Thursday, December 31, 2009

An Old Story

As I mentioned yesterday I went to the Cincinnati Museum Center. One of their displays is of an 1890s machine shop. This shot is of the center shaft and belt system that drove all of the machines.

Every time I see this lathe set up I am reminded of a story my Dad used to tell.

When he started in machining in 1950 the shop he worked in was set up like this. The first few weeks he was on night shift, running a lathe pretty much like this one.

There was a worn sheave (the part that the belt rides on) or a worn belt on the machine he ran and every so often the belt would slip off. So he had to shut down the shaft so he could put the belt back on.

After a few weeks he was transferred to day shift, running the same machine. During his first day shift the machine performed as usual and threw it's belt. So he shut down the shaft to repair it.

One thing about night shift; they usually ran only one machine, so shutting down the shaft had no consequences. But on day shift that shaft ran several machines; all of which came to a screeching halt the minute he hit the brakes on the shaft. Every part that was in a 'cut' was ruined; all of the tooling that was in a 'cut' was ruined. Guess who was the least popular man in the shop that afternoon?

Happy New Year!

I knew I would need to do a year end post like this, but I still don’t know where I am going with it.

So much happened in 2009; nationally; internationally; locally and on a personal level. But in some respects, was it different than any other year? The history remains the same, only the names have changes.

Even Obama occupying the White House. Yeah, he’s the first African American President. But doesn’t each of them carry a special label of some sort? Admittedly, some are more esoteric than others- and the election of a minority race was special I suppose, but it would be even more special to me if he were able to govern the country in a Constitutional manner; something he seems incapable of at the moment.

The Federal bailouts of 2/3s of the American Automakers and half of the banks was a big deal, but it will take 10 years to fully assess the damage done or salvaged from by those actions. I tend to think we will find that as a whole the country was damaged extensively by bailing out GM and Chrysler. AIG should have been treated like the Savings and Loans were 20 years ago (Broken up and the assets sold off); I personally think that any entity “Too big to fail” needs to become several smaller entities that CAN be allowed to fail. Why else do we allow the Federal Government regulate business?

Even personally I have seen births and deaths, weddings, engagements and divorces. No more than usual, and no fewer. Again, the names have changed, but not the occurrence. Some were more special or more devastating to me than others, but that didn’t stop them from happening. New friends were made; old acquaintances were reaffirmed and some friends drifted away. Again a year like any other.

So why bother to take stock like this on a day that is only different from any other because of a quirk of the calendar?

Tradition I suppose. We tend to look at the expiration of the calendar and note that all things are finite, including ourselves. When I was younger tonight was a night to avoid those examinations by partaking in drunken rituals. Was that because we didn’t feel we were yet finite, or to avoid thinking about it? At some point we do start to realize that despite our best intentions to live forever, we don’t.

Usually it is the death of a parent that plants the thought of our own mortality in our minds. For most of our lives parents are the rocks we anchor to; Mom and Dad and the Home we always know we will have with them.

Then one New Years Eve we pause to think, instead of rush to drink. It’s then that we realize- I just might be getting older, and won’t live forever. We start to think about not only our parents and their failing faculties, but our grandparents, probably long gone, and their parents, gone even longer.

Then we turn and look the other way; children, and maybe grandchildren. We start to think about how different life will be for them, and how our actions will affect their lives. We take stock of what we have done and how we have reacted to events and how those actions can make or break the next generation.

And we end up about where I did. For the most part things remained the same as the year before. A little worse in some ways (the healthcare fiasco) and a little better in others (2nd Amendment Rights). By Monday morning the real world intrudes again and we start laughing about dating things as 2009 instead of 2010 and forget our New Years Eve reflections.

Until the Next December.

Why Isn't This Front Page News?

I am increasingly finding it difficult to believe that this man was actually a Marine Corps Colonel.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Guess Where I Was Today?

The Wife and I took the Granddaughter over to the Cincinnati Museum Center today. I figured it would be a good time. It was a weekday and I was on vacation, so it should have been fun.

After all, it was just us. And what felt like a half million of our closest friends.

Seriously, the place was so crowded you could not walk anywhere in the Children's Museum. The Ball Room was 3 deep at every device, the Play City was overrun completely and the Building Zone was full as well. There is a place where you stack some foam blocks to build an arch. Two kids were playing with half the blocks, so we couldn't build it; a fact we didn't discover until half of the arch was up. And the punk kids' parents didn't say a word about it.

Over at the building panels area the Young'un searched for 5 minutes for a hammer so she could play with the nails and panels. She finally found one and was just ready to start banging away when a little boy came over to where she had picked up the hammer with a hand full of parts. He started looking around and asked his brother- Where's my Hammer?. Without prompting the Young'un promptly handed it back to him. She knew who's hammer it was.

It was like that everywhere in that place. We finally left and went to the other Museums, which were almost as bad.

The picture is from the main rotunda showing one half of the mural that spans the half dome, showing the progress from early settlers to the modern (1933) day. Done as a fresco with tile as accents these were only the largest of the murals done by Reinhold Weiss. Back in the concourse- where the train gates were- there were a series of murals depicting various 1933 Cincinnati manufacturing processes. When the concourse was torn down in the 1970's all of the murals were moved to the Greater Cincinnati airport. Unfortunately modern travel restrictions mean they are almost as viewable as if they had disappeared with the concourse.

One interesting display that is new since the last time I was there was down in the Museum of Natural History. There was a Dinosaur skeleton- an Allosauraus, if I remember correctly- that was compared to a modern Chicken.

Yep, a chicken. Apparently modern science now believes that dinosaurs aren't extinct; they survive as modern birds. Which is something I have been saying for years. Anybody has ever seen the claw of a rooster will have no trouble believing chickens are actually dinosaurs.

But just imagine a T-Rex with feathers.

I Hate Change

Positively, absolutely and unequivocally hate change.

But I think I will change.

Because I am beginning to hate Google worse than I hate change, and Blogger is a Google product. The only issue is where to go?

I am not a fan of Facebook. It seems like every time one of the kids visited Facebook my computer came down with a virus. Maybe they just blamed it on Facebook; I don’t know.

Who else hosts a blog? A fast Bing search shows a few places;; Wordpress & Vox.

One of the things I hate about change is discovering the perfect fit- again. Because for all of Google’s issues, Blogger is easy to use.

January will be Discovery Month, and expect a new blog location in February. I may have a few location for test runs first, so be prepared for change.

And remember; we don’t care Who Moved Our Cheese; we just care where they put it!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Google Sucks Worse Than I Thought

Again Instapundit has led me to an internet gem.

Read the first paragraph, and tell me why you are still using Google?

Monday, December 28, 2009

The History Channel Is On Our Side?

I caught a bit of two shows yesterday on The History Channel; one about the Russian Revolution, which was followed by one about the French Revolution.

Both were about the overly oppressed people fighting back with a show of arms.

Maybe even those folks have had enough, and are obliquely showing us the way we need to proceed?

The Pants Afire Bomber

I have been thinking on this for a couple of days, ever since that clown tried to bring down an airliner by setting his pants on fire.

The Sunday shows made things clear for me; especially the alleged leader of Homeland Security. WOW. Just WOW.

The system worked she said. THE SYSTEM WORKED?!?!?!? Well, I guess their system may work. Ours already did.

One thing that 9/11 taught us is that some times we need to resist. We need to take the position that we are responsible for our own security and freedom. Yes, that action can be costly, but the cost is relative. We lost some Friends and Neighbors on Flight 93, but what would we have lost had they not acted?

Fast Forward to Christmas Day, 2009. Our system worked again. We stepped up an took a hand to protect our safety.

Now it's time for their system to "work". The guy is in jail, and has - by some reports- 'lawyered up'. Now comes their system for dealing with terrorist. They will put him on trial, which will take a year or more to do, then the endless appeals, all paid for with my tax dollars, and then he may spend a few years in prison after that.

But the only reason their system has a chance to work is because our system worked first. If the other passengers and crew hadn't stopped this psychopath then all their system would be able to do is clean up the mess over several square miles of Michigan.

That is the difference between Terror as a crime and Terror as a war. Crime you fight by punishment after the fact. War you act to prevent the incident in the first place. Cops will tell you; they cannot prevent the first crime. It's their job to investigate the first and prevent the second.

When it comes to bringing down an airliner on my head, I want them to prevent the first.

Cops can't do that.

We can.

One thing that I hope came out of Flight 93 is that we as a nation saw that we are ultimately responsible for ourselves. We don't need a government to be responsible for us. There are some things we need to call a cop for. Protection from an individual with a gun in our face is not one of them.

'Pardon me a minute will you please while I call a cop?"

"I just spoke to the dispatcher; can you wait to shoot me for another 10 minutes or so, until the police can get here and stop you?"

Hell, that doesn't even sound plausible enough for Reno 911.

We all know what would happen, don't we? How many think we would even have time to place the call? That is the time when we need to take control of our own security and act.

The more we rely on government, the more reliant on government we become.

I, for one, intend to remain reliant on myself.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Why I have Been Busy

I made this for my grandson in Santa's Workshop. The cars are out of poplar and the wheels and axles are oak.

I enjoy making things like this. I enjoy the creative process of seeing something in my minds eye and then creating it. I also enjoy the problem solving that needs to go into making my ideas work.

Where do you find wheels for something like this? Well, you have to make them. Which is difficult without a lathe. The small wheels I made from a piece of dowel, cut down into slices and then a hole is drilled in the center. The large wheels I cut from a solid piece of oak with a hole saw.

Like I said, it's the problem solving I like.

Each project is like that for me. I seldom do a new project without first having a new problem to solve.

Like my Snowmen.

I have an image that I printed out from my computer on both sides and then I cut them out on a scroll saw. Getting the images to line up so I could cut them out together was an initial problem, basically involving how to get the two sides to register in two directions. But it worked. I made twelve of these puzzles, including the prototype, and the nieces and nephews loved them.

It has been a busy couple of weeks. But today I am taking the day off. I'm going to find something on TV and go into full rest mode in the recliner.

I've got a couple of projects around the house scheduled for next week, so I'm going to need it.

Cars I Have Known IV

My computer is down again- blown a second hard drive in a year- so I can't get a picture of either of my 'Birds; this is an old Ford image from 1969. This was the best image I could get from the Internet.

1969 Thunderbirds are rare. Ford built about 25,000 'Birds total in '69. That may sound like a lot of cars, but that same year they built 250,000 four door Galaxy 500s. T-birds are rare. And I have managed to get my hands on 4 of them.

My first was back in 1979, in North Dakota. The car was 10 years old and had almost any option you could want. Looking at Ford's option list for '69 I think I am missing the passenger side mirror, the sunroof, the fiber optic light minder and the rear window mounted brake lights. Yes, an option in 1969; mandatory 15 years later.

Ford only offered one motor in the 'Bird that year; a 429 cubic inch big block V-8 with a recorded 380 horsepower, but Ford has been found to be notorious for under-reporting engine horsepower and dyno tests have recorded over 410. 10.5 to 1 compression- where most modern cars run 8 to 1- and a 7.0 liter (for those who want to know) where today most cars are less than half that. This car used sheer size to compensate for lack of technology. In some respects a perfect metaphor for the United States in the 1960's.

These birds are, to me anyway, the epitome of what was once right with American Cars. Driving it is like sitting in your living room. everything adjusts to your perfect comfort. Road feel through the steering wheel? Hardly. This is your living room, remember? Cornering? Like the Queen Mary. Living room, remember?

But do you want to sit in total comfort for 4 or 5 hours while watching the countryside pass by at 65 MPH (or 90 or maybe more)? This is the car.

Who talked about fuel economy in 1969? Around town, count on about 8-10 MPG. Stop and go downtown? 4 to 5 if you don't run the air conditioning. This car was born for the highway. I once ran mine form Grand Forks ND to Omaha NE. 500 and some miles in one day. I made the whole trip at around 80 MPH and got 18.5 MPG. The next morning I started across Iowa and got busted for 80 in a 55. Iowa was a little more particular about their speed limits than ND, SD or NE I guess. Anyway, I ran all the way across Iowa at 55. And got 14 MPG. It's a Bird; it was made to fly.

On that same trip ( I was driving my 'Bird home before leaving for England) I hit I-275 from I-74 and was following it around into Kentucky. I was coming up the hill from the bridge and gave it a little gas to climb the hill. It was 4:00 in the morning and I had been awake sine 6:00 am and this was the first time I had been in the Bluegrass for a year. I got to the top of the hill and kept the pedal down.

I always had a problem with the dash lights in that car. There was a loose or bare wire somewhere and randomly the dash lights would blow a fuse. The fuse was small, and in the back of the fuse box, which was inside the glove compartment, so I didn't always replace it immediately when it blew. The dash lights fuse blew somewhere around Illinois 6 hours earlier and I hadn't replaced it yet. So I couldn't see my speedometer. Until I happened to glance down while going under a street light.

Bear in mind, I-275 was brand new; it was 4:00 in the morning and the road was empty. And I was 20. How fast was I going? Imagine a clock face. Zero would be about 6:30; 120 would be at about 5:30. The needle was back up to about 20MPH. I let go of the gas pedal immediately. I felt like i was doing maybe 100, but it was probably closer to 150. Living room, remember?

Why did it take me 6 hours to get from Illinois to Kentucky? The battery went dead on me in Indiana (The 'Bird's alternator had a funky built in voltage regulator that would occasional y take a couple of hours off. The ammeter didn't work, so you wouldn't know when the regulator had taken a vacation until the lights would suddenly dim) and I had to stop at a truck stop at 1:00 am to have the battery charged. That took an hour. Except the mechanic who charged the battery turned on the timer, but not the voltage. That battery didn't charge and I had to spend another hour waiting on the charger.

I still have that 'Bird. it is euphemistically 'Awaiting Restoration', meaning it's parked out back of the barn, waiting on me to get a couple of bucks together.

Which I will do.

As soon as I can quit raising kids.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Real World Intrudes

I occasionally read The Anchoress, usually as a link from Althouse or Instapundit. Yesterday it was Instapundit.

This article (be sure to follow the early link) I read early on Christmas morning, but waited until today to post on it. Christmas Day was not a day for this news.

More and more I worried that we will not be able to take this country back at the ballot box. We already have very little faith in election results, with some ballots being excluded for spurious reasons and boxes of ballots being found in car trunks weeks after elections being counted.

We already have very little faith in government to be able to perform properly, and less in governments ability to perform to our wishes.

We still have another 10 months and a couple of weeks to the midterm elections, and 2 months after that until we can (maybe) seat a new Congress. Look at the pile of corruption they have managed to foist on us in the last 11 months and think about the damage they can do in the next 11 months.

Now you know why I waited until today to bring this up.

I tried to find a news article on this new Obamanation, but couldn't. Not a single news organization felt that this destruction of our sovereignty was worthy of a news blip. We have freedom of the press; I guess that freedom only means than can publish things damaging to our security, not damaging to their president.

How much longer will we peaceably be able to put up with this garbage?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas to All Y'all!

Today has been a typical Christmas. Woke up at 5:30 when the kids came creeping down the stairs. The youngest is 14; I figured teenage sleepyhead disease would over come the Santa rush and I would be able to sleep a little longer, but nope.

We got home late last night, as usual on Christmas Eve. The family gets together at my sister's house on the hill to exchange gifts and eat. This year we started unwrapping gifts at 7:00 and finished about 10:30. We probably deforested a couple of acres just for wrapping paper.

I did well; the family knows me. I got a 6-pack of good beer; a good cigar; an annotated copy of the Constitution; Thomas Paine's Collected works and The Federalist Papers. So one day soon I can kick back with a good beer, a good cigar and some good reading. It just has to warm enough on the porch for these activities.

I made an army of snowmen for my nieces and nephews; they seemed to go over well. Next year maybe an army of Santas?

Santa brought the kids a Monopoly game for the Wii system; they are in the living room arguing over a game now. We are about the start cooking breakfast; bacon, sausage, eggs, biscuits and gravy and pancakes. I may go back to bed while they the kids cook. That does two things: One it keeps me out of the way, and Two- I don't have to watch while they basically dirty every dish in the kitchen. Why they need 3 shot glasses while cooking breakfast I really don't want to know.

I can't find my camera cable this morning, so you'll have to suffer through a stock internet image today.

Merry Christmas to you and yours, and may you all have your wishes fulfilled.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

YouTube Has Let Me Down

I wanted to post the clip from Christmas Vacation where Clark goes off on his rant about his boss, and preface it with "What I would say to Harry Reid this morning".

I can find the video, but copyright laws require them to strip the audio. So it loses a lot of its character.

Interestingly enough, my son's new Droid smart phone allows him to download the audio from that scene and use it as a ringtone.

Which he has. He attached it to his bosses cell phone number.

Well, anyway, if you remember the scene- even if not all of the words- you know what I think of Harry Reid.

Where's the Tylenol?

It's official, were screwed.

But, maybe not. The Senate Bill and the House Bill are different in several major ways. There are items (like the public option) in the House bill that make it unpassable in the Senate, and there are things in the Senate Bill (like the anti Abortion language- slim as it is) that make the bill unpassable in the House.

And Representative Parker Griffith is now a Republican, which makes the House's narrow margin even narrower.

We still can have HOPE that things can CHANGE and this pile of excrement never hits the Presidents desk.

But I'm still thinking about flying my flag upside down, just so people know how I feel about it.

Best of The Decade List- a Year Early

I found this through Instapundit this morning.

I have not seen any of the movies this critic cites as the best of the decade.

Hell, I haven't even heard of most of them.

The best part is the comments. NOBODY thinks this guy knows what he's talking about. That made me feel a little better.

But, as always with lists like this, I tend to follow the money. I think it is easier to tell which movies are the greatest by seeing how well they did financially.

That's why I believe this list maybe a better indicator of the greatest films of the decade.

On a side note; the first film, Titanic is from 1997, so disregard it, but the next ten are from 1999 to 2009; that forms our decade.

On a second side note; the decade began in January 2001 and ends in December 2010 if you are following the strict calendar decade. But most folks will see a decade as from XX00 to XX09 or XX10 to XX19, so why not call that ten years a decade too? It makes more sense to me that 1980 is part of the '80s decade than it does to say that 1990 is part of the '80s decade.

On this list of ten I have seen 6, and heard of all ten. I haven't seen the Lord of the Rings trilogy; I have never been interested in the Batman movies and I haven't seen the latest Harry Potter yet (but I have high hopes for seeing it soon, right Santa?).

And these are the movies you will be watching in another ten years, and ten years after that. And they will develop new audiences in that 20 years, because they do what a movie should do (at least the ones I've seen); a good story, convincingly told.

I'm sorry, but in general life is depressing, especially now. If I want to schooled, shamed or scolded, I'll read the flippin' newspaper or watch the news. If I want to be entertained, I'll watch a movie. Why can't these idiots get that through their thick skulls?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The End of an Era

I just caught this over at Truth About Cars.

It ain't just health care Obama is screwing up; he and his minions are also killing the automobile industry.

Car manufacturing isn't just about cars. GM Ford, Chrysler and the other manufacturers were the backbone of industrial production in the country during WWII, converting over the course of a few months from cars to tanks, jeeps and other military supplies. Ford even built B-29 bombers, and by the end of the war was making 1 an hour. That was how we one WWII (and the Civil War as well); making things faster than the enemy could blow them up.

Who is going to supply our equipment next time around? I almost envision a scene like in Independence Day, where they pull all the retired pilots up to fly the aircraft. We'll be pulling anybody back into manufacturing, hoping they can remember or quickly relearn skills in order to make the equipment we need to survive.

It's not like I haven't seen it coming. My first machining job in 1986 was for a firm that made and sold machine knives. 85% of what we sold was made overseas. The bigger stuff in Japan; the smaller stuff in Europe. We made some stuff in house for two reasons: we had some customers who refused to accept a foreign made product, and in case a customer needed a special knife in a rush, we were able to make it, and that justified keeping us there.

That place has been gone for years now, just like a lot of other local manufacturers. Cincinnati used to be the biggest machine tool manufacturers in the world. At one point something like 40% of the machines made in the world came from Cincinnati. LeBlonde in now Rookwood Square; Cincinnati Milicron was set to become a shopping mall, until the economy collapsed. the rest of the country isn't much better.

With out the tools to work the metal we can have all the skilled machinists we want and it will do us as much good as trying kick a field goal with a baseball.

When the end comes we will know who to blame at least.

What a small consolation that will be.

Got Your Pole Handy?

Happy Festivus!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

So Much to Do, So Little Time

I have to admit to being behind schedule a little bit for Christmas.

I have a lot going on; building presents for the grandkids and the nieces and nephews and such but I would be able to make it work, except for work.

I had a BIG issue pop up on a file that was basically done. I should have to spend 5 minutes on the dang thing between now and Christmas, BUT NO...

Instead of spending tomorrow morning down in the wood shop making sawdust, I'll probably be at the computer working out a solution to this issue that has been laying dormant for 2 years, just to pop up 48 hours before this file was gone for good.

Did I mention I was on vacation this week?

Oh well; 2 more days until the deadline; I should be able to make it all work.

I'll post some pictures when I get it all done.

Of the toys; not the file

Looking to The Future

Yesterday's post on Amending the Constitution got me to thinking about what else we can do when we take the government back over in 2011.

I wonder if we can just pass one bill that will repeal the entire 111th Congress?

Seriously; have the done anything since January of this year that you would not want to put in the dumpster?

Then in 2013 we can repeal the entire Obama Administration.

Well, it's a nice thought anyway.

Another Letter From My Cousin

Dear Cousin Red,

I had a minute an’ wanted to make sure I dropt’ y’all a line wishin’ you and yours a Merry Christmas an’ a Happy New Year.

Well, at least as Happy a New Year as y’all can have with them durned Democrats in charge.

We heard about that midnight vote they pulled off in Washington. Just like a damned burglar stealin’ my money at night, they didn’t have the courage to pull this crap in the light a’ day, did they?

But anyway, talkin’ ‘bout Christmas Cards, Cousin Kate got a strange ‘un the other day from some folks she didn’t know. It a’pears that it wasn’t meant to come to Cousin Kate, or even the Holler. The Letter was addressed to almost the same street and house number, but to a completely different city in UK. I knew the University of Kentucky was getting big, but I didn’t think they had their own cities inside the University.

We got to lookin’ at the address an’ Ol’ Uncle Bob got his hands on it, and ‘cause he onct had a girl friend in England he reckoned the address as bein’ in the U. K. Well, that made the card even more interstin’, being meant for a foreign country an’ all.

We was sittin’ ‘round the bar that night, drinkin’ a few beers and discussin’ the days events like we always do and Granny got ta talkin’ ‘bout Kate’s Card. She reckons that the Post Office has been deliverin’ mail as long as she can rec’olect, and probably longer than that. Aunt Ann says that the Post Office was started before the Revolution, which makes it older than the Holler. She figures it to have been formed in maybe 10 or 12 B. H. (Before Holler), which means they been deliverin’ mail for ‘bout 250 years. An’ they still have trouble getting’ it right.

Uncle John, who just turned 65 and had to go on Medicare, got ta talkin’ ‘bout how long the gov’ment’s been handlin’ healthcare almost 50 years and ain’t got that right yet either. He figures that one of the reasons the gov’ment decided to take over the whole doctorin’ business is that way nobody could compare just how bad of a job they do with Medicare, if’n there ain’t nuthin’ to compare it to. He figures it was easier to take over the whole works than it was ta fix the problems with what they already ran.

Best wishes from all of us in the Holler,

Throckmorton Q. Sheisseschnitter

Monday, December 21, 2009

Yeah; It's All About The Healthcare

I found this through Instapundit this morning.

And yet Washington wonders why we are urinated off at all of them.

Sometimes Language Is Not a Barrier to Communication

I was looking through Sippican Cottage's blog this morning and found this.

This little infomercial is a prime example of the idea that good products sell themselves. I didn't understand a word this guy said, but I want one of what he was selling.

For those of you looking for a last minute stocking stuffer, there are still 4 days until Christmas!

Time For a Second Bill of Rights

I am beginning to wonder if the Republican Party knows what it’s doing.

I don’t think they understand what the TEA Party movement is all about. I was listening to Hannity the other day and he was being criticized for saying ‘We need to take back the Republican Party’ while being registered as a Conservative. I was listening to a local morning guy who was recommending conservatives become precinct captains in the Republican Party and control the outcome of the election that way.

See? They don’t understand. We’re not just fed up with Democrats; we’re fed up with Republicans too. We’re fed up with every time some dipstick in Washington has “A PLAN” we lose some more of our money and our liberty. We’re fed up with being told that Washington is the answer, when we know Washington is the flippin’ PROBLEM!

Have you read the Constitution lately? If you haven’t, I urge you to take a few minutes and do so. It’s written in plain English and takes maybe an hour to read. While you’re reading, make note of which clause it is that gives the Federal Government the authority to regulate Health Care. Or look for the one that authorizes Social Security; Medicaid; Freddie Mac/Fannie Mae or any other number of government programs. Unless your copy of the Constitution has Obama’s signature on it, you won’t find them.

The Constitution gives the Federal Government ONE internal power; the Interstate Commerce Clause. Article I; Section 8, Clause 3: “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;”. This one sentence has been bastardized to mean that the Federal Government has the ability to regulate a single farmer, growing grain for his own use, because that use will mean he will not need to purchase grain from another state, which invokes the Commerce Clause (US Supreme Court; Wickard v Filburn, 1942). A great discussion of the history of the Commerce Clause is here if you want the details.

Why have I drifted here? Because we need to reform not just Congress, but the Constitution, because the Supreme Court has way over stepped the original intent of the Commerce Clause and has aided and abetted in the destruction of our liberty, not as a safeguard to it.

The Constitution spells out four paths for amendment:
• Proposal by convention of states, ratification by state conventions
• Proposal by convention of states, ratification by state legislatures
• Proposal by Congress, ratification by state conventions
• Proposal by Congress, ratification by state legislatures

We need to start working at the state level to amend the Constitution several ways. I would like to see these amendments:

Amendment 28: Balance Budget- Washington cannot deficit spend without the approval of 2/3 of the states.

Amendment 29: Congressional Term limits: two terms or max of 15 years for a senator; 3 terms or 7 years in the House Consecutive, may serve a second 7 year stint if out of office for 6 years; up to a total of 20 years in Washington in if you serve in both Houses.

Amendment 30: Outlaw Congressional pensions. Let the bums retire on their own dime, not mine.

Amendment 31: Repeal the 17th Amendment and go back to State legislature appointing the Senators.

Amendment 32: Federal Judge Term limits. 10 years in any given chair; 25 total service to the Federal bench, mandatory retirement at 70.

Amendment 33: Reform the Commerce Clause so Congress can only strike down items that prohibit commerce between the states, not pass laws to control it. And make it retroactive.

The political class will scream bloody murder when we try this; Democrats and Republicans alike. And that’s what I mean about Republicans not getting it.

They wanted to start a Revolution against the Democrats.

Instead, they started one against Federal power.

I hope.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Well, It Looks Like We Used To Have Free Country

News reports say the Dems have 60 votes needed to end the filibuster and put their "Health Care" bill to a vote.

Welcome to the end.

Merry Christmas to All!

This picture took me hours to get right. The model for this I posted a couple of weeks ago. That one was taken with just the lights up, and with an iphone.

I spent 2-3 hours trying to replicate that shot with an expensive Canon. And I think I nailed it.

if you look closely you can see the lights reflected in the polished doors, and glimmering off of the crystals in the chandelier.

Yeah, I'm proud of that shot.

While Doing a Little Surfing This Morning

One of the Blogs I read regularly is Michael Hasenstab. Today he has a bunch of good posts up, including this one that may resonate with those of us of a certain age.

Michael recently took his wife and his motorcycle on a little trip.

To the Artic Circle. And blogged about the trip. Fascinating reading.

Although I wouldn't have made the trip in a chauffeured motorhome.

The picture is from Michael's blog, taken when his shoes hit the Artic Ocean

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Cars I Have Known III

This morning I have some time (FINALLY!!!) to blog a little. As soon as the rest of the house is awake I need to fire up the wood shop, but for now I have to operate something a little quieter than my table saw.

Way back in 1979 I got a call from a friend of mine. He had just bought a car and wanted me to give him a hand on a few repairs. It was a 1968 Ford Cortina, and it looked like a 3/4 scale model of a '68 Ford Falcon. This being North Dakota 30 years ago, parts were impossible to get. You couldn't even order them at the local parts house, and ALGORE hadn't invented the Internets yet, so this thing was a lot of fun to work on. Every other weekend.

I don't remember all of the things we did, but I do remember that the exhaust pipe rusted away from the header, and we had to basically create a new end for the pipe by laying a weld against the bracket that held the pipe to the header and then grinding it down so it would fit over the header mount.

We worked on this beast every payday weekend for 6 months, and when my Buddy asked me if I wanted to buy it - as he was getting a new car- and I figured I was getting a deal.

I was wrong. I just started spending every other weekend working on my car, instead of his.

When the brake master cylinder died, and I couldn't buy one for any amount of money, I drove the thing for 6 weeks by down shifting into first gear and pulling up on the emergency brake to stop.

What can I say? I was 19 years old for crap's sake!

I will say this; it was fun car to drive. It weighed a little less than a Pinto and had the same engine AND a 4 speed. It cornered like a slot car and because it was about half the size of a real car, I could slip it into parking spots that nobody else could use. And it got about 25-30 MPG, back when that didn't matter.

I finally had a friend offer me yet another car and I sold the Cortina to another airman on base who already had a '66 Cortina. (If you have ever watched Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets, the flying car is a '66 Cortina.) Strange thing was, this guy really didn't seem like a masochist.

But he had to be.

I Have Been Trying To Figure This Out

Last weekend I spent some time in the presence of someone who knew Ronald Reagan.

Without a doubt, the highlight of my drab existence for the last (almost) 50 years. My brush with greatness.

But how to blog about it, without sharing details that probably shouldn't be made public?

This is probably the best I will be able to do, to give you a sense of what it was like.

While I was at the bottom of the Air Force's enlisted heap, she was working with Reagan to defeat the Russians. Last week we discussed Reagan's Cold War policies.

Absolutely mind blowing.

The context of our meeting was for a historical project I am working on- unrelated to the Cold War- so this was a bonus, not the main event.

It is incredibly frustrating to NOT to be able to blog about the year's highlight.

Mais alors, c'est la vie!

This Video Fulfills Two of My Passions

This video combines cars and history.

Made in 1943, it is a contemporary account of the start of the WWII Jeep.

If you have 10 minutes it's a fun little video, but you have to wonder how those soldiers stayed in during the hill hops. The original didn't have seat belts of course.

The jeep pictured is a modern restoration, but I had to include it. It is a USAAF Jeeep after all.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Who Are They Trying To Kid?

Proof New Yorkers are stark raving crazy.

$150k for the MAIDS QUARTERS!?!?!?!?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

As Usual I was Listening To The BBC This Morning

And when the BBC ended NPR came on; what a crock that outfit is.

They interviewed a climatologist from the UN (he was an American) about the upcoming Copenhagen 'Summit'.

Not a WORD about Climategate. Like it never existed. This idiot kept up the spiel like nobody had ever seen or heard of the leaked emails.

Local radio interviewed a local Dem congressman this week. What an idiot. In the last 10 days he had not seen or heard a word about Climategate, so he couldn't comment; but he hates foreign oil and loves US coal. WTF? If that idiot keeps his job in Congress there is no way in Hell the counting was honest. They'll have to find a semi load of 'uncounted ballots' to make that work.

What does it all add up to?

They know Global Warming is not happening, at least as dramatically as they predict. They also know that this warming has happened before, and they know there is nothing we can do about it, just like if the Earth was cooling we could do nothing about it.

But they also know they need this crisis in order to have trillions of dollars to be able to skim the graft off of.

Also, they know we know what they are up to.

But until they can devised another way of ending up with the same result, but with a different scam, they need to keep acting like this one is working.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Apparently the Russians Know Obama

I found this video in my inbox, with this email:

Got this from a friend. I cannot verify if it is/was true.

Watch this 10-second attached video where a lineup of leading Russians refuse to shake his hand. Did you see this on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN or

This is "hard ball", Soviet Style. After the third handshake refusal, it becomes obvious. The facial expression is priceless.

"I guess we're no longer in Chicago."

And, how in the world did Katie Couric, Charlie Gibson, Diane Sawyer, et al, miss this? If it had been Bush, think the media would cover it?

Anyone ever seen a Head of State snubbed like this? Speaks volumes.

It's gonna' be a rough ride, but the bloom is almost off the rose.

The only question I would have is why? Do they not respect him as a person; as a leader or as a black man? The first two I can understand, although I don't appreciate the snub of the office of President of the United States.

If it is the third option, I have some serious questions.

Obviously I can't stand Obama's politics or programs; none of my disapproval is based on on his color.

Maybe the issue for the Russkies is that Obama is giving Commies a bad name?