Friday, August 30, 2013


Ruthlessly stolen tonight from Traditional Vibe.


I've been traveling the land for the last 2 weeks and away from news of all kinds purely because that is my preference. It looks like this country will lash out at Syria soon with the merciless and pointless savagery we  have become infamous for indulging.

It's the indiscriminate killing that bothers me. Any country that does that is no better than the scumbags who leave car bombs in shopping districts in order to blow up innocents. We object to the senseless killing of Syrians so we should do some too?

I think only a tiny number of Americans have actually thoughtfully considered the chain of events unleashed when engaging in a tactical attack on civilian infrastructure in foreign countries but you can ponder the idea in this way. Take a few minutes during the day to sit and consider that your state capital has become a renegade menace to the USA and needs to be reduced by explosions to kill the leadership, destroy their means of controlling the population through broadcast news and radio, eliminate the electrical power to key/vital areas such as public transit, schools, hospitals and military bases. Isolate the capital from the surrounding region and Republican Guard by destroying bridges, rail terminals, airfields, hangars, TV and radio transmitters and stations. You have 500 missiles, each with a thousand pounds of high explosive. Use them as you like. There are no points for saving any or keeping any back. Draw up your list of targets and then fire.
2 girls sit on the steps at home
How many friends did you kill? Do you think it made a difference?

ODERINT DUM METUANT works for competent butchers of men. It does not have the same effect when incompetently butchering women and children for no reason.


We were driving down Highway 1 from Big Sur and saw this huge plume that wasn't a cloud. It wasn't until we checked in at NAB Coronado that we realized that it was the biggest rocket ever launched out of Vandenberg.
Big sucker on the right...
What we saw
The viewing is limited in MassifCentalisOriental so this is the first good bit of sky stuff we've witnessed since the Transit of Venus.

Thursday, August 29, 2013


This has been brewing for as long as their coffee used to brew but it's interesting to listen to the attitudes of the workers and their supporters. This is the strategy of the UAW when it struck the weakest auto maker and forced the rest to raise wages and benefits. I don't think that's going to happen this time. This used to be an entry level job. The fact that it isn't says volumes about education and job creation in this country.



It gets rarer and rarer.
I'll have a double!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Today was the first day of school in parts of California. They have a phobia about guns at schools that extends to pictures of guns at schools or to maintaining a list of people that should be 'first against the wall' come the Revolution. I wonder how school administrators and teachers would handle kids showing up with these vital tools of the knowledge imparting arcania....
Of course they'd respond as if these were the targeting beams for big scary Laser Guided Bombs or Missiles. It would be nice for their over-reaction to harmless stimuli to have some basis in reality. For once.

Saturday, August 24, 2013


There are always more.

"Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day," I say. "But set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life. 

“It was nice to hear the voices of little children at play, provided you took care to be far enough away not to hear what they were actually saying.”

“No matter how fast light travels it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.”


I worry sometimes that the good times are forgotten but it is not so. I have no fears about the bad times for there were never any of those between the two of us. She is slipping steadily into the age of reason but holding firmly to play which is a good thing. We do things together that would be the despair of her mother if either one of us was inclined to ever share with others what we do when we go off into the bright mornings when we two are together again. We only get these two weeks a year and the occasional holiday before she must return to Mordor and keep at bay the enemies of Just So and Enough.
 If only there was some way to smuggle a Palantir (iPod) into Mordor with her when she goes on alone to her other home among the nazgul so we could talk together anytime she wanted. I looked at disguises but we need to fool

Friday, August 23, 2013


Authors of the Cold War era used to write wonderful thrillers about some Agents fending off or defeating an attack that destroyed the leadership of the United States in a single strike. These agents would be canny, resourceful, brilliant and deadly and best of all, they did the job. We have shows like NCIS which show similar levels of effort by similarly talented very special agents in the here and now,  but I wonder.

Would we be a lot better off if somebody elected to launch a decapitation strike at US and it worked?


Hidden deep within the midden below are the words of salvation, "this act not enforceable on days ending in y".  Honestly, how hard could it be to have inserted those words anywhere in this act or in any other bill passed by Congress and signed by the President? I can see those words written into the Food Stamp Act that no democrat dare disdain with the addendum that they apply to all federal regulations written and approved since 1945.
House Speaker props up Obamacare Legislation
It's in the fine print.


Have the Palestinians been up to their old trick of exporting terrorism to their neighbors again? I'd be curious to see how many of the minions of darkness waging civil terror in Syria are Palestinians like their brothers in Egypt, Lebanon and Libya. It's at times like this that I can hear the faint declaration of those willing to die for their beliefs and their Gods and rest easy that I am still willing to kill for mine.

....and I have plenty of ammo.

Give them time and they will kill anybody for nothing. There are any number of plagues locked away against the day that hasn't come yet but it is not too early to say that what was locked away can be taken out and used this day or the next and there is nothing at all that 95% of the world can do to stop or slow it down. What happened to the New World as plagues swept from one ocean to the other and back again destroying generations in a twinkling of an eye can happen again. Will happen again and this time it will be the witting tool of men who aim to do evil.

People so steeped in death and evil won't blink at using poison gas on civilians, their own civilians if the cause demands it and they won't stop at unleashing all the plagues of ancient times on the earth if they could just lay their hands on them. Sad to say, there's any number of good Germans who will happily sell them to anybody with the money to pay for them.

Rich new lands to repossess in the name of much diminished mankind. Whole continents adrift without a living soul on them.
Those of us who made a peculiar study of war on the Korean Peninsula used to opine that the Kim Regime would infinitely prefer to use their arsenals of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons rather than follow the Soviet and Chinese into peace with the West. We anticipated a devastating but extremely local little nuclear war.  The good old days.

And people worry about Global Warming.  Do try to keep up, People!

Thursday, August 22, 2013


Simply thinking NSA makes this funny all by itself in my mind.

I suppose one might also admit it applies to people with blogs.

Not me.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


We struck out seeing the Perseid Meteors. Clouds made mock of our vain attempt to see just a few, even one meteor in the night sky. Still, not going to give up looking. I did find a very interesting little thing tonight while rummaging around that will give breath to what I mentioned during our last foray in the dark hinterlands of MetroParkCentralis:

This astroviewer gives you a look at the International Space Station's real time ground track and provides a 10 day projection for when the ISS will be visible from your place on the planet when you enter your location on the map.

It can't always be cloudy.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Here I am at the epicenter of government dysfunction in Arlington, VA.
Nothing to see.

Monday, August 19, 2013


I remember the Michelson-Morley experiment vaguely from high school physics. I'm planted now very near where they conducted that experiment in 1887 to measure the speed of the aether wind by sending light along two paths of reflection and recombining them off axis from the source. Never mind all that. This was pretty neat.  You have to crank up the aether speed to see it work as they thought it would.

This wouldn't be complete without competing theories of light. Voila! I have copied the information out and pasted it below. For more information on the theory you are invited to the darksucker theory page.

The Dark Sucker Theory

For years, it has been believed that electric bulbs emit light, but recent information has proved otherwise. Electric bulbs don't emit light; they suck dark. Thus, we call these bulbs Dark Suckers. The Dark Sucker Theory and the existence of dark suckers prove that dark has mass and is heavier than light.
First, the basis of the Dark Sucker Theory is that electric bulbs suck dark. For example, take the Dark Sucker in the room you are in. There is much less dark right next to it than there is elsewhere. The larger the Dark Sucker, the greater its capacity to suck dark. Dark Suckers in the parking lot have a much greater capacity to suck dark than the ones in this room.
So with all things, Dark Suckers don't last forever. Once they are full of dark, they can no longer suck. This is proven by the dark spot on a full Dark Sucker.
A candle is a primitive Dark Sucker. A new candle has a white wick. You can see that after the first use, the wick turns black, representing all the dark that has been sucked into it. If you put a pencil next to the wick of an operating candle, it will turn black. This is because it got in the way of the dark flowing into the candle. One of the disadvantages of these primitive Dark Suckers is their limited range.
There are also portable Dark Suckers. In these, the bulbs can't handle all the dark by themselves and must be aided by a Dark Storage Unit. When the Dark Storage Unit is full, it must be either emptied or replaced before the portable Dark Sucker can operate again.
Dark has mass. When dark goes into a Dark Sucker, friction from the mass generates heat. Thus, it is not wise to touch an operating Dark Sucker. Candles present a special problem as the mass must travel into a solid wick instead of through clear glass. This generates a great amount of heat and therefore it's not wise to touch an operating candle.
Also, dark is heavier than light. If you were to swim just below the surface of the lake, you would see a lot of light. If you were to slowly swim deeper and deeper, you would notice it getting darker and darker. When you get really deep, you would be in total darkness. This is because the heavier dark sinks to the bottom of the lake and the lighter light floats at the top. This is why it is called light.
Finally, we must prove that dark is faster than light. If you were to stand in a lit room in front of a closed, dark closet, and slowly opened the closet door, you would see the light slowly enter the closet. But since dark is so fast, you would not be able to see the dark leave the closet.
Next time you see an electric bulb, remember that it is a Dark Sucker.
4 quadrillion million billion darkons

Saturday, August 17, 2013


I am never far away but for awhile I'll be little further out.


An amusing story about a modern day pirate who shopped at the same Trader Joes I used to shop at in Emeryville. It's a nice enough store but ridiculously expensive and so precious. I shopped for their excellent Famous Grouse Scotch which they were giving away. I also bought some of their wine. It was a nice enough store and best of all, I could walk there and back in less than 30 minutes. Oh, and Borders was right across the street.
Borders in Emeryville

Friday, August 16, 2013


                                                The Day is Done

THE DAY is done, and the darkness 
  Falls from the wings of Night, 
As a feather is wafted downward 
  From an eagle in his flight. 
I see the lights of the village         5
  Gleam through the rain and the mist, 
And a feeling of sadness comes o'er me 
  That my soul cannot resist: 
A feeling of sadness and longing, 
  That is not akin to pain,  10
And resembles sorrow only 
  As the mist resembles the rain. 
Come, read to me some poem, 
  Some simple and heartfelt lay, 
That shall soothe this restless feeling,  15
  And banish the thoughts of day. 
Not from the grand old masters, 
  Not from the bards sublime, 
Whose distant footsteps echo 
  Through the corridors of Time.  20
For, like strains of martial music, 
  Their mighty thoughts suggest 
Life's endless toil and endeavor; 
  And to-night I long for rest. 
Read from some humbler poet,  25
  Whose songs gushed from his heart, 
As showers from the clouds of summer, 
  Or tears from the eyelids start; 
Who, through long days of labor, 
  And nights devoid of ease,  30
Still heard in his soul the music 
  Of wonderful melodies. 
Such songs have power to quiet 
  The restless pulse of care, 
And come like the benediction  35
  That follows after prayer. 
Then read from the treasured volume 
  The poem of thy choice, 
And lend to the rhyme of the poet 
  The beauty of thy voice.  40
And the night shall be filled with music, 
  And the cares, that infest the day, 
Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs, 
  And as silently steal away.

                                                              - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


I've always been a sucker for maps. When I was young I used to go to the Main Gate at posts like Fort Riley and ask them nicely for one of their paper maps of Main Post. You could also get maps of Camp Funston, Whitside and Custer Hill. 

These maps are even better.

20 of 22 countries that the British did not invade. Sao Tome and Principe not shown

Thursday, August 15, 2013


I've never really understood why this works.  I'm a little embarrassed that it does in the home of the brave and the land of the free. There would be an extraordinary series of unfortunate accidents if this sort of thing was done to the wrong element in society. Fires, explosions, shootings... When you think about it, nobody guards the homes of district attorneys, police or judges.

I don't think a passive society was what they had in mind when the founders launched the Revolution. What total morons decided that incentivising the police and all other law enforcement agents to stop and steal was the best route to a just and civil society wherein all people had respect for the law? This is no different than a highwayman standing in the road and shouting, "Your money or your life!"

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


On this day in 1947 the British Indian Empire dissolved with the creation of the Dominion of Pakistan and the following day with the establishment of the Union of India as the British Raj faded into history. The two states have fought four wars between themselves in the first 62 years of their existence and don't seem to share any common beliefs except that the land of Jammu and Vale of Kashmir belongs to them and to them alone and that it is definitely worth killing Indians and muslims for until the end of time.
 Both countries are nuclear powers and have been peacefully exploding nuclear weapons and testing long range ballistic missiles for decades.

Neither country is any model of reason and restraint. India forged the non-aligned movement out of a fierce desire to hold independence with a grip perhaps tighter than that of our nation's founders. Pakistan wanted a completely supine, ravaged, weakened Afghanistan state behind them to leave them free to concentrate their forces and adventurism on India. They created the Taliban and unleashed it on a people just starting to taste civilization for the first time since the Mongols ruled the land.

The Taliban now own Pakistan. The monster has turned on its creator and consumed it. If there is a place that I think will know first hand what it feels like to be at ground zero when the next atomic or nuclear warheads explode, this is it.
Happy Birthday.

UPDATE:  Very sad accident. Eternal vigilance comes at a high price.
Indian Navy submarine INS Sindhurakshak on fire in Mumbai 15 August 2013 following an explosion in the Naval Dockyard. (Reuters Photo)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


In a move that surprised few, the Navy announced that USS Miami was headed for the scrap yard given the $500,000,000 to repair the vessel isn't likely to be found in this austere budget climate. Miami was destroyed where all submarines are most vulnerable: in port. A lonely shipyard worker who didn't want to finish his shift decided to set a fire and leave during the confusion. It got out of control pretty quickly because the submarine's crew and shipyard personnel never gave one single second of thought to fighting a fire in a submarine in which they could not set fire and smoke isolation boundaries. Some of the details and pictures are here.

Vacuum eh?

Monday, August 12, 2013


The day when every household had a guaranteed daily delivery of news, sports and entertainment via the local or national news rag are just about over. Our local has been greatly diminished over time and has just recently introduced us to the novel idea that news need only come by the house but three times a week. I'm OK with that since I prefer to get my news from the vast pool of current and relevant information on the web and cannot abide what the Associated Press in America has done to our news here. We're thinking of letting the subscription lapse.

This does mean though that I'm going to have to actually buy drop cloths when I paint the house.

Sunday, August 11, 2013


Here's a little human interest story from the Wall Street Journal about a few marines known to so many of us. You know what just struck me as odd? All six 4 star generals of the USMC are:
James Mattis, James Amos, John Paxton, John Kelly, John Allen and Joseph Dunford.
Clearly there is something going on. That or all Marines have a given name that starts with J. Just saying.


I'm with this guy and he's buying!
It's a fascinating tale about a man who took the credit card agreement he was sent in the mail, scanned it into his computer and modified it a bit. I think if it happened here the courts would find a way to dismiss the case.

I had several stories ready for this day but I'll postpone them until the ash fall hits, the lights flicker, and the sound of wolves howling in the dark reaches in the mountains overwhelm the frightening sounds coming from the vicinity of the basement.


How many of us were forced to be pictured in our uniforms so that others may judge us by our looks?
Rear Admiral Worden and cat.

No cats figured prominently or at all in any of my 'official' photos....if you don't count cat hairs.

Friday, August 9, 2013


I realize that the internet is a serious place for serious people so with that in mind, a little story I got in the mail:


Bob was sitting on the plane waiting to fly to Detroit, when a guy took the seat beside him. The guy was an emotional wreck, pale, hands shaking, moaning in fear.
"What's the matter?" Bob asked.

"I've been transferred to Detroit - I've heard the people are crazy there. They've got lots of shootings, gangs, race riots, drugs, poor public schools, and the highest crime rate in the nation."

Bob replied, "I've lived in Detroit all my life. It's not as bad as the media says. Find a nice home, go to work, mind your own business, and enroll your kids in a nice private school. It's as safe a place as anywhere in the world."

The guy relaxed and stopped shaking and said, "Oh, thank you. I've been worried to death. But if you live there and say it's OK,  I'll take your word for it. What do you do for a living?"

"I'm a tail gunner on a Budweiser truck."

Thursday, August 8, 2013


I have taken good care of my back all of my life. I played varsity sports in high school and serious Inter-Mural sports in college (1980 Penn State IM football champions!) I was always happy to apply science, leverage and the power of three to move objects or move them from a distance....
   I got the slab atop this off and onto the little red wagon without too much strain. This one though was about 100 pounds heavier. I could shift it and I knew I could lift it but what's the point? It was one of the near infinite things men should not lift because it will cause a rupture and besides, the little red wagon wasn't up to this kind of load.

Knowing when to walk to away is one of the most important lessons.


Imagine a world where the US throws its weight around on some minor issue in a faraway land and demands that some other country knuckle under pronto or face the wrath. OK, so that was too easy. Imagine if the world's little countries could fight back, quietly, secretly, anonymously. Now we're taxing the ole imaginerium. This great article describes an attack method virtually unknown to the low information density types and even those who live outside the beltway. While it blames our very good friends and bondholders the Chinese Techno Ninjas there is plenty of room in these new-fangled computer gizmos for lots of malicious and damaging code. I used to reel in shock and awe at the damage a one year old could do with just a random swipe of her fingers across a keyboard. I shudder to think what could happen if we collectively lost the ability to flush or turn on the TV.
Curt's Place as built in 1890
I'll be OK.


When this photo was taken in 1958, MetroParkCentralis was still the 7th largest city in America. I saw the remains of these in a staggering number of places. The memorable ones were at Angel Island in San Francisco Bay and up the Tennessee Valley in Marin County just north of the Golden Gate. Others were found (great high school party spots in the 70s) at Selfridge Air Force Base just north of Detroit.
Nike Missile at Cleveland in 1958
I am amazed at the kind relentless dedication that would keep men on guard at these sites in all weathers against a malignant enemy year in and year out with nothing to see but the contrails of friendly planes flying peacefully between the US and Canada. I suppose their peers were found in the Coast Artillery who had forts, fortresses and batteries scattered up and down the American coastline. They lasted well into the The Great Patriotic War and yet, not counting our own goals during the Civil War, the last time they ever fired a shot in anger was during the War of 1812. They were a great source of patronage though for the defense that was in it.

In the urban areas wheresoever you find an untrammeled patch of inexplicable green you can probably trace its origin back to an air defense missile site or a coast defense site such as Governor's Island, Fortress Monroe, Angel Island, Fort Adams.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


                                                 Camp near Stone River Tennessee
                                                                             Nov 22nd 1862
                                              Dear Sister
                                                              I received your letter of the 16th inst ult and was very glad to hear from you as I had not heard from you since the 18th ult. When I received an letter from all of you and answered it immediately as I am this one from you.
  We are camped out on the above named river 7 miles south of east of Nashville Tennessee where (from all appearances) we may stay 1 or 2 weeks at the furthest. The assembly has just been sounded I must go and see what it is for and then I will finish my letter. The assembly was sounded for dress parade but there was no orders.
   Yesterday there was great changes made in the Company. 1st Lieutenant McKinney was made captain, 2nd Lieutenant Davis was made 1st Lieutenant , 1st Sargent Seering was made 2nd Lieutenant, Sargent Burgess was made 1st Sargent and Joseph Miller was made Corporal. Several others were promoted but you was not acquainted with them. Joseph Macy was left at Louisville Kentucky sick. I have not heard of him since. John Macy who was left sick at  Huntsville Alabama has got back to the Company and looks very well and William Macy has been with the Regiment all the time and I believe has had good health. Jeremiah Darnell is in Nashville Tennessee and I have heard that he was well and doing duty in a hospital. R.J. Walton is here and well. John Davis is well and I believe the boys are all well both inCompany I of the 15th and in Company G of the 36th Indiana Volunteers.
   I received Ann’s letter and wrote a very poor one in return for I had no time to write and I have not much now for it is getting dark and we have no candles. The report of the skirmishing in General Woodses Division was very much exaggerated. We took 2 prisoners at Lebanon only. When you write to cousin L. Brown please tell her that I have written once to her father and twice to her and have never got one from her yet but am still looking for one.
   There is a company from Youngstown in the 26th Ohio which is in the Division. The captains name is Ross I think. I think it was the 1st Company out of the place. Benjamin Keelor has been reduced to ranks at his own request and has been detailed as clerk at headquarters which is a much better place than to be in the Company as Corporal but still it does not sound so well at home. I would not exchange the place I have for any Sargents place in the Company unless it is the 1st Sargent and I get as much pay as he does. Last week I had the praise of the having the neatest and most correct Report of any one in the Brigade. The above may not sound large to you but it is nothing more than so. Mr. Lalourette has not returned yet. If you wish to box up some things and send to us Liberty Boys you now can Express them to anyone in the Company  the care of Lieutenant Davis Company I of the 15th Indiana Volunteers or send them to us by any one coming to the following Regiments which are in this Corps
The 36th Indiana Volunteers Infantry
“ 51st                                  
100th          Illinois                 
97th           Ohio                      
86th          Indiana              
13th            Michigan              
1st            Kentucky               
I will soon have the place I spoke of I think. Tell no one of it yet. I am well. Write soon. I still am the same affectionate Brother
                                                                                   Luther Beaver

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


I was forced to use this balcony at the Hacienda Hotel in Old Town that looked out over SPAWAR and San Diego Bay and Point Loma and the Pacific Ocean for my office. It was outside but with an umbrella there was shade. There were convenient ashtrays. There was an ice machine and sodas and a damned good Mexican restaurant right there. There was free parking and free wi-fi. It was 5 minutes door-to-door to the other poor bastards slaving away in an aircraft hanger built in the 1930s for Consolidated Vultee.

 The office as it is today above and as it was in 1947 below, taken from roughly the same spot.
Convair XC-99 flying over the office in 1947
Cell phones!! Wi-fi!! Laptop computers!! Two months of the best working conditions of my life!

Monday, August 5, 2013


I always find it amusing that the further away from action and consequences I got, the more I was forced to give counsel to the fears of others and provide them with a variety of alternatives to any given decision they might feel compelled to make. As admirals and generals become more and more remote from the actual consequences of any action or inaction, their staffs were belabored to present them with a variety of alternative 'Courses of Action' as the final slide in any decision brief. We did not do this thing in ships in war zones, mobile units in war zones, Middle East Force staff, Naval Forces Central Command staff, Fifth Fleet staff but was it mandatory at Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command and Naval Surface Forces Pacific and Navy Expeditionary Combat Command? Oh my yes!
 I think I may best have been described as a Punk staff officer. No amount of entreaty or unseemly begging and grovelling could compel me to compose more than a single course of action for my presentations. "But," they'd agonize, "we must present 3 Courses of Action for the Admiral at the brief." Well they might have to, but not me. Punk. The thing about building a decision brief is that all of the facts are gathered in one place. Each is presented as a bullet and discussed by the presenter. When in possession of all the facts that the briefer has put into the presentation there can really only be two possible courses of action that make any sense. Execute the course presented as optimal or reject the solution and demand something that is more seemly and pleasing to the eye.

Why strain at gnats I would ask. The admiral or general is perfectly capable of directing us to take action based on his understanding of the facts and the situation and really doesn't need to have 3 different wadis to wander down in the fullness of briefing time. He can create his own Rift Valley in a microsecond. I used to watch this in real-time and never saw a general or admiral at a loss for words when standing a briefer on his head and telling him just how much he didn't like the facts or the conclusions of the brief. Why give the guy 2 more things to get upset about?

I regret to say that I did give in when the Chief of Staff or some other great potentate called me and insisted that when I prepare briefs I prepare them by the Rules. So be it, I said, and could be relied upon to always present 3 COAs. Is it my fault if one of them was always:

- Invade Patagonia

Sunday, August 4, 2013


I like this. Swiped directly from Maggie's Farm when they weren't looking.

 Perseids Meteor Shower August 12th. Be there.  Aloha! All the data is at: Universe Today

Saturday, August 3, 2013


Read it and weep.  The State has very few tasks that it must do and a million that it would rather do. In California they have decided to deny any responsibility for providing for public safety and instead have embarked on endless crusades to spend money on things that simply are not the purpose of any sane government.

They lost their last appeal and now must turn predators loose on the population because the State could not find the money to house prisoners in accordance with the law. Nope. The state budget has tripled in 23 years but while there are plenty of billions of $ for high speed rail from nowhere to nowhere else they couldn't find the $ to satisfy the minimum requirement to house prisoners.

I'm pretty sure that if I was mayor of any town in California and had to empty my jail to make room for more State prisoners, I'd put them all in a hired bus and drop them off in Sacramento and San Francisco.

San Francisco has always prided itself on its humanity.

Friday, August 2, 2013


Once had a personal tie to that ship. It will be interesting to go back aboard when we're in San Diego.

I see from viewing that the link perished so I found a new one. It's the same one as above but in English. We shall see how long it lasts.

Thursday, August 1, 2013


For no particular reason other than that I was reading earlier about home ownership and the twisted dickens known as Rent Stabilization which appears to make renters owners in all but name, I wonder if this country is far from passing jobs in the civil service from father to son as we do our elected offices. I read a fine memoir of an American sailor who retired at the end of the 19th Century. As I recall he wrote of the great Reformation in America when the Civil Service was created and Patronage was tossed on the ash heap of history. This was of great interest to him because for generations the duty of post master and light keeper and other public jobs were allocated as the spoils of the elected party. Politics was extremely personnel back then. Not like now....nope.
A no-acount or indifferent job holder could not be fired or disciplined because he got the job through his power to get others to vote and the ward-heelers and political bosses knew it.

These days it is the same but different. Now we can't get rid of, motivate or promote civil servants because it is all done by the unelected bureaucracy beholden to nobody at all. See? In the last century one could fire a poor performer every time one Party replaced the other at election time. Now, all we get to do is hire more and more people to outnumber the incumbents left from the previous administration without being allowed to terminate any.

What we have today is an almost entirely politicized civil service with incumbents stuffed with zeal following their own agendas and making their stupid fantasies the regulations that control and regulate every aspect of life in America. They work in the EPA where they declare a ditch to be a public waterway or wetland subject to the most onerous control or suddenly decide that it is against the rules to burn coal. They work in the Justice Department where they concoct hate where they like and claim to see it everywhere so fond of it are they. We see it in school teachers who react in horror at the mere picture of a gun that little Johny or Suzy drew never mind that every blessed door to every school in this country has a graphic on the door

I was never taught it but I learned it nonetheless; unless a thing is specifically forbidden, it is authorized. Some of the things I feel authorized to do are perhaps better done in the dark or after hours and it pays to know that. Knowledge sometimes is its own reward. But if we look at that sign above do we see an exemption carved out for anybody that lets them carry a deadly weapon in that place? A cop will assume that anything at all that he wants to do is legal because the laws don't apply to the police. Teachers on the other hand will assume that a sign with a red line through a picture of a gun means that it is also very much against the law to have a picture of a gun on the school premises and act accordingly. You see how we have a wildly divergent interpretation of the law right there.

There is nothing wrong with following a parent into a trade or business when it is the business of making money. A lot of farmers were raised by farmers. A lot of lawyers are children of lawyers. A lot of military had a parent in the military. But it says something profound about a country when the public jobs become hereditary and are inherited like rent controlled apartments in New York City. There are crafts that are practically closed to outsiders by the rules of the guild. But the interesting thing is that the closed crafts are not the ones involved in making stuff but rather are the ones involved in teaching and regulating and legislating.

I am not the kind of person that thinks we should pass laws or make regulations about this kind of thing since that's what perpetuates this mess. I don't believe that we need 90% of it so I'd just stop paying for it. It's pretty clear to me that Unions can work in a closed environment and are fundamentally unworkable in a world without tariffs and tightly regulated movement of capital and labor. I don't actually understand how public sector jobs ever got permission to unionize since the bottom line for any union negotiation must be profit and governments do not make profits and there is/better not be, any real attempt to calculate productivity of a public worker since the metrics would quickly assume monstrous form that bear no resemblance to efficiency and thrift.

*The immortals: death and taxes.