The pending government shutdown

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Wait, it is after 5:00PM EST on Friday - our Federal Governement is already shut down for the weekend. Anyway, Monday may be interesting - from CNBC:

House-passed bill to avoid a government shutdown sinks in the Senate, leaving Congress scrambling for a plan
House-passed stopgap bill that would avoid a government shutdown appeared to fizzle out in the Senate late Friday night, leaving Congress fewer than two hours to find a solution before a midnight deadline.

The measure was set to fail in a procedural vote that was still open in the Senate at 11 p.m. ET. Five Democrats — Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Doug Jones of Alabama and Claire McCaskill of Missouri — had backed it, though their votes could change. Four Republicans — Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah — opposed it pending the vote becoming final.

And a bit more:

The Senate needs to garner 60 votes for a spending bill. With 50 Republicans present, the majority GOP needed to win support from 10 or more Democrats, many of whom had threatened to oppose a short-term spending plan if they could not also pass a bill shielding young undocumented immigrants from deportation.

Something not covered in the media is that some of these dreamers are in their 30's - these are not children being uprooted from their families.

These people are too obsessed with their own egos and are not representing the wishes of the people who elected them to office.

At least President Trump is not a petulant type - remember the Barrycades back in 2013? The internet sure does: Barrycades

Busy day today - frustration

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I am doing some stuff that needs a special kind of authentication. I talked to the people on the phone this morning, got what I understood was the needed paperwork and drove out to Bellingham to meet them at 2PM. Turns out they needed a different piece of paper so I had to drive back home, grab it off my desk and then turn around and head back to Bellingham - 30 miles each way. Got done with them at 4:30 and then a mad dash to the Post Office to get it in the mail by 5:00PM.. The OTC cold medicines are great but they siphon off about 30% of my mental abilities.

Trish is in Seattle and she had quite the day of running around as well - Mercury must be in retrograde or something...

Because of this cold, I was craving some hot and sour soup so stopped off at a local Chinese place and had a big bowl. Yummy!

Time to surf for a bit and then some YouTube videos...

Still feeling cruddy

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This @#$% cold will not go away - meeting with someone in Bellingham at 2:00PM and then back to the farm for the rest of the weekend.

Doing my civic duty next week - got a summons for Jury Duty. Should be interesting.

Great piece from Tyler at Zero Hedge:

"Explosive", "Shocking" And "Alarming" FISA Memo Set To Rock DC, "End Mueller Investigation"
All hell is breaking loose in Washington D.C. tonight after a four-page memo detailing extensive FISA court abuse was made available to the entire House of Representatives Thursday. The contents of the memo are so explosive, says Journalist Sara Carter, that it could lead to the removal of senior officials in the FBI and the Department of Justice and the end of Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation.

These sources say the report is “explosive,” stating they would not be surprised if it leads to the end of Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel investigation into President Trump and his associates. -Sara Carter

A source close to the matter tells Fox News that "the memo details the Intelligence Committee's oversight work for the FBI and Justice, including the controversy over unmasking and FISA surveillance." An educated guess by anyone who's been paying attention for the last year leads to the obvious conclusion that the report reveals extensive abuse of power and highly illegal collusion between the Obama administration, the FBI, the DOJ and the Clinton Campaign against Donald Trump and his team during and after the 2016 presidential election.

Tick, tock, tick, tock... The wheels of justice can be slow at times but they are inexorable. Time for some prison sentences to be handed out just to keep the rest of Washington in line.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is typical Obama legislation. Another big government bureau formed by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and about as useless as can be. From the Los Angeles Times:

Mulvaney requests zero funding for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
In his first quarterly funding request as acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Mick Mulvaney is asking for nothing.

“This letter is to inform you that for the Second Quarter of Fiscal Year 2018, the Bureau is requesting $0,” he wrote Wednesday to Janet L. Yellen, chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, which provides the watchdog agency’s funding.

Mulvaney said that the bureau had enough money on hand to cover its anticipated $145 million in expenses for the quarter, which began Jan. 1, and that he plans to slash the bureau’s reserve fund.

Mulvaney, who also serves as White House budget director, is an outspoken critic of the bureau who was made acting director in November — a controversial move by President Trump that is being challenged in court. In a 2014 interview, Mulvaney called the bureau a ​​​​​“joke … in a sad, sick kind of way” and said that he “would like to get rid of it.”

In his letter to Yellen, he said: “I have been assured that the funds currently in the Bureau Fund are sufficient for the bureau to carry out its statutory mandates for the next fiscal quarter while striving to be efficient, effective and accountable.”

That is how you do it - starve the monkey until it withers away to nothing. A small government is an efficient one and we already have other agencies that do essencially the same work - why pay for duplicated efforts?

Home from town

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Been getting a lot done in these last two weeks.

Home again - time to open a bottle of wine, surf for a bit and then enjoy an early bedtime. Woke up way too early this morning but did not go back to bed - riding this one out trying to reset my sleep schedule. This cold really played havoc with my sleeping.

Off to town

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Couple of projects and then a bite to eat.

Back later this evening...

They just can't do anything right - from Next Big Future:

California high speed rail is doomed and ultimately will cost $19.5 billion to repay in bonds including interest
The cost of the 119 mile Central Valley section has now officially gone up to $10.6 billion. California does not have budgeted money to finish. California has to find extra money for that section.

California High Speed Rail Authority will have to go to the state Legislature for a supplemental appropriation from the bonds that voters approved in 2008. The remaining bonds probably would cover the cost increases, but deplete funds for further construction beyond the Central Valley. The 119-mile section is useless. They need $20-40 billion to build the 300 miles needed for a minimum LA to San Jose system.

Assuming they do not try to dump good money after bad, it willcost $19.5 billion to repay the bonds with interest. California could have built some overpriced highways and BART extensions with that money.

The new estimate was presented Tuesday by Roy Hill, who leads the main consulting firm on the project, WSP (formerly Parson Brinckerhoff). Hill said the cost increases were mainly driven by problems including higher costs for land acquisition, issues in relocating utility systems, the need for safety barriers where the bullet trains would operate near freight lines and demands by stakeholders for the mitigation of myriad issues.

It would be substantially cheaper to buy every potential rider a car. In lieu of annual maintenance costs, they could give each person $10K for gasoline.

Supernova from 4,600BC

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An interesting idea - from The Guardian:

Two suns? No, it's a supernova drawn 6,000 years ago, say scientists
For decades, stone carvings unearthed in the Himalayan territory of Kashmir were thought to depict a hunting scene. But the presence of two celestial objects in the drawings has piqued the interest of a group of Indian astronomers.

They have proposed another theory. According to a study published in the Indian Journal of History of Science, the Kashmir rock drawings may be the oldest depiction of a supernova, the final explosion of a dying star, ever discovered.

Archaeologists found the carvings nearly half a century ago in Kashmir’s Burzahama site, where the oldest settlements have been dated to about 4,300BC. It showed two hunters, a bull, and two beaming disks in the sky initially speculated to be two suns.

Previously, the oldest supernova recorded was by Chinese astonomers in 800BC - this new discovery moves the goalposts quite a distance.

Curious - Newsweek raided?

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From the New York Post:

NYPD officers raid Newsweek headquarters
About two dozen NYPD offficers and investigators from the Manhattan district attorney’s office raided the offices of Newsweek and its parent company, IBT Media, on Thursday.

IBT Media was co-founded by Jonathan Davis and Etienne Uzac. The IRS placed a $1.2 million federal tax lien against Uzac in December 2017.

The agents were said to be photographing servers in the offices, but not downloading any files at the offices on 7 Hanover Square, according to sources.

They appeared to be photographing the serial numbers on the machines, said a source.

In the past, IBT has been linked to a Christian church founded by Korean American evangelist David Jang and Olivet University, a university in California that Jang’s followers founded.

NYPD and the IRS had not responded to a call by press time. The Manhattan DA declined to comment.

No news from any other source to take it with a grain of salt but still...

And it begins - sanctuary cities

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Two days ago, the Department of Homeland Security said that they would seek criminal charges against sanctuary cities that refuse to cooperate with federal deportation efforts.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Feds planning massive Northern California immigration sweep to strike against sanctuary laws
U.S. immigration officials have begun preparing for a major sweep in San Francisco and other Northern California cities in which federal officers would look to arrest more than 1,500 undocumented people while sending a message that immigration policy will be enforced in the sanctuary state, according to a source familiar with the operation.

And of course, there is an abundence of virtue signalling - from San Francisco's CBS affiliate:

Oakland Mayor Says She’ll Go To Jail To Protect Sanctuary City Policy
 Just hours after the Oakland City Council voted unanimously to end any cooperation with agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Mayor Libby Schaaf said Wednesday she would go to jail if needed in her opposition to ICE raids.

Hope you have a wonderfull time in the slammer. And, just as a reminder, some links:

These are not the "best and brightest", they are criminals and need to be dealt with as such.

Another day in paradise

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Made it through the night without losing power - had a solid inch of rainfall though after the winds quieted down. Forecast calls for showers for the next week or so.

Fake News

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The top eleven Fake News stories about President Trump are now online: The Highly-Anticipated 2017 Fake News Awards

Fun reading - lots of links and screen-caps. Rember kiddies, the internet is forever...

That was fun

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About 50 people there tonight - the Wednesday music seems to be catching on.

Wind is really picking up outside so may lose power.

Out for a few hours

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Live music at my local - back in a while...

Warm front moving through

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Today was rainy (about 0.3" accumulation) and it got up to 58.2°F at the farm - over 60°F in Bellingham according to the thermometer on my truck. Forecast is for rain and showers through the next seven days or so.

From the Sacramento, CA CBS affiliate:

New California Declares Independence From Rest Of State
With the reading of their own version of a Declaration of Independence, founders of the state of New California took the first steps to what they hope will eventually lead to statehood.

To be clear, they don’t want to leave the United States, just California.

“Well, it’s been ungovernable for a long time. High taxes, education, you name it, and we’re rated around 48th or 50th from a business climate and standpoint in California,” said founder Robert Paul Preston.

The state of New California would incorporate most of the state’s rural counties, leaving the urban coastal counties to the current state of California.

“There’s something wrong when you have a rural county such as this one, and you go down to Orange County which is mostly urban, and it has the same set of problems, and it happens because of how the state is being governed and taxed,” Preston said.

Makes a lot of sense - they propose to let the coastal area from San Francisco to Los Angeles remain as "old" California and all the other counties and population centers split off as New California. There is a mechanism for this in the US Constitution - Article 4, Section 3.

Aaaaand it is off to YouTube-land

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Lots of little stuff on the internets but nothing that catches my eye.

Heh

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Don't know if this is real or Photoshop but fun nonetheless:

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Another look at California

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Talk about a socialist paradise - from the Los Angeles Times:

Op-Ed Why is liberal California the poverty capital of America?
Guess which state has the highest poverty rate in the country? Not Mississippi, New Mexico, or West Virginia, but California, where nearly one out of five residents is poor. That’s according to the Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure, which factors in the cost of housing, food, utilities and clothing, and which includes noncash government assistance as a form of income.

Given robust job growth and the prosperity generated by several industries, it’s worth asking why California has fallen behind, especially when the state’s per-capita GDP increased approximately twice as much as the U.S. average over the five years ending in 2016 (12.5%, compared with 6.27%).

It’s not as though California policymakers have neglected to wage war on poverty. Sacramento and local governments have spent massive amounts in the cause. Several state and municipal benefit programs overlap with one another; in some cases, individuals with incomes 200% above the poverty line receive benefits. California state and local governments spent nearly $958 billion from 1992 through 2015 on public welfare programs, including cash-assistance payments, vendor payments and “other public welfare,” according to the Census Bureau. California, with 12% of the American population, is home today to about one in three of the nation’s welfare recipients.

Socialism has always failed. Insane that people still believe that it could work.

Not just us - missile alerts

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From The Guardian:

Japanese broadcaster issues North Korean missile alert by mistake
Japan’s public broadcaster mistakenly sent an alert warning citizens about a North Korean missile launch and urging them to seek immediate shelter, then retracted it minutes later – days after a similar error occurred in Hawaii.

NHK television issued the message on Tuesday on its news websites as well as on Twitter, saying North Korea appeared to have fired a missile at Japan. It said the government was telling people to take shelter.

The false alarm came two days after Hawaii’s emergency management agency sent a mistaken warning of a North Korean missile attack to mobile phones across the state, triggering panic.

NHK deleted its tweet after several minutes, issued a correction and apologised several times on air. It said a mistake in using the alert system caused the error.

Something is definitely happening. If you wanted to get into the AFDB weeds, maybe North Korea did launch a missile and we were able to shoot it down.

You know it - this is the dam whose spillway failed during last winter's heavy rains and forced the evacuation of 180,000 people. Turns out the engineering was not good. From Next Big Future courtesy of Wirecutter:

Failed Oroville Dam Spillway designed by inexperienced grad student in the 1960s
California’s Department of Water Resources was blasted in an independent report for having a culture of complacency and incompetence that contributed to last year’s near-disaster at Oroville Dam.

The full 584 page independent forensic team report is here.

The agency’s largest water storage site and the nation’s tallest dam at Lake Oroville fell into disrepair. In February, pounding rain and large water releases caused the reservoir’s spillway to collapse. A back-up spillway also failed. Fears that water would pour uncontrollably downstream prompted the evacuation of 180,000 people.

The independent panel of safety experts said the dam was badly built from the start in the 1960s. The principal designer of the spillway told the dam-safety team that he had just completed post-graduate work at the time he worked on the Oroville project decades ago, had had no previous engineering employment beyond two summer stints, and had never designed a spillway before.

Only in California. All their money goes to free stuff for the proles and nothing to developing or maintaining the infrastructure because a better highway doesn't buy you the votes to keep you in power.

Now this will be fun to see

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From The Washington Times:

DHS preparing to arrest leaders of sanctuary cities
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen confirmed Tuesday that her department has asked federal prosecutors to see if they can lodge criminal charges against sanctuary cities that refuse to cooperate with federal deportation efforts.

“The Department of Justice is reviewing what avenues may be available,” Ms. Nielsen told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Her confirmation came after California’s new sanctuary law went into effect Jan. 1, severely restricting cooperation the state or any of its localities could offer.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Tom Homan says those policies put his officers and local communities at more risk because they have to arrest illegal immigrants out in the community.

Mr. Homan told The Washington Times last July that he wanted to see local officials charged as complicit in human smuggling if they shielded illegal immigrants through sanctuary policies.

The states have no authority here - immigration is defined in Article One, Paragraph eight, Section four of our Constitution.

Another day in paradise

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Another day of 10+ hours of sleep interrupted with an hour or two of wakefulness. Still feeling crappy with sore throat and body aches and fever but these are getting milder so hope is on the horizon. I really miss not waking up at eight or nine. The good news is that I am not living in an Underslept State - from National Public Radio:

Sleep Scientist Warns Against Walking Through Life 'In An Underslept State'
The National Sleep Foundation recommends an average of eight hours of sleep per night for adults, but sleep scientist Matthew Walker says that too many people are falling short of the mark.

"Human beings are the only species that deliberately deprive themselves of sleep for no apparent gain," Walker says. "Many people walk through their lives in an underslept state, not realizing it."

Walker is the director of the Center for Human Sleep Science at the University of California, Berkeley. He points out that lack of sleep — defined as six hours or fewer — can have serious consequences. Sleep deficiency is associated with problems in concentration, memory and the immune system, and may even shorten life span.

An interesting article.

Swipped from the internet:

20180115-whitehouse.jpg

News you can use - sneezing

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Makes perfect sense - I always use the inside of my elbow to stifle mine. From the UK Guardian:

Achoo! Why letting out an explosive sneeze is safer than stifling it
In a season where colds are rife, holding your nose and closing your mouth might seem like a considerate alternative to an explosive “Achoo!”. But doctors have warned of the dangers of such a move after a man was found to have ruptured the back of his throat when attempting to stifle a sneeze.

Medics say the incident, which they detail in the British Medical Journal Case Reports, came to light when a 34-year old man arrived in A&E with a change to his voice, a swollen neck, pain when swallowing and a popping sensation in his neck after he pinched his nose to contain an expulsion.

The team took scans of the man’s neck to investigate and discovered bubbles of air in the tissues at the back of the throat, and in the neck from the base of the skull to halfway down the man’s back. 

That, they say, suggested a tear had occurred at the back of the throat as a result of increased pressure from the stifled sneeze, leading to air collecting in his soft tissues. 

“For reasons of propriety and etiquette, one sometimes stops a sneeze. However on unfortunate rare occasions it might lead to potentially serious complications,” said Dr Sudip Das, co-author of the report from the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Propriety and etiquette be damned - use your elbow or a hankerchief. Do not spread it around but also, First Do No Harm.

The liberals are all up in President Trump's face saying that the minutes of panic in Hawai'i are all his fault. Fortunately, cooler heads prevail - one of them is the Democratic Representative from Hawai'i. From Zero Hedge:

Watch A Sitting Congresswoman Shred The MSM Narrative In Under A Minute
Hawaii Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard appeared on multiple Sunday news shows a day after her state's false ICBM emergency alert sent the islands into a tense 40 minutes of panic before it was revealed to be a message sent in error, where she slammed the mainstream media's reporting on the North Korean nuclear threat, saying, "We've got to understand that North Korea is holding onto these nuclear weapons because they think it is their only protection from the United States coming in and doing to them what the United States has done to so many countries throughout history."

She further called for Trump to hold direct talks with Kim Jong Un in order to prevent the real thing from ever happening.

And she said this just a day earlier:

On Saturday Gabbard had immediately criticized President Trump for mishandling North Korea, taking to MSNBC to proclaim that "our leaders have failed us. Donald Trump is taking too long... he's not taking this [nuclear] threat seriously..." During Sunday interviews she elaborated on a plan of action, advising Trump to enter talks with Pyongyang which should “happen without preconditions” and that Trump should “sit across the table from Kim Jong Un” in order stamp out the climate of fear which contributed to the “unacceptable” alert issued on Saturday. 

I agree with her. There has been precious little real communication between the two nations. We now have their attention - what we do with this is Trump's decision to make.

Spent the day in town

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Decided against working at home - went in to Bellingham and worked on a couple projects there. Paying for my sins and my body is aching and feeling very very tired.

Planning to stay up until 10:00PM to try to resume a normal sleep schedule  - see how that goes. Surf for a bit and then the Tube of You...

Feeling better this morning

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Still sleeping for 12 hours but woke up feeling better this morning. Sore throat and body aches but none of the congestion I had yesterday.

Coffee and then back home - taking it easy for the next couple of days.

And that is it for the evening

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Just fixed some spaghetti for dinner - screw the carbs, I want some comfort food!

Still feeling a bit under the weather so taking it easy tonight and getting an early bedtime. Enjoy a bowl of pasta, watch some YouTube videos and a glass or two of red wine.

Last month's bomb cyclone

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The sudden freeze on the East coast was not a unique phenomon. I was living in Boston when the Blizzard of 1978 hit. More here. The Northeast also suffered one in 1993 - the Storm of the Century.

There is an interesting set of photographs at the Hampton Roads Naval Museum:

One Century Ago: What Cold Really Looks Like
Local headlines recently proclaimed that the Hampton Roads area is experiencing perhaps the coldest new year it has experienced in a century. Thousands of "nonessential" workers at military bases across the Hampton Roads Region are off for the second day in a row (myself included, although I'm still on deadline for this blog post and other projects). Many of them are busily documenting the snowdrifts and other winter wonders deposited by the recent "bomb cyclone" that made it all possible. But what did the winter of a century ago look like to the Sailors and other photographers who were working then?

The Hampton Roads Naval Museum recently acquired photographs taken by a young gunner's mate floating on the York River that show just how cold it got one century ago. Compared to the arctic blast of January 1918, which froze battleships into place off Yorktown and made the majority of the Chesapeake region practically impassible, the so-called "bomb cyclone" that swept through the area this week was a mere inconvenience.

Thanks to a young Sailor named Ernest A. Washburn, who was serving aboard USS Rhode Island (BB 17), we now have a better idea what the York looked like during that epic cold snap.

There are five photos at the site - two taken by Mr. Washburn and three taken by other photographers of the same weather event.

20180114-ice-ships.jpg

Two photographs taken from USS Rhode Island (BB 17) have been combined to show the monitor Tallahassee (BM 9),
which served during the war as a submarine tender, and the battleship Texas (BB 35), frozen in
at the location near Yorktown, Virginia, known as "Base 2" in January 1918.
E.A. Washburn Collection, Hampton Roads Naval Museum

20180114-MonticelloHotel.jpg

Longtime Norfolk photographer Harry C. Mann recorded the aftermath of the Monticello Hotel fire, after which a
fire engine remained frozen in place. At far left, merchants can be seen removing whatever
wares they can salvage. (Library of Virginia Digital Collections)

Those people who claim that us puny humans are changing the earth's climate are nuts. Pure and simple nuts - they have a political agenda that they are driving and they are using this pseudoscience to leverage their agenda because it will not stand on its own merits.

Mr. Clean Energy is anything but - from Environmental Progress:

Jerry Brown's Secret War on Clean Energy
Since he was elected in 2010, California Gov. Jerry Brown has gained an international reputation as a climate leader. He has spoken at the Vatican, at U.N. climate talks, and promoted California’s policies in China. Journalists routinely praise Brown for reducing emissions by expanding clean energy.

But is Brown’s climate reputation deserved?

A new, two-year investigation by Environmental Progress concludes that no American politician has killed more clean energy than Gov. Jerry Brown — and in ways that often benefited his own family financially.

A long read but fascinating one. It goes into quite a bit of detail on the early environmental groups - specifically Sierra Club. Not what they would have you believe.

Gorgeous day today

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Warm and cloudless - heading out for coffee and then working at home. Planning to open the windows and doors and let the place air out for a bit.

Also woke up with a bit of a cold - low fever and coughing. Now muscle aches so planning on taking it easy the next couple of days.

Welding nerd-vana

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Been watching a lot of welding videos on YouTube - looking to improve my TIG welding skills.

Just found out that my favorite metals store has their own YouTube channel. Check out the website for King Architectural Metals and their YouTube channel.

Excellent people to deal with - great prices and a lot of information.

Dick Durbin - Fake News promoter

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Senator Durbin was the person who quoted President Trump as using the word Shi*hole in a closed immigration meeting. Looking back at the Senator's history, it seems he has made things up before. From The Daily Wire:

REPORT: Dick Durbin Has A History Of Lying About Private White House Meetings
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) accused President Donald Trump on Friday of referring to African countries as "s***holes" during a meeting that they both attended on Thursday.

Durbin told reporters that what Trump said was "hate-filled, vile and racist," adding that "the most disheartening thing to me is my belief that that was the first time words that hateful had been spoken in the Oval Office of the White House."

There's just one problem with Durbin's claims: He has a history of making up statements from private White House meetings.

In 2013, Politico reported:

“In a ‘negotiation’ meeting with the president, one GOP House Leader told [President Barack Obama]: ‘I cannot even stand to look at you,’” Durbin wrote in a post on his Facebook page over the weekend.

However, both the White House and the House speaker’s office denied Durbin’s account of events.

Asked about the post in the White House daily briefing, press secretary Jay Carney said he checked with a participant of the meeting in question.

“I looked into this and spoke with somebody who was in that meeting and it did not happen,” Carney said.

So Durbin is a fabulist working for the deep state. He is an Illinois Democrat - so no surprise there.

Mike Rowe responds to a Facebook post

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Pure gold - from Mike Rowe's Facebook page. He replies to this post:

Rebecca Bright writes…
"I love the show How the Universe Works, but I'm lost on how the producers and the Science Channel can allow anti-education, science doubting, ultra-right wing conservative Mike Rowe to narrate the show. There are countless scientists that should be hired for that, or actors, if you must, that believe in education and science that would sound great narrating the show, example: Morgan Freeman. Cancel this fools contract and get any of your scientists so often on the show to narrate it."

Mike replies - go and read the whole thing (Mike is quite eloquent)  but here are the last six paragraphs:

Anyway, Rebecca, my beef with your post comes down to this - if you go to my boss and ask her to fire me because you can’t stand the sound of my voice, I get it. Narrators with unpleasant voices should probably look for other work anyway, and if enough people share your view, no hard feelings - I’ll make room for Morgan. But if you’re trying to get me fired simply because you don’t like my worldview, well then, I’m going to fight back. Partly because I like my job, and partly because you’re wrong about your assumptions, but mostly because your tactics typify a toxic blend of laziness and group-think that are all too common today – a hot mess of hashtags and intolerance that deepen the chasm currently dividing our country.

Re-read your own post, and think about your actual position. You've publicly asked a network to fire the narrator of a hit show because you might not share his personal beliefs. Don't you think that's kind of...extraordinary? Not only are you unwilling to engage with someone you disagree with – you can’t even enjoy a show you claim to love if you suspect the narrator might not share your view of the world! Do you know how insular that makes you sound? How fragile?

I just visited your page, and read your own description of you. It was revealing. It says, “I stand my ground. I fear no one & nothing. I have & will fight for what's right.”

Maybe I’m missing something, but I don't think the ground you’re standing on is worth defending. If you truly fear “no one & nothing,” it’s not because you’re brave; it’s because you’re unwilling to expose yourself to ideas that frighten you. And while I can see that you like to fight for what you think is “right” (in this case, getting people fired that you disagree with,) one could easily say the same thing about any other misguided, garden-variety bully.

In other words, Rebecca, I don’t think you give a damn about science. If I’m wrong, prove it. Take a step back and be skeptical about your own assumptions. Take a moment to doubt your own words, and ask yourself – as any good scientist would – if you've got your head up a black hole.

Having said all that, I think you’re gonna love next week’s episode. It’s called Multiple Stars! Check it out, Tuesdays at 10pm, on Science.

Heh - I love the part about; "your tactics typify a toxic blend of laziness and group-think that are all too common today – a hot mess of hashtags and intolerance that deepen the chasm currently dividing our country." Spot on!

Two words for tea

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Fascinating writeup on the etymology of the word Tea or Cha - from Quartz:

Tea if by sea, cha if by land: Why the world only has two words for tea
With a few minor exceptions, there are really only two ways to say “tea” in the world. One is like the English term— in Spanish and tee in Afrikaans are two examples. The other is some variation of cha, like chay in Hindi.

Both versions come from China. How they spread around the world offers a clear picture of how globalization worked before “globalization” was a term anybody used. The words that sound like “cha” spread across land, along the Silk Road. The “tea”-like phrasings spread over water, by Dutch traders bringing the novel leaves back to Europe.

An interesting read.

A bit of excitement in Hawaii

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Someone pushed the wrong button - from Hawaii News Now:

'Terrifying': False ballistic missile threat sends Hawaii into panic
A false ballistic missile threat alert was sent to all Hawaii cell phones on Saturday morning, sending the state into a panic for more than 30 minutes until emergency officials confirmed the message was a mistake.

While city and military officials took to social media within 15 minutes to quell fears and say the message was sent in error, it took state emergency management — which sent out the message in the first place — nearly 40 minutes to send out a "false alarm" alert to cell phones using the same mechanism that distributed the emergency warning in the first place.

"It's totally unacceptable," said U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii. "There was anxiety across the state and it was terrifying. There was a lot of unnecessary pain and anxiety. It's important to have accountability at the state level and the emergency management level in terms of what exactly what went wrong."

Gov. David Ige and head of Hawaii's Emergency Management agency, Vern Miyagi, told Hawaii News Now that the false alert was the result of human error — and boiled down to someone pushing the wrong button.

I look at this from a different perspective - the system worked well. They have "the button" and it was effective in getting the warning out. What would happen if there had been a major earthquake or other event - tsunamis are a part of Hawaiian life.

Looks like there might be some investigation into Hillary's involvement.

From Zero Hedge:

DOJ Unseals Indictment Involving Uranium One Scandal
The Department of Justice unsealed an 11-count indictment on Friday to a former DoD intelligence analyst-turned uranium transportation executive who stands accused of a bribery and money laundering scheme involving a Russian nuclear official connected to the Uranium One deal. 

And this:

The charges stem from an alleged scheme to bribe Vadim Mikerin, a Russian official at JSC Techsnabexport (TENEX), a subsidiary of Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation and the sole supplier and exporter of Russian Federation uranium and uranium enrichment services to nuclear power companies worldwide, in order to secure contracts with TENEX.

According to the indictment, beginning at least as early as 2009 and continuing until October 2014, Lambert conspired with others at “Transportation Corporation A” to make corrupt and fraudulent bribery and kickback payments to offshore bank accounts associated with shell companies, at the direction of, and for the benefit of, a Russian official, Vadim Mikerin, in order to secure improper business advantages and obtain and retain business with TENEX. -DOJ

While the indictment lists Lambert's company as "Transportation Corporation A," a simple search reveals that Lambert is the co-President of DAHER-TLI, "the leading front end freight forwarding company dedicated to Nuclear Cargo," according to its website.

A lot more at the site - worth reading. I hope that Hillary will serve time. That whole family is corrupt and an example needs to be made of them.

From Kemberlee Kaye writing at Legal Insurrection:

Media Falsely Reports Ambassadors to Haiti and Panama Resigned Over Alleged “Sh*thole” Comments
The press has had a rough 24 hours and they only have themselves to blame.

First, there was the telephone game turned Washington Post report, suggesting Trump called a handful of developing countries “shitholes.” Trump denies the claims.

Evidently, that wasn’t embarrassment enough. Shortly thereafter, unconfirmed reports suggested American ambassadors to Haiti and Panama resigned as a result ShitholeGate.

Kemberlee has screencaps of Tweets from media sources saying that the Ambassadors to Haiti and to Panama have both resigned over President Trump's comments.

Minor problem, we have no standing Ambassador to Haiti - the previous one was Pamela White - an Obama appointee and she resigned on October 6, 2015.  Our Charge d'Affaires is Robin Diallo and she is still there in office.

Minor problem, part two, our Ambassador to Panama was John D. Feeley who did recently resign but he tendered his letter of resignation on December 27th.

Fake news anyone?

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