30 November 2006

Another Great Idea

No-knock searches are in the news again.

So is robbers impersonating the police making a no-knock search.

The reason that the robbers are getting away with this tactic is the police are never punished for killing a resident who fights the break-in. So a law abiding homeowner will passively submit if he wants to live.

Here's my great idea: Make the police knock on the door, serve the warrant and do things peacefully until the suspects offer force.

Of course, real justice would be holding the state and its agents to a higher standard than the populace when using lethal force. Remember, when a cop pulls the trigger, it is not an individual person it is an agent of the state. And the state can better afford to lose discrete agents than an individual can lose their only life.

29 November 2006

I'll Tell You What

I will find it a good deal easier to sleep at night with a full Democrat majority in Congress if we would stop catching their principal cheerleaders, the media, lying about just about everything.

First it was Dan Rather. Now we have the AP distributing stories from an Iraqi police captain who is, at the very least, an impostor.

Add this to the lies from the folks like Micheal Moore and one wonders if with supporters like this, should I be tarring the Democrats with the same brush.

Then we have Pelosi flexing her newly won wings and recommending people with major corruption in their pasts. Luckily, those nominations haven't flown, but isn't she the one who called the Republicans a "culture of corruption"? Pot, meet kettle. Once you make sweeping condemnations of the other team, you are going to be expected to hold yourself to a standard that exceeds those you are condemning.

Perhaps things will come out OK. The senior party membership should drop some of their vindictiveness. It was voters that took their majority away, not the people elected.

As I have said before, there is a lot of personal freedoms that only the Dems espouse. Like abortions. Like letting someone be gay. And it looks like the majority of the ones elected are not interested in gun control, but the leadership (Boxer, Schumer, and Feinstein) would love to see it back.

They fall on their faces when around taxes and foreign policy.

At one time I would have said that the Dems overspent and the Republicans didn't. Not any more!

And I will say it again, this election has a great deal more to do with people wanting to get rid of certain Republicans than a real desire to see a Democrat controlled Congress. But how else can we the people nuke bad republicans?

The time is ripe for a third party, even if it forms by taking over one of the existing parties, like the Socialists did to the Democrats after WW1. Maybe we could have Whigs again!

24 November 2006

The Heat

I heard the ricochet and paused a moment before realized what that sound was. "A rifle! They fired a rifle at me!"

"Why are you acting thrilled at a sniper shooting at you?" Geff asked. Unlike me, he was behind the cover of the crawler's steel cab, using the binocular periscope to view the battle.

"Because if they are using guns on us, we've won! The only way for them to win is to start using our tactics and methods with their superior numbers. And they have begun using rifles!"

"You are still talking like that is a good thing. Them winning is a death sentence for you." Geff reached up and pulled me down below the edge of the cab's window.

"They aren't going to win. They can't, not really. They have to figure out all the tactics and strategy from scratch, they don't know what works and what doesn't yet. And they have to make too many changes to keep up with the trains for their logistics to beat ours. Remember, I went pro on Merlin. I studied logistics. We own The Waste, they can't operate there at all. We've got Caithness almost converted to a Constitutional Monarchy. Too many people know now. Even if they do manage to snuff me, we win."

"You're monologuing again."

"I know. There's something about myth parallels that forces leaders to do that, I think. We should ask those guys from Infinity about it sometime."

23 November 2006

Republics Are Hard Work

And Americans are lazy.

To make an informed vote in a republic you have to, first, understand how our government is supposed to work. Learning and understanding the US Constitution is both simple and difficult. It's difficult because we are now conditioned to look for hidden meanings and double-speak in law and government. The constitution was written in plain language. Language lacking in those hidden meanings.

It is not helped that some words have changed definition since 1789, however the plain meaning is the intended one. The authors left notes and explanations of every part of the thing! Those are primarily collected in the Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers.

Of course, to understand the Constitution, one would have to read the Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers and the works mentioned in them. This is not an easy read for most people. It should be required though. It's necessary to truly understand just how far from the constitution our current form of government has gotten.

Once one has read and understood the supporting texts, one understands why the Federal Government had to wait until the Louisiana State Government had to first ask for assistance before FEMA and the like could intervene. It's called "The Federalist System," it's explained.

There are quite a few works referenced in the Federalist debates. Like "The Prince" and "Leviathan". One work that is definitely not mentioned is "Das Kapital"!

22 November 2006

Quotes And Rants

"If you love wealth more than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, depart from us in peace. We ask not your counsel nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains rest lightly upon you and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.”—Samuel Adams

Building on that thought. I wish to be counted as Mr Adams' countryman, I would have taken arms against the crown. I may yet have to put my proverbial money where my mouth is on this score. I pray not.

But I would like to address those who would forge those light chains.  DO NOT EXPECT ME TO THANK YOU FOR MAKING SURE THAT THE CHAINS ARE LIGHT!  My problem is that you have chained me, not that they are too heavy.  ALL chains are too heavy.  Any chain is too great a burden for a free man to endure.

Should my prayers go unanswered, as they often do, I will do my damnedest to ensure that every link you forged will be around your ankles when the noose is about your neck.

17 November 2006

Filk Me? Filk YOU!

Our Space Opera Goes Rolling Along
Words: Jeff Duntemann
Music: "The Caissons Go Rolling Along"

Bluster on, master race. Kick some ass in hyperspace.
Our space opera goes rolling along.
Shoot that smerp (what a grouch!) Drag that broad behind a couch.
Our space opera goes rolling along.
Fasten seatbelts please.
Here we go at 50 G's.
Scrape yourself up from the floor.
If this violence offends,
Burn a cockroach with your lens.
Our space opera goes rolling along.

Not a rest-room in sight! (second cluster on your right...)
Our space opera goes rolling along.
Solitaire getting dull? Something's eating through the hull.
Our space opera goes rolling along.
Batten down that stuff!
Negaspace is getting rough.
Should have camped out on Deneb 3.
Scramble eggs or scramble guts,
Just remember what is what.
Our space opera goes rolling along.

Power up! Screens aglow! Battle stations! Here we go!
Our space opera goes rolling along.
Never lose your aplomb (try an antimatter bomb).
Our space opera goes rolling along.
Well it's Crack! Crack! Crack!
All the screens are turning black.
Shoot! What the heck do we do now?
Choose another from the stacks;
Half price on all paperbacks.
Our space opera goes rolling along.

16 November 2006

A Small Problem

The biggest problem with our two party system is that we cannot disagree with both parties and get anything done.

Take the recent election. Being fed up with the Republicans does not mean I am giddy at the idea of handing things to the Democrats. I'm willing to bet that I am not the only one who feels this way.

The problem occurs when the leadership of party A stops listening to the people who gave them their jobs. It's very difficult to get rid of an incumbent at the primaries. The national money will not be handed to a challenger at that stage. Then if the challenger bumps the incumbent off the ticket, very little national money will be given to their campaign almost guaranteeing a loss. There have been some prominent exceptions recently, but the rule stands.

So, we hate the incumbent, but can't be rid of it at the primary stage. Next choice, vote for someone else.

That usually works.

Unfortunately, that hands the position to party B for at least a term.

I posit that this is exactly what happened on 07NOV06. The rank and file Republicans either voted for the other guy, or stayed home. Democrats turned out in their normal numbers. The swing went Democrat.

BAM! We have a Democrat Congress.

What this does not indicate: A full-on endorsement of the American people of the Democrat platform. What it probably indicates is that people were rejecting the current incarnation of the Republican party and this was the only way to wake them up and get them to listen.

Which is a damn shitty way to make course corrections.

When you have only two viable parties, you create a situation where the rejection of A is a de facto endorsement of B. And when B acts like the got an endorsement, they tend to get nuked the next cycle.

And I will repeat what others have said, only about half the people who are eligible to vote bother to register. Of those who register, only about half of them bother to vote. The margins are about 51 vs 49% in most of these elections. The winner was decided by about 12.75% of the population. What that means is 87.25% of the electorate DIDN'T vote for the current agenda.

And that always makes me wonder why we bother to listen to what Congress says.

13 November 2006

Tacks Driven

When my Mom's Dad died, I got two old guns. An H&R .32 top break and a Remington 341A .22 bolt action.

The .32 appears to be really ancient and pre-smokeless. H&R continued to make black-powder revolvers well after the point where everyone else had changed over. It's not accurate and the firing pin pierces about every fifth primer.

The Remington is beat all to hell, the wood is dinged and the browning (not blueing) is about 40% worn off. Based on the shooting experience with the H&R, I expected the worst when I took it to the range Saturday.

I have a 0.312" hole for the first five rounds at 5 yards. The trigger is surprisingly crisp and it breaks like a glass rod. So I move the target out to 15 yards. About 0.75" for 12 rounds with a stringer at 1.5". So I move the target out to the max range of 50 yards. Group is about 1.5" for the next 13 rounds.

Can't beat that!

Our 1997 made Ruger 10/22 is 1.0" at 5 yards, 2" at 15 and 4" at 50. The 341A Sportmaster was made between 1936 and 1940. I would have to say that it aged well for the foul treatment that Grampa obviously gave it.

Even more fun, it holds 15 rounds of .22 LR in the tube magazine. It can also fire .22 Long (17 rounds) and .22 Short (22 rounds).

11 November 2006

Veteran's Day

Buy a Vet dinner! (What I expect to get)

Shake their hand and say, "Thanks!"

Get 'em laid. (My personal favorite)

Buy them candy.

Buy them flowers.

Take them to a movie.


08 November 2006

Change Of Topic

I am good at scenes.

I have one. Alternate history setting, a footnote in its timeline, in 1940 the German advance across the Rhine was resisted by a battalion level force of unprecedented tenacity. The unit was not identifiably French. Much of the scant equipment found after the battle seemed to be of Soviet or Chinese manufacture. Much of it could not be replicated for many years, especially the radios. Who this unit belonged to pales under the question of, "Where did they go after the battle?" This token resistance is what the German High Command used as a reason to dispose Hitler and make peace with England and France. And until excavations in the mid fifties revealed the existence of Chinese manufactured examples of what we now know to be solid state electronic two-way transceivers, it was thought to have been merely a pretense.

Excerpt From Bill Whittle http://www.ejectejecteject.com/

I’ve said before that living near the People’s Republic of Santa Monica gives you an unparalleled opportunity to see legions of people who can put their entire moral philosophy into a 3x10” piece of adhesive vinyl, applied to several tons of steel, hurtling down an eight-lane superhighway at six or seven miles per hour.
Here are some of my favorites, in no particular order:
Somewhere in Texas, a Village is missing its Idiot. I chose this one first since it’s the only one that has a particle of real wit. But the Bush is an idiot meme is very tired, and the most cursory look causes it to fall apart like -- how can I make them understand? -- like a lemon almond biscotti left too long in a grande’ caffe verona.
For starters, you can of course point to the fact that the man did graduate from both Harvard and Yale, but that was with a C average, and clearly, the idea of being merely in the middle of the pack of those getting advanced degrees from America’s two preeminent universities cuts you no slack from those community-college theater major drop-outs who love to level the charge.
So let’s leave that aside for a moment – Poppy’s connections and all that – and take a moment to look at this, if you will:

This is a Convair F-102 Delta Dagger. It is a second-generation, supersonic fighter-interceptor. It cruises at 845 mph.
There were some minor aerodynamic problems with the F-102. For example, at certain power settings and angles of attack – like, say, take-off -- the jet compressor would stall and the aircraft would roll inverted. It is no picnic, skill-wise, to fly a modern F-16 with advanced avionics and fly-by-wire flight control systems. The workload on the F-102 was far higher. The F-16 has an accident rate of 4.14 occurrences per 100,000 flight hours. The F-102’s accident rate was more than three times that: 13.69 per 100,000 hours. 875 F-102A interceptors were built; 259 – almost 30% - were lost to accidents or enemy action while serving in Vietnam.
George W. Bush flew hundreds of hours in the F-102.
Now look at this:

This is the cockpit of the F-102 Delta Dagger’s successor, the F-106 Delta Dart (I could not find an F-102 panel, but they would have been very similar)
Now, picture yourself in this chair, at 40,000 feet, traveling at one and a half times the speed of sound. Now imagine that someone has painted the windows white – you are flying on instruments. Now imagine that not only do you have to be able to fly blind, by referencing these instruments, but that you also have to stare into that orange jack-o-lantern of a radar, and interpret a squiggle that will lead you to your target. Now imagine that in addition to not hitting the ground, or your wingman, and watching the squiggle, you also have to turn those switches on the right side panel to activate weapons systems, to overcome enemy countermeasures…without looking outside, as you hurtle through air at -40 degrees F, air so thin that should you lose pressure, you have about 4-6 seconds of consciousness before you black out and die.
I maintain that the instant George W. Bush closed that canopy and took off on the first of his many solo hours in an F-102, it is quite impossible that he was either an idiot or a coward.
Here is a random question from the instrument rating exam I had to pass a few years ago.
Refer to figure 91: Here

What should be the approximate elapsed time from the BOSEMAN (BZN) VOR to the DUBOIS (DBS) VORTAC if the wind is 24 knots from 260 degrees and your intended True Air Speed is 185 knots? (The magnetic variation is 17deg. E)
A. 33 minutesB. 37 minutesC. 39 minutes
(It’s C., obviously)
If he had been a civilian rather than military pilot, Dubya would have had to have passed 60 questions like this with at least 70% correct. Questions on weather, radio communications, mechanical systems, aerodynamics, pilot physiology, airspace, navigation and a hundred other things. But, since he was military, he also had to know how to operate that primitive in-fight radar, plus weapons systems, rules of engagement, electronic warfare, hydraulics, fuel systems…it goes on and on.
People like Michael Moore and Bill Maher and Keith Olberman would not be able to figure out how to close the canopy on an F-102. These people would be weeping with fear when those afterburners light up and you barrel down that runway hoping that engine doesn’t flame out and roll you inverted into the asphalt, or when you’re rocketing through the soup at 300mph watching two little needles chase each other, praying the next thing you see out the window is a runway and not a mountain goat.
George W. Bush is not stupid. It’s not possible to be a moron and fly a supersonic jet fighter, and everyone knows it.
What George W. Bush is, however, is inarticulate. English is his second language. From what I can see he does not have a first language. Abraham Lincoln spoke in simple frontier language in an age of rhetorical flourish. Like Bush, he was considered a bumpkin and an idiot, and like Bush, he realized that there were times when having people misunderestimate you repeatedly was a real advantage. That’s goal-oriented. That’s playing the deep game. That’s cunning.
I personally have gotten to the point where Bush’s malapropisms cause me to look at the floor and shake my head with an affectionate smile, in much the same way supporters of his predecessor used to do with every new revelation of coerced sex from former employees. He is what he is. But he is a damn sight more intelligent than the graphic designer in the Mini Cooper with the Village Idiot sticker. Me, personally, I look at the man’s entire catalog of flaws in the same way Lincoln looked at Grant and his drinking: I can’t spare this man. He fights.
So to me, anyway, given the above information I feel that anyone calling President Bush a moron and an idiot comes off sounding like…well…a moron and an idiot.

On Mr Whittle's post: I have in my possession, a flight model for an F-102A for MS Flight Simulator 2004. Anyone who knows me knows what a flight sim junky I am and how much simulated flying I do.

I have the reality up as far as it will go!

I can't fly this thing! I can fly the F-106A. I can fly the F-105. I can fly the F-100 and F-104 (both known for being difficult mounts).

I have recovered an F4U-1C from a flat spin, I can't land an F-102A.

I have a model of the F-102A for Wings Over Vietnam, a sim not known for its realism. The F-102A is STILL hard to fly. Difficult to get the nose on and even harder to get weapons on.

And all of this is without g loads and the threat of death.

Just A Short Message

Three things for the Democrats.

1. Finish the war. FDR did.
2. Start that gun control shit again, Molon Labe!
3. Don't think about impeachment proceedings, you will only bring shame on your house.

04 November 2006

Let's Hear It For Joe Sixpack

I was thinking about some of the politics I have read and the people that tend to write it.

There is a common disdain for "Joe Sixpack" among what I call the Ivory Tower types.


Find a nice wide river. OK, Ivory Tower, how do you cross it? If you do anything but swim you are using the fruits of Joe's labor. He's the guy that torqued the bolts and poured the concrete. He might not be able to design it, that's not his job, nor would he want it. Joe likes to work with his hands.

I was a drafter, a midway position between Joe and the engineer. I can neither design, nor build a bridge. But I facilitated the communication between them so that bridge could be built. Joe doesn't speak, or want to speak, Engineer. But the engineer can't build the bridges without him.

All Joe wants at the end of the day is a good meal, a beer, a place to drink it and someone to share his life with.

So, when you cross a river dry, when you drink clean water from your tap, when you flip the light switch and the bulb lights up, when you eat food that you didn't have to hunt or gather yourself. Thank Joe! Especially thank him if you cannot even begin to build a bridge, purify water, make electricity or farm.

And by they way, Ivory Tower, he holds you in far more contempt than you hold him. He can drive down the road to the bridge and see what he made. He can see that the hospital is not choked with the victims of parasites in the water. He can see the streetlights have power and houses are warm in the winter. He can look around at a restaurant and see people enjoying their meals. He wonders what you look at with pride. He will also wonder how you can be proud of the things you are proud of if you try to explain it to him. He understands the pride the engineer has in designing the bridge. He understands the drafter's (my) pride in drawing it. He understands the pride of building it. He does not understand the pride in funding it with other people's money.

Perhaps this is the disconnect point. He wants to know what you built. He doesn't hold the engineer or the drafter in contempt, he knows that he is their hands. He enjoys that these men of education cannot realize their dreams without him. He doesn't mind interdependence.

He wants to be shown, what doesn't exist without you? What exists because you do? Be careful before you answer, you have to pick something that will impress him. Providing welfare so that someone down on their luck can weather the bad times and get back on their feet will impress him. Providing welfare to a 13 year old mom with a 26 year old mother and 39 year old grandmother and not one job between them will not. He will want to know why they don't have enough pride to get jobs. He might understand why they can't find a job, but he won't understand why they don't look.

Originally Posted on my LiveJournal; comments reproduced below.

Ravenclaw Eric said: "I have to agree with you here, despite being more the "Ivory Tower" type myself. I've never understood the contempt that a lot of the coffeehouse proletariat have for real working people."

Anonymous said: "It is very interesting how people, once they have attained a certain level of money and isolation from the common person, will look down upon and criticize those without - even if that is how they started out. Add to that the individuals like the "Ivory Tower" types who are so disconnected from actually "doing" anything constructive themselves and it does paint a pretty sad picture.
I strongly believe that welfare should only be given as an intermediate and TEMPORARY step towards pulling oneself out of financially difficult times. Requiring that anyone on welfare perform some sort of service or task while on welfare is also something that I strongly believe should exist - even if it is something simple like sweeping a section of the street they live on or picking up trash in a park once or twice a week.
Too bad most of the "Ivory Tower" types wouldn't even understand, let alone try to change, this if they saw it..."
Michele Evermore said: "This is totally my problem with a lot of the people I have worked with. Especially right now, my boss who has a Master's and is constantly calling me worthless for not having one. Meanwhile, she's trying to head a poverty reduction project. Looking down on people, and then "trying to help them" is exactly the problem with these people you are calling Ivory Tower.
generational poverty happens in many ways because no one expects "certain kinds of people" to really be able to get a job and function in the world. but in reality, the only thing that is really useful to them in the long run is getting work experience. Otherwise, even if your heart bleeds for the 13 year old mom and 26 year old grandmother, you're still being an asshole and not doing them (or the taxpayers) much good if you create a system that doesn't push them toward a real job.
This entire project I am working with is not about building a damned thing. It's about making people talk to each other more, like the overeducated people in nonprofits do. because if you talk like they talk, then you will be like them, and then you'll be rich like they are. They are really THAT disconnected from reality. Because just like being poor can travel from one generation to another, being an over-educated elitist snob does too.
And they don't understand WHY joe sixpack (who I think is me more than the overeducated people are) thinks they are full of shit. 
What the towns in my program need is someone to explain to people how to start a business. How to leverage cheap loans to build the shit that needs built. But they are very steadfast in their refusal to provide any technical assistance at all. "BEcause the process works, and if they have the right communication process, the answer will have to be right." Um, yeah. Unless they want to do any one of a thousand god-awful stupid things I've seen communities come up with to solve all their woes.
Real technical assistance could happen at a fraction of the cost of this program. but nooooooo. We have to have 3 different patented processes of talking. i could go on for days but it just makes me angrier and angrier."