I don't mean to offend. It's probably going to happen anyway.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


I'm in Texas right now, looking at a school tomorrow. So far so good. Of course, I happen to be here on the day after a nice warm spell. It's 51 and cloudy, but still better than IL. The most obvious non-climate related (well, weather type climate at least) difference between here and home so far has been the prevalence of pawn shops actively advertising guns. My exposure has been limited to what I have seen from the highway though. More to follow....

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Hodge Podge

Well, since my last post, things seem to have gone to hell in a serious way. First Japan, then Libya end up in a bad way, and neither seems likely to come to a satisfactory conclusion any time soon. I keep sitting down and trying to write about one or the other, then realize that it just kicks over this well of uneasiness bordering on misery. There's nothing to be said about either event that hasn't been said better by smarter people already. I'll just post in brief I suppose.

My heart goes out to the people in Japan, and I wish the mainstream media was playing the reactor problems in a way that wouldn't cripple the industry further. On Friday, my Boy Scout troop had a guest lecture from a nuclear engineer about the reactor problems. It was a fascinating presentation, really. It's a far more complicated system than most people imagine. At least the plants are coming back under control

Dad and I did a bit of math with the aid of Wolfram Alpha as to the sheer power of this quake. The most powerful explosive device ever detonated was the 'Tsar Bomba,' a 58 megaton hydrogen bomb. The 9.0 quake is the energy equivalent of 552 Tsar Bombas, at 32 gigatons of tnt. That much energy, placed at that particular location, is essentially as deadly a circumstance as I can imagine, apart from perhaps an asteroid strike in eastern Asia.

The magnetic north pole is heading diligently south, much faster than it normally does. I have to wonder where it's going.

The wobble in Earth's orbit is gone. This may be related to both the above and the quake. This is rather an odd thing to have happen.

Libya. Why on earth is the United States starting actions in Libya? It has nothing we want, and any compelling reason to be there, such as human rights violations, has far worse offenders everywhere. This is probably just going to leave us with another destabilized muslim nation just ripe for a takeover by the Muslim Brotherhood. I don't think Gadaffi is a nice guy by any stretch, but he's not even remotely the worst of them. Him going out just opens the field to some really scary people.

The Arab League needs to learn what a no-fly zone means. They are getting precisely what they asked for.

Obama is getting himself into a world of trouble. Congressional Democrats have started screeching for impeachment over the situation in Libya. While it's one of his lesser constitutional breeches, it is nice to see that it has come back to bite him eventually from his own party. He has utterly failed this country.

The most terrifying thought I've had in a long time is that no one in this country wants him to do what he does. The only people who consistently stand to benefit from his behaviors are Al Qaeda and other anti-American muslim fundamentalists. I don't think he has any real ties to them (read: God almighty I hope he doesn't) but I can't deny that they stand to benefit from what he's done most. His ROE in Iraq and Afghanistan cripple our efforts against those who would do us harm. His domestic policy will drive us into bankruptcy and leave us open to attack. His foreign policy has alienated anyone who might be willing to help us. At this point, all I can say is either this man (or whoever may be controlling him) is the most dangerous idiot ever to live, or he wishes to see this country ruined.

I'm not going to be sleeping well over that one for a while.

If those two people who actually read this care to comment, tell me something good happening in the world? I'm having a hard time finding it at the moment.

Hopefully some lighter material will come up soon. I still have kiwis, so the world can't be all bad.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


I just ate a kiwi. It's the berry of a plant native to southern China, and was probably grown in Italy, shipped here, sold to a distributor, brought to my local grocery, before my kitchen. They cost a few dollars. How on earth do we do these things and not find the world amazing, absurd, and amazingly abusrd?

In other news, I have a new gun wishlist. It can be seen here: http://jamesdjulia.com/auctions/div_catalog_303.asp?pageREQ=1
People considering gifts for me.... Don't even think about it.

Life amuses me and entertains me. Don't much have things to write about though. Posting may be light.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Welcome back, muse!

My dad sent me a rather interesting little thing today.

Biting the bullet - cutting expenses. I HOPE YOU WILL PARTICIPATE AND DO YOUR PART.

The President ordered the cabinet to cut $100 million from the $3.5 trillion federal budget.

I'm so impressed by this sacrifice that I have decided to do the same thing with my personal budget. I spend about $2000 a month on groceries, household expenses, medicine, utilities, etc, but it's time to get out the budget cutting axe, go through my expenses, and cut back.

I'm going to cut my spending at exactly the same ratio, 1/35,000 of my total budget. After doing the math, it looks like instead of spending $2000 a month; I'm going to have to cut that number by six cents. Yes, I'm going to have to get by with $1999.94, but that's what sacrifice is all about. I'll just have to do without some things, that are, frankly, luxuries.

(Did the president actually think no one would do the math?)

John Q. Taxpayer

On the one hand, we're spending less, which is always good to see. On the other... 1/35,000? Completely insignificant. 2.8x10^-3% is not the sort of cut to be really celebrating.

Far too often, I hear the argument that I couldn't balance the budget if I were in charge, by merit of the sheer difficulty of the problems faced. People have tried to tell me that I can complain all I want about the government spending, but would I really cut social security benefits? Would I really cut education spending? Well, yes, actually.

The New York Times put together the "Budget Puzzle: You Fix the Budget" back in November. It's language and setup seems to be arguing that it simply can't be done well without at least some tax increases. Somehow, I managed to overcome the shortfalls without one single new tax. My method for this was simple. I had my copy of the Constitution open on the desk. For each point, I attempted to find justification in the Constitution. If I could not find it, I cut as much as possible from it. If I could find justification, I looked at effectiveness, cost-benefit relationship, and strength of justification. Only if all three were strong did I keep it. Lo and behold, by the time I reached the taxes section, I had overcome the shortcomings.

I have one complaint about this app beyond the biased language at places. It didn't allow me to cut enough. It allowed me to raise eligible ages for Medicare and Social Security, when I would prefer to remove them both entirely. It offered reduction of the Federal Workforce by 10%. I can't say for certain, but I get the feeling that justified cuts are more along the order of 70%.

Making this government effective again is really pretty simple. 223 years ago, some of the smartest men of the time sat down together for a convention, and figured out how to do all this. Additionally, by their actions, they rendered anything else illegal. This confuses me then. We figured this out already. Why are we still having these kinds of problems?

I don't care about "wouldn't it be nice if..." I don't care about "We just have to do...." I care about what will work, and what is allowed and mandated by the Constitution. We as a nation failed when we tried to ignore the constitution. It was the only thing standing between us and total collapse. We chose this. If we don't see dramatic reform in the next few years, returning us to the Constitution, we will fail. What then are the odds of those changes happening?

I despair for the future of this country. I really do.

Apologies for the unusual style, blogger seems to be petulant today.