- You don’t say! “The TSA is failing spectacularly at cybersecurity.”
- You don’t say! “The economy is running on monetary fumes.”
- You don’t say! Doctors are overscreening for cancer.
- You don’t say! Fed prosecutors need ethics lessons.
- Um … maybe. But those lines at Disneyland generally don’t kill you.
- If that’s all enough to drive you to drink, here’s a 5,000-year-old beer recipe. Not to mention evidence that beer may have helped kickstart civilization.
- Why the very poor have become poorer. While technically only a book review, this is jam-packed with interesting data and thoughts.
- But occasionally good news strikes. Terry McAwful, Virginia’s rabidly antigun gov, is under investigation. The usual. Corruption.
- And uncommon sense strikes, too. Sarah Hoyt on The Collapse. (Nakedly stolen from Wendy and Brad.)
Archive for the ‘Money’ Category
Just past the halfway mark of my six months without home Internet. Not too painful so far, right?
Its original purpose of lowering monthly payments to clear last year’s home-improvement debts kind of went kablooey when Dave quit paying for the blog. At that point, I emptied savings to clear nearly all that debt, figuring any unnecessary monthly payments would not be a good idea right now.
Kept a small emergency fund, of course. Always keep a small emergency fund unless you’re living in your car and eating out of Dumpsters.
My latest foundling
Meet my latest forest foundling …
- The barefoot one didn’t manage to freeze Mama. Reading this article, I’m not sure whether Colton Harris-Moore is a naive young kid or a crass hustler who’s going to head right straight for trouble again when they release him from prison this summer.
- “This Bud’s for you, America.” Another one to read mainly because it’s by George Will, who writes like a barbed angel. The whole business with Budweiser’s temporary name change is as pathetic as it is cynical.
- Why are house prices soaring across this Great Land of Budweiser? One guess.
- When headlines lie: “American Airlines is fed up with the TSA and taking matters into its own hands.” Don’t we wish? But no, American Airlines is scared of losing money and having its service and employees reviled because of the TSA’s bad behavior. So it’s enabling the TSA in exactly the same sense a co-dependent enables an alcoholic.
- Anybody up for 13 solid minutes of Hillary Clinton lies? No? Me, neither. Twenty years of them is enough, already. But for you who have stronger stomachs, here’s the video.
- The bigotry continues. House v*tes to ban Confederate flags at V.A. cemeteries. Presumably even on the graves of men who fought for the Confederacy.
- Not news to most here. But it’s been downhill since Jefferson wrote those famous words. Downhill as a nation, anyhow. As a government. But not all downhill for individuals determined to remain free.
- Be patient, citizens! That is an order! Your government is hard at work protecting you. (I do rather wonder what those TSA lines snaking up and down escalators look like. Or worse, feel like to stand in, especially if you’re stuck at the top or bottom where the stairs disappear. But not enough to want to go to an airport to see for myself.)
- Speaking of gummint “protection,” be glad you didn’t run into this employee of the Federal Protective Service.
- Whoo. gutsy woman!
- Militias going mainstream? So sez The Guardian with a surprising minimum of tsking about it.
- But not to worry. Plenty of tsking is still to be had in government schools. This time over a rather creative paper gun.
- We are shocked. Simply shocked. Facing minimum-wage hikes, Wendys is adding self-serve kiosks, with McDonalds not far behind. Yeah, kids; that minimum-wage that nobody thinks you’re worth is a real benefit, isn’t it?
- What? You mean Google Streetview spycars aren’t always tools of the gummint?
- I’m sure you’ll be shocked at this news about Hillary Clinton’s emails, too.
- But howzabout this news on those Hillary emails? Seems the Kremlin has a gigantic trove of them, grabbed off those insecure servers …
- After constantly squeaking through the courts, Obamacare has received the hoped-for blow … from a judge who immediately suspended her own ruling pending an inevitable administration review. Sigh.
- Kewl. Ten life hacks using carabiners. (And evertbody’s got carabiners around, right? They’re right up there with WD40, duct tape, hose clamps, and Goof Off for usefulness.) (H/T TSO)
- Weekend read: the Ukrainian hacker who became the FBI’s greatest asset — and biggest problem.
:So the big question is: what do I do about the blog now that BHM is no longer paying me to do it? You had some good thoughts on that.
Actually, the big questions are both that and how do I plan for/budget for the final enormous project(s) on Ye Olde Wreck, which I hope to tackle next spring and summer?
These big questions dovetail. Bear with me a moment.
The back half of Ye Olde Wreck needs a new foundation: replacement of three beams 24 to 38 feet long, all new posts, jacking the floor up four inches, and replacing or sistering some as-yet-unknown number of rotted floor joists. Oh yeah, a little earthquake engineering and bug treatment, too.
It’s also time to address part of the reason the foundation is shot. To wit: drainage. On three sides, the surrounding ground is higher than the foundation and slopes sharply so that runoff goes — guess where? — under the house.
This is the worst slope. But elsewhere, where the slope isn’t as drastic, the area affected is wider. We’re talking earth moving, retaining walls, gravel, and possibly French drains.
Foundation and drainage: two beastly, tricky projects that need to be tackled as one.
After that, the house will be fully sound — at last. Years of work remain, but it’s work like siding, deck building, painting, drywalling, minor electrical and plumbing, flooring, and landscaping that can be done in bits and pieces.
Ye Olde Wreck will be a wreck no more. Just an everlasting hobby.
I’d started to save for the twin monster projects and was paying down house debt from the last couple years of improvements when I got the word about the blog.
Now, I have to stress again that Dave and Annie are talking with me about other work that, if it comes to fruition, will more than make up for the lost blog income. They’ve been great. And of course you guys click those Amazon links and keep me going.
But in the short run, I no longer have a source of income I was counting on. And frankly, even if I still had it, I’m not sure I’d have been able to swing that foundation work.
A couple of years ago when the roof was leaking and part of it eventually collapsed I held a “roof raiser” and you bowled me over with generosity. I’ll never forget the flood of help you poured over me. Maybe that was once in a lifetime. Maybe it’s too much to think it could, or should, happen again.
And right now … I’m not asking. I’m not even close to asking. You can keep your wallets in your pockets and your PayPal accounts untapped.
Here’s what I am going to do about the blog, though: For now, nothing.
I’m just going to go on blogging as if nothing’s changed. For the next three months, that’ll still mean fairly “lite” blogging because I’m offline at home. But come mid-August, expect almost-daily posts again. With no donation button. No bleg. No whining. Also no moving away from BHM unless Dave kicks me out. Basically … no changes. (Well, not quite true; following the advice of Commentariat members who suggested possible ways to monetize the blog without tapping into BHM’s scarce funds, I’ll definitely be talking with Dave.)
Then, sometime late this year or early next, when I’ve gotten a better idea how much I can earn and save toward the foundation work on my own, I may need to hold a “foundation raising” and turn to you again.
If so, at that point I hope that everybody who benefits from this blog will kick in a little something. Or a big something.
If not, then not. Who knows what the state of the world or the state of anyone’s personal finances will be then, in this crazy time? I remain humbled and grateful for the way you all put a better roof over my head. Always will.
But however life and finances work out, sometime between now and this time next year, I need to put my best efforts into ensuring that this crazy old house gets a solid foundation — one that will stay there until the day I die.
- Pretty amazing way for a 16-year-old to live. (H/T JB)
- OTOH, some people may just have too much time on their hands. And hatchets and beer in them. (H/T ML)
- Speaking of too much time and hands … did you know there’s a (not joking) world of rock-paper-scissors competition? (Tip o’ hat to jed)
- Looking for some good hard science fiction? (H/T MJR)
- Get businesses freaked out enough about “discriminating against the disabled” and they’ll fall for anything.
- 12 lessons to learn and hang onto forever. (Especially for business, but plenty have applications in the rest of the world, too.)
- Just to cheer you up, here’s the latest report on global-catastrophic risks. I confess not to have read it yet. I don’t need that kind of “cheering up” right now. But just in case you’re interested. (H/T MJR)
- Assume your state government is in big trouble if one, single taxpayer saying goodbye could have this much impact.
- It seems more lefties are realizing their fellows have become high-handed elitist snobs, and that it happened when the left parted ways with the working class.
As of now, BHM is no longer paying me to write this blog. Just got word on Saturday.
They’re not closing the blog down. I can continue to write it on my own, if I wish. And Dave Duffy has offered me “behind the scenes” types of work and possibly print work to make up for the loss. (BHM is like a good family that way.)
Jackie Clay has also been offered similar terms. Only Mas Ayoob’s blog is unaffected, far as I know.
Of course, because the Duffys have always allowed me those wonderful Amazon links and occasional use of the PayPal donation button, I still have some income from the blog — just considerably reduced and not as predictable or steady. The weekend’s blow is compounded by the fact that my other online work, The Zelman Partisans, is strictly volunteer. Now I have to wonder about the best allocation of my time and effort.
Yet, I love what I do and would do it all for nothing if I could afford to. And you guys are a great, smart “social circle” I don’t want to abandon or do without.
So I’m contemplating what to do from here on and wonder if You the Commentariat have some suggestions.
I’ll be back tomorrow late morning with a regular blog post (and to catch up on overdue emails). Will check in with you then to see what you have to say about this.
A 24-hour round-trip drive. But a wonderful thing for friends whose next meeting can only take place “on the other side.”
If you haven’t yet sent Mike a gratitude offering for all he’s done for gun rights and freedom — for all the inspiration, ideas, leadership, and strength he’s shown even as his body betrayed him — this would be a good time. Even if you can afford only $5 or $10, it would be a great opportunity to say thanks to Mike.
I owe Dr. Jim an apology. It must be two months now since he sent me a copy of his book for review. I meant to get on it right away. But you know, I just could not bring myself to pick up and read that book.
It’s not that there was anything wrong with it. On the contrary, at a glance it was obviously a solid, professional piece of work. I already knew Dr. Jim, an occasional Commentariat participant, writes clearly with an amazingly light touch given the subject matter. The book is lucid, well laid-out, and easy on the eye.
I just could not force myself to endure a rehash of the hash that politicians are making of what was once (and in some ways still is) the best medical system on the planet.
Once I belatedly opened the cover, I realized I had nothing to dread.
- Talk about swords into plowshares! California city government v*tes to turn a former prison into a cannabis oil factory.
- Super high-tech tiny house. Pretty cool. (Helps to be a boatbuilder and cabinetmaker.) But c’mon. How much did it cost? (H/T MJR)
- :-) How not to take a gun selfie.
- And speaking of selfies, I assume this study (which concludes — wow, whodathunkit? — that narcissists are more likely to post and crave feedback on selfies) must have been funded by government. Not ours, fortunately.
- And speaking of governments: who’s named in the Panama Papers? Named so far, we should add. The silence on U.S.-based clients of Mossack Fonseca is like waiting for that second shoe to drop.
- OTOH, the astute Megan McArdle says that what the papers reveal so far is a positive reflection on capitalism.
- Ronald T. Richie. He was the 911 caller who got the perfectly innocent John Crawford SWATted and killed. Maybe he’ll finally pay a price. Maybe.
- Sheesh. This article on why women should v*te for women makes me not ever want to v*te for a woman again. Well, not that I ever gave a crap about the sex of a candidate. And not that I’d ever v*te for a woman if the woman were Hillary. Or Dianne. Or … well, most of them.
- But the good news is that even Salon says Hillary’s world is collapsing around her.
- I really hate questions like this. But with the weekend coming up, here’s some food for thought during your leisure hours: Are we living in a computer simulation?
- Just because we were talking about flame-throwers the other day …
I’ll be doing a little extra blogging this week because I’ve been doing physical labor (drywalling) and need a break from it. Also because … Panama Papers.
I hadn’t heard of the scandal until Monday when jc2k linked to it in comments. By then it was already 24 hours old (ancient in Internet Time) and had been thoroughly clucked over by all the usual suspects.
The collective bottom line seems not only to be, “OMG, gov-o-crats are hiding ill-gotten gains offshore!” (this is a shock to anybody?) but, “Offshore privacy should be done away with!”
Um … yeah. Hasn’t offshore privacy already been curbed a time or three? And don’t gangsters and gov-o-crats and their cronies (but I repeat myself) always find some way to hide ill-gotten gains? And don’t ordinary, innocent people with assets that need to be protected from the above also take advantage of the “loopholes” that are inevitably left for the kleptocrats?
The notion that you can do away with financial hidey-holes — especially financial hidey-holes both controlled and utilized by people who are in charge of the laws and regulations governing said hidey-holes is as tidily moralistic as the notion that you can do away with drugs, guns, liquor, or whatever other bugaboo the moral moment might focus on. And just as untidy in practice.
Most people use offshore corporations for legitimate purposes — like the legitimate need to protect honest gains and assets from thieves in governments.
But that won’t do, will it? So now we’ll see yet another big moral crusade against offshore tax shelters.
Laws, regulations, treaties, and those trendy not-a-treaty-but-just-like-one-only-simpler-to-impose trade agreements will be changed. Everybody will say, “Good job! We’ve foiled the eeeevil plans of kleptocrats and organized crimesters. Decency shall now reign forevermore.” And after a few hiccups, thievery and corruption will go on as usual using some slightly different form of hidey-hole. Preserving wealth will merely become that much harder for those who lack the government connections or the will to break the latest round of laws. (Which reminds me of this study on human sacrifice and social hierarchy that came out this week.)
Bigger questions I haven’t heard anybody asking yet. How to catch and whack the kleptocrats without busting the legitimate privacy of hundreds of thousands of decent human beings (actual, old-fashioned investigation, perhaps — the following of specific suspicions, specific evidence, specific leads)? Why wasn’t Mossack Fonseca, that Panamanian law firm, doing more to protect its clients’ records, since privacy is supposed to be at the core of its business? And how many other ordinary people are at risk of disclosure from similar hacks at similar firms?
Interesting times …
Another Darwin runner up
If this is actually true (and Snopes hasn’t pronounced otherwise), it truly belongs in the Department of Stupidity Archives: Motorist tries to drive through a Roadrunner tunnel. (H/T MJR)
Constitutional carry moves ahead