Monthly Archives: October 2008

I Know I Have A

CONSPIRATORIAL BENT. That is, I tend to see patterns in shadows on the wall. And give them perhaps more credit than they deserve.

Nevertheless, having been exposed at an early age to the conspiratorial nature of progressives, international Marxist revolutionaries, and other lepers of the Left, this looks a lot to me like an outline of a Gramscian long march through the institutions.

Well, you’ve said it before: ACORN is a red front organization. No doubt about it.

Yup. The aim here was to break down the engine of capitalism and destroy the capitalist society. I have a hope that they will have been proven to have overreached when all is said and done. That they will have underestimated the robust nature and resiliance of a free-market, capitalist economy.

We’ll see shortly, I suspect.

From SWMBO’s Joke Purse

PENDING LEGISLATION: AWNAA

Washington, DC – Congress is considering sweeping legislation that will provide new benefits for many Americans. The Americans With No Abilities Act (AWNAA) is being hailed as a major legislative goal by advocates of the millions of Americans who lack any real skills or ambition.

‘Roughly 50 percent of Americans do not possess the competence and drive necessary to carve out a meaningful role for themselves in society,’ said California Senator Barbara Boxer. ‘We can no longer stand by and allow People of Inability to be ridiculed and passed over. With this legislation, employers will no longer be able to grant special favors to a small group of workers, simply because they have some idea of what they are doing.’

In a Capitol Hill press conference, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pointed to the success of the U.S. Postal Service, which has a long-standing policy of providing opportunity without regard to performance. Approximately 74 percent of postal employees lack any job skills, making this agency the single largest U.S. employer of Persons of Inability.

Private-sector industries with good records of non-discrimination against the Inept include retail sales (72%), the airline industry (68%), and home improvement ‘warehouse’ stores (65%). At the state government level, the Department of Motor Vehicles also has an excellent record of hiring Persons of Inability (63%).

Under the Americans With No Abilities Act, more than 25 million ‘middle man’ positions will be created, with important-sounding titles but little real responsibility, thus providing an illusory sense of purpose and performance.

Mandatory non-performance-based raises and promotions will be given so as to guarantee upward mobility for even the most unremarkable employees. The legislation provides substantial tax breaks to corporations that promote a significant number of Persons of Inability into middle-management positions, and gives a tax credit to small and medium-sized businesses that agree to hire one clueless worker for every two talented hires.

Finally, the AWNAA contains tough new measures to make it more difficult to discriminate against the Non-abled, banning, for example, discriminatory interview questions such as, ‘Do you have any skills or experience that relate to this job?’

‘As a Non-abled person, I can’t be expected to keep up with people who have something going for them,’ said Mary Lou Gertz, who lost her position as a lug-nut twister at the GM plant in Flint, Michigan, due to her inability to remember rightey tightey, lefty loosey. ‘This new law should be real good for people like me,’ Gertz added. With the passage of this bill, Gertz and millions of other untalented citizens will finally see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Said Senator Dick Durban (D-IL): ‘As a Senator with no abilities, I believe the same privileges that elected officials enjoy ought to be extended to every American with no abilities. It is our duty as lawmakers to provide each and every American citizen, regardless of his or her adequacy, with some sort of space to take up in this great nation and a good salary for doing so.’

Not Negative

IT IS NOT — scorn quotes — “negative” campaigning to tell the truth about your opponent. As the McCain-Palin team are doing in asserting that Obama’s association with the avowed and unrepentant terrorists William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn will not bear close scrutiny.

It is, however, negative campaigning — and dirty tricks, to boot — to lie about your opponent’s involvement in a corruption and bribery scandal which enmeshed members of your own party (with an eerie parallel to a current scandal and crisis), which the Obama-Biden campaign is doing by trying to re-hang the Keating Five scandal around McCain’s neck.

For the record AGAIN, noted Democrat attorney, Robert Bennett, (a.k.a. Unca Bob), has repeatedly affirmed that he cleared McCain of any taint of corruption at the time the Keating Five affair was first investigated. And no further evidence has surfaced since. The legacy partisan press once again reveals how far in the tank it is for Obama by failing to point this out and by drawing an equivalence between the two situations, which manifestly are not equivalent.

If a Candidate Feels He Must

ASSERT HIS — SCORN QUOTES — “support” for a provision of the Constitution, the nation’s charter, he is surely unfit for any office which requires he swear an oath to “preserve, protect, and defend” that document, its provisions, and concepts.

How so?

The thing does not require his “support.” It mandates his obedience.

OK, So I’ve Lost Patience

WITH THE SUMMER GLAU Chronicles. Might be me. Might be my state of mind last night. But I haven’t really liked the show since the beginning, and last night, at the point at which John and Uncle Wossname drove onto the campus of a military school, I just did my “basta!” thumb-twitch on the remote and switched over to watch Heroes.

First Dry Fit of the Shelf Standards

The goal, here, is to fit the shelves as closely to the space as is possible given my skill level and the materials and techniques available to me. The problem is compounded by the fact that the wall (which I built from the studs out, so cannot blame anyone else for) is not straight nor plumb nor square. This is not an unusual circumstance, I’m told, but I suspect my out-of-whackness is probably excessive. In any case, I must proceed carefully, double- and triple-checking my measurements and my assumptions as to the shape of the space I am filling with … well, more space, but space delimited by boards.

Here you see the standards, each of which has been cut to the exact size of the space it must occupy. Well, that’s the plan anyway. There are gaps in the joints, which I will have to fill with shims and hide with trim. But we’re doing pretty well all things considered.

When I started out on this phase of the project, I hit a bit of a snag. After a few cuts (long rips — 5, 6, or 8 feet), the blade would start wandering in the wood. It would scorch and the wood would as well.

I had seen parts of this before, so was not entirely panicked. But, after allowing the blade to (I thought) cool down enough, it would still do it. I didn’t think it all the way through, (not at all unusual for me), and panicked.

You said that.

Did I? So I did no I didn’t. Spankings for Dolly!

Oh, goody!

But I degrease.

I e-mailed Og for advice. He shot back that it was probably the plywood (made in China). The resin was probably heating up more easily, flowing more freely, and causing major problems. While I was afraid I’d done permanent damage to my saw, he suggested there probably wasn’t any.

Old carpentry hands are, of course, snickering behind their hands. You lot can stop that. Go ahead and laugh out loud. I am.

You see, I’d forgotten what little I once knew about cutting plywood.

Most cuts made with circular saws are either crosscuts of dimensional lumber — i.e., your typical softwood 2×4 — or, if rips, also in dimensional lumber, and not in sheet goods. Short. Easy. Keep the blade cool.

Plywood, unlike plain boards, is made up of layers of wood veneer stacked in alternating grain directions and glued together under heat and pressure. The dual directionality of the grain is one of the factors that contributes to its extraordinary strength. (The WWII light attack bomber, the Mosquito, was made of plywood, as was the legendary Spruce Goose.) But it also makes cutting it harder. Ordinarily, not a problem except for when you’re doing lots of long rips all at once. Then the blade heats up. And the glue softens, and becomes a resinous colloid that sticks to the blade and scorches at relatively low temperatures. (You can touch a hot saw blade and only get a first degree burn. Not that I recommend it. But you’ll get scorched resin.)

Back in the day, when I worked in a wood shop, we used to rip lots of plywood. We made waterbeds. Part of the waterbed — back then — was the plywood deck… the part of the riser that supports the mattress. Nowadays, if they still make the things, they’ll be made of OSB — oriented strand board. But back then, plywood. We used 5/8″ (that’s the thickness) CDX plywood. CDX is the grade. The CD part means that one side has a C quality — the best is A, then B, and so-forth — and the other D, which is as bad as it gets. The grades are based on the number, size, and eggregiousness of knots, inclusions, and voids. The X part meant it was exterior grade — also known as sheathing, the stuff they use to clad the outside of a house under the siding and the shingles on the roof. Nowadays, they mostly use OSB, but… well, you no doubt know that song by now.

Because the veneers that make up a sheet of CDX plywood are a bit on the rough side, the glues they use have to be slathered on good and thick and have to be of a rather aggressive nature. Which means, yes, you guessed it, it’s some of the nastiest shit you could wish on a saw blade.

When we cut this stuff, we did it on a radial arm saw, which ran a 10-inch blade. For plywood, we used a blade that had about thirty teeth that had very small bits of carbide on the tips and big gussets between the teeth. This made the teeth into excellent radiators, meaning it took a lot to heat it up. Not only that, but it was my job to clean the blade. To do that, I’d take a solvent and an old toothbrush that you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy and scrub the resin and pitch and sawdust off the blade. Once in a while, we’d have a nice little old man sharpen our blades, and they got a more thorough cleaning while he was at it.

All of which should tell you I should have known what was happening when my dinky little 7 1/4″ blade, hollow-ground, with teensy teeth and no gussets or vents or anything started heating up and walking all over the place. But I didn’t. Or, rather, it took me a while to make the connection.

Over the last weekend, I acquired a Freud teflon-coated blade, a 40-tooth, red monster with hefty carbide tips on the teeth. I’ve been spraying it with WD40 for every cut. And, after about a dozen cuts, I can detect no buildup of pitch on the blade, and the cuts are smooth as satin.

Next I need to work on my marking precision. Cut a couple of boards today. Was utterly anal about everything. They’re not square to each other. Bummer. I think it will work, but if not, there’s always the edge trimmer on the router.

They’re Getting Closer

TO THE TRUTH about Obama and Ayers and the rest, but they’re still a bit shy of it.

At the Volokh Conspiracy, David Bernstein asserts that Obama may be more liberal than most of the country, and thus find himself surprised at the vehemence of the objections to his associates.

Here’s my take: Obama is an extremely ambitious man. He’s been interested in a national political career for many years. It’s not that surprising that he wouldn’t find Ayers and Wright objectionable company–in the very liberal, Hyde Park/Ivy League circles that he’s traveled in since attending Columbia, people with such views are more mainstream than, say, the average conservative evangelical Christian. That itself makes Obama far more liberal than the image his campaign attempts to portray.

But what is interesting to me is that not only did Obama not personally find anything especially obnoxious about Wright’s radicalism, anti-Americanism, ties to Farrakahn, and so on, or Ayers’ lack of regret for his terrorist past, he apparently didn’t expect that much of anyone else would care, either. How else do you explain why he didn’t jettison these individuals from his life before they could damage his presidential ambitions? How else do you explain how his campaign seemed to be caught flatfooted when Obama’s ties to Wright and then Ayers became campaign issues? And, perhaps most tellingly, how else do you explain that when Obama was asked in a debate with Clinton about his ties to Ayers, he analogized his friendship with Ayers to his friendship with Senator Tom Coburn, as if being friends with a very conservative senatorial colleague is somehow analogous with being friends with an unrepentant extreme leftist domestic terrorist?

In short, Obama’s ties to Ayers and Wright suggest to me NOT that Obama agrees with their views, but that he is the product of a particular intellectual culture that finds the likes of Wright and Ayers to be no more objectionable, and likely less so, than the likes of Tom Coburn, or, perhaps, a Rush Limbaugh. Not only that, but he has been in his particular intellectual bubble so long that he was unable to recognize just how offensive the views of a Wright are to mainstream America, or how his ties to Ayers would play with the public, especially post-9/11.

I don’ theen’ so!

Either Bernstein is utterly unfamiliar with Marxist radicalism or he’s a red himself and deliberately spreading the scent of a red herring.

By Obama’s statements, actions, and associations, he knows exactly what he’s doing, what his end goals are, and how most Americans would be likely to react were they to apprehend the full truth of them. His intent can only be assumed to be to advance the cause of Marxist socialism, and he and his associates have moved the struggle this direction all along. He’s counting on people’s giving him the benefit of the doubt, with the desire of flying in low, under the radar, and getting by subterfuge what he could never get outright.

And, for the record, I saw Bill Clinton as another of the same, and bless Newt Gingrich and the congressional class of ’95 for reining him in. Nevertheless, you only need to consider Ruth Buzzie Ginsberg and hundreds of other Federal judges appointed by Clinton to understand the systemic damage he’s done to the country. Obama promises worse.

A which point, his motives really don’t matter, now, do they?

No, but understanding them makes it easier to predict what kind of President he’s likely to be, and make dispositive arguments against electing him.

(Hat tip: Instapundit.)

So, Amongst All the

PORK, DID THEY actually make any changes to the substance of the bailout?

I wonder.

I’m reading a lot about how the main differences between the earlier House version of the bailout and the Senate version that finally prevailed is all the billions in pork and other irrelevancies that were ladled on in — I assume — an attempt to garner Senators’ support for the monster. But I haven’t noticed (as distinct from there hasn’t been) any mention of changes to the — you know — the bailout.

So, if it was such an abortion on Monday, what made it so great on Friday?

Aw, c’mon, Alger. You know they changed it. Stuff like they called ’em “taxpayer protections,” (tho’ what those are, I dunno — we’re still gonna get stuck with the tab), and limits on executive severance packages.

Fair enough. Do either of those actually address the problem?

‘Ll No. Does legislation ever address the problem? Especially when the problem was created by the legislature? Or, I guess I sh’d say, corrupt legislators.

Upsie-date: Heh: Scalzi. (H/T Insty)

“I’m opposed to calling bribes to recalcitrant legislators ‘sweeteners.’ High fructose corn syrup is a ‘sweetener.’ The Senate lardering up a novel’s worth of incentives to get the House to change its mind on a bill it bounced just days before is a goddamn bribe.”

Shiny

THERE’S AN ATTITUDE necessary to success in art encapsulated in Picasso’s “All artists borrow; great artists steal.” It comes from the same place as that line from David Bowie’s “Fame” — it can make [a man] loose and hard to swallow.

There’s a fine line between the strength of ego necessary to pull off art — mediocre, good, or great — and hubris. It combines a solid understanding of your abilities and limitations — coupled with a refusal to accept the latter with grace — with a confidence in your vision and a willingness to go mach three with your hair on fire to realize it.

It results in a certain bravura in the presentation that can take many forms. It can be a quiet calm or it can be a loud, stormy — slightly messy — cacophony.

But it most definitely starts with the ability — the chops — to get your point across.

Looking for skins for my new WinAMP, I stumbled across this young man, Bahmet — which I’m mentally giving that Mideastern gutteral, rendering it BACHmet. Dunno if that’s right, but it sounds right to me. The site’s in the Cyrillic alphabet, and I assume the language is Russian, since the TLD is. But the art speaks for itself. Check him out. Enjoy.

He’s got it.

Still Working on It

AND STRUGGLING with stubborn dissatisfaction. Things I don’t like and beat my head against the brick walls defending their obstinate unreason to try to change them. Sort of a metaphor for the political season, if you think of it.

But the new dryer is in at Casa d’Alger, and BTB is running on Expression Engine, albeit still sans comments.

This thing is more opaque to me than DNS. I’m still waiting for the “A-HA!” moment. It’s easier to use day-to-day, but building the infrastructure is a royal pain in the ass and counterintuitive to boot. Yagah!

But tomorrow is another day, and I have a 3-day weekend coming up — lots of them, as a matter of fact, as I burn up my remaining vacation days before the end of the year.

Who knows? Maybe tomorrow, the clamor of your myriad voices will once again ring in my pink, shell-like ears.

‘Tis a consummation devoutly to be wish’d.

Update: WE GOT COMMENTS!

We Got Democrat Voter

FRAUD HERE IN Ohio. You know: corrupt attorney general, ACORN, crooked county boards of elections, motor voter and its heirs and assigns, limp-wristed Republican officials and partycrats.

The usual.

It’s somewhat hilarious to hear the manonthestreets with the bussed-in shills. It’s obvious they don’t — can’t — take the franchise seriously.

Even so, you have to wonder. If someone has to do so much cheating, lying, and general mopery in order to win an election, you can’t help — well, I can’t, anyway — thinking: how in the world can you trust anything they say?

Barack Obama has lied so many times, and so thoroughly…

And so convincingly and consistently — you’d almost think he was a sociopath.

Yes, well…

…and so thoroughly that he has to have made a promise at one time or another to nearly anybody — many of which are mutually exclusive.

If you think you’re going to get anything for your vote, how can you trust a fraud to honor his promise to pay?

Just sayin’s all.

Since the Financial Crisis

BEGAN:

Full tank of gasoline: $60.00

New computer with external hard drive: $1400.00

One for the wife, too—just because: $800.00

Lunch at Arby’s: $5.95

Getting credit despite the failure of Phony Mae and Fraudie Mac: priceless.

Gas here in Cincinnati Thursday afternoon: $3.569 at BP and Shell. Less at Mobil, Kroger, and Sam’s. How boutchoo?

Sudden Change

IN THE WIND. I have decided I’m sick-and-tired of dealing with City Desk and I don’t really want to wait until I can get my archives moved over to the new content management system to make the switch. So I’m just going to start today as though it were all new. The template and external links are the same.

The archives remain intact, but the internal links to them may be fubared for awhile. External permalinks should still work, unless they didn’t work yesterday, in which case they probably didn’t work tomorrow, either.

For the nonce, please assume that all glitches are due to the change and that I am aware of them, even if fixes are not immediately forthcoming. Sometime down the road, when the glitch density gets a little less … dense, your sharp eyes may be of help, but for now, well — thanks, but….

Update: Still struggling along. Lots of inside baseball stuff. Lots of my stubborn, mule-headed need to learn how to do it myself. (Remember the aspirin commercial: “Mother, please! I’d rather do it myself!”?) Lots of patience from the convalescent Connie du Toit — myriad thanks and big, get-well-soon hugs for all that. With luck, comments should be enabled Thursday. Hope it hasn’t driven you to distraction not being able to kibbitz.

Idiots in Congress

REPETITIVE REDUNDANCY ALERT ask that musical question…

“What’s your plan for getting us off our dependency on foreign oil?”

To which the answer is totally obvious to all but the aforementioned idiots, to whit:

“Drill for domestic oil!” (You stupid, featherless moron.)

Heh of the Day

CALLS RUNNING 50-50. 50% “No!” and 50% “HELL no!”

Way to express yourself, people.

Yeah, This Needs to Be

POINTED OUT — that while, yes, there is a political and money-trail connection between the AGW hoaxers and the financial meltdown, there’s more-fundamental connection.

Both use the same flawed pseudo-science to justifiy their claims and actions.

In All The Brouhaha Over the Financial Meltdown

POSSIBLY THE MOST brilliant solution would be an across-the-board cut of personal income taxes to the 15%-20% range, same with capital gains, and the total elimination of corporate income taxes altogether. Let the economy power its way out of this mess. Reduce unemployment still further (thus raising wages). Increase tax revenues due to a far-more-diverse but far-larger tax base. Win-win-win.

Of course it’ll never happen.

Which makes you wonder, “Why the hell not?”

Truth In Advertising

SPOTTED OVER T’ Schlong’s place. We have re-branded those two GSE’s — Phony Mae and Fraudie Mac.

Heh.