Friday, March 30, 2012

Health Care

Just read an article at Investors Business Daily which pointed out an opportunity coming up very shortly. Assuming the Supreme Court overturns Obamacare, it would behoove the Republicans to have a proper alternative ready to hand, and by that I certainly do not mean Romneycare.

The article cited five areas where government meddling had made health care more expensive, and proposed corrective action in these areas.
1. End the tax discrimination against individual insurance buyers.

2. Let consumers buy plans across state lines, giving states an incentive to rein in their out-of-control benefit mandates.

3. Let small groups establish association health plans to get benefits of scale.

4. Ease the rules that are choking off the medical savings account market.

5. Reform the nation's tort laws.

How hard would it be to put together a single bill addressing all 5 areas, at least to some degree, and present it as the capitalist alternative to government intrusion?

In the case of the first three, if companies could sell nationally, they could offer policies tailored to the most common demands of the customers, and create the groups mentioned in 3 themselves. Thus when an individual comes looking for a narrowly tailored policy, he can be grouped with a widely scattered, but otherwise similar group to get what he wants at the group rate.

As to #5, making "loser pays" the law of the land, at least at the Federal level, would go a long way toward accomplishing this.

I wrote my congressman suggesting this. Strike while the iron is hot.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Anybody remember biorhythms? Yeah, I'd mostly forgotten them myself until Roger, the Real King Of France published his, which suggested that tomorrow might not be the best day to ask the king for a favor.

The notion that ones bodily cycles can remain in some sort of predictable synchronization after all those years strikes me as completely ridiculous. Fortunately we Aquarians don't believe in that sort of nonsense. Still, anything for a laugh:
for "primary functions, and
for "secondary. So the next 3 days I'll be at some sort of peak. Too bad it'll be wasted at work. OTOH, there's a carbine match this weekend at which I should kick everyone's ass.

Or prove conclusively that biorhythms are the bunk we always thought they were. Get yours here.

The Future Beckons

Just think, the possible demise of the pizza delivery driver. This gadget promises to deliver your fast food by air to your GPS-defined location.

At a distance, it looks promising. As you get closer, some details probably need to be worked out. The developer, in San Francisco is suggesting it deliver tacos, possibly because of a limited payload capability. I suggest making it a hybrid, with a gas motor/generator powering the electric motors. Routing the exhaust around the cargo compartment would keep the munchies warm as well.

As to making the delivery, I don't know about you, but looking out my front door, I see tall trees, overhead power lines, and nowhere convenient to set down long enough to offload a bag of tacos or a medium pepperoni except in the street. The back yard doesn't serve any better either.

Still, given a human operator to help out, getting the thing to the right address should be automatic, and with help from the human, getting it to the ground becomes more manageable. Add some learning capability, and the next run could well be autonomous.

Just remember to stay clear of the rotors until they have stopped turning before unloading your food.

Super-size that soft drink for you sir?


Watching the commentary over the last three days, I've noticed that the justices questioning has gone from wondering weather the government has the power to compel the purchase of broccoli to figurative speculation as to the length, width, and depth of the hole to bury it in.

I believe at this point that a 5-4 decision to bury the thing is a near certainty, while a 6-3 vote is not out of the question. Listening to the questions on Tuesday, I was thinking 7-2, but that may be too much of a stretch.


The Huffington Pest reports that a terrorist-built nuclear device detonated in front of the White House, would leave the greater part of D.C. intact, including the capitol building where calls for nuke control would be heard amid the clatter of workmen replacing broken windows.

Normally I'm opposed to terrorist types sporting nukes, but if they want to improve their image with the rest of America, may I suggest a slightly larger yield, or as we gunnies put it: Bring Enough Nuke.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Trayvon Martin

Here's a case that exemplifies the reasons for not going immediately to press, as it were, with the breaking story du jour. The initial reports had a cherubic black child brutally gunned down by a white "vigilante" named Zimmerman.

It seems Zimmerman is Hispanic. Not a problem.

It also seems that some 3 witnesses have come forward backing up Zimmermans version of the affair that Trayvon was on top of him pounding his face when he pulled out his gun and shot Mr. Martin.

The case has not yet gone to court, and I suspect it will be some time until it does as it appears that a politically incorrect verdict will be forthcoming. Various groups have called actions up to lynching in retaliation. I suspect that, given the available evidence, that the shooting will be ruled justified, but that the Feds, in an election year, will have to take the same approach they did in the Rodney King case and charge Mr. Zimmerman with a civil rights violation or something to mollify the constituents.

Right? Wrong? Who knows. I just don't have very high expectations for this.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Light Posting

Between work and home, I feel like I've been in an unending game of Whack-A-Mole for the last week, and it's not over yet. The power supply for my router died, probably from leaving a trash can sitting on top of it until it overheated, and the replacements don't want to work.

Routers should be as close to plug and play as anything in the computer world, but the replacements, after announcing that they have been successfully installed, then apologize for being unable to see the modem and warn you that connection may be degraded. As in non-existant.

They also have no clue as to how this might be remedied.

Burger and beer lunch reward for the first working solution.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Contraception Waivers

One of the more interesting forms of argument is called reducto ad absurdum, which involves taking an otherwise good proposition and argue for carrying it to ridiculous extremes. An example might be to counter someones argument in favor of abortion, for example, by asking if there should be any limits to it at all. The first trimester? The third? How about the 45th, about the time when the offspring stops being cute and the idea begins to regain some favor? Any time at all? Should a parent have the power of life and death over offspring forever?

You can see that even though at some point the argument breaks down, with a little effort this sort of thing can provide endless amusement, so let's try another:

The reason Obama can't possibly allow the Catholics to decline any part of his healthcare bill on religious grounds is because then he'd have to grant other religions exemptions based on their theology. Christian Scientists would then have to be granted a blanket waiver from healthcare laws, but of course they'd still have to pony up April 15th to help pay for everybody else.

This could lead to the government overtly encouraging us to convert as this would be a big cost-saving measure.

Next the Muslims would want an exemption for the killing of wives, daughters, and infidels citing the accompanying reduction in prison populations as a cost savings.

Or we could ask that the government simply not think it should be in any business at all. Now there's a real cost savings.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Ammo Supplies

The DHS has awarded a contract to supply them with 450M rounds of .40 S%W JHP's. Some folks find this kind of ammo quantities in the hands of the criminally irresponsible to be a tad bit disconcerting.

ATK has secured a major Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity deal to supply up to 450 million rounds of .40 caliber ammunition to the Department of Homeland Security.

The 1 year contract with four option years comes at a time when many Americans believe that DHS, along with certain aspects of the military, will soon turn their sights on the American people during some sort of martial law scenario.

I take the optimistic view: This time next year, whatever has been delivered will be on the surplus market when the agency gets disbanded.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Executive Orders

Preparing for some unspecified national calamity, the president has issued an executive order, which carries the weight of statute law without having to go through a bickering legislature.

Sec. 102. Policy. The United States must have an industrial and technological base capable of meeting national defense requirements and capable of contributing to the technological superiority of its national defense equipment in peacetime and in times of national emergency. The domestic industrial and technological base is the foundation for national defense preparedness. The authorities provided in the Act shall be used to strengthen this base and to ensure it is capable of responding to the national defense needs of the United States.

Sec. 103. General Functions. Executive departments and agencies (agencies) responsible for plans and programs relating to national defense (as defined in section 801(j) of this order), or for resources and services needed to support such plans and programs, shall:

(a) identify requirements for the full spectrum of emergencies, including essential military and civilian demand;

(b) assess on an ongoing basis the capability of the domestic industrial and technological base to satisfy requirements in peacetime and times of national emergency, specifically evaluating the availability of the most critical resource and production sources, including subcontractors and suppliers, materials, skilled labor, and professional and technical personnel;

(c) be prepared, in the event of a potential threat to the security of the United States, to take actions necessary to ensure the availability of adequate resources and production capability, including services and critical technology, for national defense requirements;

So in time of peace, or declared national emergency, or declared potential  threat, the various secretaries of the various agencies are authorized  to essentially nationalize anything they want, divvy up the spoils  between them, and institute a draft of both executives and workers into  such available slots, military and civilian, as may be required.  Getting drafted to be the CEO of the newly nationalized Ford Motor  Company would certainly be a plum assignment for someone closely  connected to the administration.  Sounds like O'Bummer is getting ready to fight WWII using the same  strategies and tactics as FDR. Isn't there supposed to be some  congressional oversight over this?

I read the whole thing so you don't have to, but let me tell you the whole thing is a scary, far-reaching power grab. All these actions can be implemented on any excuse or none at all. RTWT and ask yourself if there's anything he can't do under any circumstances at all.

Update: Apparently this is a boilerplate update to an E.O. first issued in 1939, which explains the part about getting ready for WWII nicely. This thing has been around that long and has been updated by every president since. Issueing the thing on Friday at 5:00 PM when bad news is usually set out in order to avoid media attention has the exact opposite effect. You'd think they would have figured it out by now, but I guess not.

Going Shooting, Point Blank

Or at least trying to. Yesterday I was complertely prepared to participate in the club Rimfire Steel Dogs shoot but instead had to spend Saturday morning buying a new battery for the truck. Bummer.

The Steel Dog Shoot involves steel cutouts of prairie dogs set up at distances starting at 35 yards, and every 15 yards out to 150 yards. As I understand it you shoot this course 3 times, near to far, far to near, and near to far. You cannot shoot the next dog until you've hit the last one, and each course is timed. There may be more, I haven't been out to one yet.

150 yards is a bit of a reach for a .22, but not impossible by any means, and to do well, you must know your rifle. How do you adjust your sights, and what will give you the best results? I use a program called Point Blank which is available free here. My version was older, and I haven't tried the new one yet, but it's said that the new one is much better than the old one. Good.

You enter data from your gun (ideally) or from the ammo box, enter some physical data like the distance from the bore of the gun to the center line of the sight, and the ballistic coefficient of the bullets, along with the distance you plan to zero your sights at, and the program will print out a chart of the expected arc of your bullet, along with suggested windage corrections for any range you think you can reach.

So what's the ballistic coefficient, I hear you ask? It's the relationship your bullet has with the air its passing through. The number varies from about .1 to about .4 and the higher the BC, the flatter your bullet will fly. At shorter ranges, the effect is modest, but as you get out there over 200 yards, it becomes a significant factor.

For the .22 I was planning to use, the bullet box said the expected muzzle velocity would be 1280 fps, and convieniently also mentioned that the bullet would be making 1100 fps at 100 yards. Point Blank has an app in it that takes these 2 numbers and the caliber of your bullet, and gives the BC for the bullet. For this .22 ammo, the answer was .11.

Point blank, which probably ought to be points blank, is the two distances at which your bullet crosses your line of sight, first going up close in, and second going down, further out. If you're shooting at several ranges, you want your sights adjusted so that the rise up close is approximately equal to the drop at the extreme range. This minimizes the corrections you have to make to get the hit, and keeps the numbers you have to remember to a minimum. Less math is good.

Tell the program you will be setting your sights for 125 yards, and the program will tell you that you will be hitting 4.9" high at 70 yards, and 5.7 inches low at 150. Ask for the results to be in 10 yard intervals, and you find you're 2" high at 35 yards and between 4 and 4-3/4" high from 50 to 95, 2" high at 110, spot on at 125, and 5.5" low at 150. A prairie dog is about 8" tall, so aim for his navel up close, his feet out to 95, his navel again at 110, spot on at 125, and about an inch over his head at 150.

There's even a column for suggested windage allowances, and for light bullets like the .22, a 10 mph wind will put you nearly a foot off at 150 yards, considerably more than the bullet drop.

Our range has backstops every 25 yards out to 100, and every 100 yards out to 300. To sight the gun in without doing a lot of walking, use the 50 yard backstop, and put two dots on a paper plate with a fat marker, one near the bottom, and one 4-3/8" above it. If you aim at the bottom dot and hit the upper one, you're spot on for 125 yds.

The above data is true for my rifle, which has a scope mounted 1.5" above the barrel. If your scope is higher, or if your iron sights are lower, the results will be significantly different, so get the program and run it for your gun. At this point, you will know more about your gun than 90% of the folks out on the range, and will be making those long shots the others just dream about.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Why Santorum Can't Win

His latest pronouncement is that he opposes Internet porn.

As it happens, one of my pet causes in obscenity. Like Tom Lehrer, I'm for it.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Living On The Plantation

Life on a plantation as a slave is good. You do what you're told, and in return you get free housing, food, clothing, medical care (subject to the limitations ordained by a benefits panel), and you don't have to pay taxes, all provided at the expense of Ol' Massa.

Half the population of the country lives that well now, but it's considered NPC to mention it. Case in point is a 13 year-old girl in Rochester who wrote an essay on Fredrick Douglass and seemed to get rather a bit more out of it than the school was quite prepared for:
Coming across the famous passage in which Douglass quotes the slavemaster Auld, Miss Williams was startled by the words: “If you teach that nigger (speaking of myself) how to read, there will be no keeping him. It will forever unfit him to be a slave. He would at once become unmanageable, and of no value to his master.” The situation seemed to her familiar, and her essay was a blistering indictment of the failures of the largely white faculty of her school: “When I find myself sitting in a crowded classroom where no real instruction is taking place I can say history does repeat itself.”
This seems to be grounds for having your grades reduced, and getting drummed out of school. It summs up most succinctly the problem with unionized teachers in the K-12 schools in a large part of the country.

The above quote is from an article by Kevin Williamson at the National Review. Click the link and RTWT. Williamson calls for tar and feathers for the school superintendent for letting this go as far as it did. The super says that now that this has come to his attention (and Glenn Beck's) he's looking into the problem and will do something about it.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


The government in Australia is proposing a ministry to control the part of the media they don't already "own", that being the Internet part of it including Twitter and Facebook:
Under proposals published last week, the new regulator would have the power to oversee all ''news internet sites'' that get more than 15,000 hits a year, or roughly 40 a day.
The proposed New Media Council would have to keep an eye on possibly hundreds of thousands of accounts, which the loyal opposition suggests might well prove to be unworkable.

Keep in mind that when a bad idea like this is put into effect, workability is a secondary concern. If something doesn't work, the standard government reaction is to try again only harder, and with a bigger budget. Taxpayers, after all, grow on trees.

As an aside, I must wonder what the NMC thinks they're going to do about opposition sites based overseas. This one, for example, meets the threshold requirements, and actually has viewers Down Under. Perhaps I'm beneath their notice until I get 40 views a day from Australia, in which case they have nothing to worry about for a while.

Or I could cause trouble by advocating that the Aussies add a copy of Iowa's latest constitutional bid to their own constitution.
  • Section 1- Amendment to Article 1 of the Iowa Constitution
    • “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
  • Section 2- Referral and Publication
    • The Rights listed below are considered fundamental and shall not be infringed or denied: acquire, keep, possess, transport, carry, transfer, use arms to defend life and liberty, all other legitimate purposes
    • The following is prohibited: licensing, registration and special taxation
  • Courts shall use strict scrutiny when reviewing any restrictions on this right
    • To pass strict scrutiny a law must meet three standards.
      • Compelling government interest
      • Narrowly tailored
      • Least restrictive means
Bomb thrower? Moi?

Star Wars - The Real Thing

Having worked on bits and pieces of it in the 80's and early 90's, I like to see the work being carried forward. Back then the Dems were opposed to it, but not wishing to be seen as weak on defense, would vote R&D money to whatever part they thought would have the least chance of succeeding.

We engineers took this as a challenge. I believe the average elapsed time between a feasibility study start and having a prototype demonstrating success in testing was about 8 months. A successful test was usually a death knell as the Dems would denounce it as "provocative" and cut off funding, lest Link their friends the Russkies find themselves outgunned.

Israel has moved ahead
with miniscule funding on parts of this and is having some success with what they call "Iron Dome" which turns out to be a pretty good anti-missile system covering a modest area. The statistics can be a bit confusing, but it seems that of 135+ rockets fired into Israel from Gaza, some 46 or so were fired on and 37 of those were hit. Video and all the details here.

I understand they are also experimenting with lasers which turn out to be very accurate, very fast, very expensive, very bulky, and rather short-range. Next year they will be better, I'm sure.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


A citizen may not be required to offer a "good and substantial reason" why he should be permitted to exercise his rights. The right's existence is all the reason he needs.
U.S. District Judge Benson E. Legg

From his decision overturning Maryland's "May Issue" concealed-carry permit system.

Much as I admire the decision, I can't help but be reminded of other distinctive names like Foghorn Leghorn and Phineas T Phogbound in spite of a complete lack of connection, philosophical or any other.

Global Warming: I'm For It!

Spring is creeping up on us here, and in spite of the likelihood of one or two more big snowstorms between now and the 4th of July, let me put in a good word for the bit of global warming we've gotten here.
Here's the remnants of the glacier that sets in every fall and attempts to remain as long as possible into the spring. I've been breaking it up in hopes of finding frozen prehistoric stuff and:
In the center of the picture, are my car keys, lost there Feb 3. I credit finding them 20 days early to global warming.

The Saber-tooth Squirrel is probably under the other pile, down the driveway a bit.

Attention Gunnies! Big Sale!

The Jefferson county Sheriffs office is announcing a 27.5% reduction in the fees charged for a CHP along with extended hours for application.

Additionally there's a 20% reduction in the renewal fee.

Act now! Operators are waiting to take your call! (O.K. you have to do this in person, but it sounds good, no?)

At the same time, the Centennial Gun Store has a coupon out for 50% off the required CCW course, good till April 15th.

In my county, the process costs $152.50, plus the course, Applications must be submitted in person between 9AM and 3PM, 3 days a week only at the sheriffs office and may take up to 90 days to process.

In Colorado, if a "reasonable person" would believe that carrying a gun would be a good idea, then carry is permitted without a permit. In spite of this doctrine, one of the most reasonable situations I can think of, selling crack on East Colfax Ave, somehow does not seem to qualify. Go figure.

A bill to allow "constitutional carry" in Colorado easily passed the state House, but died in the Dem-controlled Senate. If the Republicans can overcome voter inertia over a lackluster presidential candidate, the down-list races should break favorably this fall, and we could well join the ranks of permitless carry states.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Who Ya Gonna Believe?

Unemployment numbers for February came out today with two sources only a day apart. Today the Fed Gov reported that the U-3 unemployment rate held steady at 8.3% with the U-6 number at 14.9%.

Yesterday, Gallup reported that the U-3 rate was 9.1%, a .7% increase, and the U-6 number was 19.1%, 4.2% higher.

U-3 is what most people think of as being out of work and collecting unemployment. U-6 includes people who have become discouraged and quit looking as well as people working at part-time or jobs they are otherwise overqualified for.

I heard today that no sitting president since Roosevelt has ever been re-elected with an unemployment rate over 7.2%, so look for the official figure to ease down over the next 8 months, and check with Gallup to find out what's really going on.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Oil Supply

You would think that a regular supply of oil from a friendly country through a virtually uninterruptable supply chain would be a good idea. The U.S. house thought so, and voted to provide permissions and the like to the Keystone project.

Even up in the Senate where only 1/3 of the members have to worry about getting reelected this year some 11 Democrats sided with Republicans to vote for the project. I'd guess all 11 are up for election this year.

Also noted is that Colorado's senators, Obama's most loyal toadies, both voted against the measure. Neither one is up for election this year, and they probably assume that the voters will have forgotten their vote along with the experience of filling a tank without taking out a mortgage by 2014.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

High-Speed Robots

Some worry that when 2 or 4-legged robots move at speeds up to or even over 50 mph, we puny humans could be in trouble.

You have to look at the opportunity here. Just think, these things could pull my rickshaw up and down the freeway to and from work at real freeway speeds. Just think, here's something that could get you more attention than a Bugatti as you pull out and pass some hapless dweeb in a Prius.

Nike will need to be developing a more robust running shoe for this application as well.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


I love a good conspiracy theory and the more elaborate the better.

A number of places are now reporting that Bin Ladin's body was not buried at sea, but was brought back to the U.S. This would be handy to trot out if the other conspiracy theorists began suggesting that he wasn't actually dead to inspire his followers.

So where do you store dead terrorists?

You know that life-sized wax figure at Madame Tussauds?

It ain't wax.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

More Gun Fun

OK the first e-postal match of the year is up at Mr.Completely's. He's using the infamous "Fly Shooter" target,

and to win you have to put 25 holes in the paper, inside the outline square, without actually hitting the flies. This is much like the windvane shooting in "Five Card Stud" in which you claim to have been aiming between the windvane blades. If you hit a fly, you have to stop so only one dead fly per target.

DISTANCE : 25 feet, or Ten yards, which ever is available at your range.

SHOOTING POSITION: Standing, un-supported, off-hand, one or two hands on gun permitted.

This sort of thing penalizes the large-bore constituency as it's much harder to miss with a big bullet.

Distance is 25 ft. Back in the day, I believe I could have cut one of the flies out of the target without touching it using my Daisy BB gun with iron sights. The older I get, the better I was, by golly.

Health Care Debate

In a textbook socialist society, all other organizations are subservient to the government. In China, for example, the government appoints bishops and archbishops. In the U.S. it will be necessary for certain religions to amend their doctrine to conform to the latest government positions.

To that end, the administration is taking the position that the Catholic church really wants women to die without health care in the form of contraception. They publish phoney "permission slips" that they assure us the Republicans will allow Catholic employers to issue to enforce church doctrine over non-Catholics:

Cute. Just imagine what would happen if your boss turned out to be a Christian Scientist.

H/T to business Insider for this one. Read the whole article.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Congratulations Bender!

Upon the occasion of your triumphal election to the Washington D.C. school board. Educational standards in the city have nowhere to go but up, and you may take as your first official act the defeat of the Ayatollah Khamani who was in the process of getting elected himself.
The sub-humans will be allowed to live, and will be able to accurately distinguish between Pilsners, Lagers, and Stouts.

Friday, March 2, 2012


The death of Andrew Breitbart has sparked a great deal of controversy with some noting the impending release of a video damaging to the president as evidence of an assassination. This is, of course, nonsense.

The L.A. coroner's office assures us that per standing policy, if you have fewer than 3 bullets in your body, or if your radiation rate is less than a standard mount, then your death is unarguably "natural causes". So there.

On the left, the celebration is now projected to run over a week, which makes perfect sense. When the man with the flashlight goes away, the roaches celebrate.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Does everything seem more expensive? Do you notice your paycheck ending before the bills get paid? Have you heard on the news the line that "The Consumer Price Index, excluding the volatile food and fuel sectors, rose .2% this month, indicating that inflation is being held in check."

Sure. The CPI includes the price of a new home too, so if you buy new homes monthly and can get by without eating or driving, things are just peachy. CBS (!) is noting that if you eat and drive to work, and avoid binge buying of homes, the inflation rate is closer to 8%.

Contributing to this is the administrations attitude toward gasoline prices. The official position is that when the gasoline and oil disappear, we will adopt clean, renewable energy sources that are currently being developed by contributors to the administration.
“We agree there is great suffering when the price of gasoline increases in the United States, and so we are very concerned about this,” said Chu, speaking to the House Appropriations energy and water subcommittee. “As I have repeatedly said, in the Department of Energy, what we’re trying to do is diversify our energy supply for transportation so that we have cost-effective means.”
Stephen Chu, Energy Secretary.
So he agrees that we're suffering, but believes it's good for us. Not only does he know nothing about energy, he knows nothing about economics.

To be cost-effective, an alternative energy source must compete on a cost per unit basis with the incumbent sources, be they nuclear fusion or refined unicorn farts. If a source is uncompetitive, the solution is generally NOT to raise the price of the existing source and subsidize the challenger. In the end, the consumer simply winds up paying more for the same kilowatts, btu's or whatever.

2012, It's not just an election, it's a cease-and-desist order.