October 31, 2013 6 Comments
I would have said progressive, but that’s because I know some very good Democrats. But whatever.
The view from the Prairie, with an emphasis on Energy
October 11, 2013 4 Comments
Back in the day, I spent some years as a pivot tech. It was pretty interesting, there’s more technology in there than I would have guessed. It’s also a good way to get your exercise when you consider that the average machine is a quarter-mile long. The dealer I worked for sold between 50 and 100 machines each year and they all had to be installed along with whatever options the customer had bought. That can range from a pressure switch to being able to control the entire machine from his iPhone, so it did have its moments.
But a lot of the time it was merely the pressure to get them hooked up. We rarely built the machines, contractors did, there just wasn’t time. We usually built one or two a year just to keep our hand in, but between wiring, and repairs, and even grain handling equipment we usually had other ways to spend our time.
We had one year where whoever the contractor had doing wiring, had a habit of nicking the wires at the motor. These machine use a specific style of cable, which has a corrugated metal shield, to help protect from lightning, and they are rather difficult to strip. And if you were careless, you would nick the insulation on the individual wires, most likely you wouldn’t notice it either. And he didn’t. And when we went over these machines at first start, before we turned them over to the customer, we didn’t either.
But eventually, a nicked wire will burn off, stopping the motor. And, of course, it has to do with starting and stopping as well as running time. So the motor the furthest out, which works harder burned off first. Yay! By the time this started it was the middle of July, the corn was head high, and it was 90°+ and usually the pivot had been running so the local humidity (and mud) were plenty high. It’s an easy fix, usually though, restrip and reconnect the wire, although occasionally you’ll have to replace a motor. The hard part is walking anywhere up to half mile through the cornfield to do so. Fun days. So the next year we decided to wire our own machines.
Which was fine, of course it was, I was one of the people who pushed for that decision. But that also meant quite a lot of work for us to do. At every tower there are 30 wires to be connected plus odds and end, and some other stuff at the pivot point. When you’re rolling along, it takes about 15 minutes per tower, and with me it was mostly helper work, while I did the ends of the underground, panel options, and pivot point. When I had a helper, of course, which wasn’t always.
Anyway, one day we were doing this, on the way into the field, I had dropped my helper at the end tower, and he was working his way in, while I worked the pivot point, this one had a generator so it was somewhat quicker to wire, and I was doing the collector ring, which is that dome-shaped device on top, which allows the machine to go around in continuous circles, without tearing out its wiring.
I’m moving along when I hear this excited shout. I look around, and my helper is about four spans out, and dancing like a crazy man. So I get down to the ground and in my pickup, turn around and go bouncing down there, as fast as I can. That means about 30 miles an hour across a ridge tilled field. In a ridge tilled field, the ridges are anywhere from 18 to 24 inches high and 30 inches apart. It’s not a comfortable ride, slowly, let alone at 30 miles an hour, even with a pickup that weighs something over 9000 pounds.
Of course, I figure he’s managed to hurt himself, although the way he was dancing around, I was pretty sure he hadn’t fallen off the tower, which is the easiest way to get hurt. But, he hadn’t. When I slide to a stop, he runs around the back of the truck and grabs a shovel. He then proceeds to very energetically hack at the ground. By the time I get out, he’s pulverized about 3 square feet, and running out of breath. So I ask him what all the excitement is, cause I haven’t a clue.
He tells me that he finished wiring the tower box, and was coming down to do the motor, when he jumped off the base beam, (that’s the horizontal tube that holds the tower and the wheels). It’s a fair jump, many machines, like this one have 38″ tires, which puts that beam at about mid-thigh. When he hits the ground, something by his foot got his attention. Yeah I would say it did, it takes a fair amount of volume to attract the attention of someone doing something about 1100 feet away, even in a quiet field. But, he managed to make me think something was seriously wrong at that distance.
So, I clamped one hand on the steering wheel, and one on the cab roof to try to keep from getting a concussion as I flew across the field, so that I could watch him turn a 30 inch or so rattlesnake, into hamburger.
He had landed about three inches from its head, and what attracted his attention was its irritated rattling. But it paid for its irritation with progress…
September 5, 2013 9 Comments
Congressman Duncan is exactly right. No matter how important and clear-cut it might be, the American people have no trust left for their government, and so for the present, anything other than a direct on attack on the Homeland or a close ally is not going to garner any reasonable amount of support.
In a related matter, I am very tired of the cliché, “Boots on the ground”. How about we call it what it is “American soldiers in harm’s way”.
From Maggie’s Notebook
Related: Last night Senator Fischer of Nebraska was interviewed on PBS’s Newshour on the matter
September 4, 2013 4 Comments
As Nebraska state senators continue to figure out whether to reform the state’s tax system and while Nebraska’s lame duck governor fights to eliminate the income tax we get a favorable view of doing so from our friends at the Platte Institute.
Whether it is practical for the state to entirely eliminate the income tax, reform reducing its high tax rates is imperative if the state is to continue to compete fore new business. The Platte Chat article below well supports the need to do something.
The Key to Attracting Businesses“Earlier this year, Texas Gov. Rick Perry made headlines for a bold advertising strategy aimed at four states with notoriously bad business climates: California, Illinois, New York, and Connecticut. Perry invited businesses there “to hit the emergency exit” and make a break for Texas. While officials in these states dismissed Perry’s audacious campaign as little more than a stunt, Texas’ incredible success at creating new jobs demonstrates that it is more than just talk. More people and businesses are voting with their feet to go where taxes and regulations are lower.The success of Texas-which has no income tax-is clearly evident. In 2012 CNBC ranked Texas as the best state for business in the nation-overcome in 2013 by another no income tax state, South Dakota-and in 2013 Forbes placed seven Texas cities in its list of “Best Cities For Future Job Growth” with the top four all being from Texas. In contrast, California, which has the highest income tax in the nation at 13.3 percent, was ranked 47th in CNBC’s 2013 poll and only saw one city-Santa Cruz-in the Forbes “Best Cities” list.Aside from rankings, Texas’ success in creating jobs is in the numbers. Despite accounting for only 8.4 percent of the United States’ population, Texas accounted for 43 percent of the jobs created between February 2009 and May 2013. Over the past five years, Texas has added 889,685 jobs, including 303,000 in the past year alone, much more than any other state. Compare that to the high tax states of California, New York, and Illinois, as the Golden State-despite a larger population-added only 119,659 in the past five years, and New York and Illinois together lost 568,195 jobs over the same time period. A 2010 article in The Economist even noted that the average New Yorker or Californian could take home between 9 and 11 percent more of their income by relocating to Texas.
Nothing in this article strikes me as wrong, in fact much of it is completely correct, and might well do a lot of good, in Omaha and Lincoln, and maybe marginally in Grand Island as well. While it won’t hurt the rest of us, I think, it’s not going to help much either. Why? Because taxes aren’t our major problem. We have other, structural problems, let’s talk about them a bit.
The big one is this: Corruption, It comes in two flavors, state and local. Let’s start with state.
Most of you know I’m an electrician, so that what we’ll talk about. Between Grand Island and Ogallala there are maybe 6 electricians that can efficiently troubleshoot industrial controls. I know 4 of them, 2 well. Good men that I would recommend to anybody. The only problem is that you’ll wait 3-9 months for them to get to you, if they’re even accepting new clients, that’s how busy they are.
Actually I know one more, me. I don’t practice though. Even though I have 40+ years of experience.Why? it’s very simple. Nebraska requires four years of experience to take the Journeyman test, the law provides for an apprentice card but, many of us out here worked on agricultural machinery (center pivots and grain handling systems) exclusively, which didn’t require licensing. Parenthetically, I’ve been here about 25 years, before that I lived in Indiana which has no state license. So, I never had an apprentice card, never needed one.
I called down to the state when I decided I wanted to branch out into general electrical work, they told me they wouldn’t accept my entire experience, at the time about five and a half years. That’s fine, it made sense, I hadn’t done residential in years. We settled that they would count two and a half years. So I hooked up with a Journeyman friend of mine who was on track to get his contractor license in about one-two years. Because I’m dumb and wasn’t doing much field work, I still didn’t bother with the stupid card.
Anyway what with one thing and another, by the time we got around to building in a job that would require us both, I was up to about six years including the agreed upon 2.5 from before. Since I do all the planning and such, it made more sense for me to take the contractor’s test, which would let me pull our permits. That requirement is five years. So, since an EC has to sign for you to take the exam, my EC buddy called down to make sure we were all on the same page. He was sitting in my office when he did and I could see the shock on his face.
The NSEB decided it wasn’t going to accept any of my experience, and they further threatened to lift his Contractor license just for asking. Luckily he was (and is) working for one of the ten largest electrical electrical contractors in the country so they didn’t quite dare try that. And that’s the story about why I have time to talk with you most days. I’m one of probably the 24 best electricians in the state, but because of *whatever* I’m not allowed to practice. And yes I’m too old, and crotchety to do another 4 years with some stupid 24 year old. I’d rather go on welfare than work for peanuts again.
Meantime there’s a factory less than a mile away from me, designed for medium manufacturing, I’d guess a few hundred thousand square feet, it’s been empty since the company moved it to Mexico, and then on to China. Very nice physical plant, I doubt it will ever be used again, even though the work force is still here, to set it up you’d need industrial mechanics, electricians (like me), pipefitters, and other industrial trades. Don’t forget to bring them with you. In any meaningful sense, they no longer exist here.
That’s part of the problems with the state, let’s talk about local for a bit, and then we’ll quit for today.
The Journeyman I spoke of earlier when he was planning to start this business before I was involved, figured he needed a shop and some storage, and maybe an office. He found a light manufacturing lot in another town, with a couple of quonset buildings and a small frame office, a bit run down but fixable. At the time he was living in a mobile home, and figured it reasonable to put that on the lot as well (it’s plenty big). So before he even bought it, he applied for a special use permit that would allow him to place his mobile home on the lot (it’s adjacent to a residential, although not fancy, area). He did the whole nine yards, talking to the neighbors, posting signs, whatever. So he was pretty confident when he went to the planning committee meeting, especially when no one complained, or even showed up.
So he was rather surprised when the mayor spearheaded a vigorous argument against allowing the permit, which was denied. That’s one thing, although nobody has ever offered a rational reason. The one that should have been a warning (he’s a bit bull-headed) was when the mayor asked the city attorney in open meeting if they could stop him from buying the property, including snide comments about raising goats which bewildered him no end. The answer was no.
So he bought it anyway, he’s had it now for better than ten years. In that time we have been cited for everything you can think of, including leaving material on trailers in our lot, which is zoned for outside storage. It has become completely impossible to function in that town, and so it’s sitting dormant, costing us money (although less than renting storage space for our stuff).
A good part of where we get whipsawed is that the city has it zoning code, which is reasonable, actually (or would be if properly enforced) it also has the International Property Maintenance Code which it enforces when it feels like it. By the way, you should read that code, it exists in most states and basically what it amounts to is that you will use your property exactly as the state and/or city says you will, not to mention that you will let their official into any or all of your property at any time, and yes it applies to your house as well.
August 26, 2013 10 Comments
This is one of those issues that my beliefs have changed over the last 30-40 years. We all have a few like that, I think. When I was young I saw the wreckage made by heroin in the late 60s and 70s and basically said , “There oughta be a law”, and soon there was. And Nixon’s war on drugs, and for a time, things seemed better.
But, you know, Americans know perfectly well what happens when you outlaw something. We tried outlawing alcohol, and created the mafia. As always, if Shakespeare didn’t say it, Churchill did, “If you destroy a market, you create a black market.” In the featured article here, Gene Howington reminds us of some of the good products we used to make of hemp, besides marijuana, like rope, and paper, and medicine.
Go ahead and read the article, and then we’ll talk a bit more.
From Jonathan Turley by Gene Howington, Guest Blogger
Propaganda 106 – Waging War (A Case Study)
“This thing, what is it in itself, in its own constitution? What is its substance and material? And what its causal nature [or form]? And what is it doing in the world? And how long does it subsist?” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, VIII – 11
As previously discussed, “we need to differentiate between the terms ‘strategy’ and ‘tactics’. Strategy is defined in relevant part by Webster’s as ‘the science and art of employing the political, economic, psychological, and military forces of a nation or group of nations to afford the maximum support to adopted policies in peace or war’. Tactics, by contrast, is defined in relevant part by Webster’s as ‘the art or skill of employing available means to accomplish an end’ and ‘the study of the grammatical relations within a language including morphology and syntax’. By better understanding the tactics of propagandists, you not only gain a certain degree of immunity from their influence, but insight into their strategic ends.”
Today we will address strategy and tactics in the form of a case study. The context is the so-called “War on Drugs” and state’s efforts to legalize marijuana for medical and recreational use. The strategy is to exacerbate so called drug crime violence by obliquely attacking the burgeoning states effort to legalize marijuana and those who trade in legal marijuana by deliberately putting them at risk. The primary tactic in question is misdirection. When analyzing propaganda, it’s important to ask who brings the message, what do they want me to think, why do they want me to think it and how do they benefit? The leader of this campaign against the American people? United States Attorney General Eric Holder. Let’s examine the what, why and who benefits from what Mr. Holder wants you to think.
LEGAL HISTORY, ECONOMICS, AND CULTURAL CONTEXT
Although preceded by a smattering of local laws and the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914 at the Federal level, prohibition via the 18th Amendment in 1919 and the Volstead Act of 1920 which were subsequently repealed by the 21st Amendment in 1923, the term “War of Drugs” entered the American lexicon in 1971 when used by Richard Nixon to (accurately) describe his continuation and expansion of policies started under the Harrison Narcotics Act via the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. The Controlled Substance Act classified marijuana as a Schedule I drug with a high potential for abuse and no acceptable medical use. In 1982, then Vice President (and former CIA director) George H. W. Bush began pushing for the involvement of the CIA and U.S. military in drug interdiction efforts. The War of Drugs was being escalated in earnest. Many programs were started as cooperative ventures between the U.S military, the DEA and the CIA and foreign powers, resulting in billions of dollars flowing from the U.S. and into drug producing countries like Columbia, Mexico, Honduras and Panama – including the “stealth invasion” of Panama to overthrow former CIA front man, dictator and drug runner Manuel Noriega in Operation Just Cause. Many laws were passed, including the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 (ironically enough) that included the Sentencing Reform Act.
Many people are outraged by the Federal and state government using private for profit prisons even though both have a long history of contracting out specific services to private firms, such as medical services, food preparation, vocational training, and inmate transportation. However, in the wake of the Comprehensive Crime Control Act and its included Sentencing Reform Act, the 1980′s saw explosive growth in the private prison industry. With traditionally government operated prison populations filled to overflowing by the War on Drugs and the mandated increased use of incarceration, overcrowding and ballooning costs became increasingly used by all levels of government as a rationale for outsourcing prisons to the private sector. Recognizing a gravy train when they saw it, private business interests moved from providing the simple (and reasonable) contracting of services to contracting for the complete management and operation of entire prisons in what they call in the business world (again, the irony) a turnkey solution.
Continue reading Propaganda 106 – Waging War (A Case Study) | JONATHAN TURLEY.
Cui bono is a latin phrase you’ve probably heard fairly often, if you what crime shows and such on TV. Essentially it means “To who the benefit” Who benefits from illegal marijuana? That first chart tells a lot of the story, doesn’t it?. That tells us that everybody that makes money from the prison system, and Mr. Howington did a good job of telling us who that is. If you would like to know more, a friend of mine at Montana Corruption. org works on it all the time. You could probably assume that the story is not that different where you live.
And this is what I finally saw. The endless circle of crony-capitalism. The legislature passes a law, the executive signs a contract (usually for a bloated amount) with a (well-connected) company to carry out the law, and the company makes generous contributions to the political party, and the lawmaker, and the executive. And so it goes, forever, regardless of the interests and needs of the country, let alone the people.
You did notice in this whole thing, didn’t you, that there is no incentive for anybody to ever be found innocent. Think anybody, especially poor anybody’s get railroaded? Yeah, me too. Read some more at Montana Corruption.
I would suggest that we are big boys and girls who can figure out for ourselves whether marijuana is hazardous. Let alone whether it is more hazardous than either Booze or cigarettes. Who decides? Right now Uncle Sam. I think we need to stop letting Uncle Sam be our Mommy and Daddy until we’re ninety-six.
It’s amazing what you see when you start to apply those two little words. Try it. often.
June 18, 2013 2 Comments
It’s fun, isn’t it when Europeans come down on the same side as American conservatives, granted it doesn’t happen all that much but, it didn’t happen in the past hardly ever. And when it’s a young, female European it’s even more fun.
But, in truth, is there anybody left that thinks the rules are the rules and shouldn’t be rewritten just for them. Apparently that what this college believes. Good for them. From Enza Ferrari:
Christian College Expels Lesbian, Bills Her $6,000 to Recoup Loans Because She Didn’t Finish Semester.
What I like most about this article are the comments:
1. I guess she should have followed the rules. Lady Gaga or somebody will pay her debt no doubt. She will get a degree from some other school and be done with it.
2. There is no one so blind as those who will not see.
In a liar’s universe, there is no truth.
Professing to change her behavior to meet the school’s minimum requirements and then taking, and living with a same sex spouse in an out of state union is deceitful.
How can anyone purportedly intelligent enough to earn a scholarship not be intelligent enough to understand a few simple rules?… Oh yeah, that’s right, she has the Nobel Peace Prize winner Barak Hussein Obama Jr., the worst ever president of the United States, for an example of how to live an honest life.
Never trust the MSM.
3. Hmm lets see, she applied to a conservative school likely under affirmative action rules due to title IV requirements. She more than likely used her race to advance her qualifications over other more qualified, Asian, Native American, Eskimo, and White Competitors. Then while she was reciving her free education she proceeded to violate the schools code of conduct, and more than likely was promoting homosexuality on campus, through the internet and social circles. Imagine if a White Male was given grants and scholarships to a traditionally black college, and then promoted the KKK in the local community, it would be no less vile and offensive. Liberals only like morals so long as they are working in their benefit.
4. Everyone here gets it. This is a homosexual version of Sandra “Professional Student” Fluke. These people get in there specifically to disrupt and discredit an organization, then get them to bend to some agenda. Ms. Powell and her “spouse” are prime examples. Then, on cue, the trolls (in this case, atheists} come out and start smearing “so called Christians” with stuff like “if God existed, he/she would not be so intolerant”. Really? Read the Bible sometime. God is VERY intolerant of rebellion against His will. He is long suffering, but has limits.
5. gee if the 35,000people had only given/sent her 1.00 dollar each..then the poor disinfranchised woman would have her bill paid..but seeing she is laying the professional victim card…she didn’t stop and consider that..did she ?
Then there is this, from the realm of ‘higher’ education.
When classes end for the summer, staff who have been officebound for the grueling 28 weeks that constitute an academic year are allowed out into the blinding sunshine of summer. While some repair to the beach or the mountains, others take advantage of the subsidized opportunity conferences provide to visit a new city or resort for a professional development experience.
And so it was for the several hundred members of the American College Health Association who descended on Boston last month to gather at the Boston Marriott Copley Place to discuss such pressing topics as enhancing college student sleep, eliminating waiting lists, and, of course, meeting the needs of students with autism spectrum disorders in a college setting.
There were also the inevitable workshops about the willy-nilly sex in which college students engage. This year’s exciting twist on the perennially crowd-pleasing topic broaches the hitherto unexplored realm collegiate sexuality where not only does “no” mean “no,” but so too do “yes,” “by all means,” “ok,” and “let’s go to it.” We have entered the land of low self-esteem, and something must be done before one more chick afflicted with this terrible malady cheerfully suggests to her boyfriend that they get it on. Because you see, she isn’t really in the mood: it’s her low esteem making that booty call.
You think I’m making this stuff up? Well, I’m not. See: Beyond Rape Preventionby reporter Allie Grasgreen in June 5′s Inside Higher Ed.
So there you have it. A reasonable candidate for the end of western civilization. What these two so-called women? No. they’re as inconsequential as they sound, they’ll go on through life mooching off the productive, if we let them. The danger is that some people can’t see the absurdity of their world.