Thursday, July 18, 2024

Government at Work

I was notified that I can no longer log in to my Social Security account online using the username and password that I have been using for some fifteen years, as they are transitioning to a government-wide system at "Login,gov." The notice provided a link for me to use to create an account at the new log in portal.

I just spent almost fifteen minutes attempting to create that account without success. I can design and create websites, but I cannot create an account at 

It did accept my email address for the username, which is a seriously insecure method of entry into a sensitive account. The old SSI portal did not allow use of the email address for the username, and neither does Medicare, so the government is going to a new system which is less secure than the old one. Interesting.

The even more interesting part of the exercise came when trying to create the password. The only requirement is that it be twelve characters long and that it matches when you type it twice. Twelve characters is pretty short, and why does it not require a mixture of upper and lower case? Special characters? Numbers? Again, where is the concern for security?

In the end, it didn't matter, because it would not accept anything I entered as a password. We get the government we elect.

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

It Gets Even More Weird

I watched the first fifteen minutes or so of the NBC interview with President Biden during the opening hours of the Republican Convention. I don't recall an American President ever trying to steal thunder from an opposing party's convention before, and if he did so this time it was likely because a lot of people wanted to see if he would fall on his face.

Imho, he did, but that's just my opinion. It is clear to me that the emperor has no clothes, but is weirdly trying to claim that it is his opponent who is naked.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Indycar Redux

After watching Indycar spend a couple hours driving at reduced speed two weeks ago to save fuel, this weekend we watched Indycar driving 20 laps at even lower speeds to reduce tire wear. Management of the open wheel series has totally lost the bubble.

This week the race was touted as "The Million Dollar Challenge"  all winter and into the opening race of the season. Unfortunately, Indycar could not attract enough sponsorship money and was forced to reduce the winning prize to $500,000, but continued to tout the "race" as the "The Million Dollar Challenge," even during the "race" and while displaying the $500,000 prize amount on the screen.

The heat races were 20 laps long but, like the first race, announcers were telling us how slowly the drivers would be going in order to conserve. This week it was tire tread they were conserving because they were not allowed to change tires and the tires were predicted to last only about ten of the allocated 20 laps. 

Wait. Tires that can only go ten laps? Indycar has descended into comedy land. It turns out you have to drive even slower to save tire wear than you do to save fuel.

No spectators were to be seen because there are no grandstands for them to sit in. This  "race" was held at a private club. You can imagine the setting of a HOA with a privately owned, 3.6-mile race track. You're right; it costs $5 million to join.

Indycar did sell ticket packages to hang out at the HOA club house for the event - for a whopping $2,000. When they failed to sell out, they dropped the price to $500, and issued refunds to the folks who had paid the higher price. Teams were pleased, since even they had been forced to spend $2,000 just to bring guests to the track for the weekend.

We did get some very pretty views of the Southern California desert mountains, views that were far more breathtaking than was the "racing."

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Saving Fuel

After watching an exciting and highly competitive Formula 1 race on Saturday, I tuned in on Sunday to watch an utterly delusional exercise in St. Petersburg, Florida which was advertised as an Indycar race. The only suspense was waiting to see if the announcers would have a heart attack over what they seemed to think was all of the excitement they were party to.

The green flag was dropped to start the race, and on the first lap we are told that the drivers are “saving fuel” (driving at less than full speed) so that they can complete the race with only two pit stops. I’m still trying to get my brain wrapped around the concept of racing at less than full speed. Three days later, I still do not grasp the concept.

The race is 100 laps and the cars can go 30 laps on a tank of fuel. By driving more slowly, they can stretch that to 33-34 laps and complete the race with only two pit stops for refueling. Of course, that means not trying to drive faster than any of the other cars, which is called “racing,” but… So it was indeed Indycar, but it was not a race.

That means I am sitting there watching 27 cars saving fuel and listening to the announcers being very excited because their favorite driver is “hitting his fuel numbers.” No one crashed, at least, because no one was going fast enough to lose control of his car. The only danger of a crash would be if a driver fell asleep.

Indycar has two kinds of tire: a “soft” tire which is faster initially but wears out sooner, and a regular tire that is harder and has less grip but lasts a lot longer. In this “race” there was no discernable difference, no matter how much the announcers pretended there was a “crossover point” where the black tire became faster than the green. Even at the end of segments, when cars were pitting for fuel, the soft tires were just as fast as the hard ones, which is what happens when you don’t drive hard enough to wear the tires out.

Finally, Indycar has a “push to pass” button, which the driver can use to gain an extra 50 hp (about 7%) for a brief period. The downside is that it uses more fuel, so in this race they were unable to use it very much. They start with 100 seconds allocated, and at the end of the race no driver had less than 60 seconds remaining. Most drivers had 90 seconds unused. Quite simply: they could not afford to go fast, could not afford to actually race.

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Patrick Mahomes versus Lamar Jackson

The popular and almost universal meme of Patrick Mahomes versus Lamar Jackson is sheer and utterly stupid nonsense. They are never, ever on the field at the same time. Reality is that it is Patrick Mahomes versus the Baltimore defense and Lamar Jackson versus the Kansas City defense.

Monday, January 01, 2024

Welcome to 2024

I don’t know if the 2020 election was “rigged.” I do know that a number of issues have been presented which suggest that it may have been, and that federal courts have declined to formally examine the truth of those issues. Examination of those issues in court could remove any doubt regarding the validity of the 2020 election, and for some reason federal courts have chosen not to do that.

I don’t know why these courts do not want to examine these issues and validate the election, but I have to wonder. Why do you see smoke and not want to find out if there is a fire? Or see smoke and deny that it is smoke?

Meanwhile, valid or not, the 2020 presidential election was categorically not held in accordance with the constitution of this nation.

Three years earlier, on Jan. 6, 2017, Jeh Johnson, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, appointed by outgoing president Obama, announced that, in response to Russian electoral interference (which didn’t actually happen), he had designated U.S. election systems as “critical national infrastructure.” This move placed the property of 8,000 election jurisdictions across the country under the control of the DHS.

Article 2, Section 1 of the constitution says, with respect to the election of the president that, “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors…” Amendments have changed the manner in which the vice president is elected, along with some other details, but no amendment has altered that portion of that declaration.

The constitution unequivocally declares that the manner of the election, the details of how it is to be conducted, are the province of the legislature of each state. But in 2017 that was changed, and the power to control the manner of the presidential election was transferred, not even by an elected government official, but by an unelected bureaucrat, to the federal government.

It was not transferred, as might be expected, to the Department of Justice, but to the Department of Homeland Security, where it remains to this day, in direct violation of the constitution.

Why was this allowed to happen in the first place, and why has it never been challenged? How, given that it is still in force, can we possibly claim that our presidential election, rigged or not, is even remotely valid? Welcome to 2024, where nothing is what it appears to be.

Sunday, December 24, 2023

The "No Shit, Sherlock" Files

 Headline, "Body found in San Diego freezer prompts suspicious death investigation."

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Fine Lines

From James Howard Kunstler at "Clusterfuck Nation," Dec 18, 2023.

"The blob’s weakness and idiocy are clearly on display in the four court cases against Mr. Trump, which look like a cartoon of thieves throwing stuff out of a hijacked furniture truck at the cars in pursuit behind them."

Thursday, December 07, 2023

An Issue of Control

I am of the last generation prior to Dr. Benjamin Spock, who taught the proper parenting raises kids to believe that feelings are real and cannot be changed any more than the shape of a telephone pole can. To deny the validity of a child's feelings, he taught, is to traumatize him and cause him a lifetime of emotional damage. (That's not quite what he actually taught, but that's what millions of parents took from his books.)

So, pre-Spock, when I was upset over something that someone else, did my parents would tell me, “You cannot control what other people do. What you can control is to what degree you are affected when they do it.” This did not come from some high powered psychologist. It came from a military officer and a housewife. It was common sense, common knowledge, knowledge that was simply part of growing up.

Spock taught parents that feelings are real, that they cannot be changed by the person who feels them, and that the child's reality must be altered to accommodate those feelings rather than the other way around. What he was advocating was applicable to raising children, but of course what you are taught as a child carries into adulthood. So we have generations of “adults” who think that their feelings are reality and that they can and must control others and control the outside world to be consistent with the way they feel.

And so we have a social and political milieu in which everyone is frantically trying to control everyone else because they have never learned control themselves. They do not even know that it is possible to control themselves and believe that controlling others is their cause in life. How anyone can fail to see that is a recipe for chaos is completely beyond me.

If I can control everyone around me, then everyone around me can control me. If everyone is in control of everyone else, then no one is in control and chaos reigns.

If, on the other hand, no one is in control of anyone else, then each person is free to be in control of himself, and free to cooperate by choice.

Tuesday, November 07, 2023

Fine Lines

From A. J. Smuskiewicz

"Most of the public is living in an online virtual reality with no idea as to what is going on in the actual flesh-and-blood world, in their own country, or even in their own neighborhood"

That is self sufficient. I cannot improve upon or add meaningfully to it.

Thursday, November 02, 2023

Therein Lies the Problem

Don Surber summed up America’s problem in his post today. I’m sure he didn’t mean to, his post was almost entirely justification for the slaughter of women and children in Gaza, but he briefly made a couple of references to what is at the core of what has finally succeeded in destroying this nation as a functional democracy.

In the first reference he described how “diversity” works, how it means that people of color will “do their jobs differently when they sit at the tables of power.” He followed up on that with the statement that people of color are not “reflected in positions of power often enough.”

So being an elected representative of the people of this nation is no longer seen as being a public servant as it was when I was growing up, it is now seen as a position of power.” If you don’t see why that is a problem, then I just feel sorry for you.

Friday, October 27, 2023

Insanity Grows

We have a handful of troops in Syria, for reasons which defy any logical explanation. Mainly, I guess because we can. They are at increasing risk with the situation in Gaza, are overwhelmingly outnumbered, and are being being increasingly attacked.

The sane thing to do is to get them out of harm's way, but we are "reinforcing" them with a massive addition of 900 more troops. 900. To add to the risk we are attacking Sryian military installations as a "warning not to mess with us." (We use somewhat more sophisticated wording, but...)

900 troops is not reinforcement. It is merely 900 more victims.

Sunday, October 01, 2023

Continuing Resolution

Our truck is in the ditch, filled with goods which need to be delivered. We are trying to get it out of the ditch and cannot do so.

Solution: fuck it. Let's just stop trying for forty five days. Leave the damned thing in the ditch for a while. Maybe, in the next forty five days, the truck will get itself out of the ditch. Maybe it will just blow up and the issue will become moot. Maybe getting it out of the ditch will become someone else's responsibility. Maybe everyone will forget it it's in the ditch and we can just leave it there. Or maybe... Oh look, a squirrel.

Monday, September 18, 2023

Well, That Explains Everything

The headline on CBS News reads,in part, "Why are there two games in Week 2?" I had been wondering why there are two NFL games on Monday night, and at roughly the same time to boot, so I clicked on the headline to read the article.

Silly me. There are a lot of words in the article, but very little meaning, as has become the norm these days. The article's verbiage boiled down to, "because the NFL scheduled it that way," which I had already figured out for myself. (Well, not "figured out" - it was self evident.) I was actually looking for an answer as to why the NFL scheduled it what way, an answer that was not provided.

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Unwarranted Pessimism?

I was accused of "unwarranted pessimism" regarding my last post. I stand my ground.

The "science is settled" that sea levels are rising and that all of our coastal cities will be drowned within about two decades. No one in government at any level refutes that, in fact all government backs it unreservedly. The most dense population of this nation, some 40% of our people, will be flooded out of their homes in about twenty years.

Is anyone, one single person of authority, proposing a solution that consists of moving those people to higher ground? No. The universally proposed remedy is to stop the oceans from rising.

I repeat. The ship is holed beneath the waterline and is sinking fast.

Friday, September 15, 2023

The Race for President

Almost two years before the election the race began, and it continues resemble two village idiots wearing blindfolds stumbling down what they hope is the racetrack, but isn't, not knowing where the hell the finish line is, or what the hell they would do with the prize if they crossed the line first. What makes it more appalling is that no one wants either of them to be in the race, but we can't find anyone else we want to run it either, which keeps these two stumbling their way along.

Take heart, though , as I do, by knowing that it doesn't really matter. It isn't really important who the captain is when the ship is holed below the waterline and sinking fast.

Saturday, September 09, 2023

One Cop Town

I was reading a piece online today, and the guy mentioned growing up in a small town which had only one policeman. It evoked a childhood memory of living in a similar town. Can’t say I “grew up” there, but we lived there for three years or so, which was a long time for a military family.

The town had a single cop, who we called “old pear shape” for self evident reasons. He drove a Dodge which was almost always parked in front of Seitz’s drug store while “old pear shape” sat inside drinking sodas and jawboning with cronies. Crime was, as you might imagine, not rampant.

I was, actually, one of “old pear shape’s” most hated criminals. Unlike most high school kids, I had my own car – a 1951 Hudson Hornet. I had told my father that I wanted a car, and he replied, “Fine, you can have anything that you can save up the money to pay for.” That was actually a far more generous reply than most boys got when they asked their fathers for a car in those days.

The car had a “straight eight” engine, which I had tuned to a cat’s whisker. It did not take long for me to find out that my Hudson could outrun “old pear shape’s” Dodge, which did not please him at all. There were many things in those days that he could not punish me for unless he could catch me, and he could not catch me. He couldn’t set roadblocks either, because there was only one of him.

(Yes, I was a cocky little shit when I was a kid. Some people claim I never outgrew that including, once in a while, my wife.)

Along with tuning the engine, I had rigged the car with a cutout, so that I could send the exhaust straight to the tailpipe, bypassing the muffler. The noise was wonderful, although “old pear shape” didn’t think so. In fact, it really pissed him off, but he couldn’t ticket me for it unless he caught me while I was making the noise. Which, of course, he couldn’t.

My favorite trick was to cruise down Main Street and, just as I was approaching the drug store, open the cutout and gun the engine, blasting past the drug store at high speed and high noise level. “Old pear shape” would come dashing out of the drug store, or as close as he could come to dashing, more like sort of waddling, jump in his Dodge and come after me, much to my delight and that of any of my friends who were riding with me.

You had to be there and to be 18 years old, I guess. It sounds pretty trivial by today’s standards, but it was fun at the time.

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Perhaps Not An Apocalypse

The news media is warning of a coming apocalypse in the form of Hilary (not the former Secretary of State). They tell us that, “Downpours advancing northward ahead of Hilary are already resulting in flash flooding warnings across the deserts of Southern California early Saturday morning,”  although as of 9:30pm Saturday none have reached San Diego.

They advise that “Impacts from Hilary are likely to be highly disruptive, damaging and dangerous,” (again, not the former Secretary of State), and that, “Copious amounts of rain, in some places more than would normally fall over the entire year, will trigger tremendous flash flooding.”

Lots of rain is foretold, including, “amounts exceeding the average annual totals for some locations in the Southwest,”  but not, it should be noted, by the NOAA, which has a pretty good track record.

NOAA is saying that for Saturday night, “rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch” can be anticipated, and for Sunday we can expect “possible. amounts between three quarters and one inch“ of rain. Sunday night is a repeat of “between a quarter and half of an inch.” And for Monday they advise to expect, “rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch.”

So that amounts to a National Weather Service forecast of 2.1” or less for the entire storm, which falls a bit short of  “exceeding the average annual totals,” (10.41”) that the media is hyperventilating about.

Update, Sunday 6:40am: Received 0.13" overnight, somewhat short of the "between a quarter and half an inch" that even the sane NOAA forecast, and radar shows nothing very significant to the south of us.

Update, Monday 7:00am: Essentially over. No longer raining and the radar is clear. Rainfall here was 2.13" total for three days. We did finally get a little wind last night, but nothing over about 25mph. Elsewhere in Southern California did get hit harder, particularly up in the mountains, but nothing close to the hyperbole that the media was indulging in.

Monday, August 07, 2023

Do they read what they write?

I read a story in the Los Angeles Times last week, clearly written for the purpose of declaiming against the horrors of “climate change,” that was so strange that I wondered about the sanity of the writer, and of the people he was writing about.

That is not to say that I am a “climate change denier.” I am not. But facts are too few on the ground for me to have any opinion on the subject. Too many purported “facts” are belied by the clear evidence that is visible in nature right in front of my eyes. “These glaciers will have disappeared by the year 2000.” In 2023 they are still there, and nowhere near disappearing. Other facts appear to be quite possibly true. I remain neutral. I need better evidence than what is presently available.  

But back to the article. The writer starts by stating that, “As a kid in Miami, I thought I knew heat.” He follows that with, “As an adult in Los Angeles, I thought I knew heat,” and a dramatic description of a Los Angeles summer that makes LA sound hotter than my memories of Tucson, AZ.

Then he drops the bomb. “But never have I felt anything like Death Valley last week,” he says, “where the temperature climbed to 128 degrees, within striking distance of the all-time world record the valley set in 1913 — 134 degrees.”

Think about what he says. What was the atmospheric content of CO2 in 1913? And yet Death Valley was a full 6 degrees hotter 110 years ago than it was is on the day which he cites. A day, he writes, of catastrophic heat due to the human race adding CO2 to Earth’s atmosphere. So if we are warming the planet we have, by his own statement, not yet managed to warm it back up to where it was more than a century ago.

What made it so hot 110 years ago? What caused it to cool down? If it cooled down a century ago, why is it not possible that it might not do so again? Maybe for the same reasons that caused it to cool down back then. Why is no one looking into that?

He goes on to tell of a 71-year-old man he met who was hiking across the valley. The man had one liter of water with him, which he claimed was sufficient for the day. It wasn’t, of course, and the man was found dead of dehydration that evening. Why are we so stupid these days? I knew as a teenager that hiking in the desert needed far more water than that.

His comparison of heat records to those of a century ago is not by any means uncommon. Climate change writers do it extremely often, citing “the highest temperature in a hundred years,” and they never seem to realize that the citation invalidates the very point that they are trying to make. If you're trying to sound an alarm about the planet warming, why are you telling me that it was 6 degrees hotter 110 years ago than it is today?

My point has less to do with “climate change” than it does with that it seems to me that today’s writers just aren’t very bright these days. Like drawing a contrast between Death Valley, Miami and Los Angeles. Why would anyone find it remarkable that an inland desert is hotter than two coastal cities?

Friday, July 21, 2023

Fine Lines

This is a headline which supposedly is designed to make me click on it and go read the article.  

"Earth gets hotter, deadlier despite decades of global climate talk." 

I don't need to read an article to know that talking about things changes them not at all.

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Climate Change Scam

Don't read the title and start defiling me as some sort of right wing nut job. I'm not talking about the actual effects of climate change today.

We live in a homeowners' association of 145 units and, as is normal in such associations, carry a master hazard insurance policy covering all of the units and common property. The premium for that policy went from $55,000 last year to $225,000 for the upcoming year, an increase of 309%.

The reason given is California's increased wildfire risk due to climate change, and we are told that we should not complain about the increase because, given that we are in California, we are fortunate that we are able to obtain homeowner's insurance at all. 

Wildfires? We are located in the middle of downtown of the third largest city in California. How big is our wildfire risk?

Thursday, July 06, 2023

Shark Guard

 Another in the ongoing "Subron 8 Sea Stories" series.

There has been much in the news about sharks off the East Coast beaches the past couple days, which brought back memories from more than half a century ago and caused me to think, “Hey, put me out there with an M1 Garand, and I’ll solve that problem.” By way of background;

For reasons that should seem fairly obvious, the Navy did not place much emphasis on rifle marksmanship, and so sailors qualifying “Expert” with the M1 were not very common in my day. I qualified Sharpshooter in boot camp, one better than the lowest grade of Marksman. But I really enjoyed shooting, and hoped for a change to go for Expert.

Electrician’s Mate school was right next to a rifle range, and I was able to graduate first in my class with very little study time, so I spent a good bit of time of the range and did qualify Expert before going on to Submarine school in Connecticut. I was then, as far as I know, the only qualified Expert rifleman on Diablo when we went to sea.

When we were in the Gulf Stream and ocean temperatures permitted, the Captain allowed “swim call,” when we would sit dead in the water on the surface and the crew could go for a swim off the after deck. I would sit in the periscope shears, up high, with an M1 Garand rifle and watch for sharks in the water.

Shooting sharks was a bit of an art. All I could see of them was their fin sticking up out of the water, and hitting them in the fin just pissed them off. Trying to hit them in the body was futile unless we were right on top of them (and letting a shark get that close would have been a very bad idea) because the bullet would just ricochet off the surface of the water.

The trick was to hit right at the base of the fin, which would bring them up out of the water, and then fire again and hit them in the body. It required two quick and accurate shots, but I succeeded a lot more often than not. Kind of fun.

If there were no sharks and I got bored, I would fire a couple of shots just to watch my shipmates sort of motor across the surface of the water back to the ship. They could move really fast when they heard my rifle fire. Needless to say, I never let them know it was a false alarm. That would not have been good for my health.

Post Script: I also qualified with A M1911 .45 cal automatic pistol, which everyone had to do in order to be promoted to E4. One did not have to reach any particular score to qualify, in fact you didn’t have to hit anything at all, you merely needed to fire ten rounds. The unspoken requirement was that you needed to not hit yourself, which I did not.

I didn’t hit anything else either. If ever required to use that beast in combat my best bet would be to let the enemy get real close and hit him over the head with it. If I was shooting at him he would be the only thing in the neighborhood that would be safe.

I fired 50 or 60 rounds from that boat anchor, and I never had the slightest idea where any of the bullets went. Certainly not into the target.

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

An Electric Tank

Sometimes a headline is so enticing that, even while you are laughing at it, you have to read the article to see what it is really about. I encountered one such on Bloomberg News a little over a week ago, reading,US Army’s Electric Tanks on Hold as Battery Technology Develops.

The article does not even mention the irony of building a machine that is friendly to the environment while its purpose is blowing the shit out of that environment with high explosives. Such a tank would not produce carbon pollution, but would leave lots of radioactive waste behind from its depleted uranium ammunition. The logic of that thinking is pretty hard to comprehend.

More prosaically, the “Electric Tank” was entertaining in itself, but that the concept is “on Hold as Battery Technology Develops,” rather than being, “Discarded as Battery Technology Determined to be Infeasible,” sort of blew my mind. I visualized George Patton ordering his tanks to advance, only to be told that his tank commanders could not find a place to plug them in for recharging, and screaming at HQ for a longer extension cord.

The article tells us early on that recharging an “electric tank” (I love that term) in the field would require, “a 17-megawatt charging station—more than 20 times bigger than the largest mobile generator the Army currently has,” which rather understates the problem. For one thing, a tank battalion would need about 50 to 60 such mobile generators, and they would be really big, create a huge heat signature, and would be really, really difficult to hide from enemy air and artillery attack.

And what would these mobile generators be using to generate the electricity with which to recharge these “electric tanks”? Solar power? Not if it’s raining. “Sorry, General Patton, we can’t move until 30 minutes after the rain clears up.” Wind? Oh dear God, even the Army isn’t that stupid. You’re going to set up windmills in a battle zone? How about a big flagpole? Maybe send up flares.

Yes, girls and boys, those mobile generators are going to run on fuel oil.

So now you need a bunch of tank trucks to bring fuel oil to fuel up the mobile generators which are being used to recharge the “electric tanks.” Of course you see where I’m going with this, right? Why not just put the fuel oil directly into the fucking tanks, and eliminate all this electric nonsense?

We won't even get into the difficulty of building a battery that is not only that large without overheating problems, but one which will accept a charging rate that high. 

So while the Army is in the process of developing this paragon of inefficiency, it’s shorter term goal is to “focus on developing hybrid combat vehicles, which it thinks are attainable, useful, and can reduce our sustainment footprint,”

News flash. I actually served on a “hybrid combat vehicle” sixty years ago. It was called a “diesel electric submarine.” When operating on battery, we could maintain a dazzling speed of four knots, which is about how fast you walk when you are slightly pressed for time but not really in a hurry.

I don’t know what our “sustainment footprint” was, but I can assure you that our efficiency sucked.

Monday, June 19, 2023

Keystone Cops at Road America

Social obligations this weekend dictated that I record the Formula 1 and Indycar races on Sunday, and I spent the day today recovering from said social obligations and watching those two races, one after the other – Formula 1 first.

It was an eye opening experience. The Indycar drivers looked like a bunch of pre-teen children driving go karts. They reminded me of the old time Keystone Cops of silent movie days. They were crashing into each other, running off the track into sand traps and grass fields, crashing into walls, missing their pit stalls, not getting a full gas tank and having to drive slowly in order to save fuel…

They seemed to regard the race track itself as merely a suggestion as to where they should race, cutting inside some corners and swinging wide off the track after other corners in order to avoid having to slow down to negotiate the turn.

I’ve watched Indycar before, of course, and have never had a particularly high opinion of the genre, but watching these clowns playing bumper cars immediately after watching real race car drivers driving Formula 1 cars was something else.

Wednesday, June 14, 2023


Not guilty by reason of insanity.” (Not actually today’s subject, but we’ll get there.)

This defense regards what is in the defendant’s mind and is quite popular in fiction. In reality, however, it is very rarely used in court, fewer than 1% of the time, and is successful less than 26% of the time when it is used as a defense. In 90% of the successes, the defendant was determined before the crime was committed to have been insane.

In all states and in federal court there is a burden of proof as to the state of the defendant’s mind. In a few states the burden lies with the prosecution to prove sanity, whereas in most states and in federal court the defendant must prove insanity, either “beyond reasonable doubt” or “by a preponderance of evidence.”

In short, the law is that if a defendant says, “I’m crazy,” the judge and jury respond, “Oh really? Prove it.”

Now we have laws where if a male says, “I’m a girl,” and wants to participate in female athletics we hand him a female uniform and a key to the girls’ locker room. Based entirely on what he claims to think he is.

The murderer claims to be insane and we make him prove it. A boy wants access to the girls’ locker room so he claims to be a girl and we unquestioningly hand him a key to the girls’ locker room.

Laws which affect social order have to be based on objective data, on facts, not on what a person unprovably thinks. Until recently, that has been the case. If you wanted to claim a benefit from being insane, you had to prove that you were insane. But now we are passing laws granting social benefits based on thoughts in someone’s head which go unchallenged.

Do you want to compete in female athletics because you are a girl? Or because all the boys are beating you and you can beat the girls? Or because you want to look at naked girls in the locker room? Whatever you claim is what the law will believe. No questions asked. Anarchy and chaos.

Wednesday, June 07, 2023

The "Great Truth Tellers"

I am always amused by people such as Matt Taibbi, who hold themselves up as some sort of noble crusader for truth. He is, he claims, writing great truth to power that the people of this nation absolutely need to know if this nation is to remain a functioning democracy. He is writing information that we need to have if we are to retain the freedoms codified by our founding fathers a quarter of a century mellinnium ago.

Only we will have to pay him $4.17 per month if we want to read it.

Freedom isn't free, you know. The people who preserve that freedom for us are entitled to money from us in exchange for our freedom. The only people who should remain free, apparently, are those who can afford to pay the fee for such writing.

"But," you say, "then man has to make a living."  No doubt he does. Then present his writing as a way for him to make a living and ask me to pay for the product. Don't pose as some noble knight in shining armor and ask me to provide metal polish to keep the armor shiny.

Saturday, June 03, 2023


I have been reading about "Artificial Intelligence" and perusing the outputs of AI for a bit over a month now. I've lost count of how many articles I've read. A lot. I have not seen anything that even remotely approaches intelligence. All I've seen is pattern recognition, and it isn't even very good quality pattern recognition. We live in gullible times.

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Fine Lines

The award of the month, perhaps of the year, goes to James Kunstler. He opined in his Monday commentary that the United States, "is bypassing the banana republic stage of dissolution and depravity and steaming quickly into a Hieronymus Bosch dystopia of financial, social, psychological and moral ruin."

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Mistakes Were Made

For a couple of years conservatives were hanging their hopes, actually more than mere hopes, on the "Durham Report." It was going to reveal the criminal conspiracy. Heads were going to roll. People were going to be thrown into prison. All would be set right with our government.

Now that it has been published, it consists merely of "Mistakes were made," but only by a few people at the top. The lower echelon was just following orders. We don't need to make changes, and no one needs to be prosecuted, we just need to be more careful.

Precisely as I predicted when the investigation was initially announced.

Monday, May 15, 2023

"No One Knows"

Jon Schwartz writes on the debt ceiling fight in The Intercept today. His CV is presented, but is unintelligible. It tells us he's written a bunch of stuff for several publications, but gives no indication why we should think that he knows anything about anything other than, perhaps, the English language. He is, in my opinion, a typical opinionist of today.

"No one knows what would happen at that point," he begins, "that point" being the nation reaching the debt limit without Congress raising it.

He then proceeds to inform us of precisely what would happen at "that point," including that it, "almost certainly would be deeply unpleasant, with huge job losses, unpredictable bits of the economy imploding, and knock-on effects in other countries that will make them both fear and hate us for decades."

In other words, "No one knows what would happen except me, and I'm going to tell you."  Aren't we lucky?