Sledgehammer's Cycles

Sledgehammer's Cycles
Sledgehammer's Performance and Custom Cycles

Friday, November 30, 2012

Things Not To Say To Your Wife

Apropos nothing, except I have Internet ...



This reminds me of the time that I introduced my lovely Bride as my "first wife".  If there had been a video camera around it would have been featured on Fail Blog.  If there had been Fail Blog.  Good times, good times ...

The magic words to move AT&T's tech support

The lovely and loves-her-Internet Mrs. Borepatch got the runaround from AT&T's tech support monkeys today.  Her reply was what moved mountains - actually got an AT&T tech engineer on-site at Camp Borepatch in 3 hours:
Comcast told me they could have someone here before the end of the day.
Presto-chango, we have Internet, TV, and phone again.  The moral, of course, is that competition empowers the consumer, and lack of competition dis-empowers the consumer.  There's an Obamacare lesson in there somewhere, but you all get it anyway.

And so I am posting this from the secure Comms room deep within the Camp Borepatch secure perimeter, because my lovely Bride opened up a can o' whoop-ass.



I love this song.  And now I can listen to it on the Internet.

The US Army's view of Britain in 1944

This sure was a different world from "Cool Britannia" or the London riots.


Triple threat

Most Internet providers will offer a "Triple Play" - TV, Internet, and phone all delivered through a single wire and a single box.  It's convenient, and usually beats a la carte pricing of each service.  But it brings a single point of failure - that single wire or device.

Camp Borepatch is off the air, because AT&T can't seem to get us a box that works.  They're overnighting the third box to us, so I'll swap it in tomorrow.  It'll be interesting to see what the kids do without 'net access - and if some of their games won't run without contacting an authentication server first.  Good times, good times.

Companies with a clue plan for this sort of thing, with two separate physical connections to their building, and with two separate Internet providers.  That fails if both connections attach to the same SONET ring, and Bob the Builder goes berserk with a backhoe, but still.

Oh, and AT&T staffs their support line with monkeys.  Polite monkeys, to be sure, but a monkey who refuses to deviate from his checklist.  I'm not as technical as I used to be, but hokey smokes.

Lost squadron of Spitfires could fly again in 3 years

Found in Myanmar (Burma), they are expected to be restored.  Rare model XIV planes as well:
Archaeologists will begin digging for the historic hoard of at least 36 British fighter planes in January.

Archaeologists will begin digging for the historic hoard of at least 36 British fighter planes in January.

...

The Spitfires, which used Rolls Royce Griffon engines instead of the Merlins of earlier models, are believed to have been put in crates and transported from the factory in Castle Bromwich, in the West Midlands, to Burma in August 1945.

However, when the war against the Japanese in Burma came to an abrupt end, the British South-East Asia command decided to bury them to ensure they could not be found by the enemy.

Mr Cundall believes the Spitfires are still wrapped in their original Castle Bromwich tar paper.
Cool story.

Global Warming is still missing in action

While we're getting barraged with doom and gloom stories in the Press (like the laughable Atlantic Magazine 5 Charts that should have you worried), the actual climate refuses to cooperate with the narrative:
Figures released by the UN's World Meteorological Organisation indicate that 2012 is set to be perhaps the ninth hottest globally since records began - but that planetary warming, which effectively stalled around 1998, has yet to resume at the levels seen in the 1980s and early 1990s.

...

The official position of the climate establishment is that global warming is still definitely on and the flat temperatures seen for the last 14 years or so are just a statistical fluke of the sort to be expected when trying to measure such a vast and noisy signal as world temperatures with such precision. (The global warming since 1950 is assessed as just half a degree, a difficult thing to pick out when temperatures everywhere go up and down by many degrees every day and even more over a year.)

That said, there is now some admission even from the hardest climate hardliners that something may be going on which is not understood.
Huh.  Seems that the science isn't quite so settled.  The climate seems to be mocking the climate scientists.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Quote of the Day

Mangan:
Just another day in the increasingly corrupt USA. Meanwhile, the middle class is getting squeezed from both ends: forced to pay higher taxes to fund the government and its dependents, and seeing its jobs lost to outsourcing, globalism, competition from immigrants and robots, and the ongoing global financial crisis.

Nothing to see here; move along.

Choices

Here's something that you don't hear much of amid the current well-organized ZOMG Thermageddon press blitz: the developing world cannot afford the pie-in-the-sky "renewable" energy sources so loved by Progressives.  How do we know this?  The developing world can't even afford cheap coal electricity:
We do not label those who live on $1 per day as having "economic access" -- rather they are desperately poor, living just above the poverty line. Everyone understands that $1 a day is not much. Very few people get that 100 kWh per year is a pitifully small amount of energy. Therefore, I suggest that we start talking in terms of  "energy poverty" measured as a percentage of the average American (or European or Japanese or Australian or whatever energy rich context you'd prefer as a baseline, the results will be qualitatively the same). To use the IEA numbers, one would be in "energy poverty" with access to less than 2% of the energy access enjoyed by those in the rich world.

It is bad enough that the energy poor are largely ignored in our rich world debates over issues like climate change. It is perhaps even worse that our "success stories" often mean creating scenarios where the energy poor attain just 2% of the access to energy that we enjoy on a daily basis. The frustrating irony of course is that the issues that rich world environmentalists most seem to care about might be best addressed by putting energy poverty first, but that is a subject for another time.
There are 1.3 billion people who have no electricity at all, and to Progressives they are invisible.  Give these people a quarter as much electricity as we have - a pathetically low goal, to be sure - and you've just added the equivalent of the United States' greenhouse gas emissions to the environment.  That shocked gasp you just heard is from Progressives everywhere.  Can't have poor people aspiring to things like electric lighting, air conditioning, and computers with Internet access.

Choose, progs.  You can have your SWPL environmentalism or you can help a billion people get out of grinding poverty.  Pick one.

Why Mitt Romney lost

He wouldn't say any of this.



You don't have to listen to all of this, or believe that Newt was the savior, but he expresses why his way is a better way.  Mitt was all about "I'm not Obama".  How'd that work out for him?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"Libertarian" statist pricks

You don't normally expect to run across drool-worthy, jaw droopingly idiotic blog posts over at the Volokh Conspiracy, particularly not ones going full frontal in their advocacy of the most useless, wasteful, freedom-infringing, Statist Prick delighting Federal Agency ever devised.

Stewart Baker just did that.  Boy, howdy: The Sex secrets of the TSA?
It’s Thanksgiving weekend, when most of us get to spend at least some time thinking about TSA. I’ve spent mine puzzling over the roots of TSA-hatred.

There’s no doubt that it’s virulent. As a privacy skeptic and national security conservative, I’m used to hostile comments.  But it’s only when I defend TSA that the comments go beyond hostile to visceral and occasionally even spittle-flecked.

Why is that? Notwithstanding the venom of the TSA-haters, polls show that most Americans support TSA, including the decision to use whole body scanners. But for a very vocal minority opposing the agency isn’t political. It’s personal.

I can’t explain the women who hate TSA with a passion, though I’m not sure how many there are.
Wow.  The comments to that post are interesting, as are the comments to Jonathan Adler's Wow, didn't Stewart really open a can of worms one.  The first comment to that post is interesting:
Baker's post "touched a nerve" because it is insulting and beyond idiotic. The idea that women are going to be turned on by the involuntary guy on guy action in the security line, combined with the idea that men object to the screenings because of some kind of anxiety over their performance while being groped, is terribly offensive and litteraly the stupidest thing anybody has ever written on this blog. The fact that Baker would make this comments as one of the authors of the TSA policy shows him to be just a sick individual. It is not at all surprising that this is the TSA mindset.
[emphasis mine]  Note that the blog allows readers to rate a comment as positive or negative.  As I write this the score is 110 like vs. 2 dislike.

This shows that even a "libertarian" blog can be infested with statist pricks.  I had not known that Baker had been the #2 (or #3) man at the Department of Homeland Security.  But his view into the American Psyche is telling - the commenter to Adler's post has it precisely correct.  Baker wrote TSA policy.  The TSA is his baby.

Own it, Baker.

This was quite an insight for me as to the Volokh Conspiracy site.  Branding is a simple thing, but people forget that it's a two way street - people you work with can help your brand, but they can also hurt it.  I'll never run across that blog without the words "statist pricks" whispering in the back of my head.

And oh yeah, you should read Ken at Popehat on this, where our very own TJIC shows up in the comments with his patented form of snark.

OPSEC FAIL

It seems that somehow Merlin mounted a covert camera in the Borepatchmobile.

Damn.

How long does it take to find a security problem in Industrial control systems?

Seven minutes:
On Thanksgiving day I had a morning’s worth of time to wait for a turkey to cook, so I decided to take a shot at finding as many SCADA 0day vulnerabilities as possible. As we at Exodus we responsibly report all vulnerabilities we deal with, my goal was to report any such findings for free to ICS-CERT, the group responsible for collaborating with SCADA vendors to ensure vulnerabilities are fixed.

...

The most interesting thing about these bugs was how trivial they were to find. The first exploitable 0day took a mere 7 minutes to discover from the time the software was installed. For someone who has spent a lot of time auditing software used in the enterprise and consumer space, SCADA was absurdly simple in comparison.
For those who haven't been reading my Jeremiads on the subject, SCADA are the control computers that run the electric power grid, oil refineries, factories - the infrastructure of the modern economy.  Thousands have been connected to the Internet (to make them easier to manage).

Security wasn't an after thought, it wasn't thought of at all.

The researcher found 23 security bugs, ranging from code execution to file system manipulation to denial of service.  I'd go out on a limb and say that the denial of service ones are perhaps the most dangerous - I don't know that it would be possible to DoS a refinery and make it go boom, but I don't know that you couldn't, either.

Hotel Room locks not secure

I posted a couple months ago about how some security researchers demonstrated that they could open hotel room electronic locks.  That was a proof of concept exploit, but it looks like this is being done in the wild:
Whoever robbed Janet Wolf’s hotel room did his work discreetly.

When Wolf returned to the Hyatt in Houston’s Galleria district last September and found her Toshiba laptop stolen, there was no sign of a forced door or a picked lock. Suspicions about the housekeeping staff were soon ruled out, too—-Wolf says the hotel management used a device to read the memory of the keycard lock and told her that none of the maids’ keys had been used while she was away.

Two days after the break-in, a letter from hotel management confirmed the answer: The room’s lock hadn’t been picked, and hadn’t been opened with any key. Instead, it had been hacked with a digital tool that effortlessly triggered its opening mechanism in seconds. The burglary, one of a string of similar thefts that hit the Hyatt in September, was a real-world case of a theoretical intrusion technique researchers had warned about months earlier—one that may still be effective on hundreds of thousands or millions of locks protecting hotel rooms around the world.
You should assume that your lock is insecure.  When you are in the room you should engage the deadbolt and the door chain/bar.  When you leave, you should take valuables like computers and jewelry, leaving them in the car trunk.

The manufacturer of these locks is looking to get some stormy weather.  Not only was there no thought given to the security of the devices, but the "fix" offered their hotel customers is to replace all the locks.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Home again

We're back from the beach, and Wolfgang was pretty excited to see us.  The boys took him for walks, but it seems from his greeting that it wasn't at all the same thing.

Dang, he's bigger than he was when we left.  How can he be going through another growth spurt?  I expect he's 70 lbs, and not yet 7 months old.  Oof.

It's better to be back home than I'd thought.  The beach was pretty sweet, and not having to amuse the kids (or the dogs) made it doubly sweet. 



But the comforts of home are comforting, and I must confess that it's nice to have a puppy asleep at my feet. Even if he is the size of a house.

Actually, I have a CRC Handbook

Never tried using it like this, though.


I have a rack, and I'm not afraid to use it

Well now, the copy just writes itself, doesn't it?
A German woman is up in court on a charge of "attempted manslaughter with a weapon", after allegedly trying to smother her boyfriend with her ample 38DD assets.

Lawyer Tim Schmidt, 30, claims 33-year-old Franziska Hansen forced his head into her voluminous top-hamper while they were making the beast with two backs back in May in the town of Unna.

...

Schmidt added that he managed to escape the Ride of the Valkyrie, and fled naked to a neighbour's house, from where he called the cops.
Regarding a motive for the bazonga blitzkrieg, Hansen was apparently jealous of her other half's successful law career while she "struggled to adapt to life and failed to hold down a string of jobs".
Ride of the Valkyrie.  Giggle *snort*.  And the Germans call us "rednecks".

Yeah, yeah, attempted murder is very serious, yadda yadda.  I'd post a picture of the, ahem, weapon, but I don't run that sort of joint.  You'll have to be satisfied with a cold shower, or this:



My favorite Roman poet

Really, it's a lot more interesting than you'd think.  I came to Horace via a back door education - introduced to him by the great English 17th and 18th Century poets.  Milton himself translated part of Odes I.  Byron penned an apology that spoke perfectly to my own poor comprehension:
Then farewell, Horace, whom I hated so
Not for thy faults, but mine; it is a curse
To understand, not feel thy lyric flow,
To comprehend, but never love thy verse.
My own Latin abilities were never very good - good enough to impress people who never learned any Latin, to be sure.  Good enough to (once I had learned the ancient Roman formula for inscriptions on  monuments) impress the lovely and is-actually-an-accomplished-linguist Mrs. Borepatch when we visited Rome, as I rattled off what was carved on the various ruins in the Forum.  She knew that I was most definitely not a linguist.  What she didn't know was that I was cheating: the Romans were lovers of formula, and I learned the formula.

And so I was able to stumble my way through Horace's Odes, like Byron.  That's a shame, because you yourself know some of his poetry:
dum loquimur, fugerit invida
aetas: carpe diem, quam minimum
credula postero.


While we speak, envious time will have already fled
Seize the day, trusting as little as possible in the future
Carpe Diem.  You've likely run across that one before.  It's from Odes 1.11.  Military veterans may have run across this one:
Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.
mors et fugacem persequitur uirum

nec parcit inbellis iuuentae
poplitibus timidoue tergo.
It’s sweet and fitting to die for one’s country.
Yet death chases after the soldier who runs,
and it won’t spare the cowardly back
or the limbs, of peace-loving young men.
Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori. You might have run across that one, too.

Horace was the most famous and influential of the ancient poets.  If I were as educated as I'd like, I'd improve my Latin to where I could not just stumble through the Odes, but actually appreciate them.  It's a bit odd to think that I'm decently educated for our time but would be functionally illiterate for two centuries back.

Horace died on this day in 8 B.C.  A friend of Caesar Augustus himself, he willed his estate to the Emperor.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Zombies? Groovy!

It's not often that a commercial makes me laugh out loud, but this one does.  Nice cameos.


View from dinner





Good way to end a too-short vacation.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thinking about secession

Secession seems to be alive and well.  As Progressives love to tell us, we should take our cue from Europe.

The Czar of Muscovy puts up a very interesting post on what's happening in Europe:
Meanwhile, you look at Czechoslovakia. Pretty decent country. But how much better it became when the Czechs split from Slovakia. Want to suppose that the Czech Republic could easily split into three smaller countries: Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia?

Look at Yugoslavia. As soon as they could, the Yugoslavs split into six countries. And then Serbia and Kosovo split up. Eventually, Bosnia and Herzegovina will probably split.

Today, Catalan is looking to leave Spain—and with good reason.
In fact, the last quarter century in Europe has been an unending saga of secession, despite the Euro Elite's mad unification project.  Consider:

1989 - The Soviet Empire disintegrated, with its client kingdoms overthrown.  Some (as the Czar points out) like Czechoslovakia splintered.  Secession.

1994 - Yugoslavia falls apart.  The Czar covers this perfectly adequately, so read his post.

1997 - Scotland and Wales assume local authority after the voters approved Devolution referenda for local autonomy.

Currently devolution is bubbling away in Belgium and Catalonia at least, as well as Northern Italy.  What's going on in Greece may come to the fore soonest, but it won't be alone.

The list goes on, but you get the point: the story of Europe has been not the showy centralization of the EU and the Euro, but rather the weakening of the Westphalian Nation State.  Actually the Swiss have shown the viability of the post-war Europe under the Pax America/End Of History period - without an external enemy, central authority loses much of its allure.

And so to these shores.  Perhaps we should speak of "devolution" rather than "secession", following the Progressive's advice of being more like Europe.  Obama and company are indeed engaged in a grand centralizing experiment is the EU style, but without better chances of success.  Already we hear of States talking about reining in the TSA, or voiding Federal firearms laws.  We see perhaps a majority rejecting Obamacare's mandate for health care exchanges.

Even more - as Obama's wing of the Democratic Party ratchets up Class Warfare to a peak never seen before on these shores, at what point does serious Devolution become a real possibility?  Secession, we are told, is illegal (despite the certainty that the Constitution would never have been ratified without States thinking they could leave if they wanted to).  It is illegal, because Mr. Lincoln was willing to see 10% of the military age male population killed or wounded.  It is illegal because of force majeure.

But isn't that what Obama is ending, the Pax Americana imposed on a world through American force of arms?  It's hard to see that Mr. Obama's party would have the will (let alone the support) to force a group of States back into the Union.  After the likely massive Defense cuts coming in sequestration and the Fiscal Cliff, he wouldn't have the capability, anyway.

And so, it may be possible that Obama's class warfare driven grand centralizing design has the effect of splintering the Union and entirely removing the American stabilizing influence that has allowed Europe to sleep undisturbed, dreaming end of history dreams.  As American power recedes from that unhappy continent, the forces of devolution will continue there and here.  There, we can expect fragmentation to lead to bloodshed (as it always has).

Here bloodshed is less likely, because Americans have always been more practical that Europeans.

So will this happen?  Who knows?  Probably not - we saw the Left talking secession in 2004, and the Right talking it now.  I do expect to see a lot of States increasingly give Washington DC the finger, to general approbation.  Interesting times, this End Of History.

Green shoots?

I'm not optimistic for the mid-term (3-5 years), because the wheels are coming off the Eurozone and that will see massive sovereign debt defaults.  The banking system is still very creaky, with far too much leverage, and that will push the world into recession.  Well, that's my opinion, anyway.

But a second opinion is more optimistic.  The second opinion does some very interesting tracking of economic indices, and has a bunch of past successful predictions, so there's some weight you can give it.  Calculated Risk follows things like trucking load factors as indicators of short term economic activity, and the indices are pointing up:
In the interview, I mentioned the "doomer" mentality. Many people now think of the '90s as a great decade for the economy - and it was. But there were doomsday predictions every year. As an example, in 1994 Larry Kudlow was arguing the Clinton tax increases would lead to a severe recession or even Depression. Wrong. By the end of the '90s, there were many people concerned about the stock bubble and I shared that concern, but there were doomers every year (mostly wrong).

In the Business Insider interview, I said: "I’m not a roaring bull, but looking forward, this is the best shape we’ve been in since ’97". Obviously the economy is still sluggish, and the unemployment rate is very high at 7.9%, but I was looking forward. I mentioned the downside risks from Europe and US policymakers (the fiscal slope), but I think the next few years could see a pickup in growth.

In the article I highlighted two of the reasons I expect a pickup in growth that I've mentioned before on the blog; a further increase in residential investment, and the end of the drag from state and local government cutbacks.
I'm not entirely convinced for the medium term - while I don't think that the "Fiscal Cliff" is as bad as news reports say (and I'm fairly certain that we'll go over it - all Obama has to do is run out the clock and he gets tax increases and Defense cuts, and that's what he wants), we're already seeing the impact of Obamacare.  Now that may not hit the economy as a whole very hard, but it will absolutely increase inequality of income distribution as businesses cut back employees' hours to 30 a week.  Government spending will almost certainly be higher than expected because of the "help" that will be needed, and so we'll find that a huge tax increase and massive Defense cuts didn't really do much to reduce the deficit.  That will hurt business confidence, which will keep things mired in low gear until the collapse of the Euro in Greece, Spain, and Portugal causes everything to crumble.

I guess that this is why they call Economics the "dismal science".

Hat tip: Chris Lynch.

UPDATE 26 November 2012 10:45: Zero Hedge disagrees on the short term outlook.

I was a dummy

I usually wait a week or so before upgrading (or even applying patches) to see if there are any problems.  This is pretty typical behavior from folks who have been around computers for a while - changes sometimes have unpredictable impact, because it's impossible to test all possible combinations.

But I saw that there was a new Flash update, and because Flash is a sewer of security trouble, and so I went clicky-clicky on the upgrade.  Oh, bother.


Double bother.  Hello, trouble ticket.  Boy, the IT crew is gonna love seeing me back from vacation ....

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Reflections on not thinking

The beach is not a place to work; to read, write or to think.
- Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea
I've always found it hard to turn off my brain.  This has been handy on long distance drives (like between Atlanta and Austin) where I could really chew over ideas.  The down side has been sleepless Oh Dark Thirty episodes of sitting up with a Brain that won't spin down for the night.  Been more than a couple of those over the last few years.

And yet I find that this trip has seen my brain sort of shut down for an extended time.  I'm not sure if it's for an overhaul, an upgrade (yeah, as if), or just to catch its second wind.  Perhaps it's been not having the kids here, or the dogs, and so there's not a sequence of duty-duty-duty, of a day filled to overflowing with things that must needs be done.


Instead, I find that I have this.  And my brain is beginning to untwist, like a protein molecule uncoiling as it de-natures.  It's a surprisingly (to me) enjoyable feeling.

Blogging will likely not be up to par, because my brain is right now out for a moonlight walk on the beach.  I dare say that it'll be back in time to go back to Atlanta.  Hope so.

A public service announcement





The city of Georgetown SC would like to remind you to please not feed the alligators. Thank you.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Meditation

Photo copyright Borepatch
 Sometimes a-dropping from the sky
 I heard the skylark sing;
 Sometimes all little birds that are,
 How they seem'd to fill the sea and air
 With their sweet jargoning!

- Samuel Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Sir Edward Elgar - Sea Pictures, Op. 37

No offence to Her Britannic Majesty, but I prefer the American sea side to the British one.  When we lived in Blighty, we tooak a weekend drive to Brighton one November.  While the fish and chips were typical, it was cold, cloudy, and rainy.  That same November we went to Weston Super Mare where it was (astonishingly) cold, cloudy, and rainy.

This weekend we went to Myrtle Beach which is warm (ish), sunny, and dry.  Like both Brighton and Weston, there's a pier, and seaside amusements - actually almost the same feel as in Britain.  It's the weather (and the language) that separates our two Peoples.

But Britain has something that we don't, which is Sir Edward Elgar.  With Vaughan Williams, he was the quintessential English composer, writing English music.  Our equivalent would be Copeland and Ives.  I wonder which each composer would prefer, Weston Super Mare or Myrtle Beach.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

That was the sound of Freedom

65 years ago.



Kevin has a post that's worth your while.

My Li'l Pirate

The Anti-Piracy fascists have spread their loathsome tentacles world wide, sending police to seize a nine year old's Winnie-the-Pooh laptop for a song that her father had purchased:
In their zeal to excise the cancer of copyright-infringing downloads, a Finnish anti-piracy group sent police to the home of a nine-year-old girl, where the coppers confiscated her Winnie-the-Pooh laptop.

...

There she was spotted by CIAPC/TTVK, which contacted her father and demanded that to avoid prosecution he fork over €600 (£485, $773) and sign a non-disclosure agreement promising to keep mum about the settlement.

Daddy apparently answered with the Finnish equivalent of FOAD, because at 8am this Tuesday he and his tytär were visited by search warrant–armed police, who seized the laptop as evidence of the youngster's illegal song-searching.
"It would have been easier for all concerned if you had paid the compensation," the police advised the girl's father, according to TorrentFreak.
Translation: it would have been better if you'd just STFU about our fascist thugs.

I wonder if a class action lawsuit against the recording industry, the local authorities, and the artists would get people's attention.  We may get the chance to find out, because this same technology that was used in Finland will be rolled out here in the USA next week.

So here's a story about rent-seeking big business fat cats and their fascist lackeys putting the jackboot to the neck of a nine year old girl who didn't even download a song.  The media, of course, isn't interested in this sort of rent-seeking bib business fat cats and their fascist lackeys, because Hollywood and the Music Industrial Complex support Democrats.  Another proof point that it's not a moral high ground, it's just tribal B.S.

Rope.

It always feels like this


Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett - It's Five O' Clock Somewhere

Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.  
- H. L. Mencken
It's been a while since I've had a proper vacation.  As you'd expect, there's a country music song for this.  As a matter of fact, it was Alan Jackson's biggest hit (and that's saying a lot for someone who had 35 #1 songs) - it spent eight weeks at #1 on the country charts and broke the top 20 on the pop charts.

I have a great boss, and a great job, and so there's no temptation to take this literally.  But everyone has a moment when they want to take Mencken's advice.  Me, I'll relax with the Missus here at the beach for a couple days.  I hope you get a mental vacation, too.  Hey, whenever you're reading this, it's 5 O'clock somewhere.



It's Five O'clock Somewhere (songwriters: Jim Brown, Don Rollins)
The sun is hot and that old clock is movin' slow,
An' so am I.
Work day passes like molasses in wintertime,
But it's July.
I'm gettin' paid by the hour, an' older by the minute.
My boss just pushed me over the limit.
I'd like to call him somethin',
I think I'll just call it a day.

Pour me somethin' tall an' strong,
Make it a "Hurricane" before I go insane.
It's only half-past twelve but I don't care.
It's five o'clock somewhere.

Oh, this lunch break is gonna take all afternoon,
An' half the night.
Tomorrow mornin', I know there'll be hell to pay,
Hey, but that's all right.
I ain't had a day off now in over a year.
Our Jamaican vacation's gonna start right here.
Hit the 'phones for me,
You can tell 'em I just sailed away.

An' pour me somethin' tall an' strong,
Make it a "Hurricane" before I go insane.
It's only half-past twelve but I don't care.
It's five o'clock somewhere.

I could pay off my tab, pour myself in a cab,
An' be back to work before two.
At a moment like this, I can't help but wonder,
What would Jimmy Buffet do?

Funny you should ask that because I'd say:
Pour me somethin' tall an' strong,
Make it a "Hurricane" before I go insane.
It's only half-past twelve but I don't care.

Pour me somethin' tall an' strong,
Make it a "Hurricane" before I go insane.
It's only half-past twelve but I don't care.
He don't care.
I don't care.
It's five o'clock somewhere.

What time zone am on? What country am I in?
It doesn't matter, it's five o'clock somewhere.
It's always on five in Margaritaville, come to think of it.
Yeah, I heard that.
You been there haven't you.
Yessir.
I seen your boat there.
I've been to Margaritaville a few times.
All right, that's good.
Stumbled all the way back.
OK. Just wanna make sure you can keep it between the navigational beacons.
Bring the booze, I tell you.
All right. Well, it's five o'clock. Let's go somewhere.
I'm ready, crank it up.
Let's get out of here.
I'm gone.
Let's get out of here.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Secure Off-Site Location is Secure

OK, maybe it's not so secure.  And maybe the kids are running amok in Camp Borepatch.  It's pretty damn nice here.


There's WiFi, and so I'll be posting.  But a walk along the beach under the moonlight was pretty sweet.  Feels like a long time since I've had a proper vacation.

Seen on I-20





Austin Healey. Dad brought his ten year old son. I hope the kid remembers this trip when he's old.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Rollin'

The lovely and loves-the-beach Mrs. Borepatch and I are heading to, well, the beach.  We're leaving Camp Borepatch and the dogs (and Crash the Wondercat) under the care of #1 Son and #2 Son.

Fridge is full of turkey leftovers, the freezer is full of frozen pizza.  The liquor cabinet is triple locked.

It's odd to turn over this much responsibility to the kids, because I still see them like this:


But #1 Son drives the Jeep's stick shift, so they can get the dogs to the dog park.  If Blogpress stops crashing, I'll post some pix from the beach so you can all hate on me.

ATM scam

There's an ATM fraud scam that might affect you:
Security experts with the European ATM Security Team (EAST) say five countries in the region this year have reported card trapping incidents. Such attacks involve devices that fit over the card acceptance slot and include a razor-edged spring trap that prevents the customer’s card from being ejected from the ATM when the transaction is completed.



These devices were made to capture the ATM user’s card after the user withdrawals cash. Credit: EAST.
The typical fraud first occurs around 10 minutes after the card is captured, so if an ATM machine doesn't give you your card back, you should immediately call your bank's fraud hotline.  It's a good idea to have your bank's (and credit card issuers') hotline phone numbers in your cell phone's address book.  Do not have your card numbers stored on your phone - if you lose the phone, those numbers are valuable to a thief.

However, being able to speed dial your bank saying that ATM location such-and-such ate your card will let them disable it instantly.

Tech rumble: Windows 8 vs. iOS vs. Android

This actually sums up the battle pretty well:
It's absolutely true, as my former colleague Tom Dale argues, that Apple remains weak in web services and Google continues to stumble in user experience. The problem, as he articulates, is that "Google is getting better at design faster than Apple is getting better at web services," but both are making progress. If Microsoft steps back to focus solely on Windows 8, rather than seamlessly weaving into it web services and winning hardware design, then Microsoft stands to be the jack of all trades, and master of none. That's not a winning strategy in mobile. Not yet, anyway.
Hastings continues:
The challenge for [Microsoft] is: okay, what’s the profit stream, if the marketshare is different than it has been in the past? The big profit streams are from very high-share products — Office and Windows. So to the degree that the eventual revenue is not the same split as in the past, then there’s a threat to the profit stream.
Exactly... and guess what? Microsoft's primary revenue streams absolutely will be different from those it enjoyed in the past. As I've argued recently, Microsoft's Office suite is no longer the primary means of creating valuable business data/content. That's revenue stream number one in jeopardy. It's also the case that in mobile, the big market going forward, no one buys operating systems. Apple makes it part of the iPhone/iPad experience for free, and Android, of course, is open source. That's Microsoft's second big revenue stream eviscerated.
Android has come a long way in the past 12 months.  I ditched an older Android 2.2 because it was clunky; #1 Son is in love with his Galaxy III.  Apple has fumbled very badly with their epic fail mapping app - this is one of the most valuable apps for a smart phone, and Apple's simply doesn't inspire confidence.

And I had a bit of an out of body experience in the last few days.  I was driving around with #1 Son who was playing MP3s.  Suddenly the music cut out and a voice said In one quarter mile, turn right.  Woah - directions that talk to us? 

Of course, this is ten year old technology.  You just don't get it on your iPhone.  Android FTW.

As to Microsoft, it doesn't appear that any of their corporate customers are remotely interested in Windows 8.  That's the Windows and Office profit streams that are divorced from the core technology stream.  Maybe they'll pull it off.  Maybe.

This is actually turning into a very interesting horse race.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

They just discovered what really happened to Emilia Earhart

She was navigating with Google Maps:
A South Pacific island, shown on marine charts and world maps as well as on Google Earth and Google Maps, does not exist, Australian scientists say.
The supposedly sizeable strip of land, named Sandy Island on Google maps, was positioned midway between Australia and French-governed New Caledonia.
But when scientists from the University of Sydney went to the area, they found only the blue ocean of the Coral Sea.
Explains some of the directions I've gotten in the past, actually.  Still better than the iPhone mapping app, though.

Dedicated to Lissa

It's the first Thanksgiving for her as a Mom, although Baby Kitty is probably too young even for baby food.  Enjoy the day, anyway.  As a meditation on the young 'un, here's a mom and a baby kitty.



It's actually a Zen koan, if you think on it.

A hymn of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday.  Each of us is urged by our Government to give thanks on a holiday.  There's nothing unique there - pretty much all Nations have such a holiday, and each Government encourages celebration on the chosen day.

What's unique is that on Thanksgiving, each of us is expected to decide for ourselves what it is that we are thankful for.  It is the quintessential American devolution of power to the individual, perhaps honored more today in the breach, but nonetheless enshrined in the American psyche.  You pick what it is to celebrate.

This day, perhaps the most American of all holidays, demands uniquely American music.  Fortunately, there is a wealth of offerings, from Aaron Copeland to Charles Ives, but perhaps the most quintessentially American music is this, William Billing's "Chester".  Back in the unpleasantness with his late Majesty King George, this was only surpassed in popularity by Yankee Doodle itself.  The tune is, like America itself, simple and uncomplicated.  The rendition here on banjo (as opposed to symphony) is equally simple and uncomplicated.  The ideas being addressed are deep, worthy of long contemplation and yes, thanksgiving.



May today's celebration be simple and uncomplicated, as befits this day.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

BBQ Turkey

The boys asked for it, so I'm trying an experiment.  I butterflyed the bird (cut out the backbone so it lays flat) and liberally dusted it with Rudy's rub.  It's resting in the fridge until tomorrow.  Then it will be a short hot date in the oven.  Covered with bacon (because bacon!) and more rub.

It's interesting to see the rub pull moisture from the bird - it's supposed to do this, but every ounce of cooking training is screaming against that.  We'll know tomorrow.

And Kroger was packed.  At least in these parts they're open all night and all day tomorrow.  That's actually good, because I don't think I have the stuff for the lovely and legendary Mrs. Borepatch's legendary orange cranberry sauce.

Tab clearing

Via Madd Medic, I find someone who I would never hire:

Lindsey Stone was at Arlington National Cemetery last month, having some fun at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, so she decided to post the picture shown above. She seemed a bit surprised that anyone could take offense at her stunning display of disrespect…

The internet being what it is has led to a deluge of comments on her employer’s Facebook page. Apparently they are going to apologize. Lindsey has just scrubbed her Facebook page.
Too late.  Google sees all, forgets nothing.  Many thanks to the young lady for giving potential employers everywhere a wave off.

Via Midwest Chick, we see that notoriety applies to the public sector as well:
— A police officer who wrote a $2,500 ticket to a mother on a public urination complaint against her 3-year-old son has been fired, City Manager Jim Crosby said Tuesday.

...

“Of course we did receive a lot of notoriety over that,” he said.
Gee, ya think?

Via Isegoria, Our Totalitarian Democracy:
if we define the term rigorously, even a non-violent democracy can be totalitarian. The term should properly apply to any political system that a) concentrates all power within a small elite, b) removes all checks and balances on this power, c) leaves people no viable choice, d) relies on populist brainwashing to change people’s views and personalities, f) reliably elevates to government those unfit to govern.
Each one of these telltale signs is amply observable in today’s Britain and most other so-called democratic states. They all show the dangers resident in a democracy whose power is unchecked by other estates.
I'd use the term "fascist", myself - in Mussolini's definition of "everything within the State, nothing outside the State".  Other than that, this is spot on.

And while I am in favor of capital punishment in theory, I am against it in practice because of things like this:
Plea deal springs Arizona man, Bill Macumber, jailed 37 years in double murder amid concerns his wife framed him during a bitter divorce
All systems can be gamed, and the legal system is no exception.

Giving thanks

We're entering the season where we traditionally meditate on what's behind us and what's ahead of us.  Those who've lived (or are living) through life speaking in its Outdoors Voice experience this in a way different from that those blessed not to have walked that road.

A Girl And Her Gun brings a meditation to us for this season:
In the past few months we have once again been made aware of the cruelties of life.  A friend’s daughter tried to kill herself, others that we know are dealing with the memories of a life of value, but not without sacrifice. Our daughter’s teenage friends are struggling and looking for comfort in a very scary and changing world. I had an old friend call me today. I actually had two old friends call me.Things are not always what they seem.

Today my daughter who was home sick from school was playing music on her phone and the song that stood out to me was this one. I must have listened to it 20 times. I included the words and highlighted what stood out to me as it pertained to the folks in my life struggling.
I find myself frequently saying to myself that she is one of the bloggers who has drunk deep from the cup of wisdom.  Hers is a post that makes me think.   Another post that makes me think.  As does the song which while not the traditional redneck fare you find here, carries not just the tune and the words, but the mood and the message.

RTWT, and meditate on your own loved ones, this holiday season.

$319,000 a year

Guess how much the Executive Director of the Wounded Warrior Project makes?  No fair peeking at the post title.

Forget their lame anti-gun position, and their even lamer belief that they can spin their way out of it.  The fact that they pay sumd00d that kind of coin says that this is just another non-profit that is primarily oriented towards high paying jobs for the Right Sort® of people.

Wonder if they paid their exec half as much whether they could help out a dozen actual, you know - wounded warriors.

Like I said, the anti-gun posture isn't the big problem.  The problem is that their Executive Director is basically stealing from the people he claims that his organization is trying to help.  Epic fail.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bison chili

It's what's for dinner, at least if you're in the Camp Borepatch mess hall.

2 lbs bison slabs (whatever you've got; save the filets for steak), cubed.

Fat to brown (I used beef fat I saved after making braised short ribs. Mmmm!)

1 medium onion, diced

2 Tbsp tomato paste

1 can consommé

1 glass red wine

Chili seasoning to taste

Brown bison in batches in a large dutch oven - leave at least a half inch between the cubes while you do this or else they won't brown nicely.  This should take you three batches.  You will need fat here, because bison in incredibly lean.

Remove the bison.  Brown the onion in more fat, scraping all the yummy crusty bison bits from the bottom.  After 2 minutes, add the tomato paste and cook another 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Basically, you're browning the tomato paste here which adds super duper taste.


Add the consommé and wine and bring to a simmer.  Add the bison, lid, and cook in a 350° oven until the meat is tender, about 45 minutes.  Serve over rice.

Who's up for a Christmas blogshoot in the Carolinas?

Some of us have been emailing for a bit, and so let me toss out a question to the gunblogging community: who would be willing to get together for a meet 'n shoot sometime around the Christmas holiday?

I know that there are a bunch of folks in the Washington DC area, and there are a surprising number of us here in Atlanta.  It seems like Charlotte/Raleigh/Durham NC is about splitting the driving distance.

Please leave a comment if you're interested, along with preferred date and location.  Also, if anyone knows a range in any of those areas that could accommodate a decent size group, please leave that info as well.

Free car

Seems legit.

Pistol bleg

#1 Son surprised me by asking for a pistol for Christmas.  He's not so much my shooting buddy - #2 Son is usually the one who wants to come shooting with me.  #1 Son's interest is sparked perhaps from Call Of Duty (I know, I know), but this is what folks call a "teachable moment".  Ideally, this will pry him away from the game console.

We had the discussion on what he'd do with the pistol.  After some talk about different sizes and uses, he thought something mid-sized is the "Goldilocks size" - not too big (Beretta 92) or too small (the plethora of pocket pistols).  Just right seems to be S&W M&P-ish or so.  And nothing with strange or unusual ammo (like a Makarov).

So here's my question for you, dear reader: what would you recommend for a present that meets the following:

1. 9mm caliber.

2. Rails (for flashlight, bayonet, etc).

3. Mid-sized form factor.

4. Not too expensive.

Yes, this is pretty open ended, but all opinions would be appreciated.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Is this AR-15 any good?

I was out with #1 Son and stopped by Dick's Sporting Goods (I must say that I dig this whole "being on vacation" thing).  They had an AR-15/M4gery from Troy Arms on sale for $799 (down from $1029).  The price seems good, but I've never heard of them before.

Anyone ever run across them?  Is this worth considering?

UPDATE 19 November 2012 17:48: This is screen scraped from their web site:


Looks like I misremembered the list price.  So this is $300 off.  I have to say that I'm tempted now.

ZOMG! Can you believe that this is legal!?


Quick!  Ban these to stop the plague of drive-by sword violence in the inner city!  For teh childrenz™, of course.

Saddle up

Monkeys riding border collies in a rodeo.  Your argument is invalid.


At first I thought that this was a photoshop but it's real.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Some people have to fight to get over an inate shyness

Something tells me that this kid doesn't struggle with that.



Actually his Paso Double is better than mine.

Meh

Kind of not feeling it.  I got nothing.

Wow

The Call Of Duty: Black Ops launch was stupendous:
Activision gloats that its Call of Duty franchise is again the "biggest entertainment launch of the year", after revealing a return of $500m (£316m) from day-one sales of Black Ops 2.

The figures come compiled from three sources: Chart-Track, retail customer sell-through information, and internal company estimates. We're unsure just how much the latter affected the final number, ahem.
“Life-to-date sales for the Call of Duty franchise have exceeded worldwide theatrical box office receipts for Harry Potter and Star Wars, the two most successful movie franchises of all time,” boasts Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard.
It ain't braggin' if you can do it.

César Franck - Panis Angelicus

The Thanksgiving holiday makes us ponder what we are thankful for.  Today is a trifecta of thankfulness.  We have Luciano Pavarotti, possibly the greatest operatic tenor of the past generation.  We have St. Thomas Aquinas who was not only a saint, but was probably the smartest intellect of the past millennium.  And we have César Franck, perhaps the introduction to truly modern music.

Frank is considered the best organist in history, with the possibly exception of Bach.  He developed the musical style of the tone poem, perfected by  Maurice Ravel and Clause Debussy.  This work was perhaps the starting point of that, where Frank took the poem from the Medieval philosopher and Church Father Aquinas, and turned a liturgy into something that transcends time.  The title of the piece translates as the bread of angels, a feast for the soul.  That has captured the imagination of the world - not only has this become one of the signature challenge performances for tenors, but it has been performed at funeral masses through the ages, including the funerals of brothers Robert and Edward Kennedy.



Me, I'm thankful for the wonders that surround us, for the legacy of Civilization.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Mini Review - Big Bang Theory

I can't believe that something this geeky-funny would ever be green-lighted for production.  I can't believe that anything that is this geeky-funny has stayed on TV this long.  Very highly recommended.

Congratulations to Sabra and Pistolero

Who are welcoming their new born baby boy.  Cute little guy, too.
A baby is God's opinion that the world should go on.
- Carl Sandburg

Kris Kristofferson - Thank You For A Life

Thanksgiving is an odd holiday.  All other holidays are tied to a particular event, a particular celebration: national anniversaries, leader's birthdays, that sort of thing.  Thanksgiving stands out as the sole exception.

It's open ended.

Each of us decide by ourselves what to be thankful for.  There's no central authority (Minister of Thanks) that tells us what's on order for the day, rather its 300 Million individual decisions made on our own.  That's very American, when you think about it.

Kris Kristofferson wrote a cracker of a song for this, from his 2006 album This Old Road.  It's pretty old school country, from one of the masters of our day.



Thank You For A Life (Songwriter: Kris Kristofferson)
Thank you for a life that I'd call happy
Overlooking all that we've been through
When it comes to loving I've been lucky
Everything I am I owe to you

Thank for the little girls you gave me
Thank you for them bouncing baby boys
Thank you for the sadness
That you saved me from the madness, baby
All I'm crying now are tears of joy

Thank you for that burning sun that's rising
Golden in the air that smells so sweet
Thank you for that empty far horizon
That opens to a new eternity

Confession time

I'm on vacation until after the Thanksgiving holiday (and a trip to Myrtle Beach).  Just found High West bourbon - Utah favorite daughter Mrs. Borepatch heartily approves.  Cherry moonshine (better than it sounds).

Blog later.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Ahhhhh


When they say it's not about the money ...

... you know that it's about the money:
— An Atlanta suburb might scrap its red light cameras, which are designed to nab motorists who run red lights.

Roswell transportation director Steven Acenbrak tells The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (http://bit.ly/TAxoWZ) that the number of crashes before the cameras were installed are virtually the same as after they are after the cameras were put in place.

City officials say the cameras are also losing money.

Read more here: http://www.macon.com/2012/11/12/2246492/georgia-city-considers-removing.html#storylink=cpy
I'm glad to see them go, but it's annoying that the problem wasn't that accident rates didn't change.

Happy birthday, Vacuum Tube!

On this day in 1904, the electrical Vacuum Tube was patented.  It revolutionized the world, allowing electrical (as opposed to mechanical) switching.  Forty years later, it was the core technology of ENIAC, the world's first computer.






I remember Gray Beards who called these by their old name, "valves".  That is a great way to think about them, with electrical current representing flowing water in pipes, and vacuum tubes acting as valves to open and close the pipe.  And I remember listening to baseball on our old 5 tube superhet radio.

Put down the chalupa chupacabra

The semi-mythical chupacabra is said to be a mangy dog.  Well, a guy at the dog park today said that one was run over near his street.  He had pictures that he took with his iPhone.  It sure didn't look like a mangy dog to me.  It looked like this:


On Johnson's Ferry Road, in snooty East Cobb, Georgia.

Is he pulling our leg?  Maybe.  The pictures he had of chupacabra road kill looked, well, like chupacabra road kill.  He said that the Georgia State wildlife folks were on the matter.  I guess we'll see soon enough.  Or not.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Easy Baby

Boy, Magic Sam died way too young.

I expect a prosecution of Paula Broadwell

Hmmm:
The FBI seized classified materials from Paula Broadwell’s home this week and prosecutors are reportedly trying to determine whether to charge David Petraeus’ former mistress with a crime.

Broadwell, 40, told investigators she ended up with the secret military documents after taking them from a government building, ABC reported. The FBI raided her North Carolina home late Monday in a pre-arranged meeting where they carried out boxes of documents, computers and evidence.
If Petraeus gave them to her, then he could be prosecuted (but likely wouldn't be - as former DCI he presumably has too much dirt on too many Washington bigwigs).  He says he didn't give them to her.

Interestingly, I'm not sure that it's a crime to take classified documents from a government building (since everything seems to be a crime, it could very well be).  But here's the kicker (from the article):
Broadwell, an Army counterintelligence reservist and Petraeus’ biographer, also has a high level security clearance.
And this is where Mrs. Broadwell stands a very good chance of vacationing at Club Fed.  I doubt that I'm giving anything away when I say that when you get a Top Secret clearance you are briefed in no uncertain terms about what will happen to you if you screw around with classified documents.  The words "felony" and "prison" are liberally scattered throughout the briefing.

Mrs. Broadwell may or may not be guilty, and may or may not be charged with a crime.  But we know that she's an idiot for getting herself in this situation.

Mini film review: Skyfall

Maybe the best James Bond film since You Only Live Twice.

News from Cobb County: Aging with grace

LORD, give me chastity and continence, but not yet.
- St. Augustine
It's generally expected that age brings windom, that the mistakes of youth are shed by those of a Certain Age.

Expectations are sometimes disappointed:
ATLANTA (AP)—The CEO of Waffle House said Tuesday that a former employee who claims he tried to force her to have sex actually was a participant in consensual sex and has been trying to blackmail him.

...

Rogers' attorney, Robert Ingram, said a Cobb County judge lifted a gag order in Rogers' lawsuit Tuesday "so Joe could get his version of the story out."

"We're doing that and we're also pursuing remedies for Mr. Rogers in court based upon what appear to be violations of the court's orders."
Ingram said the woman made intimate videotapes involving Rogers, and he said the court demanded that she turn over those tapes.
[blink] [blink]

I simply don't know what to say about this, other than this is the juiciest story to hit the Cobb County courthouse since like forver.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Beer O'Clock

I'm out of ideas to post, and out with The Lads from the office.  And so I'll just leave you with this:


From the Keep Calm-o-matic.  Make your own inspiring wartime poster!

Quote of the Day - Politics begins anew edition

Word:
Ok Tea Party, start your engines in earnest this time. Get nasty, really nasty. And all you Republican apparatchiks? Help the Tea Party drive the Big Government Republicans from office and drum them out the party, because not only are they The Enemy, they keep loosing elections and that can negatively impact your precious careers and that, even if you are almost all amoral scum no better than the Democrats you purport to oppose, should get your undivided attention.
That's actually the perfect combination of inspiringly high-minded and breathlessly cynical.

On the Internet, nobody can tell that you're a cat

Especially a Siamese cat.


Let's all be careful out there.

A platform for a Republican victory

I'm not a Republican and am no longer sure I'll vote much for them again, but everyone is playing the "What should the GOP do" game.  OK, here goes.

The Democrats' weakness is that they are a coalition.  GOP success will be in peeling coalition members away.  Some members seem pretty wedded to the party - African Americans and possibly hispanics.  It probably doesn't make sense putting a ton of effort here.  Other members are more interesting.  They include:
  • Environmentalists, who have a ton of money but who are generally disliked by large numbers of voters.  A play that increases this dislike will be in the GOP's interest.
  • SWPL elite educated urban yuppies, the Ivy League crowd and higher education in general.  These are the people most invested in Obama and his policies (it's a mistake to think that most of Obama's policies are that popular with the African American community).
  • Unions, especially public employee unions.  These are increasingly rapacious in their demands and the unfunded liabilities of most State's pension systems is a big fiscal wet blanket.
  • Wall Street, which supported the Democrats by large majorities.
There's a deep tradition in the American political tradition, one where the GOP could align a bunch of people who traditionally have voted Democrat, fracturing the Democrat coalition.  That strain is populism.

A lot of people have been despairing that the Democrats will always out pander the GOP, offering more "stuff" to buy votes, and so will always have a majority.  If you think of "offering more" as including "stopping financial loss" then this simply isn't true.  The Democrats' coalition demands a lot of things that raise the price of all sorts of things for Joe Everybody.  Promising to stop this and roll it back will simultaneously win populist votes and hurt the Democrat coalition.  Consider:
  • Environmental regulation raises the cost of gasoline, raises the price of electricity and winter heating, and drives factories to move to China.  Automotive fuel standards raises the cost of new cars.  Other regulations mean that toilets won't flush and light bulbs cost $10 each.
  • SWPL busy bodies want to tell everyone what they have to eat, what they can't eat, what they can do, and what they can't do.  The Republic does not lack for Ivy League types convinced that they're better and smarter than Joe Everyman, and don't hesitate to tell him what to do.
  • Public Employee Union contracts are already on the agenda even in deep blue states like Wisconsin.  I don't need to belabor this.  Add to this the fact that schools are generally terrible, and crushing student debt destroying Joe's kid's prospects.
  • Bank bailouts and regulations (hello Dodd-Frank) encourage "too big to fail" where Joe Everybody gets to pay for Wall Street fat cats.
The common thread is that each of these make Joe's life worse - he has to pay more for worse products, pay higher taxes to bail out fat cat bankers and Public Employee Unions, and has to listen to sanctimonious SWPL types sneering at him.

That's what the GOP should focus on.  Convince Joe that they're about making his life better, that they're for the Middle Class instead of all those despised hippie Professors and tree huggers.



And the great thing about this is that there are a million stories that will personalize this conflict of world visions - people who couldn't afford gas, people who had to move because local taxes went up too high, people whose kids didn't get educated, the return of Debtor's Prison for student loans (Joe's kids will have a worse life than he did), factories that had to move overseas, Wall Street fat cats sucking off the public teat, the list is never ending.

It will tug at the heartstrings of the voters that the GOP wants to win from the Democrats.  The people opposed to these pro-Middle Class policies will be entirely unsympathetic and ripe for demonization: trust fund environmentalist big wigs, humorless Ivy League busy bodies, Union fat cats, Big Bankers, bureaucrats.  Joe won't see any of those people as being on his side.

And so, the GOP platform becomes simple: We support policies that will benefit the Middle Class, and oppose policies that will hurt the Middle Class.  And they talk about the price of gas, the price of cereal, the price of new cars, the taxes that environmentalists want (Carbon, etc), out of control Union pensions, and Wall Street Democrat fundraisers.

Identify the top 10 most damaging regulations that hurt the Middle Class the most.  Find some people who were hurt by them and tell their stories.  Find more, and tell those stories.  Make sure that the regulations are all ones dear to the heart of the Democrat coalition.  Paint the Democratic Party as the party that wants to crush the Middle Class.  Paint them as anti-populists, because most people like to see themselves as being in the Middle Class.

Quite frankly, this is so simple that it's hard to see how it would fail.  It's child's play simple.  It's so simple that even the Stupid Party probably can't screw it up too badly.  Probably.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Global Warming, the Musical

The IPCC is working hard on the Fifth Assessment Report (5AR).  Given the skepticism of the public following Climategate (and 15 years of no warming at all), there's a media campaign to dial the ZOMG Thermageddon up to eleven.  This is maybe the opening shot of this new war:
Bloomberg Businessweek threw a few litres of petrol on the blazing climate-change debate with this week's cover story, less-than-subtly entitled: "It's Global Warming, Stupid."

"Yes, yes, it's unsophisticated to blame any given storm on climate change," the article begins, quite correctly. "Men and women in white lab coats tell us – and they're right – that many factors contribute to each severe weather episode."

The next line, however, is more acusatory. "Climate deniers exploit scientific complexity to avoid any discussion at all," it reads.
And just in case Business Week still has any readers (did it every have any readers?), here's the subtle and nuanced cover:


Oh, hum.  Oh, and bias?  How's this:
While Bloomberg Businessweek's article attempted to remain even-handed in its arguments concerning the need to take climate change seriously, its editor, Josh Tyrangiel, attempted no such subtlety in his opinion of global warming skeptics. "Our cover story this week may generate controversy," he tweeted, "but only among the stupid."
Stupid Deniers.  Pig headed.  No doubt ignorant of the science, like Dr. Judith Curry, chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech.  She has a new article that has been accepted for publication, one that's worth your read - No Consensus On Consensus:
The IPCC consensus findings on attribution have been echoed in position statements made by many scientific organizations. The IPCC consensus is portrayed as nearly total among scientists with expertise and prominence in the field of climate science. The idea of a scientific consensus surrounding climate change attribution has been questioned by a number of people, including scientists and politicians. Much effort has been undertaken by those that support the IPCC consensus to discredit skeptical voices, essentially dismissing them as cranks or at best rebels, or even politically motivated ‘deniers’.

Students of science are taught to reject ad populam or ‘bandwagon’ appeals, a sentiment is articulated by the motto of the UK Royal Society: ‘nullius in verba’, which is roughly translated as ‘take nobody’s word for it’.  How then, and why, have climate scientists come to a scientific consensus about a very complex scientific problem that the consensus-supporting scientists themselves acknowledge has substantial and fundamental uncertainties?
So get ready for the know-nothing Press to hyperventillate about this time it's really happening!!!eleventy!!  Business Week is just one of many that you'll see over the next months in an orchestrated campaign by the IPCC to keep relevant.  When people sneer at you for being a skeptic, ask them what they think of Dr. Curry's article - No Consensus On Consensus.  And as a follow up, ask them who they think knows more about the science, the (biased) Press, or the chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech.

And show them this - Global Warming, the Musical.



I mean, it's Peer-Reviewed and everything!  Hey Bustah!

Oh, and all the "teh Stormz are gettinz moar destructive" that's going to flood the airwaves to  your annoyance, oh no they're not.  I know that math is hard, but they really should teach at least a little in J-School.

Little Big Man

Today is the anniversary of the death of Prince Franz Joseph II of Liechtenstein.  It's a small place, known of late for bankers who put even the reticent Swiss to shame.  Also for only giving women the vote (in 1984).  We drove through there (mostly to get our passports stamped, back when you could actually get a passport stamped in Europe) and bought a tacky souvenir snow globe.

But the story is not the tchotchkes, or the diminutive size of the principality.  Oft large things come in small boxes, as did His Royal Highness' full name: Franz Joseph Maria Aloys Alfred Karl Johannes Heinrich Michael Georg Ignaz Benediktus Gerhardus Majella

Granted, it's not in the same league as St. Theodore the Studite, but that's one impressive moniker, right there.  And so good night, sweet prince.  And may flights of Mills Brothers* sing thee to thy rest.



* By coincidence, Donald Mills also died on this day.  Liechtenstein would have been a swinginer place with him.

Sitemeter fail

Sitemeter has been Tango Uniform for a couple weeks now, down more than the stock market.  I guess that I need to look around for something to replace it.  Anyone have any suggestions?  I have have a link to Clustrmaps on my sidebar because it has a neat global view of where traffic comes from, but really doesn't give day-by-day and month-by-month stats like Sitemeter does.

In Sitemeter's defense, I've been pretty happy with them for the last four years, and they do seem to be collecting stats - it's just their reporting engine that's been down.  I still get weekly totals in emails.  But then I'd have to drop it all into a spreadsheet each week and grind the numbers myself.  I get enough of that at work, I guess.

Anyone use Statcounter?  Anything else?

The Fourth Reich

The jackboots will be replaced with Addidas, but the outcome will be the same:
On Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel set foot in the European Parliament for the first time since 2007 and addressed the only democratically elected European institution—by design, an emasculated one that cannot even originate its own laws, though it is allowed to vote on proposals by the other European institutions. There, she laid out her plans to bring European nations together to where their budgets and other matters would become part of her “domestic policy.”

But first, the current problems should be focused on, she said to the drumbeat of economic deterioration—a day when Greece reported that unemployment jumped to 25.4% in August from 24.8% in July and from 18.4% August last year. It was 7.5% in August 2008 when borrowed euros were still growing on trees. Young people got slammed: 32.9% of the 24-to-34-year-olds and 58% of the 15-to-24-year-olds were unemployed. Revolutions have been triggered by the utter frustrations in those age groups.


...


Accompanied by this drumbeat, Merkel explained her dream to the European Parliament. It was all about a big power shift from democratically elected national parliaments to European institutions. The European Commission of bureaucrats and appointed politicians would become the actual government of Europe with executive powers over national budgets. The European Council, similarly composed of bureaucrats and appointed politicians, would become an “upper chamber,” she said. And she threw a bone to her listeners: the European Parliament would receive a bit more power as well.

...

Then the instincts of the powerful political animal broke the surface: she proposed a fund to deal with the pandemic of youth unemployment. Because “Europe is all of us together,” she said. “Europe is domestic policy.”

Her domestic policy. The Greeks, for example, didn’t vote for her, and they might not want her to run their show. They didn’t vote for the European Commission either. They might despise Greek politicians, but at least they’re their politicians. Merkel’s dream had no such room for doubts.
 The old joke was that NATO was designed to keep the Americans in, the Russians out, and the Germans down.  I'm wondering what its mission is, now that the second is successfully completed and the third is coming apart at the seams.  What's the use for the first?  Maybe we should just leave Europe to its German fascist overlords.  I mean, they're cute and cuddly now, right?


Bootnote: a word to the wise about the site where the picture came from - they're the Provisional Government of the Confederate Republic.  Well OK, then.