DFW Metroplex Foundation Maintenance Tool

If “doming” (fn) is a serious problem during dry seasons for anybody who’s built on Las Colinas Tufa… and if clay soils all over Texas are an issue… why not just insert a cheap plastic barrier into the soil when the concrete’s being poured?  It’ll move around some as the soil does, but it would keep the moisture under said foundation much more consistent, and the total cost to the builder would probably be less than a hundred dollars.

Even after the fact, you could do this with several days of serious soaker-hosing, combined with a good drenching, and do this with nothing cobbled together from Home Depot or Lowe’s.

This seems like a no-brainer to me.  Is it, or am I stuck on stupid and missing something important?

(fn)– defined to me by my buddy Phelonius as what happens when moisture collects in the soil under center of the foundation while the ground all around the edges are drying, thus producing serious foundation stresses as half of it expands and pushes up on the concrete, and the other half contracts, thus “pulling” it down.

The Labor Day Whining Has Begun

 Which is all that this WaPo “would you like some cheese with that” seems to boil down to.

Now, before somebody accuses me of acting like a Republican (ack-put), don’t get me wrong.  There are definitely bad things going on in the corporate world, and even the WSJ is all over the CEO-vs-RandomSchmoe pay divides because of the outright chicanery involved.  For instance, when a corporation claims that it can’t fund its pension program, and it turns out that this is because it’s quadrupled its its CEO pensions, folks who’ve put in twenty-five years have a legitimate reason to be somewhere between severely pissed and borderline postal.

But this isn’t quite that critter.  No, this odd little lament devolves fast and furious into self-assuring mantras that whitewash the 20th century into a recognizable boomer vision:

In ways more difficult to quantify, the mass prosperity fostered a generosity of spirit: The civil rights revolution and the Marshall Plan both emanated from an America in which most people were imbued with a sense of economic security.

Nobody actually did anything.  People were imbued with comfort, and specific policies simply emanated from the resulting hazy goodness.  Yeah, pass that joint, man, the history final’s not ’til Monday.

Clearly, the war of American employers on unions, which began around that time, is also substantially responsible for the decoupling of increased corporate revenue from employees’ paychecks.

Learn some history, dude, you’ll need it on Monday.  The old labor organizers wed themselves to the antagonistic model from the very beginning.  That’s why Toyota’s been kicking GM’s ass — Toyota’s flavor of union, a cooperative labor model, simply works better.

 For the bottom 90 percent of the American workforce, work just doesn’t pay, or provide security, as it used to.

isitcanbe.jpgThese kind of kvetchings make me wonder if the folks writing laments like this are just scared of the future and need reassuring as all the old mantras start to look threadbare.  Now that money’s going to corporate bosses rather than being hauled out of union dues to labor bosses.  There are always bosses.  It’s still bosses.  That’s how the world works, and until we’re off this rock, and invent the new, shiny, arrogant and heartless Space Bosses, that’s the way it’s gonna be.

And besides, we’re much closer to having the rocket ships now.

Dude, I’m sorry that your world has changed.  But I’m living in it now, so chill out:  that world you’re so fond of, 1947-1973, has been gone for over thirty years.  If you’re going to wallow in cheap nostalgia, just crank up the Lawrence Welk and be done with it.

All is not well in Germany

How’d you like to score a good job as an engineer or a doctor, or, hell, a mid-to-high-level building manager, and suddenly start paying 42% income tax?  How’d you like to be a working schmoe making minimum, and have to pay 19% sales tax?

Yeah. I wouldn’t, either, and the Germans are voting with their feet.

With Merkel’s government effectively one in name only, and the utter paralysis of Grand Coalitions in a parliamentary system, it’s not getting better any time soon.  Germany’s at the “eggs gotta get broke” stage, and the problem with parliamentary democracy is that unless you’ve got a Koizumi who can stare down his own party while persuading the electorate… no eggs are going get broken.

Katrina saved 50k lives?

Well, that’s counter-intuitive. (Not to mention, pleasantly non-partisan)

But, the photographic essay’s evidence sure looks damning from here.

Not that the Feds have never lied about anything in the past, nosirreeBob. Not Tonkin, not Waco, and surely not anything that would involve the Corps of Engineers….

Israel set to nearly double military expenditures

Stung by rampant criticism, Olmert’s acting fast in order to try to stay in office.

Some of the reading between the lines here… not that this will be any big surprise:

Israel to:

  1. Supply and train their reserves
  2. Rebuild their banged-up Merkavas
  3. Build T-HEL (!!!)

That’s right:  T-HEL.  This has been talked about here and there, but this would seem to suggest it’s official:

 Officials said the money would also launch major projects, including an anti-rocket defense system and electronic MBT protection system. They said the funding would also renew reservist training, suspended for much of the last three years.

Israel backed off the laser defense system a little bit ago because of the costs, but if this is approved and said money is getting spent within the next two years, Israel would effectively become immune to Hezbollah’s randomish rocket barrages.  IDF will effectively have spent its way to victory by utterly redefining the battlefield.

Meaning that Hezbollah loses its raison d’etre unless and until they can forcefully sustain an invasion.  At which point, why bother funding them except as a devalued lever in Lebanese politics?

War by Self-Criticism, War by Industry, War by Problem-Solving.  Score one for Victor Davis Hanson.

Tim Worstall takes it to the Economic Policy Institute

Here’s the link.

Here’s the spiffy quick-quote:

 In the USA the poor get 39% of the US median income and in Finland (and Sweden) the poor get 38% of the US median income. It’s not worth quibbling over 1% so let’s take it as read that the poor in America have exactly the same standard of living as the poor in Finland (and Sweden). Which is really a rather revealing number don’t you think? All those punitive tax rates, all that redistribution, that blessed egalitarianism, the flatter distribution of income, leads to a change in the living standards of the poor of precisely … nothing.

My time is broken up with training-prep and class-prep today, so blogging’s going to be light.  As I start teaching while working, you’ll see less blogging until I’m well into my routine.  So more “pointer links” for the short-term.

Freedom and the Maidan

Robert Mayer walks the Tent Camps of the Orange Revolution.

“Crimes against Inhumanity.”

Oh, what to say. I don’t know if this is twisted, wrong, or twisted and wrong.

But I do know it’s wrong.  This is an international incident of unprecedented scope, and must be stopped, now!

German Commies for Bush!

That’s right.  German commies who unconditionally support both Bush and Israel. 

To paraphrase sage commenter #1 from over on Rantburg(HT), I think my brain just exploded.

Custom Babies!

And hope for the childless.  Cooool….

So if I said I’d like to beat a raccoon to death with a shovel…

these dorks in Washington State would probably call me an evil, evil man.

Whether or not they’ve got a couple of bad apples literally thrill-killing on their cat population.

Is it just me, or are some humans too civilised to survive?

North Koreans about to starve again

According to Strategy Page, the Norks are apparently prepared to sacrifice a quarter of their population to famine, if that’s what it takes to keep their leaders in power:

That’s because food aid has declined because of recent North Korean missile firings, and North Korean insistence that it does not need as much food aid as in the past. The shortfall could be as high as 1.5 million tons. One ton will keep four people alive for a year.

Let’s do the math.  Norks:  23 million.

  • 1 ton = four people live for a year.
  • 1.5Mton = 6 million people live for a year.
  • 6/23 = Horrific but unfortunately typical Communist mass-murder.

Yes, mass murder.  The North Korean leadership could get its people fed if they wanted to.  They’d rather toss missiles around.  Now, the obvious caveats are:  food aid could increase over the course of the winter or so.  In which case you get… what?  We’re not measuring over the course of a year… we’re measuring in steady accruals of misery and death.

  • 1 ton = sixteen people live for three months.
  • 1.5Mton = twenty-four million people live for three months.
  • 24/23 = Guaranteed Famine.
  • What Dunnigan and company are trying to tell us, in the kind of cold, disinfected words that actually let people like my wife sleep at night, is that North Korea has a food aid shortfall so large that any disruption of other incoming aid results in the entire nation beginning to starve to death on the spot.  And these are the numbers the North Koreans themselves said they needed not long ago.

    Now, let’s put this into a more realistic perspective for a second, with three little words: 

    Winter is coming.

    Perpetual Adolescence on Parade

    It’s not like I need much of an excuse to launch into a mildly-irrational tirade about the Baby Boomers and their moronically simplistic, self-serving, solipsistic disaster of a…. oh, yeah, I’m being redundant.  Sorry, I meant to say:  “Baby Boomers.” 

    Oh.  You’ve never heard me on this subject?  You’re curious as to what I have against this generation?  Really?  Got five hours and a Haz-Mat suit?

    But even I must kowtow and abase myself, for Lileks has now set The Gold Standard of Baby-Boomer Thrashing.

     Somehow they find the fact that their Old Man lied about Santa Claus – lied, man, stood there and lied with a big old smile on his big old face, dig it – is a piercing insight to the machinations of adulthood.

    And that’s just a toss-off line.  I won’t spoil the rest.  I might frame it, though.

    If you too want to throw up every time you hear somebody take mindless slogans like “don’t trust anybody over 30,” “Bake sales to build bombers,” or “Flower Power” seriously… you might just want to click that link.

    But put your coffee down first.  Just sayin’.

    Dress mocassins?

    I’m starting to seriously question why I spend forty or fifty dollars on a pair of shoes, when it’s got a high heel that gradually hurts my knees and my lower back.  Wearing heels, you then have to lean backwards to right your head… take a look around you, and you’ll notice that almost everybody compresses their lower back and leans slightly backwards.  Almost nobody in our society actually stands up straight.

    My foot is wide across the arch and balls (EEE) and narrow at the heel, so they never fit right.  Lord knows my folks tried, but I was thirty years old before I found a pair of shoes that actually fit, rather than smashing my little toe while leaving my heel loose.  I still remember taking off my shoes for the mile-and-a-half walk home from work in high-school, because my shoes were hurting my toes to the point of tears.  Of course I double-knotted my sneakers… my heels would slide like the Jamaican Bobsled Team if I didn’t keep those laces cinched down like saddlebags.  Worse for hot climates like I live in, the materials they’re made from never breathe, so your feet are always blazingly hot.  Then you have to wear socks, which means that you get cotton gunk in your toes, leading to all kinds of toe-cheesy toenail issues.  Eww.

    So I’m cannabalizing a mocassin pattern, and I’m going to see if I can make something out of better leather that can almost pass as a regular shoe, or close enough to it that nobody bothers to notice.

    In other words, a dress moc.  Preferably made out of something that breathes, doesn’t screw up my posture, and, amazingly enough, actually fits for once.

    Cooling off in North Texas

    Should only get to 105 today. 

    snark snark snark

    There is steady, albeit slow wind, however, so if you can stay in the shade and have made up a nice batch of iced tea or beer, it should be quite pleasant.

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