Posted by: bkivey | 1 March 2023

Conflicting Emotions

I recently read an article dealing with the sole survivors of air crashes. The article included profiles of about a half-dozen people who had survived an aircraft crash that had been nearly 100% fatal, save for that individual. But, there was one profile that I found to be, and still find, disturbing.

On a pre-dawn commuter flight, the pilots attempted a takeoff on a too-short runway, and crashed and burned on a farm. 47 of 48 people died. I read the NTSB accident report, and the only reason that aircraft crashed was because the flight crew was not paying attention. The two runways were arranged so that either could be selected off the taxiway, but had a relative angle of 40 degrees, so not like they were parallel, and both pilots had experience at that airport. The flight crew confirmed three times with the tower the correct runway, while the heading bug (marker) on the compass was set for the correct runway. And the active runway was lit, while the inactive one was dark. Every procedure had been followed.

The crew lined up on the incorrect, and dark, runway, the co-pilot took control of the aircraft, and started the takeoff roll. One pilot remarked on the lack of lights during the roll. At go/no-go decision speed, the aircraft ran out of runway.

The co-pilot was the sole survivor.

The one individual most responsible in the moment for the safe operation of the aircraft failed in the most horrible fashion, and yet, lived. It’s hard to process that. How could such a thing occur in an orderly Universe? Not to wish others ill, but it does seem a gross injustice. They have to live with that, sure, but they are still alive.


Prior to the flight, the flight crew boarded, and began start-up, on the wrong aircraft, until ground crew informed them of the error.

Word Watch

I recently saw the term ‘off-nominal’ in report on a Japanese spacecraft. This is a clumsy term in English, a step below ‘sub-optimal’. Curious if this is translation from a Japanese term that has no direct English equivalent.

Posted by: bkivey | 22 February 2023

Surfs Up!

A storm recently came ashore, and I engaged in the western Oregon past-time of storm watching. Years ago I attended a company function in Seaside (Portland’s Coney Island) in late November as the first large storm of the season hit, and the hotel lobby was packed. Not expected for the coast that time of year. I asked the desk agent, and she said people were there to watch the storm. Say what? When I lived in Florida, one did not go to the beach to ‘watch the storm’. One watched the storm on a TV as far from the actual storm as one could get. Winters in San Francisco would usually bring one or two serious blows, and I didn’t want a part of those, either. I have seen 80-knot gusts on Market Street.

Storms this far north don’t have quite the same energy, and to my knowledge, the West Coast of the US has never been struck by a typhoon. The Oregon coast is about as far north as Pacific storms strike, and they can be impressive. The one this week was moderate, though still blowing a full gale at the coast.

Snow was forecast for the Coast Range passes, which was a little concerning, but I thought I’d go and see. On the way, I saw large trucks Eastbound, so figured it wasn’t bad. The ‘Traction Devices’ signs were lit, but chains weren’t required. Light snow started at about 1200 feet, and continued to the pass around 1600 feet. Temperature never went below freezing, so I wasn’t worried about ice.

Coming out of the mountains at Tillamook, temps were in the low 40’s, with light rain squalls, and moderate breeze. Low hills separate the town from the beach, forming a natural windbreak. Cape Lookout is about 10 miles Southwest of town, and the first destination for the trip.

The tree gives an idea of the climate here.

The ‘Commercial Activities’ icon makes me think of a drug deal. No dope dealing in State Parks.

Looking South.

It was cold. The air temp may have been 43F, but throw in a gale and spray-saturated air, and it was cold. A hat is a necessity, and I didn’t bring one.

Driving North up the coast:

3 Arches. I do not know why they are called that, as there are no arches in them. They are somewhat arch-shaped, but similar rocks along the coast are called haystacks.

Nearly the entirety of Oceanside, OR. Also the usual car shot, but from inside.

Seafoam on the boat ramp at Oceanside, OR. The wind blew foam to the other side of the road, where it looked like snow.

Traversing the nine miles back to Tillamook, I headed north on US 101 around Tillamook Bay in the direction of Cannon Beach.

Netarts Bay
Netarts Bay in the Summer
Hwy 101 looking South toward Manzanita.

Cannon Beach is very popular in the Summer, with scenery, and conveniently located to the main thoroughfare to Portland in US 26. There is an actual ships’ cannon just offshore, but can only be seen during very low tides.

Looking North, with haystacks.
Looking South.

UPDATE: 36 hours after this trip, the same storm system dumped 10 unpredicted inches of snow on Portland, the second largest snowfall in city history, and the most since 1943. A solid 8 inches at the house. Started as a light ‘wintry mix’ in the evening, and just kept coming. More expected Thursday night. We usually get a couple light snows every Winter, with events like this every 5 – 6 years.

Painting Wheels

The wheel chrome on the Mazda had flaked, and would be an embarrassment on a newly-painted car. The options were to replace them, re-chrome them, or paint them. Curiously, new wheels cost less than re-chroming the old ones. Even so, new rims would have been more than the rest of the job combined. A couple cans of Chrome spray paint was less than $30. It would be more of a brushed chrome look, rather than polished, but would definitely be in keeping with the project mantra of ‘Better Than It Was’.

The usual paint prep steps of masking, sanding, primer, sanding, color, were followed. I had wanted to put on a couple coats of clear, but experimentation with the center caps showed that the clearcoat made the paint look worse, so they were left un-cleared.

Masked and sanded.
Posted by: bkivey | 13 February 2023

Fairly Ignorant

The most recent State of the Union speech by President Joe Biden focused on ‘fairness’; as in, there wasn’t any in the Federal Tax Code, or in business in general.

From a story on The Hill:

“I think a lot of you at home agree with me that our present tax system is simply unfair. The idea that in 2020, 55 of the biggest companies in America made $40 billion in profits and paid zero in federal income taxes? That’s simply not fair,” Biden said.

This is a standard Progressive misdirection Spell, used to confuse people by putting together two concepts that sound like they should be directly related, but are not. The General Form is to juxtapose a large, faceless entity, with a more personally relatable one, in such a way as to make the party of the first part out to be detrimental to the party of the second part. The key component is to leave out the mechanism that connects the two parts. If the example sentence was accurate, it would read:

“The idea that in 2020, 55 of the biggest companies in America made $40 billion in profits, [and through completely legal and well-established deductions for payroll, loan interest, infrastructure maintenance and improvement, employee benefits, and other legitimate deductions] paid zero in federal income taxes?”

Unless one defines ‘fair share’ as taxes on income before deductions, to say that following the Tax Code is ‘unfair’ is ludicrous. Such are the Progressive Accounting Principles (PAP). You know who else doesn’t pay their ‘fair share’?


We can start with the personal deduction. Everyone gets it, and it comes right off taxable income. Already, you are not paying your ‘fair share’. Do you take allowances for student loan interest, moving expenses, home office, child care, business vehicle use, and the biggie, mortgage interest deduction? People are starving because you don’t pay what you ‘fairly’ owe. It is very possible for some folks to owe $0 in Federal income tax, and for people partaking in various Government poverty programs, especially the Earned Income Credit, the individual can not only not pay taxes, but get thousands of dollars from the Feds over and above what they earned. I have seen this happen. People in the bottom economic quarter are not only consuming social resources, but getting paid to do so. Does that seem fair, to you? Ever hear a Progressive talk about this?

And what about people working in a tipped job? Do they report 100% of tips, so they can be ‘fairly’ taxed? One of the folks in The Hill article is a New York cab driver, Jean-Michel Dossous, complaining about the ‘unfairness’ of corporate tax law. Surely, an audit of Mr. Dossus’ financial activity would show complete compliance with applicable city, state, and federal tax law concerning tipped income. It is, after all, about fairness.

Mr. Biden went on to talk about the Federal tax system:

“I think a lot of you at home agree with me that our present tax system is simply unfair.”

The US Federal tax system is overseen by the Internal Revenue Service, part of the Treasury Department, itself part of the Executive Branch. And who, prithee, is the Chief Executive of that Branch? Why, the President. If the tax system is unfair, Mr. President, it’s your responsibility. And how, exactly, is the system unfair? Taxes at the State and Federal level tend to be progressive, in that the higher the income, the greater the tax rate. Nothing wrong with that, although the self-employed get a first-hand look at that every year. In my case, my combined marginal tax rate doubles between January and December. But Progressives have had a large part in shaping the several tax codes, and to now claim that the system they created is somehow not fair, especially coming from the person in charge, is egregiously disingenuous.

This trope is so old, and worn, it’s appalling that anyone pays attention to it. But Democrats vilifying ‘the rich’ as a distraction from the very real problems they have caused, is as predictable as nightfall, and as illuminating. There is no problem, here. A business taking advantage of the current tax code is not pulling money out of your pocket. No action by private business forces people to give up more of their income, but nearly any action by government, does.

Related Reading



Some good from the Wuhan Flu

During the pandemic, many businesses developed remote-ordering protocols, so customers could order from an app, and pick up the items at the store. While many business, especially restaurants, had gone to some form of remote ordering with the rise of delivery services, it wasn’t common for other retail businesses. Now, most businesses have a remote-order capability, and it is convenient.

Posted by: bkivey | 2 February 2023

A Red Light for a Left Turn

(Apologies to the band Blackfoot for that misappropriation of a song title)

I once did a job in Louisiana, and was discussing the national perception of Louisiana as a den of political corruption. The project manager, a long-time resident, assured me that the corruption was very much fact. She offered as an example the New Orleans school board ‘misplacing’ $17 million, the disposition of which no-one could explain. She also noted that the taxpayers didn’t seem much concerned; putting it off to business as usual in The Pelican State.

And then Hurricane Andrew hit, and residents absolutely did notice the failure and incompetence of local and state government to deal with the situation. She said nobody was laughing, then.

And so residents in many American cities are noticing a rapidly declining standard of living. And the cities in which they are noticing this tend to be places that have been governed by the Democratic Party for decades. While being told that a vote for Democrats was a vote for Truth, Justice, and the Progressive way, what voters have actually gotten are once-inviting cities that are now virtually unlivable. Nobody is laughing now, either.

San Francisco has been famous for some time as a place where “Cable cars climb halfway to the stars”, and infamous for the streets used as public toilets, brazen crime, and a city overrun with the indigent. The City has balanced this with a burdensome tax rate, and one of the highest cost-of-living on the planet. People cannot leave fast enough. The voters did take a corrective step last year when they replaced the uber-liberal District Attorney with someone more willing to prosecute crime. They will have a chance to follow-through when the City Council and Mayor come up for election.

All the way up the coast in Seattle, the City Council isn’t waiting around for the voter’s opinion. They are bailing now. Seven of the nine members will not seek re-election. To their slight credit, none of the departing members cites ‘family’ as the reason. They are candid about the fact that the peasants voters are vocal with their displeasure. Some cite personal safety concerns. One person says that bags of feces have been heaved onto their lawn half-a-dozen times. In a stunning display of cluelessness, that same individual goes on to say ““If the ruling class and their spokespeople were not angry with me, I would worry about what I was doing wrong,”” Honey, it’s not the ‘ruling class’; it’s the people who put you in office. It would make sense in context, and in fact, to refer to the voters as the ‘ruling class’, but that bit of perception and perspective seems beyond the reach of any modern Progressive. It seems more likely that the Council cannot cope with the fact that their policies have utterly failed, so they have to reach into their Spells and Incantations manual for meaningless blather.

Between the two, in Portland, voters are reacting in the usual Portland passive-aggressive fashion: they are still electing the usual suspects, but are leaving town afterward. Progressive organ Willamette Week’s cover story interviews several current and recently-former residents on why they left Portland, or were considering the move. As an aside, I have found the paper to be fair in it’s reporting, without obvious slant from their editorial roots. Interviewees cite crime, graffiti, and homelessness as the primary causes for leaving, along with Portland’s uniquely high tax rate. I have noted the last several years all of these factors have markedly increased, to the point where if someone had been away for a few years, they might not recognize the place. They would certainly wonder why downtown seems majority indigent, and why businesses are boarded-up.

To go along with the slumification of the city, the city government has introduced, and the voters have approved, several taxes that only affect Portland residents. 2012 saw the passage of a $35-per-resident Arts Tax, while 2020 saw the introduction of the Preschool for All and Supportive Services (homeless) Act. These are not trivial taxes. The former levies at a 1% rate on income over $100k, while the latter is set at 1.5% for the same bracket. For a $100k earner, that’s another $2500 in taxes no-one else has to pay, and a significant amount, even at that income level.

But, in typical Portland fashion, people don’t want to pay the taxes they approved. Last I looked, the Arts Tax compliance rate was under 40%. And the same ‘rich’ people the city wants to tax, the ones voting for the tax, are moving away. You may say this is a case of rats leaving a sinking ship; these people voted for the government, and therefore the condition, they abhor. People interviewed for the article say that while they are happy to pay taxes, they aren’t seeing a commensurate effective application of them. I will take them at their word, as the statement is congruent with their politics, but if elected officials cannot provide, at minimum, a clean, safe space to live, then it is entirely fair to leave, and take your money with you.

Hanoi Jane

(No, you are never living that down.)

Liberal activist and North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gunner Jane Fonda was back in the news with a statement that the root cause of ‘climate change’ is racism. Peter Fonda’s daughter isn’t entirely wrong, just a few decades late. Her thesis is that Western companies have dumped toxic waste in non-industrial places, where Black and Brown people tended to live. She further states that White people, especially those with money, are immune from those problems. Speaking of industrial waste, ““They’re not gonna put it in Bel Air. They’ve got to find someplace where poor people or indigenous people or people of color are living,”

I would expect that as much time as Ms Fonda has spent in Hollywood, she would have heard of Long Beach

OK, that’s an image from the 1920’s, when the Long Beach field supplied 20% of the nation’s oil. A more recent view:

Still visible oil production occurring. Long Beach, CA, is nearly 50% White, with a median income above $86k.

Remember the photos of East Germany after the Wall fell? The finest color film available could only render the shades of grey of a blighted wasteland. An air pollution map of Europe illustrates the point:

Central Europe is remarkably White.

It is true that much of the world’s extractable resources lie in places with non-White populations. It is also true that the mining process uses toxic chemicals and creates hazardous waste. But these operations are under the supervision of local government, so if she has a problem with how those operations are run, perhaps she should speak to the local regulating authority. If Ms Fonda likes her First-World lifestyle, she no doubt appreciates that a significant portion of it comes from places full of People of Color, who likely appreciate the work.

But, primarily, the statement that racism causes climate change is non-sensical. ‘Climate change’ is one of those empty-calorie terms that mean absolutely nothing, but is an Incantation used by Progressives to scare people. Climate has been changing since time began. Even granting that anthropogenic factors are drivers, we are not all gonna die. The planet will be fine.

And racism? Every organism on Earth inherently prefers Tribe to Other. It’s a survival mechanism, and not going to be eliminated from humans. We can learn to control the impulse, but it’s not going away. What Ms Fonda is saying is that without humans, there would be no climate change, which is objectively non-sensical. It sure would be nice if Ms Fonda lived the life she preaches, or at least rode a bicycle on her trips between New York and Los Angeles.

Posted by: bkivey | 30 January 2023

Shooting Off Their Mouths

California has more than 100 gun laws. Why don’t they stop more mass shootings?

New York Times

29 January 2023 (behind a paywall)

Israel to ‘expedite’ gun licenses after deadly shooting near Jerusalem synagogue

Fox News

29 January 2023

As of this writing, California has had some 25 people killed in ‘mass shootings’ this year. That’s nearly one per day, with the most recent incident tallying 3 dead and 4 wounded. While no homicide is trivial, 3 dead seems a low bar for a ‘mass’ shooting. This article gives the Gun Violence Archive definition of ‘mass’ being 4 shot. Not killed; just shot. What? That’s gang activity, not randomly targeted violence. The recent Half Moon Bay shooting is a mass shooting, in that the shooter killed a bunch of people unrelated to their grievance. A gang turf war is not, and should not, be considered the same.

It seemed like there were a lot of these incidents last year, too, but the media didn’t seem much interested. Portland has been at or near record homicide levels the past few years, but not much from the local media. I have noticed that the media response to public shootings has become more muted the past several years. Where there used to be yelling and shouting for ‘more gun laws’ to ‘protect our children’, now, not so much. Could it be, that Progressives have noticed that the Universe isn’t going according to their plan? If you say a thing does not exist, then, of course, it will not exist in the world. Right? Some of the articles seem a little incredulous that people get shot in places where guns are illegal.

The United States has the highest percentage of private gun ownership in the world, and the perception, aided and abetted by Hollywood, is that to walk down the street in the US is to put your life at risk. A handy article at gives some perspective. As of 2019, the US ranked second in total deaths by firearm, but using the more accurate incident-per-100000 metric, the US (10.89) didn’t even crack the top ten. And of the total gun-related deaths in the US, fully 63% were suicides. Walking down the street looks safer all the time.

The article mentions that while mass shootings get all the press, they account for a very small percentage of annual firearm-related deaths. An article at the ABC News site posits reasons gun control laws don’t actually control guns, and presents the Government side, while the Fox News story gives the Israeli response to a mass shooting. The responses are quite different, in tone, in assumptions about citizens, and the limits of centralized power.

For the ABC News article, we can start with the title: “Experts explain why California is still rife with gun violence despite some of the most stringent gun laws in the country”, when the article does no such thing. Nearly the entire article is ABC News making Governments case to The People. From the first sentence “Even the state with some of the strictest gun laws can’t keep gun violence away from its borders.” is rife with the conflation of cause and effect, much like “Crime Falls, But Prison Population Rises.” I cannot remember the term for this just now, but a columnist for The Wall Street Journal used to about make a living off pointing these out.

And so it goes.

“Laws in California further prohibit the sale and manufacture of unsafe handguns. . .”

Any firearm, by definition, is unsafe.

“We must provide the public with protection from gun violence and respect the authority of states as they implement common sense gun regulations to safeguard their communities,”

California Attorney General Rob Bonta

This is really just a bunch of Bureaucrat-Speak, and means nothing. But the assumption is that The People are helpless children that the State must look after.

“[California Governor Gavin] Newsom accused politicians in Washington of “cowering” and giving into gun rights interest groups instead of protecting Americans.”

See above.

From the Israeli’s:

“Firearm licensing will be expedited and expanded in order to enable thousands of additional citizens to carry weapons,” read a statement on the Facebook page of the Prime Minister of Israel

National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir told reporters over the weekend: “When civilians have guns, they can defend themselves.” 

And just to reinforce the Israeli no-BS response, the Israeli Security Cabinet also passed a resolution denying social security rights to the attackers family. That’s downright Biblical.

So, in the face of an immediate and deadly threat to the populace, one government understands that there is safety in numbers, and offense is the best defense. The other treats the citizenry as an incompetent and stupid people that cannot be trusted to take care of themselves. One understands the limits of centralized power, and the benefits of distributed deterrence, while the other believes all power and authority must rest with a few. Now, which society is likely to be the safer, and where would you rather live?

My Personal Gun Control

I live in Oregon, USA, and non-permitted open carry is perfectly legal. Oregon, in fact, has some of the most liberal gun laws in the country. You can pack that pistol on your hip, and none can stop you. You will likely be stopped and interrogated every 50 feet by police, who will certainly ask you to take off the gun. Law enforcement cannot officially force you to do so, but they can make it enough of a hassle as to not be worthwhile. A concealed carry permit (also required for a secured firearm in a vehicle) is very obtainable, requiring that you pass a background check, demonstrate competence with the weapon, and take an on-line course. CCW permits are issued by the county Sheriff, and the several Sheriffs have been among the first to say ‘Nope’ to restrictive gun legislation. As in, we’re not enforcing that. Politicians can pass all the laws in the world, but enforcement is where the rubber meets the road.

While I have occasionally tossed a pistol in my briefcase ‘just because’, I’ve never felt the need to walk around strapped. The thing is, and American police know this all too well, is that if you bring a gun to a conflict, you’ve immediately set the situational floor at ‘death or serious injury’. You can’t really de-escalate from that if there are firearms involved. I don’t know what the Portland muggers weapon of choice is, but if they have a gun on you, or even drawn, you won’t have time to draw, anyway. And if you do draw, even if you don’t fire, your life will change, and not for the better. You are taught that to draw is to be committed to the use of deadly force. You don’t draw a weapon you don’t use. It would be very easy, in the heat of the moment, to make a deadly mistake. I don’t see the need to put myself in that position. If I’m in a place where I feel I may need a gun, I probably shouldn’t be there, anyway.

Why Not?

I have said, ever since the passage of the misbegotten and ill-advised PATRIOT Act of 2001, that we should get rid of TSA and Homeland Security, and contract those functions out to the Israeli’s. I suspect we’d get a more effective application, and save a boatload of money.

Posted by: bkivey | 12 January 2023

Body and Paint

Last Fall I backed the Mazda into a truck bumper, and given the other bumps and bruises, and peeling clearcoat, it was time for a refresh. I am long past the age of driving junky cars, and the Mazda was almost embarrassing. Off to the paint shop.

Or, the carport. I hung some plastic sheeting on half the space, giving a place to contain paint overspray, and more importantly, keeping debris and detritus off the car.

The framework was made from scrap lying around the property. Not pretty, but does the job.
Masking and starting on the peeling clearcoat. The idea is to spot-primer problem areas so they can be addressed prior to the primer coat. This should reduce the primer that gets sanded off, and reduce the amount of primer needed for the base coat.
You can see the clearcoat failure on the bumper, and the sun visor paint is almost gone. Peeling clearcoat has been removed from the rocker panels, and primered. Repair on the right rear quarter panel has started.

The cars around the Mazda are Corvettes. A 2008 Z06 on the left, 1969 Stingray (with the 454) in front, and a 1964 convertible inside on the left. None of them are mine, but they are all garage queens, and the Mazda gets driven. A car on the road is better than three in the garage.

Painting the window frames Gloss Black.
The wiper arms. Gloss Black for the rear, Flat Black for the front.
Left rear quarter panel repair after pulling out the dent and grinding the metal flat. There was a significant crease from the taillight all the way to the door, part of which you can see on the fuel door. You can see there are several curves here: the beltline body crease, the wheel arch, and the slope of the sheet metal between the two. This is the most ambitious body work I’ve attempted, and I was surprised how close I was able to pull the metal to the original profile.
Starting in with the body putty.
First coat of primer. Much work left to do.
As good as it will get. You can see that I over-filled the area between the wheel arch and the body panel, and there is some cleanup to do where the panel meets the bumper. The repair meets the ‘Better than it was’ standard, and I’m tired of fooling with it.

After taking care of the bodywork, and sanding the whole car with 400-grit sandpaper, it was time to prime.

It’s all one color, and already an improvement over the starting appearance. Now to carefully go over the car, taking care of minor imperfections.

In any painting project, putting down pigment is the fun part. Surface prep for any project will take about 90% of the project time, because it doesn’t matter how good the paint is if it’s going on a crappy surface. You can get superior results with mediocre paint if you do the prep well. Because primer is flat and uniformly colored, it will reveal every imperfection. In this case, there is a small dimple on the hatchback that somehow evaded detection until now, but will have to be taken care of.

At this point, I could put the mirrors, wipers, and lights back on, and drive the car. Given the current trend toward muted colors and ‘patina’, it might even be considered cool. I briefly considered painting the car Flat Black, which would cause it to practically disappear. I have seen video of a car painted with Vanta Black, the blackest paint known, and it looks like a rolling black hole. In this case, I’m going with the original Arrest Me Red paint.

Someone Else’s Car

An Icetray Stalagmite

I can see how a vertical stalagmite might form, but a tilted one?
Posted by: bkivey | 29 December 2022

Religious Fervor

It has become fashionable in regulatory circles to ban fossil-fuel residential appliances, notably stoves and water heaters. California, Washington, and New York have imposed outright bans on new natural-gas appliances after 2030, while Oregon, Vermont, and Massachusetts are considering it. Generally, all new residential construction after the deadline must use ‘zero-emission’ appliances. In practice, this means electric heat pumps for domestic services.

The changeover from residential natural gas to an all-electric replacement will lower utility bills, while increasing service reliability. Installed cost will be lower, while the more efficient modern heat pumps will reduce electrical demand.

And, absolutely none of that is true. As many have noted, even if confined to new construction, the mandated replacement of natural gas appliances with electric will, not may, will, cost much more to install, raise home prices and rents, increase electrical demand, and reduce service reliability. How long after the new-construction ban takes effect do you think restrictions will be imposed on existing installations? As the ban date approaches, expect natural gas appliance prices to rise significantly; due to market forces and Government-imposed fees and taxes. Buy your replacement furnace now.

Commercial and residential natural gas use accounts for 10% of the NOx (nitrous oxide) emissions in the US, and a whopping 5% in California, with similar ratios in other states. California also has nearly 200 gas-fired powerplants, far and away the most of any of the banning states, with Washington at 15, and New York at 7. But the electricity to power the Gaia Paradise has to come from behind the curtain, I guess. Yet those greenhouse-gas spewing symbols of environmental oppression aren’t enough: California imports 40% of it’s power. Washington is an energy exporter, as is Oregon, and most of that export goes to the insatiable Sarlacc to the South. I would dearly like to see a reporter ask the Governors of the several states how they planned to address the gas-fired power plants, seeing as how the climate change agenda was falling squarely on the shoulders of the citizenry.

An agenda, by the way, no one asked for. There has not been any large grass-roots movement to ban residential natural gas, no anti-appliance agitation. For those wanting to make the change, any HVAC shop will be happy to accommodate. No, this is the kind of malignancy loosed when a closed and self-referential society is in power. There is nothing in this legislation and regulation that benefits the individual. Standard-of-living will decline as housing costs increase, and utility bills rise, because electricity has to come from somewhere, and someone has to pay for it. More people will depend on the dole. And when the power goes out during a storm, and days on end of sub-freezing weather, what then?

But every one of the advocates will tell you that they are doing it ‘for the Planet’, and how they are ‘combating climate change’. A few will throw out some health benefits like cleaner air, and reduced health risks from the evil natural gas in their homes. Which, by the way, we’ve had residential natural gas for well over a century in the US, and outside the odd explosion, people seem to have done just fine. But these are platitudes for the masses. The very real social and financial costs are hand-waved aside in favor of the State religion. It doesn’t matter what you say. We’re doing it, and you can’t stop us.

There is no way to quantify any benefit from this action. Hell, the High Priests themselves cannot even divine their own god, as the highly consistent, and equally failed, climate predictions of the last three decades have shown. ‘Climate change’ is the natural state of affairs. To ‘combat’ climate change, is to combat Nature. That is not rational, as King Canute rationally demonstrated. There are no, and cannot be any, discrete, quantifiable changes in the Earth’s climate while tens of millions are impoverished.

“Hey, it’s a half-degree cooler today than it was this time last year.”

“Yeah, that extra $3000 for an electric heat pump is paying off.”

It is no stretch to say that we, and generations to come, are being sacrificed on the alter of someone else’s religion.

We may want to look to that.

The Nuke of Earl

Nuclear power plants use the most energy-dense fuel available, meaning a lot of power comes from a small footprint. Just how much, became apparent while doing the research.

California has one nuke, and partially owns, and gets power from, a facility in Arizona. Those two plants generate about 8.5% percent of the state’s electricity. More than wind, and on par with hydro.

Washington employs one nuclear plant, providing about 8% of the state’s requirements; a little less than wind. However, the nuke doesn’t occupy hundreds of square miles of central Washington, and doesn’t kill birds.

New York works with four plants, and they supply fully one-quarter of the state’s energy. This is nearly as much as all other sources outside natural gas, combined. The pariah natural gas supplies nearly half of the state’s electricity.

Posted by: bkivey | 25 December 2022

In Hoc Anno Domini

Written in 1949 by Vernon Royster and published in The Wall Street Journal annually since.

When Saul of Tarsus set out on his journey to Damascus the whole of the known world lay in bondage. There was one state, and it was Rome. There was one master for it all, and he was Tiberius Caesar.

Everywhere there was civil order, for the arm of the Roman law was long. Everywhere there was stability, in government and in society, for the centurions saw that it was so. But everywhere there was something else, too. There was oppression – for those who were not the friends of Tiberius Caesar. There was the tax gatherer to take the grain from the fields and the flax from the spindle to feed the le­gions or to fill the hungry treasury from which divine Caesar gave largess to the people. There was the impresser to find recruits for the circuses. There were executioners to quiet those whom the emperor proscribed. What was a man for but to serve Caesar?

There was persecution of men who dared think differently, who heard strange voices or read strange manuscripts. There was enslavement of men whose tribes came not from Rome, disdain for those who did not have the familiar visage. And most of all, there was everywhere a contempt for human life. What, to the strong, was one man more or less in a crowded world?

Then, of a sudden, there was a light in the world, and a man from Galilee saying, Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s.

And the voice from Galilee, which would defy Caesar, offered a new Kingdom in which each man could walk upright and bow to none but his God. Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. And he sent this gospel of the Kingdom of Man into the uttermost ends of the earth.

So the light came into the world and the men who lived in darkness were afraid, and they tried to lower a cur­tain so that man would still believe sal­vation lay with the leaders.

But it came to pass for a while in divers places that the truth did set man free, although the men of dark­ness were offended and they tried to put out the light. The voice said, Haste ye. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness come upon you, for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.

Along the road to Damascus the light shone brightly. But afterward Paul of Tarsus, too, was sore afraid. He feared that other Caesars, other prophets, might one day persuade men that man was nothing save a servant unto them, that men might yield up their birthright from God for pottage and walk no more in freedom.

Then might it come to pass that darkness would settle again over the lands and there would be a burning of books and men would think only of what they should eat and what they should wearand would give heed only to new Caesars and to false prophets. Then might it come to pass that men would not look upward to see even a winter’s star in the East, and once more, there would be no light at all in the darkness.

And so Paul, the apostle of the Son of Man, spoke to his brethren, the Galatians, the words he would have us remember afterward in each of the years of his Lord:

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Posted by: bkivey | 24 December 2022

Remission of Responsibility

Lame-duck Oregon Governor Kate Brown has been busy doing what many Chief Executives do on the way out: pardoning everyone in sight. She has commuted sentences for 45,000 people convicted of cannabis-related crimes, and cleared Death Row by reducing the sentences. Recently, she wiped out the back-fines owed on non-criminal traffic violations. If you have run afoul of the Oregon justice system, Merry Christmas!

Without knowing the specifics, I am OK with the dope charge dismissals. Cannabis has been legal in Oregon since 2015, and cops were never excited about cannabis-related enforcement. My youthful experience bears this out. It has also been well-documented that many cannabis laws were targeted at certain demographics over others, so there’s a negative historical component. While true that those people were tried and convicted under the law at the time, there is a case to be made for dismissal.

Not so much for the traffic violations, although the Governor tries mightily. The upshot is that the loss of license as a result of unpaid fines is an economic hardship for poor people. Which is true, but not directly relevant to the problem. The problem isn’t that people owe money to the State for traffic violations, it’s that the people aren’t paying those fines. The law allows the State to rescind the driving privileges of folks who are convicted of non-criminal traffic violation, and don’t pay the fine. In such a way are people accountable for their actions.

And it is accountability that is at the crux of society. A reasonably safe and functional society must have members responsible for their actions, and accountable to the society for transgressions within the limits defined. To the extent the Law is applied equally to all, so is a society fair. And it is difficult to imagine a more neutral body of law than Motor Vehicle regulations. Note that I speak only of the body of the law, and not of it’s enforcement. However, most traffic law is straightforward: you stopped at the sign, or didn’t. If you go barreling through a school zone at 65, that’s on you. You won’t be cited (and likely arrested), because you are [whatever]: you’re stopped because you are an idiot.

Governor Brown makes the point that traffic fines are a financial hardship for poor people, and so they are. Being poor is a hardship generally, and another few hundred in traffic fines won’t help. But, those fines weren’t arbitrarily imposed by an oppressive Government; they were incurred by the individual. Like most things, the hardship of the traffic fine is self-inflicted. Holders of a drivers license are expected to know enough traffic law to keep from killing someone, and the societal expectation is that the individual will be responsible for their actions.

But we have come to this operative idea that people below an arbitrary income level are somehow not as capable of responsibility and accountability as others. Such is the soft bigotry of Progressive expectations. Should we not expect the same behavior from every member of a society? If you cannot afford the traffic fine, don’t break the law. There is nothing complicated about that.

“Don’t do the crime, if you can’t do the time [Yeah, don’t do it]”

‘Baretta’ TV show theme

Sammy Davis Jr.

It is a human tragedy that an entire segment of society is deemed too stupid to be accountable for their actions, and devastating to the dignity and future of those so categorized. Humans are part of the same minimal-energy state Universe as everything else, so if someone notes that they can get away with a lower level of responsibility, they will, even if they have to forgo opportunities that would move them into the ‘responsible’ level of society. It’s easier to stay poor, and avoid societal responsibility, while complaining about being poor, than to take responsibility and accountability. No knock on people, it’s the way the Universe works. Everything tends to the lowest stable energy-state. It takes effort to be responsible, but we should expect it from everyone. That is a fair society.

A Little Ice, Tinman

OK, I made that up. We got our first taste of Winter weather this week, with a ‘wintry mix’ falling for about 36 hours. I had taken Friday through Sunday off for Christmas, as had many others. The weather worked out, in that everything is supposed to melt Saturday. The precipitation was alternating freezing rain and snow, evident in the layers on the ground, with total accumulation about an inch. Small potatoes, even for here. Christmas will be wet, if not white, and Monday looks like a normal, rainy, Winter day.

What the Freak, Sports?

I enjoy sports, and if an event features two people and a ball, I will likely watch it. But there has been a trend for several years that has reached disruptive proportions, and that is replay in sports.

There was some buzz a few years ago about the quality decline of officiating in the National Football League (NFL). Routine calls were missed, to the point it was suggested fans form the review committee. If 2 of 3 random fans say it’s a catch, it’s a catch, because for a while the NFL did not know what a football ‘catch’ was.

The NFL’s response was to institute video replay for pretty nearly every play. This wasn’t so bad early on, when replay was confined to ‘You Make The Call’ plays, but now, it is routinely invoked. There were many times this season when games would come to a halt for minutes at a time while officials reviewed the play. Any flow to the game is lost, and the entire game is disrupted. I’ve played sports, and it would be very frustrating to get into a rhythm, then have to shut down, then crank it right up minutes later. These were not isolated incidents, but present in every game.

And not just the NFL. NBA: same, and basketball, more than football, depends on playing in the flow of the game. Baseball: guilty, and baseball is already slow. It has gotten to the point that the games are almost unwatchable, because when things start to happen, there will be a lengthy video review. If I wanted a legal procedural, I’d watch ‘Law and Order’.

And it’s not because the rules suddenly got more complicated. The reviews are for plays and infractions that have been around for a long time. The remaining variable is the officials. A competent professional, in any field, should be able to render a routine judgement quickly. If it takes you five minutes or more to look at a sports play to come to a decision, you are not good at your job. It is the incompetent that rely most on outside authority, and officials across leagues are demonstrating that.

Cleared for the Holidays

After my physical in June, I was banned from sugar. I was concerned enough to schedule a follow-up visit in December, to see if six months of much-reduced sugar intake put me in the clear. And, it did. My blood sugar is well in the Normal range. I told the doctor I was hoping to indulge in the holiday treats, and was given permission to have at it, as long as I resumed my normal diet afterwards.

I went and bought a 12-pack of festive Christmas mini-cupcakes. They are delicious.

Posted by: bkivey | 24 December 2022

The Night Before Christmas; Legally Speaking

Author unknown. Not me.

Whereas, on or about the night prior to Christmas, there did occur at a certain improved piece of real property (hereinafter “the House”) a general lack of stirring by all creatures therein, including, but not limited to a mouse.

A variety of foot apparel, e.g., stocking, socks, etc., had been affixed by and around the chimney in said House in the hope and/or belief that St. Nick AKA/St. Nicholas AKA/Santa Claus (hereinafter “Claus”) would arrive at sometime thereafter.

The minor residents, i.e., the children, of the aforementioned House were located in their individual beds and were engaged in nocturnal hallucinations, i.e., dreams, wherein visions of confectionery treats, including, but not limited to, candies, nuts and/or sugar plums, did dance, cavort and otherwise appear in said dreams.

Whereupon the party of the first part (sometimes hereinafter referred to as “I”), being the joint-owner in fee simple of the House with the parts of the second part (hereinafter “Mamma”), and said Mamma had retired for a sustained period of sleep. (At such time, the parties were clad in various forms of headgear, e.g., kerchief and cap.)

Suddenly, and without prior notice or warning, there did occur upon the unimproved real property adjacent and appurtenant to said House, i.e., the lawn, a certain disruption of unknown nature, cause and/or circumstance. The party of the first part did immediately rush to a window in the House to investigate the cause of such disturbance.

At that time, the party of the first part did observe, with some degree of wonder and/or disbelief, a miniature sleigh (hereinafter “the Vehicle”) being pulled and/or drawn very rapidly through the air by approximately eight (8) reindeer. The driver of the Vehicle appeared to be and in fact was, the previously referenced Claus.

Said Claus was providing specific direction, instruction and guidance to the approximately eight (8) reindeer and specifically identified the animal co-conspirators by name: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen (hereinafter “the Deer”). (Upon information and belief, it is further asserted that an additional coconspirator named “Rudolph” may have been involved.)

The party of the first part witnessed Claus, the Vehicle and the Deer intentionally and willfully trespass upon the roofs of several residences located adjacent to and in the vicinity of the House, and noted that the Vehicle was heavily laden with packages, toys and other items of unknown origin or nature. Suddenly, without prior invitation or permission, either express or implied, the Vehicle arrived at the House, and Claus entered said House via the chimney.

Said Claus was clad in a red fur suit, which was partially covered with residue from the chimney, and he carried a large sack containing a portion of the aforementioned packages, toys, and other unknown items. He was smoking what appeared to be tobacco in a small pipe in blatant violation of local ordinances and health regulations.

Claus did not speak, but immediately began to fill the stocking of the minor children, which hung adjacent to the chimney, with toys and other small gifts. (Said items did not, however, constitute “gifts” to said minors pursuant to the applicable provisions of the US Tax Code.)

Upon completion of such task, Claus touched the side of his nose and flew, rose and/or ascended up the chimney of the House to the roof where the Vehicle and Deer waited and/or served as “lookouts.” Claus immediately departed for an unknown destination.

However, prior to the departure of the Vehicle, Deer and Claus from said House, the party of the first part did hear Claus state and/or exclaim:
“Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!”
Or words to that effect.

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