May 6th, 2015

#4704: I'd bet money they don't have FOID cards.

ISIS says they're going to shoot up several states in the US. Illinois is one of the states they named in their threat.

There's reason to believe that it's not a real threat, but if it is real--well, I don't expect that the islamic thugs are going to dot the I's and cross the T's to get their firearms. Meanwhile, in places like Illinois the law-abiding--who are not planning robbery, murder, or other mayhem--have to get government's permission to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

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Last night was a Xanax night, for the first time in quite a while. I was just too wound up--still--from the interview; it's a great opportunity and I'm really anxious about it. At bedtime I took half a tablet of Vitamin X, and still had trouble getting to sleep. Slept soundly once I was, though, and almost slept through the alarm when Mrs. Fungus had to get up; and after she left I was not awake for long.

Woke up at 10:30, three hours later, with a nascent headache. I've got a lot to do today and don't have time to mess around, but the Xanax hangover has me feeling detached from reality. That dopey feeling is what I hate the most about taking that stuff, because I know I'm not really capable of thinking clearly.

Today's nice and sunny, so cutting the grass should be on the agenda...except I ran out of gas last time, and payday's not until Friday. *sigh* The mower won't run on clean thoughts and righteous living, so that will have to wait. Argh etc.

Well, it's not like I'm lacking things which need personal attention, anyway.

#4705: Foot binding

Michael Flynn quotes some socialist idiot who says abolishing families is the way to social justice.

In our culture we look with horror upon the mutiliation of girls done by other cultures--foot binding, for example, or genital mutiliation--and we denounce these practices as barbaric and unnecessary.

The people who practiced these things, though, would argue that their way is necessary and good, for this and that and the other reason, and they would be just as sincere as this intellectualist twit is in his quest for "fairness" which is, quite frankly, impossible.

One of the largest obstacles to total dominance of the State over the people is family. Religion is the other, but of the two family is the most intractable because it's so firmly rooted in instinct. You can convince people to abandon religion, but making parents (as a class) not care about their children is damned near impossible. (Individuals, sure. Some people won't give a rat. Others will die rather than let you take their kids away. There is no way to tell in advance who is who.)

The only way, therefore, to abolish the family would be at the point of a gun. This is in perfect alignment with every other socialist utopian ideal, of course, because nothing they advocate is congruent with human natur and sooner or later it always comes down to naked government force and "maintenance of terror". (As long as the people are afraid of what the government will do to them, they can be kept in line.)

The only way to prevent family ties is to take babies away from their mothers and give them to others to raise. Not to put too fine a point on it, but this rather contravenes the entire theory behind abortion rights ("keep your laws off my body!") because women then become brood sows working for the good of the State rather than making their own choices about how and when to start a family. Not to put too fine a point on it, but this can also rather naturally lead to quotas and forced insemination and a whole host of other horrors that are (or ought to be) anathema to anyone who cares about freedom. (And if the State decides birth rates are too low? Say goodbye to "abortion rights" and legal contraceptives. Go ahead and protest, ladies; you can still be walking baby incubators in the gulag. The men won't fare as well.)

Once you've realized your grand ambition and abolished blood ties, then what? You can't let just anyone raise kids because they might not have the right politics. You need to ensure that only politically reliable people are raising the children, else you're right back with "unfairness" and some children are doing better than others. You end up with a limited pool of parents who are qualified (by your standards) to raise children to the State's specification, and so these people are laden with too many children and the quality of their learning suffers.

But that's okay; you don't really mind this because 95% of the population are proles, mindless drones who work in the factories and farms. If they're ignorant and don't know how to think they're that much easier to control. And of course the system is designed so that the "right" 5%--children of Party leaders, for example--rise to the top and get all the perks and become part of the ruling class. (Who--it must be said--are allowed to raise their own children because of course they're politically reliable!)

...unfairness, in other words, and unequality.

It doesn't take a genius to know how all this works out, because this is what happens every time socialism gets its grimy mitts into things. It always ends with government control and a select few--those in charge--getting vastly better results than nearly everyone else.

I started this with a discussion of foot binding because someday historians are going to look back at crap like this and say, What the hell drugs were these people taking that made them think stupid shit like this made sense?

#4706: It's the wheels! (jig jig jig) It's NOT the wheels!

So I rotated the Jeep's tires (120?58 mi) because it's been about a year since I got them and I wanted to eliminate the wheels as the cause of the shimmy.

Theory: I recall that the first time I rotated the Jeep's tires--and this is borne out by what it says in the maintenance log--I got a horrible shimmy at speed. I de-rotated them and it went away, but I did rotate the tires a couple thousand miles before I got the new ones on--same theory, now that I think of it. But WTF, it's been a year, so they're due for rotation anyway, right?

So I take a test drive, and the first couple of times I hit 55 MPH there's absolutely no shimmy whatsoever. "It's the wheels, and it's fixed!" I thought hopefully.

This was on back roads between farms that are not the smoothest; once I get on the highway and haul 'er up to 55, though, JIG JIG JIG, right at 55 MPH indicated. If you did a plot of the intensity of the vibration, I'd bet it would make a very nice bell curve with peak amplitude at 55, and rapidly falling off to zero after 5 MPH in either direction: 50 MPH, none, 60 MPH, none. Yeah, I guess that was too much to hope for. *sigh*

Either A) the former rear pair of tires has exactly the same resonant vibration as the former fronts do, or B) it's not the wheels or tires. Guess which I suspect it is.

Having checked the ball joints, the tie rods, and the track bar, I'm now down to two suspects: the control arm bushings and the wheel bearings.

The control arm bushings themselves are not very expensive--$50 a side--but they are a royal bitch and a half to replace, and once done the front end must be aligned. Entire control arm assemblies can be had for about $100 per side, but again once they're replaced it means an alignment, which is about $80.

This model year Cherokee uses cartridge bearings, which are about $90 a side. No alignment or special tools needed (except maybe for removing the axle nut) but it's two hours for me to get one side apart to check the damned things. On the plus side once the cartridge is out I can also check the axle bearing and the u-joint to see if that's the problem. (If they were open bearings that would be an easy-peasy and cheap fix and I would have repacked the bearings by now and replaced any that were gronchy.)

Checking the bearings is a project for next week, though.

#4707: Age of Ultron is worth seeing.

Mrs. Fungus and I hit the cinema this evening to see Avengers: Age of Ultron, and it's a very, very entertaining movie. Mrs. Fungus and I held hands for most of the movie so it was pretty obvious to me when she was feeling the suspense, and there were a lot of very good moments in it. I liked it, she liked it, and we're probably going to see it again. Yeah.

Besides that, there are a few other movies that look like they'll be worthwhile: Fantastic Four, the latest Terminator outing, and Tomorrowland.

There wasn't very much last year that was worth seeing, but it looks as if that's going to be different this year.

* * *

That was our evening. She got home, then we hied ourselves off to see the movie. We'll be going to bed soon since we both have to be up early tomorrow. Well, that's life when you're an average middle-class workin' stiff!

#4708: This isn't even remotely surprising.

Will County, Illinois, is where the bunker is. And what does it say?
Will County is extremely bad for income mobility for children in poor families. It is among the worst counties in the U.S.

Location matters – enormously. If you’re poor and live in the Chicago area, it’s better to be in DuPage County than in Cook County or Will County. Not only that, the younger you are when you move to DuPage, the better you will do on average. Children who move at earlier ages are less likely to become single parents, more likely to go to college and more likely to earn more.

Every year a poor child spends in DuPage County adds about $200 to his or her annual household income at age 26, compared with a childhood spent in the average American county. Over the course of a full childhood, which is up to age 20 for the purposes of this analysis, the difference adds up to about $3,900, or 15 percent, more in average income as a young adult.
In fact, in order to get away from the "extremely bad" monicker you need to come from a family that earns in the top 25%, and at that it's still "very bad". Now, the children of the 1%, for them it's about the same.

In Illinois, the rich don't get richer, but the poor sure get poorer.

If you need the terms defined, try this:
For a family with a parent in his or her 40s, the 25th percentile corresponds to an annual income of about $30,000; the 50th percentile to about $60,000; the 75th percentile to about $100,000; and the top 1 percent to more than $500,000. Estimates are based on children born between 1980 and 1986, and their neighborhoods in the 1980s and 1990s. Median rent is for 2000, in 2012 dollars. At the 25th percentile, the margin of error for each of the county estimates is around $1,100.
So if you earn $500,000 per year, you're in the top 1%--and sad to say that makes you "rich" no matter what you happen to think of it.

It's a bucketload of dicks, but that's what Democrat rule of Illinois has gotten us.

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We're one step closer to asteroid mining! Go, human race!