Saturday, November 29, 2014

Working at da Ranch

on da Canopy

In case you wuz innerested.

This past week in review 11/29/14

The past week was dominated by the aftermath of the Ferguson grand jury non-indictment.

Posting was light, especially over the holiday, as I have been making plans for da Ranch.

Saturday after Black Friday

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The next installment in the off-the-grid series.

Yesterday, I window shopped.  Today, I bought something.  It seemed like a bargain, but bargains sometimes don't work out that way.

It was the freezer I saw yesterday.  Once I got it unpacked, and read through the instructions, I see that I've got something of a problem.  It cannot be operated in the shed.  That means it must go in the trailer, which also means I have to find a way to fit it in.  Not likely, since it seems to be too big.  It may be possible to put it on a pedestal, but it can't go too high.  Needs sufficient clearance, which looks to be at least two feet.

So, I raised the roof about a foot, and put in a shelf that will hold the freezer and toilet.  No shower included on this version, although it might be possible to work in something small.

Another possibility is to put it in the greenhouse/ solarium, where I plan to do some climate control there.

Friday, November 28, 2014

#Ferguson Eye Witness Intimidation: Chilling Details

Legal Insurrection

Reading through this, it is striking how many times the interviewer is reassuring the witness that nothing bad will happen if he/she talks.

Looks like witness intimidation was going on.

Black Friday

Continued from previous post

Did some more looking around in hardware stores, this time at Lowe's.  They had a storage shed there on display that looked very interesting, but the shed wasn't in stock.  Also, a dented freezer, which is about the same size I was looking at before.  Only $99.  Also, portable circular saw, less than a hundred.  They had a good selection of wood on display.  Noted the insulation, may include that in how it is framed together.  Didn't see any wood paneling.

While I was there, I took another look at the 8x8 shed that I actually came to see.  It was interesting to look inside and see how it was put together.  This gave me an idea of what I need to do with my trailer.  Also, it gave me a pretty good idea of what to expect when I put the trailer together.  It will be very, very cramped, as it is very, very small.

Here's a plan to "frame it out".  Put a thick plywood 8x4 down as a floor.  Two two by fours on each side leaves just 4 inches left to reach 5 feet.  To cover that final distance, offset the frame by 2 inches on each side, which should max it out at 5 feet.  The frame out will be 2 x 4's all around.  There will be a wall at the 75 inch mark, which separates the bedroom from the bathroom.  The floor will be raised and will have insulation from the ground.  However, the toilet and the shower will not be insulated.  These will sit on the plywood floor just mentioned.  Plywood will around the four walls.  Plywood may go on the roof as well, but will have a layer of metal roofing for drainage.  How to cover the gaps as on the floor?  Perhaps a little different way.  Three two by fours plus the plywood make 5 feet.

One side will have a door, and the interior will have a door.  I may make the darned door myself because they want so much money for doors.  The outer door will open outward so that it won't bump into anything inside.  Same with the inner door.  Both doors will have to be insulated, as they protect the "inner sanctum" of the bedroom, which I want to keep climate controlled at minimal cost.


Oops!  Looks like I'm going to have to put a door on the opposite side of the tongue because of the railing.  That means it's backwards in terms of where the bedroom and bathroom should go.  Ramps come with the trailer, so add another plywood sheet for a ramp to the door.

Trailer plans

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This goes in the off-the-grid construction sub series.

Drum roll please....

Here's the plans for the 5 x 8 trailer that I'm a gonna build for da Ranch.  It's gonna fit under "da canopy ", so as to shield it from the sun and the rain.  However, I'm not planning for it to be vulnerable to the elements, no.  It will have siding on it and a metal roof.  Also, the wood will be treated so it can handle getting wet.  There will be weights holding it down, so that a strong wind won't knock it over.  It will be small, so that to climate control it won't take much energy.  It features a waterless toilet and a small shower stall.

Beware of the changes, as changes are always being made to plans.

I'm going to include the following video because I can't find the video on my blog.  It is about installing a ductless mini-split air conditioner / heat pump.  This system will be used for climate control.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Doesn't matter if Brown's hands were up or not

The folks who say this are wrong.  Every case is different, yet these people are trying to reduce it all down to the same thing.  Hence, there are those who can say:

"This is not about one boy getting shot in the street, but about the hundreds just like him who have received the same callous and racially-influenced treatment," said Oakland, California, protester Gabe Johnson, a middle school teacher. "So ultimately, no, it doesn't matter at all if somehow we can say for sure whether this one young man really said these words or had his hands up."

It matters to the guilt or innocence of the police officer.  This is one police officer and one suspect.  That's all it is.  It isn't the typical encounter of white v black  regardless of how much these people want to see it that way.  It isn't justice to wrongfully treat the officer any more than it is justice to wrongfully treat Brown, if such were the case.  If it wasn't the case, treating Wilson guilty just because he was a white police officer isn't exactly justice either.  As a matter of fact, it is a downright injustice.  Therefore, it definitely should matter if he was raising his hands or not.

From what I can gather of the facts so far...

Darren Wilson isn't guilty of anything.  But we may not be in complete possession of all facts.

Some facts are disputed.

Here's are some relevant facts
  1. Someone matching the description of Brown was videotaped robbing a store
  2. The altercation outside the police car is not disputed
  3. Brown's body was located several feet from the police car, which indicates a chase.  The chase is not disputed.
The officer had probable cause to stop Brown.  Brown did not have any cause to strike the officer at all.  As for the chase, Brown is not supposed to flee from a scene when ordered to halt by a police officer.

The one question and only question here is if Brown was trying to surrender at the moment he was shot.  Based upon what information exists, this does not seem likely.  Unless something unusual appears that would change this impression, there can be no charges against Wilson.

Usually, if the Feds take up a case, they don't lose it.  Now, if they take up this case and lose it, what's next?

I'm thinking this is unfortunate, but understandable in light of the probability that the people stirring this up don't care about the black people.  If black folks woke up and saw this that way, there may be some serious reevaluation of their political loyalties.  But that is probably being way too optimistic.  If I may be so bold, I think the situation has stirred up in order to keep the black folks in line.  This is not being done by white people.

A ship which exists for the benefit of its crew

Great way of putting it.  Jerry Pournelle is talking about the school systems, and how they used to be charged with the civilizing of youngsters.  No more.

It’s mostly to pay teachers, avoid any being fired for incompetence and few for anything else, and to pay for good benefits and pensions. The students are irrelevant. Yes, of course, there are dedicated teachers who hate all that, but they don’t run the system, and they aren’t paid in “released time” to be union officials. A ship which exists for the benefit of its crew. [emphasis added]

That's liberal governance expressed in one pithy sentence.  It's not just education, it's the way the run the government and the culture.  It's all for their own benefits, YOU don't matter very much.  And YOU vote for this crap.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Home again 11/26/14

Actually, I got off early for the holiday.  About an hour and a half early, to be exact.  With that extra time, I went over to the Home Depot and looked around a bit.

A few things I noticed:
  • Refrigerators and freezers are much cheaper than the propane fridges I was looking at.  It may be worth it to just use electricity
  • Looked at some sinks
  • LED lights, too.
  • Got a bad feeling about using an electric drill.  Should I have gone battery powered?
  • Made note of some bathtubs and shower materials.  The best idea may be a shower base only.
  • Looked at a lot of wood.  Noted that I don't know jack squat about wood.  May need to take a short course on the subject.  The wood is for two projects 1) converting the van and 2) building on top of a 5x8 trailer that I'm thinking about.  Each of these projects have been on my mind recently.
  • Noted some insulation materials.  Don't know jack squat about that, either.
  • On the way out, Maker Bot had a display up, and I talked briefly with the person tending it.  Quite interesting gadget, but it is not in my plans at all.
Perhaps the best use of the van is for storing things.  I got an idea to remove the other front seat and replace it with a composting toilet.  Before you go "yuk", keep in mind that it is a composting toilet.  It won't smell up the van, and besides, it has a ventilation system that will handle the smell.  The toilet will fit nicely into the space left.  Also, the shower stall will fit in the back, but that leaves less room for using the van for other things, like moving stuff around.  Come to think of it, the shower stall can't go in the van because you can't stand up.

The trailer could be primarily a bedroom and living room set up.  It may have a loft system, since all you do when you sleep is to lie down.  Not much head room is needed, so the space may be used more advantageously.  Space is going to be real tight, so that is on my mind.

Anyway, it is holiday season, officially.  Tomorrow is turkey day.  I was going to go out west, but had a change in plans.  Staying around home base, and will have dinner with Wishbone.

Best of the holiday season to everyone.  ( I'll be back tomorrow for a little while.)

Update ( Turkey day morning ):

I've been drawing diagrams for the layout in the trailer.  Looks like this may be doable, but not everything is going to fit into it.  It will have a toilet, shower area, bedding area, plus a closet for clothes.  That's pretty much the basics for one night, but for additional time, going to need food storage and there's no room for that in the trailer.  I'll set up the van for that, then.

This goes into the off-the-grid series.

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Loose talk about Civil War

If that happens, it is only because there are those out there who seek it.

Look, it could go down that way because of this Ferguson thing.  I'll revert back to what I've been saying all along.  The left isn't interested in serving, but in being served.

If Obama wants to serve, he will direct the Dept. of Justice to seek an indictment in the Ferguson case.  If he can't get an indictment, the shit should be over.

In any case, the shit should be over.  It's not over because Obammy wants it to continue.  He ends it by making the declaration that our system of justice has made a determination and that's that.  Anything that happens after that is fair game for a lot worse than you think you're getting now.  In other words, the bullshit stops and stops right here right now.

There are those who say Obama is using this as a test case for the imposition of martial law.  Well, that isn't justified, especially here.

The way it looks to me, Obammy is playing to his base.  But he and his base can't rule an entire country full of armed citizens and he knows it.  That's why he wants those arms.  So, if this shit is going down, it won't work.

Civil rights violation for Darren Wilson?

This is a speculation here, so speculation alert.

In my reading of the story so far, the only thing you could possible get the officer for is for that final shot that killed Brown.  The whole issue revolves around that.  For, if Brown was trying to surrender, it was an excessive use of force to shoot him.  That involves a civil rights issue on the use of force.

The locals could have tried him for that, but refused.  Perhaps the Obama Administration would like a go at it?

If the Administration doesn't prosecute, then that means that there's no case at all.  But they may not prosecute even if there were to be a legitimate issue here.  Why not?  For if they don't prosecute, they may want the issue, not because they want to do justice.  They would want it in order to agitate the mob because they want angry, bitter people.  Such people can be useful to unscrupulous politicians.

So far, it looks like the way these politicians act.  Instead of solving racial issues, they want to aggravate them.  Then they can use that in order to agitate for change.

A Grand Jury is a buffer between the state and an individual

After reading the New York Times version of events in Ferguson case of an officer shooting an unarmed man, I am struck at how this process has been skewed into a trial itself.  The Grand Jury isn't a trial, it's a preliminary event required to see if a trial is justified.

The only reason for all of this detail in a grand jury proceeding is because of the unrest in that place afterwards.  The grand jury is being treated as a trial itself.

Another thing is that I've heard it said that you can indict a ham sandwich.  If a prosecutor wants an indictment, then he can probably get one.  Why not in this case?  What was different about this case that no indictment could be returned?  Could the case be so flimsy that no prosecutor would ever want to bring charges for it?

According to the Times account, all evidence points that there was a struggle at the police car.  To me, that pretty much ends the discussion.  Brown had no business assaulting the officer.  Period.

There could be some question about why the officer chased the man.  But the officer was assaulted.  It should be required that he chase the man.  You cannot have people striking officers and being allowed to leave the scene.  If an officer says halt in that instance, that individual must halt.

So, what you really have here is an individual who strikes an officer, runs away, and does not halt when ordered to do so.

The only question here about the officer is if he shot the man when he was trying to surrender.  That's the only accusation that can be brought against him for which he should have to answer.

The evidence given by the Times shows that Brown was approaching the officer.  This is most unwise after his attack on the officer.  Better for him to get down on the ground and put his hands behind his back.

If there's anything wrong here, it's why does anybody expect that the officer should be required to stop chasing the man who assaulted him.

But when no one asked him why he had chased Mr. Brown, Officer Wilson brought it up himself, saying that after experiencing Mr. Brown’s aggression in the vehicle, he felt “he still posed a threat, not only to me, but to anybody else that confronted him.”

Nobody asked him why he chased Brown because he was doing his job in chasing Brown.  The officer is not required to answer that question.

So, there's two things here.  One is that the Grand Jury process was turned into a trial, or was expected to be turned into a trial.  And secondly, there is some notion here that the officer is required to justify why he was doing his job.

I suspect that the agitation surrounding this event is being used to overturn our system of justice.

An individual is required to obey an officer in authority.  When he does not, he opens himself up for just about anything that might happen afterward.  The best thing an individual can do for himself is to do what he is told without any trouble.

Of course, if there's problems with a police force's treatment of people, that's another question.  But in this case, all bets are off when an individual strikes an officer while still in his car.  The actions of that individual have already been established as aggressive.

If an officer cannot enforce the law or have his authority respected, he's not going to be much good for anything.

If a Grand Jury is going to be turned into a circus, it is not much good for anything either.

They might be glad that this didn't go to trial.  Some of the witnesses may have been unsavory characters with little credibility.  These people could be the ones who are causing much of the trouble here.

If these people wanted a trial, the DA should have given them one.  You can indict a ham sandwich, as the saying goes.  If this process is summed up rather quickly with the same result as we got, then the case must have been so flimsy that the only way to placate these people would be to turn the process into a trial for which it is not intended to be.  And they still couldn't get an indictment.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

#Ferguson Grand Jury evidence: Police Officer’s Account of Shooting

Doesn't appear to be all that much information with respect to how the Brown ended up being where he was.

The basics of the case according to USA Today

A quick post here before I go...

What are the facts?  Anybody care to look at them?  I will starting now.  Well, here's the basics...

two starkly different versions of the events leading to the shooting emerged in media accounts.

Police have said a scuffle broke out after Wilson asked Brown and a friend to move out of the street. Wilson told investigators he shot Brown only after the teenager reached for the officer's gun. Some witnesses said Brown had run away from Wilson, then turned and raised his hands in the air in a gesture of surrender before he was shot in the head and chest
. [ emphasis added ]

Nothing really new there, but I saw something on Daily Kos that I hadn't seen before.  Brown was over a 100 feet away from the police car.  There needs to be an explanation for that.  That's all I'm saying.  None in this story that I can detect.

Asteroid mining

Making the news?  I put in the link, but I don't like it---uses too many resources.  Anyway, I saw the story on Drudge and so I thought I'd plug it anyway.  While I'm at it, I'll plug my own series about asteroid mining.  You can also find the link on the left sidebar.

On the subject of using too many resources, it is ironic isn't it?  The resources that the website uses is only a very small amount in comparison with the subject matter of mining asteroids.  Yet, it is that very reason why I didn't study the story in more depth.  Ironic.

Why do you suppose that the website uses so many resources?  In order to make money, I suspect.  Same reason for going off and mining an asteroid, provided that you can do it.  Many folks believe that you can't mine an asteroid, or if you can, that you still can't make money doing it.

You make money by using resources efficiently, not by wasting them.  But the subject of waste is also one that not everybody agrees upon.  It can largely depend upon your point of view.

Life can get complicated.

Riots over Ferguson decision

Didn't stay up for the announcement, obviously.  Woke up to the sight of the riots, and thinking:  what the f**k?

There are two sides to every story.  You have to sift out the facts the best you can from what evidence is available.   Some of that evidence may not be reliable.

Now that some damage has been done, there's some facts that are coming to the fore that make me go -- hmm.

It looks like the reporting itself is less than 100% accurate across the board.  That includes left and right leaning sources.  Examples?

  • The distance Brown's body was from the police car.  How is that explained?  I never heard of it before now, and I didn't hear about it until I visited a left wing site.
  • The usual complaints about media bias is what I did hear because I usually visit right wing sites.  I am convinced that this part is true and real.
It doesn't excuse one side from bias if the other side is biased.  If we were getting the truth, maybe this unfortunate circumstance could have been handled better.  As it is, there is now a marker being laid down by both sides.  Truth is, I don't trust either.  They are leaving important parts out of the story.  This enables political agitation to flourish, which isn't any good in solving problems.


Where's Obama on this?  Why would it take somebody like me to get at the truth?  Nobody comes here.  That's the point.  Biased news is more sexy than objective reporting.  Nobody will pay attention to you if you go Sgt. Friday and say "just the facts, ma'am".

Monday, November 24, 2014

Home again 11/24/14

Oh, that again.  Yes, this again.  The point is that this was the first day back from my back ailment.  It was kind of a rough day because it's still bugging me.  Hopefully, there won't be a relapse.

I was thinking about da ranch again.  I got an answer for an inquiry into the 5 x 8 trailer that I was looking at previously.  The question was how much of the thing has to be assembled.  The answer was all of it!

That means the trailer can be taken out west and then assembled on the spot.  Of course, this all assumes that no welding is required.  I'm not set up for welding.  As long as there's no welding,  I can certainly assemble the thing from the assorted pieces.  Then I can build my mini sleeper or whatever name I want to call it.  It's going to be big enough for a small bed and that's about it.  Maybe some clothes can be stored there.  Now, if I were to order TWO or these...  But that's getting a bit crazy.

BTW, I already made a trip.  If you were paying attention, you would have know when.

To show that at least this part I wasn't talking out my rear

Maha has posted something along the lines in which I have just written a few posts back.

If a liberal blogger said it, it must be true.

Critics said that some of the government and world history textbooks, for example, exaggerate the influence of biblical figures — such as Moses and Solomon — on the nation’s founding and Western political tradition.--- Wapo

The devil you say.  Bwah hah hah!

Hmm. This gives me an idea

HEH: White House Petition: Refund the fees to legal immigrants who have applied over the past six years.

Isn't it a bit unfair to expect people to go through the Naturalization process when they can break the law and get it for nothing, and have the government ratify it?  Sure makes these law-abiding types out to be suckers and fools, doesn't it?

There ought to be a court case on this based upon equality before the law.

But to do that, you'd have to have a politician actually do it to serve the country rather than to satisfy his own ambitions.  Fat chance.

Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers

Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs


"False hope" isn't the phrase for it.  It is a scam.  They want to abandon growth, because that is the only way.  In other words, to turn the phrase from Ronald Reagan, who said we went from the swamps to the stars, these guys want to go back to the swamp.

linked from Instapundit

The Making of an Imperial President

Ross Douthat says that it is Congress' fault:
  • Congress is unsexy, frustrating and hard to follow, mass democracy seems to demand a single iconic figure into whom desires and aspirations and hatreds can be poured.
  • It isn’t just that he’s been dealing with an opposition party that’s swung to the right; it’s that this opposition doesn’t know its own mind, collectively or sometimes even individually
  • it’s become clear that certain major liberal priorities — a big climate-change bill, a comprehensive amnesty — are as out of legislative reach as health care reform proved for Clinton
He is more on target when he says that public expectations have changed.  They have changed because the leadership has cultivated that change.  He is more on target when he discusses Obama's ambition, too.  But that is what is driving the entire movement---the ambition of politicians.  As long as Douthat and the rest of the country accept the premises of larger, more powerful government, the Imperial Presidency is all but inevitable.

Finally, he says that he believed in Obama's sincerity with respect to a toned down executive.  Really?  In his heart, Douthat probably doesn't mind what Obama is doing.  After all, he's only doing it in order to "get things done".  Since when does this need for "getting things done" have higher priority over maintaining limited government?  For these guys, limited government is a problem, not a solution.  Their alleged concern for Bush's tendencies toward imperial governance is pure baloney.  The left cannot possibly be sincere about that.  It was an election gimmick.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Political theory v Political practice

There's theory and then there's practice.

There's a rule of law in theory.  In practice, it has always been the rule of men.  It will always be the rule of men.

So, if that is true, then what has changed?

First, let's state that the people who produced the US Constitution were well-grounded in Christian theology.  Now, I may be mistaken, but boldly I state that just about all Western men thought of themselves as being fallen creatures.  Men are decidedly not angels, but quite the opposite.  In recognizing this, it was decided that our government was to be a limited one, based upon checks and balances.  Such checks and balances were needed to offset one group against another so as to prevent one from tyrannizing the rest.  For if men were angels, such checks and balances wouldn't be needed, as angels being the perfect moral creatures that they are, would always do the right thing.  But men, on the other hand, won't.

Men are governed by vice, not by virtue.  For if men were guided by virtue, they'd be angels.  There is no such thing guiding us today, if I may be so bold.

Then it should be no surprise that Obama does what he does and that the GOP does what it does.  They aren't acting in accordance with any virtue, but in accordance with a vice of some kind or another.  Being politicians, they'll swear up and down what angels they are, but don't be fooled.  They serve themselves first foremost and always while claiming to be the servants of the people.  It is always been so.

But what changed?

Now the thing that has changed is that the governing class has seen fit to remove the constraints upon the general population- their moral and ethical development.  They are causing what moral safeguards that once existed in this land to be rent asunder.  This is rather foolish of them, but then again, they are men, not angels.  Corrupted people may be more easily controlled in some ways, but they become more and more unruly as they become more corrupted.  More government becomes necessary as people become more and more enslaved to evil.  Eventually, the government must become an oppressive one.

To paraphrase what John Adams once said, a free country requires a moral people, it can accept no less.  Morally, the US is losing its way.  It's true throughout all of Europe, the former home of Christendom.  But all of this corruption of the peoples has happened before in Western Civilization.  It happened in ancient Rome.  The ancient Romans were wise and moral people as well.  They rose to greatness, and due to their increasing corruption- lost their Republic and then their Empire.  It is happening again.  The ancient Romans, during the years of the Republic, also had checks on their politicians.  Eventually, the Emperors considered themselves as Gods.  We will see the same kind of thing here.  We have already seen a tendency to look upon politicians like Obama as a Messiah.

What could stop a collapse?  Perhaps nothing.  For the leadership is in control of this and it's the leadership who are at fault for bringing this corruption of the people about.

The sheep don't bear much responsibility.  They only ratify whatever is put in front of them by the leadership.

A new set of leaders could replace the current rotten crop, but that doesn't appear to be happening.  One could be optimistic, as there is nothing to prevent this lucky break from occurring.  But it isn't the way to bet.  The trend is all in the wrong direction.

Gas Refrigerator - Who Needs One : All Walks Of Life

Gas Refrigerator - Who Needs One : All Walks Of Life: Gas Refrigerators are for all walks of life. Primarily for homes, cabins, and camps that do not have electricity. These non-electric units n...


Maybe a propane freezer would be best.


Or a solar freezer?!?


Here's a fridge freezer that has got a good rep, but is a bit expensive.  Note: A downside to using propane is the possibility of carbon monoxide.  This last unit doesn't use propane.

This goes into the off-the-grid (sub ) series.

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Utility Dump 60' x 96' Steel Utility Trailer (No Floor)

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This one may be getting ahead of myself, as I haven't even done a lot of the preliminaries that must occur first.

Anyway, this idea is to use a utility trailer, such as this one, to build on top of.  It is not supposed to be a house, but only a bedroom/ living room.

This one only weighs about 350 lbs, can probably fit into the back of the van, can be assembled on site.  Finally, you can build your little mancave on top of it.

The place selling this is called TillersDirect.

Rome's Colosseum gets a makeover ( sort of )

Technical difficulties

Looks like I can't bring up old posts.  One suspect is the blogger interface.  It may have changed somewhat and is now incompatible with my system.  If that theory is correct, it may be necessary to make some changes in order to get back full functionality.

I really hate it when they do that.

Update a short while later:

Found a way in.  However, the change mentioned above may be necessary anyway.  It has been acting strangely for a long time now.