Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Armed and Capable

... my statistical chance of being a victim of a violent crime is quite low.
I carry because the chance isn’t zero. Link.

For a spirited and eloquent defense of packing heat, this lady is worth reading.


It's The Federal Reserve, Stupid!

 Artwork by David Dees.

Once people, businesses, and governments become saturated with debt, new money/ debt when introduced can only be used to service prior existing debt. Link.


I don't know anything about this guy Nathan, and I damn sure don't understand his graphs and charts, but I agree completely with his assessment of the American Dollar.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

He Ain't Skeered

So let me get this straight. Obama makes a super-secret, middle-of-the-night visit to Afghanistan to sternly chew out our puppet the Afghan president. With several hundred thousand military and mercenaries contractors, the big O doesn't feel safe enough to visit in the daytime? And this doesn't bother anyone?

Yo Dawg, We Heard You Liked Freedom

Do you like freedom? Does it rankle you that every damn thing in this country requires permission? Do you refuse to fly on an airplane because you consider full-body cavity searches an outrage? Do you fervently wish that all the government agencies would just get the hell out of our way?
Or do you believe any outrage is justified if it "keeps us safe". Maybe you haven't had the cops break down your door in the middle of the night and think it can't happen to you. Perhaps you liked inflation when it seemed like your house kept increasing in value, until your house's value halved and the prices of things you need seem to keep climbing.
But certainly, how could anyone object to Social Security, Medicare, Unemployment Comp, constant wars, food stamps, welfare, or building departments? How could anyone be heartless enough to toss a crippled old timer out in the street without food or shelter? And damn it, the people of Iraq need a functioning democracy. Never mind that you don't seem to be able to save for your old age because of all the taxes.
At what point is enough enough?


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Maxine's Take on Things

I got this e-mail currently going around the Innertubes. Pretty much sums it up:

Let me get this straight......we're trying to pass a health care plan written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn't understand it, passed by a Congress that hasn't read it but exempts themselves from it, to be signed by a president that also is exempt from it and hasn't read it and who smokes, with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn't pay his taxes, all to be overseen by a surgeon general who is obese, and financed by a country that's broke.

What the hell could possibly go wrong?

Note from UC: When I first posted this, it had a cartoon graphic of Maxine. After a few hours it went away. To where, I don't know.                      

Time For Some Trees

Mrs. UC and I decided to start some trees next to the house. We went to the local nursery and looked at their Shoestring Acacias. Half-dead and overpriced. So I drove to Las Vegas (2-1/2 hours away) and visited every nursery there. At Star Nursery I found some gorgeous 15-gallon trees, and they were on sale, too! There was a problem, though. A 2-1/2 hour drive at 60 MPH wouldn't do the trees any favors if I took the flatbed trailer, and the enclosed trailer was only 6' tall inside. The trees were 12' tall. My carpenter training kicked in(you react in a micro-second), and I whipped up this tree-tipping jig.

By tipping them in the enclosed trailer, the trees would fit nicely and I wouldn't lose any dirt from the containers.

The ride home went smooth and by the numbers. I layed some furniture pads over plywood boxes to gently support the tops of the trees.

I applied a little muscle with my heirloom digging pick. The top of the ground was very hard, of course, because of the house pad, so I punched a 3' diameter hole about 3' deep to get below the hard stuff. In one of the holes I hit caliche and had to drill 3/4" holes with a rotohammer to break through the hard pan.

Here's two of the four trees we planted. We did these installs by the book with three 2x2 poles to help the young trees survive the sometimes brutal desert winds. Mrs. UC searched the Innertubes for the best tree-planting methods, and she superintended this project.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

These Are My Words And I Mean Them

Firing Pin Journal Jay finds the most interesting things on the Innertubes. Here are words from a plain-speaker, printed big enough for all to see. Read more Here.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Chains We Can Believe In

In the News:

"This is what change looks like," Obama said later in televised remarks that stirred memories of his 2008 campaign promise of "change we can believe in."

"We proved that this government — a government of the people and by the people — still works for the people."

Oh, you proved something, all right. I weep for the future.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said the legislation awaiting the president's approval would cut deficits by an estimated $138 billion over a decade. For the first time, most Americans would be required to purchase insurance, and face penalties if they refused. Much of the money in the bill would be devoted to subsidies to help families at incomes of up to $88,000 a year pay their premiums.

Care to wager on the financial outcome of the above? How about that penalty clause? When are we going to see what those penalties are?

To pay for the changes, the legislation includes more than $400 billion in higher taxes over a decade and cuts more than $500 billion from planned payments to hospitals, nursing homes, hospices and other providers that treat Medicare patients. 

There we go! Just a lil' "increase" in taxes, nothing to worry about. Except, wait a minute, who are they gonna tax? Not me, HIM, over there, tax that guy!


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Rule #3

The Firing Pin Journal is fast becoming my favorite gun blog. I shamelessly lifted this pic from the Journal's site, where it is used as an example of proper finger placement on a gun while scanning the scene. Link Here.

Here's the 4 rules:

1. All guns are always loaded.
2. Never point the gun at anything you are not willing to destroy.
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target.
4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

Marriage and Politics

We all know a good marriage when we see one. Mencken used to say that a good marriage needed only one ingredient: A lack of disgust.
Citizenship is kinda like a marriage. So, if a lack of disgust is all that's necessary for a good marriage, can we say the same of what constitutes a good government? That would certainly explain a few things in America.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Socialism, Anyone? ... Anyone?

This is the work of David Dees. Good stuff, huh? Lots more Here. And Here.


Animating Contest OF Freedom

“If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”
Samuel Adams

I've been thinking about this quote. That he chose the word "for" in his phrase "animating contest for freedom" means that Sam didn't think he lived in freedom. Imagine a career politician talking like that.
But what about that shining day when we become truly free? Will we all enjoy the animating contest OF freedom? 

Forrest Gump, Our King

First off, I've never seen Forrest Gump. I'm a busy man, and I don't have time to waste on a touchy-feely movie about a wise retard. It might be a great movie. I've never heard anyone say otherwise. But from the inescapable movie quotes and bits of the story, I've decided I'd rather keep my lunch in my stomach, thank you.
That said, I've been thinking about a post on Sharp As A Marble. In a comment, Linoge of Walls Of The City, says that society seems to be arranged to suit the Lowest Common Denominator.
There is an assumption of helplessness in this country, and that notion is being exploited to shackle people who are able to provide for their own needs. Ayn Rand called it an "orgy of self-sacrifice" and Frederick Bastiat called it "stupid greed and false philanthropy". Right now would be a good time to settle down to a good long bout of examination of ideas.

History vs Ideas

I had a friend, long ago, who used to say I had a "shiny brain", that I refused to recognize the "reality" of the world. He'd point out that history showed humans were no damn good, and that the only thing that mattered was power over others. He'd just shake his head when I would tell him about the ideas of Ayn Rand, Frederick Bastiat, Irwin Schiff, H. L. Mencken, and other writers I admired. Wasting my time, I was.
You can blame current events on this or that, one politician or another, but "reality" is what happens when we follow our ideas, whether we examine them or not.

David Dees

This is the work of David Dees. Tons more Here, and also Here.

David and Ocey the cat.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Lowest Common Denominator

... using the lowest-common denominator to determine the outcome for a society in its entirety is a failing strategy before it even started.
Comment on a post at Sharp as a Marble

From the "I wish I'd said that" department. I find lots of gems like this over at Firing Pin Journal.

What Everybody Knows

Seems to be common knowledge that government spending is the only thing that will get us out of this depression. I've got some problems embracing that notion.
The U.S. government is broke. It has no money other than what it steals from us, and that's damn little lately. So the politicians announce that they're going to "borrow" the money. But who is going to loan us money? You'd need thousands of Bill Gates' willing to loan us their life savings to work up that kind of cash. The Chinese, perhaps? But the Chinese government has no money other than what it steals from it's inmates citizens. So thieves are going to loan us some money? Getting worse. Then there's the printing press. But money represents unconsumed goods, so if the money is just printed, that represents a theft from everyone that holds money. Since that reduces their purchasing power, how is that supposed to help us? Then there's the Federal Reserve Bank, a PRIVATE bank with huge amounts of money. Where did the Fed get all this money? The Fed does not take deposits. Instead, it acts as a "legitimizer" for the U.S. Treasury Department's printing press. Here's my question for the day: Why does the Treasury Department print Federal Reserve Notes? Our money system stinks from top to bottom and we're not going to be able to fix it until it collapses. That's coming soon.


Hop, Hop, Hop

I was out in the yard, tidying up a bit. I was making too much noise at the pile of 2 x 4's where this fellow resides and he hopped over to our garage. Mrs. UC picked him up and carried him back to, we're hoping, safety. The next day we looked under the wood pile and saw two of these little guys. I sure hope Mom is still around. There's lots of coyotes in our neighborhood.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Get Outa The Way!

Two news items for your consideration.

Needle Mountain Power wants to build the largest solar electricity plant in the United States, a 1200 MW Sterling Solar generating facility, on 10,000 acres east of Needles, California.

The Navajo Nation wants to build a 48-turbine wind farm, second-largest in Northern Arizona, on 80 acres west of Flagstaff, Arizona.

What do these two job-generating projects have in common? They're both waiting for government "approval". The Needle Mountain project has been jumping through hoops for 18 months, and their spokesman says they've only begun the "regulatory process". Think about that next time you hear a politician talk about a "jobs program".

Why Freedom 3?

When you think of freedom, do you see danger? Or the thrill of opportunity? What kind of man prefers freedom? What kind doesn't chafe at the thought of ankle irons?
Every man should be responsible for his own life. If you give up even a small part of that responsibility, don't be surprised if you lose control of your destiny. And all of your freedom.
There are those who say that, without government, people cannot provide for themselves. Can't defend themselves, can't feed themselves, can't make a shelter, can't teach their children how to read and write, can't save for retirement, can't pay for their medical needs, can't produce food, can't resist the lure of drugs and alcohol. To that I say, "Well maybe, but so what?" Even the three little pigs figured out how to build a strong house after two tries. Maybe people can and should learn from their mistakes, or if not, remove themselves from the gene pool.


Why Freedom 2?

People who have to be persuaded to be free don't deserve to be.

L. Neil Smith, The tyranny of Democracy 

A little rebellion now and then is a good thing.
Thomas Jefferson

Having to defend freedom is a smelly business. Not only smelly, but unpopular. Most people are, at best, ambivalent about freedom. They'd rather live at the expense of others, which necessitates slavery, the opposite of freedom. When I say at the expense of others, I mean letting others subsidize the defense of your person and property, the growing of your food, the building of your house, and the education of your children. Even if you're prepared now to pay for these services, don't be surprised when the day comes that these services become unaffordable. The U.S. government(it may be YOUR government, but it's not MY government) thinks itself indispensable to our security, and it's charging accordingly. The medical profession, same thing. Ditto the education establishment. Fortunately, for now anyway, you can still afford food at WalMart, and homes are within reach, even if the building departments and property taxes are fast changing that.
What happens when you decide, "Enough! I can't afford all you assholes. I'd rather do these things for myself. I could do them better and cheaper, and my life would improve if you'd just go away." Oops, too late. We should have done something about a hundred years ago. Now it's going to be ugly to fix the problem. Without frontier we're boxed in, painted into a corner, so to speak. Where do we go from here?

An Asshole for All Seasons

OK, I admit it. I'm an asshole. A flaming, serious, major asshole. Each day when I wake up, I say to myself, "Today I'm going to try to be a merely decent human being". But even before breakfast, my inner asshole surfaces. I'm so ashamed. Maybe tomorrow.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

More Penguin Guest-Posting

Back to enlighten us is the one, the only, the insufferable know-it-all, BadBux, the Armchair Economist. The Penguin writes thusly:

I still can't believe there are people out there who believe in limited government and balanced budgets. OK, listen up people, because I know what I'm talking about. I'm like, err, uhm, really smart, and I've got a college degree to back it up. And I've read books and stuff, too. Books with hard covers and graphs and thingies. So stop thinking your silly little thoughts and let me tell you what you should think.

The way to end the current economic crisis, the worst since the Great Depression, is painfully clear by just looking at the graph of government make-work spending during the Great Depression. The more spending, the more government jobs. Without steady government jobs that regulate private behavior, people will do things and spend money as they see fit--a very bad thing. We should print at least $4 trillion to bolster our government, so that our government can lead us to goodness and light. Runaway inflation is nothing compared to the horrors of freedom and sound money.

Blog editor's note: Let's chew on that for a moment before the flightless one continues.....

First, however, we have to free the President of that neo-Austrian claptrap that makes him believe in a balanced budget. The Great Depression proves that FDR saved the country with make-work… it’s as obvious as the nose on your face… but the neo-Austrian lunatics still continue to insist that the way to end a depression is to reduce government spending, despite the fact that they live in some neo-Austrian fantasy world where unicorns are pink, cotton candy grows on trees, and the Great Depression ended because of hand-waving and silly walks.
There. I rest my case. Consider yourself enlightened.

Blog editor's note: While reading the waddling one's shallow and pitiable "understanding" of economics and history, I was reminded of Ben Jonson's Timber:

Neither can his Mind be thought to be in Tune, whose words do jarre; nor his reason in frame, whose sentence is preposterous; nor his Elocution clear and perfect, whose utterance breaks itself into fragments and uncertainties.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Government Explained


Our guest-poster, BadFux, the government apologist, here explains why we need a government.

People are no damn good. They're lazy, shiftless morons that barely lifted themselves out of the primordial muck. I should know, because I'm really smart, and I read some books and stuff. Anyone who argues with me believes in unicorns and cotton-candy forests.
Government is the only thing that keeps us from becoming savages. Without government, we'd fearfully huddle in caves, cold and hungry. People wouldn't know how to feed themselves or their children. No one would educate their kids. There would be no roads, no cars, no railroads. I seriously doubt the wheel would have been invented. No medicine, no computers, no tools of any kind.
I know what you're thinking. You say, How come government people have the exact opposite inclinations from their non-government brethren? How come government people know goodness and light while the common rabble huddle in darkness? It's a gift from Providence. And magical jackboots. You wouldn't understand.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Root of All Evil

Money represents unconsumed goods. If there is no confidence in that supposition, it's not money.
So when the government wants to wage world-wide war and to bail out all the too-big-to-fail corporations with counterfeit borrowed money, isn't that a theft of unconsumed goods?

Why Freedom?

I have been given this assignment: To write on the question, Why good grammar? I have not been explicitly asked to answer the question, however, and for that I am grateful. It is a strange question, after all, something like Why clean hands? And its best answer is really, Well, why not? If there is anything to be proved here, it ought to be left to those who support the cause of "bad grammar."

Richard Mitchell, Why Good Grammar?

It seems like the only thing that will shame a politician enough to make him step down from his exalted position is a sex scandal or hidden adulteries (The teary-eyed "I need to spend more time with my family" speech). How shocked would we be if, instead, a politician announced that he was stepping down because his job was antithetical to the freedom that Americans say they cherish?
Is anything less than full freedom really free? Does even one law signify our acceptance of leg chains? Would the elimination of laws result in chaos and (zOMG!) anarchy? Would people turn into pack animals, viciously attacking their neighbors? Would people stop educating their children, quit their jobs, pick up a crack pipe and start playing the lottery?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Exeltech Knows Inverters

Good People at Exeltech,
I have a question about grid-tie inverters. When the inverter is syncronizing with grid voltage and phase, how is the voltage chosen? Does the inverter match the voltage of the grid, or is it higher? If it's higher, how much higher and what is the most efficient voltage above grid voltage? I want to ensure that my household loads use 100% of my solar panel output first before using any grid power.

Hello Dave,
Grid-tie inverters will match your line voltage, plus a tiny bit more (on the order of a few thousandths of a volt) --  and will go only as high as necessary to output the available power from the solar modules.  There isn't a "most efficient voltage above the grid" per se.
A grid-tie inverter connected on your side of the utility meter will always contribute to your home loads first.  If you're using more power than the inverter is generating, you'll be consuming 100% of the inverter power first, with the balance coming from the utility company.  For example, let's say the inverter is generating 1,500 watts .. and you've got loads in the home consuming 1,600 watts.  The inverter power will be totally used by your home needs .. and you'll be buying the 100 watt difference from the power company.
Hope this helps.
Dan Lepinski
Senior Engineer
7317 Jack Newell Blvd. North
Fort Worth, Texas 76118
(817) 595-4969 (Voice)
(817) 595-1290 (FAX)
(800) 886-4683 (Toll-free)