Friday, January 30, 2015

Pocket change

I frequently check my pocket change, and recently found these:

Silver quarters from 1958, 1954, 1945, and 1941.

I have no recollection where they came from. They didn't all turn up at once.

Are people getting sloppy with their silver stashes? Maybe they're spending rolls of old quarters that their grannies had hidden in a nightstand or desk drawer.

How many people today don't even know that prior to 1965, U.S. quarters and dimes (and half dollars) were minted in 90 percent silver?

Melt value on these old quarters is currently over three dollars each.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

More energy savings

A simple home-brew LED light fixture can replace traditional florescent fixtures mounted above a drop ceiling.

A pair of these now light a basement room using four 6-watt bulbs, replacing three florescent fixtures that used six 40-watt florescent bulbs. Twenty-four watts versus 240 watts, and light levels are still quite functional.

The LED bulbs here are rated as 40-watt incandescent equivalents. I find them every bit as bright as Edison style 60 watters. I initially tried a pair of 60-watt equivalents in this application, but the light was so harsh, it gave me a headache. We pretty much limit 60-watt equivalent LEDs to porch or garage fixtures.

Clarification: These lights tied to the standard household wiring sytem, and are not part of the solar powered system noted in other posts.

Score one for spidey

Strangest thing I've come across in a while.

While walking through the garage of a vacant house, I found this dead snake entangled in a spider web, half the body suspended over the floor.

Did recent sub-freezing weather play a part in the snake's demise, or did spidey whip up a heck of killer web?

More banker suicides

From American Thinker:
Western bankers are dropping dead all over the place - most of them youngish and in good health. There appear to be an unusual number of suicides and "unexplained" deaths. 
Last year, 36 bankers died. There have been 3 already this year, including the latest - a Dutch financier who worked for Amro bank.
 "Who's killing the bankers of Europe?"

Over at Sipsey Street, Mike Vanderboegh notes it sounds like a bad '70s movie.

The American Thinker article notes that some complex conspiracy probably isn't in the cards here.

But how many prominent bankers know time's running out on the financial gamesmanship that's allowed the myth of normalcy to remain intact the past few years (or longer)?

How many feel a sense of guilt or despair knowing what may lie just around the corner?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

More inexplicable Obama government behavior

You'd think the Muslim Brotherhood's brief, disgraceful and utterly failed effort to rule in Egypt would have given the Obama administration a clue.


Obama's State Department has apparently invited Muslim Brotherhood aligned reps to Washington, so they can work together on Middle East.

And then there's this...

Political operatives aligned with Obama have gone to Israel to help defeat Benjamin Netanyahu in Israeli elections.

The president continues to chart a dark course both at home and abroad.

More bad news for Saudi Arabia

Now the Islamic State claims its fighters crossed the Saudi border from Iraq and "melted" into the local population.

Newsweek picked up the story, citing Islamic State social media posts.

Yes, it's impossible to verify the accuracy of the story; hard to say if IS fighters really did cross as claimed,  or if the Islamic State is just playing head games with the Saudi regime.

But the bottom line is IS (aka ISIS) seems to have Saudi as a top target right now.

Western nations best be guarded about letting their oil drilling and alternative energy infrastructure suffer long term harm based purely on Saudi boasting of continued cheap oil.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Bad news for Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia got some bad news this week.

And the worst of it wasn't that Barack Obama and tradition-breaker Michelle were on their way to meet the new king.

Citing "instability in the region," Germany has reportedly chosen to suspend arms sales to the Saudi kingdom.

Is it just Saudi human rights record the Germans object to, or does Germany suspect anything it sends to Saudi now will eventually end up in the hands of ISIS?

Update:  As of Monday, the German government has refused to confirm or deny the policy shift.

We're doomed

Government keeps playing numbers games, but the bottom line is America's piling up debts and deficits at a rate soon to become unsustainable.

Sons of LIberty

I've been watching the Sons of Liberty miniseries on the History Channel. I think the dramatization does a disservice by making Sam Adams such a young character. It's one thing to be rebellious in one's youth, quite another to do so in one's 50s. The real Sam Adams turned 50 in 1772.

Been on a roll...

For those who noticed the slowdown in posting, I expect it to be temporary. The family and I have been busy doing a bit of reorganizing around the house. Finding new places to store or file some for things, and putting things in their proper places. Some unnecessary stuff's being purged. Uncluttering can be a liberating experience.

Report: Bergdahl to face charges

Obama paid a heck of a ransom to get this guy back.

Now this.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Obamaville, USA

Big story in the LA Times says homeless camps are spreading beyond their traditional boundaries in Los Angeles. 

I have some ideas on why this is happening. And it's not just happening in LA.

More regulations, and more taxes (direct and indirect) have stymied job growth. I read somewhere this week that the U.S. still shows a net loss of two million full time jobs compared to 2007, while our adult population swelled by 16 million in the same period.

More people continue to enter the country illegally through sloppy loose borders, and we have a president who welcomes illegals to stay and compete for our jobs.  Illegal immigration also places burdens on America's already stressed social service safety nets.

Even some legal immigration, being pushed by the federal government as refugee resettlement, is pushing some cities to the brink on the social service front.

Don't expect good times to return under failed leadership.

Obama promised hope and change, but instead delivered an America better known for its declining conditions exemplified, in part, by an emergence of homeless camps being dubbed Obamavilles.

The story being told in Los Angeles is part of a much bigger picture. But most U.S. media dare not take on the broader circumstance for fear of bursting the myth of economic recovery, or putting a real face on Obama's fundamental transformation of America.

How to tell if you're rich

"Most people never know they’re rich until Obama raises their taxes. Because he only raises taxes on 'the rich' – just ask him." - Howie Carr, writing at the Boston Herald

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Iowans are gunning up

Fox News reports:
In 2010, Iowa's numbers were just shy of 40,000, but according to data from the Iowa Department of Public Safety, last year the number crested 220,000. In 2011 alone, the number of (firearms carry) permits issued in the state more than doubled. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

How the Islamic State might conquer Saudi Arabia

Speculation begins. The death of King Abdullah might open doors for a quick and dirty conquest of Saudi Arabia.

John Robb lays out a possible scenario:
ISIS may have a golden opportunity to pivot south to take Mecca and Medina.  A southern pivot would capitalize on the increased fragility (of an already fragile country) caused by the succession.  It would also allow ISIS to continue the its impressive string of victories in the field.  However, this won't be a conventional war.  It's going to be an open source war to win a moral victory.
By the way, it's not just bloggers like Robb who see trouble brewing for Saudi.

The Washington Post notes:
Despite so many people saying it will be a smooth transition, there’s every reason to believe that Saudi Arabia is heading for rough times,” Simon Henderson, an expert on the Saudi succession at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said in an interview Thursday. 
“Having a king with dementia is the last thing they need at this difficult time,” Henderson said. “Yemen is falling apart, ISIS is knocking at the door . . . this is an extraordinarily dangerous Middle East from a Saudi perspective.”
I don't want a Saudi conquest to happen. A deeper entrenched Islamic State (aka ISIS) would be a more powerful and dangerous beast.

On the other hand, if is going to happen, I'd prefer it happen before U.S. oil drillers are bankrupted by the current flow of cheap Saudi oil. Other oil based economies are at risk as well.

If Saudi's going to fall, it would be better for the West if Western nations oil producing capacity is still fully intact when it does.

Updated with additional content 11:05 EST.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The fasten seat belts lights are being switched on

On the surface, central bankers and governments keep talking economic recovery.

But the reality is, they're turning on the fasten seat belts signs, and doing everything just short of telling passengers to assume a crash ready position.

What's new today?

Canada unexpectedly cut its main interest rate today for the first time since 2009. 

Disingenuous Aetna

Aetna's CEO was on TV this morning, bragging on how his company has raised its "minimum wage" to sixteen dollars an hour.

Strikes me that Aetna touting an internal policy in line with the Obama administration's wider minimum wage pandering is more than a little smarmy.  Aetna knows it has government's promise to guarantee it turns a profit under Obamacare.

For Aetna to put in place and tout a higher "minimum wage" simply sounds like payback to its fascist government benefactor.

More data points as ISIS eyes Saudi

There's a guy at Rand who seems to think it's up to NATO to save Mecca from Islam.

Meanwhile, the Islamic State seems to be waging a public relations campaign prior to an assault to conquer the Saudi kingdom. Consider the way IS touts legal punishment code much in line with Saudi Arabia's.

John Robb may be right. Oil could pop to $150 a barrel much sooner than most think.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Saudi Arabia has a security problem

A top Saudi general was killed in a recent terror attack, and speculation builds that the Islamic State has designs on a Saudi take-over. 

New extremes in government snooping

American law enforcement now deploying new radar that can see through walls and into homes.

Government's heavy hand

Government actions continue to reflect apparent intentions to undercut the Second Amendment.

By any means necessary, it would seem...

From Breitbart:
The United States Consumer Coalition (USCC) reported that the cause behind the cancellation of the gun store’s accounts could be traced to visits by examiners from the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). USCC reported that Heritage Credit Union said the NCUA “put the screws to [them]” regarding the types of accounts they could and could not do business with. Schuetz gun store was a casualty of these visits.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Take me home, daddy!

It seems a willing ISIS recruit rethought her newly chosen Jihad lifestyle when she found out her ISIS camp lacked running hot water, and electricity was only an occasional thing.

Underscores that things in France, America and Britain probably aren't so hard on the Muslims living there as some insist. Things could be much worse.

There's a danger in this.

Things are much more comfortable for those choosing to wage Jihad from within the reach and comfort of Western nations.

The myth of QE

Europe turns to quantitative easing in seeking a financial lift.

Europe's likely in for a huge disappointment. 

Probably gonna take a global reset to get world economies back to some sense of sustainability.

That global reset's gonna be a real bitch.

Best laid plans...

I was wedged between a wall and a bookcase, trying to mount conduit for some solar back-up 12 volt wiring last night when...

The lights went out.

Nothing I did. A utility transformer blew down the street.

But boy did I feel dumb. Just four or five feet away from backup power and an attach lamp, and I had to navigate out of my tight spot in complete darkness. After a few awkward minutes, I got to the inverter's on switch.

Drives home the point of why I was wiring basement night lights to run off direct solar and solar-charged battery. It'll save me a few pennies on my electric bill, but also let me see my way around the basement when the regular lights do go out.

Power was out for close to 90 minutes while the power company swapped out transformers. My 140 amp hour battery bank showed little draw for time spent running a couple of LED lights.

But here's the big disappointment: I learned last night there's no auxiliary power source running the Comcast Internet service in my area. When the local transformer blew, it took down the Internet. My modem, attached to its own battery backup, stayed up and running. Comcast's service on my street did not.

This changes how I'll plan to use back-up power in an outage. I may beef up my battery bank while the existing batteries are still new. The ability to run TV, with an existing over-the-air antenna, just got bumped to a higher priority.

Obama's game

From Hope n' Change Cartoons:

Cartoonist Stilton Jarlsberg goes on to note:
Happily, any confusion was cleared up on Wednesday when, just after Al-Qaeda's branch in Yemen took credit for the bloody Charlie Hebdo terror strikes in Paris, the Obama administration announced that they were releasing five Yemeni terror suspects from Gitmo.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Yes, this actually happened...

I'm sure Jihadists are having another hard laugh at our expense.

John Kerry and James Taylor show up in France with hugs and song. 

Is this any way to counter Islam's quest to conquer Western Civ?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Who's the racist?

From the Tallahassee Democrat's Zing! blog:
The federal government, which has “Tomahawk” cruise missiles and “Apache,” “Blackhawk,” ‘Kiowa” and “Lakota” helicopters — and used the code name “Geronimo” in the attack that killed Osama bin Laden — officially objects to the name of the Washington Redskins.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

"Guntry Clubs" give shooting new appeal in urban areas.

Younger, more affluent people are taking up arms in more upscale surroundings. 

Pizza delivery woman shoots would-be robber in self defense

Company she works for says she still has a job. 

Saudis feeling fine, building its own Maginot Line

Do the Saudi royals really think a fence in the desert is the key to keeping ISIS out?

CRomnibus was just the start

The Republicans you voted in to restore some sanity appear to be hell bent to move fast in directions other than promised.

Immigration reform, for instance. They all campaigned promising fast passage, right?

Don't look now.

But it may be on the way.

Day 5

Day Five of my cloudy skies solar panel and charging system tests.

I've been running my Comcast provided Internet modem and wireless router off the 300 watt inverter for several hours.

There was about a half volt drop in the battery bank during the first hour, but the charge has held steady since.

Is my one 100 watt solar panel managing to keep up with the power consumption of my modem even under cloudy conditions?  Tech manual says the modem has a power draw of about 17 watts.

I went ahead and added a fourth 35ah battery to the bank yesterday, so the primary bank now has a full 140 amp hours of storage. Trying to decide if I should bite the bullet and buy two more to bring the bank's rated capacity up to 210 amp hours.

Remember, this is a hobbyist system for experimentation, but built with the intention of keeping some rudimentary communications available in the event of a long term power outage.

Weather forecast says I can expect sunny skies tomorrow. Can't wait.

Mona Lisa gets a makeover

And it's probably becoming too close to the truth to accept, so Western Civ attacks the image.  

Violence has been cooked into Islam from its very beginning. Those willing to carry out Jihad on its behalf continue to entrench in the Europe and the U.S., both by immigration and native conversion.

On a related note, President Obama has finally made a gesture of solidarity following the attacks in Paris. It's now being reported Obama released five more Jihadist radicals from Gitmo.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Waiting for the sun to shine

Been waiting since Sunday to run some checks on turnkey solar power system I set up.

Since Sunday, every day's been cloudy.

Today, no exception so far, even though a partly cloudy afternoon was forecast.

Still, I am running a six-watt LED light off a 300-watt inverter on the system today, with very, very minimal drop on the battery. This is under heavy overcast skies and using just one 100 watt solar panel.

Cloudy skies are forecast again tomorrow.

Guess I'll have to wait until Friday, or the weekend, before I get an idea how much I can run without drawing down my batteries on direct sunlight day.

Yes, it's legit

"To be blunt Mr. Holder, I am appalled at your lack of leadership as the Attorney General of the United States and your blatant politicizing of the Department of Justice. Your actions, both publicly and privately, have done nothing to quell the complex racial issues we face in our country and have done everything to inflame them. As the "top cop" of the United States, you share in the blame for much of the violence and protests we are now witnessing against law enforcement officers honorably serving throughout our nation." - K. Dee McCown, Former FBI Special Agent (1997-2008)

For the Lefties who diss these letters that show up in blogs or other social meda, even Snopes has verified authenticity on this one.

Progressive double standard

Conservatives get bashed for "flip-flopping."

But RINOs like Jeb Bush get praise for "evolving" toward the left. 

Obama skipped Paris

And there's some of us who think it's okay that he did.

Skipping Paris calls attention to Obama's pro-Islamic agenda that includes the stifling of free speech.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Islamic violence

"Not every Muslim supports what happened, but the history and theology of Islam support the ends of silencing blasphemers and killing Jews, if not necessarily the provocative individual means. The root cause of Islamic violence is Islam. Everything else, from poverty to YouTube videos, is subsidiary at best." - Daniel Greenfield, writing at FrontPage Mag

Monday, January 12, 2015


It's not like a Sandinista is ever going to admit he was wrong, so the rift in New York City gets wider.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and his team have escalated their feud with NYPD. The New York Post reports NYPD officers are being told no vacations allowed until a work slowdown ends.

Socialism needs fines and taxes. 

How else will it get money to redistribute?

Conspiracy theory?

While Saudi Arabia orchestrates a cheap oil attack to bankrupt (or at the very least cripple) what was America's rising energy renaissance, there's now speculation the U.S. government is providing protection to hedge any risk the Saudis are taking.

Conspiracy theory? On the surface, it does seem somewhat plausible based on the evidence presented.

A friend of mine notes even odd-ball conspiracy theories tend to have an air of legitimacy in the upside down world being fostered by Barack Obama and his politics of fundamental transformation.

Expanded gun rights proposed in Florida

Campus carry, and broader protections for those who arm themselves during mandatory evacuations (think hurricane) are on the table. 

Cheap oil impact widens

The impact of the Saudi's oil dumping in being felt in America beyond its oil fields. 

US Steel has announced a series of manufacturing layoffs because demand for steel for the drilling industry is suddenly in decline. 

More and more people are finally starting to see cheap gas isn't the economic panacea it once was. Not when it comes at the expense of those remaining industries that are propping up the U.S. economy.  

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Self sufficiency will not be tolerated

Citizens being self sufficient goes against the progressive grain.

A dependent people, with no means to stand on their own, makes for a people easier to control.

And so it goes...

Big Government's hand gets heavier and heavier.

Slow charge

Finally pulled together elements of the solar kit last night, leaving it in place to grab some rays today.

Solar controller and battery bank (at lower right), day one.
Trouble was, there weren't any. Or not enough to really matter.

Cloudy, overcast skies made for one of those days where you wanted to drive with headlights on.

The net voltage gain on my otherwise idle 12 volt 105ah battery bank? A skimpy half volt for the day.

Oh well, I knew today would be a bad day for solar. Tomorrow and Tuesday have rain forecast as well.

FYI, yes, I skipped fusing between the array and the controller, and between the controller and the battery bank. The fuse holders I plan to use haven't arrived yet, but will be added on delivery (presumably this week),  Meanwhile, I'm taking regular readings on voltages, and I'm fretting amperage overloads if the skies remain as they did today.

And yes, I mounted the charge controller on a bread pan as precautionary measure should the unit eventually be prone to operational heating.

My conspiracy theory

Late last summer, when I suggested to people that Saudis were waging direct war on U.S. oil drillers, eyes rolled, and I was labeled a conspiracy theorist.

Now Saudis and their friends openly brag on the damage they're doing... 

And they vow to do more.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Adding some basic solar capability

Finally doing something I've thought about for some time.

I'm adding some back-up solar power capability on a very basic level.

My backyard is sun challenged, neighbor's trees cast a lot of shade on my south side, but in winter, many of the trees shed leaves, and I get some good rays.

So, I'm installing a solar panel to see if I can keep a battery bank charged, maybe power some Ham radio gear, and keep Internet modem up and running in a power outage (if Comcast does it's part to keep its gear powered).

I'm starting with a 100 watt monocrystalline panel, and I've opted to hang it from my back deck. I used steel angle strips for mounting with 12 gauge for the main vertical supports, and 14 gauge for direct panel attachments and positioning bars. It's anchored with bolts through a pair of 2x10s that support my rear deck. Placement allows to convenient adjustment and other tinkering during experimentation, while still keeping the panel and supporters high enough to give most people head clearance.

I'd get better sun exposure on my roof, but I'm adverse to heights. If the low hung panel shows good results, I might consider a roof top expansion later. On the other hand, if low hanging meets my needs, maybe another low panel would be the way to go.

Hoping to get the panel wired to an controller and a battery bank next week. Initial bank will probably be three 12v 35ah AGM batteries wired in parallel. I bought the batteries recently as storm outage back ups, and currently deep them on an AC battery maintainer.

Yes, there are bigger, deeper batteries available, but the 35ah size can be easily moved if I want to tote one off to a remote location for use with an small inverter. I bought two 300 watt pure sine wave inverters when I got the batteries.

I have no ambitions of living "off grid" in normal situations. But I am looking to come up with some basic back-up for intermediate to long term power outages. I see solar as a means of powering communications, maybe a few low amp lights, and an occasional look at TV during a prolonged "grid down" occurrence.

Even if solar fails to completely satisfy my emergency charging needs, I have a little gas powered generator that's ideal for running a regular battery charger. Power coming directly from the cheapo generator is probably too dirty to risk direct connection to pricey and sensitive electronics.

Free Community College

The Obama administration has begun pitching a "Free Community College" plan where government will pick up the tab for students attending two year schools.

Look at the way easy money student loans fueled escalating college education costs. Now Obama wants "Free Community College"?

Bottom line, this dangerous proposal will inflate demand, pressure quality of services, lead to escalating overall costs as schools attempt to cope with the new demands placed on them.

Pure insanity.

Once government starts paying your way, how long before government demands the right to pick your area of study, expecting the power to pick your vocation for you?

At some point in life, education consumers need to understand there are costs associated with the schooling they receive. Government continues to plot and scheme to hide or defer those costs, often to the long term detriment of those students government claims to be helping.

Grow up America. Learn to stand on our own two feet, and pay your own way.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

What was accomplished today in Washington DC

John Boehner has been voted another term as Speaker of the House.

But there's something bigger in play as the back story.

Unlike Cromnibus, which was sprung with surprise and deceit, today's vote for Boehner was made with Republican House members knowing full well their constituents' opposition. There were other alternatives, who were mostly snubbed in the voting process.

Political polling, and constituent communications have made it clear, Boehner's reign as speaker has been a failure, and Obama's progressive agenda has advanced because of Boehner's incompetence and/or complicity.

The GOP is now on record favoring party politics over their constitutional role to represent constituents.

Welcome to the fundamentally transformed United States, a country where even the appearance of representative government is fading.

We're moving in a dangerous direction.

For those with doubts, I suggest reading, or rereading, Patrick Henry's Liberty or Death speech of March 23, 1775.

John F. Kennedy said it well: "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."

I'm not sure those now serving in Congress are even smart enough to see the dangerous path they've chosen. For now, they just think they're smarter than the rest of us, and believe their power is entrenched enough to carry their aspirations against the national will.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Fire Boehner

For four years as House Speaker, John Boehner has broken promises, surrendered to the Obama agenda.

If the GOP has any shred of hope in maintaining voter credibility as political focus shifts to 2016, time's come to oust the embarrassing Republican House speaker.

Will the Republicans in the House have the nerve? Or will they show themselves too heavily vested in Washington's oligarchy to stand against the party's elites?

Stripping Boehner of the speakership isn't the impossible task some think it is. But it does require a bit of political courage on the part of the House membership.

If you have a Republican congressman, remind him (or her) between now and Tuesday that Boehner's lost the confidence of the American people. It's time for him to go.


This just in...

Friday, January 2, 2015

Guess what happened New Year's Eve?

The U.S. national debt soared by close to $100 billion dollars.

Everyone talks about how "strong" the dollar is right now.

How strong can the dollar be as the currency of a nation that's now $18.4 trillion in the hole?