Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christians the new Negros?

A very thought provoking article by Dr. Kenneth Hucherson:

Here's the introduction:

I did not become a Christian so I would have to fight for my constitutional freedoms all over again.

Growing up in Alabama being black, knowing how that felt and the way I was treated in an all-white world of power and control, I had to fight for equal rights under the Constitution. How ironic now as a Christian to have those same thoughts and feelings again and to have to try and wrestle control of my constitutional rights from the secular community.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Foolish Pro-Lifers in US House

Full disclosure: I am an unabashed, full-on, no holds barred, committed pro-life voter. I am not a single-issue voter, but pro-life is one of my litmus tests.

Having said that, I must comment on the foolishness exhibited by the pro-life caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives this past weekend. It was typified by the email I got from "Americans United for Life", whose email alerts I subscribe to. They were crowing about a great victory they had won over pro-abortion factions in the House, as the Stupak amendment was passed as part of the onerous and misnamed "Health Care Reform Bill" approved this past weekend.

It seems to me that the best way for them to have been true to their position was to kill the Bill entirely. That way current federal law prohibiting funding of abortions would have remained in effect. But apparently, in order to make a headline and to appear effective, they achieved a Pyrrhic victory (which will be undone in conference), while giving some pro-life democrats the political cover they needed to be able to vote for the bill without offending their pro-life constituencies.

Given the fact that this bill passed by only 3 votes, it will be a costly victory for them in the end, both politically and in human lives.

So way to go you knuckleheads - you just made it a whole lot easier for the president and his cadre to roll back three decades of work. Just so you could thump your chest a little. I'm sure those babies that might have had a chance for life will give you all the thanks you deserve when you meet them in heaven.

Oh, and I unsubscribed from "Americans United for Life". However, since they didn't seem to have a "Comments" link, I couldn't tell them why. Oh well.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Here's why I oppose Michigan's new Enhanced Drivers License

Not to mention the federal "RealID" program.

August 10th, 2009

Fed's RFIDiocy pwnd at DefCon

Posted by Robin Harris @ 2:17 am

Categories: Infrastructure, Public policy, Security

Tags: Federal Reserve Board, RFID, Wireless And Mobility, Security, Biometrics, Robin Harris

NSA spooks gather for a colleague’s retirement party at a bar. What they don’t know is that an RFID scanner is picking them out - and a wireless Bluetooth webcam is taking their picture.

Could that really happen? It already did.

The Feds got a taste of the real world risks of RFID passports and IDs at DefCon, the annual hacker conference. According to Wired:

. . . federal agents at the conference got a scare on Friday when they were told they might have been caught in the sights of an RFID reader.

The reader, connected to a web camera, sniffed data from RFID-enabled ID cards and other documents carried by attendees in pockets and backpacks as they passed a table where the equipment was stationed in full view.

The goal at DefCon was awareness, not crime. But as organized tech mobs grow it won’t be long before crime - or terrorism - exploits the gaping security holes in RFID.

Chris Paget, the researcher who demo’d drive-by scanning early this year

. . . will be releasing a $50 kit at the end of August that will make reading 125-kHz RFID chips — the kind embedded in employee access cards — trivial. It will include open source software for reading, storing and re-transmitting card data and will also include a software tool to decode the RFID encryption used in car keys for Toyota, BMW and Lexus models. This would allow an attacker to scan an unsuspecting car-owner’s key, decrypt the data and open the car.

RFID Bad Day: you get fired because a bunch of office equipment went missing after someone with your ID entered the office at 1 AM. And when you go to your car, it isn’t there.

Cloning on the fly
Adam Laurie, another researcher and author of the RFIDiot (RFID I/O tool), an open source python library, said

It takes a few milliseconds to read [a chip] and, depending on what equipment I’ve got, doing the cloning can take a minute. I could literally do it on the fly.

Mr. Paget even demo’d a wired doorframe that collects RFID data as people walk through it. Handy, eh?

The Storage Bits take
Perhaps now that federal security gurus have been pwnd the RFID threat will get some serious attention. Like, maybe this isn’t such a great idea, attention.

Maybe that will be enough to start the wheels turning, but with hundreds of millions of dollars already spent on this stupidity, I’m afraid that someone, somewhere, will have to die before citizens figure out that this is a real, increasing and unnecessary risk.

The technology for reading, hacking and cloning RFID tags will only get better. The mass production machinery behind the tags can’t keep up with the security threats.

The time to end this nonsense is now. There are perfectly usable non-RF storage technologies - like 3D barcodes - that can safely store data in hard to crack, hard to hack formats.

The President is Lying to You

Here's why:

1. He said the "Stimulus Package" would get the economy going again. Thousands and thousands of layoffs later, national unemployment rate nearing 10% (nearing 20% here in Michigan), massive national debt (large amounts of which are held by governments who bear us no good will), and declining tax revenues at all levels (because businesses are failing and people are saving their money instead of spending it, not to mention those who are laid off and not making any money for you to tax). The only ones that really believe things are getting better are the ones who have sold their souls to Obama for their own political and personal gain.

George W. Bush screwed up the economy. Obama makes him look like a little-leaguer. Bush seemed to be out to show how many principles of sound economics he could violate and still have a viable economy. Obama is out to destroy capitalism and implement national socialism, and having a viable economy has no place in those plans.

2. Nationalization of Banking and Manufacturing. Despite his denials, Obama and his minions are pulling the strings at all of the banks and financial institutions and car companies which were bailed out of failure over the last year. If he and his "czars" are reviewing, changing, and denying compensation packages for the individuals who work there, do you really think he isn't doing the same thing with the decisions about everything else those companies do?

For the record, when I bought a car this past spring, I purposely bought a Ford because they were the only U.S. Automaker not to take a federal bailout and become a part of the Obama Borg.

3. Nationalization of Healthcare. Obama says we will be able to keep our current coverage, choose our own doctors, and our healthcare will be better and cheaper. Yet, in every other country where nationalized, government administered, government controlled healthcare has been implemented, you get long waits, substandard treatement, rationing, and less innovation, and higher taxes. Insurance companies, who must show a profit to continue to operate, cannot compete with a government-run entity that does not have to show a profit. They will go out of business, and the only option left will be the government plan, which will suck (to use a technical term). Obama can stand up in front of a million townhall meetings and lie to every one of them about how wonderful his plan is, but he can no more change the laws of economics than he can the law of gravity.

4. No middle-class tax increase. Three words: Cap. And. Trade. Your utility bills will be going up because of this plan by over a thousand dollars a year according to estimates. These increases will be necessary in order for the utility companies to implement the "green" energy mandates in this stinker of a bill. That is about $100 per month extra you and I will have to come up with just to pay our bills. So while it isn't called an income tax increase, the money goes out of your checkbook all the same. When it's because of a law passed by Congress, that's a tax increase folks.

So here's a question for you Mr. President, in my own little virtual town hall meeting: When are you going to stop lying to the world about what you are trying to do? When are you going to admit that you are trying to destroy the foundations of this nation and turn it into your own vision of a Socialist utopia? A utopia that has never, can never, and will never exist?

Saturday, August 01, 2009

"Cars for Clunkers": Warning! Do not log in to!

I admit that I am incredibly wary of anything the government says or does. I especially believe that the bunch in charge in DC now do not consider the Constitution as binding on them or any obstacle to what they want to do to this country. They will use the Constitution when it is convenient for them or suits their purposes, but they will ignore vast sections of it when it opposes them. I offer as exhibit A their treatment of the Second Amendment. Heck, I'll even give you exhibit B with their treatment of the First Amendment free speech rights when that speech is conservative in content and nature.

This video is exhibit C today. Now, you may think Glen Beck is some far-right crackpot conspiracy theorist goofball, but in this video he quotes directly from the website privacy notice which you have to agree to before you can use the site. Pay close attention to that part of the video:

Now do you really want to use that "Cash for Clunkers" program and give up all your computer privacy in perpetuity to the federal government and anyone they think needs what you have on your computer?

Not this little gray duck.

8/4 UPDATE: Read a note discussing this clip from a guy who is a Fedgov computer security analyst, and said this is standard for any federal computer system, and it's no big deal. No big deal. No big deal? You give the government permission to take any file they want to out of your computer, and to install any monitoring software they want to into your computer, and it's no big deal?

Sorry, I personally think it's a big deal.

8/12 UPDATE: It seems that the text of the Terms of Use have now been changed to remove the offending statements. If it was just Standard Operating Procedure, why the change? The cynic in me says "Now they'll just take it over without your permission".

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Commentary on the state of Michigan roads

My friend Aaron over at The Shekel Blog has a short, direct, and to-the-point comment on the state of our nasty Michigan roads. Read it here.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Cleaning a Milsurp - Adventures in Gunk!

Today was a day for cleaning guns. Last Sunday I was out shooting with my Dad, and I had taken my Yugoslavian Mauser rifle (M24/47 in 8mm Mauser caliber) and I hadn't cleaned it yet, which I try to do quickly after shooting surplus ammo since it is likely corrosive.

Well, time got away from me and it wasn't until today that I had time to clean it. So I started with a wet patch to get things dissolving in there, let it sit for a few minutes, then brushed it (15-20 strokes), then a couple more wet patches, followed by a dry patch. I repeated this sequence a couple of times, and it seemed that I was making no headway - every patch came out black with grime. I also started to see a blue-green stain on the patches, indicating copper fouling.

Well, I decided I was going to give my homemade electric bore cleaner another try. The principle behind these things is reverse electroplating - that is, you run an electrical charge through the gun, and whatever is stuck to the bore is attracted to the electrode you put in the bore (a steel rod) and it sticks to that instead of your bore. There is a solution of ammonia, vinegar, and water that you pour into the barrel that causes this reaction to happen when you apply current. You basically wire up a cheap flashlight to provide the DC electrical current and let 'er unplate.

I had tried this a while back with an old transformer from a cell phone charger or some such, but my brother-in-law (who has worked with industrial plating equipment) told me that these do not produce true DC, which is what is required for the electroplating process. He told me the batteries are my best bet, so I got the flashlight and hooked it all up. (If you want to try it yourself, check out for instructions on how to build one - it shouldn't cost more than $20 for all the parts you need)

Based on the amount of crud and gunk that I have gotten out of this rifle today, I have to conclude that the Yugoslavian Army never cleaned it's guns. Two separate sessions with the converted flashlight, plus another 70 or so strokes with the bore brush, and at least that many wet and dry patches, and I am still getting gunk out of that bore.

And the funny thing is, the rifle was pretty accurate last weekend when I shot it. I wonder if it will be any better once I get the crud out of the bore.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Sucked in by Geoffrey Feiger

I come to use my blog as a confessional today, to admit to the world that I was foolish enough to believe there was some redeeming quality in Geoffrey Feiger. This situation was brought on by my habit of listening to The Paul W. Smith Show on WJR radio in the morning. Michigan residents well remember ol' Geoffrey from his days as Jack Kevorkian's defense attorney, and one-time Democrat candidate for Governor of this state. Paul will, from time to time have Geoffrey on as a guest, and he and Feiger seem to have a fairly cordial relationship despite their philosophical differences.

When I turned on the radio they were conversing about fatherhood after age 50 (Feiger apparently has a 2-year-old), and about Feigers prolific intake of vitamins and supplements. As I listened I began to think that despite his tendancy to rant to the point of exaggeration about some legal battle he is currently fighting, that there is a human side to the man that one can respect despite the differences.

Then the conversation turned to things political, and Feiger started railing about the greedy, corrupt corporations, and the greedy, corrupt John Engler (can't forget him) and how they were the cause of all the ills now befalling Detroit, Michigan, and the country. Paul W prodded Feiger a little by saying that certainly people like Barney Frank had a hand in the current economic and financial woes we are all facing. Feiger expanded his condemnation to politicians as well. All from a socialist point of view, but some of his targets were well worth hitting.

From there he made the startling statement that the cure for all these economic maladies was - wait for it - National Health Care. The auto companies and suppliers, quoth he, were forced into failure because of their massive health care costs, and if we were to relieve them of the burden of paying for their employees health care to the insurance companies who charged exhorbitant premiums and racked up massive profits, they wouldn't be in the state they are in now!

At this point I decided that getting into the shower was more important than listening for one more second to Geoffrey Feiger' lunacy, and so I didn't hear if Paul W pointed out his folly to him. In case he didn't, I'm going to.

Geoffrey, I have some questions for you: First, why is it that insurance companies have to charge such high premiums? Is not one major reason that shyster attorneys have found it lucrative to sue these insurance companies often, and frivolously? And are not many of these cases brought not because of anything the Doctors or Hospitals did wrong, but because the patient didn't get the outcome they wanted? Geoffrey, I don't know if you have brought any such cases, but some of your attorney bretheren assuredly have, and this is a widely recognized cause of high medical costs. Not the only one, but a big one. And one you can't lay at the feet of any greedy corporate types or politicians. No, this one is on the greedy lawyers.

Here's another question for you, Geoff (may I call you Geoff?). How exactly is a National Health Care program funded? You and I both know the answer to that one: Taxation. So your proposal is instead of paying premiums to those unscrupulous, greedy, no-account insurance companies, we're instead going to pay more taxes to those honest, selfless, abounding in compassion politicians? Is that what you are telling us? Oh, wait - you just finished agreeing with Paul W that politicians are just as greedy and corrupt as the insurance companies. Hmmm - I'm sensing a disconnect here.

Right now, if a business is not satisfied with the insurance provider's rates or service, that business is free to choose a different plan that more closely meets their needs. That's called freedom, Geoff. No one puts a gun to your head and forces you to continue with substandard service. But how do you choose another provider when the only provider is the Government? Do you stop paying taxes until changes are made in the system? Yeah, that will go over really well with the ol' .gov tax collectors. They will, in fact, send out men with guns to arrest you and force you to pay up, or they will take away everything you have and then throw you in jail for a few years to ponder your sins against the almighty (and benevolent) government. While your wife and kids are forced to fend for themselves while you are doing your time. Where's the freedom in that, Geoff?

Just one more question, for you Geoff - and you're a lawyer, so you will understand this one: what evidence can you offer that a National Health Care program will be more efficient, less costly, and more sensitive to the needs of patients than what we have now? Let me save you a little time here: YOU CAN'T! Europe and Canada have given us ample evidence that Government-run health systems are the most expensive, least compassionate, least oriented toward patients organizations that you will find. They are rife with incompetance, corruption, and bad care, and they run their respective economies into the ground. Why does anyone in their right mind think that this is better? How can you sit there and advocate for such a thing with a straight face?

No Geoffrey, you are clearly a fool of the highest order. Or worse.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Monica Conyers to do no jail time?

Almost former Detroit City Council member and convicted felon Monica Conyers is looking for ways to convince judges she should not go to jail, reports The Detroit News this morning.

Seriously? You take bribes, and you expect to get off scot-free? You should get ten years just for being a serial idiot!

Providentia blog calls for a tough sentence for Mrs. Conyers - something significantly more than the 120-days given to former Mayor and convicted felon Kwame Kilpatrick (which was a serious joke, by the way)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Reunion with an old frield

This was an extremely unexpected reunion, and a happy one at that.

In 1986 I bought a S&W Model 10-6 revolver as surplus from the Michigan State Police, after they transitioned to Sig 226's. This one seemed to have been a "carried much, shot little" gun, as there was a little holster wear, but everything else was in really nice shape. It was my first handgun, and it was a bit of a memento, as my Dad was a Sgt. in MSP at the time. It wasn't *his* gun, but it was *like* his. It looks pretty much like this one:

Well, this gun followed me through several moves, until about 1995 when my house was broken into by 3 juveniles, and the gun was stolen, along with some cash and jewelry. They left my .22 rifles and took the revolver! They caught the jerks soon after, but the Detective couldn't get them to tell him who they sold the gun to.

I never expected to see the gun again, but yesterday I got home and in the mail was a letter from the Police Department Property Division. I was bewildered for a moment, and then thought "I wonder if they found my gun", and sure enough, it was a notice to come and get your stolen gun!

I still had the original registration and bill of sale, so I hustled downtown on my lunch hour today and picked it up. It was a little worse for wear, and has some surface rust and other gunk on it, but it still seems to be in decent shape. I rubbed some oil on it, just because I couldn't stand for it to be sitting there uncared for for another minute, and I'll do a detail strip and clean this weekend.

It turns out the gun was recovered in 98, and has been sitting there waiting for the detectives to sign off on it. There seemed to be a case pending that was finally resolved and they could release it - I think that is what the officer told me.

So it was joy mixed with a little sadness that this gun had lain so long uncared for in the property room. But at least it's back in caring hands now!

6/23 update: Further inspection of the action revealed NO RUST! And the gunk on the outside seemed to be mildew from sitting in the property room for so long. The rear of the cylinder looks to have been scraped or ground on (why, I have no idea) but there are no major injuries to the old girl. I took it out to the range Sunday afternoon and shot a bunch of my wadcutter reloads through it, and it is just as accurate as you would expect an old school 4-inch Smith and Wesson revolver to be, holding inside the 3 inch circle at 25 yards when I did my part. I am so glad this gun is back in my safe! Now, a nice Hogue monogrip will finish it out for me. Next payday.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

C.S. Lewis comments on the narcissist-in-chief

Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may 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 own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

"Hey - We Won. Get over it"

We have been hearing this response from those on the left who are cramming socialism down the throats of the American people.

Here is my response. It is the American response:

"You may have won the election. That does not give you the right to trample the Constitution your guy swore on oath to preserve, protect, and defend. If you are trampling the Constitution, your authority is compromised, and so is your right to maintain your office."

Thursday, April 09, 2009

The Mess at DPS

That would be "Detroit Public Schools". Great article today at RightMichigan:

(This is quickly becoming one of my favorite blogs. Hope to see you at the Tea Party, Nick!)

Folks, if we want to save Detroit - if we want it to return to it's former status, it must first be allowed to fail. The school district is as good a place to start as any. It must fail so the entrenched bureaucrats can be broomed out, corrupt school board members prosecuted and incarcerated, and people who care about fiscal responsibility and the education of children (in that order) put in their places. That is what will save DPS. But you know that won't happen, because bureaucrats look out for their own, as this article points out.

Longtime readers know that I am no fan of public education, but these kids deserve more than what they are getting in Detroit.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

A Note to Europe

Just a quick note to any European readers that might wander by: Our President is an idiot and you should not listen to him when he says we are sorry for stuff. We aren't. In fact, we're pretty angry that this empty suit with a teleprompter thinks that he can just go all over the world trashing the rest of us back here at home, and apologizing for imagined offenses against the world.

The truth is, you are about to see a world that is not protected by American strength and resolve. You are about to see a world where cowardice reigns, clothed in the expensive tailored suits of "diplomacy" and "negotiation". You are about to see a world where "senseless violence" becomes the norm, because these cowards in suits will not confront the bullys that preach and commit it.

The one thing you can say about Americans is that we were fools for even electing this fool. That is it.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

"The Anschluss was Peaceful..."

My kids have had "The Sound of Music" on the brain since seeing a performance of it on Saturday by the local homeschool community, so they decided to watch the movie version yesterday. I happened to plunk down with them about the time that Capt. Von Trapp was on his honeymoon, and Herr Zoeller was getting antsy about carrying out his orders to whisk the Captain away to Bremerhaven. Upon returning from his honeymoon, Capt. Von Trapp is confronted by the reality of the Anschluss - the political union of Austria and Germany, and "Uncle Max" Detweiler's go along to get along attitude, encompassed by his observation that "...the Anschluss was peaceful."

As I watched, I was struck by the thought that we in the modern United States have also had our own Anschluss. It was voted in by the people (though admittedly, not the 97% the Nazi's garnered in the Austrian Anschluss), and the Government is changing into something resembling the National Socialists of those days, constitutional strictures notwithstanding.

The question is, will we who still love our country stand and fight for it, or will we passively let it be taken over by the National Socialists? It is a daunting task, and I must admit to a large dose of trepidation as I ponder my own place in it, and how it will affect my life and my family. But how can I (we) turn away? How can we just let the National Socialists have their way, and destroy the last bastion of liberty on the planet? It has already begun - the nationalization of the banking and financial systems, and the auto industry. Soon it will be the healthcare system, the transportation systems, and then infrastructure. The currency is being debased at a rate unprecedented outside the Weimar Republic or Zimbabwe, and the entire nation will soon be reduced to either abject poverty or total dependence on the fedgov. That will be the only choice left to us.

And so, as weak and disorganized as we are now, we must fight them. We must somehow find it in ourselves to be free men again, and not accept the rise of National Socialism, and the destruction of all we hold dear. We must understand the motto of New Hamphire: "Live Free or Die" once again, or we will descend into comfortable slavery. Or maybe not so comfortable.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tigers Release Gary Sheffield

News over the sports wire today is that the Detroit Tigers have released DH Gary Sheffield.

My heart leaped with joy at this news, as Sheffield has been dead weight to this team over the last two years, and has done nothing to justify all the money he was paid. He has been a fragile, aging, ineffective, complainer for most of his stay here, and I'm glad to see that the Tigers will be giving his roster spot (and batting order spot) to someone who deserves it. Perhaps Marcus Thames will get the at-bats he deserves now, or someone like Jeff Larish, who is a left-handed bat with some pop the Tigers desperately need in their lineup.

Good luck to you Gary, I hope you find another team to hook up with, but I'm not sorry to see you go.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Barack Motors

A new automaking entity was created over the weekend: Barack Motors. Here is their logo.

The "On-Star" program is also being renamed to "O-Star", and the "turn-by-turn directions" feature will only give left turns in any route requested. Steering control programs will be automatically upgraded so that drivers will not have to think about which way to turn the wheel, it will only turn left. New features to be added will be an automatic tendency to drive off of cliffs, and revisions to the computerized information that mechanics use to diagnose problems with the car. It will now report back for every problem "Don't worry, Barack will fix it".

Seriously folks - where does the hubris of this man end? He now expects us to believe he knows how to fix the auto industry? From my perspective all he seems to know anything about is NCAA Brackets (now known as "Barack-ets").

The reality of it is, he has just signed the death warrant for the state of Michigan. We were on life support and he has just pulled the plug. Tens of thousands of auto workers in this state just lost their jobs. They may have still gone to work today, but they have no future. I wonder how happy they are with their union now - their union that was in the tank for Obama from the get-go? They've really got a lot of job security now, don't they? And all those laid-off autoworkers are streaming back to those factories that can't make enough cars to meet demand, aren't they?

Ladies and gentlemen, we are witnessing firsthand the destruction of the United States of America. And we have done it to ourselves by electing a fool as President.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Earth Hour

Lots of posters hanging up all around the office building this week promoting "Earth Hour" - a time to turn off your electrical stuff to save the planet. There was also a march scheduled from Spartan Stadium to Beaumont Tower at Michigan State University, where you would be given a free compact fluorescent light bulb.

Not one to sit idly by while this kind of foolishness happens, I created my own "Earth Hour" celebration. I turned on all three of the computers in my office, all the desk lamps, and the radio (to Rush Limbaugh, of course). I then got in my car and drove to Sam's Club to purchase paper products that had been bleached to pristine whiteness.

Unexpectedly adding to my festivities was the Michigan High School Basketball playoffs at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, and the new construction zone on US127. Both of these events caused large amounts of traffic in East Lansing, thus causing lots of sitting and idling while waiting for the ill-timed lights to allow us all through. And since the 127 construction includes bridge work, all the streets that pass under it are construction zones too, and reduced to 1 lane each way. So lots of gas was burned waiting for lights and looking for alternate routes around all the traffic.

It was the perfect way to celebrate Earth Hour!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

George Kell

Sad news this morning, word that George Kell, Hall of Fame third baseman and longtime radio and TV announcer for the Detroit Tigers, has died.

I never saw George Kell play, except in an old-timers game on TV, (I think as part of an All-Star game) where he was playing second base (of all places). He must have been in his 70's at the time, but he went to his right on a grounder, dove, snagged the ball, came up throwing, and threw out the batter at first. I wish there was video of that play!

For me, George Kell was one of the voices of baseball that I grew up with, as he teamed with Larry Osterman, and later Al Kaline, to call Tigers games on TV until 1996. Ernie Harwell on the radio and George Kell on the TV calling Tigers games were things you could count on every summer. The current announcers do a fine job, but I think even they would admit to being spoiled for all those years listening to the likes of Kell, Harwell, Kaline, and Carey. They don't make 'em like those guys any more.

So Mr. Kell, thank you for all those warm summer nights describing baseball both good and bad, to kids like me who had no idea until much later how good we had it then.

Rest in Peace, sir.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The National Financial Mess

I haven't blogged recently - not for a lack of topics, but for the absolute abundance of topics. It's hard to know where to start - trying to drink from a firehose and all that. And since I am one of the few people left in Michigan still working (and I would like to keep it that way!) I haven't had time. But today I have a few minutes so...

I note with interest the calls for the resignation of Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. He is, according to those doing the calling, completely over his head and out of his element, and is making a fool of himself and the Administration with his bumbling.

This may or may not be true, but I have to ask the followup question: "And replace him with whom?"

Ladies and Gentlemen, the fiscal and financial system of this country has been under the control of politicians, professional economists, and bankers for over a century now (some would say longer than that, but it makes no difference to my argument). What has been the effect of these "experts" having that control?

The easiest way to grasp what has happened is to relate it to some fixed point of reference - that is, something that is a known quantity that has a specific value or worth that isn't affected by the whims of markets or economies. I believe a great thing to use as a fixed point when talking about economics is gold. An ounce of gold is an ounce of gold, whether it's a thousand years ago or today. So let's talk about what these "experts" have done by using an ounce of pure 24-carat gold as our measuring stick.

In 1907, the famous Saint Gaudens gold "Double Eagle" coin was first minted, with a face value of twenty US dollars (USD). It contained nearly one ounce of fine gold. So for arguments sake we can say that around the turn of the last century, one ounce of gold was worth approximately twenty dollars. This is not collector value, just the value of the gold content if the coin were melted down. This was a circulating coin in those days - you could actually buy stuff with it.

For this month so far (as of Mar. 23, 2009) gold has traded anywhere from 880 to 960 US dollars per ounce, for an average of USD920 per ounce. So that is the number we'll use for this example. Plugging those numbers into the formula for percent increase: ((new -old)/old)*100 gives us ((920-20)/20)*100, which comes out to 4500%. That is, it takes 4500% more US dollars to buy that one ounce of gold than it did 100 years ago.

That, my friends, is how weak our currency is today, after 100 years of central management by all of these "experts". 100 years of currency inflation. 100 years of booms and busts and depressions and recessions. 100 years of ever increasing public debt, welfare, and bailouts. That is what you have gotten from all these "experts".

So you want Tim Geithner out? Fine - throw the bum out. But all you'll get is another one of the same clowns who has been destroying the value of the currency (and oh by the way your purchasing power and your retirement income) for the last century. Is that what you really want?

Think about it. And remember the oft-quoted definition of insanity: "Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results".

Oh, by the way, the spot price of gold as I publish this is just over USD950. So it's even worse now than my example!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

UN "Rights of the Child" Treaty - an Abomination that needs to die in the US Senate

Although I believe all Home Educators should oppose ratification of this treaty, it's ramifications go far beyond homeschooling, as this article points out. I urge everyone to contact your US Senators and tell them to OPPOSE the ratification of this treaty.

From WorldNetDaily today:

By Chelsea Schilling
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

A United Nations human rights treaty that could prohibit children from being spanked or homeschooled, ban youngsters from facing the death penalty and forbid parents from deciding their families' religion is on America's doorstep, a legal expert warns.

Michael Farris of Purcellville, Va., is president of, chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association and chancellor of Patrick Henry College. He told WND that under the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, or CRC, every decision a parent makes can be reviewed by the government to determine whether it is in the child's best interest.

"It's definitely on our doorstep," he said. "The left wants to make the Obama-Clinton era permanent. Treaties are a way to make it as permanent as stuff gets. It is very difficult to extract yourself from a treaty once you begin it. If they can put all of their left-wing socialist policies into treaty form, we're stuck with it even if they lose the next election."

The 1990s-era document was ratified quickly by 193 nations worldwide, but not the United States or Somalia. In Somalia, there was then no recognized government to do the formal recognition, and in the United States there's been opposition to its power. Countries that ratify the treaty are bound to it by international law.

Although signed by Madeleine Albright, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., on Feb. 16, 1995, the U.S. Senate never ratified the treaty, largely because of conservatives' efforts to point out it would create that list of rights which primarily would be enforced against parents.

The international treaty creates specific civil, economic, social, cultural and even economic rights for every child and states that "the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration." It is monitored by the CRC, which conceivably has enforcement powers.

According to the Parental Rights website, the substance of the CRC dictates the following:

  • Parents would no longer be able to administer reasonable spankings to their children.
  • A murderer aged 17 years, 11 months and 29 days at the time of his crime could no longer be sentenced to life in prison.
  • Children would have the ability to choose their own religion while parents would only have the authority to give their children advice about religion.
  • The best interest of the child principle would give the government the ability to override every decision made by every parent if a government worker disagreed with the parent's decision.
  • A child's "right to be heard" would allow him (or her) to seek governmental review of every parental decision with which the child disagreed.
  • According to existing interpretation, it would be illegal for a nation to spend more on national defense than it does on children's welfare.
  • Children would acquire a legally enforceable right to leisure.
  • Teaching children about Christianity in schools has been held to be out of compliance with the CRC.
  • Allowing parents to opt their children out of sex education has been held to be out of compliance with the CRC.
  • Children would have the right to reproductive health information and services, including abortions, without parental knowledge or consent.

(Story continues below)

"Where the child has a right fulfilled by the government, the responsibilities shift from parents to the government," Farris said. "The implications of all this shifting of responsibilities is that parents no longer have the traditional roles of either being responsible for their children or having the right to direct their children."

Michael Farris

The government would decide what is in the best interest of a children in every case, and the CRC would be considered superior to state laws, Farris said. Parents could be treated like criminals for making every-day decisions about their children's lives.

"If you think your child shouldn't go to the prom because their grades were low, the U.N. Convention gives that power to the government to review your decision and decide if it thinks that's what's best for your child," he said. "If you think that your children are too young to have a Facebook account, which interferes with the right of communication, the U.N. gets to determine whether or not your decision is in the best interest of the child."

He continued, "If you think your child should go to church three times a week, but the child wants to go to church once a week, the government gets to decide what it thinks is in the best interest of the children on the frequency of church attendance."

He said American social workers would be the ones responsible for implementation of the policies.

Farris said it could be easier for President Obama to push for ratification of the treaty than it was for the Clinton administration because "the political world has changed."

At a Walden University presidential debate last October, Obama indicated he may take action.

"It's embarrassing to find ourselves in the company of Somalia, a lawless land," Obama said. "I will review this and other treaties to ensure the United States resumes its global leadership in human rights."

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been a strong supporter of the CRC, and she now has direct control over the treaty's submission to the Senate for ratification. The process requires a two-thirds vote.

Farris said Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., claimed in a private meeting just before Christmas that the treaty would be ratified within two years.

In November, a group of three dozen senior foreign policy figures urged Obama to strengthen U.S. relations with the U.N. Among other things, they asked the president to push for Senate approval of treaties that have been signed by the U.S. but not ratified.

Partnership for a Secure America Director Matthew Rojansky helped draft the statement. He said the treaty commands strong support and is likely to be acted on quickly, according to an Inter Press Service report.

While he said ratification is certain to come up, Farris said advocates of the treaty will face fierce opposition.

"I think it is going to be the battle of their lifetime," he said. "There's not enough political capital in Washington, D.C., to pass this treaty. We will defeat it."

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Ramos, Compean receive Commutation

Well, it's better than rotting in a jail cell for the next ten years, but frankly, it's like drinking a glass of warm spit. A pardon is what was deserved, Mr. Former President, under the circumstances. But commutation? That was the parting middle finger to all those men and women who are trying, with a shot glass, to bail out your leaky southern border lifeboat. If you had taken your duty to the country seriously and acted to secure the border instead of doing nothing, these guys (and many others like them) would never have had to deal with the vermin that infest our southern border. They would have stayed where they belonged. Instead, those who are defending (as best they can) our border, are prosecuted for DOING THEIR JOBS!

Boys, I'm glad you're getting out of the slam, and going home to your families who need you.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Al Franken is ...

...a big fat liar (to coin a phrase). Wall Street Journal story here.

Hereinafter, this lump of biomass will be referred to (when referred to at all) as "The Fraudulent Senator from Minnesota".

Monday, January 05, 2009

The Obama Test

Blogger Cassy Fiano linked to this test today, so I went over and took it.

Barack is very disappointed with me!

I only scored 24 on the Obama Test

What I can't understand is how I scored so high. She only scored 14!