Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Government Killed Eric Garner — but Eric Garner Helped

December 4, 2014

I have some questions about this case. but first, I’d like to restrict the careless use of the terms “chokehold” and “choked” from the discussion. Does nobody bother to understand the difference between CHOKING and STRANGLING? CHOKING is blockage of the airway, usually at the trachea, preventing breathing. Death ensues in a minute, or less. STRANGLING is blockage of blood circulation to and from the brain, by blocking the major veins and arteries in the neck.

Death from this takes a little longer, but results in unconsciousness in much less time. Both choke holds and strangleholds, on an adult. require two, locked hands or some instrument, such as a rope or necktie, to apply pressure to the airway, veins and arteries, in any combination. The video is poor, but the ME’s report denies any injury to the airway or bones of the neck, making it VERY unlikely that either a choke or strangle WAS EVER APPLIED.

The dead man was obese (MORBIDLY obese, I would say, from the video), and it is a matter of record that he had multiple, chronic medical problems of the type associated with obese men, including but probably not limited to, Congestive Heart Failure, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (asthma and “heart disease” are often quoted from the ME’s report), hypertension, kidney failure and other contestants in what was already a horse race to see which killed him before the others could.

The point of the above is to assert that he may have been on the verge of collapse and death before this event. I DON’T rule out that his death may have been made immediate by the stress of his arrest, including wrestling with cops trying to handcuff him, and possibly even sitting or kneeling on his thorax to control him. The continuous pressure of an adult male on Garner’s chest or back, compressing his thorax and impeding return blood flow from his body to his heart, and keeping him from taking a full breath, would have done nothing to help his blood circulation or his ability to breathe.

Whatever happened out of sight of the camera, his respiration was good enough for him to complain loudly enough to be heard in the video that he couldn’t breathe. If you can’t breathe, YOU CAN’T TALK, because it takes moving air to talk. He was talking, and therefore, breathing, during the arrest.

It is entirely possible he was having a heart attack or some life-threatening arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat that doesn’t circulate blood), while the arrest was going on. It may not have been detected until he was in the ambulance, on an EKG monitor, or maybe not even then. Whatever caused the cardiac arrest in the ambulance, the takedown on the street certainly could have contributed to it, but he could easily have dropped dead on the street that day, with no one else to blame, because of his abuse and neglect of his own body.

As far as the force used, that was the result of new laws on the books at the state or city level that were intended to recover lost revenue that was supposed to roll in as a result of absurdly high state and local taxes on cigarettes. As much as New York’s government hates free markets, the forces that drive them are like gravity, and cannot be pushed aside by sin taxes and “revenuers.”

Government greed was the first and most significant contributor to this man’s death, followed closely by his own behavior, short-term and long-term. NOT a police choke hold, but a government choke hold. It probably would not have happened as it did, if New York City and State weren’t trying to choke every last cent of revenue out of their residents, to fund their bloated, inefficient and corrupt governments.

The RNC Is Begging, Again

July 29, 2014

Yes, I have received yet another email from the RNC, begging for money. The tone of this one is a little desperate, suggesting I may have “abandoned the Republican Party.” I decided to reply via this neglected blog, with my responses interspersed in red italics. Enjoy!

 

Dear Friend,

Did you abandon the Republican Party?

To paraphrase another Republican, “I didn’t abandon the Republican Party. The Republican Party abandoned me.”

Chairman Priebus has written to you already this year asking you to contribute to the RNC and renew your membership. But we haven’t received your financial support yet this year.

He didn’t receive it, because I didn’t send it. The GOP only cares about conservatives and the Constitution when it wants our money and our shoe leather to get them re-elected – again. The rest of the time, we are an embarrassment and a burden.

Your past support has shown us that you believe in the Republican Party and the conservative principles we stand for. That’s why we still believe you haven’t given up on the Republican Party yet.

I haven’t given the GOP a dime in over a decade. I HAVE contributed and campaigned for individual candidates I believed in.

So we are giving you one more chance to renew your membership with the Republican National Committee.

Thanks for one more chance to tell you all to go to hell, so I can get on with my vetting of individual candidates, versus the candidates selected by the Party Elite, who are, more often or not, no better than democrats in their actions.

Right now you are handing the advantage over to Democrats. That’s exactly what President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid want you to do. With committed Republicans like you sitting out in 2014, the Democrats are able to continue their liberal rampage on conservative principles.

There was a time when I believed this pack of lies – that the only choices were the handpicked hacks from the GOP geritocracy, or hand the country over to the Democrats. No longer. As I said, any money I have to spare will go to candidates who respect the Constitution, not to Big Business surrogates and RINOs.

2014 is our last chance to step in, step up, and take back the Senate to regain Republican control in Washington. Don’t turn your back on the Republican Party now.

I don’t intend to give the US Senate to a bunch of Democrats masquerading as Republicans. I don’t WANT “Republican control of the Senate.” I want CONSTITUTIONAL control of the Senate.

Renew your membership with the Republican National Committee now and support our fight to defeat liberal Democrats.

Ain’t happenin’, Scooter. Buzz off.

Thanks,

Tony Parker

RNC Treasurer

RINOs — Always Ready to Surrender

July 24, 2011

This way to Prison Camp. "Not just for the summer anymore!" http://federalprisoncamptour.com/

Republican Senators Offer Alternative Plan for Martial Law

Washington, October 29th, 2012

In the wake of President Obama’s declaration of martial law last week, just weeks before the 2012 general election, moderate Senate Republicans have proposed some alternatives to the President’s executive orders authorizing indefinite detention without trial and civil asset forfeiture.

The measures were described as “draconian” by former talk show host Rush Limbaugh, who has not been heard from in several days. Senate Republicans Olympia Snow, John McCain and minority leader Mitch McConnell came forward today with what they call “a reasonable alternative” to the emergency measures. They say they have met with Senators Harry Reid and Dick Durbin to negotiate the release on recognizance of several Republican senators, congressmen, and state governors, all of whom had been “very critical” of the emergency measures.

Senate Majority Leader McConnell spoke for the group:

“In this time of crisis, we must reach across the aisle to our colleagues and come to some sort of compromise on these executive orders. While we appreciate the urgency and severity of the situation that faces the President, we believe it is possible to deal with our unfortunate circumstances with a more moderate, measured approach.”

“We propose to allow those thousands of Americans being held incommunicado and without legal representation or charges being filed, to be released on their own recognizance from the detention camps around the country, after signing an agreement not to participate in political activity. They should be allowed to return to their homes, if they have not been demolished or re-assigned to needy immigrant families. They should wear a GPS-enabled house arrest ankle bracelet and keep authorities apprised of their whereabouts at all times.

“Of course, we would expect the President’s National Stability Police Force to continue to hold anyone who is a real security threat, but we expect that such detainees would be tried and convicted or released within a reasonable period.”

Saying they were trying to reach missing Congressional colleagues to get a consensus in support of the compromise, McConnell expects to be allowed to meet with the President’s chief of staff to present the proposal “within the next few weeks.”

{Note — like my “euthanasia letter” of a while back, I started this out as satire, but, as in that letter,  the events described are not nearly as fanciful or funny as most of us wish they were. The best I can manage is a strong sense of irony. From irony to irons, you might say. — TC}

AndersonVille POW Camp -- Mass Grave

We've done it before -- Andersonville POW Camp, circa 1864 -- Mass Grave http://www.cr.nps.gov/nr/twhp/wwwlps/lessons/11andersonville/11visual3.htm

SORRY, Internet Closed! NOW WHAT?

February 3, 2011

Who pulled the plug?

(Geekspeak Alert! Multiple occurrences of Information Technology jargon and abbreviations follow. Approach at your own risk.)

What if, what if, what if…? The recent discussion of the Egyptians’ reliance on the Internet for communication in their uprising, and of the “Internet Kill Switch” legislation in our own Congress, led me to thinking about preparedness in general, and emergency communication in particular.

The Internet has gone from an obscure fad to a virtual communication spinal cord in a couple of decades. It’s “the network of networks.” It’s “the cloud,” and the “information superhighway.” To some, it’s a free-flowing gutter; to others, it’s a lifeline to information, communication and entertainment they can’t imagine being without.

You are “plugged in,” to one degree or another, to that “cloud,” or you wouldn’t be reading this.

What if it went away?

Egypt did its best to shut off public access to the Internet when the rioting in Cairo began to turn into a revolt.

According to a TIME online story, what the Mubarak regime did was order the Internet Service Providers that serve Egypt to shut down their Domain Name Service (DNS servers). The article offers a capsule explanation of DNS:

When you open up your web browser and type a domain name into the address bar—say Time.com, for instance—your service provider sends a lightning-quick request to whichever service provider Time.com uses to make its web pages publicly available on the internet.

The computer that holds all of Time.com’s web pages sends a response back through its internet service provider basically saying, “Yes, we’re online. Here’s the web page you requested.”

That’s part of the story. The critical part of the DNS process is address translation. The Internet doesn’t know from www.yoursite.com. The DNS server converts the Universal Resource label (URL), the “human-friendly” name for the site you want to see, into an Internet Protocol (IP) address, which, for now, is a series of numbers and periods in the format ###.###.###. That is what really travels across town or around the world, to arrive at “www.yoursite.com.”

There’s a lesson, for you. If DNS service is down, you need a list of Internet Protocol addresses you can put into the address field of your browser to get to sites directly.

To get to my favorite Internet news site, World Net Daily, in the absence of DNS service, I simply put “70.85.95.100”(without the quotation marks) into my address field, and go there.

How did I find that out? I opened a command line window (I speak Windows; sorry, Apple and Linux speakers – you’re on your own) and ran the PING command using several of my most frequent browsing destinations.

Here’s an example of the PING command and its output, from my IP address gathering process:

C:\Documents and Settings\Tom Cox>ping drudgereport.com
 Pinging drudgereport.com [209.234.251.93] with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from 209.234.251.93: bytes=32 time=105ms TTL=46
Reply from 209.234.251.93: bytes=32 time=113ms TTL=46
Reply from 209.234.251.93: bytes=32 time=112ms TTL=46
Reply from 209.234.251.93: bytes=32 time=111ms TTL=46 
Ping statistics for 209.234.251.93:
Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
 Minimum = 105ms, Maximum = 113ms, Average = 110ms

The important information here isn’t the lousy ping times I get from my ISP, but the fact that when I enter the domain name — drudgereport.com in this case – (note the omission of “www” and the like), PING gives me the IP address, (209.234.251.93) it got from the DNS server I am currently connected to, which it uses to find the right server at the other end and measure the time required to get an acknowledgment.

Obviously, taking down the DNS service will impede access for those who don’t know how to get around it, but just as obviously, that is a porous barrier to the Internet. Not only can people who have stored their most-used IP addresses locally get through, but satellite-based ISPs, as well as any ISP who can be reached by dial-up, even in another hemisphere, can provide access, however slow and filtered that access may be. Any regime or force that wants to cut off Internet service completely, or at least much more completely than the Egyptian government did, has to take down wireline phone service, as well as cellular service, and jam satellite downlink frequencies.

The Internet is designed with “robustness” in mind, with multiple paths among connected nodes, and that makes an “Internet Kill Switch”more of a challenge than it may appear to be from a user’s perspective. (Thanks to Bruce Schneier, long-time Internet security and encryption expert)

If it were possible to take down the Internet in a given region, the results may be a classic, “be careful what you wish for” scenario. Governments that want to clamp down on the Internet may discover too late how dependent their own activities are on it. Will they be able to use government debit cards to refuel military vehicles? Will their air traffic control system’s communication network collapse? How about the electrical grid, public transportation, metropolitan traffic control systems, for starters – will a government that wants to enhance its grip on its population deliberately blind and deafen itself, just to silence social networks and news outlets?

Government suppression of the Internet may be the least of our concerns, in fact. We don’t even need our government to put the Internet at risk. Two other “actors” may be a lot more likely to succeed where governments fail: terrorists, and the sun.

All it will take is a little, tiny episode of solar flatulence, known scientifically as a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME). The sun, notorious for its stubborn inclination to ignore and flaunt government regulations and environmentalist lobbying, is about due for another of its periodic episodes of instability. This instability includes a tendency to fling huge clouds of high-energy particles out from its nearly-endless supply of such materials.

A solar corona hole, February 3, 2011, courtesy http://www.spaceweather.com

 

Should our planet happen to be in the way of one of these clouds, the results will be spectacular and calamitous, but not unprecedented. As it passes through the cloud, the energy in the cloud will induce electric currents in any conductor, such as a power line or radio antenna, and the currents induced may be much greater than the conductor, and any connected equipment, can tolerate.

The earth itself will rattle with the shock of this blast of energy. A geomagnetic storm is a secondary effect of the CME. The earth’s magnetic field will ring like a bell, with effects on life and technology both known and unknown.

The history of these storms shows but a hint of the potential impact on the whole energy-transportation-communication-security-economy infrastructure.

This impact would not be an overnight phenomenon, but could bathe the earth in strong energy clouds for weeks or months. The associated Aurora displays might be spectacularly beautiful, but most of us will be too busy trying to survive the other effects to have much time top enjoy the show.

Aurora, courtesy Wikipedia

Aurora Borealis, courtesy Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Polarlicht_2.jpg

Ole’ Mom Nature and government shutdowns are not the only way uncontrollable forces can have a huge impact on the Internet and the rest of the infrastructure.  A small, but well-funded group of terrorists, or “axis of evil” agents, armed with a small nuclear weapon and a “SCUD” class, intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) can blind and cripple us, too.

SCUD on semi-trailer launcher, courtesy Wklipedia

 

A nondescript container ship could pull up off the Atlantic coast a hundred miles out from Washington DC, and launch a missile sold or donated by Russia, North Korea, Iran, or a non-state entity with lots of money. If the missile has a warhead consisting of, say, a refurbished Russian tactical nuclear warhead, furnished by the same thoughtful donor or another, or sold by some organized crime venture, the goal would be to detonate the missile not on or near the ground, as in the Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks, but a hundred miles or so above Washington, or nearby.

The nuclear detonation, even resulting from a very small, “suitcase”-style weapon, would have the expected blast effects from heat and sudden pressure – although they would be diminished on the ground due to the high altitude of the detonation — but it would also create a huge, sharp electromagnetic pulse (EMP). Before discounting the possibly existence of nuclear warheads small enough to launch above a SCUD-sized IRBM, recall that both the Russians and Americans developed and built thousands of nuclear artillery shells, one of which was successfully test-fired and detonated.

The upper atmosphere would interact with the pulse to create a huge, secondary pulse that would spread over an area of hundreds, or thousands, of square miles. There would be instant and dramatic effects on anything electrical for hundreds or thousands of miles in any direction. The impulse would be far stronger than a CME-induced surge, but lasting only a fraction of a second. The effect, though, would last for months, or years, in terms of its effect on the nation.

The effect on a society as dependent on electricity and electronics as ours, would be devastating, and that is not just the apocalyptic fantasy of a few catastrophe freaks and post-apocalypse survival enthusiasts. Credible groups have testified before Congress on the potential effects of such an attack, but with little apparent impact on our national priorities.

Nightmarish scenarios exist, such as a novel by a historian named William Forstchen, One Second After.

There is considerable disagreement as to the scientific and technical accuracy of the novel’s predictions, as one can see in the extended discussion of the book on Amazon, but not much disagreement that the effects will be severe and long-lasting. As long as the Internet stays up, you can learn more about EMP in its various forms at EMPact America, http://www.empactamerica.org/

Whether the cause of the outage is government action, terrorism or solar storms, doing without the Internet is

What’s a communication-dependent technophile to do? Do you carry a spare tire in your car? Why? The odds of a flat in the middle of nowhere are low, but the repercussions are severe – what disaster prep strategists refer to as a “low probability, high consequences event.”

Technophiles are smart to be ready with multiple options for communications, to fit the circumstances. Dead cell phone battery? Where’s your crank-up charger? Power out for an extended period? Cable system, wireline phone system, and cell service down? Where’s your CB radio, your GMRS/FRS portable radio set, your crystal radio, complete with rolled-up, ready-to-launch wire antenna, your HF ham radio and accessories, your fire starting kit, your wood stove, your bottled water, your toilet paper, your emergency food, your maps, your compass, your handgun, your rifle, your ammunition…

From a dead DNS server to the collapse of civil society and enemy attack – you can be a victim, or you can be prepared.

WHERE’S WIKILEAKS (AS OF THIS MOMENT)?

December 3, 2010

WHERE’S WIKILEAKS?

Whose couch is WikiLeaks sleeping on, today? The “.org” domain is no more, thanks to Fox News Radio on WLAC for that info! It’s now (or most recently, anyway) “.ch” in Sweden.

C:\Documents and Settings\Tom Cox>tracert wikileaks.ch

Tracing route to wikileaks.ch [88.80.13.160] over a maximum of 30 hops:

1 <1 ms <1 ms <1 ms 192.168.0.1
[local ISP hops] –
9 83 ms 86 ms 85 ms TenGigE0-0-0-0.GW4.ATL5.ALTER.NET [63.122.230.125]
10 116 ms 93 ms 91 ms 0.ge-1-1-0.XT1.ATL5.ALTER.NET [152.63.82.253]
11 82 ms 93 ms 93 ms 0.so-5-1-0.XT1.ATL4.ALTER.NET [152.63.0.85]
12 82 ms 91 ms 96 ms TenGigE0-6-1-0.GW7.ATL4.ALTER.NET [152.63.80.133]
13 94 ms 91 ms 94 ms teliasonera-gw.customer.alter.net [157.130.90.238]
14 100 ms 109 ms 109 ms ash-bb1-link.telia.net [80.91.247.172]
15 110 ms 110 ms 104 ms 80.91.248.201
16 200 ms 226 ms 201 ms kbn-bb1-link.telia.net [80.91.247.114]
17 204 ms 208 ms 230 ms s-bb2-link.telia.net [80.91.248.50]
18 210 ms 224 ms 216 ms s-b3-link.telia.net [80.91.249.220]
19 210 ms 214 ms 319 ms tsic-206.kn1.sth.portlane.net [213.248.66.206]
20 215 ms 238 ms 228 ms i2b-154.kn1.sth.portlane.net [80.67.0.154]
21 227 ms 225 ms 213 ms sth-sod1-crdn-1-ge-1-2-801.i2b.se [178.16.212.10]
22 247 ms 227 ms 221 ms sth-sln1-crdn-1-ge-2-3-800.i2b.se [178.16.212.5]
23 216 ms 207 ms 213 ms cust-prq-nt.i2b.se [178.16.212.2]
24 210 ms 247 ms 203 ms mail.wikileaks.org [88.80.13.160]

Trace complete.

WHOIS search:

[Querying whois.ripe.net]
[whois.ripe.net]
% This is the RIPE Database query service.
% The objects are in RPSL format.
%
% The RIPE Database is subject to Terms and Conditions.
% See http://www.ripe.net/db/support/db-terms-conditions.pdf

% Note: This output has been filtered.
% To receive output for a database update, use the “-B” flag.

% Information related to ‘88.80.12.0 – 88.80.13.255’

inetnum: 88.80.12.0 – 88.80.13.255
netname: PRQ-NET-INT
descr: prq Inet – Access
descr: Customer / link addresses
country: SE
admin-c: pIN7-RIPE
tech-c: pIN7-RIPE
status: ASSIGNED PA
mnt-by: MNT-PRQ
source: RIPE # Filtered

role: prq Inet NOC
address: PRQ AB
address: Box 1206
address: SE 11479 Stockholm
address: Sweden
remarks: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
remarks: !! Abuse reports should ONLY be sent to abuse@prq.se !!
remarks: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
abuse-mailbox: abuse@prq.se
admin-c: PW1115-RIPE
tech-c: PW1115-RIPE
nic-hdl: PIN7-RIPE
mnt-by: MNT-PRQ
source: RIPE # Filtered

% Information related to ‘88.80.0.0/19AS33837’

route: 88.80.0.0/19
descr: Periquito aggregated route
origin: AS33837
mnt-by: MNT-PRQ
source: RIPE # Filtered

On the Trail of Wikileaks — Some Low-Rent IT Detective Work

December 2, 2010

All the noise about WikiLeaks and the illusive nature of alleged terrorist/rapist/spy and convicted pencil-neck Julian Assange, prompted me to do a little online snooping.

Assange may be resting his pencil-neck on a couch in a relatively-secure, so-far undisclosed apartment location, but his WikiLeaks site has to be hosted on one or more servers, somewhere, with Internet access, or it can’t be spewing forth embarrassing (and probably lethal) secrets.

I started with a “traceroute,” which is a command-line process that lays out the path to a target site — in this case, “wikileaks.org.”

The result is below, with some early hops deleted in a nod to IT paranoia. This was effective about 10:15 AM, CST, December 2, 2010.

C:\Documents and Settings\Tom Cox>tracert wikileaks.org
Tracing route to wikileaks.org [91.121.133.41] over a maximum of 30 hops:
1    <1 ms    <1 ms    <1 ms  192.168.0.1
[...]
9    79 ms   106 ms   104 ms  te-1-2.car2.Nashville1.Level3.net [4.59.200.37]
10   239 ms   101 ms   106 ms  ae-11-11.car1.Nashville1.Level3.net [4.69.140.226]
11   109 ms   138 ms   113 ms  ae-8-8.ebr2.Atlanta2.Level3.net [4.69.140.230]
12   110 ms   127 ms   101 ms  ae-12-51.car2.Atlanta1.Level3.net [4.68.103.3]
13   124 ms   126 ms   133 ms  francetelecom-level3-ge.Atlanta1.Level3.net [4.68.110.162] 
14   122 ms   144 ms   149 ms  xe-2-1-2-0.ashtr1.Ashburn.opentransit.net [193.251.243.25]
15   196 ms   213 ms   203 ms  pos0-1-5-0.pastr1.Paris.opentransit.net [193.251.243.150]
16   207 ms   323 ms   200 ms  gigabitethernet11-1-0.auvcr2.Aubervilliers.opentransit.net
[193.251.132.117]
17   212 ms   206 ms   214 ms  te2-3.parse3.Paris.opentransit.net [193.251.129.13]
18   202 ms     *      215 ms  th1-1-6k.fr.eu [213.251.128.57]
19   203 ms     *        *     rbx-1-6k.fr.eu [213.186.32.194]
20   211 ms   201 ms   222 ms  rbx-41-m1.fr.eu [213.251.191.119]
21   292 ms   248 ms   206 ms  ns201695.ovh.net [91.121.133.41]
Trace complete.

To flesh out the search, I went to WHOIS and entered the last IP address, 91.121.133.41.

Here’s the result:

[Querying whois.ripe.net]
[whois.ripe.net]
% This is the RIPE Database query service.
% The objects are in RPSL format.
% The RIPE Database is subject to Terms and Conditions.
% See http://www.ripe.net/db/support/db-terms-conditions.pdf
% Note: This output has been filtered.
% To receive output for a database update, use the "-B" flag.
% Information related to '91.121.132.0 - 91.121.135.255'
inetnum: 91.121.132.0 - 91.121.135.255
netname: OVH
descr: OVH SAS
descr: Dedicated Servers
descr: http://www.ovh.com
country: FR
admin-c: OK217-RIPE
tech-c: OTC2-RIPE
status: ASSIGNED PA
mnt-by: OVH-MNT
source: RIPE # Filtered
role: OVH Technical Contact
address: OVH SAS
address: 2 rue Kellermann
address: 59100 Roubaix
address: France
admin-c: OK217-RIPE
tech-c: GM84-RIPE
nic-hdl: OTC2-RIPE
abuse-mailbox: abuse@ovh.net
mnt-by: OVH-MNT
source: RIPE # Filtered
person: Octave Klaba
address: OVH SAS
address: 2 rue Kellermann
address: 59100 Roubaix
address: France
phone: +33 9 74 53 13 23
nic-hdl: OK217-RIPE
abuse-mailbox: abuse@ovh.net
mnt-by: OVH-MNT
source: RIPE # Filtered
% Information related to '91.121.0.0/16AS16276'
route: 91.121.0.0/16
descr: OVH ISP
descr: Paris,  France
origin: AS16276
mnt-by: OVH-MNT
source: RIPE # Filtered

Seems like only yesterday that some Amazon servers were hosting the site. Apparently the pressure on Amazon caused an eviction noticed to be served, and WikiLeaks moved on, its virtual couch no longer a place of welcome.

Is anyone surprised that the cheese-eating surrender monkeys are hosting the pencil-neck’s site? How long before it is moved, again?

Open a DOS window, enter tracert wikileaks.org and follow it!

It’s Not the Marketing, Democrats, It’s the Product. SOCIALISM STINKS!

November 4, 2010
New, Improved Socialism!!

NEW! IMPROVED! BUY NOW, OR JUMP IN MASS GRAVE!

Those of us above a certain age remember when TV ads trumpeted a “new, improved” cereal or dish detergent. All the proof we had of newness or improvement was the package, which had new, snazzy colors and maybe a cool, new shape. Sure enough, the words, “NEW!” and “IMPROVED!” are there, right on the label.

Of course the new product often came with a new, improved, higher price.

When we opened the new, improved package, we often found the same, old product inside, or an old product with irrelevant tweaks and tunes that left us with same ole’ same ole’. The marketing department obviously ran the show in these enterprises, and the product research and development department was AWOL or irrelevant.

It doesn’t matter whose picture you put on the box – Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot — socialism is a failed product that has been repackaged countless times over the last 150 years. It has never worked, and despite a death toll of well over a hundred million innocent people in a seemingly endless series of ruthless and bloody “marketing campaigns,” it keeps coming back.

The latest attempt at socialism, advanced by Democrats and RINOs, is a hideous parade of defective products:  Obamacare, Government Motors, Cap and Tax, and union pension bailouts, to name but a few. President Obama, in a post-mid-term election presser intended to explain away the blunt rejection of the same old product with his latest packaging, stubbornly refused to understand the meaning of the election results.

The problem, he said, was with the message. It was just bad marketing.

As the Gipper famously said, “There you go, again.”

No, Dear Leader, the problem isn’t the marketing. The product – socialism — stinks, has always stunk, and always will stink. No amount of marketing, packaging, promotion, rebates, coupons or discounts will sell socialism, because it is an inherently defective product.

Socialist regimes always have to threaten their customers with death or imprisonment to get them to buy it, and they inevitably have to carry out those threats, if their regimes last long enough.

Whether or not it is imported from China, socialism is easily broken into sharp-edged, poisonous choking hazards, and ultimately, it is a threat to health, safety and, especially, to freedom.

It’s not new, it’s not improved, and we aren’t buying.

Trailer Trash Adventures

July 3, 2010

Proto-Mobile-Home, minus a hundred years -- OK, it's an RV, but I love the photo. Thanks to CollectivePic.com

What is it about mobile homes, anyway? They get trashed in the movies, the press and in tornadoes, and the people who live in them are “trailer trash.”

We who live in these little boxes do so for the most part, not because we prefer them, but because we can afford them.

If we “trailer trash” could afford airtight, green-weenie, artsy-fartsy, “net zero energy,” computer-controlled living spaces, lighted with creepy, AlGore curly-bulbs, heated and cooled with sunlight and geothermal, roofed with photovoltaic arrays and sprouting wind farms – or, at least, wind gardens — out back, with the power company sending us monthly checks for the electricity we produce in excess of what we use… most of us would have them.

We here on Danley Road can’t afford to build such a house, so we are doing our best to modify our existing mobile to make it more comfortable, affordable, and – forgive me for borrowing a PC term – sustainable. That’s why I put in a wood stove last winter.

When the electricity goes off in the wintertime, I don’t want to be frozen out of my own home and evacuated to some Red Cross shelter in a nearby town, while my rescued dogs and cats fend for themselves, and the opportunists among us rifle my belongings for things to take to the pawn shop and turn into meth money. I want to be home, managing my own heat, keeping my pets fed and watered, and protecting my own property with my 12-gauge. That’s what I mean by “sustainable.”

Of course, even if we could afford it, we wouldn’t buy some politically-correct, Department of Energy and Sierra Club-blessed box in some crowded, little “sustainable community,” because we don’t want one. We want to live where we want, not in the Obama-era descendant of the Stalin-era concrete wedding cake apartment monolith.

We want to provide our own heat, to the extent possible, grow (and catch) our own food, to a similar extent, and we absolutely don’t want the Secretary of Energy able to turn off any of our electrical outlets by remote control in a bow to the colossal fraud and power grab that is Carbon Dioxide-driven Global Warming. Barry can stick his “Smart Grid” where the solar cells definitely will not work.

We understand that the Stalinists in our government and around the world want us all lumped together in collective housing — not because they give a damn about the environment — but because we will be easier to spy on and control in those settings. It only takes one party stooge to keep track of several families of Kulaks, that way. Very efficient and sustainable, comrades!

Just as we recoil at handing our medical care over to faceless, government bureaucrats, we find the thought of leaving our rural homestead to live in a government-controlled, UN-approved “sustainable community” repugnant.

So, where does that leave us? It leaves us trying our best to make our rickety mobile home into a sound, efficient, comfortable structure, while confined to a tight budget and a desire to maintain a low profile with the various regulatory bodies that would love to be looking over our shoulders and calling every shot.

Where do we start? Logically, we start with the roof. The sheet metal “lid” (I hate to dignify it with a term like, “roof”) over this place reminds me of baking a turkey in the oven. When I was a kid, Mom put the turkey in the oven with a “tent” of aluminum foil (Reynolds Wrap!) over it to recapture the heat and moisture that would otherwise be lost in the oven.

TrailerTrashTurkeyTent

My own turkey tent. As lovely as it is effective!

With record summer heat in progress as I write this, we are finding out what it was like for the turkey. The galvanized sheet metal is thin enough to be subject to damage by any object that hits the roof in a storm, and walking on it is out of the question. It must be about 29 gauge, if that thick, which is about like the metal on the roof of a car. In theory, there’s insulation between it and the flat ceilings in the rooms at both ends of the trailer, but in the middle, we get “cathedral ceilings,” which means there is next to nothing in the way of insulation between us and the Tennessee sky.

The insulation above the flat ceilings can’t amount to much, because there isn’t enough space between the ceiling and roof for more than a couple of inches of any kind of insulation, and that’s right in the middle, under the ridge.

As I understand, it’s glass fiber, which is only good for about R-3 per inch, and then, only if it is maintained in its ideal “state of loft,” or fluffiness. Since it is between a vapor-permeable drywall ceiling and a metal roof, it has undoubtedly gotten damp long ago from moisture penetration from below, and can’t even remember what its ideal “state of loft” was like. As nesting material for mice, it’s great, but for insulation, it’s mostly an empty gesture.

Over about the middle third of the trailer, the cathedral ceiling consists mostly of textured drywall under the sheet metal, which is visually pleasant, but of no insulating value to speak of.

A couple of businesses serve the middle Tennessee area with systematized, fast and effective “roofovers.” (One I have had some correspondence with is Southern Builders, which sells the “PermaRoof” product line . These places will bring a kit of materials and a crew to your mobile, apply a support framework, and slap on a foam-insulated roof – a real roof – over your sheet metal turkey tent. I have no doubt that any of the reputable dealers I have seen would do a creditable job, and greatly improve the quality of life in the mobile, as well as making a quantifiable improvement in the heating and cooling of same.

What I wonder is, where is the outfit that will do the same for my mobile’s walls, doors and windows?

I’ve been reading  lately about the newest craze (actually, the idea is decades old, but the building industry is slow to adopt new ideas) in the building industry: SIPs. Structural Insulated Panels, according to the Structural Insulated Panel Association,  are a sandwich of sheath and insulation, bonded permanently into a panel that is not only a barrier to heat loss and air movement, but also strong enough (the significance of the “Structural” part of the term) to serve as a load-bearing section of wall without framing.

Recently, the market for SIPs has become more competitive, and the manufacturing processes have been streamlined, reducing the cost to a point where it is a realistic alternative. When the “supply” and “demand” curves both rise, wonderful things happen. Someone please explain this to the simple-minded, “Capitalism is EEE-VILL” crowd.

SIPs are now available using OSB plywood sheaths and a couple of types of insulation in the middle. They are also made with sheet metal as the sheath material, which makes them lighter for the same structural strength and insulation value.

SIP panels resist bending, twisting or crushing better than the same size “stick built” wall, when properly installed. Perhaps more importantly, they also provide much higher levels of insulation and sealing against air movement (infiltration) than studs and sheath.

Part of the reason for this superior weather-tightness is the use of plastic foam, most versions of which offer much more insulation for a given thickness than either glass fiber or cellulose fiber. Of course, the fiber insulation is overrated anyway, since its ratings are based on an ideal set of conditions that is as rare in the real world as a cold day in Tennessee in this month of June.

The insulating value of glass fiber and cellulose are based on laboratory-controlled measurements under ideal conditions, including 70 degrees F and no air movement. Moisture, settling and nesting by insects and animals all furnish the less-than-ideal, but far from uncommon conditions in the real world that lower the actual insulating power of fiber batts.

In the real world, the fibers are stuffed into a wall panel – a space with a lot more room in the vertical, than in the horizontal axis. The pull of gravity is relentless and patient, and the result is inevitable – insulation piled in the bottom of a cavity, with heat leaking like mad across the upper, uninsulated space.

Heat loss in this scenario is due to three mechanisms, in no particular order:

Convection (air movement, AKA infiltration), happens because the fiber is no longer dividing the wall space into lots of smaller spaces. Warmer air rises and comes into contact with cooler air or cooler surfaces, gives up its heat to them, regains its density and drops. Rinse and repeat.

Conduction is the way heat gets from a burner on the stove, through the handle of a skillet and into your hand, and that’s how warm air loses its heat. Every point at which a stud or rafter makes contact between the inner and outer surfaces of a wall, and there are many, since typical stud spacing is 16 inches center to center, is a bridge from hot to cold. Heat is conducted across this “thermal bridge” with the ease with which illegal aliens cross our southern border, and with similarly negative results. The R-value of the best insulation in the world does absolutely nothing to prevent a thermal bridge.

Radiation is the third path from hot to cold, and the one you feel on bare skin when you are out in bright sunshine on a cool day. Radiation is an important form of heat gain on a roof in the summer, and two ways to head off radiation-born heat are shade, as in shade trees, and reflection, which bounces the radiant heat back into space, where it belongs. Reflective foil on the surface of a batt or board of insulation under a wood or metal roof has the effect of bouncing the heat back before it can get deep enough to be dealt with as hot air in the structural cavity.

If you want to be as wonky as a physics major, all three methods of heat exchange – convection, conduction and radiation – are just special cases of radiation. When heat passes up the handle of the frying pan, it’s really just radiating from one atom of iron to the next, because the space between atoms is, on their relative scale, as vast as the space between the earth and the sun. Electromagnetic radiation, in the form of heat, travels through the space between atoms with the same ease with which it travels from the sun to the seat of your car. Convection is just a case of heat energy passing from one air molecule to another, and making the cooler molecules denser, causing them to settle and displace the warmer ones, squeezing them up to the top of the wall cavity.

As the physics wonks will say, heat, and all forms of energy in the universe, goes from where there is more of it, to where there is less of it. The same process lets heat into the house in summer, and squeezes it out in the winter. It’s just the way of things. If this process is allowed to complete, the universe will wind up as a cold, dark lump. Just don’t mark your calendar for it, because it will be a while.

A SIP is another story. The insulating quality of the foam is unbroken edge to edge across the surface of the panel, and the standard means of attachment of the panel to the building doesn’t provide any of those pesky thermal bridges. Individual panels are joined by various methods, according to the manufacturer. Some use dovetail joints formed into the edges of the panels, and others are connected via a wood timber called a spline that the crew drives screws into from the inside and outside. Each panel is joined to the building by being fitted at the top and bottom into tracks or channels that are attached firmly to the framework of the building. The result is a strong, weather-tight wall.

Of course, this practice makes retrofitting to a trailer nearly impossible, because there are so few suitable places more substantial than a cardboard box to anchor the channels that hold the panels top and bottom. That’s ironic, since I wanted to USE SIPs to add some structural integrity to this otherwise low-hanging-fruit for a toy tornado.

I began to suspect SIPs and the DIY/retrofit market was not a good marriage early, while searching for other people’s experience with them. There is none. Yes, my privacy-respecting search engine, Ixquick, did return a few hits with search terms like, “SIPS and retrofit,” and “SIPS and mobile homes,” but they never resulted in finding me one, single instance of somebody using SIPs to make a mobile home a little less mobile in a high wind. In fact, I was hard-pressed to find SIPs used in any retrofit situations, even in conventional houses.

This could be attributed by an optimist in my position to the newness of the products, and the lack of “generic SIPs” at places like Lowes and Home Depot. Most of the SIPs projects I saw were shipped to the site in kit form, complete with cuts for windows and doors, although the marketing people are always quick to say that any such openings can be cut on site, as needed. After all, one of the appeals of SIPs is the relative lack of waste, as one sees filling the Dumpster at the typical home construction site. Since ideally, every piece you need for every foot of outside wall is pre-cut and stacked on the truck, I can see why that would be.

So, anyway, I scaled back my aspirations of applying this technology to tightening up and fortifying my mobile. My earliest impulse for tightening up this trailer and making it safer was getting a “real” roof put on, and then, maybe, adding insulation and siding to the outside walls, and, finally, windows and doors that are worth a damn.

The roof turns out to have been much less of a chore than I expected. I found what I believe to be the best deal from Southern Builders, referenced earlier, and they had a crew close by between two other jobs in the region. They showed up WHEN THEY SAID THEY WOULD (Contractors, take note; you should try this!) and we went from ratty old roof to snazzy new, sturdy, well-insulated roof in a little over four hours. I recorded the whole process on camera, complete with before and after shots, and will be posting the whole, exciting tale shortly.

Sneak-peek at the new roof -- painful detail to follow

Happy “EVERYBODY DRAW MOHAMMED” Day! Long Live Free Speech!

May 20, 2010

Happy EVERYBODY DRAW MOHAMMED DAY! Long live FREE SPEECH!

“Extreme Circumstances” and Republican Surrender Monkeys — How to Make Nice and Lose a Country

May 17, 2010
Chamberlain

Senator Jon Kyl (L) leaves a meeting with Obama Adminstration representatives concerning the Kagan nomination... oh, wait! that's something else.

“’The filibuster should be relegated to the extreme circumstances, and I don’t think Elena Kagan represents that,’ said Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.”—AP article carried on breitbart.com

Will someone please point out to me a Republican with a spine, anywhere in a senior position of responsibility in Congress?

Senator Jon Kyl clearly is not one. Senator Kyl, if intercepting this left-wing hack of an Obama nominee on a clear trajectory to a lifetime appointment to the US Supreme Court is not “extreme circumstances,” what the hell is?

It’s only the judicial entity you and your colleagues have negligently entrusted with the power to say the United States Constitution is whatever they say it is at a given moment, that’s all. What little public record she has includes hostility to the military and free speech, and a fondness for abortion. Will you be astonished if she is also hostile to the Second Amendment and the other nine articles of the Bill of Rights? If you are, you are as clueless as you are spineless.

Does anyone understand why a Republican “leader” would roll over and play dead on such an issue even before hearings have begun? Is anyone surprised that the Tea party people and other grassroots conservatives and constitutionalists have turned their backs on the Republican Party “leaders?”

These eunuchs will make nice while the Socialist Democrats guide our country into the twilight, as a failed, post-constitutional, pseudo-European socialist state with no history and no future, and a debt to the Chinese that will make us their wholly-owned subsidiary.

Nah, no “extreme circumstances,” there.