Sunday, December 19, 2010

Our Boys in Blue

I am not the type of person to glorify police officers, or the work that they do. I’m tired of hearing how they put their lives on the line every day for us, to keep us safe. I don’t believe that to be the case. I work in construction, which is a far more hazardous occupation than law enforcement. Do people glorify construction workers, saying that they “put their lives on the line every day” to provide us with shelter? The way I see it, we all work hard in order to keep police officers in a job, often times in careers far more hazardous than law enforcement could ever be, and they work for us. Far too often, this lionization of any person in uniform leads them to believe that they are a cut above the rest, and that they are our superiors. I’ve known a lot of good cops in my time, but I’ve known a lot of bad ones, too. However, the biggest problem with law enforcement today is that they’ve forgotten their mission. It is not “enforcement of the law at all costs” like they seem to believe. It is to serve and protect the citizenry of their jurisdiction, even the criminals. I’m not even talking about policemen anymore, I’m talking about the overall codes and policies driving them. Things like:

1.) Increased paramilitary-style raids on homes when no threat is apparent, using explosives and automatic weapons;
2.) Increased use of “CI’s” that are unreliable and often times have a vested self-interest in providing information, even if it is false, then using this information as valid probable cause (which it is not) for no-knock paramilitary raids on homes that are often times randomly selected by these CIs;
3.) The policy of shooting any dog that presents itself as aggressive during no-knock raids. My dogs would definitely be aggressive if someone kicked in my front door, how about yours?
4.) The fact that these no-knock raids result in the deaths of many innocent people (and beloved canine companions) each year, all in the spirit of protecting the police officers from harm and in disallowing the destruction of evidence via shock and awe.
5.) The fact that police officer’s lives are seen as more valuable than the lives of any civilian, when the opposite should be true, if the vow to “serve and protect” means anything. Proof of this is the use of these “no-knock” raids, and the fact that if a person shoots or assaults a cop, they get more time in prison than if they shoot or assault a civilian.
6.) The fact that the Supreme Court has ruled that the police have no duty whatsoever to protect you from crime; rather, their only function is to punish those guilty of the crime.
7.) The fact that if a black-clad ninja with automatic weapons ever enters my house and yells “POLICE” I’m supposed to believe him unquestioningly and not attempt to defend my family from the possibility that criminals know how to shout “POLICE” too. They are known to lie, after all. If, on the other hand, the police were to, I don’t know, knock first like human beings, identify themselves and provide identification and then enter… …well, I think I’d be convinced by then.

If a police officer truly believes in the calling of his job, then his life would not be more important than the lives of those he has vowed to serve and protect. Men would not be getting shot 15 times because they had a hose nozzle in their hand and the cops figured “better safe than sorry.” Little girls wouldn’t be getting killed because of high-risk paramilitary raids on the wrong house. I could go on for days if I started listing all of the beloved family pets killed during raids on the wrong address. Don’t accuse me of arm-chair quarterbacking. If you aren’t willing to risk your life to make sure that the innocent civilian has a sprinkler in his hand instead of a gun, then you shouldn’t be a cop. If you aren’t willing to enter a house without kicking in the door, using bombs, shock tactics, and automatic weapons, then you shouldn’t be a cop. I’m willing to let the odd drug dealer get away with it because he had time to flush his stash by the time the knock-and-identify raid got to the point of forced entry – I would much rather live with that than the death of even one more 7 year old girl.

How about you?

Facists Just Can't Quit

Goddamned busybody people. Look, if you don’t want your kid to have a Happy-Meal, then don’t buy him one. How f-ing hard is that? I think that this entire push towards stopping marketing to kids is because parents are sick of their kids bugging and begging for things they saw on TV, and can’t say no. If you are a shitty parent, don’t come crying to me, and don’t go around trying to prevent a private enterprise from doing something that is completely legal and entirely ethical (unless it is marketing to kids, period, that bothers you. Are you going after Mattel next?) just because you don’t like it. When are you going to learn that just because you don’t like something does not give you the right to say it can’t be done?

And they call us “cons” the fascists, when they would love nothing more than to give the government a say in everything that every business does. I can’t think of a more clear definition of a fascist at the moment – can you?

Recipe - Pheasant Leg Soup

This is really the only way I’ve ever eaten pheasant legs and liked them. They are too stringy otherwise. This is a recipe of my own making that I made last night and it was the bomb…


6 pheasant legs (bone-in) and the ribs and breast bones left over from filleting 3 breasts. Fill a 5-quart stock pot almost full of water and throw the legs and breast bones in. Boil for 2 hours. Take bones/meat out, and pull meat off bones (pick it off into small pieces like shredded beef). Remove tendons in legs (kind of like fish bones). I usually like to do this the day before so I can let the stock sit overnight to cool (in a refrigerator, of course) and then spoon off the coagulated fat on the surface to reduce the fat in the recipe, but this isn’t necessary. The stock will be very clear and watery, but that’s okay, it will broth up really nicely in the next step…


One half of a fist-sized onion
3 sticks of celery (I like to remove the strings, too)
2-3 big carrots
3-4 green onions
A half a head of cabbage
6 cloves of garlic


2 tbsp salt (I actually just salt to taste as I’m cooking, but estimate that this is how much I add to get the taste right)
1/8 to ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (you can always add more, but can’t take it out!!!)
1.5 tbsp crushed rosemary
1 tbsp marjoram
½ tbsp basil
A couple pinches of thyme
½ tbsp hot sauce of your choice (again, go easy, you can always add more)
A bag of egg noodles (15 ounce, iirc)

Then –

Bring your stock to a boil. Add the salt, pepper, rosemary, marjoram, basil, thyme, and hot sauce. Then, dump in onion, celery, carrots, green onions, and garlic. Do not add the cabbage yet. Add your meat if you haven’t already, and boil/simmer the whole mess for an hour (and a half?) until the carrots are tender. You can literally just walk away, it doesn’t need to be stirred or anything. Add salt if necessary to taste. Then, dump in the egg noodles and boil them until they are done (maybe 12 to 15 minutes?). Take the whole mess off of the heat, then add the cabbage, put the lid back on the pot, and call the family up for dinner. By the time they get there, the cabbage will have cooked.

I know these long cooking times are intimidating, but remember, the stock can be made days in advance (that takes the longest) and the soup, itself, more or less cooks itself once you bring it all to a boil, because you can walk away – it won’t burn or scorch or nothing.

Reading a River - Part 1

As I learn to navigate the shallow, rocky, and swift water in the Snake River Canyon (the deepest rivers gorge in North America, by the way. Suck it, Grand Canyon!) I learn more and more about reading shallow moving water.

Quick history – I’ve been on the Columbia and Snake Rivers my entire life, skiing, fishing, and just generally enjoying them. I’ve run boats in sizes ranging from 6 foot paddle boats up to a 53 foot, twin-screw monster, all on inland waters of the Columbia and Snake River system. I’ve locked through dams, run shallow canals to the Chain Lakes off the Coeur d’Alene River through which most people wouldn’t dream of taking a power boat, and pretty much run boats non-stop since I was old enough to sit in Dad’s lap and steer. I think that I am a damned good boat operator.

One thing I’ve never really done, though, up until this Spring, is run in fast-moving shallow water. I’ve run moving water on the Hanford Reach and below dams, including Lower Granite and Bonneville, but it was deep. I’ve run shallow water all over the place, but it was typically pretty still. I can read a lake or river pretty well given the topography around it (steep shorelines typically mean deep water off shore, flat shorelines mean shallow water. Rocky shorelines mean rocky bottom, and so forth) but I’ve never run water that you have to actually read the water itself to see what is going on beneath. It is a trip.

The first thing that I learned about a river is that it will speak to you in three ways:

1.) In Vees. You can see vee-shaped formations in the current. Vees pointing downstream mean that the water at the center of the vee is moving faster than the water at the edges, because of obstructions at the edges. This means that a downstream vee shows you the location of the deeper channel, and is typically a safe zone that you want to aim for (typically, but not always). Vees pointing upstream are always created by obstructions. There is a rock or stump or something under there. Avoid upstream vees at all costs.

2.) In hydraulics. Hydraulics are often times mis-read as rocks or obstructions. The way to tell the difference is that a hydraulic is not constant. It will “flicker” in and out, and possibly even move around a bit. Rocks, on the other hand, are solid, steady, and never move. Hydraulics are caused by water flow, as it moves quickly around the odd shapes of the river bed, and even sometimes, obstructions. Usually, the obstructions creating the hydraulics are deep enough that you won’t hit them if you skate over the top, but be careful. Hydraulics are there for a reason, and they are trying to tell you something. They can be very hard to interpret.

3.) In the surrounding topography. I discussed this above, but I failed to mention that the overall shape of the river also means something here. The outside of a river bend is deepest (usually) whereas the inside of a river bend can be very shallow as the slower water there deposits silt, and the faster water outside digs it out.

I’m not claiming that you will be able to go run a river with these three things in mind. Don’t do it. I’ve been doing it since this spring, as often as possible, and I still don’t think I am very good at it.

That being said, there are some things about vees that I want to elaborate on.

1.) A downstream vee is often the “safest” route through a rapid as it relates to missing obstructions, but can be the swiftest, most turbulent, roughest part of the river. Sometimes you can read the vee and hang to the edge of the channel where the water is moving more slowly and is not as rough and get a smoother, more fuel-efficient trip through the rapid. Remember, though, that the reason that the water is moving more slowly on the edge is because of friction – caused by either obstructions in the water, or by the bottom itself, meaning that the water is shallower there than in the channel.

2.) A rapid that is hard to read can often be made easier by “connecting the dots” between obvious upstream vees. Remember, all you have to do is not hit the rock. It doesn’t matter how close you get to it if you don’t hit it, and if it has a clear upstream vee, whereas other areas in the rapid are not so clear, go to where you know for sure where the obstruction is and squeak through there, rather than risking an unclear section of river.

3.) The rock causing an upstream vee is normally upstream of the vee, itself, by quite a ways. Look for clear humps in the river in front of the vee, and there is your rock. You can often times motor directly over the vee, itself, without hitting a rock, but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you can clearly see the rock.

Navigating the Snake River - Hell's Canyon Addition‏

In my ever-broadening quest to enhance my outdoor experience, I recently (this spring) bought an aluminum jet boat. I decided to do this for a couple of reasons.

First, my wife got very tired of me using our ski boat for hunting and fishing. It worked fine for most hunting and fishing that I wanted to do, but I was always worried. The carpets in the ski boat were prone to mud, blood, and dog hairs – all of which were brought on board during a good waterfowl hunt or on a hunt to one of the many really good pheasant hunting locations on the Snake River that are only accessible via boat. Also, fish scales, slime, and blood were degrading the carpets and upholstery, no matter how careful I was. Also, no matter how careful, I almost always inadvertently left behind a hook or two, which really suck to find with bare feet the next summer. Finally, the fiberglass hull was taking a beating from being beached on the rocky shores of my hunting sites. All of this added up to the decision that I needed to get another boat for hunting and fishing, and leave the ski boat for skiing.

Second, I decided after a few trips up Hell’s Canyon on friend’s boats that I totally wanted in on that action, because it is truly the most beautiful place I’ve ever been, and without a doubt is the most awesome boating experience I’ve ever taken part in. To navigate the often shallow, rapid, treacherous waters and class 4 rapids, you need a jet boat – a prop wouldn’t last past the first day of beating off rocks and the bottom.

My wife, God love her, insisted that I get a fishing boat. A nice, big, safe one with high sides and plenty of horsepower, too, so it was safe for me and our eventual family. Yes, you totally read that right. My wife insisted that I get a fishing boat. I love that woman so much.

The only problem was money. A good Hell’s Canyon jet boat is expensive. Brand-spanking new, you are talking in the 60K to 100K range. No kidding. They are also fuel hogs. One day of fishing up Hell’s Canyon can cost 300 to 400 bucks in fuel. Even an old, used, early 90’s jet boat is still in the 20K range. So, I searched for alternatives.

I found my alternative in what is called a “sport jet.” This is a boat powered by an outboard power head, that is mounted inboard and attached to a jet pump. They are smaller, cheaper, and way more fuel efficient than the big automotive V8 powered jets, and can still accomplish everything that I need it to do (for now).

Hell’s Canyon is something like 150 river miles. The rapids start even before you enter the canyon, just south of Clarkston and Asotin. However, none of the rapids are big enough (for most of the year, anyway) to really justify the big, 20 plus foot, 450 horsepower jet boats that people use down there, until the last 30 to 50 miles or so before the dam, where all the big class 4 rapids are. I do not think that I would attempt to take my small 18 foot, 200 horsepower sport jet up waterspout, Bernard Creek, Granite Creek, or Wildsheep rapids. Could it do it? Probably, under the right conditions and water flows, but I don’t think I will ever want to, for a couple of reasons.

1.) There isn’t any better fishing above these rapids than there is below. In fact, the further upstream you go, the less fish will be in the river, as you lose a certain amount of fish at every tributary you pass.

2.) The amount of time it takes to get to these rapids from the bottom end of the canyon is prohibitive. You are talking a trip of about 100 river miles to get there. Cost of fuel, and time on the river, this doesn’t make sense, especially since I’d be motoring right past the best fishing water to get there, meaning that the only reason to go would be to run the rapids.

3.) Learning to run these big rapids is a process that takes time and effort. I plan to spend my time and effort learning to run the lower rapids, and can’t really figure out how learning to run the upper rapids would really benefit me at all.

4.) it is dangerous as hell. Watch this video of a boat running Granite Creek Rapids. See how he goes right up against the far shore, literally so close that people in the boat could touch the rock wall? That is because that is literally the only way through there. There are boulders everywhere in that rapid. Testament to that is the way he came back down. Notice how he flipped around in the rapid, motored out away from the far shore, and then flipped back downstream to run it out? That is because downstream of the only channel in the rapid deep enough to allow a power boat to pass, there is another rock that you have to maneuver around, against the river’s current. Granite Creek is the one spot on the river where everyone, even the drunkest, stupidest people around, stop to put on life jackets before tackling it. If you go through these rapids, you have to be ready to lose your boat. Period. If you touch a rock, even light enough to do no damage to your boat, the current will overtop the gunnels instantly, and roll the boat out from under you.

So, I plan to spend my time in the lower rapids, some of which are still class III, which is still pretty gnarly. Next time I go up, which will be next week, I’ll take a video camera and try to post some videos. I expect I’ll see bighorn sheep, elk, mule deer, and a bunch of other stuff like turkeys and pheasants and eagles. I also plan on catching fish, but that is just a bonus.

To date, I’ve run my boat from Clarkston all the way to Cache Creek, which is considered the entry point to Hell’s Canyon (you need a permit to go past that point and into the scenic portion of the river). Even getting there, you have to negotiate a bunch of shallow rapids, some are class III at high flows, and even at low flow have standing pressure waves of 6 feet or better. I went up in mid-november with a guy that knows the river, and he took me up past Imnaha all the way to Dug bar, and I think I’m good to try that on my next trip. Wish me luck.

I'm Excited...

What am I excited about, you might ask? Well, lots of things. My wife is going to have our first child in February (a little girl); I have a cow-elk tag in an area where I’ve actually located elk and just need to go and shoot one; steelhead fishing on the Snake River in Hell’s Canyon is still going strong; I have a saltwater trip booked for a full week this summer at the northern tip of Vancouver Island in a little place called Port Hardy; my parent’s house is almost finished (they are supposed to get occupancy today) which means they are moving out of my house soon (yaaeey!); my dog, Dutchess, found more birds than all the other dogs combined during our last hunting trip (last weekend) and got a lot of compliments (I trained her myself, so there is a real point-of-pride there).

Jeez, where to start…

Good One Picked Up From the Comments of Previous Post Over at Coyote's

As far as the original topic – I think that Progressives (and a lot of people) are enamored with Theory over the the messy real world. They will say “Real Communism hasn’t been tried yet!” In much the same way the CAGW crowd loves their models over the messy and inconvenient real data. Theory is clean and neat and tidy and explains everything. Reality is sloppy, full of “gotchas,” and frequently doesn’t agree with theory.
Being able to keep the fruits of one’s labor may not be the only motivator, but it’s a very big one. It may not be the perfect situation, but to heavily paraphrase Mr. Twain, “Capitalism is the worst economic system ever devised, with the exception of everything else.”

Most Awesome Thing Evar!

Go. Read. Now.


Redistribution of wealth is theft. It is stealing money at the point of a gun from the person who earned it, in order to give it to someone who did not. The world over, there are people who work hard for what they have, and people who work less hard who envy the success of the harder workers.

Show me poverty, and I will show you that in most cases, the responsibility for that poverty lies squarely on the shoulders of the impoverished – that is, in some way or another, consciously or unconsciously, they’ve made a decision in their lives to live impoverished (flame suit on).

If someone makes the decision to live in poverty, why should we bemoan and lament it as if it is society’s fault? If I decide to quit my job tomorrow, start abusing drugs, lose my house, and begin to live in a dumpster behind the Red Robin downtown, why should anyone else be responsible for my decision, either to pay for it or to share in the blame? And don’t give me the “people get laid off all the time” schtick, either, we have unemployment insurance for a reason.

Everyone needs to earn their keep, or else they are nothing more than a thief from those that do. The “down-trodden” need to earn their keep, too, so why shouldn’t they?

Progressives claim that it isn’t so cut and dry. They think that there is an oppressor class that is keeping the down-trodden, well, down-trodden. They claim that the rich earned their money off of the backs of the down-trodden, and that this isn’t fair; but is this really true?

We’ve all be taken in our lives – duped. We didn’t expect anyone to repay us for our losses after we got hornswoggled. If some person was dumb enough to work so hard, develop so many ideas, and produce so much that they literally made another person rich, but didn’t get their well-deserved share of the results, then they got duped. Why should that be society’s responsibility to repay them for their naivety? They need to learn from their mistake, pick themselves back up, and move on. If they made another guy rich once, they can surely do it again and make themselves rich next time, right?

But I think what progressives are really talking about isn’t the one guy who made another rich guy rich; they are talking about the large group of guys, his employees, that made him rich, but this, again, is a fallacy. Take an automobile factory, as an example. The guy that invested (read, risked) massive amounts of his own money to create an automobile brand, factory, and the tooling and payroll necessary for this concept, makes a ton of money off of “the backs” of the people that work for him, who comparatively make quite a bit less money, according to the progressive ideology. Progressives see this as unjust. However, what they are saying is that the guy who installs window-cranks on the passenger side door of the cars should get an even share of the millions made by selling the car, but why? He isn’t risking his life savings, his reputation, and the possibility of total finiancial ruin to make the car. He stands next to the assembly line and installs window cranks all day. He is easily replaced by countless other people who could do the same job. His contribution to the total value of the business is, at best, the cost of the total value of installing the passenger side window crank on the car. My guess is that on average, his pay is very close to the value that he adds to the assembly process. It has to be, or else the plant would fail.

He isn’t getting duped. The owner isn’t getting rich off of his back – he is getting paid a fair wage that is calculated in part by analyzing the added value that his labor contributes to the total value of each car. He is also getting paid based upon the uniqueness of his knowledge and skill set – ie, how hard he would be to replace if he were to leave the company. Engineers with proprietary information in their heads get paid a lot more because they produce more value for the company, and are more indespenisble.

Progressives see it as unjust that the window-crank installer isn’t making an equal share to the plant owner, and yet, if the plant owner’s share is equal to that of the window crank installer, then why would he become the plant owner in the first place? Why risk everything he has to open a new plant, when he could just get a job as a window-crank installer at another car plant and get the same return? Suddenly, all of the jobs created by the guy willing to take the risk never get made, and no one, even the window-crank installer, has a job at all.

Alternatively, why don’t progressives see what is going on here as being the truth? A guy is getting paid based upon (more or less) the value of his day’s production, in a job that wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the risks that were taken by the guy that owns the plant?

Politically Correct Logical Fallacy Alert!

I read this article today. It is about the prevalence of TB in the UK today, which is obviously a symptom of the massive immigration from the middle east that has occurred there, recently. TB is quite a bit more common in the middle east than it is in most western countries.

The politically correct mumbo-jumbo starts right about here:

Most tuberculosis cases in Britain are in people born overseas, although not in recent arrivals. About 85 percent of people with tuberculosis have been in Britain for at least two years, meaning the disease is not being imported, but circulating locally.

It only takes one guy bringing it in, getting through health screening, to make it “imported”- but it doesn't matter whether the disease was "imported" or if it was a native - the fact is that it is circulating in immigrant areas, due to the predilection of immigrants to group together in micro-societies within their host country. This means that that community is hit hardest when one person from that same community brings it into the country, or even catches it from a "native" source. This is important. I will grant that the rise is a locally circulating problem, and is not, on a wide scale, an imported problem in the sense that a bunch of infected people are getting through immigration health screening, but here is where we really go off the rails:

"The rise in tuberculosis cases has nothing to do with migration and immigrants," said Alimuddin Zumla of University College London, author of the commentary.

Yes, it does. It has everything to do with immigrants, because it is the immigrant community that is being hit the hardest, by your own admission. This problem is an imported problem, whether or not the disease, itself, came from the UK or Timbuktu, because it is infecting "imported" people. It is hanging out in immigrant communities because the immigrants live together and spread it amongst themselves. The more you deny that, the more you will focus on solving the problem by working on the wrong solutions, and the more these poor people will suffer.

Political correctness, and the effort to not offend the immigrants, is making that which is truly an immigrant problem into something else; making an easy to solve problem (better screening of immigrants, and health services concentrating on screening and treating immigrant populations) much harder to solve (the inability to focus on the root cohort that the problem is effecting because of political correctness). This is unspeakably evil, in my opinion, because people will likely die due to a response that will be hobbled by the effort to keep from offending anyone - but at least they will die without being offended.

God damn political correctness, hyper-sensitivity, and all this murdering of people with kindness

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

They Aren't Superheroes... Hell, They Aren't Even Above Average

It has long been a staple of conservative thought that Governmental organizations mess up everything that they touch, and so are better off touching as little as possible. Many of us do not understand why this is other than to assume that the people in government are stupid or dull or misled or… or… or…

Sometimes, we are right. Sometimes, we are wrong.

Sometimes, the motive is evil, unadulterated thirst for power. Sometimes, the result is merely an unfortunate result of unitended consequences (a necessary result of any governmental action, explained quite eloquently here by the esteemed and brilliant Francis Porretto. Go. Read.)

The law of unintended consequences is unswervable and all-encompassing for government-related ukases and determinations. I think we all can see this happening daily – pass healthcare that costs more, and stocks go down after the companies effected take the write-down as they are required by law; pass a law in California banning the sale of large-screen TVs, and a new business plan is hatched in Nevada where huge electronics stores are erected on the border between the two states selling – yup, you guessed it – large screen TVs; or, take a more recent example, which hit me much more closely to home here recently.

In the spirit of protecting our environment and our river from pollutants, our county representatives banned the sale of phosphate-containing dish soaps and detergents in our county. Not wanting to start jailing people for the possession of phosphate-containing soaps, they didn’t write the law to ban possession, importation, or even USE of these soaps – no, you just can’t sell them in our county.

My first reaction was “so what?” How important can phosphates really be in cleaning dishes, and if it helps the river to be more healthy, that is great! Apparently, to answer my first question, they are very important. My dishes were coming out of the dishwasher with a sickening film of yuck all over them due to the new, phosphate free soap (of which there was only one option for the first year of the law).

So, what does every citizen who cares about clean dishes in Spokane County now do? Drive 10 minutes across the border into Idaho and Kootenai County to buy stocks of dish soap and “smuggle” it back across the border. The government rule has accomplished nothing but the unintended consequence of driving the tax revenue for dish soap sales not only into an adjacent county, but into a completely different state! The rule, itself, would likely have accomplished very little, as the river in question flows through several counties in Montana, Idaho, and Washington, all of which still allow phosphate soaps to be used. Taking one county out of the equation was never going to accomplish much, anyway.

Now, we have a black market in phosphate soaps in Spokane County - black markets being the biggest unintended consequence of all. I think it was Winston Churchill who opined that a black market is the inevitable result of a governmental decision to ban a wanted or needed product.

So, I guess my point, along with the point of Churchill and Mr. Porretto is this: governmental employees, electees, and designees are not any brighter than your typical, average, everyday American. Do not give them any more control over you, your decisions, and your life than you would willingly give to your beer-swilling, engine-revving-at-all-hours-of-the-night neighbor.

(Post-script – The technology, quality, and results of the phosphate free soap has greatly improved since retailers here have started importing European brands for use here after three or so years of using the only locally-produced brand available (that sucked serious kiester). Europe has been phosphate-free for a decade or more, so their soap people have had more time to get it right, and so we can now buy soaps that clean dishes acceptably well, although they still fog a clear glass after a couple of months from etching, and are not quite as good at cleaning as the old soaps are. As a result, my household has started buying phosphate free soap again and we are using it despite the disadvantages, since it really does help the river to get rid of all of those phosphates.)

Full view||Back to messagesMmmmmmm... Government Run Healthcarey Goodness....,2933,594124,00.html

Ever notice how these stories all seem to be coming out of Canada and the UK?

Wherein I Fix The Healthcare System - No Need to Thank Me

I got to thinking about Healthcare reform the other day, and realized something about our overall discussion. Specifically, we all posted some solutions to the healthcare problem quite some time ago, but recently have been more focused on saying “no” to what is being passed than offering up any ideas as to what else could be done – and rest assured, ladies and gentlemen, SOMETHING needs to be done. Here is what I’ve got.

Health insurance used to be quite affordable, and healthcare was once also quite inexpensive. It was the 1970’s or so when the cost started to go up, but they really went up in earnest around the 80’s, and since then, we’ve been paying increasing costs for our healthcare, while wages haven’t gone up a commensurate amount to cover these costs. Here are some of my ideas to fix the problem.

1.) De-couple healthcare insurance from employment. The reason that healthcare is coupled to employment rests on the shoulders of a democratic congress post-WWII. They put price controls on employment, meaning that for any one job, a person could only be paid X amount in actual monetary wages. Thus, the birth of “fringe benefits” in the form of non-monetary compensation packages. Businesses could no longer compete with each other in obtaining the best-qualified people for the job on wages – they were mandated to all pay the same – and so they competed by tacking on additional compensation in the form of insurances and so forth. Thus, the birth of healthcare insurance being provided by the employer. This will help in a couple of ways. First, a person between jobs or unemployed will not lose health insurance with their job. The insurance stays with them. Second, it will help people to realize what the true cost of health insurance really is, which leads to my next points.

2.) The vast majority of costs for health insurance companies comes from routine care. To me, having insurance to cover your yearly checkup and your glasses prescription is akin to having your auto insurance company pay for gasoline and tires for your car – believe me, you aren’t going to get those tires and gasoline for a lower price that way! Checkups and the like are routine maintenance items to staying healthy, they are not unexpected expenses, which is what insurance is actually intended to hedge against – the catastrophic implications of unexpected, massive healthcare expenses. The cost of health insurance is greatly reduced when you do not expect the insurance company to pay for your gasoline and tires (oops, I mean, routine checkups). This brings me to my next point, because if people are going to start paying for checkups and such on their own…

3.) …they need to know what they are paying up front so they can shop around and make sure that they are getting the best deal. I can’t think of another single service in America where people have no idea what some service will cost until the bill shows up. Can you? These companies need to, for lack of a better way of putting it, have “menus” of services with prices for those services clearly posted, and provide quotations to people for these services when requested. This will bring competition back to the healthcare industry (as this confusing process of billing has virtually eliminated it). For instance, I had an MRI a few years back for my back problems. Prior to having had it, I had no concept of what it was going to cost, and what is more, not a single person could tell me what it was going to cost. All they could do was assure me that “my insurance would cover it” and proceed. The MRI cost something like (if memory serves) $5,000, of which I was responsible for a $750 deductible. I found out that there is a company in town that provides MRI services to the lower lumbar region for $1,200 a pop. If I had been allowed to shop around, I could have reduced the cost of my MRI by almost 4/5. That being said, THE ONLY REASON THAT THE FIRST COMPANY COULD CHARGE THOSE INSANE RATES IS BECAUSE NO ONE KNOWS WHAT THEY WILL CHARGE UNTIL THE SERVICE IS RENDERED. People do this all the time. They shop around and buy the cheapest available, and my guess is that services would spring up that would shop around FOR YOU for a nominal fee, assuming that this was enacted.

4.) Medical malpractice lawsuits have driven the cost of liability insurance to astounding rates. I spoke with my rheumatologist the other day, and found that his expenses for rent, bills, and staff were approximately 85% of his cost for insurance per year. That means that his insurance costs are 115% of his operating costs every year!!! This is driven, according to industry experts, by the massive reward amounts being given for punitive damages in malpractice lawsuits. Here is the thing – punitive damages don’t work, because they punish the wrong guy! They insurance company pays, not the doctor who cut off the wrong leg! That being said, there should be NO CAP on actual damages, including pain and suffering, loss of consortium, loss of wages, medical expenses, future living expenses, etc. Punitive damages, however, should not just be capped – they should be abolished altogether.

5.) Democratic congresses, under influence from insurance lobbyists, passed a bill making it illegal to sell health insurance across state lines, creating monopolies in many states, and oligopolies in the remainder. Washington state, for instance, is served by two – count ‘em – two, insurance companies. This stifles competition in the industry, which allows prices to be inflated massively. This must be repealed, as it benefits only the health insurance companies.

That being said, here is my proposal for what should be done with the health care problem…

1.) De-couple health insurance from employment. I do not believe that this will reduce costs, but it will make insurance more portable and ensure that people do not lose insurance just because they lost their job.
2.) Provide insurance policies that are just that – INSURANCE against huge, unexpected losses. Routine and preventative care should not be an insured against item, as it undermines the entire idea of insurance. This would reduce costs of an insurance policy by 75% (taken from the difference between “catastrophic care” policies and “Cadillac” policies).
3.) Make healthcare providers compete against each other by mandating that they post prices – just like everyone else. This one is hard to decide how much it will reduce costs, but with one guy in town charging $5K for something another guy charges $1.2K for, I think that you will find that a 25% reduction in prices overall will not be unheard of, and possibly even as much as a 50% reduction is possible.
4.) Eliminate punitive damages in malpractive lawsuits. This will reduce the cost of doing business for healthcare providers by an average of 25%, which will reduce healthcare costs (assuming perfect competition – which is safe to assume given item 3) by exactly that much.

In total, this will reduce costs of health insurance by 75%, and of healthcare by as much as 50 to 75%. That being said, a family currently paying 12K per year on health insurance will only be paying $3k per year for the same amount of services.

Now, here is where I start losing my heartless conservative cred. Since costs will be reduced so much, the average family can now afford to pay a tax on services rendered, and on their insurance policies. I don’t know how much it would need to be, but I can’t imagine that it would be so much that it would put them back up to what they were paying before this plan is enacted. Say, it doubles their cost to $6K. They still save $6K over previous years.

Use this revenue to provide free routine care clinics to those who qualify for them, so that every person in America has access to routine care. Put in a graduated system that gives the worst off folks free routine care, with a graduated system of pay percentages going up from there, so that as many people as possible have at least some “skin in the game” to prevent abuse of the system. That covers routine care.

Then, have a taxpayer-paid catastrophic care insurance policy, either through a private company or through a government setup (although I would prefer competitive bid contracts through private companies) to cover the catastrophic care of people who can’t afford it, with the same “graduated system” in place here. That covers bigger, catastrophic care.

Any comments?

Border Incursions Are Nothing New

In 1916, the United States of America was invaded by an ultra-violent Mexican killer and his crew bent on murder and savagery for their own benefit. The townspeople of Columbus would never be the same. We sent Black Jack Pershing after Pancho Villa, even invading Mexico in order to track him down. WWI distracted us from actually catching the bastard, but we followed him nearly to the border of Guatemala, and afterwards, he never messed with us again. My, how things change in 90 years.

In 2006, an area of the United States was invaded by Mexican criminals again. 3,500 acres, to be exact. And what was our response? Invading Mexico in order to chase down the criminal? A military blockade of the border in the area? Construction of an impassable fence with motion detection and automated fully-automatic phalanx guns on rotating turrets with interlocking fire?

Nope. We just recommended that American citizens stop going there to make sure no one gets hurt, and let the criminals have the land. Whether you want to admit it or not, we are now an occupied nation. Like a bit of poop in your drinking water, even a tiny bit is enough to consider the whole mess contaminated. Well, we’ve ceded 3,500 acres of American soils to criminals because…

…well, I’m not sure why. It wouldn’t be even a little difficult to fix the problem. Even a quick pretend distribution of land mines in the area with signs warning that they are there would stop the problem. I’ll bet that wouldn’t cost $50,000. What the hell is going on?

The Medicalization of Everything

There has been a tendency to medicalize personality traits recently, and to medicate away the differences in people in order to achieve some sort of personality conformity, which I fear will ultimately have deleterious effects on our society, as a whole.

ADD and ADHD are perfect examples. Yes, these disorders absolutely exist. However, there is a tendency to use these disorders as a crutch and an excuse for poor parenting (flame suit on). Kids that really aren’t ADD or ADHD come through my mom’s classroom all the time. They are otherwise bright kids, who have simply never been taught to listen, to sit still, to sit up straight, and to do the right thing, by parents who either found such endeavors too time consuming, or who listened to the Dr. Spock pseudo-intelectual bullcrap about stifling their creativity by enforcing rules and boundaries to their behavior. I think some of what we call mild autism spectrum disorder today may be a partial result of this very thing.

What I fear in all of this is the medication portion of the “fix” to these personality traits. Many of our most brilliant minds were almost undoubtedly autistic, or obsessive compulsive, or ADHD, or some combination thereof.

Newton, for example, shunned personal contact, had very little social interaction, didn’t rountinely bathe, and was generally thought to be an asshole by most people that knew him. He was almost undoubtedly autistic, and he used the single-mindedness of his condition to advance science in a way that a person distracted by social interaction, partying, trying to get laid, and so forth, would not have found time to do.

Gallileo blinded himself from his obsessive compulsive need to study things, like the sun, for instance, which he stared into for so long that it robbed him of his eyesight. Can you say obsessive compulsive disorder?

Leonardo DaVinci spent his entire life dreaming up mind-boggling inventions, and painstakingly writing them down in his journals, even inventing his own way of writing to keep his “secrets” safe from other, prying eyes, lending to my observation that there may have been some OCD in there with a touch of paranoia.

Michelangelo was one of the smelliest people to ever walk on two feet, and for that to be of note in an era where bathing was seen as optional, we can only assume that it was pretty bad. Again, poor social skills, but massive talent.

Do I even have to explain why I think Nikolai Tesla was OCD, and probably autistic?

So my question is this: How many Michelangelos, Gallileos, Teslas, and Newtons are we currently drugging into drab, routine conformance with our medicalization of personality traits what used to be known by words such as “eccentric” and “introverted”, but are now called personality disorders and autism? What brilliant minds are we missing out on because of drugs like Ritalin and thorazine? What scientific advances are being lost to humanity because we want them to be like everyone else, instead of celebrating, and capitalizing on, their differences?

Another Old Writing - 2nd Amendment Incorporation Decision

Awww, poor wittle pissy-pants leftists lost.

I love the current gasping and hand-wringing going on in the leftist media about the incorporation of the 2nd Amendment to the States. In the face of all of the data stating otherwise, leftists, never ones to allow reality to get in the way of a good feeling, are convinced that gun bans work to reduce gun crime. Roger Ebert, in fact, tweeted recently “29 killed in Chicago over the weekend by guns. Those darn unconstitutional gun laws at work” – a statement so absurd on its face that I almost mistook it for an earnest statement at first, in support of the anti-ban logic, until I realized that this sub-moron was actually being sarcastic, and serious – as a heart attack.

He completely misses the fact that “those unconstitutional gun laws” are actually in effect in Chicago as we speak, meaning that despite the total handgun ban there, 29 people were still shot in a two-day period, more or less proving that gun bans don’t work, if anything could. Yet he seems to think that had the bans been lifted, the death toll would have been even higher.

Despite the mountain of evidence to the contrary, showing that legal gun ownership has a huge net downward effect on total gun crime in any given area, leftists like Roger Ebert continue to plug their ears and scream louder so that they can’t hear the truth, and insist that if you make guns illegal, that there will be no guns to commit crimes with.

Ahh, the undying liberal exhaltation of all things State. You know, because if the State says that something is illegal, all of those things will simply disappear, right? And the criminals? You know as well as I do that they will gladly follow the law to the letter and turn in their guns on the day that it passes….


Wrong, sub-morons. If you outlaw guns, the only people that then have them are outlaws. You only effectively disarm the law-abiding public, leaving them easy pickings for the criminal underclass who don’t give two hot shits about what the State allows them to do or not do, or have and not have.

Case in point, have you noticed how the outlawing of illicit drugs has caused them to completely disappear from our streets? No? Well, how is that possible? Could it be that black markets are created by State restrictions on a good or service that there is a demand for? (Think, illegal drugs, prostitution, gambling – shall I go on?) It couldn’t possibly be that even if guns were banned completely from the USA, that black markets would spring up, selling guns to criminals that use them on a defenseless populace?

Oh, but don’t let reality stop you from believing. If you hold your breath and wish REAL HARD you might get your skittle-shitting unicorn yet – just make sure you don’t let that pesky reality, or that criminal that is currently mugging your defenseless ass, get in the way.

Remember, when seconds count, the police are only minutes away – and that is only if you have the ability to contact them for help.

Old Writing, Just Posted, Still Relevant - Ground Zero Mosque

You guys aren’t going to like to hear this, but it needs to be said. There is no legal legislative basis by which the Ground Zero Mosque can be denied a permit to build. What is more, I am specifically against any attempts by any governmental agency or bureau to stop its construction by legislative fiat.

Before you get out your flame throwers, let me tell you why.

1.) Private property is necessary, and private property can only exist via property rights that are strictly defended against public intrusion or dictate. Strong private property rights are an absolute necessity to preserve our resources and facilities, and were created specifically for that purpose (read “the Tragedy of the Commons” for more on this, I won’t belabor it any further).

2.) The land on which the mosque is planned to be built is owned by the people planning to build the mosque. It is not public property in any way, shape, or form.

3.) There are no pre-existing laws by which we can deny the construction of the mosque without cheating or bending the rule of law to our favor.

4.) America is a country of men constrained and protected by laws, and our nations’ charter specifically states that all men are to be granted equal protection of the law.

IF one were to deny the construction of the mosque based upon the fact that the mosque is Islamic, then you are denying equal protection of the law, because no such law exists to ban the construction of places of worship.

IF you change our laws to fit this special circumstance, you essentially chalk up a win for the opposing team, because one of their major goals is to get us to turn against our laws and values out of fear. Our love of freedom, equal rights, and property protections is one of the reasons that hard-core islamists hate us, because all of those things are, to their perverted views of islam, anti-islamic.

IF you allow this this time, you create a massively slippery slope by which you have now given the government the precedent that it can bar the construction of anything, anytime, and for any reason, and essentially, you have then made private property an obsolete memory. (Even more so than it already is.

That being said, I am all for grass-roots rebellion against this, such as the workers in New York refusing to build it (and if that happens, it simply won’t be built, plain and simple). The reason that I am for it is because I do not believe that this mosque has any other purpose than as a victory shrine for Islam celebrating 9/11. I have come to that conclusion by logical means, by which I examine the reasons that have been given for it’s construction.

1.) It is to “bridge gaps and create dialogue between the world’s religions” (Specifically the USA and Islam, however, as was later clarified). To which I respond BULLSHIT. You don’t bridge gaps and create dialogue by poking someone in the eye first, and there is no possible reason to build the mosque there other than to poke us in the eye. If they really gave a damn about bridging gaps and all that crap, they would long ago have volunteered to move the mosque, as soon as they realized how sensitive the situation was.

2.) Muslims in New York do not have any place to worship, and you will be denying them this if you do not allow this building to be built. This is also a lie. There are hundreds of mosques in the New York area. Many are even within walking distance of this one.

3.) The mosque is not being constructed as a “victory mosque” and the people involved are not radicals who would even consider such a thing. Okay, I disagree with both statements there, but lets start with the fact that it doesn’t matter what the intent of the people building the thing is. What matters is perception. The perception of the public at large is that it is being built as a symbol of victory for islam, specifically their great “victory” of 9/11. The other perception that matters is that no matter what the builders think, Muslims the world over are going to consider it a victory mosque, even if the actual builders have no such intent. You and I both know it, and I think for the minor inconvenience of moving it (a straight up trade for a similarly valued piece of proerty somewhere, as has been offered?) that they could bridge a lot of gaps and change a lot of perceptions, and in fact, earn the gratitude of many people.

That being said, if they won’t move it, and they can find someone to build it, I am against the government doing anything to stop them. We can deal with 3rd world Neanderthals easily, but a massive, unstoppable government with no regard for private property rights? Not so much

History Doesn't Recognize Incrementalism

I’ve read so many articles, ad nauseum, about how the rebels in America had such a short fuse; how the things that they rebelled against were so trivial; how the revolution itself was just a rich man’s effort to get more money and avoid taxes; but the truth of the story is that all of these articles list one, or two – maybe even three – things that are what they refer to as the “root cause” of the revolution, whereas the true cause of the revolution goes all the way back to the reason that the colonials left their homelands in the first damned place hundreds of years before – they were tired as hell of the old world’s way of doing things, and wanted a place where they could live free by their own accord.

The tipping point wasn’t one or two writs of legislation; it was a long string of usurpations. Long, as in generations long. As in, the reason that the grandparents of our founding fathers left England in the first place. It wasn’t a few trivial things, like a 3% tax on tea, or the greed of a few wealthy tea merchants that caused the revolution any more than it was the assassination of Franz Ferdinand that caused WWI.

When you have a huge pile of tinder soaked in gasoline, it only takes one tiny spark to set the whole mess off. If it weren’t for Franz Ferdinand, WWI would have still happened – it was inevitable. The spark would simply have been something else. The same is true for the revolution.

Our current “masters” would do well to remember this. I hear the “you can slow boil a frog and it won’t even notice” thing being thrown about a lot as it relates to the concept of incrementalism, and its erosion of our essential liberties, but I always remember that the colonists were also slow-boiled over 150 years, and they eventually had enough. I think that there is going to be an uncanny valley event that occurs before too much longer. I think it will be a small, almost inconsequential thing that finally tips the populace over into outright confrontation and possibly even rebellion. I also think that the histories will get it wrong again, and write story after story about how the right-wing reactionary tea-baggers over-reacted to some tiny writ of legislation, just like the same histories are now saying that our founding fathers over-reacted to a 3% tax on tea. I don’t really care, because those of us that know the truth… well, we know the truth.

First Actual Post, Titled “Why I Think Grandpa Was Either Fibbing or Misinformed When He Said That We Are Of Cherokee Descent”

Plain and simple, my Grandfather, God love him, was a racist, as were many of the people from his generation. He wasn’t racist because he was a bad person, he was racist simply because that was the way it was back then. That being said…

The Cherokee are generally referred to as the “civilized tribes”, because of their advanced, almost western styles of governance and social order. I’ve also read that they were often times more fair complected than other tribes, and that some members even had light hair. These two things made it more appealing to the racists of times past, and when they discovered that they had Indian heritage of any sort, they usually decided without any evidence whatsoever that this heritage had to be Cherokee, what with their western ways and light skin. That is why every white guy (like me) you’ve ever met that claims he has Indian heritage claims that it is Cherokee – because his family were racist as hell and didn’t want to be associated with those other, more savage (and brown) folks from other tribes.

Do I think this is evil? Not really, more just a symptom of a dark episode of our collective past. I don’t write this to condemn it so much as I write it because it does us all well to remember the bad things of the past, so we don’t forget them and make the same mistakes again.

Now, enough hippy-dippy bullcrap. On to some hunting, fishing, and liberal bashing…

Welcome to My, Uhhh... Whatever

Welcome to my little crap blog. You’ve been brave enough to venture into the dark, seedy underworld of the internets, and now you’ll have me to deal with…

Okay, first post… We’ll start with a mission statement. Okay, statements.

1.) Give you city folk out there a taste of the wonders of country living. Okay, I know, Spokane isn’t exactly small town USA, but it is surrounded by STUSA, and I spend a lot of my time there.

2.) Comment on happenings and such, from a freedom-loving, fiscally conservative, socially/politically libertarian viewpoint.

3.) Intersperse all of the above with a bit of humor, and possibly a bit of crudity, with the express intent to shy away from the overtly crude or profane by just scratching the surface of the crude part of my nature. For instance, I have no qualms with writing the word “shit” on my blog: as in, “I don’t give two hot shits if you don’t like reading the word ‘shit’, and if you do, then I suggest you try reading other blogs where the word ‘shit’ isn’t written so frequently. Shit.”

Okay, then, a bit about your new friend Goober. As of this writing, on December 14th, in the year of our Lord 2010, I’m 30 years old, of German and Native American ancestry (I don’t belong to any tribe, and don’t really care about “all things racial” enough to even have researched what tribe my ancestry derives from, although my Grandfather once told me that it was Cherokee, but I don’t necessarily give that a lot of credence due to… … well, hell, read my next post if you’re curious).

I am happily married to a beautiful woman who is currently carrying my first child – a little girl. I live in Spokane, Washington, and my interests are basically being as diverse a person as I can be in skill, knowledge, and action (know a bit of something about everything), although I must admit that I am heavily biased towards hunting and fishing (but more on that later).

I work at a large company. My profession isn’t important, and I have no interest in making my place of employment public, so that trolls everywhere can’t make my blog a problem for the good people that I work with. Suffice it to say that I work in construction and engineering.

I will try to make this as interesting as possible to you folks reading, by keeping it short and relevant. Opine in the comments if you think I’m being too wordy. (Who the hell am I kidding, no-one is going to read this, anyway, right?)