Friday, February 28, 2014


Looks like this is going to be an interesting weekend. 

2000 Russian troops land in Crimea.

Zero Hedge:  Officers of 76th Russian Shock Troops Operating in Ukraine.

Meanwhile John McNugget says, "We are all Ukrainians".

Shut up. 

Yes, it is undoubtedly because Putin knows he can get away with it that he doesn't hesitate to take Crimea.  However, the Crimeans are, I think, mostly ethnic Russians.  The Ukrainian borders are fairly arbitrary, and partition has discussed as a sensible resolution for a while.

We did not need to intervene in Syria.  Supporting al-Qaeda-linked rebels there would have been a bad idea, as it turned out to be in Libya.  It was also stupid to aid the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.  Fortunately, there, the Egyptian Army proved stronger and certainly wiser than Clinton and Obama. 

The Russians are probably going to intervene, at some point, to keep their boy, Assad, in control of Syria.  This is a good thing for the Syrian Christians and for Israel. 

We invaded Grenada and Panama, and we may some day need to help stabilize Mexico.  Because we share a border with Mexico, we ought to have the right to do to protect our citizens and our national interests.  I think Russia can make a good case for the turmoil in the Ukraine being a serious threat to their ability to keep their oil pipelines to western Europe secure and fully functional.  Both Russia and some European states stand to suffer economically if the flow of oil is interrupted.

Americans need to mind our own business. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Why Do You Think We Call Them Trolls?

From our Treehouse friends, the NSA is planting operatives on internet sites.  Sundance says:  Many have suspected this for quite some time.    We have known this for quite some time.   Edward Snowden releases new NSA documents which point out – There are paid intelligence and data operatives who professionally troll website content and comment pages based on federal strategies and objectives.

Your tax dollars at work:

Now, thanks to the efforts of National Security Agency whistle-blower Edward Snowden and journalist Glenn Greenwald, readers no longer have to take the word of “paranoid” bloggers who relate tales of paid government trolls lurking in comment sections and other concentrated top-down efforts to muddy the information provided by alternative media.

I noted this back in November.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Welcome to Monopolis

Daniel Greenfield talks about Government Power being an economic inequality.  It's the government monopoly.  We feared Metropolis; we have been absorbed by Monopolis.

If you haven't read it, it's a great article worthy of your time.  The first comment is enlightening as well, from one Blert

The ability to levy a hidden wealth tax by way of hyperinflating the currency // officially sanctioned counterfeiting // mega-deficit spending operates as a narcotic on the political and crony classes.

Because the US Dollar is International Money -- Mega-Washington is actually able to -- stepwise -- export its taxes.

This is why the collapse is happening elsewhere, first.

It's NOT a coincidence that nations that super-abuse their own currencies discover that International Money sweeps in.

This is famously evident in the latest travail in Argentina. (An ironical name: the land of silver/ money / silver money!) Buenos Aires has hit the panic buttons. All serious transactions were being Dollarized. This essentially frustrates officialdom's ability to impose a wealth tax on liquidity.

THIS is the reason that the central government is imploding. The citizens, in a round-about-way, had cut its ability to raise revenue -- real world revenue. This flowed back as a concentrated debasement of the official currency -- as towards the end, only the dull and the poor were left to absorb the wealth losses.


Hyperinflation, as defined here, is NOT a flight from the national fiat currency. It's when ANY central government issues fiat currency/ digital currency to backstop its deficit spending.

Hyperinflation of the national currency ALWAYS starts out modest -- and typically in an era of either outright deflation or wartime. It gets its name for historical reasons: politicians become addicted to it and take it to the limit. That limit is only reached when everyone in sight is rejecting the currency and nominal prices are moving faster than the speed of light.

So, it's the End Stage drama that's fixed in the public mind. Between the first and the last, the government was sustaining the EXACT SAME ECONOMIC POLICIES.

By this standard, most of the planet is hyper-inflating their currencies.

Red China is the exception. She's merely inflating her currency. That inflation is ramping higher and quicker than America's hyperinflation.

Inflation is triggered by money creation within the commercial banking system. Because credit based money is destroyed by default and pay-downs, TPTB often push bankers into easy credit to stimulate macro-economic statistics.

This is but a part of the phenomena described by Daniel.

Both Inflation and Hyperinflation can range between nill and infinity. The former is dominated by credit created money -- in the private market. The latter is solely due to (government) credit and (government) currency being spewed out through a Spigot.

It's this Spigot effect that's causing wealth concentration to take-off like a rocket. Whereas commercial banks issue loans broadly through the entire nation -- spewing money out everywhere as a result.... The central government issues its credits/ debt to a select few (primary dealers) and spews the results upon favored players. (See Daniel, above)

This destruction of the currency has game ending impacts. Every Chinese dynasty since the creation of paper -- and paper money -- ended by savaging the currency. (Exceptions: Mongol invasions, etc.) Such debasements are the cause and consequence of massive cronyism, corruption, and show piece architecture. (The edifice complex is apparently a universal trait of the vainglorious. I give you the immense estate of Ukraine's ex-president.)

Congress is in narcosis -- a financial narcosis.

At the present, the prognosis is for a Philip Seymour Hoffman ending.

As Argentina shows, some societies never learn. Do NOT expect the dependency classes to figure any of the above out.

Concentrate on family.


I copied the comment in its entirety with no changes.  A lot of this we have referenced in one way or another before.  I like the way Blert brings it all together in a way that does not sound like a breathless promotion of an Alex Jones/Glenn Beck episode.   

Military Pork

As noted yesterday, these are the days of cutting back with a prominent and controversial cutback being to the U.S. military.  At least it is being suggested, but Representatives with military installations or defense contractors in their Districts are going to squeal.  My hearing was damaged in my youth while castrating pigs.  The unrelenting screeching of our Congressional Porkists will make those protesting piglets sound like the soothing tones of Barry White in comparison. 

This is a big deal to "conservatives" because "conservatives" are supposed to be for a strong defense. 

I want the men and women who have served in the military to be well compensated in terms of pensions, benefits, and medical care. 

Do we need 450,000 active service personnel?  No.  We do not need troops on the ground in Afghanistan, in Iraq, anywhere in the Middle East, in Europe, in Korea, in Okinawa, and most certainly not in Africa. 

We need a Navy.  We can probably change the configuration.  We need an Air Force, again, change the configuration with more unmanned aircraft -- focus on technology.  We need a missile defense system.  We have the computing power to do this easily.  We need to control our air space all the way up to our satellite orbits. 

Obviously, we need some well-trained and well-equipped combat forces with a somewhat traditional role. 

This is always the problem with government.  Any reconfiguration, re-engineering, modification, reduction, change, whatever you want to call it, runs into entrenched interests that want to keep things the way they have always been.  In this regard the government is always going to lag the private sector or be led by private sector marketing.  I'll bet we spend billions on gadgets and gizmos and gee-whiz technology not just in the military but in all government venues.  They procure this technology not because it is needed but because it is available, and they don't have to worry about the cost-benefit because they are not trying to turn a profit or generate revenues.

Government departments worry only about justifying their budgets.  The more they spend this fiscal year, generally, the more they get in the next fiscal year. 

It is a shame taxpayers -- many of whom are, admittedly, employed by government -- won't face the reality of this self-perpetuating system.  It's the Blob.  The more it assimilates, the bigger it gets and the more it can assimilate.  

I think we could make significant reductions in other government departments without gutting the military, but I'm not sure that the military is not a good place to start reductions.  To me, it seems a positive development that we managed to stay out of the Syrian civil war.  There doesn't seem to be much of a movement toward trying to intervene in Ukrainian politics or in Venezuela, and that, too, is positive.  If we don't meddle in other people's business, perhaps we could take care of our own. 

 Maybe we could control our southern border if we weren't watching the 38th Parallel in Korea.  

Cutting the benefits of long-serving military personnel who sacrificed so much for their country would be about the last thing I would do.  We need active-duty personnel in the Air Force, Navy (including, of course, the Marines) and Coast Guard, but we could probably get by without much of a "standing army".  The National Guard and Reserve could be enhanced and enabled to serve quite well.  We are not involved or likely to be involved in any conflict that requires massive numbers of ground troops -- so long as we mind our own business. 

We know who our enemies are.  Get them out of the United States and keep them out.  Bring all of our troops home and keep them home.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Days of Cutting Back

First, if you haven't already read it, here is Karl Denninger's opus on the Market Ticker.  I think he will continue to post things from time to time, but no one can blame him for cutting back.

Second, Breitbart reports that the Federal Reserve may be cutting back on monetary backing for the ECB.  There are a number of links in the article that lead to more original source material. 

Gold, crude, and coffee are all up in USDs, but the dollar hasn't slipped much against other world currencies.

I have a feeling this does not bode well.

In times like these, check your supplies.  Not a comprehensive list:

Yeast/Baking Powder/Baking Soda
Corn meal
Powdered milk
Canned milk
Oil/Shortening -- personally, I highly recommend good ol' lard.  It keeps.  It's good for what ails you.  I don't believe any of that crap about cholesterol.


If you stored wheat and other grains and have a grain mill, that's even better, probably.

Peanut Butter or similar comfort foods
Canned goods of your preference

Soap, shampoo, laundry detergent, dish washing detergent,
Other cleaning supplies and disinfectants
Toilet Paper
Paper Towels

Boots, Work
Sharpen your tools.
Tape, Wire, Cordage, and fasteners of various sorts

Dirttime (an interesting site), talks about Cold Steel Weapons (not about Cold Steel knives).  They fill your hand.

If I lived in an area that might be subject to rioting, I might invest in a few pieces of plywood and perhaps some 2x4s to keep around in case I needed to reinforce doors or cover windows. 

Consider small items that might store and barter well.  

And keep in mind that I have been expecting this for four or five years -- so it may be another four or five years before it happens.  It may be forty.  I take nothing away from the cleverness of international bankers or the corruptness of politicians.  Plan accordingly.

EPA Rules Against Renewables

Try and imagine humans surviving without fire.  Humans have been burning whatever the local environment offered as combustible material -- peat to buffalo chips to whale blubber -- as long as we have been on the planet.  Without doubt, the most common fuel for our fires has been wood.  We have heated and cooked with wood.  My grandmother never cooked on anything else.  My mother fed us off a wood stove for half her life.  Wood heat kept me warm every winter until I headed off to college. 

But wood smoke, don't you know, is a pollutant:

A federal proposal to clean up the smoke wafting from wood-burning stoves has sparked a backlash from some rural residents, lawmakers and manufacturers who fear it could close the damper on one of the oldest ways of warming homes on cold winter days.

Proposed regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency would significantly reduce the amount of particle pollution allowed from the smokestacks of new residential wood-powered heaters.

The Missouri legislature has a bill to thwart the bureaucratic regulation of wood-burning stoves and furnaces.  This would be a good thing.  If there really is some problem with wood stove pollution then it should be debated publicly and regulated by statute -- not by regulatory fiat. 

I have seen smoke from chimneys hug the ground or fly straight up toward the clouds.  The heated air expelled through the chimney will create a current that carries the particles, the carbon dioxide, water vapor and other combustion products until it cools enough to be dissipate.  When that happens, the heavier materials will end up on the ground.  Probably, if you were heating every house in Kansas City and Jackson County with wood-burning furnaces, it would get pretty smoky. 

We aren't, and we won't.  The price and supply of wood, including wood pellets, will see to that.   

According to the linked article there are only about 12 million wood stoves in the United States -- 9 million of which are less than half the "efficiency" required by the EPA.  Existing stoves would be grandfathered in -- but that is hardly the point.  This is about control through intimidation:

Some manufacturers contend the EPA's proposed standards are so stringent that the higher production costs would either force them out of business or raise prices so high that many consumers could no longer afford their products.

"There's not a stove in the United States that can pass the test right now — this is the death knoll of any wood burning," Reg Kelly, the founder of Earth Outdoor Furnaces in Mountain Grove, told Missouri lawmakers during a recent hearing.
We know Reg.  He's one of us.  Believe me, Reg is not worried about his furnace business.  He'll make it fine without that little sideline.  Like the rest of us, he believes in what is right, believes in liberty, and the smell of seasoned oak when you come in from the cold.

Friday, February 21, 2014

When to Grin


If you're up against a bruiser and you're getting knocked about-- Grin.
If you're feeling pretty groggy, and you're licked beyond a doubt-- Grin.
Don't let him see you're funking, let him know with every clout,
Though your face is battered to a pulp, your blooming heart is stout;
Just stand upon your pins until the beggar knocks you out-- And grin

This life's a bally battle, and the same advice holds true, Of grin.
If you're up against it badly, then it's only one on you, So grin
If the future's black as thunder, don't let people see you're blue;
Just cultivate a cast-iron smile of joy the whole day through;
If they call you "Little Sunshine," wish that they'd no troubles, too-- You may--grin.

Rise up in the morning with the will that, smooth or rough, You'll grin.
Sink to sleep at midnight, and although you're feeling tough, Yet grin.
There's nothing gained by whining, and you're not that kind of stuff;
You're a fighter from away back, and you won't take a rebuff;
Your trouble is that you don't know when you have had enough-- Don't give in.
If Fate should down you, just get up and take another cuff;
You may bank on it that there is no philosophy like bluff And grin.

-- Robert Service from Songs of a Sourdough

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Excerpt from Two Little Savages

An Irish-Canadian servant girl from Sanger now became a member of their household. Her grandmother was an herb-doctor in great repute. She had frequently been denounced as a witch, although in good standing as a Catholic. This girl had picked up some herb-lore, and one day when all the family were visiting the cemetery she darted into various copses and produced plants which she named, together with the complaint that her grandmother used them for.

"Sassafras, that makes tea for skin disease; Ginseng, that's good to sell; Bloodroot for the blood in springtime; Goldthread, that cures sore mouths; Pipsissewa for chills and fever; White-man's Foot, that springs up wherever a White-man treads; Indian cup, that grows where an Indian dies; Dandelion roots for coffee; Catnip tea for a cold; Lavender tea for drinking at meals; Injun Tobacco to mix with boughten tobacco; Hemlock bark to dye pink; Goldthread to dye yellow, and Butternut rinds for greenish."

All of these were passing trifles to the others, but to Yan they were the very breath of life, and he  treasured up all of these things in his memory. Biddy's information was not unmixed with error and superstition:

..."Lightning never strikes a barn where Swallows nest. Paw never rested easy after the new barn was built till the Swallows nested in it. He had it insured for a hundred dollars till the Swallows got round to look after it. ...

"Now, that's Dandelion. Its roots makes awful good coffee. Granny allers uses it. She says that it is healthier than store coffee, but Maw says she likes boughten things best, and the more they cost the better she likes them.

"Now, that's Ginseng. It has a terrible pretty flower in spring. There's tons and tons of it sent to China. Granny says the Chinese eats it, to make them cheerful, but they don't seem to eat enough.

"There's Slippery Elm. It's awfully good for loosening up a cold, if you drink the juice the bark's bin biled in. One spring Granny made a bucketful. She set it outside to cool, an' the pig he drunk it all up, an' he must a had a cold, for it loosened him up so he dropped his back teeth. I seen them myself lying out there in the yard. Yes, I did.

"That's Wintergreen. Lots of boys I know chew that to make the girls like them. Lots of them gits a beau that way, too. I done it myself many's a time.

"Now, that is what some folks calls Injun Turnip, an' the children calls it Jack-in-a-Pulpit, but Granny calls it 'Sorry-plant,' cos she says when any one eats it it makes them feel sorry for the last fool thing they done. I'll put some in your Paw's coffee next time he licks yer and mebbe that'll make him quit. It just makes me sick to see ye gettin' licked fur every little thing ye can't help.

... There were many lessons good and bad that Yan might have drawn from this; but the only one that he took in was that the Black-cherry bark is a wonderful remedy. The family doctor said that it really was so, and Yan treasured up this as a new and precious fragment of woodcraft.  -- From Two Little Savages by Ernest Thompson Seton

I was reminded of this by Gagdad Bob's remark the other day, as well as the fact that this is about the time we would dig sassafras.  There's still sap in the roots.  I have it in abundance here.  If I manage to get away this week, I might dig down and get a few.  I'll have to call my older sister for the making of the tea, however.  It's been too long, and I was too young the last time we made any at home.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Ditty Wah Ditty

I'm away from my computer for the next three days, so I'm posting some oddball stuff in advance.

Here's Nessmuk -- George Washington Sears, from Woodcraft on the ditty bag and frogging:

And don't neglect to take what sailors call a "ditty-bag." This may be a little sack of chamois leather about 4 inches wide by 6 inches in length. Mine is before me as I write. Emptying the contents, I find it inventories as follows: A dozen hooks, running in size from small minnow hooks to large Limericks; four lines of six yards each, varying from the finest to a size sufficient for a ten-pound fish; three darning needles and a few common sewing needles; a dozen buttons; sewing silk; thread and a small ball of strong yarn for darning socks; sticking salve; a bit of shoemaker's wax; beeswax; sinkers and a very fine file for sharpening hooks. The ditty-bag weighs, with contents, 2 1/2 ounces; and it goes in a small buckskin bullet pouch, which I wear almost as constantly as my hat. The pouch has a sheath strongly sewed on the back side of it, where the light hunting knife is always at hand, and it also carries a two-ounce vial of fly medicine, a vial of "pain killer," and two or three gangs of hooks on brass wire snells--of which, more in another place. I can always go down into that pouch for a waterproof match safe, strings, compass, bits of linen and scarlet flannel (for frogging), copper tacks and other light duffle. It is about as handy a piece of woods-kit as I carry.

I hope no aesthetic devotee of the fly-rod will lay down the book in disgust when I confess to a weakness for frogging. I admit that it is not high-toned sport; and yet I have got a good deal of amusement out of it. The persistence with which a large batrachian will snap at a bit of red flannel after being several times hooked on the same lure and the comical way in which he will scuttle off with a quick succession of short jumps after each release; the cheerful manner in which, after each bout, he will tune up his deep, bass pipe--ready for another greedy snap at an ibis fly or red rag is rather funny. And his hind legs, rolled in meal and nicely browned, are preferable to trout or venison.

Different materials, some variations in contents, but the concept remains valid, especially "... which I wear almost as constantly as my hat ...".  It does no good if you don't have it with you.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

What Would He Have Gotten for Missing?

At halftime of a basketball game between College of the Ozarks and Bellevue, a blind man from Springfield, MO (College of the Ozarks is near Branson), Michael Quin hit a 3-point shot. His prize is free McDonald's food for a year. 

A blind guy hit a three-point shot. 

A blind guy -- he can't see.  He puts the ball in the basket from 3-point range.  Video is here

For this incredible feat, he gets free food from McDonald's.  Taco Bell chili cheese burritos, maybe.  Wendy's, even Burger King. 

I guess it would be kind of pointless to give him a car -- though McDonald's does have a Braille menu on the drive-through. 

Clearly, McDonald's is a popular destination for some of the folks on the floor.  What's not so clear to me is whether that was the first try.  The amateur video seems to start with the ball coming in as if, perhaps, Mr. Quin had missed a previous attempt.  Not that two or three tries takes away from it at all.  Former Missouri State Bears, now SIU Salukis coach, Barry Hinson famously chided his players that his wife could make score more than 2 buckets on 11 shots.  Apparently so can a blind man.  He could well make Hinson's next rant.

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Politics of Impeachment

Impeachment of Obama is not going to happen, and I am not convinced it would be a good idea in any case.  If that sinkhole that swallowed the 'Vettes had been an answer to my prayer, it would have opened under Washington, D.C., and would have been much larger.  (See Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.)  I don't suppose that will happen, either.  We ought to just ignore the thug and go on about our business.  We also ought to stop calling these government gangsters "liberals" or "progressives".  They are statists and collectivists and fascists.  Again, probably not going to happen.

However, Jeffrey Lord writing in the Spectator offers what he thinks are some hopeful historic signs, and says:  If American history teaches anything, it is that the warning to be “careful what you wish for” is one of the nation’s hard truths.

Lord cites the precedent set during the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings when Democrats opposed to Thomas' SCOTUS appointment found Anita Hill and insisted that "women tell the truth."  The idea rather backfired on them during the Clinton years when women telling the truth became "bimbo eruptions".

Read the whole thing, but, in brief, Lord suggests that a future Republican president might use the "Obama Precedent" of ruling by fiat to dismantle cherished leftist legislative monuments.

Aside from the fact that I have my doubts there will ever be another Republican president (the giant sinkhole may have a greater likelihood), no Republican would ever get away with the kind of blatant side-stepping of Congress for which Obama is lauded by his petty little followers.  

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Not As Bad As You Might Think

When we were young and extremely foolish, one of my cousins, about 20 years old at the time, was rather desperate to have a close encounter with a female not related to him by blood.  His younger sister had started college and fixed him up with one of her roommates, a tall young lady of dubious attractiveness and virtue.  In relating the penultimate event of their relationship, as he looked at our faces contorted by repressed mirth, he said, "I'm gonna tell you guys right now, it was not as bad as you might think." 

Michael Snyder over at the Economic Collapse tells us "It Doesn't Take Much For People to Start Behaving Like Crazed Lunatics".  As evidence, he presents some stories that have come out of this winter's storms and trials. 

He's right.  It doesn't take much.  Some people seem to be looking for excuses to "go off" on someone else.  Many Americans are worried and stressed and quite fragile mentally and emotionally. People panic in emergencies.  They freak out in unfamiliar situations.  They become irrational when disasters strike. 

One of the early and best post-apocalyptic novels is Pat Frank's Alas, Babylon.  I read that for the first time as a teenager, not long after it was written, when the threat of nuclear war hung heavy upon my generation.  What struck me then was how thin the veneer of civilization is upon some people.  Most of us, pushed and prodded, worn and wounded may break down to pure survival mode.  I think there are some, saints among us perhaps, that would never revert.  Others are only biding their time, waiting for the chance to throw off their sheep's clothing and start ravening. 

The majority, though, will do their best.  There are always people here who show up when anything bad happens.  They become angels of mercy -- helping get cars started, cleaning out other people's driveways, helping people get out of the ditch, giving money, giving blood.  We had a huge ice storm back in 2007 where power was out for days.  Sure, there were some unsavory incidents, but there were many times more good deeds and extraordinary efforts.

Something that bothers me about the militia/paramilitary side of preparedness is the tone.  I have great respect for our military and the job they do.  I have met and worked with ex-military people who are outstanding citizens, people that I would back and would love to have backing me in a bad situation.  But there are others with just a bit of an authoritarian bent to them.  They know it all, they've done it all, they've seen it all, we need to listen to them.  Some of those guys end up in law enforcement.  I think it creates some problems. 

And there are also authoritarians who have never been in the military.  Jackasses are everywhere.  I guess the ex-military jackasses are just more likely to get an audience in some circles.

If the world goes to pieces, as much as I would like to be friends with everybody, I'm not going to have much use for authoritarians.  I know that they, mainly the authoritarians, will say we need somebody to run things, but, it seems to me, that is pretty much how we got in the mess we're in.  We let people who claimed to be good at being in charge be in charge.  Yes, we would need leaders in certain situations.  I am not a leader.  I'm also not a very good follower.  I'm more of a helper.

It seems to me that, most of the time, helpers are more generally useful than leaders or followers.  I'll readily admit that if it comes to fighting off blue-helmeted hordes, leaders and followers are probably better qualified for that than I would ever be.  But when it comes to teaching a neighbor to start a garden and feed himself, clean up after a storm, raise a barn, butcher a hog, fix a tractor, and things like that -- you know, keep civilization going -- helpers might be a better choice. 

I'm far from optimistic about what would happen in the event of a global economic collapse.  I don't want to find out what would happen.  Nevertheless, I think we would manage, somehow, so long as we prefer building and planting to uprooting and destroying. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Hot Dogging

Florida Man Burned After His Dog Catches Fire:

Telma Botcherby, the dog’s owner was treating her dog with flea and tick spray when she then noticed a live tick on the floor and tried to burn it with a lighter, according to a Broward Sheriff’s Office report. The dog became startled and jumped across where Botcherby was trying to burn the tick. The dog then burst into flames, officials said.

Telma then screamed for her husband who grabbed the flaming dog and rushed to the pool.

We're going to say this again: Stop, Drop, and Roll.

It was a noble gesture, and, really, how often do you think about what you'd do if your dog was on fire?  I have run through a lot of potential emergency scenarios, but that one never came up.

Of course, it wouldn't happen to me because I don't let my dog in the house.  Even if I did, I would take it outside to apply flammable flea and tick treatments.  What's more I would not use flammable liquids to get the fleas and ticks off my dog.  They have a nice shampoo which, in conjunction with a garden hose, works just fine.  And, finally, I would not try to use a lighter to ignite a tick crawling across my floor, though I might crush it with a Zippo.  I think even one of my little BIC butanes would do the job on a hard surface. 

I had a friend who, when he was out with us coyote hunting, would shoot ticks with his twenty-two.  That was out in the woods back in the late '60s, early '70s.  He'd put them on a stump or a a tree or something so he had a good backstop.  It was still bizarre -- not as bizarre as torching a dog, though. 

By the way, Botcherby's husband's name is Jess Olivas.  Olivas had to be taken to the hospital with extensive second-degree burns: 

Officials said 18 to 24 percent of Olivas’ body was burned including his right arm, left forearm, chest and face.
That's serious stuff.  The dog is apparently still alive and was taken the next day to an animal hospital for treatment.  Sometimes stupid is like an onion; it has layers.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Maker MultiMachine and Concrete Lathe has a nice write-up on Pat Delaney and building tools from junk

Here is the MultiMachine link, on

The Concrete Lathe.

There are several other projects and lots of interesting links and information if you poke around a little.

Of course, it is meant for less developed areas, but we always appreciate the artistry of ingenuity.  It might even be a good thing to store away on paper or in a Faraday cage for Leibowitz.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Political Future of Texas

I lived in Texas for a number of years and loved every minute of it.  Texans are like no one else in the world.  It has been a conservative state for many years, even though it has had Democrat governor, like the late Ann Richards.  Even Texas Democrats are a different breed. 

There is an effort on the part of liberals to turn Texas in to a swing state.  The left turned the once great state of California into a deep blue Democrat stronghold.  Colorado has gone from a generally conservative swing state to a solid counter in the Democrat column.  The expansion of government employees moving into Virginia has moved it from Republican to not only voting for Obama but electing one of the most despicable humans on the planet, Terry McAuliffe (I don't care how you spell his name), as governor.

Florida is no longer reliable, nor is Ohio.  If Texas falls, it's bad news.

Rand Paul expressed some concern over the demographic future of Republicans in Texas, as reported by CNN:
...[D]iversity is needed not just along ethnic lines, but in appearances, too, he said.

“We need to have people with ties and without ties, with tattoos and without tattoos; with earrings, without earrings,” he said. “We need a more diverse party. We need a party that looks like America.”
That might be part of it, but most of it is the flawed message.  Effectively opposing the Statist Party means being Not Statist.  Government does not have a good solution for every problem or even most problems.  Those who wish to win elections need to emphasize the dangers of intrusive government, of the NSA, the TSA, and the militarization of police forces.

By and large, Republicans do not want to do that.  They are, as a whole, just as supportive of stupid, big-government style solutions, just as devoted to pork barrel spending, just as much pawns of the financial sector as their Democrat counterparts.  The only difference is they like tax cuts and are more socially conservative, and they usually vote against gun control.  I do appreciate their support of the Second Amendment.

The reason it may be harder to swing Texas to Democrats is that many Texans of Hispanic heritage are more socially conservative.  Gallup reports that the Democrat advantage among Texas Hispanics is much smaller than the national advantage.  That squares with my experience.  There are a lot of good, decent, hard-working people still in Texas, though it has changed much -- grown much -- in the years since I left. 

Frankly, I think the Republican Party may have outlived its usefulness.  I could be wrong.  But to change my mind, the GOP needs to fully embrace the Tea Party and libertarian ideals -- ideals Ron Paul stood for for decades.  No more big government.  If that means stepping away from some social issues, being less eager to wage foreign wars, focusing more on reducing debt and spending and less on tax cuts, and ending the war on drugs, we ought to at least have that discussion. 

I guess what I hear is Republicans talking about better government.  That isn't going to happen.  Government has an inherent tendency to suck up all available resources and expand relentlessly.  The only way to fix it is to make it smaller. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

God Bless Texas

A Texas grand jury rejected a capital murder charge against a man who shot and killed a deputy executing a no-knock warrant.

I certainly have sympathy for Burleson County Police Sgt. Adam Sowders who killed by Henry Magee.  He was a victim of the militarized law enforcement mentality that pervades so many police departments these days. 

I picked up the link above from Denninger's post on a truly sad incident in which there are no winners.

The lesson from this, as Denninger points out, is that these raids are unnecessary 99% of the time.  Put a cop at the back door, knock on the front door, and respect the presumption of innocence. 

We have a lot of good, dedicated police officers in this country who do put their lives on the line daily to carry out their duties.  I have no doubt that Sgt. Sowders was a good person, and I mourn his untimely death.  He was only 31.  His life was wasted.  The police went there to bust Magee for growing marijuana, which he was doing and for which he will be prosecuted.  The likelihood that Magee would have offered armed resistance had the police executed a normal search warrant is miniscule.  Most people think and react just like the Dead said in "Truckin'" -- "If you got a warrant, I guess you're gonna come in." 

It is, though, high time we stopped allowing law enforcement to continue these kinds of actions.  We have too many innocent people killed when cops kick in the door of the wrong house.  We have cops routinely shooting family pets whether there is any evidence of criminal activity on the part of owners or not.  We see cops riddling with gunfire a truck of the wrong make and color occupied by the wrong number of persons of the wrong sex and race.  We see children with toy guns cut down before they have a chance to surrender or even comprehend what is happening. 

It is criminal, and it has to stop.

The McLennan County sheriff knew David Koresh and could have brought him in any time without bloodshed.  The infamous raid on the Branch Davidians by the ATF was done for dramatic effect to secure more funding for further militarization.  Sadly, this kind of logic has only intensified in the intervening two decades since that debacle.  If you have all the SWAT regalia, you feel obligated to justify it by raiding.

We need more peace officers and fewer commandos.  

Thursday, February 6, 2014

A Dish Gone to Pot

Selwyn Duke from American Thinker:  America Has Lost Her Will to Live:

We're no longer a melting pot, but a dish gone to pot. We've forgotten that robust, healthy America was a result of a specific recipe, and we cannot perpetuate that republic unless we remember the recipe. Of course, some say that limiting a land to one recipe is narrow and exclusionary. I say that the road to Heaven is narrow. And all recipes necessarily include only some ingredients and exclude most others, just as definitions limit by defining. If America can mean anything, she means nothing; but if she is something, then she can be defined. And then, by definition, she would have to be exclusionary -- like any nation.

I don't agree with his title, but his points are valid.  Read the whole thing.  Certain segments of American society and western civilization in general have turned against on our culture and our country.  It is a civil war of words and ideas, and those who insist on denying reality will be the losers.  

Earth Moving

This is a cross-post from my Christian devotional blog.  I don't have very many readers, but they are mostly distinct, except for one or two.  It seems applicable here.

And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none. -- Ezekiel 22:30

Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, Be taken up and thrown into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. -- Mark 11:23

I am far from perfection, so it seems.  Yet, there is this:  that I have put my faith in Christ Jesus, identifying with Him in His death.  Whether I understand it or not, whether I can fully accept and appreciate it or not, I have been crucified with Christ.  My problem is that I see so much that I do wrong.  Possibly even more discouraging is what I might do in the future. 

If you have ever dealt with a habit you wanted to break, tried to diet, keep up an exercise regime, or break an addiction, you know what I mean.  It’s the future that ruins it because it is a lot easier to quit tomorrow or do right tomorrow than it is today.  To break out of an addiction, a person has to stop believing in tomorrow.  Yes, I know, Fleetwood Mac.  The truth is tomorrow is always tomorrow.  Today is the day of salvation. 

In order to live the crucified life, I have to live solely in the now.  I have to reject my old nature now, right this minute.  That’s all I have to do.  I don’t have to worry about tomorrow with its future trials and future failures because I can only fail or succeed in this moment.  Christ is in me and in control of my life only in this moment.  I am only going to overcome my bad temper or succumb to it in this moment.  It cannot happen any other time, because there is no other time. 

We talked yesterday about not yet being able to move mountains until we take care of ourselves and get our own hearts right.  We can't wait until tomorrow for that.  We get ourselves in alignment in Christ right now.  Just like eating too much carrot cake and ruining a diet, walking in the truth of who we are in Christ takes place right now.  Once we realize that, it changes everything.  Self-doubt is gone because self is gone.  We are connected to the Father just as Jesus was in the Incarnation.  The branch is connected to the Root through the Vine, but it is no less connected than the Vine.  It’s all one. 

The place I began to understand this was public speaking, of all things.  I was always a very shy person.  I was stricken with panic that someone would notice me.  I would hide when people came to visit our house.  My fear was that someone would notice me and make fun of me.  It wasn’t humility but self-consciousness.  I could not bear to be mocked or ridiculed.  Since I was, throughout grade school and high school, physically intimidating, I could control some of it by inflicting pain on my oppressors.  Some accused me of being a bully.  I guess it was true, but I don’t recall bullying anybody that left me alone.  It may not have taken much to set me off, but I never started anything. 

Being pulled up to the front of the class to race against another student doing arithmetic was no problem because I was facing the blackboard.  If I ever had to turn around and face the class, it was a different matter.  I never got over that.  Any time I had to get up in front of people, and, really, even talking one on one, I couldn’t face people without nearly debilitating panic.  I carefully avoided Speech in both high school and college, going so far as to take French to get the Fine Arts credits I needed.   

Imagine, then, how I felt when my pastor asked me to teach an adult Sunday School class.  He was a wise man.  The first couple of times were as painful for the class as they were for me, but I learned to leave my self somewhere else and stand up in the “role” for that forty-five minutes or an hour.  I ended up filling the role of “teacher” in five or six different churches under different pastors, occasionally speaking on Sunday morning, Sunday evening, or Wednesday night.   Learning to step out of self and into Christ did more for me as a Christian than anything else I can think of.   

One of the things negative thoughts such as fear, dread, despair, shame, guilt, and regret do is show us where self is.  Like pride and lust, greed and envy, they mark the boundaries of self.  When we step away from and out of those negative emotions and desires, we step into Christ. 

I cannot move mountains.  Jesus doesn’t say that I can.  He says,  “… it will be done for him.”  My part is to believe today.  The question of when and how and even if our mountain will be moved is not ours to resolve. 

We see this mountain before us.  I fear for my children and grandchildren.  I am concerned about the direction the nation is going because I love my country (my government, not so much).  A part of me wants to turn back the clock and restore all the values we had when I was growing up.  Turning back time is not possible.  I’m not even sure that is a good idea.   I have a lot in common with my Amish neighbors, but never go full Amish. 

A lot of society is rotting and decaying.  I won’t call it gangrenous because it is already detached from Reality, already dead and withering, for that reason.  People are going to try desperately to save what is not worth saving and cannot be saved. 

We are not going to make that mistake.  We are going to put off self, put on Christ, and stand in faith to make up the breach and stand, like Aaron, between the living and dead.  The mountain is moving.  Don’t be surprised if the ground shakes. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Et Tu, CDC?

Guns and Ammo reports on the CDC's research into gun violence. 

The study was done after Obama issued an Executive Order in the wake of the horrendous shooting in December 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut.  The anti-gunners were certain that it would result in destruction of NRA and gun owner arguments about the benefits of firearms. 

Read G&A summary.

It's stuff we all knew.  Most "gun deaths" are suicides, not homicides.  Gun buy-backs are stupid and do not work.  Most criminals don't get their guns from gun shows or retail outlets, nor are they stolen.  Criminals get their guns from other criminals in the underground market.  I am so shocked. 

I really like this one:   
4. “Interventions” (i.e, gun control) such as background checks, so-called assault rifle bans and gun-free zones produce “mixed” results:

“Whether gun restrictions reduce firearm-related violence is an unresolved issue.” The report could not conclude whether “passage of right-to-carry laws decrease or increase violence crime.”

Right.  Unresolved is another way of saying that the research really didn't turn out the way we like.  In fairness, though, they are often dealing with very small numbers when comparing various jurisdictions and statistical significance is probably tough to get.

The first two points shut down 90% of the anti-self-defense arguments:

1. Armed citizens are less likely to be injured by an attacker:
“Studies that directly assessed the effect of actual defensive uses of guns (i.e., incidents in which a gun was ‘used’ by the crime victim in the sense of attacking or threatening an offender) have found consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies.”
2. Defensive uses of guns are common:
“Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million per year…in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008.”

If the anti-gunners had facts on their side, they would use them.  They do not.  They depend on emotional responses to images of dead children and grieving parents.  

Potential New Way to Stop Heavy Bleeding

Popular Science reports on a start-up, RevMedx, that has a new way to staunch bleeding from deep wounds, such as those from gunshots:

RevMedx recently asked the FDA to approve a pocket-size invention: a modified syringe that injects specially coated sponges into wounds. Called XStat, the device could boost survival and spare injured soldiers from additional pain by plugging wounds faster and more efficiently than gauze.

The team’s early efforts were inspired by Fix-a-Flat foam for repairing tires. “That’s what we pictured as the perfect solution: something you could spray in, it would expand, and bleeding stops,” says Steinbaugh. “But we found that blood pressure is so high, blood would wash the foam right out.”
So the team tried a new idea: sponges. They bought some ordinary sponges from a hardware store and cut them into 1-centimeter circles, a size and shape they chose on a whim but later would discover were ideal for filling wounds. Then, they injected the bits of sponge into an animal injury. “The bleeding stopped,” says Steinbaugh. “Our eyes lit up. We knew we were onto something.” After seeing early prototypes, the U.S. Army gave the team $5 million to develop a finished product.

If these work out, they would be great to have in vehicle and personal first-aid kits.  RevMedx has developed a special kind of sponge made of wood pulp and coating with the clotting agent chitosan and anti-microbials.  It sounds very promising.

George Orwell Tried to Tell Us

My wife had the evening news on last night while I was trying to eat supper.  I think it was CBS, but it's all BS, so it doesn't make much difference.  The story was about the CBO report that confirms Obamacare will cost 2 or 2.5 million full-time jobs. 

Those of us who are not challenged by simple arithmetic probably don't become journalists.  The loss of a couple of million taxpayers is the loss of a few billion dollars.  But, as they say on the Sham-Wow commercials, that's not all.  According to the news reader, in his official capacity as part of the DNC ministry of information, it is a Good Thing that these people are leaving the work force because they were only working to pay their health insurance premium which will now be covered by Obamacare subsidies. 

Not only does the government lose the revenue from those workers, a greater deficit is created because other taxpayers will be paying the insurance premiums of those who have left the workforce.  For some of them, we will be paying all their bills.

The counter argument might be that the jobs those 2 million were doing are still there, and they will be replaced by the unemployed. That's not what the CBO projection says.  The jobs themselves will go away as companies reduce the number of employees to try and desperately wriggle out from under the Obamacare mandates.

It is a dangerous downward spiral.  The average person is either too busy working fourteen hour days or already enjoying the government dole and will not pay attention to what is happening.  

Sometimes, even the guy pedaling the BS is shocked by how well it works, like Orwell's Winston:
It appeared that there had even been demonstrations to thank Big Brother for raising the chocolate ration to twenty grams a week. And only yesterday, he reflected, it had been announced that the ration was to be reduced to twenty grams a week. Was it possible that they could swallow that, after only twenty-four hours? Yes, they swallowed it. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

A (Free!) Fiction Recommendation

Since I quoted from this work a few days ago, I thought I would do a brief review.  I recently finished Talbot Mundy's King -- of the Khyber Rifles.  It is available from good old Project Gutenberg here, or, as an audiobook, via LibriVox.

I haven't read any of Mundy's other books.  King has a small element of mysticism, but it is mostly an adventure story.  The hero is ostensibly the eponymous Athelstan King, a British Army officer and secret agent in India.  I changed my opinion when I realized who really pulled off what.  I won't spoil it further if you happen not to have read it.  King's character is certainly central to what is accomplished.

For those familiar with Kipling's Kim, there are some similarities, both in the local color and the intrigues of intelligence work.  Kipling is the stronger writer and immerses the reader in India to a greater extent, but Mundy (born William Lancaster Gribbon in 1879 in London) is a solid literary talent.  Mundy probably has more in common with H. Rider Haggard, including his fascination with mysticism and fantasy.  I've always thought Haggard introduced his fantastic elements mainly for the purposes of a good story.  Apparently Mundy was more of a true believer.

There are also comparisons to Joseph Conrad, and that may be true of some of Mundy's other works.  King -- of the Khyber Rifles, despite the plots twists, is more straightforward and less abstract than Conrad usually is, and, unlike most of Conrad's protagonists, King is not often troubled by self-doubt or questions on the righteousness of what he sets out to do.  Early on he has a conversation with a fellow traveler from the Public Works Department about Britain's impending involvement in World War I -- at least there is an attempted conversation: 

 In the train on the way to Peshawur he did not talk any more volubly, and a fellow traveler, studying him from the opposite corner of the stifling compartment, catalogued him as "quite an ordinary man." But he was of the Public Works Department, which is sorrowfully underpaid and wears emotions on its sleeve for policy's sake, believing of course that all the rest of the world should do the same.

"Don't you think we're bound in honor to go to Belgium's aid?" he asked. "Can you see any way out of it?"

"Haven't looked for one," said King.

"But don't you think—"

"No," said King. "I hardly ever think. I'm in the army, don't you know, and don't have to. What's the use of doing somebody else's work?"
 This is characteristic of King.  He says little and listens much.  Silence and a sort of unspoken agreement with the speaker often get him through difficult situations. 

There's a lot to that approach.  We -- some of us, feel compelled to share everything we think with everyone.  I guess that's why we are bloggers.  I, at least, am not sharing with very many people, and, in my further defense, I don't exactly drag people here to make them listen to me. 

However, in interactions outside of cyberspace, the less said is usually the better.  That is never more true than when dealing with agents of the government. 

If you are looking for a fun read or something to listen to while painting like I have been doing, King -- of the Khyber Rifles is a good choice.

It Wasn't Zombies; It Was Snow

and cold weather, according to Bank of America, via ZeroHedge.  It's always amusing to read the ZH comments.

The US ISM reported a big miss today, going to 51.3 from December's 56.5.

Denninger has more on the bad news here:

New Orders were barely above 50, down a massive 13.2 points to 51.2.  Production was down 6.9, employment contracted 3.5 and inventories contracted to 44 from 47, showing that manufacturers have no faith in improvement in the coming months.

Worse, prices went up 7 points to 60.5 and backlog was just below neutral at 48.

Overall, we have recessionary numbers.  The strength in the economy is regional in places like West Texas and North Dakota due to oil and natural gas. 

The big players are likely pulling out of the markets, or have pulled out. 

If you want to pray for something, pray that Janet Yellen doesn't back off the Taper and let's the market find equilibrium.  Take the medicine and get better.  

There appears to be a lot of turmoil in the emerging markets. 

A Good Word for Jasper

James Lileks' dog, Jasper, has passed on at nineteen

Such a friend and such a friendship elevates us and makes us better people. 

There may be something wrong with Lileks' site this morning.  The screen got awfully bleary a couple of times. 

Being a person raised around working dogs and hunting dogs, horses and other livestock on a farm, I don't think it ever occurred to me that they were mere beasts.  I feel a kinship and a bond.  Man may rule, but we are in this together. 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The ABC's of Propaganda

Last night ABC tried to spread its anti-gun message via children.  I happened to hear part of the broadcast while I was painting in another room -- to the detriment of the living room wall.  Townhall does a good job explaining, and they have the link to Dana's rebuttal on the Blaze. 

Me, I just hate Diane Sawyer almost as much as I hate Hanoi Jane.  My wife hates her more.  She used to work for a large Christian ministry that was the subject of some of Sawyer's "investigation journalism."  The main source Sawyer used was a disreputable local dude who basically made his living by bad-mouthing and exposing alleged abuses by various prominent churches and ministries.  Some of these ministries employed hundreds of people.  Things sometimes don't work the way they are supposed to. 

Anyway, my warning is that Diane Sawyer should never be trusted.  But you knew that already.