Monday, September 30, 2019

Tragically, What I Might Expect in a Portlandia Hospital

are there any adults voting there?

9/20/19 KGW:
PORTLAND, Ore. — The City of Portland banned urinals in the remodeled Portland Building.
Urinals, for those who have never been in a men’s bathroom, are porcelain receptors without seats or lids that allow men to quickly relieve themselves.
The total remodel will cost taxpayers $195,000,000. A spokeswoman said she did not have a break out on how much the bathroom work cost.
As Lars Larson points out:
Finally, in a place constantly lecturing us about protecting the environment (you know, plastic straws etc) this will waste a tremendous amount of water.  I checked and most urinals take as little as a pint of water per flush (1/8 gallon). Even "modern" toilets flush with more than a gallon of water. Some "no flush" urinals use no water at all. Multiply this by hundreds of thousands of flushes a year. Figure out how this makes sense.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Cold Weather Mask

A While back, I bought a gadget that has a little copper mesh over type mouth so that when you exhale the air warms up.  The next inhale gives you warm air.  This is required for me because of cold air induced asmath.  It works, but it puts moist air on my glasses so I cannot see, especially at twilight.  Obviously hunters do not wear glasses so devices like this work great.  Is there a mask that covers JUST the mouth and noise without creating glass fog?  Not being able to walk with wife and dogs add the weather cold off is disheartening.

California Voters Too Stupid to Run State

9/25/19 CBS Sacramento:
VACAVILLE (CBS13) — You’ve likely seen the videos on social media or the local news: groups of people rushing into a store, grabbing armfuls of merchandise. The brazen crimes are on the rise and CBS13 has learned, in most cases, the crooks get away from authorities. 
After searching police reports and arrest records, CBS13 found that while the rate of these grab and dash crimes is on the rise, the rate of arrest is down. We turned to law enforcement and the retail industry for answers. Both blame a California law intended to make “neighborhoods safe.”
Prop. 47, approved by the idiot voters, raised the value limit for felony shoplifting from $450 to $950.  Most of these organized gang thefts are given a ticket a court date.  From looking at the videos, I am sure this is doing nothing for race relations in California.

Now Prop. 47 was needed. California repeatedly ignored court orders to correct their prison overcrowding--and the pictures that I have seen make those decisions seem completely reasonable.  The core problem is that California wants a culture of criminality, but not the costs of locking them up.  Full progressive thinking.

Hard to Understand

Are these attempts to intimidate Chinese students in America? Why would they believe Chinese police were allowed to operate in America, even the California semiautonomous branch?  9/27/19 Free Beacon:
Police in California are investigating at least two cases of people posing as Chinese police driving cars with markings of the Communist Party of China's People's Armed Police (PAP).
During the Hillside Strangler case, LAPD fgound at least a dozen mocked up LA police cars roaming the streets of LA with drivers wearing guns and LAPD uniforms.  Most were harmless eccentrics.  This was of concern because the real murderers were posing as cops.
"The driver was arrested and charged with impersonating a peace officer and for forging/possessing a fraudulent public seal," the notice said.
Police are looking for a second white vehicle also reported to bear PAP markings in the same area of Irvine, Calif. The town's population is 42 percent Asian American, and many residents are Chinese American.
Prosecutors expect to charge the suspect as if he had impersonated a U.S. police officer. Olivera said the man's name was withheld at the request of investigators.
"We think there is a bigger case here," Olivera said in an interview.
No details of the motive for the activities of the person arrested Sept. 10 were provided. Investigators are still looking into whether the impersonators are linked to the Chinese government.
The arrest in southern California comes amid reports of other Chinese police impersonators in Australia, northern California, and Washington state.
Intelligence experts say the activities appear related to covert Chinese government efforts to intimidate overseas Chinese people regarded by Beijing as dissidents or opponents of the Communist Party.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

"No Guns for Negroes"

A video by Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership:

My only misgiving is that the translation of the 1938 German weapons law requested by GCA68's author was after GCA68 was written, primarily because Dodd had been told about the similarities.  Not sure Dodd needed it translated; he was a prosecutor at Nuremburg.

Life is Hard

From the never enough surprises Occasional-Cortex:
.: "40M Americans are living in poverty right now, and if the poverty line was... at what some people think it should be -- about $38,000 a year -- we would be shocked at how much the richest society on the planet is allowing so much of its people to live in destitution."
I would not want to be single on $38,000 a year in OC's district, or even raising a family on that in Boise, but this is hardly poverty.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Why Colt Stopped Making AR-15s

9/19/19 Shooting Illustrated reports on the widely publicized Colt decision to stop making AR-15s.  It is not bending to the whiners.  They are just not making much on them what with all the competitors, and Colt is using those facilities for military contracts.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

And This Idiot is a Police Chief?

9/25/19 Fox News discussing assault weapons ban hearing:
Charlottesville, Va., Chief of Police RaShall Brackney indicated she was in favor of a ban on "any weapon that could be used to hunt individuals."
Tell your Fudd friends that unless she is just an idiot with an idiotic name, that all weapons can be used for that purpose including cars and knives.

When You Start Searching Your Mountain of Ammo....

And find 7.62x39mm.  I have not owned an SKS in many years.  These were part of the "assault weapons for the clueless" program that several Bay Area gun rights activists started in the early 1990s.  The theory was that when the totalitarian state finally dropped its mask, many conservatives and even some liberals (not progressives) would suddenly realize that they needed a rifle to help resist Leviathan.  SKSs were so cheap at the time (about $100 at dealer cost) that many people I knew bought several and many cases of 7.62x39mm.

Still working through the mountain.  I have at some point in past traverses seen 115 grain FMJ 9mm +P+.  As you might expect from the extra +, this is very hot stuff, intended for submachine guns.  I understand that Browning Hi-Powers can safely use it, unlike many other 9mm pistols.  If I find it, I might be willing to swap it for +P.  One of you must have a Ingram M11.

Racism, I Tells You

8/17/19 Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports on a teacher (black) who criticized the district's policy of not punishing black students for misbehavior and violence.  His claim is that this made it hard for students to learn and discouraged black students from learning to behave.  The district of course forced him out.  They now have to pay him $525,000, smaller amounts to other teachers who said that reading different races differently was a bad idea.

more Xiao caused by Obama deciding that black students cannot behave and requiring them to do so is racist.

We Aren't the Only Nation Worried About China

9/24/19 Sydney Morning Herald:
Australia is the pioneer of a global anti-China campaign, a high-level Chinese embassy delegation has claimed, as relations between the two countries fall to among the worst in the developed world.
Accusing Prime Minister Scott Morrison of showing "the US view through his mouth", the delegation said Mr Morrison's criticism of China from the US had not helped a relationship frozen by "groundless" allegations of foreign interference in Australian politics.
Why you would be worried about an aggressive totalitarian nation that has locked up hundreds of thousands of people for being the wrong ethnic group, just escapes me.

Your Good Deed for the Day

Gun control advocates have a long history of criminal behavior.  Hence, their projection that people not as enlightened as themselves must be about to snap and commit crimes.  Conservapedia has a list of members of Mayors Against Illegal Guns with convictions, indictments, etc.  There are also charming examples such as California State Senator Leland Yee, on the Brady Campaign's Gun Violence Prevention Honor Roll.
Yee was accused of dealing firearms without a license and illegally importing firearms. He was also accused of accepting "tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions and cash payments to provide introductions, help a client get a contract, and influence legislation." Yee and his campaign staff allegedly accepted at least $42,800 from undercover FBI agents in exchange for carrying out specific requests. Yee discussed the opportunity for an agent to get weapons worth up to $2.5 million from a Muslim separatist group in the Philippines to bring them to the US. He told the agent, "There's a part of me that wants to be like you. You know how I'm going to be like you? Just be a free agent there."...  On July 1, 2015, Yee pleaded guilty to charges of racketeering.[96] He was sentenced to 5 years in prison on February 24, 2016.[5] 
Other notable gun control criminals include Penn. A-G Kane, put in office by Bloomberg, who pleaded guilty to a felony part way into herb first term.  I also recall reading of a DC gun control advocate charged with possession of a MAC-11 which she intended to use for revenge about the gang that murdered her son.

Gathering up this data, updated with final status on the Illegal Mayors Against Guns members, would make a powerful document for journalists.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Every Gun Has At Least One Frustrating Part of Field Stripping and Assembly

Even the Government Model, which seems nearly flawless, if you are not holding down on the round thingy on the end of the recoil spring (the technical term) when you rotate the barrel bushing will find the far and dirtiest side of the garage.

On my wife's Colt Government Model .380, it is one weird little spring.  This neat little pocket pistol from the 1980s disassembles almost identically to a M1911.  One minor difference is that there is a tiny little spring just inside the recess on the left side of the frame where the slide stop sits.  It apparently decided to jump ship when I removed the slide stop.  I will hunt the work area again, but it seems to be truly gone.

It is a tiny little spring, whose purpose is unclear to me.  I managed to reassemble without it.  The slide locks open on an empty magazine, and the slide stop releases on a loaded magazine.  I can cycle rounds through the gun until the empty mag locks the slide open.  The safety works just fine.  It may not be needed at all, but I am trying to find a replacement spring, which I will Loc-Tite into its little hole in the frame.

Gun Parts Co. has it "Not currently available."  Cylinder & Slide has a number of parts for this cute little gun, but not the spring.  Brownell's has the part for the Mustang.  Not sure if this is the same part as its bigger sister.  Heck, it's $4.19.  At least I would have a spare for the Mustang, which has a probably identical ill-behaved spring.  (It looks the same.)

UPDATE: What does that slide stop spring do?  From browsing the Internet, it appears that it retains the slide stop if it isn't a tight fit in the frame.  I know that without that spring in the Mustang, it indeed falls out.  This does not seem to be a problem in the larger Government Model .380.  Everything seems to function okay. Perhaps it has a few thousandths of an inch larger slide stop diameter.

I ordered two of the springs from Brownell's for my wife's gun (always good to have a spare), and Woolf's stainless steel guide rod and spring for my Mustang,  The factory guide rod is plastic, and while it has never given me any reason to mistrust it, a solid piece of stainless feels better.  Also Woolf's guide rod has a single 11 pound recoil spring instead of the two stacked factory recoil springs.  The promise is more reliable feeding, although I have never had a failure to feed, fire, or eject.  Of course I have not fired thousands of rounds through it. 

I also ordered Cylinder & Slide's ambidextrous safety for the Mustang.  The claim is that there is no need to alter frame or grips.  If the minor fitting is not so minor, I will take it to a gunsmith recommended  by a friend.  It should fit my wife's gun as well.  $80 shipped is a reasonable price to make my favorite Hawaiian shirt carry gun ambidextrous.

Why Gun Bans Are So Important

9/24/19Quillette  has a piece by an author who wrote a book in defense of free speech.  The publisher just backed down from publishing it because they were afraid of being prosecuted in Britain for publishing such a book.

A police state is coming.  Be prepared to fight.

Not Serious about Gun Violence

Democrats in the House want a red flag law, but when Republicans suggested that it should be applied to gang members in police department databases. They said no.  9/24/19 Hot Air

If the objection is lack of due process, then allowing anonymous accusations without a chance to defend yourself in court before the order is issued applies to non-gang members too.  But the Democrats are looking for a way to disarm..  who?  This makes no sense other than to protect alleged gang members.  Clearly this is not about violence.

Monday, September 23, 2019

I Had Seen References to the "Chain Saw Bayonet" for the AR-15, But I Had No Idea That It Exists

At least USA Today warned that it was a possible attachment.
Where do I get one?  But I guess I need a Piccatiny rail first.  Here in 11/8/17 Business Insider you get the other "possible modifications" of which the velociraptor launcher is my favorite.

And here is where you order it.

Rather Like the County Militia

9/16/19 Lowering the Bar:
Until August 30, adult Californians who refused to join a posse could be fined up to $1,000 under section 150 of the state’s penal code. But on that date, the governor signed SB 192, so that requirement is now a thing of the past.
You can still join a posse voluntarily, of course, you just can’t be forced to do it....
Today, of course, we have ginormous police forces who are very, very, very, very heavily armed and often quite eager to use those arms, but until pretty recently such a thing did not exist. If there was a problem that took more than one county sheriff to solve, he had to go out and get people to help him, which he did by exercising the “power of the county,” or posse comitatus. It was the duty of every able-bodied citizen to join if necessary.
Sort of like jury duty, but with guns.
Although it sounds like great fun, there just aren’t as many opportunities to form posses as there used to be. According to the state legislature’s bill analysis, it could not find any examples of the California Posse Comitatus Act of 1872 being put to use in the last 50 years. This is a little surprising, since the list of officers who theoretically have the power to force compliance include everybody from the Highway Patrol to the marshal of the California State Fair. But maybe they didn’t know they could use it. Too late now.

The .50 AR-15

Rep. Lee (D-TX) claims:
It is as heavy as 10 boxes that you might be moving. And the bullet that is utilized, a .50 caliber, these kinds of bullets need to be licensed and do not need to be on the street.
And there's video of her exposing herself as either liar, or idiot.


Ever since we moved into our current starter castle, we have recycled plastics, glass, paper, and metal of all sorts.  Mostly we did this to reduce the amount of stuff we haul to the dump every week or so, but also, there is a soft spot for Mother Earth.  (We did grow up during the environmental movement.)  Rhonda has long noticed enormous stacks of cardboard at many recycling centers that never seem to shrink.  5/28/18 New York Times reports that China has stopped taking plastic and paper because of concerns about their own environment.  If you have seen video of PC recycling over there, just imagine the equally environmentally sound practices for plastic and paper.

So a lot of that curbside recycling is now going into landfills.  The time and money spent on separating recyclables is just wasted.

We are still recycling metals.  Aluminum is getting us about 38 cents per pound; the cans are apparently worth nothing.  Steel was a penny a pound, but on this last trip, it was worth nothing.  We still separate the glass, because the trash compactor might well tear holes in the bags when breaking bottles.

In the year 2819, I suspect that miners will be digging through our centuries of composted trash, looking for glass and plastic ton recycle in plasma torches powered by fusion reactors.

America: A Christian Nation?

A question sometimes in discussion, and one with important political and judicial implications for today: “Was the New United States a Christian nation?”  Why is this question interesting or important today?
Courts have repeatedly decided important questions based on the First Amendment's clauses related to religion.  These decisions are often based on claims about what the Framers intended.  Understanding what they thought, and why, influences how to understand those clauses.  
Christianity & Political Authority
Many state constitutions from the Revolutionary period are quite blunt.  Delaware's Constitutional Convention of 1776 required delegates to swear: "And I do acknowledge the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by divine Inspiration."
 State constitutions from the Revolutionary period are similarly direct: 
North Carolina Const. (1776): “That no person, who shall deny the being of God or the truth of the Protestant religion, or the divine authority either of the Old or New Testaments, or who shall hold religious principles incompatible with the freedom and safety of the State, shall be capable of holding any office or place of trust or profit in the civil department within this State.”
Penn. Const. (1776) required legislators to take this oath: “I do believe in one God, the creator and governor of the universe, the rewarder of the good and the punisher of the wicked. And I do acknowledge the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by Divine inspiration.”
 Most states required you to be a Christian — sometimes specifically a Protestant — to hold public office.  Some states kept these requirements as late as 1840.  Many state constitutions connect religion and law:   Mass. Const. (1780): “[T]he good order and preservation of civil government essentially depend upon piety, religion, and morality...” The legislature was thus authorized to require local governments “to make suitable provision, at their own expense, for the institution of the public worship of God and for the support and maintenance of public Protestant teachers of piety, religion, and morality...”

Mandatory Church Attendance Laws

Massachusetts passed a 1782 law requiring church attendance:

Christianity & Political Authority

The Continental Congress repeatedly used explicitly Christian language.  In its March 16, 1776 declaration of a day of fasting:
be observed by the said colonies as a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer; that we may, with united hearts, confess and bewail our manifold sins and transgressions, and, by a sincere repentance and amendment of life, appease his righteous displeasure, and, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, obtain his pardon and forgiveness..
Important officials insisted that there was a connection between religion and freedom.
Gov. Huntingdon of Conn.: “While the great body of freeholders are acquainted with the duties which they owe to their God, to themselves, and to men, they will remain free. But if ignorance and depravity should prevail, they will inevitably lead to slavery and ruin.” 
Important officials insisted that there was a connection between religion and freedom.
President Washington's Farewell Address to Congress: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports....  And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion.... [R]eason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” 
Why does the U.S. Constitution seem to take a different approach than the state constitutions?  There is nothing explicitly Christian in it; Not even a mention of God, Creator, etc.  Did Americans suddenly lose their faith between 1776 and 1789?  Some argue that Christianity was on the decline, and Deism or skepticism on the rise.  Perhaps true, but you would not know it from how the First Congress after the Constitution operated.  It appointed chaplains to open each day in prayer.  Presidents Jefferson and Madison allowed government buildings to be used for church services, even though Jefferson was derided by his opponents as an atheist.  Both Jefferson and Madison, along with most of Congress, regularly attended church services in the Hall of Representatives in D.C.
Congress directed that one section (a square mile) of each Ohio township would be reserved for support of the township's churches, whatever church a majority of the township picked.
Ben Franklin's observations about America are especially surprising considering his own not very devout behavior:  “Atheism is unknown there; and infidelity rare and secret; so that persons may live to a great age in that country without having their piety shocked by meeting with either an atheist or an infidel.”

 Establishment of Churches

The idea that the state should establish a particular denomination was declining.  Baptists and Presbyterians in Virginia objected to taxes used to support the Anglican Church' Baptists in Connecticut objected to taxes funding the Congregational Church.  Increasingly, there is a feeling that the state governments should not give special favors to any particular denomination.   
Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story in 1833 explained the purpose of the “no establishment” clause in the First Amendment:
The real object of the amendment was not to countenance, much less to advance, Mahometanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity; but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects, and to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment which should give to a hierarchy the exclusive patronage of the national government.  --  Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution 3:1688
 A national establishment of religion would have been a source of continual political conflict, because no single Protestant denomination was even close to a majority.  The idea that the government needed to be neutral with respect to religion vs. atheism — or even Christianity vs. other religions — would have caused some serious head scratching among the Revolution's leaders.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

The First Great Awakening

A few definitions
The Enlightenment: In the 18th century, there is a strong questioning of tradition and custom with an increasing emphasis on reason and science.  Much of the development of science owes itself to this period and people, some associated with Americans.  Ben Franklin makes an important discovery about the nature of electricity, not only by flying a kite in a thunderstorm (a deadly exercise for at least one other Enlightenment scientist), but also for his experiments with the then new technology of Leyden jars, a method of storing static electricity.  His research is so important that he is made a member of the Royal Society, the world's oldest scientific society, a very startling honor for a mere colonial.  He also invents the lightning rod which soon ends the problem of lightning burning down buildings.  He also invented bifocals, swim fins, the Franklin stove (a more efficient form of wood stove), the urinary catheter, and the glass armonica, a musical instrument that produces quite etheral music.

Franklin was of course also a signer of Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
Another important early scientist was Englishman Joseph Priestly, one of the early chemists, theologian, and minister, who first isolated and identified the gas oxygen.  His political radicalism forced him to flee to America.
Physician Benjamin Rush was one of the first psychiatrists, and a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
Thomas Jefferson was one of the more prominent scientists of the era, and the author of Declaration of Indepenence.
David Rittenhouse, astronomer and scientifc instrument maker, was part of the Revolutionary Committee of Safety in Pennsylvania (for a while the government of Pennsylvania at the start of the Revolutionary War).

Enlightenment thinkers in Europe were often very skeptical of religion including Christianity.  Some such as the philosopher Voltaire were atheists.    “Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.”  Charming guy.
In America, Enllightenment leaders were usually more questioning the edges rather than the core beliefs of Christianity.  Some examples:  Does the Bible really teach the Virgin Birth of Jesus?  Is a belief in Jesus the only way to salvation?  Will righteous pagans be saved?  Is the Trinity a part of Christianity, or the result of Greek philosophers after Christianity spread into the Roman Empire?  They questioned many of the dogmas of Christianity.
A Few More Terms
Deism is a belief in a God who created the universe, but played no direct role in human affairs: sometimes called “the divine watchmaker.”  They rejected the inerrancy of the Bible.  They usually rejected the Bible as God's revelation to mankind and Jesus as the Son of God; they denied that miracles had occurred or could occur.
Deism was outside the mainstream of Protestant and Catholic thought in the 18th century, although you can find Protestant churches today who have accepted these ideas.  Some historians insist that many or all of the Founding Fathers of America were deists.  There are many statements of the Founders that clearly show that while many were outside the mainstream of Christian thought, they were not deists.
At the Constitutional Convention Benjamin Franklin argued that the Convention should open day with an invocation by a clergyman:
“I have lived, Sir, a long time and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth -- t hat God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings that 'except the Lord build they labor in vain that build it.' I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel...” Ben Franklin at the Philadelphia Convention.
A letter Franklin wrote shortly before his death seems to show that he held some unorthodox religious beliefs (and he wanted them kept secret):  "I believe in one God, Creator of the Universe. That He governs it by his Providence.... That the most acceptable Service we can render to him, is doing Good to his other Children. That the Soul of Man is immortal, and will be treated with Justice in another Life respecting its Conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental Principles of all sound Religion, and I regard them as you do, in whatever Sect I meet with them.”
Concerning Jesus' divinity  “[I] think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an Opportunity of knowing the Truth with less Trouble.”
And  Franklin was one of the least overtly pious of the Founders, leaving a string of illegitimate children. As U.S. ambassador to France during the war, he bedded many French noblewomen as part of creating a positive image of the U.S.  (John Adams who was also there; he was disgusted with Franklin's behavior.)
Some of the other prominent men of the time are certainly Deists, such as Thomas Jefferson, and Thomas Paine, but these seem to be the exception.  The state constitutions adopted during and after the Revolution impose religious tests that would exclude Deists from holding office (such as requiring belief in the inerrancy of Old and New Testaments; membership in a Protestant church).
Peter A. Lillback, George Washington's Sacred Fire (2008) pretty thoroughly refutes “Washington was a Deist," but is maddeningly poorly structured as a book!  Some of what is driving this reimagining of the Framers is current politics (America as a Christian nation would create big problems for the increasingly open atheism of the left) — and intellectuals are often unorthodox in their religious beliefs.
Church attendance in the early 1700s was relatively low, yet nearly all colonists thought of themselves as Christians.  Sometimes, this failure to attend was driven by not by disbelief, but by their intensity of faith and disagreement with the established churches.  If you attended a non-established church, your taxes paid for that church with which you disagreed.  Those non-established churches are less common because of lack of tax support, and that their members have less available because they are forced to pay for churches with which they disagreed.
The Great Awakening
This is the name of a 1735-1755 movement led by George Whitfield.  It emphasized a more emotional than intellectual faith.  Rituals were less important than introspection ;  it also emphasized a commitment to personal morality.  All men are equally responsible for their sins and thus equal in their status before God.  
As a sign of how important Whitfield was:  Before Betraying the U.S. Benedict Arnold was a very important and effective general.  While preparing to invade Canada, he stops at George Whitfield’s tomb on the Hudson, and takes parts of Whitfield's clothing for good luck.  I am sure Rev. Whitfield would have scratched his head and said: "You missed my point.  This is idolatry!"
Even though Rev. Whitfield was an Anglican, te movement mostly affects Protestants other than Anglican or Quaker; these two are the only denominations to oppose the Revolution
The individual matters; we are equal in the eyes of God.  This is an important Idea leading up to the Revolution.
The Great Awakening disrupted the notion that some are born to rule, and others to obey.
“[T]he mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God.” – Jefferson
It also disrupted the notion that some were born to be slaves
It leads to the idea of revolution and republican government
This idea of spiritual and legal equality does not mean that all are equal in abilities or should enjoy equal results.
A British officer taken POW was surprised at how “peasants” addressed their Revolutionary officers.  Their commander explained to him that “[E]very one who bore arms, esteemed himself upon a footing with his neighbour, and concluded with saying, ‘No doubt, each of these men conceives himself, in every respect, my equal.’”
The Idea of Progress and Collapse
John Adams wrote: "Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself.  There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. It is in vain to say that democracy is less vain, less proud, less selfish, less ambitious, or less avaricious than aristocracy or monarchy."
I have been watching the razor blade approaching the wrist for several decades now.  Please help stop it.

Still, Even in Britain,This is Shocking

9/22/19 [U.K.] Sun:
Parents’ fury as kids as young as SIX get compulsory sex education lessons on ‘self-stimulation’ and touching themselves
And the following article is as lurid and disturbing as the title. Curious:  I did not realize that young people required education on this.  If they do the same great job with this that they with the three Rs, I predict a crop of pregnant 12-year-olds with syphilis.

I realize that Brits are even more cutoff from the organs of power than Americans (no vulgar puns, please).  But if you have kids, home school or private schools.  American progressives are not far behind their European counterparts.  Wait until they find out Mohammed's wife Aisha was six when the marriage was consummated!

9/21/19 Daily Mail:
Even politicians who had supported the RSE legislation expressed concern. Tory MP David Davies said: ‘I and many other parents would be furious at completely inappropriate sexual matters being taught to children as young as six. These classes go way beyond the guidance the Government is producing and are effectively sexualising very young children.’

Never Cry Wolf!

Especially if you want to be taken seriously in the future.  9/20/19 Breitbart has a list of 41 catastrophic predictions about the environment that completely failed, like New York City underwater by 2015.

Clearing a Pistol in the Holster

I know there is a way to do this.  Video? Imagine a police officer wants to hold your gun during a traffic stop. Probably not ever going to happen, but nice to know how.

Volcanic Ash

We needed some resurfacing of the back driveway, and some neighbors have had interesting results with a white volcanic ash.  After rain, it seems to harden.  What is volcanic ash?  It is typically 5% quicklime (CaO): calcium carbonate heated by lava burns off the carbon dioxide.  And guess what?  Quicklime is the core binding agent in Roman cement

Friday, September 20, 2019

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Trump Playing 3D Chess

9/18/19 Breitbart presents a very worrying headline:
White House, DOJ Gun Control Proposal Includes Universal Background Checks
But what is proposed is a requirement that "commercial sales" by those who lack an FFL would have to run background checks.  But federal law already says that if you do sales of firearms as a business, for the purpose of profit, you must have an FFL.  Such sales without an FFL are felonies.  So this proposal apparently requires felons to perform background checks.  If such a commercial seller asks for a background check, they are admitting they are engaged in a felony, and such an admission is self-incriminating.  Punishing such sellers for asking for a background check violates the Fifth Amendment.  This proposal appears to not apply to private party sales except for those buying guns to resell privately for profit: strawman sellers, a felony.

So why this proposal?  The gun control crowd won't buy it, and Trump can say, "We tried, but they said No."

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

USB Microscope

Not enough resolution to read microprint cards with any useful quality.  Focus is rough, and glare from light is a problem. 
Not even close to the advertised 250x.  Not even useful for grandkid science teaching. Finally found brightness control.  Eliminated the glare, but still not 250x.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Life is Hard. Don't Do It!

My wife comments on the recent suicide of a well-known megachurch pastor and long-term results:
Let me explain. My family is a testimony to the long-term effects of suicide. My grandmother shot herself in front of my grandfather after he accused her of having an affair. That was in 1941. My mother was just 12 years old. She walked in after it occurred and so did her younger sister.
Strike one.

My grandfather, who was an eminent cardiologist, ended up losing his license to practice medicine due to his increasing use of alcohol. He married a nurse to care for his children. My mother hated her and wished her dead. When this woman died of ovarian cancer, my mother never forgave herself. My grandfather died of cirrhosis of the liver when I was three, again devastating my mom.

Strike two.
My mother's alcoholism destroyed her marriage of 23 years. My dad divorced her when I was 16. By the time she died in 1984, the frontal lobe of her brain was merely interstitial fluid. Her alcoholism had destroyed her brain. I cared for her in the last year of her life, watching her became an infant.

Strike three.
Her sister also drank herself to death, leaving two daughters behind. Her older brother shot and killed himself as an adult, leaving three daughters behind.

Monday, September 16, 2019


Over at Twitter a guy who did not vote for Trump in 2016 explains why the left has persuaded him to crawl over broken glass in 2020 to vote for Trump.  And the follow-ons say much the same thing. I was not thrilled to vote for him in 2016, but 2020 is no question now.  Watching the left's collapse into introspection (if that is even possible) is worth it.

Going Massively Online

First week in my online American History class includes:

Slavery vs. Indentured Servitude

Slavery was almost always a life sentence.  If you ever received your freedom, it was by purchase or gift of the master (this was rare).  Children born to slaves were also slaves.
Theoretically, American slaves had some legal rights, but seldom in actual practice.
Slaves in America were almost always Indian or black, but there are a few white slaves because of the English Civil War.  Losers (often Scotsmen or Irishmen) were considered traitors and subject to a really gruesome and painful form of execution.  Being sold into slavery in the West Indies sounded humane.  At the end of the English Civil War, many of these white slaves were freed.
Indentured servants
were obligated to work for someone else for a specified period of time (often 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 years, to pay for their transportation to the New World).  Children of indentured servants were born free.  Indentured servants had many legal rights, and often won court battles to protect those rights.
For more: Abbot Emerson Smith, Colonists in Bondage: White Servitude and Convict Labor in America, 1607 – 1776 (1947)

Slavery is the Natural State of Civilized Man

Today we live in a world where slavery persists, but in most countries it is unlawful and considered backward.
Pretty much all societies have had slaves.  
For the Romans, losers in war were enslaved as a merciful alternative to execution.  (Do you really want to keep military age men under constant supervision?)
White European slaves were common in the Muslim world, as were black Africans.  Muslim slave raiders were still raiding and kidnapping French and Irish coastal villagers into the 18th century.
In the 19th century, Americans taken prisoner at sea by the Barbary Pirates are sold as slaves.

The Slave Trade

Portuguese purchased African slaves from other Africans in small numbers at first for the sugar industry that developed on the islands off the African coast.  African slavery was usually less brutal than being in the sugar business, but they were slaves.
Expansion of the Atlantic slave trade comes later.
Some years back, the presidents of Benin and the Ivory Coast came to the U.S. and visited black churches to apologize for their ancestors selling the ancestors of American blacks into slavery.  

Slavery: A Core Problem of American History

This is called a  core problem because slavery and American ideals of liberty were in obvious conflict.
At the start of the American Revolution, the English intellectual Samuel Johnson sneered: "How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of Negroes?"   This was not entirely fair; many of the Revolutionaries were strongly supportive of abolishing slavery, and even many of the slave owners regarded the system as archaic and brutal.  But getting rid of it would impoverish these intellectuals.  When high ideals and personal comfort conflict, guess which wins?
Another problem is that the conflict between slavery and limited government corrupted our legal system.
We also keep finding documents and artifacts that force re-examination of what we know about slavery.
An additional interesting aspect of this is that the political party that supported unlimited democracy built its base on protecting slavery and white privilege.

Slavery Still Has Echoes Today

The last American slave died in 1948, so it is hard to see how any person alive today can claim any direct injury.
The system of racial oppression that came from it persisted into my youth.  There were laws, and attitudes that would seem completely incredible today.
Racial discrepancies in economic and educational achievement persist today.  How many of these are echoes from slavery?  Some skeptics observe that these ddifferences have increased as our laws and attitudes have become race-neutral.
The Slave Trade & Moral RelativismThe Atlantic Slave Trade is often used a symbol of the moral inferiority of the West.  Yet, slavery has been the norm throughout history.  The West actually led the process of abolishing slavery in Africa, and making it morally objectionable almost everywhere in the world today.  There are only two recent well-publicized situations involving slavery:
  1. In Darfur in the Sudan, where Muslim slave traders were taking Christians, pagans, and "heretic" Muslims, and selling them into slavery.
  2. In Syria, where ISIS enslaved Yazidi women, and sold them as sex slaves to ISIS' warriors.
Furthermore, if slavery is a sign of moral inferiority of the West, what makes slavery "wrong"?  That implies that there is an absolute standard of right and wrong; a claim that few intellectuals would take seriously.

The Rise of the Slave Trade

Africans sold few slaves to Europeans at first.  Partly this was because there was no shortage of laborers in Europe.  Slaves imported to Europe were usually domestic servants.  The Portuguese started growing sugar cane off the African coast.  Sugar cane requires skilled agricultural labor; lots of it; and it is very hard work.
It turns out that Brazil and the West Indies were better suited to growing sugar cane than the Portuguese islands.  And soon, Europeans are shipping slaves to both places to work plantations.  In the 16th century, thousands per year were shipped across the Atlantic.
Over a few centuries, around twelve million Africans were sold and shipped.  A large fraction did not survive the trip and you will find out why.  Why ship Africans instead of hiring or enslaving Indians?  The Indians died too quickly fast of European diseases.  Many, especially in South America and the West Indies, had no agricultural labor experience.  Also, if an African ran off into the wilderness, what plants did he know he could eat?  Indians knew what to eat and where to go.  Also, an Indian could probably find refuge with his own tribe or another.  Africans, not so much.

I am hoping that this next map is already familiar to you from junior high or high school: the Triangular Trade.
Slaves are sold to the New World
Sugar, rum, molasses, tobacco, coffee and cotton go from the New World to Europe.  Most of these commodities are produced by slaves.
Alcohol, cloth , and manufactured goods (including guns) go from Europe to Africa.  The guns are important because the tribes selling slaves now can make war on weaker tribes and get more slaves.
Everyone (except the slaves) is happy,

The Middle Passage

That path from Africa to the New World is awful.
Usually 300-450 slaves (2/3 men) chained below decks like sardines in their own excrement.  Some slave ship captains preferred "loose pack" (each slave chained on his back); others "tight pack" (chained on their sides with inches only between).  Captains who preferred "loose pack" were not humanitarians; but fewer slaves died on the way likely made it at least as profitable as "tight pack."
It was said that you could smell a slave ship at sea before you saw it.  Vomiting from seasickness, malaria, dysentery, no toilet facilities and no way to avoid lying in your own excrement.  About 10% of the slaves died on the way. 
Women slaves were often allowed above deck for fresh air and rape by the crew.
Oddly enough the sailors had higher death rates (1/4 to 1/3 died) because of tropical diseases.  It paid well because  it was terribly dangerous work.
Amazing Grace (2006): Wonderful film about William Wilberforce's campaign in Britain to abolish slavery.  The DVD is available from the CWI Library.
Occasionally, slaves managed to get loose from their chains.  Individuals might jump overboard to commit suicide.  Sometimes, rebellions would take over a ship.  The following clip is from  Amistad (1997).  
It describes a 19th century voyage where the slaves did take over.  It is not the fevered imagination of a Hollywood screenwriter.  It is ased on testimony at trial U.S. v. Amistad (1841), where the U.S. Supreme Court freed the slaves and refused to turn them over to Spain for trial.  But while this describes an 1830s voyage, circumstances no better in earlier centuries.  The  Amistad  was evading the Royal Navy which was trying to stop slave trading.  Food is running short, so the cargo must be reduced in size.

The Origins of Racial and Ethnic Hatred

I cannot think of any nation of any great size that does not have racial or ethnic hatreds.  Unfortunately, people at the bottom of a society need someone to look down on and to whom to feel superior.  Some people come home from a bad day at work, and yell at or beat the wife or kids.  At that point, having someone to feel better than becomes very important.  No one admits that they are a failure because they are lazy, or too severely addicted.  It is someone else's fault.  If there is an identifiable group that is different and not below you in the world, that's a good group to blame and hate.
Throughout American History, politicians have made appeals to racial hatred to get into office, like this 19th century campaign ad:

All that changed is that black voting increased in the 1960s, and the racial pandering changed.
You may be wondering why the party that supported universal white male voting had this hostility to blacks. 
Everyone at the bottom needs someone to look down on and blame
  •   Your dog
  •   Your woman
  •   Jews
  •   blacks
  •   Mexicans
Every society has such cases
  If a minority is successful (Jews and Chinese almost everywhere), they are clearly doing something dishonest.
 Malaysia has a large population of citizens of Chinese ancestry.  They dominated college admissions and the economy so well, that colleges adopted quotas.  Only a certain percentage of Chinese would be admitted, regardless of their qualifications. 
Harvard has adopted a similar quota for Asian-Americans.  In the early part of the 20th century; there was a maximum number of Jews allowed into prestige American medical and law schools.
Germany claimed the Jews were inferior and had taken over the arts and sciences.  Weird form of inferiority.
Turkey murdered hundreds of thousands (at least) of Armenians during World War I.
Most Muslim countries have done the same to their Jews.
Why?  Different theories.  Some historians think this is the result of  Herrenvolk democracy.   Herrenvolk is German for master race; people that think of themselves as the superior race are quite willing to abuse any minority.  Some historians think that rich people manipulate stupid people to vote them into office.
Neither is a strong argument for unlimited democracy. 

Race, Citizenship, & Slavery

We do not know exactly what the status of the first blacks was in Virginia: free?  slave?  Or something between?
A Dutch ship in need of supplies sells a group of African slaves in 1619 at Jamestown.  They were slaves on the ship.  By the time they reached Virginia at the dock, they may have been indentured servants.  Early records are completely silent.
English law had no provision for slavery.  Indentured servants worked for several years to pay for transportation to New World.  These first Africans may have been indentured servants when they reached Virginia soil.  Some eventually become landowners and slaveowners themselves.
The first case where a court orders enslavement for life is 1640: punishment for running away from a black master.  That first case involves a man named John Punch. reported tracing President Obama back to John Punch.  But not through his black father (who was born in Kenya), but through Obama's mother.  Punch later ended up a slave, but not before marrying a white woman.
Their descendants appear to be ancestors of Obama’s mother:

Does this mean there were no slaves before the 1619 arrival?  We do not know.
Laws distinguishing blacks from whites start to appear in 1639 and 1640.  Up to this point, masters were required to arm all their servants for militia duty.  In 1640, masters were no longer required to arm their black servants.  In 1680: slaves were no longer allowed to carry weapons.  In 1723: free blacks were only allowed one gun if they were members of the militia.  That same year, free blacks lose the right to vote.  This is no coincidence.  In 1738: free blacks are no longer trusted to own guns, even if they are members of the militia.
This was not just a quirk of Virginia law; Maryland also took a while to formally recognize slavery, and it was not formally written into the laws until mid-17th century.  Laws against interracial marriage start in 1664.  A black man, Mathias de Sousa, was elected to the Maryland legislature in 1642.  
South Carolina still had free blacks voting in 1701, and Georgia until 1754.
Voting,, holding public office, and being trusted with arms have long been considered signs of citizenship in America.

So Why Did the Enslavement of Some Blacks Reduce the Status of Free Blacks?

Why can most blacks be held as slaves, if race doesn't matter?  It was easier to justify slavery if you hold  all blacks in a lower position.  There also have been fear that free blacks might support slaves in a rebellion.  In practice, free blacks were seldom helpful to slave rebellions.  They knew their status was not very secure.  Helping slaves rebel would certainly have led to enslasvement.

What Caused Slavery?

There are several possible explanations: none of them are proven because the early slave laws have no statement of purpose.
Some of the explanations:  There was a shortage of English workers and slaves filled that need.  Migrations to New England from 1629 onward as many Englishmen migrated to New England.
Another explanation is that the English Civil War (1642-1649) disrupted the supply of workers from England.
Another explanation is that rebuilding London after the Great Fire of 1666 put so many poorer Englishmen to work that few were interested in moving to a malarial swap in America.
Bacon's Rebellion in 1676 Virginia is interesting in this respect.  It is not thought to be a cause but perhaps indicates what was already happening before 1676.  Nathaniel Bacon led a rebellion of frontiersmen, both black and white, who were upset about Indian raids.  They demanded that the royal governor, Berkeley f(also a cousin of Bacon), make war on friendly Indian tribes to make more land available for them to settle.  Berkeley was unwilling to do so; these Indians were allies of Virginia and provided a  buffer between Virginia and other, less friendly Indians.
Bacon's Rebellion overthrew the colony's royal government and waged war against the Indians, who were inconveniently living on land that Bacon and other poor whites wanted.  They also waged war on  the wealthy of Virginia.  Some decades ago, many historians imagined Bacon's Rebellion as the beginnings of democracy in America.  This is no longer in fashion as the attempt to seize Indian land is now recognized as evil.
Bacon died of natural causes, shortly before royal troops arrived from England to suppress the Rebellion. Gov. Berkeley restores order.
In Gov. Berkeley''s Virginia, the politically connected used power to get lots of land on which to grow tobacco, and thus great wealth.  (Some things never change.)   Poor settlers (often indentured servants who had completed their period of indenture) had little land and little wealth.  The wealthy  depended on the poor for protection.  The militia protected the colony from Indians and the occasional attacks by European navies at war with England.   Gov . Berkeley complained of how hard it was to govern a colony where "six parts of seven at least are poor, indebted, discontented, and armed."
Edmund Morgan's American Slavery, American Freedom (1975) argued that slavery reduced dependency on white workers and gave poorer whites someone to look down and exploit.  Bacon's Rebellion showed that poor whites needed a larger piece of the pie, and the system of slavery provided a way to give them more wealth.  While slavery was already present before Bacon's Rebellion, it dramatically expands afterwards.
There were slaves in every colony, not just in the Southern colonies.  Slavery was more common in the South ,because of the need to harvest the labor-intensive crops, such as (tobacco, rice, and indigo.  But there were slaves in the Northern colonies, who usually worked in industrial jobs or as domestic servants.

The Conditions of Slavery

Some slaves were brought directly to America.  More typically, they would be “seasoned” in the West Indies: a few months to a year or two to become used to working conditions, learning some English,  and developing immunities to New World diseases.
Slave owners had tribal preferences.  Some tribes had reputations for particular skills.  Others had reputations for being hard to manage.
Slaves born in Africa were generally harder to control, because they had been free.  People born as slaves were usually more accepting of their status; they knew nothing else.  
Slaves were often Muslim or Catholic (the Congo became Catholic almost immediately after European contact).
Many were POWs from Muslim sub-Saharan Africa or the Congo.  Conversion to Protestantism not a big leap for either group.  All believed in one God.
There was a  conscious decision to break the slave's ties to his own culture.  By absorbing white culture, slaves were more likely to identify with it.  The wide range of African cultures among the slaves meant that colonial culture & English were the only only common bond.
American slavery was actually pretty mild compared to slavery in the British West Indies.  There were fewer deadly diseases.  Working conditions were generally less severe.  Sugar is a intensely demanding crop; it must be harvested in a very short time and workers were sometimes worked to death.  There was very little sugar cane grown in America.  In Jamaica, slave babies were often drowned because it was cheaper to buy freshly imported adults than to feed a baby until it was a productive slave.  One result of this easier situation is that the U.S. imported 9% of the trans-Atlantic slaves, but ended up with 1/3 of the black population of the Western Hemisphere.

American Slave Law

Latin America had slave codes from the start of slave importation.  These laws were often relatively humane, when the local governments enforced them.  They had been constructed based on centuries of contact with Africa and slavery (European, Muslim, and African slavery).  These laws limited a master's authority.  They required masters to sell slaves their freedom, if a slave raised the money for self-purchase.  Spanish courts bent over backward to give benefit of the doubt to slaves about what that price should be.  In Brazil, the Catholic Church financed slave self-purchase.
British America had nowhere to start; slavery had not been present in England for centuries.  The laws the American colonies created were often quite harsh.  Theoretically, a master only owned the slave's labor, not his body.  In practice, it was difficult to get a conviction of a master for mistreatment of a slave; who would sit on the jury?  Other slave owners or at least whites with no reason to take the slave's side.  Britain had enjoyed little contact with Africans before the slave trade.  It was easy to regard them as fundamentally different, perhaps less than human.
Could Christians be held as slaves?   The Roman Catholic Church never directly prohibited this until 1537.  Pope Paul III in Sublimus Deus (1537) prohibited holding Christians in slavery.   But of course by this point Englishmen denied the authority of the Catholic Church.  There was still some concern even among Anglicans about holding Christians as slaves; this discouraged masters from allowing evangelism to slaves.  So, colonial legislatures clarified that Christianity did not change a slave's status.
Laws prohibiting interracial marriage were invented in the 1660s.  At first, they prohibited ministers from performing mixed race marriages.  In time, it became a crime for blacks and whites to marry or have sex.  This was a radical transformation of Christian policy, which only cared about the religion, not race, of those to marry.
It appears that the reason for these laws was competition for scarce white women, who were prepared to marry black men.  Children of white women and slaves were now slaves.
These laws have often been pointed to as analogous to the "one man, one woman" marriage laws.  There are substantial differences.
These laws against interracial marriage were never present in a majority of American states.
They were never consistent in what they prohibited:  Some prohibited blacks from marrying other races; some prohibited non-whites from marrying whites.  These laws peak in the early 20th century.  Why then?   They are a symptom of the rise of an idea called Social Darwinism (the belief that wealth and poverty were caused by one's evolutionary fitness) and its child Eugenics (the belief that our society would be better off if the genetically inferior were discouraged or prevented from reproducing).
In the second semester of American History you will learn about the Scopes Trial of 1925.  Tennessee  prohibited the teaching of evolution in public schools.  The ACLU filed suit to overturn the law.  Many people consider it a triumph of science over Christian superstition.  The textbook that the ACLU was defending  was George Wiiliam Hunter's  A Civic Biology: Presented in Problems  (1914) which includes this excerpt explaining that the white race is the most advanced race:

I suspect the ACLU would file suit today to prohibit its use in public schools.
Progressives of that era had an enthusiasm for eugenics because it was considered “science” at the time.  Who wants to be a science denier?  The U.S., along with Sweden, Denmark, and of course Hitler's Germany all did forcible sterilization of the retarded and criminals.  Sweden even sterilized those who did not look "Swedish enough."   Virginia's mandatory sterilization of the feeble minded was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in Buck v. Bell (1924).  A later law,  in Oklahoma required mandatory sterilization of persons with three felony convictions.  The Supreme Court overturned that law in Skinner v. Oklahoma (1942) because it did not apply to felonies such as bank fraud. 
Germany’s heresy of progressivism could not wait for sterilization; it was too slow; they killed tens of thousands of people with defects, mental illness, and birth defects.  Aryans were given poisons; Jews were starved to death.
Eugenics is a useful for totalitarians.  Of late there have been claims made by scientists that being conservative  is a genetic trait.  What makes eugenics bad science is that there are often very complex connections between apparently unrelated genetic traits.
Recent research suggests that schizophrenia (a very serious mental illness) and bipolar disorder (which in the less extreme forms contributes greatly to genius) share genes.
 International Schizophrenia Consortium, "Common polygenic variation contributes to risk of schizophrenia that overlaps with bipolar disorder," Nature. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2014 Feb 4.
Removing schizophrenia from the gene pool, while a good thing, would likely remove bipolar disorder, which in its milder forms, is a net gain for our society.

Is Slavery Gone?

Saudi Arabia abolished slavery in 1964.
Mauritania did likewise in 1981.  Still, slavery persists there; there is little government prosecution.  Human trafficking persists in other parts of the world.

At least some of the illegal immigrants across our Southern border are children being brought across to be sold into prostitution.  Some estimate 100,000 children are brought across the border each year for sex trafficking