Daily Archives: March 21, 2015

World’s First Commercially Available Flamethrower is Here

Short List has the article World’s First Commercially Available Flamethrower is Here.

Thanks to Randy Howard Katz for posting this on Facebook.

I remarked to him:

You Californians just don’t know what ideas over 100 inches of snow can give you. This is exactly what I was thinking about. Someone told me that you can get a flamethrower at Harbor Freight. Just don’t use it on your roof to clear ice dams.

By the way, I just went online to Harbor Freight, but could not find a flame thrower.

Facebook is just a fount of knowledge. Emin Gün Sirer answered my questions about flamethrowers.

He provided the link to the article on the xkcd web site. There are a lot of fascinating calculations in the article, but I will just pull out one that is relevant to the use of a flamethrower.

Gas mileage in the US is often measured in “miles per gallon” of gasoline. With your flamethrower guzzling fuel, your mileage would be about 17 feet per gallon.

I have an 11 gallon tank that I use to supply my snowblower, generator, and lawn tractor. That would give me 187 feet before I had to go to the gas station according to the above calculation. That’s about ⅔ of my driveway.

As for using a nuclear reactor to melt the snow, the article had a nice graphical way of showing what would be required.

Trillion Dollar Fraudsters

The New York Times gives the piece by Paul Krugman the headline Trillion Dollar Fraudsters.

The Daily Kos article that refers to this piece headlines it Paul Krugman is a Must-Read Today (Again).

My comment on The Daily Kos has the title Krugman Finally Wakes Up.

Bill Black, New Economic Perspectives, Naked Capitalism, and others have been shouting about this for years.  Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are but two of the politicians who recognized this problem years ago.

When Krugman denounces the Clintons for their part in this, then I might believe he is sincere.

There is not much wrong with Krugman’s article, and he does slip in the following:

Does this mean that all those politicians declaiming about the evils of budget deficits and their determination to end the scourge of debt were never sincere? Yes, it does.

A fact that I have been trying to point out on this blog for a long time.  In fact I have posted about this several times in the past few days.

Say “Not You Too” To The People’s Budget 1

I knew when I made my previous post, Do Not Sign the petition, Do Not Be a citizen co-sponsor of the People’s Budget, that this budget would be hawked relentlessly. Well, I can tell people “no” almost as often as they try to sell it.

The National Priorities Project has this posted on Facebook.  Here is their innocuous looking poster.

People's budget poster

Unfortunately, this budget also promotes the myth that increased federal spending in one area must be paid for by cuts in another area. This is as if a country that is sovereign in its own fiat currency could ever run out of its own money. For that reason, I cannot support this people’s budget that legitimizes the myth’s that the oligarchs want us to believe.

A budget should promote a healthy economy, full employment, and decent standard of living for all. Under these conditions, the deficit will take care of itself. The deficit should never be used as a primary measure of the success of an economic policy.

As proof that the oligarchs do not believe the myth that they want us to believe, consider the following: even Republicans tell you that when you want to go to war to support the military/industrial complex, deficits don’t matter. By their perverted logic, deficits are only a roadblock if you try to spend the money on anything that you do not blow up in the act of using it. To put it another way, the Republicans seem to believe that you should never go into deficit to actually help anybody lead a decent, peaceful life.

Perhaps the “People’s budget” is what happens when you let budgets be created by amateurs, or by people who believe in myths, or by amateurs who believe in myths, or by oligarchs who will promote their myths one way or another.

Tom Friedman & funding ISIL: Israel/Iran Derangement Syndrome

Here is another interesting article from Juan Cole, Tom Friedman & funding ISIL: Israel/Iran Derangement Syndrome.

…If the US has to play whackamole with everyone in the Middle East who objects to the sordid goings-on in Israel/Palestine, we’ll eventually be bankrupt and without regional allies, and the region itself will collapse and present more severe security threats of the Daesh sort.

In contrast, a de facto US rapprochement with Iran to squelch the Daesh/ ISIL threat before it metastasizes further (see: Tunisia) is clearly in the interest of the United States and its people, including Jewish Americans.

Cole presents some interesting theories about the conflict in the middle-east that may be worth considering.  I don’t have the expertise to say exactly how much of his theory is historically accurate.  Probably the reason I first looked at this article was the possible attack on Tom Friedman, a famed reporter whose 15 minutes of fame was up a long time ago.  Friedman still gets undeserved respect in some circles., but fortunately Juan Cole is not afraid of him.

Yemen Bombing: It’s not ISIL and it’s not Sunni-Shiite Conflict

Informed Comment has the article Yemen Bombing: It’s not ISIL and it’s not Sunni-Shiite Conflict.

So this is political. The Houthi movement has politicized Zaidi Islam, after the Saudis politicized hard line Sunni Islam. The Houthis have all kinds of enemies now– secular Arab nationalists loyal to the Aden government, Sunnis who resent Houthi dominance of largely Sunni cities like Taizz, southern secessionists, and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Any of these could have hit the mosques, not because they hate Shiism but because they oppose the Houthi take-over of Yemen’s government in the north.

I don’t know enough about this situation to pass judgment on the accuracy of the above analysis.  However, it is worth keeping in mind as an inoculation against what you will read and hear in the lame stream media.  The lame stream media has a preconceived notion as to what this is about, so they feel no need to spend any resources digging any deeper.  Besides, the lame stream media’s story helps promote more war which is  very profitable to the owners of the lame stream media.

Jeb Bush’s forgotten father-in-law

Politico has the story Jeb Bush’s forgotten father-in-law.

Bush says his Mexican father-in-law abandoned his family to work in the U.S. That’s not how his other relatives remember it.

I know from experience that there may be a side to this story that nobody wants to talk about.  It makes it impossible to judge who is “right” and who is “wrong” in this story, without knowing whether or not there is a hidden part.

I don’t think either political side in this country gains or loses by hearing this story.  I publish a link to it more for the human interest aspects than for any other reason.

Bernie Sanders Demands War Tax On Millionaires To Pay For GOP Military Spending Increase

Politicus USA has the article Bernie Sanders Demands War Tax On Millionaires To Pay For GOP Military Spending Increase.  The article quotes Sanders’ statement as follows:

The Republican Party is going to have to end their hypocrisy with regard to deficits and the national debt. They are going to have to be honest with the American people. Wars are enormously expensive, not only in terms of human life and suffering, but in terms of the budget. If the Republicans want another war in the Mideast, they are going to have to tell the American people how much it will cost them and how it will be paid for.

Either the Republicans agree to pay for it, or they tell the truth about the deficit and debt.  The Republicans know full well, that under the current economic situation, the deficit could stand to be, and actually needs to be higher than it is now.  Their attempts to cut all non-war related spending on the backs of the poor and middle-class has absolutely nothing to do with the economics of deficits and debt.  It has everything to do with draining the last drop of blood from the poor and middle-class so they can give it to the top 0.1%.