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Obstructionist Husband

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Yes, the RNC is no longer the party of stupid [Jul. 22nd, 2014|09:32 pm]
"If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?"
-- Pope Francis

"I think we would be totally in the right to do it...Ignoring as a nation that things are worthy of death is very remiss."
-- Oklahoma state congressional Tea Party candidate Scott Esk, on stoning-to-death for homosexuals


"Men do tend to talk about things on a much higher level. Many of my male colleagues, when they go to the House floor they've got some pie chart or graph behind them and they're talking about trillions of dollars and how the debt is awful and we all agree with that...We need our male colleagues to understand that if you can bring it down to a woman's level and what everything that she is balancing in her life -- that's the way to go."
– Rep. Renee Ellmers, on the GOP appealing to women voters

I'm just not sure what they are. And it's also good to see that their Outreach to Women program is doing so well.
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Sometimes people are basically decent [Jul. 14th, 2014|12:31 am]

Sunday evening we were driving to Phoenix, returning from Las Vegas where we attended a fanfic/slash convention over the weekend. And we had some pretty weird car trouble. North of Kingman while Russet was driving, we started getting a noise and vibration that could be felt through the gas and brake pedals, but not through the steering. I looked under the hood and everything looked good, looking under the front of the car showed a deflector designed to keep rocks and grime from mucking up the engine casing has been damaged and were probably flapping at high speed. It was an interesting thing: nothing happened until you hit about 50 MPH, but then when you slowed down, it didn't go away until you were almost completely stopped.

So we decided to have the car towed to Kingman and get it looked at in the morning, and while I was on the phone trying to get through to my insurance, a truck pulled up. He was pulling a trailer, and actually offered to trailer our car to Kingman! So we backed up our Subaru to give him more room to line things up so we could load our car.

While backing up our car, the hood was up and the guy's son noticed that the air intake manifold was vibrating bad, he thought we might have broken a motor mount but then we'd get decided vibration through the steering. There are two plastic bolt holes that should hold this assembly to the rest of the engine, the bolts were no longer there. I asked the guy if he had any zip ties, the plastic ties that have teeth on one side that lock when you pull them through. He dug around in his kit and found three small ones. They worked just fine for the intake manifold and cinched down nice and tight. Then we looked at the lower deflector, and found that by gouging two holes through the left piece and tucking the right piece above it, I could loop the last tie that he had through a chassis bracket and secure that up!

And that was it: problem resolved. Another 200 miles with no problems, we lost about 45 minutes between inspection, repair, and stopping at a car parts store buying thicker ties in case any of the thinner ones failed before we got back to Phoenix.

Zip ties. Wonderful things. Fantastic for some field expedient repairs. I had them in my Toyota, but that's in New Mexico. I'm glad that I had a good knife in the car capable of gouging holes through the shield fiberboard or whatever it was made of.
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From A Demon's Nest of Sentiments [Jul. 14th, 2014|12:15 am]

People are quite at home with evil. It's fighting it that raises the dreadful spectre of inconvenience.
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Why we'll probably never be rid of the F-35 jet [Jul. 13th, 2014|12:31 am]

Lockheed has been amazingly smart: they've strategically selected subcontractors and subassembly facilities in 45 states! That means it's in the best interest of 90% of the entirety of Congress to continue production as stopping production would give ammunition to 90% of their opponents in either primary or general elections. Not an enviable position to be in.

The latest debacle of the F-35 was initially reported as an engine fire, but as it turned out, the plane strew parts along the length of the runway, which sounds like a casing failure or some sort of engine failure that ultimately produced a fire.

I was going to say that this once again proves that we have the best congress that money can buy, but in this case, the contractors didn't have to directly buy the congress by seeing to it that maximum damage would be done if the program is cut.
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Thus confirming my lack of faith in humanity: fireworks fails [Jul. 8th, 2014|08:27 am]

Yes, I played with fireworks as a kid, but we limited ourselves to firecrackers and the occasional bottle rocket. I can't believe idiots setting off some of this stuff at ground level in urban spaces.
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Seconded, thirded, and fourthed! [Jul. 4th, 2014|11:21 am]
"It is a greater thing to be a good citizen than to be a good Republican or a good Democrat."
—Gifford Pinchot

This is a sentiment that would make our country such a better place if only our elected officials would adopt it. Pinchot was appointed by President Teddy Roosevelt as the first head of the U.S. Forest Service. Interesting guy, was quite serious about conservation and forestry.
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Very interesting security vulnerability: the front camera of your smart phone! [Jul. 2nd, 2014|02:06 pm]

The German security site,, published a report of a compromised cell phone being able to see the reflection of your entering your unlock codes and passwords FROM YOUR GLASSES. They also say that the back camera, being higher resolution, can actually read fingerprints, which will be a big threat for biometric security.

(translated via Google from German)

The easy solution, if you're not in to taking selfies, would be to cover the front camera with tape. The case that I use covers the back camera unless I'm specifically taking photos, which is a rare thing, so that's useless if my phone were compromised.

There was a Mythbusters episode a few years ago where they were testing hi-tech security systems, including fingerprint readers. They lifted a fingerprint from a glass, using laser printer black toner to make the print visible. They scanned it, printed it on a hi-res laser, copied it on to a melted gummy bear fake finger, and it was rejected by the scanner. So they printed it again greatly enlarged, perhaps to an 8x10", then fixed disconnected lines with a black Sharpie pen. Scanned it again, reduced the size, repeated printing it, and it worked. It was amazing to see.

What was also cool was they got past an ultrasonic sensor, it might also have been infrared, I don't remember, by carrying a huge piece of shag carpeting in front of them. It absorbed the ultrasonics so they didn't reflect back, and they made it past that stage.

The new iPhone 5 fingerprint scanner is a different beast: it doesn't just read your fingerprint, it reads the capillary pattern beneath your skin. So it shouldn't be fooled by the Mythbusters trick. And I understand the newer generation of fingerprint scanners require a 98f heat source behind them, so you can't chop off someone's finger to get in. So the Mythbusers trick will hopefully have a short life.
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Busy, busy, busy! [Jul. 2nd, 2014|01:07 pm]
Monday I was in Las Cruces all day seeing a new doctor, then helping my Dad with getting stuff out of his sister's trailer as he had sold said trailer. Then that evening, while shopping, I whacked my head in to a tree branch and lacerated my scalp in two places. Didn't bleed, hurt like hell. Went to a book store and got an iced drink and held it to my head for an hour.

Tuesday I cooked most of the day. We're having a fried chicken thing at the observatory tonight, so I made three salads: carrot/golden raisin, German potato, and corn/black bean, they all seem to have come out well though I made a couple of mistakes with the potato salad. I'm baking two batches of cornbread right now, the first batch will be done in a couple of minutes. Also made a batch of sour cream dip using some of my Pampered Chef dry rubs/spices. I'm using two mixes for the corn bread, a Trader Joe's and a Krusteaz, the latter I'm doing as mini-muffins.

So naturally I missed a couple of ingredients: I was short one onion and couldn't find any raisins. I'm fairly sure I have some, so we had to make a trip to Alamo last night to do a little more plundering, and not wanting to do just one thing when you're an hour round trip from town, we went to dinner and stopped at the bookstore to see if they had the new Charles Stross novel which released yesterday, naturally they did not.

And I didn't get my infusion in on Monday, so I did it at 1am this morning and was up until after 4am.


If I recall correctly, we have an Apollo run tomorrow evening, then it'll be prepping and driving to Phoenix then on to Vegas for a fanfic/slash convention.

Such fun.
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Wow, proof that S.H.I.E.L.D. really exists! [Jul. 1st, 2014|11:25 am]

"It is widely known Rep. Frank D. Lucas is no longer alive and has been displayed by a lookalike. Lucas' look-alike was depicted as sentenced on a white stage in southern Ukraine on or about Jan. 11, 2011. I will NEVER use Artificial Intelligence look-alike to voice what the Representative's Office is doing nor own a robot look-alike."
—Tea Party challenger Timothy Ray Murray, who received 3,442 votes in an Oklahoma primary race last Tuesday

Clearly SHIELD is replacing congresscritters with LMDs. Lucas must be awfully important to rate an LMD.
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Supreme Court gives Hobby Lobby the win on contraception and health care [Jul. 1st, 2014|01:59 am]

Absolutely [REDACTED] ridiculous. I'm sorry, HL is a publicly-traded corporation, they are not a religious organization. I don't care that they're "closely held", they're still a nation-wide corporation. If they were a private corporation, I would respect the decision more, but they aren't. Some other examples of closely-held corporations include: Koch Industries, Dell Computers, and Heinz. Give me a break. HL employs 16,000 at 500 stores through the country.

The Court said that the decision only applied to contraception, and (as described by a Planned Parenthood) ..."that it would not cover religious objections to vaccines and blood transfusions, or religious objections to complying with civil rights laws." A lot of legal researchers don't think it's as narrow a decision as it appears, and it also establishes precedent.

There's a couple of problems there. First, there are religions that will not allow blood transfusions, it's a deeply-held belief. Second, what about women who need contraceptives for health problems? My sister went on the pill when she was an early teen even though she wasn't (I hope!) sexually active, she had serious anemia problems whenever her period came around.

The Reverend Dr. Weldon Gaddy, president of the Interfaith Alliance said the following after the decision was released Monday morning: "The Supreme Court made a grave error today. The balance between religious freedom and other compelling interests has always been tenuous, but we may very well remember today's decision as the moment that balance was radically recalibrated. The First Amendment is at its best when it is used to protect the rights of minorities from the whims of the powerful. Today's decision, which gives the powerful the right to force their religious beliefs on those around them, is a far cry from the best traditions of religious freedom."

Amen, brother. I like a Heinlein quote: Freedom of religion is inversely proportional to the strength of the dominant religion.

It was a 5-4 decision, you get three guesses to figure out who voted on which side and the first two don't count.

Hobby Lobby is the only crafts store within 100 miles of our house, and they will never get another dime from us. There are two Michaels stores which carry similar merchandise in El Paso, so if we need to we'll drive the extra distance. I would LOVE to see Michaels advertise 'We offer contraception to our employees!' and start poaching people from HL. If I were running Michaels and had the money, I'd do the Lowes Home Improvement attack on Home Depot: open a Michaels store as close as possible to every Hobby Lobby that I could.

In other SCOTUS news, last Thursday they struck down a Massachusetts law that created a 35' buffer zone around businesses that offer abortion services. Curiously, it was a unanimous decision, but the reasoning was far from unanimous. It's likely that the Massachusetts legislature could pass a new law that's smaller, but the decision could potentially be used as leverage to attack other state's laws, we'll see how soon other law suits start getting filed.

Aside from being nigh unto technologically illiterate, the Supreme Court is also an amazing example of the Compassionate Conservative.
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