Shots Across the Bow

A Reality Based Blog

Friday, March 13, 2009

I’ve Heard Enough

Barack Obama is a hypocrite and a liar. There's no other explanation for a man who on the one hand tells us he;s all about providing healthcare to every one while at the same time looking for ways to remove US military members from the government health care system.
Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki confirmed Tuesday that the Obama administration is considering a controversial plan to make veterans pay for treatment of service-related injuries with private insurance.

I knew the guy was full of crap since he always says exactly what he thinks is best for him at the time he is speaking. Remember the third debate? He and John McCain were both asked if the economy would get worse before it got better. McCain said yes it would, that there were serious problems that had to be dealt with. Obama said no, he had faith in the American people, and that the economy was strong.

We see how well that particular prognostication panned out.

Then, after winning the election., Obama went down the dark path, warning us ominously that if we didn't pass his monstrosity of a spending bill that the crisis, which he failed to see coming, according to his own words, would become a catastrophe that we might never recover from.

But yesterday, like an epileptic juke box, he changed his tune again, saying all those predictions of gloom and doom were maybe just a bit over the top, and that the economy might not be as bad as we had been told.

Now all that posturing and outright lying would be bad enough, but this latest dodge just turns my stomach. He actually wants to force American soldiers, wounded in the line of duty, to pay for their own treatment using their private insurance.

You know, one of the reasons I got out of the military after almost 9 years was that with the election of BIll Clinton, I knew my veterans benefits would come under attack. But it never even crossed my mind that any sitting President, even a leftist twit like Obama would go so far as to try and take medical benefits away from soldiers, sailors, marines, or airmen wounded or injured on active duty. I didn't think anyone could be that evil.

Once again, I underestimated the foul depths of the liberal mind. How can anyone have seriously conceived of this plan? And taken it seriously enough to allow a trial balloon to float? And even more importantly, how can anyone continue to support a President who thinks that this is a good idea? If you still support this President, then don't dare try to tell me how much you really support the troops because you are a lying hypocrite if you do.

Posted by Rich
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Whoopi Whines

I know. That's redundant.

Hey Whoopi! You voted for change! I hope you like it!

Posted by Rich
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Monday, March 09, 2009

Stem Cells and President Obama

Here's an odd thing. The guy who is piling up mountains of debt that will have to be paid by our grandchildren is doing his level best to reduce the number of grandchildren who will be around to pay it. First, he supports any abortion anywhere for any reason. (If you think I'm exaggerating, find evidence of any restriction on abortion that Barack Obama has voted for at any time in his political career. Best of luck to you, and dress warmly. You'll be gone a while.) Now he's declared that the next generation can be cannibalized to make spare parts for the current generation.

There's a problem with that math, not to mention the ideology there, but President Obama is claiming that allowing federal funding for embryonic stem cell research is a triumph of science over ideology. Using the same logic, exposing black Americans to syphilis without their knowledge to learn about how the disease progresses is also a triumph of science over ideology.

Oddly, President Obama will keep in place restrictions on cloning humans, because, well, that's just icky.

And just for clarity, although I know nobody really cares, President Bush did not ban ESC research. He didn't even remove all federal funding. HIs restrictions allowed federal funding on ESC research as long as the researchers used existing lines of stem cell producing tissues, much the same way as fetal tissue from abortions performed 40 years ago are used to produce certain vaccines like the Chicken pox and MMR vaccines.

It's significant that during the Bush administration, there were no venture capitalist firms exploiting the wide open field of ESC research. You woulod think that if the field were so promising, that those greedy capitalistic bastards would want to get a head start on developing those therapies. The fact that they didn't tells you more about the actual promise of ESC based therapies than any other indicator. It's too bad that most people aren't paying attention.

Here's a thought. Since we're all about science over ideology, let's allow poor women to get pregnant and sell the embryos to researchers. Their body; their choice, right? Come on, feminists, stand up for your sisters! They're doing it for themselves!

Posted by Rich
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Monday, February 23, 2009

Hypocrisy, n.

Voting for every spending bill that came your way over a four year period, save one because it funded our combat troops, then voting for an $800 billion bailout for banks, following it up with another $800 billion "stimulus package with virtually no stimulus in the package, accompanied by assorted small $50-100 billion bailouts loans, and other programs, and then saying that it is time we were fiscally responsible.

No matter how many times he tells you he inherited the deficit, remember, he was a member of the US Senate for four years, and he had the opportunity to vote no on every spending bill that came up over that time period.

He didn't inherit the deficit; he voted for it.

And you voted for him.

Posted by Rich
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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Defending the Indefensible: Chris Peck of the Commercial Appeal Speaks.

Chris Peck, who may reside at 21 Belleair Dr.Memphis, TN 38104 and whose phone number may be (901) 276-8314 writes a column in the Commercial Appeal defending the HCP database his paper constructed, and telling all of us gun carrying hysterics to "exhale." The irony of a Commercial Appeal editor quoting Dan Quayle is overwhelming.

My response to Mr. Peck, modified a bit from the email I sent him, follows.

Mr. Peck,

Your argument fails to hold water. As you said, the information in your database is already available for the asking from the TN Department of Safety. The "people's right to know" was already being served by the government. What have you added?

First, you say that "our posted list of permit holders for concealed weapons has less information about individuals than the phone book, your voter registration form or the credit card you use to buy dinner at a restaurant." This statement is simply garbage because the phone book doesn't tell anybody if I have a HCP. Neither does my credit card. The hard fact that you want to gloss over is that you've already taken a selection criteria, HCP holders, and provided personally identifying information about them. Additionally, with the information you provide, I can get an address, phone number and a map to the front door with a single mouse click.

Second, your defense failed to note that you removed addresses and birth dates only after you were deluged in complaints. The initial versions of the database showed both addresses and birth dates, not only marking us as targets, but making identity theft a real possibility. Your removal of that information also reveals something even more telling. That information is part of the public record as well. Anybody who wants it can get it from the Department of Safety, so why remove it from your web database?

In order to explain that, you'll have to explain why you created the database in the first place, and it obviously has nothing to do with "the people's right to know" public data.

Third, if publishing identifying information about private citizens does not subject them to increased risk, then I challenge you to post the name, address, and birth date of every employee of the Commercial Appeal in a searchable database on your website.

Show me just how harmless the data you posted really is. See if your employees find it harmless. Best have some lawyers standing by though, because it could get ugly.

The bottom line is this. Your paper created that database to make it easy for anybody to find out who has a HCP. The reason for that has nothing to do with the people's right to know and everything to do with identifying HCP holders. The question you have yet to answer is why you felt it was important for your paper to make it easier to find this information.

Are you trading our security for more clicks for ad revenue? Or is there something else you're not saying? Now there's an answer the public really does have a right to know.

Posted by Rich
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Monday, February 16, 2009

A Confederacy of Dunces:  Mr. and Mrs. Neal Discuss Submarines.

Normally I avoid KnoxViews, but while checking on a story on the KNS site, I saw a link to KnoxViews concerning a collision between two submarines. As an ex-Navy nuke, I'm always interested in news about nuke ships and subs, so I clicked the link. I'll reproduce the post, since Mr. Neal has been known to redirect links from time to time.
How can two nuclear subs collide and the operators not know it for days?
Submitted by bizgrrl on Mon, 2009/02/16 - 5:12pm.


According to the Wall Street Journal, "Earlier in February, the French Navy had said that the 450-foot Le Triomphant had shortened its patrol after 70 days at sea because its nose had been damaged by a collision with an unidentified object, possibly a drifting container. It was only after sending inquiries to other navies that France realized Le Triomphant had actually rammed into a British craft, the HMS Vanguard."

Comedy of Errors? Confederacy of Dunces?

Mr. Neal replied:
And the ocean is such a large place.

Before I get into my response, I want to point out the arrogance and condescension of the post and the reply. Here are two people who to my knowledge have never been aboard a submarine, and apparently have little to no idea how one operates, yet they are ready to ascribe the cause of this incident to stupidity on the part of the French and British crews.

In my lifelong quest to point out ignorance and correct it with knowledge, I left a reply. I reproduce it here for your reading pleasure.

Well, let's just take a closer look before we start calling people stupid.

First, there are no headlights or windshields on a submarine. You can't look out the window to see what's around you. You rely on charts and very precise calculations of speed and heading to determine your position.

Obviously, to most folks anyway, things that move, like say, submarines, are impossible to chart.

The pilot of the sub can confirm those calculation using active sonar, where you send out a ping, a high frequency sound that creates an echo. The return time and characteristics of that echo tell you if you're close to anything and if anything else around you is moving. The drawback is that the ping tells anybody in the area exactly where you are as well. This is a major no-no for ballistic missile subs, whose job is to quietly disappear in the water. Passive sonar on the other hand is the practice of using very sensitive microphones to pick up noise transmitted through the water. The drawback is that it only works to detect objects that make noise.

Again, ballistic missile subs are designed not to make noise.

Second, judging from the fact that there was only minor damage to the sonar dome, which is a very fragile structure, the contact between the subs was a very light graze. The article states that both subs were moving very slowly, which would also tend to minimize the impact. Additionally, because the subs are designed to be quiet, it wouldn't surprise me a bit to learn that the surface of both subs was coated in some sort of echo reducing material, analogous to the radar damping materials used on Stealth aircraft, which very likely would also act to cushion the impact. The slow speed, angle of impact, light damage, and possible echo reducing coatings all work together to explain why the Le Triomphant classified the collision as one with an unknown container, rather than another sub.

As for the "ocean is a large place" comment, again, let's take a closer look at the facts. We have two submarines with similar construction and similar performance characteristics, carrying similar payloads with similar capabilities, and since they were allies, probably covering similar targets.

How surprising is it really that their patrol routes were similar? It's true that the ocean is large, but both of these subs would be interested in only a small part of it.

And the WSJ article is wrong. This is not the first instance of two nuclear subs colliding. There have been several U.S. Soviet sub collisions in the last 40 years or so, some involving diesel boats, and some involving two nukes. This may have been the first case of two ballistic missile subs colliding, but attack subs and ballistic subs have had many collisions.

Your post and comment provide a perfect example of why many if not most civilians are incompetent to discuss military matters. You simply don't know enough to have an informed opinion. Yet in the arrogance of complete ignorance, you ascribe the cause of this incident to the stupidity of both the French and the British submarine service.

A retraction is certainly in order, but I won't hold my breath waiting for it.

The ignorance of Mr. and Mrs. Neal is outweighed only by their arrogance. But then again, we knew that already.

Posted by Rich
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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Public Records:  Let the Sun Shine!

UPDATE: Upon further reflection, I won't be posting home phone numbers with this list. I have no way of verifying the numbers returned by a web search would be correct. Just as importantly, contacting these folks at home to take issue with something they did at work is not only inappropriate, it's rude. If you feel the need to talk to them directly, then contact them at work, and be professional about it.

The Memphis Commercial Appeal decided to publish a database with the names of everyone who has a TN Handgun Carry Permit. No particular reason, just listing public records.


For your enjoyment, using, here's the managing staff of the Memphis Commercial Appeal:

NameJobHome AddressCity,State,Zip
Joseph Pepepresident and publisher3195 Wetherby Cv S Germantown, TN 38139
Steve TombVP of Operations1846 Wildcreek CvCollierville, TN 38017
Chris Peckeditor21 Belleair DrMemphis, TN 38104
Otis Sanfordeditor/opinion & editorials3396 Park AveMemphis, TN 38111
Eric JanssenVP of Digital Media8996 Stratfield CvGermantown, TN 38139
Scott Sinesmanaging editor2136 Wentworth LnGermantown, TN 38139
Daniel MoehleVP/Chief Financial Officer3172 Devonshire WayGermantown, TN 38139
Karl WurzbachVP of Sales and Marketing3098 Bentwood Run DrCollierville, TN 38017
Robert JiranekVP of New Business Development175 Waring RdMemphis, TN 38117
Bob PinarskiAdvertising director3961 Herons Landing Ln Arlington, TN 38002
Denise HolmanManager of Classified Advertising720 Litty Ct 103 Memphis, TN 38103
Paul JewellMarketing director1439 Vance AveMemphis, TN 38104

No particular reason, just posting public records.

I can add phone numbers to this list if requested.

Disclaimer: The information above comes from a web search and the accuracy of the returned information has not been verified through other means. This list is provided without any guarantees of accuracy, and is provided solely as an expression of the First Amendment. It has been generated solely from public records.

Posted by Rich
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Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Money Supply

When I wrote these two posts on the economy and basic finance, I was looking for this graph, but couldn't find it. Thanks to John Hindraker at Powerline, I didn't have to find it. He found it.
This graph shows the money supply. Notice what's happening right now? Yeah, we're printing money at a rate never before seen in history, except in Weimar Germany, and we've already explored how well that worked out. WWII ring any bells?

Take a look at the following graph to get a better idea of what's going on.
This is the annual rate of change graph. Notice that it tends to hang out around zero, and until this year, any positive changes in the money supply are balanced by slightly smaller corresponding negative changes. In essence, the money supply is grown a bit above the actual value of the economy in order to encourage growth. As the economy grows, money is removed from the supply to maintain value and limit inflation. Take a look at this same graph, only this time I've zoomed in on the period 1999-2005
After 9/11, President Bush increased the money supply to fund the recovery and cleanup, and to get ready to strike back. He increased the money supply at an annualized rate of almost 50%, followed almost immediately by an annualized rate of reduction of 25%. This tightening of the money supply immediately after an increase acts to put the brakes on inflation.

Now it is intuitively obvious to anyone that there is no way to either grow the economy to add enough value to match the increase in the money supply, nor is it possible to tighten the money supply enough to eliminate an inflationary effect.

The Obama administration has two options. They can put on the brakes and stop printing money, and prepare the country for a crash landing, including double digit inflation, or they can crank the presses even higher, and drive the country over a cliff into complete bankruptcy.

The first course will be incredibly unpopular, and will result in a depression exceeding the 1929 crash by several orders of magnitude. After a decade or so of struggle, America will be able to get back on its feet, smaller, but substantially better off.

The second will be a lot of fun while it lasts, but will mean the end of America as a nation.


Look at those graphs again and ask yourself a simple question. Would you invest in a business run this way? Would you invest in a currency that is being deliberately devalued this way, knowing you will only get pennies on the dollar for your investment?

Neither would I. And neither would anyone else with a brain.

Posted by Rich
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Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Balloon is About to Go Up

Last week, I talked about how we fund our debt, and what happens when we print money to cover shortfalls in revenue. To recap, when you print money without a correlating increase in value, you decrease the value of your money, and we call that inflation. It takes more dollars to buy a loaf of bread even though the value of a loaf of bread hasn't changed. The supply and demand are unchanged.

Now we just printed $350 billion for the first half of the bailout, but we haven't seen any real signs of inflation. Why not?

Because those dollars never went into circulation. They were given to banks, and those banks bought other banks with it. What this accomplished was allowing troubled banks to record an infusion of cash which acted as an asset to balance their liabilities. Instead of being in a position where their defaulting loans was dragging them to the point of insolvency, they now had the assets they needed to balance the default rate and remain solvent. Have you noticed that we haven't seen any banks failing since the bailout? Now you know why.

The cool part about this deal is that the inflationary aspect of printing $350 billion dollars is minimized because those dollars never really went into circulation. It was recorded on bank ledger sheets and that's it. It was all a paper shuffle to keep banks from failing, and it worked.

Apparently Bernanke and Co aren't so stupid after all.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the incoming administration. Their plan is to print another $350 billion and put it directly into the economy where it will place a large inflationary pressure on the value of the dollar, and we all know why that's a bad thing. But Obama says the situation is dire, and we must do something now, and his idea is the best one.

Is it just me, or is Obama sounding more and more like a late night TV infomercial?

"But you must act now, before this special offer expires and it's too late. This chance may never come your way again, so send in your money in the next 15 minutes!"


Posted by Rich
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Monday, January 12, 2009

The New First Amendment

"A Well Behaved and Compliant Media, Being Necessary to the Security of the New State, The Right of Obama to Control the Press Shall Not Be Infringed.

Posted by Rich
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Monday, January 05, 2009

Toxicology 101: It’s all about the dose

I listened to folks calling in to the Hallerin Hill show this morning, asking questions from a TVA representative who was clearly out of her league in trying to answer specific questions. It really seemed like TVA sent her there as a PR ploy to try and calm people down without really telling them anything.

Of course, the callers, whipped into a frenzy by alarmist reporting done by folks either pushing an agenda or speaking out of total ignorance, didn't help much.

Like the guy who wanted her to list the total weights of each trace metal released in the fly ash, as if that number had any meaning whatsoever. How much you take in is much less important than how concentrated it is when you take it in, and over what period of time you take it in. If I told you to chug a bottle of hot sauce, you'd say no way; it would be too painful. On the other hand, if I told you to put a dash or two into your chili, then over a period of a few months, you'd consume the whole bottle without a second thought.

The lady from TVA was unable to express this to the man who called, which was really a lost opportunity for her, and the radio station for that matter, to calm a little of the hysteria that other, less responsible folks, are generating.

Posted by Rich
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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

We’ve Seen This Before

If I recall correctly, in the 80s and 90s, the Japanese economy went into a recession. Their bank cut interest rates down to near zero to stimulate the economy, and it worked for a short time, a couple of years or so. The banks began raising interest rates, but never got back to a normal level because a sudden collapse in the real estate market leveled the economy. The banks lowered interest rates to zero, but there wasn't enough leverage to spur the economy,and they went through a very serious recession.

Does any of this sound familiar?

By the way, the fed cut interest rates to zero yesterday. How many foreign governments are going to want to invest their dollars in T bills that pay zero?

Posted by Rich
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Monday, December 15, 2008

It’s All in the Reflexes

An Iraqi journalist threw his shoes at President Bush. Not only are they adopting modern democracy, apparently they are adopting modern journalism as well.

Posted by Rich
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Monday, November 24, 2008

The Headline; You’re Doing it Wrong


I had a hard time deciding which category to use for this one. News? Humor? Entertainment?

"Homocide leaves an East Knoxville man dead."

Well, it usually does.

Police are calling it a homocide.

I shudder to think what the cause of death might have been.

Family members and neighbors wait in the road for some answers.
The victim's relatives say 27-year-old Antoine Watkins is dead

I'm guessing that wasn't the answer they were looking for.

Watkins aunt, Dorothy Moore says, "I just hope whoever did this is brought to justice."
She says he was staying in this house with his father.

Well then whoever did it should be easy to find then.

Come on people, you're getting paid for this! I used better grammar in the sixth grade! Just because you work in video doesn't mean you don't need to use basic English skills like proper spelling and avoiding ambiguous references.

Posted by Rich
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

You Must Remember This

If the Big Three crumble next year because Congress went on their two month break, once again without dealing with their responsibilities, then remember who had control of both Houses.

I'll take Democrats for 2.5 million jobs lost, Alex.

Give Reid and Pelosi credit; they are consistent. When the going gets tough, the tough go on vacation. I just hope that this time she leaves the lights on.

There's a word for what the Democrats are doing. It's called cowardice, pure and simple. They wanted control and now they are afraid to use it to do what needs doing. Instead, they're telling the President that he can do the bailout if he wants to; they'll be happy to take the credit but don't want to risk taking any blame.

Why does that sound so familiar?

Oh yeah. It's almost like they've decided to vote "Present."

I wonder where they got that idea?

Posted by Rich
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