Not on my Watch.

Let’s start with an aside, I, personally, was very pleased when yesterday’s article from Audre showed up. There is a lot going on this summer, and much of it is bad, some very bad, and so like Pontiac said, it’s very good to smile and perhaps laugh. That’s one, although not the only, reason why I value her contribution here so much. We all need that, and blogging like almost anything else concerning current events tends towards, ‘If it bleeds, it leads”. But there is a lot more to life, and we need to remember to take the time to enjoy the good things.

Now then, we’ve had many hard things to say about various and sundry politicians, especially governors this year, and with cause, as they have caused our elderly to be put in harm’s way, with little or no protection, and they caviled and hid like the cowards they are from their responsibilities and all the rest. But not all of them.

In my neighboring state of South Dakota, they have perhaps one of the greatest governors of the last few generations, and surprising no one except the left, she is a woman, Kristi Noem.

When almost everyone was panicking and shutting down their states, Ms. Noem said:

 that South Dakotans are free Americans, not subject to arbitrary orders from politicians. They are also smart: South Dakotans can look after their own health better than any government can. So her administration has put out a steady stream of data and advice, but she has refused to order anyone to do anything. And guess what: South Dakota has a very low level of COVID fatality and, last time I checked, the lowest unemployment rate in the country.*

That’s what should have been done across the country. If people want to compete for Darwin awards, well, it’s their life, to waste if they choose. Of course, that doesn’t do much to aggrandize a politician’s power, like controlling every jot and tittle of citizens’ lives. But it decidedly is the American Way, the way of freedom to choose.

As PowerLine also reported:

When looting and arson erupted across the U.S. following the death of George Floyd, a riot began in Sioux Falls. Within minutes, Noem called out the National Guard to suppress criminal behavior. “Rioting and looting will not be tolerated in South Dakota,” she said.

And now when terrorists are threatening the public display of our heritage, Governor Noem, whose state is home to Mt Rushmore, the epic sculpture of four presidents, of which the making is an epic of its own, her comment is just as apropos “Not on my watch”. Not as an exclamation just as a matter of fact. And if South Dakotans need any help, which would surprise me, it won’t be far away. I can think of quite a few guys and girls, in Stetsons and boots carrying hardware made by Winchester and Colt who would be proud indeed to help. Truly, this is an American thing.

We’ve dealt with this before, this is the attempted undoing of the story told by John Ford in Who Shot Liberty Valance. And the ending will be the same.

Too often people forget, this is America, and we bloody well built it, and if a bit of remodeling might be in order, we’ll take care of it.

As is said these days, “You go, girl”, and we’ve got your six.

*via Powerline as is the picture.

Obamacare Schadenfreude: Part 8976

English: President Barack Obama's signature on...

English: President Barack Obama’s signature on the health insurance reform bill at the White House, March 23, 2010. The President signed the bill with 22 different pens. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

OK, we’ll talk some reality about Obamacare, AKA Obamadon’tcare, AKA 404Care AKA a dozen others saying much the same thing.

Personally, I think the website broke the concept beyond repair, the young people men boys he needs to subsidise everybody else have gone back to their video games and whatever else they use the insulate themselves from real life. As near as I can tell their attention span is about ten minutes, if there is a pretty girl involved otherwise its about 30 seconds, and time’s up. $95  dollar fine? Who cares that about a weeks worth of Starbucks scattered over a year. Over and done, stick a fork in it.

The other thing is, even if they get the website to work, which is unlikely, the other anomalies will kill it.

Understand this, 404Care isn’t healthcare, it’s a chance to buy insurance, executed properly, in some alternate universe it might even have been useful. But here, where the sky is blue, it’s not. Why? Because with the limited number of plans available and the narrowness of providers, you’re screwed. You’re screwed, even if your identity doesn’t get stolen, which is likely as well.

Why? Because healthcare is properly defined as having a doctor and/or hospital take care of you when you are sick or injured. Depending on your choices, insurance is a valid way of paying for that (which is required, since Obamacare, before that doctors and hospitals were required to provide minimal, lifesaving care, free, if necessary.) 80 years ago, chickens and/or eggs worked, cash nearly always works, nearly anywhere. The way this is written, since I’m from Nebraska, if I go see Mt. Rushmore, and get food poisoning (because I’m too stupid to refrigerate my potato salad, say) I’d better be tough, cause I ain’t going to see a doctor in South Dakota, unless I have cash, of course.

In other words, insurance isn’t worth a damn, if no one will honor it, you could just as well light a cigar with that $500 a month.

And here’s some links for you:

The Business of America is Business Compliance

Obamacare Rage: What It Feels Like To Lose Your Policy

The 5 Percent Lie

Obamacare forces UnitedHealth Grp to layoff 1000s of physicians caring for Medicare patients

US In Shock After All Obamacare Signup Info Goes To Russian Hacker


How Obamacare Accomplishes The Unthinkable

And on, and on, and on, ad nauseum.

If they don’t get this figured out, figure on repeal by the end of January 2015, over the veto of the President on an almost party line vote, unless the stupid party turns into the imbecilic party. Which, of course, is not beyond the realm of the possible.

Also: Pay attention Common Core is heating up again, Arne Duncan’s arrogance sets it off again, and the fact that it lowers math expectations by about TWO YEARS doesn’t help a bit.

Stories from the Field

English: Center Pivot on the dessert

English: Center Pivot on the dessert (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Back 15 years ago or so, I spent something over 4 years working with center pivots, those ¼ to ½ mile long sprinklers that make this part of the country look like green circles when you folks fly over. They’re pretty interesting machines technically, in how we make then run straight and not wrap them up around themselves, not wash out the road, and stuff like that.

By the time I was working on them, many were controlled by computers in those pretty blue and red panels, and after I learned what I was doing, that’s mostly what I worked on, of course you know I’m technical like that, and I’m also old enough to know that carrying a 142 lb. gear box and a jack and this and that a half-mile through a 12 foot high cornfield in 100° heat is not gonna be a whole lot of fun. So, I managed to avoid having a helper and mostly did controls.

Don’t want to lose three rows of corn to having a road (trail really) to the pivot point? I can make that happen. Want to just start and stop it? Want to control the speed? Want to turn the pump on and off? Those are easy. Want it to call you at home if it stops? How about call you on the radio? Those are easy too, although a bit more expensive. In fact, I was on the development team for some of those, testing beta models for the manufacturer. Now let’s have some fun, want to control everything about all your pivots? I’ve been able to set that up for you since your computer ran DOS 3.4

Want to run your pivots from your iPhone? There’s an app for that too. Thing is I’m one of the people who can make this stuff work on nearly any machine, some of them I can also adapt to run your bin site. You know, the one we set up last year so that you could drive up and dump your semi and the system will put 14% moisture corn in the bin (or bins).

That the kind of stuff I did. But like everybody else in the spring, I did almost nothing but new pivots, I could wire each tower in about 10 minutes (when things were going right, anyway) plus about half a day for tying in the power feed and making the pump control work and miscellany, including teaching you how to use it. And telling it how many seconds out of a minute the last tower had to run to put an inch of water on the field, setting the end gun and such.

Those days would run 12 -18 hours Monday through Friday and about six on Saturday, if you were lucky. So you tend to be tired at the end of the day. And we covered a radius of about a hundred miles. Officially that is, I started one machine darned near in South Dakota, another in Kansas, and a third in Colorado. I can remember one night when I was starting three machines we had built in another dealers territory when I nearly ran head on into a competitors truck about 9 at night on a S curve in a gravel road- he was starting a machine they had sold in our territory. Why? Who knows, maybe they didn’t like the dealer.

Strangely, and coincidentally, that same night as I got into town hoping I’d be in time to get some dinner, the lug nuts sheared on one of my wheels as I was turning into the bar/cafe (it also had some of the best food in the county, and the coffee wasn’t bad either). I said, well you can imagine what I said, the truck was out of the way so I went in to eat. I figured I’d call my wife to come get me and deal with it in the morning. So happened that a tech I knew from a competitor was having dinner and offered me a ride home, which saved my wife about 100 miles on her car. He dropped me off at our dealership, and I got in my car and went home.

One of the strange things at this company was that you could drive your truck home if you lived in town otherwise you were supposed to leave the truck at the shop. I had long since told them that if it was the same distance home as to the shop, I was going home, and the service manager agreed readily enough.

So I get in about 7 the next morning and tell my story and he says OK, the underground crew is out that way on a two day job so they can load it up and bring it in tonight. I had had enough sense to bring some of my tools so I didn’t need anything off it so I got my jobs planned and loaded a truck that wasn’t scheduled.

Instead of my Dodge/Cummins, this silly thing was one of those 90 or so Ford diesel/5speed combinations that needed to be going downhill  to get started, and in addition it could only fuel at one pump in the county because whoever designed the fuel system on it’s flatbed screwed up and you needed to be 10º nose down to fuel it, nice part was that it filled both tanks. So off I go.

That day was fine, actually fairly easy. The next day was a bear though, I finished up about 10 that night (by my headlights) and started the 80 mile drive home. I can either turn right and go to the shop or go straight ahead and go home. It wasn’t a hard decision.

So, I’m crossing the Union Pacific main line which is the busiest railroad in the world, and I decide to upshift, with this truck you did a lot of shifting, and it was sloppy as well. so I’m shifting from first to second in the middle of the crossing when the fool truck decides it would be a good time to be in both second and reverse at the same time. That didn’t work out well, I stopped, rather abruptly. So, I’m sitting there trying to get it into one or the other, when I look down the tracks and about a mile away is a train. Well that was a bit of a motivator, so I push jerk harder on the gearshift, and finally get it into second (only). Ever see a 8500 pound pickup play drag racer? You would have that night. I quickly grab the transfer case and shove it into low lock because I know I’ll kill the engine if I try to start in second. Off we go, the breeze from the locomotive wasn’t too bad, must have missed by a couple of feet.

So, I drive around the section, because the transmission is still stuck, but at least in only one gear now. While I’m doing this I decide I’ll take it to the shop so I don’t have to deal with it in the morning, which I do.

I go in the next morning slightly angry still, and tell the service manager about the damned transmission and where it happened. he says OK, doesn’t matter, yours is fixed. So about a half hour later, he stops me on my way out of the parking lot to ask me how I got it home last night. I’m very pleased and surprised to tell you he is still alive because when I told him that I shifted in 4 low to start and then back to two wheel drive and drove slow, he couldn’t understand that with the hubs out it was only in 2 wheel drive, nor did he understand just how slow I drove (about 20 mph was redline on that truck). Wow that made it a 19 hour day plus commute.

He didn’t understand why I looked at him and told him to go ask the mechanic how it worked and get the [censored] out of my way either.

Good thing they needed me that year.



Heh, indeed.

We’ve noted the higher education bubble a few times here before, but today’s news story from FuelFix, an online publication of Statoil, is worth chortling over:

South Dakota’s New Mining Grads Beat Harvard for Pay.

Harvard University’s graduates are earning less than those from the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology after a decade-long commodity bull market created shortages of workers as well as minerals.

Those leaving the college of 2,300 students this year got paid a median salary of $56,700, according to PayScale Inc., which tracks employee compensation data from surveys. At Harvard, where tuition fees are almost four times higher, they got $54,100. Those scheduled to leave the campus in Rapid City, S.D., in May are already getting offers, at a time when about one in 10 recent U.S. college graduates is out of work.

I’ll save Glenn Reynolds the trouble: Heh.

JOHN adds: This comes as no surprise, of course, to us South Dakotans.


Health Care

First things first, Obamacare is unconstitutional,a budget buster, a haven for fraud, an attack on Freedom of Religion, and a bunch of other bad things but, that’s not what this post is about.

This post is about health care and what is really wrong with it.

  1. Insurance for trivial expenses.If you remember what insurance is for, how did we get here? Why would you pay an insurance company to pay for routine doctor visits. When I was a kid, when you went to the doctor it cost something like $5 or $10 dollars. My folks had pretty good insurance but, they would never have considered expecting the insurance company to pay for a doctor visit. Insurance is for unforeseen major expenses, like breaking your leg. This is also a practical reason for not including contraceptives in an insurance plan. All contraceptives are an optional thing. You don’t need a contraceptive if you don’t have sex, and nobody (short of rape) is going to force you to have sex. Using insurance to pay for routine medical care also needlessly inserts bureaucracy into a routine transaction. What do you suppose it adds to the bill 10%-20%, I’d bet something on the order of at least 50%. It also removes YOU from the transaction, leading to the possibility of the doctor refusing the treatment you want because your insurance won’t pay for it.
  2. Tort reform. There are far to many frivolous lawsuits floating around, and it’s causing far too many health care providers to leave practice. It also causes defensive medicine where a doctor will order every test he can think of to avoid missing something, the patient doesn’t care (see point one) and if you happen to have a patient with leprosy or something, you’re covered. Yes, the patient always needs to have financial recourse against negligent or incompetent doctor’s, but a misdiagnosed hangnail is not worth a million dollars (a third of it to the lawyer). This problem is extremely advanced (from my reading) for OB/GYNs, probably because when you’re dealing with a newborn, the payments for mistakes can be immense.
  3. Employer paid insurance. We have FDR to thank for this one. During World War 2 the government was so afraid that someone would make too much money that income tax was raised and raised, they also discovered that with the magic of withholding very few would notice how huge a chunk the government was taking. Since there were price controls on almost everything and wage controls and whatnot, employers needed an advantage to convince people to work for them rather than Joe Blow down the street. Thus employers paid health insurance, as a benefit, a somewhat reasonable response to government controls on the economy. Employees liked it, so it hung on after the war (so, unfortunately did withholding). But again it removes the customer one more step from the transaction. Now we not only have the insurance company between the doctor and the patient but the employer too. And my employer is not necessarily who I want to know what I’m going to the doctor for anyway.
  4. Mandating Coverage. If I want to write a reasonable health insurance plan for me, there are things that I have no reason to pay for. I’m a single guy so why would I need pregnancy coverage (I’m also unlikely to date many more women who are in their child-bearing years) or any of the other so-called women’s issues. I’m happy being a guy so I have no need for sex change insurance, again, I’m old, too. I don’t need coverage for hair replacement either, If I go bald, well, I guess I’ll be bald. I don’t need coverage for an annual trip to the doctor, I’d rather be in charge of who my doctor is and pay for it, if I feel the need. Why do the Feds (and the states) feel the need to mandate coverage anyway, are we too stupid to read the policy and make some basic decisions.
  5. Cross state purchasing. This is closely related to number four, If any policy I want in Nebraska costs, say, $500 but, I can buy an equivalent policy in South Dakota for $250, why can’t I? I’m a (supposedly) free citizen, not some moron that belongs to the State of Nebraska.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, it’s just off the top of my head but, I would bet if implemented, health care costs could be reduced at least 25% and probably much more. And that’s before we address all the fraud that bureaucracy leads to.

You know the biggest surprise of all. We have, by far, the best health care in the world, for now, even with all of its problems.


Keystone XL Finale

I want to talk a bit this morning about union workers. In full disclosure, I’m a scab and now management. But you know, my brothers in the unions are every bit as competent, trustworthy, and caring as any of us. They are damned good people many of whom I have worked with and been proud to know. The unions have over history done many good things for us, especially in the trades with regards to safety rules, work hours, benefits, and many other things. BUT, their leadership has gotten out of their control, and is no longer looking out for their membership but only for themselves. The really strange thing is, many are personally conservative. I hope the brotherhoods will recognize this soon and fix it but, that’s well beyond my control.

That said, I hope if you are a  union Welder, Pipefitter, Steelworker, Teamster, Operating Engineer, Communication Worker, Laborer, Electrician, or any of the other trades in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, or Louisiana, and neighboring states, I hope you are really happy with Obama as President as you try to live on unemployment because he has decided not to build the Keystone XL Pipeline. That’s somewhere (depending on who you believe) between 20,000 and 200,000 union jobs gone. And they were without government subsidy, too. What I hear is the union leadership sold out their members for those illegal interim appointment to the National Labor Relation Board (NLRB).

You say that Keystone can reapply, yes they can, but why would they? They’ll simply build their pipeline to the west coast (with Canadian Labor) and ship their oil to China, with all the greatly increased environmental hazards associated with shipping oil (in northern waters) compared to a pipeline.

The other thing is, I don’t want to hear a single Obama supporter whining when gas goes to $5 a gallon gasoline this summer, which it will, it’s nobody’s fault but Obama’s.

One more thing, the tar sand crude that Keystone was to carry can be refined in only 2 refineries (if memory serves). Where are they getting comparable crude now? Venezuela, that’s where. And by the way, my information is that it is about the consistency (at room temperature) of paste shoe wax, the Ogallala Aquifer doesn’t recharge from rainwater, how is shoe polish going to contaminate it. That’s Obama, enemy of American Labor, friend to the world dictators. I hope Chavez is grateful.

So there you have, tens to hundreds of thousands of good American jobs gone, China gets more reliable oil, higher environmental risk, America gets higher gas prices, and Chavez gets to keep more revenue. Anybody think that’s a win for anybody in the US?

And the worst part, the Presidential Poltroon couldn’t make the decision, he had to hide behind Hillary Clinton’s skirt (pantsuit?) instead.

What a great leader!!!

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