Sunday, 14 December 2014

09:12 – Barbara is cleaning house at the moment. This afternoon, I’ll help her get up the last of the fallen leaves and then we’ll go back to working on science kits. We’re still filling and labeling bottles and making up subassemblies for a new batch of 60 chemistry kits.

33 thoughts on “Sunday, 14 December 2014”

  1. Barbara is cleaning house at the moment.

    gasp!!! You’d better not let radical feminists find out. They’d string you both up from the nearest tree, you for being an oppressive patriarch and her for not getting with the program.

    (More realistically, they’d talk about doing such, but in practice all they’d do is unfriend you on Facebook. For all their big talk, most big-mouthed progressives fall short on doing. About all that most of them can manage is petit vandalism or making a false 911 call if they find your home address.)

  2. Better not let the radical masculinists know that I did the laundry yesterday. Oh, yeah. And I do the dishes, too.

  3. “…being an oppressive patriarch…”

    Note to radical feminists: Forget the namby-pamby Western patriarchs you’re used to denigrating and harassing. Wanna see a genuine oppressive patriarch? Watch the movie “Noah.” There’s a patriarch for yo ass! Noah brooks no nonsense; he’ll kill you or your son’s child in a haht-beet.

    Overcast today in our northern wintuh wunduh-land.

  4. Similarly, it’s safe for the UN Human Right Commissioner Crapweasel to condemn the US for torturing detainees and to assert seriously that members of the US government and military could face trial before an international court if they ever set foot in a civilized country. If he or his ilk were to make similar claims about, say, ISIS, they’d likely see “peaceful” “protests” in their own streets which might -gasp- put them personally at risk. No, much safer to insult a nation which can’t be bothered to smack him down like a pantry moth.

  5. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t understand all the to-do about torture. It seems to me that torture can be used for two purposes: obtaining information and punishment. I don’t see how anyone can be against torture for obtaining information, particularly when friendly lives are at stake. As to punishment, I can think of many crimes that deserve it, not least raping and murdering children.

  6. “…smack him down like a pantry moth.”


    And so many deserving of same, yet so little time and opportunity.

  7. Bernie Sanders wants to break up banks. Unusually, I agree with a career politician commie. If the big, national banks are truly so large that their failure endangers the economy of the United States and indeed the entire world, then they need to be broken up. I suppose another option would be to nationalize these obvious national assets, but I can’t claim with a straight face that bureaucrats would do a better job.

    What worked for half a century was restricting banks to either investment or “banking”. I’m not sure why exactly a working policy was abandoned, especially as the policy’s abandonment led in just a decade to the need for a 12-figure bailout at taxpayer expense. (I’m playing dumb, of course. The useful policy was abandoned because banksters paid off politicians.) (And of course US fedgov demands caused the mortgage crisis which triggered the collapse. However, I think that was just the crisis which happened to cause the collapse; the entire structure was teetering already.)

  8. Unusually, I agree with a career politician commie.

    What’sa matter with commies? They are doing pretty well on mainland China. Even have us beat on how low the minimum wage can go.

  9. It has been a blowout week. What I thought was going to be an unusually quiet run-up to Xmas, turned into the week from hell. A week ago, I finished what was to be the last work assignment until a couple weeks into the new year. But nope, an out-of-town overnight, trips to the big city 3 days in a row, overtime work, and in the midst of all that, the water pump on the Roadmaster decided to dump the entire coolant system out on the pavement. People ride me for not getting rid of that classic car, but I have done the numbers. I am nowhere near a total on repairs that equals payments on a new one. It IS risky business having only 1 car (and an old one at that), because if I go out for an early job and it is dead, so am I. You just cannot be late and survive in my line of work. No excuses are accepted. Which is why I stay overnight, very near to jobs with earlier than normal morning starts — which was this week.

    I guess I will have to actually retire to stop the hectic Xmases dead in their tracks. In TV, we always worked doubly hard from Labor Day until the day before Xmas Eve, so everyone could have the week between Xmas and New Year’s off. It is the same working for lawyers, except they also keep taking off — at least the first 2 weeks into the new year, or sometimes 3.

    On that activism front of yesterday, OFD’s link to the Lew Rockwell site’s article on TJ and his criticisms of how the new republic had very quickly run off in the wrong direction, Jefferson’s concerns would have taken aim at eliminating the need for activism of any sort with his ‘Hundreds’ plan. A society that needs activism to get the will of the people done, is built on the wrong foundations.

    I admit that I have no idea how to remedy the situation, but I have rebelled at the idea of only a 2 party system for most of my cognizant life as the Rockwell article notes was likewise the opinion of our early Founders. Now we have a 2 party system with no compelling difference between one side or the other — both aimed at wasting money by spending it on tearing down whatever the other other spent on building up.

    Change happens in Parliamentary systems (if leaders do not get shot), but nothing happens in our Presidential system except a continual clockwise circling of the drain. Back in 1999, after half a lifetime of honestly believing that the US was the best place one could be born to live, my observations and conclusion changed. I told my kids then — who were still in high school — that I truly believed it would be better to watch the US from elsewhere, and I almost got that done for myself. However, my kids — even after spending considerable time abroad, — decided not to have that, and ended up persuading me to return to them after losing my mate. Jeri’s son did better and, like Brad, has no reason now to return to the US. So, like Jefferson, here I am watching it close-up. As I said back in 1999, it ain’t turning out to be a pretty sight. I am not sure the future will ever look as hopeful as it did back when boomers finished school and went to work.

    And we already know what the people who just got elected are busy doing: planning more gridlock in DC so nothing moves forward while Nobama remains in office.

    We will see if that tactic gets a Republican elected to the White House in 2016. If you keep track of the latest Pew findings, it was pretty clear that the electorate wanted Nobamacare stopped before it passed. But it was not stopped by those who promised to do that if elected, and now, things have changed because Nobamacare passed. These days, the electorate does not want Nobamacare repealed, they want its problems fixed. No chance of that happening with guys like Mitch McConnell getting re-elected.

    And, no chance of getting Jefferson’s ‘Hundreds’ implemented either, unless we are plunged back into the Stone Age.

  10. “And, no chance of getting Jefferson’s ‘Hundreds’ implemented either, unless we are plunged back into the Stone Age.”

    I don’t think we have to get plunged back that fah; only to circa 1900 or so, with probably a likewise decrease in the population OR breaking this leviathan/behemoth up into a loose confederacy of regions. But our lords temporal are dead-set on maintaining Empire.

    Bernie’s idea on busting up the banks, plus restoring Glass-Steagall, would be swell, but too little, too late. The Powers won’t allow anything of the sort now.

    We are here and hanging on for the ride, however crazy it will be; I see Sovereign Man site’s constant recommendations for moving overseas to reputedly more ideal locations, like Chile, San Marino, and some other kinda questionable countries and it nearly always involves already having a substantial nest egg/investment available and/or lining up a nice high-paying job or firing up a start-up in those places. Great if you’re 25-35 and independently wealthy. We ain’t got it, either time or money. And thus will reap whatever whirlwind where we live and work right now.

  11. I am against torture. I can not not imagine a Department of Torture run by Secretary Of Torture Dick Cheney. It would make the Inquisition seem like the tea party. In fact the tea party could supply the applicatants to the department as well as the victims.

  12. Interesting concept: let Tea Party operators torture other Tea Party members. I’d pay to see that.

    Actually, I can see very, very few instances where torture per se would be acceptable and necessary, much like the very, very few instances where war is justifiable. We, as a nation-empire, are so far from being in the moral right to do either of these two things, and ought to back way the hell off both.

  13. I have to disagree on the torture front. It is actually no good at gathering information, as the person will say anything, anything they think you want to hear. Sorting the wheat from the chaff is difficult enough if you are 100% certain they have information you want. If there is a chance (and there is a chance) that you have hooked someone innocent, or uninformed, the sorting becomes impossible.

    For punishment, um, no. If you’re torturing someone, it’s called “vengeance”, and that is a different beast altogether. If someone has committed such a heinous crime, and you are absolutely certain of their guilt, then just end their existence. There is just no point to torture, except for amusing the psychopaths in the world.

  14. There are two types of questions that can be asked under torture: verifiable and unverifiable. In the first case, particularly when time is of the essence, torture is not only justifiable but in some cases is morally and ethically required. For example, “where did you plant the nuclear device?” or “where is that little girl whom you buried alive?”. OTOH, it’s pretty pointless to torture for an answer to an unverifiable (or very hard to verify) question such as, “who are the other members of your terrorist cell?”.

  15. [Torture] is actually no good at gathering information

    Often asserted, never proven. As RBT suggests, the assertion is trivially disproved. What you’re doing is starting from an emotional distaste and attempting to justify your feelings. What a… liberal approach to logic and argument.

  16. I’ve known some guys who were Green Berets in Viet Nam, and I heard the same thing from two of them, independently and years apart. They’d capture a couple of VC and take a couple of them on a (very short) helicopter ride. They toss them in the back, lift off to about 1,000 feet, and ask one of them the question they wanted answered. The VC would usually refuse to answer, at which point they tossed him out the door. They then put the same question to the second one, who nearly always answered, and nearly always honestly. Then they’d toss him out the door, too.

    I have no problem at all with that. I’m very much an us-versus-them kind of guy. I don’t care how many VC they had to toss out of helicopters, if doing that kept our guys from getting shot or blown up.

  17. While I won’t admit to first-hand knowledge, I will say that I know that fear and pain yield results. As for whether they should be used, I defer to others’ judgement. I tend to be aggressive and unyielding, with very little empathy for anyone not in my group, and I barely recognize the concept of limits when it comes to taking action on anything I think is important. Put those together and it’s conceivable that I’d flense someone to find out who let the air out of my car’s tires as a prank. I’ve put together a sheaf of boundaries on my actions for my good and the good of people around me, and deliberately causing pain except in an emergency is outside the bounds.

    Amusingly, I’ve used the concept of personal boundaries several times in fiction, for characters whom I’ve built as essentially amoral but well-meaning. All or most of the (few) comments I’ve received about this say that it’s a stupid idea, no one could ever live by those rules, why doesn’t character X just steal from the people who did bad things to him, and so on. As I said, amusing.

  18. See, I would not have tossed that second VC out the door; having already compromised himself with his comrades, he would now be a decent intel resource thereafter, at least for a while. I saw former NVA sappers who’d come over to us and showed us their skillz, very impressive, too.

    I would agree with Dr. Bob’s extreme cases where “torture” might be justified, but I believe we have other methods now that do not require the techniques of the Inquisition, the Nazis, or us training “right-wing” cadres in South America.

  19. The Supreme Court has ruled that there cannot be a Nativity Scene in the United States’ Capital this Christmas season.

    This isn’t for any religious reason. They simply have not been able to find Three Wise Men in the nation’s capitol.

    A search for a Virgin continues.

    There was no problem, however, finding enough asses to fill the stable.

  20. In Firefox, right-click on the picture and select “View Image” while holding down either Ctrl (new tab) or Shift (new window) at the same time. That loads the image into a new tab or window. Then right-click and “Save Image As”.

    For Pinterest and other image purveyors, select the window > tab with the image; then Tools > Page Info > Media, go down the list presented until you select the image; copy the link to the image shown below the media list; open that link in a new tab or window; do the “Save As” procedure in the first paragraph, and Bob’s your aunt.

  21. Thanks to OFD for that link. It is not that I do not want a new car — being part geek I really am impressed with all the vast improvements in electronics since 1995. The past 2 years’ many repairs have given me the ability to try out some of the newer models, as work mandated that I get a rental while mine was in the shop. Totally unimpressed with domestic cars, except a Chevy Malibu is the only car that the seat goes back far enough to accommodate me. For some reason, I have never been able to tolerate long-term bending of my right knee; it needs to be stretched out (more frequently as I get older), and only that Malibu has allowed that so far. Problem with the Malibu is that the seat is farther back than the door post, so my ass bangs into the post as I get into the car. Both Ford and Chevy fail on the electronics front. The Malibu would switch from daylight lighting to night, long before it was anywhere near that dark, and according to the manual, there is no user adjustment to change that. There was such an adjustment on all the foreign brands I have tried, and they worked perfectly. Leo LaPorte makes a big deal in his ads for Ford’s electronics, but they stink. Big time. No further proof needed than the fact that they just recently announced they will pull the current electronics offerings completely, and introduce a massive overhaul of them. Of the 2, the Chevy Pioneer stereo system is the best I have heard since my Roadmaster’s amazing sound that I will ultimately miss very much.

    Some reverence is due to Toyota, because it ain’t the car it was back when I swore by Toyotas of the ’70’s, ’80’s, and 90’s. Quality has taken a nose-dive, IMO, and I am not the only one noticing. Nissan, the most expensive car to repair that I have ever owned, was tolerable and bears further investigation. Honda’s electronics were by far the most intuitive I have tried so far. I cannot fit in a Civic, but the Accord suits me fine. However, roads being what they are in this part of the country, whatever I get will have 18” tires as the starting point, and that is an SUV in about any brand.

    I have Mazda and Subaru still to investigate. Likely, whatever I end up with, will have remote start. I used it on the Malibu nearly every day, as each day I had it, there was frost on the windows, and starting it while I was loading the trunk with equipment and clothes over 5 minutes and 2 trips to the hotel room, was pretty much all the car needed to clear the windows by the time I was ready to drive.

    This was amazing. The Malibu did not require holding the key in the start position until the motor was running by itself. Just a quick twist of a microsecond, engaged a totally automatic process that started the car, cranking for the correct length of time until the engine was running. Far cry from the past. Next thing you know, they are going to tell me there is no physical linkage from steering wheel to tires, and it will be like driving an Airbus — no direct linkage between any control surfaces and the driver.

  22. Thanks, Chuck. I’d done that, but it didn’t work an hour ago. It worked just a moment ago, so I guess I fat-fingered it earlier; I’d figured Twitter had something going on with JavaScript or server-side serving or something.

  23. BTW, it was 78 F and partly cloudy today here in the Land of Sugar. Very nice when we went on our walkabout this afternoon with about a million other people.

    I know not of this “winter” that you keep on mentioning. Snow? Ice? All figments of your imagination as far as I am concerned. I am just hoping that our air conditioning holds out.

  24. The ticking bomb scenario – yes, I will grant that a situation like that is different. That said, such a scenario is a fun thought exercise, but not terribly realistic. Consider: Muhammed just planted a nuclear device that will wipe D.C. off the map. Nah, better make it someplace we care about – let’s say Dallas instead.

    So, time is ticking you’ve got 60 minutes before the big boom. You start in on Muhammed. He’s crazy enough to do something like this, so all he has to do is hold out…hold out…and tell you a tall tale that will take you too long to verify. By the time you come back to him, Dallas has become the glowing stockyards.

    My point is: the parameters under which you are going to get actionable, verifiable intelligence are pretty narrow.

    More than that, I regard torture as a self-inflicted ethical wound. Civilization is a thin enough veneer. We don’t need to help scrape it off – that just helps the barbarians.

  25. There are a couple of fundamental problem with the “gravel wall bulletproofing test”. It’s been a while since I worked on houses in the US, but from what I remember:

    – If we’re talking about exterior walls, there are horizontal firebreaks; it’s hard to imagine how you’re going to get the gravel in there. Anyway, if it’s an exterior wall, that space ought to already be filled with insulation.

    – If we’re talking about interior walls, then the problem is that his little wall is only about 18 inches high. Picture the pressure of 8 vertical feet of gravel pressing out on dry wall. Sooner rather than later, it’s going to push the drywall off the nails at the bottom of the wall, and you’re going to be living in a gravel pit.

    So, it’s a cute idea, but I can only see it being halfway sensible if you are building a new wall that you adequately reinforce, or maybe add a new, reinforced layer onto an existing walls.

  26. The gravel walls are for your safe room, actually a safe pit, below your single or double wide and accessible through a trap door.

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