Tuesday, April 08, 2014

The Real Immigration Problem

Illegal immigration is totally out of control.  I don't think any one on this blog would disagree.  The real problem, however is legal immigration.  We have lots of low-skill, low-education people coming here illegally sucking up resources without paying in to the system (for the most part).  When it comes to people that will actually pay in to the system and improve our economy, we make it so difficult it's almost self-destructive.  This article describes how the high-skill visas for 2015 were exhausted in less than a week.  It's maddening how a problem that is so obvious with a solution that seems equally as obvious gets stuck in Congress because of politics as usual.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Malaysian Air Flight 370

I've been horrified and fascinated by this all week. How does a 777 go missing? In the age of global satellite coverage, no less? When hundreds of cell phones are on board?

The only plausible explanation at first seemed a sudden and catastrophic accident. It would have to been so sudden and catastrophic, that the pilots were rendered incapacitated within moments. Otherwise, how to account for the lack of a single radio transmission of trouble?

Once that possibility seemed contradicted by the flight making course and altitude changes after the plane disappeared from our scopes, it seemed likely that the pilot was trying to float away with the rest of garbage. That theory is getting more probable by the day, now that it seems clear the new waypoints were programmed into the system before the pilot signed off with his dispassionate "All right, good night."

The lack of any apparent conflict in the cabin (again, no radio transmissions from the captain, no text messages from the passengers despite the plane apparently flying at a low altitude for a considerable period of time, during which even the messages of dead passengers written previously could have transmitted) makes a hijacking appear unlikely, especially coupled with the transponders being shut off while the plane was still flying.  Unless these were some silent and incredibly effective terrorists.

So who does #2 work for? Hard to say. Plenty of theories. Was this a test, to see if a plane could be set to fly remotely or on autopilot towards a potential target, with the cabin depressurized so that there would be no conscious passengers to thwart the plan? Was the plane being stolen for use in a future attack? Were there specific targets among the passengers being taken hostage or killed? Was there a completely silent cockpit intrusion and coercion of the crew, coupled with a very sophisticated set of hijacking requests (shut off data transmission/change course/evade radar), and the inability of the experienced pilot to send up a silent alarm to air controllers?

There is too much intentionality for there not to be a larger plan at work. What and why is yet to be revealed. It seems to me that this was no mere mechanical failure, nor pilot suicide. Going nose down would've been easy by comparison. Meanwhile, the hundreds of family members are being put through a form of torture that is difficult to comprehend.

NCOFM: QOTD

Malaysian Air 370 version.  I've had this in my head as I've been reading about the various search zones, search parties from various nations, lack of communication between various agencies, confused chain of command, etc.:
Nervous Accountant: … he felt that the more people looking...

[cut off by Chigurh]

Anton Chigurh: That’s foolish. You pick the one right tool.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014

This is not even the beginning of the end,

...more like the end of the beginning.  From the NY Times:

Moscow’s Actions Upend Europe’s Post-Cold War Order
By STEVEN LEE MYERS, ELLEN BARRY and ALAN COWELL

Defying the United States and Europe, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia said he was reversing what he described as a historical mistake, declaring, “Crimea has always been an integral part of Russia in the hearts and minds of people.”

Now, just for fun, how many proper nouns can you use to replace the bolded "Crimea" in the quote above, and still have it make sense?

Putin's stated reasons for the annexation could have been exclusively historical or legal.  He's already made the point that the transfer of Crimea to Ukraine by Kruschev was illegal, and he's stated his demographic argument for not leaving ethnic Russians out in the cold.  Putin goes further.  Crimea is a part of Russia, he argues, because it's a part of Russia in the "hearts and minds of people." [my emphasis]  Bush thought he could see into Putin's soul.  Putin's powers are apparently much greater.

Putin's logic does beg the question: "Which people?"
Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Foundational prinicples: Choosing between competing goods

Version 1:

There should be stability of law. 

We need a regulatory, entitlement and tax code framework that is palatable across the vast middle of the political spectrum, so that it is not constantly redrawn when power changes hands. 
Friday, February 28, 2014

The Government Broke My Truck

Earlier this week, 4 dashboard lights came on in my truck for no apparent reason.  It seemed to drive OK, so I drove it home from work.  During my drive home, it wasn't accelerate properly over 45 MPH.  I brought it to my mechanic who did some diagnostics and cleared the code.  He said he didn't need to fix anything and it would drive OK.

The next day he called me to tell me he did more research into the problem.  It turns out there was an issue with the secondary air flow system.  The truck was put into a crippled mode because of this issue, which caused the acceleration problem.  The only function of this system is to divert more hot air to the catalytic converter when it's cold so it will heat up faster and reduce emissions earlier.  It has nothing to do with making the car go.

So, because of some bureaucrat pushing some emissions regulation, my truck didn't work right for no real reason.

BONUS:


I don't like my local library, funded by my tax dollars, telling me where I can park because they don't like my choice of vehicle.  SCREW THAT.


Now get off my lawn.
Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Oscar season has the movies

Don't know why there's nothing that interests me on the big screen all year, and then they have to cram all the good stuff into one month.

I'm really looking forward to American Hustle, Her, Hobbit DOS, Catching Fire (actually already caught this one), Book Thief, Secret Life of Walter Mitty, August: Osage County, and the Invisible Woman.   

Of course, a bunch of these are probably films I can wait to see on video, but at least 3 (American Hustle, WOWS, Hobbit DOS) are big screen musts for me.

And speaking of the Wolf of Wall Street, Scott Foundras from Variety offers this enticing summation:
If some of the advance hype suggested that “Wolf” was going to be a kind of “Goodfellas” on Wall Street, in reality it’s more like the jittery, paranoid third act of that movie stretched out to three hours, starting at a fever pitch and heading toward the nuclear.
Saturday, November 23, 2013

Leaving the hunting cabin

Another year in the books for the boys. A successful one at that: two deer harvested.

Clean-up at the end is always a bit of challenge. All the gear needs to get organized, packed, and stored for another year. Plus the cabin has to be restored to the condition it was in before 10 guys got around to a weeks worth of hunting.

Those challenges can be amplified, however, for some of our members. As a fellow contributor of our blog put it, "I should have made a bigger distinction between the piles of clothes that are clean and those that are sh*t."

How to overcome this packing obstacle?

"I just smell every item," he explained.
Sunday, October 27, 2013

Here's a cool thought

I love "Money for Nothing" and Mark Knopfler. But I'd love to see it live with Sting (who sang background vocals on the studio track) on stage. Better yet if we could just get silly and have Phil Collins playing drums. And if we're just being stupid, might as well have Clapton join Knopfler on guitar.

Oh snap...

Monday, October 21, 2013

'This Week': Sen. Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush Interview on Government Shutdown...


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Always sniffing for the truth

Always sniffing for the truth

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