Monday, August 31, 2015

Plane Nerd Heaven, Flying The C-5 Galaxy

What It's Like To Fly America's Biggest Jet, The Gargantuan C-5 Galaxy:

If you like BIG planes, and like DETAIL, this is a SUPERB article. It started out as the C5-A, it's mostly all the "M" now ... more powerful, quieter, more efficient engines and a lot of digital upgrades make the monster really a new aircraft.

Lots of interesting background on how USAF pilots start out and choose between fighters and "the heavies", the logistics challenges of a plane with a 226' wingspan vs 196' for the 747, and mission planning for taking things like tanks and helicopters around the world.

The military tends to have some  some tongue in cheek designations for thier craft ... "Freddy" is the C5, an extension of FRED "Freaking (they don't say freaking) Ridiculous Economic (or Environmental) Disaster"!

It sounds like the really hard part is taxiing ... which I can REALLY imagine after only taxiing a Cessna 152 -- being as wide as an airplane because of the wings does not come naturally -- 226' wide is like "out there"!

They launched an ICBM out of one back in '74 ... Dr Strangelove calling!

WARNING ... following the link may induce EXTREME (possibly terminal) boredom in non-aircraft geeks! You have been warned ... NO LAWSUITS!

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Climate Science vs Climate Politics

German Physicists: Late 20th Century Warming “Nothing Unusual” | Power Line:

A short and worthy read -- bottom line, the planet appears to still be working as it has for the last 2500 years or so. Climate goes through cycles ... news at 11.

The solar and oceanic cycles are the big determinants -- we will return to 1870 level climate temps by 2080 ... if the alarmists had been right about CO2 ... well, I'll let them tell you:
In a parting shot at the politically-motivated, unscientific alarmists, the three Germans point out that “50% of the temperature increase expected to happen by 2100 should have taken place by now – if such a CO2 warming were true. The scientists say that the way things stand now, if the CO2 effect were real, the future warming up to the year 2100 could be at most 0.7 °C.”
No doubt we will hear plenty of climate whoppers this week with BO talking "climate" (actually politics, what he ALWAYS talks!) in Alaska this week.

'Pigs In A Blanket, Fry 'Em Like Bacon'

Black Lives Matter: 'Pigs In A Blanket, Fry 'Em Like Bacon' | The Daily Caller:

Most of the MN media covered the "Black Lives Matter" protest of the State Fair as "peaceful" -- the Red Star Tribune made no mention of the "Pigs in a Blanket, Fry 'Em Like Bacon" chant that you can to see if you follow the link at the top of the post.

I'm thinking that if say anti-abortion protesters chanted anything like that it might get some media notice ... perhaps even more so if it was a couple days after some abortionist had been gunned down assassination style as Darren Goforth was Friday?

Nah, our media is completely without bias!

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No Lives Matter, One Nation Under TP

Man accused of gunning down Texas deputy faces judge:

There are a lot of quotes about the moral measure of a society being how it treats it's "weakest, most vulnerable, poorest, etc". I think this one from Bonhoeffer, the Lutheran pastor who stood against the Nazi's and was executed by them:  "The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children." - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

We have killed over 50 million babies in their mothers wombs, and publicly fund the harvest and sale of those innocent lives. The US socialist party ("The Party" (D) ) has the same "morality" as the socialists that Bonhoeffer fought against -- POWER!

As the linked article shows, we have our executions as well. If you look hard, you can see that the name of the man who killed the officer in Texas execution style -- Shawn J Miles. He is is a black man -- and the evidence is that the murder is related to "Black Lives Matter". Strangely, that is close to a state secret.

So we have white news people killed by a gay black man, and an officer in Houston executed by a black man -- shot in the back while filling his patrol car at a gas station in less than a week. What are the headlines? BO renames a big rock -- overturning a 100 year old act of Congress that he has no Constitutional authority to do. Do you need the difference between POWER and law spelled out. BO has no respect for law.

We have undergone a full year of "Black Lives Matter" protests and disruptions. This past Saturday up at the MN State Fair, they held a protest -- a day after Goforth's execution, in which they chanted "Pigs in a blanket, fry em like bacon!". Most of the MN papers covered that protest as "peaceful".

Every case of a black being killed by a police officer in the nation has been a multi-day national news saturation with "racism, prejudice, excessive use of police force, etc" ... or MONTHS in the case of Ferguson MO.  Each case is endlessly linked to a narrative that all this is due to the national crime of racism -- even though nearly all of the cases turn out to be completely justifiable use of force by the officer. Michael Brown becomes a well known name, a martyr, with smiling pictures looking nothing like the thug that stole cigars from a convenience store and shoved the clerk as if they were a ragdoll minutes before officer Darren Wilson was forced to defend his own life lest he become another dead officer statistic.

Would you like to place any bets on how well known the name Darren Goforth becomes? How many pictures we see of him with is wife and family? Do you really think that his life matters to the powers of TP?

We saw two officers ambushed and executed in NYC last December. Our government and the media did their best to ignore those as much as possible -- Al Sharpton, he of many WH visits and $5 Million in unpaid back taxes, took part in a rally where "What do we want? DEAD COPS!" was chanted. There was a little outcry from police officers -- really none nationally.

We are "One nation under TP" -- TP says what matters and what doesn't. The only "morality" is what TP says it is -- "Climate Change", THAT is a "moral issue" to TP, as BO again takes unconstitutional action to change the name of a big rock. We really need to study Neanderthals and Cro Magnon grunts more -- if the first folks that name something have dibs, pretty much every area and land feature must have originally been named "Grunt", "Groan", "Squeal" and such ... At our current rate of regression due to "progressives", such forms of communication may be high culture in just a few years!

"Climate Change" is a "moral issue" because the only "morality" of TP is POWER! Absolutely all of the actions of TP are ONLY ABOUT POWER! If you open your eyes and look honestly at TP, you realize that every last policy, program or slogan is about advancing the power of TP by all means legal and otherwise.

 Babies in the womb are organs to be harvested. Young black men that kill each other at the rate of 6K a year due to the policies of TP matter not at all -- they aren't news and nobody cares. Unarmed servicemen gunned down by Islamists in our own nation is a short and quickly forgotten story, young women murdered on the streets of or "Sanctuary Cities" in cold blood by felon illegals, and police officers executed matter not at all. They are "collateral damage" in TP's rise to total power.

No lives matter -- only the rise of TP to total power matters. You are living through it and have eyes. Do you see?

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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Hype, Percentages, Comparisons, Supermoons

Supermoons Are Super Dumb |

I generally agree with the conclusions of this PC Mag article, but had to laugh at them a bit. In true techie nerd "I don't get it" fashion they used about the worst percentage example they could use to make their case ...
Think of it another way: Let's say Dr. Bruce Banner is a completely average American male who measures in at around 5' 9" and tips the scales at 196 pounds. Going by the supermoon's standards for super-ness (e.g. 14 percent larger), whenever the good doctor becomes agitated, he transforms into a Hulk who stands at 6' 7" and weighed 223 pounds. In this instance, the Hulk would be slightly smaller than LeBron James. Intimidating on the basketball court? Perhaps. But hardly "incredible" and definitely not super.
The difference between a 5' 9" guy and a 6' 7" guy is pretty damned significant to people (obviously not Nerds!). It really shows up in pictures, and speaking from experience and only being 6' 4" it really makes a difference in buying clothes, fitting in autos, hitting your head, etc, etc. The standard size range difference between humans is quite small from a mathematical POV (as the PC Mag guys note), but in HUMAN TERMS -- the ones that matter to HUMANS, it is a very significant difference! Just imagine a "typical 5'9" guy married to a 6'7" woman if you are still too much of a nerd to understand this!

A better 14% example might be a 10oz drink vs a 11.4oz drink -- hardly an extra swallow! They DID call out what is REALLY the problem though... nothing to compare the full moon with! ... Which is why the best time to view it is when it is just coming over the horizon so you can see against objects on the earth.
Keep in mind there's nothing to compare the moon to when it's up in the sky, so the slight difference in size will be imperceptible to most people
Not having a reference (something to compare against) is a BIG problem for humans -- it is why TRILLIONS of dollars in debt are essentially meaningless. Even "millions" are beyond our "sit down and count them" understanding, skipping over billions ... the debt is $18.3T and rapidly rising. You can go here to watch the absolute figures unwind. If we did the Nerd comparison with the "average American family debt", which totals nearly $100K per family these days ($70K mortgage, $10k student loans, $5K auto, $8K credit card ...) and stacked THAT next to the US debt, we would have the problem that the average family debt is invsible on the scale of $18T! 

So, the issue is "how to compare"? One nice way would be to compare to GDP over time -- but one has to be very careful about inflation adjustment and the fact that the way they compute GDP gets changed over time -- in fact it changed on the reporting of this most recent quarter which they just provided another "upward adjustment" to, now crowing about 3.7% growth! If this is on the level, based on the adjustment we now grew at all of .7% rather than shrinking at something about the same fraction of a percent. One realizes that we are in extremely deep trouble and it is getting nearly impossible for the rationally oriented to even discover the extent of our plight! 

The striking thing in looking at this chart of US history debt as a % of GDP is that you see that past debt peaks were due to events -- Civil War, WWI, Depression, WWII, ending the Cold War -- but then, BO arrives! There is no identifiable "crisis" or "project" -- suddenly debt heads for record levels with no known end in sight ... in fact, with no known "objective", the left assumption is EVER increasing debt! 

I see no real harm in paying a bit of attention to a "Supermoon" -- if nothing else, it makes people aware that orbits are elliptical, not circular, so they MIGHT tumble that there are astronomical causes for things like "Climate Change" -- but probably not. 

What we REALLY need to realize is that our debt is COMPLETELY INSANE -- as a raw value, as a percentage, compared to a family, relative to history, in terms of assumptions about the future  -- ANY way you look at it! 

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

141 US Counties With More Registered Voters Than Citizens

141 counties have more registered voters than eligible live citizens | Power Line:

The Party (D) is absolutely FINE with this. Voter fraud is a cottage industry for TP and having dead, imaginary or "no longer at this address" people on the rolls is a major plus for the fraud industry, so the D's do nothing to enforce getting the rolls up to date.

Franken was elected in MN by fraudulent votes -- no MN counties on the list, but when you "win" by 225 votes, the dead vote doesn't have to work up much of a sweat!

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Worry, Newton, Creativity

Isaac Newton’s neurotic creativity may have been down to negative thinking:
Neurotics ruminate on problems, delving into their causes and the negative effects these might have. They replay these scenarios, amplifying their worries. Brain scans showed people who are good at this negative thinking displayed greater activity in regions of the medial prefrontal cortex. This area of the brain is linked to the conscious perception of threat and danger.
You don't say!  One doesn't need to read very many biographies of creative types -- writers, artists, inventors, etc to realize that this is OFTEN the case -- but certainly not universally. Einstein seemed to be very well adjusted and actually rather happy -- so it isn't a requirement!

There is a bit of irony that it is in the Irish Times -- plenty of rumination, dark side and "issues" to be had there!

The really sad part is that there are a whole lot of us "ruminators" that are in no danger of going down in history with as worthy a name as Isaac Newton -- or even Joyce, Yeats, Swift or  Beckett.

Seems that there is a lot of inequality in the creativity lottery!

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Buckley - Gore, Shout Show Genesis

I will likely see this little film at some point. It asserts that ABC putting my hero (and initial sake ... WFB) William F Buckley, up against Gore Vidal in a snarky debate covering the 1968 elections that was the origin of the "Point, Counterpoint" that we see so often today that was covered so well with humor by SNL in the late '70s'.

Humankind has "progressed" a lot from Socratic Dialogs and even public debates like Lincoln - Douglass. Witness Donald Trump, the essence of the "World Wrestling Federation" as political discourse.

It is clear from reading the linked review that the the reviewer is unable to remotely sever himself from his own deeply ingrained biases.
At a certain point their clash is set up, regardless of their ideals, as the great debater (Buckley) versus the great talker (Vidal), which is probably the most relevant dichotomy here: even as a crypto-fascist, Buckley emerges as the one more concerned with ideas, where Vidal was more content to lob bon mots, smugly ensconced in the rightness of his cause.
Dear me ... "crypto fascist". Fascism is "nationalistic crony-socialism". It is socialism where the government doesn't own much of the industry, but controls it via direct command, regulations, taxation and subsidies. The US today with BO has ANTI-nationalist fascism. He certainly doesn't want to see anyone getting all jingoistic over "America", but he is all for maximization of government control of business by any possible lever.

Buckley certainly was pro-america, so in that sense a "nationalist", but love of country is irrespective of political creed -- lots of communists, capitalists, monarchists, socialists, etc love their country! In no way at all was Buckley a "socialist", and in fact, on the true left-right spectrum, fascism, socialism, communism, monarchy and dictatorship are all LEFT (control), white libertarian (WFB) is RIGHT (chaos).

I do agree though that this general structure -- "the shout show" likely had it's origin in that pairing, so looking through the article is a good little history lesson in how we got to where we are today relative to "political debate"

The reviewer falls into the format himself in the name calling department -- "WFB you ignorant crypto-fascist"!

Murder vs Mechanism, Real Gun Data

We won't get much a gun control lecture with the Virginia shooting because TP and the MSM will just want to forget about it -- the shooter was gay and black. Doesn't fit the approved narrative -- nothing to see here folks, move along.Bill Whittle is a very smart guy -- even got to see him speak in Rochester once. Soft spoken but extremely clear and concise. Worth your time to watch it.

Summary ...

The US is #1 in gun ownership (by A LOT), but #111 in murder rate per 100K. Take out the big Democrat mostly gun  controlled cities -- Detroit, DC, NYC, Chicago, Memphis, St Louis, Baltimore, etc, and we would  be more like 200th.

What he avoids -- because he is a reasonable guy and he might run for office, is that murder is cultural. The highest murder rates are all non-western, Latin, Muslim, etc --- and if you look at our highest murder rate cities, "ditto". White Americans can't comment on culture -- ours has been defined as evil and racist. In the real world, culture does matter, and some work better than others.

Increased violence is just one more aspect of the destruction of American Christian culture -- it isn't racial. If we continue to destroy our culture, our murder rate will go up ... even if the guns are taken, our murder rate will climb ... maybe to something like the Cayman Islands under British rule at #3 63.

Killing is from the human heart, guns are just a mechanism. The left is bent on control -- guns are just one more aspect of that drive for absolute power, with the typical ruse that "they care".  They care about CONTROL -- you are just as dead no matter how you are murdered and they could care less, just as they care less about the 6,000 young black men murdered in the US most years, most in cities with strict gun control.

When you live in a nation that has sacrificed 60 million babies in their mothers wombs on the altar of convenience, you know that you live in a nation that doesn't respect life. When a nation doesn't respect life, the murder rate goes up -- none of the 60 million babies were shot, however they are still dead.

We have always had a lot of guns -- when I was in HS in the 70's we took our guns to school to be blued, to go hunting after, etc -- no gun problem. Something changed -- it wasn't guns, it was culture.

Obama Robbed!

President Obama Says Derek Jeter Swindled Him on the Golf Course | TIME:

This story seems to keep popping up for whatever reason. I suspect that the media thinks it is "cute" or "endearing" for BO as "a regular guy".

Does anyone else find it a little scary that the holder of the top job in the nation is so gullible, narcissistic, overconfident, out of touch, etc that he gets "hustled" and has his "money stolen" by a baseball star? And he is willing to discuss it? Does he not realize this shows him to be a complete CHUMP ??!!

Seems like this alone is enough to explain the Iran "deal", negotiations with Putin on Crimea, etc
Obama gave Jeter a 30-stroke handicap, but that decision cost him in the end: “We had to take a picture of me handing Derek Jeter money at the end of the game,” he said.
A THIRTY STROKE handicap? Hello? Earth to BO ...

The man is obviously a complete chump and apparently PROUD of it to boot! He is SO much of a chump he doesn't even realize he is a chump!!!
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Melting Pot to Piss Pot

Jorge Ramos: 'I've Never Ceased to Be Mexican and I Vote in Elections in Both Countries" - The Gateway Pundit:

Much like the current occupant of the Oval Office who is a "Proud Luo Tribesman" (in his own words from his own book!), or our "Wise Latina Woman" on the SCOTUS, it seems that "Americans" are in short supply -- even in the voting booth.

In the words of Jorge Ramos -- he of recent dust-up with Trump:

I’ve never ceased to be Mexican. I have two passports, and I vote in elections in both countries. I’m deeply proud of this privileged duality. The best thing about America is its embrace of diversity. 
The worst thing about America, of course, is the racist and xenophobic attitudes that tend to emerge now and then — Arizona’s anti-immigrant laws, for example. I hope that one day soon Americans will treat all immigrants, including the 11 million undocumented residents already living in the United States, with the same largess that I experienced when I arrived here.
We used to be a "Melting Pot" ... as evidenced in San Francisco, we are now pretty much a "Piss Pot".

One of the obvious problems with our descent is that it is simply not possible to provide the level of "largess" that Jorge found so appealing to ALL "immigrants" -- legal and illegal. You have to have an old fashioned thing called "a country" with arcane things like borders, citizenship, a budget, solvency, semi-sane policies, etc in order to "provide largesse", and the area of territory between Canada and Mexico is sadly lacking in all of those at this point.

Oh, Whoregay's  daughter works for Hillary's 2016 campaign ... what else is new?

I was driving and listening to the radio a lot yesterday -- Trump has already been castigated heavily in the MSM for his treatment of Ramos and his idea that we ought to actually deport illegals. I'm pretty much of the opinion that "it's over" these days ...

My base opinion would be the old rule of holes "When you find out you are in a hole, stop digging". In this case CLOSE THE FREAKIN BORDER!!! I have no idea what we do with 11 million illegals already here -- it is the kind of problem a sane nation doesn't get into, but while it is probably not reasonable to send ALL of them back as Trump says, I'd say "all" is closer to the right answer than "none". Maybe send "60%" of the less desireable back? I mean, it is ILLEGAL immigration, they ARE criminals.

But closing the border and sending illegals back is considered "impossible" by what passes for "reasonable people" these days -- so I guess the idea of having a "country" in at least this piece of territory is no longer reasonable. Like having a budget, economic policies that produce growth, not cooking the books on the economy, enforcing basic laws / Constitution on people like BO and Hillary, etc, etc.  We just don't have the ability to do what needs to be done to have a country anymore. Which seems like "it's over" to me -- but I guess I'm just a pessimist.

I still don't like Trump and I don't believe in him at all, but it gets easier and easier to see why he stays high in the polls. There are still too many Americans that don't like being a Piss Pot vs a Melting Pot. They are BEGGING for a politician that stands up to somebody like Ramos rather than licks his boots. Hell, I agree with them!

What I'm still having a hard time with -- even though I really ought not to, is actually accepting how far we have fallen. I once sat mesmerized and in awe as Americans walked on the moon, felt a chill rise up my spine as the Berlin Wall fell, stood proudly on top of the World Trade Center and even still felt that pride in being an American when we all pulled together for that short span after 9-11. As late as '09, when Iraq was stable, the US knew success. We are coming up on the five year anniversary of BO handing it over to the terrorists in Aug 31, 2010.

But listening to NPR, CBS, and other MSM radio outlets yesterday, I realize it is GONE!!!  To even THINK that we can have borders and control our citizenship is now "racist and insane" -- we already have Spanish as a de facto second language, our president is most proud of his Luo blood, and we are surrendering to a nuclear Iran without even raising our voice.

I don't believe that Trump can save us, but it is a damned shame that somebody can't!

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Gay Black Racist Hate Crime?

A 23-page document Flanagan faxed to ABC at 8:26 a.m. cited racial discrimination, sexual harassment (Flanagan was gay, the document says) and the Charleston church massacre as motivation for Wednesday's attack.
I happened to be driving a lot yesterday -- to IA and back. I found out that the shooter was black in the PM, found out that he was gay when I started reading about it at home. It was treated as a side issue -- which is how it ought to be treated, even if the crazy killer is white killing blacks and has a confederate flag at home! It's the killing that matters! Black killing black, white killing white, babies being killed in the womb -- it is all killing and ALL LIVES MATTER!

The bottom line of this post is very simple -- "hate crimes" should be abolished, and killers ought to be treated as KILLERS especially when they are obviously CRAZY. Unless we have an active terrorist organization(s) killing Americans (eg ISIS, Al Qaeda, Al Shabab, etc) ... people yelling "Allah Akbar" we really don't need to read all the rambling "manifestos".

Naturally, in this bass-ackwards world we live in, we know that we are NOT going to hear much about what "killers for Islam" write, say, etc because "The Party" finds any negatives about Islam to be nearly as secret as Hillary's e-mails.

So this guy was gay and black and killed white people on air. He had a long history of being really angry with white folks -- they cleared the office when he was fired two years ago, and had police hang around for awhile after. His long winded suicide note even mentions Dylann Roof, the Charleston church shootings and "race war". It sure seems like what we are told is a "hate crime" when whites or straights act against blacks or gays due to their blackness or gayness.

 It will be an interesting test -- can a gay black man commit a "hate crime"? If this doesn't make the cut, it seems that we have the definitive answer to that one! NO!

Hopefully our collective memory hole isn't so well greased that we can't remember what happened nationally after a white racist crazy killed blacks in a church in Charleston. If you need a refresher on how you are supposed to think, here it is.

We KNOW what we are told to think if the shooter is white, christian (as in abortion clinic shooters), has a Confederate flag somewhere, etc ... the crazy is not a factor. The race, the beliefs, the symbols, etc are THE PROBLEM. The message from the media is very clear "whites, christians, "right wingers", etc are HATERS ... and THAT is why the horrible crime happened.

When the obvious crazy Dylann Roof shot the people in the church, the fact we was nuts was secondary (hardly mentioned) -- CONFEDERATE FLAGS and racism were immediately the issue, with not subtle at all attempts to connect confederate flags with republicans. You know, the folks that fought on the wrong side in the Civil War and ran Jim Crow for 100 years!

Flanagan  happened to be a big BO supporter, reprimanded for wearing a BO button on air while doing election reporting:
He was also censured for wearing an Obama sticker while recording a segment at a polling booth during the 2012 US Presidential Election - a clear breach of journalistic impartiality.
I'm thinking we might not hear much about that. If we were looking at a white racist reporter that had lost his job due to affirmative action (in his mind) and had been reprimanded for having a W button, do we suspect we would hear about it?

My prediction is that this killing will simply go away within days -- exactly as the Charleston killing ought to have.  Both are tragic -- the families, friends, co-workers of each grieve, attempt to find meaning in the deaths and remember the victims.

But we do not honor the victims by falsely tying the actions of of a crazed person to some cause, race or symbol that the shooter happened to have! In these two cases -- Virginia and Charleston, the killer was obviously disturbed and THAT WAS THE CAUSE OF THE KILLING! To do otherwise continues the descent of the nation into the state where everything is politis. Events only have meaning in political context, and the population is wired like Pavlovian mutts to unthinkingly respond as their party and media puppet masters dictate.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Shed Sweet Shed 8/26/2015

Link to album

After a summer of lots of frustration, the IA place is finally coming together. Gravel in front, LP tank in, drainfield in, opening for dock to go into lake complete (needs bigger gravel), tile to drain lower part of property to lake and take the water from the gutters,  in!

The gutters are SUPPOSED to go on this Friday, the 2"+ rock for the base where the dock goes in is due tomorrow, more dirt is due next week. Still more to go, but after a LONG summer of delays and waiting, it is "getting close".

If you look at the album you can see the long kitchen counter now with 4 stools, stove, mwave, fridge, cabinets and see the door to the small bedroom. It is very liveable now.

2015 will go down as the summer we never got the dock in -- the thought was that the place would be ready by Mindy's Miles in June -- it is really as of today, August 26, that it finally became ACTUALLY "liveable". Projects in the real world with real weather and real contractors to not show up often fall behind schedule ... badly.

From the "wisdom of today", don't build, find something to buy -- but then of course, you never get exactly what you want. We did that twice, lots of money spent remodelling both times. The good thing about building is that  when you build you have no money left, so you have no temptation to remodel! ;-)

Hopefully as we slide into fall, some crisp nights with pretty sunsets over the water, then winter, with maybe some ice fishing, then the promise of spring, getting the dock in EARLY and hopefully actually enjoying the place a good deal next summer, it will all then seem completely like a great idea and the memories of the frustrations and sticker shocks of 2015 will be only dimly recalled.

I DO understand how I am SUPPOSED to think and feel! ... and sometimes I even do. I covered some of it in this post (some things don't look as "inevitable" as they did then, do they?). It's funny to look back at the bookends of "Pond Depression" and "Pond Elation" from the blog last year ...

If intellect drove emotion, rather than generally the other way around, I'd be completely confident that the "lake place" will become a place of joy and happiness as opposed to a frustrating money sink with endless work and added costs. Most likely it will -- but then, I have moments when the algae is growing in the pond or the water is murky, that I wonder about that as well.

Mooses just think too much! Perhaps a lobotomy is in order!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

"Israel Should Be Annihilated"

"Our positions against the usurper Zionist regime have not changed at all; Israel should be annihilated and this is our ultimate slogan," the Iranian Parliament Speaker's Adviser for International Affairs Hossein Sheikholeslam was quoted as saying by Iran's Fars news agency.
Prior to WWII, Winston Churchill stood virtually alone in saying that it was just possible that Hitler actually meant what he said in Mein Kampf and his speeches. The "smart people" said that it was "just talk", and Churchill was a crazy warmonger. (isn't it surprising that BO also thinks those that disagree with him are "crazy")

What "right" do we have to say who can and cannot have nuclear weapons is really just a translation of "what right do Jews have to exist"?

and as the left thinks of babies in the womb, Christians, and those with views that oppose theirs -- why, no right at all!

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3 U.S. Defeats of Will, Vietnam, Iraq and Iran

3 U.S. Defeats: Vietnam, Iraq and Now Iran - The New York Times:

Brooks does a good job of describing the defeat in Iran -- it is worth the read.

The purpose of war, military or economic, is to get your enemy to do something it would rather not do.
Let's be clear here -- the purpose of the left in this country and world wide has been the defeat of America at least since the Bolsheviks arose in the USSR.  They call it lots of things -- "inevitable", "what right do we have to dictate who has nukes", "being realistic", etc -- but the message is the same. America prostrate before her foes is the only posture that the left in this country or around the world is willing to accept.

BO was able to snatch defeat from victory in Iraq -- just maintaining a small presence there (say 10-20K soldiers) would have prevented the rise of ISIS. Everyone that pays any attention knows this -- but in general, nobody cares. They mostly LIKE the idea of the US being defeated yet again! It makes it less likely we will attempt to exert military (or in the case of Iran, diplomatic) power in the future, and that is just fine by them. We have way too many promised entitlements to afford having a military anyway -- lets be French. Surrender is the best policy! Perhaps the Nazis will stop over for wine after we lick their boots.

Vietnam was the first experience with America on her knees -- the position that the left has long espoused for this once great nation. It was the defeat that signalled the end of America, and we continue to lurch toward the ash heap of history which folks like BO, Hillary and Bernie feel that we more than richly deserve.

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People Who Disagree With Me Are Crazy -- Temperate Rhetoric

Obama: Look How Crazy the Republicans Are! | Power Line:

Well, at least when it comes from our supreme odiferate leader it is temperate and diplomatic rhetoric! Anyone calling BO out as "crazy" is labeled as a racist, bomb thrower, intemperate completely rancid cad! But as we know, things like "bi-partisanship, propriety, statesmanship, courtesy, etc" depend ENTIRELY on which side is doing the talking in our current time.

The article is well written and points out the obvious -- our extreme leader has not a whit of mooring in anything factual, but this is so well established to the sentient that it really doesn't bear repeating.

The sad part is that in order to be a democracy, people have to be informed on issues -- some political hack calling the other side "crazy" provides not a whit of actual information, and the fact that the MSM lets it spew from BO without comment just shows how in the tank our general media really is!

Democracy depends on an independent press -- and we absolutely don't have it!

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Ignorance, My Bliss

The Case for Teaching Ignorance - The New York Times:

This article points to one of what I hope comes through in this Blog; I am ignorant, "the experts" are ignorant, all mankind is ignorant. It could not be otherwise -- we are alive, yet we can barely describe what "life" even is beyond "a really special chemical reaction". We believe we are "intelligent", but the "we" that we perceive as our consciousness is even less understood than "life" -- is it chemical, electrical, quantum, ????, spiritual, or more likely "all of the above"! The question of "the ghost in the machine" goes back at least to Descartes.
In 2006, a Columbia University neuroscientist, Stuart J. Firestein, began teaching a course on scientific ignorance after realizing, to his horror, that many of his students might have believed that we understand nearly everything about the brain. (He suspected that a 1,414-page textbook may have been culpable.)
Looking at a map can make one think they might understand the territory, but the reality is that even a very detailed map carries very little information about the reality of the territory (is it hot? cold? wet? crime ridden? loaded with bugs? ... etc). We are wired as humans to "the illusion of understanding" -- lest we cower in a cave in abject fear unwilling to face the (mostly) unknown world outside and the second to second prospect of mortality (see brain hemorrhage, heart attack, simple choking, etc).

So, as the students above, we VASTLY overcompensate -- we think a thick textbook HAS to cover most everything about the brain. We think that "a bunch of studies, many of them in agreement" on climate MUST correctly predict the future of climate. We especially want to be "more right than others" ... "less ignorant" ... the problem of accumulated "knowledge", much of it mere "data" is that it has a horrible tendency to actually make us LESS aware of our true condition.
Presenting ignorance as less extensive than it is, knowledge as more solid and more stable, and discovery as neater also leads students to misunderstand the interplay between answers and questions. 
People tend to think of not knowing as something to be wiped out or overcome, as if ignorance were simply the absence of knowledge. But answers don’t merely resolve questions; they provoke new ones.
Again, modern man is WAY behind the ancients. It was completely covered in Proverbs 9:10, no special classes required.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
The ancients realized the state of their souls and the fragility of life -- that of being most unholy and uncontrollably near an eternity judged by an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent God.  

For thousands of years, Western Civilization worked because it was based on: 
  1. The fear (best read "awed respect") of a perfectly just and KNOWABLE (to some degree) God. 
  2. That God had created an ORDERED and KNOWABLE (to humans) universe. 
  3. Man had been given DOMINION over that universe. 
These were powerful beliefs that properly placed man -- as potential master of the physical, servant of the eternal, blessed with the ability to know both the universe and God. The base for western thought brought thousands of years of relative "advancement", and since say "1300", fairly rapidly so. 

But, as in the original Eden, the snake was busy. Did God REALLY create all this? Maybe not ... and if not, maybe he doesn't exist at all. If he doesn't exist, is there REALLY "truth"? Certainly not "ultimate truth" ... and whatever feels good seems a lot more like "human morals". Oh, and BTW, why does man have "dominion" -- is man not just an animal, and therefore no more deserving of a place on the planet than animals? While we are at it, maybe "the earth" is really "divine", and man should "serve the earth"? 

So now we have mass confusion. Our natural desires to "be as intelligent as gods" make us want to fake that we are not ignorant. Meanwhile, our hopeful promethean reach much exceeds our grasp, and we are lost in a random meaningless universe. Unsure of our place -- even relative to the dead rock of the planet, or the clearly less intellectually capable life forms that share it with us. 

We have traded legitimate and actually beneficial "ignorance" (humility, wisdom, the fear of God) for a false sense of "having figured it all out", while our spiritual state is beyond lost -- not knowing even OF God, and having lost all contact with our created place in the universe. 

Proper ignorance (humility) is indeed bliss! In fact, it is WISDOM! 

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Monday, August 24, 2015

A $620K Watch, Record Cold

A $620,000 watch tells what time it is in Vladimir Putin’s Russia:

The European press often seems less controlled than the American. Couple little tidbits here:
Fall comes suddenly to Russia in mid-August, a dose of harsh reality that ends summer’s brief respite with a foreshadowing of the legendary winter that shapes the Russian psyche. With temperatures near record-lows, last week was no exception.
Fall sometimes comes suddenly to MN in August as well -- as I realized last evening I ought to have worn more than a T-shirt down to the last free concert of 2015 down at Mayo Park -- "America". Given my warm nature, it wasn't bad, but as temps started to slide below 60 degrees by the end of the evening, I could have used a bit more warmth. I'm sure it isn't close to a record, but it is certainly closer to cold records here than warm ones.

I remember 2012 being nice and warm for the last concert with George Thorogood, and a couple years where we even decided it was too hot to go. Same sort of remembrances of State Fair. Not looking like those are issues here -- but we of course know from reporting that it is getting hotter all the time. Are you going to believe your own stupid experience or the geniuses that do the warming thing -- heck, some of them can even fake like they work at the CIA and play hooky from their climate gig for 15 years and nobody notices! Are you that smart? See? Those warming people really ARE brilliant!

The rest of the article is an OK read as well on Putin's Russia -- corruption, graft, little or no wage gains, rich getting richer, lots of failures that "should remove him from office". I couldn't help but think that the list sounded just like BO's America -- lots of corruption, graft, no wage gains, big EPA spill,  ... etc, etc Russia might be a tad more honest, they actually report it when they are in a recession ... we fudge the numbers.

I suppose the press in Russia treats things differently than Reuters -- hopefully with the past experience with the USSR, people there know enough to look for answers from other sources!

How many Americans are that intelligent?

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China, Stocks, The Unknown

China to Flood Economy With Cash as Global Markets Lose Faith - WSJ:

People sometimes ask me "what have you been wrong about -- what things do you think you might be wrong about now". I went into a few of them here, but China is a bit in "another category".

My theory is that command economies can't work -- the USSR, Cuba, North Korea, China prior to the '90s, etc. Even "more controlled" economies like Europe and the US that seemingly "keep going" with increasing government intervention, start to show signs of "stagflation", low employment, poor productivity, slower or non-existent growth rates, etc.

But then there has been China. Since the '90s, growing like topsy always supposedly with more to come -- and even more important, with a population dedicated to doing the hard work to continue to make that happen! It has been enough to make a poor Moose wonder about his basic beliefs of economics!

Now it looks like the ship of Beijing is at least in rough water, potentially upon the rocks.

The moves reflect an economy increasingly failing to cooperate with Chinese leaders’ playbook to control the world’s No. 2 economy.
The real world has a horrible (depending on perspective) tendency to fail to cooperate with various pronouncements from "supreme leaders", or even "huge landslide" votes. If it were not so,  death, pain, poverty and a whole host of unpopular elements of reality would have been conjured away by some potentate or populist movement long ago!

For those that believe that God is in his heaven, and we live in an ordered purposeful universe, this is GOOD! For those that believe that man's powers as a conjurer are unlimited, this is of course VERY BAD news! (to the UNconstrained view, in fact THE WORST news! ... because it destroys their entire worldview!)

If the China economy meets a bad end (possibly taking the world for a scary downhill toboggan ride with it), my sense of how things work will be confirmed ... although with some pain in the net worth column!

While "the world" no doubt is a long way from switching fully over to my view on the prospects for long term successful control of the economy by government, this paragraph indicates that they are are least having some second thoughts on the brilliance of the Chinese attempt at economic command and control.

“The world is starting to realize China is not nearly as competent as thought, especially in the economic sphere where everyone gave it good grades,” said Fraser Howie, co-author of “Red Capitalism: The Fragile Financial Foundation of China’s Extraordinary Rise.”
The following paragraph gives a superb opportunity to understand why growth is hard:

A key problem is that risk-averse banks continue to favor state-owned companies, eschewing private enterprises with less-traditional collateral and balance sheets. This often leaves entrepreneurs with higher growth potential to fall back on high-interest non-bank financing or go without. Meanwhile, many state-owned companies, already awash in cheap capital, are reluctant to borrow because of overcapacity in various industries.
Let me try to break this down so it is understandable to all:

  • "risk-averse" -- general human nature is risk-averse. Thus insurance, votes for "security" provided by the the government, etc. 
  • "State-owned companies" are VERY risk averse -- as is the government, THEY CAN AFFORD TO BE! 
  • The "wildcard" is THE PROFIT MOTIVE! Keynes "animal spirits" -- the counterpose to "risk-averse", that if ignited, drives the economy forward. 
  • BUT, the government typically ends up dousing animal spirits and rewarding the risk-averse. It seeks to increase state actual ownership, or "de facto ownership" (as in medicine, education and other industries in the US), it seeks to increase regulation, it seeks to increase taxation -- all of which reduce the animal spirit (DRIVE) of the economy. It picks PAST winners and strangles potential future winners in the cradle. 

Eventually, "reality intrudes" -- it turns out that "the state" or "government" is not magic, all-powerful, etc, but rather just another competing organization that can suffer losses, lose the confidence of it's own people and other governments, and eventually, collapse -- the imaginary "security" that it so fervently promised is exposed as a chimera.

USUALLY, reality intrudes at levels smaller than "collapse" -- stock market crashes, housing or land value collapses, "austerity", financial controls, "stimulus packages" -- but not always, sometimes it is bigger. A political party dies, a new form of government comes in, violence, etc.

In my worldview, these things are inevitable, not surprising, and like "surgery now vs surgery later" can even have positive effects without killing the patient. It is like "pruning a tree", or "weeding the garden" -- expected and normal.

To those that believe that government is something "beyond the world" however -- that it is capable of "conjuring spirits from the vasty deep" (to butcher Shakspeare), problems as we see in China create great anguish since ultimately they call the infallibility of man through government into question, and since that is the only faith they have, that is a crisis indeed!

"There be Dragons" -- the unknown, out of our hands. If you are a "progressive", such shouldn't even exist -- because you believe that the world is "getting better" through more and more control exerted by man.

I prefer the unknown.

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Saturday, August 22, 2015

Trump, Rome, Exceptionalism

Are Republicans For Freedom or White Identity Politics?:
What we are hearing now from the Trump-supporting right is akin to the Roman people’s call for the dissolution of the Senate: the demand to install a strong horse, the outsider who will fix all things, the powerful man who promises he will, at long last, get things done for the people.
I don't think this article really makes a cogent case for the "White Identity Politics" theme it claims, but it does make some points, and it led me to think of some others.

First, the quote above. The country has been sliding socialist since the 30's with predictable and gathering crisis all around. Generally rising debt, crime, destruction of the family, weaker and weaker general business and employment climate, corruption, loss of trust, and general "malaise". Carter called it out in the late '70s ... Reagan gave us a heavy dose of positive energy, but that had fizzled by the late '90s. The only thing that prevents there from being "malaise" discussion right now is the fact that the BO admin has cooked the economic numbers, and the MSM is certainly not going to point out what a disastrous president he has been and is ...

But, many people still know what is happening -- and a bunch more "feel it". They may not have a lot of education, they may know what the MSM tells them they are SUPPOSED to think, but they are fed up! Reagan  got that vote in '80, and that "mad as hell and not going to take it any more" emotion is one of the things driving the Tump support. Reagan was certainly a "Strong Horse" -- Trump is acting like one at this point, who knows what is really in his heart and soul?

The other big thing that Trump says that Reagan said also "Make America Great Again"! Even though the MSM fights like hell for "The Party" to win, they forget that a whole lot of people are still AMERICANS first and they WANT THEIR TEAM TO BE #1 !!

This isn't all that hard -- Packer fans want the Packers to be "NUMBER ONE" -- not "as good a team as any, maybe similar to say "Cleveland, or Atlanta" (like BO saying America was exceptional like Britain or Greece). All humans have a yearning for themselves, their families, their companies, their countries to be truly exceptional -- "the greatest". Even BO has that yearning for his tribe, the Luo -- he very much wants "his people" to be exceptional. He can help accomplish that by taking America (and Western Powers) down a peg to achieve his "Dreams From My Father".

Reagan spoke to that yearning for greatness in Americans -- in his case, I HONESTLY, with a worthy vision and the capability to make it happen. Trump speaks to that same yearning -- but I believe in his case falsely, cynically, because he knows that is what a set of people will react to. But the yearning is so strong and only Trump seems to have tapped into it -- so it gives him an edge.

The media is driven to play with fire on Trump. They love him throwing bombs all over in Republican primaries and alienating especially Hispanic voters from any chance of voting Republican. They also love the idea of Trump running as a 3rd party and making it possible to even elect someone like Bernie Sanders. They see Trump as a way to destroy the Republican party which they so much hate.

It is a story as old as man -- the weapon that we pick up to destroy the hated other often destroys US! Will the media (and all the rest of us) be Trumped?

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Wisdom Is Too Long, Markets Are Concise and Honest

The collected (nit)wit and (un)wisdom of Bernie Sanders:

The linked article is chock full of excellent rebuttal of the fallacies of Bernie Sanders -- and by extension the entire current dominant political view in America ... that of the Democrats, Media, Academia, etc that I call "The Party".

I recommend reading it, but I'll give you the part that I found to be especially clear, easy to understand and somewhat non-intuitive. The BIGGEST advantage of Capitalism and Markets is that they quickly and accurately deliver BAD NEWS, and other systems very much tend to try to hid bad news, which is BAD!! This is most certainly true -- and well worth realizing, understanding, and taking to heart in everything you do! The whole article this is from is linked here.
... "The most valuable property of the price mechanism is as a reliable mechanism for delivering bad news." These two statements explain a lot about why socialist systems fail pretty much everywhere but get pretty good press, while capitalism has delivered truly astounding results but is constantly besieged by detractors. 
It is simple really: When the "Great Leader" builds a new stadium, everyone sees the construction. Nobody sees the more worthwhile projects that didn't get done instead because the capital was diverted, through taxation, from less visible but possibly more worthwhile ventures — a thousand tailor shops, bakeries or physician offices. 
At the same time, markets deliver the bad news whether you want to hear it or not, but delivering the bad news is not a sign of failure, it is a characteristic of systems that work. When you stub your toe, the neurons in between your foot and your head don't try to figure out ways not to send the news to your brain. If they did, you'd trip a lot more often. Likewise, in a market, bad decisions show up pretty rapidly: Build a car that nobody wants, and you're stuck with a bunch of expensive unsold cars; invest in new technologies that don't work, and you lose a lot of money and have nothing to show for it. These painful consequences mean that people are pretty careful in their investments, at least so long as they're investing their own money. 
Bureaucrats in government do the opposite, trying to keep their bosses from discovering their mistakes. 
Likewise, the pricing system tells people things that they can’t know directly. In a command economy, where bureaucrats set production targets, if someone uses more pig iron than expected, there’s a shortage. In a market, prices for pig iron go up, which sends two signals: To pig iron producers, the signal is produce more pig iron. To pig iron consumers, the signal is don’t use more pig iron than you have to. Both ways, the prices tell people things that they need to know, without any direct communication required. This is why market economies do better than command economies, as historical examples ranging from the old Soviet Union to today’s Venezuela demonstrate over and over again.
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Iran Will Self "Verify"

AP Exclusive: UN to let Iran inspect alleged nuke work site - The Washington Post:

This has been reported in the right wing press for weeks -- since WaPo is now confirming, I'll take it as fact. Again, those damned Republicans are up on arms and don't seem to trust the "Death the America, Death to Israel" chanting Mullahs -- go figure.

I've heard a few hard lefties say "Since Israel has nukes, how can we expect Iran to not have them?"

That is commonly known as the defeatist position ... "Since we are all going to just die anyway, why not just commit suicide now and get it over with?".  It is an argument of the form "Since X is inevitable, why bother". It used to be the gospel of the left on the USSR; "The USSR is always going to be around, isn't all that bad anyway, and there is nothing to do about it -- so quit competing, quit having a military, quit talking about them, etc".

It is often the "mature intelligent position" of the left on a whole set of topics that include  Israel continuing to exist, the US having a role in the mideast, (or any global role these days), etc. It is NEVER raised on such questions as the attainability of "income equality", "universal healthcare" or "gun control". Consistency remains a convenient non-issue for the left.

Much of human life is a struggle against the "inevitable" -- to be a Christian is to believe that even death for the soul is not in fact "inevitable", but that a better life will exist on an eternal plane. So too, poverty, despair, moral decrepitude, ignorance and a host of other natural and "inevitable" human conditions are considered worthy of hard work, dedication, individual effort, struggle, etc for those of the Christian and often "conservative" thought process.

While the left may make claims that they too seek to erase at least say "poverty and ignorance", a not very close perusal of their rhetoric will show they expect that "someone else" -- the "rich", "the 1%", "the greedy"; will do all the actual work and funding of their supposed "goals", and that what they call "education" will primarily be "indoctrination" to assure that all agree with the leftward view.

The core belief of leftward thought is that ultimately all will be forced to agree with all the tenets of leftward ideology!

... or they will be dead, very possibly due to Iranian nukes in the case of Israel. Iran will be very willing to "verify" that they don't have any right up until the mushroom shows up over Israel.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Black Balls Matter

LA 'black ball' reservoir rollout potential 'disaster' in the making, say experts | Fox News:

I saw this last week and thought that black was an odd color given its heat absorption qualities.

White came to mind -- I hadn't thought of chrome, but the point is that color does sometimes matter.

Perhaps a bit more study would have been in order prior to dumping  $34 million worth of black balls into a reservoir? Hmm ... something that works in your martini glass doesn't necessarily work for Lake Superior? Wow, what a concept!

A quick scan of the article shows the likely culprit scenario that is so common these days -- one branch of government reacting to another, in this case the LA and their reservoirs to the EPA, along with a lame attempt to cover up what they are really doing.  Claiming they are "saving evaporation" when really they are trying to meet an EPA mandate on the "somewhat cheap" (very relative when it comes to government) -- typically "obscenely expensive" vs "intergalactically insanely beyond imagination expensive".

Balls are relative.

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Climate Change Expert Missing, Government in Action

Climate change expert sentenced to 32 months for fraud, says lying was a 'rush' - NBC News:

Well, he seemed to be OK for 15 years ...

But now he is going to jail -- I'm sure it will be nice jail. He ONLY failed to do any work by telling his supervisors that he was a CIA Spy for FIFTEEN YEARS! Those government jobs that pay $206K a year must REALLY have some awesome responsibilities considering he was shirking for 15 years and nobody was the wiser!

Supposedly though, he only defrauded the government of near $1 million ... but $200K X 15 is a lot closer to $3 million -- I suppose "close enough for government work".

I love what he did with his time ...
When Huvelle asked Beale what he was doing when he claimed he was working for the CIA, he said, "I spent time exercising. I spent a lot of time working on my house."
He also said he used the time "trying to find ways to fine tune the capitalist system" to discourage companies from damaging the environment. "I spent a lot of time reading on that," said Beale.
The article is worth a read -- your tax dollars at work. Two presidential administrations from opposing parties, both houses of congress switching parties (twice) ... no matter, the administrative incompetence and downright fraud rolls on ...

And those on the left will tell you that the answer is MORE GOVERNMENT!

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Why Istanbul Should Be Called Catstantinople - WSJ:
“Being a cat in Istanbul is like being a cow in India,”
The article is a bit on the long side unless you are REALLY a cat lover. File under "interesting tidbits".

We brought our kitties down to the IA place for this week -- it was a rather difficult car ride with a lot of distressed kitty noise, and last night our smaller grey "Misty" was vocal enough for me to spend some extra late night time with her that I hadn't planned on.

Cats and Dogs are one of those cases where we can understand "why don't we all get along"? A large reason is that we have quite significant differences in likes and dislikes. Some love dogs, some love cats, some love both -- and we can do the inverse with hate.

For those that love, it is very hard to understand those that hate, and vice-versa. As Spock might say, "It is not logical" -- which it isn't.

The best we can hope to do is "respect the differences", but our feelings will not do that -- the haters and lovers of the two favorite pets have a feeling in their gut, and while we can cover it up and behave civilly (usually), there is a wiring difference that means that our "tolerance" for the inverse is not really at a felt level.

Perhaps if we ponder a bit on this reality we can begin to understand our humanity more, and maybe understand why it is that there is a need for transcendent religion that holds out the potential to step beyond the felt reality of our humanity.

How can we think and feel so differently on something of seemingly such slight significance? The fact that we can and do is a simple proof that "being more human" is never going to be enough to achieve peace on earth.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Military Spends 57% or 16% Of Budget -- Lessons in Obfuscation

Pie chart of 'federal spending' circulating on the Internet is misleading | PolitiFact:

This one is so far out that even a prominent lefty "fact check" site has to call it out as being wrong. What I find interesting though is how one can fudge numbers to "kinda sorta" show something as true that is totally false.

In this case, take "discretionary spending ONLY", completely ignore "mandatory" spending, plus take a few more liberties, and "wala", you have a "proof" of what many on the left want to believe anyway ... Republicans are stupid / insane / evil, there are no problems at all with massive entitlement / welfare spending, and all our problems are due to "defense spending".

Our lefty media pulls this basic sleight of hand all the time ... switching between debt and deficit, using raw numbers one day, percentage of GDP another, screwing with what inflation adjustment is used (or none) ... this is THE LARGEST TAX INCREASE IN HISTORY!!!! (certainly, in a country of 320 million and money worth less every year, virtually ANY tax increase (or decrease) is "the largest in history" in raw non-inflation or population adjusted numbers!

It is worth going off to the column to see just how easy it is to go from a chart that purports to show defense as some nefarious monster eating the budget, to one that at least comes close to showing the reality of entitlements consuming an ever growing percentage of our GDP.

"Facts" are sticky things -- but hiding them is often not very difficult.

A truly unbiased news source could do a bit more work on "remainder", "food and agriculture", "education", etc  to get to the 70%+ that is now "entitlements and welfare".

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Happiness Is A Serious Problem, Dennis Prager

An alternate title for this excellent book would be "Wisdom About Happiness".  I'm not wired to be a particularly happy person, nor am I wired to be a thin person -- so I do the best I can to play the hand I have been dealt. While neither diet books nor happiness books are likely to make me thin or happy, they help me understand my wiring and predilections so that I can possibly be a bit wiser, and compensate where possible.

Nearly anything written by Prager seems to at least border on excellent and this book is no exception. It walks through a lot of the many  misconceptions on happiness. I'll put a few more quotes in than I usually would, since this book is chocked full of short, well-written and to the point statements.
Everything worthwhile in life is attained through hard work. Happiness is not an exception. 
But not working AT happiness -- and especially not at YOUR happiness. As you look back on life, you will almost certainly realize that you were most happy when you were enmeshed in some "cause" or "project". In my case, the big development projects at IBM and raising kids were the largest examples. Hopefully writing will continue to develop into another.
But the purpose of life is not to avoid pain. That is the purpose of an animal’s life.
Many of our problems and even false desires about happiness are due to forgetting that man is not an animal. If we were, the rich, successful, beautiful, etc would actually BE the most happy -- but we see examples all the time in which this is not the case. Animals don't know human happiness -- they know relaxation, satiation, pleasure, etc -- all of which humans feel as well. A simple definition of hell for humans is mistaking the pursuit of animal pleasures with happiness -- addiction, obsession, disaster are terms associated with these, certainly not happiness!
whatever brings the most happiness can also bring the greatest unhappiness.
Ask a parent who has lost a child, or just has a child that has returned the love and care of the parent with disrespect and derision. Ask the loving spouse whose life partner has died. We know this to be true -- one whole chapter, chapter 25 is titled "Everything has a price -- Know what it is!". How much wiser (and happier!) the world would be if just a tiny extra percentage of our fellow man understood this simple truth!
The problem in our time is that maturity is not high on the list of goals we offer the next generation. We stress happiness, success, and intelligence but not maturity. And that is too bad, both for society, which suffers when too many of its members are immature, and for the individual who wants to be happy. For happiness is not available to the immature. And one of the prominent characteristics of immaturity is seeing oneself primarily as a victim.
"Maturity", defined as "wisdom, self control, perspective, having a philosophy of life (or even having a clue what philosophy is!)" When "maturity" is defined to mean some combination of the terms I listed (and I believe that to be his intent), then the quote above is true.

The "sage" can be "happy" in the sense that they have access to and make use of many of the "secrets" of this book, but when they live in a culture that often glorifies sensation, immaturity, mixing ends with means, substitution of animal senses for human wisdom / maturity / development, they are going to feel regret for the rest of humanity.
Yes, there is a “secret to happiness”—and it is gratitude. All happy people are grateful, and ungrateful people cannot be happy. We tend to think that it is being unhappy that leads people to complain, but it is truer to say that it is complaining that leads to people becoming unhappy. Become grateful and you will become a much happier person.
The problem with the "secret" to happiness is expectations. We don't feel happiness when expectations are met, we feel happiness when they are exceeded, and our human nature is to expect A LOT! Our culture, media and education system is all about telling us of our "rights" and how much we ALL "deserve" this and that. We are each so VERY special and deserving!! Our expectations are sky high -- for products, events, teams, friends, spouses -- EVERYTHING!

Grateful? To who or what? The order of the day is entitlement -- and nobody is ever grateful for what they are entitled to! So modern western man is saddled with the greatest unhappiness in world history -- gravely wounded soldiers in terrible wars have been grateful to be alive, modern man is often distraught and grossly unhappy if their Facebook "Friends" fail to put a "like" on their new rainbow profile picture!

There is a lot more in the book -- Prager does a characteristically insightful and compassionate discussion of medications and being wired toward depression.
If we are, in fact, “built” this way, we no longer have to blame ourselves or loved ones for our unhappiness. There is something worse than depression—blaming it on yourself or a loved one.
For those of us with such wiring, this is possibly the most important day to day advice -- because the depressive wiring comes with self-blame as a "feature". How strange that even the modern "progressive" would likely agree with Prager on this relative to depression, but find it TOTALLY WRONG for someone with say a tendency to homosexuality to seek to understand and control that "wiring".  Does the depressive, alcoholic, or even narcissist NOT have some sort of a responsibility to be "true" to themselves and "authentic"? Consistency remains a non-sequitur for the "progressive".

I highly recommend the book even if you are a very happy person. It is an excellent broad-brush skim of some of the more important, but often forgotten today, wisdom for a meaningful human life.

Peeking Behind the Gas Price Curtain

Hometown gas stations struggle to compete against Costco; MN Dep - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports:

The simple story is that Costco dropped gas prices in Rochester to under $2 a week or so ago and now they are being investigated by the state of MN.

The simple explanation is like pretty much everything else in the modern area of N America that used to be "the land of the free and the home of the brave" -- government. Nearly 40% of actual declared GDP, but with direct control and very substantial influence over much much more. 60%? 80%? Do you call it a "market" when you get investigated for dropping prices?

The article links off to the MN statutes on how low a price stations may charge -- the definition of "cost" is a little mini-study in government legaleze.  I'm not a government official, nor government lawyer -- nor do I get paid by various groups to make it sound like it is supposed to sound, but I'll give you my simple view of "what it REALLY says".

At this point, all the small service station owners, possibly oil companies, and perhaps even large service station conglomerates like Kwik Trip, Casey's, etc, want to keep the pump price relatively high -- most important,  the government does as well, primarily because it provides more "cover" for their fuel taxes ... now .47 in MN, and .513 in WI, the Feds are .184 of that. No doubt "environmental" groups are also happy to see fuel prices high -- to say nothing of Saudi Arabia, etc, so that is likely a secondary government interest here.

If you want to look at all this in more detail, here is a link -- it covers the strategic reserve, some history back to the '70s, how ethanol raises the price, how the US produces more oil than "most people think" (MUCH more now with fracking / ND on line).

Back in 2011, the oil companies were making record profits and they were getting about .07 a gallon of gas in profit. We heard a LOT about "big oil" and how "obscene" those profits were then ...  not so much now that they have the lowest profits in 10 years.

No doubt Bernie Sanders would find those profits to still be way too high -- he probably finds less than a percent interest to be just fine as well. He would like to put a few million more highly paid union government "workers" into even more massive bureaucracy insuring that everything was allocated "fairly" without any profit or loss motive at all. Allocate it all like the old USSR -- when everyone except Bernie and a million or so cronies and party apparatchiks has nothing, you are done!

As we continue to "progress" from freedom to tyranny, the biggest thing the "progressives" operate by is misdirection -- better known as lying. We see it in healthcare -- each new "improvement" drastically increases costs / bureaucracy as seen with gas prices. We see the same thing in college education.

Markets are messy. Without all the government involvement in gas sales, Walmart and Costco may well have cornered the market because cheap gas was a way to be CERTAIN that people were going to stop there. Possibly one or two of the convenience stores, cutting prices to the bone to bring in people for milk, eggs, pop, beer ... and making their money primarily on volume.

Or maybe one of the big gas companies would go nuts putting in fully automated small pay at the pump 24x7 stations -- who knows? Perhaps they could make a deal with an auto manufacturer or two in order to have some sort of an "automated bottom fill probe" -- drive in, park (or let something like the auto parallel park technology on some cars) position the vehicle, it reads an electronic code from your vehicle, fills it and charges you and you need never get out of the car. Possibly such a system could now be designed to check / air your tires, change your oil, wash the car, ???  In a market driven economy anything is possible because  innovation is a big winner, and complacency dies. In a command economy,  imagination and innovation is killed because nothing hates change like a massive government bureaucracy.

One by one, all the pieces of our economy are being "assimilated" by the "Borg" of "progressivism". There are a lot of "scare quotes" because we now live in a world where the echo chamber of the TP -- from cradle to grave, tells all what they are to think and hides ever more of reality behind scapegoats like "Big Oil", "Big Pharma", etc -- while behind it ALL, pulling the strings like that fake Wizard of Oz, we find the ever expanding government.

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Sunday, August 16, 2015

ISIS, Slavery, TP

Kayla Mueller: Why US hostage raped by ISIS leader refused to escape -
Since ISIS announced its revival of institutional slavery a year ago, the group has systematically enslaved and raped thousands of women from the minority Yazidi community, according to New York Times reporter Rukmini Callimachi.
TP (The Party (D)) was the party of slavery in the US for nearly 100 years. It was then the party of Jim Crow (Apartheid) for another hundred. It is now the party supporting (even cheering) the murder of 50 million + babies in their mother's womb.  I'm a Christian, so I believe with repentance -- with the help of God, but I also know that long held positions, principles and tendencies  take A LOT to change.

My belief is that the primary "moral" of TP -- to the extent that they discuss "morals", is that might is right. They don't much believe in a higher power or "transcendence". They believe in their own internal "moral compass", such as it is looks a lot like "situational ethics" -- works best for me is moral. So the rank and file believes in primarily taking by force the income and wealth of those that have more and giving it to those that are most willing to vote for TP.

For a very long time, America was an exceptional nation because government was limited, and the vast majority of people were treated equally by that limited government. The primary advantage of the system was it engendered a work ethic that allowed a large number of people to better their station because neither the government nor the envious people around them were granted access to the fruits of their labor.

Americans agreed on that ''One Nation, Under God, with liberty and Justice for all". TP had to be defeated by Abraham Lincoln win that "one nation" part --  one for thee and one for TP (with their slaves) would have been their choice. We know where they stand on the "God part". Their views of "liberty and justice for all" certainly didn't included blacks for 200 years, the unborn, or even Christians, but the most deadly portion to economic improvement is that they now take from the economically successful to give to whomever they see as their best voters, thus killing the work ethic that produced the wealth of the greatest nation.

Today, the TP Pledge of Allegiance is ... "I pledge allegiance to the Flag, and to The Party, One Party, Supreme, With the total support and allegiance of all" -- when they get it locked in, it will return to school and MANY other venues, and will be MANDATORY under threat of "re-education:, or death if that fails.

Subjugation of women might seem like something TP would be against, but that as well is "it depends". Bill Clinton subjugated all the women he wanted, Bernie Sanders had some odd ideas about how attracted women were to rape (he may or may not have changed his mind, the point is that TP could care less). They care less about what is happening to women in Muslim nations -- in fact, they don't care about what happens to Muslim women in the US. Muslim's are not Christians, which for TP shows they are OK.

We know the rhetoric of TP -- we hear it repeated like a mantra on a daily basis, but what is more important -- their actions or their words? Do they REALLY care about slavery when it is now a reality in a country that BO abandoned, although he both takes credit for ending the war AND says that pulling the troops out "was not his decision".  I see no evidence in the TP media that there is the remotest bit of "moral concern" for anything that ISIS does anywhere. Why would they care? It doesn't directly fit any story line that TP finds beneficial to it's cause right now -- and their supreme leader BO even called ISIS "the JV team" not that long ago.

What do their actions say? Are they REALLY concerned about slavery, or is is slavery just one more condition that can be used as they see fit, in a similar way as a handful of unarmed blacks shot by police (nearly all in the process of attacking an officer) can be used as a wedge, while thousands of young blacks shot by other young blacks are not even worthy of mention? I don't think the reintroduction of slavery into Iraq and other ISIS lands bothers them at all,. Political power here in the US is what they care about.

People can march in the street and disrupt all sorts of events saying "Black lives matter", while Planned Parenthood people can calmly discuss selling the body parts of babies over salad and wine with no concern (even applause!) from TP. Power is the calculus, not "morality".

Some lives matter, others do not -- the issue is what TP says matters. The rights of women, slavery, life itself -- it is all to be under the power of TP and the subjects are to think and feel about it precisely as they are told by TP -- no more, no less.

The vast bulk of Americans are fine with that -- send us our checks and tell us what to think.

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Friday, August 14, 2015

Sex, Violence and Power No Longer Newsworthy

One has to go to the European news to EVEN SEE THIS MENTIONED ... even Fox and the RW media are not interested. It is a "non-story" ... nobody wants to interview the  boyfriend, nobody wants to hear from the WH about it, nobody has any friends of anyone to put on camera, no conversations with the arresting officers, NOTHING!

I can only come to the title  conclusion -- apparently we have "progressed" so far that Sex, Violence and Power no longer hold any interest for the public, so our news media wisely does not cover such stores, since they would not sell!

Certainly we can assume that any such story in an R administration would receive the same stealth lack of coverage. Right?

Sanders USSR Honeymoon, Moose Report, You Decide

The 25 best things we learned from Bernie Sanders' book | MSNBC:

George Will did a good little column on the death of Robert Conquest that mentions Sander's honeymoon in the USSR in 1988. I'd never heard that, so I did a bit of Googling ... noted right wing news source MSNBC reports (linked above) that this is covered in Bernie Sanders now very hard to get book:
19. Sanders honeymooned in the USSR. Sanders married his current wife, Jane, in May of 1988 and the next day left for their “romantic honeymoon” to Yaroslavl, in the then-Soviet Union. The trip was an official delegation from Burlington to cement the two cities’ sister-city relationship. “Trust me. It was a very strange honeymoon,” Sanders writes.
However, if you live in the strong "anti-Fox" area of the left wing universe, Bernie never went on his honeymoon in the USSR and it is all made up by "Faux News":
The problem is that, with Fox News, what you learn each day just makes you more stupid than you were the day before. 
The origin of the this made-for-Fox fallacy was a 2007 interview of Sanders’ wife, Jane, by Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility. In the interview she was describing how she and Bernie met and some of their early engagements which were almost entirely related to their shared interest in community affairs. They were so involved in these sort of activities that she joked…

“The day after we got married, we marched in a Memorial Day Parade, and then we took off in a plane to start the sister city project with Yaroslovl with 10 other people on my honeymoon.” 
The context was obviously humorous. Who could possibly read that and come away thinking that she seriously meant that they honeymooned with ten other people who were implementing a sister city project? Well, apparently Weinstein and others of his ilk came away believing just that. Weinstein likely picked up the lie from uber-conservative John Fund who wrote an article for the National Review containing the same misrepresentation of Sanders’ diplomatic trip. 
We are going to have to get used to wingnuts hyperventilating over the political labels attached to Sanders.
While I'd love to say that more right wing news sources are never wrong, I'd by lying. I'm sure there are some fables on even Moose Tracks, although I try very hard to check accuracy from multiple sources. I'd say that in general if you listen to a single source for your news -- ANY single source, or even just CURRENT news you will have a bit of the effect that the "Faux crazies" point out above ... "The problem is that, with Fox News, what you learn each day just makes you more stupid than you were the day before."

All sources are biased, and the MOST insidious bias is the progressive bias -- the idea that knowledge and history are moving somehow directly toward "better / smarter / fairer / more enlightened" (Whig Theory of History). The secular universe claims to be created by randomness -- random means random. It CAN'T have a direction! Not ANY direction!

We used to live in a teleological (directed ... by God) universe. In THAT universe, one could say that the future was at least part of "God's Plan" ... but a cursory study of eschatology (end times) tells the faithful that "Gods ways are not our ways" ... outside of the admonition to seek to assist in God's plan, there is ZERO reason to subscribe to "progress" = "better". It is a stated equivalence of two unknown terms.

Philosophy and Religion were once the center of what it meant to be an educated human. They were the center, because living every day without a creed of any sort is like travelling with no destination -- you have no idea of what transportation to choose, which way to go, or even to move or sit still. You are directionless.

The vast majority of modern man lives with no thought of where they are going nor what they seek -- except possibly "pleasure", or "ease" or some such vague awareness. No matter where they get their "news", they to a great degree "get stupider every day" simply because of information overload. They are bombarded with supposed "crisis", "breaking news", "historic events", etc, but they have no context in which to place these supposed momentous events.

So mostly, left and right, they assert the superiority of their tribe. Man without civilization is tribal, and civilization **IS**  Religion and Philosophy -- FOLLOWED by literature, music, art, politics science, etc. Even carefully studied and varied sources of "news" are only fitted into a tribal context of the kind from the "anti-Fox" source above -- one more opportunity to call the other tribe "stupid", while having no concept of what it really is that supposedly makes your own tribe "intelligent".

The saddest thing to me is what I slowly discovered starting in the '80s -- that Western civilization wasn't "declining" for me personally, it was DEAD -- or more accurately, it did not exist since I did not understand it!

When I first opened "The Closing of The American Mind", I realized I lacked the most basic of tools -- vocabulary, exposure to classic literature, basic concepts of meaning and philosophy, etc in order to even BEGIN to understand the very basics of the greatness of Western civilization that was supposedly my civilization. I was a college graduate, but really just a technician in a tiny corner of a very specific modern technology.

I've slowly clawed my way to a rudimentary (mis?)understanding of "a little", but it is all self-taught with all the dangers that entails ... and it is generally a very lonely road. Especially lonely because part of "liberalism" is to cut off people that disagree with you.  The forces of "progressivism" are so powerful they have thoroughly wrecked most of the community of wisdom -- a few lists of "great books", biographies of great men, and of course The Bible, are all that remain -- and memories, lots of memories.

Progressivism will continue to root out all of civilization it can -- for it primarily lives by stealth. Destroy meaning, destroy wisdom, return humans to blind tribes of savages -- all be it with Internet, MSM and public "education" (indoctrination) , rather than drums, witchdoctors and spears -- but tribal savages just the same. When life has no meaning beyond at most your tribe, then people are very easily led.

I'll report, you decide.

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