Friday, May 31, 2019

Suicide by Two Shots to the Head?

All Butchered (3 killed, gun, 5th column top)
The evening world. (New York, N.Y.), 28 Aug. 1891. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <>
There were two pistol wounds In the head of John Baxter--one in the middle of the forehead, the other In the left side of the head, just above the ear.

Does anyone beside me find this two shots to the head suicide implausible?  Have you ever heard of someone doing this?  Bulldog .32.  I know .32 isn't much of a caliber, but above the ear the forehead?

No Limits to Creativity

Bourbon Co., Ky. (1891)
7/24/1891: Escaped prisoner (being held on murder charges) asks a farmer for a drink of water, and kills him with a scythe to the head, followed by murdering the father and mother similarly, and badly injuring the other son.  Neighbors shot down the murderer some distance away.
Category: residential
Suicide: no
Cause: unknown
Weapon: scythe[1]

Sheet Metal Screws

I have been trying to move away from using acetal for the part that holds the caster.  Aluminum is half the price, and I get $0.28/pound for aluminum scrap.  Acetal scrap goes into a landfill.  Unfortunately, aluminum is much more labor.  With acetal, a .140" hole into the acetal means that I can screw an 8-32 screw through the aluminum sleeve into the acetal, without tapping the acetal.  Just power screwdriver the screw in.

Tapping the hole in aluminum is slower.  I have to mark the hole in the aluminum insert through the hole through the hole in the sleeve, then drill to depth and tap.  This is slow.  (I have also found that tap charts recommend a drill size that consistently breaks the tap.  Going up to 5/32" drill size stops the breaking, but creates a less than perfect hold.)  Sheet metal screws are for thin metal, and are not going to tap holes in a drilled hole.

Any suggestions, other than staying with the expensive acetal?

Thanks, all. I found some #10 self-tapping screws in my enormous collection of odd screws that I will never use; drilled an appropriate sized hole in some 1/4" aluminum; and turned it into the hole.  I will buy some #8s the next time I am in the valley (the holes in the sleeves are .172", so slightly too big for #10).  Also, what I have are screwdriver heads.  I will get some hex heads.  I prefer socket head or hex head fasteners because the heads don't strip so easily and I can turn them in very tightly and quickly with a power screwdriver.  You can that with slot and Phillips heads also, but it is harder to keep the bit in the head, and they seem to strip more easily.

Is This Supposed to Be Satire?

5/31/19 Fox News:
A draft resolution set to be debated this weekend at the California Democratic Party State Convention, obtained by Fox News, accuses the Israeli government of willfully "aligning with the virulent Islamophobia" of white supremacist groups in the U.S. -- and links Israel indirectly to the Oct. 2018 massacre of 11 congregants at a Pittsburgh synagogue....

The document calls the October synagogue shooting "the culmination of an alarming re-emergence of virulent antisemitism that is a core element of historical and currently resurgent white supremacism in the United States and around the world." The "Israeli government, along with some of its U.S. backers," the resolution continues, "welcomed support from Christian fundamentalist and ultra-right groups in the United States and abroad, dangerously ignoring their deeply rooted antisemitism while aligning with their virulent Islamophobia."
Ah, I knew it: Jews are promoting anti-Semitism to get back at the Muslims!  The Democrats are failing logic again.

Ever Had a Bad Performance Review?

It could be worse.  5/31/19 Reuters:
SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea executed its nuclear envoy to the United States as part of a purge of officials who steered negotiations for a failed summit between leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump, a South Korean newspaper said on Friday.

Doing Jesus' Work

5/31/19 USA Today has a heartwarming story about people deep in medical debt.  Churches are paying off these debts for those who lack the resources to do so and using a very clever way of doing it on the cheap:
A big part of RIP’s appeal comes from the impact even a small donation can have, say participating church leaders. When a person can’t pay a bill, that debt is often packaged with other people’s debt and sold to bill collectors for some fraction of the total amount of the bill. Those debts usually come from low-income people and are more difficult to collect.
RIP Medical Debt buys debt portfolios on this secondary market for pennies on the dollar with money from its donors. But instead of collecting the debt, RIP forgives it.
I know that many people who go into bankruptcy from medical debt often have other factors in play: gambling problems, substance abuse, and failure to obtain medical insurance when they had it available. 

Saving people from past stupidity is a lot like grace: God forgives us of our sins, even big ones, when we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior.  If you keep throwing yourself back into sin, it will catch up with you again.  But think of this as a "Get Out of Jail" card from Monopoly.  And churches are doing God's work when they help with a crisis like this.  I think that I will let my pastor know about this.

Medical providers at least get some of their unpaid bills covered: better than nothing.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Winter in May

Hailstorm.  Not usual weather for May.
Remember: the global warming claim won't end until a polar bear eats an IPCC member at a conference in Los Angeles.

I Knew About This Incident

But far more interesting than I realized.

New Orleans, LA (1891)
3/16/1891: A jury having found several members of the Mafia innocent of the murder of police chief David C. Hennessy, a mob of 8,000 lynched eleven of those found innocent.  The leading men of New Orleans, including lawyers and well-known city reformers addressed a large crowd called to the meeting by a newspaper ad.  The speakers denounced “Detective O’Malley, who is supposed to have tampered with the jury.”  The ad “deprecated violence…. [but told readers] ‘Come prepared for action.’”  The mob broke down the door of the parish prison and shot to death the accused prisoners.  After the leader of the rally called the mob to disperse. “[B]ut first they made a rush for Parkerson [the lead speaker at the rally], and lifting him bodily, supported him [on] their shoulders while they marched up the street.”
Category: lynch
Suicide: no
Cause: revenge
Weapon: firearms[1]

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

It Appears CNN Is In Trouble

Read here.
Earlier today, television and cable website Adweek reported that CNN International was expected to cut back the programming it produces and airs in London and replace at least 90 minutes of content per day with American content, and new details have surfaced indicating darker tidings for the once-respected outlet, as CNN will now lay off all its London based correspondents and allow them the opportunity to reapply to maintain some level of employment.
BNL News reported that “CNN has been forced to fire essentially all of their London correspondents,” earlier this afternoon, while initial reports seemed less severe.

I Like Cotton Candy

But this is just too much:

Those Jews Are Sure Clever

5/26/19 BuzzFeed:
An Indiana man who pleaded guilty to defacing a synagogue with Nazi symbolism detailed to federal agents his road to radicalization, including meeting with members of the far-right group Identity Evropa and being inspired by the writings of a former Breitbart editor and the Nazi propaganda site Stormfront....
According to Nolan, she began with rightwing yet mainstream views such as those presented on Fox News. She then moved on to writings by Ben Shapiro and articles on Breitbart News which bridged the gap to the notorious white supremacist and anti-Semitic propaganda site Stormfront.”
5/28/19 HotAir:
The Rabbi of an Indiana synagogue which was vandalized with Nazi symbols last summer has responded to a defense lawyer’s claim that the offender was radicalized in part by reading Ben Shapiro. Rabbi Ben Sendrow told radio host Tony Katz it made no sense to accuse an observant Jew like Ben Shapiro of helping to radicalize someone toward Nazi ideology.


I thought that Christian Dominionism had died.  According to this article in Texas Monthly, no it just moved to Texas.   I am not impressed.  He distinguishes "soft" Dominionism from "hard" Dominionism.  The "hard" form is a pretty crazy idea that has no danger of ever being supported by any significant fraction of evangelicals much less voters in general, and more important, allowed by our rulers.

What he calls "soft" Dominionism is nothing of the sort:
While soft dominionists do not advocate replacing the Constitution with biblical law, they do believe that Christians need to regain the control over political and cultural institutions that they (supposedly) lost after the Founding period.
Yes, the Framers believed that Christianity was at the core of the Republic and the laws they passed and which remained in effect until the 1960s reflected that:
 In 2014, Patrick said that elected officials must look to Scripture when they make policy, “because every problem we have in America has a solution in the Bible.” (Where the Bible addresses problems like greenhouse gas emissions or cybersecurity, I’m at a loss to explain, even with 20 years of biblical study behind me.) His call for a “biblically-based” policy mindset “doesn’t mean we want a theocracy,” he insisted. “But it does mean we can’t walk away from what we believe.” For Patrick, not “walking away” seems to mean basing policy on his own religious beliefs — as he showed when he opposed same-sex marriage on biblical grounds.  
Of course not.  Christians are required to walk away from their beliefs, but no other group needs to do so.  Greenhouse gases are not a problem; the Sun is.  But good look regulating that.
The dominionist goal of having Christianity shape law and policy amounts to the very governmental establishment of religion that the First Amendment explicitly prohibits. It would also appear to violate the Texas Bill of Rights, which states that “no preference shall ever be given by law to any religious society or mode of worship.” 
Except the establishment of religion clause was intended to prevent any denomination from gaining influence and supremacy over the others,  See Justice Story's Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States 3:723-8 (using images because  downloading text does not work the way it used to):

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Never Bring A Hatchet to a Gunfight


Today's Gullibility Test

1601 WILLOW ROAD MENLO PARK, CA 94025 Dear Facebook User:
This is to inform you that your Facebook Account has won a prize money of $1,000,000,00 (One Million United state dollars) for the 2019 Edition Facebook promotion.
You are therefore advised to send the following information to the management of FACEBOOK INC to process your claim
1. Full name.............
2. Country..............
3. Contact Address........
4. Telephone Number.....
5. Marital Status........
6. Occupation.............
7. Company...............
8. Age.....................
Congratulations!! Once again.
For security reasons, we advice all winners to keep this information confidential from the public until your claim is processed and your prize released to you. This is part of our security protocol to avoid double claiming and unwarranted taking advantage of this program by non-participant or unofficial personnel.
Office of the President
CEO of Facebook
Mr Mark Zuckerberg

So why no SSN or bank account #?  If you want to annoy the reply-to address:

At Least CNN Covered It

Mass stabbing in Japan: 2 dead 19 wounded.  Knife control now.  Everytown for Knife Bans: where are you?

Monday, May 27, 2019

Modern Art or Topology Final Exam Question?

There was a mass of fence wire that fell into the road in our subdivision.  The last time this happened, it wrapped around Rhonda's axle.  So she grabbed it and brought it home.  Then to get it to a manageable form for recycling, I bound all the loops with zip ties, which Rhonda is now adding to duct tape as a post-apocalypse must have.  

We finally found the wire cutters and reduced it to a much smaller pile.

Progressives Like To Claim That Conservatives Only Care About the Unborn

And that they do not approve of providing assistance to the poor.  Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England:

By Far the Weirdest Progressive Solution I Have Ever Read

Christina Cauterucci at Slate proposes to get her generation's parents to turn progressive by refusing to have their grandkids.  She opens by admitting something that many feminists will not:
Those wins aside, sex strikes rest on some faulty premises: that women don’t have sexual needs of their own, that sex is a gift for women to bestow upon others, and that women only have sex with men. Plus, women and men in the U.S. have very similar views about abortion; women are even slightly more likely to call themselves “pro-life.” The Republican men working to pass abortion bans are far more likely to be sleeping with women who share their opinions than with those withholding sex for political reasons.
Odd.  Almost like hostility towards abortion isn't about oppressing women at all.
But at Slate, some of us wondered if she’d just happened upon a brilliant new weapon of progressivism. “Framing liberal policy platforms as The Only Way You’ll Get Grandkids … will make my dad Pokémon Go to the polls,” one of my colleagues mused. Another said a grandchild strike would be like “Handmaid’s Tale, but in a good way”—meaning, I assume, that it’s exactly the kind of radical response today’s radical threats to equity, justice, and humanity demand. It’s time to demand that baby boomers and Gen Xers decide which they’d rather have: their vague attachments to policies that have poisoned the earth and will soon make it difficult for anyone but the obscenely wealthy to live healthy, happy lives, or a pack of adorable munchkins in itty-bitty suspenders ready for unlimited tickle fights and cookie-baking sessions.
"Itty-bitty suspenders":  Huh?
The parent who will die if her adult child does not procreate with haste is one reductive stereotype that’s almost entirely based in truth. I have never met a parent who isn’t already dreaming about how much fun it’ll be to have a few roly-poly wee ones (who are ultimately someone else’s responsibility) around. I’ve already decided that I’m not having kids, and even desperately want some grandkids to spoil and squeeze and take to the zoo. I’m starting to think that whatever innate desire compels some people to have children is actually a sublimated thirst for grandchildren—a first step toward a goal that’s an entire generation away. ...
Your Republican parents are lukewarm on Donald Trump but will probably support his reelection, or maybe they’re Democrats who’ve sworn they’ll never elect a “socialist.” They’ve been bugging you and your partner to have kids for years; perhaps they’ve even kept your old sandbox and bedtime books in their basement in hopes of breaking them out again when you decide to breed. You sit them down and break the news: You’re not going to make any grandchildren anytime soon. It’s too expensive, what with your student loan debt, the schemes of predatory banks, and the disproportionate tax burden you’re forced to take on so billionaires can keep their tax breaks. It’s an impossible burden, what with our underfunded and shamefully segregated public education system, your own stagnant wages, and our nation’s failures on paid family leave and affordable child care. It’s a huge risk to have a child on purpose when you know you may be forced to bear another against your will, at any time, if the Supreme Court guts Roe v. Wade. It’s unethical, what with climate change and all. And it’s too dangerous—you’ve seen the news reports on school shootings and know how easy it is for violent men to get their hands on guns. ...
Maybe you’ll be satisfied if your parents prove to you, via voting booth selfie or supervised completion of an absentee ballot, that they voted for the sufficiently progressive candidate of your choice. Maybe you’ll insist they go a step further and CC you on the donations they make to the National Network of Abortion FundsZero Hour, or the National Women’s Law Center. Maybe you’ll give them a coupon for a weekend with your hypothetical child for every lobbying day they attend on Capitol Hill or the nearest statehouse. Maybe you’ll promise them one FaceTime session with your spawn for every call they make to a legislator. Maybe you’ll have an extra kid for every act of highly visible civil disobedience they perform, like chaining themselves to the Statue of Liberty or scaling a flagpole to remove a Confederate flag. 
So she admits that she wants kids, but will not have them to punish her parents for refusing to bend to her political wishes?  I am sure that once this movement gains members, there will be a lot of wills revised to recognize that old people can respond in kind.  Of course, many progressives are already deciding against kids for other reasons.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Eclipse Experts?

I decided to solve my problem with tracking down all those missing URLs by writing a filter named, cleverly, fields that would take CSV lines from stdin, and take the contents of each field and output them into an output string.  Sort of like awk, but smart enough to ignore field separators inside quotation marks.  This will let me produce output that I can process into URLs to find the newspaper articles so that I can grab the link to the page I need.

So I have cygwin on my PC, and I have made good use of it to write a bash script that automatically produces URLs that look up by year and month a variety of strings ("murders", "killing 3" and similar).  My goal was to give my research associate a list of URLs to click instead of having to pull down menus in Chronicling America.  That is working well at speeding up the process.

But having coded and compiled fields under cygwin, there is no debugger included in cygwin.  I could just transfer all this to my VM Linux, but I would prefer to stay under Windows for this.  There is no easy way to share files between VMWare's Linux and Windows.  (There is supposed to be, but I have never figured out how to install the VMWare tool package to make this work.)

So I am trying to use Eclipse for C/C++ instead.  I like IDEs and Eclipse is familiar to me.  It does lack the 1980s feel of coding and building in emacs, then debugging from the shell, but nostalgia only goes so far, and as I mentioned, cygwin has no debugger.

Eclipse is insisting on using cmake instead of make, and worse cmake is apparently not installed with Eclipse for C/C++.  Anyone know how to change it to use make instead?

Awesome!  One of you python handlers (much like the backwoods rattlesnake handlers but more useful) wrote me a program to do what I needed!

Friday, May 24, 2019

Tablet Question

My wife wants something she can use to read notes from while someone else is flipping the PowerPoint slides.  Just one finger to move from page to page.  What is available, and does anything fit this description?

I feel so antique.  There is PowerPoint for Android tablets.  I assume that I can save just the notes to a PPT file to put on the tablet, and just slide right 

The Smollett Case

5/23/19 Chicago Tribune:
A Cook County judge Thursday ordered the case file in the aborted prosecution of “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett unsealed, marking a victory for the Chicago Tribune and other news organizations and adding another twist to a case with seemingly no end to controversy.
Smollett’s attorney had succeeded in sealing the court records at the same unannounced hearing in March at which State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office abruptly dropped all charges that the actor had staged a hate crime attack on himself....
As reporters waited for the criminal file to be unsealed, former state appellate judge Sheila O’Brien held a news conference to talk about her efforts to get a special prosecutor appointed to investigate Foxx’s handling of the case. She called the judge’s decision unsealing the court file a “good first step” but said more needs to be done to ensure transparency.
“It’s not the court file that’s all-important, it’s Ms. Foxx’s file and the decision-making process in how this case was handled,” O’Brien said in the courthouse lobby.
In her petition, O’Brien highlighted how Foxx recused herself early in the investigation after communicating with a Smollett relative — only to later claim that it was not a recusal “in the legal sense” that would have required the entire office to withdraw from the prosecution.
Communications later released to the Tribune showed Foxx had asked police Superintendent Eddie Johnson to turn over the investigation to the FBI after she was approached by Tina Tchen, a former chief of staff to first lady Michelle Obama.
Remember, racism remains so rampant that an obviously faked hate crime cannot be prosecuted.

Another Plea for a Research Assistant

This is a simple task.  When I started compiling the spreadsheet of horror, I only included the author (if identified), article title, newspaper title, date and page number:
“Slain with Ax and Pistol,” San Francisco Call, May 28, 1896, 1.
Part way through the process, I realized that the URL to the article should be included and I started doing that.  But there are easily 100-150 incidents where I did not record the URL.  It would be useful to fill in those URLs.  All that is required is to search the Chronicling America web site with the article title and limit the year range to the year of the article. The URL appears at the bottom of the page.  One of you clever sorts with a still functioning brain can write a program to grab each citation (above) from a CSV file, produce a search string that finds the article in Chronicling America , and then copy the URL.  (There should be few duplicate article titles in the same year.  If need be, add the month to the search limitation.)  I know that this can be done.  I have written C# before that followed URLs and loaded webpages to follow links.

Citizen of Spain? Name, Please

5/23/19 Fox New York City:
Tuesday evening U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to Niagara Falls Station responded to a report of a man swimming across the Niagara River, just south of the Whirlpool Bridge in Niagara Falls....
Agents responded to the scene, arrested the suspected swimmer and two other individuals believed to be involved in the incident. The suspected swimmer and one of the individuals in the vehicle are citizens of Spain. A third subject who was revealed to be the driver of the vehicle was determined to be a citizen of the United States.
"This individual placed himself in extreme danger by swimming across the Niagara River in attempt to illegally enter the U.S. and is lucky to have survived the ordeal. The river is immensely hazardous with rapids, strong currents, and low water temperatures," said Patrol Agent in Charge Josh Barrett of the Niagara Falls Border Patrol Station.
Does anyone besides me wonder if the suspect's name is Mohammed?

Doubtless Extremist Baptists

5/24/19 [U.K.] Star:
A nail bomb device detonated in the central Victor Hugo Area around 5.30pm local time. 
A man, thought to be in his 30s and wearing a mask, reportedly dropped it in a suitcase outside a bakery. 
Cops are now hunting him and have since launched a terrorism probe, the French prosecutor has confirmed. 

Weirdest News Story of the Day

5/23/19 AP:
MARLBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Whoever broke into a Massachusetts man’s home last week didn’t take a thing. They did, however, leave the house spotless.
Nate Roman tells The Boston Globe that when he returned to his Marlborough home from work May 15, he could tell a stranger had been there.
Nothing was missing, but the 44-year-old Roman noticed the beds were made, the rugs vacuumed and the toilets scrubbed. They even crafted origami roses on the toilet paper rolls.
Marlborough must have very high quality burglars.

More Awk

It took a while but the following extracts fields 4, 5, 9, 10, and 11 and puts | in as a delimiter, then removes the time of the incident from the 2nd field.
awk -F'|' '{print $2,"|",$4,"|",$5,"|", $9,"|",$10, "|",$11}' USATodayList.csv |sed -e 's/ [0-9]*:[0-9]*'[AP]'M//'
 Now in field 4 of the output, I want to delete all words that are not proper nouns, so if it starts with a uppercase letter, print it.

I can find examples of everything except what I want: delete words matching [a-z0-9]* in field 4.  I am guessing that some BEGIN {} construct that matches [A-Z] and prints that matching string and no other.  Help!

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Awk, Awk!

No, not the sound of a large bird.  I am trying to separate the columns of a csv file.  It does okay until I hit a line with comas inside the quotes.  Here is the command:
awk -F"\"*,\"*" '{print $1,$4,$5,$9}' USATodayList.csv
 Here is a line that it does not behave on:
58,Apr  3 2009 12:00AM,13,Binghamton,NY,N.Y.,42.0986867,-75.9179738,"Wearing a bulletproof vest, Jiverly Wong, 41, entered a citizenship class and fired 98 shots from two handguns. Wong killed 13 people and injured several more before shooting himself.",Shooting,Public Killing,Y,Y,,,,
Field 9 stops after
Wearing a bulletproof vest
Would it make sense to replace all the "," strings with | and use that as the field separator?  But that does not replace commas not in quotes.  How do I replace all commas not in quotes with |?  If I can do this operation first, I think that awk command will work with -F|

This gets less and less fun with time.
sed -e 's/\\"([[:print:]]\),\([[:print:]]\"\)/\1|\2/g' temp.csv

replaces all the commas with | including the ones inside the the quotes. But only from the shell.  From a bash script, it insists that the file is not there, but I can ls it just fine.

Is sed already beyond my abilities?  Should I write a C program instead?

The problem is that I only want to replace commas not in quotes, or all commas not followed by a space.

I seem to be getting there:
sed -e 's/\(\"[[:print:]]\)*.*\(\"[[:print:]]\)/\1|\2/g' filename
Back in the days of the DEC-10, it was claimed that many TECO commands (a text editor for the DEC-10 were indistinguishable from line noise.  (And if you are the period when modems were strictly devices for converting ASCII values to weird sounds, you know what line noise was.)

This still does nothing for commas not in quotes, but I think I see the way to do that next.

Nope, but the good hearted soul that extracted the data as a CSV did it again as a |separated file.

Next step: extract proper nouns (schools, business names, names of victims and killers) then feed them into a search engine automatically and retrieve URLs.  This is going to be harder.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Things I Was Not Expecting

Watching original Outer Limits and there is a black female physician. In a 1963 TV show.

Yes, Racism is Alive and Well During the Trump Administration

5/20/19 Tennessean:
Emanuel K. Samson, the black man suspected in a 2017 mass shooting at an Antioch church, went there “with the intent to murder a minimum of 10 white churchgoers,” a prosecutor said Monday.
During opening statements in the trial against Samson, Deputy District Attorney Amy Hunter said he left a note on the dashboard of his vehicle explaining his plans to retaliate for a 2015 church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, when white supremacist Dylann Roof killed nine black worshipers.
But another explanation.  4/16/19 Tennessean:
Emanuel K. Samson, the suspect in the Antioch church shooting that killed a woman in 2017, has mental diseases stemming from a traumatic childhood that included abuse and intense bursts of violence, a psychiatrist said in court.
Dr. Stephen Montgomery, a psychiatrist and professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, diagnosed Samson, 27, with "schizoaffective disorder bipolar type" and post-traumatic stress disorder. Samson heard voices, hallucinated, had intense mood swings and held “delusional beliefs” about predicting the future and controlling people with his mind, Montgomery said.
He failed to commit mass murder, but it sounds more like stupidity than lack of attempt.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Would You Like to Help With My Mass Murder Project?

I have one research assistant doing a spectacular job digging through old newspapers, but I would like to finish this project before the propagandists win.  USA Today published an amazing collection of mass murders for 2006-2017.  Not just firearms mass murders, but even the 1/4 not involving guns.  What I need is someone to mouse over each bubble on that chart and find independent coverage of those events and give me a list of perhaps the first 10 URLs associated with that mass murder.  I can afford to pay $10/hour for your contribution to a piece of scholarship that will likely play a significant role in subverting the CNN paradigm that mass murder is a gun issue.

It might be possible for some clever person to write a program to mine the data from each bubble and search the web for capitalized words (typically city names and victim/perpetrator names) and automatically produce the search string to find URLs.  (I say might, because examining the HTML shows a lof of Javascript calls that may be resistant to interrogation.  Before the stroke I would have tried this myself.)  Necessarily, this would be a less than perfect way to find matches, but it would be faster to check each URL than to read each bubble and search by hand.  If you are sufficiently skilled to write a program to automate this process, I would gladly pay for your hard work on this mildly interesting piece of coding.

UPDATE: One of my readers managed to extract the data as a spreadsheet.  Still some work to chase down newspaper reports, but I now have a chance of automating the search!  I now have 362 records, many of which have a name, and all have a city, state, and date.  Now I need to figure out how to automate the search.

If anyone would like to suggest a strategy, the Excel spreadsheet is here.

UPDATE 2:  I am thinking awk to separate the description column and the city; egrep to extract all proper nouns (names of murderers, victims, and school or business) and then some magic to feed each set of keywords to a search engine.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Next Semester

I am teaching American History at CWI online.  No commute, no worrying about mass murder, no battles with my voice.  A big win.

Every Rape Report Needs to Be Investigated

But the same standard of proof applies as it does for any other crime.  5/19/19 The Smoking Gun reports on a case where the victim later admitted that she made it up, but not before someone was killed in self-defense, after she claimed someone banging on her door sounded like her (non-existent) rapist.

The New Democratic Party Electorate?

5/18/19 Red State reports that DC Comics sent a cease-and-desist letter to a publisher of a comic book starring a very Wonder Woman like member of Congress.  The title? Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez And The Freshman Force. Issue #1, ‘New Party: Who Dis?

So are they really counting on 10 year old voters?  And aren't the native speakers of Ebonics already trustworthy Democrats (assuming that they vote at all)?  Occasional-Cortex must be (at least behind closed doors) the most embarrassing Member of Congress to adult Democrats.

Don't Separate Illegal Immigrant Families

5/18/19 Daily Mail:
An Immigration and Customs Enforcement pilot of new rapid DNA testing at the border has found that nearly a third of those tested were not biologically related to the children in their custody.
ICE conducted the pilot for a few days earlier this month in El Paso and McAllen, Texas, finding about 30 per cent of those tested were not related to the children they claimed were their own, an official told the Washington Examiner
The official said that these were not cases of step-fathers or adoptive parents.
'Those were not the case. In these cases, they are misrepresented as family members,' the official said.

Why Socialism Fails

6/19 The Atlantic carries an article about terribly wrong "experts" are at predicting the future--and how their predictive skills get worse as they advance in their profession.  Socialism is based on, among other things, figuring out what consumers need and want.

Weird That CNN Ignored This Mass Murder

Westmoreland, TN (2019)
4/21/2019: A man murdered seven members of his extended family in their home by “blunt force injuries” and “sharp force injuries.”  One survived.  Relatives described him as “mentally unstable for a long time.”
Category: family non-resident
Suicide: no
Cause: mental illness
Weapon: blunt objects, cutting instruments[1]

[1] “Seven killed in 'deadliest homicide event in Tennessee in at least 20 yrs.',” News Channel 5 Nashville, Apr. 27, 2019,, , last accessed May 18, 2019.; Alexandra Koehn, “Westmoreland murder case prompts question of mental health help available in Tennessee,” News Channel 5 Nashville, May 6, 2019,, last accessed May 18, 2019; Nick Beres, “Sole survivor could be the key in prosecution of suspect in Westmoreland murders,” News Channel 5 Nashville, May 13, 2019,, last accessed May 18, 2019.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

I Blame Trump

Can't he ever stop?  5/15/19 Fox Business:
Stanley Black & Decker announced on Wednesday that it was investing $90 million in a plant in Texas – a move aimed at continuing its effort to shift production of a range of Craftsman products back to the U.S.
The new 425,000-square-foot facility will be located in Fort Worth, where tools ranging from sockets, ratchets, wrenches to general sets will be produced.
Coming back from China and Mexico.  Obviously those workers in Texas are going to vote Democrat.

Another Useful Discovery About the Tapmatic

I've raved about the Tapmatic before, because it lets me use a drill/tap combo in my drill press to make one step 1/4"-20 threaded holes in aluminum.  But I have often had problems with the 1/2"-13 tap in acetal (and of course aluminum as well).  The tap just unscrews from the collet.  What I did not see in the instructions, or did not remember, was that there is a backjaw as well.  The square end of the tap is locked by the backjaw with a set screw.  Amazing what a difference it makes.

I just finished making about 20 parts for ScopeRoller.  These are square 3" by 1/8" wall aluminum sleeves that need a total of eight 1/4"-20 threaded holes at .5 and 1.5" from one end centered in each face of the tube.  It was amazingly fast. 

1. Mark the position of the 0.5" from end hole on the first workpiece with a caliper.

2. Put the end of the tube against the end of the drill press vise.

3. Start drill press.

4. Feed down while spraying some lubricant on the drill/tap combo. 

5. Release handle after I hear the chamfer being cut.

6. Rotate tube 90 degrees, and repeat 2-5.

7. Repeat 2-5 for each piece.

Repeat 1-7 for the 1.5" from end hole.

I feel like Eli Whitney, or Samuel Colt (but I can spell and even my handwriting is better), or Henry Ford.

Green Is Not A Guaranteed Path to Victory

5/18/19 PowerlineBlog reports on the Australian elections as an overwhelming defeat for environmental panic:
Already I’m seeing the left blame their defeat on Rupert Murdoch. But maybe the “message to the world” should be that climate change is not a vote winner.
Let’s see whether this augurs any change in the left’s fanaticism for the “green nude eel” here at home, not to mention the upcoming European parliamentary elections, and a prospective general election in Britain. The Australian result continues a clear pattern: with only a few exceptions, left-leaning parties have been in retreat just about everywhere.

Trade War Concerns Overblown

Japan has agreed to lift longstanding restrictions on American beef exports, clearing the way for U.S. products to enter the market regardless of age, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Friday.
The news comes on the heels of other important trade developments on Friday, including the Trump administration’s plans to delay auto tariffs on the EU and Japan and lift steel tariffs on Canada and Mexico.
Japanese farm trade groups have long used dishonest methods to discourage imports of food; that Japan is rethinking beef restrictions now that BSE is past is a sign that Trump has not started a trade war--except with China.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Someone Lost the Plot

An actress posted a nude photo of herself to social media to punish the old white men who passed Alabama's new abortion ban.  She thinks this punishes them.  What would she do to make them happy?

Gun Control Needs a Reason

5/16/19 WCVB:

A Southbridge teacher is accused of leaving ammunition in a school stairwell Thursday morning before calling police to report it.
Southbridge police said high school biology teacher Alfred Purcell III, 57, of Woodstock, Connecticut, reported to staff that he had just found one live round of 9 mm ammunition in the rear stairwell. The school was placed on lock down.
During the lockdown, police and Southbridge High School staff reviewed video footage and saw Purcell removing the live round of ammunition from his pocket, dropping it on the floor and quickly leaving the area, police said.
About 10 minutes later, the video shows Purcell standing over the ammunition and taking a picture of it with a cellphone, police said.
Police said Purcell then used a school-issued portable radio to request assistance in the stairwell from the school administration and school resource officer.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Trade Wars

I have always been a bit nervous about Trump's trade war with China.  Free marketeers point to the Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act of 1930, which turned what would have been a short recession into the Great Depression, as other countries retaliated against our increased tariffs, causing an enormous reduction in international trade and thus jobs.

The China situation is different.  One country is the target because of its artificial valuation of the yuan.    Retaliation by China will not affect trade relations with other countries, many of whom are also victims of China's dumping. 

Profoundly Sad

But unsurprising.  A woman who is pregnant and ready to deliver shows up at ER as man.  No one asks what sex she really is.  Complications kill the baby.  So the hospital and doctors are at fault for assuming someone who presents as a man is a man.

For Those Still Sulking That Trump Won

Here is a big difference that who is President makes.  There is a case that the Supreme Court will hear about whether New York City can prohibit premises handgun licensees from transporting their unloaded, inaccessible, and secured handguns out of the city, to competitions, ranges outside NYC, or to second homes in New York State.  Along with Trump's very progun appointments to the Court, the Solictor-General of the U.S. has filed an amicus brief in support of striking down this absurd regulation.

Presidents Clinton or Obama's Solictor General would have filed an amicus brief on the side of NYC.

And also on our side:
24 states asking the Supreme Court to bloody NYC's nose.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Would You Characterize This As Mental Illness?

Pittsburg, KS (1888)
11/11/1888: Woman’s husband killed in mine accident; body mangled.  A few hours later, she takes her children “to the improvised morgue where lay the body of her husband,” leading each of their five children “up to the ghastly corpse,” then back home where she douses herself and her five children with “coal oil” and lights everyone afire.  The eldest child escaped after a fight with her mother.

Things You Do Not Expect: A Biracial Lynch Mob


My favorite holster maker (because they send me holsters to review, and the holsters are both pretty and functional) is CraftHolsters which sells Italian made holsters.  This one is for my Colt Mustang, which is dimensionally equivalent to the Colt Mustang Pocketlite.  The leather is very pretty (the minor discoloration on the front is a rub mark from my belt).  I suppose that I could use silk belts to avoid this :-):

As you might expect, this conceals very well under just an untucked shirt (which I think looks sloppy except with an Hawaiian shirt):
Of course, with some contortions, it will appear:

That is unavoidable.  Unless you decide to yoga in public, I think you are safe.

Of course, under the sport coat that I wear while teaching, it completely disappears.
The fit to the gun is flawlessly tight.  There is no safety or retention strap.  I like these, but there are two reasons for these straps: to prevent the gun from falling out while running or leaping fences (which is largely a peace officer activity), and to prevent someone taking your gun away.  Police officers have this problem because they have to get very close to do a patdown or apply cuffs.  If a civilian lets a dangerous person get that close, you have made a serious error.

I normally carry my Mustang in an IWB holster in my pants pocket when teaching.  Remember: the pistol's trigger guard should always be enclosed when in your pocket.  If you feel like complaining that .380 ACP is an inadequate defensive caliber, remember Cramer's Maxim of Defensive Handguns: The pipsqueak handgun you have on you is a way better weapon than the service pistol that you left in your car because it is so large and heavy that you are reluctant to carry it concealed.  Just remember that the mass murderer needs to be pretty close before you open fire.  And with the exception of the Luby's Massacre in Waco, Texas, where an off-duty officer wounded the killer from 75 yards away (!!!) successful defensive uses against mass murderers are usually close and personal.

You can order these here.  And a larger collection of Mustang holsters.

One last note:  Especially with nylon holsters and even some leather holsters, reholstering your pistol can be a struggle, especially because the belt is necessarily tight to hold the gun securely.  In this case, the holster is substantial enough that this is not a problem.  Once I found the entry, it went back in without difficulty and still a tight fit.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

This Troubles Me Philosophically: Measles

5/13/19 USA Today:
The number of measles cases reported nationwide this year jumped by 75 last week, pushing the total to 839 in 23 states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday.
This year's total marks the most U.S. cases since 1994 – and since measles was declared eliminated in the USA in 2000.
The antivaxxer stuff is pure nonsense.  But the only losers are children whose parents refuse to have their kids vaccinated.  As long as the rest of the population is rational, only the children off antivaxxers lose.  Yes, there are some public health costs from this (as can be argued for parents encouraging promiscuity, dangerous sports, and half a dozen other activities). 

There is an argument that the government intervening in parental decisions should be regarded with great suspicion: part of why Pierce v. Society of Sisters (1925) struck Oregon's ban on Catholic schools:
2. The Oregon Compulsory Education Act (Oreg. Ls., § 5259) which, with certain exemptions, requires every parent, guardian or other person having control of a child between the ages of eight and sixteen years to send him to the public school in the district where he resides, for the period during which the school is held for the current year, is an unreasonable interference with the liberty of the parents and guardians to direct the upbringing of the children, and in that respect violates the Fourteenth Amendment. P. 268 U. S. 534.
Requiring children to be vaccinated certainly is an "interference with the liberty of the parents... to direct the upbringing of their children."  There are also serious freedom of religion arguments when parents have a religious opposition to a practice that they regard as fundamental to their beliefs.  But refusing vaccination is definitely more of hazard to children than refusing to allow them to learn German or not attend high school as was the case in Wisconsin v. Yoder (1972). 

Whatever the philosophical objections that I have to this nanny state imposition, it is really cruel to the children.  I know a home schooling family who are antivaxxers, and all their kids came down with whooping cough.  Please, do not be stupid.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

But I Thought the Pope Prohibited Their Use, Some Centuries Ago

5/12/19 BBC:
German police are investigating the deaths of three people who were found in a hotel impaled by crossbow bolts.
Hotel staff discovered the bodies in a room alongside two crossbows, the German news agency DPA reported.
The relationship between the three victims - a man in his fifties and two women aged 30 and 33 - was not immediately clear.

Having Trouble Falling Asleep

You've heard the expression "starter castle."  Here is one we passed in central Nevada in 2009:
Looking at the pictures from this trip, I wonder if a calendar would sell:

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Are Spiral Flute Taps Intrinsically More Brittle Than Straight Flute Taps?

I have broken two Greenlee 8-32 spiral flute taps this morning tapping 6061 aluminum with plenty of lubricant.  The spiral tap flutes look like the have a thinner cross section than straight flute taps.  I wonder if this is why the tap sets you find at your DIY stores are almost always straight flute. 

I have long used 8-32 socket head screws to hold the acetal block into which the casters screw inside the aluminum sleeve.  (In this case, I am using aluminum blocks for reason below.*)  I am thinking of switching to 1/4"-20 hex head bolts instead.  The taps are stronger, and the per screw price is not that much higher.  It also reduces the number of different parts I need to keep in stock. 

*I was making a set of ScopeRollers for the table on which my chop saw sits.  I am casterating the table.) They are simpler because they do not need a 60 degree angle.  I am thinking of going back to acetal for these blocks even though acetal is more expensive than aluminum.  Manufacturing is much quicker because there is no need to tap the acetal.  The 8-32 screws self-tap into the acetal.  On the other hand, once I have at least some 1/4"-20 threads in place, hex head bolts are self-tapping when using a socket wrench.

Mental Illness is So Widespread

5/7/19 Fox DC:
 - A North Carolina woman has been arrested after she repeatedly went to the CIA’s headquarters in Northern Virginia and asked to meet with “Agent Penis,” according to court documents.
Jennifer Hernandez was arrested after she went to the CIA’s headquarters in Langley multiple times between April 22 and May 3, court documents stated.
There was a time when this would lead to observation, likely followed by commitment.  I wonder in which political party she is registered?