31 March 2009

Earth Hour Fail.

Apparently, at some point on Saturday evening we were supposed to observe "Earth Hour." The idea was to sit in the dark, without electricity, and pretend we were living as cavemen once did. Or something like that. All because we "care for the Earth."

Now, it turns out that Al "I'll save the planet if I have to kill you to do it" Gore didn't exactly follow the rules for Earth Hour. He left some mighty-powerful spotlights on, illuminating . . . um . . . trees. Dude, seriously, WTF? If you wanna lecture me on how to conserve energy, don't throw a spotlight up on your ugly-ass trees. And there's pictures, in case you don't believe me.

Across the ocean in Austrailia, some people lit candles to save the earth from horrible greenhouse gas emissions caused by man.

Ah, so romantic. Just a man and his girl, alone in the dark, gazing into each other's eyes to see the reflected candlelight . . . or the lights of the store across the street.

Others brought their children out to celebrate mankind's destruction of the environment.

It brings a tear to my eye to see such little minds attempting to control littler minds.

Of course, the tree-hugging community might like to know that lighting up candles produces more greenhouse gas emissions than running lights for an hour.

But it's not really about saving the earth and reducing one's carbon footprint. It's about destroying the very mechanism that allows us to have things like indoor plumbing and sanitation, computers, and freedom. For a look at what the goal of the tree-huggers really is, let's take a look at a country that is perpetually celebrating "Earth Hour." North Korea:

In case you were wondering, here's some borders drawn in to help you visualize.

Now, understand that "Earth Hour" isn't about saving the Earth. It's about making a pointless gesture. It's about their desire for control. And their control always ends up in human suffering.

Just go to North Korea if you don't believe me. I'm sure they'll be happy to tell you how wonderfully happy they are. Mainly because if they don't, Kim Jong Il will have them killed.

29 March 2009

Recession? What Recession?

So, despite all the talk about doom, gloom, the Coming of The Second Great Depression, and how we are going to spend our way back to prosperity (don't worry, I don't understand that either), my wife and I bought another house.

"Wait!!! How can you do such a thing! We're going into the worst economy in twenty lifetimes! The sky is falling! For God's sake, THE SKY IS FALLING!!!"

To which I respond with "Uh, no it isn't. In fact, I'm having the best year of my life."

We had such a good year last year that I have a tax bill higher than some people's incomes.

At any rate, we closed on the new digs last week, and are now in the process of purchasing fun things for the house. A washer and dryer are a must, as is some furniture for the living room.

All told, we dropped somewhere around $5 grand on Saturday. No, we didn't do a stupid "No interest until 2010!" deal. We paid cash. Well, via a couple checks. Nonetheless, we're scheduled for delivery on Friday.

Now, some might argue that such an expense must have hurt. Nope! Since we knew we would need this stuff in the new house, we did the unthinkable: we planned for it. I know, it sounds weird, but we're kinda weird. Which is why we have money.

It boils down to one very important thing: You have the power to make decisions that will benefit your life. You also have the power to make decisions that screw up your life. Unfortunately, people make the decisions that screw up their lives, and then complain that we who have made better decisions somehow cheated. No, we're just smarter.

26 March 2009

The Worst Economy Ever! Until Next Year . . . .

So, I keep hearing how this is the worst economy since the Great Depression. Never mind that I've already posted charts disproving this claim. Never mind that several small businesspeople I know are having the best year of earnings ever. Never mind that my bride and I have managed to purchase a beautiful house just this week, the mortgage of which is well below a quarter of our take-home pay.

No, this must be the worst economy ever, because the media tell us, because the Democrats and P-BO tell them to say that. Journalists, being of the intellectually lazy sort, never bother to actually research these claims. It's so much easier to simply parrot what someone tell you.

Still, for all the claims that the economy will crash into a fiery hell if we don't spend trillions of dollars (that we don't even have), wait until P-BO's budget gets voted into law.
Notice that for all the hysterics about President Bush's deficit spending, P-BO's budget expands, increases, and eventually destroys the economy.

There is no way we can pay these bills that will be thrust upon our children and grandchildren.

The most insidious part is that all this money will be spent to develop a permanent dependent underclass, who will become serfs to the State.

But you voted for it, America. There of those of us who will refuse, and no doubt we'll be punished for it. But our responsibility to Liberty demands that we refuse, and we will fight back where we can.

17 March 2009

More fun with History! The Worst Economy Ever! Not.

Thank you, Time. No, this isn't the "Worst Economy Ever." So far, it still looks amazingly like a normal recession, not the wimpy little things we've been seeing for the past 25 years.

Of course, that doesn't stop our elected overlords from making the comparison. Perhaps if our President would stop blundering about, mispronouncing foreign leaders' names, and maybe trying to, I don't know, actually LEAD instead of running around crying "It's not my fault, it's that other guy's," we might actually get somewhere. But I'm not going to hold my breath. So far, we've seen that P-BO is an empty suit, unable to muster the necessary fortitude to carry this nation forward.

11 March 2009

The Recession in Context

Over at CalculatedRiskBlog.com, they've put up some handy charts comparing this recession to previous recessions. They use the common definition of "depression," which is a 10% decline in GDP. Right now, we're sitting at about 3.5%.

Also note that the "depression" that occurred post WW2 was considered a good thing (!) as it signaled the winding down of the war effort, and didn't last long enough (8 months, instead of a year or more). Thus, that "depression" is usually excluded.

This chart shows something pretty interesting. We haven't experienced a real, knock-down drag-out recession in about 25 years. Which means that most of the people currently living through this recession are susceptible to the "sky is falling" mentality currently displayed on television news and in Washington DC.

P-BO and his advisors are in their 40's, which means they were about 20 when the last recession hit. Just about the right time to be sitting in classrooms learning about how evil capitalists cause all the problems of the world.

No, this is a recession, not a crisis. P-BO will make it into a crisis, though, and we'll all end up paying for it for decades to come.

Lock in your mortgages now at a nice low rate. They're gonna go up in the future!

The Best Miniature Company Got Better

The folks over at Reaper Miniatures are a fantastic group, and today the just got a little more fantastic.

Seems that the price of tin has been fluctuating a bit of late. Last year in May it was around $25k/ton. Naturally, all the mini manufacturers raised prices, as tin is the largest price component in most miniatures. Now, it looks like the price is relatively stable at around $12k/ton. And Reaper has decided to pass its savings on to us, their valuable customers!

Here's the announcement

So for all you businesses out there, here's a hint on how to keep customers: Take care of them. Yes, I'm talking to you, National Rental Car, as well as you, CitiBank (purveyors of mighty crappy sub-prime mortgages). And Pedigo Chevy, you jacked around with an interest rate on my wife's truck, so you should take this message home, too. 18% my ass.

10 March 2009

Passwords and You

h/t to Bruce Schneier.

I am not posting this as a bash against our battle against Islamic thugs in Afghanistan. As far as you know, I'm neutral in the matter.

I am not posting this because I want to bash our military. I am a huge fan of our Armed Forces, the work they do, and the people who have chosen to stand in harm's way.

I am posting this as a reminder that poor passwords have consequences.

Here is the story from Wikileaks.

One would think that if one is working on a publicly accessible system, and one is working with documents that could be considered "Restricted" or higher in nature, one would choose a password slightly more complex than "progress." Yet that's exactly what someone at NATO did.

As one commenter on Bruce's sight says, not even the obligatory "1" after the word.

09 March 2009

Rise of the Runelords - First session!

And a fun session it was, too.

Here are the players and their characters:

Maria: Coralynn, a weather-witch with a Varisian mother and an elven father.
Rachel: Grotinka, a barbarian who's idea of "parley" involves hitting her opponents repeatedly with her warhammer. Or punching goblins to death.
Paula: Nicodemus, a halfling trapper with his trusty crossbow.
Josh: Shade, a man who's been living off the people of Sandpoint . . . er . . . living with the people of Sandpoint for two years.

We played through the goblin attack on the town, up until the PCs were asked by the sheriff to watch the town as he heads to Magnimar to request additional troops to bolster the town's forces. Shalelu (pictured) has just been introduced, and will be updating the PCs on goblin activity next session.

Highlights of the session include Grotinka punching goblins to death and pinning a goblin underneath a burning wagon (critial strike with her warhammer on said wagon!), Shade being seduced by the town's good-time girl (and having her father interrupt them), Coralynn attracting the attentions of Lord Aldren Foxglove after she used her water-shaping powers to help save him, and Nicodemus wielding a wicked crossbow! Seriously, I think he might have tied Grotinka for the most kills.

This will be a fun game.

Other fun things: Three of the players forgot it was Daylight Savings Time and didn't spring their clocks forward. Rachel remembered, though. Josh, I never want to see you in your pajamas again . . . .

06 March 2009

I think VP Biden picked it out

Ah, another day, another story of a gaffe by our President. P-BO was meeting British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. A friendly meeting, one of equals, where two great men who might stand together against the threat of Islamic terrorism, of financial meltdown, and rabid kittens consuming our young.

Mr. Brown brought an ornamental pen holder, made from the timbers of HMS Gannet, a ship that fought Islamic Slavers in the mid 1800's. It will likely sit in the Oval Office atop a desk made from the timbers of the Gannet's sister ship, HMS Resolute. Quite a gift, considering P-BO's ancestors came from Kenya, where a good number of slaves were sold to the Arabs.

P-BO, in turn, got Mr. Brown a box of 25 great American movies.

What. The. Fuck?!?!

I mean, I like Star Wars, despite the obvious issues of sound in space and such like. And the fact that everyone says "May the Force be with you," but it turns out that only if you're born with enough of the special "Force-granting bacteria" will that phrase do anything for you. But as a gift to a world leader . . . um, no. Not even I would think that was a good idea. And I suck at giving gifts. Just ask my wife.

Medieval Archeology

Way cool.

Unfortunately, the archeologists removed the stake from the ribcage of the skeleton, and now the archeological team are vampires, tooTo stop the .

I didn't know that a brick was shoved into the deceased's mouth to keep it from chewing its way through the burial shrouds. That will definitely make its way into a vampire-based adventure sometime soon.

04 March 2009

This will be brutal

From the guys over at Powerline -

So, if you've been following the political headlines, you'll have noticed that the Obama Administration has been trying to make Rush Limbaugh the face of the Evil Conservative Party That Stands In The Way Of Everything Good (tm).

Well, Mr. Limbaugh has accepted the challenge.

Any time here at the EIB Network studios. If you're too busy partying or flying around giving speeches and so forth, then send Vice President Biden. I'm sure he would be very capable of articulating your vision for America -- and if he won't work, send Geithner, and we can talk about the tax code. And if that won't work, go get Bob Rubin. I don't care. Send whoever you want if you can't make it. You don't need to be leaking stories to Politico like this thing that's published today. You don't need to have your allies writing op-eds and all the rest. If you can win at this, then come here and beat me at my own game, and get rid of me once and for all, and show all the people of America that I am wrong.

Mr. Limbaugh is an embodiment of the American Dream - starting from a middle class background to become THE force in talk radio. AM radio pretty much owes it's existence to the man, because he found an opportunity to fill a niche that was underserved. And that market has rewarded him for his excellence.

What has Mr. Obama done? Spoke some good words, but he hasn't done anything. He's never managed anything larger than a political race, and even then he didn't win because he was the best candidate, he won because he got the other guys booted off the ballot.

Mr. President, you've brought this on yourself.

Ah, The Joys of Universal Health Care, part 2

From Walter Williams.

Stand-out excerpts:

The head of the World Health Organization calculated that Britain has as many as 25,000 unnecessary cancer deaths a year because of under-provision of care. Twelve percent of specialists surveyed admitted refusing kidney dialysis to patients suffering from kidney failure because of limits on cash.

For example, after a Canadian has been referred to a specialist, the waiting list for gynecological surgery is four to 12 weeks, cataract removal 12 to 18 weeks, tonsillectomy three to 36 weeks and neurosurgery five to 30 weeks. Toronto-area hospitals, concerned about lawsuits, ask patients to sign a legal release accepting that while delays in treatment may jeopardize their health, they nevertheless hold the hospital blameless.

In Sweden: Mr. D., a Gothenburg multiple sclerosis patient, was prescribed a new drug. His doctor's request was denied because the drug was 33 percent more expensive than the older medicine. Mr. D. offered to pay for the medicine himself but was prevented from doing so. The bureaucrats said it would set a bad precedent and lead to unequal access to medicine.

The clinics have security guards to keep patients from getting unruly as they wait hours to see a doctor. The guards also prevent new patients from entering the clinic when the waiting room is considered full.

Obama-care is coming, and it will mean higher costs, lower quality, and rationing of scarce resources. Sadly, the blame will be put on the "greedy doctors," "greedy pharmaceutical companies," "greedy insurance companies," and "greedy rich people."

I still don't understand how it is the doctors and insurance companies who are "greedy" when it's the people on the Left who demand that others pay for their health care. Typical leftist dystopia.

Why debt collectors are scum of the earth

Here is a story detailing debt collectors' practices when dealing with those who died while owing money.

This paragraph got my blood boiling.

The companies “want to protect their brand,” said DCM’s chief executive, Steven Farsht. Despite the delicacy of such collections, he says his 180-employee firm is providing a service to the economy. “The financial services industry is under a tremendous amount of pressure, and every dollar we collect improves their profitability,” he said.

No, it doesn't you lying sack of feces. You buy the debt from a company for pennies on the dollar and then try to collect from people who have no legal or moral obligation to pay it. Getting a widow who owns nothing to pay you $5 a month is SCUMBAGGERY at it's worst.

You're entire business model goes against anything decent and right. There's a reason why half of your new hires don't stay past 90 days. It's because they have a conscience. People who aren't scumbags don't like working for or with scumbags, and leave to find honest jobs.

Sounds about right . . . .

From Adam Zygus.

02 March 2009

Obama's Economic Advisory Video Found!

Since we're going to be increasing the money supply to pay for the Messiah's "Stimulus Plan that Won't," I figured I'd do a little work to discover what those wonderful folks running the show up in Washingon DC were smoking. Turns out it's the special "Presidential Hash." But I did find that video from 1933.

If inflation worked like that, we should just have the government print out $100 trillion dollars, and we'd all be gadzillionaires! History, however, proves that when inflation rises, production is cut back, because whatever money we put into making something today won't be reimbursed when we try to sell it. If you put $10000 into making a new car, but then the value of the dollar drops by 10%, the price of the materials in the car is now $11000. You have to sell the car for more money, or you sell it for less profit (and less incentive to spend the money on the materials in the first place).

This is why gold and other commodities do so well during inflationary periods. Gold has a relatively fixed price, and when paper money is devalued, the price of gold seems to increase.Ah, the joys of Obamanomics. High inflation, high unemployment, higher prices, higher taxes. See? We're gonna get some of that Presidential Hash after all! It just doesn't produce the high you thought you were gonna get.

Why I pay with cash

I get a lot of grief for the way I handle my personal finances. I don't have a credit card, I don't like auto-drafting from my checking account, and I pay for everything with cash. Gas, groceries, my miniature hobby, hotel bills . . . everything.

You may ask "Why won't you accept the convenience of a debit card?"


I'm sure there are many good customer service representatives out there. I just haven't encountered any of them. And I'd rather not have the frustration of talking to someone who only speaks broken English while I'm staring at a bill that makes the latest AIG bailout look like a blue-light special at K-mart!