Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A company to keep, and one to let go

First, the one to keep: St. Peter Woolen Mill manufactures wonderful woolen comforters. If you want to be comfortable (blissful really) with an adjustable thermostat, they've got a product that is as nice as down. They also do tours, if you're in the area.

One to let go: freecreditreport.com. Why so? Because to get your report, you've got to give them $15, which will be refunded if you manage to call their number. In other words, it's designed to fleece $15 or more from those who think they're getting a free credit report--as mandated by law.

Nice scam, but you can go to www.annualcreditreport.com for free. It's also a great way to combat illegal immigration; to work in the United States, many "piggyback" on unsuspecting credit records. This not only frustrates border enforcement, but also can create nasty problems with the IRS and employers. If you haven't checked your credit reports (I plan on checking one of mine every four months to get a full picture) recently, I highly recommend that you do so.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Congress vs. physics, part 5,234 this year

Johnny Roosh writes about a "brilliant" move of Congress a year or so back to ban the incandescent light bulb. As a result, people are learning (the hard way, as I did) that putting a compact flourescent bulb in a enclosed area is just asking for trouble, and they're wondering how long it's going to take for the problem to be resolved.

Answer: quite a while, as the reason that these bulbs burn out so quickly is a simple process called electromigration. When you put current through an aluminium wire at a certain temperature, the atoms move, eventually breaking the wire. The same thing pretty much ends the life of your incandescent bulb.

So no matter what you do, when you run a piece of silicon power circuitry in a hot place, it will die pretty quickly. That goes for compact flourescents and diode bulbs..

...but not incandescents. Why not?

Simple; the resistance of a filament goes up with heat, which limits the temperature an incandescent bulb can attain. Hence, it lasts pretty well in a closed fixture.

Don't count on Congress figuring this out, of course. They've got better things to do, like applaud as talented men are forced out of their positions by those who can't even make a decent appointment to the Treasury Department.

More reasons to homeschool

The state of Michigan responds to a problem with poor writing scores on their educational assessment by....canceling the writing test. I'm told that they're dealing with urban blight in Flint and Detroit by handing out blindfolds to drivers on I-69 and I-94 as well.

But who cares if the kids can't write a coherent sentence? They've got a team (my alma mater) in the Final Four! I'm doing my part to support the Spartans by not watching. They do better that way, it seems. :^)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

When cometh the overseer?

In response to Gabrielle's question on when the national mandatory "volunteer" program will get going, WorldNetDaily and Michelle Malkin tell us that...it's pretty much through Congress, and that (yikes!) many Republicans and "blue dogs" apparently voted for it, too.

Even worse; many of those who opposed opposed it because it would be "ineffective," not because it does violence to the 13th Amendment. Forget Bastiat; I'll dream that someday politicians will simply read and understand the Constitution.

I won't be holding my breath, if these DOJ filings in a case about an anti-Clinton film are any indication. If they can't understand the 1st Amendment, why would we expect them to understand the 13th?

Monday, March 23, 2009

15 reasons to homeschool

Barbara, Celarent, Darii, Ferio, Camestres, Cesare, Baroko, Festino, Datisi, Disamis, Ferison, Bokardo, Camenes, Dimaris, Fresison.

What are they? They're 15 names that most people today, including many (most?) newly minted Ph.D.s, do not recognize(except for "Barbara," the former President's mum, of course); the 15 valid syllogisms of logic. If you homeschool, you can assure your children a chance at learning them. If you don't, well......

If you're curious; no, these terms won't be terribly helpful at analyzing politics today. Why so?

The ugly fact is that most political "arguments" can be defused simply by pointing out that the speaker is obfuscating his terms or employing ad hominem fallacies. That's how badly debate has devolved in our land, sad to say.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Global Warming Update

Courtesy of the brothers Bayly. Apparently, yet another polar expedition to demonstrate the "reality" of global warming has been stranded by extreme cold. If you love your fellow man, please, please, PLEASE make your way out to the Suburban and run it all night, or at least turn the heat up to 80 or so in your house. It could save their lives!

The plan goes forward. Sigh.

What plan, you ask? Barack Obama's plan to repeal the 13th Amendment, of course.

One would think that the current President, or at least his wife, would have enough historical memory to put the kibosh on this one, but apparently not.

And a further assault on the Constitution; Congress is evidently trying to put a targeted tax hike on financial people earning more than a specific amount in order to get $165 million back from AIG executives. Apparently they never learned about the phrases "bill of attainder" and "ex post facto" law in their social studies classes.

Chicago delenda est!

(at least the political machine there)

Washington "thinking"

Apparently, Treasury Department advisors think that GM and Chrysler might need more than the $21.6 billion that has apparently been allotted for their preservation. Let's think about this a bit; imagine that they come up with a "plan" to "save" General Motors with another $20 billion or so in debt--say at a "good" interest rate of 5% or so.

The annual interest, of course, is a cool billion dollars, or (given very generous market share assumptions) about $500/car on top of the UAW tax already paid by GM. What does it do? It delays Chapter 11 bankruptcy by a year or two, and risks placing the automaker into Chapter 7 (dissolution of the company).

In contrast, Chapter 11 bankruptcy would allow GM (and Chrysler or Ford) to shed the UAW tax, making them about $1000/vehicle more competitive immediately. This illustrates exactly whom is being bailed out.

The UAW, of course. President Khalidi Jackson Daley Blagojevich Wright Pfleger Ayers Obama is outdoing himself in his quid pro quo arrangements with his benefactors, I dare say.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

News you can't use

If I were tempted to start a really ugly rumor, I'd say that this:

Dubai (AP). Sources in Dubai City indicate that at the tender age of 50, Michael Jackson's voice is changing, and his future plans are to join the Oak Ridge Boys, replacing Richard Sterban.

Or this

Washington, DC (AP) Sources indicate that Congressional Democrats have agreed to read Bastiat's commentaries on economics, and make appropriate policy changes.

I'll believe the first one first, I think. For that matter, I'll believe the first before I believe most Republicans in Congress are ready to take Bastiat seriously.


Monday, March 09, 2009

Not a good sign

Yes, it's a moral outrage that Barack Hussein Blagojevich (oops, Obama) is subverting the Bush refusal to allow federal money to be used for the creation of "new fetal stem cell lines" for research. What got me this morning, though, is the "stellar" record of that research; not only are there no treatments, there are no promising lines of research. In other words, not only is he flipping the bird at the majority of Americans who are morally troubled by abortion, he's also doing so in a way that shows he loves to throw our money down the toilet.

Of course, we probably could have guessed this when he put wagyu beef on the White House menu during a recession. Even more significant than what this costs the taxpayer is what he's doing to his daughters; the lesson is being absorbed that life is all about eating thousand dollar dinners every night. Life outside of the White House is going to be a nasty surprise for this family.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Lost moments of history

One thing that is not generally known is that the Roman poet Ovid, after being exiled from Rome in the emperor's push to re-establish moral strength among the people, made his way somewhat north and east in to a sparsely populated, marshy area of "barbarians" who were to suffer greatly millenia later when Napoleon launched his invasion of Russia through this area. Sources in the region note that, when his plate of cabbage rolls was not delivered promptly, he insulted his hosts by saying

Dicent stolidi verba polska

Fortunately for Ovid, his hosts, distant ancestors of Rex Davidus, overlooked the slight (or didn't understand it) and gave him the following advice:

Don't go home to Rome by cruise ship.

Despite the best shipbuilding efforts of those who would later form the Hanseatic League, the ship Ovid had been considering of course sank in the Baltic. He made his way back to Rome (once his ban expired) by mini-chariot and lived his years out in peace.

And now, you know the rest of the story. Or you don't, 'cause I made it up. At any rate, that's my (rather pathetic) tribute to Paul Harvey. RIP.