The Big Think

October 31, 2013

Paging Dr. Erin

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 11:02 am

Here’s how she’s teaching her piano students today. Happy Halloween!

Dr. Erin.png

Tall Dark and Beany

Filed under: Foodie — jasony @ 9:53 am

How to meet the chili of your dreams.

We’re currently cooking up a batch of the mexican taco chili. Smells yummy.

Quoth

Filed under: Quoth — jasony @ 7:44 am

“Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions”

G.K. Chesterton

October 30, 2013

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 8:58 pm

Commentary: The NSA’s Bay of Pigs: “”

October 29, 2013

The Dawn of Wisdom

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 3:00 pm

Former Democratic staffer, burned by Obamacare: “I was wrong. Very wrong.”:

“‘I spent two years defending Obamacare. I had constituents scream at me, spit at me and call me names that I can’t put in print. The congressman was not re-elected in 2010 mainly because of the anti-Obamacare anger. When the congressman was not re-elected, I also (along with the rest of our staff) lost my job. I was upset that because of the health care issue, I didn’t have a job anymore but still defended Obamacare because it would make health care available to everyone at, what I assumed, would be an affordable price. I have now learned that I was wrong. Very wrong.’ “

Too bad the rest of us got pulled along for the ride so these people could learn some wisdom.

Shapeoko 2!

Filed under: Maker — jasony @ 1:10 pm

The Shapeoko 2 desktop CNC 3d milling machine.

Just Words

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 12:18 pm

BLOOMBERG:

“The Obamacare rollout is leading to the cancellation of hundreds of thousands of health insurance plans nationwide, contradicting President Barack Obama’s repeated pledge that people who like their coverage can keep it.” The act never would have passed without that promise, which was known to the Administration to be false even as it was made.

via Insty

Do not trust what has proven untrustworthy.

October 27, 2013

Machine

Filed under: Maker — jasony @ 9:27 pm

I finally got to take this Tormach CNC machine course today at TechShop (courtesy of a free course I won for winning a woodworking contest there a few weeks ago). What an amazing machine! feed it instructions, set it up correctly, and watch it machine a hunk of metal into a part. Stupendous.

October 26, 2013

Warning

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 3:27 pm

via Instapundit: “Don’t donate to the tea party or to evangelical Christian groups — that was the message soldiers at a pre-deployment briefing at Fort Hood said they received from a counter-intelligence agent who headed up the meeting.

If you do, you could face punishment — that was the other half of the message, as reported by Fox News. The briefing was Oct. 17, and about a half-hour of it was devoted to discussion about how perceived radical groups — like tea party organizations and the Christian-based American Family Association — were ‘tearing the country apart,’ one unnamed soldier said, to Fox News.

Among the remarks the agent allegedly made: Military members who donate to these groups would be subject to discipline under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the soldier reported.

Liberty Institute has stepped in to investigate. Michael Berry, one of the nonprofit’s attorneys, said he has been advising the soldier about his options — but that in the meanwhile, he said the American public should be on guard.”

Link

October 25, 2013

Towering Inferno

Filed under: Politics,Uncategorized — jasony @ 9:42 am

Wow

Code.png

October 24, 2013

The Other Side of the World Is Not So Far Away

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 9:37 pm

Iran gives Christians 80 lashes for communion wine as UN blasts human rights record:

“Four Iranian Christians were reportedly sentenced to 80 lashes for drinking wine for communion, a shocking punishment meted out even as a new United Nations report blasted the Islamic republic for its systematic persecution of non-Muslims.

The four men were sentenced Oct. 6 after being arrested in a house church last December and charged with consuming alcohol in violation of the theocracy’s strict laws, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide. They were among several Christians punished for their faith in a nation where converting from Islam to Christianity can bring the death penalty. According to a new October UN report by Ahmed Shaheed, UN special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, such persecution is common, despite new President Hasan Rouhani’s pledge to be a moderate.”

Despicable.

The Return of Ida Know

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 12:50 pm

The Dog Ate My Homework | The Fiscal Times

Ho hum, no accountability here.

Related: Megan Mcardle: “I admire the way that fearless liberals have come out to criticize the rollout of the exchanges — much more quickly and completely than supporters of the Iraq War managed, I’m afraid. (Though of course, in fairness, the malfunctioning exchanges are right here where everyone can see them, not thousands of miles away.) But as with Iraq, I fear that the bitterness of the debate in the run-up is making the administration and many of its supporters discount too deeply the valid criticism coming from the opposition.”

October 23, 2013

Future Ed

Filed under: Education — jasony @ 11:39 am

What Would an Ideal College Look Like? A Lot Like This:

“A second component of Champlain’s undergraduate education comes through its required ‘Life Experience and Action Dimension’ program, which has two parts: (1) some real-world education, emphasizing financial literacy and sophistication (developing a budget, making sense of credit cards, understanding how employee benefits work and why they’re important, etc.) and job skills (marketing oneself, negotiating business contracts, and developing skills in interviewing, networking, etc.); and (2) a community-service element that puts students to work helping Burlington’s needy and simultaneously broadening cultural awareness and a sense of engaged citizenship.”

My Day

Filed under: Business,Disclosure — jasony @ 9:05 am

What a strange job I have. Today I woke up at 4am and gamed out my day (insomnia has been a real bear lately). Spend the first two hours developing a spreadsheet for some props. I’ll spend the next 5 or 6 hours writing music, then I’ll go to TechShop and spend the following 8 hours or so building a set of platforms for a school in Dallas. Then back here to transcribe orchestral music, do a bit of recording, and start to tackle corrections and fixes for clients. In between I’ll try and carve out an hour to glue together the remaining 2 jewelry displays for Erin’s pending business as well as start in on designing and engineering props for the show. I’m the guy you used to see on those variety shows that keeps ninety seven plates spinning at once. Except I’m occasionally asked to juggle. I’d be dead meat if I couldn’t manage my time and discipline myself well but fortunately this job has taught me that. Who needs Ritalin when you’ve got deadlines?

I’ll probably hit the sack around midnight or 1AM and lie there for an hour or so planning out tomorrow (or, more likely, take a Tylenol PM and knock myself out for 9 hours). I call it “roller coastering” where I get 3 or 4 hours of sleep for a few days, become nearly non-functional, then binge sleep under the gentle ministrations of a Tylenol PM. Lather, rinse, repeat until the work is done or my brain finally calms down. Ick.

Anyway, work is good right now so I’m not complaining. This time of year is when I usually get all sorts of calls to do stuff. What is it about November 1st that makes it such a deadline magnet? If I did complain, it would be that there are only 18 work-able hours during the day.

Tea = liquid sleep.

Awesome Dumb Robot Movie

Filed under: Humor and Fun,Movies — jasony @ 7:52 am

And now for something completely different (gotta have balance, huh?).

Yes, it was a guilty pleasure but I’m not ashamed:

(h/t Sean)

PEW PEW PEW!

October 21, 2013

Response

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 2:19 pm

Good friend Greg posted a response to my last entry and I wanted to elevate my regular response to a full-fledged post. Greg is a great guy I know who, unfortunately, moved away. Smart engineering type who’s opinion I respect (even when I don’t agree with him). Plus, he brews a mean cider and a positively devastating Hefeweissen. So I was triply sad to see him move.

Props to him, also, for being one of those friends that disagrees with me but is willing to have a good discussion and entertain alternate points of view. Sigh. Miss the guy.

Anyway, here’s my response (see the previous entry for his comment):

There’s a long, long post that I have brewing that would probably better serve as a reply, but a short part of it is this. I have to politely disagree (if what you’re saying is what I think… I wasn’t sure what the “this is mad” part referred to)

Raising the debt limit is fundamentally not like ignoring your credit card bill. Instead it is exactly like getting another credit card. Not paying the debt you already owe is decoupled from obtaining a higher credit limit. The two things are not related at all. If I owe $20,000 on a credit card bill and my interest payments alone are, say $1000/year, getting a higher debt limit does not allow or disallow me from spending the money to pay the bill I’ve already racked up.

When President Obama said that raising the debt limit would not incur more debt he was being overly clever with his wording. It’s true that the direct result of a higher debt limit would not be more debt, but the expected result is that, yes, the government will run up the additional debt and then come back for more (sidenote: what good is a “debt limit” if it is going to be raised every time we come up against it? That’s like saying “this is my household budget” and then ignoring it completely).

But back to the point. There is enough money coming into the treasury to pay off the bills we have already accrued to date (or at least pay off the interest on the loans while we figure out a way to address the principle). Failing to raise the debt limit would not force us into default unless we chose to ignore the bills we already had. Would this be painless? Absolutely not. In fact, I suspect that, if we really had gone past the deadline, we’d have seen the administration use economic strong arm tactics similar to closing the national parks to make it hard on the average American. But, just like in the analogy with a household budget, if you must pay your debt (a Constitutional requirement) then all other bills become secondary (defense, social programs, etc). The bills— or at least the interest on the bills— is at the head of the line when it comes to repayment. It would be the Mother of All Shutdowns but would have the salutary effect of instantly balancing the budget. Just like in a household that cuts up credit cards.

But, distressingly, what is missing in this whole discussion is the bigger point of it all. As a nation we’ve been saying “you can’t kick the can down the road forever” for years and years. Decades. We all knew that someday our fiscally errant behavior would come back to bite us in the backside. But previous generations were comfortable pushing the day of reckoning off into the unknown future, secure in the knowledge that they would be dead and gone before the math caught up to them (Social Security ponzi scheme as a particularly egregious example). So instead of arguing over the particulars of the shutdown we are beginning to hear people stand up and loudly declare “it’s not just about this program! It’s not just Obamacare or Social Security or Welfare or Defense or anything else. It’s that We. Cannot. Afford. Everything. Not even close”.

So.

The math doesn’t allow us to have everything we want. And 100-200 trillion dollars in future unfunded kicked-the-can-down-the-road liabilities are beginning to insist that we won’t be able to have anything we want unless we get this leviathan under control. The math has been positively screaming it for decades and only now is its voice becoming harder to ignore. I have never seen a serious proposal for paying off our debt that doesn’t ask for some sacrifice from citizens. Unfortunately, what we’ve gotten the last decade and a half has been a gigantic expansion of the problem.

So, to come back around to your original point. When someone stands up and attempts, however inelegantly, to force the issue of fiscal sanity by flirting with a debt limit (which could constitutionally still be dealt with) he is derided and shouted down. One side “wins” and the other side “blinks”. The media report joyfully. Ha ha! Problem averted! To the victor go the spoils! Except in this game ultimately it is math that will win. The road is getting very, very short and the can is becoming too big to kick.

You stated “If you want to help fix the problem, deal with it when congress makes a budget.” Except that the Senate has not offered up a budget since April 29th… 2009. (source: http://www.budget.senate.gov/republican/public/index.cfm/budget-background?ID=b630d3bd-f985-4943-a87a-a746ecec6a51). Except once when the President offered a template budget and it was unanimously voted down. Even by his own party. This does not inspire confidence that they’re taking the problem seriously.

I’m not trying to win points or lay partisan blame here. But what I am saying (along with a growing number of voices on both sides) is that we must do something soon. We cannot continue running up debt like this and not expect Very Bad Things to happen (see: every example in history— and we’re orders of magnitude worse in debt than just about every one of those examples were!).

People are positively screaming for a responsible response to this. So far all we’ve gotten is… more spending, no serious budget, bigger entitlements (O-care), and a turbocharging of the welfare state.

When does it stop? If we don’t chose a different path, and soon, a stop will be forced upon us. And it won’t be pretty.

The Reality of America’s Finances

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 1:24 pm

The Reality of America’s Finances | FreedomWorks: “The analogy is imperfect, but imagine the green is your salary, the yellow is the amount you’re spending over your salary, and the red is your Visa statement. Then imagine your spouse runs into the room and shouts, ‘great news honey, our fiscal crisis is over. We just got approved for a new MasterCard!’ Your first call would be to a marriage counselor or a shrink.”

Click to see the chart he’s referring to.

Unintended Consequences #2

Filed under: Movies,Politics — jasony @ 8:38 am

Now that the government shutdown is over, the MSM is beginning to increase its coverage of what, so far, looks like a systemic failure of the ACA in its early rollout. Negative coverage — of how hard it is to enroll, how badly the program as a whole is working, how unpopular it remains — will likely make all but the most motivated customers stay away. Those customers will be exactly the ones Obamacare does not need: customers with expensive pre-existing conditions whose need for insurance is so dire that they will fight through any and all obstacles to get enrolled.

All told, we wonder if Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and President Obama are as happy today about Obamacare as they were on the day the law was passed. Beyond that, everything that has happened since passage has confirmed our view that far from solving the problems facing American health care, this poorly drafted, poorly executed system makes the problem of health care reform both more urgent and more difficult.

link

So not only was the legislation contrary to the best traditions of Americanism (making someone buy a product just because they live and breathe is anything but liberty), it was also poorly written abysmally executed. To everyone who was in favor of this, congratulations…

October 16, 2013

The Law of Unintended Consequences

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 11:29 am

And people still say they weren’t warned.

Eastern Howard School Corporation:

Regardless of your position on the Affordable Care Act this is the reality. Public schools are non-profits. With this mandate you only have 2 choices. Reduce the hours of instructional aides, bus drivers, cooks, custodians etc below 30 hours or offer them insurance. If you offer all these employees insurance you cannot generate any additional revenue to pay for these additional employees. Result…lay off teachers; cut staff; cut programs for students. All over this country students will suffer educationally due to the implementation of this law as non-profits can only reduce the level of service to pay for these additional costs. No one is talking about this impact on kids. We do not have a way to generate revenue to pay for unfunded mandates from the federal government. Unfortunately.

I have noticed an incredible lack of commentary or acknowledgement on the side of the folks who rammed this abomination through. It’s almost like now that they’ve gotten what they want their attention has wandered on to other things. Nothing to see here, move along, move along.

And among those who do acknowledge the problems, the universal response has been “oh, we’ll just spend an indeterminate amount of time and (taxpayer) money to shore up the system. It’ll work eventually. Someday. Cross-my-heart.

It’s shameful and embarrassing (and entirely predictable).

Civil Disobedience: Citizens Pushing Back

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 8:16 am

Civil Disobedience: Citizens Pushing Back: “There is a finely calibrated bargain at the heart of a republic: Citizens have a duty to obey the lawful and legitimate mandates of the government, including those with which they disagree, and the government has a duty to see to it that its actions are lawful and legitimate. The people have an obligation to be prudent and circumspect about engaging in civil disobedience, and the government has a responsibility to be scrupulous with its powers. That contract has been violated by the White House.”

By several recent White Houses, I would add. Only in asserting our power as the true owners of this country and demanding reforms and accountability that will stick (government leaders are not above the law, perp walks for any govt. official who breaks it– no matter how lofty a position–, demanding long term stability of our Republic) can we reasonably be expected to survive as a country. At the rate things are going don’t hold your breath.

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