Trump Derangement Syndrome

As I’ve stated before, I didn’t vote for Trump in either the Republican primary in South Carolina or the General Election but shortly after he took office I figured out what he was doing and it seems to be working.

Trump has caused a dissonance in the minds of the Far Left and most Left leaning media to the point where they aren’t really watching what he is doing and instead focus on his tweets and the Russian probes. Either Trump is doing this by design or he’s just fortunate that the Left is still so butt hurt over Hillary losing that they aren’t paying attention but either way, I’m happy.

I’m hoping that the Left doesn’t figure this out but I think some are starting to once I saw this tweet:

Screen Shot 2017-12-15 at 11.56.24 PM

So what you’re saying is that while the Left has some awesome memes with Trump tweets, the actual act of governing is taking place and apparently elections do have consequences. Well….Yea!

While the Left is in full epidemic mode with Trump Derangement Syndrome, the Republicans in Congress and more importantly, the Trump administration, is quietly undoing 8 years of government overreach.

Here is a nice list of accomplishments of Trump in year one and one of the most notable accomplishments only hinted at in that piece is the number of federal judges that have been confirmed in 2017 – Neil Gorsuch to SCOTUS, 12 to the US Courts of Appeals and 6 to the US District Courts.

Once the Republican Tax Plan becomes law (hopefully next week) then the cherry will be put on top of this banner year for Trump and the Republican controlled Congress.

It would’ve been nice to fully repeal Obamacare but all I’ve ever expected and wanted from Trump and the Republican Congress was meaningful tax reform and now we are poised to get that. Reducing Corporate and individual tax rates and removing the individual mandate from Obamacare will go a long way to bringing about a real recovery that never materialized due to the past 8 years of business choking legislation and regulation.

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Posted in politics | 4 Comments

A Reminder About Who Pays US Income Taxes

I’ve said many times after the November 2016 elections that the only thing I wanted in 2017 from Trump and the Republican majority in the House and Senate was significant tax cuts.

I would prefer a radical change to our tax structure like those outlined in the Fair Tax proposals but I realize that something like that is a much too big ask in our hyper polarized political climate (although the Fair Tax could actually unite both sides…) so I’m glad with what has been proposed. At least a massive cut to the corporate tax rate would be enough for me to cheer!

And of course, the normal bloviating from the Left has come as a result of this with their tired “tax cuts for the rich” sound bites.

When the Left screams “tax cuts for the rich” this just tells me that they are either liars or they don’t really understand who actually pays the vast majority of US income taxes. For the politicians, it’s probably the former but for the average snow flake who probably has never filled out a tax form it’s probably the latter.

This website is a good place to help educate those who are truly ignorant about who actually pays most of the US taxes.

There are lots of charts and graphs on that link but these two should be all you need.

tax tble

tax chart

 

The top 1% of all income earners pays 40% of all income taxes but only account for 20% of all income.

The top 10% of all income earners pays 70% of all income taxes but only account for 47% of all income.

The top 25% of all income earners pay 86% of all income taxes!

If you’re going to give a tax break to folks you can only do that to the people that ACTUALLY PAY TAXES. That’s the top 25% folks!

And the top 25% includes folks who make over $77,000 per year. Hardly the mega wealthy here…

This isn’t some GOP trick to give massive tax breaks to the wealthy.  It’s about math.

Posted in economics, Income Inequality, politics | 3 Comments

Solar Eclipse 2017

This was my first solar eclipse where I was in the area of totality and I can say assuredly that it won’t be my last!  I’m hooked!

I wasn’t prepared for the shear awe that happens as we got closer to the main event and next time I’ll be better prepared for better photographs and spend more time just soaking it all in.

Just before totality I noticed that my eyes were having trouble adjusting and focusing and it was very different than just a normal twilight background.  I made sure it wasn’t just me by asking the 12+ folks that were with me if they were experiencing the same thing and sure enough they were.

I also wasn’t prepared for the splendid site at totality where you could see the sun’s corona in blue/white light.  I’ve seen pics of this but thought this was just an artifact of the camera but sure enough it was even better than the photos I’ve seen.

My one regret was not taking a picture of the 2 solar flares that were visible in my telescope during totality but the roughly 2 minutes we had were not long enough for me to do that and let all the folks take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity to see a total eclipse through a telescope.  We removed the solar filter at the moment totality started and we had a person timing from that point forward and we moved everyone away after 2 minutes.

For those interested, my telescope is a 10″ newtonian reflector and I used a Televue 27mm Panoptic eyepiece with a Thousand Oaks Optical solar filter over the objective end of the telescope.

Here are some of the pics.

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My setup for the event.  Telescope and 15×60 binocs.

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Here I am setting up my binoculars that I used to project the eclipse onto the ground.

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Just starting, see the sun spots!

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Little eclipses were seen on my sidewalk beneath my large oak trees.  Little gaps in the leaves provided perfect projection of the eclipse below. 

IMG_6743

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Almost!

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Now going the other way. 

Posted in astronomy | Leave a comment

Paleo Lifestyle Can Achieve Normal Blood Glucose Levels

I’m coming up on m 4th year of adhering to the Paleo lifestyle alone to control my Type 2 Diabetes and I hope the data I’ll show in this post will prove to those struggling with this disease that it is possible to achieve a ‘cure’ without medicine that has deleterious side effects or complicated insulin injections/formulations.

For those not familiar, an A1c is basically the gold standard of blood glucose measurements because it can go back as much as 3 months in the past to give an average blood glucose measurement.

“The A1C test is based on the attachment of glucose to hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. In the body, red blood cells are constantly forming and dying, but typically they live for about 3 months. Thus, the A1C test reflects the average of a person’s blood glucose levels over the past 3 months. The A1C test result is reported as a percentage. The higher the percentage, the higher a person’s blood glucose levels have been. A normal A1C level is below 5.7 percent”

A person with Type 2 Diabetes can ‘fool’ themselves into thinking their blood glucose levels are good if they only take measurements with a home meter in the morning (fasting) but ignore the high glucose levels during the day after they eat foods that spike their glucose levels. You can’t ‘fool’ an A1c so that is why it is considered a true test of how a person is managing their Type 2 Diabetes over a long period.

Keep in mind that a normal A1c reading for someone without Diabetes is below 6% and you can see my A1c test results in the graph below (which includes the latest A1c I had last week during my annual physical).

a1c

After I was diagnosed I went the route of Metformin and while I achieved an A1c results of 5.6% (the first data point after the initial diagnosis), the side effects of those meds (which involved not being more than 2 minutes away from a bathroom at any time) caused me to switch to the Paleo lifestyle exclusively and I ditched the meds (red line indicates where I stopped taking the meds and switched to the Paleo Lifestyle).

Notice that when I was diagnosed in March 2013 I had an A1c of 11.5% so the results that I show above aren’t from a marginal person who was close to having Type 2 Diabetes. My Type 2 Diabetes was about as bad as it can be but yet my A1c test results over the past 3 years rival that of someone who is not afflicted with this horrible disease.

It should also be pointed out that the American Diabetes Association recommends that folks who have been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes maintain an A1c less than 7%. This is madness since an A1c of 7% corresponds to a blood glucose level of 154 mg/Dl and that level of blood glucose is WAY too high!

It continues to frustrate me that the accepted medical guidance of the day is to force meds and insulin into people and tell them that they can still eat all the pizza, pasta, bread, beans and whole grains they can get their hands on. Literally the medical community is encouraging folks to take the path of a slow painful death that includes blindness, decapitated limbs and heart failure.

If you are a Type 2 Diabetic, don’t accept this ADA solution from your doctor. There is a better alternative and it doesn’t involve spending money on doctor visits or medicine!

 

Posted in Diabetes, paleo | 10 Comments

30-Day Paleo Reset

As I have stated in previous posts in 2016, I noticed my blood sugar levels were beginning to creep up and I struggled with the cause. I thought the reason might have been attributed to the Dawn Phenomenon, alcohol, reduced exercise or chewing gum. But after a few months of tinkering I think it was just that I got over confident in my success and decided to deviate too much from the Paleo lifestyle.

Even though I am a Type 2 Diabetic, for several years I have controlled my blood glucose within normal levels without the use of medication. And these “normal” levels are normal for someone without Type 2 Diabetes (fasting measurements between 70-100 mg/dl), not the “normal” that the American Diabetes Association says a Type 2 Diabetic should control his blood sugar (fasting measurements less than 130 mg/dl).

After 3 years of strict adherence to the Paleo lifestyle I had become over confident that somehow I had reversed my insulin sensitivity and my “cheat” days (which had previously been reserved for things like Thanksgiving, Christmas parties, etc.) were now a regular occurrence. Cheats for me consisted of beer, potatoes and grains such as grits, corn and chips and while I knew these were verboten, I refused to confront the brutal facts that these were not conducive to my genetic makeup.

I knew I needed a ‘reset’ and when Robb Wolf’s latest book – Wired To Eat – came out I quickly read it and accepted the 30-day back to Paleo basics challenge outlined in the book. The 30-day challenge didn’t just involve adhering to a strict Paleo diet, it involved getting 8 hours of sleep each night, moving every day and getting involved in community activities with friends and coworkers. Moving every day and socializing with folks is something I do every day so that was not a drastic change for me but getting back to Paleo basics and (more importantly) getting 8 hours of sleep each night was something that required effort on my part.

The results that I’ll share below mainly speak for themselves and this last month has reiterated the importance of following this Paleo lifestyle in not only controlling my Type 2 Diabetes but improving my general well being.

It should be noted again that my exercise regime was still the same – running, walking, biking or lifting weights 3-5 times per week – and the only thing I changed over the past 2 weeks was my diet and getting 8 hours of sleep every night.

Now on to the results….

The following metrics showed the improvement I made during this 30-day period:

  17-Apr-17 17-May-17
Weight 152.5 lbs 145.5 lbs
Waist to hip Ratio 94.70% 88.00%
Blood Pressure 119/80 109/75
Resting Heart Rate 67 bpm 55 bpm

The following chart shows my morning blood glucose readings prior to the 30-day challenge and during it.

morning blood glucose

Even more improvement is seen with the evening blood glucose readings during this same period.

evening blood glucose

During the mid way portion of this 30-day challenge I took my blood glucose readings about every hour in a typical day and the graph is shown below. (NOTE – the “spike” after dinner on this day was attributed to pineapple I ate with dinner.)

daily blood sugar may 2017

Now compare that graph with another graph during a day in late 2016 when I started to realize that my blood glucose levels were starting to be elevated.

daily blood sugar sep 2016

The following chart is from my Fitbit app showing the drop in my resting heart rate during this period and this was not from an increase in exercise but instead from an increase in the amount of sleep I got each night.

resting heart rate

You can see from the Fitbit app how my sleep each night during this 30-day period was about 8 hours per night and then you can see how this was a drastic improvement over what I had typically seen over the past year.

sleep

sleep past year.jpg

I’ll share more insights I gained from this 30-day reset in future posts and I’ll also explore the 7-day carb investigation that Robb Wolf explains in Wired To Eat but I want to stay on this strict Paleo lifestyle for another 30 days before I start that investigation. I need another 30 days to fully heal my body and complete the reset before I start experimenting with carbs and determining which are conducive to my genetics (and based on 3+ years of this, I don’t think there will be many that will fall into that category).

Posted in Diabetes, paleo | 6 Comments

Nancy Pelosi Is A Lunatic

In an NPR interview Nancy Pelosi demonstrated once again that she is either a pathological liar or a lunatic. I’m going with lunatic because I think she actually believes the crap that comes out of her mouth.

Here is the money quote (emphasis mine):

“Most of the people who can’t afford it have subsidies and the rest to cover their insurance in the meantime. But let’s go back to where we were before the Affordable Care Act because that was a time where they wouldn’t even be able to have any insurance. So what was the purpose of the Affordable Care Act? There were threefold – one, to lower cost; two, to improve benefits and three, to expand access for millions more people. And it’s done all three.”

Let’s examine her 3 so-called accomplishments of Obamacare.

1 – Lower Cost

I assume she meant the cost for insurance coverage and that has not happened.

From Time article last year:

“In 2008, the average employer-sponsored family plan cost a total of $12,680, with employees footing $3,354 of the bill, according to /react-text Kaiser data. By 2016, the cost of the average employer family plan was up to /react-text $18,142 for the year, with workers picking up $5,277 of the tab.”

And from Market Watch article last year:

“President Obama claimed that the Affordable Care Act would reduce annual insurance premiums by $2,500 for a typical family. Yet a report by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust found that, since 2008, average employer family premiums have climbed a total of $4,865. From 2015 to 2016 the most popular exchange family plan, Family Silver, saw a 10% average increase in its premiums. In some states, premiums rose by nearly 40%.”

But if she meant the cost of healthcare in general in the US has been reduced, that hasn’t happened either.

From PBS last year:

“The nation’s health care tab this year is expected to surpass $10,000 per person for the first time, the government said Wednesday. The new peak means the Obama administration will pass the problem of high health care costs on to its successor.”

2 – Improve benefits

From the Time article:

“In 2008, high deductibles were the minority: 18% of covered workers had deductible of at least $1,000, per the /react-text Kaiser Family Foundation, up from only 10% in 2006. For workers with employer-sponsored plans at small firms, 35% had deductibles of $1,000 or more in 2008, up from 16% in 2006.”

“Fast-forward to 2016, and high-deductible plans have become standard: 51% of all covered workers, and 65% of workers in small firms, face deductibles of at least $1,000. Workers at smaller firms must pay an average of $2,069 out of pocket before insurance payments kick in, versus $1,238 for workers at firms with 200 or more employees.”

Folks aren’t getting real insurance coverage they can use but instead they are just getting insurance plans with higher deductibles, which make it even more difficult to actually get the health care they need.

3 – Expand access for millions more people

Not as many folks signed up for insurance on the Obamacare exchanges as was hoped:

“Many people would not have jumped on the Obamacare bandwagon if they had known the relatively small number of Americans who would actually be enrolled on the exchanges by 2016. The Department of Health and Human Services estimates that between 9.4 million and 11.4 million signed up in 2016.”

“In contrast, in March 2010, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that 21 million people would be enrolled on the exchanges.

And what good is it for the few extra people who signed up for insurance on the Obamacare exchanges if they can’t find a doctor or have such high deductibles that they can’t afford treatment?

Again, I really think Pelosi believes what she says so she’s not a liar but a lunatic.

Let’s all remember what George Costanza taught us in Seinfeld.

Posted in healthcare, politics | 4 Comments

An Economic Opportunity Missed

If you look at the US GDP growth since 1947, you’ll notice that the recovery magnitude always matched the recession magnitude except for the last one.

I’ve annotated the graph to show the recessions and recoveries in like color ellipses and the pair to the right represents our last recovery.  The zero GDP growth line is shown in clack and notice that with the exception of the last “recovery”, the magnitude of the recovery has equalled or exceeded the magnitude of the recession.

us-gdp-graph-2

Up until this last recession/recovery cycle, it used to all make sense. Recessions are part of the economic cycle and the Free Market would do what it always does, bounce back in like magnitude.

Except for the Obama years…..

Notice this last recession was severe but the recover was nothing but blah. The “recovery” has averaged around a 2% GDP growth rate and 2016 came in at a pitiful 1.6%.

From the WSJ article:

Speaking of weak, growth for all of 2016 clocked in at 1.6%, the slowest since 2011 and down from 2.6% in 2015. That marks the 11th consecutive year that GDP growth failed to reach 3%, the longest period since the Bureau of Economic Analysis began reporting the figure. The fourth quarter also rings out the Obama era with an average annual growth rate of 1.8%, which is right down there with George W. Bush for the lowest among modern Presidents.

Mr. Obama inherited a deep recession, but that makes the 2.1% growth average since the recession ended all the more dismaying. You have to work hard to suppress growth after a deep downturn, and Mr. Obama did that by putting income redistribution ahead of growth as a policy priority. He achieved the remarkable feat of slower growth and more inequality.

Massive regulation and other anti-business policies of Obama (and yes, George W. Bush too) handcuffed the US economy and that means there is a ton of potential energy in the economy just waiting to be released once the US government reverses course. Which is exactly what will happen in the next 2 years with a new style Republican control of the Executive and Legislative branches of government.

Just watch!

Posted in economics, politics | 3 Comments

Let’s See What Happens When Private Sector Folks Run the Government

All I’ve ever wanted for the past 15 years was a chance to see if our country would fair better if we replaced career politicians in the POTUS and heads of the Federal agencies with successful private sector folks and it appears my wish has finally been granted.

If I had known Trump would have placed people in his cabinet who were not career bureaucrats then I would’ve not only voted for him but I would’ve donated to his campaign and knocked on doors. And it appears he’s doing just that.

Rex Tillerson (State), Steven Mnuchin (Treasury), Sonny Perdue (Agriculture), Andrew Puzder (Labor), Tom Price (HHS), Wilbur Ross (Commerce) and Ben Carson (HUD) are just to name a few who spent most of their professional lives in the private sector.

Having a POTUS from the private sector who is used to measuring success based on hitting time and financial targets will cause a paradigm shift in the way DC operates. And this means the House and Senate will not have 4 (maybe 8) years of business as usual.

The recent meeting of Congressional Republicans in Philadelphia highlights that perfectly in their listing of ambitious year 1 goals (Repeal and replace of Obamacare, a defense and border funding bill, an infrastructure bill and a tax overhaul and revamp of the IRS). Repealing/Replacing Obamacare and a revamp of the IRS are two items that I had thought would take years (if ever) with past DC cultures but I’m glad to see the expectations have been drastically elevated.

Even Republicans in the house are starting to realize that life under POTUS Trump won’t be like normal business in DC:

“President Trump comes from a different world,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told reporters. “Out in the business community, he likes things done fast, and he’s going to continue to push them.”

And from this WSJ link, even Speaker Ryan knows that expectations have been raised.

“This is going to be an unconventional presidency,” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) told reporters. “That’s something we’re just all going to have to get used to.”

Amen, put the foot to the floor and get shit done so fast we forget what it was like when bureaucrats spent months debating whether a bill should be brought to the floor for a vote and feared what the reaction would be from the Main Stream Media.

Posted in politics | 4 Comments

Food As Medicine

There was a great article on NPR today that talks about the paradigm shift in medical circles where doctors prescribe food instead of medicine and this is manna from the heavens for me!

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As many readers of this blog know, I believe that any Type 2 Diabetic can have normal blood glucose levels but instead of doing that with medicine you can achieve better results by altering your diet and exercise regime. It’s not easy but it’s more sustainable over the long run than taking Metformin and Insulin injections.

I’ve chosen the Paleo lifestyle for me, but there is a link in the NPR article to a published article that suggest a Vegan diet helps other Type 2 Diabetics. The key is to find what works for your body but don’t default quickly to the medicine route but instead experiment with different foods and exercise routines that work for your body.

The money quote:

“What people eat can be medicine or poison”

Read the whole article, it’s good!

Posted in Diabetes, paleo | 1 Comment

The Dishonesty Of The Left

The Left likes to talk about unity and coming together but only if they are the ones in power. Once things (i.e. elections) don’t go their way, this whole unity thing becomes overrated.

Representative John Lewis is one of many House Democrats that have announced they’ll boycott the peaceful transition of power (AKA the POTUS inauguration) but that doesn’t square with a tweet he sent a week before the Presidential election last year.

If you don’t like the President Elect Donald Trump then you have the right to peaceful protest and to even boycott the inauguration if you so desire. Hell, even I attended peaceful Tea Party protests in 2009 and 2010 to protest the Democratic leaders who I felt were taking our country in the wrong direction.

It’s our rights as citizens to do such things.

But when you are a member of Congress and you push for unity when you think the elections will go your way, you better expect to be called out on your hypocrisy later when you seek division because you didn’t like the results of the election.

Trump has yet to serve 1 day as POTUS so the jury is obviously still out on how he’ll lead this country but I can say one good thing about PEOTUS Trump, he is causing the Left to show their true colors and I think we are only just now getting a glimpse of it. The Left isn’t concerned about hiding their true colors any more and if they continue to do this, the next four eight years will be glorious.

Posted in politics | 1 Comment

AGW Cult Explains Lack Of Major Hurricanes In US

Remember when Al Gore and the rest of the AGW cult told us that we’d be hammered by major hurricanes due to Man Made Climate Change?

Well it hasn’t happened and now the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) cult is scrambling for answers and they apparently have found them.

Time reports that the answer is partially due to cool (that’s right cool, as in not hot) ocean temperatures.

“Now, new research published in the journal Nature explains the unlikely phenomenon as at least in part the result of an occurrence called “protective barriers,” which help keep major hurricanes from making landfall. Cool ocean temperatures combine with strong vertical wind shear, a measure of how quickly wind changes speed or direction, off the Atlantic coast. Faced with those conditions, major hurricanes tend to slow down, according to the research.”

NPR also covered this story and here is their take on the new research:

“It’s been more than 10 years since the U.S. was hit by a major hurricane. Scientists mark that up to chance. But as NPR’s Christopher Joyce reports, new research suggests a reason for our good fortune.”

“This has been a very lucky thing for us. And we’ve had it in place now for a while, and we don’t know how this phenomenon is going to be affected by climate change.”

But don’t worry, the AGW cult isn’t going to admit defeat, they still have dire predictions for the US. From the Time article:

“The phenomenon uncovered in the new research has thus far been good news for the U.S., but the change may not be permanent, Kossin says. Atmospheric patterns in the North Atlantic can take more than a decade to shift, meaning the wind shear and coastal sea surface temperatures that protect the U.S. could easily disappear. Combine that with continued global warming further out in the ocean, and the coast could face many more major hurricanes that make landfall.”

To sum up the AGW cut findings – Hey we were wrong 10 years ago but dammit we’re super serious now, Climate Change is going to cause the US to be bludgeoned by major hurricane landfalls.

Then there is this hard-hitting prediction in the NPR article about what Climate Change will do to this coastal buffer that has been protecting the US:

“Climate change could strengthen the coastal buffer, he says, or eliminate it.”

Well, which is it?!?!

Climate Scientists and the political hacks that latch onto them have no clue about what Mother Nature will do with increased CO2 in the atmosphere but they’ll twist themselves in knots to avoid an admission that they really don’t have a valid model of Earth’s climate yet.

It’s at least refreshing to see an AGW cult member go off script in the Time article and admit they don’t have a clue:

“Still, many of the variables at play remain unanswered.”

Amen!  Do your research, ask the right questions and let the data drive our policy, not the other way around.

 

Posted in Climate Change | Leave a comment

US GDP Poised For Breakout

See the following graph for the US GDP % growth for the last 10 years:

screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-10-50-52-pm

I’d say we have a good baseline of what an economy can do under intense government regulation and it’s nothing to write home about – around 1% GDP growth per quarter.

Now bookmark this site and let’s check back in about 6 months.

Economics are driven by many factors but expectations are a big part. If a company is expecting a future of diminished growth then they’ll tighten their belts and react accordingly but if a company is expecting opportunities then they’ll expand and invest in capital.

Companies have been hording cash and investment capital has been sitting on the sidelines for 8 years now as we have struggled through the Obama/Pelosi/Reid years and I expect that potential energy will turn kinetic very quickly.

Posted in economics, politics | 6 Comments

“Hottest Year Evah” Update

Paul Homewood has a site that is a must see for those who are opposed to the AGW cult.

NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

By Paul Homewood

Supposedly 2016 was the banner year for global warming. So what has it brought?

Arctic sea ice extent finishes the year at the level of the last few years:

osisaf_nh_iceextent_daily_5years_en

http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/icecover.uk.php

View original post 90 more words

Posted in Climate Change | 2 Comments

AR-15 Broken Charging Handle

UPDATE 30-DEC-16 – Windham Weaponry responded via Twitter to my complaint and they sent a replacement charging handle to my house within days.  Windham Weaponry also wanted the broken charging handle returned to them (which I will take care of soon) so they could analyze it.

 

Something odd occurred today on the shooting range with my AR-15 that I thought would never happen – my charging handle broke!

broken-charging-handle

The charging handle appears to be made from 6061 aluminum with an anodize coating and considering the fact that this piece undergoes relatively little stress I am shocked that it broke.   It’s only used when the bolt assembly is in the forward position and you need to load a new cartridge after installing a magazine. I didn’t expect this part to fail EVER, much less with less than 150 rounds expended.

See picture below highlighting the charging handle in the exploded view of the AR-15.

ar15-diagram

A couple months ago I bought my first AR-15 and chose the Windham Weaponry Carbon Fiber “SRC” and as I stated above, I’ve only put about 150 rounds through it on two different occasions. Since this was my 1st AR-15 I didn’t want to drop $2,000 on a top of the line rifle considering I didn’t know enough about this weapon to make informed buying decisions and the $850 price tag for this one appeared to put this one in the upper range of “beginner” AR-15s.

Version 2

The purpose of this range outing was to site in my new Vortex Spitfire 3x Prism Scope and apart from the broken charging handle, the experience was top notch. The scope and the rifle performed exceptionally well and I was hitting targets at 50 and 100 yards with relative ease. It wasn’t until I’d shot approximately 100 rounds that the charging handle broke.

It should be noted that the charging handle failure happened during the middle of a magazine and a round was chambered when I noticed it was broken. The end piece of the charging handle prevented the bolt assembly from moving completely forward and that is what tipped me off that something was wrong. I manually moved the bolt assembly back after removing the upper and lower receiver pieces and that ejected the shell. The tip of the charging handle could’ve become cracked during the initial charging and then completely broke off during the stress of the subsequent rounds being expended.

This part of an AR-15 is relatively inexpensive ($20 – $90) so I’ll get a replacement but I will feed this back to Windham Weaponry to express my displeasure. There was no issue with jams in the rifle or anything that would’ve put stress on the charging handle so there was obviously a defect in this lot of charging handles that was used in the assembly of this rifle.

I hope the rest of the parts of this AR-15 are of better quality!

 

 

Posted in guns and ammo | Leave a comment

Trump Makes The Left Crazy

According to my Facebook feed, I apparently graduated high school with several Left Wing radicals.

I knew there were many of my high school friends who were left leaning because during the past 8 years they had glowing posts about Pelosi, Reid and Obama as well as negative posts about Republicans but I was cool with that. Hell, I and many of my Conservative FB friends posted our displeasure with Obama and we had respectful arguments on FB with our friends on the other side of the aisle. Free speech and all that, reasoned debate is what we need in this country right now.

But after 08-NOV-16 things took a turn for the surreal and dark. For many of my leftists high school chums there is such thing as reasoned debate anymore (as you’ll see below).

Trust me when I say, the screen caps below are but a small sampling of what I see everyday. And since these are Facebook posts, they weren’t intended to be public so I’ve blacked out their name, location and picture.

Exhibit A – All Trump voters are cool with racism

fb-exhibit-a

Exhibit B – You racist white people in AmeriKKKa should not comment on my posts

fb-exhibit-b

Exhibit C – Trump is the Anti-Christ

fb-exhibit-c

Exhibit D – For the past 4 years, it’s not Obama’s fault that cops are killing African Americans but for the next 4 years it’s Trump’s fault when cops kill African Americans (I’m the one who gave the 1st comment on this post)

fb-exhibit-d

You may find this odd but even through all this, I’m not muting or de-friending them because this is comedy gold and every now and then it’s fun to poke at them.

Posted in politics | 4 Comments

Trump’s Master Plan

I think I know what Trump is up to.

Full disclosure – I didn’t vote for Trump in the South Carolina primary because I didn’t think he could win in the general election. I also didn’t vote for Trump in the general election because I was sick of being forced to choose between the lesser of two evils and I voted for Gary Johnson as a matter of principle.

But….I’m so glad I was wrong about him not being able to win! I’m very happy that Hillary Clinton will never be a POTUS and for that I’m grateful for Trump and those who didn’t think as I did.

Like most folks, I’m now looking at the actions of the Trump PEOTUS actions and I trying to figure out what kind of POTUS he’ll be. Will he be a twitter happy buffoon who goes down as one of the worst person to ever hold that office or will he be what this country has needed for about 20 years – an outsider who will break with politics and bring real world management to a town that sorely needs it?

Prior to the election I was leaning toward the former but I’m now confident and hoping that Trump will continue to prove me wrong and he ends up being the latter. And as a person who believes we need more political outsiders running our country, I hope he is successful because if he’s not, we’ll have to deal with career politicians for at least a generation.

Knowing that I’m rooting for him to be a success (and therefore will be successful for our country), here is what I think Trump is planning in his first year.

Trump’s use of Twitter has angered his detractors and they have claimed this shows how immature he is and how unprepared he is for the office of POTUS. But I think his use of Twitter is genius and throws the Left off the track of his overall plan.

Look how upset the MSM and others were with his tweets against SNL, the Hamilton play, Boeing’s price tag for Air Force One, and many others that they don’t focus on what Trump is really working on behind the scenes. I think the Liberal media is playing checkers while Trump is playing chess.

I don’t claim to be a political expert but it’s pretty clear to me what Trump’s real target is and what he’ll focus on during the first year of his Presidency and it has nothing to do with ISIS, Iran nuclear deals, Illegal Immigration or anything else that was bantered about during the campaign.

Trump’s target is China.

His phone call with Taiwan, his alliance with Russia (who has had a soft alliance with China but Trump is obviously trying to drive a wedge between them) and his condemnation of Boeing (who has vast interests in China) are all clues to whom he is targeting.

He doesn’t like that US manufacturing has migrated to China (due to cheap labor and high US corporate tax rates) and he’s made the claim that the country has engaged in unfair trade practices that hurts the US so he’s going to launch a full out assault on that country.

China is a super power that has nuclear weapons and they are the world’s 2nd largest economy but they are vulnerable. They manipulate their currency and they aren’t exactly well liked with the rest of the international community. Their economic growth is slowing and they are now struggling to compete as their labor rates are now rising to the point where they are no longer the default choice for companies looking to offshore.

I think Trump will partner with Russia to enter into an economic war with China and depending on the level of the rhetoric, it could quite possibly lead to a new Cold War but with China as our foe instead of Russia.

Of course there is always the thought that Putin is playing Trump and he will keep his alliance with China and then we’ll be fighting two world super powers but it seems Putin likes Trump and would rather have us as an ally instead of their Chinese neighbor.

I hope cooler heads will prevail and we avoid the Cold War but if Trump (and the Republican House and Senate) can roll back corporate tax rates and remove the incentive to manufacture products abroad, he can deal a lethal blow to the Chinese economy and kick-start the US economy at the same time.

It’s a difficult and tenuous game that he is choosing to play and I hope I continue to be proven wrong about him.   I would like nothing more than to see the US economy humming on all cylinders and China reeling.

The 1st 100 days of Trump’s tenure will be very interesting to watch.

Posted in politics | 7 Comments

Elevated Blood Sugar Level Investigation

I had a previous post where I questioned why my morning blood sugar measurements were higher than normal and I had posited that this was due to the Dawn Phenomenon but I think there may be something else at play here.

To further investigate this rise in morning blood sugar measurements I decided to take my blood sugar measurements during a typical day approximately every hour to see if that data would point me to a culprit.

Before I dive into this data, let me share a graph that shows multiple blood sugar measurements during a day back in March of 2015.

march-2015-graph

march-activity

As you can see, my blood sugar levels stayed very consistent through the day and never rose above 120 ug/dL even after a meal. This data validated that the Paleo lifestyle that I had been leading controlled my Type 2 diabetes without the help of medicine and that my blood sugar levels were indistinguishable from someone who didn’t have Type 2 diabetes. Normal blood sugar measurements should be less than 100 mg/dL at a fasting level (when I wake up) and not increase above 150 mg/dL 2 hours after a meal and that is exactly what my measurements show even though I have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

But as I mentioned above, something has changed and now my blood sugar levels are not consistent with someone who doesn’t have Type 2 diabetes.

So let’s see what the data looks like recently.

september-graph

september-activity

First off, notice that my blood sugar levels started off elevated and ended elevated as compared to the graph from 2015. This data proved to me that my elevated blood sugar measurements in the morning were not due to the Dawn Phenomenon but due to something else. Note also that this is a conclusion that I would not have been able to make until I did this experiment. Taking your blood sugar measurements only in the morning doesn’t reveal what happens during the day and this is further evidence that folks with Type 2 diabetes need to take more measurements than their doctor normally prescribes.

There were two spikes that should be investigated and maybe these will provide clues to the source of my elevated fasting blood sugar measurements.

The first spike occurred about 15 minutes after I finished exercising during lunch (run 800m, lift weights upper body, lunges with weights and then finish with another 800m run). I had not eaten lunch yet and this spike was due solely to the exercise.

I have noticed this over the past few years when I’ve taken a blood sugar measurement after an exercise so this is nothing abnormal and I think this is generally understood.

The other spike that happened before dinner is more curious.

This spike happened after I drove home from work and I was quite surprised by this but as I reflected on what may have caused this I realized that I had chewed two pieces of gum and eaten a few sour candies on the ride home and I think this was the explanation for this spike.

Over the past 6 months or so I have developed a habit of passing the long commute by chewing Cry Baby gum and eating Shockers candies and I had thought that this small amount of sugar would be negligible but obviously it wasn’t!

Although many people recoil at sour tastes, for some reason I love it (which might explain why I love Gose style beer) and the pictures and nutritional info of these gum/candies are given below.

cry-baby-sour-gum_1

cry-baby-gum-ingredients

shockers

shockers-ingredients

As you can see, these items are loaded with all kinds of bad stuff including High Fructose Corn Syrup and sugar and these ‘treats’ on the ride home easily explain the spike in my blood sugar levels before dinner.

But back to my original question as to why my morning blood sugar measurements are higher than normal….

I think these candies/gums that I eat (not only on the ride home but I’ve started eating them after lunch too) have remained in my system and this might be the culprit of my elevated blood sugar levels.

I have since stop indulging in this sour treat and after a week of this I’ll see if this has an effect on my blood sugar levels.

Posted in Diabetes, paleo | 6 Comments

The Dawn Phenomenon

As a type 2 Diabetic, I’m well aware of the strange blood sugar measurements I’d see before I learned to control my blood sugar levels by adhering to the Paleo lifestyle but recently I have struggled with seemingly unexplainable high measurements in the morning.

If you frequently monitor your blood sugars then you know what I’m talking about with regard to unexplainable high measurements in the morning but in case you don’t, here is what I mean. I could take my blood sugar measurement before bed and it would be normal after a meal (say around 110 ug/dL) but then when I wake up in the morning the measurement would be above 110 ug/dL even before I ate breakfast.

How can that be? I didn’t sleep walk during the night and eat a bowl of ice cream and during the night my blood sugar levels should’ve dropped like they would during the day if I skipped a meal but miraculously they are higher!

I am well aware of the Dawn Phenomenon (DP), which causes blood sugar levels to spike in the early morning hours, and this is most likely the cause of my higher blood sugar levels in the morning and a nice explanation of the DP can be found here:

“Organs do this to keep blood glucose from going too low at night or other times of not eating. From about 2 AM to 8 AM, most people’s bodies produce hormones, including cortisol, glucagon, and epinephrine. All these hormones increase insulin resistance and tell the liver to make more glucose. The idea is to get you enough glucose to get out of bed and start the day. The whole process is apparently started by growth hormones.”

And somewhere I remember reading where this spike in blood sugar is a holdover from our Paleolithic ancestors. Thousands of years ago we woke up to a long list of physical activities – hunting, fixing shelters, building fires, etc. – so we needed that boost of energy to get us going. Evolution has hard coded this into our bodies and those folks without an insulin sensitivity issue counteract this high blood sugar level in the morning by producing more insulin. But those of us, like myself, who have abused their pancreas can’t produce that much to overcome this spike.

So why all of a sudden did this happen to me?

As you can see from the following graph, my morning blood sugar measurements have spiked within the last few months.

recent morning measurements

I think this recent shift can be attributed to two changes in my lifestyle over the past couple of months – 1) getting more sleep and 2) reducing the alcohol I consume in the evening.

Due to my intense work responsibilities, sleep was one area of the Paleo lifestyle that I had avoided but I made a commitment recently to get at least 7 hours so sleep each night and I have to say I feel so much better. My mind is sharper during the day, my workouts are easier and I generally feel better in all aspects of my life. Maybe the cortisol levels in my body are increased when I get more sleep and this explains part of the change.

But I think the other piece to this puzzle resides with bourbon. I wrote before how I saw lower blood sugar levels in the morning after I had 1 to 2 drinks of bourbon and that correlation was pretty rock solid. When I used to stay up late working I’d have a couple of drinks and once I stopped working at night, the bourbon drinking stopped as well and this also might explain the increase in blood sugar levels.

Over the past couple of months while I’ve been adjusting to this lifestyle change of getting more sleep, there have been periods where I have not been able to do this due to work schedules and as you can see from the graph below (plotting morning blood sugar levels vs. hours of sleep the night before), there is a slight correlation between the amount of sleep I get and the subsequent morning blood sugar measurements.

sleep study no trend line

You can definitely see that there are two distinct populations on that graph!

The correlation is weak (R2 of 0.28) but the average of the two populations is definitely different (96.79 ug/dL when I got less than 7 hours of sleep and 113.10 ug/dL when I got more than 7 hours of sleep).

sleep study

So what does this data lead me to do with my life?

I’m definitely not going back to getting less than 7 hours of sleep every night because the benefits I see from that far outweigh a mild increase in morning blood sugar levels due to the DP. I may start having a drink after dinner or engage in some high intensity exercise after dinner to help offset the DP and I’ll report on that later once I have more data.

 

 

Posted in Diabetes, paleo | 16 Comments

A Thought Experiment On The Orlando Terrorist Attack

Fact – The Orlando terrorist declared on a 911 call that he pledged allegiance to ISIS.

Fact – ISIS claimed responsibility for the Orlando killings.

But even with these facts, NPR is still not ready to link this violence with Islamic Terrorism:

Investigation is still ongoing, and right now they say they can’t determine one way or the other. But folks we’ve talked to down here say it’s pointing to an unstable individual with violent tendencies.

Now here is my thought experiment….

Imagine if the shooter was a Christian and he called 911 and declared his allegiance to the 1st Baptist Church of Orlando.

Also imagine that the 1st Baptist Church of Orlando claimed responsibility even though there was no link to the shooter and the church.

Do you think the Main Stream Media and the Liberal Elites would be cautious to declare a link between the violence and Christianity?

Posted in politics | 1 Comment

Looking Up June 2016

Jupiter, Mars and Saturn are all up in the southern sky right now so I took the telescope and binoculars out for a couple hours last night and in so doing, I got a very unexpected joy.

But before I get to that, here is a screen cap from the Starry Night app that shows the location of Jupiter, Mars and Saturn.

Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 1.25.24 AM

My equipment consisted of a 10” Newtonian Reflector, 27mm Televue Panoptic and 11mm Televue Nagler eyepieces, a 2X barlow, a sky filter and 15×60 binoculars.

equipment

I got great views of the three planets and the quarter moon and some of these pics are pasted below. Keep in mind that my telescope is not the best for photography since it is a ‘manual’ mount and doesn’t have a motor to match the rotation of the Earth like an equatorial mount. I also was using my iPhone with a somewhat steady hand and that also reduces the quality of the pics.

jupiter

saturn

moon

Notice that all of Jupiter’s major moons were lined up – Europa, Io, Ganymede and Callisto – and that was a very special treat. Here is a screen cap from Starry Night that shows what I saw (reversed due to the nature of how a Newtonian Reflector works).

Jupiter's moons

I stuck it out later in the evening when the Great Red Spot came into view but I couldn’t capture that detail with my telescope and iPhone. Jupiter’s Red Spot is very intense right now and I highly suggest you use this app and find a time to get out and see it.

All of that was great but the highlight of the evening came early when a couple in my neighborhood drove by in their golf cart and asked what I was looking at. I pointed out the planets I was looking at and asked if they have ever seen Jupiter in a telescope. They said no and I had the pleasure of watching their amazement as they saw, for the first time with their own eyes, the northern and southern equatorial bands of Jupiter along with its 4 major moons.

Unfortunately Saturn was too low at the time to show them that beautiful site in the telescope. Other than dense star clusters like M13, I get the most joy out of watching the reaction of people who see Saturn in a telescope for the first time with their own eyes.

The main reason I park my telescope in the front yard is because the front of my house faces South and that is where most of the ‘action’ takes place but I also do it because I love to share astronomy with folks who don’t have a telescope. Practicing amateur astronomy in the back yard doesn’t afford me the opportunity to share this hobby with strangers passing by. And having a 10” Newtonian reflector in your front yard will definitely get people to stop and ask what the heck I’m doing. The dang thing looks like a cannon!

If you are an amateur astronomer like me, don’t be a monk but instead be an evangelist and share the wonders of the cosmos with a stranger. Those of us who have seen the vast beauty of the cosmos for years tend to take it for granted how amazing it is to see the galaxies, star clusters and planets with our own eyes. Most of the people you know have never had that joy so share it with them!

 

Posted in astronomy | 3 Comments