Thursday, 12 June 2014

08:39 – It’s a small victory for sanity, but the city government has finally decided to kill the West End trolley service downtown. The “trolley” is actually just a standard city bus duded up to look like an old-fashioned trolley. It’s been running since 1988, and has never had many riders. The vast majority of the time, it has no riders at all, and just drives around empty but for the driver. Every time someone gets on that bus, it costs city taxpayers $23. And it took the city council 25 years to realize that it was a waste of money.

I read an interesting article on CNN yesterday, America’s middle class: Poorer than you think

In terms of average net worth per adult, the United States comes in at $301,000, fourth behind Switzerland, Australia, and Norway. But in terms of median net worth, the US comes in 19th, at only $45,000. Neither of these numbers is particularly useful. The average is skewed by the fact that the US far and away leads the world in millionaires and billionaires. If you consider a group of 100 people, one of whom has a net worth of $100,000,000 and 99 of whom have a net worth of zero, the average net worth of that group is $1,000,000. The median is skewed by the fact that the poor in the US have essentially zero net worth. The bottom 40% hold less than 0.5% of total US net worth, the bottom 60% something under 5%, and the bottom 80% something like 10%, leaving about 90% of total US net worth to be shared among the top 20%. If you want numbers that provide a better picture of the US middle class, look at the net worth and income necessary to be in the top quintile.


10:16 – Most of the backorders are starting to clear out. UPS showed up yesterday with 200 beakers and 480 graduated cylinders that had been backordered for a couple months, and FedEx is supposed to deliver 300 5/10/15X folding pocket magnifiers today that have been backordered for 3 months or more. That’s a relief, because we were down to only 50 or so of the magnifiers in inventory, and just four of the cylinders. Now all I need to do is get all this stuff moved downstairs and checked into inventory.

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55 Responses to Thursday, 12 June 2014

  1. Miles_Teg says:

    Our superiority in net worth probably has a lot to do with not having a land border with a third world country, whereas you guys have one, arguably two (hi Bill!) … 🙂

    Actually, your in a worse fix than that article says, as you have insano prices for education and medical care. Our main problem is the completely crazy price of housing, especially in the nice places. My house cost $722k and it’s nothing compared to Lynn’s place.

  2. Dave B. says:

    The median is skewed by the fact that the poor in the US have essentially zero net worth. The bottom 40% hold less than 0.5% of total US net worth, the bottom 60% something under 5%, and the bottom 80% something like 10%, leaving about 90% of total US net worth to be shared among the top 20%.

    One reason that many of the people in the bottom 40% are poor is that the United States government offers them assistance with the requirement that they remain poor. Someone whose blog I used to read had a disabled husband, and when he finally got Social Security Disability, they rushed out and bought $10,000 worth of really cool toys. I thought this was irresponsible until I realized that they got a $12,000 check because the benefits were retroactive, and they would lose the disability benefits if they had more than $2,000 in the bank.

  3. Dave B. says:

    Actually, your in a worse fix than that article says, as you have insano prices for education and medical care. Our main problem is the completely crazy price of housing, especially in the nice places. My house cost $722k and it’s nothing compared to Lynn’s place.

    There are lots of places in the US with higher real estate prices than Texas. A friend of a friend lives in San Francisco in a house that sold for $925,000 a decade ago. It’s nowhere near as nice as Lynn’s. Zillow says its worth $1.7 million now.

  4. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Yeah, but Obamacare is going to fix the problem with health care costs by driving insurance companies, hospitals, and doctors bankrupt.

  5. Ray Thompson says:

    I thought this was irresponsible until I realized that they got a $12,000 check because the benefits were retroactive, and they would lose the disability benefits if they had more than $2,000 in the bank.

    We may soon be facing some of the same issue. My insurance company no longer wants my wife on their roles because of her hip replacement surgery. They would rather Medicare (taxpayers) pay for the next surgery. So the insurance company hired a law firm (actually under contract I am sure) to do all the paperwork to get my wife on SSI disability. When that happens she goes on Medicare and is off my insurance.

    We have been through the original denial which is standard for the SS office. We have been through two appeals and been denied, again almost always the case. She has appeared before a judge in a hearing and the judge makes the determination. From what the lawyers said the process went well and will probably be granted.

    This makes the payments retroactive back to the day she applied. That will be three years worth at about $1K a month. Subtract out some fees and we are probably looking at $25K plus.

    What I do not know is if SSI disability takes into account my income and our current savings as they are joint accounts. None of this information has been provided to the SS office at any stage of the process. What may tip the scales is that she has been working in the past and is now no longer able to work full time. She substitutes in the school but that brings in well below any SSI income levels.

    To me it is a scam by my insurance company. But there is little I can do. I was informed if I did not allow the insurance company to proceed they would deny my wife coverage as there was an alternative that she refused to accept. Don’t quite know how they can do that. While still dealing with the other driver’s insurance company in my wreck apparently insurance companies can do what they want with no repercussions.

    If she does get SSI and Medicare then I will retire at the end of this year. I can get healthcare through the VA at zero cost. A new clinic has opened up about 15 miles from my house and so it will be much easier to get service. Healthcare is the only reason I am still working.

    I will be unemployed for two years with no income as I need to wait two years to get SSI. I will use some money that has been invested, but not taxed, to live on for two years. That will minimize my tax consequences. I don’t think that any disability for my wife is counted as income, could be wrong on that. The plan is to live on about $25K a year which will make my tax liability almost zero.

  6. MrAtoz says:

    I can get healthcare through the VA at zero cost.

    I’m in VA Priority Group 8, Sub-Priority G. That means “fuck off, see those 10,000’s of Vets waiting for care, you’re behind them, again, fuck off.” At least I get family Tricare Retired until I’m Medicare eligible. $465/yr for the family. Free care (no copays) and drugs if I go to Nellis, AFB. But that’s almost a 30 minute drive, so I just pay copays most of the time at a local witch doctor.

    Maybe when I’m indigent like Mr. Ray, I can go to the VA Clinic 5 minutes from my house. My wife and I would have to stop working all together. I don’t remember if our pensions are combined since we are married to meet the “means” test. Does SS count also? Try navigating through the VA web site. All you get are more questions.

  7. Miles_Teg says:

    Yeah, I mentioned this last year, and I think it was one of Bob’s friends, Paul, who said it was a pity one didn’t go off. I wouldn’t want to be in the open within about 30 km of a bomb of that yield going off, but most of NC would have been okay.

  8. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    The effects other than fallout from a ground burst of a 3.8 MT bomb would have been very localized. See Glasstone’s The Effects of Nuclear Weapons.

    These stories always ignore equivalent megatonnage and linearly extrapolate the effects of a megaton-class bomb from those of a 20 KT Hiroshima/Nagasaki bomb. Yeah, the bombs in question had 200 times the yield of a 20 KT bomb, but that doesn’t mean the larger bomb affected 200 times the area (let alone 200 times the radius, which is 40,000 times the area). Equivalent megatonnage is the 2/3 power of the yield in megatons, so a 20 KT (0.02 MT) bomb is about 0.074 EMT while a 3.8 MT bomb is about 2.53 EMT, or about 34 times the power of the 20 KT bomb. Taking the square root of 34 means that the effects of the 3.8 MT bomb extend about 6 times the radius of the 20 KT bomb.

    When you consider that the Hiroshima/Nagasaki bombs were airbursts optimized for 5 PSI overpressure (what it takes to destroy typical residential/business buildings), while the NC bombs would have been ground bursts, that means the NC bombs would have had a much smaller area of total destruction than did the bombs dropped on Japan.

  9. Ray Thompson says:

    I’m in VA Priority Group 8, Sub-Priority G.

    Are you receiving disability payments from the VA? I am at 20% and want to get it raised to 30%.

    Maybe when I’m indigent like Mr. Ray

    Not quite. I am still working for a living making enough money to make ends meet.

    Try navigating through the VA web site. All you get are more questions.

    Gave up on that process. The information is poor and generally worthless. I go to the state VA office instead.

  10. Ray Thompson says:

    most of NC would have been okay

    Yeh, I know. But by now the EPA would have condemned the entire state as a super fund site.

  11. Miles_Teg says:

    Sure, the Nagasaki bomb was almost twice the yield of Hiroshima but there were many less casualties because much of Nagasaki was shielded by hills from the hypocentre, so effects *can* be localised. But I still wouldn’t want to be anywhere near Goldsboro if that H bomb went off.

  12. MrAtoz says:

    Are you receiving disability payments from the VA? I am at 20% and want to get it raised to 30%.

    Pretty healthy at 59, no mil disability (that I know of). You’d think they’d want to keep me healthy with free checkups before I’m broken down beyond repair and indigent. That’s what I get for being a quiche eating aviator. When there’s trouble, helicopters can fly backwards to safety. 🙂

    If I came over and whacked your knee, would that raise you to 30%? I’m a Vet, so it would be service related. I could claim PTSD and get treatment instead of confinement.

  13. MrAtoz says:

    Preezy Obummer on the future of the USA:

    President Obama reminded Democratic donors that “our future rests” on the success of people brought to the United States illegally as children, who would qualify for citizenship if Congress had passed the DREAM Act.

    As Mr. SteveF pointed out, look at the shot of the DREAMers grabbing their crotches and flipping the bird. That’s our future, Preezy.

  14. MrAtoz says:

    lol The Bergdahl case just gets better and better:

    Bowe Bergdahl’s armed forces troubles started in 2006, when he was discharged from the Coast Guard for “psychological reasons,” leading to the question: How did he end up in the Army?

    I guess the Army will take anybody for cannon fodder.

  15. Ray Thompson says:

    If I came over and whacked your knee, would that raise you to 30%? I’m a Vet, so it would be service related. I could claim PTSD and get treatment instead of confinement.

    Mine is for a broken back suffered while playing at the beach at Canyon Lake in Texas. I did not know I was eligible for disability when I left the service as I was told that since the incident did not happen while I was on duty, it did not count. Turns out that was false and was a lie by the discharge people.

    I started out at 10% and it only took six months to get after I applied. Of course I missed 20 years of payments that I was due. About 6 years ago I had it raised to 20%. Next visit I need to hobble into the VA hospital in Nashville while using a cane. If I can get to 30% then my wife can receive my benefits after I expire.

  16. Chad says:

    I guess the Army will take anybody for cannon fodder.

    I can remember my USAF recruiter sending people across the hall to the Army recruiter when they didn’t meet USAF standards (criminal background, GED instead of a Diploma, poor ASVAB scores, etc.). That doesn’t necessarily mean the Army took them, but they had a better chance than they did getting some USAF brass to sign an enlistment standards waiver (which was a snowball’s chance in hell at best).

  17. Chad says:

    Next visit I need to hobble into the VA hospital in Nashville while using a cane. If I can get to 30% then my wife can receive my benefits after I expire.

    Claim tinnitus. It’s near impossible to disprove, so they have to take your word for it and it’s worth 10%.

  18. Chad says:

    …while the NC bombs would have been ground bursts, that means the NC bombs would have had a much smaller area of total destruction than did the bombs dropped on Japan.

    Actually, I recall reading that one of the bombs parachuted to the ground and was set for air burst. The article stated that if two wires had crossed while the B-52 was breaking up it would have air detonated.

  19. Ray Thompson says:

    Claim tinnitus. It’s near impossible to disprove, so they have to take your word for it and it’s worth 10%.

    I did. They denied the claim. Mine was based on the years I spent in noisy computer rooms. VA said there was no evidence to support the claim. I have heard from others that tinnitus is one of those claims that is routinely denied.

  20. Lynn McGuire says:

    My house cost $722k and it’s nothing compared to Lynn’s place.

    Huh? My place is nothing special. 3,000 ft2 house with four bedrooms and three bathrooms, a two car garage with a 10 ft extension for storage of crap, a pool and spa. And all the squirrels that I could eat for time unending (I counted 50 of the tree rats in our neighborhood last year one fine day). And I paid a little less than half of $722K for it.

    Of course, inside the inner loop of Houston, interstate 610, my home would be a million dollars or more. Those people are crazy!

    It is all about location, location, location!

  21. Miles_Teg says:

    My place is roughly 2200 square feet, three bedrooms, one study, 1.5 bathrooms, a spa, two car garage under the house, 550 square metres of land.

    I’m in a nice suburb of Adelaide, about 10 km out.

  22. OFD says:

    “…the United States government offers them assistance with the requirement that they remain poor.”

    That’s the deal; “we’ll help you maintain a niggardly, barely sustainable life for your remaining years but you have to live it in poverty and we will monitor every red cent you bring in henceforth.”

    I am now doing the dance with the VA as regards disability filing, for several ongoing issues and will keep track of how it goes and what possible tips I can generate. They have treated me very well here but dealing with the national infrastructure is a whole different can of worms.

    Do any of you guys using the VA get on the http://www.myhealth.va.gov site? You should be able to get that set up and may have to visit the nearest office, maybe a state office, to get walked through upgrading it from an “A” to a “P” (’cause you gotta show an ID) and you can then access all your records, order prescriptions online, communicate with your medical “caregivers,” etc., etc. One thing you’ll want to remember to do is to enable “secure messaging.”

    So far so good with me; I have ongoing weekly appointments and meetings now and may be getting surgery on my foot at some point, among other things. My claims involve residual damage from shrapnel, tinnitus from years of gunfire and explosions, exposure to areas where Agent Orange had soaked the landscape (now a moonscape), and of course, PTSD. I quite frankly expect long delays, a mountain of paperwork, a depressing and frustrating struggle, and in the end, nothing. Just doing due diligence for the benefit of Mrs. OFD who thinks I am owed all this and they will just hand it over to us, based on one or two anecdotal stories.

    We’re in the middle of a three-day cycle of overcast and rain drizzle here and a nice weekend allegedly coming up; I’m just hauling ass on the endless list of stuff to do on the house and slowly assembling supporting documentation for the VA stuff and the Class III FFL.

    If anyone here ever needs the procedure for removing cat pee stink from cement and concrete, I’m your man; I’m about to become an expert on it.

  23. Richard Brown says:

    Have you considered *dry* kits, only empty items and tools, and the book, with a list of what the buyer needs to purchase in their country?

  24. Lynn McGuire says:

    My claims involve residual damage from shrapnel

    Are they going to remove some from your foot?

    If anyone here ever needs the procedure for removing cat pee stink from cement and concrete, I’m your man; I’m about to become an expert on it.

    You are so lucky!

  25. Lynn McGuire says:

    exposure to areas where Agent Orange had soaked the landscape (now a moonscape)

    I used to know a guy who claimed to have bathed in the stuff several times as they sprayed the jungle where he was patrolling through. His arms had so many tumors removed that he looked like somebody had gone after him with an ice pick.

  26. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Have you considered *dry* kits, only empty items and tools, and the book, with a list of what the buyer needs to purchase in their country?

    The problem with that is that most of the value of the kit is in the reagents, so all they’d be getting is stuff that they could buy cheaper locally. Buying the reagents locally is problematic because most forensic science suppliers won’t sell to individuals, and even if they do the prices would be extremely high, both because their package sizes are much, much larger than an individual needs and because they charge a high premium. For example, we sell one of the reagents included in the kit for $8.25 for a 10 mL bottle. The smallest bottle that’s available commercially is 30 mL, and that sells for $146.

    It’s also problematic for them to buy raw chemicals locally and make up the reagents themselves, but in that case it’s all package sizes. There are so many chemicals needed to make up the various reagents that even buying the smallest package sizes available would probably cost $1,000+ and they’d end up with most of what they’d bought left over.

  27. OFD says:

    “Are they going to remove some from your foot?”

    No, that’s a different problem. I caught shrapnel in the head, stomach, knee, legs and shoulder at…where was it now…Austerlitz? Carthage? Long time ago, that’s for sure, including a chunk at the top of my thoracic apparatus near the spine which shows as a dark mass on the x-ray. This all sounds much worse than it really is, though; most of it got picked out, a bunch more simply disintegrated or dissolved, and the only symptoms I ever experienced were circulation problems in the legs during cold, wet rainy weather decades ago, which, incidentally, we have quite a lot of in these pahts.

    I doubt the Agent Orange exposure did much to me but hey, why not throw it in there, see if it sticks? I’ve had asthmatic and bronchial symptoms for many years, who’s to say it didn’t come from back there? No tumors, though.

    Just ran a couple of errands, including the supermarket, where once again I saw a youngish woman with substantial facial hair, a beard, actually. That’s two or three times now over the past few months; WTF? Are we all going all-out now to blur the gender lines? Should I be taking estrogen shots and shaving stringently every day?

  28. MrAtoz says:

    where once again I saw a youngish woman with substantial facial hair, a beard, actually

    Sounds like that chick that came up to Mr. Bob in college and said “wanna fuck?” He never said if they did. Mr. Bob that is.

    lol

  29. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    No, actually that one was stunningly pretty. I turned her down, although I couldn’t believe the words coming out of my mouth even as I said them.

  30. OFD says:

    “I turned her down…”

    The right call. Who knows what nefarious thing she had in mind? Different overseas, say, in southeast Asia, though. Generally meant what they said, but again, discretion is the bettuh paht of valluh.

  31. MrAtoz says:

    Sure she didn’t have an Adam’s Apple? You’re pretty smart, maybe something tipped you off.

    http://www.thequadlv.com/shows/Frank-marinos-divas-las-vegas.html#.U5orPo1dX5U

  32. rick says:

    Every time someone gets on that bus, it costs city taxpayers $23.

    This confuses average with marginal cost. Adding an additional rider costs nothing (the marginal cost). If they had ten times as many riders, the average cost would have been $2.30 per rider. With an average cost of $23 per rider, it should have been ended a long time ago.

    Rick in Portland

  33. OFD says:

    No one wants to ride buses or trolleys as a lot of city and big-town folks did when I was a kid. I remember when the trolley lines were still running actively and with full ridership in Boston. Now everyone has a vehicle, or two, or three, and drives everywhere, whether they really need to go anywhere or not. ‘

    We’ll see how long this continues when they start really jacking up gas prices and taxes thereupon, as the governments are becoming increasingly desperate for revenues. The Sovereign Man guy in that earlier link on all those “dormant” accounts being defaulted to various State entities didn’t mention desperation as a factor, just the piratical thievery of it, which it is, of course. They’re gonna start raising our taxes and fees on everything, seize dormant accounts, nickel-and-dime us on every conceivable “service” or requirement they can dream up, and they’re mounting a serious effort to smush together all our healthcare, medical and retirement funds, public and private.

    What was being done in Cyprus and Greece will spread to the rest of the southern Med tier countries and migrate north into the rest of Old Europe and thence to the British Isles and Scandinavia. This may take a few years but anything can happen in the meantime back here. The elites know what’s coming and they’re getting very antsy.

  34. Ray Thompson says:

    I doubt the Agent Orange exposure did much to me

    Exposure to such is almost a guaranteed disability claim with the VA.

    I saw a youngish woman with substantial facial hair

    Agent Orange exposure. Better check your privates as they may start dropping off and you will be sitting to pee the rest of your life.

  35. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    The right call. Who knows what nefarious thing she had in mind? Different overseas, say, in southeast Asia, though. Generally meant what they said, but again, discretion is the bettuh paht of valluh.

    Oh, I’m pretty sure I knew exactly what she had in mind. Remember, this was the era of flower power, hippies, and sex-drugs-and-rock-n-roll. Not to mention before AIDS, when VD (as we called it then) was nearly always a simple matter of a week’s course of oral antibiotics.

    Besides, I was juggling two girlfriends at the time and I didn’t need any more complications.

  36. OFD says:

    “Besides, I was juggling two girlfriends at the time and I didn’t need any more complications.”

    Well that certainly reinforces it as the right call, Mr. Don Juan Casanova Blackbeard.

    Yes, I remember that era quite well. Most of the fun stuff did not apply to us as we returned from our Excellent Adventure With Uncle.

    “Better check your privates as they may start dropping off and you will be sitting to pee the rest of your life.”

    I will so inform my Spousal Partner upon her return here. As it is, she is jealous that we males can use the world as our toilet, for at least one function. And we’re both on BP meds, which makes us wanna pee more often, so she has also agitated for a downstairs bathroom. But that project will have to wait until about three other major projects have been done.

  37. Miles_Teg says:

    Yep, point-and-shoot sure is better than spray-and-wipe.

  38. Lynn McGuire says:

    And we’re both on BP meds, which makes us wanna pee more often, so she has also agitated for a downstairs bathroom. But that project will have to wait until about three other major projects have been done.

    Don’t you have a backyard?

    Just dig a three foot deep hole and build a shed around it with a half moon on the door.

    That is what they do on the “Buying Alaska” and “Buying the Beach” shows that I have been watching lately. Be nice and put a fan in and some wasp spray. Seems like the wasps were always busy inside my grandparents outhouse.

  39. Lynn McGuire says:

    My former USMC son thinks that we will have a new country, Kurdistan, very soon. It will be formed from 1/4 each of Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Iran. He went in the foothills of the Kurdish mountains for a while in 2008. They quickly could not take their Humvees any further due to the extremely rough terrain.

    He also thinks very highly of the Kurds as fighters as opposed to your normal muslim. According to him, most muslims tend to run away in the middle of the night the minute something goes wrong (he experienced this quite a few times since he was on door knock patrol in Hit for several months).

  40. Miles_Teg says:

    I think there will be a Kurdistan carved out of Iraq, and possibly Syria, because they’re both basket cases. Iran and Turkey won’t cede any of their land to such a nation.

  41. brad says:

    Yeah, according to the news here, Iraq is totally falling apart – it’s only a matter of time before the “legitimate” government gives up and goes into hiding.

    I wish we could send Bush, Cheney and every other decision maker involved in starting Iraq II, and give them one-way tickets to Bagdad. Hussein and his sons were slime, but the current situation is incomparably worse.

  42. pcb_duffer says:

    [snip] Iran and Turkey won’t cede any of their land to such a nation. [snip]

    If the Turks had any sense at all they would do so very quickly. Give up a piece of their territory, and with it a problem that’s been a giant headache for them for the last 40+ years. Announce an amnesty: Anyone currently living in ‘Turkey’ who wants to live in ‘Kurdistan’ has two years to uproot and move. And at the same time, anyone now living in what will be ‘Kurdistan’ who doesn’t want to keep doing so has those same two years. With a little bit of encouragement / arbitrage, those two groups swap places.
    Then you have an independent Kurdish state, with more or less peaceful relations with its neighbors (leaving the Iranians out of it for the time being) and the rest of the world. Granted, old feelings die hard, but a generation or two of relative peace & prosperity will erase a lot of bitter feelings. England & France are allies, Turkey & Kurdistan could at least have normal relations, free trade, etc. And the cost to Turkey would be a very small fraction of what they’ve paid, and put up with, for many years.

  43. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    You’re assuming that islamics can ever be peaceful neighbors. History tells me they can’t.

    As far as the situation in Iraq, I can’t see how it’s any business of ours. Ordinarily, I’d be in favor of supplying weapons to both sides, the better to help them kill each other off. But supplying weapons to muslims is always a bad idea. So I’d refuse to send anything to them, including humanitarian aid.

  44. OFD says:

    I agree with Bob; it’s hopeless; why not just mind our own business and let the place fall apart now and write it off, like we’ve written off a bunch of other places, after expending blood and treasure for them. We never seem to learn.

    My reading of the Kurds is that most of them are at best token islamics and love to eat, drink, have sex and fight. But who cares? I also agree with brad; I’d love to send all our political geniuses to go live there in what they have wrought, after a long sentence slaving in our veterans’ hospital wards.

    The time will come, probably not in my lifetime, when we won’t have the money to go poking around the world and running an empire anymore. And if the Grid fails and industrial civilization collapses, we’ll be back to 1900 here and large parts of the rest of the world will be returning to the Stone Age. All those hundreds of millions of Chinese and Indians and Nigerians who want cars and houses and tee-vees and innernet? They’re gonna be shit outta luck. We shot the wad, worldwide, all by ourselves; there is no endless growth or infinite cornucopia.

  45. Lynn McGuire says:

    Iran and Turkey won’t cede any of their land to such a nation.

    You say that like Turkey and Iran have an option in this. Turkey just got through decapitating their army leadership before the army leadership pulled off another coup of the islamic leadership. I’m not even sure that the Turkish army is functional at the moment.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/27/world/europe/turkish-leader-disowns-trials-that-helped-him-tame-military.html?_r=0

    When Kurdistan forms with ten million plus citizens, Iran will take a deep gulp. And according to my son, back away. He maintains the Kurds are fierce warriors and have been waiting and arming for this opportunity. Just about any time the USMC went into the Kurdish areas, they had to exchange their humvees for donkeys. The terrain is that tough.

  46. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Government is a parasite, and if left unchecked a parasite can kill its host. Not to take the analogy too far, but most hosts will tolerate parasites unless/until the become too greedy. At that point, the host has weapons with which to fight back. I frankly don’t think we’re at that point yet, and not likely to get there for a long, long time. It’s the old thing about tossing a frog into boiling water versus heating the water slowly.

    As I’ve said, barring an asteroid strike, and epidemic worse than the Spanish flu, or a similar world-wide disaster, I don’t see any catastrophic breakdown in the near future, at least in the English-speaking countries. When I talk about a gradual slide into distopia, I’m talking about things gradually getting worse, the government gradually (or not so gradually) taking a larger and larger percentage of what we produce, and things that used to work flawlessly start to work poorly, intermittently, or not at all.

    Yes, I’m stocking up on food, and yes, my goal is to build a one-year supply for Barbara and me. But that doesn’t mean I’m expecting TEOTWAWKI. What I’m building just looks like a one-year supply for two people. What it’s really intended as is a one-month supply for 24 people.

    If things get bad, it’s not like Barbara and I are going to hunker down and guard our food supply. I can’t imagine, for example, telling Barbara’s sister and brother-in-law that we won’t share with them. Nor Paul and Mary or our other friends. Nor our neighbors.

    I just don’t foresee a situation where having a one-year supply of food would be necessary. I can, however, easily foresee a situation where being able to feed a couple dozen people for a month would be very useful indeed.

  47. Lynn McGuire says:

    BTW, my father-in-law has been a 100% disabled vet for about two years now. You really do not want to go there. When he hit 90% disabled several years ago, he was just about non-functional at that point. Yet, he still managed to haul a ladder over to one of his rent houses and fall off it one day. Two steps up.

  48. OFD says:

    I hope and pray you’re right but feel that enough of a catastrophe can occur even in the English-speaking countries to knock us back a century. Maybe not in our lifetimes, but I do not rule it out. We really don’t know, for example, what the actual consequences will be if and when the U.S. defaults; that will be unknown historical territory for a nation-state of this size and power. But we can make some educated guesses if the power and food distribution networks are disrupted or collapsed, if only for a few weeks or months. The cities, for example, will in dire straits.

    And in sorta related nooz I see the Sovereign Man guy is tipping us that a lot of us may be able to acquire second passports, esp. from countries where we have documented ancestral ties, but that doesn’t help me much as mine are for the U.K. going back many centuries but what would I want with a Brit passport? Mrs. OFD may be on firmer ground going for an Irish passport.

  49. Lynn McGuire says:

    If things get bad, it’s not like Barbara and I are going to hunker down and guard our food supply. I can’t imagine, for example, telling Barbara’s sister and brother-in-law that we won’t share with them. Nor Paul and Mary or our other friends. Nor our neighbors.

    I just don’t foresee a situation where having a one-year supply of food would be necessary. I can, however, easily foresee a situation where being able to feed a couple dozen people for a month would be very useful indeed.

    Amen brother and pass the corn!

    I just do not see an economic based disaster shutting down the feddies and staties. In fact, I see an economic disaster in the USA making the feddies even stronger.

    Like I said before, I’ve been watching the “Buying Alaska” and “Buying the Beach” shows. My daughter and I were commenting last night that we thought indoor plumbing was a given in the USA. Neither one of us realized that for remote locations, indoor plumbing is still a luxury.

    My paternal grandparents got indoor plumbing on their Texas farm in 1979. My wife’s paternal grandparents got indoor plumbing on their farm in upper New York state in 1981.

  50. Miles_Teg says:

    “You say that like Turkey and Iran have an option in this. ”

    Well, they won’t do so voluntarily, happily.

    Kurdistan consisting of parts of Iraq and Syria could happen next week because those two nations are dysfunctional. I don’t think Iran and Turkey are, yet. Might happen, but will just take longer.

  51. Lynn McGuire says:

    Talked more to former USMC son this afternoon. He said that old Saddam did not mess with the Kurds at all. He could send a division up in the mountains and nothing came back.

    And like I said, Turkey is dysfunctional also. They tried holding the Istanbul canal gates closed on one of Mr. Putin’s missile cruisers a couple of months ago. The last thing in the world that you mess with is a guided missile cruiser with about a thousand reloads when they are sailing through your capital city.

  52. OFD says:

    There’s indoor plumbing and then there’s paved roads and internet access; all three of which are still missing in pahts of northern New England; Vermont has a surprising percentage of its roads still unpaved, with some in this town alone, and dial-up and party lines in a lotta places. I reckon there still ain’t indoor plumbing in a few spots, too. In this, Anno Domini MMXIV.

  53. SteveF says:

    They tried holding the Istanbul canal gates closed on one of Mr. Putin’s missile cruisers

    That’s not dysfunctional, that’s retarded.

    I have an idea: How about Abdullah Gul teabags a bear cub in front of its mama bear. The outcome would be as certain, and more amusing for onlookers.

  54. Lynn McGuire says:

    Vermont has a surprising percentage of its roads still unpaved, with some in this town alone

    Texas is going back to gravel roads on the oilfield roads. The maintenance requirements on asphalt roads is simply amazing after a few severely overloaded trucks (120,000+ lbs) drive down them. Plus the gravel roads slow down the heavy trucks, as you well know they cannot stop anyway.

    One of my wife’s uncles was a well pumper, he would bring in 100,000 lbs of salt water to kill the well (plus the truck and tank weight). The tanks had no internal dampers (rusted out) to keep the water from sloshing and rolling the truck over so he would drive it 5 mph once he hit the gravel roads.

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