Friday, August 31, 2012


Once in a Blue Moon

You've heard the phrase: Once in Blue Moon*. Well, it's today.

*The second full moon in the month. Nothing to do with color.



Lefty Journalism And the Failed Denial

The great James Taranto led me to discover a piece by former NYT editor and now merely an Op-Ed columnist there Bill Keller (he's still riding that burning plane all the way down to the deck, but at least he's no longer in a pilot's chair). I had back in July posted about how stupid it is to deny that President Obama said "You didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen" and then quote him in a slightly longer version in which he says precisely that. To deny the President said exactly what he said in the quote they provide makes the deniers just look stupid. I had though the Democrats had wised up and had moved on to calling falsely other accurate quotes and paraphrases (by Republicans) lies. How wrong was I.

Keller starts with a headline twisting a famous quip attributed to Mark Twain: Lies, Damned Lies and G.O.P. Video. Oh, I get it, the GOP video is worse than a damned lie. Gotcha.

He appears to be in take-no-prisoners mode:

“We did build that,” has already been established as one of the more dishonest political memes in a campaign season undisturbed by shame. [...] The fact that this slogan has been thoroughly debunked has not kept it from being the defining theme in Tampa.

Wow. I couldn't wait to hear how it's been so thoroughly debunked and why it's so shockingly dishonest. Unfortunately, Mr. Keller does not provide any debunking and only the most meager of explanations for why it is shocking to quote the President accurately and not accept his message as Truth and Wisdom. Keller says, in explanation, that "the president pointed out that most American business successes have been assisted by infrastructure, education or incentives underwritten by the government." Except the President didn't say that; he said this:
Look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet. (Emphasis added.)
Mr Keller complains that the full quote above, which appears in his opinion piece, is completely different from the "doctored" version shown in Republican ads riffing on the President's diminishing the individual effort and success of others. Here is the version Keller finds so completely dishonest:

If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You, you didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think: ‘Wow, it must be because I was just so smart.’ There are a lot of smart people out there. ‘It must be because I worked harder than everyone else. ‘Let me tell you something, if you’ve got a business, that … you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.

Well, it is shorter and that's because it's missing the stuff about a lot of people are hardworking (so you're not so special if you succeed), and about your success depended on Government help along the way (in, for examples, a helpful teacher or American infrastructure that "allowed" you to thrive)--so much for individual effort--it's government spending of what the taxpayers earned that "allows" some people to be successful--who knew? Oh, and it also leaves out the half-truth that the internet was created by the government and not by thousands of entrepreneurs who have made it the huge success and important part of our lives it is today.

But is the short version a distortion of what the President said?

I say no. It's precisely what the President said, and the longer quote just makes his warped view of capitalism and the American ideal of rugged individualism all the clearer. The context actually makes the shorter quote worse.

Here's Keller's big finish:

In another campaign season, the fact that the opposition edited the president’s voice to say something he didn’t say would be regarded as audacious. This year it’s almost unremarkable.
Each of the videos, by the way, continues with the lament of a hard-working businessman – a Colorado farmer, the owner of a Nevada candy company, and the president of an Ohio electric company – each profoundly insulted by what Obama … um, never actually said.

Sorry, Mr. Keller, he did say that, just what the ad quoted, and the proof is in the very words of the President and the quote you thoughtfully provided in order to prove he didn't say what the Republicans claim he said when, er, actually you prove just the opposite. And you look dumb doing it, like you suffer from a hyperactive form of denial.

I have little to add to this from Taranto:

Obama's journalistic supporters live in a bizarre alternate reality in which a politician's actual words mean nothing. When the president says something foolish and offensive, he didn't say that. Meanwhile every comment from a Republican can be translated, through a process of free association, to: "We don't like black people."
So true. And so sad. The whole of the left wing dominated media (I know, wordy) is on fire and losing altitude and the journalists seem hell bent to put it in a powerdive.


Thursday, August 30, 2012


Well Equipped Enemy

I don't know a lot about Chinese or Japanese uniforms. I believe this is a mixed detachment of Japanese and Chinese soldiers in Shanghai in 1941, just before we entered the war. The Japanese are on the right. The two submachine guns are MP 18s designed by Hugo Schmeisser, manufactured by Bergmann Waffenfabrik and licensed to SIG in 1920, which produced them in 7.63 x 25 Mauser and licensed them for Chinese manufacture thereafter, in Quingdao (formerly Tsing Tao) the German dominated trade zone or concession in China. The box magazine held 20, 30 or 50 rounds. The 7.63 x 25 Mauser pistol round (used in the C96 broom-handle Mauser pistol) was a powerful round well suited for a machine pistol.

One of the soldiers wears a German helmet. What's up with that?


Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Looking at the Electoral College Map

Here is a map of the 2012 election with the probable red and blue states and the 10 or 12 swing states which could go either way. My acquaintance Steve Green made this map over a year ago. Little has really changed. This is what I believe:

There is no doubt that the East Coast north of Virginia and all of New England except New Hampshire will vote for Obama, along with Illinois and the entire West Coast. Alaska and Hawaii will split.

There is also no real doubt in my mind that the South, including Florida and Virginia, are going to go to Romney as well as all of the states west of the Mississippi to the West Coast States, with the exception of Nevada, New Mexico, Iowa, Minnesota and Colorado. There are many swing states in the upper mid-west but I think we Republicans are kidding ourselves to think we can win all of these four: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. If we win even one of those, the election will almost certainly be Romney's. I think that New Mexico will probably, narrowly go to the President. So the real swing states are New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Colorado, and Iowa. If we lose Florida, Ohio, or Virginia, we probably lose the election.

So let's pretend I and Steve are right. Let's assume that we win Ohio narrowly. Then all we have to do is win one of the four remaining and Romney's at or above 270 and on his way to the White House.

I still like those odds.

I think we might pick up the majority of the four real swing states and perhaps one of the mid-west states touching the great lakes other than Ohio. That would be a comfortable win for the right.



Well Equipped Enemy

A very young German soldier in France in 1944 (Hitler Youth?) with the greatest machine gun (capable of being carried and fired by one person) ever made, the MG 42. He's also wearing a camouflage uniform, a part of warfare where the Germans excelled and we played catch-up. This one is a dot pattern called Erbsenmuster (pea camouflage). His helmet cover is a different pattern, Oakleaf B?

We only had one camouflage pattern, used primarily by the Marines in the Pacific, which, unfortunately, turned pink with repeated washing.

His MG 42 has a bi-pod and a small snail drum magazine in which the belt is coiled. A replacement belt is draped over his shoulders.

If you look close, you can see that the MG 42 is the core of the futuristic machine gun, on an articulated arm, fired by Vasquez and Drake in Aliens. It is a perfect choice.



Our Robot Photographers

Are these outstanding or what?

Curiosity's photo of a landscape a tiny bit reminiscent of Utah. Doesn't it take oceans to make layered rock? Or is that layering a result of volcanic activity? Or does it just look like layering ?Wind erosion? I don't know.

Titan, one of the few moons outside of science fiction with an atmosphere, nearly bisected by Saturn's magnificent rings seen nearly edge on. By any criteria, this is a stunning photo.



Even More Reason to Hate Wind Generators

Here is a blog post about Germany's "different" direction in electric power production. Money quote:

Just recently, German figures were released on the actual productivity of the country’s wind power over the last ten years. The figure is 16.3 percent!
Due to the inherent intermittent nature of wind, their wind power system was designed for an assumed 30% load factor in the first place. That means that they hoped to get a mere 30% of the installed capacity – versus some 85-90% for coal, natural gas, nuclear and hydroelectric facilities. That means that, when they build 3,000MW of wind power, they expect to actually get merely 900MW, because the wind does not always blow at the required speeds. But in reality, after ten years, they have discovered that they are actually getting only half of what they had optimistically, and irrationally, hoped for: a measly 16.3 percent.
That's over 3.5 Billion Euros for 16.3 % of rated capacity. What a bargain!

At least the new minister of the environment knows a boondoggle when he sees one and is allowing the building of 20 plus reliable coal fired generators so that Germany doesn't run out of power.

If Germany commits energy seppuku, what will Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland do when their economies grind to a complete halt?

Any Republican who votes to further fund wind energy in any way should face a tea party supported challenger in the next primary. There is no excuse for such wasteful spending.


Monday, August 27, 2012


Just What the Doctor Ordered

Here is the current expected movement of Tropical Storm Isaac (which is expected to get barely to a category 1 hurricane before it makes landfall, near New Orleans). Here is a satellite loop of just how wide its storm clouds extend from the center. You can see how wide the clouds extend in this satellite snapshot below. Wide!

Here is the current drought record in the US.

Looks like a lot of rain later this week and weekend just where it's needed most.

Always look on the bright side of life.

I don't want to judge the program before all the results are in, but it's beginning to look like the RNC might have had too much of an abundance of caution in cancelling the first day of the Republican Convention. It's pretty nice (for Florida in the Summer) in Tampa just now.


Saturday, August 25, 2012


Well Equipped Enemy--We've Got the Funk

One of the masters of blitzkrieg, Heinz Guderian, in the back of a Funkpanzerwagen (Sd.Kfz. 251/3) in France in 1940. The somewhat heavy pipe frame over him is the antenna for the half-track built specially as a radio vehicle. The machine with an early form of keyboard on the left, bottom of the picture is a three rotor Enigma, with which the Germans sent messages in code, which the British broke early on in the war (with a head start by some very smart Poles). The out of focus metal at the right, bottom of the picture is an MG 34, the only armament on the Sd.Kfz. 251/3.

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Thought of the Day

But being pro-life is hardly an extremist position. I’m not even sure it’s a religious position. I’m an atheist, and I didn’t come to my pro-life stance through any spiritual revelation or interpretation of scripture. To me, it’s just science.
Life is a continuum of growth and development which begins at conception and continues until death, whether it be from old age or from an abortion. Picking a point within that continuum to represent the point at which “life” and personhood is obtained is ridiculous and illogical.
Liberals seem to think it’s ok to interrupt the continuum of life as long as the interruption occurs in the womb, but speaking from a scientific standpoint, we could just as well pick a point outside a womb. Perhaps we could define abortion as ok as long as it occurs before the child learns to walk. Or says his/her first word.
What irks me is this pompous parade of political talking points which hold that being pro-life is somehow anti-woman, and anti-intellectual when in reality the exact opposite is true. We are currently using a political definition for life, established by the court system and not science, and created to rationalize the desire of some to be rid of the responsibility of the children they created.
That, my friends, is anti-intellectual. That’s anti-woman. That’s anti-science.

Rob Port



Well Equipped Enemy

I told you that the Germans would pick up and use SVT-40s as they were superior to the Kar 98 and even the semi-auto G and K 41s and 43s. I'm a little uneasy with the proximity of Soviet (partisan?) to a blank concrete block wall in the photo. That ain't so good. The German soldier wears a ceremonial piece of armor called a gorget, designed originally to protect the throat from edged weapons. American military don't wear them but many European soldiers did and, some still do.



Get a Clue

Here is a heart-felt but fairly ignorant opinion piece about gun control by Amy Sullivan at the New Republic. There are more than a few ironies therein. She can't see why our leadership won't try to pass more gun control laws in the wake of several high profile shootings lately. Opening quote:

Earlier this morning, a man with a gun opened fire outside the Empire State Building in busy downtown Manhattan. Last night, 19 people were shot across the city of Chicago in seven different incidents. Thirteen of those victims were shot within one 30-minute period. A man walked into the Washington, DC building that houses the Family Research Council last week and shot a security guard. At the beginning of this month, a white supremacist shot and killed six people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, wounding four others. And we are barely one month removed from the horrific mass shooting that killed twelve and wounded a sickening 58 other people in a movie theater in Aurora, CO.

New York remains the last bastion for banning private ownership of hand guns (for all but a few "influential" citizens via the Sullivan Law). Funny how that didn't stop the Empire State Building shooting. Perhaps the Sullivan Law is not enough of a ban to prevent such things. Oh, and in Chicago, where the black on black murder rate is sky high, the city still has very restrictive laws since the outright handgun ban was declared unconstitutional under the 14th and 2nd Amendments in McDonald v. Chicago. Perhaps the huge number of shootings in Chicago, both before and after McDonald, somehow supplies empirical data that gun control actually works. The same is to be said for D.C., the third place Ms. Sullivan mentions, which still makes it very hard for citizens to keep and bear handguns despite the striking down of the outright ban in Heller.

Moving on. Ms. Sullivan says, after dismissing Mitt Romney's idea about changing the heart of the murder as pie in the sky "magical" thinking:

But a policy can make it harder for a gunman to obtain weapons that mow down large numbers of victims in minutes or seconds. A policy can make it harder for someone with a history of violence—domestic assault, for example—to purchase a gun.

By policy, she means gun law; she just doesn't want to use those words. And how is the gun law supposed to stop a criminal intending to "mow down a number of victims in minutes or seconds" from breaking the law banning assault weapons, for example? Is the guy inclined to break one of the most ancient and sacred prohibitions (Thou shall not murder) going to reconsider his evil ways when he merely seeks to obtain a prohibited weapon, or is he far more likely to break that law than he is actually to start murdering people?

Oh, and Ms. Sullivan. We already have a law that makes it harder for someone with a history of domestic assault to purchase a gun; it's called the Lautenberg Amendment (18 USC Section 922 (g)(9)) You know, doing just the tiniest bit of research into existing gun laws might give your opinion a tad more credibility here.

Ms. Sullivan then goes somewhat hysterical about certain places to carry weapons:

New polling by the Public Religion Research Institute shows just how extreme the views of those who identify with the Tea Party are on guns. In a survey released last week, PRRI asked whether people should be allowed to carry a concealed firearm in a church or other place of worship. (The survey was conducted three days after the Sikh temple shooting.) Most Americans—including most Republicans—say they should not (76% overall). Only 9 percent of Democrats and 38 percent of Republicans support concealed weapons in houses of worship. Among Tea Partiers? A majority—55 percent—think Americans should be able to bring their weapons into church along with their Bibles.

For Ms. Sullivan, members of the Tea Party are "extreme" to believe we have the right to carry weapons to church, along with our Bibles. Huh? Perhaps she is as unfamiliar with this story, or this one, as she is with Frank Lautenberg's contribution to diminishing our 2nd Amendment freedoms.

Righteous armed people can prevent gun free zone slaughters.

You see, if you say certain areas gun free zones, all you've done is disarm the law abiding there. Bad people can actually still bring a gun into the zone, but then there is no good guy who can effectively stop the gunman. A lot of schools are gun free zones and a lot of schools have mass shootings. The Sikh Temple was a gun free zone (although Sikh men are religiously bound to always carry a weapon, they have made it a small knife, the Kirpan, not much use against a Springfield X-D--more's the pity). The theater in Aurora, which had the mass shooting that was so horrific and sickening to Ms. Sullivan, was a gun free zone.

Who's engaging in magical thinking to believe gun free zones are actually safe places?

There was no one armed there to stop the shooting.

I am still waiting for a mass shooting at a gun show. Anyone care to wager if that will ever happen?

Does anyone think Ms. Sullivan is intellectually capable of knowing why there are no mass shootings at gun shows?


Friday, August 24, 2012


Historic Turning Points

Here is a photographs of Patrice Lumumba some time between his arrest on December 1, 1960 and his execution by firing squad on January 17, 1961.

He was the first democratically elected prime minister and had helped free the country from Belgian colonial rule. However the government he served was overthrown within 3 months of freedom from Belgium by Col. Joseph Mobutu who became and remained dictator for life until his overthrow by a Tutsi led rebellion in the First Congo War (11/96 to 5/97).

There are those who believe that Lumumba was an American caused casualty of the Cold War. I think he was merely a victim of Congo internecine politics.



Chicken Littlism

Here is someone absolutely unknown to me, Duane Elgin, writing at the Huffington Post about the coming Armageddon allegedly to be caused by increased atmospheric CO2.

But first some actual science. This is the asymptotic curve of temperature rise with a doubling of atmospheric CO2. We humans have never been at 0 so the doubling for us is from the agreed upon pre-industrialized 280 ppm to 560 ppm. (We're about 390 now, quite a ways to go to a doubling; and because increased natural gas use has markedly cut the world's CO2 production, it looks like we'll get to 560 ppm around the end of the century). Although some scientists disagree about the actual slope of the curve, no sane scientist disagrees that the slope has already gone really flat, so that the worst case for warming from a doubling of CO2 is about 1.2 degrees C at 560 ppm and around 1.8 degrees C for 740 ppm.

What does 'trans-partisan' Mr. Elgin say:

Indeed, we are now on a nightmare track to raise the Earth's temperature by 6 degrees Centigrade or nearly 11 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of this century.

What? How could that be possible? You would have to amplify the CO2 increase in heat by 400% to get to 6 degrees at 560 ppm. Is there anything in the way of actual observation that shows such an amplification. In a word, no. (Even the scientists who are truest believers in AGW say the amplification their computer models show is more in the range of 200%).

Based on a completely hysterical and unsupported statement on amplification, here's Mr. Elgin's list of horribles:

In the past, the Earth's atmosphere was filled with a benevolent and congenial mixture of oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide and other gases that have enabled life to flourish. We are radically changing the mixture and tipping the Earth into a new condition: The oceans are turning acidic and dying; prolonged droughts and historic floods from weather extremes are becoming the norm; heat waves beyond the tolerance of people, plants, and animals are more frequent; more powerful hurricanes and storms are spreading, tropical diseases are expanding into warmer zones and, eventually, a sea level rise will flood coastal cities around the world and produce massive migrations of people, animals, and plants. A climate crisis of this magnitude will result in massive crop failures, famines, food riots, and the breakdown of societies.

The sky really is falling for this guy and his ilk.

Let's look at each statement.

The atmosphere has been for the last several million years at least (dry volume):

Nitrogen  78.084%
Oxygen    20.946%
Argon          .934%

That totals more than 99.9%. All the trace gasses, some of which are heat trapping, are confined to under .1% and CO2 is the most common trace gas at .039%. Our burning of fossil fuels has allegedly made CO2 rise in concentration from .028% to .039% over two centuries. Any sane person would not think that is much of a change but for Mr. Elgin it is "radically changing the mixture". No, it's not. It's barely changing anything.

The oceans are not turning acidic but remain basic (that is, on the opposite side of neutral from acidic) as they have been for a long time.

There have always been prolonged floods and droughts and heat waves and there is no indication they are "becoming the norm". Just the opposite, the floods and droughts and heat waves were much worse in America and China, for examples, when CO2 atmospheric concentration was much, much lower.

Hurricanes are not becoming more powerful. Cyclonic energy worldwide now is about where it was in the 1970s and well below what it was in the 50s.

Sea level is rising, as it always does during an interglacial, but at a very tiny rate, so that in a century the ocean might be a whole foot higher than at the beginning of the Millennium. A foot of sea level rise is not going to cause "massive migration of people, animals and crops" from the coast or from anywhere to anywhere else, for that matter.

As to the "massive crop failures, famines, food riots, and the breakdown of societies" he predicts, this is the same sort of apocalyptic, end-times hysteria we humans have been hearing for centuries at least and probably since mankind existed. It used to be religiously based and the end-times promised were from an unhappy-with-us God, and not from an invisible trace gas absolutely vital to nearly all life here on Earth.

It never happens. The famines, riots and breakdowns of society are nearly always a fleeting condition caused by extremely bad leadership.

With this sort of constant, exorbitant overstatement by the true believers, is it any wonder that AGW has become about the last thing we humans are worried about over the last decade of chicken littlism?


Thursday, August 23, 2012


Well Equipped Enemy

The first real assault weapon (full auto, intermediate round rifle) the Sturmgewehr 44, the greatest small arms weapon of WWII.



Tooting My Own Horn

Here is Scott Johnson over at Power Line writing about the horrible mess Egypt has become since the overthrow (with our blessings--more of that smart diplomacy) of pro-America moderate Hosni Mubarek. He starts:

Has the misnamed Arab Spring turned into something closer to “Springtime for Hitler”?

Here's me about 10 months ago.


Great minds and all that.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Thought of the Day

I'm talking, of course, about the wind farm menace.

It divides once-happy communities; it blights cherished views; it wipes between 25 per cent and 50 per cent off property values; it causes insomnia, depression, palpitations, anxiety, sickness of all kinds; it enriches the cynical, greedy few at the expense of the many; it drives up energy prices; it kills birdlife and bats; it destroys jobs (creating only fake, taxpayer-subsidised ones), it does nothing whatsoever to benefit the environment, let alone arrest "climate change."

That such a hideous menace could be allowed to stalk the land under a New Labour administration I could just about understand. But under a Conservative prime minister? Never! Or so one might reasonably have thought.

Wind farms, after all, are antithetical to pretty much every one of conservatism's most basic principles.

They trample on property rights, stealing homeowners' tranquillity and the value of their single most important investment, with not a scrap of apparent guilt or compunction, let alone compensation.
They place collectivism – and a peculiarly bastardised, ill-considered, ill-justified collectivism at that – before individual self-determination and liberty.

They pervert the free market, whose successful operation Britain so desperately needs if it is ever to crawl out of this (largely state-created) depression. Scarce resources are diverted from the productive sector of the economy into an industry which no one, save a few rent-seeking parasites and environmental zealots, wants or needs – and which would never survive without massive subsidy because it has no real economic value.

They are the antithesis of the commonsense, empiricism and pragmatism which are at the root of conservative tradition. Wind farms don't work. They're expensive. They're unpopular. There is no evidence that they offer any benefit to the country whatsoever. So what conservative in his right mind would insist on building more of them with money we haven't got?

James Delingpole


Monday, August 20, 2012


And Now Anthony D. L. Scott Has Jumped Off the San Pedro Bridge

Although I'm a bigger fan of this older brother Ridley (despite the recent disappointments) Tony Scott was a very talented director who, earlier in his career, created some excellent cinema. Namely,

The Hunger

Top Gun

Last Boy Scout, and his very best work,

True Romance.

He was apparently a very good producer as well, but I don't care about producers so I don't know.
He jumped off the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro, the same bridge a young and fit William L. Peterson jumped off (with a bungee) in To Live and Die in L.A. There is no doubt Scott's leap was a suicide as he left a note according to the L. A. County coroner's office. He leaves behind a third wife and twin boys. He was 68. RIP, if that's possible for a suicide.

On second thought, Man on Fire was better than The Last Boy Scout. Top Gun is more fun than good.


Sunday, August 19, 2012


What's Keeping the Lights On?

Jo Nova has published a pie chart at her blog on climate which puts energy production worldwide in tera watt hours (billion kilowatt hours) by category. Here it is:

And here are the percentages:

Fossil fuel including uranium (that is, non-renewable fuel)          80.4%
Hydroelectric                                                                          16.5%

Let's stop there. So fossil fuels, nuclear and dams provide, for all practical purposes, all of the energy the world uses for everyday living and commerce. The non-hydroelectric renewables are in total a pitiful 3.2% (rounded up). I'm not sure that even qualifies as boutique power production. And it's particularly pitiful in that the much touted but worthless intermittent power sources (wind and sun) are nearly always 100% backed up by fossil fuels even when the intermittent power sources are producing power.

Does any sober, thinking person think that we can shut down even a small part of the 80 plus percent without hurting further an already hurting world economy?

Does any sober, thinking person think that the 3.2% can be easily scaled up to take over even a tiny slice more of the nearly 97% of the energy used in the world?

Stop wasting money on non economic power sources (wind and solar) for the mythical problem increased atmospheric CO2 poses. It's not even pie in the sky thinking. It's an order of magnitude less realistic than pie in the sky.




My youngest daughter drove off Thursday to a new job in Boise, Idaho. I watched with mixed emotions--I'm proud of her getting a job in her field of study but I miss her and will miss her it seems for months and years to come. Boise is a very full day's travel away. I wish her nothing but success. Like every father, I worry about her though.

My wife, Kit, and I have had a relationship over the past fifteen years marked by a sine wave pattern of break-ups and reconciliations; and we're either entering the low part of that wave or, more likely, ending the pattern with a break-up without the possibility of reconciliation.

The total failure of my second marriage, 20 years after my first divorce from the mother of my children, Sue, is an attention hound. It takes effort not to think about it non-stop, and by effort I mean distraction.

It also demands a lot of introspection which I'm doing. The trouble is I know my faults and limitations and one of them is that I seem unable not to do the things I know are faults and limitations. So I'm just running through a catalog of personal failures over and over. It's much more interesting to me to try to see what is motivating Kit because I'm not getting a complete picture there. I mean I know what she says but I remain in the dark about what is actually causing her to act as she does. The only thing I can come up with, and it's pretty lame pop psychology, is she is one of those unfortunate people who only want what they do not have and do not want what they have. That's not so good.

Of course it's a very real possibility that my faults and limitations have caused her to fall out of love with me. That's kind of an Occam's Razor sort of explanation. Probably true, too. I don't seem actually to fall out of love with people whom I have loved, but there are things that can cause me to decide not to be with the object of my affection and desire, which is functionally the same as falling out of love but does not accurately reflect my heart.

The one good thing we are doing is getting a Catholic divorce, a legal separation, so that we'll have to go through the bother and expense of going back to court in the future if either of us is stupid enough to want to get married yet again. It's good to have a backstop.



The Alibi Ike President

It's almost a cliche to say that President Obama never takes blame for anything that results from his far-left ideological policies. So I won't repeat that charge; but I have to admit I laughed out loud at his campaign's current excuse for the less than standing room only crowds he's drawing lately.

“We have plenty of time for big rallies,” a campaign spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, said between the rallies on Thursday. “Our focus right now is on exciting our supporters and winning over undecided voters and the smaller and medium-size events are the best venue to accomplish that because the president can closely engage with the crowd.

”Big rallies are expensive, especially given the logistical and security challenges for a president as opposed to a mere United States senator. And Obama campaign operatives, both at the Chicago headquarters and in swing states where Mr. Obama recently has stumped, say the campaign intentionally limits crowds by restricting tickets. The reason is to allow the president to better connect with supporters, aides say. (Emphasis added).
Uh huh.

So apparently both campaigns are turning people away. Romney/Ryan is doing so because the crowds coming to campaign events unexpectedly exceed the size of the venue. Obama/Biden says it's doing so because the campaign's appeal is becoming more selective. But it's not because of any gap in enthusiasm. No, no, no. No enthusiasm gap here.

(h/t Ace of Spades)


Friday, August 17, 2012


Well Equipped Enemy

A German NCO goes after a chicken with his bayonet. This obviously was taken on the Eastern Front after 1941, as he's carrying a PPSh-41, a Soviet weapon. He's dressed for the cold but there are still leaves on the trees. Early Autumn? A lot of Germans picked up and used Soviet weapons, particularly the SVT-40, a semiautomatic rifle with a 10 round detachable box magazine of full sized rounds (the precursor to the SKS).


Thursday, August 16, 2012


What Do They Know That We Don't

I can understand the Department of Homeland Security buying pistol ammunition. Security people often carry weapons and you need ammunition for them. For the record, they ordered 450 million rounds of .40 S&W hollow points. This is on top of an order a few years ago for 200 million of the same rounds. And I can understand the FBI ordering 100 million rounds of the same rounds. I can even understand the U.S. Fish and Wildlife buying 320,000 rounds for a variety of handguns and .223 and shotgun ammunition. Wildlife (and to a lesser degree fish) can be dangerous so the rangers and such need the ammunition.

But is there any reason, any reason at all, for the National Weather Service to buy 40,000 rounds of .40 S&W caliber, 180-grain jacketed hollow point (JHP) and another 6,000 rounds of frangible, 125-grain CFRHT .40 caliber? It's the weather guys. Apparently packing. God knows why.

And here is the social security administration buying 174,000 rounds of .357 Sig 125 grain bonded jacketed hollow point pistol ammunition? And now the SSA is hiding the details of the purchase.

Look, I have no problem with the choice of pistol cartridge. Both the .40 S&W and the .357 Sig are great rounds, real man-stoppers (as opposed to our military's less than optimum 9mm parabellum). The frangible round is perfect for self defense as it will only very rarely exit the target and hit someone else and it almost never ricochets, certainly never fatally. It's the departments buying the ammunition that is so puzzling.

Oh, and again for the record, hollow point rounds are illegal for military use under the Hague Convention of 1899. We only use full metal jacketed bullets on our enemies. Are these rounds meant for our enemies or our fellow citizens?

UPDATE: Rather than hide the purchase order, the SSA now is explaining it. OK, so the agency has 295 fraud investigating agents who are armed. That's over 590 bullets each, a brick plus. Hollowpoints are specialized bullets, not routinely used for target practice. (That's what the cheaper and less deadly FMJ or ball ammunition is for). What sort of action is the SSA expecting?

The most paranoid among the ones noticing these purchase orders think these huge purchases are a government plot to make ammunition more difficult to obtain by citizens, while the more cynical think it's just agencies using up the money given to them each year so they get more next fiscal year. Either way it seems a waste.

I corrected my mistake above that one of the Geneva Conventions banned hollowpoints and dum dum rounds.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012


It's a Long Way There

It's a long way to where I'm going.


Sunday, August 12, 2012



Here are some things I've noticed in the world, and beyond, which could be important, emphasis on 'could'.

An El Nino is forming up off the coast of South America, albeit weakly just now. This should mean more moisture to the southern tier of American states in the next year or two. So much for the permanent drought predicted for that area.

The sun is nearing what should be the apex of the sine wave of sunspots and flux density of radio emissions at 10.7cm frequency, and the sunspot number is generally well below 100 and the flux density number is generally 125 to 150. But the height of the 11 year sunspot maximum to minimum cycle is where the sunspot numbers should be 175 or so and the radio number should be around 200. What we have now is a very low maximum. There are plenty of people out there (and I am one of them) who believe that sunspots have much more effect on Earth's climate than any trace gas in the atmosphere. Prediction: colder weather for the next decade or so.

The meteorologists who control the temperature record of the US (and the world?) have been "adjusting" the raw temperature measurements up for the last four or five decades. That means that at least half of the reported temperature rise over the last 100 years is mythical, a result of the corrupting of the temperature record. The real rise in temperature over the past century is a very non-threatening .35 degrees C (.035 per decade). I don't doubt that CO2 causes some temperature amplification and that some amount of the CO2 in the atmosphere now is a result of human activity (burning fossil fuels), but the amount of temperature rise directly caused by the fossil fuels is infinitesimally small and not at all threatening to anyone. And the satellite measurements show no further warming for the last decade and a half.


Thursday, August 02, 2012


Not Exactly a Road to Damascus Type Conversion

Berkeley scientist Richard Muller is trying to sell his latest not ready for peer review paper as the product of his conversion from skeptic to true believer regarding anthropogenic global warming.

But when was he ever a skeptic?

Jo Nova cuts him a new arseloch for several of his recent claims here.

Mark Morano has a lot about the man, including some disdain by Michael Mann.

Tom Nelson has a collection of quotes from Muller which throw a lot of doubt on the skeptic claim. They are:

"If Al Gore reaches more people and convinces the world that global warming is real, even if he does it through exaggeration and distortion - which he does, but he’s very effective at it - then let him fly any plane he wants." - Richard Muller, 2008

..."There is a consensus that global warming is real.’s going to get much, much worse." - Richard Muller, 2006

..."Let me be clear. My own reading of the literature and study of paleoclimate suggests strongly that carbon dioxide from burning of fossil fuels will prove to be the greatest pollutant of human history. It is likely to have severe and detrimental effects on global climate." - Richard Muller, 2003

Not a lot of skepticism in those.

UPDATE: Nor is there a huge amount of skepticism in this lot. Money quote:

“It is ironic if some people treat me as a traitor, since I was never a skeptic — only a scientific skeptic,” he said in a recent email exchange with The Huffington Post. “Some people called me a skeptic because in my best-seller ‘Physics for Future Presidents’ I had drawn attention to the numerous scientific errors in the movie ‘An Inconvenient Truth.’ But I never felt that pointing out mistakes qualified me to be called a climate skeptic.” (Emphasis added).


Wednesday, August 01, 2012


Milky Way Over Monument Valley

(h/t Astronomy Picture of the Day)

I would prefer to call our plane of sister stars Galaxy from the ancient Greek word that means the same thing, but it comes off too generic. Sounds cooler though. Milky Way is too milquetoast a word for that billion star grandeur.


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