Posts Tagged ‘Environmentalism’

Tea Party Tugboats, Shove Romney to Starboard!

March 9, 2012
Tugs Dock Aircraft Carrier

Small but mighty -- tugboats maneuver the carrier USS John F. Kennedy into its mooring place. (Wikipedia)


Patient and constant pressure – that’s how little tugboats move big ships where they are supposed to go. That is what conservatives will have to do with the new (God willing!) president.

This is directed at you Republicans who say you will stand behind your non-Romney candidate for the nomination, no matter what, all the way to Election Day.

I feel your pain. I wrote in Alan Keyes in the general election in 2008, and have discussed extensively why I did that. Hand-picked loser John McCain was just too repugnant a weasel to vote for.  I still believe the GOP establishment picked him as the best candidate to hand the election to Barack Obama. Why? Because losing was less scary for them than winning and having to admit to the unpleasant state in which George II left us, and then (shudder) deal with it.

The flaw in my analysis of that election was that I swallowed the popular assumption that electing the “right” president would reverse the century of Progressive erosion that has nearly washed away our fundamental freedoms.

That erosion paved the way for Trojan Horse Marxist Barack Obama, the single most destructive president in history, who then did more damage to our Constitutional Republic than any president since Wilson, and is on a trajectory to become a virtual – or actual – dictator in a second term.

With A Democrat majority in the House and Senate until the Great Rebound of 2010, Obama rammed through legislation, and appointed “Czars” that threaten to turn the Constitution into a meaningless rag. Obamacare, with its thousands of pages of abuses and illegalities; “recess appointments” without recesses; Supreme Court nominees without any qualifications other than allegiance to his socialist world view; “Fast and Furious,” and other, grotesque miscarriages of justice by his sock-puppet Attorney General, apologies to despots not entitled to apologies… the list is long.

If he gets a second term, Obama and his crew of leftist hacks and clowns will accomplish their mission, turning the best country in the history of the world into a third-rate banana republic, without the capacity to grow a single banana.

In fact, he can do so much damage between now and his last day in office — even if it is next January – that any Republican president will have to administer the political equivalent of first aid, maybe even CPR,  just to pull our country back from the brink.

After the airway, breathing and circulation are restored, there will still be not just years, but decades of work to do, rooting out the regulators and executive branch hacks and parasites who have embedded themselves in the bloated bulk of our federal government, feeding on their host while contributing, each of them, to its destruction.

That is why I will vote for the Republican nominee in November, no matter who he (OR SHE!) is.

Our new (God willing!) president, prodded by the conservative tugboats in Congress and the tens of millions of Tea Party conservatives and Constitutionalists in the electorate, will have to apply patient and constant pressure to the right, forcing the government back into the role prescribed for it in our founding documents.

No single man or woman, no single president, can reverse the century of socialization advanced by Democrats and Liberal Republicans.

The angry and awakened conservative electorate simply cannot go back to sleep — even if the Republicans win big in November.

We have to take some of the time that we used to use to work, play and take care of our families, and put it into relentless, constant pressure on all three branches of government to get out of our faces, out of our pockets, out of our families, out of our businesses, and back into the constraints of the Constitution.

We can force a Republican Senate to approve competent and ethical appointments to cabinet departments and to the federal courts, and to soundly reject stupid, negligent or simply corrupt nominees, regardless of presidential or GOP hack pressure.

We can steer a Republican House to reject any act that doesn’t contract our debt, and to defund agencies that don’t have any Constitutional basis for their existence, while we wait for a chastened executive branch to abolish those agencies and departments. We can also compel our Representatives to initiate impeachment of unfit judges, and build fires under cabinet officials who have lost sight of their Constitutional limitations and responsibilities.

We can’t do any of the above without research, emails, calls, visits, campaign contributions and constant vigilance applied by millions of diligent, persistent voters.

We can push a rudderless America away from the emotional appeals of the progressives and liberal lobbies, and back toward

Like tugs moving a giant ship, or like a Cumberland River towboat pushing thousands of tons of gravel or grain downriver, we can steer the Republican “leadership” in the right direction – or replace them in the next elections.

Tug pushing barges, Cumberland River

Barge tug pushes thousands of tons of cargo on the Cumberland River near Ashland City, TN (Photo by the author)

Advertisements

WHERE ARE THE LEADERS?

June 3, 2011

Where are the leaders?

Where are the leaders – the people who can and will lead the United States of America out of the open grave we have been thrown into by the “leaders” of the last fifty years?

Where are the passionate, honest and humble men and women who know that government running every aspect of our lives is a recipe for misery and slavery?

Where are the men and women who will place themselves under the media spotlight without a crippling need for acceptance, because they understand that the media do not share, and will never share, their values?

Where are the men and women who will laugh in the faces of liberal hacks and counterfeit intellectuals with their cries of “racist” and other cheap, cowardly epithets, and call them out as the frauds and liars they are?

What follows is the speech I want to hear from a candidate who believes himself to be one of the real leaders – one who will help us to climb out of that open grave, rather than throwing in smaller shovelfuls of dirt, and telling us everything will be fine, if we just relax and embrace the darkness.

My fellow citizens:

I want to save this country. I can save this country. I need to save this country.

We are sinking into serfdom. Our government has broken the bonds the Founders wisely put on in our Constitution, and it is becoming our master, rather than our servant.

In the unending effort to buy permanent power, our government has plunged us into debt and inserted itself into every aspect of our lives.

While it pursues permanent power, our government neglects its most urgent and legitimate responsibilities. It fails at protecting the weak against the strong, and at protecting our nation against foreign and domestic enemies. It fails at protecting our rights and property against unlawful seizure and against unlawful restrictions on what we may do in and with our own property.

In fact, government has aggressively pursued the destruction of our right to own property, and to do with that property what we wish, thus rendering the right to own property nearly meaningless.

I must tell you, my fellow Americans, that once government has rendered meaningless the right to own property, we all become the property of government. The most important difference between a slave and a free person is the right to own property and to do with it, while protecting the rights of one’s neighbors, as one wishes.

I will reverse this endless expansion of government power.

I will nominate judges to the federal bench and to the supreme court, who will treat their oaths to uphold the Constitution literally. I will ask Congress to impeach judges who violate this oath.

I will pare down drastically the bloated regulatory bureaucracy that is choking off our freedom and our ability to prosper.

On my first day in office, I will fire “czars” that are unaccountable to the people and who are openly hostile to freedom, and who have no basis for authority in the Constitution.

I will ask Congress to abolish entire executive branch agencies and departments that have no basis in the Constitution, and no goal but their own self-perpetuation and expansion of influence.

The unborn, the sick and the elderly – the weakest and most innocent among us — are fortunate, these days, if we allow them to live. The fortunate survivors are those who were not killed because they were inconvenient, embarrassing, expensive, or evidence of a crime.

Our government has, instead, made these innocents legitimate prey for the predators who will make themselves rich and advance their lethal, utopian ideals by killing them.

I will sign legislation that makes abortion and euthanasia illegal under federal law, and I will speak unflinchingly to the States, from the bully pulpit that is the presidency, urging them to do the same. I will ask Congress to send me a bill that removes taxpayer dollars from any program, foreign or domestic, that funds abortion or euthanasia. I will sign that bill into law immediately, before American taxpayers can be forced to pay for one more innocent’s death.

A citizen’s life is a citizen’s property, and the right to own that property is basic, without which no other right matters. The right to life subsumes the right to choose one’s own medical care, and to pay for it as one wishes. The current level of government interference in this right is intolerable, and illegal.

I will revoke any executive orders intended to advance Obamacare, and I will consider the federal court ruling that Obamacare is unconstitutional as binding. I will immediately revoke the authority of any executive branch agency, board or other bureaucratic structure put in place by preceding administrations to support or enforce this law.

I will instruct Congress to send me legislation repealing Obamacare completely, and I will then ask Congress to begin structuring legislation that will unleash the private sector to revolutionize health care while dramatically reducing costs and increasing the range of options available to consumers.

I would expect this legislation to include a gradual transition over several years from government-funded — and government-restricted – health care for the aged and for those who are incapable for providing for themselves. Medicare must be replaced incrementally with private medical care that patients who are capable of it can pay for themselves, as medical care was dispensed for hundreds of years before this bloated, self-destructive program came into existence. The indigent and disabled must be protected, and they will be. Those who can pay all or a share of their health care costs, though, should do so.

Contrary to the lies you are being told by the Left, this does not mean my administration would throw the sick, the elderly or the indigent out in the street to die uncared for. That is a lie, and the liars know it. What the liars are not telling you, is that Medicare and Social Security are both utopian schemes that bought a lot of votes in their day, but their day is over. We simply can’t pay for them any longer.

Let me say that again: Medicare and Social Security are both about to run out of money. If we shut our eyes to this stubborn fact, Medicare and Social Security will still be out of money very soon, and our nation’s sorry financial state will soon prevent us from borrowing any more from Communist China to keep them afloat.

Tell me, my fellow Americans, what will happen to the sick when our government-driven health care system no longer has money to care for them? Rationing. It is happening now, in every country that foolishly believed it could nationalize its health care and not face the same, inevitable consequences.

Care is being withheld, and patients are being allowed to die from neglect and by the withdrawal of basic life support. They are starving and dying of thirst in their unchanged, soiled beds. If their families do not bring them food and change their linens, they lie in their own wastes and die, slowly and in great discomfort. This is the fate of those the Left is supposedly defending against their allegedly greedy, heartless critics.

Those who are so often vocal in their expressions of compassion and concern for the sick, are the liars who cannot face the consequences of their own lies. The helpless victims, however, face those consequences daily. This is what happens when government takes away the property right of citizens to care for their own lives. They become slaves.

What government gives, government can take away – including life, itself.

This nation has a history of decades of government encroachment into our lives, decades of spending money we do not have, decades of gradually surrendering our sovereignty to creditors and to those who think we should not have borders, decades of growing generations of government dependents, decades of failing to educate our citizens in basic skills, history and analytical thinking.

We cannot reverse this disastrous course overnight. But, we must begin immediately, shouldering the burden and working against the pain that will result, because if we do not change course, we will die as a nation, just as surely as the sick will die under national health care.

We must change course. And we will.

I want to save this country. I can save this country. I need to save this country.

But, I cannot do it alone. I must have your help and support. Now, and after the election, I must have your support and your trust. With your help, and with the Lord’s guidance, we will save this country. We must save this country. We owe it to ourselves and to our posterity.

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for your attention. Now, let’s get to work.

May God Bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.

Hey, Stupid Party! Anybody Home, in There?

March 30, 2011

“Give us money, so we can re-elect spineless leaders to ignore you until next election.”

I just got an email from the RNC, begging for money, again. I get them all the time, but, as I sometimes do, I will respond to this one in an “open letter” format.

The immediate trigger for this open letter was reading the following paragraph:

Nothing would make The New York Times, The Washington Post or The Huffington Post happier than printing articles in April that the Republican Party is finished because the RNC’s Federal Election Commission first quarter report showed us lagging behind in donations from our nationwide network of conservative grassroots supporters.

Herein we find one of the stupidest things the Stupid Party believes: That we should give a damn what The New York Times, The Washington Post or The Huffington Post thinks.

A pathetic and pointless desire for approval from these left-leaning media hacks is one of the most glaring weaknesses of the Stupid Party “leadership.” This “leadership” has brought us to this precipice, over which is a socialist autocracy in which the Constitution is an irrelevant, historical curiosity.

If the “leadership” had rejected the $105 Billion land mine in the continuing resolution that funds the implementation of the obscenity known as Obamacare; if it had rejected the taxpayer subsidy for killing unborn children to be handed to Planned Parenthood; if it had rejected taxpayer funding of the government’s left-wing propaganda organ, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, there might be a whisper of a chance I would give the RNC a dime.

Of course, none of that happened. The “leadership” in the House won’t even come down firmly in favor of not raising the debt limit – let alone on introducing the kinds of spending cuts that would really make a difference in the long run, and that would signal to American taxpayers and the world that there is any seriousness about getting us out of debtor-nation slavery.

What sorts of cuts am I talking about? How about defunding Obamacare, the Department of Education, the EPA’s “cap and trade” scam, the FCC’s initiative to regulate the Internet and shut down talk radio, all foreign aid to countries that routinely fund terrorism and discriminate against Christians, and – yes, I’m saying it – the Cowboy Poetry Festival. That is just a tiny percentage of the wasteful and self-destructive government activity we can do without.

Individual Republican candidates may see some small change from me, if there is any left over after buying gas and inflated groceries, but RNC, don’t hold your breath.

If you care so much about what The New York Times, The Washington Post or The Huffington Post think, ask them for money.

MELTDOWN! American Media Panics!

March 16, 2011

American Media Goes Critical

 

Alarm sirens sounded all over the United  States, as catastrophic fires and explosions broke out in the empty space inside mainstream news reporters’ heads. Several experienced on-air failures of their idiocy containment vessels. The terrifying result has been toxic spills of ignorant blather and stupid, over-generalized, factually-challenged statements spewing into the mainstream media environment.

Video and audio of these breaches has been running endlessly on every media outlet. This radiation of half-truths and misstatements feeds on its own hysteria and is approaching catastrophic levels. Heat and hyperbole are feared to be reaching critical mass.

It is hoped that this will result in mass evacuations of audience from these toxic fountains of idiocy, but unfortunately, many members of the mainstream media audience are as stupid as the news sources they watch, and will not get out in time to avoid fatal doses of stupidity and misinformation. The greatest number of casualties is expected to be concentrated in New York, California, Chicago and Washington, DC.

Whether the actual increase in terminal stupidity in these areas will be measurable is difficult to predict, because background levels of stupidity are already so high.

Stay tuned for more hysteria, ignorance and lies from the mainstream media.

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.

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.

DEFUNDING NPR — A GOOD START!

October 23, 2010

 

No More NPR

Like the punchline to that classic lawyer joke, it would be a good start — but only that.

Coming on the heels of the dismissal of commentator Juan Williams from National Public Radio (NPR), is an initiative by some Republican legislators to defund NPR. Can they do that? Yes, they can! Will they? Probably not, but anything’s possible, if there’s enough backbone to get it done. Big if.

The Constitution (Article I, Section 7) explicitly ascribes the power to spend money to the House of Representatives. Of course, that has been the case since the Constitution was ratified, in 1787, but even in the most Republican-dominated years after the “Republican Revolution” of 1994, the House has never had the backbone to pull funding from NPR, the National Endowment for the Arts (remember “Piss Christ”?), the Department of Education (“No Child Left Behind,” and countless other, anti-education outrages), or the Environmental Protection Agency (killing California farms to save bait fish, etc., ad nauseam)…

Add your favorite, destructive federal entity in need of a funding diet, and the House didn’t defund it either. If the GOP wins big on November 2nd, will they actually go at starving these destructive federal parasites? Sad to say, I’ll have to see it to believe it, and even then… will they keep it up when their “leadership” tells them to sit down and shut up?

Here’s hoping that the Tea Party movement and organizations like Votility.com. keep the pressure on the congressional “Class of 2010” to starve these grasping, destructive parasites into obscurity, until they can be abolished altogether. Let’s hope socialized health care is already on the endangered species, list by then.

Then, maybe after we peel off another layer of calcified RINOs and socialist hacks (including their Dear Leader) in 2012, they can go after some of the “enemies within” that infest our State Department and Pentagon bureaucracies, making a career of destroying our country from their entrenched, unelected positions of power.

Now, that really would be a good start.

Trailer Trash Adventures, Part Deux: Adios, Turkey Tent!

July 9, 2010

Last time I posted, Trailer Trash Adventures, I was researching the process of upgrading our old mobile home, without breaking the bank. Well, we took the leap. We started the trailer trash makeover with replacing the old, thin, leaky, noisy, criminally-under-insulated roof. Herewith is an account of… The Roofover.

Yes, we got ‘er done. Thanks to a windfall, we finally got that old “turkey tent” poor excuse for a roof covered with a real roof. The crew of two from Southern Builders showed up last week, WHEN THEY SAID THEY WOULD (a  home improvement contractor near-miracle, all by itself). They unloaded, built, cleaned up and left, under five hours later. I was impressed.

Unloading

On time, unloading and unpacking materials and tools.

The crew worked steadily and with minimal idle conversation, and no smoke breaks, unless I missed them. This obviously wasn’t their first rodeo; they seemed to know what to do and when, and they did it.

The first thing they did was to unload and unpack the materials and tools they would be using. The trailer had materials on it for two or three other jobs. Some of it had to be removed to get to the stuff they would need here, but most of it stayed in place, because somebody was paying attention when they loaded up.

Fully loaded gooseneck trailer

Fully loaded gooseneck trailer

Materials for several jobs.

Materials for several jobs.

After unloading, one team member checked out the roof, including detailed measurements. The other laid out the material and organized it in the order in which they would need it. The online quote form had already collected all the relevant information about the size, style and contours of the existing roof.

Final measurements.

Final measurements.

The insulation went on, first. It was reflective-foil-backed, three-inch polystyrene foam. This usually has an R-value (insulating property) of R-4 to R-5 per inch, which means an insulation of R-12 to R-15. The reflective foil bounces radiant heat that penetrates the roofing material to get to the insulation, back into the roofing material, and from there, back into space. Combined with a white roof, the foil intercepts  of a lot of high-angle, summer sunshine before the insulation even has to deal with it.

Somewhere between R-12 and R-15, plus reflective foil, this constitutes far better insulation than the roof has ever had.

Somewhere between R-12 and R-15, plus reflective foil, this constitutes far better insulation than the roof has ever had.

The fact that the panels are large means that there are fewer seams between them, and thus less of an opportunity for heat loss due to infiltration. Since they are held in place by the trim around the edges, and covered by the roofing sheet metal, rather than laid between rafters, the amount of thermal bridging is minimal, as well.

The fascia holds the lower edges of the insulating panels in place all the way around. It is screwed into the existing upper roof plate through the existing siding and trim, right above the half-assed “rain gutter” that came with the trailer.

Drilling the fascia into the existing wall. The fascia has a bend fabricated into it that holds the bottom edge of the insulating panels in place.

Drilling the fascia into the existing wall. The fascia has a bend fabricated into it that holds the upper edges of the insulating panels in place at the eave.

The crew notched out a box in the overhang where the wood stove chimney comes within less than a foot of the roof.

The crew notched out a box in the overhang where the wood stove chimney comes within less than a foot of the roof.

The foil-backed foam was trimmed closely to fit, with tight seams. Stock pieces of this insulation from a big-box store, in four-by-eight-foot lengths, would have had a lot more seams.

Large, close-fitting foam insulation panels with minimal seams

Large, close-fitting foam insulation panels with minimal seams

Nearly done installing foam – moving the job right along.

Nearly done installing foam – moving the job right along.

All fasteners were white-coated or plated, self-drilling, sheet metal screws – no nails. I was impressed with the quality of the work as seen in these details:

Where the eave meets the gable

Where the eave meets the gable

Overhang – something this roof never had, encouraging leaks that probably reduced the wall insulation to useless in many places – 12 inches on both sides, and 6 inches on the ends.

Overhang – something this roof never had, encouraging leaks that probably reduced the wall insulation to useless in many places – 12 inches on both sides, and 6 inches on the ends.

Finished notch of eave around wodd stove chimney – nice touch, and safer, although triple-wall chimney stays pretty cool.

Finished notch of eave around wood stove chimney – nice touch, and safer, although triple-wall chimney stays pretty cool.

Mitred joint in the gable trim at the peak.

Mitred joint in the gable trim at the peak.

Once the insulation was in place, the sheet metal went on. The sheet metal panels were cut to run from eave to eave, so all the seams run downhill, and none across. The installers put a crimp in the middle where the panel lays over the ridge. When they lay it in place, the panel bends cleanly at the ridge, and reaches the eave on both sides.

One worker measured to the center of each panel and laid it over a piece of steel angle, whacking it over the angle with a hammer made for the purpose, setting the ridge crimp.

One worker measured to the center of each panel and laid it over a piece of steel angle, whacking it over the angle with a hammer made for the purpose, setting the ridge crimp.

A piece of sheet metal that has just had the ridge crimp applied.

A piece of sheet metal that has just had the ridge crimp applied.

The last piece of sheet metal had to be cut to meet the end of the roof.

The last piece of sheet metal had to be cut to meet the end of the roof.

The first sheet metal panel goes from prep to the roof.

The first sheet metal panel goes from prep to the roof.

Sheet metal installation about half done.

Sheet metal installation about half done.

Crimped sheet in place over the ridge, and note they were not at all stingy with the screws. Joints between sheets were pre-caulked on the ground.

Crimped sheet in place over the ridge, and note they were not at all stingy with the screws. Joints between sheets were pre-caulked on the ground.


Existing capped sewer vent

Existing capped sewer vent -- ugh-lee!

Replacement capped sewer vent

Replacement capped sewer vent. Nice.


And now, for the payoff! Old, turkey-tent roof, versus new, sleek, insulated, weather tight roof:

Before. Note rust, crimped crossways seams about every two feet, gaps at the ridge that caught wind-driven rain. This roof had a classic case of roof rumble during any high wind, like rattling a cookie sheet to simulate thunder, but louder.

BEFORE -- Note rust, crimped crossways seams about every two feet, gaps at the ridge that caught wind-driven rain. This roof had a classic case of roof rumble during any high wind, like rattling a cookie sheet to simulate thunder, but louder.

AFTER. Sleek, huh? We haven’t had any rain, yet, but I’m betting (and so is Southern Builders – they have a good warranty) against leaks.

AFTER -- Sleek, huh? We haven’t had any rain, yet, but I’m betting (and so is Southern Builders – they have a good warranty) against leaks.

Of course, we haven’t had the roof long enough to compare cooling or heating bills, but I have been watching the indoor/outdoor thermometers during the current heat wave, and the house stays about 3 to 5 degrees cooler, even on the brightest, hottest afternoons, and I may be able to turn back the window air conditioners when the wave ends. I am really curious to see the effect of the new roof on the heating load – especially whether we need the electric space heaters as much along with the wood stove, next winter. I don’t expect to feel as much radiant heat loss on my skin under the “cathedral ceiling,” with three inches of foam in the way.

We’ll see, but I’m optimistic.

I think this trailer just got a little less trashy!

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

A Flood of Inattention

May 10, 2010
Cumberland at Ashland City, TN in better days

Cumberland River near Ashland City, TN, in better days -- August, 2008

Ah, how nature can turn. The gentle, slow-moving Cumberland River and its tributaries have given us lots of comfort and beauty, and not a few catfish.

Last weekend (May 1 and 2, 2010), however, nature turned mean. A vast and unstoppable force, sometimes raging, and other times creeping, the Cumberland and its tributaries surged out of their banks and up miles of roads, in through thousands of front doors, stealing irreplaceable personal and public treasures, and destroying dreams and lives.

Flood water under Cumberland River Bridge

Flood water churns under the Ashland City bridge over the Cumberland, twenty feet higher than normal. 5/5/10

Riverview Restaurant/Campground, Ashland City, TN 5/5/10

There it met the water from the second day of rains flowing downhill, having saturated the surrounding ground to the point where it could absorb no more than a paved parking lot. Inconsequential creeks and streams became roaring whitewater monsters.

Take the most rain ever to fall in Nashville over 48 hours… and double it. At one point along the Cumberland, in better days, a relatively civilized river was a few hundred feet across. By Monday morning, after over a foot of rain, that same stretch of river had swollen to thousands of feet across, and it carried cars, livestock and whole buildings along at an astonishing pace. Structures that weren’t floated off their foundations were crushed under the weight and pressure of millions of tons of running water, pushing debris ahead like battering rams. Every crushed building, uprooted tree and floating car added to the mass that careened downstream, multiplying the flood’s destructive power.

As the flood waters recede – and they continue to recede, a week later — they leave behind mud, building materials, brush, dead things, an evil stench, uncatalogued contaminants and nightmarish memories that will last as long as the survivors.

The Army Corps of Engineers, which operates the system of dams, locks and generating sites along the Cumberland and other rivers in the region, had no experience to guide them in operating the flood gates and locks to best manage the water, because not since the completion of the system in the late ‘60s has so much rain fallen in so short a period. The best they could do for a few days was operate the system to keep the floods from destroying it, adding greatly to the surrounding destruction. That they did.

When I had time to watch national news, which was seldom, I was amazed at how little coverage was given to our situation. My amazement diminished when I thought about it.

I composed a “top-ten list” of reasons the lamestream media ignored this story:

10. Tennessee is a Red state. You could skip 9) through 1) now, and know all you need to know.

9. Al Gore didn’t call a press conference at his Nashville estate to blame the flooding on global warming.

8. People in Tennessee don’t sit around and wait for the gummint to give them a hand. They help themselves, and each other. No government dependency story, here, folks; move along!

7. New Orleans Progressive hack Ray Nagin is not the mayor of Nashville. Karl Dean is. Dean took personal responsibility for his city’s rescue and recovery, and was clearly in charge. No whining, no blame-shifting, just good communication and effective action.

6. People in Middle Tennessee cling to their bibles and guns. Looting makes good video, but it has not become a popular leisure-time activity here, because it is publicly frowned upon, and is likely to be fatal.

5. There is no way to blame it on Karl Rove, Halliburton or Dick Cheney.

4. CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS and CNN did not inform the hacks and opportunists in Washington of events in Tennessee, thus depriving them of timely photo opportunities against a backdrop of hapless victims and tireless aid workers. No one watches MSNBC, so coverage there would not have mattered, anyway.

3. There was no way to blame it on Wall Street speculators, Big Oil or Big Tobacco.

2. It’s hard for the race mongers to claim racism, since people of all races got wet, and people of all races were immediately helping each other, without waiting for government permission or coercion.

1. There was no way to blame it on George W. Bush.

It doesn’t matter much to locals to notice the way we were ignored by a crisis-hungry White House and its propaganda engine, but it certainly tells us who our friends are – and aren’t — and how we stand in the eyes of the current establishment.

It’s not hard to imagine. Some primped New York twit from a network morning show in fashionable raingear, trailing a camera crew and makeup artist, walks up to a Bubba dragging soggy, stinking carpet out the front door of his mobile, or searching for his lost goats in the trees, or carrying a dripping family photo album. The twit sticks a microphone in his face, and asks, “So, how do you feel? Don’t you wish Bush and Cheney had done more to prevent this?”

Considering the most reasonable reaction to the kind of stupid question said twits are capable of, maybe it’s just as well. There were enough casualties from the flood waters, without adding any New York twits to the body count. A jury of peers would acquit Bubba in five minutes, but the lawsuits would go on forever.

Stick your microphone where the sun don’t shine, New York twits. We’ll manage without you, somehow.

After all, we’ve managed up to now.