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 surplusrifle.com 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)