Saturday, August 4, 2012

More News From Russia

Earlier this week Russia announced it would be reviving it's presence on three military bases, claiming to do this so they could better coordinate with allies globally. I hope anyone reading this will pardon my skepticism but considering the culture of Russia and their stated expansionist goals in the region I don't believe it, especially with the way they are provoking the Chinese, The Peoples Republic of China has long had an interest in Vietnam as part of the greater Asian continental land mass, and with the Russians announcing an increased presence at Cam Ranh airbase (which is in and of its self interesting as historically the U.S.S.R. denied involvement in Vietnam and those denials were continued by the new Russian government later. One could surmise that those denials were not in fact entirely accurate since according to Pravda this announcement dealt specifically with reviving presences at specific locals) it is impossible to believe that the former soviet state is taking this action blindly or lightly.

The question then becomes what is that goal? Well, Russia has had one of its state goals as the reacquisition of former territories, and considering that a military presence really only has three uses it is clear. Before I go on I'll state that those three purposes are intertwined or at least complimentary. The collection of intelligence for strategic and tactical planning is the first of these reasons and does not need to be gone in to. Diplomacy is another of the reasons, sharing military expertise is a long established method of building trust and is a form of "soft power" that often leads to cooperation on a larger scale. The final reason is of course the projection of "hard power" in terms of military force, when taken in total it is a very worrying move.

That picture is only somewhat reduced in its pure shock value when you understand how greatly reduced the Russian Navy and Air Force are in terms of materiel strength. You can look on Google Earth and see the rusting hulks in most of the Russian military shipyards. George Little at the Pentagon said Russia has the right to seek international partnerships and he is right, but I certainly hope no one in planning is treating this likely, the lack of materiel is our biggest advantage over a resurgent expansionist Russia since it gives us time to prepare, but it is an advantage that needs to not be squandered by indecisiveness. As Washington said, the best way to secure peace is to prepare for war.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Some Men Just Want To Watch It Burn

An adaptation of a line from the Joker in the second of Christopher Nolan's Batman movies as well as borrowing from the title of Stanley Kurtz' article at National Review where he goes in to the anti-suburban, wealth redistributionist policies of President Obama. It's an amazingly well done and scholarly article that I won't try to recreate here, I'm just going to try to hit the key notes. It all goes back to BHO's community organizer roots, the major fight in the 80's when the president was about people fleeing the cities for suburbia and how this "unjustly took money from the poorest communities". A bunch of idiotic claptrap, but it was the thinking of the movement the president found himself in. The policy crafters of the movement wanted, and still want, a more "regional" form of thinking with suburban towns folded in to the administration of the cities they surround, sharing schools, infrastructure projects, and more via sharing of tax revenues.

Off course that sort of foolishness never gains traction when gone after directly, you need to convince the generally more wealthy suburban inhabitants to share their money, and the easiest way to do that is to make travel prohibitively expensive, while blocking development of businesses in the surrounding suburban communities. Puts a different spin on those protestors whining about walmart trying to open a store nearby, huh? This drives down property values in those areas surrounding the city by strangling growth of jobs and forcing consumers to spend spend spend in the city. The next step is imposing low income housing quotas to move the urban poor to a new locale where they can be suburban poor.

Criminality may not know race but it does know it's demographics, and the lower classes tend to have a higher rate of crime and a higher rate of recidivism so when you move them to a new area there is a small increase in tax revenue but dramatic increase in the cost of maintaining infrastructure due to vandalism, and an equally large increase in the work load of police departments. The sum of that is you tend to see smaller suburban communities annexed by larger cities in the name of sharing the work and the wealth and it's a particularly insidious form of wealth redistribution, one of President Obama's stated goals during his 2008 campaign and first term. It's not even something he hides, he crows about his belief in economic justice and spreading the wealth around. Kinda scary this guy is called a moderate by the press, huh?

The Budget Gourmand: Bacon Pizza

If the president could get a Nobel for what people thought he represented and would accomplish someone needs to bring the writer of The Free Range Human to the committees attention for his achievement of what may be the most perfect guy food ever, the bacon pizza. He even put pepperoni on a pizza with bacon for a crust. Someone contact the vatican so we can determine if this is a sin or qualifies as one of the miracles required to be named a saint.

When The Company You Are Investing In Suggests They Are A Risk Maybe You Should Listenn

The House Energy and Commerce Committee released some White House and other e-mails relating to Solyndra. Unsurprisingly, there were so very many warnings that this was a risky method of using taxpayer dollars, and it appears those warnings were ignored. White House Aide Aditya Kumar e-mailed communications director Dan Pfeiffer and other aids to say:

“Dan: Some background.  This is a Recovery Act Grant. Details: Will be first DoE Loan Guarantee since 1980s (since the geothermal grants in the 80s, I believe).  Total amount will be $535M (with a $107M govt subsidy).  This is a solar panel manufacturing company in Fremont, CA.

Story is two things: JOBS: Solyndra estimates this will create thousands of jobs (over 3,000K was on estimate I saw but not sure how dated that was); When Government Plays a Part, It can Bring the Private Sector Along: Solyndra has secured over large amounts in private capital which is a story in itself.”

However all those promised  jobs went up in smoke, and it isn't hard to figure out how when you consider that one of their main investors, Brad Jones, contacted chief economic adviser for the Obama Administration Larry Summers to tell him in an e-mail that:

“One of our solar companies with revenues of less than $100 million (and not yet profitable) received a government loan of $580 million; while that is good for us, I can’t imagine it’s a good way for the government to use taxpayer money (I’d prefer my opinion about that specific company to be between us). Every administration seems to feel it knows better than the private markets how to allocate capital, and I’ve just never seen that be true.”


A May 8, 2010 memo from an unidentified figure in Solyndra to George Kaiser Family Foundation Executive Director Ken Levit (George Kaiser was one of Solyndra’s largest investors):


"The past five months have witnessed a tremendous competitive headwind for the company coupled with some severe management mistakes. Cutting to the chase – we will not be going public during 2010 and our longer term business plan looks to be somewhat in jeopardy…. I think there is still a plan here to getting a solid return out of Solyndra for ourselves (and our friends and family shares alongside us) but we have pushed out any significant positive event until 2011 and perhaps 2012."

Yet mere months after it was revealed there would be no initial public offering  or IPO and that the company was in fact at serious risk of folding, Obama spoke at their plant praising them as the model of a government/private sector partnership. You know, maybe he was right on that at least.

Vietnamese Batpod Prototype

What more is there to say? Some vietnamese guy made a motorcycle for himself, apparently from spare parts, inspired by the Batpod from The Dark Knight. It looks like those handlebars will snap off the moment he breaks at any sort of speed, sending him flying to be run over by his own bike.... but I kind of want one.

A Marine Stuns A Crowd with Forgotten 4th Verse

Full disclosure, I'm not a christian, but I have to get this link out, of a marine stunning a crowd at a public event with a moving rendition of the forgotten 4th verse of the national anthem, enjoy. Thanks to my buddy C. for sending me this link as well.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Bald Is Beautiful

So, I tend to keep my hair about medium length, not short but definitely more than enough  for a bit of hair pulling in intimate moments. Unfortunately I got a hair cut and the stylist was apparently too enthralled with gossiping with one of her co workers to pay attention. I ended up with the choice of walking around with a bald spot, or shaving my head and letting it all grow back evenly. Guess what I decided on.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Singularity Is Coming

Fans of science fiction or just technology in general will be pleased to learn that 3D Printers have become so precise and easy to use that a man printed an AR-15 receiver. I've worked at a plant that makes firearms parts and current industrial tech for making a receiver is big, loud and messy and that is the biggest issue with making your own firearm. Technically the receiver is just the framework that holds all the other parts in place, but it is the most important part as well because an out of spec receiver means nothing else will fit and operate as it should. Legally it is also the part that is classified as a firearm and carries serial numbers on it. This might be the single biggest obstacle gun grabbers have ever been faced with due to technology, and I love it. However the gun rights issue is not the main point here.

3D Printers are part of a shift in manufacturing, along with nanofabrication, that is  miniaturizing the whole process of creating parts in tight tolerances, and as that technology becomes easier to use and cheaper it's going to drastically decentralize the manufacturing process worldwide. Imagine a world in which your local computer store can fabricate and assemble your dreams machine in a matter of hours, it's going to be cheaper than ever before because delicate parts don't need to be shipped in special packing any more, just batches of raw material. It will even simplify storage since materials in bulk can be stored in simple, standard containers. Wait times on special orders at service locations (such as auto shops and electronics repair shops) will be a matter of minutes or hours to make the part from a licensed design, instead of days or weeks to send the order to the factory and then get a part shipped out.

Of course we aren't there yet, but every step there is a step closer to a changed economy, one less dependent on the antiquated infrastructure of yesterday and today and that means our leaders need to start thinking of how to build towards that bright tomorrow, not something that politicians are well known for. Congress is always fighting over the last issue, but here's hoping the next round will go better than the last.

Newsflash: Illegal Immigrants Released By The Feds Committed More Crimes!

The Washington Post has an article up about the 16% recidivism rate of illegal immigrants that the Obama administration was notified of but declined to detain and deport. The article points out that this recidivism rate in a selected group of forty seven thousand immigrants is only part of a much larger statistic, of the one hundred and sixty thousand illegal immigrants reported by Secure Communities criminal activity resulted in more than sixty thousand additional charges. Some of the individuals reported were not in fact here illegally of course, no system is perfect, but this is a clear example of why control of our borders is needed, many of the worst offenders had extensive criminal histories in their native countries that should have barred them from entering the United States as these patterns of behavior clearly show the individuals in question had no intention of becoming law abiding citizens, but instead  burdens on society as they are repeatedly jailed at the taxpayer's expense.

Just among the studied group criminal activity included nineteen murders, three attempted murders, and one hundred and forty two sex crimes. People like that do not deserve the benefit of the doubt and I don't mean immigrants, I'm no xenophobe, I mean people who come here illegally. That initial act shows a complete disregard for our system of government and the culture of respect for the rule of law that is fundamental to the American experiment. Break our laws and you should go directly to jail and then back to your own nation, do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars. I'm sorry if that seems harsh to anyone but it is what is necessary to protect our country and culture from devolution in to a morass.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Too Much Olympics

These guys have some great ideas on making the Olympics more interesting, not to sound like a crank but no one gives a damn about synchronized diving. I would however love to see synchronized divers doing their routines while avoiding javelins and arrows. Thanks to Harvey at IMAO for tipping everyone off to this great bit of video.

Getting Drunk With The Gourmand

Irish Coffee     


This classic Irish coffee recipe comes from Dutch Kills, a bar in Long Island City, New York. This style of Irish coffee was popularized in the 1940s by Joseph Sheridan, a chef in the port city of Foynes, Ireland according to the legends. Sheridan’s recipe went as follows: Cream; rich as an Irish brogue; Coffee; strong as a friendly hand; Sugar; sweet as the tongue of a rogue; Irish whiskey; smooth as the wit of the land.

What to buy: Powers or Jameson Irish Whiskey is recommended. In a pinch, aƱejo or Jamaican rum, tequila reposado, and bourbon are acceptable substitutes.



TIME/SERVINGS
Total Time: 5 mins
Makes: 2 drinks


INGREDIENTS
6 teaspoons Demerara or turbinado sugar
3 ounces Irish whiskey
4 ounces espresso
4 ounces water
3 ounces heavy cream
2 fresh mint leaves, for garnish (optional)
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Place 4 teaspoons of the sugar, the whiskey, espresso, and water in a small saucepan and stir to combine. Set over low heat and stir occasionally until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is hot but not boiling, about 5 minutes.
  2. Place the remaining 2 teaspoons sugar and the cream in a medium bowl and whisk until the cream thickens and the sugar has dissolved, about 2 minutes.
  3. Transfer the hot coffee mixture to two 8-ounce heatproof glasses or mugs, top with a heaping spoonful of the whipped cream, and garnish with the mint leaves (if using). Serve immediately.

Han Shot First, But At Least George Has His Heart In The Right Place

The Muir Beach Volunteer Fire Department has received a big gift courtesy of filmmaker George Lucas. Lucas donated one of his two engines from his Skywalker Ranch fleet in Lucas Valley after the Muir Beach fire department had entered into negotiations to buy the vehicle.
Lucas’ representatives quoted a price of $55,000, which was below market value for the engine, which could fetch up to $90,000, said Fire Chief Steve Wynn. As negotiations continued there was a pause in talks.
“The next thing I knew they said, ‘George is just going to give it to you,’” Wynn said. “It was a huge moment. My mouth sort of dropped open. I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding.’”
If the department had to buy the International engine with Pierce apparatus it would have wiped out its annual budget, meaning the purchase of other firefighting gear would have been delayed.

This is all according to firerescue1.com, a site that shares news about fire departments and safety. Say what you will about Mr Lucas, his tampering with historic pieces of cinema bugs a lot of fans and I'm including myself in that group, but he has his heart in the right place with helping the Muir Beach volunteers to save lives, let's just hope he isn't going to demand to replace the water effects with cgi.

Presidential Courage

The daily caller reports that in the new book “Leading From Behind: The Reluctant President and the Advisors who Decide for Him,” Richard Miniter retells how Obama canceled the mission in January 2011, again in February, and a third time in March under the advice of senior adviser Valerie Jarret. At the time, the White House blamed the delay on unfavorable weather conditions near bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. However, when Miniter obtained that day’s weather reports from the U.S. Air Force Combat Meteorological Center, he said, they showed ideal conditions for the SEALs to carry out their orders. If these claims are true then the cancellations would seem to have more to do with the optics of the mission and public perceptions about the president than real concerns about national security. I haven't gotten to read this book yet, it's scheduled for release on August 21st, but I'm planning to and if the story bares out like the caller reports than you can expect me to howl for the president to lose his job.

DOJ And The New Black Panthers

It looks like there is more bad news for Eric Holders DOJ as Judicial Watch, a conservative watch dog group, has gotten ahold of some telling documents concerning the voter intimidation case against the New Black Panthers. You can read more at The Clash Daily or The Washington Examiner but needless to say this is bad for Eric Holder, it makes him more and more of a liability to President Obama as election day draws closer in an an already tight race. How long Holder keeps his job seems to be dependent on how well the media flaks for him but with these sorts of stories breaking out even Chris Matthews is likely to start calling for his head on a platter sooner rather than later.

Obama And Abortion

Ok, I get it, I'm a guy and can't say too much about the abortion issue, you feminists in the back row can put down your protest signs. I've got no problem in theory with abortion even if I'm philosophically opposed to it, I find arguments about the rights of the mother somewhat trite, what about the right the unborn child has at a chance to live? You can make the claim that until the child can survive outside of the womb it isn't really a person, but that argument goes in to the whole murky territory of what is a person. Is it merely the ability to survive or is it dependent on some concept of the soul? The truth is humanity has no good universal answer to what makes a person just that, and for my part I would rather err on the side of caution and giving life a chance, but that is just me and I get that I can't force that thinking on anyone. Hell, I'm glad I can't force people to think like me and have to rely on persuasion.

The problem is the pro-choice contingent in this country are really pro-abortion and react strongly to any sort of discussion of the issue. One of the big hot buttons with them is defunding Planned Parenthood. I'm entirely for removing all funding from that organization, studies have shown a shocking number of their care providers push women towards abortion in consultations, downplaying the psychological impact that choice can make. Even if you don't see anything wrong with that per se it is at the least worthy of a raised eyebrow. Then there is the issue of freedom.... I think you should be perfectly free to follow your own conscience and if that tells you abortion is the answer, fine, but why precisely should my tax dollars provide for it? Well , I don't think so, if I am morally opposed to abortion as many Catholics and other religious groups are, or have reached the decision that abortion is illegal for philosophical reasons then forcing me to subsidize what I believe to be murder is an impingement on my pursuit of my basic liberties.

What does all of this have to do with Obama? Well, on the campaign trail he took a swipe at Romney stating "Mr. Romney wants to get rid of funding for Planned Parenthood. I think that’s a bad idea. I’ve got two daughters. I want them to control their own health care choices. We’re not going backwards, we’re going forwards." and from a political standpoint it is a pretty good statement, it draws a clear contrast between him and Romney that could energize the President's base and hardline feminist voters, but doesn't it strike anyone else as slightly creepy that the President is pimping his daughters on this issue? Most administrations keep their kids out of the spot light, try to give the children a chance at some normalcy, but this president never hesitates to pull his kids in front of a camera and on the topic of sex and reproduction it definitely seems a bit.... predatory than I'm comfortable with. Or maybe I'm the crazy one.

Monday, July 30, 2012

More Scandals From The DOJ

Brandon Darby, a former FBI operational asset, is speaking out about the refusal of Eric Holders DOJ to go after traffickers of children. The fact that this sort of crime is not just a non-priority, but actually being ignored is disgusting, children sent through the black market often end up as slaves or worse sexually objectified by the people who purchase them. This is the worst sort of crime, one most people never realize happens in the modern world or if they do they assume it is a third world problem.

The sad fact is thousands of children every year are put through this disgusting trade  in the United States alone, Darby is perfectly placed to know about any operations the DOJ has going concerning child trafficking, with a long list of contacts from his days as a human asset (what is commonly called an informant by laymen) and in the Townhall Article lays out his reasons for his claims and the process by which he reached his conclusions without blowing the security of anyone active in the field. It is shocking, damning of the Department of Justice, and one more reason that in my not-so-humble opinion Eric Holder needs to be brought up on charges as it proves Holder is either incompetent or willfully misusing the powers of his position and negligent in his duties.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Go! Read!

Over at Nuking Politics Keln has a post up about climate change and the underpants gnome like logic the left uses to justify it. I'm no global warming denier, the Earth has gone in to a warming trend over the last several decades and it is possible that humanity has contributed to this with the production of greenhouse gases, but that contribution is likely to be very minor, possibly even statistically irrelevant. He also discusses how nuclear power is one of our best, if not the best, alternatives to fossil fuels and how the left refuses to acknowledge that nigh irrefutable fact.