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Ooph

My military career was split between two services, the United States Coast Guard and the United States Navy. Beyond that, I’ve spent a lot of personal time on things which float. It doesn’t matter what you’re running or piloting, there are a few simple rules one must follow to avoid disaster. One of those might be expressed as “keep the vessel where the water is deep enough.” Others might include, “when the wind blows, your ship is a giant sail,” and “it takes less power to run aground than it does to refloat.” All of which leads to this article from Reuters. Short version: A 400 meter container ship has run aground and is completely blocking the channel of the Suez Canal through which flows 12% of the world’s total global trade goods. Removing the ship and re-opening the canal could take weeks. The economic impact is likely to be “significant.” Words fail me to express just how bad this is.

I cannot imagine the absolute nightmare of being the officer on the bridge during such a majorly FUBARed evolution. If you have the background, just thinking about being that person will induce feelings of nausea. Job? Gone. License? Gone. That’s just the good part.

Damn.

The stupid, it burns us

I am beyond delighted that Texas has elected to end the various and sundry mandated Covid restrictions that were in place. That said, I do not feel any need to express my thanks to the state government (including our governor) for that. “Oh, thank you for allowing me to again exercise my rights” is not something I ever intend to say to any government, bureaucrat, or elected office-holder. After all, you chose to limit them without my permission. Still, I’m glad.

Something I’ve noticed is that wearing a mask at the behest of a merchant with whom I want to do business, doesn’t bother me nearly as much as being told by government that I have to wear one. Besides, a good part of my nursing career was spent in the OR. In spite of often well-meaning insistences to the contrary, and in spite of some rather dubious studies which purport to suggest otherwise, there is a reason we wear masks in the OR. To wit, they reduce the risk of infection, and not just surgical site infections, among patients (all of whom become compromised during their time in the operating room).

Based on the above, then, you might think I would be annoyed by those who decline to wear a mask. You might even think I’d favor at least a mask mandate. Nope. I’m a big believer in not interfering with people doing what they want, even if it’s stupid ill-advised. What I favor, then, is the at risk and arguably overly fearful voluntarily staying home. Government mandates occupy a prime stop on my List of Things to Dislike. I tend to object to not only mandates, but also to busybodies and authoritarians.

I also favor people being able to believe what they want. Even if it is stupid. Or really stupid. Allow me to provide a few real-world illustrations. WARNING: The following provide examples of idiocy in full bloom. You have been warned.

Whoever allows you to walk around without a keeper is complicit in the endangerment of an idiot.

We’re not done, though. The above was followed by this pronouncement.

It’s enough to make your head hurt.

Both of the above are, as far as I can tell, from someone who makes no claim to any sort of medical or scientific expertise. That can’t be said of the next one, though the quote was offered by such a person.

“I don’t know what I’m talking about, so I had behind obscure and faulty logic.”

Let’s note that the quote is from a German biologist who, among other things, has made the claim that there is no measles virus. Instead, he has said, measles is a “psychosomatic illness” caused by “traumatic separations.”

If you parrot the above sort of nonsense, you are an idiot (in the old and now obsolete clinical sense). If you parrot the above noted crap as truth and object to being labeled an idiot, I offer the following. You are simply a liar. I guess you could be a lying idiot, but that’s really not better.

Don’t want to wear a mask? I absolutely and without hesitation support your right to make and live by that decision (unless you are spending time around the high risk folks). I have a greater-greater-than-average risk and I don’t care if you wear one around me and mine. It’s when you begin spouting nonsense and insisting that it is true that we part company, because then you become dangerous. Dangerous to yourself and potentially dangerous to others. At some point, someone whose condition is dependent upon medical knowledge will believe you and act upon your words. And then, they will die. From something that does not exist. Because nanotechnology, 5G and reasons.

I remember

Mnemonics. They’re useful little things. Here are a few you might know…if you’re old enough. If you know these, trust me, you’re at least less than young.

  • Bad booze rots our young guts but vodka goes well (the less PC version, and the one I learned, is “bad boys rape our young girls but Violet goes willingly”)
  • True virgins make dull company at weddings
  • Can dead men vote twice at elections

Once more

*Let’s note that Aesop, over at Raconteur Report, dealt with this topic in far more detail than I both here and here. I address it only because it seems to come up, at least among some people I know, on a depressingly regular basis.*

It seems to pop up periodically among those who oppose, in general or in some specific way, what they see as an unacceptable direction for the country. “It,” in this case, is secession. I want to begin by noting that I understand, in a sort of general way, the motivation. I, too, see the ongoing and accelerating loss of freedom. I see the seeminly ever-increasingly disdain for the Constitution and the liberties it seeks to protect. The problem, that is the practical problem, is that there exists no reasonably workable and achievable method of secession of one or more states from the Union. Any response to this which includes some version of “the Constitution does not even mention secession…” ignores that we’re discussing things that are practical, workable and achievable. Regardless of how I may view the rightness of secession as an idea, the reality is that there exists no legally recognized right of any state (or collection of states) to unilaterally secede. We actually fought a minor little skirmish over that issue back in the 19th century. The secessionists lost. They did not lose just because they were also supporting the vile, inhuman (and from my perspective Godless) institution of chattel slavery. They lost* because secession simply could not and would not be tolerated by the US government.

“Our state could do quite well without the federal government” is a frequently encountered argument. I hear it quite often here in Abilene. If it’s an argument you make, you need a keeper. This one is from the Texas Standard of June 23, 2020. It deals with how much just military bases contributed to the Texas economy in 2019.

A new study by the Texas comptroller’s office estimates that military installations contributed at least $123.6 billion to the Texas economy in 2019, and supported more than 630,000 jobs in communities across the state.

The point, which could be made in other ways, is that those dollars and support of jobs would either go away largely or entirely, even if secession succeeded. We can speak of how “our state cares more for liberty than dollars” all we want. In the real world, though, “it’s the economy, stupid” still reflects a basic truth. Like it or not, our state’s relationship with the federal government is a real-world Gordian knot and we lack anything approaching either an Alexander or so workable an answer. To put it another way, we ain’t gonna secede.

There are other points to be made if you favor secession, or at least questions to be asked. If the majority of the people in your state do not support some sort of real world effort, how many of your friends, neighbors and family are you willing to kill to get the others to go along? What about the people in the next town over? If you don’t know anyone there, but they don’t support “the cause,” are you willing to kill all of them, if necessary? Hey, are you ready to fight a civil war to “liberate” the arguable minority of people in California who see things your way?

Secession, you see, is rebellion. The federal government is not going to negotiate with rebels. Ever**. If those in favor of secession had that much practical power, there would be no need for talk of secession.

If you listen to or encourage the Keyboard Commandos (KC), you’re going to get people killed. If you’re one of the KC, hopefully it’ll just be you.

*NOTE: If you respond with even the hint that I support some sort of “lost cause” view of the Civil War, I should warn you now that I’ll treat you like the idiot you are.

**NOTE: There is a possible exception, but it would come at the end of a long, nation-destroying armed conflict. Even then, the odds are in favor of the existing federal government.

Hero pay

I understand that in the leftist science-following utopia of California, certain people are now qualified for “hero pay” based upon doing there jobs under truly hazardous conditions. After giving it some thought, I think there are certain situations which entitle one to hero pay in the American South.

  • You stopped to help someone change a flat tire in the rain, even though he/she was not wearing a mask.
  • You don’t treat people differently based upon their decision to wear or not wear a mask.
  • You let the neighborhood kid who mows your lawn come inside to cool off in the middle of a southern summer, even though he’s not part of your household.
  • When the store owner said “no mask, no service” you endorsed his right to do so…and spent your money elsewhere, even if you wore a mask.
  • You’re less than impressed that the CDC assures Americans that as more people are vaccinated, it will issue a new list of approved social activities.
  • You didn’t tell the governor “thank you” for ending COVID restrictions and permitting you to exercise your freedom once more.
  • You refrained from rearranging the face of the $*#&$(%)%)%(%$ who yelled at you from six inches away because you declined to wear a mask.
  • You’re an 18 year-old kid who is deployed far away from home, in service to your country…and whose pay qualifies you for food stamps.

Consent

It is important, yes?

Is or is not

I’m referring, in my mediocre attempt to channel Yoda, to freedom of speech. For a freedom to truly be such, it must be, I submit, limited only in that I may not use my freedom to infringe upon yours. That’s it. This brings us to a succinct treatment of the topic, both freedom of speech in general and the Baen’s Bar kerfuffle specifically, by LawDog in a post he wrote for Sarah Hoyt’s blog. From my time in newspapers I can remember when most of the population knew and understood that attacking freedom of speech, or the press, was a losing proposition. The freedom(s) were that important. Sadly, we seem to have regressed to the point of having a loud and possibly large number of people who believe it is their job to police and regulate speech they don’t like. This qualifies as a Very Bad Thing. Read the article.

A new holiday?

I’ll admit to being a bit of a traditionalist in some ways. That includes my views of holidays, especially many proposed new ones. However, I have found one I can absolutely get behind.

What do you think?

A sad day

While I tend to think of politicians, as a class, as lying, scheming and not terribly bright, scoundrels, I find it more than a little depressing to find such obvious evidence of that when it comes to the POTUS. That said, I am convinced that President Biden is either a liar or an idiot…or perhaps both. This is, I believe, from 2015.

Of course, The Writer in Black put it far better than I in this post.

The apparent ease with which lies pour from the mouths of politicians is perhaps more nauseating than the lies themselves.

The coldz, pt 2

Water is back up (the boil notice remains in effect) and temps are supposed to top out in the low 40s, today, with a day-by-day increase into next week. We did pretty well here at RM Ranch. We’re reworking the preparedness plan(s) based on lessons learned. Hopefully, things will go more smoothly the next time something inconvenient occurs.

On a related note, I should like to point out that as a resident of Texas (though not a native) I don’t care that Senator Ted Cruz took his family to Cancun while it was so cold and snowy. He’s not a snowplow driver, and his presence or absence in the state made no difference in how things proceeded. I was not any more inconvenienced by his absence than I would have been less so had he been here. People could, and probably should, find something else about which to feel offended. If you can’t think of something, feel free to contact me and I’ll provide you with a list.