Sunday, June 30, 2019

Hypersonic missiles

The media is agog at hypersonic missiles and the difficulty in defending against them.

As a simple, back-of-envelop exercise, I calculated the mass of a projectile that was needed to impart the same kinetic energy as the 30X173mm ammo used in the Warthog A-10 cannon. My assumption is that a solid, axial shot with a 30x173mm round would eviscerate a hypersonic missile. Most of the armor on the missile would likely be ceramic, heat shields and ceramic is brittle.

At the muzzle, the 363 gram round is traveling 1020 meters per second, about three times the speed of sound. It boasts about 190kJ of energy.

Suppose one were able to fill the air with gravel with no forward velocity. How much would each stone have to weigh so that the imparted energy was the same as the 30x173mm round.

Spreadsheets are our friend. Assuming a forward velocity of the missile of Mach 10, each stone would have to weigh 32 grams, about one ounce.

What if the missile delivering the gravel had a velocity of Mach 5 and it was moving toward the hypersonic missile? Each subprojectile would have to weigh about 15 grams.

Hypersonic-to-hypersonic? 8 grams. Considering that a hypersonic missile is likely to be much more vulnerable to a kinetic energy strike than a Bradley fighting vehicle, it may prove that the most cost effective countermeasure would be a Patriot missile with a Claymore mine loaded into the nose.

Even knocking the hypersonic missile slightly akilter while it is traveling Mach 10 would likely cause it to spin and shred itself or rupture the heat shields and have it come apart like Space Shuttle Columbia.

Sodium message to my siblings

The sneaky thing about this label is that the first column is a half-serving. A full serving is 1850 mg of sodium.

Hello all: Joe writing. Mom seems to be retaining significantly more water. Her lower legs are notably larger than they were a month ago. There is nothing any of us can do to make her heart and kidneys younger. BUT we can get aggressive about ensuring that Mom's food is low-sodium. The American Heart Association states that the "ideal minimum is LESS than 1500 mg a day". 

We have to remember that Mom is not active and does not perspire much. She does not need much salt. 
Listing the serving size as a 1/4 cup makes the serving size seem larger than it measures out. A quarter cup of gravy is a meager dollop.

From a budgeting standpoint that means we should be shooting for 300mg in our meals because some sneaks into it through the desserts Mom loves and the gravy etc. Please read the labels of the ingredients before you begin food prep. If you are serving Mom the same food you are feeding your family, consider leaving the salt out of marinades and sauces and adding the salt at your dining room table.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Pasture report

Much of my pasture looks like this, all churned up by cow hooves.
The Captain and I have an arrangement. I let him graze my pasture and he lets me borrow his heavy equipment.

Since he prefers to not loan out his equipment, that means he ends up doing those tasks for me.

For instance, he plows my driveway in the winter time.

The extraordinary rain we have been having have been tough on his cows and on my pasture.

Nearly all of the Captain's pasture is muck ground and growing Reed Canarygrass. It has been under 4" of water for most of June.

He could have run them out on his hay fields but he needs that hay.

After talking it over, I decided that the best choice was to let the cattle stay on my pasture until it was either totally nuked or the Captain had grazing available over at his place.

Occasional abuse of pasture is not necessarily a bad thing.

It exposes mineral dirt which is a good seed bed for clover, alfalfa and birdsfoot trefoil. There is a right way and a wrong way to do it. The right way is to put a large number of animal units on the paddock and have them eat it down fast and hard.

The wrong way to do it is to put a smaller number of animals on the paddock when the ground is soup and then leave them too long. The cows were on the pasture for a full month.

From the plant's point-of-view, anything over 10 days is a problem. The plant burns through reserves after it is grazed. It invests those reserves in pushing new leaves to capture sunlight. If the leaves are grazed too soon then the reserves will not be replenished and the deeper roots will slough of making the plant more vulnerable to drought.

At ten days, the blades of grass are tall enough that the cow can wrap her mouth around the fresh, new, tender-and-tasty blades of grass and rip them off the mother plant.

In addition to the over-grazing they churned the ground. Some graziers call that "pugging".

We played the cards we were dealt with the best of our ability.
There is still standing water in places. I am tempted to get some minnows to eat the mosquito larvae.

I hope to post picture of the pasture in two weeks, four weeks and eight weeks.

Friday, June 28, 2019

May the Farce be with you

Mrs ERJ wanted to watch the second Democratic Debate last night.

I wore ear plugs.

Bernie is an a angry old man who was welded into a time capsule in 1968 and decanted for comic relief. Ordinarily one would have to watch the movie Despicable Me to find characters like him. He is angry that everybody stole his unique selling proposition. He is angry because much of his support base evaporated when he "sold out" to Hillary and did not run as an independent to shake up the power structure.

Biden runs out of track. He is slick and fast as long as he gets to choose the track to run on. He coughs up a hairball in milliseconds when he runs out of track.

Hickenlooper looked like he could have been a strong candidate but he did not present well. His handlers should return their salaries. They failed.

Kamala did not have the presence I expected. Her big moment was when she defended white people having to pay reparations because she was not allowed to play with the neighbor kids when she was eight.

Everybody interrupted and tried to be more "alpha" than the rest. NBC should have been turning off microphones.

Every candidate tried to be more pro-choice than all the others.

Every candidate tried to be more anti-Wall Street than the others. That garnered big, big cheers. I wonder if the people who were cheering realize that their pensions and insurance policies have assets invested on Wall Street. I wonder if they realize that all that deficit spending is financed by selling bonds on Wall Street.

Ultimately it was a clown show. No way would the titans of Silicon Valley support those Bozos if they thought the candidates would deliver on the Big-Business smack-down they all promised.

Potato Beetles Tango Uniform

At first I thought the insecticide had failed due to being several years old.

Nope. It killed them in their tracks. They rolled over and became good Potato Beetle larvae.

Fake News Friday: Progressives torching ICE cream trucks

Progressives have been torching ice cream Trucks in large cities across America in the wake of President Trump's directive to US Immigration Customs Enforcement to immediately deport illegal aliens.

Socialists immediately claim racial discrimination based on non-availability of frozen desserts in cities.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

A silent scream

Biggby is a local coffee chain. They were originally named "Beaners" after coffee beans but some people claimed the name was racist.

So they went through the expense of changing their name.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

"American Graffiti" every Wednesday night, all summer long

I needed an easy post. Kubota suggested that I drive into Eaton Rapids and take a few pictures at the weekly car show.

Classic, Small Town Americana: A car show every Wednesday evening. They had just finished the ice cream cones before I got there.
When your best girl gets all dolled up and wants to go to town, do you tell her she ain't pretty enough?
Hell no! You tell her she is hotter than a $2 pistol.
Something for everybody. CW Swanson...are you seeing this?

From the new...

to the not so new.

Lansing and Eaton Rapids were "Oldsmobile" towns.

It was almost a State religion.

Nice to see the kids squirting Windex.

Back in the day they really knew how to torture sheet metal.

I need to breathe!!!

Lots of popped hoods and chrome

CW, do I still have your attention?

This T-bird was the bomb.

You can see the ground when you stand in front of it and look down.

The folk wisdom is that the vehicles we yearn for are the ones we first learned about "romance" in. This car has roomy seats.

Ultimately, it is always about the people.

Not enough room on Main Street. The show spilled out onto side streets.

I suspect this vehicle might have been owned by a girl. But I could be wrong.
Many more vehicles were there and the menagerie changes every week.

More on pollinator/parasitoid wasp attracter plants

Rugosa rose is very attractive to native pollinating insects and, presumably, parasitoid wasps. It smells very pretty, produces hips that are rich in Vitamin C and has a long bloom period.

My rugosa roses started blooming on June 6 at 420 GDD b50 and may be the "bridge" species I am looking for between horseradish and motherswort. The horseradish was blooming hot-and-heavy on June 6.

Now I have to figure out where I am going to squeeze in a few specimens in my orchard.

Picture taken approximately June 3, 2019, 370 GDD b50
Cleavers, on the right side of image, have a long bloom period and tiny white flowers that might be attractive to pollinators. I will have to put out some sticky traps to find out. Cleavers are still blooming.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

ERJ 5-0 WC

This is a first for me. The woodchuck ran into the livetrap even though it had no bait.

I had the trap on top of an old barn foundation. Apparently they like elevated highways.
Here he is giving me the eye.

Africa always wins

Belladonna's friend from Ghana made a statement something to the effect that "Western science does not work in Africa." The context was using science to improve crop yields.

Like all broad generalizations, there are elements of truth to the statement as well as some important caveats. In general, Bella's friend was mostly right.

The literature pretty clearly supports the contention that ag experts from temperate regions cannot go to tropical farms and use the same boiler-plate soil chemistry targets.

For example, in temperate regions most people target a pH of 6.5. pH is a measure of soil acidity/alkalinity. 6.5 is just slightly acid of neutral.
The southwest corner of Ghana gets a lot of rain. 1300mm is over four feet of rain.

The challenge in high rainfall, tropical areas is that most of the soil is a gritty clay with lots of kaolin. In temperate regions the clay is greasy with large percentages of bentonite and montmorillonites.

The tropical kaolins are highly leached and acid. The nutrients that are not leached away are either bound up in plants or "locked" in complex, insoluble compounds with aluminum and phosphate.

Dumping enough limestone on the soil to jack it all the way to a pH of 6.5 results in releasing toxic levels of those elements, like manganese, that are locked up.

The same southwest corner that gets dumped on with lots of rain is deficient in calcium. No surprise there.

The "smart money" does not recommend wholesale application of limestone on acid, tropical soils. It recommends an incremental, feel-your-way along approach where limestone is treated like a nutrient and relatively tiny amounts are added and the results monitored.

Variable versus attribute data
Another major impediment is that most African farmers don't believe in higher math like division.

In the United States farmers actively seek incremental yield/incremental input data. They want to know, "How much nitrogen must I add if I am planning for 200 bushel/acre harvest?" They understand that each bushel of corn removes a set amount of nitrogen, about 0.7 pounds. Some more is lost to leaching and vaporizes. Some more is tied up in the leaves and most farmers expect to apply one pound of nitrogen for every sixty pounds of corn they expect to harvest.

A pound of nitrogen costs $0.30 (spot price anhydrous ammonia, by the ton) while the spot price for corn at the time of this writing is $4.60 a bushel (almost 60 pounds). That is like a machine that you feed one dollar bills into and it spits out a fifteen perfectly legal dollar bills back out. Why would you not buy fertilizer?

Lack of trust. How does one know that the pale powder that looks like dirt is what the seller says it is?

This is a two-factor experiment. For example, the red shaded area might be ten pounds of limestone per tree and white area a quarter pound of potassium. Or, red might be five pounds of calcium and the white ten pounds of calcium. There is also a freebie hiding in the setup. If care is taken and the trees beside the road are harvested separately the scientist can also evaluate the effect of lower density planting.
Even if an enterprising agent were to set up field trials most farmers would struggle to assimilate the information. Why should they pay cash money out-of-pocket...which is very difficult to come by...when they get some harvest for free. Any finite number divided by zero is infinite. It is hard to be more cost effective than that. The fundamental watershed in thinking is to divide incremental yield by incremental input.

This "divide by zero input" thinking was common in the United States in the 1920s. "Why should I pay money to buy Hereford calves and pay money to feed them five pounds of grain a day? I can raise the native cattle on grass alone to market weight."

Well, Sodbuster, it took you seven years to raise that sway-backed, cat-hammed steer to market weight on unimproved pasture. Improved cattle plus a little bit of grain means you can take that calf to market in 20 months, not 84 months. That is four times as many gross receipts in your pocket

One intermediate step is to put the nuts harvested into each tree into its own, individual basket. It helps if the baskets are color coded. Then, weigh the baskets and rank order them from heaviest yield to lightest yield. It should be clear if most of the heavy end is one color and most of the light end is a different one. This is a variation of the Tukey End Count test.

It is beyond dispute that fertilizer application levels are suboptimal in Africa. Some studies indicate that yields could be tripled if recommended levels were applied.

Africa and other tropical areas are rapidly being deforested to plant oil palms, even as they import edible oils. Applying fertilizer seems far more benign than leveling the remnants of tropical rain forests.

The tribal thing
The other issue is that little trust exists between tribes. Since fertilizer looks like dirt, who is to say that the rascal from the other tribe didn't divert most of the fertilizer to his cousin, mix in dirt and made you pay full price?

It happens.

Consequently, you buy only from your uncle or cousin or a person from your own tribe. There are few economies of scale to be had, especially when you layer on every level where mordita occurs. It shouldn't be hard to find limestone in Ghana, for instance. Deposits occur west of Accura, Oterkpolu and Jama. For all practical purposes there is no part of southwestern Ghana that is more than 160 miles from a commercially viable limestone/dolomite deposit.

Money funny business
Ghana, like many other third world countries, got squeezed by the world banking organization. They were put on an austerity diet and stopped subsidizing fertilizer purchases. Crop yields dropped. Exports dropped at the same time prices tanked. The currency traded at 2000 to the USD before austerity and 7000 to the USD afterward.

The issue of bringing rigorous science to Africa is not a problem that can be attacked in isolation. In the end, Africa wins.

Post Script on tribalism: Tribalism is like the system of water-tight compartments on a warship. While it incurs costs it also firewalls epidemics. It may be that Africa's obdurate tribalism is the most viable strategy for dealing with certain diseases. It will never minimize the number who die but it guarantees that a sustainable population will survive somewhere.

Under the conditions of Africa, virulent tribalism may be the only rational system of organization.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Is Vehicular Homicide when you want to kill a vehicle?

Belladonna had a car problem today.

Who knew that starters had a Smoke Emitting Diode to signal that they were malfunctioning?

My best guess is an internal short.

Yes, we drove to Grand Rapids to see if it could be "fixed" with zip-ties and bicycle inner tube. I hoped that the insulation on one of the starter motor wires had rubbed through and the juice was shorting to the engine. No joy.

Mr Mechanic is going to make a dime or two off Belladonna's car.

Will government cease to function during an Ebola event?

(In reference to Hard Times make Hard Men) This reminds me of Duckworth's demise - people getting caught not helping the community. 
I figured Ebola would make it into the community at some point, and drugs is as likely as any other method - though when you mentioned young men, I was expecting the problem to be women. 
You haven't mentioned government in a while - are the feds or locals making any attempt at governing at this point? Or are they not mentioned because they are irrelevant at this point since anything they are doing doesn't affect the community?   -Frequent commentor Jonathan H

What happens to government is mostly outside the story arc but they are worth discussing, just because.

Very early in the epidemic government will beef up with contractors and by leveraging through charitable organizations.

A key trigger point, at least in Michigan, will be when the schools see 25% absenteeism. The reason that 25% is a key measurement is because that is when a "school day" does not count toward No-Child-Left-Behind metrics and toward graduation requirements.

The decision to suspend school operations at 25% absenteeism until there is sufficient evidence that the epidemic is over has already been enshrined in state law. That will probably be the de facto trigger for the suspension of all "non-essential" government operations and martial law in the tenser, urban areas.

A key point is not "25% of the students are sick", it is "25% of the students did not show up." You can bet that many parents will choose to keep their kids home if/when they pick up on the fact that the epidemic is Ebola, not the seasonal flu. In fact, I bet the schools blow through that 25% absent number the day after the second case is confirmed in a community.

For the sake of simplicity, the Governor will suspend government operations on a county-by-county basis. He/she will shut down the county when the largest school district in the county trips the 25% threshold.

So who is left? The "essential employees." First responders, prison guards, water treatment operators, the guys who fix traffic lights and the military.

First responders will be hardest hit with Ebola. First responders and prison guards will get blue-flu. The military will be confined to base.

Recap: three weeks after the second case of Ebola is confirmed in a community there will be no government. If you are lucky, the toilets will still fill and flush.

80% mortality means 20% survival, right?
Not so quick, Feldman.

With IVs and what we consider to be low-tech intervention, the number of 20% survival rate is bandied about. That presumes a long logistical tail supporting the head of the spear. Who is going to stick the IV if the medical personnel are dead or (wisely) decided to stay home? Who is going to wash bedding, change dressings, feed, toilet and clean the patient?

Assuming that everybody in the household will die is a reasonable first-order approximation if Ebola shows up in post-collapse, snow-flake America. Even if they put the carrier on the proverbial ice-floe, it will be too late. Everybody in the house had already been exposed.

Even if the patients survived Ebola and "only" has cognitive impairment and trashed vision, they must still learn to avoid predators in the new normal even as they figure out how to find or grow food and avoid freezing to death.

It is a tiny bit of a spoiler, but I figure Kates Store will spin-down to a low-water mark of twenty living people per square mile. It started out with fifty or sixty per square mile.

Areas that are not as organized as Kates Store and/or have a high percentage of low-trust residents will spin down to ten living people per square mile...even if they started with three thousand. It might be different if a city were 100% inhabited by devout Quakers or Amish or Mormons.

Michigan currently has about nine-million residents. Most of them live in low-trust areas. A reasonable low-water mark for Michigan's post-Ebola population is 60,000 people. That is a 0.7% survival rate.

I would not expect any meaningful difference for any part of the US east of a line from Fargo, South North Dakota - to - Houston, Texas or for the states of California, Oregon, Washington or Hawaii.

Weaklings favor coercing others with the power of the state

Men who are physically weak are more likely to be socialists.
The study, conducted in 2017 and published in the Evolution and Human Behavior journal, ​found that the weakest men of the group favored socialism.The physically stronger males had less interest in socialist policies.-Source

Much of the article goes on with the author speculating whether the chicken or the egg came first.

One view is that physical fitness is part of a bundle of attributes that spell "success" and successful people don't want to have their money stolen by the State"

Another view is that successful men are more likely to take care of themselves by exercising.

A theory that does not get discussed in the article is that people who are weak are forced to rely on collective effort or intercession by the State to achieve results. That forced dependence morphs in their minds into thinking that collective effort is a virtue.

The study, conducted in 2017 and published in the Evolution and Human Behavior journal, ​found that the weakest men of the group favored socialism.

© Neon Nettle
Men who are physically weak are more likely to be socialists, according to an academic study.

© Neon Nettle
Men who are physically weak are more likely to be socialists, according to an academic study.

© Neon Nettle

Sunday, June 23, 2019

ERJ 3 - 0 Woodchucks

Three woodchucks in two days. All three have had skin lesions, even the youngsters. I attribute the wet, wet weather.

Potatoes are about 2/3 canopied over. Sunlight that falls on soil does not make food.
Corn has a long way to go. All three crops have the same row-to-row spacing, 42 inches. That is set by my rototiller. This corn will explode if we get some hot weather.
Cabbage went in today. They look pretty pathetic. This is a savoy variety named Deadon and it seems to be fairly caterpillar free. I attribute it to the leaves being purple. The green worms glow like neon signs to passing birds:  Food - Food - Food  

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Hammers, toads, woodchucks, Fourth of July and motherswort

We spent the afternoon at a graduation Open House. Rather than money we gave the young man a 22 ounce, steel handled, framing hammer. Money is soon forgotten but this hammer can last him decades.

A study in camouflage. I almost stepped on him.

This year should yield a bumper crop of amphibians due to the extensive and prolonged flooding.

I did not see very many tadpoles in the burn pit this spring. I think they count on the cows "fertilizing" the water. Best practice has been to fence livestock out of open water. I wonder if that contributed to the decline in amphibians.

I have about fifty cabbage seedlings to plant. I also have an infestation of woodchucks.

I caught a young one within fifteen minutes on the lower set.

Knee high by the Fourth of July  looks possible but not a sure thing.

Motherswort keeps churning out blossoms as it grows
It just sort of came together for me as I was mowing. My mentor was a very strong believer in pushing trees to fill their allotted space. He had little patience for people who rhapsodized over making trees struggle as if that would make the fruit more saintly or special. He considered it laziness masquerading as virtue.

A very rough guideline in Michigan is to fertilize to get two feet of terminal extension a year on your trees while they are young and you are filling the allotted space and then to back off on the nitrogen. At that point terminal extension of 12" a year should be your target. Obviously you will have to prune the trees as they try to grow out of their envelop.

Roger typically doubled that target while growing trees and I saw him get eight feet out of a sweet cherry tree in one year.

Growing locations that are farther north or get colder than Michigan should aim for less growth so the trees have time to store carbs for cold resistance.

The part that came together for me is that you are probably not fertilizing young trees with enough nitrogen if you don't have a "weed" problem with nettles and motherswort.

Both of these plants fill a similar niche and both are very nutrient demanding. I prefer motherswort of the two. It is a good pollen/nectar plant with a very long period of availability and it will not make you itch like nettles. The motherswort has been flowering for a few days. I was not paying that much attention. It is now about 770 GDD-b50.

Another plant that occupies a similar niche is asparagus.

It is serendipitous that a common weed that WANTS to grow in a well fertilized orchard is a keystone species for parasitoid wasps and honey bees and bumble bees.

Now I am looking for a perennial pollen/nectar species that will bridge between horseradish and motherswort. There was a tiny bit of overlap in the bloom time between the two this year.

Snow-on-the-mountain is a groundcover that comes close to meeting my needs for flowering time and morphology but I prefer a native species or an edible one if I can find it.

Friday, June 21, 2019

The last installment of Seven Cows is scheduled for July 5

Just a heads-up.

The last installment for the Seven Cows story is scheduled for July 5.

Endings never make people happy because in real life stories never really end. Endings are artificial constructs for the convenience for the writer.

As a neophyte writer, I prefer to leave a story when it is effervescently bubbling and the readers can carry it forward in their own imagination. That is the goal of telling a paint a series of pictures in the reader's imagination and have the momentum of the story carry them into the probability cloud of possible futures.

If history is a guide then I will savor the accomplishment of putting a story "in the can" for a month or two. Then a few of the minor characters will start talking to me, asking to have their story put into words.

Then it starts again.

Are public sector employees inherently more virtuous than private sector employees?

Listening to the 947 declared Democratic contenders for the POTUS position, you will pick up vibes that they all believe that the public sector is inherently more virtuous than the private sector.

Peel a little deeper and you are likely to pick up that they believe that public sector employees, as a group, are more virtuous than mammon-grubbing private sector employees. What other justification can there be for moving more of the economy under the control of the public sector?

A few simple questions: If public sector employees are so virtuous, then why is it necessary for them to have Unions?

Why do progressives treat Law Enforcement people differently (less virtuous) than a clerk at the Secretary of State?

My hypothesis is not that public sector employees are more, or less virtuous than the general population. I contend that they are the same population as the general public and the same as public sector employees. Same-same-same.

Further, I will speculate that the difference between the cop and the clerk is that the cop's output is visible and he is held accountable while the clerk can be a total screw-up for thirty years and still retire.

Let me point to the Catholic Church scandals as one example of an organization that thought it was employing extremely virtuous people and put them in positions where crimes could be hidden and there was no outside accountability.

What basis can any thinking person have for believing that giving public sector employees access to private health information, financial records, consumer habits, etc will result in behaviors that are any more virtuous than were seen with the Catholic Church?

Screw me once, shame on you. Screw me twice...

Brett McRae is the Chairman of the Eaton County Democratic Party. He recently ran an op-ed in the local papers titled Let's just 'Fix the Damn Roads'.

The backstory is that the Democratic party just swept the Michigan statewide offices in the recent election. The new governor's campaign theme was 'Just Fix the Damn Roads' and she implied that the Republicans were incompetent, corrupt and incapable of managing budget to get basic services delivered.

Milliseconds after being sworn in, the new Govenor said, "Hey, I gotta raise taxes. Not much...just an additional $0.45 a gallon gas tax. Lemme get back to you next year. That might not be enough."

There was pushback from the electorate. She implied that she was going to fix the roads by eliminating corruption and incompetence. She never said she intended to raise taxes before the election.

Now the local spear-carriers for the Democrats are making the sale pitch: "The unhappy fact is that it's going to take some serious money to fix the roads."

McRae then goes on to write that it will require an additional $2.5 billion every year. He gives us choices: Raise the state income tax 25% or increase the tax on businesses by 325% or increase the sales tax by 22% or increase the gas tax by forty-five cents a gallon.

Let's look at them one at a time
The state income tax is a flat tax. Flat taxes are considered regressive because people with less income have much less discretionary income. A flat tax makes the margin even tighter. So the Democrat's proposal for raising the income tax is regressive.

The Democratic proposal for raising taxes on businesses by 325% is a job killer. Approximately 58% of Michigan's 9 million residents do not have jobs so that might seem like a winner of an idea but that 58% depends on the people who DO work. Raising business taxes by +300% is a case of saying, "Here, Illinois, hold my beer."

Increasing the sales tax is considered regressive for the same reasons raising the income tax is. Furthermore, people who have more means are more likely to pay for services (not subject to sales tax) or spend big money outside the state on things like vacations.

Increasing the tax on fuel is both regressive and transfers resources from rural and suburban areas to urban areas. Most of the damage to roads is due to weather. Urban areas get more dollars per mile of road than rural areas while rural drivers often drive as much as four times as many miles per year.

In summary, the Democrat's proposals are REGRESSIVE, JOB KILLER, REGRESSIVE and REGRESSIVE.

The shell game
The big sales pitch when the lottery was introduced was that every cent was going toward education.

What they did not tell us is that there would be zero incremental funding of education. Education was defunded dollar-for-dollar and the incremental increase was be seen in the general fund.

It is a mathematical certainty that the identical thing will happen with any funds raised "for roads."

The State of Michigan pension funds are approximately 60% funded and the bull market in stocks is at the extreme geriatric stages of expansion. In plain language, the pension funds did not catch up when times were great and unless a miracle happens it never will.

That miracle will be for politicians to get voters to agree to tax increases between 22% and 325% with the expectation that more work will be done on the roads. Stupid voters. That money will simply free up funds to backfill the ever-growing pension shortfall. There will be no net increase in road funding.

Rather than being transparent and saying that the State mismanaged the pension promises and asking voters to approve funding for pension shortfalls, the politicians are promising road repairs (a tangible benefit) knowing full well that none of the $2.5 billion a year will result in a single additional pothole being fixed.

They know that is a very, very tough sell because most public pensions are more generous than private sector pensions and it will be tough to get people who are looking forward to eating cat food in retirement to vote to take more dollars out of their wallet and give them to public sector employee pensions.

Remember, money is fungible. It is not possible to say "This dollar went here" after the dollar is inhaled by the state.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Operation "Rescue Trash Panda"

Various family members have been staying over night to help mom with toileting.

There have been several reports of "chittering" from behind the doors of the fireplace insert. The consensus opinion is that a teenage racoon fell down the chimney.

I was nominated to the rescue team. I agreed as long as I got a small keg of brandy to strap beneath my chin.

I needed every inch of that 28' extension ladder.

Yup, sure enough. A trash panda. He was a little bit shy about coming out of his hole. I will recover the gear tomorrow. 12X optical plus another 3X digital brings him in close.
I am glad he didn't die and stink up the house.

Bonus picture

It looks like six cuttings are leafing out.
I was getting double duty out of this pot.

The grape cuttings are a variety called St. Paul and was hybridized at Chateau Bortnov. The seeds that are pushing are Water Tupelo, Nyssa aquatica.

Water Tupelo is one of those species that might do well in Michigan if mass selection can find specimens with -15F cold hardiness. We have a shortage of trees that can withstand long periods of submerged roots and produce autumn/winter mast.

One factor mitigating against natural, mass selection is that seeds are produced in the autumn and the ducks that eat them are southbound. Ducks bring very, very few seeds north on the spring migration.

Most of the seeds are digested but a few make it through the duck properly scarified or sometimes the duck dies enroute, freeing the seeds.