Tuesday, February 21, 2017


I have successfully regained comments on the individual post pages.  As a result, I have also begun to examine the backlog of 8200+ comments from 2012 - 2014.  So far I have found four real comments from the last few months and hundreds of spam comments from 2014 and before.

I will therefore be deleting ALL the marked spam comments from 2012-2014 without examining them carefully for any gems that might actually be in there.

If there are any actual comments, I apologize.  But they'd be at least 2.5 years old anyway.

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Sunday, February 19, 2017

A Day That Should Live in Infamy

Manazar, CA

Manzanar War Relocation Center, on US 395, near Lone Pine, CA.
Photo by Evan Robinson.

Seventy-five years ago today, on 19 February, 1942, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, "Authorizing the Secretary of War to Prescribe Military Areas".  Roughly 120,000 American legal residents of Japanese descent -- about 70,000 of whom were American citizens -- were moved out of coastal exclusion zones and incarcerated in concentration camps.  Around 14,000 residents (or citizens) of German and Italian descent, as well as some refugees, were also rounded up and jailed under EO9066.

Assembly centers were set up at convenient locations like racetracks (Santa Anita in Southern California, and Tanforan in the Bay Area) and soon housed thousands of internees.  By October, ten "Relocation Centers" were set up outside the coastal exclusion zones: Manzanar and Tule Lake in California; Poston and Gila River in Arizona; Granada, Colorado; Heart Mountain, Wyoming; Minidoka, Idaho; Topaz, Utah; and Rohwer and Jerome in Arkansas.  Manzanar was the first, opened in March 1942.  Tule Lake was the largest, housing nearly 18,800 internees.

American citizens and legal residents had everything taken away but what they could carry, were stuffed into horse stalls and temporary housing, then moved hundreds or thousands of miles away and crammed into tar paper shacks behind barbed wire perimeters with machine gun towers.

In 1944, the Supreme Court ruled in Korematsu that the exclusion zones were constitutional, but sidestepped the question of incarceration.  In 1983, Fred Korematsu's conviction was overturned because the US government had knowingly submitted false information to the Supreme Court (in other words, the government perjured itself) and that the information was material to the Court's decision.  Other significant decisions upholding curfews for Americans of Japanese descent were Yasui and Hirabayashi.  Both were overturned in the 1980s for the same reasons as Korematsu -- government perjury.

So far as I can tell, no Supreme Court ruling ever addressed whether or not the internment (the incarceration of tens of thousands of legal residents and citizens) was constitutional, despite the occasional news story to the contrary.  Some such stories claim that Korematsu touched on the constitutionality of the internment, but the decision included the language:
"The provisions of other orders requiring persons of Japanese ancestry to report to assembly centers and providing for the detention of such persons in assembly and relocation centers were separate, and their validity is not in issue in this proceeding."
which clearly excludes the question of the constitutionality of the internment.  Ex parte Endo further muddies the water by the ruling (on the same day as Korematsu) that there was "...no authority to subject citizens who are conceded loyal to its leave procedure."  In other words, the government had no authority to detain citizens not proven disloyal.  But they may imprison anyone for refusing to be illegally detained.

The Roosevelt administration lifted the internment orders immediately before the Korematsu and Endo rulings were announced. Public Proclamation No. 21, issued on 17 December 1944, rescinded the exclusion orders.

Legislation was signed in 1988 providing that the survivors of the internment were to be paid $20,000 in redress, and additional legislation appropriating additional funds was signed in 1992.  The internees did not get their property or belongings back, and fortunes were made by complicit white Americans who bought real property for pennies on the dollar during 1942.

And if, by chance, you think we would never do this again, let me quote from Executive Order: Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements, issued 25 January 2017:
Sec. 5.  Detention Facilities.  (a)  The Secretary shall take all appropriate action and allocate all legally available resources to immediately construct, operate, control, or establish contracts to construct, operate, or control facilities to detain aliens at or near the land border with Mexico.
Note that those to be detained are not "undocumented aliens" or "aliens illegally in the US", but any "aliens".

How many of you carry proof of citizenship with you at all times?

(Cross posted from Mischievous Ramblings II)
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Sunday, February 12, 2017

Simple Math on Canadians Coming to America for Health Care

It's a common refrain whenever the cheap, effective Canadian health care system is brought up: "what about all those Canadians who come to the US for health care?"

Here is the simple answer.  All numbers are from 2014.  Links go to the sources.

In 2014, according to the Fraser Institute, 52,513 Canadians got non-emergency health care in foreign countries.  Since there were about 35.5 million Canadians in 2014, that's about 0.15%.

In 2014, the Census Bureau reported that a sharp drop in uninsured Americans (caused by the first year of implementation of ObamaCare) meant there were 33 million uninsured Americans.  The Census Bureau also reports that the population of the US in 2014 was about 319 million, so the uninsured population was about 10%.

The Canadian health care system underserves about 1/7th of a percent.  The American system underserves slightly over 10% -- after the first year of Obamacare.  The number the year before would have been about 13%.

In a single number, the American health care system underserves 70 times as much of the population as the Canadian system.

This number is conservative, as it includes Canadians who get non-emergency health care in other countries because of convenience or scheduling, when they might have gotten it at home, and reserves American under service to those completely without insurance, not including anyone who can't afford a co-pay or deductible.

(Cross Posted from Mischievous Ramblings II)

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Monday, January 30, 2017

Why didn't I do this sooner? Oh, yeah....


Transcend Travel CPAP/APAP. 
Image borrowed for fair use from Intertubes.

Sara and I both use CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) devices. These are small machines that sit by the head of our bed and force air through a hose, into a mask that covers our nose, and down our airway to our lungs in order to keep it open while we sleep. It is a treatment for Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea (SOSA) which is a condition in which the airway closes periodically during sleep. We actually use devices called APAPs (Automatic Positive Airway Pressure). Each of us has two APAPs, one for home and one for travel that is smaller and runs easily off a battery.

As a geek, I want access to medical technology that I have to use, and I want data on my usage (my pulmonologist says that I am his poster boy for compliance, and seeing the data is part of that for me). As a pilot, Sara requires data from the CPAP for her flight medical. Both of us want to be able to program the devices to change their pressure parameters as our needs change. To do this, you need special software, and in at least one case, a special piece of hardware and cable for the CPAP. We have all of that. We have everything we need to access data on and program each of the four machines (two types) that we use. I have visited multiple pulmonologists in the 15+ years I've used CPAP, and never has one been able to read data off my machine. But I can. :-)

You also need a Windows machine. The CPAP market is not so large that the manufacturers build great software, and they only build it for Windows. Some of them use outdated hardware specifications (like 9 pin serial ports and 8 pin DIN connectors). Many will write to one or another kind of SD card (some only to original SD, not SDHC, some to micro SD, etc.), but all of them I've encountered require Windows software to extract data and get reports.

Have I mentioned how much I hate Windows? I have an old media PC I bought from someone at Amazon that I run the software on. It's old and crappy and never connects to a network, and only comes out to run this software, but to do so, I have to keep a monitor around and move my keyboard and mouse while I set the machine up somewhere, and it's just a pain.

So I thought, I'll buy myself a cheap old Windows laptop, maybe even with a serial port, running Windows 7 or 8, and it'll be cheap and easy to move around and I can reclaim the cubic yard of office that the current device and monitor and keyboard and mouse occupies. And I did. I went to the local neighborhood computer repair place and bought a used ASUS laptop for $150, and it's just what I needed even if it doesn't have a serial port and runs Windows 10.

I need to install two applications on it. One for each brand of CPAP. And it takes hours. The first app is on CD, and it doesn't have a disk player, so I move one over from my Mac and it reads it but it won't install the software because the software uses a library that isn't included in Windows 10 and won't install off the CD in Windows 10 and I have to research it and find the newer 4.0 version that includes the older 3.5 and 2.0 versions and install it and see if the installer will recognize it and I try to install that software four times before it works. The second piece of software isn't nearly so bad so I only need to install it twice before it works. And then it takes 40 minutes for the Windows 10 system to recognize the USB to serial adapter and find a driver for it, and another 30 minutes to update the Windows 10 system files.

And finally it works. And I have a portable system that I can use to access my own medical data and program my own medical devices.

And this morning when I turn it on to suck data out of my CPAP, it takes 20 minutes to update Windows 10 again. Two days after I last updated it.

Now I remember why I didn't do this sooner...

Cross Posted from Mischievous Ramblings II
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Friday, January 20, 2017

Communique from the Resistance: Day One

Photoillustration by Evan Robinson.  Original images 
stolen from the inter-tubes as fair use.

(note: this communique was received through illicit and untraceable channels.  I do not know who wrote it, nor their location.  They requested that I fill in MY location for the C-Store, and in order to receive additional communiques, I have complied. 
    -- Evan)

On the first day of Trump, within minutes of his inauguration, anti-anxiety medications (e.g. chicken tenders and Fritos) spiked in price.  At a C-Store on Whidbey Island, WA, a checker attempted to charge me triple for the chicken tenders and an additional dollar for the Fritos.

Negotiations ensued.  An accommodation was reached.  I'm the best deal-maker.

Further communications as warranted and safe.
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