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

Insanity

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

Intelligence?

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?

Tuesday, May 09, 2023

Good Read

One has to be selective at “Taki’s Magazine.” Some content is rumination along the lines of, “I was having brunch at the Patesserie in Geneva with Lord Highnose last Wednesday and…” I skip those because I don’t really care to know that skiing conditions in Switzerland were less than excellent.

But many of the pieces, especially those by Taki himself, present some very trenchant and witty approaches to events of the day, and can at the same time be significantly thought provoking. For the most part, they seem to me to be more populist than either left or right.

There is an offering today by David Cole in response to a Pew poll which found that a sizeable majority feels that we were better off in 1973 than we are today, 50 years later. He professes not to be surprised at the result, but is amusingly surprised and annoyed that our governing elites do not like us feeling that way.

It’s a lengthy piece and well worth reading in its entirety, but an excerpt:

Because indeed, leftists should marvel at what they’ve accomplished with shockingly little resistance.

Children are born without a known gender; the doctor makes a guess. Every child must then be guided by adults to discover their gender, at which time it’s up to medical specialists to alter the child’s hormones, surgically remove the child’s penis and mold it into a vagina, or, conversely, surgically remove the child’s breasts and create a penis out of a vagina, and only then will the child be as nature intended. Alone among the creatures of the earth, human children cannot develop—indeed cannot survive—without surgical alteration, and this is perfectly natural, like baby teeth falling out.

How can leftists not be in absolute awe that they’ve succeeded in making this societal canon? Untouchable canon; if you dare to question it, you’re attacked as a murderer. You’re not just wrong, but genocidal. You can even be a leftist icon, J.K. Rowling, hell, Dee Snider, and one word of doubt about the canon, you’re banished.

Has anything this batshit ever become as accepted (by government, academia, and private industry) and as enforced as orthodoxy in so short a period of time?

It’s an astounding achievement.

He goes on to aver that “trannyism” is assuming the place formerly held by ADHD as the parent’s escape for being unable to control their children.

Trannyism has taken a normal dynamic (kids give parents grief; parents become exasperated and embarrassed by their perceived failures) and created a new, noble reason for an old problem: “My child is not ‘bad,’ my child is not ‘stupid,’ and I’m not a failed parent. My child’s been living in an unnatural state! Once the doctors unlock the true gender with their scalpels, all will be well!”

Trannyism means you’re not a lousy parent and your kid isn’t genetic detritus; you’re a hero on a crusade to save your child from a society that until now was based on the lie that kids don’t need genital surgery to be their natural, healthy, whole self.

He does miss the popular slogan advocating communism, “You will own nothing and you will be happy.”

Monday, April 24, 2023

NASCAR Destruction Derby

35 cars started the Xfinity race Saturday  at Talladega Speedway. 7 crossed the finish line at the end of the race. The rest were caught up in massive, multi-car wrecks. In a similar fiasco, 38 cars started the Cup race on Sunday, and only 9 cars finished the race undamaged.

Formula 1 and Indycar have rules against "blocking," which is a maneuver of jumping in front of a car that is in the act of passing you in order to prevent them from doing so. They have that rule because the maneuver is extremely dangerous, and very often causes one or both cars to wreck at high speed. They do not enforce the rule quite as well as I believe they should, but at least there is a chance that a driver will be penalized if he/she is not sufficiently subtle in the way it is done.

NASCAR, on the other hand, while eliminating practice sessions prior to the race to save money, not only allows blocking (idiotically referred to by the announcers as "managing the lanes") but actually encourages it, despite the fact that it causes millions of dollars in damage to and destruction of the cars, and that it puts the drivers at risk of injury and death.

Somebody please explain to me how this is not sheer stupidity.

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Passing Thoughts

A headline caught my eye a couple of days ago, even though I pay little or no attention to British royalty. It read something along the lines of, "Ancient relic refurbished for the coronation." My first thought was to wonder if they were referring to Charles.

Not as perjorative as it may seem, given that I am something of an ancient relic myself.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Cause and Effect

After closing thousands of square miles in northern Minnesota to mining, Biden was in Canada to hand out grants for mining the same resources in Canada that he shut down in Minnesota. He did the same thing in Japan as well. So after banning the mining of these resources in his own country by his own workers, Biden is paying Japanese and Canadian workers to mine them, and will then purchase the resources from those foreign countries.

The Biden administration is paying Japan and Canada to do something for us that we are entirely capable of doing for ourselves, that we need done, but which we consider politically inconvenient, even evil. So we simply pay someone else to do it for us and claim credit for “saving the planet.”

We are dealing with a government which never listens to itself when it speaks and does not consider the consequences of its own actions.

The government, for instance, promotes a policy of “land acknowledgements,” which consists of beginning a meeting by reminding local native tribes that we are holding the meeting on land that was stolen from them and which will not be returned to them. This is supposed to make the native tribes feel better because we are “honoring them.” I suspect that many of the native tribes do not see it that way.

The government thrives on reminding black people (entirely inaccurately, of course) that they are so incompetent that they cannot help but continue to allow white people to oppress them and cannot make the oppression stop unless the federal government does it for them.

The government hosts a military that historically derives its enlistment 50% or more from southern states, so they proceed to tell southerners that their culture and heritage is evil and that all traces of it will be purged from the military. Statues of southern heroes will be removed, and bases honoring southerners will be renamed. They then wonder why they are unable to fill their enlistment requirements.

Banning mining was nominally done for the purpose of “saving the planet,” but in reality was done to secure the “green vote.” No thought was given to the effect that such action would have on the supply of vital resources, and so they outsource the banned mining (and the employment) to other nations.

They are perfectly happy to have other nations pillage the earth and pollute, because pillaging and polluting is not why they banned mining. They banned mining to get votes, and allowing other nations to do what they banned in the US does not lose them those votes.

The members of our government have one and only one guiding principle, which is securing and maintaining power.

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Embarrassing

A balloon, which the Chinese did not hesitate to say is theirs, wandered into US territory, unmolested because NORAD saw it coming and evaluated it as a weather balloon which posed no threat. The news media became aware of it when it when it got to Montana and surmised that, while China claimed it to be measuring weather, it might also be a spy balloon and be sending sensitive military information along with, or instead of, weather data.

The military, NORAD, apparently had not thought of that, because they had not used balloons for intelligence gathering since the Civil War, what with satellites and supersonic aircraft being so much efficient. Among other things, you can steer those puppies, and you can’t steer balloons, making them rather seriously inefficient at taking pictures of targets that are 6000 miles away. NORAD, not unreasonably, assumed that the Chinese are living in the 21st Century.

The US Executive branch, which routinely ignores our military, but which never ignores the media, decides that the balloon is such a dire threat that it must be destroyed before it can reveal all of this nation’s vital secrets. The ones, that is which have not already been revealed by all of the secret documents hidden in Trump’s basement. Um, and the ones in Biden’s basement.

So the Teleprompter Reader in Chief tells the military to shoot the balloon down. They do so, using a missile no less. To shoot down a balloon. They may have sent all of their bullets to Ukraine.

They wait to do so, however, until the balloon has left US territory and is out over the Atlantic. This is not like the metaphorical locking the barn door. This is more like ignoring the barn door and shooting the horse after it has been stolen.

The military is recovering the dead corpse wreckage, and NBC news is excitedly telling us that is has lots of antennas, so that it could have been sending information back to China. They don’t mention that it might have nothing more than weather data, or that a weather balloon that could not send data to the organization that launched it would not make much sense. Of course it has antennas.

You’d think that the story was sufficiently embarrassing, but no, there’s more.

Another flying object appeared over Alaska and we did not know what it was so what did we do? We shot it down. Yep. If you don’t know what it is destroy it.

Like a bunch of nasty little kids moseying through the woods who come across a little creature rooting around in the undergrowth. They cannot identify what it is. Their response? “We don’t know what it, so let’s kill it.” The US in a nutshell.

Saturday, February 04, 2023

Why Russia?

I have been trying for some time to imagine why Russia is portrayed as a threat to the United States in the 21st Century, as an enemy who we think wants to “undermine our democracy,” and I have been able to come up with no reason that makes any sense.

It’s not about the Cold War and a reawakening of hatred of the Soviet Union as some pundits claim. That might be the issue if the hostility had persisted since the Iron Curtain days, but such is not the case. The two nations were getting along very well as recently as the Obama administration.

Remember Obama sitting next to the Russian President at an international conference and getting caught saying to him that they could work together after Obama’s reelection was complete?

Some, many today, attribute it to the “fact” that Putin “invaded and occupied Crimea,” but that is not the cause either, because the concept of Russia as our enemy preceded the overthrow of the Crimean government in 2014. Whatever led to Crimea becoming part of Russia, it was after the Crimean government was overthrown by whomever overthrew it.

Then I watched a podcast on a website called “The Saker.” The discussions and podcasts on that site vary quite a lot as to quality, but some of them are very worthwhile. This one was a discussion with Douglas Macgregor, formerly of the US Army, and he seems to know what he is talking about. It’s about 20 minutes long and is, in my opinion, worth listening to.

It’s a discussion centered around the war in Ukraine, and is mostly about NATO’s role in that conflict. The part that interested me was toward the end where he gets into the nature and the basic role of NATO. He quite properly describes it as a defensive alliance and goes into the futility of employing it in an offensive manner, since it is simply not created or structured to fulfill that role.

The part that rang the bell for me was when he referred to NATO as a “sacred cow” and cited the aphorism that, “Sacred cows are seldom slain, they usually simply disappear.” He went on to say that since NATO refused to disappear, that the war in Ukraine would probably be the cause of NATO being slain. Brilliant.

That led me to think that Russia as an enemy was the cause of NATO refusing to disappear. NATO was formed as a mutual defense against the Soviet Union, and when that enemy dissolved, NATO either needed a new threat or it needed to disappear. It was only a few years before Russia was the new threat, solely to preserve NATO.

Monday, January 30, 2023

In the face of hardship

 36% of the starting lineup:

L’Jarius Sneed CB - injured, didn’t return.
Kadarius Toney WR - injured, didn’t return.
Juju Smith-Schuster WR - injured, didn’t return.
Mecole Hardman RB - injured, did not start.
Willie Gay LB injured - didn’t return.
Justin Watson S - injured, did not start.
Patrick Mahomes QB - injured, played through
Travis Kelce TE - injured, played through

They led most of the game and won in the last minute anyway.

Friday, January 27, 2023

How Did I Miss This?

Given the known link between corporations and government, it should not have been possible for me to write about two events and not notice the connection between them. Not sure just how serious I am about the connection, but for what it's worth...

Friday before last I wrote about San Diego & Electric giving us notification that our heating bill would increase in January due to a massive increase in the cost of natural gas. Sure enough, we got a notice that our bill, which was $247 in December, would be between $560 and $600 for January. Wow.

Then last Friday I wrote about the city of San Diego planning to mandate that all residential properties within the city would be required to convert from gas appliances to electric ones in the very near future. 

I failed to notice that SDG&E is preparing the way for city government, making us willing for the city to do something to us that we would not otherwise stand for. Isn't it nice that the city is going to help us save all that money?

Oh wait, it's going to cost me $30,000 to make the conversion. So, based on saving about $1500 per year by using electricity instead of gas (since San Diego also has the most expensive electric power in the nation), I will have to live to the age of 101 in order to recoup my investment. Odds are heavily against that.

Not to mention that I would have to spend those years cooking on an electric range, which would be somewhat like living in the Southwest corner of Hell.

Friday, January 20, 2023

Insanity Reigns

Even assuming that all claims made about climate change are valid, San Diego is leading the way as to engaging in insane responses to solving the problem.

The city Council has decided that our gas stoves, water heaters and furnaces are a contributor to climate change to a degree that warrants the citizens of this city spending $18 Billion to reduce (not eliminate) the issue. That’s $18,000,000,000.00.

The council has already passed an ordinance that all new construction commercial and residential, single family and multi-family,  must be built without natural gas hookups, effective immediately.

Since we are currently straining the limit of our existing power system, and are frequently directed to use appliances only at “off peak hours,” it is unclear where we are going to get the electric power to replace the gas appliances that will not be installed in all of this new construction. Probably by having the power company run backup generating stations which are powered by… Wait for it. Natural gas.

Not to mention the tens of thousands of electric cars that are mandated by new state laws at the same time.

The City Council is also intending to pass a directive that all existing buildings, commercial and residential, multi-family and single family, must be retro fitted to eliminated the use of natural gas. They have estimated the cost, which will be borne by the owners, to be $30,000 per unit, so this plan is proving to be highly unpopular. The groundswell of unpopularity is not deterring them in the least.

Since there are, by the Council’s estimate, 60,000 buildings in the city of 1.4 million people, that comes to a conversion cost of $18 Billion, or about $13,850 per San Diego resident.

And that is to reduce, not eliminate, an unknown amount of carbon emissions, (no one even claims that such emissions have never been measured) by an unknown degree, since we are not going to quit heating our houses and water, and cooking our dinners. We’ll be heating and cooking using electricity, which is generated in large part by… Wait for it. Fossil fuels.

And they are in a hurry. They plan to mandate that the conversion be 50% completed by 2030, just seven years from now, and that it be 90% complete by 2035. They seem to be realistic enough to acknowledge that it will never achieve perfection, as they have set no date for 100% completion.

We elected these people. The question is, why?

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Friday, January 06, 2023

Rational Narrative

We received notice from San Diego Gas & Electric this week that our heating costs will “more than double” in January over what we experienced in December. This is due, they told us, to price increases in natural gas, which is in turn caused by extremely cold weather being experienced throughout the United States this winter.

SDG&E does not produce any natural gas, but purchases it on the open market from campaniles which do produce it and, in some cases, from pipeline companies.

Notice that SDG&E did not attribute any of this cost increase to inflation. This is because the government has controlled inflation and because, in any case, the government has declared that natural gas and all other forms of energy are exempt from inflation.

(Okay, I was engaging in snark there. Of course inflation is far from being controlled and prices for energy increase at the same time that prices for everything else do. The government, however, does not include energy prices when calculating inflation because they are “too volatile.” What, government computers cannot keep up with the pace at which energy prices change? They must use very old computers. Maybe beads on strings.)

Nor, we are told, is the price increase due to availability issues caused by shipping American natural gas to Europe to replace Russian natural gas which we cut off by means of sanctions. (And, of course, by blowing up the Nord Stream gas pipelines.)

Sending our allies in Europe into the dark ages because we don’t like Russia seems counterproductive to me, but at least we are making a lot of money out of the deal by selling gas to Europe at high prices to replace the low priced Russian gas that we won’t allow them to buy.

Why Europe doesn’t just tell us to pound sand and continue buying Russian gas is unclear. Maybe they are afraid we’ll “impound” (steal) their money the same way we “impounded” (stole) Russia’s money.

So with inflation and shortages due to export ruled out, we are left with an unusually cold winter as the reason for price increases. That cold winter, we are told, is caused by “climate change” along with warmer oceans and melting of the polar ice caps.

If you are having a hard time reconciling colder winters with warmer oceans and melting ice caps, you are not alone. You are insisting on what’s known as a “rational narrative,” which means you are definitely not a Democrat.

Friday, December 30, 2022

Not Surprised

Has anyone noticed that gasoline prices went down before the November elections? 

Has anyone noticed that now, less than a month after those elections, gasoline prices are rising again? Is anyone surprised by that?

I'm not. I predicted it.