Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Little Harder Civics Test

Knowing how you and I like tests, I present this somewhat more challenging test.

I "answered 32 out of 33 correctly — 96.97 %

Average score for this quiz during November: 77.8%
Average score: 77.8%"

Now, this is where it gets interesting: the test was given to mere mortals like you and me, and to those who have run for and won public office. The results were fascinating. On a question be question basis, politicians know less than the rest of us.

Ok, everyone, your turn.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Saxby Chambliss - enough already!

For Gods Sake!!! Somebody kill that Saxby with his family ad. Every eight minutes or so, they play an ad where the ten or so grandkids shout in unison: "Please vote for mah big daddy".
I am still going to vote for him just to keep the Senate below 60 Democrats, but I can never look at him the same again. But don't we as Southerners have to face enough prejudice without sounding like a Tennessee Williams play?

Southern White Males, the only group it is politically correct to make fun of. And they caricaturize themselves to boot.


On the side of this Blog page is a cute little applet that shows and tracks the price of gold. I don't own any gold, mostly because while it is a great hedge against hyper-inflation, I do not do much in the way of $1000 transactions. Oh, a house, and a camera, and an occasional car, but other than that? For hyper-inflation, I stick to Silver, heavier per value, but its nice twenty dollar per troy ounce¹ increments far more liquid.
BUT, Gold is an excellent barometer of the health of wealth. And in the last 40 hours, I have noticed something. Gold has increased against the dollar by 20% - It went from $775 per troy ounce spot price to $925.10 per ounce. This is an increase of almost exactly 20%. Somebody somewhere with lots of Money² thinks the world just went to hell in a handcart

¹ Not spot - what you or I would actually pay to hold it in our hot little hands.
²First mis-type was Monet. Probably have lots of those too.

Good New from Mombai!

This just in: (CNN News (true))
President Elect Obama has been briefed on the conflict in Mombai the city in India formerly known as Bombay. President Elect has put his transition team to work on the situation.
Unfortunately, he is prevented from accomplishing his goals due to an obscure rule preventing his control of the military until January.
This also noted: Bush is aware of the events.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Protest March -- November 2008

Protest March -- November 22
Originally uploaded by luxomni
In solidarity with the protest, I will not be cooking a turkey this Thanksgiving.

(Disclaimer - nothing in this post is any indication that I will not eat one should one that is already dead and cooked pass in front of me. Please pass the ... )

Monday, November 24, 2008

On the Credit Crunch or Words Mean Something

"Credit is the provision of resources (such as granting a loan) by one party to another party where that second party does not reimburse the first party immediately, thereby generating a debt, and instead arranges either to repay or return those resources (or material(s) of equal value) at a later date. The first party is called a creditor, also known as a lender, while the second party is called a debtor, also known as a borrower."
....................................Wikipedia <- credit of source, so you can believe ...

From third person singular from the Latin credo or "I believe", credit is the root of all societies from the origin of time. Credit is the belief that at some point in the future you will be repaid plus something for the use of your money/property/labors/credit.
The Wikipedia definition of credit is merely one use of the word, and it has bullied its way to the forefront; but the root meaning of belief is still valid as the cause of the crunch. Belief.
The problem is: What do we as a people believe in? God? Our Country? It's Constitution? Our money? Our Future? Our humanity? Our selves?

For the last century we have been crawling then walking, then striding toward a belief in nothing. Not just Atheism, but anarchy. Driven by a media, Politicians, and an educational system some with good intentions, some not, but with a commonality that they attribute no importance to the individual other than as being owned by society. Then there should be no surprise that the population holds no credit in our future. They instinctively credit these bailouts and the president-elect's promises are written to be paid for with an every increasing draft on our future labor. And that belief means less of our future for ourselves and our families. That you can believe.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Dis-establishing Another Holiday

The Liberal politically Correct faction of our society is disassembling our culture one holiday at a time. First they killed off Columbus Day and most recently they killed off any public expression of Christmas, even secular.

This morning (11/23/08) I was listening to PBS on XM radio. This is not something I normally do, but while learning the new XM channels, I had tuned past and stayed on Prairie Home Companion. So when I drove to the store this morning PBS was on. I am not familiar enough to name person and show, but the point of the interview was plain enough -- Pilgrims. African Americans in the South and Hispanics in California can not identify with Pilgrims. Even Russian immigrants in New York City can not identify with Thanksgiving. So it is a Holiday that has lived past its prime. No mention of assimilating to an existing tradition. No mention of establishing commonalities. Simply stated, there weren't any minority Pilgrims, so it has to go.

I think I'll just go cry somewhere. But I am Thankful we had it for most of my life.

p.s. Yesterday was November 22nd. It passed for me without hearing without any mention of 1963. Every newscast contained Jan 20th 2009 though.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Water, water, everywhere ...

And the Albatgore begins to be avenged.

Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink ;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.
....................Samuel Taylor Coleridge
....................The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Yesterday was International Toilet Day. There is an advocacy group (what else) who want to stamp out flush toilets as destroying water. If there was ever an advocacy group that displayed its true ignorance to a greater extent, I am not aware of it.*
Water is not destroyed -- except in an occasional high school chemistry class -- by man or nature. Water may carry unpalatable things with it, even pollutants. But it is never irretrievable. Whether in its gaseous, liquid or solid state, it is still water.
The problem is distribution. Three quarters to seven eighths of the earth's surface is water, generally saline. If we need more, we only have to desalinate it. While that requires energy, that is a job best done by solar energy.
If you ever fly into San Francisco, at the south end of San Francisco Bay you will notice large square patterns in the water. These are evaporative salt ponds. They are filled with bay water which is allowed to evaporate to harvest salt. The water is allowed to escape and fall to earth as rain somewhere else. One possibility it to allow ocean water to flow by gravity to areas like the Salton Sea, Death Valley, or the eastern end of the Sahara Desert, or the Gobi and allow open evaporation to increase the rainfall in the downwind area. I can hear the Earth Firsters already -- "You are destroying nature". But the truth is we would not be. For nature has already been there and done that. The problem was that the source of water got blocked and the process ceased. We would merely be setting the earth's clock back and repriming its pump.
To a lessor scale, the evaporative process could be done in a closed loop system of contained evaporative ponds. This would be suitable for places like Dubai, and it would not surprise me to find these passive energy desalinators in use there already. After all, they have an enclosed ski mountain. To them this investment would be child's play. The byproduct salts would be added income.
And finally, there is the Gwinnett water system answer. Little spoken of because of human sensibilities or the lack thereof; but safe nonetheless. Thee sewage effluent is treated and released back into Lake Lanier where it it drawn tempered by fresh water, treated again and sent back to your home.

*With the possible exception of the environmental services person at the school system where I work who fell for my MSDS sheet warning of the dangers of Hydrogen Hydroxide (or as Neal Boortz calls it Di-Hydrogen Monoxide).

Monday, November 17, 2008

Atlanta's underfunded arts

Letter to the Editor after an article in the local counterculture paper.
Mara quoted Karen Tauches:
"It's a double standard," she says. "You're supposed
to make art at this international, expensive level;
like it's no good unless it's manufactured and
clean, it's in a crisp, white space, and it gets
pressed in Art in America or something."

It always seems to come down to the same thing, doesn't it? You as an artist want somebody else to pay for your art whether they want to or not. Then, yes, we should get to choose what we think is good enough to pay for, not you; after all it is our money you want to be given.
Think of someone actually paying for your art as the ultimate critical review of your work. The only artistic review I can think of that was better was the one given by to another government funded artist by the cleaning crew of the about to be opened Richard Russell Federal Building when they carried it out to the dumpster with the rest of the trash.

You want money for art? Do something that someone else will want to keep seeing. You want to be paid whether they like it or not -- and you really don't care whether you do please them or not. In fact you revel in the superiority of your taste over that of the ordinary people you want to fund your work. You are in it for your own enjoyment. There is a term for doing something solely for your own enjoyment without trying to please another person. That term is masturbation.

(BTW, Karen, you look really dumb in that badly tied tie)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Think as I think

Stormy Weather
Originally uploaded by luxomni
"Think as I think," said a man,
"Or you are abominably wicked;
You are a toad."
And after I had thought of it,
I said, "I will, then, be a toad."

......... Stephen Crane

Friday, November 14, 2008

Fifty Million Americans | Organizing

I found an interesting site. One of the inherent problems is that Libertarians and to a lesser extent Republicans are parties of individuals, individual sovereignty, and individual rights; unlike the Democrat party which is an alliance of self-interested groups that intend to enrich and empower themselves at the expense of others.
Despite the humor of Will Rogers many decades ago: "I don't belong to an organized political party - I'm a Democrat." The truth is that the organization of the Democrat party is dogmatic and strictly enforced. It is the Republicans who can never agree on a direction to plow. And libertarians, by their very nature are loners.

I have never been much of a joiner. I didn't even do well with the Boy Scouts (could never memorize those pesky laws - even if I did follow most of them) Did one meeting with the VFW and gave up after all the pomp-and-circumstance -- "Sergeant-at-Arms bar the doors and make sure no non-members are present" and calling each other "Comrade" had a ring of self-important silliness. My three shots at employment with labor unions was enough to convince me that men and lemmings shared a lot of the same genes and that left to a group men would shoot themselves in the foot every time. (And that every union's "international"* officers exist to enrich themselves at the expense of the membership)

So if we as individuals are ever to be able to withstand the onslaught of communitarianism that is washing over the United states, we will have to band together as something. As individuals, we will never withstand the drive to stamp out individualism. I do not know yet if this group is the one, but I am going to learn more and consider it.

Fifty Million Americans | Organizing

* Singing the Internationale the whole time.

On Stolen Elections

My first wife and were only married about four years. In all that time we never had an argument where she admitted she was wrong. The law of averages says that at least once-in-a-while I had to be right. I mention this because I noticed something interesting about found and corrected ballots. It was true also in the famous 2000 Florida recounts. It seems that all the "found" ballots are from voters who voted for the person who needs the votes, in this case, Al Franken. For the moment, I will refrain from saying voter fraud. I know that the person who "found" the ballots in her car was a Democrat worker as are almost all workers in Government offices. But there seems to be a lot of stupidity running around. Perhaps this is a characteristic of Democrats? Why were the ballots in her car? Why didn't she know she even know they were there? Why did she only have ballots from people who voted for Al Franken? Questions that will never be asked, much less honestly answered.
Apparently, only Democrat voters foul up ballots. Only Democrat voters have to change their votes. Only Democrat voters have to have their ballots studied to divine their real intentions. Just as before, only Democrat voters could not figure out how to push a chad out of a tabulating card. If not stupidity on the part of the voters, it can only be attributed to dishonesty on the part of the counters.

It sort of reminds me of the famous Chicago election where the machine candidate wasn't content to win, he had to give himself 100% of the vote. A few people protested and the fraud was found out. That and it reminds me of my ex who could not afford to lose even one argument.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

snow blown

snow blown
Originally uploaded by luxomni
Winter is icumen in,
Lhude sing Goddamn,
Raineth drop and staineth slop,
And how the wind doth ram!
Sing: Goddamn.
Skiddeth bus and sloppeth us,
An ague hath my ham.
Freezeth river, turneth liver,
Damn you, sing: Goddamn.
Goddamn, Goddamn, 'tis why I am, Goddamn,

So 'gainst the winter's balm.
Damn you Sing goddamn, damn, Damn you sing Goddamn,
Sing goddamn, sing goddamn.

...............................................Ezra Pound

Sunday, November 9, 2008

In Memoriam -- Rockmart Seaboard Station

Rockmart Seaboard Station
Originally uploaded by luxomni
It would have made a nice rest stop and snackbar on the Silver Comet Trail. It sat in the middle of a wye where the tracks in front of it and behind it in this view have not been used in years. And the one behind me is seldom used. It would have kept the railroad motif of the trail where once the luxury train from Washington through the South ran.

I say "would have" because, alas, it is no more. Our governments tax the property of the railroad whether or not it is in use with no mercy. Instead of trying to conserve the past or encourage the future, we tax and tax again to sqeeze every last penny into our government coffers to buy votes with, or to enrich out public office holders. The environmentalists wring their hands at our energy use, but do not encourage our Government to provide incentive to re-establish private mass transit . Only inefficient, inconvenient and unserving government transit is to be encouraged.

So another quaint old station succumbs to the bulldozer, and we are that much more impoverished by it.

Irony is invisible to the truly ironic

I spoke to two small businessmen in the latter half of this week -- a Pakistani gas station owner, and an Indian small restaurant owner. They are the opposite of the custodians I wrote of yesterday. They came here for the wealth, not the freedom. Each is dead center in the crosshairs of the coming rape of the wealthy, but neither sees it.
The gas station owner said "Oh, no, I am not going to be taxed. I do not make $250,000 a year, but my cousin does. He is rich, let him pay it." I guess he does not know that the Bush tax cuts sunset in 2010.
The small restaurant owner frowned when I asked him how he felt about the election. Obama will raise his taxes. "Good, I thought someone who gets it". Until the subject of medical care came up. I mentioned that I had not thought McCain to be much better on that subject. Ali became quite animated. He needed medical care. It was too expensive. The government must provide it. "How?" I asked. The cost is the wages of the doctors, nurses and companies who work in the health care field. Should they work for free? "But they must" he said, for "we all need medical and I cannot afford it". He has a disconnect between them and himself. We all must eat. Even more universal than the need for medicine. Must he feed me? And not profit from it?
Yeah, that might work. For how long? We could enslave the doctors and nurses to be government employees paid by their own taxes. Drawing the same reward whether they worked hard or goofed off.
But when this generation is gone why would they spend those hard years in college for a fixed reward? And the companies? What medicine has any government ever developed? Not even euthanyl is a government drug, although it would be the type that they would develop. Without profit as a motive, why bother? Develop a better Wii game instead or become the all-American profit machine -- become a lawyer and tort your way to wealth.

Time to Reread Atlas Shrugged

It always amazes me how prescient she was. She saw all this coming fifty years ago and more. As you may or may not know, I spend my Saturdays touring the vanishing small towns taking pictures of what is left of the industry that made the United States great. Yesterday, the Saturday after the election of he who will provide prosperity by government spending,

I walked through the ruins of an old factory in a one factory town. There is not much left, but people. After the factory left, the company that bought the factory couldn't restore the glory and tore it down for scrap only to quit half way through. The businesses of the town shuttered. The people stayed on. Some owned, some rented, some squatted. Some commute to the next town to ride its factory down, and the rest just wait for their relief check. I could see myself walking with Dagny and Hank Rearden looking through the rubble to find the secret of the motor to run the universe in this, the wreckage of our prosperity surrounded by the people who thought that the jobs that the factory provided were theirs by virtue of their need. I have seen so many of these now but I cannot seem to become inured to them.

This election is proof that more than half of our country think that the can get more out of the equation that they put in. Providing something of value -- your own labor -- is unnecessary to derive benefit, whether that be food, shelter, or even medicine.

We can tax corporations to provide our needs -- why is the price going up? It must be their greed.
We can tax the rich to provide our needs -- the sum total of the wealth of the Fortune five hundred won't drive the country but a day. Two at the most. And then they are gone, greedy bastards, deserting us. They must work for our needs. We, no, we don't -- They need us. Of course they do. From each according to his ability to each according to his need. And the rich need us, the poor. What for?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

First impressions

My "real" job is to keep the electricity and electrical systems running in a large public school system. I have noticed a few things this week after the election of Barak Obama.
My first shock was the behavior of the teachers - or at least the black ones. The celebration, the dancing, high-fiving and cries of "We won", while not surprising, were inappropriate in the setting of the schools. Had the results been opposite, similar actions by white teachers could be considered criminal.
Two, the expressed presumption that I was a McCain supporter (I voted for him, but I was anything but a supporter) by a black teacher is prejudice. period. Plus, she overlooks that more white persons voted for Obama than black persons did. That's right. Blacks make up about 12% of the population and Obama got more than 55% of the vote. Without the white vote, he would have had 11% of the vote. Total. So four times as many whites and asians voted for Obama as blacks did.
One more. The custodians in my schools. Once a job for uneducated blacks, our custodians more and more are from second and third world countries. Daily I encounter Romanians, Bosnians, Serbs, Russians, Moldavians, Cambodians, Vietnamese, lots of Cubans and a Herzogovnian. Most are working below their educational level and their occupations in their old countries. They are all refugees from Communist countries and all that I have talked to so far are unhappy with this election -- and scared. Many are better informed than I. My earlier post on killings being an integral part of every Communist revolution from the French Revolution until Venezuela came from a particularly outspoken Cuban custodian. A Vietnamese yesterday cautioned me about re-education camps. "They tell you bring ten days food. Stay twenty years."
We have spoken much about "media bias" during this election --CBS, CNBC, CNN, New York Times. And we have had our "new media" Fox, Worldnetnet Daily, Little Green Footballs, Rush, Hannity, Boortz and Glen Beck. But there is another "new media" out there. The ethnic presses of the various immigrant communities. And they recognize what is happening even if our children don't. They have seen it before. The road to hell on earth paved with good intentions. And they are scared of reliving the past.
I am not thrilled about the election, but I do not harbor that kind of fear -- yet. I am more afraid of social upheaval; a disruption of the food chain similar to the one that disrupted the gasoline supplies last month. Combine that with confiscation of the registered guns (you can not really believe that that thieves and owners of unregistered and stolen guns are going to turn theirs in -- do you?) and that redistribution of wealth is obvious and simple. Your food - their mouths. And I do believe that neither Obama the man nor Obama the phenomenum can or desire to protect us.