Friday, October 21, 2016

Celia Cruz and Ray Barreto - Ritmo en el corazón

Happy birthday, Celia!  They won a Grammy for this in 1990.

Some people just want to watch the world burn

So Hillary says that she will tax the rich?

Nazzo fast.

What is outdated in Friedman's analysis is that the middle class is no longer the beneficiary of government programs.  This in fact is the root cause of the Tea Party/Donald Trump phenomena.  As the payoff goes to hold together the Democratic Party's coalition of large business cronies and client voting blocs, the payout will have to increase and the taxes received from the "rich" will have to be less.

And so the economic situation is really much more hopeless than Friedman says.  And the political situation is much worse, as the discontent that is driving the Trumpening is a symptom of this dynamic which oppresses the middle class.  That will get worse.  If the establishment doesn't like Trump, just wait until Hillary dials this all up to 11.

Why the polls are unreliable

This makes a lot of sense:
There's no way to tell what people think. It's impossible for most Americans to form a judgment with which they feel comfortable, because they do not have sources of information they can trust. Fox News is in a civil war between the pro- and anti-Trump Republicans. The other networks are with Hillary. The major media outlets have lost credibility. Only 32% of Americans said they had "a great deal" or "a fair amount" of confidence in the news media in a September Gallup Poll survey. That's the lowest level in history, and should be no surprise: the major media has to spin a new cover-up every couple of days, before it is finished putting the previous set of lies to bed. 
That's why Americans don't simply watch the nightly news and go to bed. They read the rumors on the Internet and circulate them to their friends. They create networks of people they trust in the hope of obtaining an accurate account of what is happening around them.
All that's left to add is that people don't trust pollsters, either.  Some unknown number of them distrust random phone callers that they won't participate in the poll.  This skews the sample by some unknown amount.

The normal rules of political campaigning don't seem to be in play this year.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Canned Heat - Election Blues

This political silly season got you down?  There's some great music for that.

I love me some Canned Heat.

Family, Shooting, and Love

The Mad Irishman sent this in. We'll call it his first guest post. Who knows, there may be more. I'd call this short post and the pictures below a reflection of love across the generations.

 "My son, Dad and I took weekly trips to the range for most all of the summer (every Wednesday). We missed a few due to Seamus being out of town for a week and because of my Dad's chemo.
They were great days.

We had to stop once school started. My Dad was also beginning to get real tired easily. I did get Dad out once more just before labor day when an old friend of mine came in from out of town to visit. We hit the range at about 10am and stayed until 1pm. It was a fine time especially because we brought a brand new shooter with us (she was a natural).

Dad is too sick now. I doubt we'll be able to go again.

Here's pictures of my Dad with my son."
--The Mad Irishman

Bad news for the EPA

Court rules that they have to evaluate how many coal mining and power plant jobs will be lost based on their regulations.  It seems that they haven't done this since 1977.

This will certainly get appealed, because the EPA will not be allowed to issue any regulations if job losses are considered.

When is an autopilot not an autopilot?

Behind the smokescreen of its new onboard hardware announcement, Tesla is quietly killing off its controversial Autopilot feature in its new cars. 
The money shot is buried in this announcement emitted today titled All Tesla Cars Being Produced Now Have Full Self-Driving Hardware
The blog post is a masterpiece of misdirection. It leads with boasts that, from now on, all Model S and Model X (and at some point in the future Model 3) vehicles rolling off the production lines will have eight cameras, 12 ultrasound detectors, a front-facing radar, and a more powerful computer. This tech is all ready to run self-driving software and turn Teslas into autonomous rides, we're told. 
But the statement then admits this:
Before activating the features enabled by the new hardware, we will further calibrate the system using millions of miles of real-world driving to ensure significant improvements to safety and convenience.
While this is occurring, Teslas with new hardware will temporarily lack certain features currently available on Teslas with first-generation Autopilot hardware, including some standard safety features such as automatic emergency breaking, collision warning, lane holding and active cruise control.
It goes on add: "As these features are robustly validated we will enable them over-the-air."
Translation: It won't be an autopilot until we think we won't get sued or jailed.  OK, then.

From The Mad Irishman

The Mad Irishman left this in the comments:

On your sad note I'd like to share with you and all the other readers, my father and me taking my son to the range this past summer for their only times together shooting. When I was a kid my parents ran a small range in their spare time and going there with my dad is what cemented the shooting sports and the second amendment in my young mind. I would spend countless hours shooting my Glenfield model 25 while my dad did improvements or I would spot for him while he did load development for his competition guns 7mm BR, 7mmTCU sometimes when he was done he would let me take a few shots with them (WOW I was a big kid at 10 shooting those cannons)Two years later I was in the matches as well (yes the first year was small bore) after that I was shooting IHMSA with the adults and holding my own (10th at the 1985 internationals at 14)I've a box full of awards but they don't matter.

This year I finally got my dad and my son on the range at the same time, I've had my son out many times since he turned 6, but finally when he was 9 I got my dad to come with us. he hadn't shot in many years but was itching to and finally gave into my plea's and came with us. The chemistry was pure magic, it was like watching a young me all over again, the patience and the guidance was just what I remember. What sucks is in a few weeks or maybe months that will be gone. Fuck you cancer!!!!! I wish I could share some of the pictures with all of you but I don't know how to embed them in this comment or if it's even possible.
 I don't have your email, but on the chance you're reading this, email ASM826(at)gmail(dot)com and send me the full story along with the pictures and I will post it.

Fuck cancer, indeed.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Chris Wallace nobly sacrifices his career on the altar of Journalism Past

Kudos to Wallace for being an old school journalist - asking tough questions of both sides (unlike the "journalists" who moderated the first two debates).  It is a magnificent gesture of a dead age, like the charge of the Light Brigade, or the Union charges at Fredericksburg.

I wonder what the over/under is on the length of his career after this.  My guess is that it's measured in days (maybe hours).  The rest of his so-called profession will crucify him for this, because he didn't change the strike zone based on which side was batting.

But it was a great display of what was best about Journalism, back when it was alive and thriving in this Republic.

Quote of the Day: Football Edition

Chris Lynch highlights the "karma is a bitch" that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is facing:
Tom Brady now needs just 5 more wins to become the NFL'a all-time leader in wins by a QB (including playoffs). Most likely this will come in week 12 in New York vs the Jets or week 13 in Foxboro vs the Rams. How can the Commissioner not honor that historic accomplishment? How can he not honor that accomplishment in person? But also how can he dare show his face in Foxboro?

In an interesting way Roger Goodell is now in the bizarre position  (given the fractious relationships involved) of hoping the New England Patriots go undefeated in the next 5 games so if he does have to go to a Patriots game at least it will be in New York (where he'll be safe).

As if 2016 couldn't get any stranger. Roger Goodell now rooting for the Patriots.
LOL.  And just a reminder, the Patriots didn't cheat (well, at least the way that the NFL said they did in DeflateGate).

Failure to anticipate consequences leads to unanticipated consequences

Liberal votes for all city spending ordinances, is shocked that her taxes go up:
How about, oh, I dunno, not voting for every feel-good lefty progtard tax that you find on a ballot?
“I’m at the breaking point,” said Gretchen Gardner, an Austin artist who bought a 1930s bungalow in the Bouldin neighborhood just south of downtown in 1991 and has watched her property tax bill soar to $8,500 this year.
“It’s not because I don’t like paying taxes,” said Gardner, who attended both meetings. “I have voted for every park, every library, all the school improvements, for light rail, for anything that will make this city better. But now I can’t afford to live here anymore. I’ll protest my appraisal notice, but that’s not enough. Someone needs to step in and address the big picture.”
Suicidally stupid bint thought she was voting to spend other peoples’ money. Which didn’t bother her at all. Until she discovered, to her horror, that good intentions were not enough, and that, mirabile dictu, she was the other people.
The "big picture" is not what she thinks.  We could start with the public school system which, rather than teach kids how to think instead does lefty feel-good indoctrination.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Is it safe to use your credit card at the store?

I've posted before about skimmers, devices that thieves use to steam credit card numbers and debit card PINs.  The thief installs the skimmer on top of the store card swipe terminal.  The skimmer records the card information and PIN and then passes that to the real terminal for processing.  Brian Krebs has had an excellent series on skimmers; the photo below is from his latest post:

Things to look for: at the far right, the skimmer version (on the left) is a lot wider between the card swipe slot and the end of the unit.  On a non-skimmed terminal the picture showing the card being swiped pretty much fills up the entire width.

Another: The logo on the top of the non-skimmed terminal goes from about the top of the unit to the top of the screen.  The skimmed version has a lot more space there, because the skimmer has to be physically larger than the real terminal (to fit over it).

My advice: take a quick look at the terminals before you swipe.  If anything looks unusual, use a credit card (not your debit card).  The credit card company has financial coverage to protect you if your card is used fraudulently, but your bank may or may not cover fraudulent withdrawals using your debit card.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Something You Can Do

Your prayers and thoughts are welcome, that goes without saying, although I did just say it. But if you want something you can do for my mother, I have a thing.


She was interested in politics. She was the daughter of a staunch conservative. Sure of what she believed in and doubly sure that she knew exactly where this handbasket was taking us. She didn't much like Trump, but she saw right through Hillary Clinton and planned to vote for Trump just as a check on the slide into the abyss she could see coming.

She grew up shooting, like to shoot trap in her younger days, and had an interest in the 2nd Amendment and shooting all her life. The last time she and my dad came to visit she wanted to go the range. She shot her dad's Colt Woodsman, which was also the first gun she had ever shot, back sometime in the late 1930s. She shot a .357 with some light .38 loads.

 And she shot this. Once she realized it was all looks and noise and no recoil, she had a lot of fun and she was putting them in the black with iron sights.

I could not have known it was going to be her last day shooting, but like so many, it was a good day.

So don't sit home. Go to the polls. Tell your friends.


Do it for Joanie.

A public service announcement

To all of today's Special Snowflakes:

U.K. Court: GCHQ bulk data collection was illegal

"Bulk data collection" means "spying of course.  What's astonishing is that the spies lost the case:
A legal challenge against the British government's secret surveillance activities has won in court, with the Investigatory Powers Tribunal judging the collection of bulk personal data—conducted by GCHQ and MI5 between 1998 and 2015—to have been illegal. 
Responding to a claim brought by Privacy International, the 70-page judgment handed down this morning [PDF] found that the spooks' surveillance activities had been taking place without adequate safeguards or supervision for over a decade; and as such were in breach of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
GCHQ is the U.K.'s version of the NSA.

And note the date that the spying started - 1998.  This was three years before 9/11.  So much for the argument that "we need to spy on everyone to catch the terrorists."

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Friendship in a Time of Loss

My mother has been quite sick with cancer for the past year and was in home hospice at my sister's place in suburban Baltimore. My oldest son and I had a scheduled visit for the first of last week. My sister, who has been the primary caregiver, called me on the previous Thursday and told us to come as soon as we could.

My son and I moved up our visit and we walked in the door last Saturday. My wife arrived Sunday.  My mother was on ever increasing levels of morphine and while I am absolutely sure she knew we were there on Saturday (she responded to questions and drank a few sips of water) by Sunday she was mostly comatose. She died on Wednesday morning.

The other relatives started arriving the next day and my sister's house was full to overflowing. Our days were filled with the work of a family gathering and planning a funeral.

Borepatch lives less than an hour away. He opened his home to my wife and I so we could take the pressure off my sister, gave us a key, a bedroom, free run of the kitchen. He and the QOTW sat up late and talked to us, served us comfort food, gave us a place to retreat to in the evenings. They went above and beyond and offered us true friendship in a time of need. Sure, we could have gotten a motel room, probably been closer to my sister's, but it would not have been the special, memorable time this was.

Here's my mother in June of 1956.  She was so completely a person of her time. A person of grace and hard work and beauty both inside and out. The quote from Ecclesiastes at the bottom was a favorite of hers and for decades she had been telling me to read it at her funeral.

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens
a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot, 
 a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance, 
 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.
--Ecclesiastes 3

Seen at the Classic Car meetup

This guy has a real sense of humor.

Carlo Gesualdo da Venosa - Se la mia Morte Brami

One of the most innovative composers of the seventeenth century is also one of the notorious.  Carlo Gesualdo, Prince of Venosa and Count of Conza was a Renaissance Man.  Given a religious education as a child (as a younger brother he was not going to inherit the family lands and titles), but his brother's death brought him back to Naples.  Falling hopelessly in love with his cousin Donna Maria d'Avalos, he married her.  All seemed to be perfect in the young Prince's life.

But it wasn't.  Donna Maria strayed, carrying on a two year love affair with Fabrizio Carafa, the Duke of Andria.  It seems that everyone knew about this except for Carlo - although you have to wonder if he wouldn't let himself know.  But everything comes to light in the end.

And so it was on this date in 1590.  Suspecting his wife, he made a show of going on a hunting trip.  Coming back suddenly and unexpectedly, he discovered the two lovers in flagrante.  He stabbed both of them to death and unceremoniously dumped their bodies in the public square.  He was brought to trial but charges were dismissed.  It was a different time.

His musical compositions were marked with a unique tonal quality, along with an almost painful emotionalism in the lyrics of his madrigals.  It's not clear whether he is more famous for this experimental musical style or for his infamous past.  It may be the combination of the two that attracts interest.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

I wonder what the after Halloween specials will be?

Jamey Johnson and Alison Krauss - Seven Spanish Angels

Willie Nelson and Ray Charles did this song.  This cover is from a tribute concert for Willie when he won the Gershwin Prize.

Seven Spanish Angels (Songwriters: Troy Seals, Eddie Setser)

He looked down into her brown eyes,
Said, " Say a prayer for me."
She threw her arms around him,
Whispered, "God will keep us free."
They could hear the riders comin,
He said, "This is my last fight.
If they take me back to Texas,
They won't take me back alive."

There were seven Spanish Angels,
At the alter of the Sun.
They were prayin' for the lovers,
In the valley of the gun.
When the battle stopped,
And the smoke cleared.
There was thunder from the throne.
And seven Spanish angels,
Took another angel home.

She reached down and picked the gun up,
That lay smokin in his hand.
She said, "Father please forgive me,
I can't make it without my man."
And she knew the gun was empty,
And she knew she couldn't win.
Her final prayer was answered,
When the rifles fired again.