Guest Contributor – ArthurinCali – 27JAN2023 – Observations Overseas

Japan is high on my list of most interesting countries for several reasons. One, the aesthetics of the architecture and layout of the landscapes were so distinctly different from what we see in the US. Decorative shrines, the villages, even big cities were impressive. Attention to detail and respect for their history could be seen in a lot of things they build, if that makes sense.

I was fortunate to be there for extended periods while on detachment which allowed the opportunity to travel around during my off time. Taking the train to Hiroshima to visit ground zero of where the atomic bomb was dropped is humbling. They has an interactive museum there with many artifacts that survived.

Not one country, but the Middle Eastern region was an experience of near-total culture shock. Dubai, Kuwait, Bahrain, and the UAE left quite an impression on me as to how different other ways of life can be from the USA.

Europe…was kind of disappointing. Yes, France and Monaco were neat, especially as I have French ancestry, but the attitudes towards Americans they display is not just a stereotype. I understand that is a strain of the culture to be a bit brisk and come off as rude, but for an East Texan raised on Southern manners and politeness it was not easy to get used to. haha

One quick example of French ‘politeness’: I was at the Cannes train station about to head to Monaco and spotted a deli with croissants. Looking in the glass display I saw that the price appeared to say €10 for one. I thought that might be mislabeled as the currency conversion meant it was over $10 for one. I asked the deli employee if that was the price. “That what it says on the paper,” he replied as he walked off. So yeah, it was an experience.

Italy is one of the countries I want to go back to one day. I spent one day in Rome seeing the sights, and would love to go back. Being able to walk right up to the Coliseum and touch it felt amazing. So much history to take in.

Guest Contributor – pigpen51 – 16JAN2023 – Reply to What’s Wrong With Modern Churches

Here’s a Post About What’s Wrong with Modern Churches

I never knew that Bear Grylls was a man of faith. But it seems like he is not only a man of faith, but a wise man, as well. Myself, I have seen this same thing, for a very long time.
I attended Bible College in the early 1980’s, thinking that I might become a Baptist Pastor. Due to family circumstances, I was only able to attend for a year, but I learned much in that year. Not only knowledge about the Bible, but about Christians and the direction of the Church itself.
I could see even back then that there was a movement, not hidden, to try and move the conservative churches to become more liberal, and to turn to what I call a Social Gospel, instead of the Gospel of Truth. They were teaching Pastoral Candidates to question everything, to seek new and different interpretations of the Bible. To not believe the men like Spurgeon or Tozer, but to question them and to seek to find the places where they were wrong.
I always felt like a Church was supposed to be more of a hospital, for wounded Christians, than a Museum where so called ” Good Christians” came every Sunday to show how spiritual they are. And to listen to their pastors preach smooth words that put them at ease, words of comfort that they were just fine, and God loved them.
Well, God does indeed love them, especially if they are believers. Their sins are forgiven, but that doesn’t mean that they are walking in the light.
I found myself saved at an early age, perhaps 9 or 10. But I never knew that there was anything else required of me. Fortunately there was a real change in my heart and my life, and it was apparent that I had something different in my life. And it stayed with me all of my life. But at the age of 20, God showed me that there was more expected of me. I was in a serious car accident where it was like He shook me and said ” wake up, it is time for you to get to work.” So I got involved in the Church, and it was obvious that I was a Bible scholar, in that I understood how it was meant to be understood, and was able to see it as a whole, when so many failed to “get it.”
The problem I found was that Baptists failed to understand a lot of the things that I found in the Bible. Oh, they would acknowledge them, but then make excuses that didn’t hold water. Things about church discipline, and how salvation is by faith alone, but they then live like it is by works. To the place where a Baptist Pastor I knew would not leave a bottle of coke on his kitchen table, in case someone drove by and saw it and thought it was a beer bottle, and it made them stumble.
But I guess the biggest thing that drove me away from the Baptist church, but really it could have been just about any of the denominations of today, was their lack of genuine love for each other. They of course, made a big show of love, saying the right words, and telling each other that they will pray for them. But as you no doubt have seen, Christians are the only group that shoots their wounded. And if that wounded Christian is wounded so that the public is aware of it, all the better. One of those issues that I am thinking of is a young lady getting pregnant out of wedlock. Following the scriptures, it should be handled privately, and not be brought before the church, if the young lady understands that she made a mistake, and repents of it. The Baptist church, however, requires that lady to stand before the entire congregation and confess her sin.
Looking at Mary, the mother of Jesus, and how she came to be pregnant, and then Joseph who was called a just man, and not wanting to make Mary a public spectacle, but wanting to put her away privately, it seems like the whole public confession is totally against the teaching of the New Testament, and punitive at that.
I don’t see how a young lady, of 16-19 years old, pregnant out of wedlock, can feel loved if forced to stand before the entire congregation and confess her sin. It is a wonder that they don’t require her to wear the letter A on her clothing. This at a time when a young woman needs love and support from older women and families the most, they withdraw it.
Now we see churches trying to change, and to make the social gospel the big thing. Big production values, with rock bands and power point presentations, short films, etc. it is a wonder that they have any room for God in the building. And I think that is the feeling that young people get, and why they are seen to be leaving churches in droves. I hope that it turns around, but for that to happen, one thing will need to happen, and that is that God will have to be invited back into the building, and the church will need to begin it’s journey back into a hospital for the hurting, a refuge for the sick, and a shelter for those in a storm. I hope that it is not too late, because as the Church goes, so goes the nation.

Guest Contributor – Jason M – 10JAN2023 – Ancient Roman Concrete – Continued

Ancient Roman Concrete’s Durability Finally Explained

 

I actually work for a cement and concrete manufacturer. I was thinking more along the lines of roads and large buildings in my comments above.

For individuals, I completely agree with you that stronger foundations and floors in homes would be a good thing. The problems of energy to generate heat and cost of transporting the materials are still there. But because it is on a much smaller scale it MIGHT be easier to overcome.

Availability of quick lime might be an issue, as well. At least in some locations.

For pouring a driveway or a garage floor though…I’m still not sold on it.

“Strength” for concrete is a measure of compressive force. It’s measured in PSI. Unfortunately, even a very high PSI concrete can break if its support is somehow undermined. The biggest thing for homeowners is making sure that the foundation is done properly with the correct support around the concrete and diverting water away so that it is not washing or damaging the support in some way.

That being said, there are several methods to avoid the kind of cracks you’re talking about. For anyone reading this… make sure your builders include rebar in your foundations. This goes for driveways, too, although it doesn’t have to be rebar in this case… a simple wire mesh or wire fence laid in the concrete (especially if you’re DYIing it) is probably enough. There is also a fiber that can be added to decrease the likelihood of cracks in driveways, etc. but that’s more for if you’re paying someone to do it. I don’t know that you can buy that kind of concrete unless you’re dealing directly with a seller with the mixer trucks and stuff.

You can also increase the thickness of the concrete. This adds significant cost, but a 9 inch thick driveway would be better than a 6 inch thick driveway. There is a diminishing return here though. Once you get to a certain point, the additional cost is not worth the additional “protection.”

For a foundation, especially, make sure they dig deeply enough to get good ground underneath the concrete. This is one thing I had to be careful of when we built our home. We have horrible dirt. I know it sounds funny, but the kind of dirt we have in this area is really bad for settling. It simply compresses too easily so the weight of a house is going to cause it to settle quickly. I had to make sure that the contractor building my foundation dug deeply enough to get past more of the bad stuff before putting in gravel and pouring concrete. I was fortunate in that the contractor was already doing this which made me feel good about using him for some other projects I had associated with the house.

Finally, do anything you can to ensure proper drainage. Water will erode soil even under your home or driveway or cause the soil to settle.

One thing I learned when I joined my current company is that there are hundreds of “recipes” for cement and that many more “recipes” for concrete. (Cement is essentially the “binder” that holds everything together in concrete.) I don’t know that anyone realized exactly how the Romans did it, but I do know that the manufacturers have MANY “levers” they can pull in order to achieve varying strengths and curing times. They are also constantly testing and experimenting with different additives and other cementitious (It’s a real word… honestly) materials in an effort to lower costs without sacrificing strength, etc.

It was more interesting than I thought it would be, honestly.

09JAN2023 – I’m a Man Who Likes Talking to a Man Who Likes to Talk

07APR2020 – Quote of the Day

… Well, sir, here’s to plain speaking and clear understanding. … You’re a close-mouthed man?”

Spade shook his head. “I like to talk.”

“Better and better!” the fat man exclaimed. “I distrust a close-mouthed man. He generally picks the wrong time to talk and says the wrong things. Talking’s something you can’t do judiciously unless you keep in practice.”  …

Now, sir, we’ll talk if you like. I’ll tell you right out – I’m a man who likes talking to a man who likes to talk.

(Dashiell Hammett (The Maltese Falcon))

One of the reasons I started this website was because I couldn’t find an on-line community that thought like I did.  That went for my particular personal interests like photography and science fiction.  But also, the general interest, news and political sites that I could find.  So, in addition to the sense that freedom of speech had been curtailed by the powers that be that ran the internet I also felt isolated from people like me.

From time to time, I’d run into someone who talked the way I did.  And that was fun.  But what I noticed was that these people tended to be either run off the sites that I frequented, or forced to watch what they said or outright banned.  And I got that same treatment too.

Now that I ‘ve become an old hand at this right-wing existence I begin to see what will and won’t happen anytime soon.  What won’t happen for the foreseeable future is the end of leftist domination of the media and most of the on-line infrastructure.  Elon Musk may have opened up the door a crack to our side on Twitter but Google, Microsoft, Apple, Meta, PayPal, etc. have the rest of the doors slammed shut and they can crush anyone they want as ruthlessly as can be imagined.  I’ve gotten all of that through my thick skull pretty thoroughly.  So, I’m not conquering the internet anytime soon.

But I do get exposure when maddmedic or whatfinger or duckduckgo decides to link to one of my articles.  And that’s fun because new people show up and some of them stick around.  And why that’s fun is because talking to people on the site has become my favorite part of the whole thing.  Talking to folks I’ve known for years and folks who just showed up is fascinating.  People sometimes talk about the anonymity of the internet being a bad thing.  And I guess if a hopeless troll shows up and tortures you, I could see how being anonymous could give license to him to say some pretty awful things.  But anonymity also allows people to be honest about what they say too.  And that’s something that we can’t say in real life much anymore.  And I think sometimes it’s healthy to say what you really think.  Even if it’s an unhappy truth being expressed.

So, for instance, I’ve lately been of the opinion that the Dissident Right is correct when they say we can’t vote our way out of the mess we’re in.  And that’s a discouraging fact.  And it removes a lot of what I typically write about.  After all, what exactly is there to say about 2024 if it’s highly unlikely that the Republicans will win the White House or the Senate.  Just repeating over and over again that all hope is lost is pretty obnoxious and boring.

But what I find is that there’s still plenty to talk about with people on our side of the fence.  Our local lives are real and much less constrained than what the Left has done to national politics.  There are still Red States that are trying to help their people and leaders that may begin to make a difference in our lives.

And there’s contact with people who think and talk the way I do.  And I think that’s the most important benefit of a site like this.  It sponsors camaraderie and provides enjoyment for me and possibly others who otherwise wouldn’t have a place to listen and talk about things they think are important.

And so, I’ll take this occasion to once again encourage anyone out there who has something to say to comment or even provide a post for the site.  People like to read opinions and they also like to state their opinions and I want to encourage that.  So, by all means jump in.  The more the merrier.  I’d love to hear from regulars and lurkers and new readers too.  And not just on politics there’s plenty of latitude for things to talk about out there.  In the immortal words of Caspar Gutman “I’m a man who likes talking to a man who likes to talk.”

Guest Contributor – Ed Brault – 09JAN2023 – On Settling Old Scores

(This was in response for demanding reparations for the cultural appropriation of my ancestors superior concrete recipe – photog)

As a descendant of Slavs, I demand a reparation from your reparations! My ancestors were seized and transported to Rome as slave labor and forced to mix their superior concrete. (I wonder if the formula also included human blood.) I will take my payment in gold aureae, 1000 per captured ancestor and descendants to the Fall of the Empire. If coin is not available, I will accept (unrolls scroll) bullion, jewelry, a reserved parking space, my own Winnebago, a chance to direct, (OOPS, wrong scroll), vineyards, pastureland, and 5000 sheep, and a Rudis, the wooden Sword of Freedom.

 

 

Guest Contributor – War Pig – 19DEC2022 – Natural Rights

War Pig

It’s true, we have no natural rights. A right cannot be taken from you. We have given ourselves rights under our Constitution but they are constructs of human minds. People say you have a right to life. Try walking through South Chicago almost any balmy night, or else try living in Kiev under Russian missile attacks targeting hospitals and civilian housing areas. I am sure the so-called grizzly man protested to the bear as it was attacking and eating him.

Your right to liberty can be curtailed by government quite easily. Think of anything you would call a right and somewhere on this earth it is being violated by governments, gangs, individuals and the cosmos itself if an asteroid lands on your county. Tornados and hurricanes, earthquakes and wildfires will not listen to your protests. Other humans have proven to be just as indifferent. The holocaust, the Rwandan genocides, what Russia is doing in Ukraine, what the British did when they invented the concentration camp, slavery of all sorts for millennia.

No, the only “rights” we possess is what we as individuals or groups can defend. Which is why our Second Amendment is so important. It protects all the other rights we have claimed for ourselves here in the USA. It protects them from strangers, gangs, other groups and governments; including our own.

Guest Contributor – War Pig – 17DEC2022 – Exotic Alloys

My dad worked for North American Aviaton/ Rockwell/rRocketdyne in the 50s and 60s. He worked on the X15, A5, XB70 and the space program until it went kablooey after Appllo. He also worked on ICBMs. They had some exotic alloys, naturally, as well as some surprising non metal shields, nose cones and the like. ICBM warheads have to endure extreme temperatures and pressures on reentry

Rocketdyne made all the head men and their wives simple, shiny alloy rings. The metal, whatever it was, had to be sized at the plant. Only a diamond can cut it and darned slowly at that. Engraving their names on the ring took a week per ring and costs one diamond bit per ring. Mom and Dad both were buried with them

Dad once said it was a tungsten-carballoy-titanium-beryllium alloy with some other exotic metals added in. It had been through a launch, orbit and reentry cycle which really toughened it. Before launch it had been cryo-treated, too. I wish I still had them but they were buried with my parents. They never had a scratch and looked like polished silver or stainless steel. They were also amazingly light.

Guest Contributor – NostraDumbass – 18NOV2022 – What If the Deep State Wins

Question:

Chemist:

I’m curious: How are you prepared for the swamp to win?

If the swamp wins our savings are worthless, the boarder is no more, voting is the same here as in North Korea, energy costs will skyrocket, medical care will be rationed, lawlessness rules the land.

Other than building a bunker, how do you prepare for that?

 

NostraDumbass:

You prepare for the results.  In this case the DC swamp is similar in nearly all aspects to fascism.

The swamp has disdain for the recognition of human rights.  Because the swamp’s fear of enemies, the need for its own security is primary, so the regime will persuade that human rights can be ignored in certain situations because of this need.  Most of the sheep will look the other way, or even approve of torture, executions, assassinations and long incarcerations of political dissidents.  Change your party registration to Democrat as a safety measure as there is no longer a “real” vote anyway.

The swamp will then begin identifying the enemies of the America that they rule.  They will attempt to rally a patriotic frenzy over a need to eliminate the common foe: MAGA in this case.  Limit discussions with those around you to those you trust, show yourself as a blank screen to all others. Do not proselytize.  The result of Martyrdom is still death.  Guerrilla games are played in the shadows and are more effective.

The swamp already controls mass media, either by government regulation or the sympathetic media spokesman.  Censorship will begin in earnest, even more so than today.  Find other safe outlets for voice, start with secure VPN on the internet, use search engines that do not track.  Find the dark web, much useful information to be found there.  Don’t go to the hedonistic or hack sites, as more than likely these sites will either attempt to defraud or gain leverage over you.

The Swamp is obsessed with its own security.  How many times was it said that MAGA is a threat to “our democracy”? The game plan is obvious: The Swamp is “democracy” and MAGA is the “threat.”  If the DC Swamp wins, MAGA is going down.  The so-called “Patriot Act” allows the government in charge of DC to monitor every aspect of the American citizen, from geolocation on your phone, your “smart” car, even the little light that indicates one of your tires is low comes from a device inside the rim of the tire that emits a signal.  Drive and maintain a pre-smart car, leave your phone at home when travelling locally.  Leave as little in the open as possible.

Corporate power is protected by the swamp. The industrial and business aristocracy of the fascist swamp often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.  Think WEF and G20.  Do not bend to foreign control of your government.

The swamp is rife with rampant cronyism and corruption.  The swamp regime is governed by groups of friends and associations who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.  I see this as where the swamp finally overplays its hand. A destitute population (armed at that) either goes full revolution or anarchy, either way the writing will be on the wall.

This is where the tide changes, this is what will lead to the new America.

“Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose”.

So yes, I am prepared if in fact the DC swamp is victorious. I am also prepared if we are able to overcome the swamp in the next election only in a far different direction than what I stated above.

Guest Contributor – NostraDumbass – 17NOV2022 – On Trump

“What do you think? Agree or disagree? Some other point to make?”

First, an observation of “Trump Tactics” …

It seems that Trump had to learn the ropes of the New York business climate in order to make any headway for his business. What he learned allowed him to move his company forward. It seems that for the most part, these tactics include using the pre-existing NY power structure to obtain results that he needed to survive and prosper. Being a “democrat” was a requirement. Donations to the right candidate at the

right time was also necessary. In doing so, Trump built a knowledge base of what worked, whether the actions were moral or not.

 

“What do you think?”

Once elected, I think that Trump was over-whelmed with the power structures built into the DC swamp. While his focus was on improving what he knew to be wrong with the way America was heading, he was less focused on the DC swamp as it began machinations that would protect itself from anything Trump could do to lessen its power. Make no mistake, the majority of elected congress at the time was “Republican”, but the real majority was the DC swamp. Trump kept his foot on the pedal to set America on the right path, but did not have a reliable team to protect him from the what the swamp was able to array. Trump was in charge, but his team consisted of who he was left to default to after the swamp removed the team members that he could rely on. From that point on, he had a two-front battle. I was left impressed by his ability to wage offensive tactics and still maintain his popularity with the American voters. He also produced three conservative supreme court justices, in spite of the DC swamp. I think at this point, even Trump knew that despite his popularity and the most weak candidate the DC swamp could muster against him for the re-election campaign, he would need to rely on individual states to protect the sanctity of the vote. When that did not happen, he relied on the individual citizen to rally against the fraud. DC swamp was not only prepared for this, but also had plans to attack Trump yet again. It would be a mistake to believe that Trump did not learn from this.

 

“Agree or Disagree?”

I do agree that Trump has the advantage to become the nominee for the Republican party. I also believe that the media is desperate to drive a wedge between Trump and any other MAGA popular republicans. This is probably to keep the vice-presidential nominee someone other than a one of these. Not that the media won’t turn on those same MAGA republicans in a New York minute. While Trump is assembling what he knows he will need during this next election, he is also more secretive than ever. I think this is defensive. The swamp won’t be blindsided, but what they can’t know is what Trump is preparing, only what he allows them to know. I think this makes it exciting.

 

“Some other point to make?”

I do not think there are many Americans that believe that the results of the last round of mid-terms was not stolen. The fact that the DC swamp critters on the red team are not raising any issues regarding this, just points out who is not for the US citizen. The border is wide open, the treasury is printing money, inflating away the savings Americans had been able to make. Now that they are running short of options, they will attempt to control everyone’s retirement accounts. I guess my point to make is that no matter what happens, one side is going to emerge victorious, either the DC swamp or the individual US citizen. I am prepared for either.

Guest Contributor – Chemist – 02NOV2022 – Affirmative Action

In 2003, Sandra Day O’Conner (Herself, a beneficiary of affirmative action) cast the deciding vote in Grutter vs Bollinger and cemented racial discrimination as the law of the land.

In her ruling, she said “We expect that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary.”

That is a mind-blowing statement coming from a Supreme Court Justice. To paraphrase: “This thing is constitutional now but won’t be in the future.” Talk about your living documents! Are there any other rights that fade in and out like that?

 

Now there is another case before the SCOTUS regarding AA.

Some of the back and forth looks really interesting:

Justice Thomas asked Ryan Park to describe the actual benefit of a diverse classroom.

Park responded that in studies involving stock trading results, “racially diverse groups of people … perform at a higher level.”

“The mechanism there is that it reduces groupthink and that people have longer and more sustained disagreement, and that leads to a more efficient outcome,” Park said.

Thomas responded, “I guess I don’t put much stock in that because I’ve heard similar arguments in favor of segregation, too.”

Boom!

And then there was this exchange between Waxman and Roberts: (Waxman is the lawyer defending Harvard’s racial discrimination policies.)

  1. WAXMAN: No, I know. I’m –I’m attempting to answer your question.

There is no doubt that for –as the testimony showed, that for applicants who are essentially so strong on multiple dimensions, so extraordinarily strong on multiple dimensions that they are sort of on the bubble, that they might –they have a real candidate for admission, African American –being African American or being Hispanic or in some instances being Asian American can provide one of many, many tips that will put you in.

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: Well, people say that, yes, but you will have to concede, if it provides one of many, that in some cases it will be determinative.

  1. WAXMAN: I do. I do concede that.

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: Okay. So we’re talking about race as a determining factor in admission to Harvard.

Kaboom!

 

Waxman tried to recover and said that “Race, for some highly qualified applicants can be the determinative factor, just as being, you know, an oboe player in a year in which the Harvard-Radcliffe orchestra needs an oboe player will be the tip,”

“We did not fight a Civil War about oboe players,” Roberts replied. “We did fight a Civil War to eliminate racial discrimination, and that’s why it’s a matter of considerable concern.”

 Atomic Boom!

 

It would seem that the 25 years Justice O’Conner was speaking of was not until society matured past the need for affirmative action (That will never happen as long as one group benefits at the expense of another.) but that it would take 25 years before we got a conservative majority on the Supreme Court.

It looks like it will be 19 years and not Sandy’s full 25.

Trump can mean tweet all he wants in return for this Supreme Court.