Questions and Observations

Free Markets, Free People


More Climate Science

A new study from National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado revealed that a ‘small’ nuclear exchange would solve the global warming problem.

That wasn’t what they intended it to show, but it sure would be a quick fix to this impending global climate change heating up disaster the President and John Kerry keep flogging wouldn’t it?      But seriously, it shows a drastic global cooling effect brought on by nuclear exchange.   The term nuclear winter is bandied about, but in this theoretical exercise things don’t go quite far enough to trigger Fimbulwinter.

In the study, only the US is still a superpower but we’re not the problem.   That term superpower may need to go to the shop for repair all things considered, but for once the study didn’t presume Evil Bush pushed the buttons to send us to perdition. Instead India and Pakistan square off and slug it out with low yield bombs in the Hiroshima class range.  To the tune of 100 15kt weapons.

What they collectively have 100 of that would need nuking isn’t clear, but assume bases, cities and so forth, and maybe re-nuking some targets.   It’s a study in long term effect after all, not military use of the weapons.   100 of them in the territory given certainly implies some tactical activity for their deployment as well as strategic hits on infrastructures and civilian centers. Therefore we can assume air bursts and ground bursts, as each one will have different effects for the purposes of the study.  As an aside, they must have really dedicated fighters and leaders in their model to continue fighting long enough to exchange 100 nukes.  Be that as it may, once the blasting is over the study simulates the effect on climate on land, sea and air.   The conclusion as you would expect is catastrophe not just for India and Pakistan, but globally.

We’re talking, according to the study, global cooling effect and the loss of the ozone layer for as long as a decade.    The cooling to be caused by 5 million metric tons of dust spewing into the atmosphere.

The conclusion is that 100 weapons of Hiroshima scale would throw up 5 million metric tons of sunlight blocking dust and drop average surface temperatures world wide 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit ( or for fuzzy foreigners 1.5 degrees Celsius).  That would be the lowest averages in over 1000 years. Here in the US we’d experience winters that were significantly colder by from 4.5 to 10.8 degrees F and cooler summers.  All of which would lead to lethal frosts and reduced growing seasons.  No doubt causing world wide famine and destruction of biblical plague proportions.   if it didn’t say that last part, it can be pretty much concluded though.   It was originally thought by previous studies that the temperatures would go back to something like normal after a decade or so, but this new study shows the cool temperatures could persist for 25 years or more.   Global precipitation would fall off and this would lead to forest fires world wide which of course would raise the amount of particulate in the atmosphere.   Somewhere in there dogs and cats probably start living together and there’s mass hysteria.

Now this is the third study of this nature that’s been done, and “their conclusions support each other”.    As the models get more sophisticated they show the effects of a limited regional nuke war to be more and more pronounced.

If you have access, you can see the detail of their findings here, but your bumbled journalist here gets a big 403 Forbidden from the link.

All of this stuff is cool, no pun intended, and interesting.  Well, other than perhaps the models might look to real climate history for some reference about effects of nuclear above ground detonations on the earth’s climate.  It’s not like the world hasn’t had any experience or history to go by.

First there’s the bombs.    100 bombs at 15kt each is 15000 kt, or 1.5 megatons.  That’s gonna be a bad start to anyone’s weekend.  After all 1 exploding dumb 250 lb iron bomb ruins your day if you’re nearby.

But the “BRAVO” hydrogen test shot on Bikini Atoll was 15 megatons all by itself, so, multiply this little ground war’s explosions by 10 and we’re in the same range as this one explosion on Bikini.   India and Pakistan are going to have to fight a little harder.   The United States alone, in atmospheric nuclear testing,  accounted for 137 megatons worth of explosions above ground over a 17 year period.  That works out to a little over 8 megatons worth of nuclear explosions per year for 17 years.   That’s just the US contribution.  France, Britain, The Soviets, ‘Red’ China,  all tested atmospheric bombs, all in the megaton range.   The Soviet Tzar Bomba was rated, by itself, as at, or over, 50 megatons.   Before the distinction is made about tests over the ocean, versus tests over the land, the US detonated 27 nuclear devices here in the US, above ground, in 1957 alone.

The various nuclear armed parties continued with these above ground tests up until 1980.

1.5 megatons causes drastic global cooling?

Then there’s the dust estimates – 5 million metric tons of dust high into the atmosphere.   By way of comparison, Mount St. Helens in 1980 is estimated to have blown 1.5 million metric tons 20 miles into the atmosphere with 500 million falling tons falling in Washington, Idaho and Montana.  Krakatoa in 1883 is estimated to have produced 12 BILLION metric tons of dust – I based this number on a study here – which estimates a 10,000 megaton nuke war would put 25 billion metric tons of dust into the atmosphere and that study estimates that amount to be about double the dust produced by Krakatoa.  Krakatoa is credited with screwing up the weather in 1884, with results like crazy prolific rain in Southern California and average Northern Hemisphere summer temperatures falling by 2.2 degrees F.

There’s no disputing the effect of dust in the atmosphere, there should be a serious dispute about the effect the amount of dust used in their sophisticated model will produce.   The warmers will probably claim that was why it didn’t get warmer until after 1980 when atmospheric nuclear testing stopped.

Finally there’s the business of stripping off the ozone layer in the atmosphere.   We can only speculate that our modern ozone must be different than the ozone available in the 40′s, 50′s and 60′s since that old timer ozone didn’t all vanish when we nuked Enewetak in 1952 to the tune of 10.5 megatons worth of boom, dust and excited atomic particles.

It is safe to believe that some fair percentage of the people involved in these studies probably don’t remember atmospheric nuclear testing, or possibly even Mount St Helens, but they, or their elders who do, might consider cracking open a world history book from the WWII onwards and then a climate history review between 1945 and 1981.

And then try tuning their keeno sophisticated nuclear war climate models and running them again.

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Russia, Afghanistan and the US: A changing of the guard

Earlier in the week, former SecDef Donald Rumsfeld had some rather harsh words to say about the current administration’s relationship with Afghanistan.

“Our relationship with Karzai and with Afghanistan was absolutely first-rate in the Bush administration,” Rumsfeld told Fox News’s Greta Van Susteren on Monday. “It has gone down hill like a toboggan ever since the Obama administration came in.”

Rumsfeld pointed to the fact that the Obama administration has failed to get Karzai to sign an agreement that would allow some U.S. troops to remain in Afghanistan after 2014, when combat ends.

The U.S. has status of forces agreements with more than a hundred countries, Rumsfeld noted. “A trained ape can get a status of forces agreement,” he said. “It does not take a genius. And we have so mismanaged that relationship.”

Now I’m not going to go for the troll about that being a “racist statement”.  Neither of our SecStates or SecDefs were/are black and that’s who would be charged with getting a SOFA agreement.  Rumsfeld’s right.  The relationship has dramatically and drastically changed.  And he’s also right about why:

“And what happened is, the United States government — and I realize these are tough jobs, being president or secretary of state. But, by golly, they have trashed Karzai publicly over and over and over — (Richard) Holbrooke, the special envoy did, Vice President Biden did, Secretary Hillary Clinton has. The president has been unpleasant to him.

“And it seems to me they pushed him in a political box where he really has very little choice. I think there is probably not a politician in the world who dealing with the United States, instead of having the United States deal with him privately through private diplomacy, came out repeatedly, publicly, in an abusive, unpleasant, manner. And I personally sympathize with him to some extent.”

Again, he’s precisely right.  This administration did all it could … in public … to poison the relations.  And yes, Afghanistan is likely corrupt and Karzai as well, but that’s nothing new there.  Karzai was installed by the Afghanistan’s Loya Jirga (assembly).  He’s their president.  It’s a tribal culture.  Figure it out for heaven sake … oh, and keep in mind the big picture instead of playing small ball.

Anyway, these sorts of actions cause reactions and have consequences.  The latest?

Citing “the free will of the Crimean people,” Karzai’s office said, “We respect the decision the people of Crimea took through a recent referendum that considers Crimea as part of the Russian Federation.” To date, only Syria and Venezuela have taken a similar position.

Does it embarrass the US publicly?  You bet.  And that’s precisely why Karzai did it (or it is at least one of the reasons he did it).  And, there’s more:

“In Afghanistan, Russian officials point to their development activities as a counterexample to U.S. aid projects, which many Afghans criticize as wasteful and misguided. . . . Many Afghans, including President Hamid Karzai, praise the Soviet model even though they fought a bloody 10-year war against the country’s army, which invaded in 1979 to support an unpopular communist government.

“The Soviet money went to the right place. They were efficient in spending their money and doing it through the Afghan government,” Karzai said in an interview with The Washington Post this month.

Yes, there’s likely corruption. Yes the “Afghan government” is likely getting its hands on some of that money. But when in Rome, and looking for particular results, maybe knowing what to expect in such a culture and a willingness to play the game might turn out better results (and be cheaper) in the long run that trying to go around the incumbent government and forcing yourself on the population. You know, just a thought … which, apparently is more than our State Department commits to Afghanistan anymore.

Funny, in an ironic sense, isn’t it? “We welcome our former overlords”.

Outplayed by Russia … again.

~McQ

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Economic Statistics for 27 Mar 14

The Commerce Department’s final GDP revision for the 4th Quarter shows a below-trend annualized rate of 2.6% GDP growth.

Weekly initial jobless claims fell 10,000 to 311,000. The 4-week average fell 9,250 to 317,750. Continuing claims fell 53,000 to 2.823 million.

Corporate profits in the 4th Quarter of 2013 were $1.905 trillion, compared to $1.869 trillion in the 3rd Quarter. On a year-over-year basis, corporate profits are up 6.0%.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell -2.5 points to -31.5 in the latest week.

The National Association of Realtors’ Pending Home Sales Index fell -0.8% to 93.9 in February.

The Kansas City Fed manufacturing index rose to 10 in March, versus 4 in February.

The Fed’s balance sheet rose by $4.9 billion last week, with total assets of $4.890 trillion. Total reserve bank credit rose by $13.2 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply rose $12.2 billion in the latest week.


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The ‘Bed Mandate’

Let’s talk about immigration, no, let’s talk about inmate costs, well, both of them, and throw in a sample of how crappy unintended deliberately misinterpreted and probably profitable laws are crafted in the hallowed halls of Congress.

My last post was, sort of, about White House fibbing; largely the prevarications of the immigration policy it’s forwarding, with a dash of their fictitious healthcare policy advertising tossed in for spice.    My head was kind of in the Immigration game, and it’s my amateur opinion we ought not hand out citizenship to 11 million people based merely on the qualification they could sneak in without being caught.   I don’t want to hear how I’m a racist and hate immigrants.  I’m only 2nd generation American myself.  My great grandparents, documentably, could neither read nor write in English. When I’m in a lighter mood maybe I’ll do a post about how great I think a nation of immigrants really is (note to self…)

Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions issued a critical alert yesterday questioning the legitimacy of the claim that Barack Obama is now “Deporter in Chief of the United States”.   Sessions points out that what we used to consider deportation, which was catching them in the heartland and removing them, is now what we call catching them at the border.   Border enforcement isn’t deportation, unless you work for the same administration that pretends our unemployment rate is 6.7% these days.  I was glad to hear we were catching them at the border.   Not real happy deportations from the interior are down.  And definitely not happy that the numbers are being used to mislead.  I wandered down that path a little but was having a hard time getting really exercised there.  When you get lied to nationally on a daily basis by half a dozen official government agencies, it loses it’s anger generating potential after a bit.

Not that I didn’t try.  That was when I ran across a mention of immigrant inmates in privately run prisons going on a hunger strike.   So I checked that out.   During that zig off the path I ran across this thing called ‘the bed mandate’.

The bed mandate deals with incarceration of potential deportees, be they illegal immigrants or now undesirable legal immigrants.  If you’re curious, you can do a search on ‘the bed mandate’ but I included some links below.  Here’s a nifty link to a Bloomberg article on it that mostly does it justice.

According to a lot of folks, the ‘bed mandate’ requires our various rounding up agencies, ICE, Border Patrol, etc under DHS (we have waaaaaay too many agencies that are responsible for rounding up people in my opinion) to lock up 34,000 illegal immigrants a day.

Remember now it’s called the bed mandate, not immigrant detention mandate.

Like a cop ticket quota (but which they swear is NOT a quota), they’ve decided they have to have some fixed number of PEOPLE in jail for immigration reasons every day, 365 days a year, every year since 2009 when Robert Byrd, sainted Democrat and former KKK grand wah-zoo, added the ‘mandate’ to the Federal budget (which doesn’t exist, but let that slide, after all, we’ve let it slide for 6 years and counting…).  Out of partisan waspishness I remind that when statesman Bob “Klansman of the Senate” Byrd added it the Democrats owned the Senate and the House, and the White House.  Damn those evil immigrant hating Republicans and their colored folk hating laws!

Before anyone starts doing three cheers and a tiger for the GOP recognize they’ve allowed it to continue,

I’m not going to bore you with the statistics on prison populations, or cost per inmate per day in private prisons versus cost per day in Federal, State, local government prisons and holding facilities.   It’s a lot of samolians, let’s just say that.   We can assume it’s profitable or private corporations wouldn’t do it (except in Moonponeia where companies don’t worry about making profits :roll: ).

Most of the articles I read say this year we’re mandated to keep 34,000 people locked up every day.  Again and again and again, (I could go many more agains) they insist we must incarcerate 34,000 people, specifically illegal immigrants to fill a bed, every day.   The Bloomberg article points out that Texas Republican Congresscritter Michael McCaudoes insists that not doing so is a violation of the statute.  Then again ICE seems to think that’s what it means also, so maybe that’s why all the various and sundry aforementioned do too.

We go out and hunt people down, illegal aliens, to fill the 34,000 beds a day?  I mean, something that, I don’t know, ridiculous Soviet factory quota Stalinesque, must be a statute of a least a couple of paragraphs full of ‘heretofores’ and ‘with respect to’s’ and ‘as governed bys’.  There must be stipulations or guideline or …you see where I’m going don’t you, you perceptive devils.

I got crazy and looked at the budget (hah, reconcilitation) for this year.

It’s not a section, or paragraph, hell, it’s barely it’s own sentence.  As tortuous as these bills are, and this is the usual, the ‘mandate’ is a ‘furthermored’ chunk of a run on sentence that even I wouldn’t write.    It’s about 20 words, if you count a date as one word.

At H. R. 3547—247

It says “That the Secretary of Homeland Security shall prioritize the identification and removal of aliens convicted of a crime by the severity of that crime: Provided further, That funding made available under this heading shall maintain a level of not less than 34,000 detention beds through September 30, 2014:…

BEDS?  Not raids and roundups?  Beds.  That must be why it’s called the bed mandate.

There must be a disconnect here. I don’t see where it says I have to have a person IN the bed or even in the room where the bed is, or even in the building where the room where the bed is.  I see budgeting for minimum capacity sheltering.  My inexpert reading says I have to have accommodations (a bed) for no less than 34,000 immigrants in detention on any given day.  It does NOT say I MUST arrest 34,000 immigrants and lock them up.  I’m not a genius or hot doggin government cool guy, so I could be wrong but this doesn’t mention being required to arrest people to fill (n) number of beds.

How ICE gets “you must arrest and detain (n) immigrants” out of that is curious.   But I personally think the senior agency people say that to try and convince us we need to cut their funding because they’re big meanies. Head of ICE won’t lose their job, right?  Someone has to do the harrumphing and phoney baloney work because I doubt this President appoints anyone to head ICE who is really extra primo keen on enforcing immigration law.  That ain’t how this administration rolls.

Yes Franz Kafka would recognize this one.  You just know they’ve striven mightily to go to the effort of rounding up the bed minimum number of immigrants a day  and locking them up, or keeping them locked up to ensure capacity usage.   The average stay turns out to be between 26 to 29 days a month.  The system has managed to keep suspiciously close to whatever number the budget specifies for whatever budgetary year after 2009.  People, admittedly illegal aliens, locked up, every day, for the last few years to meet a quota.  And when they caught more than the minimum allowed, being part of the executive branch and trying to let us know how awful it was that someone would hold the President to HIS plan they let some go to punish us for the sequester, remember?

Is it about enforcing immigration law or meeting a quota?  I’d be happier if I thought it was enforcing the law, but I don’t believe that.    I’ll let you figure out what happens if they accidentally catch more a day on a regular basis than they can hold.

Now somewhere there are rules and laws on minimum prisoner facility requirements.  Housing, feeding, medical care, security requirements.  Some government accountant can probably be made to convince us that it costs as much to have the bed as it does to keep someone IN the bed, and watch them, and feed them.  I don’t know if they give them a nice orange jumpsuit to wear for a month or so.   But those laws, rules, whatever, weren’t considered when an old coot added 20 words to a budget item without any thought to the actual cost.  I don’t know if he helped ICE misinterpret them once they were approved.

A few hopeful lights suggested that isn’t what that sentence should mean. and that including a quota like minimum number reduces ICE’s flexibility in dealing with immigrant incarceration and handling and in the end costs more than we might otherwise have to spend.   But Congress and the Executive branch, they’re still arguing over how many people they’re going to lock up, not if that’s what those 20 words actually mean or even if those words should really be there.

That the Secretary of Homeland Security shall

prioritize the identification and removal of aliens convicted of a

crime by the severity of that crime: Provided further, That funding

made available under this heading shall maintain a level of not

less than 34,000 detention beds through September 30, 2014:

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Economic Statistics for 26 Mar 14

The MBA reports Mortgage applications fell -3.5% last week. Purchases were up 3.0% but re-fis fell 08.0%.

Durable goods orders rose an ostensibly strong 2.2% in February, but were only up 0.2% less transportation orders. On a year-over-year basis, Orders are up 0.2% overall, and up 1.5% less transportation orders.

The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) US Services Flash for March rose from 52.7 to 55.5.


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The newest oxymoron? “Government efficiency”

I’m always surprised by people that think government can run something better and more efficiently than a private entity.  Oh sure, there are things that are best left to government – like national defense – because it simply makes more sense when it comes to that.  But the fact that we charge them with that duty doesn’t mean they run it efficiently.

Governments have no incentive to be efficient.  We’ve talked about how, in private concerns, the profit motive provides incentive to be efficient.  In government there is no such motive.  So waste, fraud and abuse are rampant.

How rampant?  Take a look at this chart:

We’ve all been told by the Democrats that the government can help lower costs in health care.  But when you look at the 4 health care items on the chart (Medicare fee for svc, Medicaid, Medicare part C and D), you are looking at $63.5 billion … that’s with a “b” … dollars a year in “improper payment rates”.  Also look at the percentage of error.  In the EITC program, 22.7% or 12.6 billion of what they pay out is in error. (Don’t forget, the chart looks only at programs of $750 million or more a year – and we all know there are literally thousands of government programs below that threshold doing the same thing.)

Add all these up and government is making about $100 billion dollars a year in improper payments.  So if anyone wonders why I snort derisively when I hear Congress talk about a $10 billion savings over 10 years (not to mention that usually means not spending as much as they now spend) you can understand why. We’re not bleeding money at a federal level, we’re hemorrhaging it. What in the world is a 10 year $10 billion dollar “savings” worth when government is blowing a trillion dollars in 10 years via waste, fraud and abuse?

But do they actually address the problem?  No.  We’ve known about this level of waste, fraud and abuse for years … decades even.  And absolutely nothing of worth has been done to correct it.  In fact, given the amount of expansion the federal government has seen in the last decades, it’s gotten worse.  As the Mercatus Center says:

While people of good conscience on both sides of the political aisle can debate the merits of whether or not government should be involved in certain activities, none should tolerate the high levels of improper payments currently associated with government spending on social welfare programs. Federal spending has grown too massive to be adequately overseen. Waste, fraud, and abuse squanders public resources and undermines trust in government.

Indeed.  But there is one sure fire way to at least reduce this waste, given the apparent fact that government hasn’t a clue about how to reduce it.  Get government out of areas it has no business and cut spending.  Simplistic?  Not really.  That is a solution, or at least a partial solution.  I certainly understand there will be argument about the areas where government should be involved or not, but hey, crazy me, I’ve always found the Constitution provides some pretty good guidelines.  And, of course, then you have to elect legislators with both balls and a charter to do that (and who won’t succumb to “Potomac fever” when they arrive on the scene) and stay on them until they do what is necessary to accomplish the task.

Yeah, I know, not going to happen anytime soon.  People like their government cheese too much and most don’t mind at all that someone else is paying the freight.

Meanwhile this atrocious and unacceptable waste of your tax dollars will continue unabated (and likely get worse) – a victim of “government efficiency”.

~McQ

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Economic Statistics for 25 Mar 14

The FHFA House Price Index rose 0.5% in January, and is up 7.4% over the previous year.

The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index was up 0.8% in January. On a year-over-year basis, the index is up 13.2%.

New home sales fell from January’s 468k annualized sales rate to a 440k rate in February, as higher prices held down sales.

The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index in March rose a very sharp 4.2 points to 82.3.

The Richmond Fed manufacturing index continued to decline in March, down a point to -7.

The State Street Investor Confidence Index was unchanged in March at 123.0.


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The White House resource link

I thought I’d, you know, take a tour of QandO.   A real tour, of things I might use more than once every year, because prior to this my ramblings seldom needed any kind of links or documentation.   That being the case I can report I’ve poked around in the wardrobes, steamer trunks and closets here back stage, and God help them they’ve given me access to all kinds of things. :mrgreen:

While I was puttering around in the right hand column, I noticed ‘resources’ (“which”, says the narrator in my head “he’s seen and even used before but didn’t bother to make note of….”).

Bottom of that list….”White House”.   Yep.  The White House.   I stopped trying to learn about QandO and clicked it.  Attention span of a gnat I swear.

The White House.

I was greeted by the count-down clock for the destruction of the world, err, I mean the amount of time people have left to enroll in the mandatory health care system before the deadline is arbitrarily extend  by the President on the afternoon of March 30th because not enough people will have enrolled.   We may only need another 15% of the country to sign up anyway.  What’s that you say?

Keep reading.

Slightly down the page there’s a tab – Engage and Connect – Opening the doors to the White House.   Where it says “President Obama is committed to making this the most open and participatory administration in history.”  That brought forth a friendly chuckle, and I had to know more.    Ah, that zany transparency thing again, such kidders.   Now I would learn how I could participate.  Clicking on the link, I saw two more links under ‘participate’ – “We are a nation of immigrants” and “Speak out in support of Health Care Reform”.   Apparently we are not asked to participate if we want to speak out against Health Care Reform, that isn’t particularly surprising, but I thought showhow it might be helpful to mention it here.

I clicked We are a nation of immigrants.  They generously offered to let me give them my own immigrant story, which they can probably get from the NSA or FBI or my sister’s ancestry.com account, so I declined to give it to them again to avoid duplication.  A link says the President is committed to common-sense reform that fixes our broken immigration system.  Have you ever noticed it’s always going to be a common-sense reform?  Phew, I thought he was for some crazy radical scheme like handing out citizenship to 11 million or so people who snuck into the country illegally!

Now we were getting somewhere!   Four points, four simple points.    Border Security, Strengthening enforcement, Earned Citizenship and Streamlining Immigration.

1st point, Border Security – Beef up the borders.  We now have more agents, specifically on the Canadian border. Probably to keep undocumented Canadian rodeo riders, country western singers and actors from sneaking in, though it doesn’t really say.  I can’t tell how many agents…both numbers 3800 and 2200 are mentioned so maybe it’s 6000, agents now, but yeah!   The site goes on to say we’ve doubled the number of agents nationwide since 2004, up to 21,000.  By default, we may then assume we have more on the southern border too.  No, we must assume because the numbers were a little vague.   By ‘a little vague’, I mean nonexistent.

They didn’t say anything specifically about the increase of coverage on the southern border.  Just that we had more boots on the ground.  I presume we have people wearing the boots and didn’t just sort of scatter empty ones from Port Isabel to San Diego.   Then again, it did say we’re using technologies to secure the land and maritime border.  Maybe we have special sensors in empty boots that detect doctors, engineers and web programmers as they attempt to sneak in across our southern land border.   They don’t mention if we have floating boot buoys at sea to keep zodiac boats full of undocumented physicists from sneaking in along the Gulf coast.   Well, that was a good start anyway.  I assume these are the professions of people who have already breached the border, because the Chamber of Commerce and the High Tech companies  seem very keen to grant them all amnesty for their undocumented transgression, NOW.

2nd Point, Strengthening Enforcement – ah, big heading here says “Cracking down on Employers Hiring Undocumented Workers”.  This deserves the copied quote:

– “It means cracking down more forcefully on businesses that knowingly hire undocumented workers…most businesses want to do the right thing… So we need to implement a national system that allows businesses to quickly and accurately verify someone’s employment status. And if they still knowingly hire undocumented workers, then we need to ramp up the penalties.”

President Barack Obama, January 29, 2013

Apparently we need a national system to check you out Ivan Ivanovitch, when you apply for a job, to make sure you’re here legally.  It needs to be a national database.  Fraud resistant tamper proof identification, which of course won’t be used for you to vote in elections, that would be wrong to disenfranchise you and only a racist would suggest such a thing.  It will be required when you get a job at, 7-eleven, or McDonalds or Lockheed Martin or Booz Allen Hamilton.  A nagging voice in my mind keeps mumbling about some national data collection thingy or other that was an overwhelming success in October of last year.

Anyway…

Penalties for hiring illegals will be significantly increased!   Hurrah!  Take that Koch brothers!  Take that Mitt Romney!  I don’t know that any of them hire illegals, unless Harry Reid says he heard someone say they did.  All this made me wonder what weak worthless penalties we currently have in place for companies that hire illegal, I mean, undocumented, workers.

So I did a web search “penalties for illegal hiring” and the very first hit on Google says – Obama eases penalties for businesses hiring illegal immigrants.

Well, that took the wind out of my sails.  Well, that and seeing them being called illegal instead of undocumented even on the White House web site.

There were 4 items listed on how we’re going to fix immigration, and when I checked just one with sources other than the White House, it proved to be, uh, like saying I could keep my insurance plan if I liked it.  25% of the plan the White House is talking about is already crap and I haven’t even finished looking at half of it yet (which means 50% of the plan I do know about is crap).

So I stopped.   That was sooooo disappointing.

There’s obviously a rogue intern at work here, or a low level functionary from Cincinnati.  I considered sending a note to the President so he didn’t have to find out on the 6:00 PM news on Friday that someone in his administration wasn’t on the same page he was and was making him look silly on the White House web page.  He’d be very angry, no one would be angrier.

Maybe I’d have better luck with “Speak out in support of Health Care reform”

I clicked the link.   Ah there’s a nice picture of the President, sitting at a kitchen table…with a bunch of people who look like Tea Partiers…and a skin-head!!!  Maybe it’s just the camera angle, maybe that guy has some hair on the back of his head, maybe it’s the edge of a NAZI tattoo!  Lord! Nary a Secret Service agent in sight!

And the bold caption says “85% of Americans have already benefitted from the Affordable Care Act”.  85% of YOU, because  so far as I know aside from an increased tax burden and higher premiums on a slightly less generous insurance plan, that number does NOT include me.

At this point I couldn’t go further, because I was sort of afraid if I clicked any other White House site links I’d find myself in an odd room with a bottle with a little tag that said  “drink me” and a cake with a note that said “eat me”.

That’s my way of telling you stay away from the White House resource link…..

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An Introduction

Dear readers of QandO.

Hello.

I intended this to precede my musings on the Crimea, alas, Id10T error received by WordPress novice.

Normally you may see my…observations…in the comment section here, assuming you read the comment section, and assuming you read my comments.

After years of being ‘looker’  somehow my credibility would be increased (nay confirmed even!)  if I used my real name, at least, according to one particular person I shall not name (curse you Voldemort!).   On reflection perhaps ‘pain in the …’ would have been a better handle for me, but when I first commented, I was only  ‘looking’, hence ‘looker’.  That didn’t last long.

The proprietors have apparently had enough of my Irish whispers in the background and rather than show me the door, have decided that I should try and earn my keep instead.   So they’ve offered me the opportunity to stop merely being a wordy guest, and maybe do some actual work.

Trust me, I have now officially discovered writing allegedly coherent, if not thoughtful, pieces for presentation versus commenting ain’t the same thing.   My level of respect for those who do so daily has risen dramatically.

I would like to express my thanks to all the contributing authors, especially Dale and Bruce, for this opportunity.

As for everyone else, I am sorely tempted to warn you to flee while you may.

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