Thursday, November 21, 2013

Even with Oswald, it's still a conspiracy

Posted by Stranded in Sonoma

Picture yourself as a "lone gunman" who has military experience. You are getting help from NO ONE. That is the definition of lone gunman; even the smallest amount of assistance from one other person means conspiracy. (One quick side note here. During the Warren Commission hearings, the first thing that former CIA Chief Allen Dulles did was to try to convince the other members that all other presidential assassination attempts, successful or not, had been done by a "lone gunman." One of the commissioners asked about the Lincoln assassination citing 100 years of history books that proved there were four conspirators. Dulles claimed that John Wilkes Booth was such a forceful personality and did most of the work, it was in essence, the work of a lone gunman. Someone then asked about the assassination attempt by multiple Puerto Rican nationalists on President Truman that had happened just over 10 years before. Again, Dulles, not wanting to admit to a conspiracy said the multiple shooters were so focused on just one goal, it was a "lone gunman." You can see that even with 100 years of evidence against him, Dulles was trying, at the earliest possible date, to keep the commission from finding a conspiracy. Back to the narrative.)

The only thing that matters to you is WHERE you are shooting FROM. Your perch is everything. Wrong shooting perch, ineffective assassination. Your shooting platform also decides which type of gun you will use. If your target is a mile away, you'd probably want to use a Barret .50 Caliber. On the other hand, if you're going to be rubbing shoulders with your target, a .38 caliber snub-nose revolver will do. You certainly wouldn't use the Barrett up close or the .38 at long distance. And you can't just make a stupid GUESS about from where you will shoot. You must reason out the best spot to shoot from. Since the president is visiting Dallas, you would rightly assume he will pass through Dealey Plaza (the birthplace of Dallas).

You look at Dealey Plaza. Houston Street borders it on the East (the top of the linked photo) and the Triple Overpass on the West (bottom of the photo). Elm Street is the Northern border and Commerce Street is the Southern border (Elm is one-way East to West and Commerce is one-way West to East). It is bisected by Main Street running East/West (top to bottom in the photo). You see it is a mirror image, North/South. You know the president will land at Love Field which is Northwest of Dealey Plaza. So there are a few directions the motorcade may take. However, the president is set to visit the Dallas Trade Mart which is located on the Stemmons Freeway. So, the best direction for him to come would seem to be South on Houston, a shallow right on Elm, under the Triple Overpass, and then off to the Stemmons Freeway. So you get a job at the only business available on the East side of the plaza -- the Texas School Book Depository -- to position yourself for a shot coming down Houston and turning onto Elm. All other buildings surrounding the plaza are gov't buildings.

Then you see a problem. If the motorcade comes down Main Street and just keeps on going, the limo will be way out of range of the TSBD. Of course, if the motorcade turns North on Houston you get a shot at the president coming right at you. If the motorcade then turns onto Elm, you'll get a shot of him going away from you. Sounds good, but Secret Service regulations forbid the presidential limo from making a turn of more than 45 degrees or dropping speed below 45 mph. If the motorcade turned North on Houston from Main and then West on Elm from Houston, they would be committing four separate violations of Secret Service regulations in the space of one city block. You know that ain't gonna happen and as a lone gunman having to rely only on yourself, you're not going to count on THAT much luck. So you need to find a perch where you will have the best possible shot whichever direction the motorcade takes.

You look at the Triple Overpass. All three roads converge under it (Elm, Main, and Commerce, North to South). As the convergence comes out the other side, there is a convenient on-ramp to the Stemmons Freeway whether you take Elm or Main. If you place yourself between Elm and Main on the Triple Overpass, you can shift your shooting angle between the two, depending on which way the motorcade comes. It doesn't matter if they come down Houston and turn onto Elm or come straight down Main (neither of which violates regulations). Even if they DO violate regulations and come down Main, turn on Houston and then on Elm, you STILL get a shot. And the best part of the Triple Overpass is that the presidential limo is coming to YOU! Which means you don't need a 30-06 or a .308 hunting rifle. The target will be closing toward your position. You can use a less expensive rifle with less powerful ammunition because you're not having to make the adjustments as the target gets farther away. In case you're interested, the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle (6.5mm rounds) retailed for just about $20.00, mail order. If the president comes through Dealey Plaza (very likely) and needs to end up at the Dallas Trade Mart, the best place to be to assassinate him is the Triple Overpass.

However, you choose the TSBD because you're hoping he will come down Houston and turn onto Elm and just chance it that he won't come down Main. So you setup your "sniper's nest" on the 6th floor of the TSBD and wait for the motorcade. You see it's heading West on Main toward the plaza and your heart drops. Then it inexplicably turns onto Houston and then on Elm and you have your shot! How LUCKY can you be?! You counted on the wildest luck to have the Secret Service violate its own regulations and it happened! You take your shot while the limo is practically stopped on Elm and you kill the president. Then your dream is over and ends in complete failure because while headed West on Main Street, the president leans forward towards the driver and says, "Driver, don't turn right here. Just continue strait through the plaza."

The only way that Oswald would choose the TSBD is because he was TOLD to be there. He filled out the job application to work at the TSBD just 38 days before the assassination. He KNEW the Secret Service would violate regulations, because that is the kind of "luck" you DON'T count on. He KNEW the route in advance. He HAD to because there is NO REASON that a lone gunman would choose the TSBD if the route could have been Main Street, straight through the plaza, which would screw his shooting solution to hell. The TSBD makes NO SENSE for a lone gunman, reasoning out the best possible shooting position, because it is one of the worst assassination positions possible. While on the other hand, the Triple Overpass is the near perfect shooting perch because it gave him the best shooting position no matter which way the motorcade took. If you get Oswald as the shooter, it's still a conspiracy.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Posted by Stranded in Sonoma

Today, June 19, 2013, my kitty cat Hazel died.

Hazel (because of her hazel-colored eyes) had been suffering from chylothorax (fluid around the lungs) for about 2 months. It was difficult for her to take normal breaths. We could often see her breathing in little puffs around her abdomen. When we took her to the vet, we found that she also had a hyperthyroid condition and had diabetes as well. The vet drained about 80% of the fluid from around her lungs and she got much better quickly. The prescribed treatment to combat the chylothorax is a low-fat diet and an enzyme called Rutin. Unfortunately, the Rutin had to be pulverized from a pill and put into her food. She refused to eat any food with the Rutin in it and she got steadily worse. There is no liquid form of Rutin and the pills, even cut in half, are quite large and difficult to get her to swallow. We realized that we would have to continue to pay to have the fluid drained every 2-3 weeks.

After much soul searching, my wife and I decided that even if we were able to solve the chylothorax problem, there was still the hyperthyroid and diabetes to contend with. We realized that her quality of life would be quite limited and we didn't want to wait until it was too late. We just couldn't see her suffer any longer. Besides, Hazel was 16 years old and had led a pretty good life — for a cat.

We got Hazel and her sister, Corky (real name: Corkscrew) from our friend in the summer of 1997, whose cat had just had a litter. Both parents were semi-feral and we were a bit worried that the kittens would grow up with a wandering eye for fields afar. We needn't have worried with Hazel. While her sister Corky would be missing for days and even weeks at a time, Hazel was our watch cat. You could always see her on guard duty walking around the top of the fence and protecting our house from birds and snakes and mice. Once, I remember getting up at night to investigate some noise in our garage. When I opened the door, I saw two raccoons going after the cat kibble in a cabinet. (We used to leave the garage door open a bit for the cats.) I tried to get our dog Jasmine (a Black Lab mix) to at least take a few steps into the garage and start barking. No dice. The dog was hiding behind me! Then Hazel stepped lightly into the garage, got up on the hood of our van, puffed up to a slightly impressive size, and stared down the raccoons! I made a noise grabbing a broom and the raccoons left. Hazel, proud of her medal-worthy defense of hearth and home, got down from the van and walked into the house with the quiet assurance of a job well done.

When Hazel was young, she used to play regularly with our dog Jasmine. We would see them playing and Hazel would put her entire head into Jasmine's mouth! Jasmine never bit down and just held Hazel's head lightly in her mouth like she would a retrieved bird. Then she'd let go and the two would start playing again. I would often see one of Hazel's claws caught in the loose skin around Jasmine's mouth. It never seemed to bother the dog and the head-in-the-mouth game would be played again and again. Neither tired of it and it was a source of amazement for the whole family.

One of the funniest things she would do was when you were going to the bathroom. You would be sitting on the toilet and you would hear this scratching at the door. As you opened the door, there sat Hazel, staring at you, in all of your missing dignity. She would walk towards you and look up at you. There was nothing you could do except to scratch her under her chin. It's as if she knew she had a captive audience and that you would give her a little bit of loving to forget about your undignified predicament.

Hazel lived with us at 4 houses, through 3 moves, and 16 years of unconditional love. When we got to the house we live in currently, Corky took off to live down the street because there is a wide open field for her to show off her hunting prowess. She lives with a new family now. As for Hazel, she ran the roost. Our next door neighbors had 3 cats and the cats had had full run of our property for over a year before we got there, without interruption. When Hazel showed up, somehow those other cats just knew that Hazel was in charge. She would be lying on the top of the fence (monorailing), with her back to a neighbor's cat, and she wouldn't flinch a muscle. The other cat would just turn and go back the way it had come. They would start fights with other neighborhood cats, but not with Hazel. Even as she got older, they gave her that type of respect animals seem to reserve for the elderly. Hazel would spend winter nights inside and summer nights outside. She never wandered away. Not once. As her playmate Jasmine's condition deteriorated to the point where she couldn't even climb the stairs (to sleep on her doggie bed at the foot of our bed during the night), Hazel seemed to know something was up. Sometimes, Hazel would spend the night downstairs too.

Then, in November of 2009, after 14 years of love, companionship, smiles, and finally, tears, we had to put Jasmine down. Today, it was Hazel's time. As I drove her to the vet that final time, I tried to catch all of the traffic lights red; just so she could be with me for a few extra precious moments. But I caught them all green. Every one. It's as if He was saying, "It's okay to do this and to do it quickly. You're doing the right thing." I held her in my arms as she passed and I cried, not like a baby, but I sobbed aloud like an adult that feels the loss of a loved one.

Goodbye, Hazel-bayzel. It's time to go play with Jasmine. She is waiting for you there.  


Monday, April 22, 2013

It's Always Earth Day in North Korea

Posted by Stranded in Sonoma

North Korea. Just saying it makes you think of cruelty, hate, starvation, inhumanity, barbarism, other words, all of the most typical attributes of a socialist country.

And every year, the enviro-nazis want us to be more like North Korea. We are supposed to turn off our lights for an hour on Earth Day to...well, I'm not sure why. To be one with Mother Gaia? Except all it does is to make my house dark. Kind of like North Korea every frickin' night of the year! Look at the photograph. The distinction between freedom and socialism could not be more clear. The light of freedom versus the darkness of socialism. No wonder why the intelligent people say liberals have been seduced by the dark side. Look at the largest spot of light on the Korean peninsula, just below the national border on the left. That is the capital of South Korea, Seoul. Look at it! The light of civilization stretching for miles. Not to mention all of the other points of light in South Korea. Notice the contrast?

In the 19th century, Paris was called the City of Light. NOT the city of lights. What was meant by Light was all of the learning, knowledge, freedom, innovation, discovery, industry, commerce, and science. Many great things were discovered or built by the French in the late 19th century. Louis Pasteur saved millions of lives due to his study in the fields of Chemistry and Microbiology. Ferdinand de Lesseps was a capitalist of boundless optimism whose company built the Suez Canal. Just to name two. French was considered the language of second choice for the non-French. The French did, well...everything! And when electric lighting was installed all over Paris, there could be no mistaking it as the true City of Light.

In August of 1953, the Korean War ended. Both North and South Korea started at roughly the same spot economically. Both had been ravaged by three years of war. Both were heavily indebted to a much larger benefactor country. Both had to start from scratch. But that is were the similarity ends. South Korea had United States troops to protect it from any more incursions from the North. The government was free to concentrate on the economy. They held free elections and have had 11 presidents. Their current president is Park Geun-hye. She (yes, SHE!) was the chairwoman of the conservative Grand National Party. They got most of their help from the United States. Look at what 60 years of that help has done.

In North Korea, the government demagogued the U.S. troops as possible invaders. They built the military and police forces to the detriment of a sound economy. Their royal family, the Kim's, have been in power since the creation of the country in 1948. Yes, it is a monarchy. What do you call a family-based, bloodline oriented, non-elected national ruler? I call that a King. Which is strange because the entire reason Karl Marx wrote about communism and socialism was due to his distaste for monarchies. They got "help" from the Soviet Union and from Communist China. And look what 60 years of that "help" has done.

Do you own a Samsung TV or cell phone or even household appliance? What about a Hyundai car? Just those two companies account for 20% of the GDP of South Korea. Look at the 2010 GDP tables in this article. The province of Chungnam has the same per capita GDP as that of the United States! Its GDP growth was a whopping 12.4% in 2010! The national GDP of South Korea is $1.151 trillion!

What is the GDP of North Korea? Well, no one is really sure. It is estimated to be around $40 billion. For all we know, it could be $1.98. Discussion Question: Name me all of the products you own that are built in North Korea. Yeah, me neither. Discussion over.

Think of all of the innovation, learning, knowledge, and commerce that takes place every day in South Korea. They don't turn their lights off to celebrate Earth Day.

Now look at North Korea. They "celebrate" Earth Day, every day.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

1.21 Gigawatts!

Well, I've finally gone solar. We decided to have Vivint Solar install the panels and get us setup to save some money. If you haven't heard of them, give them a call. At first I was a bit skeptical of their pitch and wanted nothing to do with a bunch of greenie meanies and their version of solar power. But Vivint Solar is far from that. Yes, it is a solar sales pitch, but with a surprisingly good twist. In the government approved version of solar power, you buy your solar panels from a government approved solar shop, they install the array, and the solar power is "free." Well, it's free as soon as your energy savings finishes paying off the price of the panels and installation; that could take years. You do get to write off the solar installation and all of the attendant paraphernalia on your taxes. As long as you keep the receipts and other paperwork the government will demand.

However, with Vivint it is quite different. The government doesn't get involved. You are not buying anything, except buying into a long-term contract to buy the solar power from Vivint. Let me explain. Vivint sells you no hardware because they are a power company, just like Pacific Gas and Electric. When you buy power from PG&E you don't own the hardware. PG&E just transports the power from their generating stations to your house. Vivint does the same thing but they've just moved the generating station from some distant power plant to the solar array on the roof of your house. What you do is to agree to buy the power from Vivint over a 20 year term for the set rate of 15 cents per kilowatt hour. In CA that is a serious bargain. PG&E has a rate tier depending on how much electricity you use. It starts at 13 cents per kilowatt hour and tops out at 35 cents per kilowatt hour — for now; those will likely rise in the future. The 15 cents per kWh from Vivint is good for the life of the contract. Vivint still owns the array and all the attendant accessories installed on or in your house. If there is a problem with any hardware, Vivint will replace it for free. If you need to have a new roof installed, Vivint will remove, store, and replace the array for a $500 charge. If you sell your house, the contract transfers to the new owners. Simple and easy.

The photo to the right is a piece of equipment called the Envoy. It is connected to your home network (this is also a requirement) so Vivint can monitor their solar array. If you click on the photo, you will see that the array on my house is currently producing a good 1.21 kilowatts (not gigawatts!) of electricity. It has produced 180 kilowatt hours of electricity over it's life and there are 27 panels in the array. I have smudged out the IP address of the device which is just above the electrical information. If you want to see what the Envoy is doing, just enter its IP address into the browser on your computer. You will be taken to the Envoy's home screen. The administration link requires a password, so don't even bother trying to access it.

The Envoy is placed as close as possible to the main electrical panel in your house. The reason for this is because the Envoy is connected to your network via IP over power. The photo to the left shows this connection. A second IP over power unit is placed near your home router and a short ethernet cable is connected from the unit to the router. If any part of the array, the Envoy, or the IP over power units stops working, Vivint will call you to setup a time to replace the faulty gear. Remember, the hardware belongs to them; you are just paying them for the power it produces. A second requirement is that the electrical bill must be paid electronically through automatic bill payment. This is quite a risk that Vivint is taking and they want to ensure that the bill is paid on time. You are notified of the due bill and given roughly two weeks before the money is removed electronically from your bank account.

Naturally, the amount of electricity produced does vary with the amount of sun. The curve tends to start off slow in the morning but climbs to over 1 kilowatt by around 9 AM. By noon to 2 PM the amount of electricity is usually in the 3.5 kilowatt range. On a bright and sunny day just a few days ago, the total was 4.29 kilowatts at 2 PM! Not too bad for a solar array that has 27 panels with 15 on the east facing roof and 12 on the west facing roof. I don't have any real south facing roof space to speak of. I'm not sure how much electricity I use per hour but I'd be willing to bet it's not anywhere near 4.29 kilowatts.

The only "catch" to getting power from Vivint is that they are only allowed to provide no more than 80% of your electricity. In California, PG&E still has a type of monopoly and they want to be sure they get some money. Besides, when the array is not producing, you will still need power. The way this is setup is that when the array is producing, you use electricity from Vivint. Any excess is put into the grid and you are credited for that which you don't use. As the power from the array drops (obviously at night) you draw power from PG&E. California has also mandated that PG&E provide a specific amount of energy from solar. So this meets that state enforced requirement.

The nice part about this is that the government has minimal involvement. There are no tax credits or write-offs or receipts to hold onto until income tax season. This is done completely by private enterprise. Vivint has many investors that are in this for the long term. As more and more people have Vivint supply the majority of their electrical needs, they make money by making a profit, which in turn provides jobs. Instead of having the government intrude into your life so they can give you back some of the money they took from you in the first place, using solar power from Vivint starts your savings immediately because there is no cost to you up front and no waiting for the government to decide if you've filled out all of the tax forms properly. This may not be for everyone, but it's worth listening to the talk. It was for us. Many thanks to our sales representative, Max.