Monday, October 26, 2009

Going Dark 

I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.
--James Madison

[Insert tongue in cheek] Ya know what? If you pay attention, the average American could pretty easily become jaded with their government. Really. [remove tongue from cheek]

One of my brothers and I were having a discussion about bailouts and greed and all the bullshit that goes with it. It is abundantly clear that our various levels of government simply do not represent the individual people. They represent themselves and special interests.

Pick a topic or subject, and there is corruption involved - at least when Nanny gets her mitts on it.

But what do we do about it? I was reading a story in the Sacramento Bee this morning about millions and millions of dollars that were spent by the state government on cars and trucks that are just sitting there. No one needs them, no one uses them, but some bureaucrat knows that if you don't spend your entire annual budget, you get less money the following year.
One department still has pickup and larger trucks parked in its yard that it bought during 2006, 2007 and 2008, a Bee investigation found. The vehicles are awaiting final assembly and are undeployed.
No one will be called on the carpet for this. It will be swept under the rug with promises of tougher reforms. Then it will happen again, and again.

I read that 60 Minutes (I won't watch shit on CBS) did a story last night actually ripping government management in health care. There is a 12%-20% fraud rate - but that's only the fraud they KNOW about.

We now want to increase the size of government in health care by at least 50%. The word, "insane" does not adequately describe that consideration. In private business, it would be like putting an incompetent manager in charge of a bigger department simply because he promises to do a better job going forward.

It would never happen because you'd lose your ass, financially. Nanny doesn't have that same concern. They have no capital invested in the enterprise.

It's gonna happen, and there's not a damned thing we can do about it. Cap-and-Trade will soon follow. More bailouts, more favors, more expansion of government. Logic and responsible government have, "left the building". Regardless of how poorly it's run or how corrupt it becomes, no one will ever be held accountable.

Look what Barry is doing with his various Czars. They're all "presidential advisers" - not vetted by Congress or anyone other than Barry himself. As such, they can't be compelled to testify before Congress. These people are running the country, but we have no right to question what they're doing.

With the single exception of National Security advisers, anyone who whispers into the president's ear needs to do so publicly. Of course, everything then becomes a national security issue. I screamed long and loud when the oil companies were giving back rubs and prostrate gland massages to the Bush administration. We couldn't even get those bastards names, much less what was discussed at the meetings. "National security, you know!"

Regardless of who occupies the Oval Office, the same shit happens. Too many secrets and not enough accountability.

I guess we can just keep trying to plug along and absorb the blows. Don't prosper, just get-along.

If you go off into your own little self-sufficient property, your county will increasingly tax your ass to pay for their largess. You will need to at least occasionally buy stuff from "the world" and they'll hammer you with sales or VAT taxes. If you don't show enough income to pay for the goods you have, they'll come after you for tax evasion.

Perhaps the only hope is that the big, fat bloated government won't notice your tiny existence and will leave you alone. What a horrible way to live. Cowering so the bully doesn't kick your ass. Don't strive for excellence, settle for mediocrity.

I'm just not built that way.

I said a while back that I wanted this blog to evolve into a "things you can do" blog, and not a bitch-and-moan fest.

I try and do that with some of the prepper articles, some financial education and some political insight. But it's not enough.

The problem is, talking about the things that need to really happen tends to draw the attention of the people in power, regardless of the legality of what you're suggesting. Some guy screaming at the top of his lungs on his blog is not going to change one single thing, other than his freedom and maybe his pulse rate.

I seem to keep coming back to the Secret Freedom Fighter paper. It was published back in 1986 by Paladin Press, and is now available online. In broad terms, its philosophy is to fight-the-fight as an individual.

There's a lot I agree with and a lot I disagree with in the book. But I think the philosophy is sound - do your own shit for the sake of doing what you feel is right, not for the spot light. And keep your mouth shut about what you're doing.

When I started this blog 5 and a half years ago, I hoped to bring the rot of big government to people's attention. Things have only worsened in that period of time.

It is unrealistic to think this or any blog will "rally the troops". People will either see what's going on around them, or they won't. I cannot affect enough people to make a real difference, and my time can be better spend focusing on things that will.

So, I'm packing up my soapbox. I don't know if I'll convert it to a prepper's storage bin, or an ammo box. Probably both.

My prepper posts will continue elsewhere on my business' website. In fact, I'll probably poach most of my prepper posts from this site to the new one to help build some content quickly. I won't be publishing that URL here in an attempt to keep my business "persona" separate from my political beliefs.

I'll still drop by my favorite sites to rant and rave. My cranky ass will still be around, just not quite so visibly!

Many thanks to the couple of hundred people that stopped by here each day. Really - I cannot express my thanks enough.

Continue to stay educated on the issues, and do what it takes to get things turned around. Fight the good fight.
I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.
--Thomas Jefferson

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Green Casualties 

The whole (global warming) thing is created to destroy America's free enterprise system and our economic stability.
--Jerry Falwell

We all know we're going to see a lot more crap like this -
On October 31, 2009, the once largest aluminum plant in the world will shut down. With it goes another American industry and more American jobs. The Columbia Falls Aluminum Company in Montana will shut down its aluminum production because it cannot purchase the necessary electrical power to continue its operations.
Hmm. I wonder what's the reason for not being able to get electrical power. Surely, a place this big has made arrangements to take care of things like this.
Columbia Falls Aluminum negotiated a contract with Bonneville Power Administration in 2006 for Bonneville to supply electrical power until September 30, 2011.
See? American industry taking care of business. What could have possibly happened?
But, responding to lawsuits, the 9th US Circuit Court ruled the contract was invalid because it was incompatible with the Northwest Power Act. Therefore, the combination of the Northwest Power Act and a US Circuit Court were the final villains that caused the shutdown of Columbia Falls Aluminum.
Oh. What kind of anti-business, anti-American asshole would bring such a suit?
We need to look no further than the many environmental groups like the Sierra Club and to America's elected officials who turned their backs on American citizens and in essence themselves, for they too are citizens of this country. These officials bought into the green agenda promoted by the heavily funded environmental groups. Caving to pressure, they passed laws and the environmental groups filed lawsuits that began turning off the lights in America. The dominos stated to fall.
Read the rest of the article. You'll see how as early as 1988, the EPA was laying the groundwork for the CO2 horseshit.
I was the first to raise my hand to ask a question, "How can you defend your global warming hypothesis when you have omitted the effects of clouds which affect heat balance far more than carbon dioxide, and when your hypothesis contradicts the paper by Lee in the Journal of Applied Meteorology in 1972 that shows the atmosphere does not behave like a greenhouse?"

He answered me by saying, "You do not know what you are talking about. I know more about how the atmosphere works than you do."

Not being one to drop out of a fight, I responded, "I know many of the atmospheric scientists in this room, and many others who are not present but I do not know you. What is your background and what makes you know so much more than me?"

He answered, "I know more than you because I am a lawyer and I work for the EPA."
I hope you all have a way of providing for your own power, heat, and probably food. In the very near future, getting any of them commercially is going to be increasingly difficult and costly.

But it's for your own good, you silly, stupid citizen. Be thankful for the people we have showing us The Way.

I'm sure the 200 workers at the Columbia Falls plan are very thankful, indeed.

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Number 100 

The 100th bank to fail this year happened today -
Partners Bank, Naples, Florida, was closed today by the Office of Thrift Supervision, which appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as receiver. To protect the depositors, the FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with Stonegate Bank, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to assume all of the deposits of Partners Bank.
More green sprouts for Florida, huh?

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Feel Good Nonsense 

Whoever is detected in a shameful fraud is ever after not believed even if they speak the truth.
--Phaedrus (Roman fabulist, 15-50 B.C.)

Pond Scum is going to save the world! The eco-freaks are talking up algae as a way to suck up evil CO2 from the air AND provide a fuel source. It's a miracle!
Driven by fluctuations in oil prices, and seduced by the prospect of easing climate change, experts are ramping up efforts to squeeze fuel out of a promising new organism: pond scum.
Yeah. There are a couple of problems, though. First off, there's the whole "great CO2 suckers" thing. After the algae eats up the CO2, then what? If you burn it to produce heat, the CO2 is returned to the atmosphere. If you somehow squeeze the fat out of the algae, what do you do with the now CO2-riddled fat-less algae sludge? Bury it (like evil nuclear waste)? Feed it to cattle (only to be farted out as methane, and even scarier Green House Gas)?

And then there's the whole "cost" thing -
Even though algae grows like gangbusters, it currently costs up to 100 dollars to make a gallon of algal fuel-- hardly a savings.
Hey, price is no object when you're saving the world, right?

These pinheads need to do some significant research into the term, "unintended consequences". When you start dicking around trying to force-feed a solution, shit happens. Just off the top of my head, they'll need to figure out what land to set aside for this, where will they get the fresh water for the scum to live in, and how much will our taxes be increased to pay for this (see: Ethanol from corn for supporting documentation).

Hey, I'll help the cause. I nominate DC as the land mass to be used. Plenty of pond scum is already in place (sorry, that was too easy to pass up!).

Talk about, "Passing The Buck" -
The Federal Reserve would police banks' pay policies to ensure they don't encourage employees to take reckless gambles like those that contributed to the financial crisis, according to a proposal unveiled Thursday.
So the government in general, and the Federal Reserve in particular were major, MAJOR drivers of the policies that put us in the current national financial crisis. What does any good political body do? It attempts to divert attention from its culpability, and blame someone else. In this case, it's the Evil Banks.

The Fed and their Bank Regulator bretheren were responsible for monitoring and REGULATING the business activities of the banking system. The system has gone to hell in a hand-basket, WHILE THEY WERE IN CHARGE, but they had nothing to do with the problems? Right.

It's like a parent who tells their kid not to smoke pot, but who gives them money to score some weed. As long as the kid brings mom and dad a little reefer for their troubles, things are good.

When the kid gets busted for selling the pot, the parents protest to the judge that they tried their best to raise good kids, but the little rascals just wouldn't listen. They're going to immediately add more house rules, and their weekly allowance is going to be cut in half.

A wise judge would throw the book at the parents for providing an environment that encouraged reckless behavior and lawlessness. Instead, the judge - the American people - will applaud the "decisive actions" of the parents. But the money will still flow and the drugs will still be bought, and after a time, things will be back to normal.

A nice, dysfunctional American family.

Got Threat?
"The danger to progressive causes and the institution of journalism [ed. - Insert chortle] has become too significant to ignore," says the introduction to a memo by Media Matters founder David Brock. "At Media Matters, we believe it is of paramount importance that progressive leaders have the information necessary to understand exactly what Fox News has become. We hope this brief memorandum will assist you in reaching your own decision on how best to engage this threat."
Forget that whole, "First Amendment" thing. Forget media objectivity. Forget vigorous debate.

If you're not parading with the Obama Marching Band and Smothering Debt Society, you are an insect that must be crushed.

Tune up those instruments and play along! It feels sooooo good! Enjoy yourself now - we'll send you the bill later...

Got Home?
Nationally, sales of existing homes jumped almost 8 percent from September last year, without adjusting for seasonal factors.
Woo Hoo! Life is good, things are peachy-keen and Viagra is no longer needed in America!

What? There's a sub-text?
Real estate agents and economists attributed the brisk sales to a temporary federal tax credit. First-time homebuyers can receive a credit of 10 percent of the sales price, up to $8,000.
Oh. Nanny, once again, was standing on the street corner handing out $100 bills and people actually accepted them?! Shocking.

It's funny, but as a taxpayer, I've now bought banks, car companies, insurance companies, private automobiles and private homes. I have yet to receive my stock certificates, car title or property title. I get the liabilities but not the assets.

What up wit dat?

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

TVP Test 

I didn't fight my way to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian.

When searching for dehydrated or freeze-dried foods for our preps, I kept running into Textured Vegetable Protein, or TVP. It is a dried soy product designed to act as a vegetarian meat substitute. Most of us have eaten TVP and not realized it. Many "bacon bits" are actually flavored TVP.

The stuff I saw was either beef or chicken flavored, or plain. I noticed that my grocery store was selling the plain stuff in the bulk section, so I picked up a couple of pounds to test out.

TVP is very healthy food. If I'm doing my math right, it has about half the protein as an equal portion (by weight after re-hydration) but twice the value, as chicken breast.

[Snap to! Pay attention here!]

1 1/4 cups of dried TVP combined with 1 1/4 cups of boiling water will roughly give you a pound of TVP "meat".

The TVP costs approximately $2.50 a pound, dry. The 1 1/4 cups of dry TVP weighs approximately 4 ounces (or a quarter pound). To get a pound of TVP "meat" costs $0.63 ($2.50/4). You get 60 grams of protein in that pound (12 grams per quarter cup dry, times 5, one-quarter cup portions), at a cost of about a penny per gram.

Raw, boneless chicken breast costs approximately $2 per pound. You get 108 grams of protein in that pound (27 grams per quarter pound portion), at about two pennies per gram.

Soooooo, TVP is about twice as protein-rich on a penny-for-penny basis when compared to chicken breast.

[OK, you can nod off again...]

So, it appears to be a good value, but if it tastes like crap, who cares? It has to be something you'll eat and use to actually have value.

Here's what the stuff looks like before being re-hydrated -

It's kind of a dry, crunchy breakfast cereal texture. You add equal volumes of boiling water, cover it and let it sit for 10 minutes before using. It puffs up in volume by about 75%. A cup and a quarter of the stuff puffed up to about 2 and a quarter cups of "meat".

The smell and taste of the re-hydrated stuff was OK. I can't tell you what it was like, but it wasn't unpleasant. Perhaps along the lines of cooked, unflavored chicken breast - pretty non-descript.

I took the re-hydrated TVP, added one egg, a tablespoon of flour and a teaspoon of beef bullion and made up a "burger" patty. I wanted to see what the stuff tasted like with just a bit of seasoning.

It browned up pretty well, though it was a little "crumbly" in texture -

Not bad in taste, but nothing to write home about.

Most of the 100% vegetarian recipes I had viewed were heavy on the spices and herbs. I took the remaining "meat" and added a bunch of Mexican-food spices - cumin, red pepper flakes, a bit of chile powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.

I decided to pan fry it to resemble diced meat for tacos or burritos -

It was much tastier than the patty, although the texture would not fool anyone into thinking it was ground beef or chicken. It looked, smelled and tasted very good.

The vast majority of recipes I found for TVP used them as a meat extender. The recipes called for anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 addition of TVP. I decided to make up some Italian sausage using 2 pounds of pork and 1 pound (re-hydrated weight) of TVP.

I added approximately a tablespoon each of fennel seed, dehydrated diced garlic, dehydrated diced onion, and dehydrated parsley, two teaspoons of salt, plus a teaspoon each of red pepper flakes, black pepper and onion powder.

I made up a patty to check for flavor -

It was moist, tender and friggin' delicious! The only "give-away" was that the crust was a bit more crunchy than a normal sausage patty.

Emboldened by my success, I made up a couple dozen meatballs for dinner -

They were absolutely indistinguishable from "regular" meatballs.

Since I added the TVP, I didn't add any bread crumbs to the normal recipe. They were incredibly moist and flavorful.

Most importantly, they got Two-Thumbs-Up from my family.

TVP will absolutely, positively be added to our preps. It's a great high protein, low weight, low cost addition.

I also definitely see it being added to our regular food menus in things like sausage or anything that needs ground meat such as tacos, meat sauces, lasagna and the like. It will simply be used as an extender of real meat, but probably not be used by itself.

TVP - It's not just for bacon bits anymore!

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

New Sheriff In Town 

It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.
--James Madison

I live in a Northern Californian county called Contra Costa. We are the third largest county in the SF Bay Area. With nearly 1 million residents (of the 6.7 million in the Bay Area) we're one of the Big Dogs on the block.

Our current Sheriff is retiring. This guy is a piece of work - at least regarding 2A rights. Basically, the only way you can get a Concealed Carry Permit is to be a part of the Sheriff's Posse. Even then, it's not guaranteed, even if you meet all of the other state standards.

There is at least one person who has officially thrown his hat into the ring for the job. David Livingston is the current Chief of Police of our county's largest city. There looks like there will be at least one other candidate - a current Lieutenant of the Sheriff's department.

I just sent Livingston this letter seeking his views on basic 2A rights:
Mr. Livingston,

I am a long-time resident of Contra Costa County, having lived here for 35 years, including the past 21 in Eastern Contra Costa. I am an NRA Certified Pistol Instructor, and Second Amendment rights are very important to me.

I would appreciate a response to the following questions:

1. Concealed Carry Permits allow law-abiding citizens to legally carry a handgun to defend themselves, their family and others in the community in the event a criminal chooses to harm or kill others. As you are no doubt aware, the state of California gives the Sheriff the ability to grant these Permits. Many counties in the state are considered, "Shall Issue" counties - as long as the applicant meets the requirements (demonstrate firearms proficiency, not a felon, etc.), they are granted a Permit.

Three parts: (A) If you are elected Sheriff, under what conditions will you issue Concealed Carry Permits? (B) Assuming an applicant meets all other applicable standards, will you consider, "Self Defense" as "Good cause" for granting a Permit? (C) Do you support laws similar to the AB 357 which would have made California a "Shall Issue" state?

2. The California Legislature recently passed AB 962 which will require, among other things, that law abiding citizens submit to registration and finger printing whenever they wish to purchase ammunition in this state. As with any law, the criminals affected by it will disregard it. They're criminals. California already has myriad laws addressing penalties for criminals buying or possessing ammunition. AB 962 will ONLY be followed by law abiding citizens. Since they are allowed to purchase and possess ammunition, it is a pointless intrusion into our lives and an invasion of our privacy.

Two parts: (A) What are your views on AB 962? (B) Will you support the NRA's and other Second Amendment Rights organizations in working to overturn this law before it goes into effect?

The same questions will be posed to anyone else that decides to run for the position of Sheriff. I will share your responses with my 1,400 fellow members of the Diablo Rod and Gun Club.

Thank you for your time.

The Other Mike S.
I'll pass along any responses. I'm not hopeful. His current city is as liberal as they come in Contra Costa.

Plus, I probably just put myself on an Enemies List. Oh well, now is not the time to go quietly into the night...

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Head Shakin' Crap 

The headline:
Homebuilder Confidence in U.S. Unexpectedly Decreases
Huh? Unexpected by whom? US banks hold literally MILLIONS of foreclosed and other non-performing homes on their books, waiting for the market to turn, and new home builders are surprised no one wants their high-priced stuff? Really?!
The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo confidence index declined to 18 from a reading of 19 in September that was the highest in more than a year, the Washington-based association said today. Figures less than 50 mean most respondents view conditions as poor.
Oh. So the home builders have a pretty damned pessimistic view of the market - a realistic view. Who, then, is fanning the Happy News flames?
The builder confidence index was forecast to rise to 20 this month, according to the median of 44 estimates of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Projections ranged from 18 to 21. The gauge, which was first published in January 1985, averaged 16 last year.
Ahhh. Green eyeshaded "intellectuals" in conjunction with a news organization are the ones who are surprised. Who would have ever guessed THAT?

Idiots and propagandists.

Is the White House starting to believe its own propaganda? Who is the brain surgeon that decided it was a good idea to personalize their distaste of Fox News?

They're all using the Talking Points memo that told them to question whether or not Fox News was a news organization.
And White House political guru David Axelrod, who had coffee a few weeks ago in New York with Fox News founder Roger Ailes, told ABC that Fox News is "really not news. ... Other news organizations like yours ought not to treat them that way. We're not going to treat them that way."
You know you've seriously stepped on your own dick when even your stalwart propaganda outlets like the LA Times are questioning the sanity of your actions.
But some are wondering if this is smart politics. Given that Fox News boasts a far larger audience than cable competitors CNN and MSNBC, and given that most elections are decided by independents who might occasionally watch FNC, the strategy could backfire.

“It's a very risky strategy,” perennial presidential advisor David Gergen said recently on CNN. “It's not one I would advocate.”
Ya think? Me, I strongly recommend they continue. The more they injure themselves, the less we have to do.

I've got an upcoming test of TVP - Textured Vegetable Protein. For some reason recently, I been seeing all kinds of articles on the stuff. My local grocery store sells it in bulk, so I'll play Lab Rat for (most of) you guys.

If it's even marginally tasty, I'll add some to my preps as it looks to be a great high-protein product that stores very well.

If I get ambitious, I'll make up some Wheat Meat (meat-like gluten from wheat) and compare the two. Go here to take a look at the test I already did with the wheat gluten.

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

OMG! We win!

Jamarcus sux. Can the D hold?

13-9 with 6mins left. Nailbiter.

C-bass got us 3 more - 13-6

Still ten-6 after 3. Still hope.

Phillys placekicker is as bad as Jamarcus.

Ten-6 Raiders @ the half. Despite Jamarcus. Cool.

7-3 Raiders after one qtr. WTF?

Horrible horrible call by refs

Zack Miller rocks!

Jamarcus int. Could he b any worse?

Raiders 3 n out? Shocking.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Fil-Am dance. Take me now, Lord!


Biddy Day... 

I'm on the run today and tomorrow.

I'm teaching an Advanced Pistol student this morning, finalizing the training agreement with the new gun shop, helping a buddy move his office, then attending a Filipino/American dinner dance this evening (WTF?!).

Yesterday, I was able to get 10 more pounds of meat canned up - 8 of ham and two of chicken. It was tough not eating chunks of the ham - it was an uncooked, raw ham. Obviously, it had the salt and other flavorings already present, so it smelled great as I was chunking it up!

Tomorrow, I go to the Raiders game to watch them get their asses kicked - In person! They are 14 point underdogs at home. I'm going to try and post some crap while the game is playing. I tried it at the last home game and it didn't work. We'll see...

We're playing Philly tomorrow. I was looking forward to seeing the Dog Killing Bastard, Michael Vick play, but it looks like McNabb returned in fine form last week.

I'm a little conflicted, though. I was planning on bringing my Michael Vick Dog Chew Toy to the game. You know, all in support of Michael and all.

The problem is, he's wearing his old Atlanta jersey. What to do, what to do????

I'm sure I would be called a racist for having his likeness chewed up by a dog.



Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cold Packed Meat 

Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.

Before I get started, a bit of a heads up: I'm on a bunch of prepper mailing lists. There is a guy out there that sells seeds for survival (hint, hint). I bought some of his seeds and was/am very happy with the purchase.

I'm on one of his mailing lists. He recently sent out an email touting a new gig he has - dehydrated foods. He has a special offer of a year's worth of food -for two people - for $595 plus $50 shipping.

Sounded great. Almost too great.

I did some math based upon the nutritional information on his site for the foods you get. I sent him this email message -
How can you say this is enough food for two people for one year? Based upon the published numbers on your site, the total calories provided by your package is 224,215. For two people, that would be 307 calories per day per person. No one can survive on that. This isn't enough food for one person for a year, let alone two.
I am still waiting for a reply explaining a mistake in the numbers or in the claims, but none has yet been received, so I wanted to give you all the information in case you got the same email pitch.

Caveat emptor.

Alright, on to the star of the show - Cold Packed Meat.

A while ago, Hermit did a post on how he did a test by living on his prep foods for something like 4 months straight. He had a lot of great information about how it worked out.

One of the things he noted was how he went through his canned meat faster than he had expected. This struck a cord with me. I've got meat in my preps, but my instincts tell me I don't have enough in terms of volume and variety.

I currently have Spam, corned beef, chicken, clams and sardines in my preps. They are all store-bought meats. In reality, I'm probably the only one that would willingly eat the Spam and sardines.

I've Hot Packed meat before. You brown the meat up, put it in hot jars, cover with a broth and pressure cook it. I liked the hamburger I did this way. Virtually no difference between regular and jarred meat once the jarred stuff is warmed up.

Where I was disappointed was when I Hot Packed chunks of meat. In my case, I did it to beef and pork. To my tastebuds, it was too dry and crumbly. My hope was to have the meat more resemble the texture of meat when you put it in a stew or similar dish - moist and juicy.

I had read about Cold Packed Meat. With this technique, you pack the raw meat into cold jars. The only thing you add is a bit of salt to the jar. After it cooks up, the meat is left in its own juices. My understanding was that it would be more tender, as it was only cooked ONCE - in the jar.

So, I cut up a bunch of beef, pork and chicken breast -

Each pint jar got nothing more than 1/4 teaspoon of salt. They were packed to within an inch of the rim. I put them in the pressure canner at 10 pounds pressure for 75 minutes.

Here's a representative sample of each meat after cooking -

Left to right, that's pork, chicken and beef.

One of the things I got conflicting information on was how tightly to pack the jars with the meat chunks. Some said to pack them tightly, some said to pack them loosely. My gut said to do it loosely, as it would ensure that the meat near the center of the jars was fully cooked.

The pork and beef, being more "rigid" meats, packed loosely. The chicken breast naturally packed down more tightly.

As it turns out, tight packing is the way to go. When the meat cooks, it shrinks. Look at the pork and beef jars. The meat is sticking out above the juice line. It was VERY dry. Also, the beef and pork shrink up much more than the chicken.

In general, the texture of all of the meats was similar to commercially canned tuna. Very flaky.

From upper right, moving clockwise - Chicken, Beef, Pork. Of all the meats, the pork was the juiciest (the part that remained under the juice). Chicken was next, and the beef seemed to suck the moisture out of my mouth!

It looks like I'm not going to get my moist, juicy chunks-o-meat. The jarred meat will have to be used more as an accompaniment to a meal rather than being the main star. It (and the awesome juices) will be added to rice, barley and potato dishes, plus stews and soups.

I took some of the chicken and made chicken salad sandwiches. Mayo, relish, salt and pepper. Honestly, it was the best chicken salad I've ever had. Really great stuff.

The Cold Pack method was much easier. You don't need to cook the meat first. Nor do you need to first make up a broth. Chop, stuff and cook. Easy peezy.

It takes a bit less than 1 pound of meat to fill a pint jar. Figure you'll need to buy a pound per jar, as you need to trim off as much fat from the meat as possible prior to cooking.

So, if you're going to do Cold Packed meat, be sure to tightly pack the meat, especially with beef and pork. Since the meat is going to breakdown anyway, cut it into smaller pieces to start with. This will aid in the tight packing, and ensure there is enough natural juice produced to keep all of the meat covered in the jar.

After the first experiment, I cooked up 4 more jars of chicken breast, and they turned out great. I'm heading to the store today and if there is pork or beef on sale, I'll buy up a bunch to put into the jars.

My next experiment will be with my homemade Italian sausage. I want to see how they will hold up in the jars. As I understand it, you need to brown and partially cook sausages before jarring.

I need to try jarring fish as well. They've been having sales on whole salmon, so maybe I'll give it a shot. I'll post the results whenever I get around to the tests.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Campaign For Liberty 

Email, received today -

Dear Friend of Liberty,

For far too long, the Republican Party has been controlled by the “neoconservatives,” those who readily abandon the free market at the drop of a hat if it means expanding government power and who think the United States should be the policeman of the world. They want us to support those who throw substance and principle to the wind in favor of political expediency.

Last Monday night, Senator Lindsey Graham reiterated his disdain for Ron Paul and limited government conservatives at a town hall when he said that he was not going to allow the Republican Party to be “hijacked by Ron Paul.”

Instead, he thinks we should get behind those who he tells us “can win,” even if it means abandoning every belief we hold dear in the process.

In addition to his afternoon appearance on Judge Napolitano’s Freedom Watch, Congressman Paul will be responding to the neoconservatives on The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer tonight at 6 pm eastern and also on MSNBC’s The Ed Show at 6:30 pm eastern.

CNN has shared with my staff that they want to hear from you on this issue. Contact The Situation Room and let them know you think neoconservatism has had its day and it is time for our elected officials to stick to the Constitution.

In our efforts over the past two years, we have made it clear we will no longer be silent while those who claim to believe in limited government and freedom behave exactly the opposite and help run our country into the ground.

The freedom movement is growing larger every day, and we will take our country back without abandoning our principles to do so.

In Liberty,

John Tate


Make your voices heard.

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The big post on my canning test is going to have to wait until tomorrow (very interesting stuff, at least to me!), as I am slammed against the wall right now.

I had a scheduled 30-minute interview about a magazine article on my company. It turned into a 2-hour lovefest (in a professional way, of course!). The writer was actually selling my company to the Editorial Director!

In addition to throwing them some article ideas and data (hopefully for a January or April article), I was given the opportunity to be the keynote speaker at a Rotary Club function (invited by the Editorial Director) and another business schmooze-fest. My mug and business will be in front of a couple hundred business owners, politicians and business movers-and-shakers.


On top of that, I need to get the SOPs over to my new firing range partners so we can get classes moving. Oh, and the script is done for the video I'm putting together, so shooting will start this weekend (weather permitting).

It's a great feeling to have all of this crap finally moving forward. I'm staying "cautiously optimistic" - I have to assume some of this stuff will fall apart - but it appears at least some of the parts are beginning to gel.

Rain, wind and stormy weather? Not here, baby!



Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hodge Podge, Potpourri and Mishmash 

We journalists make it a point to know very little about an extremely wide variety of topics; this is how we stay objective.
--Humorist Dave Barry

A buddy sent me this link. Whew! Sure am glad THAT'S all over....
Latest survey conducted by the National Association for Business Economics, which was released on Monday, explains that over 80% of economists hold a viewpoint that recession has ended and expansion has commenced.
I wonder if it's the same group of Nanny drones that believe the world's going to melt from Global Warming. A trustworthy and objective group if ever one existed...

How disturbing is this? Not for what is says, but for what it doesn't say?
On both its news and opinion programming Monday, the Fox News Channel responded to the White House’s portrayal of the network as a part of the political opposition.
Fox is the ONLY network, newspaper or other media outlet being identified as confrontational. Isn't ALL of the press supposed to be that way? Isn't that their job?

Apparently, the White House views all other media outlets as compliant allies. That's the opposite of "the opposition," right?

TOR motivated me to bake yesterday. He's been talking about making bread. Yesterday, I made a big pot of beans for dinner, and decided a loaf (or two) of bread would go nicely with them.

After kneeding and prior to the first rise -

After the first rise -

After forming and the third rise (there is a second one done in the bowl) -

Ready for butter, beans and my belly!

There are few things that smell better than a home filled with the aroma of beans and fresh-baked bread. Maybe turkey and stuffing roasting in the oven, but not many others.

There were no survivors..... ;-)

A first for me with the beans: I made them in my pressure canner. I had forgotten to soak them the night before, and the morning had gotten away from me, so I couldn't do a mini-boil and rest.

On the package of Navy beans, they gave instructions for making them in a pressure canner.

One pound of dry beans, five cups of water and whatever spices you want are all dumped into the pot. I also added a jar of homemade canned beef. Cover it, set the canner to 15lbs of weight and let it go for an hour and a half.

They came out perfectly. I was actually kind of surprised they were so tender and fully cooked.

I'm doing a major (for me) canning test today that I'll post tomorrow.

We're getting HAMMERED by rain and wind. It is the tail-end of the typhoon that just hit Japan. We're supposed to get up to 5 inches of rain over the next 24 hours.

We really need the rain, but why all at the same time! I know our farmers will really like the downpour, though. It's the wind I hate so much...

Good news: I was able to secure an agreement with one of the local gun shops - I'm now doing all of the training for them! We're working out the mechanics (scheduling students, whose credit card system will be used, etc) and should have the first classes scheduled near the end of the month or early November. Sweet!

Also, tomorrow I have an interview with a regional magazine to talk about personal safety, risk management and the like. If it goes well, my biz may be featured in an article in the magazine.

I'll take all the free publicity I can get!

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Arnold Schwarzenegger Is A C*%ksucking Whore 

Mike, tell us how you REALLY feel.

The Democrat governor with a Republican business card - Arnold Schwarzenegger - has signed into law AB 962. It will require, among other things, that law abiding California citizens now be fingerprinted before they buy ammunition for their self-defense weapons. It will also prohibit the purchase of ammunition from online sources.
"The purchase records will provide our police officers with yet another tool to track down and apprehend armed and dangerous criminals," said Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
Really, Paul? How might that work? How in the fuck will this law result in the capture of one, single bad guy? They'll all know they will have to be finger printed to buy ammo. Do you REALLY think they'll do that? Really?

Bad guys will do one of three things: They will have their flunkies buy their ammo; They will steal the ammo from gun shops or homeowners, or; They'll do like I will be doing - taking my business to Nevada or Oregon.

The result? The bad guys will still get their ammo, crimes at businesses and home to get ammo will increase, and tax dollars will now be going - once again - to another state.

You God Damned mother fuckers have your heads so far up your asses, it is a wonder you can function without parental assistance. And you are 'God Damned', in the truest sense of the phrase. God looks negatively upon people who put other people in danger for no good reason. The 'mother fucker' part is supposition on my part.

Arnold, you were finally showing some backbone by standing up to the unions and Democrats with the budget. You had spent all of your two terms acting as a member of the Kennedy family. You amazingly stood up for actual Constitutional principles in the last stretch of your term. I figured you were not worried about getting elected again, so you could actually LEAD and not cower.

Clearly, I was wrong. You're a Kennedy bitch. Heel, bitch. You clearly have already been trained to roll over.

Some other bills The Kennedy Bitch approved:

-- Senate Bill 43 by Sen. Elaine Alquist, D-San Jose, allowing Santa Clara to award a contract to design and build a proposed 49ers stadium to a firm of the team's choice - rather than to the lowest bidder as normally required under city law.

Do you THINK there may have been some unmarked bills handed around to get this approved? Why would you want to allow for anything other than the lowest bidder? You write the proposal to include required safety, quality and materials standards, and get the lowest bidder.

--Senate Bill 572, by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, would declare May 22 as Harvey Milk Day in California. Schools and government offices would remain open, the day would not be a holiday, but schools would be encouraged to conduct commemorative exercises to remember the life of the former San Francisco county supervisor and gay-rights pioneer.

California school tax dollars at work. Do you think that crap like this might contribute to the fact that California has the highest per-student spending, but is number 47 in results. What might help change that? Learning more math, or learning about a gay guy in San Francisco?

I need to have another SERIOUS chat with my wife. This state is simply too far gone, and continues to make incredibly poor decisions. Seriously, it is amazing to watch - how a group of people in Sacramento can so consistently make bad choices, despite the indisputable evidence that their choices are ruining our state.

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Odds and Ends 

This lady rocks. She is a firearms instructor that specializes in teaching women how to shoot. She has found a market niche, and is filling it. Good on ya.

A couple of months back, I noticed a problem women students were having in the range - particularly indoor ranges. They were much more jumpy and jittery than the men. Much more. I did some internet searches and came across her site.

One of her articles was talking about this. She made the observation that gun shot reports are in the lower "pitch" range. Just like mens voices. She hypothesized that this was triggering some sort of primeval "danger" response in the women, which in turn manifest itself as excess jitteriness on the range.

I needed a way to acclimate the women to the sounds prior to entering the range.

To test this, I brought a digital recorder to the range with me, and recorded about 3 minutes of gun shots. With new, female students, while we are doing some of the hands-on drills BEFORE we enter the range, I have them wear headsets with the recorded gun shots being played.

So far, it seems to be working!

I don't know if it has anything to do with getting them used to the lower pitch, or if it is just giving them a taste of what's to come. I don't care! If students are less jittery while on the firing line, I'm less likely to have someone freak-out and cause a problem.

She had an article that was her own version of The No Buy Zone. Her focus is on anti-Second Amendment companies.

She's singin' to the choir on that one! Give it a look-see. And boycott those businesses.

Many people know that JP Morgan Chase bought WAMU. I am/was a WAMU customer.

They are in the midst of the conversion from WAMU to Chase. Having been in banking for a million years, I understand how conversions go. Stuff NEVER goes perfectly. Never.

How you handle those screw-up tells what kind of company you're dealing with.

I went to my branch on Friday to make a deposit. I always use the ATM machines. These had been swapped out months ago and converted to the Chase machines.

I put in my card, punched in my numbers and got to the main screen. There was no "deposit" option. I figured I had pushed some wrong button, so I re-did everything. Same result.

I got in line and when I got to the teller, I was terse, but polite. I let him know what had happened. His explanation turned me verbose and rude.

He said, "Oh yeah. We JUST found out about that 45 MINUTES ago."

I proceeded to tell him - and everyone else in line - that I had just pissed away 10 minutes on their machine (they're MUCH slower now). If it was not taking deposits, why didn't they put a sign on the machine stating this?

He said, "OK. Oh, the other machine works just fine."

Thankful that I was constrained by California law from carrying a weapon (jk), I said, even louder, "Do I look like the Amazing Kreskin? Am I supposed to get brain-waves from the ATM telling me which one accepts deposits?"

I got lots of chuckles from the people in line behind me. My work here was done.

I stopped watching the Raider game mid-way through the second quarter. At this time, they are behind 28-0, and it's not even half time. A top-notch Youth Football team could kick their asses today.

JaMarcus Russell is still their quarterback because.....?

They must already be eying the 2010 draft choices...

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

'The One' Will Fix Everything 

The trouble with government regulation of the market is that it prohibits capitalistic acts between consenting adults.
-- Robert Nozick

Reported on Fox News this morning (I have not verified it - sounds about right, though):

The Dow Jones is up 55% in the past year.

When accounted for in Euros, it is up only 20% (the dollar is weaker against the Euro).

When accounted for in gold, it is flat...


OK, I did some quickee math. Gold is ONLY up 48% in the past year. Pretty damned close to what Fox said.

What's this telling you? That the value of the stock market - which is denominated in dollars - has produced no actual increase in wealth. It has been effectively "discounted" by a corresponding increase in a tangible asset, gold.

Barry, Barry, Barry..... more smoke and mirrors. He's rushing ahead, arms a-flailin' in the wind, with the creation of some uber-regulatory agency for banks. Sure, that'll fix all our ills -
With a key vote nearing, the president slams banks and business groups, saying they want only "to maintain the status quo that has maximized their profits at the expense of American consumers."
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Banks are evil, government is good. We've heard it before. We don't need another regulator. We need a return to sanity. We need to reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act which was gutted under Billy Jeff Clinton.

Ten years of history crammed into a few paragraphs: In the late 1990's, commercial banks wanted to offer other products such as insurance and (more importantly) Investment Banking services. Glass-Steagall prevented that. The (sane) concept being that you wanted to keep the job of protecting people's insured deposits separate from the very risky business of gambling in the stock market. The law had been around since the 1930's.

Billy Jeff cut a deal with the bankers and congress: I'll drop Glass-Steagall, but I get a CRA (Community Reinvestment Act) on steroids. The Gramm/Leach/Bliley (GLBA) act was passed to meet these ends. Everyone was happy.

The charter of the CRA was expanded to force banks to either directly give money to the poor communities in their area, or....... make loans to people than did not meet the usual credit underwriting requirements of the bank (sub-prime). Income redistribution at its grandest.

The banks figured they could potentially make a couple of bucks by doing the loans - SOME of the borrowers would pay them back, plus they had the real property securing the loan.

It was working, but not in the volumes congress wanted. The final stab into our national financial heart was congress getting Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to guarantee these CRA loans. By having the Freddie/Fannie guarantees, the banks could now sell these loans to investors. If the borrower went tits-up, the government would cover their losses (yes, the market has always believed Freddie and Fannie to be government agencies and this was reinforced when they were both bailed out).

There was no down-side to banks making these loans or to the investors buying them. Nanny guaranteed their performance.

Because anyone that could steam up a mirror could now "afford" a home, prices went through the roof. Supply and demand was working perfectly. Demand outstripped supply, which forced up prices.

The result is the mess we're in. Banks and investors holding non-paying loans with collateral that doesn't cover the outstanding balances. They now won't make any loans because they can't count on the value of the collateral backing a loan (or whether a business will still BE in business before the loan is paid back).

The residential real estate market crashing because of loan defaults and the sudden flood of foreclosed properties on the market. The commercial property market following the same pattern very soon. Supply and demand at work once again.

You and me providing tax dollars to bailout the failing banks and their investors.

The fix is as easy as it is unlikely: Reinstate Glass-Steagall, discontinue the CRA and have Freddie and Fannie only guarantee Conforming Loans (loans with a fixed maximum value and with a Loan-To-Value ratio of no more than 80%).

The commercial banks will be back in the business of only taking deposits and making creditworthy loans. The Investment Banks will be back in the business of only gambling on the stock market. Freddie and Fannie will be back in the business of only providing liquidity to the markets.

Of course, this will never happen. Greed and politics won't allow it. The banks would whine (and lobby) about having to divest their Investment arms and make dire predictions of imminent collapse. Congress, through the CRA, would no longer have the ability to redistribute wealth to "deserving, disadvantaged" people. Give up that kind of power?! Right.

Instead, we'll get another smothering bureaucracy that will further nationalize our banking system. Banks will be required to make crappy loans, which you and I will continue to guarantee with our tax dollars. The cost of credit to creditworthy individuals and businesses will continue to rise - when it's available at all - because banks won't make as many loans if they're not guaranteed.

The One will save us again. Give him another Peace Prize as thanks.

Have I mentioned that you should buy some gold and silver? Real estate, too, while it's at these rock-bottom prices, and you'll be able to repay with soon-to-be hyper-inflated dollars. Tangibles. Get some tangible assets.

Just checkin'...

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Friday, October 09, 2009

Mockery and Paranoia? 

Paranoia will get you through times of no enemies better than enemies will get you through times of no paranoia.
-- Pete Granger

I had this big post planned to slam Barry and the Peace Prize. Comparing it to T-ball for little kids. You're getting recognized for not doing anything special. Just show up, and you're rewarded.

But what are you gonna do? These idiots can give a Peace Prize to Al Gore for bald-faced lies on Global Warming, and Barry for his "aspirations", if they want to. It's their "prize". It's just too bad that it gets so much press. With some of their latest choices, I'm guessing the "blush is off the rose" - hell, Barry just came out and said he wasn't worthy!

The word, "mockery" comes to mind...

Is it because I'm jittery, or does it seem like there are A LOT more incidents of over-bearing government actions?

The crap I watched happening in Pittsburgh during the G20 crap was truly frightening. I'm not talking about the anarchists that were purposely flaunting certain laws and trashing shit. I'm talking about people getting snatched up off the street and being shoved into cars - without being arrested or given their rights. I'm talking about college students being trapped in stairwells and being gassed. I'm talking about people just standing on the street and cops on bicycles hosing them down with pepper spray.


We all saw the videos of old ladies in New Orleans being roughed up and having her guns confiscated - all while the cops were "bugging out". Thousands of other guns were confiscated, and the government lied, denying that any of them existed.

Look at this shit - these people were a part of a food co-op and back in December of 2008 had all of their goods confiscated by Nanny by a SWAT team.

It sounds like the cops justified the confiscations on the grounds of some bullshit Health And Safety crap, plus they wanted them to get a retail food license. Yep, always gotta have the cut for Nanny, don't ya know...
Thompson explained the genesis of the raid was a series of visits to the family by an undercover agent for the state agriculture agency.

"He showed up (at the Stowers' residence) unannounced one day," Thompson explained, and "pretended" to be interested in purchasing food.

The family explained the co-op was private and they couldn't provide service to the stranger.

The agent then returned another day, stayed for two hours, and explained how he thought his sick mother would be helped by eggs from range-fed chickens to which the Stowers had access.

The family responded that they didn't sell food and couldn't help. When he refused to leave, the family gave him a dozen eggs to hasten his departure, Thompson explained.

Despite protests from the family, the agent left some money on a counter and departed.

On the basis of that transaction, the Stowers were accused of engaging in the retail sale of food, Thompson said.
Can you say, "entrapment"?

Why would you need a SWAT team to serve papers on a house that is a member of a food co-op? Was there EVER any indication there might be violence?

It seems like every small town in America now has a SWAT team. They get all suited up like Star Wars Storm Troopers and go kick some ass!

These people look like a couple of "old hippies" who just want to live a simple life. A group of like-minded people and farms got together to make their lives easier. That's a crime now?

They offended some bureaucrat and all hell broke loose.

These people were able to get legal representation and are suing the ass off the government, but at what cost? They had a year's worth of personal food stolen, plus the co-op has been in disarray in the interim. Nanny wins regardless of the outcome. Don't fuck with us.

There are entire websites devoted to this topic, yet nothing seems to be changing. The MSM just rolls over and plays nice. Just off the top of my head, I can rattle off a bunch of Nanny-Run-Amuck crap -

Ruby Ridge
The Mormon's in Texas
The BART cop shooting the kid in the back
Countless "No Knock" warrants gone bad
Asset Seizure Laws

Good Lord, what's going on here?

Cache - food, guns, money, ammo, durable goods. Don't have "all your eggs in one basket". Stay off the ridge-line, but don't cower. Exercise your rights, but be prepared for "blow-back". They WILL hurt you if they desire, at least in the short-term. Have a plan. No, have multiple plans.

Document - your best chance for proving your innocence is by having proof of what is taking place. I was recently telling a friend about a "trick" we used in our bank branches.

We had big, obvious cameras in all of our lobbies so everyone knew we were filming everything that happened. In the back of the office was the recorder - right out in plain sight. It was recording everything that happened. What was not so obvious is that we also had a web feed to our central office.

If the office was robbed, we expected the crooks to take the tapes (or even the whole machine). It gave them a sense of assurance that they were going to get away with their crime, and it lowered the likelihood that one of our customers or employees would get hurt.

The fact that the entire incident was simultaneously recorded offsite never entered their heads...

Document what happens and make sure you have duplicates. Assume your primary source of evidence will be "lost". Paranoia isn't always a bad thing...

[Rhetorical question...] In the past, how have the "repressive regimes" been dealt with?

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Thursday, October 08, 2009

Actual News? 

The media's the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses.
--Malcolm X

I had a great day with my biz yesterday, but it kept me from seeing what was going on in the world. Maybe that's not such a bad thing. I did a scan of the major news outlets this morning to get caught up, and here's what I found:

Michele Obama is descended from slaves.

What?! Stop The Presses! Can you believe it?! Slaves?! It must have been horrible living with that burden all these years. Didn't the slave masters know she was going to become the first-lady of the US? What WERE they thinking?!

OK, how could the New York Times spend more than 10 seconds on this? I'm surprised they didn't do a companion piece on some prominent Republican to show that he/she was a descendant from slave owners. Oh, the horror!

Maybe they could put in a half hour or so, and do a piece on something that actually matters outside of Obama's family.

Hey look! Here's something they could run with:
Beverly Gossage, Research Fellow for Show-Me Institute and founder of HSA Benefits Consulting wondered which insurance companies rejected the most claims. She found her answer in the AMA’s own 2008 National Health Insurer Report Card. The chart below appears on page 5 of the 16-page report.
Any guess which health care insurance provider had the highest claims rejection - both in terms of actual numbers and as a percentage of claims?

You got it - It's Nanny!

Click the image to see the chart. For those of you who are "click challenged" (a medical malady?) the biggest denier was Medicare. They rejected 6.85% of their claims for service, which equated to 475,000 claims.

Aetna was the only insurer that was even close, at 6.8%, but that only represented 43,000 claims.

The biggest "bitch" against the current system is that the insurance companies deny claims or don't give you insurance if you have a pre-existing condition. I'm assuming Medicare has some regulation that mandates it to accept everyone, but if you can't get care once you're on The Nanny Plan, what good is the insurance?

The White House and Congress want to put Nanny in charge of the whole shooting match? Are they insane?!

Why wouldn't the Times have this information plastered all over their front page? Yeah, yeah, we all know the answer. Michele Obama's family tree is much more important to the health and welfare of the nation...

Having lived in the Land Of Fruit And Nuts (that'd be California) for my entire life, I've written a number of times that all the rest of the nation needs to do is look at us for what's going to happen to the country in the future.

We've long been trail blazers in socialism. Basically, all you need to do is ask for money from the state, and you'll get it. That goes double if you can insert, "for the children" or "under-privileged" into your proposal.

Well, it seems as though things aren't working out so well. For some reason, when you tax and abuse the Producers for the sole benefit of the Looters, the Producers tend to leave.

Big time -
Now, incredibly, California, which has been a natural target for immigration throughout its history, is losing people. Between 2004 and 2008, half a million residents upped sticks and headed elsewhere. By 2010, California could lose a congressman because its population will have fallen so much – an astonishing prospect for a state that is currently the biggest single political entity in America.
It's getting so bad, even the Looters are FINALLY getting cut off from the teat-sucking:
Outside the Forum in Inglewood, near downtown Los Angeles, California has already failed. The scene is reminiscent of the fallout from Hurricane Katrina, as crowds of impoverished citizens stand or lie aimlessly on the hot tarmac of the centre's car park. It is 10am, and most have already been here for hours. They have come for free healthcare: a travelling medical and dental clinic has set up shop in the Forum (which usually hosts rock concerts) and thousands of the poor, the uninsured and the down-on-their-luck have driven for miles to be here.
The bottom line is, it's bad here. It's failing because this state has bent over backwards to wipe the ass of anyone who asks. These policies have made it painfully clear that is can be more profitable to NOT work. Nanny will take care of all your needs, regardless of your education or skill - or most importantly, regardless of your motivation. You don't need to have any.

Why would the tax-paying Producers stick around?

Some other reasons this shit-hole of a state is failing?
At the start of summer the state government was so deeply in debt that it began to issue IOUs instead of wages. Its unemployment rate has soared to more than 12%, the highest figure in 70 years.

California's schools are ranked 47th out of 50 in the nation. Its government-issued bonds have been ranked just above "junk".

If it was an independent country it would be in the G8. And if it were a company, it would likely be declared bankrupt.

California's attorney-general, Jerry Brown, recently sued one county government for not paying enough attention to global warming when it came to urban planning.
Sound like the direction any country you know is heading?

So, where did this very extensively researched article come from? The LA Times? SF Chronicle? San Jose Mercury News? Oakland Tribune (OK, that was thrown in there for chuckles)?

No. It was The Observer/Guardian in England. For some reason, THEY have the time to do an article about what is likely to happen to the entire US unless we change our spending and taxing ways.

Apparently, no one in America wants to hear news like that.

Buy gold and silver while you can still afford it. Seriously.

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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Figuring Out The Truth 

The magician and the politician have much in common: they both have to draw our attention away from what they are really doing.
-- Ben Okri

Follow-up: Firearms training question - In yesterday's post, I described a situation with a student that just could not get his shots on paint. Continually off target in the lower-left hand quadrant of the target.

As I noted, the problem was a two-part issue. When he had mentioned that he shot well with the rifle, but was off target with his pistol, my first guess was that he was left-eye dominant. It surprises me how many folks are this way (I'm one of them). We worked on a couple of techniques and brought his shots right to the edge of the target.

In hindsight, I want to kick myself for it taking another 30+ minutes to diagnose the remaining problem. The pieces I didn't connect:

1. Shoots rifle well - that's telling me that he most likely has a smooth trigger pull and is not startled by the report of the gun. Remember: Most California rifles do not have pistol grips.

2. When I saw he was tea-cupping, I figured he might be over-gripping. We did a couple of drills to keep the trigger finger loose. Historically, these will keep the entire right hand loose.

Overgripping was screaming out at me, but I figured it was the more typical jerking or pushing of the trigger finger. What I failed to do was to come over to his right side to watch him pull the trigger (I do most of the training from their left side). Once I did move over, I could clearly see the striations of his muscles and tendons in his forearm at trigger pull. He was "smooth as butter" in his trigger pull, but "nutted up" with just the lower 3 fingers on the grip just before the trigger dropped the hammer.

We did an over-grip drill and he was "fixed".

You folks were all touching on this, but Quiet Patriot was the first to call it correctly. Well done!

Is the cheap veneer of our economy beginning to crack? Gold finished up yesterday just shy of a 10 year high, at $1017 an ounce. At 8:20am today, it is at $1041 an ounce, blowing through the previous all-time high record of $1036. Silver's up to $17.

It will be interesting to see if it holds through the day.

Have the magicians in DC lost their wands?

Did you see that yesterday the stock market also had great gains? Weird, huh? Mostly financial sector stock gains. It seems that Goldman Sachs came out and sang the praises of the banking industry. And not just any banks, but BIG banks.

Wow. Who'd a-thunk it? A bailout recipient whoring for the rest of the bailout brethren. I'm sure that's just a coincidence...

Back at the end of August, I commented on the FDIC report on the health of the banking industry (What They're Not Telling You). It's bleak, but the compliant media continues to just take the Administration's word that 'everything is just fine'. Green Shoots for all!

In reality, the numbers are horrible, and only look like they're going to get worse. The FDIC is reporting this, but no one in the press is comprehending what they're saying.
What dat mean?

Banks are not making their money by lending out money and earning Interest Income. They're selling stuff off. They're earning income on the stock market (trading revenue). And they're charging YOU higher fees for the pleasure of them holding your money (or charging you for formerly free services). They look more like investment houses than like banks.

Glad to see the bailout money is going back into the economy where it is stimulating like crazy.
Banks are going to take an ass-whipping in the third- and fourth-quarters from commercial loan losses. They may be forced to start recognizing the MILLIONS of residential loans that have stopped paying, but the banks aren't showing them on their books because they will have to show the losses. They're playing a game of "prevent defense" - hoping that the real estate market will improve so they can unload the properties without taking a financial hit.

The precious metals market - manipulated or not - is beginning to reflect the disbelief of Nanny's "happy talk".

Place your tray tables in their upright and locked position, folks. We're headed for some choppy weather....

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Monday, October 05, 2009

Shooting and Tapping 

Practice means to perform, over and over again in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire. Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired.
--Martha Graham

The hectic pace continues, but I wanted to share some stuff.

I have a puzzle for the gunnies out there. I had an interesting training session this weekend, and want to see if anyone could determine the cause of this guy's problem. It is primarily a two-part problem. I nailed one part of the problem based upon our pre-lesson phone interview.

Based upon the information, plus one observation, I SHOULD have picked up the second issue more quickly (the second item took me a little over an hour to diagnose).

Interview information: He's been shooting this gun for a number of years - 5+. He is very confused and frustrated. The gun is a Beretta Elite II in 9mm.

He owns a number of rifles, and is able to shoot them all very accurately, but sucks with his handgun. He wants to have better accuracy, as he keeps the gun for self-defense in his home. The last time he shot the handgun was about 4 months ago. He buys his ammo in bulk, so training is only limited by motivation.

Observation: Relevant observations were that he tea-cups with his left hand (cups his left hand under the handle and right hand). His stance was a bit too closed and lock-kneed. Pistol presentation was a bit weak, with a lot of elbow bend in both arms. Lots of muzzle arc after presentation - he was having difficulty getting a sight picture (his Beretta had all-black sights). He had a nice, "soft" trigger pull - no slapping or jerking at all.

His shots were consistently 8-12 inches off bullseye at 7 yards. Most shots were in the lower left-hand quadrant - between 6 and 9 o'clock.

With that information, what do you think were his main problems (two of them)? He had a number of tweaks - each which improved performance, but two things produced MAJOR improvements.

Based upon this information, take your best guess as to what the major problems were. The one I figured out based upon our interview brought his shots consistently grouped just off of our 8" target (so, he had gone from 8-12 inches off center, to 4 inches off center). It took what seemed like forever to figure out the second part. In hindsight, it should have been the second or third thing I addressed - it seems so obvious now.

It was funny as hell, as soon as we got him consistently on target, I thought he was going to hug me right on the range! It was almost like he couldn't believe that is was HE that was shooting the gun. He had been shooting for years like this, and had just about given up. It was very satisfying to see.

Best part is, he signed up for two more hours...!

Post your guesses, and I'll reveal what the two major items were either in tomorrow's post or in the comments.


I inadvertently got to build some skills this weekend.

We've been in our home since 2002. When we moved here, we bought a new lawnmower. For the past year or so, the engine has been having some problems, and I got a small leak in the gas tank. Then, two weekends ago, one of my son's called me out front to show me one of the rear wheels had snapped off. WTF?

They used a carriage bolt for the axle. The manufacturer had taken a 1/2 inch carriage bolt and then reduced the size of the threaded portion to 5/16", which screwed into the side of the lawnmower frame. The bolt snapped right where the threads met the smooth portion of the bold.

Well, you can't find bolt at Home Depot that are built that way. They're either 1/2' or 5/16" - not some Franken-bolt bastardization.

I figured I had two options: Bite the bullet and get a new lawnmower (a minimum of $200) or repair the wheel.

I chose the latter. I went out and bought a tap and die set. I drilled out the 5/16" hole, then used the tap to ream out and thread the hole at 1/2".

I'll be damned if it didn't work! The tap cut the threads like butter. I'm primarily a woodworking guy - I don't do a lot with metals. I thought it was going to be some complex, convoluted process. I watched a couple of Youtube video and was off to the races.

I bought an entire kit with multiple sized taps and dies for under $40, so this was a win-win for me. I got a new set of tools AND saved the money I would have to spend on a lawnmower.

I've got to find some steel rod and try making a bolt with the dies. I'm hooked!

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Thursday, October 01, 2009

The Coming Uber Czar 

I started reading the 821 pages of the Kerry/Boxer Carbon Tax-Your-Ass bill.


I am going to be slammed for time the next couple of days, so I won't be able to give you my thoughts for a while. I'll do some quickee posts, but that's about it.

Suffice it to say, I want the job of "The Administrator". This dude will hold the reins of power, BIG TIME. How they could vest this much economy-destroying power in the hands of a single individual in mind numbing. The Uber-Czar.

Would you expect anything less from the Nightmare Team (as opposed to Dream Team - get it?) of Kerry and Boxer?

Let me just say, if this version passes and is enacted as planned in 2012, every-day citizens will start shooting at politicians. I'm serious. This is going to push people over the edge. All of these mouth-breathers that want this shit are going to freak out when their utility bill hits $2000 a month and their boneless chicken breasts are $30 a pound.

The price of lumber will go through the roof, as Nanny will pay lumber companies to NOT harvest trees. Enjoy your mud hut, you stupid pukes.

My stomach kept getting butterflies with each new section or paragraph I read. The depth and breadth of this bill is stunning. There is not a single industry in America that won't be negatively affected.

Kerry and Boxer will be remembered as fondly as King George was to the colonists.

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