Monday, February 29, 2016

GDP Growth

Over at Peter's place I found some graphs from Shadowstats, an alternative economics blog that continuously harps on the amount of cooking that goes into the official government books.

In this chart, is the government line too optimistic? Yes. Is the SGS line too pessimistic: Yes. The government is trying to stay off the lamp posts and employed/elected and SGS is, to my observation, taking every single bit of bad news and sweeping it into a single heap which distorts things a bit at the margins, still...

Since population is growing at about 3%, any GDP growth of less than that represents a drop in well being for the country on average. An even more depressing chart could be made by averaging the 2 graphs so as to acknowledge the discrepancies, and subtract the population growth from that number. The difference is how much you lost in that year. 3% GDP "growth" coupled with 3%  population growth = net gain of zero. Yes, I know it's not distributed evenly and last year while the great unwashed were taking a net 4.5% beating, the .gov parasites were seeing boom times. C'est la vie.

A fellow I know is getting a job making prayer wheels for progressives. You know, the kind that are erected in open fields, get connected to coal fired power plants to keep them from freezing in the winter, turn in the wind and collect federal subsidies. I don't see this as entirely ethical, but if that's where the money is, then that's where we work I guess.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Gun Fun - Training

As of today, I am now a certified Safety Officer with the IDPA. Yay me!

Among other things in order to get here we had to break up into teams of 3 and run a stage to show we all knew all the dance steps and calls. So I start out as SO, with a shooter and a scorer. My shooter gets to the line and I read the scene, point out all the positions and targets, call the range hot and ask him to load and make ready.

He pulls a Glock 22 and slides in a mag, releases the slide and gets a jam.
He clears the jam with some difficulty and repeats the feat: Another jam.
I loan him my folding knife which helps clear the jam, and he tries again with the same results.
Being a good SO I have him clear the gun and put it up.

Turns out he has a conversion kit for the gun to allow either 9mm or .40 S&W. After the last time he cleaned the gun he put all the .40 stuff into it except the barrel. This explains why his favorite .40 rounds were jamming. Could have been worse, could have been the other way around.

All in all, a productive and enlightening day.

Next scheduled IDPA match/major blizzard will be Mar 12 at Dumont.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Nevada Caucus

Here's a dictionary definition of chaos. Turnout seems to be running 1 or 2 orders of magnitude over the last one they had. They're running out of ballots, places to sit, and everything else. People have reportedly double voted and others have seemingly disappeared off the rolls although I can vouch from my experience that when 90% of your caucus attendees are there for the first time, many of them will be at the wrong location. Snacks were available at some locations:
The Taco bar was especially popular what with the (relatively) high Latino population in Nevada.

At this point I would be leery of attaching too much significance to the results, still what I'm seeing so far is massive turnout for the R's and minimal interest for the D's. Be interesting to see if this carries over into the general election.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Gun Fun - Cultural Anthropology

Kevin over at Smallest Minority has a complete* guide to gun owners. It's very entertaining so read the whole thing.

BE ADVISED: When you get to the Sammy Davis Jr. Video, make sure you watch it. Make notes about the bit about why Chester walks with a limp.

*I suppose I'm some sub-species of the tinkerer genus.

Sunday, February 21, 2016


Here's an oldie but a goodie from Oleg Atbashian who also writes at the Peoples Cube. Noting that arguing with liberals is an exercise in futility, he suggests a Socratic approach of asking them questions instead noting that once enough questions have been asked, the recipient answers their own questions.

If all cultures are equal, why doesn't UNESCO organize International Cannibalism Week festivals?

Sounds good to me, we could piggyback it onto a BBQ festival.

I'm sure a similar set of questions has already been generated for the gun argument, just needs to be assembled.
Here's a few:
From the NRA:
1. “Why do you feel gun-free zones save lives?”(see #9)
2. “Why would disarming your neighbor make you feel safer?”
3. “How would you feel if you were trapped in a public place with some madman who was assassinating people?”
4. “What makes you feel so cruel toward women and the elderly?”

From the Examiner
5.  Since when shouldn’t a constitutionally-delineated fundamental civil right really be for every American to exercise?

From Concealed Nation:
7. Ask them what laws would they like to pass? Then follow their logic. If they want to limit magazine capacity ask them how many rounds are acceptable? And how did they come to that conclusion?
8.  Simply ask them to define an assault rifle and watch their head explode.
9. Have you noticed most mass shootings occur in gun free zones? (see #1)

QOTD - Election Humor

Found in the comments at Insty this gem just begs to be expanded and sung by either the Nebraska Guitar Militia or M4GW

Please allow me to introduce myself,
I'm a man of wealth and taste.

Just as every Bush is a criminal,
And all the Clintons saints...

Edited to correct brain fart.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Gun Fun - Estate Sale

Actually this collection recently discovered in Merrie Olde Englande should rightly be sent in its entirety back to the States, perhaps to the NRA for redistribution to the membership in partial repayment for all the personal weapons we sent to the Brits at the beginning of WWII. You will remember that the British government confiscated and destroyed the lot of them as soon as they perceived the local citizens as a greater threat to their jobs than the Wehrmacht.

Think about it: Join the NRA and get one raffle ticket for the firearm of your choice for each year of membership you buy. Life members will get tickets based on the actuarial estimate of their remaining years, 85 minus your age for men, and 86 minus your age for women or whatever the current numbers are.

Offer valid in all states covered by the U.S. constitution.

Colo. Gov: Vote For The Crook!

Gov. Hickenlooper is still angling for the VP position  and has decided that the Federal Felon candidate is the better choice than the Communist Candidate. All you Dems out there, remember: Vote for the crook! It's important!

I suppose if She gets elected and is then convicted of something or dies unexpectedly, he gets to fill the big chair. Either way we're pretty much boned.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Gun Fun

You knew there would be some here eventually didn't you? Winter can't last forever we hope. So today I took the qualification test to qualify for training and official recognition as an SO with the IDPA. Passed it easily.

The indoor club I belong to is looking in to having IDPA-type events in addition to the usual bullseye-type competitions, and this should help get things moving which will get us some trigger time without the risk of frostbite.

Monday, February 15, 2016


Yet another rant in an ongoing series I suppose, in protest of governmental cooking of the books to deflect criticism of the hare-brained policies they inflict upon us. Today the Idependence Institute is noting that energy costs in Colorado have gone up some 67% in the last 13 years. This works out to an inflation rate of about 4%/year. Looking at the prices of other things, this isn't as bad but it's certainly higher than the 1.8% or so that Janet Yellen has been using as an excuse to hold interest rates to near zero.

Just remember to listen carefully to the news when they mention the CPI and note the disclaimer "excluding the volatile food, clothing, shelter, and energy sectors" when they then give you the news that inflation is non-existent.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Scalias Replacement

According to the Rules, the president may appoint a judge to the supreme court as an interim replacement if the Senate is in recess at the time and the appointment will be good, I believe until the next Senate convenes.

If I were the president, facing a hostile Senate and with an agenda to push, I'd have a nominee on speed dial at all times in case just the situation as just happened arises. Right now the Senate is in recess until Feb 22 so a recess appointment is legit. The ideal candidate would be a disabled female of color or a member of a privileged subgroup who can be counted on to back the presidents agenda. There would be no other qualifications absolutely required although a passing familiarity with the legal system would be a plus.

Complaints about packing the court with malleable crony's would be duly ignored by the MSM. Complainants would be denounced as racist, sexist, or whatever kind of -phobic might apply.

The proper action for Sen McConnell would be to immediately return to the Senate, Gavel it into session, then gavel it into one of those temporary breaks that allow every one to go home without actually declaring a recess.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Endorsements - Obamas

Jay Carney is suggesting that while Obama won't come right out and endorse her, he would definitely prefer her as the party candidate.

Of course he would. It's his best shot at losing the "Worst President Ever" title in his own lifetime.

The Longest Bar Joke Ever

This thing runs on and on and on....

You got to admit it's funny though, keeping in mind the warning about political jokes sometimes getting elected.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Hillary Wins New Hamster

Despite losing the popular vote about 60/40, it looks like she'll actually get the majority of NHs delegates.

The fix is in.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Gun Law - Chicago

From the RKBA newsletter I get:

Brewing in Illinois: The Cook County Board has a proposed ordinance before it which will attempt to restrict the 2nd Amendment rights of all law-abiding citizens in Cook County. The ordinance calls for the “prohibitions on the sale of firearm to, and purchase of firearm by, a person not covered by appropriate liability insurance.” This means Cook County residents would not be able to purchase and own a firearm [lawfully] without first acquiring firearm liability insurance... The intention of the ordinance'€™s sponsor is to have a major impact on gun violence. An admirable thought, however you must ask how will this ordinance have any impact on gun-wielding criminals? The truthful answer is it won'€™t. It's a false notion to think that violent criminals who are already breaking the law will stop and contemplate the purchase of firearm liability insurance before committing their next crime. Moreover, nearly all insurance policy coverage excludes criminal acts from their coverage obligation. If this ordinance were passed, litigation would certainly follow in opposition to its constitutionality, which would mean a long and costly legal defense for Cook County taxpayers. There is a reason why this type of legislation has failed nearly everywhere it has been introduced across the country...
It has been observed that the function of government seems to be more and more not so much to protect the citizens from the criminals, but to protect the criminals from the citizens. As a child in the '50s, the stories I heard about what happened to miscreants who got caught sounded like they would have been far better off in the hands of the police compared to what allegedly happened to them at the hands of their intended victims. If all a criminal got for his troubles was a backside full of salt, he could count himself lucky.

Oh well, I guess a politician has to stand up for his constituents no matter how unsavory, they do keep him in office. You would think though that the law-abiding would outnumber the thugs in even the roughest districts and the pols would be pandering to them, but I guess not in Chicago.

Gun Law - UBCs

UBCs are now the law in 3 states, Colorado, Washington, and Oregon and will be on the ballot this fall in Nevada. All of these were the effort of Michael Bloomberg and all passed by promoting all the wonderful things that would entail from UBCs without mentioning that without universal gun registration, the law is unenforceable.

New York also has this as part of their SAFE act which presumably made everyone who voted for it SAFE from a primary challenge funded by Mr. Bloomberg.

That the laws seem to be ignored everywhere they're passed is a good thing.

When Engineers Ignore Economics

Catchy title, no? It's the title of another post at Oil Field Expat that takes a lefty's complaint whine to task and Fisks it to Braunschweiger.

Engineers don't ignore economics, they live and die by it. You can invent the best mouse trap in the world, but if you over price it, you'll die broke. The sole exception to this would seem to be in the area of government contracts where the technique is to low-ball the bid to get the contract remembering to include a paragraph about the price being subject to change as changes to the original scope are added by the customer.

Click the link, it's great reading.

The Future Of Transportation - Probably Walking

The Observer suggests that self-driving cars and trucks will never make it to market as the technology is being developed too slowly, allowing government regulations to be written that would completely stifle the technology before it can be introduced. They seem to be in favor of this.
Government regulators at both the federal and state levels have been rightly insisting that the companies go slow with their development. By now it should be apparent to all that Silicon Valley, like Wall Street banksters and gamblers, has no scruples or principles about rolling the dice with the public’s welfare. Whether the company is Airbnb, or Uber, with its pirate mentality of breaking laws and evading taxes, or Google, stashing its mountain of cash in offshore, overseas tax havens, the Silicon Way is to “just do it”—and apologize later.
How many statist dog whistles can you find in the above paragraph.

Silicone Valley understands the risk. Move too slow and you'll not be allowed to get to market. Regulations have been proposed by the NHTSA to classify autocycles like the Polaris Slingshot as a car which would pretty much take it off the road. The Elio people are acting nonchalant, saying the proposed regs only apply to 3-wheel vehicles resembling cars with side-by-side seating. The addition of two words, "or tandem" to the yet unpublished regs would kill the Elio.

Islamic Problem Self Solving

At last here's some Islamic theology I can get behind:
The Friday prayer leader in holy Mecca called for all Sunnis to slaughter Shiites in Iran, Iraq and Lebanon.
The holy imam told his flock that whoever is killed while fighting Shia Muslims will go to heaven as a righteous martyr.
All that's missing at this point is a Shia cleric saying the same thing. Frankly I don't think we'll have to wait long for that.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Solution To Migrant Problems

The Russians are not known so much for things like nuance. They tend toward the direct approach. There's less confusion that way. Also less need for clever signs.

D.C. Moves Closer To Ankh-Morpork

D.C. is considering legislation to pay criminals not to commit crime in their bailiwick. One supposes that if the proposed payment was equal to or greater than the amount a criminal could expect to net from his crime, this might work. Something like this has been suggested, in Terry Pratchetts Diskworld books in the legendary metropolis of Ankh-Morpork.

In A-M, the crime rate is very low. Criminals are organized into a guild which looks out for itself jealously. You want to be a criminal, you first join the guild. They dictate how much you can steal, and what percentage you have to kick back to the guild. The guild takes a percentage off the top and uses the rest to buy politicians and cops, pay retirements to those who actually live long enough to collect one, and other worthy endeavors. If you don't wish to be accosted and robbed, you buy insurance from the guild and upon presentation of the card, any attack will stop immediately. Persons working outside the guild or caught violating the rules are punished severely. Sometimes the bodies are found.

Paying a thief not to steal has a certain logic to it, up there with paying a worker not to work or a farmer not to grow strawberries. I have to wonder about some of the other crimes. Do you compensate a rapist for not raping by giving him a coupon to a "gentlemens' club" good for similar services? Commensurate with gun buybacks, do they offer to buy a drug dealers wares at the going retail rate, no questions asked?

Inquiring minds want to know!

Buying Politicians

The codger fight in New Hamster continues with Hill protesting that Bernie is suggesting she could be bought by certain Wall St. interests:
Sanders fired back by going on a tear about how special interests buy off politicians all the time. Clinton said that no one has been more targeted by those special interests than her.
I don't see why anyone on the left should be complaining as Jimmy Carter has endorsed Don Trump as being more amenable to compromising his positions. For him, this is a selling point.

The old saw about an honest politician being one who, once bought stays bought is really only applicable to places like Chicago or New Jersey where being bought by the local mob had darn well better mean staying bought. On Wall St the interpretation is a bit different as financial types don't normally have kneecappers on the payroll or even the speed dial.

In the better parts of town you don't buy politicians. You rent them, by the issue.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Economics Of Green Energy

Had this headline passed on to me by a friend.

Green energy fact: if we put all green energy subsidies together in
one-dollar bills and burn them, we could generate more electricity
than has been produced by subsidized green energy.
It's a fascinating fact and you have to admit once you hear how much money has been spent on green energy, that it has an air of plausibility about it. The only problem is the source, Peoples Cube also has a hint of a credibility issue. Still, there's enough truth to this....

Existential Threats

Existential Threats in America are clearly defined as things that threaten the comfort and well-being of the residents of Washington D.C. In Europe the range is limited to certain gated communities in Brussels I suppose, but here comes the possibility of one now.

With the influx of downtrodden refugees from the lower latitudes bearing only the credit cards and iPhones they could slip into their pockets, we are now discovering that they also bring a long list of diseases, many of which are transmitted by mosquitoes. Not so much a problem in winter, but in summer, the little bloodsuckers pop up even in the best neighborhoods. Additionally it seems things like Zika can be transmitted sexually adding a new element to the casual affair with the pool boy.

When Malaria, Zika, chikungunya and dengue fever, and who knows what all else begins to pop up in the tonier parts of town, then you'll begin to hear the cries to have another look at DDT. Back in '71 it was determined that it posed no real threat to anything with less than 6 legs, but got banned anyway mostly to win the green vote.  Since then it's been banned pretty much worldwide with threats to places still afflicted with the aforementioned diseases and more to cut off trade if any traces are found in anything being shipped from those countries. The death toll from otherwise preventable diseases is estimated to be between 50 and 100 million since the ban went into effect putting Rachael Carson up there between Joe Stalin and Chairman Mao in terms of the absolute number of people they've killed.

Numismatist Alert!

I'm looking for one of those new Iowa quarters that have heads on both sides.

Endorsement - Plastic For Hobbyists

For all you Mad Scientists out there looking for a chunk of plastic to finish your Cosmic Infindibulum with here's Colorado Plastic Products.

All the usual plastics in all the usual forms, plus several bins of leftovers which go on sale the end of every month at half or more off. You probably don't need a 4 x 8 ft slab of Delrin, and couldn't afford it anyway, but chunks measured in inches instead of feet and available in Delrin, Nylon, HDPE, PVC etc. are there. Odd lots are also available. Ask.

Click the link and sign up for notifications of their monthly leftover sales.

Monday, February 1, 2016

3-Way Races

A statistical study at one point determined that the most likely outcome of a 3-way electoral race was a victory by the least popular candidate. This happens when the 2 most popular candidates split their party majority into pieces individually smaller that the least popular candidate. This applies to larger races as well.

So here we go again, only this time in the primaries in Iowa with Cruz and Rubio splitting their 38% of the vote against Trumps 28% and giving the win to Trump. One more chapter in the ongoing policy of the Republicans letting the New York Times select their candidates.

A republican party ruthlessly intent on occupying the White House would be leaning on the remaining dwarfs to drop out and throw their support to either Rubio or Cruz in an effort to get an electable candidate to lead the party but internal politics intervenes and none of the wannabes is willing to admit that he or she really has no chance at this point.

There was a song on the Simpsons once:

Most people won't never shoot off their toes
but then again some folks'll
Meet the man with just 3 toes
It's Cletus the slack-jawed yokel.

Cletus is a close adviser to Reince Priebus.