Sunday, November 30, 2014

Remington Shotgun Recall

If you own a recently made Remington 887, here's a heads-up:

Madison, N.C. - Remington Outdoor Company, Inc. (“Remington”) today announced a voluntary recall of Model 887™ shotguns manufactured from December 1, 2013 to November 24, 2014.

Senior Remington engineers determined that some of those Model 887™ shotguns could, under certain circumstances, unintentionally discharge.


Remington has determined that some Remington Model 887™ shotguns manufactured between December 1, 2013 and November 24, 2014 may exhibit a defect causing the firing pin to bind in the forward position within the bolt, which can result in an unintentional discharge when chambering a live round. Therefore, Remington is recalling ALL potentially affected products to fully inspect and repair.

Jimmy Buffett - Mele Kalikimaka

Welcome back to the Christmas music season! [evil laugh]

It's 70° here at Camp Borepatch - so warm that a buddy is riding his Harley over to store it in my garage until he moves next month.  I dare say it will be colder when he picks it up ...


I was leaving the dog park when I came up on a minivan mom and her two kids.  The boy was throwing rocks, and I watched him closely as I went to drive past.  Sure enough, he wound back and let fly.

Little 3 year old punk is all ready for Occupy Wall Street, it seems.  His sister broke into tears for some reason, and minivan mom tried to explain that while he had been throwing rocks, he wasn't throwing them at anything.

I'm afraid that I was a little cross with her, explaining how young Junior tracked the car's movements before he threw the damn thing.  I was watching his eyes the whole time.

Fortunately (I guess), Dad showed up to pick up the brood and gave me contact info.  We'll see if it was all made up or not.

Damn kids start early these days ...

No Too Fast

Here I am on a stage where you shoot a few rounds of rifle and then transition to the pistol. This was taken on a cell phone and then uploaded, so the quality isn't great.

You can see the first few targets after I draw the pistol, the shots are even and I have good control of the muzzle. Now, if I could just do it in half the time...

Saturday, November 29, 2014

3 Gun, You Learn Stuff

3 Gun is a really good way to wring the issues you are having with your gear. I now know that it is time to replace the springs in my 1911. I also know that I need to check the setup on the seating die on my .223 press. As a corollary, I will need to run all the .223 I already have through a case gage.

On the plus side, I had a couple of really good stages. I shot well. The weather was beautiful, sunny and crisp, high might have approached 50 at midday. We had fun. No one got hurt. No one even got DQ'd.

Happy birthday, video games!

On this day in 1972, Atari announced the release of Pong.

Now video games make more money than Hollywood.

So 97% of scientists believe in Global Warming?

Sounds pretty settled to me.


Mmmmm, leftovers!

Nothing quite beats Thanksgiving leftovers for a quick feed when you get back from the dog park.  Of course, your Gormogons have some handy tips for Thanksgiving leftovers.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Most brain-dead PR team ever

That's one top-notch new media team, right there:
MALAYSIA airlines has been slammed for its latest tweet that promotes its end of year specials. The tweet was criticised for its poor choice of words, which read, “Want to go somewhere, but don’t know where?”

Critics say the tweet was insensitive, following a devastating year for the airline that saw them lose two planes resulting in the deaths of hundreds of passengers.

Flight MH370 disappeared between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing on 8 March with 230 passengers on-board including 6 Australians. The plane is still missing.

Flight MH17 was shot down four months later by rebels over the Ukraine killing all 298 of its passengers. It was carrying 36 Australians.
Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln - how did you like the play.  Sheesh.

You can only rent beer

May as well cut out the middle man ...

Lileks, The Bleat, and The Institute of Official Cheer

 I should have already added to the blogroll. He has a website full of all sorts of things that make it hard to describe. It has an element of humor, a lot of it is old ads, travel pictures, cookbooks, matchbook covers, etc. all with commentary that gives a sense of the absurd. For example, here's an ad campaign for Sunbeam bread from the 1940s.

The Gobbler, the promotional materials for a groovy motel from the 1960s, is another winner.

The best of all is The Gallery of Regrettable Food. Pictures and comments from Mr. Liliks. Start with Meat, Meat, MEAT! and remember, vegetables are for commies.

I bring up James because I just discovered he writes a newspaper column now. Featured in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, here's his latest, Black Friday Tips and Tricks. It's Q&A to help you get through the madness of the day. Here's one:
Q: If the media reports that Black Friday sales were less than the previous year, should I be afraid?
A: Yes. The entire consumer culture lives or dies by the next few weeks, but don’t worry. If there’s a story about a “slow start” to the shopping season, there’ll be a story about “Last Minute Bargains Lure Shoppers” and made the “cash registers ring.” Then there’s the post-holiday sales, which will have even better bargains. It’s almost as if they have this planned in advance.
Stay out of the stores. I have the day off. I am going to the range this afternoon and to the dojo later this evening. 

Richard Scarry's 21st Century jobs

Heh.  I local the Climate CHange Denier and NSA collection van.  But no community organizer?


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Ghosts of Thanksgivings past

Summoned from the depths of memory.

Me, I remember when I was in High School.  I was on the winter track team, and was thin as a rail despite going back for fourths.

I remember when we lived in England, and took the day off.  Everyone at the office knew what this was about, but only intellectually.  They had never really been to one of these celebrations.  I thought that was quite a loss - it would go quite a long way to counter the myth of the "Ugly American"* if they really thought on how this day is all about gratitude from sea to shining sea.

I remember Thanksgiving dinner with the family of #1 Son's best friend.  They were from China, but lived next door.  The idea of going around the table saying what they were thankful for was new to them, but was a wonderful experience.

Me, I'm grateful that my view today isn't this:

I hope that this day gives you something to be thankful for.  Gratitude is good for the soul after all, and the Feast is not just to nourish the body.

* My experience is that Americans are much nicer tourists than anyone from Europe, and that the "Ugly American" trope hasn't been true for 30 years, if it ever was.

Postscript to reader Renee: Your email made my day, and is something else that I am thankful for.  Thank you for sending it.

Family Thanksgiving

There's family you're born into and family you choose. Today, we will be celebrating Thanksgiving with three other families in our community. We are all at different points in our lives. We are not related. We do not go to church together. It is not because we are all at the same stages in our lives. It is not working together.

 The oldest is living alone. He recently had to put his wife in a care facility because of advance Alzheimer's.

Mrs. ASM and I have no children at home, although the one that still lives locally will be joining us. He is friends with these people in his own right.

The third couple has one son. He is a college freshman and does live at home.

The fourth couple, the ones who will host our Thanksgiving, have three children. They have a set of teen-age twin boys, both with autism, and in a display of hope and love that I am in awe of, they have a one year old.

So what is it that brought us together? That puts my 26 year old son in a position to say he is friends with a 75 year old and a couple of other middle age guys?

All of us met each other because of the shooting sports. I met one when I was looking for advice about buying a rifle. One met me a few months later when he was looking to buy a rifle and he got directed to me because it was the same type and model I had recently purchased. The third I met at the range. He was my son's mentor for his senior project, where he researched and then built a muzzleloader.

That was the beginning of the basis of our friendship. It grew from there. Support and labor to help each other. Time spent on shared projects. Time spent at the range. Our wives know each other. We are involved in each others lives. We are family and we will gather later today to give thanks and share a meal.

Among other things, I am making the rolls.

How about a "Reset Button" for relations with Australia?

I guess that this is more of that "Smart Diplomacy", or something:
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop criticises US president Barack Obama for a speech in Brisbane last weekend in which he claimed climate change threatened the Great Barrier Reef. It is highly unusual for an Australian foreign minister to openly criticise a US president. Ms Bishop also said Australia currently had no intention of committing extra forces or resources to the mission against Islamic State, even though the White House had discussed it with the Abbott Government. –Radio Australia, 20 November 2014
I can't remember the last time that a US President gave an address in another country that was immediately rebuked by that country's foreign minister.  Man, it sure is a good thing that we don't have a cowboy in the White House making the world hate us ...

A Thanksgiving prayer

May the blessings of this day shine most especially on those who stand a post far from home.  The food is the least of their sacrifice.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

1967 -- 2014

Detroit burned in 1967. After 5 days, there were 43 dead, 1,189 injured and 2,000 buildings destroyed. That was only the beginning. Ten of thousands of people sold or abandoned their homes and left. The burned out businesses never rebuilt. New businesses did not move in. Other businesses closed or relocated outside the city center. The ripple effects of the '67 riots still go on.

The city is still in freefall. There's no tax base, no industry. The population is a third of what it was. Abandoned buildings and homes predominate.

It isn't going to matter why the people in Ferguson burned and looted those businesses. They are gone. It isn't going to matter what sort of justification people had or made up for their actions. All that is going to matter is that the businesses are gone and will not come back. The people of Ferguson will now look to government to fix things.

My guess is that the government will promise big and deliver just like they did in Detroit.

Chrysler Is Now FCA

FCA, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. As part of this they are doing away with the Chrysler pentagon star logo, commonly called the Pentastar. The logo has been around since 1962.

This has prompted a movement to save the logo.

I suppose if you had fond memories of Chryslers like this one, there might be some nostalgia for the old logo.

My memories of cars that carried the Pentastar will always be tainted by the K-Car era and Lee Iacocca. In case your memories of this time have been mercifully wiped, here's Lee and the 1982 Chrysler offering. His last comment, "If you can find a better car, buy it.", is exactly why we have so many Nissan and Toyotas on the road.

Quote of the Day

About those riots:
The unseen winners in the aftermath of the shooting of Michael Brown, and now of the refusal to indict his shooter, are those middle-class and upper-class people who approve of the riots but who of course are not affected adversely by them. It is not their neighborhoods that are being trashed. It is not their neighborhoods that will go into decline as businesses leave. No, but they believe that they are doing the right thing in supporting the rioters. Maybe they even have a nice job in the media or as a professor in which they can propound their views for all the world to hear while calling anyone who disagrees a racist.

But there’s a nasty little joke about stock brokers who lose their client’s money that can be adapted here: the broker made money, and the firm made money, and two out of three ain’t bad. So, how about this? The media representatives didn’t have their neighborhoods trashed, and the ivory-tower theorists didn’t have their neighborhoods trashed, and two out of three ain’t bad.
But remember - those people are smarter and nicer than you or I.  They keep telling us that.


3-Gun on Saturday at the local club. Here's the message.

We will have 5 stages that will challenge your shooting skills. There will be rifle on all 5 stages with shots from 5 yards to 175 yards! Round count shakes out something like this....

30 shotgun
54 pistol
102 rifle
That's a high rifle count for us. Should be fun. I may get out to the range Friday and do some practicing. I have just the target to ensure I know what I'm doing.

I hadn't realized there was so much money to be made playing games

The computer gaming world is facing a cheating scandal:
Over the weekend, Valve had a little autumnal clearout of their suspected Counter-Strike: Global Offensive cheater list. In among the script kiddies and third accounts being handed Valve Anti-Cheat (VAC) bans were some familiar names to those who follow pro CS:GO. None other than Titan’s Hovik “KQLY” Tovmassian and Epsilon’s Gordon “SF” Giry were banned, just hours before their teams were set to fly out to DreamHack Winter in Sweden, forcing both the tournament to drop the teams and the teams to drop the players.
The tournament prize purse is something like $6M, so it's not really a surprise that some people are cheating.  Still, that's a lot of money, and it's only one tournament.  I guess this is where you insert a joke about a parent encouraging his kid to spend more time playing games ...

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

How Long Does It Take?

In 1950, two Puerto Rican nationalists attempted to kill Pr. Harry Truman. Truman was living in Blair House at the time while the White House was being renovated. They attacked at 2 PM, opening fire on the guards. Training, tactics and weapons were not really adequate, but the Secret Service and White House Police managed to prevail.

One officer was killed, two others wounded. The gunfight lasted about 40 seconds.

I found the a write-up of the events on the Family, Friends and Firearms Forum. If you scroll down in this link, the full article by Massad Ayoob from American Handgunner Magazine is posted. His review and assessment of the events is worth reading.

When things go wrong, they go all the way wrong, and it happens very fast.

UPDATE: TheAxe left us a comment recommending a book about the assassination attempt, it's called American Gunfight, Stephen Hunter is the author.

Remember how Obama was a super smart, super cool technocrat?

You know, one who would set policy based on the smartest analysis, rather than the way it was done by Chimpy McHalliburton?  Yeah, me neither:
President Obama completely fumbles when George Stephanopolous asks him how he’d respond if a future president takes the same action on taxes that Obama has taken on immigration. Incredibly, Obama responds as if he’d never heard or thought of this argument before, stumbling blindly along immigration talking points without answering the actual question.

Stephanopolous asked: “How do you respond to the argument, a future president comes in and wants lower taxes. Doesn’t happen. Congress won’t do it; so he says ‘I’m not going to prosecute those who don’t pay capital gains tax.’”

“The truth of the matter is George,” said the President, haltingly, “The reason that we, have to do.. uhm prosecutorial discretion in immigration, is that we know, that we – are not even close to being able to deal with the folks who have been here a long time…” Obama then pivoted to immigration talking points, without addressing the original question.
Nice crease in the trouser leg, though.

The silence of the antivirus industry

A public autopsy of sophisticated intelligence-gathering spyware Regin is causing waves today in the computer security world.

But here's a question no one's answering: given this super-malware first popped up in 2008, why has everyone in the antivirus industry kept quiet about it until now? Has it really taken them years to reverse engineer it?


For one thing, it doesn't operate like conventional spyware: Regin doesn't form a remotely controlled botnet – suggesting its masters really didn't want it to be found – nor does it harvest personal financial information.

Instead it collects intelligence useful to state spies. Coupled with the fact that virtually no infections have been reported in the US, UK or other Five Eyes nations, some to suspect it's the work of the NSA, GCHQ or their contractors.
The NSA's fingerprints look to be all over this.  Of course, they've been all about intelligence gathering for, well, forever. 

It is interesting that it's taken 6 years for the antivirus industry to catch this, but it's plausible that the unusual behavior and small number of infected devices explain that.

Whether it's good politics to spy on our allies like this is another discussion.

Monday, November 24, 2014

What You Can See Coming

If the President Leader can ignore laws, the Constitutional system, and his own Oath of Office to grant amnesty to people who entered the country illegally, and Congress responds to this by adjourning for the holiday, what's to stop him from do the same thing with any other pesky issue that gets in the way, like gun control?

No, I didn't see that coming

One Million Steps

Here's a book recommendation. And here's an interview with the author, Bing West. Mr. West was an infantry officer in VietNam, served as an assistant Secretary of Defense under Pr. Reagan, and authored a series of books. I think this one is his best work.

This book is about a platoon at war. Really at war. This isn't nation building. This is small unit patrols, IEDs, and casualties. Day after day.

One Million Steps should be mandatory reading for every citizen who wants to understand the reality of the war we are in with those who would destroy our civilization and kill us. It is a stunning, sobering, and brilliantly written book.”—Newt Gingrich

Basil Hayden

My new favorite bourbon.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

For Jay G, The Chevy 789

 Jay G posted up some Friday Car Pr0n and he questioned how well a retro '57 Bel Air or Nomad would do in the market and whether it would get done right.

Here's one answer, the Chevy 789, taking features from the '57, '58, and '59 Chevrolet, grafted onto the body of a C5 or C6 series Corvette. The body is hand done. The engine is replaced with one a number of high performance options. There's a theme to them, but each one is unique.

They look like this.

It's a Grail Car. With the starter car for this project being a late model Corvette, and the cost of the mod, one of these will set you back at least $140,000.

It's been a long time

... since I've made Mickey Mouse pancakes.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Forgotten War

No, not Korea.

The forgotten war of the 1920s and the 1930, the Banana Wars.

Haiti --1915 to 1934.
Dominican Republic--1916-1924.
Honduras, where the term "banana republic" was coined to describe the use of U.S. Marines in support of the United Fruit Company--off and on between 1903 and 1925.


And since I like stories about Marines, here's one.

Christian Frank Schilt, one of the early pilots in the Marine Corps, received the Medal of Honor for actions taken in January of 1928 in Nicaragua. Here's the citation:
During the progress of an insurrection at Quilali, Nicaragua, 6, 7, and 8 January 1928, 1st Lt. Schilt, then a member of a marine expedition which had suffered severe losses in killed and wounded, volunteered under almost impossible conditions to evacuate the wounded by air and transport a relief commanding officer to assume charge of a very serious situation. 1st Lt. Schilt bravely undertook this dangerous and important task and, by taking off a total of 10 times in the rough, rolling street of a partially burning village, under hostile infantry fire on each occasion, succeeded in accomplishing his mission, thereby actually saving 3 lives and bringing supplies and aid to others in desperate need.
Christian Schilt went on to serve in the Pacific in WWII, then was commander of the 1st Marine Airwing in Korea. He retired as a 4-star in 1957. There were not many times during his career that the gates to the temple would have been closed.

Old People Remember

Where were you?

I was six. In first grade. The custodian came into the room and put black cloth over the American flag. The teacher announced what had happened, then sat down at her desk, put her face in her hands, and cried.

I got back on a motorcycle today

Cowboy up.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Breakfast of (Kentucky) Champions

Hot Brown and Ale 8. And a birthday party. Been quite a while since I've been around small kids. It's as fun now as it was then.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, November 21, 2014

Assessing This Blog

Borepatch and I have been blogging since 2008. We started blogging together in June of this year.

Last night we had a long, wide ranging phone conversation. It was a great conversation, one I would have with a brother, if I had one. It touched a lot of topics and I think neither of us could quite find a way to bring it to an end.

One of those topics was this blog, what we are doing, why, and how we assess ourselves. Bloggers create their content, either unique or rehashed, and post it. We have no editors. We are unpaid. The digital equivalent of the guy standing on a soapbox in the park. 

We can look at two things. Hit counts and comments. Hit counts are a measure of how many people visit the site, how long they stay, how many pages they click on, what they click on, and how they got to the site. It is a regular, clockwork way to get a feel for hits. A lot of you are regulars, you stop by every day. Some one time visitors go to a particular post as a result of a search.

Comments are the other measure. Comments are like manna to a blogger. If you moved a reader enough to get a comment, it's a plus. A post that generates a discussion of readers, especially a discussion that doesn't devolve into insults and Godwin's Law, is a gift.

Sometimes you put up a post that you labored over. Something you care about, a personal story like the one I did a few days ago about photography and the Marine Corps. You think, "There, that's a great post." You put it up and sit back waiting for comments. Instead, crickets.

Other times you put a picture of a cat and some one line joke and thirty people chime in.

It may be that we are using hit counts and comments as assessment tools and it's a false measure. Maybe the regular readers really enjoyed a post, but just didn't have anything to add. Maybe the ones that got something out of it only lurk and never comment. How would we know?

We don't know what we don't know.

Meanwhile a picture of a cat...

And three one liners, that's an extra two just for reading this far...

1. I thought I wanted a career, turns out I just wanted paychecks.
2. Never hit a man with glasses. Hit him with a baseball bat.
3. With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine.

What is Your Time Worth?

I called Borepatch last night to tell him about the surplus .303 at $0.40 a round. One of things I said was, "You can't reload it for that price." Which is true, if you're buying projectiles.

I looked up some prices. These are current prices, although the powder was unavailable.

Bullets -- $29.00 a hundred, so 29 cents each
Powder -- H4350, $28.00 a pound, 7000 gr./lb., 44 gr./round, so about 17 cents each
Primers -- $32.00 a thousand, so 3 cents each
Cases -- Let's say you have the cases.

Reloading .303 British would cost you $0.49 a round for materials. ($235.00 for 480 rounds)

Of course, you could cast bullets. Assuming that you can find a source of free lead and you don't count the cost of the propane to make the ingots, let's call the cast bullets free. Now, you're at 29 cents a round. ($139.00 for 480 rounds)

Let's also forget all the equipment costs for the reloading and casting equipment, too. Call that a sunk cost, amortized years ago. The storage and work space, tables, cabinets, presses, dies, the brass prep tools, scales, lead molds, lubrisizer, powder measures, etc. all written off and forgotten.

You haven't done the work yet. So let's talk about time.

Note**: The following applies to calibers you already know, that you have loaded before, and that you can readily set up. If you were starting with a new caliber, all bets are off on how long it would take. You would be making up small test lots, going out and shooting them over a chronograph and shooting them for accuracy and function, collecting data and generally spending many hours getting to the point where you would consider loading in larger quantities like this.

Say I set up the lead pot, get it heated up, warm up the mold, get all the safety gear on, and cast some bullets. I have a 2 cavity steel mold, and allowing a half hour of getting things ready, I start making usable bullets at the rate of 4 to 6 bullets a minute (I'm an optimist). Allowing for some futzing, some discards, and the setup time, I make about 200 bullets an hour for a couple of hours work.

I take my 400 usable bullets and run them one at a time through a lubrisizer to size, lube, and seat a gas check. That's probably 2 bullets a minute, give or take. Maybe I'm a little quicker than 2, so let's call that 3 hours at the lubrisizer.

That's 5 hours to make 400 loadable rifle bullets. And I think that's optimistic, but not unrealistic.

Now you tumble up 400+ cases. One by one, you rub some lube on them. I use Imperial, put a very light coat on each case. Get the sizing/decapping die adjusted in the press. Pick them up one by one and size them. Then maybe I tumble them again, or rub the lube off. After that, one by one, I prime them. I have a couple of priming tools, but none that don't require some attention and effort.

Primed, sized cases, ready to be loaded with powder, are what you want to keep around. Now you set up the seating die in the press. Set up a powder measure to the specified quantity. Then you put powder in cases. I tend to do 10 at a time, then check them visually. Each one is run through the press one more time. At this point, setting the bullet in place and pulling the handle finishes a usable round.

What kind of time do I have in making 400 rounds? 3-4 hours to lube and size the cases, 2-3 hours to prime them,  4-5 hours to throw powder and seat bullets? I dunno. I doubt I'm handling a hundred an hour on a single stage press no matter how efficient I am. I may have to actually time myself on each step of a hundred the next time I do 30.06 and see what it is for each part of the process.

Pretend I'm in the ballpark and it takes about 2 hours accumulated work to do 100 rounds of rifle ammo for a caliber you're familiar with. If you're using cast bullets, add another 2 hours to cast and lubrisize 100 bullets (one hour for each step).

What is an hour of your time worth? I reload. I cast. I do it because I enjoy it. It's a hobby unto itself, not just work I do so I can go enjoy the shooting sports. But I know I'm not reloading to save money and I don't think about the time.

Name that rifle!

Tacitus sometimes puts up pictures of old grave stones.  This time he's found one with a lever action rifle on it.

Head on over and leave a comment on what you think it is.  I already emailed him my thoughts, but the more the merrier.

National Ammo Day

OK, I'm a little late for this, but I just ordered by Christmas Present.

Cheaper Than Dirt found some mil-surp .303 Brit.  Can't beat the price - 40 cents a round.  Actually, co-blogger ASM826 found it, and called me.  Thanks!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Eric Clapton & Friends - Call Me The Breeze

On Thursdays I like to post some blues, just because.  This one is a suggestion to those of you who like The Blues, because there's a CD which would make a great holiday present for a Blues lover.  Eric Clapton and a star-studded list of artists have created an album as a tribute to J.J. Cale, perhaps the most covered songwriter in history.

Yeah, Skynyrd made this a big hit, but Cale wrote it.  He also wrote "Cocaine" which Clapton took platinum.  And "After Midnight".  Waylon did "Clyde".  Widespread Panic, Kansas, Santana, and Poco all had hit songs penned by Cale.

He also recorded his own, and once turned down an appearance on American Bandstand because he couldn't bring his band and because they wanted him to lip sync.  Oh, and Neil Young said that Cale was in his opinion the best guitar player after Jimi Hendrix.  Even ahead of Clapton.  Here are Clapton and Cale playing together a few years ago.  "Laid back" is the phrase that comes to mind listening to Cale.

Appearing on The Breeze: An Appreciation Of J.J. Cale with Clapton are Tom Petty, Mark Knopfler, John Mayer, and Willie Nelson (among others).  The song here is my least favorite one on the disc.

Highly, highly recommended.

The doors to Janus' temple

Via Wikipedia: the doors (briefly) closed
Numa, an early king (Rex) of Rome in the days long before the Republic, had built a temple to the god Janus.  Janus had two faces, one looking forward and one looking backwards, and so was revered as the god of boundaries and transitions.

There was a curious custom in ancient Rome: when Rome was at war, the doors to the temple were left open; when at peace, the doors were shut.  As you can imagine with as martial a people as the Romans, the doors were not oftn shut.  In fact, the chronicles tell us that Numa's successor Tulius Hostilius went to war with a neighboring city and the dors remained open for 400 years.  They were closed in 235 B.C. after the first war with Carthage, but were only shut for eight years.  They were then open until shut (twice) by the emperor Augustus.

So when was the last time that our American Republic shut its figurative doors of the temple?  We look a lot like Rome:
You probably know that one has to serve on active duty in the American military for twenty years in order to retire with a pension.

But do you know the last year that you could have joined the armed forces and had a career wholly in peacetime?

Very interesting analysis, including just how long (officially) we have been at war.  The gates swing wide, and stay that way.

"If you want me again look for me under your boot soles."

Walt Whitman's line from Leaves of Grass tells us what awaits all living things.  Ivan the Terrier - the Borepatch family dog for over 14 years - has taken a sudden decline.  We're talking over how long we can keep him in relative comfort.  There's a cruel responsibility that comes with owning a pet.


Here is a post from a couple years ago, before he started his decline.


During that summer which may never have been at all

I took Ivan the Terrier for a walk to the old Mill dam this morning.

Photo copyright Borepatch.  Click to enbiggify.

Afternoon would be too hot.  Most of June was delightfully not-at-all-like-June-in-Georgia, but now we're back to, well, about what you'd expect.  He's not a young dog, and a black dog in the hot Georgia sun is just not right.

This park, at the Roswell Mill didn't exist when we lived here the first time.  The town dropped some serious money into the trails, making this one of the nicest places to walk in the area.  The trails go up and down Vickery Creek, down almost all the way to the Chattahooche where there are more great trails along the river.

Photo copyright Borepatch

I've always liked to walk, and a dog is a good reason to get out.  In Maine Jack and I saw otters; there were beavers in a pond in Massachusetts.  We had a heron hang out in our back yard here in our first house, a decade ago (as we like to joke, at our "house in Georgia").  I'd terraced the backyard hill with dry stacked stone, and put in a waterfall and a pond.  The heron was helping himself to our fish.

#1 Son would get mad at this, and let Ivan the Terrier out to chase the heron off.  Ivan didn't chase this one - he's twelve years old now, and the bird was on the other side of the river.  Besides, he wasn't after our fish.

A quiet morning walk doesn't just carry you across the local landscape, it takes you across the landscape of memory, to places long past which we can only visit in our dreams.  Jack has been gone these twenty years now, but I still hear his deep throated bark, outraged at the swimming otter's insolence.  #1 Son hasn't been eight years old for ever and ever, but I still hear his child's voice rising with outrage that the bird is back at the pond.  I hear the frustration in the voice of young #2 Son, asking where the beaver is, knowing he is about to be delighted when he finally catches a glimpse of it.

Ivan the Terrier loves these walks.  The chance to sniff around, to catch new smells and sights from a place that's not his yard keeps him mentally sharp.  The walk through old but cherished memories is good for me, too.  Even if the path is crowded with Jack and some small children.

Photo copyright Borepatch
The past is never dead. It's not even past.
- William Faulkner

Rifle display stand bleg

I'm looking for a display stand that would be suitable for displaying Great Grandfather's rifle on the mantel over the fireplace here at Camp Borepatch.

I'd like something free standing, and be able to display the powder horn as well.  Any recommendations?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine

As someone who worked in the intelligence community a couple decades back (i.e. before it went feral), it's been quite dismaying to see the government's attacks on the privacy of regular citizens.  In particular, the repeated attempts to discourage the use of encryption is something that as a Security Guy I can only say is a Very Bad Thing.

I'm not the only one.  This announcement seems really, really important:
ital personal and business information flows over the Internet more frequently than ever, and we don’t always know when it’s happening. It’s clear at this point that encrypting is something all of us should be doing. Then why don’t we use TLS (the successor to SSL) everywhere? Every browser in every device supports it. Every server in every data center supports it. Why don’t we just flip the switch?

The challenge is server certificates. The anchor for any TLS-protected communication is a public-key certificate which demonstrates that the server you’re actually talking to is the server you intended to talk to. For many server operators, getting even a basic server certificate is just too much of a hassle. The application process can be confusing. It usually costs money. It’s tricky to install correctly. It’s a pain to update.

Let’s Encrypt is a new free certificate authority, built on a foundation of cooperation and openness, that lets everyone be up and running with basic server certificates for their domains through a simple one-click process.
Who are the subversive Black Hat traitors behind this?
Mozilla Corporation, Cisco Systems, Inc., Akamai Technologies, Electronic Frontier Foundation, IdenTrust, Inc., and researchers at the University of Michigan are working through the Internet Security Research Group (“ISRG”), a California public benefit corporation, to deliver this much-needed infrastructure in Q2 2015. The ISRG welcomes other organizations dedicated to the same ideal of ubiquitous, open Internet security.
Ah.  It's a bunch of techies who feel the same way as I do.  Good.  And the project seems to have the Internet Philosophy embedded in its DNA:
The key principles behind Let’s Encrypt are:
  • Free: Anyone who owns a domain can get a certificate validated for that domain at zero cost.
  • Automatic: The entire enrollment process for certificates occurs painlessly during the server’s native installation or configuration process, while renewal occurs automatically in the background.
  • Secure: Let’s Encrypt will serve as a platform for implementing modern security techniques and best practices.
  • Transparent: All records of certificate issuance and revocation will be available to anyone who wishes to inspect them.
  • Open: The automated issuance and renewal protocol will be an open standard and as much of the software as possible will be open source.
  • Cooperative: Much like the underlying Internet protocols themselves, Let’s Encrypt is a joint effort to benefit the entire community, beyond the control of any one organization.
If you have your own DNS domain, you should check this out.

From Back In 2000

Fourteen years ago, in March 200, when winter was becoming a thing of the past, Dr. David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, had this to say in an interview:
"within a few years winter snowfall will become a very rare and exciting event. Children just aren't going to know what snow is."
I would like to invite Dr. Viner to visit Buffalo, New York. They got 70 inches of excitement in the last three days.

Remember this, kids. When it's warm it's climate change, when it's cold it's weather.

Karma ran over the Global Warming dogma

Global Warming as a "crisis" really dates to 1998, when the very hot summer convinced many people that "Global Warming is real".  I mean, who are you going to trust, a bunch of "deniers" or your lying eyes?

Well, live by the heat wave, die by the cold snap:
All 50 states have low temperatures BELOW freezing tonight. (Monday night)

Yes, even Hawaii. Tall mountain peaks there regularly get below freezing, and even get snow.

Joe Everyman is reacting to this the way he reacted to the 1998 heat wave: who you going to trust, a bunch of Climate Scientists or his lying eyes?  There's a certain karmic balance in that, a poetic justice that is shadenfreudalistic.

Sure, sure, weather not climate and all that.  But 1998 was a politically useful "weather not climate" exercise, no?  I wonder if Jonathan Gruber is one of the lead authors on the IPCC Assessment Reports ...


I've weaned myself mostly off the meds, which is a Very Good Thing indeed.  Even ibuprofin is needed less and less.  What I'm doing is (slowly) testing my limits, and pain is the feedback mechanism that tells me to stop.

I drove the Jeep to the dog park once (4 on the floor), and that was OK.  I've gone from working in a wingback chair to working at my desk - I'm not sure that that's OK - the desk height is wrong and the chair doesn't support me like the wingback.  It's an exploration.

All in all, though, this Thanksgiving I will have something to be thankful for.  The accident could very well have been much worse.

Memories of The Marine Corps I

This one isn't mine. My earlier post on photography prompted an email from a reader. We passed messages back and forth and she gave me permission to post.

She was in Beaufort, S.C. during some of the same years I was. She was not in the Marine Corps though. She was a young child. It was her father that was a Marine. He flew those planes I worked on.  He was in a different squadron. Separated by rank and unit, we would have never met. But, like me, where his squadron's airplanes went, he went.

And with that, here is her memory of the long ago.
When he was sent over to WESTPAC, he was concerned that with my age, he would be a bit of a stranger when he got back.  So my mom would ship him children's books by the boxful along with blank tapes.  He would record himself reading me the books and then send the boxes and completed tapes back so I could still have nightly stories with Dad.  I still have the audio files...the conditions being what they were, a number of the stories were interrupted by "wait, someone's about to take off" and the roar of jet engines before he'd pick up the story again.  

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Renewable energy will mess up the power grid

Great in-depth article that shows that an amp from solar is not at all the same as an amp from coal generation.  And that an amp from coal isn't the same as an amp from gas.
It can be very misleading to compare the energy costs for wind and solar to the energy costs for more conventional generation technology and assume the difference is the cost of providing for “clean” energy.

The power grid requires so much more support than the injection of energy. Unfortunately wind and solar do not provide support “services” as well as many other generation resources do. Accounting and providing for these extra “services” should be part of any comparison of resource types and inform any directives or plans impacting the provision of electric power.     To the degree that wind and solar resources make up a larger portion of the supply mix, significant costs will be incurred to maintain system functionality and reliability. This posting is focuses solely on how various resources impact just one of these “services”, the balancing of system loads and resources.
There are a bunch of comments that are really good, too.

I am Leonardo of Arc

Interesting personality quiz, and one that is a lot more insightful than most.  This isn't at all bad analysis of me, and it was done with only 12 questions.  Pretty impressive.

Hat tip: The Geek In Heels


Dang, it's cold, and fixin' to get a lot colder (down in the teens tonight). I moved down here from Yankeeland to get away from this nonsense.  And so here's a change of pace, from a couple days before the motorcycle hit the tarmac.

Monday, November 17, 2014

I Want to Start a Movement

I have watched the Christmas trend grow like a tinsel covered cancer. It took Thanksgiving decades ago. Now it's swallowed Halloween. The stores put Christmas lights and fake trees up for sale when they they put away the Back-To-School sales.

Three weeks ago the Big Green Siren Caffeine Delivery Shop put up the red menus, put out all the gift boxes and generally gave up on Thanksgiving before it even arrived. It was like being grabbed in a headlock by Santa Claus just to get a cuppa joe.

So here's my proposal. I've already done it personally. I've done it for years.

I do not shop for Christmas presents until after Thanksgiving. After Black Friday I do my shopping, such as it is. Refuse to participate and it will go away. They only do it because it is profitable.

Tell your friends. Tell your family. There's three thousand readers of this blog. Some of you are bloggers. Put it on your site, too. Call it the Take Back Thanksgiving Movement. Give the Thanksgiving holiday it's place back. Don't let it just be a speed bump in the race to Christmas. We can do this.

 One more thing, a recent additional symptom to the situation, is stores are opening on Thanksgiving Day. Bad enough that our police, fire, and hospital services have to work. Forcing people to give up their Thanksgiving holiday to open up the Big Box Junk Shop is a terrible manifestation of the overall problem. I would not go to a store to go shopping on Thanksgiving Day under any circumstances.

Take the pledge. Stand in solidarity with us. Link arms and sing a couple of verses of Alice's Restaurant. If no one went on Thanksgiving, the stores would give up and be closed next year. If no one would shop for presents before Black Friday, the terrible specter of Christmas trees on sale the week after Fourth of July could be put to rest.

Remember it started here at Borepatch and march on.


More Photography and Time

Not mine, but this is the article that prompted my last post. A pro photographer named Nicolas Nixon took a picture of his wife and her sisters in 1975. He was using an 8x10 view camera, so this was not just a quick snapshot.

He took one the next year. And then it became a theme. He took one every year. For forty years. Somewhere in the sequence it becomes art. The women mature. The images become more evocative. Here's the latest one.

Photography, Time, and Memory

I bought camera gear in Japan in 1981. An Olympus 35mm rig, all manual, a flash, and four lenses, and a tripod. A good friend of mine had gotten serious about photography and we were deployed together. We took hundreds of pictures together. Snapshots sometimes, but often we would bicycle off the base out into Japan and spend the day setting up and shooting images as serious and technically complex as we knew how.

We learned to shoot at night, images exposed for 30 seconds, or two minutes, or four. Learned to focus and follow a moving object, like an airplane, for example. I carried that camera to Korea, and then to the Philippines. Captured my journey. All those slides sit in trays on a shelf, when I occasionally look at them, I can remember the day and where I was, sometimes even the exposure I used.

I came home. When I got off the plane, I came down the steps with the camera in hand. The baby had been 3 weeks old when I left. I had been gone six months. When I called her name, she turned and I took this picture.

She wasn't thrilled that I bought the equipment. We had a child, were living on a sergeant's pay, it seemed an extravagance. It was complex and she never learned to use it much. The time and effort I had put into learning the craft paid off, though. I took pictures of the children. Holidays, beach trips, camping, birthdays, sometimes just pulled it out when I saw them in the yard.

This summer our oldest got married. His future sister-in-law figured out how to contact us without the bride and groom knowing about it. Did I have pictures I would share for a slideshow? I did and sent them in digital format, scanned from slides and uploaded to Picasa (and who could have imagined any of this 30 years ago?).

They were used to make a slide show. One of him, then one of her, from earliest days up to pictures of them together. Put to music. We showed it at the rehearsal dinner. Later, when we were eating, my wife leaned over and said, "I was wrong about the camera."

I was stunned. Even 30 years after the fact, whowouldathunkit?

But it's not the pictures, it's what they evoke. They shake open a memory. Bring back a time. When that picture was taken I was 24, standing in my Alphas, and she was the most beautiful woman in the world. It was winter and we were on the flightline at MCAS Beaufort. The Phantoms stood in rows behind us. I don't know that I could remember it so clearly, but the picture brings it back.

Environmentalist discovers science

He apologizes for his past activism:
I want to start with some apologies. For the record, here and upfront, I apologize for having spent several years ripping up GM crops. I am also sorry that I helped to start the anti-GM movement back in the mid 1990s, and that I thereby assisted in demonising an important technological option which can be used to benefit the environment.


So I guess you’ll be wondering – what happened between 1995 and now that made me not only change my mind but come here and admit it? Well, the answer is fairly simple: I discovered science, and in the process I hope I became a better environmentalist.
It's quite a long and detailed apology.  Nicely done.

I'm not the only one who had a motorcycle accident

Last week the 91-year-old father of a friend of mine was out riding his Harley. (He's a tough old bird to be sure.) Sadly that day turned out to be one of those times where, when taking a curve, something went wrong and down he went on his motorcycle at speed.

There were, as you might imagine, multiple injuries from which he will spend some months recovering. The first thing that happened, however, was that 911 was called and an ambulance pulled up to the scene of the accident where the elderly biker was being held still and comforted by his son who was out riding with him.

Two paramedics jumped out and came up to the injured man and assessed his physical condition. That done they moved onto his mental condition.

"What year is it, sir?"

"It's 2014," he replied faintly.

"What month is it, sir?"

"It's... it's November."

"How many quarters are there in a dollar," they asked.

"Four," he replied.

"And who is president of the United States?"


Prognosis today for a full recovery? Excellent.

(shamelessly stolen from here)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Behind The Ranges on Work Day

One a month, on Saturday morning, the ranges are closed for work day. Target backers are replaced, trash dumped, and painting/repair/groundskeeping projects are taken care of. Sometimes you get a large crew. Sometimes only a few people show up. There's a membership discount for participation, so there's an incentive to come at least a few times a year.

Yesterday, only four of us attended. Since it was my turn to be in charge, it made my job easy. We replaced the backer boards, emptied all the trash, cleaned the clubhouse and the heads and called it good. That left us with some time before the ranges opened.

The club property is bordered on one side by a river. There's an old carriage path that runs along the river. We keep it open. A couple of times a year we walk the path with chain saws and brush clearing tools, then run a tractor with a bush hog along it. It's behind the ranges, so when shooting is permitted, this area is closed off.

It was just a chance to take a hike and see how many trees had fallen across the path. It's a beautiful part of the club property. Second or third growth trees just starting to get some size. The river high or low depending on the season. Lots of wildlife since hunting is not permitted and there's normally no one in the area.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Vortex

If you visit the ATL, a visit to The Vortex is required. They have rules that include "No Whiners" and "This is an Idiot Free Zone". I recommend Tuaca ...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

I, Labrat

Instead of a biopsy, I'm trying a new prostate cancer test from the University of Michigan. I'd found it and asked my doctor about it; he looked into it and was impressed. So we're getting our Science® on.

Basically the test looks for DNA markers that are only present when there's a tumor. It's non-invasive and claims to be as accurate (or more) than a biopsy.

We'll see, but I expect I'm feeling much better today than if I'd had a biopsy.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Proof That It Has Happened At Least Once

Yesterday, in St, John's Hospital in Golden Valley, Minn., a man attacks the nurses with a metal pole from a bed frame. A series of shomen overhead strikes, one after another. Bringing the energy, full swings from far behind his head. One of the nurses had a collapsed lung, another had broken wrists.

In the dojo, this always seemed like a stylized attack I would never see. 

When You're The FBI's Most Wanted Cybercriminal...

Jeremy Hammond hacked into defense contractors, law enforcement organizations, and the websites and computers of people he disagreed with politically. He encrypted his personal computers with an unbreakable encryption system. He was a master criminal, the FBI's most wanted, when he was arrested they took him down with SWAT tactics. Still, his systems were encrypted at the time of his arrest.

 He's in prison serving 10 years for attacking Stratfor, a security intelligence firm. He stole their client database and published it online. 60,000 names, addresses, and credit cards. The information was used to run up $700,000 in fraudulent charges.

And how did the FBI manage to get into Jeremy's computer? Turns out Jeremy had a cat. He loved his cat. He named his cat Chewy. When it came time to give his encryption system a password did he use a strong password of random characters and symbols, like WhR8(#^8fHx4~4kD? No. Jeremy, the evil mastermind, like most of us, made his password something he could remember. His password was Chewy123.

 There's a lesson here. Your dog's name, your anniversary/birthday/wife's birthday/kid's birthday, your address, and any dictionary word are bad passwords.

There's actually a secondary lesson. That security intel firm he hacked, Stratfor? They were keeping all their records unencrypted on an open server. So they did Jeremy one better. They had no password at all.

An interesting mapping of political philosophies

Jerry Pournelle came up with a quite interesting replacement for the old political "left" vs. "right", one that is both interesting and different:
The two I chose are "Attitude toward the State," and "Attitude toward planned social progress".

The first is easy to understand: what think you of government? Is it an object of idolatry, a positive good, necessary evil, or unmitigated evil? Obviously that forms a spectrum, with various anarchists at the left end and reactionary monarchists at the right. The American political parties tend to fall toward the middle.


"Attitude toward planned social progress" can be translated "rationalism"; it is the belief that society has "problems," and these can be "solved"; we can take arms against a sea of troubles.

Once again we can order the major political philosophies. Fascism is irrationalist; it says so in its theoretical treatises. It appeals to "the greatness of the nation" or to the volk, and also to the fuhrer-prinzip, i.e., hero worship.
It all works out like this:

The whole discussion is very interesting, as you'd expect.  And it dates to 1986 (!).  That's one smart dude.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Wonder what that would be on a triple word score?

Of course, you could use climate science as well.  I'd love to get paleodendrochronology (the use of tree rings to establish old climate temperature series) on a triple word score. 

The Affordable Care Act Works As Designed

Rural hospitals are closing. Lots of them. Leaving people with long commutes to larger cities for basic health care and no access to immediate care in the event of emergencies.

USAToday has a long article on the closings. One of the hospitals was in our region. It was small, old, the facility was outdated and in a flood area. But it was medical care. Now it's gone.
"They set the whole rural system up for failure," says Jimmy Lewis, CEO of Hometown Health, an association representing rural hospitals in Georgia and Alabama, believed to be the next state facing mass closures. "Through entitlements and a mandate to provide service without regard to condition, they got us to (the highest reimbursements), and now they're pulling the rug out from under us."

Global Warming approaches

Snow in 42 of the lower 48 States.

Sure, this is weather not climate.  However, I didn't set the rules, which is any heat wave or drought (weather) is proof of Global Warming (climate).  Rules are rules, and all that.  I really have no choice here.

In the Parking Lot at the Med School

Hey, it's a theme. This was yesterday on campus where I work. I know that seems impossible because they have signs saying it's a gun-free zone, but here's the article: Man threatens victim with gun on campus.

Here's a quote:  "Police say there was no physical confrontation."

Really. Blink...blink.

Just so we’re clear about it, when someone points a gun at me, there is a physical confrontation happening right then. My response to it doesn’t play into it. I may be compliant and give the criminal my wallet. I may not. But the confrontation happens as soon as someone threatens me by showing me the muzzle end of his gat.

Just sayin’…

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

In the Parking Lot of the Local Gas Station

No heroes in this one. Just posting it because it happened this week at the store where I buy gas.

I gotcher "peer review" right here!

Heh.  From a pretty interesting science blog post that's worth your time:
Journals have a weird objection to publishing “negative” results. We call something a “negative” result when a hypothesis doesn’t turn out to be true. So therefore you have to come up with a positive, strong and exciting story from your research on a regular basis. I would argue that the negative results might be more useful as it would mean other scientists wouldn’t go barking up the wrong tree studying the same thing. But I don’t run the place.
This is probably the single biggest failure in science (as practiced) today.  One of the most important experiments of all time had a negative result.  Could that even be published in the scientific journals today?  This may be the major reason why the pace of scientific discovery is slowing down:

One difference is that all of the earlier discoveries mentioned, 1890-1900, were made in Europe, and 100 years later the honours were shared between Europe, the USA and Japan. That only emphasises the much wider pool of talent that exists, which now includes also many more outstanding women. Yet there is no obvious shortage of available Nobel prizes, 100 years after they were instituted.

Apologists accounting for the relatively poor performance in discoveries per million scientist-years, will tell you that all the easy research has been done. Nowadays, it is said, you need expensive apparatus and large teams of scientists to break new ground. That is the case in some branches of science, but it is offset by the fact that the fancy kit makes life easier, once you have it.

The basic reason why there is no hint of accelerated discovery, despite the explosive growth in the population of researchers, may be that the social system of science has become more skilled at resisting new knowledge and ideas. Indeed, that seems to have become its chief function. Science is no longer a vocation for the dedicated few, as it was in the days of Pasteur and Maxwell, but a career for the many.
It has been said that Religious institutions are a defense mechanisms against religious experiences, which are frequently disruptive to the Religious Establishment.  The analogy to science as practiced by today's Scientific Establishment is sharper than many will likely be comfortable with.  Certainly the Scientific Priesthood does not welcome heretical new ideas any more than the old Religious Priesthood did.

That's some righteous "Peer Review", right there

We're told that peer review is the quality control mechanism for scientific papers - Global Warming will be THERMAGEDDON because of Peer Review®.  Well, nazzo fast:
By now we all know, or ought to know, that just because something is published in a peer-reviewed academic journal doesn’t mean it’s true. But we can at least assume it's been proofread, right?

Apparently not. A priceless gaffe, which has been making the rounds of academic Twitter this week, is Exhibit A.
Click through the link for another equally funny peer reviewed slip up.

The answer, of course, is not better peer review.  The answer is experimental confirmation of results.  Without confirmation you might get weird results, like the climate models all missing out on a near 20 year lack of warming

But hey, they're Peer Reviewed®!

The public failure of the Intellectual Class

Jonathan Gruber was probably as close to the "Obamacare Architect" as you can find.  This was no accident - he was also the architect of the 2006 Massachusetts RomneyCare bill that was the blueprint for the National Monstrosity.  His resume punches all the boxes of the Intellectual Elite's view of a policy making technocrat: MIT undergrad, Harvard PhD, currently teaching economics at MIT.  While MIT isn't technically an Ivy League school, it's as close as America gets to L'Ecole Polytechnique: you don't get more geeky techno-cred than from there.

Dr. Gruber has been in the news lately for a moment of candor.  It was so, well, candoriffic that even La Wik can't ignore it:
In a panel discussion about the ACA at the University of Pennsylvania in October 2013, Gruber stated that the bill was deliberately written "in a tortured way" to disguise the fact that it created a system in which "healthy people pay in and sick people get money". He stated that this obfuscation was necessary, due to "the stupidity of the American voter or whatever", in order to get the bill passed and that a "lack of transparency is a huge political advantage."[16] His comments caused controversy after a video of them was placed on YouTube in November 2014.
"Controversy"?  Boy, howdy. [video of Gruber's comment at the link]

This is the view of the Intellectual Elite - they have proven by their Ivy League credentials that they are smarter than you or me - and in the Elite's world, smart is everything.  And so they repeatedly push unpopular laws and mandates: Obamacare, Immigration "reform", the centralization of power in Washington D.C. and the Brussels that sees itself as the capitol city of an EU Superstate.  And if the plebs vote the wrong way on the treaty, make 'em vote again, and again, until they get it right.

Because Smart uber alles.  The Intellectual Elite is fit to rule as Philosopher Kings because they are ever so clever.  That's precisely how they think.

The problem is that they're really not all that smart.  David Brooks is a member of that class, and is certainly very clever - New York Times columnist, and all that.  Brooks has been (quite appropriately) mocked for his admiration of then Senator Obama's "perfectly creased trousers".  In truth, the mockery misses the mark, because the entire quote (from an interview of Brooks in 2006 after he met the junior Senator from Illinois) is much more damning:
But, as they chewed over the finer points of Edmund Burke, it didn’t take long for the two men to click. “I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging,” Brooks recently told me, “but usually when I talk to senators, while they may know a policy area better than me, they generally don’t know political philosophy better than me. I got the sense he knew both better than me.”

That first encounter is still vivid in Brooks’s mind. “I remember distinctly an image of--we were sitting on his couches, and I was looking at his pant leg and his perfectly creased pant,” Brooks says, “and I’m thinking, a) he’s going to be president and b) he’ll be a very good president.”
Why would Brooks have thought that Obama would have been a very good president?  Because Obama passed himself off as being a card carrying member of Brooks' Intellectual Elite class.  He was able to talk about Burke, so clearly he would be an effective leader.  Or something.

This is the problem with the Intellectual Elite: they have far too high an opinion of their brains ("... they generally don’t know political philosophy better than me.").  They have no idea just how many things they have no idea about - things that millions of Americans do every day: start, run, and grow a business; lead soldiers in combat; accomplish something.

Instead, it's all symposia and friendly hail fellow well met back slapping with the other members of their club (which is not to say there isn't vicious office politics between them, just saying that we didn't win World War II with superior office politics skills).

And so the misplaced sense of superiority leads to Gruber's bald faced lies.  No wonder the Intellectual Class is held in such contempt by the population.  And the punch line?  Gruber and his pals don't get that.  They can't imagine that it would make a difference, and so they dance off to lie to the "stupid American voters" again.

Because they can't see a negative consequence from holding this sort of world view.  Smart, right there.