Sunday, June 20, 2021

Concerned Californians Will Turn Idaho Blue?

 6/14/21 S.F. Chronicle:

On a base level, the allure of Idaho’s capital is apparent. It’s a college town with a rich and robust cultural scene and an adjacency to nature. It’s not very crowded relative to San Francisco or the Silicon Valley, with a population of just over 226,000, and its size means that most of the city’s hot spots are only a hop-skip away from each other.

It also doesn’t come with the steep price tag of a big city, though that’s changing fast.

“I loved living in Los Gatos, California. I can't think of a more beautiful place, but you know the affordability … and having a real job and not being worth millions, I was never going to really enjoy Los Gatos to the extent that I can enjoy Boise,” Krause said....

It also helps that Boise is much safer than the Bay Area, he says, to the point where people leave their doors unlocked. The worst kind of crime, he says, is petty theft “if you leave your car doors unlocked.”

“It’s that kind of Pleasantville-y type of safety that we feel here.”

This quote from a native tells you all you need ton know about the natives.

And other reactions have been more incensed, such as one resident who spoke to SFGATE via email on condition on anonymity. He declined to respond to a longer list of questions, saying he was "too depressed about this shit" to critically lay out his contempt for the types of people moving in and his sadness at rising housing costs.

“Just know that every other local I know is also massively depressed about what is going on,” he told me in an email. “Rich hypercapitalist tech right-wing scumf—ks will continue moving their companies/families out here in droves as the lower classes are priced out. The tide moves in, there is no stopping it.” 

Needless to say, this is not a Republican voter.  The natives here are generally well left of the refugees./  The refugees know what a single-party Democratic state is like; the natives only know that the Pacific states have legal pot, and high taxes.

Distributions From an IRA

Great! You have a few million in an IRA or 401k.  What can you do with all that money?  When you take a distribution after retirement age, you owe both federal and state income tax on it.  You could take out a couple million and pay 35% in taxes.  With that you can buy an estate in Wyoming, a nice house in Boise or Maui or a shabby townhouse in San Francisco.  But the tax consequences are substantial.   It is not like having several million in a savings account. You should have no problem borrowing money with that lump on your assets sheet but it is not quite as convenient as a huge savings account.  You can move assets from one mutual fund to another without it being considered a distribution. 

Suggestion: along with making the maximum contributions to a 401k, put taxed money (unlike your 401k contributions and employer matching funds which are not taxed) into a completely separate account.  Buy aggressive mutual funds in that account.  When you need a lump of cash at retirementage, sell some of those mutual funds.  You will owe capital gains taxes, but not income taxes when you take that money out, and long term capital gains taxes are much lower than income taxes).  

And again, thanks to whichever of you steered me towards the Black Rock fund last November.  It has already grown 10% in about half a year.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Lying on the Grass, Waiting for the Stars to Come Out

It is a lovely evening.  The atmosphere is clear and calm.  I started with the 85mm eyepiece (23x and about a degree field of view which I will use when hunting for galaxies and went up to 4mm (500x) which is just a bit too much for the conditions.   The image starts to fuzz.  At 5mm (400x) the image is still crisp.   I am glad that I spent the extra money for a dual speed focuser with both a coarse and a fine focus knob.  

The place where most low priced telescopes disappoint are the standard eyepieces.   They are often low quality with narrow fields of view.  Even the cheap department store telescopes can be markedly improved with $200 worth of decent eyepieces. 

Big Bertha came with 2" diameter University Optics 18mm orthoscopic.  I had never owned anything but a 1.25" diameter eyepiece before and it was startling how much it widened the field of view.   Since then I have acquired 50mm and 85mm 2" diameter eyepieces and I am very glad that I did.  When I get my 8" f/7 reflector mounted on my new whizbang Losmandy mount I will use the 2" to 1.25" adapter and see how this works with these 2" eyepieces. 

The stars finally came out, so I decided to use Sky Commander.  This is a digital setting circles gadget with which I have had intermittent success over the years.  You pick two stars on which you are going to align, aim the telescope at each star, and then press enter.  The more precisely you center those stars in the eyepiece, the more skillfully it helps you find items in its roughly 8000 object catalog.  The higher power the eyepiece you use for centering the guide stars the more likely that you will have them precisely centered. I used 160x to align on Arcturus and Vega and when I asked for the globular cluster M13 in Hercules (barely visible to the naked eye on a Moonless night). It then tells you how many degrees in altitude and azimuth to move the scope.  Using a low power and therefore wise field eyepiece put M13 where I was would see it.  The Moon still washed out its "diamonds on black velvet" appearance.  I also need to write a light shroud around Big Bertha.  This open framework half-Serriuer truss is adequate for bright objects with little ambient light, but the solar powered night lights that Rhonda put out so that I would not trip in the darkness (she knows me well) are just enough ro be a problem. 


 I took several pictures of Vega at longer and longer exposures.  1/160th second.  ISO 100.

1/160th second.  ISO 100

1/3 second ISO 100

Family Bible

 I am not sure how many of you have a family Bible that records births and deaths.  Somehow I ended up with it.  It was published in 1876 and for several generations it was kept up to date.  I am filling in my family tree on 23&Me.

Took Some Moon Pictures Last Night

 I am a little disappointed at how hard it was to get a sharp image with my bigger reflector:
1/400th second ISO 100 with a little GIMP image enhancement.

1/1000th second ISO 100

Moon Exiting Lunar Eclipse Last Month


From the Backyard


Friday, June 18, 2021

Darn Impressive Report on the 1898 Wilmington Race Riot

 LeRae Umfleet, 1898 Wilmington Race Riot Report, May 31, 2006.  As the reports observes this was primarily a Democratic Party coup d'etat that removed Republican Part control of Wilmington city government.  Along with the 22 certain deaths (likely many others were not recorded) there is a detailed analysis of the economic consequences for African-Americans in Wilmington.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Why Can't We Be More Like Europe?

6/12/21 Economist:
Debates about transgender rights have raged most angrily in the Anglophone world, but they are now intensifying across Europe. Last month the Spanish parliament voted against a bill that would allow people to determine their own gender. A day later Germany’s voted down two such bills. Few newspapers took any notice.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Suddenly, My PC No Longer Talks to the Internet

Network troubleshooter fails because Diagnostic Policy Services is not running and Windows cannot seem to restart it.  This page says System Restore fixes this sometimes and after I finish a full backup I will try that next. I notice my most recent restore point is this morning, shortly before everything went south.

System Restore fixed it.

Race War or Mental Illness?

6/15/21 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer:

A 39-year-old man accused of shooting and wounding five people in Alabama and Georgia told police his assaults were racially motivated, and he was targeting white men, a detective testified Monday.

The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reported that a police detective testified in a preliminary hearing that Justin Tyran Roberts, who is Black, told police that white men had picked on him and wronged him for all his life.

“Basically, he explained throughout his life, specifically white males had taken from him, and also what he described as military-looking white males had taken from him,” Detective Brandon Lockhart testified, according to the newspaper.

Police have accused Roberts of shooting five people in three separate assaults in Columbus, Georgia and Phenix City, Alabama. All victims are expected to recover, Columbus Police Chief Freddie Blackmon said Sunday. The chief added that police found no evidence that Roberts knew any of his victims.

Roberts appeared in court Monday in Columbus for a preliminary hearing in one of those incidents where a man was shot in the back as he was getting into his vehicle.Lockhart testified that Roberts said, “I had to have him,” about one of the shooting victims.

Roberts also claimed that such men were “shooting at him in a wooded area with a slingshot,” and the wounds had infected his skin, Lockhart testified. But he said police saw no injuries to substantiate that.

Public defender Robin King requested a mental health evaluation for Roberts, saying the man was suffering from delusions. 

This sounds more like mental illness than CRT-inspired race war, but what's the difference?  The description of being shot with a slingshot and having infections that the officer could not see sounds like formication, the sensation that bugs are crawling under your skin.  This is an occasional symptom of schizophrenia.

There Really Are Weapons of War on the Streets

6/16/21 AP:

In the first public accounting of its kind in decades, an Associated Press investigation has found that at least 1,900 U.S. military firearms were lost or stolen during the 2010s, with some resurfacing in violent crimes. Because some armed services have suppressed the release of basic information, AP’s total is a certain undercount.

Government records covering the Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force show pistols, machine guns, shotguns and automatic assault rifles have vanished from armories, supply warehouses, Navy warships, firing ranges and other places where they were used, stored or transported. These weapons of war disappeared because of unlocked doors, sleeping troops, a surveillance system that didn’t record, break-ins and other security lapses that, until now, have not been publicly reported.

While AP’s focus was firearms, military explosives also were lost or stolen, including armor-piercing grenades that ended up in an Atlanta backyard.

Weapon theft or loss spanned the military’s global footprint, touching installations from coast to coast, as well as overseas. In Afghanistan, someone cut the padlock on an Army container and stole 65 Beretta M9s -- the same type of gun recovered in Albany. The theft went undetected for at least two weeks, when empty pistol boxes were discovered in the compound. The weapons were not recovered.

Even elite units are not immune. A former member of a Marines special operations unit was busted with two stolen guns. A Navy SEAL lost his pistol during a fight in a restaurant in Lebanon.

On Tuesday, in the wake of the AP investigation, Army Secretary Christine Wormuth told a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee that she would be open to new oversight on weapons accountability. The Pentagon used to share annual updates about stolen weapons with Congress, but the requirement to do so ended years ago and public accountability has slipped.

Monday, June 14, 2021

I Wonder How Often This Has Happened Over the Years


I helped write an autobiography for a friend's mother some years ago.  She had a friend whose husband went MIA in the Pacific during World War II.  She spent many years waiting for word, and finally fell in love again,  Then she dreamed that he was stranded on a South Pacific island calling her name.  Soon she was hospitalized.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Need a Reason to Skip Your Workout?

It is dangerous.   I was re-racking a 35 pound weight and my finger did not get out of the way in time.
It hurts a lot worse than it looks.

Props to Windows 10

 Some friends were late to dinner last night because their oven part way through cooking red potatoes, downloaded an update and rebooted.  Windows 10 at least asks if this is a good time.  Appliances do not belong on the Internet!  (At least it did not interrogate them about what subversive was going to be eating the meal.)

Friday, June 11, 2021

Lessons Learned Putting a Flat Edge on These Rings

This is the setup I am using to put a flat bottom on the rings to simplify screwing them to a flat base.
I have a spacer between ring and chuck and I would still have preferred a bit more space between mill and chuck.  Next time, I will start with a 1" thick ring, cut the flat spot, then back to the lathe to remove the half inch closest to the chuck.

Maybe simpler would be to put the ring in the vise and slice off a chord then use the setup above to drill the adjustment screw holes.  I will do that for the other ring.
I chewed up that ring cosmetically and put the adjustment screw holes at the wrong positions.  There are 180 degrees in a triangle and they form a triangle, right?  But they are around a circle so that should be 120 degrees apart.  The extra holes will not be visible and slicing 1" slices of 3 1/8" stock on the chop saw is harder the shorter it gets.

More lessons: cutting a chord is harder than it looks.  Acetal is not Teflon, but it is very slippery and hard to hold securely in a mill vise as the mill cuts across even at  .1 inches/minute.  So I am cutting across the edge.  This is multiple steps and I see no reason to write code for a rare operation. 

I may have just tried too deep a cut.  .05" seems to work.

Thursday, June 10, 2021


 I am really impressed how many late 1ate 19th and early 20th century mass murders seem to be of Italian-Americans with arson and explosives.  The Mafia was already a major problem in Italian-American communities before Prohibition increased their wealth and power.

Batavia, N.Y. (1919)

09/25/1919: Restauranteur Carlo Trimarchi had received three threatening letters.  He apparently responded incorrectly, so the murderer (extortionist?) set off a bomb in a house that Trimarchi owned and occupied.  Trimarchi, his wife, and their two sons were injured as “the house was literally blown to pieces.” Their tenants on the second floor, Joseph Battagli, wife, and son died.

Category: residential

Suicide: no

Cause: unknown

Weapon: explosives[1]

[1] "Bomb Kills Three; Father, Wife And Babe Dead," Bridgeport Times And Evening Farmer, Sep. 25, 1919, 1.

I have classified this as cause unknown because while the threatening letters were probably extortion,  "Nice restaurant you have here.  It would be a shame if something happened to it."  But fortunately, the Sullivan Law made it harder to intimidate small businessmen with a gun.

The California Attorney-General Appeals Benitez's Decision

 From their press release:

SAN FRANCISCO – California Attorney General Rob Bonta and Governor Gavin Newsom announced today that the state has appealed a recent decision by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California in Miller v. Bonta that declared California's assault weapons laws unconstitutional. The Attorney General will also ask the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to stay the district court’s ruling, which would extend the current 30-day stay of the decision and leave the laws in effect throughout the appeal process.

“Equating firearms that have been used in many of the deadliest mass shootings in this country with Swiss Army knives has no basis in law or fact,” said Attorney General Bonta. “The ban on assault weapons will not put an end to all gun violence, but it is one important tool the state has to protect the safety of Californians while also respecting the rights of law-abiding residents who choose to possess firearms. We have appealed the district court’s ruling and will continue our defense of the state’s commonsense gun laws.”

My reaction: "Equating combustible materials that have been used in one of America's largest mass murders (larger than any firearms mass murder) with motor fuel has no basis in law or fact!" 

The Untrustworthiness of the Offiiclal News Media

 6/9/21 Substack article by Glenn Greenwald, the last honest leftist journalist:

For more than a year, it has been consecrated media fact that former President Donald Trump and his White House, on June 1 of last year, directed the U.S. Park Police to use tear gas against peaceful Lafayette Park protesters, all to enable a Trump photo-op in front of St. John's Church. That this happened was never presented as a possibility or likelihood but as indisputable truth. And it provoked weeks of unmitigated media outrage, presented as one of the most egregious assaults on the democratic order in decades.

This tale was so pervasive in the media landscape that it would be impossible for any one article to compile all the examples. “Peaceful Protesters Tear-Gassed To Clear Way For Trump Church Photo-Op,” read the NPR headline on June 1. The New York Times ran with: “Protesters Dispersed With Tear Gas So Trump Could Pose at Church.” CNN devoted multiple segments to venting indignation while the on-screen graphic declared: “Peaceful Protesters Near White House Tear-Gassed, Shot With Rubber Bullets So Trump Can Have Church Photo Op.”...

All of this came crashing down on their heads on Wednesday afternoon. The independent Inspector General of the Interior Department, Mark Lee Greenblatt, issued his office's findings after a long investigation into “the actions of the U.S. Park Police (USPP) to disperse protesters in and around Lafayette Park in Washington, DC, on June 1, 2020.” Greenblatt has been around Washington for a long time, occupying numerous key positions in the Obama administration, including investigative counsel at the Department of Justice's Office of Inspector General and Assistant Inspector General for Investigations at Obama's Commerce Department.

The letter released by Greenblatt's office accompanying the report makes clear how far-reaching the investigation was:

Over the course of this review, our career investigative staff conducted extensive witness interviews, reviewed video footage from numerous vantage points, listened to radio transmissions from multiple law enforcement entities, and examined evidence including emails, text messages, telephone records, procurement documents, and other related materials. This report presents a thorough, independent examination of that evidence to assess the USPP’s decision making and operations, including a detailed timeline of relevant actions and an analysis of whether the USPP’s actions complied with governing policies.

The IG's conclusion could not be clearer: the media narrative was false from start to finish. Namely, he said, “the evidence did not support a finding that the [U.S. Park Police] cleared the park on June 1, 2020, so that then President Trump could enter the park.” Instead — exactly as Hemingway's widely-mocked-by-liberal-outlets article reported — “the evidence we reviewed showed that the USPP cleared the park to allow a contractor to safely install anti-scale fencing in response to destruction of Federal property and injury to officers that occurred on May 30 and May 31.” Crucially, “the evidence established that relevant USPP officials had made those decisions and had begun implementing the operational plan several hours before they knew of a potential Presidential visit to the park, which occurred later that day."

Gender Confusion is Not a Disease; Whiteness Is

 5/27/21 Journal of the American Psychoanalytical Association:

Whiteness is a condition one first acquires and then one has—a malignant, parasitic-like condition to which “white” people have a particular susceptibility. The condition is foundational, generating characteristic ways of being in one’s body, in one’s mind, and in one’s world. Parasitic Whiteness renders its hosts’ appetites voracious, insatiable, and perverse. These deformed appetites particularly target nonwhite peoples. Once established, these appetites are nearly impossible to eliminate. Effective treatment consists of a combination of psychic and social-historical interventions. Such interventions can reasonably aim only to reshape Whiteness’s infiltrated appetites—to reduce their intensity, redistribute their aims, and occasionally turn those aims toward the work of reparation. When remembered and represented, the ravages wreaked by the chronic condition can function either as warning (“never again”) or as temptation (“great again”). Memorialization alone, therefore, is no guarantee against regression. There is not yet a permanent cure.

Keywords racismenvygroupsaggression 

Those keywords make me think projection. 

Wednesday, June 9, 2021



The Things You Find in the Most Unexpected Places

 An early DC gun control law from the 2019 Washington Post:

Black self-defense was a revelation for all concerned. On Capitol Hill, Congress was in an uproar. Rep. J.W. Ragsdale of South Carolina denounced the rioting as a communist conspiracy, and then dropped dead the next day. The spectacle of armed black men impelled Congress to pass the District’s strongest gun control law ever, requiring the registration of all guns, with penalties for carrying firearms in public.

Whites had been inflamed by what later turned out to be false reports of black men raping white women.  This time, blacks were sufficiently armed to fight back, often quite effectively.

“The Washington riot gave me the thrill that comes once in a lifetime,” a “Southern Colored Woman” wrote in a letter published in the NAACP’s Crisis magazine. “At last our men had stood like men, struck back, were no longer dumb driven cattle.” As she read about the riot, the woman said, she wept tears of “gladness and madness. … [T]he pent-up humiliation, grief and horror of a lifetime — half a century — was being stripped from me.” 

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Today's Finance Trick

If you want to buy a house somewhere not constantly jammed with traffic, how do you sell your Boise house and buy the new one without making a contingent offer which is not popular with sellers and there is the risk some Californians will show up with a million in cash and knock you out.

The answer is a bridge loan. These are short term (6 months to one year loans) where the equity in your current home is part of the collateral for the loan.  So let us say you are a typical high end Boise homeowner with a $400,000 home with $120,000 in equity because you bought it last month.  You find an attractive $250,000 home in Wyoming.  The bridge loan is typically higher interest rate than a traditional mortgage because it is short term.  You normally need a great credit score and income.  But apparently approval is much faster than a conventional mortgage.

You move into your new home and make payments on the new house and the old house until the old house sells.   You now have the proceeds of that house to refinance the new house on a conventional mortgage.   Of course if you have no mortgage on the old house you just pay off the bridge loan with the proceeds.   I wish that I had known about bridge loans last year.  We had a mortgage on our new house while waiting for the old house to sell.

I Am Amazed How Cheap Some East Coast Beachfront Houses Are

On the water behind the outer barrier islands in North Carolina: 6 bedroom, 4 bath, 4864 sq. ft., built in 1824. $279,000.  On a lake.

A little ways inland near Newbern 6 bed, 4 bath, $225,000. 

With the current real estate madness you could buy two houses for one Boise home.  Although my recollection is that N.C. has too many Democrats. 

Assuming This is True...

 It is a reminder what the FBI can do when it isn't playing KGB.  6/8/21 NewsMax:

A global sting in which organized crime gangs were sold encrypted phones that law enforcement officials could monitor has led to more than 800 arrests and the confiscation of drugs, weapons, cash and luxury cars, officials said on Tuesday.

The operation by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Australian and European police ensnared suspects in Australia, Asia, Europe, South America and the Middle East involved in the narcotics trade, the officials said.

Millions of dollars in cash were seized in raids around the world, along with 30 tonnes of drugs including more than eight tonnes of cocaine.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the operation had "struck a heavy blow against organized crime – not just in this country, but ... around the world."

Operation Greenlight/Trojan Shield, conceived by Australian police and the FBI in 2018, was one of the biggest infiltrations and takeovers of a specialized encrypted network.

It began when U.S. officials paid a convicted drug trafficker to give them access to a smartphone that he had customized, on which he was installing ANOM, also styled An0m, a secure encrypted messaging app. The phones were then sold to organized crime networks through underworld distributors.

The FBI helped to infiltrate 12,000 devices into 300 criminal groups in more than 100 countries, Calvin Shivers of the FBI's Criminal Investigative Division told reporters in The Hague.

Best of all:

The operation also revealed that gangs were being tipped off about police actions, which prompted "numerous high-level public corruption cases in several countries," according to an affidavit from an FBI agent. 

Cutting Odd Angles

This finderscope Bracket that I am trying to reproduce in acetal and not glued back together aluminum has one annoying aspect: the base is sort of a dovetail with a 77 degree angle on each side.  After a lot of struggle (geometry was the only B in high school) I believe that I figured it out.  The tilting table is set to 13 degrees and I positioned at the top of the rectangle and went down .09".  (This was determined by measuring, not by trigonometry. )

I think it worked.  This is the first side.  
Yes, the acetal is still a few hundredths too thick, but I want this to be a press fit into the receiver.   The angle feels right.

I cut the other side by moving the part and the tilting table until the angle was right.   I reversed the part in the tiny Sherline chuck that fits inside the Sherline tilting table, then moved the table to 77 degrees.   I experimentally achieved what opposite angles of crossing diagonal lines are equal should have told me.

It is not a press fit into the slot but is a heck of a lot tighter than factory.  

Another improvement is that the OEM part was held in place by friction from an M3x0.5 thumbscrew.   I am going to tap a hole for a thumbscrew in this part to screw into instead.  Far more secure. 

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Among the Best Machining Tool Purchases Ever

About a year and half ago, I sang the praises of a very reasonably priced mill vise from Little Machine Shop.  

My love continues.  The Sherline mill vise is adequate to hold small workpieces but even then it does not have the grip required for even relatively unaggressive cuts.  This one does.  Being made of steel not aluminum, it has tolerated some excessive Z-feed errors that at a minimum made the Sherline vise pretty ugly.   

The SHCS that provides the force to hold down the jaws also kept rounding inside so I kept replacing it.  No problems so far with this vise, and I have really locked this vise down.

At the same time, I purchased a very nice set of parallels from them that have proved far superior to Sherline's parallels.  They are thick enough to stand on their own, which matters a lot when you are stacking them up to hold relatively thin workpieces high enough to stick above the jaws. Pretty much anything you need for a micro or mini mill is there.

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Making Rings

I mentioned a few days ago a technique for turning down round stock too big for the inside jaws of the chuck, but that I had not tried it out.

The rings that I made starting with 2.75" black acetal rod turned out to be too thin for me to machine a flat spot at the bottom for screwing two machine screws into the bottom from the flat piece that connects rings and also attaches to the telescope dovetail. 

So I started with the 3.25" white acetal stock and managed to turn it down to 3.018" with that technique.   I wish that I knew where my center finder went.  With my coordination problems the center hole was less than perfect, but the workpiece were close enough to concentric to stay in place while I turned them down to the diameter that fit into the 3" chuck where I was able to use the boring bar to enlarge the 2.125" Forstner bit hole to 2.201". I was thrilled to have the OD and ID within a few thousandths of an inch of each other and with enough wall to cut a flat on the bottom.  I will use a rotating table for getting the adjustment screw holes 120 degrees apart and the flat evenly spaced between two of them.

I started with black acetal but my acetal scrap bin yielded blocks to let me do it all in white.

One ring was ever so slightly thicker than the other but because I want to get the holes exactly centered when I do that operations I worked them down to .005" difference.  That is good enough.

Reinforcing Stereotypes About Emotion for Four Groups at Once

BIPOC, female, psychiatrist, Ivy League faculty:

Khilanani then gives a chilling observation. After noting that she stopped watching news because it upset her too much, she noted “I had fantasies of unloading a revolver into the head of any white person that got in my way, burying their body and wiping my bloody hands as I walked away relatively guiltless with a bounce in my step. Like I did the world a f–king favor.”

Khilanani encouraged the audience to stop speaking with white people because they have are incapable of dealing with their racism and refuse to admit that they are all racists.

Lost My Center Finder in the Move

 This video shows three techniques using common tools like a square to find the center.

I Doubt It Will Survive the 9th Circus

 6/4/21 KMPH:

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A federal judge has overturned California’s three-decade-old ban on assault weapons, ruling that it violates the constitutional right to bear arms.

U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez of San Diego ruled Friday that the state’s definition of illegal military-style rifles unlawfully deprives law-abiding Californians of weapons commonly allowed in most other states.

The State has 30 days to appeal or the law dies.   Here is the opinion.  Read it.  It will make your day.  It is a masterpiece.  

Judge Beneitz puts the burden on California to demonstrate that the ban reduced murders, mass murders, anything within the legitimate interests of the State.  

The number of California mass murders with assault weapons is unchanged since passage of the law.

The State's strongest argument is that these weapons are very accurate when firing quickly.  This is also in the public's interest.  If you are defending your home, you are responsible for every bullet you fire, so make sure that they hit a criminal and not a bystander.

He goes over the list of features that make guns assault weapons and points out that none of these features makes them especially good for mass murder or criminal activity, at least no more so than for defensive use.

He demolishes the State's expert witnesses, demonstrating that they are using untrustworthy methods of gathering data.  Neither the State nor its experts made use of police reports, just news accounts.  If anyone would have access to police reports it would be the California Attorney-General.

He points to multiple defensive uses of assault weapons around the country.

The most that the expert testimony might justify is a ban on larger magazines, although he does not suggest that.

Breathtaking Subpoena

 The FBI demanded IP addresses of everyone who read a particular USA Today story between 8:03 and 8:38 PM on Feb. 2, and not publicly report on it.

Friday, June 4, 2021


Maine housing is very cheap.   I know it is battle between progressive and conservative there.  My wife and I visited several years ago while visiting the Samuel Colt Documents collection.  It seemed very pleasant.  Does it have bad traffic jams or only in Portland?

Property taxes seem high.  Is that county or state level?

Today's Milling Lessons

When edge milling acetal with a coarse mill, I get a pretty smooth finish, but seldom better than .01" accuracy.  Face milling produces a rough finish.  Edge milling with a fine mill, gives a series of ridges.  Face milling with the fine mill gives a glassy smooth finish and better accuracy.

I have taken to using the coarse mill to get within .01" then fine mill to get to a nicer more accurate dimension.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

We Want to Destroy a Woolen Mill....But How Much Dynamite Do We Need?

 Franklin, Mass. (1919)

03/01/1919: Labor activists decided to blow up a woolens mill.  On the way to planting the bomb, there was an unexpected problem. All four were killed.  “Ten dwellings were partly wrecked, and broke nearly every pane of glass in Franklin, and caused damage in all towns within a radius of five miles”; several persons were injured.

Category: public

Suicide: no

Cause: labor

Weapon: dynamite[1]

When Vanity Fair Says It...

 6/3/21 Vanity Fair article of course has to cast blame on Trump for promoting racism by asking the question but still examines in detail the strong evidence that it was a likely accidental lab leak.

The Lab-Leak Theory: Inside the Fight to Uncover COVID-19’s Origins
Throughout 2020, the notion that the novel coronavirus leaked from a lab was off-limits. Those who dared to push for transparency say toxic politics and hidden agendas kept us in the dark.

Today's Mass Murder Mystery

 Washington, D.C. (1919)

01/31/1919: Person or persons unknown murdered “three Chinese educators… in their luxurious home.”  Other reports describe one of the dead as “chief of the Chinese educational mission to the United States” and the other two as students at George Washington University.  “The pistol with which the men had been shot was found on a chair near  Dr. Wong's body. Traces of a death  struggle were in evidence. A heavy brass table lamp lay on the floor among the shattered remnants of the  shade and bulb. A chair in the dining-room adjoining was overturned, and a brown-colored elastic from a .garter was on the floor.

"The bodies of Hsie, who was secretary and treasurer of the mission and Wu, confidential secretary to Dr.  Wong, were found head to head in the furnace room, and evidently had been dragged there….

“Dr. Wong had a deep gash in the back of his head and two bullet wounds in the chest. The pistol had been held so closely that the vest was scorched. Wu had one bullet wound in the head and another in the chest, and Hsie had one wound in the head.  The police are at a loss for a motive for the triple murder.  There was no evidence that robbery had been committed, and so far as they were able to establish from the friends of the men, they had no enemies. The theory of the officers is that the two students were killed first by some one who lurked in the house and that Wong was murdered later when he returned home.

“This theory is based upon several facts. The first is that Li [a neighbor dispatched by the university to make a welfare check] went to the house Wednesday and upon ringing the bell was told by a strange Chinese that Dr. Wong was not at home. Another is that there were only two discharged cartridges in the pistol, whereas at least five shots were fired into the bodies.  The officers think that sufficient time elapsed between the death of the students and of Dr. Wong for the murderer to hide the bodies of the first two and reload the gun before Dr. Wong reached the house.”

Category: residential

Suicide: no

Cause: unknown

Weapon: pistol[1]

[1] “Hired Assassin Killed Chinese Police Theory,” Washington [D.C.] Herald, Feb. 2, 1919, 1; "China's Envoy Slain In Mysterious Crime," Richmond Times-Dispatch, Feb. 01, 1919, 1.

Observing in Very Hot Weather

 On the hill, I needed gloves, hand warmers and two layers of pants in winter.  Last night was incredibly clear (the heat meant there was no a cloud cover or other water vapor obstruction).  But it was so hot even when the stars came out that I found myself wondering: naked astronomy?  But aside from the esthetic horror, the amount of Off! required for the mosquitos would be horrifying.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Sovereign Citizen Crap Again

 Another email from someone who does not check claims.

Public 89-719 is here.  It was passed in 1966.  Its title is "CONSENT OF UNITED STATES TO BE SUED IN ACTIONS AFFECTING PROPERTY IN WHICH IT HAS A LIEN OR INTEREST"  This was trivial to check.  I am fast reaching the point where it is so trivial to fact check stuff on the Internet that anyone fooled by this sovereign citizen stuff wants to be fooled.

Diversity Officer: A Fancy Word for Bigot

6/2/21 Washington Free Beacon:

Google’s global diversity leader apologized privately on Tuesday night to the company's Jewish employees for a blog post in which he argued that Jews have an "insatiable appetite for war," but the tech company remains mum on the controversy.

Kamau Bobb, Google’s global lead for diversity strategy and research, sent an email apology to a listserv of Jewish Google employees—known within the company as the "Jewglers"—and said his "hurtful" statements about Jews were part of a ham-handed attempt to criticize Israel’s military action.

Replace "Jew" with "black" and "war" with "white women" and ask yourself why this guy would still have a job.  

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

A Very Entertaining Book

 I loved this book when I was younger.  I thought my copy had worn out because of the binding opening too many times.  After this used copy arrived, my wife told me that I still had it.  Oh well, this one lacks coffee stains.  It is a load of fun to read; lots of very clever people who might have put that same industry and intelligence to honest work (with one tragically comic exception).  Two guys who successfully counterfeited $100 bills from inside their prison cell (they were in for counterfeiting $100s so well that the U.S. Government recalled all existing bills).  They even did photolithography (a new science at the time, in their cell).  The government had to prove that they did so to prove that these were not part of their previous crime.

Going to High School Graduation

For my daughter's Danish exchange student (a lovely and sweet young lady) at Thomas Jefferson Charter School on Adam Smith Blvd.  No, in Caldwell, not Galt's Gulch.