Friday, August 28, 2015

Cold Fury needs help

Mike over at Cold Fury is going through some rough times.
I hit his tip jar, hopefully Google will lead you over there as well.

Cold Fury was my goto site after 9/11, expressed what I thought
perfectly, and he's one of the few remaining bloggers that expresses
what I'm thinking.  If I were blogging today about politics most
of what i could say would be: wtf, what,  whaaat? wtf?

I'd like to write and to blog, but it's really too painful, the
hindenberg has hit and all I'm really capable of saying is
'oh the humanity'.  Mike still makes coherent points and is enjoyable
to read, hopefully things will improve for him.

Friday, April 24, 2015

No money for NPR

I listen to the NPR station a lot.  One of the things I really missed
when we lived outside the USA was NPR and the calming voice
of all of the people from the Northeastern universities.  It never really
bothered me how slanted it was, they normally interviewed enough
primary sources that it was easy to tell what had really happened, even
if all of the interviewees are lesbians it is still better than the normal
voiceover reporting of the other networks.

Now we are back in Houston and I can listen to NPR while stuck in traffic on
I-10, or stuck in traffic on the beltway, or stuck in traffic on I-45.
What has changed in the past 9 years is the tone, before there
was a smirking sneering superiority over the 'bushies' and how
stupid they were.  That was frustrating but there was still a large
amount of non-political primary reporting that was better than
anything else on radio.  Now they are beyond slanted,  any viewpoint
against the current administration is reported as a conspiracy theory,
or those zany republicans trying to politically attack the president.
The switch might be slight, but they've changed from slanted to
active campaigning for the democrats.

It's bad, but now I have Pandora, and whenever a political story
starts I can switch over to a crappy 80's music mix.  Over the past
two weeks every time I turned on the radio NPR was asking for
money, but giving money to them would be like sending
a walmart card to ISIS.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

On the Mustachians

I'm off work this week and not shaving, going by the rule of thumb
that if I'm not being paid why should I shave?  It's not working too well
though, I'm looking less like Tom Selleck and more like Santa Claus.

The oilfield downturn, forced days off and a high chance of being laid
off means most of my brain's clock cycles are being taken up by money,
what is our burn rate and how long until we have to take up residence under
the bridge.

It would appear that by cutting back our outflows, we could limp to an age
where I'd start to draw a pension so I've stopped scoping out sub-ponte living
conditions and I'm reading more on retirement.  The expert on low cost living
and early retirement is Mr Money Mustache, who's blog details living well
below your means, saving intensely then retiring young.

With very clear prose he details the main barriers to retiring young, which
are spending too much while you are working so that one's saving level is
too low, the main culprit being cars and driving, and if you need a high spending
level to exist then when you run the numbers on the really great retirement calculator
at FireCalc, the estimate will be you can never retire.   It's a very circular problem,
spend too much, save too little and use those same spending estimates to predict
retirement predicts working until you are 80, and that leads to pissing away
even more money when you think it doesn't matter either way.

Here in Houston living without a car would be unpleasant at best, with a high
likelyhood of being squished by a semi-truck at some point.  Living in Colombia
would be much cheaper and no car is needed, but being shot down in a hail
of gunfire is pretty likely as well, so I really need a more in-between type
place.   Not too hot, not too cold, low crime, good schools...probably doesn't
exist.  I guess I'll just enjoy my last two days of lay-off then work even harder
to stay on payroll as long as possible, the upturn should start in 6 months or so.
Just 2 or 3 more boom-bust cycles and I can retire with or without a mustache.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Fish swimming inside a bubble

A great article that describes the lay of the land:

You live in a bubble and you see no need for an open society or for maintaining the integrity of institutions such as journalism or the scientific community. The very idea of objectivity is at odds with your entire way of thinking because it presumes that there is some higher truth than the one propounded by the progressive reality-based community. And you know, with the casual faith of any born believer, that this is not possible.
As a journalist, you report a progressive narrative. The other side doesn't exist except as an obstacle, a stumbling block to the forward march of progress. They are only there to be ridiculed out of history. When you see numbers showing that very little of the country trusts the media, you disregard them, because what else are all those strange people in flyover country going to do anyway? Stop watching CNN? Stop reading Newsweek? And if they disagree, it's because they hate the truth. Truth being your ideology.

People are in their own bubbles and the bubbles don't generally mix, but
my bubble seems to be more correct, it's just that the other side's bubble
hasn't yet felt the wonders of a federal government controlled by the other
bubble.  Things are wonderful when a vengeful state can attack your 
critics, but when the shoe is on the other foot they'll be screaming

Anyway, go read the article, it clearly describes the fish that are swimming
in water but can't see it, when that water is gone they'll be stranded on the
bank wondering where all their air went.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Immigrant song

I watched the president give his talk on legalizing 5 million illegal aliens.
This is a repeat of the 80's, legalize a bunch of people that are here illegally
and that incentivizes another 5 million people to head this way.   The laws in
the 80's were supposed to be the final answer, no more people would come into
country, and Reagan and Bush gave a couple of executive orders that added
a few more million people, but that was supposed to be it.

These current executive orders are wrong for two reasons:  Constitutionally
because it's not expanding on a law previously passed, like Reagan and Bush did
to legalize the families legalized in the law of 1986, It's creating new agencies, employees and workflows.  Operationally it's wrong because we're repeating the same mistake again, legalizing everyone that is here without closing the border first.

It's a done deal at this point, and pretty much irreversible.  if they try and deport
someone in two years the news will be full of reports of boo hoo stories, deporting
children.  Pretty depressing really,  Romney's 47% is inching ever closer to 51%,
and that will be that.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Back in Houston

We finally made it back to living in houston.  Things are fairly different from 8 years ago, more people, more traffic and food is twice as expensive.    In 8 years I've gained about 70% in salary, but we are poorer here than when we left because of inflation.  Crazily enough, the government is claiming little to no inflation because ipads are getting better and cheaper, but once you've bought an ipad (or 2) food really is a lot more expensive.  I'm expecting real measured inflation to kick in once the government makes some program to relieve people's suffering, with mandatory wage hikes or COLA increases, or everything could crash and we'd have another 5 years of deflation and no growth or stagflation.  What has been so tiring about the past 14 years is being trapped in the tides of history.  I'd much prefer just working and saving my money and making 5% on investments, but to make any return I've been throwing the dice and risking a lot, and losing a crapload of money twice since the dot-bomb crash.  So who knows what's going to happen.

I'm only writing this because the building management is constructing offices from an area that used to be a conference room, and it's so noisy that I haven't yet been able to concentrate.  I thought i would try an old trick and start to write something here and hope that it carries over to what I have to write for work, or the carpenters will go smoke a cigarette for a little while.  Luckily  my spanish is good enough that I can follow what their plans are for the morning, and it sounds like they are leaving to go somewhere else.  huzzah.

Anyway, glad to be back home, back on my native heath.  Finally able to unpack all of my books and buy a lawnmower.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Cognitive dissonance and attack in Syria

The news media is gearing up for EastMed War I, who knows what will actually
happen, but it seems strange/funny/laughable that the same people that chanted
no blood for oil, etc will soon be supporters in another war.
Yet again without UN support, but this time without congressional support.
Lavrov said military intervention against the government  without the approval of the United Nations would be a “gross violation of international law.”
He made the comments at a press conference only hours after Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague told the BBC that an international response to the Syrian crisis would be possible without unanimous U.N. Security Council backing.

I really don't care if the UN supports an action or is opposed, but after all of the problems
in the oughts, the only way we should fight a war is by having a vote of congress that
specifically says "War". The congressional vote supporting the Iraq war turned into farce
afterwards when most people that voted for it said "I didn't vote for war".

It might be the morally correct thing to do to destroy tyrants and avenge people killed by
WMD.  I certainly thought so during the Iraq war.  But our political system doesn't
support war to the knife that is not in our vital interests.  Just bombing from a distance
is immoral, and if we don't have the will and resources to do the whole thing, then it's
better to do nothing.  (the whole thing being the beginning and the aftermath.)

Armies break things and kill people.  If we aren't willing to have things broken and killed,
even by accident, then we shouldn't use the army unless it's in our interest.  The way that
should be judged is by a declaration of war.

That the opposition to the war in 2003 was just politics is shown by the same people
(democrats, French) saying UN approval isn't needed now, but it was needed then.