Something for Parents

For those of us that went through those early years of babies and poop, this link will provide a trip down memory lane. We had four children and used cloth diapers. Remembering what it was to upend a diaper pail into the washer on a hot summer day is still almost enough to make me gag.

The author has quite a following, and sure doesn’t need the linkage from me. I’m linking because she is funny, writes well, and all of us can use a laugh. Anyway, she and her husband spent a lot of money on a new washer. It immediately broke down. Her child is in those early months where she sleeps for an hour or two at a time, which means mom sleeps an hour or two at a time. It’s a treatment the CIA could use to get information. Meanwhile she is quickly being buried in piles of dirty laundry. Read her epic tale of battling with the company to get her washer repaired, and how she finally resolves it.

Here’s the opening paragraph:

Let me just set the stage by saying that the longest stretch of sleep I’ve had in the last twelve weeks was that one Wednesday night when Marlo forgot who she was for a second and slept for a solid four hours. That’s it. Since then it’s been two hours here, thirty minutes there, just enough to make you want to walk outside and play hopscotch in the middle of I-80.

A sense of humor… is needed armor. Joy in one’s heart and some laughter on one’s lips is a sign that the person down deep has a pretty good grasp of life.
–Hugh Sidey



Our club hosted a 3-Gun match. We have a monthly USPSA match, we only do 3-Gun a couple of times a year. The three guns are rifle, pistol, and shotgun. Scoring is done by USPSA rules. A combination of score and time, penalties for misses and other mistakes, and all of it compared to the other shooters.

A good way to wring out your equipment, burn some powder, and spend a day at the range. The stage pictured here will serve as an example. Here we started with the rifle, shooting an array of targets at 50 and 100 yards, transitioned to pistol for two arrays of targets at 5 to 7 yards, then to the shotgun for four targets engaged with slugs.

Mediocre would be the best way to describe my results. The shooter in the picture came in fourth overall, he has been practicing and steadily improving. It showed in his performance, he had a great day.

IF you want to find out what this sport is like, find your way to a 3 gun match. It doesn’t take any fancy gear. It’s not the equipment, it’s the shooter.

When you are not practicing, remember, someone somewhere is practicing, and when you meet him he will win.
–Ed Macauley

What if Access to Gasoline Was a Right?

Let’s try to pick something else for comparison. It almost wouldn’t matter what it was. I’m picking gasoline. It’s a commodity. Most of us use it. We purchase it at retail outlets. These are businesses. They exist to make a profit. Almost all the businesses that sell gasoline are now owned by good sized corporations. Market forces and the standards for storage tanks have forced the single station owners out of business.

The stations are clean, well lit, and almost always have gas. They sell it. For a profit. You can’t get all you might want, but you can get as much as you can pay for.

Let’s say we turn this model on it’s head. A Constitutional amendment is passed, stating that gasoline is a right. All of us will be taxed to ensure that everyone has access to that right. To be sure, there are two parts to this. One is the product itself. The other is the cost.

Whatever the tax is, say we pay it by payroll deduction. Now the gas stations are owned by the government. You just pull up and fill up. No money will change hands. It’s free! But wait you say, it’s not free, I paid a tax, based on income. So, it may not be free for you, you paid for the gas you use, and some of the gas for everyone who makes less than you, including those who make no money at all. But the money is already gone from your pay, consider that a sunk cost, so whatever amount you use, it’s free!

Planning a trip? Might as well drive. Any incentive to choose another method of travel is gone. Buy that boat, the gas is free! Poor people that limited their use of gasoline due their financial situation now have a right to gasoline, it’s only fair that they should use as much as they want. For them, it truly is free!

The amount used will grow, of course. Cost is the economic check on use. Remove that, and consumption will go up. But the system will not be maintained, there will be no market incentive. The stations, the refineries, the oil fields, the tanker trucks, will just get older, and go unreplaced. Some stations will be closed. Everyone might have a right to gasoline, but there will no longer a method to reliably provide it. A Gas Czar would be needed to head the new government department that will manage this system.

Lines will form, stations will run out. Rationing will start. It will still be free (yes, yes, that tax, that ever increasing tax) but you will need a coupon book. Each citizen would have show need. You would no longer be able to get the gasoline you want for pleasure trips, it would only be fair to everyone that they get enough gasoline to get to work. Mandatory carpooling would follow. If there aren’t four in the car, it’s un-patriotic.

This is exactly what would happen. It hasn’t happened yet because the profit and cost checks and balances of the economic system have not been destroyed. As I write this, I can see that making gasoline a right would be a great way to end private ownershipof cars. Because the end result would be bicycles and government sanctioned buses and trolleys.

So often I hear about corporations like they are evil, profit motivated organizations, out to suck the money out of the pockets of American citizens. They aren’t necessarily evil, but the rest of that is true and it’s a good thing. Businesses exist to make money. They make a profit for the owners, and deliver dividends to stockholders. They do this by enticing you, the consumer, into spending your money with them. They have to be efficient, price their products competitively, overcome any obstacles in the process, advertise, and make their stores and products attractive to consumers.

Groceries would be another good example. Make food a right, and eliminate cost as a factor when you go to the supermarket and see what happens.

Health care is the topic of the day. However much we wish it wasn’t so, market forces apply. Remove them and the system crumbles.

I think it is the disconnect between the consumer(patient) and provider (doctor /hospital /pharmacy /etc.) created by insurance companies and current government programs that is the main cause of the problems the government is trying to fix. More government control will only make this worse.

UPS and FedEx are doing just fine. It’s the Post Office that’s always having problems.

–Pr. Barack Obama

Just One More

I’m going to get away from this topic somehow. But just one more time. This isn’t from some Republican enemy, this was on NPR, it’s an interview with one of Ted Kennedy’s friends. Ed Klein, former Newsweek editor. The show was titled “Reflections on Sen. Kennedy … Lion of the Senate”. It was on the Diane Rehm Show. In this audio clip, Ed Klein is reminiscing about Teddy’s sense of humor.
Well, okay. Here’s a few.

Q: What was Gary Hart’s biggest mistake?
A: Not letting Teddy Kennedy drive Donna Rice home.

Did you hear that Kennedy had actually died on August 24th? In keeping with tradition, the family didn’t report it until the next day.

When they were selecting music for the funeral, the family wanted something from the 60’s, so they went with “Bridge Over Troubled Water”.

It a dark, gallows, sort of humor. You find it in Marines, emergency room staff, policemen, and the like. I’m sure Teddy would have laughed as warmly at them as he did all the others.

Sometimes I lie awake at night, and ask, “Where have I gone wrong?” Then a voice says to me, “This is going to take more than one night.”
–Charles M. Schulz

An Example of Government Efficiency

Over at Carpe Diem, University of Michigan professor Dr. Mark Perry runs a blog on economic issues.

He posts this gem as an example of the difference between businesses run by private industry and those run by the government.

The conclusion I would draw is that we would be better off having the Coca-Cola Company delivering health care than the organization that runs the Post Office.

The only way that I could figure they could improve upon Coca-Cola, one of life’s most delightful elixirs, which studies prove will heal the sick and occasionally raise the dead, is to put rum or bourbon in it.
–Lewis Grizzard