Friday, April 30, 2021

DC Statehood

The Democrats want to make DC a State.  But Art. I, sec. 8 provides:

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress,

If DC becomes a State, its legislature would have that authority and Congress would not have exclusive legislative authority.  I think they will need to amend the Constitution, and no Republican State is going to guarantee two more Democratic Senators.

Preparing to Travel to Hawaii With Family

Amazing number of steps.  Forms for Hawaii.  Need proof of vaccination, and a COVID-19 test with 72 hours of departure.

Looks Like Shorthand

But not Gregg or Pittman as near as I can tell 

Thursday, April 29, 2021

My Father's Vocabulary and Wit


Deposited 3.00 to Clay's account and took his check to the light company to pay his current bill -- pun here is not forced, just purely felicitous. 

My Father Grew Philosophical in His Last Year

Give This Guy Some Views

 Simon Whistler is this British guy who does very interesting Youtube videos.  This one is just astonishingly good.  Watch and share.

A New Model of Deception

  I tell my history students to consult multiple sources about a topic.  

Not every source you find is necessarily reliable.  There are books and articles that make claims that are so tendentious (“expressing or intending to promote a particular cause or point of view, especially a controversial one.”), and sometimes intentionally dishonest, that they should not be regarded as trustworthy sources. 

 At one time, “African-Americans invented the lightbulb” and “Whites were the result of genetic experiments by a black scientist that escaped the lab” were widely distributed.  Some public schools have taught these in the past to promote Black Pride, rather than teach about African-American scientists who actually did important science. 

 Today, the modern equivalent are books and articles that claim that Islamic contributions to Western Civilization are ignored by textbooks.  No Western Civ textbook that I have read or used fits that description.  (Islamic contributions to math and chemistry have long been recognized.)  Sometimes the claims are more extreme, claiming that much of Western science is Islamic in origin.

 Use at least five sources.  If a claim seems extraordinary search for articles or books about that claim, such as “Ibn al-Naf” “heliocentrism” and see if you find disagreeing articles.  Then try to figure out which is more likely true.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

New York Times Article About Why Europe is Lagging Behind the U.S. and U.K. in COVID19 Vaccinations

4/12/21 New York Times credits the Trump Administration deep in the article, because Trump put vaccination ahead of theory about free markets:

Vaccine salvation remains, for now, still tantalizingly out of reach. Only about 10 percent of Europeans have received a first dose, compared with 23 percent in the United States and 39 percent in Britain.

There is no single culprit. Rather, a cascade of small decisions have led to increasingly long delays. The bloc was comparatively slow to negotiate contracts with drugmakers. Its regulators were cautious and deliberative in approving some vaccines. Europe also bet on vaccines that did not pan out or, significantly, had supply disruptions. And national governments snarled local efforts in red tape.

The United States basically went into business with the drugmakers, spending much more heavily to accelerate vaccine development, testing and production.

“They assumed that simply contracting to acquire doses would be enough,” recalled Dr. Slaoui, whom President Donald J. Trump hired to speed the vaccine development. “In fact what was very important was to be a full, active partner in the development and the manufacturing of the vaccine. And to do so very early.”

The European Union trailed the United States and Britain from the start.

Washington had already spent billions on clinical trials and manufacturing by the time Europe decided to pool its resources and negotiate as a bloc. In mid-June, the European Commission, the bloc’s executive branch, announced a joint vaccine purchase with a $3.2 billion pot.

In Washington, Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s vaccine program, had a $10 billion budget. European officials say it’s unfair to compare the two figures because neither amount is a complete picture of all the money spent on vaccines. But there is no dispute that in Washington, officials had decided that money was no object if vaccines could avert the economic cost of a lockdown. Europe, on the other hand, was on a tight budget, so its negotiators chased cheaper doses.

Another Gun Rights Victory


Some years back the Dept. of State declared instructions for printing 3D guns to be controlled munition exports, making Internet distribution unlawful.  The Trump Administration did away with this rule.  A few states sued the Dept. of State demanding that information remain unlawful to speak or distribute.  The 9th Circuit told the states above to go pound sand.  The primary reason seems to be that Congress directed that these decisions were not subject to judicial review.

Wave Power

 My father was keen on using the power of waves to generate electricity.  I see that others are now working on this.

COVID-19 Struck; Flu Went Down

 4/22/21 New York Times:


“We do not know when it will come back in the United States, but we know it will come back,” said Sonja Olsen, an epidemiologist at the C.D.C.

Experts are less certain about what will happen when the flu does return. In the coming months — as millions of people return to public transit, restaurants, schools and offices — influenza outbreaks could be more widespread than normal, they say, or could occur at unusual times of the year. But it’s also possible that the virus that returns is less dangerous, having not had the opportunity to evolve while it was on hiatus.

“We don’t really have a clue,” said Richard Webby, a virologist at the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. “We’re in uncharted territory. We haven’t had an influenza season this low, I think as long as we’ve been measuring it. So what the potential implications are is a bit unclear.”

Scientists do not yet know which public health measures were most effective in eradicating the flu this season, but if behaviors like mask-wearing and frequent hand-washing continue after the coronavirus pandemic is over, they could help to keep influenza at bay in the United States.

I cannot picture voluntary mask-wearing after the pandemic ends, but frequent handwashing, which seems to be more effective, and staying home when sick might be a good permanent change in our culture.  All those knowledge workers continuing to telecommute seems likely to stay.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

1974 & 1975: Bad Years

I am reading my father's diaries from 1974-75.  I knew we were in financial trouble, but I had no idea how badly.   My parents had to get their net wealth below $1500 for Medical (California's rather generous version of Medicaid.)  Unfortunately, when I started playing the stock market at 16, my father had to be the owner of my account at Merrill-Lynch because of my age.  Those shares were just enough to push them over limit, so somehow, my father persuaded Merrill-Lynch to put the account in my name even though I was just 17.  If my father could see my net wealth today, he would probably be both proud, and utterly confused how a poor kid from just barely the right side of the tracks did it.

I took a full time job in IT for Santa Monica Unified School District while going full-time to USC.  My father recorded that I left at 8:30 AM (10 AM calculus) got home at 5:15 (11 AM Chemistry, 12:15 Physics, 2:15 for several hours of Introduction to Film), ate a sandwich and went to work, returning at 12:30 AM.  I was doing my best to help pay the bills and pursue my dream of being a research chemist. 

My father had retired on disability (heart attacks, diabetes, retinal separation) but the process was vastly harder than it was for me. Perhaps because my stroke showed up so nicely on an MRI.  

My father was climbing 195 foot ladders in 100 degree heat while carrying his welding equipment, until the doctors told him he had to stop working.  The Greatest Generation? The Toughest Generation.  He kept his diary with him when I called the ambulance for his third heart attack, and he recorded the details at the time.  Remember that there was no angioplasty yet; all they could do was oxygen, nitroglycerin, and bed rest.  I am not sure when bypass surgery came into use.

Worse, my brother's schizophrenia was accelerating the difficulty of dealing with him.  My father recorded putting up a positively medieval wooden beam inside the door of my bedroom above the garage and covering the window with a wooden panel to protect me if my brother turned violent against me.   He never did, but strangers on the streets of Santa Monica were not so lucky.

My mother was not as tough emotionally as my father and checked herself into a mental hospital because of her depression.

This was a very bad year.  I did not go back in the fall.

Tell me about white privilege. 

War Pranks

 I have long thought the most clever psychological stunts the CIA did during the Cold War was dropping packages of American condoms labeled small on the Soviet Union.  This video shows similar but more destructive pranks from World War 2.

A Victory in Illinois

 Illinois v. Vivian Claudine Brown (Ill.App. 2021) struck down the requirement to have a Firearms Owners ID card to have a firearm in your home as violating the Second Amendment.  The FOID is pretty well useless anyway.  As I pointed out some months back, a mass murderer with a prior felony conviction obtained one.

I Need a Cute Way to Express a Sentence Fragment by Example

 You are doubtless aware of William Safire's Rules for Writers which includes gems such as: "This verb no sentence."

I need something similar to convey the idea of sentence fragment.  (Yes, I just finished grading an otherwise good paper that was awash in sentence shrapnel.)

Best so far: "Writing this sentence fragment." "He came," was also interesting, but aside from, possibly coming from porn, it has a subject and a verb.

Grading Research Papers

 Templates are good things, but why would a paper about potatoes in history be titled: "Put Title Here"?

Promoting Race War

 Starting at 14:30 in this CBC interview with a Barnard College professor about his new book, "Sure, I'll Be Your Black Friend."

Ben Philippe was asked about a segment in his book “Sure, I’ll be your Black Friend” which describes “detonating” white people while nearby air vents spew out noxious gas.

“When this race war hits its crescendo, I’ll gather you all into a beautifully decorated room under the pretense of unity,” Philippe said. “I’ll give a speech to civility and all the good times we share; I’ll smile as we raise glasses to your good, white health, while the detonator blinks under the table, knowing the exits are locked and the air vents filled with gas.”

And yes, I listened to the CBC interview to verify the accuracy of the quote. 

This whole notion of race war is as I have said before:

1. evil in its intent;

2. stupid in its results (likely the death of most blacks in America, even the majority who recognize the BLM promoted hatred as wrong and stupid); 

3. likely to increase prejudice against blacks.

Elie Wiesel survived the Holocaust and once observed that if someone says that are going to kill you, they probably mean it.  Go through all the National Socialist complaints about Jewish domination of German society and replace "Jew" with "White."  Has anything changed in human nature?  Now you know why disarming the deplorables is so important.  The left is terrified that a race war will end badly for their Marxist racists and trustafarians.

Post-Millenial reports CBC has deleted it.  Not to worry, they have a copy.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Ballpoint Pens

Reading my father's diaries you can tell when he switched from fountain pens to ball points.  Wow!

Class A Friend Teaches

 Saturday May 1st: NRA Personal Protection Handgun Course Idaho ENHANCED Concealed Weapon License

3 seats available in Saturday May 1st course.

Personal Protection Handgun Course
Idaho ENHANCED Concealed Weapon License
12 hour course 8am - 8pm
NRA Personal Protection in the Home Course exceeds Idaho 18-3302K ENHANCED Concealed Weapon License requirement, certificate recognized by all states as firearms training (Though NOT for certain states' CCW , see list below)
$150 Course Fee includes NRA handbook, fliers & NRA Course Completion & Idaho State Police Training Certificates. Classes are small (7 at most). PAID advance registration is required to reserve your seat. Class is open to Instructor-approved citizens who have no felonies or other legal gun-ownership disabilities. Liability Release form signature required.
Course consists of approximately 5 Hours Classroom, Hours on the Shooting Range, 2+ Hours Legal Instruction, 2 hours written test and wrap-up. Includes Basic Handgun Safety, Familiarization, Hands-on Firearms Handling, Shooting Skills & Instruction. Personal security & avoiding violent confrontations will be covered in depth. Safety & Awareness are critical.
Several hours will be spent on the firing range bringing student skills up to standards. Idaho State Law and Federal Law regarding firearms, concealed weapons, self-defense and after-event issues will be taught by a licensed Idaho attorney (formerly served as a public defender, a prosecutor and as an Idaho State deputy attorney general, and often competes in IDPA and IPSC shooting events)
BRING: warm jacket & hat (it gets cold and windy at the desert shooting range) and a button up shirt or turtleneck so no hot brass goes down your shirt to ‘brand’ you and make the event unsafe, eye and ear protection and handgun & at least 2 boxes of 50 rounds of factory ammunition ( Idaho law requires 98 rounds ), lunch snacks drinks notepad highlighter pencil post-its (Don't have a handgun or eye/ear protection? let me know I have a few loaners & can help you select the right one)
NRA Certified Instructor                 NRA Training Counselor
          (208) 631 3003                               PO Box 6232 Boise ID 83707
SOUTH DAKOTA TENNESSEE TEXAS UTAH WEST VIRGINIA WYOMING. VERMONT (no lisc reqd) Oregon non-reisdent licenses easy to obtain with Idaho ECCW.
Total 41 states allow CCW w/ID ECCW. note: List per Idaho State Police 9/2018 - states laws change constantly, this list may not reflect current status.
Yellowstone National Park accepts CCWs that are valid in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming (see website) Federal Park Service webpage indicates that which CCW holders
may carry in Yellowstone park (but not into buildings of any kind) Shooting, even is self defense is prohibited, so don't unless you are being eaten, and then prepare for legal
NRA Basic-Level Courses: Home Firearms Safety, Basic Pistol, Basic Rifle, Range Safety Officer, Personal Protection Outside the Home
Become an NRA Certified Instructor:
INSTRUCTOR-Level courses, CALL for information:
NRA BIT Basic Instructor Training course $100 (the first class required) Offered weekday evenings by arrangement.
NRA Basic Pistol Shooting Course Instructor course $350
NRA Personal Protection (in the home) Instructor course $350 (BIT&Pistol are prerequisites)
NRA Personal Protection Outside the Home Instructor course $350 (BIT&Pistol & PPith are prerequisites)
NRA RSO Range Safety Officer $125
NRA CRSO CHIEF Range Safety Officer $150 (BIT & RSO are prerequisites)
NRA Basic Rifle Shooting Course Instructor course $350
Group & Individual classes available upon request. Liability Release form signature required. A written test will be administered (it is possible to fail this course).
Instructor reserves the right to dismiss anyone, anytime, without refund. All rights reserved. No Warranties are Expressed or Implied. 

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Suddenly, My Father's 20 Years Running From the FBI Do Not Seem So Weird

4/24/21 New York Post reports on a woman who failed to return a VHS tape of Sabrina the Teenage Witch in 1999 and had a felony arrest warrant for her.

I Just Finished Reading My Father's Diary From 1973

This was an incredibly bad year, much of which I remember with great pain.  My older brother descended into schizophrenia, becoming increasingly unpleasant, irrational, and occasionally violent (at least to strangers on the street).  There was much that I either have forgotten or that my parents shielded me from: my mother went in for what might well have turned into a radical mastectomy (it was a benign cyst).  My father battled with both short-term disability insurance and Social Security Disability.  A brother-in-law was charged with heroin possession (which later caused his death).

His diary records as near as I can tell every penny they spent (hospital copays, car repairs, lunch with me at Jack-in-the-Box).  Yet for all sorts of silly projects by me (grinding a 3" telescope mirror) he had money to spend on abrasives and Pyrex blanks.  (I finished that mirror in the 1980s.)

One of my father's weaknesses was get rich schemes.  One letter from the mid-1950s from some remote part of Washington State (where he was doing construction) to my mother says to stop sending boxtops.  There was some sort of contest at the time that required them, but that deadline had passed.  I remember a scavenger hunt contest in the 1960s or 1970s by one of the Los Angeles radio stations that had obscure clues ("Simon Rodea would go north and west from here": somehow I knew enough to correct the spelling to Rodia).  We saw a lot of Los Angeles.

Along with attempts to get rich at gambling, he was teaching himself enough about stats to look for non-mechanical bias patterns in Keno games.  More usefully, he was designing some pretty clever methods for extracting power from waves and tides that I have never seen used anywhere.  His interest in wind power led me to tell him (although I do not remember it) about scientists building tornado generators for developing tornado disrupters.  He apparently built a small one without telling me.  His comments suggest it worked at a level that exceeded both his expectations and risk willingness. 

The amazing discovery that British Leyland had not mastered the science of interchangeable parts by the 1960s came out as we rebuilt the transmission of my sister's Triumph.  (For a very long time, we used the gear missing almost half its teeth as a candlestick holder.)

I Am Reading My Father's Diary From 1941...

Have you every seen or heard the expression "case of stone gullion." Apparently after a long makeout session with who would become my mother. 

Friday, April 23, 2021

Be Careful What You Buy From China

If anything at all.  4/19/21 Buffalo News:

Moments after a postal carrier delivered a package to his West Seneca home, John R. Andrews Jr. was face to face with a garage full of police and federal agents.

Inside his piece of mail was a legal accessory for a gun.

At the time, in January 2020, Andrews ran a business selling partially assembled firearms.

After police found guns and some gun parts in a raid of his home, Andrews spent a year fighting six felony charges.

But Andrews now is a free man – and planning a civil rights lawsuit – after a State Supreme Court judge ruled law enforcement officers were reckless in how they got the search warrant they used to enter his home.

Any American who cares about the Constitution "should be very concerned about that," said R. Anthony Rupp III, Andrews' civil attorney.

Partially assembled firearms form the basis of so-called "ghost guns," functional-yet-typically-untraceable firearms because they lack serial numbers that allow them to be tracked by law enforcement agencies. Making and selling partially assembled firearms – usually sold as "80% receivers," meaning 80% complete – is legal because they aren't considered to be firearms under state and federal law.

Earlier this month, President Biden announced a series of executive actions on guns, including a move to crack down on ghost guns.

Proposed state legislation in Albany would make it illegal for anyone besides a licensed gun dealer to possess a ghost gun. It would also require purchasers to be subject to background checks.

The gun accessory Andrews got in the mail was a solvent trap, which can be converted into what is known as a silencer or suppressor.

Traps and silencers 'remarkably similar'

Andrews, 52, said he bought the solvent trap in early November 2019 after seeing an ad online.

"I'm like, 'Oh, cool.' It was 29 bucks for it," he said. "So I said, 'Well, that would be interesting and be something I could use for my gun cleaning.' "

Solvent traps are cylindrical firearms accessories with an opening on one end that are used to collect fluid during the process of cleaning a gun. They are legal to possess.

But with some work, the items can be turned into silencers, used to muffle the sound of a gunshot.

Forgive my skepticism, but I suspect that he was not buying a better gun cleaning tool.  This is the problem: almost anything with enough skill can be turned into something illegal.  Focus on the bad act, not the tool.  Of course, you can buy solvent traps from a US maker, including covers in "Cerakote Coating Covers."

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Promoting Race War is Evil

 Promoting it when you are 12% of the population and the other 88% is heavily armed is braindead stupid.  Most black people will consider the speaker both evil and stupid.  But if you think fear of and prejudice against black people is bad now, consider what a few suburban attacks will do.

Good News

A few people who are >=14 days after second vaccination get infected.  In this group of residents of Skilled Nursing Facilities (I would guess almost entirely older and very sick people):

"Two thirds of persons were asymptomatic. A minority of persons with breakthrough infection experienced mild to moderate COVID-19–like symptoms; two COVID-19–related hospitalizations and one death occurred. No facility-associated secondary transmission was identified."

If this level of risk is involved for people who are at high risk, it sounds like vaccination is a big win. 


Curious way to get a big quantity of copper from microwave ovens.

I Had to Verify It Was Not a Parody Tweeter

 Instapundit pointed me to these hysterical Toronto Police bragging about guns they have taken off the street.  While I think Canadian gun laws are stupid, at least some of these guns in criminal hands would be a public safety concern.  Others make me wonder if they realize how silly this makes them look.  As much as I hate antisocial media the responses to stupid can be riotously funny:

This sad little recovery also produced a storm of amuse:

Another victory for the Swamp Crime Task Force.

Was Aqua Man packing this one?

@IwriteOK you can rest easy at night knowing this gun will not be in your drinking water supply.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Wow! Buyer's Remorse?

MrcTV is quoting BLM that Biden is sending more military equipment to police departments than Trump did 

Of course, Trump was a racist!  Everyone who mattered knew that.

Ghost Guns

Biden's BATF is proposing changes to make 80% receivers into firearms with all the manufacturer licensing and transfer rules that this entails.  The Reload has more details. 

It appears that their target is can you convert a part into a receiver in 8 hours in a fully equipped machine shop?  I have a 0% AR-15 receiver (a block of 6061 aluminum).  I wonder how long before the files exist to make this into a full receiver?  On my mill it would be many days, so my 0% receiver is safe.  

But the time is coming when you will be able to find all the files to make every part but the barrel.  (The little parts such as triggers, sears, and  other fire control parts are pretty easy on a small mill.)  For rifles that would be a problem.   An unrifled submachine gun might be quite effective in urban revolutionary activity.

3D printers still seem to be safe.

Biden Can Pontificate All He Wants

From Lucky Gunner:

We've given the trucks the green light to keep coming as fast as they can with ammo but the warehouse just doesn't seem to fill up.

That must be stockpiling for those guns that only hold one round (the Biden home defense standard).

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Joy and Frustration

Everytime I roll out the 8" f/7 reflector my father and I made, I marvel at the precision of the mirror.  Even at 354x, the Moon is spectacularly sharp. Generally a reflector should only give a good sharp image to about 50x/inch and even then you usually need very good seeing (low turbulence and limited moisture).  I have used this telescope to 700x under very exceptional conditions.   Partly this is because Coulter was in the high precision mirror business back then, advertising +-1/25th wave mirrors. (That is a measure of how close to a perfect paraboloid the mirror in wavelengths of light.)

While more precise than Big Bertha it lacks the light gathering power.  Big Bertha gathers 4.8x the light.   The Orion Nebula is clearly green through it.  The Ring Nebula is a green ring instead of monochromatic. The one time I hit the Whirlpool Galaxy the detail in the arms was worth there unreasonable amount of time and money that I have put into it. 

I believe I mentioned trying to rebalance the 8" tube on the mount a couple days ago.   It is perfectly balanced but needs rotation in the rings to get the focuser and finderscope a bit more usefully located.

The frustration is that the CI-700 mount on which it sits seems to be having a problem with the hand controller. This is a four button box that plugs into the mount electronics to let you make very fine adjustments in position.   

Right now, one button works.  As you might expect, replacements for this mount are scarce if available at all.  The hand controller for my Losmandy GM8 looks identical and may in fact be the same.  I will try it.  If it works finding a replacement GM8 controller should be easier.  Otherwise I will open the box and looks for dead bugs.  Without a schematic I doubt that I could identify much less repair it.

The RA motor turns but the polar axis sits there placidly.   I think I will buy a new mount (Losmandy, American made) and let someone else debug this Chinese orphan.  Celestron is of no use with a 20 year old product. 

Crap Floating Around the Misinformation Sphere

I was forwarded this for verification:

Here are the US deaths by year, and the change from the previous year.

Year 2017: 2,818,503 Americans died

Year 2018: 2,839,205 deaths (20,702 more than the previous year 2017)

Year 2019: 2,855,000 deaths (16,300 more than the previous year 2018)

The year of the pandemic ...
Year 2020: 2,913,144 deaths (57,641 more than the previous year 2019)

BUT WAIT: There were zero deaths from Covid-19 during 2018, and 2019 and the jump from 2019 was only 57,641 ???

I've been told that COVID is responsible now for 400,000 + deaths. Shouldn't the 2020 number be a lot higher?

So, the question becomes: How many people died of COVID and How many died (of other causes) WITH COVID?

From CDC

" In 2020, approximately 3,358,814 deaths occurred in the United States."

Where this wrong number came from

"If you go to their main table for total and excess deaths for 2020, you will see that they’ve recorded 2,913,144 deaths from all causes as of December 31, 2020. But that starts the week ending February 2, 2020. Also, it actually doesn’t include anywhere near all the deaths of December.

"They don’t show you there the total number of deaths for 2020. They exclude all the weeks ending in January." 

Red Flag Laws

4/15/21 Yahoo News:

Paul Keenan, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Indianapolis field office, said Friday that agents questioned Hole last year after his mother called police to say that her son might commit “suicide by cop.” He said the FBI was called after items were found in Hole’s bedroom but he did not elaborate on what they were. He said agents found no evidence of a crime and that they did not identify Hole as espousing a racially motivated ideology. A police report obtained by The Associated Press shows that officers seized a pump-action shotgun from Hole’s home after responding to the mother's call. Keenan said the gun was never returned.

At least the FBI responded unlike the Parkland shooting where they were warned twice.  If only Indiana had a "red flag" law.  Whoops, they do, 

Friday, April 16, 2021

Be Glad He Was Not Convicted Of This Allegation

 From Cruz v. Beto (1972):

Petitioner prisoner, an alleged Buddhist, 


From my wife's blog:

I try to post every week, but on Monday, I received my second Covid shot. Whew. I felt like I fell off a turnip truck, only to have it back over me. I was down and out for one and a half days. So, alas, my blog had to be put on hold.

I must say that if a measured, second dose (presumably I now had antibodies ready this time) made me feel this way, I cannot even imagine how an unmeasured, first time encounter with Covid would be like. I don't want to sound melodramatic, but I do understand why people die from this--it is utterly overwhelming--and I had a very mild encounter with it. But I am thankful for the vaccine.

While I was in bed, I read about small pox, the flu epidemic of 1918-19, and polio. Morbid? No, perspective: I realized that our fight against such overwhelming enemies has always been fraught with fear, suspicion, accusation and division. Sad how we humans don't really change when it comes to facing our mortality. Death is scary, yes, but not understanding how and why it comes is even scarier. Such uncertainty makes us turn on each other, God and those in medical and governmental authority. Why? Because suddenly the universe feels random.

Civilization is one vast push back against the vicissitudes of existence. Following the grazing herds is all fine and dandy, as long as they migrate in a discernible pattern and you can bring down enough to feed your people. But if you can't, starvation comes a-knocking. So, grow your own: control the food supply. But feast or famine are only a harvest away: Either you bring in abundance to your barns or you weep at the pathetic crop that now spells disaster.

Harness a water supply. Build along rivers, dig cisterns, pray for rain. Without water, life screeches to a halt and all your efforts at living become focused on surviving, if you don't die of thirst on the way.

Then, there are your enemies. You build a wall around your city, to protect your homes, gardens, markets, temples and peace of mind. Now you don't have to wait for the fury of your enemies to come and undo all your security. You need only to shut the gates. You wait. You fight back from a high vantage point and wait for your enemies to bugger off out of frustration. They go looking for easier pastures and you settle down once again, with hearth and home safe and secure. Dire outcomes from random attacks seems somewhat moderated.

Life has lost its hunter-gatherer unpredictability. Springtime, harvest, gathering in and waiting again for spring seem to secure the future. You were here this year, your family was fed, your city withstood attack and your barns are filled. You are secure in this ordered pattern--randomness, like the wild dogs that howl at your city gates, is kept at bay.

But invisible enemies stalk the land. No amount of abundant harvest, potable water, vanquished foes and secure gates seem to keep these enemies out. A cough, a sniffle, a rash, a fever, a loose stool, or utter fatigue means that randomness has just made its appearance. The afflicted will either recover or die. The invisible enemy will slip away.

SSD Life Expectancy

Geeky guy explains SSD life expectancy at a somewhat technical level.  It appears that the trick is to get an SSD that will never exceed 90% capacity so that as cells fail from the 1000th time you reprogram it, the drive has somewhere else to which to move that memory.  I suppose that if you want 1TB, buy a 2TB drive.  It also sounds like some other part will typically fail before the SSD.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

30% of Democrats Believe Cheating Affected the Election

4/13/21 Rasmussen Reports:


We are on the verge of war with Russia and the stock market is flying upward.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

That Scene From Nashville (1975)...

where the blonde who has the remarkable skill of hitting every note flat is hired to sing.  When she gets there, she discovers she had been hired as a stripper. If, like me, you found that scene both funny and sad at the same time, you will likely enjoy Florence Foster Jenkins (2016). Both tragic and funny.

Thunderbird Acting Squirrelly With 78.9.1

 Going back to 78.9.0 works.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

The Grand Circle

Along with the really funny WTF moments for foreign tourists ("I asked a woman if it was true that all Americans carried guns and she pulled a revolver from her purse.") there are also some pretty entertaining My First Visit to America travelogues.  One was so stupid, a bunch of drunken British young men behaving stupidly, that it was unwatchable. 

Another one was a very professionally edited journey along The Grand Circle from Las Vegas in a circle through what are the premiere Southwest national parks: Arches, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, Zion, and the Grand Canyon.   This young man brought along his mother, which was good because his UK driving license was expired, so she did all the driving.   Both very fit; they hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back in a bit more than four hours. If you have never visited these parks, you will want to after seeing this. I have never been to Bryce but I want to do so now.

No Wonder COVID-19 Relief Was So Expensive

4/13/21 Seattle Times reports on a $640 million criminal fraud involving unemployment payments (perhaps as much as $1.1 billion).

It sounds like a Charlie Foxtrot of truly Democratic proportions. 

What Entertains Me

Reactions of tourists to America.  A number of YouTube videos are tourists visiting America.  One was an Australian couple going into a Wal-Mart and being flabbergasted by the number of Cheetos variants, of different spices.  I guess Down Under there are Cheetos generic and that is it.

A number of videos are synthesized voice readings of Reddit discussions of WTF moments.  People carrying guns will not surprise you. 

Some are just sad.  One guy describes picking up two Russian gals at the airport in 1990 just after the Soviet Union fell.  On the way from the airport here stopped for gas and had them come into the convenience store in case they were hungry.  But they refused to get anything.   He later found out they thought it was a museum of food.

As you might expect many of the WTFs are food or shopping related, sometimes with some hyperbolic humor.  A Dutch guy describing a small pizza as being what he would think of as a large pizza; a medium pizza as a family sized pizza; and a large pizza would not fit into his country.  Another described visiting a Wal-Mart in Maine where the far floor and ceiling met at the horizon!

One guy visited Portland.  He had always wondered why the background conversations in Grand Theft Auto made no sense.  After meeting Portlandia's homeless, he now understood.

One Briton was startled by San Francisco's homeless population.  Not that Britain does not have homeless people, but at least they have legs!  Apparently in S.F. many do not.

Size of America and our homes and cars was also a source of WTFs.  One guy recounted getting up at 7:00 AM in Beaumont, Texas, and driving until 9:00 PM and still being in Texas.

Weighted Belts?

I need a way to add 3-5 pounds to one end of a 10 OD telescope tube.  My smaller 8" reflector has some advantages over the 17 5" but when doing astrophotography with eyepiece projection the extra weight at the eyepiece end needs a few pounds at the bottom of the tube to keep balance.  The ideal would be a Velcro or elastic band carrying several pounds of weight.  Leg weights would be ideal but how many people need them for a 32" circumference ankle?

Good News From CDC

The paranoia about scrubbing every surface with alcohol seems to make little sense.  4/5/21 CDC:
Findings of these studies suggest that the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection via the fomite transmission route is low, and generally less than 1 in 10,000, which means that each contact with a contaminated surface has less than a 1 in 10,000 chance of causing an infection 7, 8, 9

So even if the surface is contaminated the risk is extremely low.  And unless someone with COVID has touched or coughed on that surface there is no risk at all. 
The principal mode by which people are infected with SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) is through exposure to respiratory droplets carrying infectious virus. It is possible for people to be infected through contact with contaminated surfaces or objects (fomites), but the risk is generally considered to be low.

Monday, April 12, 2021


No, not the awesomely scary 1956 movie about 8 foot long ants that started the films about radiation induced oversized bugs, sea creatures, and in a Mexican movie, scorpions.   This is an Amazon Original series.

At first, it seemed like a predictably Woke series: black family moves from rural North Carolina to Compton to escape racist oppression and finds Compton is not any better. (The year is 1953, when Compton was still officially whites-only.  The father is an engineer and has been hired as the token black at an aerospace company with a secret division called the Skunk Works.)

But by the second episode, what was beginning to seem like an overwrought depiction of racism against a painfully middle class black family turns into something else which I dislike even more than Woke posturing: magical realism.) If you read The Terror, or watched the Amazon Original series, you probably can guess: real world bad stuff combined with supernatural terror.  I only watched the first season on my daughter's recommendation.  The first episode of the second season, set amidst the internment of Japanese-Americans, had enough historical errors and enough unpleasant gore to not bother going on.

The circumstances of blacks moving into white middle class neighborhoods in the 1950s were often very rough. California has not always been very liberal about race.  A friend who grew up in the San Joquain Valley saw signs into the 1960s at city boundaries that read, "N--------s don't let the Sun go down on your head here."  

But I have no idea how bad things were in Compton in 1953.  From what I can find, blacks starting moving into Compton from Watts to get their kids into better schools as soon as Shelley v. Kraemer (1948) struck down enforcement of racially restrictive CC&Rs (which in many parts of America were required by the federal government as a condition of insuring loans).

Historical fiction is really bad to read or watch because it is so easy to let its inaccurate portrayal of history become the nly version you know.   Good example: Inherit the Wind (both versions).

Shocking Gun Violence Coverage From the Guardian

 3/25/21 The Guardian:

We write about gun violence in America as our full-time jobs. Between the two of us, we’ve been doing that for over a decade.

We see that America’s endless gun debate does not treat shooting victims and their families equitably. It is not driven by a focus on what actually works to save lives. It rarely includes the voices of the majority of the victims or any of the people who have a track record of successfully preventing shootings. It is not just biased; it is actively harmful and racist. And it will never make us safer.

We are sad, frustrated and angry. Here’s why:

We focus on “mass shootings”, but that obscures the violence that really drives America’s gun violence crisis. Last year, gun violence in the US killed an estimated 4,000 more people than it did in 2019. More than 500 people died in shootings that included multiple casualties or injuries. And yet, for a full year, there was not a single major news cycle about an American mass shooting....

Labels matter. They inform how we see victims, our level of focus, what we consider as solutions. Between less than 1 and 3% of America’s gun homicide victims die in what we generally consider “mass shootings”. But none of the community shootings last year prompted national debates over what we should do to prevent this kind of violence, and rarely do people dig into the reasons behind a community shooting or the motivation of the shooter – if they’re ever arrested .

We only mourn certain tragedies. Anyone who has spent time with people who have lost family members to gun violence knows that there is a deep equality in grief. Shootings are always sudden and brutal, and the trauma of even a single gun murder or suicide ripples through multiple generations. Yet most grief-stricken families, many of them mourning Black and brown victims, grieve outside of the national spotlight. Joe Biden forcefully denounced gun violence and called for an assault weapon ban. But where is the national mourning for victims of daily gun violence?...

The “solutions” offered today would do little to stem the daily death toll. The assault rifle bans and universal background checks reflexively supported by progressives will do little to decrease the bulk of shooting incidents: suicides and community violence. Approaches that have stronger evidence of saving lives, like intensive city-level support programs for the men and boys most at risk of being shot or becoming shooters, hospital-based violence intervention programs, or even more effective policing strategies, rarely get discussed on a national level. Even Democrats seem to prefer fighting a high-profile, losing battle with Republicans over gun control laws, rather than devoting time and focus to less partisan prevention efforts.

The intense focus on the National Rifle Association (NRA) is missing the point. After more than a two years of bitter infighting, lawsuits and financial turmoil, the NRA is not in great shape. And still, Republican lawmakers’ fierce opposition to passing any gun control bills, or the deep ideological belief in gun rights among millions of Americans, has remained unchanged. There’s still plenty to criticize about the NRA’s political advocacy, but media attention and Democrats’ attacks only inflate its importance.

The way the American media cover mass shootings makes us all collaborators. Even as media outlets try to focus more attention on the victims of shootings, and give perpetrators less notoriety, the fundamental equation of mass shootings has not changed: kill enough people and you will get national attention.

That media coverage feeds people’s most irrational fears. Take school shootings. American children are much more likely to be killed in their own homes or neighborhoods than at school. But instead of a national campaign to prevent domestic violence or provide kids with mental health support, America has a multibillion-dollar school security industry. Some of these security efforts have actively hurt vulnerable children: Following the Columbine tragedy, school discipline was ramped up and more police officers were put in schools, fueling a “school-to-prison” pipeline that disproportionately hurt students of color.

Do Masks Do Any Good?

This study on the CDC website evaluated the effectiveness of hand cleaning procedures and use of the surgical masks that we are supposed to be using for COVID-19.   In this study they were checking for effectiveness against influenza.  These are two similar sized viruses. 

In our systematic review, we identified 10 RCTs that reported estimates of the effectiveness of face masks in reducing laboratory-confirmed influenza virus infections in the community from literature published during 1946–July 27, 2018. In pooled analysis, we found no significant reduction in influenza transmission with the use of face masks (RR 0.78, 95% CI 0.51–1.20; I2 = 30%, p = 0.25) (Figure 2)...

Disposable medical masks (also known as surgical masks) are loose-fitting devices that were designed to be worn by medical personnel to protect accidental contamination of patient wounds, and to protect the wearer against splashes or sprays of bodily fluids (36). There is limited evidence for their effectiveness in preventing influenza virus transmission either when worn by the infected person for source control or when worn by uninfected persons to reduce exposure. Our systematic review found no significant effect of face masks on transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza.

They did not look at
Respirators (N95) because they require a fit level not usually achieved and not likely available in sufficient quantity for an influenza pandemic.  Perhaps this is why Fauci initially argued against masks. 

There are listed reasons why the experiments were perhaps not very effective tests, so as annoying as they are, we should probably keep using them for the moment to humor our supposed betters.  At some point they will either call the All Clear or they will eventually face pitchforks and torches. 

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Strict Scrutiny and Free Exercise of Religion

 Tandon v. Newsom (2021) granted relief from California's ban on in-home religious services until the Court hears the case, overturning the 9th Circuit's unwillingness to strike down the ban in the meantime.

First, government regulations are not neutral and generally applicable, and therefore trigger strict scrutiny under the Free Exercise Clause, whenever they treat any comparable secular activity more favorably than religious exercise. Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo, 592 U. S. ___, ___–___ (2020) (per curiam) (slip op., at 3–4). It is no answer that a State treats some comparable secular businesses or other activities as poorly as or even less favorably than the religious exercise at issue. Id., at ___–___ (KAVANAUGH, J., concurring) (slip op., at 2–3).

Second, whether two activities are comparable for purposes of the Free Exercise Clause must be judged against the asserted government interest that justifies the regulation at issue. Id., at ___ (per curiam) (slip op., at 3) (describing secular activities treated more favorably than religious worship that either “have contributed to the spread of COVID–19” or “could” have presented similar risks). Comparability is concerned with the risks various activities pose, not the reasons why people gather. Id., at ___ (GORSUCH, J., concurring) (slip op., at 2). 

Third, the government has the burden to establish that the challenged law satisfies strict scrutiny. To do so in this context, it must do more than assert that certain risk factors “are always present in worship, or always absent from the other secular activities” the government may allow. 

This is interesting because the insistence of courts of appeals to apply intermediate scrutiny to the Second Amendment is usually couched in public safety terms.  Bu this is also a public safety claim.  Perhaps the Court will get past its fear of court packing at some point and recognize that strict scrutiny applies here as well. 

Realistic War Movies Are Hard For Me to Not Watch

All sorts of good stuff is on YouTube for free.  I had forgotten had good Tora! Tora! Tora! wasI have tread enough of the history of the war to recognize how much it was effectively a docudrama. 

I just finished watching The Longest Day (1962).  While not as gritty as The Big Red One's unflinching portrayal of D-Day it has the same docudrama accuracy with good guys going down in combat, and the confusion and decision errors by the Germans that turned what might have been a devastating defeat of the greatest seaborne invasion in history into a victory for civilization, which America is now doing its best to destroy. 

The cast is a who's who of American, British, and German actors of the time, some not yet well-known such as Robert Wagner and Sean Connery.  Already famous: Peter Lawford; Richard Burton; Richard Widmark; John Wayne.

Some of the surprises were Red Buttons, mostly a comic actor at the time, and one real life WW2 hero: Eddie Albert who received the Bronze Star at the Battle of Tarawa.  Curiously, he toured Mexico as a clown before WW2 working for Army Intelligence.

I started out wondering went a 1962 film of this budget was filmed in black and white.  Part way through it became clear: they integrated real D-Day footage into the film and the U.S. military was not farsighted enough to film in color.  Tremendously well done and entertaining.  It really makes you appreciate the courage and self-sacrifice of so many Americans, Canadians, Britons, and Free French.

Friday, April 9, 2021


My earliest memory is just before two which would be 1958.  I know it is that age because I described the house and the family providing daycare to my mother; she immediate knew when and where.  It was a 1950s refrigerator, the kind where the door and frame were all rounded.  The father pulled a beer out of the fridge and handed it to me, knowing I would take it like a soft drink.  It was yucky!  His wife reprimanded him.  I still hate beer today, probably for that reason. 

The next memories are I think from about four.  Because my father was on the run from the FBI, he lived in San Pedro, working at Todd Shipyards far from where our mother was raising me and my four siblings in Chula Vista.   These days, withholding reporting would have put the FBI at his employer at the second paycheck.  Back then, pretty much nothing was computerized. 

Friday nights we would all get into a car whose make and appearance is a complete blank.   Some sort of four door sedan, either 1940s or 1950s at best; the opening line of the Steve Martin film The Jerk immediately comes to mind. 

We drove up U.S. 101 from Chula Vista to San Pedro.   It was a long slow drive because lots of it went through cities along the way as surface streets.  I suspect it was only about three or four hours but I always fell asleep. 

My father rented a cottage on top of a hill that was walking distance to the shipyard.  (We had one crummy car in our family.)  It was built in the 1920s or 1930s.  Housing in Southern California was still cheap.  There was an arbor with figs, I think, growing over the sidewalk from parking to the front door.  It was very high above the surrounding flats, maybe 200 feet.  There were two roads to the top, one on the south side of the hill, one on the north.  I think there were a few other similarly decrepit cottages up there. 

We would arrive in what seemed the dead of night.  A vivid memory that I can still smell: pot roast.  My father would put a pot roast, carrots, onions, potatoes in the oven at a very low heat before he went off to work on swing shift.  By the time we arrived the smell was unimaginably good.  Stare at the roast hard and it would disassemble. 

There was a basement accessible from the outside.   I have some memory of wanting to get inside but it was kept locked.  I doubt they were any secrets.  The area was infested with black widow spiders and I am sure that my mother was being protective.  

There were not enough beds.   I remember sleeping on the floor next to my sister Marilyn who drilled me on times tables up to 12x12.  I do not remember learning to read.  My sister Susan remembers my brother Ron teaching me to read before I was two. I have to take her word for that because I do not remember a time when I was not reading books.  By first grade I was reading and understanding my brother's high school chemistry textbook.  Nor surprisingly, I skipped kindergarten.

First grade was at St. John's Episcopal elementary school.  I have a vague recollection that my mother was a clerk for a school system and my tuition was therefore paid by her employer. 

I recall that Mrs. Fuqua (yes, Hawaiian) was using phonetics to teach reading.  I played along because she turned the process into a game.  

I have one embarrassing memory.  I was reluctant to raise my hand to go to the bathroom during class, producing a large puddle under my desk.   I think other students laughed but Mrs. Fuqua was the model of a good teacher in handling it.

We lived in the Woodland Apartments in Chula Vista which from Google Maps still seem to be there next to the charter school.  Back then it was my sister Marilyn's junior high.  I recall vividly standing in the cold gluing matchbooks to a student government campaign poster for her.  (I think the idea was that she was unmatched for the office.)

We lived in a two bedroom apartment on the second floor.  My eldest sister Carolyn had already gone off to UCLA.  Susan and Marilyn shared one bedroom.  My brother and I shared the other bedroom.  My mother slept in the living room I think partly to shield us from FBI agents who, without search warrants, demanded to search the apartment for my father.   Perhaps an arrest warrant authorized a search.  They kept threatening to take away her children if she did nor reveal where my father was.  I think it was an empty threat.  They never took us.  My skepticism of Big Government was learned young. 

I have another vivid memory.  My father was moving out of the cottage.   He had taken a fall at work, suffered amnesia and wandered the streets of San Pedro for several days before he received medical care and his memory returned.

I believe we were going to meet my mother somewhere because my father had no car which is why he lived walking distance to his welding job at the shipyard.  We walked or rather he carried me on his shoulders for much of a mile or two to the ferry terminal.   I remember him getting me a Hostess chocolate pie from a convenience store.  Do you remember them?

The ferry took us across some body of water associated with the Navy base, which back then, was open for us to walk down the docks looking at warships. 

There are two ugly memories of the time.  My family caught a fish off the end of San Pedro pier.  They attempted to clean it on the kitchen table.  I was just old enough to see over the top as fish guts and smell went everywhere.   To this day, I cannot eat any ocean dweller if it looks or smells like fish.  Fish sticks, or fish and chips are okay.

The other traumatic memory:   We were driving north on U.S. 99.  Seatbelts were not yet required and the few cars that had them as an option were expensive.  I was asleep on the back seat and a drunken Marine from Camp Pendleton rear ended us.  I either went unconscious or I blotted the trauma from my memory.  My next memory is being in the back of Uncle Lloyd's pickup truck near Long Beach as the Sun rose.  I was plagued until adolescence with night terrors where I was in the back seat and some indescribable monster appeared at the window. 

Lots of other memories of Chula Vista if these are interesting.

Finally Proof It Was Not Water

Some fatigue and mild muscle pain this afternoon.  At first I thought it was gardening excess, but I did not do that much lifting. 

Cheap Starter for Astronomy

Orion is advertising their 20x80mm astronomical binoculars for $159.  This is easily the greatest bargain in astronomical instruments today. 

Thursday, April 8, 2021

It Must Be Wonderful to Live in a World Where Everything You Imagine Can Be Real

4/7/21 White House press release of Biden's remarks:

Imagine a world where you and your family can travel coast to coast without a single tank of gas, or in a high-speed train, close to as fast as you can go across the country in a plane. 

Europe and China have some high speed trains but not jet speed.   Wind resistance, Mr. President, or are you proposing 3000 miles of vacuum tube?

And this gem:
We’re going to talk about commercial aircraft flying at subsonic speeds — supersonic speeds.  Be able to, figuratively, if you may — if we decided to do it, traverse the world in about an hour, travel 21,000 miles an hour. 

And what is a 21,000 mph flight going to cost?  And what defense contractor is whispering in Biden's ear: "Just 20 trillion dollars to get started."

2nd Shot

Head and arms fell off; otherwise doing well.  (Typing this with my toes ) 

Roghani's provided a complimentary dessert because it was our anniversary.   Flourless chocolate cake so I did not fall asleep until 3 AM. Nap now because of that not the vaccine. 

Twelve hours later:  Aside from a slight fatigue (which I might imagined) and a sore arm, I feel fine.

More States Telling Biden Where to Go

 4/7/21 Arizona channel 15:

PHOENIX — On Thursday President Biden is expected to announce a series of executive actions addressing gun violence. No matter what those actions are, there is a very good chance that in Arizona, they’ll be ignored.

The group Moms Demand Action assembled outside the executive tower on Tuesday. They were hoping to convince the governor to veto HB 2111. In his office, nine floors up, Governor Ducey signed the bill.

“We know there is nothing silly about anything that would make us less safe and that’s what this law will ultimately do,” Steffanie Richardson of Moms Demand Action said. “So we were trying to prevent that. We wanted the governor to recognize that and veto it. Unfortunately, he signed into law.”

HB 2111 is a pre-emptive strike by the Arizona Legislature to block any type of federal gun reform that its supporters say endangers the second amendment. During a February committee hearing, the bill’s sponsor State Representative Leo Biasiucci of Lake Havasu City said, “we in the state of Arizona don’t want the federal government to infringe on our second amendment rights regardless whether it’s banning background checks or AR15’s it’s up to the state to decide that.”

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

New Laptop

The Lenovo X140E works well but video editing running Brave Thunderbird Access Word and Excel pushes the limits of a quad core processor and 16GB of RAM.  I am looking at a Lenovo 128GB RAM 1TB SSD hexcore.  128GB so Windows 28 will not over stress its RAM capacity.  I really like the 14" screen I have now.  Yes it is a slight pain to use, but the package size makes it very easy to use on an airplane tray table (whenever that starts to happen again).  The 15" or (15.6" screens to be precise) take up more space admittedly with an easier to read screen.  Also, the 14" models seem to not have either 64GB or 128GB RAM available.  They also have the higher resolution UHD or 4K (not quite identical but close).  I do not know if any of my monitors can even get close to that.  But if I can get my Word document and a 20th century newspaper front page legible on one screen it might be worth going to a 4K monitor for office use.

I Would Never Have Guessed It

There are laptops assembled in the U.S. often with globally sourced parts including some U.S. parts.

That includes Lenovos made in North Carolina.   Yes I know money still flows to China and likely some espionage software the other way.  It was still a surprise. 

Dressed Up For 41st Anniversary Dinner Out

Lovely meal at Roghani's in Eagle.  A expensive but spectacular French restaurant.  Plan on spending $100 plus wine for two.  Not something you do every week, but for a special occasion, a nice little extravagance.   Like eating at John Ash in Sonoma County although I think I like Roghani's more although John Ash has a more impressive setting. 

Nerd Squared Video

 If you are a software engineer, or a space enthusiast, or just warped, you will enjoy this video about the Apollo Guidance Computer developed in the early 1960s to land the LM on the Moon.

It Is A Good Thing, No One in the Biden Administration Knows Anything About Gun Laws

 4/7/21 Politico:

Biden will direct the administration to begin the process of requiring buyers of so-called ghost guns — homemade or makeshift firearms that lack serial numbers — to undergo background checks, according to three people who have spoken to the White House about the plans. He is expected to be joined at the event by Attorney General Merrick Garland.

If you are not a licensed maker you may not sell a ghost gun already. Perhaps they want to require 80% receiver sellers to do so.  But those are not firearms.  I have a 0% AR-15 lower that I bought at the local metals store.

Other executive actions remain unclear. But stakeholders have speculated that the president could announce regulations on concealed assault-style firearms; prohibitions on firearm purchases for those convicted of domestic violence against their partners; and federal guidance on home storage safety measures.

The domestic violence provision has been the law since the 1990s.  These guys are idiots.  The gun banners know this as well.  This is to make reporters cheer Biden's courage.  Adding concealable rifle caliber handguns as short-barreled rifles by regulation will run into the same problem as the bump stock ban by regulation did.  Can anyone remember any other concealable rifle caliber mass murders?  Apparently the Dayton mass murder in 2019 as well.

I don't see how by Executive Order Biden can bring concealable AWs under NFA regulation.  NFA applies to machineguns, suppressors, and short-barrelled rifles.

18 USC 921(a)(7) The term “rifle” means a weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder and designed or redesigned and made or remade to use the energy of an explosive to fire only a single projectile through a rifled bore for each single pull of the trigger.

The AR-15 pistols are not intended to be fired from the shoulder, nor can they be.

18 USC 921(a)(8) The term “short-barreled rifle” means a rifle having one or more barrels less than sixteen inches in length and any weapon made from a rifle (whether by alteration, modification, or otherwise) if such weapon, as modified, has an overall length of less than twenty-six inches.

Regardless of barrel length they are not rifles under subsection 7 so regardless of barrel length they can not be regulated as short-barreled rifles.

So what is the purpose?  Their gun banning friends know this is crap.  The target is reporters who know nothing about gun laws ("There are gun laws?").  To quote the 5/8/16 New York Times interview of aspiring novelist turned deputy national security adviser for strategic communications by President Obama: "The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.”

UPDATE: From the White House release

The Justice Department, within 60 days, will issue a proposed rule to make clear when a device marketed as a stabilizing brace effectively turns a pistol into a short-barreled rifle subject to the requirements of the National Firearms Act. The alleged shooter in the Boulder tragedy last month appears to have used a pistol with an arm brace, which can make a firearm more stable and accurate while still being concealable.

This seems marginally within the NFA, but one that I suspect courts will uphold. 

By the way, prepare to register your shoelaces: