The Gross National Debt

Sunday, May 21, 2017

A painful truth cures ignorance

Ignorance is a condition which can be cured. Often, it is not cured.

In the middle of a recent post here, I discovered that I am/was ignorant on a certain topic. I need to know about this topic. So, I invite you to join me on this voyage of education, learning and curing ignorance.


How much do you actually know, factual knowledge, about the Confederate States of America? Ever read the CSA Constitution?

Ah. Now we're getting somewhere.

Folks who fly the Stars & Bars like to talk about history and heritage, not hate. They say the flag is a symbol of an aborted attempt to throw off a tyrannical federal government and return state's rights. They point to a whole lot of other things they believe about the Confederacy.

Are they right?


Let's see. This time you must click a link to get needed info. I'm not reprinting the entire CSA constitution here.


If you read the CSA constitution, you saw a lot of it is ripped off from the US Constitution. The Bill of Rights are not amendments, but are stuck right in the original document. Section 9 paragraphs 12-18 are particularly important to me.

Interesting to note at least to me, No. 13 "A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

This one has several grammatical changes from the Second Amendment. I believe the meaning is exactly the same. More particularly, both sections draw a clear distinction between a standing military force and private citizens owning guns. Both constitutions discuss a standing military.


Yeah. What about that question? Slaves.

I didn't know I was a slave until I found out I couldn't do the things I wanted. Frederick Douglass 

The CSA constitution has the word "slave" 10 times.

The US Constitution has the word "slave" twice. Slavery is referenced another place as "three fifths of all other Persons."

Important note: Slave does not mean a person of recent African descent. Or does it?

For an expanded view, as the Slate article is pretty narrow -


Jim Cullough does the yeoman's work for all of us. He compares the CSA and the US constitutions side-by-side and offers commentary. Don't take his word (commentary) for it. You have both documents side by side. You decide.

The CSA constitution makes it pretty clear that slavery was an important part of the CSA. Or was it?

Section 9, 'graphs 1 & 2 specifically address this. Importing slaves is banned. However, 'graph 4 secures the right to own slaves. Other sections strengthen slave owners' rights.


The real question, the real issue here is was the War of Northern Aggression Civil War really over state's rights? A lot of people believe that.

Lemme jab you in the eye with this red hot poker.  The CSA constitution does not back this up.

A line-by-line reading, thanks to Mr. Cullough, proves it. The CSA constitution does cut some central government authority. However, it adds more power in other places. As Mr. Cullough notes in his summary:

Overall, the CSA constitution does not radically alter the federal system that was established by the United States constitution. It is therefore very debatable as to whether the CSA was a significantly more pro-"states' rights" country (as supporters claim) in any meaningful sense. At least three states rights are explicitly taken away — the freedom of states to grant voting rights to non-citizens, the freedom of states to trade freely with each other, and of course the freedom of states to outlaw slavery within their borders.

States only gain four minor rights under the Confederate system — the power to enter into treaties with other states to regulate waterways, the power to tax foreign and domestic ships that use their waterways, the power to impeach federally-appointed state officials, and the power to distribute "bills of credit." 

Yowza, Yowza, Yowza.


As much as I may not like it, the writing of the CSA Constitution makes it pretty clear that a very central reason for fighting the Civil War was to support slavery. It was not fought over state's rights. State's rights was the excuse given to support slavery.

The CSA constitution was the governing document for the hoped-for CSA and must be considered the blueprint for that failed nation. What other people did and said at that time takes second place to this document.

Whether or not I like what the CSA constitution says is irrelevant. What is relevant is the truth. Reality is under no obligation to conform itself to my expectations.

If the truth hurts, yer living wrong.

I shall henceforth try to live right so this truth cannot hurt me.

I can and will defend the ideals I wish the CSA stood for. I shall no longer defend the CSA because of what is made clear in the CSA constitution.

I am a Southerner. Proud of that. But I am no longer proud of the CSA and I will not defend that war anymore. I will not defend what that war was fought over.

That war was heinous. It was wrong. I am glad the South lost. Slavery is an abomination. We are all people. We all deserve respect. We all deserve fair treatment. We ALL need to look out for the children and raise them so they know people are people. Racists and racism have no place in my world.

No doubt, some people think I owe 'em an apology. They are right. I spoke from ignorance, which is no excuse. I am extremely sorry and have much regret for my previous support of the CSA and the Civil War. I was wrong. I am going to do better.

Some folks are gonna be all "I told you so." Yes, you gave me your opinion. Above, I give you facts. Your opinion may or may not change my mind. Facts that contradict what I believe will change my mind. Yes, I was wrong. But you never offered proof I was wrong. I found the proof.

It ain't over because it ain't settled

You might have heard about the geeollygist who wants to pull rock samples from the Grand Canyon, but got kicked to the curb.

Here ya go:


The Grand Canyon is an average of a mile deep and several miles across at the widest point. Current thinking (and current thinking will be VERY important in a moment) says the Colorado River did not do all it.

The GC is also a focal point of creationists and non-creationists. One side says it cannot be millions to billions of years old. The other side says it has to be that old.

Which is it? Damfino. I have problems remembering what I did last week. No one knows. Even SCIENCE! says we're not sure.


Andrew Snelling, a geeollygist, wants to collect a few rocks from the GC to examine them.

We are talking about a hole in the ground where you can hide mountains and have room left over. About 5.45 trillion cubic yards.

Some perspective. The average dump truck holds 10-14 cubic yards of dirt. An Olympic swimming pool holds 3,300 cubic yards of water. The average politician is several cubic yards of fertilizer. We could dump every politician in the planet into the Grand Canyon and have room left over. We'd also create the world's biggest hazardous waste dump.

Professor Snelling wants to collect some rocks for examination, about 2 backpack's worth. But even if he came out with a semi load, no one would notice.

Why does he want to collect and examine rocks? Because he does.

The science is never settled.


The Grand Canyon is a national park, overseen by the federal government. As such, it is public property. Visit any time you like. Hike around, Shoot the rapids. But don't take home any rocks.

You can request permission to take rocks out of Grand Canyon. Many people have done so. This is for research purposes. Professor Snelling filed an application to do so. His application did not specifically state why he wanted rocks, only that he wanted to study them.

The science is never settled.


The professor's application was rejected.

"Snelling sued park administrators and the Department of Interior, which administers the national parks program, because they would not grant him a permit to collect 50 to 60 fist-sized rocks."

The science is never settled.


The professor wants to study the rocks, presumably using the Scientific Method. There are two versions of the Scientific Method.

Mode 1: Study. Examine. State what you have found and say "this is based on the evidence we have right now." Repeat if needed. Other scientists look at your findings and talk about the results. Some try the same experiments. The science is never settled.

Mode 2: Ridicule. Insult. Denigrate. Ad hominem. Ignore. Destroy. Do not address the research, but do everything you can to bring ruin on the person presenting the research. "Being a scientist and a creationist is incredibly difficult. Believing that the world is merely thousands of years old, that humans magically appeared, and Darwinian evolution is a crock of shit is in direct conflict with almost every single scientific field out there." And so on.

Because the science is never settled. But a scientist's reputation can be shattered.


Snelling is a bona fide geeollygist. (See link on his name above). He's got the degrees. He's got the field time. He's got the published papers. He's got the background to make the rock request legitimate. But the science is never settled.

So, he wants to do research. He applied for permission to haul out some rocks.

The science is never settled.


While I can't tell you exactly why his app was rejected like Michael Jordan on defense dismissing bad layup, I can refer you to this comment from The Atlantic (link to the whole story above). "...all three overwhelmingly denounced the work as not scientifically valid, a criterion the park also uses to evaluate proposals. Snelling, who holds a Ph.D. in geology, did not disclose his Answers in Genesis affiliation, nor did he explicitly say he wanted to prove the Grand Canyon is young in his initial permit application, but the reviewers became aware of his reputation."

If these three other geeollygists rejected his app based on religious grounds, they engaged in the second form of the scientific method. Rather than attack the science, they went after the man.

Did they break the law too? Hard to say. It will be interesting to see what the courts find.

Regardless, the science is never settled.


In addition to non-settled science, there is the whole issue of the government mixing religion into policy.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The First Amendment says government cannot do something that establishes religion or prevents people from having a religion. The three reviewers agree, based on The Atlantic article, that Snelling has a bona fide religion, at least according to the US understanding of it.

As the GC is a national park, it is subject to federal law. Taking out rocks of the GC is subject to federal law. Federal law is subject to the First Amendment.

Snelling wants to take out rocks to study them under the first form of the scientific method. If his application was rejected because the three reviewers object to his creationist views, they have violated Snelling's First Amendment rights.

If they rejected his app because of SCIENCE! then they are ignoring the idea that the science is never settled.


If the three reviewers will present their reasoning to reject Snelling's application, I want to read it.

I'll bet you they said no because they think Snelling is an idiot, which is the second scientific method and also a violation of the US Constitution.

And, the science is never settled.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

About that $153K snake bite bill

You may have seen this photo online.

You have probably boggled at the pharmacy cost.

Here's the story behind this bill.

Here is the takeaway: "Todd Fassler was bitten earlier this month [2015], reportedly while trying to pose for a selfie with the snake."

Can you say, "Blindingly stupid moron who should be removed from the gene pool and we missed a great chance to do just that?" I knew you could.

Here's another.

And for those upset about the hospital bill here is the solution nobody wants:

1) Don't get bitten by a rattlesnake. (OK, most people actually DO want this).

2) If you do get bitten (as I was), do not go to a hospital to seek treatment (I did not go) if you do not have insurance (and I had no insurance).


From the CBS report, "Fassler's bill included a line item of $83,341.25 for 'pharmacy' to cover the antivenom, as reporteDan Haggerty of KGTV in San Diego posted on Twitter. According to the original report, Fassler used up the antivenom supply from two hospitals." NB: It is now spelled antivenom instead of antivenin. English is a living language and evolves.

A dose has a wholesale cost of up to $2,500 per vial. We do not know how many vials Mr. Fassler needed. We can guess. The CBS story says some patients need more than 50.

50 x $2500 = $125,000.

How much did he need? Damfino. A PopMech article (linked below) says the average person needs 20-25 vials.


Running a hospital is expensive.

When you go to the hospital, you are not actually paying for what you use. Confusing. I try to explain.

You are paying for availability.

You are paying for nurses, doctors, orderlies, administrators, janitors, clerical staff to be there to help you when you show up.

You are paying for reservoirs of oxygen tanks, all kinds of medications, hospital beds, linens, needles, intravenous lines, walls, paint, cleaning supplies, insurance and the list goes on.

That Tylenol pill that costs $8 that you say you can get for pennies per pill at the drugstore? You are not paying for the pill. You are paying for someone to manage the inventory. Make sure it is kept in the right place. Make sure it gets from the pharmacy to you. Make sure it is not expired. Make sure you are not actually allergic to any of the ingredients in it. Have someone monitor you while the drug is coursing its way through your system.

Expired medicines, 
that are tossed still have attached bills that must be paid. The hospital has to recoup that loss somewhere. For those on the Alt Left, the FDA requires expired meds to be tossed with little to no science to back that up. This is the more government you requested.

You are paying for the most advanced medical care on earth today to be at your beck and call. That's expensive.


Antivenom does not last forever, probably. and When it expires, the hospital either tosses it or hangs on to it and prays it works (as much as that offends the atheists out there). If it gets tossed, the hospital has lost that money. Has to make it up somehow. It charges more for the used doses. More about tossing expired antivenom - .

The US supply of coral snake antivenom officially expired in 2007. The FDA has extended the shelf life -with no research on how effective it actually is - through this year. Another extension will be granted, I betcha. Why? No one is making coral snake antivenom. Why? Because ain't no money in it. (And this is not the PopMec link you are looking for, it is still below.)

If this offends you, that no one will make more because there's no profit, keeping reading. The solution is close at hand for you on the left, right, middle, diagonal and inverted.

Here's a forum discussion on antivenom expiration dates.


About 2/3s of hospitals in the US are either non profit or run with taxpayer dollars, which amounts to nonprofit. Nonprofits are required to funnel any profit back into the system.

Further, hospitals are in the business of writing off uncollectible accounts. Here's a story about the hospital, in another county, that covers my county.

Further, an inability to keep up financially is closing hospitals.

My own community closed its hospital 25 years ago. When it closed the place went 7 days without a an overnight patient.

In case you don't wanna take my word for this, good. Find out for yourself.


Again, per the CBS report, "Part of the reason the bill is large for most snake bite victims is because there is only one [US] manufacturer and limited supply of the antivenom."

Supply & demand. For those of you on the alt left (if I have any alt left readers remaining) screaming that it is wrong to put a price on a human life, here is what you do. 

For those of you on the alt right who support all this, until you get snake bit and are slapped with a bill that is more than my house cost, here is what you do.

Start making antivenom and selling it. Period. Put up or shut up. There's apparently a huge market for the stuff and possibly a lot of money to be made. Go ye forth. Make it and sell it at cost. Save people.

Being the generous guy I am, here, I will help you get started -

For those of you who worry about what producing antivenom does to critters, Shut. Up. Use yourself as the laboratory to make antivenom. Yes. Bill Haast did it.

Please pay close attention to the massive costs associated with producing antivenom no matter the source. If I have any remaining alt left or alt right readers, please pay even closer attention to the 10 years it takes for the FDA to approve your product. You want more government. That is more government.

Don't like the costs associated with health care? Go to college, earn a degree in a health field, then volunteer. You can cut the costs.

Otherwise, please go back to your corner and sit weeping quietly. Those of us actually working our posteriors off to make this a better world do not have time to coddle SJWs.


Help this guy pay off this bill. Period. Even $5 will help. Do a little research. Find out where the hospital is. Call and send 'em $5 on his account.

I could. I won't. When I saw that he was posing with the snake, I lost all sympathy for him and have no regard for his hospital bill. I'm all about personal responsibility and accountability.


A canebreak rattler. Charles Bobo killed it and brought it to me. While standing on the veranda at Christian Union Church of God talking to Louie Perry, the snake flipped up and tagged me. I was envenomated cause my finger went numb. I was also extremely not concerned. No worries whatsoever. I took the snake home and butchered it. I ate it not long after.

That's the third snake to bite me. The other two were not big enough to eat. I caught them. They bit me. I gave them a stern talking to and released them.

17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” Mark 16

Saturday, May 13, 2017

You don't get to.

Someone help me out here. I'm having trouble understanding why something is offensive and must be removed.

Lots of people find this offensive. They say it then must be removed, taken down, destroyed, eliminated, etc.


Before you explain the reasons why this icon must be eradicated, let's take a look at some stuff other people find offensive.

Gay marriage.

The idea that there are 7 billion people on the planet and each person is a separate and distinct gender.










Free speech.












Religious displays.

Climate change.

Eating meat.


This list can go on and on and on. Just so you know, I find none of the above offensive. Most of the items on the list above, I do not care about at all.

If you feel the need to be the 198,327,430th gender, more power to you.

It ain't none of my business.

If you feel the need to have a gay marriage, grow Purple Kush and protect the crop from a bunker with a SAW, that's your business. Um, can I shoot the SAW, please?

If you believe socialism is the way, the truth, the light and salvation, well bless your heart and rock on. Just don't try to force it on me, please.

If you want to be a porn star, head to Southern California and give it a go. I don't have any contacts in that industry so I can't help you.

If it does not cause measureable harm to me, it ain't none of my business is how I see it. Now if you need help, then I'll do what I can. But you have to ask.


Here's what I truly do not understand. The people who find the Stars & Bars offensive have no problem getting in my face and telling me I have no right to judge others for how they live their lives.

They are allowed to have a splodey head over my flag.

But if I dare to question a choice they make, damn the torpedos and launch a nuke.

They indignantly tell me, "It is none of your business because it does not affect you and has nothing to do with you."

Yet, these same people feel perfectly righteous in judging me if I have this flag.

How does this flag affect you in a measurable, empirical way? Hurt feelings?

Freedom smells like someone being offended.


I am told I cannot force my religion on someone else. (Never mind that I won't do that. You have to ask and then I will try to explain.) I'm told I can't do a lot of things because, well, it is wrong to force my belief structure on someone else.


At the same time, I am emphatically told those other people have the unfettered absolute right to engage their belief structure.

Ayup. As long as they don't try to force their belief structure on me.

But they do not have a problem attempting to force their belief structure on me.

How is this fair?


Two ladies can wear Che Guevara gay pride shirts, walking down the street and stop for a kiss in front of City Hall and this absolutely, must, positively, without question be an unfettered, unrestricted, unambiguous right. Never mind that some people are offended, quietly offended and turn away. Those people must be bigots. (It ain't none of my business.)

Harvard agrees to let "black" students have a separate graduation and that's just hunky dory wonderful (ans it is my business as tax dollars are putting the graduation on) but when kids in my community planned separate, privately funded proms a few years ago, the world was ending. And it was none of my business because public money was not involved.

How is one fair and the other not?


I must allow "cultural expression" for people who's only connection to that culture is genetic and somewhere between two and a dozen generations old.

I must accept other people exactly for who they are and cannot even think about asking them to do any different. To even consider that someone else might need to make a quantum level adjustment is intolerance of the highest order.

I cannot even imagine that someone else's choice is anything but a universal law that cannot be broken. Should I even approach the idea that the choice could be a smidge better, then Cthulhu stands back in shock as I become so evil that the Ancient One becomes a paragon of virtue by comparison?


Unless, of course, it's a Stars & Bars. Then, me and the flag need to be reduced to subatomic particles because of what that flag means to someone else. Never mind what it means to me. It is what it means to someone else that matters.

Now, explain to me why your feelings are more important than mine. Tell me why I should care more for you than you do for me? Tell me about this tolerance and acceptance.

Can you show me? 'Cause just as sure as I can see armadillo road pizzas, I can't see how your rights to do what you want are more important than my right to do what I want.


I am told, "You don't get to define it."

Who does? How does someone else have the right to define it?

If you have the right to define what the Stars & Bars means, do I get the right to define what the icons in your life mean?

If you set the rules, does everyone get to play by those rules equally? Or, are you just after special treatment? How much special treatment do you need, at my expense?

No. The truth is, you don't get to define what the Stars & Bars means to me. I alone have that right.

You don't get to.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Offensive belongs on the ball field

Ever been offended? I have. Ever given offense? If you read this blog, you know what my answer is.

In case you don't wonder, I have in my room a Stars & Bars flag, a State of Georgia Stars & Bars flag, a US flag. I want to get a POW-MIA flag and a Don't Tread on Me flag.

These flags offend people. This makes me happy.

Why? Because if it offends you, then I believe you need to be offended.

Also, I firmly believe that learning how to NOT take offense is a sign of maturity.

If you can't laugh at yourself, call me. I'll be glad to laugh at you.


The right to offend is not universal. In at least one country, offend someone enough and they can legally kill you. Literally.


Lemme make this clear. If you offend someone maliciously, you are bordering on harm. You may fall on either side of the dividing line, depending on WHY you are offending someone.

My flags, and the other stuff I do that offends people, is 100 percent without malice. It is never done to harm anyone. This is very important, at least to me.

Well. Mostly.

I tell you true - I have done things to offend people out of spite and with malice. This bothers me a lot. It is not who I want to be. It is usually done as a reaction. It is still wrong.

But the vast majority of the time when I offend someone, no hate is involved.

If the way I live my life does not harm you, it is none of your business. If the way I live my life offends you, you have a personal problem, not me.

Sometimes I intentionally do things that offend people. Not done from hate. I do it to shake them out of their complacency. I want them and you to think. Sometimes the only way to do this is to rattle your cage, hard.


Let's be clear. Offending someone is not the same as harming someone.

If your "feelings" are hurt, then you need to take a serious look at why you reacted that way.

If someone you care about hurts your feelings, well that happens. Sometimes good. Sometimes bad.

It is a useful punitive measure. When my kids were little, many times they told me I hurt their feelings. Excellent. I did so because they had done something wrong. Again, this is a good situation.

My kids knew they disappointed me. They reacted.

If your feelings are hurt by someone you do not know and who likely does not know you even exist, then you have a personal problem.

If an institution, not a human being, hurts your feelings, you have a personal problem. If an inanimate object hurts your feelings, you have a severe personal problem.

You deal with it.


Do not assume that because you are offended, your feelings apply to everyone. You ain't the world.

Real life example: I have a double-disc comedy CD.  One of the comedians makes a joke about being a rapist. Hilarious.

Some people will be highly offended both by the joke and the fact that I find it funny. Good. I remind you if you are one of the offended, you do not represent everyone.

A lady listening to the CD with me laughed harder than I did at the joke. If anyone had reason to be offended by a rape joke, she does. She is a survivor.

She. Laughed.

You ain't the world. Do not presume your morals, values and personal code of ethics applies to everyone else.


One reason I believe in offending people is because it breaks down barriers. It eliminates privilege. It makes us all equal.

These comedians make fun of their disability. Some people laugh. Some people get offended.

Good on both counts.

If someone without Cerebral Palsy (like me) jokes about it, a whole lot of people will be offended.


You say, "If you had Cerebral Palsy you would ..."

Would what? Understand? Not make jokes about it? Have sympathy?

You say, "Well, yeah. All that."

Really? How do you know what understanding I have? Do you know how much sympathy I have? If all you know about me is through this blog, then how much do you really know?

But is OK for someone with Cerebral Palsy to joke about it? How is that right?

You say, "Because they know what they are going through."

So, we carve out special exceptions and exemptions for them? We put people with Cerebral Palsy into a different class of people? They get a pass others do not?

How can you give one person a pass and not another person. By the "give them a pass" rule, everyone gets a pass for something.

In other words, you truly do not want equality.

Oh segregation, thy name is "I am offended." See also, hypocrisy.

How about we just agree we are all humans? How about we all get over ourselves and quit being offended?


Monday, May 1, 2017

And the sound of splodey heads

My friends on the left love to grow righteously indignant over the Citizens United case. That's the Supreme Court decision that says corporations have some of the same rights as people.

They regularly have splodey heads when this comes up.

Now cometh a decision that will cause splodey heads on the right and cheers from the left.

In short, the High Court ruled, "cities can be an 'aggrieved person' who can sue over the impact of housing discrimination on the city’s finances."

Cities are corporations. Hence the use of "incorporated" to describe them. In Georgia, cities are not Constitutional political divisions. A city is crafted by an act of the legislature. In other states, the same rule of law applies.

Here's the kicker. Either corporations have rights or they do not. SCOTUS has said corporations have rights.

That means cities can sue. That means banks, which are also corporations, are now running scared.

That means the right and left are having splodey heads. Neither said expected this turn of events. Neither side ever thought such a decision as Citizens United could cut the other way.

Now, it cuts. A whole lot of people and corporations and cities are gonna be bleeding.

The only ones who will truly benefit at the lawyers on both sides.