Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Components of AGW

We hear that one of the foremost components of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming is the CO2 that's a by-product of the combustion of fossil fuels. In order to arrest this global warming it will be necessary to dramatically cut back on this CO2 finding its way into the atmosphere. Unfortunately, just shutting down coal-fired power plants and throwing away the keys to the minivan isn't the answer to the problem.

Three other things, among many, are also major contributors to the greenhouse gas problem but we hear nothing about them. First of all, what about beer? Beer is produced by yeast eating malted barley and producing alcohol and CO2. The CO2 is the stuff inside the little bubbles that make up the head of your glass of beer and also make it necessary to store beer in strong, sealed containers. When a beer is consumed that CO2 doesn't just disappear, it's an invisible gas and goes into the atmosphere. Over 53 billion gallons of beer are swilled world-wide annually. A significant amount of CO2 is released when this sudsy stuff is turned into urine.

Another aspect of civilization that people take for granted is the staff of life, bread. According to industry figures there are over 280 billion loaves of bread eaten each year on the blue planet. That doesn't even take into account pizza and hamburger buns. What's the difference between bread and crackers? Once again, it's yeast. The friendly bacteria that make the holes in bread fill those holes up with CO2. When sister Suzy eats that peanut butter and jelly sandwich after school, green house gas goes right up into the sky.

Similar to beer is the carbonated drink situation. In this case, the fizz in your Diet Coke is caused by an injection of CO2 into a mixture of water and flavored syrup. Thirsty people spend over $350 billion annually on soda and all of the CO2 used in the product goes into the atmosphere.

As you can see, limiting green house gas emissions by cap and trade taxes in the power production business won't entirely save Mother Earth. Destructive homo sapiens will also have to give up beer, bread and Coca-Cola, too. 


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Bureaucracy and Secrecy

Bureaucracies abhor negative publicity. Even in a "free society", such as supposedly exists in the US of A, bureaucracies can avoid the spread of bad news about themselves, as happened in this sad event. The taxpayers can't know the financial terms of a settlement for which they are paying. There doesn't seem to be any indication that anyone in particular is being held responsible for the institutional lapse in this case. Everyone is still employed.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Terrorists Attack US National Shrine

    In the early morning hours Saturday, the day after Christmas, as yet unidentified terrorists attempted to incinerate one of the holy places in America, the once unpretentious childhood home of Democratic deity and 42nd president of the US, William Jefferson Clinton. The Julia Chester Hospital in Hope was the actual birthplace of the future president but was demolished in a fit of amnesia by local authorities. A small shrine exits in the location commemorating the wondrous event.

The home once owned by the grandparents of William Jefferson Clinton, President of the US, 1993-2001.

A newspaper account of the incident can be found here.  The house, located at 117 South Hervey Street in Hope, Arkansas was the home of President Clinton for the first four years of his majestic life. In 1994 the site was added to the National Register of Historic Places and its administrators, the Clinton Birthplace Foundation, turned the property over to the National Park Service in 2010 and it is now a unit of that agency.

Daily during the summer tourist season, some 60 or 70 curious travelers that have found their way to this remote hamlet take the time to wander about the two-story frame structure that was the scene of baby Bill's first steps on the road to the everlasting thanks of a grateful nation. That some un-American terrorists would attempt to defile this monument is nearly unthinkable. In addition to local law enforcement and the Arkansas State Police, the crime is being investigated by one of the National Park Service law enforcement units, the armed Special Agent (SA) branch of the United States Park Rangers. The United States Park Police could also become involved.

Preliminary estimates assess the damage to the national treasure as being in the neighborhood of $20,000. Perhaps schoolchildren can contribute their dimes and nickels to the effort to restore the building to its former glory.

Monday, December 7, 2015

A Quote From Albert Camus

"The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants, and it provides the further advantage of giving the servants of tyranny a good conscience. It would be easy, however, to destroy that good conscience by shouting to them: if you want the happiness of the people, let them speak out and tell what kind of happiness they want and what kind they don't want! But, in truth, the very ones who make use of such alibis know they are lies; they leave to their intellectuals on duty the chore of believing in them and of proving that religion, patriotism, and justice need for their survival the sacrifice of freedom."


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Hillary Clinton's Emails

The brouhaha over Mrs. Bill Clinton's emails being routed through her own private server, in spite of government requirements. continues to roil the pasty-faced sexagenarian's quest for the ultimate ego embellishment, the US presidency. The issue is not her bizarre avian globe-trotting at government expense, her dubious or perhaps non-achievements in international diplomacy, or even the fact that an enormous number of emails were sent in her name. The real issue is why so much intra-agency communication should actually be classified.

It is the nature of bureaucracy to embrace secrecy. That's why the Freedom of Information Act was signed into law, so the media, interested organizations and individuals could discover what the bureaucrats were up to. Even so, the agencies involved have the final say on the information to be released.

In the faux democratic/republic that is the US, where every citizen over a certain age has the right to make his voice heard through the ballot box, when this right is circumscribed by a government that routinely keeps secret its activities, the right is meaningless. Sure, a note to Putin or Hollande really shouldn't be public knowledge, at least not immediately. But there's no reason other communications of a routine nature should be classified. The classification process is one where as much information as possible is to be kept secret because the bureaucracy can never predict if some information might be unfavorable if given to the public. They are covering their rear.

Links to this are:

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

US Representative Rick Nolan Is Economic Moron

Upper Midwest papers are carrying the news that US Representative Rick Nolan, a Democrat from Crosby, Minnesota, will introduce legislation prohibiting the import of  foreign steel into the US for five years. This is in response to the idling of several taconite plants in northern Minnesota and the consequent lay-offs of personnel.

Nolan accuses foreign governments of subsidizing their steel production to make their products cheaper than US steel. If this is indeed the case, why should that be detrimental to the US as a whole? Is more expensive steel, and the products produced from it, beneficial to the country? What if the foreign mills gave us their steel for free? People seem to enjoy dining at all-you-can-eat buffets to the disadvantage of ordinary restaurants, should the buffets be forced to charge per item at a rate identical with their competitors?

As Steve Landsburg points out, we have the technology to raise bananas in North Dakota but continue to import them. Maybe the enlightened Representative Nolan should introduce legislation forbidding the import of bananas and give the potential banana farmers of the northern plains a break.

Image result for REp rick nolan

Friday, November 20, 2015

Women's Pro Cycling 2016

Big changes in the women's peloton, both on an international level and in the US domestic scene. First of all, the Optum Pro Cycling women's team brings back only one rider from its 2015 squad, Canadian star Jasmine Glaesser, for its 2016 US racing campaign. In the recent past the Optum team included such successful riders as Carmen Small, Jade Wilcoxson, Leah Kirchmann, Joelle Numainville, Lex Albrecht, Denise Ramsden, Lauren Hall, Janel Holcomb and Brianna Walle. These ladies have all moved on, defecting to other teams or retiring.
 Optum racing director Jonas Carney says that the focus in the coming season will be on development. These will be the riders doing the developing: Erica Allar, Elle Anderson, Heather Fischer,  Jasmin Glaesser,  Kirsti Vivian Lay,  Katherine Maine, Sara Poidevin,  Jessica Prinner, Hannah Ross and Emma White. 

On the continent, the new Canyon/SRAM team is Ronny Lauke's continuation of the impressive Velocio-SRAM squad of 2015. This group is made up of established stars Tiffany Cromwell, Lisa Brennauer, Alena Amialiusik and Trixi Worrack along with future champions Elena Cecchini, Hannah Barnes and Mieke Kroger. Italian sprinter Barbara Guarischi and American Alexis Ryan round out this swift group. Karol-Ann Canuel has moved on to Boels-Dolmans, Tayler Wiles and Loren Rowney to Orica-AIS.

Cylance, an American cybersecurity firm, is sponsoring the new Cylance Pro Cycling Team. Aggressive sprinter Shelley Olds leads a squad that also includes Krista Doebel-Hickok, Alison Tetrick and Erica Zaveta of the United States; Valentina Scandolara and Rosella Ratto of Italy; Sheyla Gutierrez of Spain; Doris Schweizer of Switzerland; and Kathryn Bertine of St. Kitts & Nevis.

 Rochell Gilmore's cycling creation, the Wiggle Honda team, gets even more horsepower in 2016 with the addition of one of the most consistent all-around riders in the women's peloton, Swedish superstar Emma Johansson. She joins Elisa Longo Borghini, Jolien D'hoore, Giorgia Bronzini, Amy Pieters and others on a team that's a threat to win every race.

 There's some concern that Rabobank may very well end its sponsorship of the Rabo-Liv team, perhaps the most dominating group in the sport. They'll be around for 2016, though, and if the best female rider of her generation,multiple world champion Marianne Vos, is able to come back from physical issues they'll be the team to beat. Even without Vos the Rabo girls are a dominating force. World champion Pauline Ferrand-Prevot, Anna van der Breggen and Lucinda Brand are among the best in the world.

 If there's any team that's a daily threat to Rabo-Liv's podium spots it's the Boels-Dolmans team, led by 2015 world champion Elizabeth Armitstead. With a supporting cast that would be the stars on most other teams, Americans Megan Guarnier and Evelyn Stevens, Ellen van Dijk, Christine Majerus, Chantal Blaak and others, the Boels-Dolmans girls are looking forward to another very successful season.

Other continental teams may not have the aggregate power of those already mentioned but have individual stars that can stand on the podium. Team Liv-Plantur now has triple Canadian champion Leah Kirchmann. Annemieke van Vleuten has moved to a tough Orica-AIS squad along with Tayler Wiles. Bigla has Carmen Small, Ashlieigh Moolman-Pasio and Lotta Lepisto.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

What do you do with an elephant tusk?

If you're the US Fish and Wildlife Service, you send it to the National Wildlife Property Repository in Colorado. In a warehouse near Denver confiscated illegal animal artifacts are stored and then . . .? This article describes some of the process but doesn't answer some questions. First, if it's illegal for private individuals or groups of them, to possess something like a stuffed tiger, how is it that a government agency has that right? Second, what is to be the ultimate disposition of these artifacts? Are they going to be stored until some later century? Is there some kind of a expiration date on holding the hide of a grizzly bear that was poached by some European industrialist? Aren't these tragic remnants of the Peaceable Kingdom something akin to the nuclear waste generated by some American power plants, waste that can't be disposed of in any real sense? It's a problem.


This article on the subject doesn't shed much light on what will happen when the last rhino horn is confiscated.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

You Need A License To Embalm

A license is required in every state in order to drive a car. Maybe because it's proof of the knowledge and skill necessary to pilot tons of plastic and metal down the road without running into other cars, pedestrians or livestock. Or maybe not. Licenses are also needed almost everywhere to cut hair, give manicures, install plumbing and electricity, drive a cab, be a peace officer, doctor, dentist, pharmacist, boiler operator or mortician. All of these professions evidently have the potential to harm customers so education and testing is required to insure that persons performing these tasks know what they're doing. There is a profession, however, with a truly great potential to do harm, one that can cause the death of untold thousands and the destruction of immense quantities of wealth. Of course, that profession is elected politician. Holders of elective office, at least in the US, aren't required to show knowledge of anything or skill in any capacity. In this era they need to be somewhat telegenic and capable of reading a teleprompter but no test or license is involved in holding any elected office, from county clerk to US President. It seems kind of crazy that some individual has the ability to send troops to a foreign land without having ever been there or even knowing much about it. But that's how representative democracy works.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

2015 NSC Velodrome All Star Team

These are the stars of this year's competition at the National Sports Center Velodrome in Blaine, MN. The designation is based on purely subjective criteria but these riders all made big impressions on the fans.

World masters champion Dan Casper and wife Linda Sone'.

Abby and Brandon Krawcyzk, married almost a year now, continue to be two of the most successful riders in their respective categories.

Junior rider Alec Guggemos has an astonishing present and a  bright future in cycling. Already a state Madison champion.

Ashley Murray is one of the new stars of an expanded women's peloton.

Matt Montesano is, as usual, one of the most exciting and athletic riders on the track.

Andrew Stevens, a consistent Cat 3 performer.

Margaux Claude, getting ready to put pressure on the women's 1-2 category.

Tim Mulrooney, veteran road and track rider and a member of the world's master's pursuit gold medal team.

Erin Young, an explosion on wheels.

Peter Moore, a national junior champion.

Kesha Zavalov, now a state Madison champion.

Ken Hum, Cat 3 speedster.

Experienced road veteran Lazlo Alberti dominated the track Cat. 3 scene in 2015.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Innocent Bear Gets the Death Penalty

Here we go again. An animal in the wild, at home, so to speak, has attacked a human and we know what the answer for that is. In this case it is, put delicately, euthanasia or, more commonly, death. The lady was attacked by a bear, and we can't have that. If bears aren't killed for trying to hurt humans maybe all the bears will get together and create real problems for men, women and children. They have to be taught a lesson. Don't mess with humans.

So Mr. or Mrs. Bruin is discovered a short time later and dispatched to bear heaven or hell. Oddly, a DNA sample of the bear is taken to make sure that it's the correct bear, the mean one. And the tested sample reveals that the euthanized bear is not the guilty party. Assuming that there is any validity to DNA testing, and there's plenty of doubts about that, now what? No bringing the innocent back to life, a bear that might have had only the best wishes for homo sapiens. Meanwhile the real culprit is lurking in the forest, chuckling at its escape and planning further attacks on hikers and backpackers. It must be found and euthanized and determined by scientific means to be the guilty party. Since most bears in the wild are reluctant to be closely examined by cops or scientists finding the felonious bear might be a problem. It might involve killing lots of bears until one of them passes the test.
I didn't do it, I swear!

Attacking people isn't the only problem these bruins create. In the toney Lake Tahoe area they root in the garbage, and eventually break into cars and homes. Worst of all, these anti-socials teach their offspring how to pillage and plunder, per this report. The innocent ursine youth can't possibly know that what they're doing earns them the death penalty from the DNR and, being unfamiliar with human language they never understand that they're felons.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Off-duty Cops Can't Pack Heat At NFL Games

The Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled Monday that the National Football League can ban off-duty officers from bringing guns into stadiums on game day. The story from the Strib is here.

"The dispute began in February 2014, when two local law enforcement groups sued the NFL, saying they believe officers have the right to carry and that the public expects them to always be on duty, even at a sporting event."

O.K., if that's true, and maybe it is, doesn't that lead to some other consequences? For instance, if off-duty cops are expected to be armed, shouldn't they also be expected to be sober at all times? In fact, shouldn't any police officer be completely alcohol-free 24/7, 365 days a year? After all, they have access to firearms and high-powered automobiles at all times. Logically, cops should be the subjects of random testing for drugs and alcohol by independent agencies. Those that test positive should then be dismissed from employment. What's scarier than a drunk cop with a gun?

Additionally, it seems that, at least in some jurisdictions, retired cops are able to carry concealed weapons and take part in police activity, like this one did. Other retired cops use their guns for less legitimate purposes, like this guy.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

$10,000,000+ Scoreboard For Honda Center

Evidently, there just isn't enough excitement in a normal NHL hockey game for the fans in southern California. In an effort to get customers "fired up", ownership of the team is in the process of installing a state-of-the-art $10,000,000 Daktronic scoreboard, per this article in the OC Register.

While the project is a financial benefit for the guys at Daktronics in bucolic Brookings, SD, it's probable that the expense will be added to the prices puck fans pay for already expensive tickets. Most NHL teams now have ticket prices that vary according to the anticipated demand. When the Ducks host the Chicago Blackhawks, for instance, tickets will cost more than a game against the Winnipeg Jets. The average for decent seats this season will be $116 each and season tickets will go for $5,220. Maybe watching the game on TV and using the money to send your kid to college would be more sensible.

Aside from that, what happens to the current scoreboard? I better find out about that.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Velocio-SRAM Women's Cyclling Team Calls It Quits

Team owner Kristy Scrymgeour has announced that the very successful Velocio-SRAM cycling team will cease to exist after Jan. 1, 2016. Sponsored through the years by HTC, Columbia, Specialized, Lululemon and other businesses, the squad has included some of the top riders in the women's peloton and achieved some impressive results, including world team time trial championships. Members have included some of the most familiar names in women's cycling, Lisa Brennauer, Carmen Small, Evelyn Stevens, Trixie Worrack, Karol-Ann Canuel, Chloe Hosking, Barbara Guarischi, Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, Judith Arndt, Emilia Fahlin, Ellen van Dijk and many others. Through the years Scrymgeour's platoon of high-powered cycling ladies has been perhaps the main competition for the dominant Netherlands-based Rabo-Liv team, headed by multiple world champion Marianne Vos. Inevitably, the Velocio-SRAM riders will be scattered among other teams and Rabo-Liv will be even more of a power in women's pro cycling.

It's another sad development for women's cycling, a sport struggling to find success in an environment of intense competition for sponsor dollars and spectator eyeballs.

 Kristy Scrymgeour from her HTC days

Team owner Kristy Scrymgeour

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

August 6, 1945

Seventy years ago today the US Army Air Force B-29 bomber "Enola Gay" dropped, from an altitude so high as to be invisible to those on the ground, an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The detonation of the device meant the death, either instantly or somewhat later, of over 144,000 non-combatants, mostly the elderly and the young. Three days later another fission bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, killing an estimated 80,000.

US Spying on Japan

Even as there continues to be controversy over the release from prison of Jonathon Pollard as a quid pro quo for the Israelis over the international nuclear agreement with Iran, the US has to mollify Japanese leaders over spying allegations presented by Wikileaks. It's a commentary on US international power that the Japanese won't be able to imprison any Americans for espionage. This link indicates the low key approach the American administration is taking on the matter.

Joe Biden, US vice-president and expert on international affairs, has spoken with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe over Wikileaks revelations of US spying on Japanese government, banking and business.
Caroline Kennedy, inarticulate, non-Japanese-speaking US ambassador to Japan has not been mentioned in connection with mollifying Japanese leaders over US economic espionage.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Kelly Catlin Wins Women's ITT Gold at the Pan-American Games

Kelly Catlin [P] Peter Kraiker

Kelly Catlin, a college sophomore from Mounds View, Minnesota, has won the gold medal in the junior women's individual time trial at the Pan-American Games outside Toronto, Ontario. Catlin recorded a time of 26:25.58 over the 19.5 km course, beating silver medalist Canadian Jasmin Glaesser, a member of the pro Optum/KBS team, by over 35 seconds.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Cover Girl

Margeaux Claude, current queen of the National Sports Center Velodrome boards in Blaine, Minnesota, has made the cover of the June edition of Bicycle Times magazine with this photo by local racer Brady Prenzlow. The speedy lady has made remarkable progress in only a couple of years of track racing.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Shark Attacks!

You must have heard about them. Sharks are rampaging in the waters off the Eastern seaboard. This article from the Richmond Times-Dispatch website has some interesting perspectives on the issue. The shark problem has a somewhat different dimension than the raccoons in Toronto and the coyotes in Anaheim that we've previously mentioned. First of all, sharks are unlikely to turn over your garbage can or snatch your Lhasa Apso off of the porch. In fact, if you don't enter the murky deep, you'll be totally unaware of any shark activity that isn't on TV or in the papers.

Actually, the shark danger is an asset to the coastal tourist trade. Chubby, untanned tourists can dip a toe in the shark-infested water and return to their land-locked homes and tell the neighbors about their risky excursion into Shark Territory. Chances are that very few would-be beach goers have cancelled their holiday trip in fear of sharks. Some are probably hoping to see a bleeding swimmer hauled into the beach for a helicopter ride to the hospital. Great cell phone pictures.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

North Star Grand Prix 2015

Despite some tribulations this year's edition of the annual NRC bike race went off with unusually good weather and lots of fans. Unfortunately, there were no elite ladies, with one exception, competing. A combination of scheduling circumstances led to a dearth of entries in the elite women's competition and cancellation of the race that has been won by international stars in the past. Carmen Small, a national and international champion, elected to compete in the elite men's division and the women's races were replaced with an amateur omnium competition in the Uptown, Menomonie and Stillwater criteriums that drew many of the better riders in the Midwest.

  Fabrizio Von Nacher of KHS-Maxxis-JLVelo crosses the finish line first at the grueling Stillwater Criterium.
Carmen Small warms up with former teammate Jesse Anthony before the St. Paul Criterium.
Local phenom Colin Catlin was third in the amateur omnium and winner of the Greg Lemond best young rider jersey.

Mountain bike hall of famer and veteran road and cyclocross rider Steve Tilford waits at the start line in Stillwater. Tilford won second in the omnium. Behind him is Jameson Ribbens, winner of the Stillwater amateur race.

Freddie Rodriquez, four time US National Road Racing Champion, has announced that this is his last year of pro racing. Fast Freddie relaxes moments after completing the Stillwater Crit.

Ben Hill, Fabrizio Von Nacher, and Kevin Girkins break away from the field at Stillwater.

It takes a lot of volunteer effort to put together the North Star Bike Festival. Two of the most dedicated are race director Paul Merwin and promoter David LaPorte, whose tireless efforts throughout the year create the premier cycling event in the Upper Midwest.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Carmen Small to Race with the Men

Carmen Small, superstar cyclist with the TWENTY16 Professional team, wasn't scheduled to make things difficult for the other ladies of the women's peloton during the week of the North Star Grand Prix. Lack of entries had led to the cancellation of the elite women's race but an opening developed on the men's Elbowz Racing Team and Small has elected to take the spot. A national and pan-American time trial champion and member of the world team time trial championship crew, Small might not win any stage of the North Star Grand Prix men's race but she's already stood on the top of the podium there twice as the women's GC winner.

 photo c43819ac-8234-4143-a1a4-f6e3a5681657_zps3c0ec06d.jpg Carmen Small in her Specialized-Lululemon kit chats with former teammate Jade Wilcoxson before the start of the 2014 Uptown Criterium stage of the North Star Grand Prix.

New York State Trooper Indicted on Sexual Assault Charges

Sometimes "To Protect and to Serve" just isn't enough. A cop has to go a little further. This article shows just how far one of them went. Surveillance cameras are such an inconvenience.
Sex assault
New York state trooper in jail togs.

Double-Dipping Doesn't Always Work

This article from the New Brunswick Today website gives us a little bit of an inkle on how the fraternity of public employees, in this case cops, manages to make life a little more comfortable in their golden years. According to the local regs, these guys can't retire and go back to work for their public employer without waiting for 180 days. But even this b.s. wasn't enough. They walked outside for a smoke and a doughnut and then went right back into the police department with a new job while collecting retirement. And people wonder why cities can't balance their budgets.

Chuck Savoth
Chuck Savoth, management specialist and retired cop, retirement benefit $79,719 annually. Not enough to survive on.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Bear Eats Dog in Glacier Park, Gets the Death Penalty

Some of the details of an unpleasant encounter for both dog and bear are recounted in this story from The Missoulian, a newspaper serving the area with some of the grimmest traffic problems in rural America. Mr. Bruin swaggers onto the dog owner's deck and scarfs up his Shih Tzu. No can make sandwich out of human pet.

The scene of the crime is located within Glacier Park, a place where  indigenous animals are supposedly allowed to freely roam much as they once did before the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe railroad arrived. There is no record, however, of odd Chinese dogs being slated for preservation in the Montana demi-wilds.

We've mentioned before that predator wild animals have not been instructed on the rules for behavior that humans have unilaterally imposed on them. Giving them the death penalty for violating those rules seems a little extreme, don't you think, since they know nothing of them?
A black bear, perhaps 200lbs.

  A Shih Tzu, maybe 4 lbs.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Fighting Cocks in Wisconsin

Grim: The pair even took their animals to fights across the globe including Brazil, the Philippines and France. This is a file picture

The St. Paul Pioneer Press via Twin has informed us of a multi-agency task force, together with the ASPCA, putting the collar on at least three cockfighting devotees in the bucolic regions of Polk County and St. Croix County, Wisconsin in this story.

While cockfighting is even now a popular pastime in many parts of the world and was once a regular entertainment in the UK and the US as well, some contemporary Americans are so disgusted by the idea that they've managed to create legislation making the sport illegal. While the basis for this is apparently cruelty to animals, the same idea doesn't extend to fish, as we noted earlier. Doesn't extend to baby boys, either, perhaps because circumcision isn't a sport and nobody bets on it.

Diversity, a liberal mantra, is encouraged in the US when people of other cultures make their home there as long as it's restricted to exotic foods, costumes, music and dance routines. Other cultural traits, like marrying several 13 year-old girls, chewing khat and betting on chicken fights aren't the kind of diversity the societal guardians are looking for.  America's toughest sheriff, the legendary Joe Arpaio, puts the hammer down on cockfighting also and has some serious help, as this story tells. After discovering a battalion of chicken warriors, Sheriff Joe arrests and charges the putative owner and euthanizes ( read that as "kills") over one hundred roosters. They're given the death penalty for unwittingly participating in an activity frowned on by the guys in the capitol.

Surplus military vehicle used by Sheriff Joe's posse to arrest shameless felon engaged in the husbandry of bad roosters.

The prohibition of cock fighting is supposedly because it's a cruel, inhuman activity, In reality cruelty is a major feature of human behavior, toward animals or one another. The actual reason for punishing cock fighting devotees is that the sport is a vehicle for gambling, just like NFL football. Neither of the two activities would have any significant level of participation without betting. The government encourages illegal betting on football by building new, huge television studios for their games but confiscates and kills fighting cocks. Something doesn't add up.  

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Negligence Takes the Lives of Two K-9 Cops

It's not unusual for dogs to die when left in automobiles during hot weather. It's a little more unusual when the dogs are police K-9s. A Hialeah policeman left his two dogs in a locked SUV for over 5 hours and both animals expired. While the officer in question has been suspended without pay, no decision has as yet been made on what charges, if any, he will face for the dogs' deaths. This story Another take on the incident can be found here. An ordinary citizen is in big trouble if he harms or kills a police K-9. We'll see what happens to Officer Enriquez. Additionally, the dogs, being incapable of real thought or understanding, didn't volunteer to be Hialeah cops. There's a moral question here if humans have the right to expose dumb animals to the dangers of law enforcement.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Blue Collar vs White Collar Conditions

Nineteenth-century German intellectual fraud Karl Marx stipulated that there was an inherent conflict in the capitalist system between workers and their  bourgeoisie overlords. That's not now and never has been the case. The actual conflict is between the blue collar workers that deal with reality and their white collar counterparts that deal with abstractions, generally in a bureaucratic model. The owners of capital are bemused bystanders.

An example of the dichotomy between these two groups is plainly visible in the construction industry. The men and women that build the structures in which white collar workers later spend their time endure conditions that their bureaucrat brothers would refuse. It's not the work itself that's the issue, however. It's the workplace environment when no work is taking place.
During the construction of a new hospital workers assemble in this room each morning. It is the assigned space for breaks and lunches. Light is provided by half a dozen 60 watt bulbs hanging far above the floor, which is cleaned perhaps weekly. If food were being sold in this room, state health authorities would close the facility for sanitary reasons.

This is the dining facility at an existing hospital nearby. It caters to employees, patients and visitors.

The construction workers' lounge. Construction management uses well-lighted trailers.

The lounge at the nearby hospital.

Typical toilet facilities provided for construction workers. If this is sufficient for them, why is it necessary to provide more sophisticated and sanitary ones for the later occupants?

Why is one toilet reserved for women? And why is it secured with a combination lock? Do the workers in the plant that builds the porta-potties also perform their body functions in them or do they have real toilets? If for some reason one's toilet no longer functioned could they put a porta-potty next to the driveway and use it on a permanent basis?
The men's room at the nearby hospital. Women have a similar facility adjoining. It isn't locked.

Construction workers expect and accept dangerous, difficult and dirty working conditions. That's always been the nature of the business.  At the same time, why should they accept unsanitary rest  rooms and filthy, uncomfortable, poorly lighted break rooms? It could be said that these conditions are temporary. While everything is pretty much temporary in the big scheme of things, for construction workers this is a permanent feature of daily existence. When this project is completed, the next one will have portable toilets and filthy break rooms as well.

There's been an international conversation over income inequality. When will there be one about addressing the disparities in conditions between white collar employees and the people that build their facilities?

In Singapore, future residents of an up-scale housing project have discovered the conditions under which the workers that are building their homes exist and are at least recognizing the situation as we see here. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Virginia Camel Is Center of Law Enforcement Action

A camel owned by a Chesterfield County man has been confiscated by police and incarcerated at an animal shelter because it appears to be under-nourished, according to this story in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

As usual, the beast in question is referred to by his "name", in this case, Jacob. Like dogs and cats, camels evidently receive only first names, but no surnames. Anyway, despite what the article describes as camels being relatively common animals, people were so curious to see it that it had to be hidden from view by the hanging of tarps over the fence of the camel jail.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Intermittent Positive Reinforcement

Yes, indeed, experience it all,

but mostly experience the joy of putting tokens in a video poker machine. Can't think of anything much more entertaining than that. 

Monday, April 20, 2015


This Minneapolis Star-Tribune story tells about the Peterson family, residents of the northern Itasca County wide spot in the road called Effie. The folks have boated 1260 sturgeon since 2003 and haven't eaten a single one. All have been released back into the water. Pretty neat, huh?

Well, when you see junior pulling the wings off of a fly or poking a frog with a sharp stick you wonder if he's going to turn into a serial killer. It ain't nice to be mean to animals. Unless they're fish. Since nobody can hear the fish scream in terror, it's OK. It's called "playing" the fish. Catch 'em and throw 'em back in so somebody else can torture them at a later date. This is also the normal practice at fishing tournaments, where perhaps thousands of fish are yanked from the water by pros and then released, many of which will not survive.

It seems odd in an era when people are worried about the confinement of laying hens and injuries to race horses and discomfort to rodeo animals that nobody seems to care about the treatment of our piscine brothers, If you're going to go to the trouble of catching a fish, why not eat it?

Monday, April 13, 2015

Bad Parents Let Kids Roam Again

A Maryland couple has once again disturbed the neighbors by not leashing their children and the authorities have taken action. As we reported earlier this year here at Pulverized Concepts, Mrs. Meitiv is defending their parental policy of allowing children, yes, children, to walk unescorted by adults about the hamlet of Silver Spring, Maryland. And without helmets.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Wood Bison Finally Make It To Shageluk, Alaska

If you've been following the saga of the marooned wood bison, you know that these hairy creatures had been held prisoner in Girdwood, Alaska, a suburb of Anchorage, while bureaucrats at every level had shuffled papers back and forth in an effort to avoid responsibility for any unfortunate consequences. Our initial report on this fiasco is here.  A later update on the odd story is here. We don't know if all of these beasts have been set free or if a reserve is being maintained in captivity to provide reinforcements.

Sussex County Virginia Sheriff's Dept. Encourages Nightclubs to Hire Them as Security

Raymond Bell, Sussex County, VA Sheriff wants nightclub owners to employ his deputies as security. Or else, according to this article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The former owner of the club has shut down his business and filed a $15 million lawsuit against Bell and one of his lieutenants.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Pennsylvania woman posed as lawyer for decade

Impossible, you might say, that a person without a sheepskin from some legal diploma mill might be able to perform the duties of an attorney. That's the outrageous aspect of this story from Fox News. The lady was perfectly capable, or at least as capable as anyone else, of doing estate planning that's restricted to members of the bar, that membership being determined by the bar itself. It's a guild system rooted in medieval European society that has nothing to do with an ability to navigate the maze that is the always-growing legal structure. The point is that she wasn't "posing" as a lawyer, she was "being" a lawyer, doing lawyer work, probably in an effective manner. Requiring a license to practice law isn't any different than requiring one to perform manicures, cut hair or work on an air conditioner. It's an interference in the freedom of contract.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Retired LA cop thwarts petty theft from Starbucks tip jar.

Scott Fahey, a retired cop, foiled an attempted theft of a tip jar from a Huntington Beach, CA, Starbucks walk-up window in a confrontation with a bike-riding thief recently according to this OC Register story. Two notable things about the incident are: the retired Fahey is 55 years of age, he's walking about armed with a Glock 26. Maybe you could say that Fahey is still, in fact, a cop. On duty and armed at all times. The law enforcement establishment not only includes uniformed cops but also plain clothes operatives, SWAT teams, secret agents of various government entities like public schools. transportation authorities and parks and all those retired from those positions at an age that few private sector employees can emulate. There are a lot of well-armed cops around.


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Parents Become Criminals

This WaPo article tells what can happen when a parent allows their children to walk home from school. The nanny state has decided the parameters of parenthood and determined how much latitude exists in the freedom allowed to children outside the doors of their home. There'll be no more Huckleberry Finns or Tom Sawyers in the land of the free and the home of the brave.