Monday, January 31, 2022

Finally Had a Clear Enough Night

Incredibly cold of course, but clear enough to put on my electric jacket, parka, and snow boots.   I still need to get the Televue finder for this, but with careful aiming along the tube and using the 50mm eyepiece (12x) I was able to get M42 in field.  The 18mm eyepiece (33x) split the Trapezium cleanly.   No chance for the other four stars (e through h) with 85mm of aperture but the Nebula was plainly visible, enough for a March 3 star party when it should be just cold.  I might have obtained a good view at 20x or 25x but it was too cold to be swapping eyepieces for very long.

At these low powers an alt-azimuth mount works fine, and fast to get outside and back in.  I still take the scope off the mount first.  The scope mounts it a little unbalanced.  Falling or tripping with the tripod would hurt but it is not a $3000 telescope. 

What Jan. 6 Protest Should Have Been


A million vehicles (trucks, minivans, sedans) at the Capitol.  No violence (except by FBI agents and informants).  No trespass on Capitol grounds.  Yes, you cannot get very close by car, but a million horns honking together (what would that sound like?  Like the audio version of this crowd shot from the 2017 ingauguration) would have reinforced those Congressmen who were skeptical of the results.  Our brothers to the North have shown how.

Why Racism Should Be Condemned Not Idolized


Imagine if a white supremacist put the equivalent up on YouTube.

Sunday, January 30, 2022

The Best Mexican Food in Boise

Maybe best anywhere.  Andrade's, just south of Boise downtown off Orchard.

Oath of Fealty

 When Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle teamed up, the results were better than either of them.  I just re-read Oath of Fealty and I find myself wondering why this was never made into a movie.  Their other great collaboration of the time, Lucifer's Hammer, would have been expensive before modern CG.  But Oath of Fealty, easy.  The jailbreak scene alone would have justified the movie.

Many parts are now dated.  The projection forward from 1980 Los Angeles was plausible, at least to those of us who lived through that horrible time.  Today, Los Angeles is practically civilized by comparison.  Many descriptions of LA remind that I was living in the same areas as Niven.

Public Domain Music

 If you ever create videos, finding appropriate background music that is royalty-free is a pain.  This is a source of a lot of pretty cool public domain MP3s.

Imagine a DA Withholding Evidence in a Case Where a Criminal Was Prosecuted

1/29/22 Fox News:

A whistleblower on Friday accused San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin of withholding evidence in the case of a police officer accused of using unnecessary force against a civilian, according to local reports.

Boudin first announced charges against San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) Officer Terrance Stangle in December 2020. Stangle is accused of unnecessarily beating a man named Dacari Spiers with a baton in October 2019, breaking Spires' wrist and leg, while responding to a domestic violence call.

Magen Hayashi, an investigator for the DA's office, testified Friday that she felt she would be fired if she did not withhold certain evidence in the case against Stangle, according to NBC Bay Area.

Hayashi told a San Francisco Superior Court judge that she never disclosed information from a female witness who claimed to see Spiers beating a woman before Stangle hit him with a baton and that she feared she would be fired if she did, the outlet reported.

Progressives want violent crime.  Lots of it. 

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Convention of the States

1/28/22 Newsweek:

The Nebraska Legislature overcame the filibuster in approving a push for a convention of states to amend the U.S. Constitution, becoming the 17th state to do so.

State lawmakers passed a legislative resolution, LR14, in a 32-11 vote Friday, according to the Unicameral Update.

A convention of states is outlined in Article V of the Constitution, according to The National Consitution Center. It is used to bypass Congress to amend the Constitution, but has never been used. A state's call for amendments can only be considered after approval by two-thirds of its Legislature. With Nebraska's call, the U.S. is halfway to getting the 34 states required for a convention, the Associated Press reported.

In the resolution, the Nebraska Legislature, like other states, proposes amendments that will "impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limit the terms of office for its officials and for members of Congress."

There are conservatives fearful that a runaway Convention of the States might gut most of the Bill of Rights.  I look at who is most afraid of a Convention of the States, CommonCause and various establishment "thinkers":

One group seeking a convention in the hope that it would produce a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution claims — using highly dubious math — to have resolutions from 28 of the 34 states required to compel Congress to call such a convention. Another group, the Convention of States Project (COSP), seeks more broadly to strip the federal government of power. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is supporting this effort.  

A liberal group, Wolf PAC, has persuaded a handful of blue states to request an Article V convention with the hope that it will reform campaign finance law.  

While not every State that has passed a request is Red, look at the map and ask yourself, how many of those States will send delegates to gut the Bill of Rights?  How many will rein in the power of a Supreme Court that seems to selectively incorporate the Bill of Rights. This map tells me that Red States will dominate:

Clear But VERY Cold Nights

The Orion Nebula is in the eastern sky at the moment.   Unfortunately, clear skies in winter means nothing holds in the heat (such as it is).  Monday night should be clear so with some advance planning (electric jacket, thermal underwear, snow boots, put telescope outside at Sunset) I should be able to dash outside for a few minutes to verify that M42 and M41 will be good enough through the Televue for an upcoming public school star party.

San Francisco Looting (Not Current News)


I Have Not Linked to FailBlog in a While

 It is time.  

Impressive Creations of Weird Taste

The Smurf Tattoo and the Aquatic Weinermobile (for those old enough to remember the Weinermobile and not think this is something crude) are really astonishing. 

I Think Vice Intended This As a Hit Piece...

But I find it heartening.

 Vice refers to these as private armies, I think as a comparison to the Freikorps of the Weimar Republic.  It does not work.  While most of these independent militias report to the Polish Army, some do not.  Capture of Polish Army records might simplify Russian roundup of these troublemakers, so some remaining outside Polish Army supervision looks like a good thing.

I suspect most of my readers will applaud, but if you wandered in here by accident, and wonder why death would be preferable to Russian occupation: Poland has a long history of occupation.  After Russian, Austerian, and German partition, the Russians banned instruction in Polish and attempted to impose the Cyrillic alphabet.  Both Soviet occupation and German occupation led to millions of deaths.  The Sooviets massacred thousands of Polish Army officers, police, and intelligentsia in an attempt to destroy the core of both physical and intellectual leadership of Poland.  The Germans murdered millions of Poles, Gentile and Jew.  

A co-worker recalled seeing the Red Army arrive to "liberate" them from the Germans.  The soldiers would rape any girl or woman in public--implying that they faced no risk of punishment by their own officers.

Now do you understand Polish resistance?

Friday, January 28, 2022

I Guess That I Was Mistaken About Dr. King

 At least from this request from Biden's DOJ on why a rioter who started a fire that killed a person in the store deserves a shorter sentence:

On June 5, 2020, a man named Oscar Lee Stewart, 30, was reported missing to the Burnsville Police Department by his mother. Mr. Stewart’s mother reported that she had not seen her son since May 28, 2020. Investigators learned that Mr. Stewart’s vehicle had been found near the Max It Pawn. On July 20, 2020, authorities located Mr. Stewart’s body in the rubble of the Max It Pawn. Mr. Stewart’s remains were submitted to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office. That office attributed Mr. Stewart’s death to “probable inhalation of products of combustion and thermal injury (building fire).”...

There appear also to have been many people who felt angry, frustrated, and disenfranchised, and who were attempting, in many cases in an unacceptably reckless and dangerous manner, to give voice to those feelings. Mr. Lee appears to be squarely in this latter category. And even the great American advocate for non-violence and social justice, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., stated in an interview with CBC’s Mike Wallace in 1966 that “we’ve got to see that a riot is the language of the unheard.” Lily Rothman, What Martin Luther King Jr Really Thought About Riots, Time Magazine (2015), 

The full quote reveals something about how poorly the War on Poverty achieved its goal:

“I think that we’ve got to see that a riot is the language of the unheard. And, what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the economic plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years.” 

Remember that.  Upset about what they perceived (right or wrong) as a stolen election will not lead to a lessening of sentences for Jan. 6 defendants, nor should it.  But remember, if you are angry enough, killing someone by arson is just "the language of the unheard." 

Omicron is Taking Its Toll

 The case fatality-rate for the U.S. has dropped to 1.2%.  Omicron is nasty but less lethal.

Sweden Recommends Against Vaccinating 5-11

1/28/22 Reuters:

 Sweden has decided against recommending COVID vaccines for kids aged 5-11, the Health Agency said on Thursday, arguing that the benefits did not outweigh the risks.

"With the knowledge we have today, with a low risk for serious disease for kids, we don't see any clear benefit with vaccinating them," Health Agency official Britta Bjorkholm told a news conference.

She added that the decision could be revisited if the research changed or if a new variant changed the pandemic. Kids in high-risk groups can already get the vaccine.

If your friends or family who are still deep in COVID panic, it is likely the success of antisocial media playing them.  (They have already demonstrated a panic porn preference; after a while, recommendations will build this into an addiction.)  Do not rely on secondary sources (a friend of a friend, a blog) click through to their source and evaluate how trustworthy is this source?   Many news organizations, even formerly reputable ones, are strongly biased by economic interest to peddle panic porn.  But when one of these left-leaning organizations (such as Reuters) provides information that "argues against interest" (as lawyers say) it is strong evidence.  

Let me emphasize.  COVID was a very serious problem and will likely remain a while longer.  But the severity of it and the lack of contrary to official sources greatly aggravated our problems.  Antisocial media makes Himmler look like an amateur.

It Is Always About Redistributing Income

1/28/22 Inside Higher Education:

Scott Myers-Lipton, a professor of sociology at San José State University, was dismayed to hear the same stories from his students semester after semester: students were routinely struggling financially; some were sleeping in their cars, “scared out of their minds” about their safety. Others were even spending nights in the campus library or the student union building.

When he co-authored the 2020 Silicon Valley Pain Index, an annual report on wealth and racial inequalities in the surrounding area, he found more than 4,000 students at the university experienced homelessness in the year prior to the survey. Half of the students surveyed reported eating smaller portions or skipping meals altogether because they couldn’t afford food costs.

Myers-Lipton and William Armaline, co-author of the report and director of the university’s Human Rights Institute, decided something had to be done. They turned to local, state, and federal lawmakers for help. The researchers set up a call with California state senator Dave Cortese, whose district includes San José.

“We said, ‘Here are the numbers. What ideas do you have to address the crisis around inequality … and racialized wealth inequality, income inequality?’” Myers-Lipton said.

Myers-Lipton didn’t expect the outcome of that September Zoom call—an idea by Cortese to conduct a pilot program to support low-income students by giving them monthly state assistance payments of $500. The program is modeled on universal basic income programs that have grown in popularity over the last five years and are used by municipalities and other government entities as a tool to reduce persistent poverty and economic inequality. 

Now, once upon a time, I was a college student in deep financial trouble.  But I also know that if you pay people to be poor college students, you will get more poor college students.  During the 2008-2012 housing bubble crisis, my wife and I saw students who were there to get their FAFSA checks or student loans and disappeared shortly thereafter.  

It was a hard time. Jobs were scarce and not well paid.  Jobs are not scarce now, and even fast food is paying $15/hour around here.  Ten hours a week is about $600 per month, and ten hours a week almost any college student should be able to fit into even a full load of easy classes such as calculus, organic chemistry and freshman physics.

The goal is to get students used to the dole so they cannot imagine self-sufficiency.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Denmark Is Done

 1/27/22 KOMO:

DENMARK (TND) — A Nordic country has announced it will rid itself of mask mandates and other pandemic restrictions, saying COVID-19 is no longer a public health threat.

The prime minister of Denmark, Mette Frederiksen, announced Jan. 26 Denmark will "say goodbye" to most lockdown policies and reopen at the beginning of February.

No Longer a Nation of Laws

 1/27/22 New York Post:

Two million illegal immigrants from dozens of countries crossed over from Mexico last year, and the Biden administration is facilitating the cartels’ people-smuggling operation — at taxpayer expense.

Under cover of darkness, every night the federal government is transporting illegal migrants as fast as it can away from the border on secret charter flights into unsuspecting communities around the country. Officials have lied and obstructed the few journalists who have tried to reveal the truth.

This is nothing short of a betrayal of the American people.

And that’s not just me saying it — those are exactly the words of one federal government contractor employed to transport migrants from the southern border to the airport in White Plains.

“The government is betraying the American people,” the contractor told a Westchester County police officer in a conversation that was recorded on the cop’s bodycam on the tarmac of the county airport on Aug. 13, 2021. The men were standing beside a Boeing 737 flown in from Fort Bliss, Texas, by iAero Airways under charter by the federal government.

Damning footage

The 51-minute footage was obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request by former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, a Republican candidate for governor in 2022.

Throughout the footage, police Sgt. Michael Hamborsky expresses frustration that local police have been given no information about the flights arriving after curfew at the airport, in breach of security protocols.

Those bodycams are catching more than local police misconduct.  Good. 

Okay, Time to Expel Washington State

1/27/22 New York Post:

The US Navy is pausing SEAL training at Washington state parks while a legal battle over their use winds its way through the courts.

“It is difficult to find peace in the woods when armed frogmen might be lurking behind every tree,” lawyers for the Whidbey Environmental Action Network, the group behind the lawsuit against the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, argued in a legal brief filed last month.

The Navy has used Washington state coastal parks for over 30 years for SEAL cold water training and other special operations exercises, with leaders saying the area offers the perfect environment to simulate what the elite forces may encounter on difficult operations overseas.

“This area provides a unique environment of cold water, extreme tidal changes, multi-variant currents, low visibility, complex underwater terrain, climate and rigorous land terrain, which provides an advanced training environment,” Navy spokesman Joe Overton told Coffee or Die Magazine.

But the Navy’s use of Washington shoreline has recently come under fire from local residents who are concerned about both the physiological and environmental impact the SEAL training can have on others using the parks.

“I do not care to catch a glimpse of apparently armed men skulking around and I DEFINITELY do not want to risk having my young grandchildren see such a sight,” a resident wrote to state regulators during a public comment period while the state was attempting to renew its agreement with the Navy.

Curiously, I thought Washington State was open carry, even for civilians. 

My Radiation Survey Meter is Again Operational

 To my surprise and pleasure these oddball batteries for a survey meter older than me are still available.

Re-Reading Larry Niven's A Hole in Time

It is a collection of short stories, one of which has the first description of a "flash mob."  It is not based on social media, of course, but news media coverage of local crowd.   In "The Last Days of the Permanent Floating Riot Club" we are introduced to a bunch of criminals who use the recently invented teleportation booths to show up at riots to loot, pickpocket, and rob.  I shudder to think of social media flash mobbing with teleportation booths.  Of course half a million people would get busy signals so I guess it would work out okay.

Why is McConnell Playing Hardball About the Justice Breyer Replacement?

 It is the Biden Rule that Presidents should not nominate Supreme Court justices in an election year.

Of course the Biden Rule goes back to another Democrat (at the time).  

9/26/2020 Las Vegas Review-Journal:

But before there was a Biden Rule, or McConnell Rule, there was the “Thurmond Rule.”

In 1968, Sen. Strom Thurmond, R-S.C., blocked a Supreme Court chief justice nominee by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Thurmond argued the Senate should not move forward with confirmation hearings after a certain point during a presidential election year because the process would be overtaken by politics, according to the Congressional Research Service, the nonpartisan think tank of the legislative branch.

That “rule” has been discredited as doctrine by legal scholars, but used by McConnell, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Sen. Pat Leahy, D-Vt., in past arguments for and against election-year nominations.

McConnell justified his actions in 2016 against Garland citing the “Thurmond-Leahy” rule.

Of course they meant a Presidential election year, but Biden's argument that the people should weigh in on this, would also apply to an election where the Senate is likely to change hands. 

Stasi in the USA

1/26/22 Yahoo News:

The controversial unit of Customs and Border Protection that trawled through the travel and financial records of journalists and lawmakers is still monitoring Americans, according to documents obtained by Yahoo News.

The Counter Network Division, a part of CBP’s National Targeting Center, monitored U.S. citizens in the run-up to the anniversary of the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol and in the days and weeks after, according to bulletins produced by the Department of Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis this month.

The division “continues to monitor social media and open source for threats related to 6 January,” states a DHS situation report. It notes that the division will continue to communicate daily with CBP “regarding any threat and incident reporting of any relevance to the upcoming anniversary of 6 January 2021, US Capitol Riot.”

Another bulletin shows the division was tracking right-wing groups that were planning events.

Those events “appear to be non-violent in nature,” according to a Jan. 8 DHS situation report, which says the CBP division was also tracking a planned Proud Boys event scheduled for Jan. 20, 2022. “The type of event is unknown at this time and there are no current overt or implied threats to the general public, CBP employees, law enforcement or members of the Federal Government,” the document states.

And what about Antifa? 

Anti-Asian Hate Crimes Are a Sign of White Supremacy!

 Washington Post reports on San Francisco anti-Asian hate crimes.  Who knew San Francisco was a center of white supremacy.

This Is Obviously a Reminder Who Is In Charge, Intended to Humilate

 1/26/22 PostMillenial:

US diplomatic officials forced to undergo anal COVID tests in China

US diplomats in China were forced to undergo anal swab tests for COVID-19, according to US State Department records obtained by Judicial Watch.

There is no reason for both nasal and anal swabs.  This is a reminder of the contempt that the CCP has for Biden's diplomats.  And China retains most-favored nation status, why?

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

This Is Such a Good Argument for Prohibiting Lawyers From Writing Laws

 1/25/22 New York Times:

The Rev. John Udo-Okon, a Pentecostal minister in the Bronx, has a lot of congregants who are sued by debt collectors and don’t know what to do.

Like most of the millions of Americans sued over consumer debt each year, Pastor Udo-Okon’s congregants typically cannot retain a lawyer. When they fail to respond to the suit, they lose the case by default.

“They don’t know how to fight back; they just give up, only they find out that their credit has been destroyed,” Pastor Udo-Okon said.

Pastor Udo-Okon would like to become a volunteer counselor and help people defend themselves against these suits by participating in a training program created by Upsolve, a financial education and civil rights nonprofit. The program would teach him how to walk people through the first steps of contesting a consumer debt lawsuit.

But there’s a catch: Offering tips on how to fight a suit would probably be illegal. Rules in New York, as in most states, forbid practicing law without a license, and giving individualized advice on how to respond to litigation is generally considered practicing law....

Americans do not legitimately owe most of the debt they are sued for, according to consumer advocates. A 2010 report by the Legal Aid Society found that in more than one-third of debt-collection cases reviewed, the debt had already been paid or had resulted from mistaken identity or identity theft; the statute of limitations on collecting the debt had expired; or the debt had been shed in bankruptcy. ACA International, a trade group for debt collectors, did not immediately respond on Tuesday to a request for comment on the Legal Aid Society’s report.

Marshal Coleman, a veteran consumer lawyer in Manhattan, said that most consumer debt suits were over matters of a few thousand dollars. “Typically, if a client like that comes to a lawyer,” he said, “a lawyer’s not going to be able to help them because the fees will exceed the value of the debt.”

There is a reason lawyers lean progressive; it creates victimized poor people to save.

A friend is a law professor specializing in First Amendment; he says the courts have upheld similar laws.  My solution: Write a Novel: You've Been Sued: One Man's Struggle for Justice.  Make it a "choose your own ending" book, so various plot twists solve all variants.  If the lawyers object that it really is not a novel, add deviant sex scenes to make it both protected free speech and a elementary school library selection.

I Cannot Articulate or Understand Why

But there are incidents so brutal that an ax mass murder seems pretty mild by comparison.  No, I will not share.  I will just take a break for a while.

I figured out why: not knowing how long you will be bound, gagged, and prevented from seeing, aggravates the anticipatory terror and the unnecessary suffering (you do not need to break someone's jaw 14 times) to kill.

This Would Not Happen Today


Did New York City Get More Racist Since the 1980s?

1/25/22 New York Times discusses the elite public high schools and the issue of race, focused on a girl of Bangladeshi ancestry:

Tausifa Haque, a 17-year-old daughter of Bangladeshi immigrants, walks in the early morning from her family’s apartment in the Bronx to the elevated subway and rides south to Brooklyn, a journey of one and a half hours.

There she joins a river of teenagers who pour into Brooklyn Technical High School — Bengali and Tibetan, Egyptian and Chinese, Sinhalese and Russian, Dominican and Puerto Rican, West Indian and African American. The cavernous eight-story building holds about 5,850 students, one of the largest and most academically rigorous high schools in the United States.

Her father drives a cab; her mother is a lunchroom attendant. This school is a repository of her dreams and theirs. “This is my great chance,” Tausifa said. “It’s my way out.”

Cab driver and lunchroom attendant.  She just reeks of white privilege.

The left is upset:

Liberal politicians, school leaders and organizers argue such schools are bastions of elitism and, because of low enrollment of Black and Latino students, functionally racist and segregated. Sixty-three percent of the city’s public school students are Black and Latino yet they account for just 15 percent of Brooklyn Tech’s population.

For Asian students, the percentages are flipped: They make up 61 percent of Brooklyn Tech, although they account for 18 percent of the public school population.

Some critics imply that the presence of so many South and East Asian students, along with the white students, accentuates this injustice. Such charges reached a heated pitch a few years ago when a prominent white liberal council member said such schools were overdue for “a racial reckoning.”

 Tausifa asks:

The school boasts many advantages, as most students are well aware. Nearly all balked, however, at describing it as segregated, not least because the descriptor “Asian” encompasses disparate ethnicities, cultures, languages and skin colors.

Tausifa looks at the multihued sea of students pouring through the doors of Tech. She expressed puzzlement that a school where three-quarters of the students are nonwhite could be described as segregated. “I have classes with students of all demographics and skin colors, and friends who speak different languages,” she said. “To call this segregation does not make sense.”

To which Salma Mohamed, a child of immigrants from Alexandria, Egypt, and a graduate of Brooklyn Tech, added: “It’s very interesting to me that the word segregated is used in a school that is predominantly Asian. It connotes white and class privilege. That’s not us.”

So how long has this racism and confused white privilege been going on:

That said, the dwindling number of Black and Latino students at these high schools is a great concern and a mystery. Bill de Blasio, when he was mayor of New York, suggested the heart of the problem lay with a biased entrance exam.

That does not reckon with history. Decades ago, when crime and socioeconomic conditions were far graver than they are today, Black and Latino teenagers passed the examination in great numbers. In 1981, nearly two-thirds of Brooklyn Tech’s students were Black and Latino, and that percentage hovered at 50 percent for another decade.

Black and Latino students account for 10 percent of the students at Bronx Science; that percentage was more than twice as high in the 1970s and ’80s.

To understand this decline involves a trek back through decades of policy choices, as city officials, pushed by an anti-tracking movement, rolled back accelerated and honors programs and tried to reform gifted programs, particularly in nonwhite districts.

Black alumni of Brooklyn Tech argue that this progressive-minded movement handicapped precisely those Black and Latino students most likely to pass the test. Some poor, majority Black and Latino districts now lack a single gifted and talented program....

Denice Ware, a daughter of Jamaican and Panamanian immigrants and president of the Brooklyn Tech Alumni Foundation, grew up in Ocean Hill-Brownsville in Brooklyn, an impoverished neighborhood. She was class salutatorian of her middle school for gifted students; the top 10 graduates that year, all Black, gained admittance to specialized high schools.

“Don’t tell me Black and Latino children can’t get into these schools,” she said. “Our teachers made sure we were prepared.”

The current focus on "race equity" is really an attempt to avoid asking why primary education has failed BIPOCs.  Fix that, for every student, and stop playing games that are unconstitutional and provoke the sort of racial division guaranteed to provoke white supremacy among disadvantaged or lazy whites--unless that is the goal.

At times, the whole DIE (Diversity, Inclusion, Equity) program seems like something the Klan would have devised to keep blacks at the bottom and make whites hate the

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Rebellion, Eh?

 Canadian truckers are not happy with the vaccine mandate:

BREAKING: The number of truckers, family members and supporters descending on Ottawa is now estimated at 500,000 people 50,000+ trucks. Yes, you read that right. Estimated half a million people.

That is 1.3% of the population of Canada. You wonder if the government of Canada will notice or care.

More Paper Tiger

Interesting video about how China's inability to make the most modern microprocessors is beginning to hold back commercial use and, I suspect, military use:

I am pleased to see that Trump's ending of sales of latest generation chip production equipment has not been repealed by Biden.  Maybe China has less ownership than it seems.  They are attempting to acquire Japanese-made chips by having overseas Chinese buy 20 at a time to avoid anyone looking to see if they are going to China.  To buy enough chips to build a thousand anti-ship missiles....  This may take a while.

Understanding the Left

 Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.  C.S. Lewis

A person who knows that they are doing evil for their own benefit, might, one day look in the mirror and say, "Am I hurting people for my own greed?"  A progressive will never suffer that inspection.  They will never ask:

When Cheating Does Not Work

The Pendergast machine referenced in this article is what eventually made Harry Truman Vice-President:

Kansas City, Mo. (1934)

03/27/1934: A battle between the Pendergast machine and reformers in the Democratic Party primary provoked associates of the Pendergast machine to shoot to death four people, at least one a bystander.

Category: public

Suicide: no

Cause: politics

Weapon: firearms[1]

Monday, January 24, 2022

Very Trusted Trustees

 You likely know that prisoners that the officials believe can be trusted with a bit of authority are called "trustees."  I would guess these are prisoners with short remaining sentences not there for mayhem, murder, or torture.  While doing my research, I found a remarkable level of trust: trustees with firearms.

What is "Systemic Racism"?

7/12/20 Fox News:

Economist and author Thomas Sowell told "Life Liberty & Levin" in an interview airing Sunday evening that the left's claim that America is beset by "systemic racism" has no definitive meaning and cannot be "tested" in any empirical manner.

"You hear this phrase, 'systemic racism' [or] 'systemic oppression'," host Mark Levin told Sowell. "You hear it on our college campuses. You hear it from very wealthy and fabulously famous sports stars. What does that mean? And whatever it means, is it true?"

"It really has no meaning that can be specified and tested in the way that one tests hypotheses," answered Sowell, who added that the currency of the phrase reminds him of the "propaganda tactics" of Nazi Germany, where Sowell claimed that if a lie was "repeated long enough and loud enough" it would be widely believed. 

I hear the phrase used a lot, but never defined in any way more precise than BIPOCs are poorer, more likely to end up in the criminal justice system, less likely to go to college.  But what makes it systemic?

De jure segregation of schools was systemic and only applied to blacks: it has been gone for at least two generations.  Failure to investigate or prosecute lynchings was systemic: gone for at least a generation.  BIPOCs not accepted to colleges?  Gone ever since Affirmative Action admissions of less qualified BIPOCs was ruled lawful in the Bakke decision in 1978.  

Individuals who are racist persist, but there is nothing systemic about that.

The Cardiologist Says My Cholesterol Levels Are Healthy

I found myself wondering if this was the 3g of fish oil daily that he has me taking, or the weight loss.  

Sunday, January 23, 2022

How Did I Miss This?

I can see coincidence but I can also see how even a rational person might scratch their chin and go, "Hmmmm."  4/27/13 Daily Mail:

"An uncle of the Boston bombers was previously married to a CIA officer's daughter for three years, it emerged today."

Since we now know that CIA has some highly partisan employees, it would not be implausible that they might have been set up to do this.  But not revealed at trial?  The radicalized Muslim explanation and wild coincidence still fits the evidence better.

They Admitted the Death Count is Overstated

 4/8/20 Real Clear Politics:

DR. DEBORAH BIRX: So, I think in this country we've taken a very liberal approach to mortality. And I think the reporting here has been pretty straightforward over the last five to six weeks. Prior to that when there wasn't testing in January and February that's a very different situation and unknown.

There are other countries that if you had a preexisting condition and let's say the virus caused you to go to the ICU and then have a heart or kidney problem some countries are recording as a heart issue or a kidney issue and not a COVID-19 death. Right now we are still recording it and we will I mean the great thing about having forms that come in and a form that has the ability to market as COVID-19 infection the intent is right now that those if someone dies with COVID-19 we are counting that as a COVID-19 death.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

How Delusional Are These People?

The Washington Post reported on how NPR's Nina Totenberg reported something that all justices involved explicitly said was false: that Gorsuch refused to wear a mask because Chief Justice Roberts wanted to protect Justice Sotomayor.   Roberts insisted that he made no such request.  Sotomayor and Gorsuch made a joint statement denying that there was any truth to it.  

The Post story to their credit presents this as a Totenberg screwed up big time and observed that she has a history of failing to reveal conflicts of interest in her Supreme Court reporting.

That is not the tragedy.   It is the comments section where many of these people see Totenberg's false reporting as proof that all of Trump's appointees are jerks and should not be on the Court.  There are a lot of Post subscribers who are completely unable to read and comprehend.  Perhaps they are just so angry that they cannot see straight. 

RCA VS084 Battery?

 I removed this battery (maybe three of them) from my radiation survey meter a year or two back and now I have no idea where I put it.  I must have had them; I had it calibrated.

Amazingly enough I found the modern equivalent on Amazon.  I am hoping that the coming festivities in the Ukraine do not make them necessary.

Less Drama

A relative who voted for Obama said he wanted less drama.  1/22/22 Fox News:
"Families of US Embassy personnel in Ukraine ordered to begin evacuating as soon as Monday: officials"

This is not "burn the code books" stage but I suspect they are stacked in a fireproof bin. I understand Sweden and Finland will join NATO if Russia invades Ukraine. 

But at least no mean Tweets.  Putin was afraid of Trump.  Let us hope that there are still enough soldiers who know what sex they are to fight a conventional war.

Taiwan better be ready to blow up Three Gorges Dam.

Friday, January 21, 2022

Where Communism Leads You

All the worst aspects of free market capitalism as the left would claim seem to be more common in Communist countries.  The Soviet Union tried to create "True Socialist Man" who was more concerned for the common good than his own selfishness.  It failed BIGLY because people are by nature self-interested.  At best, some religions can promote concern for others, but this is by no means a certain consequence and so our laws and government structure is built around the assumption that people will look out for their own interests, sometimes destructively so.  This video shows what the Chinese call tofu-dreg construction (and when you see the materials used, tofu makes sense).  They correctly lay the blame on the delusions of Communism:

Another Amazing and Likely Short-Lived Victory in the 9th Circuit

 McDougall v. County of Ventura (9th Cir. 2022):

The panel reversed the district court’s order dismissing, for failure to state a claim, an action alleging that Ventura County’s COVID-19 public health orders mandating a 48- day closure of gun shops, ammunition shops, and firing ranges violated plaintiffs’ Second Amendment rights. 

The panel first held that the Orders’ 48-day closure of gun shops, ammunition shops, and firing ranges burdened conduct protected by the Second Amendment, based on a historical understanding of the scope of the Second Amendment right. 

In assessing the appropriate level of scrutiny, the panel held that the district court erred by determining that Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11 (1905), applied to Appellees’ Second Amendment claim. The panel held that Jacobson, which addressed a substantive due process challenge to a state statute requiring smallpox vaccinations, did not apply here because Jacobson did not concern the specific, constitutionally enumerated right at issue, and essentially applied rational basis review. The panel declined to determine whether the Orders were categorically unconstitutional and instead, because the Orders failed to satisfy any level of heightened scrutiny, based its decision on the traditional tiered scrutiny analysis. 

The panel held that the Orders’ burden on the core of the Second Amendment warranted strict scrutiny—which the Orders failed to satisfy because they were not the least restrictive means to further Appellees’ interest, especially when compared to businesses that had no bearing on fundamental rights, yet nevertheless were allowed to remain open. The panel distinguished this case from Silvester v. Harris, 843 F.3d 816 (9th Cir. 2016), which applied intermediate scrutiny in assessing California’s 10-day waiting period between purchase and possession of a firearm. The panel held that the Orders at issue here imposed a far greater burden than the 10-day delay at issue in Silvester.

This is a twofer: a "specific, constitutionally enumerated right" must be evaluated using strict scrutiny and also use of less than strict scrutiny in Jacobson for requiring vaccinations cannot be used if such an order violates an enumerated right.  Would a person's sincere religious objections to vaccination defeat Jacobson?  Freedom of exercise of religion would certainly fit.  The government would need a less restrictive method to solve the problem than mandatory vaccination.

Where LGBTQ Takes You

 I wondered if this clip in a PJMedia article was carefully clipped but here is the video from Dr. Phil:

Yes, rape is not a safety issue.  Are there any feminists left at Kent State?  Or have they all been co-opted into saying rape is not a safety issue?

Thursday, January 20, 2022

I Think It Was More Than Britain That Got This Wrong

1/2/22 The Guardian:

There was a distinctive moment, at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, that neatly encapsulated the mistakes and confusion of Britain’s early efforts to tackle the disease, says Mark Woolhouse. At a No 10 briefing in March 2020, cabinet minister Michael Gove warned the virus did not discriminate. “Everyone is at risk,” he announced.

And nothing could be further from the truth, argues Professor Woolhouse, an expert on infectious diseases at Edinburgh University. “I am afraid Gove’s statement was simply not true,” he says. “In fact, this is a very discriminatory virus. Some people are much more at risk from it than others. People over 75 are an astonishing 10,000 times more at risk than those who are under 15.”

And it was this failure to understand the wide variations in individual responses to Covid-19 that led to Britain’s flawed responses to the disease’s appearance, he argues – errors that included the imposition of a long-lasting, national lockdown. This is a strategy that Woolhouse – one of the country’s leading epidemiologists – describes as morally wrong and highly damaging in his forthcoming book, The Year the World Went Mad: A Scientific Memoir.

“We did serious harm to our children and young adults who were robbed of their education, jobs and normal existence, as well as suffering damage to their future prospects, while they were left to inherit a record-breaking mountain of public debt,” he argues. “All this to protect the NHS from a disease that is a far, far greater threat to the elderly, frail and infirm than to the young and healthy.

Good News

1/12/22 CNBC:
UK could be among the first countries to emerge from Covid pandemic, top scientist says

Heymann, speaking at an online seminar hosted by think tank Chatham House on Monday, cited the latest figures from the U.K.’s statistics authority on immunity that estimated that 95% of the population in England have antibodies against infection, either through vaccination or natural infection. The majority of those in intensive care units now, Heymann added, were the unvaccinated. 

Tonga Tsunami Hit Puerto Rico

A Little Less Self-Righteousness About COVID, Please

 While this is primarily aimed at Christians, it is sound advice for the rest of you, too.

The Christian church in America has polarized around how to respond to COVID-19.

1. "I have faith, not fear."  This is a variant of the prosperity gospel.  If I have faith that God will protect me, I will not get sick.  I know a few people who must not have had enough faith and ended up with it, anyway.  Anyone who goes to a doctor for a sinus infection or a heart attack but not for COVID-19 is not being serious.  If you get a flu shot every year (as most older people should), then this argument against vaccination is not serious.  (There may be others against the vaccination; I will get to that later.)

2. "This is a hoax."  I know too many people who have had it, including some who said #1.  A friend is a nurse back East and quite conservative.  He is seeing his patients dying of this crud.

3. "Masks do not work."   Cloth masks are indeed of questionable value.  This 2015 RCT of cloth vs. surgical masks found:

Conclusions This study is the first RCT of cloth masks, and the results caution against the use of cloth masks. This is an important finding to inform occupational health and safety. Moisture retention, reuse of cloth masks and poor filtration may result in increased risk of infection. Further research is needed to inform the widespread use of cloth masks globally. However, as a precautionary measure, cloth masks should not be recommended for HCWs, particularly in high-risk situations, and guidelines need to be updated.

Even their 2020 update says that cloth masks are better than no masks but:

The study found that cloth mask wearers had higher rates of infection than even the standard practice control group of health workers, and the filtration provided by cloth masks was poor compared to surgical masks. 

N95 masks are better:

What to know about NIOSH-approved respirators

  • When worn consistently and properly, they provide the highest level of protection from particles, including the virus that causes COVID-19. Additionally, they contain your respiratory droplets and particles so you do not expose others.
  • They seal tightly to your face when fitted properly.
  • It is important to pick a respirator that fits your face and seals well since not all fit the same.
  • Respirators approved by NIOSH are evaluated against a specific US standard that includes a quality requirement.
  • They filter at least 95% of particles in the air when approved by NIOSH and when you have a proper fit.

The KN95 masks are made in China:

Poor quality KN95 respirators

  • About 60% of KN95 respirators NIOSH evaluated during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021 did not meet the requirements that they intended to meet.
    • Using a poor-quality product may not provide the level of protection indicated.
  • Learn about factors to consider when purchasing an international respirator. This webpage and a webinar provide reliable information to guide you.

 Gee, China shipping junk, who would have guessed?

4. "I will not be forced to wear a mask."  Americans hate to be told what to do.  While the cloth masks are not worth using, the N95 masks are.  (That link takes you to US-made N95s.)  Wearing them may reduce your risk (which is your risk to take), but reducing risk to others by controlling sneeze, cough and general exhalation of the virus is something you can do for everyone around you.  John 15:13 tells us: "No one has greater love than the one who gives his life for his friends."  You are not giving your life; wearing a mask is a discomfort and nuisance.  Show your love for those around you who may not survive infection.

5. "This was used for political purposes."  No question.  We will correct this stunt in November.  Revenge is not Christian.  This isn't even revenge.  It is increasing risk for neighbors who might well have voted for Trump.

6. "We were lied to repeatedly."  Yes, every alternative treatment, even ones that have demonstrated efficacy, have been the subject of mocking and dishonesty.  The public health authorities have changed instructions so many times that you have reason to wonder how much was incompetence, changing conditions, and intentional deceit.  Their failures are not a reason to make a bad decision.

7. Microchips, tracking devices.  Show me one.  I hear that a friend of a friend was able to hang a magnet on his vaccination site.  Show me or stop spreading this claim.

On the other side:

1. "I am angry that Christians do not care about others."  Perhaps they do not see the larger picture or their anger has caused them to over react.  Let us watch for self-righteousness.  We all have areas of sin or stupidity.  This does not make those who disagree outside our fellowship once the disease either passes or gets under control.

2. "Why are they anti-science?"  Are you sure they are?  A lot of what was considered clear science about this a year ago is not so clear now.  The unwillingness to consider other treatment possibilities and occasionally outright false statements have made a lot of people skeptical of the scientists who are claiming to be experts; not necessarily skeptical of science.

3. "Why don't they get vaccinated, so we can put this behind us?"  Even countries with high vaccination rates are not doing all that well.  Fewer deaths but still a lot of sick people.  (That describes America as well; lots of new cases but not as many deaths.)  I suspect this will peter out as previous pandemics have done.  Also, many people have already had COVID and believe (rightly or wrongly) that they do not need the vaccine.  Britain's top scientist thinks they are about past the pandemic because 95% of the population is vaccinated or has antibodies.

A little less self-righteousness and contempt for other viewpoints (which may include some introspection) is needed on both sides.