Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Taking The Easy Way Out

Over at the Temple of Mut and our Monastery of Miscellaneous Musings, there have been a few posts lamenting the left's traditional cry of, "Racism!" They catalog the silliness of the thing quite well, but I'd like to suggest another take.

Calling your opponent a racist or clinging to the belief that racism is still a big problem in the US is an act of supreme laziness.

Everyone wants the world to be better. As C. S. Lewis said, there is no such thing as pure evil. Evil is just good distorted*. When they yell, "Racist!" they are trying to improve things by bringing attention to your supposed anti-whatever biases. As an added bonus, if they're right, they don't have to do anything else.

Racism is a big, broad, societal problem and it's solved by awareness-raising marches, finger-pointing and yelling. Once everyone knows that racism is the problem, we can get down to solving the issue and confronting our deep-seated bigotries. The lefty's job stops with pointing and yelling.

If the problem is behavioral, however, the job is demoralizingly enormous. If the problem is the obliteration of the traditional, married family and the lack of fathers, then each individual, affected person is going to need someone to fill that role and supply what's missing. There's no government program or collective community organizing that's going to take the place of the paternal guidance. You are going to have to do it. You, personally and you'd better plan on spending a lot of time with a single person and with a low chance of success.

That's not as much fun as marching and chanting, is it?

A flash mob robbery in Chicago. These young men have had 14-18 years of cultural barbarism leading to this. If the problem is behavioral, you're going to have to do the hard work of replacing that life-long imprint with a civilized one.

Pick one kid out of the pack in that video above and try to figure out how you would make a difference in his life. Chanting and finger-pointing on the Internet isn't going to do the trick. You're going to have to get involved. If it's behavioral, you're going to have to give up things you love doing to struggle to overcome years and years of barbarism.

By the way, there are millions and millions of kids like the ones in the video.

Nahhhh. It's racism.

* - Or something like that.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The People You Hate Aren't Here

I wanted to do a longer treatment of this, but I'm going to leave that to a later post. I just want to get this one up to make the point.

Catholics don't hate gays. We don't obsess over birth control. The people progressives want so badly to hate don't exist, at least not in meaningful numbers.

I'm a Eucharistic Minister at our church. Last Sunday while distributing the Body of Christ, a couple of women who were almost certainly lesbians came up to receive the Host. They were given the Sacrament with as much love as everyone else. That happens all the time and the meaning of the action is totally lost on the progressives who long to hate us.

In Catholicism, there is nothing that compares to the Body and Blood of Christ. Nothing even comes close. Because we oppose gay marriage, we're frequently accused of hating gays. We don't. Not even a little. If we did, how could we share our most sacred thing with them? When we distribute Communion, it doesn't come with a lecture to each person or even a stern look. It comes with love and solemnity, not hate. Come and see who we are and you'll understand.

The only hate here is the hate you bring with you.

A Dog Whistle If Ever There Was One

A Christian who hangs out with Tea Party types cooking wood-smoked backyard barbecued pig* from Sara Foster's Southern Kitchenin an Oklahoma Joe's offset smoker? Oh yeah, that's gonna keep the local progressives awake all night for the sound of rustling sheets and barking German Shepherds. They knew this was on its way. It was only a matter of time before the mask slipped.

Mut needs to stop the charade. Today, it's all coming out.

The Oklahoma Joe's smoker. Oklahoma. (Nods head in secret understanding.)

Pork. Pork. (Oh yeah. We all know what that means, don't we?)

* - I typed it the way it was written in the book. Sara went all e. e. cummings on her recipe titles.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Warm Fur And A Full Tummy

Not A Slippery Slope But Total Free Fall

So in an interview somewhere, the guy who runs Chick-fil-A came out and said he supports traditional marriage, but isn't so hot on gay marriage. This prompted the mayors of Chicago and Boston to let him know that his stores were not welcome in their cities. Others in those cities suggested that he shouldn't even bother requesting permits for opening up his restaurants because he would never get the necessary approvals. SarahB pointed out the hypocrisy in this and Dean captured my reaction pretty well.
Threatening livelihood-harm to a business and a person for exercising their Constitutionally-protected 1st amendment rights ought to freak-out every single American, straight, gay or otherwise.
Note: The Chick-fil-A dude didn't say he discriminated against gays, he just said he believed in the traditional definition of marriage. For this, government leaders in major cities threatened him with the power of their offices. Over at datechguy's blog, the path from no gay marriage to government enforcement of gay moral orthodoxy is well-documented in this post.
Until for the third time a liberal State (Massachusetts) by a 4-3 ruling declared Gay Marriage Legal. Again we were told not to worry, the legality of Gay Marriage was just a question of equality and it wouldn’t make any difference in the lives of those who opposed it. 
Then came the persecution of parents who opposed it. 
Then came the Catholic Church being given a choice, violate your beliefs or stop placing children for adoption: never mind how well you place the childrenhardest to find homes for... 
And now comes the Mayors of two large cities, Chicago and Boston, declaring publicly that Chick-fil-A is not welcome. That Chick-fil-A for daring to have Biblical principles and support them have no place in their civilized cities... 
We have reached the point from the legality of Gay Marriage in Massachusetts, to the Mayor of the largest city in the Commonwealth publicly declaring in effect:  If your business dare oppose the liberal politically correct position , your enterprise doesn’t belong in our enlightened city. 
This has happened in the space of a decade, after being assured that “Gay Marriage” would have no effect on anyone else.
In the past, I've blogged about the new HHS definition of what is and what isn't a religious institution. The Obama Administration has redefined the term until practically nothing but the church buildings themselves would be considered religious. To me, it's clear that this is prepping the battlespace for hate speech laws where anyone suggesting that gays were not equal in every way to heterosexuals could be prosecuted.

I way underestimated the risk and now it's clear that I way underestimated the timeline.

Prohibited speech won't be just quoting scripture, it will include any discussion of every conceivable action from adoption to marriage to anything else anyone can think up. It won't be decades from now, it could be just a matter of years, particularly if Obama is re-elected.

That is really bad juju, my friends.

This actually happened, you know.

Friday, July 27, 2012

You Must Click On This


I Will Be Laughing At This All Day Long

We Paid For That

OK, I know I'm late to the party, but I've been thinking about the whole "you didn't build that" revelation of Obama's worldview and more than just showing that he's a fascist (which we already knew), it show's he's an incoherent fascist.

He loves to talk about roads and bridges, roads and bridges, roads and bridges. But roads and bridges were bought. Calls for proposals were issued, bids were received and reviewed, contracts were let and people were paid. It's no different than what happens when Obama's employees stop at Capital Hemp for their, um, medicinal needs. They identify a need, visit the store, shop around, select a bong and then they ... pay for it. Once they've paid for it, no one chases after them yelling, "you didn't build that!" Of course they didn't build that. That's what money is for. It exists so you can hire someone else to build it. Once that transaction is done, both sides agree that the relationship, as far as the bong or the highway is concerned, is complete*.

So who cares who built what? What on Earth is the idiot saying with that "you didn't build that" nonsense? Context is irrelevant because the entire concept is simply incomprehensible. Does it mean we need to keep paying? Does it mean we need to erect a shrine in our house to the people who built the roads and bongs? Does it mean we need to exchange Christmas cards with them forever? When is a transaction complete? From what Obama is saying, it never is.

Does anyone in the White House think at all?
We wouldn't be where we are if the Romans hadn't built those roads.
* - Except for warranty claims like when Barney Frank and the boys come over and in the process of lubing everyone up with 10-30W someone with slippery hands tries to move the bong out of the way and drops it.

Elsewhere: Our Monastery of Miscellaneous Musings has a good take. So does Shane Atwell. Left Coast Rebel has something to say about it, too.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Cheezburger Of The Day

funny cat pictures - To the Kitchen!
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The Cairns Of Ocean Beach

Driving out of Ocean Beach the other day, I saw piles of stones that had been stacked, probably by one of the local homeless, mentally ill drug addicts. It was beautiful in a very sad way. A click on the image will give you a much better view. Enjoy?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

How To Get Your Daughter To Eat Properly

... use a good diet analyzer like the one that can be found at the USDA's website.

This summer, my daughter is working out under the tutelage of her accomplished athlete brother, trying to become faster for her upcoming soccer seasons. He's got a grueling set of workouts for her so that she's running and doing strength training MWF and going to her normal soccer practice TuTh. She's embraced these and has been sticking to the schedule.

What she hasn't embraced is her diet. Like most kids, she's had year after year of nutrition classes in school, but she still tries to eat what she wants. If you don't watch her like a hawk, it's all carbs and no proteins. She'll eat fruit, but veggies are ignored.

On Sunday, her brother took her on a run, just to see how she was doing. It was horrible. She felt sick and wasn't able to do most of it. He was pretty ticked off by the whole thing - he's put a lot of effort into helping her train and he doesn't feel she's making the same level of investment. He's also looking back on his own life and thinking what it would have been like had someone taken this much interest in his success.

The run and the aftermath were pretty beastly for her, but I'm completely taking his side. That day she had eaten a quesadilla and drank Diet Coke. The previous day, she and her brothers had gone to the movies where she had eaten candy to the point where she came home and didn't want dinner. In the 24-hour period leading up to the run, she'd had a diet that would be used as a malnutrition experiment for lab rats. Feeling sick and failing to perform were a consequence of her own actions.

In the past, I've tried having her go back through the food pyramid and review some nutrition information on the web, but she's inured to all that. It bounces off her head like a ping pong ball and the next day she's searching for Cheez-Its and sodas. Banning that food from our house punishes all of us and isn't reflective of the life she'll lead when she moves out. No one's going to go to the grocery store with her and edit her shopping cart.

Enter the diet analyzer from the USDA. You input what you ate and it tells you what your aggregate nutrition was for the day. It's got a simple graphing function that makes it easy to see just how you're going to die from an unbalanced diet.

For breakfast, waffles and syrup. For lunch, a quesadilla. For dinner, chicken nuggets, rolls and a small salad. For snacks, Cheez-Its and ice cream. Afterwards, a trip to Forest Lawn to pick out a casket.

The key to the whole thing was to let her know that she was expected to perform. If she ate badly and felt sick to the point where she had to throw up while running, well then she'd best throw up and then keep running. When she's an adult and goes to work, if she decides to stay up all night to party and goes in exhausted, her boss isn't going to give her light duty and a long nap, he's going to expect her to do her job. What she does with her body away from work is her problem. If she can't perform, she'll be fired. I've got to prepare her for that world and if I can get her to eat properly at the same time, it's a double win.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Cheezburger of the Day

funny cat pictures - Why does my credit card show ANOTHER charge from Bob's bird world?
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Happy Link Of The Day

Click here and smile. Some viewers may need insulin afterwards.

Soon The Evil Spirits Will Be Gone!

How do you get this kind of superstitious, ignorant behavior in a nation where the literacy rate is practically 100% and everyone has to go to school? The entire education establishment in Spain ought to be exiled to Isla de Albor├ín for what they've done to the youth.

Spain’s risk premium shot to a new record high on Friday after officials in Valencia formally asked the central government for funds to help pay the region’s mounting bills, including the high prices of prescription drugs. 
The cost of servicing Spanish debt rose to 7.26 percent after mid-afternoon with the risk premium hitting the 612 basis points mark and closing at 610 basis points over the benchmark German bund.
Spaniards took to the streets by their thousands in response to the latest government spending cuts. Protests shook the Spanish capital yesterday, set off by the government’s plan to cut 65 billion euros over the next two and a half years. Thousands of people across 80 cities made their voices heard after the measure was passed in Congress with only the votes of the ruling Popular Party (PP).
Blowing whistles and banging on drums are behaviors you would expect from illiterate peasants trying to drive away evil spirits.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Of Quarterbacks And Businessmen

Drew Brees finally signed with the New Orleans Saints. They gave him $100M for a 5-year contract. Unquestionably, Drew is the motive force behind the Saints' recent success. Had they lost him to another team, the fans would have been angry and a vast majority would have blamed the general manager for not doing what it took to keep him. Most would have understood it had he accepted a better offer elsewhere.

When an investor moves his money offshore, it's a different story. The President and his campaigners arise in high dudgeon claiming that the fellow "doesn't believe in America." In point of fact, the businessman doesn't believe in the American government, which is not the same as America. He can get a better deal elsewhere and so he does that, just as Drew Brees would have taken $100M from Tampa Bay had the Saints only offered $45M.

When this kind of thing comes up, a question to ask in the exasperated tones of a furious and betrayed fan is, "Mr. President, why did you let him get away like that? We needed him!"

And who doesn't need someone like Drew Brees?

Neener Neener Neener

The smaller of the two Catican Guards displaying her weapon of choice.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Lazy Saturday Afternoon

Because there just aren't enough pictures of our Maximum Leader on the Interweb Tubes.

Binge Drinking And Rutting Are Natural, You Know

You can't fight them. It's foolish to even try.
Singer's new 'Safe-DWI" school curriculum includes instruction on opening pop-top beer cans while driving ("we supply soda cans and plastic steering wheels for the kids to practice"), instruction on using I-Phones to search for liquor stores while on interstate highways, tips on how to mix drinks and still control the motorcycle, and an instructional video entitled "Double-vision and the quadruple-yellow line-- How to steer when you have two roads in front of you".  
"We believe that teaching kids not to drink and drive is as futile as teaching them not to have sex before marriage." Singer said, smiling. "Rutting and bingeing are what children do. It's no use saying no. They just have to learn to do it safely".

Why Are Cars Still Outfitted With Anti-Theft Alarms?

Does anyone ever respond to them? One of our neighbors' cars has one that goes off on a regular basis. No one bothers to check to see if the thing is being stolen. It's a good bet that most of us hope it is being stolen.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Prepping The Free Speech Battlespace

At Mass last Sunday, we heard a brief talk from a woman who represented a charity organization that had been formed by a group of local churches. She spoke of their work with drug addicts, alcoholics and the homeless. She told a couple of stories and concluded by asking us for support and hoping some of us might volunteer.

She did not, according to the Obama Administration, represent a religious organization.

According the the new HHS rules, her group failed to meet at least two of the requirements to be considered religious. They were composed of people of several different faiths and they served everyone without discrimination. Had they only employed Lutherans, for example, and served only Lutherans, then they might have been able to claim that they were a religious organization in the eyes of the Federal government.

By any rational standard, of course, they were most certainly a religious organization.

So why the change in legal definitions? If they lost their non-taxed status, the government would only gain a pittance of revenue. They had a small budget and employed very few people, so the health care issue was moot. I would suggest that the change in definitions has more to do with restricting their free speech than anything else.

If you wanted to control what people said under speech-restricting laws and you were going after a "religious" organization, there would be a conflict between free exercise of religion and speech controls. If you can redefine the organization as a secular one, you no longer have to deal with any religious freedom issues in court. In effect, it strips civil rights protections from what would otherwise be a protected group.

Maybe I'm just being paranoid.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Purple Pink

Someone living nearby has a hedge of these purple-pink* flowers. It's a reasonably long stretch and I was trying to get a perspective shot so it looked like they went on forever. I didn't quite get it right, but it was still kind of pretty. Enjoy.

* - Lavender, heliotrope, orchid and phlax are all names for colors like this, but also names of flowers, none of which match this little beauty. Hence the title, Purple Pink.

Running Out Of Cash

Uh oh.
MADRID—Spanish lawmakers on Thursday approved tough austerity legislation, after the country's borrowing costs neared a new record high at a morning bond auction and its budget minister warned the government is running out of cash to pay its bills ... "There is no money in the public coffers. There's no money to pay for public services," Spanish Budget Minister Cristobal Montoro said in a speech to Parliament Thursday.
That's not a good thing.

Caption The Photo!

(The image looks much better if you click on it.)
"They should have gone to Confession."
OK, that's my entry. Certainly you can do better than that!

H/T: The American Papist.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Cheezburger of the Day

funny cat pictures - Your house cleaning antics do not amuse me
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Vague Noodling

I thought I had an insightful post all ready to go, fully organized and mostly written in my head, casting support for pornography distribution as a religion, but I'm less certain of my composition now. I got the idea from reading the comments on this article by Erica Szalkowski which summarizes much of what we know about the personal, familial and societal effects of pornography.

The article was nothing new. Porn alters neural pathways through reward feedback loops from some of the strongest parts of your limbic system and the resulting addictions trash relationships. What was most interesting to me were the comments from people who disagreed. At first, I thought they had a strong religious flavor, like when I try to convince an atheist that the Eucharist really is the Body of Christ. They point out physical fact and I try to explain with theology. Many of the porn supporters on that comment thread came back at the author with something akin to Muslims defending the Koran. There's nothing wrong with porn and you're a crazy infidel if you disagree.

Rereading it this morning, however, I saw two factions in the pro-porn crowd. The pro-porn group has a strong libertarian bent with a subset denying the results of modern studies of the effects of porn. It's that subset that seems religious to me, but the libertarian streak needs to be addressed as well, hence the hiccup in posting about it today.

Which I seem to have done anyway.

Here's a picture of Momma Daisy to distract you from my incoherence!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Vengeance Is Expensive

Goldman Sachs, the investment firm progressives love to hate, is giving them another reason to hate it. They're forming a private bank that will specialize in loans to wealthy people and corporations. The private bank isn't going to be a big portion of their operations at first, but they see a need to get into the game.
Rules that stem from the U.S. Dodd-Frank overhaul, including the Volcker rule, which limits the gambles a bank can take with its own money, and international capital rules that dictate how much risk Goldman can take on, are crimping the firm's ability to make profits in its trading business, executives say. 
"It is difficult to make radical decisions when the rules of the game are being revised by regulators on both sides of the Atlantic and no one can confidently say how market and competitive conditions will change as new regulations are rolled out," said Brad Hintz, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. in New York.
One of my friends from Cursillo works at a local bank and has the same story. Dodd-Frank and Basel II have forced his bank to move a large number of employees from profit-making portions of the bank's business into regulatory compliance and therein lies a large, unreported part of the story of our economy. The sluggishness we're experiencing is as much a result of our lost economic freedom as it is our massive debts.

In my own business, I've seen regulations grow like weeds until they are completely out of control. All manner of normal business activities are now curtailed or effectively prohibited. Purchasing IT gear, travel, conference attendance and more have been regulated into paralysis. Dodd-Frank is doing the same thing to our banking system and ObamaCare is just getting started with our healthcare system. Even if banks had plenty of money to lend and businesses had opportunities to expand, smothering government regulations suppress activity.

Ironically, it's this fact that makes me the most optimistic. Debts may take a long time to unwind, but government oppression can be lifted with the stroke of a pen.

This pen isn't going to do the job.

Lead Or Led?

When you’re hit over the head, the instrument could be a “lead” pipe. But when it’s a verb, “lead” is the present and “led” is the past tense. The problem is that the past tense is pronounced exactly like the above-mentioned plumbing material (“plumb” comes from a word meaning “lead”), so people confuse the two. In a sentence like “She led us to the scene of the crime,” always use the three-letter spelling.
You're welcome.

Two Tips For Making Blackened Fish

I made blackened Tilapia from Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen last night. I blew it on the butter, using way too much, but everyone still liked it. It had a strong popcorn flavor that I felt cheapened the experience. Oh well. C'est la vie.

Blackened fish (and blackened steak) are easy to make if you follow these two simple tips.

  1. Do it outside on the grill. There's going to lots of smoke and splatter and there's no need to fill your house with the smell of charred bits of food and your kitchen with butter splotches. A big mound of coals pyramided under the pan works just as well as your burners set on high.
  2. Splurge and buy a really big cast iron skillet. Nothing is better than having plenty of room to work. I have a 15" pan and it allows me to do about 6 Tilapia fillets at the same time. It makes steaks easy, too.
And there you have it! Blackened fish in no time at all with no smoke and no mess.

Last night's fish were as much boiled in butter as blackened.
Update: As I was sitting in the Catican this morning, sipping coffee and blogging away like a loon, in the back of my mind a little voice was telling me I'd done this one before. Actually, I've given this advice a bunch of times. Still, I had the photo and a little story of boiling the fish in butter and it didn't seem to hurt to offer the suggestions one more time.

Monday, July 16, 2012

I Am Deeply Concerned About Their Whereabouts

... because I believe they've been taken to Isengard.

Yes, it's wacky, but some days you need wacky.

On The Minimum Wage

Yesterday afternoon, we attended a SLOBs BBQ. All of us being right-wing, Tea Party or Cristados extremists, we spent most of our time playing "Name that Confederate general" and discussing how much we hate gays, but aside from such pleasant pastimes, we also batted about a few weighty matters.

Our host, Shane, suggested that it was time to discuss repealing the minimum wage. If you are unskilled labor, you're probably not worth whatever minimum wage pays plus government mandated benefits. No business is going to hire people and lose money on them, hence the lack of jobs. The question was whether the desire for work would overcome the desire for government benefits and the entitlement mentality.

I would argue that in the end, it won't matter. Our upcoming fiscal crises will eliminate the minimum wage out of necessity. Dig this story from Spain.
Over the past 35 years, The Agudana, one of the largest slaughter houses in Lleida, has gone through heavy debts, change of management and even fires. But now, reports have confirmed that the Agudana slaughterhouse is lined up for a closure that will lead to the loss of 55 jobs. 
The Cooperativa Copeman Meat Slaughterhouse, better known as Agudana, made the announcement after facing serious problems of accumulated debts and liquidity issues, all the more; the company was forced to close. Over 55 workers are going to be left on the streets because of the technical insolvency issues of the slaughterhouse.
Here you not only have a company that can't cover its costs, you've got a company that produces food not being able to cover its costs. The science is settled: eating is a pretty basic need. The regulatory state will be dismantled when it becomes obvious that enforcing regulations can no longer be supported by reality. Spain can't pay for its entitlement programs while its regulations are forcing businesses central to daily life to go under. That can't go on forever.

Of course, if protestors sit in the street and wave their hands, that changes everything.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Go Pads!

It's doubly awesome because it was against the Dodgers!

Another (BIG) Reason For Optimism

The New York Times has a long, well-researched and thorough article today on the key to income inequality - marriage. Jason DeParle just kills it. He starts the article describing a friendship between two women who work at the same place.
But a friendship that evokes parity by day becomes a study of inequality at night and a testament to the way family structure deepens class divides. Ms. Faulkner is married and living on two paychecks, while Ms. Schairer is raising her children by herself. That gives the Faulkner family a profound advantage in income and nurturing time, and makes their children statistically more likely to finish college, find good jobs and form stable marriages.
Emphasis mine. Pardon me while I do an end zone dance.

Yes, YES, YES!

You CANNOT expect equivalent results with half the labor force and half the funds. It doesn't matter what you're producing - shoes, cars, children, whatever.

The New York Times, of all places, is now writing big budget articles about the biggest problem we face here in the US. After you read it and go through all the charts, graphs and numbers, you can't help but be convinced about what's going on. Jason, I love you!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Why You're Disappointed In Your Relationships

... it's because there's just not enough Barack Obama in them.
There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me — because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t — look,if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. (Applause.) 
If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.
See, the problem is this. You've had relationships with all kinds of people, but you've managed them poorly. Your mentors, your bosses, your employees, the guy who weeds the median strip on I-70, they all have relationships with you. Have you managed these relationships properly? Do you have metrics and charters and mission statements for each? Have you created standardized processes and gone through review boards to make sure they are complete?

Of course not. You live your life willy nilly*, just doing what you think is best, maintaining "private" relationships with all of these people. And what does that get you? Disappointment, that's what.

So here's a handy diagram that will improve all of your relationships. The next time you feel like you can handle choosing which car to buy, deciding what size soda to drink or paying for your condoms at the drug store on your own, stop and think of this diagram.

* - And how's your relationship with Willy Nilly? Just perfect? Ha! I thought not.

Spastic Mouse Movements With A Logitech MK550

Here in the luxurious editorial offices of The Scratching Post, we've been fighting with our mice. No, not the furry kind, the PC kind. Our wireless Microsoft keyboard and mouse combination was giving spastic responses. You'd move the mouse and the cursor would just sit there and then jump around like it was high on amphetamines. The RF connection for the set was right next to the mouse and keyboard and I'd changed the batteries, so I figured the mouse had finally died after 2-3 years of use.

I bought a Logitech MK-550 keyboard from Amazon and installed it. It comes with a USB RF connector and a USB extension cord in case you want the RF doohickey closer to your keyboard and mouse. I installed it without the extension cord right on the back of the PC. Yikes, the same thing! I Googled the problem and discovered this.
I dealt with this issue for a while and I think I can finally say that it is NOT an operating system issue. Same behavior occurs on MAC, Linux. Also it is not limited to USB, bluetooth mice have same issues. What I found is that there's a HUGE conflict between wireless devices that share same 2.4Ghz band (mice, keyboards, routers, NICs, etc).  It is not as noticeable on other devices because there's no visual indication of the problem, but the issue is there (see latency).

From what I can tell (I am spit balling here) there's too much congestion. In simple terms it is the radio band is too crowded. If you just pull up a list of routers in many areas you will at least see a dozen or more. Try this to humor yourself, start downloading something on a wireless machine nearby and see if your other PC's mouse starts to act up.
I found the Amped WiFi analytics app for my Droid2 and installed it. Wandering around the Catican, I discovered a swarm of interfering WiFi signals. Nothing the size of an old Soviet VLF jamming station, but there was plenty of garbage in the spectrum. Adding the USB extension cord and bringing the RF connector right up close to the mouse and keyboard completely solved the problem. The distance is no different than I had for the Microsoft set, but the results are much, much better. The mouse motions are now perfectly smooth.


Friday, July 13, 2012

You will not be able to print enough money in a thousand years

... to pay for the government we would need if the traditional family continues to collapse.

So said Congressman Mike Pence at the Iowa Freedom and Faith Coalition dinner in 2010. Meanwhile, today's WSJ has an article on Chicago's inability to gain control over its wildly violent South Side. The cops in Chicago are turning to technology for help.
CHICAGO—With murders and shootings surging here this year, police are fighting back by building a Facebook-like database that tracks the social connections of the city's dozens of street gangs and their myriad factions. 
The goal isn't to draw gang members closer together, but to keep them apart in the crucial hours after an attack.
Note that they're not even pretending they can stop the first attack, they're just trying to prevent immediate escalation. The logical countermove by the criminals is to wait for the cops to go away to seek revenge. Since the problem is the breakdown of civilization from the destruction of the traditional family, there's no real hope that this is going to work.
"The heart of the problem is this assumption that there's some rationality to these shootings," said John Hagedorn, a criminologist at the University of Illinois at Chicago who has studied the city's street gangs. "These aren't gang wars; this is just a lot of really spontaneous, nasty stuff going on."
And the crime isn't localized to the area where the gang bangers live because they're using technology, too. Cell phones and social networking give them the ability to form flash mobs anywhere, any time.
CHICAGO (CBS) – Eight teenagers have been charged with mob action, after four people were hurt in at least three mob attacks in and near downtown over the weekend. 
CBS 2’s Mai Martinez reports the most recent attack happened Sunday night in the 800 block of North Dewitt Place in the Gold Coast neighborhood. 
A 36-year-old man was walking home from work around 10 p.m. Sunday, when police say he was robbed and attacked by anywhere from 10 to 20 people. The man was taken to the hospital with a head injury, but he was able to walk on his own after the attack.
Chart that one if you can. And once you've got the technology in place and algorithms are humming away, this is what you've got to deal with:

What's the technological answer to that? What government programs need extra funding? In our hearts, we know there's no government plan to deal with this. None at all. After you watch that, doesn't Mike Pence sound prophetic?

“To those who say traditional marriage is not relevant to our budget crisis, I say this: You will not be able to print enough money in a thousand years to pay for the government we would need if the traditional family continues to collapse.”

There's More Where That Came From!

We now have proof positive that our Maximum Leader's rigorous training program for the Catican Guards is paying off. The two of them opened up a can of whupass on a letter carrier recently and were rewarded with this letter of commendation.

Before you walk into the Catican Compound, you better make sure your health and life insurance bills are paid up and you've got a Life Flight helicopter and SWAT team on standby.

Note: How and why this all happened is a mystery. Our mailbox is outside the Compound for just this reason. The carrier was a substitute and was delivering a package. She decided to open the gate and walk into the Compound to leave it at our door. The Guards barked and she freaked out. As far as I can tell, she was a desk jockey for the Post Office who was pressed into service because of the layoffs. She was unused to dogs and just came unglued. When she got back to the office, she had our mail delivery turned off. I had to go in and sign this form to get it turned back on.

If they can't manage to deliver the mail without having spaz attacks, imagine what they'll do for health care.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Isn't It Kind Of Surreal?

In my last post, I noted how a court in Germany has made circumcision illegal. Here in the US, the Federal government is cracking down on us Catholics, redefining what is and what isn't a religious institution until we're forced to live in organizational ghettos where we only serve our own kind.

Meanwhile, Stockton and San Bernardino have gone bankrupt. Italy was downgraded today, Spain is on a deathwatch and Greece is a zombie country. Detroit has collapsed and Scranton is down to it's last 5 grand.

Reading that story about the German court was a distinctly surreal experience. Marinated in government, Europe is now outlawing circumcisions while their entire financial system is collapsing around them. The American analog is perfect.

It's as if, while their house burns down, they're upstairs yelling at their kids because their beds aren't made properly.

Oh well. I hope they're enjoying the experience because it's not going to last long. It's impossible to enforce regulations and laws when there's no money left to pay for the enforcement mechanisms.

But ... Why?

A German court has declared circumcision illegal.
Cologne's regional court ruled on June 26 that doctors in Germany who circumcise a boy for religious reasons could be accused of committing bodily injury, even in cases where parents have given their express consent.
I guess religious orthodoxy is the sole province of the State.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A High Speed Choo Choo That Makes Sense

A reply to our Monks of Miscellaneous Musings.

Oceanside to Ventura carrying your car like a ferry on the water. Drive on, drive off. You bypass Los Angeles. No stops. When you arrive, you have your car.

Like this, only with passenger cars. You hang out in the club car while zipping past the LA traffic.

Another Aphid

Sigh. Thy're all over the place.
The Republican message to uninsured Americans in the wake of the Supreme Court’s recent ruling couldn’t be clearer: You’re on your own.

The party may not have officially adopted the “let ’em die” policy of right-wing hecklers at that CNN primary debate, when Ron Paul was asked what should be done when uninsured folks show up at the hospital. But as a practical matter, Republicans are in pretty unsavory territory.
Speaking of unsavory territory, how's that whole compassionate-cradle-to-grave thing working out in Greece?

Hey, at least the Greek government isn't telling anyone they are on their own.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

It's Time To Go Through The Sofa Cushions

... because Scranton is down to it's last $5,000.
Mayor Chris Doherty, a Democrat, temporarily cut the wages of police, firefighters and others to $7.25 an hour Friday, hours after a judge issued an injunction requested by three unions that represent most of the workers. A lawsuit filed July 2 in Lackawanna County Court on behalf of the unions argued that cutting the salaries unilaterally would violate the workers' contracts under state laws governing public employees as well as federal law.

Meanwhile, Scranton's business administrator said the city had just $5,000 in the bank last week after transferring enough money to cover the city's payroll at $7.25 an hour, the state's—and the nation's—minimum wage. Mayor Doherty has said that once the immediate crisis is over, workers will be paid their deferred pay.
For those of you who were wondering, here's how it works. You see, because the rich don't pay their fair share we need to give the workers a reasonable living wage and good benefits to make things fair and increase our use of renewable resources while creating green jobs that will result in more use of public transportation like high speed rail in order to get to school so we can immerse ourselves in diversity studies.

Either that or the public employee unions are omnivorous, ravening parasites that are killing their host.

Fairness: A swarm of aphids working with the dignity that comes from just wages.

Cheezburger of the Day

So Where's The Inflation?

A few posts ago, Tim asked the logical question, "With all this printing of money, where is the inflation?" After noodling around on the Interweb Tubes for a bit, I found a consensus among the non-foaming-at-the-mouth commentators that gives us two reasons for the lack of inflation.

The printed money is replacing lost money

When all those loans went pfft! and when the stock market crashed, money simply evaporated. Loans were written down and portfolio values shrank. Money that had existed at one time was no longer there. Much of the printing has gone to refill banks' reserves so we didn't end up with bank runs. A good explanation of this phenomena can be found here.

The lack of economic activity has slowed the velocity of money

It's not how much money is in the system, it's how much money times how fast it changes hands. One of the, err, advantages of Obama's economic policies is that no one knows just what in tarnation the government is going to do next. Whatever it is, it's not going to be good, whether it's Dean's high speed choo choos or insane EPA regulations or ObamaCare's monstrous regulations or Dodd-Frank turning the banks into swamps of pointless government paperwork. No one wants to engage in economic activity. The evidence is here:

All of that printed money is just sitting there right now. If it's inert, then it can't be chasing goods and services and so it can't be contributing to inflation. A good explanation of this can be found here.

Yay! We're saved from inflation!

Err, well, yes, we're saved for now. As soon as a grown up gets back into the White House and beats back the hordes of regulatory cannibals running wild in the streets of DC, we'll see economic activity pick up. If we're still printing money like crazy, we're going to be in for one wild ride.

Monday, July 09, 2012

The American Fascist Party

Update: Rereading this, it sounds awful shrill. However, every conversation I've had recently in comments or on Twitter with progressives echoes the sentiment given below by Ray LaHood. There is not a hint of a desire to check the power of the government, no limit on what they can regulate or tax or outright own.

I read this and thought, "Just what is wrong with you people?"
Echoing the laments of pundits like Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood argued Saturday that China outpaces the United States in building major transportation infrastructure like high-speed rail because of its authoritarian system and because the Chinese don't have the Republican Party holding up progress.

"The Chinese are more successful [in building infrastructure] because in their country, only three people make the decision. In our country, 3,000 people do, 3 million," LaHood said in a short interview with The Cable on the sidelines of the 2012 Aspen Ideas Festival on June 30. "In a country where only three people make the decision, they can decide where to put their rail line, get the money, and do it. We don't do it that way in America."
Huh? We long for the kind of place where Smart People make decisions for the Masses? How can anyone actually come out and say something like that and not cause a firestorm of criticism? How is this not front page stuff? This isn't crypto-fascism, but the real thing.

Life would be better if we could do away with political opposition? Maybe life would be better if we just took them out and shot them, Ray. I mean, don't get all misty-eyed about this, let's get on with it!

Ray LaHood isn't some wild-eyed loon that has to be tied back to the President through three chance linkages and an anonymous donation or two, this is the Transportation Secretary. And he wasn't fired after he said it, either.

The urge for totalitarianism in the Democratic Party is simply mind blowing.

Hey, if they're not going to be voting, maybe your political opponents could, you know, like, do some work.

Elsewhere: I know I'm late to the party - Our Monks of Miscellaneous Musings tore into him here with this lovely bit of vitriol.
Memo to Ray LaHood, you petulant, whiny-ass, little brat: go out and campaign for your side, make sure the President gets re-elected and take back the House so you can get as close to the one-party bliss of China that is legally allowed in this country and then you can build your g-dm'd high speed choo-choo system out in the wilds of Wyoming with money we don't have and for a people that don't want it.

Only 13 More Shopping Days!

... until National Moth Week!

We're all a-flutter here in the spacious editorial offices of The Scratching Post, let me tell you!

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Is This A Novelty Song?

So yesterday, while walking into a grocery store, I heard this song blasting out of someone's car stereo. I caught the first stanza which goes like this:
I keep my temperature at 74 when I'm at the crib
And 79 in the winter time, thats just how I live
But when the homies call n say lets hit the town,
when we do them haters frown,
nigga turn the heat down
I know we skip the line,
n bitches think we fine
It has to be the first pop song I've ever heard which deals with how you set your thermostat. Back in the day, it would have been a bit more perky and sold as a novelty song. Like this.

Ahh. Good times. Still, I wonder if the lads from Herman's Hermits would have done better if they'd wound up the song with a stanza like this:
I just come to kick it with the bitches,
I aint come for you
If you really want it,
yeah my homies got a gun or two
I take on every one of you,
whut'chu wanna do
Don't forget I got this whole club on my side,
trippin is dumb'a you
They probably would have been more respected by the "serious" music scene if they had. Oh well. Nowadays we know better.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Why Should You Put Wire Cages Around Your Tomato Plants?

Because it gives them something to wrestle. If they don't have that, they'll come looking to wrestle with you.

Whoa, Slow Down There!

Sound familiar?
Peron made the most ambitious effort to redirect existing wealth, but not in a sustainable fashion. From 1946 to 1955, he drew on the cornucopia fallacy to restructure wealth, but ignored the need to create it. He did so through wage and prices controls that turned basic elements of an economic system into political tools. Peron did not create an innovative fluid economic environment able to develop momentum. State-directed development became inflexible as political considerations made it impossible to shift resources around as economic needs changed. Any substantial redeployment of resources became a political decision. Insufficient investment in wealth creation failed to create new pools of resources available for economic expansion and social needs. What little surplus emerged often had been politically committed already.
Hold on a second, I'm taking notes!

Friday, July 06, 2012

Cheezburger of the Day

funny cat pictures - can opner?!?!
see more

Information Without A Proper Pedigree Should Be Ignored

Yesterday, I engaged a young Peronist on Twitter. They didn't know they were a Peronist, of course, as they probably didn't know who Juan Peron was or what he stood for. What they did know is that they wanted to tell everyone what to do.

Our kids attended Catholic schools for 16 years and we're always active within our schools and parishes. At no time have we heard any of the school or parish employees complain that their birth control costs weren't covered by the diocese' health insurance plan. Further, they were all skilled people and could find jobs elsewhere. The teachers even worked at the school for significantly less pay than they would get at the public schools.

Free people engaged in free commerce. One side sold their labor and skills and the other side offered salary and benefits. Everyone was able to come and go as they pleased.

The HHS mandate brings a new player into that transaction - the government. The government has descended on us like a shroud, bringing deadening regulations, laws and penalties that we did not need or want. Supporters of the HHS mandate point to arguments and polls in support of the new regulations, not asking the obvious question, "What business is it of mine to butt in?"

Are their lives governed by our arguments and our polls? Would they like that? Pointing this out did no good.

Me: I think a free people can manage their working relationships just fine without you

Peronist: The facts are this free people has decided they like gov't.

So then I tried a financial line. Here in California, budgets are already being slashed as the government grapples with decades of overreach. I tried to point out that you can have all the regulations you want, but if you can't pay to enforce them, they're essentially invisible.

I threw the Peronist a link to Victor Davis Hanson's (VDH) excellent piece on the Two Californias. What I saw driving around Taft, CA, mirrors exactly what VDH had to say. The regulations in rich San Diego don't apply in poor Taft. Government has receded from those areas and taken regulators with it. As government shrinks still further, either the lawless regions will grow or the laws will have to be scaled back. It's not ideology, it's math.

Well, that was a mistake. It turns out the VDH piece was in National Review Online (NRO) and I guess NRO had some kerfuffle involving someone writing something someone considered racist. That was enough for the Peronist. Dismissing it with an airy wave of his patrician hand, he sniffed that, "NRO is a joke. When you've published racists, your rag isn't worthy to be read."*

So facts aren't facts unless they come from the right kind of people. Information needs a proper pedigree or the cognoscenti can safely ignore it. Sigh. It makes talking to them so difficult. You can't simply marshal facts, you have to confine yourself to channels where the decent people write. It's like dealing with a psychotic where you have to avoid certain terms or else they go bananas. It's exhausting.

Good thing we're not hurtling towards fiscal disaster, otherwise this would really matter. 
* - No, I don't want to go down that line of argument. The flash mobs / Rev. Wright / Louis Farrakahn / etc. path. It's just so painfully stupid.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

They Might Need To Rethink That Whole Peg-to-the-Euro Thing In Denmark

Well, you have to give them credit over there on the Continent. They keep finding new ways to start bank runs.
For Europe, the outlook is bleaker. The ECB cut its key rate to 0.75%, moving below 1% for the first time in its history, and lowered its deposit rate to zero. The hope might be that banks that have stashed €790.9 billion ($989 billion) with the ECB would now deploy it elsewhere. But ECB President Mario Draghi noted it couldn't affect banks' lack of risk appetite, ameliorate their lack of capital or boost demand for credit.

The ECB's move also triggered a cut in Denmark, since the krone is pegged to the euro, and that took Danish deposit rates to an unprecedented minus 0.2%. In the long term, negative interest rates may lead to problems with the functioning of the banking system, as it is more attractive to hold cash physically rather than leave it in the bank.

Ten-lined June Beetle

I'll leave the expert analysis for Tim, but we found this character clinging to a window screen and couldn't help but admire him. He was about the length of the first joint of my thumb. Looking through the Bug Guide, I'm guessing him to be a scarab beetle of some kind, probably a Polyphylla decemlineata.

I left the images pretty big, so clicking on them should be rewarding. Enjoy!

Fascism Isn't Just For The Feds, You Know

Wow. Just wow.
A handful of local officials in California who say the housing bust is a public blight on their cities may invoke their eminent-domain powers to restructure mortgages as a way to help some borrowers who owe more than their homes are worth.

Eminent domain allows a government to forcibly acquire property that is then reused in a way considered good for the public—new housing, roads, shopping centers and the like. Owners of the properties are entitled to compensation, which is usually determined by a court.

But instead of tearing down property, California's San Bernardino County and two of its largest cities, Ontario and Fontana, want to put eminent domain to a highly unorthodox use to keep people in their homes.

The municipalities, about 45 minutes east of Los Angeles, would acquire underwater mortgages from investors and cut the loan principal to match the current property value. Then, they would resell the reduced mortgages to new investors.
Well, why not? We want it to happen, so let's make it happen. Here's how it works.
  1. You borrow money from someone else to buy an asset without the government being involved
  2. You don't want to / can't pay the money back
  3. The (city) government seizes the asset, tells the lender to shove it and gives the asset back to you
  4. Lenders keep operating like normal and don't flee the city
  5. Patria Socialista!

It all seems so logical. Like unicorns riding steampunk ariships.