizing them yet.

Mr Peterson argues that in light of MacDonald, the states, as well as lower jurisdictions must recognize the right to both keep and bear arms for persons not otherwise prohibited from owning them.

In a best-case scenario, this would effectively grant constitutional carry to everybody, except as noted. The next best case would be to force all jurisdictions, state and local, to at least recognize each others carry permits. This would force Illinois to recognize Utah and Florida permits while forgoing the revenue to be had from issuing their own.

Worst case would require states that permit CCW to recognize all other state issued permits, which would leave Illinois as the only holdout.

Peterson v Garcia. Coming soon to a courthouse near you.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pop Quiz!

Here's the rules:
1) get a pencil and a small piece of paper, number 1 through 5.
2) put your watch or a clock with a second hand where you can see it.
3) Test includes literacy and numeracy so no e-dictionary or calculating aids.
4) Read the questions below and write down your answers. You have 2 minutes from the start of reading the questions.

* There were no _________ remarks at the parents' evening. Is the correct word: dissaproving disaproveing dissapproving disapproving?
* A lesson begins at 11:40. The teacher prepares a 10-minute introduction followed by a 15-minute video clip and then a 25-minute activity. At what time does the activity end? Give your answer using the 24-hour clock.
* The children enjoyed the _________ nature of the task. Is the correct word: mathmatical, mathematical, mathemmatical or mathematicall?
* Teachers organised activities for three classes of 24 pupils and four classes of 28 pupils. What was the total number of pupils involved?
* For a science experiment a teacher needed 95 cubic centimetres of vinegar for each pupil. There were 20 pupils in the class. Vinegar comes in 1,000 cubic centimetre bottles. How many bottles of vinegar were needed?

Fun, wasn't it? Found these questions in a nice article on the state of education at Samizdata.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Rights, Defined

The Supreme court ruled today that the federal government may not restrict what a minor can see.

Not to worry, any government at all can dictate what said minors are required to look at.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Future of Transportation, Futures

Go here to see the rest of the pictures, but check out the cockpit of the proposed new SLC 600 M-B:
It'll take a lot of video gaming to become proficient with this I think. Nice touch: The witch doctors mask in the upper right hand corner of the instrument cluster.

And what is it about that joystick that makes me suspect that the designer was a rather kinky fellow.

H/T to Roger


Insty is reporting that U2's concerts now feature protesters demanding that Bono pay more taxes in an effort to help Ireland skirt bankruptcy.

If Ireland is spending 145% of what it takes in, then it's going to go broke. If it spends 145% of taxes less Bono's income, then it will owe less than if it spent 145% of taxes plus Bono's income, so Bono's tax avoidance actually reduced the amount of fiscal trouble Ireland's in.

The award for keeping money out of the hands of the irresponsible is a better personal standard of living.

BATFEIEIO Chief To Testify

This could get interesting, depending on what Ken Melson has in mind. The talk in D.C. is that he's to be thrown under the bus, along with everybody else as a scapegoat, and to keep any more of the story from surfacing. However:
The acting director of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is strongly resisting pressure to step down because of growing controversy over the agency's surveillance program that allowed U.S. guns to flow unchecked into Mexico, according to several federal sources in Washington.

Kenneth E. Melson, who has run the bureau for two years, is reportedly eager to testify to Congress about the extent of his and other officials' involvement in the operation, code-named Fast and Furious.
It has been suggested that the entire purpose of the operation was to artificially create a crisis to enable restrictive gun laws to be implemented by agency edict, rather than asking vulnerable congressmen to commit political suicide by actually voting for them.

One wonders just how many remain on the bus, as opposed to under it. A poem by Walt Kelly entitled "The Prince Of Pompadoodle" is coming to mind.

Mad Science

I really appreciate the inventive spirit in humans, the ability to turn necessity into invention, and sometimes into obscene profits. Here is a bit from an English student who thought it up while working in an orphanage in Africa. He attaches a front-loading type clothes washer to an adult-sized tricycle, and does the laundry in two 10 minute stints down the road.

This is quite the inspiring thing. One can imagine that the effort to turn the washer would make the trip rather more exhausting than just pedaling by ones self, so let's take this idea and run with it. It's been suggested that this might be expanded to become a dishwasher, presumably with a soft enough suspension to prevent damaging the crockery in potholes.

But all work and no play.... Let's take the 3-wheeled undercarriage and make it a PTO unit. Attach the appliance du jour, and take off down the road. When you get back, swap out the clothes washer for the dishwasher, and turn two more laps. Then snap off the dishwasher and snap in the combination ice cream maker and Daiquiri blender to top off the last few laps.

For myself, I may consider a tumbler to polish the brass cartridges I reload, although this makes enough noise to frighten the horses from some distance away, even with a rotary tumbler. I'm sure there's more. Suggestions, anyone?

H/T to BRM for this one.

The Future of Transportation, Mandates

Sort of mandates. You may remember in very recent history when the current CEO of Government Motors publicly called for a $1/gal increase in the tax on gasoline so as to make the Chevy Volt more appealing to the general public.

My daughter, who works at an import agency tells me they have a modest, but noticeable number of people coming in and trading their GM cars for the import, and citing the demand for higher gas taxes as the reason.

Ford's non-involvement notwithstanding, at least one irate customer took delivery of her new Honda saying she would never buy another domestic car again.

In this country we admire the entrepreneurial type who sometimes goes broke several times before finding the right formula for keeping a business going. We admire less, the wannabe capitalist who takes a business in bankruptcy, infuses it with capital, and runs it headlong toward another bankruptcy. Especially when he's using our tax money to prove he has no idea what he's doing.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Armed Robbery

The state of Colorado has a deep and abiding interest in my health and welfare, as evidenced by the passage of a state law demanding that I wear a seat belt while driving my truck. I suspect that the interest is more in keeping the cash cow (me) producing tax monies fro the state than anything else.

To this end the fine for voluntarily taking your life in your own hands is $65 minimum or $82 if you encourage your kids to take responsibility for their own welfare.

In 14 days of rigorous enforcement, the state recently pulled in an average of $40,000 / day.

If you don't wear a belt now because you feel it's none of the state's damn business, try thinking of the belt as preventing them from having one more hare-brained program to spend your money on since they don't have your money.

Money, guns and alcohol should be kept out of the hands of the criminally irresponsible, and the government, at all levels, is at the top of that list.

Range Time

You know it's going to be a good day at the range when preparations involve checking the tire pressures on the stuff you're bringing.

The cannon, listed for sale here earlier, at 22 degrees elevation, with 400 gr of ffg under 2 lb of concrete in a 303 can delivers about 600 yards range. Asking price will be $1500.

Muzzle velocity can be calculated, the proof is left as an exercise for the students. Ballistic coefficient for a 303 can? It can't be good.

I brought along the pedal air gun which when I arrived, drew comparisons to some of the improvised anti-aircraft systems recently seen in Libya.

One of the kids fired one of the 12-ga darts from it at a steep angle instead of toward the backstop. I found it embedded in the ground some 175 yards downrange. Great fun, every kid should have one of these.

NASA is the National Association of Squash Artillery. We may soon expand that to the National Association of Squirrel Artillery. Film at 11, as they used to say.

Walking up and down the line I saw a 2-bore rifle, an 8-gauge rifle, a .50, a suppressed Ingram .45, and enough more conventional stuff to keep someone drooling all day long.

The food was good too. Imagine a large Styrofoam cup. Now layer it with 1) mashed potatoes, 2) BBQ beef / chicken, 3) BBQ beans and top it with 4) Cole Slaw. Serve with a fork and a lemonade. Compliments to Juan, the chef.

Urban Planning

There's a story going around (here's one now!) about the Chinese government attempting to transform what has been an agricultural state into New York City, pretty much by decree of the Emperor. To this end, State urban planners have been building whole new cities each housing a population of about 1,000,000.

I suppose the motto of the Chinese HUD is "If we build it, they will come, or else." Anyway this has resulted in forests of high-rise buildings standing empty, as there is as yet, no economic reason for anyone to move to a city with no business base to hire them, and conversely, no consumer base to support a business.

This is what you get when the Peoples Department of Housing and Urban Development operates without adult supervision. Packing people together is very efficient from an urban managers point of view, but works very poorly in real life.

Want to know how this will end? Google Cabrini Greens.

There is probably some optimal density of population, depending on the economic base, that would fit the classic bell-shaped curve. I'm going to guess that in a non-agricultural setting, it probably runs to 6-8 single-family dwellings per acre. If you build upward, the population density increases, and the available outdoor space disappears as more and more must share a fixed outdoor space.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Righthaven Going Down?

Clayton Cramers Blog is back from the dead, and is reporting that Righthaven, a law firm that makes money by intimidating people, seems to be in trouble with the Nevada State Bar Assn.

Couldn't happen to a more deserving bunch.

Das Kapitalist

All the basics of capitalism in eight short paragraphs, including an intro.

D.J. Drummond has a good thing going here
, and if he wants to get on the gravy train, he'd hire a professor in Obfuscative Deconstruction or some such to add 5-600 pages of mind-numbing drivel. At this point he's a rising star in the college textbook biz.

Read it now, before it becomes a best-seller.

Government Threatens To Go On Strike!

And I'm fully behind them. Alas, it's government workers in the U.K. who are threatening the public with a withdrawal of their services if the evil masters don't at least scale back the beatings and...
The leader of the largest public sector union promises to mount the most sustained campaign of industrial action the country has seen since the general strike of 1926, vowing not to back down until the government has dropped its controversial pension changes.
Oh wait, they're complaining of having to retire at 66 instead of 60, and actually contribute to some of their benefits, much like the common peasants. To this end they're threatening a rolling strike, stopping the services of the Bureau of Silly Walks and the Department of Redundancy Department.

I have readers in Great Britain, so here's my advice: When the local paper shufflers go on strike, visit the site they've shut down, and toss enough Molotovs to burn the building down. One or two ought to do it as the fire brigades will be out on strike with the rest. With the building gone, and the paperwork and endless forms gone with it, your local economy should perk up right smartly.

The newly unemployed drones will be unable to apply for unemployment without an agency to help them, and will quickly succumb to starvation. Britain will become Great again, and you can help it along!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ethanol Follies

It's tough being a Senator. You have to figure out how to buy the votes of group A, while simultaneously buying the opposing votes of group B, using monies taken from groups C, D, and E. If you've don your math right, you get re-elected, which is job 1.

Today the Senate voted to end the federal subsidy for Ethanol. Sit down and quit cheering, you haven't heard the whole story.

The fed pays gasoline refiners some $.54/gallon to buy ethanol from Big Corn, which pleases Big Corn. The gasoline refiners, thus, reduce the cost of blended gasoline in proportion to the subsidy, saving you a few cents at the pump for fuel that delivers less power and reduced mileage.

Eliminating the subsidy saves the government money, reducing spending, but wait! The government requires the gasoline refiners to add the ethanol to their product, so without the subsidy you get to pay more for that sub-standard gas you buy. Note that there was no effort to eliminate the requirement for ethanol in gasoline, nor was there proposed a tax cut to help you pay for the suddenly more expensive gas, although there is a glimmer of fairness in this.

Currently the ethanol is paid for from your federal taxes. If this bill passes, the ethanol will be paid for by the end users of the fuel. Since about half the population currently pays no federal taxes, but pretty much everybody buys gas, the penalty falls equally on everybody.

Think of this as step one towards a national flat tax, which would be better if it weren't being imposed over an already progressive tax.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Motorcycle For Sale

Can't rant about liberals or rave about guns all the time I guess so here we are:
This is a '92 Kawasaki Ninja 250. It's been banged about a bit, but it's all there and runs fine. This was my daughters bike, which she didn't ride much, and sold to me when she needed money. It has under 10Kmiles on it.
O.K. just barely less than 10K, but there it is. I don't ride it much, but I'm told it will get 60 MPG if you ride like a sane person, and 50 MPG if you don't. It goes on Craigs List Monday.

Asking price is $1600.

Update: That was quick. All gone.


Yet another of those evil, nasty Frankenfoods will now be hitting the market, this one a wheat that is resistant to the newer, tougher wheat rust now coming out of East Africa.

Protests in Europe in 3....2....1...

Oh yeah, it delivers 10% more wheat than the old version.

Right To Work

Sen Ron Paul is sponsoring the National Right To Work act in the U.S. Senate. This bill touches all the right bases and Dr. Paul's heart is certainly in the right place. The Senate, being controled by the UAW and the SEIU, has the perogative to park the bill in a committee with the understanding that it should never see the light of day, which they have done.

The Dems are missing an opportunity here. If the bill is voted out of committee, it means that one or two Dems voted to do so. The unions will be furious, but if they come from mostly non-union states, they have little to fear. Secondly, the bill must pass the Senate.There are lots of ways to buy political cvover here, such as adding an amendment that pushes out its effective date until after the upcoming election, or put in an opt-out clause that would effectively gut the thing. There are enough Dems from right-to-work states to actually pass this in any case.

We assume that house passage will not present problems.

The last refuge is to make it an open secret that the president is expected to veto the bill, so a Dem can vote for it and explain to his union constituents that the vote didn't really count, and he was just pandering.

If the president vetoes it, it improves his already solid standing with the 7% of U.S. workers who still belong to unions, and further alienates the remaining 93%, improving his already good odds of becoming a one-termer. Of course he could announce he was considering signing, and change his mind when Richard Trumka arrives at the White House in an armored truck full of campaign cash. There aren't enough votes in the Senate to override a veto anyway.

Of course if he signs it, he improves his odds of a second term. The question would be Does he think this will help more than having the unions out there waving signs and donating their dues.

Well, do ya feel lucky, punk?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Gun Law, Finland

Reporting here that the Finns have proposed a new law that raises the minimum age to own a handgun, while demanding 2 years experience with one as a prerequisite to ownership. Some of the Finns call this a catch-22 as being unable to own a gun might make getting practice with it somewhat difficult.

The application of the idea is poor, but the basic idea isn't without merit. I thing no one should be allowed to have kids unless they can demonstrate 5 years experience raising them.

H/T to Snowflakes In Hell for that one.

The Future of Transportation, Motorbikes

Pop over here and check out a rather limited view of what a motorcycle can look like if you turn their wheels 90 degrees, so the axles are perpendicular to the ground, and replace the tires with propellers.

Commuting to work becomes a lot more interesting. Instead of watching out for Bozos slurping coffee and talking on cell phones at freeway speeds*, you get to learn where the high-tension lines are located, and plan to be at least a couple hundred feet higher.

*Yeah, yeah, freeway speeds vary a lot. between 0 and 85, repeatedly, over some depressingly short stretches.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Foxes 3

I am hearing stories from the neighbors about the foxes in the neighborhood, and the news is mixed. The two foxes I saw in my back yard looked to be medium sized and quite healthy. The neighbor describes a large, scruffy-looking one he sees in the morning.

He also says he's lost one of his cats, and the neighbors beyond him have lost 2 small dogs. I could get the impression that there are a lot of foxes in the 'hood, and mine are among the smaller ones.

A co-worker tells me he was able to get his foxes to move out by placing a light in the den, and running an AM radio just outside the entrance. Seems they don't like the light and noise, so I'm giving it a try. After 24 hours of a night-light in the ventilation hole, and 850 AM's news, weather and sports, but mostly sports, they seem to have abandoned the den. I'm putting a layer of cinder blocks over the dirt to stop them returning, and salting the area with insecticide to dispose of the fleas.

Neighbor on the other side, who keeps his cat strictly indoors, thinks the foxes are probably Rockies fans and don't mind the incessant sports, it's the 3 hours of Rush Limbaugh that drives them out.

If I thought they were liberals, I'd just put out some land mines and be done with it.

Free States

The Mercatus Center has a study posted that ranks the relative freedom of the individual states. This is a combo of individual and business freedom, and the details and a map depicting freedom in shades of blue can be found at the link.

It's nice to see my own state, Colorado, rated at #7, although I seem to remember the place being MUCH less regulated not that long ago. It's depressing to think that 80% of the country is more like North Korea than we are.

Another interesting item is the way Indiana stands out, #3, in a sea of darkness like Switzerland surrounded by the 3rd Reich.

They mention regulation of air guns in Colorado. I was unaware we had any regulations beyond admonitions not to shoot out other peoples windows.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Gun For Sale

3 years ago a friend presented me with a piece of heavy wall stainless steel pipe, and asked if I could turn it into a cannon. The answer to such a question was yes* with the disclaimers associated with that asterisk running on at some length.

So the thing got built, and I did all the math, and concluded that as long as you don't think you're going to war with this, it can provide some amusement.

The gun is 36" long and has a 3.06" bore, which closely fits a 303 can of the sort used for dog food or Spaghetti-O's. Said can, filled with cement weighs about 2 pounds, and with 15 degrees elevation will reach out an impressive distance. Even better, is a can full of lug nuts, the long kind with one end closed, which whistle ominously in flight.

Firing is by percussion cap:
It occurred to me rather late that a swinging arc mounted at the top of the rear sight could be calibrated in yards of range for a light charge on one side, and a heavier charge on the other.

This is NOT a replica of anything. It's a black powder toy. The carriage is made from the rear axle of a Ford Fiesta, and has been voted "Best Use of a Ford Fiesta". Since this is a towed (2" ball hitch) piece of equipment, there is a license plate and associated paperwork. Don't worry, it's not a registered gun. The paperwork describes this as a"light utility trailer". The frame has been painted primer gray. Someone with the right facilities could doubtless touch up some details.

The fellow I built this for has paid me, and now discovers that it's a bit larger than he imagined, and his garage is full. Asking price is still being hammered out. Suggestions (offers) will be considered. I'm probably more flexible than he is. I need the garage space.

Update: Asking price is $1500.

Update: Gun has been sold.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sic Transit Gloria...

And all that. It seems the TV producers have changed their minds about using me on their program. The word I'm getting is that they have decided to promote backyard inventors who have produces backyard inventions for the good of humanity.

My experience with this is that it's a sovereign cure for adolescent obesity. What better service to humanity could I produce, at least in this country? I recommend it to every household full of kids in the country, as long as they're located more than 1/2 mile from my house.

Of course it's possible that the producers somehow found out what I actually think of a large part of humanity, which doesn't of course, include any of my readers.

At any rate, they hold out the prospect of going on later if the show progresses, or if they decide that a generous dollop of violence would boost the ratings.


I can't speak for you, but I'm sure tired of all-Weiner all the time. You'd think he would have resigned by now.

Oh wait....wrong party.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Gun Show

Went to the gun show, riding through a haze of smoke from the fires in Arizona. Arizona, having voted the wrong way in the last election, can probably expect the same level of Federal support given to Texas for their fires.

Moderately good attendance, and we sold raffle tickets for the M-1 and the 870 shotgun. Compared to last month when we sold nothing, at least on my shift, this was great. I take this as evidence that the recession is over, and the recovery is under way.

Unrelated, but interesting, my labels for posts, which you see below the post, have all been miraculously fixed, so I guess the Blogger repair job is proceeding apace. To whomever did this, thanks!

To Keep And Bear Arms

I'll be working at the gun show today, so stop by the CSSA table, and join the NRA or the CSSA.

Meantime, The Truth About Guns, mentions that the Mexican constitution has its own version of the second amendment written into it:
Todo hombre tiene derecho de poseer y portar armas para su seguridad y legítima Linkdefensa. La ley señalará cuáles son las prohibidas y la pena en que incurren los que las portaren.
My Spanish is good enough to comprehend the first line, but I have to resort to Babelfish for the second:
All man must right to own and to carry arms for his security and legitim defense. The law will indicate which are the prohibited ones and the pain which those incur will carry that them.
The problem with machine translation becomes obvious right away. Also there seems to have been either a typo or a language shift since 1857, as hombre (man) probably would translate better as hombres (men).

It seems to say that all men have a right to keep and bear arms for their defense and personal security, BUT the law may prohibit some men from this, and may specify exactly who is not permitted, and establish penalties for the violators.

In spite of using the word "right", what the clause grants is a privilege to be granted or withdrawn at the whim of the government, very much like the interpretation the antis would like to impose on our own second amendment.

King Alfred of England, in around 800 AD recognized that if the Danes landed five ships up near York, they would have laid siege to the city, looted, pillaged raped, burned, and be halfway back to Denmark before he could call up his army and march it up to oppose them. He issued an edict then establishing every mans right to arms, and a civic duty to be at least minimally proficient with them to discourage the Danes or at least keep them busy until the army could arrive.

The modern equivalent of this is Chief Wiggums comment: "Can't you people take the law into your own hands? I mean, we can't be policing the entire city!" The principle works on pretty much any scale.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Quote Of The Week

"If you want to make a Conservative angry, tell him a lie. If you want to make a Liberal angry, tell him the truth." - Rush Limbaugh

This from an observation at News Busters that while Time magazine is making odds on the GOP wannabes, they continue to completely ignore Herman Cain, even after his outstanding showing in the recent debate. Speculation runs wild: Is Time racist? Is Time bigoted?

Actually the truth is a bit too plain to see. Time is Democratic. The last thing they want anyone to see, is a competent, conservative BLACK candidate. It might give the others ideas. It would also explain why they give the best odds to the RINOs and lesser standing to the conservatives.

Update: I suppose it's incumbent on me to point out that Townhall's polls which appear on Moonbattery and other placed, are guilty of the same offense. They even include Huckabee, who's not officially running.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Energy and Environment

In the news, all those windmills the Brits invested in seem to be languishing in the still air, victims of a shortage of wind. It was said that if the government were put in charge of the Sahara desert, within 6 months there would be a shortage of sand. Well here's proof.

We were told that unlike oil, no matter how much wind we used, there would always be more, but look, we've only just begun to tap the worlds wind reserves, and already there's shortages. This is having an impact on Vestas, maker of giant windmills worldwide, who is currently laying off large numbers from its plants in Denmark.

There's a Vestas plant just north of Denver too, but as long as the Dems run the state, they'll have a market for their product.