What a hurry and a scurry and a flurry . . .

I’m not generally impressed by or interested in political party conventions.  They’re heavily scripted public relations exercises, designed to portray the party and its candidates in the best possible light.  However, when things go wrong, they can become a lot of fun – at least to outside spectators. I’m afraid the high jinks and shenanigans surrounding the Democratic Party convention in Philadelphia this week have been so delicious as to provoke the onset of schadenfreude.  Frankly, the consequences of the party bureaucracy’s misconduct are richly deserved, and one can only hope there’s more to come.  They deserve every bit of

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So hot!

Right now, here in northern Texas, in the small town where I live: Our geothermal air-conditioning system is working full blast, and doing a pretty good job considering the sweltering conditions, but the interior of the house is still about 8 degrees higher than it’s supposed to be. The house has absorbed so much heat today that I guess it’ll stay that way until the small hours of tomorrow morning. Tonight I’ll be sleeping nekkid on top of the sheets, for sure! Peter

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Three very important articles

In preparing my posts about the economy last Friday and Saturday, plus the one about politics yesterday, I used three articles as sources that I think capture very important aspects of the current malaise in this country.  I’d like to recommend them to your attention. The first dates back to 2010.  It’s from the American Spectator, and it’s titled ‘America’s Ruling Class — And the Perils of Revolution‘.  I’ve referred to it before in these pages on several occasions, but it’s so profound that it bears revisiting.  Here’s a brief excerpt. Never has there been so little diversity within America’s

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In defense of larger handgun calibers

In the wake of the spate of recent terrorist and criminal incidents, I’ve again been getting queries about what cartridge or caliber is ‘best’ for self-defense.  In particular, some folks with what they consider to be ‘old-fashioned’ heavier-caliber weapons are asking whether they need to go to lighter caliber equivalents that can hold more ammunition.  Whilst there are definitely factors that favor such a switch, there are others that motivate against it. I’ve written extensively about this in the past, and I don’t want to re-hash everything here;  but for the benefit of those who may have missed earlier articles,

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OK, that’s an impressive machine!

According to Popular Mechanics, this rail-laying machine “created by Austrian manufacturer Plasser & Theurer which performs all the functions of an assembly line needed to lay down miles of railroad track, with only a few workers running the process.” I wonder how many workers were replaced by that behemoth? Peter

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Trying to tax the shadow economy

The US ‘shadow economy‘ (where payments are in cash or in kind, and nothing ever gets officially reported, much less taxed) was estimated in 2012 to be as high as $2 trillion per year.  The IRS reckoned that unreported turnover and income cost it $500 billion in lost taxes.  Heaven knows how high the figures are today – but I doubt they’re any lower. All over the world, the ‘shadow economy’ is booming even as the ‘official economy’ is stagnating.  People who are shut out of the regular system are turning to the irregular alternative to survive.  A lot of

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Truth, reality and politics

If we look at US politics today, I think the underlying sentiment for many Americans is disillusionment.  They no longer trust their political leaders.  They realize they’ve been lied to for decades, treated like idiots, taken for suckers.  They’re no longer willing to accept or put up with that.  Examples are legion. The ‘official’ rate of inflation has nothing whatsoever to do with Americans’ day-by-day experience of the real cost of living (as we discussed on Friday).  The government’s economic statisticians are not just inaccurate;  they’re deliberately lying to us.  They try to excuse this by citing ‘hedonic quality adjustments‘

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The Munich terror attack

I’ve refrained from comment on yesterday’s Munich terror attack until details became clearer, because there was a lot of confusion.  However, enough has now been cleared up that we can begin to make sense of it. First off, a lot of reports are referring to it as a ‘shooting’ or ‘mass murder’.  They’re afraid to use the T-word.  ‘Terrorism’ is becoming a politically incorrect description, as these two articles show.  Personally, I think any reporter or news media eschewing that word for politically correct reasons is the epitomy of hypocrisy, cowardice and moonbattery, but I suppose they’re not interested in

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An interesting (and very large) amphibian aircraft from China

Back in the 1970’s China designed the large Harbin SH-5 amphibious maritime patrol aircraft.  Only one prototype and six production aircraft were built. Harbin SH-5 (image courtesy of Wikipedia) With China’s increased activities in the South China Sea, and the need for additional water-bombing aircraft to deal with forest fires, the country embarked on an ambitious design project for an even larger amphibious aircraft.  The prototype of the Avic TA-600 (also known as the AG-600) has just rolled off the assembly line.  Yahoo News reports: The AG600, which is about the size of a Boeing 737 and was developed by state

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