30 June 2009

Wandering the 'Net

visited 28 states (56%)
Create your own visited map of The United States

Don't ask . . . .

The New Workshop

It's about time I got these pictures up.

First, the Old Workshop. Taken back just before we started moving. Notice the fact that my computer screen is sitting right in front of my painting area. Notice my keyboard pushed aside to make room for my latest projects.

I painted this way for 2 years.

And this is the New Workshop. My drawing table, lovingly toted from Michigan to Colorado to Texas to Indiana, with plenty of room to put paints and half-painted miniatures. Heck, I probably have enough to set up my camera if I cleared the minis off the work area!


My computer now sits off in another corner of my room, allowing me to focus my attention on the miniatures in front of me.

My Workshop also holds most of my reading material and all of my game books. The closet is filled with unpainted metal and other totes I have yet to unpack.

I did manage to buy one of those plastic hang-from-the-door shoe racks. My basing supplies, primers, and finishing sprays go there.

I've still got a little ways to go before the room is up to my high standards . . . but it's good enough that I can start painting. It feels good to get a brush back in my hands. Now, of course, I have to relearn all the stuff I forgot over the intervening three months.

About 6 weeks to GenCon! I gotta get practicing.

29 June 2009

Why Government-Run Health Care Fails

Economics 101

Every single item and service on the planet responds to the Law of Supply and Demand. The food we eat, the home we live in, the labor we provide, the cost of each of these is governed by this law. Even the air we breathe. Don't believe me? Try SCUBA diving, being 100 feet below the surface, and running out of air. How much would you pay for a fresh tank? At that point, demand has far outstripped supply, leading to a rapid increase in price.

Separately, the curves for Supply and Demand of any given product look like this. Combined, the point at which they intersect is the price we pay for any given item or service.

Now, what P-BO and the Democrats want to do is lower that price to make health care "more affordable." Like this:
Looks good, right? Who could possibly be against such a benevolent use of the government's coercive powers? Well, the effect of that will mean the supply and demand curve will change to meet this new price point. Since supply will be unchanged (there won't be a rush to build hospitals, or an increase in funding medical research since now there's no money in such endeavors), that means the demand curve will adjust . . . like so:
Notice how the new demand shifts from "5" to "7." Demand increases when there's no way the price can go up. Consumers see this as "value." Why not get the supersize meal when it doesn't cost you anything more? A car dealership offering a used Ford or a new Cadillac for the same price will find itself sold out of Cadillacs.

But remember, there's no increase in supply, which means longer waiting lines, full hospitals, and doctors making less money because now they have to see patients but can't increase their prices to meet this new demand. And so, the inevitable happens.

Government, having modified the price to increase demand, now has to limit Supply to bring the curves back in line. This means rationing services. Cutting off chemotherapy treatments for patients deemed unlikely to recover. Refusing to cover medication that doesn't meet government standards for efficacy. Never mind that people respond well to it, if the demand outstrips supply, the supply MUST be limited.

This wild idea is borne out by the fact that every single country with nationalized health care has rationed that care! That means the government is telling people "No, you can't get that surgery" "Your chemo will have to wait" and "We don't cover 'lifestyle' illnesses anymore."

Congratulations, America. I hope you get what you deserve.

28 June 2009

Go Navy.

I realized something as I was playing around on the 'net tonight.

Mrs. Workshop's and my new house sits on about 5 acres of land. That's more than the flight deck on a Nimitz class aircraft carrier. In other words, pilots land their aircraft on something smaller than my yard every day.

Holy Crap. Something the size of my pasture sees more air traffic than some airports.
The above picture is a daily exercise (twice daily if evening/night flight operations are scheduled) aboard an aircraft carrier, the "foreign object and debris" walk (FOD). Anyone not involved in something vital gets to get up and walk the flight deck from one end to the other, looking for anything that could cause a multi-million dollar jet engine to suddenly not work. A loose nut, a piece of rubber, anything . . . .And that's all for tonight. Goodnight!

21 June 2009

Photo of the Day

If y'all haven't noticed, there's a whole bunch of bad stuff happening in Iran right now. There was an "election," and the mullahs in charge of that country didn't like the outcome (their stooge Amadimmwhitt didn't win). So, massive vote fraud was perpetrated. This resulted in a lot of people getting pissed off, and protesting the Iranian government.

Now, in the United States these things occasionally happen, there's some news coverage, and everyone goes home. In the theocracy of Iran, however, the government sends in armed police to shoot, beat, and otherwise destroy these protesters.

So, there's a people standing up against their despicable government, dying in the streets, fighting for basic human rights. What does our president do? Go out for ice cream.

No, I'm not kidding. CBS is Tweeting about it. Here.
News article here.

Mr. President, with all due respect, you are the leader of the FREAKING FREE WORLD! Why are you not speaking about the atrocities the Iranian government are inflicting upon their own people? (Note, in the interest of fairness, here's a link to the White House blog posting. You may judge for yourself if it is sufficient.) A more accurate portrayal can be found here.

Her name was Neda. It means "voice" in Farsi. She was shot. In the chest. By her government. For protesting.There's a video on YouTube. But due to the fact that blood shoots out of her body, YouTube makes you sign in before you can see it.

Oh, here should be a way around that. A warning, though. It's graphic. Congratulations, America. You voted for a weak-kneed pansy who can't (or won't) speak against a brutal theocracy as it murders it's citizens. Way to go.

17 June 2009

Fun with Numbers

Over at The Atlantic, Megan McArdle destroys the report put out by Elizabeth Warren that claims medical bankruptcies are destroying the middle class.

Here's the link.
Here's a link to her follow-up discussion.

Here's the pertinent graph:

For the mathematically challenged, that shows that personal bankruptcies fell in 2006. There was also a corresponding drop of 33% in the number of bankruptcies for medical reasons. But, Ms. Warren claims that medical-related bankruptcies are a growing portion of the reasons for declaring bankruptcy.

Yes, she get's there by playing with numbers.

Absolute numbers of bankruptcies fell. Absolute numbers of bankruptcies for medical reasons fell, but not in proportion. Therefore, the percentage of bankruptcies caused by medical costs "rose," although the actual numbers fell.

To put it another way, my company sells two products, A and B. Each consists of 50% of my revenue. However, this year with the recession, no one wants to buy A, and fewer people want to buy B. My percentage of revenue from A is 0% while B "grows" to 100%. But I still made less money. In effect, Ms. Warren states that "Revenue from B doubles! Holy crap the world is coming to an end!."

But, this little blog posting won't stop people from claiming that bankruptcies are increasing because of medical costs. But it is something to remember the next time someone trots out the "we need government health care" card.

From the "I have a Great Idea" File

As the global economic catastrophe worsens, we should really do something to make sure that foreigners still vacation here in the United States. You know, like a massive advertising blitz to showcase how wonderful this country is to visit. The pristine mountains, the beautiful rivers, amber waves of grain and all that.

But, one might ask how we can pay for it. One would be smart to ask that.

How about charging foreign travelers a $10 fee? Why, the program pays for itself!

Sad to say, but this brilliant plan is already in place. H/t to the reason blog.

One might also ask why we have this problem. The answer is that after 9/11, the government put policies in place to make travel to the US more difficult, resulting in a drop in tourism.

And people want these asshats in charge our our health care system?

15 June 2009

Never learning from their mistakes.

Unless you've been hiding under a rock, you know that the United States (and pretty much the entire world) has been in an economic downturn for quite some time.

It started in the housing market, where people who shouldn't have been given loans to buy a house were able to buy a house with no money down (like an 80/20 mortgage), or an interest-only mortgage. Or use a 'liar's loan' to say "Yeah, I really make $200k per year, so give me $600k for that house."

In short, people using borrowed money to purchase thing they never should have anyways.

But, this recession causes people to hurt. Like automobile manufacturers. After all, since banks have become wise to the game of tapping your house's equity to get the money needed to buy a new car, they stopped loaning money, and car sales are falling.

This does not bode well for the unskilled labor force, nor for those who desire to keep the dumb masses . . . dumb. So, the Great P-BO needs to do something to spend more taxpayer monies on . . . er . . . help the planet. Enter the "Cash for Clunkers" program.

The idea is to get older, inefficient cars off the road. That way, we can be "saving the planet" while we're driving in air-conditioned comfort. To this end, if you trade in your clunker you'll get money from the government when you buy a Brand New Car!

Never mind that most people will be getting loans to buy this new car, which means they are repeating the same behavior that got us into this mess in the first place. Never mind that financially speaking a new car is just about the worst thing you can spend your money on. Never mind that even driving a Prius you'll have to drive 10 years before the reduced amount of gas you use makes up for the cost of the car. No, you need to foolishly spend your money so that we can save our planet for future generations. Because global warming is bad.

On the plus side, does that mean I might be able to buy an inexpensive 4x4 crew cab Ford?

14 June 2009

A Baby Boomer Speaks

By pure chance I learned of a commencement speech given by our governor, Mitch Daniels. The full text is here. But I wanted to excerpt a couple things.

Discussing how the "Baby Boomer" Generation pretty much messed up, he says

'As a group, we have been self-centered, self-absorbed, self-indulgent, and all too often just plain selfish. Our current Baby Boomer President has written two eloquent, erudite books, both about..himself.
"In sum, our parents scrimped and saved to provide us a better living standard than theirs; we borrowed and splurged and will leave you a staggering pile of bills to pay. It's been a blast; good luck cleaning up after us."

True enough. He goes on to say that the graduating students should live for fulfillment, not just for material gain.

It reminds me of a quote by Zig Ziglar: "You can have everything you ever want if you just help others get what they want."

In my mind, that's the trick about living as a Conservative. By helping others, whether through charity or through business, I become better, wealthier, happier. Many on the other side of the political spectrum think we conservatives are greedy. I always point out that we are not the ones demanding someone else pay for our health care or our retirement. The other side says we're "mean" when we point out that single-motherhood is not a good way to raise a child. I would say we're pointing out the obvious. They say we're not realistic when we suggest abstinence is the best method of ensuring you don't have a child before you're ready. I would say that it's common sense. Just like the best way to not get a DUI is to not drink.

As the debts of today will be paid tomorrow by our children, it's necessary to note that our children could have been the wealthiest generation. Instead, they will be more enslaved than we are. Thanks, Baby Boomers. Your greed and stupidity has likely begun the collapse of the greatest civilization the world has ever seen.

08 June 2009

Pause for a Second and Breathe Deeply

Finally, after about 2 months of work, our old house is on the market.

I went against one of my rules of finance: Don't buy a house until the one you're in sells. Don't end up with two mortgage payments.

There was just one problem with this advice: We have 6 pets. There's no frakking way we could have put those pets into a kennel for the period of time we would need to sell the house. And, all the updates we did were much easier without trying to still live in the house.

New paint everywhere. New carpet and vinyl. New sink in the bathroom.

These were pretty major updates, and moving furniture from room to room as the carpet installers laid down their product wasn't the way I wanted to spend my month.

But now, we're done. The house is up, pictures are on the web, and it's time to take a deep breath.

Okay, now that that's done, it's time to finally put the new house together. Get the garage organized. Make sure all our mail is forwarding correctly. Mail in those Menards rebates I have sitting around. Put my paint station back together. Get the fishing stuff ready for the summer. Take care of those pesky ants that keep finding their way inside our house. Make sure my lawnmower is tuned up. . . .

Soon, I'll post pictures of my new and old paint stations. And maybe I'll even start painting once again!

06 June 2009

Obama's Recovery Plan is Still A Failure.

I wrote a bit about this earlier (here).

Well, the numbers for May are out . . . .

Notice anything . . . anything at all? Like, May's data point. For those of you with willful blinders, that data point provides even more proof that we flushed a few trillion dollars down the toilet.

Don't bother trying to get this information from the Main-Stream Media though. They're too busy saying "Things got worse less than we expected, so we're going to be happy! All praise Obama!" Don't believe me? Here ya go . . . .

Very bad things are on the horizon. The higher gas prices we've seen recently are an indication. Supplies are high, demand is low . . . so that should mean decreasing prices. The very fact that we're pushing $3/gallon means the market knows something we don't. Like the knowledge that all that stimulus money we're printing and spending has no value behind it, so inflation is going to hammer us like a Mack Truck. And government's attempt to control the economy (banks, car manufacturers, and health care are all poised to be nationalized).

But I'm sure the Great Obamaman can save us! Thanks for that, btw, Fred.

h/t Innocent Bystanders

04 June 2009

The Human Spirit Strives for Freedom

Tiananmen Square, 1989.

Where unarmed civilians were gunned down by their oppressive government.

And yet people still risk their lives for liberty.