Monday, September 26, 2022

Forecasting (Probably Accurate)

James Howard Kunstler speaks of, "...the magic moment when the necromancers of finance discover that the proverbial can they’ve been kicking is filled with Schrödinger’s cat food, and the road they’ve been kicking it down actually comes to a dead end."  He goes on to say that, "Economics will never be the same hereafter."

 You can read the whole thing. He is not an admirer of American governance.

Monday, September 12, 2022

The Peter Principle

Just because one is good at participating in a sport does not mean they will become a success at officiating that sport, or will be very illuminating as announcer for it.

The Alabama quarterback was sacked in his own endzone. He lost the ball after going down, which rolled out of bounds in the end zone. Texas was celebrating a safety until they noticed a flag on the play.

The official announced “roughing the passer with targeting” and that there would be a review. So far, so good, but the Texas player barely hit the quarterback, and did not come anywhere near his head, so the first part of the call was a stretch, and the second was pure fiction. Targeting requires a review, but roughing the passer is not reviewable, so the two-point safety was out and Alabama was going to get a first down just based on the roughing part of the call.

Not so fast. The review established that there was no targeting, but it also made it very clear that the roughing call was ridiculous. Problem was, however, that roughing is not reviewable. The official then gave a complicated explanation about the call having been explained to him wrong and that roughing had never been called, only the targeting had and that there was no targeting. (And no roughing, not because it was overturned, but because that penalty had never been called.)

He did not explain how targeting, hitting the quarterback in the head, can be called without also calling roughing the passer. It would seem impossible, but… So there was no penalty. That would make it a sack, and two points for Texas.

He wasn’t done yet. He said that the quarterback was out of the pocket and had not fumbled the ball but had thrown it, and it was therefor an incomplete pass, third down Alabama at the one yard line.

If the quarterback had thrown, rather than fumbled, the ball, which he did not, the ball did not reach the line of scrimmage, which means it was “intentional grounding.” That would be a penalty committed in the end zone, which is by definition, wait for it... A safety.

So the official’s ignorance, abetted by the announcers’ ignorance, was a gift of two points to Alabama, which won the game by one point.

On to Indycar, and the season ending race at Laguna Seca. Will Power was leading in the championship by 21 points and was starting on the pole. Joseph Newgarten, second place in the points, was starting at the rear, in 26th place.

As Newgarten worked his way up in the field, the announcers, both former Indycar drivers, got all excited, implying, and even saying that all Newgarten had to do was pass Power to win the championship. I knew different, and was becoming increasingly annoyed, as it was increasingly unlikely that Newgarten was even going to take the lead in the race, let alone pass Power for the championship.

Finally one of the announcers calmed down as he said that, “We have been informed that because of the way that race points are awarded if Will Power finishes fifth or better he will win the championship.”

I knew that before the race started, as did a million other people. Why did they not?

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Burying The Lede

It tends to amuse me when the media promote social causes by using stories which “bury the lede,” that is, which ignore points within the story which utterly refute the point which they are trying to make.

“This is the worst drought in 200 years.” To suggest that it is caused by current human activity raising CO2 levels ignores that the worse drought 200 years ago was not caused by current human activity and happened when CO2 levels were lower. Why do we suppose that, not having caused that drought, we did cause this one? The planet has been having droughts for many centuries.

The Anazazi people, who built amazing cities in the cliffs of the Southwest, disappeared somewhere around the 14th century. According to Britannica, “The Great Drought (1276–99) probably caused massive crop failure; rainfall continued to be sparse and unpredictable until approximately 1450,” which contributed to their disappearance. Did the Anazazi people cause that drought, too?

The most recent is the appearance of “Hunger Stones” in the rivers of Europe. These stones have been exposed by river levels dropping to the lowest levels that they have been in centuries. Back then, people carved notes on the stones recording the severe conditions prevailing when the rivers became that dry. One stone dates from the year 1616 and others from the 19th century.

We were probably burning some fossil fuels in the 19th century, but not a hell of a lot. How much fossil fuel were we burning in the year 1616? And yet when the rivers drop to the same level that they did when we were not burning fossil fuel, we blame the drop on the fact that we are burning fossil fuel.

The rivers dry up when the CO2 level is 280ppm, and when they dry up now we claim that they did so because the CO2 level is 420ppm.

To bemoan that something is “the worst it has been since…” is an admission that it has happened before now, that the condition is not unique. It says that the condition existed when your purported cause did not yet exist. For statement of actual systemic disaster attributable to your purported cause one needs, “this is the worst it has ever been,” which we virtually never see.

Monday, August 29, 2022

Big Weekend Upcoming

Big, big weekend coming up. To start with, Formula 1 goes to Holland (Netherlands). Dutch Grand Prix. Max Verstappen's home course. This is a downforce course, so he won't dominate like he did in Belgium, but Zandvoort is a really cool curcuit.

MotoGP is on television. In case you don't know, this is motorcycles on Formula 1 race courses. They go as fast as 200 mph, and in the turns lean over at 70 degrees. Exciting stuff. Those riders are nuts. They're on NBC Sunday afternoon.

Indycar is on the road course at Portland. It's a really nice circuit and usually provides for interesting competition.

Finally, college football opens with two games featuring what I consider home teams. San Diego State plays in their new stadium against Arizona Saturday, and LSU plays Florida State on Sunday. Both should be fun games to watch.

I have the best wife in the world. She is happy for me to have all these sports to watch and makes her plans around me doing so.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Why do they do things like this?

Mark Wahlberg said he spent 12 hours naked on a pier while filming his latest movie "Me Time." Well, he wasted his time. The movie was probably the worst movie in several decades. I watched about 12 minutes and turned it off. Utter garbage.

Friday, August 26, 2022

A Non-sentient Race

The human race was living in North America 15,000 years ago. The area was still in the throes of the last Ice Age, which would not end for another 3000 years. The average temperature of Earth’s atmosphere was 46 degrees, some 11 degrees cooler than it is today.

The human race is still living in North America. Or I think it’s the human race. Sometimes I’m not sure.

Anyway, the average temperature of Earth’s atmosphere has risen 11 degrees, a process which not only has the human race survived, but during which it has thrived and multiplied, but we are told that we will be catastrophically destroyed if the temperature rises another 2 degrees.

To repeat a bit; we survived an 11 degree rise, but we will not survive a 2 degree rise. Does that sound a little bit stupid to you? Did we lose our ability to adapt? Or did we merely lose our intelligence?

Since we, apparently, no longer can change ourselves or the way we have been doing things for the past 100 years or so (other than by using electricity to do it instead of “fossil” fuels), we propose to change the way the planet has been doing things for more than 15,000 years.

Sea levels are rising, we are told. I have seen no observable evidence of that in the more than fifty years that I have been going to the beach, but let’s assume that sea levels are rising and will drown our big cities.

Perhaps we should be talking about moving our big cities inland and to higher ground, away from those rising seas. We’re not doing that. Not one person is suggesting that. We are, instead, talking about stopping the seas from rising. I spent time in the Navy. News flash. The oceans are really big.

There was a king named Canute tried what we are proposing. He was a powerful guy, being king of England and Denmark, and Norway and Sweden. He got wet.

Temperatures are rising, we are told, so maybe we should be talking about moving our populations farther north and/or to higher altitudes where it is cooler. Adapting. We’re not talking about that either. Instead we’re talking about stopping the temperature from rising, stopping the entire freaking planet from doing something that it has been doing for more than 15,000 years.

Sorry for being so blunt, but that is just plain stupid.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Government Accuracy

The "Employment Survey" produced by the government's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the economy produced well over 500,000 new jobs last month, which was hailed by the media as proof that there is no recession and that the economy is growing like mad. The stock marked soared.

The "Household Survey," also produced by the BLS, reported that there were only 150,000 newly employed persons filling those newly created jobs. That should have created some suspicion about the jobs report, but it was ignored.

Do economists think that each of the newly employed persons filled 3.33 new jobs?

Friday, July 29, 2022

Redefining Reality

After a report saying that the nation has experienced a second quarter of negative growth in GDP, which has been the definition of a recession for more than fifty years, the White House is denying that we are in a recession because two quarters of negative growth is not the definition of a recession as everyone has thought for the past half century.

Just like we thought that a vaccine was a product that prevented the spread of an infectious pathogen. We were set straight on that one by the Biden White House. A vaccine does not stop the spread of a disease, like the smallpox vaccine did, it merely “reduces the risk of hospitalization or death.”

So we are now told that a recession is not defined by negative GDP, but is defined by “a much broader spectrum of data points,” which for some reason they cannot list for us. Probably because they have not made them up them yet. After all, the second negative GDP quarter was only announced yesterday.

From Politico we learn that the “National Bureau of Economic Research's Business Cycle Dating Committee can determine whether the U.S. economy is in a recession, based on a multitude of factors that can only be found several months or up to a year after a recession actually begins.” And, presumably after the current election cycle has passed as well.

Economist Ben White provided a tweet reading, “Yeah I did a bad tweet a while ago referring to two negative q’s in a row as  a recession. Should have known better at the time but it had been a while since I’d studied recession criteria and that’s not it.” Right. It had, "been a while since I’d studied recession criteria."

That was not particularly illuminating, so he amplified that the actual definition is “NBER and lots of data points beyond GDP.” He, too, does not elaborate on the “lots of data points.”

Wikipedia, which cannot be used for toilet paper because it is a virtual source, admits that its article, “may be affected by the following current event: Increased political debate in the United States.” No shit.

Anyway, it says that a recession, “In the United States, a recession is defined by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) as ‘a significant decline in economic activity spread across the market, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales’."

Wikipedia follows that with the statement that, “In the United Kingdom and most other countries, it is defined as negative economic growth for two consecutive quarters,” which is basically saying that the NBER, and the White House, are full of shit, which is kind of awesome.

Note that, despite its name, the NBER cited repeatedly above is a private economic research organization.

I don’t really care what the “lots of data points” are, two quarters of negative GDP growth tells me we are in a recession, and my observation and common sense told me that several months ago.

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Say What?

A military expert is challenged with respect to his predictions on the war in Ukraine. "You have been predicting that the Russians will soon run out of missiles, ammo and men since mid-March. And yet as predictions go it never seems to come to pass." 

The expert responds, "It is an ongoing process." 

And we keep paying attention to these oracles of wisdom, seeking their "wisdom"  and publishing their opinions.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Echoing Obama

It was only a matter of time before Biden was parroting Obama with, "If Congress won't act, then I will," by means of imperial executive order.

Because we don't need no stinking constitution.

Friday, July 01, 2022

When in Doubt, Overreact

I love the hyperbolic overreaction to many of the recent Supreme Court decisions.

"Omigod, the government is not allowed to regulate carbon emissions any more!" 

Well, yes it is,  only the Supreme Court says it has to be done by elected legislators, not by unelected bureaucrats.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Roe v. Wade

Polling regarding the most recent Supreme Court decision is almost entirely stupid, because is seeks opinion on the legality of abortion, and the Supreme Court made no decision on that issue whatever. What it decided was simply that it is not a federal issue, is not an issue to be decided by the constitution, and that it must be decided by each state rather than by a federal court.

Each state is perfectly free to rule that abortion is entirely or partially legal within its borders, and many have done so. That includes California, which is experiencing rioting over the supposition that the Supreme Court outlawed abortion. Actually, the Supreme Court's decision had no effect whatever in this state, where abortion remains available to precisely the same degree that it did before the ruling. 

The media has not helped. Robert Kuttner, of The American Prospect, said of the ruling that, "the Court’s ruling today does a lot more than criminalize abortion." It did nothing of the sort, of course, let alone "a lot more." The Wall Street Journal referred to the decision as "eliminating a constitutional right to an abortion," which is another fiction. There was never a "constitutional right to an abortion," and this decision merely eliminated the fiction perpetrated by an earlier court.

What the Supreme Court even said in its ruling is that if the people of this nation want a nationwide legal right to abortion, then they can prevail upon their legislators to pass a federal law to that effect. Such a law would not be struck down because, while the constitution does not contain a provision guaranteeing abortion, it does not contain one prohibiting abortion either. The Court said explicitly they would have no problem with such a federal law should Congress decide to pass one.

Will Congress hear what was said and pass a law reflecting public opinion? Not only no but, "Oh, hell no." That would require a level of courage far above that which is possessed by Congress. They want no part of any decision on which the nation is anywhere near to being evenly divided. They punt such decisions to courts, and the executive branch. That's why they leave it to the President on all matters affecting the use of military force. That's why they will not pass a budget until the President proposes one, so that the media will endlessly prate about "the Bush tax cuts," even though Congress passed them. That's why "Obamacare" is called "Obamacare" even though Obama had almost nothing to do with any of the few good parts.

They won't pass an abortion law either; won't even allow the media to let the voters know that such a thing is possible.

Monday, June 20, 2022

"We Can't Look"


This is Willy protecting his sister, Missy, while their dad is watching a Dutchman in an English car being chased by a Spaniard in an Italian car for more than twenty laps. (Formula 1 does live up to its claim of being international racing.) A certain amount of swearing and yelling seemed like it might be pending.

Carlos Sainz was never more than 1.05 seconds behind Max Verstaffen, and was often as close as 0.025 seconds for the entire 20+ laps, and all it would have taken was for Max to breathe wrong and he would have been passed. The pass never happened, and the swearing and yelling was averted. A small amount of screaming did occur when the Red Bull took the checkered flag, but the cats are used to that.

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Sunday's Stock Car Race

Dale Earnhardt Jr said that Sunday’s race at Charlotte, NC was a “good race” which he enjoyed watching.

I would like to know what his definition is of “bad racing.” There were 28 caution flags during the race, on average one every 14 laps, and 17 of 38 drivers (45%) failed to finish due to crashes.

Not sure how anyone could describe that as a “good race.”

Failure to Think

 Is building homes for the homeless really a solution?

You have a family member who is running a fever, with a temperature of 105 degrees. You take him to a doctor who says he will solve the problem by putting the person in a bathtub filled with ice water.

If you have any capacity for critical thinking, you know that the fever is not the problem. The fever is the result of an underlying illness, and you expect the doctor to discover that underlying illness and to treat it.

So why do we settle for politicians “solving the homeless problem” by simply building homes for the homeless?

When a politician sees a person living in squalor on the street, he tells us that we can take care of that person by saying that the person’s problem is that he/she is “homeless” and giving that person a free home.

But being homeless is not that person’s problem any more than the 105 degree temperature was your family member’s problem. Being homeless is the result of a problem that the person had before they became homeless. That problem might be any one of or a combination of many things; alcohol or drug addiction, mental health issues, family problems, employment problems and more.

To actually help that person it is necessary to look at her/him not as a member of a class (“homeless”), but to look at him/her as an individual and determine why that person lost their home to begin with, and to help them with that problem.

But that is hard to do, and politicians don’t do hard things.

Saturday, May 28, 2022

On "Rushing In"

I have an explanation, I suspect, for the cops in Uvalde who loitered outside the school. They were pretty sure that it would be necessary to shoot and kill the shooter inside, and that the shooter was a person of color. 

They also knew that if you take down a criminal who is a person of color, you will be put on trial for murder and will spend the rest of your life in prison.

Friday, May 27, 2022

On Banning Guns

A person becomes enraged and drives his car into a crowd of people, killing many. Not hypothetical. It has happened more than once. How many times has it resulted in calls to ban automobiles?

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Clarity of Thought

According the the latest Rasmussen poll, 44% of the American public approves of the job Biden is doing, while only 26% think America is heading in the right direction.

 How many people inhabit both the "performance approval" and "wrong direction" groups is not readily apparent from the poll, but clearly, even if 100% of the "right direction" group are Biden supporters, 41% (18% of the 44%) of Biden supporters approve of the manner in which he is leading this nation in the wrong direction.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Moon Soil?

"In a NASA-funded study, scientists at the University of Florida grew plants in soil collected from the moon, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Communications Biology." 

 I'm not sure why they're so excited about this. The best tomatoes I ever ate were grown at the University of Arizona Agricultural Extension using no soil at all.

Photographic Evidence, Not

I have found it interesting that so many news items lately, especially with respect to the “Special Military Action” in Ukraine, but not limited to that subject, are accompanied by photographs which actually seem to prove the content of the article to be inaccurate.

For instance, one article went on at great length about Russia digging trenches with bulldozers and committing mass burials of bodies in Ukraine. It was accompanied by an aerial photograph of a field filled with what are obviously neatly dug individual graves in precise rows, so clearly visible that the viewer can see that one row and part of another are still open and waiting to be used.

Another article was reporting the tale of a Ukrainian soldier who had observed the destruction by artillery of a Russian column attempting to cross a river which he said would require “about ten pontoon segments” to bridge. He went on to report that the artillery began when eight segments had been placed and that dozens of tanks were destroyed and about 3000 Russian soldiers were killed.

That article, too, was accompanied by an aerial photograph, showing four tanks, a river and some pontoons. One pontoon spanned halfway across the river so it would take two, or at most three, of them to facilitate the river crossing, and in any case only two pontoons were shown in the photo.

I really don’t get the media’s process of, “I’m going to show you a picture that illustrates the falsity of the story I just told.” Weird.

Thursday, May 05, 2022

Government Speak

San Diego Gas & Electric paid $100 million for a franchise to deliver power to the city of San Diego just one year ago. It was the second such payment, agreed upon after the first franchise expired. There was only one bidder; which is quite understandable, since SDG&E already had the infrastructure in place and any other bidder would have to purchase that infrastructure from SDG&E if they were to assume the franchise.


The city then formed what it calls a "consumer cooperative," in which the city  purchases power from other producers and delivers it to SDG&E customers over SDG&E power lines, passing a law that forced SDG&E to accept the proposition and set the transmission rates that SDG&E could charge. They also made it automatic that all consumers in the city are automatically enrolled in the "cooperative."

 

Calling something that is owned and operated by the city government rather than by the membership who are consuming the product a "cooperative" is pretty weird. It's actually a form of socialism, but of course the city government didn't want to go down that rabbit hole.


This action, of course, made the franchise worth far less than SDG&E paid for it, but the city government considered that a feature, not a bug. Any time a government can screw a business, it will leap at the opportunity.


So the local newspaper carried a headline on May first, when the "cooperative" went into effect and the franchise was officially breached, "SDG&E Monopoly Ends Today." Monopoly, forsooth.

Friday, April 29, 2022

Waiting

There has been quite a lot in the news lately about a mysterious outbreak of unexplained hepatitis in young people. Unexplained as in not caused by the usual viruses and causes.

Most people think that hepatitis is a specific disease, but it’s not. It is merely a “disorder,” meaning that there is something wrong in the liver. It can be caused by a number of things, most of which have been identified.

This latest outbreak has not been, and current thinking is an adenovirus. Not very likely, actually, since the virus in question has been around for a very long time, is extremely common, and has never caused hepatitis before. Why would it do so now?

I have been waiting for someone to connect this liver ailment to an article regarding the Pfizer Covid vaccine, describing an issue which almost certainly applies to all mRNA Covid vaccines.  The article is very technical and a bit difficult to read, but it says a couple of things that are of concern.

One is that the mRNA in the vaccine does transcribe into DNA in human cells, which it was not supposed to do, and the other is that the liver is one of the primary places that it does that. In other words, the mRNA vaccine is, in fact, engaging in genetic engineering in the people who receive the vaccine, the vaccine is actually "gene therapy," and specifically the DNA change is happening in the liver.

Is that connected to the hepatitis outbreak? I have no idea, as the subject is way over my head, but why is no one asking that question?

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Define "democracy"

We charmingly claim that the United States, and the local governments within it, are democratic because we elect representatives who govern in accordance with the principles and wishes of the citizenry which elected them to office.

Case in point, a headline that reads, “San Diego County Supervisors vote 3-2 to redefine ‘woman’.”

Specifically, the council passed an new ordinance which makes it illegal to discriminate against women in the City of San Diego. On the face of it, such an ordinance would seem to be entirely symbolic, since state and federal laws already make it illegal to discriminate based on sex, but the City Council injected a twist.

The new ordinance provides that the protection, “extends to transgender women, gender nonconforming women, youth, and those assigned female at birth, which includes transgender men and intersex communities.” 

"Intersex communities?"  The ordinance includes both transgender women and transgender men, so the City Council apparently believes that you are a woman and are protected as such even if you declare yourself to be a man. I’m not sure I get that, but I am old enough to not quite understand the principles of transgenderism.

To make sure the ordinance is not unclear, it continues to declare that, “the term ‘discrimination against women’ includes any distinction, exclusion, or restriction on the basis of gender and sex assigned at birth.” Assigned by whom?

So far, that is all just a case of Democratic Party liberalism, no big deal, and the ordinance passed with three Democrats voting for it and two non-Democrats voting against.

There was, however, a time for public discussion prior to the vote, and 437 members of the public spoke against the measure, while only 40 spoke in favor of it. One person said that, “[I]t is an honor to be women, and the idea that men can simply identify as one, is degrading to all women.”

So with the public speaking more than 10:1 against the measure, all three members of the Democratic Party voted in favor of it. The irony is hard to miss, but pretty much all Democrats will miss it.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Clickbait

Every once in a while, I bite. I can't help it. Curiousity.


One deal shows the little black diamond on a tape measure and says it's going to tell you why it's there. I've never survived all the clicks, gotten past all of the other "facts" (many of them nonsensical), that might be required to find out. I know it has something to do with the center of studs in the wall of a house, but I didn't learn that by hitting clickbait.


Another one is going to tell you why there are holes in the prongs of an electric plug. Hell, I'm a licensed electrician, so I probably should know that. Embarrassingly, I don't. I've hit that clickbait several times, spent endless hours clicking "Next," crashed my computer twice, and I still don't know.


I read comments, so if you know, feel free.

 

Update, Wed. Apr 20: Aha. I was right; the holes in the electric plug are definitely not to engage a detent in the socket.  Some guy dismantled a bunch of sockets and none of them had any such detents. 

 

Turns out that, according to the National Electrical Manufacturers Association the holes are "optional, but if present must be located as illustrated above and are for manufacturing purposes." Most plugs are cast, and the holes are for a rod to hold the prongs in position while the material is poured into the die and allowed to solidify.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Unhinged

There is a bill pending in the California legislature, and one like it at the federal level, which would mandate that all companies with 500 or more employees adopt a 32-hour work week, paying overtime to those who work more than 32 hours in a week.

Politicians refer to it as a “populist” concept, and workers are thrilled at the idea of working fewer days/hours per week. As far as I can tell, economists are silent on the subject so far, but I have gone through all of the economic problems that this country is suffering at the moment, and it seems to me that every one of them would be made significantly worse by this policy.

We have shortages of practically every product one can name, so let’s have workers work fewer hours, make fewer products, and create even more severe shortages. Why does anyone think that this is a good idea?

Perhaps the idea is that more workers will be hired to fill out the work week, but we also have a labor shortage, so how is that going to pan out? We can’t fill the job openings we have, so let’s create more job openings. Really?

Inflation is eating up wage gains, so the pay that workers are receiving is  buying less and less.  So let’s reduce their buying power even further with a reduction of their income due to shorter working hours. Brilliant.

If we increase workers’ hourly pay to offset the reduced hours it would mean increasing the price of the products they are producing. That would make inflation even higher than it is now, and it’s already the worst it has been in four decades. Who thinks that is a good idea?

On the other hand, reducing working class income means less consumer spending, which trashes the economy. We all want to see that happen, right?

This nation has broken out in an epidemic of highly contagious stupidity, which seems to have originated in California and is spreading out of control.

Friday, April 01, 2022

Hot Air

The endless ranting about how Democrats are going to “lose control” of Congress in this year’s midterm election is beginning to get on my nerves.

For one thing there is no guarantee that any such thing is going to happen. Democrats are still very much in control of the election process, a process while lasts almost an entire year and of which “election day” in November is more or less merely symbolic. It is done mostly in back rooms (no longer “smoke filled”) and involves primary elections in which only party hacks and fanatics vote. 

 

In the last general election involving the US Senate in California, voters were offered a choice between two Democratic candidates, both of whom were females.

You call that a democratic (small ‘d”) election?


And that's assuming that today's elections are legitimate, which is by no means assured. Maybe they are, but I would not stake my fortune making a bet on it.

 
Even if it did happen, there is no reason to think that it would effect any meaningful change in governance of the nation. No Republican Congress has ever undone anything that the preceding Democratic ones have done in several decades.

The last time we had Republican control of both houses of Congress we had a Republican president in the White House, and Congress claimed it could do nothing because it was hamstrung by the Democratic minority which “blocked its initiatives at every turn.”

Funny how a Democratic minority can frustrate a Republican majority, but the inverse situation creates an unfettered Democratic control of Congress, which can be frustrated only when one or two of its own party members refuses to “toe the line.”

Monday, March 21, 2022

14,610 Days

To save you the time of breaking out your calculator, that is 40 years, the length of time since the last time I got drunk. It's also the last time since I had a drink of alcohol. Same thing.

Friday, March 18, 2022

The Dragon Reawakens

If you thought the freedom-killing coronavirus crisis was over because you've been distracted by the beginnings of WW3 in Ukraine, be advised that your freedom to engage in social pursuits is soon to be lost again, and Fauci did not slink off into the sunset like the proverbial tribe of Arabs.


Omicrin BA.2 is ravaging Europe and Indonesia, while parts of China are locked down tighter than the proverbial fiddler's bitch. It has us bracketed and we are next. We will die in droves unless "vaccinations" are imposed in record numbers.


But relax. Maybe WW3 will happen quickly and Russian nuclear bombs will obliterate us first.


Update, 10:20pm: Wow, this variant is really deadly. According to ABC News, Hong Kong has the highest death rate, at 0.004%. Awesome.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

I Am Not Alone

...in being trivial. Headline today,


"NATO Chief Tells Putin to Stop The War."

 

Why didn't Winston Churchill think of this in 1939?  It would have saved the world a whole lot of death and destruction.

Tuesday, March 01, 2022

I Am Sometimes Trivial

I keep seeing these commercials for walk-in bath tubs, the ones with a little door that allows you to walk in and close the door behind you. They are supposedly aimed at old people like me who cannot step over the rim of a regular bath tub.


For the record, at 78 I can step over the edge of a bath tub just fine, and I take showers anyway, not tub baths.


That does not keep me from wondering just how fast these things fill up once you have stepped into them. Do you close the door and then have to sit there naked for fifteen minutes waiting for the damned thing to fill up?

Monday, February 21, 2022

NPR Joins The Panic Fest

NPR, which for stands for “National Propaganda Radio,”  is warning us of the new subvariant of Omicron, the one that is coming to send the country back into Democrats’ preferred status of isolation and shutdown again.  “BA.2 has now been found from coast to coast,” they tell us, “and accounts for an estimated 3.9% all new infections nationally, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It appears to be doubling fast.”

They report from the Yale School of Public Health  that, "A lot of us were assuming that it was going to quickly take off in the United States just like it was doing in Europe and become the new dominant variant." They do add that so far that hasn’t happened but add their own assessment that, “The fear is that spread may be on track to rapidly accelerate in the near future.” ( Yes, English is their first language, but sometimes it’s hard to tell.)

 

After telling us that the new BA.2 variant is at 3.9% and “appears to be doubling fast” according to the CDC, they add that, "If it doubles again to 8% (actually 7.8%, ed), that means we're into the exponential growth phase and we may be staring at another wave of COVID-19 coming in the U.S.," according to Samuel Scarpino, the manager director of pathogen surveillance at the Rockefeller Foundation.

Notice that NPR has combined two sources for that scary prognostication, the CDC and Rockefeller Foundation. If one source’s material isn’t sufficiently frightening, combine material from two sources and you can scare the shit out of anyone. It may be inaccurate, but accuracy is not the object here, spreading fear is the point.

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Reviving the Panic

The general population is beginning to catch on to "the sky is falling” narrative,” forcing even California to begin dropping the most serious socially stifling mandates. But there is still hope for the panic mongers, as yet another “new variant” rears its ugly head, offering opportunity to renew, perhaps even increase the panic level. As a bonus, we are building a case for another round of vaccines.

Emphasis in the following is added by me.

CNN  Feb 19, “The BA.2 virus -- a subvariant of the Omicron coronavirus variant -- isn't just spreading faster than its distant cousin, it may also cause more severe disease…”

They go on to say, “And like Omicron, it appears to largely escape the immunity created by vaccines. A booster shot restores protection, making illness after infection about 74% less likely.”

I love the precision of the “74% less likely” in a virus that has, at this point, only infected 83 people, 64 of them “fully vaccinated.” Okay, I made up that last part, but so did the people who came up with the 74% number.

Deseret News Feb 18,  “New lab experiments in Japan found that BA.2 has a number of features that can make it capable of causing severe Covid-19 symptoms on the same level as previous strains.”

They too add more, saying that, “The research — published before peer review on the bioRxiv server — found that BA.2 can resist Covid-19 vaccines and some treatments,”

 

So not only cannot we be vaccinated against this new variant, there is no treatment for it either. "We are all going to die," returns to the narrative.

 

If you think we’re done with Fauci and Walensky, I fear you are going to be disappointed.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Formula 1 News

The title is misleading, as there isn't any news in Formula 1. The only items published in Formula 1 are about the decision ending the final Grand Prix race in Abu Dhabi which "cheated Lewis Hamilton of his eighth world title." 

 

The FIA has been  "reviewing that decision" and is close to announcing a decision as to what will be done about this terrible, horrible, immoral decision in which the greatest Formula 1 driver of all time was conspired upon by an evil cabal to deny him of his rightful due, because when an English Knight of the Realm is driving in a race it is immoral and illegal for anyone else to win.


I believe that their decision should acknowledge that they are allowing the inmates to run the asylum. Drivers, not the FIA control the system, so at the end of the race there should be a vote of the drivers to determine who won, irrespective of track position. Voting should be based on championship standing with each driver being allowed a number of votes based on his current standing. Each driver should be given the number of votes equal to his current number of points in the championship race.


That would assure that Lewis Hamilton could win every race, which would keep him out of hiding and active in social media and would keep the fans assured that all is fair and well as the "greatest driver of all time" remains unbeaten.

Monday, February 14, 2022

Observations

Some people tune in the Super Bowl for the new commercials. What they got was, in the words of James Howard Kunstler, “a cavalcade of frantic hallucinations suggesting a near-complete detachment from reality for an audience of ADD-disabled cell phone slaves locked into a Big Tech induced consensus trance.” Yep.

He goes on to say that, “You could barely tell what these advertisers were trying to sell in their commercials, the psychotic dazzle of half-second jump-cuts was so ferocious. One interesting note, though: people of non-color (PONCs) seem to have been magically sucked out of the universe.”

The latter phenomenon has not been limited to the Super Bowl commercials, of course. I don’t know if advertisers have suddenly decided that BIPOCs have an enormous amount of money to spend and therefor represent a huge untapped market, or if they are catering to the dictates of our “authoritarian democracy.”

He referred to the halftime show as “Snoop Dog’s half-time house party” and as “Hollywood’s G-rated version of a BLM riot,” which I thought was fairly apt except the G-rated part. I thought much of it bordered on pornographic, but I’m a little old fashioned. I paid little attention, as I was cooking ribs and wings for the second half.

The football game, for once, was great. Mostly.

I was a little frustrated when the Bengals scored from 75 yards out on the first play of the second half. Granted, the Bengal receiver fouled Ramsey, and not just once but twice. He put his shoulder into Ramsey and shoved him, then he grabbed his face mask and pulled him off balance, and the official did not call either penalty. But the receiver would not have been able to do either one of those things if Ramsey had not been sound asleep at the time.

It seemed like the Bengals mostly had the upper hand. They were both running and passing reasonably well, and utterly killing the Rams running game. But they didn’t score points and put the Rams away. You can’t let the other guy hang around. If you let your opponent keep the score close they often rise up and bite you on the ass.

Los Angeles rose up and bit Cincinnati on the ass.

Sunday, February 06, 2022

Andrew Anglin Nails It

I enjoy a well turned phrase, and came across the phrase "authoritarian democracy" today, in this case applied to Canada, but...


It was Andrew Anglin, discussing the feckless position of the Canadian government confronting the truckers strike against strict Covid mandates. He says  that, "The government can’t possibly roll back their measures at the behest of protesters, or the whole entire concept of an authoritarian democracy collapses."

 

That concept should, of course, collapse of it's own weight which is, needless to say, precisely his point. Nicely put.

Thursday, February 03, 2022

The Commanders?

The team formerly known as the "Washington Redskins" is no longer being known as "The Washington Football Team," a name that I actually rather liked, but is now to be known as the "Washington Commanders."

 

That is just pathetic.  That is a team name that belonged in the old and justifiably defunct "American Alliance of Football," which didn't even last one full season before becoming bankrupt. All of the teams had weird names like "The Commanders."

 

Team names included the "Legends, Express, Iron, Hotshots, Fleet," and yes, the league included a team named the "Commanders." So why Dan Snyder came up with that weak sister defies comprehension.

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Feline Fun

Our DVD player has been crapped out for some years, longer than we have had our two cats. We bought a new player this past week and I installed it on the lowest shelf of the television stand, about a foot or so above the floor, and it is driving the cats nuts.

 

There's this little drawer that pops out, of course, just when they are dozing peacefully on the rug, and freaks them out. Then it pops back in and they don't know where it went, which leaves them in a state of high anxiety. They just know that it is going to pop out again when they least expect it and bite one of them on the butt. They skulk around, eying the new device suspiciously, filled with dread.


We've had more fun watching the cats than we have watching any DVDs.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Home Field Advantage

They both were the #1 seed in their conference. They both had the previous week off to rest and prepare. They both had home field advantage. They both were significantly favored by Las Vegas odds makers. They both lost. Wow.


Update, Monday morning: Three playoff games won by field goals in the last few seconds and a fourth tied with 00:00 on the clock when the kick went through the uprights. That game was won in overtime by a touchdown. Wow again.


In that last game, the lead changed four times in the final two minutes of regulation while the two teams scored a combined 25 points. KC put the period on regulation by scoring the tying field goal after receiving the ball on its own 25-yard line with 0:13 remaining in the game.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Brer Rabbit Diplomacy

Biden and his minions have been issuing dire threats against Putin as to what will happen to Russia if that nation invades Ukraine. It is hard to imagine why Russia would want to invade the decrepit, dismal, decayed and utterly useless nation that is Ukraine, but... They have been warned!


"But," you retort, "Russia has all those troops along the border." Those troops are there because of the trouble we are creating in Ukraine, pumping in weapons and agitating the government of Ukraine. And, by the way, while Russia may have troops at the border, we have troops in Ukraine.


In due course a sufficient time will have passed, during which Russia will not have done what it never intended to do, that is invade a country which it never intended or threatened to invade, and Biden will raise his arms in triumph and claim, "The Russians don't want war with me because they are afraid of me. I made them back down from invading Ukraine."


Sort of like Brer Rabbit begging not to be thrown into the briar patch, which was the safest place for him to be. Or Obama's retort that the stimulus bill was not large enough, "Think how bad things would be had we not passed it."

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Computers Can't Think

More and more, I am noticing that once a store is out of stock on an item, more often than not it never regains a supply of that item. The result is a steadily diminishing supply of goods on the shelves, diminishing at an accelerating pace.

I have not been able to confirm, but I suspect that computerized ordering has much to do with this.

Computer ordering bases its order on what the store is selling. When the item first runs out there is still a robust history of sales, so the computer will reorder. The next time it places an order, however, there have been no recent sales (the store was out of stock), so it does not reorder that item.

So even if the item came in after the initial outage, it was not reordered afterward because of the period of non-sales. Then there are some sales which may trigger an order, but the computer shows diminished volume on the item, due to the period when it was out of stock.

That order, then, may be for reduced quantity, which causes the item to be out of stock even sooner, and reduces the sales history even further. That causes the computer to cut the next reorder quantity even further.

You can see the diminishing numbers that the computer is looking at, right? Diminishing numbers that eventually tell the computer that it is no longer worth reordering the item at all.

Shortage? Bad store management? Or both?

Saturday, January 08, 2022

On Political Violence

Ted Rall posted a piece at The Unz Review on the current attitude toward political violence in this nation which is well worth reading.  I do think he misses a couple of points, which I will address later, but he does address a couple of glaring contradictions in the manner in which we view political activism.

“Our republic rests,” he writes, “upon a paradox. We teach schoolchildren that in the late 18th century, the personal assessment of some colonists that the British government was unjust followed by their decision to take up arms was not merely justified but noble and heroic. In the 21st century, however, any analogous judgment that this government is corrupt and unresponsive to their needs is beyond the pale — and an armed revolt would be the act of treasonous maniacs.”

He goes on to say that those who fought for the South in the Civil War were never brought to trial, nor were they even deprived of their weapons. They were, in fact, sent home to live in peace, unlike those who stormed the Capitol Building on January 6th without any weapons and without apparent intention to damage the structure.

“To sum up the official line,” he continues, “the American Revolution was a fully justified, admirable use of political violence (24,000 dead British soldiers) that created the best country ever. The Southern secession that attempted to cut the best country ever in half, … was forgivable.

Political violence now, on the other hand, is not now, nor ever will be, morally or legally permissible.”


The counter argument, of course, is that the British government was wrong, The Yankee government was righteous, and Democrats are… Well, whatever they are.

The point that I think he misses is that the present government policy of stamping down political violence very ruthlessly  is based on an extreme fear of such violence, which is entirely natural in a government that was born in political violence (the American Revolution) and which used even more extreme violence (the Civil War) to survive.