30 October 2005

Oh REALLY?

Charles Philip Arthur George Windsor, Prince of Wales, Great Britian, does not like the "confrontational tone" coming from Washington since four aircraft had a Jihad assisted spontaneous navigation failure.

In the first place, Chuck, we sort of had a revolution against Great Britian some two hundred and some ago so that we could say anything we wanted without the approval of the Crown (that's you Chuck). If you are concerned about our rhetoric, then I think we are doing a damn good job.

I understand that you might be doing this because of our meddling in your little "Irish Problem", so I will not be angry as I ignore you.

27 October 2005

Yesterday Was December 14th Just Before Noon

"Well, we’ve been fighting in Iraq for 136 weeks, suffering 2000 deaths, a rate of 14.7 per week.

The US was at war for 192 weeks of WW-II and suffered 405,399 deaths as a result, a rate of 2,111 per week.

In 1944 the US population was 138,397,345, but the US now population stands at 297,518,381 - so we have 2.15 times more people. Scaling the WW-II casualty figures to our modern population yields a comparison figure of 4,538 deaths per week for a real war, which is 308 times the casualty rate in Iraq. Put another way, the “ever increasing” death toll in the current “quagmire”, per capita, is 0.32% of what we saw in WW-II. If we compared this to the USSR in WW-II, which suffered approximately fifty times as many casualties as the US, Iraq would be inflicting about 0.006% the casualties of a real war. At WW-II per-capita fatality rates, Iraq would’ve cost us 617,168 deaths by this point, not 2000, and in WW-II, we didn’t even blink. If the country had listened to vile anti-American Jew haters like Cindy the media whore, not only wouldn’t we have conquered Hitler, belatedly liberating the death camps; we’d have surrendered in mid-December 1941."

As Seen On "Bowling For Columbine"


I wonder if he ever gets tired of being wrong.

26 October 2005

A Brief Explanation Of What Just Happened

There is a lot of screeching about the new lawsuit protection for gun makers in the news and on the web lately. Why did we need this? I will try to make an analogy that makes it clear.

I own a car. One day, I decide to sell it. The buyer comes, pays me, I transfer the title and he registers it. A month later, he gets drunk and kills a mother of two. Who should be sued? The logic that the gun control people are using tells us that I should be sued.

Now, we pass a law that says that sellers of cars cannot be held liable for the actions of buyers. After all, the seller did not force the driver to drink and drive. The seller didn't force the mother of two to walk out in front of the drunk driver. The seller took no action that contributed directly to this accident. The buyer did.

What that law does not prevent though is suing me for other things that I did contribute to. For example, I replaced the steel steering shaft with a decorative wooden dowel. This dowel breaks, the car spins out of control and kills the aforementioned mother of two. NOW I am liable, I did something that contributed directly to the accident.

Lets take some of this even further. _I_ buy a brand new car. I take the car and decide that it would be fun to run that lady right there over. I do so and she dies. Is Ford liable for my actions? No. Ford would be liable if I hit her while standing on the brakes and a design flaw prevented their operation.

The gun law does not keep me from suing Smith and Wesson if the gun explodes in my hand and takes off a finger. I does keep me from suing S&W if someone uses a Sigma to shoot my wife. In the first case, it is normal product liability. The gun failed to do what it was designed and intended to do, contain the explosion of a firing cartridge and expel a bullet down the barrel. In the second case, the firearm operated correctly and (get this) safely, but the shooter did something wrong. Smith and Wesson is not liable for the actions of the operator.

This law really shouldn't have been just guns. It should have been a massive tort reform. S&W is not responsible for criminals using S&W guns to shoot people. GM is not responsible for drunk drivers, nor is Jack Daniels. The bar that sold the booze is not liable either, the drunk it the person who climbed into the car and drove away. The tort reform should have been something along the lines of "No person is liable for the criminal use of any product sold in a legal manner."

24 October 2005

Wiiiiiilllllma!

Here I am, under my third hurricane. We are just getting the northern edge of the feeder bands. For you midwesterners, read "thunderstorms that follow a hurricane".

Getting a ton of rain and a bit of wind.

The big secret of the scary hurricanes is that unless you are in the high wind or flood areas, they are non events. Blizzards are more disruptive.

17 October 2005

"Fascist" Thought Of The Day



A modest proposal to end welfare.

A camp, in a remote place. Nice air-conditioned trailers. Well stocked Wal-Mart style store across the street. You can stay until the kids leave high school. They graduate, you get to stay six more years. They graduate college in that time, you get four more. Not too bad, huh, 28 years with no bills? All you have to do is keep your kids healthy and in school for K-12. Is that asking too much?

However, no cable. No satellite dishes. No cell service. No cars.

You can leave whenever you want. Daily bus service to a transportation hub to take you back to your home town. If you leave, you never come back. Even if you starve. Kids starve, you go to jail for premediatated murder, you CHOSE to leave a zero demand environment.

Now, the kids. They NEVER get to come here with their kids, neither do their grandchildren. We invested enough in them, far more than we invest in the people who never apply for welfare and work crappy jobs to take care of their kids (Thanks Mom!). They should have at least a high school education and hopefully many will have college.

Welfare gone in a generation. I think that it is worth it.
Michele Evermore questioned this idea, "Kinda takes away thier ability to get out of the welfare situation, though, doesn't it?"
Ravenclaw Eric replied, "You'd have to also make sure the schools were _tough._ NO slack cut for athletes, no excuses accepted for poor performance other than medically-based ones, no misbehavior tolerated, and severe punishment for misbehavior."

I responded:

What I have proposed gives Mom some interest in seeing the kids through high school (oh, no GEDs). Six years rent free if they don't even bother with college. Encourage the kids to get that college education and she gets four more. Potentially ten years of no rent and no kids to take care of. Pretty damn generous actually. And that is on top of the 18 years of rent free raising the kid.

I do not care about hurt feelings. I care that the system produces functioning, tax paying adults. The cost of the program should produce benefits that exceeed the costs, the current system doesn't.

There are several escape options. First and foremost, stop making babies that you cannot afford to raise. I call this the "Never touch the tar baby option". Any time the poor welfare mommy feels that she is being put upon, she can leave. The job market is still there for her. I am not asking her to do anything my mother didn't do. What I have proposed is the stick to go with the carrot. The kid cannot just pork out a kid and hop on the 18 year free ride in the camp. Welcome to motivation 101. The kids will be on their own, but have every opportunity to obtain the skills that will allow them to make it. Show me where the current system does this. To me this is all about the children, I want them to succeed. My idea does not deny them shelter, clothing, food, education or medicine. It does deny them some luxuries.

The program is not manditory either. You can CHOOSE to not enter the program and go it alone. I hope that this is a popular option. But if you expect me to pay for your kids, your kid is going to join me as a citizen. I demand it.


And another thing. I don't envision a ghetto or reservation. I want a nice, clean place. Playgrounds, grass and birds chirping. Give the lawn maintenance to the Army (some soldiers might even be visiting where they grew up!) Hell, give security to the military too.

Some stuff is going to be harsh though. Mom cannot plunk out any extra kids. She has to follow the camp rules (which won't be draconian) just deed restriction type stuff about keeping the grass mowed and such. She has to stay out of jail. She goes to jail, kids go to adoption. Remember, this is for the kids, not mom. Kids go to jail? There is a pickle. I have to think on that, but my first thought is kid goes to jail, mom leaves. If there are other kids with her, they go to adoption.

This program should represent the last chance, not the first choice. The goals are twofold, make responsible adults, and eliminate the need for such a place.

Ravenclaw Eric replied again: "One thing that a lot of people don't understand about the Victorians and their workhouses was that the Victorians were _not_ cruel. If anything, they were soppily sentimental by our standards. They just knew what did and didn't work. The reason Oliver Twist's workhouse was so bleak wasn't to punish the poor for being poor, but to make it a literal last resort, instead of a place to go for a free, parish-funded vacation. Yeah, it was tough on orphans...but maybe it was better to be tough on them than to allow a whole class of hereditary parasites to evolve."

16 October 2005

Unions

Recently I got into a fight over China getting all this money and how much they import here.

Two reasons keep popping up as to why we are exporting all our manufacturing jobs.

Envronmental Compliance and Labor Costs.

I like clean air, but I am concerned that the people pushing it are not using anything resembling science to make their conclusions. I started noticing this with car emissions stuff. Look up what platinum is used for sometime. Catalytic converters, corrosion protection and as a catalyst for making acids. Notice that catalyst is used twice, they are related. What a catalytic converter does is take the gasses emitted by the exaust and causes them to react into chemicals that the EPA doesn't measure. The only effective means of reducing emissions is to USE LESS gas. There are several effective methods of doing this, and because most of the emission devices reduce efficency (and are required to be there by law) we don't get better efficiency. And here is a news flash for the envirowienies, while a car that gets 30 miles per gallon does make 1/3 the emissions of a 10 mpg SUV; if you drive it three times as far, the net emissions result is the same. Also note that acid rain is a phenomenon that starts after widespread adoption of catalytic scrubbers in factories.

Labor? Hey UAW, does it help if I mention that the people who are taking your jobs would not be able to pass a GED with an answer key? What does that say about the skills and knowledge required to do the job of putting cars together? Need more time? What keeps the price of labor artifically high? Unions. And the threat of striking when the company has moved the plant to Mexico, or China is hollow. And the UAW can't explain why their members should get more money. I love my Caprice, but when I am hot rodding I see mistakes. My Caprice was made in a UAW plant in Willow Run, Michigan. I talk to other B-Body owners and have even talked to some of the people who worked the lines for my car, the same mistakes over and over. Like the exhaust bolts on the driver's side that were never tight because the girl who tightened them was too short to reach them with any leverage. People who have cars where the exhaust was installed near closing time have had it fall off because she was tired and wasn't putting them on more than finger tight. On a Civic, a robot does that process, the same way every time. If the skill set required from the worker can be obtained from a Chinese rice farmer and can be taught those skills in an afternoon, how valuable are they?

The price of labor also has to be balanced against the price the consumer is willing to pay for the product. Notice the price of cars (union labor) against the price of new housing (illegal immigrants). Now compare the rate of increase against inflation. It's pretty telling, especially since the price of real estate has gone up obscenely.

15 October 2005

What I Don't Like About GURPS 4e And Its Releases So Far

Eric said, "Myself, I am NOT pleased with Steve Jackson, of late. Between his ill-thought-out "upgrade" to GURPS, and the ludicrously-expensive format he's selling everything in (do we _need_ slick paper and colored illos and hardback? I'm happier without the hardback, at least---it takes up more room on my shelves) and not having come up with anything I find Interesting in some time, he's irritated me."

I don't care for the slick paper. Seems like the most comfortable position to read in is never the one that the glare from the light isn't where I'm reading.

I've worn the covers off several of the soft covers. I like hard covers. My original AD&D books lasted until I SOLD them. Nearly 20 years. I have killed three copies of Vehicles.

I hate the artwork. I have this thing about the art having something to do with the material on the page it is with. Color does not make it better.

I am VERY unhappy that the current plan places the design rules for vehicles and firearms in pdf format. Gohds but I hate pdf. If it must be digital format, gimme one I can EDIT. That way I can rearrange things to be in the order I need them if I disagree with the author. And bad ordering is a thousand times worse on a computer where I can't just stick a piece of paper in the pages I need and flip back and forth. All he is really doing is passing the printing costs down to me.

Lets talk about the G for a sec. The generic books so far are Basic Set, Magic and Fantasy. Two world books; Infinite Worlds and Banestorm. OK, five books and THREE are specific to FANTASY. I have been done with the Sword and Sorcery genre for something like twenty years. I jumped on Traveller as soon as I noticed it. Then Twilight 2000. Then Champions. Then GURPS, and rarely did I run a straight fantasy world.

They need to make more generic material. Redux of High Tech, Bestiary, Space, Ultra Tech and such. Space is the only one in the pipe. Powers is the next "generic" book and it is more of a "We didn't explain how to use the rules very well when making something other than a plain human, did we?" I make a lot of aliens, so this will be a purchase. But, dammit! This was obviously going to be needed with the huge changes they made in making things with the same effect cost the same.

What I am really cheesed about is how they COMPLETELY DROPPED support for Traveller and World War Two. People are crying for updated Traveller material, what do they announce as the 4e Traveller book? A Traveller setting during the first Imperium? Huh? Why ignore a huge fan base?

While they fucked around making little books for sideshow nations in WW2, they managed to skip Japan and the Soviet Union. Pardon me? The US isn't in the war without Japan and the main European front is the Eastern. There is no plan to EVER publish material for these two pivotal nations.

A good number of us are happy with the rules changes. Happy enough that we want things like conversion guides for existing material, or that material rereleased updated to the new rules.

I really like the new rules and how easy it is to do things that used to require GM fiat to get done. Without official support, I have to go it alone if I want updates. I have done a lot of this for the WW2 stuff, weapons and templates are done. But if I am forced to go it alone long enough, reconciling the offical version with the material I put my blood and sweat into might be too big a job. I hate having to do retroactive continuity.

14 October 2005

Live From Yrth

I looked out of the window of the tavern, I noticed that there was no glass or screens over the opening. Turning to my companion I say, "I rember the ringworld you ran where my character built a railroad that went all the way around it. Even over the oceans.
The banestorm took us. The damn mages overlooked us and we managed to keep our memories. I even learned to use the magic."

"We've been here for twenty years. We've been hiding what we are. I am sick of it. I am sick of feudal lords and royalty. I am sick of mud roads and outhouses."

"I miss cars. I miss computers. I miss airplanes. I miss guns. I miss cold beer. I miss cola."

My companion smacks a mosquito-like insect, "I miss screens."

"Twenty fucking years is long enough," I continue, "We have more capital than we know what to do with and modern knowledge of how economies work."

I stand and start hitting the table with a fist, "Time to knock over some thrones. Time to start a revolution. Time for big changes."

I look back out over the serfs working the fields across the pitiful excuse for a road, "I will have my railroad."

Playing Against Type

Starz/Encore has The Incredibles in high rotation this month.

I really enjoy this movie. Not just because I am a comic fan.

It's well written. Despite the setting the characters are believable.

The scenes that really get me are when Mr Incredible is threatening to crush Mirage and when he admits that he's not strong enough to live through losing his family again.

In the first, you wonder, "Was Syndrome killing his family the trigger that sends him over the edge?" You know it's a Disney movie and that won't happen on some level, but the scene doesn't reveal that it is aware of the constraints. For a moment you think, "Holy SHIT, he's gonna do it!"

The second scene just stirs my sentimentality. He is willing to do anything, even die, for his family. ANYTHING as long as they are spared. That resonates the same chord with me as "stand between their lov'd homes and war's desolation". Bonus points if you can name where that quote is from without using Google.

By The Way Cocksucker

You exist at my sufferance.

The thin veneer of civilization and the slim chance of incarceration are all that stands between me and your death.

Try to remember that when you go and piss people off, Prick.

Once all of the sheepdogs were wolves. It only takes a few missed meals to make us wolves again.

Try to remember that is not that I cannot end you, that I cannot take away all that you are and all you will ever be.

I choose to suffer your existence, Fuckball. Thank whatever fuzzy lord you pray to that this is so.

Rap Sucks

I will maintain that some music as a whole is shitty.

However, some individual songs are pretty good.

13 October 2005

This Is Just Asking For It

What is the first type of building slated for manditory evacuation for a hurricane?

What type of building attracts tornadoes like a magnet?

The trailer.

FEMA has set up a 600 unit trailer park for victims of a hurricane? Oh, irony, we meet again.

09 October 2005

Communist Threat Equals Terrorist Threat?

Uhhhhh. That is so wrong I don't know where to begin.

What started this thread is George Clooney and his plan to make a McCarthy era period peice. He seems to think that the Communists in Hollywood equate to Terrorism. I guess if you draw the line about how Hollywood apologizes for both, I guess he's right.

But I don't think that is where he's heading with this.

Time to face things folks. Socialism and Communism DO NOT WORK. They are economic impossiblities. Take a 400 level economics course. Yes, I know that you didn't have to take that class getting the Journalism or Poly Sci degree. Or to get anything but a Business or Accounting degree. Hmmmm, hard to find a liberal accountant or CEO, wonder why?

BUT! Attempting wealth redistribution is just another cost of doing business in a nation that insists on trying it. Like paying taxes. Just another cost that a business can account for and work around.

Terrorists are killing people. Yes, I know that Communist governments killed more people in the 20th century than all terrorists AND war combined, but again I don't think this is where George is heading with this.

He's going to tell us that giving up our rights (which Hollywood always says is freedom of speech) to stop Communism is the same as giving up our rights to stop Terrorism.

Considering that the source of Political Correctness is liberal types such as George, I don't think I am going to rally under his First Amendment banner. Perhaps if he came out and talked about how important ALL of the rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights are important, especially the ninth and tenth, I would take him seriously. Wanna bet he doesn't?

I am so tired of Hollywood talking about how important freedom of speech is while trying to tell me what to say.

06 October 2005

A Sudden Thought

Listening to the mainstream media explain Bush's faults is much like going to the KKK to ask about the habits of blacks.

01 October 2005

I Love The Net

Found in the comments to a blog:

"All intelligent replies are taken, so I will resort to petty name-calling."