Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How can you tell when a politician is lying?

Obama on TV just now. "My administration has done everything in its power to encourage off shore oil exploration". Right. In actual fact, Obama shut down all off shore exploration after the Deep Water Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico last year. It's still shut down.

So who gets blamed if the US govt shuts down?

Compromise doesn't seem close, or at least nobody will admit to it. House Republicans passed a continuing resolution to keep the US government running until the end of the fiscal year, September or October of 2011. The House passed measure calls for $61 billion worth of cuts. Which is chicken feed compared to the $1.6 trillion estimated for this year's deficit. But it's a step in the right direction, and if Congress cannot take a first baby step, we are going down the drain like Greece. The democratic controlled Senate doesn't want to pass it, they want the House Republicans to back off and continue spending as usual.
If the Republicans hold fast to their spending cuts, the government runs out of money and will "shut down", unless the democrats cave. Actually some crucial government functions like mailing (or direct depositing) social security checks and paying the troops will continue but life will get rough for a lot of people who work for Uncle Sam.
The democratic media, that's about all of them except Fox and the Wall St Journal, will blame the Republicans. The Democrats will blame the Republicans. But will the voters believe the media and the democrats? Who knows. Have any voters thought about this one? Rasmussen isn't polling on this one. Presumably the Republicans are watching their polls and will stick to their guns if their polls indicate the voters won't retaliate for a shutdown next November.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Rick Santorum at the Lincoln Reagan Dinner

Clearly Mr. Santorum is sizing up his chances in the upcoming NH primary. He was the after dinner speaker and the Republican audience gave him a warm welcome and lots of applause. He spoke at length, and he speaks well. He described his family and childhood. He promised to sign a repeal of Obamacare. That's about all I can remember on the morning after. He took questions from the floor and handled them well.
Herman Cain (who spoke before this same audience a month ago) made a stronger impression.
And, Rick has some enemies out there. Upon leaving the event, I found an anti-Santorum flyer tucked under the windshield wiper of my car. It attacked Santorum for being insufficiently conservative. The flyer was unsigned, indicating a low level of courage on the part of its printers and distributors.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Where do all the groovy cannon come from?

Pictures from Libya show enthusiastic freedom fighters bombing around in low end pickup trucks with a cool looking gun mounted on the bed. The guns are all black, with muzzle brakes and air cooling fins on the barrel and lotsa cool grips and magazines and stuff hanging off them. They look to be maybe 1 inch to 1.5 inch (20 mm to 37 mm) in caliber, heavier than 30 and 50 cal machine guns, but still small bore by artillery standards.
Guns like this were anti aircraft guns in WWII but obsolete since. In Viet Nam the flak guns were all 57 mm and 100 mm, too heavy to mount in a small Toyota pickup. These things are a little on the heavy side for personal side arms. They must have come from government arsenals.
Why did Arab government arsenals contain so many guns too light to hit aircraft or stop tanks? Perhaps Arab purchasing agents entranced with the coolness of 20 mm autocannon? Combined with western salesmen pleased to find buyers for WWII surplus?

So how did GE manage to pay no Income Tax?

I haven't checked GE's books, but its probably tax loss carry forward. Under US tax law, companies that lost money last year can subtract last year's losses from this years income.
We ought to rewrite the tax law to do away with tax loss carry forward. Right now, companies that loose money get a a double tax break. Loose money and they can rightly show no taxable income for the year of the loss, AND they can reduce their tax next year by the amount they lost this year.
I don't think we need to reward losers in our tax code. Companies that loose money ought to go out of business, not get a tax break. Companies making money ought to pay income tax on earnings regardless of how bad last year was.
Plus it would surely simplify doing their taxes if they couldn't mix last year's books with this year's books.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

"Nuclear Power after Fukushima"

Title of an article in this week's Economist magazine. Now why would I bother to read such an article? They don't know what's going to happen, and I know they don't know. Nobody knows.
We still don't know how bad Fukushima is. So far there is horrendous property damage. Five out of six reactors on the site are damaged and/or wrecked permanently. A few workers have been exposed to maybe twice the safe yearly dosage (17 REM)for nuclear workers. Radio activity outside the plant fence is worrisome but not bad enough to warrant abandoning the land long term. But the accident is still not under control. If a reactor pressure vessel ruptures the radio activity release will poison a big swath of Japan for decades. That hasn't happened yet, but nobody will rule that out as long as the reactor cooling systems are down. The ultimate outcome, either merely horrendous property damage or a second Chernobyl, will make a big difference in what happens next.
We will have a contest between the anti nuke greenies and the consumers who want a lower electric bill. The greenies will talk about accidents that will cause all your children to be born with two heads. And glow in the dark.
The consumer side is less organized. It isn't clear right now that nuclear power is all that cheap, although rising fuel prices may turn that around. In the US, nuclear plants need US government guarantees on their mortgages, the private capital market considers them risky investments, and won't lend without Uncle Sam's guarantee. That suggests that a $6 billion-and-change nuclear plant may never earn enough money to pay off its mortgage.
The utilities got cold feet about nuclear power 30 years ago after Seabrook and Three Mile Island. So they are standing on the sidelines, they don't have a dog in the fight.
The global warming greenies ought to back nuclear power, 'cause it doesn't emit any CO2. But they probably won't.

With the battle ground and the contestants so murky, any kind of prediction is untrustworthy.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I didn't know NH was in this bad a shape

Here is a listing of degree of funding of public pension plans. NH is near the bottom. Degree of funding is a measure of how much money is in the pension fund compared to the money owed to pensioners. When the pension fund runs dry, the retirees scream and cry for us taxpayers to put more money in the fund so that they get their retirement checks on time. And in full.
Looking at where we are, those pension talks going in in Concord need to be driven to a successful conclusion. We taxpayers ought to insist on a few things.
1. No checks for anyone under the age of 65. It's fine to retire early, but don't expect us taxpayers to fund you. You don't get checks until you reach 65.
2. No spiking. Pension is based upon base pay only. Overtime, sickpay, accrued vacation and other pay does not count. In many states, and perhaps in NH, pension is based on total pay in the last year before retirement. Employees cash in all their accrued vacation time, unpaid sick pay, and work a lot of overtime. This can boost their pensions by up to 50%.
3. Nobody gets a pension larger than 50% of their regular base pay.
4. You gotta work 20 years or more to be eligible for a state pension.
5. No double dipping. If you are eligible for a pension from one state agency, and go to work for another state agency, you don't get two pensions.

Pop Corn

They don't make cornball movies the way they used to. The Long Ships, 1964, with Richard Widmark, Sidney Poitier, and several other actors I'd never heard of, is "based" upon a historical novel of the same name by Frans Gunnar Bengtson. The book is a decent historical novel which I read in high school. I still have a copy. "Based" is pretty loose, the only thing the movie takes from the book is the title, a couple of character names and the setting. How they ever got real Hollywood name actors like Widmark and Poitier to act in it I'll never know.
It does have some amusing scenes. Banquet in a Viking hall turns into a food fight and then they run out of ale. Escaping from a Moorish prison, the Vikings blunder into the Caliph's harem, which is well stocked with shapely girls in scanty costumes. An orgy ensues. The Caliph executes those who irritate him by sliding them down the bannister of a flight of stairs. Only the bannister is a giant sword blade that cuts deep.
They did try. It looks like they built a full size Viking longship for the numerous sea scenes. There is nice photography of the ship at sea, against a dramatic setting sun. The ship looks good except when being rowed. For some reason the oar motions don't look right, the rowers don't take a long enough stroke, and the water doesn't swirl around the oar blades the way it ought to. I think they pulled the ship along with a concealed rope and the actors just dipped the oars in and out of the water.
I never knew the movie existed until I ran across it on NetFlix. Knowing the name, I had to rent it. They just don't make movies like that anymore.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Old Woodworking Machines (OWWM)

For home projects, wood working, toy making, remodeling, cabinet making, you can't beat power tools. The home shop oughta have a table saw, a jointer, a drill press, a bench grinder, a band saw, and a lathe.
Bought new, these goodies are EXPENSIVE. Say $500 a tool, which is beyond the reach of many of us. But used, these tools are available for $50 to $100 each, which is much closer to realistic.
Where to find used power tools? Well Craigslist is a good starting place. Yard sales, estate sales and auctions are some others. Look for the older models made from solid cast iron. Craftsman, Delta, De Walt, Darra James, and Rockwell are good names. Avoid the newer tools that are sheet metal stampings and plastic.
A cast iron machine will last forever. Cast iron doesn't bend, (it may break, but it won't bend) so the machine stays accurate. The only wear items are the ball or roller bearings. Bearings are packed with grease at the factory and only last for 20 years or so. Then the grease disappears and the bearing needs replacement. New bearings are $5-$10 apiece. Call Lynn at Accurate Bearing and you will have replacements in the mail within a couple of working days.
Some things to watch out for. Used battery powered tools probably are not worth it. When put up for sale the batteries are usually shot. Replacement batteries will cost as much as a brand new tool with batteries included. Tools that have been left out in the weather are probably shot. If the tables have deep rust marks, and the electrical stuff looks water logged, it's best to move on.
Power tools cut faster and smoother and more square than hand tools. With a table saw you can knock out a decent kitchen cabinet in a couple of evenings. With just hand tools it can take for ever.
So watch your Craigslist and pick up some bargains.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bus crash in Littleton NH.

This made Fox news. A tour bus went off the highway (I93) and flipped over last night. My nephew-in-law on the Littleton life squad got called out to assist. What Fox and the other news organizations did not mention was the atrocious weather at the time. I had wind gusts to 30-40 mph, and heavy wind blown snow at my place, only a few miles away. Weather was certainly a factor, if not the primary cause of the accident.
Fortunately no one was killed. Injured were treated at Littleton Regional Hospital. Passengers were Koreans traveling from Canada to New Jersey. The only bilingual person was a 12 year old passenger who rose to the occasion, but there were a few moments of confusion at the hospital attempting to talk with the Korean speaking victims.
Activists are using this accident to call for a massive regulation of the bus industry, mandatory seatbelts, crash worthy passenger windows and reinforced roofs on buses. They link this accident with a pair of bus crashes around NYC. Given the weather, I don't see much of a connection.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Give me cost-no-object fuel

Mercedes Benz is belly aching that their fanciest new engine technology won't work on US standard gasoline.
Ah well. If I use pure unobtainium for fuel I can get amazing performance. Too bad my local Citgo station doesn't care it.
You wanna sell cars, make 'em so they run on real gasoline, the kind you can pump down at Bob's Citgo.

Bargain Basement Missile $600,000 Tomahawk

Price is down according to Fox News. Used to be Tomahawk missiles (essentially a small jet plane with couple thousand mile range and 1 ton payload) cost $1,000,000 a shot. At the new reduced pricing, those 110 Tomahawks launched on Libya last night will only cost $66 million to replace. At the old price, it would have been $110 million.
I do hope $66 million dollars worth of missiles was able to do $66 million dollars worth of damage to Quadaffi's armed forces.

So what's a cubit? What's a Sievert?

"What's a cubit" was Bill Cosby, playing Noah, asking God about ark construction. A Sievert is the new unit of radiation dose in which all the Japanese reactor stories are reporting. I finally googled on "Sievert" and I find 1 Sievert is the same as 100 REM. So, switching to new speak, 0.1 Sievert or 10 REM is the safe yearly dosage for nuclear plant workers. One whole Sievert means radiation sickness but it's curable. Four Sieverts kills a lot of victims. Eight Sieverts kills everybody.
By press reports the radiation in Japan is still in the safe yearly dosage range even on plant property.
There are also press reports of "trace" amounts of radioactivity on food in in ground water. No definition of "trace". Newsies don't understand numbers. Modern laboratory equipment can detect "trace" amounts of anything, damn near anywhere. So, lacking real numbers, it's quite possible that those "trace" amounts have been there all along. And that "trace" is so low that it doesn't matter.

Pedicaris alive or Rasouli dead

Good line from the movie "Wind and the Lion" (Sean Connery and Candice Bergen) The Libyan situation will go on and on until Quaddaffi is killed. One good man with a good rifle, a smart bomb thru his bedroom window, a Predator strike, an assassin paid in Yankee dollars, take your pick. All we need is good intel, if we know where he is, his ass is grass. And the war is over.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

We much be doing something right.

USA Today published this map showing projected job growth by state. Notice that NH has a better job growth forecast than any of our neighboring states. Could this be 'cause of no income tax, no sales tax?

Friday, March 18, 2011

What a difference a day makes

Yesterday Quadaffi had the rebels on the run. His army was closing in on Benghazi the rebel capital. Then late last night the UN security council got its act together (small miracle that) and authorized a no-fly zone and other military action. Quadaffi declared a cease fire. Britain, France, Italy and other nations are promising air strikes ASAP.
Where is the US on all this? Who knows? Obama was on TV a few hours ago, making happy noises, but not saying what we would do. He called for Quadaffi to hang it up, but nothing more.
Somebody ought to fly a few planes low over Benghazi and put on an air show for the rebels. That would do wonderful things for rebel morale, so wonderful that the rebels might be able to keep fighting until they get some help from the Europeans. Sounds like a good mission for the RAF since the Americans are sitting this one out.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Obama is against file sharing

The Voloch Conspiracy has a post about the new Obama plan, making file sharing a felony.
No voters want this. In fact, younger hipper voters are outraged by it. Apparently Obama has the interests of MPAA and RIAA closer to his heart than the interests of every one else in the country.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

White House to push Privacy Bill

Headline in the Wall St Journal today. The proposed bill would require that companies ask an individual's permission to use personal data for a purpose other than that for which it was collected. Plus some other equally toothless proposals.
Total waste of time. Your personal data, including which websites you visit, is recorded by spyware secretly loaded onto your computer. This is the fault of both web browsers and Windows. We ought to demand a web browser that will NEVER load and execute code off the internet. And make the same demand upon Microsoft. Windows must NEVER load and execute code off the internet. Do this and the problem is solved.
If Microsoft and the browser makers don't want to co-operate? Find a vendor who will. Linux is much less porous than Windows. There are about 6 browser makers now. One of them can gain industry dominance by offering an air tight browser.
This is not an issue that laws can deal with. We need decent software instead.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The family car is faster than High Speed Rail

Don't get me wrong, I love trains, I'm a train buff from way back. But, it's hard for any kind of train to compete with the car. Acela takes 4 hours on the Boston-New York run. I can drive it in that time. If I drive, I have the car at the far end, I don't have to rent one. Even with $4 a gallon gas, I can get my Mercury LE down and back for less than an Acela round trip ticket. If I have to pay Hertz or Avis as well as Amtrak, no contest.
And this is on the densely populated BosWash corridor, the one location in the US where high speed rail might be able to compete with cars. Once you talk about long trips (coast to coast) everybody is going to fly. You can fly Boston to LA and arrive LA by noon LA time. A one day trip. By train or car, it's a five day trip (one way). Nobody is going to mess around with trains, no matter how fast and how plush for coast to coast.
So why is Obama so into high speed rail? Does he really think it makes any kind of economic or ecological sense? Surely he isn't that dumb? Or is he?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Nuclear phobia

To hear the media tell it, the only things damaged in the terrible Japanese earthquake were a few power reactors. That's all the TV talks about. With tens of thousands dead, incalculable damage to homes, businesses, cultural treasures, bridges, and infrastructure, all the TV talks about is damaged power reactors. Even Fox who I had hoped for better from joined into the "nuclear power is the only story" line.
Could I be hearing anti-nuclear axes being ground?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Libya, liberation thereof

News reports indicate that Quadaffi's army is holding it's ground and pushing the rebels back. Not surprising. The army doesn't have to be all that well trained, or all that loyal, to defeat civilian militias. Especially Arab militias where the troops expend more ammunition firing into the air (celebratory fire it's called) than they do shooting at the enemy.
Question for Obama. How bad do you want Quadaffi gone? If he wins, he executes all the rebels, and spends the rest of his rule sticking it to the United States.
You gotta make up your mind before it's too late. Things will be all over in a matter of weeks.
Another question: Can we influence the outcome short of invasion? Will recognizing the rebel government, giving them Stinger missiles, sending food and supplies do any good? Will a no-fly zone really work? Even without air support, a half way competent army, (which Quadaffi has) should be able to push Arab civilian militia back.
Note to Obama: Try and find someone besides that clueless Clapper to fill you in on the situation. Like someone who speaks Arabic, has been in country, has met Quadaffi, and knows a few other Libyans currently in Libya, not refugees who fled ten years ago.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

My condolences to the Japanese

Japan has suffered a terrible earthquake followed by a tsunami. Damage is fearsome and casualties are heavy. My best wishes to all in Japan in this time of natural disaster.

Windows is lousy at multitasking

So here I am burning a DVD. The DVD burn program is taking less than 5% of my CPU time, and yet my computer is so bogged down as to delay keyboard echo. (Keyboard echo is the printing on the monitor of each character struck on the keyboard). It is so bad as to make the my computer into a single task machine. Which is something of a waste.
Windows got this way from a design decision made way back at the beginning of Windows. Microsoft decided not to use the timer to give control to the operating system every tenth of a second. At the time they feared that interrupting the application programs 10 times a second would confuse them and cause crashes. They also feared that the operating system could fail if control passed from one program to another too rapidly.
These are fears of novice programmers. It is quite possible to write programs and operating systems that work reliably with a 10 per second timer interrupt. This was known at the time, various minicomputer operating systems (RSX-11 and VMS for two examples) used a timer interrupt and could give excellent performance to dozens of timesharing users simultaneously.
Microsoft decided to use "co-operative" multitasking instead. Each program is expected to return control to the operating system at frequent intervals. The reason it doesn't work is simple, there is always an application program that fails to play by the rules and hogs CPU time. There is nothing Windows can do about such a program, short of Ctl-Alt-Delete to kill it dead.
And it's too late to change it now. Doing so would undoubtedly break a bunch of programs and nobody wants to do that. This poor design decision was set in concrete and the concrete has hardened.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Obama talking about energy today

He is on TV right now saying "domestic oil production is the highest it's been since 2003. So let's not have any Republican carping about lack of oil exploration." Might be that existing wells are pumping hard, but Obama didn't say a word about the shut down of drilling permits since the Deepwater Horizon disaster, despite a court order to resume permitting.
He also said that new wells won't come on line for many years. What he didn't say is that oil prices will drop as soon as the market hears that the Americans are bringing new fields to market.
Question: How can you tell when a politician is lying?
Answer: When his lips are moving.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Where's Charlie Wilson when you need him?

Stinger missiles for the Libyan rebels. Cheaper and more deniable than a no-fly zone. Worked in Afghanistan 20 years ago. Couple of hundred Stingers oughta keep Quadaffi's air force at a safe distance.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Freedom of Speech for Jerks (title of WSJ op-ed)

The Supremes came thru with another outrageous ruling last week. They held that freedom of speech gave a few insensitive jerks the right to run disgusting political demonstrations at a funeral. The Supremes (except Alito) wrote about the sacredness of freedom of speech and how they just couldn't set any limits to it.
Not so. There are times and places for everything. A funeral not the place for political demonstrations of any kind. Funerals are for mourners, period. Anyone at a funeral is a mourner. Anyone who is not mourning the dead shouldn't be there. A Supreme Court justice once said that freedom of speech does not convey the right to cry 'Fire" in a crowded theater.
This Supreme court could have held that freedom of speech does not convey the right to conduct political demonstrations at funerals. But they didn't. They are all lawyers.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Shall we liberate Libya ?

Libya's dictator has his hands full with a popular revolt. Should the US intervene on the side of the rebels?
Unlike Egypt, Quadaffi, the Libyan dictator has been a real bastard going back 40 years. He was responsible for the Pan Am bombing, the bombing of a German nightclub which killed American soldiers, and ruthless oppression of his own people. He settled down somewhat after Reagan ordered an air strike on his palace, and even more after Bush did a regime change on Iraq, but even so, he remains a bastard who is better off dead in my opinion. Who ever replaces Quadaffi could hardly be worse, and, with any kind of luck, will be better.
Reasons not to intervene should be obvious. Our troops and airmen will take casualties, "collateral damage" to Libyan bystanders and their property will do nothing to improve Libyan-American relations, and what ever regime comes to power after an American intervention will be forever known as American stooges. And Quadaffi might win in the end, which will make us look foolish for backing a loser.
Reasons for intervention don't look all that good. To prevent Libyan civilian casualties is the strongest reason that has floated up in the public press. Up until now, US policy ( and everyone else's policy) has been to let countries kill as many people as they liked in the course of civil wars, international wars, or rebellions. Compared to the Iran-Iraq war, or the Ruandan genocide in the Congo, a little strafing of demonstrators in the streets doesn't really count. The other reason to intervene is a little payback on Quadaffi for his past sins. Which might be satisfying, isn't really a good reason to take sides in a civil war.
So, let's let the Libyan's sort out their governance problems on their own.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Bill O'Rielly vs Donald Rumsfeld

O'Reilly is interviewing Rumsfeld on TV just now (its a rerun of last night's show). O'Reilly is criticizing Rumsfeld for not speaking out about the risks involved in the regime change operation in Iraq. O'Reilly said he had no idea of how much trouble we were headed into, and it was all Rumsfeld's fault for concealing information from us. This is back 7-8 years ago when the Iraq operation was started.
Well I don't know about you, Bill O'Reilly, but I had a very clear idea of what the risks were back when we intervened in Iraq. It could have become as bad as Viet Nam. I knew that, and so did everyone else in the country with Viet Nam experience. I served in Viet Nam and so had a lot of other people. O'Reilly's accusation that the country didn't know what it was getting into is wrong. We knew darn well what we were getting into. And so did he.
Fortunately Iraq, although plenty bad, was not as bad as Viet Nam was. Be thankful for small favors.

Movie Credits

Back in the stone ages, movies opened with the credits. You got a chance to know who was playing what part before the movie started. Now a days, the credits are held to the end, and the cast's credits just give actor's names, no hint as to what role they played. Pain in the tail.
Part of the pleasure of watching movies is knowing what actor is playing what part. In the old days they spelled it out. Today, if you don't recognize the actor's face on screen, throwing the name up at the end of the movie doesn't help much. And with modern makeup it gets harder and harder to recognize the face. Take an actor like Sean Astin (Sam Gamgee). He looks totally different in each movie he acts in. I shouldn't have to look the flick up in IMDB to figure out who the cast was.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Why 787 Slips were Inevitable, (Aviation Week)

A "Viewpoint" article on what amounts to the op-ed page of Aviation Week, by a couple of professors of supply chain management from Rutgers business school. As management gurus, they concentrate on the management of the 787 project. The unusual feature of the Boeing project was the subcontracting out of vast pieces of the airframe. Wings, tails, the fuselage itself, were designed and built by subcontractors. The Aviation Week writers, as management guru's see the project's three year lateness as a management problem. If all you have is a hammer, every thing looks like a nail.
They point out that it only takes one late subcontractor to hold up the entire project, whereas the subcontractors who work hard and deliver on time don't get rewarded for their efforts. They say that the project slipped because a few unmotivated subcontractors were late, or delivered substandard work that had to be done over.
I used to earn my living in the engineering business. Once we got a job, we always went full out to do it right and do it on time. Our motivation? Simple, we all knew that if we didn't make the customer happy, we'd never get another job from him. So I don't really believe in the management gurus ingenious theories of motivation.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I borrowed this chart from the Oil Drum blog. Despite a century of oil production, the US is still in the big leagues, number three producer after Saudi Arabia and Russia. That's nearly enough to supply our own needs. If we got back into deep water drilling, did some more fracking, and drilled in ANWR, we could be number 1, and self sufficient. Why is the Obama administration dead set against it?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Can the Feds cut the deficit?

The Republican house has made a start. They whittled $100 billion (or $61 billion prorated) off "non defense discretionary spending". Which ain't much compared to $1.4 trillion of new red ink this year. But it's a start. If the Feds don't have the gumption to pass these token cuts, we are doomed. They will never have the stones to attack the big entitlement programs.
Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security eat up the bulk of the federal budget. Cutting those is going to hurt, 'cause a lotta people take advantage of them, and they will all complain mightily when their benefits are reduced. Some the the sting could be eased by measures that reduce the overall cost of health care. Allowing interstate sale of health insurance, allowing import of drugs from abroad, banning consumer advertisements of prescription drugs, and clamping down on medical malpractice suits would help a great deal.
Then we could eliminate the federal farm subsidies, the federal ethanol subsidy, federal education spending, and federal highway spending.
It's gonna hurt, but there is no alternative. We won't be able to sell US bonds at any price if the federal debt goes much higher.

Is Spring a Myth?

Terrible blizzard yesterday. Wind howled around the house all day, snow every where. Got cold last night and its still below freezing up here. Today the town road grader made four passes up and down my street trying to push back the snow banks. Fortunately my mailbox survived this operation. I got drifts 8 feet high in places. More snow is forecast. And this is March?